1963-11-06 - Strange Communion
Summary: Doctor Strange teaches Wanda how to harness the mystic arts in tandem with others.
Related: A Rose Unbecoming
Theme Song: Assassin's Creed III Main Theme - Lorne Balfe
strange wanda 

Lessons fit the cadence of a sorcerer's life, as much as study, demon-hunting, ghost-banishing, and practice take up the hours. For so long these were wedged in among the other unwelcome necessities of living rough, like securing a night's shelter, dodging the authorities, and monitoring a mark for hours on end.

New York, thus far, has been a complete holiday for Wanda Maximoff.

The Hellmouth and the brides of Dracula count as mere turbulence. Waking up in an actual bed, eating regularly, and warm baths all seemingly agree with her. Ending the day's cares involve casting off her leather pants and shirt in favour a looser dress, and dining on several small cups of strong, brewed tea.

Then before the clock ticks over to 7, she forms the two simple mudra in the tearoom claimed as her own. Dropping into a deep lunging stance, she thrusts her hands out with fingers in a triangle, and then executes a perfect half-turn that slashes her left palm towards the ground, the other hand overhead and poised to take a strike. Give her a sword, she would conceivably do real damage.

Three rings of flaming witchfire curls around her, split again by lines that shape a triangle, and both rotate opposite one another in a shining axis. A gentle bell claps on the air as she pushes out the inner space in the room, banishing all other presences of magic past and present. They wash away on the purifying wave of force, and she drops back down to sit in the middle of the floor atop a heavily folded blanket.

Still a bit tired, she draws her knees to the side and waits for the other half of the lesson, wherever he is.


He's actually stepping down from the Loft as she finishes executing her gestures. The ringing vibration of the cleansing spell reaches his ears and other senses, inherently bolstered by the Sanctum's connection to its master, and Strange pauses on the bottom step to appreciate how the clarion sound echoes around the interior of the mansion.

It reminds him of the call to practice at dawn's break back in Kamar-Taj and he lets out a soft sigh of fond remembrance.

A few strides later finds him entering the tea room. Immediately, he closes his eyes and reaches out with the Sight. The room is a blank slate, ready to be drawn upon in eldritch colors and Mystic might. "Wonderful job, as always," he murmurs, mindful of the volume of his voice and its ability to shatter the peace of the atmosphere. A small towel is tossed gently to her, where it falls beside one of her knees. He wears his own about his neck.

The good Doctor is equally relaxed in his own attire, not even in daywear. A simple t-shirt and sweatpants for him, loose and allowing maximum movement in the midst of gesturing broadly. Bare feet pad across the wooden floor and then he settles into the Lotus position on the folded blanket across from here.

"So…dual-casting, yes? That's what you'd like to pursue?" It's a novel thing and the Sorcerer looks forwards to expanding on the concept. With how their auras intertwine as easily as breathing, it should be as easy as pie once they figure out the nitty-gritty details of it all. Like how to avoid blowing a hole in reality as well as their eyebrows from their faces.


How could a girl whose aura rings with the music of the celestial spheres not appreciate the radiating chime? It holds a memory of prayer bowls and bells in Tibet, a sacred space communing between the high mountain peaks and the vast sky. Oceans of solitude existed in those lofty spaces ruled by the million-fold gods of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Their paths have crossed and overlapped so many times. Who penned in fine ink when this last journey would bend and merge the red and cerulean lines of life together?

A steady hand to banish any tension settles upon her knee, the other forming minute circles anticlockwise. White sparks descend into a rose spectrum and up again, and she startles slightly at the weight of the towel landing upon her leg like an affectionate dove.

Thoughts soar to flight and she settles back. This sight of casual Strange might alarm her more than his full battle-leathers in the evening. "Do you mean for us to run?" Her black dress is smoothed out, hem folded under where the irregular line in need of hemming will not prove a distraction. All the little aches magnified into a protest shout halt her tongue until he settles opposite her. A shift off her hip means folding her legs into a mirrored position is easily enough done.

Wanda doesn't often speak directly of her mentor except in self-criticism or the occasional professional explanation. It might make the steepling of her fingers upon her knees just short of his peculiar, out of the ordinary. "Yaga never allowed it. Only with her, and even then, the lessons were uncommon. She is too powerful." A quirk to her lips ruins their fullness, compacted into a recriminatory line. "I was too likely to crack, she said, even with her astral energy. A badly made vessel. It's not untrue. My aura doesn't mix very well."

That they have obvious proof to the contrary is a tad one-sided.


Strange gives her an amused smile before the expression turns to consideration. It's a shame, what this Yaga did to her, in a sense. Denying her the right to fully understand the powers at her fingertips.

"No, no running," he glances down at his pants and wiggles his toes in an unconscious echo of his thoughts. "Just comfort. After all, you're wearing a dress. Room to move." A pause. "It looks good on you." A morsel offered with genuine appreciation for her - all of her.

"And what's all this about auras not mixing well? Last I checked, our meshed just fine." A noticeable blink and his irises flash to ice-white as he calls up the Sight. She'll feel the expansion of his Mystic presence rush slowly over her, like a cooling breeze in the middle of a muggy summer that blows away discomfort and prickly heat, and then it swirls around her body with enough effect on the physical environment to move the air. He's testing, prodding, playing along the boundaries of the star-flecked scarlet cloud he can see hovering around here, as familiar as the scent of black roses and sandalwood.


Yaga, the pet name for Agatha Harkness, might change the Sorcerer Supreme's entire viewpoint if he ever gets that far. Pietro might have given her full first name, once. Though the only time Wanda speaks it is in hushed whispers when night terrors crash down, and those are rare indeed.

"A dress would not stop me running. Father made us do so under any conditions." A shadow flits over her honey-brown eyes, striations of history painted there. Memories of dark Balkan forests and Polish ghettos, running barefoot and half-clothed from barely seen horrors. The circumstances which made her as she is do not include softness, kindness, tenderness or ease. Gods help them if even a trace of thought lands on her lips, already altering the cant of her features to a hardened reserve and brows fletched downwards.

Mistaking her reaction for the compliment might be worse. "I was unsure what you would need." So bring a dress to the lesson and distract the teacher, a good strategy.

It doesn't keep her warm, that is for certain, the tease of Strange's aura flooding against her bare shoulders and arms causing an instant response of gooseflesh and vibrating, a single harp string pulled with a single pinch. Her shoulders drop back, body arched along a vertical axis while that power thrums across the surface of the psychic ionosphere. "Oh!"


The good Doctor knows her well enough now to not question further about the conditions of her previous training. It's a sore spot for both of them: bad memories for her, helpless anger at his inability to have kept her from the darkness of the experience. The smoke of negative feelings is blown out with his next exhale and his aura returns to him with a sigh of cool familiarity.

His lips roll inwards to suppress both chuckle and smile.

"Ticklish…?" he asks lightly before he rolls his head around and then his shoulders in tandem and in opposition before settling truly into his meditation position. "And what we need is the Sight and some simple practices first before attempting the more complicated spells."

And the Sorcerer settles back, perfectly aligned within the Lotus pose, and expression composed of patient expectation behind somnolent lids. He's awaiting the flush of incarnadine light into those tawny eyes. After all, the air will stir with the musk of petals and frissons of caressing heat and he'll beginning to appreciate if not even anticipate the sensations.


Ticklish? Proof in the pudding there.

Wanda trembles spontaneously, and she pulls at a coat which isn't there, her long fingers bracketing the curve described by the outer edge of her shoulder melting into her gently muscled bicep. "It feels like being subjected to starlight on a particularly energetic night. Not a fall of stars." Swiped fingers draw the descent on a fivefold path, meteors sparking behind the spread tips on a certain demise within seconds. Light dies, and her palm drops back into her lap.

"That was the last lesson," she murmurs, turning her face towards the intricately detailed ceiling of that glossy, private room steeped in her earthbound art. Fine delineations beg for deeper examination by a purely lackluster student, failing to offer appreciation before. Or, perhaps, the turmoil passes and an expanding garnet ring chases away from her pupils and overlaying the darkness in so many specks of rose-red light.

The Sight engaged, she breathes out. It takes a good thirteen circuits, no more and no less, for her aura to begin cycling through her on a double figure-eight, rotating on the track that follows an inhalation and escaping in the dusky tinges of a resonance-perfumed air. Starlight dances on her lips, the stream of breath dappled by growing filaments blown out about her in an incarnadine nebula. The one distortion is a thin glow, more magenta than carmine, trailing down into the floor and rotating on its own axis opposite to the steady lifeglow.

"The twin bond isn't dead. But it has changed," she murmurs distantly.


"I can see this," the Sorcerer replies with equal disconnection in his tone. If the difference in color wasn't enough, the counter-rotation shows the lack of harmony that should be found within the twin's auras.

Pietro Maximoff. It's another thread that he's been considering and leaning towards chasing down. Wanda hasn't spoken to him about it outright and it is yet another silent weight between them. Strange would rather not attempt to remove the shrapnel without her permission and a great deal of Novocain as well as chance for emotional venting. Again - not the time or place.

"We will address this, I promise you," he says, soft and low like the hum of a cello, pitched to soothe and bring her back to here, now, him. One of his scarred hands is offered into the space between them and as he sighs, his aura puddles in it like heavy, misty starlight in every hue of silver and blue. It cavorts around his fingers and dances around in ever-twirling streamers tilted to a vertical axis, like the spiral of a galaxy. Then, it gathers above his palm in a tremulous swirl of gathered frozen fog.

"For now, go on - allow your aura to meld with mine. There," and he nods towards his gently-curled fingers that cup the coalescing of Mystic light.


"Address?" The query lingers briefly, a promise of a familiar scent on the night air. Wanda puzzles over the intent behind the words, allowing Strange's voice to lull her out of the slow ascent back to her overly wary sensibilities that cause so many tears and disemboweling cuts in unsuspecting cultors.

Something is terribly untrustworthy about how her body wants to abet this return to a more graceful state of slower living, answering the pulse of the living world below her feet by matching her heart rate and breathing to its own. No drugs necessary here; he offers all she needs without quite injecting anything intraurally, and the sore tooth poked by conversation diminishes down to a throb.

She reaches out her fingertip to press to his, caressing down the curve across knobby bumps of knuckles and the diminished valleys between them. The sensation is light to the point of barely in contact, certainly enough to correspond with a shiver if the same were done to the sorceress. Nonetheless, she treats this as something almost sacred, outlining the marks of creation left upon the relic of a saint, the idol of a buried shrine.

In a way they're both true.

The plume of a red tide fades in, oddly, from the middle. It streams through the manifestation of his psyche and will, formed into a tiny droplet that rotates and grows a little. Synchronization takes time, especially when she stares so astutely upon the piece of her harboured within him. Along the physical line of contact, she helps to shelter and soothe her aura with regrettable consequences.

The remainder trembles and burns in watercolour rhythms, evolving from a pirouetting infinity spiral into a wave coiling around him and draping in warmth as light as a dream, ephemeral stirrings of spice clouding him. Ripples riffle through the substance pushed off her, and a dash of her aural energy flickers around his cheekbone unconsciously.

A pat.

Any questions what she's thinking about? The luminosity in his palm flares violet and then twinkles, so many stars thrown throughout. Biting her lip isn't a reflex of concentration either. Wandering thoughts, even for a moment, are telling.


He has closed off visual sight for Mystical Sight and the dancing of the energies around him are, quite frankly, somewhat hypnotizing. The eternal-loop of her aura within her own body pulses in time with her heartbeat and radiates slowly from her person in scarlet solar flares that outline her against the dark-grey static of the cleared room.

Washes of his own aura flutter through his line of Sight like the finest glacial-hued silks, so tenderly-woven as to be mostly-translucent, and then he focuses on the combining of the two magics before them.

Then the ensorcelling of her attempted sanctuary and Strange nearly goes into Astral form at the delicious shiver of dissonance that trembles through his self. Redolent of apple pie and heavier spices, like walking into the sunshine from the depths of a cave, he allows himself to wallow in it.

It's the stroke of her aura against his cheek, felt rather than felt, that brings him to open his eyes and lock gazes with her.

The sight of her mauling her bottom lip aids in aligning his suspicions and he allows himself a single purring laugh that sets the amaranthine orb to swirling above his palm.

"Focus." A single word, spoken like the ring of a high mountain bell, resonates in the room. Not reproach, just reminder, and meant for both of them.


Focus on what?

Disentangled plumes from the corona of their mingled auras eclipse blue over scarlet and then the inverse, silver drowned out in bands of rose. Mental activity drives the shifting activity in the upper mantle, her conscious efforts submerging the very delicate balance between knowing and instinctive action. Whispers of a melody lace the sanctuary, a minor key alight in the nimble plucking on stellar harp strings. Low vibrations mingle to higher notes, those of neutron stars in collision and the majestic revolution of a galactic cluster swept up across the distance for a moment.

Strange's breath teases an eddy in the sandalwood and rosewood dustings shot by saffron and cinnamon, dreaming under oud.

Portraits of a flux follow even as the neatly superimposed aural continuity. It slips out of focus and their Venn diagram widens, the overlapping segments torn apart in reaction to her awakening consciousness. "You? Me?" Thoughts tugged to pieces tear them asunder for a breathless moment, stars fading out.

"I ought to know this," she murmurs, eyes still blinded by the veneer of the mystic sight. She is, after all, one of two. Two of one. The twin link spirals in a tighter volute, a black-blue bruise on being. Crackling sparks arrest the endlessly turning pattern, and she puts her hands to her face. "I don't know how."


Focus on the now - focus on being here - focus on them.

He can see the combined aura beginning to be influenced by the sudden cracks of insecurity in her psyche even before those irises, hued in dazzling rose, disappear behind her palms.

It takes him a moment, but he rescues the collapsing orb in his hand with a bolstering rush of magic, a blue more towards cerulean (tinted with the citrine of the cosmic Art). It stabilizes and then he can look through the gossamer mist of the Sight.

"Technically, you do. You are a twin. You knew how to share your aura from the moment your life sparked into being in this reality." Again the lilting cadence, the cajoling tones that intend to coax her from behind shuttered fingers. "The way you know how where he is? That instinctive guidance? You had it, for a moment. Find it again. Align to my signature." A little more injection of citrine into the orb and it becomes a maelstrom of color, a beacon in the dark that would glow for miles in the Astral plane. Here though, within the Sanctum, it is a lighthouse on rough shores. "Close your eyes…breathe…and find the point of harmony. There is one, I can feel it…" His voice peters out…

…and perhaps she can feel the sensation Mystically of fingers interlocking, settling into place but not closing.


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 67


A mere moment of reflection holds the sorceress rapt and entirely out of time's consequence. In the art's unforgiving clarity, the violet light weaves around her wrists in a beaded chain finer than the strands of her hair. Every link is formed from a droplet connected to another sphere, stretching out into the very makings of oblivion. Her astral form trembles to another frequency of being altogether.

One arm stretched out points unerringly south-southwest. "There." A judgment made without a whisper of haziness to the word she engraves with a cloudy blink. "That way. I always know. He never stops long enough to feel me. Unless I am at risk of happiness." A bittersweet streak over her lips is chocolate on a child's mouth, a guilty pleasure of a dark, cocoa-deep jest.

Such easy commands. Such simple instructions. Reject all the inner workings and fall into herself. Find that place, taste that floating raindrop burning away in midnight. Her closed eyes resound with the patter of raindrops, eldritch reactions sending a plaintive shimmer through audible spectra as she tilts her head to hear the sounds beyond sound. Golden topaz touches her skin where he is, seeping deeper along wavelengths her attuned senses can guide the mind.

"He of my blood, you of my breath?" Murmured words gain a slightly roughened edge for the heightened distraction, an utterance as profound as the Song of Songs. She sits up the straighter, pulling another inch from the slack curve of her spine, and jettisons herself into the magnetic field spinning around him. And then, it isn't hard, for Strange is a sun next to her moon and she is the reflection of his light.

Surface albedo factors in how bright she can shine, and for one moment, her aura goes effectively edge on to reveal the silvery-blue trails around her, burning out through the heart chakra into visible spectra. Flames dance from the cupped circle of her fingertips all the way to her crown, the position of the third eye awash in the faintest violet undertones. The halo grows and rejects the citrine, spinning backwards. It fades inwards, the crescendo stopping on a held note. Her heartbeat thuds. A breath. Backfilling waters of self roll around him and past the good Doctor, striking across their own path and deflecting the ripples back upon him mystically. Going overtop will never work, not really. She has to throw his own light back until it reaches him amaranthine, or let it bleed out through the core of his aura where her own energy keeps psychically accumulating anyways.


The sweetest shaft of sizzling energy takes him right through the cardiac plexus, causing him in turn to sit straighter still, with an upwards tilt to his chin even as Strange attempts to continue holding those incandescent eyes.

It disappears, swallowed within his, until he can begin to sense the slow upwelling of heat from the area beneath his criss-crossed legs. It isn't uncomfortable, more like sitting in sun-warmed sand, and reminds him of innocent summers spent on the shores of the nearby river to his childhood home. The intermingling of the claret cyclone that slowly rises up around his form to his own tornadic play of Caribbean-hued aura begins along the horizon of the heart chakra. Jewel-toned velvet violet floods him and he instinctively closes his eyes against the prickling that flirts through him from head to toes and back up, rebounding until it reaches a point of dual-resonance to his ears.

Perhaps audible through the Sight-bolstered senses to Wanda: the perfectly-aligned harmony of crystal bells, one deep and low, one high and arcing.

Before this moment, his sky-turquoise magic has been sluicing around her person, hanging in the upper registers of space and sense. Now, it flows down with auroral hues and weaves itself around her. It too takes her through the upper chest, though not with heat - with the sussurrus of new spring. The citrine aspect? It returns to him, melds away into his person with no lingering effects.

The gods do not share lightly.

"Soul song…?" the Sorcerer whispers as the slightest frown shows on his face. Concentration? Concern?


If Strange knows how to look, the fundamental change to her being lies in the truth of her magic, the proof of the soul. Where the auroral fronts meet, tiny disturbances mingle their being into something complementary but different. Heliotrope snarls whirlpool into the aether, balancing equally to a smooth front once the space of a breath passes. Little sparks shape out cloudy motes full of potential. Each of those fine scallops to the fringe of their mingled psychic halos represents a minute alteration. By itself, capable of only shifting things by a speck. Like grains of sand, though, an abundance in suspension can wear down boulders and polish diamonds, reshape the coast and tear open continents.

The essence of what the meditating witch is: possibility. She holds a strength she does not even believe, if she knows.

Those holes and cracks in her being are nothing else but painted blue, luminescent orchid weals blended into their signature shade of amaranth. Love lies bleeding.

"It tickles," she says almost drunkenly, her eyes fixed upon the flowing tracks of powdery stardust found in the Sorcerer's eyes. The balance of teaching waits, stalled by actually seeing him through a lens of truth as he sees himself perhaps. How Strange is, not what he might be, or any illusion.

And that is profound, how he and they are briefly one being. "No wonder Yaga said not to do this. She… You are singular. Beautiful."

Flattery, a knife to the core of the ego.


Strange might not know exactly how to describe what concerns him - there are so many separate aspects to it, but all in all, it is a concern built around awe and blazing curiosity.

No doubt his lens that shines into his personal self is warped compared to her interpretation; who wants to ever actively acknowledge the fault lines of their soul? Braggadocio, materialism, self-importance, jealousy. These things lace him and ground him in humanity. Intermingled with the cracks are the aspects that granted him the mantle: sympathy, tolerance, burgeoning wisdom, the ever-expanding understanding of 'not about him'. It makes him imperfect and perhaps all the more interesting to the witch looking upon him.

Her, before him, speaking, brings his focus outwards and across rather than within. "Why would someone want to deny you this opportunity?" His words are slow to come, as if rising up like bubbles through water, and distantly spoken with meditative detachment. "You shine like the stars. Why not allow that light to be shared?" He doesn't really expect an answer; it's mostly unconscious musings spoken aloud.

Absolutely, he can see the pockets of darkness within her and the low-level apprehension never abates. It can't - the depths of stygian anti-light are as counter to his mantle as opposing polarities, immutable facts of nature. But the scarlet stars, the glimmering droplets of garnet and ruby, they could not glow without the backdrop of the blackness and the whole vision before him, all of it - it's like a galaxy contained within a body. Impossibly mesmeric.


What flaws twirl throughout Wanda's being, laid bare? Those veins of deepening larghetto notes engage the follies and flaws of any human sin. Among the seven deadly sins, the carmine flashes of wrath and scarlet crystalline edges of pride are the most prevalent. Gluttony and sloth are least apparent in their being. Instead her atomic structure spins to the curse of arrogance and impatience, tiny fractures of anxiety, dashes of skepticism as a wall engulfing it all. What merits announce themselves are not terribly different in a sense. Loyalty and compassion hold the vibrant sonatas, elevated by scattered blossoms taking root only in recent time: gratitude, an appreciation for life, hope. Those are the first steps up the high ladder towards transcendence, rooted in the humanistic tradition anchored around a general, wider foundation of wisdom. A streak ripples through that sounds with the bell-purity of Tibetan prayer bowls, resonating when a dash of awareness linger there. She is earth grounded and sky reaching, the maiden bending to touch the Earth and hold up her hand to the stars.

He is altogether too luminously drawn opposite that, white-blue streamers captured in constancy. Something in that utterly captivates the witch entrapped in its incomprehensible steadiness, his certainty a blue vault of the heavens into which she can stare up endlessly. Warmth teases where her palms sculpt out a shape, the evocative hourglass of a vessel, and her fingers come together at the base. One thin thread emerges in the painted amaranthine background, almost plum from the bottom and blinding white at the top where its rays reach out and extend, only a little, her integration into the depths of his aura.

This is purely intuitive, a gesture performed out of the nudgings to link together their chakra energies. "Control," she says softly. "Protection. Dependency. Safety. In magic, my lack of self-control harms."

She leans forward a little more, and it's then her nose which hits his chest. Oops.


The impact of her sudden lean into his space and lack of balance to follow is enough to make Strange laugh. Nestled within his palm, the little pale-violet will-o-wisp comes apart as easily as a breath in a chill morning and then his aura begins to withdraw back to his person.

Gentle, wide-palmed hands aid her back to a centered sitting pose and linger as he gives her a kind smile. No longer does the silvery-blue starlight bleed from his gaze, but retracts to linger about his irises instead.

"Practice makes perfect and slowly builds control. We can return to this another time. Excellent work so far. You're an apt pupil." - said not only with mentorly pride, but tender affection. He presses his lips to her forehead, above where the Sight continues to show the amaranthine glow of the chakra point nestled within. "Everything else, the other three — you have from me."

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