1963-11-22 - Good Night, Hilde, Good Morning, Valkyrie
Summary: After Barney tries to drug Hilde into a peaceful sleep, he realizes he probably gave her too much. He calls upon the only miracle working doctor he knows to save her life, but it's not Hilde that wakes up.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
barney strange brunnhilde 

Night falls, as is its wont. The temperature has dropped a 'few' degrees and the moon, while turned away from harvest, isn't quite that small yet, so it is not hidden in the city lights. Barney has been home for a couple of hours; he's picked up more burgers and fries for dinner, and they've made short shrift of them. Two for Hilde, one for him. Hot chocolate for her, coffee for him. The one thing that Barney hasn't yet mentioned, nor will he (chances are!), is the fact that on his way home, he'd picked up a few extra things to go along with said dinner.

To backtrack, Barney is a killer. His specialty seems to be making things look like a decided accident, whether that means flushed brake lines (cut lines are amateur!), gas leaks and subsequent fires, or.. overdosing on prescription sleeping pills. He knows basic dosages in terms of what could kill a person, but he's a little more fuzzy on the proper amount to just put someone to sleep such that a restful night's rest is gained. Honest.. the sleeping pills put into the hot chocolate are just so Hilde can find peace in her sleep (not to mention a little safety for when she seems possessed.. player's description, not Barneys!).

So, dinner, shower.. and those moments in front of the fire is enough to lull the most stubborn of insomniacs to slumber. Add to that a rather high dosage of sleeping pills?

Is she still breathing? A hitch here, and a hint of a stoppage there is enough to pull Barney's attention away from his own thoughts and cause him to watch… truly watch the slumbering waif.



The more Barney watches, the more concerned he actually does get. The more concerned he gets, he rises from his seat and grabs a coat, his key to the motorcycle. Back again, and he leans over Hilde, checking her eyes, her breathing.. and pinches her at the sternum. Hard. She breathes, but there is no response. There should be a response, no matter how slight.

Now, he's more concerned.. and looking around, finds something to put her in. Flannel pajama bottoms. Wool socks. Pajama top, and a wool cape to wrap about her. Lifting her, Barney murmurs, "C'mon darlin.. it should'a been fine. Why're you doin' this t'me now? Can't you just… for once.."

Down the stairs and out..


A single headlight lights the path, and the engine dies as the switch is turned off. Hilde is in front of him, propped against him, but it was a difficult drive. Barney takes her gently, picking her up even as he steps off the bike. He's more concerned, more nervous now than before, and he quick-steps towards the door… the address that is on file with SHIELD. (Yes, yes.. Barney doesn't actually have the clearance to look at documents, but there are those moments of lax-ness. After all, he 'belongs' downstairs, right?)

Banging on the door, Barney calls out, "Doc! Y'gotta be home! Doc!"


Sanctum? Quiet and calm early in the night.

Doctor? Trying with much gusto to remain awake while reading over a treatise on the magics of the Ninth Dimension - and getting close to failure. The living room is warm with heat from the fireplace and just dark enough to illicit a comfortable slouch.

In light of the sudden banging at the front door, the book is near thrown from his hand. It still falls to the floor and he curses under his breath at a slightly-bent page as he fishes it up.

"Always - always when I'm doing something unimportant. Why can't they show up when it's business hours?" Strange grumbles as he pulls his red bathrobe tighter around him.

Who is he kidding anyways, the Sorcerer Supreme has no set business hours. When he's needed, he'll show. He answers the front door of the Sanctum in said bathrobe, sweatpants, and indoor-boots.

Leaning back briefly at the upraised fist of the man holding someone nearly slack against his body - Medic Hilde!

"You!" The good Doctor can't help the edge in his voice. "How did you - what's wrong with her?" Never mind. Help first, scruff-and-escort-out later. "Bring her in, this way." Once they're both inside, a gesture wills the door shut behind them and he leads the way over to a nearby bench within the foyer. Unconscious guests have lain her before.


Dead weight is always more awkward to carrying than the living, or at least the semi-conscious and sleeping. Even in sleep, there are little helps from muscles — Hilde curling into his chest or an arm wrapping around is throat. This is definitely not that. She's all awkward, long limbs and strangely heavy frame for being nothing but limp in his arms. Her height works against them here — how is someone so skinny so damn tall? It's like she's taffy all drawn out.

Not really breathing taffy.

Hilde doesn't generally retain heat well, despite fire place, warm wool blanket, good food. She's just the one to always freeze Barney with her fingers or toes. It was almost a sacred duty. But now all of her is cold, simply gray and cold. Her lips have that same slight blue tinge they did the night she was out in the rain, but she's not nearly so damn tonight. She's just still. Unnervingly still. Otherwise, she's actually looking a bit better? Her hair isn't stringy but a soft blonde fringe around her features and she might have had enough good meals that her face doesn't look sunken. Her clothes are clean. She doesn't smell like booze.

She's just not really breathing, and that's a damn problem. She lays out bonelessly on that bench, one arm sloppily dropping over to the floor, utterly limp. Even if her face is really all that's visible in the layers of wool Barney's put her in, and now the edge of her fingertips.


Barney waits, or rather, it seems to him that he waits between banging on the door to allow for some reaction, but he really doesn't. So, when the door opens to upraised hand, it means that he can shift the weight that is Hilde and even it out. He doesn't even bother speaking, but rather moves in before he gets the invitation, not worrying about the door behind him.

Bench.. bench.. and Barney lies her down there, tucking the woolen clothing and cape around her. Now, when he straightens, he looks at Strange full on. "I gave her somethin' to sleep.. so she'd get a good night's rest. Y'know.. she hasn't been getting a lot of sleep, and I figured…"

He doesn't sound apologetic. Just.. worried now. "She's been really tired and fighting resting. Only last couple of days, she's actually been eating."


Already, Strange is in medical mode. Hilde is far too pale, too blue around the lips for his comfort. He's fairly itching to get his hands onto her and get to stabilizing, but the man interrupts him with an explanation. One he finds mind-bogglingly irresponsible.

Cue the thunderous look. "Just started eating? And you dosed her with what exactly?" He'll listen to the answer while he figures out exactly how much trouble the young woman is in.

He kneels down on one knee and rapidly begins to take vitals. Airway, clear. Breathing…questionable. Gods below, that's going to have repercussions, even more so than currently; no wonder her lips are blue. Circulation - oh, that is unnervingly thready for how long it takes him to feel the vein in her neck actually expand with each pump of her heart. "Tachycardic, hypotensive…" He lifts up one eyelid to reveal a nearly-unresponsive pupil, even in the light of the foyer. "Stupid, stupid Medic…" the good Doctor mutters. "Why?"

The sleeves are rolled up and Strange closes his eyes as he sets a hand across her brow. She is cold and clammy. Too cold.

"Come on…I know you're in there…" The psychic prodding is channeled into the Medic's mind, aided by skin-to-skin contact. Where is that stalwart presence he saw a flash of? It's likely the only thing keeping Hilde alive right now, with how weakly she breathes within the confines of the wool blanket.


To a layman's eye, Hilde's dead. That's what she looks like, laying there, limp limbed and awkward laying on the bench. There isn't a single response to any of Strange's poking, just a far too yielding body and a lot of not good news. If they were lucky, this is the worst the drugs will do. Or maybe they haven't even taken full affect yet, who really knew. Still, somehow, her heart fights threadily on. For the moment.

That touch against her forehead gets no more response than anything else. But the mental words? That echo through her psyche, even if what is the essense of Hilde is long passed out and half gone, there is something else. Something more spiritual than physical, something that isn't just firing neurons and physical brain. The Valkyrie. It's sluggish, hard for even her to get through in this state, but she's heard him. The death cheater… I do not have the moments to spare you, good sir. I am rather attempting to keep this shell alive.

In the room, while there is no greater breath, her hand twitches. Just slightly. Maybe it wasn't anything? But her fingertips, it's like they are trying to flex.


Barney keeps up with pharmaceuticals, believe it or not. Benzodiazepine is a 'new' thing on the market, just mid- to late 1950s. Librium is one of them, Valium has just been approved for use earlier this year! Of course he couldn't say 'Benzodiazepine' to save his life. "Librium." Sleep aid. Good to treat anxiety, insomnia, agitation, seizures, muscle spasms and, oh look, alcohol withdrawal!

He watches, but can't bear to watch. Barney paces, almost dances in place as he tries to keep himself calm in the face of all this now. A hand rises to run fingers through longer straight hair now, in that attempt to keep it out of his eyes, but fails as it falls back into place like the mop that it is. "C'mon, Hilde.. don't do this t'me.." is murmured. "Goddammit.. why'd you go and .. dammit, Hilde.."

The cyanotic look to the skin doesn't help Barney any with his temperment, and he moves forward, then stops himself and backs up.. and then, "C'mon doc.. can't you do anything for her?"


"Happy to hear you too, Deathscort." Get that? Death? Escort? What a sass. Strange's brows knit further as he focuses his senses deeper, attempting to put some essence into his thoughts. "Your body isn't going to make it for much longer unless you let me help. I can burn this out of her blood. Or are you so enamored with your job that you'll lose yourself in it?"

Distantly, Barney's answers reach him. Bringing his chin up from his chest, the good Doctor glances over his shoulder at the man. There's no hiding the odd silvery-violet of his eyes, so different from their usual steel-blue. "I'm doing what I can. You can help by staying back and not interrupting me. I might be able to pull her back, but she's dancing on that merry line." Light words, heavy tone. "It's an overdose."

All the while, his senses, bolstered by the Sight, are awaiting another reply from that presence deep within her psyche. Maybe…just maybe…


What keeps me here treads at death's door and you are making puns. That voice echoes back in his direction. Is that hand on the ground giving him the middle finger? Surely not. Probably just a twitch. ODs are like that. And Asgardians don't know how to be so crude, right? Even if this Valkyrie has been trapped in a girl from the Bronx a REAL long time, so full well recognizes the impact of a proper middle finger.

And then, because being shown up by the Death Cheater would just be totally awful, the Valkyrie does something she hasn't actually done in a long time. She draws on power. Not much, the essence of her spirit having been sleeping for a long damn time and that is a lot of cosmos to draw power across, but it's enough to take full, sloppy control of the body. Strange can feel it, that pulse of power that is purely metaphysical, and she tries to slam him OUT of the woman's body and push her presence even stronger there.

Suddenly, Hilde's eyes snap open. They are not blue, but are purely silver gray, the color of storm clouds over a battlefield. The scent of poppies floods the room. She's still not actually breathing, a look of almost panic on her face as the woman tries to figure out how to make this body operate. Then, sudden as a breaking dam, she drags in a ragged gasp. Enough to give oxygen to that fluttering heart. But it's not easy. She's puppeting a body which *doesn't want to function*.

"…Help…me… Healer…" She rasps out. Didn't she just kick him OUT of her body? Women.


Barney catches the words 'over dose' and he takes a step back to lean on the wall, staring. He shoves fingers into his eyes to stall any tears that may rise. Dammit.. he's never cried over anyone.. no one. Not his parents, not.. "Oh god.." he murmurs. No women, no children.

"Hilde, c'mon darlin'.." comes as a hoarse whisper. There's got to be more going on, there has to be… but he can't see them, can't sense them until…

That smell. Blue eyes outlined in red look up, look around, "D'ya smell that, doc? What the hell is that? I.. I smelled that once befo-" Oh.. and those eyes that open… they're not Hilde's. Steel grey-

"Uh.. doc?" It's one of those concerned, 'Will you look at that?' sort of sound that comes. Then, though, she's breathing.. sorta. And speaking.. kinda.

"Hilde? Hilde.. doc, you see.."


The Doctor's head whips back to face Hilde as the dry echoes of the being within her psyche reach him. He grins - no, smirks - and closes his eyes once more. "Show me what you've got then."

And she does. With a quiet yelp, Strange has to yank his hand away from her forehead. The skin of his palm tingles with pins-and-needles, the lingering kiss of the Valkyrie reacting to the anathema of his null-death state. Oh good, she's trying to breathe - there we go, wonderful. He shakes his fingers to regain feeling within them as he glances over his shoulder at Barney, Sight-lit eyes narrowed.

"I can see it just fine. She'll live, give me a bit more time."

Let the Valkyrie explain precisely who she is to the man.

To Hilde, er…not-Hilde? To Not-Hilde, he returns his focus and centers himself on both knees just beside her ribs. "A healing spell then, Valkyrie," he murmurs, only for her ears, "and then you can go about your business."

Both arms extend overtop her body, palms downwards, splayed wide with their scarring and sudden lack of quiver. The shadows painted across her body are suddenly wiped by the blossoming of sky-blue light around the mudras he forms. "Changa," the good Doctor whispers, eyes near-shut, and the magic swirls around before diving into her body, at the middle of her sternum and into her diaphragm. It should feel like hydrogen peroxide, unfortunately, with the amount of drugs he needs to burn from her blood, so…there might be some reactions.


Alas, while Barney might be the first thing on Hilde's mind if she was coming out of something like this, Hilde isn't coming out of anything. She's still locked in half dying body and drugged brain. The Valkyrie is all that's aware, and not near so in control as she was was that night she came out of the dreams. They were happy dreams, that evening, the hunt, the glorious dead, noble warriors and blood strewn fields. The sensation around all of them isn't one of a well fought battle but a panicked, desperate struggle. The sort of battle that leaves both sides decimated and struggling, where the only thing that ends up happy is vultures. A battle fought in cowardice. Sickness. The drugs in her blood almost translate to the scent of blood on the air, with the poppies. It's sick. Something is wrong. The horses are panicking.

Those wide silver eyes search the room in a few moments of the true sort of fear that comes with powerlessness. This was as bad as the box. She was trapped in this useless, cold and growing stiff body as she was trapped in that box elsewhere. She reminds herself to breathe in again, the motion an unnatural, jerky, forceful thing. She can't do it on her own. But with breath, there are words hissed out. "…out… Let me… out…Get me… Out." She begs. Maybe not the words expected, but they were true and scared. Her heart labors, ragged and arryhtmic, as her spirit fights with a dying body.

Then Strange actually *does* something. The cleansing spell, while it won't get her heart and lungs moving again, will stop the thing depressing them. The rest is up to adrenaline and fear. Fortunately, when her brain begins to fire, she's going to have plenty of that. A scream that is one of pure agony and shock erupts from her throat as that drug burns from her blood. Her arms reach out, trapped in that wool wrap again. Her muscles simply don't have the strength to push through right now, not oxygen deprived for so long. So, gracelessly, she just tumbles straight off the damn bench. But she's on the ground now, breathing in shallow gasps, but patterned gasps. Breathing regularly. Tears and cold sweat mingle down her cheeks.


"Wh-what is she, doc? I mean, look at her!" Barney's voice rises, "Don't you smell the goddamned flowers?" He's restless, scared, and as he watches the doctor, it doesn't look as if the man is doing a damned thing to help her but.. hands. What the FUCK is that? Seriously!

Finally, it's all he can handle. The doc isn't doing anything to help her, and reaching into a concealed holster, he draws his pistol and holds it out, now aiming it at the good doctor's head. "Help. Her.. or so help me god, you are going to fucking go down." Desperation is in the air.

And there it is, the scream. The blood curdling, terrified, anguished scream. He can't help himself; he reacts quickly and takes the steps to her side as she goes down onto the floor and makes the attempt to scoop her up into his lap, however awkwardly, holding that gun out.

Are those tears? Could be…


Barney is actually quite lucky that the good Doctor was so intensely-focused on the patient lying in previous limp-limbed slack across the bench in the foyer. It's a side effect to healing, the disconnect from the world around him, and the man's shaky words slide into his brain with the speed of molasses.

He was expecting the reaction, even if everyone else wasn't. With an audible sound of irritation at being so nearly shoved aside, he disengages from the spell. The energy, still riffling with the cleansing strength of the spring vespers, ceases to flow into Hilde and then, he drawing back another step. He now stands a few strides back, towards the center of the Sanctum's foyer.

Strange blinks a few times, clearly coming back to himself, and then - the absurdity of the scene truly unfolds to his consciousness. There is the brutal black hole of the barrel of a gun being pointed at him, unamusingly directly at his chest.

"And this is the gratitude I get for saving her," he murmurs, narrowing his glowing eyes at the gunman. Slowly, he raises his right hand…and snaps.

Even as the sound echoes around the vast space of the foyer, the silvery wards stoop with the speed of a supernatural falcon. With equal, unerring viciousness, they rapidly twine around the pistol. The weapon doesn't stand a chance, not within the central node of the Sorcerer's power. In less time than it takes for a chance depression of the trigger, it is gone - taken apart at an atomic level and dispersed into small sparks of lingering gunpowder. The level of scalpel-like precision should leave Barney's skin untouched by all but the lingering heat of the dismantling.

"Next time, it's you," the Sorcerer says with all the emotion of a shark.


It's not Hilde in his lap. Well, it is. It's her tiny body, thin shoulders, still too cold flesh. She's easier to pick up than she was when he was dragging her here, actually some response in her body as he moves her now. But it's not her behind those silver dollar eyes. And the scent is still there, sweet poppies and soured blood. It gets stronger when he touches her, just like the other day in the bed. She's still breathing raggedly, body gulping down every last bit of oxygen she can. "…Get me out… please. You… you are her's. Help her. Help me… Get me out…" The strange, throaty voiced woman whispers to Barney, trying to push the wool wrap off of her, too claustrophobic in the tightness of it all.

The Sorcerer's reaction to this is only barely noticed. For all the impressive power he shows, the strange blonde is battling a lot of her own demons. She can feel the brush of ozone and life power to her side, near where Barney's hand that doesn't touch her is, but she can't let him get distracted. She doesn't want to. "… Sorcerer, he knows not what he does…" She breathes out raggedly.
Fortunately, Brunnhilde does have one hand free. The one that fell out of the wrap right when she was first lay down. Seeing that glimmer down his cheeks, and knowing his reaction to that power is probably going to be poor, she reaches those small fingertips up, cupping his face gently. It almost feels like someone far larger, stronger, is touching him. The pad of her thumb brushes against his jawline. "…do not fret, killer.. She is here. Simply… recovering. She does not have the strength she needs for your games…" But there is an odd care in the creature's deeper voice.


Magic. Barney's not a 'magic' person, at all. Normal, every day sorta guy who's been thrust in the middle of it all. He doesn't know Valkyrie; it's just some crazy second personality that is leading Hilde into bad decisions. He has little to no memory of his own healing, and has absolutely no grounding in any of it. All he's seen is hands. No medine as he knows it, nothing.. nothing but mumbling and hands.

And now? Barney's tripped. He's desperate and those probably are tears that are falling. The scream reverberates in his head; the pain, the terrific pain and fear in the words that form, begging for help.

And all the doctor is doing is… hands.

The gun, Barney's got Hilde partially in his lap, cradling her, the gun up and pointed dangerously. He looks like a man who is not afraid to use it. He won't lose any sleep over it, he won't… before it disintegrates. Literally disintegrates in his hand, the heat from the destruction of the metal object on an atomic level.. and he yelps more in suprise than pain or, oddly enough, fear. "Jeezus Christ! What the fucking hell?!"

Was there a threat? If there is, it's missed with Hilde/Not Hilde's touch to his face. It brings his attention in, his wet eyes. "God, Hilde.. you.." It's not.. "Who are you?" At least he's not back pedaling, trying to get away from her.. not like the other night, anyway. "What are you?"


The warning is delivered and it won't be repeated. If the mortal tries anything stupid again, it'll be another dimension entirely for him. Probably the one with tentacles.

"I think he fully knows it," Strange replies quietly to the Valkyrie struggling to remain in control. "No one draws a gun without the intent to kill." Folding his arms, he levels the glare now at Barney.

To the man, "If you can draw a gun, you can get her home again. If you can get her home, and not only that, but acquire Librium, then I know you can get further aid for her. Consider fluid loss and withdrawal symptoms." The silvery wards swish up visibly around his shoulders and linger there, seeming to glow with a pulsating sense of checked malice.

"Get her home," the good Doctor repeats again, with the authority he possesses. "And if I ever see you again, you'd better be unarmed, you ungrateful bastard."

Ungrateful as to what? Let the man decide. There are multiple options, most of which revolve around the not-quite-woman in his arms.


Hilde isn't coming back, not quite yet. Shock is an awful thing and the woman in her head doesn't trust this body not to fall into it when the shaky, uncertain medic retakes control of the body. So, Valkyrie remains in charge. The calling from Strange has been the first time she's really, FULLY been pulled into *this* world, anyway. Previously, her's was the realm of dreams. Just another prison, really. It's nice to be free. Even if something in the ragged man's eyes breaks a heart she hasn't had in a very long time. She keeps her small hand there, marveling at just how tiny this body is. It's odd. "…Barney Barton." It's the first time she has said his name, instead of killer. She knows who he is, but it's said with a command that Hilde never has. She's trying to keep his attention before Strange's threats grab his temper.

"…I am…Brunnhilde. Though… they call me Valkyrie. Called… me Valkyrie. It's… complicated. I am the only reason this shell has life…" Speaking is odd too. Full, sane sentences, without giving into that panic of being trapped or letting the other woman's mind take full control. She draws in another slow, deep breath, trying to calm this body and assess the damage. She's not that good with damage to living bodies.

Then her head turns, silver ice eyes laying on the other. The magic worker. The one that did safe her life, she knows this, and Barney's before her. She looks a touch grim as she studies the elegant looking, slender man. "…He does not see the bigger picture. He… lacks wisdom. But… we shall depart. I… owe another life to you, it seems, Deathcheater. I expect you are a man with a long memory." She tilts her head to him. A brush of respect, an acknowledgement of debt.


Barney doesn't do anything without intent. Absolutely he'd have used it; and he'd not have blinked an eye or lost sleep later. Cold blooded, absolutely. Sociopath? Most definitely. Bastard? Nah.. his parents were married.

He's in a semi state of shock, otherwise known as 'what the fuck'ed'ness'. As she speaks to him, and has her hand on his cheek, he bows his head, his shoulders moving now as he actually cries. He's going crazy. It's not her, it's him. He nods his head at his name before he brings an arm up to wipe at his eyes with his sleeve.

Slowly he rises then, without really listening to much else. Home.. he's going to bring her home. Barney's got no idea what happened, what is happening.. but he does know that it's time to go home.

He doesn't want to let go, doesn't want to get up.. but he gains his feet before he leans over to pick her up gently and carefully, ready to take her out.


Ah. Barney Barton. There's a name the vault-minded Sorcerer won't forget anytime soon.

Strange doesn't cringe or avoid the Valkyrie's eyes landing on him, even if it makes the hair on his neck rise with the sense of hovering shadows. He's going to have to wash the scent of poppies from the clothing he wears. A slow nod, acknowledgment of manners in the face of such knee-jerk idiocy, and the good Deathcheater replies with quiet steel, "A /very/ long memory, Deathscort." Equally-Mystical irises shift to Barney. "Get her home." The final command is directed to the shaken man.

He's certain not to put his back to the pair and once he's certain that the young woman - no, Valkyrie - is safely ensconced with the questionable man on the motorcycle, the front doors to the Sanctum are shut with a sharp thud that resonates through the night air.

Patient dismissed.

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