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Papa Was A Rollin' Stone

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Sometimes, Peter wonders if Yondu thinks he’s stupid or if he really believes he is just that smooth, for Peter to have not figured it out by now.

“Good block, son,” Yondu says, when Peter stops the third consecutive hit to his chest.

To his mounting frustration, he decides it’s the former. Yondu is not even bothering to hide it anymore.

He throws a wild punch at Yondu’s face, who sidesteps the attempt and parries with a hard strike to his ribs. Hissing in pain, Peter dances back to create space to breathe and recalibrate.

Simply put, Captain Yondu Udonta, ruthless leader of the Eclector and terror across five star systems, is Peter’s real father, a fact he has never explicitly stated or addressed with the unacknowledged bastard he both terrorized and mentored in turn.

It’s infuriating, really. The first time Peter realized the truth, he spent months trying to deny it, trying to reason that he was just imagining things. No way Yondu is his father. His mother had much better judgment than that.

Yondu blocks Peter’s smack to the side of his face while cutting in close and swiping his forearm towards the boy’s ear. He quickly twists his side to hook behind Peter’s back, following through to spin and drop him to the floor.

Peter flips over and attacks yet again, forcing Yondu into a grapple where the much-heavier man twists him into a chokehold. The boy struggles in his grip while Yondu tightens the arm across his neck from behind.

“Tap out, Quill. Ya ain’t winnin’ this one,” he grunts into his ear.

His vision speckling black, Peter spends his last precious few seconds of consciousness trying to throw him off before ultimately going limp and tapping on the man’s arm. Yondu lets go immediately. Peter falls flat to the floor, choking and gasping for air. Gingerly, he rises to a seated position and feels around his neck, checking for tenderness before moving on to various parts of his body where Yondu’s blows had connected. He winces when he glances lightly against his ribs.

Yondu is ready with his post-fight analysis. “Ya still need’a work on yer defense. You leave yer right wide open when ya strike.”

“You didn’t have to hit so hard,” Peter criticizes him through grit teeth.

“Hard?” Yondu taps his undamaged hip with a bare foot. “How else you gonna learn, son?”

Peter’s breath hitches.

Son.

He latches onto Yondu’s foot and pulls, bringing the man down. Unexpectedly swept onto the floor, Yondu retaliates, his free foot kicking Peter square across the face.

“Have ya lost yer damn mind, Quill!”

 


 

Luckily, Yondu hadn’t broken his jaw as a result of that last stunt. Peter sits in crew quarters, pressing an ice-pack against the darkening bruise, wondering (and not for the first time) whether the Karate Kid sustained such injuries in the name of training or perhaps Yondu simply didn’t have the skill of Mr. Miyagi to teach without pain.

“Tell me again why ya went an’ tripped up Cap’n like that. You was down an’ out already,” Kraglin scolds him as he rifles through the footlocker pulled out from under their shared cot. “Crazy fuckin’ bastard.”

“I felt like it,” Peter half-lies.

Kraglin pulls out some bruise balm. “Yeah? Well, there’s easier an’ less painful ways to commit suicide if that’s what yer after. Yer lucky Cap’n let chu off with a warnin’ shot, but next time–”

“Next time, he won’t do shit. He never does… Ow!” Peter complains, rubbing the back of his head where Kraglin had cuffed him.

“Keep runnin’ yer mouth like that an’ Cap’n will have no choice.”

Peter pouts, his expression sullen and churlish.

At the time of his abduction, Kraglin Obfonteri had been the only other child on-board, being only five years his senior. Sensing an opportunity, Yondu had quickly offloaded Peter’s care onto the resident cabin boy, and they had spent the succeeding years together, growing up and growing close despite the unspoken Ravager code against such sentimentality.

There was only one consistent hiccup in their brotherhood, one point of irreconcilable contention: Captain Yondu Udonta himself. To wit, Kraglin idolizes their captain, making it hard for Peter to talk to him sometimes. He can’t divulge his secret paternity, not when the youth’s loyalties lie elsewhere.

“I don’t git chu. Cap’n gives ya special lessons, an’ all ya do is sulk an’ bitch about it,” Kraglin says, smearing the balm onto Peter’s face.

“Not all of us have a giant crush on that big blue asshole.”

Kraglin digs his fingers into Peter’s cheek, provoking a satisfying yelp.

“What the fuck, Kraglin!” Peter hisses.

His face is waspish and unapologetic. “Fingers must’a slipped.”

 


 

Peter is back in the sparring sector, training on his own against a series of inanimate targets that can’t hit back. Yondu says he has to get stronger, quicker, faster, more independent. Cap’n can’t hold his hand through it all, Yondu says, not when there’s credits to earn and other crewmen to whip into shape. Peter needs to learn to be self-sufficient and do it quickly; otherwise, it’s into the stewpot he goes.

Liar.

Though the well-worn threat used to scare the shit out of him in those early days, Peter knows better by now. Yondu will never carry it out, at least not any time soon while the ghost of his mother still haunts the man. Peter can see it sometimes… Sometimes – usually when Yondu is drunk – he will look at Peter with such regret and melancholy and tell him stories about old scores, shit he had done before Peter’s time with people he never mentioned sober. And other times he can see Yondu’s murderous intent when he descends into one of his dark moods. He slumps in his chair and stares at him, his brow knit in the middle, and Peter can see that he’s considering it. It wouldn’t take much to end Peter – a whistle, a bit too much pressure on his neck – and then it’s back to his former life of unburdened bachelorhood. When Yondu looked at him like that, Peter would spend the rest of the shift in the ventilation ducts, wiping them clean with his clothes as he wriggled deeper within the labyrinthine system.

He considers whether this is what Mom had thought life would be like with his father. He hopes not, but then again, she had revealed precious little about the man.

“Your father is an angel,” his mother had told him when he was seven while his grandfather looked on disapprovingly. She had been so frail then, her eyes bulging from the depths of dark hollowed sockets and her skin sallow and crepe-y, paper-thin. She had long shaved her head when it had fallen out in patches, leaving wispy brittle remains. “He’ll come back for us.”

She’ll be dead in six months, but for now, Peter believes her wholeheartedly, in the way of all small boys with their mothers.

When he had gone upstairs, ostensibly to sleep, Peter instead had sat down at the top, just around the corner so the adults couldn’t see him.

After a long moment, Grandpa had gently reprimanded her, “You shouldn’t lie to Pete.”

“I didn’t lie.”

“His father was a scoundrel.”

Mom had been defiant. “You never even met him,” she had said, dismissively.

“Yeah, that’s exactly my point. A real man would have done the right thing.”

“Like what? Marry me? I already said he couldn’t–”

“Because he’s already married?”

“No!” She had sounded angry, and Peter had shrunk closer to the wall at her raised tone. “He was on an important mission, but he said he would come back when we needed him, and–”

“If not now, then when?” he had barked in return.

Mom had sniffled then, and Grandpa had sounded remorseful, “I’m sorry… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to snap, but Mer, it’s been over seven years, and you’re sick. If he hasn’t come back by now, he won’t. Perhaps it’s time we made other arrangements for Peter. Marianna is willing to take him in as you know, but he’s always welcome to stay with us. We would love to have him. That way he’ll go to the same school… there’ll be less disruption…”

“His father’s coming back, Dad. He promised.”

“I know, sweetie, I know…”

She had been right, of course. Granted, his father had been much too late, but by God, had she been right.

These days, Peter wonders if Yondu feels guilty about abandoning his mother and if his abduction shortly after the very moment of her death had been Yondu’s half-assed attempt to mollify what little conscience he had. When Peter feels especially morbid, he contemplates how long such considerations will keep him off the Eclector’s menu. Who knows? Perhaps his resemblance to the woman Yondu betrayed is the only thing staying the man’s hand whenever Peter fucks up.

But for now, he is alive, if a little bruised.

Peter punches the sand-bag and imagines a metallic grin set in a familiar blue face.

 


 

Ratchet had been the first (and last) crewman to really and truly hurt Peter. The boy had been careful to stay out of everyone’s way, but he had tripped and knocked over Ratchet’s keg of homemade brew, and the man had taken offense.

Kraglin had held a soiled cloth tight to the gash in Peter’s small belly to stem the bleeding as he was carted to Medbay. He had been gravely ill for days as a result of the subsequent infection, but when he had emerged from his sickbed, Ratchet was missing, and the rest of the Ravagers avoided the child like the plague or a fragrant bar of soap.

He had been followed by whispers of Pet Terran, Cap’n’s Boy and Untouchable for months afterward. Only Kraglin had the balls to so much as interact with him, though he became markedly more wary about it, and even that much was probably due to the fact that Peter’s wellbeing was his job.

The crew’s trepidation faded with time, but the message had been delivered, loud and clear: No one touches Cap’n’s boy.

Peter received a different, more-nuanced message altogether.

“Stop bitchin’ about yer li’l scratch. Is barely anythin’. ‘Sides, women love scars, son.”

Son.

 


 

Peter had done a lot of soul-searching since then, cycling through the five stages of grief.

Denial had been the longest stretch and there were times he returned to it still.

No way. No flipping way, he had thought as he observed Yondu belch loudly to the crew’s guffaws then openly pick the stringy meat from his teeth. His mother had never mentioned anything about his father being so crass, violent, or blue. She even said Peter looked like him, though that might have been the brain tumor talking at that point.

Perhaps Yondu hadn’t always been this way. Who knows? Maybe the man had fallen face-first into a blender at some point in the past eight years or so, and his brain had to be stitched together alongside his face, and he had never truly recovered.

Or maybe he had gone through a Mad-Max-meets-Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory scenario where on his last intended sojourn back to Terra to visit his beloved, he had crash-landed on a post-apocalyptic dystopian planet and ended up stranded for the intervening years, scarring his body and warping his personality. To escape, he had to trek to an extraction point, but all he had to eat were blue rations with the same effects as the meal replacement gum a-la Violet Beauregarde.

Or… the simpler yet more inconceivable option: his mother had just liked bad boys.

He couldn’t very well ask her now, he thinks, his heart squeezing tight in his chest.

This stage was intermittently followed by Anger.

Fuck you, Yondu.

Lying on his side, Peter had curled into himself, hunched over and stuffed into a little-used janitorial closet. Yondu had tanned his hide in front of the entire crew for speaking out of turn, his punishment lasting until Yondu was out of breath and his leather belt had snapped. Really, the severity of his sentence seemed out of scope compared to the crime, as if Yondu had been compensating for something…

Peter hopes Yondu’s sore arm falls off.

How could his mother have ever considered Yondu an acceptable father? He is a violent, homicidal, abusive asshole, and Peter hates him.

Of course Peter tried to Bargain with fate, begging for a different father.

Please, Peter prayed, please have Yondu be mistaken about my identity. Peter’s hometown bully, Tommy Perkins, was clearly a better candidate for Yondu’s bastard. By the stars, they even had matching sneers. It did seem unlikely that two women in the same small town would both have otherworldly lovers, but perhaps Missouri is a hotbed of alien-human relations, like the Las Vegas of the universe.

Oh please let it be true.

Then, Depression set in.

Of course it wasn’t true. If anything, Las Vegas would be the Las Vegas of the universe. It is a well-known fact that even the laws of physics don’t apply there. After all, things that happened in Vegas, stayed in Vegas.

The same couldn’t be said about Missouri, or the Eclector for that matter. Yondu had a long memory for grudges and would often throw Peter’s missteps in his face long after the initial event. Though curiously, he never again mentioned the incident precipitating the time his belt broke, having somehow deleted it from his repertoire of things to hold against Peter.

Peter wilts, sad for himself and for his mother as well. She trusted the asshole, had died waiting for her supposed knight-in-shining-armor to whisk them both away to a fantastical land and a better life.

At times, he still couldn’t believe it, but he eventually comes to Accept the truth: Cruel as he was, Yondu is his one and only father. Peter will have to make the best of the situation, of their relationship. The next step in that road is building their rapport through popular father-son activities, so they can live together in harmony and common understanding. 

Well, that was the theory anyway. It always worked on TV.

 


 

Peter enters Yondu’s quarters directly after work shift. If there hadn’t already been so much evidence of their familial bond, the fact that Peter had access to Yondu’s private rooms would have sealed it. Yondu acknowledges his presence with a grunt, but stays seated at his desk, reviewing both profitability and sustainability numbers for the cycle. Revenue, expenses, supplies… it’s all in a day’s work for a Captain, but currently, Peter wants him to concentrate on his until-now neglected position as his father.

“Can you teach me how to shave?” Peter asks him.

Yondu grants him a cursory glance before turning back to his work. “Shave what? You’ve got nothin’ goin’ on as far as I can tell, an’ if yer askin’ for help shaving below the belt, specifically the dick area, then yer on yer own there.”

“What the… no! I’m getting a mustache. You can see it plain as day if I stand just so,” Peter explains, angling his head in such a way that allows his fine reddish-blonde peach fuzz to catch the light.

Standing and taking a couple steps forward, Yondu squints then cups the boy’s chin to tip his head from one side to the other. Peter bats him off and points to his wispy mustache, stroking the fine hairs just above his lip.

“That’s barely anythin’,” Yondu scoffs dismissively. “If you can only see it from one angle, then it ain’t a problem that needs fixin’ any time soon.” He’s about to push past Peter when the boy latches onto his upper arm.

 “C’mon, Yondu… pretty soon it’s going to thicken up and be noticeable. I can just about feel it becoming itchy–”

“It’s all in yer head.”

“It’s not. It’s awful. It’s just at the corners of my mouth right now. It’s not even connecting in the middle. It looks so awkward and weird. I just want it gone without cutting up my face in the attempt. The available razors are so rusty. I’ll get lockjaw for sure,” he says rather dramatically in his mentor’s opinion.

Yondu is not swayed. “Why can’t chu just ask Kraglin to show ya? The kid’s harrier than a bilgesnipe pelt. I’m sure he knows his way around a straight razor.”

“Yeah, that’s exactly my point. You think Kraglin actually knows how to shave? Have you seen his perpetual three-day shadow?” Peter pleads, his tone edging on desperate. “It won’t even take you that long. Back on Terra, it’s an important coming-of-age ritual when a father teaches his son the time-honored tradition of how to shave. I used to see it all the time on TV episodes about the relationship between fathers and their sons.”

It’s a clear invitation, a not-so-subtle hint that Peter knows the truth already so they might as well acknowledge it as a first step towards moving past Yondu’s lie of omission. Who knows? With time and a good old-fashioned exchange of blows, Peter may even learn to forgive the man.

It’s a risky ploy, but when Yondu doesn’t immediately respond, Peter delivers the final blow while steeling himself for potential rejection.

“So, what do you say… Dad.” The unfamiliar word rolls out of his mouth, its banality belying its power.

Yondu stills, his spine straight and much too stiff. “Who told chu I was yer daddy?” he asks, low and even.

“Does it matter?”

Yondu steps forward and grabs Peter by the lapels, jerking him closer as he bends towards the boy.

“Who. Told. You.” he says, each word punctuated with a commanding tone that brooked no argument, allowing no dissent. He’s caught off guard and clearly pissed off by it.

“I’m right, aren’t I?” Peter insists.

Yondu lets go, straightening out to stand with one hand on his hip and the other scratching the base of his implant. “It’s that troublesome fucker with the smart mouth… Braddock, right? You don’t listen to a word he says, ya hear.”

It’s not a straight-forward admission, but it’s not a denial either. Nonetheless, Peter feels vindicated, then vindictive.

“Well, for your information, no one told me anything. You’re just not as good a liar as you think,” he says, an unhealthy dose of resentment simmering in his tone, rising to an angry boil with every word. He had told himself when the time came to confront his father, he would be calm and collected, like an adult, but he is too far gone to remember promises.

“Stars… All this time, you were my father, and you never said shit,” he rages. “For eight years, you never came back. Not once. She… my mother loved you, man. She never said a bad word about you, you absolute fucking asshole! And she waited for you, even when she got sick, even when she was dying. She waited and waited and waited, never once losing faith, even when granddad and everyone else said she was crazy and had fallen for a conman. And then, on the day she dies, you have the nerve to swoop in and abduct me before her body was even cold, before… before I could say goodbye. How could you? How could you abandon her! She believed in you, man, and you didn’t even have the decency to see her one last time before she died after eight fucking years. Well, where were you, huh? Answer me, you bastard!”

Peter can punch him– should punch him.

Instead, he chokes on an anguished whisper, “Where were you?”

Yondu’s response is gruff but not unkind. “Quill… The day we picked you up was the first day I’d ever been to Terra.”

Peter freezes. “You didn’t know my mother?” he asks, his voice wobbly, broken.

“Never even met her.”

“So… You’re not my father?”

Yondu doesn’t respond, his expression unreadable. Perhaps Peter’s impressive stupidity has rendered the man incapable of speech.

Peter’s shoulders slump in shame at the thought. He stares at his feet, unable to raise his eyes to meet his mentor’s. He’d been wrong, horribly so, and now he’ll never live it down. Maybe if he played it off, Yondu wouldn’t notice how the realization left an aching emptiness where his unknown father should have been. He’s been around Yondu long enough to know the only offense worse than challenging his captain is sentiment.

“That’s alright,” he says, trying for a breezy, nonchalant attitude. “Just peachy. I never even knew who my dad was. Mom never told me. Kept saying he would come for me, you know? But… Well, I guess I got this far without having a dad to teach me shit. Learned how to fight without him. Learned how to dance without him, too, and shoot and fly an M-ship. How many Terran kids get that opportunity? I’m pretty damn good at it too.”

“Yeah. Yer all right.”

It’s the closest thing to praise Yondu is likely capable of, falling far short of the fatherly approval Peter craved. Clearly, he had projected his need for a father onto the closest male equivalent, not seeing the man for what he was: a moderately-competent, though emotionally-neglectful, mentor. Peter can see that now with the heartbreaking clarity of hindsight.

“Damn straight. So, it’s like who needs him, you know?” he says, more so to convince himself.

Yondu is quiet, then: “It’s okay to be angry, son.”

“You’re not even my… Listen, it’s not like I’m five years old anymore,” his words crack as the lump in his throat rises. Horrifyingly, he can’t seem to swallow it fast enough, nor stop the rush of words falling out of his mouth. “It’s not like I’m asking my mom when dad’s coming home or why I’ve never met him. The other kids aren’t teasing me about not having a father anymore, and I don’t have to lie about him touring with a rock band or starring in Knight Rider or anything silly like that. I don’t have to be jealous of all the other boys whose dads play catch with them and cheer them on at Little League games. It’s not like any of the other Ravagers have fathers and healthy home lives either.”

“Quill…”

His vision blurs as he rubs unshed tears from his eyes onto the nonabsorbent leather of his sleeve. “No. You know what, Yondu? I didn’t need him then, and I sure as hell don’t need him now,” he resolves, voice rising once again. “I’m going to show him. I’ll become a legendary outlaw, infamous throughout the Galaxy. Peter Quill… No. I’m going to be Star-lord, just like my mom called me. I’m going to sleep with a whole lot of hot women, and maybe one day, if I find the right one, I’m going to have a bunch of kids, and they’ll damn sure know who I am. They’re going to grow up with a dad. I’m going to be a better father than he ever was, and I sure as hell don’t need him for that either because there’s nothing he can ever teach me about how to love my kids!”

Yondu watches him as Peter bends over in anger, in grief, folding over the arms wrapped around his middle, trying to make himself smaller, to make himself just as insignificant as he feels. He’s seven years old all over again, and mom is crying. She’s dying and doesn’t know what will become of Peter after her death. His father is coming, she had told him. He’s coming for him; he just has to wait…

But the hand on his shoulder is trembling.

Peter’s breathing is ragged and voice wobbly, raw. “How come he didn’t want me, Yondu?”

Yondu moves so fast Quill is certain he’s done it this time– stretched the man’s patience so thin he finally snapped. Peter is about to be thrown against the wall and unceremoniously beaten for such a disgusting display of weakness. He braces himself for the blows, not having the strength or motivation to fight back anymore.

He’s surprised when the strong arms instead enclose around his back, cradling him in the familiar scent of warm leather and sweat, holding him up when his knees have already buckled. Yondu doesn’t say anything, but there’s a hand rubbing his back in comforting circles and a soft tittering click breathing rhythmic in his hair.

Peter doesn’t care that Yondu isn’t his father. He just falls into his embrace and sobs.

 


 

The following morning, Peter can barely look at Yondu, much too embarrassed at the scene that had unfolded the day before. Captain had seen him cry, had held him until the sobs wracking his body had turned to wet hiccups winding down to quiet shuttering breaths. Even when he had thought Yondu was his father, he wouldn’t have dared to comport himself in such a fashion. They simply didn’t have the sort of relationship that included emotional honesty and support. With luck, Yondu and he will ignore each other for a few days then slowly return to normal, while adhering to an unspoken pact to never talk about Peter’s lapse again.

That’s what he expects anyway, so it’s a surprise when Captain summons him to his quarters one off-shift not too long after. When Peter arrives, Yondu calls him into his private bathroom where he stands, stripped down to his undershirt and pants in front of a double-wide mirror, two shaving kits on the vanity.

Peter eyes the set up. “What is this, Yondu?”

“You said you wanted to learn how to shave,” Yondu steps to one side, leaving enough space for the skinny teen. “So here I am, offering you lessons. You’re welcome, by the way.”

Peter tries to figure out the man’s angle, but unable to elucidate one, he stops just short of crossing the threshold into the bathroom. “I don’t need any pity parenting, or whatever this is.”

“Ain’t pity. Just practicality. I ain’t havin’ one of my men lookin’ like a sorry orloni patchy with mange,” Yondu crosses his arms and leans against the sink behind him. “Bad for my image.”

“What are you talking about? Everyone on the Eclector is gross, ugly and scruffy.”

“Yeah. On purpose. It’s a style choice, boy. Just ‘cause they don’t do it, don’t mean they can’t,” he shrugs. “So, if learning to shave is so important to you, like a rite of passage for Terrans or some shit, then shut up an’ get over here.”

Cautiously, Peter approaches the broad mirror, slipping into the spot next to Yondu where his mentor had already laid out the extra shaving kit. Peter picks up the razor, pushing on the tang to swing out the shiny blade and feeling along the flat side to where it bevels at the edge. It’s sharp.

Turning towards the mirror, Yondu picks up his own. “This here is yer straight razor. You can go electric, but if ya want a real close shave, straight razor’s the way to go.” He pulls on the buckle of a leather strap hung to the side, holding it taught. “An’ this here is yer strop fer sharpenin’. Ya hold the blade like so–” With the blade facing towards him at a tilt to hug the side of the tip flat against the leather, he pushes it away, up the strap, “–and push up, then flip it over the back, not tip, otherwise you’ll dull it–” he flips the blade over the wide side so the sharpened edge faces away from him and pulls back down the strap towards himself “–and pull down, blade out so ya don’t cut yerself. Six, seven times or so. Ya git used to it, you can go faster, like so.” He repeats the motion, slipping the blade over leather in a well-practiced motion several times in quick succession. “Now, you try.”

Peter is slow, clumsy, but manages to mimic the motion.

“Now, shavin’ ain’t an everyday thing. A li’l scruff can be downright handsome to the ladies… or other men–”

“Ladies. I like the ladies,” Peter interjects.

“It don’t matter none which way ya swing, Quill. A touch o’ facial hair can’t hurt, but I’m goin’a show ya the right way.” Yondu lays a towel over his shoulder and picks up a brush. “This here’s yer brush. Ya wet it real good an’ put on some shavin’ cream – not too much – to the bristles an’ apply in circles to yer face where the hair is. Git it good an’ lathered up.” Yondu applies it to his face while watching Peter in the mirror as he copies him. “Take yer razor an hold it with thumb an’ two forefingers on the shank an’ third on the tang, handle pointing up between. An’ start at the top, shaving down in the direction the hair grows while stretchin’ the skin up in the opposite direction of blade’s movement, like so.”

One side turned to the mirror, Yondu does one cheek down the jawline then the other, wiping the blade against the towel draped over his shoulder in between. Peter follows his instructions but not cutting as close as Yondu, wary of the sharpened blade scraping too close across his face.

“An’ when you git to yer lip line, hold yer nose up an’ yer lip down an’ angle the razor a bit and stroke down, short an’ even, like so,” he mutters, passing the blade along his mustache line rounded over his teeth.

Using the brush, he lathers up again. “Now repeat but start from the bottom movin’ up, against the direction of hair growth to get it real close.” He repeats the same routine in the opposite direction. “Then we rinse. After-shave optional. Be sure to rinse and dry yer blade before puttin’ it away otherwise it’ll rust.”

When Peter finishes, patting his face dry with a clean towel, Yondu tells him, “An’ there ya go. You did it.”

“Yeah, I did, didn’t I?” Peter says, examining his hairless upper lip. Doing the entire face had been completely unnecessary, but it seems that Yondu had wanted to be thorough in his lesson.

“Yep… Now, don’t ever say I ain’t done nothin’ fer ya,” Yondu says, locking eyes with those of Peter’s reflection.

“Huh?”

I taught chu to fight. I taught chu to shoot and fly. And now, here I am teachin’ you how to shave. That was all me,” Yondu explains as Peter turns to face him. “You may not have had a father, Quill, but you got a Cap’n, and that’s just as good. Better even. My old man was a no good bastard, too. A real jackass. Ain’t never done nothin’ for me. Can’t even remember his face, but you know who I do remember? The Cap’n what gave me the flame patch–” he beats fist against chest, “–an’ a spot on his crew to prove myself. Haven’t looked back since.”

Peter looks sheepish and cautiously hopeful before Yondu squashes it.

“Now, don’t be gettin’ any ideas. I ain’t doin’ this out’a the kindness o’ my non-existent heart or some stupid shit like that. I ain’t soft on you. You’re an investment, kid, an’ I aim to collect a return on all the time and hard-earned money I spent on you, so you best be earnin’ or into the stewpot you go.”

He frowns. This again?

“But, I believe yer goin’a make a fine Ravager some day,” Yondu grasps his shoulder, turning Peter to look him directly in the eye.

“So, prove me right, son.”