Peter felt like his chest was going to burst. They had put up one hell of a fight, but Strange had all but handed Thanos the stone on a silver platter.

He could feel the shockwaves coming, so he did the only thing he could think to do.

He reached into his magical core...and pulled, creating a shield of sorts. However he could sense that wasn't enough...he would have to go deeper.

As the shockwave reached Titan, Peter used the one thing he hoped he never had to.

"The first fell for want of false power

The second fell chasing that which was lost

The third greeted the end as an old friend."

Peter could see everyone looking at him weirdly...for all of two seconds before the others began fading into dust. The power of the Infinity stones briefly attempted to turn him into dust as well...but couldn't grasp him at all.

This was due to the fact that Peter's body seemed to be undergoing a tremendous change, his core too fluid for the stones to touch.

He felt like his body was on fire, and he was barely holding on.

"Kid, what's going on?" said Tony, alarmed.

Peter's hair became slightly longer, as his body attempted to adjust to his past self and his present body. Eventually it reached a compromise long after the stone's effect had passed the planet.

Tony stared at the teen...who now looked closer to twenty-ish, with slightly different features.

"Bloody hell, I had hoped I wouldn't have to use that trick," he complained, with a distinct British accent.

He ran his hand through his hair, which looked like a windswept bird's nest. His eyes which had been a warm hazel had turned into almost emeralds.

"Kid? Are you alright?"

Tony felt the weight of judgment on him when the kid turned to look at him. A few tense seconds passed, and then it was over.

"I'm fine. I had to use an emergency measure to avoid being dusted like the others," he said with an English lilt.

"Emergency measure?" asked Tony.

Peter had an annoyed look, but it wasn't aimed at Tony.

"Strange told you about the reincarnation thing, right? Well I basically pulled my past self forward to avoid being dusted."

"Your past self?" said Nebula.

Peter looked at her, and she felt the same weight of judgment upon her...however it passed more quickly than it had Tony.

"I have memories of my previous life...and now that Strange is gone, the duty of the Sorcerer Supreme falls to me," said Peter tiredly.

The only reason Strange had the post was due to his age. Now that he was gone that was no longer an issue. The Order could hardly quibble about something as silly as age when they needed someone to defend the realms.

It was a pity he couldn't simply shrink the ship and take them to an inhabited planet. The energy from whatever Thanos did was still present and blocked any attempt to travel between places. Annoying, but what could you do?

For the first two days, Peter mostly kept to himself, save to help Tony and Nebula repair the ship. His bad habit of stealing anything shiny came in handy rather unexpectedly, since he had made a point to pilfer any parts that looked still usable.

Finally by day three Tony asked something that had been bothering him a lot. Well, other than the fact that the kid had gone from twenty back to sixteen again.

"Kid...why do you hate me so much? I mean you treated Dr. Strange as an equal, but you keep giving me barely tolerated glances."

Peter blinked.

"I don't actually hate you, I just don't like arrogant assholes who think money solves everything."

Tony blinked.


"In my past life I had an asshole cousin who's favorite phrase when things didn't go his way in school was 'wait till my father hears this!', because his father was an influential politician with a lot of disreputable connections and a vast fortune," explained Peter tiredly. "He didn't get much better once we graduated, but he at least stopped trying to use his father as his shield."

Tony stared at him, incredulous.

"You're comparing me to a rich daddy's boy?" he said in disbelief.

"Do you know what Strange, Rogers and myself have in common?" asked Peter. Tony shook his head. "At some point in our lives...or in my past life really...we all set down our own life in exchange for countless others. Our deaths might have been temporary, but our conviction remained."

That seemed to shut Tony up, for just a bit.

"How did it happen?" asked Nebula.

"I was in the middle of a magical civil war. One side believed that only those from 'pure' magical lines should learn magic, and that those from non-magical lines were lesser. They even had their own special version of the derogatory term for blacks to describe them," said Peter, his face haunted. "In the end it came down to him or me. He was holding an entire school of half-trained children hostage, and I was his top priority. So I made the call, and greeted death like an old friend."

"How did you survive?" asked Tony.

"The spoiled cousin I mentioned? His mother was a bit more realistic, and I was actually related to the guy through her. She helped fake my death long enough to catch him off guard, and I managed to take him out. The fact remains I had no issue dying if it meant saving everyone else," said Peter. "That's why I like Steve more than you. You've still got a lot of growing up to do, whereas he understands that there are times that one life can be traded for countless others to make the world better."

Tony was silent for several hours. However after fighting Thanos and loosing, badly at that, Peter could see certain cogs finally begin to turn in his head. He had begun the path that would eventually lead to him becoming a much better person and stop putting his own ego above everyone else. It was almost a relief when Captain Marvel showed up and managed to get them home safely.

Peter was beyond upset learning that May was among those lost.

"Who's this?" asked Steve.

Peter activated the suit Tony had given him, and could see the shock on everyone's face. This was why he had gotten his hair dyed...well, that and to experience even a little bit of teenage rebellion. Besides, he was part of the theater club, and wanted to look the part of "theater goth" as May had put it.

"Let's just say that the trick I used to avoid being dusted had some...side effects," he said dryly.

His stomach let a loud, angry rumble in protest. To be fair, it had been days since they had eaten anything substantial and the food had run out a while ago. Water, thankfully was a nonissue thanks to Peter's magic.

Peter almost felt cheated when Thor managed to kill Thanos so easily.

Peter looked at the box in his hands, and wanted to sigh. With May gone, there was really no reason to keep the apartment. Even though the landlord had been dusted, and things were an absolute mess right now, he couldn't stand being in the apartment.

It had too many memories, and since Thanos destroyed the stones it was highly unlikely that they could undo what was done.

Peter had already graduated high school a month before this mess happened, since he wanted to attend college classes. He had been planning to take a gap year, but now it looked like he'd be taking more than that.

Tony was still recovering from the fight, and had offered to fund any college Peter eventually went to, including medical school.

Thanks to his job, and the fact he still had his absurd luck from his past life, he had amassed enough money that he could afford a proper home. It didn't hurt that the housing in New York had become much more affordable with entire families wiped out.

Another unfortunate perk of the 'Snap' was the fact that the process to become an emancipated minor had become very streamlined. Services meant to help minors who had lost their family had become overwhelmed, so having applicants who could handle being an adult a few years too early was considered a blessing.

By now his features had mostly faded back into his usual self, so no one questioned who he was.

It was a good thing he had Freya to keep him company.

Peter picked up several of the boxes. Most of May and Ben's things would go into storage, since it would be a while before he could stand to look at old photos.

Nearby, Wade was chatting up Wong, talking a mile a minute about inane things. To his credit, Wong had yet to shut the other man up.

Peter never though that he'd appreciate Wade's inane chatter. The man had taken one look at him and promptly put the kid into a massive bear hug out of relief. Weasel and Domino had been equally thrilled learning he was among the survivors.

Even if it meant his actual identity ended up being revealed, they had kept it to themselves. Weasel had looked so exasperated learning his dish-boy slash cook was actually Spiderman of all people.

Wong put the boxes into the car. Peter got behind the wheel, as no one really trusted Wade to drive.

"Are you sure you're going to be alright by yourself, Pete?" asked Wade.

"I have the Order to fall back on, and once the colleges are up and running I plan to take the fast track to medical school. Good thing I found that memory transfer artifact, otherwise medical school would take forever," said Peter.

Strange and Peter had shared their knowledge of medicine with each other about two months before the 'giant purple dildo' as Peter had flippantly called the mad titan (Wade had approved, and it was now the official name of Thanos among the Mercs) had dusted everyone. While it had given both men a massive headache, it also meant that it would take little prompting for the corresponding memory/information to reveal itself so long as the proper data was provided.

Peter had likened it to a folder with so many subfolders that it required the search bar to find the correct file.

He had found a decent house in a good neighborhood, with room for a small garden. The previous owner had died off and the house had been part of a legal dispute, which was now null and void since the family in question had been more or less wiped out. The lone survivor had readily agreed to selling the blasted thing once and for all, especially since Peter paid in cash.

Once the paperwork was finalized and it was his house, Peter had paid for a deep clean of the place, before warding the ever living hell out of it.

Wong hadn't said a word about the wards, other than to ask if they could upgrade the ones around the various Sanctums and the main temple. If Wade noticed them, he said nothing.

Peter ordered some pizza, because he was starving and too lazy too cook.

Wade wiped a nonexistent tear from his eye.

"My little chick is growing up too quickly."

Peter grinned.

"Finally looked up what a Shrike is?"

Wade looked at him.

"Domino said it was a small bird," he replied.

Wong choked on his soda, mostly through laughter.

"It's not a bird, is it?" said Wade.

"Oh it's a bird alright," said Wong, snorting. "Do you want to tell him or should I?"

"Oh, by all means. I'm going to be recording his reaction for later," said Peter laughing.

Wade's reaction to what a Shrike actually was...specifically the way they ate their prey? Priceless, and made Peter's day.

"Wait...didn't you impale that woman who put that hit out on your aunt?" said Wade. Wong looked at Peter sharply.

"I did not impale her. I tricked her into running into oncoming traffic. The fact that bus had a broken bike rack that caused her to bleed out was just a particularly weird coincidence," said Peter. "It was her own damn fault that hospital records were ridiculously easy to crack so long as you had the right username and passcode, and Aunt May complained often enough about Karen leaving hers around. Once I had her address, the rest was easy."

Wade immediately glomped a protesting Peter.

"I'm so proud!"

"Get off me you idiot!" said Peter, but they all knew there was no real heat in his voice.

It was going to be a headache setting everything up, but at least he wouldn't be alone.