1963-11-17 - The Miserable, Wretched Truth
Summary: Hilde comes to Dr. Strange for some assistance in forgetting. She gets a hard dose of truth from his consort, Wanda, instead.
Related: All the messy Hilde/Barney breakup logs
Theme Song: None
strange brunnhilde wanda 

It's raining now. Even as he pauses at the door to the tea shop and stuffs the little parcel into an inside pocket of his black Belstaff, old Mrs. O'Riley laughs at him from behind the counter.

"Forgot an umbrella, didn't you, lad?"

"Yes, but a little rain never hurt anyone," Strange replies over his shoulder with a grin. "Thank you again." They exchange parting gestures and then he steps outside. The air is chill, damp, and he lingers beneath the short awning that leaves a small pale square of dry cement.

With a whispered Word and a cheat, he's cloaked in a spell that allows the rain to sluice off of a thin, insulating layer of air around him. It gives the impression that the rain falls around him rather than on him.

Smiling to himself, the Sorcerer Supreme begins walking home, snug in his crimson scarf and hands burrowed deep into his pockets. The puddles aren't so bad.


He's lucky, a strangely pleasant, not too cold autumn rain isn't bad when you can cheat around it. Others cannot. One of those others being Hilde, still trapped in her own brain and misery, completely out of money for booze and sipping on the very last dregs of the cheap shit whiskey she got from the bottom shelf of the dime store. She smells like it, even through the rain, having drank so much over the last few days that it's invading her very pores. The rain also makes her white blonde hair cling to her face and neck, making her look even more like a drown rat, or blonde mouse, at least.

Her stumbling almost runs her straight into his side, but she'd recognize that gait anywhere. The crimson scarf that never touched the floor of their old apartment. She blinks drowsily, suddenly a kick of drunken hope through her pale, sunken features. She'd been looking for him. Asking after the crimson scarf. He was from around here, but she couldn't ever figure out where. Now, fate or luck, or whatever exists, has actually shone on her.

It's the first good luck she's had all week. She stumbles a bit faster, trying to keep up with him. "Doc!…Doc…I… can we talk?… Doc!" Her voice is the rasp of someone who hasn't really slept in a few days, but that's nothing new.


"Oh, geez - watch it," he manages to say, hands held up slightly. His expression is concerned consternation and he glances once more over his shoulder at the soaked young woman. She's headed the right way, towards the nearest shelter, so she'll be out of the rain shortly.

But then - that voice. That accent and that foreshortening of his title. Strange comes to a slow stop before turning around to look closer at the bedraggled figure shambling towards him through the rain. He squints before the overhead steet light grants him the recognition of the one and only Medic Norris.

"Medic, what in…what on earth?" Strange asks aloud, recognizing the state of advanced inebriation anywhere. Gods above, and she's soaked to the bone too. She's probably too drunk, but perhaps the hidden personality deep within her will note his quick, waist-high gesture across her person in time with two whispered Words. It's a spell meant to pull the chilling rain from her person in general as well as mimic his current invisible Mystical rain-slicker.

"What are you doing, being out in the rain like this? Are you trying to kill yourself?"


There are points where Hilde drowns everything beneath the alcohol. All those voices, those senses, the things that make her feel insane, she drowns everything but the forward motion of one foot infront of the other, forcing herself into the next moment, the next breath. That's all her inebriated mind can handle and it's a sort of numb, drunken peacefulness. Or perhaps that numbness is just having been out in the rain for hours. His spell will find that she's soaked all the way through her pea coat, down to her shirt and jeans. She must have been stumbling around for ages.

"…dun… wanna go home… gave it to the old lady… thought… Thought I had somewhere else… was wrong. Drinkin's better but I'm out… " She turns over the paper bag hidden bottle, demonstrating the sad state of affairs of her gut rot vodka being empty. She is oblivious to the fact the rain doesn't seem to be hitting her any more, except she doesn't need to wipe it out of her eyes again.

"…but…no.. Never mind..'snot about that. Wanted… needed to find you. Ask you something…" Several hours ago, finding him and asking another favour seemed the most brilliant idea of the day. She wondered to the hospital, then around the neighborhood, drinking and looking. Now, still is a good idea. If she could just remember what she planned to ask him.


The marble-sized droplets of rain, pulled from sopping clothing, splatter on the wet cement around her to no notice but the Sorcerer Supreme. Probably a good thing in the long term; any nosy passerby asking what caused such a concentrated splish-splashing would be on the receiving end of a contemptuous glare and possibly a sudden concentrated deluge of their own.

He squints and leans in slightly to attempt to decipher her mumbling and ends up with a vague idea of the intent of her drunken wanderings around Greenwich Village. She'd been searching for him.

"What is it you wanted to ask me? You realize that you could have called, instead of wandering around in the rain giving yourself hypothermia." There's an edge to his voice, but mostly because he doesn't understand the lack of logic. "The hospital has my phone number in their directory still. I consult there, remember?"


"…They…they ain't gonna give that to someone like me… I ain't even workin' right now. Can't carry a stretcher with a fucked wrist…" Though, the cast she *was* in, the one that was covered with Barney's blood and ratty the last they met, it's gone. Instead replaced by some basic wrappings and the motion of her hand says that the rather fierce breaks that were there are gone. Someone's worked some miracle with her already. Not enough to totally heal it, but enough she's no longer without it's use. She's not even really thinking about it right now, waving off the commentary.

"…D-doesn't matter. Yer here now… I… j-just gotta remember…" She's been walking around so long she doesn't even remember WHY she sought him out? To be fair, that is probably the vodka. She's also now slightly on the edge of shivering as her body wakes up from the wet numbness it had been in and remembers that being this cold is a *bad* thing. She's been out here a long time.

Then it hits her. Blown pupils and bloodshot eyes go a little wide. She almost reaches for him, like she'd hug him for finding him, but something in the back of her mind SCREAMS that would be a bad idea so she catches herself at the very last moment, "Yes! Fuck…I… I need you to… to take it away. Memories…or emotion, or … something… you save lives… You make people not hurt, right? God…Doc…I don't want to hurt any more. Please."


There they stand, two statues in the gloom of a November night. No one else passes them by; they seem to be granted the space to converse, perhaps because it looks nothing short of a burgeoning argument. Or maybe a drug deal. After all, Hilde is asking the Sorcerer Supreme for nothing shy of emotional morphine.

At first, he presents her with silence and a long, searching look that narrows his steel-grey eyes to near slits. Only the uptilt of his face, a speculative glance aimed towards the rainclouds, shows more than the heavily-shadowed contours of his face.

"Come back to the Sanctum, Hilde, and have some tea. Apparently, we need to talk." Assuming that she will slow his brisk walking pace to a near-crawl, the good Doctor loops his arm through hers in an abrupt manner that also serves to jostle the empty liquor bottle from her cold hand. It shatters on the pavement, but remains collected within the confines of the brown paper bag - a blessing in and of itself. The Medic, thoroughly sloshed, is led into an alleyway nearby and through the glittering Gate summoned with the ease of a sigh into the living room of the Sanctum Sanctorum.

"There," and he points to the high-backed plush red chair on the left, "is where you sit and explain to me why you need me to take away your memories and emotions."


While most of Hilde on a better day would protest being led like that, her head simply isn't there. Right now it's still just one foot in front of the other. If his arm can help her do that, she won't complain. The cheap bottle drops, forgotten. She barely blinks or winces at it. She just stumbles along side of him, using him for steadiness more than she'd care to admit. She feels like skin and bones against him, all elbows and shoulders, and very much like ice. There is no human warmth beneath that skin right now. It's a miracle she's standing. But then, there is something that burns inside her still, something that probably gives her a few little cheats around the half suicidial mess she's fallen into. She really shouldn't be walking still. But, forward she walks.

The Gate doesn't freak her out near so bad this time. She gives a drunken, crackling little laugh at it…"So I didn't…imagine that shit… fuck." She mutters drowsily, too pleased with herself that she's not actually insane. Not about that, at least. She half stubles through into the Santcum, blinking at the sudden warmth around her. It smelled spicy and homey at the same time. She shivers against the temperature change.

"…not… memorie*s* and emotions… not all of them… just one. Just… shit about Barney… need to get it out of my head, then I can… function. Move on. Get to work. Do… something. Then I won't feel like I fucked up… the one fucking person who… helped the world make sense. Fuck." She stumbles back into the chair, sitting there hard, but at least sitting. It dwarfs her skinny frame. With her hair still stringy around her face, she looks like some hunched over little street kid.


Shaking his head slowly, Strange waits until he's certain that Hilde is seated - and won't fall from the chair face-first onto the oriental rug that lines the hearth of the blazing fireplace - and then gets to pouring tea. It's not the perfect tisane for the situation at hand, but it will do for decent hydration and the beginnings of a return to electrolytic balance within her body.

The tea, in its white cup, is delivered not to her unsteady hands, but to the side table beside the chair. "It's hot," he cautions her. He sincerely hopes that she won't spill it on herself because that will hurt. After all, it's still steaming and wreathes the air with the scent of citrus, Asian greens, and perhaps the lightest twist of rosehips.

"Barney is the man that I healed, the one with the collapsed lung, I assume." He stirs some honey into his cup and the spoon clinks against its walls. "Given how he attempted to shoot me with a crossbow, I also assume that he wasn't pleased that you brought me into your home." Tap-tap, spoon set aside, and the Sorcerer Supreme takes up residence in his own chair. He sips at his tea and looks at Hilde through the wreath of mist rising from its surface. "You argued then?"


The woman seems to be managing to sit straight and not pass out, or puke, on his far too elegant carpet. Hilde looks painfully out of place here, all the elegancy and clean, warm beauty surrounding her meant for something also peaceful and lovely. She is a sharp cut of urban poverty and dirty here, her blonde hair looking more stringy, the patchy stains on her coat making it varied shades of black, the mud and muck too obvious on her boots, her cheeks hollow and thin. It's like he drug some pauper out of an alley into a totally different world. But she sits straight there, that ragged, mortal shell around the sleeping creature inside. She stares at him through those sunken eyes, even as the tea is ignored.

Blue eyes drop sluggishly to the tea a few heartbeats after he puts it down, just considering that warm steam, as if heat were as foriegn to her as this room. Then she looks back up to him, swallowing hard as he asks about the man, the argument. Just hearing his name stung, opened up that ache in her chest all over again. "…Y-yeah… he was.. pissed. So fucking angry. Screamed his head off at me. Apparently… a hidden bolt hole is more fuckin' important than his life. Called me… stupid… God, he was mad. Maybe I am stupid… Shoulda let him die. But… but I couldn't let him die. Couldn't." She says that last a bit more fiercely, the determination, love and protection clear behind her voice. Even as it rankles the Valkyrie, something restless in her soul. Hilde's love of the man, somehow, overcame that.


Strange leans his head back against the chair, tilted to one side, and stares at the fire for a bit. His brows are knitted tightly, but it's not in anger towards her. Everything about the situation is decidedly against the grain of normalcy, down to the fact that the Valkyrie within her allowed her to prevent a man from being escorted to the fields of Valhalla. He doesn't deal well with ingratitude.

"I understand, Hilde. You are nurse and medic, healer before…" He peters off to give her another one of his searching looks even as his eyes lighten. The Sorcerer can't tell if the Valkyrie's spirit is present through the sludgey chaos of the Medic's current aura. Simple, bitter unhappiness shadows every line of her normally-silvery light. "Healer before anything else. 'First, do no harm'," the good Doctor adds with a deeply-understanding and sympathetic tilt to his smile. He takes another long sip of tea and drums his fingertips on the porcelain as he considers Hilde once more. A faint psychic call is sent out, resonating via the wards that buoy it along to every corner of the Sanctum: Wanda, if you're in, your wisdom may be needed.

In the meantime, he relays his suspicions aloud: "I don't think you really want him erased from your memory. That's not the type of healing you want. You want it to stop hurting, plain and simple. And that will take time."


Finally, after what seems like ages, Hilde does lean forward and take that tea. She wraps her fingertips around the cup, nursing it for the warmth far more than she does the flavour. She doesn't even drink yet, but she huddles around it like a freezing woman finally having found a fire place. Slowly, there is a bit of almost color coming back to her face. Her lips aren't the ashen gray, almost blue, of a woman who has been soaked and cold for far too long. She clutches the warm cup like a life line.

"…I'm not, Doc… I mean, yes, I'm a medic, if someone ain't dyin'… I won't kill'em. I'll get'em the help they need. But… I not. I know what I am. I bring in the dead. Everyone in the fucking hospital knows what I am. I… give'em a hand to hold. Maybe I'm… cursed, or just shitty at my job, or…unlucky. But… I'm the one that sits with the dead. I… give them that last bit of… attention. Vigil. Whatever the fuck you want to call it. It's what I do." She might not understand the sleeping Valkyrie in her, still keeping the strange dreams at bay, dancing along that river of denial as long as she sanely can. But Hilde has also accepted her lot in life and she doesn't seem ashamed of it. She might actually be a little proud, a little defensive. It's important that someone does as she does. "…I know what they say about me and I don't care. But… I couldn't… be that for him. The fucker." Her mouth is no more pretty than her presence right now.

Then he goes on about those suspicions, and her too-blue eyes abruptly drop. She stares into the still slightly steaming tea, stringy hair falling in front of her strained features. SHe doesn't say anything for many long pulsebeats. She stares at the tea and breathes. "…be easier if he was gone… then I… wouldn't care. Wouldn't miss him. Thought maybe I'd just die. That'd show him. But… I can't even do that right."


Somewhere, a girl's just trying to make sense of the spirits haunting electronic items. One of those unfortunates bangs against the empty pop bottle, shrieking in electrical sparks and machine code, likely. Two books and a dictionary for Transian to German do not help her. The wards ringing are almost predictable, the universe's answer to her unspoken plea for anything to escape this dolorous imprisonment. Research is the part of magic no one ever tells outsiders (or you, dear reader) about, because nothing glorifies reading, note-taking, and jiggery-pokery involving a pile of flaming hay, an eggshell, and a snake hissing innuendo over one's shoulder.

Jiggery-pokery for real world applications is so much more exciting. Her head snaps up, the crick in her neck and that livid bruise on her shoulder giving her cause for a twinge. Fingers twiddle at the spirit thoroughly blocked by chewing gum, a screw on cap, and sixty-six wraps of scotch tape.

Out from one of the more warded rooms, then, Wanda goes walking with a purposeful stride. No one summons that roommate unless there is something important like the delivery of a stone with a greatsword sticking out of it, or Dracula wanting to know how she made vampire babies without his involvement. (Don't ask.) A book floats after her, refusing to be left behind, probably aware she hasn't finished with it. "Yes?"


"Sometimes someone needs a hand to hold, Hilde. If you can grant them that, in a moment of pain and fear, then you're a blessing rather than a curse." Let her note the utter gravity in his gaze. After all, this is the surgeon who flirted with death many a time and bested Death to attain his cheats. Sometimes, in the dark of the night, he wonders about the concept of mercy and whether or not he should have stayed his confident hands.

In the face of the Medic's self-effacing whispers, which he barely catches overtop the crackling of the logs, Strange becomes very still. Then, with steady grace and presence, he sets aside his cup and rises to his feet. His pacing, arms folded still within the confines of his black coat, brings him to before the fireplace. "Hilde Norris, look at me." It's a sofly-spoken command, not meant to raise hackles, but to draw the attention specifically to him, to his deeply-concerned moue. "Do not ever wish yourself dead. You are singular in this world. It is not a relief to disappear like a snuffed candle. It leaves grief and suffering behind."

At the appearance of the Witch, Strange glances towards her and then gestures towards his guest, still seated in the chair. To the chestnut-haired practitioner, he says, "Wanda, this is Hilde Norris. She wishes to have a specific memory removed, but I think that she wants something else entirely and only time can grant this." Sharp storm-blue eyes shift back to his guest. "Hilde, this is my consort, Wanda Maximoff. I ask her here because she has the ability to relieve you of this memory. But - it will not heal you, I promise," he murmurs to the stringy-haired blonde. "You run the risk of falling in love with Barney again and repeating this failure, Hilde. It's one hell of a time loop and a more likely possibility than you would think."


The woman in the chair looks like a drown rat. No part of her fits there. Her body is like someone took a person and then stretched them out, too tall, far too thin, all skin, bones, and stringy white-blonde hair. She's huddled down in a way that makes her shoulders stooped and her body look smaller, shorter at least, like she's trying to take up less space. If she could disappear in on herself, she would. She does, however, raise her eyes as Strange says her full name. She stares back into that noble, wise gaze, listening to his concerned tones. The reassurance about being singular in this world makes her thin lips smirk. She gives the smallest shake of her head. "…I ain't nothin' but a shadow that this city'll eat up one day, like it does everything, then forget I ever existed…" It's a weird combination, some of those older, more elegant words with her rasping Bronx accent. A contradiction, like most of her.

Then Wanda is there and her too-wide, icy blue eyes jerk to the side. But Wanda is actually there, not just some ghost from the walls, and she's being introduced. Hilde gives a slightly, shaky nod to her. "…Wanda. 'snice…Nice ta meetcha…" She even pulls one hand away from her mug, stretching it in the woman's direction for a shake. Her skin is icy cold except exactly where the cup had lingered. At least she's trying to be nice.

The words about Barney make her grimace some. She looks down, back into the cup of tea she's not actually drank yet. Her shoulders curl down a little bit more. "…Ain't gonna happen. That'd…require him talkin' to me and he ain't gonna do that… I… pissed him off again. Told me some sob story about his childhood and… I told him … fuck, I don't even know.. not the right thing. I'm shit at this. He ain't gonna talk to me again…" Those last few words are barely a whisper, swallowed back in her own pain. The woman had it bad for the man who was probably as much of a wreck as her.


Expectations about an ostentatious young woman in robes and pointy hat might be scuttled by the matte leggings or trousers and a burgundy leather corset worn over a black shirt. For some that's plainly underdressed, and she's missing the hoop-dress or beaded flapper gown such attire calls for. At least she has a scarf of some kind tied off around her hips, and it contributes a flash of gold, holding a row of beaded tassles and the odd coin. Look too close and it's old, alternating lead, gold, and bronze. Every last one is an obol.

The book floats over to her open hand, and rests upon Wanda's spread fingers lightly. She flips through a few pages, coming up to a spot with a fairly long, blank stretch of good paper. "Miss Norris. Good evening." No assumptions are made. Her accent gives her away as foreign if the tawny skin doesn't, and she surveys the situation from behind a mask, lowered gaze and downward tilted face from reading inestimably helpful in avoiding scrutiny. The side comment is throwaway, its meaning absolutely not. "You are something. You would not have such marks of purpose written on you otherwise."

Questioning brows tick a notch up. Barely, but the look pointedly given Strange could mean so much. "Cutting it out gives a chance to heal, though. Now the pain infects you and leaves you sick," she speaks to Hilde, but there's a professional opinion to be had. "It is lost love, yes? A man who is not good for you, and you hurt him or he hurt you? I am guessing." Witches know their business in a strange, deep way. It might only be for the sake of their guest she bothers to bring it up at all. "Or you give your heart time to heal and do not hit yourself every time it hurts."


While Wanda queries, he devests himself of both black coat and crimson scarf. Beneath, a dress shirt to go with dress pants, though not a white shirt - deep red, heading towards maroon and the blush of near-ripe blackberries. The coat and scarf are tossed haphazardly over the back of his chair. Perhaps the more perceptive in the room will note now the scarf adjusts itself into a more comfortable slipshod position atop the edge of the furniture covertly.

"It could indeed happen again, Hilde, and that's why it is a bad idea to go about removing this memory." Strange gives Wanda a return glance, one of his brows arched, before looking back to Hilde. He rolls up his sleeves and tightly crosses his arms, standing once more by the tea stand at the hearth. "If your Barney is indeed a wanted man, there is a good chance that he'll cross your path again, maybe as the victim of his own questionable machinations being brought to the hospital," and here, the good Doctor snorts softly. Sorry, young lady, but he does not approve of your man, even if he did bring him to total health. "You won't truly forget," he stresses, briefly removing a scarred hand from between arm and ribs to support his point through frustrated gesturing. It's hidden away again shortly after. "If you ever loved him, Hilde — and I mean loved — you can't erase that."


While Hilde isn't exactly a child, there are things about her which are younger than her thirty something years. Namely, that she's never really dealt with this love thing before, or a man, or being broken like this. The girl was too creepy and strange through her teenage years to ever get involved in the normal, hormonal mess that most adolescents rut their way through. She was always outside looking in. Holding the dead one's hand while a beloved sobbed and she stared on heartlessly. This is all new to her. New and awful. So she stares up at him again with slightly too wide, bloodshot eyes, trying to really accept what he's saying even as her heart rails against it. Though, it's the 'questionable machinations' which brings a line to her lips. "…He ain't that bad. He…he just does what he's gotta do." Still defending him, even now. She's in deep.

Then she looks over to Wanda, the accented girl and her questions. Hilde instinctively almost avoids that gaze, perhaps feeling too guilty or ashamed about it all. Maybe it's different with women. "…Yeah. Cutting it out. Healing. What she said." She repeats, but her heart isn't behind the words. She's too scared to lose him, as much as she needs to let go. She finally takes a sip of tea, something to do other than stumbling over answers. It's not until she's swallowed back deep that she whispers again, "…I…I probably hurt him… brought an outsider in… broke his trust. I was stupid…now he won't even listen…" Not to mention a probably rather severe dose of gaslighting, right there. But she's the kind of broken, skittish woman who is prone to it.


Never mind some of those statements come from the 'Domestic Abuse Handbook.' Or that a good many of them are defeatist, apologist, putting her on edge. Teeth shall not grind audibly, though her jaw flexes and twinges several times. Wanda's pupils expand almost to a point of inhuman width, drinking up the firelight, giving her an almost alien, frightening look. Her gaze remains fixed on the book, flipping a page back to engross herself in a passage apparently too dangerous to put into English. "You can cut it off. A tree stump still has roots and the soil knows." Another whisper of paper slipping against its peers has a most singular tattoo on the ears. "But the fallen tree does not put shadows on you or fight for the things you need to live. You will have room to grow. Are there people you trust that will tell this man to be gone?"

Undermining authority of Doctor strange is the best way to earn points, especially given she is not Missus Doctor Maximoff or Supreme Psychologist Wanda. But perhaps this is the reason he called her in his nefarious wisdom.

Her eyes narrow. Call it a failing of her English, but she slips into Tibetan almost out of reflex. It takes a little practice to warm up into it. "«A person visiting broke his trust? This is not love but control. All she says sits wrong with me, very wrong. I can see her dharma and karma lines are completely twisted without reason to their pattern except they are not fully her own, but grafted on. And I think she is trying to graft his branch onto her and forcing it to take, with bad consequences.»"

A pause, then she adds with no little relish, "«My brother would say this man is a right cock-up. Then Pietro would shove him down the stairs, and up them, and down again.»" The terrifying logic of twins must not be overruled, nor the occasional superiority of twelve minutes. He's not hear to witness it, so it never happened.


«I sensed the dissonance too, Beloved,» Strange replies in like Tibetan, his eyes shifting to the Witch. «But remember that I am not allowed to force a change in her fate. I am its shepherd. I can offer wisdom, but cannot ultimately control her. Her will is her own.»

To Hilde, in English proper, he says, "He is not good for you and that's the simple truth. You can decide to move on with your life, take it day by day, or you can cheat." Doctor, you cad, using her own slang against her. "You can take the easy way out and walk blindly into this mess all over again. I will not make that decision for you."

«And I'd let your brother do it,» he adds quietly to Wanda, even as he turns to pace away from them briefly.


The Tibetan is *clearly* a language that Hilde doesn't speak, but she's not deaf, so her pale eyes flicker up, between both of them, trying to gauge at some context about what is being said. A trace of cranky anger crosses her too-pale face as she conversation continues without her. "I am sitting right here, you know." Hilde deadpans, exhaustion making her even less personable than usual, which would seem nearly impossible for the blonde, but here we are. Wanda's first question, though, it rings in her head. People she trusts. Hilde gives just the smallest shake to her head. "…Don't…got anyone else… but him. No one I trust.. not really…someone people wanna be friends with." The cursed medic. The dead bringer. They called her all sorts of things around the hospital, few of them kind. It wasn't conducive to having friends.

It's also those words that cement whatever fear of losing him was in her soul. If she had them erase it, then she'd lose the one person who cared. She swallows back a bit tighter, against the sudden threat of tears behind her eyes and stinging in her throat. Wasn't she cried out by now? "…He…he took care'a me. Lit the fire place… " That seems to mean a lot to her, even if it makes little sense to outsiders. The cheat commentary does get a little glare from her, not so out of it that she missed it. She forces in a breath that isn't all that steady, "…don't…really wanna cheat. Just… want it to stop hurtin'… Vodka isn't working. Dying isn't working. I don't know how to make it stop… but I can't… Can't live like this."


"Yes, you are." Self-evident fact, Hilde stating the obvious stops Wanda in her consideration for only a minute. She can be cranky all she likes, the witch isn't rising to the occasion for any given reason. "English is my sixth language. I ask him things in harder words." Technical concepts do not compute well when once has a definite barrier of translation, in other words.

Strange's warning leveled, she falls quiet again to really look at the medic, and the circling of ruby through the darkness of her eyes manifests as rose petals floating on a midnight sea. It's hard to catch with her head tilted and the firelight playing tricks on the senses, especially the visual. "Listen well." The last time she discharged this suggestion, a demon stamped away from her. "'I brought an outsider in. I broke his trust.'" Her delivery is something more in that New York accent that Brunnhilde favours, and it's possibly a surprisingly close match. A mimic and observant, with a little concentration Wanda can pull the trick off. "'I pissed him off again. He won't talk to me again. He won't even listen.'"

After a lengthy beat, she puts both her hands on her thighs and bends forward, so they're closer to eye to teary eye, looking at one another directly. For a sorcerer, that's a dangerous thing. "Love is not trust. I say to you, twice. Love is not trust." Curt, sharp words from her don't allow for anywhere to hide, and it's not her usual terse tone; this is the witch talking, one of an ancient line, one imbued with a terrible wisdom that comes from right the fellow in a blackberry shirt right there. "A man worth love does not shut you out in silence. He never makes you feel terrible and bad for bringing a guest in. He would not like you to doubt your existence, your right to a life. He does not cut you off. He does not trust you. Love maybe, but not trust. You have a piece of him. You do not have him all. Caring for you at an important time is good, but the way he acts now is who he really is, and he is a fucking cunt."


Strange's back was turned for most of this exchange and the language is enough to make his shoulders visibly rise…and then fall into a slump.

Succinctly stated, he supposes.

Turning back to face the two young women, he walks over to Wanda's side and gives her a brief little frown. Not consternation, merely concerned pensiveness. Yet another discussion they'll have late into the night, the basis for this sudden surge in emotion from the Witch.

"I have to agree with Wanda, Hilde. He's not worth your time." He unfolds his arms, mostly to scrub briefly at one silvered temple. The other hand searches for the Witch's hand and brushes questioning fingertips along her wrist, lightly, with all the pressure of a passing breeze. "You will live, even if it takes time to heal. It hurts, it does, but taking the easy way around it solves nothing. It teaches you to avoid life…and that's not a life worth living. Think, Hilde. Think hard about this — about all of this."

The Sorcerer's eyes rest on the Medic, still shadowed with unease.


While Wanda, no doubt, has said every last word the medic NEEDS to hear, they aren't the words Hilde wants to hear. And they are said rather more forceful and passionately than Hilde can really handle. Someone once described her as a cat in room full of rocking chairs, so on edge and jumpy. Well, an overactive toddler just started rocking all those chairs. Hilde's frozen in place a few moments, listening to those passionate words, but all of her is a skittish line of nerves now. She has to swallow her heart back down her throat, listening, almost too scared to look away from Wanda. Numbly, she puts down her tea. Finally, when the woman is finished, Hilde just slowly starts to shake her head. Being slapped with truth is hard. Sometimes, too hard.

"N-no…No…he's not like that. It's not that bad. He's just… it's complicated, and his work is messy, and he's paranoid. He's scared and worried too. He's… not that bad." Hilde's clinging to the dying embers she feels for this man like a woman on a life raft. Especially when she's confronted with the actual truth, and possibility of getting what she asked. She begins to shakily stand, to prepare her escape.

"D-doc…I… I'm sorry. I…was stupid. Shouldn'ta bothered you…you and your lady. I'll stay away. Won't bother you again. I promise. I…I'll find more booze, somewhere. It… fixes everything… 'till it all goes away. S-sorry, again… I… I didn't mean to be a bother. I…I should go…" And unless one of them physically stops her, the skinny medic makes her stumbling way to the door and out. Still half drunk, at least not so numb and cold, breaking back out into the greater world and her lingering grief.


Says Valkyrie to the demon-hunter: 'I can't haaaandle the truth!'

The demon-hunter is categorically unimpressed, but some medicines require time to activate and release their panacea into the sickened patient. Like a good venom, the injection is the only part that matters. Some part of that brain will crunch over what she said. The mind will reflect. Maybe not today and probably not tomorrow, Hilde might actually recall what was inflicted upon her with precious little artificial sweetener to cloy the absolute necessity.

Wanda slips her hand into Strange's, the brush of her arm against his further entwining their limbs together. She leans slightly into him. Rage in her rarely means being loud; apathy and ambivalence are the greatest enemies of her welfare, and the possible volatility is painted by world-weary sadness. She's twenty with change and, sometimes, looks fifty, a hundred times older in the ancient regard of her eyes. Now is not one of those moments.

"Why does no one realize they are important? Sacred, because they live?" A question given without expectation of an answer, she finally rests her head against Strange's shoulder when the medic is running outside as fast as her Skellington legs will carry her.


Says Buddha to the masses, "Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth". The practitioners, as different as night and day yet paired with unerring influence on one another, have shown the light of truth to one with shuttered eyes.

It is entirely up to Hilde, as Strange stated earlier in the foreign language of the Himalayas, to see - or to go blind.

He will let her go and he will hate himself for it in the morning. Suffering grates on his spirit like sandpaper to wood, but it is, after all, her choice.

The Sorcerer returns the show of quiet affection with the press of a kiss to the Witch's wavy locks. "I'm not certain, «Beloved». Fate is a fickle player in the game of life. Perhaps it is her fate to live for someone else for a time. Hopefully she'll see that she needs to live it for herself."


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