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Life among Space Pirates

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Exhausting combat training here, weapon training there and if you didn’t do it right, you were yelled at directly.

And then the punishments, if you did something wrong...

Peter had imagined life among space pirates a little differently.

Gritting his teeth, he knelt there on the floor in the middle of a huge room that was supposed to serve as some sort of kitchen and where the crew members of the Eclector gathered, when they wanted to eat something that Peter still had nightmares about. But if he thought the crew was weird, the food was even weirder...if you could even call it food in the first place...

He quickly banished these thoughts and instead he tried to focus on his work, which consisted of scrubbing the floor. A really humiliating job, especially considering that Peter didn’t do anything wrong to deserve this punishment, that had been imposed on him here. It had all started with a small provocation from one of the crewmembers and the provocation had become a fierce quarrel that Peter had lost in the end. He hated being labeled as a coward and so he had wanted to prove that he was not scared of the Ravager, who had mocked him so meanly, but his plan had backfired on him, because he hadn't had the slightest chance to defend himself and he had been lucky that Yondu had come through the door in this very moment. Peter didn't even want to think of what would have happened, if Yondu hadn't entered the room just in time...

Yondu had been able to settle the dispute quickly...in his own way of course. A targeted blow against the jawbone of the Ravager had been sufficient to settle the quarrel. And then he had turned to Peter and the boy still shuddered when he remembered the piercing and ice cold gaze the Centaurian had given him. Shamefully, he had turned his face away from the captain and his cheeks had almost caught fire, as the rest of the Ravagers, who had been standing around him at the time, had started to laugh at him. He had felt tears rising in his eyes, but he had managed to hold them back. Had he also started to cry like a little baby in front of them...they would have mocked him for the rest of his life and he didn't want to look even weaker than he already was.

In the end, Yondu had led him out of the common room, telling him to be more cautious in the future and simply swallowing the provocations and not responding to them, before he had led him into the kitchen and given him this humiliating task.

And here he was now, scrubbing the floor for what felt like an eternity by now.

Fortunately, he was all alone here, because it would have been unthinkable if there were others in the room that would have made fun of him again. But Yondu had apparently locked the door and made sure that Peter was undisturbed and at the same time didn't walk alone through the huge spaceship and started the next trouble.

Anyway, Peter didn't understand why Yondu had taken him from earth, when he was just annoyed with him. At least he thought that...

A soft sigh escaped his throat and for a moment he put down the rag that had been given to him and he sat down on one of the metal chairs that stood in the big room. He was done with his work anyway and would just wait for Kraglin or Yondu to come and get him out of here.

As he sat there, enjoying the silence around him, his thoughts went back to his beloved mother and again he felt hot tears rising in his eyes. He missed his mother about everything and when he thought about it, he never had the time to mourn her. After she had died, Yondu had taken him from earth and since then he had never really had time to think about what had happened on earth. But now, that he was sitting here, lonely and alone, the grief rose in him and it rolled over him like an all-consuming tidal wave and he couldn't manage to hold back his tears any longer. There was no one here who could have seen him cry anyways and so he let out all his pain, all his grief and all his anger.

Within seconds, the tears rolled down his cheeks, which he had held back for so long and his sobs broke the silence around him, but he didn't care. He just wanted to go home, wished he could turn back the time, wished he could throw himself back into his mother's arms, the way he always used to, when he was scared, or when he had felt bad. But she was not there anymore. She was gone and she would never come back and this thought made more tears flow and it felt like his heart would be torn into little pieces. The boy buried his face in his hands and sobbed into them.

He felt as lonely as he had never felt it before in his life.

He had no home, no more family and no friends.

He was all alone in this cruel galaxy...

 

While Peter was giving in more and more to his grief, he didn't know at the time that he had been under surveillance for some time, because there were cameras all over the Eclector, with the exception of the room where the Captain himself slept, to keep an eye on the crew.

Yondu sat silently in front of the many screens and his red eyes were focused on the screen that showed Peter. There was no emotion to be seen on his face, as he looked with an almost blank look at the boy, who had buried his face in his hands and sobbed heartbreakingly. At least, it looked like there was no emotion to be seen on Yondu's face, but if you looked more closely, you could see his expression change. Where severity was usual visible, his features softened and a look appeared in his eyes that was otherwise not there. As if he felt sorry for the boy. As he saw Peter sitting there in that moment, weeping and desperate and scared, a feeling spread through Yondu's body that he had never felt before: compassion.

Yes, he felt sorry for the boy and he should be damned, would he deny that there was not something about the little Terran which he liked. The kids, which he had previously picked up and which he had brought to Ego had been so different from Peter and he had never built a bond with them, because he had never spend much time with them. He'd just done his job, until the day he found out what Ego did to his children. By this time, Peter had been the only living descendant of the Celestial, but Yondu had vowed to never deliver him to a monster like Ego was, because he knew the cruel fate that would await Peter then.

The boy didn't know the real reason why Yondu had taken him from earth and he wouldn't tell him, fearing that Peter would tell anyone else about it and he didn't want to think about what would happen if his crew got wind of it too. No. He would keep this secret to himself, so he continued to act as if Peter didn't mean much to him. At least that's what he was trying to do, but often he'd caught himself spending a little too much time with the Terran and enjoying that time a bit too much...

Even though he tried to deny it so much, Peter had grown dear to him in all the time he lived on the Eclector. Of course, he was strict with him whenever the other Ravagers were present, for he had a reputation to lose and was not allowed to show weakness, but there were times when he dropped the masquerade for a few moments. In those moments, the dreaded, brutal space pirate became a veritable softie. A thought, that made the corners of his lips twitch dangerously upwards. So far, only Kraglin knew that he liked Peter more than he wanted to admit it and often the first mate teased him about it whenever he was alone with him. Fortunately that didn't happen too often. Kraglin was going pretty far with his teasing these days. Maybe he should also teach him a little lesson?

If he thought about it, he exterior of the ship could use a good cleaning and he knew that he had a few space suits lying around here, so this wouldn't be a problem to let Kraglin clean the ship, while they were in space...

A wide grin spread over his face, but soon it disappeared again, when his eyes went back to Peter, who was still sitting all alone in the caboose and crying his eyes out of his head. And Yondu couldn't take this sight any longer, so he decided to do something about it.

He got up and left the room with the surveillance monitors and made his way to the caboose, to pay the boy a little visit...

Chapter Text

Slowly his feet moved over the metal floor.

A light flickered in front of him, making the corridor look even more sinister. But Yondu was not scared. He had already given away such feelings a long, long time ago. Or at least he thought so, but deep inside he knew he was just repressing all his feelings. You couldn't shake feelings off...unless you were a robot...or a cyborg...then maybe it would be possible to get rid of any feelings.

He shook his head to banish those thoughts and he quickened his pace a little.

On his way, he met no one, which was perhaps better for him, because no one had to see it, how he paid Peter a small visit. It would only set off the rumor mill anyway and he wanted to avoid that at all costs, so he made sure that no one else was present and could watch him, before he pressed the button that led into the caboose and only seconds later the heavy metal door closed behind him.

 

As Yondu entered the dimly lit room, he found Peter sitting at one of the tables, his face buried in his arms, which he had folded onto the table and a soft sob cut the silence. The cleaning utensils, which he had previously given him, lay carelessly beside him on the floor and a sigh poured over the Captain's lips.

But he had to admit, as he looked around briefly: The caboose had never been so clean before...

He had almost grinned at this thought, but he kept himself from doing so and slowly he approached Peter and the boy flinched, when Yondu gently put his hand onto his shoulder and when he looked up, it felt like a sword blade cutting through Yondu's heart. The boy's eyes were red and tears rolled down his flushed cheeks and he desperately tried to suppress his sobs, but failed at that.

The Centaurian wanted to say something, but no word left his lips. He just stared at the Terran and the boy stared back at him, crying, until he couldn't stand his gaze anymore and he turned his face away from him.

"What do you want? Did you come here to make fun of me? Or to punish me even more? I scrubbed your stupid floors! What else do you want from me?"

The boy's voice trembled, clearly showing Yondu how much he tried to regain control over his feelings and not to show his "weakness" in front of him, but he didn't succeed. And how should he do this? The little one was not even ten Terran years old. He was still a small child, not a warrior who managed to hide his feelings. And if Yondu was honest, he didn't want Peter to be like him...or any of the other Ravagers. Everyone on this ship had their own terrible story to tell and each of them had learned to hide his true feelings from prying eyes. Everyone did this in their own way. Some wrapped themselves in silence, others put on a hard facade and others hid their feelings behind anger and violence. And Yondu wanted to prevent that Peter would turn into such a monster too.

He was still a kid and he was supposed to behave like one!

Therefore, the Centaurian decided to take the boy to his quarters, because they urgently needed to talk privately. Whether the boy liked it or not. He didn't care. Therefore, he grabbed the shoulder of the little Terran and turned him gently, but still determined around on his chair, so that he had to look at him, but Peter continued to turn his face away from him, which made Yondu growl softly and he grabbed his chin with his free hand and forced his head back.

"What's wrong with ya? Why are ya crying?" he asked, his voice sounding stern and almost cold. Something he didn't intend to do, but it was all so new to him and it was hard for him not to let the brutal space pirate hang out when he was alone with Peter. He immediately regretted his keen tone, as he saw Peter flinching from his harsh words and how more tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Leave me alone!" the boy growled and he tried to free his face from his grip, but he couldn't and so he just closed his eyes defiantly.

Yondu took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves down.

Had he been told how difficult that would be...

No, he would have kept Peter with him despite everything.

He just had to get used to it and he had to give himself time.

He let go of his face and Peter thought he had won, but the moment he opened his eyes, he saw Yondu reaching out to him and a startled outcry broke out of his throat, as the Ravager just grabbed him under his arms, picked him up and then threw him over his shoulder.

"Hey! What the hell are you doing? Let me go! Immediately!!" he hissed, pounding his fists against Yondu's back again and again, but the pirate wasn't bothered by that in the slightest.

"If ya want to hurt me, ya have to come up with something better, kid," he said and Peter thought he could hear the hint of a small grin in his voice, which only fueled the fire of rage in his belly, but he could squirm and beat him as often as he wanted to.

Yondu didn't let go of him.

They stepped through the door and out into the dark corridor and Yondu headed towards his quarters. On the way they met some crewmembers, who looked after them, chuckling evilly. Apparently, they thought that Yondu was bringing the kid to his quarters to give him a proper beating. Spiteful bastards!

Still, Yondu couldn't deny that he was feeling slight remorse, because he was not entirely innocent and he didn't like remembering the first combat training sessions. He'd beaten Peter up pretty hard at the time, leaving many bruises and wounds on his small body, because he had fought with him, as he had done it when he had to fight in the Kree's battle arenas so many years ago. But even that was in the past now and the combat training wasn't as hard as before. Still, it was still too hard for Peter, because he could barely fight back or block his attacks, no matter how much Yondu tried to teach him. The boy didn't want to fight, but he had to. The galaxy was cold and merciless and if you couldn't fight, you would die in the stars. Yondu would train with him until Peter could defend himself; whether he wanted it or not!

But today he wouldn't be thinking of something like that.

No, today the Ravager just wanted to know what was wrong with him, even if he could already imagine the reason for Peter's grief.

When they arrived at the captain's quarters and stepped inside, Yondu locked the door behind him, so no one could come in and interrupt them and he just threw Peter onto his bed. Then he grabbed a chair, turned it over and sat down on it, resting his arms on the back of the chair. Silently, he looked at Peter, as he sat up and coldly returned his gaze.

"Ya can be mad at me, boy. Ya can also keep trying to kill me with yer looks. Ya ain’t be able to do that anyway and we ain’t leaving this room until ya finally tell me what's wrong with ya, because this ain’t the first time I've seen ya crying. So, spit it out: what's wrong with ya?"

The boy sniffled and wiped some tears from his face, before glaring at Yondu again.

"What does it matter to you how I feel?"

"It matters a lot to me, or would I have asked ya otherwise? And now tell me!"

"No!"

"Peter!"

Oh, oh!

How long had it been since Yondu had called him by his full name? It was a very, very long time ago and Peter knew that the Centaurian wouldn't accept another "no!" Still...he didn't want to tell him what was going on. It didn't interest him anyway...right?

"It's nothing...really...I'm fine..." he murmured, not daring to look at the Ravager.

"You're lying," was Yondu's answer and his red eyes continued to fix the boy and he could see how uncomfortable the whole situation was for him, but he didn't care. If he wanted to help him, the little Terran had to tell him what was wrong with him. And maybe, just maybe, he could really help him then.

"So what? Even if it were so...you can't help me!" Peter growled and finally he looked at him. But instead of looking into an angry face, he saw how Yondu's features even relaxed and a strange look appeared in his eyes.

Almost as if he felt sorry for him...

"If ya don't tell me what's wrong with ya, how do ya know I can't help ya? Ya won't even let me try it."

His voice was soft and almost gentle and even the grim look on Peter's own face faded and gave way to surprise. Since when was Yondu so meek towards him?

Well, that didn't matter.

It probably meant nothing either way.

Still...his words didn't go pass him and Peter really thought about opening his mouth and finally telling him the reason why he cried. There had been something in Yondu's voice that told him that the Centaurian had experienced a lot of bad stuff himself and that he knew how he felt in this moment. Peter still shuddered when he looked at the long scars on his face and who knew if those were the only scars on his body?

He had often wondered where Yondu had gotten these scars from, but he hadn't had the courage to ask him where he got them from.

Maybe this was the perfect opportunity now?

He was silent for a while, seemed to be thinking and Yondu was watching him all the time. No emotion went through his body. He just sat there, his head resting on his arms, patiently waiting for Peter to finally open his mouth and talk about the things that were bothering him.

And in fact he finally started talking, but it weren’t the words Yondu had wanted to hear from him.

"Fine. I'll tell you everything, but I have a few conditions."

The kid had conditions for him, the Captain himself?

What a brave little one...

Yondu almost grinned, but he kept himself from doing so.

"What conditions, kid?"

Peter sat up, craning his chest forward, trying to look braver and more determined, but he looked rather miserable in the Ravager's eyes, but he was careful not to say those words out loud.

"First, you don't tell anyone about it!"

Just how he emphasized these words...almost as if he was one of them. Interesting…

"I ain’t saying anything, kid. Why should I?"

"Because maybe you'll be happy about it if the others make fun of me?"

Yondu grimaced.

"When have I ever done such a thing?"

The boy opened his mouth, wanted to answer something, but he quickly closed it again, because he couldn't think of an answer.

"Actually never..." he murmured and his cheeks turned slightly pink. He quickly cleared his throat, trying to get rid of the blush on his face, before looking Yondu straight in the eyes.

"What is yer second condition, boy?"

Now or never…

"When I tell you about my problems, I want you to tell me where you got those weird looking scars from."

The Centaurian raised an eyebrow as he heard these words and he thought about it for a moment, then just shrugged his shoulders and nodded, when he replied with a simple "okay," which threw Peter so off track, that he didn't know what he should say now.

And that was the moment when Yondu couldn't hold back his grin anymore.

"That's not funny!" the boy said, but the blue man only grinned wider.

"I think the look on yer face is pretty funny."

Shortly afterward, Yondu got up from his chair and put it back at the table, before moving toward his bed and sitting down next to Peter. The grin had disappeared from his face as quickly as it had come and had given way to a serious expression.

"And now tell me why you are so sad, boy," he said and Peter knew that he now had to tell him; whether he wanted it or not.

What had he just got himself into?

He hated to talk about his past, but maybe Yondu was right and he could really help him?

And maybe it was good to talk to somebody about what happened on earth?

There was only one way to find that out and he had to open his mouth now and find the courage to utter the words that had been tormenting him for so long.

And besides: What kind of a miserable pirate he would be, if he didn't even have the courage to talk about his past?

He took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves down, before turning his head, looking Yondu straight in the eye and opening his mouth.

And then he told him everything...

Chapter Text

Yondu listened to the human child silently and attentively.

No emotion left his body and even in his face you couldn't tell what feelings he currently felt.

Peter had his head turned away from him at some point, as tears had gathered in his eyes again, which now mercilessly rolled down his cheeks and no matter how much he tried to keep himself from crying, he just couldn't do it.

Every word he spoke hurt like a thousands of knifes that were stuck into his heart and he often stuttered, as he had to sob so much that he could hardly speak anymore. Especially when he told Yondu how he had stood by the bedside of his terminally ill mother and how she had reached her hand out to him and how he hadn't grabbed it. Even his head he had turned away from her, when she had died and that seemed to be the worst for him, because the boy made himself great reproaches. When he told him all of this, he could see the scene in his mind's eye, witnessing the death of his mother again and it was as if his heart was brutally torn from his chest.

He also told Yondu that he was still suffering from terrible nightmares when he slept and that he hardly got any sleep because of that.

It was as difficult for him to admit this as to talk about the death of his beloved mother, because he didn't want to look weak. Certainly not in front of the watchful eyes of his Captain. But he couldn't hold back the tears, couldn't stifle his sobs, no matter how hard he tried. And he didn't dare to turn his head to Yondu. Not even when he ended telling him his story. He was ashamed of his tears...ashamed of his weakness...

 

The two sat there for a long time in silence after Peter had stopped talking and nobody seemed to find the right words. Peter didn't want to say anything anymore and Yondu? He didn't really know what to say, because it was completely new territory for him. He had never consoled anyone before and didn't really know how to do that, or what he should say in this situation. He thought about it for a long time, and when he had found a few words, he didn't look at the boy, but kept his eyes straight ahead and it was as if he was caught in his own thoughts.

"It's terrible what happened to ya, there's no doubt about that, but let me tell ya one thing, Peter: Ya can be glad to have had a mother who loved ya so much. This is worth more than all the riches the galaxy has to offer..."

The last words came as a whisper over his lips and melancholy clouded his eyes. He heard the Terran snivel beside him and saw out of the corner of his eye how he wiped the tears out of his eyes, before looking at him.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked.

"Not all of us can claim to have had loving parents..."

And there was something in Yondu's voice that made Peter shudder.

That one, little sentence, said so much about him, that it was almost scary, and it was at that moment when Peter could look behind the otherwise so hard facade of the space pirate for a few seconds. Here, at that moment, he saw a completely different Yondu. A Yondu, who seemed to have lost everything he had ever loved and this experience seemed to have made him to what he was today. There was no doubt about that…

But as soon as the moment had come, it faded again so quickly and soon the hard facade had been rebuilt, as the Centaurian turned his head and looked at him.

"Well, since you've kept yer word, I'll keep mine, too. Ya wanted to know where I got those scars from, right?"

Peter nodded silently and still looked at him with wide eyes.

"I'll tell ya everything, kid. But that might take a while, so make yourself comfortable..."

And he also stood by his word and told the boy everything and he didn't omit even the smallest detail. He told him about his parents and how they had sold him into slavery, when he had been a small child himself. He told him about his time as a battle slave and how he had to fight in the arenas of the Kree. He told him how he had received all these horrible scars on his body and how he had become more and more cold and stoic over the years. He also told him about Stakar and how he had freed him from slavery and made him a Ravager...and how he had later banished him for breaking the Ravager Codex...and with the Codex, all their hearts...

Then he told him the story of how he had met Kraglin and the rest of his crew and how he eventually became the Captain of the Eclector. Of course he didn't tell him about the thing with Ego and his children and why Stakar exiled him...

When he had finished, it was so quiet in the captain's quarters that Peter heard his own heartbeat in his ears. He could hardly believe what Yondu had gone through and yes, now he could understand why he was so cold-hearted. Who wouldn't be like that if he had gone through something like this?

Peter remembered his own time when he was a little kid.

He remembered his schooldays and how he had been bullied there by some of his classmates and how they had taunted him with his sick mother. When he thought about it, he had never really had any real friends. Those who called themselves his friends had also stabbed him in the back or had simply abandoned him, when he had needed them in his darkest hour. This thought brought tears to his eyes again and it didn't get any better when he thought about Yondu's words from earlier.

The Centaurian looked at him questioningly, when he saw thick tears running down his cheeks again and before he even got the chance to ask Peter what was wrong with him, the boy threw himself into his arms and clawed at his coat, as he pressed his face into his chest and sobbed heartbreakingly into it.

This reaction surprised Yondu so much that he flinched and his eyes widened. He had never experienced anything like this and he was completely overwhelmed with this reaction and didn't know how to react or what to do.

Should he just push the boy away from him?

Or should he just leave him alone?

No, he couldn't do one or the other, but what exactly was he about to do?

Damn it! He just wasn't made for this emotional stuff!

Nevertheless, he eventually put a hand on Peter's back and stroked his fingers reassuring up and down. The fingers of his other hand gently stroked through his short hair and this gesture seemed to help for real. But Peter's reaction was not what he had hoped for, because instead of calming down, the boy pressed himself even more against him and clawed even stronger at his coat and sobbed loud and heartbreakingly into his chest. But no word left his lips.

"Shhh, everything will be fine, kid. You'll see..." Yondu whispered softly, hoping it would calm the Terran down a bit and in fact it seemed to work. Peter's body relaxed a bit and his grip around his coat loosened a bit as well. Still, he was still clinging to him, seeking support and comfort at the same time and Yondu tried to give him this as best as he could.

For how long they sat there in the end, none of them knew.

But eventually Peter had fallen asleep in his arms, because his sobs had stopped and also the tears had dried up and Yondu dared to loosen his small fingers from his coat and push him a little away from him. He was always careful not to wake him up in the process.

He quarreled briefly, struggling with his ego and pride, but in the end he just decided to forget his stupid pride for a few hours and cautiously he took Peter in his arms and stood up, just to put the boy into his generous bed a few seconds later. When he wanted to put the blanket over him, he paused and looked at his face. His cheeks were still slightly flushed and here and there he still saw the marks left by his tears and even if he didn't like to admit it, but yes, that sight hurt even in his not so cold heart.

Peter was still a kid and he had been through so many terrible things already.

Yondu didn't know what life on Earth was like, but he could imagine that it was much more peaceful and idyllic than on his own home planet. Where he had been cold-heartedly sold into slavery!

He hated his parents to this day and would he ever see them again, he swore he would kill them with a single whistle!

But it was unlikely that he would ever see them again, because he didn't feel the desire to go back to his home planet. The Eclector was now his home and the Ravagers were his family.

And Peter was at home here too, even if the boy didn't like that thought.

After all, it was better than the alternative...

Yondu would never bring him to this monster called Ego!

He would rather die if he sacrificed another innocent child to this psychopath!

He would take care of Peter himself.

How he would do that, he didn't know yet.

He knew only one thing: It was going to be anything but easy and maybe this would be his most difficult task yet, but he would gladly accept it and he was sure that Kraglin would help him, because the boy seemed to like his first mate a lot. Yondu saw how they often spent time together and whenever Peter was with Kraglin, he seemed more relaxed, less anxious and here and there he had even seen him smile, if not even laugh.

Yes, Kraglin would help him and together they would take care of Peter.

He would make the boy to one of them.

And he would start with it tomorrow...

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

No one could say how many days had passed since their conversation, but Yondu could clearly see that Peter was feeling a little better since then and that the ice between them had broken. Apparently the boy had needed it, to just let everything out and talk about all those terrible things that had happened to him. And he had been there for him, listening to him and comforting him and now that he was thinking about it, it was still so surreal to him, because he had never cared for anyone like that before. Not even Kraglin, though his first mate was almost like a son to him too.

Wait a minute...too?

What was he thinking? That Peter would be his son?

That thought was so ridiculous that he shook his head and tried to banish it from his head, but strangely enough, he didn't succeed in that. And what confused him even more, if not shocked him even more, was the fact that he was just trying to convince himself that this thought was ridiculous. In truth, he enjoyed that thought and yes, he could imagine being like a father to the boy. Of course he would never say that aloud...right?

If he was completely honest, he wasn't so sure about that.

However he turned it, it always came to the same result and at some point he had resigned and accepted the thought.

Was he doing a good job with this father thingy?

He didn't know it and somehow he doubted it on some days. Especially on days, when he trained with Peter. He was sure that he was still way too hard with the boy during their training sessions, because Peter had often come out of it with several bruises from some of their combat training sessions and this sight had strangely hurt him and yes, he had cursed himself for it, that he hadn't been more careful. Even if Peter had to learn how to defend himself, that was no reason to be so hard on him and fight with him, as if there wasn't a small child standing in front of him, but a grown man. But he couldn't help it. His time as a battle slave has also left scars in his soul and so it wasn't uncommon for him to fight like the gladiator he once was. Therefore, he also preferred to use his Yaka arrow whenever he was involved in a real fight. Not only was it faster, it was also much safer for him. He wasn't worried about the wounds he might get during a face-to-face fight. No. He was more worried that he could go crazy and become the monster that the Kree had made out of him back then and he certainly didn't want that. Most of all, he didn't want Peter to see him like that, so he tried to restrain himself during their fighting sessions, but that was far from easy.

He had to find another way to teach Peter how to fight and not go crazy. Well, going crazy were perhaps the wrong words, but there were those moments when he felt set back in his time as a battle slave and he didn't like it. He just wanted to leave that terrible time behind him and never wanted to be reminded of it ever again.

And so he sought advice from Kraglin, as he had often observed how well he got along with Peter. Often he saw the two fooling around together and yes, even if it scratched at his ego enormously, but he couldn't deny that he was a bit jealous of his first mate and that he knew how to handle the boy so well. But he hadn't yet found the courage to jump over his shadow and ask Kraglin straightforwardly for his secret. Not even when he was alone with him on the command bridge, which was always the best opportunity for such a question. But his pride was just too big and he had decided to find out for himself.

So, what did Kraglin and Peter do if they thought they were unobserved?

Yondu had often seen the two playfully fighting each other. Well, he couldn't call that fighting. They had wrestled together like two small children, which didn't surprise him when it came to Peter, since he wasn't even ten Terran years old. For Kraglin, that was different, since he was much older than ten Terran years and yes, Yondu couldn't deny that the sight had disturbed him slightly, when he first saw it. But by now he had gotten used to the sight and found it only intriguing how well his first mate knew how to handle the boy and how much fun he had and as much as Peter always laughed, the boy seemed to have a lot of fun as well. And there it was again: that slight hint of jealousy...

When he tried to play with the boy, he seemed to be doing everything wrong, which could be done wrong, because Peter had often looked at him, as if he had just met a terrible space-monster, whenever the Centaurian had tried to play with him. What was the problem? His appearance? The scars in his face? His whole manner? He didn't know it and since Peter never said anything, he continued to grope in the dark and that was getting onto his nerves.

He had to change that and he vowed that he would do that the next time he was alone with the boy!

And his chance came faster than he had expected it...

 

He had just come out of one of the showers and was moving towards the Captain's quarters, only with a towel around his hips. His day had been tough and long and he was looking forward to getting in bed for a few hours and doing nothing until he fell asleep at some point. Just put his feet up and relax. How long had he not done that? Yes, life as a Ravager Captain was anything but easy and stress-free, but Yondu didn't want to miss this life anymore. A life he owed to Stakar, but he didn't want to think about him now, because it would only rip open old wounds and he didn’t need that now.

When he arrived in his quarters, he immediately locked his door, so he wouldn't be disturbed. He threw the towel into the next best corner and completely naked, he now stood in front of what you could call a closet and he chosed a pair of underpants, which didn't look as if half the galaxy had worn them already. On his next raid, he would make sure that he would steal some new underpants...

This thought made him grin widely and finally he found what he was looking for. The thing didn't look particularly chic, but he didn't care. It was comfortable and that was what counted. The underwear was also quickly followed by comfortable, dark red pants made of cloth, which had also seen better days already. Well, one more point on his list of things he would steal next time.

The comfortable trousers were followed by a no less comfortable white undershirt. How much he loved those things. That's why he had stolen half a shipload of them, because he was not the only one on the Eclector who liked to wear them. Of course he had secured himself the lion's share. After all, he was the Captain and, moreover, a dreaded space pirate and a dreaded space pirate was allowed to get the lion's share...

His grin widened and he shook his head and tried to banish those thoughts, but that wasn't so easy. Well, at least he had something to laugh about.

But even that passed quickly, when he heard a noise behind him. He paused in all his movements and listened and in fact the sound repeated itself. Slowly, very slowly, he turned around and his eyes went to the metal table not far from him to make sure his Yaka arrow was nearby. Just in case, of course. He didn't trust anyone except Kraglin and Tullk on this ship and he expected almost every day that anyone would attempt a mutiny. If that would be the case, he would be prepared and if he could get his hands on the Ravager who started said mutiny, he would kill him in front of his entire crew to set a point and show them all what it meant to mess with Yondu Udonta!

But judging by the noise, it didn't seem like anyone was here, trying to kill him. Nevertheless, he remained tense and his eyes searched the room, hoping he could find the one who was hiding here and he actually saw something peeping out from under his bed. A bare foot, too small to be an adult's foot and almost instantly Yondu's body relaxed again when he realized that he wasn't in mortal danger and that it was only Peter who had hidden himself under his bed. Apparently the boy had missed the moment to come out of his hiding place, sneaking up on him and frightening him.

Well, he could also turn the tables.

Again, this broad grin spread over his face and his eyes began to sparkle in anticipation, because this was his chance for a fresh start. He wasn't allowed to mess this up again!

So he acted as if he hadn't seen the little foot and turned back to his closet and closed it. Then he grabbed his clothes, which he had previously thrown carelessly onto the floor and he had to keep a chuckle to himself, as he saw out of the corner of his eye, how Peter quickly pulled his foot under the bed, as he bent down to his leather clothes and to pick up his coat from the ground. And he also ignored the soft giggle that came from under his bed.

He really had to work on Peter's ambush skills at some point...

Nevertheless, he tried to continue to ignore the boy, threw his clothes over the chair and a little later also put his boots next to it. And finally, he decided to pay his full attention to the little Terran.

He would show him how to really sneak up on somebody and surprise him...

Slowly, very slowly, he sauntered over to his bed and as he sat down on it, he grinned, as he heard that childlike giggle again. For a few moments it was so quiet in the room that you could hear a pin drop. But the silence was quickly broken by a surprised shriek, as Yondu decided to attack. With a quick motion, he reached under his bed, grabbed Peter's ankles and pulled the boy out of his hiding place and threw him onto his bed only seconds later. Before Peter managed to sit up or realize what had just happened, Yondu was already over him, grabbing his wrists and holding them over his head. He wore such a big grin on his lips that Peter shuddered, but when he looked into the Centaurian's red eyes, he could see that he wasn't in the least angry at him and that alone made him relax. More or less…

"Gotcha!" he grinned and also Peter couldn't help it and grinned back, albeit a little nervous.

If Yondu behaved like he did now, he liked him best...

"If ya have planned an ambush attack, then ya should urgently work on yer ambush skills, li’l one. I am sure half the ship has heard ya."

The boy giggled and tried to free himself from his grip, but it was like a vise and he knew that Yondu only did that to tease him a little more.

"That's not true!" he said, giggling.

"Are you saying that I'm lying?"

"Yes!"

"Watch what you say, Petey. This might backfire on ya."

And there it was again: that little hint of panic in the boy's eyes.

Great! He screwed it up again!

Or...maybe he could defuse the situation, because he was just remembering something he had found out during a training session with Peter a few weeks ago and what he liked to use since then to tease the boy a little bit. And if, when not now would be the perfect opportunity to do it again?

He still wore that broad grin on his lips, as he raised his hand and put it on the boy's belly, which then flinched and Peter looked at him as if he had just hit him. A sight that hurt him and that confused him, but he didn't show it. Apparently he was getting soft for real...

Even so, he was now fully focused on the boy and what he was about to do with him and when he started to wiggle his fingers slowly and teasingly on his belly, Peter's expression changed. Where there had been fear in his eyes, there was now an almost excited twinkle to be seen and Yondu felt how he was trying to fend off his fingers. It was still a mystery to him, what the boy found so damn funny whenever he touched certain parts of his body only lightly, but he couldn't deny that it didn't fascinate him.

"See? Told ya: This might backfire on ya," he teased, and in response Peter put his bare feet against his chest and tried to push him away, but small and weak as he was, he couldn't do it.

"S-stop that!" he demanded and a soft giggle came over his lips and slowly some movement went into his body, as Yondu dug his fingers a little deeper into the fabric of his T-shirt.

"I don't think about it!"

Peter tried to growl and at the same time he narrowed his eyes, but instead of intimidating Yondu, he just made him laugh.

"Uhhh I'm shaking with fear now, Petey," he teased him with a broad grin.

Instead of a verbal answer, the boy raised his right leg slightly and wanted to kick his foot into his stomach, but Yondu saw the attack coming and quickly grabbed his leg with his free hand. He clicked his tongue as he looked at the Terran, who now grinned up at him.

"Hmm, not so bad, Petey. But, ya know what?"

The boy shook his head and raised an eyebrow in question, as Yondu released him and straightened up instead, towering over him in a kneeling position and yes, the sight intimidated him.

"If you're already launching a surprise attack on me, then ya should also make sure it remains a surprise. Just like...that!"

It was a loud, startled scream that broke out of the boy's throat, which was soon followed by loud laughter, as Yondu's blue hands rushed forward, digging his fingers into the boy's body and tickling him. He attacked every little spot from which he knew that it would make the Terran laugh and soon Peter rolled across the bed, laughing loudly, trying to grab his hands and pushing them away, but he couldn't make it.

Meanwhile, Yondu had to be careful not to get hit by one of his feet, because the boy kicked his legs out wildly, as he got more and more lost in his laughing fit. And he himself couldn't get this stupid grin off of his face anymore, as the sound of the boy's laughter was so contagious to him. And when Peter almost fell off the bed, he could no longer resist his own laughter anymore and quickly grabbed the boy's shirt and pulled him back, preventing him from falling off the bed and onto the cold floor.

As soon as he lay back on the bed, Yondu wanted to "attack" him again, but the little Terran raised his hands in defense and shouted "Okay, okay, you win! I give up! ", which made him grin again and in fact he also dropped his hands, which he had already raised for the next tickle attack.

"You're lucky I'm in such a good mood today, kid. But one thing I'll tell ya: Next time, I don't know mercy anymore, so think twice about sneaking up on me again."

Peter was almost tempted to stick his tongue out at him for that, but at the last moment he kept himself from doing so, as he knew in what this would end for him. He giggled and sat up, brushing his short hair out of his face, before looking at Yondu expectantly.

The Centaurian only raised an eyebrow questioningly and didn't really know what the little Terran wanted from him.

"What?" he asked, but instead of a verbal answer, Peter giggled again and only seconds later Yondu opened his eyes in alarm, as the boy jumped forward; right into his arms. He wrapped his arms around his body and pressed his own body against him, and Yondu didn't know how to react at that moment, which the boy probably noticed, because he giggled again and pressed his face into his chest, snuggling up to him.

Yondu didn't know what to do and it was hard for him to understand the situation. It had been such a damn long time since anybody had hugged him, that he seemed to have forgotten the feeling long ago. But when he finally realized what was happening, his mouth twisted into a tiny smile and he gently put his arms around the kid and hugged him back gently. And he tried to ignore the warm feeling that spread in his chest; right where his heart was...

How long this moment lasted, neither of them could say. It could have been seconds, minutes, hours or even days. Yondu didn't care. He enjoyed the moment to the fullest.

When the moment was over and when Peter pulled away from him, he wanted to grumble, but the grin on the boy's face stopped him from doing so and yes, it baffled him a bit. Especially when Peter quickly jumped off the bed and ran to the door with a grin and unlocked and opened it.

"Now I was able to surprise you, didn't I, Yondu?" he said with another giggle and before the Ravager had any chance to answer, Peter had already stepped out of the door and ran away, laughing.

The pirate remained kneeling on his bed, totally perplexed.

He was staring at his now open door and it seemed to be hard to believe for him what had just happened. Peter might just wanted to tease him, but he had done so much more than that. He had unconsciously made Yondu happy. As happy as not for a long time. And with that gesture, he had shown him that he liked him.

The Ravager still felt that warm feeling inside his heart and damn! It felt so good!

And still there was that gentle smile on his lips.

Yes, apparently he didn't do that dad thingy as bad as he always thought he would...

Chapter Text

In the next few days, Yondu didn't have much time for the boy, so he decided to give him in Kraglin's hands, knowing how well Peter got along with his first mate.

Even today, the boy was walking through the dark corridors of the ship together with him. In his arms he held all sorts of tools that Kraglin needed to fix something on the ship. A trifle, as he called it and therefore he had decided to take Peter with him, so that the Terran could learn how to wade a spaceship. If he was old enough, he would fly his own ship, he was sure of that and therefore it wouldn't hurt to teach him how to replace certain parts and which cables to rebuild if there was a short power failure somewhere or some system failures.

And Peter wasn't even too bad with fixing the problem, because when they arrived a little later in the engine room, Kraglin showed him everything and the boy did it almost too perfect.

"Now look at that. There is a little mechanic inside of you, huh Pete?" he had said and his words of praise made the boy blush, which the first mate commented with a big grin.

"If you have your own ship, then I'm sure you'll take good care of it."

Even more praise and Peter tried to hide his fire-red cheeks from Kraglin, but he had already seen more than enough, which confirmed his soft chuckle.

"When do I get my own ship?" the boy asked and he tried to steer the subject to something else. He didn't look at the first mate and instead collected the tools they had just used to repair the parts.

"Then, when yer old enough, kiddo."

Peter turned to him and looked him straight in the eyes.

"I am old enough, Kraglin."

The other laughed softly, walked over to him and ruffled his hair.

"No, you are not. Yondu will decide when the time comes."

"But why not you? You're like the captain too, aren't you?"

"No, Pete, I'm not. I am the first mate of the captain. That's a big difference. I am only the captain when Yondu is not aboard the Eclector. And even if he's not here for a few days, I have no right to decide this over his head. Besides, I think ya ain’t old enough to fly one of our M-ships yet."

Peter craned his chest forward to look braver.

"Yondu let me fly the Eclector a few weeks ago."

The first mate raised an eyebrow in question as these words came to his ears.

The boy was kidding, right?

Judging by his gaze, he seemed to be serious with what he said.

"Oh really? Surely everyone would have noticed it, if ya had controlled the Eclector, kid."

"I did it!"

"Couldn't have been for too long, though."

Oh man, it was almost as if Kraglin could read his mind.

Again, Peter's cheeks flushed slightly as he turned his head away from him.

"Well, he let me steer the ship in a certain direction and then I was allowed to turn on the autopilot," he admitted meekly and without looking at the other.

Kraglin didn't say a word for a few moments, collecting his tools and stowing them in a metal suitcase, before kneeling down to face Peter, as he turned his eyes back to him. A small smile graced the lips of the first mate, as he looked at him.

"Each of us started small, Pete. If Yondu let you steer the Eclector, then he has great trust in you, and that's good, isn't it? "

The boy nodded his head and his face brightened again and a wave of pride rushed through his body.

Yondu trusted him...

"You're sure to become a good pilot, but ya have to give it time. Small steps, not big ones. When the time comes, we will teach ya how to fly a spaceship. But until then, you will learn from me how to wade a ship, because that is very important. Just imagine, you're in space and the drive of your ship breaks down. If ya don't know how to fix it, then you're damned to die."

A shiver crept over Peter's back as he imagined it.

Floating helplessly in space, always with the certainty in the neck, that either the oxygen runs out or the pressure inside the ship becomes so strong that the windows would shatter and he gets pulled out into the universe.

Not a nice way to die...

"Say Kraglin...what would happen if the drive of the Eclector breaks down? Or anything else happens to the ship, which is hard to repair? Do we all have to die then?"

The first mate laughed softly and sat down next to the boy, who had made himself comfortable on one of the many large metal pipes.

"This is highly unlikely, but it can happen. If it really happens, then there are two possibilities: If the ship still has enough fuel and if we can still control it, then we would fly to the next planet and land there. If that doesn't work, we still have enough M-ships to get the whole crew out of the ship."

"And what if the M-ships can't be decoupled because of a defect?"

Clever boy…

"Not bad, kid. For such a thing we have made provision. If the technology fails on the ship, the M-ships can be decoupled by hand despite everything. That's not easy, but it's possible."

"And what if we land on a planet so cold that we freeze to death immediately when we go out?"

"We wouldn't head for such a planet."

"But, what if the ship doesn't make it to the next planet and we have to land there?"

"Then there's Ravagers on a stick, kid."

Peter and Kraglin turned their heads almost synchronously, as that voice came to their ears, and as they turned their eyes toward the engine room entrance, they saw Tullk standing in the doorway, grinning broadly at them. He was leaning in the doorway with his arms crossed over his chest and seemed to be watching them for quite some time already.

"How long have you been standing there?" Kraglin asked and you could clearly hear from his voice how uncomfortable this situation was for him. Normally no one was able to sneak up on him without him noticing it. And he didn't like being watched when he was fooling around with Peter.

Although...luckily they hadn't done that. At least not today...

"Long enough, I think."

The Ravager broke away from the doorframe and entered the engine room. As he came to a halt in front of Peter, he reached his hand out to the boy and ruffled his hair like Kraglin had done it before, making Peter giggle and he tried to push his hand away from his head, but he was not strong enough for that.

Tullk was one of the few Ravagers, except for Yondu and Kraglin, with whom Peter got along well. He liked Tullk and he had already spent some time with him. He had had a good time conversing with him and it was fun to explore the ship with him, because he still hadn't seen everything of the Eclector yet and Tullk liked to show him a few new things every now and then.

"What are you doing down here? I thought you were with the others?" Kraglin interrupted the playful scene and Tullk pulled his hand away from Peter's head and instead turned his eyes to the first mate.

"I was with the others, but the Captain gave me the order to go check on you and make sure everything was fine with you. Have you fixed the problem?"

"Yes, we did and Peter helped me with that."

Tullk turned his eyes back to the boy, who grinned at him sheepishly.

"Oh, so you fixed it, huh? Well, look at that. I thought you wanted to be a pilot and not a mechanic?"

"I want to be a pilot, but Kraglin said it's better to learn how to wade a ship beforehand."

"Hmm, Kraglin said something clever for once."

Tullk only wanted to tease him with that, Kraglin could see this in his eyes and the big grin on his face and he only commented his words with an eye roll.

"But not that Kraglin tells you horror stories."

The first mate grinned.

"I tell him horror stories? He is the one who tells me horror stories."

"Oh really?"

"Yes. Horror stories of an ice planet on which we would all freeze to death."

"That was not a story. I just asked you what would happen if we would be forced to do an emergency landing on a planet like that."

Again Tullk grinned and he sat down next to Peter so the boy was sitting in the middle of the two Ravagers.

"Simple, kid: We'll give Kraglin some warm clothes and let him go out to fix the ship. An ice planet is not bad. Just imagine a planet full of cyborgs."

"What's a cyborg?"

"An organic being, made half of machine parts," Kraglin answered the question.

"Something like Vorker?"

The two Ravagers couldn't help but laugh at Peter's words and the boy didn't quite understand what was so funny about his question.

"No, Pete. Vorker is not a cyborg. How do you come up with something like that?"

"He has an eye that consists of a machine part."

"But that doesn't make him a cyborg. The eye must already be built into his skull to make him to one. Instead, it's just a prosthesis he takes out every time he wants to go sleeping," Tullk grinned at him.

Kraglin got up and pulled the boy to his feet and quickly gave him the tools that had found no place in his metal suitcase.

"We'd rather stop talking about that. Not that Pete gets nightmares in the end."

He didn't even wait for an answer, ignoring Peter's nagging and his words that he was old enough for such stories and pushed him out of the engine room.

Tullk grinned after them and shook his head, when he could hear Peter start telling Kraglin about pirates and why Vorker wasn't wearing an eyepatch instead of his "weird eye" because then he would look like a real pirate. After all, they were space pirates.

Kraglin's murmuring was the only thing that could be heard a little later when the two disappeared around the next corner and Tullk was left alone in the engine room, who couldn't get this grin off of his face anymore.

Yes, the kid was alright and since he lived on the Eclector, it wasn't so boring up here anymore...

Chapter Text

Booooooooring.

That was the word that wouldn't want to get out of Peters mind that day.

For what felt like an eternity, he lay on his bed, his arms crossed behind his head, his eyes fixed on the ceiling. He had his headphones on and listened to music, but even that got increasingly boring after a while.

Heaven and hell, he was here on a real pirate ship, even in space and lay around here and didn't know what to do with himself and apparently nobody had time to take care of him today. Not even Kraglin, since Yondu had given him a job in which he had to wade the ship's systems along with a few other crewmembers, and that took too much time and thus he couldn't take Peter with him. And if the boy was honest, he didn't really want to go for another mechanic tour through the huge spaceship. He already did that only a few days ago.

No.

He wanted action, wanted to go out there and experience something that he would talk about in many, many years.

That this was highly unlikely happening any time soon, he knew as well as anyone else, because Yondu didn't even allow him to explore the ship on his own, because he wanted to keep him away from the other crew members and yes, Peter could understand that well. Not all Ravagers were as friendly as Tullk or even Kraglin, and he preferred to stay away from them. The last time he'd run into a smaller group of Ravagers, he'd had to scrub the caboose for hours and he didn't want to repeat that. Especially since he could imagine that the punishment for the next time would be much harder...

Nevertheless!

He wanted to do something, but he didn't know what.

It had to be something that didn't jeopardize his safety at any price and where he didn’t come across any of the others. With a shudder, Peter remembered the last time he was alone in the corridors of the huge spaceship, as he had wanted to go to the showers. And then he had met a group of Ravagers and he still remembered how they had scoffed at him and how they had told him that he shouldn't get too close to them, because they liked to eat small, helpless Terrans.

Small helpless Terrans...

If Peter remembered those words, the anger boiled up inside him, but there was nothing he could do about it. At least not yet. But one day he wouldn't be a small, helpless child anymore. No. One day he would be as strong as these Ravagers and then he would get his revenge on all of them!

But until this would happen, he had to subordinate himself and do what Yondu told him to do, even if that wasn't so easy. After all, he was still a child and children wanted to be amused from time to time.

But since nobody was here to spend some time with him, he had to come up with something for himself.

It was a pity that Yondu or Kraglin had no time for him today.

Over the past few months, the bond between them had become stronger and Peter often found himself begging the two of them to spend some time with him and also noticed that he had been spending a lot of time with Yondu lately and that he was hardly scared of him anymore. He liked it when Yondu didn't let the brutal space pirate hang out whenever they were alone in the room. A side, that Peter liked very much about him and yes, he liked to fool around with the Ravager leader whenever he allowed it and whenever he was in the mood for it, but that hadn't happened so often lately. Yondu had been busy, planning their next raid for days, so he had no time for the boy and Kraglin was busy keeping the ship going. And he preferred to avoid the others...

Often he asked himself what the others experience during their raids.

Yondu had never allowed him to leave the ship and yes, slowly Peter was tired of always staying behind, but he could somehow understand the Centaurian. The universe wasn't a place for a small child and often Yondu had told him about the terrible creatures that lived there. They tried to avoid such dangers as much as possible, but even an experienced Ravager couldn't say what could happen on one of their raids, so Peter had to stay aboard the Eclector, where it was safe.

However, he hoped eventually to leave the ship as soon as possible, if only for a few minutes. That would be enough for him.

How nice it would be to feel the wind on his skin after such a long time in space and to fill his lungs with fresh air...

Before his mood ended up in the basement, the boy decided to turn off his Walkman, sit up and take off his headphones. He grabbed both and put it onto the small table that stood next to his bed. He then let his eyes wander around the room, hoping he could find something to pass the time with. But apart from some sort of wardrobe, a table, a chair and his bed, there was nothing really exciting in his room. Until...yes, until his gaze caught the ventilation duct that was set in the wall, right next to his door.

The ventilation shaft was large and Peter remembered that Kraglin had once told him that the ventilation ducts ran through the entire spaceship.

Did he fit in there?

There was only one way to find out...

Without waiting any longer, the boy jumped off his bed, grabbed the metal chair and placed it just under the ventilation shaft and climbed on it. It took a few tries to dislodge the grille from the ventilation shaft, but since Kraglin had already taught him some tricks, that was not a big obstacle for him. Gently he put the rather heavy grid next to the chair against the wall and risked a look into the dark ventilation shaft. The air that greeted him was cool and smelt strange, as if the ventilation shaft hadn't been cleaned for an eternity and when Peter put his hands in it, it was confirmed in the form of a small cloud of dust that came towards him. But that didn't bother him much. He braced himself and slid headfirst into the ventilation shaft, coughing as another cloud of dust was hurled into his face. His eyes needed a moment to get used to the darkness. His body just fit in there and he was able to move forward quite well.

Slowly he crawled forward, until he reached a turn in a few meters and stopped there for a moment, thinking.

Where did he want to go?

Hmm...how about Yondu's quarters?

He had never been there alone and had never had the opportunity to look around properly there and since Yondu wasn't there anyway, that would be the perfect opportunity. Besides, this room was not far away from his own room.

Peter didn't wait any longer and sat back in motion and this time he also had a goal in mind.

The darkness in front of him was punctuated by a series of beams of light that penetrated the grates that he passed here and there and whenever he did so, he paused to peer through the grates into the rooms underneath.

Many of the rooms were empty, probably because Yondu had gathered most of his crew on the command bridge. At least Peter thought so, because why else did he not see any of the others?

He almost toyed with the idea of getting out of that dark, stuffy ventilation shaft, but he was afraid he would meet some of the others and besides, this was the only way into Yondu's quarters, for the Centaurian had probably locked the door and only he knew the code for the door lock to open it from the outside. So Peter had to stay in the ventilation shaft. He just hoped it was worth it...

 

After a few more minutes, he had actually arrived in the captain's quarters and it didn't even surprise him that the grid was not secured here, because no Ravager would fit into this ventilation shaft at all. Even for Peter it was already tight enough. An adult would get stuck in there for sure. A thought that made him grin slightly, as images sneaked into his head, but he quickly tried to get rid of said images.

Concentration!

He flinched, as he undid the grille and when it landed on the floor of the room. Peter paused briefly and listened, but no one seemed to have heard it, because it remained silent in the room and he heard nothing in the corridor either. No footsteps, no voices, nothing at all and he relaxed a bit again. Still, he remained cautious, slowly shuffling out of the ventilation shaft and as he stood in Yondu's quarters, he took a chair and fastened the grille back in place. Just in case somebody came into the room and saw the grid, because then he knew something was wrong. Anyway, Peter wouldn't make it back to the ventilation shaft so fast and he had to hide somewhere else in the room instead. All he had to do was wait for the man to leave the room then. After all, he was able to unlock the door from the inside.

But he didn't want to think about that now.

When the grille was back in its rightful place, he put the chair back against the table, brushed the dust from his shirt and pants and then let his eyes wander across the room.

So that's what Yondu's quarters looked like, huh?

Granted, the room didn't look really nice, but what did Peter expect?

And it wasn't really looking like the quarters of a pirate either.

It looked more like a bomb had exploded here, because there were things everywhere on the ground. Only the bed was neatly made and on the metal table there was an almost too picture-perfect order. But he couldn't say this about the rest of the room though.

He grinned again, because that reminded him of his former room on earth.

How many times his mother had admonished him before he finally cleaned up?

It all seemed to him as if this had happened in another life...

But before a wave of sadness rolled over him, he pulled himself together and he preferred to continue exploring the room.

He started at Yondu's desk, looking at all the pieces of paper, scattered across the table and Peter wondered why the Centaurian was still writing on an ordinary piece of paper instead of an electronic logbook as usual. He picked up one of the carefully stacked notes and tried to recognize what the strange signs meant that were written on that paper, but he gave it up quickly and put the note back on the pile from which he had taken it from. He had to admit that Yondu had a nice font, but unfortunately he couldn't read what was written there. Peter had never seen these signs in his life before. In addition to the slips of paper, all sorts of pens (Peter now simply referred to them as pens) lay on the desk and he also saw the electronic logbook Yondu liked to use.

As he walked on, he found even more strange notes hanging on the wall, but even there Peter couldn't read what was written on it. The boy couldn't help but giggle when he saw the mug shot, which hung right next to all these slips. It was really a shame that he couldn't read what was written there, but Peter could already imagine it. Most likely, a generous bounty on Yondu was exposed. No wonder, since he was a terrifying space pirate . As it seemed, half the galaxy seemed to fear him...

The boy left the notes behind him and arrived a little later at his wardrobe and the little Terran couldn't keep his curiosity to himself and opened the electronic doors. As expected, Yondu's closet was full of Ravager clothes and they were all in dark red leather. But among all the leathers clothes, he also saw red pants made of a fabric-like material and when Peter reached his hand out to it and let his fingers brush over the fabric, he felt how soft it was. Next to the pile of comfortable trousers was a pile of no-less comfortable white undershirts. The boy had seen Yondu wearing these things many times already and many of the other Ravagers wore them as well. A giggle sneaked out of his throat when he saw a pile of underpants that didn't suit Yondu at all. And these things had clearly seen better days for sure...

Shaking his head and still with a small grin on his lips, Peter closed the doors again and he kept walking. He stopped in front of a rather high shelf and curiously looked at the contents. His eyes began to twinkle, when he saw all the small figures Yondu kept on this shelf, which he had lovingly placed in a row. The figures showed strange beings, like a weird looking green elephant thingy for example. Another figure looked like a black cat. For the others, he wasn't so sure what they should be, but somehow they looked pretty cute too.

He reached out for the black cat and carefully removed it from the shelf. He then moved back to Yondu's desk and sat down on the chair. Carefully, he turned the cat in his hands so that he could look at the figure from all sides. The material felt cold in his hands, almost like glass.

A black cat.

An animal, which he hadn't seen for almost an eternity and he thought he would never see anything of earth, his home, ever again. Okay, this cat looked different from the cats that existed on Earth, but it was still a cat, a small souvenir of his home world and that thought was enough to make him smile.

He set the figure down on the table, put his arms on the metal tabletop too and rested his head on it and his eyes continued to look at the small figure.

He lost himself in his daydreams so much that he heard the footsteps out in the corridor too late. When he heard them, they were almost at the door and Peter had no time to put the figure back on the shelf. Quickly he jumped up, ran over to the bed and just as the door to the captain's quarters opened, he had managed to hide under it.

Just in time, because Yondu entered the room with a grumble and immediately closed the door behind him again and locked it. Apparently he was in a bad mood and that alone was enough to speed up Peter's heartbeat.

He so hoped that he wouldn't find him here...

His eyes were fixed on the Centaurian's feet, as he moved to his closet, opened it and picked out a few comfortable clothes. Then he peeled off his boots and leather clothes, threw them carelessly onto the floor and put on the more comfortable clothes, before moving to the bed. Peter gasped, hardly daring to breathe, as Yondu sat down on the bed and sighed softly.

Then it was quiet in the room, until...

"What the... ?!" Peter heard a low growl and the Ravager got up again and walked straight over to the shelf where the boy had taken out the black cat before. Apparently Yondu hadn't seen the figure standing on his desk when he walked past to get to his closet. No wonder, for the cat was jet black and the room was generally quite dark.

But how the hell did Yondu immediately realize that a piece of his collection was missing?

He really had to love his collection.

At that moment, he reminded Peter more of a dragon who protected his treasure and noticed it when only a single small piece of gold was missing...

"Whoever stole one of my figures will pay for it!" Peter heard him growl and he shuddered as he thought of the punishment that would probably await him, would the blue man get his hands on him. He hadn't stolen the cat and he had never intended to do it.

If only he had had a bit more time to put the cat back onto the shelf...

But it was the way it was and Peter had to come up with something now to save his skin.

He had to leave this room, but how should he do that?

The door was locked and he never managed to get into the ventilation shaft unnoticed. Especially since he had previously put the grid again in front of the entrance of the ventilation shaft. No matter how he turned it. He knew he was screwed.

Lost in thoughts, he slid backward to better protect himself from Yondu's gaze, but he forgot about his surroundings and it wasn't long before his foot hit something heavy, which toppled over. The noise, this something made, sounded like an explosion in Peter's ears and he stopped in all his movements and his heart almost stopped beating.

It was suddenly dead quiet in the room and when Peter turned his eyes back to the spot where Yondu had just stood, he shuddered again, because he could no longer see the Ravager anywhere.

And then something grabbed him by the ankles and before he realized what was happening, he was already pulled out from under the bed. A surprised and scared scream came from his throat, as he now dangled upside-down. When he opened his eyes, he saw Yondu's stomach and when he let his eyes wander upwards, he looked into the pirate's stern face and the sight made the boy swallow hard.

Yondu held him by one of his ankles with one hand, the other one was placed on his hip and with an icy cold-blooded look he looked at the Terran, who looked back at him anxiously.

And at that moment Peter knew that he had gone too far...