1963-10-16 - A Lone Ranger-esque Thing
Summary: Lady Sif meets Dr. Strange in a sandwich shop!
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange sif 

There's never enough food around the Sanctum. It didn't seem to matter much when he lived by himself, but then along came the apprentice - followed by an elderly wizard - and now, yet another guest in the house. Now…now it all matters.

This is what brings Strange to the Upper West Side, to a small deli that he discovered via word of mouth from his old neighbor next-door to the Sanctum. Good old Mrs. Turner, as nosy as she was, occasionally had good information to share other than the airy gossip of the 'hood.

He dismisses the Gate behind him casually and steps out from the alleyway. This evening, the air is crisp and smells of autumn beneath the usual scents of the city. He's wearing a Belstaff coat, long enough to cover his knees, overtop his usual semi-formal daywear. About his neck is a rather-garishly-bright crimson scarf of sorts, broader in width than the average wrapping, trimmed in gold with the subtlest of bronze sigils that glisten in just-the-right-light. The loose ends are tucked beneath his lapels.

It's a brief walk to the deli, some little mom-and-pop shop that (of course) remains a hidden gem. He's phoned ahead and the deli owner is just finishing the prep of the last of his order.

"Er, uh…Mistah Strange?" the man asks with some bemusement at the name given to him via the phone. The good doctor offers a wry and understanding smile in return.

"That's me. No huge hurry," he adds as he takes his place on the other side of deli counter. His scarred hands remain stuffed in his pockets; no need to garner more comments.


Sif's days seemed to blend together. She's discovered the joys of sleeping in, other joys of laughter that she hadn't seen in years that she's so missed. The past week has been a blessing, even with a little spar to boot. The embassy that was set up not too far from here was brimming with life all due to the servants. While the Asgardians come and go, they remain a permanent fixture, one that she's always loved and come to love, new faces, old faces, it did not matter.

But it is why she was at the current deli; while the servants do go out to refreshen their stores, they do not go out for solely themselves. So a little treat for them, one that screams donuts and the delicacy coffee, coffee that would only be in a few cups yet split and shared so that they could garner a taste. Her order was placed no less, long before Strange entered. But the amount of his order put her own at a back order which was did not mind to wait for. It was a lesson to learn, patience to get what you want, especially when the world itself was created of servants and by servants in the form of economical barter and trade.

So there she sits, a magazine pressed in front of her as she flips through the latest catalogue of furniture and home decor. Perhaps she was getting a taste of what her own home could look like, or perhaps she was just darn bored and waiting for her order.

As the server announces Dr. Strange's name, Sif lowers the catalogue with a slight draw of her brow. While the man stands to wait, she clears her throat with a press of her hands to her lips, her chin lifting if he chooses to acknowledge the noise that she had made.

"Dr. Strange." Sif calls out, either way. "Tis a face I never did think I would see, after he has attended the court of my home."


Uh-oh. He knows that formal cadence of speech anywhere.

Briefly shutting his eyes and schooling himself into professional neutrality, Strange turns and looks at the young woman sitting at one of the small tables in the deli's eating area. He had dismissed her at first as another resident of the area, dressed as she was and with the air of someone patiently waiting for something perhaps due much sooner, as was the usual for this area. But nope. That cadence…that was other-Realm.

"You have me at a disadvantage. I apologize, I don't recognize you," he says with a wry smile. "I suppose I was deeply involved with affairs of Court when we were last in the same room. Your name?"


"You would not." Lady Sif says. At this time, she settles the magazine of pages by closing it to reveal the cover, her fingers a delicate press as she pushes it into the middle of the table. "I was curious as to your dealings with the court." She doesn't announce the title given to him as another Midgard Protector, but the intent was there. "Please. Join me as your leisure. There is much to discuss. However, tis no ill. Only a favor. A small one that someone of your caliber I'm sure could produce." She smiles, it was a warm one for once, her hand gesturing towards the table opposite her.

"But do forgive my manners. I am Lady Sif, royal of Asgard. And you did not see me because.. other situations kept my visage hidden." She smirks then. "I sat in the back row."


"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Sif," Strange replies with a partially-formal nod to her title. Behind the counter, the curious pause of the deli manager is summarily ignored, and he goes back to making the last sandwich with more than half an ear on their conversation.

Stepping to the empty chair across from her, he sits down and manages to look oddly relaxed despite sitting across from yet another Asgardian. There is a chance that he's finally getting used to them cropping up like daisies.

"You mentioned a favor then. I will be returning a favor to your youngest Prince shortly. What else does the Realm of Asgard need from me now, with this caliber of mine?" A mildly-sardonic raise of one eyebrow despite the Sorcerer Supreme's attempt at diplomacy.


"The pleasure is all mine, Dr. Strange." She clears her throat then, no matter if others are looking or not, she continues on as is her business to do. "But for now, call me Sybil." It almost sounds civil, per the way she pronounces it, she was still getting used to the entire notion that her identity was not her own.

As he settles, she herself unsettles. Allowing her posture to become rigid and official, her blue eyes watching him carefully until the gaze was shifted towards the sandwich maker. And back again.

"Seems we are asking a lot of you as of late, no?" She questions, a little smile upon her lips. "But this favor in itself is not a .. favor that begets nor benefits the Realm of Asgard, tis only for myself and my certain proclivities that I've recently returned to." Her lips press faintly, a tease of a smile given. "While I believe that a favor to the youngest Prince is most important, mine could wait. But preferably, before the change of tides I would be most grateful for wards and protection. I've a ranch in Westchester. Richly. Kingly almost. And two of my treasured horses and oft times, the Crowned Prince's goats to care for. I am worried that the chill may be harsh and they will not survive."


In a quailing manner, the deli manager avoids Sif's pointed stare and shifts to a hastier pace. The lady had been waiting for a while now, he realizes, and he's still got to finish this sandwich. Man…the weirdoes were multiplying around here.

Sybil, Strange muses mentally - interesting choice. His little nod is acknowledgement that he'll use the name from now on. The woman reaches the point of her request, after dancing around the political humdrum, and…he's delightfully surprised. It shows in the slow rise of both dark brows and the slow curve of one side of his lips.

"A ranch then? I wouldn't have expected any Asgardian to dabble in such a thing." He shifts in the chair and rearranges his hands in their respective pockets. "That's actually a fairly easy thing to accomplish. I have…" and he pauses, eyes going distant in a brief moment of remembrance, "At least two weeks before I can return your Prince's favor. That's more than enough time for me to help you out. As long as it's done before November, your animals will be fine." A softening to his features now as he adds, "I grew up on a farm. You'd never guess, I know," he laughs. His reputation never brings up any sort of inclination towards his early years. The only indicator of his younger home-life, depending on who you ask, would be that Midwestern accent he's never lost, not even through the rigorous drills of Latin terminology in the medical field. "What breed are they, your horses?"

A neutral-enough topic of conversation. It'll be nice to talk about normal things with an Asgardian - for once.


There was a little smile that plays across her lips at the absurdity of her request. But it was an honest one, born from the worry of animals that could not speak her language, yet depend on her nonetheless. They were seen as children, friends, wards that she placed herself as the protector of. So it was born of a good heart.

"I was not always a Lady of the Court, Dr. Strange." Sif murmurs, her head bowing in a second greet as if she were seen with new eyes. But one turn deserves another. And this conversation, this favor, was something that seemed so hard to ask, started to become the most delighted. "You are right. You, as well as my self, give the appearance of royalty. But we share something one in the same."

She leans forward, as if telling a secret. "My brother and eye were children of farmers." Her head nods seriously. "There is something to be missed about the basicness of it all. To forego the lessons of our fellow man, to get into the dirt and upon your knees to pick and pluck egg from chick roost, to plow fields and herd animals. Work." Sif nods faintly at this. So she understood. Understood him well.

"November?" She questions, then slowly lifts her chin in realization. They counted the days just as she, and there was no reason for her to forget. "They are clydesdales. Beautiful, majestic beings. Honorable. Faithful. Though I've yet to name them, as they have not spoken to me of their wishes as of yet. In time, that would come." She grins. "However, Frick and Frack.. I wish to provide them with stores of food so that they would at least go easy upon the grass. Though I fear before long, they will chew through the dirt and create a cavern that no man shall return from if he falls upon it."


Strange leans back in his chair more, truly grinning now. No, he would have never pegged Lady Sif - er, Sybil - for having been raised on a farm.

Every once and a great while, he missed it. He missed exactly what she spoke off: the results of honest work. Where he first learned to be dexterous with his hands, where he learned humility in caring for other creatures less able to care for themselves, where he found delight in the simple things.

But…one can go back every now and then, but one can't go back to the time. It will never be the same for him. His grin takes on a melancholy, regretful air even as he listens to her describe the horses. And the goats.

A bark of a laugh from him startles the deli manager just enough to drop the half of the tomato he was cutting. It rolls off the counter and onto the floor, clearly beyond saving. The tired man mutters something in a foreign language before walking back to the fridge to grab another vegetable.

"Who named the goats? That's ridiculous!" His features take on a boyish cast, granting him an aspect of humanity rarely seen - the good doctor enjoying himself. "I don't remember ever naming my animals like that, though we did have this one rooster that my father always called—" He bites his lip and waves his hand. "Sorry, not a polite topic of conversation. I did have a horse though. An old quarterhorse, flaxen sorrel, named Silver." A more wry laugh and he drops his gaze to his lap, where he's pulled out one heavily-scarred hand and now draws on the tabletop. "I know, sorrel isn't grey, but…it's from the Lone Ranger."


The laugh startled her, in so much that she has never heard Dr. Strange laugh before. Perhaps -she- has never pegged the man to crack a laugh. The one time that she saw him, he looked grave. In fact, as he stood and waited for his food it seemed that he was on a mission. But it was a lovely sound indeed, Sif's grin grew wider, her eyes squinting almost easily as her hands clasp together in front of her, pleased at this.

"They are Thor's!" Sif says loudly! "They are his most treasured companions! And while their names are most.. odd, I find it rather endearing!" She grins then, leaning forward to listen to the secret of the names. But alas, it would not come. But his memory of the stories light a hint of a fire, and with a hand upright, she draws herself away from the table to approach the server with a gesture of the sandwiches that were already made and a twenty dollar bill for the two.

"And drink. Your finest."

Another twenty was added to the fray, overpaying for something so small, but this was worth it. For once the meal was within her grasp, she carries it back to the table where they once sit. It was not a feast, but this was something else. Something.. low key and friendly. Treasured.

"Tell me of this Lone Ranger." She states, drawing the cup of .. what they would call Coca Cola to her person. "And of Silver. Is he still alive? I would love to keep him with me this change of weather to compensate for the favor I ask, only because I know that sorrel's benefit from such loving care." Sure, she was puffing herself up, who wouldn't?

"But this Lone Ranger, strange man, I assume? Tell me of how befriended you in your child times." She was serious. She did not know that this was a television show! And this coca cola stings! And was glorious!


Any sort of polite rejection of offered drink, from,

"Oh no, it's fine, I already ate" to "Honestly, Lady Sif - er, Sybil, I'm fine" and even "No, no, stop!" is summarily ignored in a lively manner. Even as he sits in his chair, turned to face her and mouth half-agape, he's unable to do much more than resign himself to the fact that she is like a landslide: unstoppable in her intent.

Now, Strange looks down at the Styrofoam cup of Coca Cola before him and swallows. This stuff is guaranteed to make him puke buckets if he imbibes more than a mouthful in total. Maybe he can sip at it without offending the Asgardian sitting before him. She's even paid for his sandwiches.

"Thank you, Sybil," he finally murmurs with a reluctant laugh and then she's asking after his old horse and the Lone Ranger himself.

"Oh, no, Silver died a long time ago. He passed not long after I began high school. Lived a good long time in my parent's care." A fleeting sadness that darkens his eyes and then he recovers in the realization that Sif is dead serious about her questioning. His brows nearly disappear into his hairline and the good doctor considers (briefly though with utter earnestness) about telling the not-quite-truth that he had indeed befriended the legendary Texan ranger.

Yeah, pfft, in his boyhood fantasies played out in jumping old Silver over hay bales.

"You could call him a friend, sure," Strange finally hedges with a twinkle in his eye. "Mind you, he isn't real. Imaginary, a character created first for the radio and now for the television. He was my childhood hero though… Standing strong against the evils of his territory." A self-effacing snort. "It's not all it's cracked up to be," he says with a sigh.

He looks at the nearby stack of sandwiches and back to her again. "You didn't have to do that, you know. Pay for my order."


The rejection of the offering of food was ignored. If there was a good and bad thing about Sif; it was that she was as stubborn as an Ox. Yes, she paid for his food, and now she was going to make him eat it through conversation, or partly because she believes that he needs fuel to tell the story, just like many warriors on Asgard would!

"You are most welcome." She states in reply to his thanks. Her sandwich, steaming hot as it was, was picked up and bitten into, her eyes wide at the taste of it. But hearing of Silver's passing was a sad one, one that she only bows her head in condolences for. And while Strange could have lied about the knowing of the Lone Ranger, his answer startles her to a point that it was her turn to laugh.

And what a merry one it was indeed!

"It is amazing, how citizens of Midgard hold onto stories told during their youths, fable or non. But yes. I agree. Heroism is very hard work, and it is a long and hard road. What these stories do not teach children, is that it is often met with a hard end and not so often honorable." She takes another sip of her coca cola, a bite of her sandwich, which was placed down upon the plate.

"No. I did not. So let us not speak of my offerings again. And tell me such." Her gaze lifts, checking for customers who linger or the idle gaze of the worker.. her voice lowering a touch. "The Sorcerer Supreme. What is it. I admit that I have ignored all I could have learned of .. Earth.. and it's protectors. I imagine it is a hard station. Akin to a blacksmith who is tasked to outfitting a shores worth of an army."


A sip of the Coca Cola and he licks at his lips with a mildly-disgusted face he can't hide. That the sandwiches aren't for him either is kept mum for now. No reason to bring up the real reason for their existence.

Strange holds her eyes when she asks after his mantle, his god-given title that was hard-earned at the hands of Death itself. An inhale and slow exhale followed by an increased pace in drawing out the random sigils on the tabletop.

"I suppose you could put it like that. I certainly act as mentor as well as guardian of this Realm." He squints at his scarred hand and the movements slow down to a thoughtful pace. "It is…a title with weight and responsibility. I earned it and honor it as best I can within my abilities. Yes, it is hard at times, but infinitely worth it."

He settles back in his chair, now folding his arms. "You are Asgardian. You are, I assume, proud of your world and its endeavors within its sphere in reality. All of this…" and he glances about the deli, outside to the dark autumn night, and back to Sif, "…is in my hands. It is a great responsibility. I will shed blood before I let another being influence the fate of my Realm."

Heavy, but true. Good job popping that happy bubble, Doc.

A small smile. "No doubt you know of responsibility like this, being a Royal."


Sif notes the disgusted look, and almost feels sorry for him. But it was the words that drew her attention, not the look upon his face. But that does not stop her from carefully reaching out, tenative at first, to take the cup that was soon set down in front of him to bring it upon her side of the table. She loves the taste. Foreign as it was. And would drink it where he would not.

With that said, she does not interrupt. She listens like a rapt pupil, her attention held by studying his grave words, her own expression falling flat, not into anger but in understanding. It was then, that she gives a firm nod. There was a slight kinship there.

Two children born of hard work, now set to protect something that they had faith in. It was enough to return his glass to lift in a toast. But she does not. She only gives a ceremonial rap upon the chest, berserker and warrior is she, a rap that was hard and no doubt would leave a bruise if it were her first time doing it. Which it wasn't.

"Yes." She states. "My duties are for Asgard and her people. But they also expand to the Nine Realms if I am called to aid designated by the All-Father and his off-spring. I am into service to them as well. My blade is theirs, directed, aimed and pointed. Aye. I understand." Grave tones.

Grave tones!

But there was a smile that comes from this; a light in the dark place of their shared words and understanding. "But I feel, in this very moment.." Her tones lower.. "..that we are but Lone Rangers ourselves. No? Her hand stretches out, a shake intended as their custom, where she would grasp forearm to forearm, a brothership. "..but do not fight this battle alone, Sorcerer Supreme. I will shed blood by your side. You seem formidable. Honorable. And it would be an honor to fight by your side."

Naturally, if Loki Odinson gives permission."


He hesitates at first, seeing the rather-archaic offering of her mannerisms to accent such fervent words, but then, Strange does reach out and return the warrior's handshake. Her grip on his arm is firm, respectful, insinuating much power at her beck and call with battlelust and skill to temper it.

He returns her pressure with a squeeze of his own, allowing just the lightest touch of his Mystic Arts to his fingers. She'll feel it like the gentlest breeze, a touch of spring's warm winds, and then deeper still, with the faint echoes of distant thunder. All as his returned token gesture of warrior-hood.

Pop. There's goes his faltering happy bubble once more.

Disengaging to slouch a bit, he offers Sif a rather sour look that slowly morphs into resigned acceptance. "Of…course," he mutters, enunciating sharply. "I will keep you in mind should I need a skilled warrior in the near future." No lie in the Sorcerer's tone or body language. "How would I contact you should I need to…borrow your blade?" A slight smile.


The grasp is of a mans grasp; strong and held tight. Though, there was a flint of a cool air that shoots up her arm, that causes her long, dark hair to dance and eyes light up with glee as he touches her with his magic. It was a strange feeling, one that has her grinning awkwardly, her hand drawn back to shake away the tingle and yet the thunder remains within her ear. That was a warrior, indeed..

When the manner of contacting her in the future is thought of, it was her turn to lean back within the chair. Her eyes lift towards the ceiling as she tries to think of an easier way that would not put both of them out..


"My first week upon Midgard, the Odinson, the Enchantress, Scarlett and I were called to a region far from here by way of summoning. Perhaps, you could employ that method. Or.. send a raven."

Yes. She said send a raven. She did.


"A raven." His tone is, at first, flat in incredulity, but then, a breathy laugh or two. "I shouldn't be surprised. I'll likely go the route of a summoning, Lady Si—ybil," Strange corrects himself. "It would also be very assumptive of me to go about summoning you like some sort of minor spirit, so I will do my best to warn you beforehand or set up a date in which to do so."

He glances up at the clock hanging on the deli wall and offers her an apologetic sort of smile. "Ah, the time. My apologies, but these sandwiches are expected. Another guest, you see."

As if Sif would know anything about any of Strange's recent guests. Rising to his feet, the Sorcerer Supreme pauses. He swallows hard as he picks up the bag of sandwiches. "She's hungry all of the time, it seems," he murmurs, mostly to himself. Another quiet laugh. He grants the Asgardian one last smile, full of friendliness and…was that a twinkle of mirth? "I'll speak with you again soon regarding the wards for your horses. In the meanwhile, we can continue our fight for law and order in this wild West."

And with that, the Sorcerer Supreme leaves the deli, food in hand, for his Sanctum. Hi-ho, Silver, away!


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