1964-01-27 - High Time for Tea Time
Summary: After some time, the Queen of Limbo and Sorcerer Supreme catch up over tea and Chinese food.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
illyana strange 


"Am learning much from Amora," Illyana tells Strange, candidly. "Perhaps unusual, but useful mostly."

Sitting across from one another in a proper Chinese tea shop near Brooklyn, they are sharing the simplest of meals — rice and soybeans for Strange, an array of thin-sliced pork for Illyana. Traditional chopsticks and dipping sauces are at hand, but as the focus of the meal is the participants and not the food, it's largely a nod towards food rather than being focused around it. Sensing that, Illyana's only had a few polite bites of her pork, and given up entirely on using chopsticks after a few frustrated minutes with them. Considering she still struggles a bit with a fork, chopsticks are perhaps a leap too far.

"Much magic of Asgard is, I think, not magic as humans use it. Very instinct, very — point and make will, da?" she tells her former mentor, miming a flicking pointer finger. "Have seen Amora do things where did not invoke any magic, merely focused will. I think is because, magic is so common in Asgard?" she ventures.

*

Indeed a nod towards food. What his body can consume without rejection constitutes a short list indeed. The dishes before them grant them the veil of normalcy as well as granted privacy for a shared meal and conversation.

Very few are privy to the expression of mildly confused interest on the good Doctor's face that he rests on one hand while the other moves yet another soybean to the growing pile of tan globlets. His experience is a few years more in total than Illyana with chopsticks, but he too struggles, and only the slip of targeted legume back to its bed of rice pulls his keen focus away.

She's learning from Amora? This is…it's not preposterous, but reminds him uncomfortably of his first brush with the discovery that magic did, in fact, exist. A rude twist on strongly-held beliefs that resists said change.

"Er, yes, very instinctive on their part." He agrees with her deductions. "They've had many years — centuries," Strange amends, "to find a way to transcend the need for Words. Magic is inherent in their society. Remember the palace?" He does. Oy. "If you find a way to visit the throne room, though I have no idea how you'd do that these days, it's alive with magic, woven into the very fabric of the structure." Setting aside the chopsticks with quiet clicks on his plate, he busies his hands with holding a cup of steaming tea. Not as good as what he has in his stash at the Sanctum, but it will do in a pinch. Sipping the scalding brew carefully, he smacks his lips before giving her a wry sort of smile, ghostingly-affectionate. "You seem like you're holding your own."

*

"Had some…" Illyana touches her tongue to her upper lip, frowning and looking for the right word. "Unsure times, early on. Amora is very strong willed. Had to have conversation — am student, not slave or minion," Illyana explains. "Am not bringing her around Rosemarie, either. Borrowed pendant from Limbo to gift to her, and explained Amora is tricksy."

"Am not terribly worried, have made it clear I will kill Amora if she menaces Rosemarie, but — better to err on side of safety, da?" she asks, using her fingers to dunk pork into mustard. She takes a bit, hissing at the spices, and quickly gulps down some tea. Despite the burning sensation, Illyana's developed a taste for spicy foods.

"Remember how much magic was everywhere. Some did not even seem aware of magic," Illyana nods at Strange. "In clothing, in breathing. Alive with magic. Is interesting theory, da? Perhaps after exposure for so long, magic to them is like, breathing for us," she suggests.

*

Rosemarie. There's a millimeter's tic in rise of eyebrows, but Strange schools his reaction to quiet interest once more. Therein lies the reasoning for the questioning so many months back in regards to social graces and what precisely 'interest' was.

"I think that's a good way to put it, yes. I wonder sometimes if it's part of the fabric of Asgard's reality, just how oxygen is to us. But…with the Bifrost broken, I doubt we'll be able to pursue that avenue of learning anytime soon." A shrug of his shoulders; as if he could have done anything to change the circumstances of it all. He drums his fingertips silently on the side of the tea cup as he eyes his not-quite-Apprentice.

"A pendant for Miss Rosemarie, hmm? I assume she's mortal then, not a practitioner?" As Sorcerer Supreme, he would have likely sensed the presence of the young woman if she'd been able to utilize magic or maybe even found hints of her in Illyana's general aura. "Good for you for making it clear that Amora isn't to meddle. She has a terrible habit of that." His smile is more grimace and the inflection of amusement in the statement so very dry.

*

"Felt prudent to be blunt," Illyana says, wagging her chin in agreement. "And da — no magic. None I could sense, no aptitude. Can turn into bird sometimes, but think that is, ah — word… oh, mutation," Illyana supplies, after a beat. "So not magic. Had periapt that is proof against mental intrusion. Likely, would not work if Amora turned full force against Rosemarie's mind," Illyana admits. "But will prevent her from… mm… casual influences, da? Anything Amora attempts, then, I will notice, and — " she flicks a thumb through the air near her slender throat.

"Am unsure of what to make of Asgard. Am hoping that perhaps things are undone, but— do not hold out hope. Must, meanwhile, focus on protecting Earth."

"What of you and the Sanctum? Is any news?"

*

"She's lucky to have you." Likely an understatement on his part, but no little compliment. He takes another long sip of tea while he considers what news to report to the petite Russian. "As far as news of the Sanctum…life is far from boring." A wry smile curves his goatee.

"Wanda and I have been gathering relics when we're not keeping interdimensional interlopers from invading." Ooh, alliteration. "It's been ridiculous at times, but never a dull moment. Her brother Pietro visits every now and then. If you come by, you'll find your roommate Lorna currently staying with us. She had a bad run-in with someone and…the boys felt it appropriate for her to stay with us for a time, along with her father, Erik. You might have met him? Stern. I wouldn't cross him. He has that…intensity about him. Probably from being a father." He meets those bright blue eyes as a realization occurs to him. "You don't know about the boys, do you."

Shifting in his chair, he momentarily scratches at one silvered temple before huffing a sigh. "I'll keep it simple…since it's anything but. Tommy and Billy. Wanda says they're her children. I can see aspects of myself in them. They came from the future when we closed up the Hellmouth; somehow time-space fabric was inverted or…something. They're young adults, not much older than you. If you run into them, be sure to introduce yourself — and don't take anything they say about me seriously," he adds…seriously.

*

Illyana lifts both brows, climbing towards her bangs. "You have been busy," she says, in her drollest, dryest Russian accentals.

"Imagine their arrival was a shock," she says, mercifully not sticking the moment to Strange. "Difficult enough to have kids, da? Much more having children you did not sire, but are yours. Not for lack of trying, am sure," she says, suppressing a smirk.

"Tommy and Billy," she says, enunciating the names carefully. "Will look after them if chance permits. Lorna mentioned would need to be somewhere safe; am glad she is at Sanctum. Have been spending much time with Amora attempting to ensure Midgard is not simply invaded from without by all manner of monsters. Not much time for school."

*

The snort is a stifled laugh. Yes. Busy.

The sole response to her comment is a dignified mouthful of tea taken and one imperious brow arcing in silent reprimand. Nothing wrong with a healthy relationship. He takes the high road and does not tease back, even if his smirk shows beyond the rim of the demitasse.

"Protecting against invasion is a full-time job, yes, but remember to take some time for yourself — perhaps visit Rosemarie when you can. I never thought I'd be saying this, but…being alone wasn't all it was cracked up to be. You probably know what I mean, being with your…girlfriend." He grants the title a slight lilt of questioning in case she feels the need to correct him. "The boys are infuriating sometimes and I want to drop them through Gates into alternate dimensions for how impulsive they are, but that's not a good way for them to learn. I don't want to be that kind of person in their lives. Their mother is scary enough." A beat of pause. "Don't tell her I said that. If you run across either of the boys, let me know what they're up to?" Maybe it's somewhat adorable, the amount of quiet concern he has for the two young men. It might be starkly different in comparison to how he was initially with the blonde Mystic; prickly, quick to correct, jealous of his space and emotions.

Strange adds, in a voice that holds chilling warning despite the soft, low tone: "And please, do not tell Amora of them. I will know precisely who informed her should she seek them out. I'm trusting you, Illyana Rasputina."

*

Illyana considers Strange's warning/request, the nods once, briskly. "Da. Will not mention them to her," she assures Strange. "Is very prudent to … erm… play vest close to cards, da?" she says, chin wagging.

"I am seeing much of Rosemarie, whenever possible. Have been travelling with Amora some lately, so am looking forward to seeing her soon." Her ears turn just a little pink, and she's unable to conceal a pleased expression at the thought.

"Things with Asgard— may go from worse to bad," she tells Strange, tone growing more serious. "May possibly take all hands to help with. If I find myself overwhelmed, I hope I can still ask of you for some help, in dire times, da?"

*

"Always," he's quick to respond with an equally-brisk and wholehearted nod of agreement. "You know how to call upon me." That stern expression loosens a bit as the memory of an icy alternate reality and Yetis crosses his mind in a flash. She held her own then, she'll hold her own here. "I appreciate the warning as well. I've heard little from anyone of Asgardian origin as of late. Feel free to share any news with me at any time."

Strange can see the dregs of his tea and reaches across the table to the metal teapot with the intent to refill his cup. "I don't expect the boys to remain a secret forever, but thank you, Illyana, truly. I appreciate it." He gives her a small smile. The sound of pouring tea takes over conversation for a moment before he adds, "Going to bring Rosemarie by the Sanctum at all? She must know of your magic abilities if she is…mutant, you said? With the wings, yes. That would be a sight."

*

"Probably nyet," Illana says, shaking her head, and making blonde tresses dance over her shoulders. "Rosemarie is very uncomfortable around magic. Is spending time in Limbo, and have given her — some magics, small ones, to use and play with," she explains. She shakes her head politely when the tea is gestured her way. "Nothing dangerous. She enjoys, but — I think magic is very new and frightening for her, da?" she ventures. "Comfortable with myself using it, one thing. But the Sanctum, I think, perhaps she finds this… overwhelming. And, being honest, would only bring her there in case of emergency. In the center of my Citadel in Limbo, possibly safest place in all universe for her to be. Easy enough to simply will her to be safe, and all of dimension will come to her defense."

*

The teapot is set back atop its ceramic trivet and he sips at his tea before nodding. "Of course. I can't imagine anyone risking the anger of all of Limbo. I remember what happened to those Jotuns who attempted to invade one time." They were dealt death with admirable grace and strength. Another rippling of fingertips along the outside of the cup. "It might take her some time to get used to it, but she has you. I had nobody but the Ancient One and…Baron Mordo, neither of whom I thought more than mentors at the time. I had to learn — your magic, at least in Limbo, seems to be part of you, much like the Asgardians. If she professes to like you now, she's getting used to it." A little wink of reassurance. "If I ever do run across her, I promise to be nothing more than a Doctor."

Strange glances around the tea shop and out the window at the dark night before nodding to himself. "I hope you never have a reason to bring her to the Sanctum because you are a guardian as much as I am. If Rosemarie is in trouble, then we all are."

*

"If Rosemarie is in trouble," Illyana says, dryly, "perhaps is best to hide in Sanctum for few days while I figure out how to put world back together, after taking it apart."

It is surely meant as a joke, but there's a lack of joviality to her tone.

"But is good to know that she has ally, even if is not someone she has met yet. Perhaps we can do meeting someday — over tea." And there's a little uncertain, even girlish flickering to her expression. "Would very much like it if two of you were friendly," she admits, shyly.

"Is perhaps time for me to return to my home. Am monitoring much from Limbo to ensure Midgard is not invaded — easier to set demons to the task," Illyana says, rising from the booth awkwardly and slinging a purse over her shoulder. She frowns. "You and Amora, very weirdly in specific agreement — no outsourcing work to demons on Earth." She clucks her tongue, mystified.

*

"You and Blly would get along very well," he mutters even as one corner of his lips curl. If only she knew how the young man can bend reality not too unlike his mother.

Indeed, time to get on home himself. Strange rises not a second after her and slips on his black Belstaff coat. The crimson Cloak, camouflaged as scarf, is slung about his neck and makes itself comfortable without his further directions or touch. If anyone notices…perhaps it was a trick of the light.

"You're welcome to bring her over to tea at any time. Warn me first? I can attempt to make the Sanctum more inviting and less…Mystical." Pfft, as if — but he can try, honestly. "Lady Amora is right, however persistently annoying she may be. You know that demons try to trick you at any chance they get and — I'm probably repeating myself," he ends with a curt laugh. "You go ahead, I'll pay. Tell Rosemarie I say hello?"

The Sorcerer Supreme holds out a scarred hand and gives his not-quite-Apprentice a friendly little smile.

*

"Need to look into wasp nest for demons, Strange," Illyana tells Stephen, seriously, tugging her own periwinkle coat over her shoulders. "Or for the boys. Or Wanda, if she gets uppity. Point is — violence solution to almost all problems."

She disdains the hand and charges into Stephen, shoulder-checking his sternum as she goes for a hug. She bumps her blonde bangs under his chin, squeezing firmly, then steps away and tugs her coat back into array. "Will try to bring Rosemarie by sometime," she assures him. "And— thank you for the tea. Was very nice," she says, in stiff English that is belied by her affectionate smile. She squeezes Strange's forearm, then turns and walks briskly out of the restaurant.

*

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