1964-06-23 - Sorcerer and Torch Show and Tell
Summary: In which the Sorcerer Supreme calls upon Johnny and … they play show and tell.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange johnny-storm 

Johnny put up his version of a classified, flying through the sky leaving fire he willed to stay burning: he figures either this Taliesin fellow will see it or someone else will mention it. It doesn't take a lot for Johnny to end up in the papers, after all. Then he's back home, settling in to wait for the phone call. Relaxing on his couch in a pair of jeans and a dark blue t-shirt that is so tight it might as well not bother to not be shirtless, but, hey. He's nursing a beer idly.

Phone calls are for squares — or non-Mystical sorts. Well…okay, the Mystical sorts who can curb their taste for showmanship.

Not this particular Master of the Arts. Still nursing the remnants of a migraine, he discovers the message upon glancing out the Window On the Worlds in the Loft. Subtle, the message is not. The Pencerdd is called upon and he answers. After all the Fantastic Four are very much public figures and the Baxter Building known to New York's newspapers time and time again. A quick Gate to the rooftop across the street, a quick survey of what he can see through the wall of windows — ah-hah, he recognizes that figure, this…Johnny person — and thus, the sunlight shining through the glass panes takes on a noticeable golden glint.

Reality rudely expands outwards from a pinpoint, flickering with sparks, and out steps the Sorcerer Supreme. His eyes land on the Human Torch as he steps through with nonchalance unparalleled, confidence in himself a thing to envy, and a mild smile on his face. He wears black dress pants, shined shoes, and a silk button-down in merlot, its color rich and shifting into robin-red in the sunlight.

"You rang…?" he asks in that smooth baritone of his.

Johnny here was expecting a phone call, maybe a message, and *maybe* a visit— through the front door. Not *that*. He's so startled he chokes on his beer and sits up, sputtering for a moment, "You know how door this usually works?" he says, sounding annoyed, "You show up to reception, they call up and I tell them to let you in the private elevator. There's usually knocking that happens at some point." He grunts, and rises, "Want a beer?" he offers for a moment, "So, I need some answers, and while Dane had a couple, you seemed to know some things. 'Taliesin' is who here? I'm Johnny Storm. Obviously."

It's so worth it. Every time. Amusement curves the lines of his goatee momentarily, a flicker of the charm used masterfully as needed, before his expression settles down to friendly formality. This is the shield for the canny mind behind those steely-blues.

Strange looks about the apartment, considering its layout, before replying as to beverage choice: "Tea, if you have it." He wanders farther into the very open space, still observing what he can. Chrome, the latest in electronic entertainment…ooh, a guitar. A phantom of Barddic delight dances through his psyche.

Ah, the Pencerdd's name. It brings the Sorcerer to turn in place, hands still in his pockets of his dress pants.

"Yes, Johnny Storm, the…Human Torch. Nice touch, with the fire. No one could miss it." A droll amusement colors the comment. "You met him as Sir Gawain. Taliesin, in another time, stood in for myself, in a way. The title is 'Sorcerer Supreme' these days, as I mentioned last we spoke." His meandering pacing brings him over to one of the walls of windows. "Doctor Strange," he adds, glancing back at Johnny. "I hold the mantle currently."

"Yeah, if you were under the impression I'm a tea kind of person you don't read enough tabloids." Johnny says with dry amusement, heading towards the kitchen, "I have beer, whiskey, gin, rum… and water." Still, its to the sideboard near the kitchen that he heads, pulling it open to pull out a pair of glasses and a bottle of whiskey, "I don't have any idea what 'Sorcerer Supreme' means." After all, he got his power by a freak science accident. "That said I remember that whole incident— being 'Gawain'— and that's what I want to talk to you about. As far as I can tell, this Merlin guy is summoning some old knights soul and sticking it in my head then making him think now-is-then and sending us against this Morgan lady's interests. Look, I don't especially mind stopping some crazy witch— or whatever— from doing whatever she wants, but I prefer to stay *in control of my own gods damned body*. You know how we can manage that?"

Half-lidded eyes fall to the bottle of whiskey brought forth from the cabinet. Hmm, not a terrible blend…good year. Day-drinking it is.

"Insofar as I can tell, there's no choice in the matter of the blended reality — not at this moment." He watches the golden swirl of the liquor pour into the highball glasses. "Plus, is it so terrible? You could have been a stablehand instead of a landed Knight, with all of the rights and grants given to you. Also consider that showing in your current guise and that…suit marks you as unnatural and thus more prone to alienation in the other reality. Subterfuge, not flashy displays, will get us farther in our fight against Morgan Le Fay."

Strange remains by the ceiling-high windows as he considers Johnny. "I explained to you before that the Sorcerer Supreme guards the existence of this reality proper. My specialty is metaphysical defense rather than pure physicality."

"Yes, yes, I remember what you said but you have to understand that doesn't actually *mean* anything to me." Johnny steps over, handing the glass of whiskey and taking a swallow, "You're Sorcerer Supreme but you can't — change the nature of these events we're going to be stuck with?" His tone clearly says, 'so what use are you', and with some annoyance in it, "Yeah, it is pretty terrible as far as I'm concerned. That's my body doing dangerous things but *I'm not in control*. What if this Gawain doesn't fully grasp the limits and application of my power? You know he sent his sword white-hot to destroy that… thing. It gets hotter." His voice becomes grave, "It gets a *lot* hotter. What if next time he's surrounded and decides to go nova without understanding just how hot nova gets? None of you — or the the city block you're in survives that blast. Good guys, bad guys. Vaporized. This Merlin fellow is playing with things I'm not convinced he understands if he's putting some ancient ancestor in my body."

The whiskey sipped is smooth with a burn to satisfy the assumption of it forthcoming. Strange rolls his lips afterwards and grants Johnny lightly-lifted brows.

"Your ancestor like as not shared an aspect of your current range of powers. Not to the current extent, but…your psyche accepted the overlay without any trauma. There must be parallels within your mind somewhere. Hmm. Past lives…" he muses, swirling the whiskey in his glass in an idle fidget.

"We estimate it at a million degrees, man. A hundred and twenty five odd times hotter then the surface of the sun." Johnny snaps, shaking his head and tossing back another swollow, "So there's nothing we can do? Just sit around, wait for the next time Gawain takes me over? I don't mind being involved, I don't mind *playing* as Gawain if I need to, but just sitting here and waiting until Merlin sends me another dream and I lose control of my body is *not* how I roll. There has to be some way to at least *influence* this or to step in and take over when things get hairy. I didn't get the idea that this Gawain fellow knew he could fly or go full plasma, which means he's a lot more vulnerable then I am. Come on, Mr. Sorcerer Supreme. Surely with the Supreme around we aren't just helpless passengers in our own body?"

"I get the distinct impression that you'd rather not be involved in this particular adventure?" Strange gives Johnny a look of moderate censure before turning away and wandering back to the windows. He sips at his drink, content to leave his other hand hidden away. "I'm sure there's some way around it. With the Arts, there's always something to be done. What would you have me do?"

The Sorcerer Supreme watches his own reflection for a passing second before eyeing the Human Torch again. "Would you have a curse placed upon you? No further contact from your past lives? The denial of a way to have an impact upon this reality that spans centuries? The refusal of a call that should be honored? Merlin does not utilize your ancestor's soul unwisely. We Masters of the Arts prefer to let sleeping souls lie."

"See, as far as I'm concerned, *I'm* not actually involved now." Johnny says with a shake of his head, turning and watching Stephen move, "I saw what was at that altar: I am deeply opposed to anyone who is performing human sacrifice, and based on whatever it is that was, with the cold? Having the Human Torch along would be useful. But you don't have the Human Torch along. You have Sir Gawain stealing into my body and using me to further ends of someone I thought was a story before yesterday. Its, frankly, a rather perverse violation. But, no." He shakes his head more firmly, "I don't want you to put a stop to it: I want to be *more* involved. To not just be a suit some long dead ancestor wears, but to be *at least* able to *influence* what's going on, if not outright control myself while Merlin needs me to go do whatever it is that needs doing to stop this Morgan lady."

"Then take the helm." Strange sips his whiskey again. "Your soul isn't leaving you during this time, it's simply pushed aside. I suggest finding the point of balance and then exerting your will overtop that of your ancestor. A body can house multiple souls at once."

The man would know, after all, having done the exact thing while in the guise of the Pencerdd.

That brings Johnny up short, and he blinks. "Oh. Wait, you can do that?" He blinks again, and shrugs, "OOokay, I'll try that. Fuck me but this is a strange conversation. Week. Life. I still find it incredible that I could be related to some Arthurian knight, and that somehow he had some sort of fire ability: but… Okay. So. What do we do now? Do we just wait until Merlin sends another dream and sends these souls to us? Or can we run this down on our end too while waiting for that to happen again? I'll be honest, man, I'm not the one to take the lead on that because I know fuck all about any of this stuff, but I have resources and connections. Oh, and Dane Whitman is the Black Knight and wants to get in contact with you, if you could leave a *phone number* instead of teleporting to him to say hi, that would be great."

There's that sly grin again, the one worn initially upon arrival to the airy apartment.

"I'm certain that the Black Knight won't object too strenuously to my Gating into his presence. If he's as closely connected as he claims to Merlin, he's experienced far more disturbing things." The last of the finger's worth of whiskey disappears and Strange smacks his lips quietly. "I'll regret this later, I'm sure," comes the self-reciminating murmur. The shrug summarily dismisses the notion.

"But yes, bodies can house multiple souls. What do you think a possession is, some sort of twisted joke?"

"I really hadn't ever so much as thought about it." replies Johnny with a shake of his head, "Look, I went into space, and turned into fire. I've never seen nor experienced anything like possession before— its frankly more then a little disturbing, to be frank." Which is repetitive, but. He then snorts softly, "Well, consider calling first? Its only *polite*, Mister Supreme."

Mister Supreme snorts. "'Polite' would have been warning about moving the largest conflux of ley lines before doing so." Is that a grudge? …it might be a grudge. Not for long, it's losing steam, but for the moment, migraines suck and so does being deprived of Mystical firepower. "I'll consider it." …maybe.

"Your abilities, however…grounded in science? I picked a terrible time to leave New York those years back." He places the empty glass next to the bottle of whiskey and waves a hand to dismiss any further notions of drinking.

"Are you sure he knew he was doing that? You can hardly blame the guy if he didn't. Especially since it wasn't… wait, for him, *was* it him or … God my head still hurts from this shit." Johnny grunts, rises, and heads to go refill his glass— and he offers a hand to Stephen to see if he wants a refill too. "Well, we got bombarded with cosmic radiation and that's what led to the various things. Its not magic, its … we're different. Reed has studied us all extensively to try to understand the various ways our bodies reacted to the radiation."

"Thank you, but no more whiskey for now. I need to Gate back." Imagine that, a drunk Sorcerer Supreme attempting to open a rift upon reality. The chaos. The hilarity. Who knows where that oculus would lead! "It doesn't matter now. I'll move the ley lines back when this whole mess with Morgan is resolved. Radiation, though? Huh."

From over by the window, Strange tilts his head in interest. "Care to showcase your abilities? Within reason, of course. No need to melt your apartment. The better I know of them, the more accurately you can be aimed as unexpected firepower." Was that a pun?

It might have been a pun.

Johnny sets aside his own glass then, giving Stephen a fairly blank look. Gate, ley lines, … all of that, its craziness. The look of skeptic on his features is profound, "Yeah, cosmic radiation— gamma rays, a sun spot that we weren't sufficiently shielded against. We should have died and don't fully understand what the event was that caused the radiation to instead alter our molecular structure— on a fundamental level— and make it… unstable. But in different ways. But?" He grins, happy to show off, "I have a broad spectrum control of heat and fire." He spreads his hands, and there's a wind as all the heat in the room rushes into him. It becomes cool enough for frosty breath. It lasts only a moment before more wind and it becomes warm— hot. But then it stabalizes. He rights 'Johnny Storm' with a finger through the air, and fire extends from his finger— and stays there. "Reed says the ATP in my cells— the 'fuel' of cellular function— is.. different. My body's very energy is much, much higher output." And then suddenly he's on fire— all over his body. His clothes, strangely, do not burn. One may recognize why the floor marble tiles and not carpet. "I can keep from burning down the place by the first ability— right now I'm keeping the heat tightly contained right near me— if you were even an inch away you wouldn't feel anything. By focusing flame down, I get thrust, and can fly. Recently… well. That I have to be outside to show you." He wanders towards the balcony with a gesture.

"By all means, demonstrate. The public is well aware of your appearance in the skies when they see it." Strange echoes the gesture, interest bright in his eyes.

He opens up the balcony door and steps out. The air of the early evening is brisk, cleaner above the output of the cars far on the streets below, and he does a cycle of breathing for the appreciation. It has nothing on the lung-clenching crispness of the high mountains, but up here, seeming to touch the clouds, he can find some appreciation. He steps to one side and folds his arms. "Go on."

Johnny throws himself right off the low rail— and immediately catches on fire and zips back up and he hovers there a moment. Only he's not a guy surrounded by fire— he's pure, liquid plasma. He is roughly human shaped, pure bright yellow liquid, surrounded by red heat. He speaks— his voice sounds odd but there, and still, his clothes are unburnt. "Don't ask me to explain the physics of this. The plasma body is still *me* somehow. But, I don't shower anymore: any bacteria or dirt or anything else even vaguely there besides my clothes is vaporized instantly and I'm suddenly clean. Someone tries to punch me at their own risk: bullets melt or pass right through me." He flies closer, and settles down and the flame just evaporates away, and he's Johnny Storm again. Grinning. "I release it all in a nova and incinerate everything in a city block, though then I'm tapped out. What do you do, Mister Supreme?" Does he sound cocky? Yes, he sounds cocky.

"I could pull the very stars from the sky, but I choose not to. It's a very permanent decision on my part and the gods themselves would get very annoyed with me," Strange explains blithely as he leans his shoulders back against the glass pane of the wall. "These days, I simply prevent otherwordly deities and demi-gods from invading this reality and ending mankind as we know it. It's a day-job."

And he has the audacity to shrug again.

Johnny snorts, crossing his arms over his chest, "Seriously, man. I showed, you can at least tell. We're allies, albeit weird ones where ghosts possess us during our missions— which is more then a little rapey from your man Merlin, and if I ever meet him we're going to have words— but at least you can give me some idea of the *truth*. If it weren't for watching Taly get his groove on I wouldn't even have believed magic existed. Powers, sure. Magic? Pff."

Strange eyes Johnny consideringly. Beware the slow curl of those lips. He does enjoy entertaining the non-believer.

"I've told you at least…two times now what my mantle entails. It seems you're a man of action rather than words. I appreciate being a man of Words myself." The casual capitalization would send most in the Mystical world scattering like rats. "Let's see…big mouth, grandoise posturing…" He taps a scarred finger on his chin mockingly before narrowing his eyes at Johnny. "You remind me of this young rooster we used to have on the farm."

To Johnny, it sounds of English, some comment on Strange's part. It's the depth to his voice, the echo in open air, and reality around the young man suddenly twists in a blinding blur of watercolor-melt. When vision clears, the world about him is much, much…taller.

"And, how about…" The balcony falls out from beneath him into open space — no, wait, the entire world is upside-down!!! Strange manages to remain standing on the marble flooring of the balcony, insoucient as ever. No gravity pulls upon his clothing or hair.

A swirling of silvery-gold and no longer dress-wear, but storm-blue battle-leathers, archaic and yet completely appropriate. Along with it, a crimson Cloak lined in checkerboard plaid to spite fashion in the best of ways.

"I can always take us to another dimension entirely. A trip through the Dark Dimension tends to iron out any confusion as to my mantle," says the Sorcerer Supreme, his wane smile inverted.

"Yeah, yeah, protecting reality, whatever" Johnny waves a hand, remembering all those words but they're just wor- what the ever loving, "What the f—" He looks down at his body and so far up at Strange, and how he should now be falling up, and what does Johnny do when he falls?

He bursts into flame, so he does just that. FLAMING CHICKEN flapping its wings.

Thank goodness it's all an enspelled hallucination on part of the inversion in gravity. Strange raises his eyebrows, watching the chicken, now on fire, flapping about the marble surface.

"I assure you, the sky isn't falling, Johnny. I'm impressed that you haven't summarily removed all of your feathers. A la flambe," and the Sorcerer flicks his fingers again.

There's the sideways rush of air, as if a wind sheer suddenly flashed through New York proper, and a moment of myriad, thousand-fold reflections of flickering firelight — red silk and dusky sky-hue — before the marble surface of the balcony becomes some falsehood of black wood. A root, expanding out, pulsing beneath its ragged bark in ultraviolet flashes. The air is not air, but it is, full of distant hoarse shrieking that replaces the essence of wind. Neon-bright, spheres and sunspots and crenulations in colors impossible anywhere but here, spatter the dimension with the viciousness of a drunken artist. Malevolence looms at a far distance, impossibly large and dark as the shadows between the stars, and Strange glances in that direction with a careless air.

"Oh, we're interrupting, it seems." A quick snap of his fingers that causes flint-sparks and reality rights itself.

Back to the balcony, where Johnny is now lacking feathers entirely. Gravity behaves. An airplane flies by overhead. A pigeon cooes from a nearby ledge. Strange sighs.

"Magic is an incredibly malleable aspect of reality," he comments, watching the young man with a stoicism unparalleled save for in the Ancient One, his original mentor.

"I…" Johnny can't explain why his fire doesn't burn off the feathers, but it doesn't burn off his hair either. Then there's something dark and looming and there's not a single cell in Johnny's body that wants to be anywhere near looming dark without having his flames on. In fact, they intensify from red to yellow and the heat rolling off of him easily doubles. But then he's flaming in human form and… right side up. He doesn't seem inclined to stop flaming even now that they're back, "What's With you people?" he asks in exasperation, "You think its OK to transform someone into something else just like Merlin thinks its okay to steal my body without my permision? My body! Is my body. You could have shown all of that without altering me." Pause, "And what was that — whatever that was, huge and dark and looming?" Still flaming.

"That was the deity of the Dark Dimension. I visit from time to time to check upon his efforts." Still in the garb of his mantle, Strange looks upon the flaming young man, no longer squawking — at least, not in said aforementioned poultry guise.

"I've learned over the years that pulling a rabbit from thin air doesn't convince anyone and without a change of frame, a field trip across the dimensions is simply an acid trip. The mundane wish to explain it all away with drugs or clever tricks of light." He pauses before adding thoughtfully, "I've never heard a good explanation for the projection of inverted gravity, however."

Finally, the fire evaporates off of Johnny and he settles back on hte ground, "Its not the field trip that I take issue with: its presuming to have the right to *change me*. Even as a demonstration." Hmph, he crosses his arms over his chest, and his expression looks to be a mix of pained and troubled, "I have no idea who 'he' is but whatever that is in this Dark Dimension of yours was bad news. I assume when you say 'protect reality' you mean, specifically— though perhaps not exclusively— against that guy?"

"Yes, Johnny. That deity I count as one of my enemies. The Mystical wards about the Earth don't enable him easy entry, but his influence extends easily enough where his presence may not. Other practitioners may choose to court him for powers and Morgan Le Fay might have done such a thing." His gaze, with bright frosted-violet light fading from his irises, shifts back towards Central Park, that inevitable crux of activity. "She exerts her will on reality and changes it little by little. We can't assume that this current reality is even completely stabilized. Who is to say that she hasn't changed you without your knowledge or consent? Thus, my efforts." A hand is extended before being curled in and hidden away in those folded arms.

"Speaking of efforts…I have some studying to do before meeting with said Black Knight. Be ready for another overlap in reality. Good luck," says the Sorcerer with melodious tone, and grins. A Gate opens up and through he goes, leaving behind empty space.

Strange goes home.

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