1963-10-07 - Strangely Sleepy Planning
Summary: Dr. Strange receives an update from Marcus and a plan is formed to visit the Hyperion.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
marcus strange 

Marcus has seen better days. He did, in all of his years, ever expect to go to Hell before he died. That was an interesting development, even while he figured he would likely visit that place at some point his life, or rather, after he died, he didn't think it'd be so soon. So maybe he's gotten a new perspective on life. Then again, that doesn't mean it's a good perspective. Still, after passing out on Jessica's couch a couple times, he felt the need to get back outside, even while he wasn't so sure what he should be doing at the moment.

So, in an effort to find some kind of…guidance, maybe? He's found himself going back to the one place that seems to understand him the most, especially because these days, especially recently, he doesn't understand himself at all. Or what he should even be doing. Nobody thus far has been able to give him any kind of answers that seemed to satisfy. Maybe he never will find that kind of clarity. All that he can do is knock on the Sanctums door and wait to see if the good doctor is around and about.


It takes Strange some time to get to the front door (after all, he was upstairs in the library and rather weary from all of this Hellmouth business), but he does finally open the doors to see a familiar face standing there.

"Oh, uh…" Boy, the good doctor really is a bit tired if he's having trouble remembering names. "Marcus, yes," he finally says, with a soft laugh of chagrin. Despite the shadows beneath his eyes, he can sense that there are questions to be answered. "Come in. You know the way." Wearing a white dress shirt and black pants, indoor boots, he steps back and gestures towards the living door directly off the foyer.

Strange will be right behind Marcus should the young man choose to enter the Sanctum and take his place in the guest chair; tea will be served to him shortly thereafter. The wards of the Sanctum watch him neutrally, eyes resting on him during his travels, semi-sentient curiosity in their magical overtones.


Marcus gives a blink. "You look about as good as I feel." he offers, taking in the tired expression and likely long nights under the other man's eyes. "If this is a bad, Doctor, I can always come back later." But, since the door is open, he'll take that as an offer to come inside which he does. "I, ah, didn't want to put more on your plate that what it seems like you've already got going on, I just thought to drop by since I wound up finding myself deposited in Hell with a couple of others." He pauses, sitting down, looking aside. "Wow, that sounds a lot more strange out loud than it did in my head."

There's a glance at the wards, not really understanding what they mean, but likely it's something important, taking away form it the fact that, yeah, they're probably there for a pretty good reason. "So, I just wanted to drop by. There aren't too many places where I know to go to these days so…" he just trails off at the last, giving a shrug.


The sound of another faint, tired laugh reaches the fireplace's spread of firelight and warmth. "It sounds like you have a tale to tell me," says Strange as he travels past the seated Marcus and over to the tea stand. A cup is set into Marcus's hands, the tea made up exactly how he last enjoyed it in the Sanctum, and then the good doctor sits in his own chair.

A wince betrays the stiffness of his shoulders, hunched from long hours of research and the lingering psychic trauma of the Hellmouth's creation. He rolls his neck slowly and, finally, a vertebrae pops. It's a rather sickly sound, but seems to soothe him. He sighs and takes a long sip of tea before lifting the cup towards his guest. "Cheers. Now…tell me about how you ended up inside the Hellmouth." Quiet interest tinged with quiet unease in his tired gaze. "You'd have to have gotten through the wards that I laid down."


"I don't know if it's so much of a tale and more of a series of unfortunate events." Marcus replies, taking the cup, staring down at it for a moment. "I was hunting demons in the Kitchen. Seemed like a helpful thing to do, and I was kinda good at it, I guess? I guess Daredevil and Jessica were also doing their own thing. Involved two other people I don't really know, but the formers were chasing the latters. Once I had dealt with the demon, I thought I'd help. Ended up being this frantic chase through the streets on motorcycles." A sip taken. "I was behind them, trying to keep up, when I realized we were getting closer to the Hellmouth. And we know what happens when I get too close to that. I don't…really remember what happened next. I think their bikes went off this ramp and dove headfirst into it. I think I flew after, which I didn't know I could do. Or maybe it wasn't really me that was doing it."

"Anyways, when I woke up, we were in Hell, and…well, I can't honestly tell you in words what it was like being there. Probably as bad as you can imagine. It was just me and Jessica and we spent, I guess, an entire week hiding in a cave, and fighting off whatever came too close. Eventually, we managed to get back out. But something happened to me while in there. And I don't know if it was apart of the runes or whatever was done to me, but Jessica said my veins were glowing. And sure as shit, they were. This bright blue color. I don't know what that means, if anything at all. Felt weird, I didn't feel me."


The good doctor listens to the tale with half-lidded eyes, a passive lassitude to his posture, and he nods encouragingly every time Marcus falters in speech. Once the young man is finished, he takes another sip of tea before setting it atop the side-table next to his chair.

"I'm sorry to hear that you managed to get stuck there, but the fact that you've escaped says much for your fortitude and the strength of your powers." A strength, he notes, that could bend and warp the protective magical walls that he laid down weeks ago. Though, he should check on them and perhaps shore them up once more. No doubt they had taken a battering since their inception. Perhaps there was a weak spot that the elemental sigils used to their advantage. "You've likely noticed that colors are particularly meaningful to you," Strange continues quietly. "That your veins would glow blue, and not red, orange, yellow - any of the commonly-associated hues of Hell and its related realities - this is odd to me, as a practitioner of the Mystic Arts. Perhaps what you described, 'not feeling you', was a form of self-defense for the sigils." He nods towards the unseen symbols that he knows rest on Marcus's skin. "In the same way that someone may experience a sense of separation from self under great stress." He's not a psychiatrist and doesn't attempt to expand further; he's a neurosurgeon, more likely to explain the physiological response of a central nervous system impulse.


"Maybe, it just bothered me. It still bothers me. I'm changing and I don't know if it's a good thing or not. And now things seem like more of a mess now than they did before. They're still growing, they're still getting larger, and it's like they're…alive? Does that even make sense. Sometimes, I hear four other voices in my head, but it's my own voice just…different. And sometimes it makes me think I'm losing it." That does seem to bother him more than anything else right now.

"The worst part is, I don't know what to do. Like I'm caught in some kind of transition that doesn't make a lick of sense. Like, everyone knows whats going on but me. The idea that I want to help, but I don't know how. And so far, you've been the only one with kind of answers. I spent almost twenty years locked away, and I come back to a world I don't recognize anymore, and I feel like the more I try, the less I feel like there's a place for me within it. I'm not calling myself and I'm not trying to have some damn pity party but…" he sighs, sipping again. "I mean, you look like you've been…er, really busy, so I'm probably the last person to sit here and gripe about what is and what isn't. I guess, when it comes down to it, I'm afraid that, the more and more I use the brands, the less human I become. Like, they're turning me into something else. And shit, I'm terrified of what that might be."

He settle with a bitter laugh. "I was just a soldier. Some kid who, I'm guessing since I don't know, signed up to fight the Nazis because he thought it was the right thing to do. But nowadays, I don't know what the right thing is anymore. Or even if I should try. But yeah, maybe they were doing their own thing to protect me. But…yeah, colors have started to have more meaning lately."


Another nod, this one deeper and heavy with understanding. Strange sighs, his gaze shifting to the fireplace. "Everyone with any sort of way to defend against the Hellmouth's intrusion has been very busy and yes, myself included, but that does not mean that I don't have time for tea." A small smile followed by him finishing the rest of the cup. The china clinks against its saucer as it's set aside and the good doctor angles himself in the chair to face Marcus, trying hard to be sharp for him.

"It should bother you. You didn't ask for it to happen and you weren't given instructions after it did. This may be a period of difficulty for you, particularly with the demon-kin running about the city. I can't tell the moral alignment of the sigils, but as their conduit, it is logical to me that they would attempt to protect you. If they are sentient, they know that they can't express their powers without you, their host." Kind of creepy-sounding, but possibly true. "If my earlier suggestions of practicing meditation and practicing small summonings of each element, in order to feel out their personalities, has not worked, perhaps it's time for you to find a mentor of elemental magic. Unfortunately, I am unavailable as my apprentice, Illyana, has not finished her time under my tutoring." Where was that girl anyways?

A short sigh, annoyed, and he averts his focus to the fireplace once more. Not annoyed at Marcus, but at himself for the moment of being unable to provide assistance. He's just… And then it comes to him.

Strange's steel-blue eyes flick back up to his guests's face. "I am currently hosting a guest, another Sorcerer of sorts, who could enlighten you on a good many things. He has been around for a..very long time," a little smirk here of amusement, "and is likely quite knowledgeable about elemental magics. If you're interested, I can put in a word to him?"


"I want to help with the Hellmouth, I just don't know how. Seems like a draw. Maybe because it's magical, maybe it's something else, I'm not really all that sure on it. It's fumbling through putting together a car without knowing what a car is or what it's supposed to do. And being given no instructions for how to put it together. That's kinda what it feels like." Marcus frown, thinking on what he just said. "I think the worst part is wanting to help but not knowing how to go about it.

He holds a hand with his free one. "No, you got enough going on as it is, I wouldn't actually go and ask you to teach me. The meditation…helps, at times. I had a lot of time in Hell to practice it. When I wasn't trying to hold Jessica's mental state together because she hadn't drank in the last half hour. It's…unnerving. Being a conduit like this. I don't know if they're sentient either, but they are alive, I can tell you that much. At least, as much as I think they are. If the voices I hear are them, maybe they're just taking whatever they feel? And using my own voice to say so. One is raspy, the other kinda growly, the third seems like a whisper, and the last seems a bit…angry? Or at least passionate." The word 'host' seems to not sit well with him. "Yeah, I had a feeling I was something like that. Either I exist through them or they me, or both together. Bound together no matter what." There's an almost bitter smile at him. "I'm not ever going to have a normal life again, am I? Maybe I need to let go of that."

The idea of someone gets him to lift his head after staring too long at his tea. "There is? Maybe he'd knowing something, yeah. I wouldn't be beyond meeting someone else to try and learn more. Who is he?"


There is something about sigils and voices. Always the voices. It's an eerie trend that Strange has noticed in the burgeoning magic-users and it concerns him. "Continue meditating, Marcus, and focus specifically on silencing those voices. They likely do not understand that you, as their host, have limits and should not demand in the first place. You are at the helm," he adds with a curt gesture of his hand before returning it to its place on the arm of the chair.

"And no, it will never be the same." Spoken with sympathy now in its tone, the words leave him with the weight of personal experience. "You will either continue to grow in your powers or you can let them consume you. I don't see you letting them take away your freedom, especially not if you speak to Merlin." The very wizard that Marcus asked after. "Merlin of Camelot. Yes, that Camelot, and yes, I checked," Strange adds with a short laugh. "He's a guest in the Sanctum currently, likely only for the duration of the Hellmouth's existence. I don't doubt that he would appreciate mentoring you with your abilities. I'm not certain that he's here currently or that he would want to be disturbed…"

The good doctor looks up towards the far corner of the living room and his gaze goes distant, unfocused, as the wards update him as to whether or not the wizard is inside. "They can't tell," he sighs, blinking a few times and glancing at Marcus. "Merlin does like his privacy. I can pass on a word to him regardless. He is…an individual."

Strange will leave it at that. Leave Marcus to discover the wizard's eccentricities.


"Well, I'd rather no lose control and let what I am now be devoured by what I am, holding it in." Marcus agrees. "Don't really want anyone like you coming after me because I've suddenly become too big a threat to everyone involved. That bothers me more than anything else. But yeah, I'll meditate more, see if I can get better at it."

"No, I know. I think that's what I figured, I just didn't really want to believe it until someone else told me about it. And that's, I guess. It sorta has to be that way now. It's just…the loss of innocence maybe? Though, I get I lost that in Russia or Poland by this point. Still, I suppose I should to move on from the fact that not knowing who I was before just means I have to make what I can from now on." The mention of Merlin makes him look a little a dubious at first. "That's cute, is like the…oh." his brows raise a little a bit as he was about to make a joke about the name, until Strange goes ahead and clarifies it for him. "Huh, I really to start questioning the books I read more, I think. That's…huh. I want to say I should be surprised by that, but after spending a week in Hell, I'm becoming a little less and less disbelieving about a lot of stuff."

So, once that revelation is put aside, the once-soldier gives the man a look over. "So, I have to ask. What have you been doing that's been making you look like you've been hit by a truck? What have I missed on? And well, is there anything I can do to help you?"


"Hit by a truck?" The Sorcerer Supreme laughs in honest surprise. He really hasn't looked in a mirror for a while, not for long at least, and clearly not long enough to notice how dark his eyes have become. "Yes, I…haven't been sleeping well." One last laugh, muted with that exhaustion that haunts each of his gestures, spoken words, the very essence of himself. "I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'missing out'. My various connections about the city bring word of vampires, demon deer, hell-wolves, and things with wings." Strange shrugs, oddly disconnected from what should be a paranoia of the next demonic crop-up. "We of the supernatural ilk seem to be keeping the worst at bay. I have an old friend in town who has offered aid as well and was instrumental in helping me return a low-Circle Demon back into the Hellmouth itself."

Mmm. Tentacles. Calamari will never be the same.

"As far as helping me, Marcus - you've been doing just fine." A tired smile that leaves crow's feet about his eyes. "If you've been destroying anything demonic within New York City, you are helping more than you know."


"I just thought I should ask. I mean, I don't know what's happened with the Hellmouth since going in, coming out, and the time since then. I feel like I'm out of the loop with a lot of things. And I guess if I'm apart of something, doing something, I feel better about using what I have for a better purpose. That I'm not some 'magical weapon' like the people who made me wanted to be. I don't like to think about they had planned for me. There's apart of me that wonders if my memories were suppressed so they could put in new ones. Or at least make me a bit more flexible to following orders I wouldn't normally agree with. I have the very distinct feeling like I wasn't 'finished'."

Everything else, were-wolves and demons and such, would've normally creeped him right the hell out. Nowadays, after contending with it himself, he looks a little nonplussed. Or at the very least, he's used to talking about them more easily. "I wouldn't say everything, just everything I've come across. I don't know it's enough, but if you need me for anything, let me know. It's just the sensation of restlessness when I feel like I could be doing more, but don't know what."


"If you're in need of a task, I would appreciate weekly reports on the more mundane incursions. Those of basic demonic typing." A slow sigh escapes Strange and he stifles a yawn. "So sorry, it's not you. Like I mentioned before, not sleeping well." Sitting up in his chair seems to help a bit.

"If you come across something more dangerous, say…a low-Circle Demon, defeat it or at least hamstring it and then report to me. I'm unable to be in multiple places at once," Not yet anyways, he thinks, "so I would rather that the thing is left mortally wounded and crawls into the shadows to die rather than have you leave the scene to tell me of it."


"I think I can do that. Recon was one of my things, so that shouldn't be too hard if I happen to run into something. I've heard the Hellmouth has been quiet. Hasn't been spitting out more, but that's probably more because of what you did than anything else in particular having an effect on it." Marcus nods, seeming to have problem doing just that.

"I'm pretty sure I came across one before I entered the portal. Large winged thing. Body was nothing but tentacles, it just looked like it had limbs. And a head of nothing but eyes. It was…yeah, I'm not doing it justice, but it was not the most pleasant thing I've ever come across. As far as I know, demons don't like fire. Or at least, the kind of fire that I offer." Elemental fire being a completely different animal than the natural sort. "So that's gotten you with little sleep? The Hellmouth thing?"


"Yes…I suppose that's the best way to put it," Strange replies after a short period of silence. He's been staring into the fire, contemplating most tiredly. "People sensitive to psychic powers have no doubt been sharing my fate. Depression, lethargy, nightmares, just plain lack of sleep." He shrugs and places his chin in one hand, resting his elbow on the arm of the chair. "If you've been plagued by bad dreams, you aren't alone."

Rubbing at one eye, he sighs sharply. "That, and research. The damned thing has be closed, one way or another. It's an abomination on this plane of reality."


"I have but I've had those since before I got to New York." Marcus confirms, but he looks less stressed about it. "Maybe I'm just used to that side of things. But I have a feeling I've been operating on a lack of real sleep for a long time, so maybe I've just adapted to it." Well, he shouldn't have had to, but well, it would make sense with someone of his particular background. "Usually I just keep going till I'm exhausted enough to sleep. Usually makes it around…eighteen hour days, I guess. It's a good day if I get six hours of sleep. Or five."

"Well, I don't think any portal to another plane of…wherever is good in any sort of fashion, so I'll agree with you on that. Maybe I should do more reading into the whole thing. Not just portals, but me. I heard there's this place where magic-related people can gather and god. Thought about looking into it."


"Hmm? What place?" Strange asks, glancing back to his guest. He's unaware of any gathering place for magical folk save for his mansion, the Sanctum Sanctorum. "I didn't know that there was a place. What do you know about it?"

Oh dear, the Sorcerer Supreme? Not knowing of something pertaining to Mystical ilk? Shame. Clearly, he needs a proper night's sleep. But no…the nightmares are much too great still. Snatches of naps are all he can do, at best, and he's due for one. If he seems to be nodding in his chair, it's the exhaustion, not Marcus causing it.


"It's called the Hyperion…I think? Supposed to be some kind of gathering place for the magically inclined. Or something like that. I guess it's also a library too. I've never been in there, it looks kinda ritzy or high class. Dunno if they'd just shove me out the door because I don't look great all the time." Marcus explain, suddenly wishing he had a more steady form of income. "I don't know much, that's about it. I actually thought you'd know about it. Or at least been there."

Whatever else he might've said is lost because because he can see the Sorcerer staring to fall asleep. "Er, hey. Doc. Maybe you should actually get some rest or something. Take some time for yourself." A thought occurs to him, a particular twinge in the back of his mind. Like he can hear something that isn't actually there. His head tilts a little, as if hearing a suggestion from somewhere. Instead of a flash, his eyes glow.

The air moves in the stillness, carrying with a scent of cut grass and some kind of flower. And sleep will tug at the man, as if the sensation to sleep is just very great. A good, deep, and dream(also nightmare)free kind. "You get some rest, Doc. Thanks for the tea. And the advice." He may not hear that, but it may not matter, the elementalist is just trying to help, as he gets up to let himself out.


With a snort, Strange wakes and blinks around the room. Freshly-cut grass? What? He just catches the distant form of Marcus nearing the foyer door and stumbles to his feet.

"Marcus - Marcus, I apologize," he says as he walks over to the young man. He only stumbles once and catches himself with his usual grace. "You said that the place was called the Hyperion? And ritzy?" he asks, half to himself.

A plan begins to form, even in the depths of his sleep-deprived mind. "Marcus, why don't you and I pay this place a visit? Perhaps a few days from now. I can lend you a change of clothes…or perhaps a simple illusion spell, whichever is most comfortable for you." A smile of delight forms on his face. "We'll most definitely need to visit the library. I doubt there are as many tomes as within mine, but there could always be something that I haven't come across just yet."

That's Strange for you. Geeked out over books.


With a hand around the doorknob, Marcus turns. "Huh, thought that would work better. I had read that Air is tied to sleep somewhere." he notes to himself. But well, he should've figured the Sorcerer Supreme wouldn't be affected by his untrained abilities. "No, it's alright, Doc. You've been under plenty of shit lately. Can't really fault you for passing out on me. I may of tried to help you sleep longer. Maybe it'll work later." A beat. "Hopefully."

The offer catches him off-guard for a split second. "Yeah, sure. We can do that. I wouldn't mind wearing something that wasn't jeans and a hoodie." he grins a little in spite of himself and his attire. "Yeah, there's a library there. Or at least, that's what I've heard about it. Can't say I've more than that. It's a place for magical folks. Sort of a neutral ground kind of place. But sure, we can go. Just let me know when."


Strange gives the young man a friendly pat on the shoulder. "It was an excellent effort. The scent of fresh grass and lavender is soothing. Mind you, this is the Sanctum. The wards would have woken me if you had succeeded. They alert me to attempts like that." A half-smile. "Thank you for thinking kindly of me. Perhaps your attempt will keep the nightmares at bay for a bit."

He walks outside with Marcus onto the front porch and glances up at the sky. The clouds seem to imply rain later. "I'll send you a beacon. You'll see it within your mind's eye, in the same manner that you can hear those voices you talk about." Folding his arms against the chill, his gaze returns to his departing guest. "Sky-blue, like the spell I used to tamper down your elemental fire. Perhaps you'll even hear my voice. Once you acknowledge it, meet me here, at the Sanctum. We can gate to the place, though not inside. Against the rules of neutrality and all," he adds, clicking his tongue.


"Right, the wards." Marcus is not strong to overcome something like that. May never be. As powerful as the elements might be, he may forever lack the finesse required. At least there's plenty of raw power, if only he could harness it. "I hope so. You seem like you could use it."

Another nod, stepping outside, he too looking up. "Suppose I should get to wherever I'm going. Maybe Danny wouldn't mind if I dropped by her place, I think she's nearby. Somewhere. But…yeah, I likely won't miss a sign like that, so you let me know when you're ready and I'll drop by."


"It's a plan. Be safe, Marcus." And with that, the Sorcerer Supreme enters the Sanctum and closes the doors quietly behind him. He'll go back to his books and long hours pouring over ancient scripts, but maybe, just maybe after he nods off once again on his folded arms - the faintest memory of freshly-cut grass will bring some sunshine to his dreams and remind him of summer days in the midst of a dreary autumn.


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