1965-02-19 - Baked Apple Doom
Summary: Who knew Strange couldn't bake?
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 


Perusing a cookbook is a harmless task and one he engaged in over a nice cup of blackberry-clove tea at O'Riley's. Spaghetti? Nah. Maybe a vegetable ragout? Eh… Oh. Oh, but pie. Everybody likes pie! And what about apple pie? No more American pie exists. That would be a thing to treat a Witch to.

Thus, the kitchen of the Sanctum is occupied by the master of the Sanctum and yes, he's wearing an apron. It's plain, white, but somehow still dignified despite being worn overtop his usual daywear. The sink is full of used dishes and cutlery, the small bag of apple skins set aside for the garden, and he's glowering down at the open cookbook with both hands on his hips at the moment.

"Define 'bubbling'," Strange grumbles, rubbing a hand down his mouth. Then…then comes that stab in the heart of a realization: something's burning. "SHIT!"

A bluish smoke escapes from the oven as he pulls open the glass-paned door and immediately begins to cough, waving his hand in front of his face. "GodscoughDAMMIT!" Two poorly-wrapped dishtowel hands pull the erstwhile pastry from the rack and it slides a little on the island counter before coming to a stop. Mmm, nothing like the effects of too much Maillard browning. The Sorcerer sighs as he watches the bubbling beneath the lattice begin to slow, leaning heavily on the island with both hands. "Bubbling," comes the mutter.

The smell of apples on the air, stewed or baked, is compelling enough to pull Wanda out from her regular studies. What power does research hold over a hungry tummy? Oh hello, read the same paragraph fourteen times and give up on the fragrance of apple delights broken down by the slow, steady heat that caramelizes internal sugars. So she abandons her post in a reading room, the spell collapsing when denied of steady energy and continuous chanting that refers the witch to a certainty no one actually practicing this awful magic actually intended to use it outside a ritual room. Too much chanting.

She makes it almost to the kitchen door before her nose wrinkles. Recognizing the scorched smell, the heavy smoke pressure, her patience elapses into a flare of concern. Would the wards stop the sanctum from building down? Yes. But that does not actually explain why something burns, especially as her use of the oven or stove has been minimal lately.

She swings around and appears at the kitchen door, poking her head around the jamb. A bleat of warning comes with the rattle of jewels in her headband, beads strung out in a glimmering of blood bright gems. The poor island might be burning at this point. Her eyes widen, as she asks, "Did you put a bad thing into the oven? The ice mjormwyrm from the third dimension?"

Oh no, arrival of the Witchy one! Strange looks up and his expression is really rather tortured. Not even a chance to clean up the mess; the pie, with its blackened crust and gellied innards still sits plain and center upon the kitchen island. No live fire, just the sinus-insulting scent of hyper-carbonized sugar.

His laugh is forced, the smile absolutely plastered on suddenly, and he then clears his throat. "No, no mjormwyrms. Just…" The pause is accompanied by a slightly hang-dog look at the doomed pastry. "Just a pie."

No escaping his worse half coming to see the appearance of bad luck. Isn't that just the way of things considering that she has a finger on the pulse of fortune, and the karmic lines quiver loudly enough to jar. His destructive efforts bring a tightening mouth, thinned eyes in assessment to identify any risk or threat. As no claws poke out of the dish, and no squeals of protest in an unknown language assault her ears, Wanda can descend from her current DEFCON level. Out of flaming vermillion, down to a healthy orange, let everyone rejoice for her quirked eyebrow.

"An attack pie?" Attack pie. Because why the hell do these two ever pretend at anything normal, the lesser twin probably used to hurling such things to distract Pietro. She glances over Strange to seek any proof of burns or injuries, and then down to the disaster in a saccharine scorch.

The next laugh, a wry nasal-toned thing, comes as he drops his chin nearly to his chest. Teeth flash in a faint grin as he dredges up some pride from the depthless wellspring and glances over at her.

"It could absolutely be an attack pie at this point." Untying the apron from the small of his back and then picking at the knot at the back of his neck, he grimaces. "I think it's time that I admit to being nowhere near the baker that my mother was." His bright eyes gain a faint ray of crow's feet at fond memories in passing. "Few were." Damn knot, he's still picking at it.

Pride knows no bounds with this man, handsome and straight-backed, and humorous as he is. The sparkle of laughter in those cobalt blue eyes still pin Wanda's breath in her lungs, but not forestall the quizzical expression transmuting her features. Amber complexion losing its weak pallor, she exhales a low breath. Nothing on fire, no assault, no damage or destruction.

Nothing lasting, anyways. Her eyes close for a moment, and she blows out a breath, saturated in a touch of relief. "Attack pie could make tin a puddle." Her English isn't terrible, but she still is cringe worthy at times, bending language in all the wrong places. "You made apples on fire. Could she make fire apples?"

"Fire apples?" His tone is properly pensive even if that twinkle of amusement doesn't fade a lumen's worth. It's one of the more precious things he finds in Wanda, that judicious torque of the English language. Knowing her as he does, he can steal a modicum of delight from the subtle pause in her expression. "Not without too much cinnamon and only once with Cayenne pepper. My — my brother switched out the spice containers and thought it was very funny when my father took the first bite."

Strange shakes his head once before making some soft growl of frustration at the knot behind his neck. Palsied fingers are no friend for a doubly-secured apron tie. Pulling it up over his head leaves him to pat down the disrupted hair as best he can; the baker's armor is tossed aside in a flour-dusted bundle to the counter.

"Care to go to an actual bakery? I do intend for you to enjoy some apple pie." The water in the sink comes on and he half-heartedly fills the sticky mixing bowls with water and some dish soap. …doing the dishes? Not so much; there's ego stepping in.

Fire apples. Burning apples. Lava apples. These terrible things aren't guarded by pretty nymphs of Greek origins, but terrors who dwell among Mount Etna's highest reaches, and stalk horrible corners of the world. As magic fades, so do even the spirits warp fruit to torment mankind with. "Pepper," she shakes her head. "It is not a good spice. Use nutmeg, cinnamon, clove." She has to carefully wind her tongue around the unfamiliar names. "Not cassia. It is not a real cinnamon." Opinionated about that, are we?

Still, that bundle is absolutely a sad sight, hissing and gurgling, a garburator of a pie eager to gnash its fruity teeth on any spoon stupid enough to break the surface. Everything is upside down and dangerous if pies are trying to eat their makers. Bad baker! Nomnomnom!

Wanda looks very dubiously upon the disaster baked from the oven. "Clean first and then to a bakery?"

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 16

The Sorcerer sucks on his teeth for a second, the tic wrecking the formal lines of his goatee, and then reaches across the sink. Donning yellow dish gloves, he even snaps their hems as if they were surgical gloves. Maybe it's some attempt to muster interest in the task itself, bringing in parallels to the operating room? Hey, sterility as a state is something that can be mostly achieved, even if his hands shake as he begins to pick at a particular stubborn globule of apple filling on the side of a mixing bowl.

"Yes. I'll clean up the mess I made first, and then to the little shop on the street corner." He looks up at the Witch from his task. "What were you doing then when my attempt at baking distracted you?" Doesn't he look domestic in those dish gloves? It might be jarring.

Dangerous casserole and pie garburators threaten the general populace, surely, and here the Sorcerer Supreme munches on proverbial apples to keep the trouble from bothering his household. Take note. Hoggoth already is, probably staring at the kitchen from his earthbound tie to a divine sanctuary. Wanda glances at the Eye, just in case. It might be slitted open, using a monocle to zone in on trouble.

"Do not wear those gloves always." Says the witch, unapproving of yellow dish gloves on his ensemble. Please do not wear them. She flicks her fingers and mutters something. One of the first lessons any witch learns is cleaning. Explosive gesture it's not, but a means of scouring dishes in a moment's notice, the organic junk gathered up into a multicoloured ball that grows by the moment to plop atop the apple skins. Waste not, want not.

Inwardly, Strange sighs in relief; the droop of shoulders is probably tell enough in the end. Thank the gods for the little kindness of allowing his masculine tendencies to remain unsullied by dirty dishwater. A burnt pie was hard enough for his pride to swallow, if not literally. Nobody wants that black-burnt crust here.

"I don't intend to," he replies, shucking the gloves and tossing them back behind the spigot. Begone, yellow nuisances! The pie is relegated to the bag of apple skins, egg shells, and other detrius of his attempt. There's satisfaction to be found in gathering up the bundle. "I'll dump this in the compost pile and then we'll go. Dress as you need to?" He probably means things like actual gloves in case she gets cold — what a silly notion. It's one of those things that slips his slippery mind now and then. "Meet me in the foyer." A kiss on her forehead in passing and off the man goes, leaving behind shreds of lost dignity within the confines of the odor-laden kitchen.

The blurp of the pie splatting on the frozen pile out back is another point of mild satisfaction and he even 'hmphs' at it, equivalence of a dog kicking dirt over something disturbing. Back inside out of the cold before it gets to the pins hidden beneath scarring and then to the closet by the front door for his Belstaff coat.

Neither construction worker or dishwasher, the Sorcerer Supreme has a higher calling than mere labour in his own kitchen. Why does the Sanctum even have a kitchen? These are important questions to separate from one's activities at present, notably the disaster disappearing not by reversing time, as he might be wont to do, but simply things cleaning themselves up like a demented sorcerer's apprentice montage. Wanda closes her hand on the spell, and the magic ceases, the minimal expenditure suggesting she has performed this particular spell many, many, many times in the past.

A kiss will do of course, right to the point when the pie makes a noise. She flings her wrist out and points, a hex tilted to protective blessing rather than curse on the very tip. "Out you go!"

Authority that probably transforms it into a giant Lego block, at this rate, for all one knows. Or the pie crawls away to lurk in the dirt. She will be satisfied with that. Always wearing her coat, she's always ready to go.

Then both in their dapper coats, Strange now with black gloves lined in an extradimensional fleecy fur that staves off the worst of the dry February chill, they exit the Sanctum. A brush of fingertips along the outside of the doubled doors imbues their god-proof locking and the Sorcerer offers an arm to the Witch.

"Do you want anything else from the bakery besides pie?" The world, after all, is her oyster — even if she doesn't understand the turn of phrase. "I remember that they make a delightful orange meringue pie. There was also a chocolate cream pie worthy of a blue ribbon or two." He leads the way down the steps and turns in the direction of the bakery a block or two down the street. Breath fogs in the brilliant sunlight that somehow manages to barely imbue warmth, the best of teases for those tired of winter's grip.

Cold is part of the Transian's bones, for all she comes from a warm clime. The Balkans have mountains and chill, snow to run with the intense heat. What dramatic changes of temperature New York offers, she willingly suffers through only because of this man, and her brother, and her father, and her sons, and… Okay, point.

Her hands tuck into her pockets after she loops her arm around Strange's. See, disasters in baking get him the girl and good company as they saunter through the streets of the city. Maybe that was intentional. "What is meringue?" It comes out all wrong, for she cannot speak that word without mangling it. A newfound French term. "A piece of something to eat. I smelled beef in a roll yesterday. It was almost worth the pain." Almost. Not quite.

"Meringue," Strange echoes. His is an easy pace, one set for conversation, and the roll of his dress shoes on the pavement silent for it. "It's the white topping that's not as soft as whipped cream. …egg whites, I believe. It can also be made into floral shapes. Lightly toasted on top, browned." They're approaching a stop light and this will eventually require a pause in the small morning crowd awaiting the signal to cross. Must not get smushed by traffic and those busy, busy taxis.

"You don't have to get anything with meringue on it," he adds, glancing to her. Sunlight plays off the planes of his cheekbones and catches obliquely in his eyes, bringing out the ghostly greenish hues that otherwise hide. "Get what you wish — my treat."

Meringue. Whipped egg whites, something foreign to a girl lucky to have anything to drink or eat at all. Hunger exists in the scope of Wanda's existence far more than times of plenty do, an empty larder a hallmark of their time in the greater world, and until SHIELD plucked them, that's the best anyone could hope for in Eastern Europe. She walks alongside Strange, allowing him to maneuver his way around pedestrians and vehicles. Save her to look out for bald eagles with laser eyes and beings ready to drop out of the dark, for she is a patient creature at best.

"I do not know how this tastes. It sounds very thick?" Oh, how little she knows. Wanda hasn't dismissed the option. "I would like to eat. It is enough."

"We'll get an apple pie and an orange meringue pie then, so you can see what meringue tastes like," Strange replies, giving her a warm smile. The herd begins to move again once the little white man glows in his box across the street and he somehow manages an ounce or two of his own space about him. Maybe it's the broad shoulders — maybe it's the expression …maybe he's even woven in a subtle charm or two within the fabric of his Belstaff coat.

It's not a far walk in the end to the bakery and it's a charming place, full of eclectic decor a la Greenwich Village. A young couple runs it, likely one side's family owning the property and encouraging them along. The blonde looks up from some recipe and gives them a wane smile. "Welcome, how can we help you?" 'We' includes the husband, appearing from the back and the ovens, given the ruddiness of his cheeks. He wipes back a lank strand of brown hair and gives them a much bigger grin.

"If you're looking for tarts, some just went in." He's got a bit of an Italian accent in the end.

"Pies, actually," says Strange. "Do you have an apple and one of the seasonal orange meringues?" He hasn't relinquished the crook of his arm and thus, the Witch.

"Yes, an apple just came out. If you can wait for it to cool before we box it up…?" The blonde wife asks, her dark eyes shifting between everyone. A look from Strange to Wanda invites her opinion(s) on matters.

No reason to complain for that. The delicious prospect of anything orange is sure to please the brunette, though she hasn't any notion of what fluffy creations of an egg await her. Stiff peaks and foamy air do not a meal always make. More room for the stuff underneath, whatever mysterious concoction that is. She nods to Strange, allowing him the privilege of seeing to food that may or may not poison her, allowing a gesture of trust that may misfire spectacularly.

Say, do they have garburator pie plagues in New York?

Lief as not, they have plenty of options. Greenwich throngs with little shops of all sorts, appealing to the elite who cannot cook or the poor who don't, or the houses without any sort of kitchen. In truth, they exist. Only the two mansions, one of which is his and another open to the public, are blessed with right and proper facilities to steam a bison or cook up a whale d'orange. Is that a thing? It should be.

Nonetheless, in they go, the bakery swallowing them up. "We wait." That much she can pick out. No point in trying to eat the pie right here, right now.

Strange nods. "We'll wait then," he informs them, his echo solidifying their intent. The wife returns the inclination of head.

"Absolutely. It should be about ten minutes. Would you like anything in the meanwhile? We do have coffee as well as sugar and cream." Her dark eyes slide to Wanda, distantly curious in a way.

"It's good coffee," the husband chimes in as he absently brushes a clump of dough from his black apron. The kitchen-wear has all the hand- and finger-prints of a busy baker enjoying what he does. "I have it shipped from overseas." Now that statement is enough to make the Sorcerer look to Wanda once more. Perhaps she'll indulge in a cup while they wait? How little he truly knows of the origins of the beans. Maybe they'll be lucky and it's of the same quality used by the fussiest of the Viennese.

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