Thank you all for having so much patience with me over the last couple weeks. I swear I wrote this chapter and rewrote it at least seven times

Last time...

When he stepped through the portal, he realized he'd arrived just in time to be faced with a blast of the Power stone with no time to recover. He was not expecting one of the strongest magical shields he'd ever encountered to encompass him. The girl stood in front of him, where she had most certainly not been before, with her back facing him as she concentrated on the shield; staff in hand. When she chanced a look back at him, he could see bits of blood and the beginnings of bruises, but most importantly he could see how scared she was; though her fully white eyes did unnerve him a bit. This wasn't a fight she could win, not on her own.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" She demanded, a mixture of anger and worry in her voice. "I told you to help them evacuate!"

"If you hadn't noticed, I don't take orders from you." Stephen reminded her, which just made her snort in derision.

"No, you're too busy being the TVA's bitch boy." She sneered in his direction, before giving her full attention back to her current predicament. "Well? Get on with it then. My back is turned and everything. You're not going to get a better shot than the one you have now."

"You're not going to be able to deal with him like this for long." Stephen stated, taking in the situation, ignoring her earlier comments. "Which of the infinity stones do you have?"

"Soul." She admitted quickly. "You have the Time stone, but it's…shielded somehow. The magic of it looks a bit like my special time turner."

"Time turner?"

He wasn't expecting her to slam the staff into the stone, but it stayed upright when she turned to him.

"It'll maintain the shield on its own for a bit, but we have to make this quick." The girl informed him, turning around as she felt at her neck and pulled out a necklace he recognized. "This is a time turner. Now, how can it help us?"

"That's not…I don't know what a time turner is, but that is the Eye of Agamoto." Stephen corrected, indignant. "It's the casing for the Time stone. How did you get it?"

"You're really going to grill me about this now?" The girl demanded, her voice reaching shrill pitches at his rather ridiculous need to get his answers at that exact moment. "I don't care what it's called or how I got it! Can it help us or not?!"

The floor beneath them began to groan.

"It can, but you're not going to like how." He informed her. "It's how I defended the world from Dormammu."

"Dorma…" She barely managed, going a sickly sort of pale at the name. "Someone was crazy enough to summon Dormammu into this dimension?"

"They were in my timeline," Stephen revealed. "so I went to meet with him in the Dark dimension to bargain."

"He'd have killed you…How did you…" She declared, before coming to the realization he had all those years ago. "The one thing that dimension is…"

"…is outside of time. Yes, I know." Steven acknowledged. "We won't have to go there for this, but it's the only way I can think of that we have a shot of ending this without killing everyone else."

He knew the exact moment she realized what he meant. Her face fell, and she chanced a look back to the stands where he knew Stark to be. He wasn't sure what she could see with her eyes being as they were, though he knew she could see magic in a way he didn't understand. The choice seemed to weigh on her as it had him, but then she stood straighter, her face the very picture of resolute. Her choice made, she would not yield, and he wondered what else he had been wrong about…or if he would even get the chance to find out.

"…Very well." She decided. "Show me how. Don't ask questions. Just do it."

Quickly, Stephen guided her through the steps, wary of the staff sinking ever so slightly into the ground as he did so…and the cracks that were cutting through the stone floor around them.

"I think I've got it." She announced. "I've just got to send a message, and then we can see this through."

"You'd better make it quick or we really will only have one shot at this."

~Professor…I don't know if my friends will have listened and have evacuated with the others, but you have to get Tony out of there…If this doesn't work…Get him out of there, Professor~

Chapter 119


~There's no time to argue about this, Professor…Nott Sr has decided he might as well try and kill me now since he's dying anyway…We have a plan, but even if it works…Tony doesn't need to see this…Alright, Strange, I'm ready. Start your time loop in 3…2…~


"Snape, what is she doing?" Stark demanded, no longer even trying to hide his worry now. "What's happening down there?"

"Nothing good." Severus warned, grabbing a hold of the man's upper arm, fully prepared to apparate out of there if need be. "We need to go. Now."

"Not without Hera!" Stark declared, jerking his arm out of the hold it had been in. "What aren't you telling me? What is she doing?!"

"…She doesn't want you to see this, Stark." Severus revealed quietly. Stark began to look ashen, no longer even breathing. "You need to go."

"Absolutely not!" Stark growled, before trying to make a beeline for the shield. He and Mr. Rhodes managed to catch Stark in something of a bear hug around the stomach, but it was a near thing, and even so the man tried to keep going. "Hera!"

"Well then, let's get to it, Strange." Hera sighed, reaching out with her left hand, steadying her grip on the staff. Her right wrist glowing with the magic he'd just guided her through activating

"The name is Doctor Stephen Strange – Sorcerer Supreme." He corrected, somehow managing to be annoyed when he'd been oh so worried about their predicament a few seconds ago.

"Well, you certainly think highly of yourself." Hera snorted, incredulous. "Now, here are your options, Strange. You can either help me with this idiot, help the evacuation efforts like I'd originally requested, or kindly fuck off to timelines and dimensions unknown while I deal with this my own damn self like I was going to do anyway. Your choice. It's not like you have an actually legitimate reason for being here, you know."

"We'll see about that." Strange remarked, sounding more amused than Hera thought he had a right to be. The amusement didn't last, and in the next moment when the shield had faded, they were blasted into nothingness.

"You didn't tell me we were going to remember our deaths." The girl grunted, looking pained, after time had reset itself. "Bloody hell, that was awful."

"Comes with the territory, I'm afraid." Stephen admitted. "Would you have chosen the same if I'd warned you? I had to be certain."

"I had a rough idea from the sound of your voice that this was an all or nothing decision, though it was not one I expected you to stay for." She replied solemnly with a nod, not even looking resentful as he had when he'd been told. "I get it. I don't like it, but I get it. Power like this…How are we going to stop him? I drop this shield, we die."

"That trick you did before, being both here and in the stands, can you do it again?" He wondered.

"Trick? Trick?!" She growled in outrage, before taking a deep breath to calm down, muttering to herself. "He doesn't know. He doesn't know. Now's not the time to be pedantic about magic. We survive this, we can spend time kicking his arse later. Trick indeed. Bloody bastard."


"That was an illusion, Strange, not…" She grumbled at him, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "Yes, I can. Why does it matter?"

"Because I might have an idea."

They died in seconds, blasted to dust in no time at all. The Power stone seemed to allow Nott Sr to see through her magic, which meant that he would be able to see through just about everything she or Strange did. Soul seemed reluctant to fight Power, and shielding was the only thing it would agree to do. She and Strange stood shaking, looking as if nothing had yet happened; Nott Sr exactly where he had originally been, of course. The illusions hadn't been a bad idea, but that wasn't going to work here.

"Let me guess," She stated, not even needing to see him to know this. "You think I botched that on purpose."

"Well, they do credit you with being the god of lies, if I'm not mistaken." Strange replied with a haughty tone.

"I knew I was going to have to deal with his shite sooner or later, but I had hoped it would be later." Hera grumbled, mostly to herself. She knew roughly where he was, given the vibrations and aura of magic he gave off, and so glared at him. "What makes you so sure I'm evil, I wonder."

He didn't have time to move or object before she was reaching out and yanking him down by his arm onto his knees. Once he was down to her level, she had no hesitation about slamming her other palm to his head, making sure that her thumb was pressed firmly against his forehead. The flood of images that entered her mind was almost nauseating, but then they started slowing down. An older Thor and a Loki with much longer hair than Hera had ever had in either life stood side by side, the later looking extremely peeved and windswept for some odd reason…right before he tried to charge Strange with a couple of familiar looking daggers. Another memory. A blond gentleman was speaking about a timeline disruption, asking for his help, showing him variants of Loki; a bald gentleman stood in a doorway to Strange's right, looking like he was looking directly at her.

"You do not need his help, but he is soon to need yours." The bald gentleman warned. His eyes dart to the blond man and his security personnel, leaving no doubt as to what he meant by that. "When it is time, you will know."

Hera pulled away, backing up several steps as she came back to herself with a gasp. She looked to the staff – which had been holding the shield on its own thanks to the Soul stone – to make sure it was still stable. It would hold for now, but she was running out of time…Time! She had Time! She looked down at the magic circling her arm. Strange had showed her how to create a time loop, and now she wondered.

~What else can you do, I wonder?~

It was just a thought…She hadn't expected a reply.

{Many things, Young One. As you are protected here, let me show you}

That was the last thing she heard before her mind began to feel like it was on fire; a scream erupted from her, and she knew no more.

"Bloody hell, that hurt!" The girl groaned, quickly dropping to her knees on the floor, clutching her head in her hands.

"What happened?" Stephen demanded angrily, mainly to hide how alarmed he had been. He hadn't survived long after she fell; the Power stone lending the crazed man everything it had even as it seemed to take from him. "You looked down, and suddenly you're screaming and bleeding out of your eyes. Oh, and you died; again. What did you do?"

"Here's a thought, Strange." She quipped as she struggled to stand once more. "The next time you want to ask a question you think might just get you killed, maybe activate that time loop first, yeah?"

"Was that a threat?" Stephen demanded, flummoxed when she clutched at her 'Eye' of Agamotto instead of engaging him in the fight he'd expected was coming up till this point. "What are you doing now?"

"What does it look like? I'm having a conversation." She replied, the answer vague and completely unhelpful. Muttering, she continued. "Was that really necessary? You could have just told me, you know…Ah. Fair enough, I suppose. What would you suggest now?"

"I hate to interrupt whatever stimulating conversation you seem to be having with yourself, but you don't have a lot of time here." Stephen reminded her. "Raging psychopath with the Power stone? Ring any-"

{Thank Creation! I thought he'd never shut up}

Hera couldn't help but snort at those words, even as her eyesight returned. Taking a moment, she looked around her as she adjusted. Not only had Strange stopped any and all movement, so had Nott Sr. The only thing that moved within the pocket of space Hera'd created to contain the fight in…was Hera herself. She was proven wrong seconds later, when the item that contained the Time stone Strange wore jingled just a touch; apparently it had also decided the man needed a bit of a 'time out'.

"What should we do now?" Hera inquired, still looking towards Strange; though in her mind she wondered if Time had had anything to do with the sudden return of her sight.

{You are the only one to speak with us this way. Such a curious child you are}

"Well…yeah. I mean…how else am I going to learn anything?" Hera pointed out, only to hear what sounded like laughter in her mind.

{What must Soul think of you, I wonder?}

Hera could have smacked herself in the face, but instead reached out for the staff to bring Soul closer to her.

"I talk to sentient magical artefacts all the time, but I didn't think to try talking to you." She said, hoping Soul understood. "Please accept my deepest apologies."

*You had no reason to suspect we were more than remnants of creation. Think nothing of it*

Hera nodded, but still felt a tad guilty, and looked to Nott Sr. "Can Power be reasoned with?"

*If approached carefully*

"That sounds awfully close to a no. Guide me?"

{Don't worry, young one, we will see you through}

Hera couldn't help the small grin as she replied. "Just make sure you don't kill me this time, yeah?"

It was a rather odd experience to hear two sentient forces of the universe laughing inside her head.

{My power protect you. Should you die, we can always try again}

"Cheeky thing." Hera chuckled, before turning her full attention to Nott Sr and the orb containing the Power stone. "Come now, let's see this done. Where do I start?"

*You will need to touch the orb*

The moment she did touch the orb, the sheer overwhelming fury Power possessed slammed into her. She imagined the only reason her mind didn't shatter under the strain was because Soul and Time shielded her. It was hard to focus with so much rage trying to burrow its way into her mind, but with their help she was guided to a calm within the storm. It is from here that she can sense Nott Sr's mind, and what she finds saddens her. She'd known there was no saving his life, but for Theo's sake she'd hoped there was still something of his soul that could have been.

"You cling to this soul, powerless though it is." Hera stated, hoping Power would hear her. "Why?"

Again it felt like a wall of rage slammed into her mind.

"His rage?" She wondered, and it the pain began to ease. "Why would you cling to that? It made him weak."

The pain returned tenfold.

"He is weak." She repeated, no matter that those words increased the pain she felt, because she knew this next part was going to hurt more. "…I am not."

The pain increase was enough to make her fall to her knees, and she clenched her teeth against it. This was quite possibly the most reckless thing she'd ever done, and that was including her call to Magic, but she'd realized something when talking with Soul and Time. Power would not react the same as they had. It needed something else, perhaps proof that she was willing to resist and fight it if necessary; because even she knew there was no hope in beating such a force. As she struggled to stand once more, she wondered if this is what Nott Sr had had to do as well; perhaps that was true, as he'd had no magic of his own, he'd have still had strength of will, though it did not explain how his mind could have survived the strain.

"There is more to power than just rage! You know that!" She shouted, and the pain eased once more. If she survived this, there was definitely going to be a headache in her future.

#What would you know of Power?#

"Of you? Nothing." She admitted freely. There was a strange sensation, almost as if she were feeling surprise not her own, that she had to wonder if she was.

#What do you want?#

"What you have I do not need, and what I want you can not give me." Hera replied, wincing at the pain filled anger Power sent through her.

The pain only got worse after that.

"Let him go. He's useless to you." Hera tried. "Come with me. Join Soul and Time."

#So, power is what you want#

"No. It isn't." She corrected. "I have my own power. I have no need of yours."

The rage that slammed into her this time was the most painful yet.


The pain lessened to nothing in an instant, and Hera was left in the moment…only to realize it was she who had shouted at a primal force of the universe.

"I've really got to stop doing things like this." She mumbled to herself, before she straightened as a thought came to her.

Soul was serenity, Time was patience, and Power was…Power was too turbulent to categorize, at least for now. She'd have thought it would be anger, all things considering, but now she wondered. It lashed out in anger, but why? What did Power want? She thought she knew, but if she was wrong…Well, Time had reminded her that her time loop was still active.

"What do you want?" Hera inquired, hoping she was on the right track. It was silent for what felt like an eternity, but it was better than the rage fuelled attacks on her mind, and she felt safe enough to try again. "What did he offer you?"

#A way out#

She didn't understand what that meant.

#To be free#

That's when it hit her. Power wanted to be free, because that's what power was. At its core, Power was freedom; unadulterated, unapologetic, and all it wanted was to simply be. It didn't have any other motivations than that. Nott Sr had offered it a way out of the isolated prison it was in, and in return it had offered him the use of it; something the man had taken advantage of, though the attempt was poorly executed in Hera's opinion.

"When I said I had no need of your power, I meant that I have no desire to wrongfully take what has not been offered. It is not mine to take, and I am powerful enough in my own right." Hera began. "If you wish to come with me, I will not make demands of you. I may ask, but I'm not so prideful as to think I could command or force you to do as I wished."

#You have Soul and Time#

"I do." Hera admitted fully. "I knew Soul instantly, though I will admit to some ignorance there. I didn't realize they were sentient right away. Time hid itself as a trinket, allowing only minimal operation, and I didn't know it truly until they were revealed to me through a third party not long ago. I was allowed more open access the moment I unknowingly acknowledged them as their own being. I won't promise to never wish for your help, but I can promise that I will always try to seek permission; barring accidents where I'm unconscious and my magic instinctively seeks aid on my behalf. You can ask Soul and Time yourself if you want. They are here with me, after all."

A moment, and then…

#There is one who is after us.#

"I know."

#Then you must also know this is not something I can allow#

"I do." She acknowledged. "If you're interested, I might have a plan for that."

Stephen stared at the girl when she'd spoken with the stones, talking as if she were actually getting responses, and then she'd reached out and touched the orb. When he'd been frozen in time, he hadn't actually been quite as frozen as she'd seemed to believe. He hadn't been able to move, but he'd been aware, and so he'd gotten to witness her apologizing to the Soul stone for not acknowledging it before. Nothing about this girl made sense to him, as she didn't fit the profile the TVA had given.

A lot of things weren't making sense about that organization anyway, but he kept his own council on that matter. For now, he watched as the young girl continued to stay still as she stood in front of the crazed man they'd been unsuccessfully fighting up until this point. Then she took a breath, as if she had suddenly come back to herself, stepping away; a purple stone now in hand. The man in front of her fell to the floor in a dead heap, the Power stone no longer sustaining him. It was that thought that had Stephen trying to move again, something the Time stone finally seemed to relent to let him do.

"…You need to give me that stone." He declared as he strode forward.

She looked to the stone in her hand and back again, before replying. "I don't think I do."

It vanished with a flick of her wrist.

"What did you just…?" Stephen trailed off, suddenly feeling quite wrong footed.

There was something to that movement, how she'd twisted her wrist just so, that looked far too familiar to him. It was something he'd picked up from watching the Ancient One, the flick of the wrist as she called upon a magic he'd not believed in at the time. His mind jumped back to the moment he'd asked who'd been the one to teach her magic. He'd not believed her when she'd claimed that an old trickster had taught her much of what she knew. Stephen knew that even if it were true, it couldn't have been this girl, but the action was still enough to rattle him.

"What did you do with the stone?" He demanded, trying to shake off the feelings clouding his mind, but he was overcome with dizziness. "What did you…What have you done to me?"

"Nothing." Her confused expression was enough to assure him that she had not, in fact, done anything to him. "Can you make it back as you are?"

He nodded, groaning at the pain that began to fill his mind, as he began performing the necessary movements to create the portal; it was a relief to see Wong on the other side of it.

"I don't know what you meant exactly, but I think whatever it is that you feared would happen is coming up soon. He's fighting a powerful compulsion spell as well as a memory charm or two." He hears from the girl to his left.

"I will gather what is needed, and send him through when it is time." Wong replied without missing a beat, further confusing Stephen. "Will you help him?"

"As much as I am able." She agreed with a slight nod, transferring his weight to Wong; surprising Stephen, as he hadn't even realized he'd slumped and leaned into her until that moment.

"Then my soul will rest easy." Wong replied with relief and gratitude.

"How widespread?" the girl asked, not making much sense to Stephen, but Wong seemed to understand.


"Ev…Everything?" Her inquiry came out in a strangled garble of sound, and then swiftly turned urgent. "Is there anything I can do to help?"

"Nothing more than what I have already asked." Wong denied, the girl frowning at him in disbelief. "It is all that I can realistically ask of you, as you will be dealing with them too soon enough. Avenge us then."

Why were the girl's eyes watering like that?

"You have my word."

The portal closed in that moment, and the girl was gone.

"Avenge?" Stephen managed, blearily turning to his friend. "Wong, what's going on?"

"Something I had hoped to avoid when they first came for you," Wong admitted, though the meaning was lost on him. "and there isn't much time left. Now that you're breaking their hold over you, they'll be coming soon. I'll have to send you on your way with less than I'd hoped, but there's not much for it now."

"I don't understand." Stephen admitted, trying to regain his focus only to once again feel like he was hitting a brick wall. "Wong,…what….what's happening?"

"There's not enough time to explain. Just trust that I know what I'm doing, Stephen." Wong insisted, even as he began walking quickly, keeping Stephen upright beside him. "I've written down my observations for her, just make sure she gets them. The others and I have been gathering things since you began working with the TVA."

"Make sure who gets what?" Stephen demanded. Nothing Wong said was making any sense.

"The Loki/not Loki you've been trying to understand instead of capture." Wong waved off his concern. "The important thing now is that she have all the information we can give her, that you two have what you need to fight them later, before it's too late."

"Too late?"

Wong sighed, and pinned him with a look. "Stephen, you began working with an organization that erases timelines they do not like. What do you think that means? What did you think was going to happen when you discovered something you couldn't come to terms with?"

It hit him all at once, what Wong was trying to tell him. "…No. No, I won't-"

"I'm afraid we're already facing that reality, Stephen."

"But…" Words failed him, as it all came crashing down around him in his mind. "Wong, I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It would have happened regardless. Whether it was you, or someone else they could get to, it was always going to come to this." Wong replied with a shrug, as if what was happening was as trivial as the weather. "We get you the information she'll need, and as much as we can send with you, and she'll guide you to where you need to be."

"Why do you trust her so much?"

"Because she reminds me of you."

As Wong said this, a memory he hadn't realized he possessed came to the forefront of his mind.


Stephen had been trying to research this latest Loki, but to no avail. What he found only told him what he already knew, or details he wasn't interested in. Her magical signature was more than Loki's, but that wasn't adding up. Something was wrong with this picture, and he resolved to find out what it was. It took a while to find a computer that someone had forgotten to log out of, as he'd begun having suspicions that information was being kept from him by the TVA, but he managed it.

He'd read the name in passing, barely glancing at it, but it had all her information. None of it was any different than he'd been looking at already. On a whim, he keyed in his own name; just to check to see if the system worked on this computer any differently than at his own terminal. What he reads shocks him to his core…He was…a Loki?…taken from another timeline, and placed in the one he'd grown up knowing, one in which there was already a Loki.

He backed up slowly, eyes glued to the screen, but the information didn't change. Loki. He was…He couldn't be…A bit of movement caught his eye, and Stephen turned to see Mobius standing there, but he couldn't turn his attention away from the screen for long. This wasn't right. Stephen began shaking his head as he backed away from the computer.

"I'm sorry you found out, Stephen." Mobius sighed, true regret in his voice.

"You knew?" Stephen immediately demanded. "It can't be true. It just…it can't."

"I'm afraid it is," Mobius revealed, before his mood picked up. "but don't worry! We'll get you all sorted, erase this bad memory, and start fresh. What do you say?"

"Erase my…" Stephen trailed off. "You can do that?"

"Erase your memory?" Mobius inquired for clarification, to which Stephen nodded. "Of course, we can do that. This isn't the first time we've had to erase you finding out about this."

Stephen began to feel distraught, claustrophobic, and he began backing away from Mobius.

"Don't worry, Stephen." Mobius insisted, looking for all the world like he thought he was truly helping him. "It'll all be over soon."

Hera stood there in the arena, staring at the place the portal had been, completely unable to move. An entire timeline, universe, dimension…whatever one wanted to call it…was going to be removed from existence, and there was nothing she or anyone else could do about it. The bald monk as good as confirmed it for her, along with the memories he pushed into her mind. He knew what was about to happen to him, to his entire timeline and everyone currently living in it, and yet his only thought was getting Stephen Strange to safety. She had never felt so powerless, even knowing that there was nothing more anyone could do to save them. All those people…

"Hera!" Tony shouted, pulling her attention to the here and now as he also pulled her into a hug, having rushed over to her as soon as the bubble of protected space had vanished. "Don't you ever scare me like that again! I thought you were gonna die!"

"I did; a few times, actually." She responded, feeling discombobulated. "I…Tony, I…that man…the one that helped me…I think…I think something really bad is going to happen to him."