1963-12-15 - Strange Gratitude
Summary: Now in possession of her full mind, Brunnhilde comes by Strange's Sanctum to give him a proper thanks for all the help. Their friendship quickens.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
brunnhilde strange 

Slumped in his highbacked chair before the fireplace, the Sorcerer Supreme takes a breather. Wards. So many wards. Every single one fighting him madly due to the contemptuous touch of outer-Realm magic.

His sigh escapes him in a slow hiss between lightly-bared teeth. His eyes are hidden behind a shading hand while the other draws a line into the fabric with a single nail. Scritch-scritch-scriiitch. Silence. Silence is wonderful. Silence is…really grating on his nerves, as tired and Mystically-fried as they are.

The wards perk to something approaching the Sanctum and Strange drops the hand resting along his brows. With a faint glow of power around the centers of his eyes, he glances over his shoulder, through the chair, and towards the door. The silvery spells slither around the space before the front doors, gathering information, while their Master awaits with narrowed attention.


If there was any thought that maybe the Valkyrie would entirely take over little Hilde Norris' mind when they finally just opened up to each other, the fact that she's carrying two mugs of New York City street-cart coffee which is strong as Turkish black would prove otherwise. This is only coffee a Bronx girl knows how to get. And while her hair doesn't look quite so stringy and her blue eyes are so pale they're practically arctic, she's not screaming of power as she did before. It's just a low trickle. Poppies and blood on metal, but not a screaming field of war. Just a brush of something underlining the presence of a body so thin and frail she might not really register as a person.

Not a healthy one, at least.

A night's sleep, a shower and a change of clothing has helped the woman far beyond what she was the evening before. She's in a pair of jeans and a heavy sweater, a man's coat across her skinny shoulders (probably stolen from Barney.) But it's her step which is a bit more than the skittish Hilde. Calm. A touch confident, even in her frail frame. She knocks with the toe of her boot a few times before pushing the door open with her hip. "…it's a morning for coffee, not tea." Her tone is a quiet rasp, almost a tease, as she steps into the room, the scent of her power mingling with that strong Turkish brew.


Thank goodness the wards know of Hilde. Otherwise, they would have attempted to dismantle her like they did the gun held to the back of their master's head not too long ago. It's a brave individual who enters without permission.

At the entrance of the skinny woman, Strange is on his feet and rapidly walking to meet her, in case the wards decided to take offense. Not this time. They swirl briefly around her with a frisson of chill before retreating behind their master to hover at his shoulders, as they did before, simply existing.

The light about his pupils fades even as he looks from mugs of coffee up to Hilde. "Morning already? Time…certainly flies. And I don't drink coffee." With that, he turns on his heel and walks back over to the chairs. He pauses a few steps short of the left-side chair, clearly tempted to flump back down into it, but manages to gather some decorum about him and turns to face her once more. "That was rude, sorry. Thank you, but I don't drink coffee. Too acidic."

A nod towards the chair on the right-hand side and then the Sorcerer sits back down. "Have a seat, Hilde. How can I help you?" Asked with a hollowness to tone and perhaps a smidge of impatience.

Grumpy Sorcerer is grumpy.



"You can't." Hilde states simply, as if that sums everything up and should be an immediate reassurance at the same time. But then something in her mind realizes that probably explains very little and she continues, "I mean, you have already, in the past. That's enough. I ain't actually here for help." It's definitely Hilde. Or, well, part Hilde. That Bronx accent, the lazy, low class English invading her words all to clearly, especially for this hour of the morning.

But there's something more too. It's like she knew she'd be fine in the wards. She walked into the place without fear, with a confidence that is so very uncharacteristic of the shaken little woman he met at the hospital. Like any place would be lucky to welcome her. That isn't Hilde in the least. She does smirk, though, thin lips pulling into a line as he comments about the coffee. "This also ain't coffee. This is Turkish Delight from Sergei down the block and it will change your life." She sets it down in front of him, just in case he wants to give it a try.

Then the woman folds down across from him, sinking elbows forward to rest on the top of her knees as both her boney hands clutch around her own paper cup of the stuff. She studies him for several of her hummingbird heartbeats, a single brow arching as she realizes just how tired he looks. "…You look like shit. I…really just came by to say thanks. I… hell, it ain't normally my place to thank someone for helpin' me cheat death, but I rather like this body and even the idiot I sleep with, so… Thanks. Truly."


The wards don't need to alert him to the fact that isn't Hilde — or the Valkyrie — but the middling of the two. The realization dawning on him can be seen in how he shifts upright in his seat rather than continue the mildly-petulant slouch, in how his steel-blue eyes narrow slightly and that sardonic little smirk creeps onto his lips.

Never mind the Turkish Delight sitting in front of him on the side table, its steam redolent of spices and hints of darker notes that are rather tantalizing to consider. The woman sitting across from him is far more interesting in the moment.

There is that self-assurance, the lack of quailing in upon herself, and those irises are not entirely hers either. Is that the faintest scent of poppies?

Her first comment as to his appearance deepens that smirk. The following statement regarding appreciation makes him raise both eyebrows noticeably.

"You're welcome, Hilde. Or whomever I'm really speaking to," Strange amends tartly. "It's unfortunate that you're still with that man, but I have the suspicion that you can handle your own now, so…never mind my thoughts on that matter." A pause and those brows drop into a mild frown as he shifts in his seat, interlacing fingers to create a bridge from elbow to elbow that both settle on armrests. "Gratitude and Turkish Delight. Surely there's something else you've come to discuss with me? How I thumbed my nose at your Mistress, perhaps? Whether or not I've come close myself?"

Teasingly-said, of course, even with the hint of an edge.


Perhaps she came just because she had an odd feeling he might be one of the few people who *did* understand. Who has seen both sides of her and isn't going to push for one or the other. Mortals and Asgardians are still *people*, which means very few things are done out of pure selflessness. But, as he presses for whatever else she's come to discuss, she rolls her thin shoulders in a bit of a shrug and slumps back into the chair, sprawling there in a way that almost mirrors how he was sitting before she came in. "Nah. Seriously…just came to say thanks. You didn't have to do any of that shit and…I didn't really get it before, who…What you are. We brought a whole bunch'a petty stuff to your door and I can at least show a bit of gratitude, since Barney'll never wise up to do it." She smirks, under no illusions about the man she's sleeping with.

"And… yer still speaking to Hilde. Brunnhilde, to be… fully specific. I dunno if…my coming here made my parents pick up the name, magic or…mental influence, or somethin'… Or of it was just a happy concidence. But, if you're being formal, it's Brunnhilde. I hate to be formal." She raises her mug to him in a silent toast with the sweet black sludge she's drinking, then knocks back a good gulp of it.

"And yeah…I'm stayin' with him. I got rather fond of my killer over the time. Even if I can handle my own a… bit more now." She looks from him down towards the long, thin body she encompasses, "…I don't know if I really had a…choice… this woulda been the mortal frame I picked for myself. It's a little…Frail. Part of me is worried I'm gonna accidentally break it."


"Hilde then," Strange replies firstly, with a nod towards the young woman's preference. "You certainly didn't have to bring the Turkish Delight. Your gratitude is enough." That smirk turns more into a smile now, even if it's a tired one. "I know that I didn't have to do anything, but I swore an oath when I first became a doctor and it involves doing no harm. It also means that if I can avert harm, then I'm duty-bound to at least attempt it."

He considers the mug of brew sitting on the side table before dismissing it again. Suspicious? Stubborn in accepting gifts? Who knows, his is a squirrely mind.

"The mortal body can be delicate sometimes, yes," he muses aloud. Certainly he would know. "But you seem to be doing just fine so far. Consider what your…body? Host. Your host learned in her time at the hospital. You've seen what can go wrong. Simply avoid…all of that." He flips a hand nonchalantly.

Then the smirk comes back with a bit of darkness again. "And Barney. What does he think of all of this?"


"…Well, I needed it. I've gotten rather fond of this world's… stronger pick me ups. Figured, I might as well not be selfish about the purchase." Hilde admits with a shrug of her thin shoulders before raising her own styrofoam cup in his direction and taking a good sip of the stuff. She doesn't even wince at the strong, dark, almost syrupy brew. That's what she wanted. "…and yes, you are a healer. A protector. It is… a noble thing you do, and a reassurance to watch you keep your shit together and your promises in tact…" It's such a strange mingling of turns of phrase, but it just comes natural to her now. "Still don't mean you deserve two half crazy people on your doorstep on a semi-routine basis. I doubt that was in anythin' you bargined for when taking this job."

Another sip of her coffee, but her gratitude is done and offered. If he feels uncomfortable taking it, Hilde seems content in the fact that she at least tried. It was tradition for her. A show of respect, especially to one of such power and position. His commentary about the mortal body earns a single cocked eyebrow and an immensely dry smile. "…Avoid all that. Yes. How could I have been so foolish to miss the simplicity of it all. I shall be sure to do exactly that easiest of tasks." Her words are horribly deadpan, flat with purely sarcastic humor, but her blue-gray eyes glimmer with a trace of amusement.

"…Barney… he… I think he's still piecin' things together. He ain't kicked me out, which is good because… that'd piss me off and break her and… I dunno. It'd just be a needless mess. I think he ain't used to being with someone who can hold their own but… ain't a bad thing either. I'll teach my killer, don't worry."


Even the curious lean of his mind can't be kept at bay by distrust; not against her, just a hard-learned lesson lately with unknowns. A raven-wing eyebrow arcs up in clear disbelief at her statement regarding changing such a man, but…who knows. Hilde's is an extraordinary set of circumstances. Just maybe she can become a positive change in life. Or at least convince him that pointing guns at Sorcerers are a bad, bad idea.

He takes up the Styrofoam cup and sniffs at it. No doubt she's close to rolling her eyes at him. The first taste is almost a kick in the teeth of concentrated taste and sugary sweetness. He swallows it with noticeably effort and stares down at the dark surface as he licks at the corner of his lips.

"Well, it's not…terrible, but — it's singular." There's a ghost of a lilt on the end tone, indicating that he might be thinking aloud rather than speaking to her directly.

The cup remains in his scarred hand as he looks up at Hilde again. "Remember too that gravity is not your friend, especially from more than thirty feet. Shin bones make awful sounds when they snap." Similarly deadpanned, right back at her, but of course, also too that glitter of humor behind half-lidded eyes. "Your Barney would probably know this, if not from personal experience, from his own mishaps throughout his life. He seems like a rough sort. Not the roughest I've dealt with lately." A bit of a slump and bitter-looking smile. "You two are nothing in comparison, and please — don't take that as an insult. You're…nearly normal in comparison." Which might just be saying something. "Where does this leave you though, Hilde? And I'm asking your Valkyrie aspect in particular," he amends, uncurling one finger from around the white cup to point at her. "Trapped in a human body, with that amount of power. I did some research since I last saw you, in my free time, and you must have…another body somewhere? Is this your soul trapped within her?"


The skinny woman across from him barks out a laugh which is VERY un-Hilde like. It's a sound that's made to come from a far stronger body and powerful lungs. It's the sound of a woman who knows how to enjoy life as well as death. If her laugh is at his taste of the coffee or at the commentary about she and Barney being normal, it's not totally clear, "You amuse me, Strange… The most refined of men who manages to get himself into the most undecorous of situations, and yet you still cling to that elegance. It's a lovely dance to see." She chuckles a bit softer, eyes glinting as she leans back in the chair in a way that speaks of confidence. The way a king would casually sit in a throne. Her long legs cross at knobby, skinny knees.

The last parts of his questions, though, are less than amusing. She sighs deeply, "… I shall… explain best I can… if you are willing to tell me this tale of someone more rough than Barney Barton. I shall need the amusement after such a summary. Is it a deal?" It seems gratitude only goes so far. Now this is an exchange of power — even if that power is simply information and the odd building of a friendship.


Oddly enough, the laugh takes him back to a simpler time sitting across the table from an Asgardian Goddess of War who shares his same humble origins and an interest in the Lone Ranger's loyal steed, Silver. The resettling of the leggy woman is mirrored in turn by the Sorcerer, an easy thing to do when entertaining a guest and ensconced in the center of his power. After all, the majority of conversation and intentions between beings involve the subtler cues of body language. To mirror is to encourage further interaction. Strange retains the weary crow's feet about his eyes, but that thin smile remains. At his hand, the Turkish Delight is swirled within its container in skilled rotation; the leading edge of the dark brew never quite touches the top edges of the cup. It's clearly a habitual fidget on his part, though more likely demonstrated with tea and a demi-tasse.

"I have tales, Lady Valkyrie, that would amuse your little heart to no end. Deal."

She's allowed to laugh if she catches the little mutter of 'Indecorous, pfft' from behind the shielding of the white cup as he sips once more at the brew. Still testing. Not certain judging by the wrinkle at his nose.


That is very much the energy that has now suffused this little body, bigger for it's personality alone and not frightened to show it. If she catches his mirroring, there is no immediate calling of him on it, but the smile remains, more relaxed for it. Friendship can be struck in bargains and deals after all, correct? Best not to let anyone think you are too soft. "…Excellent, as have I. Perhaps we shall grow not-old together seeing whom can entertain whom the most? I could use such distractions on this world…" She doesn't seem to be teasing there, but fond, the plans to stay clear behind her eyes. She loves this place and has come to rather enjoy him.

She *does* catc the indecoroous mutter, both brows arching mutely, but he's getting a *look* of charmed accusation.

But, a promise is a promise. She exhales a slow breath through her nose and knocks back the last taste of the bitter sweet sludge in her mug before she rests it aside. She's not put off at all by the taste, downing it as easily as cool water on a hot day. Her throat clears a touch and she begins, "I once had a… dear friend. Or, a woman I thought a friend. The Enchantress. She was… Is… damaged. Emotionally, if not physically. Many gave up on her when I still tried to remain her heart-sister. Eventually, though… one time too many used, betrayed… I fought back. While I have her in physical power, her magics… " Hilde shrugs quietly, "She is the Enchantress. She had magic beyond my capabilities. She… locked me away. It should have been body and soul but, in the last moments, some of my spirit managed to escape. To wander. I… came here and found a suitable vessel, a child completely empty of soul, just a body kept alive by machines because of it's parents foolish wishes. So… I took… Residence." Hilde looks down at her hands, turning them over in a touch of dislike at their thin, fragile look. "…I think the months on machines… forever damaged something in this frame. But it has served well enough."

Her blue eyes then raise back to him, most of the tale told, but she seems to anticipate the next question and she adds, "…While I could, most like, organize a return of my body… I have become fond of this world. These mortals… and being in a mortal frame has given me certain… Extra talents. Not to mention a far deeper understanding of Midgard. I… find myself wishing to keep the status quo, for the time being."


His smile turns into that challenging smirk she should know all too well as Valkyrie: thumbing his nose at her will become a past-time if she's not careful with how their paths cross. "I look forwards to gloating as politely as possible in your presence," he murmurs, lifting his cup to her in a toast. "Please, your tale."

When her tale is told and done, the Sorcerer is clearly unamused, but not at Hilde. Uttering a little groan of what sounds like frustration, he rubs at his temples with free thumb and fingertips for a moment before huffing.

"Your patience with the Enchantress is envious then, Hilde. I assume you intend to eventually return to your original body?" He pauses and gives her a searching look. "I thought I heard that you might have compassion for her, even after what she did to you. Still? After locking you away from yourself?"


The woman looks unbothered even as he groans and rubs his temples like that. She does have the patience of a near immortal, another trait which is so very much not like the mortal she possess. She sighs a touch at the comment about her patience and gives a little shrug of boney shoulders. "I know her well. She is cruel and has no care for any but herself. But it is because something… deeply damaged her, I do believe. Should I hate a sick person 'cause they're fuckin' sick? No. So… can't hate her. Ain't friends any more, but… can't hold it against her." Immortal patience, if in the strangest of areas.

"…as for my original body, yes… perhaps in a few decades, when this one gives out. I will have learned much by then, refined my own powers to this plane… But, as it stands, she has actually given me a remarkably unique opportunity. One I sure as hell ain't gonna give up yet. … still not gonna thank her, but…" Hilde looks away from her own frame again and to him with a half smile, "It turned out to be a good thing. I… can shuffle on the souls of any dead in this frame. Not simply those who worship the old gods and seek Valhalla. There are advantages to being this stick." She watches him as she says that, having intentionally revealed a touch more about her powers than he asked. She threw him a bone, so to speak, and she's curious how he will take it.

"But…you're surely bored of me and… I am curious — what rough miscreant stumbled across your door? Amuse me, Stephen Strange… How were you so sullied?" Oh yes, she's definitely teasing him there


"Sullied. Interesting word choice," he comments dryly before laughing once. Yes, she got a laugh out of him. "You should try hopping dimensions. Sullied does not do it justice at times. I had to burn a vest one time because of the ooze from the carnivorous plants does not come out. Bleach, hydrogen peroxide, nothing." A cutting gesture through the air before him with his free hand. "Nothing. And I liked that vest," Strange adds, clearly running with her taunt. His expression grows more serious now, shadowed by emotion and firelight alike. "But, I think I have a valid point in reminding you that there is a difference between a friendship and something with toxic aspects. No friend turns like that on a person. Not to that extent. She needs help."

And if Hilde had half an idea of what he's been subjected to lately at the hands of the Enchantress, maybe she'd change her mind. "Serious help," he mutters, closing his eyes briefly. "But…you asked for a tale and we had a deal." He opens his eyes once more to indulge in a lingering reflective look that centers somewhere over her right shoulder. Nothing there, of course, simply part of shuffling through the myriad of happenstances in his mind.

He indulges in an inhale in tandem with a stretch in his chair before taking one final sip of the Turkish Delight and setting it aside. Too sweet, that's the final decision on the matter. "It might amuse you to know that your…friend has taken up lately with one of my own friends, Baron Mordo. If the name doesn't ring a bell, mark it. He dabbles in the darker Arts and has no qualms in reminding others that caring is not an advantage. Friendship is something to be tossed aside as easily as a cigarette butt. He's a rat b — " Strange clamps his mouth shut over that curse and sucks on his teeth for a moment, clearly annoyed. "A rat. Far rougher than yourself or Barney. At least the man had some hare-brained excuse for pulling a gun, even if he doesn't take your loyalty seriously. This friend of mine," how he emphasizes that word clearly implies otherwise, "will give me ulcers long before you or Barney. I'd rather have him over for tea than deal with the Baron. Or the Enchantress. Both." He clicks his tongue in discontent.


A teasing little pout cuts across her thin mouth as he mentions the vest, "Poor *dear*. You'll have to tell me the material. Maybe I'll find you a Christmas present." Yes, that's mainly a joke, but she couldn't entirely resist poking his poor ego over that destroyed vest! A man of nigh-infinite power worrying about a vest? It was ridiculous.

But then he admits to knowing her old companion and her expression turns more serious, eyes widening, lips pressing into a cooler line. "…I would not wish the headache which is the Enchantress on anyone else, though I did know she walked this realm. I… stumbled into the supposed embassy at one point in time and found her. Gave her quite the shock." A little, devilish sort of smile crosses Hilde's lips with that. She might enjoy shocking the woman as such, or at least making her uncomfortable.

Then he's going on about his friend and her expression still darkens. She shakes her head slowly, "…to be fair, it sounds like the pair deserves each other. They will use each other and be done with it. I would only have interest in it all to do nothing more than put a bet down on who abandons whom first." That is not a joke, at least she doesn't have that tone. "But…what has this supposed 'friend' of yours done with her? Has she puppeted him with her nethers to doing anything completely insane?"


"Puppeted him with her nethers…" He rolls his lips and seems to just barely keep the pained laugh within his throat. Still, a snort. "I have no doubt at all that's how she's managed to keep him so close thus far. The Baron is…canny," Strange hedges with a frown, "and I don't understand what really drew them together. Though, if it's giving me ulcers, then I suppose it's a backhanded compliment that I'm such a popular target. Must be doing something right." He shrugs and goes to drawing idle sigils on the fabric of the armrest with the hand not supporting his head against his knuckles.

He looks into the fireplace for a time, seemingly lost in the flames, before blinking back to the present. Maybe the lack of sleep is getting to his focus. "I'll have you know that we're momentarily allied, the Enchantress and I, in this fight to close the rips in the veil between Realms. No doubt you know that the fall of the youngest Prince left me to close up after his fallen wards." The Sorcerer is not amused, though he does seem more troubled than annoyed as he continues. "Not only did she offer aid in my presence, but also rejected my offering of magic. Seeing as she's stolen magic from me before, I can't fathom this change of heart. It's not her usual method of working." He rubs at one temple again briefly. "I'm more used to putting space between us, to be brutally honest. The woman cannot keep her hands to herself."


A wiry smile cuts across her lips as he gives that pained laugh. It is probably going to become a great pasttime of Hilde's to break that decorum with choked amusement as often as possible, purely for her own enjoyment of seeing him break. Mental notes made, she doesn't interrupt his words, listening to the discussion of what is happening with the Enchantress. She just gives a slightly tilt of her head to him, no anger or accusal in her gaze as he talks about working with the woman. "No… war and bedfellows, Stephen. I don't blame you for it… well, as long as you are not literally in her bed. And I suspect you are far to savvy for that."

And then the last comment comes and it's Hilde's turn to bark a laugh, "Oh…gods, you are turning her down, aren't you? That has to be driving her mad. I bet she's rubbing all over you every fuckin' chance she gets. Oh… Stephen…" She still cannot help but laugh a little, shaking her head slowly. "So… what is the worst mess yet of it all?"


The fact that the Valkyrie laughs at his misfortune is enough to make Strange glare flatly at her and wrinkle his nose.

"She's like an overly-affectionate cat, except with the ability to slit your throat if she wanted to while she purrs on top of your chest. Boundaries mean nothing to her! I mean, gods below, I hate dancing around her! I'll tell you the worst mess of it: she won't take no for an answer." He gives a curt nod to accent his statement. "I will never end up in her bed, not of my own volition, and gods help her if she ever tries anything more than she has thus far. I'm only so patient and only so much of a diplomat. I know a certain dimension that would be thrilled to entertain her if she gives me the correct opportunity."

And knowing Amora, she might even enjoy it and it'll come back to haunt him later.

"I am taken, Hilde. TAKEN." A little thump of his fist on the armrest. "I have no interest in her machinations or wiles or whatever she chooses to flaunt." He pauses and sighs, shaking his head slowly as he stares at Hilde. "Honestly, how are you friends with her? I don't understand it."


A slight wrinkle comes to her nose, "Depending on the dimension, she might horribly enjoy it. I'd…take a care in doing something like that." Hilde would like to be joking, but she isn't really. Her nose wrinkles in sympathy, though, no accusations that he must be overstating things. She fully believes him. "…She is a nuisance, to… put it mildly. And she has only gotten worse since Thor spurned her. I did not ever think she'd take someone's free will, but…" Hilde shrugs, giving a casual half motion in the direction of her own body. She's an example of how that might be a dim hope.

"…I am not friends with her. No longer. The woman has locked me up for decades. I…simply cannot bring myself to hate her, nor get her deeper into trouble for what she has done to my form. I… possibly… should work on getting it free. But…" Hilde sighs and waves it off, pale eyes flickering to the windows and the greater streets beyond for a moment. "I am taking my enjoyment with life as it is. And… still managing these changes. Most of my spirit… slept… for this whole time. Only now do I come fully into myself."


He gives a grumbly sort of sigh at Hilde's musings about the Enchantress appreciating a boot into the Thirteenth Dimension. He half-suspected such a thing anyways. Oh well. It's a nice thought to entertain when he's dealing with the usual repercussions of crossing paths with her.

"Good. I'm glad to hear it," Strange replies in regards to the disavowing of friendship between the two. "Unfortunately, Hilde…I've arrived at a similar sort of understanding myself." He admits this in a much quieter volume. Running a hand through his hair leaves it moderately disheveled, but he ignores this for the moment. "The Baron and I have a similar history, though clearly my soul remains within my body. Insofar as I can tell." Smirk. "Last I checked, no supernatural being was riding shotgun." He seems to pause, mouth hanging open slightly as if considering expanding on that, but then shakes his head. "He was my friend first, for many years. I too have been maligned many times, though not as badly as you. I'm at my wit's end. I'll have to end the friendship with him as well. So…even if you are Death's little stooge, I empathize with you." A brief flash of teeth before he smoothes out his expression to professional neutrality. Except for the twinkle in his eyes.


An earnest trace of sympathy crosses through Hilde's eyes as he speaks about his friend. While she's not the sort to reach out and actually *hug* someone, she does understand and seems to ache for him for a heartbeat or two. "…It makes it no easier, even when they are complete… I do believe this world has a better term for it… Douche bags?" She tries to bring another smile to him, though as he accuses her of being death's little stooge, she rolls her eyes overly dramatic to the ceiling. "I am *no one's* stooge, cheater. I am death's pretty face, if nothing else. A more… Personable touch, especially for those deserving. And there is nothing else I would rather be doing. Being a stooge requires manipulation. I am… a lover. A partner, if you will."


She gets a smile, but it's another one full of repressed mirth and wicked humor. A few beats follow as Strange considers his various responses before finally deciding upon on one.

"I nearly made some crack about necrophilia, but that seems a bit crude. So, instead, I will continue to be mildly concerned about your relationship with said grimmest of Reapers and offer you sage advice. Like don't be surprised if your Mistress complains about me — or tells you to stop associating with me because I am clearly no good for anyone involved in the business of escorting souls. I run counter to your position, after all, with how I prevent said shuffling from the mortal coil."

Perhaps he gets a laugh out of the lean woman, perhaps not. Either way, this seems the proper time to escort her to the front entrance of the Sanctum and he does. At the open door, he pauses and gives her a tired half-smile. "We'll have tea next time you visit, so don't worry about bringing Turkish Delight. Oh, and tell your Mistress that Stephen Strange sends his regards." With that, they part ways for now, assured to cross paths again in the future.


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