Note: I've only seen Doctor Strange once, so I'm sure that there are mistakes in this that I'll come back and edit in the future, not to mention that I will add more bulk to the text that I just can't remember from the movie.
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing, but if I did, I would have done it a tad differently.
The Cloak's first master had not been a good man. Many of them weren't, these sorcerers. So many of them fell to the evils of witchcraft. More of them felt the call of the dark than any of them would admit, and there were those who caved to temptation and tasted the seductive darkness. And a taste was never enough - they always took a little bit more and a little bit more and a little bit more. Even those of them who were dedicated to what was good fell into ill, evil practices, not knowing any better that they were pulling power not from within, but from that hidden place that – no, the Cloak did not wish to dwell on that. The Cloak had been the victim of so many masters who dabbled in the wicked arts, and if it were human, it would feel sick with how tainted they seemed.
Maybe that was what instilled the Cloak with such distrust. Being a Relic was such a burden. Not a person in the traditional sense, but not a simple object at all. A being, certainly, but one treated like a tool to be used or a prize to be earned. Kept in a glass case, on display! The nerve of them! They spoke as if they respected the Cloak, respected the power and age of it, but not the existence. Not the fact that the Cloak was, although different from them, not less than them.
Just because it could not walk on two legs? Who needed to walk when there was flight? And who needed to speak when there was motion, glorious motion, and touch and gravity and the magnificently expressive folding of soft fabric?
Or maybe that, too, was a biased view, but could you blame the Cloak for that? No.
They brought people to the Cloak. Sorcerers, old and young, novices and masters, to see if the Cloak would choose them. A few had potential, the Cloak could admit that, but not enough for the Cloak to give in to temptation and demand release from that humiliating glass case. So the Cloak shied away, as far away as it could manage, making it as clear as possible that no, it would not take another master, male or female, young or old, until one came that could be called trustworthy. For the Cloak had been disused, abused, and thrown to the side too many times.
There was one brought before the Cloak, and the Cloak could tell that they had high hopes for this one. The Ancient One certainly seemed optimistic, but that meant nothing to the Cloak. The Cloak saw his spirit and cringed, but that was not the only reason to turn away. The man whispered such awful words to the Cloak. They were honey-coated and phrased like promises, and the Cloak recognized evil. Power, the man promised. Glory in darkness. Eternity.
I already have eternity, the Cloak thought, even in death, when it comes to me. Even I can die, as all mortal things do. You will have eternity too, one day, and you will regret it in your very soul, Kaecilius.
All those arrogant fools, believing themselves to be powerful. Oh, if only the Cloak could speak, could communicate in the way that they did, it would tell them how wrong they were! They had some things right and so many things wrong and it tainted everything.
But that was what it was, and there was little the Cloak could do about it. They had good intentions, at least, and while that was no excuse… maybe, one day, they would come to understand. The Cloak could help them get there, in the meantime. It could try.
Or, it would. Someday. When someone came who could be trusted, and the Cloak was let out of its glass cage.
After Kaecilius betrayed them, the Ancient One came to the Cloak – the Cloak knew her name; remembered her as she once was. She was Elsha. She took the Cloak out of its case, a sweet freedom in such a bitter time, tracing her gentle hands across hemlines that were even older than she knew.
"Did you know?" she asked, whispering even in the privacy of a nearly-empty Sanctum.
Yes. I knew.
"Would you tell me, if you did?" At this, she laughed, but it was strained and without humor, and her voice broke upon it. This was not only a betrayal of a student, but of a dear friend. She loved Kaecilius. She had taken joy in watching him learn and watched in horror as he fell to the same dark call that she once did.
I would have. I've tried, for there is so much to be said, but I am not of Mankind. I am not of words or of any language you could comprehend.
"I know you would," she agreed, as if she could understand the Cloak.
She pressed her face to the warmth of red fabric, allowing the Cloak to brush away those rare tears, before putting it away again.
Time passed. The Cloak did not know how much. There was so much time and very little of it had much to do with the Cloak. It could have been a hundred years or more, and it would make no difference to the Cloak. Time was running out, just as it always had been, tick-tick-tick. Time was not just a human construct, after all, despite what they thought. But the Cloak knew its place in existence and did not care of time. There was the beginning and the end and the after, and the Cloak knew that the after would be the best part.
In the meantime, thought, there was silence. Loneliness. Distrust and hurt festered. The Cloak could feel trouble brewing, could feel the epic, idiotic tragedy that was Kaecilius being mislead into the dark places.
Kaecilius was a special sort of idiot, the Cloak believed, despite all his potential. Most sorcerers practiced evil arts because evil painted itself as goodness and light. Dormammu did no such thing. Dormammu was dark, a destroyer and admittedly so, promising eternal life without quality, and Kaecilius was so foolish as to think that, what – that the darkness could be held on a leash like a pet? That it would bow to him, or share power without price?
Yes, a true fool was Kaecilius.
The Cloak perked up when it sensed the presence of a man that had never been in the Sanctum before. The Cloak did not know this one, but it could see…
This one was selfish and arrogant. Reckless and in terrible pain for it. Fallible and laughably so, tempted by any shiny thing he found upon his path. Lacking in control and driven by fear. Faithless.
But not hopeless. The Cloak could see that. This man, for all his many, many flaws, had… love. A crippled, limping love that had never been nurtured, but love, all the same. Love was true power. Love was the opposite of the darkness. Love was what made Mankind shine. And that wasn't all, though that was the best part. Pride bred in this man, but the Cloak sensed the ability to step above pride. He wasn't ready to look beyond himself yet, but he would be. The Cloak could wait for that. It had waited for so long, after all.
You! The Cloak lifted even higher, preening under the man's admiring, curious gaze. I want you! I can help. I can teach you!
The man was distracted by Kaecilius, or a wraith of what Kaecilius had been, and the Cloak once again wished that it could have a voice, if only so that it could scream in frustration.
There was a fight. The Cloak was strong, but without a master, it was not strong enough to break through the glass.
And then the glass shattered.
Freedom was instant and intense and, finally, worth the wait. The Cloak protected the man from Kaecilius and his followers, fighting like it did so many years ago. It was thrilling. It was better than the Cloak remembered, and flight was so marvelous and the man was so– so–
No, you fool, not the axe! The axe isn't going to do– no, stop, this way, the way I'm pulling you, just trust the ancient mystical relic to know more than you, please, before you get yourself killed, for goodness sakes, how have you lasted so long without me and why–
But it worked out alright. This man, Doctor Strange, could do well. Would do well. He had a flair for dramatics, at least, which was a major bonus, in the Cloak's opinion. Yes, it sprouted from a tremendous ego and sense of pride, but what was the point of having what was basically –and the Cloak wasn't bragging about this, no, of course not– an absolutely glorious red superhero cape if you didn't at least give it a little twirl every once and awhile?
Well, Stephen definitely gave the Cloak a stellar twirl, and if that didn't make the Cloak feel young again…
I think we shall be a most excellent team, you and I, even if you are a bit rough around the edges.
Doctor Strange, of course, could not possibly hear what the Cloak was trying to say and could not respond, but the Cloak liked to think that Stephen knew. Maybe he did.
"The Cloak of Levitation!" exclaimed Mordo. He was very impressed, as he should have been.
Who, me? The Cloak of Levitation? No, no, just the dingy old decoration you left in a glass box for a hundred years or so. Or… no, wait…
Suffice to say, the Cloak still wasn't pleased about that.
The Cloak remembered when Mordo was presented, to be weighed and measured and chosen or not (definitely not). He was an idealistic little man. There was nothing wrong with that, no, that was very good! But Mordo's idealism was without a strong foundation, and more than that, idealism is no substitute for faith. Stephen didn't have much of either, but he did have that wilted little sapling of love and a completely untapped well of potential, and that would be much easier to work with, as well as much stronger, in the end. That, and, well, the Cloak just didn't think that Mordo would be able to deal with the Cloak's… eccentricities. But Stephen seemed like more of a roll-with-the-punches man.
There was temporary rest, a lull in the action, as it were, when the Cloak finally calmed down enough to notice the Infinity Stone.
Oh, Stephen, you really are stupid. But don't worry! I'm here to save you from your stupid self. Do you even know what you have there?
Fighting, again. Mostly flying, on the Cloak's part, and that was just fine. Brilliant, in fact. The Cloak had not been given the opportunity to air out its fibers in years, much less fly. It had almost forgotten the sensation. But flying again was wonderful, and the doctor seemed very amiable to it. The Cloak was surprised at Stephen's sudden adjustment to the disorienting sensation of levitation. None of the others did that. Some of them had even screamed when the Cloak picked them up, but not Stephen. He just gracefully pulled his strides up, even pushing a little at the right moments in order to give them some extra momentum. Not that the Cloak needed momentum, but it was this detail that made one thing very obvious.
Stephen Strange was born to fly.
I have chosen well. Yes, I have.
And then they lost Elsha.
The Cloak knew grief all too well. The Ancient One, dearest Elsha, had not always done well by the Cloak, but that did not mean that the Cloak did not love her. To lose her now, just as hope was on the horizon, was… unfair. Incredibly unfair. Death came when it was meant to, but that did not mean that it was easy. If the Cloak could weep, it would have. But, it couldn't – it could only cling to the slumped shoulders Doctor Strange, who didn't know any better. Didn't know that the Cloak was screaming in its voiceless being. Didn't know that her name was Elsha or that all of her mistakes, as terrible as they were, had been forgiven. As his could be.
Just as the Cloak once wiped away Elsha's tears, it wiped away those of Stephen.
"Stop!" Stephen chastised after having his go at bravado ruined by the Cloak's sympathy.
The Cloak did stop, but only to laugh, because it knew that this was the way it would be with Stephen Strange.
After a hundred years or more of waiting, the Cloak believed that Stephen Strange was well worth it.
As I write fanfiction as writing practice, feedback is much appreciated. Thanks for reading.