The Awkward Parenthood Thing

January 25, 2017:

Sofia visits dad in New York

Dr. Strange Sanctum


NPCs: Wong



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

Sometimes Strange can be pretty stubborn. So when he met Sofia, well, he reacted by burying himself in his work. Which is always an easy thing to do. But he also setup some inquires and divinations.

Now, a few months later, evidence has piled up and he can’t live in denial anymore. Besides, it is not as if he can claim to be so busy when he even took a new apprentice. No, it is time to behave like a responsible parent, even if it is almost 20 years later. Okay, it is too late to be a real parent, but he still has a responsibility as a sorcerer.

So he wrote a long letter to Sofia. Who writes letters anymore? Guys that are his age, of course. He was born before World War Two. He wrote a long letter but didn’t use the postal service, the letter just ‘found Sofia’ and included a magical key for his home. ‘Come visit me whenever you want’.

Between work and school, it was very easy for Sofia to keep herself busy. To stay away from Oblivion and asking questions. Questions she both did and didn't want answered for example. For days, that letter was ignored. The key put away in a spot that she rarely looked.

Finally, however… There came a break. A bit of a long weekend from school which coincided with her days off from work. And she managed to continue to ignore it right up until that last day.

It irked her, that her control wasn't enough to just throw it all away. That she actually /wanted/ to know. And yet, here she was. She had finally caved and made the trip. Used the key and now… Breath held, she considers bolting before anyone finds her here.

They key fits any door, the door opens… somewhere else. It is a large living room with classical furniture. It looks normal on plain sight, but for those sensitive to magic, the place is charged. Also, some of usual decorations are enchanted. The chess set in the corner, the amethyst geode sitting on the low table, that odd plant with orange leaves in the hanging basket.

She only has about ten seconds to look around, though, as a bald, slender oriental man appears from the hallway at the right of the room. “Good afternoon,” he greets hesitantly. Then his eyes widen.

“Ah, you must be Sofia,” he bows formally. “Please, be welcome to Sanctum Sanctorum. The Doctor will join us in a minute, I am sure.” He looks a bit nervous, but controls himself quickly. “I am Wong, his valet and bodyguard. Please, take a seat, would you like some tea, or a glass of wine?”

Aaaand, so much for bolting. No help for it now that there's someone /right there/. "Must I be?" Her brows shoot up as he bows. "To… Where?" She has to fight back the urge not to snicker at the name.

Brows meet hairline. "Valet and bodyguard? No, thank you. I don't needed waited on." She clearly disapproves of the perceived servant like status. Instead of sitting, she stands, arms crossing over her chest. "Look, if he's busy, this can be done later." Or not. Ya know… whichever.

Honestly, the sheer amount of magical energy in this place tickles at her senses and she isn't quite sure how to feel about it so she's going with 'uncomfortable'.

“Oh, we are in New York, in Greenwich Village,” explains the oriental man, walking to one of the windows and opening the curtains. Yep, it looks like a normal American city street. Likely there is a moment of cognitive dissonance there.

“Sofia, welcome to my house,” Doctor Strange has arrived, quite suddenly. There was not a door in that side of the room. “I am glad you accepted my invitation. We have much to talk about, I believe.”

Not what she meant but Sofia rolls with it. She peers out the window and blinks several times before turning away and rubbing between her eyes as if it all gives her a headache. "So we are." Maybe she was better off not fully grasping magic…

Her head snaps up and whips around to the source of the new voice and her jaw tenses. "Thanks." Her arms cross once more, the stance a defensive/protective measure. "Do we? Your letter, by the way… I suggest investing in a computer, no one writes letters anymore… Was pretty long. It couldn't have been said in that?"

Why does she suddenly feel like she's a kid about to get a lecture!?

“Er… I have a computer, I am not one of those hermitic wizards,” replies Strange with a faint smile. “But I distrust email. It is easy for the technically wise to intercept that kind of messages, and technomagic is still… underdeveloped.” On the other hand he knows seven different ways to make letters impossible to find by anyone but their intended receptor.

“But please, sit down,” he offers. Wong has somehow sneaked out, so they have privacy. Awkward privacy. “I have also attempted to contact Clea, your mother, but she is well-hidden, I am not sure if my messages have reached her.”

"Technomagic…" Sofia is slowly making her way over to one of the chairs but not without taking in every detail of her surroundings. "You live in a building called Sanctum… something… That takes a magical key to open…" Finally her eyes go back to him. "Tell me again your not a hermit.."

She had just started to sit when her mother is mentioned. It makes her pause and her back stiffens. "Why bother?" She finally sits the whole way. "Look… I don't know what all of this is about but I accepted a long time ago you guys didn't want me. I'm good on my own. It's what I do. Why bother now?"

“Yes, this building is a powerful magical nexus,” admits Strange, “but if you wish, we can chat over a coffee, there is a Starbucks two city blocks from here,” he offers. Then sighs. “I didn’t know about your existence before, Sofia. And your mother… hmm, she had excellent reasons to keep your existence a secret. Not that I can approve them, but I can at least understand them. Your mother is Clea, daughter of the Faltine Umar the Unrelenting and niece of the Dreaded Dormammu, tyrant king of the Dark Dimension. They are… very, very powerful supernatural entities. You are safer hidden from their sight.”

Sofia remains silent through all of this, merely shaking her head at the offer of coffee. For several moments after he quotes speaking, she says nothing. "You didn't know of me… But when you found out… It still took you this long to want anything to do with me."

The fluctuations in her power, as she attempts to keep control, can likely be felt. "Safer for me… It was safer for me to be with a woman who wanted little to do with me. It was safer for me to have these powers come to life and no one to show me what to do with them or how to control them. It was safer for me to never know my parents or a stable life." With each sentence, her voice gets harder and colder.

"Yes… I'm perfectly safe now. Safe when things start to shatter and fly around because I get angry. Safe not trusting anyone to care or be loyal." She starts to push up, refusing to acknowledge the tears forming in her eyes. "How safe do I look to you??"

Strange sighs, “yes… it was safer. Although it could have been handled better. I’d like to say I could have done better if I had known, but in truth my duties as Supreme Sorcerer might have made me a worse father than merely an absent one.” He pauses, giving Sofia a pained glance. “But it is no longer safe. You have inherited a good deal of mystical power, and you have started on the road. No doubt you will grow to become a great sorceress in a few years. I can’t make up for the past, Sofia, but I can offer you knowledge and advice that you could find useful to grow strong in relative safely.”

"At least it would have been some kind of father." She turns, walking back to the window she was shown earlier.

"Good to know what the priorities in your life are though. Thanks for that."

She considers his words, toys with the various amulets at her neck. Tries to think, logically, past the pain she won't admit is there. And what she ends up with is, "Who's offering to teach me?" Her father? Sorcerer Supreme?

And the question gives her a few moments more to try to pull herself together. She hadn't meant to get so upset.

“Yes, I am sorry,” Strange rubs his eyes. He is apologizing a lot today. Must be parenthood. “My occupation involves a good deal of spellcasting all over the world, and the occasional fighting supernatural threats. But you can come here and access one of the best libraries on mysticism and spellcasting of the world, and I will make time to give you formal lessons if you wish.”

Turning from the window, Sofia levels her eyes on him. "Who is offering to teach me, Doctor? Are you offering as my father? Or as… whatever you called yourself?" Her emotions are, at least, back under control and her energies are down to a level that shouldn't be alarming.

She watches him. She can see this isn't easy for him but she doesn't know him well enough to be able to read him and so she's not sure as to /why/ it's hard on him.

“I… yes, I suppose.” Admits the older man. “I don’t make this offer to any young spellbinder. But if you want to learn magic, I prefer if you have access to the best possible instruction. And I want to know you.” Awkward again. “I can’t make up for being missed 20 years, but we have long, long lives ahead. We can still be a family.”

Sofia's eyes drop and she rocks back onto the heels of her boots and the forward between repeating the action once more. "I don't know you… I know nothing about you outside of your name and the fact that your house needs some serious redecorating…"

She settles and lifts her eyes to him. "But I'd like to." She releases the amulets to tuck her hair back behind one ear. "I don't know about teaching me… I've never been good with authority but… even if I agree to it… That should happen after I know you…" After she's learned to trust him.

Her jaw works as she tries to swallow back the tightness in her throat and the way her eyes water at the word 'family'. "I'd like to try…"

Redecorating? Oh, heh. But the house would resist that. Maybe. Fickle magical building. “That is… I understand. Still, I’d like to try. Learning magic is not like learning mathematics. There are pitfalls, and costs, and a mistake can be very painful. It is always better to learn with a tutor, or at least a partner.” He turns, and invites Sofia to walk with him. “Come, I’ll show you the library, and then I will arrange for a long-term gateway to your place in Gotham. That key’s enchantment is good just for a few weeks.”

There's a moment of hesitation from the young Sorceress before she nods and makes her way over to his side. "We can try." And while it's tentative, there's a tiny smile. "It'll be a bumpy ride, I think. I'm told I have quite the mouth on me."

She fidgets for a moment before tucking her hands into her back pockets. "I don't know that I want random people wandering into my hole in the wall." It really isn't much more than that. "But… Thanks." Yeah. Awkward is a good word for this.

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