1964-10-09 - Counsel Over Tea
Summary: Strange and Kai discuss Kai's new party tricks.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
kai strange 

Kai settles in with his tea, and he stirs the honeyed, milked liquid for a little longer than necessary before he put the spoon aside and says, "I wanted to ask you about a few things." He's subdued for himself, his good cheer shining a little less brightly. It's like clouds covering the sun.

Another silence, then he ventures, "Yesterday, I was napping on the couch and I had a bad dream. At the same time, all the lights that were on in the house blew. The light bulbs are dead. We had to replace them. So what, electrical surges happen, right? Except then all the light went out, even the sun."

He studies his tea, his youthful features twisting in consternation. "I could see everything dimly, but Bucky was blinded. Complete darkness for him. He thought we were under attack. He also said when the darkness lifted, it was all pulled into me. I need you to tell me he's mistaken."

"Hmm." Probably not the most reassuring thing he's heard from Strange lately, but the man is in mid-sip from his own cup of tea. It's something darker, sturdy against the grey ambience of the day. The cloud cover absolutely encourages indoor pursuits and initially, Kai caught him with tome in hand. Nothing new, of course. He is a scholar at heart, this Sorcerer, and all knowledge is worth knowing.

Setting aside the demi-tasse, Strange, in his mantle-blues, shifts an ankle up upon an opposite knee. Fingertips lightly drum on the arm-rests in one complete wave, beginning at outer left and ending at outer right, perfectly in sequential rhythm.

"Your major concern is that you absorbed the darkness that followed, rather than simply returning the rooms and house to its naturally-lighted state? I'll add the additional musing at whether or not this darkness, to you, is elementally negative. Side-effects?" The good Doctor in action.

Kai shrugs and shakes his head. "None. The light bulbs were shot, but other than that, nothing seemed weird. The lights that weren't on at the time were fine. That hit, I guess, before the total darkness, except I could see in it."

He squirms a little, fitful. "I just don't know why it happened, and if it's because of the dream…" He sticks his tongue out, bleh. "Because I was dreaming about the Hunt, and trying to run away. Then I just wanted to hide. I woke up because Bucky had his gun and said we were under attack by something that took all the light away."

"Ah." The Sorcerer loses some of the usual distant professionalism he wears comfortably when it really does appear to all have been summoned up by a dream. There's a pitying light in his eyes now, a sympathetic quirk at the corner of his lips.

"I would say that your nightmare has much to do with it, in the end. Some of my own powers, those belonging to Wanda — we've both had instances where the subconscious conjured up effects upon reality around us. That you were able to reverse the instance of your abilities reacting to said nightmare is to be noted." He nods. "We have had to do the very same and it hasn't been comfortable. Still, your original concern was whether or not that darkness was still contained with you?"

Kai wrinkles his nose. This isn't what he wanted to hear, and he brought Strange an offering of tea and everything. Still, he sits up with a certain formal grace, knowing full well the risk of coming to wizards to ask for terrible truths.

That 'ah' brings a knitted brow and pursed lips. Kai almost takes a sip of tea, then thinks better of it and instead says, "I'm ljosalfar. I've nothing to do with darkness. If the svartalfar did this to me, then it has to be bad. Doesn't it? I don't want their influence on me. I want to put this all behind me."

"The svartalfar have nothing to do with the setting of the sun and rise of the moon every night in this Realm. Darkness is, Kai, just as light is. There is a profound balance." Strange runs his eyes over the Elf's form and lo, Kai can watch the shine of a quasar fill his irises as he summons up the Sight.

"Your aura seems fine. Granted, I can see the stress upon it and the lack of proper sleep; it's thin in places, but otherwise hale. We'd be better off with a more tangible test, I think," he muses before standing up. It's naught but a few steps to where the moon-pale Elf sits and the Sorcerer offers out a scarred hand, clearly for the taking. "Grasp my hand and we'll see what I can suss out, if anything's present that runs counter to your usual shine."

There won't be the thunderstrike of Sorcerous power to hit with shocking veracity, but once the guest decides upon contact, very little will be able to hide away.

Kai watches Strange approach, the Sorcerer Supreme, Vox Imperium of this realm. There's puppyish trust in the youth's eyes. Strange is his friend, a big brother. His smooth hand takes the scarred one without hesitation. This will settle it, surely. Maybe it's just some aftereffect that can be brushed away.

But it's not. There is that black inky ash tree permanently marked on his back, a brand to remind him of his enslavement and torture, and it thrums with power of its own, latent and — until recently — dormant. However, it has been seeping into him its dark power. It is, in a sense, becoming part of him, rejected as it is.

Darkness and moonlight like entwined in the elf, bright and dim in balance, and where they meet, the illusions that he casts so well, constructed of tricks of light and dark. Unwanted as it is, it isn't harming him. It isn't diminishing or endangering him. He has become more powerful, that's all.

With a cost, though. There is the essence of prey about him. He was chased by the Wild Hunt, and in a way he'll forever bear the reality of that on his soul. He is what draws predators to lick their chops and creep closer. This will not serve him well in life, but power doesn't come free.

Upon the touch of one skin to another, Strange simply closes his eyes and tucks his chin, a sign of concentration of a Mystical kind. His grip is no tighter than necessary upon Kai's own hand, smaller and denser somehow, absolutely allowing for a quick jerk of retreat if necessary.

Indeed, a profound balance, the dance of photons both yin and yang, all urged on by the slow absorption of a bane. The body heals and intends to take the tatooed aspect on with its own twist.

"Metaphysical scar tissue…" The Sorcerer murmurs aloud, his voice distant like a seer in a trance, deliberate and paced as a drum beat. The small 'v' between his brows deepens no further. "Your powers have been augmented, Kai. The stain upon your back is yours for the taking, should you will it. Draw upon it and find capability in opposition. However, they will always see you as a mark. You are to be chased, son of the moonlight, and lest you guard yourself, they will take you." No expansion upon whom 'they' may be, but surely the imagination can take that job on with ease. An inhale and Strange blinks slowly, seeming to come back to himself. "Nothing to be afraid of," he adds, voice back to its crisp normalcy as he pulls his hand back. "You are your own nightlight."

Kai sighs softly as he reclaims his hand in turn and takes up his tea once more. It takes him a moment to absorb the news. It's part of him, but he can call on it, but he'll always be a target. He takes a thoughtful sip, then says in a low tone, "I guess it's a good thing I've got people like Loki and Bucky in my life, and I can take most of these Midgardians." Not something he's proud of, but a fact.

"I guess I owe Bucky a Coke." He smiles a little, drawing on the reservoir of cheer even Malekith and his ilk couldn't snuff out for all their best efforts. The smiles falters, though, and he says, "I thought I'd put this behind me, but the dreams. I get jumpy. I just want to be me again."

"You haven't changed in essence." Strange turns to walk over and stand by the fireplace. It's been built up this afternoon against the chill. Soon, the battle-leathers hold appreciable heat for how close he stands. "Your soul is the same as last I looked upon it. The dreams will lessen with time, but they'll never go away."

Again, another knowing glance bestowed to the Elf, and mayhaps the play of the firelight draws attention to the seemingly-perpetual darkening beneath the Sorcerer's eyes. The faint gleam of the Sight slowly dwindling away likely enhances it further, giving the impression of distant foxfire behind his lashes.

"I too have nightmares. It's how the subconscious chooses to process trauma. Piece by piece, bit by bit, through reliving events, your mind may finally lay those demons to rest, but…it will take its course and its time. You have the Prince and Barnes, yes. Rely on them as you need to."

Kai's gaze goes to the fireplace, and he thinks about how he could just snuff it out. The fire starts to dim, and he immediately snaps out of the thought, shaking his head. It spares the flames, well built up as they are. He glances down at his tea, then to Strange with a small, fleeting smile.

"I worry about burdening Loki," he admits. "It makes no sense he would handfast himself to an elf, and a child of criminals, at that. On one hand, it's the perverse kind of thing he would do. On the other hand, he's a Prince, and I'm aware of how expendable I am in the grand scheme of things. He doesn't like to be reminded of what happened but Bucky says to talk to him."

Kai sighs, then smiles wryly, dropping his gaze again. "I guess it's a risk I'm going to have to take. He might be just as upset if I keep things from him."

"Lies always out in the end," the silver-templed man agrees, turning away from the fire with his hands behind his back. Ah, to warm his backside as well as sore joints in his palms. The subtlety of the dwindling of the fire is marked as the shifting of the logs rather than Kai's powers for now.

"At least, in my experience. And the Arts don't allow for such a thing. Plays upon words, yes, and slips of the tongue, but lies? …no, best to be truthful with your Prince."

Kai smiles fondly despite himself. "He is grand, Stephen," he says with a lilt of helplessness in his voice. Whatever the worlds' opinion of Loki, to the elf, he is everything. "Oh, how he tests me, but I welcome it. It's his nature to make mischief." Even this Kai seems besotted with. "Even the fact that he is a jealous, green-eyed creature is endearing." Not that Kai has ever nudged that jealousy just to see it come to the fore in the form of possessiveness.

"I'll tell him about the powers, about the dreams, and how sometimes… sometimes I feel like everything is grey and dim. I wither inside, and it takes me some time to come back to myself. Except for when he comes back to me. He can banish it in the blink of an eye."

"I understand." His smile is fond, in turn, for his very own Witch, off doing whatever suits her fancy in this moment. "Wanda has the ability to do the same for me, though she never does mince words. It's not unkind, simply…pragmatic, the way she takes on the world and wards off what haunts my nights."

Strange returns to his chair and settles in again, taking the time to enjoy a large sip of tea. He clearly mulls it around his tongue, appreciating the flavor of the Chai blend, and finally sighs. "You'll be fine, Kai. You might find yourself replacing more light bulbs than usual for a time, but it too will pass."

"I could see where that pragmatic nature would compliment you," Kai says. "Mine is a word smith and whether he's flowery or cutting, my heart!" he sighs, sinking further into his seat, and he gleams, every so faintly, with silvery blue light. "Is there anything worth living for more than love?" Words of a silly, romantic elf, but so sincerely said.

He's quiet a moment, working his way through his tea, and then his shoulders shake, his voice hitching with laughter as he says, "I gave Bucky quite a scare, though. And now that I can see even in magical darkness, I could stir up all sorts of trouble."

"Love certainly does give one a reason for greeting the next sunrise," Strange replies, his eyes upon the fireplace. He wears that small smile for a little longer before smoothing it away, his countenance returning to the aloof formality known so well.

"Are you warning me that I should keep a closer eye on you, Kai? I wouldn't go about abusing the power drawn from that tattoo." He says this lightly, in the same manner one might tell a friend not to grab that electrical fence.

But the electric fence is so cool, the way it sparks and crackles. Kai glances at Strange with a fleeting flicker of mischief in his eyes. "Me?" he says. "Perish the thought, man." That 'man' position him closer to his beatnik persona. A relaxed one, one he can call on when the world is right again. Or as right as it's going to get.

"I'm just saying a prank or two around the house, nothing too terrible. On the street, it'll help me move about unseen when I'm patrolling. You know me, I'll use it for good." He smiles. There are dimples. Undoubtable dimples.

Strange, having a hand in raising the true-hearted young man that is his son Billy, is immune to dimples. It's been a task, building this immunity, but he arcs an eyebrow at the Elf sitting so blithely in the highbacked chair before shaking his head.

"I wouldn't prank Barnes. That's asking to get shot. Still…in a spat where the natural lighting is reactive to your beck and whim? I imagine you'll have a healthy edge."

Kai considers Strange's words with due care. On one hand, he's not wrong, pranking Bucky is a horrible idea. On the other hand, pranking. He weighs these options, then finally admits, "He's hard to surprise. Those damned soldier senses beaten into him. Loki can blow his mind, but he always catches me." So that settles that. Bucky is probably safe. Probably.

Can you imagine the fun you could have with people, though?" Kai says. I could make it all dark, then begin to glow and look like a ghost. I could make Loki have a heart attack." Just who is the trickster, here? Kai has a gleam in his eye, more then the moonlight dancing there. "Ah, I can't be that cruel to him."

"If I were to try such a prank upon Wanda, I would either be — no, she'd simply test to see if I were truly incorporeal and curse me to remain as such, as to further appreciate my state." Sounds like there's a story there, based in another prank entirely. "Be wary of pranking those who know the Arts well." His is a sly, suggestive curl of a smile.

Kai nods, and he peers into the middle distance as he thinks. "It's a careful balancing act," he says. "Like, I want to keep him on his toes so he doesn't get bored — someone on his level gets bored, you know, because most people don't get him — but at the same time, I don't want him to think he has to up his game, because I can //not/ win that one." He shakes his head slowly. Nope.

He smiles then, a little sad but there's resignation and acceptance in the look. "So I have dark powers. He'll probably find it funny. Or terrible. Or he won't have an opinion either way. I'm never complacent at home."

"They're only dark if you assign them to tasks that go against your standing morals. I doubt your Apple would continue to allow you its use if you were inclined to abuse the powers, Kai." Strange sighs and rubs at one silvered temple unconsciously.

"The worst thing I ever came to understand is that magic lacks morality, in the end. It is a weapon in the hands of its user. Does some magic respond better when summoned by certain practices? Absolutely. Do some spells contain such strict guidelines that blood must literally be spilled? Unfortunately yes. But, in the end, I could sacrifice a life to gain a power and do this to avert a future where all life ended. Would I do it…?" He rolls his lips for a moment and half-closes his eyes. "I never intend to. My point, Kai, is the shadow powers are a boon. Still…it's an opinion and yes, your Prince will have one. His brother always does, regardless of the topic at hand." A quiet laugh escapes him. Oh, friend Thor.

Kai's eyes widen, then he realizes, "Yes, you could. The only thing stopping you from taking a life for more power is that that's not who you are." Hence the elf's trust in the sorcerer. He knows what he knows about who the man is. "I mean even if you had to, it would haunt you, even if it saved all life, because it cost that one." The comment about Thor gets a grin and a quiet laugh.

"Save us from opinionated gods," he says. "All right, shadow powers, not dark powers. Still, it feels gross. I'm ljosalfar." At least his horror has dimmed to embarrassment for the moment. What will the neighbors think? What will his gran say? She'll say 'other boys don't have svartalfar powers.' He sighs. Then he says. "I"m blessed to have a friend like you. Thank you, for yet again helping me even though you're under no obligation."

"You're welcome, Kai. I expect nothing in return, though…you do tend to bring tea and I can't bring myself to say no to such a thing." He laughs then and the sound is brighter for the true amusement. "Still…opinionated gods," and Strange chuckles to himself a bit more, tickled by the parallels to his own status as Vishanti-claimed. "Save us all."

Kai shrugs a shoulder at the mention of tea. It's no problem! And it suits his sense of balanced scales, some subconscious desire to give something back, however small." He sets his tea aside and says, "I think I shall go find that god of mine and seek his opinion. Wish me luck." Not that he sounds too worried. Languid as an alley cat ready to mosey on now that he's made his rounds. "I know you're too dignified for a hug, but know I'd give you one if I could."

"We can shake hands at the door," replies Strange in his keenly-insoucient manner, swatting that ball right back into the Elf's court with a smirk. He walks his guest out into the foyer and opens one panel to reveal the quiet of Greenwich Village in the evening. The sun has nearly set and he inhales of the brisk air, its scents firmly anchored in autumn and the promise of frost any morning now.

"Good luck, Kai." The glance given to the Moon Elf is accompanied by an easy smile.

"A fitting compromise," Kai says with a properness that only pokes mild fun at the Sorcerer Supreme. He rises to his feet and, at the door, there is a handshake. "Someday," he says. There will be a hug, oh yes. He then looks out at the setting sun, and he smiles a little. Raising his hand, he focuses his will, and shadow pools in his hand like ink. Then it spread, engulfing his hand in complete blackness. He withdraws it into himself and sighs softly. "A good evening to you, my friend." Then he slips out into the streets, pondering all the pranks he dare not play with his new abilities.

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