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Apr 21, 2019 2:24 AM
we don't want to wait a year to see how Marvel fixes this
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Huan snorts and then sends them all a little moving pinboard with everyone's locations. It's three dimensional, though that's not obvious as no one is flying.

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"Thanks, Huan! Okay, let's go talk to Nebula about setting up."

Nebula listens to Loki explain the plan, then says, "I assume I'm going to die."

"If that's the sort of thing he'd do..."

"Depends on what killing Gamora did to his taste for offing his kidnap victims," snarls Nebula.

"- well, then, yes, you might die, but if it makes you feel better we'll be able to fix it pretty soon."

"I'd be worth it to have a shot at killing him anyway," Nebula mutters.

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"Very well, then. Whenever you are prepared."

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Loki brings everyone to their chosen battlefield. She lays down her illusions.

She drops Nebula, in a plausible ship, near the planet where Thanos is attempting to enjoy his retirement, and then she pops back to lie in wait with everyone else.

Nebula descends in the ship. Nebula gets out, calls him "Father", doesn't have to pretend not to be gritting her teeth when she says it but does have to seem desperate. Nebula tells him how bad things are on Vanaheim.

He takes her arm in his ungauntleted hand and raises the opposite fist and drops them in the ruin she described.

Before he comes into range of their ambush, the Power stone picks itself neatly out of its setting and flies into Carol's hand, glowing happily.

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Thanos still has the other rocks. Carol is smiling at hers, maybe even talking to it, but has no idea how to use it and they don't know how long that learning curve will take.

Thanos's first reaction is to try to use Space to take Power back. This works for a moment, but before he can snap his fingers it zooms away toward Carol again, and by that time the physical combatants are charging, Huan with his teeth bared and Loki and Thor both leveling weapons from opposite directions.

Loki whispers, occasionally, it doesn't matter where she's audible from if it's anywhere and if he can't keep taking the Power stone back from Carol that's a major step forward -

Lævateinn dissolves in her hands after glancing off his shoulder, and she hopes that's fixable, she'll miss it, but she has a backup expansible glaive; she lets Thor take the next opening while she draws it.

Carol gets the Power stone back for the third time in a row and kisses it and zaps Thanos with a beam of eye-searing light; for a moment nobody, even Thanos, can see without spots in their vision. Loki gives everybody on her side illusion sunglasses.

At some point Thanos has broken Nebula's neck - he's holding Loki by the throat, now - he notices the illusions, and they start crumpling under the force of the reality stone - Thor is rewound to the beginning of the fight - Carol tries another blast, but Thanos isn't there any more -

"Come on," Loki whispers with the last of her breath - she doesn't have to breathe, either in general or to make sound, but Thanos doesn't have to know that yet - "Come on, come to me -"

The Space stone is unmoved.

Thanos is a little distracted between Loki failing to be crushed in his grip and occasional potshots from Carol who just keeps getting the Power stone back however often he takes it and Thor and Huan nipping his heels -

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The singing is only intermittently audible but she's singing and it's very, very pretty.

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By the time Thanos manages to wonder what the heck a singing lady is doing on the scene, he's already drowsy. He fails to decide in time whether to address her or Huan or Thor; he drops Loki; his hold on the illusions falters, though they don't self-repair and the terrain is warped and broken-looking where he's changed things. He blocks a swing from Thor, weakly, then collapses against a half-wall.

"Come on come on come on," Loki hisses, hauling at the gauntlet. It fits him very snugly. "Thor, help -"

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His weapon is still intact and he doesn't waste time stabbing in the wrong place this time.

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"With the gaun- oh, hell," says Loki, as Thanos slides away like a pile of dry sand, reappearing elsewhere. "One of these things likes him - get the gauntlet off -" She teleports herself and Thor both over to Thanos's new location and resumes pulling. "Come on, wasn't that interesting, you - come on -"

Before the gauntlet comes off, the Space stone comes off. She abandons manual removal attempts and snatches it out of the air.

Now the gauntlet is off.

- the Reality stone dislodges itself and floats back over to Thanos, who's starting to look a little awake.

"Carol!" barks Loki. "Power him down! Or power Lúthien up, whichever!"

"I -" says Carol, looking at the stone in her bare hand, her own gauntlet having proved unnecessary. "I don't know how -"

"Ask your rock!"

Carol kisses her rock again. Thanos continues to look more awake, but rather anemically, and he tries to move without succeeding.

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He should stay not awake but she is not looking that much more awake than he is by now.

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"Lúthien, how long are you good for, I'm not sure we can kill him outright while the Aether's protecting him without going for one of the rocks we don't have a wielder for - I could drop him somewhere?"

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Then we just have to do this over again, right? 

 

Huan nuzzles her ankles.

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"Carol, can yours boost Lúthien while I go hunting for a Time wielder -?"

"Um, maybe?" Carol kisses her stone again, thinks about it, then pops it into her mouth entire, tucked in her right cheek. "Yeah," she mumbles around it, "I c'n do 'at." Lúthien is boosted. Thanos falls more asleep.

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Good.

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"Okay, this might take me a while, I'll try to colocate here in case something comes up while I'm trying to convince potential wielders, this isn't the best search meth-"

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"Am I interrupting?"

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"- no dear you're right on time, will you kindly show me the way out of here, make the body of one Doctor Stephen Strange, and then fetch us a puella magi to finish him up?"

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"Coming right up." He makes an illusion of a random landscape, and he makes a basement dweller of Dr. Strange, and he disappears and comes back a moment later with a teenage girl bobbing her head to headphones. She baps Dr. Strange on the head with a star-tipped wand and resumes swaying happily.

Dr. Strange sits up. He is very confused.

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"Doctor," says Loki, "please take your time stone back up again."

"- I didn't see this coming," remarks Strange.

"Yeah, I know. Some of us are from other universes, tends to throw things off. Please pick up your rock and help us out, here."

"Last time -"

"Yes, last time it was a huge jerk to you, but you picked it up without dying and successfully used it for things, so try again, Doctor."

"I don't have the Eye of Agamotto to contain it, it was destroyed when Thanos took the -"

"I don't care, pick it up." She brandishes the Space stone. "Carol is trying to eat one, don't be shy."

"Ih tase like chewwies," comments Carol. "Whih i' weihd b'cos ihs puhpol."

Dr. Strange does not argue further. Careful not to touch any of the other stones, he reaches for the gauntlet and takes the green one.

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She has retreated into a corner to blink confusedly at everything, especially the girl with headphones.

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Thor looks around as if double-checking that there's really nothing to stab.

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"D'you need me for anything else," wonders the girl.

"Give him a bit," says Loki, indicating Strange.

 

 

A couple of weeks earlier, they are all, except Thanos, sitting in a crowded Vanaheim public bathhouse. It is conspicuously not the case that half of the people there are dead.

"Well done," Loki says to Strange.

"Thank you," he says.

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"Did you roll everyone but us back?"

"Us and the stones since these two were the first ones Thanos got," says Strange, "and Stark, and the Wakandan I sent him to find, and anyone else you've imported from outside the universe."

"Well, good, that should cover everybody -" And they're all crowding in Shuri's lab.

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" - well. Congratulations! World saved, I expect we get at least three years off now."

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