"Boss, you have an incoming call from the Doctor."
"Yup." The line clicks over the speakers. "Hey Honey. I thought you were at-"
"Tony. I need help." Stephen interrupts, sounding a little out of breath. "Some rogue sorcerer's summoned a monster and I can't handle both it and the rogues."
Tony goes toward the window and taps his housing unit before jumping out the window, the phone call automatically transferring to his suit. He asks FRIDAY to send the rest of the Avengers to Stephen's location (sans Peter and Harley since they were at school), and as soon as he finds his husband, he lands in front of him and fires his repulsors at the monster. The rest of the team arrive little by little, the first ones being Wanda and Vision. In fact, everyone arrived before Quill and Scott. Which was kind of surprising since those two were usually one of the first ones on the scene. Then again...
"Porcupine! You and Thumbelina better not be playing hide the cannoli!" Tony says over the comm.
"We didn't get that far." Quill replies back through the comm. "Thanks for that by the way."
Tony grins behind his mask as he shoots another repulsor at the monster, something the engineer was sure came straight out of a horror movie. It was like a large feral dog that was zombified and had some weird gray smoke coming out of its mouth. Not like smoke from a fire, but magical. Harley would like it.
"Tony, can you help with the rogues? I can take care of the monster." Stephen says and the elder man nods before flying off.
Stephen just needed to banish the beast, but the spell would take a few moments. As he conjures up the spell, the monster snarls dangerously and stands low to the ground, its mouth lighting up as more of the gray smoke hovered around its mouth. Stephen just needed a few more moments and then he could cast the spell, but then the beast opened its mouth. Everything happened slowly in that moment. The gray smoke collected into a condensed ball before shooting out at Stephen, and the sorcerer threw out his own spell right before he was pushed to the ground, the air rushing out of his lungs. Dazed, he watched as the condensed ball of gray, dense energy struck Quill (who had been the one to push Stephen) who get thrown onto the ground, and then the celestial jumps back up to his feet. He holds out his guns to shoot an approaching rogue, now that the monster was successfully banished, and Stephen watches in horror as the god stiffens. Stone gray covers Quill's body, leaving a perfect statue of the man after just seconds. Natasha barely runs up to the rogue in time to knock him out before he casts a spell to destroy Quill's petrified body, thus Quill himself, and then actually realizes what she had prevented and stops.
The rest of the Avengers ended up having to take care of the rest of the rogues because the Sorcerer Supreme was frozen in his position on the ground. Their resident god had pushed Stephen out of the way of a petrification spell and took it instead, and now he had turned to stone.
It should have been him.
"Oh my god." Natasha whispers as Tony flies back over to Stephen and helps him to his feet.
"Tesoro!" He gently grabs Stephen's face, and then follows the man's gaze when he doesn't get his attention. When he sees Quill's petrified form, the blood runs from his face. "Please tell me that's not what I think it is."
Wanda was the next to discover the group and she immediately covered her mouth. One by one, the team gathered together and discovered their frozen comrade, until finally, Scott flew over and grew to normal size as he jumped off his flying ant. He looks at them curiously when they give him looks of pity, and when they move away from Quill, Scott nearly fell to his knees in despair.
With great care, they took Quill back to the tower and placed him on the training floor, safely away from anything that could be thrown, and Stephen threw himself into his books. He was desperate to find a way to reverse Quill's petrification; not to relieve himself of his guilt, but for Scott and Cassie. Especially Scott.
He almost never left Quill's side, and constantly stood in front of the celestial to touch stone features. His hands either touching Quill's face or reaching up to touch the grooves of petrified hair.
"He's cold." Scott says quietly. "He's not supposed to be cold."
Quill ran warm, like a furnace, so it was understandable that Scott was disturbed by the feeling of cold stone. He always talked about how the celestial was the one who kept him warm at night, wrapped around Scott like his own personal living blanket. Everyone was disturbed by the sight if they were honest. Some of the team even took to training elsewhere because they couldn't stand to see Scott grieve over the celestial. Cassie was devastated as well, but she actually stayed away because it hurt her to see Quill the way he was, and how Scott was inconsolable.
"I'm looking for a way to reverse this." Stephen tells Scott one day. "If it were my husband..."
Scott looks at the sorcerer and laughs hollowly. "You know?"
Stephen points at the ring on Quill's finger, which had also turned to stone. "I saw it a few days ago but I wasn't positive until I saw yours." He then motions towards Scott's hand.
The thief looks back to his petrified husband. "Am I bad luck? My marriage with Maggie failed, nothing really happened with Hope, and now Quill..."
"No. What Quill did had nothing to do with you. He took a spell that was meant for me." Stephen says quietly. "I promise to find a way to fix this. It's the least I can do."
"...I need him."
Stephen only nodded. He knew. They all knew. They all saw the difference Quill made in Scott's life. But now he felt cold. The bed was too big, the nights too cold, and the world too big. Scott had grown so used to Quill's presence that he hated being without it. He wanted the bed to be filled by a second body, for the sometimes unbearable heat that came off Quill in waves to envelop him again, and he definitely wanted to be held again. The closest he got to any of that was to wrap his arms around the neck of his stone husband and use his imagination. An imagination that failed him. Quill was hard in all the wrong ways. He missed the firm muscles, the gentle way Quill's lips brushed against his neck. He missed his laughter, and the soft purr that came from deep in his chest when he rested. He missed everything that made Quill the person he loved and needed by his side, but all that was left was a stone shell.
A week turned into two...three...and then a full month had passed before Stephen even came across a hint of a possibility of a reversal spell. During that time, Scott had fallen into depression. He barely slept as nightmares of Quill being destroyed plagued his dreams. He ate less even though the others tried to get him to eat something, and he only ate enough to get them to stop. He lost a little bit of weight, there were dark bags under his eyes...he just looked awful. Cassie only visited once, and that was when they first brought Quill home. It wasn't because she didn't care, but because she did. Quill was as much a father to her as Scott was and she hated seeing him in stone. It was wrong to her and she almost regretted the first visit because if this wasn't fixable, that's not how she wanted to remember him. Cassie missed the security Quill provided just as much as Scott did.
As much as Scott wanted to hope that he would get Quill back, he also knew that it was only a small possibility. It might not work. He was already preparing himself for the worst outcome. It was very likely he would never get the love of his life back.
His light. In both the figurative and literal sense. Quill was a Celestial, a god of light. Something else Scott desperately missed.
"Scott...can you step aside please?" Stephen asks and the thief sighs as he nods and gives the sorcerer the space he needs.
He had come up with a spell that was supposed to turn Quill back to normal, and the main reason he needed Scott to move was because they didn't know how close the celestial was to shooting his guns. If the spell worked, Stephen didn't want anyone to get hurt. Once Scott is at a safe distance, Stephen forms the spell and sends it at Quill's chest, orange sparks spreading through the stone before disappearing.
A few seconds pass.
"Well?" Scott pleads.
Stephen remains quiet for a few more moments before looking through the few books he brought with him when nothing further happens. "Maybe I missed something. I'll keep looking."
Scott's shoulders slump in dejection. "Stephen...maybe you should get some sleep."
"I could say the same about you." Stephen replies quietly.
"I know...I know." Scott rubs his eyes. "...I'm starting to wonder if this is-"
A loud crack echoes through the room, and both Stephen and Scott look back toward the petrified man in the room. Cracks begin to spread throughout the stone and then suddenly crumble away, revealing flesh and clothing, and Quill gasps loudly. He lowers his arms and looks around the training floor in confusion, and then looks at the two other gobsmacked men in the room.
"How did I get here?" Quill asks.
A strangled noise escapes from Scott's mouth as he slowly approaches his husband, and Quill gives him a strange look when he slowly lifts a shaking hand to place on his cheek. Scott chokes on a sob when he feels warmth and soft skin, and immediately throws his arms around Quill's neck and buries his face into it. The celestial reciprocates the hug, albeit a bit confused, and Scott's skin sang at the contact. The moment strong arms finished wrapping around him, the thief basked in Quill's smell of leather and space as the coldness in his very soul was chased away.
"Did I miss something?" Quill asks Stephen, who was watching the scene with no small amount of relief.
"Do you remember being hit?"
"Yeah...then I got back up. But now I'm here."
"You were hit by a spell. One that turned you to stone."
It was then that Scott pulled one of his arms away from around Quill's neck and curled his hand into a fist to bring down on the taller man's chest. "You're not allowed to do that! You're not allowed to propose to me, to marry me, and then turn into stone! It's been a whole month you asshole!"
Then Scott properly broke down into silent tears. The moment Quill felt the wetness on his neck, he tightened his hold on Scott and brought one of his hands up to cup the back of his head. Stephen leaves after quietly letting them know that he's going to find Cassie and send her down, and the celestial pushes Scott away a couple of minutes later to look at him and wipe away his tears.
"I leave you alone for five seconds and you turn into a mess. How have you survived until now?" Quill says with a smirk and is immediately rewarded with another thud of Scott's fist against his chest.
"You're not allowed to joke about this. But to answer your stupid question...it was because I didn't know what I was missing until you." The younger thief sniffs and presses himself back up against Quill. "Please don't take that away from me again."
"I'm sorry sugar." Quill mutters into dark hair before kissing Scott's temple.
"Papa!" The pirate barely looks up in time to catch the second body that throws itself at him, and tightens his hold on both Scott and Cassie.
"We're turning into a real mess aren't we?" He asks and Scott sighs against his neck.
"We might give Tony and them a run for their money at this rate."
"I thought you were a god." Cassie sasses half-heartedly and Quill chuckles.
"I'm immortal. Not invincible. Although I can still take a bit more than everyone else can."
"Shut up Spaceman. You're ruining the moment."
Quill stares toward the elevators for a few quiet minutes and then raises an eyebrow.
"Speaking of moments, I'm pretty sure you just announced we were married to Stephen."
"He figured it out." Scott and Cassie say in unison and the Celestial's chest rumbles in amusement.
"I'm not surprised. Anyone else?"
Both of them shake their heads. No one else knew that they knew of but it wouldn't take much longer. Stephen would probably let it slip to Tony, who in turn might let it slip around one of the kids. If it ended up being Harley, then the news would spread like wildfire. Peter was almost just as bad.
"Oh wait." Cassie says and looks up at Scott and Quill with a meek expression. "Dia knows. I told her."
"Also not surprising." Quill says with another laugh.