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Warrior Knows Best

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Gamora, Zen-Whoberi ex-assassin warrior, known as the fiercest woman in the galaxy was proud of her strength. Though her past legacy, her life and time under Thanos’ reign was a scarred nightmare that disgusted her, her new life; contributing to saving the galaxy twice and the skills and strength she had developed over years of training were elements of her self she admired. She was a strong, combatant and a powerful individual.

So how did said placid and poised individual become easily frantic in certain situations?

The first of those situations happening to take place today.

“Peter, have you seen Groot?”

Her voice came out as a trembling gasp, a tone that she tried to blame on the fact that she just skidded through the doorway after running up the ladder and not on the slight rising panic in her throat. She does not panic. She is logical. Thoughtful. She is known as the one guardian who doesn’t freak out.
Only Rocket had been searching the ship all morning for the little sapling, swear-filled sentences under his breath as he looked under hidden compartments of the ship, a voice hard to miss by anyone who wasn’t dancing in the cockpit wearing Zune headphones. Gamora, of course, joined him in his search - it is not the first time Groot has wandered off, whether it be because he wants to play hide and seek or is merely attempting to conceal himself after stealing Peter’s Zune, this was not a time to lose their heads about said missing infant.
Except earlier this morning they had stopped on an abandoned planet, sent by the Nova in search of some ancient relic. And it was duly noted by every guardian how curious and mesmerised Groot was with the scenery of the planet - the landscape bared bright pink and green flowers, something in which Groot clearly found fascinating considering he’d dart for the fields as soon as Rocket turned the other way.
And now, the fact that she had not seen Groot since they left the planet, the fact that Peter hadn’t even noticed the turmoil beneath him due to the music blasting through his head - ultimately meaning that he had his Zune and Groot was not hiding somewhere with it, the fact that Rocket was tearing out his fur while Drax scanned the ship, attempting to lure out the little tree by shaking a bag of jelly beans and the fact that when she went to sharpen her knives she didn’t feel a little tug on her trousers or look down to see big brown eyes begging her a hug was all adding up to too much for her to logically try to comprehend, the thought of him stranded on that abandoned planet eating away at her.

“Peter?!”

Those d’ast headphones.

She went up behind him and ripped them out of his ears. Much to the Terran’s shock he whipped around almost lost his balance as he caught the hard glance from the green woman.

“Whatever it is I didn’t do it, it was Rock-“

“Has Groot been in here?” She cut his ramblings dead with her tone.

Has Groot... no I thought he was with-“

“Have you seen him?”

“What? No, he’s with Rocket, Gamora what’s wrong?”

She paused, biting her lip as she scanned the floor. Peter wrapped his headphones around the device, setting it to the side as he watched her face.

“We can’t find Groot. I haven’t seen him since we left-“

“What do you mean you can’t find him?”

“What do you think I mean, Peter?”

“He’s probably just playing that game again or something.”

“No, I’ve checked all the usual spaces.”

“Are you sure? You’ve checked everywhere?” Peter was getting notably more serious as he scratched his head, also now searching the floor.

“Of course I’m sure! I’ve looked around the whole ship he’s not there.”

“And nobody’s seen him since we left?” Peters eyes went wide, now also contributing to the stress-filled aura Mantis said she was sensing.
“What if we left him there? Oh shit, Rocket’s gonna lose it- we’ve gotta turn back! If he’s-“

“Rocket’s already lost it! If he curses one more time it’ll be a new record! I can’t believe we’ve been so foolish, we’ve only been looking after him for the past few months and we already-“

She was cut off as Peter rushed away and crashed into a crate on his way up to the controls preparing to turn the ship around, sending scraps of metal and tools flying all over the floor.

“Stop freaking out, Peter!”

“I’m not freaking out, you’re freaking out!”

Gamora opened her mouth to retort something else, when his words registered. Was she freaking out?
She wouldn’t freak out at this, she’s faced much more alarming situations. Though her raised voice, worried breaths and crowded mind said otherwise.

“Just turn the ship around before Rocket-“

“Dammit Quill!”

The raccoon scurried past Gamora’s legs and before she knew it he was in the the co-pilot seat, the familiar scene of him and Peter’s disputing again taking place.

“What do you mean ‘dammit Quill’?! How’s this my fault?!”

“I told you I didn’t wanna take that mission! I knew the whole thing would go to shit-“

You only didn’t wanna take this mission because you didn’t think the bounty was high enough!”

“No I didn’t want to take it because I knew you’d screw this up for me somehow!”

“Again, how is this my fault?!”

“Would you both shut up! None of this is helping-“

“The concept of luring him out with these multicoloured sugar-filled capsules is not working!”

Drax made his entrance into the cockpit with booming steps as well as a booming voice, holding up the bag of jellied sweets with disappointment before placing one in his mouth.

“Seriously?” Gamora hissed. “You see now as a good time to eat?”

Drax shrugged and held out the packet offering her one, her look was her answer.

“Hey don’t go sharing those around, those are mine!” Peter yelled from the front, gearing the ship down to enter the planet’s atmosphere.

“Can we just focus on one thing at a time?”

“Yeah Quill, just land the d’ast ship!”

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do without you all losing it in my ears!”

Gamora sighed. It was safe to say that everyone was freaking out. So even if she was, she wouldn’t be the only one.
Rocket confirmed the mood with a final shout, just as the thrusters were easing to land.

“If I don’t find him straight away on this dumb planet I’m killing every last one of you!”

 


 

 

That night, when the utter chaos had subsided and things were back to normal (well what is normal for them), Gamora sat on the sofa in the communal area, attempting to gather her thoughts after the events of the day.

Sure enough, when they had landed and went over to the nearest field of those pink and green flowers, Groot was sitting between them, picking out a bouquet. When Gamora shouted his name he innocently turned around offered them to her - something that would usually have made her heart melt if she wasn’t so damn stressed. The relief that filled her was ridiculous. A powerful, strange feeling that caused every muscle in her body to flood with solace and an extremely irritated but also exceedingly happy mixture of emotion to flash in her chest.

And now the same feeling, although slightly more subtle as she sat the little Flora Colossus on the arm of the sofa, instructing him to face her, which he did, though wearing a sulking expression as he looked up at her. Rocket had already sure as hell given him a lecture. One that was so firm and direct that even Drax looked intimidated. When the little tree started to tear up, clearly oblivious to what he had done wrong, Rocket eased, giving him a tight hug though making sure he would never ever run off like that again.
So really there was no need for Gamora to say anything else. Except she can’t shake this weird innate feeling to interject, to reassure him and reassure herself that he was alright and knew the consequences of his actions. She sighed as she looked down at him, those brown eyes mirroring her own.

“You had me really worried.”

The little sapling gave a small nod.

Worried? Is that really how she felt?

“You could have gotten hurt today, you know that Peter always tells you to stay on the ship when we’re on missions.”

Again a small nod.

“It’s really bad for you to be separated from us, you know that. We’re here to look after you, you always make sure one of us can see you when we’re outside.”

Groot’s eyes dropped to the floor, then back up to hers. She could see that he knows what he did was wrong and she didn’t like how down and disheartened the little tree looked.

“And do you want to know the worst part about you not being here?”

Groot looked up slowly, as though bracing himself for another bad thing he’d done.

“Drax ate your jelly beans.”

A cute little gasp escaping Groot as she finally gave him a smile.

“So are you ever going to run away from us again?”

A very enthusiastic shake of the head, one that nearly made him topple over.

“Good.” Gamora sat up straight, watching Groot copy her and do the same.
“Now, are we going to get Drax back for eating your candy?”

The cutest little smile, Groot jumping up with an enthusiastic “I am Groot!” as she scooped him up on her shoulder.

As they creeped through the ship to Drax’s room, collecting a few bits of equipment along the way, Gamora held her finger to her lips and faced Groot as they came up to his door.

The man was napping, his snores trembling the ship as he inhaled. Quietly, Gamora sent Groot up slowly onto Drax’s bed, trying to ensure he wouldn’t wake up as Groot stifled giggles, hovering over his face while he carefully did his work, almost falling off as Drax let out another ground shaking snore.

The next morning when everyone was gathered for breakfast, Drax as usual strolling in later than everyone else, Gamora watched Groot burst into giggles when he caught sight of his face. Rocket was not amused at first since he was trying to feed him his breakfast, but he too broke out into laughter when he saw Drax. Followed by Peter who did a double take, then Mantis who laughed because everyone else was laughing. And finally Gamora who allowed herself a little outburst of amusement.
It was safe to say that Drax stood more than perplexed in the door way, with a jet black moustache, thick dark eyebrows and wobbly glasses that Groot had etched all over his face with a marker. He frowned as he watched everyone laugh at him, demanding to “know the source of such irksome humour”.

Since Drax was not the type of person to ever look in the mirror, his appearance remained that way for the rest of the day. Every so often Gamora would make a silly face at Groot, pointing to Drax as he exploded into more giggles. Gamora, at times catching a grin on her face, realising the goofy childish nature that Groot brought out in her. A part of her that was stolen for years of her life, though now she got to relish in such a feeling, growing to learn that she deserves to feel this way and seeing Groot as a reminder that of all the years of torment and darkness she has seen, there are still pure and innocent aspects of life that, once found, must be protected and cherished by those fortunate enough to come in contact with them.

Chapter Text

The second of those certain situations that cause her to become easily concerned happened just a week after.

It was breakfast time on the Guardian ship. Gamora’s turn to cook, which is when everyone agreed the best breakfasts were. Although they were very careful to be tactful when telling Drax that his native planets’ historical ‘Baked Yarrow Root Surprise’ was slightly over done and then maybe not quite as tactful when telling Rocket that his fur was always in the omelettes, but they were always sure to tell Gamora that she could really cook. Much to her surprise considering it was obvious she didn’t learn any cooking tips from Thanos.

They all sat quietly as they ate, a remarkable event for them that only occurred due to their mouths being stuffed with food. Gamora was half unimpressed, half smiling as she told Peter to slow down. He clearly didn’t learn table manners from Yondu either.

“Fowwy, it’s jus really goow-“ He confessed through a full mouth.

He managed to chew and swallow through Gamora’s disgusted gaze, then he turned to Groot who was making his usual fuss at the breakfast table.

“Ugh- Groot just because you don’t want the fruit doesn’t mean you can throw it all over the place!” Peter sighed as he deflected another piece of food from hitting Drax’s face.

Groot was a fussy eater, something she blamed on Rocket who was also a fussy eater - and very vocal about it. Which is why she frowned as there was an alarming lack of mischief at the table, the plate she’d set out for him left untouched until Drax dragged it over and dug his fork  in.

Once everyone had finished and Peter offered to wash the dishes since she cooked, Gamora wandered through the ship in search of the raccoon and like she presumed, he was tucked away in his room.

“Rocket?” She knocked on the door. No reply.

Surprised that it wasn’t bolted shut she shoved open the door, having to push boxes and scattered tools out of its way as she entered. Rocket was sat at his work bench, head drooping at the table as he tried to tighten the last screw on whatever he was building, though clearly failing as he shook himself awake, looking up at her briefly before returning to find his next tool.

“What d’ya want greenie?”

Gamora walked further into the room, scanning the jumbled mess of scattered tools and scraps of metal at her feet.

“What are you doing?”

“What’s it look like I’m doing? I’m-” He yawned as he rubbed his eyes. “... building a new weapon.”

Gamora sighed, folding her arms.

“Did you stay up all night again?”

Rocket didn’t bother to look at her as he glared tiredly into a mug to his left.

“What's it to you?”

“This is the second night in a row.”

“Yeah and?” Rocket hopped off of his stool and landed lazily in the ground. He sluggishly weaved his way through the mess, heading for the door until Gamora stood in his way.

“Outta the way I need more of that coffee stuff Quill likes-“

“No, what you need is rest.” She bent down to get a closer look at him, though he weakly tried to push her out of the way again. 

During the quick glance she got, she noticed his tired eyes. She thought before her next words, knowing the raccoon’s nature and how he’d probably respond. But she didn’t care. I mean look at him, it’s ridiculous.

“Have you eaten anything? This wouldn’t be the first time you made yourself ill from staying up all night and not eating.”

“Pfft, what are you a nurse?”

“Don’t be difficult Rocket-“

“Look greenie, you’re not the boss of me, okay?! If I wanna stay in here away from you losers and build a bomb, guess what I’m gonna freakin do?”

Gamora sighed, ignoring the fact that he just said the word ‘bomb’ and unfolded her arms, placing them on her hips.

“Don’t make me do it, Rocket.”

“Do what? Hey wha- put me down! Ugh c’mon Gamora it was gonna be really hard-core! ... No, what I need is for you to lemme go! You’re gonna freakin pay for this I swear!”

 


 

When Gamora plonked Rocket down at the table and shoved a plate in front of his face, the profuse amount of swearing that came out of him seemed to cease when he caught sight of the food. Every so often he would catch himself stuffing his face to stop and give her a dirty look.

When he’d finished he pushed the plate away from him and got up, attempting to conceal how tired he was as Gamora came over to him.

“What are you my shadow now?”

“You’re going to bed now, right?”

“No, I’m not going to bed. I’m going to finish building my freakin- ack! Not again! Put me down! Oh for fu-“

Once Gamora had thrown the raccoon into his bed she gathered up his tools and have him a stern look as she exited the room.

Give me back my stuff or I swear I’m gonna-

He was cut off as she closed the door behind her, almost dropping the huge crate of Rocket’s tools, the smell of motor oil and singed metal attacking her nose. She placed it down in the hallway, then changed her mind and decided to put it up high on a shelf in case Groot decided to dive into it (again). She then made her way up to the cockpit to sit with Peter to try and relax for at least five minutes. She’d been on her feet all day and, though she doesn’t get easily fatigued, she did feel the strain of the week’s past few missions lingering in her bones.

Though when she arrived, the half Terran was out of his seat looking around the room frantically.

“What’s-“

“Oh my God Gamora have you seen my picture card thing?!”

“You’re what?”

“Y’know that thing the Nova gave us with my picture on it to get into places... oh God and I need it to buy alcohol! Remember?! When I had to take like 20 pictures because I couldn't keep a straight face and-“

“Yes, yes. I remember that day clearly.“

Gamora rolled her eyes. “Seriously? You lost it again?”

“I didn’t lose it.. I misplaced it.”

“Yeah, okay.” 

She watched the man suffer for a moment, throwing around the cushions on the sofa and looking through a stack of rubbish over to the side.

“Gamoraaa, help me find itttt.” He whined.

She rolled her eyes a final time and sighed, going over to the nearest side table and lifting up a single piece of folded paper. Sure enough, Peter’s I.D laid safely underneath it.

“Oh! Yes!” He darted over to it and hugged it like Mantis did when she got a hold of Rocket.

“How do you always manage to find everything? I looked everywhere.”

Gamora merely gave him a look as she turned away. He stopped her.

“Thanks Gamora, you’re the best.” 

He grabbed her hand and leaned in for a kiss. She swerved and pecked him lightly on the check before turning away.

“Love you!” He called after her to which she just swatted her hand in response.

So much for relaxing. Maybe she could get a drink in the kitchen? Try some of that coffee substance Peter encouraged her to try, though she refused it solely based on that mysterious smell. But when she walked into the kitchen Drax’s booming voice rattled her head and Mantis’ wide eyes were glaring up at her.

“Ah Gamora! Can you aid us in getting this peculiar breakfast-making contraption to work?”

Drax leant over the toaster and pulled out a fork.

It only took a millisecond for the situation to register and her reflexes reacted to the alarm going off in her head.

“Don’t do that.” Gamora said quickly, snatching the fork out of his hand before he had the chance of jamming it into the machine.

Drax frowned and stared at his hand for a moment, as though he could have sworn he was just holding a fork, Gamora’s action being so quick he hadn’t even noticed yet. Mantis gave him a disappointed look.

“See, Drax I told you to try and wash it before you use it.”

Gamora's eyes went wide as Drax nodded in agreement, she exhaled as she rubbed her temple.

“If I ever find either of you attempting to hand wash the electrics I’m going to-“ she cut her own sentence to just sigh. “Hasn’t Peter shown you how to use that thing yet?- and anyway Drax, we just ate breakfast, how can you be hungry?”

Drax leaned back against the counter and stroked at his bicep.

“A man with such spectacular muscular density and impressive strength needs a substantial amount of food to-“

But Gamora had already walked out of the kitchen during his ramblings, making it all the way down the hall before realising she had no drink and still hadn’t sat down in ages. 

The bedroom. Her bedroom. No one would be in there to pester her, she could get some quiet for at least five- no, two minutes.

But on her way to the utopia of peace and quiet, a loud and tremendous crash sounded through the ship. She darted to see what the hell Peter had done now only to find Rocket cursing as he tried come down from the haphazard ladder he’d built himself up towards the shelf. The crate of tools had sprawled out mess everywhere.

Gamora inhaled. Then exhaled. Inhale, exhale. Inhale sanity and reason, exhale the urge to decimate a sleepy raccoon.

“Rocket.” Her tone was forcefully calm. “What are you doing?” 

“Oh c’mon we both know what I’m doing. And by the way the fact that you actually thought some stupid door lock was gonna stop me from getting out here is actually just disappointing-“

“Rocket I swear to the stars, if you don’t get out of here and go to sleep before you pass out then I’m going to-“

“What? You gonna pick me up again and throw me into my room?! Just try it, you’re not gonna catch me off guard this time, I’m ready for ya!”

The raccoon bared his claws and held up his paws wobbly as he sleepily squared up with her. Gamora just stared at him and smiled... then gave out a sharp laugh on her exhale.

Rocket frowned slowly.

“Shit, you’re... you’re laughing? That’s not a good sign...”

He dropped his paws down sluggishly and sleepily rushed out of the room.

“You know what, maybe I am a bit tired, I guess I could hit the hay for a while, not even I’m crazy enough to mess with you when you’re smiling like this because I’m pretty that’s when you’re really about to lose your shit so I’m just going to go now and don’t think that I’m afraid of you because if I wanted to I could-“

His defensive ramblings continued down the hallway at her until she heard his door shut. Finally, he was actually speaking sense because she sure as hell wasn’t laughing from amusement, more at the fact that she was probably losing her mind and that he had already lost his for daring to challenge her. 

She glanced down at the mess of scrap metal and tools on the floor and kicked gently at a piece of it until the crate moved. She frowned - what the hell has Rocket got in there?

She bent down and scanned the jumble of silver and black until her eyes landed on two brown ones staring up at her. 

“Groot?! When did you get in there?”

The little tree jumped up and held out something that had way to many points for her liking. She took it from his small hands and scooped him up onto her shoulder.

“How many times? You can’t play in there because it’s...”

“I am Groot.”

“Exactly, it’s not safe. But also it’s not...”

“I am Groot!”

It translated to ‘not as fun as fun as playing with you’ which was not quite what she was going for but she let him off seeing how he just ridiculously melted her heart. She always wondered how words so cute could come out of a child raised by a combination of co-parents who generally were not known for their sweetness. 

She finally made it to her bedroom and paused at the door as she stared at her bed. The peace in the room was calling her - it’s exactly what she wanted. But she was all too aware of the little wooden hand holding onto her ear as she put her hand on the doorknob. 

Just five minutes... five minuets of taking part in futile juvenile activities for the sake of a little Flora Colossus’ amusement wouldn’t damage her reputation. Using multicoloured felt tips wouldn’t make her any less of a warrior... who’s to say that the fiercest woman in the galaxy doesn’t sketch in colouring books? ... maybe she does, occasionally. 

She took her hand off of the door knob and turned to Groot on her shoulder. Sure enough, he jumped in excitement and almost fell off of her shoulder when she asked if he wanted to play. They sat up in the communal room doodling, she had tried to gather all the pens and crayons they once bought for him, most of which had been lost. They would have bought pencils too but... knowing the material they’re made out of and how inquisitive Groot was, none of them wanted to get asked his question of where pencils come from.

She ended up with only two green crayons and a red felt tip, seeing how for some reason Drax had made it his mission to hide all of the black permanent markers. But it didn’t seem to matter anyway since Groot only wanted to draw her. He instructed her to stay really still as he attempted to sketch her hair, which ended up just being a scribble of red lines around a green circle. But the little (though deformed) Gamora had a smiley face and the real Gamora did too.

The five minutes had stretched into an hour and once Groot got bored he wondered away to bother Peter. With a quick glance around the room she folded the little paper up and placed it in her pocket. So what if a fierce ex-assassin had a wobbly portrait of herself drawn by an infant? No one had to know...

On her way (now definitely, for sure and with no interruptions) to her bedroom she took a moment to glance into Rocket’s room. He was half curled up into a ball, half sprawled across his bed and was in a deep sleep. It was always a blissful sight seeing how it was the one thing that would shut him up.

In her room she kicked of her boots and sat on the bed. Silence. Perfect, still silence. It was rare and it was nice. And this is exactly what she wanted. Just quiet... quiet and peaceful and on her own... And it was nice? Why is that a question, of course this is nice, it’s what she’s wanted all day. She sat back on the bed and rested her eyes. 10 seconds later they opened.

 

Or is it just boring?

 

Boring? Ugh she sounds like Peter... Speaking of Peter, he’s probably listening to music right now... maybe she could join him? 

No.

She laid down on the bed and took the opportunity she’s been waiting for to just be alone, Peter listened to the same music over and over, she wasn’t missing anything. She closed her eyes. 

 

They opened.

 

What if Drax went back for that toaster again? Only with his daggers this time? And Mantis might have washed it along with the dishes- 

Okay, now she’s just looking for things to get up for. She’s not bored. She is used the quiet, she’d spent years of her life alone in solitude...

Which is exactly why she hates it.

Gamora sat up and bit her lip. She has people to go out and talk to, she doesn’t need to sit alone. And they don’t have to know that she’s excited to spend time with them... and she tells herself that she’s not 'excited', she’s just... just-

Okay maybe she is excited.

She stands up and puts back on her boots, she has been on her feet all day; cooking, running after Groot, tossing Rocket around the place - so if she wants to relax she can just do it out there with them. She walks over to the door, opening it while taking a calm sigh of relief. 

Then almost stumbles backwards when she’s immediately faced with muscles and tattoos, wide eyes and antennas, a familiar smile and blonde hair as well as, of course, a little woodland creature on a shoulder waving a small hand.

She doesn’t even have time to ask what has happened, what could possibly be so important that they were all about to dare knock on her door to bother her before they all say:

 

“Gamora, what’s for lunch?”