1963-09-05 - Office Visit
Summary: Piotr goes to his sister's mentor for help following the deal she brokered between Logan and Ch'thon.
Related: ...In All The Wrong Places
Theme Song: None
strange piotr 

This could no longer wait.

Piotr had thought about it, discussed it with Kitty, wrung his hands and paced a pattern in the mansion's carpet — but it could no longer wait. He'd waited until after breakfast before setting off into the city in search of his sister's mentor, which… really, part of him is not surprised that it has worked out so well. Strange had a way about him, and although Piotr does not understand magic, he is entirely willing to attribute things to it and move along.

He stands in front of the door to the Sanctum Sanctorum, peering up at the brownstone with a pensive crease to his brow. Deep breath, Rasputin. Piotr lifts a hand and knocks.


The wards of the Sanctum cavort into the library, heedless of their caster's current task of reading old Norse lore (for there is always a grain of truth amidst the grandiose tales), and Dr. Strange glances up towards the front doors in time to hear the knock. It's a firm knock, communicating intent, and he sets the thick tome down, bookmark in place, on the smooth-surfaced desk before him. Uncoiling from his lotus pose, he sets soft-heeled booted feet to the carpeted floor and strides towards the front of the Sanctum. The wards share that this visitor has the barest hints of Limbo about them and a smile that is part amusement, part honest curiosity, curves his lips as he reaches the entryway.

With a whuft of opening, the left door swings inwards and Strange steps to the threshold. There's no missing Piotr; the young man is tall enough that perhaps he'll even need to duck to avoid whacking his forehead against the top lintel.

"Ah, Illyana's brother - Piotr, yes," Strange adds, finally digging up the name from the jumbled, self-organized mess of his memory. "Please, come in." He retreats a few steps and gestures towards the entryway, inviting Piotr to enter the Sanctum and for the wards to be quietly watchful. "Tea?"


The Russian manages a tired smile and nods once, affirming that Strange has remembered his name correctly. "Tea would be lovely. Thank you." He does, indeed, carefully duck his head as he steps in through the doorway, seemingly as a matter of habit.

"I apologize for coming so early in the day," Piotr adds, turning to wait for Strange to precede him the rest of the way inside. "But things are…" His lips draw back into a thin line, and he waits for the door to be closed.

"…I fear Illyana has made a mistake."


A tingle runs up Strange's spine at the young man's hesitant words; he masks most of his discomfort in how he turns away from Piotr to shut the front door and firmly turn the lock home. No more leaving the doors open, not these days, and not when his apprentice is apparently still making bad decisions. When he turns back to face his guest, his steel-blue eyes are glinting. He exudes the intense focus of the surgeon, ready to absorb any little details that Piotr provides.

"Please, follow me," he says over his shoulder as he walks to the living room. Two high-backed chairs, upholstered in burgundy, sit before a low-burning fire. Along the left-hand edge of the bricked edge of the fireplace, a tea stand sits, the brew steeped and steaming already. The good doctor, wearing black dress pants, a white dress shirt, and the crimson vest lined in gold, pours two cups and then sighs as he turns back to the chairs. "What mistake has Miss Illyana made this time?"

As Illyana's mentor, he's not surprised that a mistake has happened. They do happen, especially when learning difficult things such as summoning magic in a world that inherently fights the summoner. What deeply concerns him is Piotr's delivery of the statement. He acts as if something truly terrible has happened.


In present company, Piotr feels terribly under-dressed, but he really doesn't own much outside the realm of t-shirts and jeans such as these. His clothes have a habit of being destroyed and he doesn't have much money to spend on replacing them to start with.

Following Strange, Piotr's expression is pensive as he carefully lowers himself into one of the high-backed chairs, mindful of his own size.

"I… she was trying to help, but she takes demons too lightly," he says with a sigh, dragging one hand down over his face. Piotr Rasputin is very, very tired. "A friend of ours was trying to find another, who was missing. She offered to -" How had she phrased it? "- petition one of her patrons for help." He looks up at Strange, his expression pained. "I should have tried harder to stop them. Even she warned him that the deal was not a good idea."


The tea cup makes a soft thunk as Strange sets it atop the small side-table that stands to Piotr's left, at height with the arm of his chair. He then settles down in the other chair with a grunt and shifting of his stance to get comfortable. This is clearly his chair; one can see it accept his weight with well-used dents in the cushions. He takes a sip of tea, rolls it over his tongue, and then smiles down at the cup.

"Lavender Lady Grey," he says quietly, glancing over at Piotr with a knowing twinkle in his eye. "Your fellow student, Miss Scarlett, happened by with a fresh bag and I couldn't reject her offering." Another taste and then he sets the steaming cup aside on the partner table to his right. When he looks up at Piotr again, the gravity of the situation has chased the levity from his light eyes. "I won't say that I'm unaware of the lack of concern that your sister has for demon-kind. With the incident of closing the bullet wounds," and his voice fades out as he strokes at his goatee; he remembers the looming shadow of her older brother behind him and is quite glad that they never came to blows, "-it became confirmed to me that Limbo is within her blood at a deeper level than I previously assumed. They are kin to her, in the most unfortunate manner, and she knows of their ways far better than of humankind. When faced with insecurity, most of us grasp for the familiar." His smile is somewhat self-deprecating and fades quickly. "Am I hearing correctly that your sister enabled this friend of yours to accept a binding deal with a demon?"


The mention of Scarlett gets a surprised blink from the Russian, but it does also ensure he immediately reaches for the cup of tea. "I did not realize you knew her as well," Piotr admits, allowing himself a smile. "Spasiba."

Of course, once the topic returns to his sister, Piotr's smile fades. "At a booth in Harry's Hideaway," he adds with forced lightness, letting out a very tired sigh. He's convinced he's never going to be allowed back there now. "Our friend's location in exchange for a favor. Logan added conditions, but… it is a demon," he says with an unhappy twist of his lips. "And we would have learned her location within the day anyway. That is the most grating part."

Carefully balancing the cup of tea against his knee, Piotr runs his free hand over his face another time. "The name… it began with a 'C'."


Strange's fingertips of his free hand draw esoteric designs on the arm of his chair while he listens to the halting tale. His nail makes a sharp zip on the fabric as he sketches the erasing rune with a force momentarily buoyed by frustration at his apprentice's actions. He rubs at his frosted temple with the other hand and a tremble in the limb betrays his fraying patience. His chest rises and falls as he re-centers himself. The name of the demon…he knows it well enough.

Illyana may or may not know, but Strange has been traipsing about the edges of Limbo for some time now, stepping lightly and attempting to remain unknown to every thing there save for a single rat-like imp he'd easily trapped and interrogated. He'd gathered enough information to be somewhat familiar with the pecking order. The imp was quite adamant that Illyana was the top of the food chain and very few demon-kin attempted to bargain with even her, save for…

"Chthon," the good doctor murmurs very quietly, just overtop the crackling of the logs on the hearth. To say a Name is to grant it power and with some of the most Elder Gods, to even gain their ear, which in turn could be a dire mistake in itself. "She couldn't have chosen Oshtur…" And he briefly covers his eyes with a hand that then slides down his face and slaps down on his thigh. "I'm gathering that your friend does not know exactly how this demon-lord will gather the fee from them."


"Da. That is the name." With the tea carefully cradled in both of his hands, Piotr leans forward to sit with his forearms braced against his knees, watching Strange's face as he processes the information and explains. Yeah, this is not doing much to reassure Piotr about his sister's judgment… but at least it does reassure him that coming here was the correct choice.

"That is correct. Only that it will be within one year," Piotr replies, casting a tired glance towards the fire. He's silent for a very long moment before he speaks again, and when he does, his voice is quiet. "My sister is only trying to help. But sooner or later, she is going to get somebody killed. I do not know what to do."


"Indeed, there is nothing I can do," Strange says tiredly after a moment's pause. "Your friend could perhaps find the loophole in the bargain since no blood was exchanged." One line of his goatee curves in a cold half-smile. "It is not as if the demon-lord can actively track your friend should they attempt to wriggle out of the deal." He falls silent once again as he contemplates Illyana's actions. Impulsive, as usual, but ultimately attempting to help. A log collapses with a thunk and crackle. The doctor reaches over for his cup and nurses at his cooling tea between spoken thoughts.

"Illyana is having the hardest time relating to us, to mortals," he clarifies, gesturing at himself. "There is also a constant call of Limbo to her. Imagine the littlest voice in your ear at all times, reminding you of the ease of using its aid and how it takes such a lack of effort to bend the results of actions to your will. It is hard for her to ignore. I worry for her as well," he finally admits, feeling comfortable sharing it in the presence of her brother, who so obviously shares his concerns. A laugh escapes him, though it is clearly uncomfortable and flat-sounding. "I come from the school of hard knocks, as we Americans would say, and I'm tempted many days to allow Illyana to learn from her mistakes in the hard way. However, demon deals with other mortals are unacceptable. They do not have the same defenses as those of us who dabble in the Mystic Arts. Have you spoken with her at length in regards to this?"


"There has not been opportunity," Piotr says with a thin frown, dropping his eyes to his drink. His posture and expression really say it all: even if there has not been time, he should have tried hard to make time. "She has friends at the Institute and we have… we are trying to help her learn how to be…" He lets out a quiet laugh. He can't think of a better way to phrase it. "…how to be a person."

Piotr looks across towards Strange, his mouth drawn back into a rather sad smile. "From her perspective, she has not been here for most of her life. But for me, she… last month, she was only six," he says quietly, expression pained. "When they came for her, our parents did not survive. I am just hoping that my little sister did."


From deep within the confines of his memories comes an old visceral pang that leaves Strange wincing; crow's feet appear at the corners of his eyes as his younger sister's face dances briefly before his inner eye and her laughter's echo fades in his ears as he swallows down a small lump in his throat. Gods above and below, he knows painfully well how much discomfort Piotr must be in, feeling as if he's failed as an older brother.

"She did survive, Piotr," he says with quiet conviction. "I've seen her act in human interest and purely human heart. That streak of obstinacy that we both know so well…" he chuckles and takes a sip of tea, "that is a mortal's most endearing trait, according to the gods I have treated with over the years. Her ability to acclimate to our culture, our time, and living at the Institute - I still owe Xavier a note of deepest thanks. She needs you and her friends desperately right now. I could never provide her that type of training." He doesn't bring up the Bloodstone, the magical focus that he's seen about Illyana's neck, and how it is becoming more red than black with effort and submersion into normal human society. "Talk with her about it and rest assured that I will as well. I intend to remind her, if not teach her in new, about the frailty of the mortal soul and body. Again, I don't think she realizes just how fragile we are. Perhaps, between blood and experience, she'll begin to think harder about her decisions."

With that, Strange drains his tea and the porcelain cup is set down with a light klink. He closes his eyes and leans back in his chair. His hands, now stilled with restraint and purpose, are steepled before his lips. "You may leave at any time, Piotr. Be ready for complaints from Illyana. We'll have a thorough talk…" he murmurs as he settles into light meditation to contemplate the approach of a potentially delicate subject.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License