There were millions of possibilities. Millions of ways. Countless paths on this adventure.
And there were only a handful of outcomes in which they made it back. any of them.
And Tony just paled at the thought of it. His worse fear was coming true. Ever since New York.
As he stood on the rubbled ground of Titan, a sharp pain in his side as he stared the Mad Titan in the eye, all he could do was attempt to raise his hand. He grabbed Thanos, his hand barely holding onto a fourth of the purple giant's wrist as he tried to fight.
To that, Thanos simply pulled away, taking one step back. "A fighter to the end. Truly admirable..." Tony fell back onto a slab of debris, coughing up blood as everyone watched.
Doctor Strange, just across from the genius. Peter, struggling as hr laid on the floor, the eyes of his mask narrowing. The Guardians of the Galaxy, Quill Mantis and Drax sprawled around the ground.
The mad titan looked around his fallen enemies. Not a smile. Not anything but resentment for everything. "When I'm finished, half if humanity will still be alive...I hope they remember you..." He spoke solemnly, before raising his hand and closing it into a fist, the space and power stones glowing in his gauntlet.
"Wait!" Everyone heard. Thanos, Tony and Peter looked at the source. It was Doctor Strange. He shook his head. "I'll give you the stone!...If you'll spare his life..."
There was a moment of silence, and inly seconds later Thanos raised his arm at the sorcerer, all his stones glowing. "No tricks."
Strange gave a nod, and slowly raised his hand.
Peter watched, planting his hand firmly into the rubble and lifting himself up. "D-Don't..."
"Strange?!" Tony shouted towards the stonekeeper.
With a flash, a green gem appeared, glowing dimmly for all to see.
All the while, the spider slowly got onto his feet, before falling on all fours.
Strange levitated the the stone over, slowly towards the Titan as he opened his palm.
"No!" They all heard. The young Arachnid got up, running at full speed before jumping into the air just as the Time stone was inches from the giant's fingertips. He swiped the stone into his hand and rolled onto the gloor before planting his feet firmly into the ground and sliding to a stop.
"Kid!" Tony shouted, pushing himself up but collapsing mere seconds after getting on his feet.
"I got it Mr. Stark! I'm fine!..." Peter spoke, kneeling but slowly and shakily getting on his feet. Only seconds later did he feel it.
The power, the surge of energy hit him like a speeding train. More than that. Bright green lightning began to envelope the young hero, making him arch his back, the eyes of his mask going wide in pure agony. He screamed out for all to hear, gripping his hand tight on the stone all the while.
Everyone watched, in horror, or amusement.
"Hm. What a display." Thanos spoke softly, and slowly took steps closer. "Most beings would perish immediately under the raw power of an Infinity Stone. I commend you. But now...It's time to give me the st-" He was abruptly cut off by a glowing beam to the chest, sending him skidding back a few feet.
Peter stood tall, two of his robotic spider-like appendages thrusting themselves into the ground, while two were pointed directly at Thanos. The tips smoking some as their owner stood hunched over, twitching, struggling to even stand, much less speak. He slowly lifted his fist as it gave a dim glow. while his free hand wrapped its fingers around his wrist.
"You're...not getting this stone!..." He yelled through his teeth, his whole body shaking.
Thanos gave a low growl, putting a hand on his chest where he was hit. There was scorch mark from the blast, and a hint of pain, even anger his tone. Not much, but still there.
Slowly he took a step forward, deciding to simply watch as the young Arachnid burnt himself out. Peter soon lost balance, the pain blinding most of his senses, including his sixth one. He fell onto his knees with his head down and his glowing fist close to his chest.
It was only mere moments before Thanos stood over him, the shadow of the titan shrouding the young hero in darkness.
Peter lifted his head up, and the moment his eyes locked with the titan his eyes went wide as he began gasping for air. With the massive fist wrapped around his neck he felt himself get lift up off the ground. His legs swung weakly under hom for something to plant themselves on as he grabbed the titan's wrist.
"Peter!" Tony shouted, having rolled onto his stomach, drained of any energy he had left. All he could do was watch. "Don't do this!"
"Any last words?" Thanos spoke solemnly to the spider, who was twitching and shaking from the raw power of the Time Stone. He let out a groan as he looked into the titan's eyes, gritting his teeth behind the mask.
But for a quick moment, behind that very mask, he flashed a small smile. "I have a question...I just have to snap my fingers, right?..."
To that, Thanos raised a brow. Such an odd question at the face of death. And he said...'my fingers'...
Thanos tilted his head, and looked down to the gauntlet around his free hand. His eyes went wide. The space and reality stone were gone.
"My uncle once told me..." Peter started, lifting his fist up. Both stones were on the back of his palm, while he kept the Time stone in his firm grasp. He pressed the tips of his thumb and middle finger as he finally finished. "Y-You only live once...so do it right!"
"No!" Was all the mad Titan could get out, before Peter snapped his fingers. All either could see was white.
Tony and Strange could only look away from the blinding light, shutting their eyes tight as they were blown back, much like everyone else in the area.
Iron Man tumbled over the ground, into a slab of debris onto his back. He groaned in pain and grit his teeth.
Slowly he turned his head to where Peter and Thanos were. Only to see both were gone. Nothing to be found. No bodies, no dust. Nothing.