This chapter might be a bit more further ahead than the rest seeing as how it's their one year anniversary. So, it might be considered more stand-alone than the other chapters. Took me a freakishly long amount of time to come up with this too.
Ugh… Peter hated meetings like this. It had all the stereotypes of the old spy movies he'd grown up with. Dark and seedy corner of some raggedy town? Check. Guy whose name he didn't even know? Check. Coming alone and stuck waiting? Check and check.
"Mr. Quill, I trust you have what my master requested?" Oh, and how could Peter forget the cliché of his meetup wearing a face obscuring hood?
This was for Gamora, Peter again had to remind himself.
"Yup. Here's the uh… thingy you asked for." Peter offered up the leather pouch he'd brought. A fancy name came with the object but Peter for the life of him couldn't even remember it. Honestly, he actually didn't even care, as long as it wasn't something that went boom if improperly handled.
The hooded guy took the pouch and opened it up to reveal the small statuette within. "Hmm… undamaged too. Quite impressive. My master will be pleased."
"Yeah, yeah." Peter really wanted to get this over with. "And the payment?"
"Ah yes." From within his coat, the hooded man produced a small device. "With the specifications as requested. It's usable immediately, I was asked to make sure of it."
Finally! Peter had spent two whole months looking for something like this. He'd finally broken down and gone to an extremely unlikely source to get the damn thing. But it was going to be totally worth it if things went how he planned.
"Pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Quill." The hooded man vanished into thin air the moment Peter had taken the device.
Good riddance. As much as Peter avoided the back door, the more unlawful channels, he had no choice but to use them. When what you needed was near impossible to find, and you didn't mind the less legal route, there was only a single person in the galaxy to go to.
It was a long shot at the time, but Peter had grown desperate. Naturally, his fame as a Guardian of the Galaxy was enough to get Peter's foot in the door, but not enough to get what he wanted for free. 'A relic for a relic', the Collector had told Peter in his message.
Peter had shuddered when told that. Fortunately, what he needed was what was on the device, not the device itself. The Collector had agreed to trade a copy for something valuable as opposed to a priceless artifact worth more than a planet.
He was cutting his timing a little close, but Peter finally had what he needed. All that remained was to deliver it back to the Milano and hope he got a fraction of the reaction he was hoping for.
Returning to the Milano, Peter was immediately greeted with the sight of a suspicious Gamora.
"Where have you been?" Gamora's eyes narrowed, arms folded across her chest.
"Running errands." Peter threw up a disarming smile, but knew internally it wasn't going to cut it here. Gamora knew him too well to fall for his act. A year as a couple tended to do that.
"You were in the wrong part of town for that." Gamora's countenance shifted into a full-on glare. "You were doing something you shouldn't have been, weren't you?" Out of all of them, Gamora was the one most against any form of criminal activity. Even the tiniest petty theft was viewed as utterly sinful in her eyes. Granted most of what they did tended to at worst skim the edge of the law, they never went over it. At least when they could avoid it.
Peter chuckled nervously. "Hey, I wasn't breaking any laws." Well, at least none Peter was aware of anyway.
"Uh huh." Gamora's eyebrow arched ever so slightly, but her glare did not relent. "What's her name?"
"Jannet." Peter shrugged. "We got coffee and had a lovely time walking in the smog clouds and even took a dip in the..." Peter couldn't help it, he burst into laughter. "Sorry, I couldn't do that with a straight face."
"You always were a poor liar." Gamora's glare had been replaced with a small smile as she made her way over to her boyfriend. "Drax could give you pointers."
"Ouch." Peter held a hand to his chest. "That hurts, truly, such a low blow. I lie just fine thank you very much." Just not to you. Peter didn't say that out loud, but he certainly thought it.
"I'm sure you can." Gamora lightly patted Peter's cheek. "So where were you anyway? Rocket said you took off almost as soon as we landed."
"Where is everybody else anyway?" Peter really hoped the others were not onboard. He didn't want an audience for this.
"Drax is checking out rumors of a new blade merchant, Rocket and Groot and probably reading local job boards in town." Gamora answered with a curious glint in her eyes. "You didn't answer my question."
"Yeah, about that." Peter felt his stomach twisting into knots. Earlier he was sure and confident, now he was losing his nerve somewhat. This was going to be a swing or a miss. Hopefully worse scenario was a screaming out.
"Peter Jason Quill, what did you do?" Oh how Peter hated when Gamora used his full name. It sounded way too much like a mother scolding their kid for his liking.
"Here." Peter always was a rip-the-bandage-off-fast kind of person. If something unpleasant needed to be done, best get it over with. So here he was, all but shoving the device he procured into his girlfriend's hands.
Gamora eyed the small device with mild confusion. "I have seen these before." Gamora turned the item over in her hands. "They are quite similar to your Walkman correct?"
"Sorta." Peter was originally working on a way of sneaking to earth for a different Walkman, or at least whatever his homeworld used twenty years later. He was lucky he found an alien version that did basically the same thing. It made his plan a whole lot easier.
"Today is out anniversary." Gamora wasn't asking a question, it was like she was realizing the reason for being given such an item. "I do enjoy listening to yours. Is that what is on this?"
"Uh no actually." Peter chuckled, his guts doing backflips. "Just… listen to it for a moment."
Gamora found where the 'headphones' detached with a quick glance. Taking them out, she put them into her ears and flipped the player on.
They were even wireless and a fraction of the size too! Remarkable!
Peter knew he had tells when he was nervous, such as the way he was fidgeting at the moment. Most people didn't know this, but after a year together, Gamora had figured out every single one. Which was why she immediately put a hand on Peter's own and gave a small smile to reassure him.
The hand and smile both immediately fell after a few moments of listening.
Peter had seen Gamora surprised before, that wasn't that hard to do. But this was complete and utter shock at what she was hearing. Perhaps even some disbelief thrown into the mix.
"Peter… this is… I recognize this." Gamora never stammered, but she did now.
Oh, thank god. Peter had listened to the player briefly on the jog back to the Milano to make sure he wasn't taken for a ride. Since he had never heard it himself, Peter had to trust it was what he was told. The Collector was above all a man of business, at least Peter hoped that's what he was.
Judging by Gamora's response, it was exactly what he bought.
"Where… how did you possibly find Zehoberi music?" Gamora could only stare in disbelief.
"Made a few calls, cut a few deals." Peter explained cryptically, he really didn't want to let her know he'd gone to the Collector.
"I haven't heard this since…" Gamora trailed off as she listened to the player.
Peter didn't need to hear the rest to know what she meant. During Gamora's abduction, Thanos had exterminated her entire people. Gamora had told Peter this back on Knowhere almost a year ago.
Peter found out more on his own later. Thanos didn't just kill the Zehoberi people, he slaughtered their culture. Art, music, nearly everything about them he found and destroyed. What little remained was in the hands of people like the Collector.
"The only thing I have left of my past is my Walkman." Peter hesitantly took one of Gamora's hands in his own. "It's the only part I have left of where I came from, and of my mom. At least I have that. You didn't get anything to hold on to. I wanted to give you at least a piece to…"
Gamora crashed into Peter so hard the breath was blown clear from his lungs, Gamora's arms around him almost crushing him. Peter grinned before returning the embrace.
"Thank you, Peter." Gamora whispered, her voice betraying the tears she held back.
Peter's hand rubbed her lower back. "It was my pleasure babe."
All too soon, Gamora pulled away until she was at arm's length from Peter. He knew that look she was giving him now. The way her eyes searched his face, the nearly invisible biting of her lip. Gamora was debating something.
"Come on." Gamora took Peter by the hand and dragged him along, completely willingly, behind her.
Peter was curious where they were going, but was perfectly fine with waiting until his girlfriend revealed what she was thinking.
Once they had reached the communal dining area, Gamora broke away and moved over to the ship's intercom. As Peter watched, she hooked up her new music player to the ships comm. The low rhythm of the music echoing throughout the ship.
With the music playing, Gamora turned around and stood before Peter, offering her hand to him. "Dance with me?"
"That's was my line." Peter took the hand without missing a beat.
Gamora was not a dancer. This much Peter had learned long ago. More than once he had to beg and plead on his knees, one time literally, to get her to dance with him. Gamora always thought she looked foolish but would on rare occasions humor him.
Peter briefly wondered where his girlfriend went, because surely this wasn't his Gamora.
"Somebody's been practicing." Peter grinned bigger than he could ever remember as he slowly twirled Gamora around before pulling her back closer so that their arms were around each other, their bodies swaying to the beat.
"I thought about it." Gamora was blushing, but didn't avoid Peter's eyes. "And came to understand it is much like combat training. Footwork, moves, stances. It's like a non-lethal battle."
"Huh." Peter had to admit, that was a new one. "Never thought about it like that. Good point."
"I do feel bad, this was supposed to be your present." Gamora frowned. "Yours was… I cannot even describe it. I do not know how I can repay what you've given me."
Peter just laughed. Being Gamora's first ever anniversary in her life, Peter wouldn't have been surprised if she forgot the day. "You're kidding, right? This is like the coolest thing I've been given since my Walkman."
"Really?" Gamora showed her trust in Peter when he dipped her nearly to the floor. Her eyes showing nothing but pure trust and affection.
"Absolutely." Peter lifted her back up and kissed her softly on the lips. "Best anniversary ever."
This right here was everything Peter could have ever asked for. Dancing with his beloved Gamora to the sound of music that brought his girlfriend such joy? Peter couldn't imagine a better way to spend this day.
Who needed fancy celebrations and dinners when you had this?
"Best anniversary ever." Gamora agreed.
Honestly, it felt a little rushed when I was done. Maybe that's my own imagination though.
At least I'm not as far behind as I was on my written work. Next chapter will hopefully be the uncensored 'First Time" chapter. As I think I said before, it will be posted as a separate M story instead of on here, I'd rather keep this rated T.