332/How to Hide a Lair 101

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How to Hide a Lair 101
Date of Scene: 06 March 2020
Location: Chelsea
Synopsis: Natasha speaks with Sif about the current state of the Princes of Asgard.
Cast of Characters: Natasha Romanoff, Sif

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    When Thor first left to meet Loki, Natasha Romanoff followed him this far, only to see him and Loki vanish into thin air. At first she thought Loki had simply magicked them away somewhere, but... upon learning that Loki's power had diminished, Natasha took a renewed interest in the location.
    Sure enough, her surveillance revealed the occasional comings and goings of someone Natasha wasn't familiar with, but who came and went from the same spot Loki did without, seemingly, being stabbed in the face by the assumed occupant.
    So that drew her interest.
    Natasha doesn't like not knowing what Loki's doing, and she doesn't especially like leaving him to his own devices... and as well intentioned as Thor is, he could be... stubborn and tunnelvisioned about some things. So Natasha would like to look into this herself.
    But intel's important. So that's why Natasha's sitting on a bus-stop bench a short ways down the street, wearing a small hat, a pair of sunglasses and a short coat with her legs crossed, waiting for Sif to arrive.
    She lets Sif pass her and get a few steps before she calls from behind her, simply, "You're an Asgardian, right?"
    The direct approach. She's counting on Thor's people being... roughly as straight-forward as he is.
    She smiles gently. "... I'd really like to speak with you, if you've got a minute."

Sif has posed:
Today's attempt is to blend into Midgard proper, with the crowds on the sidewalks more concerned about getting home after work and inside before the ambient air temperature drops into something more unpleasant. While not necessarily cold, Sif is dressed warmly enough. Her peacoat is lined at the neck and sleeve-cuffs with golden-brown faux-fur to compliment the brown-base fabric. Hunting boots, sleek in leather nearly black, make muted clicks as she walks with what appears to be purpose, head held high. The Aesir's raven-black hair is braided up into a coronet at the back of her held, held in place by golden pins here and then.

Upon hearing the voice speak up behind her, the Asgardian in question does halt and turn to face the hatted young woman. Sif's eyes are cool and measuring, pale as winter ice. "I am a member of the Asgardian court, yes," she confirms to Natasha. "I am on no task at this time, so I will not be held up if we speak. What do you name yourself?"

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Ah, the Asgardian manner of speaking. It's like being home! But with less bass behind the voice.
    Natasha's smile broadens pleasantly, and she gestures invitingly to the space next to her on the bench as she answers, "My name is Natasha. I'm a friend of Thor." She says, trying to put her best foot forward. Unless Sif leans towards Loki's outlook, but that's part of what she's here to find out. "What's your name?"

Sif has posed:
The Valkyrie's eyes hold steady on Nat's face. "Ah, one of Thor's many friends. Well met, Natasha. I am the Lady Sif of Asgard, Goddess of War and sworn to the Valkyriad. He might have made mention of me as one of his childhood friends." The bench doesn't appear to be dangerous in the least and so with little hesitation, the dark-haired woman settles herself a respectful distance from Natasha.

"Is this an errand brought upon you by Thor? Or did your curiosity lead you to speak with me, Natasha?" The question is brusque in its way and as Sif makes to cross her legs at the knee, hands folded in her lap, she again affixes her gaze upon the Widow's face, perhaps watching for tells.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha's face could be called a stone mask if it weren't so pleasant; a kind trustworthiness written on her face as she politely removes her sunglasses when Sif sits down, revealing icey blue eyes. "Good to meet you, Lady Sif." She says pleasantly, grinning a little. "He may have. A lot of names come up in Thor's stories."
    Sif's question draws a soft chuckle from Natasha who shakes her head. "Ha, no. Thor is... protective of us. You know the type. Takes everything on himself." Natasha leans back with a sigh, putting both of her elbows on the back of the bench, "Which is why he still hasn't told us about *this* place." She says ruefully, nodding towards Loki's domain. Her voice is a little softer once she assumes Sif will have gotten her meaning, and she adds, "So... curiosity, mostly."

Sif has posed:
"You might be wary of where your curiosity leads you," the Aesir warrior notes evenly, with a tone that might be heard in 'you play with fire, you accept the chance of a burn'. Her own expression isn't necessarily pleasant at the moment, more suffused with a severe cast of patience. "Though yes, I do know well of Thor's penchant for being protective. It is a common trait within our people, if to varying degrees."

The toe of her lifted boot draws slow circles in the air. "Have you spoken with Thor about your current endeavor? Surely you have seen that he does not take subterfuge kindly, especially if he has already made up his mind on certain matters."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha watches Sif patiently as Sif's demeanor becomes a fair bit more dangerous than before.
    This is actually going better than she expected!
    "I never play with fire, Lady Sif. My job is to prevent them."
    When asked if Thor knows what she's doing, Natasha is silent for a brief moment, measuring her response. She knew this would put her in a risky position back home if it didn't go well. "Not yet. I need to know if I'm going to do anything at all before I can start asking permission." He'll know parts of it. Maybe not all of it. ""My problem is there's a lot I don't know. But what I *do* know is this: I know Loki can't go home until Thor says so..." Natasha smiles ruefully, "... And I know that *nothing* productive happens when Thor speaks to his brother."
    Natasha removes her arms from the back of the bench and folds her hands in her lap, still looking up at Sif, hoping she can see that Natasha is leaning more towards a resolution than war when she says, "Would you agree?"

Sif has posed:
Sif's lips purse even as her lids lower to half-obscure her pale eyes. "I have known the crown princes since they were taking their first steps. The appearance of lack of productivity is a thing long-standing, I will have you know. They were at odds from the time they had the wherewithal to shove mud in each other's faces and refuse to share their training swords."

A little tilt of her head follows, even as she continues to hold Natasha's gaze. "If you intend to influence their decisions, subtlety is not Thor's forte. This particular edict involving his brother did not come down on the wings of a raven, alighting upon Thor's shoulder so politely. I do not recommend subtlety with his brother either. I would recommend arriving with open palms and plain words."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha raises her eyebrows slightly, conveying mild surprise. "Did they? Thor speaks so fondly of their youth, I wouldn't have guessed."
    File that away for later.
    "Subtlety is relative." She says softly with a smile, and looks away. "Thor approaches Loki with perfect honesty, -" She knows this because she doesn't believe Thor capable of anything else, "- and draws nothing but scorn and resenment from Loki. Loki tries to be..." Natasha gesticulates with little flourishes of her hands, "... *clever* and *witty*, and leaves Thor feeling belittled and frustrated. And if what you tell me is true, they can do this for thousands of years."
    Natasha shakes her head. "I'm not looking to trick anyone, Lady Sif. I just have hope that maybe the stalemate can be broken by the... perspective of someone with very little time left to them." Compared to an Asgardian anyway. Natasha slowly looks back to Sif, "... But that all depends on what I'd find, were I to approach him." Her meaning being 'is he just going to smear me against the wall the second he sees me'.

Sif has posed:
Almost delicately, the Asgardian warrior moves in place. One long, booted leg shifts to replace the other, still crossed at the knees, and Sif takes a moment to smooth down the fall of her coat before she glances over again towards Natasha.

"I do not assume to speak for the youngest prince. He is his own person and I am not his nurse-maid." Something else, perhaps, but Sif keeps this to herself and deep behind that severely polite mask she continues to wear. "Nor can I predict how he may react. You presume to know the princes by your words. Be wary of your reckonings. You may find them inaccurate to your dislike. Still..."

The severity of that mask softens but a touch. "I understand why you might wish to press for a resolution sooner than later. It is an additional factor in your world beyond more recent events to take into account."

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Something else indeed. But Natasha suspects that poking that nerve wouldn't get her anywhere she wants to go, and it's generally better not to make enemies of Asgardians. Not that she knows anything for sure, but Sif might be the only person she's ever seen smile after talking to Loki without having also smashed him in the face before they left.
    instead she smiles bemusedly, and says "Lady Sif, if you're telling me Prince Thor is hiding a core of mystery, your people are more fearsome than I'd imagined." It's a compliment really. Commisseration about Thor's sincerity.
    But she's disappointed. Her own mask doesn't show it. She suspects she knows the brothers as well as she needs to. Reading and predicting people is part of her job. But that doesn't mean Asgardian signals mean the same things, presumably. Truthfully, Thor's sincerity *itself* is shocking and unusual on this planet. Part of her keeps waiting to learn something awful about him, and it just never happens.
    Natasha clasps her hands together and sighs with a little nod, projecting a weary sort of hopefulness for a change. "You could say that. I'm not too proud to say we could use the help if it's Loki's task to give it." She shrugs her shoulders, "Everyone I work with is so... intense in their feelings and their convictions." She says, turning up the false sincerity and spiking it with enough truth and honesty to give her that shine of honesty, "I keep thinking if I could... coach some kind of compromise. Focus everyone on their goals above their hurt feelings, then maybe everyone could..." Natasha gives a small huff of a laugh and shakes her head. "Well. It was a nice thought."
    You wouldn't even know this guy brainwashed her best friend and made him murder their comrades! But Sif doesn't need to know that.
    She turns her head to smile softly to Sif and says "Thank you for speaking to me, Lady Sif. I apologise for taking up your time." She says, and begins to stand up to leave.
    Maybe it'll spark something, maybe it won't, but Natasha feels like pointed questions aren't going to get her any further today without making Sif more agitated.

Sif has posed:
The barest hint of a smile touches Sif's lips. "I can confirm that Thor is more complicated than he presents himself." She watches Natasha move about with her mannerisms and gestures of hands, still wearing that infamous sangfroid so well known in the Courts of Asgard as a cloak.

"You are welcome, Natasha. Again, it was no imposition on your part. I had no tasks to take precedence in my time. But do not think your intent so foolhardy. Surely, a monumental shove can move a boulder and thus, a hillside itself, but this same premise is true of many snowflakes upon a slope. I seek to temper your curiosity with knowledge that you might better find your attempt at peacemaking successful." She then gives a shallow nod in Natasha's direction, indicating that it is upon the young woman's head whether or not to leave.

Natasha Romanoff has posed:
    Natasha just smiles mysteriously and says, "I know a thing or two about avalanch effect. I'll be careful."
    Inside she's torn between kicking herself for not going full on liar with this approach; and reminding herself that she's in a delicate situation with powerful people. It would damage more than just *her* relationships if she got caught trying lying to Gods. Earth needs Asgard to have as few reasons to dislike them as possible.
    That and Thor may have inadvertently trained her to expect Asgardians to be more forthcoming. A little.
    Outwardly, Natasha just says "There's always hope~" with a friendly little two fingered salute as she begins to walk away.
    She needs to decide pretty fast what she's going to do about this.
    She may also need to 'find out' where Loki lives from Thor before she pokes that particular beehive.