Sif sat up on one of the highest palace balconies- her place of brooding since she'd first come to the palace so long ago.
And she was definitely brooding.
Thor had brought Jane back from Midgard again. When the mortal had been possessed by the Ether, she could see his reasoning- but all was well now and she resented the woman's presence for reasons she wasn't quite honest with herself over.
She was conflicted- Thor was her friend and her loyalty as a warrior was to him, but she felt more for him than friendship- they'd even been lovers once (a very long time ago). It was rare she saw herself as more than a warrior, so why she expected Thor to suddenly see her as woman again after so long eluded her.
As she sat trying to puzzle it all out a shadow loomed over her, blocking out the sun. Sif looked up to find Thor standing beside her in uncharacteristic silence. He clearly knew something was off with her, but not what.
He waited for her to speak, acting as though he was merely enjoying the view from up high.
She found her voice, hoping the slight strain in it could be passed off as surprise at his sudden appearance.
"Thor, I didn't hear you come up the stairs." Usually he was about as stealthy as a heard of Bilgesnipe.
"I've been up here for twenty minutes, Sif, The Dark Elves could have come back and you wouldn't have noticed." His tone was low and serious, showing he was worried for his friend.
Sif was taken aback by his statement, "I think I would notice that. Have you really been up here that long? I didn't think I'd been up here that long…"
"You missed dinner, Father noticed, the Warriors noticed…even Volstagg looked up from his food long enough to note you were missing. Are you well?"
"Fine, our last adventure didn't harm me, I have no need of healers." She shrugged, hoping he would leave it at that.
"Sif, there are more ways to be unwell than just physically. I lost my brother to mental anguish. I will not lose my friend as well."
His friend, Thor couldn't know how much that bland title hurt her. Of course he didn't know, why would he? She thought to herself, the expression on her face darkening.
Thor assumed it was because he'd mentioned Loki- she still hadn't quite forgiven him for 'ruining' her hair. Personally, Thor rather liked Sif's dark hair. He mused about it silently, listing all the things about her that he liked (a long list) not realizing his mind had drifted to her body until she caught his eyes on her form.
Sif arched a brow questioningly as Thor shook himself out of his revere. "Sorry, we both seem to have wandering minds today. Tell me, what has Asgard's most fearsome warrior so distracted?"
A frown graced her beautiful features. "I'm not just a warrior you know." she huffed, "I'm a woman too. People just seem to forget that."
It was Thor's turn to be taken aback, "I'm aware of that…did someone insult you? Was it Fandral again? Or was your mother after you again about not wearing gowns?"
"No…it's nothing. I'm just not myself today." She replied quickly, horrified that she'd said as much as she had.
Sif quickly got up to leave, "I'm going hunting, I need to clear my head."
Thor moved to let her pass, but grasped her forearm once she was close and made her look up at him, "This conversation isn't over. Come to my chambers when you get back so we can speak."
She'd been in his chambers a hundred times, but being in there with Jane in the palace would feel intrusive.
"Perhaps, though I doubt your Jane would appreciate that."
Sif knew the mortal was the only one who saw her as direct competition for Thor's affections. For his part, Thor had no clue why two of the most important women in his life couldn't get along.
He looked down at her, confusion on his face, "Why would Jane care? The other Warriors have visited and she didn't mind."
All she could do was sigh and roll her eyes before leaving him on the balcony. Sweet clueless Thor, she mused as she saddled her horse. He really was an idiot sometimes.
If Thor was sweet and clueless, then Sif was, currently, angry and careless. Her hunting was less stealthy and more violent than usual, once she'd shot down her kill she approached it not taking the proper care to make sure it was dead.
As soon as she was near, the beast reared up and gored her with its large horns. Luckily for her, Heimdall was watching. He alerted Thor, who was with her in a heartbeat- swinging his hammer to crush the beast's skull.
He knelt beside Sif and checked her injuries- they were bad. Thor made her comfortable and patched her up as best he could before carefully picking her up and carrying her back to the healers- the whole way angrily lecturing her about being careless. He wasn't really angry, he was scared- scared over how seriously she was hurt and by how rapidly Sif seemed to be fading.
She knew she could die from her wounds, Sif was a realist, practical. And she knew this might be her last chance to tell him the truth.
"Thor, stop a moment, I need to tell you something." Sif spoke, her having a frighteningly faint quality to it. "Please…"
He obeyed, mostly unwillingly, voice gentle for the moment, "What is it, Sif?"
"What's wrong…is me. I've been lying to myself for years. But to you as well." She sighed and worked up the courage to tell him what she should have long ago.
"I'm still in love with you."
Thor opened his mouth to speak, but she hushed him. "There's more. We have a daughter, her name is Astrid and she lives with your old nanny on the coast."
Before she could explain more fully about the situation regarding their apparent child, SIf fainted dead away from blood loss.
When she woke up, mostly healed, in a soft bed she hoped it had been a dream. One look at the scowling Thunderer sitting beside her bed told her otherwise.