A bloody battlefield.
They must fight a lot of enemies.
Stark succeeded taking the stones and preparing himself to snap his fingers, but…
He suddenly appeared from nowhere and took all the stones from Stark. We thought he would destroy our only way to defeat Thanos and his army.
But it was false.
It was false.
Because he decided it was him who should use the stones to defeat Thanos and his army, not Stark.
It should not be him who did that.
He could not accept it!
He could not accept it!
It should not be him who would die to make sure humanity safe.
It should not be HIM!
Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, woke up from his sleep with an agonized scream tore out from his mouth and his left hand rose up as if trying to catch something or someone. His blue eyes were wild from indescribable agony along with his heart beating uncontrollably and his body was wet from cold sweats.
Slowly the terror on his face changed to agony and he pushed the palm of his hands into his eyes as a way to make sure tears did not come out. However, his action was futile for not too long tears started to trickle down the sides of his face.
‘Why he decided to do that?’ his mind started to go back to the final battle against Thanos and his army. ‘It should not be him who died that day!’
/I do not regret my decision…/
‘And he smiled…’ he gritted his teeth.
That was true when that person wanted to use the stones; he decided to look at him and smiled. There was no regret in that smile.
‘This isn’t fair…’ thought Stephen. ‘We only met but Fate decided it was time to separate us…’
Of course, he too was to blame. If only he did not see that person as a dangerous individual for the multiverse for what he was, maybe all of this would never happen. Maybe Stark not only would never lose his cousin but also would never hate himself for letting the said cousin using the stones to defeat Thanos and his army.
With his own life as the price.
/Stephen, it’s not about you…/
That was true, as the Sorcerer Supreme he needed to protect the multiverse from being destroyed and Thanos, with using the stones to destroy the half of the universe had destroyed the balance. So he needed to push aside the selfishness from his heart and did what he needed to do, including sacrifice one soul to make sure it did not happen.
From all the 14,000,605 timelines he had seen with the help of the Time Stone, there was only one timeline where the outcome was the universe back to balance, but they needed to sacrifice Stark to make it happened. Everything was going to what he had planned back in Titan, but suddenly the appearance of Stark’s cousin had changed everything.
The universe was safe and the balance was back.
However, Stark was alive and the one who became a sacrifice was his own cousin.
He did not see that outcome. It was as if that outcome was being hidden from him and only came out after the deed had been done.
The funeral for Stark’s cousin would be held today and for the truth, he did not want to attend. Not only because he did not deserve to be there but also he did not want to see the anger/hate in Stark’s eyes whenever he looked at him.
He could not blame the man from hating him because Stark had raised his cousin from he was still a boy. To lose him like that back then was devastating for Stark and he did not know what to do with that fact besides hating Stephen for not seeing that outcome.
Stephen closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was not the time to think about that because he needed to attend the funeral because at least he owned that person for that.
Now, after the funeral, it was only him and Stark that still standing in front of his cousin’s grave. He did not say anything to Stark because he knew the man did not want to talk with him at this moment.
“You know…” started Stark. “… He always talked about you, Strange…”
Stephen looked at Stark. “He always talked about me?” slight happiness washed over his heart when he heard that person always talked about him whenever in Stark’s presence.
Stark brushed his fingers across his hair. “Yeah, and that’s why I knew about you back then…” the man was silent for a moment before called the Sorcerer, “Strange…”
The Sorcerer clasped his hands behind his back. “Yes, Stark?” he acknowledged the man.
“I’m still angry at you…” Stark looked at him with his hands inside the pockets. “However, I know my cousin will never want me to continue acting like this because…” he looked towards the sky. “I know he didn’t regret his decision…” he looked back at the Sorcerer. “At least I will try to be civil with you and maybe… maybe in the future… we can be a friend after all the anger in me has gone…”
Stephen nodded his head in acknowledgement.
“Oh, I almost forgot…” Stark pulled out an ornament box from the small bag he brought with him and gave it to Stephen. “He gave this box to me the day before he decided to stay in his safe haven and told me to give it to you one day…” he took a deep breath. “I think this is the day I give it to you…” after he said that, Stark left Stephen alone.
Stephen looked at the beautiful ornament box in his hands. He did not know what that person put inside the box. Heck, he too did not think that person still thought about him after his accusation back then. Steeling himself, Stephen opened the lid to see what was inside, only to become speechless.
There were two items inside the box.
A single burgundy red feather and…
Small blue flowers…
Stephen’s hands shook uncontrollably when his eyes landed on the small blue flowers. He knew what those flowers were and what those flowers symbolized.
Forget-Me-Not… True and undying love… Fidelity… Memories…
These flowers showed Stephen that Stark’s cousin harboured a romantic feeling towards him, same like him who had a romantic feeling towards the young man.
‘This isn’t fair…’ thought Stephen while continued looking at the flowers.
“Do you want to change it?” a stranger’s voice snapped Stephen from his depressing state and looked up to see who had come here.
There, in front of him were two people. The one on the right was a middle-aged man with brown hair and gentle brown eyes, while on the left was a young man with golden hair and cold blue eyes.
“Who are you two?” Stephen straightened himself, waiting if these people would attack him.
“You don’t need to look wary at us, Sorcerer Supreme…” the brown-eyed man smiled. “We come here just want to ask you if you want to change his fate or not?”
Stephen looked at the middle-aged man. “What do you mean by… changing his fate?” he knew he should not feel curious about it, but something telling him to trust this man.
“Just like my Father had said,” now it was the golden-haired young man who had decided to explain it. “Changing his fate so he will stay alive even after defeating Thanos and his army…”
It was tempting… very tempting… but…
“I’m not going to accept it if it will bring the destruction of the multiverse…” said Stephen in determination. “As the Sorcerer Supreme, it’s my job to protect the multiverse…”
The middle-aged man chuckled happily at Stephen’s statement and said, “He really chooses well…” he tilted his head to the side. “No, this is not going to bring the destruction of the multiverse. I promise you that, Sorcerer Supreme…”
“Be selfish for this once…” said the young man. “You’re human and you’re allowed to be selfish, Sorcerer Supreme or not…”
Stephen knew he should not think about it but… he was only human and just like the young man said, humans allowed to be selfish…
So, for the first time in his life after he became the Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen decided to be selfish for once.
“Father…” the middle-aged man stopped his walking. “Do you think he can change it in the new timeline? Especially with what his price for this to happen; his memories of this timeline…”
“Have faith, Michael…” said the middle-aged man. “Have faith that their love will become their beacon there…”
The young man who was now known as Michael looked at his Father for a moment before then back to look straight. “… I don’t understand why Fate decides to toy with their lives... She never did that in the past…”
“Jealousy…” said the middle-aged man. “Fate wanted your Saint as her own but was rejected…” he crossed his arms. “She was jealous with the fact your Saint already had someone who would be his soul mate for eternity…”
“That’s why she made them miserable in all of their reincarnation lives…” said Michael. “… And that’s why you’re furious when you found out what Fate had done to them…”
“She should never use her job to destroy someone else’s happiness…” whispered the middle-aged man. “She had broken her vow as a Celestial being…”
Michael only nodded his head before then looked at the sky. He prayed everything would be alright for those two because after everything Fate had done to them, it was time for them to gain happiness.