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Tiny Terran

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Hallifax S’Tarnay watched the battle-worn blue hands grasp the sides of her captain’s head, as he snarled in frustration.  Two hours, the screams had bounced off the metal walls of the ship’s interior, and she could see the man was about ready to pop a blood vessel.

“Tha’ boy don’t cease his damn shoutin’ Imma put ma arrow thru ‘im.”

Halli, scoffed lightly as she picked at the dirt under her claws with her favourite knife, “Ya just abducted a eight year old boy from tha only home he ever known Cap’n, course he gonna scream bloody murder.”

Yondu turned his glare up a notch as he levelled her with it, “I ask you girl?”

Halli sighed deeply, unperturbed by her captain’s murderous gaze, “Nah, Cap’n.”

Yondu’s first mate scratched his bearded chin, either unfazed or immune to the screams, “Question sir?”

The captain ceased his wild pacing and threw himself into the final chair at the table, “Spit it out Krags.”

“How you gunna explain to tha crew we ain’t gettin’ no paycheck fer our trouble?”

Ever the calm, sensible one.  That’s what made Kraglin such an asset to the crew.  Halli, was woman enough to admit it, even if the captain wasn’t.

An irritable exhale left his throat, “Ain’t got tha’ far.  I’ll figure somement out.” He scrubbed his eyes tiredly, “All I knows is, I ain’t lettin’ tha’ bastard kill another kid.  Ain’t right.”

Halli scratched behind a pointed ear, “Could train ‘im Cap’n.  He’s small, quick, could get ta places we ain’t able to. Could make fer a good distraction too.”

His fist hit the table with a force that made the leather pouch in front of Halli tip, and a collection of thumb-nail sized metal balls roll out.  A quick series of clicks from her tongue had them rolling back in, she collected the bag calmly and refastened it to her belt.

Yondu snarled, “Again, I ask chu girl?”

Halli replaced her knife in its holster on her thigh, “Nah Cap’n. Just thinkin’ out loud.”

Kraglin raised a scruffy eyebrow, “Not a bad idea sir.”

The Centaurian gave them both an exasperated look, “Ya’ll gangin’ up on me now?”

His first mate held up his hands innocently, “Just sayin’ sir.”

Red eyes flicked quickly between the blue and gold sets, “Ya both mighty mouthy today.”  There was a pause before he glared at the woman next to him, “Halli! Go talk ta tha boy, get ‘im ta stop screamin’ at least.”

She raised a brow sceptically, “Me Cap’n? Dun think my ugly mug is gunna calm ‘im none.”

The blood vessel at Yondu’s temple rose to the surface of his skin as he ground his teeth, “Ya half Terran ain’t ya?”

Halli blinked her reptilian eyes, the golden colour shimmering under her second eyelids.  Scoffing, she gave her captain a crooked smirk, “Not sure I can convince ‘im o’ tha’.”

Yondu’s patience for her lip had clearly worn thin as the room was illuminated in a soft red glow, that would be soothing if she wasn’t aware of what always came next.  The Centaurian pursed his lips and she shot out of her chair like someone lit a fire under her.

“Read ya loud ‘n’ clear boss, ain’t no need fer that.”

She felt the mean smirk of victory that followed her out.

“Ya really oughta keep yer mouth shut sometimes girl.” Kraglin murmured to her as she passed.

A series of clicks from her tongue and three of the metal balls at her hip flew out of the pouch and bounced in quick succession off the back of the Hraxian’s head.

“Same could be said fer you Kraggles!”

She smirked as he treated her to a string of colourful curses.  Yondu’s rumbling laughter followed her out.


Halli rapped her knuckles gently on the door, “Boy?”  The incoherent screaming continued. She sighed, “Cap’n’s loosin’ his mind wit’ all this screamin’, ya gotta stop.”  The only thing she achieved was making him scream louder, she heaved in an even deeper sigh, “I’m comin’ in, don’t throw nothin’ at me.”

The boy, all big wet rimmed eyes and snot covered face was cowering in the corner when she entered.  Halli winced attempting to make herself as unthreatening as possible.  Rather hard for a near seven-foot bipedal half-breed.

“Let me out.”

Halli shook her head, “Can’t be doin’ that ‘til ya stop tha’ racket.”

The boy whimpered pathetically, and Halli’s cold-blooded heart broke.

“I wanna go home.”

She folded her legs up underneath her, coming down to his level, “Yer Momma’s gone boy, ain’t nothin’ left on Terra for ya.”

He sniffled loudly, wiping more snot on his sleeve.  Halli’s nose crinkled up, she’d forgotten how much Terrans leaked.

“What are you going to do to me?”

She sighed, a lot of bad things could happen to a little brat like him on this ship, and apparently this was now her problem, at least that’s what her heart was adamantly telling her head.

“Ain’t nothin’ Imma do to ya boy.  I wanna help ya.”  She paused, looking into his big hazel eyes. “What’s yer name?”

“Peter. Peter Quill.”

“Alright Peter, my name’s Hallifax, but you can call me Halli.”

He shuffled forwards a little, curiosity getting the better of his fears, “What are you?”

She snorted, smirking a little, “Believe it or not, I’m half Terran.  That’s what chu are. Terran.”

He shuffled forwards a little more, a grubby hand reaching for hers, until he snatched it back and gave her a terrified look, “You look like a lizard.”

She chuckled, anyone else had said such a thing would have had a painful time at the business end of her Sic’tars, but the boy wasn’t out to be mean, he was just inquisitive.

“That’s ma other half.” She replied, “A very ancient, very extinct race called the Oros. Imma kinda lucky there ain’t none left like me.  I’d be an outcast, a Stolara. In the ancient one’s language, it means ‘dirty blood’. See, the Oros always prided themselves on the purity of their race, in fact, that’s what Oros means, ‘pure of blood’.  It was eventually their downfall, but that ain’t a story fer now.”  Halli sighed, giving Peter a kind smile, “What I’m tryin’ ta say Pete, is that I know what it’s like bein’ alone out here. Tha Cap’n saved ma ass, just like he did wit’ chu.  It may not seem like it right now, but ya’ll will be grateful fer it one day.”

Peter moved forwards so he was almost touching knees with the large woman in front of him, “You’re scaly.”

Halli smirked, “Yep.”

“It looks like the oil slick on the roads back on Earth, ya know? When it gets all wet an’ goes rainbow colours.” He paused staring at her face, “It’s pretty.”

Halli’s mouth dropped open revealing a row of needle sharp teeth, the honesty in his face was plain and simple.  She snapped her jaw shut with a click, blushing purple to the roots of her fiery hair, “Ain’t never nobody called me pretty before.”  She paused, “You ain’t scared of me?”

He sniffled, and shrugged a tiny shoulder, “A little. But it’s kinda hard to be. You’re bein’ so nice.”

She smiled at him, “Ain’t many nice people on this boat, so ya gotta learn ta be tough.  But dun worry I’ll help ya.  Gunna teach ya ta be a Ravager.”

“What’s that?”

Her grin was both menacing and genuine, “Only tha best damn thing in tha Galaxy Pete. We’s space pirates.”

His eyes became impossibly wider, awe crept into his tone, “Really?”

“Really, really boy.” She held out her hand gently, keeping her claws away from his fragile skin, “Come on up now, you gonna come meet tha Cap’n.”


 

Peter clung nervously to the back of her floor-length, red leather duster.  “This is Cap’n Yondu Udonta.”  He pushed his face into her leg at Yondu’s scowling mug.  She shot the captain a light glare.  Looking down at Peter she said gently, “Come on now, what I say before?”

“Be brave.” He said quietly into her knee joint.

“Yeah, that’s it.  Cap’n ‘n’ ol’ Kraggles here won’t hurt ya none.”  She turned to the Centaurian, “Cap’n, this is Peter Quill.”

He snorted, rolling his eyes, “I know his damn name!”

She blinked, “Well on Terra, people introduce themselves wit’ a handshake instead o’ an arrow Cap’n.” She deadpanned.  His glare could’ve cut through the hull.  “Respectfully, o’ course sir.”

Peter took a deep breath and stepped out from behind Halli.  He held trembling hand out to the terrifying man in front of him, “Nice to meet you.”  Halli felt a flush of pride as his voice only wavered a touch when he spoke.

Yondu’s eyes flickered from the boy to Halli, she jutted her chin towards the boy.  The captain’s eyes spoke of a night in the brig for her attitude today, but Halli found herself uncaring.  Someone had to protect the little Terran until he got his legs, and that someone was now her.  Though she couldn’t tell you why, she felt the need to do this kid a favour.  Maybe because no one ever cared a damn to help her, when she was dumped face first into the Ravager crew.

Regardless of whether or not Yondu was considering gutting Halli, he was pleased she had stopped the boy’s racket.  He took the hand offered and shook it firmly, “Ain’t no more snivellin’ ya hear?  Ya wanna be a Ravager ya gotta play tha part boy.”

Peter stood tall, nodding to him bravely, “Yes Yondu.”

Yondu smirked, “Gud boy.”

Peter turned to beam at Halli, she returned it with a smile, pointing beyond the captain, “That there is Kraglin, Cap’n’s first mate.”

Kraglin nodded to the boy, offering a quick smile, that was gone as fast as it came.  Peter waved back shyly.

Yondu looked up at Halli, “Take ‘im, show ‘im tha ship, an’ we’ll covert tha supply cupboard in ma room for ‘im ta sleep in.  Dun trust tha crew not ta flark wit’ him.  Once ya dun all that show ‘im tha vents, bastards need a clean.”

Halli inclined her hear head, “Aye, Cap’n.” She replied beginning to usher the boy away.

“‘N’ Halli?” She turned herself to face him, “Dun go babying tha boy, I catch that shit an’ you’ll be in tha brig, ya hear?”

“Aye Cap’n. Loud ‘n’ clear.”


 

Hallifax strode quickly through the bowels of the ship, avoiding any high traffic areas with the boy, she turned her head slightly, “Alright ya –” she paused mid-sentence, “Pete?” She spun in a circle, sharp eyes searching for the kid.  He was ages back, jogging to keep up with her. “Shit! Sorry bud. I ferget you got them stubby kid legs.”

He reached her side, panting loudly.  He plastered a scowl across his face, “They aren’t stubby, you’re huge! Like, freakishly huge.”

She raised a brow, “You fixin’ fer death yer first day boyo?”  His eyes went comically large in his head. “Then I suggest ya quit bringin’ my glarin’ differences from normality ta light.  I’m well aware o’ ma ugly ass self by now, dun need a constant reminder, ya got that?”

“I – I didn’t – you aren’t – well I mean you are different – not bad different!” He stopped, going pale, “Mom always told me differences is what makes us who we are, it isn’t bad, it makes us special – beautiful.”  His eyes filled with tears, “I – I miss her.”

Halli sighed, anger seeping out of her like the captain’s arrow had pierced her scaly skin, “I know kiddo.  I know.  I miss my Da too.  He did his best to protect me from people who ain’t got nothin’ but murder an’ a quick sum o' units in their heads.  The last time – he – his – his best just weren’t enough.  Yer Momma did what she could ta stay wit’ ya, o’ that I’m sure.  No parent worth their salt would leave such a nice kid behind on purpose.”  Her cold hand landed on his shoulder and squeezed lightly, “Ya know, that’s twice ya’ll called me pretty taday. Careful, I might start thinkin’ ya’ll start actually likin’ me er some junk.”

Pete’s nose crinkled in typical childlike honesty, “Ewww, girls are gross.”

Halli barked out a laugh, “We der plenty o’ handsome boys out there too, ya know.”

Peter’s eyes almost fell out of his head, “EWWW!”

The reptilian’s laughter bounced off the walls, “I’m just flarkin’ wit’ ya kid. Now, let’s show ya ‘round this junker.”

Thankfully, most of the crew ignored Halli and her new charge.  She’d proved herself countless times, they wouldn’t hassle her unless they were looking to fight her, the last man to attempt it ended up being shot out the airlock.  The weekend in the brig was well worth watching his grubby little mitts claw at his throat before freezing over, horror plastered over his stupid ass-grabbing face.  That incident had left most of the crew avoiding her for a while.

“Alright Pete, time fer a crash course in tha Ravager pecking order.  Cap’n is top dog, what he says goes, all tha time, every time, questionin’ orders generally result in the death of the person doin’ tha questionin’.  Kraglin is First Mate, means his orders are next in line ta be followed. Afta that it’s me, Brite, Tullk, Horuz, Czar an’…well that’s it really.  Doc, cook, an’ engineerin’ got their own set o’ rules but unless ya workin’ wit’ ‘em ya ain’t gunna need ta know that so we’ll skip tha’ shit right now.  Crew’s gunna be tha major worry fer ya. Dun like non-contacteds, ‘specially dun like kids.  You tho’, ya small, smart, an’ fast, most o’ tha crew, is big, meaty, slow, an’ stupid.  They only clever enough ta follow orders an’ kill shit.  Tha vents’ll be yer best friend, learn ‘em an’ ya can get anywhere in this ship wit’ ease.” She stopped in front of a heavy metal door. “Got all tha’?”

Peter blinked, “Uh, y – yeah I think so.”

Halli nodded, placing her hand on the bio-lock to the room, it ran yellow and beeped. She tutted her tongue, placing a finger up to her ear, “Cap’n?” Peter watched her inquisitively. “You wanna let me in yer cabin? - Yeah, signature’s yella - two minutes? - Yes'sir.” She turned to Peter, “Cap’n’s gotta get ta a console.” He nodded, kicking his sneaker against the rusty metal grating.  Halli grinned, “Wanna see somement cool kiddo?”

Peter shrugged, “Sure.”

Halli pushed her coat back and clicked her tongue, ten little metal balls that resembled large ball bearings floated in the air in front of the boy.  Through another series of elaborate sounds, she made them do little tricks until Peter was grinning from ear to ear.

“Wow, what are those?”

A short growl had them floating around her head like a deadly halo, “They call ‘em Sic’tar in Orosian, means…uh – well, loosely, there’s no exact translation ‘victory or death’, I guess it was some kinda battle cry? Anyways they’s a weapon.”  Halli made a trilling sound, and the balls snapped open, folding out like flowers until they were covered with tiny metal shards, sharp and deadly.  “Oros ‘r’ from tha same system as tha Cap’n, they have weapons controlled by their chemical make-up too, basically our bodies respond to different metals and we can manipulate them ta do what we want, 'course if ya believe the spirituals they's say our spirit is in tune wit' da nature or some bullshit, it's a load of stinkin' primitive shit if ya ask me.  Long story short, I can down a whole room o’ people wit’ these, Yondu can do tha same wit’ his Yaka Arrow.”

Peter’s grin turned to an expression of fear when Halli snarled viciously.  His heart sped up even more when he noticed she was looking at something behind him.

Halli motioned with her head, “Git back there boy.”

He didn’t need telling twice darting swiftly into the back of her trench coat, clinging to her leather-bound leg like a life line.

The terrifying figure at the end of the hall smiled, “What’s this we got? He looks right tasty.  Got ourselves a Terran for dinna?”

Halli’s growl was an inhuman sound that made Peter shiver, “Walk away TF, afore ya dun have a chance ta.”

The man threw his head back and laughed, “Flark you Halli, you protecting that little runt?”

“You know tha Cap’n’s rule Tase, 24 hours fer new recruits, ya wouldn’t be fixin’ ta break that rule would ya?”

Taserface snarled, “He ain’t no recruit, he a dinner ticket. Move Halli.”

“Ain’t no way.” She snarled, clicking her tongue two of her Sic’tar flew at incredible speed, embedding themselves into his cheek before darting quickly back to the group. “Last warnin’ or ya won’t be walkin’ away.”

Taserface roared, drawing the blade at his hip, he took one step before a whistle drew him up short.  Peter blinked, one second the big man was moving towards them, the next a red tinged arrow was floating between his eyes.

Yondu’s voice growled out from the end of the hallway, “Ya know tha rules Tasie.  Git before I make good on Halli’s promise.”

Thoroughly subdued Taserface high-tailed it out of there before he received an arrow to the brain. 

Halli grinned at Yondu, before signalling her Sic’tar back into the pouch, “Remote lockin’ mechanism playin’ up again Cap’n?”

Yondu scowled giving a sharp whistle, his arrow did a loop in the air and glided back into the holster, “Flarkn’ shit, don’t nothin’ work ‘round here?”

Halli stifled a chuckle, “Aye, Cap’n, ya do have a unique ability ta make tech dislike ya some. I’ll take a look at it fer ya, afta I finished wit’ Quill.”

Yondu grumbled something under his breath and stuck his hand onto the bio-lock, “See tha’ ya do.”

Peter looked between the two aliens, he still wasn’t sure why the hell he was here or why these people chose to abduct him but his Mom said his father would come for him.  He looked at Yondu. Maybe. Just maybe. He did.

Chapter Text

The captain was right, every inch of the vents was completely filthy.  Peter had been with the Ravagers for two months and each day he climbed into a section of the vents and cleaned them.  He always came out disgusting but Halli would always take him back to Yondu’s cabin and help him clean up, then she’d take him up to the mess for weird space food.

Peter loved weird space food.

Halli managed to wrestle a breathing mask out of Yondu, stating the boy would die of black lung before his first year was out if he didn’t have something to protect him.  He had to admit it was pretty cool.  Halli had pressed a little button behind his ear which allowed the metal to materialise and fit securely around his face.  She’d said it made him look like a badass.  There was a com unit in the side that he could talk to the crew through.  Halli had input three direct lines, one to her, one to Kraglin, and one to Yondu.  After that she had popped him in a vent and told him to get to work.

Peter’s tiny body moved through the vents with ease, he scrubbed each part as well as he could, shifting along slowly.  Humming along to his music, blasting from the headphones around his neck, he came to a cross point in the vents that opened up enough for him to sit up in.  He scrubbed that area especially well thinking that it would make a good lair.  He entertained the idea of hiding all his pirate treasure here, he was smiling and humming happily when he heard a sound.  It was crossed between a weird growl and a squeak.

Turning to his right he saw something that made him very scared, it was a rat – at least – he thought it was a rat, it was scraggly and flea-bitten with razor-sharp teeth and beady little yellow eyes.  The terrified boy, scrabbled backwards towards the left vent entrance and the rat ran forwards. Peter let out a shriek and crawled for all he was worth, shifting further into the vent system.

The rat caught up easily scratching and biting at his sneakers, he kicked out making the rat snarl as his foot connected with it.  Turning another corner, he pushed himself into a vertical shaft, dropping down to the next level and scrambling along as fast as he could.  He took the corners blindly, heart hammering in his little chest.  He could hear the scratching of the rat’s claws right behind him, he came up on another vertical shaft and was just about to throw himself down it when he realised it contained a fan.

His fingers gripped the other side of the opening, heaving himself over the space.  He turned to see the rat scratch madly around the corner, momentum carrying it into the vent’s wall. Peter left his body across the gap until the last possible second.  As the rat ran towards him snapping its jaws he kicked out against the side of the vent, propelling himself forwards to the end of the shaft.  The rat screeched as it fell into the fan, blood splattered the roof of the vent.  It was a dirty pale brown.

Peter stared in horror, before bursting into tears.  Everything hit him at once, his mom, being taken from his home, the terrifying crew, the weird space rat.  He cried, big fat tears, rolling down his cheeks until exhaustion took over, eyes falling shut behind the red lenses of his helmet.

Several hours later, Peter awoke in the same place, he was itchy from the vent grime and decided to go and find Halli so she could take him to Yondu’s cabin to get cleaned up.  He looked around in confusion, then he suddenly remembered the rat.  His stomach did that weird flip thing that happened when he was terrified – he had no idea where he was.

Hastily palming the com button, he shrieked into it, “HALLI! HALLI!”

The gruff voice on the other end was not the one he wanted to hear, “Flark ya shoutin’ about boy?”

“Yondu?”

There was a sigh, “Yeah?”

“I’m in the vents. ‘Cept I dunno where.  There was a rat an’ it chased me an’ now I dunno where I am an’ – Yondu I’m scared.”

Concern mixed with irritation coloured the man’s tone, “Flarkin’ hell. Alrigh’ boy I’m comin’. Stay where ya are.”

The captain patched in Kraglin and Halli.

Halli’s voice was muffled by whatever tool she had in her mouth, “Sup boss man, I got my head deep in a console’s wirin’ right now, can whatever it is wait?”

“Boy got ‘imself lost in tha vents.”

There was a spitting sound, then Halli’s voice was much clearer, “Shit! Petey? You ok?”

Peter sniffled, “I’m scared Halli.”

“Shit. Ok, ok don’t worry we’ll find ya.”

Kraglin’s voice joined the other two, “I’m headin’ over to tha Bridge now Cap’n.  I’ll handle things ‘til ya get back.”  The was a brief pause, “Peter?”

“Hi Kraglin.”

“Dun ya worry ya little head bud, Cap’n’s tha best tracker there is, he’ll get ya outta there right quick.”

Peter could hear Yondu’s heavy footfalls through the com. “Where’d ya drop ‘im off Hal?”

“Vents in engineerin’ Cap’n.”

“Alright meet me there.”

“On ma way.”

A few minutes went passed as Peter waited, worrying the buttons on his Walkman.

Halli’s voice, slightly breathless crackled through the com, “Ok Petey, you remember where you went?”

Peter chewed at his lip, “There was a big rat an’ it chased me, I was in a big spot where all the vents meet up but then I had to move because it attacked me.  There was a vertical shaft I dropped into but I don’t remember where I went after that.”

“That’s ok Petey.  Where are you now?”

He looked around himself, he hadn’t been here before because the vents were still disgusting, all the vent shafts looked the same, his lower lip trembled, “It’s – it’s a long shaft, with a vertical shaft in the middle, it has a fan – the rat – the rat fell in an’ got chopped.”

Yondu snorted, “Well I ain’t sorry ta see another dead space rat, that’s fer sure.  Good job son.”

Peter beamed, at least he’d done something right.

“Hal, ya got the vent schematics girl?”

“Right ‘ere Cap’n.  Looks like he managed to get to here.” There was a pause. “Petey, you remember which way you went when tha rat chased ya?”

Peter thought really hard, the image of the rat at the other end of the shaft flashed into his mind and he flinched, “I’s sorry, Halli I dun remember.”

“He said he jumped down a vertical.” Kraglin chimed in.

Yondu grunted, “Tha’ means he either went that way or that way.  Look fer an output shaft.”

Peter wanted to help but he didn’t know what he could do, he bit his lip before asking quietly, “Umm, do those fans go anywhere?”

Yondu’s reply was clipped, “Into tha walkways o’ tha ship or inta tha cargo hold.”

Peter shuffled forwards, nose scrunching up as his fingers slipped in the blood of the dead rat, “The light from under the fan is really bright.” He replied peering over the side of the shaft. “Shouldn’t the fans have grates or somethin’ on them? Stop people hurting themselves?”

Halli snorted, “The Eclector is held togetha wit’ spit, duct tape an’ a whole lotta luck Petey. Ow! Damnit Cap’n I was just kiddin’!”

“Watch yer tongue girly, ‘fore I cut it out.”

“Promises, promises.”

“There’s prolly bits of rat all over the floor too.” Peter said, making a gagging sound.

“That one leads ta that cargo hold, tha light ain’t as bright as tha halls Cap’n, let’s try tha one that leads out there, in tha hall near tha meetin’ room.” To Peter, “Alright Petey, we think we’s know where ya are, hang tight boyo.”

About five minutes went by and Peter began to get worried, he palmed the com button again, “Halli? You here yet?”

Twin sets of footsteps echoed in the com, “Not yet Petey, ya ended up going right inta tha bowels of tha ship.  Another couple of minutes an’ we’ll be there ok?”

Soon enough, Peter heard faint footsteps.

“There he is. He’s in tha’ vent there.”  Yondu’s voice could just be heard over the fan, echoing back through the com. “Boy? Need ya ta turn around an’ go ta tha end o’ that shaft yer in.  Then go left, afta that ya follow that one down and go right, then left again.  There should be a grate there we can get ya out of.”

Halli looked up through the fan, “We’re gunna follow ya down here Petey ok? We’ll be at tha end when ya get there.”

“Ok, Halli.”

Peter shuffled forwards, following the captain’s directions.  When he finally saw the light streaming through the filthy grate he grinned.

Outside, there was a lot of cussing from Yondu and when he reached the grate he realised why.  Halli’s golden eyes were peering through the holes.

“Damn,” Yondu grunted, “Yer heavy fer a thin lass.”

Halli shook her head fondly, looking down at the older man, “Bein’ just shy o’ seven feet’ll do tha’ Cap’n.”

“Was rather hopin’ I could get my legs ‘round yer head instead. Different settin’ o’ course.” The captain leered.

Halli scowled. At this point she'd known the captain for a number of years, he was a crude bastard and an awful flirt but he was family - like a stupid older brother that always picked on you but would kill a man if he looked at you funny. Kraglin was the same, just as crude but the poor guy couldn't flirt to save his life.  They bantered back and forth like this all the time, but on this occasion it was in front of Peter and she was trying - and probably failing - to shelter the boy - at least a little.  

She gave the Centurian a sharp slap on the back of the head.

“Wha’ tha flark?”

The reptilian’s shoulders shook in silent laughter, “There was a fly Cap’n.”

Yondu rolled his eyes, “If that ain’t tha biggest piece o’ bullshit ya ever said, I dunno what is.”

Halli sniggered loudly as the captain grunted and shifted her weight.

“Hurry it up will ya?” He grit out.

 Halli rolled her eyes and murmured quietly, “Shaddup ya ol’ blue bugger.”

“What was tha’?” Came the whip-crack reply.

“Nufin’ Cap’n.” She pulled her knife from her boot and undid the bolts, shoving it in her mouth as she yanked the rusted thing free. The grate dropped with a loud clang on the flooring, she slipped the knife back into her boot and held her hands out to Peter.

Dragging him out slowly so he didn’t catch his clothes on the corners, she wrapped her arms securely around the tiny body.   The extra weight of Peter was enough to make Yondu’s knees give out, dropping the lot of them to the floor. The Centurian grunted, clearly unimpressed with being at the bottom of the strange puppy pile.

Peter was all over both of them hugging and gushing out his thanks with big wet eyes.

“Aw hell boy quit yer slobberin’!”

Halli gave him a pat on the back, “It’s alright Petey yer safe now.”

The com crackled to life, “Did ya get him?”

Yondu shoved an elbow out of his face irritably, “Yeah boy’s fine. Do us a favour Kraggles?”

“Sure Boss.”

“Git one o’ them wrist pads an’ upload tha vent schematics ta it.  Then input a tracker so we’s can find ‘im easy next time.”

“Yes’sir.”

Yondu shoved Halli’s body – half sprawled over his – off and stood, “Come on son, let’s git ya fixed up.”


Peter lay in his little bed fiddling with the wrist pad, when the door to the captain’s cabin whooshed open.

Yondu looked up from his holo-pad, “What tha hell you doin’ girl? This aint tha rec room! Ya can’t just wander in whenever ya damn-well feel like it!”

Halli took in the captain – jacket off, bare feet up on his desk, drink in one hand and a holo-pad in the other.  She smirked, “An’ miss out on lookin’ at yer handsome blue ass all relaxed an’ shit? Won’t never miss a chance like tha’.” She leered, winking. “’Sides, I didn’t come here ta ogle ya Cap’n Self Important. Got somement fer Petey.”

He grumbled, rolling his eyes, “Make it quick.  Boy’s tryin’ ta sleep.”

Halli opened the door to Peter’s little room and sat down on the bed near his feet, “Hey boyo! How ya doin’?”

Peter grinned happily, waving the wrist pad at her, “Look what Yondu gave me!”

“Well now,” she replied smiling, “that’s right awesome innit? Least ya won’t git lost now.”  She pulled out her knife and tossed it onto the blankets. “Brought ya somement. It’s fer when ya in tha vents.  Next time one o’ them little buggers comes up on ya, ya stab ‘em through tha head right quick.  Then ya won’t have nothin’ ta be afraid of.”

The boy fingered the knife reverently, “Wow – thanks Halli!”

She grinned, ruffling the boy’s strawberry locks, “Yer welcome.  Ya’ll get some sleep now.  I’ll see ya in tha mornin’.”

She shut the door quietly and made to leave the room but Yondu’s voice stopped her.

“That was yer favourite knife, weren’t it?”  He didn’t look up from the holo-pad in his hand.

Halli walked over to his desk, leaning on it slightly, “It’s a good knife. Sharp, easy ta handle, even fer a little scrap like him.” She shrugged looking over the assortment of trinkets that lined the desk, “He’s a good kid, he’ll take care of it.”

Yondu scoffed throwing the holo-pad down on the desk, “Sentiment.  Tha’ shit’ll make ya soft,” he thumped his chest with a fist, “in here.”

Halli pushed off the desk and slipped an arm around his shoulders, “No matter what chu think, carin’ dun make ya soft, if anythin’ it makes ya stronger.”  She stooped to his level and dropped a kiss on the scarred skin next to his implant. “G’night Cap’n.”

Yondu watched Halli leave with a slight smile tugging at his lips.  He shook himself, scowling, “Bah! Them three’s gunna turn me inta a sap.” He shook his head, picking up the holo-pad, smile passing over his lips.

Already have.

Chapter Text

There was only one crew member that absolutely terrified Peter – sure everyone was scary but this guy was terrifying.

His name was Patero, he was over six feet tall and built like a plasma cannon wouldn’t knock him down, two sets of beady little yellow eyes, a flat squishy nose and a cruel smirk.

It had been six months since the little Terran had been picked up by Yondu and his crew and although he’d threatened to let the crew eat him heaps of times, no one had ever actually tried.  He stuck like glue to the crew members who had been nice to him for the first month before both Halli and Tullk had quietly reassured Peter that the crew wouldn’t eat him because they didn’t eat people – alien or otherwise.  He felt much better about walking around the ship by himself after that – that was until Half-Nut had told him that while most of the crew wouldn’t try to cook him, Patero might.  He’d stayed away from the burly alien after that.

He’d all but forgotten about it until one day after helping in engineering he was cornered in an empty corridor by Patero.  The man sneered down at the boy, brandishing a knife and muttering about carving him up.

Petrified, Peter backed up into the wall to avoid the knife, “You can’t! Ravagers don’t eat people.”

The look on his scarred face told Peter he didn’t much care for that rule.

“Ain’t nothing gonna be left for the captain ta fine but bones.” He ran the knife edge down Peter’s face, the boy felt the sting of the blade carve a line in his cheek. “You gonna watch while I pull strips off you an’ eat ‘em an’ you gonna scream real pretty like.”

Peter didn’t want to be eaten at all and he certainly didn’t want to watch. Horror turned quickly to anger, like hell this was going to happen, not without a fight! He was a Ravager damnit and he weren’t going to be bullied or carved up!

Pulling the knife Halli had given to him, he rammed it into the man’s crotch.  Patero’s knife slipped down Peter’s face cutting deeper into his jaw as the man howled and dropped to his knees.  Using all of his weight Peter pushed the man away and ran.

Sprinting into the next corridor and the next and the next, he ran until he ploughed straight into Winnie.

Peter liked the yellow skinned alien, she was always nice to him, but he couldn’t pronounce her name so began to call her Winnie on account she was the same colour as the bear he’d loved so much as a toddler.  It ended up sticking and now everyone called her that.

She stumbled back a few steps, “Woah Peter! Where’s the fire little man?”

“Patero he a tried ta eat me!”

“What?!” Winnie stooped a little – at four feet tall she didn’t have to go very far – and grabbed Peter by the chin, inspecting the cut on his face, “He do this to you?”

Peter nodded, tears spilling over his cheeks, burning a hot, stinging trail down the cut, “He said there’d be nothin’ left but bone for Yondu ta find and then I got mad ‘cause I’s a Ravager too – just like you guys – and you’s don’t let no one push you ‘round so I stabbed him and then I ran.”

Winnie snarled, “Show me where that scamanarder is.”

Peter didn’t know what that meant but figured it was in Winnie’s own language – something that his translator couldn’t put into English.

He grabbed her three-fingered hand and took her to the corridor where he’d run from.

Winnie blinked.

Patero was splayed out on the floor clearly passed out – if the amount of dark green blood was anything to go by – with a knife sticking out of his crotch.

“Holy shit little man you knifed him right in the junk!” She clapped him on the shoulder, grinning, “You fight dirty boy – you’re going to make an amazing Ravager when you’re all grown up.”

Pushing a button on her comm she contacted Kraglin.

“Krags? It’s Winnie.  Our little boy here ran into a bit of trouble with Patero – What? No, he’s fine, he’s got a cut on his face where the bastard tried to carve a chunk off him but he’s ok – Well,” she looked at the body in the middle of the hall, “he’s bleedin’ out – Yeah knifed him, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you where – I’d say you’ll need at least six to move him – Why?" She looked down at the boy, clinging to her hand like a lifeline. "Peter says he planned on eating him – Oh no he was serious that’s something his people don’t see much problem with, the younger the better – Yeah, I know – I dunno! I don’t do the recruiting! – Yeah well nobody never liked him anyway – Yup don’t worry I’ll watch him until the captain gets down here.”

She pulled her finger off the button and looked down at Peter, “Don’t worry little man, Captain’s coming down to get you.  He’ll take you to the doc to get your face fixed.”  She produced a rag from one of the many pockets in her leathers, “Here hold that on there until you can see Mazar.”

The rest of that day faded in Peter’s memory to nothing more than a bad dream.

What Peter never saw was how badly Patero got his.  The whole crew was present – except for Halli who took Peter for a ride in her M-ship Le’Andra – which she told him meant Freedom in Orosian – to pick up supplies.

They gathered and after Kraglin had settled them with his usual; “Cap’n’s gotta teach stuff.”; Yondu went to work, taking his time as he flayed the man alive.  With a clear message sent to the crew Yondu had the pieces of the cannibal that were left spaced.

The message; Don’t fuck with the Captain’s son.

Chapter Text

Peter had toughened up a lot since the Ravagers picked him up, which is why when Yondu’s eyes snapped open in the middle of the night cycle at the sound of screaming he knew whatever the kid was dreaming about was a doozey.

He dragged himself up out of bed, attempted to put on his pants and swore when he tripped over.  Finally righting himself he pulled open the kid’s door to find him thrashing about, tangled in his blankets, and screaming bloody murder.

“Kid!” Yondu approached the bed and got a fist to the shoulder for his trouble, swearing and grabbing at the skinny limbs he tried again, “Peter! Peter damnit! Wake up!” He shook the boy roughly and Peter’s eyes shot open and his fist flung out socking Yondu fair in the nose.

The Centurion let go of the kid and grabbed at the wound appendage, “Flark it all!”

Peter blinked the wetness from his eyes, “Yondu?”

The man scrunched up his nose to test if it was broken and wiped at the blood dripping from it, “Who tha hell else it gonna be?”

The boy didn’t say anything else, simply throwing his arms around the shocked Centaurian’s neck.  Not really having much experience with this crap – it was more Halli’s thing to comfort the boy – Yondu hugged him back awkwardly rather than shoving him away like every instinct he had was telling him to. He listened to the muffled recount of Peter’s dream, just scary little things that had happened to the boy along the way that got all jumbled and condensed up in to a terrifying nightmare.

“It’s alright boy, they’s just pictures in yer head, ain’t none of it real.”

Peter sniffed loudly and wiped his nose on Yondu’s bare chest. The captain pulled a disgusted face.

“It felt real”

“Yeah it does but then ya open yer eyes and ya can see it ain’t real.”

“I’m still scared.”

Yondu sighed, “Look at me boy.”

Peter looked up into the red eyes of the captain.

“Ain’t nothin’ bigger an’ scarier than me.”

“You’ll protect me?”

He said it with such an honest openness that Yondu couldn’t refuse him.

“’Course I will son, ain’t nothin’ gonna git ya.” He placed the boy back on the mattress, “Ya’ll go back ta sleep now ok?”

Peter reached his arms out again, “I don’t want you to go.”

Yondu rubbed his eyes and sighed, “Fine.  Com’ere ya can sleep in ma bed – but dun get any funny ideas! It ain’t happenin’ all tha time an’ I’m only lettin’ ya ‘cause I’m flarkin’ tired.”

He held out a hand and took the boy into his own room.  Peter jumped on the bed, bouncing happily.

“Hey! No jumpin’! Flarkin’ thing’s ‘bout ta fall apart as it is.”  He crawled under the furs, “Too much fuckin’.” He muttered quietly.

“What’s fuckin’?”

Yondu cursed loudly, “Ain’t nothin’ ya need ta worry yer little head about.  An’ dun tell Halli ya heard me say that word! Girl’d have me lynched.”

Peter giggled, burrowing himself under the furs and plastering himself to Yondu’s front.

The man sighed irritably but gathered the boy up in his arms.

“You smell like leather and dirt.”

Yondu raised a brow, “Uhh – thank you?”

Peter giggled again and then yawned, “Ya ain’t as scary as everybody says.”

The Centaurian chuckled, “Don’t tell nobody that neither.  Got me a reputation ta keep.”

The boy huffed against him and settled.

Yondu fell asleep with a smile on his face.


 

Halli wandered in first thing in the day cycle as she had taken to doing in order to get Peter up and ready for the day.  She breezed passed Yondu’s bed, snoring coming from deep within the furs and opened Peter’s door.

“Up an’ at ‘em boyo –”

The bed was empty.

She turned quickly and walked over to Yondu, “Cap’n? Pe –” She stopped short when she saw Peter plastered against the Centaurian’s chest, the older man’s arms around him protectively.  She had to cover her mouth to stop the ‘aww’ that threatened to burst from her lips.

She walked over to the door and popped her head out.  Spying the first mate exiting his room she waved him over, “Psst! Kraglin! You gotta see this.”

He passed a tired hand over his face, “I ain’t even had coffee yet Hals.  Can it wait?”

She grinned widely, “You ain’t gunna wanna miss this bro, come on.”

The pair crept into the room quietly.  When Kraglin saw what Halli had been grinning about he chuckled quietly, “Ain’t that just adorable? He does have a heart.” He whispered to the beaming reptilian.

Halli nodded and snapped a quick picture, “So flarkin’ cute!” She gushed.  Putting a hand on Kraglin’s arm she motioned to the door with her head. “Come on before he wakes up, I ain’t quick enough first thing in tha mornin’ ta avoid a well-placed arrow.”

The crept back out, Halli took one last look, smiling, “Sweet dreams boys.”

Chapter Text

Peter wasn’t supposed to be in his room yet, but Halli had shipped him off to bed after dinner because he had practically been falling asleep in it.  He had to keep to the day cycle of the ship, which was much longer than a day on Terra and sometimes it just caught up with him.  As she was tucking him in, Halli grumbled something about the captain being unreasonable, kissed him on the head, and left him to sleep.

He'd just been drifting off when he snapped awake to shouting in Yondu’s cabin.  He threw off his covers, and padded over to the door.  He opened it a crack and peered out.

Yondu was pacing wildly back and forth, his necklaces swinging in time with his steps, “Why’d ya have ta go an’ do a fool thing like that?! Yer a idjit!”

Kraglin stood off to the side with a sling around his left arm.  His face looked greyer than usual, Peter suspected he was probably in a lot of pain.  He’d known they were going out on a job today but he didn’t realise that Kraglin had gotten hurt.  Peter bit his lip, he hoped Krags was ok.

“What the fuck did ya expect me ta do Cap’n?! Let ya take tha hit?! I was tryin’ ta save yer LIFE!”

Yondu rounded on him and snarled, “I ain’t some fragile girly ya gotta protect Obfonteri! It coulda been you tha’ died yer damn lucky it just hit yer arm! Ya willin’ ta die fer me?!”

Kraglin took a step forward, Peter could see his jaw working back and forth.

Yondu continued, growling at the taller man, “Ya never take a shot fer no one! It’ ain’t done – an’ another thing –”

“YES!” The Hraxian barked.

That stopped Yondu short, “What?”

Kraglin looked at his boots, “I’d die fer you.”

Yondu exploded, “What the FUCK Kraglin?! What kind stupid fuckin’ shit ya got up in yer head? You’d die for me?! What the hell for?”

The Hraxian sighed, taking another step towards the pissed of Centaurian, “I care about ya – an’ if ya say some shit about ‘sentiment’ I swear ta tha fuckin’ stars I’ll kick ya in the nads.  We both know that’s just a whole lotta bluster fer tha crew’s sake.”

Peter head the necklaces clank as he sighed and ran a hand over his head, “Look Krags – that ain’t somement I wanna hear.”

The taller man gave him an incredulous look, taking a final step and closing the distance between them, “Ya don’t wanna hear it huh? Well, fuck you! Ya gunna! I care ok? I do, we been together – friends – fer years.  Yer my – the Cap’n, I’d follow ya anywhere.  When I saw that shot was gunna hit ya I had ta do somethin’.” He ducked his head, looking at his boots, “’Cause if Imma honest wit’ maself – I – I dun wanna be in a galaxy without you in it.”

Peter couldn’t see Yondu’s face but he could imagine the bewildered look Kraglin was getting and he knew the look Kraglin was giving the captain – it was the look his Mom got whenever she spoke about Peter’s father – he was in love.  Peter stifled a giggle.  Poor Kraglin, his Dad wasn’t the easiest man to like let alone actually love.

Finally, Yondu spoke, his tone was confused, “Wha –”

He didn’t get anything else out as Peter watched Kraglin lurch forwards, planting a kiss on the other man’s lips.

The boy’s eyes went wide.

Kraglin stepped back and screwed his eyes up.  Opening them up again he said hoarsely, “That were – stupid o’ me.” He sighed heavily, averting his eyes, “Cap’n – Yondu – I’m sorry. Ya dun feel – that way about me – I – I know that – I – I just came real close ta losin’ ya taday an’ I – I dunno I panicked. I – Can we pretend this never happened?”  He sighed again and turned striding out the door before Yondu could say a word.

Peter watched the older man stand there for a full minute before the yelling started.

“Shit! Shit, shit, shit, SHIT!” The Centaurian picked up the desk chair and threw it against the bulkhead.  A dozen trinkets fell from various shelves, clattering to the floor.  Yondu grabbed his head and screamed in frustration, “FUCK!”

Panting, he sat down heavily on the bed. He sighed, “Ya can come out now boy, I ain’t gunna throw no more stuff.”

Peter gasped, pushing the door open, “How’d you know I was here?”

Yondu tapped his fin, “Trade secret.”

Peter padded out into the main cabin and sat down next to the man, “Are you ok?”

He laughed humourlessly, “No.”

Peter looked up, “Kraglin loves you huh?”

Yondu raised a brow, “Love an’ lust ‘r’ two different things boy. Ya’ll understand that when yer older.”

Peter shook his head sagely, “Nopes it’s love. My Mom’s used ta look like that whenever she talked about y – uh – my Dad. Krags looks at you like you’re his whole world – that’s love Yondu.”

Yondu cursed, “Seems he do then, yeah.”

Peter looked up at him with big intelligent eyes, “You love him too huh?”

Yondu looked away, “I – I dunno.”

The kid smiled at him, “Well ya just gotta figure it out.”

The captain snorted, “Ain’t all that easy Quill.”

“Sure, it is!” He hopped up, grabbing a discarded holo-pad and stylus from the desk.  He scribbled something at the top and then handed it to Yondu, who took it with a raised eyebrow.  “You gotta make a list,” Peter pointed, “see? Good things on the left, bad things on the right.  If there’s more good things than bad then you know the answer is yes.”

Yondu looked down at the unsteady Galactic Common, “Where’d ya learn this?”

Peter beamed proudly, “Kraglin’s teaching me.”

Yondu blinked, “Is he?” He picked up the stylus and scribbled ‘good wit ma boy’ in the good column.  “Ya know, this ain’t a bad idea Pete.”

The kid grinned, “Mom taught me.  She said it would help me make hard choices.”  He patted Yondu on the shoulder, “She also told me to follow my heart. So, you should prolly do that too.”

The captain snorted, “I’ll be sure ta do tha boy. Go’on now off ta bed wit’ ya.”


 

The next morning when Peter got up, Yondu was already gone. The holo-pad was discarded on the bed.  The list of ‘good’ was seemingly endless and Peter couldn’t read all of the words in Galactic Common yet so he skipped that and looked at the tiny list in the bad column;

Sentiment = Weakness

Weakness = Possible Extortion

Possible Extortion = Death

I can’t be with him.

That made Peter sad and a little grumpy, didn’t his Dad realise how often he showed them he cared outside the privacy of his cabin? Instead of expressing how he felt, the old bastard was just going to give up?

Peter shook his head, “Dad you’re a big blue idiot.”

He was in love with Kraglin.

Plain and simple.

And Peter was going to do something about it.

He just had to pick his moment.

Chapter Text

Nine-year olds are impossible.

It wasn’t the first time Yondu thought that and it wouldn’t be the last.

He’d been avoiding Peter lately because the boy had taken to asking him question after question about anything and everything.  Seemed he wanted to figure out everything.  And damn it all if that weren’t annoying as hell when he was trying to run a ship filled with rowdy idjits.

He sighed, palming the bio-lock on his cabin door.  Upon entering, he kicked his boots carelessly into the corner and tossed his jacket across the back of his desk chair.

Grabbing a reasonably clean glass off the shelf above the desk he sloshed some liquor into it and picked up a holo-pad.  He tossed himself onto his couch and curled his feet up underneath himself.

That’s when he heard it.

The unmistakable sound of crying coming from across the room.  He looked up at the storage closet – well Peter’s room – as it had been for over a year.

He scowled, the kid would get over whatever was making him snivel.  Yondu refocused on the report from engineering in front of him.  He scanned the details quickly – knowing Kraglin with his mechanical background had already gone through and amended any mistakes.  A list of parts required –

Damn it!

His eyes wandered to the door.  He glared at it, the noise went quiet, and he refocused on the report –

Engineering were considering just replacing some parts in one of the main engines, which would have them offline for around half a day cycle.  He frowned, hadn’t those parts had just been replaced six months ago?  He pulled up the engine’s statistics and found that yes, they had.  The engine was around 13 years old, and second hand when they’d ‘liberated’ it off a smuggler’s freighter.  Its performance had steadily declined over time. Yondu chewed his lip.  Replacing the parts wouldn’t fix the issue and it would just prolong the inevitable.  Replacing the entire thing would have them dry docked for about two weeks, he could still send teams out for jobs using the m-ships but that would mean they would have to find a cluster of work within range of where they were docked.

He didn’t really want his girl falling – well not falling out of the sky because space – but being stuck out in the black wasn’t exactly Yondu’s idea of a good time.  He waved the reports away and messaged Kraglin, asking his opinion and suggestions of where to dock.

He brought up the next report on stock levels, it seemed –

Oh fer flark sake!

A mournful wail came from the closed door.  Yondu growled, tossing the holo-pad down on the couch so hard it bounced and clattered to the floor.

He stalked over to the door and threw it open.  Peter was sitting on his bed clutching desperately at his music box.  Big, fat tears rolled down his face in streams.  Yondu had seen the boy get a little misty on occasion but never all out cry.

“What the hell you cryin’ about boy? I ain’t gettin’ shit done wit’ all yer racket!”

Peter took a shaky inhale, “It’s dead! I don’t got no more batteries!” His voice was high-pitched and he subsided into sobs again.  They wracked the kid’s frame as more tears spilled from his eyes.

Yondu raised a brow irritably, “Is tha’ all ya goin’ on about?”

Peter scowled, “It’s tha – only thing left I have – f – from my – my mom.”  The sentence was punctuated with huffing sobs.

The Centaurian sighed and held out a hand, “Give it here.”

Peter clutched it to his chest protectively, “No.”

Yondu snarled then curbed it when the boy flinched.  As much of the tough guy act he fronted when outside the cabin he didn’t like that the kid was actually scared of him sometimes, “Ya want me ta fix it or not?”

Peter blinked, “You – you have more batteries?”

Yondu shook his head, “Nah boy that shit’s old tech – but I can fix it fer ya if it’ll shut ya up.”

The kid held the box out to him and he took it.  Walking over to his desk he shoved all of the shit to one side, some of it falling to the floor in a heap and making a racket.  The boy followed him curiously.  Yondu ignored him, pulling out an old box from one of the desk draws.  Despite every flarking console on the ship having it out for the Centaurian, he was actually pretty handy with most things.  Pulling out a half finished fin he tossed it to one side, pulling out wiring, a soldering iron and various other tools.

Peter began to pick up whatever he’d knocked off the desk – holo-pads, schematics, a collection of trinkets, a flask, some – oh that’s where they went! – socks.  Peter scrunched up his nose and threw them in the laundry chute.  Yondu made a mental note to pick up some more socks next time he was planet-side – damn things kept disappearing – as he popped the back of the Walkman open.

He pulled out the batteries, tossing them into the trash can next to the desk, they bounced off a broken holo-pad and clattered down on an empty whisky bottle, he grimaced hearing it smash.  Spying the internals, he grinned – piece of piss to fix – then he could finally get some work done before falling into bed.  He rummaged through the box on the desk – shit – no fusion cores.

“Wait ‘ere boy.”

Yondu exited the cabin, striding towards main storage, a few minutes later the door was sliding open and he went over to the console, stopping short when he saw it was off and there was a set of long legs sticking out from under it.  He kicked the legs – belatedly realising he’d forgotten to put his boots back on – it didn’t really have the effect he was after, “Oi, where’s the fusion cores?”

“Cap’n?”

“Oh, hey Hals.”

She slid out from her spot folding up her legs and standing.  A hint of a smirk touched her lips as she took in his lack of usual attire, “Little late-night shopping huh boss?”  Her voice amused.

Yondu huffed, “Shove it. I need a fusion core.”

She pointed a clawed finger, “Three rows down on yer left.”

Yondu rummaged through the pile, finding the size he needed and scooping it out of the storage box, “Put a size four down ta me when ya get that thing back up.” He said, striding out from in between the shelving.

“Aye.” She replied, fiddling with her multi-tool and twirling it around her fingers, “Whatchu need it for?”

The captain grumbled, “Gotta fix tha boy’s music box.  Just about lost his mind when it stopped workin’.”

Halli smirked, “Awww, yer a sweetie ain’t ya?”

Yondu snarled, “Only doin’ it so’s I can get some peace an’ quiet.  Flarkin’ Terrans an’ their snivellin’.”

The reptilian chuckled but not at what Yondu had said – rather, she was staring at his feet, “I just noticed you only have eight toes.”

Yondu looked down wiggling them, “So? That’s a perfectly normal amount!”

The woman raised an eyebrow, making the Centaurian frown.

“Innit?” He nodded his head towards her, “How many do you have?”

“Terrans have ten toes Cap’n.”

“Tha’s – flarkin’ weird.” He looked at her boots, “Ya got Terran feet under ‘em boots?”

She shrugged, “Perks o’ bein’ a half cast.  Orosians only have six but I was graced with ma mother’s feet.  Makes it damn hard ta find boots lemme tell ya.”

Yondu chuckled and shook his head, “You almost finished up here?”

Halli looked back at the console behind her, “Yeah shouldn’t be more’n 20 minutes.”

He grunted, “Dun ferget ta come say g’night ta Quill, bugger won’t sleep ‘less ya do.”

Halli snickered, “Aww, you just want me ta come say g’night ta ya don’t ya Cap’n?”

Yondu pointed at finger at her, “Dun push it ya snarky little bitch.”

She smirked, “Wouldn’t dream o’ it boss.”


 

When Yondu entered his cabin again it was considerably cleaner.  Peter was attempting to make the huge bed, legs dangling off the edge as he straightened the furs.  He looked up, disapproval on his little face, “Your room’s a mess Yondu.”

The Centaurian looked about, “Damn boy this is cleaner than it ever been.”

“You’re a’post to keep your room clean.  My Mom says – said so.”

Yondu rolled his eyes, “When yer an adult ya can do as ya damn well please.  If I wanna make a mess, I’ll make a mess.”

The boy looked exasperated, “Please don’t I just cleaned it.”

Yondu huffed sitting back at the desk and getting to work.

Ten minutes later – after burning himself with the soldering iron twice – he was snapping the battery cover back in place and slipping the earphones on his head.  Clicking the button, music filled his ears and he grinned.  Turning it off again he threw it on the bed next to where the boy was lying, staring up at a string of trinkets that were tied along a row of fairy lights.

“There ya go boy, that core should last – I dunno – 200 hundrit or so years.”

Peter’s eyes bugged, “2-200?”

Yondu shrugged, “Them thing’s dun last that long in modern tech, but tha’ box o’ yours is ancient tech so, yeah 200-ish.”

The kid sprang up and launched himself at Yondu – who did not flinch – hugging him around the neck.

“Yeah, yeah, alright ger’off boy ‘fore I smack ya one.”

Yondu pushed him lightly and Peter released him.  The Centaurian made his way over to the couch and picked up the holo-pad to resume going over the reports.

He sighed when the boy filled his peripheral vision, “What now son?”

He scuffed a sock-toed foot along the floor, “Can I sit with you?”

Yondu glared.

“Just for a bit! I promise I won’t make no noise.”

Yondu sighed for what felt like the millionth time that day, “Fine! But one flarkin’ peep an’ you’re back in yer room.”

The boy nodded seriously then hopped up next to him burrowing under his arm and snuggling up to his side.

“Yondu?”

“What’d I say boy?”

“Just one question I swear.”

He dropped the holo-pad onto his thigh, “Spit it out then.”

“How’d you get this scar?” The kid’s fingers grazed the line along the swell of Yondu’s stomach.

Yondu laughed, “That ain’t a scar boy, it’s a pouch.”

“A what?!”

Shaking his head, still smirking he replied, “Centaurians are marsupials. Tha Momma’s tha one what gives birth ta tha babies – they’s born no bigger than your hand there – an’ tha Daddy’s carry ‘em in tha pouch till they’s old enough ta get around on their own.”

Peter looked up at Yondu, “Aliens are weird.”

The Centaurian barked out another laugh, “We’s all weird out here.”

Peter snuggled back down, “We’re all mad here.”

Yondu frowned, “What?”

“Alice in Wonderland – Terran story. Ner’mind.”

After that he was true to his word, never making a sound, just sitting there watching with his music box on.  Not ten minutes had gone by when Yondu looked down and the boy was asleep.

He smirked.  Maybe this parentin’ thing weren’t so bad after all.

Chapter Text

“Yonnnnnnduuuuuuuu!”

Nope.

“Yonnnnnduuuuu!”

The Centaurian’s eyes snapped open.  He was not going to give in to the boy being annoying.  Even when it was late and he was damn tired.

“Yonnnnnnnnnnnduuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!”

His eye twitched.

Shut the flark uuuuuuuup!

“Yonnnn –”

“WHAT?!”

“I can’t sleeeep!” Peter whined.

“I don’t caaaaare!” He replied in the same tone.

“Buuuut –”

“Boy, if you don’t shaddup I swear –”

“Can you tell me a bedtime story?”

The man lifted his head from the pillow, peering through the dark into Peter’s room, “A what?”

“A bedtime story! It’ll help me sleep.”

“No. I ain’t gettin’ up.”

“Can I come out there?”

Yondu slammed his head back into the pillow – who’s flarkin’ idea was it to keep this kid?! – “Oh fer – if it’ll shut ya up so I’s can git some sleep!”

Peter padded out of his room, scrambling up the side of Yondu’s bed and settling under the furs next to him.

He looked at the Centaurian expectantly.

Yondu sighed, “Alright boy.  Lemme tell ya tha story of a warrior and his hakta.  The Centaurians have a rite of passage. ‘S what happens when a child becomes a warrior, see? –”


 

The boy couldn’t sleep.

Tomorrow was his hakta, three others would be joining him in the rite and he was worried.  What if he couldn’t see the way to Anthos what if the kavkov swallowed him like he’d seen so many times before.

The thought terrified him.

One of the sisters came to get him when the sun rose, he had gotten barely any sleep.  Lining up before the Habaktu’s shack he stood proudly, he was the son of a great warrior, he would not fail.

When the Habaktu approached him first with the steaming broth, he searched the crowd for his mother.  She stood a head above the rest of the crowd, she caught his eye and nodded.

Reaching out empathically, he felt her pride, her comforting warmth, and her sureness, her resolute belief that her son would see the other side of his rite.

The boy nodded, he could do this.  He would not give in to the kavkov.  He took the ladle offered and drank.  One of the brothers led him to the fireside.  He sat crossed legged and relaxed, willing down his nerves and summoning courage.

The colours started first.

He blinked.

Reds, purples, greens, blues, vibrant golds.

He watched them swirl before his eyes, dizzy and light-headed.  He closed them, unable to stand the brightness any longer.

Without sight, his other senses enhanced.

He could smell the dirt beneath him – fresh and clean after the rains, he could hear – hundreds of heartbeats – his kala.  He focused on the elements around him to keep him grounded; the fire in front of him, the earth beneath him, the water lapping gently at the river bank mere feet from where he was seated, and the air; he took a breath – it was pulsing around him, in time with his heartbeat.

The placed his hands in the dirt, searching empathically for the spirit of the planet – for Anthos.

The surface spirits bombarded him – his kala – he pushed through them gently.  The trees were next, calling to him enticingly – he could not make out their words.  Pushing on further, his mind tangled with that of a predator flying high above the forests, spotting its prey it folded its wings diving at mind-numbing speeds.

The boy shrieked loudly, in equal parts joy and terror.  He pushed himself away as the bird’s claws snapped around its prey.

The forests were throbbing, words still unclear to him.

The boy frowned focusing hard on their spirits, tangling himself in their essence.

Down. Down. Down.

Down? He puzzled over this.  Why would the spirits want him to go back?  Was he not worthy of his hakta?

Down. Down. Down.

The only advice his mother had given him was to listen to the spirits.  Yet the spirits were telling him to go back to himself.

It came to him suddenly, No! Not back! Down!

Anthos is within.

Anthos was inside the planet!

The boy untangled himself from the spirit of the forests.  His conscious crawled down through the roots into the dirt. The earth welcomed him as he wove his way down.

He could feel the spirits of others long gone to their world, working their way through the ground to Anthos.  As he passed each one they wished him well on his journey.

The boy felt pride that the ancestors knew his spirit was strong.  Strong enough to pass through the realm of darkness to Anthos.

The earth dissipated into liquid fire.  The boy flinched back at first, afraid.

It will not harm you my child.  Your flesh is on the surface, only your spirit resides here.

He felt the other spirit nearby.

Thank you. I will not show fear again.

The spirit laughed, It is alright to be afraid young one.  Fear is respect for life, you are but only ten celestials and you are strong of mind.  The kavkov will not have you this cycle.  I wish you well.

Thank you ancient one.  I will not let the kala down.

He pushed forwards, through the searing liquid.  Down, through fire that would burn his physical being to nothing.

Bursting out into blackness, his heart nearly stopped.

It was so black he could not feel anything around him.

There were no spirits here.

Nothing but darkness and a terribly foreboding feeling.

He grit his teeth. He would not be afraid; his spirit was strong.

He pushed forwards blindly.

He had to be close now, Anthos had to be close.

Child. You have come to the realm of darkness seeking something that does not exist.

The boy ignored the demonic voice, pressing forwards.  He could feel its blackness, its terrible spirit following his path.

Boy! Your search will yield nothing but pain.  Come to me.  I will give you a place among the darkness.  You will know power.  You will know riches beyond your wildest dreams.

The boy snarled, I come in search of Anthos! You will not sway me kavkov!

You will have power over life and death itself.  Do you understand what I am offering you child?

The boy kept pushing forwards, You offer me nothing but darkness and deceit! I will not dishonour my family! I will not dishonour the kala!

The demonic entity laughed, it was high-pitched and mocking, Your life will be hard boy.  Your life will be filled with much pain and suffering.  It would be so much easier to stay here.  Do you know the kala will cast you out? They will take your tahlei from you as payment for your sins. You will never be a true Centaurian!

The boy’s face contorted with pain and anger, Lies! Filthy lies! I will reach Anthos and you will not stop me!

The kavkov reached out its tentacles in search of him – to grab him and pull him away from his goal.  He kicked out at it, shoving away.

Pushing forward desperately, he reached out of the blackness and into –

Blue.

Blue filled his vision.

Surrounded him.

He felt safe, warm, and at peace.

Anthos!” He gasped in awe.

Hello boy.

The young Centaurian jumped, Holy shit!

Anthos laughed, Not the usual reaction I receive, but you’ve always been a spirited boy.

The boy blushed, Uh – sorry?

You are strong to have reached me.  The kavkov are – persuasive.

I would not believe their lies.

They speak only of hardships and pain.

So – so all that was true?

Your fate is your own, child, there are only possibilities.  Would you like to know what I see?

Yes! Uh – yes, please.

You, my child, are not a land dweller.  Your future is in the stars.

Out in space?!

The spirit laughed, Yes.  Should you choose that life – as I believe you will – there will be hardships and pain, but you will carve a name for yourself, a life.  You will find family that is not of your blood, but whom you would give your last breath to, were it your choice.  You will become a great leader and find love in an unexpected person.  Out in the stars is your destiny and it is there you will thrive.

The boy was humbled by the spirit’s predictions, Thank you for your wisdom Anthos.

You are welcome, young one.  Don’t ever lose your spirit boy, that fire inside you is what makes you who you are.  Go now, I will see you again when your end comes.

The boy opened his eyes.  The fire in front of him a warm comfort.

“Rise, Yondu Udonta.  For you are a man.  Welcome him kala!”

There was a roar from the crowd and Yondu smiled.


 

“That were a proud moment fer me.  I became a man in ma kala.  We was never permitted to speak o’ tha rite but each story were written in our records, it don’t much matter now.  The elders said I’d never be a true Centaurian, but Anthos believed in me an’ in tha end that’s all what matters.  If the spirit of tha damn planet accepts me for who I is, what’s a bunch o’ stuck up ol’ farts opinions? Nothin’ that’s what.”

“Did what that demon thingy say happen?” Peter asked, quietly.

“Aye, it did. You’re one of tha tribe ‘til ya drunkenly piss on some ancient relic thingy.  Then they kick ya ta tha curb like space junk.”

“They really cut your fin off?”

Tahlei.” Yondu corrected, “It’s a bone crest, the hakta is only possible wit’ it, I – I can’t explain it really, it’s like a connection wit’ eveythin’ around ya.  Without it s’like bein’ blind.”  Peter watched as he stared at nothing. “Worst pain I ever felt.”

Peter hugged his side, “I’s sorry Yondu.”

“Did ya do it?” Peter shook his head. “Then what ya sorry fer?”  He bumped the boy lightly, “Hey s’alright, I got me this fancy one.” He tapped his fin with a knuckle. “S’even better than tha flesh ‘n’ bone – hard wired straight inta ma cranium.”

“It’s really better?”

“Yup.”

The lie came easily off his tongue.  It wasn’t the same, the connection was still there but fainter – less vivid – and every day he still felt phantom pains down his back from where his tahlei should be, but the boy didn’t need to know that.  He’d heard enough shitty stuff to last a lifetime and the poor little bugger was only nine.

“I’m glad they chucked you out.” Peter yawned. “Otherwise I’d’ve never been bo – picked up and I’d prolly be in school or something boring.” He yawned again, “I – like it – here.” He was barely awake when he murmured, “Love – you – Yondu.”

The man blinked down at the snoring boy, “I –” he snorted and shook his head.  Yondu shuffled down and closed his eyes.  Pulling the boy closer, he smiled, “You ain’t awake ta hear this boy, but you an’ them idjits across tha hall are the best thing that e’er happened ta me.  Anthos were right, my place has always been among tha stars an’ whether I like it or not y’all’s ma family an’ I love ya’s all ya.”

Five seconds later, he was snoring and Peter snuggled in further and smiled.

Chapter Text

Halli palmed her com button, “Petey! It’s time fer dinner boy, where you at?”  She stared up into the open vent above her, the Bridge was quiet, only the night shift crew were present, plus Yondu, Kraglin, and herself.

“I’s comin’ Halli, just a couple more corners.”

She shook her head, “Tha boy enjoys tha vents much more’n any sane person should.”

Kraglin shrugged, “It’s quiet in there, no crew ta bug ya.  Kid can just be hisself.”

Yondu chuckled, “Ya speakin’ from experience there Krags?”

The Hraxian grinned, “I’m tha only other crew member skinny enough ta get in them vents.  Use’ta be ma job a’fore tha boy were picked up.”

Peter’s head popped out the vent, “Hey guys!”

Halli took in the boy’s soot covered face, “Christ on a cracker boy, you filthy!”  She held up her arms for him to slither into.  He dropped onto her leather clad arms, sending up a cloud of dust particles.  Halli coughed and set him on his feet.  Chuckling, she looked him over, “Ya look like a lil chimney sweep.”

Yondu snickered, “I ain’t got a flarkin’ clue what that is, but he ain’t goin’ no place ‘til he’s clean.  Hals, take ‘im fer a shower, we’ll see ya’s in the mess.”

“Aye, Cap’n.”


 

As soon as she palmed the bio-lock on her room Halli pointed to the bathroom, “Go’on in.”

Peter grinned, gap in his teeth making Halli smile – he’d lost his two front teeth in the last week, Yondu was spitting mad about it, complaining that he’d have to get the boy metal replacements, until Halli had explained that was a normal part of Terran biology and that he would grow new ones – “Thanks Halli!” He replied cheerfully, as he shut the door.

She yanked on her cupboard door to grab him some spare clothes she kept in her room, thumping it once with her fist in the corner to get it to open.  Retrieving them, she set them down on her night stand and picked up a holo-pad to submit her shift report.

Three consoles on the Bridge had a maintenance check, with one of the consoles requiring a replacement actuator in the holo projector.  One of the navs had complained about the screen flickering when there was a surge of power.  She scribbled it into the report attaching a requisition form for the part.  As she wrote out other maintenance she’d done during her shift she began to hum.

Sending off the report, she pulled up the rookie reports, trolling through them and fixing any mistakes and adding her own notes before shooting them over to Yondu’s inbox.

Her humming turned into singing, “Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee! A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be.  Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo! Good lucks will rubs off when I shakes ‘ands wif you, or blow me a kiss and ‘at’s lucky too. Now as the ladder o’ life ‘as been strung, you may fink that a sweep’s on tha bottommost rung.  Though I spends me time in the ashes an’ smoke, in this ‘ole wide world, there’s no ‘appier bloke.  Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee! A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can –”

“Wow!”

Her head shot up and she turned bright purple, “H – hey Petey. Ya done?”

The boy stood there, towel around his hips, grinning at her, and dripping a puddle onto the cabin floor, “That was amazing! I didn’t know you could sing!”

She scrunched up her nose, “I can’t really –”

“Bullshit! That was incredible!”

She gave him an exasperated look, “Language Peter!”

He had the common sense to at least look a little bit sorry.

She nodded at the clothes on the night stand, “Git yerself dressed or we’ll be missin’ dinner.”


 

Peter bounded ahead of Halli as they entered the mess.  He ran straight up to where Yondu and Kraglin were sitting, climbing up onto the chair next to Kraglin, “Did you know Halli can sing – like, real good! Real, real good!”

The two exchanged a look.

Kraglin shrugged, “News to me.”

Yondu stuck a fork into a substance that resembled mashed potatoes.  It stuck straight up and the man scratched the side of his nose with a sharp thumb nail, “Can say I’ve ever heard her do nothin’ like that boy an’ I known that woman fer nigh on ten year.”

He hopped up and down on the chair excitedly, “Yeah, well she’s amazing!”

Halli appeared, placing a tray down in front of Peter then sliding into the seat next to Yondu.  She began to eat her rations.  Looking up, slowly finishing her mouthful, and swallowing, “Petey why’re these two lookin’ at me like I grown an extra head.”

Yondu leered at her, “Quill tells us ya got a gift girly.”

Halli glared at Peter, “Peter Jason Quill! You little shit!”

Kraglin sensing an opportunity, smirked wryly, “Go’on Hals give us a tune.”

She levelled her glare at the Hraxian, “Oh screw you Krags!”

He snorted, “You wish.”

She shivered, “My darkest nightmare.”

“Bitch.”

“Bastard.”

“Reptile.”

“Skinny lil troll.”

Kraglin opened his mouth and Yondu reached forwards and stuffed his fork in it, “Pipe down, both ya’s.”

Peter looked confused, “But Halli, you’re so good.”

“No, I ain’t.”

“Yes, you is.”

“No I –”

“Oh fer – it don’t matter! Just eat yer dinner!” Yondu snarled. “Surrounded by star-damned children, I swear.” He muttered, pulling his fork from Kraglin’s gob and shoving it roughly into his food.

None of them felt like running from the arrow, so they did the same.


 

After putting Peter to bed, Halli retired to her own cabin. Next, she took a shower and painted her toe nails – something else she always did but no one knew about.  She kicked up her feet and pulled up the rest of the reports she needed to finish.

She looked up suddenly when she heard her lock disengage.  She clicked her tongue quickly, Sic’tar shooting from the bag hanging on her night stand.  When the door opened, Yondu went cross-eyed, staring at the deadly ball of metal.

Halli huffed, rolling her eyes, she sent it flying back to its pouch and looked at the captain expectantly, “Ya know, knockin’ is common in tha civilized world.” She drawled.

“It’s my star-damned ship. I can go where I please!”

“Polite even.” She continued, ignoring his outburst.

The older man rolled his eyes, “I ain’t got a polite bone in ma body.”

“An’ it’s as plain as you is blue, Cap’n.” She looked at the Centaurian – if she didn’t know the man she’d say he looked almost – awkward, “Did ya need somement boss or are ya plannin’ on settin’ up shop in ma doorway?”

That earned her a glare and he stepped inside, the door whooshing shut behind him.  She raised an eyebrow in question.

“Here.” He said gruffly, shoving an object in her direction.

She stared at the offered object in awe.

“Picked it up a while back. The guy said it was called a git-ar?” Yondu shrugged, “I just thought it were nice what wit’ it bein' black an’ tha red an’ white pinstripin’.  Some Terran music thing ‘parently.”

“Cap’n – I – I ain’t seen a guitar fer 20 years.  My Momma used to play –”

“Well now you got one o’ yer own.” He replied, shaking it at her.

She looked at him in the eyes, “Are you serious?”

He huffed, “Would I be offerin’ it if I weren’t.” He shoved it in her direction again.

This time she took it reverently, “Cap’n – this is –”

She placed it down on the bed next to her and shot up grabbing the shorter man around the neck and pulling him into a crushing hug, “Thank you!”

“This – how ya – repay someone – where – yer – from? – Crushin’ – ‘em – ta death?” He gasped, pushing against her stomach.

She released him, “Shit! Sorry.”

He grinned up at her, “Yer a idjit.”

She stooped to peck him on the cheek, “Seriously Yondu – thank you – ya have no idea what this means ta me.”

He shoved her away gently – he was absolutely not blushing damnit! – “Bah, ya can keep yer sentiment, woman.”

She punched him on the shoulder lightly, “Ah, you love it.” She sat down on the bed, pulling the guitar into her lap, “Seriously, Cap’n, thank you.”

He grinned, heading to the door, “Ya said tha’ already.”

“This is the part where ya say ‘yer welcome’, ya know.”

He chuckled, shaking his head, “Whatever girly. See ya later.”

The door clicked shut and the lock engaged.

Halli looked down at the guitar, smiling, “Yeah. See ya.”

Chapter Text

Peter swung his legs back and forth on the huge chair he’d pulled up next to Halli’s.  He was confined to the cabin after a nasty bout of space flu, he was mostly fine now but his cough had worried Mazar – the resident doctor – so Yondu had put him in containment until he had the all clear.

Peter was just about to com Halli and ask to chat when she appeared at the door with a stack of datapads, claiming she had paper work to do.  Peter mostly figured she came to keep him company, it was either that or Yondu sent her to keep him out of trouble. It didn’t really matter to Peter because he loved hanging out with her, as far as he was concerned she was pretty much family at this point - like a really cool big sister.

As the boy watched her scribble on the pads, a question formed in his mind. He wriggled, wondering if he should wait until she had finished her paperwork.

Halli sighed, putting down the stylus, “Spit it out Petey ‘fore ya expire.”

He grinned, “How’d you become a Ravager?”

The half-reptilian swung her chair towards the boy, “Me? Ya wanna know my origin story?”

“You said Yondu saved your ass.  How?”

She carded a hand through her hair, “Language Petey yer too young ta cuss. He saved me from bein’ killed on some hideous backwater planet.” Propping her feet up on the desk, Halli settled in to tell her story, “Ya see I was a procurer of fine goods – ”

Peter snorted, giving her a disbelieving look.

Winking she continued, “I nicked ‘em outta people’s pockets.” She smiled at the memory, “First an’ only time I got tha jump on Yondu Udonta -"


 

 

Pickings were slim that day.

Halli had almost enough units to hitch a ride back to civilised space, she knew she just needed one big score today and she was made.

Blending into the background of the busy port, she waited patiently for something, anything to turn up.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, her final big score strode through the usual traders.

The backwater hunk of rock was a mining zone, so the port was always busy with traders and the like, occasionally they’d get pirates through, but to Halli’s knowledge those guys only ever wore blue, green, yellow, or purple.  Something to do with factions she’d heard.  She knew stealing from them was off limits, she wanted to keep both hands thank you very much.  She’d seen what happened to those what crossed a pirate – it was never pretty.

She’d seen plenty of people come and go through here.  This guy though – she gave a low, almost inaudible whistle, he meant business.

The blue skin, and red crest – though clearly cybernetic – told her he was from her father’s home system.  The Centaurian man – trailed by three other equally mean looking individuals – passed her without so much as a glance.

She quietly peeled herself away from the wall and followed.

Clearly, he was an imposing figure.  His blood red leather coat flapped around his ankles, ears and neck adorned with gold.

Halli smirked to herself, no one came here looking like that, that didn’t have nothing good to steal.

He was short, but stocky.  Tattoos looped in lazy patterns all over his chest, disappearing under his coat, suggesting they covered the rest of him equally.  He had the natural red eyes of the Centaurian race and they were sharp and calculating.

Halli swallowed heavily, this would require more skill that she possibly had but Mamma didn’t raise no quitter.  She needed a distraction, slinking off into the marketplace she searched for her contact, who would naturally provide her with an ample distraction if it meant more units in his greedy hands.

Like magic she procured a ‘stolen’ object, her contact shouting and making a fuss.  The local security gave chase and she darted through the crowd straight towards her target.  She collided with an extremely solid chest, slipping her hands expertly into his coat and grabbing whatever was there.

Her fingers grazed off a thin object and she slipped it free.  Within seconds she was bouncing back and sprinting off again shouting a hurried, “Sorry!” over her shoulder.

“Tha flark?”  She heard in response and laughed.

Today was a good day.

She easily slipped the security and made it to the top of one of the buildings in the square where she made camp.  Dropping the ‘stolen’ jewellery she pulled her real prize from her tattered black cloak.

It was an arrow.  About the length of her arm, the tip and tail pulsed with its natural bioluminescent red.  She realised gleefully what she had stolen.

A yaka arrow.

She fingered the shaft, admiring its beauty.

A yaka arrow was incredibly rare, responding to high frequency sonic whistles of the person who wields it.

This would get her off this planet and then some.

Wrapping her fingers securely around the shaft, Halli bent down to pick up the jewellery, shoving it in her cloak pocket.

As she was straightening the arrow’s tip and tail flared red and it shot off.

With her still hanging onto it.

Halli held on for dear life as it swooped off the four-storey building and into the busy street.  Managing to get her feet on the ground she dug in with the heels of her boots hoping to stop its wild flight.  It was useless though as the arrow shot around a corner, yanking her off her feet again.  It was heading towards the local bar at break-neck speed, her shoulders hit people left and right despite their attempts to move out of the way of the terrified reptilian.

The arrow was heading straight for the front door, Halli will never admit the shriek she let out, as she realised it was going through that door with or without her.

The very wooden, very closed door.

Instincts kicked in and she raised her feet.  The impact jarred every bone in her body, she shook her head as the arrow came to a halt next to its owner.

The Centaurian looked her up and down before uttering the same sentence in that gravelly tone, “Tha flark?”

Seconds of dead silence ticked by and suddenly the room erupted into chaos.

The shouting and shooting began and Halli let go of the arrow and called out her Sic’tar, she sure as flark weren’t dying here.

Not today.

She stood side by side with the man she stole from and helped kill every last person in the bar.

After the noise died down, the pair faced off against each other, an arrow between her eyes, and all 20 Sic’tar hovering over the Centaurian’s vital organs.

“Seems we’s come to a stand-off girl.”  A vicious smirk showing gold and metal canines appeared on his face.

Halli swallowed eyeing him carefully, her eyes found the Ravager patch at his chest and she cussed up a blue streak in her father’s native tongue, “Red. Flarkin’ pirates also wear red. Exactly how many colours I gotta be wary of?”

A rake thin man with a terribly cut mohawk to her left spoke up, “You’d have more luck lookin’ fer tha patch.”

The Centurian’s eyes rolled, “Can it Krags.”

“Aye Cap’n.”

Halli eyed the man in front of her incredulously, “Cap’n?!” She closed her eyes briefly before looking at him again. “Juuust flarkin’ great. A Ravager Cap’n. I stole from a flarkin’ Ravager Cap’n. Ma own idiocy astounds me.” She pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed, “Look – just – let me leave an’ I ain’t gunna have ta gut tha lot o’ ya like fish.”

“Hey now, we’s just havin’ a friendly chat ain’t we boys?”

Halli’s eyes glanced off the three figures that he’d come to port with, all standing, all without a scratch on them. Shit. Shit shit shit. Outnumbered and clearly out gunned.  She refocused her attention on the man wielding the arrow, “I ain’t gunna die here.  Not today.  If ya kill me, Imma take your blue ass wit’ me.”

To her surprise the Centaurian laughed, “Got a set o’ balls on ya dun cha girl? Got some real talent wit’ dem Sic’tar too.” At her surprised looked he grinned sinisterly, “Yeah, I know what they is. I know what you is too. I thought tha Orosians were gone.” He looked her over, “Mind you, ya ain’t a full blood neither, yer at least half somement else.  What is tha’ I wonder?” She opened her mouth to tell him it wasn’t any of his business and to fuck off and die, when he shook his head, “Dun matter none.  What’s your name?”

“S’Tarnay. Hallifax S’Tarnay.”

“Well now, it’s right nice ta meet a young lady from tha same system as me. Name’s Yondu. Yondu Udonta.”

The blood immediately drained from Halli’s face.  Flark, not only had to go and steal from a Ravager Captain, it just had to be the most terrifying one this side of the known galaxy.

“From that look, I takes it ya heard ma name in passin’.”

“Yeah,” She replied, remembering a tale a fellow drifter had spun about the youngest most blood thirsty captain of the Ravager clan, he’d told her about a man who’d stolen from Yondu, and exactly what Yondu had done to said thief, the image of a man strung up by his innards in a tree still haunted her to this day.  “Ya could say that.”

Was there any point trying to talk herself out of this one?

Mamma didn’t raise no quitter.

“Still wanna kill my blue ass?”

Halli jutted out her chin defiantly, “Be a real shame to gut a man as purty as you,” the sarcasm was thick, “but as long as tha’ arrow is between ma eyes, Imma keep my Sic’tar right where they is.” She blinked slowly, “One click an’ ya’d be dead ‘fore yer lot could get a shot off.”

“One whistle an’ you as good as dead too girly.” He countered.

She smirked revealing her needle-sharp teeth, “Question then stands – which o’ us has a better reaction time? Instead o’ us tryin’ ta find tha’ out how’s about ya let me turn an’ walk outta here an’ no one gotta die.”

He stared into her eyes curiously, “How’d you git it?”

“Tha arrow?”

Yondu nodded.

Halli shrugged, “Simple distract and run.  Fein bumping into someone, in an’ out an’ whatever’s in their pockets is yours.”

“Didn’t feel a damn thing.” He murmured.

She grinned in response, “That’s kinda tha point, asshole.”

“Looks like she got tha jump on ya Boss.”

A swift whistle and the man was run through, arrow back between her eyes before she could blink her second lids.

“Problem wit’ Luther there was, man never knew when ta keep his damn trap shut. Course, that ain’t somement that’s gunna be a problem for ‘im no more.”

“Boss. We gotta go.”

“Alrigh’ keep yer mohawk on Kraggles.” Yondu searched her eyes, a slight smile hitched his lips as he found whatever it was he was looking for. “Say Hallifax? What ya reckon? Wanna be a Ravager?”


 

Halli smirked, Peter’s eyes were huge, looking at her in awe.

“So that was tha’. I wanted off that rock an’ Yondu was my ticket. Ain’t never looked back.”

“You seriously stole the arrow?”

“Yup.” The door behind Peter slid open. “Dun believe me?” She nodded to her captain, “Ask ‘im yerself.”

Yondu leaned up against the wall, one boot casually against it, arms crossed, “What you’s two sniggerin’ about?”

“The time I attempted ta steal from tha biggest, baddest, pirate cap’n in the galaxy.”

Peter leaned forward on his seat eagerly, “Did she really steal your arrow?”

Yondu chuckled, “’Bout – what – 10 years ago? Backwater planet out on tha rim o’ known space.  We had a shady deal an’ tha client didn’t pay up, so we’s paid ‘em a visit.  Things were heatin’ up a bit an’ so I decided ta scare ‘em a bit.  Imagine my surprise when ma arrow didn’t loop lazily outta its holster but came crashin’ through tha front door wit’ a girl attached ta tha other end.” He slung an arm across Halli’s shoulders, “Tha stones on this girl – ta steal from me?” A rare genuine smile crossed his face when their eyes met, “I knew she was Ravager material.”

Halli scratched an eyebrow, her face going slightly violet at the compliment, “To be fair, I didn’t actually know who I was stealin’ from at tha time.  All’s I saw was a chubby blue bastard, decked out in gold, leather, an’ fur an’ I knew whatever was in his coat was gunna be worth enough ta get me off that star-forsaken rock.”

The comment earned her a hearty smack in the back of the head, “Oi! I ain’t chubby.”

Halli stifled a snigger, “Course not sir.”  She winked at Peter, who giggled behind a grubby hand.

“Aside from tha mouth on ‘er, you’s lookin’ at tha best pick pocket, this side o’ Knowhere.”

Halli raised a brow, then cheekily commented, “Careful Yondu, that sounded suspiciously like a compliment.”

That earned her a snarl, “Don't'chu call me Yondu me girl! I’m tha flarkin’ cap’n o’ this boat, show some damn respect! I could brig ya fer that.”

Halli turned to face him, they were almost nose to nose, “But ya won’t ‘cause there ain’t no one ‘round but Petey here, an’ ya love that I ain’t afraid o’ ya temper.  Keeps ya on yer toes.”

The Centurian grumbled something under his breath, “I oughta space ya but ya one o’ only five people on this ship wit’ an IQ higher than ya shoe size.”

Halli grinned leaning up to kiss him on a stubbled blue cheek, “Love you too Cap’n.”

The tips of Yondu’s pointed ears went a dark navy before he shook himself and snarled at the two of them, “Ain’t chu both got somewhere ta be? Go on git! Outta ma cabin ‘fore I start whistlin’!”

Halli pulled herself up off the chair grabbing Peter’s little hand, she blew a mocking kiss to Yondu and headed for the door, “Come on kid. Today, Imma teach you how'ta cook.”

“Just wait a flarkin’ second he’s on –” The door shut with a whoosh of air, “containment.”

Chapter Text

Kraglin held up a part in his hands, “All’s ya gotta do is take this to Vlad down in the engine room.  Where he is, is a bitch ta get to so please Peter, be real careful.”

Peter took the part from the man, shoving it in his backpack, “Ok. You got it Krags.”

The Hraxian held out a hand containing three little purple Rad-X pills.  Peter took them, swallowing them dry.

“That’ll give ya an hour and a half Pete.  After that you’ll start sucking down rads right quick.  Ya should have plenty of time ta get down there an’ back up.”

The boy nodded, taking off into the ship.  He wound through the corridors and into the main elevator.

Peter didn’t mind doing jobs like this.  As he got to know the Eclector, he’d turned into a runner of sorts.  If he wasn’t in the vents, on scrubbing duty, or helping someone out, he was delivering different things all over the ship.

The elevator slid open and he hopped out on the engineering level.  He’d spent a lot of time down here, helping the crew, so he’d like to think he knew it pretty well by now.  He didn’t go down into the engine room much on account of the radiation liquifying the insides of most soft skinned species.

Vlad and the other radiation tolerant aliens worked down there the most.  The thrum of the engine was much louder down here, it required most to raise their voice to just under a shout to be heard.

He headed through to the ladder that would take him down to the engine room, but before he could begin the climb he was stopped by a purple skinned rookie, her antenna flickered as she looked down at the boy, “Ya taken rad pills Quill? Can’t let ya down there if yer insides are gunna start meltin’ on us.”

He nodded, “Kraglin gave me three, 15 minutes ago.”

The girl released him, “No problem.  Make sure ya keep an eye on yer time.”

Peter smiled, “I will. Thanks!”

He swung himself down onto the ladder and disappeared from view.  He went slowly and carefully not wanting to slip and fall.  Though there was a cage around the ladder to stop people falling off it backwards it was still a long way down and Peter liked his bones exactly where they were thank you very much.

He hopped off the ladder; the engine noise was deep and throbbing down here, it pulsed through his body like a giant heartbeat.  He pulled up his wrist-pad checking to see where Vlad was at.

The man was two levels below Peter, right at the base of the ship.  The boy walked around the gangway, the ship’s engine pulsing a bright green behind the energy shielding.

When he’d first come onto the ship and Halli was showing him around, he’d touched the energy shielding, the reptilian had pulled his hand away before any real damage could have happened but he still ended up with bad burns on his palm.  He stared down at the scarring, shaking his head, he’d been stupid back then – wanting to experience everything – he’d learned the hard way that some things bit back.

He approached the next ladder, swinging himself down onto the rungs, he looked up at the engine core as he climbed down.  So much raw power harnessed in ways most Terrans never even dreamt about.  His kind was rare out in the black, being a non-contacted planet and all.

He knew they were swinging close by his system soon for a risky job.  Maybe he’d ask Halli to get some new music for him.  He knew as soon as they were close enough she’d be connecting her equipment to swipe anything and everything she could from Terra, as she always did – according to Yondu, anyway.

Focused on other things instead of what he was doing, his foot missed a rung and he slipped.  As he tried to regain his footing his head smashed into the metal cage, the blow loosened his grip and he tumbled down the ladder. His cry of shock was swallowed by the engine noise.

Vision swimming, he attempted to catch a rung on his way down, his fingers caught on the metal yanking him to a stop instantaneously.  His shoulder made an awful popping sound and something in his wrist gave a vicious crack. Losing use of fingers, they slipped again and he tumbled to the ground below.  Bouncing off the ladder at the bottom, the momentum sent him flying backwards between a console and the wall of the ship.

Completely jammed in, with the arm that had his wrist pad on shoved uselessly behind his back, Peter struggled to move.  The pain made tears spring to his eyes and his head swam.  He realised, as his other hand reached for the com unit behind his ear that is was no longer there, black spots filled his vision.  He shouted in frustration, spotting the little piece of electronics at the bottom of the ladder.  He tried to keep his eyes open, struggling to pull himself up.  The movement wrenched his dislocated arm and the pain made him slip into unconsciousness.


 

“Kraglin!”

The Hraxian palmed his com unit distractedly as he shifted through the star charts in front of him, “What'chu want Vlad?”

“Where’s yer boy wit’ that part? I ain’t sittin’ down here all day, boy! I got other shit ta do.”

Kraglin frowned, checking his wrist, “I sent him down there 45 minutes ago. He ain’t turned up?”

“Naw, ain’t seen hide nor hair o’ tha boy.”

“Shit. Alright, I’ll chase it up.”  He pulled up Peter’s com signal and pinged it.  When there was no answer, he pulled up the locator on his wrist pad, picking up a holo pad, he slid the program across to the bigger screen.  It claimed Peter was down in the engine rooms.  He pulled up the last hour of tracking, watching the screen as the little blip moved through the ship.  It ended up at the spot where it currently said the boy was.

Frowning he tapped the screen.

That can’t be right.

The time lapse showed that Peter hadn’t moved for 30 minutes.

Kraglin swore in his own language, getting up and moving over to where Yondu was sitting in his chair, feet swung lazily up over the side scanning his holo pad for jobs.

“Cap’n?”

The man looked up, “What is it Kraglin?”

“I sent Peter down ta deliver a part ta Vlad around 45 minutes ago. Just got a com from Vlad sayin’ he ain’t turned up. I tracked Peter’s wrist pad and it says he’s down in tha engine rooms.  I commed him and he ain’t answerin’.”

“You approaching a point Obfonteri?”

“His tracker ain’t moved in 30 minutes Cap’n.” He turned the holo pad to face Yondu. “I think he might’a hurt hisself.”

Yondu cursed, flinging his holo pad across the Bridge and collecting some poor nav on the way, “Why didn’t ya start wit’ that?!” He snarled, getting up and striding out of the room.  He slammed a hand onto the com unit in his jacket, “Halli! Get yer ass up ta tha Bridge.  Hold down tha fort fer a bit.”  He didn’t wait for an answer.  Turning to Kraglin he held out a hand for the holo pad, “How many Rad-X pills ya give tha boy?”

“Three Cap’n.  Should’ve given him an hour an’ a half ‘fore he stars takin’ in radiation.”

Yondu checked his wrist pad, “Means we got 30 minutes ta find tha boy an’ git ‘im outta tha hot zone.  Ya got more o’ them pills Krags?”

The Hraxian tipped two into the Centaurian’s hand, he swallowed two himself before shoving the bottle in a pocket.  They stepped into the elevator as Kraglin’s com beeped.

“Halli –”

“What in tha fuck is goin’ on? I got a bunch o’ nav’s tellin’ me you’s two booked it outta here like yer asses were on fire, one o’ them got a nasty cut about his eye ‘cause o’ a holo pad! I can’t find nufin’ wrong wit’ tha ship so what’s the hell you doin’?”

“Possible injured crew member. Do us a favour, get Mazar on tha com an’ tell ‘er ta prep a bed. We’s dunno how bad it is yet.”

“Flark! Alrigh’, keep me posted.”

“Yup.” Kraglin disconnected.

“She gonna kick yer ass when she finds out it were Quill.”

Kraglin shrugged, “She’d be down here like a shot if’in she knew an’ someone gotta watch tha Bridge.  Her flappin’ around like a idjit ‘cause tha boy got hisself hurt ain’t gonna help no one none.”

Yondu nodded, handing Kraglin the holo pad, who stowed it in a pocket.  He flicked his coat back as he stepped on the first rung of the ladder down to the engine room.  He put his hands on either side of the ladder and kicked his feet to the side letting the artificial gravity of the ship pull him down.  He landed at the bottom with a thud and moved so Kraglin could come down.

The Hraxian shook his head, if he’d tried that he would’ve somehow flarked it up, bounced down the ladder, and landed in a heap at the bottom, “Flarkin’ show off.” He muttered, slowly climbing down.

“Hurry it up Kraggles!”

The taller man huffed, “Not all o’ us spent our childhood climbin’ around in trees Cap’n. Some o’ us has ta use ladders like normal people.”

“Cheeky mutt.” Came the reply.

He thudded down next to the Centaurian and they quickly made it to the next ladder.  Kraglin pulled out the holo pad, “Reckons he’s at tha bottom o’ this ladder,” he peered over the edge, “’cept I dun see ‘im.”

“Let’s get down there an’ have a look.” Yondu slid down the ladder, his landing making something rattle against the grating under his feet.  He dropped into a crouch and picked up the com unit, “Shit! Get down here Krags I found his com unit!”

Kraglin began the climb down, he turned his head looking for anything else of Peter’s that may have gotten snagged on the ladder.  He blanched when he saw a red patch against the cage, “Cap’n? We’s got blood up here.”

“Fuck! Get down here Kraglin!”

The Hraxian skipped the last six rungs, jumping into a crouch.  Standing he immediately pulled out the holo pad.

“Boy’s got ten minutes a’fore we’s in trouble.” Yondu grunted.

“It says he’s right here!” Kraglin looked around, “I ain’t seein’ him! Cap’n do yer voodoo shit, see if ya can find ‘im.”

“It ain’t ‘voodoo shit’ Kraglin an’ it don’t work as good next ta all these rads, boy! Gets shit all jumbled.”

“Ya got’s ta try!”  His first mate said, clearly starting to panic.

“Alright!” He closed his eyes and grit his teeth.  The radiation affected the implant.  Uranium was a strong element, being so close to so much of it while using his empathic abilities caused him immense pain – not that anyone actually knew that.

His body seized up as he attempted to separate element from spirit.  Kraglin’s was warm and comforting next to his own, the engine core burned brightly to his right and – there! – Peter’s was to his left and – in an enormous amount of pain.

Yondu bit his tongue until he tasted blood, gasping he opened his eyes, “Next ta tha console.” He croaked, pointing a shaking finger.

Kraglin dropped the holo pad, racing over to where Yondu had pointed.

“Oh fuck! Here he is. Peter! Peter!” Kraglin turned to Yondu, “He’s out.”

Reaching down and lifting Peter’s head so that he could pull the boy out, he winced as his hand came away wet.  He dragged the boy out, hissing as he noticed the terrible angle his arm was at.

Yondu stepped over and picked him up.  Walking quickly back to the ladder, he swung the boy gently over a shoulder as Kraglin listed his injuries to Mazar over the com.

“Gash ta tha back o’ the head, dislocated shoulder, his wrist looks broken, his spine and legs look ta be ok but, we dunno how far he fell – yeah, we’re about five minutes out – ok, yeah I’ll tell him.”  He looked up at Yondu, “She says ta support his head when we get off tha ladders an’ try not ta move the shoulder too much, Mazar reckons it could damage it more.”

Yondu grunted, feeling a mean headache coming on.  He quickened his climbing, they had minutes to get Peter back up to engineering, otherwise the boy would be adding rad poisoning to his list of injuries.

Once they were back onto the deck of engineering, Yondu repositioned Peter bridal style and charged through the halls, snarling at anyone who got in their way.  Stepping into the elevator he all but roared at some rookies, “Git out!”

Kraglin punched the button that would get them to the floor where the med bay was.

He watched in silence as Yondy hefted the boy up a little further in his arms, “Come on Quill, ya gotta wake up boy.  We’s gotta make sure them brains ain’t any more scrambled than usual.”

The Hraxian cursed.  This was his fault.  He shouldn’t have sent Peter down there.  He closed his eyes and growled at himself.

“Who took the jam outta your doughnut?” Peter croaked, looking at the angry first mate.

“Peter!” The taller man stooped down to his level, “I’m sorry bud, this were ma fault.”

Peter coughed and shook his head, groaning as it jostled the gash on his head, “I weren’t – payin’ – payin’ attention.  Nobody’s fault but mine bro.”

The word stopped Kraglin short and he flushed with pride.

Peter thought of him as his brother?

“Ya ok son?” Yondu asked.

“Not really – everything hurts.”

“Ya fell down a ladder an’ wedged yerself inta a corner. ‘S gunna feel shit fer a while.’

“That sucks.”

“Ya had me worried sick Peter.  When Vlad called an’ I couldn’t get ya on tha com, I thought ya’d gone an’ fallen inta tha engine.”

“Com fell outta ma ear when I slipped.”

The elevator pinged and the three of them moved out into the ship.

When they entered the med bay Mazar pointed a gangly arm to a bed in the corner, “Pat’im’o’er’thare.”

Yondu laid the boy down on the bed, “Doc’ll fix ya up real quick dun ya worry son.”

Peter groaned, “Sit me up for a sec? Vlad still needs that part Cap’n.”

Yondu sat the boy up and Kraglin pulled his backpack off gently.

“Can you take it to him? He’s prolly still got a ton of other stuff to do today.”

Yondu grinned, “Sure kid.”

Kraglin lay him back down gently, “Cap’n? Da’ya mind if I stay wit’ ‘im fer a bit?”

Yondu rolled his eyes, “Yer goin’ soft Kraggles.”

The Hraxian glared, “I ain’t! Just gotta make sure ‘e ain’t gunna scream tha place down when Mazar shoves that shoulder back in.”

Yondu looked unconvinced, “Ah-huh. Sure Krags, whatever ya say.  Just make sure ya make yer time up, ain’t goin’ easy on ya ‘cause yer first mate.”

“Wouldn’t ‘pect ya to Cap’n.”

Yondu waved the part at Peter, “I’ll make sure Vlad gets this, ya just get yerself better boy.” He walked toward the door, “An’ son? Be more careful next time yeah?”

“Yes’sir.”

Kraglin threw himself in a chair near the bed as the doctor came over, tutting at Peter’s injuries, "Ya'rally'fooked'yersalf'oop'kad."

Peter glanced at Kraglin who shrugged helplessly. Mazar was an incredible doctor, she could put you back together with spit, tape, and sheer stubborn will alone.  The only down side was, no one ever knew what the fuck she was saying.

“Thanks for staying Krags.” Peter said softly.

Kraglin grinned, the florescent lights in the med bay glinting off his metal teeth, “No problem bro.

Chapter Text

“This,” Yondu said, throwing his arms out, “is Knowhere.”

“Knowhere?”

“Yeah, ‘s what it’s called boy.” Halfnut chuckled, elbowing the kid down the ramp.

Halli cuffed the Ravager in the back of the head as she passed, “Knowhere’s in tha skull of some ancient celestial. ‘S a mining colony.” She leaned down to the boy’s level, “An’ it ain’t safe boyo, so you’s stick like glue ta us, ya got it?”

Peter nodded nervously.

“Ya’ll know tha drill, do what ya’s please, try not ta get yerselves arrested an’ be back on tha ship by 0900 tomorra, we ain’t comin’ back here fer at least a month so make sure you’s back or ya’s will be findin’ yerselves a new crew ta run wit’.”  He waved his hand and the crew dispersed like flies.

Yondu, Kraglin, and Halli headed down a shady looking street packed with vendors and stalls, Peter ran after Halli, slipping his hand into hers.

“This here’s tha marketplace. Lots o’ shady backroom deals down here. Krags’ got a list o’ parts he be needin’ an’ Cap’n’ll be lookin’ fer trinkets an’ tha like.  We’s just along for tha ride.” She winked at the boy, “Ya see anythin’ ya like ya lemme know ok?”

Peter smiled up at her, he wasn’t old enough to earn a wage yet, but Halli told him he could work anything he bought off by doing some jobs for her.

Halli flicked a cigarette out of a packet and lit it, “Man it’s good ta be off tha ship.  Ain’t allowed ta smoke in there, Cap’n’s orders an’ all.  Sometimes I can sneak one if I’m lucky.” She winked again and put her fingers to her lips in a shushing motion.  Peter giggled.

Kraglin stopped at a vendor and began haggling over the price of some engine parts.  Yondu flitted off to the stall across and began picking up little things that caught his eye.

Halli shook her head fondly, “Man’s a terrible horder.  At least tha shit is cute, I guess.”

Peter grinned, “They’s all over the place in his cabin, I’m always sitting on something.”

Halli chuckled, “I know, right? E’ery time we’s has a meetin’ them fricking things is always everywhere.  The ones on his fairy lights are right pretty but.” She nudged him playfully, “Dun tell him I said his trinkets are pretty, he’d ‘ave ma head.”

They moved forwards when Yondu and Kraglin did.

“What do you usually do when you come off the ship?” Peter asked as he watched Yondu bounce a trinket off some stall owner’s head.  Obviously not cheap enough for his liking.

“Me? Oh, nothing really. I just follow these two around an’ make sure they dun get inta too much trouble, sometimes I’ll go an’ have a drink, maybe have a bet on the fights that go on down below, occasionally participate if ‘m feelin’ rowdy.  Sometimes I’ll have a list o’ parts I need.  If we’s on one o’ them fancy planets I’ll get ma hair done, maybe get ma nails did.  Just ‘cause you’s a Ravager don’t mean ya have ta look like a pile o’ crap. Gotta spend ma units on somement.” She shrugged. “Nothin’ much else really.”

“You don’t visit them other places like a lot o’ tha crew do?”

“Tha whorehouses?” Halli laughed, “Nah, that ain’t my thing, boy.  I just – I’m different.”

“Different how?”

Damn Petey!  Tha’s a personal question.”

Peter blushed, “Sorry.”

“No, no, it’s ok.  You’s just curious I guess.”  She looked at her two superiors – her family – working their magic and she smiled, “I got a bad case o’ that ‘sentiment’ Yondu’s always harpin’ on about.  I gots’ta really care fer a man a’fore I do all that icky stuff.” She scrunched up her nosing, making Peter laugh.

“Like – like kissin’ and – and fuckin’?”

Halli’s jaw dropped, “Peter Jason Quill! Where in tha hell ya hear that word?”

Peter blushed, eyes flitting to Yondu and then Kraglin quickly, before turning back to Halli, “Some o’ tha crew say it sometimes.”

“Yeah, well that ain’t a nice word, don’t chu be sayin’ it.” She sighed, “But yeah – ta answer ya question – that stuff.”

“So ya got’s ta be in love?”

“Yeah Petey, that’s just some people work, bud.”

“You think that’s how I work?”

She shrugged, “Honestly boy, I dunno. I guess ya’ll figure that out when you’s old enough.”

“When’s that?”

She sighed giving the boy an exasperated look, “Never.”

Halli.”

“When you’s 18 is when you’s fully grown on Terra, so then.”

Peter nodded and they moved on through the market.

Yondu dropped back a bit to be in step with the pair.  He produced a little bobble-headed dog, “Cute, ain’t it?”

Peter smiled and Halli chuckled.

“Ya need ta stop collectin’ so much crap, Cap’n.” She poked the dog in the head, watching it bounce, “That one is pretty cute though.  What else ya –” She trailed off slowing to a stop as she looked at a sign.  She turned to the Centaurian wide-eyed, “Cap’n! It’s a book store! That weren’t here last time we’s came through!”

“What’chu wanna go in there for?”

“A’cause it’s a book store Cap’n.  I ain’t seen a real book wit’ real pages fer – Lordy – fer years.

Yondu rolled his eyes, “Alrigh’. If it means that much ta ya.”  He turned, “Kraglin!”

The Hraxian wandered over, “Aye, sir?”

“We’s goin’ in here.”

Kraglin peered at the sign, squinting a little – why would the man not admit he needed glasses, Yondu would never know – “It’s’a book store.  Why’s we need ta go in there?”

He nodded at Halli and Peter, “’Cause they want to.”

The taller man shrugged, “Alright.  Maybe they got some o’ them novels ya don’t read, wit’ them glasses ya don’t have.” His tone was teasing, which earned him a hearty punch to the arm.

“Shut yer gob Kraggles ‘fore I shut it for ya.”

They entered the shop and Halli turned to Kraglin, “Keep an eye on Peter will ya?”

He nodded, smiling slightly when the boy slipped his hand into his and dragged him off in the direction of some colourful covers that looked like comics.

Something caught Yondu’s eye, “Imma –” he trailed off, wandering into a section filled with trashy novels.

Halli took a deep breath, “Lord, I missed that smell.”  She strolled around, picking up various books that caught her eye, all different languages and genres.  Once she’d worked her way through the front of the shop, she dumped a pile onto the counter and spoke to the tiny woman behind the register, “I’ll be takin’ those, but first I wanna look back there.”

“Of – of course – d – dear.” She replied nervously, eyeing the Ravager patch on her arm.

Halli sighed, “We ain’t here ta rob ya.” She produced her credit chit, “We’s honest folk,” she smirked, “sometimes.”

The woman smiled, still a little nervous, “Well that’s nice, dear.  You go on and have a look.”

Halli nodded, giving the woman her most charming smile, “Thank ya.”

The section at the back was marked ‘rare books’, Halli stepped through the archway and gasped.  Racing over excitedly to a section marked ‘Terra’ she dove in fishing out a number of books, ‘1984’, ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, ‘Huckleberry Finn’, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ – she squealed in delight, ‘The Complete Works of Shakespeare’. She held the armful of books, thrilled.

She wasn’t even sure she could remember how to read English properly anymore, it had been so long, but damnit, if she wasn’t going to try.  She looked through a few of the other sections and something caught her eye, it was very old – stupid old – and leather bound.  She pulled it out, Centaurian runes were plastered across the front.

She struggled to recall what the captain had taught her so long ago. Kala – she knew that one – it meant tribe.  Something, tribe, something – damn – either this was a variation of Yondu’s language or he hadn’t taught her everything.

She tucked it under her arm anyway.  Who knew, maybe he could decipher it.

She returned to the counter with her spoils, “I’ll take these, please.”

“And these.” Peter placed a small pile of comic books up on the counter.

“Aww.” The woman said, “Ain’t you cute?” She looked at Halli, “This your boy?”

Halli chuckled, “Naw, he’s my baby brother.” She ruffled his hair and Peter ducked, swatting her hand away.

“He’s ma boy actually.” Yondu said, placing a small collection of novels on the counter. “Not a damn word either o’ ya.” He growled at Halli and Kraglin.

The woman looked at Yondu and then at Peter, “Son of a Ravager Captain huh?” She chuckled, ringing up Yondu’s books first. “Now I seen everything.”

“Nah, you seen everythin’ when he pays fer them books.” Kraglin replied, earning himself a swat to the back of the head.

“You’re just one big adorable family huh?” She replied, handing Yondu back his credit chit.

“Dysfunctional as hell, but yeah, somement like that.” Halli replied.  She whistled loudly when she saw the total for her purchases, but handed over her credit chit anyway.  It was worth it.

“Well, when you come back to Knowhere you know where to find me.  I’m always getting new stuff in. My name’s N’raka by the way.” She said bagging their purchases.

“Oh don’t chu worry.  As long as you have Terran books Imma be back.” Halli grinned.

“You know, I’ve never met a Terran.” N’raka replied.

Halli put her arm around Peter, “Well now ya met one Terran, one half Terran, a Centaurian, and a boring Hraxian who don’t read.”

Kraglin glared at her, “I read plenty.  They’s just mostly shift reports is all.”

N’raka laughed, “Enjoy the rest of your day.”

“We will.” Halli replied, picking up her bag, then snatching Yondu’s and tossing it to Kraglin, “What’d he buy? Trashy romance novels?”

Yondu snarled, jumping as the Hraxian held the bag high above his head, “Prolly, closet romantic this one.”

“Imma gut both ya’s.” The captain snarled, as Kraglin tossed the bag back to Halli.

“Promises. Promises.” She laughed as they left the shop. “Oh man!” She cackled, rifling through the bag before tossing it back to Kraglin. “Not just trashy romance, trashy erotica.”

Kraglin fell about laughing, handing the bag to a fuming Yondu.

Hall pouted, “Spoil sport.”

Yondu rounded on both of them, stashing the bag in one of his many pockets, “Ya breathe a word o’ this ta anyone and I’ll space ya both.”

“Relax Cap’n.” Halli said, slinging an arm around the shorter man’s shoulders, “We’s just teasin’.”

“Yeah,” Kraglin added, smiling, “we won’t say a word.  Ravager’s honour.”

Yondu rolled his eyes, “’Cause that fills me wit’ confidence.” He grumbled.

Peter grinned up at them, “That’s what family’s for.”

Chapter Text

Kraglin tried to ignore Peter’s bouncing as he tucked the boy in.  Halli was out on a solo and she usually knew how to get the boy into bed with minimal fuss.

“I ain’t tired!” The boy whined.

“Yeah, well, everyone else is tired o’ you boy, so’s time fer bed.”

Peter pouted, “Tell me a story?”

Kraglin gave him a half-hearted glare, “Nah I ain’t got no stories.”

“Sure, ya do! Everyone’s got stories bro!”

Damnit, Peter knew he would do anything the boy asked when he called him that.

Peter continued, “Like – ummm – how’d you get that big scar on yer face?”

Kraglin smirked at the memory, “That ain’t a kid friendly story – ain’t a bedtime story neither.”

“We’ll how’s about when ya joined the Ravagers?”

Kraglin blanched, “Definitely can’t tell ya that one ‘til yer older.”

Peter huffed, “What about the first time you met Yondu?”

Kraglin scratched his chin, “Yeah – yeah, ok that one’s prolly alright.”

Peter wriggled to get himself comfortable.

“Once upon a time –”

Peter snorted.

“What? That’s how stories start innit?”

Peter snickered, “Fairytales. That’s how fairytales start.”

Kraglin rolled his eyes, “Whatever. Anyway – so’s I was, I dunno, 16 er 17 when I joined tha Ravagers.  At that point tha Cap’n –”

“You can call him Yondu ya know, he ain’t here to tell you otherwise.”

Kraglin sighed heavily, “You gonna let me tell this gorram story or not?”

“Sorry.” Peter replied, not sounding the least bit sorry at all.

“Right so’s Yondu was a pilot see?  He was ‘bout - I dunno - five or so years older than me, I was a rookie doin’ all tha stuff you be doin’, vents and scrubbin’ an’ shit.  Leana was one o’ tha navs –”

“Who’s Leana?”

Kraglin chuckled, “That ain’t ma story ta tell, but she were a friend.  Just ‘bout tha only one I had on Ogord’s crew a’fore Yondu.  You’s gonna stop askin’ questions now?”

Peter nodded.

“Right so’s I was cleanin’ tha vents –”


 

Kraglin grumbled as he turned a corner, he hated this job, it was dirty and boring and he was a mechanic damnit he should be down in the hangars working on the m-ships but he had to earn that right according to the captain.

Everyone had to do the shitty jobs, had to prove they were Ravager material before getting jobs doing decent stuff.  Of course, Kraglin thought he could prove himself of the m-ships but that wasn’t how things worked around here.

He pulled up a schematic of the ship’s internals.  He was headed towards the bridge, he sighed, he wished he could be doing what he wanted like Leana was.  She was a navigator; smart, mouthy, beautiful, and batshit crazy.  If Kraglin had been into women, she would’ve been exactly his type.

She’d sort of adopted him when he started with the Ravagers, chasing away a bunch of crew members who thought it would be fun to beat up the fresh meat.  She’d even kicked someone out of the bunk below her so he could have somewhere to sleep.

She was the only friend Kraglin had had in a long time.

She spoke of another friend frequently who slept in the bunk above her, she reckoned they’d get along well.  Kraglin had never met the guy because according to Leana he’d gotten his ‘stupid ass’ in trouble with the captain and was on nights for a month.

That month ended today and Leana was pretty happy to have her friend back in the pilot seat next to her.

Kraglin just hoped she didn’t kick him to the curb because she had someone else to hang out with instead of his dull ass.  He was probably just worrying for nothing, Leana didn’t seem like the fickle type.

He crawled into the next vent, directly above the Bridge.

“Udonta!” The captain barked, “Pay attention boy!”

“’S what I’s doin’.”

“What was that?”

“Nufin’ Cap’n.”

“Your damn right nothing! Cheeky little primitive.”

“Come’on Cap’n ain’t no need fer name callin’.”

Kraglin rolled his eyes when he heard Leana’s voice; seemed she was always going toe-to-toe with the captain.  She was in the brig more than anyone else.  The idiot was actually proud of that!

Kraglin grinned, shaking his head.  He shuffled further into the shaft, trying his best not to inhale the dust raining down around him.

As he worked, he listened to Ogord tear strips off his friend.  She seemed to take it on the chin, with the occasional ‘Yes’sir’ and ‘Aye Cap’n’ thrown in, all which suggested she was listening when Kraglin knew she really wasn’t.

The noise eventually died down and he worked in silence for a while.  He was shifting further along when he heard a creaking sound.  He stopped, listening intently, when he didn’t hear it again he shook his head – must be hearing things.

The Hraxian turned in the shaft to do the other wall and the whole thing creaked and dropped.  He froze, wide-eyed.  He waited a few minutes breathing a sigh of relief when the shaft held firm.

Deciding that fuck this he wasn’t going to injure himself over some damn dust, he began thinking about how to get himself back without the whole thing collapsing around him.  He shifted a little, scooting back the way he came. He was almost there when the rusted bolts at the end of the shaft gave up.

He had time to yelp, “OH SHIT!” as he slid straight out and onto something warm and solid.

The whole thing created a racket and a cloud of dust.  The bridge went dead silent and Kraglin waved the dust away, coughing.  When he looked up, he saw a set of bemused ruby eyes staring back down at him.

“Hello handsome.” The man purred in a gravelly voice.

Kraglin blushed right to the tips of his hair.

“Holy shit! Krags, are you ok?” Leana was out of her seat and over to the pair before Kraglin could say a word to the man he was currently in the lap of.

“Been better.” He croaked, looking upside-down at his friend.

“This the man you’ve been harpin’ on about Lee? Ya didn’t tell me he was so damned adorable, even when he’s all covered in dust.”

Kraglin didn’t think his face could get any bluer.

“Look at ‘im blushin’ like a chit. Damn cute that is.”

The woman gave him an exasperated look, “Oh leave him alone Yondu.”

Kraglin stared up at the man – Oh so this was Yondu – he took in the man’s face; strong jaw with a hint of stubble, intelligent eyes, pointy ears with gold rings lining them, and a killer smirk that revealed mismatched pointy teeth – damn he was cute – smart, mouthy, gorgeous, and batshit crazy – Kraglin was in trouble.

The Hraxian swallowed heavily, “Uh – sorry I kinda landed on ya.”

Yondu gave him a half-lidded leer, “Anytime cutie.”

Leana cuffed the blue man on the back of the head, “Stop flirtin’ wit’ the boy, ya flarkin’ tease.” To Kraglin. “Come’on let’s take ya ta tha med bay, that cut on yer arm looks nasty.”

Kraglin looked down absently – and wow that was a big gash – the pain set in as soon as he saw it and he hissed through sharp metal teeth, “Shit! Yeah, ok.”

Leana looked over at the captain, “Permission ta leave tha bridge, Cap’n?”

The man nodded, clearly fighting a laugh as he watched the entire thing from the captain’s chair, “Find someone to clear this mess up while you’re at it Leana.”

The woman nodded, “Aye sir.”

Kraglin clambered awkwardly off Yondu, half yelping when the older man copped a feel of his ass.

Yondu leered, “See ya an’ them purty blue eyes later.”

Leana rolled her eyes as she took his arm, “I’m sorry about ‘im.  He’s a nasty little flirt but there’s a good guy in there somewhere – I think.”

Kraglin looked back to see the pilot watching them and then turned to Leana, chuckling awkwardly, “That could’a gone better.”

Leana shrugged, “Pro'ly.”


Peter cackled madly, “Oh man! Yondu flirts that’s –” He collapsed into a fit of laughter again. “ – so gross!”

Kraglin chuckled, “That man would fuck anything with a pulse.” Then he remembered who he was talking to and blushed, “Shit – uh – dun tell no one I telled ya that.”

Peter scrunched up his nose, “Ewww! That ain’t somethin’ I needed to know about my da – uh – Yondu.”

Kraglin caught the slip with a raised eyebrow but didn’t comment on it.  “Dun worry kid, he were a terrible flirt back in tha day, but he ain’t really like that no more.”

Kraglin stopped, thinking hard about the last time the captain really honestly flirted with someone – not that playful shit he did with him, Halli, and a few of the other crew that had known him forever – but honest proper flirting and he found he couldn’t think of a time before – about eight or ten months after Peter had come on board – after he’d – “Huh.”  The only time he ever really stopped flirting with everything that moved was when he had his eye on some – Nope!  That was wandering very close to a revelation and that was dangerous territory.  Kraglin had already made an idiot of himself once.  He wasn’t going to do it again.

“–glin?”

He snapped out of it to see Peter waving a hand in his face.  He scowled, smacking it away.

“Why are you blushing?”

“None’ya business Pete.”

“But –”

He ignored the boy, wrestling him under the covers, “Right. Ya had ya story now it time fer sleep.”

“But –”

“Naw boy, serious now, go tha flark ta sleep.”

Kraglin waved a hand and the lights went out, he walked over to the door.

“Krags?”

“What is it Pete?”

“Ya know Yon–” The boy paused. “Naw, it’s ok, now ain’t the right moment.”

“What ‘moment’? What’chu talkin’ about Peter?”

“It ain’t nothin’. Don’t worry.”

Kraglin frowned.

What the hell was he talking about? The right moment? For what?

The whole thing made Kraglin nervous.

The fuck was that boy up to?

Chapter Text

Yondu woke up with a start.

He blinked, wondering what woke him.

There was a shuffle next to his bed and he concentrated, illuminating the room in a soft red glow.  He stared at the figure next to his bed, “Peter? Go back ta bed, boy.”

The boy nodded slowly and Yondu scooted back down under his covers.

Asleep in seconds, he didn’t see the boy walk over to the cabin door and leave the room in a zombie-like shuffle.

Peter shambled slowly down the corridor, turning suddenly, he bumped into a wall.  He shuffled slowly across the wall, hand reaching blindly out in front of him.  It passed over a bio-scanner and the door slid open.  He lumbered into the room.  Sighing in his sleep, his legs hit a bed and he climbed into it, settling down and rolling close to the person who was occupying it.


 

Peter smiled as he started to wake up.

He could smell flowers, exactly like the ones on Terra.

He pushed some of the furs in Yondu’s bed away from his nose and rolled over.  He snuggled into the – cold? – body next to him, the flower smell was stronger here.

He frowned, something wasn’t right – Yondu was as hot as a furnace and he definitely didn’t smell like flowers.

There was a scream and the body next to him jumped.

Yondu didn’t scream.

Peter opened his eyes and was nose to nose with another person, gold eyes looking into his.  He shrieked which made the other person yelp.

Peter sat up and got tangled in the sheets, as he struggled to free himself he fell backwards off the bed.  He gasped as the air was knocked out of him, “Ow!” He croaked, feet next to his ears.

“Petey? Fuckin’ hell bud, ya gave me a right scare!”

He looked up between the v of his legs, “Oh – Hey Halli.  Why am I in your room?”

She stared at the boy, blinking slowly, “Uh – yer guess is as good as mine, bud. Ya weren’t here when I went ta sleep.”

Peter pulled himself upright, “I don’t remember coming in here.”

The door slid open and Kraglin was standing there with a wide-eyed look, knives drawn in both hands.  Two seconds after him, Yondu crashed into the door frame, plasma pistol in one hand, the other hand pulling at his pants which where undone, and being pulled down by the weight of his belt.

“Tha flark happened?” He snarled, looking around the room.

“We’s was just tryin’ ta figure that out.  When I woke up I was nose ta nose with Petey here, ‘cept he weren’t there when I fell asleep.  Gave me a right flarkin’ scare.”

Kraglin sighed in relief, stowing the knives in the holsters around his legs, “Good, I weren’t really in tha frame o’ mind ta deal wit’ a munity or some shit this mornin’.”  He hitched his jumpsuit higher up his hips.  He was shirtless, the arms of the jumpsuit tied at his waist and the fly was undone.   The pants were riding dangerously low on his hips and – Halli averted her eyes – she did not want to see her brother’s junk because the man was clearly not wearing underwear.

Yondu buckled his pants, they were sitting lower than usual on his hips, accentuating his chubby middle.  He flicked the safety on the pistol and shoved it in his back pocket.

Hall smothered a giggle.  He looked so normal, nothing like the big bad Ravager captain she normally saw in the halls, this Yondu was reserved for the privacy of his own cabin.

“I musta sleep walked or something.  Used to do that a lot when I was little – so my Mom reckoned – she used to find me in lots of weird places.” Peter said, scratching behind an ear.

“Yeah.” Yondu said absently.

Halli frowned, his tone was off – like he wasn’t really listening – she turned and saw why.

Yondu’s attention was solely on Kraglin, his eyes greedily drinking in every inch of exposed skin.  The Centaurian gnawed on his lip, fingers of one hand flexing like he was dying to touch the Hraxian.

Kraglin was doing much the same, his eyes roved over the tight leather pants, following the tattoos that peeked out of the top, up over Yondu’s stomach and around the layer of fat that clung to the older man’s hips.  He eyed the heavily muscled biceps where more tattoos curled around and followed them up to the tip that stopped on the side of Yondu’s neck, just behind his ear.

They locked eyes for what felt like minutes, but in reality was only seconds.

Kraglin broke eye contact first mumbling something about coffee.  Yondu didn’t say a word, just turned on his heel – the usual effect of clomping boots and the snap of a leather coat absent – and marched back over to his cabin.

Kraglin entered his own room and slammed a fist viciously into the bulkhead, “Shit!”

As soon as Yondu’s door slid closed he put his back against it, sliding slowly down with his head in his hands, “Aww hell – fuckin’ hell!”

Halli and Peter both blinked.

Halli was the first to speak, “We that was the most sexually charged moment I ever witnessed.”

“Ewww!”

“Sorry boyo.”

Peter rolled his eyes, “Well that was a massive moment.  They are so stupid! Why can’t they just admit they love each other and jump each other’s bones already? It’s so obvious!”

Hally ruffled the boy’s hair smiling sadly, “Sometimes it ain’t that easy Petey.”

Peter stared at the door, “Sure it is.  Sometimes people just need a little push in the right direction.  You just gotta find the right moment.”

Halli smiled mischievously, “What’chu up to boy?”

“Oh nothin’.  Not yet anyway.  Gotta give ‘em a chance, see if they can’t work it out themselves.”

“Well that ain’t never gonna happen.” Her grin was almost feral, “So whatever it is you’s plannin’ Pete – I’m in.”

The pair fist bumped and then went about their day.

Chapter Text

The mess was eerily silent. Peter looked around carefully.  Franh was absent – probably planet-side with the rest of the crew.  They had a skeleton staff, of course, but most of them would be on the bridge along with Tullk who had been chosen to hold everything together while the rest of them were on – some planet – Peter couldn’t remember the name.  Even Halli and Kraglin were down there.

Peter had opted to stay behind because the captain was sick.  He was holed up in his cabin, coughing his guts up with some kind of wicked strain of space flu.

Peter was going to make soup.

He figured – as he dragged a pot over to set on the stove – it couldn’t be that hard.  He had a recipe – ‘liberated’ from Halli’s data stores – and the ingredients, all he had to do was follow the instructions that were – ah, crap – that were written in Centaurian.

Nope, he wasn’t going to give up, he could do this. He ran the recipe through a translating program on his holo-pad, it came up in splotchy Galactic Common – it wasn’t an exact translation but at least he could read it now.

He poured water into the pot and began chopping some roots.  He dropped various ingredients into the pots, following the recipe as best he could.

Turning the heat on full, he hopped off the chair he was using to reach the stove and began rummaging around in the draws for a spoon.

The pot made an ominous gurgling sound and promptly exploded all over the kitchen.

“Shit!” Peter cussed – then looked around nervously, as if one of his guardians would suddenly materialize to chastise him for his language.  Well Halli and possibly Tullk would – Kraglin would give him a small smirk and a raised eyebrow and Yondu would grin and clap him on the shoulder – the gruesome twosome really were the worst influence on the boy.

He went over to the holo-pad and read the instructions again.  Oh – you add that root after the soup boils – oops.

Peter pulled more ingredient out.  He could do this! It was just a stupid soup.

When the second pot exploded, Peter swore again.

“Wha’ tha hell? Nuttie! Ya bett’r not be makin’ bombs in tha mess again laddie! Ya know tha Cap’n – Oh, hello boyo –” Tullk surveyed the carnage, “Lord boy! What ‘r’ ya dooin’?!”

“Makin’ soup ‘cause Yondu’s sick.” He toyed with a soup covered lock of hair, “You’re not gonna yell at me, are you?”

Tullk sighed, picking his way through the mess on the floor, he picked up a towel as wiped the mess off Peter’s face, “Aye, no Peter. I ain’t gunna yell at ya, yer tryin’ta doo somethan’ nice fer yer Dad.  Mind you, ya will need ta clean up afta yerself.”

Peter nodded, “I will.”

Tullk looked at the kitchen again and shuddered, this was going to be a hell of a mess, “Do’ya want some help boyo?”

Peter’s face turned determined, “I can do it.  It’s just a stupid soup.”

The man chuckled, “A’right there laddie.” He picked his way back through the massacred kitchen, turning at the door, “Ya donna hurt yerself a’right? An’ if’in ya need me, just com ok?”

Peter smiled, “Thanks Tullk.” He turned back to the recipe, “Now where did I go wrong this time?”

After two hours, four pots of ruined soup, and chaos everywhere, Peter thought he had finally done it.  He carefully carried the bowl into the captain’s quarters.

Yondu squinted and sat up quickly, groaning when his head protested loudly, “Quill, what tha hell happened boy?!”

He grinned, holding out a tray, “I made you soup!”

The kid was covered from head to toe in all sorts of ingredients, and his boots where tracking soupy footprints across the floor.

Yondu groaned again, the kitchen would be a disaster judging by the boy’s appearance alone.

The kid seemed pleased with himself and Yondu didn’t have the energy – or the heart – to yell at him.

“It’ll make you feel better and I made a big pot so everyone can have some when they get back!”

“Well – uh – that’s right nice o’ ya Peter.  Thanks.” His voice was croaky from the stupid flu and he cleared his throat.

“Try it!” Peter shoved the tray at him, big excited eyes staring up at him.

“Uh – ok.” He picked up the spoon and tasted a mouthful.

Oh –

Oh, flark that was – awful!

He attempted to keep the grimace off his face.

Swallowing heavily, “Wow son that’s just –” the boy bounced excitedly and Yondu just – couldn’t bust his bubble, “– great, boy.  It’s great.”

“Really?”

He nodded, swallowing again to try and get rid of the aftertaste.

Fuckin’ hell what did he use? It tastes like deep-fried axle grease and my almost sentient socks!

“I followed the recipe real good, ‘cept it was written in Centaurian, so I ran it through the translator so’s I could read it and the first couple of times – well, ok so, four times – it exploded ‘cause I did it wrong but this time I did it right!”

Ah, that was why – Centaurian couldn’t really be translated – Yondu made a mental not to start teaching Peter how to read his language when he got better.

“Ya should prolly go clean up tha kitchen ‘fore Franh gets back, though they’ll be right pleased not ta have ta make dinner.”

Peter beamed, “Ok!” He gave the man a hug – Yondu grimaced as wetness smeared across his skin. “Feel better!”

“Thanks, son.”

The boy bounced out of the room.

As soon as he was gone, Yondu struggled out of the bed and threw the soup down the sink in his bathroom – what the boy didn’t know, wouldn’t hurt him – on his way back to bed, he picked up a holo-pad and sent out a ship-wide message;

Quill attempted to make soup.

If anyone tells him it’s bad or ya don’t eat it at dinner, you’ll end up on bog duty for the foreseeable future.

If I had to suffer through it as well as this damn flu, then so do you lot.

He sent it off with a mean smirk on his face.

The crew didn’t have to know his ended up down the sink any more than Peter did.

Chapter Text

Peter didn’t like being sick.  It was annoying, he wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or do anything, and the four walls of his little room were boring.  He’d contracted something that resembled chicken pox, but had a name Mazar rattled off that made his translator glitch something fierce.  Whatever it was, Peter decided, as he scratched his arm roughly.

It sucked.

What was worse was Yondu’s reaction, he’d well – for lack of a better expression – freaked out.  Apparently – so Kraglin reckoned – the symptoms had been the same as when a person got bitten by a – something, Peter couldn’t remember the name of the terrifying spider-like creature Kraglin had shown him a picture of – and there was no anti-venom for it.

Mazar assured them both it wasn’t that, but it didn’t really stop Yondu, the man had a bee in his bonnet about it and wouldn’t stop fussing.  He’d put Peter up in his bed with his comics, his Walkman, and several bottles of water, and told him to stay put.  He’d brought him breakfast from the mess and fussed over everything before leaving for the bridge.

Peter loved his Dad, he really did, but he’d commed Peter eight times in the last three hours.

Make that nine times, as the com link beeped again.

“Yondu I’m fine!”

“Ya sure?”

Yes. It’s just the space version of chicken pox, I’m not going to die!”

“Hmpf. Good, ‘cause I don’t wanna clean it up if ya did.”

Peter rolled his eyes, sarcasm dripping from his tone when he replied, “Love you too Yondu.”

“Whatever, lunch’ll be soon.  I’ll bring ya some.”

“Ok. Seriously Yondu, stop worrying I’m fine.”

His tone was indignant, “I ain’t worryin’! Just make sure ya stay put.”

The line went dead and Peter sighed.  He snuggled down under his blankets and tried to have a sleep.

About an hour later there was a crash from out in Yondu’s cabin.  A bunch of Hraxian curse words that never translated came floating through.

Peter rubbed his eyes, sitting up, “Bro? You ok?”

“Damn Yondu and his shit!” Kraglin appeared at his door, brushing dust off his leathers.  Some bright green fluffy thing was stuck in his mohawk.

Peter snickered, “Krags, you got somement in yer hair.”

Kraglin went cross-eyed as he looked up, pulling the trinket out and tossing it across the room.

“Did Yondu send you?”

The man shrugged, “Sorta.  I were on ma way ta see how you’s were doin’ already.  He commed me an’ yelled about makin’ sure ya were ok though.”

Peter grumbled thumping his fists on his bed, “I already told him so many times today, I’m fine.  Just itchy.” He scratched at his shoulder, “Really itchy.” Sighing he scratched at his nose, “He’s being ridiculous Krags.”

Kraglin scoffed, “It’s tha Cap’n.  He’s ridiculous at tha best o’ times.” He looked at Peter honestly, “Least he cares boy, I ain’t never had nothin’ like tha’ when I were yer age.”

“That sucks bro.”  He replied, grabbing Kraglin’s bony hand, running curious digits over scars and cuts.

The man shrugged, “I got people now, that’s all what matters.”

Peter grinned, “Thanks for checking on me.”

Kraglin smiled, squeezing the boy’s hand gently, “No pro’lem little brother.”


 

 

“For the last time Yondu, I been better fer two days! Mazar gave me the all clear. I’m fine!”

The Centaurian didn’t look convinced, “Ya sure?”

“Yes!” Kraglin and Halli said it at the same time.

“Jinx bitch!” Halli crowed.

“What tha – ”

Halli punched him.

Hard.

“Ow! Damnit!”

He got another punch.

Peter snickered, “You got jinxed, ya can’t say anythin’ until someone says your name.”

Kraglin frowned, “That’s stu – ow!”

“She’s going to keep punching you if you talk.  That’s the rules.”

The man looked beseechingly at Peter.

He shook his head, “Nope, sorry bro.  Jinx is a jinx.”

Kraglin turned to Yondu, doing his best big watery blue-eyed puppy look.

The captain laughed, “Nah, I ain’t helpin’ ya.  Ya can’t argue wit’ me while yer like that.”

Kraglin rolled his eyes, crossed his arms, and pouted at the group.

“Put that lip away Kraggles, ‘fore I bite it.”

The Hraxian glanced sideways at the captain, a blush heating his gaunt cheeks.

Halli bit her lip and snorted.

Yondu realised what he’d said and the tips of his ears went navy, he stood abruptly, “Git ta work!  We’s got a ship ta run.” With a snap of his coat, he was leaving the mess.

Halli raised an eyebrow at Kraglin, “I wish you two would just fu – ahem –” she coughed, glancing at Peter. “Quit makin’ eyes at each other.  It’s torture watchin’ it, really.”

Kraglin glared.

Halli smirked meanly, “Awww, nothin’ ta say Kraggles? Are ya sure?”

The man launched himself over the table, grabbing Halli by the lapels of her coat and socking her one on the jaw.  She snarled, picking up her tray and smacking him across the face with it.  Peter laughed as food sailed all over the table and Kraglin shoved Halli face first into his breakfast.

Yondu suddenly appeared – not actually having left before their tussle broke out.  Picking them both up by the scruff of the neck, he snarled, “What tha fuck ya think you two doin’?!”

“Uh –”

“Um –”

Halli punched Kraglin again.  He snarled and kicked out at her before Yondu yanked them further apart.

“Ya fuckin’ serious?!  Quit it! Ya wanna settle ya shit? Do it in tha ring, not in tha fuckin’ mess!” He pulled them closer dropping his voice slightly, “Ya senior officers on ma damn ship! Ya s’posed ta set an example fer tha rest o’ these idjits.” He dropped them, shoving them away from each other and raising his voice again, “Clean this shit up ‘fore I brig both ya.  Damn children, I swear!” He looked at Peter and nodded his head towards the door, “Come on Quill!”

Peter trotted after Yondu, laughing his head off.

Yondu grumbled, “What’re you laughin’ about boy?”

Peter slipped a hand into his, ignoring Yondu’s raised a brow – he hadn’t done that since he first came on board the ship – “I missed this while I was sick.”

Yondu gave him a disbelieving look, “Ya missed workin’?”

“Nah,” he beamed up at the man, “I missed hanging out with my family.”

Yondu gave him a small smile, and completely ignored – shut up, he did alright – the ooshy gooshy feeling filling his chest.

Chapter Text

Halli set up her shot, took a breath out and fired. The high calibre plasma round struck the target dead on and she smiled.

"Why can't I fire one like Halli's?" Peter asked.

Halli turned her head to look at the boy, "Two reasons kiddo. Number one; it takes years of practice ta be an even half decent sniper and two; tha recoil would shatter ya shoulder inta tiny little Terran bits. Yer better off wit' pistols boy."

Yondu clipped him in the back of the head, "Pay attention son! Ya gotta learn ta shoot."

Peter looked over his shoulder at the Centaurian, "Why?"

The man sighed and spoke in a low voice, "We ain't always gonna be 'round ta protect ya boy. If somement happens ya gotta be able ta defend yerself a'right?"

Peter nodded warily.

Yondu positioned his arms, "What ya gotta remember son, is that ya don't gotta be afraid of it. A gun's just a thing. You's tha one who's controllin' it, see? Now look down tha sight, line it up wit' yer target. Ya do tha' e'ery time it'll come natural when yer in a situation where ya don't got time ta think. Take a breath, an' breathe out when ya fire, tha most important thing is ya gotta be flexible right? Move wit' tha recoil, instead o' pressin' against it otherwise ya'll jar yer arm. Got it?"

"Yeah." Peter answered nervously.

"A'right. Take yer finger off tha trigger guard, an' squeeze, gentle like."

The shot rang out, flying wildly to the side, Peter yelped as the recoil hit him. He rubbed his shoulder.

Yondu sighed, "Ya tightened up. It's just a thing Pete, ya don't gotta be afraid o' it. It's ok, shooting's difficult, takes a lot o' practice. This time don't tighten up when ya take tha shot, ya gotta be loose, like a whore's cu-"

Halli thwapped him sharply in the back of the knees with the barrel of the sniper. She gave him a pointed look, then looked at Peter, "Like jelly Petey."

Yondu rubbed the back of his legs, scowling at the woman, "Yeah like tha'." He positioned the boy's arms again. "Try again."

Peter focused, and took another shot. This one was better, it hit the corner of the target and he grinned.

Yondu smiled, "Good job son. Try again."

After a few clips Peter was performing fairly well on his own, and Yondu let his attention drift to where Halfnut and Kraglin were sparring.

His first mate moved with purpose, side-stepping 'Nut easily when he went for him. The Hraxian backed up out of the other man's reach and when he attempted to grab a hold of the taller man, he used Halfnut's weight to topple him to the mats.

Each move was a dance Kraglin knew off by heart, each step purposely executed to bring harm to his opponent.

Yondu stared, biting his lip with a sharp incisor as a line of sweat trickled out of Kraglin's hair and down his neck. The Centaurian followed it with his eyes until it disappeared into the Hraxian's jumpsuit.

Peter had been trying to get the man's attention for several seconds, after calling him every crude name he could think of and still getting nothing, he placed the pistol down on the bench to shake the man.

Unfortunately, Yondu hadn't showed him the safety yet, so when Halli fired her next round, the vibration set the thing off and there was a howl from the sparring ring.

"I'm hit! Damnit, I'm hit!" Halfnut shrieked writhing around on the floor clutching his ass with both hands.

Kraglin tried not to laugh and failed letting out a snort, mouth twitching up at the sides.

Peter stared with wide eyes at the scene, "Oops."

Yondu and Halli shared a bemused look.

"Maybe," the reptilian stated slowly, "ya should teach 'im planet-side, far away from anyone else. You know, just 'til he gets the hang of it."

"Ya might be onta somement there girly."

Chapter Text

Halli yawned until her jaw cracked.  It had been a hell of a day. Sighing heavily, she threw herself into her pillows and smiled. It was good to finally be able to lie down, today was one of those bad luck days where everything had gone wrong. She pulled a set of glasses from her side table, curling up she picked up her book –

And her com beeped.

Shit! So much for that!

Sighing she palmed the button, “Unless somement’s explodin’ I dun wanna know.”

“Quill can’t sleep. He’s irritatin’ tha flark outta me.”

“Cap’n, I dun wanna sound like an insubordinate shit, but Imma gunna. Can’t you deal wit’ it? Today’s been hell.”

The snarl from the other side of the com made her flinch. “He ain’t want nothin! Just keeps tossin’ an’ turnin’ an’ e’ery time I ask him about it, he’s sayin’ he’s fine. Flarkin’ kid’s keepin’ me awake.”

In Yondu speak that meant; ‘This is one of those emotional things I don’t know how to deal with. You fix it or I’ll dismember you’.

Halli sighed loudly, “A’right Imma comin’.” She hung up, tossing her book on the bed and heading to her door. She padded down the hall and tiredly placed a hand on the scanner at the captain’s door.

Yondu head was sticking out of the furs that were piled on him like a nest. Halli smirked at him, the man rolled his eyes and curled his lip in a sneer, head thumping back down on the pillow.

Halli rolled her eyes and carefully picked her way through his mess to Peter’s room, “Hey boyo, why ya makin’ all this racket then?”

“’m fine Halli.” He grumbled at the wall.

“No, you ain’t. Yer bein’ all sullen an’ moody. That ain’t normal.”

He flopped over and gave her a look that shouldn’t appear until his teenage years, “It ain’t nothin’.”

“Peter, I ain’t leavin’ ‘til ya tell me what’s eatin’ ya.”

He looked over at his open door, “I told ya, it ain’t nothin’.”

Halli glanced at the door, whatever the problem was he obviously didn’t want the captain to overhear.  Quietly she got up and closed it. Coming back, she sat down next to him, throwing her legs underneath his blanket and shoving him over a bit. To her surprise, the boy put his head on her stomach and wrapped his arms around her waist. She slid an arm over his shoulders, “Wanna tell me what’s buggin’ ya?”

The boy was silent for a number of minutes before one heart wrenching sentence burst from him.

“Yondu isn’t my real father, is he?”

Shit. Halli wasn’t sure how to answer that.  The first thing that came to her mind was, he’s blue, Peter. However she didn’t want to make the boy feel worse so she wrapped her arms around him and squeezed lightly, “Oh Peter. Yondu ain’t yer father by blood boy, but at tha end o’ tha day he’s raisin’ ya, that’s what counts.”

She heard a big wet sniff and hugged him tighter. “I feel so stupid. For almost two years I thought –”

“Hey now, you ain’t any type o’ stupid. Yondu is yer Daddy, he just ain’t blood related. What about adopted kids huh? Do their parents love ‘em any less?”

“No, of course not.”

“Exactly. You’s adopted boy, ain’ just by tha Cap’n neither. We’s ain’t just a bunch o’ space pirates, boy, this here’s a family an’ you’s a big part of it.”

“I know, it’s just – my mom – she told me my dad would come for me and he didn’t.”

Halli hugged him tighter, “Maybe that asshole ain’t worth yer time Petey. Maybe he one o’ those dead beat flarkers that don’t care no wit ‘bout their kid an’ just want ta have ya ta hurt ya.”

She knew the truth, but Peter wasn’t ready to hear it. It wasn’t her place to tell him either. That shit was on Yondu.

“All what matters Petey, is that we love ya. Cap’n, me, and Krags. None o’ us ain’t very good at showin’ it ‘cause ya know, we’s pirates – dirty, rotten, no good assholes - but we does love ya boyo.”

Peter laughed, “You ain’t any of those things Halli. You never been.”

The woman blushed, “That’s right sweet o’ ya Petey but there’s a lot you ain’t seen me do boy. I ain’t a nice person.”

He looked up at her with those big green eyes, “You care about me an’ Yondu an’ Krags an’ the rest of the crew too, that’s all what matters to me.”

Halli beamed at the boy, “You, Peter Jason Quill are too precious for this galaxy. Don’t’chu go changin’ none.”

Peter smiled, “Thanks Halli, I won’t make no noise now. You go back to bed, you look wrecked.”

“Ya ever had one o’ those days where ya feel like yer holdin’ a stick an’ e’eryone else looks like a piñata?”

Peter snorted loudly.

“Yeah, it were one o’ those days.”

“Then go to bed! I’m ok now really.”

Halli didn’t want to, the boy was all warm and toasty and truthfully her book wasn’t nearly as important as making Peter feel better. “How’s about I tell ya a bedtime story?”

Peter scoffed, “Hals I’m too old for that stuff.”

She raised an eyebrow at the ten-year-old, “Ain’t never too old fer a good story boyo. You ask Yondu, whole crew gathers ta listen ta him spin a tale now an’ then.”

The boy sighed, grinning into her stomach, “Fine. As long as it isn’t a dumb fairytale.”

“Ravager’s honour.”

Peter sniggered, “’Cause that fills anyone who knows the Ravagers with so much confidence.”

“Hush up you! Now – story, story, story – alright this is a good’un, probably not kid friendly but you too old for them cutesy stories now ain’t ya?”

When Peter nodded somewhat nervously, she grinned, needle sharp teeth giving a sinister glint, “Back when I were first running wit’ Cap’n, he gave me a covert mission right? Mainly ‘cause I looked like a young’un – I weren’t much older’n you, all of about six years I reckon –”


 

“Tha bastard likes ‘em young Hallifax. Yer tha only one who looks enough o’ tha part.

She fingered the incredibly short dress nervously, “I got this Cap’n.”

Kraglin made a distressed sound in the background, “I dun like this sir, it’s too risky – what if somement goes wrong?”

Yondu turned to glare at his first mate, “Ain’t nothin’ gunna go wrong Kraggles, we’ll be watchin’ tha whole time. Tha girl says she got this. She can do it.” He turned back to her, “All’s ya gotta do is chat ‘im up a bit, swipe the info chip, replace it wit’ tha dud an’ get outta there. Yer tha best pick pocket on tha crew, it’ll be a piece o’ cake.”

“I know, tha swipin’ part is easy, it’s tha otha shit I dunno what tha flark I’m doin’. Ya seen me Cap’n I ain’t nothin’ special, ain’t never chatted up nothin’ in ma life.”

Yondu chuckled, “Is that all yer worried about? Shiiiit girl tha’s easy. Lay a line on me.”

Halli blushed, sure the captain was a ruggedly handsome man, but she’d seen the way Kraglin looked at him, there wasn’t any way she was going to interfere there, she glanced at him – he’d looked out for her so far and he was a total sweetheart – he shrugged helplessly.

Yondu glanced between them scowling heavily, “You’s two got somethin’ goin’ on I don’t know about?”

The girl laughed, “Geez no.”

Kraglin gave her a hurt glare, “Oh thanks Hals. Real nice, I ain’t that ugly.”

“You ain’t ugly at all Krags, you got the prettiest damn eyes I ever seen but I don’t see you like that, you’re like – like a – a brother, ya know?”

The Hraxian rubbed the back of his neck, blushing at the compliment and grinning fondly at the girl, “Yeah I know, me too.”

“Alrigh’ ya want me ta show ya how it’s done?” When she nodded he motioned for Kraglin to come towards him, “Kraglin get ova here.” Yondu placed a hand on the wall next to his head and ducked closer, a blush spread over Kraglin’s skin, “She’s right ya know, you’ve got tha prettiest eyes in tha damn galaxy, but I always told ya that didn’t I? All these years ya been playin hard ta get,” his voice dropped to a husky purr, eyes half-lidded and smouldering. “Ain’t nobody blush as pretty as you, gorgeous.” Yondu leaned forward and grabbed Kraglin’s bottom lip between his teeth. Halli watched with wide eyes, she wondered briefly if she should leave. The Hraxian practically melted, sucking in a gasping breath and slowly leaning forwards chasing Yondu’s lips.

Halli smothered a giggle but not quite enough. Yondu jumped and the spell was broken, he cleared his throat roughly, turning back, “See? Easy. All’s ya gotta do is act like he’s tha only person in tha universe ya wanna fuck an’ he’ll be eatin’ out yer hand.” He turned and gave Kraglin a wicked leer and the man scoffed, rolling his eyes and distancing himself. “Tha trick is Hallifax, ya gotta act like you got tha goods and girl,” his eyes raked over her, “trust me ya do. Ya act sexy an’ every being in tha universe will turn ta look at ya.”

Halli scuffed a foot along the ground, “I dunno Cap’n.”

The man tutted, “Ya need practice.” Ducking his head out of the room he hollered at a passing Ravager, “Wrecker! Git yer burly ass in here!”

The man ducked into the room. He was built like a piece of bulkhead, solid as anything. He was pale and nearing Halli’s height, with a square jaw, long black dreadlocks and emerald eyes. “Aye Cap’n? What ya need?”

“Hallifax here has ta swipe some info off a mark in a few hours, ‘cept she ain’t had much experience flirtin’. She needs ta practice.”

Wrecker looked taken aback, “Uh – on – on me?”

Yondu smirked, “Aye. That an issue?”

Wrecker gave Halli the once over and grinned, “No issue here Cap’n.”

“Right. We’ll leave ya’s to it then. Come on Kraggles.”

The captain walked out and Kraglin followed, pausing briefly in front of Wrecker, he yanked on a dreadlock bringing him down his level. He snarled something in Hraxian, too low for her translator to pick up. The burly man seemed to get whatever message Kraglin had sent, nodding carefully so as not to pull his own hair out of his head. Kraglin released him, sent one last warning look and left.

Halli swallowed heavily, “Hi.”


 

“Are ya sure I look ok?” Halli asked checking her hair in the mirror again.

Kraglin smiled leaning on the doorframe, “Ya look incredible.”

She turned grinning, “Thanks Krags.” She paused. “Can I ask ya somement?”

“Sure.”

“What’d ya say ta Wrecker?”

A black look crossed his face, “I told that steroid mutt ta keep his nose clean an’ that if he did anythin’ ta hurt my –” He rattled off a phrase in lilting Hraxian.

Halli shook her head, “Doesn’t translate.”

“I guess tha closest thing in common would be uh – kin – like a little sister” He shrugged, “Anyways I told him if he hurt you, I’d gut him.”

She smirked, “Ya don’t gotta do that, I can look afta maself, but I appreciate it.”

Kraglin returned the smirk then scowled, “He didn’t do nothin’ did he?”

Halli blushed brightly, remembering all the – uh – flirting – yeah that’s totally all they did, “He were a perfect gentleman.”

Kraglin gave her a disbelieving look, “Uh huh.”

“We’re about ta start dockin’.” Yondu called from the front of the ship.

Halli and Kraglin made their way to the cockpit and took their seats. As soon as the couplings had engaged Yondu powered the ship down and threw the harness off, “Right ‘cause we’s on Xandar an’ this job’s on tha down low, tha ship is registered under a false ID. Me an’ Krags’ll come inta tha bar right after ya, so dun worry we’s gunna have eyes on ya tha whole time.” Yondu straightened the cuffs on his shirt and pulled a floor length black leather duster from the back of the chair. Slipping it on he grinned at the other two, “How do I look?”

Halli had to admit, the captain dressed in black jeans, a deep merlot button down and the leather duster made him look very handsome. He was freshly shaven, shiny silver, and diamond studs in his ears. He’d forgone the usual collection of chains around his neck for a simple thick silver one. Halli was certain the man had even brushed his teeth.

She grinned, “Very handsome Cap’n.”

Kraglin had practically swallowed his tongue, Halli elbowed him lightly, “Uh – yeah – ya look great.” Kraglin pulled at his own collar, “Feel funny wit’out ma reds.”

He was dressed nicely as well, a blue shirt which made his eyes shine, a chocolate pair of slacks and a short brown leather jacket. He’d shaved so the scruffy look he always had was gone and he had let the sides of his hair grow a bit so his mohawk wasn’t as prominent as usual.

They looked like an average pair of handsome blokes going out for a drink.

Yondu grinned, “Ya look nice Kraggles.”

The man blushed and Halli rolled her eyes, the pair were hopeless, honestly.

The captain turned to her, “Ya can do this kid.”

She nodded, “Yes’sir.”

They hung back as she walked through the streets. Xandar was an incredible place, Halli took in the sights as she walked, the lights sparkled off the fountains creating patterns on the payment beneath her high heels.

Those had been a fucking joke to learn how to walk in. She was never a prim and proper thing. Always choosing practical over pretty. Yondu had made her walk around the ship for three days in the stupid things before she could walk without tripping and going ass over tits. The lot of them had thought it was hilarious until she’d put a Sic’tar through Halfnut’s arm and sent him to infirmary looking like a pin cushion. They’d backed off pretty quick after that.

She took a corner, looking up at the sign to make sure she was at the right bar. She glanced back to see the captain and his first mate following behind. Yondu nodded at her and she returned it before pushing open the door.

Her senses were assaulted with stale booze, cigarette smoke and expensive cologne. She glanced around the bar, spying her target staring at her already. She flicked her hair over her shoulder, and sauntered over to the barkeep. “Whisky on the rocks please.”

Come on Hals you can do this. Ooze confidence girl, yer sexy, yer lookin’ fer a man, play tha part. Don’t flark this up.

She watched almost boredly as Kraglin and Yondu entered, sharp eyes scanning the room. The Krylorian from behind the bar slid her drink over and she thanked him with a what she hoped was a sultry smile.

Their mark kept his eyes on her the entire time. She felt like she was under a microscope, creepy, beady little eyes taking her apart. It was dirty and disgusting but this was the job and damn it all she was going to nail this shit because she wanted the respect, she needed it. If the captain respected her, she could be a part of the bigger jobs, she could finally be something other than just a poor pick pocket half breed from a backwater planet. Halli craved that like nothing else.

She locked eyes with the leering man and gave him a wink. His leering turned into a filthy grin and she resisted the urge to curl her lip in disgust.

He approached her slowly.

Game time.

“Hello handsome.” She purred.

The man was, in fact, anything but; beady little eyes stuffed into a round orange face with a squat nose and greasy looking tentacle things protruding from his skull. For a few brief seconds she wished she was back on the ship in her normal clothes, she missed he leather jumpsuit and her dirty old boots with holes in the toes – the captain hadn’t been able to find a suitable pair that fit her – with her head stuck under a broken console. That was what she knew, that was what she loved.

Head in the game girl!

“What’s a pretty thing like you doing all alone?”

God, even his voice dripped with disgusting intent.

“Why does any girl come to a bar sweet thing?” She slipped easily into the clipped accent from her childhood as she took a sip of her drink. “Looking for a good time.”

He slid a hand over hers, “I can give you anything you want baby.”

Urgh! Gross!

As they spoke, the man got gradually more comfortable with her, sliding closer and whispering in her ear. She was progressively getting more irritated, she couldn’t reach the information chip in his pocket without alerting him.

He gave her an opportunity moments later, reaching forwards and groping her breast. She slipped her fingers into his pocket gently and pulled out the chip, trading it for the one Yondu had given her earlier.

Halli gave him a smile, “I have to use the ladies.” Patting his arm gently she slipped off the stool, “Don’t go anywhere.”

Walking quickly, she ducked into the bathroom. Shutting the door, she leaned over the sink.

She couldn’t believe the gall of the man when he stepped through the door moments later.

“Hey gorgeous. How about we have some fun?”

Halli sneered, “You should have stayed sitting at the bar like I asked.”

The greasy bastard looked mildly confused by the change in her face.

The reptilian laughed, “You stupid, greasy fucker. You follow a girl into the bathroom and what? If she says no you probably do it anyway. You’re sick.”

Anger crossed his face and he took a step towards her.

That was a mistake.

Halli clicked her tongue, with a snarl, the Sic’tar shot out of her purse, unfurled and floated around him.

She slipped back into her regular accent as she turned to face him, “I suggest ya be thinkin’ very careful about what ya be doin’ now. One single step an’ I’ll put more holes in ya than any sane bein’ would like.”

“You slut!”

Halli clicked her tongue and one of the Sic’tar flinched closer to his nose, “Ah, ah, ah, what’d I just say boyo?”

“What do you want?”

Halli inspected her claws, “Well now, I were gunna let ya walk away but afta that nasty comment Imma thinkin’ I need some compensation. So, here’s what yer gunna do fer me. Yer gonna take all tha money ya got an’ yer gunna transfer it ta this here credit account.” She tossed a holo-pad at him. “Now that account there’s untraceable so I wouldn’t be botherin’ tha Nova Corps none if ya know what’s good fer ya.”

“Who are you?”

Halli gave him a toothy grin, “Someone ya ain’t never should’a fucked wit’.”

He did as she asked and put the pad down on the sink, she picked it up and whistled, “Damn looks like drinks are on me tanight. Next, I’ll be takin’ all them pretty earrings in ya head, I know someone who’d love those, an’ them knives ya got hidden under yer coat an’ all.”

The man sighed, “Anything else?”

Halli hmmed thoughtfully. She looked down at his shiny black boots, “What size shoes ya wear?”


 

She exited the bathroom with her high heels over her shoulder and a grin on her face.

Sauntering up to the captain, she leaned on their table, “We should be leavin’ Cap’n.”

Yondu glanced around the bar, “Where’s our mark?”

“Unconscious an’ tied ta tha sinks in tha women’s.”

“What?! Ya didn’t let ‘im know what we was after right?”

Halli shook her head, “Relax Cap’n I got what we needed a’fore I went in tha bathrooms.” As they left the bar she continued, “I were goin’ in there, then I was gunna come out an’ say I had to leave fer work or somement, but tha flarker followed me in.”

Kraglin growled lowly, “What happened?”

Halli smirked, “I robbed ‘im blind. Got ‘im ta transfer all his units ta an untraceable account, an’ stole whatever else looked nice.” She produced the earrings from her purse and Yondu’s eyes lit up.

“Hoo boy, them’s is shiny.”

She grabbed his hand and tipped them into his open palm, “Good. They’re fer you.” She slid her dress up and unbuckled the knife holsters. Holding them out to Kraglin, “Yer a knife guy, right? Them’s is yours.”

The Hraxian took them grinning, “Thanks Halli.”

Yondu frowned, “What did ya get?”

She shook a foot, “Shiny new pair o’ Doc Martin’s. These things are Terran. Flark knows where he got ‘em but they all tha rage in tha punk scene. Wanted a pair fer years but I can’t exactly stroll inta a shop an’ pick ‘em up.”

They arrived at the ship. Yondu unlocked the airlock and the trio headed to the cockpit. Yondu sliding into the pilot’s chair with Kraglin next to him. Halli sat behind and threw on her harness.

The captain powered the ship up and began the decoupling procedures.

“All them units Cap’n?”

“Hmm?”

“I reckons - if yer ok wit’ it – we split it 60/40, me an’ Krags can have 20 percent each.”

Yondu raised a brow, “Awww hell woman! Sometimes I think yer too sweet ta be a Ravager. Ya gimmie sparklies then ya offer me over half tha extra take?” He shook his head, “Wit’out ya we wouldn’t’a even been able ta take this job. We split it three ways, equal like. How’s that sound?”

Halli smiled, “Aye Cap’n, that sounds mighty fine.”


 

“- an’ that’s how I got me boots.”

Peter smiled sleepily, “Halli? Anyone ever tell you what a badass you are?”

“Nah, Imma Ravager we all badass, boy. Some o’ us just bigger ‘n’ badder than others.” She stroked his fluffy hair, it needed to be cut again. “Ya’ll sleep well kid, I’ll see ya in tha mornin’.”

“Night Halli.” The boy fell asleep with a smile on his face.

They may not be a normal ass family, but they stuck together and that was what was important in the end.

Chapter Text

"Where are we going?" Peter asked as he struggled to catch up.

"Hangars boy. It's high time I taught ya how ta fly one o' tha m-ships."

The boy stopped dead in his tracks, "Are - are you serious?"

Yondu sighed, "Wouldn'ta said it if I didn't boy, come'on."

Peter ran ahead of Yondu, "Race ya!"

The Centaurian laughed bolting after the boy, "You dun stand a chance kid!"

The boy peeled off, rounding a corner quickly, Yondu whistled, the arrow darted out of the holster and shot forwards ahead of him. It flew around the corner and there was a yelp, he slowed to a stroll as Peter glared at him with his arms crossed, dangling from the wall.

"You cheated!"

Yondu barked out a laugh and yanked the arrow out of the metal sending Peter sprawling onto the gangway, "Ravager's don't play fair boy, ya should know that by now."

"You're an asshole." He said as he got up and dusted himself off.

"Thank you."

Peter narrowed his eyes, "Not a compliment!"

Yondu led the way to a ship at the back of the hangar, "This is a solid one, don't nobody own it, so when you's older an' ya earn yer way, ya can pay it off an' it'll be yours."

He ran a hand across the wing, "Seriously?"

"Yeah boy, seriously."

He looked up at the ship, "I'm gunna call her the Milano."

Yondu snorted loudly, "Tha's a stupid name."

Peter glared, "No it ain't."

"Yeah it is."

"No it ain't."

"Yeah it-" Yondu shook himself and glared, "boy don't'chu start! Ya wanna learn ta fly er not?"

"Yes, ok? I'm sorry, no more lip. I swear."

The Centaurian appeared unconvinced, never the less he keyed the code into the door. Peter practically knocked him over to get inside and he snarled, "Watch it son!"

"Sorry!"

"Like hell ya are." He muttered, straightening his jacket and following the boy. "Cockpit's up here boy, come'on."

He bounced up the ladder after the man and threw himself into the co-pilot seat.

"Belt boy. I ain't having ya crash inta tha windscreen, hurts like hell that does."

Peter snickered, "I'm guessing there's a story there."

Yondu chuckled, powering up the console, "Ain't one yer ever gunna hear." He tapped the onboard com, "Halli ya up there?"

"Aye sir." Came the static reply.

"Open 'er up. I'm takin' tha boy out fer a flyin' lesson."

"Ok, have fun boys."

The Centaurian took them out into open space and went over the instrument panel with Peter. Then he flicked the controls over to the boy who eyed him nervously. "Go'on son, gentle now, just like wit' tha pistol."

He hovered a shaking hand over the throttle then pulled it back, "I can't do this Yondu. What if something goes wrong?"

Yondu ground his teeth.

Patience, ya gotta have patience wit' tha boy, no yellin', not like Stakar, didn't do shit but make me terrified of touchin' anythin'.

He took a deep breath, "Course ya can son. I'm right here, somement happens I'll take straight over an' fix it alright? 'S ok ta be scared, ya just gotta know that no matter what ya always gotta try, ain't gettin' nowhere otherwise."

Peter smiled nodding, "Yeah, yeah, ok." He took the controls and moved slowly forwards, the ship moved smoothly, and he grinned at Yondu.

"See you'll do just fine boy."




A couple of hours later they docked and Halli and Kraglin were waiting for them. Peter shot out and jumped around the hangar like a bouncy ball. "Did ya see? I flew. I actually flew! It was so awesome! Oh man I can't wait to have another go."

Halli wrapped an arm around his shoulders, "That's great Petey, let's go get cleaned up." She took the hyper boy out of the hangar.

Kraglin waited leaning, against the bulkhead, a minute or so later Yondu stumbled out. The Hraxian pulled his lip between his teeth to keep from smiling, he had no idea Yondu could go that shade of green.

"Ya alright Cap'n?"

The Centaurian's cheeks bulged and he covered his mouth with a fist.

Kraglin stepped back, eyes wide, "If yer gunna hurl, don't do it on me."

Yondu shook his head and swallowed, "I should not have eaten them Beasties a'fore we left."

Kraglin raised an eyebrow, "Was he really that bad?"

The shorter man grunted, "He weren't bad - just - lots o' lurchin'. He a natural though, gonna make a great pilot one day."

"Naww, just like his Daddy." Kraglin teased.

"Shut it, ya gutter rat." Yondu stifled a belch in his fist, "Urgh - Imma go lay down."

Chapter Text

It was a fairly simple job, their mark had a big fat bounty on his head and the Ravagers were looking to collect. The problem was they couldn't just wander into the busy marketplace and subdue an eight-foot, 500-pound wall of muscle and teeth. They had to be crafty about it. Admittedly not most of the crew's strong suit. After some recon from the crew's scouts they discovered the man had a fondness for kids. That's where Peter came in. Halli wasn't happy about it, but Yondu insisted it would be fine. All the boy had to do was pretend to be lost, lead the burly flarker into an alley where Halli could nail him with a tranquilliser using her sniper, they would then bundle him into a metal crate and wheel him through the marketplace where nobody would be any wiser. What the Centaurian didn't account for was the fact that Peter would freak out and bolt back into the marketplace, leaving Yondu to search for him.

He wasn't worried. Yondu didn't worry. He was concerned. Yeah, that was it, purely for the job and their bounty of course. Not for Peter. No. The stupid kid was a pain in his ass – ah who was he kidding?

He was freaking the fuck out.

He elbowed people left and right, shoving his way through the throngs of bodies, shouting the boy's name. Not caring a damn that his voice was carrying more emotion than he'd ever thought he'd display in his entire existence.

He couldn't see him anywhere. That's it, it was time to use his 'voodoo shit' as Kraglin eloquently put it. He reached the centre near a park and closed his eyes. Reaching out empathically he searched for the kid. After a minute of sorting through the spirits around him, he found Peter's bundled up behind a tree.

He opened his eyes and headed in the direction his implant had shown him. Sure enough, at the base of the tree, hidden in the snarled roots was his boy.

"Peter?"

The boy looked up and threw himself at Yondu's chest.

The Centaurian curled his arms around him, crushing him to his body, "Damnit boy! Ya scared tha shit outta me! Don't go runnin' off like tha'."

"I don't wanna hurt nobody Yondu! I can't – I just – I'm a crappy Ravager."

"No ya ain't son. We didn't hurt no one, just knocked 'im out. He's got a shiny bounty on his head, what's gonna feed us over tha next month."

"You guys k – kill people. I can't – I can't be like that."

Yondu sighed. The kid was too good for this gig, but the universe was a mean place and the boy needed to understand that. "Look son," he said crouching down to look the boy in the eyes, "ya don't have ta hurt no one who ain't try'na hurt you first. Some o' tha boys ‘r’ like tha', won't kill no one 'less they hafta, don't make 'em any less a Ravager than tha others. No one's askin' ya ta leave a bloody trail in yer wake boy, but tha universe ain't a nice place. There's gon' be people who's out ta hurt ya, no matter what ya do. Them's tha ones what need ta be put down, an' ya gotta make yer peace wit' tha'. It ain't easy, believe me, I know. Ain't make ya any less a Ravager ta be scared o' it neither. E'eryone gets scared boy."

Peter sniffled, "Even you?"

Yondu snorted, "Even me son. Ya just scared tha pants off me just now, runnin' off like tha'. Can't keep ya safe if I dun know where ya is."

Peter smiled a little, "I’m sorry Yondu."

The man rolled his eyes fondly, "It's alright boy, just – don't go doin' that again. Anyone could’a snatched ya up ta put in a stew pot. Terran's good eatin' so I hear."

Peter snorted, "Ravagers don't eat people."

Yondu shrugged, "If they's hungry enough ya'd be a damn good chow." He grabbed the boy's hip. "See? Real, juicy."

"Don't be an asshole."

The Centaurian cuffed him lightly, "Cheeky snot."

"Hey Yondu?"

"What boy?"

"Can I come with you guys on missions more? If I promise not to freak out again?"

The man snorted, "You is pretty scrawny, you'd fit in places we can't, good fer theivin'."

Peter looked at him hopefully, "So is that a yes?"

"It's a maybe."



The next time Yondu took Peter on a mission it got botched beyond repair.

"I'm sorry Cap'n. I – I flarked up." Halli's voice crackled over the com.

Yondu grit his teeth in a sneer. He was going to kill Halli. He pressed the com behind his ear, "Job's bust, let's go boys."

He found Peter wringing his hands in the middle of a busy street. The rookie that was with him wisely bugged out when he saw Yondu coming.

"My bogs are gunna be mighty clean by tha time yer through wit' them boy."

"It wasn't Halli's fault! It was mine! I stuffed up."

Yondu growled, "She were in charge an' she screwed up. She's flarkin' lucky this weren't a high payin' job, else she'd be a damn sight worse off."

Peter crossed his arms and gave Yondu a determined look, "You gotta promise not to hurt her."

The Centaurian sneered, "I don't gotta promise shit to you boy!"

The kid looked around the busy street, "We have to get outta here without drawin' attention to ourselves, right?"

Yondu's eyes narrowed, "Right." He replied cautiously.

He jutted his chin out, a cunning look crossing his face, "So what would happen if I cried – real loud?"

The man glanced about and then glared at him, "Ain't nothin' good."

"Promise ya won't hurt Halli.”

He growled, gritting his teeth, "I ain't gunna do no such thing."

Peter's eyes went huge and his lip began to wobble.

Yondu snorted. The kid was bluffing – right? "I ain't buyin' it."

On cue his eyes filled with tears.

The Centaurian looked around nervously, "Tha' shit might work on Krags but it don't on me."

Peter took a big breath and opened his mouth.

Yondu threw his hands in front of himself in a placating gesture, "Alright! Alright! What'chu want?"

A triumphant smirk – one that Yondu saw frequently in the mirror – popped onto Peter's face, "Promise ya won't hurt Halli."

The man sighed heavily, "Fine! I promise I won't hurt yer precious Halli."

Peter smiled brightly, "Ok let's go."

Yondu gave him an incredulous look as he fell into step beside him, "That were underhanded."

The kid looked proud of himself, "Thank you."

Yondu chuckled shaking his head, "Who the hell raisin' you?"

Peter's smile was as bright as a super nova, "Only the best."

Chapter Text

It started in October (it was October on Terra according to the boy) of the second year Peter was on board. Halloween the boy had called it, he’d been all excited the entire month, explaining that everyone had to get dressed up as something scary, then everybody got to eat candy and watch scary Terran movies. Yondu had gone in his usual garb, stating he was the scariest thing he knew, Peter – dressed up as what he’d called a zombie – had declared him a spoil sport, but the crew had a blast so Yondu had decided that maybe it was a good tradition. Those movies Halli had dug out of her collection had been pretty good and the captain was never one to turn down free candy.

The next month – November according to Halli – it had been something called Thanksgiving. Peter stated it was basically where people got together with their families ate enough food to make them want to puke and were thankful for stuff. It sounded silly to Yondu and when he questioned Halli about it she had shrugged and stated her mother hadn’t been American, which apparently was were Peter was from. They did it anyway to make the boy happy and Yondu again admitted as he shoved another piece of pie down his throat into his already bulging stomach that, yeah, this Terran holiday was pretty good too.

So, when he entered the mess one afternoon in search of a snack to find Peter teetering on the top of a ladder hanging fairy lights, he wondered what this was for. He sauntered over to hold the ladder before the boy fell and broke his neck – he’d only just recovered from a debacle on a mission and Yondu definitely didn’t need another six weeks of the boy driving him batty.

“What are tha lights for Quill?”

“Christmas!” he replied brightly.

“Another Terran holiday?! Flark boy, how many days do yer people do every year?”

“Oh, there’s lots of holidays all over the world, but there’s four really great ones. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.”

“New Year? We have that at tha start of tha celestial, basically we all get drunk.” He chuckled, “Best day o’ tha damn year.”

Peter smiled, “So, Terrans have that in common with the rest of the galaxy then. We have fireworks too, those are super awesome.”

“So, what’s this Christmas thing then?”

Peter finished stringing the lights and hopped down off the ladder, “It’s so great, you get to put up decorations and a tree and then you give each other presents and eat loads of food and tell stories – it’s not as awesome as Halloween but it’s up there.”

Yondu shook his head, “Guess I should be tellin’ tha crew then huh? Though, I dunno where we gonna get a tree from.”

Peter beamed, “I already asked Katty for her big purple and pink plant thingy. She said she’s gonna get Tullk an’ Wrecker to help her move it after shift.”

Yondu raised a brow, “Tha’s that hippy tree huggin’ girl from tha minin’ colony ain’t it? Tha one what has all them plants in tha G Deck dorms?”

Peter nodded.

The Centaurian chuckled, “I tell ya Quill, tha crew’s startin’ ta take a shine ta you, wit’ all these holidays ya keeps insistin’ we do.”

The boy got a smug look on his face, “You like ‘em too, or ya wouldn’t let me do all this stuff.”

He grumbled something under his breath then looked around, “I saw Franh makin’ them Xandarian cookies earlier.” He grinned mischievously, “Wanna help me find ‘em so we’s can eat ‘em all?”

Peter mirrored his look, “I bet I can eat more than you!”

Yondu laughed boisterously, “I doubt that boy but yer on.”


 

The bed bounced far too early one morning and Yondu grunted.

“Come on Yondu get up! It’s Christmas!”

He pulled the furs over his head, “No.”

Peter bounced in time with his words, “Up, up, up!”

“No! ‘m sleepin’.”

“No, you ain’t.”

“Yes, I is.”

“No, you –”

Yondu pushed the covers back, making the fin glow threateningly, “Boy!” Much to his disappointment the kid didn’t even flinch.

Peter rolled his eyes, “Come’on grumpy butt! Present time.”

The Centaurian sighed, “’m too old fer this shit.” He muttered to himself, hauling himself up to get his gear on.

The boy practically dragged him through the halls. Wittering about how ‘great’ this was and Yondu felt himself get all – urgh – happy and he scowled.

The mess was deserted because – Yondu looked at his wrist pad – it was four in the fucking morning! He didn’t think he could scowl any deeper at this point.

Peter dragged him over to the tree – the thing was overflowing with presents – and pulled him down to sit crossed legged in front of it.

He dug around at the back, pulling out a package and shoving it at Yondu, “I wanted to give this to you since I got it but I hadda wait, ‘cause it’s Christmas an’ all.”

Yondu took the thing, he was pretty sure no one – with the exception of Kraglin – had ever given him a gift before. He grinned at the boy, ripping the packet open to reveal a little gold earring – a hoop with an arrow hanging from it – he studied it grinning, “Shiny.”

Peter pulled nervously at a lock of hair, “Ya like it?”

He flicked an earring out his left lobe and dumped it in a pocket. Fixing the new one in he placed a gentle hand on the boy’s shoulder, “It’s awesome kid, thanks.”

As the day went by there was drinking, loads of food and presents and a lot of laughter.

Peter received a new knife holster from Kraglin, a new set of boots from Tullk, a bunch of comics from Halli and his first plasma pistol as a group gift from the whole crew.

He loved Yondu’s gift best of all – it was his very own Ravager jacket, complete with the flame and everything. Yondu had said he’d more than earned his place as a rookie on the crew. When Peter tentatively mentioned the possibility of a wage Yondu had cuffed him on the head and called him a cheeky mutt but told him once he hit 12 they’d talk.

All in all, Terran traditions – in Yondu’s opinion – were pretty good. It kept his crew content, his senior staff smiling, and his boy happy.

Besides, Yondu was never one to turn down a day off, mountains of booze and free food.

And if he got a tiny spark of dreaded sentiment from the whole affair?

Eh. It was a small price to pay, and he found himself not minding at all.

Chapter Text

The mess was full as it usually was around dinner. Kraglin stood to next to one of the long tables, discussing something with Yondu, the Centaurian was holding a bottle of alcohol, waving it around occasionally as he spoke. Peter stood next to them waiting for Halli.

A tall yellow woman passed them with a tray, she nodded, “Cap’n. Kraglin.”

The captain smiled, “Hey Reaver.”

Peter watched her pass, as she did Halli appeared striding towards the boy with a smile. Quick as could be, Reaver’s elbow came up and clocked Halli in the side.

“Oh boy.” Yondu said, stopping mid-sentence.

“Here we go again.” Kraglin sighed, watching the pair intently.

Halli the smile instantly dropped from her face and she turned slowly raising an eyebrow, “Excuse you.”

Reaver put her tray down on one of the tables the fork sliding into her hand, “Excuse you Hallifax, you were the one in tha way.”

“Apologize Reaver.” She stated in a tone Peter had never heard her use before. It was all sharp edges, and frankly – quite scary.

“I don’t have to say shit to you.” The smaller woman said, stepping up with a snarl.

“Actually, I rather think ya do. See, I’m a senior officer on this ship. So, I. Tell you what to do. And you. Do. It.”

Peter leaned closer to Yondu, “What’s with them?”

Yondu spoke quietly, not taking his eyes off the pair, “Reaver’s had a thing fer Wrecker s’long as anyone can remember, ‘cept tha girl’s got know idea how ta go about it an’ Wrecker – that dumb piece o’ bulkhead – is oblivious. Way back when, a’fore we picked up Reaver, Halli an’ Wrecker had a fling, she were young an’ he were cute – if ya like big burly idjits, don’t see tha appeal maself – didn’t last very long – Halli craves wicked intelligence an’ a sharp tongue in her men an’ tha only thing Wrecker got is muscles an’ purty eyes –”

“You think his eyes are nice?” Kraglin said in a mildly distressed tone.

Yondu ignored him, continuing as if he hadn’t spoken “– so Reaver has some misguided notion tha’ Halli’s a threat ta her or somement.”

“Oh.” Peter said not really understanding at all. “Are they gunna fight?”

Yondu waved a hand, “Shh!”

They’d missed a bit with Yondu’s explanation, but whatever had been said had Reaver gritting her teeth and curling her lip as Halli stared calmly down at her.

“Listen Reaver I know ya’ve got a chip on yer shoulder about – well – about a lot o’ stuff, but sweetie, if you stab me wit’ that fork like I know you’s itchin’ ta do, I will drag you by yer perfect hair an’ throw ya outta tha airlock maself.”

Reaver blinked, “You – you think my hair is perfect?”

Halli grinned for the first time since she entered the mess, “Hell yeah gurrl! It’s gorgeous, is that colour natural?”

Reaver fingered the purple strands and shook her head, “Nah.”

Halli looked impressed, “Damn it’s got so much pop! How ya keep the colour lookin’ so good?”

“It’s this shampoo I make, ya mix a little of yer colour in and it keeps it looking fresh.”

“Damn, that’s a good idea.”

“I – I could make you some if you want? I make most of my stuff myself. I’m pretty sure I have a recipe for moisturiser that would work like magic on yer scales.”

Halli slid and arm through hers, “Honey you are amazing! Ya know in exchange I could give ya a few tips – ya know – help you get a certain somebody ta take a bit more notice of ya.”

Reaver’s bright eyes lit up, “Really?!”

The taller woman turned and began to walk them out of the mess, “Oh sweetie, we’s gunna ourselves a girl’s night!” As they passed Halli slid the bottle of booze from Yondu’s limp fingers, “Thanks Cap’n!” She said cheerfully giving the group a wink. “I reckons,” She said turning back to Reaver, “I got a nice nail polish that would look incredible wit’ yer hair –” They disappeared from view, leaving three confused stares behind them.

Yondu blinked, “What just happened?”

Kraglin shook his head, snorting, “I will never understand women.”

Peter frowned, “But – but they were about to rip each other apart!”

Yondu turned and looked down at the boy, “Quill, tha first thing ya gotta learn about women is that they are incredibly complex creatures. They ain’t never gonna make sense ta no man.”

Peter sighed, “Girls are weird.”

Yondu barked out a laugh and patted the boy on the back, “Ain’t that tha truth.” He looked down at his hand frowning, “Wha – damnit! HALLI! YOU GIT BACK HERE WIT’ MA BOOZE WOMAN!”

Chapter Text

Peter had been with the Ravagers for three years, and even in all that time looking at the stars never got old.  Especially when the crew had time planet-side.  They had come to the mining colony as a re-fuel point between jobs and the captain had given the crew a night off.  The last few jobs had been highly profitable, and everyone was itching to spend their take on whatever took their fancy – it was usually booze and hooker-bots but Peter thought all that was stupid anyway.

He was sitting on a bench in the park, just a little ways from the bar most of the Ravagers were in, marveling at the difference in the constellations in the Andromeda galaxy, when the crunch of boots alerted him to someone’s approach.  His hand immediately went to the knife in his boot – his sneakers had given up years ago – pulling it out and turning to face the person with a snarl.

He grinned at the familiar face, replacing the knife, and continuing his star gazing.

Yondu leaned on the back of the bench, “What'chu lookin’ at son?”

“The stars.” Came the simple answer.

“We’s always lookin’ at stars ya idjit.”

Peter rolled his eyes, “They’re different down here, Yondu.  The constellations are different than Earth’s.”

Chuckling, the Centaurian sat down next to the boy, picking his slight, albeit gangly form – the kid was starting to grow like a weed – up and depositing him gently in his lap, “Yeah course they are, we’s in a different galaxy.”

Peter hmmed, and clicked on his Walkman.  Turning it down to faint background noise, he began to sing along to Fooled Around and Fell in Love.

Yondu looked down at the kid.  Maybe it was the amount of booze in his system or the way the boy trusted him so explicitly, but the big bad captain of the Ravagers was beginning to get actual squishy feelings when it came to Peter.  Aww hell, who was he kidding?  The squishy feelings had been there for a long while now.  This little Terran scrap Yondu considered family – his son.  If someone had told him that three years ago he would have laughed himself sick and then thrown them out of the nearest airlock.  But here he was, sitting with his boy staring at the stars.

He offered a rare genuine smile and asked, “Ya wanna know where Terra is?”

Peter turned a hopeful stare on him and nodded.

Yondu pointed to a faint cluster of stars just to Peter’s right, “Right there?  See that little cluster-flark?  That’s where your Earth is.”

Peter stared at that spot for a long time, “It’s beautiful.” He breathed.

The Ravager captain snorted, “Yeah, it is.”  He paused looking up in the other direction, “Ya know when I was a kid I used to look up there an’ wonder what was out here. Then I flarked up an’ found out. Ma parents – they’s don’t even know if I’s still livin’, hell I dunno if they’re still kickin’ – don’t matter none, I guess.”

The boy nodded, leaning into the Centaurian slightly, offering silent support.  The older man slung both arms around his shoulders and squeezed lightly.  It was a while before either of them spoke again.

“We do alright by ya dun we, boy?”

Peter thought for a moment and shrugged, “Yeah o’course.  I mean, it’s definitely not the life I would have had on Ea-Terra but it’s not a bad one.  It’s hard work being a Ravager,” he grinned widely, “but it’s a flark-ton of fun too.  Everyone works hard, but everyone gets rewarded for that too.  Ya never let the crew eat me, an’ ya ain’t never done nothing to hurt me, even helped me when I got into trouble or hurt myself.” The boy paused wondering whether to continue.  He grinned, Yondu never pulled his verbal punches and Peter learned from the best, “Ya might be a mean ol’ blue bastard, but ya ain’t never said nor done nothing I didn’t deserve.  Ya may not like having me around all the time, but there are worse people out there that could have me – like slavers and stuff.  My Granddaddy always said tough love was the best kind. I think he’s right – even when it sucks.”  He turned to look into red eyes that were suspiciously wet, “So yeah, you done alright – Dad.

Yondu sniffed, grinned, and then cuffed Peter lightly in the back of the head, “Cheeky snot.”

Peter stuck out his tongue playful, “Takes one to know one.”

The Centaurian chuckled, shaking his head, “Hey, ya wanna see some arrow tricks?”

Peter looked at the man he considered his Dad seriously, “I thought you said you whistled wrong and we all die.”

Yondu shrugged his shoulders – a distinctly Terran gesture he’d picked up from the boy, “There’s some truth to that – I definitely don’t recommend whistlin’ drunk – but I learned ta do tricks back in tha day ta amuse myself.”

Peter’s face lit up excitedly, “Yeah, that’d be cool!”

The first whistle was piercing, the arrow shot out of its holster and Yondu began to entertain the boy with swoops, spirals and twists.  The pair laughed – a happy sound that traveled into the darkness where two figures stood watching.

Kraglin brushed his fingers over his mohawk, the thing needed a trim. “Ya know tha implant allows him ta empathically sense everything around him, right?”

His reptilian companion smirked, “So he knows we’re here?”

The Hraxian nodded, “Yup.”

Halli frowned, “So why you reckon he’s lettin’ us watch ‘im with Peter?” The arrow spiraled around a nearby lamppost.  “He’s bein’ downright nice.” Her eyes followed it back up towards the stars. “Ain’t like him.”

Kraglin grinned, “I dunno – prove he has a soul?”

That earned him an elbow to the side and a chuckle, “Yondu has a soul.  I known that from tha beginning.” The arrow flew under the bench and did a forward roll before shooting back up into the sky.  “He has a big ol’ heart too – as squishy as can be – but he hides it all under a snarl an’ a hell o’ a lotta mean.”  She glanced towards her friend, “That’s why ya love him so damn much Krags.”

The colour drained from the man’s face, “I dun –”

“Dun lie ta me jackass, it’s as plain as Yondu is blue.”

Kraglin dropped his head into his hands, “Flark. A few years back I – I did somement stupid. I kissed him.”

The look on Halli’s face was priceless, “Ya what?! How come ya never told me?

Kraglin blushed, “I dunno what I expected, but I didn’t even get a reaction. Flarkin’ zip.  It was then I realised he don’t give no shits ‘bout me so, I asked him to pretend it never happened and he ain’t never acknowledged it since.”

Halli gave him a sympathetic look, “That ain’t true Krags. He’s just terrified o’ lettin’ anyone close to ‘im.”  She smiled softly. “It’s right easy ta tell you an’ tha’ boy mean tha world ta ‘im.”

There was a snort, “Ya fergettin’, ya mean tha world ta ‘im too.”

She rolled her eyes, “I ain’t mean nothin’ ta no body, I just do what Imma told.”

Kraglin nudged her lightly, “Yer wrong.  Ya mean tha world ta Petey.”  He turned to face her, staring into her eyes, “Who helps ‘im when he’s sad, or sings ‘im ta sleep when ‘e has a nightmare, or lets him crawl inta ya bed when he’s scared o’ somement?”  He poked her in the stomach, “You do.”  Halli shook her head.  Kraglin gave her an unimpressed look and crossed his arms, “When tha Cap’n got space flu, who scoured tha known galaxy fer tha ingredients fer a Centaurian soup nobody even knew existed?” Halli blushed.  “When he nearly died, who ran tha ship while my messed-up ass sat wit’ him?”

“I did.” She replied quietly.

“Who swipes new an’ funny trinkets fer his insane collection? You do.”  He placed both hands on her shoulders. “Ya mean tha world ta me too ‘cause ya always helpin’ me.  Ya let me vent on ya, ya take shifts that I usually have to threaten people ta do, ya always find tha ingredients ta ma favourite foods. Dun think I dun notice shit like dat.  Yer tha sister I never had.” He slipped an arm around her shoulders as the both turned to watch the yaka arrow spiral down from the heavens.  “Yondu’d growl at me fer tha sentiment but – we all love ya Halli.”

She smiled leaning into him slightly, “Love ya too ya bony bastard.”  The watched the arrow some more before Halli frowned, “How’d ya turn that on me?  We was talkin’ about you.”

Kraglin shrugged, “It’s a gift. Now,” he smoothly changed the subject and Halli let it go – for now, “let’s get back ta tha ship ‘fore I fall down.” His jaw cracked with the strength of the yawn, “It’s been a flarkin’ long week.”

Chapter Text

Halli swore viciously as she zapped herself on a live wire. Sucking her finger into her mouth, she pushed it gingerly to the side and felt around for her multi-tool.

Psst! Halli!”

She jumped smashing her head on the console internals, she swore again, rubbing the sore spot. Pushing herself out from beneath the console she glared at the eleven-year-old Terran.

Fuck Petey. Next trip planet-side Imma buy a bell fer you!”

“Sorry.” He stated, not sounding sorry at all.

“What’chu want?”

“You remember when I said I was waiting for the right moment?”

“Fer what?” She answered irritably, wondering if her head was bleeding, “Am I bleedin’? That hurt like a bitch!

Peter grabbed her head in his hands, “Nah yer fine.” He pushed her head away, clocking it into the console again.

“Ow! Goddamnit Quill! Imma gut ya if ya keep that up!”

“Shut up.”

Excuse the fuck outta you boy!”

“Just – Halli! – ok?

She sighed, “What is it Peter?”

“Yondu and Kraglin are fighting.”

A snort. “What else is new?”

The boy put his head in his hands, grabbing his hair in frustration, “Will you just shut the hell up for a second?!”

Halli tutted her tongue. The Sic’tar rattled ominously in their pouch.

“I’m sorry! But – just – listen ok?”

Halli crossed her arms, “I’m all ears boyo.”

“I’ve been waiting for the right moment for years, waiting for them to get a fucking clue –”

“Peter I’ve known those two fer near fifteen years, an’ they been dancing around each other that long an’ I got no doubt it were happenin’ ‘fore that too. They ain’t never gonna get a fucking clue.”

Peter threw his hands in the air, “Exactly! That’s why we gotta do something! They’ve been at each other’s throats this week an’ it’s driving everyone nuts. Yondu skewered four people yesterday for even mentioning Kraglin’s name!”

“What did they get their knickers in a twist ‘bout again?”

Peter shrugged, “I dunno, but this plan is gunna kill two birds with one stone.”

Halli scrunched her nose, “’at’s a cruel sayin’. What tha hell tha birds do ta you?”

Peter glared at her, “Don’t be a butt.” He leaned against the bulkhead, “Look – I got an idea – one that’ll hopefully get them to stop fighting and get them to finally see how much they mean to each other.”

Halli's grin took on a sinister glint, “What’chu need me ta do, boy?”


 

Kraglin was still pissed off. It had been five days and Yondu still hadn’t apologized – well not apologized because Yondu Udonta didn’t do that - but did his usual ‘I’m sorry I was a dick, here’s a present’ thing. He usually would just find Kraglin somewhere in the ship and hand him something or other, then say in that gravelly – almost awkward – tone; ‘We good?’, Kraglin would respond and everything would be back to normal.

So, technically this time it may have – sorta – been his fault - but still!

Halli had come up to him earlier and quietly told him they had a meeting at 1700 in the captain’s quarters. Yondu hadn’t said anything to him but then again, the Centaurian hadn’t spoken to him for days.

When he turned up and opened the door, the captain was at his desk with his feet up, Kraglin frowned, “Where’s Halli?”

“Tha hell would I know?”

Kraglin tipped his head in confusion, “But she told me –” Yondu glared and the Hraxian’s gaze hardened as well, “don’t matter, sorry ta disturb ya sir.”

When he palmed the bio-lock to leave and the thing didn’t light up, he knew he’d been had. He thumped his fist on the door. “Halli! You let me out right now!”

He heard Peter giggle through the door, “Sorry bro, you two ain’t coming outta there until you’ve worked out your shit.”

The sound of a smack to the back of Peter’s head for cursing didn’t make Kraglin snort as it usually would. He curled his lip angrily, he did not need this shit today!

Yondu was up and out of his chair and by his first mate’s side in a second. He thumped his fist on the door. He nodded his head to the bio-lock and Kraglin pulled a knife to start prying the panel off.

Halli’s voice filtered through the door, “Don’t even think about trying to short-circuit the lock Kraglin ‘cause it won’t work. I re-routed the power.”

Yondu smashed his fist against the door, “This is wandering dangerously close to mutinous territory Hallifax!”

The responding smack on the door made Yondu jump. “Like fuck it is! All we want you ta do is talk to each other! Ya’ll ‘r’ driving us all mad an’ I’m damn tired of takin’ crew down ta medical ‘cause yer takin’ yer anger out on them!” There was a pause and they could both hear the smile in her voice when she spoke next, “Don’t worry, Tullk an’ me can handle tha ship. You’s two just – talk to each other.”

Peter laughed, “I can’t believe my plan worked!”

“Hush up Petey you’ll get yerself in strife. We’ll be back in tha mornin’ boys, think of it as an in-ship holiday.”

“Have fun!” Peter sing-songed.

Yondu snarled, spinning on the spot and pacing the length of his cabin. He wasn’t sure what he was more furious about; the fact that Peter got the jump on him or that Tullk and Halli – the most trustworthy – excusing present company of course – of his band of misfits – were actually in on it.

Kraglin sighed heavily, leaning on the wall, “Guess we’re stuck here sir.”

Yondu threw himself on the couch so hard he bounced and covered his eyes with a tired hand, “Seems we is, yeah. I mean, I could fill tha door full’a holes wit’ ma arrow but I ain’t really wanna be wreckin’ ma door. Plus, without no power that things heavier than a bilgesnipe, even wit' both o' us we couldn't push it open.” His hand flopped back into his lap. He shuffled over, “Take a seat.”

Kraglin hesitated making, Yondu click his tongue, “I ain’t gonna rip yer head off, Imma do that ta those three mutinous flarkers when I get outta here.”

The Hraxian made his way over and sat down, “They’re just tryin’ ta help Cap’n. Not that what they did was good or nothin’.” He added quickly.

Yondu grumbled, crossing his arms petulantly.

Kraglin decided a peace offering was in order if he was going to spend the evening with his prickly captain, “Want me ta make ya a drink?”

Yondu shrugged, his face was dangerously close to a pout – he hated it when people got one up on him.

He smirked, “Careful Cap’n yer face’ll stick like that. Then you’ll be walkin’ around lookin’ all cute an’ that won’t do much fer yer image.”

That earned him a smirk and a raised brow.

Kraglin blushed looking down at his boots. He cleared his throat, getting up and crossing room to get some much needed booze.

Sloshing what was probably way too much in his glass, he downed it quickly. It seared his throat and he stifled a belch in a fist. Repeating the motion, he poured Yondu a glass and made his way back to the couch, with the two glasses and the bottle under an arm. Handing one to the captain he sat down and sighed, “Look – I –” he sighed again. He put the glass down and dug into a pocket in his jumpsuit, “Here.” He shoved the packet towards Yondu, who took it with a questioning look.

“Some kids in Nova space, at one o’ tha refuelin’ stops make ‘em.”

Yondu tore open the brown paper and inside was a leather band a little wider than a thumb nail, it was Ravager colours with the flame in the middle. Yondu stared down at it, running a chipped nail over the insignia.

“Got ‘em ta make it wit’ tha flame. I know it ain’t a shiny or nothin’ but I thought you’d –”

“This is – it’s – real nice Krags. Thank you.”

Kraglin blushed, the captain rarely said those words and when he did they always came from the heart. He smiled pulling up a sleeve, “I got one too, see?”

Yondu grabbed his arm and pulled it towards him.

The Hraxian blushed harder, “It’s probably stupid we got matchin’ ones like a couple o’ kids but –”

“It ain’t stupid.”

When he looked up Yondu was staring at him, he swallowed heavily. The Centaurian was rubbing his thumb over the top of Kraglin’s bony knuckles.

He cleared his throat, willing his body to stop reacting to the close proximity, “So – uh – we good?”

Yondu blinked and whatever he was thinking was shuttered out by walls thicker that the ones at Kyln. He let go of Kraglin’s hand like it burnt him, “Yeah – yeah, we good.” He picked up the bracelet from the brown paper in his lap and clicked it on his wrist. As he smiled down at it, Kraglin was torn between kissing him stupid and running to the other side of the cabin.

His voice came out husky when he spoke, “Cap’n –” Yondu’s eyes shot up to his face. “I –” He remembered back to the last moment he’d felt this strongly and shook his head, he wasn’t going to make a bigger idiot of himself by doing something stupid, like climbing on top of the man and sticking a tongue down his throat. He shifted uncomfortably, “It ain’t nothin’.”

Yondu downed his drink and poured another one. He grinned, raising the glass to his first mate, “Flark it, we may as well make tha most of this. Let’s get pissed.”


 

Over the next few hours the bottle went down steadily, they laughed and carried on, trying to one up each other on who had the best story.

Yondu was slumped lazily on one end of the couch, feet out in front of him glass resting on his stomach. Kraglin had stripped his boots and pulled the jacket of his jumpsuit down where it was tied around his thin waist.

The Centaurian nudged one of his pale feet, the foot nudged back, and the man attached to it snorted. While neither were drunk, they both had a good buzz going.

“What about the time we were on – what were that fuckin’ planet?”

Kraglin raised a brow.

Yondu tutted, “Ya know that time what got you shot in yer ass.”

“It weren’t ma ass Cap’n. It were tha back o’ ma thigh an’ that don’t count ‘cause we was both there.”

“Bah!” The older man swung a hand in the air. “It were still a great exit. Ya thrown ova ma shoulder like a sack o’ shit, shootin’ tha pricks down while howlin’ at me about how undignified it were bein’ hauled around like a chit.”

Kraglin looked at him soberly, “You an’ I remember that day very differently.”

I remember how nice yer ass felt in ma hands.”

Yondu looked at his glass in shock as if it would provide the answers as to why that very private thought just came out of his mouth.

What?”

 Yondu looked at him sheepishly, “What?”

“What'chu just say?”

“Nothin’.”

“No, ya just said –”

“No I didn’t.”

Kraglin gave him a smug grin, “You think ma ass is nice.”

Yondu could feel himself beginning to panic and that was never good because whatever he thought usually came out of his mouth.

“Ya do, don’t you?”

“Nah, yer hearin’ things.”

“Dun lie.”

“I ain’t.”

“Yondu, yer a lyin’ piece o’ shit.”

“Yeah? Well you got purty eyes an’ a fuckin’ sexy voice an’ stupid kissable lips.”

And there it was.

He bit his lip. Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck!

Kraglin blinked.

He racked his brain for something, anything that would make that damning sentence go back in his brain where it belonged.

Stupid Kraglin and his stupid face and those kind eyes that blinked at him from under those stupidly long lashes. The most annoying part about him – the part that slid straight through Yondu’s defenses like a plasma round through steel -  was that he listened, he listened, and he cared. Yondu didn’t ever know what to do with that – and – hey – Kraglin wasn’t smiling that goofy grin he got when Yondu complimented him and that muddy stain to his cheeks wasn’t a blush.

It was anger.

He was punched in the nose before he could say a word.

His brain provided a hearty ow and he looked at the man in shock.

“You fucking asshole! Ya know! Ya know how I feel about ya an’ still ya gotta keep pickin’ at tha scab, flirtin’ an’ carryin’ on like a complete dick! I can’t take it no more Yondu – I – I can’t because I lo – mpfh!”

He was cut off by a set of blue lips. They pulled back after a second and the ruby eyes that stared into his were terrified.

Kraglin slowly touched his lips, “I – I don’t understand.”

He watched Yondu swallow heavily, “I – I – shit! –” He flopped back on the couch hand over his eyes, “I been fuckin’ – urgh – I been crazy bout ya fer fuckin’ years Krags. It ain’t fair ‘cause I want ta, like really really want ta give –” he waved a hand in the air vaguely, “whatever this is a chance but I can’t.”

“Why?”

Why?! ‘cause it could get us both killed ya idjit! A cap’n ain’t supposed ta have favourites.”

Kraglin was grinning.

Yondu hmpfed, “Oh go ahead, laugh at my pain.” He muttered sullenly.

“Yer a asshole and an idjit.”

’Scuse me?”

“You fucking dumbass! Ya think ya can’t have things ya want ‘cause ‘a cap’n ain’t a’posed to’? When the fuck has that ever stopped ya?”

“Ya – ya have a point.”

“I can take care o’ maself Yondu.”

“I dun want ya ta get killed ‘cause o’ me.” The older man said quietly, looking down at his hands. “Ya said ta me a long time ago, ya didn’t want ta live in a galaxy wit’out me. I realised I dun wanna live in one wit’out you neither.”

Kraglin scooted closer on the couch, “Yondu – look at me,” when the man’s eyes flicked up to his, he moved even closer, so their thighs were touching, “either o’ us could get killed tomorra fer all we know. We dun exactly live a cushy life where nothin’ insane never happens. So why? Why can’t we have this one thing?”

Yondu’s eyes flicked down to his lips and back, “’Cause it could be used against us. If I care any more an’ somement happened ta ya it –” The ‘would break me’ was left off but he could see Kraglin understood. His voice sounded foreign to his ears – quiet – almost scared.

“I already care more’n I should. Hell – yer ma whole universe Cap’n.”

Yondu snorted, “Sentiment.”

Kraglin glared, “Don’t’chu go hiding behind no emotional walls, we’s alone Yondu, you ain’t tha Cap’n here, it’s ok to be just you.”

Yondu ducked his head. Smiling, he looked up shyly, “I love you Kraglin.”

Kraglin’s brain ground to a halt, “W-what?”

“Ya said it was ok ta be just me an’ just me loves you.”

Kraglin stared at Yondu. His entire face had changed – the glimpses he’d gotten over the years of the real Yondu not ‘the captain’ or ‘the Ravager’ hadn’t even come close to what it was like having the man look at him so damn openly. He found himself smiling softly.

“Yer nose is bleeding.”

Yondu wiped at it absently, “Yer tha one what punched me.”

Kraglin grinned, “Yeah I did.” I reached out and wiped the redness away. “I love you.”

Yondu smiled “I love you too.” He sniffed loudly, hacking the blood into his mouth and spitting it onto the grated flooring, “Seriously though? Can we cut tha sap? It’s makin’ ma teeth hurt.”

Kraglin laughed.


 

When Halli reconnected the power the next morning and the door slid open she blinked, “Huh.”

Peter stood next to her with his eyes closed, “What is it? Are they naked? Is it gross?”

The pair were curled up around each other on the couch fully clothed, every available inch of body plastered against the other. Yondu snoring into the arm of the couch, and Kraglin snuffling into his shoulder.

Halli smirked, “Well I thought that was goin’ ta go a lot different but alrigh’.”

Tullk chuckled from behind him, “Ya can open yer eyes laddie. Ain’t nothin’ but two fools in love.”

Chapter Text

“Can’t blow tha door, it’ll alert tha whole compound.”

“Well how tha hell else ya expect us ta get in Krags?”

“I dunno Cap’n but we dun have enough crew ta take on tha whole lot o’ ‘em.”

Peter heard the arguing as he came in from his shower, scrubbing his head roughly with a towel, “What’cha doing guys?”

“None of your business child.” Brite snapped haughtily.

Halli elbowed the man sharply, “Shut up Brite no one asked you!”

He looked like he was about to say something else when Yondu’s glare made him think better of it.

“We’s try’na plan a heist Quill.”

“Oh.” The boy leaned over the blueprints, Kraglin had been teaching him how to read them lately and he studied the rooms carefully, “This the place?”

“Aye.” Replied Tullk, “I dinna know ya could read blueprints boyo.”

Peter shrugged, “Sorta.” He pointed, “This is the main entrance.” He pointed in quick succession, “These are the other entrances and the ones with the x’s are the ones you’ve rules out I’m guessing.”

Brite huffed, “Cap’n is this –”

“Shaddup!” Yondu snapped, watching Peter carefully.

The boy picked up a holo-pad, “You wanna go in covert like, right?”

Kraglin nodded, “Ain’t enough people ta go in full force.”

Peter nodded looking at the holo-pad, “You ain’t wrong, their guard rotation looks tight.”

Halli smiled proudly, “What you reckon Petey? Any suggestions?”

Brite huffed again, “Cap’n are we really going to listen to a child? I mean –”

Yondu’s implant glowed ominously, “I told ya once Brite I ain’t gonna tell ya again.”

The man’s jaw shut with a click.

“What’s this?” Peter asked pointing to a long section that was slightly greyed out, indicating it wasn’t on ground level.

“Flick the projection up a level.” Kraglin replied.

Peter did so and studied the map again, “That’s the central ducting system.”

Tullk grinned, “Aye ‘at’s right.”

Peter hmmed thoughtfully.

Brite looked like he was about to have an aneurysm, “You cannot be taking this seriously! He’s a –”

Yondu exploded, “Right that’s it! Git’out Brite!”

The man blanched, “But Cap’n –”

“I warned ya boy! Git’out an’ be thankful I didn’t brig ya!”

The man scowled, launching himself up and stomping out.

Yondu growled under his breath, “I’m beginning ta wonder why I keep that asshole around.”

Halli raised a brow, “Been wonderin’ that fer years, sir.” That earned her a smirk and a little head shake.

Peter looked at the blueprints, “Have you got any shots of the outside of the building?”

Kraglin took the holo-pad, pulling up the shots one of the scouts had taken and handed it back to the boy.

He flicked through the pictures, eyes flitting between the pictures and the projection of the schematics on the table. Peter flipped the holo-pad around to show the group, “There’s your in.”

Halli peered at the picture, “That’s an external vent for the ducting.”

“We canna all fit in there, Peter.”

The boy shrugged, “You don’t have to.” He put the holo down and leaned over the blueprint. “Kraglin can fit in there, it’s at least as wide as the ship ducting. He gets in there, crawls through to here,” Peter pointed, “Takes out the guards all stealthy like, and lets the rest of you in through this entrance here.”

Kraglin raised a brow, “That’s at least 30 feet off the ground Petey.”

“We’d need rigging.” Halli commented.

“What aboot tha outside sacurity cameras?” Tullk pointed “They’re ‘ere.”

Halli grinned, “That’s easy, I can run a loop usin’ tha security system an’ prolly disable tha proximity alarms in tha ductin’. Can’t disable tha whole system or it’ll alert ‘em, but I can do tha’ at least.”

Yondu was still staring at Peter, “How’d ya figure all tha’ out? We been here damn near an hour an’ no one even considered tha’.”

The boy shrugged, “’s like a puzzle, you just move all the pieces until they fit.”

The captain grinned, “Think we got ourselves a plan, boys!” Ignoring Halli indignant eyebrow raise, he grinned at Peter, “Good job Quill, ya can sit in on tha next meetin’.”

The kid beamed, “Really?!”

“Sure, ya seem ta have a knack fer this kinda stuff.”

Tullk smiled, “Surprisin’ considerin’ yer only 11, boyo.”

“Awesome!”

Yondu looked back at the group, “Which one o’ ya taught ‘im ta read blueprints?”

Kraglin blushed, “I been showin’ him a little Cap’n.”

Yondu’s smile is a little predatory, “Have ya now?”

Halli huffed. They’d been like this for days now – ever since they had locked them in the cabin – dancing around each other with barely concealed flirting and lewd smiles.

Kraglin returned the look confidently, “I can teach a lot o’ stuff Cap’n.”

Yondu practically purred, “I bet ya can.”

Peter looked on in abject horror, “Eww.” He muttered under his breath. Leaning over to Halli he whispered, “This isn’t about me anymore is it?”

“Nope.” Halli replied trying – and failing – to conceal her grin, “We should leave. They’ve been dancing ‘round each other fer so long this is bound ta go nuclear.”

Tullk chuckled, ushering the other two out of the room, “I dinna wanna see tha falloot anymore’n you two.”

The beep of the door lock engaging snapped the two men out of their daze.

Kraglin frowned, “Where’d they go?”

Yondu’s gaze practically sizzled, “Who cares? It’s after tha day shift, we’s on our own time now an’ Kraglin?”

The Hraxian swallowed, frozen to his spot on the couch as the Centaurian slid forwards so he was practically in the taller man’s lap. He took a pale earlobe between crooked teeth and Kraglin struggled to contain an embarrassing sound that threatened to exit his mouth.

When he let the lobe drop from his teeth he chuckled deep in his throat, “Want ya ta fuck me.”

Kraglin really did moan then and surged forwards connecting their lips in a vicious battle for dominance.

Shoving Yondu down until he was lying on his back, he plunged his hands underneath the captain’s coat. His skin wasn’t like Kraglin’s own – which was similar to that of a Terran – instead his skin was comprised of microscopic scales, which shifted and moved over his muscles and Kraglin was addicted to running his fingers over every inch.

He pushed the heavy leather coat back, yanking it roughly when he couldn’t get it off quick enough. Yondu chuckled pushing against his chest to get him to sit back up.

Kraglin made an unhappy sound, relenting and moving away. Yondu slipped his arms out of the worn leather, grabbing a hand and pulling his first mate up off the couch.

As they stumbled together towards the bed, Yondu wrestled the top half of the taller man’s jumpsuit off, shoving his worn t-shirt up over his head. Kraglin bunched it up, tossing it somewhere, he groaned as Yondu’s fingers wandered teasingly over his skin. Those hands – and wow, Kraglin never noticed how big they were – catching on old knife scars and bullet holes, running through thick hair and gripping. It was just on the right side of pleasurable pain, making the taller man lose use of his legs. Thankfully the bed was there to catch him as he sat heavily, dragging the Centaurian with him. Their lips collided again and Kraglin couldn’t think of anything more perfect than this moment.

He’s proven wrong several seconds later when Yondu shifted, moving himself to straddle thin hips. He slotted them together and grinds. Kraglin saw tiny stars in the corners of his vision and it shouldn’t feel that incredible but he’d waited so long for Yondu that his body is a highly sensitised mess and he loves it.

He babbled something incoherent, that resembled ‘pants’ and ‘off’ but Yondu seemed to get it, leaning up on his knees and stripping away the jumpsuit before working his own skin-tight leathers, peeling them away like one of those candy bars Kraglin knows he has stashed about the cabin but can never actually find.

Yondu's smirk was predatory, a sharp metal canine sticking out over his bottom lip. Kraglin leaned up, abs straining, capturing that lip with his own.

The Centaurian sat back down and both men groaned, skin to skin contact sending sparks of pleasure through the pair. Yondu pulled back enough to whisper in a husky voice against Kraglin's lips, "Love you."

The taller man grinned happily, "Love you too."

Yondu mirrored the look and tutted to himself, "Yer turnin' me inta a sentimental ol' fool."

Kraglin's grin turned filthy, "One who's gonna be fucked 'til he's moanin' like a whore I hope."

Yondu's pupils dilated and his breathing turned even rougher. "Aww hell, Krags, ya keep sayin' shit like tha' Imma embarrass maself like a damn teenager."

The Hraxian chuckled, "Save ma dirty mouth fer another time then." He leaned forwards flipping them and sliding smoothly between the older man's legs.

Kraglin took in the man beneath him, he'd never had the opportunity to really look at the captain before – sly glances from under his eyelashes didn't count.

He found himself curiously staring at the implant, his fingers reached towards it, stopping suddenly when he realised what he was doing.

His eyes flickered down to Yondu's, the man swallowed heavily giving Kraglin a slight nod, "'s ok."

The Hraxian gave a small smile, long fingers ghosting over the red metal, feeling along the sides where implant met skin.

Yondu gave a lurch and his implant glowed deeply, "Fuckin' hell!"

Kraglin immediately backed off, "Shit. Did I hurt ya?" The older man shuddered again, eyes rolling back in his head. "Yondu? Fer fuck sake, say somement will ya?"

When the Centaurian’s eyes focused back on the man above him, his pupils were blown so wide there was barely any red left, "That were incredible." His voice was a deep throaty growl when he continued, "I can feel – fuck, I dunno how ta explain it. Do it again!"

Kraglin chuckled at the demanding tone, fingers gently stroking along the yaka, pinkies sliding along the craggy blue skin.

"Holy shit!" Yondu arced up into his hands. "I – I – damnit Krags stop fer a sec, can't fuckin' think."

The Hraxian moved his hands bringing them down to cover the other man's pecs, "What is it?"

Yondu huffed in a shaky breath, "It's you." He was looking at him in awe.

Kraglin frowned, "Ya ain't makin' no sense Yon."

The Centaurian rolled his eyes, "I can feel you Krags."

The taller man tipped his head, "Course ya can I's touchin' ya."

"Oh fer – no ya idjit. I can feel yer spirit. You."

Kraglin raised a brow, "'fraid ya lost me babe." He blushed, they hadn't even gotten close to a pet name level in their – relationship? – he didn't know what else to call it – but it was out there now.

To his surprise, Yondu blushed, "I – I like that, 's cute darlin', real cute. Dun think ya can get away wit' it outside o' here but."

Kraglin smirked, "Yes dear." The thwap to the back of his head was worth it. "So, wanna explain this feelin' me stuff babe?" Enjoying the way he flushed navy again.

Yondu sighed, "'s difficult – ya ain't Centaurian – tha' 'voodoo shit' ya always referrin' ta? 'at's some kinda empathic abilities, right? Tha implant lets me feel tha' shit, 's not as good as tha real thing, but it's still there. When ya – mate – ya connect empathically, I ain't never – but I heard 'bout it. Don't work – well, it ain't supposed ta – on otha species, right? I ain't never tried, but then I never had – a connection, I guess? I dunno – I can feel ya spirit, it ain't like when I reach out ta find someone, it's different – like – yer up in here." He tapped the fin. "Can feel what ya feel, how ya feel."

Kraglin ran the back of his hand over the side of Yondu's face, stubble scratching his fingers. "Ain't that just downright romantic?" The other man made a face and the Hraxian chuckled, "Can ya feel it when I touch ya anywhere else?"

The Centaurian shook his head.

Kraglin nodded in return, filing the information away for later. He looked into ruby eyes, and the fever of desire shot through his blood again.

This was Yondu underneath him - the fearless, terrifying Ravager captain - underneath him – the skinny spit-fuck mechanic from Hrax, who’d somehow tumbled into the pirate life through sheer stupidity and the stubborn will to live.

He slanted his lips over blue ones, tongue seeking entrance to curl around the older man's. His fingers trailed over Yondu's side, sliding over the puckered skin of an old knife wound, he hiked one smooth thigh over his hip, fingers digging in to feel the trembling muscle.

Trailing down to the curve of the older man's ass he felt a stuttering hitch of breath between kisses, tearing his mouth away he grinned, "Keep bein' so damn responsive babe an' I ain't gonna last neither." He husked, fingers inching closer to his prize.

Yondu squeezed his eyes shut, arcing up into the taller man, "Quit teasin' ya bastard."

Kraglin ran his other hand across the older man's skin. The blue expanse was quickly becoming an obsession and he took great pleasure in running his hands over the tiny scales against the grain, feeling the minute sandpaper like prickles against his palm.

Yondu leaned away fumbling around in the top draw of the chest sitting next to the bed. The taller man took the opportunity to draw a line with his tongue along intricate tattoos. The Centaurian gave a full-bodied shudder, cursing as his fingers dropped the tube he'd just finished looking for. He snatched it back up and impatiently tossed it at Kraglin's head. It bounced harmlessly off his mohawk and onto the bed.

The Hraxian chuckled, "Alright." He picked up the tube, "No more teasin'." He shuffled about, rearranging himself so he could kiss the older man. Long fingers traced up his jaw, scratching the stubble with harshly bitten fingernails. Yondu sucked in a breath as those digits slid across the implant and he was lost in a world of sensation.

Colours and sounds intensified. The feel of his own scarred skin through Kraglin's palms, the rapid beat of the Hraxian's heart felt that as if it were in his own chest, the throb of pure pleasure from a knot he didn't have, and the overwhelming warmth of Kraglin's soul.

Overflowing with affection and – yeah – love. Yondu concentrated hard, feeding his own experience back through the loop. He didn't think for a second it would actually work, Kraglin was a completely different species after all. Nothing about them – physically at least – was alike.

Kraglin gasped loudly, falling forwards onto his elbow and Yondu felt it all. He lay there for minute panting into the scarred blue shoulder before his hand slipped away from the metal in his partner's head. When he pulled back to look him in the eyes, there were tears shimmering across his vision, "That's some serious voodoo shit babe."

Yondu, still feeling the after effects of the connection, was overwhelmed. He reared up mashing his mouth against Kraglin's. The Hraxian couldn't wait any longer, he pulled his fingers from Yondu's body and slicked himself up. He pulled away from the kiss and stared into ruby eyes. Yondu blinked up at him and Kraglin couldn't stop the stupid sentimental smile spreading across his face, as he pushed into Yondu.

Both men groaned and Yondu wrapped his heels securely around the Hraxian's hips, pulling him flush. The sound that burst from his throat was crossed between a moan and a satisfied chuckle.

Kraglin's fingers slid up to the implant again, "Let me feel it again." He whispered breathlessly, as he began to move.

Yondu closed his eyes and suddenly there was absolutely nothing between them. Kraglin let the feeling wash over him, before pulling his hand away.

Sharp fingernails scrabbled against his shoulders, leaving muddy blue welts in their wake. The Hraxian ducked his head, nipping alone a flushed navy collarbone, Yondu canted his hips up roughly, colliding with Kraglin's wiry frame.

The taller man dove in for a rough kiss, jagged teeth clipping Yondu's lips. While most would probably shy away from the razor-sharp metal, that only seemed to encourage the Ravager captain, his own incisors cutting into thin lips, until their mouths were a mixture of passionate, muddy purple.

Kraglin felt his abdominal begin to tighten and he wedged a hand between their bodies. Gripping Yondu's cock, he pumped it in time with his thrusts. The Centaurian moaned loudly, sending a shot of pure heat straight through Kraglin.

"Knot me."

Shock hit him like a plasma round and he stopped everything he was doing to stare into Yondu's eyes, "W – what?"

The older man shoved his hips up, desperately seeking friction, "Don't fuckin' stop, ya idjit!"

"Yes'sir." He replied automatically and resumed.

Yondu made a face, "Dun call me tha' in here." Kraglin changed angles and Yondu forgot how to function, pleasure spiking up his spine like a hit from a taser round.

"Y – ya sure ya want me ta –" Kraglin grunted, squeezing his eyes shut as heat shot through his gut.

Yondu arced up into him, "Hell yes."

That gravely moan set Kraglin's blood on fire and he gave one last stuttered thrust, bottoming out inside the Centaurian.

The captain's eyes flew shut, his world shrinking to a pinpoint, then exploding into a super nova of stars behind his eyelids. He shivered as he felt the Hraxian's knot expand, filling him further than he'd ever been.

Yondu gave a lazy stretch, a full-bodied shudder wracking his frame, "Goddamn darlin' that were tha best sex I had in years." Ever, really.

Kraglin, still catching his breath, chuckled into a blue shoulder.

The Centaurian stretched again, "Tha' knot is somement else. Feels incredible."

"Glad I pass muster." The taller man replied dryly. He hooked Yondu's legs around his hips and shuffled them up the bed a little more. He turned them both gently, so they were lying on their sides, facing each other, wincing slightly when the movement pulled at the knot.

"So – uh – what now?" Yondu questioned as he ran calloused fingers through the other man's hair. "Ain't never asked fer – ya know." He nodded towards their tangled legs.

Kraglin smiled, the captain looked almost embarrassed, which he found silently adorable, "Ta be joined?" He chuckled quietly when the older man flushed, "Knot lasts a while, depends really – anywhere between ten minutes an' an hour."

Yondu's brows shot up, "Better get comfortable then huh?" He untangled his legs, gripping the blankets with his toes and pulling them up to his hand. Once he'd settled them around both their shoulders, he pecked Kraglin on the lips, "Love ya darlin'."

The Hraxian smiled softly, "Love you too babe."

After a minute Yondu looked around, "Ya don't got any snacks do ya?"

Kraglin's laughter could be heard all the way down the hall.

Chapter Text

"Ya really shouldn't be in here Pete." Reaver stated calmly as she oiled the chamber of her sniper.

The boy was sitting up on the workbench across from her, feet dangling off the edge, "How come?"

The woman looked up as she began to reassemble the gun, "There's lots'a volatile chemicals in here. So, don't touch nothin', ya hear?"

The boy rolled his eyes, "Yes ma'am."

Deft yellow fingers methodically clicked pieces of the gun back together, "Why are you in here anyway?"

"No reason." The boy replied quickly.

Reaver's sharp eyes caught his and the side of her mouth quirked up, "Yer hidin'. Who'd ya piss off?"

Peter shuffled, picking up an orb off the shelf, "No 'm not."

The woman gave him a pointed look, "You really need to get better at lyin' Pete. Put that down."

He ignored her, fiddling with the orb, "I may have put an orloni in Horuz's trunk, but it was his own fault! He called me stupid little runt!" Peter looked at her indignantly, "He's dumber than anyone on the crew an' 'm not a runt, that dick."

Reaver sighed, "An' now he wants to string ya up I'm guessing."

Peter rubbing the rapidly forming shiner on his left eye, "He punched me, said he was going to grind my face through the deck. Can't exactly fight him, 'm not big enough yet. I could’a knifed him I guess, but then Yondu would’a yelled at me an' made me clean the bogs again."

She looked down the sight of the barrel, adjusting it slightly, "Retaliatin’ just encourages that flarker, should’a just ignored 'im. He's an idjit Pete, he'll ferget in a few hours. Put that plasma orb down boy, 'fore ya activa-"

The ball lit up brightly.

"-te it. Damnit. Give it here."

The boy eyed the orb in awe, twisting it back and forth, "Cool!"

"Pete," Reaver warned, "give it here."

The Terran rolled his eyes, "Relax Reaver, it's just a big ol' lightbulb."

The woman got up from her place, holding out her hand, "A highly unstable lightbulb Pete, hand it over 'fore ya blow us up."

The kid's eyes widened, "Shit. Ok." He slid off the bench to pass it over, walking towards her he tripped on a shoelace and the orb tumbled out of his hand.

Reaver immediately dived at the boy, knocking them both out the door. She scrambled up as the orb hit the floor and smashed her fist on the door lock. It slammed shut and there was a muted explosion, followed by a series of smaller bangs and pops.

Peter pulled himself up, rubbing at his shoulder. Reaver gave him a flat look and he smiled at her sheepishly, "Uh - whoops?"

She placed her hand over the bio-lock and the door rattled open. The room was totalled, chemicals dripping from the roof, guns and ammunition cases scattered everywhere. Reaver made a pained noise when she saw the state of her sniper rifle.

"Oh man." Peter moaned. "Yondu's gunna kill me!"

Reaver glanced sideways at him, "Shoulda just knifed Horuz, boy. Now ya owe me a rifle."

Chapter Text

"Halli?" The captain hung about her door, shifting back and forth on his toes, like a wall of flies.

She closed the distance between them and tipped her head curiously, "What's up Cap'n? Somement wrong?"

The Centaurian shook his head, "Nah, nah. I – uh – I need a favour."

She raised an eyebrow, palming her bio-lock, "Come'on in boss."

He followed her into her room, moving to her desk and fiddling with the objects scattered across it.

"A favour huh? What exactly would tha' be then?"

"I need ya ta look afta Peter fer a night."

A grin spread across the woman's face, "Really? What happens if I say no?"

The Centaurian shrugged easily, "Could brig ya."

Halli sat down on her bed, "Nuh uh. A favour ain't a Cap'n ta crew thing. Ya don't have no power over me wit' tha'. A favour's a friend ta friend, family ta family." She reclined causally, picking at her teeth with a claw, "So – what's in it fer me?"

Yondu sighed, turning to look at her, "What'chu want?"

She smirked, "Two days off."

The man raised a brow, "Yer an officer, ya can have them whenever ya please. Ya know tha'."

She shook her head, "Two paid days off."

Yondu scoffed loudly, "Ya want me ta pay ya fer doin' nothin'?"

"Nah, I ain't doin' nothin' fer it. Imma doin' ya a favour, remember?"

"I can give ya one day."

She steeled her expression, "I'm askin' fer two."

Yondu growled, "That ain't fair girl, I'm askin' fer one night, 8 hours, yer askin' me fer 32 paid hours. No deal."

Halli hmmmed thoughtfully, "Fine. I'll give ya four nights – whenever ya like, exceptin' when I take ma two days. Ya can fuck Kraglin as long and as loud as ya'll like."

Yondu's ears went navy.

Halli cackled, "Yeah I know ya'll don't like ta be quiet while tha boy sleeps a few feet away, wit' only a closed door between ya. Why else would ya ask me ta take 'im?"

Yondu cleared his throat awkwardly, "Yeah, well –"

She narrowed her eyes, "That ain't why ya'll 'r' blushin' –" Her eyes suddenly lit with realisation, "Oh my God –"

He glared at her, "Don't'chu dare –"

She ignored him, "It's tha other way 'round ain't it? It ain't you plowin' him inta tha matress, he's –"

"Shaddup!"

Halli laughed madly as the blush spread across the man's cheeks, "That's so fucking cute! Ickle skinny Kraggles tops!"

"Aww hell woman, ferget I asked."

"Ok, ok, I'm sorry. I won't tease ya no more. What ya'll do in yer bedroom ain't none o' ma business. So, does we have a deal?"

The Centaurian huffed, "A'right. Four nights in exchange fer two days off."

"Paid days ya blue asshole, dun think ya gunna get me like that."

Yondu sighed heavily and stuck out a hand, "Two paid days."

Halli grinned, shaking his hand, "Deal."


Halli shivered as she piled more blankets onto her bed, cursing everything.

Stupid job, that required them to orbit a stupid ice planet, which made everything in the stupid ship ice over because they had to divert most of the stupid heating to the stupid engines so the stupid things didn't freeze over and drop them out of the sky.

She cursed Yondu while she was at it, stupid asshole didn't consider the only cold-blooded species on the ship did he? Noooo.

Bastard!

"H – h – h – Halli?" The voice was muffled through the heavy metal.

"H – hey P – Peter what's up?" She called back.

The boy appeared as the door slid open. Fully clothed and bundled into a fur off Yondu's bed, "Y – Yondu said I had to s – s – stay with y – you. H – have to k – keep you w – warm."

She narrowed her eyes, "S – so does he."

"He's got K – Kraglin. Why is it so c – cold?"

"I'll b – bet he does." She muttered.

Halli shoved her trenchcoat on her bed for extra warmth & climbed under the blankets, "We's orbitin’ an ice p – planet fer a p – pick up, most o' tha h – heatin' gotta be d – diverted ta tha engines ta s – stop 'em from f – freezin' over, that's w – why it's so c – cold. G – get in here b – boy." Having Peter in her room for the night did have its advantages. He was warm blooded for one, which meant she would have another source of heat other than her warmer under the mattress which was cranked up to maximum.

The boy clambered in spreading the fur over her trenchcoat, "Oh man, it's so warm!" He snuggled down with a blissful look on his face. "Why is your bed all warm?"

"A'cause I's cold-blooded. Can't get heat from a star 'cause I don't live on a planet. So, I need heat otherwise ma organs start shuttin' down on me. I wear a thermal heating suit unda ma clothes during tha day, keep me from freezin' but I can't wear it all tha time 'cause it's tight, so's I have a warmer in ma bed fer when I sleep."

"Wow. How long can you survive without heat?"

She glanced at the boy slyly, "Why ya planning on nickin' ma suit?"

Peter looked horrified, "I'd never hurt you Hals. Ever."

She was overwhelmed with affection for the Terran and scooped him up to her side to give him a hug, "Love ya Petey."

"Love you too sis."

She released him, picking up her reports holo-pad, "Ta answer yer question, I ain't sure. Longest I gone was ten hours. A few years before we picked ya up from Terra, a group of smugglers thought they could take us on. They hit us wit' an EMP field which knocked out all our systems, navs, gravity, everythin'. It knocked out the systems in ma suit too, backup power only runs fer two hours max, so I had ta go wit'out until we got everythin' back online. Nobody knew, but me an' Krags that tha' Cap'n collapsed an'all, apparently that version o' his implant weren't shielded from EMP which flarkin' knocked him cold. He upgraded straight afta that. That were a shitty week, I had to crawl into the main server room and fiddle for hours replacing parts until the system rebooted. Once it did, I fixed the cap'n's implant then pretty much collapsed on him. I didn't tell no one ma suit was out, which were dumb an' I got a tongue lashin' fer it when I woke up, Mazar reckons I nearly died. So, I reckon probably 12 hours before my body completely shuts down."

"Don't you get scared?" Peter asked as he watched her pull up her reports.

Halli shrugged, "I suppose it's there in tha back o' ma mind but Imma Ravager Petey, we pretty much accept death is gon' come fer us one day. But we fight tha' bitch tooth an' nail e'ery time she come close. Most days tha majority o' us win out, some ain't so lucky, on tha bad days it's someone ya care about. Good days it's someone ya didn't like, or no one goes at all. In tha end none o' us get tha colours above our graves so it don't matter 'cause we ain't goin' wherever tha other Ravagers end up."

Peter tipped his head, "What do you mean?"

"There were 100 Ravager factions. Now there's only 99. Our – our lot was exiled. We still Ravagers we just don't get tha same rights as all tha others. That's why we can't take jobs in certain parts o' tha galaxy or if we do it's 'cause tha other clans won't touch 'em. Usually that's tha type o' stuff people dun come back from."

"What happened? What did you guys do?"

"Ravagers got a code, see? We don't deal in slaves, or sentient trafficking - 'less they got a bounty out on 'em, that's different - an' Yondu took a job that broke tha code. We took somement very special to deliver to a very powerful being. Did it five times actually, but tha fifth time tha Cap'n found out that the being was destroyin' 'em if they didn't contain whatever it was he were lookin' fer."

"Wow they must’a been super expensive."

Halli smiled down at him, "More precious than ya could ever imagine Peter. When we found out Yondu locked hisself in his cabin fer four days, one fer each time we delivered. When he finally came back out, I begged him not ta collect the fifth one, ta leave well enough alone, but he knew if we didn't pick up, someone else would, an' they would deliver. So, we picked up an' kept the fifth."

"What was it?"

Halli shook her head, "Can't be tellin' ya tha'. Imma gunna get in shit fer tellin' as much as I just did."

"What was the being looking for?"

"Don't rightly know Petey, none o' us do. But ta discard somement so special like it ain't nothin'? Flarker were pure evil. Us Ravagers? We's pretty bad, some might consider us evil, but I ain't never met somement so heartless. I ain't never stared another being in tha face an' been so flarkin' terrified. When Yondu asked what happened ta tha other ones, he told us, plain an' simple like he were talkin' about tha weather. I ain't never run from nothin' in ma life but I wanted ta run from him. Funny thing is, if we'da delivered Stakar would’a never found out 'bout it an' we's never would’a been exiled. Cap'n already had four on his conscience doubt he could’a handled a fifth."

"So, Stakar exiled you guys because you did the right thing?"

Halli chuckled, "No he exiled us because we broke the code. Enough o' tha' now, no more questions, I gotta finish these reports before bed."


A sharp pain in her mouth jolted Halli awake, she tasted blood and realised her chattering teeth had bitten into her tongue.

Why was she so cold?

She reached for the blankets to find them missing, her eyes adjusted quickly to the pitch-black room, she could see her own breath the temperature was so low, searching she found all the blankets in a bundle on the other side of her bed, she reached for them, almost shrieking when the pile moved. Then she remembered Yondu's favour and that Peter was staying the night.

She untangled the boy from the covers, smiling as he plastered himself to her side, she tucked them both back in and drifted back to sleep, thinking that was the end of it.

She was wrong.

She had to repeat the process every couple of hours and by morning she was exhausted.

She glared at Yondu over her fourth cup of coffee, "You bastard, you knew."

The innocent look was so insanely perfected she would believe it, if it wasn't Yondu it was plastered on, "Knew what?"

"Quill's a fucking blanket hog. You knew, that's why ya gave him ta me last night, in sub zero fucking temperatures!"

"Four nights Halli, that was the deal."

She got an awful sinking feeling she'd been had, "How long are we orbiting this shitty fucking planet?"

She received a sinister smirk, "Four nights."

You fucking blue bastard!!!

She sunk lower in her seat, glaring at her cup, words dripping in sarcasm, "Fabulous."

Chapter Text

When Halli walked passed Yondu's cabin and her sharp ears heard Peter talking to someone, she got suspicious. The captain and his first mate were both out on a job and Tullk was on the bridge. There was no one else keyed into the bio-lock of the cabin, so who was Peter talking to?

Halli palmed the lock and the door slid open. Peter had a holo-pad on the desk and was talking to the projection in front of him.

Halli's stomach dropped right out of her boots. Oh God! "Quill! What tha hell ya think yer doin' boy?!"

Peter jumped turning, "Oohhh shit."

"Language Peter!"

"Hi Hals."

She put her hands on her hips and tapped her foot, "I asked you a question. Boy, do I look like a bitch what likes repeating herself?"

"No. I was – uh – helping?"

"Are you trying ta get tha 99 ta come down on us anymore than they already do?!" She hissed. "Gimme that!" She snatched the holo-pad off the desk. "Git outta here a'fore I bounce so many Sic'tar off yer ass, ya won't be sittin' fer a month."

"But –"

She leveled him with a look, "No buts boy, git!" She turned her attention to the projection, "Cap'n Ogord. I am so sorry."

Stakar's poker face was even better than Yondu's, she couldn't tell if he wanted to dismember her or laugh and that made her nervous.

Ok Hals, be strong, but respectful, and with any luck the 99 won't appear to blast us into oblivion.

"He doesn't know, does he? That he was the package that got your clan exiled."

"No sir, he does not."

Stakar made a thoughtful sound, "He made a valiant effort to convince me to lift the exile."

Halli cringed, "I'm sorry, it's ma fault. I were tha one what told him tha story. His heart were in tha right place, but he's only eleven, he don't understand everythin' ain't black 'n' white in tha world. That there's grey areas."

"You broke the code."

"Yes'sir, I know."

There was a few moments of silence as Stakar regarded her thoughtfully, "I remember you from the meetings. What's your name?"

"Hallifax, sir. 'm one of tha senior crew."

"That's right, Aleta's mentioned you."

Halli smiled, "She were a good friend a'fore, well, ya know." She looked away, "Despite e'erythin', Yondu – all o' us really – we's thought we were doin' tha right thing, returnin' kids ta their father, tha pay weren’t nothin’ ta sneeze at neither. Turns out all we was doin' was leadin' 'em ta tha slaughterhouse. Tha Cap'n has four dead kids on his conscience, an' so do tha rest o' us what was loyal ta 'im."

"Can I ask you something?"

"Can't promise I'll answer it sir, but go ahead."

"Why did you stay?"

Halli straightened looking the imposing man straight in the eyes, "Ain't nobody else I'd serve under but Yondu Udonta. The man took me in when no one else would an' he's family sir. Ya don't never quit on family."

The corners of the man's eyes crinkled when he smiled, "Like I did, you mean?"

Halli cleared her throat, "You take ma meanin' however ya'll like sir. Respectfully o'course."

Stakar chuckled, "Of course. I can see why Yondu likes you so much."

"Thank ya sir – I think."

"I trust you can keep the boy from attempting the same stunt twice?"

Halli brushed a hand over her hair, "I'll try ma damnedest sir. Though if he's this spirited at eleven I's havin' a feelin' Imma hate his teenage years."

Stakar laughed, "I know a thing or two about that, we found Yondu when he was 14 years old. I think you can probably imagine what that was like."

Halli chuckled, "I imagine he was quite the lil' terror."

"He was a tiny thing, looked about 12 but according to the med team he was 14. We found him on Centauri IV when we were doing a job for The Collector, he wanted some ancient relic. Still never understood why, it was just a carved rock that smelled like piss."

Halli snorted, covering it artfully with a cough.

"He was near dead, blood everywhere. Exiled from his own people. Broke my heart to do it to him a second time. He recovered though, just like he did back then. Kicked me square in the face once, as a boy," the man shook his head, "how he climbed smooth metal walls to get up onto the ceiling to do it, I'll never know."

Halli laughed, "Nothin' stops tha Cap'n, not even gravity."

"How is Yondu?"

"He's a'right. Runnin' tha ship, kickin' ass, tha usual. He been different since Peter, more patient – nicer. If ya can ever put tha' word ta Yondu wit'out tha universe imploding."

"And Kraglin?"

"Skinny as ever. Still a vicious son'bitch, best first mate there is, sir."

"Martinex may have something to say about that."

Halli smirked, "Maybe, but I stand by tha' statement sir."

Stakar turned his attention away from the screen, "What is it?"

Someone Halli couldn't see spoke, "Sorry Captain but – uh – you should see dis."

Stakar was handed a holo-pad, he rubbed is forehead and sighed, "Did you not, perhaps, think of sending someone to fix it rather than bringing it to me?"

"Right," the voice said nervously, "I'll git on it, sorry sir."

Stakar rolled his eyes, "Idiots. You know sometimes, I wish at least half of my crew had an IQ bigger than their shoe size."

Halli chuckled, "Yeaaah, tha Cap'n says that a lot too. Then he usually asks Krags how long it would take ta train a new lot if'in he spaced 'em all."

The man smirked, "That sounds like Yondu. I need to go deal with this before somebody blows a hole in the side of my ship."

"A'course sir, ya do what ya gotta."

Stakar smiled, "You take care of my boys, Hallifax, ok?"

"Always, sir."

The screen went blank and Halli sighed heavily. Fucking Peter, she was going to kill him.


Halli knew they were in the shit when Yondu lined her, Tullk, and Peter up in one of the dusty meeting rooms.

"One o' our comms team brought somement ta my attention today."

Peter shifted nervously and Halli shot him a look.

Yondu glared at them, "A vid-call was placed from a holo-pad in ma cabin to Ogord, I wanna know who did it an' why."

Peter opened his mouth and Halli cut him off quickly. "It were me Cap'n."

She'd never seen Yondu so pissed off in all the time she'd known him, he stepped up in front of her and wound a hand into her braid. Yanking it sharply and causing her to yelp he brought her face close to his and growled, "Why?"

Wincing at the pain in her head, she looked him in the eye, "It were an accident sir. I – I went in there ta find Petey 'cause I needed him ta do a job fer me an' I sat down at yer desk fer a minute an' musta fell asleep. I did a night an' day shift back ta back, I thought I could handle it, but I were wrong. Ogord picked up an' I had ta talk ta him, ya dun never hang up on a man wit' 99 factions behind 'im."

Yondu yanked the braid harder and tears sprung to Halli's eyes.

"Stop it Yondu! You're hurting her!" Peter watched with wide eyes.

"Stay outta this boy." He turned his attention back to Halli, "What did you tell him?" He yanked again, and Halli could feel the hair pulling away from her scalp, "What did you tell him, Hallifax?!"

She grit her teeth as the pain made tears trickle from the corners of her eyes, "I didn't tell him nothin', I swear it Cap'n! He asked why I called, I told him, he yelled at me, then asked how you an' Kraglin were an' then someone brought him somement an' he told me ta take care o' his boys an' then he cut tha call. I were an accident, Cap'n I swear it. Ain't never gon' happen again."

He yanked her hair again and Peter shot forwards, grabbing at his arms, "Stop it you bastard! Stop hurting her!"

Kraglin snatched the boy up and held him firm, "Let me go! Stop it Yondu! Stop it!" He began to cry, clawing at Kraglin's arms.

"Petey!" Halli grit out, "Stop it boy, I'm alright ok? Stop hittin' Kraglin."

He went limp snuffling into Kraglin's shoulder, "Make him stop Krags. He's hurting her."

"It's alright Peter, you let tha Cap'n do his job." He murmured into the boy's hair.

"It's my fault." He whimpered.

"No it ain't Petey. It's mine I should’a been payin' more attention an' I weren't. Don't'chu blame yerself." Halli's attention refocused on Yondu when she heard him whistle, the arrow tip bored into the skin at her temple.

"Gimme one good reason why I should believe yer story an' I shouldn't kill you right now."

She looked him in the eyes and set her jaw, "I don't have one Cap'n, but if you gon' kill me, don't do it in front o' Peter." She didn't flinch as the arrow seared into her skin, a trickle of blood ran down her face.

"You ain't in tha position ta be makin' demands Hallifax."

"No sir I ain't, but I'm askin' ya as ma Cap'n an' ma friend, don't do it front o' Quill. Please."

Yondu stared at her for a long time, "You ain't tellin' me tha whole truth, but ya ain't goin' ta mutiny on me neither."

"No sir, I ain't." She squared her shoulders as much as she could stooped over with the arrow boring a hole in her temple, "Stakar asked me why I stayed."

Yondu snorted, "Yeah? And what you tell 'im?"

"Ain't no one I'd serve under other than you, Cap'n. You took me in where othas woulda killed me, or sold me off inta slavery. Bein' a rare breed an' all ya woulda got more units than we make in an average year, but you didn't. I told 'im you's family an' ya ain't never quit on family."

A small genuine smile crossed the Centaurian's face and he whistled the arrow back into its holster. "Brig. Two weeks." He let go of her hair. "You ain't fucked up this bad since '84."

Halli rubbed her skull gingerly, "Yeah, tha' was a doozey. I ain't never gonna live that down, am I?"

"Not as long as I'm still breathing. Now, fuck off before I change ma mind."


Halli shivered as she curled up on the floor. She heard footsteps and a snuffly, red-eyed Peter appeared wrapped up in one of Yondu's furs. He looked up at the colossal Hraxian guarding the cell, "Let me in Wrecker."

The man shook his head, "Can't do that Quill, else I'd be in there wit' 'er."

Halli shuffled her body towards the bars, "Hey Petey."

"Why'd ya do it Halli?"

"Gimme us a minute Wreck?"

The Hraxian looked at her unsure.

She rolled her eyes, "I dun wanna arrow through ma throat. I ain't goin' nowhere."

He nodded and lumbered down the corridor out of hearing.

She turned her attention to Peter, "Cap'n don't like no one pokin' their nose in his business boyo. If'in he found out what ya did an' why ya did it, wouldn'ta turned out near as good as this."

Big fat tears rolled down his face, "I'm sorry Halli, I thought – I thought he was going to kill you."

She reached through the bars, cupping his face gently and wiping away the tears, "So did I kid, I ain't never seen him that spittin' mad in all ma years."

The boy sobbed, "I almost got you killed!"

"No boy, that were on me an' I'd do it a thousand times over if it meant I'd be able ta protect you. Don't'chu blame yerself kid, ya made a mistake, tha's all. One ya ain't gon' repeat, right?"

Peter shook his head adamantly.

Halli smiled and nodded, "Gud boy. You go'on nah, off ta bed."

He slipped the fur off his shoulders, "Stole this off Yondu, the big blue idiot, so you don't get cold." He shoved it through the bars.

She pulled it free, wrapping it around herself, "Thanks Pete."

"I'll come see you tomorrow, I'll try and sneak you some extra food."

She chuckled, "You don't gotta do that boyo."

Peter glared, "No I do, it's my fault your here and on prisoner rations for two weeks. So, I'm going to bring you anything you need ok?"

She smiled, "Yer a gem Petey."

He returned the smile, squeezing her hand through the bars, "You said it yourself, ya ain't never quit on family."

Chapter Text

Peter barrelled towards Yondu at a ridiculous speed and did something he hadn't done since he was about nine years old.

He attempted to hide in Yondu's coat.

It didn't really work considering he was well on his way to being as tall the man he was hiding behind.

The Centaurian let out an irritated sound, "Quill what tha flark ya doin' boy?"

"Hide me!" He squeaked, shrinking down.

Yondu shuffled back against the alley wall, causally leaning against it. He saw why the boy had run like a bat out of hell a few moments later.

An entire security detail raced passed scanning the crowd for the littlest Ravager. Yondu's brow shot up, six men? He gave a sideways glance at the lump in his coat, "What did ya do Quill?"

"Shhh!"

The man rolled his eyes, "They're gone Peter. What did ya do?"

The boy shuffled out from beneath the coat and guiltily scuffed his toe in the street grime, "Just blagged some stuff."

"Didn't do a good enough job did ya? They caught you."

"Technically the alarm caught me."

Yondu shot him a surprised look, "Hell Quill an alarm? What did ya pinch?"

The boy sighed, "I wanted to get everyone somement nice fer Christmas an' 'cause most o' my pay goes towards my ship I didn't have enough," he shrugged, "so I stole them."

Yondu grinned widely, "Atta boy! What ya git?"

Peter looked shocked, "You're ok with me stealing?"

The Centaurian stared at the boy for a good minute, blinked, and the collapsed into loud gawfs of laughter.

Peter scowled.

"Ya – ya – oh fuck – gimme a sec –" The man attempted to compose himself, failing several times before getting a handle on his laughter. "Oh shit, I ain't laughed that hard in years. Fuck Quill, we's Ravagers boy, that's what we do! Course I dun care if ya steal! It's part o' tha damn job description!" He wiped a tear away, and chuckled again.

Peter crossed his arms and pouted, "Done makin' me feel like an idiot?"

Yondu sobered fairly quickly after that, he'd been told he was an idiot most of his life. Staring longingly at the stars instead of focusing on the land in front of him. He wasn't going to let his boy think that of himself. "Ya ain't a idjit son. Well – ya are sometimes – but everyone's a idjit sometimes."

"Like you, pining after Kraglin for years, when all ya had to do was tell him how ya felt?"

The Centaurian opened his mouth, then closed it again and glared, "Tha's different."

Peter gave him a smug look, "No it ain't."

"Yeah it is. Look boy, what I'm tryin'ta say is; ya gotta believe in yerself, if ya don't? That's tha tradgey. So, stop tha shit. E'eryone's a idjit sometimes. But only sometimes – well except fer Gritz, that boy is duummb, can't count ta five if he had his fingers in front o' him. Anyway, point is ya better yerself from it, learn from it ya know? A mistake what humbles ya is better than a success what makes ya arrogant. An' ya never apologise fer who ya are son. We's Ravagers, we ain't good people but tha moral compass ain't completely backward neither."

Peter blinked, then grinned, "Ya know Yondu, you're like a blue Gandhi sometimes, I swear."

The Centaurian frowned, "Tha flark's a Gandhi?"

The boy laughed, "Never mind."

Yondu rubbed his hands together gleefully, "So, what did ya nick?"

Peter looked around cautiously before pulling Yondu further into the alley. He went over to an old oil drum and motioned the man over. He pulled an antique knife out of his coat and placed it down. The blade was carved out, swirls and intricate patterns as well as some kind of inscription. Yondu wiped his grubby fingers on his coat – not that it did much, the coat was grubbier than he was – and traced the writing with a finger.

"It's in Hraxian."

The hilt was inlaid with gold, "Damn Peter that looks expensive."

The boy snorted, "Yeah, it was a couple thousand units."

Yondu let out an impressed whistle – the arrow rattled but stayed in its holster – he grinned at the boy, "Nice."

Peter pulled a box from his coat, he opened it and set it down. Inside was a necklace, a thick silver chain with some kind of winged bug on the end, its eyes were a deep blue gem, glinting in the dim light. Its tail was circled with black and white gems, "That's for Halli, I remember once she told me her Mom liked dragonflies, it's got sapphires, onyx, and moonstones. I also got this for her." He pulled a long silk scarf from another pocket, a deep shimmering blue, he stuffed it back in, so it wouldn't get filthy. He pulled out a few other things for various people, then placed an expensive looking scope down, "That's for Reaver, don't think she ever forgave me for blowing up her rifle."

Yondu chuckled, "Ya did do a number on it tha's fer sure." The Centaurian looked about, "What'did'ya git for me?"

Peter grinned, "Nuh-uh. That's a surprise."

The man smirked, "Alright, fine. Ya have yer 'surprise'."

He watched Peter shove all the stuff back into his pockets and slung an arm around the boy's shoulders. It smarted a little he no longer had to reach down to do it – every piece of paperwork in the known galaxy stated that he was 6 ft 2" but in reality, he was only 5ft 5", so maybe he had a height complex, especially considering his first mate was 6ft 4" and Peter at 13 was growing like a weed and would soon surpass him. So maybe he had a tiny complex about it, shut up.

They entered the busy street and Yondu steered the boy towards the port, "Better get ya outta here, 'fore they find ya an' throw ya in lock up. Remind me next time ta show ya how ta nick stuff proper like, dun need ta be runnin' around like that. Ya get good enough maybe ma boys won't need ta eat ya."

Peter rolled his eyes and grinned, "Yeah, yeah, ain't never tasted Terran before, blah blah blah."

Yondu cuffed him roughly, "Cheeky snot. Why I keep ya 'round is anyone's guess."

"'Cause 'm family ya dope."

"Yeah? When did that happen? I ain't never said that."

"It's implied."

Yondu didn't say anything.

"Right?" The kid looked genuinely worried for a second. "Yondu?"

The Centaurian chuckled, "Yeah, kid. It's implied."

Chapter Text

"Hurry up!"

"You hurry up."

Yondu slammed Kraglin against his cabin door. Slotting a leg between his and plastering himself against the taller man he yanked at his neck, pulling him down for a bruising kiss. Kraglin responded enthusiastically feeling around with one hand for the lock. The door slid open and the pair fell into the room. Yondu slid his jacket off without breaking the kiss, tossing it towards the couch missing by a good couple of metres.

He kicked off his boots losing a few centimetres in height making Kraglin stoop lower to continue swallowing the older man's moans. Blue fingers scrambled at the zipper on the front of his jumpsuit, yanking it down and shoving it roughly off his shoulders. Yondu pulled his mouth away to curse at the lack of skin contact, shoving the Hraxian's t-shirt up and over his head awkwardly trapping his arms behind him. Yondu dove in to pepper the pale skin with nips and sloppy kisses. Kraglin, struggling with the t-shirt finally got his arms free and gripped at the Centaurian's leather clad thighs, squeezing the bulge at the front he grinned as Yondu threw his head back sucking air through his teeth.

The taller man worked the buckle and zips pulling the tight red leather down, revealing the scarred blue skin underneath. Tracing the tattoos that wove around his sides and down his thighs, he sucked a gold adorned earlobe into his mouth, "I want you to ride me." He whispered hoarsely.

Yondu moaned, loving the way his mate's voice dropped to a gravely purr whenever they got hot and heavy. He stepped out of his pants, yanking Kraglin's off as well. The Haraxian gripped the back of Yondu's thighs hoisting him up around his waist. They both groaned at the contact, before diving in for another kiss, teeth clacking loudly. Kraglin backed up towards the bed until his calves hit the mattress and he dropped down bringing Yondu down on top of him.

Breaking the kiss, the Centaurian leaned over pulling a tube out of the draw and applied the slick to his fingers. Kraglin watched hungrily as the older man reached around, hissing at the intrusion. Yondu threw his head back grabbing a fist full of Kraglin's chest hair.

"Damn ya look hot like that." He growled, nibbling a line of tiny bites along a blue collarbone. His train of thought stuttered to a stop as Yondu grabbed his dick covering it with lube until it made an obscene wet noise. Grinning madly, he lowered himself over Kraglin sinking inch by until he was fully seated in the younger man's lap. He sighed heavily, "Fuck yeah.”


 

Peter had just finished his shift and he was looking forward to a hot shower. The 13-year-old turned the corner into the hallway where the cabins were located stopping in front of his – and Yondu's door.  Palming the bio-lock he made a clicking sound when it beeped and stayed red. Rolling his eyes he groaned, he was hot and dirty and he wanted a shower damn it, trying again gave the same result.

That was the third time this month the stupid lock had decided to break, he pressed his comm, calling Yondu. When no one answered he tried Kraglin. Huffing loudly when the Hraxian didn't answer either, he commed Halli.

"Petey! What's up boyo?"

"The bio lock on Yondu's door is broke again, can you put it down on the maintenance list? I'm just going to put in the override code."

"Peter?" Halli's voice sounded slightly panicked. "It ain't broken I don't think you should go in –”

The door slid open and Peter stared.

"What are you two doing?"

"– there."

Kraglin yelped and Yondu leapt up flailing and falling to the floor pulling a heap of furs on top of himself. Kraglin shoved the bunched-up sheet over himself, giving Peter a horrified look.

Peter looked at the two men, "Oh. Oh!" He scrunched up his nose. "GROSS! God, my eyes! I’m never going to be able to unsee that! Jesus Christ, you two are so – just – eww! I'm going to go use Halli's room." He turned and walked out.

Kraglin swallowed, "Well that were mortifying."

Yondu groaned throwing himself backwards into the fur pile and covering his face with a hand.

Kraglin crawled to the side of the bed peering down at Yondu, "You alright Yon?"

"I'm never going to get it up again." He muttered.

The Hraxian chuckled looking at the deep navy blush peeking out from underneath Yondu's hand.

"Well the boy ain't gonna come back now is he?"

The Centaurian pulled the hand from his face and looked up at his mate.

Kraglin waggled his eyebrows, "Why don't ya come back up here and I'll make ya ferget all about how ou – your son just walked in on us fuckin'."

Yondu raised a brow, "Our son?"

It was Kraglin's turn to blush, "Well we is together so –“

Yondu crawled back up onto the bed, dragging the furs with him. He traced his fingers down Kraglin's chest, making him shiver. "You adopted my boy huh darlin’?"

He shrugged, "Kid needs some kinda stable influence."

Yondu chuckled, "You're as crazy as I am Kraggles."

The Hraxian grinned, "That's why we got Halli. Plus, we's all kinds o’ responsible, runnin’ a ship an’ all."

"If we's so responsible we should really be sortin’ reports an’ the like, darlin’." Yondu replied, the lavish grin told Kraglin the captain didn't intend to do a single responsible thing this evening.

He pulled gently on one of the necklaces, "Those can wait, babe. Com'ere." He kissed him gently, "Ain't no place I'd rather be than here."

Chapter Text

"It's pathetic!"

"It's kinda cute."

"Cute?! Cute?! Ravager's don't do cute!"

"Awww come on, why you so torn up about it? It don't matter none, ain't like they all lovey dovey like."

"It's soft. Cap'n's gone soft! I don't want to be part of a crew that's considered as such!"

"Skewered that rookie yesterday for mouthin' off didn't he? Don't seem soft to me. 'Sides Ogord's fuckin' married so ain't like monogamy ain't a thing wit' Ravagers."

"But she's a - she!"

"Oh I see yer one o' those people. 'K think this conversation's over. Git outta ma workspace 'fore I decide ya don't need so many fuckin' fingers."

Peter had heard the entire conversation while he was scrubbing the deck. It didn't bother him too much, until he saw the woman storm out, blonde hair swinging wildly about her.

He's seen her about, she was a self-important shit, who acted like everyone owed her something. The crew called her Candy on account of her massive tits and well sculpted figure. Peter had to admit she was pretty, but pretty definitely didn't make up for her extreme lack any sort of tasteful personality.

She stalked passed him, muttering to herself. "Fucking faggots running this ship."

The teen saw red. Without even really contemplating it, he pulled a plasma pistol from his hip and popped her in both knees.

The sound of her screams was oddly satisfying.



"What tha fuck were ya thinkin' boy?"

Yondu's attempt at snarling was sort of ruined but his intermittent sniggers.

"She was mouthing off about you an' Krags! Plus, she's a total bitch."

Kraglin snorted in the background.

Yondu crossed his arms, fighting off a smirk, "Yeah I know, but now we gotta waste med supplies on repairin' tha silly cun-" There was a loud click and a Sic'tar flew towards Yondu, he caught it mid-air without looking and tossed it back at his couch, "Ya wanna be missin' yer knees too woman?"

"I dun like tha' word Cap'n."

He shot her a glare, "Do it look like I care?"

Halli shrugged.

Yondu sighed, "We gotta waste supplies on repairin' tha stupid chit's knees."

Peter rolled his eyes, "Just toss her out the airlock. Nobody'll miss her, it ain't like she's made any friends here with all her entitled bullshit."

Yondu blinked, boisterous laughter burst from his chest, "Man Quill, yer turnin' inta a ruthless little shit."

The teen raised an eyebrow, "Look who's raisin' me." He huffed, "Anyway she called you guys faggots, I mean what the actual fuck?!"

Kraglin sniggered, "Ya think we give a shit what one lil' bitch says?"

Peter looked at him incredulously, "Uh - Yeah! - Duh! She's spreading bad shit about you? That's kinda a dick move, man."

Yondu chuckled, "Ya wanna know what the latest an' greatest in scuttlebutt is boy?" He paused for dramatic effect, making teen roll his eyes again. "Apparently Kraggles an' I visit dirty sex clubs an' fuck each other in front o' dozens o' people."

Kraglin snorted, dissolving into laughter.

Halli cackled from her place on the couch, almost laughing herself off the worn fabric, "Oh man, what a riot! Ya'll are tha most cutesy vanilla couple I ever met!"

The smile dropped off Yondu's face, "Oi! We ain't that bad!"

Kraglin smirked at him, "We are pretty vanilla fer Ravagers, babe. Remember that one from last month? 'Parently, I wear lingerie 'cause Halli did a laundry run an' her pretty panties ended up in wit' all our shit."

Halli snickered, "Or that one what started 'bout all three o' us gettin' it on 'cause one o' tha rookies saw me come in yer cabin late one night 'cause I left ma glasses afta a meetin'."

Yondu chuckled, "Oh that were a good one."

Peter looked at them, "Ok first of all; Gross, what you guys do is your own business, I don't wanna know. But seriously - you don't care what she said about you?"

"No."

"Why should we?"

"Nah boy."

Peter sighed dramatically, crossing his arms over his chest, "Damnit, how much trouble am I in?"

Chapter Text

Yondu was staring at the star charts projected in front of him, plotting the course for next week's jobs. He swilled the whiskey around in his glass, draining it and setting the tumbler on the desk before flicking a marker point to a re-fuel stop.

The door opened behind him, he turned as Peter careened in, running full force at him and booting him in the crotch.

Yondu's entire world shrunk to a pin point as pain exploded through his body and he dropped like a sack of shit. He curled in on himself, groaning and just barely stopping his dinner from making a reappearance on his floor. His voice came out as a gasp, "Tha fuck?"

The furious Terran stood over him panting, "You brigged Kraglin. Take it back!"

"He in there fer a reason boy." Yondu managed to get out before his body was hit with another wave of pain, causing him to hiss through his teeth.

"He saved my life Yondu!"

The Centaurian pulled himself up, wincing, "Damn near got hisself an' tha rest o' us killed is what he flarkin' did!"

"He was protecting me, you asshole!"

"Weren't nothin' gonna happen ta ya! If he ain't done what he done, we's woulda got away an' three o' tha fuckin' crew wouldn't be in tha med bay! We damn lucky it weren't worse!"

The glare on Peter's face was shockingly familiar, "Flark you, you piece of shit! You don't care about nothin' but yourself!"

Yondu snarled, grabbing the boy a hoisting him up so he was face to face, "Don't care?! You'd all be dead if it weren't fer me, ya ungrateful -"

"Ungrateful?! I didn't ask to be here, you took me! From my home! And for what? 'Cause I was little and could nick stuff for you and clean your stupid vents?!" Tears welled in the teen's eyes, "You don't know shit what it means to be a good person, and every time someone tries you stomp it out of them! You may be a flarkin' big, scary badass, but deep inside all you are is a big blue selfish dork! You don't care about anyone but yourself. Not even about the people who love you!"

Yondu scoffed, "Sen-"

Peter thrashed in his arms, "You flarking dare say sentiment and I'll kick you in the nuts again!"

Yondu put the boy down and shoved him roughly away, "Like hell you will!"

Before the Centaurian even had a chance to cover his abused anatomy, the boy booted him again. Yondu let out a burst of air from his lungs and dropped to him knees.

Peter got up in his face, snarling as much a thirteen-year-old Terran could, "Shut up and pay attention! You an' Kraglin an' Halli are the only family I got left! I love you, you're my Dad! I'm always gunna love you. Halli adores you. And Kraglin? There isn't nothing Krags wouldn't do for you, you ask him for a flarking moon an' he'll find a way to get it for you. Flark knows why he loves your stupid selfish ass, but he does damnit. You better start treating people better or you're gunna find yourself alone!" Peter let out a breath and then winced, he'd kicked Yondu with all his might, twice. He held out a hand expecting it to be shoved away. The Centaurian surprised him by taking it and letting Peter help him up.

Yondu put his hands on his knees and wheezed. "Ya done?" He asked looking up.

"Yeah I think so."

"Feel better?" He questioned, standing up straight and cracking his back.

"Yeah." Peter paused and then sighed, "Look, is this the part where you kill me? Because if it is I'd rather you didn't drag it out."

Yondu chuckled despite himself, "Ain't gunna kill ya, ya got scrubbin' duty for the forseeable future, but ain't gunna kill ya." He paused, unashamedly rubbing his crotch, "That were a hell of a kick Peter, Imma feel that for days."

"Good." Peter said nodding, "Maybe then you'll be nicer."

Yondu sighed brushing a hand over his implant, "Look son, I ain't never gonna be outright sappy, it ain't in me an' 'sides, if I show a lick o' sentiment towards anyone it could be used against me. I'll die 'fore I let somement happen ta tha people I care about. Listen, behind closed doors it's a different thing. Ya know I care about ya, an' Hals, yer family an' Kraglin - we said 'I love you' an' all tha' rot. I ain't never declared 'im my mate or nothin', but he is - an' there ain't nothin' I won't do fer 'im."

Peter huffed irritably, "Maybe you should actually tell him that."

Yondu scoffed, "Declarin' a mate is practically a marriage proposal boy. I can't do tha'!"

Peter raised an eyebrow, "Why?"

Yondu blushed, "It ain't done." And what if he says no?

The Terran rolled his eyes, "No offense but you're an idiot. Kraglin looks at you like ya personally hung the stars for him. You need to tell him. Right now, he thinks you hate him."

Yondu doubted that, the man knew he'd fucked up and that's why he was in the brig. It was only two days, which was positively lenient for Yondu, if it had been anyone else, they would've been looking at a week minimum. The sarcasm in his tone was thick when he replied, "Does he really?"

The boy ignored his snide reply, "Promise me you'll tell him what he means to you."

"Ain't gunna -"

"Promise Yondu!"

The Centaurian winced as his junk twinged again and he let out a bone-weary sigh, "Alright kid, when I find the right words I'll tell 'im. If it'll stop ya pitchin' a fit at me."

Peter dove in for a hug, "Love you!"

Yondu cuffed him lightly but wrapped his arms around the boy anyway, "Don't be a idjit."

The kid turned giant puppy eyes up at the Centaurian.

He put on a sigh, "Yer turnin' me inta a sap Quill."

Yondu wasn't quite sure how, but the kid's eyes got impossibly bigger.

The man grudgingly mumbled into the boy's hair, "Love you too son."

When Peter beamed at him, Yondu felt a warmth flood his chest. He turned the boy and pushed him towards the cabin door, "Go on now 'fore I change ma mind an' tip ya into a soup pot maself."