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Of Guns and Plants

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Peter Quill liked to think of himself as generally pretty open-minded. He’d had to be, what with the whole being abducted from Earth at age eight and thrown into a situation where there wasn’t a single human like him anywhere, your standards for sex, let alone courtship, had to be pretty damn loose. So far he had only a few rules that he really stuck by, namely: no tentacles, their courtship rituals couldn’t involve any bodily harm…and there must definitely not be any dismemberment.

At first he hadn’t even thought that would have needed to be a rule, but there had been this one particularly weird occasion where this alien of questionable gender, but with the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, and who moved so smoothly he hadn’t cared...

He cared when they proceeded to break something off of their own bodies and tried to ram it into him during what was supposed to be something pleasurable for both of them, not permanently scarring…literally. Needless to say, he didn’t go for that species anymore.

No matter how graceful they were.

So, all in all, pretty damn open-minded. But at the moment, that particular open-mindedness was challenged, and all by the sounds coming out of Rocket and Groot’s room, shared, he had thought, due to lack of room, now he wasn’t so sure. Probably because the sounds coming from in there broke all three of his rules. He didn’t know how the other two hadn’t heard it, or if they simply chose to ignore it, but from what he was hearing…

“Does it fit? It has to fit…it has to fit, I don’t have anythin’ else like it. Come on, baby, come on…just a little…” There was a grunt that made Peter feel positively filthy, and made his face go beet red to the roots of his hair. “That’s right, that’s it… Fits just nice. Alright, alright, now we need a little o’ this…” A further grunt, the sound of straining, and then more filth. Peter couldn’t get himself to back away. There was something about this situation that was too surreal, too weird to actually be happening, and while a part of him wanted desperately to give his friends some privacy another…

“Alright, alright, let’s go slow at first, okay? That’s it, nice and slow…” Another couldn’t bring itself to back away. “That’s it, alright…alright…alright…so nice…there we go, there we go…” There was a happy little groan and an exclamation of, “Yes, that’s it…”

And then finally, a burst of maniacal laughter, which…he had to admit, was a little weird, but it was Rocket, so, he supposed it made sense…

“Now for you.” Peter about died.

“That’s it, come here baby, don’t be shy, it’s alright, I’ve got ya, I’ll take good care of you… Groot, I can’t reach, can you…”

There was a soft, “I am Groot,” and a brief thanks, Peter about falling over himself at the thought that Rocket was too short to…and then the litany off filth continued and he was too busy walking forward.

“That’s it, that’s it, just a little longer, right there, right there… It’s okay, baby. You’re so…tight…” There was a soft grunt as Peter leaned closer to the door, eyes wide as Rocket’s soft croon sounded. He leaned forward, hand going out to the door that he realized was partially cracked, and slowly pushed it open.

He caught sight of Groot first, lying stretched out on the bed, a pile of flowers underneath him. He’d been growing those a lot, lately. He wasn’t full-size yet, in fact he was just under Peter’s height, but that was suitable enough to block out whatever was behind him. Groot had his eyes closed, a pleasant smile on his face as he shifted slightly, and Peter’s eyes widened. A soft, “I am Groot,” left his lips in something like a hum.

Peter almost shrunk back, he had never seen the tree so vulnerable before, and this really honestly wasn’t something he wanted to get in on. It didn’t matter that the Ravagers had offered no privacy ever, this was his ship, his crew, his rules. This was definitely not something he wanted to intrude on…

And that was when the startled shout of “Quill!” came from his left.

Groot opened his eyes, blinking in the light, and shifted slightly, raising up on one elbow in his bed of flowers, his head tilting at him in confusion. There was no Rocket behind him. Peter blinked, hesitated, and finally, slowly looked to his left, and there was Rocket, leaning up to his workbench, an obscenely large, frightening-looking gun placed upon it, its guts partially strewn across his workbench. Peter was temporarily confused, until he looked at Rocket’s hands, and the way he was attempting to unscrew a bolt.

“Wait…so you mean there isn’t any hot raccoon-on-tree action going on in here?” Peter’s mouth spewed the first thing to come to mind very much without his consent, leaving him standing with his eyes slowly widening in horrified realization as Rocket’s mouth fell open.

There was one good thing about having a very poor brain-to-mouth filter. It tended to leave the ones it was directed at in a temporary loss for a way to react.

Peter took this distraction as the perfect opportunity to turn tail and hightail it out of there. Or…he would have. Something long, rough, and very strong wrapped around his ankles and yanked, sending him falling face-first to the ground, where he just barely managed to keep his chin from impacting. A slow, steady litany of ‘Oh, fuck,' had started in his brain and got louder the further he was dragged into the room. The sudden realization of how Groot had gotten something for Rocket when he was all the way on the other side of the room hit him just as he realized he was being dragged back into the room from a few long vines that had come from Groot’s chest.

His fingers scrabbled at the ground, bemoaning the slick state of the metal floor with every attempt to get away. Peter watched small furry feet walk over and shut the door properly, refusing to look up… This, of course, was the moment that Groot stood up, and slowly lifted Peter up and up, and up, where he dangled from the vines that had wrapped around his ankles, and looked down at them with wide, decidedly terrified eyes.

“I am Groot.” The tree-man rumbled, the vibrations from his voice coursing through the vines wrapped around him, and Peter once again started a litany of curses in his mind. He gave Groot a wide smile, which did nothing in the face of Groot’s simple blank stare, black eyes not moving from his.

“You hear that, Quill? Groot just asked you to start explaining.” Rocket’s voice was soft. Scarily soft. The kind of soft that usually accompanied threats of severe bodily harm. “So…” The cybernetic raccoon whipped out an obscenely large gun that seemed to come from nowhere and shoved it into his face. “Explain.”

Definitely severe bodily harm. Where the hell did he keep those guns anyway? The sound of the gun warming up immediately made him quit stalling and throw his hands out. “Alright, alright, you win, you win. I’m sorry. Look, it’s no big deal, you just…well…sounded…” He hesitated, took a deep breath, held it, and finally gave a soft, “like you were having sex. Really hot sex, too. Like, not even going to lie, seriously hot-sounding sex.”

“You’re a sick man, Quill, you know that? Like…really sick.” Rocket’s mouth curled into a sneer, his nose wrinkling.

“I am Groot,” Groot seemed to agree, and Peter gave a slight shrug.

“Can’t really deny it.” He swung slightly, and gave a soft sigh. “For what it’s worth, I am sorry. I hadn’t really been thinking when I first heard you guys… The Ravagers weren’t the best example for what to do when you heard someone else having sex. They tended to cheer on the sidelines…”

Rocket’s nose wrinkled. “And now ya make sense. Let him down, Groot.” With a brief sigh, Rocket started pacing, frowning at his feet. Peter watched him calmly, raising an eyebrow when he was finally lowered. He remained sitting just to make it easier. Rocket paused, his back to him as he hunched slightly, and finally turned back around. His expression was completely serious and Peter felt a sense of growing unease. “Look, Pete, I think ya’ should know somethin’ about Groot here, since ya’ brought up the topic of him and sex, we might as well get this over with.” Rocket patted Groot’s shin twice, the tree-man immediately gaining his own deadpan expression, focusing on Peter with black and fathomless eyes.

Peter gulped.

“See, Groot here has somethin’ of a cyclical mating structure, ya’ get me?” Rocket asked, raising an eyebrow. Peter frowned slightly, his expression practically screaming, ‘go on?’ “Most of the time, Flora Colossus…that’s what Groot is, by the way, are completely uninterested in sex. Like…seriously, it doesn’t even enter their landscape. But once every few cycles, it becomes a biological urge. Like…seriously, biggest urge ever. Literally have to scratch it or it drives ‘em crazy, could even cause serious pain.” He gestured wildly with his hands, Groot still staring down at him with those eyes, and Peter felt himself stiffen. “I think, honestly, given the amount of sex he needs at every given cycle to stop the urge… Groot up here has more sex than you!”

“What?” He asked softly, lips barely moving.

“Yeah…” Rocket stated, looking over at him, expression turning slightly mischievous. “Groot here’s got it on more times than you have. And he only has sex cyclically. Gets to a certain point, then boom!” He mimed an explosion and leaned his elbow on the desk, watching Quill in amusement. “You got a problem there, Pete? You seem to have gotten kind of pale.”

“He can’t…he can’t possibly have had…” His voice shook slightly, his eyes wide, expression falling towards horrified. “That’s not possible. He can’t have had more sex than me! He’s a tree! A friggin’ walking tree! That’s not fair! Who the hell goes for a tree?”

“You kiddin’? Anythin’ and everythin’ wants a piece of Groot.” Rocket snickered a little, leaning forward. “You see that face, Quill?” He asked, gesturing up, and Peter looked up, and up, and suddenly those deep, fathomless eyes were looking at him as though he was the center of the universe, and that mouth had been pulled into the most genuine, perfect smile he had ever seen. “Mind, if he really feels like it…” The perfect smolder that Groot’s expression fell into made his stomach drop, and Peter’s mouth dropped open. That was better than his!

“I am Groot,” he said, voice a low rumble wrapped in velvet, and Peter about had a heart-attack. He was getting turned on by a tree. What the absolute fuck?

Rocket sneered at him slightly, but then waved Groot off, who immediately straightened back up. “So, yeah. That’s Groot.”

“So…have you two…you know…in that cycle thing?” He paused, frowning slightly. “Wait, don’t you have a cycle thing?”

Rocket, who had pulled an exasperated face at the initial question, immediately frowned slightly, “What? Why would I have a weird cycle thing?” Peter, who was stuck in very vaguely remembered facts about raccoons, immediately dismissed it with a shake of his head. Rocket’s glare told him he likely had guessed where he had thought of it, those ‘raccoon’ things, which he still insisted he wasn’t… But he simply rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Look, Quill, Groot’s been with me for…years. We’re friends to the end, have each other’s backs no matter what, but…see, with me, I like somethin’ with a bit more…shine, a bit more gloss…a bit more metallic, and violent, and explosive, and loud… Able to destroy entire planets with just a push of a trigger…” He was gesturing as he spoke, slowly bringing his hands into position to hold a very, very large gun, almost drooling at whatever his imagination was drawing up.

“You have some serious issues, man.” Peter said finally.

“Says the one interested in ‘raccoon and tree sex,’” Rocket snapped, frowning at him. “Besides, I’m out of his league.”

“I am Groot!” Groot replied to that, affronted.

Rocket laughed, tapping him on the leg. “Just kiddin’, buddy, relax…”

“So…no raccoon and tree sex.” Rocket threw his arms wide, looked about ready to scream at him, and then finally, slowly, slumped, throwing his arm over his eyes with a sigh deep enough to make Peter feel guilty.

“No, no raccoon and tree sex.”

“Okay. Cool. But when’s his next cycle? You know…so we can make sure he’s still healthy and happy, and shit… I’d hate for him to hurt due to not having enough sex… Actually…that’s a great excuse…I might have to try that sometime.” Peter frowned to himself, making a mental note, then looked up at him.

“That’s a good question, actually…when would your next cycle be?” Rocket asked, frowning at Groot, finally climbing his way up onto his shoulder as Peter stood up, standing just above Groot’s eye-level. Groot paused, frowning, looking to the ground, and then back up at them with a look of slight worry in his eyes.

“I am Groot.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?” Rocket asked, and Peter immediately stiffened.

“I am Groot. I am Groot.”

“Oh…hell…” Rocket mumbled.

“What?”

“When…” Rocket paused, seemed to struggle with the words, and Peter instantly knew what he was referring to.

“He was…temporarily put out of commission.” Peter frowned at him, and Rocket nodded.

“Yeah, well…that messed him up. He’s not sure when it will be. But it’s probably best to get to somewhere relatively soon. You’ve got to be close to physical maturity, right?” Rocket asked, tapping him on the side of the head as though he could tell by the sound he made. Groot shoved him away gently, giving an affirmative hum.

“Alright…would Xandar be a good place for him? That’s got a lot of people. We could hover around there for a while, no big.” There was a pause, the two of them looking for each other, and then giving a nod.

“Yeah, sure, that works.”

“I am Groot,” he confirmed with a nod.

“Alright, that’s settled. I’ll let Gamora and Drax know… I’m pretty sure our ETA will be in two days…that’s no big for you, right?” Groot paused, considering, and then finally gave a simple nod. “Alright, will do. I’ll head up. You guys coming or what?”

“Nah, I still got this little beauty to fix up…” So saying, Rocket climbed down Groot head-first, leaping to the ground and over to his weapon on the table. “Groot here needs to go back to nappin’. He’s gotta keep his strength up.” He looked back at the walking tree with a glare, Groot sighing, and going back to lie down. The sudden realization that Peter had interrupted Groot from what actually might have been a very pleasant dream hit him, and he immediately backed away and left sheepishly.

Then the sound of, “Okay, baby, where were we…ah yeah, right there…do you like that? Please tell me you like that…” hit his ears as Rocket got back to tinkering, and Peter seriously doubted that Groot could ever sleep with something like that going on in the background. Then again…he thought, as a soft humming snore filled the background, maybe it really did go completely under their radar until then. Rocket’s voice was probably just background noise. A soft grunt as Rocket apparently tightened something made him shudder, and keep walking.

This was just too weird.

…………………..

Peter would later reflect that he should have known that things would get weirder. It made sense, on this ship, with this crew? What honestly did he expect? Most definitely not Rocket’s small voice, coming out the room-that he shared with Groot due to lack of space-a couple hours away from Xandar, practically begging,

“No, wait, not now, you can’t seriously be going to do this now. Please, please, Groot,” and now he was actually begging, “don’t do this. We have time, it won’t be that much longer…”

Peter paused, considering what he knew about the situation, thought about it some more, and slowly turned to face the door.

“Groot…Groot, no…no, no, no…” He could hear the little feet tap-tapping closer to the door, a thudding gait coming after him, and Peter immediately took off towards the door. Things like ‘must have sex, or pain,’ running through his mind, Peter immediately went to open the door, only to have it shoved open, practically into his face, and Rocket throwing himself through, darting between his legs, and shoving himself against the wall. Peter went to open his mouth, looking at Rocket, and then looking over at Groot, who had the expression on his face of someone in deepest agony. Peter felt his heart lurch, took a step, and then suddenly, Groot’s expression changed into sudden, blessed relief.

And, with the force of a miniature bomb, seemed to explode yellow.

Peter was pressed up against the wall behind him, plastered with the yellow stuff that was almost literally everywhere, mouth filled with a fine, grainy substance that made him immediately start coughing and choking, his nose and eyes running. He wiped at his face, only to find that his hands were covered in it as well and he was basically smearing this…yellow powdery stuff everywhere. It was at that point that he realized he could hear cackling, and, after managing to wipe his eyes out with the inside of his shirt, looked over to see Rocket, mostly free from the yellow stuff, and laughing his tail off.

“Was it…” Rocket started, choking on further laughter, and finally managing, “good for you?”

Peter froze.

He looked down at himself, looked over at Groot, who was looking extremely sheepish, and then realized what was covering him with a start of horror.

Peter Jason Quill was covered in pollen.

He stood there for a moment, blinking his eyes hazily, and finally looked down at Rocket, who was still cackling, leaning against the wall as he attempted to keep upright. Vaguely, Peter could hear the alarmed cries from Drax and Gamora as the pollen reached the rest of the ship, and he walked forward. Rocket didn’t even seem to notice initially, until Peter was right before him, looking down at him with a vacant look on his face. Rocket hesitated, looking up, mouth still pulled into a wide grin. That was the moment Peter did something stupid, but in his mind, totally worth it.

Peter immediately swooped down, grabbed Rocket around the middle, lifted him right off his feet, and promptly rubbed his cheek up against his face, smearing a long line of yellow right into Rocket’s fur.

Rocket was too taken aback to bite him, which was lucky, but it was not enough to stop him from giving a very loud, very angry, “Hey!” when Peter wrapped him up into the biggest hug ever, rubbing his free hand into his fur and positively coating the squirming, thrashing bundle of fur in pollen. When Rocket finally remembered that he could bite, Peter dropped him, shaking his fingers. It was worth it just to see Rocket spitting out yellow, his visible fur sticking out in every direction, covered in a fine yellow dust that fell in a practical rain of powder around him.

“That’s for lying and saying he had more sex than me, you bastard.”

“Hey, hey, I wasn’t lyin’!” Rocket shouted, frowning up at him, spitting some more. “He does have more sex than you…with every plant in the radius.” He burst out laughing again, and finally began shaking himself, a bigger pollen cloud exploding off of him like some kind of giant bumblebee… “Nah, he just…pollinates, under the bark, and when it gets to be too much, boom.” He mimed an explosion, and frowned over at Groot. “You’re a messy bastard, you know that?”

“I am Groot…” Groot mumbled sheepishly, kicking at the ground. Peter finally decided that he had another rule to add to his ‘no sex, please,’ list. It must never involve pollen.

…………..

Corpsman Rohman Dey was, all told, having a relatively decent week. Xandar was rebuilding, there hadn’t been any intergalactic threats, the entire city was…peaceful. It was rare, but also a good thing. It was only as the Milano requested clearance for landing that he realized that there was no way it could have lasted.

Dey, having been appointed handler of the so-called ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ was meant to handle all negotiations with them. As such, he was the first one to see a tall muscle-bound behemoth of a man and a tall, overtly deadly assassin hightail it out of the ship like it was on fire. Indeed, there seemed to be a good deal of yellow ‘smoke’ wafting out of the open hatch, and they themselves were trailing a lot of it behind them.

He blinked, opening his mouth to say something to them, only to have Peter come out. Dey’s mouth hung open for an entirely different reason, staring at the man who was a very vibrant shade of yellow, trailing more dust than either of the others, and walking right up to him.

The sight of that tree thing walking out with a very angry-looking yellow ball of fur on his shoulder was almost more than he could take.

Peter walked up to him with a smile, putting his finger on his chin and closing it for him gently.

“Hey, Dey…I have a favor I need to ask of you.”

“…Yeah?” Dey asked.

“Clean my ship of tree-sperm. Please and thank you.”

Peter walked away from him without another word, and Dey found himself left in the dust, his nose wrinkling as he turned back to the ship which he was now given an entirely new reason to dread.

Why was it always him?