A/N: Since most of the Doctor Strange fanfics involve non-canon romance and a ton of OC's, I decided to make my own. It's merely a drabble of sorts.
A Strange Encounter
"Watch my body."
"What—?" Steve didn't have a chance to say more. Strange's body was already falling to the floor. Steve caught him just before his head smacked the concrete. "Doctor!"
"I'm all right," said Strange, but as Steve looked down at his face, his lips didn't move. "Just watch over my body," he reiterated patiently.
Despite a quick glance around himself, Steve couldn't find the source of the voice, though he knew it was Strange. "All right," he answered slowly. He fully lowered Strange's body to the ground and stood. He could hear a deep growling coming from the darkness surrounding them. He tightened his grip on his shield and looked down at the prone form at his feet. "Whatever you're doing you better do it fast."
"I have no idea what's going on," screamed Scott as he ran along the back of a black creature he had never seen before. In fact, he was pretty sure such a thing didn't exist. Thus his utter confusion. The damn creatures seemed to come out of nowhere. One minute everything is fine and dandy then the next, mutant quadrupedal creatures are roaming all over Manhattan.
Scott had been miles away when it happened, enjoying ignorant bliss until he received a call from Captain America. "He needs our help," Steve had said. Scott didn't get the chance to ask who 'he' was before a circular portal—an actual portal—formed in his living room. After several long seconds of hesitation, Scott grabbed his suit and jumped through.
Next thing he knew, he was fighting alongside Falcon, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch against monsters—he really didn't have another word for them. They really looked like something that popped out of a bad sci-fi horror flick.
The only form of explanation they received was an older man in a cape (Really?) saying something about a dimensional bridge. There was also mention of cultists or something. Then men in robes showed up and all Hell broke loose. The caped man, Doctor Strange he had introduced himself as (Really?!), was able to send them away but then he and Captain America disappeared with them. That was over an hour ago and they still hadn't returned. Most of that hour was spent fighting the monsters but then the strange doctor's assistant, a man named Wong, came out with a glowing book and began taking the monsters and converting them into pictures in the book and any sense of understanding Scott had before was entirely lost.
"Yeah," said Barton as he drew his bow. "I stopped making sense of it when I walked through a portal."
"You think that's what it was, too? Good. I thought I was the only one," came Sam's response over their earpieces.
That was the first they heard from him in half an hour. Barton pressed a finger to his earpiece. "Any luck?"
"No. Not good, anyway," he responded grimly. "I found a collapsed parking garage and a destroyed building but other than that, nothing. I couldn't find any people in the building and the parking garage had been condemned, so there's that. But if Cap and the doc were here, they're gone now."
"So what next?" asked Scott as he reverted back to his original size next to Barton. Most of the monsters were contained by now. When Wong showed up, Wanda and he had made short work of them.
Barton shrugged dumbly. "I don't have a damn clue."
Wanda concentrated intently as Wong instructed her. She was currently levitating the last of the snarling beasts as Wong did some gestures with his free hand. Together, they slowly shrank the creature and pressed it into the book. She had never done anything like that before and it left her drained. When Wong closed the book, she let out a breath and dropped her arms. Her moment of relief was gone when a form instantaneously appeared before her. Wanda's arms were up before she fully registered the transparent body. But before she could do anything else, Wong's arm shot out in front of her, halting her.
"Stephen?" asked Wong to the ghostly figure.
"We have a problem," the ghost said wearily. Wands then recognized him as the doctor that had summoned them. "I've lost my sling ring." He momentarily wiggled his bare fingers, "And we're trapped. We seem to be in an underground garage. We're not alone."
Wanda's eyes caught a dark spotting in his clothes where it had been torn at his abdomen. "You're injured."
Strange regarded her a moment before nodding. "Yet another problem." He turned his attention back to Wong. "They haven't found our location yet but they will, and my strength is nearly depleted."
Wong's face showed no emotion. "Do you know where you are exactly?"
Strange opened his mouth to say something but Wanda interrupted him. "Falcon does." She tapped her earpiece. "Did you get that?"
"Get what?" asked Sam.
"It would seem they're in that garage you mentioned."
Steve grunted as he deflected another strong blow from the creature's tail before it struck Strange's still unmoving body. He cursed as he pushed the creature back. It was like the creatures were aiming for the doctor and Steve was just an obstacle in their way. In retrospect, they probably were. That seemed to be the way with the cultists, anyway.
Speaking of multi-dimensional cultists, a ray of light from the ceiling shattered through the concrete like it was glass. Steve barely threw himself over Strange's body in time before they were showered in fallen debris.
"You can wake up any time now," Steve said through gritted teeth as he stood, protectively hovering over Strange's body. "Nice of you to show up," he chided to the three blue strangers.
The one in the front lowered her black hood. "We have no business with you, Terran. Our qualms are with the Sorcerer Supreme."
Steve didn't budge from his spot. "Sorry to disappoint," he said dryly, "but if I understand any of this, it's that his business is my business. So you have to go through me to get to him." He pointedly moved between Strange and the three cultists.
"Pity," was all she said before she and the other two pulled out weapons from seemingly nowhere. With a twist or flick of the wrist, the weapons glowed and extended.
Steve almost groaned as he tightened his stance. In under a second, the closest cultist stepped forward and something red flew out from behind Steve. He watched in amazement as the doctor's red cape wrapped itself around the lead cultist. He didn't bother asking how. He was just grateful for the momentary distraction and leapt into action. Using his shield to deflect their blows, Steve was able to keep a good defense and was able to strike a strong offense. He was faster and stronger and they were still weak from their previous encounter with Strange in the mirror zone or whatever they called it.
As the cape kept the female busy, Steve was able to take down one of the two males. He was grappling with the third cultist when a familiar noise reminded him of something very crucial. The creature was not yet dead and was now very much awake if the growling was anything to go by.
Steve glanced over his shoulder to see the beast sauntering over to Strange's body. In that second of panic, the man Steve was fighting got the advantage and struck him. The blow burned. Steve let out a small cry of pain before retaliating in kind. His shield swung around and knocked the cultist down with a strong blow to the head.
Steve didn't wait to see if he would get back up. He spun around to rush to Strange's body. However, the cultist who had been ensnared in the cape was able to break free and swiped at Steve from behind with her glowing blade. The hit sent Steve stumbling to the ground. He looked up and saw the black creature's sharp teeth closing around Strange's throat. "No!"
The teeth never broke skin. In that instant, Strange awoke with a gasp and rolled out of the way. He quickly clapped his hands together and pulled them apart. Orange tendrils of light formed between his hands, expanding until he had a long whip gripped in his right hand. It took seconds to form and Strange had to dodge the beast as he did it.
Steve heard a yell behind him as the last standing cultist charged in anger. Steve couldn't get up fast enough to stop her. In a flourish, Strange was able to finish the beast in one swift strike before whirling just in time to deflect the blade mere inches from his chest. He grunted and staggered but was able to hold his ground.
Steve was finally back on his feet and throwing his shield. The weapon hit the back of the woman's knees and she crumpled. Strange didn't hesitate. He pushed the cultist back and struck. The whip sliced the woman's chest, leaving a deep, illuminating crevice. Steve finished her off with one final blow from his shield to her head.
Both men stood over the fallen figures, breathing heavily. After a moment, Strange looked to Steve and said smartly, "You call that watching over my body?"
Steve gave him an incredulous look before gesturing to the fallen men behind him. "I got busy."
"And you," Steve pointed to the cape hovering nearby, "you just left me to be eaten."
Until that moment, Steve never thought a piece of fabric could look dejected. "Is that thing sentient?" he asked as the cape slowly floated to Strange and draped over his shoulders.
"Which thing?" Strange was slowly crouching down to pick up the cultist's dagger, one hand gingerly pressing his middle.
"It's a cloak," Strange said defensively. "And yes, in a way." Once his fingers touched the dagger's handle, it glowed a dull purple for just a second before going dull again. Strange pondered the artifact. "Interesting."
"This blade." Strange held it carefully in his hand. "I had assumed it was a relic. However..." He squinted at the scripture on the blade. "It's alien. Otherworldly."
"You thought they were human?"
"Of course not. I just wasn't aware they were from the same dimension as you and I."
Steve mulled over the thought for several seconds. He then realized Strange was still crouched and was probably uncomfortable. Realization struck and Steve walked over, offering a hand.
Strange accepted the hand with a, "Thank you." He strained as he stood, grunting from the effort.
"So, what next?"
"I've informed Wong where we are. Whether or not they can get to us safely before we run out of air has yet to be determined."
Steve sighed as he looked around them. He couldn't think of a way to bust them out without risking a cave-in. He turned to Strange, eyeballing the injury he was nursing with a bloody hand. "How about before you bleed to death?"
Strange did a sort of scoff. "This wound is superficial. The likelihood of me bleeding to death is slim."
There was a gravity to his words that Steve didn't like. "But possible?"
There was a pregnant pause. "But possible."
Steve pressed his lips into a fine line as he weighed their options. He could try fighting their way out but with how fragile the building was he could very well collapse the building on top of them. There was nothing he could do. He looked to Strange's bloody clothes. "Anything I can do to help?"
"Unless you carry a needle and thread on you, no."
"I figured." Steve put his hands on his belt. "Can you do anything? Like that portal?"
"No." Strange moved over to the other two unconscious bodies. "Well, yes, but I'm saving it for a last resort."
There was a silence for several minutes after that except for a few non-committal exchanges. Steve was able to wrangle up the three cultists all together with some glowing rope that Strange summoned. The process took the doctor's breath away but he assured that the cultists would be properly restrained until help arrived.
"What happens then?" asked Steve.
Strange shrugged. "Once I find out who they are and where they came from I'll send them back. Or find appropriate containment. Or both. We'll see."
Soon after, Steve patrolled through the expanse of the garage to make sure there wouldn't be any more surprises. He didn't want to leave Strange alone with the three aliens but the older man assured, with obvious annoyance, that he would be fine. The alien creature was dead and the rope would keep their captives in check. Steve couldn't put up much of an argument after that.
Thankfully, Steve's sweep came up empty. He considered going up to the next floor through the hole their captives had made earlier, but he didn't feel comfortable with the idea for several reasons, so he didn't. If more enemies did show up from above, at least Steve would know their entry point.
When he returned, the scene caused Steve to go rigid with alarm. Their captives were still unconscious and the creatures still seemed to be dead, but Strange was gone. Steve rushed forward. "Strange?" he called out as he looked left and right.
There, less than a yard away, was Strange. He was sitting down and leaning back against one of the concrete pillars. His eyes were closed and he was very still. "Strange." Steve headed straight for him and crouched down. "Doctor Strange?" He shook the doctor's shoulder but there was no response. "Stephen, can you hear me? Doctor?" He moved his hand to check for a pulse but his hand was halted when the collar of the cape—cloak—wrapped itself around his hand.
In that moment, Strange gasped awake, curling in on himself instinctively. Steve couldn't pull back fast enough to evade Strange's head from colliding with his own. He held his forehead as the momentum sent him falling on his rear. "Ow."
"Ow," echoed Strange, holding his own forming lump with his free hand. "Sorry, momentarily forgot how much this hurts."
After collecting himself, Steve was back on his haunches and staring at Strange. "Are you okay?"
Strange's face was grim. "It would seem the injury is worse than I originally assumed. I thought it would be better to let my body rest while I looked around."
Steve didn't bother hiding his confusion. "You can look around while sleeping?"
"It's simply a matter of separating my astral form from my physical body while still maintaining..." he trailed off at seeing the very lost expression on the captain's face. "Let's just say I can turn into a ghost that can return to its body."
"Oh. Okay. Sure."
Despite the pain piercing his torso, Strange smirked in amusement. It lasted only a second before it grew stern again. "Everything clear?"
"No enemies on this floor. I couldn't hear any movement from above so I think we're safe. However..."
"However," Strange finished for him, "if you heard no movement then our rescuers are still far from here. Or, at least, not close enough to be heard."
"Exactly." Steve gave a worrying glance to Strange's bloody abdomen. He still had a hand pressing it, though it seemed he had removed his glove to use it to staunch the blood flow. Steve was no doctor but he was more than familiar with battle wounds. "Let me see."
Strange did something between a laugh and a scoff. "You want to play doctor?" He leaned back and moved his hand away so Steve could look. "What's your prognosis?"
The wound was not a pretty one. It was ragged and deep. It was low on Strange's abdomen to the left of his navel. It was fortunate it was on his left side and not his right; it could have hit the appendix otherwise. Steve couldn't tell if the wound was deep enough to hit major organs, but he was quick to count his blessings. "You'll live," he said optimistically. The statement would be true if their friends would hurry and a arrive. He moved the glove back over the wound and applied pressure.
When Strange moved his hand back over the wound, Steve pulled back to let him but his eyes suddenly caught sight of bleeding gashes on Strange's exposed hand. "Whoa," he said, noticing far too late that those weren't gashes, but scars.
Strange cleared his throat uncomfortably and quickly switched hands, now holding his injury with his gloved hand and shoving his exposed one behind his cloak, out of Steve's sight. "Thanks for your professional opinion, Doctor Rogers."
"Yeah," said Steve dumbly. He was amazed at how overwhelming his curiosity was. Not sure what else to do, Steve look a seat against one of the vacant sides of the pillar. "You know," he started after a couple of quiet minutes, "people don't expect it, but I've got some ugly battle scars. During the New York invasion I took a good hit to the gut." Steve's hand ghosted over the old injury. "Alien weaponry hurts."
Strange let out a single chuckle, sympathizing completely with the statement. He brought up his shaking hand and looked down at the gruesome scars indifferently. "I wish I could say these were battle scars. These damned things are the bane of my existence. And yet, they're my salvation." He clenched his hand into a fist a couple times, well aware of the captain's curious glance, before letting it drop down into his lap. He was exhausted. "These are the result of an accident that changed my life forever. They made me the man I am today." He smirked. "And the world is all the better for it."
Steve scoffed. "I think you and Tony would get along."
"The Iron Man? No. He's a pompous, arrogant fool."
Scott pushed back a small slab of concrete the size of a boulder. There, just underneath, was a small crack he could slip through. The twelve-foot drop was a long one for his miniature body but the impact barely hurt. He bounded over a pile of rubble and paused. Finally, he found a source of life in the ruins, but it was just his luck that the first thing he came across was one of the foreign monsters. Its large, scaly body was barely illuminated by the dim lights.
In that instant, a question popped in his head: How are the lights on? They were dim and flickering but miraculously on. Wasn't the building condemned? The thought popped out of his head as soon as it entered as he focused on the task in front of him.
The monster hadn't noticed him yet. It seemed to be sleeping. As he got closer, however, he realized that it wasn't sleeping but was actually dead. "Oh, cool."
He sidestepped the monster and was thrilled to see two familiar figures not two yards away. He bounded over, bypassing the captives in favor of the sitting heroes. "Captain America! Doctor Weird!"
Steve was startled out of his musings at the voice. He looked down to see none other than Ant-Man. "Lang?"
Scott removed the burden strapped to his back. "Thank God I found you. You guys were further down than I thought." With a quick throw of his disc, Falcon's falcon grew to its normal size, Scott following suit shortly behind. "Can you see?" he asked the falcon.
"Yeah, I've got you," came Sam's voice from the mechanized bird. "Hold tight. We'll get you out of there."
"Good." Scott opened his helmet so he could better see the others. "You guys all right?"
Steve was already standing. "I'm fine but Strange needs medical attention."
"Strange," repeated Scott, resisting the urge to smack his forehead. He turned to the doctor and noticed that he hadn't stirred since Scott's arrival. "Is he okay?"
Steve was looking at the doctor. "It's hard to say with him. Strange?" he said as he crouched down. Strange didn't respond. "He's either unconscious or, uh, a ghost."
Scott's head snapped to look at Steve. "You think he could be dead?"
"No, he's still breathing. He does this thing where he can leave his body." At the look on Scott's face, he just shrugged. "I don't get any of it. Stephen, hey, can you hear me?" He reached forward to shake his shoulder, keeping well enough away to prevent another collision.
This time, when Strange woke up, it was slow and groggy. He blinked up at the two men in front of him. "What happened?"
"You've been injured."
"I remember that bit," he quipped with a pained grunt.
"Scott just showed up," continued Steve as he gestured behind him to Scott who waved with a, "hi." "He's going to get us out of here."
Strange looked up at them, then around the garage, then back up at them. "How?"
Steve opened his mouth but closed it again to turn to Scott.
Realizing they were waiting for an answer, Scott said, "Oh, Falcon and that bald guy have an idea they're concocting." He thumbed towards the metal bird flying about behind him.
"Wanda can't get us out?"
"She's tried, but this is a bit much for her, I guess. So her and Hawkeye are doing search and rescue in the surrounding area."
"That won't be necessary," said Strange. Before he could elaborate why, his eyes caught the familiar orange sparks of a portal trying to open. Eventually, a fully formed round portal hovered just above the ground. Then, out stepped Wong wearing Sam's goggles.
Wong pulled off the goggles. "It worked."
"You had any doubt?" said Sam as he followed, retrieving his goggles.
"Hey, you guys made it through," said Scott with disbelief.
Sam deflated slightly. "Come on."
Steve stood and silently offered Strange a hand. The doctor seemed to hesitate a moment before reaching up and grabbing Steve's forearm in a strong but trembling grip. The captain was more than happy to take all the weight as he heaved Strange off the ground.
Strange groaned as he was lifted to his feet. His legs wobbled but he remained standing, albeit hunched over slightly.
Wong was at his side instantly. "Stephen. How bad is it?"
Strange shook his head. "Not good." He had yet to let go of Steve's arm.
"Let's get you out of here. Come on," he said to Steve before turning towards the portal.
"Here," offered Steve as he moved his grip from Strange's forearm to his hip. Due to Strange's height, it was easy for him to drape an arm around Steve's shoulders. Sam was on the opposite side ready to offer assistance if it was needed. Wong waited to enter the portal until everyone was close. He led the way out with Scott closing the rear.
Scott stopped before entering the portal and motioned towards the still unconscious aliens. "What about them?"
Wong popped his head back through the portal to get a better look. "They'll be fine. Now hurry up."
The portal led them outside the collapsed garage. Wanda and Clint were already waiting for them. "Whoa," said Clint as he saw Strange. "What happened?"
"The cultists are contained," explained Steve. "Any casualties?"
"That's the thing," said Wanda. "Nobody seems to notice us. They don't respond."
"And they haven't reacted to the creatures or the damages," added Clint.
"They wouldn't," said Strange in a heavy breath. "We're in the Mirror Dimension."
Scott looked around at the scenery, eyes wide. "We're in a different dimension?"
"We'll explain later," said Wong impatiently.
"Yes," agreed Strange. "I need Christine." He extended a hand to Wong. The librarian removed the sling ring from his belt and placed it in Strange's hand. "Thanks." He pulled away from Steve and used the practiced motion of opening a portal. It wavered but held open. "Let's go." He took a solitary step by himself but found he couldn't continue. Thankfully, Wong stepped up to support him.
"Wait, where are we going now?" asked Clint.
"Hospital," grunted Strange. "We'll explain everything there."
It was amazing, thought Scott as he walked among 'heroes' through the hospital hallways, how much respect people had towards them. Captain America lead a rebellion against the collective governments of the world and yet people still looked on with admiration as they politely moved out of their way. Being a hero had its perks.
But it also had its downsides. One being their high-risk hobbies, like clearing the streets of alien creatures. Some of them only had scrapes and bruises, while the others weren't so lucky. Hawkeye, for instance, was sporting a burn down his arm where one of the monsters was able to get close enough to lick him. The captain was also wearing his own massive injuries, including a gash on his back. It was probably healed by now but the large spot of blood was still worrisome. The doctor, ironically, seemed to be the worst off. He was breathing in a bad way, leaning heavily on Wong. Wong didn't seem bothered by the strain.
As they walked the hallways, the others went in search for help but Dr. Strange stopped them before they could get far. "Christine," he told them. "Search for Christine."
The search wasn't hard, not with superheroes demanding assistance. Many nurses ran up to them, but the doctor refused to be touched. "Dr. Palmer!" he snapped to someone. Shortly after, an attractive woman came running towards them, eyes wide.
"Stephen! What did you do this time?" she said in a panic. She paused in her step for only a second as she regarded his company. "What happened?"
Did she not know about the monster attack? thought Scott.
"Does she not know about the monster attack?" whispered Hawkeye in his ear.
Scott shrugged. "Maybe it hasn't hit the news yet."
"It's actually surprising," butted in Sam. "Something like that in downtown Manhattan and there wasn't a single news crew."
"Or police," added Scott.
"I just figured they backed off when they saw us," whispered Hawkeye. "But then even the bystanders—"
"That bothered me too."
"Remember?" said Scott. "He said we were in a different dimension or something."
"I can barely accept that we just traveled through a portal. I don't want to think about different dimensions."
"And what does that mean, exactly?" asked Sam. "From what I could tell we were still in New York. Are we in a different dimension now? How does that work?"
"You didn't notice?" Wanda seemed to suddenly appear out of nowhere as she joined their whispered conversation. "There were cracks all around us."
Wanda looked to Clint. "Or fractures. They were in the air and on the ground. They even separated us from the civilians."
"I didn't see anything like that," said Hawkeye as he crossed his arms.
"Do you see those now?" asked Scott as he looked around.
Wanda shook her head. "No. I don't think we're in a different dimension anymore. I don't really understand."
Wong then made his presence known as he approached the team. Scott hadn't noticed when the doctor or captain was led away. A nurse was standing next to Wong as he approached them. "I believe I can explain all that," he said with cool confidence. "Let's get everyone fixed up first."
As they were escorted into another room, Scott had the sinking feeling that he was about to be very confused.
"Couldn't help but notice," started Steve, "that you didn't ask Tony for help. Or anyone else who signed the Accords."
Doctor Palmer had just finished treating them and had to leave to attend other patients so both men were now alone in a small room with two beds that they both occupied. Steve tried to argue that he didn't really need tended to but Dr. Palmer wouldn't have it. In fact, she seemed to enjoy having him take off his shirt. During the whole examination, though, she kept glancing at Strange who was definitely not looking back.
Strange moved to get a little more comfortable, rubbing at his un-gloved hands. "You and the others barely comprehend the idea of a multiverse. How could I explain that to—not one-but several governments? And then trust their judgments on how to handle the threats and benevolence of different universes and dimensions?" Strange scoffed. "I didn't even want to tell you." After a second, Strange tacked on, "No offense."
Steve chuckled. "None taken. Can't say I understand any of this, but at this point I'll just take your word for it. It's good to know we're in good hands."
The two exchanged a long look before Steve offered a small smirk. "I feel the same way."