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Planetside Afternoon

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Gamora was rather surprised that Rocket did not insist he be the one to carry Groot. But while the size of a sapling, Groot in his pot was a fair weight. From how Rocket was behaving he preferred to be striding ahead of her through the planetside market, unburdened, to choose directions and point out possibilities.

Groot tucked himself in the crook of Gamora's arm. She wondered (not for the first time) if he liked the shade of her skin. It might be that he was reminded of leaves.

She had temporarily lost Rocket in the crowd, not for the first time this afternoon. Gamora had let Rocket guide their path for the most part, accepting that he was frequently distracted. Some minutes back (helped by Groot leaning to one side and waving one of his stick arms) she had found Rocket examining a broad-spectrum light. Her suspicion was that this time Rocket was trying to find fertilizer. He had seemed very enthusiastic about that suggestion from Drax back on the ship. "Lots of things grow in shit," Rocket had said. "Groot might like having some." Gamora tried very hard not to think of Rocket as an animal, but at times...

She was herself distracted by several flowers, whirling apparently rootless on the ground, and chiming softly. A silver-haired young woman near the stall (on the wrong side to be the proprietor) said "They're singing."

"I believe they are dancing," Gamora answered. She had a goal of practicing civilized conversation with people other than her shipmates.

Would Groot like having company? But flower song might clash with Peter's music. Or it might be that flowers needed to be kept in pairs, like pets, and that would be too much of an addition to the ship to be practical.

Groot was craning around to look at the woman, who extended one single-jointed hand towards them. Gamora was aware that Rocket had come up behind them and was sputtering, no doubt about launch into something indignant. But the woman seemed harmless to Gamora, who had assessed that of many people.

"You're here to get something for your plant-person?" the woman asked with the air of one who already knew the answer. Then, to Rocket, "or you're worried about him. If I might just—"

Considering her harmless or no, Gamora kept a firm grip on Groot's pot. But the woman did nothing more than touch the short white horn on her forehead to Groot's trunk and stand for a moment with her eyes closed. Straightening up, she moved backwards a step or three, all too appropriate when Rocket might be inconveniently upset.

"He doesn't need squat from you!" Rocket said loudly, confirming Gamora's expectation.

But the woman was surprisingly calm and for her own part remained polite. "He doesn't need anything," she said as she spread her empty hands. "He's happy. No need to be healed at all. You're taking good care of him."

"Obviously we are," Rocket said gruffly. "Got to go now, but nice to meet you, lady."

"Acorna," she supplied, smiling a little as she nodded at Groot, then turned back to the mobile