|Thu, 29 Oct 1998
The Lady firstname.lastname@example.org
Of Angels and Demons -- (PG -13)
Disclaimer: I make no claim on any of the stuff that belongs to Marvel, yadda, yadda, yadda. This is just for fun and enjoyment, yadda, and its not my intent to infringe upon any copyrights. Now, on with the show.
Note: This is my first Fan Fic posting to this list. So please, bear with me. Feedback is both welcomed and encouraged.
Its PG-13 because it deals with the occult. So, I dunno. Seemed like a nice little rating to give it.
Continuity Note: These events take place after the Elektra series and the Elektra/Spiderman Annual. Basically, its set in the most recent Elektra continuity.
Of Angels and Demons
"Redemption is not free; it must be paid back in kind."
"To the Universe."
Stavros to Elektra
When he'd found her, she had seemed half dead.
It had been months since Stephen Strange had last seen the former assassin, though the rumors of her still reached his ears. Very little ever escaped the attention of the master of the occult, and the dealings of Elektra and the Chaste were no exception. Dark forces were at work once more, dark forces which currently had the upper hand in the war of good vs. evil. The Chaste had fallen. The mountain keep had been infiltrated and ravaged by the Hand. A new creature was leading them. This one said to be even more fierce than Kirigi. That creature Elektra had dispatched when she first came back to New York all that time ago to save the life of Daredevil. But things had changed, and not for the better.
Now at his sanctum sanctorum, Dr. Strange played the role of doctor in a more conventional sense. Elektra's wounds had not been extensive, though the ones that were there were serious. Whoever her attackers were, she had managed to get away. And he was willing to bet that there were quite of few of the enemy who could not say the same.
There was a stirring on the cot across the room. Dr. Strange turned to see that his charge was gazing at him with veiled dark eyes. The scratches on her face did little to mar her attractive features, but even that did not hold him as much as those dark orbs did now. Or more aptly, what was held within them. "You are looking -" he stopped himself, 'well' being the first thing that came to mind. But that was not entirely true. "'much better."
Elektra leaned back against the pillows, turning her gaze from her benefactor. "I won't even asked compared to what." She held no delusions as to how she must appear, and if it was anything like how she felt, then she was indeed in bad shape. But some wounds go beyond the pale. And emotional hurt tends to strike deeper than any sword.
"I don't suppose you want to tell me what has happened?" Dr. Strange poured a glass of water from a pitcher that was set on a table not far from where he had set up Elektra's cot.
A soft laugh floated through the room. Though it was devoid of any humor. It was a bitter laugh. A mad one. But in the back of her mind, Elektra knew she had to laugh'or she would cry. "The Master of the Occult looks to me to provide him the answers. To give away the information."
"I know what I've heard," he said simply. He came over to offer Elektra the water, but again, she turned from him. "But I want to hear it from you." He set the glass down on the floor, still within easy reach as he folded his legs and levitated just in front of her. Blue eyes still focused upon her.
The woman merely shrugged her shoulders, "What more is there to say? I failed. It's not the first time."
Stephen nodded. "And its not likely to be the last. But humor me. I have felt the disturbances on the astral plane and I daresay you have the answers as to what's behind it."
Elektra took a deep breath and winced at the pain she felt at her ribcage. She instinctively lifted a hand to find the area covered in bandages. After a moment, once the pain had subsided, she turned her attention to Stephen Strange, who floated there as serenely as if they were merely discussing the weather. "The Chaste has fallen."
"Indeed. That much, I know."
She shook her head slowly. "But what you don't know is that I am to blame." She tried to sit up a bit, readjusting her own pillows as she waved away a helping hand. "The Chaste took in a girl. Nina. I helped her to climb the mountain. I thought perhaps they could help her where I could not. I did it - "
"Out of guilt?" He interrupted.
"No." She sighed. "Out of shame. And maybe a little guilt. I could not protect her. The Hand killed and then resurrected her as one of their genin. I freed her and thought the Chaste might aid her."
"And did they?"
She nodded. "Yes, they even accepted her into their order." She made no mention of her own subsequent rejection. Again. She may have been good enough to be their little pet. Their go-between. Errand girl. But Stick had not admitted her to their ranks, no matter how much they helped her or she them. "But she betrayed them. All along she was still an agent of the Hand."
Dr. Strange's eyes went wide with this last. But his expression quickly resettled into a more benignly neutral expression. "Hmm. This is not good." Perhaps an understatement, but for him, it said a lot.
Elektra smiled wanly and shifted again. This time moving to fully sit up of her own volition. "Did anyone ever tell you that you have a knack for stating the obvious?"
Dr. Strange blinked from his own thoughts, the look on his face never changing. "Never." But his own wiry smile took any possible edge out of the word. "But we digress. Please, continue."
She nodded and took another breath. "I found out about what had happened after the fact. Stick came to me. He tried to warn me of an ambush. But - his astral form was weak. Only semi-solid. He might as well not have been there. He couldn't really speak and even movement seemed difficult."
Again, Stephen nodded. "Yes, I can imagine. The disturbance I felt was great enough to indicate a tremendous amount of trauma at the focal point."
Elektra frowned. "He asked me to help them. To save them." She shook her head once more to herself, as if trying to banish away the weak image of Stick in her mind. Her would-be mentor and leader of the Hand. The one who cast her out from their presence in the first place. "But how- I do not even know where to begin."
Dr. Strange smiled at last and levitated his way over to a shelf of books. Many of the text there looked older than the expanse of time. And many of them were. Ancient text written long ago. Other more mundane works were peppered throughout as well. "Then it is well indeed that I found you." His hand skimmed over several of the texts as he considered each title in turn. "Though I fear this is a problem that will require a great deal of thought- and effort."
Elektra watched him, her eyes widened for a moment and then narrowed. "I don't want your help, Strange."
The good Doctor did not even pause in his appraisals as he pulled several books off the shelf. "You might not want it, but you definitely need it. We worked well enough together before, if briefly. Surely you know by now my knowledge about such things is truly invaluable."
Still, she stood her ground and shook her head. "Why would I want you working with me? So you can turn up dead or corrupted. Like Nina. Konrad." She grew quiet for a moment, her eyes cast down toward the floor. "Or Mac." McKinley Stewart. A recent indulgence. Not a boyfriend. But a friend. A lover. And someone she cared about. Dead. "I've learned my lesson. I don't need the extra baggage in my life."
When Elektra looked up again, Dr. Strange was now levitating in front of her. One of his book comfortably in hand. "You should know by now, Elektra ' I'm not someone who is easily trifled with or dismissed. You need my help. What has happened goes beyond the normal pale of even your ninja mysticism."
The woman remained quiet. Just looking at him, exerting her own force of will just to keep her dark eyes focused on his blue ones. He was right. She knew he was more capable in these matters than she. But she had come to consider him a friend. And friends were a luxury she could ill afford. "Dr. Strange, I - "
"The matter is settled, Elektra." He moved back toward his bookcase. He had seen the truth of the situation dawn on her face despite her reservations. "I have eyes and ears in places you do not. And if memory serves," he glanced over his shoulder. "You are a wanted criminal- for murder?"
"It wasn't m -"
"I know. I know." He waved a hand before she could get overly excited. "Those murders were not your mode of operation. But the Hand went through a lot of trouble to frame you. So for the moment, you're stuck with me. And I daresay you'll have to learn to live with it. Until we can solve this little mystery."
Elektra just looked at him for several moments. Varying thoughts played through her head. Her last confrontation with the Hand that left her so battered and broken. Her guilt and reservations. She wanted to argue. To fight against his offers of aid. But she was tired. Exhausted, actually. She would deal with this later. After she rested.
As Elektra laid back down on the cot and closed her eyes, sleep came almost immediately. Stephen Strange smiled a bit to himself as he flipped silently through the rough pages of a leather bound book and wondered once more how he ever got through his career as a doctor without the convenience of a sleep spell.
But hopefully just the beginning.
Thanks for reading my story. Please feel free to reply at will.