1964-11-08 - You Survived Another Year, Congrats!
Summary: Another year, another birthday, this one simple and sweet.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 

It’s quiet.

Too quiet.

It’s also past 8am and the Sorcerer Supreme is not ambling about the Sanctum, already two cups of tea in and revisiting his daily to-do list of banishments, house calls, and various sundry thaumaturgic duties.

He’s not up to his elbows in some wibbly-wobbly golden layering of mantra etched upon reality.
He’s not grimacing and forcing down another glass of gods-awful nutritional shake.
He’s not even wearing his storm-blues and striding about the Loft, probably teasing the Cloak off-handedly about a possible flight about the city later today.

Nope, he’s asleep. Dead asleep. On his back, blanketed up to his collarbone by silk sheets in onyx and a thicker comforter, he’s got one arm bent and half-sprawled over the pillow, a measure of his forehead leaning against the line of his ulnar bone. The other arm is lost somewhere beneath the bundling of coverage atop him. Mouth parted, he breathes silently but for the faintest snore in the back of his throat. The slack of deep rest erases years from his face, melts away the crow’s feet and furrowed brow. How adorable — he’s even got that duck-tail of bed-mussed hair.

The sun has already risen, late as it does in this pre-wintry month, where the panes of the mansion have already been graced a time or two with the whimsical patterning of frost. Golden light in squares has crept steadily up the wall of the master bedroom since dawn and still, he slept and remains as such.

A little mumble, some jumbled incantation from a memory long ago, and he resumes his silent rest after divoting his shoulders further into the mattress with a small shift.

Still, the rise of that solar beacon signals an accomplishment of sorts: a birthday! The man’s managed to remain alive for another full rotation about the sun. Give him a cookie, even if he’s not really turning 39. After all, he’s been 36 for about three years now, courtesy of an affectionate throttling by kid-skin-gloved hands from beyond the grave.

Wanda Maximoff has learned the value of hot showers. Turn a dial and hot water emerges from creaky pipes not quite installed in the Victorian age, a bit too well-sealed and shiny new for that. No rattling creak answers. Magic brings many glorious benefits, not the least of which include transdimensional travel or limitless energy and longevity. Modern plumbing counts as a particularly delightful innovation provided by engineering and science, twinned pillars of human ingenuity.

It also has an end, a limit procured from the depths of a hot water tank. Steam in square-cut blocks fills the bathroom. Her hair lies perfectly flat down her back, combed to perfection, no longer curly but pin-straight and utterly black. A ragged fringe of bangs coats her forehead, almost falling into golden eyes. Deep shadow might be an addition to apply with a brush and an eyedropper, except the raccoon look could be excessive.

She wraps herself in a thick terrycloth robe no one will call lovely, belted around the waist. Feet slide into ugly, threadbare slippers and she shuffles through the washroom, flicking off lights as she goes. The windows on the world have no chance to see her in this newfound state, much less any mirror full of enchantments and greedy for sight of anything beautiful, bland, or beguiling. She counts as neither.

Footsteps roll from the ground, and she tries not to trip where the wooden floorboards meet carpet runner, a bit of nosing along the polished plank. Her high step requires a short leap, and then it’s back into the regular cadence keeping time, inching into the sacred sanctuary containing the living cares and concerns of Stephen Strange, sorcerer supreme.

He’s still asleep where last she saw him, and that alone would be curious to her eye. Beholding the man in all his slack-jawed glory, this allows a free moment to sneak back out and find the rolling cart formerly used to haul books around sub-library C and now to contain what may be the least impressive breakfast known anywhere. Given that he lacks any sort of proper appetite for something not made of a slurry, the breakfast service counts as a book, a teapot, a slightly less vile shake, and potentially a small pastille pressed from honeycomb and not much else.

Pressing his lips together, the Sorcerer makes another soft sound in the back of his throat and turns his face towards her. Even unconscious to the world, he’s drawn to her, his lodestone and scarlet star in the night. After all, she wears a six-rayed gem now upon a significant finger.

Stirring further brings him to roll onto his side and then curl near-fetal, dragging up leanly-powerful legs to create a loose curvature of slack body. Facing her now, his face is nearly buried away in the plush volume of the pillow, jaw hanging to show shadowed teeth. Oh yes. The man drools when exhausted. Whatever he dreams about must not be too terrible. There’s no disturbance in his spring-sky aura, as smooth as glass. Maybe it’s a dreamless sleep after all. There’s a bubble of warmth trapped about himself with the blankets up around his ears. Happy Birthday from the Vishanti, perhaps? A morning where nothing from beyond the pale zaps his consciousness awake.

Might need to shake him to wake him. Or something.

Drooling, snuffling, and snoring? Proof she wears that ring out of love rather than duty or power hungry ambition because whom would ever put up with such a demonstration of softened palate and saggy facial muscles? Wanda does, and such she is not smothering him with a pillow, she deserves such a prize as she wears.

The slackness of Sorcerer’s jaw and his expression trolled by slumber holds her fast for a few moments at the doorway. Priorities could well be realigned. No more cakes and crumpets, no tea. Perhaps a big wad of cotton stuffed in his mouth, a facsimile of an apple, or letting Lamont know he’s tried to eat a book like a happy sorcerous cow?

Hmm, never. Pietro yes, but not the pepper-salted wizard. They do not taste good with ketchup, presumably. Thus she slips back alongside the bed and considers what to do. Her leggings cling and the robe isn’t so necessary right now, as she strives to decide what outcome awaits this prone, slumbering man.

Go ahead, Eye, show up. Dare you. But in leaving the door open, she leaves a ghost grey opportunity to be seized upon. Broad paws stifle sound. There she goes, off like a rocket, eager to find a space on the bed now that no one is there… Aralune bursts speedily into the air with a purring jump, one that brings all those big, spread paws directly onto sorcerous chest. Sorry, Strange, he did suggest a shake awake, didn’t he?

“Mroaaaaawr?!” calls the cat.

“Luna!” snaps the witch.

Too late!

The impact of nigh on thirty pounds of Malk forces air from his lungs in a rusty ‘oof!’ of sound. Inhaling is an atonal gasp, an arm surging up beneath the layering of sheets to sweep aside the weight of Aralune. When half-asleep, each singular paw feels like the end of a baseball bat suddenly impressed upon delicate organs unprotected by normally-tensed skeletal muscles.

“Oh gods,” he groans, rolling and stifling the rest of the string of curses into his pillow. Fae cat don’t care. With a trilling ‘mrrp’, she steps back over and headbutts his ear affectionately, earning herself another shove away, this time with his hand fully encompassing her face. Something that sounds like “I should have left you in the Park” rumbles to be lost to the confines of feather-stuffed bolster. Well — there’s space over here, at the end of the bed, opposite corner, where Big Fluffy can’t abruptly face-palm her. Mincing to said spot, Aralune then sits and eyes the proceedings with aloof interest.

A grunt and Strange emerges from the pillow, looking to find the Malk and frown at her, and then back in the other direction to find Wanda. A sleepy few blinks at her and he smacks his lips, squinting as he brings himself to rest on his forearms, still belly down beneath a shoulder-high wave of sheets.

“You did something to your hair.”

Brilliant deduction!

Poor Aralune, so ignorantly dismissed and chasing after luck for her morning meal. The witch does not utter a sound. A flick of her wrist sends a bubble of a hex unformed from her fingertips, and that the grey cat locks onto with all the force of military aircraft defense systems. The little burst of motion finds the Malk eagerly pursuing her morning meal.

“A change.” Probably for no reason worth being good.

The heavy robe wrapped around her smothers her frame, clearly not something she purchased for herself. Wanda slips her hands back into her pockets after the Malk practically removes the top layer of her calloused skin around the fingertips. “A good time for it.”

The bed is tempting, but after leaving its comforts, returning to the sheets and blankets seems ill-considered. She sits on the edge, glancing over the hamster den Strange makes for himself. “Any thoughts for the day?”

Give the man a cookie.

His hair gets another mussing as he scratches at some point towards the back of his head, still shaking the cobwebs of heavy rest and finding it hard to do this morning. A glance is spared for Aralune and her breakfast found at the hands of Little Fuzzy; good, a content Malk is one inclined to mostly stay out of his business. That curiosity streak is becoming annoying at times. Pot — kettle — black, mister.

A grunt and he rotates within his bower to sit upright, covered to the hips and bared elsewise.

“For the day? Not yet,” he mumbles, running a palm along his jaw. “Should shave. Have to review the mandate put forth by the Council Quartette of Thrangoul-X’ian — that one dimension I’ve been in for the last few days. Got to be a neutral party.” Such joy. Much entertainment. Except not really. The amount of nit-picking the High Councilor does could make a neurosurgeon throw up his hands and possibly bury a scalpel in some soft place. Don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed Strange’s mind in dark and fleeting fancies simply to settle his own ruffled feathers.

Stretching means interlocking fingers and bridging them high above his head. Drawing up his shoulders and dropping his head gets that deep elongation paralleled on either side of his spine and the slow relaxation speaks to simple delight found in the motion. Hands plop into his lap and he eyes her again, a fond smile slowly appearing.

“What’s the occasion for the change?” He then realizes of the library cart and surprise is transparent on his face, melting away some of the slack of slumber. “Is that breakfast?”

Man, the Sorcerer really does need that first cup of black tea to jumpstart his brain.

The man’s betrothed should know better than to look when he starts stretching. That way lies nothing good, notably frolicking around the imagination and losing track of whatever tasks Wanda had to complete that day. No, not at all ideal or effective for finishing anything on the pile of ‘honey dos’ that inevitably follow her around.

While Strange worries about his missions there, she has tasks to complete here, the sort that involve hunting down Nazis and putting the fear of the Vishanti into naughty mystics unprepared for a Witch to step through a shadow and scold them with a glare.

“The nest of rats in Queens,” she replies. It sounds so much less exciting. The reasons are clear; diplomacy by her standards means applying a knife to vital parts and glaring until her will is fulfilled. Surprisingly effective, as it happens.

His soul glitters on her finger, a prominent chunk of sunset suspended against the warm gold still flushed from the recent shower. Her slick black hair makes a perfectly neat counterpart, though it defines exactly how out of the Aryan canon of beauty she is. Pietro gets all the breaks, taking heavily after their father. Not all though; the cheekbones are common to Erik, and that briefly flinty look when distracted from something else and more.

“Yes. Tea. Honey. Maybe some things you find better than your horrible powder.” Because even she can figure out how to mix up slop that looks better than proto-NutriFit.

A shame for an averted gaze. Those delineations found impersonated in the busts and friezes of Rome did some wonderful tensing here and there. Hard work does gain one some results in the end, even if it’s sometimes a topsy-turvy dash after barely wrestling away an interdimensional foe. Mind, banishments generally occur afterwards.

The slop does look better than his usual efforts, he’ll grant that, even as Strange eyes it with all the excited interest of a child about to be spoon-fed Buckley’s cough syrup. Thank the gods for the honeycomb. A mouthful of sugar will indeed help this medicine go down, mild evil that it is for need of digestible nutrients.

“What rat’s nest in Queens?”

Figures his under-caffeinated brain would hop first to work. Work work work, busy busy, chasing his Cloak’s hem sometimes with Must-Dos. Peace is such a rarity and inasmuch as the Witch embodies chaos, she too grants him a measure of serenity. Glancing to her hand, his smile deepens to showcase those charming dimples of his and he scoops it up within his own. Turning it left and right, he watches the light play from the ring. It looks far better on her than hanging on a strand of silver or even in the velvet-lined case he brought it home initially within.

“You wear it well,” he murmurs, regarding her with an unalloyed affection saved from saccharine for the indomitable formality that always hangs about his person. A kiss to the back of her hand, nearly courtly, and then he lets their entwined hands rest upon the covers, his thumbpad idly skimming the knuckles below the star-sapphire. “I’ll take some tea first, I think, before the mixture.” Inhaling, he sighs. “The tea smells wonderful, at least.”

He’s half-hoping she’s got it all prepared and ready to hand over to him. He hasn’t had tea in bed in…ages.

Her fingers curl into Strange's, a lone adornment gracing the slim length of the digits certainly very telling in and of its own right. Jewels she prefers scatter across her brow and the hidden relic under her corset that conveys their thoughts to one another. This she wears openly enough, secured by a tiny bit of red thread wrapped around the golden shaft.

“A black tea. The taste is cream and rain, fog and stone,” she says, as if these things are palatable, but anyone subject to the tyranny of a rainy day understands the power of curling up on a sofa with a good book and breathing in petrichor. Calming, comforting, that power resonates through the depths of the soul.

Purloined cart serving as a tea service maintains a few choice bits of cream and honeycomb to go with it. She brews things powerfully, to heck with boring flavours.

Receiving tea means going to collect the cart, rising off the bed and walking in her slippers that slap against the ground to fetch the rumbling thing. A wheel wobbles around, turning in lazy loops, settling. Strange need only wait a few moments before he’s being poured and handed a mug.

With that memory of his, he sketches points of sweetest nonchalance on her part onto pages. The slippers, precious. How comfort is taken from a robe far too big to be hers and yet perfect bundling about her form, redolent of his own skin-salt, the usual wisps of incense, and maybe the unintentional spritz of cologne in wood ouds and spices. With the straight hair, it’s a picture in proven trust in him, to let down her guard normally encased in restrictive corsetry and grim Slavic mien. An upwelling of protective affection twists at his heartstrings and probably does poetic things with his eyes.

Faintly-trembling hands take the traditionally-stylized mug, its outer layer lightly lacquered with a fire-set glaze and its composition able to both absorb and emit the heat of the tea within. The warmth is so very welcome within the joints of his hands, sore as they are with the winter weather setting in, and the old friend of pain abates noticeably.

“Thank you, «Beloved»,” Strange murmurs before sipping at it. Hmm, probably no honey — or more, if any was added. She’s right, there’s a captured essence of silvery puddles beneath a dark sky and wow, he doesn’t want to do much more than lean back against the pillows and consider the far wall of the master bedroom with dozy eyes. The risk of falling asleep is present there, so probably not that.

“Do you need any assistance with this rat’s nest of yours?” He’s not inclined to pry, usually not with her. Again, an issue of trust and distinct lack of wish to accidentally impose any assumption that his mantle matters more than her autonomy.

Imagine the enemies of the Vishanti, discovering their particular foe could be put low by the smell of rain on soil. No doubt New York would never see a bright day again. Perhaps the mantle confers that sort of weakness, hence London living under perpetually gloomy skies.

“New day,” she says while tugging the cart out of arm’s reach. No need for them to bump into something during the settling back into a cozy arbor defined by shared occupation. Where the black roses blossom on the pillow, she leaves a trail of darker spices lingering around the ouds, the deep notes among the bright tracks that embody the aerial power that is Strange.

Her own cup follows in time, floated over when the expedience of rising and fetching it proves too great a burden overall. She takes to hand that especially light gift, greedy for the warmth and less the honeycomb dusting the rim or the spill. One might mistake her for a hummingbird, were history no guide to establish her as a blue fairy penguin.


“You have plans. I handle the warlocks.” Saying more will only invite him to go investigate and waste the morning worrying about children who can’t read a book and understand there are bad ideas and Bad Ideas.

“Warlocks.” Strange says it in the same manner one might grouse about house flies that linger despite being swatted at multiple times. A low snort and he takes a large mouthful of tea, appreciating the spread of heat through his chest and lower. “Rat’s nest indeed. They’ll regret dealing with you, «Beloved».”

His mug is set on the bedside table for need of both hands to plump pillows and provide backstop to lean against. Once comfortable enough, he reclines and gathers up both cup and Witch. If the Witch is near enough, she’s tucked in carefully against the line of his body with his free arm, bundled up in the bathrobe as she is. A nose nuzzles into dark locks, testing the sensation of the straightened lines rather than usual curling.

“I wish that I could delay a day, but all I can delay is a few hours. It’s not as if this day is any more special than any other,” he muses, his palm traveling up and down the outside of her arm in idle caress.

“Every day is special. Ask someone given no days left.” Fatalistic Slavic humour there, somehow. For all she is Roma, there lie traits of Transian decadence and east-facing doubt to contend with.

Wanda is well within Strange’s reach. She needs only a momentary adjustment, kicking off the slippers to the ground and leaving bare feet showing a few bits of leaves stuck to them. The rarely worn footwear occasionally gets used to shuffle things out into the back court, but it’s not as though Bleecker Street has much by way of yards. Not in Greenwich Village.

Dark tea won’t overspill to threaten the Sorcerer Supreme by low-grade burns. She cautiously lifts the mug to her lips and sips the overflowing liquid before it breaches the brim. “Warlocks. One better than others. I will manage.” It’s not as if he doesn’t get continuous updates on the grave state of affairs thanks to the pendant resting against the wall of her chest.


|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d2 for: 1

You will do more than manage, I’m certain,” Strange murmurs, leaning his cheek against that silky dark hair. “I appreciate all that you do for this reality in my stead, «Beloved». It is the small things that make much of a difference, like this rat’s nest of yours. Tying off loose ends saves us all stress in the end.”

Another sip of tea and he considers the book cart, conveyor of their current drinks as well as honeycomb and book and — this is breakfast. A planned breakfast. In bed. Beware the delay in logical connections clicking into place. His frame tenses minutely, face lifting from its pillowing of her hair though his stare is beyond that of the far wall, quick calculations done against possibly erroneous memory in clinging cobwebs of sleep, and then he relaxes, letting out a quiet rill of vaguely embarrassed laughter.

“Oh gods below, I completely forgot.” Another sip and he lifts his mug to the empty air in mocking salute, the contents sloshing about without fear of spilling for half-volume. “Another complete circle about the sun for me. Not dead yet.”

“Small things. I do not chase terrors and see bad things like you.” The quiet of the past year has been something of an unknown factor for the Witch, a change in her life after living hand to mouth, often without a roof. Now she has a particularly lovely roof to stare at or float over.

Her shoulders ease back after the embarrassed laugh from Strange becomes more evidently untroubled. Her gaze swings back to the library cart, teapot and all, something to offer more succor if he requires proper nourishment. “These things we celebrate with song and dance, talking of memories and the foolish things a person does.” Not entirely true when it’s only two Roma twins, but close enough. “You may have relaxing and no trouble. Maybe see the children.”

Wouldn’t that be nice? Just imagine, the right of the day to be lazy.

“Your work is important, nonetheless.” And by his tone, he’s not being convinced otherwise.

All but a last mouthful or two disappears into the Sorcerer and the clunk of mug set aside is a familiar sound.

“Do you think they’d believe that it was my birthday?” He wears a smug, amused smile about his lips. “Or do you think the concept of relative immortality negates birthdays? After all, I haven’t aged a year since…” Pausing, he does some quick mental math. “I’m technically 36, I suppose. 37? It made little sense to me to keep track after I was touched by…”

You know: her.

“I’m interested in hearing about these foolish things, however,” Strange adds, glancing down at the Witch, that sly grin returning. “What foolish things have I done lately?” He squeezes gently at her bicep before continuing that slow rub along it once more.

Oh no — a chance to roast the Sorcerer Supreme!

“Birth day is always there. Not changed. They expect theirs are important, you have right to want the attention.” So spaketh the wise Wanda, for whom the situation is black and white, with little middle ground.

Whatever the younger set with their newfangled ways prefer, a ripe old five years younger than her, certain rules apply to the Maximoff-Strange clan that she probably intends to enforce. Her own tea sampled in smaller mouthfuls, she nonetheless intends to drain the quantity considerably faster than not by interrupting a conversation.

The smugness of a man who mastered neurosurgery and made such a reputation before the near-fatal car accident rubs no fur backwards. She’s long used to Strange occasionally revealing his confidence in ragged stripes, peeling the paint off any notion of humbleness ‘round him. “Forget the ways people who die live, you are not like them anymore. Watch for the loss of a human quality.”

She steps around the roasting bit. It’s not her art; Pietro, on the other hand…

Aralune, comfortably sequestered away on the corner of the bed, stretches out one ridiculously-long back foot to groom at her inner thigh. The splay of legs, a sight known first to the Sorcerer in the domesticated species, is enough to gain a little snort into his tea mug. She glances towards him with those bright-jade eyes and then dismisses him as only a Malk back, going back to cleaning.

“A wise consideration, yes. I expect that I’ll have to worry about losing pieces of my humanity about…” Strange squints at the far wall of the bedroom while he sips his tea. “What, one hundred years out? Immortality does wear on one. I have noticed, however, that company takes the worst of it away.” He hugs her close again, betraying concern by the thinness of sigh into her dark hair. “Would that we see the end of the universe together, «Beloved».”

Finishing the rest of his tea, he stretches to place the mug back on the rolling cart and considers that gods-awful nutritional shake. The woes of magic’s draw on the body live here, in chalky, disturbingly-textured glop. That glass gets a good glare.

“I’m not one to seek attention,” he murmurs, bringing conversation back to the children once again. “It’s another year gone by. Billy, Tommy, Vic — they are young. They deserve their celebration because they have survived. If I die, I’m an idiot and example to the rest of them at this point.”

“Let them decide.” Wanda does not broach the subject further than she has, casting the cup back to the cart after a flick of her wrist summons a wisp of telekinetic power. She’s routinely prone to using small bits of magic like this for ease and care rather than getting up and putting the object back.

Fine-tuned control aside, she holds a fair bit in common with her father on that front. The casual regard for her talents keeps her sharp, anyway, when the bed calls her back to slumber and the hug squeezes her to the dominant heat source in the area; notably Strange.

She wiggles her toes to postpone wearing any kind of footwear, slouching back until the pillows mound up beneath her shoulders. “Let’s sleep in.”

Rich words for someone responsible for awakening him in the first place, by hook or Aralune flail. She stifles a yawn against the robe’s generous sleeve and curls up into a small comma.

That nutritional shake gets ignored for now. After all, his Witch indulging in things such as bringing breakfast and then shifting about within the relative confines of his arm is far sweeter. By leaps and bounds and lightyears, actually.

With his usual propensity towards presumptions, he gathers her up closer still, manipulating and shifting about until her spine is tucked back against his chest. A few more motions on his part flattens his pillows out flat once again and then yoink — he is the Sorcerous big spoon on his side, nuzzling into her hair and bestowing lingering kisses here and there within the rose-warmed locks.

“That sounds glorious,” he murmurs, craning his neck to glance around the bedroom briefly. It’s an action grounded in the visual mundane rather than the actual access of the warding spells, their master mentally inquiring as to a report. All’s well within the Sanctum, for now, and so he lays his head back down. Easy enough to tuck his knee into the crook of her own and even throw one leg over those long legs, half-entangled in the bathrobe as they are. The indulgent chuckle is mostly at his own actions, audacious and teasing as they are in a way, and then he sighs slowly, allowing his eyes to slowly slide shut. That patrician nose is stuffed away into the crook of her neck, where every inhalation is of her.

Aralune is getting shaved bald if she wakes him again.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License