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"No! I'll do it, stop hurting him!" Sam dragged herself from the bed and grasped the cap. "I'm stronger than I look, Hari. C'mon, let's get this over with." She handed him the other cap, studying her own. Made of gold mesh, it was embedded with crystals and extruding from each crystal were thin silver optic fibers.
"On the bed," the starlord demanded.
Sam eyed the cot. "You call this a bed?"
"You want a proper one, then earn it!"
Gevrin-iik Sam thought.
The starlord laughed, almost human except for the snake-like hissing. "Gevrin-iik. You think I am a bastard? Technically, all starlords are, human-mine. We recognize no father. But ... how clever of you! To divert me so. Divert me in another way, and I may not punish your cat-boy."
Casting the creature her most vicious look, Sam tugged on the cap and settled on the cot, her gaze never leaving the monster. It shook its head, making the fiber optics writhe. For a moment Sam thought the starlord resembled a Gorgon, the snake-haired woman of Greek mythology. The creature was ugly enough to turn anyone to stone.
A low thrum tingled over her skin, emanating from her cap.
"Hari," she whispered, holding out her hand.
"Samantha, you do not have--"
"Yes, we do." She signaled. Trust me.
Hari edged onto the cot, avoiding contact with her. "Sam..."
She touched his wrist. "Am I so repulsive?"
"Honey-kitten, I have wanted to love you, but not this way, sweetheart. Not without John."