-Still unbetaed so please kindly point out any mistakes.


Peter suddenly remembered that the man dressed in a robe so he quickly added, "Err, do you know what an AI is?"

The man looked amused. "What's an AI? Do you care to explain?"

Oh boy, how did you explain something like AI? He then realized the man's amused expression. "That's totally not cool. You might indeed be a villain."

"I'm not sure whether I should feel insulted or amused by your insinuation that I might be a villain for a few times in such a short time period. What…" Suddenly the man stopped and gripped the edge of the table nearest to him.

"You look pale. Do you need to rest?"

The man went to sit on the floor in lotus position. Peter wished his legs could be that flexible. He needed to practice at home.

"I need to meditate for a few minutes to recover from using that much mental energy. Do you have your phone with you to entertain yourself? There is WiFi here. The password is Agamotto171. Or you can use my StarkPad."

He conjured his StarkPad and gave it to Peter.

"You have WiFi here?!" Peter squeaked. "And you have StarkPad?!"

"We're not savages." The man smiled at his own private joke. "Tony Stark gave it to me. He said something about beta testing whether sorcery could mix with technology or it was a care package to lure people to join the Avengers. It could be both and I got them mixed up. Now please don't talk to me until I finish my meditation, it'll only be a few minutes." He closed his eyes. The cloak which might or might not have an AI flew to front of the man and covered his chest as if blanketing him.

Peter looked at the first page of the StarkPad. Surprisingly it contained apps for news and medical applications. So the man had certainly seen the 21st century and knew AI.

Peter actually expected some apps related to magic although he doubted any self-respecting app developers would make such apps. Perhaps there was something on the second page. But he didn't want to intrude the man's privacy given the man's penchant for anonymity. Besides, watching the man meditating was more fascinating than any apps could be. It was the first time he ever saw any person meditating up close.

The man's breaths at first were labored but after a few minutes, they seemed to calm down. Colors started returning to his face.

Eleven minutes later, Peter totally didn't count that, the man opened his eyes and went to sit on the chair opposite Peter. The cloak flew back to sit on its rightful place on his shoulders. "My answer for your first question was no."

"What?!"

"My cloak doesn't have an AI. Although you could say it has its own intelligence but it's not artificial. It's a sentient cloak."

Ah that! Peter totally forgot about his own question as he was still fascinated by the fact that magic was real. "That's so cool. I never knew magic is real."

"So did I until a year ago." The man didn't elaborate further. So Peter guessed he only answered questions that Peter explicitly asked,

"Harry Potter made magic looked easy. However, given what you just did, it's not easy, is it?"

"That's very perceptive of you. Performing magic is not hard if you have enough patience to study. The hard part is paying the price. I know it's cliché but it's true. All magic comes with a price. Putting back all those debris back took more energy than just hitting or destroying something so it took all my mental energy. I need to meditate to recharge it. It's still a good day since I didn't throw up."

"If you're trying to sell magic, you're not doing a great job. If you know the price, why did you do it anyway?"

"Saving human lives and buildings is always worth the price."

"I'm sorry that I wondered whether you're a villain earlier, Mr… I actually don't know your name yet. I should've asked your name first. What's your name?"

"I'm not offended. I'm unknown to you. A little precaution is always good. My name is strange."

"Come on, it can't be that bad. I know so many people with alliterative names it's not even funny anymore." Peter lifted his fingers one by one as he mentioned the names he remembered. "Jonah Jameson Jr., Bruce Banner, Matthew Murdock, Jessica Jones, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Otto Octavius, Pepper Potts, Happy Hoggan, Curt Connors, Doctor Doom, DareDevil, Green Groblin, Scott Summer, Wade Wilson, and Loki Laufeyson." He ran out of fingers really soon and returned to his first finger. He nearly mentioned Peter Parker but managed to stop himself at the last second. "That list is not even complete."

"I'm not sure whether I should be more disturbed by the fact that there are so many people with alliterative names or that you actually know them. Some of them are very dangerous."

"I just know their names. It doesn't mean I've interacted with all of them. You still haven't answered my question."

"I'm afraid I'm going to add one more in your collection as my name is Stephen Strange. Doctor Stephen Strange. Well, my middle name is Vincent so perhaps it's not too bad for you."

"Seriously? Your last name is Strange?!"

"Well, it could be worse. My last name could be Weird or Doom."

"That's true. Are you a real doctor? An MD or PhD? Or is that only a title like Doctor Doom?"

"Doom actually has a PhD. I have both, an MD and a PhD." The doctor seemed to unconsciously puff up his chest a bit.

"So hypothetically if I caught a cold, I could go to consult you."

"You could but I don't practice medicine anymore. I could still help people in medical needs in case of emergency."

"Was that because you decided to learn sorcery or was it wizardry that you stopped practicing medicine? What's the difference between those two anyway?" Peter felt like he was asking questions in school but this new topic interested him.

"It was the other way around. You must've noticed the tremor and scars on my hands. I was a neurosurgeon. I was arrogant and selfish back then. Due to my own fault, I was involved in a car accident. Please don't text and drive which is the lesson I learned from my accident. I couldn't operate anymore and spent my fortune to find a cure. I went to Kamar-Taj as I saw someone who shouldn't be able to walk anymore as he ruined his vertebrae could play basketball. I later discovered that they actually teach sorcery and manipulate energies from other realms or dimensions. I was skeptical at first but the teacher made a believer out of me so I stayed on to learn."

"But you didn't heal your hands." Peter stopped himself and covered his mouth again.

"Indeed I didn't." He shook his head. "I was given a choice by my teacher in her dying breaths." Strange's eyes cast downward as he said it so there must be a tragic story behind it. "I could choose to either heal myself using magic but I need to do it constantly so I wouldn't have the energy to do other things using magic. Or I could choose to protect this realm and forget about healing my hands. I made it like sound like it was an altruistic choice but I was sorely tempted to just heal my hands."

"The fact that you even realize that you have your doubts prove that you have conscience in the first place so don't sweat it, Doc. Can I call you Doc?"

"Doc is fine. You can call me Stephen in private. In public, I'd rather be called Doc or Doctor Strange as I've a reputation to keep especially with the Avengers."

"And you can call me Spidey if Spider-Man is too long. Sorry for doubting your intention at the beginning given the sacrifices you've made."

"As I said, that's really fine. I need to make up for my own past transgressions. Besides, there's a lack of sorcerers protecting this realm so I need to do what I can. As for your question about the difference between sorcery and wizardry. I think wizardry is more about common folk magic such as healing people using talisman and herbs. Sorcery is about intricate and scholarly practice about ceremonial magic. I actually don't mind using either method as long as it's effective."

"Perhaps I should be more worried than amused by these other realm parts. So there are indeed other realms besides ours."

"Indeed there are. Thor from Asgard is the proof of that. There are also other universes besides ours. I try not to scare people off by mentioning other realms or universes. It's a need to know basis."

"Yes, perhaps I don't really need to know it for now. I'm sorry for thinking that you didn't know about AI before. I know I shouldn't assume but looking at your robe…"

"You know what they said about assuming."

"Yes, thank you for not spelling it out. Are you not a little bit curious about my identity since I ask about you so much and I just asked you to call me Spidey?"

"Even if I see your face, I wouldn't be able to recognize you. If I want to know a person's ID, I could just delve into someone's mind or using some other means. I can find out about someone's secret desires, their social security number, and their shoe sizes. But I don't do that unless the safety of the world is involved and there is no other means to do it. What's important is your intention, not your name. I can sense that you're of pure heart."

"Thank you, I guess. It must be a high praise coming from you."

"Well, it's a praise and it's high but not because it's coming from me but because you have such a pure heart. Your aura is very bright."

Peter blushed. "Geez, Doc. You really know how to praise people."

"I only speak the truth. Now, do you want me to order a pizza? A growing teenager like you especially with superpowers must need to eat a lot of calories."

Peter sputtered. "I'm an adult, not a teenager. I've a driving license. I work at Daily Bugle. Next you will say I'm female. I think you need to meditate again to fine tune your aura or something."

The doctor laughed. "I might not know your name or ID but I know a teenager when I see one. I've been a teenager myself. Unless you're a man with a high pitched voice, less than average height, and excitable nature, I presume you're a teenager. I know what I said about assumption earlier but I've been a medical doctor long enough to recognize a teenager. Don't worry. Your secret is safe with me. After all, I'm a doctor." He winked at Peter.

Peter was flummoxed. Every superhero he met seemed to know he was a teenager. His secret identity was a sham. He said the first thing that came into his mind. "Did you just call me short?"

"Well, no, if you're still a growing teenager. Yes, if you're an adult. What toppings do you want?"

"Are you going to open a portal to buy the pizza? How do you do it anyway?"

The doctor lifted his left eyebrow. "How do I buy the pizza? UberEATS, of course."

"You know how to use UberEATS?!"

"I learned sorcery in Kamar-Taj, not Hogwart. And yes, we also have WiFi there. I also just learned sorcery a year ago so I'd like to believe I'm not that out of touch with technology just yet."

Peter was still thankful that his mask was still on so the doctor wouldn't see how red his face was again. "In that case, I want extra anchovies and cheese in whatever your order."

A few minutes later, the doctor said, "It's done. It'll be arriving in ten minutes."

"About my question earlier before the UberEATS, how did you do teleportation? It was one of the coolest things I've seen and I've seen the Avengers in action."

The doctor smiled. "I just used this sling ring." He took out a ring that extended for two fingers for Peter to examine. "With the right hand movements and incantation, you could use this ring to open a portal to anywhere."

He then demonstrated the movement and Peter thought he saw the Silicon Valley's Google sign at the other end of the portal.

"That is indeed very cool. So theoretically I could also open a portal if I knew the right hand movements and incantations."

"Yes. It took me a long time to learn but perhaps you're a fast learner."

"Could you teach me opening a portal?"

"I don't see any harm in that."

"Cool. There is one more thing I need to ask before our lunch arrives. What's your view about killing your enemies?"

The doctor seemed to be surprised by the question. "I don't believe in taking anyone's life. I'm still a doctor and my oath is do no harm."

"I also think similarly without the Hippocratic Oath thing. I think we'd get along just fine."

"I hope so. It'd be super pathetic even for my own standard if I couldn't even make friends with the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. After lunch, I'll give you a tour to the Sanctum."

Peter beamed. He believed it was a start to a beautiful friendship.


Note:

-Doc's speech about Spidey and his secret ID was taken nearly verbatim from the comic.
i-sudoku dot tumblr dot com post/164135146078

-Strange in the comic is more serious although I think he started to joke more in more recent comics, I recalled him calling Dormammu "Dormie" twice (Blood in the Aether, 2015) and he joked about transporting anywhere using "Strange mobile" in reference to Bat-mobile (the 2015 run). So yes, Strange in my version is more of MCU version and the recent comics so he jokes more.

-Raj Koothrappalis from the Big Bang Theory ranted about Stan Lee's preferences for alliteration in his character names.

comicvine dot gamespot dot com /profile/zapa/lists/raj-koothrappalis-list-about-stan-lees-characters-/33219/

-In the comic, Strange discovered that Mordo had manipulated his whole life since he was eight by sending monsters that only he could see subconsciously which made him grow cold, selfish, arrogant, and disconnected from other humans so he wouldn't compete with Mordo in the future for the Sorcerer Supreme. I wonder about the movie version as they have changed Mordo's origin. At least they should mention about Donna because Donna was the reason he went to medical school and her death was the reason he became so aloof.

-Initially I planned to end the story here but I thought I might just add more chapters for more interactions/adventures between Spidey and Doc. I think adding more chapters is better for maintenance. In that case, the next chapter is about Doc is in serious trouble and Peter comes to the rescue and realizes that despite his powers, Doc is physically only human, with cameo from Karen and Ned. Or should I write a new story for that rather than a new chapter?