1965-06-13 - Trials of War and Love
Summary: Turns out they have a cost.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lamont sadie 


Monty is what he is. And part of that 'what' is deeply conservative. In this part of the year, the hat's a Panama, the tie's a subtly patterned maroon, and the suit's summer-weight gray linen, but that's still what he has on, as he comes in to the echoing cool of the gallery. The hat's in hand, as is proper, now that he's indoors. Old school manners, of course.

And a face Death might know well. He's sent so many to her embrace, and only narrowly avoided it a time or two - the flirt. A grave and nearly immortal widowmaker, with an aura like the smoke of burning myrrh.

Death takes the shape of a girl five feet tall and change, ducked under a large wooden stake possibly the size of a full grown cedar. Western red, for maximum diameter, rather than the spindly things growing parched in the Sierra Nevada. She balances on a stool overloaded by a can of stain, another of red paint, and half a dozen brushes. No way should she be able to do that in a black swing dress, but she does, though her white pinafore looks like the Butcher of Seville met Anne of Green Gables, fell in love, and gave their offspring one messy hobby. Though none of that red belongs on her. Her swing dress barely reaches her knees, those tights perfect, the white go-go boots equally daring. The other choice is barefoot, and not while she scribbles graffiti with a black can of spray paint. It's something straight off the Berlin Wall.

Except that's a stake and they're in America, and the other half of the huge displayed sculpture - a shape emerging from barbed wire, mouth open in a cry - could be called the blasphemous birth of progress. She's death through and through; the mystics need no help seeing the ankh on her chest, but it takes a bit more skill or a bill due to spot that corresponding curlicue under her eye.

"Oh! One moment, I'm just getting this right. I've got coffee on the hob if you want any. It should be fresh." This from under said broad beam that would kill her if it collapsed. "Maybe, I made it when I mixed this up. And if you're here for Clara or Trixie, they're both currently protesting across the city in… Harlem? Maybe there."

How very odd, indeed. Lamont glances at her, pauses, and looks again more closely, eyebrows heading for his hairline. "Ah, no," he says, politely. "Can't say I am. I was merely curious, and came in to take a look." Lamont's tread is almost soundless, as he comes to inspect the work in progress. His gaze keeps darting back and forth from her to it.

How terribly odd, that smiling face and pale, so very pale, visage hidden by the luxurious sweep of her dark hair pulled into a chic, tall ponytail. Not an ounce of curl to show, she probably needs an iron to achieve that geisha-esque look. Neo-modern Japanese, very. "No? That's probably for the better. I doubt they will be by until tomorrow or the next day." Her voice has a pristine accent, English, mercurial Piccadilly rather than stuffy Oxford or Buckingham or I'm a posh-toffer-shire. She peeks out and then straightens, blood-dark brush in hand, spray can in the other. "This is the Endless Collective. A gallery, a working space, ownership of the imagination. Not all of it's mine, most isn't, but anyone is welcome."

Redolent of home, for all that he's ironed it out of his speech save in the gravest of extremities. Though his is the starchiest of the upper class officers' drawls, when it does manage to win through - or a parade-ground bark, when Strange startles him into it. "What are you working on now?" he asks, still in that mild tone.

Redolent indeed, as warm as a cup of tea. Sadie dips the brush into a glass of water, dousing the bristles in a reckless fashion, tip down for now. Her can goes on the sawhorse beside her. "I'm making a statement of consequence. Nothing comes for free, after all, and plenty of people think that happens." Hers is pure mod. She looks it, dresses it, and exudes it. Except for that dreadful risk of something other, the else.

What a puzzle. Does Strange know her, know of her? Surely he does, considering how observant the Doctor is of his territory. "How so?" he asks, turning that gray gaze from the artwork to her, level, unwavering. Toying with the brim of his hat.

That bright smile has an upright cheer, consigning darkness to oblivion. "Oh, that you have two parts of the world at loggerheads. People always get particularly funny about great powers going about their business and doing mighty things. They forget about the people in between. The regular folks get to be the grist, now or in their fields or later. It seemed right to point that out now and then. Some inflexible thinking jams up the gears and we all go down." He earns himself a quirked up smile. "Coffee? Water? Maybe we have some wine made from mushrooms."

"Water will do," Lamont drawls, suspecting he's being made fun of, but taking no offense. "I don't think I'd react well to wine made from mushrooms," he adds, with a little grin. "And….you're quite right. It's sadly true." He's old enough to have been to war, in Korea or the Big One, by the look of him.

Water it will be. Not the cup with the paintbrush dumped in it unless Monty asks nicely. Sadie saunters over to a pitcher on a side table with a drawer that probably contains three dozen pens, of which maybe two work every other Thursday, weather permitting. Several mismatched glasses are stacked there, and she pours one to the brim for him. "Very much. They're tallying all the benefits of Vietnam, right now. Someone is looking east hopefully to the Soviet sphere. And let's not talk of the various other proxies sprouting up like mushrooms, to talk of fungi. But that's not here or there. I'm being absolutely terrible, I know you and you don't quite know me." Drying her hands off on a towel, she holds one out. "I'm Sadie. Sadie Hadley. Most of the time."

"You know me?" The polite skepticism in his tone is merely token. She knows, he knows, etc. He doesn't hesitate to take her hand with his, shake it firmly. Gunman's calluses, just as one might expect. "And I fear you're right. Vietnam is coming, and it will not be good. If any war can be deemed such," he adds, with a bitter little twist to his mouth.

"Oh, I know just about everyone. It's the nature of cities. Separation is always a few nodes, not that far apart as you think. A place as big as this? Eventually you find someone in common with someone else, and I have a wide circle." Sadie winks, her dark lashes ebony on the cream pallor of her skin. "It's all right. You don't have to believe me. I hold with the whole community of humanity and everyone in the family view. There is something profoundly freeing and moving in the notion we share a common bond regardless of creed or race or colour. Which is good, as you see I haven't very much of it." Her handshake is precise and fluid to his crispness. Firmness is no issue there, ounce for ounce matched, easy. She has a few artist's callouses, a definite sense of working with her hands. They are cool, pleasantly so, like the water. "Vietnam happens. It's happened for something like ten years, if we count the presence of the French. But the violence that erupted on those shores wasn't an accident. Quite deliberate, actually, and the fabic of society unravels in the South to the detriment of all living there. The north is so very hostile, and fighting for their very existence in their own eyes. The south isn't quite the same. There's only one kind of war that can be deemed such — a war of hearts — and even that has casualties. Usually good ones. Sometimes children popping up out of it." Children begotten as casualties. Perish the thought.

Lamont's lips thin out at that. Prophecy or mere fact, disheartening in either case. But the latter makes him smile, all but despite himself. "The one war where both sides may hasten to surrender….or find themselves ambushed to their pleasure." It certainly has been so for him, to find himself conquered by Cupid's arrows like any common man.

Sadie burns with that incandescent delight at everything. She checks the little drawer for among the pens and tape are a box of miniature shortbread fingers. Those laid out for her guest make a tidy snack, and she helps herself to one with obvious glee. No crumbs stick to her face as she takes her time. "Surrender rarely hurt anyone in that kind of war, it's true. The spoils are as good as the labours."

The smile grows, and it's neither malicious nor shadowed nor sardonic. Amazing how it changes the lines of his face, these days, isn't it? Mellowed, perhaps. He takes a piece of shortbread, eats it neatly. "Precisely."

So many lines erase under the fondness of company, a shared thought, or a lively discussion. "Catch happiness where you can. There's an endless supply even though some will tell you it's not true." Sadie leans against the wall, corner of her narrow shoulder and upper arm giving her all the balance she needs. "You have the look of someone satisfied, though. That's like tellilng you to drink more cream."

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