1964-08-17 - Catnip'd
Summary: That favored herb of cats is denied to the kittens of the Cranston household in return for a singularly-ridiculous outcome.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lamont lindon strange 


*

Lindon has come to visit Strange. Or perhaps Wanda or both. Lacking any real news to tell the Sorcerer Supreme, he comes knocking with awkwardly hunched shoulders and a vaguely apologetic look. In an attempt at social skills, he's brought a package of tea from Mrs. O'Reily's. It's a blend Strange likes, because Lindon asked. He wanted to bring some catnip for Aralune, but he wasn't sure how that would be received, so he has it wrapped up and stuffed in his pocket, having decided to bring it home to the kittens instead.

*

And with him is Lamont. Who can surely appreciate catnip. He's in his usual light, summer-weight suit, Panama hat in hand. He looks cool and relaxed and amused. He even pats Lin on the back, gently. Good on you, trying to be sociable.

*

The knock resonates about the Sanctum…and no one answers. At least…not immediately. After a few seconds, enough to perhaps make a guest wonder if anyone's home at all, the front door clicks open…of its own accord. The silvery wards, visible in meandering ribbons of star-mist, flirt about them quickly before zipping off into the architecture of the venerable mansion, shadowy corners and all. The welcome is unspoken, the arrivals recognized and categorized and left to their reasoning of visitation.

Those with good hearing will hear the lightly-thudding approach of something down the Grand Staircase. A blurring of silvery Malk passes across the main landing in a flash, followed quickly in turn by a slightly-smaller darker being on four legs. Aralune continues up the other half of the curving stairway, disappearing off into the depths of the Sanctum.

The latter comes to an abrupt halt on the flat space beneath the stained glass window inset to the wall and eyes them, tail lashing in momentary pique before sitting down. A tomcat — nearly the same size as the retreated Malk kitten, seal-brown save for an interestingly-detailed white tuxedo marking on its chest. Is that…the Seal of the Vishanti? No, the Eye of Agamotto? Regardless, blue eyes rest on the guests and ears perk forwards. The sunlight shining down reveals the heavy black marbling of stripes across the pelt in the end.

"Gentlemen." Oh, they'll know that voice well enough, even if makes nearly no sense coming from that feline mouth that shapes the vowels and consonants against logical sense.

*

Lindon smiles fleetingly at Lamont as he's patted. Then the door opens, the mysterious welcome given. Lindon tentatively steps in, watching the Malk zip off. Then his features brighten. Oh! It's a kitty cat. "Lamont," he says, high pitched. "Look."

Then the cat talks, and Lindon stops, swallows, and looks to Lamont, then looks back. He holds the tea awkwardly, though his hand strays to his pocket. What does one do in a situation like this? "You're Dr. Strange, aren't you," he says.

*

The Shadow immediately gets this look….his lips purse for a moment, as if he'd tasted something sour. Which is usually a signal that he's frantically repressing laughter. "Doctor," he says, tone utterly bland, even though the gray eyes are bright with humor. "We haven't come at a bad time?" he wonders.

*

You know how cats look smug sometimes? This cat looks terribly smug once the questioning ends.

"I can see that the initial impact of the disguise is effective. I should have remained silent." Is that…a laugh modulated to a tomcat's vocal chords? Sounds a bit like a deep sneeze or two. Rising to his paws, Strange flows down the rest of the stair and across the oiled sheen of the wooden mosaic floor of the large foyer. Those intent steely-blues consider both men as he approaches and then sits again, all poise and inherent feline mystery in one sleek package. "Not a bad time at all. I'm testing various aspects of the shifting itself. One's Astral form, soul…whatever you describe it, doesn't change within the form. My last attempt was of a standard barn-cat. This is nearly double the size and Aralune was intrigued in the end. Indulging her kittenish tendencies helps me get a better feel as to the physiology and natural movements of the form." One paw stretches out as if to accent his point; about as wide as a coffee mug, it showcases pale claws before they slip away and he regains his stance. "Do you need assistance then?" Ever the gallant Sorcerer, still with silver in his whiskers and tufts of inner ear fur.

*

Lindon's features are anguished on so many fronts. Want to pet the kitty, but the kitty is the most powerful sorcerer in the world. But… kitty. He shuffles his feet, uncertain, then reaches into his pocket and offers over the catnip. "This is for you," he says. The kittens already have some catnip at home, and he can always go out and get more. It's the good stuff, dried leaves and buds, not stems.

Lindon glances Lamont's way, and there's a spark of humor in his eyes. There's also a strategy. Get the kitty high, then pet the kitty.

*

Lamont folds his lips between his teeth, and closes his eyes for a moment. This is not happening. He is not going to guffaw at his teacher. He will not. When he opens his eyes again, there are what might be tears at their corners. "No need for immediate assistance," he says, and he is clearly struggling to keep his usual cool tone. "This is a social visit."

*

That tail, middling in plush given the slightly-longer length of coat, flicks from where its curled about those dark toes.

"Nothing wrong with stopping by. I've got time for a cup of tea if you'd like…some." That slate-grey nose gets to twitching as Strange leans in and considers the contents of that small cloth bag, porous enough to easily let slip the enticing scent of the catnip. Those silvery whiskers fluff forwards even as his haunches rise a little from the floor, his curiosity intensely piqued.

"That smells…is that what it actually smells like…? Oh seven hells." One large paw reaches up and snags at the fabric. Those pupils have dilated noticeably now.

*

Lindon releases the cloth bag unto the feline Strange. "Is it good?" he asks, trying to keep the lilt out of his voice. Big kitty is so precious! He looks to Lamont, and his features are helplessly smitten. Kitty. "Do you want tea?" he asks. Poor Lamont, trying not to laugh. And Lindon, so awkward about getting some for himself. He holds the offering of tea in his hands, not sure what to do with it. But, even so, kitty.

*

Lamont has mastered himself, for the moment at least. But he's still eyeing Strange speculatively. "We were just out and about, and we stopped in a pet shop…." He trails off, clearly just waiting to see what Strange will do. Surely, he'll pay for this in his next set of lessons…but it will be worth it. So very worth it.

*

"The tea can go in the living room," replies the Sorcerer in cat-guise to Lindon's query and outstretched offering. Distracted as the seven hells, of course, at this point, the dark tomcat. The cloth bag is turned over and over, a faint grimace parting his mouth even as a ruff of thick fur along the nape of his neck and down to his tail slowly rises. "It's…it's…intoxicating, like — roses and — and — "

A particularly rough snag of one sharp claw spills the herbal blend to the floor and he leans in close to sniff it. To his belly he goes, pawing the bits of greenery about and then daring to lick at his paw. The undertow of natural feline tendency is most definitely taking over the human's experiencing of the world as a whole.

…is that purring? Shaking his head sharply to loosen a piece of leaf from his lip, that pink tongue flickers out briefly and…oh dear. Onto the back, belly-up, revealing the lighter smoke of fur there, and that diesel-engine sound continues. "It's sooooo goooood…"

Yep. Definitely a tale to tell at the Bar with No Doors later on. Sorcerer Supreme, high on catnip.

*

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d10 for: 3

*

Lindon's eyes widen, and he says quietly, "Oh goodness, what have I done?" He goes over to the living room, though, setting the tea down. He takes a moment there to compose himself. No. He is not going to scritch the Sorcerer Supreme. It's not dignified. Even though that fur must be so soft.

He returns to see the cat-sorcerer flat on his back, purring up a storm. He makes eye contact with Lamont and smiles weakly. Oops?

*

Oh, Ascended Masters. So much for willpower. Lamont snatches his handkerchief from his pocket and hides his face in it, shoulders shaking. Pretending to cough, that'll work. When he's foolish enough to feel Lindon's gaze and look up from the square of linen, he actually claps his hand over his mouth. No laughing.

*

One back paw kicks without much notice on the large tomcat's part. He's too busy rubbing a fluffy cheek into the mess of herbal greens all over the wooden floor. Wanda might take the mess out of his hide when this is all said and done unless it gets cleaned up.

Flop, onto his side, and Strange eyes both the other practitioners with glassy, mostly-black eyes. There's some blue in there still, the hue leaning towards the frosted-lilac always seen with the Mystical Arts at play. The slip could speak to the level of relaxation he's feeling currently.

"Lindon. How did you find catnip that smells like Wanda?"

Have fun answering that one, Archive.

*

Wanda smells like catnip? This is information Lindon isn't sure what to do with, but it will be weighing on his mind heavily over the next few days. "It was the blend they had," he says, his voice faint and uncertain. "I asked for their best."

Lindon comes back around to Lamont and pats him on the back. Yes, coughing. That's what his dearest is doing. "So we, ah, we were coming by to see how you're doing these days. I'm trying to get out more just for social reasons, and we like you." Oh god, he's conversing with a stoned cat he doesn't dare tummy rub. His hands fidget helplessly til he stuffs them in his pockets.

*

One of Lamont's hands seeks Lindon's, twining fingers. It's way beyond what he'd usually do in terms of PDA…..but Strange is stoned. And exposing his fuzzy belly, so Lin has to be restrained. He does know how the Archive's mind works.

And then he's bearding the beast in his den, letting Lindon's hand fall, and crouching down. "Here, let me pick you up, before it drives Lindon crazy."

*

The seal-black feline lifts his head up and gives Lamont a lengthy and bright-eyed considering look. For all that the shifted Sorcerer is only barely under twenty-five pounds, it's not too unlike being stared at by a black leopard.

His tail ripples from base to tip, that inked end hanging in the air for a moment before falling. A sigh, human trait given cat form, rustles some of the spilled catnip. "As long as you scratch my head because that feels good too and — and it all feels wonderful and smells luscious and Lindon, this blend always. I need a tea like this, find me a tea like this, and I'll repay you somehow."

All about the bargaining, even on four paws, and the large tomcat rises to his feet to actually wobble a little towards Lamont. If scooped up, he'll go basically ragdoll, still purring up a storm, probably seeing pink mice cavort about the Sanctum foyer and feeling far too lazy to do a thing about it.

*

Lindon's eyes widen, and it's like Christmas. Oh, oh, oh, oh. Lindon comes forward to scratch Strange behind the ears. He's awkward with people, but with cats, he knows exactly what to do. There are two Balinese kittens at home who can attest to the fact that Lindon gives good ear-scritch. "I'll see what I can do," he tells Strange. He might bring some of the blend to Mrs. O'Riley and ask her if it can be made into a tea. Catnip tea is totally a thing. "Oh my gosh, your fur is so soft." He can talk to the kitty and it understands. This is basically his lifelong wish fulfilled.

*

Well, he has had days where there were idle thoughts about Strange in his arms….but this sure was not what he was picturing. To Strange's nose, assuming anything can penetrate the veil of catnip, he smells like one might expect: the usual melange of scents for a healthy, clean human. Soap and talc and shaving cream, clean skin and traces of fresh sweat….incense and gun oil and warm steel. And, well, a little bit of Lindon.

Lindon goes for the ears, Lamont cradles Strange-cat like an infant, and goes around for the base of the tail.

*

Yep, twenty-three pounds of ragdoll cat, purring up a storm. Who knew that catnip was the secret to making the intellectually-aloof Sorcerer actually open to the concept of friendly affection?

"Right there, yes…" The consonant hisses off in a cat-like manner as those whiskers flick forwards and he tilts his head into the touch, ears rotated half-back to reveal more skull structure for petting. There's a little up-tilt of his hips for the scritching at the base of his tail and the large tomcat begins to flex claws into the nearest surface. If this is Lamont's skin, well…whoops. Force of feline habit, so sorry. "Why wouldn't m' fur be soft? S'not going to be rough if I have my druthers…" They've heard that lackadaisical nuance of speech before, in the Bar with No Doors, when science was the reasoning for one drink too many. "Wanda thought't was sof' too. Never thought th' petting would feel so good…"

*

Lindon smells much the same, only minus gun oil and plus Other Cats. Kittens, just babies still. And the catnip that was in his pocket, and the tea he brought. Lindon is giddy to be scritching the Sorcerer Supreme, and he takes direction well. A cat that can talk to him! "You are the softest kitty," he croons. "You're the best cat. Don't tell the girls I said that. And of course Wanda is right." Scritch scritch. Maybe Strange would like a good scritch under the chin? Because Lindon delivers.

*

It's Lamont's nice suit. But that's okay. "We should figure out how to teach them how to talk," he muses to Lindon. "Or….talismans to let us talk to them, it'd be easier." Knowing Lin won't be happy until he does, he carefully offloads the Sorcerer into his sweetheart's arms. He's grinning at the Archive over Strange's head. Living the dream, eh, Lindon?

*

Pass the Sorcerer, it must be the game of the hour. Big tomcat in the Archive's arms now, still ridiculously ragdolled in general behavior until he gathers up his legs somewhat beneath him, catching whatever part of clothing he can to further right himself.

"Talism'ns 'd be easiest," opines the lazy thing, twitching his tail. He raises his head up and yawns, flashing an amazing set of teeth. Flickflick, pink tongue on his lips. "This's a good disguise then, hmm?" Faintly-glowing eyes, still mostly mirroring pupil, shift between the two men. The purring then picks up again, low and rolling.

*

Lindon cradles Strange in his arms, careful to support his body and give his paws his arm for purchase so he doesn't feel flaily; kitties don't care for that. He scratches Strange behind the ears and murmurs, "You're a good kitty, yes you are." He might pay for it later, but damn it, he can't help himself.

"Oh my goodness, we could really talk to them?" Lindon smiles, broad and openly, far too pleased. "I mean I don't expect them to have much to say, but knowing when they're hungry or lonely…" So he can further spoil them. He works the other ear, fingernails digging at that one spot. Aw, yeah.

*

"Perfect," Lamont agrees, deadpan again. He's yielded Strange entirely to the Archive. "That's what you should bargain for, Lin," he adds. "Tea for help in getting that talisman. But we should be going, I'm sure." Before he completely loses it and ends up crying with laughter in Strange's foyer.

*

"I kin agree to th' bargain," replies the tomcat, heavily leaning into that scritching at the base of the other ear now. In a truly feline manner, he then oozes from Lindon's arms to land with a graceful and faint thump on the Sanctum floor. Another sniff of the spilled catnip on the floor and, this time, a total body frisson that leaves him momentarily bottlebrush-tailed. "Bring th' blend next time. I've got a Malk to hunt." Would that Strange had his full vocabulary to him, but cat's got his tongue and word choice.

Zip — he's got a rather frightening fleetness despite his muscular build and up the steps he goes again, sharply diverting to the right. A ringing yowl of surprise means that he's caught Aralune off-guard, at least for a second, and no doubt the thudthudthud of rumbly-tumbly collision could be cause for concern. A tale for another time and musing for the gentlemen as they depart the Sanctum: does a Malk scratch cause a cat to hallucinate? Or does it do something else entirely?

Mysteries upon mysteries, all a usual state in the Sanctum.

*

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