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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3. Rocket

Yondu’s sitting at the console alone one night when the rodent shuffles in and tosses a black bundle at him.

“What’s this?” He half-expects it to be a turd after what his kid had told him about Rocket’s sense of humor, but he unwraps it to reveal a sleek silver Yaka arrow, his old one to be precise, unbroken and whole.

“Thought you might like it back,” The rodent shrugs one furry shoulder casually. He avoids Yondu’s gaze, ears flattened to his skull in discomfort. “I took the time to add a few kickass modifications while you were out, Sleepin’ Beauty. No need to thank me.”

“Aww, I’m touched, boy,” Yondu croons, baring his crooked teeth in a sarcastic grin as Rocket’s hackles rise out of sheer habit, “got an actual tear in me glass eye.”

“Shaddap, ya old wrinkly cunt,” Rocket mutters without much heat, pulling himself up to sit on the back of Yondu’s chair, his sharp little clawed feet almost brushing the Ravager captain’s left shoulder when he settles. He jerks a paw at the little shiny trinkets lining Yondu’s chair arm, “what’s with the stupid toys anyway?”

Yondu chuckles and bops one of the figurines on the head. Rocket rolls his eyes at the bobble-head and mutters something rude under his breath. Yondu ignores him.

“When Quill was still a wee lil’ boy, he used to sit on my knee while I was commandin’ the crew. His favorite time of the day,” Yondu smacks a hand against his open thigh, grinning at the memory, “kid squirmed like a space eel, couldn’t hold still if his life depended on it, with those sharp little elbows and knees. Kept nailin’ me in the family jewels, so I started slippin' ‘im things from my pocket to play with, and-”

“-as time went on, you bought him actual toys,” Rocket finishes for him quietly.

“Well, not so much bought as nicked from various places and persons,” Yondu confesses, scratching absently at his crotch. This statement makes the rodent shake his head with a sharp laugh.

They fall silent for a while, gazing at the vast open space outside the ship.

“I didn’t rescue Quill because I wanted to prove I was better than him,” Rocket says suddenly. Then, after an uncomfortable, fidgety pause, he adds quietly, “I didn’t fix your stupid arrow for that reason, either.”

“I know, boy,” Yondu replies and feels Rocket relax minutely, his soft fluffy tail settling tentatively against Yondu’s collar and the stiff defiance slowly leeching from his shoulders.

“What the fuck is a Sleepin’ Beauty anyway?” Yondu snorts, ruining the moment, “sounds like a pussy to me.”

“It’d be a fuckin’ accurate description, then,” Rocket kicks him in the neck, sounding relieved and borderline affectionate, “how the fuck should I know. Ask Quill.”

As if on cue, Yondu's idiot kid pops up out of nowhere, sees the two of them, points an accusatory finger at them both and says, “aww man, you let Rocket sit on your shoulder? That’s not fair, I’m your real son. I demand a spot on the Udonta throne!”

“Boy, I swear,” Yondu’s eyes widen in alarm at the sight of Peter’s obnoxious grin. He doesn’t have time to yell that Rocket’s not sitting on his shoulder or that Peter needs to get his goddamn eyes fixed. “Don’t you dare-”

Quill proceeds to park his fat ass eagerly atop Yondu’s unprotected crotch.

There's a deafening crack.

Son of a-

 

 

“Who broke the captain’s chair?” Kraglin asks incredulously when he comes down for his first shift the next morning.

Yondu growls and narrows his red eyes at Quill, who hums and bounces on the balls of his feet, a picture of youthful innocence despite the massive shiner on his face. Yondu had accidentally elbowed him in the face when all three of them had rolled gracelessly onto the floor. The rodent, buried in the wires beneath the console, yells something insulting about Quill’s weight, which sparks another long-winded argument that has Kraglin shooting puzzled looks at Yondu.

“Rat’s right, son, ya gettin’ pudgy ‘round the middle,” Yondu agrees, smirking when Peter sputters indignantly.

“You’re not supposed to play favorites, old man!”

Yondu swats at the back of Quill’s thick-ass head with an irritated hand. “I might reconsider if ya quit standin’ around and start doin’ somethin’ useful, boy!”

He hears a muffled snicker from underneath the console. Yondu rolls his eyes.

What a bunch of idiots. Every last one of them.

 

 

The modified arrow flies like a dream.

Yondu’s seriously considering asking the kid to join the Ravagers. Quill is clearly wasting his resources.

Rocket doesn’t just stop at the arrow. He’s tinkered with half of the ship under the excuse of boredom, but more than once, Yondu's caught him whistling along to the loud shit Peter blasts over their broadcast systems while he worked. He decides not to mention it since their new engine upgrade cuts the Ravager ship's jump time to half its original.

 

 

“It’s your lucky day, blue,” Rocket invites himself and Groot into Yondu’s quarters without knocking one evening after the chair incident.

“Why’s that, rat?” The Ravager captain asks without glancing up as he flipping through the current intergalactic bounty list on his tablet, a tumbler of Krylorian wine next to him. The little tree scrambles onto Yondu’s bed and makes a beeline for his underwear drawer. Again.

“You can stop wearing your old prototype now.” Yondu looks up when the rodent sets the object down by his elbow with a loud clunk.

“What the-” Yondu’s eyes widen.

“Surprise, surprise,” Rocket smirks, sounding mighty proud of himself, “you can find literally anything on the Nova Net, including age-old Centaurian info on how to make a fin implant.”

He sets the tablet aside and unwraps the fin. It’s a hell lot flashier than what Yondu’s used to, a vivid blood-red with a dark metallic sheen to it.

“This is one fine upgrade,” He says, impressed at the craftsmanship. His parents had sold him off to the Kree before he’d been old enough to learn much about his own culture, but even Yondu can tell it’s a pretty decent fin.

“You bet your dimpled blue ass it is,” Rocket bares his canines in a sharp grin as he hops onto the unoccupied stool, “used Astran metal for the outer coating like the arrow. It’s virtually indestructible now. So, you’re fuckin' welcome.”

"Damn, boy,” Yondu whistles, “that stuff costs ten thousand units per greg.”

“Yeah, well, somebody somewhere owed me a favor,” Rocket mutters, avoiding Yondu’s eyes.

“Ya always this generous to every bastard ya meet, or is it just me?” He smirks, reclining in his seat.

“Don’t kid yourself, old man,” Rocket folds his arms over his chest, his posture defensive, “I did it ‘cause Quill’s fuckin’ hideous when he cries.”

Yondu cackles. He pours a glass of the shimmery gray alcohol for Rocket, “I'll drink to that, boy.”

Groot pops out of Yondu’s underwear drawer. “I am Groot.”

“What’s that, Twig?”

Rocket finishes his drink and hops off the stool. “He says you need to do laundry soon, you’re running low on fresh undies.”

Yondu laughs so hard he knocks the tablet off the table.

“Come on, Groot,” The rodent beckons. As they’re walking out, he adds, “holler if you need me to help you with the replacement." 

Yondu wipes his mouth on his sleeve and calls out, “hey, rat.”

Rocket pauses at the door. “What?”

“Since we’re doin’ a fuckin’ gift exchange,” Yondu fishes out the set of Ravager leathers he’d had the ship's tailor make and throws them at the rodent.

Rocket’s wearing the Ravager garb the next morning. Yondu ignores Kraglin’s double-take and smirks.

“’S a bit tight around the crotch,” The rodent announces blandly. Quill chokes on his breakfast.

Yondu throws his head back and laughs.

 

 

Yondu forgets about the new fin on his head until he goes barhopping with Stakar and his old crew for the first time since forever. His kid tags along, dispersing into the crowded bar along with his weird little Guardian friends as soon as they set foot inside. Yondu’s talking to Stakar's first-mate Martinex when the bartender, an orange-skinned Mobian, sets a drink down in front of him.

“Courtesy of the gentleman over there,” The bartender says, indicating a figure seated across the bar. It’s another Centaurian, and Yondu’s a bit taken aback. There aren’t many of his kind left and certainly not this far out in the Andromeda galaxy. Mainframe giggles and Stakar raises an amused eyebrow at Yondu, who ignore the drink and goes back to his conversation.

Quill, disgustingly sweaty and out of breath, reappears two hours later, his grin morphing into a frown when he catches sight of the rot-gut Yondu’s chugging. To the Ravager captain’s horror, the boy starts lecturing him on his health of all things. Stakar, who’s watching with a glimmer of laughter in his dark eyes, suggests, “it's way past your bedtime, perhaps you should listen to Quill and retire for the night, old friend.”

Yondu feels his face heat up as his dumbass kid nods eagerly in agreement.

“Fuck you, Ogord,” He growls and stands in a rustle of leather. “I was gettin’ bored of this place anyway.”

They are heading out when a large hand snags Yondu’s forearm. He turns to find the Centaurian male who’d bought him the untouched drink grinning down at him.

“Hey, beautiful,” the guy croons, “why don’t you ditch this crowd and come with me?”

Yondu looks down at the hand around his arm.

“Oh,” The perky little insect girl Peter’d picked up on Ego’s planet sways a little on her feet. “He is very aroused,” She tells Yondu, her huge eyes wide and cheeks flushed pink, “by you.”

“If you want to keep that limb, I suggest you let go of my old man right the fuck now,” Peter snarls before Yondu can open his mouth, his hand already going to the revolver strapped to his hip.

“Haven’t seen a fin this pretty in years,” The big blue Centaurian purrs, ignoring Peter and reaching up to run a finger over the ridged implant on Yondu’s head.

“Peter, don’t-” Gamora tries to say.

“Oh, you are so dead, princess.” Jerking his arm out of her hold, Peter pounces.

“Bar fight!” Drax roars happily, pulling two huge knives out of nowhere.

In the midst of the chaos, Yondu manages to catch sight of Stakar and his old team. The other Ravager captains are bent over at their table, clutching their stomachs and crying with laughter.

Ah, Hell. 

 

 

“What were you thinking, Rocket?!”

“How the fuck would I know the stupid fin was something sexual, Quill?! He didn’t even know!”

“Of course he didn’t know! He got sold into slavery when he was a freakin' baby!”

“Well, excuse me for trying to do something good for once, you overprotective asshole!”

“I got every right to look out for my old man!”

“What if your old man wanted to tap that, huh? You ever paused to consider that, ya overgrown cockblocker?”

“Guh...I think I’m going to be sick.”

“You better not puke on me, Quill, or it’s not going to be Drax’s colossal turd under your pillow, it’s gonna be down your goddamn throat!”

“NOT HELPING, ROCKET!”

“That’s one more place we’re permanently banned from,” Gamora sighs, massaging her aching temple. She’s still surprised that Yondu hadn’t tossed Peter out of the airlock when they’d tumbled aboard the Ravager mothership, bloodied, bruised and yelling at the top of their lungs.

“I am Groot,” Groot says quietly.

“Boys are idiots,” Gamora agrees.

   
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