1965-05-07 - Knishes and Clockwork
Summary: Lindon and Elmo get a visit from Dr. Strange.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
elmo lindon strange 

Even though he's not supposed to, Lindon has left the door unlocked in anticipation of Elmo's arrival. The apartment is warded. Surely it won't be the end of the world if he leaves the door unlocked for a short span of time. Lindon's dressed in khaki's and a blue button down shirt, and he sits at the kitchen table with his box of clockwork supplies. The radio plays contemporary music as he fiddles with all the little cogs and gears.

Elmo knocks, then tries the door. It's open! He comes in, hauling both his satchel full of things and a pink deli box. "Hey!" he says, chipper, shoving the door shut with a knee.

Lindon looks up, and he smiles softly. That smile is reflected in his hopelessly deep, dark eyes. "Elmo," he says, and he rises to his feet, coming over to help Elmo bring things to the table. Then he lock the door. Safe as houses. "I, um. I have something for you. What's all this?"

Elmo sets the satchel down. It clanks. "Some salvage I thought we could take apart, you can keep what you want. You know, for makin' stuff. And that's knish," he adds, about the box, setting it down on the table. Then he hugs Lindon, pressing up snugly against him, smiling. "Hi, you."

Lindon gathers Elmo in his arms and sighs like it's the greatest relief in the world to hold him. "Hi," he says, and he gives Elmo a kiss. Then he rummagaes in his pocket, coming up with a key. This he offers to Elmo. "It's to the apartment. I want you to have it in case you ever need it."

Elmo cups Lindon's jaw to kiss him, with a happy sigh. Yeah, he's relieved to be here, too. When he's offered the key, he blinks, and then actually flushes. "Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. Um. Yeah! Thank you." He takes it and turns it over in his fingers, as if committing it to memory, running the pad of his forefinger over the teeth. "I never had anyone's key before," he says, a little shy.

Lindon ducks his head, more than a little shy himself. Rubbing the back of his neck, he says, "It just seems like a good idea. Efficient, and I trust you. Besides, even when I'm not here, it's a nice place to duck out. It's warded, so it's safe from prying eyes." Not that he suspects Elmo might get into trouble at some point, it's just that he totally expects Elmo to get into trouble. "The knishes smell great," he mentions, and he helps himself to one. "I was just messing with a watch."

There's beef and kasha knish, and potato and onion knish. Classic Jewish food. Elmo tucks the key away in a pocket and gets one of the hand pies himself. "Yeah?" He gives the cogs on the table a professional glance. "Whatcha aiming for?" Making stuff, it's his favorite thing in the world.

Lindon nibbles on his knish, testing the temperature before he digs in. Once burned, twice shy. "I'm going to try to make a watch to give Lamont. I've never actually made one before, but I've made a lot of components. This time I'm going to try to get them all working. I know how to do it, I just have to train my fingers to follow suit."

Elmo just tears the top off his knish. He's got a lot of practice. "He'll like that. You can definitely do it. You know what I'm interested in sometime? I want you to show me how to repair books. I bet I can do it."

Lindon perks up. "Oh! I'd be glad to show you," Lindon says. "It's so rewarding to rebind a book and to see it actually being a book again. They come in so damaged sometimes. You save the ones you can." He's like a veterinarian for books. "I'll get some that need repaired and we can do it together. They let me bring supplies home from work." He sees what Elmo does and tries the same, though his tearing of the knish is someone uneven. The mind knows, the body needs practice.

"It won't work the same way as machines for me," Elmo says, "but that's good, right? I'll have to learn it different. My mutation won't work." He used to never, ever, EVER talk about being a mutant. Time has changed him.

"It's always good to do," Lindon says, "and not rely entirely on your super abilities. That's why I cook and fiddle with things. It's one thing to know the recipe and another to do it. The more you work with your hands on things that aren't electric, the more confident they'll become. Does that make sense?" He sits, and he blows on his knish to cool it further. It's that maddening period where the knish smells so good but it's just not cool enough to eat yet.

Elmo quirks an eyebrow at Lindon, with a little smile. "I'm always good with my hands." Flirtatious, but also bragging. Time's done a lot for his confidence, too. "Maybe I do rely on my mutation a lot, though. There's so much stuff I can do. Everywhere's machines and electricity. I might be in trouble if I had to go to, I dunno, the middle of the jungle or somethin'."

Lindon smiles crookedly and says, "You really are." He takes a tentative bite of his knish. Finally! It's cool enough. His features are blissed as he munches on it. "It's good to learn those skills," he says. "The power might go out all over, and then what would we do? I guess you could fix it, but yeah, you could end up in the middle of nowhere."

Elmo tips his knish at Lindon, like, you got it. "I'd fix it. And if I couldn't fix it? I'd build a generator. Any kind of energy, you can turn into electricity. Sound, motion, light. Anything!" He's getting that excited look. "That's how we get power in the first place, turnin' coal into electricity. Well, you know that, you don't need me to tell you." He grins at Lindon, proud of Lindon's own abilities.

Lindon grins, and he says, "I like hearing you say things, though." He glances at the knapsack of scrap then pulls it closer so he can see what Elmo's brought him. "I've been getting into doing things with my hand again since meeting you. It's so easy to get lost in my head. I can get lost for days on end, but it's not so good for me."

The satchel's full of small motors, circuit boards, a couple of alarm clocks, similar things. The detritus of a technological society. "It ain't so good for you," Elmo says, seriously, between savaging the knish. "But you repair books and stuff like that. That's working with your hands. That counts! It's good, a man oughta work with his hands."

"I think so too," Lindon says. He glances at Elmo. Just a small, infatuated glance. Then he makes a sound of interest and takes out a circuit board to study it. His eyes move quickly over the thing as he commits it to memory, and all the information pertinent to it flies through his brain. "Oh, here's why this doesn't work." He points out a thin wire out of alignment that most folks wouldn't even notice.

"Yep. Solder that down, good as new." There's a note of real pride in Elmo's voice. "Or you can reroute it, make it do something different. Usually that's what I'm doin'. Make controllers."

"Controlleres for what?" Lindon asks. He smiles as he studies the circuit board further. He noticed the thing! "Except for the wire, this is in good shape. People just don't even try to fix things anymore. Such a waste."

Elmo grins. "For what? Hell, anything. That thing's just a controller, anyway. I just tell it to control something else. Think I got that out of an RC remote." He hitches a shoulder. "Eh, people can't see it. These companies build everything like magic boxes. It looks sexy, but people wind up thinkin' about 'em like, I dunno, like they're animals. Once they stop moving, they're dead. Gotta be a doctor to know better. That's kind of a terrible metaphor, but what do you expect from a mechanic?"

"I think it's apt enough," Lindon says. He sets the circuit board aside and delves further, taking out little bits of this and that, going over them with the full brunt of his mind to suss them out. "I've seen some of the toys Alex has made. He's a remarkable man, and so creative. I think he sees the life in everything."

Elmo leans over the table, holding himself up with folded arms. "He is, ain't he? He makes a lot of conventional stuff. You know, stuff people can be sure to buy. But that's not his real genius. He's an artist, that old guy." He shakes his head, admiring. "I'm no artist. Maybe by the time I'm as old as he is, I'll have learned somethin'."

"He's had time to settle into himself and figure out his voice," Lindon says. "You're figuring it out, but that's okay. You're better at what you do than most people your age. It's so intrinsic to who you are." He polishes off his knish, freeing his hands to get a good 'look' by touching everything. Then he starts experimenting with ways to put them together. "I could see some of this becoming a sculpture, but I'm not much of an artist."

Elmo waves that off. "Eh, it's the mutation. Don't think I'd be so good at anything if I didn't have that. Lucky me, huh?" He watches what Lindon's doing, interested. "I look at that and I seeI dunno. A hundred things. I can't even pick one. Maybe an I/O gate. Use it to control something like a light-activated machine. Hook it up to something photosensitivecamera lens is a good one. What do you see?"

"It's part of you," Lindon says, "so it counts." His brow furrows as he listens to Elmo, nodding to himself. "Now that's what I see. I was thinking something that opened automatically once the smallest pressure was put on it, and you could use it like a bank or keepsake box. But I'm seeing now how you could rig up something photosensitive."

"I can't see it as a sculpture," Elmo says, a little unhappily. "I don't know how to see it like that. Kai would know. Kai would be welding it together in a sculpture right now. I love that about him, yannow? He sees that. Like Mr. Cohen. Like Jay."

Lindon's brow furrows. "Is he that elf that works at Saganaki? I think I've seen him before. We haven't met, but Lambert pointd him out, and it's such an uncommon name. I'm still reeling that he's employed someone from Alfheim. Or why someone from there is here at all. I shouldn't be surprised he'd be artistic."

Elmo laughs, shedding the unhappiness, and looks up at Lindon fondly. "Bert didn't hire him. He just showed up and started working. He's like that. Does what he wants, don't matter what it is. That's why he's here on Midgard, too. He likes human counterculture." Suddenly he's using those words like that, and it's odd. "He was a beatnik, but now he says that's old news and he's a mod. One a my best friends, the momzer."

Lindon laughs softly. "That… that sounds about right. I don't know much about them, but what I do know lines up with that. They were the light ones in the old Norse religion. All goodness and beauty." He has no idea Kai refers to him as 'the nerd.' Lindon studies Elmo for a moment, fond and thoughtful. "I think that's great. You have such a broad spectrum of friends. It's good for the soul, I think."

Elmo grins, just full of affection and mischief. "Beauty, yeah. Goodness? I dunno. Kai's a miscreant." Just like him, although he doesn't say it. He looks down, shy, when Lindon studies him. "I didn't used to have too many friends. Lost the ones I had when I went to juvie. It's…really nice, havin' em again. Having a team, too. Having a boyfriend. Almost like I'm a real person, yannow?"

Lindon sets down the scrap and takes Elmo's hand in his own. "Yes, well, it's really their concept of goodness, isn't it." He brings the hand to his lips, kissing each knuckle. "It's like coming out of the darkness, or maybe a cacoon. I enjoy seeing you thrive. Even if I suspect you and your team play loose with the law."

Elmo raises his eyebrows and really obviously doesn't comment on that one. What Lindon don't know, can't be gotten out of him with a rubber hose. "I dunno what people even see in me, Lindeleh. It's a mystery." Then, as Lindon kisses each of his big, scarred knuckles, he blushes, deep. Watching intently. "Um," he says, a little breathless.

Lindon looks up to Elmo's face and smiles. "You're intelligent," he says, "and fiery. You're not afraid to make your opinion known. It's a broad personality, and you're funnier than you think. I love hearing about the things you come up with. I love that there's a brutal honesty about you. No one has to wonder what you're really thinking."

Elmo laughs, quiet at first, then harder. "That's the nicest way anybody's ever put that. Usually they say I'm a loudmouth jerk." He leans over their joined hands to press his mouth to Lindon's. "Hey. Thanks."

Lindon laughs. "I guess if that's not their cup of tea, they might think that. I think you're delightful." He kisses Elmo sweetly. "For what?" he asks as he draws back, tilting his head cuirously.

"Everything. Sayin' nice things about me. Going out with me. Thinkin' I"m delightful. Being you." Elmo sighs it, smitten, against Lindon's lips. "I hope I can get you out soon. The weather's great, we could go to Central Park. I want to take you to my workshop, just show you around. There's a lot I want to do with you, sweetheart." The reason why they can't, though, he doesn't mention. They both know.

Lindon looks out the windoe and sighs quietly. Outside would be so great. "Lamont goes with me to work, hidden from sight, and we walk around sometimes at lunch, but it's not the same as being able to come and go." He deploys the puppy eyes, but there are no further complaints. "I feel weird saying you're welcome, but you're welcome. I'm just me. I don't really try."

Elmo looks, too, following Lindon's line of sight. "It's not the same. Really is a little like prison. Can't walk to the bodega for a pack of smokes, can't go to the library. Can't do hardly any damn thing. The boredom was the worst. But, hey. I got out. You'll get out too."

Lindon nods slowly. "Yeah," he says. "Hopefully this guy will make his move soon. I think he's in Siberia, or at least an important part of him in. I've been thinking about something I wrote down in my last vision. The angel of Siberia. There's a city called Archangel."

Elmo flicks a glance at Lindon. "Think it means anything?" He sounds casual. He might be; he doesn't know anything about what's going on between the mystics. But he probably isn't. He's just good at not letting on how much he's observing. It may be clear what he's thinking, but it's not often clear how much information he can take in.

Lindon says, "I think it might." His mind has turned inward. There's a sense of stepping out as he delves among the stacks in his head. "He's not in Archangel, but something is. It's like a phylactery, only instead of containing scripture, it contains something of his. Something of his. I think that's what's in Archangel. I'd hate to send people off on a wild goose chase, but I'd also hate to ignore a sign."

Elmo makes a funny face, trying to reconcile the phylactery he knows with an evil wizard. But that's not important. "You told Lamont and the Doc?"

"I don't recall," Lindon admits. "I think I mentioned… I mean at least an oblique reference." He bites his lip, then says, "Should I call one of them, maybe? Tell them this?"

Elmo looks at Lindon. Fond exasperation. "Lindeleh, why wouldn't you? It's their call whether they gotta go chasing something or not. You wanna call? Go ahead." He takes Lindon's hand, now, and kisses it, looking at him with those clear black eyes. "Don't worry about them. They know what they can handle."

"It just wasn't on my train of thought," Lindon admits. He smiles though at the kiss on his hand. "Have you ever been so focused on everything else that the obvious just becomes background noise?" He rises to his feet and goes to the phone with a sigh. "This is why I shouldn't fall down on my meditation."

Elmo smiles against Lindon's knuckles, then lets him go to make his call. "Only all the time," he says, poking fun at himself.

Lindon grins at Elmo. "Birds of a feather." He first dials Lamont, but Lamont isn't near a phone at the moment. Next, he calls Strange 'with information he'll find interesting.' It should occur to him to just say the information, but why make sense when one can be cryptic instead?

Cryptic information is a bright lure for the curiosity of the Sorcerer Supreme. A decided weakness for the man, he acknowledges the Archive's vague commentary with small affirmative sounds before replying simply,

"Hang up. I'll arrive shortly." And, thus, he does. It's not difficult to track the Archive, considering the near-relic status of the man himself, and about…4.76 feet to Lindon's left, a snicker-flash of bright sparks suddenly appear. As if someone were setting a flint-stone to the fabric of reality itself, it catches alight in a flickering stream of circling about a rapidly-growing oculus. Through steps Strange, sans crimson Cloak, though wearing the storm-blues of his Master status. He steps into the apartment with…a slight limp; visibly from the inner line of his left thigh and outwards, an eight-inch rent in the fabric of his pants as well as a recently healed-over scar on his skin, still red and puckered. At his right eye, it looks as if someone took a sharp edge to his eye, narrowly missing the lid itself; this scar is far shorter, though it gives him a rougish air. And that…is a split lip, badly split in the right corner. He licks at it even as he finds a wall and leans against it briefly. His left hand is wrapped in a quick bandaging of white linen from wrist and up to mid-knuckle of his fingers and about the thumb as well; no blood spots his palm despite the deepest cut there.

"Well then. What's all this about cryptic information…?" His baritone contains its usual refinement, no hint of weariness — if anything, it's almost…cheery despite the impression that he recently went toe-to-toe with something dangerous.

Elmo jolts backwards and lights up with sparks himself, electricity springing to life around him, causing clothes to crackle and hair to lift. "Jesus!" He grabs something from a pocket and has almost thrown it at Strange before he realizes what's going on, and he holds it back just in time. "…Uh, sorry, Doc, I ain't ever seen that before. You look like hell," he adds, helpfully, letting the electricity die down.

"It's okay," Lindon says, and he accepts the sparks and hole in space as a matter of course. This? This is his life now. He takes a look at Strange, and he asks, "Oh my gosh, are you okay? What happened? Are you hurt? Let me put on some tea." With that, he's all aflutter, moving clockwork pieces and metal scrap on the table to make space for one to sit and have room for a teacup.

The Sorcerer gives Elmo in particular a half-lidded look of amusement. He can sense the frissons of displaced static charge, even at the distance between them, and he lifts his bandaged hand into the air. A little testing wiggle of fingers collects a gleaning of the electricity and it shows in a brief clustering of small werelights.

"Hmm." Intrigue shades the singular word and then he's flicking the twinkling display back through the Gate and into the Loft. The Gate collapses after another gesture by its summoner. "I'm fine, both of you, but a cup of tea won't go remiss." Stubborn pride won't allow him to take the aid of an offered arm or any worrying at how he makes his way to one of the chairs. He carefully sits down with a soft grunt and the first wince seen knits his brows. The injured leg is kept straightened off to one side, not allowed to touch a surface with the open skin, and then he sighs as he leans back into the chair. "I disagreed with someone. It ended up more than a discussion." Cryptic, he too can do. Now, I came here thinking that there was information that I needed to be aware of?" A steely formality overtakes his general air now.

It's a battery in Elmo's hand. He tucks it away again, trying to act like he sees wizards step through portals all the time. There's something ever so slightly different about him, the tiniest glint of wild magic sleeping in his pattern, like a fleck of mica on a beach. Clearly he can't touch it, probably doesn't know it's there but it seems like strong wild magic might fan it to life. "Sure you don't want some ice for that?" he offers. He looks at Lindon, then, eyebrows up. He wants to hear this too, even if he can't do anything about it.

Lindon frets. "You look hurt." He doesn't push it, though. Instead, he puts on the kettle and says, "I'd hate to see the other guy." On the table, there are little gears and cogs arranged elegantly by someone knowledgeable with the making of watches. As the water heats, Lindon leans against the counter, arms folded over his chest. "We have ice," he offers.

He lets the offer hang there, and then he says, "Do you know when I kept muttering about an angel in Siberia when I was having that last vision? I think it's referring to the town of Archangel. 'In the hands of the angel,' it isn't a person, it's a place. I think he's got something of himself hidden away there."

"Just tea, please," Strange replies evenly, looking between the two gentlemen present in the apartment's kitchen. Elmo gets an unexplained extention of scrutiny as the minute presence of Wild Magic pings on the Sorcerer's sensitive radar. Dark lashes nearly shutter out eyes gone lambent-lilac about their centers, but then the silver-templed man turns his attention back to Lindon once the explanation comes forth.

"Archangel. In Siberia." His brows quirk pensively. "It's entirely possible. What else did your vision tell you, in terms of this…hidden aspect?"

Elmo keeps quiet, hands in his pockets. He quirks his eyebrows at Strange as he's scrutinized a little too long. But he doesn't ask, just looks back at Lindon.

"I saw what I thought was a phylactery," Lindon admits. The water boils, so he pours it into the teapot with the leaves prepared for brewing. He takes down three mugs. Everyone gets tea, even the coffee drinker. "Only instead of holding scripture, it held… how do I put this? A declaration, maybe a blueprint? Of his vital essence. I don't want to say his life is stored in it, but his life isn't not stored in it. As near as I can tell."

Strange hazards a sip at the steaming tea and glances over at Lindon after making a point to stifle the shiver of pain that burns lightly at the temperature touching his split lip.

"A phylactery," he echoes quietly. "Perhaps a relic in itself. Not a repository for life force, but still containing enough to mimic the aspect of it…" His eyes, still glowing about their pupils, look through and beyond the Archive momentarily as he's lost in his encyclopedic memories. With a faint sniff, he seems to come back to himself and indulges in a wry little smile. "Do you have honey, for the tea?"

"A real phylactery's alive, in a way," Elmo says, even though he's trying not to interrupt. It's just an irresistable puzzle and he can't help from digging into it. "Torah is alive. It can even be a man, sometimes. That makes sense to me." He accepts his tea from Lindon with a smile. It's tea, but it's Lindon giving it to him, that makes it better.

"Of course," Lindon says, and he brings the honey jar to Strange. Elmo gets a small but smitten smile in return. He sits in a chair near Elmo, facing Strange. "It's bound to him," Lindon says. "I saw a silver cord. I imagine Archangel would be a great place to hide anything you didn't want the rest of the world to find. It's behind the Iron Curtain in its northernmost reaches."

"Thank you." A hand shaking to a fine degree takes up a spoon and three healthy dips go into his tea. The sound of the utensil hitting the sides is a homely and familiar thing, in odd parallel with incense and the air of mystery about the Sorcerer.

"It's not an impossible place to reach, however, not with knowledge of the Arts. The Mundane, yes — I can imagine that between the environment itself and the suspicious nature of the gun-wielding locals, one wouldn't get far. Nothing stops anyone with the ability to open a portal from stepping directly into the area…at least, in terms of the basic concepts of its placement. I highly doubt it's been left unwarded. I wouldn't underestimate the complexity or visciousness of the spells at hand either." Strange finds his sip of tea to his satisfaction, given the minute relaxation of crow's feet about his eyes, the newly-healed scar across his brow nothwithstanding.

"But you could handle it. Right?" Elmo asks Strange, with every confidence that he is in fact right. "You're the guy at the top."

Lindon relaxes at the homey sound of the spoon clinking. He looks to Elmo, nodding, then to Strange. "I doubt it would be insurmountable, but I don't underestimate its potential. This is something he's very concerned about keeping hidden. He's gone out of his way to make sure it stays that way. Then again, if you mess around with it, that might summon him. Which could be good or bad depending on how ready you are." He inclines his head to Strange, adding, "Deferring to your wisdom, of course."

Strange laughs with closed lips, the sound both warm and wry all at once, as eyes land upon him. His hands are kept closed about the emitted warmth that fills the material of the tea cup and he drums fingertips against the cup's curving outer surface.

"Lindon is correct…though you are as well, Mr. Rosencrantz. Yes, I am the Sorcerer Supreme. However, I am in no condition to pluck the spider's strings and summon him from his lair. If he is also attentive to the location itself, Siberia, there may be Mystical upheaval in the area. I still need to attend upon the earth itself there." Here, the sigh, long and quiet and wearied. Age and responsibility returns to him, along with the noble gravitas he wears as easily as the Cloak. "Even as you may have had your vision, the phylactery may have been moved. I cannot confirm this, however, not right now." He inhales and gathers himself once more, looking down into his tea. "No. Another night's sleep and healing is necessary."

Elmo watches the changes in Strange, eyebrows up, like it only just now occured to him that being Sorceror Supreme might not be all hot witches, teleportation, and mysterious but badass scraps. "Call me Elmo, huh?" he says, with a crooked half-smile.

Lindon nods quickly and says, "Of course, take the time you need. It was there yesterday and it'll be there tomorrow. I have a strong feeling it's there. I don't focus too hard on it because I don't want it focusing on me, in case it's got some magic on it that lets it do that. Maybe the reason Hargrove wants the Archive so badly is that it's the only thing capable of knowing where the phylactery is. I don't think he's moved it." He sips his tea and leans closer to Elmo, shoulder to shoulder. "Whatever the case, rest up. It's nothing that won't wait a little."

Strange nods and closes his eyes for a second. A faint divot forms between his brows as if he's concentrating on hearing something distant to his ears. The air about him seems to take on the waver of desert heat, only within the first inch or so of radiation about him, and the tease of petrichor might whisk beneath the nose overtop the scent of tea.

"Yes…something is…there," he murmurs, almost in a whisper, as his head cants minutely to one side. "It isn't moving." Opening his eyes again, he seems to be in a brief daze. A hard blink and there's the sharp intellect surfacing once more, animation to his features. He leans back into his chair again and sips at his tea. "And Elmo then," he's sure to add, giving the man in question a polite nod.

Elmo shoulders Lindon companionably, but when Strange does the thing, he leans forward, fascinated. "Wow," he mutters, watching Strange resurface from whatever internal journey he took.

While Elmo is fascinated, Lindon's brow furrows. Sure, it's the Sorcerer Supreme whose powers are unimaginable, but Lindon is Fretty McFrettypants. It's in his nature to fret. Strange manages the seeking without incident, so Lindon relaxes a little. "So you'll have time to rest," he says. And this is without Lindon even being Strange's relic. Imagine what Lamont has to go through.

"Yes…in theory," the Sorcerer hedges, looking none the happier for the admission. "I don't get to rest sometimes. Sometimes, it's one thing after another. I'm luckier than the last holder of the mantle, however, in that I have Wanda." He looks off to one side, as if checking on yet another metaphysical point in reality proper, and then his expression softens a touch. "She watches when I sleep sometimes, over the Sanctum at the very least. Let us pretend, however, that my dance card is freed from ticks and punches." He laughs once, the sound jaded. "When would you require my presence? Do you require my presence in truth or is it circumspection?" His bright eyes shift between the two men again.

"Is there anything I can do?" Elmo asks, suddenly, failing at holding it back. He tries to play it cool, but there's a frantic edge in his voice. He's still looking at Strange, intensely. "Look, I know I'm no wizard, but…just. If there's anything."

Lindon takes Elmo's hand in his own and gives it a squeeze. "It's information," he tells Strange. "I believe it's one of his weaknesses, something you could exploit, though I leave it up to you if you want to do that. I'll tell Lamont when I see him tonight. I imagine if you have to fight Hargrove eventually, any ammunition I can give you is better than saying nothing."

The Sorcerer thins his lips at the name and his expression grows more foreboding yet.

"At this point, I may still need more ammunition yet. You and you," he includes Elmo with a dip of his head in the man's direction, " — have been critical in gathering these pieces. I ask that you continue to do this wile I muster my own resources. I may find myself on the Eurasian continent far sooner than later as is. As I mentioned before, I may need to speak with the earth itself there."

His attention narrows in on Elmo now. "You can remain close to Lindon, in contact with Cranston and Constantine and the others. Continue to watch one another's back. Hargrove plays a subtle game, it appears. Trust one another. Call on me immediately if you need me. We discussed this before, meditation. Have you been practicing?" Uh oh. That's the mentorly voice now, and scrutiny upon Elmo.

Elmo immediately looks like he's been caught not doing his homework—which he has. "Uh. A little?" he hedges, then gives up. "No, I don't hardly know where to start."

Lindon rubs the back of his neck and says, "Oh, geez. I was just telling Elmo how I've fallen behind, myself. We'll practice together. Promise." He looks to Elmo to gauge his take on this. "I could help you. I started learning myself a few years ago to cope with all this." He taps his temple.

Elmo is given another one of those lingering looks before Strange simply raises his tea cup to his lips. The usual snappy retort is kept under wraps, likely enough due to Lindon stepping in and offering assistance.

"It seems to have helped — and good," he adds quietly. "May I suggest seeing if you can make contact with Cranston, as limited or detail this may be in turn. Words are not necessary at times with such types of communications; other sensory details may apply, such as scents or even images. Emotions. Fear tastes of bitter pennies, for example, and that alone can convey the situation with painful clarity at times."

Elmo nods, ruefully accepting the not-scolding Strange is giving him. "Yeah. I'll do it. Any good books on it?" He glances at Lindon with a wry half-smile. They're both playing hooky on this one.

"Oh sure," Lindon says. "There's tons of books. We could go book shopping tomorrow if you wanted." Now that Teacher has caught him ditching his work, he sits up taller and is all about making up for it. "We can practice tonight, I'll show you breathing techniques, and we could make it a regular thing." He gives Strange a pained expression. He'd be polishing an apple for the wizard right now if he could.

All hail the arrival of the Look. Oh yes, that one. The sly and slow half-lidding of Mystically glowing eyes that seem to focus solely on the one they rest upon, cutting off the world around as cleanly as a scalpel would extraneous tissue. It lands on Lindon first before sliding to Elmo.

"Given the circumstances at hand, may I heartily recommend that you practice this daily. It could mean the difference between life and death," Strange says in his smoothest tone, the proffering of opinion most solemn.

Elmo tries not to snicker at Lindon being so earnest. Teacher's pet. But when Strange gives him The Look…he gets abashed. "Got it, Doc." He even turns a little red.

Lindon bites his lip as the Look is deployed. Oh no, no, no. "Okay," he says, "Every day, guided meditation and breathing exercises. I'll teach Elmo the basics so he can practice them when we're not together." Teacher's pet, so much. He then adds, seemingly relevant to nothing, "I think Lamont could maybe learn to fight in adverse weather conditions in case he ends up having to go to Archangel."

Strange's dark brows slowly lift until he looks the very image of innocent interest in the sudden shift of conversation.

"Really, Lindon? I hadn't considered that lately in his lessons." His ultra-amaranthine eyes remain upon the Archive. "That's an excellent suggestion. Have you noticed anything lately that he may need extra tutoring on, speaking of such things?"

"Lindon!" Elmo says, part amused and part affronted on Lamont's behalf. "Don't you dare narc on Lamont. Jeez, ya dweeb."

Lindon fusses with the cuff on his shirt, twisting it in his hand as he bows his head and tries, oh how he tries, not to volunteer information. Still, the words come. "He's been working a lot of wards lately, which is great because I need a lot of warding. I just wonder if he's doing well with shielding. I hate to see him get hurt, and I don't really know…" He gives Elmo a doleful glance and says, "Sorry."

The pensive hum from the Sorcerer is almost a purr. He doesn't hesitate to show his pleasure now at something having gone in his total favor today.

"'Narc'," he echoes, giving Elmo a brief glance. "Interesting slang. Noted." Back to the Archive, the gaze goes again. "Shielding is a point for any apprentice to practice regularly. I have no issue in testing his current aptitude in this…in inclement weather too, of course. I appreciate your input on things, Lindon." He downs half of his tea, wincing slightly at the corner of his lips complaining. Ow. Ow. Hot drink, ow.

Elmo sets his hand over his eyes with a sigh. "Lindon. I swear." But he's grinning, too. Lindon can't help it that he's such a hopeless nerd. He leans over and kisses his cheek.

Lindon's cheeks color at the kiss on his cheek, but he grins at Elmo, who alas takes his leave. To Strange, Lindon says, "I do my best to help out. Lamont means everything to me, and I'd much rather him learn it from you than have to make it up on the fly in a battle. Plus, I know he'll take you seriously and set his confidence aside."

The Sorcerer watches the other man leave before looking back to Lindon.

"I'd rather not lose such a promising apprentice, much less the guardian of the Archive. …and a friend," he adds, the aspect assigned last but certainly not least. He finishes the rest of the tea before seting the cup down on the table. With a grunt and then a flash of hand — the bandaged one, no less — he stops any offer of assistance before it even sprouts. "I'll be fine." He needn't limp to the Gate; the Gate can come to him, beckoned as it is out of the empty air off to one side. Beyond, the shadowed comfort of the Loft. "Send Cranston to me as soon as possible, please, and any new information with him. I should be hale enough on the morrow to entertain schooling him." In what? Maybe just 'schooling him' in general, given the foxy grin. "Thank you for tea, Lindon, and for the information. I'll pass along your greetings to Wanda."

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