Title: Proper Names
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: G.
Characters: Stephen Strange.
Setting: General.
Summary: Sorcerers are very particular in their words.
Disclaimer: They belong to Marvel. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: A little bit of introspection for the prompt word "Name" at Fan Flashworks. I actually had the idea weeks before the prompt, so this was a perfect opportunity to write it.

One of the first things Stephen learned about magic was that its key was knowing the proper names for things.

It was a challenging matter. The proper name of something might be in a tongue unspoken by civilization for thousands of years; but if one could learn it, one could gain power over that thing. These names formed the language of the mystic arts, the threads which sorcerers wove together to create complex spells. In that exceedingly delicate work, a single wrong word could lead to disastrous results.

Stephen soon concluded that this was why users of magic were invariably precise about their speech, even in ordinary conversation—and it began with the very name by which they called themselves. While they did not quite take offense at being referred to as wizards or magicians, it was politely frowned upon. Those words had long since been eroded of their dignity by popular culture, evoking images of fairy-tale enchanters or sleight-of-hand illusionists. Among the silent, steadfast warriors who were the true practitioners of the mystic arts, sorcerer was the term of preference, a less common word that held far greater mystery.

And magic—that in itself was a weighty name for the power sorcerers wielded. Stephen himself, in his aggressively sensible scientific mind, wrestled for only a short time with the fantastical word before he chose to embrace it. After all, what more accurate word could one possibly suggest for the act of manipulating energy from other dimensions?

That particularness about wording even extended to his relic. A highly intelligent and venerable entity in its own right, the Cloak of Levitation took great exception to being called a cape—and it never hesitated to make its displeasure known. More than one young novice sorcerer, having been on the receiving end of its stinging swat, would never make the mistake of mislabeling the Cloak again.

All of this, then, was why Stephen had no qualms about insisting on being called by his own proper name as well.

He was Doctor Stephen Strange. It was a title he had earned through long years of study and hard work; a symbol of the fact that his intentions, at least, had always been noble. The life-saving knowledge and experience of medicine was still his, even if his damaged hands could no longer put those skills into practice.

More than that, it was all he had left of his old life. It was the one part of his former self-identity that bore goodness enough to survive amidst the ashes of his arrogance and self-interest.

After all he had let go of to become something more, holding onto that solitary fragment of his pride was surely not too much to ask.

2017 Jordanna Morgan