Starmora Week 2017, Day 1: Favorite Moment
Gamora doesn’t like the silence.
It’s an unusual feeling for her. Normally, she’s always welcomed silence, because it gave her room to think and concentrate without external things burdening or distracting her. She even prefers the silence sometimes; she recalls cutting the noisy plants around her on Ego’s planet, just for some peace and quiet.
Living with a bunch of rowdy people has only increased her appreciation for silence as of late, but she’s suddenly burdened with a sort of grief for the lack of stimulation from her rambunctious teammates. They are annoying, they are loud, they are insensitive, they are a lot of things she’s never really liked…and yet, they’ve forced their way into her heart, a space she thought long gone after losing the people who’d once occupied it years and years ago.
No, they haven’t replaced her family, her real family, back on her home world, but they’ve given her something similar—warmth, safety, stability, loyalty.
So sitting beside Peter for not one, not two, but nearly five minutes of silence is more maddening than it should be, leaving her to fidget with her fingers and memorize every detail in the wall before them.
Silence has never been a stranger to them before, after several nights spent simply keeping each other company into the morning hours aboard the Milano, which only frustrates her further, because this is normal for them.
But her mind is whirling from Nebula and Ego and Peter’s missing Walkman and his suspicious powers and—
She takes a deep, cleansing breath.
Fear is no stranger to her, either, no matter how many times she may deny it. Mantis just so happened to hold the key to unlocking it with one touch, because of her powers, and Gamora’s still trying to rein it all back in, because she can’t do anything productive if she’s curled up in a ball in a corner hidden away from everyone and everything—
(Which is exactly the place she wants to be right now.)
(She hates the truth in that.)
She snaps to attention at Peter’s sudden voice, soft and hoarse in that way that just makes her chest ache. His eyes meet hers, then turn down to her hands.
“Your hands are shaking.”
Sure enough, she finds her hands to be trembling in her lap, per his observation. She sighs, clenching them into fists to try to contain the shakiness.
Suddenly Peter’s left hand is hovering above her right, and he returns his eyes to her. “Uh, maybe it’ll help if I…hold your hand?”
She studies him for a moment, then nods. He takes her hand into his, gently curling his fingers around the side of her hand. His grip is loose.
“I’m—I’m sorry, about what I said back there,” he murmurs, averting his eyes. Their connected hands settle between them on the bed they’re sitting upon, in what she’s been told to be the captain’s quarters for this quadrant of the (mysteriously missing) Ecletor. Peter clears his throat. “You were right. You’re my family. You and the others. Not—not Ego. Never Ego.”
She doesn’t respond right away, taking a moment to breathe deeply again. It’s the most efficient way of calming the storm within, she’s found. “I’m sorry, too. Not only for what I said, but for…pushing you to come. This one’s on me.”
“It’s on me,” he says, insistent. “He was my—“
He cuts off abruptly, but she doesn’t need him to finish the statement.
“That doesn’t make everything automatically your fault,” she says, swallowing thickly when a particularly strong wave of anxiety passes through her. She squeezes his hand for extra reassurance, which he doesn’t comment on. “We cannot be held accountable for our parents’ actions.”
Though she knows he may not be able to emotionally accept that right now, when everything is so fresh, she’s decided she’s going to try her best to push it for as long as necessary. This experience isn’t going to leave the team anytime soon.
“Thanks,” Peter says, then sighs. “We should…talk about that argument.”
He’s just apologized for it, but Gamora can see why they should address it. They’ve mastered the art of bickering and yelling at each other in the few months they’ve spent together so far, yes, but it’s never quite gotten as out of hand as that, probably because of how much had been at stake.
“I did push you to go to Ego, yes,” she says quietly. “And even though I’d sensed something was off, I...was a little jealous.”
“Not of your powers,” she clarifies, “but of just…the possibility you would have a father who would love and welcome you.”
“That’s not a bad thing,” he says, meeting her eyes. “That’s normal for anyone who’s lost their parents.”
His frown deepens at his own words. She squeezes his hand again, this time more for his reassurance than hers. She sighs. “I was also jealous of what would happen if Ego turned out to be your real father and not evil. I was—I was nervous about what would happen to our family, the team. I didn’t want to lose it.”
She takes a stuttering breath.
“Thank you for telling me that,” he murmurs. “It means a lot to me.”
She smiles wryly. “You were right in that I was jealous, but not in what I was jealous of.”
“I’m still learning my way through planet Gamora,” he teases, bumping her shoulder with a small smile. She musters up the energy to return the expression. “It’s a complicated place. I think I might need a map. Or a tour guide.”
“Good luck,” she teases back. Her smile falls. “But I’m still sorry.”
He nods. “And I’m still sorry about everything I said, with the T.V. ratings and us and you being jealous, it—it was all really uncalled for and out of line. I really wanted Ego to be the real deal, too.”
“I’m sorry,” she repeats, because she knows what it’s like to have a father—adoptive or not—whose love is simply a dark desire for his children to do his bidding. “This isn’t a feeling I would wish upon anyone.”
“Yeah. It sucks,” he says, his voice catching at the end. He closes his glossy eyes. “And Yondu—“
He cuts himself off again, sniffling.
Yondu’s death is hitting him harder than she would have imagined, but given everything that’s happened over the last couple of days, it’s making more sense. Yondu wasn’t one to openly show affection, from what she’s gathered of Peter’s stories and her own run-ins with Yondu, but given everything that happened with Ego, Yondu’s suddenly become the pinnacle of fatherhood for them.
“I wish Yondu had told me everything sooner,” Peter mumbles, opening his eyes. He stares at the wall ahead of them. “Maybe this all could have been avoided then.”
“Maybe,” Gamora says. “Or we might have encountered Ego later on. The different scenarios are endless. It’s best not to dwell on the ‘what if’s.”
He nods. “Yeah.”
The silence threatens to return then, so Gamora racks her brain for something to hold it off. She’s coming up blank, because everything is just so messed up and weird right now and Peter’s hurting and it’s hurting her, too, a lot more than she’s comfortable admitting, and she just feels so powerless—
“I’m glad you didn’t die,” is what eventually spills out of her mouth without much thought. She presses her lips together, glancing up at him. “I thought…”
She trails off, but Peter turns to her, his small smile returning. “Yondu looked out for me ‘til the end. I’m glad you didn’t die, either.” His smile fades. “I saw you—and the others—being crushed by the light. I was…terrified. About what Ego would do with you and everyone.”
“He’s gone now,” she says softly, holding onto his hand a little more tightly. “We’re safe.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been more thankful for that,” he admits with something between a sob and a laugh.
“Neither have I,” she says.
Though there’s just as much uncertainty now as there had been at the start of their conversation, her hands have stopped trembling and her breathing has somewhat normalized. Peter’s calmed down as well, his expression lightening slightly.
(She decides to keep holding his hand, anyway.)
“We should go,” he says, though he makes no move to actually get up. “We need to get ready for, uh, the funeral.”
His voice catches on the word, but she understands. She remains seated with him, meeting his eyes steadily.
“We can go whenever you are ready,” she says.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready,” he whispers.
“That’s okay,” she says softly. “I’ll be beside you whenever you decide to go.”
He nods. “Thank you.”
“You don’t have to go through this alone,” she says.
This time, when the silence takes over, she embraces it. They’ve cleared the air between them and she’s established her desire to help him. The road ahead of them, and the team as a whole, is long and uphill, but she’s sure that as long as they stick together, they can do it.
(And somewhere along the way, perhaps when there’s a break in the grief and sorrow and loss, she’ll finally give him her response to what he’d described as their “unspoken thing.”)