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I Larb You

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Stephen Strange was very tired. He’d spent the day corralling a magical menace at the Met. Someone had donated an ancient artifact with very toxic properties and he’d had to call on both his skills as a magician and a physician to save that poor curator. Now, he was bringing the item back to the Sanctum for safekeeping.

 

“We very much appreciate your help, Dr. Strange,” one of the museum’s directors told him. “You saved Dr. Abernathy’s life.”

“I am only lucky I was in time,” Strange said. It was not something he would have admitted as a surgeon, but now that he had learned to bend time and space, he was more and more aware of how fragile timing was and how necessary to any endeavor. There had been some people he’d been unable to save, after all. “Please do call on me if any other new items display any intriguing properties,” he said.

 

With a last wave at the director of acquisitions, he portaled himself back to Bleeker St., took the box with the poisonous Sumerian tablets upstairs and put it next to the armor in one of his secure cases, and returned to the ground floor for tea. Even his Cloak of Levitation seemed a bit droopy with fatigue. He’d just taken his first sip--the soothing Tibetan tea seemed to go straight to his tension headache and make it unfold like a lotus, praise the Buddha--when he heard a sound. A familiar sound.

 

Tap-tap. Tap. Tap-tap. Tap.

 

“Oh, no,” Stephen Strange said to his cloak.

 

“Hey, Strange!” Darcy Lewis said when he swung the door open. “What’s shakin, doc?”

“Miss Lewis, to what do I owe this pleasure?” he asked, trying not to sigh. He failed.

“I need a favor,” she said. “Oh, hey, cloak.” The Cloak of Levitation waved limply at her. “What’s wrong with you, little buddy?” she asked the cloak kindly. Miss Lewis seemed to be able to form close bonds with magical objects, Strange knew. She’d mourned a “Mew Mew” for several weeks before he realized she was talking about Thor’s lost Mjolnir.

“The Cloak is quite tired. We’ve had a busy day,” Strange said, hoping she’d take the hint. She did not. She merely sailed into his living room, plopped down on the sofa, and poured herself a cup of his very expensive tea.

“This is really good,” she told him.

“It’s for headaches,” he said, rubbing his forehead. “How can I help you again? Do you need a portal? Help with an Asgardian item?”

“No and no. I need you to go on a blind date, doc,” Darcy said, smiling.

“Oh, dear Lord, not this again. Miss Lewis, we’ve covered this. You’re a relentlessly well-intentioned matchmaker, but I’m a poor prospect for the kind of women you know,” he said.

“I set you up with gorgeous, eligible women, my dude,” she objected.

“I will admit that Natasha Romanoff and Maria Hill are very attractive, in a terrifying way, but you cannot expect them to find me attractive when they prefer men like the Winter Soldier and women like Agent 13, respectively.”

“I totally didn’t know Maria and Sharon were a thing, I swear,” Darcy said. “Besides, this is a totally normal woman.”

“Who do you know who is normal?” Strange asked curiously. “Everyone you know is either a superhero, a SHIELD agent, or a brilliant scientist or several of the above?”

“Well, she is kind of superhero adjacent,” Darcy admitted.

“How so?” Strange asked.

“She’s the adorable Spiderbaby’s aunt.”