1964-06-15 - Father and Son in the Mirror
Summary: Dad and Son time, talking serious matters, and having heartfelt moments.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange billy 


The Kaplan-Altman apartment is rather nice, and in a good neighborhood; the benefits of working for the questionable guys. It also happens to be perpetually neat, thanks to Billy being a bit of a nerd and stuck up about that sort of thing. Everything has a place! The dishes … well really, that's a whole question. The other day he accidentally sent all the dishes into oblivion. So here we have Billy in the kitchen, unwrapping a whole bunch of new plates ad silverwear and all of that sort of thing he had to replace. Stephen was invited over, because they never quite had that conversation— especially since Billy went nova and sort of passed out as a result.


Leaning casually on the counter is the Sorcerer Supreme in day dress-wear, formal but not too much so, watching the young man hard at work. Cardboard crackles, wrapping crinkles, and the clinkity-clink of brand-new dishes fills the kitchen in lieu of conversation. As new silverware joins the growing pile of pristine purchases, he glances about suddenly, eyes brightened with a touch of the Sight.

"The wards seem to be holding well enough. You picked a good anchor object." The weight of his concern falls upon Billy again. "And you seem no less for the wear. The tea helped?" He is curious. After all, Strange and Wanda avoid the worst of the Mystical drain after drinking some of the restorative tea. Does their son as well?


"I'm still not quite sure what happened: the spell was supposed to clean and deposit the dishes back where they go, not vanish all the dishes I own. And I tried to get them back and it stubbornly refuses to work." explains Billy, sounding a little embarassed over this incident. He flushes even, but continues unpacking the new dishes. "No one will ever think some old high school trophy is important, I think." He smiles slightly, and then winces at mention of the tea, "The tea.. helped." he admits, "But man I slept like the dead. That was… a hefty change. Turning the air around my shield into plasma. I've never really done a destructive *spell* before, not really. Usually its.. utility things." He sighs, "And I was quite proud of my whole tk-distracting of all the little spiders, too. I think they were looking for that almost invisible guy and figured if they wanted him I didn't want them to have him. I didn't know spiders knew how to triangulate. Stupid spiders mathed."


"Mathed." The word causes Strange to grin lightly. "Yes, these weren't your normal eight-legged monstrosities. The biological aspect to their exoskeletons reacting to our physics with crystalline properties…that was fascinating when they weren't attempting to wrap us up as hors d'oeuvres." He shakes his head, unamused with the aspect of being munchable. "Still, you held your own, even if you did burn yourself. Well done." He tilts his head, attempting to see without infringing on Billy's personal space if the burns are completely healed. He did attempt earlier with a spell, while the restorative tea was brewing.

His eyes rise to Billy's face. "You do realize that your mother is going to want to speak with you about erasing that spider from reality? Yes, I know — " and he holds up a scarred hand, keeping the other tucked away with arm folded across his chest. "I am very aware that it was for my personal safety. Like as not that's why the Vishanti haven't paid you a visit."

At least, he's pretty sure they haven't. The Sorcerer wouldn't know anyways, if they did — he tends to be stuck with amnesia afterwards.


Billy hesitates, frowning, "I wonder… what they wanted people for? Food? They got at least one person through that web-wormhole of theirs. But yeah, for spiders? They'd be almost pretty if it weren't for trying to eat us. I really frown on being eaten." At the praise, Billy dimples and blushes all at once. The burns are indeed healed, but then he does blink, "Huh? What's wrong with killing a spider that isn't supposed to even be in this world? I thought you were all against dimensional invaders." Pause, "Speaking of, I met a girl who literally kicks through dimensional walls. She knows me from another reality."


The addendum as to the girl who breaks through the veils of reality earns Billy a searching look.

"Really…?" Low, thoughtful, Strange shifts against the counter, crossing his ankles now in the other direction. "Nothing wrong with killing spiders — simply the method. You know of my mantle well enough. The warning needed to be shared." A shrug and then that continued keen attention. "Tell me of this girl who apparently knows you from a parallel universe."


Billy looks confused, about this whole mantle and warning thing, "I know your mantle a bit, but I don't understand what the problem is. They don't belong in this reality: isn't it *good* to delete them? I suppose I could have tried to banish it but I don't really know how to go about doing that. If I don't know how to do something it tends to… either not work quite right, or go… weird." He gestures at the plates with a wince. Then he shrugs, "Her name is America. I know, right? That should count as child abuse. Anyways, she knew both me and Teddy from more then one universe. She knew I was going by Wiccan now — which almost no one does yet, since its recent. And she's from the future, too. I dunno, there's something about her. I like her."


"Hmm." Instead of impale Billy with the sterile scholar's look, the one sans emotion and eerily empty but for quick calculations behind half-shuttered lids, he glances towards the living room. Interesting…

"She must not make much of a fuss entering other dimensions. I felt a small disturbance in the force fields of reality proper, but your mother hops in and out often enough that I figured it was her. This America, she's…good people?"


"I think so." Billy says instantly, but he pauses, and gives a shrug, "But we only had one conversation. She apparently does this reality hopping thing fairly often, she says she's seen me in more then one— and I'm always with Teddy." Billy beams a bit at that. He's always been a little 'were just figuring things out' when people ask of his relationship, but it seems Billy has crossed a bridge. He's smitten now. "Even in the reality where we're lesbians." Blink. "But, anyways. Yeah. I'm answering only on instinct— but I think I'm a decent judge of character. I think she's our kind of people." Pause, "Well by 'our' I don't mean magicish, but you know. Save the world types. Plus… there's just something about her. Like I've known her forever."


A reality where Billy and his paramour are lesbians. Well. Strange's eyebrows rise but he keeps his comment behind closed, faintly-smiling lips. Hey, the impossiblities are endless.

Eventually, he nods. "Deja-vu can be more than simple misfired neurons sometimes, I think. I wonder if realities overlap briefly — or perhaps time-streams. Past lives…the mundane public believes in such things and I would bet at least…a tome that they do exist not only in one reality, but in the mirrorings across the paralleled realities. Hence, someone believing they were once male instead of female or…from another country entirely. Is it like that?"


Billy finally finishes with the dishes, and they're all put away, and then he goes to tug open the fridge and pull out a coke. Its offered to Stephen, "We also have beer. And orange juice." he offers, then goes back to considering Stephen's words, "Sort of— kind of. Its like." he hesitates, "I don't know anything about her but what she said to me, but I have this feeling of familiarity as if I've known her for her whole life. Its nothing specific, I don't have any like..knowledge. Its just a feeling. Like, I'm almost certain that if I get to know her we'll be fast friends. And this isn't a future-thing: I don't know her from then, I'm sure of that. Those flashes of knowledge feel totally different. So… maybe our realities bumped eachother and I don't know, maybe I got some sort of connection to my there-Billy who knew her? Do you think that's possible?"


"It's possible. Most everything is, when you get down to the nitty-gritty of the Arts. Thank you, but no. Tea would be better," he opines after a shake of his head. "If you have any about, I'll just run the tap hot and then charm the mug. No need to put on a kettle." Strange unfolds from his lean against the counter and wanders past Billy towards the living room. Man's a pacer at heart and it shows as he turns to walk back towards him.

"Did she mention others besides yourself and Teddy? Tommy?"


"The only tea I have is earl gray, because Jean-Luc Picard drank it fanatically." Not that anyone but Billy remembers Star Trek, let alone The Next Generation. And is such a huge sci-fi nerd that he drinks tea of his favorite character even though he didn't ever like tea. "I take it with honey." He pauses, consideringly, and puts the coke back away, then pulls out a pair of mugs and the tea bags. "Charm us both a cup." he says, sounding oddly a little shy for some reason. "Wait." He suddenly grins, "I've been meaning to practice." So he goes and fills a pair of mugs, and holds his hand over them, "Tea. Earl Gray. Hot. Teaearlgrayhot. Teaearlgrayhot." And the water transmutes directly into steaming hot tea. "Sugar? Honey? Milk?"

Billy then gives a quick shake of his head, "She didn't, but it wasn't a long conversation. Captain Marvel was there and she was just getting increasingly alarmed at our cross-dimensional reunion — I think we blew her mind — and I just gave her my number. I hope to get together. But! You said interdimensional as always something to tell you about, so even though I think she's cool, I'm telling you."


Said spell to sumon up a pair of mugs is aborted and the scarred hand upraised falls to the median of his waist as Strange watches, blinking the Sight on in order to see what comes of Billy's actions. There, the twisting of the strings of reality in lightning-blue followed by the wrenching torsion of the world itself assuming his will.

"Milk with a little bit of honey," replies the Sorcerer quietly, still unsettled even after all this time at how easily the young man manages this not-quite-magic. "You were discussing intra-dimensional reunions in front of whom again?" Strange thinks he knows who this Captain Marvel is, but that must be a nom de guerre, not the person's usual name.


Turning, Billy grabs the milk from the fridge, then hands it and the honey over to Stephen. He can determine proper amounts there. Billy seems pleased with himself for transmuting water into tea: its easy because he knows precisely what it should taste like. Its not even cheap tea, actually: one of Billy's few luxuries is good leaf. "Uhh, I don't know her name. This all happened up in the sky, we sorta met while flying around." He pauses, "Wait, she knows Mom. She recognized me, thought her my sister. I think she's an Avenger. I mentioned the Young Avengers— the team Tommy and I were on in the future— and it startled her because the Avengers just started up. I didn't catch her real name. I didn't give mine, either. When you meet a lady flying in the sky you go by your superhero name, Dad. Its what's done."


A dollop of milk and a stir of honey — two, judicious amounts, for the Witch is slowly changing his tastes for the sweeter things in life — go into his mug of tea. Tapping the borrowed spoon free of droplets, he sets it within the sink before sipping at the brew. Indeed, the finer blend of leaf and the nod is affirmation as to his son's good taste.

"Wait…no-no-no, back up. Wanda — your mother knows this person? Avengers…yes, I think I know of them. Of SHIELD?" He scoffs in good humor before adding, "I'll be introducing myself as I normally do should I cross paths with this Captain Marvel."


For his part, Billy has *two and a half* large spoons of honey to his tea. Not those little spoons, the big ones. He measures so very precisely as if one bit more would be too sweet and one bit less insufferable. "Well, she knows Wanda. She knows her well enough to see the family resemblance. Uh, if she's in SHIELD we haven't crossed paths— but if she's in SHIELD, I'm still just a trainee, and mostly train with Ava to learn fighting and tradecraft." He squints a moment, "How do you 'normally' introduce yourself? I didn't say oh hey, my Dad is like the Lord of the Pointy Hats or anything, I know you only want that known around magicy types. She was powered clearly, but not magicy. There was no math floating around her while she flew."


"I'll ask your mother about her, I suppose," Strange murmurs after sighing across the surface of his tea. Steam billows away before he sips at it. The young man must be related to the Witch, at least. That was SO much honey into the tea. Blugh, too sweet for the Sorcerer's tastes. "Non-magic flight? Hmm. …maybe I should speak to this Captain Marvel sooner than later. I wonder how she does it. But still, I appreciate your tact and minding my feelings on my title. My enemies are myriad. I don't doubt that you can hold your own, but I'd rather they knew as little of you as possible." He takes another sip of tea. "Introductions are simple enough. Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme." A shrug accents the lean lines of his build and brings the brew to swish about gently in his mug.


"Well." Billy pauses, taking this distinction seriously. "I don't *see* say, mutant powers the way I see magic. When your cloak flies about, its surrounded by math. When I fly.." he rises up a few inches, sipping his tea with satisfaction, "I am surrounded by math. But I've seen a mutant with an ability to fly and there's no math. When Tommy runs there's no math. As far as I know, this lady is a mutant or something mutant-ish, and has a flying ability. For that matter, America…" he hesitates, "Its different. There's like this subtle impression of math but its not like she's doing math, you know? But is like math is involved, indirectly, and… its familiar. In fact its *very* familiar. Its math I recognize though I've only ever seen the like from me and Mom— and from her its only related, not so familiar— but America is absolutely *not* doing it. Its like… man, you know what? That's why she's so familiar to me. Her math reminds me of my math. Its like I cast America-can-fly on her and it stuck. But I didn't." That said, he pauses, and adds, "I thought you didn't want non-magicy types to know your the Supreme?"


"Those without access to the Arts tend to disbelieve the magic until they see it. Until then, it's simply a nom de guerre, like Captain Marvel. I only introduce myself as necessary, really. Many times, my reputation precedes me and I don't need to say a thing." For all the egomania in the explanation, it's not far from the truth. Gating into places wearing a crimson Cloak does tend to make an impression. "Many times, 'Doctor Strange' will do without the mantle being mentioned. I forgot that you see math, however." Strange points thoughtfully at Billy, the dimples beloved and mirrored on the young man showing. "And this America shows you math as well? No, wait, subtle math."


Billy nods his head thoughtfully, "Teddy still doesn't quite believe in what I can do, or that I'm from the future. I mean he knows the practicals: we have dinner in other countries often enough that its hard to ignore, and he's starting to learn the Rules. But even he gives me this look when I say something about the future." Is there hurt in his voice? A bit, yes, actually. "So I get it that yeah, the muggles don't really believe and write off things." He nods then, and flashes a grin, before his grin fades, "Oh. Wait. If people know you, and your reputation, and you *don't* want people to know about me because of enemies, uh, does that mean I should not … you know, not call you 'Dad' in public?" He looks away at that, refusing to see Stephen's face whatever the answer. But he adds absently, "When you do magic I see math, too. When you gate— its totally different then when I wormhole— but its got a similar structure to the algorithms. I could recognize your gate as a variant of my wormhole even if I didn't see the effect. Mostly because I'm so good at wormholes. I… still can't even *fathom* the math you surrounded this apartment in, the wards. I can't make any sense of it at all. But." He nods, "When America flies, she's surrounded by math, but its… not her doing it. Its indirect. Its.. impressions. Its hard to make out the equations, they're there but they're indistinct. And its familiar."


"Familiar as in the Latin root to the Romance languages, perhaps?" He's attempting to find a common footing, encouraging the young man to keep talking. There was no missing the averted gaze and inasmuch as it hurts his heart, Strange manages to keep a mild kind expression as he adds, "I don't mind that you call me 'Dad', Billy. I'm honored. Be tactful — this is all that I ask. If Karl knew…" The slow shake of his head is grieved, somehow. "The gods know, assuredly. There's no helping that. I wonder what they think of you…"

Billy is then the recipient of a consideration lasting long enough to possibly cause discomfort.


Billy can't answer right away: he has a little turmoil to deal with, and a serious consideration of the question, "Honestly, no. Its *personally* familiar. Familiar like my handwriting is familiar. Familiar like my mom— my other mom's— voice is familiar. I don't know how America got her power, but I swear its at least… a degree or two of separation from someone or something which does what I do. I could write equations just like she has around her and not doubt for a moment I wrote them, even though I know I didn't, in this case, actually write them." He then looks back up to Strange as he hopefully missed any expression that would hurt, "Do I know Karl? Is he one of your enemies? And… what 'they' do you talk about?" He tilts his head and sips his tea, "I don't really care what people think of me, …Stephen. I'm a gay jew witch. I could have been in three separate gas chambers in NAzi Germany, and there's plenty of people who would happily to that for any one of those reasons too. I think hiding myself lets them have a victory. I know I have no choice about some things. I know if I let people know about Teddy and I, really bad things can happen— though the Director didn't care one whit when she guessed it— and so I endure. I hate it and I endure. I remember not hiding it and now I have to. I endure. I don't hide being Jewish, but I don't make a point of it eeither, because even today, even here, I know its a thing of trouble. I hate doing it but I try not to draw attention to it. The entire reason I go by a codename is to hide my power when I try to save people, because if Billy Kaplan, Witch, was *known*? Instead of thanking me my life would be in danger. I hate it but I do it and hide it." He sounds weary, for a moment just beaten down, "I'm tired of it, of pretending every minute of every day when I'm not in some closed space where a stranger can't possibly see the real me, to be this person that is inoffensive."


Strange listens, a subtle tilt to his head, as the young one expounds. Inside, he wishes he could make things easier. He does and it hurts to have to stifle it down, to crunch away the urge to simply walk outside and exert his will upon reality proper. It'd take some massive spell-play, but could he wipe the minds of the world of bigotry?

Yes. It's within his power…and forbidden to his mantle — and gods below, it's difficult to balance this in the moment.

His voice is calm, quiet, mindful of the weight of the words just shared with him. "'They' are the Vishanti, Billy. The trio of gods who empower the Sorcerer Supreme when need comes to be. They don't care for human emotions. They don't care for our suffering, our wants, our dreams and wishes and nightmares. They care about their games of cosmic chess and we're all pieces. All of us…you, me, your mother — all. They see you as you are and I think they don't care. Why? Because in the expanse of history, it doesn't matter. What matters is your heart. Your actions. You exist, Billy, because you have an important role in this world to play. I don't know what it is," Strange sets aside the mug and turns back, " — but you have power and you have a soul. You know what good is."

His smile deepens. "And I'm damn proud of you."


Blink. Blinkblinkblink. That's a lot of worldbuilding that Billy has to suddenly absorb, and he furrows his brow. The description of these gods has him frowning: he isn't entirely sure if he likes or dislikes the ideas of these gods that don't care, but see. And that they see, and don't care. What does that mean? He has a particular idea of what god is, and its not exactly warm and fuzzy. And against all probability its against bacon: what the what, Billy just doesn't know how that can possibly be true. But this? His mind spins. But then Billy nods slowly: he can get behind having power, and a soul, and being good — all Billy wants in life is to be good. Then there's those last words, and Billy blinks again. And he very carefully sets his tea aside, steps in, and hugs Strange. Tight. Sniff. "I don't know that I understand these Vishanti and I don't know that I care what they think, but, Dad, I'm going to try to keep making you proud of me."


Forgive the Sorcerer for the delay — for the moment where his arms remain in shocked, parallel lines outside of the young man holding tightly to him in a display of affection he never though he'd receive. Billy can likely feel the sigh ruffle his own dark hair even as those strong arms close about him. Firm, but not entrapping, no tighter than need be. They crisscross over his back.

An admixture of weird fondness and the novelty of it all proves to bubble up into the wellspring of his soul-font. Maybe the sudden riffling of his aura is felt by Billy, maybe not. Either way, the whispered promise of a warm spring day swirls about the kitchen and leaves behind a sense of cleanliness, of brightness and dew-dazzled green grass and the sun blazing in a defiant arc across ever-blue sky.

"It'll be easier than you think," he reassures the young man, even if he doesn't expound further on how to go about this.


Billy doesn't hold grudges on delays on hugs. He's a huggy sort, and he expected hesitation the first time he hugged Wanda— that she didn't hesitate at all meant something. But that doesn't mean he takes offense at Strange taking some time to get used to it. On some things, Billy can be very understanding. What matters is the hug itself. "You mathed over my kitchen." he says softly, fondly, and after a squeeze he steps back, running a hand a bit shyly through his hair, even as he lifts up his tea to nurse it and savor it. "Its worth noting… Teddy and I?" He hesitates, unsure how to properly explaint his. "We were.. figuring things out. We're not anymore. I love him. He loves me. I just mean, you guys should know that. He's family now." Though Wanda was treating him as family before even before they got serious.


Strange releases his grip at the very second he feels the shift in weight and he watches Billy across the small distance of the kitchen. Indeed, social mirroring: he too grabs up his mug of tea. It's still warm.

The drink is lifted in a salute and the faint dimpling to break the lines of his goatee reappears. "I hope he gets used to strangeness quickly. We're not exactly normal. Should I keep the terrible humor to a minimum when we meet formally?" The good Doctor is well-aware that he recently Gated in and out of a dinner here and while the paella was likely delicious, his preference was clearly towards the sweet-berry lips of the Witch.


Billy pauses, and he eyes Strange a moment. He looks conflicted, uncertain, "I did tell you he's an alien, didn't I?" But he isn't sure, entirely, if he had. And he says it with the clear declaration of one who gives absolutely no fucks for the crazyness of this. "There's nothing at all normal in my life, Dad. Not one thing, not anything at all. In the dictionary next to 'Weird' is a picture of me grinning with only one dimple. Not two: that's normal. In the picture I only have one." And Billy *absolutely* does not think of a *certain event* of old people grossing him out. But he adds, with a wave of his hand, "You be you. Old people humor and old people gross gropery is who you are, we accept that. I love you anyways."


"The day that you can out-cast me is the day that I'm old, Billy," opines the good Doctor with a confident smirk. "Considering that your old man is also immortal, it'll never come. You did tell me about Teddy's origins, yes. He'll fit right in, I'm sure. I'm not concerned. If anything, what he tells me of his life and his world can be added to the vast collection of knowledge in the Sanctum."


"He has no idea. He only found out when SHIELD blood tested him. The running theory is some dead-beat alien seduced his mom, and voila, perfect blond jock of perfect perfection whose biceps are a thing of beauty…" Billy's voice trails off wistfully. Oh, the imaginings. He sips his tea, but adds absently, "But he doesn't know anything. We know he's not a Skrull — that the blood sample SHIELD had. But he's decidedly not human. But.." He pauses, giving Stephen a serious look, "You are not to treat him any different, right? This is important. I love him and you can do whatever Dad things you feel the need to Dadify, but he gets no extra crap for not being human. He's mine and that's that." This said, he relaxes, and considers, "As for out casting, I wouldn't even know hot to judge it, pops. Our math seems to work on *completely* different rules. Oh." Pause, "Teddy's really worried about me practicing in the Mirror Dimension. Uhh. Question one: Can I die? I know the whole point of it is changes aren't permanent, so good testing place, but can you die if you miscast?"


"Teddy won't be treated with any form of judgment as to the origins of his personhood. Billy, remember, your father is the Sorcerer Supreme. Humanity is but one of the hundreds of sentient races in the myriad dimensions. We're not alone out there. Why would his alien nature give me cause to be concerned?" It's a rhetorical question given the follow-up of a huge swig of tea. The mug clunks as it's set down upon the countertop and then, the pacing begins.

"Our casting, even if the basic metaphysical concepts were within the same category, would never be precisely the same. Not even then. Each practitioner has a fingerprint upon their magics. I have my signature, your mother has hers, even you — " He glances to Billy before pacing on. " — you have a signature that can be tracked and called your very own. Your own equations and variables," he adds, attempting to find equal footing again. "Can you die in the Mirror Dimension? Absolutely." He turns slowly to face Billy, one hundred and ten percent dignified holder of his mantle. "Lady Death does not care for dimensions or their impossbilities. You separate yourself permanently from your host body and you are hers. If you ever hone the art of Astral Projection, remember that first and foremost."


On the matter of Teddy, Billy hesitates, considering. "I dunno." he admits, "But my other dad would take issue with me dating a Christian girl, let alone a Jewish guy, or a Christian guy. Any variation on the expected: I will marry a proper Jewish girl — would cause… issues." Billy shakes his head slightly, "I still don't entirely understand what it means you're Sorcerer Supreme, but that your pointy hat is tallest. Obviously, there's authority. Yeah you've said you're responsible for this reality— so I told you about Mojo, about Ameirca. About anything interdimensional." He nods, "But is it earth-based, this mantle? I don't know how aliens fit into your thing, Dad. I just don't know."

But he does shake his head, "I think its more then… a signature, Dad. The very way in which you do something: at best I can study it and figure out— sometimes— what you're doing, but how you do it is completely different. I hold in my mind a concept." He closes his eyes and lifts a hand: around that hand to the sight there is a reverberation. A bending. A cracking. "I don't know why it matters that I say the words, but I say the words. But the words don't matter. Its the thought, the will, behind the words: but saying the words matters. And then what I will is." he murmurs this last part, "I'm not saying I'm more powerful: I'm sure I'm not. I'm saying its *different*. Gods empower you. No one empowers me. What does that mean?"

Then he frowns. "Teddy is worried about me practicing in the Mirror Dimension. That he will need to save me. Protect me. I'm worried about him being there while I practice. That it will endanger him. I don't know what to do."


With hands behind his back, Strange is equal parts mentor and father in this instance. The softening comes from how he too considers Billy.

"Indeed, what is a Sorcerer Supreme? …pointiest of all the hats," he adds with a gentle scoff of a laugh. He doesn't get the reference, truthfully, but it's never been said with mockery in tone. "The practitioner of the Mystic Arts who has greatest command of the ambient magically-aligned energies than anyone else within the dimension. There is only one, chosen by the Vishanti. I am of this Earth, Midgard, whatever you choose to call it, ergo I am the one holder of the mantle. Many, though not all, aliens are from beyond our dimension or choose to cross from it and into others. This inter-dimensional travel brings them into my area of purview as Sorcerer Supreme."

He sighs. "I'd rather Teddy didn't accompany you into the Mirror Dimension should you choose to practice there. It's not a matter of trust, it's a matter of safety…and distraction," adds the Sorcerer with a fair bit of knowing in tone. "


Billy listens attentively, nodding his head slowly, "Okay, so the mantle is not only a giant battery that makes you more powerful then any other mage on the planet, but also puts you in charge of… that part I'm not entirely clear on. Is it *authority* or is it *responsibility*? Minister of Magic or Magic Cop? Or is it a little bit of both?" The Sorcerer Supreme thing is a bit weird to poor Billy. He does nod his head in agreement on the matter of Teddy, "I was thinking that, too. There's some things I want to try but … trying *here* seems a bad idea, and things go weird if I don't have a clear idea of how to do something. Most of what I do is on the fly, instinct, heat of the moment, but that's not a good way to approach wooshing. I need to get confidence in reliably making stuff happen. And yeah he's a bit distracting." Its the arms, damnit.


"I need to remember to ignore your mother's eyes when we're sparring. If I pay too much attention to how she moves as well, I inevitably end up pinned." Stoppering up the laugh means rolling his lips briefly and he scratches at one temple before looking back at Billy. "You can't have distractions when you're sparring until you're certain you can ignore them. It take self-control and we only just created the watch geas." The implication is, of course, that said resisting of urges is something the young man is still working on, at least in some aspect of his life.

"Being Sorcerer Supreme can involve self-control. It also drowns in technicalities. For example, the Vishanti prefer to choose one whose soul is pure…or rather, the purest of the champions available at the time of choosing. However, purity can be defined as 'free of contamination'. To the triumvate who empower the mantle, 'good' and 'bad' are simply moral constructs. Could a Sorcerer Supreme exist whose soul is purely 'evil', according to societal standards?" Strange points a finger, answering his own question in the process. "Yes." And isn't that a harrowing thought.


Billy nods along sympathetically, "Yeah, sparring with Teddy is *hard*. He's so *very* painfully attractive. In every conceivable way." He sighs, a little exasperated, "He claims its his natural body but I don't know about that. I know if *I* was a shapeshifter I'd shift myself into perfect without even thinking about it, and he's got 'perfect' down pat." Hmph. The unfairness of it all! But he nods his head soberly on the res, "Thats… sorta alarming. I just assumed if there's gods they're going to, I don't know, think 'moral' is an important factor in making someone Archwizard." He shivers a bit, "Let me guess, you get to be Bosswizard until you die? With no retirement option? Don't go dying, okay?"


"I can't risk your mother's displeasure by dying," comments the Sorcerer with bone-dry humor and a smirk. "The Vishanti truly do take issue with reality being warped and I can see her challenging Lady Death to fisticuffs over my soul. They take issue because the current track of humanity is not to be disturbed. Someone learns of the ability to step between dimensions, to…create those chips — " and Billy gets a hint of an eyebrow, just because, " — and suddenly, the path is diverted. Before you go arguing that creating chips from thin air wouldn't change humanity's path, someone left for lunch instead of completely welding one last bolt on the Titanic. It takes so little, Billy. It's why I need to keep watch over you and others with such levels of power. It is my responsibility and I derive my authority from it, if that makes sense?"

He the scratches at the back of his head, fixes his hair with a pat, and resumes his cross-armed pacing. "The gods play their games, Billy, as I mentioned before. They don't like the chess board rattled. The Vishanti have heavy stakes in the stability of this reality. I must guard it else it falls victim to deific machinations beyond those of the Vishanti." His glance finds Billy. "I bet you wonder if I trust the Vishanti… I have to. I have no choice. If they deny me the mantle…I don't know what would come of it. They might choose another, someone with no moral compass or plans to completely destroy this world's humanity. It would be sadistic on the part of the Vishanti, but…a purging. A chess board cleaned, pieces swapped. It's not unfathomable."

The nightmares keep him up at night. A heavy sigh and he gathers up his tea. "Still…not while I'm around. No way in the seven hells. After all, you've only just begun your life with Teddy. I'm not about to let this get disrupted." Another friendly little smile — a Dad smile.


At this reality warping being an issue, Billy looks profoundly skeptical. He tilts his head, "I don't really understand. Choices change the course of reality all the time unless you're saying free will doesn't exist, and *that* debate on the nature of divine omniscience and the implications… makes my head hurt." He rubs at his forehead a bit, "I mean, sure, with my power I can make choices and changes that are possibly more impactful then someone's decision to jump in front of a bus to push someone out of the way— but that choice they made could echo down through time to have a dramatic impact. Maybe the person they saved becomes the mother to the next Hitler. I dunno: what's so special about the 'current track'?"

Billy nibbles on his lower lip a moment, troubled, "I mean. Wanda and I have this power. We can do things most people can't— from what I understand, its even more rare then just magic-magic.." He makes a vaguely mystical and arcane seeming gesture. That is completely ridiculous, but, its as mudra-ific as Billy can pull off, "What if we're *supposed* to have these powers and we're *supposed* to be able to change the current track of reality? What if that's why I was born at all, to be alive to change something vital that needed changing?" He shivers. See, this talk of gods and omniscience and path-to-the-future has him feeling very small and a little overwhelmed. But he returns the Dad smile tentatively.


"It's entirely possible that's why you and your powers exist, Billy. Perhaps it's within the current round of reality played by the gods that said reality should be warped. I have no confirmation on the matter and I defer to the triumvate on such things." He looks only moderately more comfortable than his son, the Sorcerer Supreme, as he sips at his tea. "Your mother…no, never mind that. That's a discussion for you and her. Not my business." A quick change in tack. "You both have very rare abilities with such power. You choose to turn gravity on its head…and you do. No normal human being can do this. That's why I should be keeping an eye on you both. It's not that I don't trust you, believe me. You're my son…and frankly, you know better. It's that…your mother's powers are so viscerally influenced. She loses her temper, things float…and maybe they don't melt. One time, she nearly turned a street corner in the Village into an Escher painting." It's the only way to describe the frantic warping of reality. "It's nearly impossible to separate willpower from emotions. I don't say this lightly…I know it well enough. Apparently, if you lose your temper in the middle of summoning a blizzard and the spell's balanced resonance fractures, you taste nothing but peppermint for weeks." Strange makes a moue of distaste.

"Regardless…this current reality should remain stable and it's my job as Sorcerer Supreme to keep it as such. But hold on…you need to say words while your mother simply reacts. Is it that the words have to be said or something else…? Can you think the words and influence reality around you?" He sets aside the tea after another sip. "Actually, I'm curious. Care to test this in the Mirror Dimension?" He gives Billy an expectant look.


Once again, Billy listens intently, nodding his head slowly, thoughtfully. "I don't really believe in a random universe, so I have to believe I have this power for a reason and that therefore its my responsibility to use it for good. The uh, frivilous things I do— conjuring chips, portaling to Germany for dinner— is to … practice. On safe things. I can't always predict… like, the fire I set off to kill the spiders that were breaking through my shild? I didn't have a clear picture of what I was doing. It, uh, honestly, wasn't the smartest thing to try." The burns tell him that, "That's the sort of thing I need to practice in, which yeah, Mirror Dimension." He nods to Stephen, "You do the wormhole? I'm still not quite confident with the idea of a transdimensional wormhole. But, as far as I can tell, I have to say the words. They have to be *the same* words, too. I can't like alter the spell: if the spell is 'the cat has a hat', then I can't have its second invocation be like, 'the cat has a red hat'. But.. I haven't fully explored it yet. So, sure, lets test." He pauses, and heads over to the fridge, "I promised to always leave a note for Teddy if I went mirrorside." And so he scrambles a note real quick, 'In mirror training with Dad', and sticks it on the fridge under a magnet.


The note is quaint, in a way, and Strange smiles faintly.

"It's good of you to let him know where you are. Our lives can be unpredictable. Establishing that habit of communication is important." He speaks from Dadly Experience. Nothing like coming home to a Witch uncertain as to where he was. "The Gating doesn't require spoken words, by the way." He demonstrates by drawing a loose circle upon the air of the kitchen. Indeed, nothing is spoken and still the glittering oculus opens upon…the apartment.

Stepping through the Gate, however, brings a different view of the living area. The dimension's walls are lightly-fractured, translucent crystalline panes, and Strange is faintly reflected in them as he strides into the open space of the sitting room proper. It should be somewhat familiar, given the Sorcerer has brought Billy here before in a more impressive and sudden display of his mantle's abilities.

Once they're both through, the Gate collapses via an idle, dismissive flick of his fingers and he grants Billy his full attention. "What will you be attempting first? So I'm forewarned," he adds, his voice echoing slightly for the odd acoustics of the dimension.


"Yeah, Teddy doesn't… really *understand* any of this, so he worries. I don't quite know how to explain it to him because I barely understand it, but the least I can do is let him know. Oh and he has your phone number, I should mention, as an in-case-of-magical-emergency situation." Billy watches with curiosity, tilting his head, eyeing in particular the edge of the gate. Once he settles through he shakes his head slowly, "I'll never quite get used to this place: the cosmological constant is so close but *different*." He waves a hand, and his telekinesis seizes the couch and lifts it up an inch before he settles it back down, watching and studying *the magic*, not really the effect, "Its like the formulas are all familiar, I recognize what they're supposed to do and what they mean but the numbers come out slightly different."

He shakes his head, linking, "Okay, so, you wanted to test. If I can think words? Since what I'm best at is wormholing, I'll make a wormhole connecting our bedroom door.." He walks over to it and lays a hand on it, "To the gym room. So if it works if I open this, it'll open to the gym, not the bedroom." Just to be sure, he opens the door first, and confirms yes, its his and Teddy's bedroom.

He then closes the door, and begins concentrating. He form the thought and will, he presses his will outward upon reality, pushing. And he thinks: to the gym. Tothegym. TOTHEGYM. He concentrates and pushes, and its like this pressure is there, he can *feel* the shape of reality, but… nothing. He can't get hold of it.

He pushes open the door — and the bedroom is still there.


While Billy thinks hard at said bedroom door, his father takes a few cursory steps back, moving nonchalantly and silently. He glances about the dimension itself, not at the anagrams of furniture or hangings on the walls. His senses play along the crystalline walls and beyond, where rotating a single pane leads to another portion of the dimension entirely. No one particular shard leads anywhere particularly dangerous and Strange can't sense any of the trapped troubles approaching or lurking near enough to be cause for alarm.

Looking back to the young man with the light of the Art in his irises, he notes that the bedroom hasn't changed an inkling. "Hmm, yes, you do need to say the words. Alright, again, but say the words this time."


"That's a downside." admits Billy, but he pauses, "What's weird to me is my telekinesis, electrokinesis, and teleportation — those all don't take words. I don't even have to really think them, just want them: and if I look close at me doing it it … my telekinesis isn't like … its *related* to the spells. But its like I alter reality to move things with my mind, and do it on instinct instead of through spells." But, he closes the door again, takes a deep breath and lays his hand on it, concentrating, "To the gym." Even the first time he says it, its immediately different and obviously so to the Sight. Its like reality suddenly bends. There's no obvious effect at first, but the pressure on the door is huge: it's like he's coaxing reality and convincing it to change more then absolutely forcing it. "Tothegym." he says quickly, breathlessly, and space bends further, "Tothegym!" he exclaims and there's this *snap* as reality takes on a new, unfamiliar shape. He pushes open the door — and the gym is there. He nods quickly. Reality stays bent, though, with the door open. "I always do wormholes with doors." he explains, "Because that way they close when the door closes. The effect lasts only as long as the door is open. I… don't know why it works that way, my instinct says it doesn't *have* to, but… the pattern of doing it this way makes it easier for me."


"It's an excellent fail-safe if you're uncertain that they'll close in the first place." He walks over with a loose stride of confidence to observe the gym visible through the apartment's inlaid wooden doorframe. "Hmm." It's a thoughtful sound. "Alright, close the door and let's see the…wormhole closed entirely." Strange glances to Billy, awaiting the young man's next actions.

He adds, as a side-thought, "I wonder if your various…kinesis powers are an amalgamation of our powers, your mother's innate abilities and the penchant to draw upon the Mystical energies from myself." He ponders this further in silence, brows knitted for the delightful off-chance oddity of it all.


As Billy closes the door, reality snaps back cleanly to be precisely as it was before, immediately. Billy grins, a bit proud, "Yeah, the door thing might be a crutch but it works real good. I just focus in my mind the detail that the opening and closing of the door defines the scope of the wormhole itself." He opens the door again, and there's the bedroom. There's a glance at Stephen then, curious, "Huh. That's a thought. I never really considered that— I thought they were all … sorta one thing. But the kinesises all showed up during periods of intense stress. The telekinesis when I fell off my roof— the electrokinesis when a bully was beating me up— the teleportation when another bully was chasing me and I was running for my life, but he was faster. Each time it was self-defense and ever since I did it, I was able to do it forever after that."

He pauses, "Is there anything else about the words we should test? Clearly I need the words to make the effect, but is there any other thing you can think of that might be a variable?"


Behold the quicksilver mind of the Sorcerer Supreme. In the vein of 'impossibility' no longer being an active word in his vocabulary, thus his gaze rests up Billy and slightly narrows. Yes…no…well, not necessarily, but perhaps…

"The words are your gateway into the weave of reality, I believe, and lets your willpower then influence it. Take away your voice or…the words themselves…" he muses, his baritone dropping lower and softer in consideration. "Have you tried plugging your ears? Being unable to hear yourself speak? I can share from unfortunate experience that being unable to hear yourself speak twists incantations with predictably disastrous results." His enunciation becomes briefly clipped; this is a less-than-desireable memory he touches on, clearly.


"So the words are like the key— or the wire through which my will flows through, like electricity." Billy blinks at the idea of plugging his ears, his brow furrowing. "I can't imagine that would have anything to do with it." he says, with some skepticism, but, he shrugs. He holds his hands up and says softly, "Hear no evil." Focusing, "HearnoevilHEARNOEVIL." And what manifests in his hand a moment later is… a pair of headphones. Headphones that look odd and not at all like any headphone in this world at all — because the level of noise cancelling technology doesn't exist yet. But Billy remembers enough about it from his future life as a gamer that he can reproduce it, somewhat. "Let's see." He puts the headphones on, and says, "Hello? Can I hear me? Nope, I can't hear me. Okay." He holds his hand out to the door again, and says, "Tothegym. Tothegym. Tothegym." Its.. *exactly* as it was when he thought the words. There's a pressure there, he can feel the threads but simply can't connect. Frowning, he continues as he concentrates as hard as he can, "Tothegymtothegymtothegym." And its nothing. Blinking agian, he lifts the headphones off, "… that's.. weird."


"Not necessarily weird." Though that…technological device certainly is, for all that Strange eyes them with no veil over the curiosity in his expression. "Consider it perhaps like sewing shut an incision. Your words are the needle to pierce reality, the willpower your thread in which to influence it. In my case, more often than not, I sew it shut." How delightful — an analogy and an explanation as to one of the multitude of responsibilities as Sorcerer Supreme.


Billy nods his head slowly, and at the curiosity? He gestures, "My noise cancelling headphones. Or, a replica of them, from then — I was a gamer." he explains, though that likely means nothing as video games aren't really a thing yet. He blinks a bit, "Is that what you do? Go around looking for holes and sewing them shut? That… doesn't sound fun, exactly. It sounds tedious. Don't worry I'll make sure all my stuff is shut." He pauses, then winces, "Okay so that's *two* weaknesses I have to be aware of. If someone can *either* make it so I can't talk *or* make it so I can't hear, I'm in trouble. Well. I still have the instinctuals, at least." But he hesitates, thoughtfully, "But you said Mom just… does changes. Due to emotion or stuff. I can't do that. So I can't *accidentally* do magic."


The Sorcerer nods, still eyeing the headphones and not having a true idea of anything Billy's elaborating upon. One time, they'll need to have a sit-down and discuss the finer points of these terms from a distant future.

"Your mother is very aware that her emotions influence her abilities. I wonder at times if she can unconsciously affect reality around her. Hmm. There must be a way to confirm this…" It's a quiet wondering and he then shrugs. "Still, yes. Be wary of losing track of your voice. An enemy would take cruel advantage of this. I have a litany of spells that I know by hard-won practice that can be cast without hearing my own voice or accidentally mispronouncing the words. Magic doesn't happen unconsciously…generally speaking." The amendment is faintly strained, as if he had his druthers, such an incidence wouldn't happen at all.

"I'm the Shepherd of Fate, Billy," Strange comments, lightly folding his arms. "I do anything and everything that position entails. It's never tedious." He grins, showcasing those dimples.


Billy looks a bit pensive, folding his arms, tapping on them, "This makes learning to fight even more important. And… every other life-skill SHIELD can teach me. I'm not god and have weaknesses. I have to maximize my ability to adapt to an unknown situation where I'm at a disadvantage instead of how normally I've got all these powers." At the dimples, he laughs softly, "Well, I can say with absolute certainty that I don't want the job, Pops. So you keep doing it. I'll do the stick to the slightly less everything-is-at-steak missions."


"I'd rather keep the job. It's never boring. I hope…" Strange pauses, his expression falling in a passing shadow of worry. The smile never disappears entirely, it just gains gravity. "I hope you'll take advantage of what SHIELD can offer you. Use the geas granted by the watch. Take the blow as they come, figure out how to avoid them next, then how to retaliate. You can't return attack if you're dead."

The Sorcerer looks about the dimension's mirroring of the living room, down to the faint refraction of their individual reflections that shift in the natural inability of the room to remain completely still.

"While I may play 'god' from time to time, I have weaknesses as well. I know them well enough to accept them and I think…" He sighs and nods. "…that's strength in itself. Well, my curiosity is assuaged. Anything else that you wish to try while we're present in the Mirror Dimension?"


"I plan on it. I'm getting better. I'm not a natural at the fighting as Teddy, and some of the spycraft… Well. Okay, so, I can't lie very good." At all. Billy seems embarassed by it, "Which makes some of the 'acting' and 'tradecraft' skills… awkward, at best, for me to pick up. But I'll learn everything they have to teach, sooner or later." Then he hesitates, and shakes his head, "No but I have a couple questions. I know this place sorta resets, so that's why its useful to practice in. But can I die? If a spell backfires and this building collapses, does that resetting nature somehow stop death from being permanent? Trying to determine how careful to be— I always assume 'careful', but this is one of the reasons Teddy was worried about me in here."


"You're not going to give my blood pressure any relief, are you…" The grumble is rhetorical because, indeed, Strange is always going to carry a seed of parental worry for the young man. "Lady Death knows no boundaries. She is omnipotent, Billy. The Vishanti grant her respect when she passes. The very gods bend knee to her at times. Dying cannot be reversed without her express intervention."

He pauses, looking dead into Billy's eyes. "Billy. Do not make me face her again over an accident in here. She is very interested in balancing the scales and to place myself in that position entails a risk I will take for you without a second thought. Don't play into her hands." Gloved in kidskin as they are, finest and softest leather over skeletal digits.


"Hey, I just want to *know*, not that I'm going to do anything reckless." says Billy a little defensively, "I have no idea what this Lady Death thing is you're talking about and don't plan on doing if for no other reason then I have like ten really good reasons to live. My parents, my little brothers, Tommy, you and Wanda, and Teddy. My family. I have a whole life to live for them so I'm not gonna do anything outrageously stupid." Just… little stupid. "Okay question two, you said this place was used to trap bad things? Uh, how likely is it I'm practicing and some eldritch horror comes and tries to eat me?"


Strange eyebrows at his son. "Lady Death is death. Death personified. The Grimmest of Reapers. She appears in a dark-hooded robe and you'll sure as the seven hells know her if you meet her. Don't do anything stupid," he presses, a bit of a glower given.

The Sorcerer wills his blood pressure to stay down and regrets having ever mentioned the Mirror Dimension in the first place. "The likelihood of said creatures appearing is influenced by many things, but mostly by its nearest neighboring dimension. I've done my absolutely best to lock them away within these myriad reflections, but if you ever come across a door, do not open it. Do not touch any sigils. Do not listen to any voices here. Leave. Are we clear?"


Billy can't keep the skeptical expression off his face about this 'death personified' business: he only really accepts the whole Vishanti gods thing becaus God said 'thou shalt have no other god before me' which pretty much clearly implies there are other gods. Just not for Billy. But he nods and waves a hand away, smiling in what he hops is a reassuring way, "I'm not Tommy, Dad. I'm not reckless, though since I don't know quite how my wooshing works I sort of have to go on instinct. That's why I'm talking about practicing, so I stop being the dude who just… does, and be the dude who knows what he's doing." But then he sobers up and nods his head, "Don't open doors, don't touch sigils. Don't listen to voices. Okay, so basically I'm to assume anything that doesn't look mundane and boring in a copy-ish fashion is potentially hostile, up to and including anyone who isn't you or Wanda being around. I think I'm going to confine my practicing to this apartment. Or for a bigger thing, maybe I'll wormhole to some wilderness where its not at all likely anything nasty is locked away. That seem wise or super unwise?"


"This room is best for now. The Mirror Dimension takes on aspects of the realities around it. Just as the neighboring dimension influences the horrors I've locked away, the wardings I've placed around your apartment are mirrored here in a metaphysical manner. Not only that, but if you need to escape, you escape into familiarity and likely into Teddy's presence." Strange chews on the inside of his cheek briefly. "I know that you're not Tommy. Believe me, I do, but…you're still my son." Thus, he worries. A scarred hand gestures around them. "Practice here and keep me updated regularly — please," he adds, folding his arms again.


Billy smiles. He hasn't really heard 'youre still my son' from Stephen often or anything. So he steps in and suddenly the Sorcerer Supreme finds himself hugged, "I appreciate the worry. I know it means you care. And I know if you could you'd keep me perfectly safe and I know you know that you gotta let me learn and grow. And I appreciate that, too." he says softly, "I'll keep you updated on things going on." After he releases Stephen then he adds, "On that… I fought some spiders with SHIELD. And this time I got some of their remains. I… am thinking of taking the Planners on a recon mission, but if you'd rather you be there, I can do it with you instead. Studying their remains I think I can find where they come from, and… maybe save the people they've taken, assuming they're, not, well, you know, food. Or, at the very least, figure out what's going on. Recon. We don't know enough about what they are or why they are. But since it involes me tracing them to their source I wanted to clear it with you first."


Another hug! Twice in one day?! …at least this time, Strange isn't as shocked as before. Gotta adjust quickly to the oddities of his life, y'know. Billy gets a firmer hug back this time and more still does that bewildering affection for the kid grow within his heart.

Drawing away once Billy ends the hug, he receives a frown. Planners…? Ah, the Plan. Contingency Plan, that group run by and including the boys.

"And by recon, you mean entering the dimension in which they emerge from." His expression is brutally honest and his answer probably doesn't need to be said aloud if the young man confirms it.


At the return of the hug, Billy can't help but be smiling when he steps away. "Of course. They're taking people there. That can't stand. And somehow they have to be made not able to keep taking people. I know its a lot to hope the people are alive, but you never know. I don't really quite see how crystal can feed on people— I analyzed the sample at the SHIELD lab, its almost entirely silicon but has a strange charge to it, but these darker bits are a mix of iron and organic material." Billy has been seriously thinking about this. If anything should be read by a face, he's not seeing it. "This can't stand, but we don't have enough information. I think with the… remains… I can make a stable wormhole — and get us in, see what we can find, get out. Teddy's shown himself more then capable of besting their biggest guys when he's at maximum green, and I can overwhelm the little ones. And since there's iron mixed into the organics, Lorna might be able to rip them apart from the inside out. Ava, Ava will have to rely on skill. But, the point is, we can't let them keep making incursions and stealing people and we don't know their victims are dead."


Hmm. This sounds all well and good from an optimist's perspective, but…

"Are you telling me that you're going to lead a recon team into another alien dimension entirely without knowing its physics, atmosphere, or general inhabitants — and are you telling the Sorcerer Supreme this or your father?" Strange folds his arms a little tighter, stands a little taller, and thus, gains the dignity needed for his mantle.


Billy nods his head quickly, "Yes, though I plan on doing some scrying first, of course, to determine some of those variables. And of course I'm telling you, I'd never do something like this without at the very least your advice. Plus since you said 'other dimensions' are your business, if you wanted to take over lead on it I'd understand, but since I have the remains and I've studied them, I think I should open the actual wormhole." If Stephen is trying to convey something more then his words, its not getting through. Billy's totall saying: yep, yep, yep, I'm telling you all that, yep.


"Hmmmmmfff." Strange takes a moment to rub between his brows with eyes scrunched into a frustrated frown. "…very good."

Yes, Billy heard the man right. It's the earnesty that finally wins over the Sorcerer Supreme and his father. Billy couldn't tell a lie to save his life…which could be unfortunate in the future. He really is going to be as cautious as he can given the circumstances.

With a sharper circling gesture, the Master of the Mystic Arts breaks through the veils between realities. The Gate sparkles open to reveal the normal kitchen on the normal half of what both men consider home and reality proper. "My advice is going to require more tea. Possibly whiskey." …but is he joking?


"Tea." asserts Billy. He isn't into alcohol no matter the peer pressure he's receiving to like it. But he follows through on the gate, "I figure you might wanna figure it out and think about it, so maybe I can come over tomorrow and we can talk through the plan." he agrees ernestly. Oh so ernestly.


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