1963-10-15 - Strange Reticence
Summary: Strange informs Illyana of the new house-guest and, thankfully, doesn't have to explain much.
Related: The Strangest Maxim
Theme Song: None
illyana strange 

Library, experiment, nothing broken.

The good Doctor sighs as he shuts the bedroom door behind him. The Loft expands out before him, silent and full of cool shadows, swirls of incense that curl ever towards the ceiling. None of the artifacts resonate with latent power within their cages. Yes, the wards were correct in their report — nothing has been broken.

Shorter strides, a mark of hesitance on his part, carry Strange from the Loft and down the long hallway to the Library. He stops in the doorway and surveys the scene before him. His apprentice, Illyana, is clearly elbows-deep in some sort of quest of discovery. Her aura glows with the colors of her lambent powers and she seems to be deeply concentrating on the tome before her. He tilts his head, narrowing his steel-blue eyes, before he closes the view off to briefly focus.

A little psychic prod, notes of curiosity on his part, a flavoring of the ward's demi-sentience, should reach her and hopefully not startle her too much.

May we speak? It's a fluttering sort of thought, tremulous in inexperience, but he tries hard. Maybe it comes through clearly enough.


Illyana is wearing a short, ragged shift— the sort of haphazard attempt at clothing she often sports around the Sanctum. It's an uphill struggle at times to get her to dress like a human being. She floats twelve inches off the ground, the tome hovering at her elbow and a cradled spark of eldritch power crackling in the middle of a pentagram in silver on the floor.

She hears Strange's thoughts nudging at her awareness and she cracks her eyes to mere slits, dark as pitch. She blinks once at her cornflower blue gaze returns, and with a careful, determined expression she dwindles the spark to nothingness.

She floats up six more inches and unfolds her coltish legs, then stands at her full five and a half feet, lifting her chin imperiously at Strange yet with that odd deference she's carried since he rescued her from the Yetis.

"Doctor. Is trouble?" she inquires, resting a hand on her hip.


"No, not any sort of trouble," he says with a neutral smile. "Your control is getting very good, well done." Not an idle compliment from the Sorcerer Supreme.

He enters the room and glances about. She's even managed to keep most of the other tomes in a neat-ish scatter across the large table nearby. Crow's eyes appear in an amused smirk that fades into a more thoughtful expression as he sits down in one of the study chairs. "Please, sit," he gestures towards the chairs around him, next to or across the table. "I wanted to apprise you of something. You are, after all, a resident here and deserve to know. I don't want anyone getting startled."

For the sake of the Sanctum and its precious collection of artifacts, yes, no one should be getting startled.


"You are being oddly evasive," Illyana points out of Strange— but she does seat herself at the table and folds her legs under her, resting her hands in the saddle her dress forms across her thighs, and looks at Strange with a steadily expectant look. "Is the Sanctum undergoing some sort of change?" she inquires.


A faint laugh from him. Strange rests an elbow on the table while his eyes stay diverted to his right hand, where his pointer finger draws on the well-worn surface.

"Ever insightful, Illyana," he murmurs, meeting her gaze. "No, the Sanctum is not undergoing any sort of structural change."

A bobble of his throat. His finger stills.

"We'll be having a new guest stay with us for a while. Another magician, like you and I." He waits, gauging her initial reaction. More details to come.


Illyana's slender brows lift slightly. "Very well. So is myself and … Merlin, da? And one more now?"

She frowns at Strange's reticence. "I do not like you… evading, this way," she says, gesturing vaguely at his lack of decisiveness. "Come out and say what is problem — am sure is nothing to be embarrassed over," she assures him.


"It's not a problem," he repeats softly, with an edge of defensiveness. "Yes, one more now."

Deep breath, Strange, she's just your apprentice, not a relative, nothing to worry about. But he does. She is his ward and despite her general attitude of demonic hedgehog-like prickliness, so similar to his own, he does care how she feels about it. It's an odd and annoyingly humbling thing hanging about his mind.

"Her name is Wanda and she'll be staying with us. With me. Indefinitely."

A touch of red about his ears and he swallows again, trying very, very hard to remain the cool and composed Sorcerer Supreme.


Illyana stares at Strange.

"Very good. Thank you for telling me," she says. "If that is all, need to get back to studies then," Illyana says, completely failing to notice Strange's blushing reticence or guessing at the source of his discomfort.

For the Queen of Limbo, she's a bit short on human instincts when it comes to identifying things of a more personal nature.

"Almost have tessahedron stable in four planes," she tells Strange. "Fifth plane of reality— more difficult. Cannot quite keep resonance stable. Will master before week is out," she promises him, completely failing to recognize the extraordinary progress such an achievement would represent to a true amateur of the arts.


Relief floods Strange. There had been some hope pinned on her delightfully short-sighted nature and he's been rewarded. He didn't even need to expand on the concept of sharing a room. Even as he leans back in the chair, scrubbing briefly at the side of his face, he listens to her explain the results of her studies thus far.

Dark eyebrow rise and he nods, his grin bolstered by the slowing of his heartbeat. "That's very well done, Illyana. Please let me know when you've accomplished this." He starts to rise from his chair and pauses, palms flat on his thighs. "Actually, come get me once you've stabilized within that fifth plane. It can get tricky beyond there. Oh, and — " Another sudden moment of hesitance. "Please knock and wait until I answer the door if I am in the bedroom from now on. And be polite if you say hello to her in the hallways. No fighting."


"I will do so," Illyana assures Strange. She gives him a confused look— normally there were few locks on the doors in the Sanctum, but Strange's sudden change in demeanor and the new rules seem to puzzle her for a beat. "I… da, will not… fight her?" she says. "Unless she starts it, at least," she says. Which is almost a promise of peace from the angry little Russian.

She gives Strange another puzzled look and goes back to floating in front of the pentagram, summoning the powers back to her fingertips.


Strange watches her return to her task and allows himself a weary sort of sigh of true relief as he leaves the library. Thank the gods for her lack of interest in his life sometimes. Safe for now.

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