“Damn,” Peter breathes, as they step off the Milano and into near-blizzard conditions.
Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration, actually. It’s not, like, total white-out or anything, but it is snowing pretty heavily in big, wet flakes that catch the wind and float around like icy white moths.
“This place is practically Hoth,” he continues, when nobody else has shared his sentiments. He wraps his scarf up around his neck, for once, and sticks his fingers into his pockets, even though he’s actually wearing real gloves today.
“The name of the planet is Slov 88,” says Drax, a few paces ahead. He’s shirtless, as usual, and apparently impervious to the cold.
Rocket, for his part, is batting angrily at the flakes as though that might stop them from falling and getting stuck to his fur.
“I know that,” Peter gripes. “But Hoth is the ice planet from Star Wars, and, you know, snow.”
“That snow is a myth,” says Drax. “This is real.”
Peter sighs, opens his mouth to argue, and is stopped by Gamora’s hand on his arm.
“You know it’s not worth it,” she says quietly, coming to walk beside him, keeping pace easily despite his longer stride.
Probably that has something to do with the fact that Peter’s having trouble walking in the snow, his boots sinking in deeply. They’re here to meet with a contact for a job, but the planet’s terrain means that the nearest suitable landing site for the Milano is a good two miles away from the agreed upon rendezvous point. Which means a lovely hike through the snow. Come to think of it, they probably ought to charge extra for this.
“I am Groot!” yells Groot, shattering Peter’s thoughts as he jumps abruptly from Rocket’s shoulder, light enough that he doesn’t even leave footprints as he lands.
“Hey!” says Rocket, apparently just as surprised. “What the hell are you--”
“I am Groot!” he growls, and snakes a vine out angrily, catching a particularly large flake. He pulls it back in, as though he intends to examine the thing, but it crumbles immediately in the force of his grasp. He pauses in confusion for a moment, then tries again, with the same result.
“Hey, bud,” Peter begins, but Groot isn’t listening.
Yelling at the top of his lungs, he stretches vines from both hands and runs into a flurry of flakes that are caught up on a current of wind, catching one in each hand, then pausing again when they disappear, looking as though he might cry.
“Buddy,” says Peter, bending down, though that means putting one knee in the snow. He grimaces a bit at the cold. “It’s just snow. You can’t fight it, because it’s not alive.”
Groot looks up at him, sniffling. “I am Groot?”
“It’s water,” says Peter. “Just--just frozen. You know, like the stuff that we put in our drinks? And like rain, and like that one time you went swimming in the fountain on Xandar, only colder.”
Groot says nothing, but looks decidedly disappointed.
“Hey,” says Peter, touching his cheek lightly, then getting an idea. “You can’t fight the snow, but you can use it to fight other people. For play, of course, not to actually hurt them. Like that time we had that fight with the water.”
“Peter,” Gamora says warningly, but he just shrugs, his decision already made.
“Look,” he tells Groot, gathering up a handful of snow and packing it into a familiar ball. “This is a snowball. Want to make one like mine?”
Groot looks somewhat skeptical, but follows the instructions, making a much smaller, but still compact, snowball.
“Great,” says Peter. “Exactly like that. And then you just throw it at somebody.” He considers for a moment, drawing out the suspense. Then he looks up at Gamora, grinning slowly.
“Peter….” she repeats, glaring.
“Yeah, yeah, you’ll kill me,” he says lightly. He shrugs again, then throws the snowball at her anyway. It hits her in the chest, breaking against the leather of her jacket.
Before she has a chance to respond, Groot squeals delightedly and hurls his own snowball at her. Because of his diminutive stature, it only flies a couple of feet, hitting her in the shin. She shakes her head at Peter, looking a mix of amused and exasperated.
“I am Groot!” says Groot, gathering up more snow, this time using his vines to make a bigger ball, one that’s actually a bit alarming in size.
“Um,” says Peter, scratching the back of his head and getting his hair wet in the process. “Buddy, what are you--”
“I am Groot!” Groot yells, ignoring Peter and running off toward where Rocket and Drax are waiting a few yards away.
“You’re gonna regret this, you know,” says Gamora, as Peter watches Groot snowball Rocket in the face.
“Teaching him?” asks Peter, and is about to agree.
“No,” Gamora answers sweetly. “This.”
He looks up just in time to get his own shower of snow.