<NYC> Greenwich Village
There's blood filling the air -- blood and yelling, gunfire deafening enough to drown out the sounds of voices. But not enough to drown out the blood (spilling down sticky-hot over a long thumbclaw, dripping onto the sable-dark velvet of one huge wingsail), not enough to kill the sharp fierce-fanged grin, the crack of baton into flesh.
These are not Maya's dreams, light-and-airy, warm-bright; in here it's only -- blood. Maya picks her way through a puddle of it, spilling out dark against the floorboards from a torn-open throat. Slips unseen beneath a lashing wing, creeps in anachronistically cheerful-bright blue-and-white kurta over a pile of bruised-and-battered bodies.
Stops to right a tipped-over can of beer, still unseen, still unheard. But listening-watching-/feeling/, focusing on something beneath the dreaming, something past the blood and gunfire and the jarring ferocity written onto a face /she's/ only ever seen in kinder gentler moments.
She focuses, and when she /finds/ it she is slipping out, too, quiet as she came. Down a road equally unseen though she can /feel/ it clear as though it were yellow-brick-paved, feel her way towards the strengthening-pulling call of --
-- well, /what/, she doesn't yet know. Just slips on, ghostlike, from one mind to the next. To see where the road ends.
Maya's sojourn through blood, beer, wing, and fang takes her to... a different place. A mind not currently so immersed in violence; rather, this mind is neat, polished, and organized.
It is not, however, a mind currently immersed in a dream. Which means rather than finding herself engulfed in yet another dreamscape, she finds herself slipping out of the dream... and into reality. A reality that is trimmed with gold and lace -- an indulgent bathroom, larger than most people's bedrooms. A jacuzzi, thrumming and bubbling; the strong scent of vanilla and strawberries emerging from it. Incense, burning delicately in a corner; a shower large enough to fit three people. And the silhouette of a man, who is now staring at Maya's emerging figure with a mixture of shock, confusion, and disbelief.
Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is a relatively handsome man of olive complexion; his hair is dark, thick, curly, and closely cut -- he bares a small mustache and pointed goatee, with just a hint of creeping gray along the sides (merely highlights; he's found that a touch of gray gives him an aura of 'mystique'). He is, at this moment, clad in a very thick, very fluffy, very comfortable looking bath-robe, which he is quickly tightening around his waist as he steps back -- along with large, fluffy looking slippers. And...
"...you --" Stephen begins, before adding, breathlessly: "--what?"
"You," Maya answers just as breathlessly, "what?" She is still in her cheerful blue-and-white kurta, gauzy dupatta wrapped over her black hair; there's traces of blood, too, lingering on her embroidered slippers. And then a small shake of her head, a small puzzled: "Forgive me. I -- wasn't sure where I would -- end --" Her brows furrow, though, as she regards Strange with a final confused: "Why are you in Dusk's head?"
Stephen Strange just stares at Maya. The bathrobe is pink; the slippers match, and include fluffy little bunny ears poking out of the front, with tiny noses and whiskers. After her comment, he responds by just... opening his mouth and shutting it several times in rapid succession. Then, his eyes flicker down to her slippers, and... "I don't know anyone by the name of Dusk." Something calmer settles over his expression; he seems to have simply accepted this bizarre situation as an occupational hazard. "Are you hurt? There's blood. Would you like -- a drink?" This seems like the reasonable thing to do to someone who simply manifests in your bathroom; offer them booze.
"He sometimes goes by Ryan?" Maya hazards uncertainly, smoothing at her kurta in sudden self-consciousness. Her eyes drop down to her slippers with a small /frown/ at the blood on their beaded leather. "And you were in his dreams. Do you --" She sounds apologetic, now, though she doesn't seem overly apologetic about /being/ in his bathroom. Just of the awkward question: "... see the future?" A faint look of relief washes over her expression at the offer of a drink. "/Please/. It's been a long night already."
"--see the future," Strange repeats the phrase, as if testing it on his tongue. He seems to find something about its flavor deeply amusing. "Let me fetch you that drink." And then he turns, swiftly exiting the bathroom -- returning just a little bit later with a bell-shaped glass filled with blush-colored sherry. He's also taken a moment to don pants, now -- soft red flannel -- and taken off the slippers, his feet left bare.
"I know several Ryans, but currently occupy none of their heads," he informs her as he offers her the drink. "As for the future..." His lips purse; that hint of amusement returns, once more. "I take it you do not know who I am."
"Oh, thank you." Maya takes the glass of sherry and shifts into a careful perch on the edge of the jacuzzi tub, fingers wrapping around the glass and lowering it to her knees. "I'm -- apologies, /should/ I know? I really didn't know /who/ I'd find. I was just asked to investigate -- people have been having dreams that seem to tell of the future and I -- well, they seem to be coming from you."
"No, I suppose it isn't -- I'm not particularly famous," Strange admits, reaching to grasp a stool near the shower, dragging it over to sit across from her. The amusement lingers for a moment longer. "I'm known as a psychic. I've written a few books, appeared in a few interviews... I just found it amusing, to have a lovely young woman manifest in my home and ask me if I..." The words trail off, growing softer and softer; they vanish completely at the mention of these 'future-dreams' coming from him. Strange's ambergold eyes darken; he inspects Maya very intently, now.
"...I see," he replies, leaning back upon his stool. A bit more softly: "You're a mutant, then. Some means of... telepathic-based teleportation?"
Maya's cheeks darken just slightly at the mention of being a lovely young woman, eyes dropping to the sherry with a faint curl of smile at her lips. "Oh -- oh." Her head tips, gaze regarding Strange a long moment. "/Are/ you psychic?" She doesn't sound alarmed or skeptical, just genuinely curious, here. "Because these dreams --" Her head shakes, and she lifts the glass to take a small sip of the sherry. "Something like that," she agrees. "I see dreams. But I -- see who people are connected to, also, in them. It's -- a little confusing. People who dream /about/ each other, there's a kind of -- emotional bond? That I can turn into an actual pathway. But with you the path was already there. Someone was making that road before I got to it."
Strange hesitates, at that question; his eyes linger upon Maya, his lips pursed. He listens quite intently to the explanation of her powers, but once she is finished, he turns away, to face the mirror. "Not really," he admits. "Not... in the traditional sense," he decides, before -- very gently: "My name is Stephen Strange. May I know your name?"
"Oh. Where are my manners." Maya starts to offer a hand forward, but drops it to her lap when Strange turns away. "I'm Maya. And I -- but you have to have some connection," she says with a deep sense of puzzlement. "There's -- they weren't dreaming /about/ you. And that's the only other way -- /I/ didn't connect you two. I just walked down the connection that was there already."
"When one is on an adventure," Strange responds with a hint of a wistful smile, "it is quite easy to forget matters of etiquette. A pleasure to meet you." He turns to her, now, saying nothing in response to her puzzlement. Instead... "Maya. While I suspect your intentions are pure, you are a stranger to me. With your permission, I would like to read you. Doing so will let me see your current thoughts and immediate memories; I will look no farther. May I do this?"
"Most of life is an adventure," Maya answers with a note of cheer slipping into her tone and her easy smile, "-- but you're right, /this/ is more adventurey than usual." The question has her fussing a hand down the front of her kurta again as if -- she needs to be /presentable/ for this reading. "I -- yes. Will it hurt?" comes right before, "Of -- course go ahead." She fidgets slightly where she sits, a little self-conscious now. Her current thoughts are /also/ a little self conscious, a sharp starry-eyed thrill of, yes, /adventure/, mingled in with a deeper /concern/ for what Dusk and Micah had told her about the future-dream-predictions, a determination to do whatever /she/ can to help save those lives. Her immediate memories back up her story; there's snippets of her interlude into Dusk's dreaming, the odd /pulling/ of following the dream's origin-point. Before that just life -- Chinese food for dinner, a long day of teaching, a sleepless night beforehand staying up to monitor people's dreams, a conversation the day before with Micah and Dusk /about/ the possibly-predictive dreams people had been having.
"Not at all," he tells her, and then he reaches out -- slowly, carefully! -- to touch the back of her hand with two fingertips, tracing just along the edge of a knuckle. For a moment, his eyes grow distant, as if seeing something far away -- but then, only seconds later, his hand is withdrawing. That lingering hint of a smile expands into something deeper. "...you are a very sweet person, Maya. But you should take care; the world does not reward kindness." The smile flickers; his hands fold in his lap.
"I have the ability to send and receive thoughts and memories to myself," Strange tells her. "From the future or the past. But the ability does not extend very far; merely seconds, and only with intense concentration. In order to do anything more, I require... considerable 'augmentation'."
Maya's eyes drift downwards to watch Strange's fingers. She lifts her other hand, taking another longer drink of the sherry as Strange focuses. "I don't know about that," she says with a very small lilt of smile. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm from /New York/, I /know/ how rough the world can be. But I think it does, sometimes. Reward kindness. At least my life has been pretty rewarding."
She sips at the wine again through Strange's explanation, humming quiet-thoughtful after this. "This seems more like memories -- sent to /other/ people. Can you -- do that? I mean, people are /sharing/ these dreams -- dreams maybe of the future? And I'm the only person I've ever known who can /connect/ dreams so strongly like that and -- there's never been any /future/ about it before."
"Mmn." This is Strange's only response to Maya's description of rewards; that, and the slight stirring of a frown -- one that never quite arrives at its destination. It is instead interrupted by a perplexed, thoughtful look as Maya continues to describe the situation. A small fold appears between his brows as he thinks. "...no, I cannot send memories to others... I suspect I had one of these dreams. Just a few days ago. It was... very unnerving."
Much more softly, now, Strange continues: "It was, I believe, a year in the future. And when I awoke, I found myself holding an object that was from the dream itself. Yesterday, I went looking for it, only to find it had vanished."
Now it's Maya's turn to look perplexed. Thoughtful. Her fingers tap against the side of her glass. "An object from the dream? That -- vanished?" Her eyes slowly slower to tip a look down into the wine. "But -- that -- sounds like." Her cheeks flush darker, her brows furrowing more. "... well. Me. But /I/ haven't been doing this."
"I had suspected," Strange agreed. "I saw a glimpse of your journey through your friend's dream; the violence, the blood. It is where the blood on your slippers came from, isn't it?" His fingers fold together. "Perhaps you are not doing it now, Maya. Perhaps you are doing it... later."
Maya opens her mouth as though to protest it, but instead closes it with a widening of eyes. Her grip on the glass tightens and, after a moment, she simply lifts it to knock back the rest of the wine in one looong hungry swallow.
"...mmn. Perhaps," Strange says, then -- rising to his feet, "I should go fetch myself a drink as well."