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5 years is a long time

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It's been days since Rocket and Nebula left Earth, and he hasn't seen her since. Sometimes he'll hear her in a separate room, maybe he'll hear her wandering around the ship, he'll see evidence that she's still alive, or maybe he'll just miss her.

Regardless, he recognizes that she needs space, and not the literal vacuum kind, but he just needs to keep his distance.

Some nights, Rocket doesn't sleep, or if he does, it's from the exhaustion of him crying in silence. He regrets so much.

He regrets calling his family morons.

He regrets leaving them to join up with a stranger, who had ended taking him and Groot on an epic quest, but none the less, he would trade all that just to spend time, those lost hours, with his family.

But now he wouldn't. He couldn't.

Thanos said it, he was inevitable. If it wasn't that purple nutsack-chinned asshole, then somebody else would have eventually done the same.

If only they had arrived two days sooner...

It's now been a good month and a half of random flying, still no sight of Nebula, only noises. It all becomes too familiar until one day, he hears something wrong. His ears perk up and he unlatches himself from his seat.

The raccoon hops off of the control chair and walks to Gamora's room.

He tries the small screen on the side of the door, but it won't open. He knocks his knuckles against the metal door a few times.

"Neb, you in there?"

No response. He figured. He turns away. But immediately looks back when he gears fizzing and a glitching sound. Rocket bangs against the door.

"Yo, somethin' wrong?"


He sighs.

"Alright then, I'm coming in!"

He looks down at his tool belt and reaches for his screwdriver, upon lifting the tool from it's pouch, he hears another loud systematic crashing noise. Rocket flips the screwdriver and jams it into the locking panel, the door slides to the side and Rocket removes the tool.

"Eh, I can fix it later."

He looks forward to Nebula, but she's on the ground, glitching hard, eye separated, hand disassembled, leg lying to the side, and electricity bouncing around her body, it looks too painful for her. She's spasming all over.

"Oh, Neb, what happened?!", Rocket said as he rushed to her side, trying to keep her from falling apart. He pushed her eye back into place and quickly plugged a small box into the back of her head. It stopped the electricity and spasms. Nebula lets the air rush into what she assumes is her lungs before she answers.

"Thanos -zzzzzzzzt- damaged me weeks ago,", she starts, "didn't have me reassembled -zzt- prop -zzzt- prop -zzzzzzt- properly.", she says, trying to get on her hands and knees, she fails and falls back down. With Rocket's assistance, she rolls onto her side and then eventually to her back.

Rocket has an idea, but it embarrasses him.

"Y-ya know, I can take a look. I can do a system check and reassemble you myself."


"I... I just want to help."

"I do not need it."

Rocket rolls his eyes.

"Look at you Neb, if I don't do it now, you be offline within the week."

"And why is that so bad?"

"Look Neb, it's not just your systems, you're not talking, you're not eating, I mean, come on. Ya' gotta help me out here."

"You really do care."

"Of course I do, why wouldn't I, you're my only family left. Least I can do is help you. Lord knows I couldn't help my family when I had the chance to."

"Say I let you repair me, what next?"

"When we were waiting for you and Stark back on earth, Nat showed me an Earth television series called Cowboy somethin'-"

"The series was called 'Cowboy something'?", she raises her brow.

"No, the show isn't called Cowboy something, I just forgot the last word in its title. Besides the point, anyway, the main guy once said 'Whatever happens, happens.' So yeah, to answer you question, whatev'a happens, will happen. I don't know."

"That is a strange analogy. Fine, but understand that I don't want you trying anything weird, Rocket. I do not to to reawaken missing a finger or an eye..."

"Okay then, first we gotta get you to the main table. Wait for a second."

Soon Nebula was laying flat on the table. Rocket's toolbox was nearby and he grabbed some wires and connected her to the Benataar's mainframe.

"Okay, so I'm just gonna shut you down, fix ya', and get you up and running good as new."

Nebula nods. Rocket puts a fuzzy little hand on her shoulder before he uses a screen to turn Nebula's systems off.

It's almost instantaneous for her, but she's online again. Rocket walks away from her and sits in a chair next to the table. He covers his eyes and lowers his head. Nebula props herself up on her elbows. She looks at him in confusion.

"What is it?"

"I'm sorry..."

"For what?"

"I've seen them all, I'm so sorry for what he did you... I didn't know there could be that many."

"The scars?"

Rocket nods.

"Sorry for lookin' at your body too, I know it's an invasion of privacy, had to reassemble you piece by piece. Asshat really did a number on ya."

"It does not matter, if you find my body repulsive due to all the cybernetics, I get-"

"No no no, I mean you got a beautiful body, I'm just saying sorry for seein' it. Uh, yeah."

Nebula was almost flustered. He really thought she was beautiful? Why would a rodent have such thoughts? What is happening?

"It is fine. How are things progressing?", she says, returning to her normal state of always-semi-angry.

"Ahem, all systems are functional, and I, uh, got you a new hand too, so that should serve ya well.", Rocket says, scratching his neck.

Nebula fully sits up and gets off the table. She grabs her wrist with her normal hand and moves the opposite around, testing the new filanges.

"I would like to thank you."

"Um, sure. You're welcome, I guess."

Nebula walks away. When she's out of sight she looks back at Rocket. He's still sitting there, only his arms are folded and his head rests on them.

"Stupid. Shouldn't have made it awkward...", he said as he sighed.

Another few months pass, Rocket always has the stereo on, always set with the volume way up, and he was always surrounded by his friend's, no, family's belongings. Groot's entertainment device, a spare knife from Drax, Gamora's reclaimed sword, and Quill's new unfinished helmet. He would cling to them and cry himself to sleep.

This routine was getting irritating, but she figured that it was his way of mourning, and she had eventually respected that. Her's was surely more concerning than his. Each night, she would take out her blaster and contemplate joining her sister in death. All it would take is the pull of a trigger.

But she refused it for two reasons only.

One, because if there is some afterlife, Gamora would probably ruin her eternal rest talking about how stupid her decision was.

Second, because Rocket would be all alone. He would probably do something irrational and that would all be on her. She couldn't bear knowing that he harmed himself over her decision. He's been through enough.

Besides, the wait to join her sister won't take that long on the scale of eternity. She would just have to keep living for Gamora, and her new friend.

Friend. Huh, it's been a while since she had friends, any really.

Another few months go by in an instant. The only thing that's new is that Nebula eats with Rocket now. Usually the only words used by each other are: "Good morning, Thanks/Thank you, Hey, Rest well, and Goodnight/Night."

You get the picture.


At least that's some improvement, right?