Disclaimer: I own nothing. Marvel and Disney own all. The music is owned by the artists its credited to.
AN: This is actually an idea that's been kicking around in my head since watching Vol. 2. I've actually been working on this first chapter since then, but I saw some other people had some similar ideas, so I'm nervous about posting this. I just thought I'd contribute my own version. There are some other good stories out there already based on Ravenger Meredith that I'd encourage you to go read. Star-Queen is definitely one you should go check out if your like AU Meredith Lives fics. Also Not Edible is a pretty good one too. This particular AU is based off the idea that Ego actually did love Meredith, albeit in his own sick and twisted way. Thus, he wants Peter and her to be brought to him. This is based totally in the MCU. No influence from the comics will be taken since I don't actually read Marvel comics. Anyway, here we go.
Track One: Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
I like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound I drift at night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here
Well, you don't know what
We can find
Why don't you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Meredith hummed absently along with the old radio station that was threatening to go out on them the closer she came to her home. Most nights, it wouldn't be a problem, but the afternoon storms had left the night blanketed in a muggy fog. 97 Rock didn't much care for anything getting in the way of its broadcast and flickered a bit more with each mile she put between them and town. Country living kind of sucked that way sometimes, but she couldn't imagine raising Peter anywhere but out where all her family lived.
She glanced across the truck's front seat at him as they passed under the light pole that the Millers had put up to mark the entrance to their place. He was turned away from her, watching the shadowy trees pass by in a dark blur. The harsh angle and brief flash of light almost made the dark bruise around his eyes look like a trick of the light if it weren't for the slight swelling.
Peter had gotten into it with Kevin Simpson and his little cronies at school that day. That was really wasn't all that surprising, really. The Simpsons were one of those families who couldn't be bothered with such things as what their son was getting up to unless they were made too, and even then it was usually the other kid's 'fault'. Sheila Simpson had made it clear enough whom she thought was responsible for the scuffle that ended up with Peter's black eye and the few bruises on her son. Never mind it was six on one. If a black eye, a few scrapes, and a week's detention was all Peter suffered from that, she'd take it. However, she hadn't like the look she had seen in Kevin Sr.'s eyes, and considering he made his living off the sound of ambulances, Meredith thought that she might need to talk to her cousin Jimmy down in Springfield about what she could do to protect herself.
She grinned grimly to herself. A frog was probably about to get costly for her, but she couldn't really fault Peter. He was a sweet kid and didn't take kindly to something weaker being hurt just because someone else could. Took too much after his mama that way.
Didn't mean he wasn't being grounded, though, which was why he was currently pouting at the trees.
"It's only until the end of the week, baby," she said.
"But it's not fair," Peter replied as he slouched further down into his seat. "Kevin and them were going to kill it if I didn't do something."
"You could have told your teacher," Meredith replied patiently. "In fact, that's what I remember telling you to do for something like this."
Peter made a sound that would most likely be a scoff in a few years time, but right now just more resembled a sort of wordless protest that children make when they thought adults were being unreasonable. His seat belt must have hit him oddly as he tried to sit up straighter because he flailed about a bit with it before slipping it under his arm. Really, the whole struggle was quiet a production, and Meredith couldn't help but wonder if all children where as dramatic as her.
"No 'buts', Peter," Meredith said as she tried to divide her attention between twisting road and her son. "I understand that you wanted to help, but you could have been seriously hurt. Do you understand that?"
His shoulders dropped a little and that pout that was both annoying and cute returned to his lips. "Yes."
"So you understand why you're grounded?" she asked.
He slumped back down in his seat but kept a firm hold on his backpack like he was scared she was going to reach in and snatch his Walkman away right that instant. Meredith knew how much he loved the thing – and it was a good thing, too, considering how much it'd cost – but she wasn't looking forward to him having to go a week without it and TV anymore than he was. Normal seven-year-olds got bored easy enough. She'd swear Peter's attention span was even shorter than that. For the next week, she could expect even more epic Lego space battles and Ghostbusters vs Transformers city invasion taking over her living room than usual. Which reminded her that she'd need to wear shoes or sandals for the duration of all this. Those Legos were painfully sharp, especially at three –
"Mom!" Peter screamed as a light brighter than mid-day filled the cab.
Instinct caused her to close her eyes and flinch, but she didn't realize how badly until she felt the truck give a sharp turn. Meredith was already pumping the break, but every warning her daddy had ever given her when teaching her how to drive about how vehicles don't stop on dimes came ringing back in her ear. Her arm was already slamming across Peter's front when she felt the front of the tuck tip off the side of the road and start sliding down one of the embankments. She was actually kind of surprised her foot didn't go through the floorboard with how hard she was pressing on the break, but the truck kept slipping forward for what seemed like the longest moment in time. When the truck bounced, Meredith sucked in a sharp breath when the headlights lit up the large tree they were skidding towards.
The actual impact was blank spot in her memory. She could remember holding Peter back with all her strength and then a loud, painful bang. The next then she remembered was sound of static from the radio, the smell of smoke fill the cab, and Peter shaking her.
"Mom! Mom, wake up!"
With a small groan, she sat up and pushed away from the stirring wheel she'd been slumped against. Something warm and taking was had coated the top of it, but Meredith wasn't so concerned with that as she was trying to make the sharp pain in her forehead to stop throbbing. Touching the spot where it seemed to be coming from, she flinched sharply and decided that doing that wasn't a good idea. Instead, she focused on the eager, tiny hands that were still pulling at her other hand.
Opening her eyes, Meredith saw Peter staring up her with wide, worried eyes under the dim overhead cab light.
Grabbing his hand, she began to look him over as she asked, "Are you okay? Does anywhere hurt?"
He winced a little when she touched his torso near his seat belt but shook his head. "I'm okay."
"Are you sure?" she asked.
Shakily, he nodded, and Meredith was left with no choice but to believe him for the time being. Right now, they needed to get out of the truck. The smell of smoke was faint but strong, and she knew that they needed to get out of there quickly.
Meredith tried not to wince too much when she slid right into the stirring wheel after unstrapping herself. Peter was already bracing himself against the dashboard as he unbuckled himself, as she forced opened her door. It angrily creaked opened enough for her to be able to brace one foot against it so that she could to start to pull herself out. While she slowly worked her way out, Peter reached down and pulled on his backpack to cover his front. As he did so, Meredith noticed a canister with the red strip around its handle that had been sitting under it. She paused in her escape to glance up at the top of the now dark hill before looking back down at the canister. Whoever had run her off the road appeared to be gone, but if they weren't...
"Peter, honey, can you reach that can?" she asked.
He frowned before he gave a small nod and reached for it. His tiny fingers brushed it at first and caused Meredith to suck in a breath.
"Careful, baby," she said and coughed out a bit of smoke. "Don't spray it."
He too was beginning to cough when he managed to grab it and tuck it into the space between his chest and backpack.
"That's it. Now, I need you to climb over the stirring wheel over to me. Okay."
Peter was already moving before she had finished speaking, carefully moving his away across the dashboard and leaning heavily against the seat. He was gabbing handful of the loose cloth from the seat as he moved and was mindful of where he put his feet. It was probably the slowest she had ever see her son move, or it at least felt like it, as the cab seem to suddenly be filling more and more quickly with thick, black smoke.
Peter was just moving over the stirring wheel and into her arms when Meredith saw the first flicker of a flame shoot out from the impacted front end of the truck. Oh, god.
Grabbing Peter around the waist, she braced herself against the partially opened door and pulled them out into the muggy, wet night air. His tiny arms were wrapped tightly around her neck as she put one foot down onto the ground from the door, only for it to slip harshly out from under her when she tried to put any weight on it. Meredith hiss as some metal scratched along the exposed part of her leg before she drew it and her muddy foot back up onto the door. She tried twice more before having to give up. The rains from earlier had basically turned the hillside into one giant sheet of mud, which was going to make climbing the side of it nearly impossible.
The quickly growing engine fire was also making it impossible to stay.
There was a quake in Peter's voice when he asked, "Mom?"
Readjusting her grip on him, Meredith began to try and climb up into the bed. If she could make it to the tailgate, she might could reach one of the smaller nearby trees and try to pull them up. If she could just –
The blinding light from before engulfed them one again. Meredith could hear Peter scream as she held him tightly against her and buried her face against his head. A strange pulling sensation seemed to grab her all over, and she would swear that the world felt like it flipped upside down. It reminded her a bit of when she was younger and her father would surprise her from behind and flip her so that she was hanging over his shoulder. However, this time she couldn't pinpoint where the grip was coming from; only that it had her and was taking her somewhere.
Then, just as suddenly as it came, it let her go.
Meredith didn't even have time to turn in a way to try and protect Peter before she her knees hit a cold, hard floor. Peter had quieted by that point but was gripping her tighter than before. Lifting her face, Meredith had to squeeze her eyes shut for a moment before the blinding light began to recede. When she opened her eyes a second time, any doubt that she had about no long being on Potter's Ridge Road left her.
"Mom?" Peter asked in confusion and more than a little alarmed as they both rose to their feet.
Meredith was careful to keep him close to her side but tried to give a reassuring smile.
"It's okay, baby," she said. "Just stay calm."
Turning back their surroundings, she drew in a deep breath and tried to remember that herself.
The room she found herself in was smaller and metallic, but unlike the flat, straight walls that were in her father's wood shop, this had more Battlestar Galatica feel than tinkering area. The whole place was barely bigger than Peter's room, but there was nothing in it aside from herself, Peter, and two doors on opposite sides of the room. There weren't any latches or hinges on either one of them, which for some reason made her think of the sliding doors that they had just installed at the local Piggly Wiggly. Just at the edge of her consciousness, Meredith could pick up a pleasant, low hum that seemed to vibrate through the entire atmosphere.
Hope sprung in her chest as she realized where she and Peter were. The ship was a little different than the one she remembered from years ago, but it couldn't be anybody else.
J'son. He'd finally come back for them. After eight years, they were going to be together again, and Peter would get to meet his daddy, and they would finally get to be the family that she always dreamed they would be.
The hopeful thought hadn't even had a chance to take root when the doors slid opened with a nearly silent hiss. Meredith pushed Peter further behind her as two men who were distinctly not her ex marched towards her.
The pair were odd to say the least. One was human enough, with a gray and brown bread and unimpressed frown as he regarded them. The other one was big, purple, and scarred all around his face. A nasty smirk pulled at his lips that promised many vile things that Meredith didn't want to think about. Both had a grimy quality about them that wouldn't be out of place among the oil field workers who liked to hang out at Tess's on Saturday nights, but there was a mean edge about these two. No, these were more the type that belonged in the back end of her Daddy's patrol car.
Peter must have felt the same way because she felt the smooth, cool canister she had tucked into his backpack pressed into her hand. Meredith didn't dare take her eyes off the newcomers, but she could imagine that her little Star Lord was glaring a storm up at them. She was going to protect him the best she could, but Peter wasn't no more a wilting flower than she was. She'd die before she'd let them hurt him, though.
The human-like one said something in a gruff, gravely voice that matched his look a little too well, but Meredith couldn't understand. When she didn't respond right away, he repeated the strange words more slowly and loudly like he was talking to a dense, deaf child. As if that ever works.
The purple one laughed and then replied in what sounded like a series of grunts and snarls, which were completely different from the strange words that the human-like one spoke. They seemed to understand one another, though.
Meredith wasn't surprised that she didn't understand them. When she had known J'son, he had spoken English but had told her that he had learned it before coming to Earth. He'd never told what language that other aliens spoke, but he never made it sound like they had a problem communicating with one another. These two certainly didn't, but she could help but wonder how so many different creature were able to speak to each other so easily. Humans had enough problems with it. How'd they manage?
The big purple one finally had enough of the conversation and her not understanding because he began to approach her and Peter while grunting in his odd language. Meredith didn't need to understand him to know that whatever it was he was about to do wasn't good.
Grabbing Peter, she roughly pushed him as she stepped back. She tore off the red tab so that she could use it and pointed the pepper spray right at the fast approaching alien. He stopped a few feet from here when she did so and twisted his face up in confusion as he looked at the canister in her hands.
"Stay back," she ordered firmly just like her father had taught her. "I'm warning you. I'll use it if you don't stay away."
He looked at her, then back at his companion, and then back to her before he burst into uproarious laughter. His grim friend joined him immediately, nearly doubling over as he pointed a finger at her. Meredith really didn't see what was so funny about the whole thing but didn't let her guard down.
Purple guy muttered something as his chuckles died down that Meredith knew were condescending just by his tone. Then, that nasty smirk returned to his face as he said something that clearly meant to be more sinister.
"I'm warning you," she repeated.
He clearly didn't take what she said too seriously because he began to move towards her again. This time, however, Meredith noticed he was pushing back the edge of his jack and was reaching for a strange object that was holstered at his side. His finger was barely brushing the weapon when he was just a step outside of her reach, and Meredith decided that she had had enough.
There was a sharp hiss as she sprayed the OC directly into the alien's face. For half-a-heartbeat, he was stunned more than anything. Then the concentrated pepper kicked in, and he let blood curdling yell of grunts that Meredith knew translated into nothing nice. Instinctively, he began to grab at his eyes as if he could claw out pepper spray, which Meredith decided to take full advantage of.
Using a move her father taught her when she started to date, she kicked him as hard as she could between the legs as she thanked god for the rain that made her wear her boots that day. Much like the pepper spray, she lucked out in that he was similar in anatomy to her species just like J'son was. The cursing grunts turned staccato as he fell to her feet and roughly kissed the ground before her.
The whole time the human-like alien had been so stunned that he hadn't reacted yet, but Meredith knew that it would just be a matter of moments before that wasn't so any longer. Throwing the now empty pepper spray to the side, she quickly pushed the purple guy's coat out of the way as he curled up in a fetal position, and grabbed the weapon he had been reaching for. That snapped the human alien out of whatever stupor he had fallen into, but by the time he was reaching for his own weapon, Meredith already had the big purple wimp's gun – she assumed – pointed at him.
"Don't," she warned and prayed to god she was holding the gun the right way. It would be just her luck to have it pointed it backwards, but judging by the slow way he reached for the sky, she must have managed.
He said something, but she didn't care what it was. Instead, she made sure that Peter was still safely behind her and then began to look around for some kind of control that would open the door behind her. She couldn't imagine J'son being tied up with people like this, and allowing someone to take Peter was the last thing she would do.
"Send us back," she demanded. "Right now!"
He said something else and pressed his raised hands forward in a way that meant for her to calm down. Surprising how some things were universal.
"You better send us back," she snapped. "I ain't going to tell you again."
Whatever answer he had to that died as the door he and the purple guy had come through earlier slid open for a second time. Meredith's heart sank as four more men came through. Half looked human: the others didn't, but they all wore the same red uniforms as the other two.
Meredith shifted nervously on her feet as she moved to gun to point vaguely at them and responded by raising there own. All except for the blue one that stood out ahead of the others. Meredith had never seen anything like him before. He had human enough facial features and build, but his sharp red eyes were things of nightmares back home. He had something that she could only compare to a metallic mohawk in the center of his head that looked both silly and intimidating at the same time. Holding his hands on his hips, he sneered at the whole seen before him and pointedly directed a glare in her direction.
Meredith decided that he was the one to keep gun pointed at, but he just ignored her threats like she was a child pointing a water pistol. Instead, he said something to human-like alien in a weird clicking language. Even if she couldn't understand it, his annoyance was still coming through loud and clear. The human-like guy hastily replied, but the blue guy had already turned his attention back her.
Meredith got the distinct impression he was weighing his options as he leveled a look at her. She just did her best to keep the gun steady: the strain of holding something that was heavier than your average handgun was staring to cause her arms to shake. If she made it out of this, she was going to start working out again. Jane Fonda tapes weren't really made for these kinds of situations.
She pointedly ignored the other reason why her arms were beginning to tremble. Maybe if she did, then their captures pickup on her fear either.
After the longest few seconds she had ever experienced outside of childbirth, Blue finally reached some sort of decision. Slowly, like he was coming up on some sort of wounded animal, he began to walk towards her. He spoke in his strange clicking language again, but there was something about the way he said things that put her teeth on edge. Even if it was delivered in such a strange language, Meredith could still clearly make out the flat, no nonsense tone that people in authority were used to using to get others to listen to them. With a cop for a father, she had heard it enough growing up. A different language didn't change it none.
It also didn't mean that was going to listen, either.
"Stay back," Meredith warned as she pointed the gun right at his chest just like her daddy had taught her to do with a handgun.
There were several clicks from around the room as the aliens armed their weapons, but Blue just waved them off. He said something to them, which caused a few of them to smile and chuckle. It wasn't a nice sound by any means.
Even though she didn't want to show them how intimidated she was, Meredith still began to back away as Blue came closer. She nudged Peter back as she went, which caused a slightly awkward shuffling on their part. It wasn't long until she was practically pressed back against the far door, with Peter trapped between her and it.
Easily stepping over the wither purple guy, Blue continued to speak to her as he approached. When he was far too close for her comfort, she tightened her grip on the gun and said, "I don't want to hurt you."
"Leave us alone!" Peter added.
Blue snorted as if he actually understood them and then walked right up to Meredith. He didn't stop moving until the barrel of the gun she was holding was pressed tightly against his chest. This close up, Meredith could easily make out his every feature, from the crooked teeth to the white scaring lings that marked up the side of his head. She could even smell something that she would swear was alcohol on his breath as he leaned in closer to her and said something in his strange language.
Then, quick as a rattler, his hand struck out and seized her wrist. She reacted by pressing the trigger.
For the first moment, Meredith couldn't believe she had done it. Her father had trained her to use a gun and had done his best to drill into her head to never pick one up unless she were willing to use it. She was, if it meant protecting Peter. There was still something surreal about the idea of actually shooting someone, though. Of pulling the trigger and knowing that what she'd just done meant that something else most likely going to die, even if that something was a blue alien who seemed hell bent on harming her. She still pulled it.
It was then that her brain caught up to reality and realized that nothing had happened.
Things happened in incredibly slow and fast motion all at once then. The surprise must have shown on her face because Blue smirked wickedly at her and said something else to her that had too much condescension in it to be lost in translation. She then saw his free hand coming at her out of the corner of one eye about the same time as she saw Peter going for him out of the other. Time and sounds all mixed together in that moment, though, as whatever Blue was holding pressed against her neck. She wasn't exactly sure what happened then, but Meredith felt a burst of pain as her entire body ceased up.
Once, when she was a little girl, she had been shocked by a faulty lamp at her Memaw's house. It hadn't register with her what had happened at the time; she had only known that one minute she was standing fine on her own, and the next her knees were giving out from under her. She hadn't felt the pain right away, but when she did, it had been intense.
That's what this felt like now, only the pain had come with the shock. After what felt like years, her muscles relaxed and she felt herself falling. Meredith fully expected to fell the painful slap of hitting hard metal as she fought precariously to stay conscious, but she was surprised when instead an arm slipped around her to hold her up. Her face pressed against cool leather that smelled and felt so much like the one she had bought J'son not long before he left that it nearly took her breath away.
Somewhere, in the back of her mind, she could Peter and the panic and anger in his voice, but she couldn't bring herself to react no matter how she tried. Everything about her felt too heavy and painful, and all her body was going to let her do was fall into the darkness that was closing around her fast.
As the muffled screams drifted away, Meredith was vaguely aware of her legs being pulled out from under her as she was lifted up. Her head the lulled backwards as the gun slipped fully from her hand.
She didn't remember anything else.
Coming too wasn't like how they always said it was in books or movies. Meredith's eyes didn't suddenly snap open as she regained consciousness, but neither did she have much thought as she woke. It was more of a gradual thing, where piece by piece the darkness slowly chipped away and the light came back. The light, however, brought a stinging bit at her neck and a headache that rivaled the one she had awoken with the morning after she first learned not to start off a night of drinking with anything clear – especially on an empty stomach.
Meredith heard herself groan as she reached up and touched the spot on her forehead where the pain seemed to be most intense. She hissed and winced when her fingers brushed the sensitive skin near her hairline. Okay, she shouldn't do that again. Instead, she let her hand fall against her the bridge of her nose before she wiped it hard across her eye.
It was then that Meredith actually opened them. For a second time in she didn't know how many hours, she found herself returning to consciousness, only this time she found herself staring up at a smooth, low-hanging ceiling. It had a patchwork kind of quality about it, like over the years parts of it had been broken opened and welded back together with sheets of metal that had been found lying about. There were small bits of rust around some of the patch jobs, as well as around the the tiny whole for the incandescent lighting. It was weird and alien-esque and CRAP!
"Peter!" she gasped as she sat up and instantly regretted it. Her head and the headache felt like it sloshed forward while her body was falling backwards, and the bed under her twisted hard to right. Falling onto her side, Meredith gripped tightly onto mattress as she waited for the spinning to stop.
"Easy there now, girl."
Meredith cracked her eyes open and glared down towards the end of the bunk. Blue was sitting there with his dirty boots propped up on the thin sheet she was lying on top of.
"Don't get yourself all riled up," Blue said in English. He had an accent similar to hers, but his was heavier and closer to the kind you would hear further south than Missouri. There was something comforting about it and off-putting all the same. It was a bit like hearing Glen Campbell's voice come out of David Bowie's mouth: familiar but wrong at the same time.
Blue must have noticed her confusion because said, "Universal translator. Miracle worker, ain't it?"
He leaned back a bit in his metal chair and put off an air of relaxation, but his easy posture belied a tension in his body, though. She'd seen it a dozen time back when she worked at Tess's in people who were either looking for a fight or always expecting one. She also didn't miss the casual way he let his coat hang open at his side to show off an arrow that rested in a holster at his side. Common sense told her that she should be careful with how she approached him.
Motherly instinct said 'screw that.'
"Where is my son?" she demanded through clinched teeth.
"Boy's fine," he replied with a dismissive wave of his hand. "No need to worry about him."
"Where is he?" Meredith hissed again. "I swear to god and all things holy, if you hurt him-"
Blue's laugh cut her off, but Meredith refused to back down and continued to glare – which she knew probably wasn't that intimidating considering that she was still clutching on to the thin mattress.
"You'll what? Fall over on me and maybe barf on my nice shoes?" he mocked.
Meredith sneered at him. Damn him if he wasn't right. She couldn't fight a kitten at the moment, but that didn't mean he had to know that. Carefully, she pushed herself up into a sitting position. A wave of vertigo hit her as she did, which forced Meredith to close her eyes to try and get her barrings, but she only allowed herself to do so for a few seconds before opening them again. The room still spun a little, but she wasn't let that stop her from facing Blue in at least a descent position.
For his own part, Blue's grin hadn't slipped once, but something about shifted from being solely mocking to something she couldn't quite place as he watched her wobble a bit but otherwise stay upright. He didn't offer to steady her, but he didn't strike her as the type that would. Assholes tended to be that way.
"Told ya, your boy's fine," he said after a few minutes. "Got him with one of my men now. Reckon the kid's givin' him all sorts of new reasons for regrettin' joinin' us."
Something in his mouth momentarily distracted him. Blue sucked in a bit on his teeth as he regarded his nails before using them to get whatever it was out of his teeth. Meredith didn't bother hiding her disgusted sneer, but Blue didn't seem care anyway.
"Should be proud of the boy," he said after he finally dislodged whatever it was he was after. "Put up one hell of a fight against my boys. Horuz got a whole new set of itty-bitty bite marks to show off."
Blue seemed find the whole idea hilarious and laughed at this Horuz injuries. Meredith pressed her lips tightly. Even though the idea of Peter fighting grown men made her heart beat faster than what was probably healthy, she was proud of him. Terrified as hell, but proud nonetheless. Her daddy had always told her that the Quills came from a long, proud line of fighters; the 'never give up' type that didn't know the meaning of the word quit. Peter had inherited that, and part of her was glad for it.
The other part just hoped that it didn't get him killed.
"Course, kid got it honest, didn't he?" Blue asked as if he were reading her thoughts. "Seein' how you single handedly put an end to the illustrious Teaserface line."
Teaserface? Really? She got kidnapped by a guy named Teaserface?
What? Was Asshead taken?
Pushing the thought away, she asked again, "Where is he?"
Blue brow drew together as he said, "Back at his bunk icin' down his bits, as far as a I know."
"My son," Meredith snapped. "I want to see him."
"In good time," Blue replied. "But I reckon you and I need to be havin' a bit of conversation first."
Sliding his boots off the cot, he let them hit loudly against the metal floor before standing up over her. Loom was probably a better word for it. Blue wasn't overly tall by human standards. Meredith had been able to look him dead in the eyes when he stood on the other side of her gun. However, his stance gave him an air of being larger and far more dangerous that it was clear his height wasn't something that would hinder him in any way.
"Now, seein' as you and me can understand one another now, I'm goin' to go through this one more time," Blue said. "Mind, don't go expectin' such generosities in the future 'cause you ain't gonna get 'em.
"Name's Yondu Udonta, and this here is my ship and those crazy sons of bitches out there are my crew." His eyes narrowed slightly as a smirk slipped onto his lips. "And you and that boy are my cargo."
Meredith's eyes widened at the deceleration.
"Now you wait just a damn second here!"
A sharp whistle and a streak of red cut off her protest as something came flying at her face. With a small cry of surprise, Meredith flinched back, which caused her to loose what little precious balance she had and sent her back onto her elbows. A red arrow hovered lazily a few inches from her face like a snake waiting to strike. Meredith tried to back away, but the arrow slid along with her at an easy pace. When she had no where else to go (because this was definitely a bunk and a small at that), it held steady at the exact same distance as it had before she began to move.
As she was doing this, Yondu said, "Now I let you get away with that shit before 'cause you kickin' Teaserface in the balls was a bit entertainin'. Not anymore. I might be gettin' paid a pretty little sum to deliver a couple Terrans, but it ain't gotta be you, you hear?"
He tilted his head to the side a little as he seem to consider something. His nose scrunched a little to one side, and Meredith could just make out his tongue pressing out from between his crooked teeth.
"How far do you reckon that boy's goin' get without his mamma?" Yondu asked finally. "I'm havin' time enough now keepin' my boys away from him. See, they ain't never had Terran before and reckon he'd make a tasty little morsel. Maybe I should just let 'em have him."
Pushing herself upwards, she hissed, "Stay away from son!"
The arrow slid to her neck in flash, and Meredith could feel the sharp point press lightly into her throat. Gasping, she froze, not even daring to take a breath.
"Well, now, that all depends on you, darlin'," Yondu said. "You play nice 'til I drop you and your boy off, and he'll be safe as a little lamb. Don't, well, Ego won't be the first client I disappointed. I'm sure he'll get over easy enough."
Drawing in a deep breath, Meredith closed her eyes and pressed her lips. She didn't know much about space beyond what J'son had told her, but surely someone who was 'paying a pretty little sum' for 'Terrans' (whatever that was) was not someone she wanted to meet or near her son. Cannibalistic aliens weren't either, but they were currently the devil they had to deal with. Since they were currently at their mercies, she didn't see what choice she had. Keep Peter safe was her top priority, with escape being second and finding a way back to Earth a close third. Until then, she'd do what she always did when life didn't turn out how she planned. She work with what she was dealt and go from there.
She nodded lightly, which caused a nasty smile to appear on Yondu's lips. He whistled loudly through his teeth, like the way her grandfather use to do on his farm when he was calling his dog back from chasing the chickens. The arrow followed orders just loyally as that old hound and zipped away from her neck and back into his hand with practiced ease.
"Took you for a smart one, girl," he said as he slid the weapon back into its holster.
"Meredith," she replied.
His red eyes narrowed as he asked, "What'd you say?"
Swallowing hard, Meredith sat back up and slid her legs over the bunk's side. The cold floor seeped uncomfortably into the warm skin of her bare feet, but she refused to show any discomfort beyond a light adjustment of her leg. She knew better than to stand up – the vertigo from earlier was mostly gone, but she'd rather not chance it coming back in full force – but held her chin up high.
"I said my name is Meredith," she said calmly. "Not 'girl'. I've not been one of those for a long, long time."
"Woman, I don't give an orloni ass what you call yourself," he replied.
"I don't call myself that," she said. "That's my name, and if you expect me to answer you at any point, that will be the one you use."
In some distant part of her brain, Meredith was well aware of voice that was telling her that she should keep her mouth shut, but she ignored it. This man had taken her from her home and family, and took away any choice she had by threatening her son. She'd be damned if he took her name too.
The silence stretched for a long minute before Yondu gave a sharp, amused-but-not snort.
"You really got a pair on you, don't you?" he asked with small shake of his head.
Meredith couldn't tell if he was impressed or incredulous. Honestly, she really didn't care as long as she got her way. She was a person, damn it, and deserved a least a little bit of dignity that went with it.
"Alright, Merry-dith," he said, purposely drawing out her name. "Don't ever say I didn't obliged a lady's request, as long as she does mine."
"Already said I would," she replied. "My word is good."
His smile held no humor to it; she'd say it was more a baring of teeth than anything, but he let it go at that. He turned away from her with a sweep of his coat and headed towards the closed door that appeared to be the only way into or out of the small room.
"I'll send your boy back to you. Reckon he's probably caused enough trouble for the crew for the day," he said before typing something into panel next to the door that caused it to slide opened.
Standing in the doorway in a way that was clearly meant to block her from making an escape attempt, he turned back to face.
"This here is where you and your boy will be stayin'," he said as he nudged his head to indicate the room.
Meredith allowed herself to actually look at that point. There was much to it: a pair of bunks built into the wall across from her and she assumed one directly over her. Two lockers were next to the bunks – again she assumed the same next to her own – and a sink and small table with two chairs. What did catch her eyes, though, was that the upper bunk across from hers had a persons things in it.
Seeing that she had spotted the evidence of an occupant, Yondu said, "Yeah, space is limited on a ship this size, so your goin' have to share. Don't worry your pretty head, though. He won't give you a lick of trouble. Not after the last time."
He didn't laugh at her exactly that time, but he clearly found her reaction to that amusing enough. Turning his back to her again in that dramatic supervillain way as of before, he stepped through the door and said, "You have a good night, Merry-dith, you hear."
The door slid close almost silently. Meredith sat there for a moment before leaning forward and placing her head in her hands. She wasn't an overly religious person, but she was enough of one to believe that asking for a bit help right then might could do some good. She prayed Peter and that he'd be safe. She prayed for her family because surely they'd be missing them by now. She prayed that she and Peter would make it through. She prayed that J'son would somehow find them and save them from this whole mess.
She prayed and hoped.
Then she decided to do what she need to do to make sure they survived.
AN: So, what do you guys think? Should I continue?