A/N: Time to find out what Nebula and the others were doing all this time... also the setup for a threesome that's been five years in the making.
One would have expected Captain Marvel, now known as Captain Milkers, to be the last powerful entity to take umbrage with our conquest of Xandar. But to my surprise and bewilderment, I felt multiple someone else's of similar power approaching the planet within just a couple of days. And felt was indeed the right word for it, because I knew they were coming long before they even made it to the planet's surface.
This was because I had a… unique connection to the group in question, and ultimately, I found myself curious to what had caused such an… immense change as I was feeling. Honestly, it was difficult to quantify exactly what I was feeling. But I knew one thing for absolute certain… while I had kept the Guardians of the Galaxy from ever having to save Xandar from Ronan, and thus dramatically weakened any connection they might have had to the planet, they were still a bunch of do-gooders at heart, even if they probably weren't even called the Guardians of the Galaxy this time around.
That all said, I used my growing influence over Hela to push her and our shared new pets… not quite into hiding, but certainly out of sight and out of mind. It was impossible to hide the fact that Xandar had been conquered by Asgardians, but I wanted to have this meeting with the Guardians alone. As she normally was, being a complete control freak, Hela would likely have refused, begun to grow paranoid, and eventually cut me down before I could stab her in the back.
Luckily, we were closer than that by this point… and by closer, I mean that I'd wormed my way into her mind enough with the Infinity Stones that while she wasn't completely submissive or utterly loyal to me, she wouldn't betray me first. Not without me taking direction action against her, which I feel I must stress, I wasn't planning on doing.
Regardless, all of this meant that I met the would-be Guardians alone, standing on a cleared off platform watching the Milano land and waiting for them to all come out. Of course, the first one off the ship wasn't at all unexpected… it had been quite some time since Nebula, and I had last seen each other after all.
To think, a few months back I had been regretting sending Nebula off into space to search out her sister and friends. Now, I was somewhat glad I'd done so, if only because she hadn't gotten caught up in the Earthlings' betrayal of me. Whether they would have tried to turn her against me like they did Darcy, or whether they simply would have killed her off hand like they did the Hydra Hybrids, I knew not. What I did know was that she was alive and well, and that was good.
Of course, the state she's in when she exits the ship and sashays her way towards me with a wide smile on her face isn't what I'm expecting. For one… she has hair. Back when I'd remade her, I thought I'd healed her entirely of all her cybernetic parts. I'd remade her, rebuilt her into Hybrid version of her species. But apparently, after she'd left me, she'd done some further healing, because now she had a full head of shoulder-length blonde hair.
It wasn't the color I would have expected, but admittedly, it went surprisingly well with her blue skin. An electrifying combination of yellow and blue, so to speak. And truly, she pulled it off well, even as she got closer and closer, licking her lips. Needless to say, I'm not surprised when she abruptly jumps into my arms. All too ready for it, I hold her aloft as she clings to me like a spider monkey, doing her level best to stick her tongue down my throat as I in turn do the same to her.
As we makeout heatedly, me and my Luphomoid pet, the others slowly begin making their way out of the ship as well. I don't have to see them to know this, I can FEEL them even now… just as I can feel Nebula differently than I ever could before.
Finally, I disengage our lip lock and she clamors down out of my arms, allowing me to take her by her shoulders and get a good, hard look at her… her and her eyes. See, that was the only other telltale sign that shit had hit the fan beyond the lush blonde locks. Nebula's eyes… they were like galaxies, filled with infinite stars rather than the black pools that had been there when I'd last seen her.
Frowning, I shake my head before tilting it questioningly.
"Nebula… what happened?"
"Much, Master. I have had quite the adventure with my sister and her friends since we last spoke."
Before she can elaborate further, the rest of the group reaches them and I have Nebula step aside, placing an arm around her shoulders and giving the would-be Guardians of the Galaxy a broad smile. Or rather… the would-be Guardians sans Drax the Destroyer.
Indeed, before me stands Peter Quill, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot. There's also a fifth one, a strange bug-like female with antenna coming out of her forehead, but when I glance her way, she averts her gaze, seeming painfully shy. And, unlike Peter, Gamora, and Rocket, she doesn't have the same eyes as Nebula. No, that's something only those four share… those eyes of infinite pitch black space and stars.
"Well now, hello again all of you. Seems that my Nebula was able to find you as I ordered her to. Can I assume she was of help in whatever your endeavors might have been?"
Exchanging looks between themselves for a moment, it's Peter who speaks up, slowly nodding.
"Yeah, she was, uh… she's been a big help."
Back when I'd last left these three on Knowhere, they'd been normal beings. However, after transforming Drax into a Hybrid, I'd given them all my blood as well, so they would have the option to drink it and become Hybrids in turn, if they wanted to. Judging by what I was feeling now, all three had taken me up on that offer. Still, smiling blandly, I don't point out the elephant in the room, instead focusing on the elephant that's conspicuously absent instead.
For a brief moment, there's confusion. Then, Peter blinks and shakes his head.
"Huh? Oh, no. He didn't stick around. Wanted to take his newfound strength straight to Thanos."
Snorting derisively, arms crossed over his chest, Rocket speaks up, drawing my gaze and the gazes of the others downwards.
"Yeah, and given the shitshow we're dealing with now, he didn't do shit either."
I raise an eyebrow at that, even as Gamora shushes Rocket. Peter grimaces but then looks around after a moment, clearly trying to change the subject.
"You… you do this to Xandar?"
While the platform that he landed the Milano on is mostly intact, the destruction of Xandar is apparent all around us, ruins stretching on for miles and miles. Looking around alongside him, I of course am quick to bloviate.
"Oh, not entirely me no. This handiwork can be lain mostly at the feet of the new Asgardian Queen, Hela. She styles herself as the Goddess of Death, you see."
That gets a jolt from Peter, Gamora, and Rocket, with more glances exchanged that I pretend not to notice as I continue on.
"Turns out the previous Asgardian King, Odin Allfather, locked his daughter away in some prison dimension for the last however many thousands of years. When he died, she was finally freed. Needless to say, she's been eager to get back to work."
It's Gamora who speaks up here, sounding guarded… but not as standoffish as I would have thought.
"Back to work…?"
Her leading question receives a shrug and a nod from me, along with a smile as if to say, 'what can you do?'.
"Yes. Conquering the Universe."
That sends a thrum of tension through the group, but they aren't really heroes, I note. They aren't immediately or automatically morally objecting to the idea, but more nervous about how it will affect them personally or as a group. I can tell that, because of my actions, the true Guardians of the Galaxy never had a chance to form. These are selfish mercenaries at most, more concerned with their own affairs. That's good, I can work with that.
As well, there's something else… but I'm still unraveling it in the background, so for the time being, I focus on the present and raise a brow, gesturing to their faces.
"I can tell that you all took me up on my offer of immortality, but this thing with your eyes… I must admit, that's new as far as I'm concerned. Did something else momentous happen recently?"
Peter winces, Gamora averts her gaze, and the bug girl literally hunches in on herself like hunted prey… but Rocket, being Rocket, is as ready to be standoffish and blunt as ever as he lets out a bark of laughter and gives me the answer I seek.
"Yeah. We ate Peter's dad."
Okay, so maybe that doesn't fully explain things. Luckily for me, I have a woman on the inside. Nebula leans in close, her lips brushing against my ear as she swiftly elaborates for me.
"Quill's father turned out to be a Celestial, sir. Maybe the last living one in existence if his ranting was to be believed. When he pushed too hard with Quill, things got violent."
They can, of course, all hear Nebula's murmuring, given their own enhanced senses. As Rocket nods along with Nebula's explanation, Peter just lets out a sheepish laugh and rubs the back of his head.
"Alright, guess we're just telling him everything. Yeah, I met my dad. Turned out he was a Celestial and planning on remaking the entire universe in his image or something. But he needed my help to do it. And, uh… well, it turned out he killed my mom. Not cancer, not illness… but him. He didn't need her anymore and couldn't stand the thought of her potentially moving on and forgetting about him, so he fucking killed her."
By the time Peter is done elaborating, his own arms are crossed and he's gripping them tightly, his voice reverbing slightly as he growls out the final words. Then, just as quickly, the anger seems to go out of him, and he looks to be at something of a loss.
"I lost control… others did too, or they decided to help me. We uh, we fed. On my father. Who was also a planet, apparently. Like Rocket said… we ate him."
That was… incredibly disturbing on so many levels, and here I was as a millennia-old Hybrid who had practically written the book on disturbing shit. Of course, it was disturbing because it meant I didn't quite know where I stood with the three in front of me. Hell, I didn't even know where I stood with Nebula. Hybrids were one thing. I could control Hybrids (Earthlings aside, of course). But Celestial Hybrids… they were something entirely new.
I'd stopped the Guardians of the Galaxy from fully forming up, but in the process, it looked like I'd created something else entirely. Whether that something else was worse or better, I honestly didn't know. Of course, my silence as I digested all of this was… palpable.
"Oi. You better not be judging us, fuckface. It was us or him, full stop. Entirely fucking planet came alive trying to eat us. So yeah, I turned around and started fucking eating first. Fucker didn't like that one bit, lemme tell ya."
Rocket sounds almost proud of what they'd done, and at least some part of both Peter and Gamora must agree with him, because they have small smiles on their faces as well. Nebula, meanwhile, is as close to me as ever… and as I stand there, I finally finish unraveling that thing that was nagging at me in the background. As it hits me, as clarity strikes… I can't help but grin a wide, wicked grin.
"I see. No judgment here, my furry friend. Indeed, I know all about what it takes to survive. You lot did the only thing you could do, and it's left you changed… but that's not necessarily a bad thing, is it? Indeed, you three and Nebula are closer together than ever before, aren't you?"
There's some defensive looks, some looks of discomfort… but there's no denying what I've said. In fact, 'closer together' was probably an understatement. Frankly, it was shocking they weren't completely hive-minding. When it came to Peter, Gamora, and Rocket, I attributed that to them all being singularly strong-willed individual entities. They were independent to the extreme, and that was obvious.
Meanwhile, Nebula was mine.
It didn't matter that she'd eaten some Celestial, she was an extension of my will and existed to serve me. And that was the kicker. That was the real reason that the others, who would have been Guardians of the Galaxy in another life, weren't raising more of a fuss about Xandar and all the death and destruction around us. That was why they weren't more confrontational.
Because Nebula, my sweet pet, was using her connection to the other three to tamp down on their aggression and make them more amicable towards me. And as I finish unraveling that little mystery behind their new existences with the Mind Stone and she notices me finally paying attention, I feel it as Nebula's mental presence brushes up against mine in delight… and then hands the metaphysical reins over to me without a second thought.
Like that, I effectively have a backdoor into the drastically altered heads of the would-be Guardians. As they are now, as Celestial Hybrids, I probably wouldn't have been able to control them subtly. It would have been a fight first like with Carol, and I honestly wasn't sure how that would have gone. But thanks to Nebula, that wouldn't be necessary. They were mine already and everything else was a formality.
Still, no reason to be rude. I only wanted to do one thing with one of the three after we were done chatting, something I had held myself back from doing the first time around, but now saw no point in avoiding. But first…
I clap my hands together, causing them all to jump and jolt from their momentary introspection. Smiling, I rub my palms together.
"Right then. Storytime aside, what brings you all to Xandar? I highly doubt you showed up to try and save the day like Captain Marvel a few cycles back."
"Whoa, Captain Marvel was here? And she lost?"
"Is here. And yes, she lost… most satisfactorily. Do-gooders always think they're the strongest until they find out they aren't. But of course, we all know the universe is far from fair and that good and evil are childish concepts at best, don't we?"
Slowly, they nod in agreement with me. Of course they do, I tell them to.
"So? Why exactly ARE you all here?"
Another exchange of glances, before finally Peter lets out a loud sigh.
"We were hoping to get your help. We're being hunted… by Thanos."
Even Nebula beside me clutches at me a little tighter at the name of the monster who had forced her to call him father. Gamora, meanwhile, looks both afraid and determined, while Rocket just looks afraid. Groot is… Groot.
"I see. Has this been an ongoing thing?"
"Eh, sort of? He's been chasing after us for a while, yeah. We think it's because-grk!"
Gamora suddenly elbows Peter in the side, silencing him as she glares at him furiously. Whatever it was he was about to say, she didn't want it said out loud to me. How… unfortunate. But I understood. Trust had to be earned. I just smile, even as Peter makes a big show of pouting and rubbing his side even though his new constitution had to have made that barely sting.
"Right, right. Okay so Thanos wants Gamora. That's really all you need to know. He might want Nebula too, but Gamora was always his favorite and all that jazz. So, he's been hunting us… but in the last couple months, it's gotten worse. Like, him turning his entire fucking army to finding Gamora levels of worse. Something's lit a fire under his ass and he's not stopping for nothing."
I could imagine. The two Children of Thanos I'd killed on Sakaar must have lit a fire under the Mad Titan's ass. What he wanted Gamora for, I didn't know. But I could find out easily enough. And at the same time…
For a brief moment, I look down at my free hand, the one not currently holding Nebula's shoulder. I stare at it for a second, feeling the energy of four Infinity Stones rushing through my body. Four Fragments of the Infinite at my disposal, and with the fifth practically mine already by conquest. Boudicca would protect the Time Stone until I asked for it, and then she'd hand it over willingly, as a good little servant.
I had no idea where the Soul Stone was, or what it's powers might be. If it could trump the other stones, that would certainly be bad… but if anyone would have known if Thanos already had a stone, it would be these people, wouldn't it?
"And his search for the Infinity Stones? How goes that?"
Another exchange of glances, making it clearer and clearer that there's plenty they aren't telling me. That's fine though, it just makes me feel less and less guilty about what I'm going to do next.
As they work out silently what exactly they're going to tell me, I'm already laying the foundation of my next move with Nebula actively helping me every step of the way and the three other Celestial Hybrids in front of me none the wiser. Finally, Gamora is the one who speaks.
"He doesn't have any that we know of… yet. They elude him at every turn, making him more and more desperate… and more and more dangerous."
Giving Gamora in particular a winning smile, I give her a grateful nod.
"I'll keep that in mind."
Looking to the rest of the group, I shrug my shoulders.
"Right then… I'm happy to give you all protection from Thanos. In fact, I'll be completely up front with you… I'm happy to use you all as bait to lure him in so we can finally kill him outright. Now is as good a time as any. So… stick around and let's wait for the Mad Titan and his armies to arrive, shall we? In the meantime, just relax… take a load off… you're among allies now. You're safe."
I doubt they all believe me, but even as we say our goodbyes and make plans to meet to discuss battle strategy the next day, I see Gamora sneaking speculative glances my way. When our eyes meet, I give her a roguish grin and a wink, and to my utter delight the former Zehoberei assassin actually blushes and darts her gaze away.
Oh yeah… this was finally happening.
Later that night, I've left both our pets and my pets with Hela to entertain the Asgardian Queen. Between Brunnhilde, Sylvie, Irina Rael, and 'Captain Milkers', I expected the four ladies to be able to keep Hela busy… or at least satisfy her savage and vicious impulses for one night. Meanwhile, I was alone in a different set of quarters, ready and waiting to receive my nighttime visitors.
When the door to the room opens and Nebula steps in, I smile at her… and she smiles right back at me, sending across a sensation of 'Mission Accomplished' as she steps aside to reveal… Gamora, her sister, looking nervous but also very interested, fidgeting like some fresh maiden instead of the battle-hardened warrior she's supposed to be.
But then, with the backdoor Nebula had granted me into the other Celestial Hybrid's brains, Gamora, Peter, and Rocket could be whatever I wanted them to be. Luckily for them, I had no desire to change much of anything at all, besides making sure that their unwillingness to attack me remained, permanently.
Gamora though… I had foregone a chance at a threesome with the two adoptive sisters back when I'd first met the would-be Guardians. Gamora and Nebula in the same bed… I should have gone for it ages ago.
Now that I'd given up on being The Hero, it seemed like the perfect time to make up for lost mistakes. And so Gamora was here before me, with Nebula as well. Giving Gamora a nod and a smile, I rise from the bed.
"I'm glad you joined us tonight, Gamora. I'm sure the three of us will have quite a bit of fun together."
We would. I'd make sure of it.
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