Ain't No Mountain High Enough

I kept him ‘cause he’s small and fits into spaces others can’t. Good for thievin'.

It’s the truth because Peter fits perfectly in that gaping black hole inside Yondu’s chest. Too bad he’s too much of a fucking coward to admit it.

(Post GotG Vol. 2 Fix-it.)

http://archiveofourown.org/works/10860663/chapters/24120342

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2. Peter

The first night is pure torture.

Peter’s skin burns with an imaginary itch. He’s restless, unable to take his eyes or hands off of the unconscious Ravager captain lying in sickbay. Peter doesn’t comprehend half of the shit Stakar Ogord says to him before departing with his wife, and it’s only after when Gamora tells him that the Arcturan had promised that the rest of the Ravager clan would safeguard their ship from the gold people until Yondu recovered.

“Peter,” Gamora puts her hand on his arm, her voice uncharacteristically gentle.

“I’m not leavin’ his side,” Peter insists stubbornly, never letting his eyes stray from Yondu’s ashen face.

“I know,” She says, and he hears the sharp drag of chair legs against the floor. “Here, sit. Kraglin and I’ll take care of things outside. You stay and watch over him, ok?”

Peter grunts. Gamora hesitates for a moment, then, to his surprise, she presses a gentle comforting kiss to his left temple. She’s gone before he has time to speak.

Despite his stubborn attempt to stay awake, Peter nods off.

When he finally stirs, he finds that he’d half-crawled onto Yondu’s cot, because Peter’s head is pillowed against his old man’s shoulder, a shining trail of drool gleaming wetly on the Ravager captain's leathers. He clears his throat and wipes it off hurriedly.

Someone giggles.

Shooting up so fast he cracks his neck, Peter blinks at the sight of Mantis, her pretty face scrubbed clean of dirt and wearing what looked like Gamora’s spare clothes, seated on the bio-bed. He frowns, about to demand why she’s here, but Mantis presses a thin finger to her lips and shakes her head at him. Peter watches dubiously as Mantis lays her other hand over Yondu’s sweaty brow and closes her eyes in concentration. Yondu relaxes under the touch, his scowl easing into something more serene.

“Wha-” Peter croaks hoarsely.

“I took away his nightmares,” She tells him with a beaming smile, and Peter thinks if she had a tail, it would be wagging at hyper speed.

“Oh, right. Uh, thanks Mantis.” Peter clears his throat, feeling a bit embarrassed about his overprotectiveness. He rubs a hand over his face and squeezes his eyes shut, trying to clear his sleep-muddled brain.

“He has had a hard life,” Mantis breaks the silence. Peter looks up to see her trace a fascinated finger over the smattering of light-blue scars across the right side of Yondu’s face.

“Yeah, he has, but he’s a tough old bastard,” Peter agrees, remembering what Rocket had told him about how Stakar had freed Yondu from the Kree, about how Yondu had been a battle slave for more than twenty years, and about how his parents had just sold him like a piece of meat.

“But there is still so much love,” Mantis breathes, her eyes transfixed on the still figure. Her fingers flutter to land over Yondu’s heart, antennas glowing a soft pale gold.

“In here,” she says, turning to Peter with those big soft doe eyes. They fill with moisture as she says, “for you.”

Peter feels his throat close at the words, the hot stinging burn behind his eyes he’d valiantly tried to suppress coming back with a vengeance. He blinks rapidly and breaks eye-contact.

“Not the sexual kind, I hope,” He jokes half-heartedly.

Mantis cocks her head to the side and seems to actually consider the idea seriously. Her silence is starting to freak Peter out for real when she finally speaks, “no, it’s the same kind of love Drax feels for his daughter.”

“It is so beautiful,” Mantis declares. Her eyelids flutter shut, a happy smile spreading across her face, “I have never seen anything more breathtaking. Here.”

She extends her hand to Peter. He hesitates, not sure whether he should take it. It seems such a private thing, Yondu’s most vulnerable secret laid out for everyone to see.

“It is for you, and no one else,” Mantis assures him, sensing his trepidation. Swallowing, Peter slips his fingers into her palm.

It feels a little bit like staring into the sun, like flying through space with his Walkman blasting at full volume, like when he’d first learned to fly his own ship, that initial euphoric liftoff still tingling in his belly. The memories that surface make Peter's head spin, and from within the chaos of flashing colors and emotion, he feels an overwhelming, fierce pride. Yondu’s pride, for him, for Peter.

He doesn’t realize he’s crying until Mantis breaks the contact to wipe the salty tears spilling from Peter’s eyes. He shudders, wrapping his fingers around her delicate wrist and holding on for dear life. When he looks up, she’s crying freely, too.

“Ego was not your father,” Mantis whispers, her fingers warm against Peter’s cheek.

“No, he wasn’t,” He agrees and closes his eyes.

 

 

“What do you have there?” Peter calls out to Gamora when she passes by the door sickbay with a basket of something clutched tightly to her chest the next morning.

“Yaro roots,” Gamora says, her lips lifting in a rare smile.

“They’re finally ripe?” Peter asks and her expression softens.

“Yeah, they are.”

 

 

On the third day, Kraglin pulls Peter out into the hallway. He’d been taking care of things on Stakar and the Ravager’s side and hadn't had time to pop into sickbay very often.

“Capt’n doin’ ok?” He asks gruffly.

“Yeah, he’s not feverish anymore. The monitor predicts he might even wake in a couple of days,” Peter says, stretching and wincing as his neck cracked. He’d taken to sleeping on one of the broken bio-bed that had, unfortunately, lacked a cushiony surface.

“Well, I just wanted to come by and give this to ya, Peter,” Kraglin pulls something from his pocket and hands it over, “took me a while to find it in all the mess, had to get your raccoon friend and the little tree to help out.”

“What is it?” Peter stares down at the shiny black thing with interest.

“It’s called a Zune. It’s what everybody’s listening to on Earth nowadays, ’s got 300 songs on it,” Kraglin explains, “Capt’n picked it up from a junker shop a while back. Cost us an arm and a leg, but he wanted to get ya somethin’ in case ya ever change your mind and came back.”

Peter slumps against the doorframe and whines, “are you guys secretly all teaming up to make me cry?”

Kraglin raises an eyebrow at him, “don’t know about no secret plot, but I did know he loved you like a son, Pete. Just don’t go telling ‘im I told you that, or he’s gonna toss me out of the airlock.”

“Yeah, ok, pinky-swear,” Peter gives him a watery smile. Kraglin rolls his eyes, but Peter catches him shaking his head and smiling to himself when he walks away.

Is it possible to die from being loved so much? Peter wonders to himself as he drops down to sit next to Yondu’s bio-bed. He lays his head against his old man’s shoulder and puts one of the earbuds in Yondu’s ear, cramming the other one in his own. Peter closes his eyes and allows the music to wash over them.

 

 

“What the-”

“I am Groot.”

“I was gone for like five seconds to take a freakin’ piss!”

“What’s wrong?” Gamora had rushed to Peter’s side at the sound of his distress. Drax’s heavy footfalls quickly follow.

“I am Groot.”

“Oh,” Gamora covers her smile with a hand.

“More like 'holy fuck’. Oww!”

“Don’t curse in front of the infant!”

“I step outside for one minute. I come back and Yondu’s covered in flowers and leaves like freakin’ Snow White in her glass coffin or some shit. Oww, quit pinching me, Gamora!”

“He says it’ll help with the healing process,” Rocket translates as Groot crawls over Yondu’s shoulder and settles himself against the Ravager captain’s cheek.

“I am Groot,” Groot mutters, his eyelids fluttering sleepily. The tiny tree yawns and Peter raises an eyebrow at Gamora when she coos at the nauseatingly adorable scene.

“Says he misses Yondu calling him ‘Twig.’”

“Quill is just jealous,” Drax decided to be the one to point out the obvious. “He does not wish to share his father with the rest of our family.”

“What?!” Peter groans, clutching at his head and gaping at the other Guardian. "You have got to be kidding me."

“I never kid," Drax deadpans.

 

 

Groot starts camping out in sickbay along with Peter, which in turn brings in Rocket, and Rocket never goes anywhere without an accompanying half-built bomb tucked somewhere on his person. So Peter’s not really surprised when he brings a toolbox and what looked like shiny silver metal parts along with him and makes a temporary bunker beneath one of the old broken bio-beds. Groot spends the majority of his time cuddling with Yondu in their flowery “love-nest”, bopping along with Peter to his new tunes, and pestering Rocket about his recent side project.

“It ain’t done yet, go play with Quill,” Rocket says every time and ushers Groot out from under the bio-bed.

“That’d better not be something that goes boom-boom, Rocket, or I’m gonna have Gamora bring out the spray bottle again,” Peter warns. Rocket’s reply is a haphazardly thrown wrench that nearly takes out Peter’s right eye.

Stakar and his wife come to visit, accompanied by an AI by the name of Mainframe who gushes at the sheer adorableness of baby Groot and helps him make a garland of bright pink and yellow flowers for Yondu. Peter exchanges a dark look with Rocket and tries not to gag too much at all the high-pitched squealing.

He hopes Yondu wakes soon because his manhood is in critical danger.

 

 

Peter finds out that Yondu had kept boxes of his old stuff on board when Gamora happens upon them in her quest to clean up the "disgusting pigsty, God, men are so gross.”

She has Drax bring them to the sickbay for Peter, who opens every single one with a reverence akin to unearthing the Holy Grail.

“Man, I forgot about this creepy-ass doll,” Peter laughs in delight. “Yondu picked it for me from this remote planet in the M32 Galaxy and none of us knew there was a Symbiote crashing inside the thing, and it tried to suffocate Horuz in his sleep. It was hilarious to watch.”

“You were a very disturbed child, Quill. If you were born into our tribe, the elders would've fed you to the pigs,” Drax concludes, a frown on his face. Mantis, who seems to have fused with him at the hip (they're inseparable nowadays), picks up the doll curiously and runs her fingers through the tangled hair. The rest of the Guardians seem to take that as permission to rifle through Peter’s old shit. Gamora slips a mood ring onto her finger while Rocket pulls disinterestedly on the string of an old yo-yo.

“Wow, I had so much cool crap growing up,” Peter sighs happily and places Yondu’s favorite little blue crystal frog next to him on the bio-bed. He pulls the folded picture of David Hasselhoff out of his breast pocket and peers down at the faded image through the pink star-shaped sunglasses perched upon the bridge of his nose. 

“I used to tell myself that David Hasselhoff was my dad,” He says, holding the picture out for Groot to see.

He laughs quietly, “what an idiot.”

 

 

“Why’d you go and turn his bio-bed into a funeral pyre?!” Stakar Ogord exclaims when he next drops by.

Peter turns and sees the flowers, various trinkets and toys, and the candles piled around Yondu like a solid wall and scratches his head.

“Uh,” He says stupidly.

 

 

Peter catches sight of Nebula five days after the Ego incident. She doesn’t say anything to him. Neither does Peter.

Later that night, Gamora walks into sickbay and drops down to sit next to him. They’re silent for a while, Peter’s music blasting between the two of them.

Then he prompts gently, “I saw your sister today.”

She hums absently, drumming her fingers on Peter’s elbow.

“She didn’t try to rip my head off,” Peter continues.

Gamora turns her dark gaze on him, “you said that day that sometimes the thing you’ve been looking for your whole life has been by your side all along.”

Peter swallows and tries not to let his eyes stray to the figure lying on the bio-bed, “Yeah?”

“Well, Nebula’s mine,” Gamora says quietly, “and I asked her to stay.”

Peter stares at her for a long moment before asking, “what'd she say?”

A rare and fiercely bright smile appears on Gamora’s face.

“She said yes.”

 

 

Peter’s not the first person there when Yondu wakes. It’s Groot who Yondu sees first.

“Twig?” He rasps hoarsely, “where the hell am I? Where’s m’boy?”

Peter, who’d been dozing on a nearby bed, snaps awake instantly and scrambles to his feet. Yondu’s confusion seem to melt away at the sight of him, and with his defenses down and his brain muddled with sleep, Peter’s old man smiles, not that mean blood-thirsty grin he gives when threatening to toss Peter’s skinny ass to his hungry men, but one of warm relief.

“Quill,” He breathes, whole body relaxing back onto the bio-bed.

Son, Peter hears.

Eyes stinging, he grins and takes the injured Ravager captain’s hand tightly in his own.

“Yondu.”

Dad.

 
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