"Uh, sure, buddy," Peter said, trying to think if there was anything that could have given him away. The Asgardians didn't know about the Ravagers did they? They wouldn't recognize the insignia on his coat.
Unfortunately, the way that Thor was eyeing the little flame on his red long-coat suggested otherwise.
"How can I help you out?" Peter continued, wondering how he was going to get himself out of this one if things went south.
Thor didn't answer, but grabbed one of the chairs that one of the agents had left sitting by the table.
"Uh, you can leave, Jimmy," Clint told the young agent that was still hovering anxiously by the threshold. "And close the door."
Once that was done, the three of them were left there in the silence. Peter was starting to feel a little awkward since both blondes were staring at him.
"Uh..." Peter broke the silence first. "Did something happen, big guy?"
"I returned to Asgard to speak with my father," Thor began. "Once that was finished, I sought to return to Midgard, but Heimdall and the warriors three brought a concerning matter to my attention."
"Okay..." Peter said, trying to figure out what Thor was trying to hint at.
"One of the warriors, Hogun, was on his home world of Vanaheim during Malakith's invasion."
"Uh, actually," Clint broke in. "Hate to interrupt, but, uh, Thor? If you want to let SHIELD in on what happened here and by you? That would be awesome."
Thor paused from what he was going to say and looked over to Clint like he was seeing him for the first time. And if Peter wasn't mistaken, he was looking at him with a hell of a lot of guilt.
"My apologies, friend Clint," Thor said, making Peter worry as he realized that Thor hadn't addressed him as friend. "I will tell you the entirety of the tale at a later date."
Clint nodded. "Fair enough."
"Uh, back to what Thor was saying," Peter said, trying to direct the conversation back to the previous topic. "Vanaheim? Did they find the military guy there? That guy I passed on the way here?"
Thor looked confused for a moment before shaking his head.
"No other Midgardian was found on Vanaheim after the events of the convergence," Thor told them.
"Oh, Barthes?" Clint said. "The guy in the plane? Yeah, he wasn't there for very long. Came right back to Earth."
"Oh, awesome," Peter said, feeling the exact opposite. What else could there be on Vanaheim? Surely the Ravagers wouldn't-
"Hogun met with a strange band of off-worlders," Thor plowed on. "They called themselves Ravagers and were looking for their lost companion."
"Uh, wow," Peter said. "Imagine that."
"Yes," Thor said, his electric blue stare was haunting and Peter started to feel more than a little uncomfortable. "Heimdall tells me that these Ravagers are outlaws. Thieves of some sort or worse. He also tells me that they wear your sigil and colors."
"Uh... " Peter was definitely feeling uncomfortable now. "Did you, uh, get any names off these guys? I mean, just because they were dressed like me-"
"Their leader was a Centaurian named Yondu Udonta," Thor said.
"Fuck," Peter couldn't help but say. "Fuck, Yondu? God damnit. What did you guys tell him?"
Peter couldn't help but feel panicked. If Yondu had gone searching for him that probably meant that Yondu was worried or something. Which would only make him angry. Angry at Peter specifically since he wasn't dying in a ditch somewhere, but hanging out on his home planet. Fuck.
"So they are your companions?" Thor asked, accusing.
"Yes, no, well yes," Peter tried to answer. "It's not that simple."
"So make it simple," Clint added, not looking nearly as amused as he had before.
"Look," Peter said. "It's not like I left Earth at eight years old all by myself. Yondu and the Ravagers picked me up, and I've been with them ever since. Yondu's my..."
At this, Peter wasn't quite sure what to say. What exactly was his relationship to Yondu anyway? Son? Friend? Brother? And how did Yondu think of him?
"He's my boss, I guess," Peter admitted, the only thing he could say for certain. "He's been threatening to let the crew eat me for the last twenty years or so. Like that's not getting old. Wants me to be grateful he doesn't 'let' them or something. Yeah, whatever..."
Clint held a hand up to stop Peter's nonsensical grumbling now.
"So, what exactly are you trying to say here?" Clint asked. "Are you friends with these guys or what?"
"Friend's a strong word," Peter said. "Look, these guys kidnapped me. And they threaten every once in a while to eat me. I'm not exactly ovelry fond of the smelly bastards, but it's a job, okay? And if I want to eventually get away from these guys, I need money."
"You are on Midgard," Thor told him, confused. "This is your home world. Why not stay here?"
"Well," Peter began, feeling a little exasperated. "Number one, Yondu knows this is my home world, too. First place he'll look for my ship. Number two, what am I going to do on Earth? I didn't even finish the third grade. Any skills I have are for out there."
Peter pointed up as he said this. And as he said this, he realized he completely meant it. He'd been avoiding Earth for so long and this was why. He was useless here, less than no one. But out in the rest of the universe, he was Star Lord.
"SHIELD could give you a job," Clint began to offer, but Peter shook his head.
"Look I know you're suspicious of me," Peter told the both of them. "I'm sorry I lied to you, and I know I shouldn't have been on Vanaheim, but that's how I get paid. I steal stuff. But it doesn't get any worse than that."
Thor looked pensive, thinking over and weighing the worth of Peter's words.
"You wish to leave these... Ravagers?" Thor asked finally.
"Yeah, I wish I could leave them," Peter said. "But I can't do that just at this moment. I've been waiting these last few years for the right chance."
"I see," Thor said, still looking like he was thinking hard about something. Probably whether he was going to smash Peter with that hammer of his. Peter hoped that he wasn't going to choose that option.
"Very well," Thor said. "Although you did not have the noblest intentions, you did not commit any crimes on Vanaheim and neither did these Ravagers. I have no problems letting you go free."
"Well, even though it's not up to the God of Thunder here, I'd have to agree," Clint chimed in. "You haven't done anything illegal, and as long as you leave with the same record, you'll be fine. Can't really hold you. I mean, sure, the higher-ups probably want us to, but you've given us enough information about aliens to keep everyone happy for a while."
"Uh, awesome," Peter said, a little confused. "Does... uh, that mean I can go? I mean, you'll drop me off by my ship?"
Thor and Clint looked at each other. Thor shrugged and after a while so did Clint.
"Yeah, sure I'll give you a lift," Clint said.
"There's no need," Thor said. "The Lady Jane and her companions, Darcy and Ian, are waiting in front of the building."
"Uh, okay," Peter said. "I guess we should get going?"
Thor stared at him again, one of those odd, penetrating stares.
"Know this, Star Lord, if you should prove false, I shall not be lenient when we meet again," Thor said, and Peter was a little taken aback, not sure where this was coming from. Maybe the guy had been betrayed one too many times.
"Uh, okay, I swear," Peter said. "I'm hoping to jump ship within the year or something. Get a big score, lay low, and avoid Yondu for the rest of my life. That kind of thing. Maybe after a bit I can visit."
"Sounds good," Clint said, standing up and holding out his hand for Peter to shake. Peter got to his feet and took the hand, shaking it. "And stop by when you're in the neighborhood then. I think the guys got pretty attached to you."
Peter could only laugh.
"I'm so glad you're okay," Jane said to Peter as he tugged the tarp off his blue and orange baby. "But are you sure you want to leave so soon? You can stay as long as you like."
"Nah, I have to get going," Peter said. "SHIELD was pretty cool, but they ate up a lot of my time here. I have to get back or else my boss'll start going nuts."
"Well, alright," Jane conceded, giving Peter a quick hug before letting Darcy come up and punch him in the arm.
"Take care of yourself spaceman," Darcy said, and handed Peter a plastic bag. "And here's enough cds to last you a while. Comes deluxe with a handy dandy cd player too."
"Sure you can't put 'em to cassette?" Peter teased, holding the bag reverently.
"As if," Darcy scoffed. "Stop living in the stone ages."
Peter laughed and then turned to Thor. He'd already said his goodbyes to Dr. Selvig and Ian the Intern. Thor, however, was the one who knew the truth.
"So, until next time then?" Peter asked, tilting his head questioningly.
"Until next time," Thor said, and Peter was happy to hear the warmth in his voice. Thor was the kind of guy who was irresistible when happy, but crazy scary when mad. It was good to see him not upset.
Peter held out his hand, and Thor took it with a smile before pulling him into a hug.
"Woah! Alright," Peter said, crushed against the guy's shoulder. Peter patted him on the back awkwardly.
Thor finally let him go, and he was free to board the Milano.
"I'll be back when I get some time off or something," Peter promised, sending a meaningful look to Thor.
"You better," Darcy shouted, waving as Peter clambered into his ship and got ready for flight.
When Peter was settled and leaving Earth's atmosphere, he allowed himself to breathe.
"Great, now I have to call Yondu."