A Bit of Both: After the snap. Story one: Five year itch.

Peter Jason "Starlord" Quill fidgeted with his Zune, and tried not to glare too hard as Thor and Rocket argued over plotting the ships course like an old married couple, instead focusing on the Holo of Gamora, the new Gamora, location still very much unknown.

Music playes: Awesome Zune Mix; the searchers Don't Throw Your love away

"No, I reckon we pull over by Xandar, the re-building there after Thanos flattened it five years ago makes it a major transit hub, an what with me and Nebula working with Danvers to stabilise the place after that thing with the body swapping, they owe us a favour." Said Rocket, standing on the table, arms folded, and pointing at the holo projected out of it at his eye height. He was wearing a blue and red jumpsuit , Quill noted, one he didn't recognise, and a red scarf that he must have stolen because Quill recognised it as the good one he'd worn to Ego's planet.

"Ah, well Sweet rabbit, Xandar is all very well and good, but I vote we head for Sakaar: the portals give easy access to all the nine realms, and the bounty-hunter and mercenary scum should provide a good source of information." Said Thor, leaning both elbows on the table, and pointing jovially.

"And what, get killed in the games? You bin' to Sakaar these past five years, Thor? It's worse than ever. Besides, they charge an excess fare on all imports over half a ton, and I think you qualify butterbutt."

"We should focus on less obvious locations." Said Nebula, "My sister would avoid major transit routes, and try to avoid detection. We should try the badoon underground, or Askavarian smuggling cartels."

Rocket scratched behind his ear, appearing to consider that "What, like with the Corvarian job?"

"Exactly." Said Nebula.

"What was the Corvarian job?" asked Quill, looking over.

Rocket, Nebula and Thos all stared, like they'd never seen him before. After a moment Rocket waved a paw dismissively. "Oh, nothing Quill. Just a job me and Nebula pulled like three years back. Infiltrating and bringing down a major smuggling ring, cool spy shit, stealing secret plans, some violence, nothing major."

"You're forgetting the fight inside the collapsing planet as it got sucked into that black hole." Said Nebula, dully.

"What? No, I ain't. How could I forget that? It was the single most insane heist I'd ever pulled! I was just, yanno, downplaying it 'caus Quill won't know the background."

"Most insane heist?" asked Thor jovially, pointing at Rocket. "I can think of one better."

"Okay, most insane non-time heist. Most insane heist where my partner actually did something useful rather than go crying to mommy." Corrected Rocket. "Actually, between that, you getting captured, Nebula, and Stark freeing Loki, how am I the only Avenger who didn't screw up their time heist somehow?"

"Wait, you joined the Avengers?" asked Quill. "When?"

Thor waved a hand at him, dismissively. "Old history, battle of Wakanda, before the first snap. No, now this Corvarian job, that sounds interesting. A planet getting sucked into a black hole? Would you say that was more or less awe inspiring than re-starting a dying star, Rabbit?"

Rocket snorted. "Gods, when you put it like that, this has been a busy few years…"

"Hey, moron." Said Quill, pointing at Thor. "His name is Rocket, not Rabbit. He doesn't even look like a rabbit! What kind of freaky ass rabbits did you have on Asgard?"

"Four foot long man eating ones with long fluffy tails. Duh, why: what sort of dull, non man-eating rabbits do you have on earth?"

Quill glared. "Quit getting my friends name wrong!"

"Nah, it's okay Quill, it's like an affectionate nickname thing between us. It like how he don't mind the fat jokes so long as they come from me. It's cool, we got history Quill."

Quill glared. "You met him, like, two days ago! We hit him with the ship, he's technically roadkill!"

Rocket just stared, confused. He touched the scarf nervously. "Quill, man, that was over five years ago."

"Yes, let the god man talk, I, too would like to hear this tale of adventure." Said Drax, right behind Quill's shoulder. Quill jumped.

"Jesus, Drax, how long where you there?"

"Forty minutes. We should listen to what the former pirate angel has to say."

"Former?" asked Thor. Drax gestured to his own belly. "You have let yourself go."

"Yeah, he's stealing my look." Muttered Quill. "And we don't need to hear about anyone stupid time-heist, we need to find Gamora! I mean, come on, who here actually wants to hear a fat Viking god and a trash-panda swap old war stories?"

"Oh! I do!" said Mantis, raising her hand right behind Quill other shoulder, making him jump again.

"Jesus, do you guys have to freaking do that every time? Groot, get where I can see you! Okay so were telling war stores now, are we? Fine, how about the time I took the stupid plan that the Avengers had made to capture Thanos, and made it a way better plan that actually got him trapped and managed to get the stupid powerglove, like, two thirds off his hand." Said Quill, as Groot rolled his eyes, and went to stand over by Rocket.

"Oh, that souds like a great story." Said Thor, with genuine eagerness, as he opened beer. "Please, tell me! I love Thanos stories, did I tell you about the time I cut off his head?"

"Like seven times in the four hours you've been on my ship. No, my story was way better. It was a cool plan."

"Did it work?" asked Thor, raising his beer and looking over it shrewdly.

Peter Quill paused, awkwardly. "Up to a point." He admitted. "Turns out, all it took was for one weak link to screw it all up."

"U-huh. And just running on guess work here, the weak link, it wouldn't have been you, now, would it?" asked Rocket, paw rubbing chin.

"I… what would make you say that?" asked Quill, defensively.

"Because I know you Quill. Also, because Nebula has told me this story, like five hundred times. He's the mad titan, why did you think hitting him in the face was going to do anything? This is why I didn't even try that shit at Wakanda."

"Oh, he's that Starlord?" asked Thor, spilling beer. "I heard about this, you totally screwed up!" said Thor, cheerfully "Not unlike me, when I forgot to go for the head! You must feel such a fool!"

Peter frowned, and dropped both hands to his waist. "I…dude. Come on. You told them?" he asked, turning to Nebula. She shrugged.

"We had a lot of time to dwell on our failures. I do not blame you. I too would have taken Gamora's loss badly. We all make mistakes." She said, before turning to Rocket, with what might have been an attempt at a smile. "Like with that incident at the church of Universal truth rally…"

Rocket, groaned, face-palmed, and then laughed. "Don't remind me. I don't see colour so good, I could have sworn I put the LSD in the blue pitcher…."

Nebula frowned, half jokingly. "And the seizure-grenades? And the box of flesh eating weasels?"

"Meal for one!" said Rocket, and both him and Nebula started laughing before he noticed Quill's aghast glare, and waving him away said. "Ahhhh, well I guess you kind of had to be there. So, Xandar, Sakaar or the Underground spaceway, where are we going to start looking for Gamora?"

Nebula shrugged. "You're the captain." She buzzed.

"Erm, excuse me?" sad Quill "You guys may have been running around in it for the past few years, the the benitar is my ship, I'm the captian. We all agreed I was the captain!"

"Oh, shit, sorry, yeah. Sorry Quill I…" Rocket touched at the scarf again. "I… I just got used to it just being me and Nebula. You're the captain. Whatever you say. " he glanced to Thor. "Quill is the captain here, okay? You gonna be nice, Asgard?"

"No, no of course, Quill is the captain. And we all agree on that." said Thor, rising his beer in a salute that Quill found needlessly condescending.

Quill glared. After a moment, he became aware of everyone looking at him, Rocket in particular giving him a sideways look.

"Where to, captain?"

Quill considered, and set his jaw. "Xandar: let's just say I have a hunch I know where Gamora is going…"

Quill, Rocket, Thor, Nebula, Mantis, Drax and Groot stood on the raised shopping arcade in Xandar city, staring at the huge pile of wreckage where The Brokers high-end shop used to be.

"So… what? You just assumed she'd be waiting for you in the place where you two first met?" asked Rocket, raising both paws and screwing up his muzzle in disbelief. "They never even re-built this place after we crashed Ronan's ship into it!"

"Shut up, Davey Crocket, it was a hunch, okay?" said Quill, as Thor patted him on the shoulder in a way that probably supposed to be comforting but was just condescending, and Groot tried to drink out of a fountain while Drax started buying street food of a vendor.

"Well, if she was trying to work out what the alternate version of her had done, and where their lives diverged, its not a bad assumption that the new Gamora might try to re-trace the old one's steps." Said Thor, pointing. "There's a security-scanner on that shop opposite, I'll go ask for the footage, who knows? She might have come this way." He said, before waddling off, humming. The shop, Quill noticed, was a liquor store. No guesses why he wants to check that one out. He thought, glumly.

He noticed Rocket looking up at him mouth half open, frowning. "What, ringtail?"

"Nothing you… you all right Quill?" asked Rocket. "You sure you're up for doing this?"

"Fine. See you've stolen my scarf, Ranger Rick. It doesn't suit you. It looks like a cape on you."

Rocket winced, and tried to shake his head as if to clear a bad thought. "Ouch, forget I asked. Well, while we are here, Mantis, Drax, ask around, see if anyone has eyes on Gamora. Groot, you're with me and Quill, Nebula-"

"Hack the Nova com's station from the public terminal I know. " said the cyborg, jogging off.

"And don't forget to add a back door so we can check later: just because she's not here now, doesn't mean she won't pass thought at some time!" yelled Rocket after her. He looked up to Quill, and noticed he was getting the stink-eye. "What?" he asked.

"So you're gonna take that over as well? You and Thor and Nebula, running it all now? You want to jump into my grave that fast?"

Rocket winced, and turned away, walking down the street. "Okay, I'll give you that, that one time. That's your freebie."

"My what? What's got into you?" asked Quill, walking after him.

"It's been a hard five years, Quill." said Rocket, touching the scarf for strength. "You're going to find a lot has changed." Said Rocket, going to the edge of the raised shopping area, and looking down through the glass railings. After a moment, he pointed at a large fountain on the lower street level, now broken and silted up.

"That was where I was standing when I first saw you, Quill. I was scanning the crowd looking for bounties, and you popped right up. You'd have been stood just about here, where I am now. Groot, Groot was drinking from the fountain. This would have been the old Groot, not the twig." He said, as Quill leaned on the rail next to him, boot cocked to one side.

"Yeah, I remember. I was standing jut about there when you attacked me, and what, there? When you tazed me?"

Rocket, smiled, touching the scarf. "Ah, a simpler time."

"A better time." Corrected Quill, vehemently.

"What, with a taser in your spine?"

"A better time." Repeated Quill.

Rocket sighed. "Quill, you know, things, things are never going to back to the way they were before, right? When it was just us zooming around in your ship, blazing out tunes and fighting the fights we picked? We're part of a bigger universe now. Gods and monsters level shit. Wonders and terrors, yaddda yadda yadda. You sure you're up for this?"

Quill stare down for a long moment, at the spot where the Guardians had had their first real fight, and won. They were only fighting themselves, but that was how he guessed most good teams started anyhow.

"No, she's not here Rocket. Come on, get everyone back to the ship. I know where she's going..."

"You've got to be frickin kidding me!" yelled Rocket, as the Nova Guards patted him down to make sure he wasn't trying to smuggle anything into the prison. "The Kyln? Seriously? The stomach of the penal system? I only just got the smell out of my fur from the last time I was here! Why the hell would she come back here?!"

"She's got to be curious about what future her was up to! 2015 Gamora has got to have an interest in how she becomes 2018 Gamora! Like, what makes the past Gamora into the Gamora I know?"

"A 300 foot drop?" asked Thor, as two of the burliest guards patted him down. "Now look here, I'm a former king, so if you could kindly stop with the strip search…"

"Dude! Too soon!" yelled Quill, glaring.

"Peter, your quest is noble, and I too want to find my sister." Buzzed Nebula. "But you need to come to terms with the fact that the Gamora you knew died five years ago."

"Not from my point of view. And not from hers either, which is why I know she's re-tracing he steps of the other Gamora."

"Yeah, I guess but prison, really?" said Rocket, paws raised and placed on the wall as the guards searched him. "A place with this strict security to even get in as a visitor, and you think she'd come here willingly?"

"Oh, I don't know, the security doesn't seem that strict…" said Thor, as behind him a very large Kree guard puled on a blue latex glove and turned to Thor.

"Allright, your highness, drop your pants and try to relax."

Thor glared, and then turned back to the wall, grinning.

"Okay, my good man, I am a king of Asgard in exile, an god of thunder, I fought the infinity gauntlet, twice, and if you think you're going to frighten me with your little glove then you have a very big mistake coming and-aHHHH why is your finger so cold!?"

"Hah, what's the matter, feeling a little Thor in the neither's!?" joked Quill before also flinching. "Oh wow, that's colder than I remember!

"Quit being a baby." Muttered Rocket. "You're going to embarrass me, just take it like a man and quit whining you big dumb bald bodies. From my pout of view that finger is the size of New-England, and do you hear me complain? "

"Okay were done here and… what the hell?" yelled the guard, before producing in his palm a robotic eye pre-loaded with a set of escape maps and a miniature holo-projector, and a second tiny 1 centimetre sphere, that on close inspection turned out to be a miniaturized inter-planarity death ray.

Rocket glanced over his shoulder at them and then stared straight ahead with a very guiltily expression.

"I swear officer, I've never seen those before in my life it… it must have been something I ate!"

"So, Rabbit, you first, literally your very first reaction to finding Pym particles, was to steal some and shrink down an actual Celestial weapon, so you could hide it on your person?" asked Thor, more amused than angry.

"Shut up." Said Rocket, adjusting his pants and looking pained. "Quill, this is why you need to give me more warning if we're going to go visit prisons!"

"You had an actual Death-star hidden inside you: for once I'm with Thor, that's just plain nasty." Said Quill, looking around the prison. "You're lucky they just confiscated the contraband and didn't chuck you in here again." he said looking around. The place was pretty much how he remembered it: Hell, but with laxer hygiene.

"Split up and look for her, or ask about, see if she's been here asking questions."

"Split up? In here?" asked Rocket. "Why, you see me walking like a cowboy and decide you want some of it? This is a dangerous place, Quill. Hell, first day she was here, they nearly killed Gamora in less that ten hours! You had some real nasty suitors on you within seconds, you'll last a minute, tops."

"Get bent." Muttered Quill, stalking off. Rocket sighed. "Drax, you ran with prison gangs, you go ask around after Gamora. Nebula, take Mantis, she can read emotions; use her to check people's stories for truthfulness. Groot, you stay with me and keep your eyes on the ground, this ain't a healthy place for a minor. Thor-"

"On it Rabbit." Said Thor, jogging after Quill.

Rocket sighed, and pressed on.

Quill jogged up to the shower room, the place where he's saved Gamora's life. If she was going to be anywhere, she'd be there, she'd-

He froze.

There was a figure with green skin and long black hair waiting for him. He grinned, and ran in.

"Gamora I-"

The figure turned, it was clearly a man, and a frightened, drugged up looking individual, who giggled nervously at him, and slinked out a side door. Quill stood, hand half out.

What the fuck is wrong with me? He thought.

"Well well well, what have me here. No uniform so what? A Visitor." Growled a voice being him.

Quill turned. Three huge, baldy shaved Bolovites were blocking the doorway and grinning evilly at him. The largest turned to the second largest, who was a good head taller than Quill.

"You reckon he wants this to be a convivial visit?"

"He must, dressed like that and waiting for us in the showers..."

Quill glared, "Dude, its called a Conjugal visit, even I know that."

The biggest goon grinned, and turned to his henchmen. "Well, he said it, not me." He joked, reaching for his belt.

Quill sighed, and reached for his blasters… before remembering he'd had to check them at the door.

He grinned, nervously "Hey, guys, I think we got off on the wrong foot. Hey, so how about that snap, eh? I don't know about you, but-"


Said a voice behind them.

All four men turned.

Thor gave them a winning grin, as he walked in.

"Hi, sorry to bother you, but I'm looking for any information of Gamora, daughter of Thanos, I don't suppose you fine gentlemen have seen her at all?"

"Fuck of beardy, we're busy."

"Oh, well, in that case, if I could just take my friend to help me look for her…" said Thor.

The main Bolovite sighed, an then turned to his goons. "Okay, which one do you want? Fatso or the idiot?

"I dunno, they'd both be really hot if they lost some weight and… why is he doing that?" asked the prison goon, staring. Thor was just standing there, grinning, his hand outstretched towards them, part open, as if about to catch something.

"Oh, don't mind me, sometimes this takes a while… umm, Quill? A little to the left please?"

"What? Oh, sure." Said Quill, moving. "But its okay, Thor, I had a plan to-"

Mjolnir punched thought the wall of the shower scattering sherds of tile like shrapnel, narrowly missed Quill, and hit the main goon right on the head, knocking him clean out. Thor caught it and threw it, once, taking the second goon. The third tried to run, but Quill punched him, hard. The thug staggered, and was just getting up, when Thor held out his hand again, and it returned to him via the prisoner's face, laying him out.

Thor nodded to Quill. "Are you well?"

Quill snorted, angry. "No, because Gamora's not here!" he yelled, stalking off. "But it's okay, because I know where she'll be…"

*Smash cut to all the Guardians standing on the veranda outside the bar on Knowhere where Quill and Gamora first almost kissed, looking out onto the stars. Gamora is clearly not there.*

*Quill swears, kicks over a trash-can, and stalks off. *

*Cut back to an interior shot of the benitar. Quill is brooding in his room in the background, listening to the Zune, and Rocket, and Thor and Nebula talk around the table. Groot is there, playing on his computer game but not taking part in the discussion. *

"Okay, so that was a complete bust, so what now? Sakaar or the Underground?" asked Rocket, keeping half an eye on Quill in the background.

"Well, I would of course go for Sakaar but if you feel differently Rabbit-" started Thor.

"This wasn't a waste of time." Muttered Nebula.

"Then I would bow to your superior knowledge-." Continued Thor.

"This wasn't a waste of time." Sad Nebula, louder, laying a data slate on the table. "We need to go to the Soverign."

Rocket starred. "The people, who, unless I'm wrong, want to execute both you and me slowly and painfully for felony theft on Anulax batteries and not sucking up hard enough?" Asked Rocket.

"Do you mean Harbulary batteries?" yelled a voice.

"Shut up Drax!" yelled Rocket. "Nebula, why would we go there of all places?"

"Quill was right." Said Nebula, pointing at the slate.

Thor and Rocket shared a look. "Neb… Gamora wasn't at any of the places we looked." Said Rocket.

"Because we started in the wrong place: I have a report of her visiting the old Temple on Morag, the one the Infinity stone was at. Then Xandar, ten hours after we left it, then the Kyln, six hours after us. Then we stopped for gas, and the security log of the Collectors base shows she was a Knowhere before us, and we just missed her… He's right: she's trying to work out what her other self did, just by by re-tracing Quill's steps, not her own, she was never on Morag, so she must be re-tracing Quill steps. He was right: we were just a few hours out of sync."

They all paused to consider this, and Rocket ran a paw though his head fur, and sighed.

"Okay, time to be the not-captain. You.. you all make yourself scarce. I need to talk to Peter about this, okay?"

Nebula and Thor nodded, and walked away. Groot was too busy on his game to notice, so Rocket ignored him, walked over, and knocked on Quills door.

"Hey, Captain, you got a moment?" he asked.

Quill glared. "No, I don't because you and Nebula messed up my room! You put in a weapons rack where my speaker set used to be, that weird washing thing in the corner by the can, and re-painted it, and why the fuck are all my clothes in air right baggies? Not even my clean clothes, dirty laundry from five years ago is all sealed up! Why? What the fuck man? Why am I re-opening all my old shirts and finding they're still sweaty for five years ago? It's rank! And on the subject of my clothes, why the fuck are you wearing my old scarf! Give it back man, come on, why you wearing that?"

Rocket touched the scarf, looking shocked, and stared past Quill for a moment.

"I… I had started to forget what you looked like."

Quill paused. "What!?"

"I… sight isn't my main sense, scent is. When you were gone, within about a year, I started to forget your face. I… it's happened to me before, and pictures and things don't help… but scents do. I… I bagged up all your stuff about a week after Nebula got back with Stark and the ship. Airtight, so it'd still smell of you. Drax's sheets, Gamora and Mantis's clothes too, Groot's leaves…. I bagged them all up, so when I started to forget, I could open a bag, take a deep breath, and see you all again. I… I left with Thor for Niðavellir without even saying goodbye to you guys… and… and you all died. I I just needed something to remember you by". Said Rocket, thumbing at Quill's scarf, before shrugging it off, and handing it back to Quill, putting it on the bedside table, before he turned to go.

"I… you were right by the way, Quill, Gamora is re-tracing her steps, we just missed her by a little, she's heading for The Sovereign next. Thought you should know." said Rocket, turning to leave.

"Rocket!" yelled Quill, The Racoon paused on the doorway, and turned.

Quill looked to him, biting a lip, clearly upset, scarf on his lap in both hands. He then patted the bedside table, and Rocket moved over to it and climbed up and stood, so he'd be the same height as Quill.

Rocket had no sooner stood up, than Quill hugged him, briefly, and pulled back crying.

"I'm sorry, man, I'm so sorry I was such an ass, oh boy, I'm sorry it's juts just… Oh man, I feel so lost."

Quill snorted, tears in eyes.

"It's just…. I lost five years of life, Rocket, man. Five years. Five years of baseball and TV."

"There was no Baseball."


"There was no Baseball, idiot. In the post snap work no one had time for that shit, plus half of the talent was dusted. In many ways Five years without that shit was the one good thing Thanos did for the galaxy, in my opinion."

Quill stared, angry.

"See, there it is again!"


"It. You. The… the fact that I don't know this shit. I missed out of five years of life between being snapped and being un-snapped. Five fucking years. And now you're friends with that Thor d-bag and have been for years, you have in-jokes with that fat fuck, and as far as I remember you only met him three days ago. You and Nebula are tight AF suddenly, you've spent half a decade adventuring together without me, you re-painted the Benitar, modified by ship and put that weird sock washing thing in my old room."

"Quill, That's a bidet. Please stop doing your laundry in it…"

"You've... you and Nebula and Thor just took my life and ran with it to some strange place I don't know, it's like… it's like I don't even know you anymore man. And the worst part, the worst part is that form my point of view it's been just hours since Gamora died, and now she's back, and she doesn't even know me. We… we had years together, and now it's all gone man. Our time together, all the slow building up of a relationship, all those great little moments on me and her shared… gone, man. Just gone. It's like she's still dead, but I have to see her walking around like some ghost. Hell, we lost everything, even the foundational moment of our relationship: the dance off with Ronan, the power stone, the prison break from the Kyln… she doesn't even remember the first time we met, Rocket. Like Thanos hit the rest button on my life and… and… I lost her." Said Quill, a single tear rolling down his face. "I lost her man."

Rocket stared deep into Quill's eyes, his expression unreadable, and then opened both arms and gestured to Quill.

"Come here, buddy. I got something for you."

Quill sighed, gratefully, nodded, and went in for the hug.

Rocket slapped him. Hard.

"Five years I mourned you, Quill. Five fucking years. Five years and we all mourned, all of us. Everyone who was left behind. Me. Thor, Nebula, all of them. For five years, it was a galaxy half empty, a bleak and harrowing universe awash with that damn dust. You think me and Nebula were off on some inter-planetary road trip? Me and her off in the cool spaceship blaring out your tunes? It sucked. Every second of it. Everywhere we turned up, half of the people were dead and the rest were depressed. So yeah, me and her developed some in jokes, because it was that or take a spacewalk with no suit. Hell, for the first year me and her, on this ship? We cried every day, sneaking around this big half empty ship so we won't see each other weeping. You lost five years? We lost you. We lost everyone. Nebula lost Gamora too, Thor lost his entire family and had the guilt of failing to stop the snap… I saw Groot die in my arms, pleading. His last words to me were "Dad?" Just dad. Do you have away idea how long five years feels like when you have no-one left? It was a cold, lonely time with way too many terrifying close calls and far too much time to think between them.

"And yeah, I can see how it would suck to loose someone you love and get back a younger version who doesn't react to you the same way the old one unconditionally loved and protected you… sure I don't know what that feels like!" barked Rocket, pointing to teen Groot. "So glad no one else on this ship has had to see someone they love die, only to get a version who behaves very differently back!"

Quill froze up. "Rocket, I…"

Rocket slapped him again. Wincing and rubbing at his stinging paw.

"You died! You died on me, Quill! You left! I spent my entire frickin' life afraid to open up to anyone, hurting the people I loved, driving them away, giving them every reason to dive me out, because I was afraid that if I opened up to them, they'd leave me like everyone had before! And… and after Yondu…" Rocket snorted, tears rolling own his snout. " After Yondu… I was so scared to open up to you at his funeral, I thought, well, this is it…. This is the bit where they kick me out… and you didn't: you let me stay, you let me in… you…. You made it okay for me to feel. You were a family. And then you died. You all died on me. You left me, like everyone always does. Did you have any idea how much that hurt? How much it cost me to just keep on, keep going for those five years? You think without Nebula or Thor, I'd have even made it this long? You came back, you ungrateful fuck. Of all the people who ever died, of everyone I've ever cared about who I lost over the years, you guys got to come back. Fucking enjoy it, because it's never happened before, and will never happen again, you shmuck. You get another chance, you bum. You, of all people, get to start over. Do you have any idea how much I would give for that? To start over again with someone I love? Gamora is out there, somewhere. Your Gamora, as she was hours before you met her for the first time on Xandar." He said, pointing out the window.

"She's waiting for you. And yeah, she won't remember all the stuff she shared with you, and she won't recall falling in love with you, and to be honest, while you're not as bad as Thor you have kind of let yourself go physically a bit, but she's still the same person, so that means you get a chance to do it all again. To fall in love again, and every mistake, every fight, every moment in that relationship that you regret, you get the chance to do it differently this time. You get a do-over, man. People fought and died to get you this second chance. The one and only time the universe has given a dead guy a mulligan. Don't waste it, Quill. Don't end up a sad old waste of fur like me, bitter and twisted. You say you love her? Go get her, man. Earn it."

The two of them stared for a long time. Peter Jason "Starlord" Quill whipped away a tear, and nodded to Rocket. Rocket glared, and then nodded back, snorting back tears

"So, You want that hug now?" Asked Rocket. "Yanno, seein' as you're back form the dead an' all, I figure I owe you one. Just promise you won't get my fur all mussed up with tears or try and cop a feel, and we're good."

Turns out, yes. He did want that hug.

After about ninety seconds of awkward brotherly man-hug Quill pulled his face out of Rockets shoulder fur to catch a breath, and then asked "So…. How old are you exactly? In Terran years."

"No idea, but I've been sentient for at least sixteen years. That's like, 300 in Racoon years, I think."

"Woah? Bummer. So that makes it, what? A century since you last had sex and like nine months between showers?"

"Okay, you just lost your hug privileges, you little punk. Groot, wedgeie this moron into the next millennia, and then let's set a course." Said Rocket, climbing the steps to the cockpit " We're going to find Gamora."

Awesome Mix vol 1 plays: Redbone, come and get your love.