I was thinking about how the metal around Nebula’s eye reminded me of Seven of Nine’s implants and I wondered how the two characters would get along and then things just kind of spiraled from there.
The first time she meets the woman known as Seven, Nebula tries to kill her.
Tries, but does not succeed, which is enough of an aberration to move her from blind rage to something that would resemble curiosity on anyone else.
Nebula is known and feared throughout the galaxy. Thanos’ experiments have left her uniquely recognizable and so when she spots a woman with metal implants curving around her eye, so similar to her own, Nebula assumes it is to mock her.
No one foolish enough to mock her lives for long.
But the woman does not cast any “witty” remarks as they fight. She doesn’t even appear to recognize Nebula. She does not fight like a fool.
Nebula worries for a moment that the woman may be a new Daughter of Thanos. But no, Nebula would have known if Thanos had been training another Sister. Besides, she and her siblings all fight the same. Thanos’ taught all of them, and his work is evident in every brutal move they make. Even Sainted Gamora, for all she denounces Thanos as her father, for all she embraces helping and sentiment, cannot escape the mark of her status as a Daughter of Thanos that is embedded in her every step.
The woman is brutally efficient, but her style is foreign. She is stronger and faster than a normal humanoid and her implants are clearly not just for show, but she is no Daughter of Thanos.
She is… interesting.
Nebula and Seven of Nine have been traveling together for three days when Seven goes to regenerate in what she calls a Borg Alcove. Like Nebula, Seven’s altered physiology allows her to go longer than most humanoids without resting. Unlike Nebula, however, she cannot simply sleep and requires the use of technology to recover.
It is a weakness, this dependence to a bulky alcove, and Nebula has no time or pity for weaknesses. Seven may be smart and strong but separated from her ship and she will wear down. Nebula will carry no one.
She could kill her now, Nebula muses as she stands before the unconscious woman sharpening a knife taken from a Ravager the day before. She could slit Seven’s throat where she stands. Seven has not twitched since Nebula came to stand before her. In her regenerative state, she displays no awareness of Nebula’s presence or the knife in her hands. Nebula has murdered people for less.
But Seven has been useful and she is far less prone to the banalities of most people in the galaxy. She can keep up with Nebula physically and doesn’t try to control her or nag her with pointless sentiment. Nebula does not need anyone, but it may be pragmatic to keep second pair of hands around for the time being.
She leaves the storage deck with one last glance at the humming alcove. She will allow the woman called Seven to live for now.
Nebula and Seven of Nine have been traveling together for a year when Nebula makes a choice that changes everything. There are bodies all around them and her leg is broken, but it will reset itself in a moment and Nebula’s blood sings with vicious satisfaction. She looks up to see Seven striding towards her. Someone’s blood is streaked across Seven’s neck, but her expression is as implacable as ever. It is a glorious sight.
Nebula has never spent so much time with another being without trying to kill them.
As her bones pop into place and her skin begins to mend she thinks about the first time she fell asleep near Seven, the sensation of falling asleep near another living, breathing being with no doubt that Seven would not attack her. She thinks about the stories Seven had told, of being taken as a child into a collective: of losing all sense of self to the chorus of a hive and it’s search for perfection. She thinks about the family of travelers that had guided Seven back towards individuality. She thinks of trust and of a green skinned girl who had held her when she was scared and sung her to sleep. She thinks of that same girl’s hands wrapped around her neck as their Father looked on. She thinks of Seven’s well hidden terror of being truly alone, of her story of a collective of four, of the deadly beauty of Seven in battle and the reassurance of always having someone whispering in your mind. She thinks of her own ever burning rage and of Seven’s cool efficiency.
Nebula thinks of these things and looks at Seven, beautiful, golden and tall and she makes a choice that changes everything.
"Seven." Nebula says, "of Two"
She is treated to a rare sight as first Seven’s eyes widen and then she smiles, more genuine than Nebula had ever seen before. As Seven kneels in front of her, face once again stoic, wires snaking towards Nebula’s exposed ports, Nebula grins.
Many thanks to batsonthebrain, thecoolcheryl, and notababoonbrandishingastick for looking over the writing.