Author: Jordanna Morgan
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: G. Canon character death referenced.
Characters: Gamora, Nebula, mentions of others.
Setting: A missing scene late in Volume 2.
Summary: A small moment between Gamora and Nebula.
Disclaimer: They belong to Marvel. I'm just playing with them.
Notes: Written for Sholio as a little treat (or maybe a trick topped off with a treat?) in the 2017 Trick Or Treat Exchange. I apologize if the initial inclusion of loss-of-Yondu stuff is a bit of a downer. It's kind of important to the dynamics of Gamora's feelings and motivations afterward, so I hope the result is ultimately enjoyable.
Gamora once believed nothing she faced could be more painful than the tortures in her past… but she learned otherwise when she saw Peter Quill weeping, the frozen corpse of Yondu cradled in his arms.
The moment they retrieved Peter from the now-empty depths of space, Drax wanted to rush to him, to give him a massive hug of relief and inspect him for injuries. It was Gamora who stopped their rather oblivious friend from offering that ill-timed welcome. She never had the chance to hold her own slain parents before Thanos dragged her away; and now, seeing Peter cling to the body of the man who raised him, she wished deeply that she could have had such closure for even a few moments. From this she knew that before anything else, Peter needed room to mourn.
That was why she alone met him at the airlock. It was why, after helping him drag Yondu's body only as far as the warmer environs of the corridor, she let him collapse beside it there. It was why she merely squeezed his shoulder in sympathy, and then slipped away to give him solitude, even though leaving him alone made her heart hurt savagely.
She didn't know how long she wandered blankly through the corridors of the Quadrant, numb with secondhand grief. However, at some point the dull semblance of an immediate purpose coalesced: she should check on Nebula. She had to make sure her sister wasn't hiding somewhere in the bowels of the ship, plotting to murder them all in their sleep.
She had to make sure her sister was alright.
After some stealthy searching, Gamora found Nebula in a storage bay, rummaging through a crate of prosthetic hands. She supposed that was not unreasonable. Although the hand currently attached to Nebula still functioned, being used as a backup generator had probably done nothing good for it.
When Gamora stepped into the bay, Nebula startled like a cat, fists clenching and body bracing instinctively for a fight. Her tension did not ease right away upon seeing her foster sibling. Instead she stood frozen for a long moment, as her too-dark eyes stared through Gamora warily.
With her sorrow for Peter sitting in her chest like a heavy weight, Gamora was in no particular mood for talk—which was evidently just fine with Nebula. Once satisfied that Gamora intended to make no threatening moves, she merely showed her teeth in a dismissive little growl, and continued her investigation of the mechanical hands in the crate.
Gamora wished she knew for sure that she could trust Nebula around her friends. Her family.
"Apparently Rocket is still very angry about you shooting him," she led in casually at last.
Nebula shot a simmering glance over her shoulder, and responded with exactly one terse word that was probably her first since she boarded the Quadrant. "So?"
"So if you misbehave in the slightest while you remain aboard this ship, I will let him collect that Xandarian bounty on your head."
Another bitter snarl was the reply. Nebula threw down an oversized prosthetic arm with a loud, angry clank, and viciously dug deeper into the box.
In an extended silence broken only by the scraping and clattering of metal, Gamora's thoughts went back to Peter, discovering what he had in his life only too late; and words softly crossed her lips before she realized it.
"…I'm glad you didn't die."
Like another jolt of electricity, an abrupt flinch jerked through Nebula's shoulders. For a few seconds after that, she was very still. Then she hastily reached into the crate, snatched up a prosthetic hand, and turned to stomp out of the storage bay—all without making any eye contact with Gamora.
The Guardian waited.
Thirty seconds later, the doors of the bay reopened. Nebula skulked sheepishly back into the cavernous room, her blue cheeks flushed as purple as the center of her face. She made straight for the box of hands—into which she threw the erroneous right hand she had picked up. Then she seized the left hand she had been going for in the first place, and stalked out again without a word.
And Gamora cracked a solemn smile.
2017 Jordanna Morgan