Almost

Disclaimer:

I own absolutely nothing. All hail Marvel.


Habits.

Drax gives her the plates to lay out, and their hands brush. "You know," she comments, "after surviving an Infinity Stone, I am glad to be doing something so..."

"Mundane?"

"Exactly."

He nods. "I have not had a home-cooked meal since before the Kyln."

She grimaces. "Then let's hope our teammates are not burning it as we speak."

Laughing, he leaves to salvage their efforts.

She sets down the last plate and realizes: He has counted out two places too many...

'Since before the Kyln…'

The pieces click. She rushes to put the two plates away, before he can see.


Nightmare.

Drax could sleep through anything: it is his best and worst quality as a shipmate.

Alarms blare. The Milano shudders. Her heart pounds as she races to his quarters, flings open the door, and shakes him.

"We're under attack! We need you!"

Still asleep, he takes her hand, startling her. "I know," he rasps out. "I know you needed me. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry..."

She pales. "Drax, wake up..."

He does—their eyes meet.

"We need you." Gently, she takes her hand back.

Later on, if he remembers the incident, he doesn't breathe a word, and she doesn't press.


Memories.

Sometimes he finds himself wondering, 'if'. Not that he tries. Not that he wants to, because 'if' is a dark place. 'If' presses upon his soul with whispers, and guilt, and cold ghost-hands that flit at the edges of his memory.

If he had seen the attack coming...

If he had been stronger...

If he still had her...

Gamora, too, is haunted by 'if's. Not that she admits it. But sometimes, he sees the guilt—real and raw and open—in her eyes. He puts his hand on her shoulder, and wishes it were enough to chase the ghosts away.


Tempted.

Lately, she finds herself wondering, 'if'. Not that she wants to, because dammit, she might actually be in love with Peter. Peter, who sees her for who she is, and has stubbornly decided to pursue her, anyway. She will not throw him to the wayside for an empty, girlish inclination.

But the inclination is there… unexpected and undeniable, like the touch of skin.

If I reached out…

If I said something…

If I took his hand again…

Thankfully, Drax hasn't noticed. Peter has noticed, but understands, or at least pretends to. Grateful and guilty, Gamora wonders if she deserves him.


Battlefield.

Gamora crumples, bloodied and silent, and as Drax runs to her, all he can think is please-no-not-again...

"Guardians! To me!" But they are scattered, outnumbered.

He cradles her head, and memories assault him—cold fingers and empty eyes—but he forces them away… She is still alive: she needs him, here and now.

She stirs. "Peter?"

"He is here."

Quill sinks beside them with a choking sound. Drax places her in his arms, as gently as he can.

"Keep her talking."

Then, blades flashing, eyes gleaming with bloodlust, he rises to meet their foes. He will not fail. Not again.


Names.

Gamora. She defies definition, not for his lack of trying:

Scion of Thanos. Assassin. Warrior.

Further back, when their partnership was just beginning:

Foul-gazed woman. Green whore. Admittedly, not one of his finer moments, though her reaction had been priceless.

But now…

Broken. Emptied. Impossibly still. He curses himself for every missed chance, every failure to speak the truth of how he saw her:

Honorable. Fearless. Perceptive. Kind.

But when she finally wakes, weakened but alive and smiling, and her fingertips brush his skin… The only word that comes to mind—the word that takes him by surprise—is:

Beautiful.


Author's note:

Thanks to my baby sister, Liana Legaspi, for letting me pick her brain! This collection would have been considerably sloppier without her input. She's a wonderful writer, so be sure to check out her work.

And thanks to Dance Elle Dance, whose exploration of Drax/Gamora was so beautifully compelling, that I couldn't resist taking a stab at it.

As always, thanks for reading and reviewing!