Fandom: Guardians of the Galaxy
Rating: General (some gratuitous affection)
Wordcount: This part, 966
Characters/Pairing: Peter&Rocket, Peter~Rocket
Summary: Rocket's a time bomb. Peter's holding onto him anyway.
Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my world, not my nothin'.
Notes: The little bonus chapter at the end of the road, as promised. This actually also works pretty well as a stand-alone, and doesn't depend on or spoil the rest of the story if you just wanted a short little (slightly saccharine) thing to read.
Peter rolled onto his back, opened his eyes, closed them again because it was pitch black in his bunk anyway, then opened them again because he couldn’t make them do anything else. The last time he had tried to sleep in a spaceship flying away from planet Earth, he hadn’t had any better luck. He didn’t want to think about that now. He couldn’t make himself think about anything else.
The words from the headstone were engraved in his mind now too. He had never thought of Meredith Quill as anyone’s daughter. The idea that her parents had loved her too was an intrusion on his longtime perception of her as his own personal tragedy; he knew that if he had been the one to cut the stone, the message would have been shorter by two words. He wouldn’t have even thought to call her devoted. Her years of thankless work raising him, her creative approach to the hardships they faced, her singular focus on his well-being - they had all been invisible to him. She was beloved and she was mother and nothing more.
But when she was buried he had already been gone. Her father must have thought carefully about how to represent Peter’s importance in her life when he could not be assuredly counted among her survivors. He must have been wracked with fear and guilt over Peter’s disappearance, warring with his grief over his daughter. He must have been a remarkably resilient man to have carried on anyway.
There was more to his side of the story than a dead daughter and a kidnapped grandson, Peter knew now. From his bed in the nursing home, he had spoken in disjointed phrases about the fruitless search for Meredith’s good-for-nothing ex-boyfriend, and the secrets she had taken to her grave. He was lucid enough to recognize Peter, but not enough to be surprised to see him, and Peter wondered if that paradox would haunt him for the rest of his life.
He was making another attempt to keep his eyes shut when the darkness receded for just a second, accompanied by the sound of his bunk’s door opening and closing. “What…?” he asked out loud, groping around for a light.
“Don’t shoot, moron,” came the disembodied response before he could find one.
Peter slumped back down onto his pillow. “Rocket? Something wrong?”
Rocket didn’t answer, but his soft tread came across the room and terminated with a leap onto the mattress, where he began to pad around and adjust the blankets as if he intended to settle down there.
Peter froze in place. He trusted his team with his life, but Rocket had once come close to breaking his wrist for touching the wrong spot on his back. Being at close proximity to him alone in a dark room was like dancing in a minefield. “The hell are you doing?” Peter hissed.
The pressure on the mattress from Rocket’s weight was now up at chest level, and he had just wrapped himself in a corner of the bedsheet. “Sleeping,” he hissed back. “Or, ya know, trying to.”
For some reason, neither of them seemed able to speak at a normal volume, even though they were the only ones there and both were obviously awake. “This is my bed,” Peter complained in a stage whisper. If he shifted his left arm at all, he was going to come into contact with Rocket’s shoulders, and probably lose his arm at the elbow.
“I know that. Don’t make it weird, Quill.”
“I’m the one making this weird?”
Rocket exhaled a light chuckle and fell silent. Peter held his rigid pose, wondering how to deal with this. He had assumed that after they had fallen asleep on the couch together, it was meant to become one of those “we shall never speak of this again” memories, not a trial run for a standing invitation. He knew his friend was going through a hard time and he wanted to help in any way he could, but it would be nice to get a hint on how to do that once in a while. At least when Rocket was violently enraged or sobbing his heart out, Peter could operate on instinct to calm him down. Instinct didn’t offer much guidance on what to do with Rocket when he was dozing contentedly.
It took another moment for Peter’s brain to register that he didn’t have to do anything. Dozing contentedly wasn’t a state of being that needed to be calmed down. The bed was big enough to accommodate a second person several times larger than Rocket, and had done so plenty of times before.
Carefully Peter turned onto his side. The outline of Rocket’s ears was just barely visible in the darkness, but his earthy scent and warm temperature made his presence a solid reality. Peter listened to the even rhythm of his breathing until his own lungs and heart slowed down to match, subconsciously absorbing the sense of peace and safety that his churning mind had been resisting so hard before the interruption. He was already nodding off. If Rocket could manage to sleep at night in spite of everything, he reasoned, maybe he could too.
His hand hovered briefly before he resigned himself to the potential consequences and let it wrap around Rocket’s chest. The only result was the sensation of a furry head tucking itself into the curve of his throat.
Terra diminished and vanished behind the Milano as it hurtled through the stars. Peter slept, undisturbed by the ship’s velocity. Terra was his home, and he was old enough to leave it. The Milano, full of his Guardians, was his home. The stars were his home.
Start at the beginning.
Read it on Archive of our Own.
Read it on Fanfiction.net.
In the notes on Ao3 I asked readers what they'd like to see me cover in future GotG fics. Here, I think I'll just do a general "request time" post soon, since if I'm ready to write more for this fandom I'm ready to write for any of them.
But if this story did give you any thoughts about what should come next, feel free to talk about them here! It's been great, guys. Thanks so much for reading.