1963-10-17 - A Touch of Healing
Summary: Merlin runs first-person interference after the arrival of a haggard Strange post-vampire battle.
Related: The Sorcerer and the Bride
Theme Song: None
strange merlin 


There's a sense of tenseness to the sentience of the Sanctum. Its master had come stumbling through a Gate not minutes before, holding a trembling palm to the side of his neck and looking as if he'd been stricken with the flu.

Not just any flu: vampire venom. A simple walk into the neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen had quickly devolved into a practitioner's duel between Sorcerer and Bride of Dracula. While he had smashed sunlight into the devious undead's face, he had not arisen from battle unscathed.

Strange manages to make his way into the kitchen and snag a pristine white washcloth set aside for the cleaning of the few dishes that ever appear as a result of his house-guests. Not pristine anymore, not after he claps it against his neck with a wince and a groan.

"Gods below," he rasps as he makes his way slowly and stiffly towards the hallway, intending on reaching the living room eventually.


"And that is how I helped the friendly Icelandic village with their troll problem, sending those pesky trolls back to the realm that they belonged to!" Merlin's doing what he does best when there's tenseness. He talks. He's dressed in his normal attire, though he's without his sword and staff at the moment. "Now, my dear Sanctum Sanctorum, what shall we discuss next? How about that great Eye of yours? Oh! I know! If the walls could talk, well…why can't they? Come on! Tell me a story. I'm sure you've much to tell! I'm not going anywhere fast. In fact, I'm going rather lengthily into the future. I've got the time!"

Walking, in fact, from the living room toward the kitchen, he sighs. "Well, while you think of one to tell me, I might as well make some tea. Actually make some tea. There's something soothing about making it by hand instead of using magic, you know. Magic doesn't have to be used for everything! Some practitioners of the mystical arts will use their abilities to do just about anything that they can. Such a shame, really!" He turns his attention to the actual voice he hears. "Gods below what? The sun? The trees?" He frowns deeply. "By Gaea's all loving ground, what happened to you?!"


Strange was not expecting to bump into the Wizard and looks up blearily as he hears the lively muttering of the old man. They nearly collide on account of his dizziness and the Sorcerer Supreme stumbles to one side. He has to catch himself on the wall with not just his hand, but the weight of his body; his knees are questionable right now, between the drain of summoning up daylight in the middle of the night and his body's attempt to gear up his immune system against this supernatural infection.

With a groan behind clenched teeth, he stops himself from sliding by holding onto a small table near his hip. "Not…now, Merlin," he grinds out before continuing on down the hallway. He has to make it to his chair before weakness drags him to the ground and he doesn't get up.


"Not now my beard!" Merlin immediate side steps Strange and places an arm around him, to help steady the man. "Powers that be, you need help! I may seem like a doddering old fool, but I know a man in poor shape when I see one! Now let's get you somewhere to lay you down!" Guiding Strange to said chair, he lets the man sit down.

"Now, are you going to let me have a look at what's going on, or are you going to be a fool and pretend like I'm not a man who has many life-times worth of experience in the mystical arts, including healing?" There's a mixture of concern and stubbornness in both his words and his gaze. "Come now, let ol' Merlin have a look and tell me what happened!"


Fine, fine. Strange allows the old Wizard, surprisingly strong despite his shorter and thinner stature, to act as a crutch on the brief journey to his chair. He collapses back into his chair by the fireplace with a stifled cry, seeing as his elbow was jostled, jamming the rag against his neck and probably loosening a few scabbed portions of the bite wound.

Merlin is given a weary glare, still full of the Sorcerer's usual bulldog-like obstinate personality, even as he replies raggedly, "Vampire. Please don't touch me right now. I just…need to rest." He gets these words out before being overtaken by a dry-sounding cough, the very beginnings of the vampiric flu.


"Careful now, careful boy." Merlin murmurs. The glare, in and of itself, is rather ignored by Merlin. He's been glared at by many people over the centuries, over the millennium, he's been around. Including being glared at by Arthur once or twice. "Don't be a…" He takes a deep breath in. He's in pain, Merlin. Be nice! "Vampires. That would explain it." He says softly.

He waits for the coughing to subside before talking once more. "I need to work on the wound. Patch it up. You've got the venom of a vampire running through you, and you're just going to get weaker and more sick. And the wound itself needs help to repair." He raises an eyebrow. "Or do you want me to summon my staff and hit you on the arm until you agree to let me help?" The last part is obviously a joke, though he honestly does seem to want to help. "This is not a time to be let hubris to get in the way of getting better. Trust me in this…Sorcerer Supreme." This is perhaps the first time he's called Strange by this title, aside from when they first met.


Trust. A commodity of the good doctor that he doesn't hand out idly. His eyes narrow to slits before finally closing against another chest-wracking cough. A rivulet of blood slips from beneath the washcloth and he mops it up woozily before it stains his battle-leathers with more ichor.

"Fine." It's a wispy concession, but spoken nonetheless. He pulls the cloth from against the left side of his neck to reveal the wound.

Four main puncture wounds, top and bottom jaw from vampire fangs, not clean - torn, as if the biter was ripped away by force. The weeping of the wound seems to have slowed with the pressure on it; only his coughing pushes his life's blood freely from it.


Wounds, Merlin has seen his fair share of them, both on others and on him. He frowns as blood leaks when the other man coughs. "Easy now. The house is worried enough as it is, we don't need it worrying about you more." He frowns as he finally gets a look at the wounds. As he leans in to look, he snaps his fingers and a damp, white cloth appears in his hands. Lightly patting the punctures, he shakes his head. "The vampire didn't want to let go, did they?"

Taking a deep breath in, he says, "Well, good news is that you're not going to die from this." He says with confidence. "But it may take some healing." Holding his free hand over the wounds, he closes his eyes and starts muttering a few words. "The venom hasn't taken full hold yet." He says after a few moments. "I can slow its progress so that it can properly be removed."


Each light touch of the damp cloth against the bite marks sears like fire and sparkles appear behind Strange's eyes, wrenched shut, as he keeps himself from uttering any pained sounds with clenched teeth as well as simultaneously calms down the wards mentally. They wait on a knife's edge to remove the one causing their master pain.

"No, she did not," he manages to reply between pats. Another cough and wince. He's glad to hear that the venom can be slowed; he won't say it aloud, but his dwindles reserves of personal magic can't keep up with the spread. Each heartbeat pushes it farther into the recesses of his person.

"And of course I won't just roll over and die," he states raggedly, giving Merlin a glare out of the side of his eye, seeing as he's turned his cheek flat to the chair to allow access to the wound. Hubris - ego to hide the fear that laces his soul. He silently hopes that Merlin can work some sort of minor miracle.


"I bet you gave her a fight she'll soon not forget, though, eh?" Merlin chuckles softly. "Gave her a few punches? Knocked her back with magic? OH!" He actually seems excited for a moment. "Did you use the 'Suddenly It Becomes Daytime!' trick? Vampires hate that! Us using magic to create sunlight. They never expect it, and they always hate it!" He lets out a gruff laugh as he amuses himself at the thought of vampire scurrying away from magical sunlight.

"You know, I had a feeling about you, that you wouldn't just roll over and die. Certainly not, young man!" He looks away from the wounds for a moment and says, "But it's okay to be afraid, too. I'm not saying you are but…having been in plenty of similar situations, I know I'd be at least a little worried, were I you. It would only be natural. That said, there's nothing to worry about. You'll be healed up in no time at all!" Of course, for Merlin, 'no time' could mean a decade. Years sort of blur together for him.

"Well, let us get to slowing that venom, shall we?" He says softly, placing his hand just over the wounds again. He starts to speak, intoning a spell. A slight heat begins to emit from his hand as it also begins to glow ever so lightly.


The good doctor holds his tongue while he is, in turned, doctored. He offers a hum of discomfort behind thinned lips as he feels the warmth of Merlin's spell begin to soak through the semi-clotted wound. Wards, stand down, he commands even as he feels them draw closer.

The initial vampire venom, any pooling near the surface of his skin, evaporates in the scouring strength of the incantation. The magic seeps in deeper still, down through the fang holes themselves, and he can't help but seize up with a hiss as the venom begins dissolving in his neck.

One of the pains about being Sorcerer Supreme? Your magic doesn't mesh well with many others. There's some harmony to Merlin's might, of course, with his past connections as a Master Sorcerer, but it will take some serious self-drawn magic to burn out this infection. The scarred knuckles of Strange's hands fade white as he grips at the arms of the chair, trying very hard not to move beyond a thrumming shiver and scatter the spell's concentration. Very quickly, Merlin may be running the risk of shocking the man's system.


"Deep breaths, Sorcerer Supreme. Deep breaths. And think of something that makes you happy." The older sorcerer tells Strange softly. "This will all be over soon." Magic is a tricky thing, as both men know. But sure enough, after a few more minutes, Merlin moves his hand away and takes a deep breath in. "I've not had to deal with venom that powerful in ages." A shaky breath emits from him as he smiles. "But it is duly slowed."

Conjuring up a small stool beside the chair, Merlin sits upon it, looking somewhat small as he does so. "You know, I remember what it's like to be in your position, as Sorcerer Supreme. There's a feeling that you are the one that others must rely on, instead of the one who relies on others." He strokes his beard lightly as he considers the man before him. "The hubris of having 'supreme' in one's title makes one desire to not look weak, or at the very least, it makes one wish to appear as if they can do everything theirselves, if need be." He shakes his head. "But this I tell you, it is not a weakness to ask for help. Rather, it shows true strength to realize when we require assistance and to ask for it. Even more so, it shows strength of character to admit when we're scared, and to admit that we don't always know everything, or that we can't do everything. I learned that the hard way, and I do not wish for you to repeat the same mistakes I made."

He gives the man a gentle pat on the arm. "Now, shall we get you somewhere a little bit more comfortable?"


A ringing in his ears and the creaking of his teeth in his jaw, along with the increasing number of twinkling lights in his vision, keeps Strange from hearing a single word that the Wizard murmurs in the few minutes of agonizing spellwork. The acidic sensation feels to have doubled within his neck, up into his scalp, down into his shoulder and clavicle.

He collapses back into the chair, hair soaked flat with sweat, and his hearing clears in time to register Merlin's comment about the venom being 'duly slowed'. It's no longer a sitting posture in the chair, but a slouch. Strange is weaker than a half-drowned kitten.

It's old news to hear the old man offer his thoughts on asking for help and admitting one is scared and it all sounds like something the Ancient One told him a long, long time ago, back when he was an apprentice with no more than a spark in his chest and a will to learn magic.

With a painful-sounding grunt, the Sorcerer Supreme forces himself into an upright sitting position once again and presses his well-bloodied rag against the wound. "I will keep that in mind," he whispers, vocal chords all but hamstrung by retained sounds of agony. He doesn't say those words with mockery or condescension, but with a small and hesitant sort of humility that shows that the advice has gone home. "I would rather stay here in the chair for now," he adds, blinking slowly. "I can rest for a bit."


Leaning forward and reaching up to brush some of Strange's hair out of his eyes, Merlin smiles. "You know, I often had to sit like this with Arthur. Poor boy, he had a troubled life. All those beings of mystical power he had to contend against, not to mention a half-sister who…" He pauses shaking his head. Remembering Arthur can be hard enough of Merlin at times, but thinking of his half-sister is more difficult still. "Well, a half-sister who was gifted. Let's leave it at that."

Nodding ever so slightly, he says, "Of course, you must rest. Would you care for a blanket, or a pillow? How about some tea? I could get you a…a…oh, what are they called? A straw, to drink it through!" Without even waiting for an answer, he conjures up a blanket and, standing, gently places it over Strange, tucking it in. "There we go. All comfy! I'll be around. Just…" He snaps his fingers and a butterfly appears on the arm of the chair. "Just say my name and, if I'm not where I can hear you, the butterfly will come get me." And with that, he starts puttering about the Sanctum once more, leaving the Sorcerer Supreme to get some rest and, hopefully, regain some strength.


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