1965-07-21 - Tea and Trouble
Summary: If your hair doesn't turn pink, you did it wrong. Just another day for Lamont!
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lamont wanda strange 


The Sanctum Sanctorum owes its existence to the careful, managed attentions of previous masters and mistresses. To be sure, the latter are a rarity. The Mystic Arts do not prefer one sex over the other, albeit positions of power tend to flow in the direction of prevailing society. At least in New York, the string of masters have decidedly of a certain mould that precludes the likes of Ms. Maximoff from ruling the roost.

Not that she rules it with the Sorcerer Supreme in residence, but she is the next nearest thing. Matters of importance fall to her when the Doctor is out, leaving the doctor's near-wife to manage matters. She accepts deliveries, cleans, and threatens the hissing, singing snakes with the weight of a witch's displeasure. When one of those snakes mocks her, hissing in its sibilant laughter, she responds quite simply.

Scruffing the malk, she sets the cat in front of the glass terrarium sealed by at least four spells imbued by the Vishanti's power. The grey feline ears perk forward. Whiskers sparkle. The snakes, for all their mockery, cease making fun of the whole world and freeze, ophidian tongues and eyes frozen on the fluffy-tailed beast. "Mraaawr." Aralune is happy to give her opinion.

Wanda mutters an ancient invocation under her breath, hardly certain that she might be speaking Atlantean. One of her mentor's issues. She swivels and returns to the task at hand, going to wash her hair. The cat keeps staring down the snakes with eager glee, tail twitch to and fro. Right until a noise sends the damp-tressed sorceress striding through the foyer again. "Pietro, I swear…"

The polite rapping of an almost-apprentice, come to deliver tea and certain herbs that are a sort of offering. Strange could go straight to the source, Gate himself to the distant peaks of China where the clouds brush over the mountainside-terraces where they are grown. But he needn't, for there's someone in Chinatown who carries them in his shop….and it's Lamont's tribute and favor to get some. So he's at the door in his usual crisp gray suit and panama hat, string bag of tins over his arm.

Polite rapping indeed. The door presents a rather horrific balance. Her wet hair falls much lower than her typical hairstyles might allow. Wanda freezes on the spot, towel a pointless endeavour. The wards inform what they will of certain details, her affinity for them not nearly so strong as Strange himself, but potent nonetheless. She wrinkles her nose as water skids down the slope, and without any warning at all, her mussed houserobe vanishes into a melting coruscation of black dress and long, slashed burgundy coat too warm for the weather and unsuitable for the stylization of the Sixties. Cool doesn't matter. The ring on her finger and the inset gems on the pendant at her throat vanish under gloves and the neckline of the dress respectively, but the signature they carry is a punch to the psychic noggin.

"Mrip!" Aralune chirps at the snakes, still in a standoff. The door opens. Her tail twitches as the reality warping around Wanda settles down.

HE's one of Aralune's favorite snacks, is the man removing his hat as he steps in to the cool dimness of the foyer. Looking around with those gray eyes in search of his teacher, but too polite to call out. He can wait for Strange to show himself. Wizards might be busy, after all.

Aralune's favourite snack indeed, among them. The lady of the sanctum offers regular doom and misfortune for the feline to nose gently at, demanding more beyond pets and cuddles. The grey monstrosity flicks her tail and refuses to avoid those wicked snakes, though Lamont is dangerously close to being headbutted.

Her hair still drips onto the floor. Wanda skates across the ground, barefooted, clenching a few handfuls of power as a certain consequence. The doors settled shut, and she looks over the mountainous pile of deliveries from the previous day. "Yes." Not even quite a question, really.

The cat's presence makes him go still, a moment of being clearly disconcerted, before he remembers his manners. "I'm sorry to disturb, ma'am," he says, politely, a hint of English accent present, slipping through. "I'd brought some herbs I'd promised the Sorcerer," he offers, proffering the string bag with its tins and paper bags. Lamont's only interacted with her a handful of times, unsure what to do.

"Ma'am." The word falls flat from her lips, falling hard and leaden against the tongue. It still carries her native accent, the Transian blending Slavic and romantic influences. Latin by way of Moscow crashes into a nostalgic blend out of the Cold War. "You are welcome." Obviously. Lamont is not a pile of ash, something worth noting. She rubs her shoulder with her palm, kneading the discomfort away, and not much paying any attention to the slick dynamic of her hair or the leather of her coat. Looking at the package, she stills somewhat. Contents unfamiliar to her, she narrows her eyes; the sensitivity hidden in her can respond to the slightest deviations, and opening her third eye is an act of defiance, in a sense. "The kitchen, maybe." Floating it may be the best choice. She rarely bothers with shows of magic, but that may be what stands ahead of her.

Useful preparations, hard to find on earth….but nothing absolutely outre. He looks at her, expectantly. Lead on, apparently. "Of course," he says. Clearly Strange isn't in, in one way or another.

All preparations taken in stride. The beefed-up security in the sanctum provides a measure of safety for the inhabitants. She takes the floating bag and moves behind it, guided by the bow wave. "Tea?" It isn't the usual grace that Strange affords to his favoured, but then she has the manners given to a murderous demon-hunter of the Eastern Bloc. Aralune perks up and comes trotting over, sinuously weaving around her legs and then dashing headlong for Lamont to lean on his shins.

Monty manages not to flinch….but Aralune is behaving herself, relatively. He walks carefully, mincing geisha steps, to keep from kicking or tripping over the cat. "Yes, please, thank you," he says, with only occasional glances up to make sure he's following Wanda and not going to bump into any walls.

Aralune is behaving only as far as she thinks she can get away with it. A paw squashed on Lamont's foot, leaning up against his leg, if she trips him up she wins a prize. Wanda knows whence she goes, meandering across the hallways and corridors in a redefined axis. The kitchen may see less use than some days than elsewhere in a house, and the simple business of negotiating her path there takes very little effort at all. Besides, follow the tiny puddles. Pussy cat steps in the water and keeps prancing along, chirping noticeably about this, that, and the other which probably means nothing to any unable to speak Grey Malk Meow.

There, the proferred herbs end up left on the counter and, for sheer safety, encircled in a ring of salt by the witch. Or she spills the shaker and happens to form a perfectly serviceable circle as a result. Tea, however, means pilfering a loose leaf tin.

The Shadow has brought gifts - herbs and teas and strange resins from the shop he knows in Chinatown. More a token tribute than anything, but gestures count. He's in one of his usual gray summer suits, Panama hat in one hand, as he scuffs along trying to keep from either tripping over or punting Aralune. At least she hasn't tried to knock him down. Yet.

Cat likes chicken, cat likes liver, Lamont, Lamont, be a sinner~!

The kitten prowls along, and sits herself down halfway through the kitchen. Her efforts to passively murder Lamont have only been upgraded. Mind if she noses a cabinet door open to send him crashing to the ground if she can. Mrat!

Wanda puts the kettle on the stove, filled with water. That much is doable without any trouble. With the stovetop alight, she brings down a cup and sets it on a saucer. Honey may be the only sweetener available, and no milk.

He manages to dodge it, albeit clumsily. The cat gets a glare from him, as he sets down the bag on the table, carefully. There's a subtle nudge of one booted foot. Bad kitty. Be somewhere else.

Without preamble and any form of knock to be heard, the soft open and close of the front doors to the Sanctum can be heard at a distance. Sometimes, when the weather's nice, there's no need to Gate down to the post office. Electrical bills must get paid, one way or another, even by the Sorcerer Supreme. With the daily arrival of mail in-hand, Strange meanders his way from the short entryway and into the broad expanse of the foyer. In dress pants, shined shoes, and a silver button-down with sleeves rolled to elbows, he is the part of typical New Yorker at least in fashion. He whistles, partially to enjoy the two-toned high-low tune echoing back at him and then to announce himself to all within hearing range rather than a loud greeting.

The sounds of metal on stovetop is enough to make him realize that the kitchen is occupied and he has eyes upon the mail as he walks in, grousing, "You'd think they'd figure out that I paid the damn fee last month, but they keep sending me notices. I'll send them something really shortly here. Nothing like a — " Blue eyes rise and he stops, momentarily mouth-gaped. Oh. Guest.

"Cranston," and he laughs shortly. "I didn't think you were here." Clearly not. Aralune is given an eyebrow from the Big Fuzzy (behave, is always implied by that look) and then he steps over to the Witch. The bills are left on the counter as he presses a kiss to her wetted curls. "«Beloved»," is the murmur of greeting, as always, along with a hand rested upon her hip briefly.

He then turns on the spot, pinning Lamont with his attention. "What brings you today then, Cranston?" The question precedes him stepping over to the kitchen table and the Shadow.

Aralune shall not be waylaid by enemies of a fedora'd sort. Attempting to dislodge her with a toe is a good way to get a feline 'smmmrt' and sniff in the air. Maybe even a sneeze that encourages snapping her teeth, devouring a little wisp of fate crisped and charred in dark denouements of positivity. If hope springs eternal, hope is a cat.

Wanda scoops out a ball from a drawer, something perforated and attached to a chain, the better to imprison innocent Chinese leaves and Indian tea in the gulag. Torture by boiling water creates a brew serviceable for a guest. No one should describe her as bustling. She moves with the minimum efficiency required, absent small talk and chatter. "He returns," she says without looking up, for no one wants a faceful of steam when pouring the kettle's boiling contents into a teapot. Thus will Big Fuzzy and Medium Fuzzy be able to rub noses and look respectably ridiculous. A kiss to her soaked hair is met with typical narrow-eyed regard, though the flashfire of pomegranate over her golden-amber eyes saturates their shade until the point it's hard to believe they were never natively violet in the first place. Liz Taylor, eat your heart out. "Trishul."

Lamont politely looks away from the PDA. Well, not P, precisely. It's their house, after all. "I just came by to bring afew of those herbal compounds from Mr. Li," he says, gently. "I thought they might be of interest to you. Some of them are related to that tea you gave me for Lin's headaches." Since Wanda's in the know, presumably, when it comes to the Shadow's companion.

"Ah, very good. Those must be them on the counter." Turning about, the Sorcerer walks over to observe them safely ensconced within their ring of white salt. He reaches to pick one up and rub it between fingers, sniffing at it and nodding to himself. "Thank you, I appreciate it. I'll know what to do with them after further research and some experimentation."

Here's hoping he doesn't smoke out the potions room again. His hair color was a fascinating shade of fuschia if only for a short period of time. Thank the gods no one outside of the family was around to see it.

Leaning against the surface now, he lightly folds his arms and gives Wanda's preparation of the leaves his attention. "And tea too. Always kind of you. How can I help?" This he asks of the Witch, content to remain at ease where he stands or hop in to aid as necessary.

Aralune will conduct her attack elsewhere. He might just plan to run if she gets her way and bites that stool or steals a pant leg. Lamont is target number three for the hungry little malk. Mrat!

The tea is done, the one cup ready and prepared. She remains as she is after pushing over her offering to their guest. None taken for herself, the proximity to Strange melts a little of that mercurial, unfriendly slant around her. Perhaps unfriendly isn't the right take; brusque and precise. Her gaze is far too old for her apparent youth. "It is done. You see?"

Lamont accepts it with grace, inclining his head. "Thank you," he says, gently, settling at the table. Careful, as always, as if his hands might betray him. "And of course." A twinkle of amusement. He must've caught the tail end of that incident.

Strange eyes Lamont, but only long enough to imply that he'll know very well who spilled the beans if anyone asks him about violently-pink hair at the next visit to the Bar With No Doors.

"Yes, I see," he replies quietly to Wanda before shifting his weight slightly where he rests, wearing formality about him loosely. "Any news to report then, Cranston? Word that hasn't reached my ears as of yet?" The subtle slide down the counter closes distance between him and the Witch; hips might even bump, but all for the better in terms of little affectionate gestures not overtly embarrassing before guests.

A nod adapts to the business of the hour, which she has naught to contribute to. Wanda lapses silent, not an uncomfortable situation, not when the brighter moon who is her fraternal twin so very regularly fills the air with his resplendent chatter and overwhelming arrogance. Eclipse is her natural state, all said and done.

Courting the Doctor directly in front of anyone else, even her own dead mother, would be out of line for her. Thus she listens, observant for trouble and no notion of bright purple or pink hair. Pressing into Strange's side is a matter of patience, taking at least ten minutes to merge the topmost layer of atoms.

Lamont is utterly demure, feigning ignorance of any contact. "Not from me. I've been much at home of late." Guarding Lindon. Not that he seems to mind.

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