Title: Jar of Hearts
Characters: Gamora & Rocket Raccoon (implied Starmora)
Word Count: 750
Summary: Because he wasn't the only one who was forced to become one-of-a-kind.
Who do you think you are?/ Running 'round leaving scars/ Collecting your jar of hearts/ And tearing love apart
It’s tricky finding enough work for their motley crew on the legal(ish) side of things at first: they’re all much more familiar with locating opportunities in murkier waters and working independently.
But Nova Corps starts referring transport/security jobs and they focus on treasure hunts when trawling bounty boards- hazardous retrieval is a cakewalk when they all pitch in knowledge and skills. There’s enough challenge to keep life interesting and they make a decent amount of units.
But risk and reward are closely correlated. And it’s hard to ignore the extra units on outlaw scores- especially if getting caught looks really unlikely.
It’s a particular shock the first time Peter sneaks a look at Gamora’s screen while she’s checking her inbox. “Holy crap- is that a normal commission for an assassination? We could totally refit the Milano with that!”
Rocket immediately pokes his head over her arm and curses. “You’re just deleting it? Some of us would appreciate better soundproofing on this tin can, you know!”
“Don’t be so easily fooled- this could be bounty hunter bait. And I’ve shed enough blood in another’s name,” she states tightly.
Drax gives a satisfied nod, Peter squeezes her shoulder, and Groot tilts his head sympathetically.
Rocket throws his arms up in the air, utterly disgusted.
“Oh, like one more little murder is going to have cosmic consequences! Think about how many lives you can improve, save even, with a payout like that! Starting with ours.”
Their friends all speak at once:
“I am Groot!”
“The lady has decided.”
He glares around the room. “I’m just sayin’ I don’t mind pulling the trigger if she’s having some inexplicable crisis of conscience.”
“Alright, alright! Geez. Save one stupid planet and you’re all a bunch of saints,” he grumbles.
She’s on watch that night when Rocket emerges from his bunk, scratching at his ears and yawning as he plops down in front of the Comm unit.
She gives him a curious look over her tablet. “Sacrificing rest for a call?”
Rocket shrugs. “She’s planetside- makes for calls at odd hours.”
They both lapse into silence as he leans back in the chair, but his whiskers twitch uneasily when he notices the look on her face.
She inhales, blinking. Perhaps Udonta was correct to label her sentimental. “No, this is data on the Zen Whoberi- my people. Peter says he acquired it to see how… compatible… we’d be.” She rolls her eyes and shakes her head, although she can’t help smiling a little. “…There were also creative works in the directory. I couldn’t recognize most of them... but this is a children’s story.”
Rocket sits up, frowning. “That’s when you were taken?”
She inclines her head, studiously detached now. “Before Thanos destroyed my homeworld and people. He’s obsessed with Death, and I was made to represent both Extinction and Murder with my mortal flesh. The young are easier to control and train, but frail- I was the first to survive his…handiwork. And he was so pleased that he made more of us- I can understand well why my sisters despise me.”
He’s completely awake now, fur standing on end. “You make it sound like you were some art project.”
Gamora arches a brow. “The powerless are merely objects to the powerful. Were you not created in a similar way?”
His shoulders twitch. “Nah, I was made to do menial labor that required creativity and intelligence in cramped and/or dangerous environments. Non-native species don’t have rights or representation even if you make them sentient, so.” He shrugs bitterly. “I’m sure they regretted making us intelligent enough to blast our way to freedom.”
The Comm beeps and flashes a picture of a sleekly furred mammal, and Gamora immediately climbs the stairs to the cockpit to give him privacy for the call.
They never bring up their conversation again. But the next time they’re trawling the bounty boards Rocket scrolls past the murder-for-hires despite the tempting commissions. Groot makes a puzzled sound.
“We’re more than what we were made for,” he growls in reply.
Cheers if you know who is calling Rocket. ;) And this doesn't mesh with the deleted Gamora/Nebula scene exactly, but I think she was either exaggerating the similarities between them to try to evoke some empathy and/or it obviously conflicted with what she told Peter, hence the cut.