Upon his return to Midgard and the Avengers, Thor discovered that his mighty colleagues had grown in number. There was Scott Lang the Ant Man, who could command armies of the tiny creatures to do his bidding, a powerful monster with blue fur, the powerful machine man, a witch wrapped in scarlet, and a man who ran faster than any being Thor had ever seen. There was also Janet Van Dyne who called herself the Wasp and could make herself very much like the insect of her namesake and a doctor named Hank Pym who grew to massive size.

But upon his first meeting with Thor, the God of Thunder nearly killed the massive Pym. Thor disliked giants and it troubled Thor to know that he was serving on a team with a giant. It was not until his friend Steve explained that Pym's powers were a trick of Earthly science that he promised not split Pym's head in twain.

Finally there was the woman know as Barbara Morse, the Mockingbird.

She was a servant of SHIELD, like the Hawkeyed Archer and the poisonous Black Widow, but she was also far more friendly and kind and laughed with a tingling sound that reminded Thor of the fair Jane Foster. She was also toe haired and tall, so Thor wondered if there was perhaps some Nord blood within her to explain her fairness. Were he unattached, Thor would've claimed such a girl as his own.

But he could see she was already claimed.

The Hawkeye clearly desired her for himself and all through out Thor's welcome home party, the Thunder God spied his old friend flirting with this new woman, laughing over large cups of the ale they called Guinness.

Most seemed to welcome this new addition to their team and the Iron One, Tony, told bawdy tales of their first mission together while Thor was away...and of the celebration afterward that ended in drunken revelries and more of the blessed meat they called shawarma.

But one of them was not so happy to see this Mockingbird enter their number. The icy redhead known as Natasha, the Black Widow who was constantly by Hawkeye's side, sat in the corner of the Avengers Tower and seemed to hate the presence of this new woman. All night long, while Hawkeye and his love laughed, Natasha brooded and scowled at the pair of lovers.

It hurt Thor to see one of his comrades in so much pain and he went to the girl's side to ask her troubles. "What harms thee, Fair Widow?"

"I'm fine, go enjoy your party." She muttered between sips of soda but Thor could see that there was little fine about her.

"Come enjoy it with me!" Thor blustered, taking her cup from her, "And put away this fiendish sugar water, it shall ruin your comely figure!" He began to pour his friend a tall glass of the strange liquor of Kentucky that Tony seemed to love so much but Natasha stopped him and pushed the drink aside.

"I don't feel like drinking."

"Aye for you are troubled." He continued to pour in spite of her objection, "I do not know of a trouble that cannot be solved by this Kentucky brew."

"Oh, so bourbon can get rid of that bitch?" He could hear how angry she was, there were daggers in her voice and that meant there was a dagger in her heart as well. Bourbon could not cure her ailment.

"Do you mean the Mockingbird?"

"Yeah, I mean Bobbi."

"What has she done to deserve such hatred?"

"Clint." She pointed at the lovers, who seemed dangerously unaware of what their display was doing to their friend. "Every few years she comes back into Clint's life, tells him everything will be different this time and then breaks his heart all over again. Suddenly I'm left picking up the pieces."

And Thor now knew his friend's pain. It was obvious for he had seen such pain before. "You love the Archer."

"Love is for children."

"And yet...you love him."

Natasha turned away, like it was an embarrassment. Like something that broke some part of a code. Thor realized how lonely and sad the Black Widow must've been, how cold it was inside her heart save for the place where she kept the Archer's face. He remembered a tale, a story from his homeland and wondered if it might give this woman peace.

"You are like Skadi." He said as he pushed the bourbon towards Natasha once again.

"What is Skadi?"

"Skadi is a Jotunn princess who came to Asgard when I was a boy, she desired to marry my older brother Balder because Balder was fair of face."

Natasha took the bourbon this time and drank it, she gestured with empty glass for Thor to pour her another. Instead he handed her a bottle. "Boulder sounds hot."

Thor chuckled "Were I a lady, I would marry Balder." That earned a smile from the Widow and he continued, "But my mother did not want to see some Frost Troll's daughter marrying her favorite son, and yes Balder was her favorite, so she demanded my father settle the matter with a contest."

"What kind of contest?"

"A foot judging contest." Natasha laughed again but Thor did not understand the humor, "What is funny? It is a common way to pick a husband on Earth, is it not?"


"Mortals are strange." Thor said with a sigh, "At the close of the contest, Skadi was married not to my brother but to my uncle Njord. It was a good marriage we thought and would last a long time."

"You were wrong?"

"Skadi still desired Balder, who did not desire her." Thor said with a shrug "Balder desired Nanna and married her, though their own marriage was quite troublesome at times."

"Let me guess, Skadi and Njord divorced." Natasha said.

"Aye, but it was amicable." The Thunder God responded, "They remain friends."

"And is she happy now?"

"Aye, as happy as a Jotunn can be."

"But she's not with Balder?"

"Nay, they are not together."

"Then how happy can she truly be?"

That was not an easy question to answer so Thor left Natasha to her brooding. He hoped to find Selvig and tip a glass to their ancestors while trading tales of the frozen North.

The End