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All This Red Tape

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The tape deck was jammed. Piper glared at it. “C’mon, man,” she whined. “Don’t die on me now, buddy. Fifteen fucking years and you’re going on the fritz when I have a hot oh hello Gamora.”

Tucking a strand of sandy hair behind her ear for the millionth time, Piper took a moment to appreciate her vantage point from the stool. Gamora filled out the tight mini-dress slash uniform thing she’d been wearing a lot lately very well indeed, and the human wasn’t above getting a good oggle in, well, any time, really.

“Does speaking to the recalcitrant mechanism actually help, Quill, or is it a tradition on your homeworld?” It was always hard to tell if the not-daughter of Thanos slash living weapon slash sort of second officer of the Milano was actually seriously asking Piper questions or just giving her shit. The two-day conversation (or argument, but she prefered conversation) about orange pops had pretty much convinced her that assuming anything was too ridiculous to be a serious question was a bad idea.

“It makes me feel better,” Piper admitted, shrugging. “It does for a lot of Terrans, though, so maybe it’s a human thing.”

“Begin working at once or I will be forced to destroy you!” Gamora demanded in the general direction of the tape machine, fingering her sword/knife thing menacingly. It was both adorable and really, really sexy.

There was a click under Piper’s fingers, and then the Jackson Five were filling the cabin.

“Damn,” Piper grinned. “You should threaten broken crap more often.” She stood, leaning against the bulkhead with one foot on the wall. Piper knew it looked nonchalantly charming, which was just how she’d practiced it to look.

“I will consider it.” It wasn’t a grin, but the small smile on Gamora’s face when she started to move to the music - subtly and as though she was hoping Quill might not notice - was practically huge for her. “But if Rocket runs out of broken things to fix, he may start disassembling things which are not broken.”

“Good point,” Piper agreed. She pushed away from the wall and half-danced, half sauntered to Gamora. “Maybe just the really important stuff, then, like the stereo and my Walkman.”

The assassin’s cheeks turned a darker green than usual - probably from having been caught dancing - but she didn’t stop. Piper took that as a good sign and smiled, softer this time, as she hip-wiggled closer.

“You have been attempting your pelvic sorcery more often,” she muttered, but it didn’t end up with her sticking a sword to Piper’s throat, so that counted as at least a yellow light, right?

“Um,” the thief said. “It’s not magic or anything. I’m not doing anything to you besides being my loveable self.” Maybe the green woman didn’t know humans didn’t have pheromones or mind-control or whatever other creepy stuff other galactic species had. Given the amount of weird shit Quill had come across in her quote unquote love life, it was actually pretty reasonable.

“Your self is a peculiar mix of honorless thievery and noble action. I find it confusing.” She tilted her head enough to look down at Piper, and they were close enough that Piper could feel the extra heat that Gamora’s body mods put off like a halo against her skin. “This is considered loveable among your people?”

“Given how popular Han Solo was, I’d say, yeah.” She continued her rhythmic sway, adding some small arm motions into the mix. “Plenty of other species like it too.” Not that she was going to bring up the specific members of said species which had found Piper’s specific roguishness attractive. “Not your people?” She almost winced after she said it. Nothing like talking about how you’re the last... whatever Gamora was to kill the mood.

“I... don’t know.” Gamora turned away, wrapping her arms around herself, but she didn’t stop swaying in place. It was strange and hit that place in Piper that made her do things like jump out of mining pods. “I was a child.”

“Hey, I’m sorry,” Piper murmured, slowly stepping closer. “Um...I’m not going to get my hand sliced off if I hug you now, am I?”

“Unlikely but not out of the question.”

“Ooookay. Just tell me to get lost before you break out the bladed weapons this time. I promise to run really fast.” Piper sidled around so that she wasn’t behind the scary assassin lady, and slowly put her hands on Gamora’s shoulders. “Okay so far?”

“This is not how the heroes in your world’s visual entertainments hug their women,” Gamora whispered, and her brown eyes were searching when they met Piper’s. “You are being confusing again.”

Quill couldn’t help the grin. “At least I’m consistently confusing. And I’m starting slow, in case you don’t like it.”

“It is acceptable, but not...” Piper didn’t mean to go from rubbing Gamora’s shoulders to the full body-on-body arm-wrap squeeze all at once, but Gamora did a squirming thing with her shoulders and a hint of a frown and it just sort of happened.

A few heartbeats went by, and her kidneys remained unperforated. “Still good?”

“Yes. Good.” Gamora’s hair smelled weird but nice - sort of a earthy spice mixed with what she could have sworn was oregano. “You may keep your hands.”

“Thanks,” Piper said, only half-joking. They stood there for a few moments, hugging and still swaying gently to the music, which by now had a great funky beat. Gamora’s head settled against Piper’s temple, the slow sway of her hips matching Piper’s rhythm and her arms settled loosely around Piper’s shoulders, and then Piper decided she was about to cross the border between comfort-hug and discomfort-hug, and she started loosening her hands.

“I will reconsider if you remove them now,” Gamora muttered into her jaw.

“Got it.” Piper had been right, though she hadn’t thought it would be her who was uncomfortable. “Um, you know that cutting my hands off would mean no more hugs, right?”

“I am confident you do not want to risk the exchange.”

Piper let out a laugh. “Okay, yeah, that’s true.”  

“What is a pina colada?” Either the excess body heat radiation thing was kicking up or the cabin was getting warm or, well, okay, other thoughts were probably not good for this particular moment.

“A drink. I think.” While she’d committed hours and hours of music, TV and movies to memory as a kid, the finer points of Earth cocktails had not been of strong interest to her. “You’ve been watching Terran stuff?”

Now it was Gamora’s turn for uncomfortable shifting, but she didn’t let go of Piper or tell Piper she could let go, either. “I wished to understand your courting behavior. It seemed likely to help. I could not find a film with Kevin Bacon, but I have studied several lesser hero-legends.”

Safely out of Gamora’s line-of-sight, Piper indulged in a number of amused, worried and triumphant facial expressions. “Did it help?”

“Somewhat. I begin to understand the importance of your audio tapes to your cultural identity. All important Terran events appear to require music in the background.”

Piper bit her lip. Should she come clean about the fictional nature of Footloose and other ‘Terran heroes’? Of course, she’d personally always thought that her mother’s news programs would have been improved with a good soundtrack.

“Music’s pretty important, yeah,” she hedged. Piper Quill could be brave and selfless when it really came down to it, but she wasn’t quite noble enough to risk Gamora deciding she’d look better without limbs.

Gamora shifted, which more or less lifted Piper off her feet for a second, and when she had her balance back, the most dangerous killer in probably a couple thousand light years was looking at her with big, searching brown eyes. “There seem to be many signals for when a Terran woman wishes to signal to a man that she desires to agree to his advances. Would it be more appropriate for me to declare it while you are facing imminent death, slap you, attempt to hit you with a bottle or insult your ship and choice of dress?”

Piper was about to make a witty rejoinder, but then all of the words finally made it to her brain and then, promptly, broke it.

“You think I’m a man?” Her voice was, okay, a little screechy. She felt that it was warranted. It’s not like she tried to hide her gender or anything.

Gamora stared at her blankly for, oh, maybe thirty seconds or so. “You aren’t?”

Piper gently removed her hands, turned around, and let her forehead hit the bulkhead with a thud. Ow.

“No, Gamora, I’m not. I...you really didn’t know?”

Now Gamora was glaring at her. There was a very particularly feeling that she got when Gamora was glaring at her, and it was happening at the back of her neck right at this very moment. “But I thought you were attempting to seduce me! You were playing appropriate music!”

Shit.

Piper turned around. She felt her jaw going tight, and didn’t feel like putting on an act at the moment to cover it. “I was. Am. Trying to seduce you. You seemed interested. I thought you knew I was a woman.” She looked away. “It’s one of the reasons I’ve never been back to Earth. They treat people like me like scum.”

“Women?” Gamora sounded both confused and outraged.

Quill barked a bitter laugh. “Well, that too a little, but I was talking about women who are attracted to women, or men who like men.” She’d been old enough to understand the slurs people threw at her Uncle Pete, and old enough to know why she liked Who’s the Boss so much.

Finding a whole galaxy of people who cared more about her species - and not much about that -  than her proclivities was one of the major upsides of a shitty situation.

Now Gamora was staring at her like she was the most baffling thing in the galaxy again, and that hurt right now more than it ever had, but then she bit one green edge of her lip in that way that always made Piper want to tease her - and not, because she liked her head attached to her body - and Star-Lord decided the living weapon was trying to cram new data into her brain, not blaming her for, well, whatever. The sour twist in Quill’s guts started to loosen.

“You are confusing me again,” Gamora finally said, “and not hugging me. Fix at least one of those, Quill.”

Piper stepped into her friend’s arms, and it was such a relief that she let her head fall to Gamora’s shoulder and closed her eyes. It was a warm, nice-smelling hug, and she’d been so lonely for so long - various bed company aside - that Piper was worried she was going to start crying any second. Then Gamora’s fingers started very slowly, very carefully stroking through the short brown curls of her hair, and she knew she was past the last safe exit.

“Um,” Piper said, voice thick. “I, uh. Is there something especially confusing?”

Gamora eased back without letting her go, tilting her face up and looking into her eyes, and then she smiled. It set off all sorts of familiar we’re about to be in trouble alarm bells in the back of Piper’s head. “You are crying,” the assassin said, voice full of sudden confidence. “I know this signal.”

And then her hand was on the back of Piper’s neck, holding her like iron, and she was kissing Piper with the undirected enthusiasm of someone who had absolutely no idea what she was doing but was sure she could handle it.

“Snmm,” said Piper. Luckily, Gamora didn’t care. After a couple of seconds, Star-Lord got her body into gear, and she had her hands on the assassin’s hips and was kissing back with all of her considerable skill. Gamora’s dexterity and single-mindedness were definitely helpful and a huge turn-on. “Mmm,” she concluded, right about the time that Gamora discovered that kissing could include tongue.

Okay, granted, there was more of Gamora’s tongue than she was used to, but she could work with that. She was a problem-solver.

“Music,” Gamora whispered into her mouth when they finally stopped kissing long enough to work on getting out of clothes that were not really designed to be removed while the wearer was using at least one hand on someone else’s body at all times.

Somewhere in the galaxy, someone made that kind of clothing, and Piper was going to find it.

She’d been a little worried that Gamora’s body-mods were going to be freaky, and, okay, there was definitely evidence of the metal skeleton and plenty of precise scars, but it was Gamora’s body, and Piper liked it. The lack of nipples was a little more of a surprise, but general surface licking and biting seemed to work okay there. Neck biting, on the other hand, was definitely a major hit which, bonus, her ribs managed to survive the Amazon leg-clamp the discovery brought along with it.

“These change shape?” And speaking of discoveries, Gamora was completely intrigued by her nipples, which was not a bad way to warm back up after the whole not-being-able-to-breathe-for-a-minute thing.

“Ah,” Piper breathed, “Yeah. When they’re cold or happy. Like now. Very happy.” Her fingers tightened in Gamora’s black-to-magenta hair, and she buried a little protesting sound in her throat when Gamora looked up at her in confusion. Fortunately, enlightenment arrived before she managed to get her throat untangled enough to ask what was wrong, and Gamora went right back to her breasts with a mumbled “Metaphor.”

“I really,” Piper said, words riding on a moan, “really need to get a better translator."

For the next who knew how long, Gamora worked Piper into a higher and higher arousal, until she pulled free and opted for kissing instead. Letting her hands skim the taut lines of Gamora’s stomach, hips and thighs - all of which were like steel, no wonder the kick had hurt so much - Piper trailed kisses from her lover’s mouth to her throat, throwing in a few teeth marks for flair that got involuntarily convulsive moans followed by limp relaxation, and started working her way down.

Ribs, abdominals, hips - all about where she expected them to be. That was usually a good sign. She tried a quick bite on the left thigh while she eased Gamora’s legs apart - light squirming, still pretty relaxed from the neck bites, also good - and then took a long look at the equipment she was going to be learning to operate without a manual this evening.

Vertical slit parted slightly in anticipation, slick hints of leaking internal lubrication, pale violet flesh on the inside that didn’t look to have any sharp edges or needles but did have ridging she could probably follow with her fingers. So far, so good.

Settling down between Gamora’s legs, she massaged her thighs while oh-so-carefully catching a bead of the fluid on her knuckle. Waited for a couple of minutes while she got some very enthusiastic responses to more kissing and kneading. There was no burning, numbness, or weird rashes or bumps on her finger at that point, so it was probably safe to go all the way.

Though a complete bio-chem workup before they got to going down on each other was probably not a bad idea. Anaphylaxis really put a crimp in the evening. Did she still have that universal antivenin in her med kit?

Not, at the moment, that having only a band-aid and some sunscreen would have stopped her at this point. Worst-case scenario, she was reasonably sure Gamora would make sure she didn’t die.

If not, well, it was a good way to go.

“Try not to crush my throat if you don’t like something,” Piper said into the inside of Gamora’s thigh. “I can follow directions.”

Gamora made a low, raw sound of arousal that sounded maybe just a little bit skeptical.

Piper smirked up at her lover, then kissed her way to the happy place. No anaphylactic shock. Gamora even restrained herself from clamping those titanium-hard thighs around Piper’s head in a way suggestive of an imminent neck-snapping, which was very reassuring. Her lover’s internal anatomy, on the other hand, was definitely going to take a little getting used to. The general parameters were about the same, but Gamora didn’t keep a clit anywhere near where Piper kept hers and the spiral pattern of that soft purple flesh seemed to respond better if she worked her tongue in an irregular counter-clockwise sort of motion. Still, she was definitely getting good - if nonverbal - reviews from the gallery.

Of course, that was about when Piper felt something slide into her mouth. Then another something. Then more. Soon there were at least half a dozen delicate tendrils of Gamora’s sex curling and uncurling around Piper’s tongue, massaging and caressing and generally loving on it, and it was the weirdest sexy thing Star-Lord had ever experienced.

Awesome, though. She kind of wished her cunt could kiss back. Apparently making out with them was working for Gamora, too, because the sounds she was making were alternating between sharp, high-pitched keens and growling snarly sounds with increasing frequency. Faster was usually better, in Piper’s not inconsiderable experience, so she stepped up the pace a little more.

Then the tendrils playing with her tongue wrapped around it tight enough that it almost hurt and pulsed urgently, and the rest of Gamora’s body went totally, rigidly still. Piper stroked her lover’s stomach, buzzing with pleasure and desire and hoping that she’d be able to move some time soon.

It took about a minute for the tendrils to relax and withdraw, but Gamora didn’t lose any tension at all in the rest of her body. Piper watched her, placing a kiss on her hip, and lay down alongside her. Her lover’s eyes were closed, her mouth open slightly. Her ribcage expanding subtly with her breath was the only movement at all.

Piper laid a soft hand on her shoulder. “Gamora?”

Silence lingered until Piper realized she was holding her own breath, and then every muscle of Gamora’s body seemed to relax at the same time and her eyes drifted open - deep brown rims around bottomless black pools. Her whisper was barely there, a kiss on the air. “Piper Quill.”

“Right here,” she answered, relaxed now that she was pretty sure she hadn’t broken Gamora somehow. Their fingers entwined. “You good?”

“If you do not do that often from this point forward, I will break both your arms,” Gamora murmured.

Piper grinned. “So pretty awesome, then, huh?”

“I am revising my disappointment that you are not a man, yes.” Gamora’s lips twitched in what was, for her, a positively enormous smile.

“Y’know, I’d be hurt, except for all the hot sex we’re going to be having.” Piper’s lips found Gamora’s. “Given, of course, that we’re not done yet and wait, you’ve seen me naked before.” Propping herself up on her elbows, she looked down at the other woman in amusement. “You don’t know about dicks.”

“Of course I know about phalluses!” Gamora’s expression was indignant. “I just thought you must carry yours internally.”

Star-Lord managed to hold in the laughter for about three seconds, and then she was shaking with it, pounding the decking with her fist, and sure she was about to get punched or stabbed but it didn’t help. She couldn’t stop.

“It’s a very sensible arrangement,” Gamora objected stuffily. “Many species have internal sex organs.”

She was going to die. If Gamora didn’t kill her, the laughter was going to starve her brain of oxygen.

“I do have one,” she finally cackled. “It’s not, like biological or anything, but if you like dick it’s a pretty good substitute.”

Oh, God, but the way Gamora perked up like a horny teenager nearly set her off all over again. “You have a cybernetic phallus?”

“What? Aaah. Aaaaaaaaaah no.” Well, at least she wasn’t laughing anymore. “It’s a toy. Or a tool. There’s a harness. It vibrates. And it’s in one of the drawers under my bunk, or possibly in my bunk, or maybe in the head, but it’s not part of me, really.”

Gamora bounced to her feet, grabbed Piper’s hand and proceeded to haul her bodily away from the lounge and toward the captain’s cabin. “We must find your tool at once so that I may evaluate its performance!”

“Woah, woah, no, not going through the common area naked,” she protested, thus far untruthfully as her attempts to stop moving were not so much successful. “There are not enough showers in the whole damn universe for how I’d feel after Drax or, dear god, Rocket saw me.”

Gamora, apparently unsatisfied with their rate of progress, just picked Piper up and tossed her across one green shoulder. “Or I can just close my eyes and pretend we’re alone. I can do that.”

To her relief, nobody said anything as they moved through the ship. Whether that was because nobody saw them or because her nudity was just as traumatic for them as it was for her was unknown.

Quill was happy to leave it that way.