Nebula leaves gifts for Gamora to find.
The first is a bomb, the big, impressive kind of bomb that Nebula tends to favour, slick polished metal, beautiful in the way that Nebula is beautiful. It is sitting obtrusively in the prison cell with the Selenian diplomat that she and Quill and the others are trying to rescue, wired so that they will have to disarm it in order to free hir.
“What the fuck,” Rocket says, delving into the machinery. “I don’t even know what this is.”
Gamora glances down, but only for a moment; she’s charged herself with keeping watch over Rocket while he works, and it’s a responsibility she takes seriously. She’s never known anyone except Nebula who built explosives like this, and if Nebula is trying to kill them, there may yet be more to her plan.
“Don’t touch it,” she hisses, right before Rocket’s wicked little claw comes in contact with the glass. He freezes, listening to instructions for once. “It’s vibration-sensitive, it’ll set the whole bomb off.”
“Your sister’s a real prize, you know that?”
“I do,” Gamora says. It’s not an untrue statement, in its way.
As anyone who’s been in my vicinity since the Guardians of the Galaxy movie premiered knows, I think it could have been so much better than it was. One of my biggest peeves about the movie was that it totally wasted the massive potential present in Gamora and Nebula. They had so much going for them—codependent rivals, adopted sisters and daughters of a dog-eat-dog father, cybernetically enhanced child soldiers all grown up—and yet none of that was really developed on-screen.
Thankfully, there is such a thing as fanfiction. And while A Sure Thing is not the novel-length movie prequel about Gamora and Nebula growing up together in Thanos’s court that’s at the top of my Christmas list, it’s still totally awesome in its own right.
A Sure Thing picks up after the movie ends, as the newly minted Guardians head off to do random hero-ing out in the galaxy. They quickly discover that Nebula is basically stalking Gamora, and by proxy the rest of the Guardians, leaving little presents like the bomb in the above quote for them to deal with. As the ‘gifts’ lead them closer to Nebula, Gamora reflects on the role her sister has played in her life so far.
This isn’t a long fic, but in its 2k words it gives Gamora and Nebula emotions and backstories with nuance and care in a way the movie didn’t manage in two and a half hours. Also, I really love reading the “I’m still a villain so I’m going to continue to harass you, but I’m also your rival so I don’t want to see you die (and also you’re hot)” trope when it deigns to rear its sexually-repressed head.
I will warn that this fic does contain a brief romantic/sexual (and therefore incestuous, for a given value thereof) scene between Nebula and Gamora. It’s not something I’m bothered by—I’ll take my Gamora/Nebula as platonic or romantic as authors care to make it, but if that’s not your thing, you might want to pass on this story.
I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I’ve already recommended one fic by this author—a Tamika Flynn-centric Welcome to Night Vale story, and I’m happy to suggest you check out this one as well. You can read A Sure Thing here at the AO3.