Actions

Work Header

5 years is a long time

Chapter Text

BEFORE THE GARDEN

 

Ms. Danvers gently laid the Benataar down, its landing gear already deployed. Rogers ran up to get a man Nebula was helping down the ramp. This new weary man sported a piece of nanotech on his chest. The redhead who he spend a few minutes talking to yesterday ran up to this man and they locked in a warm embrace. They all walked back to the compound.

All except for Nebula, who his eyes fell back to. He looked at her, the terrans, then back to her. Rocket managed to walk over to the ship's steps and took a seat next to Nebula.

Her hand was on her knee, her real hand, and right now he needed something real. He places his hand over the back of hers, she flips her's over and takes his. He sighed.

"All of em'?"

"Yes."

"Oh, Neb... How?-"

"I-", Nebula's eyes felt watery. She fought the tears back, "-I do not wish to talk about it, Fox."

"..."

After a minute of silence, Rocket falls to his knees on the next step below and just breaks down, crying loudly.

Still bawling his eyes out he turns and grips Nebula's pants to keep himself steady. She looks away.

"Please, Neb. Please, you gotta tell me!" His eyes are pleading, "Pleasepleasepleaseplease, please, Nebula, I mean it, don't hide stuff from me! I can take it!"

She looks to him from the side, closes her eyes, and gives in.

"Fine."

Rocket stands up, tears still falling. He gets next to Nebula again and lets her start.

"Well?!"

"It all started a few months after I left you all last. I had snuck aboard Thanos' command ship and was about to kill him where he stood, but he quickly disarmed me and captured me. I was his prisoner for the next year, taken apart piece by piece. He scoured my memories, tortured me for more unrecorded information. All this happened until he got Gamora from Knowhere. He brought her along and used my suffering to make her reveal the location of the Soul Stone. It turned out that later on, when I escaped and made it to Titan..." She took a second and gulped.

"Where he had the Stone, but my sister was nowhere. Stark and his son nearly had the glove off, but I had to open my hideous mouth and tell Quill of my suspicions. He went crazy. Thanos awoke, threw a moon at us, fought a wizard, stabbed Stark, and got another stone. Minutes later, the rest of your friends, the wizard, and Stark's child were all gone."

A wet drop of something fell from her left optic unit. She stayed still.

"If Thanos had just killed me on Tita-"

"Neb."

"What?", she asked in a harsh tone, which Rocket looked unfazed by.

"Don't you dare talk like that, don't! Like you want to get hurt, like you want to be dead. C-cause you're all I've got!", Rocket says as he jumps on Nebula, wrapping her up in as much a hug as his small arms could give her, he's still consumed by crying, "I can't lose you too. Please..."

Nebula holds back more tears, she puts both her arms around Rocket's small body and presses him to her.

 

AT THE GARDEN

 

The Avengers have Thanos pinned. Thor quickly flies in and seperates the arm which carries the universal weapon from the mad Titan's body. The rest of the team walks inside Thanos' hut. Rocket gets to the glove, as it lays upside down o the floor, and turns it over.

The Stones are gone.

Rocket looks up at Steve in terror. Steve looks down at the empty glove, then back to Thanos.

Thanos grunts in pain.

"Where are they?", Rogers asks, ignoring him.

"Answer the question.", Carol threatens as she tightens her grip on the Titan's neck.

Rocket looks around, everyone is just as mortified as him.

"The universe required correction. After that, the Stones served no purpose, beyond temptation!"

Banner grew more frustrated.

"YOU MURDERED TRILLIONS!", Banner yells as he shoved Thanos back with the Hulkbuster, freeing him from the Avengers' grip.

"You should be gratefull.", Thanos counters.

"Where are the Stones?", Natasha asks. She's running out of time and patience.

"Gone. Reduced to ash."

"You used them two days ago!", Bruce interjects.

"I used the Stones to destroy the Stones. It nearly killed me. But the work is done, it always will be.", Thanos takes a moment, "I am INEVITABLE."

"We have to tear this place apart, he-he has to be lying.", Rhodey frantically suggests to the team.

"My father is many things,-", all focus shifts to Nebula, "-but a lier is not one of them."

Her eyes lock with Thanos.

"Thank you daughter.", he says sincerely, "perhaps I treated you too harshly.-"

Thor immediately uses Stormbreaker to chop the head of the mad Titan off.

Everybody is startled. Nebula quickly gets rid of a tear for her father. He deserves this. Yet why of all the times in her life, why now did she feel grief and sadness?

Rocket is the first to speak up.

"Wha-what did you do?"

"I went for the head..."

Those are the last words anyone of them had said until they all got back to earth.

What could they say, Thanos just confirmed that they can never win now. All hope of bringing back those lost was gone.

Thor bid farewell to them all as he left to find what remains of his people. Carol took off into deep space to keep the universe's paranoia on a low scale. Banner left to live in solitude. Steve and Nat would live in the Avengers compound while Rhodey could cool things down with the world's governments and peoples. Stark and Potts left to take on farming. Now, it was just a blue cyborg and her enhanced raccoon. They're sitting on the Benataar's steps again.

"Rocket...-"

That was a first, she never used his real name before.

"Yeah?"

"Can we go now? I no longer wish to be on this planet. I need to do something... anything. Anything but mourn right now."

At this, Rocket stands and puts his hand on her shoulder. She crosses one arm over her chest to reach his hand as she lowered her head.

"We can do that."

They get inside and make it to the bridge. They signal Nat that they're leaving.

"You two take care of yourselves. Remember, if you're in any trouble, just know that I'm always here."

"Will do." Rocket says.

The Benataar lifts off the ground and raises into the atmosphere. Nebula gives a fake cough to gain the rodent's attention.

"Yeah, what's up big blue?"

"I am going to go rest for now, I... need some time to think for myself."

"Sure, knock ya'self out. Oh, an' before you go, where to?"

"Xandar, Knowhere, and Contraxia are unavailable, two of them are destroyed, yet one will not take us in because they find us repulsive. Why don't you choose?", she ask as leaves the bridge.

"Huh."

Chapter Text

DEEP SPACE, BUT TO BE HONEST, ISN'T IT ALL?

 

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."

"No."

"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?

Chapter Text

WAKANDA, A YEAR AGO

 

Corvus gasped for air and sat up, last thing he remembers is being stabbed by the machine with his own glaive, lifted in the air, and being tossed aside. He looks around, there's the glaive. He stands and picks it up.

Expecting the battle to be still ongoing, he quickly turns around and gets in a fighting stance.

It's all quiet.

Nothing's happening.

The fields, the raised land he stood on, all empty. The damage is still there.

Did he do it? Did Thanos win?

Corvus decided he should look for his team before he travels to meet Thanos at the Garden.

 

PLAIN OL' DEEP SPACE, NOW

 

Nebula is more open now. Ever since the new year began, she decided that Rocket should get to know her better. She tells him her life story, kidnapped as a child, raised by Thanos, crazy sibling rivals, sieges, torture, and more torture.

One day out of the blue (pun intended) she asks:

"What was your beginning Rocket?"

"What, Neb?"

"How did you come to be?"

Rocket looks across the room to her. He's near the bridge, trying to improve communications range, while on the floor. She's on the opposite end of the ship looking through Rocket's zune. Yes, he got her into some of the songs, don't ask how. And yes, she considers the zune to no longer be Quill's possession.

"Uh, well...", he gets back to work, "I don't know all of it exactly. I remember bits and pieces of my old life before I became pike me. I can tell you I got where I started off by snoopin' where I shouldn't have. All I remember from that time is gettin' on a ship, and going along for the ride."

Nebula finds a piece of music she wants to hear, but she doesn't select it because she's still curious to hear what Rocket has to say.

She walks over to him and sits on the chair closest to him.

"So the beginning of my official memories then. I find myself in a lab, but something's wrong, I knew it. Next, my body is torn alart and constantly being reassembled, like they were trying to reverse engineer me. They eventually implant cybernetics to keep me breathin' to run tests. I learn through pain for a while so I can do all these things."

His hands shake.

"So one day I become smart enough to think of an escape. I do and I leave on the nearest ship. I spent the next year living like an animal. Soon, Groot finds me an' you know the rest."

"No, I do not."

"Well, I took up depressive drinking 'cause my liver burns through alcohol an' I can still get drunk, heh, still one of my favorite pastimes, if you can call it that. Later on, I discovered that I had a huge tab to pay, so I took up working. Businesses don't usually look for a being of my stature and physique, so I had to find another way to make some mulah'."

"I assume you took on bounty hunting? Gamora said that was your reason for being on Xandar when you were."

Rocket gave her a quick thumbs up.

"Yup. I eventually payed it back and got a real knack for killing. And yeah, joined the Guardians on several tales to astonish, nuff said."

"Ah."

"Anythin' else ya wanna know 'bout your's truly?"

"Yes, but it would be an uncomfortable question."

"Shoot."

"What?"

"Oh. No, it means go ahead with you're question."

"Hm.", she hummed in response, "Have you ever fallen in what certain beings call: love?"

Rocket paused his tinkering and lowers his head.

"..."

"?"

"Yeah. I don't wanna talk about it."

Nebula left the conversation there. He'll tell her if he ever feels like it. Before she can ask him separate questions, a call comes through on a screen to the side.

"What does it say?"

"It marks Vers as the caller."

"Vers... umm, yeah, Carol said that's her undercover Kree name. That's how she's been taking down Kree outposts without updated systems. Put her through."

Nebula taps the screen a few times and sees Danvers' face pop up, but her hair structure is shorter.

"Rocket, Nebula. I have a situation."

"Are you in need of assistance?", Nebula asks.

"Some, we're facing a new threat that can take Thanos' place. I believe Nebula knows him. Corvus Glaive."

"One of the elder brothers. He still breathes... Was the glaive broken when he attacked Earth?"

"When I was there with the other Avengers, I saw a golden staff thing to the side, it looked pretty intact.", Rocket says.

"He can't be killed as long as his weapon is together, it must either be broken in half or fully vaporized to not bring him back to the realm of the living. From what I did hear, all of Thanos' main four members were taken down. Stark killed the Maw en route to Titan. Rocket's friends said that the other three were taken down individually."

"Anyway.", Carol continues, "I heard that he's returned to gather Thanos' forces to eradicate the Earth."

"Why not call the other Avengers too?", the not-raccoon inquires.

"Because WE can handle this." Carol reassured them with confidence, "Meet me at these coordinates, we'll devise a plan and end this threat. Danvers out."

Her end of the call closes and a set of said coordinates pops on the display. Apparently the Sanctuary II hasn't even moved from where she last left it.

They get there a few hours later, Carol is already waiting on the nearest planetoid. When the get off the ramp, their greeted by her in a new colored suit. Red, Black, and Gold.

"So, plan time. Let's get to it. But first, wanna explain the new wardrobe?", Rocket asks.

"We'll, for the past three decades I've been sporting red and blue. Decided I should change it up. I got a hair cut and changed the good old colors. I'm Caprtain Marvel no more, say hello to Ms. Marvel."

"Yeah, but ain't that technically still the same name?"

"Sure, but I changed the title, so, still a semi-different name."

"Can we compare names and titles later?", Nebula asks.

"Sure."

"Sure, can you pull up the specs for the ship?", Carol responds.

Nebula does as asked and the three analyzed the schematics. It was decided that Rocket would take down the defenses, Carol would work on cutting the Chitauri hard-line, and Nebula (who knew the most of him) would take him off the board.

An hour later, they take off for the Sanctuary II. Rocket gets one of the airlocks open and the three take their separate paths.

Nebula notes that the internal vents are a definite NO for an escape. Too bad she's already in one. One overlooking Corvus on Thanos' repulsive throne. She accidentally bumps against something in it and she remembers that these things are sound respondent.

It takes less than a micro second before the vents come to life with scorching electricity. She screams in pain at the feel of the voltage spiking through her body.

Just then then, the vent opens from underneath her. She falls and is knocked unconscious by her impacting the spacious room floor far below.

 

THE INTERROGATION ROOM

 

Nebula awakens. It's the same damn room she was trapped in years ago. Where she would last see Gamora.

She takes a look around and sees Danvers to her right, floating just alongside her. Carol awakens not long after. They both notice spheres encasing her arms and legs, Nebula had no such things on her's, though her left arm was on a table to the side.

Before the two can assess anything else, the entrance opens ahead of them. Corvus walks in, glaive in his right hand, he's gripping Rocket tightly by the throat in the other, and has two chitauri guards following loose behind. Nebula's attention goes to Rocket, he's gasping for air and he weakly struggles to get the hand away.

Corvus lifts Rocket to eye level and throws the Guardian at the floor between Nebula and Carol. Rocket struggles to get back to his feet, arms shaking, but his arms give and he's heaving on the floor. It seems that he passes out from exhaustion.

He's also bleeding.

"I've been torturing him for 17 hours, resistant little thing. He didn't tell me what you were doing here.", Corvus begins.

"Oh, God. Rocket!-", Nebula says panicked.

"Quiet!", Corvus yells.

"You better start running. Because as soon as I'm out of these-", before Carol finishes, Corvus grips her face to halt her.

"Don't keep your hopes up, Kree. You don't seem as strong as you think."

"Last person who said that went flying."

"Yes, but I'm sure the last time, you didn't have Uru metal surrounding your hands.", Corvus says as he lets go, "I must admit, I'm suprised that you didn't make a sound until you were right on top of me. Now, why are you here, sister?", he asks, now referring to Nebula.

"We came here to finish what he started."

"Ah, the murder of the last of your family? I see. I woke up after the conflict on Earth ended. The dust was settled, my wound healed, and my weapon still intact. I get up and I think: I should find my family. I find my blood-brother, Cull, a splat of paste against the top of a shield, his face in the shape of a scream. Our eldest brother, Ebony, the one who asked Thanos to spare you and take you in, I find him cold and cracked in the vacuum of space, also screaming. And that is not the worst. Where do I find your elder sister, MY WIFE?-"

He stabs his glaive hard into the floor beside him as his voice gets shaky and a tear falls.

"-I find my beloved, my goddess, my everything, ALL OVER THE DAMN BATTLEFIELD!!! Blood and body parts. One part of her face had shown her eye widened in horror. Almost asking me: 'Where were you, dearest?' I was getting bested by a machine in the woods, that's where. I mean, I'll never know if she died screaming or with pride because we were all getting our asses kicked! And I was too late."

He places a hand on his chest for emphasis.

"I was too late. What does a male do? He puts his wife ahead of himself. But I didn't do that, I put the mission in focus instead. Speaking of missions, imagine my anger when I go to the Garden to find Thanos, the only one who could bring her back with the Time Stone, is on his floor, decapitated. Armless. Rotting. Imagine my fury."

Corvus looks at both women, of which, one, Nebula, felt sympathy for him. Slightly.

"And there goes my life, my entire reason for existance, gone, all of them. Did you know, when me and Proxima admitted our feelings for one another, we were terrified. Terrified of Thanos, brothers and sisters should never have affairs with each other. What suprised me even more was when he accepted us as a couple."

Corvus reminisces about that day.

" 'All I wish is for you two to be happy, nothing else brings me such joy as seeing those I consider my own to be content. You have my blessing, both of you...' he said. It made sense, none but my true brother were related by blood. Some years later he allows us to have a soul-union. He said that he had never been prouder of Proxima and I. You see, you and you friends got to return home, but me? I have nothing. You let them murder him, you betrayed him, sister! He would never betray us!"

"But that's where you're wrong! He did, and he did it right here in this room. You now stand where he stood! He threatened our Gamora with my pain to get the location of the Soul Stone from her. She gave it up to protect me. He leaves for Vormir with her. Later on I joined an assault on him on Titan. He was there with the Soul Stone, Gamora wasn't."

Corvus now stood face to face with Nebula.

"Where was she?"

"You fool, how do you think he got the Stone? He killed her and traded her soul for it. He even confirmed it himself. We found out later on that he used the Stones to destroy the Stones. He never loved us as his."

"No, but-but Gamora was his favorite, why do such a thing?", he asked while taking and uneasy step backwards.

"Because we were expendable to him. He needed soldiers, he got us, so he trained us to be his best. His generals. His servants. I thought my father an honest man. He was, but he only truly told few lies. One I saw last year. I decided maybe I would go to Zehoberei, give Gamora a proper funeral. Remember how Thanos said he only ended half the population? Well that was one of his lies. He decimated it, the planet's surface is uninhabitable, the crust is shattered. She was the last of her race, and he lied."

"He really did betray us all... Oh, my Go-"

"Thanks for distracting yourself!", Carol shouts and the Uru metal falls off in heated globs from her fists and feet.

"Wait!", Nebula yells, but it's too late. Carol just blasted Corvus' head off and shot the glaive. Carol blasts the two guards and the control panels to the side. Nebula falls to the ground and Carol hovers, her body glows.

"Get Rocket out, we've already wasted enough time. Go!", Danvers orders as she flies off to destroy the ship, sirens begin blaring.

Nebula gets off the ground and looks over Corvus' remains. She was about to convince him to surrender everything and come peacefully. Regardless of what's about to happen, she hopes that if that afterlife does exist (she's pretty sure it does now) that he'll be able to rest with his wife and brother.

Nebula rushed for Rocket and knelt down. She turns him over and picks him up, cradling him in her arms.

"N-n-n-neb? Oh, Neb... Wha-?", he passes out again. The ship starts rocking and she hears explosions in the background.

 

THE BENATAAR

 

So yeah, our main three survived.

What ended up happening was that after Carol hit the kill switch for the Chitauri and burned the Outriders to KFC, she accidentally burned through a few walls and ended up crashing the former Mad Titan's flagship on that nearby planetoid.

Carol soon took off and Nebula gave her elder brother a proper Black Order burial.

Nebula spent the rest of the year and the first few days of the next helping Rocket through mental and physical trauma from those 17 terrible hours.

Even though she still cared for her dead brother, she can never forgive him for this...

Chapter Text

DEEP SPACE, AS USUAL

 

So, yeah, that's that... What a time, huh? Rocket, now having 6 months of rehab scratched off his bucket list, was just tired.

Nebula and him had recently had to do some heavy lifting on some backwater planet, thankfully, that race was generous enough when it came to payment.

Now, he walked onboard his shared living space and dragged his feet to his room. These past few months have been the same as anyone would expect. Nebula barely talks, they work, they eat, and they sleep.

As soon as he got to his bed he collapsed. He took off his blue vest and tossed it somewhere to the side. He pulled the covers over himself to be wrapped in a ball.

He lets rest take him.

Rocket looks around, he's somewhere he just can't recognize. No, he definitely recognizes it.

It's Knowhere.

His friends are all sitting at the same table as him. Groot, Drax, Quill, and Gamora are there, no sign of Mantis or Nebula. This must've been a memory because this was a week before Ego. Before Yondu's... ya know.

Rocket looks around his table. Quill is serving Gamora with flirtatious gestures, her rolling her eyes at his strange attempts at courting. Drax and baby Groot are arguing about some stupid thing. He felt content.

Strange, that's not how he really felt back then.

Back then, he was too afraid to open up to anyone, because it reminds him of that empty hole in his chest, a little bit of love would mean disaster for him, because he can't go through loss, he just can't. Just like Yondu said. They were more alike than anyone could see.

Were.

Then the unthinkable happens, Knowhere disappears around them, and they're all on some strange dark world, on a cliff with two spires, and a drop. Gamora runs toward Peter, shouting his name, asking what's happening, but a purple hand grabs her out of nowhere and tosses her off a cliff. Rocket tries to do something, but he's frozen in place, silent. He falls to his knees.

Next he's on Titan, a place Nebula took him to teach him more of her crazy "father". Mantis appears and she looks at Peter. She reaches out as her body starts dissipating to dust.

"Brother?-"

That's what she and the captain acted towards each other on the Benataar. As siblings, made sense, both children of Ego, as they soon discovered. But now she took a step towards him, and collapsed into nothingness.

Drax ran to catch her, but she dissipates before he closes his arms around her. Drax's arms disappear, he looks to Quill.

"Where did she g-"

He vanishes too. Now Quill is left alone, he looks to the sky.

"F-", he doesn't finish his profanity before he too, disappears.

Tears fall from Rocket. That's probably not how their last moments were, but he's pretty sure his mind is probably accurate enough, knowing them. Finally, his on Earth, in Wakanda, several people already snapped away.

He doesn't want to see this.

"I am Groot...-", Rocket can't bear to listen to anything he said past that point. Everything around Rocket grows dark.

He curls up into a ball on the ground, and sobs as hard as he possibly can, screaming at the darkness around him, begging for forgiveness. His family walks toward him, he cries harder. They all stand around Rocket in a circle, staring down at the rodent.

"Why did you push us away again?", asked Quill.

"You are nothing but a coward.", Drax says harshly.

"Why didn't you come with us to Knowhere?", Gamora asks.

"You should be a dead thing.", declared Mantis.

"I am Groot!", Groot states, telling him what a failure he is.

Rocket cradles himself on his side. He can't take it.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I don't know how many times I have to-to-to say it -huff- b-b-b-b-but I really, really, really am! Please! I didn't mean to hurt you all!", he pleas.

"But you did!", Drax shouts, giving him a kick to the back.

Soon the rest to the Guardians join in, bashing the small creature with their feet. This continues for minutes on end, all of them laughing as they do, but it eventually stops.

"P-Please! Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease! I didn't mean it. Please..."

Rocket's eyes fly open. He's breathing hard. He places his hand on his forehead and drags it down his snout. Just a dream.

Rocket slides out of his bed, he looks around and places on some pants. He makes his way to his cabin enterance and exits his living space. He walks to Gamora's and knocks on the door.

"You may enter."

He opens the door. Nebula is sitting in an indecent state on the floor, not that he didn't mind, but he respects her privacy. She's in a meditative position, her body concealed in darkness. Rocket scratches the back of his neck.

"Am I interrupting somethin'?", Rocket asked her.

"Yes, give me a few minutes to get decent, I see you have not grown accustomed to my behavioural habits, despite our shared time."

" 'kay, I'll leave for a sec."

He steps outside, a minute later she is in a shirt and a piece of lower undergarments. She looks like Sigourney Weaver as Ripley from Alien. Ya know, the minor clothes she wears before she kills the monster. But blue, bald, and beautiful. He leaves that last part out for the sake of his embarrassment. She lets him in her room once more and he sits on her bed.

Sigourney Weaver Neb leans against the wall next to it with her arms crossed.

"Why are you here? Does it have anything to do with the amount of whimpers and crying I heard?"

"Kinda, see I had a different sleep than I mostly do. I had a dream, see this is outta the norm for me 'cause I don't dream, not since Thanos. Not one. But now, I don't know why its starting up. Maybe its the guilt, maybe regret. Shoulda, woulda, coulda, right?"

"What happened?", she asked as she sat down next to him.

"Everyone but you was there. Thanos kills Gamora,", Nebula twitches at her sister's name, "She dies screaming. Back on Titan and Terra, the Guardians disappear all confused. Then I cry in-in a ball. The others walk up to me and start kicking while placing some blame."

Nebula puts her hand over his little paw.

"I mean, I know it ain't real, but it felt like it. An' the worst part is, I felt like I deserved it. That all the stuff they were shoutin' at me was true. I keep thinkin', it should've been me, but then that means someone else would have to lose a family in my place, and I don't want anyone to go through this. Not anymore. It just ain't fair."

Nebula brings him in for a momentary hug then she separates them and looks him in the eye.

"Rocket, the one thing life has taught me about its fairness is that it hardly ever is. It deals you one shit hand after another. And they never stop being dealt, even if there is something positive to take away, there will always be a negative as well. We must be able to tell them apart. Heh. I know it is difficult sometimes, but we find a way to go on."

Rocket doesn't think he's ever heard her chuckle before.

"I stay because of you, Rocket. I will be honest, up until I saw you on Terra when I delivered Stark, I always thought of you as a nuisance. But I realized sooner that you were all I had left. You said the same to me.i thought about leaving several times, when it got hard, but you needed someone. And I could not just leave you behind. I had been doing that all of my life, leaving those I care for behind, perhaps I might see them again, but it was after those departures that terrible things would happen."

"I stay because its my job, and that same reason you gave too. I left my family because I wanted to go on some magic quest. Look where that got me."

Nebula lowers her head, Rocket does the same. Their foreheads touch and they stay like this for a while, holding each other and connected by experiences. Soon Nebula feels his pulse lower, so she tilts his head up, he's asleep.

She makes what would appear to be a small smile for her furry friend and lays him down on her bed, over the sheets. She doesn't need to feeli like she's laying on a colony of ants. After a while she decides to sit back down and stroke his fur along his back, she drags her hand from the spot between his ears to the tip of his tail, it seems to relax him. She makes a mental note.

Soon, Rocket sits up and stretches. He notices Nebula move her hand away from him.

"Wha' di' I do?", he slurs out, barely awake.

"You had fallen into sleep on me, I simply had lain you down."

Then what're you doin' with that?", he asks, kind-of pointing at her hand. Be blinks a few times to adjust to the light.

She doesn't respond, she only looks away, her blush purple instead of red, due to blue skin.

"Neb?", he asks again.

"I was petting you along your back to ease your resting. I assume in this short period of time, that you had no unpleasant dreams?"

"No. Thanks then. I'm gonna go now, see ya."

He gets off her bunk and walks to her door. He opens it, then he leaves. Nebula is left alone again. Again. She enjoyed spending this time with him, even if he was mostly unconscious.

Another week passes before they are both relaxed. Recently Natasha checked in on them, they and Danvers informed them of the Santuary situation. Nat told them on how things were still slpwly progressing on Earth, and again, should they ever need help, call. She also gave the Guardians and Danvers access information to Earth streaming services, so neither party would get bored.

Now, Rocket was refueling and restocking the Benataar. Carol just happened to be passing through, so she decided to meet up with them, give them the current galactic rundown. But as stated before, Rocket is patching things up for the next few months of their lives. Now it's just the two space girls, just taking a stroll in a clearing, on a strange jungle-ish planet.

Carol places her arms behinds her own back and clasps one wrist while walking, there is no change on how Nebula walks though.

"What is new in the universe, with all of you system hopping now?", Nebula asked.

"Oh, it's going well. New Empires are rising as we speak. Lucky for us, the Kree Empire tanked in the leadership department post-Thanos, sad news is, the Nova are down too, no universal police force, it's becoming more lawless. Three main factions, all at war to fill in that galactic power vacuum. The Spartax, the Badoon, and the Brood. See, the Spartax are like the Kree. It's kind of a dictatorship, their king, J'son, is basically becoming Stalin.-"

Nebula halts her for a second.

"Who is Stalin?"

"Guy from Earth, leader of communism, harsh dictator, the kind of guy who erases all trases of you and discredited you. And by erase, I mean erase. This J'son guy has a funny way of making all his competition and unloyals disappear, like Stalin."

"What are the Badoon?"

"A bunch of jerks who look like skrulls, but have a certain reptilian resemblance to lizards. They also have this thing called the brotherhood and sisterhood, so there's in-fighting."

"Which may lead to their demise, what of this Brood?"

"Basically a cockroach with a face from a character in Robots."

"Must I even ask?"

Carol puts a hand on Nebula's shoulder, then she pats it a few times.

"Nah."

Danvers is quiet for a while, and then she says:

"So, you and Rocket, it's cute..."

"Wait. What?"

Carol rolls her eyes and sticks out her tongue.

"I've seen you two."

"Doing what?"

"The way he looks at you, and the way you secretly look back when he doesn't see. There is something obviously going on."

"No, no there isn't. We may care for each other, but that does not make it a relationship!", Nebula fires back, taking a step forward.

"Hey, its okay. Just girl talk, besides, I'm no stranger to relationships.", Carol said, crossing her arms, "Don't know if you've seen, but I and Rhodes are an item, have been for a while. All it took was 3 weeks secretly on Earth, and he had me hooked. Now, you can be honest to me, woman to woman, how do you feel about Rocket?"

Nebula swallows her pride, she can't believe she's really gonna say it.

"I think that I have found the same thing my sister, Gamora, found in Quill, but I find in it Rocket. I feel as though I care for him more than I tell him. I hate it when he punishes himself, I feel a sadness when he is down, and I feel worried when he is harmed. I feel like holding or just touching him whenever he is around. I find it unpleasant when he is gone. I wish I and him could be more than friends, and I also have the strange want to be...-"

Neb looks around, her flustering clear as day.

"-...intimate."

"Don't mean to be weird here, but how would being intimate work? I mean, look, he is a cybernetically enhanced raccoon, and you're a blue cyborg with a completely different biology, so how...? Reproduction is obviously off the table, what would that look li-"

"That is not what I meant by intimate. We would hopefully get to sexual needs an actions, but we would not go as far as you are implying. Even if we got to a point around that, that's where it would stop."

Nebula

Chapter Text

I have spent 8 days working on finishing the most recent chapter, I had it saved, I copied it, I was about to publish it today with my phone, I had just about run out of space actually and I was fuckin' proud of it, and guess what happens?

It gets erased, all that hard work for nothing.

In short, both women would have returned to the ship, Carol would have told Rocket about bounty hunters after her. I'd go through a few more days if their awkward interactions before they revealed their feeling for each other, tender nsfw things would happen, they'd spend a few more days in each other's comfort and Neb would check up on Nat, Rhodey would say hello to Carol (love implications), the group would've convened with Kraglin after finding out he was alive, Rocket and Kraglin would've been angry at each other, both being interested with Neb, but bounty hunters would arrive, their leader being Big Angry(black order comic antagonist from 2019), a big escape and the afterword of it.

I would've skipped to year five in the following chapter beginning with the call from Nat in Endgame where they all reconvene for the time heist, It would've been 2 parts, one dedicated to each of they stories

The rest of the book would be this love story along with a retelling of 2013's Guardians of the Galaxy comic story line along with Starlord trying to win back Gamora, but ultimately she'd fall for Drax and eventually end up with Thor Lebowski (who would get back in shape). The X men would be a thing and Quill would fall in love with a 21 year old Kitty Pride. Maybe we'd eventually get to a part where she'd be the Star Lord.

Anyway, gonna return to other fics, been a boast and a half, love y'all 3,000.

Toodles!