1964-04-05 - Relationship Advice
Summary: Kai comes around to cadge some scones and pester Doctor Strange for relationship advice.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
kai strange 


Puttering around in the shop has its benefits. Most owners take their jolly good time; not this one. Grimacing at the stack of papers finally in order (tax records, ugh), he glances over at the invoice. Yet another tome missing, this one about the magical history of Ancient Celtic peoples.

"Teaches me to order from them again," he grumbles, brows slicing together in a sharp frown. His gaze flicks up towards the entrance of the Sanctum as a knocking resounds. The wards report a visitor, one he's recently met, rather new to the Village proper:

Beat-child. That's all. Not even the traditional triad of descriptors. Not that they're needed. Tap-tapping the pile of papers vertically against the desk, he slides them away into the small safe, locks that, and makes his way to the front doors. With a click, one door swings open and he looks down upon said Beat-child.

"…Gerhard," says the good Doctor after a moment. It's clear that he still doesn't believe that's the young man's proper name. "What brings you here? An issue?"

*

Kai smiles when the Doctor opens the door. There are puppies who could learn from his wide-eyed happiness how to utterly and sincerely play the adorable card. Made moreso perhaps in its lack of pretense. No, he's not cute, he's manly as hell. Just ask him. "Heeey, Doctor. I was in the neighborhood, thought I'd see how you were doing." As if Strange is the one who needs checked up on. "Do you want to get scones?"

He has his art bag with him today, and within there's the gentle thrumming of that artifact. He keeps a tight grip on the bag. Pencils, charcoals, and paper can be replaced, but some things…

*

"…scones."

The good Doctor is getting to be masterful at heavy pauses that indicate mild suspicion. His brows lift and after a slight purse of consideration, he shrugs. "I suppose there's nothing wrong with visiting Mrs. O'Riley. After all, there is another parcel to pick up." Tea. More tea. Of course more tea! "Allow me to get my coat. You can wait in the foyer if you'd like," he adds, glancing up at the somewhat grey sky. With that, he retreats to the coat closet not far into the little passageway to snag that quintessential black Belstaff. Should the young Beat-child enter the Sanctum, he gets a good once-over by the silver wards, guard dog-spells of the mansion, in a tornadic riffling that comes and goes like a breath of wind. They chime for the relic in his pack, but that's nothing new to Strange.

From upstairs comes the crimson Cloak, in its normal form, collars and all. It pauses, hovering behind its master, and seems to eye Kai from a distance in quiet curiosity.

*

Kai weathers the heavy pause with an ever hopeful look. He's optimistic on a cosmic level. He has to be. On the other side of that optimism is a whole lot of screaming and throwing things. "There you go," he says. "A parcel." It's all part of Kai's plan, man.

Kai immediately slips into the foyer the moment he's invited to, and he looks around. He's not a thief, honest. Honest! He's just deeply interested in things, and he's never been inside a sorcerer's home before. The chiming causes him to look around, but he doesn't spook easily around all this magic stuff. He's an elf. They've got stuff like this at home. Maybe not exactly like this.

He fixates, though, on the cloak once it appears. "Wow, like wow, man," he breathes. "That's so far out. Does it think? Does it have a name?" He waves a little to the cloak with a light, "Heey, hip cat." Then, to Strange, "I like your cloak."

*

The crimson Cloak tilts its collars to one side, giving the impression of eyeing Kai not too unlike its master's tendency to do quite the same. It remains hovering behind Strange, its edges riffling in some unfelt breeze.

"Thank you. It's a fickle thing," the Sorcerer adds distractedly as he feels around in his coat pockets. Okay, good, wallet is still there. "A name? Hmm…other than 'cheeky bastard'," and he grins, glancing at the thing, "I believe it goes by…Cloak?" The relic lifts both shoulders in a shrug. It is itself. It doesn't seem too inclined to take on a Name.

With a swish and logic-defying shift in form, voluminous checker-innards melt down and form one solid length of scarf that wraps about the Sorcerer's neck in a friendly manner. With a small smile down at the fringes, which wiggle about in miniature waves (or perhaps tails, like a friendly pet), he then steps back to the front door. "After you, Gerhard." Once they're outside, the doors lock and he patters down the steps to the sidewalk. "Alright, young man, regale me. What's the issue?" He's already a few strides down the sidewalk and turns about to look back at Kai, hands stuffed in pockets.

*

Kai wants to pet the cloak. Er, scarf. He wants to pet it so badly. He stuffs the hand not holding his bag in a pocket of his chinos to keep himself honest, and he traipses out of the foyer and onto the street. He leads the way for a few steps, then falls into step beside Strange. "Hmm?" he asks, and he looks up at the Doctor. "Issue? Oh! I just thought you might like to have scones."

Though the question does leave an opening, and Kai considers. Does he have any issues? Gods, where would he start? "I mean there's nothing new going on," he says. "Nothing new that's any big deal. Except I sort of met someone, but you don't want to hear about that."

*

Those lips rise into a knowing smile. Experience as a mentor to an apprentice and critical family member has taken the usual edge from it; this one is kinder, more akin to something the Ancient One may have given him from time to time.

"Let's see if I have this correct… You're attempting to ply me with scones when you need to…bounce ideas off of me? Use me as a sounding board? Rely upon my worldly life experience in order to gain some wisdom and insight on a matter?" He glances over at the young man. "I don't mind. I might have something…wise to toss out there." Shrug.

*

"I was in the neighborhood," Kai says, "and I thought about those scones, and how interesting it was listening to you." He glances at the scarf sidelong. "And Cheeky Bastard there was super swinging, so I thought I'd come round and see if you were hungry." He shrugs a shoulder. "We don't have to talk about my crazy old life. We can talk about you if you want." He gestures over the Doctor from head to toe. "You are easily one of the grooviest people I've met in this town.

There are the scones up ahead and he picks up his pace, a bounce in his step. "If you have any wisdom though, I'll take you up on that. What've you got for a lone elf in a mortal world?" That smile dazzles. This? This is a good day. This is a day with scones in his near future."

*

Okay, Strange can't help the mild eye roll, though it's accompanied by a wry little smile.

"The last time someone buttered me that heavily, they were about to tell me of a new wormhole ripped into this reality. You, however, show no aptitude for such a thing, for which I am most grateful." True statement, that. Pausing at the corner means only for a few seconds, seeing as they caught the end of the light cycle. Crossing the white lines means reaching that final half-block stretch before Scone Time. "Always look to the right before you cross the street here in New York. The taxi drivers are insane. There's a bit of wisdom for you." He's trying not to grin, honestly.

*

Kai laughs, and there's music in the sound of it. "There's no wormhole. I'm interested in people." The persistent mirth fades a titch as he says, "You're so fleeting, there's never enough time to really know you."

He nearly walks into traffic, but only nearly. The honk of a car horn has him leaping back onto the curb, not quite preternaturally fast. A blur and then he's safe and sound. "You're telling me," he says. "Wisdom received."

"I'm not buttering though," he says, cautious this time as he steps out into the street. "Isn't anyone just into you, man? You're a trip. You're out of this world. You're pretty hip for a square. I mean that in a good way."

*

"Hip for a square," Strange repeats, unable to help the faint laugh. "I suppose I thank you for the compliment." Grabbing the handle to the tea shop door, he opens it to the ringing of the shop bells. Immediately, it appears that they've arrived just after Old Mrs. O'Riley has set a fresh batch of scones upon the counter. She glances up and smiles.

"Ah, feeding that young man again, Doctor? Good. He still needs weight on him."

"It's as if you knew we were coming to see you," replies the good Doctor as he ushers Kai into the shop. "Unless Gerhard wants anything contrary to the last time we visited, you know our order, young lady."

"Pfft, cad. Go sit. I'll drop it off momentarily." With that, she goes about plating at least two — no, three scones. Kai's lucky day!

*

Once at their table, it's a similar tableau as to before. Strange slouches in his chair with back to the wall, coat slung over the arm rest and scarf similarly lying across it docilely. Still in dressy day-wear, though the button-down shirt is a deep claret-red, with brighter sheen where the light hits it just right.

Interlacing his fingers to form an arc that from resting elbow to elbow that takes up space before his sternum, the good Doctor looks like the proper Listener now. "I have no idea what you wish to know about me, but if I remember correctly, you had concerns. Please, enlighten me." Ooh, the young man hailing from Alfheim has heard this line before.

*

"I've got great timing," Kai says, and he smiles warmly for Mrs. O'Riley. He can be a good boy, and he's got that 'some mother's son' vibe. "It's not your fault you're a square," he tells Strange. "You've got a job to do, and this one's important." As if all the other squares with their jobs are trivial.

Three scones? Score! Kai flashes the old woman another one of those sterling smiles. There are dimples, deployed without mercy. Once in his eat, he puts the bag between his leg and the wall, making it harder to snatch. He cases the exits again, just wanting to know where everything is. "First, you've got the Ginchiest fashion sense. That needed said." His own clothing today is all black, with a black beret he takes off to reveal hair that will not not be disheveled.

As for his concerns, he considers. "It's the most trivial stuff," he says. "It's kind of nice to have normal person problems." He eyes Strange shrewdly though. Why does he want to know things? Probably just curious. "I met someone, but I don't date, but I want to, and there's a man who keeps breaking into my house. He stole my heroin, but he came back to pay for it. I think we're friends? Though he pulled a gun on me once. Normal people problems."

*

The good Doctor nods minutely, encouraging the expansion upon 'normal people problems'. Then it's about stealing heroin and pulling guns and the dark eyebrows slowly rise up until he looks rather unimpressed if one adds in the thinned mouth.

Clearing his throat, he replies, "I don't know that having a gun aimed at you is something I'd consider 'normal', but perhaps I'm not one to talk."

Interrupted by the arrival of scones and tea, he beams at Mrs. O'Riley and once she leaves them to their conversation, he's quick to bring his cup of tea into his hands. Mmm, warmth in his bones, good. "I would consider contacting the authorities…unless that is your stash, in which case…you would have to accept the consequences of doing such. This man breaking into your house is not the one you wish to not-date, I presume?" He sips at his tea, savoring the spices and berries within its brew.

*

"Oh, the gun isn't unusual," Kai says. "My first revolution was the American." His lips twitch at a small smile. Okay, that part he knows isn't a normal people thing.

Scones arrive! And Mrs. O'Riley gets a sweet "Thank you," from the Beat-child. So much for revolution against the norms and the older generations. When they have scones, the revolution can to stuff itself. She makes such a better grandmother figure than his own dreadful one back in Alfheim. Kai sits up and pours sugar into his tea. That's what he needs, another buzz. At the mention of the authorities, he wrinkles his nose. "No pigs," he says. Then, hangdog, he adds, "It's my stash. But he did pay for it. But no, he's not the one I want to not-date-only-do." He sighs, then groans, "He's a bookseller, and he's the swingingest." Ah, the torment of infatuation in the, relatively speaking, young.

*

Ah-hah. See? Patience earns one little gemstones…like the fact that this…young man isn't so young after all. Absolutely, this cements the fact that Kai is not of this world. Alfheim, confirmed.

"As a Doctor, I'm going to…be a square and remind you that drugs are bad for you. However, as the Sorcerer Supreme, your fate is your own." He sips his tea again, still looking rather unimpressed until he smoothes out the expression to professional interest instead. "A bookseller? I know a few of those. They tend to be intelligent folk." He nods, the corners of his lips rising slightly.

*

"I'm hard to kill with drugs," Kai says with a reassuring nod. He knows what he's doing, daddy-o, unlike all those other users who say they know what they're doing. "They open my mind, though, let me see into the cosmos. The universe is bigger than we even know, man."

He sighs again. Drugs he can weather, but this crush might do him in. "He is," he says. "Smart." He stirs his tea far longer than the sugar needs to dissolve. "I don't get it, why he digs me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stupid. Just because I've never been to college doesn't mean I'm dumb. History? I've lived it. I read all the time. Camus, Kerouac, Ginsberg. I make art, I'm tuned in. It's just, you know, he's smart."

*

"And you're concerned that you're…not as smart? As in he'd only appreciate you for your intelligence…or for something else entirely?"

The Sorcerer Supreme. Relationship guru. If only Wanda could see him now. She'd be cackling.

"Or you find it daunting?" He can appreciate this. After all, having gotten his PhD and MD simultaneously, that level of brainiac can be hard to approach. Plus, it tends to give one an over-inflated sense of self…not that Strange isn't very familiar with this. The Witch keeps him in check.

*

Kai finally stops stirring his tea and instead goes for one of the scones. The despair of infatuations can only hold up so much to scones. He slathers it with jam, then bites into it. His eyes practically cross with pleasure. "I am going to adopt Mrs. O'Riley," he says amidst licking crumbs from his lips.

"It's daunting," he says. "He's elegant, poised, gorgeous. He's big. Not physically huge, but big, if you dig? Like I'm small. I'm just this… this…" He frowns as he thinks about this. "I'm no one. I've worked really hard at it."

*

The sight of simple happiness is enough to make Strange grin, well and truly. It's true, those scones are legendary. He brings them back to the Sanctum often enough.

"Well…if he were a truly magnanimous individual, he'd look past any of this…smallness you ascribe to yourself, hmm?" Strange pours himself more tea and blows away some of the steam before taking a mouthful. A quiet hum of appreciation leaves him. "Take your time. Don't rush things."

*

Scones fix all. After another bite or two, Kai is back to his amiable, chatty self. "You're not quite appreciating just how deeply my affection for this individual is gutting me," he says. "I'm not the sort who stays for breakfast, Doctor. Suddenly, I'm thinking about extra toothbrushes and learning how to cook. Learning how to cook." He regards Strange solemnly. Learning how to cook, man.

He grins, then. There are scones, and he's alive, and he's not in Alfheim. How upset can he really stay? "You're so patient, listening to this nattering. I just don't have anyone to talk to. All I ever had was my mom and dad, and they're gone." In the face of overwhelming loneliness, he gives a perky shrug and pours himself some more tea. "Anyway, thank you."

*

A laugh bells out at the young man's stoic emphasis on the art of cooking. Old Mrs. O'Riley glances up with a grin of her own, but then goes back to her crossword puzzle in the far corner.

"You're welcome, but unfortunately, I have no cooking wisdom for you. I have…a sensitive stomach, unfortunately." Wait until Kai figures out that the Sorcerer basically never eats. Ever. "My parents are gone as well — and before you make some comment on the silvering, I went early." A pointed finger aims at him for a second before curling back around the tea cup. "I'm not forty yet." He's terse, but still smiles, proud of that fact, at least. "I wish I had more wisdom to grant you, but…peering into the future is a risky thing. Nothing ever stays the same, Fate is so fluid…" The Sorcerer shrugs, looking all the more sly now. "Did this upstanding gentleman happen to give you his name?"

*

Kai opens his mouth, then closes it as he's pointed at. There's nothing but mirth and trouble in his eyes. And innocence. He wasn't going to say anything, honest. He takes up his second scone to slather jam on. "You can peer into the future?" Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Then he can't help himself. He pats the Doctor on the hand and says, "It's all right, I'm older than you." And could pass for his late teens if he really wanted to.

Another scone and the sighs and groans are banished. Baked goods put things in perspective. "Serurre," he says. "His name is Serurre. He's tall, too. Like, so tall, man. I didn't know I liked tall, but I like tall." Given his stature, tall's probably not all that hard to find.

*

Perhaps if Kai were less like one of the good Doctor's two sons, he'd be less inclined to expect sass from him. But, alas — and as stated before…he and Tommy would run circles around people if they were friends. Thus, Strange will likely be eternally suspicious of sass.

Still, he snorts. "I'm fully aware of your older age, Gerhard." After all, he hasn't yet met a child of the other Realms. Maybe they all come pre-grown? "I can peer into the future — but only when the Fate of the world is at stake." Is he teasing? He grins. Maybe. Maybe he is. "Tall is useful. They fall harder, I hear." Double-entendre? Truth? After all, Strange is two inches over six feet himself. With a sigh, he tosses back the rest of his tea and smacks his lips. A glance to the nearby clock on the wall makes him grimace. "Ah, unfortunately I must get that parcel and get back. I'm expected elsewhere this evening." From his pocket comes a five-dollar bill. He slides it across the table to Kai. "Buy yourself more scones. You'll make Old Mrs. O'Riley happy."

Once wrapped up in his coat and scarf, he gives the young man a friendly smile. "You'll be fine, Gerhard…I know it." Tapping at his temple, he grins, looking rather boyish for a second. "Knock again if you wish to talk. In the meanwhile…seriously, scones." He tilts his head towards the counter before heading that way himself. With parcel tucked beneath his arm shortly afterwards, he gives Kai a last wave before leaving the shop.

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