Disclaimer: We don't own anything belonging to MARVEL and we're not making any money from this fic
Summary: 53rd in the Redeeming Grant series.
Authors: Hope1iz and Cat2000
Warning(s): Spanking, including with a belt; AU; references to violence; dominant/submissive behaviour; dangerous/reckless actions
Peter followed Stephen through the portal that was opened and quickly moved forward, out of the way, so the rest of the family could step through. He glanced at his cousin with wide-eyes. "This place looks like it came straight out of a Kung-Fu movie!" he said, with more than a hint of excitement.
Kraglin chuckled at his brother's enthusiasm, even if he looked a bit confused. "What's a Kung-Fu movie, Petey?" he asked, wrinkling his nose. "...Swear you talk in riddles!"
Stephen raised his eyebrows at his cousins, letting out a tiny snort, doing his best to hide his amusement. He didn't want to encourage a lot of questions and that's exactly what he'd get if he answered Quill's assertion with any type of affirmation. Although, the other man was right. It did look like a scene out of a movie... He glanced around, taking in the view of Kamar-Taj. He hadn't been back here since Dormamu had been defeated. It was a bit depressing, really; nearly all the students had fled to various sanctums after the fighting. Those that hadn't been killed, at any rate. Sighing, he turned to wait for the rest of the group accompanying him to step through the portal.
Mantis stepped through, a look of wonder on her face. She quickly moved to stand next to her 'nephews', as she'd begun to teasingly call Peter and Kraglin; since Drax had said she was his 'kid sister', she'd embraced the role whole-heartedly.
Wong and Mordo followed Drax and Yondu through the portal and closed it behind them.
Yondu heard Peter's comment and moved over to stand next to his youngest son. "No clue what a Kung-Fu movie is, but don't it look a bit like one of those planets we went to?" he asked both Peter and Kraglin. "Where we was hired to steal that scroll."
Peter glanced around again. "Yeah...Kinda..." he agreed with his father. "That one looked like a Kung-Fu movie too!"
"My room was this way... although perhaps it would be better if we all moved into rooms that were close together?" Stephen ignored the second Kung-Fu reference in favor of getting everyone into rooms. He glanced at Wong and Mordo for their input.
"I believe it would make a lot more sense," Mordo commented. "And if there's anything we need to move around, we can take care of that."
"The books will be gathering dust. I will see if there are any we could take back with us," Wong said.
"I didn't have much in my room to begin with, so I can help you with the books and grab whatever I want to keep from there later..." Stephen said to Wong.
Peter shrugged. "Part of why we're here is to help with clean-up and rebuilding. Show me where to dump my pack and then point me where you need me to start!" He grinned.
"This way." Mordo began to lead them to a group of rooms where they could all drop their items.
It didn't take long for Peter and Kraglin to drop their stuff into the rooms they'd been given and then they were both looking for something to do.
Stephen had followed Wong to the library to begin carefully boxing books or putting them into a safe location where they couldn't accidently end the world.
Mordo waited for Peter, Kraglin, their dads and Mantis to drop off their stuff and then took them to some of the areas that had suffered the worst devastation, so they could start there.
Peter and Kraglin quickly got to clearing rubble and, when possible, fixing what was broken.
Stephen, meanwhile, was carefully picking books out of the rubble. He'd already found several that he thought would be safer kept at the compound; at least until Kamar-Taj was fully rebuilt. He'd set them aside for Wong to look at later and confirm if they should be taken or not. He'd found a book on dimensional portals that had interested him and, as a result, his 'cleaning' and 'packing' had slowed to a crawl, as he read the first few pages and became absorbed in the material.
Wong didn't fail to notice when Stephen's packing slowed and nearly stopped. He was prepared to let his brother take a break...until he saw what it was Stephen's attention had fixated on and then he took the book out of his brother's hand. "This book is too dangerous."
"Wait...what?!" Stephen blinked in surprise at having Wong completely take the item from him without even asking for it. If he'd stopped to think about it, he would have taken the older man's abrupt actions as the sign of worry and trying to protect him that they were. Instead, it just frustrated him.
"It is not safe for you to look at alone," Wong stated. "Later, the three of us can study the book together."
Sighing, Stephen didn't argue. They really needed to get the library cleaned up and he could argue later about the fact he had progressed a lot in his knowledge since he'd originally arrived in Kamar-Taj and he didn't need to be babysat by his brothers.
Not wanting Stephen to be tempted, or get any ideas, Wong put the book safely away and then resumed sorting through the shelf he'd been working on.
Stephen didn't say anything about Wong all but hiding the book, although he took note of where the other man had put it. He just continued sorting through the shelf he'd been working on. Before he knew it, he was on his fifth shelf and it was time to eat dinner. "Ugh...I think maybe I'll need a shower before we go to eat, otherwise I'm liable to drop cobwebs into my food..." he muttered, giving his brother an impish smile.
"I'm sure we could all perhaps use one," Wong agreed. "I will check with Mordo and the others and make sure they plan to have a break too."
"I would be very surprised if they don't... but I will wait to do anything till you find out..." Stephen followed his brother out of the library.
It didn't take long for Wong to track down the other family members and he stopped by Mordo, looking at everyone hard at work. "Is everyone ready for a break now?" he asked.
"I sure am!" Peter straightened up from where he'd just dropped another load onto a pile of rubble. "I am so hungry I could eat a plate of grubs!"
Kraglin grimaced. "I ain't ever gonna understand yer palate..." he mumbled and ran a hand over his mouth.
"We will be cleaning up ourselves before eating," Drax stated firmly.
"Agreed," Yondu grunted. "Ain't been this dirty since...well, don't really remember the last time."
"Got this dirty on X5471... the ruins decided to collapse on me. Spent three days digging myself out!" Peter said proudly.
"I don't expect I'll hafta scrub ya clean again this time," Yondu commented, remembering that very well.
"Daaaaddy!" Peter groaned, turning bright red. "I coulda found a way ta scrub m'self. Doctors didn' hafta put casts on both my arms...dunno why ya listn'd to 'em..."
"I was far more minded ta listen ta those medically trained than a scruffy kid too obstinate fer his own good," Yondu said; though his voice was fond, and he lightly squeezed Peter's shoulder.
"Not much has changed," Drax grunted.
"Wow, thanks, Poppa..." Peter snarked and stuck his tongue out at Drax. It was obvious he was trying not to laugh, though.
Kraglin shook his head. "Thought for sure you was referring to the time you went back to that planet and had to sneak back on board the ship cuz dad had told you not to go...still surprised you wasn't in bigger trouble when he found out."
Peter had started making faces and making cutting motions with his hand...but Kraglin didn't see him till he'd already commented. "Oh..." he said, his eyes widening. "I thought he'd caught you..." Kraglin rubbed the back of his neck and gave Peter an apologetic look.
Yondu heard what Kraglin said and his hand shifted to the back of Peter's head, holding him almost possessively. "When was this?" he asked.
"Uuuuh..." Peter got a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face. Swallowing hard, he licked his lips before admitting, "Right before I took off in the Milano... you'd gone to trade on Knowwhere and I got back maybe four hours 'fore you returned. Cleaned up as much of the mess as I could, cleaned myself up...hid all the cuts and bruises..." He shifted uncomfortably. He was in prime swatting position, assuming his daddy didn't upend him over his knee completely.
Yondu pulled Peter in close and swatted his backside. "I recall telling ya not ta go back there. Not for no reason. Yer know that, kid."
Peter let out a tiny yelp and began to squirm to move his backside out of reach, something he wouldn't have done if he'd thought it through. Trying to get away from a deserved smacking always earned more swats, cuz it meant he wasn't taking responsibility for his actions. "Aaaw...Daaad...I was grown up by then! I figured I didn't have to listen to that order..."
Stephen, who had been quietly watching, couldn't stop the raised eyebrows or the disbelieving snort. Even he knew that assuming such a thing was asking for a butt roasting and he hadn't known Yondu most his life, like Peter had.
"Yer was always meant ta listen ta me, kid." Yondu swatted his son again. "It don't matter how old ya get." He delivered another two swats.
"But... I was grown!" Peter whined, still trying to squirm his backside out of the way. "Ya didnt even know! That's how careful I was!"
"And ya knew you shouldn'a gone and left the ship. Not after I told ya not ta." Yondu began to lead his son over to one of the benches that had been relatively untouched during the fight.
"Perhaps we had better give them some privacy," Mordo said quietly to his brothers.
Stephen shook his head, certain that if Peter had just agreed he'd been wrong and apologized instead of trying to justify his actions, he would have only got the one smack. "I'm gonna go take a shower," he said, motioning to Kraglin. He wasn't sure if Drax would stay or not, but the look on Peter's brother's face was pure reluctance. It was obvious he wanted to get away before anything further happened. "I'll show you where the bathhouse is..." He headed that direction.
"Comin'!" Kraglin immediately ran to catch up.
Peter saw the bench and dug his heels in. "Aaaw, nooo! C'mon! It was a long time ago! At least five years! It's not like I got hurt again like the first time! And I didn't get sick like when I snuck off the ship at Zandar and got drunk on my 21st birthday!" he protested.
"Aw, Petey..." could be heard in the distance.
Mordo and Wong didn't waste any time in following their brother, while Drax grasped Mantis' shoulder and guided her from the room. "They will come when they are ready."
Yondu didn't have any problems effectively dragging his son towards the bench and taking a seat, draping Peter over his lap. "Seems yer overdue a spanking." He tugged his son's pants and underwear down.
Mantis didn't say anything, just going with Drax quietly.
Peter groaned as he found himself bare over his dad's knee. "Daddy..." he said tentatively... hesitantly... as if afraid he'd be in bigger trouble if he kept talking, but unable to just shut up. He slumped over his father's knee, not bothering to try and get away. Yondu was stronger than him, always had been, and the only way he'd escape was if he hurt the older man. Which he didn't want to do. "Maybe I should just confess every time I snuck out and did something I wasn't sposed to, so you can take care of it all at once..." he grumbled morosely, finding it very unfair that he was being punished for things that had occurred years before and that Yondu never would have known about if he'd kept his mouth shut.
"Probably be a good idea, kid. Though it's more've a concern ya seem ta see nothing wrong with it." Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's waist, drawing his son in close and tight, and delivered a firm smack to the crest of Peter's bottom. He landed two more and then paused to begin rubbing.
Peter whimpered faintly, slumping further as Yondu began rubbing out the tiny amount of sting that the swats had caused. His father was being affectionate, while making it clear he'd screwed up. The combination made it difficult to stand his ground and insist that he'd done nothing wrong. "I... I know it was wrong to do it then..." he said softly. "...But I got away with it and that's what Ravagers do! They do stuff that most people would say they aren't sposed to and if they get away with it, then they've done really good!" This time, he sounded uncertain. Was it possible he'd had it wrong this entire time? He'd thought Yondu would be proud of the fact he'd managed to get away with it for so long; although since he'd just told on himself, he supposed expecting the man to remain proud of him for getting away with it was a bit silly.
"No, kid. Ya did exactly what I told yer not ta do." Yondu delivered another three swats and then paused to resume rubbing again, continuing in the same pattern down to Peter's thighs. "I were taking care of ya. Looking after ya. And I were yer daddy then. Sam as I am now. Don't matter how much time's gone. Or how old ya get."
Peter sniffled, trying hard not to make any noise when the swats fell, though he couldn't stop the whimper from escaping when Yondu rubbed out the sting again. For some reason, the affection was breaking through his barriers much more quickly than spanking alone would have. "...I... I thought Ravagers were meant to get away with stuff..." he repeated, a little confused, but not entirely. He thought he knew what Yondu was getting at by mentioning that he was his daddy, then as well as now. "...Or was I not 'sposed to be a Ravager when you was telling me not to do stuff... I was just 'sposed to be yer kid?" This was asked hesitantly, as he thought about all the things Yondu had told him not to do that he'd disobeyed. None of those things had been told to him when he was in the presence of other Ravagers. They had all been orders given to him personally, with no audience. The only one who knew he'd disobeyed was him... and sometimes Krag. "You wasn' telling me not to, as my captain?" Peter sniffled again, blinking back unexpected tears. His father hadn't even begun spanking in earnest yet, barely giving a warm-up. If he was already crying, then he'd be bawling before Yondu finished with him.
"You was always supposed ta be my kid," Yondu stated. "Like yer brother were too. Making the decision ta keep ya... weren't about putting you on my crew. I always protected ya. Always looked after ya. Made sure ya had everything ya needed." He delivered another couple of swats, pausing again to rub.
Peter sniffled again, slumping even further. By this point, all fight was gone from him. Yondu's reasonableness and the fact he kept pointing out the fact that Peter was his kid, even way back then, had caused Peter to feel guilty about all the times he'd disobeyed and lied. Guilty enough that he was beginning to want Yondu to lay into him and blister his backside, so he wouldn't have to feel guilty. "I... I didn't know it then, like I do now..." he said, with a sniffle; not exactly trying to defend his actions but trying to give an explanation about it.
"I showed ya how to shoot. Made sure ya could take care of yerself." Yondu completed a full circuit of swats and then paused to rub his son's gradually heating bottom and thighs. "If yer'd stopped to think about it...ya would've known you was never in danger from me or with me."
"I was never really scared of ya..." Peter admitted, sniffling again. "...Maybe scared of the crew b'fore I learned enough to be able to git away from 'em. Or fight 'em. But not of you..." Peter swallowed. "...I wanted ta make you proud of me..." He said this with a hint of embarrassment. "... S'why I wanted to be a really good Ravager... I thought... thought you'd be proud I fooled ya for so long, but... but now... now I see you wasn't telling me not to do that stuff captain to ravager... you was telling me daddy to son... I shoulda obeyed ya..." Peter sniffled again and wiped at his eyes. "...I was really, really disobedient, daddy..." he whispered, before beginning to list the litany of times he'd disobeyed Yondu and 'gotten away' with it. There was quite a long list. He'd be lucky if he could sit for the rest of the vacation, he figured; but it wouldn't be any less than he deserved for misunderstanding his father so completely.
Yondu rubbed his son's bottom all through the list Peter gave him... and it was a very long one. He shook his head once Peter was finished, commenting, "I oughta have turned ya over my knee when I pulled ya and Gamora back onto the ship." In fact, only a reluctance to lose Peter again had held him back. He had no such fear this time. He resumed swatting again, this time harder than before.
Peter couldn't stop the tiny yelp that escaped when Yondu began smacking again, harder, but to his credit, he didn't try and get away or protest. By this point, he knew he was wrong and he deserved to be punished. He had a lot to make up for. Letting out a tiny, choked cry, he reached down and held onto Yondu's leg so that he wouldn't throw his hands back. "I'm sorry, daddy... I was horrible naughty..." he admitted, in a tiny voice. It was obvious he was crying already.
"I know yer sorry, kid. Might not get ya out of a trip over my knee, but yer still forgiven. Still loved. Still mine." Yondu still smacked Peter's bottom, going down to his thighs and then starting over from the top, his other hand keeping a tight hold of his son, so there was no chance of Peter falling or even squirming away too much.
Peter relaxed at the words. He hadn't even realized he'd been worried about that until Yondu reiterated that he was still loved and belonged to his daddy. The swats had built up enough by this point that his bottom was at a constant sting, bordering on a dull throb. And he forced himself to stay still, continuing to hold onto his father with a tight grip. He deserved this. He wouldn't fight it, no matter how much his instinct was to squirm away or block the smacks.
Yondu completed the current circuit and then paused to begin rubbing his son's bottom once more. "Ya ain't gonna get away with anything else, kid." He delivered a swat to emphasize that and then resumed rubbing. "Bein' naughty will jus' end with ya right here. Across my knee." Another swat and rub, then several swats to Peter's sit spots and thighs before he began another circuit.
"Yes, daddy!" Peter was close to blubbering out the response; he was already obviously crying, but he was managing to avoid sobbing by a thin margin. He didn't think he'd be holding out much longer, though. The combination of spanking and rubbing was causing him to feel both very loved and very guilty (despite the fact he was being punished). He didn't know how to handle the combination, except to lay limp over his father's knee and accept whatever Yondu decided he deserved.
"But I ain't ever gonna let ya go, kid. No matter what. I love ya and I'll look after ya. Even if yer naughty." Yondu began to smack a fraction faster and a fraction harder, leaving it a bit longer between the swats and rubbing his son's bottom, though he kept up with both.
"I... I... I love you too, daddy!" Peter gasped out. He couldn't hold still any longer. His bottom hurt! As much as he knew he deserved every swat and didn't want to fight, his body wasn't going to put up with him holding still any longer. He began to squirm; fractionally at first, but more actively the longer Yondu smacked.
"Ya ain't gonna leave my sight today, kid." Yondu tightened his grip on Peter, his other hand rubbing his son's bottom. "When we're done here, I'll take ya and give ya a bath. Scrub ya clean like I used ta. Then yer'll sit on my lap while we eat and at bedtime," he delivered a firm smack for emphasis, "I'll take ya over my knee fer another spanking... a reminder ter behave... and then tuck yer into bed wi' me."
Peter let out a tiny sob at the words. "...Yo... you're treatin me like a baby...?" he asked, in a high voice, although it was mostly high due to his attempts not to sob; he was surprised that he wasn't angry at Yondu's plans and felt a sense of relief and peace overcome him at the news of what the rest of his day and night would entail.
"I'm treating ya like my kid. My son. My boy." Yondu gently squeezed one thigh. "As fer tomorrow...it's likely gonna be the same. Over my knee again in th' morning. Sitting on my lap fer breakfast. More attention as ya need it through the day."
"...W... we'll be...be to...together all day?" Peter asked, in a very shaky voice. It was telling that he didn't protest more spankings or sitting on his father's lap. He was an adult again, but the thought of his father holding him like that was too appealing to argue against it. He shifted uncertainly; his bottom was so very sore now. But Yondu hadn't told him he could get up yet. And he wasn't certain his father would. He hadn't completely submitted the way Yondu usually required for a punishment to be over. He whimpered softly, moving to wrap his arm around his father's leg, instead of just holding on with his hands. "...Yours..." he whispered.
"Mine, kid," Yondu agreed. "I ain't gonna let ya go. Even if ya try ter leave me again." He began to swat his son's bottom again, letting his other hand move to the back of Peter's head, holding onto him possessively.
"...I... I won't..." Peter closed his eyes tightly and promised. He'd never leave his father again. Not willingly. It didn't take long before the heat had flared back to life once Yondu began swatting again. Peter squirmed helplessly for a few moments, sobbing quietly. "...Sorry was naughty, daddy... sorry lied and hid things and dis'beyed." he began to say in a quiet, tiny voice in between his tears.
"I love ya, kid. No matter what yer've done. Or did. Ya didn't change it. Ya never made me stop." Yondu focused some more swats to his son's sit spots and thighs, adjusting Peter enough to make those spots easier to access.
"...I love you, daddy... I love you so much and never ever wanna leave ya... nee...need you too... too much..." Peter choked, before finally going boneless and giving in to his father's correction. He knew what he'd done wrong. He knew he deserved the spanking. Yondu deserved to get all the response he had with no hiding. So, Peter gave up and lay over his daddy's knee, sobbing and accepting every smack without even a tiny twitch, no matter how much it hurt.
Yondu didn't waste any time in stopping the spanking and bringing his son up into his arms, hugging Peter tightly to himself, stroking his hair and his back.
"...Sorry, daddy..." Peter mumbled against his father's chest, as he burrowed as close as he could get. "...Wanna be good for you..." he said in a tiny voice, the sobbing having eased once he was being held tightly in his father's arms.
"Yer good, kid. I love ya. And I ain't gonna let go of you," Yondu promised, continuing the comfort and affection. He stroked down over his son's bottom as well as over his hair and back.
Peter shivered at the sting whenever his father rubbed over his bottom, snuggling closer and nuzzling against Yondu's chest. He couldn't help but ask impishly, "...What's it look like, daddy? Did you really blister me, or's it just feel like it?"
"No blistering, kid." Yondu stroked the back of his head. "It's red, but that'll fade. At least by bedtime."
Peter sniffled again, snuggling close. "...Red like a tomato? or red like Horza's face when I stole his date that time on Zandar?" He grinned up at Yondu. He was beginning to feel like his normal, incorrigible self; his father's loving correction and affection helping him feel more able to be himself.
"As I recall, his face was more purple," Yondu commented, hand stroking his son's cheek. "And it definitely ain't anywhere close to that."
Peter slanted his head into Yondu's palm. "Yer right. He was kinda purplish. That couldn't a been good for him. I was kinda mean..." he admitted sheepishly, shifting slightly because his backside was still tender, and it was hard to sit still.
Yondu let his other hand gently stroke and rub over Peter's backside, while he stroked his son's cheek and kissed his head. "Maybe at times," he commented.
"I'll try to be nicer?" Peter said skeptically. Sometimes his mouth just got away with him. He arched his back, so his bottom could be rubbed easier.
"Ya don't need ter change, kid." Yondu pulled him closer, even as he continued the gentle affection, soothing the warmth still coming from his son's bottom. "I love ya. Tha' never changed."
Peter pressed his ear against Yondu's chest, his eyes half-closing from the contentment he felt. "I love you too, daddy..." he whispered. "...Even when I'm my naughtiest, I always love you. Guess that's why it's so effective when you punish me... cuz I know I've disappointed ya when you have to..." He snuggled a bit more, starting to become a little sleepy. "...I best get up and move for the bath or Ima gonna fall asleep on you..." he muttered, with a hint of sheepishness.
Yondu carefully replaced his son's clothing and then helped Peter to stand, pressing another kiss to his head. "I'll give ya yer bath. Scrub you clean. Then yer'll sit on my lap while we eat." He stood, wrapping his arm around Peter's waist.
"You wuz serious bout bathing me like a baby?" Peter glanced up at his father curiously. He wasn't arguing, not at all; he was pretty much willing to obey anything his father told him without argument now. Still. He was an adult... it was humbling to think that his father would take care of him like that when he wasn't hurt or sick. Then again, maybe being humbled and Yondu being in complete control of everything was what he needed to remind him he was meant to obey. He leaned against his father and let him lead him to wherever it was they were going. "Are our clean clothes on the way to the bath?" he asked, in an off-handed manner.
"I were serious about everything I told ya, kid." Yondu gave his backside a couple of mild pats as he led his son to their rooms, so he could collect the clean clothes and then take Peter to the bath.
Peter let out barely audible whimpers at the mild pats- they felt like normal pats to his sore bottom- and pressed closer to his father. "Yes, daddy..." he whispered, determined that he'd do whatever Yondu told him to do; even if his father sat him on his lap for dinner and hand-fed him.
Yondu retrieved the clean clothes and then led his son to the bath, his arm wrapped possessively around Peter's waist. Once they were inside, he didn't waste any time in stripping his son of his dirty clothes.
Peter wasn't shy about his body; and certainly not in front of Yondu. The space pirate had seen him naked more times than he could remember. He was a bit shyer about the fact that Yondu was taking over bathing him, but he didn't feel right arguing about it. Not when he knew his confessions had bothered his father. This was part of his punishment; not because it was a negative, but because it would pull him closer to Yondu and help him remember that, despite being a grown-up, he was still Yondu's child and he still owed Yondu obedience. Not arguing about being able to take his own bath? Obeying Yondu and letting Yondu take care of him this way? Would be a physical demonstration that he understood. He bit his lower lip and looked at the ground while he waited for his father to tell him what to do next.
The bath was big enough that Yondu could strip himself off and then climb into the bath with his son. Despite his use of the word 'scrubbing', he was careful - as always - not to be too rough as he began to wash the dirt and grime off Peter's body.
Peter bit his lip and held still for Yondu's care. It had been a long time since anyone had taken care of him in this way and it caused a funny feeling in his chest, but it wasn't a scared feeling or a bad feeling. It made him feel warm and safe and loved. He relaxed, becoming more pliant, easier for Yondu to move or arrange. Peter became so relaxed, he didn't even balk when Yondu washed more personal areas. "...Tummy feels funny..." was all he said, a funny look on his face, because he didn't feel sick or queasy and he didn't feel aroused, he didn't feel scared... he couldn't figure out exactly what he was feeling. He glanced into Yondu's eyes, his own confused and hopeful; as if he thought Yondu knew all the answers in the universe.
Yondu cupped his son's cheek in his hand. "I'm taking care of ya. Ya don't need ta worry about anything." He continued washing Peter, until all the dirt was gone, and then helped him out so he could dry him off.
"That makes my tummy feel funny?" Peter blinked, stepping out of the bath and holding still so Yondu could dry him.
"It can do." Yondu finished drying off his son and then dressed him in the clean clothes, gently patting his backside again before he got himself dressed.
Peter shivered slightly at the gentle patting and took that as his cue not to move from the spot he was in. He waited for Yondu to finish dressing, looking at his feet almost shyly. "Why would that make my tummy feel funny? It's not a bad funny...it's a warm, flippy type feeling..." he said softly.
Dressed, Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's waist, drawing him close against his side. "Cause ya don't need ter control or do anything, kid. Yer in my hands and ya know it." He began to lead Peter from the bath, so they could join the others for food.
"You're in charge of me again, like when I was eight and afraid and thinkin I was alone..." Peter whispered, letting his head fall onto Yondu's shoulder. "...And you protected me and took care of me and all I had to do was listen to ya..." He swallowed. "...The good feeling is my body remembering what that felt like? Maybe?"
"Yeah, kid. I expect so." Yondu led his son into the dining area, where the others were already and waiting. As he'd promised, he led Peter over to his chair and sat down, gently guiding his son onto his lap and wrapping his arm around Peter's waist, holding him steadily and possessively.
Kraglin smiled to see his baby brother with their father. Peter looked more relaxed than he had in a long while; even after he'd had to be settled when he'd done everything possible to get Yondu's attention back at the compound, he wasn't this relaxed and content. His smile broadened as Peter let his head lean against Yondu's.
Mantis slanted her head. "Peaceful is a good mood for you, Peter..." she said quietly, before placing an apple on her plate.
Stephen slanted his head considering and nodded. "I have to agree with Mantis. Peaceful is definitely a good look for you..." he said, in a conversational tone, as he began to put small amounts of food on his plate and then pass the bowls to Mordo, who was on his left. He wasn't putting very much on his plate; just enough to hopefully avoid his brothers complaining.
Drax grunted. "It is good," he said, nodding.
Mordo wasn't unobservant by any means and as soon as he had the bowls, he proceeded to put more food on Stephen's plate before his own.
When the bowls passed to him, Yondu filled up his own plate and then Peter's, then proceeded to start feeding his son.
Peter blinked, but he didn't argue about being fed like a young child. In fact, his eyes betrayed the fact that he was holding in laughter as he obediently opened his mouth like a baby bird and let his father feed him.
Stephen wrinkled his nose as his small portions became normal portions, but he just sighed and continued the process of putting small amounts on his plate and handing the bowls to Mordo, even though he knew his brother would add more food until he was satisfied with the portion size. He glanced at Wong, wondering what the other man thought about Mordo force-feeding him.
Kraglin added food to his plate when it arrived, making sure to take some of everything in an amount that Yondu wouldn't disagree with. He then proceeded to put food on Mantis's plate, having noticed that the alien woman tended not to eat anything that wasn't in its natural form, such as fruit. He figured she probably wasn't certain what to eat and didn't know how to ask.
Mantis stared at her plate. "Is this good?" she asked Drax, as Kraglin handed bowls to his second father.
Wong's face was bland as Stephen looked at him. He was reluctant to scold his brother in a more public place... though Mordo had no such qualms and commented, "I wouldn't need to put more food on your plate if you took a sensible amount."
Drax nodded to Mantis. "I have been here long enough to know what is good to eat and what is bad. What they call 'junk food' is bad."
Yondu still had a tight hold of Peter, but he still checked to make sure his other son was eating enough and didn't seem neglected. It helped that Drax had moved his chair close enough to Kraglin that they could touch, if Kraglin made any indication he needed that.
"Yes, brother..." Stephen sighed softly. This wasn't a battle he would win, he knew, so he refrained from fighting it.
Kraglin smiled at his 'aunt' and both fathers. "So, we had a busy day today, clearing up. Early bed?"
"I would like to read some of the books we uncovered in the library," Stephen began. "...But I will save that for when we've actually got most things repaired and I can sit comfortably to read."
"I am a bit tired..." Peter admitted hesitantly, before Yondu stuck another forkful of food into his mouth.
Mantis nodded. "You are all very tired and are making me tired. Bed would be good."
Yondu had made sure to feed himself along with Peter, so that their plates were empty about the same time. He then helped Peter to stand and stood as well, so he didn't let go of his son. "Peter'll be sleeping in my room tonight," he informed the rest of their family.
"Good. He needs it," Drax said frankly, as he stood to clean up.
Peter's mouth dropped open at Drax's comment. "Poppa?" he asked hesitantly, wondering if he'd upset Drax when he'd upset Yondu and the other man just hadn't said anything.
Drax paused and made eye contact with Peter. He didn't do subtlety at all, no matter how much the other family members tried to teach him, so he was blunt and honest as he said, "You need to be with your daddy tonight. You needed him to spank you earlier. Now you need him to take care of you."
Peter's mouth closed quickly, and he swallowed, turning bright red. He couldn't argue the point, though. Blunt as he was, Drax was seldom wrong when it came to what needed to be done. "Yes, sir..." he said, in a subdued voice, to let Drax know he had no intention of disobeying either of his parents.
"Yes, well..." Stephen cleared his throat uncomfortably, feeling a bit bad for the younger man, but not wanting to step in where he wasn't wanted or needed. Putting yourself into the middle of family issues never worked out well. "I will see you all in the morning." He nodded at everyone, then spun on his heel and quickly head to his quarters, which he discovered were stuck right in the middle between Mordo's and Wong's quarters. He felt himself relaxing at that knowledge and smiled at both of his brothers before disappearing into his room.
"C'mon, Mantis, I'll walk you to your room..." Kraglin said with a grin, holding out his arm to the woman. He figured Peter should be able to say goodnight to Drax as well, even if he was staying with Yondu; and if he knew his brother, he'd probably do something to get a swat or two from the taciturn man. He didn't wanna be there to witness it.
"Thank you!" Mantis smiled at Kraglin and took his arm, letting him lead her away.
Mordo and Wong were quick to retire for the night with their brother.
Yondu squeezed Peter's waist and then let go of him, so he could say goodnight to his other father. And attention from Drax, too, if he needed to push for that.
Peter shuffled over to Drax almost bashfully, wanting to throw his arms around the other man, but not sure if he should or not; if Drax was upset or disappointed with him, because if he was, then he needed to do something to make it right. "... Goodnight Poppa?" he said softly.
Drax didn't hesitate. He'd seen enough of how the family interacted to be more comfortable with comfort and initiating it. He wrapped his arms tightly around Peter, drawing him in close. "Even if you need your daddy now, I am still here and still your Poppa," he promised.
Peter relaxed into Drax, hugging tightly. "I love you, Poppa..." he said, more at ease. "...I love you and I will see you tomorrow..." He nuzzled against Drax's chest for a moment before loosening his grip and stepping back, giving Drax a crooked smile. "...Good night, Poppa..."
"Good night." Drax gently squeezed his shoulder. "I love you and I will see you at breakfast tomorrow," he promised.
Peter smiled brightly at Drax and then moved back into Yondu's arms, snuggling closer to him.
Yondu guided his son to his own bedroom, leading him inside and closing the door before he gently led Peter over to the bed.
Peter looked down at the street clothes he was wearing. He didn't move to change, though. Yondu had been taking charge over every aspect and he was content to continue to let his father handle him however he saw fit. He'd sleep naked if his father indicated he should; and if his backside continued to be sore like it was, he might be grateful for that, even if he'd feel awkward. Still... whatever happened was up to Yondu.
Yondu stroked his son's cheek and then began to remove Peter's clothes. As soon as his son was naked, he sat down on the bed and gently drew Peter across his lap.
Peter swallowed back the whimper he couldn't help, but some of it still escaped before he could stop the sound completely. He didn't argue or fight, though, immediately going limp. "...I'm sorry, Daddy..." he whispered, this time putting his hands behind his back so Yondu could hold them in place. He didn't think he'd have enough willpower not to throw them back over his bottom, this second spanking.
"This ain't about yer being naughty, kid." Yondu took Peter's hands, clasping them against his son's back. After making sure Peter's body was well-supported and that he wouldn't fall, he began to firmly pat his son's backside.
"It's not?" Peter hissed out softly, the firm pats reigniting the sting in his bottom. Tears immediately sprang to his eyes and he couldn't help but begin to squirm. "...Is...is...is it about y... you being in charge?" Peter swallowed hard. "...M...me o..obeying?" he said, more quietly.
"Yeah, kid. Ya spent a lot of time without me there. Did a lot of things ya know I wouldn't have let ya do." Yondu continued to firmly pat his son's backside, at a slow and steady pace.
Peter whimpered and sniffled, still squirming at the firm pats. His bottom was sooo sore. "...Yo... you're in charge, daddy... I'll obey you..." he promised. He said nothing about doing things Yondu wouldn't approve of. He knew he had. He also knew he might again in the future, if Yondu didn't outright forbid something and he didn't want to break promises.
"Good, kid." Yondu squeezed his son's hands. "I ain't ever gonna take myself away from ya. I love ya. And I'll take care of ya. We won't be apart again," he promised.
At the promise, Peter slumped in relief, crying softly and just accepting what Yondu was doing without trying to squirm away. He squeezed his father's hand tightly. He lay limp, accepting the mild spanking without word for several pats. And then, "It hurts, daddy..." he finally admitted hesitantly, not wanting to complain or whine, but needing to let his father know.
Yondu stopped patting and then brought his son up and into his arms, hugging Peter close and tight once more.
Peter snuggled as close as he could. "I love you, daddy." He sniffled, laying his head on Yondu's shoulder. He was finding it hard to keep his eyes open.
Yondu settled back on the bed, drawing the quilt up and over them both. "Go ta sleep, kid. I got ya," he whispered. "I love ya."
Peter settled down, draped over his father, his head on Yondu's chest. It didn't take long before he was asleep.
Yondu fell asleep quite quickly, holding his son close.
Peter was very comfortable sleeping on top of his father and didn't have bad dreams at all, snuggling close, all night long.
Yondu woke up fairly early, but he didn't try to wake his son up, content to just lay there and cuddle Peter.
Peter nuzzled against his father as he slowly woke up. "...Morning, daddy..." he mumbled quietly.
"Mornin', kid." Yondu stroked his hair. "I love ya."
"...Love you too... so much" Peter said, snaking his arms around Yondu and hugging tightly.
Yondu tightened his arms around his son. "How did ya sleep, kid?"
"Better than I have in a long time..." Peter admitted, almost shyly.
"I'm very glad ter hear that," Yondu commented.
"Sleeping with you holding me helped a lot..." Peter nuzzled against Yondu's chest.
"I'll do that any time ya need me ta," Yondu promised.
"Can I just stay with ya all vacation?" Peter asked hesitantly.
"Of course." Yondu stroked his hair.
"Thank you, daddy..." Peter sighed happily. He remembered he was to be spanked again in the morning, but while part of him wanted to get it out of the way, the other part wanted to put it off. And since it wasn't up to him anyway, he was reluctant to ask Yondu when it would occur. So he didn't ask. He just continued to snuggle as much as possible.
Yondu held his son for a little bit longer, stroking his hair and back before saying softly, "We'll get that spanking out of the way now." He carefully sat up, so he could move Peter over his lap.
Peter sighed softly, but didn't argue, shifting so his father could position him.
Yondu settled his son in place, taking a tight grip on Peter, and then began to firmly pat his backside, as he had last night.
Peter immediately tensed up and let out a tiny whimper. While rest had eased some of the soreness, the fact was that his bottom was still extremely tender. Even light pats would have hurt. Firm pats felt like a full- fledged spanking. Yondu had only got in four or five pats before Peter was squirming uncontrollably, like a worm on a hook; testing his father's strength and dexterity. He couldn't hold still, no matter how much he wanted to be 'good'. "I'm sorry, daddy," he said, in a tiny sob. "I'm sorry I can't be good and hold still for you!" He choked on a sob again.
Yondu stroked his lower back. "I love ya, kid. I ain't gonna let yer fall," he promised, tightening his hold on his son as he continued to firmly pat.
Peter continued to squirm and whimper, soft cries interspersed every so often and tears sliding down his face. He didn't beg for it to stop, though. He deserved every swat for so many years of questionable behavior and lying to his father.
Yondu stroked his son's lower back, patting for a few more moments before he paused to rub. "I ain't ever gonna let ya go, kid. I did before. When ya took the Milano. Then when ya tricked me with th' infinity stone. But never again."
"Promise?" Peter's voice was tiny and childlike. "You won't let me run and hide?"
"Never," Yondu promised. "I don't need ter hide how I feel about ya anymore. I can look after ya. Hug yer at any time. Keep ya wiv me..."
Peter sniffled a little more, having calmed considerably. The rubbing had helped, but it was Yondu's words that held the most impact. "I'm glad," he whispered. "I... I need you..."
"I need ya as well, kid. Always did," Yondu said. "I let ya go cause it seemed ya needed ta. Not again, though."
"I thought I needed to..." Peter whispered. "...Maybe I did. I dunno. I realize now how much I missed you and how much I need you and I dunno if leaving helped me cuz now I know how important you are, or if it hurt me, cuz I needed you and wasn't with you. Guess it don't matter. It's past. I just never wanna leave you again..."
"I won't let ya," Yondu promised, still gently rubbing his son's backside. "I'm here now. Wiv you. For good. I ain't ever gonna be apart from ya again."
"Thank you, daddy. Thank you for not letting me do things that will hurt me... I love you." Peter slumped as he finally calmed completely, the gentle rubbing soothing him.
"I love ya too, kid. And I'll keep ya with me for the entire vacation," Yondu promised. "I'll take care of ya... keep takin' care of ya. No matter what happens."
Peter let out a happy sound of agreement, content to let Yondu take care of him however his father saw fit. "Do I need to get up and get dressed now, Daddy?" he asked in a drowsy voice, his squirming and crying having made him weary. "They'll prolly wanna eat breakfast soon..." he added softly. He didn't move from his father's lap, though he wondered if he shouldn't be more anxious about the fact that he'd pretty much been completely naked all night long and still was. He may not have been ashamed or shy of his body, but he'd always been careful to keep layers of clothing on when he was on the Ravager's ship, even when it was just his father with him. He wrinkled his nose. He hadn't even thought of how vulnerable he was to his father and everyone else by remaining naked, all night long. He hadn't felt vulnerable. "I never realized how anxious I was when I was on the Eclector with all the other Ravagers..." he admitted, with a hint of wonder in his voice.
"The other Ravagers wasn't safe fer ya ta show any weakness." Yondu carefully helped his son up, so he could dress Peter, still keeping that control over his kid.
"Prolly still not safe 'round them... even grown and stronger than I was..." Peter mumbled, looking at the ground while he waited for his father to dress him. He'd willingly given Yondu control over him for the moment and had no intention of taking it back. "...Not like them. I can get lots done, but just not... not a Ravager. No matter how much I tried to be..." He sighed, thinking that made him a disappointment.
"No. Ya was better than a Ravager, kid. That was never what ya were meant ta be." Yondu finished dressing his son and then stroked the side of his face.
"I wanted ta be like you..." Peter admitted hesitantly, almost shyly, before slanting his head to press his face into his father's hand.
Yondu wrapped his arms around Peter in a tight hug, kissing his head. "Yer better than me, kid. Grown up and done the right things. I'm proud of you, son."
Peter turned red, but the smile on his face was surprised and happy. "You are?"
"Very much," Yondu promised, tightening his arms around his son and stroking the back of his head.
"That makes me happy..." Peter admitted bashfully. "...I want to make you proud..." He pressed closer, responding to the affectionate stroking like he always did... seeking out more.
"Ya do," Yondu promised, continuing the gentle stroking over his son's hair and back, lightly rubbing Peter's backside. "And I love yer."
Peter let out a happy sigh, squirming only slightly as his bottom was rubbed; it was very sensitive. "I love you too, daddy..." he said quietly, continuing to snuggle for a few more moments before reluctantly pulling back. "Let's eat..." he said, with a crooked grin. He didn't want to hog all his father's attention. Even if he knew that he'd likely be seeking Yondu out at some point after breakfast to snuggle some more. He'd been well-behaved for the most part while deaged. But now he was back to his normal age and size and part of him was worried that Yondu would think he didn't need him as much. That even though Yondu would be there for him and take care of him when needed, it would be different because he was an adult again. It was confusing.
Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's shoulders and guided his son out of the room, so they could join the others for breakfast, keeping Peter close to him.
Kraglin looked up from a bowl of oatmeal. "This ain't half bad!" he said, with a grin.
Stephen was eating his own oatmeal and glanced up, his nose wrinkled. "You haven't had oatmeal yet?" He glanced toward Wong and Mordo. "We didn't have oatmeal at the compound when everyone was a kid?"
Mantis piped in. "I do not believe we did. All the younger boys were always so hungry and wanted eggs and pancakes and bacon. Constantly." She giggled.
"Oh yeah. Oatmeal is good! Especially with brown sugar and cinnamon. Or strawberries and cream. Or raisins and nuts..." Peter paused as Yondu sat and pulled him down onto his lap. He shifted until he was comfortable, and his father could easily move, ignoring the soreness in his backside as much as possible. It didn't really hurt at the moment so much as feel uncomfortable; and for some reason he couldn't fathom, it was making him want to lay over his father's lap for a bit more attention. He shook his head and took a breath, glancing toward Drax. "What are you eating, Poppa?" He'd noticed that it wasn't oatmeal.
"Some fruit and yoghurt," Drax answered. "It is a combination I have not had before. How did you sleep?" he asked Peter, looking over his youngest son's body, as if to assure himself Peter was in no discomfort apart from a sore backside.
"There will likely be more oatmeal eaten now that everyone has returned to their normal ages," Wong commented.
"Really good, Poppa...how did you sleep?" Peter grinned, shifting minutely, but not enough that anyone could tell his bottom was sore; unless they were familiar with someone who had been spanked, that is.
Kraglin finished his oatmeal and then began to peel a hard-boiled egg. "Are we finishing up in the library today?"
"I slept well," Drax replied, nodding slightly. He heard Kraglin's question and glanced towards the three brothers.
"There is quite a bit left to do in the library and many of the books still need to be moved," Wong answered.
Yondu began to feed Peter, arm wrapped securely around his waist.
Peter didn't even blush this time. After having been fed in front of everyone the night before and none of them saying anything, he felt more comfortable and just obediently opened his mouth when prompted.
Stephen watched Peter and Yondu out of the corner of his eye, then glanced toward his brothers, then glanced down at his bowl of oatmeal. The fact was, Mordo had put the food into the bowl for him; there was a lot more there than he would have dished up for himself. For every spoonful he'd eaten, he'd stirred the cereal around four or five times just to make it seem like he was eating. They'd been sitting there long enough, maybe he could stand and act like he'd finished and clear his dishes away before Mordo noticed he hadn't actually eaten much. "Well, then I'll get started now!" he said, with a crooked smile, and stood, picking his bowl up quickly so that no one would look into it, and began to walk back to the kitchen to throw out the remainder and clean his bowl.
Mordo had been keeping a close eye on Stephen and when his brother stood up, he did as well, following Stephen and placing a hand on his shoulder. "You need to finish what's in your bowl."
"I've eaten enough..." Stephen said, not even trying to argue that he had finished; it was obvious Mordo had noticed, despite his efforts. "...I want to get to work. The sooner everything is cleared, the sooner we can repair..."
"You haven't eaten anything even approaching a healthy amount," Mordo said, seriously and with an almost stern note creeping into his voice.
"I'm really not hungry..." Stephen sighed, almost huffing.
"If you continue to argue with me, you won't like the consequences," Mordo said warningly.
"I won't like the consequences? Surely you jest!" Stephen said sarcastically.
Reaching out, Mordo took a hold of Stephen's arm and delivered a firm smack to his backside.
Stephen expelled a startled breath. "I asked for that," he admitted wryly, before taking his bowl and returning to the table, sitting, and forcing himself to eat.
Mordo walked over and sat down next to his brother once more.
Stephen ate slowly, he truly wasn't hungry, and listened to the idle chatter.
Peter shifted, feeling the tension in his cousin, and fought the urge to say something inappropriate.
Yondu felt his son shifting and held Peter a bit closer and tighter to himself, cupping his son's cheek.
Wong could also sense the tension in his brother and he tried to redirect it by talking about some of the other rebuilding they had to do.
Kraglin finished his food and cleared his throat. "You want me ta get started?"
Drax had finished his own food and he stood. "I will help as well."
Wong nodded. "That would be appreciated." He stood to clear what had been finished with.
"I will help too!" Mantis bounced in place.
Stephen had finally eaten the entire bowl, motioning toward it so Mordo could see. "Am I allowed to leave the table now?" he asked resignedly.
Nodding, Mordo gently squeezed his brother's shoulder. "We made a good start yesterday," he commented.
Yondu gently squeezed Peter's thigh. "Ya finished, kid?" he asked, carefully watching his son to determine if Peter needed more attention or not.
"We did. I'm anxious to finish what was started," Stephen said quietly.
Peter nodded, smiling at his father. "I couldn't eat another bite." He grinned crookedly.
Mordo stood to start clearing their own plates.
Yondu kissed Peter's head. "Ya ready ta go back ta cleaning?" he asked softly.
"Sorta, maybe..." Peter said, shifting again and watching as Stephen and Mordo disappeared to resume cleaning their areas. "Kinda wanna be snuggled a little more..." he admitted bashfully.
"We can do tha' in my room." Yondu helped Peter to stand, so that he could guide his son back into his room.
Peter smiled and leaned against his father all the way back to the room. As soon as they were inside with the door closed, he moved close enough for Yondu to take control over him. "Dunno wuz wrong with me, daddy..." he began. "...But I feel like I need ya to pat and rub my backside again, till I feel it all day..." Peter blushed. "I... I like the reminder that I'm yers and always will be, no matter what..."
Yondu stroked his hair. "Okay, kid. It ain't a bad thing that ya need my attention like that." He moved over to the bed and sat down, gently guiding his son across his lap.
Peter let out a happy little sigh once he was in place and went limp so he could accept everything Yondu chose to do. "I'm glad, cuz it feels good... you having me in hand."
"I'll always have ya, kid," Yondu promised. "I love ya." He began to gently rub his son's bottom, holding onto Peter with his other arm.
Peter shivered slightly, but it didnt take more than a few seconds for the dull ache he'd endured all morning to flare from an, 'Oh, freck, that hurts!' moment to a, 'No, wait...it just stings uncomfortably...but now its soothing...' moment. The tenderness and sensitivity was like an itch he couldn't get rid of and the rubbing was like scratching. Logically, he felt it shouldn't help him feel better, but it did. What normally would have been extremely irritating (and had been all morning) now was just mildly annoying because he could associate the tenderness with Yondu's love and care. It would make working while his jeans chafed his sore backside a lot more bearable."...Love you...thank you, daddy...for taking care of me..." he whispered, settling down completely and reminding himself that Yondu promised not to leave him or let him leave.
"I love ya, kid. Won't ever let ya go," Yondu promised, continuing to gently stroke and rub. His other hand settled at the back of Peter's head, stroking down over his neck.
Peter sighed, smiling crookedly. "I... I know it was important to my becoming who I am now, my leaving... I'da never met Poppa, or 'Mora, or Rocket 'n Groot if'n I hadn't left and done all the stuff I did..." He bit his lip uncertainly. "...I wish I coulda become me without leavin', though. I really did miss ya..." he admitted softly.
"I missed ya too, kid," Yondu said. "Very much so. But it don't matter now, cause I won't be letting go of ya again."
Peter relaxed completely at those words, just soaking in the affection Yondu offered. "I guess I should go help clean up..." he finally said, with a tiny laugh. "Not like I can't lie over your lap again later, when we're all relaxing..." He said the last bit a little more hesitantly. Even though he was pretty certain Yondu wouldn't mind cuddling him later, part of him was worried the older man would think he was being too clingy and that he needed to back off and act 'more adult'.
"Yeah, kid. Ya can lay over my lap...snuggle...any time ya need," Yondu promised. "I ain't gonna ever push ya away."
"Thanks, daddy..." Peter said quietly. He didn't move, though. Even if he was able to pull himself back into a more mature mind-set so that he could help with the work, his father was still in charge. Completely. He waited till Yondu gave him permission to get up, in case the older man wanted to keep him in place for a bit longer, just to remind him who was in charge.
Yondu rubbed his back a moment or two longer and then helped his son to stand, kissing his cheek. "Maybe later, Krag and yer Poppa could join us in here?" he suggested.
"That'd be cool... we can do something together or talk or somethin..." Peter agreed with a smile, leaning over and kissing Yondu on the cheek, before waiting for his father to exit the room before following him out and heading toward where he'd be doing clean-up for the day.
Yondu walked next to his son, hand resting gently on Peter's shoulder as they went to join everyone else.
This time, Peter was working in one of the training buildings. The building itself was standing and had little structural damage; they wouldn't have to replace doors or windows- well, they'd have to replace one window- but it had a lot of broken equipment. "Wonder if they'll be able to find replacements for some of this stuff..." he muttered, as he pulled what appeared to be a broken wooden man from the rubble and set it aside to possibly be repaired.
"Might be worth takin' a trip ta Knowwhere," Yondu commented as he helped his son. "Could be there's things there tha'll replace what's bin broken."
"We could mention it to them..." Peter nodded. "...Haven't been to Knowwhere in forever..." he added, under his breath, to himself.
Yondu nodded. "We'll see what they say." He continued to clear, scrapping everything that looked like it definitely couldn't be saved.
Back in the library, Stephen had finished boxing up the remainder of the books, making sure to remember where the books he wanted to look at later were being stored. He looked at the shelving that needed to be repaired. "Start rebuilding now or move on to clean-up elsewhere and build tomorrow?" he asked Wong curiously.
Wong shrugged. "If we start rebuilding here, there might be a bigger sense of accomplishment," he commented.
Stephen nodded. "We've been at this for four hours and it's noon. Maybe we can start after lunch?" He had no doubt he'd be expected to eat and he didn't want to stop in the middle of a project.
Wong nodded his agreement. "Perhaps some of the others would like to help," he commented.
"That would be good..." Stephen agreed. "Let's get the others and clean up...we can make plans while we eat."
It wasn't long before everyone was gathered around the table once more, making idle talk as they ate.
Mantis watched the group, observing them. "So, you plan to rebuild the library after lunch?" she asked.
"Yes, that seems to be the decision made," Drax commented, glancing at the others for confirmation.
Mordo nodded. "Rebuilding one area will make it easier to rebuild others."
"Will you take time for fun activities after?" Mantis continued.
Peter glanced around. "Maybe after dinner, we can play cards or something?"
"Of course." Mordo smiled. "Only working wouldn't make this a fun vacation."
"That makes me happy..." Mantis smiled.
"We probably have other things that are salvageable we can use for fun activities," Wong commented.
"Like what?" Peter asked curiously.
Stephen gave his brother a questioning look, not sure what he was suggesting.
Wong shrugged. "We had a lot of equipment for more active things we could do. Outside isn't as badly damaged as inside."
"Oh! The practice dummies!" Stephen perked up and grinned.
Peter grinned as well. "That could be fun..."
Mordo nodded. "I did find several that were still intact," he said. "We can certainly make use of them."
"How...how many artifacts were destroyed?" Stephen asked hesitantly.
"I haven't managed to catalogue all of them yet," Mordo admitted. "But there's been a lot that was caught in the devastation."
"The eye?" Stephen asked.
"It's still intact," Mordo answered.
"Well at least that's not a worry..." Stephen sighed.
"What is the eye?" Drax asked.
Stephen glanced toward Wong, not certain if that was information that was meant to stay secret. "It is a powerful relic that we are protecting..." He kept the answer general, leaving it to his brothers to explain further.
"Is it something tha' should be taken back ta the compound wi' us?" Yondu asked.
"I think it should stay wherever we are," Wong replied.
"Then one of us should wear it," Stephen said.
Mordo nodded. "That would be the better option. Would you prefer to take it?" he asked Stephen directly.
"You trust me with it? After Dormamu?" Stephen looked into his brother's face seriously.
"You're my brother, Stephen." Mordo squeezed his shoulder. "Of course I trust you."
Stephen let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding and smiled. "I will guard it with my life..." he said quietly.
"I know." It was obvious that Mordo completely trusted his brother.
"Let's get going on those repairs, then..." Peter finally suggested. "Then we can hang out and talk more tonight."
It didn't take long before they dispersed to do exactly that, concentrating both on the library and on the artifacts that could still be salvaged.
Peter tried to hide a yawn behind his hand, but it was impossible to hide the rumble of his stomach.
Kraglin laughed at the blush on his brother's face. "It's okay, Petey... I'm hungry too. It must be close to dinner time."
Stephen glanced at his watch. "Past...I'm surprised we haven't been fetched to clean up and go eat, to be honest." He glanced around the area of the library they had been working in. Together, the three of them had managed to repair all the shelves and remove the last of the rubble. All that was left for this section was to varnish the shelves and put out a few reading tables and chairs.
At about that time, Yondu, Drax, Mordo and Wong headed to them. They'd all been caught up in the repairs, so it had been a little while before any of them had realized what time it was.
"We've ordered some food to be delivered," Mordo said. "Since everyone's been working so hard, we figured it was the better option. There should be enough time to get cleaned up before it arrives."
Mantis wandered over to stand next to Drax. "I cleaned the baths and have done laundry!" She smiled happily. "And I did not turn your underwear pink!" She looked inordinately proud of herself.
Stephen looked a bit befuddled. "Yes...that's good. Thank you..." he finally said, before nodding at the others. "I will meet up with you in the kitchen after I clean up...'
Peter waited until everyone had cleared out before glancing at Yondu.
Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's shoulders, leading him to the baths via their rooms so he could pick up their clothing again. "I will scrub ya clean again today," he stated, so his son knew what was going to happen.
Peter immediately became more complacent at the words, more submissive, the statement causing him to feel young and childish. "Okay, Daddy," he said, almost meekly; something he hadn't been since he'd first been picked up by Yondu years before, when he was eight.
Yondu kept his son close, gently squeezing him, keeping the contact until he led him to the bath, where he began to strip Peter of his clothes.
Peter held still, moving only to lift his arms or step out of his clothing. He didn't try to hide or cover himself. He was beyond being bashful around his father. He trusted him completely.
As he had done the night before, Yondu removed his own clothes and then climbed into the bath with his son, beginning to bathe him.
Peter relaxed, leaning back against Yondu, letting his father arrange and move him however needed.
Yondu washed his son carefully, keeping a firm, possessive hold of Peter as he did so.
Peter leaned his head against the side of the tub, loosening his limbs even further so he could be maneuvered.
Yondu continued until his son and himself were completely clean and then he helped Peter out of the bath, so he could dry him off.
Peter swallowed, shivering slightly as he was dried. "Feel so young and small..." he admitted. "Even more than when I was deaged."
Yondu stroked his cheek as he finished drying him off. "This is how I used ta take care of ya back when you was a kid," he commented.
"I remember..." Peter smiled crookedly. "I wouldn't ever leave yer quarters, less you was with me. You 'llowed it. Told the Ravagers I was yer cabin boy. They never said nuthin till I got bigger. When they started saying you had me doin more 'n cleaning yer cabin and fetchin things for ya, ya made me stay in my own cabin and only kept me close when I wuz sick or got in trouble. I didn't understand then. Do now... but I was a right brat to ya then. Sorry I was such a brat, Daddy..." Peter whispered, looking at the ground.
Yondu hugged his son tightly to himself. "Like ya said, kid. Ya didn't understand." He held Peter a few more moments and then began to dress him, though he still kept stroking his son's cheek or the side of his head.
Peter bit his lip, holding still and doing whatever his father asked. Every time Yondu stroked his face or hair, he pressed closer to get more of the contact. "Love you, Daddy..." he whispered.
"I love ya, kid. So very much." Finishing getting his son dressed, Yondu began to get himself dressed too. "I'm gonna ask yer Poppa ta be there tonight too."
Peter glanced up and smiled bashfully. "Just to stay the night or ta... Ta help settle me?" he asked hesitantly. Uncertainly...as if he wasn't sure how he felt about the idea of Drax taking him over his knee too.
"Why don' we see how it goes?" Yondu suggested, stroking the side of Peter's face. "See if ya need him ta take a more active hand with ya like I do."
Peter nodded. "Dunno why I need ya to, so much, when I should be acting more grown up..." He sighed, even as he snuggled closer. "Guess I'm makin up for lost time..."
"Nothing ta say ya need ter be acting grown up, kid." Yondu hugged him tighter. "Yer still my kid. No matter what."
"No matter how old...?" Peter nuzzled into Yondu like a puppy.
"No matter how old. No matter if something else happens." Yondu held him a bit tighter, stroking his hair and down over his back.
"Cuz I'm YOUR kid..." Peter sounded proud of the fact.
"And yer'll always be my kid," Yondu promised. "Now I don't need ta hide it."
"Freck, I'm so glad about that. Some nights I cried myself ta sleep thinking about how I thought ya'd adopted me, even though ya threatened ta feed me to the crew, only to have you seemingly change your mind. Was bad hard, Daddy. I did a lot of stupid stuff to prove I didn't need ya...when deep down I was terrified of not having ya..." Peter closed his eyes and hid his face in Yondu's chest, red from embarrassed shame.
Yondu tightened his embrace; not hard enough to hurt, but tigh enough to make it difficult for Peter to pull away. "I never changed my mind 'bout you, kid. Ya was always mine. Everything I ever did was to keep ya safe. And I ain't gonna let ya doubt that again."
Peter's just nodded his head silently, not trying even a little to get out of Yondu's embrace.
Yondu continued to hold onto his son, even as he began to guide Peter from the bathing area so they could join the others for food, continuing the affection as he did so. "I got ya, kid," he whispered.
Stephen glanced up when Yondu and Peter joined them, smiling at the two. "We accomplished a lot today. Thank you."
Yondu nodded. "With all of us working on it, we should get more done." He sat down and gently guided Peter down onto his lap.
Stephen nodded. "You're right, of course. Still, thank you. You didn't have a reason to help beyond friendship and family bonds. It's appreciated."
Yondu smiled. "That's all that's needed ta help," he stated.
Drax nodded his agreement. "Family help each other. That is what we are," he stated.
Stephen smiled. "I hope I get the chance to do the same... for my family," he said quietly.
Mordo heard his brother's comment and gently squeezed his shoulder, though he didn't comment on it. He thought it might be obvious that they'd all like a chance to return the favour in the future.
Mantis let out a long, happy sigh, drawing more than one curious look in her direction. Seeing Kraglin about to ask, she said chirpily, "Everyone is content and feels safe and loved. It feels good..."
"That is good," Wong commented, as he began to fill his own plate with food. He passed the bowl to Mordo next, knowing he would put enough on Stephen's plate to make sure their brother ate a healthy amount.
Stephen just smiled at Mantis and didn't even try to put food on his own plate. It was easier just to let Mordo serve him...knowing that his brother likely would add to anything he put on anyway.
As they finished eating, Yondu turned to Drax, Kraglin and Mantis. "Figured we could take th' one room tonight," he commented. When it came to Peter's needs, he'd already thought about sending Kraglin and Mantis off on an errand to give privacy.
"Are ya sure?" Kraglin scratched his ear. "I don't mind being in my own room. Might be easier, cuz I'm feeling a mite sore and was hopin to spread out..."
Mantis nodded. "I too wish to spread out...like a majestic lion. Or a dog stealing your spot on the bed and pushing you out on to the floor!"
"You've had a lot of experience with that?" Peter gave his 'aunt' an amused look.
Mantis grinned brightly. "I have watched the YouTube!"
Yondu nodded. "The choice's there. If yer'd like."
Drax looked at Yondu and then at Peter. "Do you want me there?" he asked outright.
Peter bit his lip and nodded, giving both his fathers a hesitant smile. "Y'sir..." he whispered.
Drax nodded and smiled at his youngest son. "Then I will be there," he promised.
"Did we want to do something after dinner, or go to bed early?" Stephen asked curiously. "I'm thinking a nighttime swim might feel good...what do you think?" He glanced at his brothers for their opinion, but it was clear, to them at least, that he was asking permission.
"I don't see why not," Mordo commented. "It sounds like a good way to end the day."
"I agree," Wong added.
"Oh yeah! That sounds fun!" Peter said, seemingly excited. "The water might help with any muscle soreness too..."
Drax nodded. "I have often enjoyed swimming," he commented.
Mantis looked a bit nervous. "I have not done this swimming before..." she admitted.
"I will help you," Drax stated confidently.
"All of us could," Yondu commented.
"For sure!" Peter quickly agreed. "It's real important to know how to swim...specially on Terra... Earth."
"Useful fer other planets, too," Yondu commented, helping Peter to stand so he could begin clearing up.
Peter quickly began gathering dirty dishes and taking them into the kitchen to wash.
"I would like to learn...if it is that important..." Mantis said seriously.
Kraglin nodded. "I can help show ya different strokes and forms..."
"And I will help you," Drax said, seriously and sincerely.
"Thank you..." Mantis smiled.
Stephen clapped his hands. "Well, let's all get changed then and I will lead you to the lake we swim in..."
It didn't take long for the group to get changed and then follow Stephen and his brothers to the lake. Drax stayed close to Mantis, not wanting her to feel nervous.
Stephen went into the cool water immediately.
Peter quickly followed, swimming out just far enough he could just touch bottom...if he stood on tip-toe.
Kraglin waded in slightly ahead of Mantis, close enough she could hold on to him if she got scared.
Matus followed Kraglin but stayed especially close to Drax.
Drax waded into the water close to Mantis, so he could support her as much as possible. Yondu had gone in after Peter but stayed within easy reach in case he was needed by any of them.
Peter leaned back until he was floating on his back, only a few inches from Yondu.
Mantis began paying close attention to what Drax and Kraglin were telling her. She was picking up on their teaching very quickly.
Stephen moved closer to Wong and Mordo. "I'm glad we asked them to join us," he admitted in a whisper.
Peter closed his eyes, letting himself drift.
Mordo nodded his agreement to Stephen. "It was a good idea. And it lets us grow closer to part of the family, too..."
Yondu shifted so that he could place his hand on Peter's chest, just gently touching.
"We lost so many to Kacilius... It feels good to connect." Stephen smiled at his brothers.
Peter was drifting, his mind drifting too...counting on Yondu to keep him close to shore.
Yondu's attention was primarily on his youngest son, making sure Peter wasn't going to drift away and that he would stay safe.
Peter's awareness was drifting... But at the same time, it was becoming more focused. It was focused on the featherlight touch of Yondu's fingers on his chest.
Yondu kept one hand lightly on Peter's chest, his other hand cupping under his son's head, making sure he stayed safe.
Drax smiled at Mantis. "You are doing very well!" he exclaimed.
Mantis smiled brightly, her happiness wafting off her to affect anyone in her vicinity.
The happiness caught Peter's attention and he shifted so that he was treading water, moving closer to Yondu. "She's learnin quick..." he whispered, with a grin.
Yondu nodded, wrapping his arm around Peter. "It's good," he said.
Peter swam just that small bit closer till he was almost pressed against his father. "I knew she sensed emotion, but I didn't realize she could project it..."
"There'll be a lot still to learn," Yondu said, glancing around at the other members of the family.
Drax was smiling as he worked with and praised Mantis, also engaging Kraglin in the lessons so he was involved as well.
"Yeah. A lot we don't know about each other... Or even ourselves..." Peter agreed quietly. After all, he'd had no clue he'd be so needy and clingy when Yondu came back into his life. Although it shouldn't have surprised him. He'd been close to that way when Drax became his poppa.
The light was fading fast as the sun set. Stephen glanced around. "Maybe we should get some rest now. Swim again tomorrow evening?"
Yondu nodded. "Sounds good ta me."
"You have done really well," Drax praised Mantis.
Mordo and Wong began to get out of the water.
Mantis threw her arms around Drax with a happy squeal. "Thank you for teaching me!"
Peter began to make his way out of the water about the same time as Kraglin and Stephen.
Drax hugged his little sister. "I will teach you at any time," he promised.
Yondu followed his sons out of the water.
Mantis smiled, kissing Drax on the cheek, before following everyone else out of the water.
It didn't take long for everyone to be back in their quarters, getting ready for bed.
As soon as Drax was changed, he left his room and knocked lightly on Yondu's door.
Yondu had dressed Peter in pajamas and now sat on the bed with his arm wrapped around his son's shoulders. "Come in," he called.
Drax stepped into the room.
Peter looked up and gave Drax a crooked smile. "Hi, Poppa..." he said quietly.
Yondu motioned the other man over and watched as Drax took the seat on the other side of Peter. "We got a little routine going," he said. "A bit of extra attention fer Peter. Figured his Poppa should be involved as well."
Peter blushed but didn't say anything... obviously agreeing with his daddy. He hesitantly held a hand out to his poppa, leaving it to Yondu to explain.
Drax took hold of Peter's hand. "It is like the attention you needed after being deaged?" he asked.
Yondu nodded. "Something like that," he replied.
Peter bit his lip. "It... It helps me keep steady and not do stuff that could hurt me..."
"What do you need me to do?" Drax asked.
Yondu stroked Peter's cheek. "Why don't ya lay across both of us, kid?" he suggested.
Peter nodded and carefully stood so Drax could shift closer to Yondu, then stood by Drax's knee.
It was Drax who moved, reaching out to grasp Peter's hand and draw their son down and across both his and Yondu's lap.
"I love you, Poppa... Daddy..." Peter said quietly, relaxing over his parents' laps and twisting his fingers into the comforter.
"I love you, son." Drax rubbed Peter's back but glanced at Yondu for his cue.
Yondu stroked his fingers through Peter's hair and then reached over to tug his pants down. "I love ya, kid."
Peter let himself relax, only whimpering faintly as he was bared. He was still extremely sensitive, so he was a bit nervous about how he would react to whatever happened.
Fully aware of the fact Peter was still sensitive, Yondu merely placed his hand gently on his son's backside and began to rub.
Watching Yondu carefully, Drax did the same thing.
Peter's eyes widened as both his fathers, began to rub, then he squeezed them shut tightly with a tiny moan.
This continued for a bit, both rubbing his backside, but also stroking his hair and over his back; generally providing affection.
Peter whimpered softly, feeling himself relaxing further. He shivered, before whispering, "I'm your boy...?"
"Yeah, kid." Yondu cupped the back of his head, beginning to gently pat his backside. "Fer always."
"You are mine too," Drax stated. "You belong to both of us."
"...Safe with you... Poppa an Daddy..." Peter squirmed faintly as Yondu began patting and whimpered again softly.
Yondu paused to rub again and then resumed patting. Drax watched carefully and mimicked the behaviour, patting when Yondu did...rubbing when he did.
Peter almost always became pliant and needy when Yondu handled him. Drax handling him at exactly the same time was overload. He went limp, whimpering and shivering. The only thing keeping him in place was his fathers.
"We've both got ya, kid," Yondu said. "Ain't never letting ya go."
Drax gently squeezed one of Peter's thighs. "You have us both here, son. Looking after you."
Peter sniffled beginning to wriggle helplessly. "You got me, I'm yours... Safe with you... You take care of me..." he whispered.
"Of course," Drax stated. "As our son. You will always be safe with us."
Yondu tightened his hold on Peter, drawing him in closer and tighter so he was in no danger of falling.
"I love you... I love you both... I need you so much... " Peter whimpered, squirming a little more frantically, his bottom very sensitive.
"We need you too, son," Drax stated, beginning to rub Peter's bottom once more.
"And love ya, too," Yondu added, stroking his back.
Peter sniffled again, going a little more limp. Things were beginning to get a little hazy, his focus completely on his fathers and what they were doing.
Yondu stroked Peter's back and resumed patting his bottom, while Drax just kept up with the rubbing and stroking.
"Daddy... Poppa..." Peter whined softly. He was obviously feeling out of control, his emotions spiraling. "...Don't let go... please..."
"We will not let you go," Drax promised, taking a tighter grip on Peter as he continued to rub his bottom.
"I got ya," Yondu promised, squeezing his thigh.
Eventually, Peter's squirming slowed to nothing. He lay limply over his parents' lap, tiny whimpers escaping. His eyes began to water, tears slipping down his face.
Yondu and Drax brought the spanking and rubbing to a halt and then Yondu helped their son to sit up, so they could both cuddle him.
Peter snuggled as close to both men as possible, shivering. He wrapped his arms around them and held on tightly. "Love you both...need you...so much..."
They both hugged him tightly, stroking his hair and back and reiterating their own love for him.
"You staying here tonight?" Peter asked Drax, with a hopeful sniffle.
Drax nodded and squeezed Peter's shoulder. "I will stay here tonight with you, son," he promised.
Peter smiled happily. "That makes me happy..." he said quietly. "...Can I be in the middle? Like a Peter sandwich?" He smiled impishly.
"Best kind there is," Yondu replied, stroking his hair.
Peter nuzzled first against Yondu, then Drax. "I love you both so much."
Yondu cupped the back of his head. "We love ya too, kid."
"Very much," Drax added, stroking Peter's cheek.
"Bed time now?" Peter asked quietly, stifling a yawn.
"Yeah, I think so." Yondu nodded.
"It is a good idea," Drax agreed.
"Okay." Peter smiled and carefully stood. He then bit his lip and waited for Yondu or Drax to direct him; not sure if he would be pulling his pajamas back up, or if he'd be sleeping in his skin only.
Yondu reached out and carefully pulled Peter's clothing back into place, then drew Peter down to snuggle once more with them.
Peter just relaxed against both his fathers. It didn't take long for him to fall asleep.
Drax and Yondu slipped into sleep shortly after, both holding onto their son.
In another area, Mantis slowly fell asleep, a smile on her face. Everyone was safe and happy. It was perfect.
Mordo woke fairly early and headed through to the kitchen to begin making breakfast for everyone.
Stephen wasn't up much past his brother and quickly dressed and went to join him. "We got the hardest part done..." he said, as he chopped vegetables. "...It shouldn't take long to finish cleaning and repairing the test of Kamar-Taj... And then we can have nothing but vacation. I look forward to going over some of the texts."
Mordo nodded. "Maybe we can set up the practice dummies today, for when we've finished," he commented. "It'll be a nice way of letting off steam for everyone."
"It will. I'm sure our guest will appreciate that..." Stephen agreed, with a smile.
Mordo nodded. "We can decide whether we're going to split up or not over breakfast." He began to carry items to the table.
Stephen nodded. "The others should be up soon..." he said hesitantly, not entirely certain that Peter and Yondu would be arriving at the same time as everyone else. They seemed to be coming later every morning; and while no one explained or asked why, it was pretty obvious why they were late. It didn't make him uncomfortable, exactly. He wasn't sure how he felt, but then he supposed his feelings didn't really matter in this case. It was between Yondu and Peter. He glanced over as Kraglin and Mantis came into the kitchen. "Morning..." he said to them both, glancing behind them in curiosity. Usually, Drax arrived with them.
"Good morning!" Mantis smiled. "Drax will be arriving a little later, as he is with Peter and Yondu this morning..." she said, having caught him looking at the door.
Kraglin snorted faintly but didn't say anything.
Wong arrived shortly after Mantis and Kraglin, nodding to his brothers and cousins. "Breakfast looks good," he commented, stepping over to start pouring drinks for everyone.
"Yes, Mordo outdid himself..." Stephen said, with a smile. He hadn't done all that much, as far as he could see.
Kraglin took a deep whiff of air. "It certly smells good..." He grinned.
Mordo smiled as everyone gathered round the table to start eating. He sat on one side of Stephen, Wong on the other, and automatically filled his brother's plate with food.
Stephen sighed, but didn't say anything. Considering how Peter had been being fed on his father's lap the last several meals, he wouldn't doubt Mordo might sit him on his lap and hand feed him if he argued about how much he was being given to eat. "Thank you..." he said softly, as he inspected his plate and tried to decide the best place to start. He couldn't help but wonder if Mordo was trying to fatten him up for some reason. "Thats...a lot of food..." he said, even more quietly.
Mordo frowned, a look of concern coming across his face. "No, Stephen," he answered. "It's a sensible amount. How little were you eating before if that looks a lot to you?" He made no attempt to hide his worry.
Stephen blinked and gave Mordo a confused look, not entirely certain why the other man would be worried. "About half that much..." he admitted, his confusion coming through in his tone. "It was plenty...I had enough energy, was healthy..." Of course, he was also drinking inordinate amounts of coffee to help him with the energy and he refused to admit when he wasn't feeling well... Not to mention the fact he wasn't expending large amounts of energy doing magic. But Stephen wasn't allowing himself to think about that, or he'd have to admit that he likely would have fallen very ill by now and been nothing but bone if Mordo hadn't begun stepping in whenever they ate together.
Mordo's level of concern grew even more obvious. "I am not certain I would call drinking so much coffee healthy. And quite apart from anything else, you expend so much energy when you use magic, it's important to make sure you replenish that."
Stephen closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He hadn't wanted an argument, but really... Mordo's mother-henning and apparent belief that Stephen couldn't feed himself properly was just too hard for Stephen's ego to take. "I feel fine. And recent scientific studies have shown coffee is good for you, so..." He waved a hand negligibly. "Point is, I ate plenty before you decided to start force-feeding me..." He hadn't meant his tone to come across as snide or confrontationally as it did. But he was frustrated.
"I am not going to argue with you, brother." Mordo's own voice was calm, even if his worry and concern were apparent. "And while I am not 'force-feeding' you...I will be prepared to do that if necessary. But if you want to continue arguing with me, I'll take you to my room to talk."
"Oh for... there shouldn't be any argument, Mordo! I'm a grown man! I should be able to determine how much I eat, or even if I choose to eat at all!" Stephen thought he was doing well to just place his fork back down onto the plate instead of dropping it or throwing it petulantly. Even if it made more of a clank on the dish than he'd meant it to. And he hadn't shoved the chair back as he stood up at all, even if it did move a bit more quickly than he'd expected and it toppled over. Frowning at the chair laying on the ground, he sighed and rubbed his nose again, leaning over and picking it up, setting it right. "Excuse me, please. I didn't mean to push the chair over..." He blushed faintly.
Ignoring the attention they'd garnered from the rest of the family members, Mordo stood as well and reached out to grasp Stephen's arm. "Excuse us for a few moments," he said, before beginning to lead his brother to his own room.
"Mordo... come on!" Stephen huffed, even as he followed his brother without any type of physical fight at all. Part of him knew he'd pretty much asked for Mordo to act; dared him to, even. Although, for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why he'd thought arguing would be a good idea. He'd specifically wanted to avoid arguing with his brother.
Mordo didn't speak as he led his brother inside the room. He'd already made it clear that Stephen arguing wasn't acceptable and he didn't waste any time in leading Stephen over to the bed and taking a seat, drawing his brother down and over his lap.
"Mordo!" Stephen verbally protested, even though he didn't attempt to fight or get away. He blushed slightly, though; his voice had come out entirely too whiney for his liking.
"This is not the first time I have warned you about this exact behaviour, brother." Mordo proceeded to bare Stephen and then lifted his hand, bringing it down in a firm smack.
"But... it's not fair! I'm allowed to disagree with you!" Stephen said, more hesitantly than he would have liked. He knew it wasn't his disagreeing that had brought Mordo's 'parental' side out.
"It's not about you disagreeing with me, Stephen," Mordo answered, settling quickly into a pattern of swats down to his brother's thighs. "This is about your health, something you know I will not change my stance on."
Stephen yelped as Mordo began swatting in earnest. He'd thought maybe he'd get a few swats for arguing and then Mordo would keep him in place and talk to him; but this was a full-fledged spanking and not for the reason he'd originally assumed. Which confused him. "...Wh... what about my health?" he asked, in consternation. "I'm eating! I'm sleeping! I don't understand!" He would have been embarrassed at how he whined out the last word, but he was too busy trying to squirm his backside out of the line of fire. His confusion at Mordo's words was clear, though. He truly didn't understand why his brother was upset and was spanking him.
Mordo paused after the first circuit and began to gently stroke his brother's back. "You weren't taking care of yourself when we first met. I'd guess you weren't even before then, but no one pulled you up on it. Every time you use magic, you use up more and more of your energy. Along with that, you've been doing a lot of physical work. If you can't replace that energy lost, it will do severe harm to your health. You'll burn yourself out, at the very least. And I won't allow you to do that. Not to risk your safety. Not to risk taking yourself away."
"B...but..." Stephen swallowed as he allowed himself to rest and relax when Mordo rubbed his back. "...I'm eating... I'm sleeping... how am I not taking care of myself?" He still sounded confused, even if he was less belligerent. The care and concern in Mordo's voice had calmed his offended ego's ire. He was listening, even if he hadn't quite got why Mordo was upset.
"You aren't eating nearly enough," Mordo said. "Wong and I have been doing this longer than you. We know that eating half-portions means your body is going to burn off energy it can't afford to lose the next time you use magic."
"So... I just eat a snack after I do any deep magic... that should take care of it... right?" Stephen argued; though if the hint of worry seeping into his tone was any indication, Mordo was breaking through to him about his concerns being based on legitimate possibilities.
"Stephen, you're a doctor," Mordo said patiently. "If you had a patient eating the same amount as you as they did activities such as rock climbing, swimming, skiing, running...what would you tell them?"
Stephen was glad he was face down over his brother's knee, because he couldn't stop the pout that formed on his face and he knew it would undercut any answer he gave Mordo and declare him a liar. He huffed faintly. "I wouldn't tell them anything, because chances are they'd be on a restricted diet before having surgery anyway!" He attempted to side-step the question.
Mordo gave Stephen's bottom a firm swat. "You know that's not an answer."
Stephen yelped again, not having expected the swat (though he really should have) and didn't even attempt to stop the whine this time. "I don't wanna answer..."
Mordo began to swat again; not especially hard, but more to provide encouragement to his brother to respond.
Stephen whimpered, reaching down and holding onto his brother's leg, stubbornly refusing to answer but feeling more and more guilty for refusing each time a swat landed.
Mordo continued to swat, at the same force and speed. "I can keep this up for as long as necessary, brother. I told you before. It doesn't matter what you do or what you say. It won't drive me away or make me stop looking out for you."
"I... Mordo... I..." Stephen slumped, and sniffled. Not outright crying- Mordo hadn't really spanked long enough for it to reach that point yet- but the promise of always being there and looking out for him not only soothed him, it made him feel guilty for fighting. Sniffling again and letting out a tiny sigh, he answered in the tiniest, most reluctant voice he could. "I'd tell them they weren't eating enough... that they were starving their body and needed to eat more if they didn't want severe health issues to occur..."
Mordo gently rested his hand on Stephen's lower back, softening his voice. "You can't hold yourself to this kind of standard. If I were to step back and allow you to continue down this path, it would ultimately end with me losing you. And that is not something I will allow to happen."
"I'm not trying to be difficult or deliberately..." Stephen paused, because refusing to eat was deliberate, but that wasn't what he really meant. He tried to think of the best way to explain to his brother. "...When I sit down to eat, it isn't that I think to myself, 'I don't want to eat more than this, even if Mordo wants me to'. It's that I genuinely don't feel hungry. To eat what you want me to, I have to force myself and then I just feel... icky... till the food is able to settle. I don't like feeling icky..." He sniffled. "Sometimes I can force myself without giving you any lip. Sometimes I just don't have it in me to do what I know I need to do and I fight with you..." he admitted sullenly, clearly embarrassed.
"I know it's difficult," Mordo said gently. "I won't budge on you eating, but I'm not going to get angry with you for fighting with me. Even if it does mean you'll end up back in this position. You trained your body one way... now you have to train it a different way. And I'll help you do that, even if it means I have you sit on my lap and feed you myself."
Stephen let out a tiny snort of amusement, despite the fact his situation was anything but amusing. "Well... if I'm confessing things and being honest now, I may as well tell you that I can't force myself to eat right now. I did it last night, but..." He slumped a little more. "...May as well spank me now, cuz if you try and make me eat, I will fight you." He tried to sound like he didn't care about it in the least, but this was his brother. His bravado wasn't terribly brave, and it was clear he just wanted help, no matter what form it took. And he didn't really want Mordo upset with him.
Mordo gently stroked his brother's back. "Then maybe I should feed you myself," he commented. "If you can't do it, then I'll take that burden from you."
"Maybe..." Stephen slumped completely. "What's wrong with me, Mordo? I know what I need to do and can't make myself do it..."
"You're used to being alone," Mordo said gently. "Used to handling everything alone and trying to push your body past its limits. You don't have to do that anymore. And you won't be alone any longer," he promised.
"Okay..." Stephen took a slow, deep breath. "Thank you," he said softly.
"I love you. My brother," Mordo said seriously. "Your health and wellbeing is my top priority, even when it is not yours."
"I'm sorry I worried you...and then argued about you worrying..." Stephen said.
"I know. And I forgive you," Mordo said, rubbing his back.
Stephen let out a tiny sigh. "Thank you..." He completely relaxed at his brother's forgiveness, ready to accept whatever Mordo decreed.
Mordo rubbed a moment or two longer and then carefully pulled his brother's clothing back into place, helping him up into a tight hug.
Stephen quickly wrapped his arms around Mordo, pressing as close as was humanly possible. He let his head fall onto his brother's shoulder.
Mordo tightened his arms around his brother, hugging him close. "You aren't alone anymore," he repeated. "I won't let you go, brother."
"I believe you...and I know you'll help me..." Stephen whispered.
"As soon as you're ready, we'll join the others and finish eating breakfast." Mordo stroked his hair.
"I'm ready, sir..." Stephen said deferentially.
Mordo stood and wrapped his arm around Stephen's shoulders, so he could lead his brother back out to join the others.
Stephen walked back with his brother. His attitude was the polar opposite of what it had been when Mordo pulled him away from the table. When they reached the others, he couldn't help but blush. "I apologize for my bad attitude..." he said quietly, standing to the side so Mordo could place him where wanted.
"S'okay. We all have moments of attitude..." Kraglin shrugged, with a smile.
"And we have seen much of that while in the compound," Wong commented with a smile to his brother.
Mordo didn't waste any time in regaining his seat and gently pulling Stephen down to sit on his lap. His brother wasn't the only one in that position, as by this point, Yondu and Drax had arrived with Peter, who was settled on Yondu's lap once more.
Peter gave Stephen a commiserating smile, opening his mouth obediently when Yondu held a bite of food to his lips.
Stephen shifted so he was comfortable, leaning into Mordo. "I don't feel very hungry..." he said, in a whisper. "What if my stomach rebels?"
"We'll take it one step at a time," Mordo murmured, moving a forkful of food to Stephen's lips.
Stephen kept his eyes on Mordo as he took the bite and began to chew, swallowing carefully.
Mordo wrapped his other arm around his brother's waist, waiting for him to finish the first mouthful before he fed him the next.
Stephen couldn't help but feel extremely childish, being fed like a toddler, but he knew it was the only way he'd be able to finish what Mordo wanted him to eat. It was slightly easier, seeing Peter being fed as well.
Mordo kept Stephen close, feeding him bite by bite. His attention was fully on his brother, even if he was aware of Peter also being fed by his father.
Stephen just kept obediently eating, bite by bite, until he'd eaten a little more than half of what Mordo had put on his plate. He didn't feel hungry any longer and gave Mordo a pathetically hopeful look. Even though he knew his brother would make him eat anyway. He knew the only reason he felt full was because his body had got used to eating so little... Not because he'd actually eaten enough.
Peter was watching him curiously. "Do you have ulcers like Bobbi?" he asked, out of nowhere. "She mentioned that she has a hard time eating when she gets really stressed, cuz she gets ulcers a lot..."
Stephen blinked. "N... No. I do not believe so. I have just developed some very bad habits that worry my family. Once I have trained my body back into good habits, I should be fine." He blushed, looking down at the bite Mordo held for him and swallowing hard before looking into his brother's face. His expression was clearly asking Mordo to let him 'stop eating now.'
"I know you want to stop and that you think you're full," Mordo said softly. "But that's only because you've let your body grow used to going without. I'm afraid I need to push you to finish what's on your plate, brother."
Closing his eyes and swallowing again, Stephen reluctantly, if obediently, opened his mouth so Mordo could continue feeding him.
Peter bit his lip, worried, despite all the evidence that Mordo had things under control. He didn't say anything, though. He didn't want to embarrass Stephen further.
Mordo gently squeezed Stephen's waist, continuing to feed him, rubbing his back comfortingly.
By the time Stephen had eaten the complete plate of food Mordo had insisted he eat, he didn't want to do anything but curl up out of sight and let the food settle. He was ashamed that he'd worried his family so much that Mordo had needed to step in. He was embarrassed that he apparently had been starving himself slowly and didn't even realize it. (He was a doctor! He should have known better!) He felt slightly ill because he'd been skimping on meals for so long, that it felt like he'd majorly over-eaten and moving just was uncomfortable. He took a slow breath and managed not to whimper or make any other sounds of discomfort. "Can I get up now?" he whispered to his brother. Even if he wanted to go curl up in a corner somewhere, there was work to be done and he needed to help with it.
Mordo moved his arm to Stephen's shoulders, squeezing gently. "You can take a little while to let the food settle," he said softly, guessing that was a concern for his brother.
Stephen nodded, relaxing in relief that Mordo apparently knew and understood what was going on. "Thanks..." he whispered.
"How much is there still to do?" Mantis asked curiously. "Maybe we can work half a day and take half a day for fun?"
Wong nodded. "I'm sure we can do that," he replied. "We've managed to tackle quite a lot of the worst."
"What will we do during the time we aren't working?" Peter asked curiously.
Stephen had carefully stood by this point and was leaning back against the wall. Standing was a lot less uncomfortable than sitting. Hopefully, the food would settle soon and he could begin working. He had the childish urge to ask Mordo to rub his tummy and it unsettled him that he'd fall into such a childish need.
"There are practice dummies...or there's always the option to swim in the lake again," Mordo said. "Playing cards...we might even have some board games still intact."
"That sounds wonderful!" Mantis clapped her hands happily. "I will clean up the dishes from breakfast, with Kraglin's help..." she suddenly declared. "...If the rest of you need to finish taking care of things before work begins."
Peter blinked, wrinkling his nose. She was too much of an innocent to mean anything by her remarks, so he sighed and shrugged before looking at Yondu and Drax with a questioning look; not certain if there was still anything to be taken care of or not.
Stephen nodded at her. "Thank you..." he said, before glancing at both Mordo and Wong. As far as he knew, they didn't have anything else to take care of; but then again, Mordo might want to actually talk with him and Wong regarding his eating habits. Might as well do it now, instead of waiting till the next meal. If that's what Mordo wanted anyway.
Drax leaned over to gently squeeze Peter's shoulder. "Is there anything that you need to be taken care of?" he asked.
Mordo stood up, nodding to Wong and then turning to Stephen. "Why don't we talk in my room?" he suggested.
Stephen nodded. "Yes, sir. That's probably a good idea..." he said softly, giving a crooked smile to both his brothers before walking out of the dining area and heading to Mordo's quarters.
Mordo and Wong followed their brother, Mordo closing the door once they were inside the room.
"I don't need to tell you that your eating habits are concerning," Wong commented to Stephen.
Stephen nodded at Wong, an apologetic look on his face. "I am aware that my habits are problematic..." he admitted. "I hadn't thought of it until it was pointed out to me, but... I know I need to change them." He swallowed and rubbed his stomach absentmindedly. "I'm sorry to have worried both of you. I never intended to..."
"I think that making sure you eat needs to be a top priority," Mordo said seriously. "Even if I have to do the same thing as today...but I believe it'll be better from now to make sure you eat with me or Wong or one of the parents..."
Stephen reluctantly nodded. "I... I think that'd be best. It would be too easy for me to fall into bad habits otherwise," he admitted, with a sigh. "...I would prefer to eat with both of you..." He glanced between Mordo and Wong. "...But on the occasion that isn't possible...would you be willing to tell the other parents? I don't... admitting it is hard." He sighed again.
Wong nodded. "Of course. You don't need to worry about having to explain," he said.
Mordo wrapped his arm around Stephen's shoulders. "I know you don't like getting spanked, but if I need to, I will swat you," he said. "Your health is non-negotiable, so it's safe to say it won't matter who's around to see."
Stephen sighed, leaning into Mordo before giving both his brothers a chagrined smile. "Given how so many in the family don't even attempt to hide what happens any longer, that isn't as embarrassing as it might have been a few months ago..." he teased gently. "Still...I'll try to behave. As much as I like the affection that follows them, I'm not fond of the sting..."
"You don't have to be spanked to get affection," Wong commented.
Stephen nodded, looking a bit sheepish. "I know. I just...it's easier to ask for it after I've been spanked. Something about being over your knee, completely at your mercy, makes it much easier to just be honest and say what I want or need, instead of trying to act like I don't want or need it..." He snorted at himself.
"You're used to being 'on' and in control all the time," Mordo commented. "You don't need to be with us. You don't have to handle all of it alone."
"I know that in my head...it's just hard to stop trying to be in control. When you just take control and give me no choice... it's hard, but I'm able to let go, at least. Whenever the choice is given to me, I fight myself. Just like with the eating. Not sure why..." Stephen shrugged. "Too long trying to be the best and on top in my career before... maybe."
"More than likely," Wong commented. "But you won't have a choice when it comes to eating. I will back Mordo in this. And, if need be, feed you myself as well."
Stephen nodded and swallowed. "I expected as much..." He eyed Wong worriedly. He knew he'd worried Mordo a great deal; it was part of why he hadn't fought being spanked at all...he'd felt guilt for worrying his brother. If Wong had been worried too...
Wong wrapped an arm around Stephen's shoulders, giving him a tight hug. "I am glad we have a way to try and help you," he said, unable to hide his own worry.
Stephen winced at hearing the worry in Wong's voice. "I've upset you as much as I did Mordo..." he said in realization, his stomach flipping at the knowledge as guilt washed over him again.
"You are my brother," Wong responded. "Of course I worry about you as well."
Stephen was surprised to find his eyes filling with tears. "I'm sorry...I didn't mean to worry you... either of you..." he whispered. The guilt that had just swamped him was clear in his voice. He shifted closer to Wong uncertainly.
"I know." Wong wrapped his arms tightly around Stephen. "I think you sometimes forget just how important you are to us." He exchanged a glance with Mordo and then nodded. "I think you need to understand that it isn't just Mordo you'll be obeying in this," he added.
Stephen let his head fall onto Wong's shoulder, letting his own arms wrap around his brother in a tight hug. "I think I know I will be obeying you as well... but I feel like I need to make things right between us... for worrying you needlessly. I'm sorry..." he whispered.
Wong hugged his brother a bit tighter and then guided Stephen over to the bed, taking a seat and tugging his brother across his lap.
Stephen let out a tiny moan, swallowing hard, but managing to regain control over his rebellious stomach. Reaching down, he grasped Wong's ankle. "I didn't mean to worry you and I'm sorry..." he whispered.
"I know, brother." Wong rubbed his back gently a moment or two and then proceeded to bare him before bringing his hand down in the first firm swat.
Mordo sat on the bed next to them, reaching out to lightly squeeze Stephen's hand.
Stephen closed his eyes tightly, squeezing Mordo"s hand. The swat wasn't unbearable, but between Mordo making him see what he'd been doing to himself, feeling young and vulnerable from being spoon-fed and the upsetting and sobering knowledge he'd seriously worried his brothers... his eyes teared up immediately. "I'm sorry..." he repeated, in a small, contrite voice, shifting slightly so Wong would have no difficulty punishing him and then allowing himself to relax and feel each swat.
Wong didn't waste any time, settling into a firm pattern of swats down to Stephen's thighs before starting again from the top. "I know, brother. You struggle to understand your own worth and how important you are to us."
"Why do I have such a hard time with this?" Stephen whimpered. "Before the accident, I had an over inflated sense of worth. It shouldn't be that difficult to remember and do what I should..."
Wong kept his other hand on Stephen's back, even as he continued to swat and Mordo still held their brother's hand. "The accident changed a lot of things for you," he commented.
"It...it scared me so bad... I had no control over my life... It felt hopeless..." Stephen admitted. He began to squirm and held more tightly to Mordo's hand. He felt helpless and out of control at this moment. Completely out of control. Unlike with his accident, though, his brothers had him. He never felt safer than when they had him. His tears began to fall faster.
"You might not have control now, but we do have you," Mordo said seriously. "And we won't let you go."
"I know..." Stephen's voice was tight and it was obvious he would break any moment. He squirmed a bit more frantically, unable to stop his body's attempt to get a way from the painful discomfort.
Mordo reached over and wrapped his arm around Stephen's waist, to help hold his brother still. Wong went a fraction harder and faster with the swats.
Stephen whimpered again at being held so firmly in place. He was completely out of control. He had no choice in anything going on at that moment and it was frightening. But both his brothers were holding tightly. They had control and were protecting him...keeping him safe, even from himself. That knowledge finally sunk in and he suddenly felt all the fear, anxiety and need to control what was happening vanish. He slumped like s puppet whose strings had been cut, just sobbing softly over Wong's knee. "...Sorry..." he whispered, obviously having given up and given in.
Bringing the spanking to a stop, Wong wasted no time in replacing Stephen's clothing and then helping him up and into a tight embrace.
Mordo leaned over to hug Stephen as well.
Stephen clung to Wong, just sobbing. Reaching one hand back, he clung to Mordo as well for a moment, before pulling his brother's hand to rest on his stomach.
Responding to Stephen's actions, Mordo began to rub his brother's stomach, wrapping his other arm tight around his brother.
Stephen calmed more slowly than he'd expected to, but even after he stopped crying, he continued to hold on to his brothers, craving their attention. "Love you," he whispered.
"We love you too," Mordo said seriously.
"Which is why it is so concerning when you neglect your health," Wong added, tightening his embrace.
"I didn't mean to..." Stephen said, in a tiny voice. It didn't really matter what he meant, though, because he had endangered his health. He knew it.
"We understand that you're not used to being told what to do or expected to act in a certain way," Mordo said. "But neither of us is going to let you get taken away. Even if it's your own stubborn nature we have to fight," he teased gently.
Stephen nodded carefully, so as not to dislodge himself from his brothers' grip. "Thank you for looking out for me..."
"That is what we will always do," Wong promised.
"I'm feeling better now..." Stephen whispered. "...Stomach isn't upset anymore..."
"Good." Mordo gently squeezed his shoulder. "Do you feel better inside?" he asked gently.
Stephen paused thoughtfully, then nodded. "Yeah. I do..." He smiled at Mordo and Wong, hugging them both tightly.
Wong and Mordo both hugged him tightly, both willing to hold their brother for as long as he needed and wanted.
"I dunno..." Peter bit his lower lip hesitantly and looked between Yondu and Drax both. "...It's not usually up to me, by the time I need something taken care of...and I'm not the one who decides when it's taken care of enough..." He winced and blushed faintly, but it was obvious he was uncomfortable at the thought of possibly telling his fathers what to do.
"How are ya feeling right now, kid?" Yondu asked, watching Peter carefully so he could make a decision.
Peter looked down, almost bashfully, watching Mantis and Kraglin out of the corner of his eye until they'd disappeared with the dishes to wash. "I dunno, daddy. Still sensitive...but kinda got used to the attention too. I'm not sure if I'd be relieved or disappointed if ya let me off this morning..." he said truthfully, then blushed bright red. Any normal person would be relieved, without question.
"Doesn't hafta be a spanking, kid," Yondu commented. "You can just sit and cuddle with us...even just lay across our knees and get some attention that way."
Peter smiled crookedly. "...I'd like that, daddy. Poppa..." He glanced at Drax.
Drax nodded. "Cuddling sounds like a very good idea." He reached out to help Peter off Yondu's lap, so they could both lead him back to the room.
Peter stood at Drax's urging, leaning into the larger man. "Thanks, Poppa..." he said quietly, snuggling close for a moment while waiting for Yondu to stand and join them in their walk back.
Yondu stood as well, wrapping his arm around Peter from the other side, walking with them both back into the room.
Once back in their room, Peter moved to the side and waited.
It didn't take long for Drax and Yondu to settle on the bed and then Drax reached out to pull Peter down between them, so they could cuddle.
Peter snuggled as close to both of his fathers as he could get. "I love you both, ya know that, right?" he asked, in quiet contentment.
"We love ya too." Yondu hugged him close.
"So very much so," Drax added, stroking his hair.
Peter sighed happily before standing and laying over both his father's laps. "...Rub me?" he said impishly, with no shame at all, as he wriggled experimentally, his back over Yondu and his backside over Drax.
Yondu's expression was one of amused affection as he slid his hand under Peter's shirt to begin rubbing his bare back. Drax did the same, gently stroking Peter's backside.
Peter hummed happily as Yondu rubbed, the skin on skin contact helping him feel closer to his father. He wriggled a little bit more as Drax rubbed. "...You's take care of me good..." he whispered, loudly enough they could hear, but it wouldn't carry far.
"You are our boy," Yondu said. "Of course we will take care of you."
"And we will always take care of you," Drax promised.
Peter hummed happily again. "...Like being your boy..." he mumbled. "...Like belongin to ya..." He wriggled his backside again, trying to encourage Drax to be a little more firm in his affection. He was rubbing through two layers of material, after all.
Drax responded to the wriggling by putting more pressure behind the rubbing, gently squeezing his son's thighs.
Peter sighed. "Never thought I'd have anything in common with Wade..." he muttered, with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"Nothing wrong with it. Or you," Yondu added, stroking his back.
Peter smiled. "That's a relief. Cuz I think I'm starting to get used to it..." he admitted, with a snort.
"That is good, because when you need it, we will provide it," Drax promised, still rubbing Peter's bottom.
Peter was happy. There wasn't any other way to describe it. He was stretched out over both his fathers' laps, receiving all the attention and affection he could ask for; and he'd asked for a lot. " ...More...?" he asked, with a tiny squirm that went from head to toe, then smiled back at Yondu and Drax with an impish grin that was hard to ignore.
Yondu chuckled softly and moved to take over rubbing Peter's backside, pushing down his son's pants and underwear to make it easier.
For his part, Drax began to stroke and rub Peter's back, sliding his hand under the shirt in much the same way Yondu had been.
Peter went lax, just relaxing. "...'Most as good as a massage..." he mumbled. "...Mebbe better'n one..."
There wasn't any need for either of his fathers to respond to that; they just continued to stroke and rub, giving him as much affection as he needed.
Peter had reached a point of total relaxation and contentment; he knew he was loved and cared about, but the fact his fathers had been willing to go that extra mile to make sure he remembered bolstered him. He felt like he could take on anything and win. He finally stirred, sighing softly. "S'much as I love the attention, I guess maybe I should go finish helping everyone outside so we can do some fun things tonight..." He grinned back at his fathers sheepishly. "...Mebbe we can stay together again tonight, thought?" He bit his lip hesitantly. "...If'n Krag or Mantis don't need you?"
"If they need either of us, we will figure it out," Drax promised. "I am certain there will be no problems staying together tonight, though."
"Thanks... I dunno why, but after being a kid again for so long... it's more difficult growing up again than I thought it'd be..." Peter blushed faintly, waiting for either of his fathers to indicate it was time for him to get up before he actually moved.
"That ain't a problem, kid." Yondu squeezed Peter's thigh and then replaced his clothing, helping him to stand up.
Peter sighed softly as his thigh was squeezed. As soon as he was standing, he threw his arms around Yondu and then Drax in a tight hug. "I love you both... I know I can be a right pain at times...but I love you both so much!"
"I love you too, son." Drax hugged Peter tightly.
Yondu kissed the top of his head. "Me too, kid."
Peter smiled again brightly. "I'll just go help Krag and Mantis with whatever they're working on then..." Impulsively, he kissed both of them on the cheek before scurrying out of the room in search of his brother and 'aunt'.
Drax and Yondu left the room as well, in time to meet up with Wong, Mordo and Stephen so they could figure out what jobs they were taking care of.
A few more days had gone by with the group working hard in the morning, then relaxing and socializing in the evening. Mantis had been a fast learner and soon was swimming races with Peter from a point in the lake (as determined by Yondu or Drax) back to the shore. She'd managed to beat him several times too.
Peter had stayed mostly calm, not getting into trouble. The few times he'd started getting antsy, he'd realized it before it became a problem and had sought out one or both of his fathers to help him with it.
Kraglin was too relieved that Peter was being taken care of and not taking unnecessary chances to feel 'left out'.
Stephen still continued to need a moment for his food to settle before he could do anything after eating; although it was becoming a bit easier to eat the amount of food Mordo deemed healthy. He also continued to sit on his brother's lap while Mordo spoon-fed him, which he thought shouldn't be as easy to accept as it was.
In short, everything was going smoothly and everyone was happy. Which made what occurred next so baffling to those involved.
Stephen had begun to go through the old books to shelve them, with Peter and Kraglin's help. There hadn't been any complaints from either men about doing such 'boring' work (they couldn't understand what was written, so it wasn't like they could have fun looking through the books while shelving them). They were making quick work of it, even with Stephen pausing every now and again to read something he'd found interesting. And then he found the book. "Hey, guys...come here a minute..." he said, quietly enough that it wouldn't draw anyone else's attention back to the library. "I found a book... well, this is actually the second time I've found it... and I'd really like to try one of the spells. Wong wouldn't let me when I found it the first time. He didn't think I was strong enough to do it alone..." He said the last in a scoffing tone. (As if he wasn't a strong sorcerer. He'd fought of Dormamu!) "If you all are here with me, then I'm not really alone..."
Everyone, of course, knew exactly what Wong had meant by his words. And every one of them decided they wanted to see the spell and so would go with Stephen's irresponsible reinterpretation of Wong's words. Even Kraglin went along with it; which just encouraged both Stephen and Peter to continue in their foolishness. If it were really dangerous, Krag would have never gone along with it, after all...
Drax, Yondu, Wong, Mordo and Mantis had been working on other areas of the building, so none of them were in the library as Stephen found the book. In fact, none of them even guessed what the younger family members were about to do.
Stephen had opened the portal with no problems at all, which made him wonder why Wong had been so against it. The area in front of them was lush and tropical. He wasn't certain where it was he'd opened the portal up to when the ground on the other side began to shake and a running man came into view. The man's eyes widened as he saw the 'breach' with Peter, Kraglin and Stephen staring out at him.
"Oh, shit..." Owen Grady ground out as he found himself running toward something that shouldn't be there. Was the stress of the situation causing him to hallucinate?! He couldn't stop running, though. He'd be dead for sure if he didn't just keep going forward.
Peter's own eyes widened as he saw a man who looked exactly like him, running full tilt in his direction. He stepped through to the other side, not moving very far away; a foot at the most.
Kraglin stepped through, next to his brother. His eyes weren't on Peter's twin. They were on someone, or something, else.
Meanwhile, Stephen was suddenly fighting to keep the portal open, feeling drained when only seconds before he'd felt fine. Maybe Wong hadn't been wrong after all. "Uh, guys...I need you to come back now..." He began to sweat and tremble.
"Is that a...?" Kraglin's voice was a mix of shock, skepticism and fear. It immediately caught Peter's attention.
"Is that a what?" he asked, his gaze following Kraglin's line of site. "Oh, crap!" he yelped. "DINOSAUR!"
That shout penetrated through the rest of the building and it didn't take long for the rest of the family members to come running. Mordo and Wong immediately went to help Stephen, while Drax and Yondu wasted little time in going to retrieve their sons.
Stephen struggled to keep the portal open. He'd been trying to get his cousins to come back through so he could let it go (rebound would likely be an issue and who knows what damage or harm it could do to him, his cousins and the area around them; but that was still preferable to him losing control of it and them being stuck in another dimension). It was a relief when Wong and Mordo arrived and began to lend their own significant power to keeping the portal open.
Peter and Kraglin were both so focused on the dinosaur that they didn't realize their fathers had arrived behind them. As a result, they both screamed loudly as they found themselves pulled backwards, back into the library, unceremoniously landing at their parents' feet.
The portal snapped shut immediately, Stephen unable to hold onto it any longer. He collapsed on the ground at his brothers' feet.
Drax and Yondu wasted no time in hauling their kids to their feet, checking them both over separately and then together. "Did either of ya get hurt?" Yondu demanded, his voice hoarse with worry.
"Were you even thinking?!" Drax's own voice showed how affected he was by this.
Wong and Mordo each helped their brother up and over to a chair, so he could sit down and they could check him over.
Kraglin's face was pale and his eyes were wide. "No, sirs..." He answered both Yondu and Drax without realizing just what he'd admitted to Drax. "...Di...di..did ya see?!" He pointed toward where the portal had been.
"It was a friggin' dinosaur!" Peter was babbling. "...Chasing my twin! A T-Rex. I hope he didn't git eaten..." he said, before he got a squeamish look on his face. "...I'm glad we didn' git eaten!" he added on, for good measure.
Stephen was still shaking uncontrollably, finding it difficult to even sit up. He'd pretty much drained himself; he wasn't going to be casting any spells any time soon. He'd be lucky if he wasn't confined to bed for several days until his body restored its energy.
Wong quickly picked up the book, shoving it away safely before he moved back to Stephen's side. "We're going to get you into bed for rest," he said firmly, before grasping his brother's arm.
Mordo took hold of him from the other side and they helped Stephen to stand, draping his arms around their shoulders for support.
"We saw." Yondu gave them both a tight hug. "What were ya thinkin'?" he demanded.
Stephen was too worn out to argue and in fact was leaning on his brothers so heavily, it would have probably been easier for them to carry him.
Peter got an offended look on his face. "It was my twin! I was thinkin' I'd go say hi to him. Before I realized he was bein' chased by a T-Rex, anyway..."
Kraglin, by this point, had calmed down enough to realize that he and Peter were on shaky ground with their parents and elbowed his brother to get him to shut up and not be mouthy.
Realizing that Stephen wasn't likely to be able to walk easily on his own, Mordo and Wong half-carried, half-led their brother along with them, taking him to Mordo's room, where they planned to stay with him.
Drax reached out and hugged both of them as well. "Why would you go through a strange portal to a land you do not recognize?" he demanded, making no attempt to hide his own worry.
Kraglin cleared his throat. "I... I was just following Petey. Make sure he didn't go too far away from the portal..."
Peter bit his lip, realizing that his dads were upset and worried, not excited about him having a twin. "I... I wanted to meet my twin...?" he asked hesitantly. The truth was, he hadn't given going through the portal a second thought, so he wasn't sure why he'd done it.
"You thought about what you wanted to do. Not about the potential danger. To yourself. To either of the others." Drax rested a hand each on their shoulders.
"How did it get opened?" Yondu asked.
Kraglin looked down at Drax's words. "Yessir..." he quickly answered, in agreement with his father's assessment. That's what they'd done after all.
Peter sighed, nodding at Kraglin's agreement before answering Yondu. "Stephen found a book with the incantation in it. He said that Wong hadn't let him try it before because it was too strong a spell to do alone. Since we were with him..." Even as he said it, he knew that he'd just dug all three of their metaphorical graves. Anyone with two brain-cells together would have known what Wong meant by his words and the fact that all three of them deliberately 'misunderstood' so that they could do what they wanted was the height of disobedience.
Yondu glanced at his sons and then at Drax. "No reason not ter deal with this right now," he commented, before looking back at Kraglin and Peter. "Both of ya know what ya did wrong, don'cha?"
Both Kraglin and Peter slumped before answering together. "Yessirs..."
"Shall we go ter yer room? Take care of this in there?" Yondu turned to Drax, figuring they needed to show a united front.
Drax nodded. "I agree." He began walking in that direction, keeping his steps slow so that he could walk next to Yondu and their sons.
"Aw, man!" Peter pouted. He'd gone for several days without getting into trouble and had even managed to get himself back on an even keel so he didn't need to be so childish with his parents. And now he was going to get a spanking. "This sucks!" he muttered, kicking a tiny rock off the pathway as he followed his fathers to Drax's room.
Kraglin sighed. "Not like we couldn't see this comin..." he said in resignation. They should have realized they'd be found out and what the results of their actions would be.
Once all four of them were inside the room, Drax closed the door and turned to Yondu. "How should we handle this?"
"It should be punished by both of us," Yondu stated. He stepped over to Kraglin and took a gentle hold of their oldest's shoulder, walking him over to the corner and turning him to face it. "Stay here till one of us comes to get ya," he directed.
Kraglin blinked, then slumped with a sigh. "Yessir..." he answered, not arguing in the slightest. He faced the corner; it wasn't a position he was overly familiar with.
Yondu walked over to the chair in the room and moved it over to the bed, motioning for Drax to sit on the bed facing the chair. While the other did so, Yondu grasped Peter's shoulder and led their youngest over, sitting on the chair and pulling Peter across both of their laps.
Peter whimpered, before slumping in defeat over both their laps. He knew he deserved to be spanked. He wasn't going to argue. Still... "This sucks so bad..." He whined softly.
Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's waist, while Drax took care of baring their youngest before also taking hold of him. They both started swatting almost immediately.
Peter let out a tiny yipping noise, almost like a puppy, before whimpering and immediately beginning to squirm. He wasn't afraid of falling; not only did both his dads have a firm grip on him, they were positioned in such a way that, if he squirmed off of one of their laps, he'd end up fully on the other's. There was nowhere he could move that would let him escape the swats. "Daaaaddy... Pooooppa! Not so hard!" he whined, even as he tried to move his backside out of the line of fire.
"You did something knowing it was dangerous and that a member of the family had been warned away from doing," Drax scolded, as he and Yondu swatted down to Peter's thighs before starting over from the top.
"I wasn't told not to! Stephen was told not to!" Peter tried to defend himself. "I didn't think it'd be dangerous for me!" Of course, that didn't mean he'd thought it was safe, either, but...
Kraglin winced. That wasn't the way to calm their fathers down.
In response to that, both Drax and Yondu started swatting harder. "Ya don't need me ter tell ya that rushing headlong inter unknowns is bad," Yondu stated. "What if ya'd been injured? Or trapped there?"
"Ooooooow!" Peter wailed as the swats became harder. "N...no, sir. I should known better... I shouldn't a gone through...!" He began to sob as the pain of the swats built up. Try as he might, he couldn't move away and his backside felt like it was on fire.
"You could have been killed. You could have taken yourself away," Drax scolded. "And you don't have that right, son."
"I wasn't trying to, Poppa!" Peter sobbed, still not giving in, because he didn't want to admit how badly he'd messed up.
"Then what were ya tryin' ta do, little boy?" Yondu asked, as he and Drax began focusing more swats to Peter's sit spots and thighs.
"I d..d..don't kn..kn..know!" Peter wailed louder. It was the truth. He'd acted without thinking. "...S...s...saw ME on the o..o..other s...s...side. J..j..jus m..m..moved. D..d..did'n th..th..thing..." Peter's squirming was becoming feeble as he wore himself down.
"That's th' problem, little boy." Yondu continued swatting in time with Drax as he spoke. "Ya don't think. Ya don't think about your safety, or the people who care about you and who want ya ta come home ta them."
Yondu's words reached into Peter, the name making him feel small and helpless, the accusation making him feel selfish and thoughtlessly mean. His sobs became more broken as he tried to deny what he didn't want to believe. "I l..love you, D..daddy! I l..love you, P..poppa! Don't w..w..wanna take m..m..myself from y..y..you!"
Kraglin was hunched in on himself, just wishing his brother would submit. It was hard to listen to the sounds of skin slapping skin while his baby brother sobbed. He snuck a glance back, worried at how stubborn his brother was being, and quickly looked back to the corner with a wince. Peter's bottom was a vivid, angry dark red. How the kid could keep arguing was beyond him. "Jus give up... Give in, Petey..." he whispered, sniffling. He blinked in surprise to find tears streaming down his face. His parents' words and worried concern, plus his own concern over Peter, had already broken him down.
"That is what you risk doing," Drax said. "What if none of us had heard and come running? What if the opening had closed while you and your brother were trapped inside? Did you even think if you would be able to find a way back?"
"N..n..no, Poppa, I... I d..d..didn' thing..." Peter croaked out. But he was thinking now. And the knowledge that he and Krag could have been lost in a world full of dinosaurs, unable to return home to Poppa and Daddy? Mantis, Groot, Rocket, Gamorra and even Nebula? It was sobering in a terrifying way. His whole body began to shake; not from efforts to get away or fight his body's response, from genuine fear that he could have permanently lost those most important to him through thoughtless disobedience. Stephen had been told no. That should have been enough for Peter not to go along with it.
Peter went boneless over his fathers' knees, continuing to shake in fear and sobbing like he'd lost everything... sobbing so hard, it became difficult to breathe, he was choking on his tears.
Drax and Yondu stopped spanking immediately, helping Peter up and into tight embraces, sitting side by side on the bed so they could hug him between them better.
"Breathe, kid," Yondu whispered, stroking the back of his head.
"Imorry...Imorryda'y...Imorryoppa!" Peter choked out and tried to obey Yondu by breathing deep. It wasn't working.
Drax tightened his embrace around Peter and stroked the side of his face, while Yondu cupped the back of his head. "We've got you, son."
It took entirely too long for Peter's breathing to even out, as far as Kraglin was concerned. He was just about to disobey and leave the corner to help calm his brother down when Peter took in a slow, long quivery breath and exhaled just as long and slow, but less quivery.
"I'm sorry, Poppa and Daddy. I'm sorry I didn't stop and think..." Peter's voice was wholly contrite. "Was very bad...thank you for saving me...am I grounded?" Peter bit his lip and blushed when he sounded hopeful he would be.
"Yer grounded for the next week," Yondu answered, gently squeezing the back of Peter's head and kissing his forehead.
"You and your brother both," Drax added, just in case that wasn't clear.
"Can I stay with one or both of ya in yer rooms a night?" Peter didn't care that he was sounding childish or being clingy. The thought that he'd nearly been stranded in a world without his family, cept for Krag, had terrified him.
"'Course, kid. Yer more'an welcome ta." Yondu kissed his forehead. "I love ya," he added.
"And so do I," Drax said.
Peter sniffled and snuggled against Yondu and Drax a few more minutes before taking s deep breath and whispering, "I think I can handle the corner now, iffn ya wanna hug Krag some..."
It was Drax, this time, who stood and helped Peter to stand, guiding him towards the corner and drawing Kraglin out before gently guiding Peter into the corner.
Krag gave Peter a searching look before smiling crookedly at his little brother, his relief that Peter wasn't as devastated as he'd sounded earlier clear on his face. He followed Drax back to where Yondu sat.
Peter turned to face the corner, letting his head rest against the wall. It was a bit embarrassing, standing with his sore, bright, reddened backside on full display to his brother and fathers- it made him feel even more childish- but it was a bit of a relief too. He didn't think he could take his jeans rubbing his bottom at the moment.
Drax sat in the chair, so they were both in the same position as when they'd handled Peter, and guided Kraglin forward across both of their laps before baring him. "I do not believe we need to explain why you are in this position, son," he stated.
"Nosir... I know 'xacly what uh did wrong..." Kraglin swallowed. "'stead of saying no ta Stephen and calling for backup if he 'cisted on disbeyin... I wen long wit 'im. An I follered Petey through dat portle stead of yankin 'im back outta it. Wuz right foolish uh me. An wrong. Sorry, Pop... Dad..." Kraglin sniffled, already crying freely, not attempting to stop. As soon as he was bare, he slumped completely. He wasn't fighting, arguing, or trying to block in any way. He'd already completely submitted.
Drax rubbed Kraglin's back a moment or two, while Yondu squeezed their oldest's thigh, and then they began to swat; the same way they had with Peter, though with less force.
"I'm so sorry, Dad... Pop. I should a thought before actin. I was trying to protect Petey, but I failed horrible..." He sounded more upset at his 'failure' than he did about being in trouble.
"It weren't just about Petey bein' in danger," Yondu said. "Yer our boy. Same as him. Yer safety is just as important."
"And we do not want to lose you either," Drax added.
Kraglin began to cry harder at those words, though the sound was softer. "I'm sorry I almost took me away from you..." he whispered. "I's so sorry..."
"You do not act in such a way that puts you in danger and if you do that again, then you will be in this same position," Drax stated. "I love you, son."
"I love ya and losing ya would tear me apart," Yondu added in, as they finished up the spanking and helped Kraglin to stand so they could hug and comfort him.
Kraglin threw his arms around both his parents, holding as tightly as he could. "I luv ya's both so much..." he said, in between tears. "I'll try do hard not ta do somthin like that 'gin..."
"Good, cuz th' last thing we want is ter risk losing ya." Yondu hugged Kraglin tightly.
Drax tightened his arms around Kraglin and kissed his head. "We will not let anything take you away from us. Take either of you away from us."
"Thank y'alls..." Kraglin held on a bit longer before stepping back, fixing his clothes, then wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. He glanced toward Peter and couldn't help but wince at the angry color of his backside. It was obvious the boy was still distressed, so he gave his fathers a crooked smile. "I'd like to go check on Stephen, iffn I'm 'lowed?"
Drax nodded, reaching out to squeeze Kraglin's shoulder. "If you want to go anywhere else, you need to ask me or your dad," he said.
"Yessir...if'n he ain't up, can I go help Mantis git dinner together?" Kraglin added, just in case.
Yondu nodded. "Tha's fine." He stroked Kraglin's cheek. "Ya know where we are. If ya need either of us."
"Yessir...thank ya..." Kraglin hugged both men once more, before heading out to check on his cousin.
Peter shifted uncertainly. He hadn't been told to leave the corner yet.
Drax walked over to Peter and drew him out of the corner, wrapping an arm around his shoulders to lead him back over to the bed and Yondu.
Peter tugged his shirt down in front, a little self consciously, feeling all of three years old. "I'm sorry I scared ya..." he whispered.
Yondu settled Peter so he was sitting on both his and Drax's lap. "'Course we was scared, kid. We love ya. We don't wanna lose ya."
"I know. I shouldn't a been so bad..." Peter snuggled as close as he could without moving. It hurt his backside if he moved too much.
"You wasn't bad, kid. Jus' naughty. And we dealt wi' that." Yondu wrapped his arms around Peter's waist.
Drax wrapped his own arms around Peter's shoulders, holding on just as tight.
"Ya forgive me fer actin foolish?" Peter asked hesitantly.
"Of course, kid." Yondu kissed his head. "Always have done."
"I am relieved to have you safe and back with us," Drax said. "I forgive you, son."
Peter visibly relaxed into his parents, a tiny sigh of relief escaping. "It still hurts bad... Will you rub it better?" This time, his hesitancy was more because he didn't think he deserved any mercy after scaring them so bad.
Yondu gently squeezed Peter's waist. "I got some ointment in my room," he said to Drax.
"I have some here." Drax stood up to get some.
Yondu stroked Peter's hair. "Ya can lay across both of us again, kid."
Peter sniffled, snuggling close to Yondu while Drax was retrieving the ointment. When Drax had returned, Peter carefully stood and gave them both a very grateful look. "Thank you..." he whispered.
Drax sat and reached up to stroke his cheek. "You are no longer being punished, son." He drew Peter down across both of their laps, so he and Yondu could begin to rub the ointment in.
"Feel like I should be..." Peter admitted, in a whisper. "Maybe then I'd member to not act before thinking..."
He whimpered as they began rubbing in the ointment. Even though it immediately felt so much better...it still hurt really bad. "Like a sunburn.. " he muttered softly.
"We'll work on it, kid. Work on ya thinking next time." Yondu rubbed his lower back with his other hand.
Peter slowly relaxed as the pain began to ebb into a throbbing sting. "Dunno why it's so hard for me ta do. As many times as I been spanked for it, ya'd think I'd remember..." He sniffled again.
"Ya ran from me, kid," Yondu commented. "And I'm guessin' your Poppa didn't come until later."
"You got too used to not having any boundaries," Drax commented.
"Wish I hadn't run from ya, daddy...or that I found ya sooner, Poppa..." Peter sighed. Now that the pain was more bearable, he was noticing how sleepy he was.
"I won't let ya run from me again," Yondu promised.
"And I will not let go of you," Drax added.
"Good...cuz I don't wanna get away from or leave ya. Belong with ya both..." Peter snuggled against them as much as he was able.
"Yeah, kid. Ya do." Yondu gently squeezed one of his thighs; stroking and rubbing still.
Drax stroked Peter's hair and down his back with his other hand.
"Feels lots better..." Peter mumbled, then yawned.
"Good." Drax stroked his hair.
"Sleep if ya need ta, kid," Yondu said. "We'll keep watch over ya."
"Love ya, daddy...poppa..." Peter whispered, before falling asleep.
Stephen helped his brothers as much as he was able, which wasn't much. "I'm gonna be grounded for life, aren't I?" he whispered, his voice showing his exhaustion clearly.
"We will worry first about you resting and regaining your strength," Wong stated, as he and Mordo helped Stephen to settle on the bed.
"Okay..." Stephen said, before yawning. He was too wiped out to worry about future punishment. He fell back onto the bed and promptly fell asleep, still wearing all his clothing.
Mordo and Wong quickly changed their brother into pajamas, so he would be more comfortable.
Kraglin had gone to check on Stephen, but on learning the sorcerer was passed out, he'd gone to help Mantis with lunch.
Stephen stirred faintly, glancing toward the door, and mumbled something unintelligible.
Wong reached out to gently squeeze Stephen's shoulder. "You need to rest," he said softly.
Stephen mumbled something else unintelligible, but obediently closed his eyes and shifted in Wong's direction.
It took two days of nearly non-stop sleeping for Stephen to become aware enough that he could actually communicate. Two days of his brothers making certain he drank water and helping take care of his personal needs, since he was incapable of it. But eventually, he did comprehend, even if he was weak.
"Whatime izit?" he asked, almost sounding drunk, as he attempted to sit up so he could go to the bathroom.
Mordo wasted no time in moving over to help Stephen to sit up. "It's almost midday," he answered.
Wong moved quickly to his other side.
"That's not too bad...wuz only seep for few hours..." Stephen said unknowingly.
"You've been sleeping for two days," Wong said. "This is the first time you've properly come to."
"Oh..." Stephen blinked, before looking down at himself, then at the bed. He was in clean pajamas and the bed was spotless; and had different sheets than had been on it. "...You were taking care of me..." he whispered, then blushed faintly, even as he carefully stood and leaned on his brothes to go to the bathroom.
"Of course. We would never leave you to go through something like this on your own," Mordo said, as he and Wong led their brother to the bathroom.
"It was my fault I was going through it, though. I brought it on myself by disobeying you..." Stephen gave Wong an apologetically ashamed look.
"It doesn't matter if it was because of what you did or not," Wong stated. "Neither of us would ever leave you alone to cope."
"I don't deserve you...but I'm grateful..." Stephen swallowed. "Do you want me to eat? While I'm awake enough to do so?" His voice was faint. He quickly finished up and washed his hands, before leaning on his brothers heavily again.
Wong nodded. "One of us will sit with you while the other goes to get food." He paused, in case Stephen had a preference.
Stephen nodded slowly, before whispering, "I'm sorry. I should have obeyed you. You know more than I do..." He sat wearily on the bed once they had helped him to it.
Mordo went to get the food, while Wong sat on the bed next to Stephen and squeezed his shoulder. "You're right. You should have understood I had a good reason for telling you not to do something."
Stephen nodded and swallowed. "I was obstinate, headstrong and disrespectful. You deserved better from me..."
"We will deal with what happened when you are fully recovered," Wong said.
Mordo walked back into the room with a tray of food.
"Yessir..." Stephen nodded, shifting back so he could eat more easily. He bit his lip and glanced at Mordo. "Do you plan to...feed me?" He wasn't sure if his brother would let him feed himself or not.
"How are you feeling?" Mordo asked in turn.
"A little shaky, but otherwise good. I'm... I'm actually really hungry..." Stephen grinned crookedly.
Mordo sat on the bed, on his other side. "If you think you're up to it, you can feed yourself." He left unsaid that he'd be watching, in case he needed to step in.
Stephen nodded, then carefully began to eat. He took a few bites before stopping, a funny look on his face. "Feels weird feeding myself... got used to you doing it..." he admitted sheepishly.
Mordo smiled reassuringly at his brother and picked up the fork so he could resume feeding his brother.
Stephen relaxed and continued to eat. "Thank you..." he whispered.
"You're welcome." Mordo continued to feed his brother.
Wong gently squeezed Stephen's shoulder.
With his brother's help, it didn't take long at all to eat. He finished every bite without even pausing and let out a tiny sigh. "I can't believe I'm tired again..."
"You expended a lot of energy," Wong said. "Resting and giving yourself time to recover is important."
"Well, I'm not arguing with that..." Stephen yawned and slid down so he was laying down again.
Mordo set the tray to one side and reached out to stroke his hair, while Wong squeezed his hand.
"Really messed up this time." Stephen grimaced and gave both his brothers a sorrowful look. "I'm sorry..." His voice trailed off as he began to fall asleep.
"It's all right, brother," Mordo murmured. "We'll discuss it when you're fully recovered. Just sleep now."
It didn't take long until Stephen was fully asleep again.
Several days had gone by and everyone had fallen into a routine. Peter, Kraglin and their family would pick a spot to clean in the morning, then swim in the afternoon. Wong or Mordo would take a few hours a day helping and relaxing, while the other remained with Stephen. They never left him alone and they seldom left his side; only doing so enough to prevent falling ill themselves.
"I shoulda stopped him..." Peter muttered under his breath one morning, as Wong left with a tray of breakfast for him, Mordo and Stephen.
Yondu gently squeezed his waist. "Wasn't yer responsibility, kid. Even if ya'd said no, he mighta done it anyway."
"Sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way," Drax commented, resting his hand on Peter's shoulder.
"Still..." Peter swallowed hard. "If I'd argued, he might thought agin 'fore doing it. Or mebbe we'da gotten loud nuff that ya'll would hear and come stop us..."
"We did come in time," Drax said. "Maybe not in time to stop you, but in time to make sure none of you were harmed."
"Yeah...you did. Seems like you always show up when I need ya most..." Peter smiled crookedly.
Yondu stroked the back of his head. "A good job, too, kid. Means we're less likely ta lose ya."
Peter slumped against Yondu.
"Why do you feel so guilty, when you know you aren't responsible for Stephen?" Mantis asked curiously. It was obvious she was talking about his literal feelings, since she was attuned to him. "You feel like...like you..." She wrinkled her nose, unable to decipher the emotion she was feeling.
"Like I want to be punished for what I did?" Peter supplied helpfully, in a lackluster voice. It was the only thing she could be picking up on and not understand, as far as he could tell.
"You were already punished," Drax stated.
Yondu snorted softly. "That logic don't always hold up," he commented. "Question is...do ya need another trip over one of our knees?" He carefully shifted his boy round so he could look into his eyes.
Peter forced himself to look into Yondu's eyes. He didn't know if he needed another trip over their knees. He didn't know what he needed. What he did know was that it felt like he should have stood up to his cousin. What it felt like was he'd failed his family. What it felt like was he'd never learn and he'd keep doing foolish things that would take him away from his family; and that scared him. It scared him bad. That fear was clear in his eyes.
Yondu stroked the side of Peter's face. "Okay, kid. Me and yer Poppa'll take ya into my room. We'll take care of this there."
Kraglin sighed, giving Peter a sympathetic, worried look. "C'mon, Mantis. We can clean up and go down to the lake."
"Okay," Mantis easily agreed, once she felt the relief pouting off of Peter.
Peter waited until Krag and Mantis had left before standing and hugging Yondu, then Drax, in an almost desperate manner. "Can't stop thinking bout how I coulda been cut off from ya..." he whispered, this time his fears clear in his voice.
His fathers both hugged him just as tight in return.
"Come on, kid," Yondu whispered, wrapping his arm around Peter's shoulders. "We'll go ta my room."
Drax draped his arm around Peter from the other side, so they could both lead him.
Peter sighed softly, leaning on both of his parents. "Before...when we were just running through space...doing guardian things... This wouldn't a bothered me. Now... I know what I have to lose. I'm turning into a huge baby..."
"Because you know what you have and you know how much you are wanted," Drax said.
"Ya know try'na take yerself away from us is not allowed or okay," Yondu added.
Peter nodded. "I understand...just...why am I so scared now? Don't make sense. I've done dangerous stuff b'fore where I coulda died. Didn't scare me near so much as realizing I almost got stuck living in another dimension without ya..." Peter bit his lip. "Less it means I'd rather die than live without ya..."
Drax and Yondu guided Peter into the bedroom and sat on the bed, settling him in to cuddle between them.
"Pr'haps ya remember what it was like b'fore I took hold of you...b'fore yer Poppa came into yer life...and ya know it's not somethin' you wanna go back to," Yondu suggested.
"Was lonely..." Peter admitted quietly. "Always had a girl with me and got a reputation cuz I didn't wanna be alone. But I didn't wanna admit to myself that's what I was doin. When I got together with Poppa and 'Mora and Rocket and Groot... Finally felt right again. Hadn't felt right since I ran away from you..." He swallowed. "I almost got pulled away cuz I did something thoughtless. Worse...I almost drug Krag with me..."
Yondu stroked his hair. "And it ain't allowed, kid. Not fer ya to take yerself away from me or yer Poppa. Don't matter what happens, yer belong ter us."
"If you need the proof of that, you only have to look at how fast we were to come after you and your brother," Drax said.
Peter nodded. "You were really fast..." he said softly, leaning on both of them. "I'm sorry. Dunno why I'm still spooked when ya saved us."
"You were nearly taken from us." Drax stroked his hair. "Feeling fear is natural."
"You don't think I'm being a weak baby?" Peter asked.
"You are neither of those things," Drax stated.
Yondu snorted softly and ran his fingers through Peter's hair. "Yer wasn't the only one scared, kid."
Peter gave his fathers an abashed look. "I'm sorry I scared you..." he whispered.
"We were scared because we love you," Drax said.
"We didn't want to lose ya," Yondu added.
"I never meant to put you through that...I'm sorry..." Peter sniffled, then stood and lay down over his farhers' knees before he lost his nerve. "I'm so sorry..." he repeated.
Yondu wrapped his arm around Peter's waist as Drax tugged their son's pants and underwear down. Both rested a hand each on his backside, beginning to rub and lightly pat Peter's backside.
Peter felt himself calming immediately. He may not be receiving a full blown spanking, but that really wasn't what he'd needed. What he needed was to be in his fathers' capable hands and just let them take care of him.
The gentle patting and rubbing continued, with both Yondu and Drax also stroking his hair, neck and down his back; just holding and stroking their son.
"I love you both so much..." Peter said.
"We love ya too, kid." Yondu stroked his head. "Won't ever let ya go," he promised.
"I don't ever want to be let go..." Peter said quietly.
"Good, because you are ours," Drax said firmly. "Just like we are yours."
"Thank you, poppa..." Peter let out a tiny sigh, relaxing, the fear he'd felt calming.
"No matter wha' happens, ya won' stop being ours," Yondu promised. "No matter how 'naughty' you get."
"That makes me feel so much better..." Peter admitted. "Cuz I can be so naughty..."
Yondu gently squeezed his thighs, even as Drax said, "We will still love you either way."
"Because I'm yours?" Peter asked, with a hint of impishness.
"Yes. Exactly because of that," Drax responded.
"I'm happy I'm yours..." Peter's voice was calm and fond. "I think I'm okay now, Poppa... Daddy..." he added. He didn't move, though. They were in charge.
"Glad ter hear it, kid." Yondu carefully pulled their son's clothing back into place and then he and Drax moved Peter back onto their laps, cuddling him close.
Peter snuggled for a bit more before asking, "Can we join Krag and Tizzy?"
Yondu smiled. "'Course, kid."
Drax helped Peter to stand, even as he asked, "Tizzy?"
"Mantis!" Peter grinned. "She needed a nickname. I give everyone I like nicknames...or tease them horribly. I figured she'd like a nickname better'n teasing..."
Drax smiled. "She will likely enjoy it." He and Yondu wrapped their arms around Peter to guide him from the room.
Mantis was lying on the shore, staring up at the stars when Peter, Yondu and Drax walked up.
"Hey, Tizzy... You get tired of the water?" Peter asked curiously.
"No, Peter. Kraglin needed to go to the restroom and didn't want me in the water while I was alone..." She slanted her head. "You are calmer and happier. I am glad. If you call me Tizzy, does that mean I can call you Pet?"
Peter spluttered, then began to laugh. "Sure. If it makes ya happy, I won't argue. 'Mora may not like it, but you two kin work it out..."
Drax walked over to join his little sister. "Would you like me or Yondu to come into the water with you?" he asked her.
"If you'd like...I was doing well...Kraglin just didn't want me in the water alone in case something happened. No one would be here." Mantis smiled happily and stood to go back into the water.
Drax moved to follow her, glancing towards Peter and Yondu to check if they planned to follow.
Peter shifted closer to o Yondu. "Wanna swim, dad?"
Yondu nodded and smiled at his youngest. "Race ya in, kid," he teased.
"Yer on!" Peter grinned and immediately took off at a sprint toward the water.
Yondu immediately went after his son, running side by side with him
It always amazed Peter how quickly his father could move when the situation called for it. Peter was quick; and could usually keep even, if not outrun, anyone he was with. But Yondu almost always got ahead of him if he was really trying. Of course, Peter was so busy admiring the fact his father was so quick, several feet in front of him within seconds of beginning to race, that he didn't watch where he was going, managing to not see the bouy that warned of the sudden 'drop' of the lake bed. Going from two feet of water to ten feet of water suddenly, when you weren't expecting it, wasn't really a good way to keep from inhaling water. Peter swam his way to the surface, coughing and spluttering and trying to get his bearings.
Yondu didn't waste any time in swimming over to his son, moving to help Peter out of the water; at least enough so he could cough and clear his airways.
Peter continued to cough, even as he wrapped his arms around Yondu's shoulders and his legs around his waist, clinging like an octopus. Yondu kept his head above water, though, and he was finally able to stop coughing; though he didn't let go of his father, just continuing to cling to the man as he tried to get his breathing under control. Nuzzling against Yondu's shoulder, he kissed the older man on the cheek before giving an embarrassed glance toward Drax, Mantis and Kraglin, then biting his lip and looking into Yondu's face. "Thanks fer catching me, daddy... Wasn't paying attention to where I was goin..." His tone was sheepish. And still he didn't release his iron grip on Yondu. It wasn't clear if his reluctance to let go was because he'd scared himself or because he just liked his father holding onto him, though.
Yondu didn't show any inclination to put Peter down or loosen his hold, rather tightening his arms around his son. "Not th' first time something like this has happened, kid," he commented, giving Peter's backside a gentle pat.
"Naw... as often as you've rescued me from drownin', I'm s'prised I'm not 'fraid to swim..." Peter admitted with a huff, nuzzling against Yondu's shoulder again at the pat. Even though Peter could only assume Yondu had moved to an area of the lake where he could touch bottom, Peter didn't let go or pull away. He was content to remain wrapped around his father like an octopus, the closeness soothing. In the water, he was able to be clingy in a way that he couldn't when on dry land. Considering how clingy he could get when on dry land, that was saying something.
"I'll always rescue ya, kid. Save ya from anything that might put you in danger." Yondu cupped his hand against Peter's backside, much like one would carry a baby; though there was more of an element of possessiveness and belonging.
"I know. Took me too long ta realize and stop trying to pull away... but I know..." Peter said quietly, hugging Yondu just that small bit more tightly. Even he was able to see that he was trying to make up for lost time, clinging like he was. Trying to make up for the fact he'd run for so long because he hadn't understood what was right in front of his face. Far as he was concerned now? Yondu could be as possessive as he wanted. Peter belonged with him, was his kid, and pulling away was never going to be an option again.
Yondu gave his bottom another gentle pat. "Good, cause I ain't gonna let ya go again, kid. Not ever. No matter what happens."
Peter leaned back just enough to grin at Yondu, still not releasing his father or standing on his own two feet (though he was positive, by this point, that they were in water shallow enough he could easily stand). The water came to just below Yondu's shoulders. "...Cuz I'm yours..." he whispered.
"Yeah, kid." Yondu stroked his cheek. "Yer mine. Fer always."
Peter pressed closer again, his chin resting on Yondu's shoulder as he quietly watched Drax and Kraglin teaching Mantis some new swim moves. He didn't attempt to get away once. He liked being held so protectively; he felt safe with Yondu.
Yondu held his son tightly to him, one hand resting on Peter's bottom, patting gently and, every so often, patting just a bit more firmly; almost giving out light smacks.
Peter relaxed even further at the show of possessiveness. It was weird. If anyone else but his fathers had tried to manhandle him, or act like they 'owned' him in any way... he'd be fighting them and proving to them how wrong they were. But Yondu taking charge and doing things that 'put him in his place' just made him feel safe and loved. He tightened his arms again in a brief hug, continuing to just hang onto Yondu, letting the water bear his weight and Yondu keep him firmly in place. He let out tiny whimpers at the pats, almost moans at the smacks; but they weren't terribly loud. Only Yondu could hear them and Peter didn't sound distressed. If he'd realized how happy he sounded at his father patting his bum like a toddler, he'd have been mortified. As it was, he didn't even realize he was making noises.
Yondu kept a tight hold of his son, stroking the back of Peter's head and kissing the top. He didn't so much as loosen his hold on Peter, continuing to gently pat and lightly smack his boy's backside, pausing periodically to rub or squeeze.
Peter nuzzled against his father's neck, reflexively hugging every so often, content to remain attached to his father with Yondu 'handling' him however Yondu felt best. "I.. I like being handled by you like this... " he whispered, nuzzling again, almost like a kitten.
"I like handling ya like this," Yondu whispered back. "I love ya, kid. Yer mine. I lost ya once. I won' let that happen again," he promised.
"Love you too, daddy. It'll be harder for ya to lose me again... I won't ever be running away from you again... " Peter acknowledged his own part in what kept them separated.
"Good. Cause if ya ever did? I'd come straight after ya. Turn ya over my knee when I found ya. And then take ya home," Yondu promised.
Peter smiled at that. "...'Siderin how many times I want to go over yer knee... that prolly isn't the worse threat ya could use..." he admitted, in sheepish amusement.
Yondu gently patted his bottom. "I don' think ya want it so much when it's a punishment, kid."
"No..." Peter sighed, nuzzling close again. "...Yer right. I feel all small and guilty and horrible when it's a punishment. Hate dis'pointing you..." he admitted quietly, wiggling slightly at the patting, but not letting go for even a second. It was a strange sensation, being patted through the buffer of water and swim-trunks. It almost tickled.
"I ain't disappointed much, kid." Yondu kissed his head. "I love ya. Being apart from ya was hard. I mighta lost the rest o' the crew, but I gained ya. And that was worth everything."
Peter still had his chin on Yondu's shoulder, but he let his head lean sideways so that his cheek was pressed against the older man's ear. "...Mebbe you ain't disappointed much but disappointing you at all hurts inside. Don't like the feeling..." he admitted.
Yondu stroked the back of Peter's head, before squeezing his thigh and then gently patting his bottom. "Havin' ya back in my life was always what I wanted, kid. I'd take th' bad with the good. Yer worth everything."
"Even when I was a pain? And lyin' to ya? And trickin' ya? You still wanted me back?" Peter leaned back so he could look into his father's face again, a bit skeptically. "...Didn' think you was all that impressed. Kinda broke our Ravager code, stealin' from ya and trickin' ya like that. Even if I wasn' on the Eclector anymore. Any other Ravager woulda gotten yer arrow through 'em for doing that." He paused as he thought about that. "...But you never used yer arrow on me, even if you coulda easily done it. Cuz you loved me. I was just too blind to see it." He sighed softly and put his chin back on Yondu's shoulder, hugging tight again. "...I was a right pain in yer ass..." he admitted. "...Prolly deserved to be turned over yer knee and given a pain in my ass a lot sooner than ya actually did it..." He snorted faintly.
"I didn't wan' ta drive ya away...at least not faster than I already did." Yondu ran his fingers through Peter's hair. "I always loved ya. Yer were always mine. Everythin' I did was about keeping yer safe...yer brother also."
"...Yeah. I didn' make it easy for ya." Peter sighed. "...Think thas part a why I keep wanting to go over yer knee now. Feels safe and reminds me I'm yers... but after all the stuff I did that hurt ya... I can never make up for it... letting you be completely in control and... and spankin me, even when ya aren't really punishing me... it at least feels like I'm in the right place and might be able to make sure I never do stuff I can't make up for again..." he whispered, before quickly kissing the side of Yondu's neck.
"Kid...ya are making up for it," Yondu said softly, stroking his son's head. "Having ya back in my life. Able to hold onto my son and take care of him. I can hold ya and cuddle ya, on my lap and in my arms. And it don't matter who sees."
"...How's being where I wanna be makin up for what I put you through?" Peter asked curiously, continuing to snuggle.
"Cause I want ya here, kid. Safe, in my arms, where you belong," Yondu said.
"...So...obeying you and putting myself where ya want me is makin up for what I did wrong to ya?" Peter asked softly.
"It was losing ya that hurt me, kid," Yondu said seriously. "So havin' you in my arms and where I can reach ya is helping a lot."
"...S'funny. The thing that seems to be helpin you a lot is helpin me even more..." Peter admitted, still continuing to snuggle. It was comfortable just floating in place, Yondu's firm grip keeping him from drifting away, the water allowing him to press close in a way he couldn't normally do because of gravity.
Yondu stroked down over Peter's back and over his bottom. "I'll keep holding onto ya, kid. Ya can cuddle with me every night of this vacation...and if ya need ta when we go back? That's okay too."
"I hope yer sure of that, cuz I intend to get all the cuddles I can possibly get from now on..." Peter grinned.
"'Course I'm sure, kid," Yondu stated, cupping his head. "I need ya."
Peter sighed softly. "Thanks, daddy. I need you too. Gotta lot of catchin' up to do, now that we don't hafta pretend and I'm not runnin' anymore..."
Yondu squeezed his thighs. "I'm gonna keep ya close, kid."
"S'where I wanna be. Close..." Peter tightened his grip, pressing even closer, if that were possible; pressing so close, there wasn't an inch of his torso not pressed against Yondu. He didn't understand it but pressing this close without any barrier was soothing. The fact that Yondu wasn't pulling away or pushing him back helped him relax.
Yondu wrapped his arms tighter around Peter, pushing his son's trunks down in back so he could gently pat his son's bare bottom, lightly smacking every so often.
Peter wasn't phased in the least by his bottom being bared. He just continued to hold onto Yondu tightly, letting his chin rest on Yondu's shoulder. He did close his eyes and focus on all the tactile sensations, though. The coolness of the water, the weightless feeling, his father's warmth where their chests and bellies touched, the feeling of Yondu patting; he let out a tiny sigh of contentment. "Feel closer to you now than I've ever felt..." he said quietly. "...Just holding on to you and being held; feels different then all the other times. Mebbe cuz we're on vacation... this trip was good for us..."
"I'll keep holding onto ya, kid," Yondu murmured in his son's ear, kissing his cheek. "I love ya. I got ya. No matter what happens, I'll still keep holding onto you." He rubbed Peter's backside gently and then began to pat and lightly swat once more.
"...Love you, daddy..." Peter responded in a whisper, nuzzling against Yondu's neck again. He believed everything Yondu said and because of that, he let go of any final worries he had. He wasn't asleep, but he was as relaxed as it was possible to be and not fall asleep. Being so close to his father, receiving his attention, felt so good.
Yondu continued to hold onto his son, stroking and rubbing, patting and gently smacking. He'd already decided that he would carry his son into the building once more, reluctant to let go of Peter.
Peter couldn't help himself. His backside was hyper-sensitive due to all the 'attention' he'd been getting of late. Even if it felt good, he couldn't stop himself from wriggling a small bit, adjusting the grip of his legs around Yondu's waist and his arms around his shoulders. And he purred softly against Yondu's neck, the sound floating up to his father's ear and the vibrations tickling his father's neck. "...Feel so close to you right now..." he whispered.
Yondu kissed the top of his head. "Skin ta skin helps Terran babies bond," he commented. "Not so surprising it works wi' adult children too."
Peter blinked. "Where'd ya learn that?" he asked curiously, beginning to blush. "...I know I've been immature, but... sheesh daddy. 'm not a baby..." He huffed out a tiny laugh, so it was obvious he wasn't really upset, although his red face did give away that he was a bit embarrassed.
Yondu stroked the side of his son's face. "When I first got ya...brought you onta m' ship. I didn't wan' ta do anythin' wrong with raising ya."
Peter blinked, leaning back so he could look into Yondu's eyes again. "You read up on Terran babies way back then? Don' 'member you ever holding me this close when ya first got hold 'me... and definitely nuthin that could be skin to skin..." Peter smiled crookedly, his eyes confused.
Yondu's thumb stroked his cheek. "You remember that time ya was ill? Feverish and hardly aware of what was goin' on? I held ya like that then. So I could hold ya and hopefully break yer fever."
Peter blinked. "I'd just turned twenty-three. At first thought I'd just had too much to drink fer my birthday, but the hangover didn't go away. By the time I knew I was sick and let ya know, I was really sick..." Peter swallowed. "...Don't remember much of what happened after I went to ya..." He snuggled close again, nuzzling Yondu's neck once again before whispering, "You held me close like that then? None of the Ravagers ever mentioned it or teased me bout it..."
"I kept ya in my cabin," Yondu answered. "Sponged ya down. Kept ya cool as possible. As close ta me as I could. Kraglin took care o' the crew, so I could take care o' ya."
Peter blinked back sudden tears, pressing more tightly against Yondu. He couldn't possibly get any closer. "...Wish I'd remembered that..." he whispered. "...Might not have run away from home if I had..."
"I wanted ya ta be safe and happy," Yondu said softly, tightening his embrace. "Even if ya couldn' have that with me."
"...I do have it with you, daddy...I have it and I never want to be without it again..." Peter sniffled.
Yondu kissed his head. "I love ya, son. And I'll keep takin' care of ya," he promised. "I did let ya go, but ya don' have ta worry I'll do that again."
"I love you too, daddy...so much," Peter whispered, nuzzling against Yondu again.
Yondu tightened his embrace, glancing up as he noticed the other members of the family beginning to leave the water. "I think we'd better go inside, kid," he murmured, before shifting Peter so his son was over his shoulder and he could hold his boy in place with a hand resting on his backside.
Drax moved to Kraglin and Mantis, looking at his other son and sister. "How are you both feeling?" he asked.
"I'm feeling good, Pop..." Kraglin grinned, before grinning at Mantis.
Mantis nodded. "I also am feeling... good?" She paused. "...Peter's feelings are hard to ignore, though. I find myself wanting to...cuddle..." she admitted, almost bashfully.
Kraglin chuckled. "I wouldn't be adverse to that...can we join you tonight, Pop?" He looked back at Drax. The three of them had been walking back to their quarters while talking, giving Yondu and Peter privacy.
Peter blinked as he found himself draped over Yondu's shoulder. His swim trunks were still lowered in back, so he really hoped the rest of his family wasn't watching, because while he wasn't bashful about his body, he really didn't want to moon his aunt. He didn't say anything, though. His daddy was in charge. If Yondu told him to streak through the entire family compound, he'd do it, so he wasn't gonna complain about being carried back to his room with his backside bared.
Drax nodded and smiled at them both. "Of course." He gave both a hug before saying, "Get changed and then meet me in my room."
Yondu walked with Peter back to his room, gently patting and lightly swatting his son's backside.
Kraglin and Mantis had quickly done as Drax told them to and disappeared into their rooms. By the time they had changed, Peter and Yondu were secured in Yondu's room. That didn't stop Krag from gently knocking on the door and softly calling through, "Night, Dad. Night, baby brother..." before continuing on to his Pop's room.
Mantis had joined Kraglin outside Yondu's room and didn't say anything but sent a wave of pure love and peace in their direction before following her nephew to meet up with Drax.
Drax changed quite quickly and sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for his oldest son and sister to join him.
Kraglin was the first to enter the room, stepping out of the way of the door so Mantis could enter. After she'd come in, he gently closed the door, then moved to sit on Drax's left side.
Mantis sat on Drax's right.
Drax wrapped an arm each around their shoulders. "This vacation has been good for all of us," he commented.
Mantis nodded. "I think we have all grown much closer to each other. And we are also closer to our cousins... It is nice to fit in more..."
Kraglin grinned. "Can't argue against that."
"I am happy that you both are happy," Drax said. "I do not want either of you to be unhappy or to feel left out."
"I do not feel left out." Mantis nodded. "...But I am tired. Sleep now?"
"Yes. We will sleep now," Drax agreed, waiting for them to get comfortable before he settled in place.
Mantis and Kraglin curled up against Drax and were soon fast asleep.
Peter had only held himself enough that it would be easier for Yondu to carry him, nearly completely relaxing otherwise. With each pat and swat, he'd exhaled a tiny little moan or whimper; not of pain, but of contentment.
Inside his room, Yondu picked up a towel so he could dry Peter off, sitting his boy on his lap while he did so.
Peter blinked at finding himself sitting on his father's lap. At some point between entering the room and Yondu grabbing the towel, his father had shucked the swim trunks completely off of him and left them draped on a nearby hook to dry out. He was sitting bare as the day he was born on his father's lap. He shifted slightly so he could put his head on Yondu's shoulder.
Yondu stroked Peter's hair and kissed his cheek as he continued to dry his son off, just as if Peter truly was a small child.
Peter whimpered softly, but then began to hum softly. He felt completely safe and happy and he was close to purring again. "...Must be somethin to what ya read. Feel a lot closer to you touching skin ta skin..." He blushed, even as he leaned more into Yondu. He couldn't exactly press as close to his father as he had been in the lake, sitting as he was, but he pressed as much of his chest against the older man as he could comfortably do so.
Yondu finished drying off his son and stroked Peter's hair. "Ya can sleep on my chest like that. I'll put some pants on, but it'll be cuddlin' exactly the same as th' time you was ill."
Peter smiled at his father's words, kissing Yondu on the cheek, before shifting so that Yondu could set him on his feet when he was ready to change. "...I'd like that, daddy..." he whispered.
It didn't take long for Yondu to get changed and then he drew Peter down to sprawl across him, wrapping his arms tightly around his boy, his hand resting on Peter's backside.
Peter didn't fall asleep quickly. It wasn't that he wasn't tired, or comfortable, or any number of other things. He was tired, he was very comfortable, he felt safer than he ever had before. It was that he also felt closer to his father than he ever had before, and he didn't want that feeling to end. Sprawled over Yondu, his head on his daddy's shoulder, Yondu's warmth seeping into his own body was so comfortable that Peter never wanted to move or sleep again. He just wanted to experience being close to his father. "I love you so much, daddy..." he whispered.
"I love ya, kid," Yondu whispered, kissing the top of his son's head. "And I got ya. I won't ever let ya go." He delivered a gentle swat to Peter's backside and then rubbed.
Peter shivered, adjusting himself enough that he was 'straddling' Yondu; a position that enabled him to press as much of himself against his father as possible, without making it difficult for either of them to breathe. If it put his bottom in a better position for Yondu to smack; well, he'd already admitted that he liked being handled.
Yondu continued to gently swat his son's bottom, his other arm wrapping securely around Peter to draw his son tighter to himself. "Yer mine, kid. And tha's fer always," he promised.
"...Yers forever'n'ever..." Peter agreed, in a tiny voice, noticeably relaxing once Yondu's grip tightened.
Yondu stroked the back of his boy's head and down over his back, holding Peter as tight and close as possible without hurting him.
"You can hold me really tight, daddy...I won't break..." Peter nuzzled against Yondu's chest. "...Like feeling you be in control. Feels safe...feels like I'm where I b'long..." he admitted quietly. "...Almost wish I could stay like this forever...never leave yer arms..."
"'Cause this is where ya do belong," Yondu murmured. "And even if ya can't stay in my arms fer always, yer'll always be welcome to cuddle when ya need or want ta." He tightened his arms even more around his son, after Peter's encouragement.
Peter let out a happy sigh. "...Then I'm gonna get in as many cuddles as possible now, while we're on vacation, so it can help me when I can't come to ya cuz I'm workin or somethin..." he said, with a hint of promise in his tone.
"It don't matter what yer doing, kid," Yondu promised. "Even when you go back, ya can come cuddle with me any time ya want ta."
"Okay, daddy..." Peter hugged his father. "...I love you. Thank you fer pulling me back to you. E..even if I was a lil embarrassed bout being handled like a little boy... a baby... it... it feels good knowin you learned all that stuff to help me. And... I like it... there bein no barriers... like that I can't hide nuthin from ya. It feels good..."
"I ain't gonna let there be barriers between us, kid," Yondu promised. "Not ever. And p'rhaps I am treating ya like a little boy. But that's cause ya are my little boy."
Peter grinned crookedly. "I'm not really all that little anymore, daddy."
"Don't matter how big ya get," Yondu promised. "Yer'll still be my little boy."
"It is... Scary... How good that makes me feel..." Peter settled back down, every inch of him plastered to Yondu.
Yondu kissed his head. "I love ya. No matter wha' happens," he promised.
Peter snuggled some more, relaxing in his father's arms. He'd known for a while that Yondu loved him and would do whatever he could to protect and take care of him... but this was the first time he'd felt like that had been true all along, even with knowing the reason why his father couldn't have shown his true feelings before. It eased something in him that he hadn't realized needed soothing. What little walls were left between the two of them (and there weren't many) melted as Peter just let himself go, relying on Yondu completely, leaving his entire being in his father's hands physically and emotionally. He finally fell asleep.
Stephen didn't stir again until nearly twenty-four hours after he'd woken and eaten for his brothers, but when he did, the difference was noticeable. His eyes were clear, he was able to focus without difficulty and he could sit up without help. He thought he might even be able to walk to the bathroom on his own without help, but he wasn't going to ask. He knew Mordo and Wong wouldn't allow it until they were certain he was able to do so without falling. "I... I need to go to the restroom..." he said, hesitantly, instead.
Wong reached over to help Stephen to stand, using that movement to check him over, so he could tell whether their brother was recovered or not.
Mordo also watched, but he was more direct as he asked, "How are you feeling?"
"I... I feel more like my normal self..." he said positively. "...Well. Like my normal self if I'd gone on a long hike. Still a bit tired, but nothing so bad that I'm in danger of falling asleep on my feet..." He gave a tiny smile. "I've not tried to do any magic, but I won't try that until you tell me I can..." he conceded. He knew he'd screwed up badly. He didn't want to compound any problems he might have caused by attempting things too soon. He paused. "I don't really remember much after you came in to help me with the portal, though...I know you've been taking care of me. I know we talked a bit. But I can't remember a thing of what I said or what was said to me..." He winced, giving both his brothers a sheepish look.
"We've been more concerned with making sure you eat and rest as much as you need to. I wouldn't recommend trying to cast for a little bit longer. Maybe another day or so." Wong guided Stephen through to the bathroom as he spoke.
Stephen nodded, quickly taking care of his needs, before letting Wong lead him back wherever he wanted him. They'd been taking care of him for what appeared to be days. There was little point in acting bashful or modest now. "...You know best..." he said softly, giving Wong a crooked, if sad smile. He wanted both Wong and Mordo to know he had no intentions of fighting them. At all. Over anything.
While Wong had taken Stephen to the bathroom, Mordo had gone to get their brother some food and brought it back as Wong returned with Stephen to the room. It was automatic now for Mordo to start feeding Stephen.
Stephen obediently began to eat, although he had a funny look on his face. Swallowing after his fourth bite, he quickly said, before Mordo could spoon another bite into his mouth, "You've done this before...I remember that now..." He looked at his brother, wondering if he'd remembered right, or if he'd actually just dreamt it.
Mordo nodded. "You woke up yesterday about this time. I fed you then too."
Wong sat down on the edge of the bed, his attention focused on Stephen as well...as if worried that their brother would have a relapse.
"I... I think I'm starting to remember a bit more. Everything's a bit fuzzy, cuz I was so tired, but I'm not tired anymore. I just have to... focus..." Stephen winced as he noted Wong's focus on him. "...I screwed up badly..." he finally said, looking toward the ground, not able to face either Mordo or Wong.
"I had a good reason for telling you not to use that book alone," Wong said quietly. "Opening a portal of that magnitude could have killed you straight away. As it was, you were lucky we heard when we did. You never would have been able to hold it open for long alone."
"I held it open for longer than I expected once I realized how much power I actually needed. I knew immediately I'd made a huge mistake disobeying you. I just didn't know how to fix it. Thank you for rescuing us..." Stephen's voice was faint, shame coating his words.
"It wasn't just yourself you put in danger," Mordo said softly. "Peter and Kraglin were there too. They went through the portal. It could have closed while they were in there. They could have been trapped inside."
"I know..." Stephen's voice caught in his throat and the fear he'd felt at realizing that they'd gone through the portal and he might not be able to keep it open washed over him anew. "...It was foolish and careless and horribly disobedient and... I have no excuse..." He swallowed hard, blinking his eyes rapidly to keep tears at bay.
Wong reached out and gently squeezed his shoulder. "We will deal with that disobedience and with you endangering yourself and other members of the family," he said. "But because this was such a serious action, the punishment is going to be more severe."
Stephen swallowed again, then nodded, giving both his brothers an ashamed, apologetically bleak smile. "I deserve it to be..." he admitted quietly.
Mordo gently squeezed Stephen's shoulder before encouraging him to eat until the rest of the food was gone. "Do you need to sleep a bit longer?" he asked gently.
"No, sir... I'm not tired at the moment. I might be after, but I couldn't sleep knowing I... knowing what I did and what I deserve and have coming for it..." Stephen whispered.
Wong and Mordo settled in place, Mordo pulling a chair over that he could sit on and Wong sitting on the edge of the bed. They'd already discussed the punishment while Stephen had been asleep and moved him over their combined knees.
Stephen closed his eyes tightly, pausing before putting his hands behind his back. If it was going to be severe, then he knew he'd need help keeping himself from reaching back to block. He'd probably also need the added comfort and security of having his hand held; though he'd not admit that out loud unless asked directly.
Wong took hold of Stephen's hands, while Mordo wrapped his arm around their brother's waist to hold him steady, leaving it to Wong to tug Stephen's pants and underwear down. After taking a tighter grip on him, they began to swat, going from the crest of his backside down to his thighs.
Stephen swallowed again, whimpering slightly as his brothers began to swat. It was impossible to predict where or when the swats would fall, as each of his brothers had their own pattern that they were following, and it wasn't the same as each other. He finally gave up trying and just squeezed Wong's hand in a desperate attempt not to begin crying immediately. It was difficult; his own guilt had him close to tears before they'd even started.
Wong squeezed Stephen's hands, but didn't speak until they were partway through the second circuit. "You were disrespectful and disobedient when you decided to cast one of the spells from the book after I'd told you it was too dangerous."
"Yessir... I was..." Stephen's voice was high pitched and tight, the strain of not crying clearly heard in his tone. "...Was... was very disrespectful... you deserved better from me... I'm sorry..." When he said he was sorry, he couldn't keep a tiny sob from escaping. His guilt from disrespecting his brother was almost as strong as the guilt he felt for nearly getting Peter and Kraglin killed or lost.
"I know, brother. And the next time you think about disobeying me, or Mordo, or someone else who has a good reason for telling you not to do something...you need to remember this. And how devastated we would be if something were to happen to you."
"Y...Yessir..." Stephen quickly agreed. If nothing else, he'd remember how horrible he felt for putting a wedge between his brother and himself. A wedge that he couldn't remove. "...I'm sorry..." he repeated, in a whisper.
The spanking continued for three circuits in total, finishing with a final flurry to Stephen's sit spots and thighs. Then Mordo wrapped his arm tighter around Stephen's waist, grasping his hands, as Wong began to remove his belt.
Stephen couldn't help the whimper that escaped as he felt Mordo tighten his grip and heard the belt sliding through the belt-loops. He couldn't help that it sounded entirely too scared, considering he trusted his brothers not to harm him and only cause him enough pain to teach him what he needed to learn; to punish him for his blatant disregard for them or for his own life. He closed his eyes even more tightly, grasping at Mordo desperately, afraid to be let go.
Mordo tightened his arms around Stephen, holding him close, but leaving enough room for Wong as their brother doubled the belt in his hand and brought it down across Stephen's backside, careful not to use too much force.
The gasp Stephen let out as the first stripe landed across his bottom was garbled from a combination of his attempts to not vocalize his pain and fear and the fact that, even if Wong wasn't using a lot of force, it was still landing on freshly spanked skin and hurt a lot more than he'd prepared himself for. Not that he'd had much time to prepare for a belting, but it was still more than he'd expected. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to keep the sounds in past that point. It truly did hurt; but on top of that, Stephen felt incredibly guilty about what he'd done to his family; to his brother. And he felt fear that he'd driven a wedge between he and Wong that even a belting wouldn't be able to fix. He began to moan and whimper softly in distress, trying his best not to make a sound or cry, but failing at both attempts.
Mordo wrapped his arms tighter around Stephen, shifting enough so that Wong could put his hand on their brother as well.
Wong rested his other hand on Stephen's lower back, bringing the belt down a second and third time, still keeping a careful control over his strength.
Feeling Wong touching his lower back eased some of Stephen's fear. He relaxed slightly, his whimpers and moans becoming less fearful and mostly just pained. If Wong was willing to touch him, then he hadn't completely broken their relationship. "...I'm sorry..." he repeated once again. His voice this time sounded almost like a lost child. "I'm so sorry, Wong... love you... love Mordo... don't w..want to be d..disrespectful. Don't want to l...lose you..." He took a shivering breath before letting out a tiny sob. "...Did...didn't w..want to p..push you 'way..." This time, the sob was anything but tiny as he finally lost his battle with his emotions and began to cry loudly, his body quivering with the effort it took to not try and wriggle away from the belt.
Wong didn't land the belt more than half a dozen times and then he dropped it, beginning to rub Stephen's back. "We've got you, brother. I love you. And I forgive you," he said gently.
"I do as well," Mordo added, stroking Stephen's hair.
Stephen had been able to hold himself together, mostly, through the belting, even if he was sobbing. When Wong stopped striping his backside and began to rub his back- show him affection and tell him he loved him- it was impossible to keep holding everything inside. He went limp over his brothers' knees and just sobbed out his pain, fear and shame. He didn't hold anything back, letting his brothers see how affected he'd been and still was. "...Sorry..." he kept repeating, in the same lost voice.
Mordo and Wong didn't waste any time in drawing Stephen up into their arms, so they could cuddle him close on their laps, stroking his hair and back as they held on, murmuring reassurances of love and forgiveness.
"...Sorry..." Stephen repeated again, as he snuggled close to Wong, hiding his face against the other man's chest with his head under Wong's chin. He clutched the front of Mordo's shirt tightly with one hand, as if afraid his other brother would leave. "...So..sorry was bad... knew better... knew better and did anyway... love you and so so sorry..." He shifted and let out a pained whimper. Any movement at all was painful, but he'd shifted onto one of the welts left from the belt. He didn't think he'd ever be able to sit right again; but it was only what he deserved. He deserved worse for being so obstinate and almost killing his family and for disrespecting his brothers.
Mordo was already close to Stephen, but he moved that much closer, wrapping his arms around their brother from the other side. "We love you, brother. You're forgiven," he whispered. "You don't need to feel guilty anymore."
Wong gently stroked Stephen's hair. "I know you will be more careful in future." He tightened his arms.
"I... I can't stop feelin guilty..." Stephen spoke through tears. "...Was so wrong of me... feel so bad..." He clutched onto both his brothers desperately.
Mordo and Wong exchanged a glance and then Mordo ran his fingers gently through Stephen's hair. "I'll be right back," he whispered, before getting up and walking over to the supplies, taking out some ointment. Settling back down on the bed, he helped Stephen to lay back across Wong's knees, so they could rub some of the ointment in.
Stephen shivered and blindly reached back again, afraid not to be holding onto his brothers, although what he was afraid of, he couldn't have put voice to, even to himself. He was completely rattled, still scared, bordering on terrified, and didn't know what to do to calm down so that he could actually think rationally. He let out a helpless, whimpering sob as he tried to find at least one of his brothers' hands. Being over Wong's lap again? Didn't bother him at all.
Wong quickly grasped Stephen's hand, squeezing it gently. Mordo did the same with their brother's other hand, even as they continued to rub the ointment in, soothing the heat and sting.
Stephen's sobs began to ebb into quiet crying as the ointment took effect, but it was his brothers' gentle affection and care that calmed him and brought him back from his terror. Taking a shaky breath, he finally asked, a lot of confusion in his voice, "...Why are you helping make it feel better? I deserve to hurt, don't I?" It was an honest question, with no sarcasm or belligerence in the tone at all. In fact, he sounded like a lost little boy again, he'd broken down and submitted so completely.
"You deserved to be punished, brother," Wong answered. "But not harmed. It was a lesson you needed to learn and consequences you needed to suffer, but you don't need to suffer that any longer."
"I don't?" Stephen sniffled again and squeezed both his brothers' hands. "...Sorry... jus... just thought I deserved worse..."
"No, brother." Mordo squeezed his hand too. "You already knew what you did wrong. You don't need to suffer anymore."
"S...so you're taking care of me again. L...like you did the last several days..." Stephen sniffled again. He was sounding much more calm by this point and his death grip on his brothers' hands had loosened enough that it wasn't painful at least. "...Th..thank you..." he whispered, before taking a slow, deep, breath. He waited a few seconds before saying, in a tiny voice, "...I'm tired again..."
"That's not a surprise." Wong stroked the back of his head. "You strained yourself too much. You'll find yourself getting tired more quickly for a while."
Mordo carefully pulled Stephen's clothing back into place. "We will both sit with you while you sleep," he promised.
Stephen took a shivering breath, letting himself be pulled upright. As soon as he was, however, he latched onto Wong and burrowed against him like a frightened bunny. He reached out and grabbed Mordo's shirt, tugging him close again. "Go bed now?" He didn't know if he was asking permission, or if he was asking if they wanted him to. He supposed it didn't really matter. He was already half asleep on Wong and well on his way to full sleep.
Mordo and Wong both wrapped their arms tightly around him, settling him comfortably between them.
"Sleep," Wong agreed. "We'll keep watch over you."
Stephen woke again approximately one hour later. The first thing he noticed was his brothers still held him protectively between them. The second he noticed was by accident, because he'd shifted the wrong direction. He couldn't stop the tiny whine of distressed pain when he landed on one of the stripes. He immediately bit his lip to stifle the sound. He'd deserved what he got. He wasn't going to burden his brothers with his pain unless ordered.
Wong rested his hand on Stephen's shoulder. "How are you feeling?" he asked softly.
Mordo gently squeezed Stephen's other shoulder.
Stephen looked up with a tiny, wincing smile. "You think anyone would be offended if I wore a loin cloth to dinner?" he teased faintly, in a round about way of admitting his bottom hurt. He may not want to draw their attention to it, but he wasn't going to lie either. "Other than that..." He paused. "...I feel safe. Loved. Like everything is right again... I didn't think I'd feel right for a long time."
"Maybe you could wear pajamas," Mordo suggested.
"Everything is all right again between us," Wong promised. "You're forgiven and loved. You don't have to feel guilty anymore."
Stephen nodded at Wong's words, relaxing visibly into his brother, snuggling close. "Thank you... I... I've gotten so used to being your brother... both of yours... He smiled crookedly at Wong. "I don't think I could handle if I'd destroyed that and we weren't right..." he said softly. "...And pajamas might be a good idea..." he said in an aside, by way of answering Mordo's suggestion. "...Unless you allow me to float in the lake for a little while, I don't think I'll have the energy to do much more than eat and come back to bed anyway. I'm feeling a lot better, but I'm still tired." He sighed. "How long do you think that will last?" he whispered, craning his head to look up at Wong from his position of cuddling like a baby against his brother.
"You couldn't destroy it," Wong answered reassuringly. "Our relationship is too strong for that to happen."
"It'll depend on a few factors as to how fast you regain your strength," Mordo put in. "But the most important thing is to rest as much as you need to."
Stephen nodded. "I'm tired of being in bed. But I'm too tired to do much else." He sighed. "I brought it on myself, though..." He bit his lip and looked toward Mordo, since it was easier than continually craning his neck to look up at Wong's face. He'd be obeying both his brothers anyway and even if it was Wong he'd disobeyed this time, he'd scared Mordo just as badly. "Am I allowed to float in the lake?" he asked hesitantly. He had no doubt if he was allowed, it would only be with the caveat that someone else was there as well, in case he had difficulty (such as falling asleep in the water).
Mordo nodded. "It won't be a problem, provided you don't go in alone. One of us will need to be with you."
Stephen nodded. "I think I'll prefer that anyway..." he admitted. Having been so worried he'd broken his bond to his brothers, he didn't want to leave their side any time soon.
"When would you like to float in the lake?" Wong asked.
"After dinner? I don't know what time it is now...if you do not want me helping with clean-up, I will rest here until it is time to eat. I... if you'll allow, I'd like to join everyone else in the dining area..." Stephen looked between his brothers uncertainly. "...I'll even sit on your lap and let you feed me without even one complaint!" he promised earnestly. Mordo may have been feeding him, but Stephen had managed to get in at least one grumble each time it was done, to let it be known he thought he was able to feed himself.
"If you feel up to it, we can go through to the dining room and I'll feed you," Mordo said. "Perhaps everyone else will join us to go in the water."
"Yessir! Please?" Stephen bit his lip and smiled hopefully. "...I feel good right now..."
Mordo smiled at Stephen and then stood, offering their brother his hand to help Stephen up.
Wong stood as well, reaching to wrap his arm around Stephen's shoulders so they could all go through to the dining room together.
Stephen went quietly, leaning on his brothers as they reached the dining room. He couldn't help but smile at Mantis' glee when she saw him.
"You are awake!" she burbled happily.
"I am. And I'm actually staying to eat with you as well..." He grinned.
Peter gave him a solemn look. "I'm glad you are doing okay now. I... I'm sorry I had any part in what made you go unconscious..." he said quietly. He wasn't taking blame exactly, but Stephen could tell he felt guilty about his part in the whole mess.
"I'm sorry I almost got you stuck in another dimension..." he said, just as quietly, looking into Peter's face with the same considering look that Quill was using on him. When Peter suddenly grinned and nodded, he did the same. Apparently, all was forgiven between them now. He glanced at Krag. "I apologize to you as well..." he said.
Krag smiled immediately. "Nuthin to apologize for. I didn't have to go through the portal."
Stephen snorted faintly. "Well...I'm still sorry..." He waited for Mordo and Wong to sit, not sure which one of them would be feeding him, even if he suspected it would be Mordo.
Wong sat down and Mordo sat next to him, drawing Stephen down to sit on his lap and beginning to feed him automatically. "I believe we will be taking a swim after the meal, if anyone would like to join us," he commented.
Stephen blushed, but good to his word, he didn't complain once when Mordo started feeding him like a child.
Peter, noticing Stephen blushing, but also noticing him not complaining, deduced that Stephen must have agreed to not complaining as a condition of him staying with the group. But it was obvious the doctor felt a little embarrassed about being treated so childishly. Wrinkling his nose and narrowing his eyes, Peter slanted his head and then, without a word, stood, moved his plate so that it was close to Yondu's and wriggled his way onto his father's lap before giving Yondu a grin that would have made the older man's hair stand on end with all the mischief it promised; had Yondu not already 'tamed' Peter enough for the week that he could be fairly certain Peter wouldn't act up.
Seeing the look on Peter's face, Yondu wrapped his arm around his son's waist and drew Peter closer onto his lap, beginning to feed his son. His other hand stroked and petted over his boy's head and back.
Stephen, noticing what Peter had just done, raised an eyebrow in amusement. It had the desired effect, though. Stephen relaxed and turned his normal color. Peter was right. There was no reason to be embarrassed at his family caring for him. He smiled at Mordo before opening his mouth for the next bite.
For his part, Peter continued to grin at his fathers as he was fed. "Could get used to this..." he teased. "...Feel like a prince!"
Drax reached out and squeezed Peter's shoulder. "I am certain we can continue to give you this kind of attention even when we return home," he commented.
Peter perked up at that, to Stephen's amusement. "Really? That'd be sooo cool!" he said, before slanting his head. "...Gamora prolly wouldn't be terribly impressed, though..." Peter sighed.
"Maybe she'll see tha' it's something ya need?" Yondu suggested, stroking Peter's hair.
"Maybe...still not sure she'd understand it. Took me forever to get her to lemme hug her..." Peter snorted, then began to cough because he'd been talking with his mouth full and the snort made him inhale mashed potato.
Yondu immediately began rubbing his back, while Drax picked up Peter's cup of water so he could take small sips.
Peter finally was able to stop coughing and took sips of the water before looking sheepishly at his fathers. "Thanks..." he said quietly. "...Momma always told me not to talk with my mouth full..." He scratched his ear and turned pink.
"Good advice, kid." Yondu stroked the back of his head.
"Yeah. Momma was right smart. I shoulda paid a lot more attention than I did..." Peter sounded slightly sad, but it was an old sadness. More of a fond remembrance.
Yondu tightened his embrace around Peter, unable to help but respond to even that slight hint of sadness. "Maybe other things'll come back ta ya," he suggested.
"I hope so..." Peter whispered, leaning against Yondu. "...I never wanted to forget her, but sometimes..." He shrugged. "...The music helps me keep some things. I remember her dancing round the livin room to it. But other than that..." He blinked and looked around at the suddenly sober group. "Sorry. Didn' mean to bring everyone down."
"You miss her." Drax squeezed his shoulder gently. "That's understandable. You did not bring us down, son. We just feel what you do."
Peter smiled faintly, reaching a hand up and covering Drax's hand with it. "Thanks Pops..." he said.
Stephen cleared his throat, looking down at his empty plate. "Will we all be going to the lake, then?"
Kraglin stood and began gathering empty plates so that he could wash them. "I think we will. If ya wants to go get changed." He figured Stephen likely needed a bit more time to change, since he was moving slowly.
Wong nodded. "We will meet you by the lake," he said.
Yondu gently squeezed Peter's waist. "I'll get ya changed, kid," he murmured.
Stephen stood and leaned on his brothers as they head back to their quarters to change.
"Okay, Daddy," Peter said softly. He wasn't quite ready to go back to doing things for himself, being Yondu's little boy too comforting.
While the others went to their own rooms to change, Yondu led Peter to his and began to get his son changed, periodically stroking his cheek or kissing the top of his head.
By the time Peter was in his swim shorts, all the affection had him squirming. It was all he could do not to jump up and wrap his arms and legs around Yondu like an octopus again. "Love you, Daddy..." he said quietly, while waiting for Yondu to change.
"I love you too, kid." Yondu was quick to change and then he wrapped his arm around Peter's lower back, giving a couple of pats to his backside as he guided him to the door.
Peter grinned and shifted closer to Yondu, before letting himself be led out.
Stephen hadn't taken long to get ready, despite moving slowly, so he and his brothers were right behind the father/son pair, watching them interacting.
Yondu still had his arm wrapped around Peter's shoulder, hugging his son tight against his side as they made their way to the lake.
Peter, seeing Krag in the water already (how did he move so quick?), stepped away from Yondu. Giving his father a mischievous look, he screamed, "Cannonball!" at the top of his lungs, then ran full pelt toward Krag, jumping in such a way as to provide maximum splashage.
Kraglin hadn't been expecting it and yelled in a high-pitched voice, causing Peter to start laughing.
Stephen couldn't help but laugh, but he did give Kraglin an apologetic wave when the other man gave him an offended pout.
Yondu quickly headed into the water after his sons, as Drax swam over to them. "Cannonball?" Drax repeated, unsure of how it related to swimming. "You do not have a cannon attached to you."
Mordo and Wong carefully watched Stephen, to make sure he could get into the water without difficulty.
Stephen was moving slowly but steadily into the water. Noting that Peter was still laughing, even as he attempted to escape Krag's 'vengeance', he answered Drax. "Back a few hundred years ago, when Terrans sailed on the seas more freely, the way the ships would fight each other was by shooting cannonballs at each other. When the cannonball missed, it would land in the water with a huge splash...Peter was referring to himself as the cannonball."
"Ah." Drax nodded, watching his sons, his head tilted to one side.
"This is usual behaviour fer him. It's good ta see Peter havin' fun," Yondu commented.
Wong and Mordo swam close to their brother, though they kept out of the way of the water being splashed around.
"I'll show you cannonball!" Kraglin was mock chiding Peter as he dunked the younger man.
Peter came up spluttering. "Hey! No fair! I didn't dunk you!" he protested. It was a pointless protest, though, since he was still laughing.
Stephen chuckled and moved closer to his brothers, not wanting to be dunked accidently.
Yondu chuckled and squeezed both of his sons' shoulders. "Good ta see ya playing, but pr'haps be a bit calmer?" he suggested, aware that Stephen wasn't fully recovered yet.
"Sorry, Dad..." Kraglin said, at the same time as Peter said, "Sorry, daddy..."
Mantis shifted closer to Stephen. "I find floating very relaxing..." she said enigmatically.
Stephen's eyebrows went up at that, but he smiled. "Perhaps you're right," he said. He moved closer to his brothers, trusting that they would watch his back while he was vulnerable, then leaned back and closed his eyes, beginning to float.
Yondu gave both his sons a tight hug and then suggested, with a smile, "Why don't we move a bit further out and the two of you can have a race?" he suggested, figuring that they could move enough out of the way to allow Stephen and Mantis to float.
Wong moved a bit closer to Stephen on one side, while Mordo settled at the other side of their brother, both keeping watch over him.
"Sure!" Kraglin immediately moved further out, Peter following. They nabbed Drax on their way by him.
Soon, Peter and Krag were racing back and forth between their fathers. They were pretty much equal in who was winning.
Mantis stayed close to Stephen, not wanting to be quite so active.
Mordo and Wong also stayed close to their brother, making sure he stayed safe and that he wasn't in any distress.
Drax and Yondu were also watching their sons, making sure the play stayed safe.
Stephen floated lazily, only stirring slightly when he gently bumped into Wong.
The worry and stress of the week began to wash away into the water.