Disclaimer: Would this still be considered fanfiction if I owned Marvel? I'll never know because I don't.

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24 Days until Infinity War!!

Onto the story!

At least Stephen felt more prepared this time as the spears of glass pierced his skin slowly. The agony that accompanied the impalements was more bearable, and an inspiring determination kept Doctor Strange defiant.

In this session, Ebony Maw's motives were more finely tuned. "We can be finished as soon as you tell me where the time stone is," he reasoned.

"Do you really expect me to believe it will end there?" Strange replied incredulously, breathing forcefully through the pain that threatened to overstimulate him again.

"The more you cooperate, the easier this will be, Stephen."

The sorcerer growled rebelliously.

The fire in his nerves sang at a forte when Maw raised his fingers and touched Strange's forehead, earning the same reaction as earlier. He strained against the powerful urge to give up, to admit defeat and open up his memories.

"Give me the stone!" Ebony commanded aggressively as the glass shards probed deeper into his body.

Despite his anticipation, the brutal mental onslaught still shook his defenses. Stephen grunted, but remained defiant, mentally distancing himself from the pain as best he could.

"You said you cast protective spells on the stone, which leads me to assume that you were recently in possession of it," the Member of the Black Order deduced. "Or that you are currently." It took a great deal of willpower not to glance at the Eye, to reassure himself that it still remained safely nestled against his chest.

"I left it with the other Avengers," Doctor Strange responded quickly.

"Oh, please. You are a horrible liar. You have proven me wrong when it comes to your mental resilience, but don't think that you can get away with deception. Not even Loki can, and he's the supposed god of it," the creature stated. "Now lets have some fun, shall we?"

Stephen focused on Ebony as he brought forth his other hand. The cruel creature grinned in anticipation of his next action. Bracing himself had no benefit. The spears of glass solidified and sliced through his skin while Maw's sheer willpower shattered the sorcerer's mental barriers like a tsunami obliterating a city. Strange managed to reform the ones pertaining to the infinity stones, but now his opponent had a much more potent weapon: his memories.

Ebony Maw smirked at the newfound information, "Stephen Strange, what an…intriguing life. Although to be honest, I'm surprised. You survived an encounter with Dormammu?"

To fight through the added torture of the countless fresh wounds trickling blood down his clothes, Stephen hissed through his teeth, focusing on the conversation and muttered, "I wouldn't say survived."

Ebony, for all his self-proclaimed glory, looked a little flustered from the comment. The doctor just snorted before the other continued.

"You were a cruel one, weren't you?" Maw chuckled, regaining his conversational momentum, and Strange flinched. "I️ like that." The creature leveled the sorcerer's chin to his own, wearing a malevolent grin. Stephen was revolted by the texture of his hand. Disgust colored the human's features as his torturer continued. "Earth must be truly desperate to seek help from a man like you. As a doctor, you take an oath to aid humanity, to preserve their lives, yet you turn them away to face their deaths. That is surely heartless."

Doctor Strange swallowed, refusing to show just how ashamed his history left him. But despite his efforts, a frown began to weigh down on his face. Ebony Maw reached towards his chest, and his hand phased through the sorcerer's torso into his heart. The effect was immediate; Stephen felt his racing emotions loom over him. Suddenly the future seemed too overwhelming to overcome.

"Maybe the Avengers should be happy Thanos is going to kill half the universe," the member of the Black Order reflected. "But you claim to have redeemed yourself. Although I don't think anyone could repay for that.. Dormammu is a formidable opponent, I must admit. How many times did you die? Even I couldn't recall. How does it feel to die?" Maw paused to wait for a response, but Strange remained silent regardless of the tears that trickled down his grief-morphed face. "You don't remember?" The torturer laughed. "That's too bad. I might have to help you with that."

Before the doctor could comprehend the sentence, Ebony withdrew his hand from the other's chest and plunged it, along with a newly acquired knife, into the thigh of the sorcerer. The glass shards dissipated as Doctor Strange released a strangled cry, summoned from the pain that the fresh injury caused. He wriggled helplessly suspended in the air.

"If you won't give up the infinity stone," Ebony Maw rumbled in his ear. "I'll make you." The sentence was accompanied by Stephen's scream, for the child of Thanos had twisted the blade inside his leg. Doctor Strange once again thrashed against whatever spell held him motionless, resulting in useless twitches and jerks that only egged on the dagger. With a wicked grin, the creature dragged the knife down his leg, and Strange uncharacteristically whimpered, tears shamelessly splattering onto the rusty floor. "Normally I don't like to get my hands dirty, but for this, I'll make an exception," Maw purred, eyes glinting on the knife. "I forgot how fun this can be."

Willing to attempt anything to withstand the excruciation, Doctor Strange focused on the conversation before scowling and seething, "I survived Dormammu. What makes this different?"

"With Dormammu, you reversed the consequences. I'm afraid that won't be an option once I'm finished."

Ebony withdrew the knife from the man's thigh, but instead of ending the session, he repeatedly bit back into the man's skin with the weapon. Each of the gashes weren't very deep but the countless incisions burned with a passion, generating more glaring pain within his nerves. He writhed blindly.

Soon, the pain blended together and drowned out Strange's senses. Time blurred until he could finally focus on the blurry hand of his torturer. It phased into his forehead, and Stephen was lost to the world.

When Stephen woke up, he realized he had rejoined Loki in the cell once again. The Asgardian was asleep, a blanket of chains weighing him down. Doctor Strange's hideous wounds were bandaged, although he wasn't sure by who. Ebony had to keep him alive somehow, he assumed. Meanwhile, the god of mischief had a few more additional cuts decorating his arm than he had in the doctor's previous encounter. Because of the new metal barrier binding the other's mouth shut, Strange didn't bother attempting to wake the god. There was nothing that would benefit, and he wasn't sure when the last time Loki had the chance to sleep was. Doctor Strange could only drift off into bouts of unconsciousness. In every other moment, he was relieving memories of being pressed to reveal the time stone.

To change that, Stephen curled into the most comfortable position he could find in his current corner of the cell, maximizing the chance he had to relax his mind. This was the first time since his arrival that he had been unattended for more than a hour. Due to the absence of adrenaline and let down of agony, he drifted in and out of a nightmare-infested sleep. His dreams were plagued by the usual appearance of his countless deaths at the hands of Dormammu, and he woke himself up numerous times as he twisted onto an aggravated wound. He finally gave up when he reopened one of the gashes on his left hip.

While the blood oozed lazily into the gauze, Doctor Strange heard a grunt from his right. Loki shifted onto his side, disturbing a waterfall of rippling chains. "Good morning, sleeping beauty," Strange teased, snorting as the other sent a death sentence through the language of stares. The glare morphed into a look of shock as the Lord of Lies witnessed the vast scale of injuries tarnishing the man's body. Stephen's robes hung from his chest in shreds, giving Loki a clear view of the wet blood from Maw and the scars he had earned over his career as a sorcerer. His leg wound had clotted over again, stemming the blood flow that seeped into the dressing. The largest mark marring his skin was the white ghost of the battle in the New York Sanctum with Kaecilius. Even though he didn't have proof, the doctor was sure the Asgardian had scars as well.

Loki did his best to shove away his chains before motioning to the neurosurgeon. Doctor Strange slid closer, easing forward sluggishly so as to not open any new wounds, and settled beside the god. Pain flared up again, but stubbornness kept him going. Because of the bounds prohibiting any vocal communication, Loki was forced into a game of charades, gesturing to Stephen's hands, wounds, and mouth. The cell door was also involved in the predicament. Somehow, after hours worth of frustration and failures, Strange finally picked up Loki's meaning.

The Trickster was presenting a plan to escape. And the sorcerer thought it had potential.

Stephen painfully dragged himself up into an unstable standing position and presented his arms before him. With some difficulty, a spell sparked to life but flickered from lack of strength. After another attempt, the sorcerer kindled the enchantment, and it smoldered through the cell door. Doctor Strange's next action was to burn away the metallic bonds dragging Loki down. He gasped as the mouthpiece melted away and gave him full access to his airways. The Asgardian rose and wrapped an arm around Stephen's quivering shoulders, taking some of the weight to help with mobility. "I guess I should think you," Loki drawled airily while the former doctor created a golden shield to ward of potential adversaries.

They made their way into the hallway with Loki leading the escape. Strange did his best not to shuffle his feet, but they inevitably did, potentially drawing unwanted attention to the prisoners. The pair of escapees managed through the compound for several minutes, but after a while both knew they were just being fooled into a false hope. Loki, who had tracked the entrances and exits of the structure, had gotten hopelessly lost, something that Stephen didn't think possible.

"Loki, I think they're just playing with us," Strange muttered in the silence of the chambers.

"No , Sherlock," the god snapped. Doctor Strange glared at the Trickster with the oddest of expressions. "Isn't that what you Midgardians say?" he asked, slightly defensive. The sorcerer shrugged.

Stephen held the arm with the shield before the pair defensively after a soft scuff sounded down one of the halls. The tension built until the lithe form of Ebony Maw dripped from the shadows, clapping slowly and dramatically.

"You really are predictable. Even you Loki," the child of the Mad Titan rumbled. Stephen scowled before untangling himself from the god and swinging the shield in a high arc towards their torturer. Maw chuckled lightly and stopped clapping to raise his hand. The sorcerer's magic dissipated on contact, showering shards of the spell in fiery embers onto the floor. Ebony's eyes bore into those of the Lord of Lies as he rasped, "I wish you had another infinity stone. It would have been so fun to hear you scream." As the member of the Black Order spoke, he phased his hand through the oncoming human's heart, swiftly with a practiced hand. Doctor Strange crumpled to a heap on the dusty ground, unconscious, and Loki was once again met with the sight of the cell wall, repaired and reconstructed. The Asgardian sank into the silence of the room, hanging under more than just the returned weight of the chains once again.

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