1964-06-19 - Alas
Summary: A follow up meeting of the minds between the doctors, as disheartening as the results may be for one of them.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
morbius strange 

It's evening and the sun has set beyond the buildings. The ambient light is warm, orange bordering on salmon, and reflected through the full outer wall of windows into O'Riley Tea Shop. Three days have elapsed and there he is, as promised: the Sorcerer Supreme.

He sits in his usual spot, wearing a white dress shirt and black slacks. He looks just like any working gentleman pausing on the way home from a nine-hour stint at a desk save for the crimson pocketkerchief folded neatly over his heart. A minute difference and boy howdy, can that kerchief expand very many times over to become a Cloak. He appears more formal for it. Before him, a cup of tea, still steaming, and a small notebook, complete with pen neatly tucked into the spiral wire spine. A four-rap pattern of his fingertips atop the table is light, but invariably present. Tap-tap-tap-tap…tap-tap-tap-tap.

His eyes rest upon the door, beyond it at this point, for in keeping watch as to the appearance of his guest, he's been lost to his own musings again.

|ROLL| Morbius +rolls 1d100 for: 94

Daylight melts away bit by bit and just as Strange shows up to the agreed upon meeting place, soon a hooded figure graces the stoop outside as Strange watches Morbius approach. The bright little bell holding out over the door rings as he steps inside, one bright red eye peers out from beneath the hood's shade, directly peering at the man seated with that formal air and bright red pocket square.

In complete juxtaposition to Strange's formality and form, Morbius is as he was the very same day they met: dressed in monocromatic tan and browns that have seen some better days but at least they're not horrendously filthy or reeking. Though the hair hanging from hid hood seems less limp and have retained a bit more of that loose Mediterranean curl than before. Morbius stops briefly at the counter, curling his fingers inside the hood in order to pull the obscuring article of clothing back a little bit. His features are less emaciated; fingers, jaw, cheekbones, neck. Less like old parchment ready to crumble. By no means does he look entirely human, but what can you do?

He waits a moment to see if the hard-as-nails proprietor is nearby. He wouldn't dream of making her life any more difficult than it has to be. Strange can wait. He's waited three days where Morbius has gone years. He can wait.

Morbius needn't wait long. Old Mrs. O'Riley looks up at the summons of the bells and makes her way over to the counter from her corner table. "Ah, yer back, lad. Good. The Doctor's been waitin' for yah. Shepherd's Tea, if my memory serves me well enough. Go 'n sit. I'll fetch it for yah." With that, she's turned about to begin making it — and yes, this time, she knows where the honey is.

Strange meets those so-very-red eyes with mildly-obvious caution in his air…this time. A subtle nod is what the other Doctor gets before the Sorcerer takes a huge sip of his tea. He picks up his notebook and while he waits for the living vampire to join him, flips nonchalantly to the page in question, full of short-hand scrawls and notations.

Morbius' attention falls fully on old Mrs. O'Riley as she quickly comes from the back room, all business and iron. The pale creature attempts a polite smile to the old woman and nods his head. "Yes, thank you, madam." Short exchange of words, only what's entirely necessary before he moves onward to the table he's been directed to. The air of a man relaxed and confident, he doesn't seem poised to attack, though any man who knows how to fight knows that staying loose and relaxed is important.

"Doctor," Morbius greets politely with a tepid air of professionalism, gesturing toward the other side of the table in question. "May I?"

"By all means." What Strange doesn't add is 'I don't bite', because…well, that seems in bad taste. "Pull up a chair. It's been three days and I promised you answers if I had them." He holds up the notebook spread wide in one hand, the source of said information. "For the sake of propriety, it might be best to discuss once your tea has been delivered. I don't expect Mrs. O'Riley to leave if she walks over in mid-conversation and hears us talking the finer points of vampirism."

He kepts his voice low enough that the shopkeeper won't hear him, even in the relative silence of the shop. Morbius is never left unattended visually, proof over again that the Sorcerer is very ready to throw another twist into the Mirror Dimension as easily as his next inhalation if it come to this. He doubts it, he does, but being unprepared can mean life and death when one's enemies come gunning. The living vampire is no such a thing, but simply someone uncategorized, the file unlabeled and stashed away within Strange's vault-like mind. Thus, the readiness interwoven into the formal air.

Taking his seat across the table from Strange, Morbius glances in the direction of the counter and the woman hustling around behind it. "I had debated if she was in on your business proclivities, or an innocent." His curiosity satisfied and a much smaller thing than the paranoia that circles Strange like a bird of prey. But Strange has earned his nerves.

Morbius remains still and quiet on his end of the table, watching himself to give the man across the table from him no excuse to go off; that sort of self-awareness has become ingrained into him, going overboard on the genial calm in some attempt to assuage the nerves of those around him. Control. Always focused on control. Blandly, Morbius arches his dark brows, suggesting, "Would you like to discuss the /weather/ until then?" sarcasm brushing the edges of his words as delicately as his curled nails rest on the table.

Strange's brows lift ever so slightly at the perceived bone-husk humor.

"I doubt you appreciated the sunshine as much as I did. My Consort is attempting a garden in the backyard and the plants needed it." No lie, still offered up with equal parry in tone.

The two are saved from further snarkery (at least, in this moment) by the arrival of Mrs. O'Riley. "There y'are, lad. Shepherd's Tea. Here's yer honey, in case yeh want more, and a slice o' lemon." Morbius gets a firm pat-pat on the shoulder, whether he likes it or not. "Enjoy — and don't mind him if he's actin' sour." She thumbs towards Strange and totally misses the warning look given by the man in turn. "He won't bite yeh."

Off to return the small tray to its place behind the counter she goes and then back to her corner table, absolutely unaware of what she just dished out.

Morbius' eyes lid slightly for a moment at the jab over the brilliant sunshine. "Consort." The word strikes him in an interesting way. "Are you from the seventeen hundreds? I don't believe I've heard that word outside of my history lessons as a boy. Do they breed magicians for talent, perhaps? Is there an imperial court or ministry of magic to account for the regal title?" Morbius' lips twitch and tense slightly, trying to restrain a humored expression.

"I enjoy a good garden," settling back into the conversation rather than teasing Strange on his phrasing, Morbius looks down at his folded hands, rubbing his fingerpads over the tops of curled nails. "My family home had a small one, but it was lush and cool." Lost for a moment on that memory, the contradiction lifts his attention up to Mrs. O'Riley as she returns with his tea. Smiling politely around his excess of teeth. "Thank you, Madam. You're a saint worthy of her own holiday." His shoulder barely moves at the hard pat, shifting his gaze back toward Strange dubiously. "That remains yet to be seen. Thank you."

Another very faint tension, repressing a smile.

The Sorcerer behaves until old Mrs. O'Riley is out of earshot and then he allows himself a wry curl of a smile.

"I believe the threat of biting runs the other way around…and I assure you, my Consort earns her title a hundred-fold and over again by simply existing." How the man doesn't know the base fact of this statement is especial irony to the three gods he calls upon. "Perhaps one day, you'll cross paths with her. I recommend being tactful."

The notebook makes a soft snapping sound for how Strange gestures at Morbius with it. "Still, the research I promised you. You wished to know if sorcery was the answer to your state?"

"As every man should believe of his lady," Morbius seems to concede smoothly without any suggestion to the truth behind that statement. What the hell does he know about magic or anything? Nothing. That's why he's here. "I am nothing if not a perfect gentleman." Unless he's tearing people's throats out.

The notebook gains his entire attention at the smallest gesture, fingers tightening slowly on themselves; his attempt at restraint. "Yes. That is the cut and dry of my question. I cannot deny the validity of the mystical realm any more than I can of my own. Leave no rock unturned." Sanguine eyes flick back up to the man who holds the book. "May I?"


Placing the notebook on the table, the Sorcerer then slides it across the way towards Morbius. It's open to the fist of many pages. The handwriting is small, somewhat cramped, short-hand. Leaning back into his chair, Strange folds his hands in his lap and sighs.

"Let me know if you can't read it. I fell victim to the unfortunate truth that a doctor's handwriting can sometimes be illegible." A dimple appears in one line of his goatee.

Morbius will find many a scribble about something called the 'Montesi Formula', the title ultimately scratched out. There are a few bullets regarding banishment and exorcism, question marks alongside them all, a side-note: biological, not a curse.

Slowly, Morbius' fingers unknot and gently a wicked looking hand settles itself on the open pages, claws resting light on the scribbled sheets of the book as he pulls it closer to himself. Trying to hold back the rampant urge to take the whole damn thing and devour it page by page. "I will find a way. If I can stumble through ancient greek, I will find a way." He squints and tilts his head slightly to one side to decipher some word or another. "With a little…time."

A hooked nail follows bullet points, crossed out or not. The note of a curse v. biology makes him smile blithely. "Yes, I'm afraid that my only curse is a refusal to accept the inevitability of my own death. How arrogant are men, to mess with God's work, they say." Blood-drenched eyes flick up toward Strange, answering his own question. "Plenty arrogant, is the answer."

Pressing himself up from his reading. "The nature of my problem is, in fact, a problem, it seems. What was this 'Montesi Formula' you've disregarded?" The title itself at least sounds promising. Formula. Not a banishment.

"It's only arrogance if you don't succeed…" Strange murmurs, eyeing those nails with circumspect interest. He wonders idly to himself if they contain the structural strength to part bone and gouge concrete, as in the fully undead beings.

The Sorcerer looks up to those rubescent eyes and manages to hold them. "The Montesi Formula is a spell of deific devising that erases the undead, specifically those of vampiric inclination. Permanently. I don't consider it a viable answer to your issue because of the risk to your life itself." There we go. One can take the neurosurgeon out of the surgical ward, but not the oath from the Doctor himself: first, do no harm.

Oblivious to the staring at his nails, or perhaps only politely ignoring it as he does with most people staring at him, Morbius listens with a studeous frown of his already furrowed brow. A slow nod as he unpacks the explanation. "It would destroy all vampires. That's interesting." Pause. "And disconcerting that such a thing exists. And has not yet been /used/. Hmm." He looks back down at the page introspectively.

"No one has access to it but myself." His words are clipped, a brush of warning through them. Indeed, the book holding the very spell is sequestered away into a pocket dimension only available to the Sorcerer Supreme and his Vishanti three. "It's brutally final. I doubt you would have appreciated being devoured by a sudden wash of magic to a degree where only a god could grant you existence again…or become mangled and lived a half-life afterwards, unable to do more than shamble about and breathe and suffer."

A click of his tongue before he sips at his tea. "It would have been a shame to wipe you from existance before having met you. You are singular, Doctor, and you can apparently contain your whims…insofar as I can tell. This alone…" Morbius is presented with a thoroughly dispassionate scholar's once-over by the Sorcerer again.

Well that explains it. Morbius nods, quick on the upstroke when Strange explains while his eyes trace over the doctor-scrawl on the pages in front of it. "I have the good fortune to know what it is like to be eaten from the inside out, slowly, methodically, until madness makes you question reality, only to be resurrected, to endure again, like a forgery of Prometheus." Murmuring absently with his other hand gently tapping a hooked, wicked looking nail on his lower lip. "So, no. That doesn't sound ideal."

He gaze flicks back up to Strange, the man sitting like a wound spring, waitingfrom Morbius' perspectivefor him to slip up. The near-compliment confuses him. "I retained my humanity, Doctor. That doesn't disregard the fact that I'm a monster. It simply is, and the only reason I've come this far." Realizing that he's an oddity, Morbius pauses and settles a long hand over the open pages to look at Strange. "I'm an anomaly, but it occurs to me that I'm asking a specialist to assist without providing a list of symptoms. Your initial work up has come back with…" He glances at the book and gestures helplessly with an articulate hand. "Nothing, correct?"

Inasmuch as he hates to admit it… "Yes, nothing at the moment. You're not incorrect, however, Doctor. You're unique in a way that I've never encountered before, not in all my years as Sorcerer Supreme. I went off the information that I had available to me."

Strange's eyes fall to the notebook and those sharp nails resting upon the open pages. "You could write down your symptoms and perhaps they may lead my research in a specific direction. I have no issue delving further in order to be certain that you retain your humanity."

"I would be naive to believe that I could come to someone andpardon the expressionmagically have an answer," Morbius almost smiles, though it's hard to miss the quiet disappointment in his features. Retracting his hand from the pages of the book, Morbius gently closes it and slides it back across the table to Strange. "I am at an impasse. I know that you can't help me further without a more detailed symptom list," bloodstained eyes flick back to the Sorcerer Supreme. "But every account of my existance breeds danger and weakness. That I'm an anomoly has /saved/ me on several accounts on those who would destroy me."

The little notebook is retrieved once those wicked-looking nails have retreated a sufficient distance. Can't blame the Sorcerer, surely, with the red tracks of roughened skin across his palms. The pen, lying abandoned on the table, is also reclaimed and slipped into the central vacancy of the spiraled spine.

"I have no interest in enabling anyone else to end your singular existance, Doctor," he murmurs, settling back into his chair again. One ankle is raised to rest on his knee, his folded hands then atop his shin. "Despite our recent…assumptions in regards to one another, you have been nothing but cordial. It takes much more to engage my ire." The smile is faint, but present, breaking the lines of his goatee in droll amusement. "If you would like me to continue hunting, simply tell me now. Otherwise, I'm uncertain of how else to aid you."

Morbius considers the man across from him in silence, knowing very well that he has a damn spell that could undo /all/ of them and at the very least likely cause him some very real, very violent discomfort, but doesn't seem inclined to use it. Weighing these things all as they flash behind inhuman eyes.

"I would like your assistance, Doctor. I don't feel comfortable closing this door, just yet. It feels…incomplete, by no fault of your own. I only ask that you understand my caution. My, ah, trepidation. Committing such things to paper is nerve-wracking for me. Even as a man of scientific method, I hold no complete record of myself."

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