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Highway From Hell

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“Close the portal, he’s not coming back.” Rogers decided, his voice heavy with authority and grief. After a second of hesitation, Romanoff followed the order, closing the portal before Tony could come back. 

 

At the other side of the portal, Tony looked back and saw the portal closing. Shock and terror overcame him. JARVIS was speaking to him, but he couldn’t hear him over the erratic beating of his heart. Tony was distracted from his panic when the nuke reached the army, there was a fucking army over there, what the fuck, why are there so many, the nuke wouldn’t be enough, oh my god, what is he going to do if he’s stuck with them on space? JARVIS was speaking urgently to him, but the connection broke, Tony was alone in hostile territory. He didn’t have time to think before the shockwave sent him flying, damaging his suit and rendering him unconscious.  

 

He didn’t expect to wake up at all. But he did. At first, the dimmed light confused him, he wasn’t lying on his bed but a hard and cold floor. He called for JARVIS, but no voice answered. That made him open his eyes and sit up. He realized he was naked in a bare room. The room was gray and cold, the walls and the smooth floor was a reprieve for his battered body. At his side there was a bucket filled to the brim with water, aside from that, only a hole in one corner stood out. Tony had had enough experiences with being kidnapped through the years to push down the panic he felt and focus on the room instead. 

 

A more attentive glance around confirmed the room was bare of anything except the bucket and the hole. That didn’t sit well with him. There was a door, but it didn’t have a handle or anything that he could use to open it. He didn’t have his suit, and there wasn’t anything in here that he could use as a weapon. There were no windows, so he couldn’t identify what time it was or where he was, and the ceiling was too high for him to reach it even if he jumped. 

 

Tony sighed and resigned himself to wait. He sat there, back to the wall opposite the door, gazing at it. Trying to find a way out of this, he could break the bucket, but whatever material the bucket was made of, it was soft. Wouldn’t work even for a makeshift knife, not that he had anything to sharpen it. He was lost in his thoughts for a while. No matter how much he tried to think of anything, there was no way for him to escape without someone opening the door for him from the outside. But time passed, and it didn’t open, nor did he pick up any sounds coming from the other side. The room must be soundproof, it was that, or he was in an isolated place. He didn’t perceive how much time he spent looking at the door before he drifted back to sleep. 

 

When he woke up the door still hadn’t opened. 

 


 

He didn’t know how long he had been there. But he was sure it had been at least a few days. It was difficult to estimate time with no indicator, but his stomach needed some food, his body felt weak and his head was aching from hunger and dehydration. There was nothing he could do about that, so he tried not to think about the emptiness in his stomach and just drank as little water as possible. Enough to keep himself alive, but not enough to drink all of it too quickly, as per his calculations. He didn’t know how much time he’d stay locked up here, and he had the suspicion that whoever had kidnapped him wouldn’t care he was thirsty. The bucket was all he had for now. 



Tony was becoming impatient, waiting to find out what his captives wanted from him. Was he even back on Earth? Or had some alien kidnapped him after the portal closed? Was he at the hands of the aliens that had tried to invade Earth? He shivered at the possibility and shook his head, trying to shove that thought away. He didn’t quite manage. That only made him angry, here he was, cowering under an invisible enemy like a child. He gritted his teeth and growled at the door, which turned into a full scream of frustration. He immediately regretted it, damn his throat was sore. 

 

Tony calmed down, only to spiral into bleak thoughts he had been avoiding: The avengers and the portal. The portal closed as soon as he went through it. Why? Was the portal unstable? It was the only thing he could think of they closed it, they didn’t wait for you, they didn’t care was a malfunction, a portal like that was an experiment, it made sense that it closed on its own. After all, they didn’t need to close the portal before he came back, or at least not that soon. So it was the most logical option. Because even if the only person he somehow knew was Natashalie, and he didn’t trust her much. They wouldn’t do that to him. A treacherous thought whispered that they would. This time, he didn’t silence it. 

 

It hurt him to think that despite everything they would sacrifice him as if he wasn’t important, as if he was a mere pawn to be disposed of without a good reason to do so. As if he were an annoyance. Tony closed his eyes and tried to will these thoughts away to no avail. It wasn’t a surprise. In fact, he was shocked it had taken so much time for his thoughts to assault him. Oh, the past days haven’t been pleasant, the memories about his last kidnapping ever-present in his head. He rarely closed his eyes without seeing Yinsen dying, his last words haunting him. He couldn’t even talk to JARVIS since he had nothing on him, not even his watch. That made him feel more vulnerable than being naked did. 

 


 

Tony didn’t know how much time had passed, having slept most of it. Not that it made him feel rested anymore. He could see his ribs now and he would bet anything on how gaunt he looked now. Regardless of not knowing how long it had been, he knew he was sick of this. He needed to hear something, the silence was killing him. He didn’t know how much time had passed, having long ago given up on trying to estimate it. Tony was so hungry he could have eaten anything right now. Even though the smell of his urine and excrement made him nauseous, despite that he was sitting on the corner that was far away from the hole. The room was small enough for the smell to reach the whole room. 

 


 

Tony had gotten used to the smell by now, he couldn’t decide if he was relieved or not about that fact. On one hand, he didn’t feel constantly nauseous anymore. On the other hand, it meant he had spent too much time here. It felt like losing his dignity, and he shoved that thought away as soon as it came. He also didn’t want to think about how the pain of hunger had settled on his stomach, becoming a constant in his life. 

 


 

Tony started talking to himself; he talked about what he would do to the people that had kidnapped him; he didn’t murder when he didn’t have to, but right now the fantasy of making those who kidnapped him suffer, making them pay for what they were doing to him, maybe show them how much it fucking hurt to take a good old repulsor to the chest. It was one of the few things keeping him sane. 

 

His favorite topic, at first at least, was talking about how he will hug Pepper, Rhodey, and Happy once he went back. How he would go back to talk with JARVIS and play with the bots. And eat a god damned cheeseburger, he couldn’t forget about the burger. He also imagined he was out of this place and had imaginary conversations with different people out loud. At first, it made him feel like an idiot, but with time it was one thing that made him not try to kill himself with his fingernails. 

 

But with time, his voice made him twitch. It was too loud, even if he spoke in whispers. And it became hollow and sore because of the hunger and minimum water he only drank when his throat was screaming at him to drink some. And as coming back home became more a fantasy than a possibility, his voice became more hollow. The thought of never again seeing his friends, the bots, and JARVIS, his children, made him want to cry, but he didn’t allow himself to do so. Stark men were made of iron. It would also dehydrate him more, double loss. So he stopped talking. He tried to exercise a bit, but that didn’t go well. He wasn’t strong enough for that in the current situation and had to give up after having trouble getting up off the floor. So he left it at that and resigned himself to spend his time looking at the door. 

 

 Whoever kidnapped him had to open it, they had to. 

 


 

He was still here, with no way to get out. And the door still hadn’t opened. 

 

Tony was becoming desperate. What if the door never opened? What if he died before someone opened the door? What if they had left him here to die? He didn’t want to die like this; he didn’t want to become a rotten corpse in this bare room, away from his home, away from his family. 

 

Suddenly the need to get out of here became so strong he had to stop himself from doing something stupid, like running to the door in a desperate attempt to open it. He didn’t need to do that to know how sturdy the walls and door were; the first thing he did was check that. 

 

His thoughts drifted to JARVIS and the bots, how he missed them. He would do anything to be back at his lab accepting one of Dum-E’s smoothies, listening to JARVIS’ sassy remarks, working or playing with the bots. How he missed working. He was going crazy with nothing to do, without coffee. 

 

Tony looked at his hands. He had taken to biting his nails lately, so they were clipped and uneven. Tony also had taken to rip a few strands of hair from his head and play with them, knotting them, moving them around his fingers. Anything to distract himself, to do something with his hands. He scratched at his beard again. How he wanted to shave. 

 

Tony flinched when the familiar voices started again. He knew it was all in his head, but hearing voices wasn’t a good sign. He knew that the voices who screamed at him how he was a failure, how he fucked up everything and anyone he touched weren’t real. Because he was alone, the voices of Howard, Pepper, Rhodey, Happy and the Avengers telling him how he was no hero and how he only fixed his mistakes because of guilt weren’t real. They weren’t. But it was so easy to forget that. He couldn’t think clearly with the silence that was driving him crazy, he needed to listen to something aside from his breathing. But no matter how much he hated himself for it, he craved for the moments when the hallucinations took place, because even if they broke his heart, at least he could hear the voices of his friends. 

 

He sighed and slept. He had been doing that a lot lately, not having anything else better to do than being alone with his thoughts. Not that sleeping was any better with the constant nightmares that plagued his dreams. 

 


 

He didn’t see it coming; he was sleeping when the door opened. The sound startled Tony awake and once he saw the door open, he inhaled sharply. Barely believing what he was seeing. There was an alien at the door, roughly his size, humanoid and bald. So aliens kidnapped him, he wasn’t on earth. Question was, were they allied with Loki, or were they just random aliens that saw him and took him in? Whatever the case, he doubted they’d done it by the goodness of their hearts; they locked him up naked. 

 

He shifted his legs, trying to stand but failing, his legs numb from staying in the same position for far too long. Damn this body. He couldn’t even stand. How could he fight his way out? The alien laughed and Tony glared at him. He supposed he looked pretty pathetic, but what could he do about it? He was currently vulnerable to whatever this alien wanted. Before he could feel more nervous or ashamed of himself, the alien spoke English. 

 

“Here, food for you.” The alien tossed the food to the floor and Tony’s eyes looked at it without believing it. They were giving him food? It looked like cookies. He tentatively brought one to his mouth and retched, god it was awful. The alien laughed again. “Don’t like it? It’s food for a pet, fitting for you, don’t you think, pet?” Tony snarled at that, dread and fury filling him at the implications. But the alien just snorted and left, closing the door behind him. 

 

Tony growled and looked at the food with disgust. He thought about it long and hard. More than once he reached for them, only to decide against it at the last second. He couldn’t eat pet food! He was a human being! But with time, the hunger won over his pride. This meant nothing, you are not what you eat. He tried to convince himself of it and he almost succeeded. But then the alien came back with more food and when he saw Tony ate everything, he laughed and taunted him. The derogatory words shouldn’t cut as deep as they did. But since Tony had been alone for what felt like an eternity, hearing insults towards him on the first interactions he had since who knew how long, hurt him more than he wanted to acknowledge. 

 

The third time the door opened, the alien didn’t bring food. For the first time, the alien entered the room and Tony tensed, not knowing what he would do. When the alien grabbed him roughly by the left arm Tony tried to fight, but the alien was way stronger than him. Damn this body. He dragged Tony across the spaceship if the windows showing space were any indicator until he was in a bathroom. 

 

Once there, he threw Tony in a bathtub, and the alien started to clean him. Which freaked Tony out, why would they want him clean? Did they want to eat him? No, that made little sense, they’d make him eat more if that were the case. The alien manhandled him with no care until Tony got his answer when the alien cleaned his asshole. Tony panicked at that, the words the alien said on the first visit having different connotations now. He struggled, but the alien didn’t budge and only stopped when he was satisfied. 

 

He hoisted Tony out of the bathtub and the alien walked towards the door, but Tony fought the best he could to avoid that. Even if he deep down knew he was helpless and wouldn’t change anything, but he would be damned if he didn’t even try. He annoyed the alien enough for him to stop walking and going back towards the bathtub. 

 

The alien made Tony kneel in front of the bathtub and before Tony could fight, the alien grabbed Tony by the nape and dumped Tony’s head in the dirty water. “No, no no no no, not this again!” Tony couldn’t breathe, his nose, mouth, and lungs filling with dirty water. An overwhelming sense of dread encompassed him, his heart was pulsing like crazy, making his chest ache in pain, he couldn’t focus, couldn’t think, couldn’t stop shaking. He lost track of time, not being able to think, his struggles weakening with each second he spent in the water. Until the alien lifted his head, Tony spat out water and coughed, struggling to breathe. 

 

“You won’t fight this.” 

 

Tony wheezed, not being able to do anything more than glare at the alien. He croaked weakly. “Like hell, I won’t.” 

 

The alien only smirked and shrugged. “Suit yourself, but mark my words, pet. You will end begging for us to fuck you once I’m done with you.” And without further ado, he dumped Tony’s face in the water again. 

 

Tony didn’t know how much time had passed, but it felt like an eternity. Tony lost count of how many times the alien dumped him into the water. With each waterboarding, his resolve wavered a bit more. Was being raped worse than this hell? He didn’t know anymore; he felt the start of a second panic attack, but the alien either didn’t notice or didn’t care, because he dumped his face again in the water, making everything worse for Tony. 

 

Tony felt helpless, which he was. What could he do? It was a lose-lose situation. Why did he keep resisting? Was it worth it? Were the last remains of his pride worth it? Tears of fury, humiliation, and hopelessness fell, and he made a gesture for the alien to stop. The alien did and looked at Tony in smug expectation. Tony gritted his teeth and swallowed his pride. 

 

“Just get this over with.” Tony fought to keep his voice steady and failed miserably. His shame and self-hatred were obvious in his voice. 

 

The alien looked down at Tony with a cruel smile. “Oh? What are you talking about?” 

 

Fury erupted from Tony, his voice weak but full of rage. “You know it, you bastard!” 

 

The alien tsked and dumped his head in the water again for a few seconds before letting go. “That’s not how you should address me, pet. Now, let’s try it again. I told you, don’t you remember? I said you’ll be begging me for us to fuck you. So beg.” 

 

Tony glared at the alien, but it didn’t have the desired effect, not on his state. He must look so pathetic. He was pathetic, he was going to do this. He was that desperate. He closed his eyes against tears of shame. “Please fuck me.” 

 

The alien laughed in delight. “That’s more like it, well done, pet!” He grabbed Tony by the arm and smiled smugly when Tony didn’t offer resistance once he dragged Tony out of the bathroom. He dragged Tony until he was in what seemed like a lounge room. Tony counted seven more aliens there. Great, just his luck. 

 

The alien tossed Tony to the floor in the middle of the room, dragging the other aliens’ attention. All of them looked at Tony with lust and hunger. Tony was used to people lusting over him, but the way their eyes looked at him, made Tony’s skin crawl. 

 

Tony was back from his musings when the alien that brought him there kicked him in the gut. “There, we’re here. Don’t you have something to tell everyone?” Tony gritted his teeth. Now that the reality of the situation was sinking in, Tony couldn’t bring himself to say it again. The silence lasted for minutes until the first alien sighed and shook his head. “Whatever, sucks for you, pet.” He grabbed Tony and dragged him towards the door. Tony panicked, if he goes back to the bathroom, he will be waterboarded again. He will- screw his pride! 

 

“Wait!” Desperation bled through Tony’s voice. The alien stopped and Tony sighed in defeat, this was it. 

 

The alien that had him smirked smugly at him. “What?” 

 

Tony had never hated himself more than at this moment. He swallowed audibly and spoke. “Please fuck me.” 

 

The aliens laughed, and Tony dug his nails into the palm of his hands until they stung. “That’s more like it, pet! Knew you’d see reason.” 

 

Another alien walked closer to Tony. This one looked like a humanoid lion, and Tony dreaded each step the feline-alien took towards him. 

 

Before he could touch Tony, the first alien spoke to him. “Hey Drerqrax, why are you first?” 

 

The feline-alien huffed, crossing his arms on his chest. “What does it matter?” 

 

“I was the one who made it comply! I deserve to be the first!” The first alien reasoned, they looked as if they were discussing who got to play with a toy first and Tony felt sick the moment he made the comparison, being well aware he was the toy in this circumstance. 

 

“Vielgoir has a point.” Another alien said, he was also a feline but had a small scar on his right temple and a deep voice. 

 

Drerqrax grunted but relented. “If you say so, Drovvux. Have at it, Vielgoir.” 

 

Tony felt sick. They spoke about him as an ‘it’ and he couldn’t help but flinch. He was a person, dammit! He needed to escape, but how? He was physically weak and didn’t have a clue where he was and how to escape. 

 

He was brought back to reality violently by someone forcing his jaw open. Before he could process what was happening, Vielgoir had taken out his cock and without ceremony shoved it all inside Tony’s mouth, bottoming out. Tony usually liked to give blowjobs, but this was different, this wasn’t nice or fun at all. It was disgusting. Everything about the situation made Tony’s skin crawl with disgust. Vielgoir grabbed Tony firmly by the hair to keep him in place and fucked his mouth, making Tony gag. It had been a while since the last time he had done this, and the alien wasn’t being careful. Which made sense. To him, Tony was only a pet, no reason for him to be careful. 

 

“Relax your throat, pet.” Tony tried to do it, knowing it’d be better for him to do so. After a few minutes, Vielgoir came into Tony’s mouth, Tony was about to spit it but before he could, Vielgoir spoke. “Swallow, you’ll swallow if you don’t want to go back to the bathroom.” Tony swallowed and shame curled in his gut. They laughed. “Good pet.” Vielgoir patted his head as if he were a dog and walked until he was behind Tony. Before Tony could react, he grabbed his hips, raising them, and shoved his cock inside his asshole with no preparation or care. Tony screamed in pain, making the alien chuckle. “That good, huh?” When Tony kept silent, Vielgoir slapped Tony’s ass hard. “Didn’t hear you, I think what you wanted to say was ‘Yes, it feels good’. Isn’t it?” Tony kept silent, making Vielgoir growl and reach for Tony’s throat with one hand, squeezing hard until Tony almost passed out, only then Vielgoir stopped. “Don’t make me punish you, pet. This is nothing, you won’t like a real punishment.” 

 

Tony closed his eyes in defeat, tears streaming down his red face, and wheezed. “It feels good.” 

 

The aliens laughed hard at that, jeering while they watched Tony. 

 

Vielgoir laughed with them and he petted Tony’s hair. “Good, glad to hear it!” 

 

“Hey, don’t monopolize it, let us have at it!” Drerqrax shouted from where he was sitting, looking at Tony with hungry eyes. 

 

Vielgoir shrugged and nodded at Drerqrax. “Sure, you can use its mouth.” 

 

Tony snarled, but let Drerqrax grab his hair and shove his cock in his mouth without resistance. Drerqrax’s dick was bigger and wider than a human dick, and Tony felt the strain in his jaw. He accidentally grazed his teeth. Drerqrax growled in pain and took Tony off of his dick. 

 

“Fuckin’ Terran, can’t do anything well, can you?” 

 

“Seems we need to teach it a lesson.” He sneered, delighted by the prospect. 

 

One alien with pale skin and high cheekbones grabbed something and grew closer to Tony. He crouched down in front of Tony and spoke. “Grab him, don’t let him move.” 

 

The others complied, and soon Tony couldn’t move his head. The man inside Tony stilled so they could grip his head. Tony couldn’t hear what the aliens were saying, all he could hear was his erratic heartbeat. He barely felt the cock impaling him anymore, all his focus was on the alien reaching for his face with a tool. The alien smirked at seeing how scared Tony was and with no ceremony, put the tool in Tony’s right eye and took out Tony’s eye. Tony screamed, the pain was too much, the blood dripping from his now-empty eye socket, the sound of metal cutting through something gelatinous that fell to his cheek, he was dying. They were really taking out his fucking eye? Tony felt despair at the thought, but the pain was too much and he passed out. 

 

When he woke up, someone was fucking him. He looked up disoriented for a moment, and then he remembered what had happened. Fuck, he was so screwed. He brought a hand towards his right eye and found a patch there. He tried to move the right eye but found he couldn’t. They really had taken out his right eye. Those fucking sick bastards. 

 

The discovery made him panic at his utter hopelessness in the situation. They could do anything they wanted with him. What was stopping them? Certainly not Tony. He was really at their mercy, a feeling he didn’t like at all. He remembered what they forced him to say, and he flushed in shame and self-hate. God, how low he had fallen. 

 

Tony’s thoughts stopped violently when the alien fucking him orgasmed inside him. Tony grimaced at the uncomfortable and painful feeling that irritated his shredded rectus and mentally prayed he won’t get any illness out of this. The alien was still inside him when another one called him. 

 

“Hey, Ghiki, get out of it! I want a piece of its ass too!” 

 

Ghiki snorted but complied. “Whatever, here you go, Aanik.” 

 

Aanik, a tall man with yellow skin and long orange hair, got in front of Tony and made him roll so he was laying on his back. “Let’s see how flexible you are.” Aanik pushed Tony’s legs until his knees were touching his shoulders. “Oh, seems you’re pretty flexible! Good to know! Now, grab your legs and keep them there.” Tony gritted his teeth and refused to do so. It was in vain, he knew, but he couldn’t help it. Aanik growled and let go of Tony’s legs. He reached for the arc reactor and tried to take it out. 

 

Tony panicked. “Wait! No! Don’t take it out!” No, no no no no no. Not the reactor. For a second he saw Stane in front of him, his breath quickened and his heart pounded on his chest. He came back to reality with Aanik talking.

 

“Oh? It’s important then! Well, if you want us to let you keep it, you must be a good pet from now on, got it, pet?” 

 

Tony closed his eyes to will his tears to not fall and thought about telling the alien to fuck off, he thought about how they’d take the arc reactor out, thought of how painfully that’d kill him. He was about to open his mouth and say it, but Rhodey’s face appeared in his mind, then Pepper’s, Happy’s, his bots, he heard JARVIS’ voice speaking to him, and suddenly he couldn’t. He couldn’t die here, he had to go back to them.

 

Tony nodded. 

 

Another alien interfered. “Didn’t hear you!” 

 

Tony gritted his teeth. “Yes.” 

 

“Yes, what?” 

 

So they will make him say it. Tony thought once more about committing suicide by pissing off an alien, but decided that he’d play along. He was already doing it, he would keep playing along until he escaped. It was only temporary; it meant nothing. “I’ll… Be a goo-” He choked on those words. God, he was Tony Stark. How could he end like this? In such an inferior position? But he steeled himself and finished the phrase. “A good pet.” The words tasted like defeat in his tongue, and the laughs of the aliens made him want to scream. He barely managed not to cry, he was pathetic enough already.

 

Between the jeers and laughs that filled the room, Aanik spoke. “So, what are you waiting for? Keep your legs up.” Tony did it, and Aanik petted his head. “Good pet, see? That wasn’t so bad, right?” Tony kept silent and Aanik gripped Tony’s hair hard. “Right?” 

 

“Right.” Tony grimaced. 

 

“Good, you’re starting to learn.” And then, Aanik shoved his cock inside Tony without care, making Tony dig his nails into his thighs and scream in pain. From this position Aanik could go so deep, it hurt so much. 

 

Tony lost track of time. He didn’t know how many of the aliens raped him, how many of them touched him, but he was fairly sure all of them did. At one moment new aliens entered and two old ones left. So they had shifts, that made sense. The new ones were quick to use him too, not sparing a thought for his comfort. Between all the pain, he gratefully welcomed unconsciousness. He wasn’t as naïve as to think they’d stop raping him just because he passed out, but at least he won’t feel it for a while. 

 


 

He planned the best he could in the situation. The plan was desperate. They didn’t leave him alone for even a second. But he had to try, he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t at least try. So when one of them dragged him to the bathroom, he waited until they were there to punch the mirror with all the strength he had left; it shattered. Tony wasted no time in taking a sizable piece and using it to slash at the alien, who roared in pain. Shit. They will know something was up now. No matter. 

 

Tony ran with all the speed he could muster, but soon he got lost in the corridors. Damn. This thing was bigger than he thought. What now? There should be a smaller ship somewhere, right? 

 

If there was, Tony couldn’t find it before they got to him. They beat him into submission and then one of them took out a… What was that? A gun? Tony couldn’t breathe, his heart racing at definitely not healthy speeds. Would they kill him now? This was it? 

 

They didn’t kill him. Instead, they burned him, all on his right side, from head to toe, back, and front. Tony screamed himself hoarse at the horrible pain. He needed this to stop, he couldn’t survive this. How would he? No, they wouldn’t kill him like this, would they? He fought to not pass out, but the pain won and everything went black. 

 

When he woke up, his whole body was bandaged. He felt like shit. He had experienced many kinds of pains in his life, and he honestly couldn’t say this took the cake. But it sure hurt like a bitch. It hurt to breathe; it had been a while since he felt pain breathing; he didn’t miss it. 

 

He looked around and felt relief and despair at seeing they locked him in the room he was in before. Fuck, on one hand, this meant he would take a break. On the other hand, this meant he won’t be able to even try to escape ever again. He had fucked up. Why couldn’t he do anything well? He was such a screw-up, he should just die- No, he couldn’t, he had to go back to Earth. A small voice, which was getting louder with each day, asked him if it was really worth it. For now, the answer was yes. He didn’t know if it would keep being a yes for much time. 

 


 

Tony didn’t know how many days he’d spent being constantly raped, with only minor breaks to go to the bathroom, drink water and eat that disgusting pet food. They cleaned and shaved him regularly too. Tony would feel good about that if he didn’t know why they wanted him clean. 

 

With time, he became numb to the pain, numb to the constant humiliation they subjected him to. Tony hated it, hated he was getting accustomed to it. What did that say for himself? It felt like giving up on his freedom, like giving up on his humanity. 

 

He was reasonably sure at least a month had passed because they took the patch out of his eye and the bandages on the next bathroom break. When he saw his reflection he grimaced, it looked horrible, his right eye socket was scarred and a gaping wound, and all his right side was a scarred mess. He touched his right cheek and winced, his calluses were too rough for his tender scar tissue. Tony mentally started the designs for a robotic eye for himself and to think of ways of making it work as an even better eye when an alien violently yanked him out of his thoughts and brought him back to the dreaded room. 

 


 

He woke up by a hard slap to his face that split his lip. He didn’t fight it, already used to this treatment, and knowing fighting would only make it worse. He looked up to see Losun in front of him; he smirked in a way that had made Tony’s skin crawl at the start. Now he felt nothing but numbness. It had been months since the last time he felt something, even when they targeted his right side... 

 

“Let’s see how good of a pet you are,” He sat on the floor in front of Tony. “I want you to fuck yourself on my cock.” 

 

A flash of defiance passed through Tony’s eyes and for the first time in some time, he hesitated on following an order. This was the first time they made him do this. Part of Tony preferred death to do it, but most of him couldn’t find it in him to care. They’d done so much to him. What was one more humiliation to the ever-growing list? He wasn’t more than a pet- No, no; he wasn’t a pet. He was a Terran- human! He was a human being, with rights and a shit ton of money and contacts. He was Tony Fucking Stark; he was loved and- Was he? Was he really all of that? Sure, at some point he was all of those things, but now? A kick to the gut made him double over and wheeze. Damn, he took too much time to obey. Without further ado, he moved and followed the order, not paying attention to the pain, the semen and blood inside him working as a lube. 

 

His hips worked mechanically while his mind wandered towards his previous thoughts. Was he really loved? Was he still Tony Stark? It had been so long since he last heard his name, since he was treated as a person. Why did he keep going again? What was stopping him from killing himself? What would Rhodey, Pepper, Happy and JARVIS think of him if they saw him now? Being treated like a fuck toy, fucking himself on his rapist’s cock. God, how he hated himself. He would disgust his friends and children. He didn’t deserve them. 

 

Losun laughed, being quickly echoed by the others. “That’s it, pet, make me cum. I know you like it!” 

 

“Hey, move faster, we want a good show!” 

 

Tony moved faster, knowing what would happen if he disobeyed, especially since he was late to obey the last order. His thighs protested, but he was used to the pain. He never let the pain lord over him when he was Tony Stark. Why would he let it now? 

 

Losun finally orgasmed, cum filling Tony’s insides in an uncomfortable but familiar way. The alien slapped Tony’s ass and sighed in contentment. “Good pet... Hey, pet. You liked it, right?” 

 

“Yes, I liked it.” Replied Tony, knowing if he didn’t say what they wanted, how they wanted it would only serve for them to punish him. 

 

All of them laughed. “Good, don’t you have anything to say then?” Tony looked at him in confusion, so Losun elaborated. “Good pets say thank you to their owner when they get what they want. Where’s your gratitude? I let you fuck yourself on me, you should be grateful, pet!” Seeing Tony hesitated, he added. “Are you a bad pet now? Do I need to punish you?” 

 

For the first time in a while, Tony had difficulty saying what they wanted him to say. “Thank you for fucking me.” In his mind, Tony repeated a phrase, clinging to its meaning. “I’m Tony Stark.”

 

Everybody roared in delighted laughter at that, and he passed Tony around to another alien. Soon Tony passed out. 

 


 

He didn’t want to lose hope. But it was difficult to do so while being forced to fuck himself on one of his captors while deep throating another. 

 

Another alien, Ilphaell, grabbed one of Tony’s hands and brought it to his dick. “Your hands are slacking.” 

 

He lost balance and gagged on the dick in his mouth, but he managed to not use his teeth. He tried to focus on doing the three things at once while only using one hand to support himself. He was managing well until Uxil grabbed his other hand and made him do two hand jobs at once. He managed for a few seconds, but he was clumsy and he knew it. He had to do better or they would punish him. He tried the best he could, but they hadn’t cut his nails in a while and he slipped, nails digging into Uxil. He froze, Uxil’s growl in pain bringing him to reality. 

 

He was so screwed. 

 

The aliens manhandled him until he was laying on his back on the floor, all his limbs and head pinned to the floor. Then, one by one, they took off all twenty of his nails. He screamed himself hoarse at the pain. He didn’t know how much time they spent torturing him, he only remembered the laughs at his pain. He didn’t realize when they finished, but he realized when they came to him with what could only mean bad news for him. When they cut off his right hand, he went into shock. So much he barely felt and cared when they cut off his right foot. His hands were his life. His hands and intelligence were the best of him. How was he supposed to tinker, to create, without one of his hands? How was he supposed to get out now if he couldn’t protect the most important aspect of himself? Forget about working in the lab now, forget about tinkering and playing, forget about driving his fast cars. His life was officially over. He would never go back now, he couldn’t. Not without his hands. And without his work, was he really Tony Stark?

 

Chapter Text

The pet was tired. Its holes being rutted by the… What did its owners call the beasts? It couldn’t remember. Not that it mattered who or what used it, it was a pet, born to be used. The pet closed its eyes, it didn’t want to live like this. It should have been quicker in killing itself, then it would be just dead and not raped by two beasts in rut. Not that the treatment was that much worse than what its owners’. 

 

“Oh my god.” 

 

The pet heard a voice, but its eye couldn’t see anyone from its position. A man’s voice, but it wasn’t from one of its owners. That made it curious, what was happening? 

 

It heard a gasp and then, a woman’s voice. Saying a word it never thought it’d hear again, a world-changing, incredibly powerful, shocking word. “Stark.” Its name. That was its name, why did someone here know its name? A pang of familiarity filled its chest, that had happened a lot in the past, someone knowing who the pet was. But it wasn’t a who anymore. Why was someone calling it by a name that wasn’t its anymore? 

 

It vaguely registered the sounds of battle. Its owners were crying out and then the beasts stopped moving and dropped to the floor. The cell was being opened and a man got the beasts off the pet and crouched down next to it. 

 

“Jesus fuckin’ Christ, okay. Dude, you’re free, we’re going to help you, okay. So, here, have this. You know how to use one, right? Oh shit, you don’t right, well. This is-” It grabbed the weapon the man was offering and it gasped, the weight was different, but it was unmistakably a gun. The Pet could make this work. It saw one of its owners running towards them, the man hadn’t noticed. While its owner ran towards them, hatred fuelled it, the pet remembered every humiliation, every taunt, every torture, and scar. The pet didn’t hesitate, it shot. It didn’t need to be explained how to work the gun, it knew how to work one. The man looked back and then at the pet with a pleasantly surprised expression. “Yeah, that’s how you do it. Good, can you stand?” 

 

“Yes.” It Answered without thinking, used to reply upon being addressed, not doing so meant punishment. The pet stood, stumbling a bit but maintaining its balance thanks to many months of practice, and walked, the man at its back, weapon ready to fire to its owners- no, to its previous owners. It didn’t have an owner anymore. 

 

The pet froze at that realization. It didn’t have an owner, it was free. It looked around, all of its owners were down. Nobody would stop it from killing itself and it had a weapon in its hand. Without thinking more, it pulled the gun to its own head and pulled the trigger. Its hand was jerked to the side, and it realized it was still alive. The wall next to it had a hole still smoking from a bullet. It looked at the man with rage and desperation, but before it could do more, its world went black. 

 


 

Gamora was going for drinks when she heard the man at the bar bragging. She would have rolled her eyes and ignored him, if it weren’t for the fact he was bragging about having something Thanos wanted. 

 

She went back to the table. “Peter, we need to follow that man.” Gamora discretely pointed at the man on the bar. 

 

The table looked up now silent and Peter got up, sobering. “What’s happening?” 

 

“I don’t know, he bragged about having something Thanos wanted.” Gamora said with a serious expression. 

 

Peter frowned. “An Infinity Stone?” 

 

Nodding, she replied. “Possible, we need to follow him.” 

 

Peter looked at who Gamora was pointing and narrowed his eyes, he looked back at his friends. “He’s leaving, you guys go back to the ship. We may need to leave at any moment.” Peter and Gamora left before Rocket, Groot or Drax could say something. 

 

They followed the man to a ship, entering without being seen, and kept following the man until they arrived at a lounge. A lounge filled with men, who were jeering at- 

 

“Oh my god.” 

 

Peter just blew up their cover, but Gamora couldn’t care about it, because in a cell, being raped by two beasts, was a man. Disgust filled her, these kinds of people were repugnant. How could they do that to a man- was that light coming out of the man’s chest? A blue light, a man. No, a Terran. She couldn’t help but gasp. So this was what Thanos wanted. “Stark.” 

 

She saw how the man jerked in surprise at the name, so it was true, he was Stark. Gamora looked at Peter and with a nod, she went towards the men and Peter to free the man. The men weren’t terrible fighters, but she could see they didn’t train seriously, they were weak-willed and lost in record time to her, fitting for the filth they were. She left one alive and held him pinned to the floor, he wouldn’t cause problems and she allowed herself to look up. There was only another man left, going straight towards a distracted and frantic Peter. Before she could shout out a warning, Stark took the gun Peter was offering him and shot at the man in the head, killing him. She blinked at that and smiled, yes, this was definitely Stark. 

 

Her smile morphed into horror when Stark pointed the gun at his temple. No! They couldn’t afford to lose him! He was too important! She didn’t need to worry, Peter hit the gun just in time for it to blow the wall and Gamora allowed herself to sigh in relief. She didn’t miss Stark’s expression and wondered what had happened to him, but Peter hit him with the butt of his gun on the nape and Stark collapsed unconscious. Most likely for the best, they needed to figure out what was happening. 

 

Peter gently dropped Stark to the floor and wrapped him in his jacket. “Gamora, what the hell is happening here?” He walked until he was at her side and she focused her attention on the pathetic excuse of a man she had pinned to the floor. 

 

Narrowing her eyes, she spoke to the filth she had at sword point. “That’s something I’d like to know too. Start speaking. What do you have that Thanos wants? What is Stark doing here?” 

 

“It’s just it! Just it! We don’t have anything else, it’s just the pet, you can have it!” The filth rushed to explain. The man looked terrified. 

 

Gamora couldn’t help but draw a bit of blood at those words. “Pet? Are you talking about Stark?” The man nodded. “Since when do you have Stark?” 

 

“Since a few days after the explosion that destroyed a quarter of Thanos’ army.” 

 

“That was years ago!” Peter raged next to her and Gamora couldn’t help but agree with his ire. She felt the same. 

 

The man smirked, as if he was remembering good times. “Yeah, it took time to break it, but we managed. It is the best pet-” It was the second time Peter had thwarted their plans, first by speaking out loud, now by killing the last filth. But she couldn’t bring herself to be mad about it, nor did she feel the need to chastise him when she was a second away from slicing the filth’s throat, herself. 

 

Gamora looked at Peter, who was breathing hard, rage in his eyes, with his gun still pointing at the corpse. She stood and touched his shoulder. “Better?” Peter replied by shooting again, once at the corpse’s chest, another at the groin. He looked ready to keep firing, but Gamora stopped him. “If we want to help Stark, we need to leave now.” 

 

Peter’s breathing calmed down and he closed his eyes, nodding. “Yeah. We should get going, eh... Anything we can use to cover the dude? We can’t just bring him naked to the ship.” 

 

Gamora stripped the largest corpse off his jacket and handed it to Peter. “Here, hurry.” 

 

They reached the Milano without problems. Once inside, Rocket and Drax were in their seats. Peter handed Stark to her. “Leave him in a room, we need to get going!” She nodded and left the room, the last thing she heard was Drax and Rocket asking about what had happened. 

 


 

Peter forgot about caution when he saw the man in the cell, being used for those bastards’ entertainment. He would have killed all of them, but Gamora’s voice focused him. 

 

“Stark.” 

 

Someone Gamora knew, this dude must be important then. He looked at Gamora and, sharing a nod, they separated. Peter didn’t pay attention to the battle and focused on getting the man, Stark, out of the cell. Opening it and taking out the two beasts that were… That had been… Peter couldn’t bring himself to even think about it. He shoved the beasts off the man and crouched down next to him. 

 

Peter gasped at the scars that encompassed all of Stark’s right side, that must have hurt. Stark looked at him and Peter couldn’t help but ramble in his panic. “Jesus fuckin’ Christ, okay. Dude, you’re free, we’re going to help you, okay. So, here, have this.” Peter offered Stark one of his guns. “You know how to use one, right? Oh shit, you don’t right, well. This is-” He stopped talking when he saw Stark grab the weapon, Stark’s face full of emotions he couldn’t decipher. Then Stark pointed the weapon in his direction and before he could say anything, shot. He cursed but then realized the dude didn’t shoot him and heard a cry behind him. He looked back just in time to see a man falling to the ground dead. Clean shot to the head on a moving target while laying down. Woah. “Yeah, that’s how you do it. Good, can you stand?” 

 

“Yes.” Stark stood and stumbled a bit, Peter looked down and gasped upon seeing Stark was fucking standing without help when he didn’t have one foot. How he did it Peter couldn’t understand. Peter was about to help him, but Stark maintained his balance on his own and started walking. Peter at his back, gun up just in case. He almost collided with Stark when the guy stopped, before Peter could ask what was the problem, Stark had tried to end himself. 

 

Peter felt as if he were moving in slow motion, but he knew he had been fast enough when he saw the hole in the wall and not in Stark’s head. Peter was about to yell at Stark, but his eyes stopped him, they looked full of desperation and rage, and Peter reacted before Stark could try again. He carefully dropped Stark to the floor and wrapped him in his jacket, it was better than nothing for now. Then, Peter focused on Gamora, looking at her up and down to be sure she was alright. “Gamora, what the hell is happening here?” Peter walked towards her and stayed at Gamora’s side. 

 

Gamora frowned at the scum on the floor. “That’s something I’d like to know too. Start speaking. What do you have that Thanos wants? What is Stark doing here?” 

 

“It’s just it! Just it! We don’t have anything else, it’s just the pet, you can have it!” 

 

The scum’s answer made Peter’s blood boil. Pet? They better not be talking about a person. 

 

It seemed Gamora wasn’t a fan of the answer either, because he could see how she drew a bit of blood. “Pet? Are you talking about Stark?” The man nodded.  “Since when do you have Stark?” 

 

“Since a few days after the explosion that destroyed a quarter of Thanos’ army.” 

 

Peter couldn’t help himself, he raged at the scum. “That was years ago!” 

 

The man smirked, as if he was remembering good times. “Yeah, it took time to break it, but we managed. It is the best pet-” Peter didn’t think, and even if he had been thinking. He was pretty sure the answer would have still been killing that scum. How dare he? How dare they treat a person like that? What kind of sick entertainment was that? 

 

Gamora stood and put a hand on his shoulder. “Better?” Peter couldn’t form words yet, so he answered by shooting more at the dead scum. He shot twice and was about to shoot him in the groin again but Gamora stopped him. “If we want to help Stark, we need to leave.” 

 

Gamora was right, what was important now was Stark, he needed help. And he’d be damned if they didn’t help the dude! He focused on his breathing and soon he felt calm enough to speak. “Yeah. We should get going, eh… Anything we can use to cover the dude? We can’t just bring him naked to the ship.” Peter looked at Stark, he was skinny and he looked so ill. Just thinking about what happened to him made Peter sick to his stomach. 

 

He didn’t see Gamora until she put a large coat on his hand. “Here, hurry.” 

 

Leaving the ship and reaching theirs was anticlimactically easy. Nobody tried to stop them, nobody looked at them twice and soon they were on board the Milano. Peter gave Stark to Gamora, knowing he would be in good hands. “Leave him in a room, we need to get going!” 

 

As soon as he sat down, Rocket spoke. “Peter! What the heck is going on here?” 

 

“No time to explain, we need to get out of here, I’ll explain after we leave.” Rocket grumbled but complied and they left, a few minutes later without being followed, Peter allowed himself to relax. “We did it!” 

 

“We did what? What the hell was that thing you had on your arms?” Rocket leaned towards Peter in interest. “Is it a treasure?” 

 

“He’s not a thing!” Okay, he was being irrational at getting mad at Rocket for saying that. He didn’t see Stark. But after hearing the scum treat Stark as an ‘it’... “Sorry, it’s just…” 

 

Gamora came back and spoke. “I left him in the room closest to yours, Peter. He’s still sleeping. But we should prepare for when he awakens.” 

 

Rocket looked back and forth between Gamora and Peter. “Why? Who the hell did you kidnap?” 

 

“We saved him!” Peter defended himself, offended at the question. 

 

Crooking an eyebrow, Rocket asked. “Then why do we need to prepare for when he wakes up, huh?” 

 

“Because he tried to kill himself!” Peter blurted out before he could think. 

 

Gamora butted in. “And we can’t allow it. He’s far too important.” 

 

Rocket seemed interested in that. “Important? How?” He rubbed his hands together, a smile on his face. Before Peter could say anything, Gamora answered. 

 

“He’s Stark. The one who thwarted Thanos’s plans during Terra’s invasion. He single-handedly destroyed a quarter of Thanos’ army.” 

 

Peter looked at Gamora in shock. How was that possible? “He what?” 

 

Rocket whistled. “What the fuck kinda weapon did you think he used? Must have been a freaking good one! I’ll go wake him up and-” 

 

“No!” Both he and Gamora exclaimed when Rocket moved to stand. Peter couldn’t let Rocket or Drax alone with Stark in Stark’s condition, not until he was stable. Who knew how a suicidal person would react at their no filter attitude. 

 

Rocket frowned at that. “What? Why the hell no? What’s the problem? He can sleep at any time!” 

 

Sighing, Gamora explained. “The problem is in the conditions we found him.” 

 

“Conditions?” 

 

“He was… He was being… Ah, I CAN’T SAY IT!” Peter growled, too disgusted to put what he saw into words. 

 

Gamora put a calming hand on Peter’s shoulder and spoke, voice grave and disgusted. “They were using him as a pet, as a toy for their sick entertainment.” She spat with a surprising amount of venom. “When we freed him of his cell, he tried to kill himself.” 

 

“Oh. Are you sure we have the correct guy?” Rocket’s voice showed especticism now. 

 

Gamora nodded at that. “Yes, he has the trademark blue light in his chest and he reacted to the name Stark.” 

 

“He also killed one of those scum, clean shot in the head while the scum was running towards us while he was laying down. He only has one hand and spent years in captivity. I’d say we have the correct guy.” Peter added, still impressed by the feat, it spoke of years of practice and experience. 

 

“Only one hand? Seems they did a hell of a number on him.” Rocket grumbled. 

 

“You cannot do a number on someone, numbers do not work that way.” 

 

Peter ignored Drax’s comment and kept talking. “He also didn’t have one eye, didn’t have a foot and all his right side is a scarred mess.” 

 

“We must treat this with the utmost care. If we want to defeat Thanos, his help would be invaluable. If he helps us lead an army, more people would follow.” Gamora said, stressing the importance of this. 

 

Peter wasn’t convinced. “I doubt he’s in any condition to do that right now Gamora.” 

 

Gamora shook her head. “No, right now not. But we can help him heal, meanwhile, we prepare, and then, we strike.” 

 

Rocket nodded at that. “Good plan, now let’s go see this motherfucker.” 

 

“Leave the autopilot on, I won’t leave you or Drax alone with a suicidal person.” 

 

They bickered until they arrived at the room, where Stark laid on the bed, covered by blankets. 

 

Rocket was the first to enter. “Woah! You weren’t kidding with the scars, fucking hell!” 

 

“He doesn’t look like a hero. He looks like a victim.” 

 

“You can be both.” Gamora replied to Drax’s comment, voice grave and Peter had to agree with her. 

 

“Should we wake him up or...?” Peter stopped a few steps from the bed, not sure how to proceed. 

 

“Let’s wake the princess up.” Before Peter or Gamora could stop him, Rocket climbed into the bed and shook Stark. 

 

Stark opened his eyes, confusion present on them. He must be confused at not being on the other ship anymore. Peter gritted his teeth at the mere memory and put himself in Stark’s line of vision. 

 

“Hey, Stark, right? I’m Peter Quill, this is Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot. We are known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.” 

 

Stark’s eyes widened in shock before his face lost all trace of emotion. Woah, that was a pretty good poker face, even better if you considered the circumstances. Stark didn’t answer to his introduction and sat up instead, his entire body was tense, but there was something else Peter couldn’t pinpoint. 

 

Stark spoke with a raspy voice, throat sounding rough and sore. Peter didn’t let himself think about that further and focused on Stark’s words, he almost wished he hadn’t.

 

“Are you my new owners?” Stark’s voice was flat, devoid of all emotion, but his eyes betrayed him, he was on edge. 

 

Peter felt so sick he barely managed to not puke. The question felt worse than one of Drax’s punches to the stomach. He was so shocked he managed to choke out. “I… We… We’d never… We didn’t… NO!” 

 

Gamora looked as shocked as him, and even Rocket, Groot, and Drax looked as if they didn’t know what to say or do. Gamora was quicker to regain her wits, she stepped closer and locked eyes with Stark. “No, we don’t own you. You are your own person, you’re your own... owner.” 

 

Stark’s face morphed from expressionless to an ugly smirk, disbelief clear in his voice and face. “Why then? You... Recognized me.”

 

Gamora nodded. “Thanos knows of you, I was once part of his army, one of his predilected children.” 

 

Stark’s face blanked at the name, not recognizing it. “Thanos? Who’s that?” 

 

“The one responsible for the invasion to Earth a few years back, whose plans you stopped, you took a quarter of his army dude. Of course, we’d want you on our side if we want to stop Thanos.” Peter explained, trying to sell the idea the best he could. 

 

Stark crooked an eyebrow. “So Loki serves someone?” 

 

Peter didn’t have an answer for that but was saved when Gamora butted in at that. “He didn’t do it voluntarily. He was kidnapped and tortured into submission. Mind controlled too.” 

 

Stark flinched at that, it was so minuscule and quick that you would have missed it if you blinked. Peter didn’t blink. “Huh. So Thanos wants to rule Earth?” The nonchalance in Stark’s voice didn’t fool Peter, but he was doing a pretty good job. 

 

“He wants to destroy half the universe.” Rocket interceded. 

 

Stark looked startled at that. “...Run that by me again?” 

 

“Nobody is running.” 

 

Stark looked at Drax in confusion. “What? No, it’s an expression-” 

 

Rocket huffed from Stark’s bed. “Don’t bother, Drax can’t get metaphors and sarcasm.” 

 

Before they could get off course with the conversation, Gamora intervened. “Thanos wants to collect the Infinity Stones and use them to destroy half the universe. With them, all he’d need to do is snap his fingers.” 

 

“Snap his fingers and half the universe is gone? How the hell does that work?” Disbelief was clear in Stark’s voice. Peter guessed it sounded pretty unbelievable, especially for a human. 

 

“Well, as far as we know, the Infinity Stones are six gems with incredible powers and control over each of their aspects. Time, Space, Power, Mind, Soul, and Reality. Each on their own are incredibly powerful, all of them together are unbeatable.” Gamora explained with patience. 

 

A tense silence followed Gamora’s words, everyone letting Stark process it, it was a lot to take in. Finally, Stark spoke. “So you’re saying there’s a big bad madman that will destroy half the universe with magical jewelry?” 

 

Peter and Rocket snorted and nodded. “Basically, yeah.” 

 

“Fuck. We gotta stop him.” Stark ran his hand through his hair and Peter couldn’t help but realize that even in his state, Stark was very attractive. 

 

Instead of checking Stark out, he answered the question. “That’s the plan, yes.” 

 

“So, what’s the plan?” Stark’s voice sounded resolutive, at least he was on board, now to the tough part. 

 

“Well… You’re pretty famous, dude.” Peter explained. 

 

Stark blinked at that. “Yes- oh wait, you mean as in, in space?” 

 

That took Peter by surprise and it was his time to blink. “Yeah, you’re famous on Terra too?” 

 

“Yes… At least I was before… Before.” For the first time, Stark’s poker face noticeably broke, letting them see a broken man behind the mask. But he was quick to put it back in place. 

 

Peter tried to avoid talking about that and redirected the conversation. “So... What’s your name? Your complete name I mean.” 

 

“Anthony Edward Stark, though everybody calls- used to call me Tony.” 

 

Peter nodded. “Tony, got it.” 

 

A flash of something crossed Tony’s eyes but it was gone before Peter could analyze it, Tony nodded. 

 

Rocket interrupted at that. “Wait, you have three names?” 

 

“Terrans have more than one name, we have names and surnames, which are family names. Some countries have more than one surname, most people have at least two names plus surnames.” Peter explained. 

 

“Huh, so-” 

 

Gamora was having none of the change of subject. “As fascinating as Terran’s naming system is, I think we should focus on Thanos and saving the universe.” 

 

“I am Groot?” 

 

Tony looked at Groot with open curiosity and shook his head. “No, this thing in my chest isn’t my heart.” 

 

Rocket looked surprised at Tony. “You can understand Groot?” 

 

“Yeah?” Tony’s face scrunched in confusion, as if Rocket had asked something that should be obvious. 

 

“How?” Peter couldn’t help but gape, it took him weeks before he finally understood Groot’s speech. 

 

Tony shrugged. “I’m… I was used to this kind of speech.” 

 

“There’s Flora colossus on Terra?” 

 

Crooking an eyebrow, Tony shook his head. “I take that’s Groot’s species? No, there’s nothing like that on Earth. I… There were other beings who couldn’t communicate with words that I chatted with.” 

 

Sensing a sensitive topic, Peter changed the subject. “So, the plan. The plan so far is that, since you’re famous for destroying a quarter of Thanos’ army. It would incline people to follow you if you lead an army.” 

 

“Me? Lead an army?” Tony looked as if he couldn’t believe what they were asking and Peter decided it was enough for today. 

 

“We’ll let you rest, you’ve been through enough for today. Just… Think about it, okay?” Tony nodded mechanically and Peter and Gamora ushered the others to leave the room. Peter left. 

 

Once outside, Peter put on music, maybe that’d help Tony. 

 


 

It woke up with a jerk, someone was touching it but not sexually, it wasn’t rough either and that confused the pet more than the unfamiliar ceiling did. It quickly remembered what happened before passing out, those people must have taken it. The pet wanted to scream, it had new owners now? But back on its previous owners’ ship, the man gave it the means to defend itself, so maybe there was hope? 

 

Before it could keep thinking, the man from before entered its line of vision. “Hey, Stark, right? I’m Peter Quill, this is Gamora, Rocket, Drax and Groot. We are known as the Guardians of the Galaxy.” The pet did his best to not snort at the corny name and focused on the important thing. 

 

They knew it by name, they wanted something from it, then. The pet lost what little hope it had and that angered it, it should know better by now. The pet sat up and spoke, hiding a wince at that. It had been a while since they let it drink water and the beasts were rougher than its previous owners. Making its throat more sore than usual. “Are you my new owners?” 

 

The look on the people’s faces gave it new hope. But he refused to let it show, they could be playing it. The man that looked human spoke, “I… We… We’d never… We didn’t… NO!” 

 

Okay, there was hope still. 

 

A green woman spoke and the pet recognized the voice, so this was the one who knew the pet. “No, we don’t own you. You’re your own person, you’re your own… owner.” 

 

It wanted to believe it, it really did. But years of taunting made it difficult and the pet knew it showed on its face and voice. “Why then? You…” You said my name, it wanted to say. But it wasn’t its name anymore. Although these people didn’t need to know that. Maybe the pet could pretend to be a person, maybe that way, it could be free and someday, it could believe it and become a person again. “Recognized me.” The pet said instead. 

 

While the man and the green woman spoke, explaining about this Thanos person, his plans for mass destruction, and magical gems, it felt overwhelmed. There was so much they had to do. If these people were to be believed, it was famous, or better said, its past self was famous. And they wanted it to lead an army? Tony Stark would have said yes without hesitation, too used to leading by himself to question it. The pet couldn’t do it, it was just a pet, it was born to be used, what else was it good at but at being used? They left and the pet welcomed the silence and solitude. Although the feeling was strange, it had been months since the last time it was alone. 

 

Suddenly, music started playing and it couldn’t breathe. The music was from Earth, it recognized the song, tears fell from its eyes. For the first time in a long time, it felt safe. 

 


 

Peter collapsed on his chair in the kitchen. “Fuck. That was… Fuck.” 

 

Despite the poor wording, everyone nodded. “He needs help,” Gamora said, sounding tired. “More help than I predicted.” 

 

“Can you tell us what you know? The dude fuckin’ asked us if we were his fuckin’ owners, fuckin’ hell Quill! What the fuck happened to him?” Rocked hissed, looking disturbed. 

 

Peter closed his eyes. “I… We followed that dude from the bar, right? Well, we followed him to his ship, then to a lounge area when he forgot to lock the hatch, there were nine more men there, they were jeering and watching Tony, he was in a cell, being… Being…” Finally, the whole situation finished to sink in Peter and he ran to the bathroom, Peter was sure they could hear him heaving, he didn’t have time to close the door. But at the moment, he couldn’t care less. 

 

When Peter came back, Gamora was finishing explaining what they saw and what that scum told them. Rocket was snarling, clinging to his gun as if he wanted to use it, Groot looked furious and Drax was standing, a hole on the wall at his side. Great, now they needed to repair the wall, although he couldn’t fault Drax for reacting like this. He had killed that scum in his fury after all. 

 

“You killed them all?” Was the first thing Rocket said when he noticed Peter. 

 

Peter thought about it and nodded. “I think so, at least we killed all of them who were on the ship.” 

 

“Pity, I’d love to show them what this baby can do.” He said, caressing his weapon. 

 

“Save it for Thanos.” Gamora advised. 

 

“So, what are we going to do about him?” Peter ran his fingers through his hair. 

 

Gamora looked at them with a thoughtful expression. “Well, he needs help. So I guess the first thing is making sure he’s physically well. Maybe you can make him a hand, a foot, and an eye, Rocket?” 

 

Rocket huffed and said nothing, better than an outright refusal. 

 

Gamora shrugged,  knowing it’d be the best they’d get for now. “Okay, we’ll let him rest for today. Let’s go to sleep, tomorrow will be a hard day for us all.” 

 

Peter laid awake in his room. He couldn’t get the image of Tony being raped by fucking beasts out of his head. When he did, it was for the scene of Tony asking them if they were his new owners to take place. Not an excellent replacement. Peter succumbed to exhaustion and a sleep full of nightmares. 

 

He woke up the next day feeling tired and not ready to leave his bed. But Gamora knocked on the door, telling him to wake up. Peter groaned but he got up and went to the bathroom to shower. Once he was ready, he went to get Tony. Peter knocked on the door and muttered. 

 

“Tony? Can I come in?” 

 

“Yes.” The voice sounded… startled? Why would he be shocked? Peter entered the room and realized they hadn’t given Tony any clothes yesterday. He cursed. 

 

“Shit, we forgot to give you clothes. For now, you can use some of mine, on the next planet we’ll get you new clothes. Do you want to shower first?” Peter scratched the back of his head, unsure on what to do. 

 

Tony looked at him funny, and the next words broke something inside Peter. “You are giving me a choice?” 

 

Peter had to bite his tongue to not scream, he didn’t want Tony to think he was violent, instead, he said in the most gentle and honest voice he could. “Of course, you’re not a prisoner here. You’re our equal. You can do whatever you want here. But please don’t destroy the ship.” 

 

Tony’s eyes became wet, but no tears fell and Tony looked away. Peter stood there patiently, until Tony spoke again, in a rough voice that made Peter want to give him a glass of water, shit, when was the last time the dude drank water? “I’d like a shower.” 

 

Peter nodded. “Good, you need my help?” 

 

Tony shook his head, with the same poker face as last night. “No.” 

 

“Good, here, I have a bathroom next to my room.” Peter guided Tony to the bathroom, careful to not look at Tony’s scarred body. After a quick trip to Peter’s room for clothes, he gave Tony a towel, a clean shirt, and pants before leaving. Waiting at the other side of the door just in case Tony needed help. He didn’t. Somehow Tony washed, dried himself and then dressed all without a hand and a foot. How he did it would be forever a mystery to Peter. The fact he did it in record time was even more impressive. 

 

Soon, Tony was in the medical bay, being scanned. What they found looked bad. He was malnourished and the scars he had inside his… Inside were horrifying according to Gamora. 

 

She looked at Tony. “Do you want us to maybe help take care of your burn scars?, Rocket can make you a hand, an eye, and a foot too, if you wish.” 

 

Tony’s mask broke and for a second, shock took place. But he recovered and nodded. “Yes, I’d… I’d like that, I can make a foot and the eye myself if you’d let me, once I have two hands again.” 

 

Rocket looked up at that, interested. “Oh? You know how to build things?” 

 

Tony shrugged. “Yeah, that was pretty much my job.” 

 

“So you are a…” 

 

“An engineer.” Tony supplied. 

 

Rocket looked at Tony with a blank expression, not knowing the word. “What’s that?” 

 

“I design tech, build it.” 

 

Rocket leaned in, looking very interested. “That weapon that took-” 

 

Gamora interrupted Rocket. “Oh, no.” Everybody looked at her, Gamora’s expression didn’t ease Peter’s concerns. 

 

Peter was worried, now what? What could be worse than what they already knew? “What? Gamora, what is it?” 

 

“You have…” Gamora looked up from the screen to lock eyes with Tony. “What do you have inside you?” 

 

Tony grimaced. “Shrapnel. I’ve had it since before… Since before.” 

 

Gamora looked at him in shock. “How are you alive?” 

 

Tony patted the blue light through his clothes. “This is an arc reactor, it powers an electromagnet, which keeps the shrapnel suspended so it won’t pierce my heart.” 

 

“Oh my fuckin’ god. Dude, that has to hurt like hell.” Peter gaped at Tony, the heck? 

 

Tony shrugged in nonchalance. “Used to it.” 

 

Peter couldn’t wrap his head over it, how could someone live with that thing inside of them? How could someone move, let alone fight with something like that? His respect for Tony rose, he was incredible. 

 

He sighed. “Okay, I bet in Xandar they could take them out, if you want them to.” 

 

“I…” Tony’s voice wavered and he looked down, as if afraid to look at them. “Can I think about it?” His voice barely above a whisper, but they heard it in the room's silence. 

 

Peter nodded, understanding it was a complicated process and Tony’s nervousness about it. “Sure, take your time, it’ll take about a month or two to reach Xandar.” Tony nodded and Peter decided it was time for him to eat and drink something. “So… Breakfast everyone?” 

 

Tony tensed at that but nodded and went with them, he stumbled a few times but he didn’t fall, how he did it Peter still couldn’t figure it out, but he kept himself close just in case Tony fell. 

 

They arrived at the kitchen and sat down, all of them except Peter, it was his turn of cooking. He was careful to make something a sick person would stomach and once he had all the food, he turned around and saw Tony was still standing. He frowned at that but didn’t know what to say, so he looked imploringly at Gamora. 

 

Gamora nodded and gestured to Tony to sit next to her. He did so slowly and, he sat down. Then Peter put the food on the table, a dish in front of each of them. That of course, included Tony now, he also gave him a big glass of water and sat down next to Tony. But Tony didn’t eat, didn’t reach for the water. He only stared at the food with a poker face, until Rocket interfered. 

 

“Peter isn’t that bad of a cook, he won’t poison you.” Rocket snarked with a smirk. 

 

Peter grumbled at that. “Rocket you little shit.” 

 

However, Rocket’s intervention worked, Tony clumsily took the fork and ate. At the first mouthful, he stilled and, to Peter’s horror, Tony started crying. 

 

Rocket snickered. “Is Peter’s food that bad?” 

 

Tony shook his head, hastily wiping at the tears that wouldn’t stop falling. “I…” He whispered something Peter didn’t pick up, but it seemed Rocket did. 

 

“Of course it’s people’s food, you’re a person!” Rocket looked enraged at that, and Peter couldn’t fault him. 

 

The implications of such a phrase made Peter’s blood boil, but he didn’t dare to ask. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Peter couldn’t decide. Drax dared to comment with the delicacy of a train. 

 

“Sounds like you haven’t eaten people’s food in a while.” The grave voice in which he said it made it somewhat better, but Tony still tensed, tears still flowing. 

 

“I… They… I’ve only eaten cookies, they said they were pet’s food.” Tony’s voice was strangled and low, but all of them heard. 

 

A heavy silence followed that declaration. Peter felt sick and the urge to puke was so strong he almost ran to the bathroom again. But he swallowed down the bile and touched Tony’s hand. The way he flinched made Peter retreat immediately. But Tony was looking at him now so he smiled apologetically and vowed. “You’ll never eat anything but people’s food from now on.” 

 

Tony looked stunned and, for the first time, he smiled. It was small and hesitant, but it was a smile all the same. Peter blinked in surprise and then beamed back. He liked Tony’s smile, he’d do anything to make Tony smile again. 

 


 

The pet laid awake on the bed. Its fingers resting on its mouth. 

 

Food. 

 

It ate food. People’s food. And a whole dish, not leftovers, but a whole plate served for it. It felt ashamed of crying in front of the people who saved it, but it couldn’t help it. The pet was so pathetic, it couldn’t even stop crying now. The taste of people’s food… It had forgotten how good people’s food was. And how Peter vowed it wouldn’t eat anything else now… That meant more than it could put into words, gratitude overwhelmed it towards all of them, but especially towards Peter. Feigning being a person was the right choice. The pet just hoped it would convince them. 

 

So far, it seemed they bought its act. None of them had treated it as anything but a person, so it must be doing a good job at that. 

 

The pet was in the room they let it use, it spent a lot of time here. Bedrest. It used to hate bed rest, back when it was a person. But now it calmed the pet, it was too tired most of the time and it still didn’t know how to act well in front of its saviors. 

 

A knock on the door distracted it. “Come in.” The pet still felt strange at allowing people to enter, being treated as if it were a person was wonderful and puzzling. 

 

Rocket entered, Groot in his arms. “Hey, how are you feeling today? Groot wanted to keep you company so you don’t get bored. So you’re stuck with him but only if you want to?” 

 

Company. The pet looked at Groot, who waved at it enthusiastically. The pet felt itself smile a bit, Groot was adorable, it looked back at Rocket and nodded. “Hello, I’m feeling good today and I’d like that, thanks.” 

 

“Don’t thank me, it was Groot who wanted to chat with you.” Rocket left Groot’s pot by the window and left. 

 

The pet spent the rest of the day talking with Groot, who had a great sense of humor and reminded the pet to DUM-E a bit. It hurt the pet to think about DUM-E or anyone from Earth, so it tried to not think about them. The pet knew that it’d have to go back at some point, they needed to know about Thanos. But now it wasn’t ready for that. 

 

It saw the others during meal times, something it still couldn’t believe it could have. Sitting at the table, with everyone else, being served on a plate, eating with a fork. The pet felt as if in a dream. 

 

It had nightmares every night. Sometimes, it was still with its previous owners, being raped constantly, being punished for its foolish hope. They hurt the pet so bad in those dreams, the pet wanted to die. It woke up feeling drained and gross. 

 

But the worst nights were when it dreamed of the guardians treating it just like its previous owners had. Where Drax and Peter would rape it and the rest would use it and punish it for everything. After those dreams, it had problems looking at them in the eye. It felt dirty because it dragged its saviors with it on the mud. They didn’t deserve to be looked at like that, even if only in dreams. 

 

One day, Peter came to its room to leave Groot, but he stayed, with the pet’s permission. It was hesitant still, but last night it had dreamed of Peter raping and punishing it, so it accepted his company. The pet didn’t want to deny anything one of the guardians said right now, it felt too guilty for that. 

 

Surprisingly, the pet had a good time. It could tell Peter was doing an effort to be gentle with it, which warmed its heart and made it furious and ashamed at the same time. The pet was so weak, it shouldn’t need special treatment. It enjoyed talking about music with Peter, a common interest that wasn’t sensitive. The pet felt Peter’s absence once he left. 

 

The second guardian who stayed with it was Gamora. She reminded it a bit of Natashalie, but thousands of times deadlier and more empathetic. Gamora seemed to like the pet, for some reason and they spoke of different martial arts they knew about. It was an interesting topic and the pet had a good time, it hoped Gamora enjoyed it too. 

 

Slowly, the guardians turned to keep him company, it was nice. A feeling he had forgotten. None of them brought up Thanos or it leading an army again. The pet knew it wasn’t because they had forgotten or discarded the idea, but because they were giving it time to recover. That made it love them, but at the same time, it felt like an imposter. It didn’t think it’d ever be Tony Stark again, at least not enough for it to lead an army against someone like Thanos. But it had to try, for the universe and for the people who had done so much for it. 

 

Rocket was by far the pet’s favorite person to talk to, he told it about the tech from different planets and how they worked, which fascinated the pet to no end. Rocket also had a great sense of humor and an attitude to match, the pet looked forward to the times Rocket would visit it. 

 

The meals were superb, if awkward. What with the pet still awed at the fact it could eat with everybody else and the same food too! It tried to not show it the best it could, but the pet thought Gamora and Rocket knew how it was feeling. In any case, the meals were great, even with the awkwardness and it was less and less awkward with each meal, so life was looking good. The pet never thought life could be good for it again, it was nice, if filled with uncertainty. 



Its owners were pissed at it, with good reason. The pet had dared to think the dream was real, it must have talked in its sleep because all its owners were pissed at it now. The pet dreaded what was to come, but it didn’t resist, that would only make things worse for it. They didn’t need to grab it or pin it to the floor, a mere order was enough. 

 

Pain and jeers were the only things the pet felt for some time. It didn’t know how long it was abused. But suddenly, it felt nothing anymore, it opened its eyes and saw it was alone in space. But it was falling, falling and falling. The pet panicked, what was happening? Why was it falling? No, no. It didn’t want to do this, The pet tried everything it could think of, but nothing stopped its fall. 

 

Suddenly, it was back on Earth. It was in its house at Malibu and he cried in relief. But before it could call for JARVIS, Pepper, Happy and Rhodey appeared, the three of them looked enraged. The pet covered its ears so it wouldn’t hear their screams, but their voices pierced its skull. Giving it a headache. They approached and kicked it, the pet stood and ran through the house, its past friends on its heels. 

 

It called for JARVIS, begging him to help it. 

 

JARVIS’ voice was steel cold and contemptuous when he addressed the pet. “For you, pet? Never.” 

 

The pet woke up with a jerk. Covered in sweat and crying. Damn it, again these dreams. It never thought it’d miss the nightmares about Afghanistan, but it did. The pet ran its fingers through its hair. What a mess it was, it was so pathetic. 



Rocket came one day and instead of staying, he asked the pet. “You said you knew a thing or two about tech, wanna come with me to the lab?” 

 

The pet stayed stunned for a few seconds. Rocket was inviting it to the lab? The pet smiled hesitantly and nodded. “Yes, I’d like that, thank you.” It added, verbal answers too drilled in his head for it to not being polite. 

 

It couldn’t help it, once it entered the lab, its eyes became wet. The place was different, but it was familiar enough to it’s lab back on Earth for the pet to want to cry. It stole his breath for a second. Rocket looked at the pet at its gasp, but didn’t comment and for that the pet was grateful. 

 

Being in a lab with someone else, someone who was smart and could keep up, was amazing. The pet felt nothing but joy while they discussed tech, while Rocket taught it how alien tech worked with examples, and, forgetting about everything else, the pet suggested improvements. The first time it happened, it froze in horror, sure Rocket would punish it now. But Rocket only grinned and discussed the improvements. That put the pet at ease and slowly, it smiled more. When on the fourth day, Rocket eagerly asked about the weapon that destroyed a quarter of Thanos’ army, the pet hesitantly told Rocket about how it had been a weapons manufacturer, about Afghanistan, and how he stopped. 

 

Rocket called it an idiot, saying it wasn’t at fault. The pet stood frozen in shock. It was the first time someone said it wasn’t its fault. But Rocket made very convincing arguments and with each day they discussed the topic, the pet started to believe it a bit more, by the third week of discussing it, it almost believed it completely. 

 

Their favorite topic of conversation was the Iron Man suit, Rocket was begrudgingly impressed with the suit and they spent hours talking about the design and how to improve it with alien tech. They also spoke about the arc reactor and JARVIS, Rocket was firmly set on the idea of the pet creating an AI for the ship. The pet liked the idea but was hesitant to propose it. Rocket solved the problem by doing it himself in the second week. 

 

Once the others heard the idea, they were instantly on board. So Rocket and it designed an AI alongside an Iron Man suit. So enthralled in their tech talks Peter and Gamora had to come to get them for them to eat and sleep every day of the second and third week. The pet felt amazing, to be in its element again. Even if the feeling disappeared as soon as it left the lab, it was still way better than it thought it’d ever feel again. It wished it could sleep in the lab and never leave. But the pet knew it had to get accustomed to living outside of its element if it wanted to become a person again someday. The concept of being a person again was looking more possible with each day. Maybe it wouldn’t be Tony Stark, with all that implies, ever again. But maybe, just maybe, it’d be able to become something similar or even better. 

 


 

Tony was doing well enough, as far as Peter could see. He still hadn’t opened up to them, which frustrated Peter. He wanted to help Tony get better, but he understood well that Tony couldn’t just get better this soon, he had gone through hell and worse. So he didn’t push it. It wouldn’t work anyway, Tony could be more stubborn than… Well, anyone he had ever met. 

 

Sometimes in the mornings, he would act weird for a while, but there was progress and that was what mattered. He was becoming friends with Groot, he was bonding with Rocket, both playing in the lab, which made Tony smile and Peter totally wasn’t jealous of that. Totally...

 

So things were looking good, they’d arrive at Xandar in two weeks, they would heal Tony of his physical wounds and they would go back to their lives, which now included Tony. Peter hoped their lives would include Tony even after defeating Thanos. 

 

Peter was lost in his musings, so he didn’t hear what prompted Drax’s comment, but he saw the effects they caused, and god he wished he hadn’t. 

 

“Relax,” Drax said, addressing Tony, who went rigid and, with a vacant expression on his face, stood and kneeled on the floor in front of the table. Arms behind his back and mouth open, tongue out. 

 

Peter had been with enough flings and had had enough kinky sex to know what such a pose meant and he felt sick, Tony still had that vacant expression on his face. So he was lost in his mind, he must think he was back with those scum. The fact he acted like that because of a word so innocent as ‘relax’, made Peter’s blood boil. How he wished they’d killed those scum more painfully, they hadn’t deserved a quick death. They should have tortured them until they begged to be killed. 

 

Peter immediately stood, the rest of the Guardians doing it at the same time. He and Drax walked over to Tony and grabbed him gently, trying to make him stand. 

 

It was a mistake. 

 

The moment Tony felt hands on him, he changed position, now he was on all fours. As if waiting for them to rape him from both sides. But the worst was hearing Tony speaking, in a voice void of any emotion and loud enough for all of them to hear. 

 

“I’ll be a good pet, I’ll be a good pet. I was born to be used, being used is all I’m good at. Please fuck me, please use me. I’ll be a good pet, I’ll be a good pet…” 

 

Peter tried to speak but no words came out, stunned and helpless, he didn’t know what to do to make things right. Before he could decide on what to do, Rocket, who snarled at him and Drax shoved them off Tony. “Back the fuck off, you’re making it worse! Get the hell outta here!” 

 

Peter wanted to protest, he wanted to help too! But Gamora, who had Groot’s pot on her other hand, dragged them towards the exit, glaring at him and Drax into submission. They left the room, but stayed just on the other side, door ajar. Peter watched helplessly as Rocket touched Tony’s hand and in a gentle and soft voice Peter didn’t know Rocket was even capable of, spoke. 

 

“You’re a person, you’re a person. You were born to do whatever the fuck you want to, you’re hella smart, you’re a warrior. Nobody’s gonna use you anymore. You’re a person, you’re a person…” 

 

It took what seemed like an eternity for Tony to calm down enough for him to stop talking and stand. Rocket guided Tony to a chair and gave him a cup of the calming tea they had. Making sure to ask Tony to drink and phrase it as a request and not as an order. Peter made a mental note to phrase nothing as an order to Tony. Watching this once was enough. 

 

Once Tony seemed calm enough, Rocket looked at them and nodded. They cautiously entered the room, they sat and an awkward silence took over. Tony was back at his poker face, but he was blushing hard, cheeks and ears red, his eyes were wet and Peter hated himself for not being able to do anything and felt the urge to punch Drax. But he didn’t do it, because he knew Drax wasn’t at fault, those scum were. 

 

“Sorry.” Tony’s hollow and broken voice made Peter come out of his musings. Peter couldn’t believe Tony was apologizing, they were the ones who should apologize, and yet… 

 

Drax spoke, voice grave and full of regret. “No, you have nothing to be sorry for. It was my fault, I’m sorry. I’ll do my best so this won’t happen again.” 

 

Tony, who had tensed at hearing the no, slowly relaxed and nodded. But Peter knew Tony enough, or at least he wanted to think he did, to know he was ashamed. The way he wouldn’t meet anyone’s eyes was a good hint and he vowed to be more careful around Tony, they needed to talk about it, preferably when Tony was asleep. And then talk with Tony about this too and best to do it before reaching Xandar, who knew how he would react to an order given by a doctor, better be prepared. 

 


 

Peter woke up Drax while Gamora fetched Rocket and Groot, they met in Drax’s room, everybody looking grim. Not being able to forget what had happened at dinner. 

 

Gamora opened the conversation with a grim face. “Okay, we need to make sure this never happens again.” 

 

“How?” Drax asked, subdued. 

 

Rocket was the one who answered. “Well, we sure as hell can’t order him to do anything, even if it seems innocent as ‘pass the salt’, who knows what those sick bastards said to him, I’m not gonna ask. So, no orders, only requests phrased as explicit requests.” 

 

“Also, if this happens again, no grabbing. Touching his hand seems to be okay, but no grabbing.” Gamora added. 

 

They nodded. 

 

Peter ran his hand through his hair. “Okay, so what can we do? The doctors-” 

 

Gamora interrupted him. “We’ll just have to talk with them first, explain the situation, and stay close in case he needs it. Rocket, you’re closest to Tony, stay with him.” Rocket grumbled but didn’t deny it and Peter felt a pang of jealousy that was immediately put down. The last thing he needed was to think with his dick in this situation. 

 


 

The pet was being raped again, it felt the strain in its body. It could hear Peter and Drax’s voices and their hands on its body, but it couldn’t see. 

 

Suddenly, it wasn’t on the ship anymore. It was falling to Earth, this time, to the ocean. The pet fell to the ocean full force, his skull throbbed, his panic rising as it drowned. It was already in the ocean, but it kept falling until the pet reached the bottom of the ocean. It tried desperately to go back to the surface, to no avail. 

 

Suddenly it could breathe again and it opened its eyes. It was back in the room it woke up, back with its previous owners. Panic rose again, it didn’t want to die here. To its horror, its skin rooted. No, no, no, no, no! It couldn’t die, not like this! 

 

The door opened, the pet raised its head, but its eyes had fallen a few seconds ago so it couldn’t see who it was. The pet felt a kick in the gut and someone put their foot on its head, Gamora’s voice sounded in front of it. “Filth, we saved you because we wanted a pet of our own. You dare to think of yourself as our equal? Mark my words, you’re not a person, never will be.” Gamora kicked it in the back of its head hard and the pet woke up with a silent scream, tears flowing through its eyes.

 

Chapter Text

Hello

I'm sorry to say this, but my muse has been kidnapped by Naruto and I currently find myself unable to read or write anything from any other fandom

Will that pass? Yes, eventually I'll be able to go back to other fandoms, however I don't know how long that will be, it can be a couple of weeks, it can be almost a year or even more, my muse is a bitch like that

So we've decided to put the fic on hiatus. Now, under no circumstances this means we abandoned this story. We'll eventually go back to it, but that will be only once we finish the main fic so this won't happen again. It can take years so that's why we are putting it on hiatus

Sorry about this, but I'm the type that can't force themselves to write without hating what they write, themselves and the world and I have enough things to worry about with a pandemy and all of the shit that's happening in the world to add more. Writing is supposed to be fun, so yeah, hiatus is it

I'll stop rambling now, that's all, read you someday again~

 

Chapter Text

Peter wasn’t jealous of a raccoon. 

 

Okay. Maybe he was, a little bit. He wasn’t oblivious; he liked Tony, a lot. Tony made not only Peter’s dick hard, he liked him romantically too. And he was happy Tony was becoming a bit more talkative and open with each day. Which wasn’t saying much, but it was far better than the first few days. He still didn’t speak unless spoken to, still had times where small things made him close his expression. But he was improving. Not thanks to Peter oops jealousy speaking.  

 

The point was, Peter was happy Tony was improving, but Peter was not happy Tony was improving almost solely because of Rocket. Rocket and tech were the only reasons Tony smiled. Sure, the first time it was because of Peter, but that was one time against the nine he’d seen Tony smile around Rocket. Yes, he counted. That meant nothing. 

 

He was acting like a spoiled brat; he knew it and tried to not show it. But Rocket discovered it, and he. Wouldn’t. Stop. Making. Fun. Of. Him. Damn that raccoon. 

 

Peter shook his head and walked towards the lab. It was his turn to make sure Tony and Rocket ate something. 

 


 

The pet was okay. It was okay with the fact that they will reach Xandar by tomorrow. By tomorrow, they would pass the pet down to doctors and the guardians would leave its life. The pet didn’t think for a second its saviors would stay with it. Why would they? They’ve done enough already, more than enough if it was honest. The pet wanted to cry, but it willed the tears to not fall. It was pathetic enough already. 

 

That night, the pet dreamed of the guardians leaving it with faceless doctors, of the doctors realizing it was a pet and treating it as such, using it in an even more cruel way than its previous owners only to heal it later. Rinse and repeat. The pet woke up the next morning drenched in sweat, which wasn’t something unusual. The sinking feeling in its stomach, however, wasn’t usual for it anymore. Swallowing breakfast was torture. Even being in the lab with Rocket didn’t give it the normal feel of security, knowing all too well it would be the last time it would be there. Rocket noticed its state but didn’t comment and for that the pet was grateful. 

 

They reached Xandar a few hours after lunch; the pet was so nervous it wanted to puke. But it pushed the feeling aside and went to the bridge. It couldn’t breathe. There was a city below them, a big city, just like New York. A city full of people, just like New York. How many people were there? How many of them would use it? The pet tensed. He was scared of going back to its old life before the guardians, scared of being used like that again. It didn’t want to go back to that. But what could it do? The pet was just a pet. There was nothing it could do. 

 

There was a hand on its shoulder, bringing the pet back to reality. It turned around and saw Peter looking at it with a worried expression on his face. 

 

“You okay there?” Peter asked, warmth and worry in his voice. The pet wanted to cry. What did he do to deserve this kindness? 

 

“I-” The pet choked on air, the words didn’t want to come out, its breath quickening. 

 

Peter looked panicked for a second before calming himself and taking control of the situation. He took the pet’s hand and put it on his own chest, above his heart. “Okay, deep breaths, breathe with me. In and out, in and out. Yes, that’s it, you’re doing great. Okay, a few more times. Just like that, yes... Great, you did it.” 

 

Peter smiled at the pet and it shakily smiled back, which made Peter beam in answer. 

 

“Sorry about that.” The pet averted its eye in embarrassment. 

 

Peter smiled at the pet. “Nothing to be sorry about, what happened?” 

 

“There’s…” The pet struggled to explain his panic and settled for saying. “Many people.” 

 

Peter’s eyes widen at the answer. “Oh, oh! Yeah, sorry we didn’t think of that.” He ran his fingers through his hair. “Shit, we can go looking for another city if you need?” 

 

It shook its head. The pet didn’t want to be more of a bother than it already was. But the fact Peter was worried warmed it. “No, don’t worry. I’ll... I’ll manage, yes.”

 

 “If you say so, but just say the word and we go back, alright?” The pet nodded and Peter nodded back, squeezing the pet’s hand before turning around and parking the ship. 

 


 

Peter tried to focus on restocking and refueling, but with Gamora and Rocket there, such a mundane task didn’t pose a challenge. His attention kept drifting back to Tony. Who was pale and tense, eyeing everyone with suspicion. Not that Peter blamed him. If anything, Tony was handling the situation better than expected, especially after his panic attack on the ship. Peter shook his head when he realized they were in the ship once more, leaving the provisions there. It was time to get a doctor for Tony. 

 

Finding a good doctor wasn’t difficult at all, being acquainted with the Nova Corps, they found a good doctor, who was educated enough to tend to Tony, and wasted no time to see her. The problem was, with each step Tony tensed even further, why Peter couldn’t understand, was he worried about the treatment, wary of what the doctor would do to him? Peter wanted to comfort him, but couldn’t find the words so he settled for a smile. It wasn’t returned and Peter pushed his disappointment aside at the way Tony averted his eyes. 

 

They reached the doctor with Tony looking ready to bolt. Friora, the doctor, seemed to realize this. Because she put on a smile. Before she could open her mouth, however, Peter and Gamora took a step in front of Tony. 

 

Gamora whispered urgently to the doctor. “May we have a word with you before you see our friend? He’s in a delicate state and there are a few things you should know before talking with him.” 

 

Friora narrowed her eyes and studied Peter and Gamora’s faces. After a few seconds she nodded and made a motion for the two of them to follow her. Once they were alone in a room, she crossed her arms below her chest. 

 

“This is highly unorthodox, I hope you have a valid excuse for this, he is an adult.” Peter and Gamora nodded in agreement with Friora’s no-nonsense attitude. 

 

Peter sighed, trying to find words. It was Gamora who collected her thoughts and started talking, bless her. “He was kidnapped for years, the kidnappers treated him like… A toy, they didn’t see him as a person. When we found him, he was in a cell being raped by two beasts. He also told us they gave him pet food to eat. And he had a… Relapse? Drax triggered him on accident, he only said ‘relax’ and Tony… Well, he,” Gamora sighed. “He had a flashback. He thought he was back and got on his knees, repeating how he was a pet, born to be used. It took quite a lot of time for Rocket to calm him down.” 

 

The doctor had paled, but maintained her professional attitude. “I guess he has hard rules about what to not do?” 

 

“Do not, under any circumstance, order him something, even if it’s a request or something small. Just ask him, explicitly phrasing it as a request. Also if he gets triggered, don’t make him get up or to grab him. Soft touches are okay, but no grabbing. Also, he had a panic attack when he saw the city, I’d say he doesn’t want to be around too many people.” Peter spoke with urgency.

The doctor nodded with a serious expression on her face. “Very well, is that all?” 

 

“I think so, yes. We don’t know everything they did to him, we didn’t ask, and he barely speaks.” Friora nodded again and the three of them went back to the main room where the others were waiting for them. 

 


 

Friora pursed her lips at the results of the evaluation. Even after over a month with the guardians, Tony was severely malnourished, and that was only the tip of the iceberg. She sighed, this would take a while. She looked up and saw the so-called Guardians of the Galaxy looking at her, so she cleared her throat and spoke in her most professional voice. 

 

“The recovery will take time and dedication, but it is possible. You mentioned you wanted to design the prosthesis, correct?” They nodded. “We can arrange that, although I’d like to oversee the process,” She received another nod at that. “Good, well, surgery will be necessary. Both to attach the prosthesis and to heal the burn scars.” Then she directed her attention to Tony, who flinched at that. She used the most gentle and non-judgemental tone she was capable of talking to him. “Are you certain you don’t want to take out the shrapnel?” 

 

Tony took a step back, hand protectively over the arc reactor. “Yes, I’m sure, I’m sorry.” 

 

“No, nothing to be sorry for, you’re the patient, it’s you who have the final decision.” He tentatively nodded at that, and she smiled at him. 

 

Peter then took a step forward. “How much, then?” She didn’t answer. Instead, she gave Peter the device that had the results and the cost of the treatment. Peter, Gamora, and Rocket read it and shared a nod. “Seems fair, okay. We don’t have all the money right now. Can we arrange something?” 

 

She inclined her head. “We can, of course.” 

 

Peter spoke then. “What if we leave one of us behind to take care of Tony while he starts his treatment and the rest of us go to take jobs to get the money?” 

 

Friora thought it over. It seemed like a suitable arrangement, and they had saved the city. “Yes, we can arrange that.” 

 

The guardians relaxed at that, and Peter thanked her. “Thanks.” 

 


 

Peter sighed, fidgeting on his chair. He felt restless with worry already. He hoped they found someone with a good bounty soon. He itched for a good fight, but also to go back to Tony. It didn’t feel right to leave him there. Granted, he was with Rocket and Groot, he was in excellent hands. Even so, it wasn’t the same as being there himself. He wanted to spend more time with Tony. 

 

Gamora put a hand on his shoulder and he looked up at her with a grateful smile. “He will be fine.” 

 

“Yes, I know, it’s just… I don’t know, I worry.” 

 

Gamora smiled, “Me too, but he’s in good hands.” Peter nodded and Gamora looked more serious. “There’s something we should do.” 

 

“What?” 

 

“Spread the word about what happened so the Ravagers know what happened.” 

 

Peter looked up at Gamora with wide eyes. “What? Why?” 

 

Gamora looked at him in confusion. “Didn’t you see? The filth, they were Ravagers.” 

 

Peter gasped in surprise, and then his face contorted in disgust and fury. “If the others knew and did nothing, I swear I’ll-” 

 

Gamora shook her head. “I doubt they knew, isn’t it against the code?” 

 

“... Yes, it’s against the code to have sla-” Peter choked on the word but finished the word. “Slaves.” 

 

Gamora nodded. “Then that’s it, it’s best this way. They will discover it was us sooner than later, it’s better if they know the reasons behind what we did. We don’t need them attacking us, especially now that we have Tony.” 

 

That did the trick, Peter nodded decisively and Gamora mirrored him.  

 


 

The pet was confused. Its saviors were gone, but not forever, and not all of them. They were gone temporarily while they got the money for its treatment. They would pay for the pet’s treatment. It still couldn’t believe that. What had it done to deserve that? Nothing. And yet, they kept being friendly, compassionate, treating it like a person, helping it, giving it a place to stay and food, and now even a way to heal. This was too good to be true, they were too good to be true. Why hadn’t they left? Was there hope for it to not be discarded once the treatment was complete? The pet didn’t dare to hope, but its heart was a traitor who dared to do so. 

 

“Tony, can I enter?” Rocket knocked. 

 

“Yes.” 

 

Rocket entered the room and sat on the bed cross-legged, looking at the pet. “So, are you gonna tell me the fuck it is? I can smell your emotional turmoil.” 

 

The pet opened and closed its mouth, but Rocket said nothing else, content to wait for it to speak. So the pet did, because out of all its saviors, the pet felt the most comfortable with Rocket. “I… Are you going to keep me after the treatment is done?” 

 

Rocket studied him and sighed long suffering. “Did you honestly believe we would just abandon you in Xandar?” The pet averted its gaze, which was answer enough. “Oh fuck, dude, of course not! Why would we take you in in the first place if we didn’t want you around? Unless you decide to leave after you’re better, you’re stuck with us! You hear me? And we won’t ‘keep you’! You’re a person, not a fuckin’ pe-” The pet flinched at that and Rocket backtracked. “Whatever, you’re a person!” 

 

The pet looked at Rocket’s eyes and blinked to suppress its tears. It nodded and smiled shakily at Rocket. “Yes. Thank you.” 

 

Rocket huffed but waved the pet off. “Whatever, just don’t get any weird ideas.” With that, they changed the topic and talked about the possibility of making bots to help their AI once the project was complete. 

 


 

The pet was nervous. That much was obvious even to Friora, who didn’t know the pet much. But it wanted to think it had a right to be nervous on the day of its surgery. As soon as it thought that, it stilled in shock. Rights? Incredulity morphed into happiness. When was the last time it thought it had rights? Too damn long. Maybe it was getting better, maybe there was hope for it to become a person again. The nervousness receded at that thought, hope and determination taking over. It will become a person again, and the first step was getting physically better. 

 

The pet woke up a few hours after the surgery feeling tired and stiff. The first thing it saw was the ceiling, the second was Rocket’s face. 

 

“How are you feeling?” Rocket’s voice was grounding, and the pet smiled. 

 

“Good.” Its voice cracked, throat sore and thirsty. Rocket snorted and helped the pet to sit down, giving it a glass of water. “Thank you.” 

 

Rocket looked it up and down and nodded. “You look weird with the whole body bandaged.” 

 

Right, bandages, that’s why it felt stiff. The fact its entire body was bandaged put it on edge. The last time this happened had been at its previous owner’s care. 

 

The pet couldn’t help but be on edge for the rest of the week until the bandages came out. Once they were off, it looked in wonder at the mirror. There was still a scar, there would always be. But it wasn’t very noticeable anymore. When it brought its hand to its cheek, it didn’t feel pain. The pet marveled at that, its scar tissue wasn’t as sensitive anymore, Woah, alien medicine sure was amazing. 

 


 

The pet could acknowledge it was nervous, again. This time the reason was simple. Its saviors were coming back, only for a few hours, but the pet was apprehensive. It trusted Rocket, so it believed him when he said they won’t abandon it. Regardless of that, its anxiety was a bitch. What if they decided it wasn’t worth it? What if they were hurt on the job and now they hated it because of that? What if- No, stop it. 

 

Rocket knocked on the door and the pet steeled itself before standing and opening the door. Rocket, with Groot’s pot in his arms, was waiting for it on the other side. They exchanged a nod and a wave with Rocket and Groot respectively and headed outside. 

 

Gamora, Peter, and Drax were waiting for them. Peter waved at them with a smile that lit up his face. The smile assured the pet and it released some tension it was feeling. Maybe things wouldn’t be so bad. Maybe its saviors liked it and wanted the pet around. 

 

Once Groot, Rocket, and the pet reached the rest, Gamora spoke. “We already paid for the first surgery. We were thinking of staying for a few hours and then going back to hunt other bounties. Do you want to go to eat or drink anything? There’s a small restaurant close, that’s it if you’d like it?” She spoke to all of them, but her gaze was on the pet. 

 

It gulped but nodded. It was scared, but it was also angry and frustrated by its fears and wanted to see what Xandar offered. “Yes, I’d like that.” 

 

After that, the others were quick to agree, and the pet realized they were waiting for its answer, to not force it to do anything. Embarrassment and warmth filled it, they were so thoughtful, but the fact they needed to treat it so gently frustrated it to no end. It shouldn’t be this fragile.  

 

Being outside wasn’t as nerve-wracking as the first time, now that it was reasonably sure its saviors won’t let it here at the mercy of whoever found it. Now that it didn’t see everybody as a potential owner, and its mind wasn’t filled with the cruel and horrible ways each person it saw could use it. That made wonders for its mood and its ability to enjoy itself. 

 

For the first time, the pet took stock of its surroundings with something more than suspicion, looking around for the sake of seeing what the city offered and not to catalog threats. The city was painfully similar to New York, but they had stark differences. For starters, Xandar was clean. It was more advanced technologically speaking. There was also the fact that multiple species coexisted there. The pet bitterly thought how nice it would be if that could be the case on Earth. They couldn’t even stop hating each other because of race, sexuality, and religion, which didn’t even touch mutants and other enhanced. The pet itched to know about the alien culture here. Were there religions? Was there racism between species? What were their views on sexuality? The pet shook its head. Maybe one day it’d ask, once the idea of speaking out of turn didn’t make it sweat and increased its heart rate like crazy. For now, it’d theorize through what it saw around. 

 

The small restaurant was cozy and didn’t have many clients at the moment. Folding screens separated the tables, giving privacy to each table, which the pet appreciated. They sat down and ordered. The system was clever but simple, and soon their food and drinks were there. 

 

They ate in silence for a few seconds before Peter cleared his throat. “So, how did things go? I see the scars are better. How are you feeling Tony?” 

 

The pet, that was inspecting its food, jerked its head up from the dish to look at Peter. “I’m okay, thank you.” 

 

Peter nodded with a smile on his face. “Good! Friora told us the prostheses are ready, I saw them, you’ll be looking pretty badass!” 

 

The pet quirked the right corner of its lips at that. “Thank you.” Peter nodded, looking oddly pleased with the pet’s answer, which puzzled the pet for a second before forgetting about it and going back to its food. 

 

Rocket broke the silence. “So, who did you catch?” 

 

“Some dude that loved monologues, don’t ask me what he did. I’m pretty sure he told us that and the story of his life, but I wasn’t paying attention to his babbling, god he spoke so fucking much.” Peter shook his head in exasperation at the memory. 

 

“So like you, then.” Rocket snarked. 

 

“Rocket, you little shit!” Peter said without heat behind it.

 

Before they could start bickering again, Gamora spoke. “So how are you finding Xandar, Tony?” 

 

“It’s nice.” It nodded and went back to eat. 

 

Gamora smiled. “Good, have you seen something you liked?” 

 

The pet shook its head. “No.” 

 

“He hasn’t left Friora’s place in all this time.” Rocket said around a mouthful. 

 

Gamora nodded at that. “Oh, I see. Well, would you like to sightsee for a bit? We have enough money to buy clothes for you now.” 

 

“I- clothes?” Tony’s usual poker face broke, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. 

 

Gamora smiled reassuringly. “Yes, if you want to, it’s okay if you don’t want to go right now.” 

 

Tony’s eyes became misty, and the silence stretched for a few seconds before he spoke in a broken whisper. “You… You’d spend money on that?” 

 

Reaching for the pet’s hand, Gamora’s smile turned warm. “Of course, you’re one of us.” 

 

The pet blinked at that, willing the tears away, and averted its eyes. “Thank you, I’d like that.” 

 

Gamora nodded. “Of course, do you want to go after we finish eating?” 

 

“Yes, please.” 

 


 

Seeing Tony after weeks without him was like taking fresh air and drinking water after being thirsty, all the tension that had been weighing him down for days disappeared when he saw Tony’s scars were better, Gamora was right, it was the right decision. 

 

The food was good, and the company was better. Peter didn’t want to admit it, but he had missed them, even Rocket. It was nice to be together again. The conversation was awkward, but not as much as some others they’ve had before. Peter felt pleased when Tony’s lips twitched at the compliment on the prostheses. Was it alright to count that as a smile for him? It was most likely just because of tech, but Peter was the one talking, so maybe he could count it as a win for him? 

 

Gamora’s idea to go buy clothes for Tony left Peter on edge, not sure if it was a good idea to expose Tony to more people, but it was true the dude needed clothes that fit him better. The fact Tony accepted going made Peter proud of him, Tony was getting better, it was slow but constant and Peter felt warmth at that. He couldn’t wait to see a truly happy Tony. Peter was sure it would be a sight to behold. 

 

Peter came back from his musings when everybody stood up and he scrambled to copy them. Apparently, they were leaving already. He should stop daydreaming so much. 

 

Gamora filled the walk towards the commercial district, talking about their mission. It seemed she had been more aware than Peter, because she had more interesting things to say about it. Reprimanding himself on his mind, Peter made a mental note to be more attentive next time, no matter how worried he was about Tony, at least that way he could strike conversation with him more often and be the one who has his undivided attention. 



The pet went inside the clinic after seeing the Guardians go with a heavy heart. It objectively knew there was nothing to worry about. They came back and would do so again, but its mind wasn’t rational, hadn’t been for a while and the anxiety was eating it alive. 

 

It left its new clothes in the room it was using at the clinic. New clothes selected for it, not whatever Peter handed it. The sentiment was amazing, it owned something now. How wild was that? 

 

Yes, it had owned many things as Tony Stark. But the pet had never owned something before, and it never thought it’d happen. But it had. It owned something. The pet ran its fingers through the fabric of one of its new shirts. Plural. As in, over one shirt. It hadn’t wanted to buy much, but the guardians insisted and the pet ended with three of everything. A compromise between it and the guardians. 

 

It didn’t know how much time it spent marvelling over its clothes. Eventually, it fell asleep clutching its shirt in its hands. 

 

Chapter Text

“Peter. They’re calling. A Ravager team is calling.” Gamora’s voice betrayed the urgency of the situation and Peter tensed, standing to go with Gamora. Good thing Tony was in the lab. If they could play things right, he wouldn’t know anything. 

 

They didn’t play things right. 

 

In their defense, the Ravager Captain was quite insistent on seeing them in person. Not having much of an option, they accepted a meeting on neutral ground. 

 

Now, that wouldn’t have been too horrible, if Rocket hadn’t told Tony about it. 

 

“He has a right to know! It’s his life!” Rocket said while pacing in front of Peter. 

 

“It will only bring him anxiety! And he has enough of that!” Peter gesticulated wildly with his hands. 

 

Rocket threw his hands up in exasperation. “He’s an adult! You can’t treat him like a kid who can’t make his own decisions! That’s the last thing he needs! You can’t decide for him, you can’t act like you know best!” 

 

Peter deflated at that. “Fuck. You’re right. He’s an adult, he deserves to know.” 

 

Snorting, Rocket shook his head. “That’s what I said. You can’t coddle him forever.” 

 

Peter sat down and ran his fingers through his hair. “I know. It’s just… I care about him.” 

 

“Coddling’s not what he needs now, and you know it. If he’s getting better, it’s gonna be because we don’t talk down to him like some kid. The guy’s gotta be able to decide things for himself.” Rocket crossed his arms. Matter of fact. 

 

Smiling bitterly, Peter replied. “Yeah, you’re right. I see why you’re his favorite, Rocket, you understand him the best.” 

 

Rocket huffed, not denying it, and left. 

 


 

The pet steeled itself and walked out of the room it used. By doing so, it was going against the wishes of its saviors. They didn’t order it to stay in there, but it still felt as if it was disobeying an order. By the time it saw the Ravagers, it was shaking.

 

They were only talking for now, but the pet didn’t know how long that would last. With a shaky breath, the pet left the ship and walked slowly but determined towards the two groups. Its blood rushed to its ears and its heart was beating like crazy, but as it walked, numbness took over, something the pet welcomed. It would make things easier if it didn’t have a panic attack in the middle of the explanation. 

 

Both groups saw it. The guardians tensed, looking worried. The Ravagers, on the other hand, watched its approach with caution and curiosity.

 

Once it was close enough to the guardians, Peter spoke, worry shining in his eyes. “Are you sure you want to do this, Tony?” 

 

The pet tried to smile reassuringly at Peter and nodded, walking until it was in the middle of both groups, its back to the guardians. “I am the cause they killed them. If you want to avenge them, just punish me. Don’t involve them, they did it for me.” 

 

“NO! Tony, no! We won’t allow that-” 

 

“You can’t be fuckin’ serious! Like we’d let-” 

 

“No fuckin’ way in hell that’d happen-” 

 

The Ravager Captain frowned at that and spoke over everyone. “No need for that, we just want to confirm the rumours. Is it true they had someone captive and treated him as a slave?” 

 

The pet breathed shakily and nodded its head. “It was me.” 

 

The Captain looked pained for a second and his eyes roamed over the pet’s body. “Are your scars because of them?” 

 

Closing its eyes, the pet answered. “Yes. They took my eye on the first day they left me out of the room they had me in for weeks. The burns are from a few weeks after that. The foot and hand were… I can’t know for sure, but I’d say a few months later.” It tried to give the facts in a neutral tone, but it couldn’t stop its voice from shaking. 

 

The Captain sounded pained when he asked next. “And they treated you as a slave?” 

 

“They called me a pet and used me like one. I- the first time I ate people’s food in years was with the guardians.” Damn, there were tears in the corner of its eye. But they wouldn’t fall. The pet refused to allow that. 

 

When it opened its eyes, the Ravagers looked as if someone had punched them. The Captain exchanged looks with his crew and nodded. “We believe you. As much as it pains us to say this, they had what they deserved. On behalf of the Ravagers, I am sorry. We never knew, or we’d have done something. You can catch a favor with us whenever you want.” 

 

Tension bled from the pet’s shoulders and nodded at them, not trusting itself to talk without crying. The Ravagers left with a last salute. 

 

When the pet turned around, it saw pride shining in the guardians’ eyes. Surprisingly, it was Drax who spoke first. He looked at the pet in the eyes and said. “I am proud of what you have achieved today. It’s no easy feat what you just did. You have come a long way, and I am honored to count you between my friends. I look forward to how far you go next.” 

 

That did the trick, the pet started crying, the weight of their pride was too overwhelming. It didn’t deserve them. Had it really come this far? Had it achieved things? A warm hand clasped its shoulder, and the pet opened its eyes and saw Peter hovering over it, eyes as warm as his hand. 

 

Peter’s smile was as sincere as his eyes. “I’m so fuckin’ proud of you!” 

 

Gamora smiled too, her eyes shining with pride and affection. “You were so incredibly strong right now.” 

 

The pet laughed shakily and steeled itself for what was to come. It had to do this, now or never. “I- I want to tell you what happened back then.” 

 

The guardians tensed, but upon seeing its real eye burning with determination, they hesitantly nodded. The walk back to the ship was charged with anticipation, and when they reached the common room, everybody took a seat, pointedly not looking at the pet. It chuckled and clapped its hands, gaining everybody’s attention. 

 

“There was an invasion on Earth…” 

 


 

Peter couldn’t stop thinking about what Tony told them. Sure, he knew Tony had had it bad. But this was nuts. Tony’s life had been difficult even before the invasion, but after that? The hell he had to suffer through the hands of those scum? Peter couldn’t understand how Tony was this well adjusted. He was so strong it was mind blowing. 

 

But even without his last kidnapping, Tony’s tragic backstory fit right in with theirs. Taken against your will, having regrets about people you care about. A life with difficult parent figures. Peter could relate to that, he was sure at least Gamora could too. Having heard all of Tony’s life was harrowing. It made Peter want to open up with his team for the first time. In fact, all of them opened up with each other. Even Rocket, however reluctantly. They had a cry fest, as Rocket put it. He felt horribly vulnerable while doing it, but it was cathartic all the same. The fact that since then Tony smiled more was amazing too. Each time Tony smiled Peter couldn’t help but smile back, wanting to express his affection somehow. 

 

Peter arrived at the lab. Rocket and Tony didn’t notice him, and he took a few moments to admire how well they worked together. The ever-present jealousy was there, sure, but there was also pride and warmth at how far Tony had come. He looked so excited talking about science. It was a nice sight. 

 

“AHA! Finally!” Tony’s face lit up with a triumph. 

 

“Hell yeah, we did it!” Rocket laughed maniacally. 

 

“Now time to look for Peter-” Tony turned towards the door and saw him, Peter straightened from where he was leaning against the doorframe. But Tony only grinned at him, which filled him with warmth, almost making him blush, it was the first time Tony had smiled at him just because. “Oh, you’re here, good!” 

 

Peter beamed back and said. “What did you two do? What’s happening?” 

 

Tony opened his mouth to reply, but Rocket spoke first. “Meredith is finished! We’re about to install her into the ship!” 

 

Peter couldn’t breathe, Meredith was ready? “Woah, that’s- that was quick!” 

 

Rocket smirked in satisfaction, shrugging and pointing at Tony. “Tony’s done this before. He knew what to do. We only took this long ‘cause we made up a coding language on our own, so she’s unhackable!” 

 

Shaking his head, Peter smiled. “I don’t know what you just said, but it sounds pretty cool! So you were about to install her into the ship? Lets call the rest!” With that, Peter turned around and went to retrieve the other guardians, giddy with excitement and nervousness. 

 

Hearing his mother’s voice, even if with a robotic tint, was surreal and brought tears to his eyes. Peter closed his eyes and let the voice of his mother wash over him. He knew it wasn’t his mother, it was an AI, but it was still amazing. He opened his eyes and saw Tony and Rocket speaking to Meredith, explaining things to her. 

 

Tony looked at him and Peter had to reign in his impulse to hug him. Instead, he beamed at him, his smile splitting his face. “Thank you! Thanks you two!” 

 

Rocket huffed and nodded, Tony smiled in return and spoke. “You’re welcome.” 

 


 

Now that Meredith was online, things were easier for them. They could let her do the menial tasks, and they didn’t need to take guards anymore. She was enough. The pet was very proud of its creation. It was so long since it last created something, and AI’s were special. They were alive, after all. 

 

Meredith’s awakening also brought up the glaring fact of the Iron Man suit. Rocket was getting insistent on that, but the pet wasn’t sure. Was it worthy of a suit? Was it worthy of standing side by side with the other guardians and fighting alongside them? 

 


 

Peter woke up covered in sweat. Great. A nightmare, he ran a hand through his hair. That was intense. 

 

“Captain, your heart rate is higher than normal for a human, and you show other signs of distress. Would you like me to alert Champion or Main Creator?” 

 

“No! No. Don’t bother Gamora or Tony with this. It’s just a nightmare, I’ll just shower and eat something, don’t worry.” 

 

“Very well, Captain.” 

 

In the shower, Peter let the water soak him and sighed. Their cry fest was good for him, but it also opened old wounds. Talking about his daddy issues or his regret for his mother wasn’t fun, neither was telling them about his early years with Yondu and company. He understood he needed to talk about it to heal, and nightmares aside, he felt better after getting that off his chest. 

 

Peter dressed up and went to the kitchen, only to find Tony already there. Upon seeing him, Tony spoke. “I can leave if you want I-” 

 

“No! Don’t worry dude, you have a right to be here, you live here too.” After an awkward silence, Peter said. “So… Couldn’t sleep?” 

 

Tony inclined his head. “Meredith recommended tea.” 

 

“Yes, tea is good.” Nodding, Tony took a sip of his mug and sighed. Peter crooked an eyebrow. “Something on your mind?” 

 

Tony shook his head. “It’s stupid.” 

 

“Hey, it’s not. Nothing about you is ever stupid.” Tony looked at him in surprise and Peter realized what he just said. Oops, did he act too sappy? Sometimes it was difficult to contain his desires in front of Tony. “I mean, you’re hella smart, dude. Would you tell me what are you thinking about?” 

 

Tony looked at the mug in his hands. “I.. I miss coffee. I was a coffee addict.” 

 

That wasn’t what Peter was expecting. “Oh, yeah. I never drank coffee, but I saw it was pretty addictive. Sucks space doesn’t have coffee. But if you want, we can get some drinks that are similar.” 

 

Tony shook his head. “No, thank you. You’ve done enough for me.” 

 

Huffing, Peter spoke. “Dude. You’re not our charity case, you’re our friend.” 

 

Grinning, Tony took a sip of his mug and changed the subject. “Would you want me to help you cook something?” 

 

Peter didn’t press matters and nodded. He loved Tony’s cooking. “Oh yeah, please. You’re a great cook. Hey! Lets try to make something similar to Earth’s food!” 

 

Quirking the corner of his lips, Tony replied. “Sure, what do we have?” 

 

And so, they cooked space pancakes. They weren’t the same as Earth’s, but it was close enough, and delicious. They ate in silence, savouring the food. After they finished, Peter spoke. “So, coffee and pancakes aside, and people aside, what else do you miss from Earth?” 

 

Tony didn’t hesitate. “AC/DC!” 

 

That name sounded familiar to Peter. “Oh, I think I remember that one, they’re… A rock band, right?” 

 

With a nostalgic expression, Tony nodded. “Yes, they’re amazing. My favorite band.” 

 

“Huh, so you’re the rock type, interesting.” Peter said, happy to learn more about Tony.

 

“Yes, what about you? It’s the music you always listen to your favorite? Or you listen to it because it’s the only thing you have?” Tony turned his head to look at him. Their shoulders almost touched and Peter could feel Tony’s body heat. God, he wanted to kiss him, wanted to run his tongue- no, no, no. Bad thoughts, bad thoughts. He couldn’t ruin their friendship just because he liked Tony. Nothing would come out of it. 

 

Instead, he turned his head to look at Tony and smiled. “I was a kid, so I just listened to my mom’s stuff back then. So yeah, I listen to it because it’s what I have, but also because it’s my favorite, though I don’t have many other songs to compare them.” 

 

Tony nodded, and after a pause, he spoke hesitantly. “Would you want to listen to AC/DC?” 

 

The offer confused Peter, but he wouldn’t deny it would be nice to know more about Tony. “Sure! But how? You don’t have the songs anywhere, right?” 

 

Averting his eyes, Tony cleared his throat. “I have them memorized, I can sing them if you’d like.” 

 

That made Peter beam. Tony would sing for him! “Of course! Woah, dude, you can sing? Cool!” 

 

Tony smiled and sang. It was a nice song, and Tony’s voice was amazing, Peter hadn’t known it was possible to sing like that, but Tony did it excellently. After a few seconds of just basking in Tony’s voice, Peter couldn’t help it, he closed his eyes and danced. Tony kept singing, for which Peter was grateful. If he stopped now, it’d be awkward. 

 

“Woah, you can sing.” Rocket’s voice broke the moment and Peter opened his eyes. On the kitchen door the rest of the guardians were looking at them, different levels of amusement on their faces. 

 

Nodding, Tony spoke. “Mom taught me.” 

 

“Cool.” Rocket grinned and Tony smiled back. Peter had to push down the jealousy, it wasn’t necessary, so what if Tony preferred Rocket? They still had a good time together. 

 

Gamora was looking at Tony with a curious expression on her face. “How did your voice sound like that?” 

 

“Oh, it’s how some rock groups sing, I love classic rock, so I learned. It’s difficult, but I managed.” Tony shrugged. 

 

“Cool!” Rocket said again. 

 

Groot spoke enthusiastically. “I am Groot!” 

 

Smiling softly, Tony inclined his head. “Thank you, Groot.” 

 

“What are you doing here?” Oops, that came up rude, but Peter couldn’t help it, they were having a moment, damnit. 

 

Rocket snorted and shook his head, a knowing smirk on his face. Damn it, he would tease Peter about this until he died. “Dude, you two woke us all up, first with the smell of food and then with music! We wanted to come to the party too!” 

 

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Tony looked contrite at that. 

 

Rocket waved off his concerns. “Bah, don’t be. It’s not like we have anything to do in the morning.” 

 

Then Gamora entered the kitchen and looked around. “What did you make?” 

 

Drax came in next. “Is there enough for us?” 

 

Peter nodded, lamenting the end of their moment. “Yes, we cooked for you too, it was supposed to be your breakfast. They’re called pancakes, oh, well. Space pancakes, not all ingredients are the same.” 

 

“I am Groot!” 

 

Peter inclined his head and Tony spoke. “You’re welcome.” 

 

Once the rest of the guardians were eating and complimenting the food, Peter said. “Meredith, please put on my music.” 

 

“Right away, Captain.” 

 

“Thanks.” Then he looked at Tony, who looked back at him. Peter danced again and then extended a hand towards Tony. Who hesitated for a few seconds, but Peter didn’t let that discourage him. He kept his expression friendly and open. Eventually, Tony took his hand, and they danced together. Laughing, Peter made Tony twirl around, who chuckled and obliged. And oh boy, Peter didn’t know his heart could beat so fast for something that simple. But Tony’s chuckle was the best melody ever, even more when he was the one responsible for it. 

 

Peter could see the rest of the guardians looking at them, but there wasn’t judgement, and they didn’t interfere. So, they kept dancing, Tony teaching Peter how they danced in the 90s, 2000s and 2010s, and Peter took the lesson with a smile on his face. Spending time with Tony was amazing, he was amazing. 

 


 

It was rare for Drax to visit the pet, but when he did, it always felt natural. Their conversations just flowed. That day Drax sat next to it on the bed and smiled at it. They sat in companionable silence for a few moments before Drax looked at the pet. 

 

“Would you tell me about your kids? The ones back on Earth.” Drax’s voice was gentle. He looked at the pet with understanding. 

 

The pet was hit with the realization that out of all the guardians, Drax was the one who understood it the most in this aspect. Because Drax lost his daughter, permanently. The pet also lost its sons, but at least it could go back to Earth to them someday. Drax didn’t have the same solace. The pet realized this, and the urge to tell Drax about its kids, to speak about them with someone who would understand, was overwhelming. It wished to share their anecdotes, their struggles, and how proud they made it. It wanted to hear about Drax’s daughter too. It only knew her name. 

 

The pet drew a shaky breath and spoke. “I have four kids on Earth. All of them I made with my own hands. True, they’re not biologically mine, because they’re not human. But they’re alive, they can feel and think in their own ways. I don’t care what others think, they’re my sons.” 

 

Drax nodded. “I don’t doubt that. You had a father’s look in your face when you mentioned them the other day.” 

 

It turned to look at him, shocked. Even Rhodey didn’t understand at first. He needed time and exposure to them before seeing them as its kids. But Drax just understood. He didn’t doubt for a second. Its eyes became misty. It couldn’t express how much that meant for it. The pet smiled at Drax and it realized it was smiling more since their cry fest. 

 

“Well, DUM-E is my first, I made him when I was in my teen years, still a student. So he’s technically the oldest, but if we are talking about how developed they are, he’s got two brothers who are the same as him and they’d be my youngest triplets. He loves to make me smoothies, though he still doesn’t understand he doesn’t have to put motor oil on them.” The pet chuckled fondly. “He also adores the fire extinguisher and doesn’t waste an opportunity to spray whatever and whoever he thinks needs to be sprayed, no matter if there’s a fire or no.” 

 

Smiling, Drax spoke. “He sounds like a good kid.” 

 

“Yes, he is. Next are Butterfingers and U. They were made a few years later, at the same time. U is a very shy boy, he hides when people he doesn’t know well go to the lab. But he’s always happy to see me and loves to play fetch with me, same for Butterfingers, who constantly drops things, he’s very outgoing and is very curious.” The pet got lost in its memories for a second.

 

After a few moments of silence, Drax spoke, bringing the pet back to the present. “Seems like they love you very much.” 

 

“Yeah, they do. Then there’s JARVIS. I made him after the butler of our family, Edwin Jarvis, passed away. I named JARVIS in his honor. They have the same voice and he’s amazing. He’s the youngest, but in terms of development, he’s the oldest. He’s just so smart, we can banter for hours, he’s just so sassy.” The pet’s eyes shone with regret. “I never told them I love them. Never.” 

 

“They know it.” Drax spoke with conviction, and the pet looked at him in surprise.

 

“How do you know that?” It asked.

 

“Because it’s obvious in how you talk about them. If they’re as smart as you say they are, then they know, they can tell by how you treat them and how you speak to them.” Drax’s solemn voice made the pet smile. 

 

Its eye became misty, and he blinked the tears away. “Thanks. Would you tell me about Kamaria?” 

 

Drax smiled nostalgically. “She was innocent, and beautiful, like Ovette. She had my eyes and her nose. She didn’t laugh much, but she laughed just like me. I used to take her to the Forgotten Lakes in my homeworld. She loved to go there.” 

 

The pet grinned at Drax. “She was a good kid, then.” 

 

Drax nodded. “Yes, she was.” 

 

Full of conviction, the pet said to Drax. “Drax, you were a wonderful dad. I’m sure of it.” 

 

Drax didn’t thank the pet, but what he said was more precious than any thanks could be. “I know you are a wonderful dad too.” 

 

They smiled at each other and shared more anecdotes about their kids until it was time for dinner. 

 


 

“Hey Tony, could you pass me the- is that a gun?” The pet froze upon hearing Rocket’s voice. 

 

It looked up and replied hesitantly. “Yes. I’m… Working on better guns for you.” 

 

“Oh. That’s… Didn’t you stop making weapons?” Rocket stared at it, confused. 

 

The pet looked up, nodding. “Yes. But that was because the system that I worked in had zero accountability. But I know you won’t misuse them.” 

 

“Huh. Well, I sure as hell want to see what you make. But, you know you don’t have to do this, right? You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.” Rocket looked uncharacteristically serious while saying that. 

 

Upon hearing that, the pet smiled. “I know. I want to, I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. I want to help you be safe. I’ll work on better armour after this.” 

 

Rocket grinned. “Well, just say whatever you need and you’ll have it. I’m all behind this idea! Only if you let me in, though! Don’t think you’ll leave me out of making better weapons!” 

 

Nodding, the pet went back to work. “I will, thank you.” 

 

Snorting, Rocket replied. “You’re not the one who’s gotta say thanks, dude.” 

 


 

The pet wouldn’t ever forget the faces the guardians had after it presented them the weapons it and Rocket made for them. They looked like kids in a candy store, so happy and grateful. It warmed its heart. It allowed itself to feel pride too, it was doing good, it was building things again, Rocket treated it like an equal while creating. It would never get enough of this feeling. 

 


 

The pet woke up with a silent scream. It looked around, but no one was there. It was alone in the room it used on the ship. 

 

Meredith’s voice sounded through the room, a hint of worry in her voice, and the pet allowed itself to feel pride over its creation developing so quickly. “Main Creator, your heart rate is higher than what I would consider normal for a human. Would you like me to alert Engineer Creator or Captain?” 

 

Its lips twitched in amusement at the ways of address Meredith picked up for each of the guardians. It was proud of her, it meant she was developing a personality already. Her words registered, and it sighed, shaking its head. “No, thanks baby girl, but there’s no need for you to do that. I- it’s just a nightmare.” 

 

“Alright, if you’re sure. May I suggest the calming blend of tea you prefer?” 

 

The pet stood and stretched. “That sounds good, I’ll go make myself tea, then.” 

 

“Very good. Please enjoy your drink, Main Creator.” 

 

“Will do, Meredith. Thanks.” 

 

While it prepared itself tea, it contemplated its life. It had been a difficult one, not even counting these past years. But Tony Stark always came back from the ashes. What made the pet any different? Why couldn’t it let it go? Because it was just a pet, it was born to be used, it wasn’t a person, it deserved nothing NO. That was not true. Maybe it couldn’t be Tony Stark ever again. But it would be damned if it didn’t become a person again. It started this ruse to protect itself, but it was about time for the hoax to become reality. Personhood didn’t want to come to it? That was okay, it would come to personhood, it would become a person, no matter what. It- he had friends and a daughter to help him. 

 

Chapter Text

Gamora side stepped a kick and gave one of her own. Slow enough for Tony to avoid it, but he lost balance, and she pinned him to the floor. He yielded, and she helped him up. 

 

He was panting and sweating. But she was fresh as a cucumber, of course. Gamora smiled at Tony, who was leaning on the wall. “You are improving, your stamina and stability are a problem. But it was to be expected, given the circumstances. Your technique is getting better and so is your strength. You need to work on your speed and reflexes, you have the reflex of letting yourself get hit, and that slows you down. But I can see you’ve been working on it. Good job.” 

 

Tony grinned and nodded. “Thank you, you’re a wonderful teacher.” 

 

Inclining her head, Gamora smiled. “And you’re an outstanding student. That’s all for today, you need to rest.” 

 

Tony nodded and left, most likely to take a shower and go to the lab to science with Rocket. Gamora stayed a bit, contemplating how far Tony had come. When she offered him lessons on hand to hand combat, as a way for him to regain confidence and a means to gain more control of his body, she wasn’t sure he’d accept. But she was glad and proud of him when he did. There was nothing that boosted your morale more than beating someone who deserved it. And in the few months they had been working together, they bonded, sharing their experiences. In fact, all the guardians had grown closer with each other after their cry fest. She had Tony to thank for that. If it weren’t for him opening up to them, that wouldn’t have happened. 

 


 

Peter liked to dance and no one else was on the bridge at the time, except for Meredith of course. But she was supportive, and there was something about her non judgemental attitude that made everybody relax in her presence. So he danced. It had been a while since he last did it. Meredith, bless her, helped him set the mood by playing with the lights and turning up the volume of the music. He closed his eyes, enjoying the moment of peace, then the volume was toned down and the lights got back to normal. He opened his eyes and found himself in front of Tony, who looked nervous, maybe wary of having interrupted him? Which, no, it wouldn’t do at all. 

 

So Peter beamed at him and waved at him. “Hey Tony, what’s up dude?” 

 

Tony smiled at him. It was a small smile, different from the ones that lit up his face when he talked with Rocket about science, but it was a smile. Peter felt warmth set in his stomach, noting that since their cry fest Tony started smiling more, as if someone had lifted a weight from his shoulders. Peter was immensely proud of Tony for what he did, and for helping the group to get closer. He had never been more united with anyone than now. He had Tony to thank for that. 

 

Tony’s voice distracted him from his musings. “I just wanted to see more of the space. This is the best place for that.” 

 

Nodding, Peter forced himself to stop looking at Tony like a creep and turned his head to watch the space. It was beautiful as always, but he thought Tony’s real eye was way prettier. It was a warm brown, full of emotion. He adored how it shone when Tony was happy or excited, how it would wrinkle in laughter on the rare occasions Tony chuckled, how it would soften while talking about his kids on Earth or to Meredith, how- 

 

Oh. 

 

Oh.

 

FUCKIN’ HELL. He was- he was in love. Hopelessly, helplessly in love with Tony. How could he not notice until now? The way his heart beat faster, how he warmed at being close to him, the elation that his smiles brought to him, the manner in which Tony dominated Peter’s thoughts. It was so obvious. God, Rocket was going to have a field day with him once he realized Peter knew now. Because there was no way Rocket didn’t know, which meant Gamora knew too. Both of them were too observant for them to not know when it was this obvious. 

 

Peter risked a glance at Tony, who looked enthralled by the space in front of them. His eye was shining, his lips quirked up in a small and soft smile. God those lips, they were perfect in every sense, Peter wanted to just kiss- NO bad thoughts, bad thoughts. This changed nothing. Peter couldn’t do this. Not to Tony. The dude wasn’t nowhere near ready for a romantic relationship, nevermind a sexual one. If he ever would be ready for that. 

 

No. Peter couldn’t tell Tony how he felt, not without freaking him out, not without making him feel as if he owed Peter to return his feelings. No, the best he could do was let things stay as they were now. It didn’t matter how much that hurt, no matter how much he wanted to kiss Tony’s full body and- point in case. He wouldn’t do anything. It would be fine. He would be fine. 

 


 

The human knew it was late at night, acknowledged he shouldn’t be up yet. But he couldn’t help it, his entire body itched with the need to work. He tried to wait until morning, but there was no use. Before he realized it, he was in the lab, working in body armor for the guardians, remembering the talks he had with each of them to know their preferences. He needed to work on the fabric. It had to be flexible and light enough so it wouldn’t restrict movement but sufficiently sturdy to protect them. He tested different alloys with the properties they had at their disposal or those which weren’t that expensive. With Meredith’s support, he formed the perfect alloy for this. 

 

He stretched, satisfied with his progress, the itching subsiding to an ignorable level. However, instead of leaving, he opened a new folder, immersing himself in the numbers and designs. Only when he heard Rocket open the door, he left the trance and realized he had spent hours working on an Iron Man suit. An almost finished Iron Man suit. Huh. It seemed his subconscious made that decision for him. He would fight again. The pet couldn’t stand beside the guardians as an equal. But the human could. And he would do so. 

 

“What’s with the tears, Tony? All good?” Rocket’s voice, with just the barest hint of worry, brought the human to reality once more. 

 

The human nodded, a determined grin on his face, and whipped the tears off his eye. “Yes, better than good, all excellent.” 

 

Rocket studied him for a few seconds and then smirked. “Cool, now show me what the fuck are you working on that couldn’t wait ‘till morning.”

 

Chuckling, Tony brought up the armor for the guardians’ designs and explained to Rocket the alloy so he could get Rocket’s input. 




 

Gamora stepped back and lifted his hand, signaling the end of their spar. “Okay, let’s stop here for today. You’re doing good. Your flexibility is excellent as usual, your speed, stamina, strength and technique are getting better with each training session. Your problem with reflexes is still going, but you’re improving on it too. I can see you’ve been practicing by yourself and that you do the exercises I recommended regularly. Overall, you’re developing at a wonderful rate. Keep going, good job.” 

 

The human smiled at Gamora’s kind words. He could tell he was progressing too. It was rewarding and a huge self-esteem boost. He could feel his metaphorical fingers closing over his personhood. Each session working on the Iron Man suit or practice with Gamora made him feel more like a person and less like a pet. 

 

He was already accustomed to having all limbs and vision again, mostly because of his physical practice. With Gamora you either adjusted or you ended up losing badly. Of course, the human had yet to be even close to touch her in a spar, but he liked to think he was getting near at least. He didn’t have to support his weight on the walls anymore after their training, so he guessed he was improving. Not that he thought Gamora would give him empty compliments. 

 

“Thank you, Gamora.” The human was about to leave, but something in Gamora’s body language told him she wanted to talk, so he sat on the floor and looked up at her expectantly.  

 

She huffed. “As perceptive as ever.” Walking towards him, she sat next to him, looking effortlessly graceful even then, a thing the human envied a bit. 

 

The human grinned at the comment. “You are way too kind.” 

 

She smiled bitterly. “I may be so with you now. But before…” She closed her eyes, a pained expression on her face. 

 

“Are you thinking about your time as Thanos’ soldier?” His voice was soft and gentle, but Gamora flinched and nodded. 

 

“I’m thinking about Nebula, my sister. Thanos made us battle often, I won every fight. And after each win, Thanos would replace a part of Nebula with a piece of machinery. But even knowing this, I still won every match. Without mercy, I never hesitated.” Her voice dripped with regret, her eyes fixed on the opposite wall. 

 

Huh. That was a fucked up relationship. Hate towards Thanos burned through the human like fire in his veins. That sick bastard. He looked at Gamora and his eyes softened. She had gone through so much, his chest ached for her. “You were a kid. Trained to be like that.” He said the only fact he could think of, something that encompassed everything. 

 

“That’s no excuse.” She chuckled bitterly. “And now, now I just want her back. I want to have her as a sister again. Even if our relationship was far from perfect, she’s still my sister.” Gamora sighed and looked at her hands on her lap. “But she hates me. Hates me enough to kill me. She almost succeeded once during the fight for the orb. Nebula is too dangerous. It would never work. I lost her forever.”

 

That made the human pause. This complicated everything even more. He was at a loss for what to tell her. Anything he could say would sound like an empty platitude. Something Gamora wouldn’t appreciate. So he just reached for Gamora’s hand tentatively. She smiled at him and intertwined her fingers with his, leaning her head on the human’s shoulder and breathed shakily. The closest she would allow herself to cry. 

 

They stayed like that for a long time, way after her breathing evened and her expression smoothed into a content smile. Just basking in each other’s silent support, until the door opened and Peter entered. 

 

“Hey guys, dinner’s ready- oh, am I interrupting something?” Peter’s voice sounded forcefully cheerful at the end, confusing the human. Why did Peter’s lips suddenly tightened in a line and his eyes got a pained tint to them? 

 

Before he could think more about it, Gamora disentangled from him and stood, offering a hand to the human. He smiled and took it, marveling over how she could lift his body with only one hand without effort. 

 

“Thank you, Peter.” Gamora said, looking amused. The human felt as if he was being left out of an inside joke. Which stung a bit, but he shook from the sensation. The guardians could not include him in every single thing. 

 

They arrived at the kitchen and by the time they finished the meal, the human had forgotten everything about the weirdness of that encounter. 

 


 

Perched from the human’s shoulder, Groot looked around and whispered. “I am Groot?” 

 

Smiling, the human whispered back. “Yes, Knowhere is pretty impressive so far. I’ve never been to a place like this.” 

 

“I am Groot. I am Groot. I am Groot.” Groot inclined his head to the side. 

 

The human nodded and looked around. “Guess it makes sense. We only have to escort this greasy git for a few more hours and we’re done. What do you want to see after our work ends?” 

 

“I am Groot.” Pointing to the right side, Groot spoke. 

 

“Oh, that sounds interesting, mind if I come with you?” The human crooked an eyebrow and smiled. 

 

Groot nodded happily. “I am Groot.” 

 

The human smiled at him. “Thank you, Groot.” 

 

The human and Groot talked more, without losing focus on their surroundings. They were in an assignment, they took it seriously. Even if their client was an ass, a job was a job. 

 

When the client finished his business and left, Peter showing him the finger behind the client’s back, Gamora divided the money and gave everybody their share. 

 

“Here is your part. Do you wish for us to go to a tavern and complain about our latest client while we drink?” 

 

Groaning, Peter nodded. “Heck yeah! That dude’s an asshole.” 

 

Rocket huffed. “Quill’s right, fuck that guy! This is just what I need!” 

 

Gamora nodded at them. “Good, same bar than last time?” 

 

“Sounds good, yeah. Let’s go.” Peter said, leading the way. 

 


 

“‘Dith, be a dear and run the simulations.” 

 

A few seconds of silence later, Meredith spoke. “The results show a satisfactory percentage of success.” A holo screen lit up in front of the human, showing the percentage. The human nodded, grinning from ear to ear. 

 

“We did it, ‘Dith!” The human said, elation clear in his voice. 

 

“You did it, Main Creator, I was hardly of any help.” 

 

Frowning, he looked up at the ceiling. “Now that’s not true! You helped lots, simulations are important, I can’t blow up the walls here, I’d be sucked into space and die! So you were vital in this.” 

 

“I’ll keep that in mind for future situations.” 

 

His face softened at that. “Good. Now, is the fabrication process ready to start? Do we have everything we need for that?” The human looked up, eager to start. 

 

“Yes, the production of the alloy you and Engineer Creator discussed is complete and prepared to be used. We have enough quantities to make an Iron Man suit.” 

 

The human sighed in relief. “Oh, that’s good. Okay, I have training now. Let me know when the Iron Man suit is ready for use.” 

 

“Will do, Main Creator.” 

 

“Thanks, baby girl.” 

 


 

“Today you have more energy than usual.” Gamora commented while handing him a water bottle. 

 

The human took a gulp of water before answering, excitement clear in his voice. “I finished the Iron Man suit, should be ready in a few more hours.” 

 

She smiled. “That’s good news. I look forward to seeing what it can do.” 

 

“I look forward to impressing you.” The comment slipped from his lips easily, and it startled the human with how much it sounded like something Tony Stark would say. A grin split his face. It was working. He knew he would never be Tony Stark again, but that was okay. A step at a time. First, be back to being a person entirely. 

 

Gamora looked at him with a pleasantly surprised expression on her face and inclined her head. “We will see.” The human smiled challengingly at her and they parted ways. 

 


 

It wasn’t until after dinner, while everybody was still sitting at the table just chatting, that Meredith informed the human that Mark VIII was ready for use. 

 

The human leapt from the chair and almost ran towards the workshop, not being able to contain his excitement. Rocket on his heels and the rest following at a more sedate pace. They arrived at the lab where an unpainted Iron Man suit was waiting for them in the middle of the room. 

 

Peter whistled. “That looks awesome.” 

 

Rocket ginned maniacally. “Hell yeah, put it on! Want to see what this bad boy can do.” 

 

The human looked at his armor in wonder for a few more moments, then rushed to suit up. “Meredith, are you in already?” 

 

“Yes, I downloaded myself on the suit before calling for you, Main Creator.” 

 

Grinning from ear to ear, the human replied. “Good, good. Well, lets test it.” 

 

“Yeah! Meredith, stop the ship, we’ll hover while Tony tests this.” Peter smiled, an excited look on her face. 

 

“At your orders, Captain.” 

 

The human and the guardians left the lab towards the back door. Once there, the human put on the barrier and Meredith opened the rear gate. The human did the breathing exercises Friora taught him and stepped out of the ship and into space. Being in an Iron Man suit in space gave him painful and terrifying memories, but Meredith’s comforting voice in his ear allowed him to calm down enough. His heart was still beating faster than healthy, but his ears stopped ringing and the black spots on his vision disappeared, so the human counted that as a win. 

 

The human shook his head and looked at the guardians, the HUD working, and he smiled in satisfaction. Next, he tried flying. He started small, going slow and in a straight line. Then he increased speed, making tricks like he used to. He circled the ship, each time faster, until he was but a golden blur. 

 

Exhilaration filled the human. He had missed flying so much, the freedom that brought wasn’t comparable with anything, and tears ran down his cheeks. The human paid them no mind, he just kept flying, going faster, then slower and then repeating the process, stopping sometimes without slowing down. It was a good training control, and it allowed Meredith to learn how to co-pilot the suit. 

 

After hours of flying, Meredith announced it was time for breakfast and it startled the human to realize he had spent all night trying the suit. He was even more surprised when he realized all the guardians were sitting on the floor, looking at him. 

 

“Baby girl, tell me, were they there all night?” He knew he was gaping, and his voice was soft, but he couldn’t help it. 

 

“Yes, they said they desired to make sure you were alright and needed no help. They also said they enjoyed watching you training. Captain mentioned wanting to ask you for tips on flying.” 

 

There they were, tears again, even if none fell. The human grinned inside the suit while flying towards the ship. He had such good people taking care of him, he wished he could call himself a friend of them soon. 

 


 

“Meredith, need any help?” Peter sat down on the pilot seat and looked up, hands hovering over the control panel. 

 

“No, thank you, Captain. I feel confident I will land without problems.” Meredith sounded convinced, and the human saw Peter nod. 

 

Peter smiled at the ceiling, giving her a thumbs up. “That’s the spirit! Okay, let’s see how you do it then!” 

 

“I’ll do my best.” 

 

Everybody took a seat and a few minutes later Meredith smoothly landed in the clearing of a forest, away from the city. 

 

“That was very good! You’re improving a lot, baby girl!” The human congratulated his kid. After his chat with Drax, he had resolved on treating all his kids better. Once he was back on Earth, he’d tell all of them how much he loved them. 

 

“Thank you, Main Creator.” 

 

They left the ship, the human already in his Iron Man suit in front. With Gamora, Rocket and Peter standing closer than Groot and Drax. 

 

Breathing deeply, the human spoke. “Okay baby girl, let’s start at 7% Don’t want to destroy too much for now.” 

 

“Certainly, Main Creator.” 

 

The human got in position and shot at a tree twenty meters away with his left repulsor. The blast went straight through the tree, only stopping until a rock four trees away was pierced cleanly. 

 

“Good, the power is above Mark VII, our calculations were right.” His satisfaction was clear in his voice. 

 

Rocket snorted. “Of course they were right, you doubted it?” 

 

Grinning, the human shook his head. “No, but it’s always nice to see it.” 

 

“True. Now, let’s spar! All for all! Everything goes.” Rocket caressed his weapon, a maniacal expression on his face. 

 

Peter nodded, grinning with enthusiasm. “Sounds fun! After this I’d like you to give me tips on flying, Tony.” 

 

The human ducked his head, happy that his skill was acknowledged. “I’d be happy to.” 

 

“Cool, now let’s beat the shit out of each other!” 

 


 

After hours of sparring, Rocket, Gamora, Tony and Peter were sitting on the floor in different states of exhaustion. Peter looked at them with a grin on his face, panting. “That was fun! Lets do it again.” 

 

Tony nodded, faceplate up so they could see his tired but satisfied face. “For sure.” 

 

“I agree.” Gamora said, voice annoyingly level. 

 

“Hell yeah!” Rocket lifted his arm with his gun as if toasting. 

 

Peter managed to even his breathing. “Well, let’s go shower and then we need to go to the capital, we’re low on provisions and it’d be good to get new clothes.” 

 

Gamora and the rest nodded. They stood and went back to the ship. 

 

An hour later they arrived at the city. It wasn’t as big as Xandar, and not as clean either. But it was beautiful. Peter watched fondly as Tony glanced around in wonder. He looked so handsome, so kissable- no. Bad thoughts. Peter saw Tony looked as if he wanted to ask something, and knowing Tony wasn’t recovered enough to seek answers yet, he spoke. 

 

“Do you want to know more about alien culture, Tony? We haven’t talked much about it. I know it shocked me in the first years.” He made sure to make his voice friendly. 

 

Still, Tony hesitated. “I-” 

 

“C’mon, we know you have questions. You can ask them, no biggie.” He smiled reassuringly and Tony smiled back, making Peter beam at him. 

 

“Well…” It was like a damp broke and Tony fired question after question so fast Peter was sure he wasn’t breathing. “What religions are there? Are there wars for religions like on Earth? Is there racism between species? To what point? Are there Emperies? What about sexual orientations and gender identities? Are they all accepted? Depends on the planet? What about the inter-planetary cultural exchange? What kind of entertainment exists? Are there movies? TV? Celebrities? Books? Theater? What games exist? How come everybody I’ve encountered so far speaks English? What kind of fashion exists in different cultures? What kind of cultural, political or social rules are there across the galaxy that I should know?” 

 

After Tony finished speaking, Peter blinked and got to the first question. “Okay. Let’s see…” And so the explanation started. 

 


 

Peter stopped walking and turned around to look at Tony. “What? You know how to play real golf? Not mini-golf, but real golf?” 

 

Tony turned his head to look at Peter and crooked an eyebrow. “I was a billionaire, remember? A rich kid since birth, of course I know how to play golf.” 

 

Peter saw an opportunity and grabbed it. “You gotta teach me!” 

 

Tony gaped at him. “You want to learn how to play golf? It’s fairly boring.” 

 

That was true, but he wanted time alone with Tony, even if he couldn’t do anything. He was a masochist, sue him. Shrugging, Peter said the first excuse he thought of. “It’s fancy, I alway wanted to play the real deal when I used to go to mini-golf.” 

 

Blinking, Tony shrugged. “Sure, I can make some golf clubs. Anyone else want to learn how to play golf?” Tony turned around to look at the rest. 

 

Peter pleaded with his eyes and the rest smiled. Rocket chuckled. “Nah, not interested.” 

 

Gamora smiled and shook his head. “You two have fun.” 

 

Drax waved the offer off. “No, thank you.” 

 

“I am Groot.” 

 

Tony nodded and looked back at Peter, who just barely contained his excitement to normal levels. He couldn’t look too eager for this. “Okay, seems it’s just the two of us, Peter.” 

 

Peter beamed at Tony. “Yeah, seems so. Cool.” 

 

Tony smiled at Peter back and he had to do his best effort to not grab Tony and kiss- no. Bad thoughts. God. That smile was criminal. Literally. Peter would commit crimes for that smile, not that it took him much incentive to do crimes, but still. 

 

Tony got the clubs ready and Peter tried to pay attention to the lesson, but it was difficult when he had the weight of Tony’s focus on him. Each time Tony touched him to correct his form, the time he got behind Peter to help him with his posture and footing, it was both hell and heaven. Peter wasn’t good at not expressing his desires. Now, if someone told him to piss off, he stopped and left right away. But not even trying? That was new and torture. Because Tony wasn’t just a crush or a would-be-fling. No. He wanted Tony as a partner, hopefully until he died- oh no, he was getting sappy now. 

 

Tony was talking to him and Peter forced himself to focus on the lesson and not on the warmth of Tony’s body behind him. 

 


 

“Showtime assholes.” Peter said just as the beast appeared from the clouds. 

 

The human took position and sank into hyper awareness typical of a battle. With Meredith as support and the guardians being a steady presence around him, he felt the most alive. Even after months of helping the guardians with jobs, it was still mind-blowing to stand with them as their equal, as if he was just as important as them. But his body had fought too many battles to let his inner turmoil make him sloppy. The music Groot put on was a nice and comforting touch, and the monster wasn’t as bad as they predicted it would be. Part of the human wondered how they’d have fared with their old weapons, and not the ones he and Rocket improved. Not to mention without their new body armor. But shook those thoughts away. It didn’t matter, the monster was dead, and the batteries were safe. 

 

After years in space, golden people barely made him blink. Although Peter flirting with the High Priestess was amusing, Rocket had mentioned in passing just how much of a playboy Peter was and part of him remembered his old self. Tony Stark was a playboy too. Although he doubted he’d ever be one again, it just didn’t feel right anymore. He realized Peter was looking at him from the corner of his eyes, so the human smiled at him. Strangely, instead of beaming at him like every other time the human smiled at Peter, this time he looked disappointed. Weird and disappointing, he liked when Peter smiled at him. Oh, well. 

 

The human didn’t dwell on it, because the golden people brought Nebula and all his focus went to Gamora. Her expression was blank, but there was a slight tenseness on her jaw that wasn’t there before. Her eyes looked pained for a second before becoming hard and then emotionless. He ached for her, he didn’t know what he would do in her situation. She was incredibly strong for doing this. He wasn’t sure this was the right choice, but it wasn’t his call, it was Gamora’s. He’d support her with whatever she chose to do. 

 


 

Gamora saw two Sovereign throw Nebula to the floor, and she had to fight the impulse to hit them for treating her sister like that. The next urge she had to control was hugging Nebula. That wouldn’t end well. No matter how much she loved Nebula, it wouldn’t work. She hated Gamora. They would never be sisters. So she squared her shoulders and didn’t allow any emotion to show on her face. She didn’t flinch when she saw hatred in Nebula’s eyes when their eyes met, nor did she avoid Nebula’s gaze. 

 

The awkward moment became even more awkward after Peter, in an attempt to lift the tension in the air, opened his mouth. ‘Family reunion’ was the last thing she wanted to hear right now. The words mocked her, making her think of things that never would happen. Gamora knew Peter had good intentions when he said that, but it only made things worse, Nebula’s glare became more intense and she could see Tony grimacing discreetly at Peter’s words from the corner of her eyes. 

 

She barely paid attention to Rocket when he spoke, too busy with locking eyes with her sister. Thankfully, soon enough they left for the ship, not so thankfully, Gamora was the one who took care of shackling her to the ceiling. It pained her to do so, but she had to. She couldn’t live in peace if Nebula kept trying to kill her, she had her friends to take into account, she couldn’t risk them because of the sins of her past. 

 

“I’m hungry, hand me some of that Yaro Root.” Nebula demanded, pointing at the Yaro Root in a bowl close to them with her head. 

 

If only it were that simple. “No. It’s not ripe yet.” Gamora wanted to go and hand Nebula something else to eat. Who knew when was the last time she ate. But she couldn’t show she cared. So she only kept shackling her to the ceiling. Just for good measure, she added. “And I hate you.” 

 

“You hate me? You left me while you stole that stone for yourself. And yet here you stand, a hero.” Oh, so Nebula resented her for that too. And she was right, yet another reason she failed Nebula as a sister. She started to walk away, but stopped when Nebula kept talking. “I will be free of these shackles soon enough, and I will kill you. I swear.” That hurt, she could acknowledge that, even if only to herself. Another reminder of their ruined relationship. 

 

“No.” Gamora turned around and looked at Nebula’s eyes, confident in her indifferent mask. “You’re gonna live out the rest of your days in a prison on Xandar… wishing you could.” 

 

Nebula didn’t reply to that, although her glare intensified, and Gamora walked away, chest heavy and wishing she could have a spar session with Tony soon, those always calmed her, and talking with Tony about this would be easy. Sadly, the alarm sounded just then, and she hurried to the bridge. 

 


 

Crashing was not fun. 

 

Crashing when Meredith’s survival was on the line? Terrifying. 

 

First thing the human did when he oriented himself enough to remember what happened, was call for his baby girl. “Meredith! Meredith, are you alright?” 

 

“I am well, Main Creator.” Meredith’s answer came a bit shaky, but the human sighed in relief, nonetheless. 

 

The human stood and after seeing Nebula was okay, he walked towards the bridge. “Okay, I’ll go check you right away, just let me see if everybody else is well.” 

 

Once he arrived, Peter saw him first, and he sagged in relief. “Thank god, you’re okay. I wasn’t sure if you got inside on time.” 

 

The human nodded tensely at Peter, not happy with him at the moment, and looked around. “How is everybody?” There was a chorus of grunts and affirmations, and the pet nodded. Then he looked at Gamora. “Nebula is alright too.” 

 

Gratitude flashed through Gamora’s eyes for a second, before her indifferent expression came back. She nodded at the human anyway and he smiled at her. 

 

“Is Meredith okay?” Peter asked, and Tony wanted to say that yes, she was okay, but not thanks to him. 

 

He bit his tongue and spoke without looking at him. “I’ll go check on Meredith.” 

 

“I’ll go with you.” Rocket said. Tony nodded mechanically, not happy with Rocket either. 

 

They went to check on her in silence and when they got back, everyone looked at them expectantly. 

 

“She is well.” The human answered the unvoiced question. 

 

After smiling in relief, Gamora looked at both Rocket and Peter and yelled at them for being irresponsible and putting them and Meredith at risk, which made them flinch. It seemed they understood what was at stake then. Good. The human himself was furious with both of them at the moment. They put his baby girl at risk. And was grateful Gamora scolded them, he knew he wasn’t well enough to scold anyone for now and they needed one. It also served as letting Gamora blow up some steam from having Nebula here. Which was fair in the human’s books. The two of them deserved it. 

 


 

“I’m your dad, Peter.” 

 

Peter was not buying it. The man’s - his dad - explanation was solid, but there was something that didn’t feel right. It could be a trap. It could be so many things, they had enough enemies to worry about. As a kid he wanted a dad more than anything- as an adult he kept wanting a dad, like he told the guardians in their cry fest. It was an old wound that now was bleeding so much he felt like drowning. Gamora was adamant on them going, and she made pretty convincing points. She was right. They could always kill him first if this was a trap. 

 

Tony wouldn’t meet Peter’s - or Rocket’s - eyes, and his heart sank, Tony was angry at them for putting Meredith at risk, he just wasn’t well enough to show it. And they deserved it, Peter understood, Meredith was Tony’s daughter, she was an important crewmate. And they risked her, there was no excuse. 

 

Shaking his head, he decided to give this man a go. Maybe it’d be best to let Tony cool his head before apologizing. He didn’t want Tony to be forced to forgive him if he was still angry. 

 


 

The human was angry. He hadn’t felt this angry in a long time. It wasn’t hatred. He could never hate the guardians, but he was enraged at Rocket and Peter, especially at Rocket. Which was a strange feeling given just how much he usually liked him.  

 

He knew Peter and Rocket felt guilty in their own ways. But that wasn’t enough. Not when the human realized just how easy would be to lose Meredith. 

 

Rocket spoke, not looking up from where he was fixing the ship. “We can make a force field around the ship for battles in space. It will take time and resources. But… It’d protect all of us so this doesn’t happen again.” 

 

The human smiled, feeling his anger go away, Rocket wouldn’t apologize, not only because he knew the human would be forced to accept it, but because it wasn’t his style. But he was offering solutions, telling him in his own way how much he regretted it. The human felt excitement over this new project and his mind started to think on ways of making it possible. 

 

Humming, he spoke. “If we install an arc reactor on the ship to make it the main power source, then we’d have more than enough power to have better weapons on the ship and the force field.” 

 

Rocket cackled. “I like how you think!” 

 

They looked at each other and smiled. Yes. They would make sure Meredith, or any of them, was never this close to dying ever again. 

 


 

Being in the middle of a mutiny was not in the human’s plan for the night. He was sure Rocket and Groot didn’t appreciate it either. As soon as they got to them, it froze, a persistent ringing in its ears and black spots on its vision not allowing it to know what was happening. The pet didn’t know how long it was out of it. The first thing it saw once it came back to reality was Rocket’s worried face. 

 

“You with us, Tony?” 

 

Drawing a shaky breath, the pet- the human the pet nodded. “Yes. Sorry.” 

 

Rocket huffed. “Don’t fuckin’ apologize for this!” 

 

Averting its eyes, the pet looked around, they were in a cell with Yondu, and it quickly realized something. “Where’s Groot?” 

 

“They got him, don’t know what the hell they’re doing to him.” Rocket gritted his teeth in anger. Then, he looked at the pet again. “Are you alright, Tony?” 

 

The pet nodded shakily, then, Yondu spoke. “I was a Kree battle slave for twenty years before Stakar freed me.” That got the pet’s attention. It knew the guardians had had situations very similar to its own, but it had never met a fellow ex-slave. Although it seemed Yondu was a different type of slave. Seeing he had the pet’s attention, Yondu kept talking. “For the first years, it was sorta difficult to remember I was free sometimes.” Then he looked at it in the eyes. “You’re the one who the guardians rescued right?” 

 

Nodding, it replied. “Yes.” 

 

With a knowing look, he asked. “What are you?” 

 

“A pet.” It answered before thinking. Oh, crap. 

 

“NO! You’re not- have you still thought of you as a pet all this time?” Rocket’s voice was strangled and angry. 

 

The pet recoiled and bowed its head. “I’m sorry I lied to you. I… I didn’t want to keep being a pet, so I feigned being a person. I’m sorry.” 

 

Rocket’s face crumbled. “You-” 

 

Yondu shook his head. “Leave him, let me ask you something, son.” The pet turned to look at Yondu. “Did you stop thinking like this at any moment of the past years?” 

 

Breathing shakily, the pet nodded. “A few months ago yes.” 

 

“And being here is triggering this setback.” It wasn’t a question, but it nodded anyway. 

 

“I-” 

 

“That’s okay. Not being fine is okay.” Those words struck something in it, it was okay? Really? It didn’t have to be strong? Could it allow itself weakness? No, Stark men were made of iron, not so much of a Stark now though, was it? No- 

 

Rocket’s voice interrupted the pet’s introspection, he sounded angry and defeated. “Tony you’re not a pet.” 

 

“I-” 

 

“Am I a pet?” Rocket’s question shocked the pet. 

 

It shook its head and looked at Rocket with wide eyes. “No! You’re a person!” 

 

“What about me? I was a slave once.” Yondu’s voice was calm and knowing. 

 

The pet turned to look at him. “You’re a person too!” 

 

Yondu asked. “Then why aren’t you?” 

 

What? Why wasn’t it? It… What was the reason? If they weren’t… Then why? His head hurt. He needed answers. “I…” 

 

“Think about it.” After a few moments of silence, Yondu spoke again. “Stakar freed me. He offered me a place with the Ravagers, he said all I needed to do was adhere to the code. But I was young, and greedy, and stupid.” He gestured to Rocket. “Like you stealing those batteries. Me and Stakar and the other captains, we weren’t so different from you and your friends. The only family I’ve ever had. When I broke the code, they exiled me. This is what I deserve.” 

 

Standing, Rocket huffed. “Slow down drama queen, you might deserve this, but we don’t. We gotta get outta here.” 

 

He nodded at that. “Where’s Quill?” 

 

Their voices washed over the pet, and it started thinking. Was it he it he it he! Was he really a pet? Wasn’t it he a human? He remembered the last months, it felt so- he felt so well, as a human. Could he go back to that? No, it was time for the fairytale to end- the hell he couldn’t! He was a human. He was a human. He was a human. He was a- wait, what did they say? 

 

Looking up, the human looked at Yondu. “Sorry, what did you say?” 

 

He smiled at the human and repeated himself. “I said I got an idea on how to get outta here. But we’re gonna need your little friend.” 

 


 

Peter was ecstatic. He was half-Celestial? As in, half god ? This day could only get better if Tony were here instead of repairing the ship. Oh god, he needed to tell Tony. No. He would wait for them to be here, seeing his expressions would be the best. And Rocket, oh god yes, Rocket’s face would be priceless. He couldn’t wait. This made things so much better, their chances of stopping Thanos skyrocketed if dad fought with them and helped him train with his powers! They would be safe. They would be alright. He could kiss Gamora for convincing him to get to know his dad, but she’d kill him. 

 

With energy on his fingers, Peter breathed deeply and made it dance from one finger to the other. Smiling, he entertained himself with it for a while, he hadn’t seen Gamora or Drax in a few hours. Not that he was worried, they were safe here, but it was strange, where were they? 

 

Those thoughts were forgotten when his dad came and explained some things. Immortal? He was fucking immortal? Oh. My. God. A part of him thought of Tony and his enthusiasm wilted a bit. But he shook those thoughts away, if he was half-god, he would think of something. 

 

Listening to his dad talk about him having to stop thinking as a human made him feel unease, but he did as he was told and opened his mind. What he saw took his breath away, it was beautiful, it was everything and nothing at the same time, he couldn’t describe it. It made him feel powerful, eternal, glorious. 

 

Peter listened while his dad told him about his plans, about what he had done. Part of him was screaming at him to run, to fight, this was dangerous! But. But this was his dad. His family. An image of Tony and the guardians flashed in his mind. No, dad was his family, he was special. They were the only ones who had a connection to the light. He wanted to find his dad for so long, now he had and he wouldn’t waste this chance. 

 

Yes, dad was not alone anymore. He had him. 

 

Another flash of Tony and the guardians, and this time Peter stopped to think about them, he didn’t want anything to happen to them, he loved them. But, yes, dad was right, that was the mortal in him talking. What was wrong with being a mortal? He was beyond such things. Was he really? But, what about his mom? Dad said he loved mom. Yes, dad loved mom, he told Peter that much, he was telling Peter that much. Dad came back for mom, but in the end, he chose his plan, because he wasn’t a mortal. That’s why dad put that tumor in- wait WHAT. What did he just hear? No, that couldn’t be true. 

 

Peter could feel his mind go back to normal and once he saw his dad- Ego’s face, he knew he had told Peter the truth. His dad killed his mom, in a horrible way, because of his plan. 

 

Rage filled Peter, hurt, betrayal and hatred quickly following in. Before he knew what he was doing, he shot, multiple times. But Ego didn’t die. How in hell was that possible? When he said he was immortal, he hadn’t thought it was this literal, he thought it was more along the lines of not dying of old age! Shit, now what could they do? That batshit crazy plan will bite them all in the ass if they- damn that hurt. What was this? What was impaling him from behind? Was that an energy tentacle? Wait? Battery? Oh, so that’s why he suddenly felt tired. Shit, if this thing was draining in his energy, then maybe the plan was already in motion! He had to stop it somehow, but how? He didn’t have training with his powers, he tried to think, but his powers weren’t answering! Shit. Shit. Shit. Shitshitshit. 

 

Ego took his Walkman, no! That fucker better take his hands off his Walkman! He didn’t have a right! Not after killing his mom! Something inside Peter broke with the Walkman when Ego destroyed it. NO. Why? Why his Walkman? Why did Ego do that? Was it because it was a connection with his mortal life? Did this mean Ego would personally go after his friends? No. No. No. No. No. Peter couldn’t allow it. He needed to escape. But how? This stupid tentacle was making him feel dizzy and weak, he couldnn’t move. He couldn’t move. Couldn’t move. Couldn’t-

 

Wait, was that a ship? Oh Peter really hoped being run over by a ship was enough to kill Ego. At least it was enough to stop him from draining in his energy. Before he could face plant, Gamora was at his side, helping him walk and he couldn’t help but remember how she was who wanted them to come and him who thought Ego was bad news. 

 

“I told you so.” He panted. 

 

“Not helping right now!” She replied in an annoyed voice. 

 

Which, fair, but saying it made him feel better. He didn’t know how the guys were here so quickly and whose ship was that, but he wasn’t complaining. More hands on deck were always good when saving the universe, galaxy, wherever Ego had managed to spread himself on. Was that Gamora’s crazy sister? And Yondu ? What in hell? Tentacles of energy came towards the ship and Peter decided to just roll with it. They seemed to be on their side and they had other things to worry about, like saving people and themselves. 

 

He sat next to Yondu and couldn’t help but say. “Guess I should be glad I was a skinny kid. Otherwise you’d have delivered me to this maniac.” 

 

Looking at him as if he were being stupid, Yondu said. “You still reckon that’s the reason I kept you around, you idiot?” 

 

“That’s what you told me, you old doofus.” Peter replied, focusing on making the thrusters back up. 

 

Yondu just looked at him work. “Once I figured out what happened to them other kids, I wasn’t just gonna hand you over.” 

 

At that, Peter turned towards Yondu, repressed resentment and anger freeing themselves. “You said you were gonna eat me!” 

 

“That was being funny!” Yondu said, as if it was obvious and Peter was being an idiot for believing otherwise. 

 

Funny? Funny? Was that all a joke to Yondu? How in hell did he think that was a funny joke to make a traumatized, scared kid think he was about to be eaten? “Not to me!” Yondu looked at him with an emotion Peter couldn’t read and he got back to the matter at hand. 

 

God, he couldn’t believe Yondu was just trying to protect him. The man really didn’t know how to treat kids, but he guessed he was doing the best he could. He could appreciate at least the fact he didn’t hand Peter over to Ego and he taught him well. If it weren’t for those jokes of bad taste... 

 

“You people have issues.” Rocket commented from below. 

 

Peter wanted to laugh because, really? Understatement of the fuckin’ century! “Of course I have issues.” He pointed at a half reformed giant Ego. “That’s my freakin’ father!! And god, Peter still couldn’t believe this was his life. He felt like a small eight-year-old all over again, thrusted in a world way bigger than him. He finished tinkering with the cables. “Thrusters are back up!” They ran Ego over, again, and Peter wasn’t going to lie and say it didn’t feel good. That fucker deserved it and more. Now, to kill Ego and save the galaxy. Easy-peasy. 

 


 

Fury ran through the human’s body when he saw Groot. He was dripping booze, he could smell it even from this distance. He looked sad and every protective instinct screamed at him to hug Groot and to kill those fuckers for daring to do this to him. Rocket seemed to have similar thoughts. The human buried his feelings deep down, now they needed to plan, then they would kill those bastards. 

 

However funny it was to see how Groot didn’t understand Yondu’s instructions, time was passing and they needed to do something quickly. When a ravager brought them the fin they needed, the human wasn’t sure if this wasn’t a trap. But he would trust Yondu’s judgement in this, he knew the guy better than him. 

 

Using guns wasn’t his style, but without the Iron Man suit, there wasn’t much he could do about it. He needed to find a way to always have the suit with him. He’d talk about it with Rocket later, he would have ideas. For now, killing bastards with guns would do. Watching Groot go for a man who no doubt terrorized him was adorable and satisfying, the human was sure the bastard deserved it, and it was good for Groot to not feel helpless. Seeing Yondu fight was amazing too, the man was pretty badass with that arrow, the human itched to see how it worked, but priorities, he would ask later. Maybe Yondu would let him tinker with it later if he could make it faster or tougher, he was sure he could do it. 

 


 

The feeling of using so many gates at the same time was horrible, but he knew Rocket was onto something, so he didn’t complain. But Yondu did. 

 

“The hell you doing, boy?” Yondu panted on the floor. 

 

Rocket replied from where he was sitting on the floor. “I could tell by how you talked about him, this Ego is bad news. We are here to save Quill.” 

 

“For what? Huh? For honor? For love?” 

 

“No! I don’t care about those things! I wanna save Quill so I can prove I’m better than him! I can lord this over him forever!” The human hid a smile, used to Rocket’s repressing his emotions, it reminded the human of himself, although he used humor instead of indifference. Yondu saw through Rocket too and started laughing. “What are you laughing at me for?” 

 

“You can fool yourself and everyone else, but you can’t fool me. I know who you are.” Yondu walked until he was a few feet away, facing Rocket. Who stood. 

 

“You don’t know anything about me, loser.” Rocket bared his teeth to Yondu. 

 

He was not deterred. “I know everything about you. I know you play like you’re the meanest and the hardest but, actually, you’re the most scared of all.” 

 

“Shut up!” Rocket’s voice made the human want to interfere, but he knew Rocket needed to hear this, so he kept his mouth shut. 

 

“I know you steal batteries you don’t need and you push away anyone who’s willing to put up with you because just a little bit of love reminds you how big and empty that hole inside you actually is.” 

 

“I said shut up!” 

 

“I know them scientists what made you, never gave a rat’s ass about you.” 

 

“I’m serious, dude!” 

 

“Just like my own damn parents who sold me! Their own little baby, into slavery. I know who you are, boy. Because you’re me.” 

 

Tension was high in the air, and before anyone could say anything. The human spoke. “They called me the Merchant of Death.” Everybody turned to him. “I was rich, I was famous, I had everything I could ask for. But even with my friends, I felt alone.” 

 

“Tony…” Rocket spoke cautiously. 

 

The human kept talking. “When terrorist ambushed us with my weapons, and a missile I designed blasted near me, shrapnel got stuck inside me. That’s what this thing is for, to stop the shrapnel to reach my heart.” 

 

Wincing, Yondu looked at the reactor. “Boy, that has to hurt like hell.” 

 

The human shrugged. “While I was in a cave, kidnapped by the terrorist who wanted me to make them a missile able to destroy mountains, the man who saved my life told me I was a man who had everything and nothing.” 

 

Rocket snorted and shook his head. “Didn’t sugarcoat shit, huh?” 

 

The human chuckled. “He was right. When he died, he said to not waste my life. And I took his words to heart, I closed the weapons manufactory and started on clean energy and communications. Everybody was against it, and then my godfather confessed to paying the terrorist to kill me, while taking off my arc reactor, my heart. I killed him. 

 

“Boy…” 

 

Ignoring him, the human kept going. “And then, I started to help stabilize the war zones, and realized the palladium in the arc reactor was leaking and poisoning me. I didn’t tell anyone. Because I don’t like asking for help, but also because I was scared of my friends not caring. I cured myself by rediscovering a new element, and kept going on with life.” 

 

“That’s tough.” 

 

The human inclined his head. “And then, the invasion happened, and I flew the nuke the government sent to kill us all indiscriminately.”

 

“You killed a quarter of Thanos’ army.” Yondu wasn’t asking, but the human nodded.

 

“And then, I was stuck on the other side. I don’t know if the portal malfunctioned or if the Avengers decided I wasn’t worth the risk. But I’m here, broken.” Chuckling darkly, the human shook his face.

 

“You’re not-” Rocket started, but the human kept talking, marvelling over the fact he could interrupt people now without panic. 

 

He looked at Rocket in the eye. “But, you guys taught me it was okay to ask for help. That it was okay to care. We are all scared, Rocket.” 

 

Silence filled the ship until Rocket spoke. “What kind of bunch are we?” 

 

Chuckling, Yondu said. “The kind that’s about to fight a planet, I reckon.” 

 

Rocket huffed. “Alright, okay. Good. Wait! Fight a what?” The human echoed the sentiment, fight a what

 


 

Gamora knew there was something suspicious here, that girl Mantis was hiding something. She pondered on what to do about it. But then a ship appeared, shit. Was that Nebula? Damn. Jumping to the canyon, Gamora allowed herself half a second to feel sorrow and anger towards her situation. Then she ran towards the enormous cave on the side of the cliff. She didn’t dare hope she would be safe in the cave, Nebula was too stubborn for that to stop her. 

 

Sure enough, the ship entered the cave, making Gamora run deeper into it in zig zag to avoid being shot. She saw a cliff inside the cave in front of her and jumped, the ship soared above her and crashed on the wall far away. Catching on fire. Gamora looked at it and then at the weapon of the ship that fell near her. 

 

She sighed and stood, grabbing the weapon and resting it on her shoulder. Walking towards the ship, firing at it. She couldn’t falter now, her friends had to be safe, she wouldn’t allow her past to kill them. Gamora allowed her emotions to come out, she screamed in rage at the situation, at herself, in sorrow for their broken relationship. The ship fell to an even deeper cave. 

 

Looking down, she saw Nebula stuck inside the ship, coughing and struggling to free herself to no avail. No. Putting Nebula in prison was one thing, but let her die in front of her? No. She couldn’t do that, she wouldn’t do that. Gamora went to the ship and freed Nebula, just in time for the ship to explode and send them flying. 

 

They fell to the floor and took a few seconds to recover,  sitting next to each other, they locked eyes, and Gamora felt hope that maybe now they could be sisters. Those hopes were dashed when Nebula grabbed her by the throat, pinning her to the floor and straddling her in a fluid movement. 

 

Anger and frustration filled Gamora. “Are you kidding me?” She hit Nebula and reversed positions, but Nebula hit her and threw her away. They looked at each other and clashed once more. Nebula grabbed Gamora by the throat again, this time applying enough force to choke her, and took her knife, pointing it at Gamora. 

 

Gamora tried to free herself, but there was no use, Nebula was squeezing her neck. This was it, Nebula would kill her. Sadness and rage overwhelmed her. She closed her eyes, not wanting to see Nebula killing her. And she hoped that Nebula wouldn’t do anything to her friends. 

 

She waited, but instead of feeling cold metal, Nebula screamed in rage and frustration, a clang against the rock told her Nebula let go of the weapon, at the same time, she threw Gamora away. 

 

Coughing and trying to breathe again, Gamora looked at Nebula when she spoke. “I win. I win. I bested you in combat.” 

 

Really? This was it? “No. I saved your life.” 

 

“Well, you were stupid enough to let me live.” Nebula pressed, not deterred in the least. 

 

Gamora spoke, frustration, confusion and hope getting the better of her. “You let me live!” 

 

Looking away, Nebula raged. “I don’t need you always trying to beat me!” 

 

Gamora lost her temper again. She didn’t understand what was happening, but the words left her mouth without her permission. “I’m not the one who just flew across the universe just because I wanted to win.” 

 

“Do not tell me what I want.” The warning was intense in Nebula’s voice, looking at Gamora now. 

 

“I don’t need to tell you what you want! It’s obvious!” And it frustrated Gamora to no end. 

 

“You were the one who wanted to win. And I just wanted a sister!” Gamora was shocked at that, what? Nebula wanted her as a sister too? Since the start? Oh, this explained so much, She didn’t know what to say. Nebula looked away. “You were all I had.” Then she shook her head. “But you were the one who needed to win.” She said in a mocking voice and Gamora recoiled. Nebula looked at Gamora in the eyes. “Thanos pulled my eye from my head, and my brain from my skull, and my arm from my body, because of you.” 

 

True. All of that was true. If she hadn’t been so worried about her own survival, if she had taken Nebula into account… But it was done, there was nothing she could do or say about this, not now at least. 

 


 

Damn it. They were so close! Why in hell did the Sovereign have to appear now? Couldn’t they wait until they saved the galaxy? And how the fuck did they find them in the first place? Crap. 

 

“Why aren’t we fighting back?” He yelled at Rocket below him. 

 

“They blew out the generator!” Rocket yelled back. Shit. Peter let Yondu to pilot the ship and climbed down towards Rocket. Tony climbed up as soon as he could, that was good, Tony was a good pilot too. “I think I packed a small detonator.” Rocket said, rummaging through his bag. 

 

“A detonator is worthless without explosives.” Nebula helpfully pointed the obvious. 

 

Rocket grabbed the batteries he stole from the Sovereign. Oh, it seems they would use them after all. “Well, we got these.” 

 

“Is that thing strong enough to kill Ego?” Peter voiced his concerns, those things looked too small to do damage, then again, Tony’s arc reactor was small but hella powerful, so who knew? 

 

Rocket didn’t stop working while answering. “If it is, it’ll cause a chain reaction throughout his entire nervous system.” 

 

Couldn’t he speak in a language he understood? “Meaning what?” 

 

“The entire planet will explode. We’ll have to get out of here fast. I rigged a timer.” Well, that was comforting. Rocket finished the device. 

 

“Go!” Peter put on the mask, he and Rocket flew out of the ship towards the center. 

 

They managed to avoid the Sovereign and land heavily on the hole they made on it. Grunting from the fall, they stood. Rocket used a lantern to see inside the center. “The metal is too thick. For the bomb to work, we’d actually need to place it on Ego’s core. And our fat asses ain’t gonna fit through those tiny holes.” 

 

Peter looked at Groot. “Well…” 

 

Rocket followed Peter’s gaze and looked back at him. “That’s a terrible idea.” 

 

“Which is the only kind of idea we have left.” Peter retorted, not happy with putting everything on Groot’s shoulders either. 

 

Groaning, Rocket picked up Groot and put him on his shoulder. “Unbelievable. Rocket do this, Rocket do that.” He said with a mocking voice. 

 

Peter took out two guns and sighed. “What a day.” 

 

He jumped from the center and flew, firing to the Sovereign he could, but staying close to the center just in case, guarding it. He could hear Rocket yelling at Groot about getting the instructions wrong and frowned. He went back and started bickering with Rocket. His solution of tape wasn’t a bad idea, but since nobody had tape, it didn’t matter. Then Groot disappeared with the bomb, great. He really hoped they didn’t die today. 

 

Peter went back to the ship, landing roughly. Damn, he had to practice how to land more, this would leave nasty bruises. He looked outside the ship and saw the Sovereign surrounding them from all sides. Great. He and Nebula climbed up on the pilot’s place just in time to see Yondu attaching cables to Tony’s arc reactor. Oh. That was a good idea. But it’d hurt like hell. He almost stopped them. But Nebula grabbed him and shook her head. 

 

“It’s his decision, he won’t die from this.” Her voice wasn’t gentle, but it wasn’t mean either. 

 

Before he could retort about Tony’s heart being weak enough as it was. Yondu activated it and Tony screamed bloody murder, electricity running and cackling around him. 

 

Peter advanced, but Nebula stopped him. “Let me! His heart is weak, he could die!” 

 

“He could. But if we don’t do this. We all are going to die, regardless.” Now her voice was harsh and her grip on him was so strong it would leave bruises. 

 

That stopped Peter, he went lax in Nebula’s arms, watching helplessly as Tony screamed. At least Yondu was being quick, in a matter of seconds all the Sovereign exploded. Alongside lots of rocks. One of them, which was on fire because of course it was, flew towards them. They all managed to leave on time, Peter and Tony using their aero-rings. He looked up to see Yondu falling slowly with his arrow. 

 

He couldn’t help it. He laughed. “You look like Mary Poppins.” 

 

Tony, who was next to him. Choked on air and hid a smile behind his hand. Yes, another smile for him. 

 

Yondu asked. “Is he cool?” 

 

Oops. What to tell him? The truth? Nah, what for? Yondu was cool after all. “Hell yeah, he’s cool.” 

 

“I’m Mary Poppins, y’all!” 

 

Oh, no. Peter wasn’t expecting that. How could he keep a straight face after that? He turned his head so Yondu couldn’t see him snicker and found Tony doing the same, they shared a smile. 

 

They land safely, just in time for Rocket to arrive and for Mantis to be hit by a rock. Shit. That had to hurt. Wait, what was she doing anyway? 

 

As soon as she fell, energy started to spread. Oh shit. So that’s what she was doing, putting Ego to sleep. And now she was out cold, so Ego would come back soon. Tentacles of energy appeared. Or right now. Crap. 

 

Peter walked towards Rocket. “How long until the bomb goes off?” 

 

“In the unlikely event that Groot doesn’t kill us all.” Great. That sounded promising. “About six minutes.” Okay. They could do it in six minutes. They’ve got this. 

 

The earth parted, showing the surface and Peter heard Yondu telling Kraglin to land, who apparently was also there, because why not? They needed someone to be there when he arrived. So, he made Drax take Mantis there, giving Drax his aero-ring, she was out of commission after all. Just after that, Gamora fell and Peter’s heart stopped. He couldn’t lose a member of his family! Before he could do something stupid, Nebula jumped after her and he relaxed minutely. It seemed they were on good terms now, he would leave Gamora in her hands. 

 

Good thing he decided that. Because Ego’s gigantic face appears on a nearby rock, energy tentacles lashing out at them. “Come now, Peter. I know this isn’t what you want.” The hell it was! He wanted a normal dad! Was that so much to ask? A dad that didn’t want to kill everybody? Yondu’s face flashed through his mind. Maybe he did. “What kind of father would I be to let you make this choice?” Peter was too busy evading tentacles and firing at them to reply to the load of crap Ego was saying. He could see from the corner of his eyes Tony, Yondu and Rocket doing the same. “Soon, Peter, we will be all there is. So stop pissing me off!” 

 

The tentacles were too close, too many. He was panting from the exertion, his whole body ached with all the bruises he had, but he kept shooting. It wasn’t enough. They got him and he crashed on the floor hard, his mask breaking. He gasped, he couldn’t move. Everything hurt. 

 

“Peter!” Tony, that was Tony. He turned his head to watch him be grabbed by lots of tentacles. No! He needed to save him! Where was his gun? He didn’t see his gun. Damn it! He had to help Tony! 

 

Ego slowly took human form, and Yondu fell, his arrow broken next to him. Shit. Not Yondu too! Why couldn’t he help? He thought hard but his powers were not answering him! Why? He needed them right now! He turned around when he heard Rocket scream and saw him also being beaten. No! Not him too! Peter tried again. And again. And again. But there was no use. His powers didn’t listen. 

 

Ego walked towards him. “I told you, I don’t want to do this alone.” A tentacle got through him and Peter screamed. That hurt! Another one followed. And another. And another. Great. He felt his energy being drained as Ego used him as a fucking battery. “You cannot deny the purpose the universe has bestowed upon you.” Peter choked, it was too much, it hurt too much. He needed it to stop! “It doesn’t need to be like this, Peter. Why are you destroying our chance?” 

 

“Your chance you psycho, I don’t want this!” Peter thought, before the pain made it hard to think. His head throbbed. 

 

“Stop pretending you aren’t what you are. One in billions. Trillions. Even more. What greater meaning can life possibly have to offer?” Peter thought about his friends and Yondu. But the pain swallowed that thought quickly. 

 

From his left. Peter faintly heard Yondu yelling at him. “I don’t use my head to fly the arrow, boy! I use my heart-” The energy swallowed Yondu’s head too. 

 

No! He wouldn’t allow them to die! His heart? Using his heart to use his powers? He could do that. He pushed through the mind-numbing pain and thought about his mom, the times when before she had cancer, when they would lay down on the grass, listening to music. He thought about laughing with Drax about stupid things. Flying with Rocket and smiling at each other. Talking with Gamora about their feelings and anecdotes. Dancing with Tony, the warmth he felt when he smiled at him, when he chuckled. When Yondu taught him how to shoot. He thought about the love he felt for every one of them and let that love fill him. Next, came the rage towards Ego. He killed his mom, he was threatening his friends and Yondu, his family! He couldn’t allow that! 

 

Energy started to flow through him as easy as breathing and Peter looked at a worried Ego with as much rage and hatred as he could. “You shouldn’t have killed my mom and squished my Walkman.” He freed himself from the tentacles and used the energy to launch himself to Ego. Wrapping his arm in rocks, he hit Ego’s face repeatedly, and watched in satisfaction as his human face started to break, showing the energy underneath. 

 

They flew together, both hitting each other without pulling their punches, Ego launched him to a rock and Peter grunted in pain. His mind was dizzy with all the hits to the head he’d taken. All he could think about was that he needed to save his family. No matter what. If he died doing it, he’d die happy knowing they were safe. 

 

Both Ego and he launched themselves towards each other, covering themselves in energy and rocks to make giant avatars. Peter didn’t remember what his was, he only knew it wasn’t a giant copy of himself. He didn’t care much, because it did the trick. Both fell to a rock a few hundred meters below. Peter took a second to recover himself. Being half-Celestial didn’t mean hits and falls like this didn’t hurt like a bitch, it only meant he survived them. He was sore all over, Ego was recovering and Peter grabbed him so he couldn’t stop the bomb. 

 

Desperation shone in Ego’s eyes and Peter couldn’t help but feel vindictive at that. He deserved to be desperate. “Stop! Listen to me! You’re a god! But if you kill me, you’ll be all alone. Forever.” 

 

Peter felt something inside him break. It was true, his family would die someday, and he wouldn’t. But even so, he couldn’t allow them to die, not if he could save them. “I have my friends and my dad for now. That’s enough for me.” 

 

“No!” Ego struggled but before he could free himself, the core exploded and his human form vanished. 

 

Before he could do anything, Tony and Yondu appeared each on one side of him, and grabbed him by the shoulders. Flying them towards the surface. 

 

“What are you two doing here?” They should have left already! It wasn’t safe! 

 

Tony huffed. “We can’t let you die for us! Not on our watch!”

 

“Exactly boy! The hell you thought we’d let you die!” Yondu yelled as they arrived to the surface and kept ascending. “Ego can be your biological father, boy. But he wasn’t your daddy.” Yondu put the space suit on Peter while Tony did the same for himself. 

 

“Wait, Yondu, where’s yours?” Peter knew his voice was desperate, but damn it. He couldn’t let Yondu die! Yondu didn’t reply, he just smiled. “Yondu! Damn it, Yondu. You take this!” Peter took out the space suit and put it on Yondu’s back, so he couldn’t take it off. 

 

“No! Boy, the hell are you doing?” Now it was Yondu who sounded desperate, he used his free arm to try to pry the space suit out, but it was out of reach. 

 

“I won’t die! I’m half-Celestial.” Having said that, Peter used his powers to make himself an energy suit. 

 

Yondu smiled proudly, relaxing and Peter’s heart filled with love. “Knew you were special, boy.” 

 


 

Once they were inside, Peter followed Yondu to an unused room. After a few seconds of awkward silence, Yondu chuckled and gave Peter a device. 

 

“What’s this?” Peter took it and examined it, it was small and black, with a screen and things that looked like headphones. 

 

“It’s called a Zune. Got it from a junker. Has whatever Terrans listen to nowadays. It has 300 songs.” 

 

“What? 300 songs?” He asked in incredulity and wonder. There were so many songs! Oh this was great! Maybe there were even songs Tony liked in there! 

 

Chuckling at Peter’s enthusiasm, Yondu nodded. “I stand by what I said out there, boy. I’m sorry I didn’t do none of it right. I’m damn lucky you’re my boy.” 

 

Peter smiled, eyes watering. “I told Gamora how when I was a kid back on Earth, I used to pretend David Hasselhoff was my dad.” 

 

“Who?” 

 

“He’s a singer and actor from Earth, a really famous guy.” Yondu nodded in understanding and Peter kept talking. “Earlier, it struck me. You don’t have a talking car, but you do have a flying arrow. You didn’t have the beautiful voice of an angel but you do have the whistle of one. Both you and David Hasselhoff went on kick-ass adventures and hooked up with hot women.” 

 

“You do that too, my boy,” Yondu smirked. 

 

Smiling, Peter continued. “And fought robots. I guess David Hasselhoff did kind of end up being my dad after all. Only it was you, Yondu.” 

 

Now it was Yondu whose eyes watered. “It’s a damn honor, son.” 

 

Peter sobbed and hugged Yondu tightly, who hugged him back. They didn’t say anything else, there was no need. 

 


 

Yondu sat next to the human who turned to him. He smiled at the human. “Rocket called my old Ravager pals. Told them what I did, or what I tried to do. They called back. We’re cool again.” 

 

The human smiled. “That’s great.” 

 

Yondu nodded, still smiling. “Yeah, but I told them I’d rather stay here. Been a while since I shared a ship with my boy. Peter already said yes to me and Kraglin staying here. And the green chick will most likely do the same for her blue sister.” 

 

“Mantis is one of us now too.” The human said, not minding in the least, all of them looked like good people, and Yondu accepted and helped him. 

 

Instead of leaving, Yondu spoke calmly. “I wanted to say. We spoke about you,” That made the human tense, what was there to talk about him? “They didn’t know you were the one who blew up Thanos’ army.” 

 

Shrugging, the human replied. “Just a quarter of it.” 

 

Yondu chuckled. “Still way more than anyone else has done. We’ve got your back.” 

 

The human ducked his head and smiled. “Thanks.” 

 

“I mean literally.” Yondu pressed with a smile on his face and the human looked up questioningly. “When you call for allies to fight off Thanos for good, the Ravagers will be there. Said they’d be happy to repay their debt to you this way.” 

 

His eyes widened in shock. The Ravagers would help them? Because of him? What? “I- I’m just… I’m just me.” 

 

“And what are you?” Yondu asked with knowing eyes. 

 

“A human.” He replied in a whisper. 

 

Yondu shook his head. “You’re a survivor. A warrior. You’ve got this, boy.” 

 

Did he? Did he, really? Did he even have a choice? No. Not if they wanted to win against Thanos, if he wanted to save the universe. He nodded. “I’ll do it. Just… Not now.” 

 

“Of course not. Not yet.” Yondu replied with a smile on his face. 

 

The human smiled back. “Thank you.” 

 

Yondu inclined his head and left, and the human got up and went to look for Gamora and Nebula. 

 


 

Peter stood besides Rocket, looking out to space. “Yondu told me what you did for him.” 

 

Shrugging, Rocket spoke without looking at Peter. “I wasn’t sure they’d call back. But they did.” His voice turned vulnerable and awed. “He didn’t drive him away. Even if he screamed at them and was always mean. And stole batteries he didn’t need.” 

 

Pausing for a second, Peter looked at Rocket. “Of course not. We’re family.” 

 

Rocket looked at him and huffed, looking away quickly. When he left, Peter smiled, it seemed they were getting through him. 

 


 

Gamora saw Nebula leave the room and hurried to follow her. She couldn’t lose her now! They needed to talk. 

 

“Nebula.” She stopped and turned around, which Gamora took as a sign to keep talking. “I was a child like you.” She walked towards Nebula and kept talking, desperate to make Nebula understand her. “I was concerned with staying alive until the next day, every day. And I never considered what Thanos was doing to you. I’m trying to make it right. There are little girls like you across the universe who are in danger. You can stay with us and help them.” She stopped in front of Nebula. 

 

She turned around. “I will help them by killing Thanos.” 

 

“We’re working on that too!” Gamora said, maybe their long-term plans would help. 

 

“How?” 

 

“Tony is Stark.” Seeing she had Nebula’s attention, she continued. “He’s a beacon of hope for everybody who wants to stop Thanos but isn’t strong enough to do it alone. If he calls for an army to rise. People will follow.” 

 

Nebula turned to look at her. “How are you so sure of that?” 

 

Sighing, Gamora replied. “Because people are just waiting for a sign, for someone to guide them.” 

 

“And that someone is Stark?” Nebula’s voice wasn’t mocking, merely curious. 

 

Gamora nodded and sighed. “He’s the best bet we have.” 

 

“Why hadn’t he done it by now, then?” It wasn’t an accusation, but Gamora felt like it was. 

 

Sighing deeply, Gamora pondered on what to tell Nebula. But she didn’t need to, Tony’s voice rang through the room, strong, and clear, and determined in a way Gamora had never heard him talk, it was inspiring. 

 

“I was recovering from being a slave. I just recently recovered my personhood.” They turned around to see him in the doorway, he didn’t enter the room. Tony looked sincere and strong, and Gamora smiled proudly at his progress. “But, if you give me a few more months, we can unite forces. The Nova Corps would be happy to help, and apparently, so are the Ravagers now.” 

 

Gamora smiled at that pleasant surprise and looked hopefully at Nebula. She looked between Gamora and Tony a few times, and nodded. Gamora hugged her, feeling Nebula tense but since she didn’t free herself, Gamora didn’t let go. 

 

She heard Tony leave the room to give them privacy. Once he was out of earshot, Gamora spoke. “You will always be my sister.” A few seconds passed, but Gamora didn’t let go. Until Nebula relaxed in her arms and hugged her back. She bit back a sob and closed her eyes. Cherishing the moment. She had her sister. 

 


 

Entering the room he used- no, his room, he sat on the bed, facing the window. Pondering on what he heard Gamora say to Nebula about him, and what he said to them, the human realized he meant every word. He didn’t just say it so Nebula would stay. He said them because he believed in them. He believed that, at some point, he’d be able to lead an army against Thanos. 

 

He laughed hysterically, tears flowing through his face. After all this time, who knew that killing Peter’s biological father and almost dying several times would be what he needed to understand that he was a person. He was a person. He was a person. Someone people counted on, and not for small things, but to save the fucking universe. 

 

He stopped laughing at that and sighed heavily. Could he really do it? The guardians’ faces appeared in his mind, Yondu saying they had his back, JARVIS and the bots, Rhodey, Pepper, Happy. Everybody alive who had the right to be happy. He huffed. Yeah, alright. It didn’t matter if he could or not. He would do it because that was what he had to do. He’d manage, somehow. 

 

He looked at the space, marvelling on how beautiful it was, thinking of all those he loved and cared for, the human was filled with determination and a confidence he hadn’t felt in years. Maybe he’d never be Tony Stark again, but he could be better than that. Now he wouldn’t be only Tony Stark. No. He would be Tony Fucking Stark. And he would win this war.

 

Chapter Text

Hi! 

Just like the name of the chapter says, I decided to split this fic and end the first part in the last chapter. Why? Well, because the first mini writer block I had since April was because I got overwhelmed each time I saw how long this thing was, I don't know, I just couldn't focus on writing and kept looking at the index and at the number of pages. So someone suggested I split the fic into smaller fics, and it worked like a charm. Sadly, that was just the first mini writers block I had, I had one or two more after that, and also life happened, university happened, etc etc. So yeah, a bit late but still early June sooo. Yeah, go read the sequel!