1964-03-02 - Father and Son and SHIELD
Summary: In the Sanctum, after a dire talk with Billy's magic-mom, its a talk with his magic-dad
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange billy 

So. There was this goop monster. And an evil cutting board. And Wanda giving Dark Silences and Billy figiting: this all happened but minutes ago, and Wanda has taken her leave of the once 'good son', with an omnious instruction to Talk To Your Father. So what's Billy gonna do? He's gonna wait for Stephen to get home. He's pretty sure it won't be a long wait what with the goop monster and pesky puppy-wards, so Billy finds himself in the kitchen, pouring himself some milk. He eyes the milk for a long moment, judgingly, and murmurs, "Youarechocolate,youarechocolate,youarechocolate." and in a radical waste of magical power reality bends and accommodates his desire for chocolate milk. Its Billy's version of booze: his nerves are on edge so he needs some chocolate milk, man. Urgent magical need.


The wards, invariably snooping and sniffing about per the command of its master, perk and then swish away instead of asertaining precisely what just happened to change milk to chocolate milk. Clearly, it means the man is home. Upstairs, in the Loft, a Gate opens and he steps through with a cardboard box beneath his arm. It's a mundane-looking thing, with perfectly normal script written on it in black marker. What aspect to its contents required the battle-leathers and crimson Cloak? Even the Eye hangs about his neck. The world may never know. Regardless, within seconds, he's affectionately accosted by the silvery spells and the smile on his lips slowly fades as they communicate as best they can what occurred not minutes ago.

Horror. Wanda. Plate. Captured. Dimples. Discussion. Father. Kitchen. Milk. Chocolate.

"I really need to rewrite your original incantation for complete sentences," Strange mutters even as he sets the box aside on one of the small tables. "Guard this." The wards hop to it and surround the cardboard box in a circle of starry light, not too dissimilar to the cosmic rings of Saturn.

By the time he makes his way down to the kitchen, he's back into formal daywear and even as he enters, glancing up from buttoning a cuff shut, he's eyeing Billy with an interested and keen look.

"Billy. The wards mentioned your name." That's all the young man gets — for now, perhaps in the interest of hearing what he has to say.


Billy freezes, looking exactly like the deer in the headlights, or a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Pick your metaphor. He sips his chocolate milk, using it to buy his time, "Oh, that." he attempts at nonchalance, which he's horrible at, "There was this goop monster thing trying to eat Wanda but me and her got it under control and put it back in the plate thingy. The smell is what happens when you electrocute black evil goop. Wanda had the wards on border patrol mode so she could handle the gooperbeast herself." He hesitates, then sips some chocolate milk again, "Sooo, I got a job. Because Teddy asked me to get an apartment with him." Pause, blush, "Two bedrooms. Roommates. Not… you know. But my allowance from my parents wasn't enough to cover half the rent, and someone has to watch his back, you know? Its important to me to make sure he's safe. My major is chemical engineering in college but being good at math and chemistry in high school doesn't translate into any actual useful job skill until *after* I get the degree, so I figured if I can get paid being backup for Teddy, well, why not? Plus its doing good work. Not to mention the salary is huge." He's rather skipping around saying who hired him.


Throughout the explanation, Strange leans against the countertop with loosely folded arms and nods. The mild tilting of head encourages the young man to continue on, though he doesn't seem to need much encouragement. Indeed, nonchalance is not his forte and he has little practice at it according to what the Sorcerer can interpret.

In the back of his throat, a laugh is bubbling. Wanda would know the tells of repressed amusement, as miniscule as they are; Billy likely doesn't simply because he hasn't spent as much time with his maybe-sort-of-might-as-well-be father.

"Goop monster" is apparently taken care of; makes sense, the wards never bothered to reach out — they knew it was contained with the Witch's interference. Teddy = roomate + blush + two bedroom apartment, got that. Keeping this Teddy person safe, also of importance, makes sense in lieu of what Strange has learned of the young man's tenacity for guarding. Hmm, wonder who he got that from.

It's the mention of the size of the salary, apparently 'huge' that draws his brows higher up and movement to his listening posture.

"A huge salary, hmm? And back-up for Teddy… Seeing as I haven't met this Teddy person, you'll need to provide me with more information. Tell me about this job, first." Quiet, calm, his tone lacks judgement; instead, simple curiosity, one of his defining traits, edged as always with that slightly narrowed gaze. Hey, it made Illyana squirm and tell the complete truth.


"Also and that's almost as important as the salary, but they will work around my college schedule— I arranged for all of my classes to be on tuesday/thursday so that's going to be my days off." Billy delays things by taking a long drink, "Now before you freak out, it's not like I'm going to be completely trusting them or anything and if they try to get me to do anything that's wrong, I won't do it. I'll keep an eye on them almost as much as working there. I was originally thinking of just consulting like Teddy was, basically if they run into some trouble and need a wormhole they call me and I make a wormhole, but she talked me into at least a trial period as a trainee to see how we fit. I know they aren't saints and I know the government can't be trusted — she might have good intentions but a replacement might not, but she says there are built in measures in SHIELD to prepare for that sort of thing. If they replace her with an Evil Director who wants to go anti-mutant and anti-powers people they'd get taken out before it'd be allowed to implement that sorta policy. But like.." He shrugs, taking a deep breath and giving the Doctor a direct, serious look, "I know Wanda isn't happy about it but this is my decision. I know there's risks but I've thought them through: for all the problems SHIELD might have, they are also doing good work. I start as a trainee agent on monday."


"Before you freak out" is precisely the thing to say to set a parent on edge. Those steely-blues nearly slit closed as he continues listening, his face a neutral mask.

Wormholes, yes, about those. And closing them. Which is something Strange has been doing when coming across them. A trial period with…the government, oh gods. There it is: SHIELD. That acronym.

The heavy sigh escapes through his nose slowly and silently, deflating his lungs even as he tilts his head slightly to one side. And then there's the serious look. He could have gotten that look from either of them. Yes. There's not an ounce of wonder in him that Wanda was less than pleased. In fact, so discontent and apprehensive that he was able to sense it across the literally separated dimensions and without their relic-enabled connection active. Nothing like shared heartburn.

Once the date of first training is dropped, the beginning of the upcoming week, the kitchen is still. Noiseless. Not even the Sanctum creaks, old and stately as it is.

Finally, he shifts his posture, swapping one crossed leg for the other and unfolds one arm to rub at his temple. His eyes close and the hand shifts to run through his hair once before he looks up at Billy again.

"Your mother has no love for SHIELD and for good reason. It's her story to tell, not mine. I have no love for them either. They deal in secrets. You, all of you, all of your secrets, belong to them the very moment you begin working for them." His jaw shifts visibly, grinding a few times before he catches himself. "I trust Director Carter about as far as I could throw her. She had no interest in sharing her secrets when she came to me before the closure of the Hellmouth and asked for me as Sorcerer Supreme. Consider it, Billy. Do I go around announcing myself as such? No, because I have enough enemies as it is. Someone — and I suspect I know who, but have no evidence for it — informed her of my mantle. I bear her no ill will, but do I trust her and her agency? No. If I have any sort of karmic luck, it was her Skrull counterpart who knew of my title and not the current woman who sits at the head of SHIELD." He slowly shakes his head and looks off to the side, mulling over something. "You're an adult." A shrug, but no less intensity when he meets Billy's eyes again. "Are you ready for what your missions could bring upon you? Teddy? Your family? You'll need to be mindful of what you say now. Very careful."


"Who doesn't deal in secrets?" asks Billy as he frowns slightly, giving a slow shake of his head, "I have secrets, you have secrets. What is the magic community but one big bundle of people keeping secrets? So she's a little paranoid, I believe she's also sincere. She says she wants SHIELD to defend people— all people, and I believe her. Maybe there's some things wrong with the organization, but maybe people like me and Teddy involved might be able to change that." As to this last question, he takes a long drink of his chocolate milk, "I won't belong to them. If they ask me to do something immoral or which would endanger or involve my family, I'd say no. I have *no* intention of being a just following orders guy, and if she thinks I'll let her use my magic without explanation or agreement that its the right thing to do, she'll be in for quite a surprise. My loyalty is not going to change: it's first to my brother and second to both of my families, and then it's to do what's right, and only then might it be to SHIELD."


"I'm not questioning your loyalty, not in the least. Nor do I think that you would let anyone take advantage of you — at least, not while actively knowing it," he adds. "Though if you don't trust SHIELD or the government already, consider how this will influence your every decision that you make. Make no mistake, your loyalties will be tested. How do you measure one life against another? Save Tommy and allow another agent to die? What would Director Carter say about that?" Well, yes, he's being theoretical, but it's painful, the idea of weighing the worth of lives against each other.

"We, as the magical community, keep secrets because they need to be kept as such. I have seen things, Billy, that would make you want to commit yourself to a psychiatric ward and pray they dosed you with enough Miltown to forget it all. If I were to tell the world about what seeks to disembowel it weekly, tests Earth's wards nightly for the souls of newborn children, seeks to spread like wildfire a transdimensional plague that would have everyone attempting to kill one person before throwing themselves into the nearest fire — secrets are secrets within the Mystical community for a damn good reason. Director Carter knows nothing of it and I will keep it this way."

The hands appear, palms outwards, even as he huffs out a sharp sigh. "I can't stop you. I won't. It's your lesson to learn." Another long sigh, this one sounding tired and resigned. "You're an adult," Strange repeats, as if attempting to convince himself too. "Just…don't be stupid. Be safe. Think."


"If anyone is an idiot enough to think I'd save an agent over my twin brother they're insane, and I don't think the Director is insane." There's something almost fierce in Billy's voice, fierce and serious, "There's not even a question. But that's the same for anyone, I'd think. I don't know anyone who wouldn't choose to save their family over a coworker. Now… if it was Tommy or ten innocent people, I'd…" He winces, "I'd save the ten innocent people and trust Tommy." Ugh, moral questions. He purses his lips, "The issue with the government is I *know* they will turn on us, but I don't have any reason to think its SHIELD. Its something called Sentinel. I don't know if that's a person, a weapon, or an organization, but Sentinel is the government and the government will turn on us. Unless the timeline has changed due to our presence here which is possible. In fact, that makes me want to be an agent *more* — I'll have access that I wouldn't have at all outside, and I can keep a lookout. SHIELD might try to use me but I can try to use them right back."

"I accept that." says Billy on magical secrets, "But is it possible Director Carter keeps her secrets for similar reasons? I don't know that you are all that different— I mean abstractly and not as a personal judgement— you just have different areas of responsibility. Well, I'm a little in the middle. I'm a mutant…" Probably. Maybe. "…mage. And I'm just barely starting to date someone who will be in SHIELD and I'm *really* worried about him there, he's… got his own secret. I can't convince him to be wary of the government so I'll be wary for the both of us. And maybe in the meantime save some lives. Also she's paying me *ten thousand* dollars a year. I won't lie that helps a lot."


"Ah, bribery." That's about all Strange can hope to say without delivering a blistering lecture on honor besmirched; besides, he acknowledges that it'd be mildly hypocritical given his past — but that's if Billy knows about it.

A sly smile slowly curves his lips, however, the more he eyes the young man nearly finished with his chocolate milk. The last time Tommy was privy to this look, he squirmed. Let's see if his brother does too!

"You sound like a double-agent, with all this talk of access and keeping a look-out. Care to report to me as well?"


"It was this or I grab a chunk of lead and pull some lithium out of it to make gold, but as much as it might be slightly morally ambiguous to turn milk into chocolate milk with magic, I'm pretty sure making money with magic is against some the Second Law of Magic or something. Using mystical power for personal gain? can't be okay." Nope! Billy does not squirm. Tommy and Billy have totally opposite social modes. He just grins, dimples wicked, "Of course, that was always the plan. Loyalty to family first, that's what I meant. What do you want to know? Everything? Or just stuff that seems related to mystic concerns?"


Aw, no fun. Clearly it takes a visit to the Mirror Dimension to get Billy to squirm. That plucky confidence? …that's from Strange's half of things. And the dimples.

"I've summoned up money before, but to settle a debt that turned out to be benevolent in the long run. I don't recommend risking the shift in fate, no." And by don't recommend, his maybe-sort-of father means don't do it. "I need to know anything involving other dimensions. If it might even pertain an ounce to an interdimensional incident, tell me. Immediately. Mystical — magical things of note. Artifacts. Summons. Possessions. Creatures. Beings." Tick, tick, check off that list and he's a happy Sorcerer Supreme.

Rolling his shoulders, the man glances over to one side, partly over his shoulder, and his eyes go distant. A few moment of silence with a single finger held up to forestall any talk by Billy, just for the time being, and then an audible heavy sigh. His hand drops to slap against his thigh. "Your mother isn't happy." As if that's novel for Billy to hear, but the man who shares much time and affection with her saying it aloud? Yikes.


Billy is silent as Strange quiets him, and when the hand drops he comments, "Yeah, Second Law of Magic." agrees Billy, his grin fading into seriousness again, "See my instincts aren't totally shoddy." But he nods to the list, mentally making a list as Strange ticks it off, "What about aliens? I'm not sure if this whole Sorcerer Supreme dimension-guardian-mantle-thingy you have is like 'protect earth' or 'protect this dimension on earth' or … whatever else." On to Wanda's happiness, he winces, "I know." He looks troubled by that, "And I knew she wouldn't be when I decided to do this. I didn't do it to hurt her or upset her, I did it because I genuinely think its the right thing to do. But I knew she wouldn't like it. That's… why I did it before I told anyone about it. Sorry about that." He winces, "It's better to ask forgiveness then permission. I'll… try to think up a way to make it up to her, though I… don't really know her well enough to have a solid idea for what that would be."


Chewing at the inside of his cheek, Strange actually chooses to join Billy at the table. He pulls out a chair beside him and settles in, slouching with arms folded once more.

"Aliens too, yes." And now, on to the more difficult stuff! "She knows that you didn't do it to deliberately upset her. I'm upset too, it's that…I understand. I understand your logic, even if it's not tempered by all the wisdom you might think it is." He eyebrows at the young man even as he smiles slightly. "You don't have to say anything, but I get the distinct impression that this all revolves around Teddy." Bother than he's so perceptive. "Don't let them use it against you. And…let me talk to Wanda first." He leans elbows on the table and then face in his hands. The next few words come out somewhat muffled for it. "She probably wants to talk to me about it anyways."


"Err, then you should know, Teddy is an alien. Or a half alien. Its a big huge secret. He just found out, current theory is his dad was an alien who got his mom knocked up. I'm not supposed to tell anyone but you're the big pointy hat guy and in charge of … stuff. Also dad." Billy finishes his chocolate milk and sets the glass aside, shaking his head slowly, "It *does* and *doesn't* resolve around Teddy: its true if Teddy weren't set on joining I wouldn't, but I didn't join solely to protect him. That's just one— albeit an important— factor. I… don't know if we're gonna *be* something but… I have to keep him safe. He's powerful: he's a shapeshifter and *strong*, but *if* SHIELD does turn… or if another agency does… I can think of several ways they could nullify him. I don't fully understand or know how my power works yet, but I'm learning every day, and I know when I become really good at it, they would rue the day they decided to turn against me." He holds up a hand wardingly, "That's not meant to be a threat or overly aggressive: they'd rue the day if they turned against you, too, I expect. Or Wanda. Maybe especially her: I think maybe you're more powerful, that whole Supreme thing, but I get this feeling Wanda will… I don't know how to say it and not sound like I'm calling her bad because I'm not. But. I'll be ready. Watchful." He nods then, "Yeah, we talked, so you guys should talk first."


"Your mother is terrifying. I'm aware of this. But still…yes, we'll talk first." Strange groans behind his hands before emerging, if only to lean back and hide them away again in folded arms. "I don't think you owe her an apology beyond springing it upon her — us, both. Don't apologize for doing what you feel is right, especially if it saves lives."

He blows a gusty sigh, glancing over at Billy. "I don't think I need to ask you to keep an eye on Teddy." A pause, tiniest smirk. "But him being part-alien begs to be monitored. Let me know if anyone else attempts to get into contact with him. Any other aliens. If they threaten you, well…Wanda and I are perfectly capable of threatening them back."


On the first statements, Billy nods, but to the rest… Billy hesitates, frowning a bit, "Teddy might be biologically part alien but he's just like us, Stephen. He's grown up his whole life thinking he was human: eventually he thought he was a mutant. It was only when SHIELD looked at his blood that they saw he wasn't, though he's not one of these Skrulls either. Either way, no matter what his cells say, he's one of us. A son of the earth. An American. My friend. I'm not going to spy on him: I'll be a double-agent with SHIELD, but I won't be one with a relationship, even if its just sorta a maybe-relationship right now. I trust him. He would never do anything to hurt anyone that didn't try to hurt him or others. I'll look out for him and if some aliens try to do something bad to him or get him to do something bad, I'll certainly act, and if I need help, I'll ask, but Stephen you *can not* ask me to 'monitor' him for you." There's a certain pleading edge to his voice.


Strange shakes his head, wrinkling his nose slightly. "No, no, not like that. Not in the sense of betraying his trust. You said it earlier — ask for help if you need it. If it pertains to other aliens contacting him, tell me. It would qualify as a dimensional breach and ergo, under my purview."

His expression takes on a vaguely apologetic cast. "I'd rather hear it from you than learn about it later, in the case that it turns into something bigger and more complicated."


Billy hesitates a moment, working this out through his head, but finally he nods, "Okay." he agrees after thinking it over, "I can agree to that." With a deep breath he rises, looking around, "We're getting an apartment just a couple streets over. Its… really nice. And its an important place. I don't remember why exactly or how, but the place will be important in the gay rights movement in the future. Everything will start to change because of something that happens there. I… wanted to get a foot in. Teddy and I will have the families over sometime… we can't do it all at once— I have two families which is weird and the other one doesn't know about you guys— but we'll invite folks over. See the place. You know. House warming. I actually have to do some furniture shopping."


The smile Strange gives the young man is warm and…proud? Better not put too much faith in it, he might just be smirking still.

"Your mother will be glad that you're nearby. I know we'd be more than happy to help you furnish the place. Don't expect any relics, but…if you need anything, let us know. I could always put down wards, as I did at Tommy's apartment." He does not inquire as to whether or not Billy's seen the poster on the wall of the living room. That had best remain a mystery — for now. "They could keep you safe in case…" He doesn't finish the sentence. No need to jinx things. Still, it's hard to lay aside the unspoken title of Guardian for the sake of Billy's own pride. His kind-of-not-quite father very much understands that whole confidence bit.

"I'll talk with Wanda and we can go from there." Rising to his feet, he pauses, looking down at the young man who shares those damn dimples. "Still…try not to spring things like this in the future? I can't guarantee that she won't hex you." A reassuring wink no doubt returned by a grin, for Billy's natural pluck, and the Sorcerer leaves the kitchen.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License