1964-03-27 - Best Scones in Town
Summary: Two gents in black and red cross paths and chat over tea. Relics are noted, names are learned, Beat-kid is hip — heavens to murgatroid.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange kai 

Another day in paradise. Well, Greenwich Village. Same thing. Down the street walks a young hipster, dressed for the part in all black, with a red scarf tied loosely at his neck and a beret perched on his head. He carries a satchel like a businessman carries a briefcase, and his stride is full of purpose. Perched on his nose are dark shades, and his cool expression is just that: cool. So cool. This fellow is an ideal specimen of the Beat generation.


Indeed, the man exiting a set of darkwood doors couldn't disagree. Compared to other parts of the city, Greenwich Village is a haven. In his black Belstaff coat and with crimson scarf tucked out of sight but for the flash of color about his neck, the good Doctor ensures that the doors are firmly locked before making his way down the steps and to the sidewalk. No one under the guise of idle curiosity needs to wander into the Sanctum. Between the wards and the Witch, not to mention the Malk, they'd never leave sane.

His current destination happens to be a tea shop not a few blocks up. Another order came in, one he's been waiting on for weeks, and the rarity of the blend is enough to make the lines of his goatee break in a grin.

In walking down the street with his long-legged stride, he approaches and passes by the young man in all black, shades and hipster Cool Cat himself. That beret. Singular. It's enough for the slightest of snorts to escape him a few strides ahead of the Beat child. Tommy might like this one, if only to run him in circles. The stoplight is what gives him pause and he glances back, curious despite himself. There's also something…different, but his senses won't tell him precisely what that is.


Kai's brows lift at the snort. Two cool cats, and everyone knows how cats are when they first meet. Here is where there should be a barb delivered with a sharp tongue and a disaffected air, but this one doesn't go that route. Instead, he tips down his glasses to get a better look at the stranger. His eyes are a brilliant blue, and they're bright with a delighted energy. That grin comes easily, and his shoulders shake with quiet laughter. "All right," he says. He accepts the snort, good man. "That's a nice look. Maybe it'll catch on." He flips the tip of his red scarf over his shoulder, and it slides right back to where it was. His accent is English. London, if one were to get specific.


One eyebrow greets the response initially. It's the smile that shows reluctantly, more professional than anything else.

"I'll take that as a compliment," the good Doctor replies with a subtle shake of his head. Oh yes, Tommy would like this one, but only to double-team on the unsuspecting. Best not introduce them after all. "Considering the origins of the coat, it seems like you'd know easily enough if it would."

Ah-hah, the eyes. There's where the confirmation lies to his suspicions than Otherwordly touches grace this other person. Paused at the corner of the sidewalk as they are, he indulges in a longer, more keen look. There's the touch of flint within his steely-blues, that same searching narrowed gaze distant with mental wheels spinning. This one gives his family members pause. It's not meant to disarm, simply to measure what can be seen verses his vault of a memory.

"Or perhaps not," he adds in a distracted manner. "I get the distinct feeling that you're not from around here." Here being Earth…and his Realm.


There's a gleam in those eyes that does spell trouble, it's true. For someone. Trouble without malice. "I'm a fan," he says. He missed the memo on how he's supposed to sound airy and uninterested. He ambles closer, casual in his gait, but his gaze is focused on the Doctor and wholly engaged. Otherworldly sums it up. He's fey around his features, in the way he moves.

The weight of that searching case slows his steps. "I was born in London," he says, though there's a thread of uncertainty in his voice. He picked up the implication, but what if he's just reading into things? It's been a rough past couple days. Perceptions get skewed. "My parents were Norwegian," he adds. "Ish."


"Hmph." It's not quite a sound of disbelief, but combined with the slight frown, it might come across as such. The light turns green and they're able to cross. The good Doctor pauses for all of a second before continuing on, though he adds over his shoulder,

"Norwegian-ish? I don't hear a hint of it in your accent, how fascinating." Turning in place, he walks backwards, hands stuffed into the pockets of his coat. "Care for tea? You can regale me of your…heritage."

Oh hell yes, there's implications now…and a thread of challenge in the Sorcerer's tone. Same in the subtle grin, as if he knows that the bait is laid and all that's required is to wait — which he can do, ever-so-patiently. All knowledge is worth having. If the young man is paying close attention in his wholly-engaged manner, there's no missing the flash of silvery-violet about the good Doctor's eyes. A calling card, in a sense, the Mystical calling to potentiality.


Kai happens to be going the Doctor's way, and so he steps off the curb a beat after. It's a bit awkward to follow someone and not be following them, so he skips up a step to walk abreast instead. "I've not been to Norway in awhile," he explains. "I only went there to visit. It wasn't really my jam, you dig? I'm much more at home here."

Then he laughs, and though brief, it's a delightful and delighted sound. "I'm nobody," he says, and the answer comes quick to his lips, more by rote than given any thought. "But I'd love a cup of tea, and thank you for offering. I'll tell you all about what little I remember of Norway."

Oh, how he takes the bait. It's a game to him, these challenges. Besides, he was going to get tea anyway, and he's broke. The only thing that makes him hesitate is that flash in the Doctor's eyes. His brow knits, and for a split second, something akin to self-preservation causes him to draw back. Then something sharp in his eyes, calculating and not half so silly as he tries to come off. Whatever his conclusion, it prompts him to say, "Lead the way, Daddy-o."


A perfectly audible snort this time; it fluffs white in the chilly air of spring-nee-winter.

"Please, call me Doctor." The rest of the title may come with time and proper ascertaining of the young man's true status in the Realm of Midgard. "The place is called O'Riley's, right there." The man nods ahead and up the sidewalk. Not another half-block in the distance lies the little shop, with its little scattering of tables and little old woman inclined to sharp-tongued comments.

Since the child of Beat-dom is a skip ahead, it entails that Strange continues…walking in his usual, limber stride. He's in no hurry.

Whomever opens the shop door triggers the jingle of bells and the attention shift of Old Mrs. O'Riley from working on scone dough on the countertop behind the till. The air is redolent with spices, herbs, and the sweet overlay of pastries freshly-made and currently baking. The menu lies upon the counter and the old woman with her braided-bun of pure white calls over her shoulder,

"Order what you want, Doctor, but your package will need to wait until I'm done with the scones."

"No hurry, young lady," replies the Doctor, flashing her an utterly-charming grin. He receives the usual 'oh pish-posh' and dismissive floury wave over her shoulder. "I have a standing tab." The explanation to the young man is given easily.


"I dig," Kai says. "Doctor." The snorts are borne with a lack of indignity. To call it dignity might be a step too far. People with dignity don't have this kind of boundless joie-de-vivre. He traipses up the sidewalk, weighed down only by the satchel, whose contents shift like wood and paper. "Everyone calls me Kai," he says.

He opens the door for the Doctor, gesturing broadly for him to go first. He's quite the gentleman, this walking piece of performance art. Mrs. O'Riley puts a pause on the enthusiasm, proof positive that the young man can come over with respect for his elders. In the vague social sense. He was already an adult when this old woman was an infant. "I'll just take a tea," he tells the Doctor. "I'm not particular."


"He's not particular," the good Doctor repeats across the counter, trying hard not to smile. Old Mrs. O'Riley pauses in rolling dough to give the young laddie a speculative look.

She weighs in with, "Something dark, notes of spices, a bit of milk. A Chai blend."

The man in the Belstaff nods with exaggerated solemnity. "I defer to your boundless wisdom." This actually makes her laugh, a rusty sound that still contains bright notes of her youth — she must have had a ringing giggle that echoed off the green hills of Kilkenny. "We'll be at the usual table." Another floury hand wand, clear dismissal, and he tilts his head again towards one of the tables by the back wall of the shop.

The Doctor snags his preferred seat, back to the wall, by shucking his black coat and leaning it over the back. This leaves him with the crimson scarf…at least, until he takes it off. It seems to…resist him a little, but finally 'gives in' and lays slack across the arm of the chair. Mostly. The fringes wiggle as if tempting the attention of anyone perceptive. It gets what might be construed as a flat glare from the man even as he settles into his chair with a sigh.

"Tea will be here shortly. Until then, let's cut to the chase. Your name and where you're from. And please, don't think to test me." His smile is quietly amused; the intelligence lurks like a deep-water shadow behind his eyes, still faintly lambent with that frosted-violet glow.


Kai glances between the Doctor and the old woman. He offers no commentary on the selection made for him outside of that delighted smile that comes so easily to him, even if it is somewhat subdued in deference to the sharp-tongued old woman. He knows he's a walking target. He offers her a nod, then follows after the Doctor. Tipping down his shades, he flicks a glance about, casually casing the place before he picks a chair that gives him a view of the door. Just incidentally.

Once seated, he affects a diffident lounge, one ankle crossed over the other knee. He glances at the scarf and says, "I really like that. It's interesting. People don't put enough thought into looking interesting." Then it's down to brass tacks. He tilts his head and considers the Doctor over the rim of those shades "Are you a census taker?" he asks. His smile echoes Strange's for amusement. "Gerhard Alfsson is the name my parents gave me. A name. The other depends on who you are and why you're asking."


The Doctor tilts his head minutely to one side, attention resting squarely on the young man with the light eyes. The shades do much to hide away the shine, but only so much.

The job title brings a flash of grin, true humor flickering forth and away in a deepening of the formal smile. "I…suppose that's not incorrect," he hedges, momentarily painting a fingertip down one line of his goatee. Another faint laugh. "Gerhard then. A name but not a Name." Again, a note of emphasis capitalizes the word. "Still, fair enough." His broad shoulders rise and fall in a shrug before he fully leans back into his chair, arms lightly folded.

"I'm Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, Guardian of this Realm and its Fate. I ask because I'm polite enough to do so." At his elbow, the crimson scarf riffles enough to draw his glance. "Stop. We're not discussing you," he murmurs very quietly. His attention shifts back to…Gerhard. "Or maybe I'd be better off using the name of 'Midgard'…?" It's a shot in the dark, the notion aimed by a vague sense of familiarity about the young man's aura. If he's wrong, so be it. He can accept learning something new.


Kai sits up straighter from his lounge, and he squares his shoulders. Not that it adds anything to his stature. He's just not a very big fellow. "Oh," he says. He chews the inside of his lip, looking around the place again, doing a more through job casing it this time. To buy time while he thinks. The scarf gets a lingering glance. He likes that scarf. He wants to get his hands on it. But. His attention returns to the Doctor.

"You sound important," he says. A flicker of dimpled smile returns, briefly, and he says, "I really am no one, and I really was born in Midgard." Yeah, he knows the name. He's quick to add, "I'm not Asgardian. I'm from Alfheim. Well. My parents are. I'm from London."


"Ah, Alfheim." It explains a few things and it's enough to satisfy his curiosity…for now. The Sorcerer glances up as old Mrs. O'Riley arrives to drop off the tea tray. On it, a teapot filled with hot water and the two tea cups. The one with the lighter of the two dark brews belongs to Gerhard and is delivered by her crabbed hands with surprising dexterity. The other, darker and clearer, is set in front of Strange, who thanks the old woman in true good manners.

"The scones will be out soon." She eyes the younger man up and down before pursing her wrinkled lips. "You need more meat on your bones, lad." With that, she's off. The good Doctor waits until she's out of hearing before releasing the stifled laugh.

"She means well, I promise," he murmurs, stirring his tea once before relegating the spoon to the saucer. It's a brew scented of cloves and blackberry, summer's sweetness with a stir of honey to boot, mellowed by the spice. "And everyone is someone," he argues idly. "I am…important, yes, in my own way." Look at him curb that ego. "I wondered by your eyes which Realm you were from…or at least, your heritage. I appreciate your truthfulness in the manner. I hate making people uncomfortable. On that note, however…" And his eyes shift to the satchel, wherever it hangs or lies, hidden or not. "…what do you carry in your bag?" Back to the young man's Otherwordly face, and again, with the fully-lambent glow. This is the Sight in action.


Kai smiles up at Mrs. O'Riley looking for all the world like some mother's sweet boy. If one can get past the counterculuture couture. "Yes, ma'am," he says. She's not wrong. That's the problem with being a starving artist. The starving.

Once she's gone, Kai smiles as he says, "She does, I think. It's all cool. I get told that kind of thing all the time." He flips a hand idly. Nah, the old woman is all right in his books. She makes tea appear, and that's magical in its own right. He gingerly takes up his cup, mindful of its heat, and the scent brings about a look of uncomplicated bliss. "Pegged me," he says. "I love it."

Then his expression grows solemn, and it's like clouds blotting out the moon. Sitting up, he nudges the bag under his chair with a foot as he says, "Art supplies." the Doctor gets a considering look. There's that calculation back, never far from the surface beneath all that joy and excitement. Always watching, measuring, weighing, deciding. The look of someone used to running. "It's just a bauble," he says. "No threat to you or yours."


Raven-wing brows inch higher and combine with a slight narrowing of those Sight-brightened eyes to complete a very passable expression of Supremely Unimpressed.

"I've never known art supplies to…shimmer like captured moonlight, but certain baubles, yes. You're no threat, I agree. Indulge me. What is it?" He, in turn, indulges in a sip of his tea. Perfect, as always. The steam rises before his face before he blows it away and takes another mouthful. Rolling his lips, he sighs. The intensity is visibly taken down a notch, which looks like it entailed honest practice. "I'm not going to skin you alive, young man, spit it out."


Kai bites his lower lip. The important thing here is not to make a scene, which is so unlike his usual approach to life. Then again, that's Kai the artist. This is Hjuki, who hides behind that facade as if his life depended on it. Who knows? It might. So. No scenes. No attention drawn this way that isn't already. "It heals," he says. "I use it to heal people, that's all." He then adds, "But there are also art supplies. I'm…" The distraction peters out upon his lips, "..an artist. I found it, all right? I didn't take it. It was just there."


Another one of those thoughtful 'hmphs' precedes a sip of tea. The demi-tasse is set down and Strange wraps fingers around it, warming sore bones beneath scarred skin.

"That's all? That's not a little thing to have, a relic with those type of powers." The intensity has receded to a distance seen only in the presence of crow's feet about the Sorcerer's eyes. His voice is calm, baritone, cultured. "I believe you that you found it. As I said, I'm not going to skin you." A faint curvature appears on his lips again like the glow of sunlight behind clouds. "Well…take good care of it. I don't want a reason to have to speak with you about it." He sounds like a proper caretaker now. Tsk-tsk, must behave with Mystical artifacts.


Kai inclines his head as he grants that perhaps it is no small thing to have, sure. The receding intensity brigs him further out of himself, relaxes him. Maybe not to his previous levels of simple joy to be alive, but he's capable of a dimpled smile. "I doubt you'd get much for an elf pelt anyway," he says. Finally, he takes a drink of tea, calm enough to enjoy it. Then his brows lift. Oh, right. The Doctor is authority. He's The Man. Kai shrugs it off and says, "Don't sweat it, man. I'm a good guy. Walk the streets, help the helpless, dig? You ever get a scratch, let me know, I'll be your angel."


"I can imagine that you'd be very helpful in a tight bind," Strange replies, smirking faintly before glancing off towards the broad windows. No sign of inclement weather, no random incursion by unwelcome Asgardians, no one running out the tea shop door fearing for their soul…he can count this particular tete-a-tete a success thus far.

"Still…be mindful. Not everyone understands or appreciates the power of the Arts. Witchhunts are something to be avoided at all cost. I can also offer a helping hand should you ever find yourself in trouble." The crimson scarf shifts again in a blatantly-obvious movement and the Sorcerer looks blatantly-annoyed at it. The article of clothing immediately settles down under his slitted glare.

"As I was saying," he continues, looking back to Gerhard, " — the Sanctum, in Greenwich Village. If you're familiar with the area, it's on Bleecker Street. Simply knock. If I'm not home, my Consort will answer and then send word."


Kai's lips twitch, and his first response never leaves his lips. Surely the good Doctor doesn't want to know that 'boy he could tell some stories about that.' Besides, the warning cuts short his levity. Lowering his shaded gaze to his tea, he says, "I might have to take you up on that offer." The movement of the scarf draws his attention. "Poor fellow," he says to it. Or the Doctor. He's not terribly specific.

"I know Bleecker Street," he says. "Of course I do, this is my home." At the mention of a Consort, he sits up and that grin takes on a wolfish angle. "Oh, I see," he says with an unspoken 'ooh la la' in his voice. "If you do ever need a healer, hmm." He considers for a moment. "That jazz club about four blocks down? I'm there more often than I'm home."


Ah, the jazz club, perfect. "Johnny O's, you must mean. You have good taste." There's definitely a roguish cast to his grin even as he salutes the young Alfheim with his cup of tea. He drinks to the dregs before the pleased sigh escapes him. "I expect to see you about town then, young…Gerhard." Strange is still not convinced that's the true name in question, but it's acceptable. After all…he's patient. It'll crop up sooner or later. "I tend to run…" The Sorcerer's voice peters off into silence as he frowns slightly, looking beyond the shoulder of his table-mate; he seems to be listening for something…or to something. Someone? The focus comes back and he seems resigned to whatever message was passed on to him.

"Speaking of running. I'm needed." Rising to his feet, he's quick to slip on his black coat and, of course, that rambunctious crimson scarf. It snuggles up about his neck like a friendly python, making its master roll his eyes slightly. "No one's impressed with you." It flutters at his jawlines. "No, not even her. …fine, she is." The fringes on the relic in diguise tickle until he places a hand against his sternum, pinning the scarf flat. "Stop." And it does.

The Beat-child is given one last grin, this one friendly despite the minor stress about Strange's stance. "Enjoy the scones once they arrive." With that, he makes his way out of the tea shop and out of sight, disappearing before even the ringing of the shop bells has fallen silent.

And, of course, the scones show at the table with the reminder of "Eat them all, lad."

P.S. Old Mrs O'Riley gives him crap for forgetting to grab his parcel the next time he visits. Much ruefulness. Such laughter.

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