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Darlin'

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It’s not often there was cause to stay planetside. Because of it, you’d come to crave things that you’d taken for granted before; fresh air, the feeling of soil underfoot, the strange sounds of the local fauna. While all the other Ravengers were doing their petty business as Kraglin got fuel, you strayed from the crowd toward the opposite of civilisation. Sure, spending a few credits on some company for a night was a comfort to some, but when there was a place to explore…that was your calling. 

Five credits exchanged for a holo-map proved fruitful; after just under an hour’s trek had you in an exquisite place, climbing through a neglected path to a seemingly untouched oasis. The planet’s three moons were starting to show in varying heights off of the horizon; the clouds were coloured like webbed sugar, and the closest star was setting upon the water. It reminded you somewhat of a postcard, with cursive text reading wish you were here! But it was real. 

Moving toward the water, you saw the ocean in the distance, the waves visible at this distance. But closer, there was a pool, cradled by a rock formation that reminded you of a mother’s embrace, shielding the water from harm. Several alien animals scurried around your feet and taking a breath in, you let a peaceful feeling wash over you.

“‘Was wondering where yer got to,” a familiar voice spoke. 

Turning, you roll your eyes. He’s hardly graceful clomping through the trees and underbrush of this planet, but Yondu approaches you with a hesitance that you can’t put your finger on. Usually, your captain was a curt man; straightforward but lenient, crass but fair. Before you can ask how he found you, he gestures to your satchel.

“Yer got my arrow.” 

Opening your bag, you see the yaka arrow stashed beside your sketchbook, glowing a vibrant crimson. As soon as the flap is pushed far enough, it vibrates at Yondu’s command — and flies into his awaiting fist. 

“Huh,” you itch at your neck, watching him carefully. “I wonder how that got there.” 

Yondu’s indigo blush is all that he says on the matter. Wordlessly, he nears you, and for once, you feel the formalities as a deckhand to a captain fall from your mind. Right now, there is no ship; he is not your superior. You’re just two people, standing in the middle of a wonderful, beautiful, strange place, and for it, your heart beats a little faster. 

As he inspects the critters that nip at his boots, you move toward the rock face and begin to scale it. There are notches here and there that suggest that it has been climbed before, and following its lead, you hoist yourself upward. It’s not until you’re halfway to the peak when Yondu speaks up. 

“You tryin’ to get away?” He squints your way. The setting sun is behind you, and you can’t imagine purposely looking into it. But there he is. “I swear I tooka bath yes’day.” 

“You stink just fine,” you laugh. You grunt in frustration as you almost slip, but with two final pulls upward, you make it to the climax. “Aren’t you coming up?” You challenge him. 

Taking out your art book, you start putting in the lines for the horizon, setting up the scene for what hopefully will preserve your memory of this place for when you forget it as time moves on. Your hands ache a little, your thumb bleeding a little, but applying healing salve — a lifesaver purchase from some alien junkyard — it starts to heal on its own. By the time Yondu reaches you, plants himself beside you, the majority of the details of the sketch are in. 

“Pretty,” he says. 

“Yeah, this planet is,” you agree. “Wish we could stay longer.” 

He chuckles. “I wasn’t talkin’ about that, Darlin’.” 

Distracted, you push too hard on the pencil, and the graphite breaks upon the page. You feel a flush of mortification come over your face, heating it too. You look away from Yondu, unable to make eye contact.

He seems to notice your shyness, and backtracks, “Sorry if tha’s not okay - I jus’ think -,” 

You shove your sketchbook to the side, and before you feel commonsense take over you, you turn his way, throw your arms around his frame, and stop his words with your lips. The absence of his accent pains you, but the kiss is everything that you’d been pining for. He’s only shocked for a moment, but as he comes to, he kisses back, leaning into you, wrapping an arm around your waist. 

“___________,” he breathes. 

“Sorry for taking your Yaka arrow,” you say sheepishly, biting the inside of your cheek. 

He chuckles and leans in for a peck upon your cheek. “Darlin’, you can take my arrow any day,” he grins, his crooked teeth on display. “…but if we don’t git back to th’ ship, ‘m afraid we’ll be lef’ behind.” 

You start to gather your things, and murmur, just to him, “I don’t think Kraglin would leave us,” you speak up for his First Mate. 

He barks a laugh, amused at the thought. “Yer don’t know th’ things I’ve done to earn that from th’ man.” He gestures toward himself, and adds, “Okay, Darlin’, hold on tight. We ain’t climbing down.” 

“Oh?” You ask. But he doesn’t elaborate. 

As soon as your arms are secured around his shoulders, he whistles a familiar tune, and the Yaka arrow springs to life, hovering above his head. Instinctively, you flinch; it’s a weapon, first and foremost. But you know that Yondu would never hurt you with it. He lifts an arm to it, and he continues to whistle - and unlike anything you’ve ever done — rocket boots aside — you and Yondu fly down the cliffside, floating to solid ground on his arrow. 

As soon as the ground is beneath your feet once more, you look to him, amazed.

But he only grins, takes you in his arm, and starts the walk back to the ship. 

“C’mon now, ___________.” He says and boldly pecks your cheek once more. “Let’s go home.”