Wakanda - Thor's POV
Thanos did it. Thanos actually won. He got all of the Infinity Stones and snapped his fingers. Half of all life in the universe is being wiped out.
"No, this can't be happening". Thor garbs Stormbreaker as he looks around in horror. Dust flew around to the ground. Fellow Avengers and Wakandans were disappearing left and right. All because of he aimed for Thanos' chest instead of his head or even his hand. He had the chance to stop him, but he didn't. For him, it was all his fault. He didn't know what happened on Titan.
He runs around and sees Rocket and Groot on a log. Rocket begins to turn into dust, before he can assure Groot that it's okay. "I am Groot". Groot couldn't believe it. "No, no, no, no." Those were Rocket's final words to his son-like figure. Groot sobs, still lying and wounded against the log.
The remaning Avengers - Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanov, James "Rhodey" Rhodes, and Bruce Banner - gather around the log. Vision's grey body still lies dead. Steve sits down.
"What is this? What the hell is happening?" Rhodey asks.
Steve is catching his breath. "Oh God".
All of them are speechless. They lost.
Titan - Quill's POV
"Oh man". Peter Quill just saw Drax and Mantis vanish into dust. Tony Stark, Peter Parker, Doctor Strange, and Nebula saw what had happened. Quill quickly realises, to his horror. "He did it. He won. He got all the Stones. It's happening."
They all turn to Strange, who's lying against a rock. He appears unsurprised, but clearly still shocked. Nebula looked sternly, "You knew this would happen. You saw the future. This had to happen..."
"If I told you...we won't win...there was no other way." Strange replied before he turned to dust.
"Mr. Stark? I don't feel so good", Parker limps towards Stark. Not the kid too.
"I don't know what's happening."
Parker falls into Stark's arms, breaking him into tears. They knew what was going to happen.
"I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go, Stark, please. I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go." He sobs.
Parker finally falls onto the ground. He lets out one final whisper, "I'm sorry." He vanishes much to Stark's horror.
Quill and Nebula approach the distraught Stark. "He did it", whisered Nebula. She didn't want any of this.
All three of them lay down, clueless and in shock, on the grounds of Titan. Quill now wished he hadn't screwed things up on Titan. They had the chance to stop him. But he had to let his emotions get the better of him, when he realised Gamora was dead. The love of his life, the sister of Nebula, the strongest of the Guardians of the Galaxy. She was killed by him, so he could get the Soul Stone.
Quill mutters, "If we couldn't stop him, the heroes on Earth coudn't do it either." Those words depressed Stark even further.
Silence looms over the three on Titan. "What now?", asked Quill.
Just a short prologue is all I have for today. Will update with new chapters once I've got them planned out and done in advance, as well as explain the changes I made.
Also, please tell me if "get the better of him" is the right phrase.
Chapter 2: Return to Earth
Quill, Stark, and Nebula arrive on Earth with the help of the super-powered woman known as Captain Marvel. However, all is not well at the Avengers Compound, especially for Thor.
This plays out mostly the same way as the movie, only without Rocket and with Quill and his and Nebula's reunion with Groot.
And for the ThorQuill shippers, a moment of shared empathy. We're far from romantic territory though.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It had only been several days since Quill, Stark and Nebula were on Titan. All those days were spent on the Guardians' ship, the Milano, so they can repair it and make it to Earth to hopefully reunite with the Avengers that are left. Luckily for them, the space warrior who was known as Carol Danvers, or her superhero name "Captain Marvel" was there to take them and their ship. None of them knew who she was, but they trusted her - she was a glowing strong super-powered woman in deep space. There were no other options. For Quill, it meant much less time listening to Stark's hour-long games and lectures on modern-day Earth and its strange culture. Yes, they were all saddened by their loss. Yes, he was the only other human Quill had interacted with in a while. Yes, they needed to pass the time when they weren't tiring themselves, driving and repairing the ship. But still, Stark's games and the awkward conversations they did have only proved to be mildly successful in passing the time. At least, Nebula learnt a few useless things about games and entertainment. Honestly, Quill would rather hang out with the intimidating but unassuming Thor than the pretentious smart-ass and self-proclaimed Iron Man. Then again, they were all tired and unwell.
When the ship arrived on Earth, Quill and Stark could agree that this was not the Earth that they wanted to come back to. It was dark, even for night time. Barely any traffic. Barely any lights from houses and skyscrapers. Barely any sound to suggest that a population exists anymore. This was not how Quill imagined returning home to Earth would have been. However, they were relieved when Carol landed the ship at the Avengers Compound. Even if there were only half of the Avengers, it was a relief to see light emanating from inside the Compound. Steve, Natasha, Bruce and Rhodey were outside, along with Pepper Potts and the still teenage Groot. As Steve and Pepper helped Stark, both Quill and Nebula sat on the Milano's steps. Groot joined them - they sat in silence in honour of the other Guardians. Half of their family was gone.
They all went inside the Compound, where Thor had been all this time. Thor was sitting alone at the bench in the Compound's indoor garden, clearly depressed and angry over what he did (or more appropriately, what he didn't do). It was weird for Quill, seeing the Norse god of Thunder in casual clothing. Not that Quill thought he didn't look good or intimidating. in a time of despair (and grief over Gamora's loss), this was not the appropriate time to be admiring someone's looks. All of the other Avengers, along with Pepper, became preoccupied taking care of Stark, as well as the elephant in the room which was the conflict between the Avengers before Thanos' attack. This left Carol to monitor the casualties and mourn the loss of her dear friend Nick Fury. The three Guardians were left for themselves to catch up on what happened.
"So what's Thor's problem? What happened?" Quill asked Groot.
Groot responded with a series of "I am Groot"s, roughly translating to: "After Thanos got all the Stones in Wakanda, Thor was able to use his new weapon "Stormbreaker" to hit Thanos in the chest. Thanos was severely wounded. Thor wanted to see him suffer to his end. But he wasn't focused on the Gauntlet, he was focused on his 'victory'. Thanos was still able to activate the Stones and snap his fingers to wipe out half of all life in the universe. He teleported away before Thor could finish him. He blames himself for Thanos' victory. That's why he's alone in there"
This left Quill and Nebula in shock. Thor was so close to stopping Thanos. But he screwed it up just like Quill did on Titan. Part of Quill was resentful towards Thor (also because he didn't like him when they first met). But another part of him was sympathetic towards him.
"You should talk to him. I'll talk to Groot about what happened Titan", said Nebula. She pulled Groot away to talk to him.
Quill was reluctant, but Thor seemed like he needed someone to talk to him. Quill entered the garden and sat next to him on the garden bench. Utter silence. Thor is visibly mad at himself, clenching his fists together. Quill was uneasy, but he had to try something.
"Do you wanna talk?"
Thor did not respond.
"I know about what happened. I know about what you did and what you didn't do. Look, we can all agree that you screwed up. But you're not the only one who did."
Thor was confused by what Quill said. How could it be? Was this supposed to make him feel better?
Quill proceeded to tell him. "We fought Thanos on planet Titan. It wasn't easy but we had a good plan to at least apprehend him long enough to take the Gauntlet off of him. We were actually doing pretty good. Doctor Strange was doing his magic, Mantis had him under a trance, everyone else was holding him back so we can take off the Gauntlet. Then I found out that he had killed Gamora. His own daughter. The woman I loved. The sister of Nebula. He killed her to get the Soul Stone on Vormir. I couldn't take it. I was so angry and devastated. So I hit Thanos. Several times. I was punching him. But that broke him out of his trance and he overpowered us. We were so close to stopping him, but I screwed it all up. Just like you did."
Thor couldn't believe what he said. He was furious at Quill, clenching his fist even further, shaking his feet, breathing heavily. Thor now knew that Quill blew the chance to stop Thanos. Was he expecting Thor to forgive him? Then again, Quill would also be angry at him for the same reason. He took a deep breath, and his furious frown faded to a frown of melancholy.
Quill continued, "Look, I don't know what to say to make us all feel better. None of us were able to stop him. But the two of us messed up big time. We're both guilty. We're both sorry. We all are. But we all have a common enemy...to stop once and for all."
All this time, the two had no eye contact. Quill turned to face Thor. Thor turned to face Quill. They both saw in each other's eyes, the guilt and pain over what they both did. Quill slowly laid his hand on Thor's. Thor held Quill's hand. It was a shared empathy they both felt. The first and only positive emotion they both felt in a long time that wasn't depression, guilt or anger. It was an empathy that softened the negative tension they had between them. An empathy that created a tiny spark of a different kind of tension.
Groot taps on the garden window glass , interrupting them. "I am Groot". They're needed with the others at the monitors. Stark was being tended to by Pepper. The Avengers, the Guardians and Carol all met together to discuss Thanos - where he was, and how they can all defeat him.
The reason I took out Rocket and left Groot in was that having both Quill and Rocket would have both played the same roles (personalities aside) in the Time Heist and in Thor's character development. It didn't make sense for me to include them both. Groot at least allowed for funny interactions with the Avengers without feeling derivative.
I have the next couple of chapters planned out, so it won't take very long for this week.
Chapter 3: You Should Be Grateful
The Guardians "properly" introduce themselves to the Avengers on their way to the Garden to defeat Thanos. However, once they arrive, they are confronted with bad news.
The Avengers and the Guardians had just found Thanos' current location, "The Garden", and that he used the Stones again. Their plan is simple - find him and defeat him. The Milano is now ready for lift-off. Steve, Thor, Natasha, Bruce, and Rhodey, as well as Carol, boarded the Milano, with Quill, Nebula, and Groot seated.
"Okay. Who here hasn't been to space?", Quill asked the Avengers. Steve, Natasha, and Rhodey all raise their hands. "You better not throw up on my ship".
"Hey, I don't think all of us have had proper introductions to each other yet", said Carol.
"Let's start with the self-proclaimed Star-Lord, we already know what we need to know about Thanos' assassin daughter and the talking tree alien", said Rhodey. Nebula and Groot shook their heads in annoyance.
Quill started, "Okay then. Long story short, I'm Peter Quill, I'm the biological son of Meredith Quill, the prettiest woman in Missouri, USA, and the son of Ego, who was from a god-like alien race known as Celestials. I was kidnapped as a child by the Ravagers, a bunch of space pirates lead by my eventual dead father-figure Yondu, who then decided to raise me because Ego was apparently an asshole. Turns out, he really was indeed an asshole, because he was obsessed with taking over the universe and he killed my mom. So we killed him."
Carol and the Avengers turned to each other, utterly silent and confused. Thor seemed somewhat entertained by Quill's story. "Uh-huh", uttered Rhodey.
"So how did you guys become the Guardians of the Galaxy?", asked Thor.
Quill continued, "Well, me, Groot, Rocket, and Gamora were individually going after the Power Stone for money. We got imprisoned since we were all criminals, but we got out with the help of a dude named Drax. So when we all found out that the Power Stone was being sought after by Thanos and his Kree goons lead by Ronan, we instead decided to do the right thing and stop them. We took down Ronan and his army with the help of the Nova Corps, a group of space cops, who we handed the Power Stone to for security. And that's how we became the Guardians of the Galaxy."
"Nice", complimented Thor. That put a smile on Quill's face. The Avengers were still confused though. "Okay, now I wish I didn't ask," said Rhodey.
"If it makes you feel any better, I'm not gonna explain myself either. I'm basically a private space cop", replied Carol. "I ran into Ronan some time ago, Quill. He really was an asshole."
"Such an asshole", Nebula uttered.
"Okay. Just to get this out of the way." Natasha pointed to herself, "I'm a Russian spy who defected to join Nick Fury and work for him." She points to Thor, "Thor, here, is the Norse god of thunder." Thor waved. Nat points to Steve, "Steve Rogers is Captain America, a super-soldier from World War II who got stuck in ice for 60 years and woke up in modern-day." Then to Bruce, "Bruce Banner is a scientist who transforms into a green monster when he gets angry." And then to Rhodey, "And Rhodey here is Tony Stark's sidekick."
"Seriously?" This really annoyed Rhodey.
The Milano was now outside Earth's atmosphere. "Okay, we're ready to lift-off." Quill turned on the engines and the Milano was ready to go into hyperspace. Nebula started the countdown, "Approaching jump in 3...2...1."
Thanos proved himself to be weaker than usual after he snapped half the universe out of existence. Or maybe he wasn't expecting a fight as he was minding his own business in his little "retirement" in the shed he built for himself in the Garden. Captain Marvel, Bruce (in the Hulkbuster suit), Groot, and War Machine had him restrained. Thor flew in and sliced Thanos' left arm using Stormbreaker. Thanos was now powerless without the Gauntlet. Steve, Nat, Quill, and Nebula finally walked in to see Thanos finally defeated. It was easier than expected. Too easy.
"Great! You guys stuck to the plan," Quill remarked. He wasn't willing to let the plan fail after what he did on Titan. He was calmer than before. He approaches the Gauntlet and turns it over. The Gauntlet is damaged. The Stones are gone. The Avengers and Guardians were shocked and confused, all turning to Thanos. Their victory was short-lived.
"Where are they?" Steve asked Thanos.
"Answer the question." Carol taunted Thanos.
He finally answered. "The universe required correction. After that, the stones served no purpose, beyond temptation."
"You murdered trillions!" yelled Bruce as he pushed Thanos onto the floor. "You should be grateful", replied Thanos before he's punched by Bruce.
"Where are the Stones?", asked Nat. "Gone. Reduced to atoms", replied Thanos.
Even further shock and confusion. "You used them two days ago!", yelled Bruce.
"I used the stones to destroy the stones. It nearly killed me." Thanos continued. But the work is done. It always will be. I am... inevitable."
Their shock turned into anger. "We have to tear this place apart. He has to be lying", Rhodey muttered.
"My father is many things," replied Nebula. "A liar is not one of them."
"Ah...thank you, daughter." Thanos responded with pride for Nebula for the first time. "Perhaps I treated you too harshly..."
All of a sudden, Thor decapitated Thanos with Stormbreaker, before anyone could stop him.
"Thor, what...what did you do?", Quill asked him, concerned for him. After all, Quill was the one who lashed out last time.
Thor's fury was justified. But he was still uneasy after finally killing Thanos. "I went for the head."
Everyone stands in silence. They killed Thanos, but they couldn't change a thing. They couldn't save those who were wiped out. There was no way they could it now. Nebula sat down next to the corpse of Thanos, the man who tortured her for so long. But his death did not feel like a catharsis for her. Not for anyone. Not Quill. Not Thor. There was no bringing back the ones who snapped. And there was no bringing back Gamora.
"What now?" asked Carol. "I don't know", replied Steve.
"I am Groot." Groot approached Thor to comfort him. Thor and Quill shared a glance. They were the two who felt the most responsible for Thanos' victory. Their shared anger towards Thanos turned into shared guilt and despair over their defeat. They both felt each other's pain. Thor slowly walked alone out of the Thanos' shed. Quill watched. He saw a god, a broken and vulnerable one. A god who failed to save those who couldn't save themselves. As for himself, he was a man who made one mistake too many.
Now we have all the Prelude stuff out of the way. Starting with the next chapter, we get into the exciting stuff, "Five Years Later". The alternate events will really take shape. Stay tuned.
Chapter 4: Peter Quill - Five Years Later
For five years, after the Snap, Peter Quill has been living on Earth, keeping up with everything that has happened since he was gone from Earth. But when he is approached by the Avengers, he has a new job to do...he has another chance...he has to become the Star-Lord again.
Five Years Later.
It had been over 30 years since Peter Quill was on Earth. The last thing he ever did on Earth was crying over his mother's death to cancer in the hospital. He made so many memories with his mother Meredith. Most of them involved listening to the hit songs of the 70s and 80s, as well as the hit movies like Footloose. After all, she curated the "Awesome Mix-tapes" he listened to for so long, even after she died. Meredith meant everything to him. She was the reason he named himself "Star-Lord".
Quill had gone back to his childhood home in Missouri, USA. His home where his family last saw him. His home before he was taken by the Ravagers. When he returned home, he wasn't sure if he had anything to come back to or look forward to. His mother was dead. He never had the closest relationship with his grandparents, aunts or uncles. He didn't seem to remember anything about his family that wasn't about Meredith. It surprised him to know that his grandfather was not only alive but had also survived the Snap. His last memory of him was of him in the hospital with Meredith as she was dying. He couldn't even remember his first name when he first met him after all these years. The old "Mr Quill" was living in the local retirement home for several years. "Mrs Quill" had already passed away peacefully before the Snap. Despite being devastated by the loss of not only Meredith but his other adult children, he was glad to have finally seen his grandson again. Peter told him about all of the adventures he had in deep space from his time with Yondu and the Ravagers to the missions with Guardians of the Galaxy. He did not tell him about Titan or the events that led to the Snap. He was too guilty to tell about it to anyone who wasn't an Avenger or a Guardian. Quill didn't even bother finding the house he had grown up in since it would have been bought by some other family since he left and Meredith died. Quill did find the cemetery where a memorial gravestone had both him and his mother's name. Their "deaths" were dated back in 1988. Finally, he was able to give a "proper" farewell to his late mother after all these years without her.
Despite his strong sense of family with the Guardians, he did not feel like going back to space for the time being. Groot had finally grown into an adult over the five years after the Snap. He and Nebula had been doing space patrol "missions" with Captain Marvel while Peter was staying on Earth since the two aliens had zero connection to Earth. Every now and again, Quill would video chat with his fellow Guardians to catch up, although there wasn't much going on. After what happened on Titan, he had enough of being in space for a long time.
He stayed in Missouri to have a "normal" life in these five years. He had been catching up with every cultural event that had happened since 1988; the movies and music of the 1990s-2010s, video games, the end of the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, the Olympics, and of course the Internet. He even caught up with the stories of the Avengers; Captain America, Iron Man, Thor's arrival on Earth, the New York invasion, the events of Sokovia. He never felt like contacting the Avengers because they would all be going through the same process of figuring out life after the Snap. However, part of him wondered if they would be better off going through all of this together rather than alone. Especially Thor, since they were both the most guilty. But he never ended up doing any of that.
He spent all these five years taking care of the people in his community. He helped rebuild houses, he repaired cars, he helped with farming, not to mention taking care of the kids and playing games with them. He at least made a good enough living for himself. He bought himself an iPhone to replace his Zune, for his music and his convenience. He built himself a small wooden cabin near the woods to live in, similar to the ones in horror movies but much less ominous. He even held meetings for those who lost people in the Snap, much like Steve Rogers did in New York. After all, he lost Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Mantis. Part of him hoped that there was a way to bring back the latter three since the Avengers and Guardians hand spent these years figuring out how to reverse the Snap. After all, he was half-Celestial, anything was possible. Another part of him knew that Gamora couldn't be brought back. She died before the Snap. Thanos sacrificed her for the Soul Stone. Gamora was dead for good. There was no way to reverse that. And it seemed as if she was doomed to her fate, being the daughter of the mad titan who was Thanos. She did warn him that Thanos would find her. Quill didn't want to move on from Gamora. But he knew he had to. It was Thanos who killed her, not him. He knew he let her down when he couldn't prevent the Snap, but he didn't want to let her down even further by not moving on from her to continue a happy life as part of the Guardians family that united together. If he could move from Meredith and Yondu's deaths, he could move on from Gamora's. And eventually, but slowly, he was able to do that within the five years. Five years was enough, right?
Quill seemed to be doing well for himself considering the circumstances.
And then came the day after those five years.
Quill woke up on his couch after a long day of work. He left his TV on all night, he had been watching Netflix late the last night. A few beer bottles were scattered on the floor. Quill heard gusts of winds and engines outside his wooden cabin. At this point, Quill looked like a lumberjack; sporting a beard, not unlike Thor and Captain America's, as well as one of those "lumberjack" shirts. His cabin was modest, there wasn't a lot. He had functional appliances, a functional kitchen, a functional bathroom. He did, however, have a few posters of his favourite musicians and movies discretely hung up. He lifted himself off his couch to get to the door to check the source of the sounds. A knock on the door. He opened. It was Steve Rogers, Nebula and Groot.
"Greetings Cap, what's up?" said Quill.
"So this is what you've been doing for these past 5 years?", asked Steve, impressed by the cabin, but unimpressed by the smell of alcohol.
Quill replied, "Well you know, I couldn't just do nothing. Just like you, I've been helping out in the community. The meetings have been going pretty well. Of course, no one is completely happy, but we're getting by."
"Well, that's good. Same results back in New York"
Quill noticed the large Milano stationed outside his house, as well as Nebula and Groot impatiently waiting."So what's going on?"
"We may have found a way to reverse the Snap."
Quill invited Steve, Nebula and Groot inside to discuss this possibility.
"So...time travel, like in Back to the Future?" asked Quill.
"Yeah, we're not exactly sure about the parameters and rules of time travel, but Tony Stark was able to figure out", said Steve. "The plan is that we go back in time to take the Stones, bring them back to our present and then Snap them back into existence. Tony's currently building a gauntlet for us to use."
Nebula chimed in, "This means we can bring everyone back. Everyone Thanos snapped out of existence. Everyone who died can come back. The other Avengers, the other Guardians. All of the innocent people who turned into dust."
"I am Groot.", added Groot, roughly translated to "Everyone but Gamora, sadly."
The mention of Gamora triggered Quill very slightly. "Yeah, I know, we can't bring her back." He saw that Nebula was also saddened at the mention of her.
"But...we owe it to her...to save everyone else. That's what she would have wanted. We're not going to let Thanos have his victory even after he's dead."
"Gamora wanted Thanos to lose just as much as all of us. Her death will not be in vain", said Nebula.
"I am Groot?", translated to "We're going to make Gamora proud?"
"Yes we are", said Quill.
"Great. We're all meeting together at the Avengers Compound in two or three days to plan the mission", said Steve. "But we still haven't been able to contact Thor. He hasn't been returning our calls. And whenever we get to New Asgard, he doesn't wanna talk to us. We were both good friends but he's not even willing to see me. I guess the Snap really took a toll on him."
"He's the only other person who knows about the Reality Stone's location", said Nebula. "We can't do this without him."
Quill wasn't surprised by this news. But he did feel sad for him. He and Thor knew how they both felt about being responsible for Thanos' victory. "Take me to see him. I think I can convince him to come back."
"What makes you think you can convince him?", asked Nebula.
"You must have forgotten that Thanos won because of the two of us. I ruined everything on Titan, and he didn't go for the head."
Steve understood what Quill was saying. "Alright then, we're taking you to Thor. You should pack up."
"Okay. Just let me do one more thing before we get going."
"I am Groot?"
"Just wait and be patient, Groot."
Quill arrived at the cemetery, back in his Star-Lord uniform. Steve, Nebula and Groot waited outside the cemetery. He walked towards a gravestone bearing the names of Meredith Quill, Yondu Udonta and Gamora. "A caring mother, a wise father, and a loving daughter." The gravestone says. He had replaced the old gravestone of him and his mother. Quill approached the new gravestone and crouched down.
"Hey mom, dad, Gamora. It's hard for me to believe that all three of you are gone. The three people in my life that I loved the most. I know I've been doing well for the last five years without you or my other family. But still, I wish you were all here. Now I have a new job to do. I have to embark on this new mission. There are other people out there who've lost their loved ones to the Snap, not just me, the Avengers and the other Guardians. And I'm going to help bring those loved ones back. I finally have the chance to make things right after what I did, even if you can't forgive me for what I did. And for that I'm sorry. I now have a chance to avenge you, Gamora. A chance to make you proud, Yondu. And you too, mom. I may not be able to bring the three of you back. But I know you're all still alive in my heart. And in my memories. Here's hoping I don't do anything stupid. If I fail, I fail. But I'm not going to lose hope or faith. None of you would want that. You want me to do what is right, for all of us, not just me. The universe needs heroes right now. Someone they can believe in, just like the three of you were to me. Just like Kevin Bacon in Footloose. And now is the time I need to step up and become one. I promise I will not let you down. I promise I will not let the universe down. I owe it to the three of you to not stop fighting."
Quill sighs, wiping away his tears. He nods and smiles as he stands up. "Your beloved little Star-Lord...is not going anywhere."
I will shortly be resuming my university studies, so the next chapters will take a bit longer, especially if they end up as long as this one. Please be patient.
And a tease for the very next chapter - expect Thor to be slightly different from what happened to him in the actual film.
Next chapter in mid-to-later October(?)
Chapter 5: Thor - Five Years Later
Five years after the Snap, Thor had to step up. But that was easier said than done - at least until Peter Quill came back into his life.
Thor never thought there would be a time where he would make so many mistakes. He never thought that there would be a time where he would have to deal with the consequences of those mistakes. He never thought there would be a time where those mistakes would have a toll on him, of all people. He was the God of Thunder. He was the King of Asgard. He was the Hero of all. Thor was far from okay. He knew that. Everyone did.
Valkyrie had escaped Thanos' attack on the Grandmaster's ship, leading the remaining Asgardians with Korg. While Thor had been fighting Thanos, they had established a refugee colony in Norway on Earth. Still, many Asgardians snapped from existence, still leaving a small number of the Asgardian population. 'New Asgard', as they called it, was a mere village of Asgardians left. They were all understandably upset with Thor when he returned to find them, bringing them news of Thanos' victory. No one was sympathetic to him, everyone blamed him for their losses. First the King and Queen of Asgard, then Asgard itself, and now their people. Only Korg and Miek were the ones who weren't unhappy - though they didn't really care about anything. Korg and Miek just rested since they arrived on Earth. Even Valkyrie was upset with Thor - though she still had some sympathy since she was the last of her group of warriors. Still, she didn't excuse him. Their friendship since the events of Sakaar proved to have been short-lived.
After a few weeks, the Asgardians started to look to Valkyrie for help instead of Thor who had already grown accustomed to Earth/Midgard culture over the years. Still, Earth culture was the only thing that the Asgardians confided in him for. Valkyrie quickly became their new leader - even though everyone was obviously angry and depressed, she kept everyone at peace. Thor wasn't surprised. He had failed too many times to be trusted anymore. That's why he went on voluntary exile.
Thor had decided to leave New Asgard, exiling himself from everyone and the Avengers. There was no place for him after what he did. Korg and Miek offered to come with him, but he didn't think they would help. He ventured alone throughout Europe, but never went to any populated cities and towns. He just ventured through forests, mountains, hills, and countrysides. All of which were silent and mostly empty. Just him and Stormbreaker. He didn't know why he brought Stormbreaker with him, other than the fact that he didn't know where to leave it. At least he was able to hunt for food easily using Stormbreaker. His hair and beard grew longer, but he didn't care anymore. He didn't go on exile to go on a thrilling adventure like Bear Grylls. In fact, he wasn't sure what he was hoping to get out of his exile. Purpose? Catharsis? Joy? He would never truly find any of those things. He just felt more isolated. Every time he would sleep, he would always wake up suddenly, catching his breath. Countless nights of nightmares. He never felt good during his exile. Sometime before the Thanos attacks, Thor had learned about mental health on Earth, reading articles and watching videos on the Internet. He only did it to understand what Tony Stark had been going through after the New York invasion, and what Steve Rogers went through after he arrived in the present. He remembered about post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. He wasn't entirely clear about either of those things but he was sure those things were what he was going through. After three years of exile, he thought there was no use for his exile anymore. He wasn't getting any better. Just more alone. So he went back to New Asgard.
When he came back, Valkyrie, Korg and Miek welcomed him back, to his surprise. In fact, all of the Asgardians were no longer so hostile towards him. That wasn't saying much, they were still mad and sad, but they at least felt sympathy for Thor. They actually missed his presence. However, Thor would still end up shutting himself away from everyone. The Avengers were never able to contact him. He established his own quarters - where no one was to come in but him. Not much light. Just wooden furnishings that were barely useable for a Norse god. He only ever came out for food and drinks. He became one of those characters in movies who weirded out the villagers, especially since they rarely come out. Like old men in kids movies or outcasts in Tim Burton movies. He spent most of his days sleeping, eating, drinking, staying fit, watching movies and TV. One time he sat through the infamous 1970s animated film Watership Down and he couldn't sleep through the night. Once in a while, he would try to socialize with other Asgardians, with little success. Every now and again, he and Valkyrie would have meaningless passionless sex just for the sake of it. Valkyrie, Korg and Miek tried their best to comfort him, but their efforts never made him feel happy enough. Whenever anyone of the Avengers would try to talk to him in person at New Asgard, he would turn away. None of them could really help him or understand him. He never thought he would truly live a proud, meaningful life again. He was utterly broken.
And then came that day after those five years.
Thor was drinking home and alone in his quarters. He heard continuous knocks on the door. He only wore casual clothes on Earth. His Asgardian armour was kept hidden in his closet, along with Stormbreaker. They had no use now. Despite still being as fit as he always was, he struggled to get to the door. His overlong hair and beard didn't help, but at least he looked like the Vikings seen in the images of history books. Suddenly...another knock.
"Thor, it's me. Peter Quill. The Star-Lord. The Guardian of the Galaxy. Are you there?"
"Yeah. Do you want to talk to someone?"
Thor remembered Peter Quill after their shared empathy towards each other before killing Thanos on Titan. Was he the one who would be able to fix him? After all, it was both of them who made the biggest mistakes that allowed Thanos to win. The mere thought of Thanos immediately made him stressed. But still, it had been a long time since he spent time with Quill.
"Quill, is it just you outside?"
"Steve, Nebula, and Groot are here, but I'm happy if you just want to talk to me."
"Only you can come in."
Thor allowed Quill to come in, despite his quarters being a complete wreck. Barely bright enough to know it was the day. Beer bottles scattered over the floor producing a foul stench. Thor could tell that Quill was being polite in trying not to appear outright disgusted. This was not ideal for either of them. Thor noticed that Quill was in his Guardians Star-Lord uniform, as well as Quill's beard. First Steve and now Quill too? Anyway, Quill looked serious. More so than when they first met.
"I apologize for this wreck."
"No. I understand what you're going through. I understand that you're struggling a lot with what has happened."
"Thank you for understanding. By the way, I see you've copied my beard."
"Oh, this? I didn't mean to. I've just been doing a lot of community work lately."
"No, it looks good on you. Better than whatever monstrosity is on my face."
"So what brings you here, Star-Lord? Are you here to try and convince me to become a hero again?"
"To tell you the truth, yes. We figured out a way to reverse the Snap. We use time-travel to go back in time to get the Stones and - "
"I'm not going back."
"Thor, we need you to help us get to the Reality Stone. We can't do this without you."
"I've made too many mistakes, Quill. I thought that you coming here would be different because you and I were alike. Now I know that you're just becoming one of them."
"Well, I guess we're both disappointed in each other then."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Is this really what you want your life to be, Thor? No meaning, no purpose. Just eating, drinking, binge-watching. Just repeating the same depressing day over and over?
"Of course not! You're pretty stupid for thinking that."
"Then admit that you're ready to come back."
"It's easier said than done."
"Agh, fuck this - "
"Hey! I'm sorry for being an emotional wreck after a traumatic event. I killed Thanos, and what did it change? Nothing."
"We're all sorry about everything, Thor. But cut the bullshit. What are you so afraid of? That we're gonna lose yet again? We can do this."
"How many mistakes have the two of us made? Huh?"
"Well, we seem to be doing better so far after these five years."
"And you'll be even better without me."
"I know about everything you've been through, Thor. Valkyrie told me everything. And I - "
"Just go, Quill. You're not helping either of us."
"I'm sorry about everything, Thor. But you're not the only person who's suffering."
"You have no idea how this all feels."
"Both my mother and father-figure died. I killed my own father. My girlfriend died at the hands of Thanos. All of our friends snapped out of existence. You think I don't know how it feels to lose someone I love because I failed? There are countless people out there who have lost people, not just us. And they had no power over it. They can't do anything about it. We can. We have powers. We're superheroes. We're the Avengers and the Guardians. Everyone's willing to take a chance and help fix all of this and bring hope again even though we're terrified because of the burden we're all carrying. Everyone except for you! So don't tell me that we're better off without you, because the truth is that we'll just be more scared. We'll just be more vulnerable."
Thor was surprised by Quill's outburst. He could tell that even Quill was surprised. Silence filled the room. Quill was right that he wasn't the only person suffering. And certainly not the only hero suffering. From Tony to Steve to Natasha. Thor just wasn't sure that he was ready to do this. There was a great chance of succeeding because of him, but there was an equal chance of failing because of him. He was afraid because he suffered the most, but he was also the Norse god of Thunder, the most powerful of the Avengers. Was he really going to stay back and do nothing?
"Thor, we have one chance to make this right. We have a chance to do this for the people we lost. Snap or no Snap. The universe needs heroes right now. Someone they can believe in. We can't let the universe down."
Thor slowly approached closer to Quill. Suddenly, Thor hugged him. Quill held him as well, comforting both of them. Both of them broke into tears. The empathy they shared had returned. They felt each other's guilt and pain. The negative tension around them had softened once again.
Thor whimpered and sighed, "We have to do this. Together."
Quill nodded, "Together."
Finally! I've been able to get another chapter up. I might even be able to get another chapter up by the end of next week before I get to university work again.
Sorry about how sad this chapter was. But I promise things will get better for both of them in the next chapter. The Time Heist is approaching... Stay tuned.
Chapter 6: Brainstorming Session
Thor and Quill return to the Avengers Compound. When the Avengers and Guardians brainstorm out their new mission, they realise it's not as complicated as it seems. Until it becomes complicated again.
Thor and Quill sat next to each other on the back seats of the Milano, as Nebula and Groot drove them and Steve back to Avengers Compound. Thor was not wearing his normal armour. He wore the most casual basic shirt, jacket and pants. Not the cool or fancy ones he had worn before on Earth. Just the basic and casual ones.
Steve sat next to Thor. "I'm glad that you're coming back to us, Thor. I have to admit, I've missed you these past five years. We really needed you."
Thor nodded. "We're heroes. It's what we have to do."
Quill could tell from his eyes that Thor was still apprehensive. He saw his fear, despite their moment together back in New Asgard. Quill laid his hand on Thor's.
"It's gonna be okay."
Thor smiled. He was still scared, but he did feel comforted by Quill's gesture. It was still nice that he and Steve reunite as friends after all these years, it was something Quill didn't have trouble with.
They arrived at the Compound. The Avengers and Guardians had been waiting - including Clint Barton, who had been convinced by Natasha to come back. Barton didn't take the Snap very well. His entire family had vanished. Barton spent the last five years as a vigilante in Tokyo fighting the Yakuza.
The one face that Thor didn't recognize was Scott Lang, the Ant-Man. He had been trapped in the Quantum Realm as his girlfriend and her family snapped out of existence. Because time was different in the Quantum Realm, he came back still at the same age. Apparently, he came back because Happy Hogan was going through trash for Stark Industries and found the Pym van that had the transportation device to the Quantum Realm. Scott had met Quill sometime before Thor was being brought back. Scott was the one who came up with the idea of time travel to reverse the Snap. Naturally, Tony Stark was able to miraculously produce time travel devices for the mission, as well as schematics for their own Infinity Gauntlet for them to use the Stones, within a small timeframe no less. Thor was also caught off guard by Bruce Banner and how he changed. Apparently, Banner and his Hulk personality merged over the years. Now, he was known as "Professor Hulk", he was a smaller but still strong Hulk that had Banner's brilliant mind and consciousness. All of that being said, no one had a plan yet. There were a couple of tests to see if the time travel worked - all of which were before Thor and Quill came back. There was a failed test with Scott before Stark and Clint came back, and a successful one with Clint who was able to come back safe and sound. No one was still sure of what to make of the time travel rules, but they knew it worked.
Everyone had been waiting for Thor. And they didn't expect Thor to look like a mess from his overgrown hair and beard, not to mention the stench of alcohol. It didn't take long for the Avengers to feel weirded out by him - some even ended up resorting to making jokes at him, particularly Stark, Rhodey and Clint. It was all friendly, but it did not make Thor feel any better about coming back. He did not want to be constantly reminded that he wasn't the noble courageous hero he once was. Luckily, Quill and Steve were by his side as his closest friends.
Everyone gathered at a giant meeting room table to discuss their plans for the time travel mission. The only things that were certain were that they were to go back to different places and points in time to get each of the Infinity Stones, and then they go back to their present. Once they used they used the Stones with their Gauntlet to bring the Snapped people back safely, they were to place the Stones back in their original times and places, avoiding any problems in the multiverse. They did not want to immediately go back to the Wakanda battle before Thanos was able to succeed. That was too risky, and it would cause too many emotional or traumatic problems for many of them.
Steve took the lead. "Okay, we need to narrow down when and where we can find each of the Stones. Each and every one of us has encountered a Stone or nearly been killed by one."
"I haven't, so I don't know what's going on," said Scott.
"You did encounter Vision. He had the Mind Stone on his forehead," said Rhodey.
"That's what that glowing thing was? How was I supposed to know that? I'm not an Avenger," said Scott.
"Well, you are now," Tony told him.
"Anyway...we only have one vial of Pym Particles for each of us to use for the time travel devices, so we have to select the right date and place," said Bruce.
"Okay but...why don't we just go back in time to get more Pym Particles?" asked Natasha.
"Because we only have a few...wait a minute, you're right!" Scott's eyes widened from Nat's epiphany.
"Okay, now we know that we can just get more Pym Particles for the mission for emergencies," said Rhodey.
"Back to the Stones, we need to find the right date and place for each of the Stones." Steve brought it back to the important subject
Thor hesitantly stands up. He could see half the table stare at him sternly. Everyone still knew he was a bit of a mess. At least, Quill and Steve were supportive.
"You got this buddy," said Steve.
"Thanks." Thor started as Steve and Quill smile at him reassuringly. "So...the Reality Stone. The Asgardians called it the Aether, and it had the power to 'manipulate reality'. I know it's quite vague but just go with it. So a bunch of Dark Elves were after the Reality Stone so they could use it to take over the universe, you get the drill. It turns out that my girlfriend...um...ex-girlfriend Jane Foster..." He could see Quill's eyes widen. "...So she encountered the Reality Stone and the Stone got absorbed into her. So the Dark Elves were now going after her. And...they killed my mother...and everyone was sad...and we..."
Thor saw that everyone was either confused or disinterested, including Quill and Steve. At least, Scott seemed entertained by the story.
"Okay...long story short, we got the Reality Stone out of Jane and we stopped the Dark Elves."
Everyone, except Scott, was still confused.
"So...do you know if there's an easy way we can get to the Reality Stone without risk?" asked Bruce.
"Well, we did have it safely contained, and we sent it to the Collector on Planet Knowhere," Thor responded.
"Ahh...right, that's where Thanos got the Reality Stone," said Quill.
"I am Groot?" asked Groot.
"Sorry, what did the big tree guy just say?" questioned Stark.
"He asked when the Reality Stone was sent to the Collector," Thor replied, "And to answer that question, we sent it in the Human Earth year of 2013."
"Okay, so the Guardians and I went to the Collector to talk to him about the Power Stone we had," said Quill, "I believe the Earth year was...2014. So we could probably get both the Power Stone and the Reality Stone on Planet Knowhere."
"No," Nebula rebuts, "that'll be too risky. Ronan and my past self will be after the Power Stone with an army."
"Well, we can just go to 2013, and then get the Power Stone and Reality Stone at that time," Quill responds. "Thor and I can get the Reality Stone from the Collector, while Groot and Nebula can get the Power Stone on Planet Morag."
"I am Groot."
"He says he can work with that," Nebula translated for them. "Works for me too. Thor?"
"Yes. I agree that's a good idea." Thor smiles at Quill who smiles back. He wasn't sure why Quill paired himself with him. Actually, he was sure, because of how nice he always was since they reunited after 5 years. As for Quill himself, he surely knew that Thor would be okay beside him and that he would be okay too. Not that the other Avengers weren't willing to be beside him. Thor and Quill needed to be there for each other. They wanted to be there for each other.
"Awesome! Two down, four to go!" Scott cheered as everyone else stared uncomfortably at him. Thor, Quill and Steve were the only ones smiling. At least they appreciated how nice Scott was.
"Okay, we Avengers know that the Space and Mind Stones have been in many locations," said Bruce. "So, we need to narrow the best time and place for us to potentially get the Stones."
Clint finally chimed in, "Well, if we go back to the New York invasion in 2012, we can get to the Space and Mind Stones."
"You mean, you want us to get the Stones during the invasion?" Tony asked.
"I mean, we could just go get it after we stopped the invasion," Steve replied. "We had the Stones in safe hands, as we were handing it to the folks at SHIELD."
"You mean, HYDRA. Not SHIELD," said Natasha.
"SHIELD. HYDRA. Same difference," said Rhodey.
"Okay. But what about the Time Stone?" Steve questioned. "Tony? Bruce?"
"Well, we know that Doctor Strange is always wearing it on his weird magic necklace thing," said Tony.
"And where did you guys meet him?" asked Rhodey
"Oh, I can answer that," Thor chimed in. "He operates in this magical quarters called the Sanctum. Apparently, there are a few other Sanctums all over the world.
"Strange just happens to be operating in the one in New York," Bruce added.
"Wait, so this place he lives in is in New York?" questioned Natasha.
"Yeah, he often gives a card with an address on it and everything," answered Thor.
"So that means we can get the Time Stone in New York along with the Space and Mind Stones," Nat finished.
The Avengers collectively stayed silent, turning to Nat after her brilliant epiphany. Eyes widened, mouths open.
"Holy shit!" Clint shouted.
"Shut the front door!" Bruce yelled.
"Oh my God, Nat. You're a genius!" Steve cheered. Natasha herself was smiling with pride. She was so proud of herself.
"Sorry, I thought Bruce and I were the geniuses here," Tony said. Everyone else collectively rolled their eyes. Yep, Tony was still had a bit of narcissism in him.
"Now that leaves us with the Soul Stone," Steve turns to Thor and the Guardians. "Quill? Nebula? Thor? Anything on where and what it could be?"
The three weren't entirely sure about the information they did have. They're apprehensive to talk at first.
Nebula finally stands up. "My sister Gamora knew that the Soul Stone was located on Planet Vormir. The dominion of death and the very center of Celestial existence." Everyone's eyes widened at those last words. She continues, "That's where Thanos took her. That's where he got the Soul Stone. That's where Thanos killed Gamora." Nebula was saddened that she had to say that last sentence.
Thor turned to see Quill and Groot, they were visibly uneasy at the thought of Gamora. They remembered that this mission wouldn't bring her back. Thor patted Quill on his shoulder to comfort him. Quill patted on Thor's hand back.
"So...that's all you have about the Soul Stone?" asked Clint.
"All I know is where. I don't know how exactly he got it," she replied.
"I think I might know," Thor added. "I read an Asgardian text about the Soul Stone. It says that one can only retrieve the Stone by sacrificing someone you love."
"Thanos sacrificed Gamora," said Nebula.
"In his own twisted fucked up way," Quill added with disgust. Thor again laid his hand on Quill's shoulder.
Everyone collectively let out a deep depressed sigh in unison. Their despair had come back.
"Shit," Rhodey sighed out loud. "This means one of us has to die for the Soul Stone."
"As long as some of us have had a deep intimate connection and relationship, one of us has to go," Natasha added. Unbeknownst to the other, Thor and Quill weren't keen on dying so soon after they became close friends, not to mention the other Avengers and Guardians they were so close with. But part of them considered going through with the sacrifice because of what they had done to let Thanos win the first time.
"Look, I don't wanna argue about who is willing to die for this one fucking Stone," said Clint. everyone was visibly tense.
"Me neither," Scott said worryingly. "I mean, I just got here. I'm not that close with any of you. I've got a girlfriend...and she's been snapped."
"Look, I don't wanna discuss this either, but this is the only way we can get the Soul Stone," said Steve. "We're doing this to save people. We have to be willing to die for what's right. To bring everyone back."
"Okay, we can discuss this some other time," Bruce tried to ease the tension bubbling up in the room. "We have all the time we need before the begin the mission. We can decide after we do the next test run. Hell, we can just get more Pym Particles so we can all go there together to decide."
"I agree," replied Tony. "Why don't we all call this a day. And tomorrow we do that test run. Okay?" That was certainly one way to end such a heavy conversation. That was definitely a 'Tony' way to end it.
Everyone got off their seats and left the meeting room, one by one. Thor and Quill were the last to leave. They were the two who were the most conflicted about sacrifice themselves, though not by much since they were still apprehensive. That last conversation left everyone in a state of unwanted anxiety. Truthfully, any negative emotion was always unwanted. They couldn’t choose what they were feeling at free will.
Sorry for the long wait. I'm finally done with my university studies for this year. Now I've got time to devote to this fic. I now just realise that Thor, Quill and Steve are the closest of friends, and coincidentally played by the three Marvel Chrises (Hemsworth, Pratt and Evans).
Teaser for Chapter 7:
- The final chapter before the Time Heist.
- Plans change very quickly for the Time Heist. But perhaps for the better?
- Another moment between Thor and Quill.
- Quill plays some music again!
Chapter 7: It's Too Late to Turn Back Now
The Time Heist plans change very quickly, thanks to Stark, during the latest test run. Later, Thor and Quill have a moment for themselves before the day their mission begins.
"Too Late to Turn Back Now" (1972) by Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose.
Hear the song right here through this YouTube link:
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was the day after the Brainstorming Planning session. This day was their latest time-travel test run. Tony wanted to be the one being time-travelled himself. Everyone was happily fine with Tony doing the test. They had recently completed a new time-travel machine for everyone to use. Enough spots for everyone. It just needed a test run. Since Tony designed (and "made") it, he wanted to be the one to test it.
Everyone gathered at the testing site in the Compound's Hangar. Tony was suited up in one of the newly designed time-travel suits (again, courtesy of Tony). It didn't seem like anything was going to go wrong, nor did it seem like things would be interesting for everyone. They were just waiting to go on the actual mission. But...safety first. Reasonable enough. To the surprise of everyone, Steve and Scott showed up in a time-travel suit.
"Steve, Scott, why are dressed up? It's supposed to be just Tony doing the test run," asked Bruce.
"Oh no, it's okay. I asked them to do the test with me," Tony replied.
"But why?" questioned Clint.
"Since we already have successful tests with one person going back in time, we had to test out if it worked with more than one person," Steve answered.
"What he said," said Scott nonchalantly.
"But we already wasting the rest of our Pym Particles," said Quill. "We won't have enough for the mission."
"Trust us, Flash Gordon. We know what we're doing," said Tony.
"I have a bad feeling that you guys a planning something," said Rhodey.
"We'll be fine," Steve assured him. "Our last test worked well with Clint."
"Yeah, but the first test with me was a disaster, remember?" Scott told Steve.
"That's because you guys didn't have me around," Tony responded. Everyone else rolled their eyes at the statement.
"You're starting to sound like Captain Marvel," said Nebula.
"Where is she anyway?" Natasha asked.
"I am Groot," said Groot.
"He says that she was taking care of other planets and how they were dealing with the Snap," Thor translated.
"Well, that's nice of her," said Rhodey.
"Okay, so are we doing the test or not?" Steve said out loud.
"Fine, we're doing the test," Bruce told them.
"Okay, so where and when do you guys want to go?" asked Natasha.
"SHIELD Headquarters. 1970," Tony told them. Everyone else except Steve and Scott stared at them with varying levels of confusion.
"Wait, wait, wait! Why SHIELD? Why 1970?" Clint asked them.
"I knew it, you guys are planning something," Rhodey said.
"Trust us, we know what we're doing," Scott assured him. Everyone else was still confused.
"Okay then, are you guys sure you want to do this?" Natasha asked them.
"Yes! What are you waiting for? Just do it already!" Tony loudly told them.
"Okay then...um...3...2...1...and GO!" Bruce shouted as Tony, Steve, and Scott got transported.
"Coming back in...3...2...1...and?!" Natasha shouted.
Tony, Steve, and Scott did indeed come back fine, but with two briefcases.
"Thank God, you guys are all back in one piece or three pieces to be exact, but why do you have two briefcases?" Rhodey questioned them.
"Oh, I got more Pym Particles," Scott said proudly while lifting his briefcase.
"And I got to the Tesseract aka Space Stone," Steve said proudly while lifting his briefcase.
"And I got to finally say goodbye to my dad," Tony said proudly. "I had an epiphany last night and realized that we could do this, so..."
"Wait, WHAT?!" Everyone else collectively yelled in unison.
"You mean, you guys went in time to get more Pym Particles AND the Space Stone, and you didn't tell us?" Clint yelled.
"Well, we thought it would be a good surprise," Steve told them.
"So...you're welcome," Tony added.
"That's dumb. You're dumb, Tony," said Thor.
"Wait, what does this mean for the Time Heist?" Quill questioned.
"Does this mean we only have to find with the Mind Stone and Time Stones on Earth?" Natasha added.
"Yep! We got one Stone already!" Scott shouted happily.
"Well, I guess that's good, but...what now?" Rhodey further questioned.
"Thor, Quill, Nebula, and Groot are still getting the Reality and Power Stones," Tony responded. "While the rest of us are splitting up to get the Mind and Time Stones since they're both in New York."
"Okay?" Bruce uttered.
"Well, what do you want us to do? It's too late to turn back now," Scott responded.
"No, we got that clear," Clint said.
"Then great!" Tony replied.
Tony, Steve, and Scott got off the machine, carrying the briefcases.
"Oh, and one more thing," said Tony. "Unless someone's made their decision, we all agree to go to Vormir for the Soul Stone, right? We got enough Pym Particles for all of us to go."
"Oh...right," Nebula uttered. What a way to conclude successful test run then with such as buzzkill topic such as the Vormir sacrifice. Thanks, Tony!
"So... now what?" Clint asked in confusion. "Do we do more tests?"
"More planning and more adjustments, I guess?" Natasha replied.
Everyone else still stood in confusion.
One day later.
Late night, Quill was still awake. Everyone else, to his knowledge, had gone to sleep. Nebula and Groot were sleeping in the Milano outside the Compound. It was just Quill in the Common Area, sitting at the small table. Alone and quiet, snacking on a few crackers. Despite having moved on from the deaths of Gamora and his parents Meredith and Yondu (his true "daddy"), he still wasn't in the mood to take a rest. The next day was when they were going to start the mission since everything was ready. Everyone else was resting, except him. To his surprise, Thor entered the Common Area in a grey T-shirt and darker grey shorts. He had just had a shower, drying himself up with a small tower in his hand. And he had also cut his overlong hair and beard. It wasn't quite the same as it was when they first met, but still better than the mess he used to have.
"You're looking great," Quill tells him.
"You're looking good yourself, your beard is not too long and thick," Thor smiled back. "You're still awake, Quill?"
"Yeah. Not sleepy yet." Quill replied.
"You're not okay, are you?" Thor joined him at the table.
"What do you think?" Quill sighed. "I can't believe we're all going through with this tomorrow."
"I know, right? We're finally going to make things right."
"At least I hope we do. I just don't wanna screw things up again."
"Quill, you convinced me to come back. We can do this together."
"I know but...I don't wanna let everyone down."
Quill didn't tell Thor that he was also thinking about sacrificing himself on Vormir. He wanted to make things right for those who snapped out of existence because of his and Thor's mistakes. Hopefully, he could see the loved ones he lost before the Snap - Meredith, Yondu, Gamora. That being said, he still wasn't certain. If he were to go through with the sacrifice, he'll never see his fellow Guardians again. He'll never see the Avengers again. He'll never see Thor again. Thor understood Quill about not wanting to let everyone down. Truthfully, he was feeling the same way. Unaware of this, Thor still wanted to find some way to cheer themselves up. He stood up from the table.
"We should dance," Thor told Quill. "Groot tells me you're obsessed with music and dance."
"Wh...Why?" Quill smiled in confusion.
"Look. I want to get us in a good mood before the mission tomorrow," Thor responded.
"At this hour?" Quill questioned.
"Yes!" Thor smiled as he got onto the table computer. "Groot tells me you're into the 70s and 80s music. Let's see what we have here..."
"I mean, you're not wrong," Quill chuckled. "I got taken from Earth back in 1988."
Quill couldn't believe that Thor was going to do this. Thor went through the music playlists on the computer. He was not entirely sure of Quill's musical tastes, despite what Groot told him. What songs did he listen to? What songs did he dance to? What songs has he not heard? He scrolled through the playlists until one song title caught his eye - "Too Late to Turn Back Now" (1972). He pressed play.
The two heard the drums, violins, and strings kick in. The volume was not too loud to the point where it could wake up everyone else. Thor started to nod his head to the rhythm.
"This sounds nice," Thor said to Quill. "Come on, let's dance." Quill smiled, dismissing this gesture.
The vocals began, "My mama told me
She said, son, please beware..."
Quill knew the song. He was initially quick to dismiss Thor's gesture, but this was a damn good song to dance to. He remembered that he used to dance to this song with his mother. Good memories.
"Come on, Quill. Come on," Thor smiled as he busted his "Earth moves". He didn't know what he was doing, but he enjoyed doing it. Moving his arms around. Shaking his head. Slowly moving around the room.
Quill finally stood up. "Ahh, what the hell? Why not?" he smiled. He started to nod his head to the rhythm too.
"It's too late to turn back now
I believe I believe I believe I'm falling in love..."
"Come on, Quill!" Thor laughed.
Quill chuckled as he moved to the rhythm, busting out his signature retro dance moves. Twists and turns, arms flailing.
"What the hell are you doing?" Quill laughed at Thor's moves.
"Whatever the hell I want," Thor smiled.
"You look dumb," Quill laughed. Thor laughed back without reply.
Thor and Quill kept laughing with each other while they kept dancing happily for themselves. They looked like Uma Thurman and John Travolta in the famous Pulp Fiction dance scene. Not because they were doing the same moves. It was just that they were dancing together.
The chorus was coming back again, Quill and Thor started to sing along,
"It's too late to turn back now
I believe I believe I believe I'm falling in love..."
They kept dancing, singing and cheerfully hugging each other until the song neared its end.
"It's too late to turn back now
I believe I believe I believe I'm falling in love..."
The dancing and singing slowly died down as the song slowly ended. But they still had their smiles on their faces.
"Thanks, Thor," Quill said. "I needed that."
"My pleasure," Thor smiled. The two kept smiling at each other for a moment.
"I gotta sleep," Quill told him. "I gotta get some rest." Quill wasn't thinking about Vormir anymore. He was certain that he didn't want to sacrifice himself anymore.
As Quill headed to leave the room, he and Thor notice Steve at the door watching them.
"Were you just watching?" Quill asked him.
"Not everything, I was just using the bathroom," Steve replied.
"Okay...I'll be seeing you two tomorrow morning," Quill left the room, still with a smile.
Steve turned to Thor, who was still in a good mood.
"You doing okay, Thor?" asked Steve.
"Oh, I'm doing more than okay," Thor told him.
"Are you sure? You seemed pretty unhappy for these past days," Steve told him. "But I do notice that you seem to be happier when you're around Quill."
"What are you implying, my friend?" Thor asked.
"You're attracted to him, aren't you?" Steve said.
"What? What are you talking about?" Thor scoffed.
"It's okay, Thor. I get it. " Steve responded. "And I actually think he's attracted to you too."
Thor shook his head. "Really? You're just saying that."
"I'm dead serious. And I honestly think you're both good for each other," Steve smiled.
Thor sighed out. "Should I tell him? Should I ask him out?"
"Thor, if you ask me, I think you should be with the person you love sooner than later," Steve told him. "I never got that chance with Peggy. But you do with Quill."
"I don't know if tomorrow's the best time with the Time Heist and all," said Thor. "And also, his girlfriend died five years ago at the hands of Thanos, so..."
"Look, I understand. I felt weird when I kissed Peggy's grand-niece Sharon years ago," Steve told him.
"That is weird. And this is coming from a Norse God," Thor chuckled.
"Yeah. I'll see you in the morning," Steve smiled as the two left the room. "By the way, thank goodness you cut your hair."
"Thank you," Thor smiled. "I missed being your best friend, Captain. When Quill and I get married, I want you to officiate it."
The two laughed as they both went to their rooms. Thor was in love again, years after his mutual break-up with Jane. It's just a matter when he could get the chance to tell Quill that he's in love with him. Because tomorrow was a big day for everyone. It was the day where they could finally make things right.
I reintroduced the idea of Steve Rogers being Thor's best friend out of the 6 main Avengers. Because apparently, the folks at Marvel forgot that it was a thing.
As for the next chapter: The Time Heist begins with a new updated plan!
Chapter 8: Operation Time Heist
Everyone gathers for one final mission briefing. The plan is finally finished. The Time Heist begins. From this moment, everything is about to change.
Thor slept incredibly well that night. Thor never thought he would be in love with a man, let alone a human who didn't come from Asgard. To be fair, Peter Quill wasn't any ordinary human, his father was a Celestial after all. Thor had been attracted to men a few times in his lifetime, but he never had any relationships with one. He had one-night stands, with mostly Asgardian women but a few Asgardian men who were noble warriors alongside him. His relationship with Jane Foster several years ago was his first long-lasting one. She was the first real love of his life. It was a shame that their relationship didn't last long. Thor swears it was a mutual break-up, though he had no memory of how the break-up itself went down. He had very fond memories of her, but a relationship between a human woman and an Asgardian God would never have lasted very long. His romantic feelings for Peter Quill were just as strong as the one he felt when he realised he was in love with Jane, perhaps even stronger. He and Quill shared many similarities: they both came from powerful beings, they both had a complicated (well, tragic) family histories and upbringings, and admittedly they were both idiots. But the greatest connection they had was that they were both emotionally vulnerable, considering the baggage that came with their family tragedies, not to mention what happened with Thanos. Quill saved Thor from a very dark place after the five years post-Snap. Because of him, Thor was starting to recover. Emphasis on "starting". Perhaps they could become whole once they were in a real relationship, once they saved everyone with the Avengers and Guardians thanks to the upcoming Time Heist (at least if none of them failed or died). But Thor was feeling good about himself, and about this mission, even if he was still a bit broken inside. He was ready to face what was coming.
Quill, on the other hand, was able to sleep well, despite still having complicated feelings. Quill thought he had come to peace with Gamora's death. Now, he would have to go on this Time Heist, where he would have to go back to a time where she was alive. She was a different person before they met. He had also become a different person, years after they met, years after they finally professed their love for each other. Even though he was going back to the Earth year of 2013, the year before the two met, he thought there was a possibility that he will encounter Gamora somehow. Further making things difficult was his romantic feelings for Thor, who would go on this mission in 2013 with him. Quill had his fair share of one-night stands with many alien women, rarely any men. Most of the men in his life in space were scoundrels while he was being raised by Yondu. Then there was Thor, a specimen so annoyingly perfect (he was the Asgardian God of Thunder, for God's sake) that it was no surprise that he would become the first man that Quill would become attracted to, even though he was extremely jealous of him when they first met. Well, he was perfect until recently. But still, their connection was clear at this point. He just wasn't sure if he was ready to fully move on from Gamora, who he had just begun a real romantic relationship before dying at the hands of Thanos, before moving on to be in a relationship with Thor. He started to doubt if he was ready to face what was coming.
Everyone finally woke up to the dawn of their most ambitious mission yet. Brushing teeth, shower, breakfast, exercise. Most of them got all of their morning routines out of the way. Nebula and Groot were aliens, so they didn't have morning routines the same way everyone else did. By 11 am, everyone was just getting ready for the mission. The Avengers and Guardians gathered in the meeting room one last time, for one last mission briefing about their plan for the Time Heist. Steve, Natasha, and Bruce stood up at the front with the plans on the screen, with everyone else seated.
"Okay, everyone. This is our final briefing for the Time Heist," Bruce started.
Natasha continued, "Thanks to Steve, Tony, and Scott, we already have one Stone down, the Space Stone, as well as extra Pym Particles for any emergencies that could happen on this mission."
"You're welcome," Tony said.
"Anyway, on to our final plans," Steve commanded the room. "Except for Thor, all the Avengers will be going to 2012, at the end of the New York invasion."
"Wait, so am I an Avenger?" Scott asked.
"Yes, Scott. You'll be with us," Natasha replied.
"Fuck yeah, I'm an Avenger," Scott whispered to himself with utter glee and delight.
"Rhodey and I will be going to the New York Sanctum to get the Time Stone from Doctor Strange," Bruce explained.
"Shit, I'm going to have to deal with some weird shit, aren't I?" Rhodey got worried.
"Don't worry, it'll be fine," Bruce told him.
"Next, the Mind Stone," Steve continued. "The rest of the Avengers, me, Tony, Natasha, Clint, and Scott, will be getting the Mind Stone. SHIELD, or HYDRA, will be arriving to collect the Space and Mind Stones once we've apprehended Loki on Stark Tower. We only need the Mind Stone, so we'll have to do anything we can to get it."
"Five people for one Stone? Really?" Clint questioned.
"Well, there's plenty that could easily go wrong," Natasha explained. "We've got HYDRA agents. Bruce was still in Hulk form, so he could get angry and create chaos. And who knows? Loki could escape somehow."
"Gotcha," Tony said. "But I think we'll be fine."
"Did you forget that I knocked you out because I was angry about taking the stairs?" Bruce questioned him.
"Wait, that happened?" Tony asked.
Thor chimed in, "Yep. That happened. I remember I tried to zap you back to life with my hammer. Luckily for you, that didn't happen." The Avengers giggled thinking about that, much to Tony's confusion, as well as the three Guardians' confusion.
"Back to the plan," Steve continued. "Onto the Power and Reality Stones. Thor and the Guardians will be transported to 2013 on the Planet Knowhere. I'll let them decide if they want to get both Stones together or if they split up to get the Power Stone on Planet Morag."
"I am Groot?" said Groot, translated by Quill as "Why transport to Knowhere?"
"Because we'll have ships on Knowhere we can use," Nebula explained. "We won't have any ships on Morag."
"I think we should all go together, for the same reasons Natasha said," Quill stated. "Things could go wrong."
"It's true," Thor elaborated. "We'll be transporting to when my Asgardian friends Sif and Volstagg were handing the Reality Stone to the Collector. My 2013 self was also there on the Asgardian ship. I wanted to go to and explore space at the time."
"You're right," Nebula responded. "We don't want things to go wrong."
Quill continued, "Okay, we're getting the Reality Stone on Knowhere first, then we're going to Morag for the Power Stone."
"Great! We got all of that settled," Natasha said.
"Next, we Avengers are going to use one of our extra Pym Particles to go to Vormir in 2013," Bruce continued. "Thor and the Guardians can use a ship from Knowhere."
"As much as we don't want to sacrifice ourselves, we have to agree on who to sacrifice for the Soul Stone, before we finally go through with it," Steve told everyone.
"Then we'll all transport back here at the Compound in 2023," Natasha continued. "And finally, Tony already has an Infinity Gauntlet made and prepared for the Stones once we come back."
"I believe that's everything," Bruce said. "I think we're all ready, guys."
Everyone left the meeting room nervous and uncertain, but also excited and determined. This was finally happening.
The Avengers and Guardians were gathered at the hangar, where the time travel machine was finished. Everyone had been suited in their special time travel suits. Even Groot had a suit, albeit a tall, skinny and flexible suit for an alien tree creature. The suits looked cool for everyone, though admittedly uncomfortable since the suits were over everyone's own regular personal suits and costumes. As Tony and Bruce were finalizing and preparing the machine for the Time Heist, everyone else was talking amongst themselves. Nebula talked with Natasha and Clint since they all had dark criminal pasts (for Clint it was very recent). Quill acted as a translator for Scott who was having talking with Groot; Scott was curious about alien life.
Steve approached Thor, "You ready?"
"Truthfully, no. But, what am I going to do? It's time I face up to this and do the right thing," Thor responded.
"That's the spirit," Steve complimented. "So...about Quill?"
"You're still onto that, huh?" Thor said. "Well, you're right about me being crazy in love with him."
"So you're going to tell him?" Steve asked.
"Yes. But after the mission," Thor reaffirmed. "I just want to focus on this Time Heist."
"I understand," Steve said.
"Remember when I said I wanted you to officiate me and Quill's wedding?" Thor asked him.
"Umm...Yeah?" Steve replied. "Where are you going with this?"
"I changed my mind. I'm going to name my son after you," Thor explained. "That's how much I appreciate your friendship."
"Wow, I'm flattered," Steve chuckled. "Steve Quill...Steve Odinson...I like the sound of that."
Thor asked him another question, "Have you ever thought about getting married and having kids?"
"Yes...with Peggy," Steve responded.
"You're always going on and on about you and Peggy," Thor chuckled.
The two were joined by Quill. Scott was explaining his alien knowledge to Natasha and Clint, while Groot rejoined Nebula the same way a dog joined its owner.
"What's up, guys?" Quill chimed in.
"We were just discussing Steve still being obsessed with Peggy," Thor replied.
"Oh, the one that got away, huh?" Quill asked Steve.
"Well, I'm technically the one that got away," Steve responded. "It's what happens when you get frozen in time and reawaken in the 21st century. You miss your chance."
"I never got frozen in time, but I can relate, man," Quill told Steve. "Being on 21st Century Earth has been a lot."
"You could say that I'm frozen in time," Thor added. "I'm 1505 years old, after all."
"Wait, you're 1505 years old?" Quill was shocked. "Shut the front door." He thought to himself, how the hell could he be in a potential relationship with an immortal god who's lived over 1000 years? In contrast, he was turning 43. Unbeknownst to Quill, Thor himself didn't consider their age gap either. Thor didn't like the idea of being in a relationship with the love of his life that would only last a fraction of his life.
"Well, you're half-Celestial, aren't you, Quill?" Thor tried to soften the shock. "Celestials are immortal, which means you could be immortal yourself, Quill."
"Let's fucking hope so," Quill tried to feel optimistic.
"Okay, let's all just agree that the three of us look great for our respective ages," Steve said.
"And that the three of us are the best-looking men here," Thor added.
The three chuckled to themselves. It was true.
Tony and Bruce were done. Everyone gathered together for one last pep talk before Operation Time Heist officially began.
Rhodey began the conversation, "Alright, we know what we're doing?"
"That's right," Nebula said. "Five Stones. Three Teams."
"We have three rounds of Pym Particles each. Extra for any emergencies that occur," Bruce added.
"This is our one shot," Natasha stated. "This is our chance to save everyone, once and for all."
"As Doctor Strange told me before he snapped...we're in the endgame now," Tony added. A rare moment of sincere seriousness from Tony after he came back.
The Avengers and Guardians gathered in a circle on the time travel machine. They're terrified but determined. They're nervous but excited. They're scared but proud.
"Five years ago, we lost," Steve led the charge. "All of us. We've lost friends, we've lost family, we've lost a part of ourselves. Today, we have a chance to take it all back. You know your teams, you know your missions. Get the stones, get them back. No mistakes, no do-overs. Most of us are going somewhere we know. That doesn't mean you should know what to expect. Be careful, look out for each other. This is the fight of our lives. and we're gonna win. Whatever it takes. Good luck."
Everyone united their fists together during Steve's speech. They weren't just Earth's mightiest heroes anymore. They were now the universe's mightiest heroes.
"I am Groot," Groot smiled.
"Yes, he is pretty good at triumphant speeches," Quill agreed and translated.
"I know right?" Scott responded, prompting everyone else to smile.
"You're the first Avenger for a reason, Steve," Clint added.
"And our leader," Thor also added, much to Steve's delight.
Tony rolled his eyes. "Okay, alright. Let's go, team. You heard the Captain."
Everyone went to their position. Deep breaths from everyone.
"Stroke those keys, Jolly Green," Tony told Bruce. One last joke from Tony. Bruce finished the right coordinates and codes before moving back to starting positions. "Tractors engaged," Bruce said.
Thor and Quill looked at each other. "Let's do this," Thor tells him.
"Together," Quill replied. They smiled at each other, nodding their heads. It's too late to turn back now. But they had to do this, for the future of all.
Natasha and Rhodey turned to see Clint holding a Hawk ornament. He was doing this for his family.
"You promise to bring that back in one piece, right?" Rhodey asked him.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, okay. I'll do my best," Clint replied.
"See you guys in a minute," Natasha smiled.
Bruce pressed the button on his suit. This was it. This was happening.
Helmets on. The time machine glowed as it was shifting its gears and mechanics. This was it. This was happening.
It all begins now. 5...4...3...2...1... Operation Time Heist was officially a go.
This is it! The (new and improved) Time Heist has just begun!
Just a reminder that this fic is specifically mostly from Peter Quill and Thor's perspectives (since this is also partially a ThorQuill relationship fic). So I won't be going into the two other teams for the Time Heist.
Teaser for the next chapter:
-Return to Planet Knowhere!
-Old friends and old habits.
-Things go wrong very quickly for Thor and Quill during their mission for the Reality Stone...but things also turn out great for them.
Writing this next chapter is gonna take a while, so be patient. I promise it'll be worth the wait.
Chapter 9: (K)nowhere
Thor, Quill and the Guardians officially begin their part of the Time Heist mission on Planet Knowhere. The Reality Stone was the first Stone they needed to get. However, things go wrong very quickly, as old faces and old habits resurface.
Planet Knowhere, 2013 (Earth Year).
Thor, Quill, Nebula and Groot had been successfully transported, here and now. The Time Heist had officially begun. The four switched out of their Time Travel suits to their regular suits. It was the Reality Stone they needed to get from the Collector first. Knowhere, the City Planet for shady aliens, was buzzing around just like it would be a year later when the Guardians would have fought Ronan the Accuser (and Nebula) over the Power Stone. It was just as dirty as the Guardians remembered it. Spaceships, small and large, flying around. Blocks of buildings: homes, bars, stores, repair stations, you name it. All the rich people and criminals meeting together for shady business dealings. So many memories of being a space pirate with Yondu, before the Guardians became a thing. But being a space pirate, or a space criminal in general, meant also having many enemies.
"We have to do this quickly. The three of us were space criminals at this point in time," Nebula told Thor.
"She's right. We've made plenty of enemies," added Quill.
"I am Groot," added Groot, translating to, "And we might as well have targets on our heads."
"Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!" said Thor.
The four made their way through Knowhere, heading for the Collector's Museum. The Museum was in its better days since it would be a year before it would be destroyed by the Power Stone. Thor noticed the Asgardian ship that landed in front of the Museum. Sif, Volstagg and 2013 Thor were just now arriving to hand the Reality Stone to the Collector. The four hid in the alleyway behind the bar that was nearby the ship and the Museum. Sif, Volstagg and 2013 Thor emerged from the ship. Someone had to think of a plan.
"Thor, are you okay with knocking yourself out?" Quill asked. He was usually the planner, but this time he was stressed out more than ever.
"If it means things don't go wrong quickly, then yes," Thor answered.
"I am Groot," said Groot, tapping on Quill's shoulder
"What?" Quill whispered. He turns and notices the Wanted posters of himself on the walls across the streets. And they used a really dumb photo of him as well. He just remembered that he was on the run from Yondu since he went off on to make his own money. The Ravagers were also after him, not to mention the galactic authorities and bounty hunters. "Fuck. I can't be seen here."
"Well, you can't be seen anywhere on this damn planet right now," Nebula added.
"So what now?" Thor asked him. The four saw that Sif and Volstagg were being escorted into the Museum by the Collector's pink assistant Carina. 2013 Thor was standing around to guard the Asgardian ship. His 2013 self was greeting anyone who passed by the ship. 2023 Thor couldn't be seen either. It didn't help that 2023 Thor was carrying Stormbreaker on his back, which meant it would be easy to get unwanted attention.
"Umm...Nebula and Groot. You two go in the Museum and get the Reality Stone from the Collector," Quill finally had a plan to explain. "Just threaten him or knock him out, 2013 Nebula wouldn't have any problem doing either of those things. Thor and I will keep on the lookout. Neither of us can risk being seen."
"Fine by me," Nebula replied. "You know me quite well, Star-Lord. Come on, Groot."
"I am Groot," said Groot, translated to "Let's go."
Nebula and Groot nonchalantly walked past the 2013 Thor and the Asgardian ship. "I am Groot," smiled the 2013 Thor. "I am Groot," Groot waved and greeted back. 2013 Thor did not question the two when they walked into the Museum. 2013 Thor was quite naive, much to 2023 Thor's embarrassment. But they had bigger things to deal with.
Five minutes passed. Thor and Quill kept waiting for Nebula and Groot to come out with the Stone. Things seemed to be going nowhere.
"So that's what you used to look like, huh?" Quill asked him.
"Yep, that was what Thor the God of Thunder looked like in his prime," Thor responded.
"You've barely aged. You looked good even then."
"Thanks, but it's only been 10 years. Though I'm starting to prefer the current short hair, I look good either way."
"I agree, man." Quill couldn't help but think if Thor was too good for him. He was perfect even then. Thor himself couldn't help but think Quill really is into him from what he's been saying.
The two turn and notice several galactic scoundrels looking at the Wanted posters across the streets. They didn't think about ripping the posters off. There could have been more posters around Knowhere, for all they knew. The scoundrels were heading towards their direction. Bounty hunting criminals or Ravagers, either way, this was bad.
"Shit! What do we do?" Quill whispered.
Thor had an idea. He just wasn't sure if it was the right idea. "Quill, do you trust me?" he asked him.
"What? What are you going to do?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Yes?" Quill was scared of what Thor had planned.
Thor threw Quill against the bar wall, wrapped himself around him, grabbed his face...and kissed him. Both closed their eyes. Quill couldn't believe what was happening. This was Thor's plan. Not what he expected. He did not expect Thor's lips to be pressed on his. Still, Quill had to play along. He got what Thor was doing. Thor continued to kiss him. Quill laid his own hands Thor's arms, while Thor kept his hands on Quill's face. This kiss was much more passionate they either wanted or expected for a stealth move. The kiss was good. Very good. Luckily for them, the scoundrels ignored them as they passed by. "Get a room you two," they overhead one of them say. Thor finally let go of Quill. The two were speechless as to what Thor did, staring at each other's eyes in confusion. And then Quill realised something...
"Um...we could have just put on the time travel suits...so no one could see our faces," Quill said nervously.
"Well shit," Thor replied. "Well, it's too late for that then."
"Aaah, how romantic..." they heard a deep voice. The two turn to see 2013 Thor walking towards them. "Do I know..." It all sinks in that 2013 Thor is looking at himself.
"Fucking shit," Quill says as he draws his blasters. 2013 Thor brings his arm out for Mjolnir. 2023 Thor finally draws out Stormbreaker. 2013 Thor swings Mjolnir towards 2023 Thor, who blocks it with Stormbreaker. The block creates electric sparks, giving Quill the chance to blast 2013 Thor with an electric stun. Mjolnir drops onto the ground. 2013 Thor tries to get up before 2023 Thor fully knocks him out with the bottom of Stormbreaker's handle.
"Damn," Quill sighed out.
"Come on, just bring him onto the ship before anyone suspects us," Thor said.
"Yeah, and we gotta put on our time travel suits," Quill responded as he switched on his time travel suit. 2023 Thor had already lifted 2013 Thor off the ground before he could switch on his suit. Before they can switch their helmets on and before they can reach the ship...
"Oh, come on..." Quill uttered, looking at the Museum. Thor turned around. "Shit," he said. Sif and Volstagg were just out of the Museum and were just looking at them. Things went wrong way too quickly. Sif and Volstagg walked towards them. Thor never thought he would see either of them again. Volstagg was killed by Hela, while Sif was imprisoned by Loki (As Odin) and presumably died during Asgard's destruction. 2013 was the height of Thor's happy heroic life. Those were better days for him.
"Thor? Or is it you, Loki?" Sif questioned.
"No, it's me. I'm Thor from the future," 2023 Thor responded.
"What happened to your hair, Thor?" Volstagg was astounded by Thor's new appearance.
"It's a new look," Thor replied. "Oh right, Sif and Volstagg, this is my new half-Midgardian half-Celestial friend Star-Lord, or Peter Quill which is his real name. Peter Quill, these are two of my Asgardian warrior friends Sif and Volstagg."
"Hey," Quill awkwardly waved his hand, while Sif and Volstagg waved back.
"Thor, did you just say that he was a half-Celestial?" Sif asked. "I'm impressed."
"Yes, he's half-Celestial...wait, what do you mean 'impressed'?" Thor responded.
"What happened to you, Thor? You seem very different" Volstagg asked.
"Uhhh..." Thor wasn't sure how to answer.
"We failed to save the universe," Quill bluntly answered for him. "The Mad Titan known as Thanos decimated half of all life in the universe using the Six Infinity Stones and the Infinity Gauntlet before he destroyed the Stones so it can't be reversed."
"It was actually both of our mistakes that allowed him to win," Thor finally uttered with shame and brutal honesty.
"I see that both of you have been hardened by what happened," Sif said. "I'm very sorry."
"Why are you here? To run from your mistakes?" Volstagg asked.
"We're on a mission with the Avengers to take the Stones from the past and bring them back to our present, so we can bring everyone back," Quill answered.
"You two want to make things right and save the universe, huh?" Volstagg told them. "Thor, you've always been the one who runs towards the fight and not run from them."
"Well, running towards the fight was how we made our mistakes," Thor told him. "This is why I shouldn't be a King or a leader. Even though I'm Thor, son of Odin and the God of Thunder, I've failed too many times when I'm not supposed to."
"But you've never given up on a fight, Thor," Sif responded. "You've never backed down. Failure doesn't define who we are. And this mission you're doing, you're doing it because it's the right thing to do."
"You may not be a King or a leader, but you've always been a hero for Asgard," Volstagg added. "And you'll always be a great warrior, judging from that big new hammer of yours."
"The measure of a person as a hero is how well they succeed at being who they are," Sif told him. "Your mother once told us that."
"Yes, she did. Thank you," Thor nodded his head. "I miss her so much."
"We all do," Sif replied. "Not so much your friend, but I'm sure he's lost people too."
Thor and Quill smiled at that comment. Quill was happy at the sight of Thor regaining his confidence again.
"By the way, what's with this new hammer of yours?" Volstagg asked.
"Uhhh..." Thor hesitated to tell them about Hela's return and Asgard's destruction. "Mjolnir got destroyed. So Stormbreaker here was made specifically to kill someone like Thanos."
"Wait, what do you mean Mjolnir got destroyed?" Volstagg questioned in shock.
"It's a long story, and I'd rather not tell you," Thor told him. "You know, time travel."
"Speaking of which, we need the Reality Stone," Quill told Sif and Volstagg.
"Yes, we need the Aether, we need it to repair our future," Thor added.
"Umm...we already handed it to the Collector," Sif told them.
"So..." Quill uttered. This was awkward.
"I am Groot!" Thor and Quill heard Groot's voice. The two turn to see Groot, waving at the two, and Nebula, holding the Reality Stone in the Asgardian case, arriving from the Collector's Museum.
"Well, there's that," said Quill.
"What's going on now?" Nebula questioned.
"Oh, this is fine," Thor forgot about the 2013 Thor who he knocked unconscious. "Sorry about this. I'll leave him to you."
"No problem. You have a mission to do," said Volstagg.
"Oh, and here's Mjolnir," Thor grabbed Mjolnir to hand back to the 2013 Thor. Wait...Thor was holding Mjolnir. Quill turned to see Thor holding Mjolnir. They both widened their eyes, realising what this meant. Groot and Nebula were just confused that Thor and Quill were not focused on the Reality Stone or the mission, along with Sif and Volstagg. Thor smiled. He was worthy again, despite all of his failures.
"I'm worthy. I'm still worthy," Thor chuckled into laughter and tears of utter joy. Thor's joy made Quill smile.
"Thor! Quill! We knocked out the Collector to get the Stone," Nebula told them.
"Oh, right, we got the Reality Stone," Quill said. "Let's go, Thor. It was nice to meet you, Sif and Volstagg."
"It was a pleasure to meet a half-Celestial," Sif responded.
"I'm taking Mjolnir with me. We'll be back to return Mjolnir and the Aether," Thor smiled.
"I am Groot," said Groot, translated to, "We don't want to create serious consequences from this time-travel stuff."
"Alright, off you go then. Be what you meant to be, Thor. Be the hero the future needs," Volstagg told Thor.
"Your story isn't over yet. There's still so many pages and chapters left," Sif added.
"Thank you for everything," Thor smiled and hugged both Sif and Volstagg goodbye. "It was a pleasure to fight alongside you," Thor would truly miss the two, knowing their unfortunate fates.
"It was a pleasure to fight alongside you too," Sif and Volstagg bid farewell, waving at Thor. The four Guardians finally left, as they all (except Nebula) waved back at Sif and Volstagg.
"Now what?" Volstagg asked Sif, with 2013 Thor still laying on the ground.
"He'll be here. Time-travel, remember?" Sif replied.
The four have the Reality Stone in their hands. One Stone down. They needed a spaceship to get to their next Stone, the Power Stone in Morag.
"What happened back there? You messed things up, didn't you" Nebula questioned Thor and Quill.
"Well, yes and no," Quill gave an unsatisfying answer.
"It was fine. We still got the Reality Stone. Just a bit of a mix-up, that's all," Thor added.
"I am Groot," asked Groot, translated to "What's with the hammer?"
"Oh, this?" This was my weapon before Stormbreaker," Thor replied. "Ah, it's nice to have Mjolnir back again."
"You're bringing it back when we're returning the Reality Stone," said Nebula.
"I know, I know," Thor sighed.
Quill smiled. He was happy to know that Thor was feeling much better.
As for Thor himself, he knew his purpose again. It didn't matter in the end anymore if he was meant to lead Asgard as King. All that mattered now was that he was one of many heroes that the universe needed right now. The fact that he was able to wield Mjolnir again meant that he was ready for what was coming. Mjolnir and Stormbreaker. He really was the great warrior that Volsatgg said he was. He was now absolutely confident that he, along with the Avengers and Guardians would make things right and repair their future. And it was thanks to Sif. Thanks to Volstagg. Thanks to the Avengers and Guardians. And most importantly, thanks to Quill. Yep, he was definitely going to be his boyfriend.
Sorry for the delay for this Chapter. I just came up with and finished my alternate fic "Five Years: Quill and Odinson" (accessible through the "Quill and Odinson" series link). Also, I've been thinking about an idea for another potential fic.
Teaser for next chapter:
- Sparks between Thor and Quill on they're way to Morag.
- Come and get your love!
- Things also go wrong on Morag (things become close to the actual canon events of Endgame).
Chapter 10: He Knows
More sparks fly between Quill and Thor as the Guardians journey to Morag for the Power Stone. However, a major threat to their mission presents itself, potentially endangering the entire Time Heist operation, as well as one of their own.
Nebula was quick to steal a large ship from Knowhere, so the Guardians could fly to Morag. The location of the Power Stone. Their part of the mission was halfway done, now that they have the Reality Stone. Standard ship - four seats, working engines, fast enough for the mission. Groot had the Reality Stone case hidden inside his own body for safekeeping. Quill was quick to call dibs on the pilot's seat before Nebula and Groot could take it. Quill missed piloting spaceships for the five years following the Snap, so he wasn't going to miss the opportunity. Like a gentleman, Quill gave the other front seat for Thor. Plus, it also meant that he could also show and impress Thor with his damn good piloting moves. This was not the Milano, so it wasn't ideal, and they had an important job to do. And if any of them (more specifically he and Thor) made another single mistake that could compromise the mission, they could fail to save the universe yet again. They already made a few mistakes in Knowhere and they were lucky that things didn't get worse. They were not going to risk it again.
Quill was just happy that Thor was sitting next to him. Thor was all he could think about after Thor kissed him in Knowhere. He still wasn't sure if Thor's move was a genuine diversion move for the mission or an excuse to be romantic by kissing him. If it was the latter, then it sure worked on Quill. He was in love with Thor at this point, as much as Thor was a bit of a dummy. To be fair, he was also a bit of a dummy, more so five years ago. From the kiss, Quill now knows that Thor loves him back. He hadn't felt this kind of romantic love since, well, Gamora. Quill would never forget the memories he had with Gamora before she died. But it was time he moved on, and Thor was without a doubt the person he wanted to be with. Gamora would be happy knowing that Quill found someone who could make him happy as she did, Quill thought. It was true that Thor made him happy. Deep down, he also knew it was the same the other way around.
The ship lifts off into hyperspace. Set destination to Morag.
"Aww, yeah. Back in the pilot's seat," Quill announced proudly.
"Do you know how to fly this particular ship?" questioned Nebula.
"I'm the best freaking pilot in the galaxy," Quill proudly replied.
"I am Groot," said Groot, translating to, "Rocket always said that he's the best pilot."
"Well, he's always wrong," Quill replied.
"I am Groot. I am Groot," translated to, "I miss him. I miss everyone."
"I miss them too, Groot," Quill told Groot. "I kinda do miss our bickering, our arguments, our family."
"We're gonna bring them back," Nebula assured Groot. "For Gamora."
"For Gamora. For everyone," Quill added.
"For everyone," Thor added.
Quill smiled at him in response. Thor may not have been with his Avengers family, but he did like being around the Guardians family. He felt welcomed by them, especially by Quill. Perhaps he could find a new home with the Guardians. Perhaps this was where he could start a new chapter in his life, once this Time Heist was over and done with. Not that the Avengers weren't his family, but there was only so much he could do on Earth, and also there didn't seem to be any new threats from the Nine Realms. Earth and the Avengers will be fine without him, he was sure of it. What was the next logical step for a Norse god of thunder? Outer space.
Several minutes passed. Eventually, everyone became a bit impatient that they're still not at Morag yet.
"Any other threats we should worry about?" Thor asked the Guardians. "Any threats on Morag?"
"Probably not," Nebula answered. "Morag is an abandoned place. Ronan the Accuser and his Kree soldiers wouldn't be there for the Space Stone until 2014, a year from now."
"I guess maybe the Ravagers, but they're probably quite far from Morag," Quill added.
"Let's hope that someone worse doesn't get there first," Nebula continued.
"Like who?" Thor asked.
"My past self, Gamora's past self, and of course, Thanos' past self," Nebula answered.
"Worthy threats indeed," Quill responded. The possibility of seeing Gamora's past self, before she fully became good, was especially worrying.
As much as Quill was impatient that they didn't arrive on Morag yet, Quill missed being in space. Space was his home. His true home. Even though this wasn't Thor's first time in space, he took in the enormity of outer space, as the ship was travelling through the glowing stars and colourful space clouds. It took his breath away.
"So this was you see every day when you're in space," Thor told Quill.
"Yeah," Quill responded. "Space may be neverending, empty and kinda scary, but all of this - it's just beautiful, isn't it? Every single star is a planet or a moon. There's always so much to explore in this galaxy. So much danger, so much adventure, so much life, so much beauty."
The space clouds and shining stars lit up the ship's front window, casting colourful lights on Quill and Thor's faces. Thor turned to face Quill, who is smiling and driving the ship with sexy confidence. His dashing figure had become illuminated, turning him into an image of magical handsomeness.
"You call yourself, Star-Lord, right?" Thor asked him.
"What? It was what my mother called me," Quill replied.
"I can see why, Quill," Thor said to him. "I can see the stars in your eyes...and they're beautiful...just like you are."
Quill turned to face Thor himself. He could say the same thing about Thor. He just didn't expect that kind of admission of attraction from Thor. Quill and Thor kept staring into each other's eyes, speechless as if they were silently confirming their mutual affection and attraction towards each other.
The windows began to quickly darken. The shadows from the bright stars quickly faded.
"Quill!" Nebula shouted. "QUILL!"
Quill turned back at the windows. "What?" They were quickly heading Morag's surface.
"Oh, SHIT!" Quill shouted, as he quickly pushed on the brakes to slow the ship down.
Everyone braced themselves for impact as Quill brought the ship to a grinding halt, landing the ship onto Morag. The ship was close to crashing on the surface, but it landed "safely" on Morag without any major accidents.
"We're here on Morag," Quill said nervously.
"You almost killed us, Quill," Nebula told him.
"I am Groot, I am Groot," said Groot, translating to, "Rocket, or even Nebula, wouldn't have done that."
"You guys made your point," Quill sighed out, as they all got up their seats and exited the ship.
"I'm so sorry, Quill," Thor told him, genuinely guilty about distracting him. "I didn't intend to..."
"No, no, I'm the pilot," Quill replied. "I should have been paying better attention to piloting the ship."
Quill was just frustrated at himself for almost making another mistake and putting them in danger.
The four were lucky that Quill landed the ship pretty close to the abandoned Morag temple where the Space Stone was. They needed to get to the Space Stone. The Time Heist was the priority. Frankly, Quill didn't want to be an idiot anymore after almost killing everyone. But... Quill remembered how his 2014 self would have been singing dancing to "Come and Get Your Love" by Redbone while getting to the Space Stone. The stakes were low at the time and he didn't know about the Space Stone back then.
Quill began to hum to the tunes of "Come and Get Your Love," as the Guardians made their way to the temple. He couldn't help himself. Music was who he was. Understandably, Nebula was quick to roll her eyes and ignore him. She was focused on the Space Stone. Thor and Groot turned to look at Quill. Quill smirked back as kept humming - he would occasionally sing the lyric "Come and Get Your Love". He was a bit embarrassed but non-apologetic. Thor and Groot smiled at Quill's cute passionate humming. Groot saw the fun Star-Lord from when they first became the Guardians, the good-natured good-hearted hero he was willing to fight with. For Thor, he saw a man didn't care what others thought of him. A man who cared about what he loved. A man who knew how to love - music, movies, family, friends, people, even when he and his Guardians were bickering over petty things, even when he and Yondu didn't have the most ideal father-son relationship. Quill knew how to love better than anyone. That's why found love so painful, after losing so many of the things and people he loved. Thor didn't realise this until now. And he realised he had the same problem - Odin was not the wisest father in hindsight, Loki happily betrayed him many times, Frigga died too soon, he and Jane Foster broke up, Asgard was built on tragedy. Thor cared too much...until he had to move on. It was too easy for either Quill or him to love. For the first time, Thor began to doubt if his love for Quill could last. Not only because Quill may not live as long as him, but he feared that tragedy and betrayal would break him all over again. Quill knew too.
The four finally arrived at the Morag temple. Quill did have the device he needed to unlock and open the temple doors. Luckily, Groot was able to unlock it with his tree branch hands. The temple was dark but there no traps and no dead skeletons around. The only light source came from the lights in Quill's blasters, and the glowing force field that protected the Orb that had the Space Stone locked inside of it.
"So how do you want to do this?" Quill asked everything. "I don't have the device that would allow us to safely get the Orb out of that force field."
"What happens if we do use our hands?" Thor asked Quill.
"Your arm gets burned off, I assume," Quill replied.
"I think I can get the Orb out," Nebula said confidently.
"I am Groot," said Groot, translating to, "Your arm will get burned off by that thing."
"My limbs are not made of flesh and bone," Nebula responded. "At least, not anymore."
"Careful then," Quill told her. Nebula was right. She was still a living organism but she part machine because of what Thanos did to her in the past.
Nebula pushed her left hand and arm into the Orb. Her arm was burning but the hand was mostly machine. She grabbed the Orb and successfully pulled it out of the force field. As the force field turned itself off, Nebula handed the Orb to Groot. All that was left of her arm and hand was the machine bones, but they were still functional hands.
"I am Groot. I am Groot," said Groot, translating to, "We have the Space Stone and the Reality Stone now. Both safe and sound."
"We did our part of the mission," Thor said. "And it's a complete success."
"If you guys hadn't made your mistakes then it would have been more successful," Nebula snarkily remarked.
"Okay, but still, we've done our part well," Quill added. "But we all have to get to our last stop."
"Vormir," Thor added.
"For the Soul Stone," Nebula continued.
"I am Groot," translated to, "What are we waiting for? Let's go."
"Yep. Let's go. Assuming that the Avengers haven't messed anything up, they're probably waiting," Thor said.
The four started to exit the Morag temple, heading towards the ship, but all of a sudden...
The lights beside Nebula's eyes started to flash. Nebula collapsed onto the floor, breathing heavily and quickly, and started screaming from her apparent malfunction. Quill, Groot and Thor ran to her aid as she shook on the floor.
"Nebula, what's going on? What's happening to you?" Quill shouted with concern.
He got his answer when Nebula's lights projected a hologram display, lighting up the room. Projecting in the hologram was Thanos and Gamora - from the clothing and armour, they were the versions from 2013 before the Guardians came together in 2014, versions before either Gamora or Nebula left Thanos' side. They heard the voices of 2013 Thanos, Gamora, Nebula and Ebony Maw. It all dawned on the four Guardians, their eyes widening in shock, as the hologram projection continued. Thanos knows. About his victory in the "future". About his death. About their plan to stop him and save everyone. The hologram display ended, along with Nebula's malfunctioning shaking.
"Oh my God," Quill sighed out in shock
"He knows," Nebula breathed out. "He knows. Thanos knows about what's happening"
"No, no, no, this can't be happening," Thor uttered. "This can't be happening." His despair over potentially failing the mission had returned.
"I am Groot," translated yo, "He's going to come for us."
"The mission has been compromised. This is what we feared would happen," Nebula worryingly uttered.
"What do we do now?" Thor asked.
"We have to tell the others," Quill answered anxiously. "Thanos is coming. We have to be prepared."
"Groot, take both the Stones and go back to 2023 now," Nebula told Groot.
"I am Groot, translated to, "What about you, Nebula?"
"Leave me here. I can't go with the rest of you," Nebula replied.
"Why?" Thor asked.
"My network is connecting 2013 Nebula's networks. I am their beacon," she explained. "He'll surely be coming for me. And we can't let him get to you guys."
"She's right. We have to leave her. And Groot has to go back with the Stones now," Quill agreed.
"I am Groot. I am Groot," shouted Groot, translating to, "We can't leave her. She's one of us."
"I'm sorry, but we don't have any other choice," Quill told Groot. "We can't let Thanos win and get to us."
"And none of us could ever have expected this to happen, not even me," Nebula told Groot. "And now we have to complete the mission...to save everyone. That's our mission."
"And what about me and Quill?" Thor asked. "What do we do?"
"We're both going to Vormir to tell the others," Quill told him.
"Right," Thor sighed out. He was not calm. Nobody was calm.
"You all have to go now," Nebula commanded. "Thanos could be coming right now."
"Alright," Quill uttered. "Groot? Take the Stones now."
Groot took the Orb and put it inside him along with the Aether container. Groot was apprehensive of all of this but it had to be done.
"I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot," said Groot. "I'll see you all back in 2023. And if any of you don't make it, it's been an honour, saving the galaxy with all of you."
"Thank you," Nebula said, as the rest of them nodded their heads at Groot with love and respect.
"We'll be there," Thor told Groot. "Whatever it takes."
"Go, Groot," Nebula said. "Everyone, go."
Groot nodded his head. "We are Groot," he uttered his final words.
Groot switched his time travel suit on. He pressed the button and teleported away.
"Let's go, Thor, come on," Quill said.
Thor and Quill left Nebula alone at the temple, running back to the ship. None of them wanted this to happen but there was no other choice. None of them could have anticipated this. None of them could believe this was happening. The clouds on Morag darkened. Thanos knows. Operation Time Heist is in imminent danger.
I didn't expect this chapter to be as long. But the more the merrier.
Teaser for next chapter:
- Thor and Quill need more comfort
- Steve meets Red Skull
- Who will die for the Soul Stone?