1964-05-02 - About Bucky
Summary: Strange and Kai discuss the Bucky situation.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
kai strange 

The scone elf has arrived and lived up to his name, having brought scones from Mrs. O'Riley's. Now Kai and Doctor Strange sit with tea and scones, though it's not as happy an occasion as it usually is. The elf isn't grinning ear to ear, and he looks diminished for it. "Sorry I haven't been to see you lately. Things have gotten kind of crazy, man. Like that thing at the fair, and just…" He shakes his head. "I don't know, man. I don't know anymore."


The Scone Elf also has the lion's share of the scones — likely all of them — since the good Doctor had politely declined to partake in one of the pastries. He claims to have eaten already, but thank you and enjoy them all since old Mrs. O'Riley will appreciate some meat on his bones. Strange isn't sure that it's working; Kai seems no heavier than last he crossed paths with him.

"It's fine, Kai," the host replies after sipping at his tea in his chair. The good Doctor doesn't look much better himself. The bruising of little sleep shows beneath his eyes and if it seems like those crow's feet about the corners of his eyes have deepened, it's not just the ambient play of the firelight. Something weighs on his mind too, but he keeps it behind his teeth and the facade of formality. "Yes, I read about the fair. Any news in regards to the Captain?" He means good ol' Stars and Stripes himself, of course.


Kai burns a lot of fuel! And the pretense of bringing some for Strange means he gets twice as many. A flawless plan. Kai slathers jam on thick. "Cap's fine," he says. "We're going to be working together. Isn't that cool?" He smiles, though subdued. It's enough to bring a spark to his eyes. "He's going to give me a chance to make it right."

There, the smile fades. He drops his gaze. "This is all my fault," he says. I mentioned missing Bucky. Then Bucky was, er, brought to me. He was on his way back to the place he'd been, where they were helping him. Then he went all Mr. Hyde, and even though he didn't do the bombings, he's being blamed for it, and the governments of the world are flipping out."


A silent sigh escapes the Sorcerer in light of the health status of the Captain. Very good. The newspapers succeeded in aggrandizing the initial attack as worse than initially suspected by Strange; either that or it was as hellish as described and the Captain is one tough cookie.

An admittance of fault has him looking away from the fireplace and over his cup towards the Moon Elf. He listens, still as a stalking leopard, until the apparently-guilty party finishes his tale. His tea cup is deposted to one side and then he rises to his feet. This is going to be a pacing sort of discussion.

"This…Bucky. His last name is Barnes, isn't it. James Barnes." The Sorcerer's eyes slide back to his guest in the other chair and linger, gauging reaction. With arms folded, he waits for an answer — patiently, distantly, the only tell behind his half-lidded eyes. There can be found the rapid calculations of the cosmic chess player…and maybe a tisp of irritation.


Kai lifts his head to watch Strange, his hangdog look almost as pathetic as that of his little dog, who is laying down under his chair. The little dog looks healthier than the day of the pretzel stand. He's had some good meals and a bath. He's still little and scraggly.

Kai nods slowly. "Yeah, Bucky," he says with casual familiarity. "He's a good man, but the Reds did something to his mind. He's got a Mr. Hyde that comes out and tries to assassinate people, but his Jekyll is a good man." He implores Strange with those big blue eyes. Please, believe him! "And given he was incarcerated somewhere for weeks, he wouldn't have had time to organize with a team of terrorists to blow up anything."


A flash of nearly white-violet light floods the Sorcerer's irises before being mentally stamped down. At his neck, his pulse jumps and then slows to a more paced speed.

This might be a bitter pill for the Elf to swallow, especially with his inherant core of empathy and tendency to entreat with a level of skill known to few but puppies.

"Yes, Wanda said the very same thing," comes the initial reply, quietly, his face averted to stare at the coals beneath the log grates. "Something about…turning off the wicked thoughts." A twitch of a wrinkle of disgust appears about his nose before it's smoothed flat, not unlike his lips. No expression lingers there.


Kai leans back in his chair, and he clutches his teacup closer when he sees that white-violet flash. As fond as he is of the Sorcerer Supreme, he doesn't let himself forget just how powerful the man is. He relaxes slowly, and he asks, "Why is that a bad thing? He could be himself again." He sighs. "And convincing the world what happened would be impossible. But he'd get to be himself."

"He's a good man," Kai reiterates. "He was a war hero. He didn't deserve any of this. But what's really got me flipping out, though, is these terrorists. They're going to strike again and the pigs can't be trusted to look for them."


"I expect SHIELD to be actively looking into these terrorists now that James has been returned to the safety of his cell."

Wham, bam, delivered with a total lack of emotion in tone. The sky is blue. Gravity pulls one to the earth. Fact of life.

"What I saw recently is difficult to process in light of the incident with the pretzel stand and the zombies. The man I saw most recently was not afraid to attempt to kill. Wanda survived." The air in the room sucks cyclonic about him momentarily to ruffle any loose cloth or shift objects nearby before settling down. The silvery wards erupt from the wall in a sentient cloud of fluid stardust and hover about him, clearly called forth by the quick flush of temper. Strange closes his eyes and the slow shake of his head dismisses them. They remain for all of another few seconds and Kai might feel another once-over, as if double-checking their master's decision. They clearly like Kevin — perhaps there's an odd parallel to be found between the spell and the stray dog looking well-cared-for. Regardless, swish, they disappear again.


Kai's eyes widen. "He's safe?" Relief floods the poor elf's frame. He sags in his seat, and he takes a big bite of his scone, munching it down. He takes a drink of tea, swallows, then says, "I've been worried sick."

He takes another bite of scone and watches Strange, listening intently. When the stardust comes, Kai's brow knits. What's this all about? He sits very still as he's investigated. Kevin lies sacked out, and he flicks an ear as he's given the all clear.

Kai groans, and he says, "It was a bluff. He wouldn't have hurt anyone. He's not that person anymore. Just… impulsive." Frustration mars the elf's features. "He lacks Midgardian sensibilities. Everything here is small to him. It would be to me too if I'd been raised in Alfheim. I know that doesn't make any of this okay, but at least you get to know she was safe the whole time."


A slow inhale and exhale marks a centering of the Sorcerer.

"Yes, he's in qualified hands unless another individual attempts to remove him from the cell again. If so, I expect to be called in to attempt…diplomacy." It doesn't quite sound like 'diplomacy' when he says it like that. Strange, with that enviably-calm poise like the still surface of a pond, glances to Kai. "Kai. Listen and mark me well. He shot Wanda through the shoulder. She bled. He attempted to kill her. He endangered more than just himself doing this." Slowly, the words have grown more terse until he may well be spitting tacks rather than simply communicating. "I don't presume to know Wanda's mind on the matter of bringing this attempt to SHIELD's notice. However — justice will be served how it will. His Fate is beyond me."


Kai's eyes narrow as he regards Strange. There's no hostility in the look, but rather confusion straining to resolve itself. "I think we're talking about separate incidents. Did the Winter Soldier shoot Wanda? You have to know, man, that it wasn't Bucky. He's a victim. A hostage."

Kai sits up, ready to defend his friend. "I haven't written him off, and I don't think anyone else should either. Like, if someone was possessed, would you blame the person or the demon?" Too many people ignoring the inconvenient fact that Barnes is innocent. Kai squares his shoulders. Well, no more on his watch.


"I expect the world to attempt to hold him accountable for his actions. If there is a way to remove this…compulsion you claim to be put upon him, I also expect SHIELD to attempt it. I choose to have faith that they will succeed."

Thus begins the pacing, the frenetic energy akin to restless legs coursing through his system. It leads Strange beyond the edge of the firelight and then back into it once more. It paints him with highlights of gold along dress pants and his wine-red dress shirt.

"We dealt with the Soldier in the subway tunnels and I, in turn, dealt with him how I felt necessary in the moment. If James is within that mind…would that he could return fully. I would hate to need to deal with the Winter Soldier again." Frost graces these words.


"Even if the world never believes, at least if we could make a case for him being schizo, he'd be in a psych ward, not prison. He's already in a prison."

Kevin's legs start twitching, and he brfs. Kai exhales slowly and looks down at the dog. "Get that squirrel," he murmurs. The dog answers with another brf and more twitching paws.

He looks back to Strange. "James is in there. You should meet him sometime. He's cool, man. He cares about stuff, and every time the Winter Soldier blows his top, it's Bucky who feels it. It's wrecking him." He sighs. "It breaks my heart, Doctor. All of this. And I'm going to be very careful what I say. Now that my wishes come true." He half-smiles slathers jam on a scone.


"Yes. I'd be more careful. The Prince doesn't understand what repercussions can come of his actions. No Midgardian sensibilities," he echoes of Kai's earlier thoughts.

Just imagine. The Sorcerer Supreme in dire grief, learning of the fact that both off-world beings knew of the Winter Soldier and of the possibilities of releasing such a threat upon New York again. A terrible future diverted at the cost of Witch blood spilt and a frantic spell. Fate is a funny thing.

"I won't lie if called to SHIELD to testify as to what I saw, Kai. James, in dealing with the zombies, showed humanity, yes. Does this outweight his previous actions?" The shrug is lax. By the faint curl of his lips, Strange is still dealing with conflicting feelings on the whole matter.


Kay nods as he says, "Yeah, I know. I was just making conversation. I didn't think he would spring him, and he didn't know he had the Winter Soldier in him." Having finished his scone, he puts his face in his hands. So frustrated!

Then he lifts his head and those kind blue eyes become a titch harder. "They're not his previous actions." There's more that goes unsaid, probably for the best. Kai just isn't mean by nature. It's all just so frustrating!

"SHIELD was helping him while he was there," Kai mentions. Just a by the way, that he knows these things. "He wanted to go back to them. I hope they can crack this."


Strange, returning back towards Kai and hence past the fire again in his pacing, nods with an air of half-distraction.

"Have faith. They have many things at their disposal to aid James." It looks like it hurts to admit the next bit, but it's also a bit like lancing a bitterly-swollen wound. "Would that he never escaped in the first place. Kai…I don't ask this lightly." His gaze, devoid of Mystical light now, is simply darker for the lack of bright light in the living room. "Impress upon Loki the consequences of his actions. There was the risk of losing someone I love and that the risk existed in the first place is unacceptable."


Kai nods quickly, his agreement coming easily. "I'll talk to him. I've no place to do more than advise." He draws a shaky breath. "I never thought anyone would be all hung up on me, dig me? I used to have the luxury of obscurity. Now I'm getting a grip on being this important to someone like him of all cats. So I'm not going to say careless stuff. There's no fire where there's no spark, you know what I'm saying?"

He touches up his tea, and Strange's words about almost losing someone he loves makes him wince. He still blames himself, for the crime of speaking a simple truth. "I'm sorry," he says quietly. "I never would've forgiven myself."


The older brother in him rallies, shoving aside the bad taste of near-loss aside for the moment. He can brood later, once Kai is gone, and mull over as many scenarios as possible in order to plan against future repetition. The tightness about his neck and shoulder lessens as does the enfolding of his arms across his chest.

"It's terrible dealing with literal folk, isn't it?" The smile is there, faint…but it's there.


Kai echoes the faint smile, though it's brighter in his eyes; there's that spark of life that's supposed to be there. "Teaches you a whole new way to think," he says. "Maybe I should tell him thank you for blowing my mind. Like, you get this whole new perspective." He pauses, then adds, "At least I've never said I'm dying for some attention." Then again, he never has to, but never mind that.

Kai sighs and leans back. "I'll make it right," he says. "We'll stop these terrorists before anyone else gets killed. Bucky's going to get fixed up." He flits a glance to Strange. "And she's going to be okay. We got lucky he didn't kill anyone."


"Not this time. She's fine. A healing spell never hurt anyone."

…technically lies, but it takes a very specific situation in order for this to occur.

"And yes, communication becomes key. One doesn't precisely mince around situations and think they're clever anymore. Double-entendres, sly slips of the mind…" Strange shakes his head in amusement, the smile growing a bit deeper still.


"So we make sure there's no second time," Kai says. "My Prince won't be grabbing him again. When he found out about the Winter Soldier and how the bastard almost killed me once…" Kai sighs. Why did he fail to mention that to Loki? Oh, right. Loki would've turned Bucky into lawn mulch.

And then there was having a spat in front of the SHIELD agent, brief as it was. He half-smiles and says, "Our talents are wasted. At least I can turn a phrase with you."


Returning to his chair, the Sorcerer fairly flumps into it. He runs a hand down his face before leaning his chin on it. The other drums fingers on the armrest.

"Yes, you can." His smile peters out. "Kai. There cannot be a second time, especially if there's been an attempt on your life as well. You don't leave a sick dog roaming around the neighborhood and you don't let it go from its cage because it's friendly sometimes." Yes, yes, beating the proverbial dead horse now, but seeing as Strange came terribly close to losing his Sorcerous temper…it's in part for James's safety.


"Oh, that," Kai says with a dismissive wave of his hand. "That happened ages ago, before any of this. I just didn't know what to do about it, then he ended up with SHIELD. He's there again, so we just… We do what we can. I can make it clear that I want him to be there no matter what."

With a small frown, he taps the rim of teacup he holds. "Is it possible to ward his cell against magic?" he asks. "That way if any other entity gets any bright ideas, it won't work."

He sets the cup aside and gets to his feet. "Come on, Kev." To Strange, he says, "We've got this under control, Doctor. I hate to eat and run, but I'm going to go see what my prince is doing. I'm going to take him to that nice Greek place." Yeah, like Kai's not going to be the one mooching off Loki.

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