On last chapter(s) storyline- we are all mad at Peter, he's a selfish jerk, BUT I'm so so excited at how many of you said it's spot on for the personality we're introduced to in the first film- I'm not always a fan of his decisions either, but I'm staying canon and, well, that's Peter.
On This Chapter- This is a long awaited prompt from my dear Ravensnight ;-) Peter sneaking an animal on board. After doing some research I learned Arago-7 has 325% of Earth gravity so I played with that idea AND I'd like to remind everyone of the beginning of the first movie when Peter uses the Holographic Map to see what used to be on Morag before it was destroyed and there's a little girl playing with a dog, so instead of searching for an alien creature or making something up, I just went a little boring here (sorry) but I really hope you enjoy it anyway!
Peter should have been back on the Eclector days ago, but, up until this moment, he'd been able to successfully push off his return with poor excuses.
"Boy," Yondu growled at the screen, "Ain't nothin' wrong with y'r'ship. Nobody needs ya t'pick 'em up anything, 'n I swear, Quill, if you try to tell me you're lost-"
"The Andromeda isn't exactly well marked-" Peter tried.
"Quill!" Yondu barked, shortly followed by a faint, but audible, actual bark while the Captain continued, "Git y'r'ass back here- What the hell was that?"
"What?" Peter asked blankly, avoiding the instinctual eye shift to the source of the sound.
Yondu's eyes narrowed, but a moment later he said, "I sent you our coordinates. If I don't see y'r'ship pullin' in t'dock before I finish my dinner you ain't goin' on another solo run 'til I'm sick'a watchin' ya climb the walls!"
"You havin' dinner in the hangar?" Peter couldn't help the sarcastic naivety, relieved when Yondu's response was to disconnect the call.
He sighed deeply, pivoting as he rushed to the bunk and flung back the privacy curtains. A undernourished dog was contently licking the clean sides of a bowl in the corner of the cot, but looked up and barked happily at Peter.
"Hey, boy," Peter smiled, scratching behind the dog's dirty ear, "Y'like orloni soup, huh?"
Content panting while leaning into Peter's torso seemed answer enough.
Yondu had sent him to Arago-7 on what should have been a quick trip, and, in reality, exchanging 40,000 units for two dozen gravity mines from a Pheragot named Nespia hadn't taken too terribly long. Although walking on Arago-7 felt like trudging through mud, and he'd never admit to nearly crashing the Milano from the surprising pull after entering the atmosphere, but Peter was still done with the errand well before he'd told his commander he was. He just wasn't sure what to do about the dog yet.
Peter had been on his way back to the Milano, slowly and more aggravated with every strained step, when he'd heard a familiar whining and saw the scrawny animal belly crawling behind him. The Pheragots were not unkind, despite their intimidating size and strength, they were quite gentle, but the dog was clearly less intimidated by Peter's stature. He'd questioned the first passing Pheragot who shook their head sadly at the miserable beast and informed Peter of recently popular children's entertainment that had resulted in a mass import of creatures unfamiliar with the planet's intense gravity. There had been many young Pheragots crying over the flattened remains of a kitten.
Peter blinked at the man, hardly remembering to mumble a thank you in his shock before the huge Pheragot walked away.
He'd sighed, hearing Yondu yelling in his head already, but Peter couldn't leave the dog to die under the slow crush of gravity neither of them were built for, and scooped the mutt off the ground. Pushing himself to stand would have been hard enough under his own weight, the addition of a fairly emaciated dog made it nearly impossible. Painfully slowly, Peter made it back to the Milano, thankful Nespia had delivered the gravity mines as promised and left the large package directly below his cargo hold.
It had taken several minutes for Peter just to make it up the hatch ramp, let alone what felt like an hour climbing into the cockpit after rolling the dog onto the bunk. But, as soon as Peter kicked the Milano's engines on and the internal gravity evened out, he felt the weight lifting from his chest and shoulders. A happy bark from below had told him the dog was also relieved at the change.
Once he got them out of the heavy atmosphere, Peter put the Milano on auto-pilot with an arbitrary destination he knew wouldn't be too far from the Eclector, but nowhere Yondu would find him. He'd contemplated what to do with the animal while washing the dirt from his fur, revealing the dog's natural tan color and fluffy ears, pointing straight at the ceiling. Against his better judgement, Peter decided to call him Snarf since his ears and white chin reminded him of the Thundercats character, despite being a dog.
To avoid suspicion, he'd responded to every one of Yondu's messages requesting an update on his status, but, when the Captain had finally video called him, Peter shoved the last half of his dinner at Snarf, hiding him behind the bunk's curtains, before acting calm and collected for his Captain.
"The hell am I gonna do with you?" Peter laughed weakly, rubbing the dog's boney side.
Snarf flopped on the bunk, rolling onto his back with his tongue lolling goofily out one side of his mouth while Peter vigorously scratched his belly.
He'd considered calling Kraglin privately to ask his advice, but the First Mate hadn't really spoken to him much since recovering from his head trauma. The scars on his face were mostly healed, but would never disappear and Peter hadn't exactly pushed for interaction, he'd actually avoided the First Mate to keep the man's scars from renewing the guilt he still felt when he saw them. But Kraglin had always been his source of guidance and Peter wished he wasn't wracked with anxiety at the simple idea of calling him.
With a heavy sigh, he patted Snarf's exposed belly, "Okay, boy, we gotta head home. I'll, uh, I'll figure out what to do with you, but y'r'gonna hafta stay here after I land. Okay?"
Snarf panted blankly and Peter scoffed lightly at the dopey expression.
"This isn't gonna end well," he chuckled, turning back to the cockpit, but stopped before tripping over the weight twisting around his ankles, grinning down at the eager dog, "What're you doin'?" a short bark surprised Peter, but he laughed and lifted Snarf into his arms, "Fine, but if you slobber on my controls we're havin' words."
After a brief struggle to strap the wriggling dog into the co-pilot chair, Peter dropped into his seat and stared at the navigation screen. His finger hovered a moment before begrudgingly jamming the coordinates Yondu had sent into the module and flipping the Milano into manual pilot mode.
He knew bringing a dog back to the Eclector was a terrible idea, but hoped he could keep him hidden until their next touch down on a civilized planet like Xandar. The urchin kids that seemed to multiply on every stop often had mutts running around with them, Snarf would fit right in. Peter just had to make sure the crew didn't find him. Sure, Yondu would be pissed, but Peter could take a lecture and a few smacks to the head, his real concern was how many Ravagers would have Snarf roasting on a spit if they found the animal.
When the massive ship came into view, Peter's stomach twisted, glancing at the dog panting contently at him from the next seat. Maybe he was pulling into the port field a little slower than usual, but Peter felt rather indignant to the Milano being caught in a tracker beam and dragged into the hangar. Although it did give him a chance to sneak Snarf below deck before whoever was controlling the beam saw behind his windshield.
"Here," he opened a bag of dried emlons, hoping they were okay for dogs as he dumped them in the empty bowl on the bunk and scratched behind the dog's ear, "I'll be back later. Just don't bark," he stopped as he shut the curtains and added, "And if you could piss on the floor instead'a the bed."
Snarf ignored him, chomping the emlon chips.
"Good'a you to show back up," Kraglin grumbled before the hatch ramp even touched the hangar floor.
"Yeah, sorry, just got caught- Hey, where ya going?" Peter blocked the First Mate at the top of the ramp, trying to seem nonchalant and failing terribly.
"D'ja get the mines?" Kraglin scoffed impatiently, trying to step around Peter.
"Down here, cargo hold," Peter nodded down the ramp, pushing Kraglin's shoulder to turn around, but snatched his hand away when the First Mate shrugged him off.
Peter closed the hatch as soon as they descended, not missing the sideways glance Kraglin gave him, but, since he didn't ask, Peter acted as though he always locked his ship up the moment it was unoccupied. There was several moments of awkward silence between them as the cargo lift lowered, the gravity mines still in the messy pile Peter had carelessly thrown them into before leaving Arago-7.
Kraglin's sigh expressed open frustration and he scowled at Peter as he bent over to stack the individually packaged gadgets neatly.
"Didn't bother to test 'em before you took all a these did'ja?" Kraglin asked bitterly.
"A couple, yeah," Peter shrugged, stacking the other side of the pile to match Kraglin's.
Before the First Mate could scoff again, his attention whipped to the closed hatch at the sharp bark that reached their ears. Peter cringed, his gut plummeting when Kraglin's glare landed on him.
"The hell did you do?" he growled, punching the hatch code to open the ramp and pushed Peter away as the younger man scrambled to stop him
"Krag, I can explain-" Peter insisted nervously, following the First Mate into the Milano.
They were met almost immediately by Snarf, wagging his tail excitedly in the middle of the main room.
Kraglin slowly turned, his eyes fiery, and let out a bellow so like their Captain that Peter jumped a little, "YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!"
"Krag, really, let me ex-" Peter tried again, skating around the angry First Mate towards the now cowering dog.
"EXPLAIN WHAT?!" Kraglin continued, "THAT THERE'S SOMETHIN' WRONG WITH Y'R'BRAIN?! 'CAUSE THAT'S THE ONLY-"
"STOP YELLING!" Peter barked, stunning the First Mate into silence before he lowered his voice, "Y'r'scarin' him, man. C'mon, just listen, please. I'm not keepin' him-"
"Damn right y'r'not," Kraglin grumbled.
"I'm not," Peter snapped, "You ever been on Arago-seven?" Kraglin shrugged affirmatively, "Then y'know their gravity'll crush any living thing that ain't built for it," again, Kraglin made a tiny gesture of agreement and Peter made his voice rather pathetic as he said, "He was gonna die, Krag."
For a few moments, the First Mate stared blankly between the dog and Peter before dipping his head backwards with a dramatic sigh, "If Capt'n finds out I am not takin' the fall for you."
"Wouldn't ask ya to," Peter shook his head and Kraglin scoffed, hard.
"Keep him in here," Kraglin ordered.
"That's the plan," Peter nodded.
"Yeah?" he scowled, "What's the rest'a that plan?"
Peter grimaced, "I was gonna drop him off on Xandar next time we stop. Always see those stree, uh, those kids that run around town, usually got a dog or two with 'em."
He tried to stop himself from saying 'street kids', but the rise in Kraglin's shoulders was proof he'd caught the term and Peter offered an apologetic smirk.
"I didn't mean like-" he mumbled.
"Just keep that thing quiet," Kraglin interjected angrily, "Capt'n's waitin' for ya in the mess hall."
With that, the First Mate pivoted and practically jogged down the ramp, leaving Peter and Snarf alone on the Milano.
He'd brought more food than he'd needed for the short trip, but, with a second mouth in the cabin, there wasn't anything left after the dog scarfed down the dried emlons, and Peter wished the animal understood his promises to bring more food as soon as he could. The muffled whimpering after he shut the hatch tore at his heart, not to mention heightening Peter's nerves as he made gentle shushing sounds and backed out of the hangar.
"Y'r'late," Yondu's gruff tone sent a shiver down Peter's spine.
"I'm sorry, sir," Peter said, flipping around on his commander.
Yondu scrunched his forehead, narrowing his red eyes suspiciously, "What'd you do?"
"Nothin'," Peter insisted quickly, adding a characteristic scoff despite his gut rolling with anxiety.
A law growl emitted from the back of the Captain's throat, but he raised his eyebrows after another few moments and said, "Let's see these gravity mines."
"Uh," Peter hurried to step in front of the Centaurian striding towards his ship and the faint whining inside, "Sure, yeah, Yondu, but, uh, hey, I already tested a few of 'em, they're good. I'll put 'em away, you ain't gotta worry about it."
It was too much. Peter felt it the moment he offered to take the chore on by himself, but hoped the Captain would assume his eagerness to help was a sign of maturity. When Yondu bared his pointed teeth in an amused smirk, however, Peter knew there was no chance the man didn't see passed the feigned sincerity.
"Jeezus, Quill, y'didn't kill somebody did'ja?" Yondu scoffed lightly, but the question wasn't a joke.
"No!" Peter shook his head, "No, I'm just, I just thought I'd help."
"Since when?" Yondu challenged.
"Hey, I just went 'n got the shit for ya," Peter responded indignantly and the Captain's smirk widened into a genuine smile.
"How'd ya like Arago?" Yondu asked after expelling a quick laugh.
"Didn't," Peter muttered, "Felt like I weighed three hundred pounds."
"Closer t'six I bet," Yondu chuckled, "Only place we can get those things that are worth a damn though, Contraxia has a guy who makes knock offs, but they don't work like the real deal."
Peter nodded, pretending his interest was on Yondu's assessment of the gadgets while slowly steering the man out of the hangar. His thoughts focused on how to sneak around Matbua for any meaty leftovers Snarf would appreciate.
Surprisingly, Matbua wasn't in the kitchen when Peter snuck in after a quick shower Yondu had insisted he take, it was admittedly necessary. With his arms full of everything that looked to be made of animal remains, Peter turned to sneak out of the kitchen, but froze and dropped a container of fried bresquet seeing Yondu leaning in the doorway to the mess hall.
"Now y'gonna tell me what the hell y'r'doin'?" he asked simply.
"I, uh," Peter stammered, "Just hungry, I missed dinner y'know."
"Even for you, that's a lot'a food, Quill," Yondu said without a trace of anger, causing Peter even greater concern than if the man was yelling.
"Um, yes, sir," Peter didn't know what to say and just hung his head a bit, locking his gaze on the bresquet laying on its side at his feet.
"Talk, son," Yondu demanded, his tone more demanding than before.
Peter cringed, but lifted his eyes to the Captain, "I'd rather show you."
The Captain slowly raised an eyebrow and took a deep breath, "Put the food back."
"I kinda need it," Peter said pleadingly.
"All of it?" Yondu asked flatly.
Peter looked at the container on the ground, then assessed the leftovers in his arms, finally looking back at the Captain, "Maybe not all of it."
At Yondu's head jerk towards the kitchen, Peter turned and deposited most of what he'd gathered in an unorganized pile near where he'd found it, grabbing the fried bresquet on his way towards the Captain. With a small wave of his hand, Yondu insisted Peter lead him down the hall.
Peter's stomach churned more the closer they got to the hangar, his ears burned with the lecture that would follow and his backside tingled with the threat of a whipping he wouldn't soon forget. But he kept pace with the Captain's long strides, despite his legs feeling as though they were back on Arago-7.
The moment Peter entered his code and the hatch opened, a happy yelp echoed from inside the Milano and he felt his Captain's eyes hot on the side of his face. Snarf danced at the end of the moving ramp, his wiry tail wagging rapidly while his tongue hung outside his panting mouth, saliva pooling on the floor in front of his paws.
"I, I can-" Peter tried, turning to Yondu, but snapped his mouth shut when the man he'd recently surpassed in height gave him a look that made the twenty-year-old feel like he was all of ten again, caught trying to take his spaceship on a mission alone.
Snarf broke the brooding silence with another joyful bark, but the Captain turned his raging, red eyes on the dog and, with a short whimper, he laid down on the spot.
"Why the hell do you have that mangy mutt in your ship?" Yondu's question was so fearfully steady Peter wondered if he somehow already knew about the hidden cargo.
"I wasn't gonna keep him," Peter promised immediately.
"Y'r'damn right!" Yondu expelled a harsh laugh, "But that ain't what I asked, boy."
Peter stumbled his way through the explanation, attempting as many pathetic glances as he thought he could get away with. Though, based on the Captain's lack of reaction, none of them helped.
"Please don't kill him," Peter finished, outright begging since there was no one around to see.
Yondu blinked several times at Peter before shifting his attention to the dog, still crouched on his belly, tail sweeping the floor behind him.
"What's your plan then?" he asked finally.
"Uh, Xandar," Peter said hurriedly.
"And is this the reason ya spent two days lyin' t'me 'bout why ya weren't back yet?" Yondu's question was pointed and deliberate.
"Yes, sir," Peter nodded, unable to concoct anything reasonable, he was caught, might as well not make it worse by lying.
"So," Yondu's sigh was a bit shaky, heightening Peter's nerves, "Instead'a usin' that time t'drop this thing off on Xandar, you what? Spent the last couple days thinkin' about how to?"
Now Peter felt like the kid clutching the straps of his backpack, fresh off Earth's soil, maybe even younger and dumber. His eyes met his feet, but a sharp finger snap brought them back to Yondu.
"Speak," he ordered and Snarf let out a loud bark, but licked his lips and shut his mouth when the Captain glared at him again.
"Yes, sir," Peter cringed, "I didn't think about," he sighed, "I just didn't think. I just wanted to save him."
Yondu still looked angry, but he snatched one of the leftover containers from the pile balanced in Peter's left hand and walked up the ramp.
"C'mere mutt," the Captain sat at the table in the middle of the Milano's main room and dropped pieces of bresquet into Snarf's patiently waiting mouth.
Peter chuckled, slowly making his way towards the pair, "Didn't realize you were a dog person, Yondu."
"Don't get smart, Petey," he smirked, running a blue hand over the dog's head, "An' ya better hope Ecullard doesn't see him, them Ba-Bani's love these critters."
"I'll take him t'Xandar first thing-" Peter began.
"Y'ain't goin' nowhere," Yondu said matter-of-factly, "Y'r'ship's grounded till further notice-"
"What?! Why?!" Peter became indignant instantly, "Y'r'sittin' here feedin' Snarf, obviously y'don't have-"
"Snarf?" Yondu looked like he was about to laugh, which infuriated Peter further.
"I just didn't wanna call him dog 'n he looks like! Dude! That is not the point!" he realized he'd gone too far too late.
Yondu set the leftovers on the table and nodded curtly at Snarf, who again found a submissive position on his belly, before standing and approaching on his insubordinate young Ravager.
"Son," Yondu was calm, but Peter heard the strain under his voice, "The mutt is not my problem. Y'lied t'me, you wasted your time, my time, not to mention the fuel I pay for on this pretty little ship'a yours. I ain't happy ya brought him on board, but least if you'd a been straight with me from the jump I'd've told'ja t'go right t'Xandar and we'd meet'cha there in a few days. We're on our damn way there now, Quill!"
Peter's chest tightened with anger at himself. He could be sitting at a bar on Xandar, flirting and dancing and, other things, with girls, instead of getting his ass chewed by Yondu.
"Git t'bed," Yondu jerked his head towards the hallway, taking the remaining leftovers from Peter, who opened his mouth to refute and the Captain growled, "Now."
Peter realized the situation could've been much worse, but that didn't keep him from aggravated sulking on this walk to his room.
Kraglin leaned outside his own bedroom across the hall when Peter approached, his expression almost smug.
"How's y'r'mutt?" the First Mate asked, sarcasm in his tone.
Peter's temper flared, "You told him, didn't you!?"
Kraglin hardly shrugged, but his smirk was confessing enough.
"Why the hell would'ja do that?!" Peter raged, taking two long, threatening steps in front of the man.
"You think you can do whatever y'want," Kraglin scoffed without a flicker of intimidation, "Y'ain't better than anybody else even if the Capt'n coddles ya-"
"Coddles me?!" Peter expelled an angry laugh.
"Spoiled," Kraglin spat.
"Screw you-" Peter reached for the First Mate, but Kraglin reacted faster.
He twisted Peter's right arm, flipping the younger man around and wretched his wrist painfully between his shoulder blades while knocking Peter behind the knees and pressing him to the cold floor on his stomach.
"Krag! Stop!" he shouted in shock and fear, trying to tug his arm free before Kraglin tore it from the socket.
"How 'bout you stop?" Kraglin barked, his other hand savagely grabbing a clump of Peter's dirty-blonde hair, "And get it through that thick skull'a yours that you follow the same rules as everybody else?"
Without a response from Peter, Kraglin shoved his head to the floor and pushed hard off the captive wrist, slamming his bedroom door before the young man had even slid his throbbing arm from his back.
Peter sniffled back the tears, swallowing hard on the lump in his throat, refusing to cry. Ravagers didn't cry.
He slipped into his own room, anger at Kraglin bubbling in his chest as he rubbed the pain from his shoulder. Peter wasn't surprised the First Mate kept him from attacking him, but he didn't expect him to be so degrading in his defense. Suddenly he was really glad he hadn't called Kraglin for advice before returning to the Eclector.
Your appreciation for this and feedback keeps me wanting to bring you more =)