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Daze And Pumpkin Spice

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It took time, but eventually Scott recovered from his time as a captive. Not completely, but he was more or less back to his usual self. He hung out with the team on the family floor, helped them out during missions or attacks, and continued to be a great father to Cassie. His behavior around Quill changed though. Not dramatically, but the celestial had been watching Scott like a hawk and was looking for the signs. Like the way Scott wore more high collared shirts, turtlenecks, sweaters, anything to hide the scars on his neck. How he avoided looking at anything that reflected his image...and how he turned away from Quill's comforting presence in the middle of the night when he woke from a bad dream. It wasn't a daily thing though. Those days, Quill  dubbed the bad ones. The really bad days? Those were when Scott's scars flared up and he couldn't stand having anything touching them. No clothes, sometimes hurt bad enough that he couldn't turn his head.

On those days, Quill would stop his reach for the clothes to hide his neck and gently redirect him to his normal attire. The nights Scott turned away, the celestial would wake and turn onto his side to bring his boyfriend back against his chest as a silent reminder that he was there. Whenever Scott stared too long at his reflection, Quill did whatever he could to garner the younger's attention and distract him. It kind of disturbed the pirate whenever he caught Scott staring at his reflection because he never seemed to quite be looking at his reflection. Like the lights were on but nobody was home. It was one of the big reasons Quill distracted him.

Another reason being that Scott zoned out so much that he was burning breakfast.

"Babe! The eggs!" Quill shouts as he rushes over to turn off the stove (one of the few things he knew how to do with it) and Scott blinks and looks down at the charcoalized eggs.
"They probably taste like it now too." Quill jokes and Scott rolls his eyes before dumping the pan into the sink.
"The bacon and sausage are fine. I'll get some pancakes started-"
"Nope. Don't move."

Scott tilts his head in confusion as Quill leaves the kitchen and up the steps to Cassie's bedroom door. Since he couldn't cook with appliances to save his life, Cassie would have to finish making breakfast. It was a good thing she liked cooking, and even if she didn't, all Quill had to do was tell her that her dad was having an off day and she would help in an instant. Quill still told her Scott was having an off morning when she opened her door in her pajamas, and she quickly agreed to finish breakfast while Quill helped Scott get his day back on track. It was a ritual of sorts and they did their best to pretend that Cassie wasn't aware of Scott's dilemmas. It only made him feel worse when he knew his daughter was worrying about him so she and Quill agreed it was best she feigned ignorance.

Once breakfast was taken care of, Quill went back down to the kitchen to take Scott up to their room and keep him out of his head. After having the younger sit on the bed, Quill sat beside him and gently moved the neckline of his shirt to kiss the scars littered at the base of his neck. A show that he didn't see Scott any differently because of the physical reminder of the torture he sustained. Scott was a little insecure about them. He actually thought that Quill wouldn't want him anymore and when the pirate found out, it broke his heart. His kisses always led to bringing Scott into a tight hug. Another silent promise that he was there and very much still wanted Scott. Imperfections or not.

"Where did you go?" Quill asks quietly against raised skin.
"I'm fine now."

So Scott was going for the deflecting method. Deep down, he knew Quill loved him no matter what, but now there's was always a small part of him that wondered the what ifs. Like what if Quill was lying to him? What if one day he decided the scars were horrifying to look at and he went back to space...

...and left him behind?

It was a big fear of Scott's, and Quill only knew about it because he had a really bad day. All of his moments in one day kind of day. One that had him breaking down in their room because his neck hurt, the nightmares plagued him, and every part of him wanted to dig himself a hole to crawl into and hide. That night it took hours to get Scott to calm down and a majority of it was spent not touching him at all because Quill didn't want to hurt him further. That is until he managed to use his powers to simultaneously make his hands hot or cold depending on what Scott needed. It was easier to soothe him after that and Quill found himself sitting against the wall with Scott sleeping against his chest and a hand pressed against the scars, and his back was killing him.

He never moved though. He let Scott sleep as long as he needed it because he absolutely did need it. His nightmares always had some of his memories of his time with that crazy bitch.

"Try again sugar."
Scott slowly relaxes into the attention Quill gives to his scars and the gentle circles being rubbed into his back. "...there."
"What about now?" The pirate asks carefully.
"Here. Home." Arms wrap around Quill. "With you...and Cassie."
"Okay. Good. What are your plans for today?"
"Grocery shopping."

Well now Quill knew what triggered Scott's episode. That was what he was on his way to take care of when he got taken. Maybe he was having some anxiety over the trip. Thankfully it didn't always happen and if it did, Cassie went with him and he was fine...but it looked like it was one of those days Scott needed the extra security. He was a grown man that could take care of himself, but even he needed to be taken care of.

Quill would give him that security without a second thought, even if he despised the grocery store. There was food at the store that made him think it was part carnival or something and it always threw him for a loop. Just when he thought he finally saw everything he missed over the past thirty years, something new always popped up.

Scott and Cassie started to make a game out of it.

"I'll go with you today. Will that help?"
"It's okay. I'll be fine. I know you hate the store." Scott mumbles.
"Total understatement but I love you more than I hate the store. So we're going to go down and eat the incredible breakfast that Cass no doubt fixed, and then you can drag me kicking and screaming to the grocery store. Sound good?"

Finally, Scott laughed. Granted, it wasn't a full laugh, more of a chuckle,  but Quill would take it. He got Scott away from a certain mindset and that was his main objective. Now he just had to eat breakfast and survive the grocery store.

"Hey Spaceman?"
"Yeah babe?"
Quill grins. "Well if you insist."

He pushes the younger onto his back on the bed and Scott shouts out in surprise before trying to scramble away.

"I didn't mean me!" Scott attempts to push the celestial off of him, but of course it was like trying to move a brick wall.
"You weren't specific!"
"Quill, you have issues!"
"Of course I have--OH SHIT!"

Quill yells when his left hand meets air instead of the bed and he falls off the side of the bed and lands with a loud thud when his back hits the floor. Despite the temporary pain, it got an actual laugh out of Scott who was trying to stifle it with a fist.

"Real breakfast Quill."
"You are real breakfast." The god quips and earns an eye roll from Scott.
"Just for that, I'm not helping you up."
"You won't need to because you'll be helping yourself up."
"What-" Quill pulls Scott down on top of him and traps him in a bear hug. "Ugh! You suffocating teddy bear!"

The couple struggle on the ground for a few moments until Quill finally releases Scott with a chuckle. They get back up when Cassie yells for them to go eat breakfast, but before Scott opens their bedroom door, he turns back to Quill and pulls him down into a kiss. A thank you follows as soon as they move apart and the two go back downstairs to enjoy the meal that Scott started and Cassie saved. Quill would have felt useless on their floor since Scott and Cassie did the cooking, and Scott had his company for extra funds, but Quill had his own way of contributing. A big part of it being a sense of security for both Cassie and Scott. He also did some of the heavy lifting for those days when Cassie wanted to do some thorough cleaning, and he actually had to use his size to intimidate someone that had the gall to bother her at the mall. He and Scott were elsewhere in the mall so Cassie could do her own thing, but one text from her had Quill running to her location. Scott received the text, showed it to the celestial, and the next moment Quill was off. The look at the guy's face when he saw Quill was priceless and they were pretty sure he might have wet himself.

After breakfast, they cleaned up and all three of them went to the store. Cassie said there were a couple of things she wanted to get in the non-grocery area and Scott just dragged Quill through the store. Quill almost had a meltdown when he saw pumpkin flavored cheerios.

"Why? Why? Who wants their cereal to taste like vegetables?!"
Scott rolls his eyes and takes the box out of Quill's hands and puts it back. "How is it you find something to complain about every time we visit a store?"
"I thought space was supposed to be weird!"
"It is weird. To normal earth dwellers like us. You on the other hand think things that are normal to us..."
Quill huffs and folds his arms, his muscles straining against his shirt and causing a a couple of nearby woman to ogle. "Pumpkin flavored everything is not normal Scotty."
"I agree...but don't yell at Cassie."
"Why would I yell at...?"

He looks toward the end of the aisle they're in and finds Cassie walking toward them with not only her armful of items, but also an orange drink in her free hand. She dumps her things in the cart, looks back up, and tilts her head curiously when she finds Quill glowering at her drink.

"What's wrong Papa?"
"What in the fresh hell are you drinking?!"
"Uh...a pumpkin spice frappuccino. Want to try?" Cassie offers up the drink and Quill grimaces.
"No. I'll pass thanks."

The teen shrugs and contentedly sips her drink as they continue shopping, the celestial grabbing things just out of reach, and the rest of the errand almost passed by quietly. Almost. Toward the end, when Scott and Cassie were grabbing the last couple of things on the list, they lost track of Quill. They weren't worried because he wandered off, that man could most definitely take care of himself, but when he wandered off in a place that sold food? It was a meltdown waiting to happen.

"Where's Quill?" Scott asks as he looks around the aisle he and Cassie are in.
She does the same and frowns. "He was right next to me."
"Maybe he went to the-" Scott starts.
"PUMPKIN SPICE VODKA?!" They hear from a few aisles away.
"...bathroom. Cassie, go get your dumbass other dad."
Cassie giggles. "We'll meet you at the register."