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Emotional Support Raccoon

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“Alright, guys!” Peter said excitedly to the Guardians. “Who’s ready for our vacation to Lake Ozark in sunny, warm Missouri?” Peter excitedly cheered to the Guardians as they all got out of the taxi and got their suitcases out of the trunk.

Groot still sat inside the taxi van, still playing his video game.

“Groot, buddy?” Peter stuck his head in to see what Groot was doing. The teenager looked up from his video game. “You ready to go? We’re here.”

“I am Groot?” The teen asked as he got out of the taxi.

“No, we’re not in Missouri yet, buddy. We just got to the airport.” Peter said as they walked into the airport. “We have a 10 hour flight, remember?” Groot moaned in disgust.

“Hey, you better change that attitude of yours right now, mister!” Rocket snapped at Groot. “Or your video game is going away.” He then turned to Peter. “You got the tickets, Quill?”

“Yeah... let me double check... that I...” Peter fumbled around with his wallet, only to find the tickets were missing. “Uh oh...”

“Lemme guess, you forgot the tickets...” Rocket rolled his eyes. “God damn it, Quill!”

“No, I did not!” Peter lied. “Plus, I thought that you didn’t want to go since you thought ‘Missouri was the most boring place on Terra!’ Now all of a sudden you want to go?”

Rocket thought about it for a moment. “Yeah, cause I figure, we’re gonna be near a lake and since I can’t swim, I might as well drown myself so that I don’t have to put up with your bullshit anymore!”

“Peter, just admit that you lost the plane tickets...” Gamora was also starting to get annoyed.

“Oh, FINE!” Peter snapped. “I lost the tickets for the plane. Are you guys happy now?” He admitted as everyone nodded.

“Why don’t you just go to the ticket counter and tell them that you lost the tickets and maybe they’ll replace them?” Nebula suggested.

“I am Groot.” Groot mumbled.

“We are NOT going all the way to Tokyo!” Peter stated. “Groot, that’s in another country, that would even be more money than the tickets we had.” Groot pouted as they began to walk up to the ticket counter.

“What about Texas, Quill?” Drax suggested. “That looks like a fun place to go, and it’s right next to Missouri.”

“No, it’s not, Drax.” Peter recalled his last geography lesson before he left Earth. “You have to go through Oklahoma to get to Texas.” He then checked the time, it was getting close to departure time. “Let’s get this ticket situation figured out before we miss the plane.”

The Guardians waited for what amounted to an eternity of waiting in the never-ending line, but in reality, was no more than 5 minutes. As soon as a ticket agent was available when they were at the front of the line, they went to her.

“Hi, there. How may I help you today?” The ticket agent, Angela, greeted them as they approached her station.

“Hi, I’m hoping that you can help us out.” Peter began. “We have a reservation on one of the flights today and I was kinda hoping for a ticket upgrade to fir-.” Gamora then poked him in his side.

“Peter, tell her the truth.” Gamora insisted.

“Oh, alright...” Peter took a deep breath. “We lost our tickets and can’t find them, so we were hoping that there was someway that you could print us new ones so that we can make our flight.”

“What name is the reservation under?” Angela asked as she began typing.

“Quill, Peter J.” Peter answered.

“And what’s the flight number and the destination?” Angela inquired, not looking up from her computer.

“Flight 3758 to St. Louis.” Peter answered.

“Alright, Mr. Quill, I’m sure that you know that there is an additional charge for reprinting the tickets in addition to the original cost of you and everyone else’s tickets.” Angela informed him. “Cash only.”

“Yes, I’m aware.” Peter said as he got out his wallet in preparation. “How much is it.”

“$2,563.89 for everyone in the party.” Angela read from the register.

“Wha-?” Peter’s jaw dropped at the price. “We bought a child’s ticket. Did you charge Groot for an adult ticket instead of a child’s ticket?”

“I am Groot!” Groot was offended.

“Groot, Groot.” Peter held the teenaged Flora Colossus’ hands as he spoke. “I know that you’re a teenager, but on earth they consider you a child based on how many years you’ve been alive.” This didn’t lessen Groot’s anger. “I know, it sucks, but just grin and bear it.” He then turned back to Angela. “Just a moment.”

Peter searched his wallet for the money. He found some, but unfortunately, it was not enough for all of them.

He looked at Groot’s upset face. Groot didn’t want to really be here and would’ve rather stayed home than to go on a vacation that would never happen. Peter then got an idea.

“I’m sorry, Groot.” Peter apologizes to the teen as he placed his hand on the tree’s shoulder. He then turned to Angela. “We were supposed to go to Disney World for Groot’s special trip. You see, Groot has a rare skin condition that makes it appear like bark and very delicate. It’s uncomfortable for him and it requires a lot of upkeep with the special lotions that he needs three times a day, a litany of medications, as well as getting physical, psychological, and speech therapy every day. He also has to go for skin scrapings, scans, and various other procedures every other week.”

Angela gave Groot a compassionate smile. “He is so brave.” She commended Groot.

Peter smiles at Groot, who was confused now. “He is. When we found out what he had after he was born, we were devastated, as he wasn’t expected to live more than a few hours, but Groot’s beaten the odds and we’ve celebrated every milestone that he’s reached.”

“I am Groot.” He was getting tired of Peter’s elaborate lie.

“I know, buddy.” Peter patted Groot on the back. “He only started talking a few days ago. He can only say those three words, but his speech therapist is so proud of him.”

“I AM Groot.” Groot was trying to get Peter to shut up.

“Alright, buddy, I know that you’re getting tired.” Peter then made Groot hold Gamora’s hands as he fetched an airport-issued basic manual wheelchair for the teen to sit in. He then gently makes Groot sit down before he buckles the teenager in. “Because of his skin being as stiff as it is, he can’t stand or walk for extended periods of time and needs to sit down. But the daily massage therapy that his therapists do with him is slowly increasing his mobility.”

Rocket, too, was getting annoyed at Peter’s little white lie and growled in response. Groot gave Rocket a look that told him that Peter should shut up.

“Oh, yeah, Groot, I’m sorry.” Peter said as he picked up Rocket, placed a muzzle over his mouth before he handed the angry raccoon for Groot to hold. “Groot also has an Emotional Support Animal to comfort him when he’s in pain. His mental health professional perscribed it to him because of the therapeutic effects that it would have on Groot. I mean, look at him, he’s starting to talk, he is less afraid to go to his various appointments and therapies, and he is more comfortable around new people and situations.”

“Sir, I’m afraid that-.” Angela was interrupted by Peter.

“That what? That my son isn’t allowed to have the one thing that gives him comfort, confidence, and security in his daily life?” Peter interjected. “This trip was supposed to be the last hurrah for Groot before he has to go for an experimental procedure that could enhance his quality of life and if we miss this flight, he won’t know of anything but unending pain that his condition brought upon him. He just wants to be a kid and do the normal childhood things and if-.”

“Alright!” Angela was fed up with Peter’s pompous attitude. “I’ll hand over the form for your son’s emotional support animal. But when the pilot won’t let your son board with his pet, I assume no responsibility. Especially when it’s airline policy to notify us of any service animals at least 48 hours in advance and since we don’t allow any kind of rodents on board.” She then printed out the form. “Now what is the name of your son’s emotional support animal?”

“Rocket.” Peter informed her. “And he self identifies as a rabbit.”

Angela said nothing as she completed the form and printed it out before she stapled it and handed it over to Peter. They then left the ticket counter to make their way over to security.

“You are sooooo dead, Quill.” Rocket snarled to Peter through his muzzle as the humie pushed the raccoon and Groot through the airport.