Carol and Gamora’s surprisingly non-lethal meet cute. It’s the start of a beautiful and chaotic friendship (and a little bit more.)
“That doesn’t mean I always kill people. I have other hobbies.”
“So killing people is a hobby?” Carol asked, unimpressed.
“No. Killing people is my job. My hobbies include weaving and writing poetry.”
This is a prequel to my story Snap Back to the Past, but it can stand alone! I was not really sure how to fit it into the main fic, so here we are. I might add on more bits and pieces about their pre-time travel relationship but am marking it as complete for now because I’m trying to focus on the main fic.
Author’s note: I realized when I was doing research for this that according to some sources Gamora is supposed to be 25 in GotG in 2014 so was born in like 1990 where Carol was born 1964-1965 lmao so I somehow accidentally created a 25 year age gap 💀 I feel like this isn’t my fault because Zoe Saldaña and Brie Larson definitely look the same age to me and Brie is actually younger than Zoe lol. But anyway, in this fic please assume that Gamora was born during what on Earth was 1978 (the same year as Zoe) and so they have like a 13 year age difference. Though I will say that this iteration of Carol does not have all of her Earth memories restored and so only has memories of life experience starting in 1989. Basically I think it all comes out in the wash and I’m calling it that they are functionally peers and I don’t have the energy to keep thinking about it.
Meet Cute (let’s agree to disagree on who started the fight)
Despite the fact that it had been four years since she was last on Earth, ten years since the accident that cost her the majority of her memories, Carol had little desire to return to the planet of her birth.
Well, that was not precisely true. She had desire, but she also had an immense fear. She still lacked the majority of memories about her life. Carol had hoped that with time the knowledge would come back to her, but alas she had almost nothing. Was she curious? Absolutely. How could she not be? Yet she also knew that despite her burning curiosity there were some things that she was afraid to know. Her identity had been remade over the course of the time she spent as Vers. While she had done her best to reject the life that she had been reborn into as part of the Kree, those memories were in many ways much more formative than the ones she had of her life on Earth.
So Carol stayed away, despite the love that she knew Maria and Monica had for her. Their love was not for her, it was for another woman who she could not remember being. Looking into their eyes and knowing that they saw someone she no longer was… she could not bear it.
Instead, Carol stayed with the Skrulls, and did her best to find them a new home world, where they could be free of the Kree. Eventually they found a planet, found a home, and Carol found herself at a loss. She could go back to Earth, could try to remake her life there. Yet she could not bring herself to do so. For better or for worse the greater expanse of space was her home now more than Earth had ever been, at least as much as she could remember.
Ultimately she pushed those lack of memories aside, and instead decided to make a home for herself among the stars. And if she did her best to undermine the Kree Empire along the way… well Carol had never been one to hold in her temper and the ability to fly in open space and destroy ships with just her fists was very useful.
Gamora was known as the deadliest woman in the galaxy for a reason. She had not lost a fight since she was a child being trained by Thanos and his Black Order, and she did not intend to lose any in the future. She had never failed on a mission, and she did not ever intend to.
Yet here she was, despite her best efforts, losing a fight. She eyed her opponent bitterly, and considered the path that had led her here.
Thanos had allied with Ronan and the Kree, opposing the Nova in their war. She and Nebula had been training since they were small, but Thanos believed that there was always room for improvement. Gamora would not say that she was friends with Korath, the Kree who had recently defected from the Starforce to join Ronan’s accusers. Yet he was a good training partner, and she would in all likelihood have negative emotions were he to be killed. Since being taken by Thanos she knew better than to get attached, especially after seeing how her so-called father did his best to drive a wedge between Gamora and Nebula.
That said, she enjoyed spending time with Korath. He was incredibly closed off, never one to openly engage with humor, and a fierce warrior. In sum, he was an incredibly kindred spirit. Neither she nor Korath were the type of person to be vulnerable with one another. Yet he was the type of person that when they had their infrequent time off, she and Nebula would invite to share a drink.
“Why did you leave the Starforce?” Nebula asked curiously. They had been drinking for a while now, though all of them knew better than to let their senses get too dulled.
“The Starforce is nothing like it once was. Soon, the Starforce will be nothing. Surely you have heard of her?” Korath looked at them impassively.
“Heard of who?” Gamora asked with a raised eyebrow.
“The woman they call Captain Marvel. Savior of the Skrulls. The reason why the Kree have focused all of their attention on the Nova. She is a menace. An individual enhanced far beyond any of us.” Korath spat. Gamora nodded thoughtfully. She had heard whispers of a woman who could tear apart ships with her bare hands.
“I have heard of her. She is someone that father had spoken of bringing to our side.” Nebula nodded.
Korath let out a noise that Gamora belatedly realized was a laugh. “As though Vers would do such a thing. She despises Ronan, and our lord Thanos is not someone that she would ally herself with either.”
“You know her personally,” Gamora leaned forward.
“Yes. We were under the same command for a time. Her name is Vers, and she is Terran.” Korath confirmed.
“She is a Terran?” Nebula asked incredulously. “Someone from that backwater planet has such power?”
“Yes. And she knows how to use it. I knew Vers for years, and I doubt she will do anything but destroy us should we approach her. So my advice? We best avoid her to the full extent that we can.”
Gamora had found in her life that despite her best efforts, events often went contrary to her hopes, even when she had plenty of warnings and opportunities to avoid situations. Only a few days after her and Nebula’s conversation about Captain Marvel, Gamora was sent on a solo mission. For some time, Thanos had been tasking her and Nebula with attempting to discover the locations of various Infinity Stones. In this instance, he was hoping that she would be able to retrieve the space stone, which was last seen on Terra, with the woman that was throughout the Galaxy known as Captain Marvel, and who Korath had revealed to her was called Vers.
This was to be a solo mission because it was not an attempt to take down Vers, but to gain reconnaissance information about the woman’s patterns. She had been sighted on a nearby planetoid, and Gamora’s mission was to observe and report back, but not to engage.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry, however, which was why Gamora was currently fighting for her life. Vers had caught on to the fact that she had a tail turned the tables, leading Gamora into a trap in a deserted alley, where she attacked Gamora herself and quite nearly took her by surprise.
Gamora had never lost a fight to a true opponent before, only rarely in sparring matches and during her training. It occurred to her that this would be her moment of death. She found it oddly… calming. She would see her true father, and her mother again. With her death the Zenwhoberi would be truly gone.
It would be a lie to say that something in Gamora broke, because she was someone who told herself she would never break. Still, as she made eye contact with the woman she knew would be her death, she felt nothing except emptiness, which was nothing at all.
Suddenly all the fight left the other woman’s eyes as well, and she stood from where she previously had Gamora pinned to the ground, the fire in her fists dimming.
“Tell Ronan not to send anyone to follow me again, or I will not be quite so kind.”
“You’re not going to kill me?” Gamora asked in disbelief.
“Killing people is more your style than mine.” With that the woman walked away, and Gamora was shocked to see that she actually turned her back on her. She had beaten Gamora within an inch of her life… and then made the choice not to kill her. It made no sense.
Worse than the physical pain—which was negligible, her advanced healing factor would have her back on her feet in minutes—was the sense of burning failure. How would she be able to report this to Ronan, to Thanos? She was the deadliest woman in the galaxy and yet this impossible stranger had spared her life.
Once she had healed enough to pull herself into a standing position Gamora began to head her way back to the pickup point. Embarrassment, anger, and curiosity all burned through her at once. She dreaded bringing any of this up with Ronan and Thanos. And yet more than anything… she wanted to see Vers again.
When Carol noticed that she was being tailed through the market, she let out a disgruntled sigh. Not another assassin. It had been six years since she had abandoned the Kree and begun to work against them. When would they realize that sending these people after her would not continue to work?
Worse was when she realized exactly who was following her. While the other woman was dressed for the environment and wearing what Carol could tell was a perception haze, she still saw her. Still saw that Ronan had apparently sent one of the children of Thanos, known as the most dangerous woman in the galaxy, after her.
Well, a fight near so many civilians would not do. Carol led the woman away from the crowd before deciding to make the first move herself. There was no need to wait for someone to attempt to kill her. Best to get things over with.
The woman packed a punch—Carol knew she had to be enhanced somehow; the Zenwhoberi were certainly strong, but this was next level. Though she had not fought a Zenwhoberi before, so she truly would not know.
Suddenly Carol felt nothing but sadness, as she realized that the woman was the last of her people, who had been killed by the man she now called father. Carol knew that the children of Thanos were not biologically his, but ones he had taken from worlds he himself destroyed. True, she had seemingly embraced him, but had Vers not embraced the Starforce before she rediscovered Carol?
She realized with startling clarity that she would not be able to kill Gamora. Carol could barely recall what she said to the other woman as she hastily exited the alley. How many more people was she condemning to death by letting Gamora live? The guilt crushed her, but Carol pushed it away. Perhaps it was a weakness, that she could not bring herself to kill even an enemy. But it would not be the first time.
“It would have been kinder of you to kill me.”
Carol looked up from her drink. The bar was nearly deserted, which given that they were in a sparsely populated village was not that odd. What was odd was the person who was addressing heer.
“Well fancy seeing you here. It’s certainly brave of you to show your face while at the heart of the Nova Empire.” Carol drawled.
“Could I not say the same of you? You were a member of the Starforce, and then proceeded to fight on the side of the Skrulls. Don’t tell me that you’ve switched sides again?” Gamora asked with a smirk.
Carol sighed. “This war has been going on for nearly a millennium. I just want it to be over.” She was not in the mood to deal with an assassin. “Will you at least let me finish my drink and have us go somewhere else before you attempt to kill me?”
Gamora snorted and turned away from Carol, ordering her own drink. Once she had it in hand she turned toward Carol again. “I’m not here to kill you.” After seeing Carol’s disbelieving expression she amended “Yet. Right now I just want to talk.”
“To talk,” Carol replied dubiously.
“Yes. To talk. I wanted to let you know it would have been kinder to kill me.” Gamora took a sip of her drink and Carol shook her head incredulously.
“You are unbelievable. You’re upset with me because I didn’t kill you?”
“Well I wouldn’t say that.” Gamora paused for another sip. “I just mean that if you wanted to show me mercy, you would have killed me. I was punished for days after my failure, and then subjected to additional, rather painful, enhancements.” Gamora’s face was impassive in contrast to Carol’s horrified stare.
“Well, that sucks. But I still hope you don’t expect me to apologize for not killing you.”
“No, I expect you to apologize for attacking me.”
Gamora’s prim reply set Carol aback.
“Well you were the one to throw the first punch. I admit that I was following you around, but you are the one who made it a fight.” Gamora took another unconcerned sip and Carol leaned back, reeling as she considered the implications.
“But you did. My orders were to follow you. Strictly recon. You could have given me the slip at some point and I never would have touched you. But then you punched me in the face and how was I supposed to not react to that?” Gamora’s tone was nonchalant but her eyes were sharp.
“How was I supposed to know that? You’re known—”
“As the deadliest woman in the galaxy, I know.” Gamora drawled, and Carol was shocked to see her roll her eyes. “That doesn’t mean I always kill people. I have other hobbies.”
“So killing people is a hobby?” Carol asked, unimpressed.
“No. Killing people is my job. My hobbies include weaving and writing poetry.” Gamora replied sarcastically and Carol laughed, despite herself.
“Really?” Carol knew she should not be laughing, should not be entertaining this conversation at all. And yet something about the other woman was compelling. And the truth was that she did feel increased guilt at the idea that she had started an unnecessary fight that led to another person being hurt.
“No,” Gamora replied with a laugh of her own. “I hate weaving, and poetry gives me a headache because translation is a nightmare when universal translators are in the mix. But I do like to read.”
“Oh? What’s your favorite book?”
Gamora had no idea what she was doing. She had her first bout of freedom since her disastrous fight with Vers, and now the first thing she did was to seek the woman out again? Knowing it could lead to another fight, and more punishment?
Yet the woman was surprisingly easy to talk to. They shared a love of Kree literature, which surprised Gamora considering that from what she knew Vers loathed the Kree. Yet the woman confessed that she actually did love Kree poetry. The secret to enjoying poetry was apparently turning off one’s translator and enjoying the poetry in its raw form.
The woman also explained to her that her name was actually not Vers, but Carol. The Kree had apparently renamed her when she was stolen by them. Gamora felt a strange sort of kinship with the woman, also taken from her home by people who used her for her abilities.
They stayed at the bar until it closed, and it was with awkwardness that they stood outside the establishment, realizing that neither of them wanted to end the conversation, yet could not trust one another to travel to a secondary location of the other’s choosing. Instead, they seemed to make the mutual decision to walk to the nearby waterfront. Gamora supposed that, being able to fly, the other woman had little to fear if Gamora decided to push her over the cliff.
While she herself could not fly unaided, she did have boots that doubled as secret propulsors on them, so she would probably be fine. Though Carol had already proven that she did not seem to hold any malice toward Gamora. It was odd, when she knew that the other woman had principles that seemed to run so contrary. They were on opposite sides of a war after all.
After a time the conversation died and they simply sat on the cliffs, staring at the dark water lit by the starry sky.
“Let me see your communicator.” Gamora asked impulsively.
“And why should I do that?” Carol asked, bemused.
“Because I am going to link ours to create a private channel.”
Gamora’s tone was matter-of-fact and its directness gave Carol pause.
“Why?” Carol’s tone was cautious, but also curious.
Gamora, who hardly understood for herself why, suddenly felt awkward. Everything about talking to Carol that night had been so easy, but she was now feeling herself struggle again. Since she had been taken by Thanos the need to never show any kind of emotion, positive or negative, had been paramount. She did not form attachments. Yet Carol made her want to discard all of that.
“Because I enjoy talking to you, and I would like to do so again in future, and preferably arrange to do so in a way that we won’t be recognized. Not everywhere we might meet one another is going to be a bar that is devoid of other patrons with a bartender who I can threaten into silence.” Gamora shrugged.
“You didn’t!” Carol gasped.
“Would you have preferred that I actually slaughter him and his whole family?” Gamora asked, her voice serious but with a hint of mischief. “All I did was offer him a large tip and explain that if anyone knew I was there that he would just as likely be killed for giving the information and that if he wasn’t I would burn him alive in his bar.”
“What? No! I mean, yes, I mean no! I mean how could you have said all that without me noticing?” Carol sputtered.
Gamora shrugged and smiled again. “Alek is on my payroll. He knows better than to betray me.”
Carol stilled for a moment before giving a snort of laughter. “You’re insane. But for some reason I like you, so let’s set up that channel.”
It was the start of a beautifully chaotic friendship (and maybe something a little bit more).
If you liked this go read Snap Back to the Past AKA the Infinity Stones Adopt Tony Stark! It’s got more Carol/Gamora. I’ve also written the oneshot Attracted by Danger, Kept by Athenaeum (Buy me a drink and I’ll show you my library) which has a slightly different interpretation of what a potential meet cute for them could have looked like.