They'd managed to keep the secret of Sift fleeing the helicarrier between them. Fury was on a top-secret mission to Tahiti (which sounded more like the company vacation) and Hill was kept out of the situation altogether.

Clint shook his head as he walked down the hallway leading to his quarters. All this trouble for one warrior goddess. Hopefully Natasha would get things straightened out soon enough. She always would.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a door being clicked open. Clint tensed for a moment as the door swung open half an inch and Fandral stuck his head out, looking for the entire world like he'd been through the most tragic event of his life.

Clint studied him for a minute, and then smirked. "Hey, Robin Hood. Why the long face?" As if he didn't already know.

Fandral looked him over for a moment, his expression changing from curiosity to bewilderment to hatred. "I think you know very well, archer."

Clint shrugged. "Yeah, I do. Look man, don't take it personally, the only time Nat's ever seemed like she's gone for a guy is when she's flirting him up for a mission. Though I don't think you getting in her face will help you get with her one at all. Not that I'd let you anyway."

"I am known as the most dashing man in Asgard!" Fandral cried out in frustration. "And the one woman I truly desire has shunned and rebuffed my affections! Have I lost my golden touch? Am I doomed to never woo women again? Answer me this, archer- and do not call Lady Natasha "Nat"! A name as lovely as her's should not be tampered with in any way!"

Clint stepped closer to him, feeling his body tensing with anger at Fandral's refusal to believe Natasha's lack of interest. Couldn't this guy take a hint? " Listen, Robin Hood, I'm not Nat's boyfriend, but I swear to god if you get up in her face again I'll shoot an arrow in your eye! I don't care if she's playing hard to get-"

And at the look on Fandral's face, Clint knew he fucked up big time.

Fandral's face lit up with wonder and hope at the phrase "hard to get". "So you say that Lady Natasha is simply evading my affections because she does desire me?"

Clint growled. "No, that's not-"

But Fandral was already walking briskly down the hallway, his soul renewed with hope that Natasha could still be his. He shook his head at the strange nature of midgardian mating customs, and wondered what he would do to woo her when she returned.

"Dinner . . . candles . . . a ring?" He whispered. Yes that seemed like the ultimate courting ritual for midgardians, as he'd seen on their television. He wasn't quite sure what happened after that, but he was sure the man had won the maid's love.

A huge grin stretched across Fandral's face as he went to get the materials he needed.

Natasha was beyond pissed off.

When she let Volstagg and Hogun come with her into the city, she didn't expect that dressing them would be so hard. She's managed to find a plus-sized tie-dye t-shirt for Volstagg, and a white t-shirt with ripped-up jeans for Hogun. But then Hogun insisted on bringing his mace along, and Volstagg had learned to tie his huge beard into a backwards ponytail.

They looked like two mismatched crazy hippies.

And if that wasn't bad enough, they'd gotten looks all the way to Steve's apartment, and Volstagg insisted on stopping at every damn hotdog cart at every corner.

So Natasha worked hard to peel the scowl off her face as She finally caught Steve and Sif walking toward the apartment.

The first thing she notices was how they were looking at each other. Sif was smiling up at him, wearing clothes from Earth and carrying a takeout box from that pizza place a few blocks from here. And Steve was smiling back, and both of them looked like they'd just come back from the best day of their lives.

Natasha felt her eyebrow creep up her face. Well, so what had been going on since Sif left the Helicarrier?

"Lady Sif!" Volstagg bellowed, rushing toward them. Sif and Steve both looked up, their faces transforming from affectionate to shocked.

"Volstagg . . .Hogun?" Sif choked out, looking like she wanted to burst out laughing at their ridiculous outfits. "Us and the Lady Natasha have come to make sure you are well. And Steve!" Volstagg slapped him hard on the back. "We thank you for taking care of our shield-sister in our absence." Hogun grunted agreement.

Steve stiffened a little at the hard punch, then smiled. "It's been no problem, Volstagg. It's been kinda fun actually." He glanced at Sif, who smirked and nodded. Steve blushed.

At that point Natasha decided go walk over to Sif. Before she knew it, Natasha had wrapped the other woman in a hug. "Sif, how are you?" She asked, surprised that she decided to hug a woman she barely knew. But she was just so sick of men and their tricks and their games, she figured Sif felt the same way and needed comfort.

Sif was equally surprised at the hug. "I am quite well, actually, Lady Natasha. The Captain has been very kind indeed to me."

Natasha pulled away. "I need to talk to you. Right. Now."

Sif nodded. She looked to the men. "Why don't you three go inside?" She asked in the tone that ment it was clearly an order and not a question. Steve looked disappointed, but lead Volstagg and Hogun into the apartment.

"I heard about what happened." Natasha said, her voice like ice. "Thor wanted to come, but I made that bastard stay away until you calmed down. How are you feeling now?"

Sif stiffened a little at the mention of Thor, then took a deep breath. "I am not so hurt as I was then. You can not deny Thor is in love with Jane Foster, and I can't change that. And to tell the truth," Sif eyes started lighting up. "I think I have found another."

Natasha exhaled, a short little puff. "Steve."

Sif smiled. "He is a warrior like me, fierce and brave. He has defied those around him to become a warrior, like me. He is handsome, strong and intelligent. I like him a great deal, Natasha."

Natasha thought about all the months Steve was lonely since he was thawed, how she wished he would start dating again so he could find someone to love, and her face broke into a wide grin. "To be honest, I think he really likes you too."

Sif nodded. "I would like to stay here, with him, if that is alright."

"Of course it is." Natasha said, her grin dissolving into a smirk. "Just make sure to visit to spar with me. I wanna try out that sword of yours."

"It would be my honor, Lady Natasha." Sif grinned, then turned and started walking back toward the apartment.