I’ve had this little snippet of a GOTG fic in my head for ages now, but I don’t know what to do with it. Originally it was gonna be the opening for a missing-moment type fic provisionally almost titled “Wait, What Happened To Yondu Inbetween Him Waving Goodbye To Rocket And Picking Up Peter, Oh God I Bet Ego Was Physically And Mentally Beating The Shit Out Of Him Wasn’t He.” But I don’t know if that will see the light of day for a while. I really hope it does though:
The snow was falling so thick and heavily that it had cast the whole world in a sort of white resin. Contraxia was like that: it was bleak, and it was dangerous.
Two figures, a man and a boy, were making their way upwards through the blizzard. One of them was struggling, but the other one didn’t stop to help him. In fact, he walked faster.
Eventually, they reached their destination. It was a tree, once green and lush and now withered and dying and covered in snow.
“S’the last living tree on Contraxia,” said Yondu, “fer now.”
“So?” said Peter. The long walk in the cold had frozen his body, but it hadn’t killed his spirit.
“Hey! Don’t give me sass, boy. You wanna be a Ravager, you learn our traditions! Y’hear? This’s the only bitta real life left on this planet from before the Kree invaded and enslaved its people and killed the rest. You pay it yer damn respects!”
Peter had no idea how to pay respects to a tree, or what Yondu would even qualify as “respect”. He eventually settled for a slight nod and a slumped position.
“Some of ‘em were my people,” Yondu said. He wasn’t actually paying all that much attention to Peter’s posture. “The ones who said hell no, you ain’t getting our kids, and died or got taken anyway. Thass where parenty affection gets ya, kid. A slave collar.”
Something uncomfortable was making its way into Peter’s brain, and he didn’t want to say it. But ultimately he figured he had nothing to lose. For all he knew he could die of the cold halfway down the mountain.
“That’s me then, right? You gonna slap a collar on me?”
Yondu’s face changed completely. It was like his whole being temporarily just collapsed in on itself.
“You think you a slave, boy?”
When Peter had been a child he had had nightmares about monsters with red eyes watching him from the shadows. It was those fearful things he thought of as Yondu grabbed his shoulders and glared at him.
“Thass what you think?” the man yelled.
What Peter wanted to say was, well you’re clearly not my parent, and there’s precious few other damn options for this relationship. But he didn’t say that. He was nine years old and his mother was dead. “No,” he whispered. “I just – I just wondered.”
“You wonder some fucking stupid things, boy!”
Yondu let go of him and turned his back on the tree. He started walking away.
“All that work you do on the ship? You get paid at the end of the month same’as everyone else,” he said, his voice a snarl. “Hell, I told you that when you came aboard, but I guess you were too busy cryin’ like a whelp to realise.” A pause. “And you free to leave anytime you like. You remember that. Ain’t you lucky?”
A few seconds later he was just a shadow in the snow. A few seconds after that, Peter followed him.
The last living tree on Contraxia lasted a few more years, and then it died and sank into the mountain.