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Stephen grimaced as Thanos tossed Peter toward him as if he were a bowling pin and Peter the ball. He even called the kid insect. It was not even an accurate insult because spider was Arachnid.

That was the problem with powerful opponents. They tossed their enemies aside as if they were something worthless, a rag doll. Definitely not his style. (He didn’t want to follow this train of thought as it would lead him to think about his lifestyle changes that allowed him a lot of experiences facing different kind of opponents.)

He winced as he tried to get up. He was not that young anymore. The doctor in him complained about various injuries caused by being tossed. Unfortunately, he had fair share of them as he treated various injuries caused by domestic violence when he was an intern. He despised the senseless violence, the unnecessary damages, and the show of brute force by the bullies. Somebody who tossed someone aside literally or metaphorically was definitely a bully in his book.

Peter, blessed his young body or perhaps his spider healing power, jumped up after being used a bowling ball merely one second ago. “Doctor Strange, sorry for toppling into you.” Stephen internally snorted. As if any of this were the kid’s fault. “Do you need any help?” He offered his hands.

He didn’t take them. He didn’t shoot deathly glare at the kid either. He considered it as his way of being grateful. He tried to get up but his back and ribs protested. He remembered that he was nearly tossed into space a few hours earlier (was it a few hours? It already felt like ages ago). Only with the help of the Cloak and the kid that he was alive right now. He’d like to thank the kid but again he wouldn’t be tossed out if it were not because of the kid and Stark blowing holes into the spaceship. He didn’t owe them anything. A very small sound told him that he would still be Voldermort-wannabe pincushion if it were not their intervention. He guessed they were even. But he also saved them from being crushed when their ship crashed and he treated them for their (well, Stark’s) injuries. Another voice in his mind that eerily sounded like Wong told him to stop being an idiot by keeping scores and start focusing on the fights ahead.

Yup. Getting up. Easier said than done. He gritted his teeth. The warrior in him that he didn’t even know existed until recently forced himself to get up. After a lot of help from the Cloak and plenty of willpower from himself (and a lot of sympathy from the kid), he finally got up to join the fight again.

When they surrounded and nearly subdued Thanos, Stephen found out that Thanos didn’t only toss his enemies, but also his most beloved. Apparently, the Titan’s ambition to balance the universe was more than his love for his daughter.

The long-buried family man in Stephen seethed at that.  He’d never toss anyone in his life aside. He would never be the one who left. That was the reason that aside from Christine who was a force of her own, he never got close to anyone. You couldn’t get tossed aside by the loved ones if you didn’t have any loved ones in the first place. It was safer this way.

Although Quill’s anger toward Thanos would completely destroy their plan to subdue Thanos and would force Stephen to finally put their one out of 14,000,605 chances of winning in motion, he could sympathize with the guy. From all those futures, he knew Quill well enough to know that he had lost his mother at a very young age and then lost both of his fathers in the span of a few hours. Gamora was the closest thing he had as a family and Thanos who claimed to love Gamora just tossed her both literally and figuratively to fulfil his ambition.

Stephen would be the first one to admit he was an ambitious man. But he used his own brain , willpower, and skills to get where he was. He might be rude (a voice that sounded like Christine snorted at the word might) but he would never use anyone and toss them aside.

He gritted his teeth again as they were being tossed by now-awake Thanos. At least this time the kid tried his best to catch his fallen comrades.

Thanos was the one who liked to toss things aside. Stephen liked to throw caution to the wind as he learned and experimented on new techniques to operate. He was the cause of a lot of migraines for his professors, superiors, colleagues, nurses, and his students. He didn’t care about their complain. What a bunch of whiners. He got results. His record was perfect. He invented new techniques which helped to make the world a better place.

His inquisitive (his Wong’s voice told him it was spelled reckless) attitude was the reason he excelled in Mystic Arts. He mastered the Images of Ikonn in record time of three days at the expense of Wong’s and a few masters’ sanity. (They were worried he would split his soul. He told them he was not Voldermort and he was not making horcruxes.  Except for Wong who sighed, he got some bewildered looks. That reminded him to gift some Harry Potter books for those masters.)

He wished they could their faces as they saw his perfect replicas of himself as they (he) tossed their (his) magical whips to capture Thanos’ limbs trying to incapacite him. At least Thanos seemed impressed.

His elation was short lived as Thanos used the Soul Stone to destroy his replicas. He would have won if it were not for those meddling Infinity Stones. He really hated those Infinity Stones especially when they were used against him.

As soon as his last replica astral-projected back into his body, he was being choked again! His throat felt sore and raw even before Thanos tried to crush his windpipe. That reminded him that this was not the first time he was choked within the last five hours. It was a new record even for him. His previous record was 93 hours.

Luckily, in a manner of speaking, Thanos didn’t try to kill or make him unconscious as he choked him. He merely wanted to assert dominance and wanted to end this farce of a fight to get his final goal.

Unluckily for Thanos, the Stone hanging at his neck was not a real one. Not that he would give this fact away as he showed worry and pain when Thanos snatched the Stone away from his neck. It was not even full on acting. Afterall it was his job to protect the Stone and he might fail if Thanos figured it out. Being choked was also really painful. Dark spots started to manifest in his vision.

Unfortunately for him, Thanos figured out it was a fake immediately. Surprisingly, instead of applying more pressure on his windpipe, Thanos just tossed him aside again! Before he could complain about the lack of regard for human’s life, his head got connected to the floor again! Total darkness replaced the dark spots.

As soon as he came into his senses, what he feared and tried to avoid after traversing through the futures nearly come into fruition. Thanos was monologuing as he stabbed Tony. (He noticed that he called Stark Tony now). If Tony died, all would be loss.

His heart ached. If they were to win, he needed to toss aside what he just realized he valued most above others. Perhaps he was not that different from Thanos.

He already tossed his ego away as he realized his role in this war. As much as he wanted to be the Savior and the Hero, his role was only to allow other heroes a chance into victory. It was never about him. 

He already tossed his pride as he allowed himself to be tossed around and used as distraction in the miniscule chance by a plan not devised by him. He sincerely hoped they didn’t need to use his actual plan that only had one in 14,000,605 chances into victory.

If they were to use his plan, there would be casualties. As much his logic said otherwise, he still believed it was on him.

He had tossed his ego and his pride. He couldn’t stop the flow of his tear as he tossed his responsibility as the Stone Keeper and what he valued the most, his Hippocratic Oath, as he said what he had dreaded since he looked into the futures. “Spare his live and I’ll give you the Stone.”