“Are you freaking kidding me?” Peter, aka Star Lord, which was finally beginning to catch on now that he and the other ‘guardians’ had saved the galaxy, shouted. They were back on Xandar following a lead on a man who was apparently building illegal weapons that, according to Nova Prime were powerful enough to destroy entire moons (Although Peter recalled Rocket creating one of those but really, who was keeping track?)
He had finally pinpointed the location of one of the men and was chasing him through the streets when another one of his goons came out from around a corner, holding a rather large gun in his arms that was pointed straight at the ex-outlaw’s chest. His eyes widened as he skidded to a stop, watching helplessly as the other man kept running flashing him his middle finger as he disappeared around the corner.
Peter couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the man’s antics, not that it was below him to do the same, in fact, he had flipped of his pursuers many times while in the Ravanger business, but now that he was the one chasing down the criminals, he saw just how childish it actually was in this type of situation.
His attention was brought back to the second man when he heard the all too familiar click of the large gun as it was loaded and by the strange whirring sound that was now being generated, charged as well, making Peter wonder exactly what type of gun was being aimed at him. He put his arms up, letting the smaller gun in his own hands drop with a loud clang. Unfortunately, the man had no intentions of backing down, and instead rose the large weapon to his eye, aiming it directly at the now worried Peter.
“Oh come on.” Peter whined to himself, closing his eyes and bracing himself for the impact. This was going to hurt.
He winced as he heard the gun take fire, sending a massive blast right at… the wall to the left of him. Peter’s eyes flung open. The blast had torn a large smoldering hole in the brick wall. Peter gulped, holding a hand to his chest, just glad that it had missed him entirely. It was strange though, seeing as though the man had obviously had a locked target on him and yet the blast had missed.
He turned back to the shooter in question, ready to chase him on the getaway, but it seemed as though somebody was already taking care of him. A very small and merciless somebody. “Rocket!” He shouted. The raccoon had the large gun already shattered on the ground and was in the process of tackling the large struggling man, which Peter thought looked hilarious with the major size difference.
Rocket gave Peter a slight nod and smirked to which Peter rolled his eyes to. “Hey Quill, thought you could use some help.” He said snarkily. “Or did you have this under control?” he stood up and brushed his paw-like hands together, the attacker lying unconsciously on the ground behind him.
Peter waved his friend off, picking his own Taser gun off of the ground. “Please, I had this totally under control.” He retorted, although they both knew he was lying.
“Uh huh, sure, that whole quivering in fear thing was working real well.” Rocket murmured, walking over to the discarded weapon and pulling at a few loose wires.
“It was! It was a distraction tactic… and I was not ‘quivering.’” Rocket only shook his head, pulling at another wire. Peter leaned over, cocking his head at the sight. Sure he had his fair share of knowledge when it came to using weapons, but when mechanics were involved it seemed that the whole team of guardians took a step back to allow Rocket his space. “What is that?” He asked, curiosity finally getting the best of him.
Rocket didn’t look up. “Well it’s obviously a gun.” He said. Peter crossed his arms, ignoring the sarcasm.
“I mean what was it meant for? If he only wanted to get me out of the way the gun didn’t have to be that big or high tech.” He explained, watching as the curious raccoon pulled at another wire, this time dislodging it from its secure position.
He eyed the copper fibers before finally looking up to meet Peter’s gaze. It took all of the man’s power not to immediately crouch down. He knew how much Rocket hated being treated as an animal, and somehow acknowledging the rather large height difference between the two annoyed him to no end. Peter had learned that the hard way when he had been trying to calm his colleague down on the ship one day and ended up with a black eye the next.
“It’s wiring is more complicated than any gun I’ve ever seen but it definitely isn’t powerful enough to take out an entire moon.” He said as-a-matter-of-factly. “Let’s get it back to the ship, I can get a better look at it there.” He said, attempting to gather the massive weapon in his small arms.
“Here.” Peter offered, grabbing the gun from Rocket, ignoring the glare that the raccoon shot back at him, although he didn’t really put up much of a fight, knowing that he wouldn’t have been able to carry the jumbled thing anyhow.
Peter turned around, heading back up the alleyway that he had chased the first man into. He frowned at the thought of having lost his lead to the base that these so called terrorists were building their weapons at. But at least they did have one of their guns as evidence, or whatever Rocket was planning on doing with it. Peter prayed that the small techno-genius wouldn’t try to construct another bomb out of the materials, one explosion was enough for one lifetime, he was just glad that the ship hadn’t been permanently damaged by Rocket’s stray grenade.
He was about to ask the raccoon exactly what he was planning on doing with the apprehended weapon when a sudden high pitched yelp caught his attention.
Peter whirled around to find that his smaller colleague hadn’t been following him, in fact, he was still next to the unconscious man, well at least he used to be unconscious. He was standing upright now, something small and furry in his meaty hands. “Rocket!” Peter yelled in alarm, turning on his heel and sprinting back to the scene at hand, dropping the heap of metal and wires in the process.
The man had the raccoon in a grip around the ring-tail’s small neck and was saying something to him in a voice too quiet for Peter to understand, or maybe the rapid beating of his heart sounding in his ears was just too loud to hear over.
Rocket squirmed wildly in the man’s grasp, raising his legs up to kick the beefy arm and his clawed hands to try and pry off the hands clasped around him. The attacker’s hand was covered in countless scrapes and was beginning to drip blood, but he made no motion to let go of the creature anytime soon.
“Hey!” Peter cried, finally grasping the crazed man’s attention. Rocket turned his head as much as he could, his eyes wide and pleading. Peter’s teeth were clenched tightly and pure adrenaline was coursing through his veins as a wave of anger and panic come over him. He didn’t even realize he had pulled out his Taser gun until the large man let out a cry of pain as the electricity coursed through his body.
Rocket was dropped instantly in a heap on the ground and Peter let out a sigh of relief when he heard the ring-tail take a gaping breath. He didn’t take his eyes off of the attacker though, keeping his finger on the trigger of his gun and using his other hand to turn up the settings.
“Nothing can save you rat!” the man shouted, not even giving Peter a glance as he stumbled forward again. The older guardian glared at the man furiously when he saw Rocket flinch out of the corner of his eye. “I found ya once and I can find ya again freak!” The man laughed as Peter pulled the trigger again. The man collapsed on the ground, taking raspy breaths. “You’re dea-“ He never managed to finish his sentence as Peter pulled the trigger again, watching as the crazed attacker writhed in pain before finally passing out.
Peter glared angrily at the man, kicking him in the side to assure his unconsciousness before Tasing him again.
A quiet whimper brought Peter out of his rage. And his attention was instantly brought back to Rocket. Whirling around he ran to his friend’s side, horrified at what he saw. Rocket was hunched over on his knees, curled up in on himself, his arms hugging each other so tightly that the claws were drawing blood that seeped through his course fur that was now standing on end.
But what had Peter worried the most was how violently his friend was shaking. He had never seen Rocket so vulnerable before. Sure he had cried when Groot had ‘died’ but that was something else entirely, he had lost someone, most likely his only friend before meeting the other guardians of the galaxy and by far the closest to him. But this, this was horrifying, seeing the usually proud, gun-happy Rocket reduced to a shaking ball of fur in an alleyway. He didn’t know what to do, let alone what had gotten him so worked up in the first place. He had been attacked before in far worse situations, so why was this so different?
Nevertheless, peter kneeled down by his friend, holding a tentative hand over Rocket’s quivering body before finally bringing it down on his small shoulder. Rocket reacted instantly, his head shooting up. Peter had expected the raccoon to slap his hand away, he had never been one for physical contact, but what he hadn’t been expecting was for the panicking creature to lash out his claws, scraping three long cuts down Quill’s wrist.
“Ow!” He shouted instinctively, pulling his arm back. “Rocket what the hell!” He pressed a hand to his wound, it really stung. But Rocket didn’t respond, in fact, he was no longer next to Quill’s side but pressed up against the wall. “Rocket?” He asked warily. The raccoon refused to calm down, his chest heaving as he practically gasped for air.
Peter felt guilty instantly for yelling at Rocket, it had only made the ring-tail’s condition worse. Upon closer inspection Peter noticed that Rocket’s gaze wasn’t even focused on anything at this point, let alone him, in fact, Rocket’s gaze was flickering to everything but Peter as though searching for an escape, as though he didn’t even see Peter there in front of him.
“Hey.” Peter said, making sure to use a quieter tone this time. He waved his hands in front of Rocket, trying to get the raccoon’s attention, but to no avail, Rocket seemed as though he were in an entirely different reality, his eyes glazed over and… was he crying?
“Rocket, come on, come back to me buddy.” Peter pleaded, grasping Rocket’s small shoulders, making sure not to get himself scratched again. Rocket let out a panicked yelp before finally meeting Peter’s eyes. He blinked a couple times, clearing away the dazed look. His breathing began to calm instantly as Rocket glanced around in a confused haste.
“Quill?” he asked, furrowing his brow upon seeing the man’s hands around him. He wriggled out of Peter’s grasp instantly. “What the hell man? What are you doing?” He said defensively.
Peter let out a sigh of relief upon seeing that his swearing and defensive Rocket was back. “You don’t remember?” He asked, standing back up to full height upon seeing Rocket’s death glare, ignoring the raccoon as he flinched back a bit.
“Of course I remember you dolt! I just got strangled by a freakin gorilla!” Rocket retorted, crossing his arms furiously. “Now are we gonna get this thing back to the ship or not?” he asked, gesturing to the mangled and recently discarded gun.
Peter frowned at the sudden subject change. “Rocket.” He said, not moving from his position. The raccoon made no move to turn around, still acting as though nothing had just happened. “Rocket.” He said again, this time much more sternly. This time he saw Rocket stiffen.
“What do you want?” He practically snarled.
Peter made his way over to Rocket so that he was standing in front of him again and not staring at his back. “I want to know what just happened back there.” He demanded.
“Really, because that didn’t look like ‘nothing’ to me.” Peter retorted.
Rocket didn’t answer, in fact, he wasn’t even looking at him and instead was prodding the weapon’s wires again. Peter let out an exasperated breath and bent down to pick up the broken gun, knowing he wasn’t about to get an answer any time soon. He slung the mess of wires and metal over one shoulder and made his way back down the alleyway Rocket padding behind him, neither one saying a word until they finally reached the main road again.
Peter made to turn the corner again when something caught his pant leg. He turned around to see Rocket, his hand latched to his jeans and a look on his face that peter hadn’t seen on him before, embarrassment. He watched as Rocket unclasped his hand from his pant leg and peered back around the corner to the alley they were just in with a worried glance. “What are we going to do about that guy back there?” He asked almost tentatively, not once looking up to meet Peter’s gaze.
“I’ve already alerted the Nova Core.” Peter assured him, gesturing to a few blue clad men that were already making their way over towards them. He thrust his thumb back towards the alley and the two men nodded in confirmation.
Once they were alone again, Peter turned back toward the raccoon. “Rocket.” His head shot up instantly. “What did that guy say to you?” He asked. He knew it couldn’t have been the attack in itself that had scared Rocket so badly seeing as he had seen the small warrior go through far worse.
Peter’s hopes of knowing died instantly as Rocket defensive side took over. “Hell if I know, Quill. I was being strangled by a mad man, it’s kind of hard to understand what anyone’s sayin when you can’t breathe.” Peter frowned and sighed in defeat. “Listen, Quill, thanks, for getting me out of there, but really, I was just tryin to catch my breath, nothing happened.” He said, taking the lead in front of peter and making his way toward the Milano, Peter in tow.
Upon arrival back at the ship, Rocket disappeared almost instantly into his and Groot’s own bunker. “What was that about?” Gamora asked in confusion, taking the battered gun from Peter.
“Nothing, he’s fine.” Peter answered, although his gut was churning with guilt. Rocket was most definitely not fine. And whether he wanted him to or not, Peter was going to fix it.here ...