Six weeks after Xandar and Ronan and that entire, bloody, terrible mess, Gamora is sitting on the cockpit of Peter’s – theirs, now – new old ship, watching the stars.
Everyone else is sleeping, Rocket only a few feet away, curled in the other chair, clutching Groot’s pot like a lifeline, but Gamora can’t seem to find the necessary quiet in her own head. She used to be able to sleep anywhere and anywhen at a moment’s notice, but lately, with time to drift and time to think, with Peter and the rest of their ragtag bunch showing her so many new things, so many better things, her mind has refused to be silent.
So she sits up a lot, watching stars and planets pass them by. Keeping vigil, if anyone should ask. After all, Thanos is still out there and he will not take her betrayal lightly.
Suddenly, one of the consoles to her left beeps with an incoming message. For a moment, she hesitates over opening it. It’s not addressed to Peter specifically, but none of the others usually receive messages from anyone. But then, it’s most likely some sort of business proposal, or request for aid.
In the end, Gamora presses the little icon and watches a prerecorded video pop up on the screen. Immediately she sets her teeth against the slew of swear words trying to push past her lips because she knows that thrice-damned son of a bilge snipe’s blue-skinned lesser cousin.
Yondu Udonta, who, for some reason, Peter still speaks of fondly, ever after all the man has done.
“Kid,” he tells the screen without preamble, looking resigned for once, instead of his usual superior sneer. Gamora hisses at him. Even his voice is grating on her. “I sent you some coordinates. Get your ass there, pronto, or else we’re both getting skinned alive. She just found out about your little stunt and she is furious. See you there.”
The gall of that man, to command Peter like he is one of his crew, like he has any sort of authority over him, after all that's happened, all the times he has betrayed Quill, even in the short time Gamora has known the Terran.
Her finger is already hovering over the delete-button, when a sleep-addled voice pipes up behind her. “Gamora? Whazzat?”
She didn’t even notice Peter climbing up from below.
Torn between pretending it’s nothing and spewing everything she thinks about Udonta, she simply moves aside to let the man see the screen, where that blue face is still frozen.
Peter grins, turning it into half a grimace, asks, “What’s Yondu want?”
Gamora presses play.
A minute later, a very loud, “Aw, crap,” wakes the rest of the crew.
“Why are we following that freaky bipedal’s orders again?” Rocket demands, watching Peter navigate the ship into atmosphere, holding Groot close to his furred chest as if he doubts the human’s ability to land them safely.
“Because they’re not Yondu’s orders, they’re Buffy’s orders. And we always follow Buffy’s orders.”
“Two questions,” the rodent announces. “One, who’s Buffy and two, why the frack would we follow her orders?”
“Because not following them is worse,” Peter confesses morosely. He looks a bit pale under his tan, and somewhat terrified of whatever they are about to face, but he won’t be deterred from meeting the Ravager and the mysterious ‘Buffy’.
“I notice,” Gamora finally pipes up, “that you did not answer the first question.”
A grimace is her only response.
Buffy is a Terran female in Ravager red, her hair a similar color to Peter’s, her height a lot less. She is slim, lithely muscled and well-armed. Gamora might like her, if Peter weren’t shuffling his feet like a disobedient child.
“Hi, Buff,” he greets, giving an awkward little wave.
Buffy purses her lips. Beside her, Udonta is attempting to surreptitiously sidle away. She barks his name before he manages three steps. “You stay right here and wait your turn.”
The Ravager cringes. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Besides threaten to eat the boy, you mean?” Buffy demands, voice chilly.
Another cringe and Peter actually offers a half-convincing, “He wasn’t really serious about that.”
Immediately, Buffy rounds on him. “You! Peter Quill, I have never been so disappointed in my life! Not only did you run off to fight an intergalactic war criminal, you also almost sacrificed yourself how many times? I only got half the story out of Kraglin, I think, and I counted three almost-deaths. Spacing yourself?! Crashing the Dark Aster?! Grabbing an Infinity Stone!?!”
Peter’s lip sets in a pout. “Half of it was because of Yondu,” he whines, completely forgoing any sort of pride.
Buffy’s eyes narrow dangerously and Gamora has the sudden urge to leap for cover, potentially dragging Peter with her. Rocket and Drax look much the same when she checks. “I will be yelling at him later. Now explain yourself!”
She crosses her arms under her chest, foot tapping expectantly. Peter hesitates briefly, then squares his shoulders, turning back into Starlord, the clever outlaw before Gamora’s and the team’s eyes.
“It was the right thing to do,” he snaps, sounding righteously annoyed.
Gamora is proud of him. She doesn’t know who the woman yelling at him is, but he knows she has no right to treat someone like Peter like a naughty child.
Buffy draws a deep breath like she’s going to scream and beside her, Udonta flinches again. Then, abruptly, she deflates, a frown wrinkling her forehead. “Who the hell taught you to be a hero, Petie?”
He smiles lopsidedly, shrugging broad shoulders easily. “You did, Mom.”
“Aw, crap,” the Terran woman mutters as Gamora still reels from mom. Isn’t Peter’s mother dead?
“Don’t call me that, kiddo,” Buffy scolds and then opens her arms, wrapping Peter, who is easily a head taller than her, into a close hug, for which he bends willingly, burying his face in her neck and mumbling something that sounds like an apology. “You almost gave me a heart attack, Petie, when I found out what you did. You’re not supposed to do stupid shit without backup, remember?”
“Called Yondu,” Peter argues, without letting the woman up.
Rocket snorts, finally tired of watching the entire spectacle without comment. “Fat load of good that was, man! And who the hell is this chick?”
Their fearless leader finally straightens out of his hug enough to announce, “Everyone, this is Buffy Summers, Second in Command of the Ravagers, and my sort of adoptive mom. She and Yondu raised me.”
The woman in question looks fond, Udonta looks like he is tasting something foul and Rocket and Drax are both staring, dumbfounded.
“If this woman is your mother,” Drax finally manages, still staring between the trio, “does that make Yondu Udonta your – “
“Don’t say it!” Udonta snaps, cheeks going suspiciously purple.
Peter snickers. “Yondu doesn’t like it when I call him Daddy.”
Gamora throws up in her mouth a little. “He tried to kill you.”
Peter shrugs and, with a shit-eating grin, offers, “Not really. Buffy would have skinned him. And really, that’s just how he shows his love.”
“I am going to strangle you with your own intestines, boy!”
Nodding wisely, Peter waves a hand at the irate man. “See?”
Buffy is chuckling openly by now, and Gamora finds herself tempted to join in, despite the fact that Peter is apparently still keeping secrets from them. Seeing Udonta so out of sorts is amusing, even if she’s not quite sure she believes the claims of the man being any sort of nice and caring.
“Ah,” Drax offers, over the laughter, “I see now.” He turns to the blue man. “You must love Peter Quill very much, then.”
This time, Gamora does laugh.