1964-01-03 - Dad Joke Hour
Summary: Two totally responsible adults plot their future when the Sorcerer Supreme shows up to do dadding.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Ballroom Blitz - Sweet
hope strange tommy 

It's true: Hope has no idea of what French fries are. Nor has she ever experienced a proper slice of lemon meringue pie, or other diner grub that makes the 19th century… Err, 20th century look great. No need for special powders or astronaut food without flavour, rations one squeezes gel into to make remotely palatable. No doubt this information came about in the pursuit of breakfast and the confused look that those flaky bits go in a bowl with milk, and alas, they have no milk. Or possibly clean bowls. Or spoons. Certainly the notion of heading out into the cold does not appeal to Hope until she's scrubbed her lone sweater and jeans clean, though her expression shifts slightly on their way to the diner. She is edgy and paranoid as a cat entering a boneyard, her hackles proverbially raised the whole way through. "Where am I going to get more clothes? You don't have units here," she murmurs under her breath to the white-haired man she follows. Her hands are her own, gloved, unless he has stolen one for his possession. She will allow it, but it's not something she inherently seeks out. "I will have to get more, unless I clean them every day. Aside from my suit…" She frowns at this fact, trailing off.


When Tommy found out that Hope had never had classic American diner food? It wouldn't have mattered if they had everything they needed for a gourmet breakfast. It was going to be time to go out, because this was a crime that needed to be remedied. While breakfast was an option, Tommy was more in the mood for lunch. If only to make /sure/ that Hope could have things like french fries, burgers, and milkshakes. All of which are on a plate (well, the milkshake's mostly in a cup, other than the bits that have escaped after dipping fries, because he's weird like that.). Yes, he /has/ seized one of her hands… absently stroking his thumb along the back of her hand. "Yeah, we use dollars here. You go out, go to work… and eventually get paid dollars that you can use to buy stuff." Which brings him to one realization. A little spending money here and there to buy neat things? Yeah, stealing can do that well. To actually support two people? A job may be needed. Cue a crinkling of his nose.

"…we're gonna have to get jobs. Or at least I am." …can she even /get/ a job? He knows he 'exists' back in the past, but does she? He's not sure. If not, the lack of a social security number could possibly be a problem. Unless she gets paid under the table somewhere. Though this /is/ a thought that's crossed his mind ever since Ava mentioned working delivery. He'd be the best delivery person /ever./


"So what do you do for a job?" Legitimate question, this idea of work in a society stable enough to have work, rather than forcing a hunted girl to live on the run. She has seen enough of the city to know not a lot of women do this work thing, and most of the people in suits are men doing things she can barely imagine in great, shiny tall buildings with far too many troubles and few viable routes of escape to be a pleasant work place. She sinks her teeth into the curve of her lip. "They do not like ladies much. Working ladies. What would I do in a shop? It's… very… odd. That people spend so many hours just to earn a few credits. I don't know why the would spend so many hours doing something like that, when they don't enjoy it. I don't have very much they would hire for, unless you need me to shoot someone."

He's seen the guns? Maybe not. He's never been with her at a firing range or seeing or take down clay pigeons or mistaken attempts at drones. Do not put this girl near RC flyers, or they will cry and she will have to answer to the police, which is more than a little inconvenient. Nonetheless, she goes looking at the milkshake list and orders a half strawberry, half chocolate. "We never really needed… or had the choice like this. You know? I can't make someone else take care of me all the time. I mean, until I find Nathan, I have to make do. Though last time it was a whole lot easier to link up to the network and… the tech. It… " She spreads her hands, fading out. Nothing is like that any more.


Tommy should've known better. He really should've. He should've known that question was coming. He could've prepared an elaborate lie! …or not. While lying does come pretty naturally to authority figures, lying to romantic ones is a different story entirely. "Uhh… I…" he trails, shifting uncomfortably for a moment. "…don't have one. I was in school until it blew up," his doing and fault. "…and then spent some time in Juvie before I got out." Well. Before his team broke him out. He's not entirely sure what happened in the /now,/ because there isn't a team yet. He can see it in Billy's eyes that the good twin /wants/ to be a part of that again… and it doesn't surprise him… but it hasn't happened yet. "Probably shouldn't go around shooting people. It's kinda illegal in the now… and yeah, they don't." There's a bit of a frown to that thought. "These days, ladies are usually in the house cookin' and cleanin' while the fellas go out and earn money."

There's a bit of a smile here, and a soft squeezing of her hand. "If you wanna do something like that… well, I wouldn't complain about having home-cooked meals more often." There's a bit of teasing there, but there's truth to it too. Coming home and having ready-made food is good, especially with his view on life. "…and yeah, I know the feeling. I mean, back in my day girls and guys were pretty much equals in the workplace. Frank and Mary both worked, and so did the Kaplans. Hell, Mrs. Kaplan was a doctor. Imagine that today?" There's a laugh, and a bit of a smile. Then his gaze softens, and free hand snatches up a fry to swirl and chomp. "We'll find him. Between the two of us, we can cover a crazy amount of ground. Any idea where he'd be?" Pause. "…I still don't know what he looks like, though. I'm imagining you with like, a beard and more muscles and a mean stare— it's scaring me just a little bit." he jokes, eyes dancing.


He's talking to the wrong girl if he wants a scolding on his failings and expects her to pull out a sense of ethics finely tuned to the straight-laced, stick up the asses, unforgiving perspective of 1964. This isn't an age when wearing hair to your collar was acceptable, and certainly the idea of randomly shooting people in a diner who look at you with malice in their eyes and murder written on their hearts — and no idea how she knows this — will ever prove acceptable. Telepathy is insufficient evidence to lovely Lady Justice. "Juvie? What did you do there? Focused on school or couldn't find a job, too small?" Oh, the expectations are so off the chart, there is nothing to compare. When it comes to the School of Hard Knocks, they're both graduates, except she went for her postdoc at 15. Exceptionalism: it's only good when it might be something worthwhile to follow.

"In this era," she replies in quiet withdrawal, still waiting for the server to get around to figure out how to deliver food. "You already seen what I can cook and clean, which isn't much. Unless you mean cleaning a Beretta or stuff I know they don't even have here… Then yeah, I can do it in less than a minute if I have to, though that's assuming the plasma pack charges properly and doesn't require any cross circuitry." Mouth quirked up into a lemony moue, she stares down into the paper placemat.

"Uh…" She looks over her shoulder to see if anyone is getting too close to where they sit, and she slinks down into the booth a little more, constantly vigilant. "He's really hard to miss. Soldier. Big man, like another head or so above me." And given how tall Hope is? This is not by any definition short. It puts him somewhere in linebacker territory, easy. "He's a bit shorter than that." A nod to the door. "But broader in the shoulders. Oh my god, no, never a beard. I'd sometimes shave him when he was too injured, but those days weren't very common. White hair in a buzz cut, and blue eye surrounded by a scar. The other one glows. If it's red, whatever you do, get behind me. Seriously, don't try to run, running never helps." When does running never help? She points her dripping straw, taking it from water served when they sat, and points it at Tommy. "Usually the other colours are safe. Oh. And he's kind of covered in… you'd probably think of them as plates, finely articulated metal plates around his arm and chest. I doubt he's going to be wearing it out in the open without a coat but it's hard to find a jacket like that and they never stand up to trouble, anyways. Anyways, yes, he's basically a big polar bear with a cybernetic arm and a similar ursine opinion." She gives a fond smile, brief but present. "So basically just Nathan. I mean, he's my dad. No fedora or whatever."


There's a crinkle of his nose. "Tried to fight back, mostly. The place was a setup, trying to turn," his voice drops low, eyes shifting around. "People like /us/ into weapons." Not just mutants, but they were part of the equation. "So I'd blow shit up. Steal what I could. Do the opposite of what they told me as much as I could." Of course, that was part of the plan. Forcing him to use his powers on the offensive. Hooking up with a girl in there? Not part of the plan. Enjoyable, but not part of the plan.

"…but I got out. Thanks to some guys I used to run with. We used to save the world, kinda like the Avengers. Except younger and cooler." A pause, and he makes a bit of a face. "That was before Billy brought us back in time, though. The rest of the team is still decades in the future for all we know." Pause. "…but it's alright. I've got people here, now. I've got you, I've got Billy. I've got…" There's another pause and he considers her a bit fully. "Hope, if you grew up with parents who sucked horribly, and then you found out that in reality that they aren't your parents but that your real parents seem like decent people but gave you to these… /horrible/ people for reasons that you have no idea of and neither do they 'cause of time travel headaches, what would you do?" Soliciting opinions. She's important, so her opinion matters too.

"I could get you a cookbook." he replies, eyes twinkling in amusement. "Or even one of those little maid outfits and…" Cue the bracing for being smacked. Oh, he knows when he deserves it. But the mental image is established and it's even more horror that will keep Hope's Nathan out of his head for his own sanity someday. Speaking of, the description is listened to, Tommy pulling out a small slip of paper and a pen to write it down. Along with a stick figure that has a big metal arm/chest region. His art skills lack, but creativity is there. By the time she's done talking, though?

"…Hope? Uh, hope you don't me saying this, but your dad sounds /awesome./ I mean mine is supposed to be like some kind of all-powerful magical god or something, but he's /also/ kinda cranky." They have such interesting families, don't they?


"What are Avengers? That sounds like a gang. A really silly name for a gang. Hi, we're the Avengers, we've come to kick your ass because you upset our brother." Okay, she's blunt, but it's not without force. The shake finally shows up, with fries, burgers, and another cup of water to replace the one she has. Hope runs her hands over her napkin. "I don't know what Avengers are, like everything else. I am so tired of hearing things that are new, but this means I'm still stuck in the transition phase. How bad it is depends. At least this thing," she flicks her finger to the metallic side of the shake, and the sound resonates, "makes it a bit better. You know?" He gets a kick in tandem, and there you go.

Strawberry and chocolate go down so damn perfect, it's hard for her to muster the energy to kick him again, this time to the chins. "I am not wearing a French maid outfit for you to… to… bake you a pie. I will wear it for one purpose only, and that's mowing down a marauder or a purist or a hunter, thank you very much. They don't even have places to put guns. Seriously."

Then he goes and draws a stick bear, and her nose wrinkles. Tommy doesn't get a grin. He gets a mule kick again and a snort into the palm of her hand. "What is that? Where's his fuzzy ears? Or did you draw your dad? Your dad being grumpy if he's some kind of magic god is practically par for the course. It's totally a prerequisite, along with grumbling, thinking everyone rushes into things, and overcompensating with a big stick or something. My dad's always grumpy too. He never wants to stay stationary for more than half an hour, or sit near a window because I could be cut by the glass, or let me drive the getaway car because it's not safe if we're going 350, like I don't know how to brake."

But he wants her to be serious, and that means giving a bit of thought even though her thoughts run at a pretty fast clip as it is. "Sounds like he's cooler than bad parents who aren't your parents? I don't know. I mean, my mom died when she had me." Violently. A fire, wrath of gods, as she's mentioned before. "I don't know who my father was. And Nathan was clear he came back because the future goes to hell in a handbasket if I'm not alive, so he basically came back in time to get me. Sometimes? I wonder if he was put up to it, like they made the explosions happen. And I don't know how I'd feel if that were true. So you have to accept some shit on the face of it, I figure. Try to default to not a bad footing or opinion, or else you're going to always, always beat yourself up or look for meaning you're never gonna get conclusive or go do answers to. I don't know why my mom never told my dad. I don't know /who/ my dad was. I don't know who sent Nathan to me, or why the hell Bishop and all these other people want me dead so bad. I don't think my parents did a bad thing, I think they were trying to save me if they knew what was coming. Maybe yours did too or something -happened- and it didn't turn out right. Or you were supposed to go through that so you can get over me stealing skirts to have clothes to wear, because I don't really care if I'm doing that."


She kicks, and Tommy yelps. But /also/ laughs. Because honestly, he was baiting her. He was going for that sort of reaction because honestly? That sort of reaction is pretty fun to get. Especially when people can take a joke. Amused, he sips from his shake. Sips hard. To the point where his cheeks hollow and eyes go a little cross-eyed from the effort.

"A team of people with powers who stop bad people from doing worse things. Well. They were. Until the President — that's what they call the leader of this country — decided that they weren't cool enough for him anymore and fired them all." A bit of a shrug to that. "It feels like something that I've seen before, but I just can't place. There's a void in need of someone to fill to make things better, though. It's just a matter of who's gonna step up and do something about it." Pause. "But yes, shakes are /great./"

"…but you're saying you /will/ wear it? Score one or me." Tommy replies, winking. "…and Hope? If you're in a French maid outfit, /I'll/ gladly carry your guns for you. Because wow." …and he might want to learn to shoot them at some point, too. It's nice to have a backup plan.

"Ears are hard, okay?" Tommy replies, laughing. "I mean, I kinda have that right here, but…" now he draws ear-hairs. Long ones. And a mustache. Just because. "Sounds like your dad's kinda protective." Kinda? "Uh - should we tell him about us being a thing when we meet him, or play it cool?" A pause, and he grins. "When you meet my folks, if you really want to shock 'em we can tell them you're pregnant. They're… kinda closer to our age than real-parent-age, since /they/ didn't come back in time. So they're getting used to the idea of having kids, and having those kids be all grown up already, so imagine the idea of /grandkids?/" It practically has him bursting at the seams.

…then things get serious. And he frowns, and squeezes her hand, firmly. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to… I mean, if it's a tough subject and all. Sounds like you're pretty important to the world as a whole." Pause. "I gotta be honest, though, what matters most to me is that you're my Hope. I've done it before, but I'm not exactly the natural born hero type." Another heartbeat. "But that Bishop guy?" Assumption made by the 60s part of his brain. "He'll never catch up, and he'll regret it if he does." As for stealing? "…I'm not one of the angels, Spicecake. I've used the five-finger discount more often than most people; ain't much you can do to ruffle my feathers."


Strange has arrived.


Idle hands are said to be the devil's playthings. Idle scarred hands belonging to the Sorcerer Supreme tend to get fidgety at a certain point and the quiet Sanctum was a bit too quiet. Cue the oddest thing he's likely done yet: a cleaning spree.

It was in the middle of searching for a lost note to himself that he found the silvery hair still stashed away in an inner pocket of his Belstaff. Steel-blue eyes considered it in a beam of wane winter light coming in through a window before crinkling in mild amusement. Might as well test the concept to see if it will work. After all, he hasn't seen the Pullet in some time. His mother might appreciate a report on the kid's wellbeing.

The tracking spell leads him to Gate into the shadowy alley down the way from a diner in Queens, apparently once a rail car. With black winter coat and crimson scarf, he blends in effortlessly with the sideway traffic as he approaches it. 'Empire Diner', the signage reads, and the Sorcerer considers the occupants from outside until he spots a familiar pale-haired visage sitting inside — across from a female!

Of course. His chuckle fogs in the air like dragon-smoke as he takes a moment to watch their interactions, hands stuffed deep into his pockets. Hmm…might as well say hello at the very least. He's not out to embarrass the kiddo, not in the least, but he'll be able to perhaps make the gentle point that he can find where Tommy is with little effort.

It smells like syrup and stale cigarettes and Strange grimaces. No small wonder he never frequents such places. They smell like a honeybee rolled in an ash tray and lodged in his sinuses. He saunters over to the booth and gives the two young adults a charming grin, equal parts friendly greeting and knowing smirk, showcasing the dimples that seem to have been a favorite trait by Tommy's mother.

"Tommy, thought I'd find you here — and who is this lovely young lady sitting across from you?"

Dad Mode, engage.


Girl and guy in a booth in a diner, munching on fries or a milkshake — chocolate-strawberry, thanks — while burgers wait to be made. It's as classical Americana as anyone can get even if it's not true for either of their timeframes. They belong to an age far beyond this halcyon one, when innocence died on the fields of Dallas and children have learned new words for fear that rhyme with skull, spree, and okay-dokey.

Hope's flaming hair falls around her face as she combs out the locks with her fingers, listening to the explanation. They're given something of a wide berth; a good glare is a great way to hasten along the unwelcome presences of nosy teens or largely annoying adults who have better things to do than eavesdrop on conversations that would make a conspiracy theorist blush. "Right. So they're some kind of team that does stuff. I heard of others like that, but only in history or … like, gangs. Really, that's kind of what they are. The marauders, for example." Let's just strike home with a high calibre she will not do well if the Marauders /ever/ show up. Even if they're a flotilla of dancing Yorkshire terriers in yellow and green plaid.

She sips her shake and rolls her eyes when Tommy gets way too excited about costumes for every day of the week, giving no explanation further there. See, mouth is full of chocolate-strawberry ice cream thick enough to choke a water main. Her cheeks bow when she tries to slurp it up, and a tap or two on the straw shows the bend. The tone of the conversation baps back and forth between serious and not, nothing upsetting to her. How he takes it is another matter.

And then she's choking. "You want me to what? Say… is this some way to get them to pay for you? Because don't you think they're going to notice I'm really skinny?" She's not, in fact, skinny, though more like slim. A few good burgers needed, though the way she puts them away is possibly terrifying. "Your family is weird. I repeat this. Weird with a capital W."

Her finger draws a line upon the tabletop, right about the sorcerer comes walking through the door. Here's the thing: Hope misses little to nothing when it comes to her surroundings and she inherently measures everyone against measurements of doors and fridges, things other than appliances too. Everyone has a perceived and assessed threat scale, to a degree Tony Stark might be proud of — minus supercomputer. This gentleman? Wealth, posture, self-amusement, narrowed gaze, grimace. Tick, weakness. Familiar to Tommy, first name use, details tick tick tick tick.

She's sipping on her shake and looks up at Strange through brilliant green eyes, a terrifying look of new leaves matched to flaming, screaming red hair and a very, very pointed look to Tommy. Hey, 1964. He gets to make introductions.


The sound of a familiar voice is Tommy's first clue that something's going on; he isn't focused enough to have Hope's awareness and knack for tactics; no, his brain is a box full of marbles, shaken up and set loose in a wind tunnel: All over the place and probably more than a little bit destructive at the same time.

For what it's worth? It's only after a reassuring squeeze — to alert her that it's not one of the bad guys — that Tommy releases Hope's hand. There's affection there, to be sure. Green eyes circle around as this plays out a hundred different ways in his head. There's the one where he runs off to Yankee Stadium, grabs a uniform and returns claiming to be Babe Ruth or something. There's the one where he grabs the cook and one of the waitresses and exchanges places with him and Hope. There's the one where some planet-eating monster comes down and has nomnoms.

Then there's the one that actually happens. Lips curl into a smile, shared-dimples and all. Voice speaks, "Hey. Doctor Stephen Strange, meet my girlfriend, Hope Summers." …they hadn't actually talked about titles, but with exclusivity it comes, right? "Hope? Meet God."

She'll get it, he's pretty sure. The Doc probably won't. That's why there's mischief playing behind his eyes. However, this /is/ his way of playing nice. One can thank both Lorna /and/ the redhead for that.


Doctor Stephen Strange flicks his attention to the young man and gives him a look of confusion mingled with mild amusement.

"Never been called that before. Still, has a nice ring to it." He's joking, of course. Or is he? Shifting in place, those steel-blues meet the vibrant green eyes that simultaneously clash and coordinate with her equally-vibrant hair. The good Doctor holds them consideringly for a time, recognizing a haunted reticence in the young woman that he's seen before much closer to home, before he speaks again. "Nice to meet you, Hope. I apologize for interrupting, but I wanted to check in on Tommy. His mother would appreciate knowing how he's doing. So — how are you doing?" Asked to the pale-haired young man at this point.

There's clearly a nickname that wanted to escape from those smiling lips, but for the sake of open lines of communication, the man chooses to withhold it. He can embarrass Tommy another time.


Hope has the upright bearing of a soldier wrapped in a redheaded female on the very cusp of womanhood that damns males from their doom. She still has the blithe grace of youth and the flowering of the adult wiles and form of her sex, though not come to its fullest maturity. Soft-spoken, mindful creature concealing a firecracker personality, all colourful petals and sharp, unyielding thorns that could cut through ego like nothing.

She's not taken aback by the name, or the title of doctor, though it means something. Sure, she connects title to occupation, occupation to person. Plopping the straw into the thick metal canister containing all the milkshake, she pushes away the drink towards Tommy in case he wants an energy fix like nothing. Hers isn't a kind of nature to smile inanely at everyone, but she can attempt it. See polite smile. See pretty, polite smile widening a little.

"Do you want to tell your god or do I have to?" A question becomes an implication, and she then slants a look in Tommy's direction. His mischief, his role to pull off. It's all up to him on how he wants this to go down if at all, and then she blows her bangs off her face in a tumble of silken fire caught on silkscreened glory. "Good to meet you to. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to call you. Doctor? Or something else?"


"If what Billy says about you is true; hell, if /half/ of it is true. I'm pretty sure you've been called that before. Just maybe not to your face." Tommy points out — what has Billy been saying? Oh, nothing /too/ terribly dramatic, but anyone who can magically keep Billy on his toes? Has to be pretty darn awesome. Not that Tommy will readily admit /that,/ either. "I'm… I'm doing pretty good, actually." There's temptations. Normally he would've dropped the 'S' bomb at least three times by now. But He's Being Good. He's not comfortable with the 'D' word yet either, alas. "How 'bout you?"

Then a look over at Hope. She's fast like him. She's from the future like him. They have a lot in common. But that moment, that moment when Tommy realizes that Hope's all in on his shenanigans? That's perhaps the time he realizes above all other times.

This girl? She's an absolute keeper.

Tommy shifts into role like an expert. Suddenly? Smile fades a hair. Eye contact is hard. The table looks interesting. The offered drink is used as a form of liquid courage. A look to Hope. A look to Strange. A look back to Hope, a dramatic pause, and a slow turn towards Strange. "Well. All things considered… 'dad' might be best." Beat. "Or possibly 'grandpa', but we've got what, eight months to go on that one?" A pause. A look directly at Strange. Lies in his eyes? Oh no, Tommy's quite good at crafting tales, and when he does, he commits one-hundred percent. There might even be a part of him that's convinced that it's fact, just to make it more believable. "Uh, I don't suppose the title comes less from," Tommy pauses, raising his hands to make 'magic fingers' and more from delivering babies, does it?"

He watches. He swallows with faux nervousness. He waits for judgement.

…and about ten seconds after the question's asked? The srs bizns face grins wide. "No, no. I'm kidding." A pause. "Probably." …if it hadn't been for advice given, he would've kept it going. If he wasn't indeed quite fond of Hope? He definitely would've kept it going. In a rare sign of deference? Hope's not advised to call him 'Steve', or any other sort of naming concoction that Tommy can come up with. Instead, he /actually/ allows Strange to fill in the blank himself."


"Er, Doctor is fine." The man claiming the title replies, a bit nonplussed as to Hope's wording, and then Tommy starts in. Billy's been talking about him? Okay, great. The wheels begin churning behind those half-shuttered eyes; the boys will be getting a lecture about tact and how they can't go gallivanting about claiming blood-relation to the Sorcerer Supreme without attracting unwanted — and dangerous — attention.

But speaking of attention! All of said Sorcerer's focus narrows in on the young man as he goes about mincing around a delicate topic. Strange's lips thin even as he begins to slip into a mask of concealment in turn — WILL NOT REACT WITH INITIAL REACTION.

Poor Tommy. A great act, but it takes those ten seconds for the good Doctor to realize that it is a jest and not a fact. Kiddo doesn't know of his lauded position of 'oldest brother of three' to both a brother and sister. Pulling the wool over his eyes? Victor broke him of trusting a story off the bat a very long time ago. Er, long enough.

A heavy, tortured sigh from Strange and he shakes his head slowly. "And your mother would have been so pleased to hear it too. It would mean a vacation for us both, since you consider yourself an adult now. Extradimensional warding, you can take that up as well, while you're at it." He holds out his hand towards Tommy. "Go on, shake it. It'll give you that ability." A glance over at Hope and a small smile curves one corner of his mouth. "You'll like his mother. She's very astute and very well-educated on Old World medicine. She'll have all sorts of supportive oil concoctions for you to take. They only taste like death."

If Tommy takes the Doctor's scarred hand, he'll get…nothing. No response.


Right about now is presumably when Stephen Strange needs to immediately contact his patrons. Or his consort. Or his future self to administer a dose of reality. Calling Vishanti Three or Dread Doormooomoo.

Strange. Ring ring ring.
Agamotto system. Password?
Strange. Bananaphone!
Agamotto system. Authenticated. Proceed to leave a message for Mom, Hoggy, and The Bestest.
Strange. Please make the multiverse warping future consort not gallivant on this excursion.

This is exactly how it assuredly goes.


Hope picks up a fry and examines the unpeeled end with particular interest. See the burnt crispy skin? That is quite a bit different from the golden shell, irregular in overall temperature, skimming down the length of the finger-length morsel. A bite within reveals the starchy white interior, full of such packed sugary goodness, and the steam rises out to deliver the full impact of Idaho's finest export and the only one most Americans can name other than a refusal to name a state beauty queen cause no one wants to be Miss Idaho.

One swallow later, she says, "It's fine. I've got at least four stimpacks in the medkit and a hemi disruptor in the event my systolic-diastolic levels get past one forty eighty-five. Probably get a good enough charge off the plasmivar to seal up any ruptures just fine, though I would have to trust Tommy with the L3 and L4 for a caudel lumbar injections." Drawing a circle around the table with a drop of water, she gives said speedster a pointed look. "You don't faint at the sight of needles, do you? I'd have to probably give you a rundown with an orange or something, but pretty straightforward. The cannulas are pretty fierce looking."

She doesn't even break a sweat, not in the least. "Oil. Wow, you are old-fashioned around here. We don't even use carriers where I'm from, but I suppose if I have to do it the old-fashioned way, I can get one of those doughnut stools and hope I don't hemorrhage from placental abruption something. That would be a seriously awful way to go but at least it would be like some medieval queen of something. Here, I bequeath the kingdom on this kid who probably won't make it to their second birthday and, oh, you ancient people all have syphilis! Great!"


Poor Billy. Tommy meant that Billy was talking to /him,/ about it, with nobody else around. Tommy's the one who's less discreet; boy's about as subtle as a cruise missile. See: His introduction to Strange to Hope, for starters.

Attention? Tommy loves attention. Craves it. Might be a reflection of the way the boy grew up, really. And he waits for the grand joke to pay off. Waits patiently. …only to have it seen right through. Strange is good, Tommy will give him that. This just means that Tommy's going to have to step up his game all the more. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a serious challenge.

But the response also gives him pause. Truth be told? Tommy's considered himself an adult for years. It comes from a broken and otherwise bad home. The part he doesn't consider? That Stephen and Wanda consider themselves responsible /for/ him. That causes the mirth to fade /just/ the slightest. In some ways? That's craved. In others? It's a burden he doesn't think is worth someone else dealing with. The hand is taken, and shook. "I'm probably bad at that extradiwhosit mawhatsitface — that's gotta be more Billy's avenue, but I can run, and I can /keep/ running." So can she, but that goes unsaid. That's her secret, not his. Thus, it's not shared. "…and that's kept me going so far. I can handle myself, honest. Billy…" Tommy's free hand makes a wavering motion. Not so sure about that thought, obviously. "…but if watching over just one of us still means you two can vacation? I'm not about to stop anyone from having fun."

Thomas Shepherd, with a brief glimmer of maturity rather than mischief wrapped around wanton destruction? Oh, there's a hero in there somewhere. It just takes a bit of digging to get to the surface.

Then a look over to Hope. Eyes go wide. Mouth hangs open just slightly. "Uh…" he trails off for a couple moments, before nodding, "I can do needles. Back in Juvie, I pierced a few things for people." Let either of them ask /what/ at their own risk. Consider who the tale-teller is here. "…but you'll have to dumb it down for me, Spicecake. Either that or get me a book on the twenty-five thousand dollar terms you're using there." He's capable of learning, he just normally /doesn't/ because he has no stake. If she /were/ pregnant? Oh, he'd be on top of that like nobody's business. Otherwise? Knowledge is po—boring, most of the time.

But, on the plus side? She seems like can keep up with Strange on the smartypants level, and that much alone restores some of the levity to his features.


Strange rolls his eyes as the young man returns the shake. Please. There was much more, so very much more, to handing off the interdimensional warding duties of the Sorcerer Supreme. With a 'hmph', he sticks his hand back into his pocket.

"I do not get vacations, unfortunately. At least…not what I would consider a 'vacation'. Holidays, yes." And a passing glimmer slips in and out of those canny steel-blue eyes. "But no vacations. You, however," and he points to Hope, his smirk reappearing, "his mother is going to adore you. The same bone-dry humor. We'll have to have tea sometimes, discuss these…stim-packs you mentioned earlier."

Oh, he's onto an inkling of an idea — and it's that Hope is most definitely not from around here.


"Basically while I charge up the gear to stop myself from bleeding to death because a piece of tissue tears away or gets stuck, and bleeds, and bleeds, and bleeds, you take two nice hollow needlepoints — the cannula — and jab them between my vertebrae." Hope plants the heel of her palm on her back, leaning forward so he can see where she means. To Tommy's point of view, it's her lumbar area of her lower back, not quite to the tailbone. "The bony parts of your spinal column, right? You angle the pointy just so, not so deep it pierces the fluid or the nerve, because I'll scream and probably slap you sideways into next year. But like right in that sweet spot. Then you're going to take the two needles full of anesthetics that make the pain go away and squeeze them out quick. Pray my system doesn't burn it out too fast, and when I'm good and frozen, bam." She claps her hands together around a fry. "I apply the plasmivar, it seals up all the bleeding parts and keeps them from getting infected because of a really cool cocktail of stuff that's probably a bunch of chemical formulas that don't mean anything to anyone but me or the guy who invented Colgate toothpaste."

Okay, she's totally BSing on the last bit about toothpaste. Probably. Because what the heck does William Colgate, c. 1806, know about chemical formulae?

Hope munches on another fry. They're halfway tasty though she's not really sure about this one, squashed and a bit cold in places, boiling in others. "Pointy part in. Squish! Meds out. Oooh, no more pain. So that's basically the gist of it. Stimpacks are kind of a simpler setup but they beat needle and thread. Where were we? Dealing with planar stuff? Because seriously a stimpack is not going to help for that. You probably need one of those big flashy light things, and…" She glances at Tommy. "Oh, I don't know, what do you have? Harpoons? Fireworks? Wait, I got it. Cannons. Lots and lots of cannons."

She moves at roughly the same speed as teenagers everywhere. Sort of.

"Shame. Everyone needs to close their eyes, cut loose and have fun sometimes. Even you, Doc." …well, it's three letters and starts with 'd'. Improvement, yes? Tommy crinkles his nose to the thought of /not/ having fun. That part just doesn't parse with his brain, where fun has been the #2 priority for years (#1 being survival).

There's a brief thought. Thought that leads to the idea of a mandatory vacation, some way, some how. He's not entirely sure how it would work… but it is what it is, and that much he knows. To the interplay between Strange and Hope, the former gets a grin. "See? I know how to pick 'em. Hope's the greatest."

Then comes the description of just what he'd need to do in case of emergency: layman's edition. Tommy pays attention, as well. Mimicing the required actions to keep the doctor away - he's good at learning by doing, less good at doing than learning - even as Hope spells it out for him a little simpler than a book might. "Gotcha. See, hit me with the 'Whatever for Dummies' version, and I'm good to go." …then as for weaponry? Tommy's slow turn moves to take in the redhead sitting across from him. "… Give me an hour, two if the ones at the state parks don't work, and I can get my hands on all that stuff." Tommy agrees; odds are he isn't kidding about it, either.


Well, even if half the language Strange hears is utterly foreign to him, at least her medical language is accurate enough to warrant another thoughtful lingering look. He then remains silent, seeming to blend into the backdrop of the restaurant, and watches the interplay between the two young adults. Indeed, Wanda will no doubt appreciate the dry wit of the young woman should they ever cross paths. The spunk is strong with this one. Maybe she'll even be able to keep Tommy in check.

"Well, if you'll excuse me, I must apparently go and attempt to…cut loose? Have fun — else I become something more than human. Gods have no concept of fun, by the way," he adds with a curling smirk. Is the silver-templed fox joking? Maybe…maybe not. "Hope, again, lovely to meet you. If you see me on the street or ever find your way to Bleeker St, feel free to speak with me. Tommy…" He eyes the young man with a suddenly serious glint in his eyes. The seconds stretch…anticipation hovers… "Behave."

Was that…a wink? Wait, did his crimson scarf just flutters its tassles?! The good Doctor then departs with a final nod and leaves the diner, no doubt to return to the Sanctum and attempt to find something fun to do.


It is a /mobile/ scarf?

It's all that Hope can do not to pull out her gun and take aim at the IMPOSTER riding upon Strange's body. Does he know he has a snake charmer's revenge for his activities with his fashion designer daughter? Is it an assassin's gift, a credo upon a doctor? Maybe it was cursed.

Her stare nails the tasseled creation to the wall and she says to Tommy, under her breath, "It's going to strangle him." Very probable cause there. Because maybe she's considering what behave means. "Is this a test? Because… Seriously."


Victory! Of course, The Doc's ideas of 'something fun to do' will probably be something like 'go read a book' or 'go to bed twelve hours early' or something else that would drive Tommy crazy, like watching paint dry and grass grow. In fact, there's a part of him that wonders if the man wouldn't do these things on PURPOSE in order to drive Tommy mad.

On the other hand? Today Strange found Tommy with Hope… and /didn't/ embarrass him. If anything, he came off pretty well. Points to the old man for that. Maybe he does have some potential after all.

…and he notices the flutter. It's hard not to, seen in slow motion like Tommy sees the world. There's a brief thought that it could've been someone too fast for HIM to see… but that's not possible. Right? Right.

Then a look to Hope. A look to the departing Strange. A look back to Hope. "…I think he can handle himself. He's got phenomenal cosmic power, y'know — and way better than an itty bitty living space. He might be trying to prank /us./"

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