Chapter 1: What If We Could?
What if we could
Put our lives on
Hold and meet some
Where inside of the world
I would meet you
“What is cancer?” Drax’s question broke the silence that had come between Peter and his team.
This was not the conversation that Peter had been expecting to have with the Guardians following his diagnosis and encouragement of his doctor. Originally, he had planned to keep it all a secret to himself but that plan had been foiled when the doctor overseeing his treatment had found out that there was no emergency contact listed. When the doctor had approached him about it, Peter admitted that he didn’t want anyone to know which had led to a several hours long conversation that resulted in him agreeing to tell his friends.
He had expected a freak out of sorts. He had been fully prepared to be yelled at for not telling them sooner or for denying treatment to prolong his life. He wasn’t however, expecting for the complete silence that lasted for a solid two minutes before Drax had spoken up.
“It’s a Terran disease,” Gamora answered without looking away from Peter.
“Yes,” Peter confirmed.
“It’s the same one that killed your birth mother, isn’t it?” Gamora’s stare was making Peter fidgety. He felt like she was silently judging him while looking into his soul at the very same time.
“Yes,” Peter confirmed again. “Same type of cancer as well.”
“There’s more than one type?” Rocket finally spoke up and Peter released a breath he wasn’t realizing he was holding. Rocket’s silence was probably the most unsettling reaction of all.
“Yeah, basically every organ and tissue can develop cancer,” Peter explained. “Even our blood can get cancer.”
“Well if that ain’t the most fucked up thing I’ve heard,” Rocket muttered and Peter chuckled humorlessly.
“Is it contagious?” Drax shifted minutely in the opposite direction of Peter while asking his question.
“No, it’s not contagious.” Peter smirked.
“What is cancer then?” Gamora finally asked the question the Guardians were all wondering.
“It’s basically when the cells that make up our bodies begin to multiply too quickly. The new cells begin attacking the healthy ones and causing degeneration of the organs and tissues. There’s like a hundred different types of cancer ranging from skin to brain to heart to prostate. It’s not fun to say the least.” Peter explained the disease the best he could. “There’s four stages to cancer; stage one being the most easily treatable and stage four being the incurable.”
“I am Groot?” Groot spoke up for the first time.
“Is there a cure?” Rocket translated.
“Not a universal one,” Peter shrugged. “There’s treatments but there’s not definitive way to prevent or cure cancer completely.”
“So you can get treatment to get better then, right?” Rocket asked the million dollar question and the one Peter was dreading the most.
The room became silent again. Peter couldn’t make eye contact with any of the other Guardians despite feeling all of their eyes boring into his face. After a few moments Groot approached him and set a gentle arm on his shoulder in understanding.
“No. I have stage four brain cancer.” Peter finally whispered. He knew the other’s heard him despite how quietly he had answered them. “My cancer is too far along to be cured. Treatment would only extend my life for a few weeks to months at most.”
“So you’re saying you’re going to die.” Gamora said softly.
“Yes, I have been given a death sentence.” Peter whispered. His words seemed to echo endlessly through the halls of their ship.
“You’re doing the treatment though, right?” Rocket asked with a tint of hopefulness in his voice.
“No, I have chosen not to do the treatment and have decided to manage my symptoms.” Peter finally looked up at his friends who looked at him with mixtures of shock and sadness.
“Why would you refuse treatment?” Drax asked incredulously. “That is stupid.”
“Because treatment would only make the remainder of my life a living hell.” Peter shrugged. “Chemo and radiation make you sick and tired and almost make you wish you were already dead. You lose all your hair, you’re in constant pain and I’d just suffer through the who-knows-how-many months I’d be given. It’s not much of a life.”
“But Peter-“ Gamora began but Rocket cut her off.
“No, I get his decision.” Rocket shrugged. “I’d probably do the same thing. I’d much rather get to enjoy what’s left of my life than spend it miserable in a hospital wishing I was already dead.”
“Thanks.” Peter was genuinely surprised that Rocket was siding with him. “I just want to enjoy what’s left of my shortened life.”
“It does not make sense to me that your already puny terran lifespan would be cut even shorter than it already is.” Drax admitted making everyone snort in mixes of amusement and agreement.
“I agree big guy. It isn’t fair.” Peter smiled a genuine smile for the first time since the conversation began.
“So what do we do now then?” Rocket asked.
“I don’t know,” Peter admitted. “I can’t leave Xandar since this is where my doctor who’s helping me manage my symptoms is. I guess we just keep doin’ what we’ve been doing for as long as we can.”
“And how long is that exactly?” Gamora asked.
“Who knows.” Peter shrugged. “Could be a few weeks, could be six months. Only time will tell.”
“I am Groot.” Groot chirped from in front of Peter.
“I agree with Groot,” Rocket said. “You need to tell your parents.”
“What?” Peter shrieked. “Do you know how much they hate me right now?”
“They do not hate you, Peter.” Drax informed him. “They were not pleased with you but they are still your parents and parents will never hate their children.”
“Easy for you to say,” Peter snorted. “Your kid didn’t steal four billion units from you.”
“It does not matter,” Drax gave Peter an unamused look. “They will still want to know so they can be with you. Don’t you want your parents here with you in your final months of life?”
“I mean, yeah.” Peter admitted. “But who says they’ll even care much less show up?”
“They’re your parents, Peter.” Gamora said. “They’ll come.”
“Fine, fine.” Peter relented. “I’ll call them tonight before I go to bed. But if they don’t answer, it’s not my fault.”
“Oh, they’ll answer.” Rocket chuckled. “You can bet on that.”
The rest of the evening was spent peacefully. Dinner was a group effort since they all sucked at cooking and Peter was barred from the kitchen, followed by watching Drax and Rocket’s favorite soap opera. Peter and Gamora never fully understood the appeal but it was amusing enough and took everyone’s minds off the current situation so Peter couldn’t complain. Finally, everyone decided to retire to their own rooms for the evening after quick goodnights.
Peter sat staring at the com in his room. He knew that he needed to call his parents and to be totally honest, he really wanted their comfort too. There was no replacement for the comfort he felt when Kraglin rocked him back and forth, humming soothing words and stroking his hair or the safety of Yondu’s strong embrace. Those two things combined made Peter feel like nothing in the world could ever hurt him.
But he was afraid. He feared the rejection that he potentially faced from the two Ravagers. He had royally screwed them over and he knew that. He wouldn’t blame them if they never spoke to him again much less came and comforted him in his final moments.
Sighing, Peter stood up from his desk and walked to his bed. He would call them in the morning, he supposed. But as he was about to crawl into the bed, his com flashed with Yondu and Kraglin’s faces.
He stared at the screen in shock. They hadn’t tried to contact him in the year that had passed since the orb incident. Why would they suddenly call now?
Without warning, the screen went black, indicating that they had been sent to his voicemail.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Peter hissed as he scrambled back to the com. As soon as he reached it, the screen flashed his parents’ photos again and this time he wasted no time answering the call.
“Boy,” Yondu said as soon as his face materialized on the screen. “You dare sent us to voicemail?”
“Sorry, I didn’t get to the com in time,” Peter said knowing that it was a shit excuse.
“Uh huh,” Yondu clearly wasn’t buying it. “Or you was avoiding us. Wonder why that is.”
“Uh, probably has something to do with not wanting you to rip me a new one after the whole orb incident.” Peter shrugged. He could feel his energy draining, an obnoxious side effect of his cancer. He would need to lye down soon but he couldn’t do it in front of his parents.
“Cut the crap, Peter.” Kraglin came into view next to Yondu, a knowing scowl etched into his face. “You damn well know that’s not the only reason you didn’t answer.”
“Someone told you to call.” Peter breathed in surprise. It didn’t take a genius to interpret the hint Kraglin had given him.
“Sure did, boy.” Yondu confirmed as he narrowed his eyes. “Care to tell us what ‘you need to call your son’ means?”
“Well,” Peter trailed off and he could see the impatience written all over his parents’ faces.
“Well, stop beatin’ round the bush.” Kraglin prompted.
“Uh, you guys may want to be sitting down for this,” Peter said awkwardly. Both Ravager’s frowned at Peter’s statement.
“Why?” Yondu crossed his arms.
“Just do it.” Peter insisted. “Please, Daddy. Please, Papa.”
The mates frowns deepened at Peter’s usage of “Daddy” and “Papa”. The only time Peter used the names after he became a teenager were when he was in trouble, sick, or something was very, very wrong.
Relenting, Kraglin grabbed Yondu’s arm and pulled him towards the bed with a deep sigh. Yondu followed his mate willingly and sat next to him on their nest before ordering Peter, “Explain. Now.”
“So, you guys uh,” Peter began to fidget with the hem of his shirt. “You remember how my birth mom died of brain cancer?”
“Yes,” Kraglin said slowly as his face morphed into deeper confusion. “What of it?”
“Well,” Peter muttered. “Turnsoutinrunsinfamilies.”
“Say that again, boy.” Yondu’s eyes narrowed impossibly further.
“Uh, well,” Peter looked down at his hand in order to both hide the tears in his eyes and avoid the looks he was about to receive from his parents. “Turns out brain cancer can run in families.”
“Wha-“Yondu began but stopped when Kraglin gasped loudly.
“Peter, no.” Kraglin began to shout at him frantically. “Peter, don’t you play games with us. This ain’t funny young man. You look at me right now and tell me the truth! Now Peter!”
“I can’t Papa.” Peter openly sobbed. “I’m sorry.”
“Look at me now, Peter Jason Udonta-Obfonteri!” Kraglin begged hysterically while Yondu remained silent. “Now!”
Finally Peter looked up at his parents. Yondu sat silently next to Kraglin, looking at Peter with eyes that swirled thousands of emotions and a face that only he and Kraglin knew as fear. Unlike his silent mate, Kraglin was openly sobbing, tears flowing down his face, eyes wide with panic and disbelief.
“I’m so sorry, Papa.” Peter cried. “I’m so sorry!”
“Peter, please tell me you aren’t implying you have cancer!” Kraglin begged his son as he clutched onto Yondu’s arm as if it was the only thing tethering him to Earth.
“I can’t. I do.” Peter finally said out loud. “I have the last stages of untreatable brain cancer.”
“No,” Kraglin collapsed in heartbreak and grief.
“Peter,” Yondu finally said in a shaky voice. “You send me your location right now.”
“Okay,” Peter nodded and forwarded the Milano’s coordinates to his father.
“We’re comin’ to ya right now,” Yondu said after looking at the coordinates and taking the com with him as he left his room and mate and made his way to the bridge, barking orders to reprogram their next stop.
“Will you be here soon?” Peter asked quietly.
“We’ll be there when you wake up, Petey.” Yondu whistled in Centuarian to avoid the bridge crew eavesdropping. “Get some sleep, sweetheart.”
“Okay, Daddy. I’ll try.” Peter nodded as he already began to feel comforted by his father’s unusually gentle words.
“Don’t chu worry, son.” Yondu said firmly before saying the rare words that he used to say to Peter when he was just a tiny boy. “Daddy’s comin’. Daddy’ll make everything alright.”
Would you meet me?
Chapter 2: Where Would We Go?
Woo! Long chapter this time! It was nearly 4k in word count! Lots of information in the first half and then the last half is basically all fluff. I channeled the Washington State Fair in this chapter when they were out for the day. I'm assuming most places have fairs of their own and whatnot so I think we can all kind of picture the atmosphere and games. If not, think Grease :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
On a park bench
On a skyscrape
On a mountain
Peter slowly stirred to the sound of hushed talking. It took a moment for his (newly more confused brain) to process the words.
“Kraglin, love, I know that you want to wake him and talk to him but let the kid sleep.” A deep voice rumbled. The words were still a little fuzzy and far off.
“Yondu, I just need to see his eyes and hear his voice.” A new more worried voice said.
“I know.” Yondu’s deep voice said more clearly. “I do too but he also needs his rest.”
“You’re right,” Kraglin agreed with a sigh.
“His bed is nearly the size of ours,” Yondu hummed. “We could probably both fit if you wanted to.”
“Daddy?’ Peter asked hoarsely, finally able to get the words out of his mouth. “Papa?”
“Peter!” Kraglin cried and hugged him fiercely. “We didn’t wake you did we?”
Yes, Peter wanted to say but instead he said, “No, I was already waking up. You guys got here fast.”
“It’s been a few hours, kiddo.” Yondu told Peter as he sat down on the edge of the bed, adjacent to Peter’s shoulders and stroked his hair. “How ya feeling?”
Peter mulled the question over in his head as he sat up between his parents. No headaches this morning, his body wasn’t sore, he could see pretty well and he was able to get words out. “No complaints. Had worse days.”
“How long has…have…” Kraglin tried to say but kept stopping to swallow heavily.
“Have I had the cancer?” Peter finished for him and his parents both nodded. “Better part of five years they think. No one can say for sure since it’s so far along already and it’s hard to estimate a time.”
“Five years?!” Kraglin asked in shock. “And we never noticed?!”
“They say that brain cancer isn’t always easy to catch.” Peter tried to sooth his parents. “I only went in ‘cause the headaches were getting really bad and I thought it might’ve had something to do with the translator. But when they figured out nothing was wrong with my translator, they sent me to the oncologist.”
“So, how bad is it?” Yondu asked in an uncharacteristically solemn and hesitant voice.
“Depends on your definition of bad,” Peter teased his father who snorted at him and poked him in the shoulder.
“Little shit,” Kraglin chuckled humorlessly.
“Normal people’s definition of bad.” Yondu rolled his eyes at his son’s attempt at humor.
“Uh,” Peter looked down at the floor and rubbed the back of his neck. “Pretty bad.”
“And by Ravager and Guardian’s definitions?” Kraglin asked in a quiet but slightly hopeful voice. Ravager and Guardians’ definitions of bad were quite different than the average person’s. While most people would consider a giant, raging Kree bull running through the streets of downtown Xandar to be quite horrible, Ravagers would laugh and the Guardians would roll their eyes before saving the day. Got a crazy Kree Accuser with an Infinity Stone? Not a problem.
“Pretty bad,” Peter admitted hesitantly. He wanted so desperately to lie to his parents and tell them it wasn’t that bad but he knew that, even if they were hopeful they were wrong, they knew that there was no way Peter could beat this. No amount of sweet talking, dance battles, singing or pep-talks would help Peter weasel his way out of this. Not this time. This time he had met his match and he was going to die.
“What stage?” Yondu finally asked after a quiet moment. Peter’s head shot up in surprise that Yondu would even know the term in regards to the cancer. “I did some reading after we picked ya up from yer mama.”
“Oh,” Peter smiled a little at the thought of Yondu reading books about terran diseases in an attempt to understand where Peter had come from. “Uh, stage four.”
“Shit!” Yondu hissed and looked at the ceiling.
“I know.” Peter frowned. “I was pretty surprised too.”
“What type of brain tumor do you have?” Kraglin whispered as he began to absentmindedly run his hand through Peter’s soft hair.
“I have an Occipital Lobe tumor which fucks up my sight,” Peter explained as he leaned into his Papa’s touch. “And I have a Broca’s tumor.”
“What’s a ‘Broca’?” Kraglin asked as he exchanged a concerned look with Yondu over Peter’s head.
“Broca’s Area is a part in my brain that controls speech and understanding of languages,” Peter explained. “It also is located in the Frontal lobe which affects my ability to make reasonable decisions, personality and my ability to plan ahead.”
“So what will happen then?” Yondu whispered as he looked at his son. It was hard to believe that his son had not one but two tumors growing in that head of his.
“Do you really want to know?” Peter asked and made eye contact with his Dad. “It’d be easier if you didn’t know what to look forward to. I haven’t even told the guys because I don’t want them to spend all their time looking for symptoms of my impeding deterioration.”
“We’re your parents, Pete.” Yondu said firmly. “We want to know. No matter how sad and no matter how difficult it may be.”
“Okay,” Peter relented. “Doctor said that my ability to reason will start to become worse and my personality will change.”
“Change how?” Kraglin asked.
“Not sure exactly.” Peter shrugged. “Sometimes people become really depressed, sometimes they get really angry. I’ll most likely stop being able to realize that my behavior is inappropriate for certain situations and I might have obsessive-compulsive behaviors. We’ll just have to wait and see what I end up doing.”
“So you’ll resort to being a kid in a lot of ways,” Yondu half joked making Peter laugh.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Peter chuckled before continuing. “Reading and writing will probably become really hard and I might have a hard time talking. But I will for sure lose my eye sight but the doctor says that when that happens, I’ll be at the very end of my cancer.”
“So you’ll go blind?” Kraglin asked sadly.
“Yeah, at the very end.” Peter nodded and leaned his head on his Papa’s shoulder. “It’s not gonna be fun.”
“Doesn’t need to be fun to keep us around, Pete.” Kraglin informed his son. “We’re your parents and that means we aren’t leaving your side for even a second; no matter how un-fun this is going to be.”
“I love you guys,” Peter whispered.
“We love you too, Petey.” Yondu said softly and laid his large palm against his son’s cheek. “That’s why we’re here.”
A few hours later, Peter, Kraglin and Yondu walked into a large Nova hospital. The white walls and tile floors all reeked of disinfectant and made Peter scrunch up his nose. He always hated how hospitals smelled, even as a little kid.
Peter led the way to his doctor’s office, located in the oncology wing of the hospital. Peter had daily meetings with his doctor and his parents wanted to tag along so they could learn more about Peter’s condition.
If the Ravager captain and first mate’s presences surprised the doctor, he didn’t show it. He simply escorted the trio to a private room where they stayed before a nurse fetched Peter for some tests, leaving the mates alone with the doctor.
“So, Doc,” Yondu drawled after the door closed behind their son. “How bad is he really?”
“He hasn’t told you?” The doctor didn’t sound too surprised.
“No,” Kraglin shook his head. “He said it was bad but he’s obviously playing it down.”
“Well, since he’s given us permission to give information about his health and treatment to you two,” The doctor said as he flipped through the chart on his pad. “He’s not good. At first I thought I could try to operate but after further scans, I realized that there’s no way for me to remove the tumors without permanently damaging him.”
“So you can’t remove them then.” Kraglin said more as a statement than a question.
“Yes.” The doctor answered anyway. “So then the question became whether Chemotherapy or Radiation would help.”
“Would it?” Yondu leaned forward in his chair, placing his elbows on his knees and resting his chin thoughtfully in his hands.
“Unfortunately not.” The doctor said sadly. “I hoped it would but Peter’s cancer has progressed too rapidly and is too inbeded in his brain for me to think that any treatment could save him.”
“He’s going to die.” Kraglin breathed. He felt as though the doctor had just punched him in the gut. His heart thumped wildly but heavily in his chest and Kraglin felt as if he were trapped in a bad dream. A dream where his baby was dying and nothing could save him. But it wasn’t a dream, it was real and he was going to lose his son.
“Yes.” The doctor frowned sympathetically at Kraglin, understanding just how the father felt.
“How long?” Yondu managed to ask.
“Could be a few weeks,” The doctor looked back at the new scans populating on the screen. “Could be longer. I’d give him two months at most based off these newest scans.”
“Two months?” Yondu straightened himself at the news. “He’s only got a few months at most?”
“Unfortunately.” The doctor said as he zoomed in and out on the tumors. “At first I thought he could have a good year or two in him but his tumors are continuing to grow which is just shortening his time.”
“What do we do to help him then?” Kraglin croaked. If his son was going to die, then Kraglin wanted to be sure that Peter was as comfortable and happy as possible.
“Take him to do things he likes to do.” The doctor suggested. “Especially things that require his sight since he’ll lose that eventually. Give him his favorite foods and drinks, play his favorite games and movies. Stuff like that.”
“How will we know when it’s the ‘end’?” Yondu air quoted the word ‘end’.
“Trust me, you’ll know when it’s time.” The doctor looked back and forth between the mates. “You just get this feeling, this overwhelming understanding that they’re at the end of their life, and that’s when you know. You honestly just know.”
“What do we do when he’s at the end?” Kraglin asked behind tears.
“You make him comfortable.” The doctor offered. “Surround them with their favorite things and dress them in their most comfortable clothes. Make sure their closest friends and family are nearby. But most of all, make sure he knows how much you love him and that you guys will be okay after he leaves.”
“What if we won’t?” Kraglin let his tears fall down his face.
“Lie.” The doctor told them firmly. “Lie like you’ve never lied before.”
After the meeting with the doctor, Yondu and Kraglin decided to follow his orders. They commed the Guardians and told them to meet them at the festival that was taking place in the middle of the city. Rocket at first tried to protest but the other Guardians quickly shut down his complaints.
“Where are we goin’?” Peter asked as he walked in between his parents, just like he used to as a child.
“To the summer’s end festival.” Kraglin told him with a smile. “We thought it’d be a fun thing to do while the weather is still nice.”
“Sounds like fun!” Peter agreed enthusiastically. “It’s been a long time since we last went to the festival.”
“Yeah,” Yondu laughed and ruffled his son’s hair. “You got lost last time and it took us forever to find you.”
“We finally found you trying to dunk a Nova Officer.” Kraglin finished the story with a genuine laugh. “You were so proud of yourself.”
“I almost dunked him too!” Peter smiled at the memory. “Good times.”
“That they were.” Yondu agreed as they strode up to the Guardians.
“Hey, Hummie.” Rocket greeted the trio with Groot on his shoulder.
“You guys came!” Peter exclaimed in surprise.
“Yeah, Dad One and Dad Two called and invited us.” Rocket shrugged as Groot and Gamora both smacked him.
“I glad they did,” Peter ignored Rocket’s jab. “It’ll be way more fun with everyone here!”
“What should we do first?” Gamora asked the excited terran.
“Let’s get food, I’m starving!” Peter led the group in the direction of a nearby food stand selling cinnamon covered fried dough and candy-covered apples. Yondu recalled Peter calling the treats, ‘Elephant Ears’ and ‘Caramel Apples’ last time they saw the terran treats.
“So, how bad is he?” Rocket asked under his breath as he and Yondu fell behind the pack. Gamora and Kraglin were flanking Peter, fussing over him while Drax and Groot followed closely behind, commenting on the sweet, unfamiliar treats.
“Pretty bad,” Yondu told him honestly. “He’s got two months, tops.”
“Damn,” Rocket swore. “So what’s the game plan then?”
“We do a shit ton of fun things while we can,” Yondu answered. “Especially sight things since he’ll eventually stop being able to see. After that, we just make him comfortable until he passes.”
“That’s going to be tough,” Rocket sighed as they neared the group, Peter already ordering for everyone. “Especially for Kraglin.”
“Yeah, he’s having a hard time.” Yondu agreed. “It’ll be hard on all of us, honestly. He’s my son too.”
“Never said he wasn’t, blue.” Rocket looked at Peter and their ragtag group of friends. “You gonna let your crew know?”
“Yeah,” Yondu nodded, eyes not straying from the sight of Peter, dough in mouth, distributing the candy-covered treats to Gamora and Groot while holding the fried dough meant of everyone else in his other hand. “We got a few crewmates who really took a likin’ to Pete. He calls ‘em his uncles. They’ll want to say their goodbyes too.”
“Makes sense,” Rocket nodded. “We better go before he gets suspicious.”
“He’s always suspicious.” Yondu chuckled but followed nonetheless.
They ended up playing numerous games and riding many rides to pass the day. Gamora and Groot spent a lot of time riding the “teacups” while Rocket tested his aim at a ball-throwing stand. Drax won several prizes at various hammer games while Kraglin won some throwing games. Yondu and Peter competed with each other at shooting games. Kraglin tried to convince Yondu to let Peter win but Yondu pointed out that Peter would know if Yondu threw the game and become offended. As it turned out, Peter was still as good of a shot as Yondu remembered and ultimately they tied.
The final game was a crane game that no one seemed to be decent at. Despite Yondu’s suggestion that he could just steal the teddy bear, everyone insisted on trying to win it “fair and square”. Ultimately, none of them won and they let Yondu steal it out of the machine after they all became frustrated.
The end of the night was finished with what Peter called “nachos” and fireworks. The group laid in a field surrounded by other Xandarian citizens, watching the colorful display. Groot lay between Gamora and Rocket while Drax lay next to Gamora on the outside of the group. Kraglin was shoulder to shoulder with Rocket and Yondu took up the outside, Peter wedged between his parents.
“It’s beautiful,” Peter breathed.
“Yeah, it is.” Yondu agreed as he watched his son, trying to etch the look of wonder and pure, unfiltered happiness color his son’s face, colors flashing in his green eyes.
“Thank you,” Peter turned to look at the Centaurian. “I know what you guys are doing and I really appreciate it.”
“We want for you to have your final months be filled with happiness and good memories.” Kraglin admitted through a tight throat.
“I know,” Peter smiled and laid his head down on Kraglin’s chest, like he used to as a child. “Thank you both.”
“You’re welcome Pete.” Kraglin said, turning his eyes to the sky while wrapping a protective arm around his son. “I’m glad you had fun.”
“It was the best day I’ve had in a long time.” Peter agreed before turning his head slightly to watch the finale.
Later that night, with everyone back on the ship and in their respective bed, Yondu and Kraglin sat side-by-side on the bridge, talking in hushed voices.
“Are you going to tell the crew?” Kraglin leaned his head on Yondu’s shoulder.
“Yeah, I was going to call tonight and tell them.” Yondu laid his head on top of his mate’s. “I figured they want to know-especially the ones who’ve been with us since Pete was just a toddler.”
“I agree.” Kraglin hummed. “Go ahead and call them, I’m going to go to bed.”
“I’ll be there in a few minutes.” Yondu said to his mate as Kraglin stood up and made his way to Peter’s room. Peter had requested in the safety of his own room that Kraglin and Yondu stay with him. Neither of the two mates were surprised since Peter had always liked to seek the out when he was feeling upset and often slept between the two as a child. They saw nothing wrong in cuddling their son in their protective embraces for as long as they could.
As soon as Kraglin had left, Yondu turned on his com. He stood up and squared his shoulders, his face becoming stoic and hard. On his son’s ship, he could allow his façade to drop but, at the end of the day, he was still Captain Udonta, one of the most feared Ravager captains in the known universe.
“Cap’n!” Horuz’s face appeared on the screen. “We was wonderin’ when you’d call.”
“Were’s the boys?” Yondu asked.
“In the mess hall,” Horuz shrugged. “It’s dinner.”
“Go there and get their attention. I have news to share.”
“Something wrong, Cap’n?” Horuz scowled but followed the orders.
“I’ll explain in a moment.”
It didn’t take long for Horuz to reach the mess hall and get everyone’s attention. It was blatantly obvious that the crew was itching to find out where their captain and first mate had rushed off to.
“Alright boys,” Yondu announced once he had everyone’s attention. The crew still ate and talked quietly while still listening to their captain. Some of the crew were playing a card game that Peter had taught them. “I have some news to share about Peter.” At the mention of his son’s name, everyone paid more attention to what Yondu was saying.
“As it turns out,” Yondu fought to keep his voice steady and he could tell some of his most trusted crew like Horuz and Oblo could tell how hard he was fighting for his words. “Peter ain’t doin’ too great.”
“What do you mean, Cap?” Tullk spoke up, a worried frown etched deep in his brow. Tullk was one of Peter’s favorite “uncles”. Tullk had a son about Peter’s age back home and so the older Ravager had a soft spot for the boy, often going out of his way to keep little Peter entertained and looking out for his safety in emergency situations.
“Peter’s pretty sick.” Yondu told the crew. The shift between respectful listening because he was their captain, to ‘listening because we’re concerned about Peter’s well being’ was palpable. Immediately the Ravagers’ straightened. Their faces became serious, some openly worried. The silence over the hall was deafening.
“Like Kylorian flu, sick?” Oblo asked with a grim face. “Or sick sick?”
“He ain’t gonna be ‘round much longer.” Yondu said bluntly. When it came to his crew, Yondu knew there was no point in beating around the bush. With them it was better to just say what you needed to say and get on with it.
“Where’s he goin’?” A newer recruit asked. Some of his friends around him thumped him on the head and back in reprimand.
“He’s real sick, fellas.” Yondu told them. “He’s got an incurable terran disease that’s gonna kill him. Doctor says might be anywhere from a few weeks to two months before he dies.”
“Shit,” Cook swore sadly. “Can we see ‘im?”
“’Course.” Yondu nodded. “That’s why I called. I want you guys to send me a list of people that want to visit Peter before he dies tomorrow morning.”
“Will do, Captain.” Horuz gave Yondu a look that waivered between sadness and empathy.
“’Night boys.” Yondu nodded and shut off the com.
Sighing loudly, Yondu turned and made his way to Peter’s room. There he found Kraglin laying against the wall, curled around their son. Yondu allowed himself to soak up the gentle moment, going as far as to snap a quick picture on his pad before stripping himself of his leathers and climbing into the bed on Peter’s other side.
Peter did wake from the movement but did turn to seek out his Dad’s warm chest, immediately curling into the hard chest once he found him. Yondu laid back on the bed and allowed his eyes to close. Just as he was about to fall asleep he felt Peter’s hand clutch at a very familiar place on his chest-his pouch. Yondu opened his eyes in surprise but found that Peter was still asleep, probably locating the pouch out of memory. Yondu smiled softly remembering how much Peter loved to be carried as a toddler and the absolute fit he threw once he had outgrown it.
Yondu allowed himself to relax again at the memory, consciousness fading quickly.
“Daddy,” Yondu heard Peter mumble in his sleep just before he allowed himself to fall into dreams of his own.
Oh yeah, whatever it takes
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