1965-04-27 - About Rogers
Summary: Tony visits Strange for a goatee-to-goatee one on one.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
tony strange 

Tony looks around the foyer of the Sanctum Sanctorum with a look of quiet judgement. Not negative, per se, but calculating assessment. This defnitely does not have the sleek look of a modern abode for the man who keeps up with the times. There is an inherent distrust of old and ancient things that he might want to examine someday. If he did self-reflection.

He's dressed down, for him. Black slacks and a blue turtleneck sweater under a long black coat. The sweater is thick enough the blue circle on his chest is barely visible. He keeps the coat over it so it can't be seen at all until he's inside.

After his assessing look, he turns his attention to Strange. "Hey, thanks for seeing me. I was just in the Village doing… nothing." What could he possibly have to do among the bohemians?

It probably doesn't help that low-level reservation when the silvery wards, invisible to all without the Sight, swish around him. Did someone leave a fridge door open? It's not a ghost either, for it may feel that the air around Tony wafts in a wake a few degrees cooler than comfortable. They disappear about as soon as they sniff about the genius-inventor, given that they have little to report.

Strange wears the formal storm-blue garb of his mantle as Master of Kamar-Taj and Sorcerer Supreme, a timeless look upon the man still managing to balance it alongside the sleek air of a big-city socialite. "It's not a problem, though you may as well be candid with me, Stark," the taller man replies, sporting a knowing little grin. "Tea? Or would you prefer something harder?" Whatever the answer, he leads the way into the side sitting room, with its tall windows letting in wane light. The fireplace provides heat while the overhead chandelier and wall-sconces provide ambiance.

Tony's brows lift as he takes in Strange's getup. Yeah, he's seen it before, but it never fails to get a look. "Tea?" He pulls a face. Then his brow knits as he frowns faintly. "I've been trying to cut down on the hard stuff, but maybe just one." He follows after, hands in his pockets until he surrenders his coat. The muffled light in his chest thrums steadily.

This place looks firmly rooted in antiquity. Tony really could stand to look into why it makes him every so slightly unsettled. He sits, his gaze settling on the fireplace. Now there's something familar, even though the hearth of his is much sleeker, with cleaner lines. "I wanted to ask how it went with Rogers."

The baritone chuckle brought forth by the answer given doesn't echo. The myriad nooks and shadowed crannies of the room absorb all excess sound, allowing for a sense of close privacy. A decanter of something brilliantly gold is brought down from a nearby shelf and, holding two glasses between fingers in a surprising display of dexterity despite the scarring, Strange goes about pouring them both a finger of whiskey.

"I wondered if it was something to do with Captain Rogers. I should have ponied up a bet with you. He didn't ask after the rabbit and hat trick, I'll have you know." Another smirk is aimed towards Tony even as he sets the glass stopper back in the decanter's neck. "It went well. He's a stalwart man. He thinks rather than reacts, if he feels that he's safe enough." The highball glass is delivered to his guest and then Strange sits in the other wing-backed chair he calls his own. A sip of whiskey and a soft clunk as it's set aside. "Were you concerned?" The Sorcerer's expression shifts to formality, his eyes keen upon Tony.

Tony takes the glass and gestures with it toward Strange in thanks. He holds it, takes in the scent of the whiskey, and with closed eyes, he takes just a sip. Oh, he wants to pound it down and ask for more. But he only takes a sip, and then he holds the glass, sighing.

"Concerned?" Tony snorts. "Why would I be concerned? He's a grown man, he can take care of himself. I just like to stay on top of what's going on."

"How decidedly magnanimous of you, Tony." Amusement wends through his tone, proof that he's humoring the genius-inventor, if only in terms of friendly fencing. "There's nothing 'going on', as you put it. Captain Rogers merely wanted some questions answered and I was able to provide him with some wisdom in turn. He left with his limbs and sanity intact, if not a true believer in my particular set of skills."

A finger rises and idly draws a circle upon the air just off of the arm of his chair, at about shoulder level. It opens up a small six inch-wide crackling oculus to..someplace frigid, given the snowflakes that rush through. Strange reaches through and plucks out a chunk of ice to drop in his drink. "Any for you?" he asks of his guest, his hand uplifted with palm towards the Gate to keep it open.

Tony eyes Strange with vague mistrust. Wizards are tricky creatures, inasmuch as he knows about them. On the other hand, the genius in him drives him to try new things, to get his hands on them and understand them. So he reaches through and plucks up a bit of ice to put in his own drink, and he plays it cool as he says, "Sure, thanks." Yeah, just because he knows too much not to believe doesn't mean he's going to give Strange the satisfactin of his 'wow' face.

"Cap's down to earth," Tony says. "He's got both feet planted firmly on the ground. Take away his powers and he's still just a kid from Brooklyn too stupid and headstrong to know when to stand down. Sometimes I think the world is a very straightforward place to him."

Strange hums to himself even as he waves dismissively at the Gate. It snap, crackles, and pops its way into nonexistence and leaves the air unscathed but for the faintest scent of ozone.

"I would envy someone with such clarity of view on my introspective days. While there may not be a thing as too much information, it's the matter of applying what one knows to the world around them. He has a singular viewpoint as is given his relative age." He rotates the crystalline glass in his hand, causing the chunk of enviably-clean ice to clink against its walls. "I get the impression that you don't agree with his approach to current times." Dark brows lift in curiosity.

Tony makes a so-so waggle of his hand. "It's complicated," he says. "Cap's not a dummy by any stretch, but he's an immovable object." He takes a small, measured sip of whiskey. "He's got the way he sees things and it's not easy to steer him away from it. As for me?" He shakes his head. "There are always variables, at least ten ways to look at a situation, and the kind of risks I take don't agree with him. It's not that he doesn't understand them, but he doesn't trust them. It's funny, you'd think I was the guy with trust issues."

That clink of ice on glass is a balm to him, but it leaves him with an ache, and emptiness that can only be soothed in the bottom of a glass. His grip on the glass tightens, but he doesn't guzzle down its contents.

"Everyone has their difficulties," the Sorcerer murmurs as he continues the motion of shifting the glass back and forth. His eyes linger on it, observing how the abstract shape of the ice knocks against the walls and sets ripples in its wake. Waves upon waves cross and break, fractal out to become something unpredictable in turn.

"You dislike his inflexibility." A soft snort and Strange looks up, a shadow of an old pain crossing behind his eyes. "You and I, Stark, we are visionaries. Captain Rogers…his strength lies in this very adamant nature that rankles us. His adherence to the rules reminds us that they are there and, perhaps, that they should be bent rather than simply broken."

"Eh, dislike is a strong word. It's hard to get around, and when I try, he gets cranky." A small smile passes over his features. Maybe making Steve Rogers cranky is a bit of a hobby. "But it's like you say, we're visionaries." He raises his glass to Strange in appreciation, peer to peer. "If we operated within his rules, we'd never get anything done. If he operated outside those rules, he'd never get anything done, either.

It makes for a rocky relationship," Tony admits. "We're a team. I'd do whatever it took to save his life, when it comes down to it. But he doesn't trust me." Tony Stark is too polished to express pain or sadness. Just a twinge of regret. It would be so much easier if Rogers just trusted him.

After returning the salute, Strange sips at the whiskey again. Mmm — an old friend, but one he can easily separate himself from. Rather than continue to fidget with rattling the ice about his glass, he sets it down on the side table and interfolds his fingers. Elbows resting on the arms of the chair make for a contemplative and gently-bowed bridging across his lap.

"We did discuss the merit of action verses words. Have you given him a reason to distrust you?" The Sorcerer asks, his focus unwavering.

Tony thinks about this, and he slowly shakes his head. "Not really. Yes, I'm a drunk, and not too long ago I was getting blackout drunk." He sighs and gives a rolling gesture with one hand. "And I realized I had to remove myself from the equation for awhile. I went to Berlin, relived a few nightmares, and cleaned up enough to come home. If he doesn't trust me to be there, fair enough."

Tony takes another small sip of whiskey, more or less wetting his lips with it to get the taste. "But is that what he's paranoid about? No. I make machines designed for war, but I make them for the USA. I make them for us. I don't apologize for that, because we can't let the Ruskies win. That's my line in the sand."

He sighs, frustrated. Damn it, Cap! "He doesn't trust what I'm capable of doing. Like just because I can do something, I'm going to. He doesn't trust that I'm as smart as I am. Same story, different person. No one likes the smartest guy in the room. He might be up to something."

"No, no one does. I know this well enough. World's best neurosurgeon once upon a time." The Sorcerer's smile is wistful, jaded in the way that one having fallen far can express. "I don't miss the blood-letting and clawing one's way to the top if only to be dethroned the next day. I miss the accolades," he allows, his tone tongue-in-cheek in passing and his chuckle almost a growl.

"But yes…I do understand, Stark. For someone like the Captain, perhaps grounded in terms of fidelity, our flexibility can easily be seen as inconsistency. It's entirely possible that you may never be able to be on the same plane, metaphorically speaking, given the strength of your personal beliefs. Still. You said you were a team, and I gleaned the impression that Captain Rogers would not hesitate to stand between his compatriots and danger. Perhaps therein lies the one point of agreement: that you choose to defend in the manner of your devising and he in his own."

"Yeah," Tony says with a wry twist of his lips, "what makes us lock horns is what makes us a good team. He's got his feet on the ground, looking ahead with singular focus, and I'm scoping out every scenario." He takes another drink, this one a bit more generous. Ice clinks, and his shoulders relax visibly. "And then we fight about it. He's such a goody two-shoes, anyway.

"I think," Tony says, and here he frowns, looking into his glass as he speaks. "I think it's rough to watch him and Barnes meshing so well, and knowing all I've got waiting for me is an empty house and an artificial intelligence who seems like he likes me because that's what he's programmed to do."

"If I may, Stark, that's a useless approach to mentally take if you're attempting to interact with Captain Rogers beyond that of professionalism." Cue the subtle rise of an eyebrow and the tone of a mentor kicking into first gear. "From I was able to research about the man, they were friends before you and I were born. Consider how that would influence the man's relationship with Barnes, let alone their time spent in the war-fields of Europe."

A sigh and Strange shakes his head slowly, his eyes gone distant as he looks to the fire. "I wasn't drafted because of my expertise at the time. I operated on men who returned from their tours more broken than whole. The bonds they built with their fellow soldiers…there are few things on this earth stronger." His eyes slide back to Tony again. "You are a soldier on a different battlefield, Stark. There is time to bond over things beyond war, though if it comes again…no doubt we'll be grateful for your combined involvement."

Tony nods slowly, taking it in with a faint frown stitching his brow. "No, I know. It's just weird. I have every reason to hate Barnes' guts, but we get along. He understands that morality is flexible. He had to do unspeakable things, and even though it wasn't really him, he's got to live with it. We understand each other, I think. We might even be friends, though I wouldn't ask him to come help me move. Then again, with that arm, I might. I bet he could lift heavy boxes. Anyway, I hire people for that sort of thing."

He finishes the whiskey, and rather than making his excuses to go, he sets the glass aside and decides he can get through this conversation without getting drunk. What happens when he gets home is another matter. "I don't know what Cap and I have in common," he admits. "He's a good guy. I want to be, but I'm not. There's my father, but I hated him. Cap loved him." He shrugs and shakes his head. "At least when push comes to shove, we get the job done.

Another low laugh is still a bit burred and Strange shifts in his chair again, laying his arms down to rest rather than continue the thoughtful interlacing of fingers.

"I assure you, Stark, you are a saint compared to other beings that I've met, of this world and not. Whether or not you believe me is another matter entirely, I'm sure." A wry little smile appears and melts away nearly as quickly as it showed. "I wouldn't ask Barnes to aid me in moving either, however. I will leave Captain Rogers to offer what compass point of morality he can. It seems that every time I see Barnes, I get a migraine." He closes his eyes in a near-wince before clicking his tongue. "Perhaps I should get it over with and turn him into a salamander. The idea has its merits…" he muses before glancing over at Tony again. The faintest gathering of werelight about his pupils shifts their coloration from steel-blue towards frosted-lilac. "I have my reasons."

Tony waves a hand and says, "Barnes is all right. I do the maintenance on his arm, and he's respectful. I can talk to him. Don't get me wrong, if I had to pick who's the better person, it's Rogers hands down. Even when he's misguided, when he does something, it's because he knows it's right. Barnes questions himself and I question the situation."

Without thinking about it, he picks up the glass again. The feel of it in his hand is a comfort. Looking into Strange's eyes (not afraid to do it either), he says. "Oh, I have reasons, too. But there are so many times I wasn't myself, I have no high ground to stand on to blame him for what his programming made him do. I have to believe, for my own sake, that the real man can be redeemed."

"He can be. Of this, I have no doubt." The Sorcerer's gaze rolls to the fireplace. A squinting frown and he gestures at it, fingers crooked into some esoteric formation. It leaps up higher as if revived by a burst of oxygen and the heat in the room increases without becoming stifling. Rubbing at the back of his hand as if it were old habit, he looks back to Tony again.

"He presumed that my mantra as a doctor meant limitations…and he learned otherwise. He's given me no reason to distrust him further at this time. I'm glad to hear that he's been able to interact with you in a normal state of being."

"So far so good," Tony says. "He hates the Ruskies, and that's points in his favor. God knows he's got reasons." A crooked smile curls his lips as he regards Strange. "Maybe turning him into a salamander for awhile will make you feel better, and in the end, no harm done." He'll sacrifice Bucky on an altar of hilarity.

"So did Cap tell you what was going on? I'm still fuzzy on the details, but it's pretty bad."

"Eh," and Strange waves a hand to dismiss the notion of an amphibious shifting curse even as he laughs softly, flashing teeth. "While it would surely appease my inner child, to do so would mar a more important relationship in turn. My shadow on a sunny day makes him flinch. I can abide by this."

He picks up his glass of whiskey once more, the contents watered down and no less enjoyable for it. "Captain Rogers was guarded about whatever he was concerned about. He mentioned that Barnes had a plan, but not what it entailed. Apparently, my request for a meeting with the man may not happen as immediately as I wish. I may have to visit him myself instead. I have my suspicions, of course, and believe that the issues stem from a Mystical nature. Blood magic is a dreadfully risky branch of the occult, you see." He's entirely unamused, given the set of his jaw.

Tony shakes his head. "You lead the man to a clear path to an ally whose assistance he could really use, and since it's so… Because he's so Steve Rogers, he veers off it. Ah, well. He did come to see you. Maybe he just needs some time to think about it."

He takes a drink of melted ice with whiskey flavor still on it. It's not much, but he'll take it. "There is blood magic, from what I gathered, some bad guy Russian wizard." The fact he's Russian is enough for Tony to paint him as bad. "I'm shelved for the plan for now, so I can't tell you anything about it, but if I know Barnes, it'll mean a lot of tactical killing."

The Sorcerer closes his eyes, squinting as if listening to some far-off sound.

"Yes…" The word hisses into a brooding silence, just long enough to begin to grate upon the nerves. Then his lids rise again. The next slow blink seems to force translucent wisps of smoke from the corners of his lashes. "A being. It makes play of humanity, but I assure you…such a concept is beyond it. I have no doubt that Captain Rogers will get himself deeply embroiled in whatever plan they concoct, considering his relationship with Barnes. I will see what part I must play in it, but I cannot devote myself in my entirety. My purview is broader than they suspect."

Tony's brows rise as smoke skirls off Strange's lashes. "Nice trick there, Smokey." Though isn't Smokey the Bear supposed to prevent fires? Despite his wording, Stark can't help but sound impressed. "Sounds like you got this guy's number. How easy will he be to deal with? I know you've got other things on your plate, but if this guy does his thing, the Winter Soldier won't just be a singular menace lurking inside of Barnes. There'll be an army of them. Don't even get me started on what he's doing to those kids."

"Kids." The echoed word drops in the silence in a flat monotone of disbelief. Strange pinches at the bridge of his nose, shuttering off his glowing eyes, and when he opens them again, smoke all gone. Must have been a lapse in self-control or something. "Never mind the being and whatever challenge it may bring. As Sorcerer Supreme, I have that curbed well enough. What's this about children? Barnes has children?" He sits further upright in the chair, if that's at all possible at this point, his entire air sharpened.

Tony makes a so-so wave of his hand. "He's got something," he says. "They're copies of him, it's complicated. Somehow the sorcery has gotten mixed into the cloning, only not exactly cloning. They're adult-looking, but I was led to understand, and I don't have perfect recall, that this guy's gathering kids from around the Eastern bloc and… I know the word 'rendering' was used." He scowls into his empty glass. Yeah, he's not okay with this. "Something about rendering what makes them genetically unique and turning it into a medication they could dose the kids they created with. If I got that correctly, then this guy's gathering kids up, breaking them down into what he needs from them, and dosing Barnes' created… brothers? Sons? Polyps? Look, kids are getting hurt."

In the immediate air around Strange's person, minute twinkling can be seen now. It's as if flecks of mica dance above his skin and the slowly-riffling loose swathes of deep-blue clothing. His eyes, gone to slivers, begin to smoke again. The room drops a few degrees and all courtesy due to the guardian spells of the Sanctum; they emerge from the darkwood walls and swish about, lingering behind their Master's shoulders invisibly.

"It seems that this information increases the timeline of my meeting with Barnes. I appreciate you being forthcoming, Tony. It bodes well that I should know these aspects beforehand." A slow inhale and if it seems that the shadows of the room regress, it's no trick of the eyes. The fire seems to brighten up cheerily and he massages briefly at his closed lids before sighing. "Gods below…"

Tony watches, fascinated, and there's part of him that wants to just crack Strange open to figure out how he works, despite his high regard for the man. It's a part he keeps in check more often than people realize. Sure, this is magic, it's not his bag, but it's mysterious and he has always been driven to know the why and how of things.

That fascination is there, but it's not enough to remove him from the task at hand. "This is your area of expertise," he says, "and c'mon, these are kids. Someone had to say it."

Fingertips briefly indent the wine-red upholstery of the chair before Strange rises to his feet. He begins to pace now, proof that this information has stoked up a simmering sense of personal offense, in a way. His travels take him nearly to the far side of the sitting room and back again. The path crosses the hearth and his shadow cast is long across and up the opposite wall.

"This may be magic, but it is not moral. Rather," and he scoffs, lips drawn back in a flash of a sneer, " — it is morally reprehensive to me. Magic itself has no morality, one of the grey zones of this reality in which I'm certain Captain Rogers would profess no love. When I speak to Barnes, I will know precisely of how to act."

There's a glint of satisfaction in Tony's eyes. It's a red letter day when his words get comprehended in their fullness. That's why he likes Strange. The man can keep up. "Barnes can fill you in," he says. "What's more, I think he wants to. I just want this to stop. I'm not one to claim the moral high ground, but this? This is beyond the pale. This keeps me up at night, Strange. I've been trying to stay sober just so I don't get drunk and go off half-cocked and do something we'd all regret."

The tall man pauses before the fireplace, backlit by the flames, and that's when the view might get interesting to the scientist in Tony. All about the Sorcerer, extending a hand's width outwards and wispy as a desert's mirage, appears to be an aura. The reflective specks of light haven't abated and don't seem to be impacted by the ruddy glow behind him. Those Sight-bright eyes linger upon the genius-inventor.

"I'll be certain to serve tea next time." Prickly humor there, prone as Strange is to such moods. "It will stop. You will have one less reason to wake in the night."

Tony nods firmly. Good. That's all he asks. With a glance to his glass, he relaxes a little and even manages a half-smile. "No, this is good," he says. "I'm learning to control it, and the problem won't be fixed by avoiding it." So he admits it's a problem. Rogers might be happy if he knew that, or at least satisfied.

Tony rises to his feet, shoulders squared as he says, "I knew I could count on you. I know the rest of the universe has to, so it's no small thing to me that you're doing this."

A nod is given to Tony. "I would expect no less from you in turn, Stark, were I to ask your assistance." The air of the mentor hasn't faded; instead, it's tempered by the aloof nobility hard-earned by perfectionism pitted against the beings that make Boogiemen beneath the bed seem as bunnies. "I will do what I can and no less. There is another involved beyond Barnes and I suspect that things will get…complicated." He enunciates the word, brittle as broken glass in his precision. "If you see Barnes again soon, since you are apparently caretaker to that limb of his…be certain it works, please. I may need his unique skill-set." Ain't that foreboding.

Tony shrugs on his coat, and he says, "I always leave it better than I found it. I'll be giving him a tune up before he goes anywhere else." He pauses, then gives Strange a gentle clap on the shoulder. "I knew I could count on you. Outside the team, that doesn't happen too often."

It's just a pat, and then he busies his hands buttoning the coat so the glowing circle of blue on his chest will be unseeable.

There might be the whisper of an electrical frisson about Tony's hand when it makes its brief contact with the taller man's shoulder — still, it's a suggestion of a sensation at most to someone without intimate knowledge of the Arts, and he's very safe. Strange reveals a small smirk even as he replies,

"Careful now, you're buttering me rather heavily. Oh, and be mindful. If you ask me for another favor, you'll be risking a debt to a Sorcerer." No reason to hide precisely what he is now, given his earlier antics in Gating as well as apparent reactions in the energetic field of his aura about himself.

Tony takes note of the sensation, and of course he wants to tear it open and poke at it to see how it works, but there's nothing he can hold onto, it's there and he can't take hold of it. Frustrating fascination. "I'm trying my hand at sincerity," he says. "I'll make up for it next time we're at a benefit together."

As for the debt, he considers. "Maybe there's something I could help you with in the future, if you get stuck with a technical problem. The offer stands. If I have to ask again, we can negotiate. I'll take one for the team."

"It's entirely possible that I may need assistance in something technological eventually," the Sorcerer allows, leading the way out of the sitting room and into the small entryway. He pauses by the front doors and considers Tony once more. "Hopefully not, but — I know who to call. You know where I live, of course," and his gaze sweeps out into the large foyer proper with visible fondness before returning his guest. "Maybe you can even change the bulbs in the second floor hallway one time. The resident cuprugeist has been cantankerous lately." By the amused and nearly Cheshire Cat grin, it seems that Strange may be joking.

…or maybe not.

Tony glances up, and he's going over the task in his head. It would be pifflingly simple. Float himself up with the suit, change a bulb. Entirely beneath him, but for Strange… Who then mentions a cuprugeist. "Maybe you need to get a guy in here to rewire everything," he suggests. "You can never be too careful." How would he even go about banishing a… a geist who lived in the wiring?

He shakes his head. Nope, that's not his wheelhouse. If Strange wants his odd pets, he can have them. After all, Tony has JARVIS to keep him company. "Always a pleasure," he tells Strange as he heads for the door.

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