A Fickle Thing

Summary: A collection of short one-shot hurt/comfort fics involving a man and his best friend, a crimson cloak.

A/N: Soooo I just saw the movie a couple days ago and then I went home and this happened. I'm not even sure what this is….

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Dr. Strange or Marvel… Darn.

Chapter 1: Sleeplessness

There is a special place in Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum for his cloak. It wouldn't do to have the great Cloak of Levitation temporarily hung in the gallery like some ancient relic collecting dust. Especially when Strange needs the cloak on a regular basis.

Dr. Strange is an expert on taking good care of his things because a part of him still believes that the state of his possessions reflects on the state of his character. He prides himself on his appearance, after all. It wouldn't be right to have the cloak flung haphazardly upon a sedan or draped across an antique curio hutch. Every item in the Sanctum has its place, and the cloak's place (in the increasingly rare moments when Strange is asleep or not working) is in a spacious walk-in closet in his bedchamber.

At first, the cloak wants to protest this arrangement. It is dark and cold and boring inside the closet. But after a few nights, the cloak relaxes into its new space, draping luxuriously across the floorboards or twisting around the hangers for fun, creating a game out of nothing.

On the rare nights when its chosen sleeps soundly, the cloak settles down and succumbs to the muffled rhythm of Stephen Strange's breaths.

It is Harvest Moon. The cloak is in its closet, making a sport out of seeing how far it can physically stretch from one corner of the storage space to the other, delicately flexing its fabricated muscles, the burgundy cloth rippling playfully. Then it suddenly stops.

There are faint moans coming from Dr. Strange's bedchamber.

Curious, the cloak carefully bunches itself up to push the sliding closet door open and hangs in the air, silent, watching.

Its chosen is tossing and turning in his bed. His dark hair is tousled, one side curled up. The covers lay in a tangled mess at his bare feet. He groans, lips twisted into a grimace.

Is it a nightmare? The cloak hovers closer then spies the beam of bright moonlight shining onto Stephen Strange's face. The man's eyes open, half-lidded. He hums again and turns over, throwing a limp hand over his eyes.

It's the light. The light is keeping him awake.

So the cloak goes to the curtainless window and spreads itself against the glass, its thick red cloth sliding across the smooth surface, blocking the blinding moonlight and throwing Strange's bedchamber back into its natural nocturnal darkness.

There is silence for a time as the cloak observes its chosen for any signs of relief.

Stephen murmurs something unintelligible. Then he sighs softly. It is a contented sigh.

The cloak stays perfectly still in this exact position for another six more hours, uncomfortable but satisfied that Strange no longer fidgets in his sleep. His breathing is deep and steady. There's even an occasional snore.

When the first rays of morning hit the cloak, it shudders stiffly and tries to tug itself free. When its right corner refuses to budge, it undulates with greater force, snagging itself on a nail in the wall.

A few feet away, Dr. Strange shifts in his bed. The cloak soundlessly floats back to the closet, sliding the door shut as quietly as it can and placing itself back on one of the plastic hangars inside.

It doesn't witness Stephen Strange wake up. It doesn't see him walk to the same window it had covered the night before and run his hands along its frame with bemusement. It doesn't see him pluck a few strands of crimson fabric from the jagged nail in the wall, running them across his fingers, lost in thought.

After a full day of meetings, magic, and watching the sun set in Jakarta, they are back in the Sanctum, and Dr. Strange startles the cloak with a jaw-cracking yawn. He unfurls it expertly by swinging it around his shoulders and begins to walk towards the closet… when he halts in his tracks.

The cloak quivers in his grasp, uncertain what its chosen is going to do. It is unprepared for what happens next.

Rather than hanging it up in the closet like he has done for the past several months, Dr. Strange places it gently in an upholstered chair beside his bed.

"More room out here," Strange mutters, so low that the cloak almost misses it.

Without another word, Strange goes through his evening routines. The cloak trembles with satisfaction, observing the human as he settles into bed, propping himself up with a pillow to read for an hour before his eyes begin to droop. Then he places the book on his bedside table, removes his wristwatch, and closes his eyes.

The cloak keeps watch over its chosen that night, awaiting the morning and secretly looking forward to the next full moon…

A/N: What did you all think? Many more one-shots to come! Soooo what do I call the cloak? Is it just "Cloak" or what? I'm a bit confused as to how to refer to this character-that-isn't-a-character. Help?