Who: Dr. Strange What: narrative, Dr. Strange sees all and knows all.🔮 When: around May 19th Rating: Green, spoilers!
Stephen Strange didn't sleep. Well, he did by sheer technicality, but not really. He worked when he slept, traveling far and wide in his astral form, looking for threats, assessing problems, reading, and making sure the boundaries of their universe were as secure as possible. Except for the rift. That angry black tear that still connected their universes to another. That, during times of unrest, sounded like tectonic plates of glass screeching together under heavy pressure, threatening to crack. When it wasn't under pressure, when things were quiet, it was a noise like distant chimes, light as though thousands of tiny bells were blown by a gentle breeze from far, far away. It was quite pleasant to listen to.
But even that pleasantness was deceptive. If anything, a universe should be quiet at the outer edges, where it expanded into space. Silently. Nary a sound should be heard.
This universe had periods of relative calm. Where it was nearly silent. This wasn't one of those times.
After many hours of astral meditation near the dark tear that connected their universes, after hours of focusing beyond two universes screeching against one another, was when it finally happened. The very last pieces of the puzzle finally shifted into place in his mind, and everything became clear. Every one of those 14,605,000 glimpses of a possible future (including the one where they won) was now in perfect order. It was then that it made sense why that other version of himself traded the Time Stone to Thanos, why it was necessary to spare Stark's life.
There were several steps in a set order. For everything to work, Tony Stark needed to stay alive long enough to figure out the time travel conundrum, and to help Scott and Bruce to build a time machine. Natasha needed to give her life in trade for the Soul Stone. And Tony was needed to help the others build a gauntlet. Bruce needed to sacrifice his arm to bring back everyone. Then he could contact his fellow Mystics....
...and then Tony had to use the gauntlet against Thanos.
He found the only solution to save countless lives across the universe. They only way to stop Thanos. By sacrificing two of the Avengers in the process.
Oh, and with a very important role in the grand scheme of things? The rat. They needed a rat to step in just the right spot in a storage space in San Francisco. That? That was sheer chance. In at least 21,309 scenarios, the rat stepped in the wrong spot in Scott Lang's ugly brown van, and nothing at all happened after that.
After this was when the visions sifted in. The battlefield. The united front against Thanos. Of not telling Tony what the plan was, and later holding up one finger so Tony knew when and also what it meant. Tony being Tony? He caught on quickly. He didn't even hesitate.
After the battle, the weight of their losses set in, as well as everything they were able to bring back. Peter was returned to his Aunt May. Clint to his family.
Then there was the funeral.
The welcome hush of the Sanctum followed afterward.
Immediately, he felt drawn back to that quiet place he called home.
When Strange suddenly snapped back into his body, he opened his eyes and listened as that same hush wrapped around him like a comforting blanket. He missed Wanda's warm and friendly presence, but he didn't envy what she now had in this world with Vision. It was a new world for them all, with second chances and new opportunities. Where there were still many lives left to protect and preserve.