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Doctor Strange - Superheroes' (plus anti-heroes and supervillains) Physician Extraordinaire

Chapter Text

8.35 am

Stephen opened the unmarked clinic door, turned on the lights, and closed the door behind him. Although the clinic was already spotless (Claire, Christine, and Helen did great), he enjoyed cleaning to relax his mind so he started to disinfect the counters and mop the floor. He could use magic to do it, but sometimes it was nice to do things manually. At least his hands still worked. Sophie helped by passing him cleaning material.

8.55 am

He opened the door. The practice usually opened at 9 am, but he liked to start early. It was a Tuesday, so he didn’t expect many would turn up. Crimes tended to happen on the weekends. He definitely would win his bet with Wong.

The previous day

“Stephen, you need to rest. You can't just go to other dimensions to fight some threats every day. Everybody needs some down time.”

“I don’t see why not. I’m doing fine.”

Wong sighed. “You do realize that you manage to get injured on weekly basis. You nearly die on monthly basis. It’s as if you have a death wish.”

“I can assure you I don’t. Every life is precious. Injuries are just an occupational hazard.”

“Did you get injuries when you were a doctor?”

“I am still a doctor. I’m sure you remember I crashed my car when I was a surgeon. So no job is safe.”

“You know that's not true. I think you just enjoy the adrenaline rush of being in danger. You wouldn’t last one day without endangering yourself.”

“Is that a challenge?”

The librarian quirked his right eyebrow. “I didn’t mean it that way, but sure. I prefer my friend to be alive, even if he is bored.”

Stephen was touched that Wong openly admitted to being his friend. “Challenge accepted. Tomorrow I won’t be a sorcerer. I’ll be a physician for a day at the clinic. It’s about time I fulfill my promise with Christine and Claire to put my time there.”

“Stephen, you need to rest.”

“You don’t expect me to twiddle my thumbs at the Sanctum, do you? I’ll be bored.” He realized that Wong indeed had a point. He didn’t like to be idle. He definitely wouldn’t back down from a challenge though.

“That clinic is also visited by anti-heroes and super villains. I’m sure the other day Magneto visited the clinic. When I want you to be safe, that’s not what I had in mind.”

The doctor waved his right arm. “If Dr. Cho, Dr. Palmer, and Claire can manage, I definitely can. Who would want to injure their doctor anyway?”

Wong sighed again. He’d make sure to keep an eye on his idiotic friend tomorrow just in case. “Fine, you’ll win if you can last one day at the clinic without wishing to be a sorcerer again. No lying though.”

“Fine. So what will you do when I win?”

If you win, I’ll let you borrow the Book of Cagliostro for one month.  If I win, I want you to take a break from being the Master of the Mystic Arts for one week.”

Stephen was about to protest that one week was too long but then again he wouldn’t lose. “Fine.”

Wong smirked. “I’ll check on you tomorrow night.” He opened a portal back to Kamar-Taj and left.

Stephen spent the rest of the night calling Dr. Cho, Christine, and Claire to tell them that he would take over their shift for one day.

9.01 am

Stephen groaned as Tony Stark walked into the clinic like he owned the place. As a matter of fact, he did own 50% of it.

Chapter Text

9.01 am, Tony Stark

“You’re not Helen. What are you doing here?” asked the billionaire. He carried a brown paper bag, which was unusual for him.

“I’m the doctor here for the day. What are you doing here? You look fine.”

Tony walked into the one of the three consultation rooms and sat down on the bed. “I must say your bedside manner leaves much to be desired. I could sustain an internal injury that you can’t observe outward.”

Stephen felt slightly embarrassed. Tony tended to bring out the rude and sarcastic part of him. He once asked Tony why.  The engineer said it was his natural talent. He walked toward the bed. “Do you feel any pain anywhere?”

“No.”

“Do you have any trouble breathing?”

“Only when I have a panic attack.”

Stephen concentrated and a folder containing Tony’s information flew into his hand. He opened to have a look. It said that Tony indeed had tendency to have panic attacks.

“Now you’re just showing off.”

He ignored Tony and continued reading. He was surprised that Tony occasionally still got injured despite his Iron Man costume. He committed the medical information to his eidetic memory.

“You need to be more careful.”

Tony gasped. “You think? Does pot kettle black ring any bell?”

The doctor sighed. “Tony, let’s talk about your health for a moment. You need to eat nutritious food more regularly and have at least six hours sleep per night. Malnutrition shouldn’t be a thing in the 21st century.”

“Yup, definitely pot calling the kettle black. What are you? My doctor?” Tony closed his mouth with his right hand. “I just walked right into that one myself, didn’t I?” Stephen smirked. “I just get used to think of you as a superhero.” He looked at Stephen’s disapproval expression and quickly amended. “Fine, as a sorcerer.  I keep forgetting that you’re indeed a doctor.”

“You should drink multivitamins and you know as well as I do that you don’t need any prescription for that. I was serious about getting enough sleep.”

“Ugh, it’s quite annoying when you get quite doctory. I've trouble sleeping.”

“I could prescribe you valium or some other sleeping medicines, but I don’t think it’s good for you in the long term.  I think you also need to exercise more.” It was his turn to see Tony’s smirk. “No, moving in Iron Mat suit doesn’t count as exercise. You also need to get more sunlight to help melatonin production. Have you considered meditation? It can help with the panic attack as well.”

“I’m not going to do New Agey stuff like you.”

“Meditation is not New Agey. It’s already mainstream. Harvard, MIT, Scientific American, Forbes, NCCIH, among other organizations have shared the benefits of meditation. I could share you the links but I’m sure you can find better information than me if you want to. You’re the technology guy.”

“Sure, sure. Next time I’ll start wearing robes and capes.” Sophie who had been hovering nearby, flew in front Tony and slapped her collar at him. “Fine. Cloaks.” Sophie flew back to settle on Stephen’s shoulders. “… and becoming a vegan. No, thank you.”

“Actually vegan might be the best option for all of us but let’s not get into that. I just point out a solution, but it’s up to you . So why do you come here then if you’re going to ignore your doctor’s advice? Do you miss my company?”

“See, your attitude like that reminds me of myself. I just want to check on you. Friday told me about the shift change.” He saw Stephen’s expression and quickly added, “No, I wasn’t spying on you but I have a vested interest in this clinic, given I owned the 50% of it. Do you know that Magneto was seen walking out of this clinic the other day? What if some other villains decided now is the best time to attack you? You’re out in the open and not in the warded protection of your Sanctum.”

“Tony, I’m always out in danger even in my own Sanctum. You’ll be surprised how often it came under attack even with magical wards. I think I can handle myself here for a day.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. I’ve been a doctor much longer than I've been as a sorcerer. I don’t want you or any of the Avengers to stand guard near this clinic. Don’t you have better things to do like saving the world from aliens? I still have my powers even if I don’t wear a robe.”

Stephen chose to wear a dress shirt and pants for today. He realized that people tended not to take him seriously whenever he wore those robes. He didn’t need the weird look people usually gave him if he wanted to focus on healing. He could disguise his clothes using magic but the price of doing so was not worth it.

“Ah yes, you look almost normal today, not strange at all.” Tony laughed at his own pun.

“Haha, very funny. Anything else?”

“Yes. I brought this for you.” He passed the brown paper bag to Stephen.

He opened it and found there were two pieces of sandwiches, an apple, and a bottle of Kombucha. He was touched by Tony’s thoughtfulness. He swallowed a lump in his throat. “Thank you.”

“No worries, Doc. You know an apple a day keeps yourself away. The sandwiches are vegan. I know how health conscious you can be when you actually decide you need to eat like the rest of us, mortals.”

“I’m mortal.”

“Really? You often charge head first into dangers like you’re an immortal.”

He deserved it given how he lectured Tony earlier. “I guess we both need to be more careful in the future.”

Tony grimaced. “It’s easier said than done.”

“I promise I’ll try to be careful at least for today. Do you feel better now?”

“A little bit. Friday is always online so you can ask for help anytime.”

“I’m sure I can handle today by myself. Looking at Tony’s crestfallen face, he added.  “Yes, I’ll call for help if I need to. Thanks. I was serious about the meditation. I can teach you even right now.”

As if on cue, there was a loud crack coming from the front door.

They ran out to see Hulk ducking his head as he passed the doorway. There were some cracks at the wall.

“Claire is going to kill me,” Stephen thought.

“Hulk got splinters. Hulk need doctor.” He looked down at Stephen. “You’re not Doctor Friendly.”

“If Hulk doesn’t do it first,” Stephen’s mind added helpfully.

Chapter Text

“Hi, Big Guy. No, Dr Strange is not Dr Cho. But he can be very friendly as well. Do you want to try?” Hulk nodded. He seemed to trust Tony. “Just listen to Dr Strange. I’ll be here all the way.”

Stephen opened the first examination room again. Tony followed him. Stephen enchanted the doorway so as soon as Hulk approached, the archway extended up to the ceiling so Hulk wouldn’t bang his head again. Well, he didn’t promise Wong he wouldn’t use magic. He just promised him that he wouldn’t be a Master of the Mystic Arts for today. If Wong wanted to protest, he would point out how much property damage had been avoided.

Hulk clapped. ”Hulk like magic.”

Stephen also enchanted the bed. It looked the same size because the room was small but Hulk would fit into it somehow. It would also support Hulk’s weight. “Do you want to lie down?”

“No, back hurt. Fall from sky. Splinters in back.”

Tony asked, “Did you fall into the Avengers’ common room again?”

“Yes. Hulk sorry.”

Tony sighed. “Not again. I’ll be right back. I need to call Pepper.” He stepped outside the clinic.

“So you lie face down then.” Stephen mimed lying face down by crossing his arms in front of his face and put his face on the pillow.

“Hulk not stupid. Hulk know how to lie face down.”

Stephen didn’t know that Hulk could roll his eyes dramatically. He must have learned it from Tony.

Hulk jumped easily to the bed without questioning whether he would fit. The doctor was thankful that the bed had been enchanted.

There were eleven splinters at Hulk’s back. Stephen thought Hulk’s skin was impenetrable. Perhaps Tony used special materials to build the Tower. He shrugged. He was a doctor, not an engineer.

“I’m going to clean your skin before removing the splinters. I’ll wash my hands first.”

Hulk nodded. He was glad that Hulk was surprisingly very well behaved. Luckily each room was equipped with a washing stand as Tony Stark and Danny Rand wanted the best for their joint clinic.

“This will hurt a bit.”

“Hulk not afraid of pains. Hulk is the strongest Avenger.”

“Yes, you are.” Internally he wanted to show Christine that he could have a good bedside manner. He carefully used soap and warm water to wash the area around the splinters.

“I’m going to use duct tape to remove your splinters. It might hurt a bit more but I’m sure the strongest Avenger can take it.”

“Yes, Hulk can stand pain.”

Stephen noticed that his hands shook a bit more. It must be his nerves. He drew a few deep breaths. Sophie flew back to his back and made some soothing motion on his back.

“Here goes nothing!” he thought as he carefully cut small pieces of duct tapes and put them all over the splinters.

He then started to pull the duct tape in the order he put them to make sure the splinters stick to the duct tape. Thankfully, all eleven splinters could be removed by the duct tape so he didn’t need to use other methods.

“I’m going to clean your back again and you’re good to go.”

“Hulk want lollipops. Doctor Friendly always give lollipops to Hulk.”

Stephen didn’t recall any lollipops in the clinic. He was sure all of them in the clinic agreed that candy was junk food. But he really didn’t want an upset Hulk in the clinic. He then looked at his right hand and saw his sling ring. He was sure by the end of the day, he would have used plenty of magic to solve his problems.

“Not a problem. I’ll clean you up first.” A few minutes later, he said, “It’s done. You can sit now.”

As soon as Hulk sat at the edge of the bed, Stephen made a show of drawing a circle using his right hand. As soon as the golden sparks appear, Hulk clapped his hands again. The gust of wind produced by the claps nearly pushed Stephen over the portal. Luckily Sophie was there to plant him firmly on the ground so he wouldn’t lose his entertaining value by faceplanting the floor.

Hulk’s jaw dropped as soon as he saw the various candies at the other side of the portal. Stephen turned back and said, “Stay here then I’ll get you ten lollipops. If you follow, I’ll only get you one.”

Stephen stepped through the portal. He saw Hulk still wanted to follow through the portal but luckily it closed quickly. He chose to appear at the back of the store where there was usually no employee. He used magic to interfere with the electronics nearby because he didn’t want his portaling to trend on youtube in the next hour. He quickly made some purchase before Hulk tried to damage the wall of the clinic to follow him.

He opened a portal back to the clinic and saw Hulk jumped back in surprise. He smirked as he stepped through the portal.

“Here are your lollipops as I promised. Since you’ve been really good, I also bought you a jumbo tub of ice cream.”

Hulk grinned widely as he took the candies and ice cream from Stephen. “Thank you, Doctor Ice Cream.” Hulk consumed his food and ignored Stephen.

Stephen sighed. It could be worse. At least Hulk seemed to trust him now.

Tony stepped into the room. “Pepper is so angry. She should realize by now that I can’t control how the Avengers behave. I barely can control myself. What did I miss?”

Hulk pulled his face out of the ice cream tub, “Doctor Ice Cream pull out splinters. Hulk very brave and not scream. Doctor Ice Cream give Hulk ice cream and candies for bravery.”

Tony chuckled. “Doctor Ice Cream?”

“Don’t you start!” Stephen growled.

Tony put his hands on Hulk’s shoulder. “Come on, Big Guy. We don’t want to impose on the good doctor as he has more patients to see. I can buy you pizzas to go with that ice cream.”

Hulk quickly stood up and waved at Stephen. “Hulk like pizza. Hulk like Doctor Ice Cream. Bye, Doctor Ice Cream.”

“Bye, Hulk. Please keep falling from the sky to a minimum.”

At the main entrance, Tony turned his head again. “Doctor Ice Cream, are you sure you don’t need any protection? You’re lucky that your first patients are us. What would happen if Magneto or Loki turned up?”

“Don’t worry, Tony. I wasn’t born yesterday. If they were to turn up, I still could handle them.”

Tony still looked at him worriedly. “Just remember to use Friday for help.”

“I will.”


A few minutes later, a pretty woman with dark hair dressed in a leather jacket and jeans walked in. “Were they Tony Stark and Hulk?” As soon as she saw Stephen, she stared at him accusingly. “You are not Claire.”

Chapter Text

“No, I’m not Claire, not Dr. Cho or Dr. Palmer, either. I’m as qualified as them in treating patients.” Stephen didn’t mean to be that testy but it was the third time today someone said he was not who they expected and the clinic was only open for forty six minutes if the clock above the main door was correct.

“Someone got up at the wrong side of the bed this morning. Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Doctor Stephen Strange, the doctor in charge of this clinic today. And you are?”

“Jessica Jones.”

“I’ve heard about you.” He had heard about her from Matt Murdock but he decided not to share that information.

“Really? I haven’t heard about you. To be fair, whenever Claire mentions her colleagues, I tend to zone out. I’m not a people person.”

“I hardly can tell with your cheery disposition. How can I help you this morning?”

Jessica looked at the clock above the front door. “Is that the time? I hate late morning.”

“It’s not that late, Ms. Jones. It’s still before ten. Did you get up at the wrong side of the bed this morning?”  Stephen couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use her words against her.

“It’s cute that you thought I went to bed at all last night.” Suddenly Jessica pulled the front of his shirt so their faces only inches apart. The movement was so swift so he couldn’t avoid it. Stephen could smell alcohol in her breaths. “Don’t try to be a smartass. I’m not in the mood with the night I was having. I’m Jessica, don’t call me Ms. Jones. Did your cape just push me away? What kind of doctor are you anyway?” Sophie in fact had pushed Jessica away with her bottom corners in order to protect Stephen from what she thought was an incoming danger. Jessica released his shirt and took a step back. He noticed that her right shoulder was a bit stilted like she was in pain.

Stephen pretended to cough, and turned his head so Jessica wouldn’t be able to read his lips. He whispered to Sophie. “Please pretend that you’re a normal cloak. I can handle this myself.” He could feel that Sophie was sulking but she chose to remain still.

Stephen continued to fake cough as quietly as possible before he turned back to Jessica. When he stopped coughing, he said, “I’m sorry. I’m a bit under the weather so I think this cloak might keep me warm. I’m not going to let someone I just meet judge my fashion choice. I’m the kind of doctor that could reattach your right shoulder properly. Let me have a look.”

Jessica took a few steps back. “I’m fine. No, I just want to talk to Claire. I can’t believe that sometime humans can get so low. I can’t stand child prostitution.” She closed her mouth as if she had spoken too much. She also looked like she had given up on humanity.

Sometimes Stephen often thought similarly with the days he was having. However, he couldn’t let other people sink in desperation like he did. There was still so much kindness in the world if people decided to look the right way.

“Jessica, I might not be Claire but I still can listen to you and fix your shoulder at the same time. You can even call all men scums and I won’t be offended. I’ve been called worse before.” That put a smile on her face. “If you’re not happy with my work, you can just leave. I wouldn’t be offended either. As long as you don’t ruin my cloak, it’s very hard to find something similar. Just give me a chance. Five minutes is all I ask.”

“Fine, five minutes.” She walked into the first examination room that had been used by Tony and Hulk earlier. Stephen went to retrieve her medical record under “J- Jones” in the conventional way aka not using any magic.

As Stephen walked back to the room, Jessica was seated at the chair allocated for patient. Stephen made a show of reading her medical record slowly although he could speed read the whole thing and memorize it. He really didn’t want more muggles (Christine’s words) to discover his talents. It was nice to be a normal doctor for a day.

“So you had your powers since your accident. You’ve super strength. I could testify to that.” Jessica looked a bit uncomfortable as he mentioned it.  He continued, “Also super healing. So that’s why your shoulder got reattached but not properly because of your super healing.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Right. Do you need any ice and pain killer before we begin?”

Jessica rolled her eyes. “What do you think?”

“We usually need an X-Ray first but with your healing factor, I think any broken bones should have healed properly. I need you to lie down and take off your jacket and shirt.”

“Usually you need to buy me dinner first. But since you’re cute, I’ll allow it.” She walked to the bed and took off her jacket and shirt and lay down. Her right side was at the edge of the bed to allow him easier access to fix her shoulder.

Stephen winced as he saw the black and blue bruises at her shoulder. “I’ll be lying if I say it’ll only hurt a bit.”

She rolled her eyes again. “Just get on with it. I’ve had worse.” She noticed his trembling hands. “Are you nervous?”

“I also had my accident. Please be assured that I could still do this despite my tremor.” He gave her a clean towel to bite. He flexed her right elbow to ninety degrees and gradually rotated her shoulder outward. She bit the towel so hard but she didn’t scream at all. He thought if the position were reversed, he might have screamed. “All set and done.” He put an ice on her right shoulder. “I know you are against it but as a doctor, I can’t stand to see my patient in pain.”

He also gave her a sandwich he got from Tony. “I’d like to give you Tylenol but I don’t like if you drink it with an empty stomach with only alcohol as your fuel. I don’t know if you like vegan sandwiches but that’s the only food Tony gave me.”

To his surprise, she accepted and opened the wrap. She shrugged. “I’m hungry. Beggars can’t be choosers. You did this in the wrong order. You asked me to take off my clothes first then you bought me breakfast.  Hmm, this sandwich is so good. You’re a bigger mother hen than Claire. But you did a pretty good job for a doctor with a cape.” From what Matt told him about Jessica, that was the highest approval she would ever give to anyone. “So those were indeed Tony Stark and the Hulk.”

He smiled. “Yes. Did you think you were hallucinating the Hulk while you were drunk?”

“Something like that. I don’t usually hallucinate a giant green man though. Usually it’s something more horrible.” She stopped before she shared too much. “I thought only us the street-level so-called heroes like Daredevil or Spider-Man frequented this clinic. Don’t the Avengers have their own medical bay?”

“They do. But there is no rule against anyone dropping by, even the Avengers.”

“Even if they are super-villains?”

“Yes.”

“Good luck! You need a lot of them because you’re as idiotic as you look. What’s your connection with Tony Stark? Why did he bring you breakfast?”

She had finished her sandwich, put down her ice pack, and put her clothes back on. He gave her a glass of water and Tylenol which she accepted and drank.

“That was actually lunch, not breakfast. Well, he co-owns this clinic with Danny Rand. I’m one of the people who volunteer to work in this clinic.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “I think there is something more to you than meet the eyes. Tony Stark doesn’t usually bring lunch for Claire. Normal people don’t wear cape.’

He gave her an enigmatic smile. “Perhaps because I’m the only male doctor in the clinic?”

“I’m a private investigator. Since I’m bored, I’ll get to the bottom of this mystery with or without your help.”

“Please tell me what you find. I’m curious about what other people say about me.” Stephen was sincere in saying that. He had nothing to hide and he was indeed curious.

“Reverse psychology doesn’t work on me.”

“It’s not reverse psychology. I’m indeed curious.”

“Fine. Don’t think I won’t dig.”

“As I said, I’m fine with it.”  His tone grew serious. “Besides your shoulder, you were looking for Claire to lend an ear. If you don’t mind, you can share with me as well. There is such a thing called doctor-patient confidentiality.”

She mulled over it for a few seconds. “Fine, I’ll share. If you decide to share anything I said, I'd find out where you live and punch your lights out.”

He just nodded.

She told him that she was following a lead about a cheating husband and discovered that he in fact went to a brothel with underage prostitutes. It was run by a small group of mafia. She couldn’t contain her anger and didn’t even call for backup as she beat the hell out of them. She then called the police anonymously. She watched the police from afar to make sure they were not corrupt. She suffered some cuts and bruises but her healing factors took care of them.

He chose to remain quiet and listened attentively until the end. He was disgusted that some humans could get so low. He shook in anger. “Have they all been arrested? I think I can help locating some of them if they manage to escape.”

“I’m pretty sure the police took care of them.” She smiled triumphantly. “I knew it. You have powers but you pretend you don’t. I get it. I’d like to pretend I don’t have any power most of the time.”

He quickly schooled his expression. “Who said I would be the one doing the hunting? I can ask Tony Stark to use his resources, or I could ask Daredevil to use his extra senses. I don’t need to have any power to be able to help.”

”Deflecting. Another tactic I know so well. Thanks anyway for listening to me without interruption. There are not many men who are able to do that.”

“As I said, I’ve a lot of practices. Besides, I’m quite worried that you will punch me.” He grew serious again. “Jessica, while I agree with you that some people can be really terrible but there are also a lot of good people out there.  Don’t lose faith in humanity.”

Jessica punched his shoulder very lightly. “I won’t. For any scumbag out there, there is always an idiotic doctor who is willing to share his lunch with me. I should be going before we start bonding or something.” She shuddered. “Bonding is Danny Rand’s thing, not mine. Be seeing you, Doc.” She nodded and walked out of the examination room.

“See you around, Jessica.”

He added dislocated shoulder to Jessica’s document, insomnia to Tony’s, and splinters to Bruce’s.


A few minutes later, an UPS guy came in with a box. He looked at Stephen questioningly. “Are you the person in charge of this clinic?”

Stephen nodded. “For today, yes. How can I help?” That guy didn’t look injured. He didn’t know any superhero or supervillain who worked for UPS.  Actually someone with super-speed should. He shook his head to break out of his silly thoughts.

“I’ve a delivery for you. Please sign here and here.”

The doctor signed at the dotted lines pointed by the UPS guy.

The guy just grunted and left with his notepad.

The box he delivered showed the address of the clinic as the recipient. “Mr. Wade Wilson” was written at the sender part. He hadn’t heard of any Wade Wilson.

He opened the box and jumped back in surprise. It contained the head of a guy in a red costume. The sight of a head in a box alone would surprise even a medical doctor. What made it more shocking was the head blinked and started to talk, “Hi, I’m Wade Wilson. Friends, or more like people who I don’t want to kill and who also can’t run fast enough away from me, usually call me Deadpool. Have you heard of me?” Stephen shook his head. “No? How disappointing! Have you not heard of the Merc with a Mouth?” Stephen still shook his head.  

The head of Mr. Wilson sighed. “Really? Have you been living under a rock? If you have, you don’t have to say it. I have and it’s not fun especially when the rock was right on top of your head and your whole body was missing. It’s going to be a long day for both of us.”

Stephen could agree with that sentiment.

Chapter Text

“I’m not sure what I can do for you Mr. Wilson. In fact, I don’t even know how you can even be alive and talking without the rest of your body.”

“I think you really have been living under a rock. The time has changed. People don’t question aliens pouring from the sky anymore, well, I think they do but they just sigh and pretend it doesn’t happen as long as it doesn’t affect them. And you question about a talking head in a box?! Have you not watched Se7ven? Although I’m much better looking than Gwyneth Paltrow who actually looks a lot like Pepper Potts. Who doesn’t have a thing for a redhead? Right? Right?” The head disturbingly managed to wink even under his costume. “You need to open your eyes, Doc! I don’t even know your name. Doctor Cheekbones with a Red Cape Fetish?”

Stephen would’ve laughed at the irony about him opening his eyes. He practically had opened his eyes since he met the Ancient One and had seen so many things that no other mortal had seen. He thought it was best to ignore Mr Wilson’s rants for his own sanity.

“My name is Doctor Stephen Strange. And it’s a cloak for winter, not a cape.” Luckily Sophie managed to stay quiet as not to blow his cover.

Deadpool winked again. “I know, right? Winter is coming! Now even with a dragon zombie. I wish Marvel would crossover with Game of Thrones so I can meet Daenerys Targaryen. Jon Snow really knows nothing. The Khaleesi doesn’t need him, she needs someone who…”

Stephen cleared his throat. “I would like to discuss Game of Thrones as much as the next person but we’re on a tight schedule here.” Deadpool didn’t seem to be able to differentiate real life and fiction so Stephen needed to help him there before he had gone too far like proposing to Ms. Emilia Clarke. “Do you know that Game of Thrones is a show and we live in real life? So you can’t crossover to a show. I don’t know what Marvel is.”

“Aww, you poor thing. I think you’re just jealous because my movie produced more money than yours. Well, your movie is the highest grossing MCU origin movie but that’s understandable given people’ve been more interested in the MCU after the Avengers so it’s no mystery that people will be interested in your movie. Not to mention people are more interested in magic after Harry Potter and there is also the appeal of Benadryl Cucumberpatch. In fact, I must say the casting is spot on because you look exactly like Beneficial Communitycare, argh, I always can’t say his name right, the guy who played Sherlock Holmes? Not the one who looked like Tony Stark, the other one.”

“Benedict Cumberbatch?”

“Yes, that one. I’d like to high five you if I had my hand.”

“I honestly don’t know what you’re prattling about. We’re not in the movies. I also don’t know about the magic you’re talking about.”

Deadpool winked again. “I know you’ll say that. Of course sorcerers deny the existence of magic to muggles like us. Well, you know it and I know it and it’s what matters. Disney has purchased Fox, so I’ll be joining the MCU and my movie is going to beat your movie record for the MCU.”

Stephen started developing migraine now. Not only Deadpool wouldn’t stop talking about things only he himself understood, but he also knew that Stephen was a sorcerer. He needed to gain some control because he was supposed to be the doctor here. “As entertaining as that sounds, what can I do for your Mr. Wilson? Do you want me to reattach your head with the rest of your body? I’m not sure if I can.”

“Please call me Deadpool. Everyone does. Well, Dr. Strange, the neurosurgeon, can’t,  but I’m sure Dr. Strange, the sorcerer, can.” He winked again.

“I’m not Dr. Frankenstein but I can try. Where’s the rest of your body?” He just noticed the katanas lying underneath the box. How could they fix inside a small box was beyond him. “Why are there katanas underneath your head?”

“For protection of course. How could I defend myself when I don’t have my body?”

“I think it’s a bit too late for now since you’ve lost your body. I’m still not sure how you can breathe, talk, and live without your body. You can’t use the katanas without your hands.”

“The katanas are for you, Doc, to protect me.”

“I’m not going to use the katanas.”

“Your loss. Oh, I know, you have that hypocrite oath about do not harm. You were adamant about it in your movie.”

He ignored the part he didn’t understand and tried to be a doctor again. “The Hippocratic Oath? In that case, as a doctor, I want to ask you what I can do for you. I’ve asked this multiple times.”

“As a doctor? Nothing. I just need a place to rest and recuperate until I grow my whole body. Don’t worry, this has happened to me at least 31 times so I know what I’m doing. Well, my head knows what it is doing, I don’t exactly understand the mechanism. I just need to crash here for a while and I also need your protection when I can’t defend myself. What’s the best place for protection than a clinic run by a sorcerer doctor?”

Stephen sighed. “Fine, I’ll do my best for your comfort and protection. How long does it take for your body to grow? What actually happened to your body? How can your head get mailed here?”

“Thank you, Doc. I know you’re the best. Do you want us to be BFF? We both like red, both our movies came out in 2016, both movies were ground breaking for MCU or in my case Marvel comics, and we each have our own unique heroic poses. I know you don’t like katanas but I can buy us friendship bracelets once I get my body. Oh yes, that’s right. Your question. It can take between three to thirty-six hours for me to grow my body. If you sing for me, it will grow much faster.”

“I can give you comfort but I’m not going to sing for you.”

“That’s too bad. You have such a lovely baritone voice. As for the rest of your questions, my enemies, did I tell you they were ninjas? They cut off my head and threw it out of the window. Jokes were on them because I already rigged my body with explosives so as soon as it fell, it exploded and brought them with it. My good old loyal body. Don’t worry about the ninjas, Doc, they are dead so there’s nothing you can do to help them.”

Stephen was horrified by the story. So many unnecessary deaths. He couldn’t help to question it though, blame it on his inquisitiveness.  “So your plan was to let the bomb explode when your body fell. What happened if they didn’t cut off your head and you fell? Wouldn’t you explode together with them and you don’t even have a head to survive?”

Deadpool gasped. “You’re a genius, Doc. I didn’t even think about it. Next time, I’ll just use grenades. Thanks, Doc.”

Stephen closed his eyes and counted to thirty. “That’s not what I meant and please don’t use grenades. In fact, please don’t kill any more people.”

“You know that I’m a mercenary so of course I kill for a living. Not everybody has the luxury of inheriting a place for protecting this realm from monsters and demons. On second thought, I don’t think it’s such a good deal for you, you don’t actually get paid and you endanger yourself every day. Are you interested in becoming my sidekick? You don’t have to kill.”

“No! I still don’t know about the monsters and demons you talk about. We’re not in a movie, Mr. Wilson.”

“I know that we are currently not in a movie. We’re inside a fanfiction written by someone procrastinating rather than doing real life work.”

“What?!”

“Never mind, the author won’t share more. Anyway, to answer your last question. I have nobody to return home to. Haha, get it, no body. You’re not smiling. Tough customer. Where was I? Oh yes, how do I get my head sent here? I’m always planning ahead. Got it? A head? Still no smile? Are you made of stone? Anyway, whenever my head got chopped off, it’ll automatically teleport itself into a box in a UPS office. As soon as it happens, a UPS guy will get a notification that there will be a delivery. The address varies depending on which place will be the most exciting to be in. So I presume there will be a lot of actions in this place. I’ll be bored if it’s all quiet here.”

“Don’t you mean the safest to be in given you don’t have any mean of protection?”

“No, the most exciting! I have 31 headfirst adventures and I’m expecting my 32nd here. The guy who set this up for me has been very helpful.”

“May I know the guy’s name?”

“It sounds like a city. Menghisto? Mangito?”

“Memphisto!?”

“Yes, that’s him.”

“You made a deal with a devil so that you have a power to teleport your head into a UPS box!?”

“Meh, I think it’s a good deal. I’ve made use of this deal 31 times and I’m fine so far. Well, relatively. Besides, there is no such thing as soul so it’s not such a big loss.”

“Soul is real!”

“Really?”

“Yes!”

“If you said so, you’re the sorcerer after all and you’re so soulful about my soul. I still think it is Memphisto’s loss since I can’t be killed.”

Stephen massaged his temples. “OK, one problem at a time. Let’s get you comfortable first. We’ll discuss about your soul situation later.”

He carried the box into the last room so as not to disturb other potential patients. It was much heavier that it looked. Must be the katanas.

“Do you mind if I put your head on a pillow here?”

“That’s fine. Anything is much better than under a rock.”

Stephen put a plastic wrap on top of the pillow. Blood stain was so hard to remove. He picked up Deadpool’s head gently and put it on top of the wrap.

“Can I take your mask off? It’s not good for your circulation, in a manner of speaking since you don’t have a body to circulate the blood to begin with.”

“No, no. You’ll be repulsed if you look at me.”

“No, I won’t. I’ve seen a lot of stranger things before. Yes, pun, intended both for my name and the show.”

Deadpool smiled. “You pretended not to like my puns then you made your own terrible puns. I really like you. Let’s be BFF for real, realer than my last offer. And you can see my face.”

Stephen pulled his mask off. The smell of rotting flesh and Mexican food wafted from his head. The doctor was surprised to see the burned and damaged skin underneath the mask but didn’t scream or back off. He was not exaggerating when he said he had seen it all and he was not talking being a sorcerer. He just thought Deadpool looked a lot like a chemical burn victim. “What happened to you?”

“No disgust? Bravo for you, BFF. That my friend is the reason you need to watch Deadpool, released in 2016. It’s now available on Netflix, Rent on DVD, and Blu Ray. While you’re it, you can also watch Doctor Strange, which was also released in 2016.”

“What are you prattling about? If you don’t want to answer it, that’s fine. Do you have any help while you’re growing your body?” Never in his life had he ever imagined himself uttering this sentence but apparently it was his life now.

Deadpool pouted. “I’m still hoping for at least a song. Could you please at least scratch my nose? It has been itching for a while but since we are BFFs now, I don’t think you would mind doing it.”

Stephen remembered a line in his Hippocratic Oath.  “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon's knife or the chemist's drug.” He might have ignored it in the past in order to gain more fame and fortune but this was the new him.

“Fine.” He steeled himself and went to scratch Deadpool’s nose. His fingers met sticky and clammy skin but he ignored it and kept on scratching.

The noise Deadpol made was obscene. It was as if he was pleasuring himself.

Stephen kept thinking of how he ignored his patients in the past and now was the time to make amendment so he soldiered on.

Because of the noises Deadpool made, both of them didn’t realize the whirring noises outside followed by the gas wafting into the room.

When Stephen realized that he smelt something odd that was not coming from Deadpool, he formed a glowing protective shield covering both of them. But it was already too late as he had inhaled some of the gas and it was quite potent.

He couldn’t keep standing upright so it was lucky that Sophie supported him so he wouldn’t fall. He heard Deadpool yelling about staying away from his BFF before he lost consciousness.

Chapter Text

When he opened his eyes, he found out that he was seated inside a room that was expensively decorated. He tried to get up but he couldn’t. His arms and legs were bound to the chair. He would’ve sighed if his mouth was not covered by a duct tape. He rolled his eyes instead.

This was a typical method of his enemies overpowering him — a sneak attack then binding and gagging him. Well, it had been working out so well for them so far so of course they copied this method. He wondered whether there was a newsgroup discussing his weaknesses.

The ropes were too tight so he couldn’t move his hands or legs at all. There would be some rope burns. Even if he managed to escape, Wong would know that he endangered himself although this time truly was not his fault. Wong took pictures of him early this morning before he went out. The librarian asked him to pull his sleeves and pant legs up and took some pictures. He wanted to compare the doctor’s before and after the clinic. It seemed his chance of winning the bet was getting slimmer and it was not even past noon yet.  Well, he wasn’t sure about the time but he didn’t feel like he had been knocked out that long.

He wondered where Sophie went.

He heard a door opening behind him. A hooded figure appeared in front of him. The guy had a green cape—an honest-to-Visanthi cape!—not a cloak like his. The guy put down his hoodie but Stephen still couldn’t see his face because he wore a mask. So what was the point of the hood? This guy gave Stephen a run for his money in being dramatic. The guy paced in front of Stephen.

“Welcome to the Latverian Embassy, Doctor Strange! My name is Doctor Victor von Doom, the leader of Latveria, the best country in the world. I wish to consult you because I only seek the best. I heard you’re also a sorcerer and the best candidate for the Sorcerer Supreme.” Doom spat the words Sorcerer Supreme like it was a disgusting thing. “I’m also dabbling in magic. What made you think you’re better than me? I apologize for your current predicament but I need to be careful. You associate yourself with the so-called heroes such as The Avengers and Fantastic Four. I also deem your clinic too dirty so it’s better to have my consultation here.”

Not expecting any answer given Stephen’s ‘predicament’, Doom continued, “You might be wondering why I didn’t consult other health experts in the world. Or perhaps even other magicians. I already have and I haven’t found a long term solution. I take it that you still withhold the doctor-patient confidentiality so anything I say in this room is only between us.”

Stephen rolled his eyes because this was definitely a kidnapping, not a consultation but he couldn’t say anything yet. He needed to preserve his energy.  Doom stared at him expecting an answer so he nodded.

“Good! Because I’ve already prepared an anti-magic cell in case you don’t do your best to cure me or if you tell my ailment to others. Don’t worry. I won’t kill you though. What kind of person kills their doctors anyway? But my Latverian jails are full of doctors who have failed to heal me. I’m sure you won’t fail. During your stay here, I’ll fit you with an anti-magic collar so you won’t try anything funny. It’s still under testing in my lab but it’ll be ready in less than fifteen minutes. After making sure you wear that, I’ll free you of your bonds and you can stay in my guest room as long as you’re still my physician.”

Stephen needed to buy a little bit more time so he let Doom continue.

“I of course will pay you handsomely if you can cure me permanently. Now that we’ve agreed upon our relationship, I’ll tell you my ailment. I’ve been having migraine for ten years and no one has been able to cure me. I’ve tried to find a calm environment by turning off the lights, using temperature therapy, and drinking a caffeinated beverage in small amount. I tried to sleep well but not with much success. But if you prescribe me any sleeping pill, I’ll throw you into the cell immediately. I already keep healthy eating habits, well, as much as I can when I’m not ruling Latveria or fighting your friends, Fantastic Four or the Avengers. I’ve avoided any trigger food. I’ve exercised regularly. I’ve…”

Doom was surprised to find out that he was suddenly seated in a chair with his curtains wrapped tightly around his body and also his mouth so he couldn’t speak anymore. He looked up and saw Strange had teleported away from his chair, unbounded. Strange stood and cross his arms in front of his chest. How the table had turned?

“First of all, this is not a normal consultation. This is kidnapping. If you want to consult me, just do it like any of my patients. Walk to my clinic and wait until your turn. This is America, not Latveria! Yes, I know it’s your embassy so technically it’s Latverian soil but you kidnapped me from America. There is no way to treat any of your doctors this way. Release all the doctors you sent to jails immediately. In fact, release everyone you wrongly imprisoned or there will be consequences. Migraine will be the last of your problem if I set you in a time loop. I’ve dealt with Loki so I can deal with you.”

Stephen stared at Doom but Doom looked back at him defiantly. In fact, Doom looked equally pissed. Stephen thought he’d better say his things quickly and went back to the clinic before this anti-magic collar thing was ready.

“I’ll try my best to cure you but it needs to be done freely without any force or coercion. I also don’t want any of your money. I just want to cure people. It’s called compassion. You should try it sometime. I’m sure it will help with your migraine. In fact, drop being evil and taking over the world, I’m sure the migraine will be gone immediately. I know the other doctors don’t dare to say it to your face so they find the traditional cure. I’m sure you know where I live so when you’re ready to be sociable, I’ll be there for you.”

Doom somehow had also managed to free his mouth from the curtain. “Strange, I’ve tried to be civil but you refused. You’ll regret it by the end of today. You’ll be my doctor one way or the other. Mark my words!”

There were some movements behind so Stephen teleported back to his clinic. He was glad that the embassy was still in New York so he didn’t need to use too much energy.

Once he was back in the clinic, he sunk to the floor and dropped his head in his hands. That was close. Binding and gagging him had been working out so well for his enemies so far so Stephen thought he needed some ways to get around it. He had learned to manipulate energy around him only using his mind without any incantation or hand movement. He still needed to use a lot of mental energy to do that so he was tired. His simply teleported from his chair because other methods were too hard given there was still some drugs from Doom in his system. He really needed to look into that. Suddenly, there was a blur of red and he was blanketed by Sophie.

“I miss you too. I’m glad you’re OK.”

“BFF, is that you? I’m glad you’re OK.”

Ouch, that was Deadpool. He totally forgot about him! He walked into examination room number three and saw Deadpool had grown a body with arms and legs. The problem was it was still in a baby body and he was completely naked along with his chemical burns. Stephen went to check on Deadpool and didn’t see anything wrong with him so he covered Deadpool’s body with a blanket. Nobody needed to see a naked Deadpool!

“I didn’t take you for being prude, Doc.”

“I’m not but I don’t want to inflict you on my other patients. Does it mean you’ll grow your body until you reach your normal age?”

Deadpool shrugged his baby shoulders. “Something like that.”

He looked at the clock, it was nearly 11.20 now so he wasn’t unconscious for too long. “And it can be up to thirty five hours for you to get back to normal.”

“Yes. Although you should know by now that I’m not normal. Neither are you, Doctor Strange. Although I’m more popular than you, my sequel is coming out in 2018. When is your sequel? The offer for sidekick still stands.”

Stephen sighed. “I heard your voice before everything went dark. I took it that the gas didn’t work on you.”

“Of course not, the benefit of not having any lung. I tried to fight the Doombots off but I have the disadvantage of not having any limbs. Your cape fought valiantly but one of the Doombot shoot something like a laser at your cape and it went limb. It must be something anti magic. They then teleported you away using some kinds of flashlight.”

Stephen paled at hearing that. So Doom had indeed found something to dampen magic. Before he could contemplate further, there were voices at the reception.

“Who do I have to shoot to have a service around here?”

“I’m Groot.”

Chapter Text

Stephen went to the reception area and saw the weirdest sight he had seen on Earth (well, he had seen plenty of very strange –he could always pun his own name— sights in other realms) and he had met Thanos’ children and Tony’s AI bots. A creature that looked like a racoon was standing, wearing clothes carrying a gun larger than his body strapped to  its (his?) back. It (he?) walked in with a stroller trailing behind.  The racoon was followed a walking tree. The walking tree was as a little bit shorter than his doorway. It (he?) was texting or playing a game on his phone.

Stephen rubbed his eyes and checked whether he was trapped in the Nightmare’s realm or hallucinating. He pinched himself. Well, he was not dreaming and still on Earth. He shrugged. With his line of work, it was always worth to check which realm he was in.

He could just have gone insane and imagined the whole thing. He never discounted that possibility—he even welcomed it given what he faced in daily basis. In that case, Wong could check him into a place with soft padded walls. The joke was on Wong though because they couldn’t afford to institutionalize him with the money the Masters of Mystic Arts not making.

His train of thought or maybe-hallucination was cut short when the standing-and-talking-racoon-look-alike pointed what looked like a real big gun at his face. “Are you the idiot in charge of this Terran clinic or can I speak to someone else smarter?”

Stephen directed the barrel of the gun to point at the ceiling. “I’m in charge. How can I help you?” He wanted to ask perhaps they should go to a vet instead but the talking-racoon-look-alike had a very big gun so it was best not to offend him despite he could transfigure the gun to something harmless. He remembered his promise to be a normal doctor to Wong although this situation was very far from normal even for him.

To Stephen’s relief, the racoon strapped the gun back to his back. “It’s not for us but for my friend here.” The talking-racoon-look-alike carried something like a remote control with blinking lights. It…He (definitely a he if he talked, Stephen decided) pressed a button and the stroller moved forward and stopped just in front of Stephen. “He is sick.”

Stephen opened the shade of the stroller and nearly lost his fingers in the process if he didn’t step back just in time. Something feral, frothing with saliva, kept jumping to try to bite his fingers off. He used a little bit of magic to calm the animal down. When the animal dozed off, he noticed that it (he?) looked like a normal racoon since it (he?) didn’t wear any clothes.  There was a lot of foams coming out of its (his?) mouth.

“Isn’t he cute?”

Cute was not the way to describe the sleeping racoon but again the talking raccoon was very prone to violent so it was best to agree with him. “Under certain circumstances.”  Well, compared to the Mindless Ones in the Dark Dimension, the raccoon was indeed cute. “Does your friend talk to?”

The talking racoon looked at him like he was an idiot. “He doesn’t. He is a Terran racoon.”

Stephen nodded as if that was the most natural thing in the world. “Of course, and you are?”

“Not a racoon despite what theTerrans like to call me. My name is Rocket. I’m not from Terran.”

“You don’t say.” He couldn’t help his sarcasm given the situation.

“I’m Groot.” The texting, walking tree introduced itself (himself?)

Stephen decided to call an animal and a tree that could talk as he or she depending on the gender and the non-talking one as it. How did he know the gender of the tree? When had his life turned so weird? Oh yes, he knew the answer to that one.

“I’m Doctor Stephen Strange. I think it’s best if we step into one of these rooms.” Stephen pointed at the first room because there was no way he let these group of sentient beings met Deadpool. One problem at a time.

“I’m Groot.”

Rocket rolled his eyes. “Quit your whining and go to the room.”

“I’m Groot.”

“Yes, I know, he doesn’t look capable but what choice do we have? We don’t have any Terran money. I blew our last money at Planet GdsXwky.”

Stephen sighed and led them into the first examination room.

“I’m Groot.”

“Watch your mouth. You aren’t allowed to swear.”

Stephen quietly created a translation spell for himself so he could understand what Groot was saying. Was Rocket Groot’s father? Biologically, it was impossible but again they were aliens.

“I think your friend here needs to be quarantined because his furious rabies has gone too far. I’m afraid there is no cure.”

Rocket pulled out the gun again. Stephen blinked, he wasn’t sure whether he should transform the gun. Rocket pointed the gun at the racoon. “Do I need to shoot him to end his suffering?”

Stephen quickly stepped in front of the gun to protect the real racoon from the racoon-look-alike-with-a-very-big-gun. His knew his rational mind would regret this soon. “Don’t. I can try to fix it…him. I read somewhere about some unconventional method.” He would send the virus the dimension of Hruikhejz where viruses thrived. Of course they didn’t need to know it was magic. “Could you push the stroller to a far corner there?” He pointed at the corner furthest from the door.

Rocket looked at him suspiciously and put the gun back. He pushed the remote to steer the stroller to the corner.

“Just sit anywhere in this room while I tend to your friend.” Stephen gestured to the room at large.

“He is not my friend.”

“I’m Groot.”

“He’s not your pet and no, you can’t keep him. You can barely take care of yourself.”

“I’m Groot.”

“Fine by me. You’ll crawl back to me within five minutes.”

Stephen tuned the conversation out. He used his own body to cover the racoon from Rocket and Groot. He quietly casted a spell and made a quick gesture with both hands to open a tiny portal, all the viruses glowed bright yellow as they flew through the portal. He quickly closed the portal. The racoon grew much calmer. Stephen petted the sleeping raccoon, it indeed looked cuter now.

 “Your friend is cured.”

“He is not my friend… Really? That’s fast. I thought it’d be much longer than that.” He narrowed his eyes at Stephen. “What kind of doctor are you?”

He winked . “A very good one.”

“Did you blink using your left or right eye? What does it mean?”

Stephen wondered why Rocket couldn’t tell left from right. Before he could answer, Groot spoke up, “I’m Groot.”

“Quit your whining. He’s not that kind of doctor.”

“I’m Groot.”

“That’s it. We’re leaving.” He looked at Stephen. “Thanks, Doc. You’re not that idiotic.”

“I can look at your friend.” He stepped in front of Groot who sat on the bed. Groot finally took his eyes away from his phone that shaped differently from Earth’s phone. Stephen idly wondered what the galaxy version of Verizon or AT&T was. Perhaps Thor could use something like that. He chided his curious side. “When did your headache start?”

“I’m Groot.”

“I see. Two weeks ago. What are the other symptoms?”

Rocket went to grab at Stephen’s arm. Stephen winced as some of his nerves were pinched. Rocket noticed his discomfort and realized that the doctor’s hands were full of scars. He quickly released it. “Has anybody experimented on your hands? Who do I need to shoot?”

Stephen was horrified. Why were all his patients so violent today? “I had a terrible accident that ruined my hands. I underwent the experiments willingly to try to cure them. I would greatly appreciate if you don’t shoot me.”

“Yet, you’re a doctor now. “ He shrugged. “Not my problem. How do you understand what Groot said? Thor is an exceptionally fine specimen of Asgardian but you?”

Stephen felt a bit self-conscious being compared to Thor. “What am I? Something that the cat dragged in?” He realized that he was talking to a talking animal who perhaps thought a cat was his god. “Not that I have something against cats. It’s just an Earth’s expression.”

“I don’t understand the expression. No, you’re just a Terran, albeit a rather capable one—although the other Terran I’ve tolerated so far is Quill so the sample is not large. How do you know Groot?”

The real answer was of course Stephen often travelled to other dimensions talking, negotiating, or bargaining with other creatures. Universal translation spell was something handy. However, he was not willing to share that with everybody. “Something that I picked up when I learned some new languages in Kamar-Taj.”

Rocket narrowed his eyes.  “What’re the odds? First Thor, and now you?  Is Groot a common universal language now?”

“Or perhaps you’re just lucky? Shall I look at your friend?”

Rocket dropped his head. “Fine. I’ll have a look at the cute thing here.” He went to check on the racoon at the corner.

“I’m Groot.”

“So you get tightness at the front of your neck or the equivalent of a neck for you, and a weakness at the back. How do you describe the pain?”

“I’m Groot.”

“So it throbs that starts at the base of your head and radiates to your scalp or the equivalent of a scalp for you.”

“I’m Groot.”

“Fine, I won’t keep using the word equivalent but I don’t really understand non-human physiology here.” He had his suspicion about the disease Groot was suffering from but he needed to ask something to confirm. “Do you have pain behind the eyes, sensitivity to light, tender scalp, and pain when you move your neck as well?”

“I’m Groot.”

“OK, so you have them. Let me do something. Close your eyes.” Groot followed suit. He turned to look at Rocket who seemed to be preoccupied by the racoon. He used magic to do the equivalent of MRI scan at Groot’s head because he suspected normal MRI wouldn’t work on trees. OK, that confirmed his suspicion. “You have Occipital Neuralgia which is a neurological condition in which the occipital nerves are inflamed or injured. I think it’s because you use too much of your phone. How many hours do you use it in a day?”

Rocket replied, “He doesn’t let the phone go unless he goes to sleep.”

“I’m Groot.”

“Fine, you also don’t use it when you groom yourself, which is what? 5 minutes in three weeks? I knew it. The phone is killing him.”

Stephen quickly said, “It’s not killing him but it certainly is painful. I’m going to give Groot some muscle relaxants. Preventive measure is the best thing.  Lift your phone at the eye level if you want to use it don’t maintain the same position for too long, take frequent break from using your phone. Perhaps it’s best to set a reminder every twenty minutes to take a break from your phone.  There is 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look out 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Using your phone too much can also cause stress, destroy your sight and hearing, and disturb your sleep.”

“I’m Groot.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you want to listen to my advice. And from my personal experience, don’t ever text and drive. Here are the results.”

He raised the back of his hands for Groot and Rocket to see.

“I’m Groot.”

“Thank you. That’s so kind of you but I can only blame myself for this. I don’t want to you to repeat the same mistake I did.”

Rocket’s eyes suspiciously grew misty. He cleared his throat. “Thanks, Doc. You’re truly not what I expected. There is something I want you to check for me.” He said the last part so quietly that he could barely hear it.

Stephen said, “Sure, hop on to the bed then.”

Groot hopped to the floor to be replaced by Rocket who jumped to the bed. Who knew he could be so agile? Rocket pointed to Groot. “Go to take care of the racoon there and put down your phone. I have something to talk to the doctor.”

“I’m Groot. “ Despite his grumbling, Groot went to put down his phone and went to the corner.

Rocket motioned Stephen to come closer.

Stephen sat on the chair next to the bed. Rocket came to sit very close to him and pull him closer to whisper in his ear. “I have a problem to tell the difference between left and right. I would appreciate if you don’t tell it to Groot or my other team mates. I’m grateful for what you did for that raccoon and Groot but I might still shoot you with a smaller gun.”

Stephen whispered back in his ear. “I know you’re warming up to me. Don’t worry, on Earth there is thing called doctor-patient confidentiality. Your secret is safe with me. Do you want to ask Groot and your other friend there to step out or do you want to move to the next room?”

Rocket looked at Groot who for the first time as far as he remembered was not looking at his phone but at the racoon instead. He whispered, “That’s fine. You can just replace my disease with my condition so they don’t know the exact nature.”

Stephen suspected Rocket might suffer from Gerstmann's syndrome but he needed more tests. He asked Rocket to raise his left hand, touched with his left ear with his right hand and the variants. Rocket only got it right for 40%. He needed to confirm it using a quick magic MRI scan.

"Do you want to lie down and I do a quick check? Close your eyes."

"Why? Are you going to stab me?"

He sighed. "I'm not going to stab you. What will I get from stabbing you? You have no money. Besides, Groot can protect you. Just close them for ten seconds."

Rocket grumbled. "I'm so opening my eyes in ten seconds." He closed his eyes.

Stephen did a very quick scan in three seconds and found out there indeed was a lesion in his dominant parietal lobe. He used magic to remove the lesion as it was not possible to do it medically. It took him another five seconds to do so. "Done."

Rocket opened his eyes, sat up, and looked at his body to make sure it was unharmed.

"As I suspected, you suffered from Gerstmann's syndrome because there was a lesion in your brain."

Rocket stared at him. "Was? How the hell did you know that? How could you look at my brain?"

Stephen smirked. "Terran doctors have their own means. Don't you know that? By the way, you are cured now."

"How?"

Stephen smirked again and winked using his right eye. "Which side of my eye did I use to wink?"

"Right?"

"Correct."

"Please raise your right hand."

Rocket followed accordingly.

"Raise your left foot."

Rocket did it correctly.

After doing around fifty rounds of tests and Rocket got 100% of them correct. He went to hug Stephen. "Thank you for curing me. But if you ever told others what you did here, I'll…"

Stephen pet Rocket's head tentatively. Surprisingly Rocket seemed to snuggle closer as he pet him. "Shoot me with smaller guns. I know. You're welcome."

"I'm Groot."

"I'm hungry too. Let's eat. Doc, I know you don't accept any payment which is the reason we came here in the first place. However, if you need me to shoot or maim anyone, I'll be your guy."

"I'm touched by the offer. Surprisingly it's not the first offer I heard today. Don't shoot anyone for my sake. In fact, don't shoot anyone!" Looking at Rocket's raised eyebrows, he continued, "…but I guess that's a moot point. I'm fine. You just enjoy your lunch with Groot."

Groot approached him and offered his hand for Stephen to shake. "I'm Groot."

Stephen shook Groot's hand and smiled. "It's nice to meet you too, Groot."

On the doorway, Rocket turned to look at him. "You need to take care of your idiotic self. You don't want me to shoot anyone on your behalf, do you?"

Stephen smiled. "OK. I'll try to take a good care of my idiotic self." Wong would be so proud of him.

Groot waved at him. Then the trio left.

Stephen filed in two new documents for "Rocket" and "Groot". He doubted that the real racoon would be a repeat patient.

He was too engrossed in filing so he didn't notice until he realized somebody had literally darkened his doorway.

"Can I help you?" He looked up just in time to see a guy with white hair wearing a weird purple helmet, purple leather, and purple cape. The guy moved his hands and suddenly Stephen was pushed by something. As he fell to his chair, all sorts of metals wrapped around his body, and limbs so he practically tied up to his chair. He rolled his eyes at supervillains with their dramatic entrances and flowing capes. "Seriously? So soon? I just got rid of the first one."

Chapter Text

Stephen grimaced. His hands hurt like hell. He tried to move his hands but he felt like they were glued to the chair. He couldn’t even move his fingers. The pins in his hands were made of metal and under Magneto’s control.  The Cloak couldn’t move because the metal encasing him was so tight.

Magneto saw Stephen’s hands were stuck to the chair at weird angles. He also noticed the bulging pins in his hands. “What’s wrong with your hands?”

Stephen laughed bitterly. “I think it’s a bit too late now to be concerned about my well-being. I’m the doctor here, not the patient. Untie me and we can talk about your medical problems.”

“You’re in no position to make any demand.”

“Sue me. Wait, don’t. I don’t have any money. But I promise you that I could forgive you for tying me up if you release me ASAP.”

“No, can’t do. But I can do this.” He released his hold on the metal in his fingers so Stephen could flex his fingers. He breathed a sigh of relief. Before he could do anything else, some iron wrapped around his fingers. He couldn’t move his fingers again but at least they didn’t hurt that much anymore. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“A bit too late.”

“Your type always has the hero complex and would rather suffer than concede defeat.”

“My type? I’m sorry but I must’ve missed the part that we were in a battle.”

“I mean the hero type. I really shouldn’t use the word type. It’s a very biased word but I know no other synonym.”

“Do you want me to get you a thesaurus? It’s funny that you think I’m a hero. But we’re here to discuss about your disease.”

Magneto looked uncomfortable. “What do you mean by my disease?”

“You’ve been sighted loitering around this clinic for a few months.”

“I don’t LOITER. And how would they know anyway?”

“So you don’t deny that you do no-loitering for the last few months. It’s kind of hard to miss the douchebag in a purple costume with a cape.”

“You’re in no position to comment.”

To drive his point, Magneto tightened the metal grip all around his body except for his hands. Now his whole body started to hurt even more. He could practically imagine the scolding he was going to get from Wong for all these welts.

He could feel that Sophie tried really hard to free them. He told her telepathically to be patient, he was nearly there. Well, at least he thought he told her telepathically. He was not sure whether she could understand. But she had stopped moving so perhaps she did.

“Just listen and answer my questions. What’s your view about mutants? I don’t want a doctor who thinks of mutants as sub-humans.”

Stephen finished incanting the spell mentally. There was a blue blinding light. Suddenly all the metal in the whole clinic, including his hands, turned to different kinds of rubbers depending on the metals. The purpose of doing so of course so that he could reverse them back to their original metal types. He was sure Claire, Christine, and Helen would appreciate he didn’t turn all the metals in the clinic into aluminium or copper. He was quite proud of this spell he invented.

Sophie wrapped herself around Magneto to immobilize him. Magneto looked shocked.

This turn of event would be more satisfactory if he could actually move his hands. As for now, all the pins in his hands were also rubber. But the show must go on.

“It’s good then that I’m not a racist. I think all humans, mutants and non-mutants are equal and deserve the same amount of compassion and respect. If you would stop fooling around and be serious, we can start our session. Do you want your whole session done while you are being wrapped up like a burrito or do you want to have a civilized session like a normal, well, normalish session between a patient and a doctor? The choice is yours.”

Magneto stared at his hands. “If I stuck to your first option, you wouldn’t be able to use your hands either. Are you going to sacrifice your hands so that you would win?”

“To be honest, I’d rather be a proper doctor rather than posturing but I wasn’t the one who started it. If I ask the Cloak to release you and I return all the rubber back to their original metal, do you promise you won’t attack me or any other person in this clinic, well, make it the whole five blocks?”

“There might be some mutant haters within these five blocks.”

“If there is even one, I’ll help you to hand the person over to the authority.”

“The authority doesn’t care about mutants. That’s the problem.”

“Well, I’m sure I can find a proper punishment like letting the person fall in a loop for 30 minutes.”

“Could you actually do that? That’s very creative.” Magneto looked intrigued which was not the reaction he expected. He didn’t want to team up with Magneto.  “Do you want to join my group as a consultant?”

“Yes, I could. I could help as a consultant on things related to medical but I don’t want to join your crusade against humans. As I said, I treat them both mutants and non-mutants equally. Do we have a deal?”

“Yes, you have my word.”

Stephen wasn’t sure whether to trust Magneto but his gut feeling said so. “OK, deal.”

He silently incanted the reversion spell.

Sophie released her hold on Magneto but she still hovered above him.

Magneto moved his hands to return all the metal to their original position.

Stephen was glad that he could move his hands now. Sophie flew back to his shoulders.

There was uncomfortable silence as Magneto stared at him for a few seconds. He finally said, “You’re unique. Not many people can stand their ground against me. You were even willing to sacrifice your hands to win. What’s your name?”

“You’ve been attacking me and you don’t know name?! What’s wrong with you? OK, don’t answer that. My name is Doctor Stephen Strange.”

Magneto thrust his right hand forward, Stephen gingerly shook it. Magneto stared at the scars on his hands. “I’m sure you already know I’m Magneto. I prefer to use my real name Erik Lehnsherr to people I don’t consider as my enemy. You could call me Erik.” He released Stephen’s hand. “I’m so sorry about my behaviour earlier. I hurt you and your hands. I feel like a hypocrite now for accusing you being racist when I behave like a crippist.”

He raised his head defiantly. “I’m not a cripple.” He then remembered his whole trip to Kamar-Taj to find the cure for his hands. He rubbed his eyes. “Forget about this whole attacking thing. Do you want to step into the examination room?” Without waiting for an answer, he stood up to lead the way.

Magneto followed him.

Stephen asked him to sit on the chair opposite him.

 “Doctor, I need to apologize again. I don’t usually behave this way.  As you know, I’ve been checking this place for a while. However, all the doctors or nurses here are females with no power as far as I know so I don’t want to scare them. You’re the first male doctor in this clinic so I thought I could make my move. I wasn’t sure whether you had powers.  I’ve seen Tony Stark and the Hulk came out this morning. I’ve had some bad experiences with some of these so-called heroes so I don’t want to take my chances when I walked in.”

Stephen started to worry because he, a Master of Mystic Arts, didn’t even notice that Magneto had been watching him. Again, he didn’t take any precaution because he thought nobody would want to hurt their doctor. Perhaps he needed to take Tony’s offer about some lookout. “I should’ve known you’re not racist as I just saw an animal pushing a stroller and a tree walked out of your clinic happily.”

Stephen couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the last sentence. Magneto also smiled.

“Yes, it’s been a weird day even for me and I’ve only been here for three hours. I think we could just restart the whole thing and pretend the whole tying me up didn’t happen. So what can I do to help you?”

“I’ve been feeling very tired and weak lately. I often feel light-headed. My hands and feet feel cold. My tongue feels sore and my nails are brittle. Sometime I have shortness of breath and chest pain. Just tell me straight, am I dying? Do I need to find my successor so that smug Charles won’t have the last word?” Magneto seemed to be horrified at his admission. “Please forget my last sentence.”

“I’m trying to. I have no idea who Charles is. Perhaps you should say less.” Of course Stephen could find out more if he wanted to but he really just wanted to be a doctor for today without getting involved in mutant politic. “And you are not dying. I think you suffer from iron deficiency.”

“Excuse me?”

“Iron deficiency. It happens mostly to women but some men could suffer from it as well.”

Magneto was left speechless for a while. Finally he found his voice. “Don’t you think it’s ironic that I could control metal but I suffer from the lack of one of the most common metal?”

Stephen shrugged. “It’s ironic but I’m trying to be a doctor here not a comedian, well, at least for today. Perhaps the reason is related to your power but who am I to judge? I could give you some iron supplements because I think we have them here. I also recommend you to eat more iron rich food such as beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, iron-fortified cereals, and peas. I know usually doctors prescribed red meat, pork, poultry, and sea food but I personally think that the disadvantages of eating meat outweigh its benefits. It’s harder to get iron from plant based food but it’s doable. You can always get the iron supplements. Let me get some here. Just wait here.”

He went out to retrieve the supplements and also an empty folder. He returned to the room as quick as he could before Magneto plotted something against humans again. He doubted the planning could be achieved in the 20 seconds he was gone but again this was the head of supervillains.

He did double take when he returned and saw Magneto looked at his brittle nails. They were indeed brittle now that he paid attention closely. They were broken in so many places. Poor guy. Stephen shook his head. Was he sympathizing with Magneto? But again he was first and foremost always be a doctor.

He smiled brightly and pretended not to notice Magneto’s behavior.  He put the supplements in front of his patient. “Here we go. I’ll put your data here.” He noticed Magneto’s alarmed look. “Don’t worry. We guarantee secrecy. If you want to come back for another consultation, you’re welcome to do so as long as you keep your promise about not attacking anybody within five blocks radius while you’re here.”

His patient’s eyes glistened with tears. “Thank you for your help, Doctor. You’re a very special young man. I’ve been so worried that I was dying so I’m relieved that I’m not. If anybody threatens you, I could take care of them for you. They wouldn’t even find their bodies.”

Stephen felt his blood run cold. What’s wrong with his patients today? He swallowed thickly and forced a smile. “I can take care of myself so no killing on my behalf. I guess it’s too much to ask not to kill in general.”

Magneto rose and smiled. There was no trace of his tears so Stephen might have imagined the whole thing.  “You’re correct but don’t worry. I don’t hate humans in general, just those who hate mutants. Farewell, Doctor and even if you don’t want my help, I can still help you without you knowing.” With his ominous promise hanging in the air, he left the clinic.

Stephen closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. He just hoped his patients didn’t end up killing each other on his behalf.

As he was writing on a paper inside a folder marked Lehnsherr, Erik (alias Magneto), he heard someone come into the clinic.

He hoped it was not another villain or anti-hero this time. He barely had any break from the last few encounters. He was relieved when the person who walked in was Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, one of the most cheerful people he knew, the owner of Rand Enterprise, and most importantly, the co-owner of the clinic.

Chapter Text

12.20 pm, Danny Rand

Danny wore his usual attire, a loose shirt and yoga pants. He was also barefoot. It was hard to believe he was a billionaire. Except for being super rich and having the word Iron in his made-up name (he remembered Peter’s words fondly), he was a complete opposite of Tony Stark, at least from outward appearance. Danny Rand was humble, cheerful, naive, and always tried to see the good in others (except for the Hand, don’t even start mentioning the Hand or you would get his endless rant about him being protector of K’unlun and sworn enemy of the Hand). Danny actually reminded Stephen of Peter Parker but richer, much richer. Therefore, he also felt protective of Danny in similar way he did for Peter.

“Danny, are you hurt?”

“No, I’m not. Can’t I just visit you during lunch time? I brought you lunch. I don’t know what you like so I brought Chinese and also some sandwiches.”

Stephen had been too busy being a doctor and protecting himself from attacks to remember the time. He just realized he was famished. Not surprising given the amount of magic he had used recently. He just noticed that Danny carried two bulking brown paper bags. He smirked and raised his left eyebrow. “Are you going to feed a whole army?”

Danny blushed. “I might overestimate the amount we could eat. But the restaurants seem to be happy and I’m always happy to help other businesses.” Stephen just found out another similarity between Danny and Tony, generous to a fault.

“Restaurants? How many did you go?”

“Just two. One for the Chinese that I went together with Jessica, Luke, and Matt during that Midland Circle Debacle. The other one is for the sandwiches. I’m not as idiotic as people think.” He huffed as the said that last part.

Stephen shook his head. Poor Danny, people often mocked him because of his friendly unassuming attitude. His heart ached as Danny reminded him of his dead brother. “I never take you as an idiot. You have a big heart and I admire you for that. I wish more people are like you the world will be a much better place. Are you sure you’re not hurt or in need of medical assistance?”

“Positive. I’ve not been in a fight in..” He took out his phone from his pocket  to look at the time. “…thirteen hours. And if I’m hurt, I can always use my chi to heal. After all, I’m the immortal Iron Fist, the protector of K’unlun and Sworn Enemy of the Hand.” To proof his point, Danny showed his glowing right hand.

Stephen smiled. Something never changed. “I hope you are going to eat those. I can’t possibly finish them all.”

“Of course. I want to catch up with my favorite doctor.”

“I’m the only doctor you know.”

“That’s beside the point. Besides, there are a lot of doctors in Rand Enterprise so that’s not true. Shall we start?”

Stephen remembered about Deadpool. He needed to feed him. “There is someone else that might be able to join us.”

He turned to walk toward the end of the corridor. After the first step, he suddenly felt the room spun around him. He would have fallen if it were not Sophie which lifted him up and deposited him to the sofa in the waiting room.

He tried to open his eyes which he didn’t realize he had closed but regretted the decision when he was welcome with blinding light. He closed his eyes again.

“Stephen, are you OK?” He heard Danny’s worried voice above him.

He tried to speak but realized he didn’t have any energy to do so. He must have used up a lot of magic in the past few hours without recharging himself so he had depleted his reserves. He also hadn’t got the time to check on the drugs Doom used on him. He felt miserable--he already lost the bet to Wong and it was not even the end of the day yet.

Suddenly he felt a pair of warm hands on his back and energy flowed from those hands into his body. He instantly felt warm and peaceful. He felt like he floated between clouds. He could stay like this forever. He also felt his energy reserve started to increase. It must be the chi that Danny was so fond of. Next time he would defend Danny from anyone who mocked about his chi.

A few minutes later, he felt more like himself. He opened his eyes. “Danny, I think it’s enough. I don’t want you to lose your chi too much.”

Danny’s hands hadn’t left his back. “Stephen, you still look so pale. I saw some rope burns on your neck, hands, and your body. I’m sorry that my chi can’t heal those but at least I can give you more energy.”

“I’m the doctor here. I’m supposed to heal people who come here, not the other way around.” He hold his tongue saying that it was embarrassing because Danny might thought he insulted his skills. Stephen just felt that he had failed as a doctor.

“But you’re hurt. It’s just a common courtesy for us heroes to help people in need. You might think you are the only person who help people but sometime you need help to.”

“You’ll lose your energy.”

“I can always meditate to recharge, Unlike you, my schedule is free until the end of the day. Worst come to worst, I won’t go out as Iron Fist to protect the city tonight. I did it for Daredevil anyway. Since DD is not dead anymore, I’m sure he could protect the city on my stead. There are many vigilantes running around the city but there is only one magic doctor who protects us from the threats from other dimensions so what I’m doing now is not for the city but for the world, realm, dimension, eh whatever. You get my point.”

Stephen felt something warm in his heart that had nothing to do with Danny’s chi. He did all he did not for recognition but it was nice to hear some appreciation. “Thank you, Danny. You said the nicest thing so you’re my favorite billionaire but please don’t let Tony hear that. I don’t want him to make grand gesture to show that he is the nicest billionaire. I think New York doesn’t need that kind of thing.”

Danny’s smile was so bright. “You’re most welcome. You look much better now.”

He also felt much better. “You can stop now. I’m fine. Really.” To prove his point, he got up from his lying position.

Danny released his hands. Both he and Sophie stared at him expecting him to collapse any second.

To prove them wrong, he used telekinesis to open Danny’s bags that he put on the table and arranged the food on the table.

Danny laughed. “I haven’t watched any magic show for the last 16 years so that was great. Are you sure you are OK now?”

“Positive.” He didn’t have the heart  to correct Danny that what he did was not magic show. It would be heartless after all the things Danny did for him.”There is a patient at the back room that might need some lunch. Do you mind if we share?”

“Not at all, the more the merrier.”

“I need to ask him what he needs to eat first.”

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“No, that's fine. I’ll be right back.” He didn’t want to inflict Deadpool on anyone unless it was necessary. Less mental trauma for others.

Speaking of trauma, Stephen got a new one as he came in to the last exam room to see an adult Deadpool with a seven-year-old body completely naked and sitting on a chair facing the door. “What’s wrong with you? I gave you a blanket. There are things that I can’t unsee. I also need to disinfect that chair.” He also considered wiping this memory from his mind but he wouldn’t tell Deadpool that.

“It’s too warm. Geez, you’re really a prude for a doctor.” As he saw that Stephen was unimpressed, he got up deliberately slowly and hopped back to his bed and covered himself up. “I think it’s more likely because my sequel already has earned 600 millions plus worldwide and my domestic box office has surpassed that loser Logan. Meanwhile your sequel has not been officially announced although I know they plan on it but the shooting is likely to start next year. Granted you had quite a big role in Infinity War but you still had less screen time compared to Thanos, Gamora, Thor, and Iron Man. But your screen time ranked 5th so it was quite an achievement as you were a newcomer but you had more screen time than the original Avengers like Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk. Hawkeye didn’t even appear. They also gave you a lot of powers to fight against Thanos that had four Infinity Stones. My favorites were when you suddenly grew a lot of hands and multiply yourself like amoebas and when you changed Thanos’s black hole into butterflies. That was amazing as you chose lives rather than death and destruction. I cried when you died in the end. Not that all those ashes deaths would stick. There was no way Marvel was going to kill Black Panther and Spider-Man as they were the biggest cash cows for them. No offense. I think your box office number was quite decent too. Have I told you that I’ve become your biggest fan after Infinity War? Since I don’t have any belonging, I welcome you to sign anywhere on my body.” He winked as he finished his ranting.

Stephen got a full on headache again after Deadpool’s speech as he had no idea what he talked about. He was worried that Deadpool seemed to be aware of his powers. “I have no idea what you talk about. I just gathered that I died and got better so I guess I don’t have to worry. I’m not going to sign anything on your body. I just want to ask you whether you want Chinese or sandwich for lunch.”

Deadpool jumped, leaving the blanket on the bed, and went to hug Stephen. “Wow, BFF, I know you care for me a lot. You don’t need to do that since I’m already your biggest fan.” Sophie tried to push him way but Deadpool was too strong.

Stephen had no choice but hugged him back, promising himself that he would disinfect his robe as soon as he stepped out of the room. He didn’t want to to offend Deadpool because that guy seemed sensitive. “I still need your answer.”

“Sandwich is fine. I don’t think my kiddie hands can hold chopsticks properly. Danny Rand is the one bringing the lunch, isn’t he? He’s nice enough to bring you lunch. I hope his second season improves after that bad reviews he got for the first season. Some critics can be so harsh.”

Stephen forgot that Deadpool could hear everything from this room. He could make it soundproof so that he couldn’t hear anything. However, given his morning, it was very likely he would be attacked again by some villains, he needed to give Deadpool a fighting chance in case anything happened to him.He was still a doctor. He needed to remind himself for maybe the 76th time today.

“I still have no idea what you talk about but yes it was Danny Rand who brought lunch.” He released the hug. After a few seconds, Deadpool finally got the hit and released him.

“I’d like to meet the Immortal Iron Fist but since I’m stark naked I wouldn’t want to inflict it on the poor billionaire.”

“But you didn't mind to inflict it on me,” Stephen thought to himself. “I’ll be right back with the sandwich,” he said loudly.

Before retrieving lunch, Stephen adjusted the air conditioning so Deadpool would feel comfortable. He might be petty but he was not a monster. He needed to get some clothes for Deadpool but it was tricky as his body was still growing.

Chapter Text

Stephen shook his head as he returned to sit with Danny at the front desk. Deadpool was ranting something about Luke Cage and Iron Fist had been canceled so that meant The Defenders might as well be canceled. Thanos was to blame for wiping half of the universe including the TV shows. (Stephen paled a bit when he mentioned about Thanos because how could Deadpool know something about the Mad Titan that he had been researching on? But again perhaps it was a common knowledge.) The antihero said he would riot if Netflix ever canceled Daredevil or The Punisher. Stephen wanted to tell him there was no such show in the Netflix he knew but replying to Deadpool might create more headaches and he already had enough headaches with his non-Deadpool patients. He really needed to look into the drugs Doom used but perhaps after lunch.

“I heard some noises at the back there. Something about Iron Fist being canceled. I’m not aware there is a show named after me.”

Stephen went to sit opposite Danny. “He also mentioned about his own movies, other movies and shows as if we’re fictional characters. Just ignore him.”

“Is it possible that there is a universe where we’re fictional characters? You should know the multiverse better than me. I watch this show called The Flash and there are different Earths in the show with different alternate versions of the characters in each Earth. I think it should be the same for our universe or multiverse or whatever you call this..”

“I’ve never thought about that.” Stephen often underestimated Danny but he was smarter than he looked. Not that there was anything wrong with the way Danny looked. “That’s a possibility. I might look into it when I have the time. Meanwhile, do you want to eat lunch first?” He was famished. Using magic and being attacked certainly took a lot out of him.

“I thought you’d never ask. I’m so hungry I think I can eat a dragon. Are you still a vegan?”

“Yes. Whenever I have the option.” He didn’t need to tell Danny when he needed to eat all those food with tentacles when he used too much magic and didn’t have enough to recharge through meditation. Not everybody needed to be grossed out.

The billionaire just shrugged. “More shrimp and pork shumai for me then. These are for you.” He passed a small bag to Stephen.

“What’re they?”

“Kung Pau Lentils, Sticky Sesame Ginger and Tofu, Vegan Egg Drop Soup, and Vegan Lomien.”

“I can’t possibly eat all of them.”

Danny patted his own stomach. “Don’t worry about it. I can help you finish them.”

“Do you have space in your stomach after all these?” Stephen waved his hand at the expanse of food decorating  the table.

“Yup. Let’s eat. Generating chi always make me super hungry.”

“And you never put on weight.”

“Nope.”

“That’s a great diet plan. Perhaps you should teach people how to summon the Fist for dieting.”

Danny looked indignant. “Becoming an Iron Fist is not easy. You need to defeat the dragon...”

“Shu Lau. Yes, I know. It was a joke. I meant the dieting part. Not becoming the Iron Fist.”

“Oh.” Danny blushed. “Let’s eat then.”

They ate in companionable silence. Stephen must admit that the food was good. He needed to ask Danny the address of the restaurant. Danny practically inhaled the whole food including Stephen’s leftover within fifteen minutes.

“There is still a sandwich here in case you still have any space in your stomach.” Stephen pointed at a small bag at the reception table. Deadpool didn’t eat as much as Danny, well, no one did.

“I’m so stuffed.” Danny patted his stomach again. “You can give it to any of your patient who needs it.”

Stephen imagined giving the sandwich to Doom or Magneto and shook his head mentally. Perhaps his next patient wouldn’t try to attack him so he had the chance to share the sandwich.

He looked at Danny who seemed to be in contemplative mood. “A penny for your thoughts?”

“I wonder why people said that. Pennies won’t make people rich.”

“It’s an idiom. Not everyone aims to be a billionaire.”

“Never mind. I’m just thinking about my father and whether you know him since Rand Enterprises also sell drugs and you are a doctor.”

“Is your father Wendell Rand?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t know him per se. But I’ve met him once in a charity gala when I was still in medical school. He was promoting a drug that could stimulate the nervous system to help stroke patients to recover”

“Did you talk to him?”

Stephen tried to recall the event that happened eighteen years ago. Gosh, he didn’t realize he was old compared to Danny. “Yes, he asked each one of us what we wanted to specialize in. When I answered neurosurgeon, he said I must have a good brain. No pun intended. Those were his actual words.The world needs more neurosurgeons. If I ever need help in funding, please don’t hesitate to contact him. I want the world my boy grew up in to be a better world. He gave me his card. I might’ve lost it now.”

Danny looked teary. “Is that what he truly said about his boy? You don’t need to make me feel good.”

“Yes. I won’t lie about something like this.”

“Thank you. Thank you for telling me this. I want to know more about my parents.”

“You’re welcome. I’m sorry that I can’t tell you more. I wish I could. I also feel bad that I didn’t use my skills to make the world a better place like I told your father. I lost my ideals and I grew bitter.”

Danny patted his shoulder. ‘I didn’t come here to make you feel bad. You use your skills to make the world or rather the multiverse a better place so I think you didn’t break your promise to my father. You even use your medical knowledge today. Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Sophie felt that she had ignored her job comforting the doctor so she squeezed his shoulders softly.

“Thank you, Danny.”

“You’re welcome. I should be the one thanking you.”

“Is that the reason you visited me? To know about your father?”

Danny looked scandalized. “No, of course not. It was one of the reasons. But I really want to check on you and the clinic. Ward can’t really complain that I don’t check on the property I invest on if I come here.”

“You know this practice doesn’t make money, right? I think we actually lose money here.”

“I’m sure Rand Enterprise can write it off as part of CSR and tax deduction.”

“I‘d like to know how you claim deduction from running a clinic that heals supervillains and antiheroes.”

“That’s Ward’s problem, not mine. I’m sure he makes something up like the clinics for the morally and/or ethically challenged. Ward said make it sound politically correct then most organizations won’t touch it with a ten foot pole as it will make them like assholes.”

“Poor Ward. It sounds like he is very smart and capable.”

“That’s what I said. I keep asking him to give himself a raise.”

“So Ward to you is like Virginia Potts to Tony Stark.”

“Eww, I don’t date Ward. We kinda like brothers.”

“I meant in the way you two are dependent on them to run your businesses. Doesn’t mean you can’t run the business. It’s just that you two are happier superheroing.”

Danny gave a shrug. “I guess I have more similarities with Stark besides being a billionaire and having Iron in our titles. I don’t come here to talk about Stark and I’m sure you will have other patients soon. I’ll be seeing you around. And if you need me to channel my chi again, please don’t hesitate to call.”

Stephen smiled at his guest. “Thank you for the offer. Also thanks for visiting me and the lunch.”

Danny waved at him and left.

As he was cleaning up the table, a ding told him a new guest came in. He looked up to see Tony Stark dressed in a bloody white shirt and torn trousers  limping in.

“Speaking of the devil, I just talked to Danny about you. Don’t move.I’ll fetch you.”

He walked over to Tony’s side. As soon as he touched Tony’s arms, suddenly he couldn’t move. He was still trying to move his arms when he felt pains in his chest and stomach.

He was horrified when he realized he was holding to Loki who were stabbing him with two knives. “Mblergh, it’s me! Did you just call me the devil? Such a flattery from a second rate sorcerer.”