Madripoor - 1988
The exact moment the hatch of the Hiraeth opened, sweeping a hot wave of mugginess into the ship, Kraglin had announced vehemently the weather was “unjustifiable”. Immediately knocking mulishly at the air coolant control then shouting again as the decompressors huffed moisture into his face. Their open exit window off this Terra had ended hours ago. This left his first mate ruffled up like some angry scrawny bird, all elbows and angles raging, and Yondu with very little to do but roll his eyes while checking their coordinates to make sure they'd landed close enough to the checkpoint. They'd still make as hasty a get away as they could manage this late in the game.
"You sure about goin' alone, boss" Kraglin's head tilts over Yondu's shoulder, grease smeared over his cheek from crawling under the console to adjust settings for the humidity.
"Yea. Ain't nothin'. Jean-Luc may be a two bit thief but he ain't nothing to worry about. Sides need you here to watch the ship, and Spat is doin' alright keepin' the kid from shittin' himself so far."
Kraglin nodds, jerky but strong, the way he does when he doesn't like a plan but he agrees nonetheless. Yondu had told him before he was too loyal for his own good.
He'd meant it.
"Make sure Grovel doesn't eat him. I'll be back soon. 'M not wastin' no more time on this than we already have. Be ready to dispatch when I get back."
"Sure thing, Captain."
Had this been another planet, another time, another life, Yondu may have let himself lend a thought to the fact he actually particularly enjoyed this weather. He may have even risked Kraglin's expression at the admission. Madripoor is a miserable spit of land dropped somewhere along the Singapore Strait just off it's latest monsoon season. Heavy drops of rain still falling from the canopy catching on his Ravager Reds. The heat and rain left the air sticky and thick and perfect.
It nudged something in the back of his mind, prodded a scab of instinctive home sickness. Baser instincts he tried patently to ignore when he could. It was a world he hardly remembered but something his body still ached for under the right circumstances.
The coordinates given to them had left them on a half rotation from the main city. In other words: the middle of bum fuck nowhere.
Leave it to Lebeau to be as annoying as he was smart.
When Yondu breeches the wall of a half clearing it is with minimal stealth and maximum scowl. Refusing to let the muzzy warmth under his sleeves lift his moods. There are no pleasantries to be had here. Not for this human standing across the puddled ground.
Not on this Terra and not in this life.
"You better have a damn fine reason for dragging my pretty pert ass down to this shit hole, Lebeau"
The man turns and Yondu's mood does not improve one bit. Jean-Luc Lebeau hasn't aged in the many years since Yondu had seen him last. Nearly ten, maybe fifteen years, in earth standards and he still looks middle aged and fit as ever. Even having been born, to Yondu's understanding, nearly 100 years prior this he wears no show of it in any traditional human way.
This was all something Jean-Luc had explained to Yondu once, back in their early days. Back when they were partners, before Jean-Luc stole from him.
Something about an exclusive club and a fancy drink from some bossy tart. Yondu was too mad to recall faced with Jean-Luc's lying self.
"Yondu, it is good to see you mon'ami."
He had also forgotten it until just now it was Jean-Luc's accent he'd picked up back in the day. No wonder the kid had looked so confused after tapping the translator plug behind his ear. The Universal translator grabbed the first accent it heard from each world and meshed it in with the owner's natural voice, making the speech pattern more authentic while still unique to each individual. There was really no telling what he sounded like to human speakers, he couldn't imagine it was particularly entrancing.
"Don't you Ami me. You know we ain't friends no more, Lebeau. Now what you want, boy."
"Are we not friends anymore?"
"You know damn well-" Yondu cuts himself off, growling a deep sound and kicking an exposed root to reel himself in. "You know damn well," he starts again, finger jabbing out, a hair less explosive, "we ain't friends no more, Lebeau. You steal from me. Damn near get me caught out in the open, Ego on my ass, not to mention the almost mutiny. Or your little robber club ain't got no such thing as honour? You just throw each other under buses left and right for fun?"
Lebeau's eyes ticked to the side, "We are bad about that last bit on occasion. But it was nothin' personal Yondu. What I did it wasn't about you, and I wanted to explain, but you were gone before I could."
"There ain't no good reason-"
"It's a guild.."
"-What!" The small voice had chirped from behind the tree Lebeau had been leaned near at the start of their encounter. Young and restlessly jittery, a boy appears half hidden looking out at the blue alien. "The fuck you say, boy?" Yondu snaps back to Jean-Luc and points to the new addition to their soiree, "What? We tradin' now or are you givin' 'im back. Little late now ain't it?"
"I said it's a guild,” the kid pipes in again, “Not a club. It's a Thieves Guild." His voice is slightly stronger than before, lanky limbs yet to be grown into climbing out from behind the tree. The kid is only a few years older than Peter, the boy in the ship with Kraglin, but he holds himself stronger, like he was being trained to support the world on his shoulders. Like there's something not quite Human about him. Yondu stares long and hard, trying to center his rage at Lebeau away from the youngster.
"Yea, sure, alright. A Guild. 'Scuse me, kid. Why's he here. You obviously ain't givin' him back."
"He's here because I wanted you to meet him and to explain why I took him before you got to him." Jean-Luc's eyes rarely took a hard edge, had not to ever taken this edge to Yondu. Not during their escapades together and never even in the few life or death situations they'd seen. But standing here now, in the wet of Mardripoor's forest, Jean-Luc's face darkens and Yondu looks up to the sky. Looks for the small cluster of Centauri, the small cluster of a home that never wanted him, inhaling the humidity, tasting the mud and rain flavoured air. The bile taste in his throat rising tells him this story is not one he wants to hear, because it is one he has unknowingly played an antagonist in. Yondu Udonta of the Ravagers, nauseous and terrified, nods, “You got five minutes, Jean-Luc.”