I am so sorry for my long absence you guys. Its been so hard for me to write right now - but my depression is being handled and everything is looking up for me. So, I went in to Guardians of the Galaxy thinking it was going to be incredibly stupid. I left it enthralled, heartbroken, and knowing I just had the time of my life. This movie is hilarious, gorgeous, and has a lot of heart. I especially enjoyed the relationship between Groot and Rocket. It was really touching. You could tell this little asshole of a raccoon really loved his best friend.

So, I'm sorry this is a tad long, but I just couldn't stop writing. I had the idea and just needed to turn it into a fic. I hope you guys enjoy. AND THERE'S MAJOR SPOILERS. SPOILERS ALERT. Please enjoy.

-Raindrops to all, Cel.

"Alright, make sure you water him with this –" a small watering can, about the size of a liter of Coke, was shoved roughly into his chest. "in the morning. Focus on his roots, or else he'll get all dry-like."


"Keep him under this light as much as possible." Two small hands reached up to adjust the shade of the light, an invention of his own.


"And you better strap down that pot if you're gonna fly anywhere. If you break that pot and any part of him gets hurt, I'm gonna rip out your stomach and use it as a new pot, you got that?"


Peter finally snapped, shattering the contended silence on the Milano, earning him annoyed glances from Drax and Gamora, who were trying to enjoy a quiet meal. The ranting raccoon in question started, the course fur on the back of his neck standing on end. His bushy brow furrowed up at the Terran, his small paws still clutching at the large white pot, in it what appeared to be a normal, ordinary, boring branch. But to the members of the Guardians, they knew it was exactly the opposite of a boring stick in some dirt.

"What?!" The mutant mammal snapped back, gently placing the pot on the table with a tenderness the crew had rarely, if ever, seen in Rocket. He was usually foul-tempered and vindictive, but when it came to the small twig, he treated it with the gentleness and care he used when assembling his weapons, his pride and joy.

Peter Quill (alias Star-Lord) sighed and bent to one knee so he could be eye-to-eye with Rocket. Gamora and Drax shared a glance, knowing that Peter was going to address a subject Rocket was having difficulty coping with, so they politely took their meals and ushered themselves upstairs. Rocket didn't even acknowledge Peter, keeping his eyes on the sprig. The Terran placed a hand gently on his shoulder.

"Look, Rocket, I know this has been tough on you. I know that losing Groot was….was hard." Peter spoke softly, watching Rocket try to ignore him, but visibly flinch as he mentioned the supposed death of his best friend. "But he's still there! He's got arms and eyes and just look at that cute widdle face!"

Rocket answered with a vicious snarl. Peter held up his hands.

"Okay, okay, that was a dickish move. I'm sorry. But you know he's there. And you need to trust me to take care of him while you show Rael that new gun you built for the Corps. If we're gonna secure ourselves in the good books of the Corps, we gotta do a little ass-kissing, you hear me?" Peter said. "I promise, not as your teammate, but your friend, that I will make sure he'll be alright."

Rocket sighed deeply and rubbed his eyes. "You're right, you're right. There's not a god damn thing more I can do for him. He's just gonna have to figure it out himself." Rocket said harshly towards the remains of what used to be Groot. The larger-than-life tree-man with a heart of gold had enclosed his friends in a cocoon made of his own body and saved their lives when the Dark Aster fell from the sky, seemingly giving his own life in the process.

Rocket was destroyed. In the aftermath of the whole ordeal, he found a small twig that used to belong to his friend, and potted it. Groot had amazing healing abilities, able to grow back a chopped-off arm or leg in the span of about an hour. On a ridiculous hope, Rocket figured Groot could grow back his entire self. Why not? Well, his assumptions turned out to be reality – the sprig grew a visible, familiar face, arms, and warm brown eyes. However, he remained quiet. Not that Groot was the most articulate being to grace the galaxy, but he would still interact with his friend. This little stick had been seen awake once or twice, fleetingly, before he wrapped his branch-arms around himself and resumed his slumber. He grew insanely quickly, already needing three new pots, but in the two weeks since the battle he hadn't spoken one word or acknowledged one member of the crew.

"You better get going, Rocket, or Nova Prime is gonna have your ass." Peter urged, getting to his feet and pointing to the door. Rocket, with another sigh, turned away from the slumbering Groot and slung the newly-finished gun, which was almost as big as he was. He walked to the door, shoving it open, then gave one last glance to Peter.

"Thanks." He mumbled, and with that, shut the door behind him. Peter turned back to the table and the pot, bending over it and watering it gently, just as Rocket had instructed.

"What are we going to do with you, big guy?"

The morning went by pretty quietly. Peter, just like he promised, kept a close eye over Groot. He snapped his headphones over his ears and cranked up his music to full volume, enjoying his tunes as he sat beside the pot. As he listened to The Piña Colada Song, he glanced down at the little sleeping Groot, and something came to mind. An ancient memory. For one of his old, stupid school science fairs, he pulled together some half-assed, last-minute project about plants and their reactions to music by using his Walkman and some weeds pulled out from the backyard. There was a theory that plants grew healthier and at a faster rate to music than those which did not.

Chuckling to himself, considering the absurdity of the thought, he shrugged and pulled off his headphones, lying them gently on either side of the slumbering Groot. He could still hear the faint beats of the music, turning the volume down so it wouldn't disturb the sprig. He watched the plant-man closely, looking for a reaction. Wait….was that a sway to the side? A blinking eye?

Before Peter could get a closer look, Drax called his name from up in the cockpit. He turned away, leaving his Walkman with Groot and made his way upstairs. As soon as he disappeared from the common area, two deep brown eyes blinked open and a mouth smiled happily at the sound of the music.

It was around two in the afternoon when Rocket returned. He gave a groan, sitting down heavily on his bunk.

"Hey, how'd it go with Prime? Did she chew your ass for being late?" Peter joked.

"Nah. She actually really liked the gun I designed, and wants me to make another prototype so she can mass-produce it or some shit." Rocket said half-heartedly, dropping the gun Nova Prime had apparently liked on the floor and shoving it under his bed. He then got to his feet and walked over to the table, where Groot still resided. He was sound asleep, headphones still lying on either side of him. It also appeared he'd doubled in size.

"…The hell?" Rocket questioned, picking up the cord that attached it to the Walkman. He could hear the painfully familiar beats to I'm In Love through the headphones.

"Well, back on my planet there's this theory that, if you let plants listen to music, then they'll grow faster and stronger. They say it works better with classical music, but I figured he'd like what I got on hand. It seemed he did – look how freakin' big he got!" Peter marveled, gently laying a hand on top of Groot's head. He was about the size of Rocket now, maybe a few inches shorter. The raccoon gave a small grin, which quickly faded. Peter glanced over to see his dark eyes glisten and appear to grow wet.

"Rocket?" He questioned quietly. Rocket sniffed violently and wiped his eyes on his forearm, dampening the fur.

"The hell you lookin' at, Quill?" He demanded harshly. Peter shrugged it off and turned back to Groot, chewing thoughtfully on his bottom lip.

"Hey, can I ask a question?"


"When did you start hanging with Groot, like when did you meet him? No offense, but two really don't seem like you'd be best buds, but….you are. Is there like something here I'm missing?" Peter asked, sitting down and putting his feet up on the table, nonchalantly putting his hands behind his head. Rocket looked up at Peter, glaring intensely at him. He then grunted and heaved Groot's pot off the table, leaving the Walkman.

"Hell if I remember, this guy's always been with me. Look, I don't remember shit until me and Groot started bounty huntin'. He, uh, just kinda showed up around me and didn't go away, so we teamed up and have been together ever since. I couldn't even begin to try to tell you how long it's been. Ten years, maybe? I don't freakin' know, man." Rocket replied, placing Groot gently down next to his bunk. "Where's Drax and Gamora, anyways?"

"Gamora is talking with some officer and getting some information about Thanos, and Drax is," he sniggered, "shopping." Rocket offered a half-hearted chuckle, then sat on his bunk.

"Well, can you go make yourself useful? I am friggin' exhausted, and I can't rest without you blabbing in my ear. And I'm going to need to be wide-awake if I'm going to make that prototype for Nova Prime." Rocket dismissed Peter, sitting up against the wall and crossing his arms. Peter got to his feet and turned away, then paused at the bottom of the stairs up to the cockpit.

"Hey, you can borrow this," He said, picking his Walkman off the table and handing it to Rocket. The raccoon looked up and took the music player. Before he could make some dickish remark, Peter said, "If three hours with the music makes him grow twice as much, he might even be back to his eight-foot self by tomorrow." Rocket snickered.

"Yeah right man. He hasn't even woken up." Rocket snapped, looking down at the music player. He then sighed, his ears drooping to lie back on his neck, closing his eyes. "I doubt he'll even remember us, let alone me. The explosion probably wiped his memory. I'll have to take him to some forest planet. He's a really nice guy by nature, he wouldn't want to hang around me. He'll probably be scared of some freakish mutation like me." Rocket murmured. Peter watched his friend in complete awe. He never expected such words to come out of Rocket, who always prided himself. "Ain't nothin' like me, 'cept me," he declared in the Kyln. But in his drunken meltdown in the Knowhere, he screamed that he didn't ask to be made – he didn't ask to be turned into a little monster.

"C'mon man, that's bullshit. Groot is your best friend, of course he remembers you. If he's growing back like this, his mind is probably still there. It's not like he lost his memory every time his arms got chopped off." Peter reasoned. Rocket managed a weak chuckle.

"He's never been exploded and killed before, though. He's probably never….nevermind, man. Thanks for the music, I'll let him listen to it tonight. Now leave me alone, alright? Go get some food or something with Drax. I'm just going to stay here." Rocket said, adjusting the headphones around Groot. He turned on the music, adjusting the volume to a low level so he could sleep and it wouldn't bother his friend. Peter turned away with one last glance. Rocket turned his back to him, and he couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor guy. Sure, he missed the big fella as well, but Groot was Rocket's best friend. Peter hoped, for the sake of his new comrade, that Groot was going to wake up soon. He turned away and exited the Milano, leaving the raccoon alone with the sentient plant.

Rocket sighed as he was finally alone. He hated showing emotions to anyone, especially some stupid Terran who thought he knew everything. Thank God Drax and Gamora weren't there. He would have probably shot something to cover up the tears pouring from his eyes, although he knew his friends would be more understanding than he was giving them credit for. Drax hadn't called him "rodent" or "vermin" once since the battle. Gamora had even been….dare he think it….kind of, sort of nice. She'd hardly yelled at him in the two weeks they'd been together and repairing their reputations.

He lay on his side, facing the tree-man. He sighed, folding one arm underneath his head and lifting his free paw up to place gently on the side of Groot's head, who was still dead to the world.

"I know you're still in there. You gotta be." Rocket murmured quietly, adjusting the headphones around Groot's base and making sure he was getting a good expose of the tunes. Oh God, how he wished he could hear Groot's rumbling voice, his "I am Groot" that meant so many different things. Rocket had been around with him for so long, he didn't really hear those three words, but instead the words he was actually trying to convey. Though he wasn't the most eloquent or outspoken of aliens, Groot was extremely intelligent and had the biggest heart. No matter what Rocket called him or what insane adventure he led him on, he never left his side.

What Rocket would never, not in a million years, admit to the gang was that he needed Groot. Nobody understood him like the sentimental tree-man. Nobody else would know what they had been through together, what Groot meant to him, what Groot had done for him. Now Rocket was having to consider facing the rest of his life without his best friend, his comrade, his brother. They were two badasses that should have never been separated.

"Are you mad at me? Is that why you're all comatose or whatever?" Rocket lay on his back staring at the celling. "Well, I wouldn't blame you. I'm an ass. I like to blow shit up, insult people, and think I'm the best thing in the galaxy. But I wasn't the best friend in the galaxy." He turned his head towards the pot, a tear running down his cheek and dampening his fur. "I'm so sorry, Groot."

He still didn't move. He remained still, delicate arms wrapped around his ever-growing body, eyes still closed. Rocket sighed through his nose, turning to lie on his back. Maybe Peter was right, maybe the music would help awaken the still-comatose Groot. Maybe Rocket would wake up tomorrow morning and see his best friend, alive and well and still himself. The cynical raccoon then scoffed at the thought, crossed his arms and turned his back on Groot. What a stupid-ass thing to hope for. Groot wasn't going to wake up anytime soon….he already would have….he already would have come back if he was still really Groot….

White. That was basically the only color he knew. Sterile, blinding white had surrounded him, engulfed him, ever since his consciousness was created and he had awoken. And he hated waking back up to it again. His dark brown eyes squinted against the brazen color. He sighed and allowed his long head to droop against his furry chest, wishing he could go back to sleep. But he knew that he was going to be forced awake in just a few moments, so he just awaited the arrival of those damn white coats, just as he did every day since he'd been "born" as they called it.


He screamed out loud, his muscles contracting horrendously and making him feel like he was being physically ripped apart. His brain registered nothing but excruciating pain as his nerves were set on fire. The place between his shoulder blades was where the pain entered his body. The current tearing through his body abruptly stopped and his body slumped, the breath finally returning to his lungs. He gulped it in desperately, his heart trying to beat itself out of his chest. His entire body shook violently, the pain still coursing through every nerve. Through the haze, he could still hear the muted voices of the white coats.

"Write that one down, Stan. And turn it up to 0.30 AMPs." The female white coat demanded, writing down her own notes. The male, named Stan, nodded and turned away, scribbling down the last few words of whatever notes he was taking. He managed to slightly lift his head, knowing that Stan was about to give him the worst shock yet. This had been going on for about two weeks – they had started small, little jolts that were merely uncomfortable. But as the days passed, the pain escalated until it was excruciating, making the poor creature feel like he wanted to die.

"Please," he managed to whisper hoarsely. Maybe this five millionth plea to appeal to their humanity would finally work. "please, no more….I-I c-can't….take anymore."

The female white coat glared at him over the tops of her glasses, scoffing lightly and going back to her notes.

"Stan, I knew we never should have allowed 89P13 a voice. He does nothing but whine." The female white coat commented towards her assistant. Stan chuckled in agreement.

"MY NAME IS ROCKET! I'm NOT 89P13," the raccoon in the cage snarled savagely. These monsters were laughing at his pain, calling him whiny. Well, THEY weren't the ones strapped to a machine that tears him apart, destroys him, and puts him all back together! They were safe on the other side, torturing him just to see what would happen. The female wouldn't even directly speak to him, she always addressed him over his head as if he was some retarded child. At his shout, the female white coat glared at him once again, then turned to her partner.

"Turn it up to 0.30 AMPs. Now." She demanded harshly. Stan nodded, and Rocket shut his eyes tightly, knowing that he wasn't strong enough to survive this final shock if it was stronger than the last. The monsters were going to finally kill the one they'd created.

Quite suddenly, Stan and the woman whipped around. There was a gigantic crashing noise, the sound of shattering glass, little shards flying everywhere. He managed to lift up his head and look out of the glass pane that separated him and the white coats, seeing them begin to panic. The female yelled out, turning away and trying to push Stan to the side. The petrified male could only stare in horror at something the raccoon could not see.

Suddenly, a huge, dark form exploded in the scene, slipping on the sterile, smooth white floor. As it rushed by his cage, dark blue blood spattered against the glass pane. He gasped, finding enough strength to shuffle himself into the corner, trying to hide himself away from the monster. It was huge and black, with a shiny, black, insect-like hide. It had no visible eyes, but apparently it didn't need them.

Stan and the female white coat were trying to scramble away. Their forms disappeared out of his vision, but what seemed like gallons of dark red blood streaked across the glass pane and the wall in front of it, ruining the clean, sterile lab environment. The screams of the white coats cut off quite abruptly.

He could barely breathe, he could barely feel his heartbeat – all he could feel was the fear that gripped him, that paralyzed him. Suddenly, the monster turned sharply towards him. Even though it didn't have eyes, he knew that it was looking straight at him, and it felt like his very heart stopped. This was it – he was going to die. He was only a teenager, and he was going to die strapped up to a machine, ripped apart by a monster, crying like some stupid baby. Well, at least it would be no different than since he was born. The creature leapt, and crashed through the pane of glass, shattering it as easily as if it was tissue paper. The shards of razor-sharp glass didn't pierce its hide whatsoever as nothing stood between the monster and him now. Time itself seemed to slow as he and the monster stared at one another, waiting for the other to make the first move.

The creature then emitted an unnatural snarl, crouching down and barreling towards him, exposing its mouth full of razor-sharp fangs. He couldn't contain his scream of terror that cut short as his airways closed off, a lump of fear choking him. Adrenaline jolted through his veins and somehow gave him enough strength to leap out of the way, trying to survive. The creature missed him by centimeters – he could feel the wind of the monster on the tip of his ragged tail. However, he was still connected to the machine above by the five cables that were still secured between his shoulder blades.

The creature seemed to realize this as it clamped its jaw upon the cables, gathering them up in its mouth and halting his escape. He cried out as he scrabbled desperately against the floor, his claws making scratches in the otherwise perfect, smooth floor. The creature then jerked its head to the side, trying to pull him towards it so it could presumably tear him to shreds. However, the monster pulled far too hard, and the cables were ripped out of his back.

The pain exploded in his back as skin and muscle and sinew and fur was ripped away from his body. He screamed, eyes filling with stinging tears as he fell backwards, landing on the place where the cables once resided. He cried out weakly, sprawled out on the floor, completely vulnerable. Through the fog that engulfed his mind, he knew he was about to feel the teeth of the monster drive into his belly, possibly his neck. He drew in a shaky breath, his last, and closed his eyes, just hoping it would be over soon.

Suddenly, out of nowhere there was an enraged yell right above him which sounded like rumbling thunder. His ears pricked up at the unfamiliar voice and he forced open his eyes. Through his blurred vision, he saw a large, tall, dark figure grabbing the black monster that had nearly killed him. The monster was screeching horridly, mixing with the grating alarm that blared loudly. Suddenly, its shrieks were cut off sharply, turning into sick gurgles. He saw the creature drop limply to the ground, obviously dead.

He looked up slowly, sight still blurred to where he could see nothing but basic shapes. He saw the tall figure towering above him, highlighted by a bright red, flashing light (no doubt due to the escape of the creature – another monster obviously captured by the white coats to be experimented on). The figure began to bend towards him, and he just knew he was only saved by the black monster to something else's prey. With a pathetic whimper, he curled up on his side, turning his bloody back on the figure. He shut his eyes tightly, tears spilling down his face as he sobbed quietly. The pain in his back was excruciating. He was suddenly freezing, his hands covered in a cold sweat. He felt like the world was spinning.

It wasn't fair.

He was going to die without ever leaving this stupid freakin' lab.

He was going to die in insane pain, crying and bloody.

He was going to die with cruelty being the last thing he'd ever known.

Suddenly, he felt something touch his arm…gently. Something that felt like rough fingers drew themselves through his coarse, filthy fur. He almost wanted to pull away, but he'd never felt anything like this. It was tender, things he couldn't even name. But he couldn't bring himself to turn over and look at the figure. He was far too weak. Then, he felt something slip underneath his body slowly and gently, lifting him off the ground and turning him to lie on his back. But whatever was holding him was avoiding touching the bloody, open cybernetics in his back. He sniffled, finally gathering the courage to open his eyes and look up at the figure that had killed the monster and had saved his life. Tears still flowed from his eyes, but he still managed to see what appeared to be….a tree.

Yeah, a freaking tree. But this plant looked a little different – he had a square, long face, a gently smiling mouth, and two deep, dark brown eyes that looked….warm. The giant tree-man brought him up closer to his chest, holding him in the crook of his arm, which was basically a branch that he could move. His other hand, his fingers thick tendrils covered in moss, lifted up and lay on his furry cheek, gently stroking back his mussed coat. This was accompanied by a gentle rocking motion, back and forth. The tree-man was cradling him, holding him…being kind to him.

"I am Groot." The tree-man spoke gently, his rumbling voice incredibly comforting for some reason. He shushed the crying raccoon quietly. "Shhhh. I am Groot."

He sniffed, managing to bring up his shaking hand and rub his eyes. For the first time in his life, he felt something warm and wonderful coursing through him. He felt safe. He felt safe with this strange tree creature who had just saved his life, saved him from the nightmare. He didn't quite know it yet, but he'd been found by the creature that was going to be his best friend.

"Hi, Groot. Name's Rocket."

Rocket clutched the blanket tightly in his fist, shifting in his bunk. His ears and whiskered twitched as he dreamed, or rather, remembered. He was so deeply asleep he didn't even hear the shattering of thick, ceramic material that happened hours ago. Now broken pieces of the pot and thick soil were strewn all over the Milano's floor (not that it was very clean to begin with). Quiet music filled the air, Peter's Walkman now on the floor, lying in the dirt, thankfully unscathed. The being that had once resided in the pot was in there no longer, but instead lying on the floor….

He opened his deep brown eyes, blinking in the darkness. It was obviously nighttime, and it was peacefully quiet other than the soft music coming from the headphones. He'd been listening to that music all day and it'd made him feel happy. It'd evoked some sort of energy within him that had allowed him to wake up and feel some rather uncomfortable growing pains – because it felt like he grew six feet in three hours. He yawned deeply, then sat up slowly, stopping when he caught sight of his legs.

His legs! Whoa, it's been quite a while since he'd seen his legs. He lifted his hands in front of his face, flexing his fingers. They looked the very same they did two weeks ago before the crash of the Dark Aster. Peter was right – music does indeed influence the growth of plants, especially in the case of classy Terran music. He'd have to be sure to make a note of it later and give his gratitude to his human friend.

He stood up slowly, trying to adjust to his newly-grown body, as well as not wake his slumbering teammates. He then heard a familiar snore, turned around and looked down. Rocket was fast asleep in his cot, snoring loudly. He smiled warmly down at his sleeping best friend. Poor guy – he knew how destroyed Rocket was over his absence. And in turn, he'd missed the churlish, foul-mouthed raccoon. He wished there'd been some way to communicate to Rocket that he'd been alright all along. He had been in such a deep hibernation to conserve energy and rebuild his destroyed body, though thanks to Peter's intervention the process was accelerated.

Groot bent down towards Rocket, watching his whiskers twitched as he dreamt. Being with Rocket for quite a few years, he could always tell when the raccoon was dreaming. He couldn't wait to let him know he was okay, and go on whatever exciting (and, most often, dangerous and bullet-riddled) adventure Rocket led him on next. But at the moment, he didn't want to wake him.

Lifting his hand and opening his fingers, Groot grew a tiny blue flower out of his palm and gently plucked it from his body. He placed it gently in Rocket's open hand – just a little something to let him know he had his best friend back.

He then sat back down on the floor and sat against the inside of the Milano. He rested his head against the metal wall, taking a moment of respite in the quiet of the night – he was sure he wasn't going to get one quiet moment for quite a while as soon as the rest of the Guardians discovered their friend alive and well. He smiled as his favorite of Peter's tunes, "I Want You Back," played softly though the headphones.

Rocket woke quite suddenly with a snort and a cough. Blearily, he blinked open his crusty eyes, staring at nothing but darkness, with several multicolored, blinking lights dotting the various mechanics of the ship. Rocket groaned and sat up slowly, lifting a paw and rubbing his sore eyes. It had been quite a while since he'd gone down so hard and slept so long. He yawned widely…then felt something in his right paw. He closed his fingers around it, realizing through the tiredness that it was something delicate and smooth.

He lifted his hand, looking closely at whatever he was holding. Upon a closer inspection, Rocket realized that it was a small, blue flower. A very familiar flower.

For some reason, he suddenly felt himself quite short of breath. No. No, it simply couldn't be. That isn't possible. He shouldn't be stupid enough to get his hopes up. But he lost the internal struggle and looked down to where he'd left the potted Groot to sleep. His sharp eyes, easily piercing through the darkness, rested upon the spot where he'd left the sleeping tree-man, but that was now empty. He saw that the pot was now shattered, with the soil strewn all over the floor.

"What…no!" Rocket gasped, stumbling out of his cot. He dropped to his knees, still clutching tightly to the flower. He sifted his paw through the dirt in a panic. His heart thumped painfully in his chest as he searched for the body of his friend. What the hell happened? Everything was fine when he went to sleep! He was gonna kill someone as soon as he found his friend. Where the hell did he go? Peter's Walkman was still there, still playing its music, so where was Groot?

"Groot….Groot, where are yah?" Rocket mumbled in dismay. "GROOT!"

"I am Groot."

Rocket's eyes snapped open at the sound of the quiet rumbling, painfully familiar voice, a voice he'd missed for two weeks and had been hoping, praying, to hear again. Whirling around, the raccoon's wide, damp eyes rested on a gargantuan, dark figure towering over him. But despite his shocked, strangled gasp, Rocket was in no way afraid of the figure. In fact, he was rather bewildered more than anything. For a split second, he wondered if he was so insanely drunk he was hallucinating. However, he hadn't had a good drink since before the meeting with Rael. He felt the small headache he always got from going down so hard, but not the familiar agony of a full-blown hangover, so being drunk was out of the question. Yet, the figure still stood before him…with warm brown eyes and a happy smile.

"G…Groot?" Rocket managed to whisper. He was so shocked, he couldn't even begin to try and keep the tears back. They spilled from his eyes and soaked his cheek fur. The figure, which appeared to be a full-grown, full-of-life Groot bent down slowly. Rocket wanted to thrash his newly-resurrected best friend with questions – how the hell was he suddenly eight feet tall again? Was it Peter's music? Did he remember his best friend, the one he saved so many years ago?

However, before he could even stutter out a word, Groot reached forward and with such gentleness, brushed away Rocket's tears.

"I am Groot." He said gently, but Rocket did not hear the repeated phrase, but what he did hear was, "I'm here now, Rocket."

"GROOT!" Rocket cried out, not caring if he woke any of his teammates. He was far too ecstatic that his best friend, the being he loved with all his heart but would never admit to anyone, was alive. Indifferent to the fact someone might be watching, and would hold this over his head as long as he lived, Rocket leapt up and clambered up Groot's front, wrapping his arms around his thick neck tightly. He buried his face into his companion's shoulder, sobbing so hard his body shook. Groot placed his hands gently on Rocket's back, taking care to avoid the sensitive cybernetics he'd saved the mammal from so long ago.

"I am Groot." He said soothingly, patting his back. He just let Rocket cry, knowing how much he'd missed him. Every time the raccoon tried to stop crying, the sobs just burst harder from his body, making his throat raw. The fear and confusion and regret he'd been battling with for the past two weeks suddenly evaporated, replaced with nothing but pure relief. His claws dug into Groot's back, holding onto him tightly. He made quite sure that he was real and he wasn't still dreaming, or if Peter thought it'd be funny to put something in his drink during last night's dinner and he was hallucinating.

"Y-you're an asshole." Rocket sniffled. Groot pulled away slightly so he could cast his friend with a confused and incredulous look.

"I am Groot?"

"Why? Are you serious? For two weeks I didn't know if I was getting you back. I didn't know if you were even going to freakin' remember us." Rocket retorted.

"I am Groot."

"What do you mean, 'I'm a jackass?' I didn't clock out for two weeks!"

"I am Groot!"

"Well I didn't know you could hear every word we said!"

"I am Groot…"

"….Yeah, I was pretty bloody worried. You're my best friend….besides, you need to be a freakin' Guardian or Quill's gonna kick you out." Rocket snapped, giving a half-hearted punch to Groot's shoulder. The humanoid tree chuckled deeply. '

"I am Groot."

"….Yeah, I missed you too. And you're the jackass." Rocket sighed. Groot pulled Rocket back into another hug. At first the raccoon wanted to pull away – too much fluffy shit would ruin his reputation, but he just gave in and hugged Groot right back. He had his best friend back, and in those moments, that was all that mattered. He wasn't alone any longer, and there were many adventures and missions ready for them to embark on.

From the doorway, hidden in the shadows, stood the rest of the Guardians – Peter, Gamora, and Drax. All three were alerted by Rocket's cries, but now all three wore soft, happy smiles, both to see their comrade alive, well, and back to his normal size, as well as to finally see Rocket happy again (well, as happy as the raccoon was able to show, which usually accompanied blowing someone's brains out). Peter couldn't help but wear a slight smirk.

Guess that half-assed science project was pretty good after all.