1964-09-28 - A Talk Over Tea
Summary: Strange and Lindon discuss Constantine, Lamont, and keeping secrets.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange lindon 

Lindon brings tea, Lindon receives tea. This is the balance of nature and life. He sits comfortably, teacup in hand, and he looks different today. It's subtle, but it's amazing what a suit that actually fits will do for a man. He spends so little of Lamont's money, a new wardrobe was hardly an imposition. He still has an awkward bearing, but it's an awkward bearing poured into a flattering set of upscale threads. Even if he still goes for tweedy over posh.

"I wanted to thank you for Puck," he says with a fond smile. "He's so cute. The other day he got stuck under one of Lamont's hats and when I looked into the hallway I just saw this hat with four paws running past. The girls have adopted him as their little brother. He's fitting right in."

"Of course, Lindon. You appear so enamored with Aralune that it seemed only fair to subject you to the ownership of a partially-supernatural feline. Mind you, I wasn't about to go find another feral Malk kitten to bestow upon either of you unwittingly. That just smacks of insensitivity."

Because the Sorcerer Supreme has absolutely been the moral height of trustworthiness lately. Can someone say 'shiny'?

Strange, wearing the vaguely-Scythian storm-blue uniform of his mantle, sits in his usual chair. The crimson Cloak is elsewhere, maybe off floating through the Loft, considering Cloak-ish things.

"I'm glad that he's been accepted. I worried little of it, to be truthful with you." He sips at his tea.

"I would love to be tasked with caring for a Malk," Lindon says, "but I think it would cause Lamont to age prematurely." He grins as he says it, perhaps picturing the adventures that would no doubt take place. "Oh, they were fine," Lindon says. "There was a little hissing, but then they took turns grooming him, and now they've decided he's okay. Athena has been somewhat displaced because he really likes my lap, but she's taking more of an interest in Lamont." He is, of course, ready with the Cat Report. These things weigh heavily on his mind!

Among other things that weigh heavily, he asks, "Is it possible to gain magical senses though you've had no inclination for magic before? Lamont wants to broaden my horizons, and I just don't know if it can be done."

If Strange ends up with a tete-a-tete over tea with Lindon and the cats aren't mentioned, something is truly wrong with the world. Or at least, the contained menagerie that is becoming the Cranston household.

The Sorcerer's brows flick up. He drags two fingertips through one silvered temple before resettling himself in his chair. A booted foot rests ankle on opposite knee. The tea shifts about, but not a drop spills from his cup.

"Nothing's impossible." Oh man, what a way to start a thought. "You've got a wealth of information at the tip of your tongue, Lindon. That's magical in and of itself." The coy smile is both knowing and vaguely predatory, but only in passing, and only because it's well-known how much of an intellectual glutton the man is in the end. Ah, but for the chance to peruse that mind… "Has Cranston tested you for any propensity to the Arts thus far?"

Lindon shakes his head and says, "No, I've resisted because I'm not sure what I'll do if I turn up with nothing, you know? He wants it so much and it would feel like failure if I couldn't drudge up a single sixth sense."

He studies his tea, thoughts racing. Always racing. "I'm also worried about what will happen if I sense something after all." He takes a sip, then adds, "It will… how do they say it these days? Freak out?" He couldn't sound less cool the way he says that.

Strange listens and nods, the gesture meaning to keep the Archive speaking. He needs must hear why Lamont hasn't tested his lover. Ah — failure. A potent worry.

"I can't predict what may come of any burgeoning powers you could end up possessing. Magic is a fluid thing, the possibilities myriad in the end. Every practitioner has their fingerprint and their signature ability; - ties," he amends, changing the word to plural form with a shrug. "Still, if you don't have the predisposition to the Arts, that's not to be considered a failure. We can't all have such powers. The world would be far too…chaotic." He doesn't level any sort of patronizing tone or expression in his opinion. Instead, a more understanding half-smile. He's come a long way since the days of arrogant suturing. "Besides, you are the Archive." Subtle emphasis. "You are a power in your own right."

Lindon inclines his head, taking the words well. "I think Lamont is invested because he wants more layers of protection to keep me safe. Like if I can sense magical attempts to tamper with me, I could get away." He shakes his head with a fond smile on his lips, the kind he usually reserves for the kittens. "He is so protective. One of his old students has come around to ask questions about something and I swear he's a hair's breadth from barking at him."

A power in his own right. Lindon has to think about that over a sip of tea. "You're right, of course," he says without boasting. "What I can determine from deduction is, in it way, magic."

Strange points a finger from about his tea cup towards Lindon to accent the man's point. "Precisely. Information — wisdom — that's a weapon in itself. Never underestimate the importance of knowledge." Lecture the Archive, yes, he will do this.

"Surely Cranston has considered a warding charm? A trinket of some sort, like his…ring," and the Sorcerer briefly looks away, shaking his head. "That damn ring," he mutters. "Have to pin that down." Clearing his throat, he continues. "Some sort of warding charm bound to a necklace, ring, cufflinks, glasses." He lifts his free hand and lets it drop back to his knee with a soft clap of sound. "But Lindon. If I heard you correctly."

Uh oh. The Sorcerer's putting aside the tea and unfolding legs. He leans towards the Archive, resting bright eyes upon him, and rests his arms loosely crossed on his knees. It's a benign and yet absolutely conspiratorial move, the smile holding the serious necessary to keep it from outright over-friendliness.

"Old student?"

Lindon smiles crookedly. That damn ring. A little abashed, himself, given how easily he fell to it. "I'll ask him," he says. "I'd consent to wear a warding charm." Lamont has the added challenge caring for his relic. His relic is a grown man and can do what he pleases. He has Opinions. He gets a vote.

Lindon hesitates. Was that supposed to be an unknown? The part about the studentness of the relationship? Half the time Lindon isn't sure what he knows because he overheard it or his brain just tells him. Was it a secret? He glances at Strange over the pretense of a sip of tea. No putting that cat back in the bag now.

"Sometimes the natures of relationships might be hard to pin a label on," he explains. "I don't really know the essence of it. I wasn't there." That smile. Lindon has concerns. Thousands of calculations are done in a heartbeat and the conclusion reached is there's no bullshitting the Sorcerer Supreme. He glances to his teacup. "Old student."

No. There is no bullshitting the Sorcerer Supreme — at least, not successfully. The smile falls more and one can almost see the resigned draping of his title about his shoulders even as he sits up, resting palms on his knees.

"Yes, ask him about a charm. It's safest until you ascertain whether or not you have any inclination for the Arts." Then, he rises to his feet and begins to pace. With hands folded behind his back, it's a dignified meandering back and forth before the fireplace in the living room, with its low-burning logs. "You know he's an old student, but not anything other than this?" Strange gives the Archive a lingering side-glance, those steely eyes considering. "No one accepts a student without considering the responsibilities of the task."

"Oh, I know who he is," Lindon says, watching the Sorcerer walk back and forth at his leisure with the full bearing of his station. Lindon isn't like Lamont. Lindon doesn't see the Sorcerer and thin 'I'm going to punk him so hard.' No, Lindon regards him with admiration. He's an impressive figure, and in Lindon's mind, he's just Lindon.

"In fact, I spent a brief time with this man a few years ago when I was in the mental hospital after I woke up from the coma, after the spell that did this to me. I don't remember, but he does. His name is John Constantine. We've spoken a few times."

For all that Lamont's the worse of the two men at giving Strange a reason to grit his teeth (for the escalation is a very real risk and someone's going to end up as a newt one day, cross their black little hearts…), it's the naivity of Lindon that really gives the Sorcerer a brand-new silver hair.

Almost as if restrained by invisible ropes, he comes to an abrupt halt, back towards the Archive. A inhale and slow exhale, just the barest rusty sound of frustration to be found within it.

"«The gods…have to be fucking with me karmically. This is some godly joke. I swear, when I find out who it is, I'm going to be creative,»" he mutters darkly in Tibetan, even as he faces Lindon again. "Lindon. You named the student as John Constantine." He heard the more timid man perfectly fine. A confirmation seems…necessary somehow.

Lindon blinks slowly as bits and pieces of Tibeten translates itself in his mind. He takes another drink of his tea, watching the Sorcerer Supreme with an utter lack of understanding as to why he's responding the way he does. Did he do bad? Yes? No? He's just the bearer of knowledge, man.

"Yes," he says, though cautiously now. Not out of fear for himself, mind, but Dr. Strange doesn't seem to be doing so well. "John Constantine. We were in the hospital together. He, ah, apparently bound this stuff into my head because it was killing me, so I owe him for that. He and Lamont have a history, too."

Everyone's favorite two words escape the Sorcerer's lips with precise diction, crisp, falling like a gavel. "I see."

The flames on the logs are examined simply to prevent the flint of his eyes from nailing the poor Archive to the chair he sits in. The lighting brings the angles of his face into sharp relief and darkens what shadows already lie beneath his eyes; catches in his gilded hair, turning it golden in passing. "I wondered." He looks to Lindon again, refined and aloof as a panther. "I was having tea with a friend, at O'Riley's, when Cranston happened by. So did Constantine. The man had some…scathing comments to give Cranston. Admittedly, I wanted to know more, and well…" He gestures towards the Archive, not a lick of magic to be found around the scarred digits. "There we are. At least I can say that went in my favor. Still…I'll need to speak with Cranston about this."

Lindon drinks his tea, giving Strange his space to process this without looking at the shy and retiring living relic. "I might get a talking to," he muses, "if he was keeping this from you for some reason. I was never explicitly told not to speak to you about it, but Lamont's a little…" He seeks his words carefully. "Tetchy. About John."

First name basis and everything.

"I get the impression it was a long time ago, before I as born, even." Lindon gives Strange a look of appeal, and those deep, dark eyes don't stint on soul. Please don't get the Archive scolded. "The relationship dissolved a long time ago."

Strange meets and holds those dark eyes with an impassive cast to his features. The rare crackle of the nearly-consumed logs is a homely sound, if not an abrupt one.

A sigh. "I already told Cranston that I would speak with him, before I left the tea shop. You've been helpful, Lindon. Now I have facts to cross-reference in our discussion." He gets to pacing again, the steps more measured than before. "Time changes few things, in the end." A fleeting weight seems to press upon him and then it's gone, perhaps mere play of the glimmering fire.

Lindon continues to consider Strange from where he sits, teacup in hand. "I get that John's unconventional and maybe a bit of a troublemaker, given how Lamont seems to regard him, but from what I can tell, he means well. He thinks the night I became what I am, the wizard who did it was sabotaged, that it wasn't an accident but a murder. He's just trying to find information."

Then again, there are calculations being done, information sifted so quickly it bypasses his consciousness. What he knows if Lamont cross-referenced by Lamont's reaction to Constantine, folding in Strange's responses now. "He's reckless," he concludes.

"That's a kind way to put it," replies the Sorcerer, following the rejoinder with a faint derisive snort. "I've been aware of Constantine's presence for some time now, though never had a concrete reason to speak with the man about his actions. Bad luck is his shadow in turn. Bodies are left in his wake. He means well, but…" And Strange grimaces, running a hand over his mouth in passing. "Necromancy is not some cheap trick, an idle flick of the wrist. The soulless dead should remain dead."

"Ah, he's a necromancer," Lindon says. That's a piece to the puzzle. "Maybe you should have Aralune give him a bath." Hey, it worked for Lamont. "I want to help him solve this mystery, because it's part of who I am. He doesn't know I'm the Archive. He thinks it's a book that Lamont owns, and that I have access to it. At least I don't think he knows. I was babbling the mysteries of the cosmos in the mental institution. It's not that great a leap of logic." Except for the way Lindon's mind works. He's smarter than the average bear. Sometimes it's hard to remember most minds move more slowly.

"Regardless, I want to get to the bottom of this, too. The person responsible for making me this way might still be out there, and if so, they're a murderer. They shouldn't get away with it."

"Aralune would glut herself on his aura until she vomited and I have no interest in cleaning further stains from the carpeting or my chair." An inspection of Strange's chair will prove it clean, devoid of all form of spillage, from tea to Malk hairballs, but gods below — the bile of the Fae is ridiculously difficult to remove from fabric.

He shakes his head even if the exasperation is counter to the rueful agreement. "I respect your quest, Lindon, but Constantine has different considerations as to parameters of 'success'. Be careful."

Lindon grins despite himself. "The poor darling would have a nice snack until then, though," he says. He does glance at the chair, and admittedly, he's a bit impressed. Just normal cat bile is hard to get out.

"I'll be careful," Lindon says, "I do feel a debt of gratitude, but I'm not looking for more complications. I'm actually hoping that if I can feed him information, he won't go about getting it other ways, you know what I mean? Why drag a ghost from its grave to interrogate it when the information has been presented collated and bound?"

Strange nods. "And bringing a soul back from the beyond to get said information is precisely something that Constantine might do. Yes, be circumspect. Have Cranston with you as shielding if need be."

He returns to his chair and sits — or rather, flops. Lindon's a friend and a tactful one at that…mostly. The Sorcerer Supreme can slouch if he wants to right now. A hand goes to span his forehead, both brows a point of slow massage by fingertips.

"If you could please let Cranston know that our next lesson may be heavily conversational rather than invocation or sparring, I would appreciate it. I cannot continue without full disclosure in regards to things of this nature." Things being surprise students from the past.

"For what it's worth," Lindon says, "my compassion seems to have thrown him off." That's right, Lindon, unsettle them with sincerity and kindness. He watches Strange yet still, and his brow knits. Did he do this to the Sorcerer Supreme? He didn't mean to. Part of him want to brag to Lamont, but most of him stamps that down with a quickness. "I'll let him know," he says. "I hope he's not angry I told you things." Not that he sounds worried about the Shadow's wrath. Lamont can rarely stay irked at Lindon for long.

"I feel for him," Lindon says. "John, I mean. He seems so alone and haggard. I won't tell him who I am. I promised Lamont. But I can't help but think if he were getting his information safely…" He shakes his head. That way lies disaster and he knows it.

Appearing from behind the wide spread of hand, Strange rests the line of his chin upon it instead, watching the coals continue to vascillate with golden light.

"Call me a cold bastard, but John is perfectly able to reverse his course of his own volition. The Arts is about willpower. If he's been cursed, there's a solution, a counter-curse, a way about it. Nothing's impssible." He glances to Lindon and seems to force his own ruffled feathers down, in a way. "If Cranston's angry, that's a discussion between the two of you. I simply won't condone secrets if any aspect of it will impact the success of his training."

"I don't know that he kept it from you on purpose," Lindon says. "It seems like something he tries to forget. Maybe he was successful til John turned up on our doorstep." Of Constantine being able to reverse his course, Lindon says nothing. What's there to argue about? The Sorcerer Supreme isn't wrong.

Of course, though, he's going to try to defend Lamont. Lamont is his wizard. He picked Lamont. Just as the Cloak has loyalty to Strange, so does the Archive to the Shadow. "He seemed surprised to see him. I'm sure it's something he'd merely put from his mind."

"The very fact that it's incredibly pertinent information and it was pushed aside in a dismissive manner is somewhat concerning to me," the Sorcerer mutters before popping his lips lightly. Somewhat.

"Still. So be it. I don't blame Cranston, that would a useless waste of time. What I will have is the truth. All of it, offered up freely, without compulsion. If I don't get all of it, that is a future discussion that will be far less comfortable."

Lindon relaxes once he's assured the blame won't be on his wizard. It's not just that personal bond, but the mystical one as well, a compulsion to protect and defend and serve. That's not unhealthy at all. "Sometimes people don't like to talk about themselves," he muses. "Or they don't know what's important, but I suppose, objectively, having had a student is important, and the fact that student was John is pertinent.

He takes a last sip of his tea and sets the cup aside. "I'll tell Lamont you want to talk to him. If he asks what about, I'll come clean. There are no secrets between us." He laughs a little, adding, "That I know of."

"And that's how it should be. Secrets can kill." Just ask the man currently soul-bonded to the daughter of his most mortal enemy, the one who tempts regularly with an inky blackness that bleeds into her mein and actions from rare time to time. "I appreciate it, Lindon, thank you."

His own cup of tea, gone cold, requires a warmer. Strange makes his way to the tea stand and pours steaming water into the brew to revitalize it. "Let Cranston know that he can call and speak to me briefly as well, but I will have our conversation, one way or another."

And on that note, the two men part, one to return home and speak with his lover, the other to return to his chair and look properly brooding.

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