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Call It What You Want

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Jemma pinned the bridge of her nose, huffing in annoyance as she tried to ignore the cacophony of voices that were behind her back. It was hard to focus in a situation like this, when the five of them were trapped in a shabby building that once was a barn.

 

Of course, it wouldn’t happen if someone didn’t mess up with the path which lead to a more or less secure house. At least they would have been safe in the mansion rather in a goddamn trap perfectly made for young people like them.

 

Jemma was actually the mastermind, along her boyfriend Leo Fitz who happen to be an outstanding scout. The whole group was actually pretty lucky to have them; otherwise they wouldn’t have come this far and got murdered right after they arrived at the old mansion to spend a great night.

 

An impromptu class reunion turned into a not very nice and unexpected survival game. Apparently, the local psychopath was waiting right for these people to punish them for disturbing his peace. Jemma took a deep breath just thinking that this night can end not so well.

 

Apart from other voices, there was specifically one – the most annoying one. Jemma rolled her eyes at Ophelia’s – also known as the great beauty of their high school – when the girl apologized for the millionth time.

 

Ophelia and Jemma did not get on well, considering that Ophelia had always wanted to get Fitz’s attention but he chose Simmons.

 

“Look, I-I-I… I didn’t know! It was the shortest way and I didn’t know!” Ophelia whined and Jemma turned around, glaring at the other woman. “Jemma, I swear, if there was another way, then maybe…”

 

“Your whining does not help at all,” Jemma gritted through her teeth. “Can you just shut up for a second to let us think and decide how are we going to get out of here!?”

 

The taller girl pouted and glanced at Fitz who stood close to his girlfriend, as if trying to find any support. He seemed to pay no attention to her and it hurt Ophelia a bit, even though she tried not to think about it as much. Exhaling, Ophelia stepped closer to Jemma and folded her hands on her stomach.

 

“Jemma, I don’t want to get into this right now, but please try to understand…”

 

“Understand the palm of my hand, bitch.”

 

Jemma whirled around, her movement followed by a ringing slap and everyone gasping. Jemma, whoever, did not seem to be so ashamed. Ophelia, as it seemed, recovered quickly and her face turning red with anger. She walked away furiously to the other side of the barn, muttering something under her breath. Probably cursing her high school nemesis.

 

“Finally,” Jemma exhaled and turned to the table where the map was pinned. “Sometimes you gotta fix the queen’s crown, don’t you?”

Chapter Text

Jemma felt her hands shaking, the taste of blood on her lips and the image of a burning house buried deep in her memory. She won’t be able to forget it. She won’t be able to unsee what she had to witness and do in order to survive.

 

She takes a deep breath and looks up, studying the face of the police offer who seem to be irritated by her silence but doesn’t push anyway. Jemma shivers despite the fact that her shoulders are covered with the duvet all of them were provided when the police found them. She remembers the question she was asked a few minutes ago and bites her bottom lip to stop it from shaking.

 

“I thought we were close,” she says and the police officer nods his head. Jemma smiles sadly. “We… were dating, you know? And all this time, he was… he didn’t tell me anything.”

 

“Do you have any idea why?”

 

Jemma conjectures but doesn’t want to say this outloud despite the fact that she should probably has to. For the record.

 

“If you need someone to talk to…”

 

“I’m fine,” Jemma snaps and closes her eyes. She’d rather not.

 

“Sometimes,” the police officer continues, “after traumatic experience…”

 

“I said I’m fine!” Jemma raises her voice slightly and clenches her fists. She knows damn well that it was traumatic, she just needs to be alone. However, the concept of being alone now is almost too scary to accept. Being alone means fear, voices inside your head and nonstop images flashing in your head as if the reminder that she better not to there again.

 

But they wouldn’t understand the horrors the group had to face, until…

 

“You need to listen to me,” Jemma says in a hushed tone and the police officer looks up. Jemma moves a little bit closer to the camera. “I don’t care if you believe me or not. Because you will. You need to go down to the mines.”

 

“What’s in the mines, Jemma?”

 

Jemma can’t help but smile, but it’s more like a wolfish scowl and she sees the man in front of her suppress a shudder. She stares right into the camera, tilting her head.

 

“I’ve seen what’s down there,” her lips tremble and she tries to control herself, to remind that she’s safe and alive and the only thing that matters now is her boyfriend who had been put into a psychiatric ward. The memory causes more pain which is almost unbearable and before she passes out, she manages to finish what she meant to say. “And I’d give anything to unsee it.”

Chapter Text

Fitz groaned in frustration, his hand shaking violently as he tried to focus on holding the brush and not paying too much attention that no matter what he tried to do, he already fucked up. The idea of uselessness stuck deep in his mind just like fresh earned burn. It hurt and irritated him and Fitz swore under his breath, throwing the brush away and sitting on a chair.

 

“You were doing great,” the voice gently calls him out and Fitz sighs. “Why did you stop?”

 

“Because this is useless!” Fitz snaps and looks up to see her. She’s far away but so very real. “And I don’t… I can’t do this.”

 

“Your therapist suggests you to paint though and that’s a good idea!” Her voice is a little bit too cheerful and enthusiastic.  Fitz chuckles and shakes his head. “Fitz? You think that you can’t do that but you won’t know it unless you try. You are an engineer…”

 

“I was an engineer, Jemma. And now I am… broken.”

 

This Jemma has emotions, just like the real one, and it makes Fitz’s heart swell. It’s been a few months since she’s left and his trauma causes him perhaps a little bit more trouble than before. It’s hard to be here without her, being unable to help the team, unable to do mundane tasks.

 

However, life goes on and he’s alive and he has to fight this battle whether he wants or not. Fitz stands up and picks up the brush, staring at the canvas that were supposed to carry the meaning on it. His therapist asked him to try this, to paint all his emotions. Anger was the most prevailing one. He was angry at himself, at Jemma, at Coulson and the man who did this to him.

 

“You don’t have to do this because you have to,” imaginary Jemma says softly and Fitz feels her hand on his shoulder. He shudders but doesn’t say anything. “Paint because you want to. Painting is not about replicating the world, it’s about interpreting and improving on it, showing something you see.”

 

“Now, do something for me,” Jemma stands in front of him and behind the canvas, staring at Fitz. “Close your eyes. Trust me.”

 

Fitz does as he’s told and lifts his arms with a brush in it. He tries to control his breathing exactly how the therapist taught him and slowly but surely, finds a perfect rhythm. Instead of his anger, he focuses on the voice he hears.

 

“Try to imagine something that doesn’t exist. Something you’ve never seen. Now, concentrate on how it makes you feel. And let your hand drift across the canvas.”

 

Somehow, the anger does return but it’s completely new. It now has the colour and shades among rough edges and much softer ones; Fitz finally follows his emotions, the voice in his head disappearing until it’s nothing but an echo.

 

His lips tremble as he slowly drifts to finish the painting, a familiar lump in his throat threatening to escape and as he opens his eyes to see the results, it’s slightly blurry due to the tears that managed to shed in the midst of the painting process and when Fitz wipes his eyes and sees the results, somehow it gets easier.

 

He feels lighter staring at the canvas and finds his hand not shaking as much as it used to.

 

Maybe they are right. Maybe this is how he will be able to recover. Interpreting his emotions and feelings using canvas, brushes and paint.

Chapter Text

The sun shines bright painting the garden in all the colours and Jemma sips her tea, enjoying the view from the terrace. It feels good to finally settle down, to be awake not because there is an alien invasion, but to your husband’s kisses. The only thing that doesn’t changes is, perhaps, Jemma’s habit of waking up earlier than other residents of the little cottage somewhere in Perthshire.

 

She finishes her tea just in time, goes to the kitchen to wash the cup and proceeds to making breakfast. Jemma discovers that she likes domestic routine and she likes being a mom. She feels special and grateful for her little girl who happen to be the most important person in her life.

 

Apart from her husband, of course. Fitz will always be her home.

 

Jemma just finishing decorating pancakes with maple syrup and berries when she hears her daughter’s melodic laugh and her husband’s hushed tone on the second floor. It’s been their schedule who deals with breakfast and on Sundays, it was Jemma’s turn.

 

“Easy now,” she warns Olivia. The little girl jumps up and down right under her mother’s arms excited to have freshly cooked pancakes. “Did you brush your teeth?”

 

“Yes, mommy! Daddy did too.”

 

Olivia grabs the fork and stuffs her mouth with breakfast. Jemma rolls her eyes as she places the cup in front of her five year old daughter. She’s always been hyperactive on the weekend morning, that one.

 

Fitz carefully approaches Jemma from behind, embracing her and kissing her cheek. Jemma sinks in his embrace and sighs in content, feeling ten pounds lighter as familiar scent of her husband’s cologne reaches her nose.

 

“I know we have planned to go on a beach with you today, but your mum and I came up with something more entertaining,” Fitz tells his daughter and takes a seat on her right.

 

Olivia looks up, mouthful of pancake. “Huh?”

 

“We thought that maybe we could visit local shelter?” Jemma smiles slyly. It takes three solid seconds before Olivia chokes on her food and squeals in delight.

 

When they arrive at the destination, Olivia can’t hide her excitement. She holds her mom and dad’s hands, literally bursting in anticipation as they look at the animals. She wants to take all of them, but this one particular pup draws her attention and Olivia kneels in front of it.

 

“Oh, mommy, daddy! It’s so miserable! Can we look at it? Pretty please?”

 

The pup is golden retriever named Sunny is a sweetheart and can’t seem to leave Fitz’s lap, enjoying Olivia’s petting and waggling her tail excitedly. The pup sniffs Jemma’s extended hand and lets out a soft wail and rubs her nose into Jemma’s palm.

 

Later that day, the Fitzsimmons family arrives home with a new member. Sunny looks much happier and so does Olivia, when she cuddles with the pup on the couch and says:

 

“I like dogs.”

Chapter Text

They meet at the place they usually go when they want some privacy, on old and forgotten barn in the middle of the forest. Fitz loves the crunch of the snow underneath his feet as he speeds up to finally see the love of his life. It is a little bit exaggerated, of course, but he hasn’t feel so ridiculously happy to tie his life with Jemma. She was simply his destiny.

 

Or at least, he believed so.

 

Huffing at the cold air, Fitz’s smile fades when he meets Jemma’s eyes. They are red and puffy, and he could blame it on the freezing cold winter but something tells him it’s not. Jemma smiles sadly – so very not typical of her – and Fitz stops a few meters away from her. He’s not sure what h should do in this case; it’s never been like this.

 

“You shouldn’t walk without your hat, you may as well catch a cold,” now that sounds like Jemma and Fitz smirks, taking a few steps forward.

 

“It’s fine, it’s not that cold anyway for me,” he extends his arms to embrace her but Jemma backs away, her lip trembling. “Jemma? What’s wrong?”

 

“He expects my reply next year,” Fitz feels his heart sink and nods for her to continue. He noticed tears streaming down her face and inhales sharply. “And today is the last today of this year.”

 

Fitz lowers his head staring at his shoes, refusing to believe what he just had heard. He knew that eventually this day would come, but he also hoped he’d be able to turn it back and say those words to her before the other man does.

 

He never liked him, anyway; there wasn’t love nor passion in their relationship and while Fitz knows he’s not the one to judge he couldn’t help but feel hatred towards the man.

 

Their relationship with Jemma was pure and so out of blue, but Fitz would never forget they day he saw her hazel eyes across the bonfire. He knew, at that very moment, that he would do anything to be with the girl, no matter what. And he was until she was proposed to.

 

Fitz knew that her parents might have done something to push that dumb man and provided him a ring.

 

“Fitz?” He hears the sorrow in her voice and shakes his head. “Please, say something.”

 

When he looks up, Jemma seems closer, a worried look on her features. Fitz tries to put a smile on his face but it’s more like a scowl.

 

“I’m going on a Year Walk tonight.”

 

“You what?!” Fitz shudders at Jemma’s shriek but shrugs his shoulders. She seems utterly terrified and her hands start to shake. “You can’t just… you can’t! Don’t you remember what happened to my cousin last year?”

 

“This is not going to be like that, Jem,” he tries to explain and takes her hands in his to stop her violent trembling. He hasn’t seen her looking so scared. “You know this is a tradition; you can’t ignore fate.”

 

“Fate can go fuck itself, Fitz!” Jemma explodes. “You can’t- you’re going to kill yourself! Please,” Jemma exhales shakily and finally gives in, leaning on Fitz’s chest, embracing him tightly. “Don’t go. If you die I don’t know what I would do…”

 

“You would marry,” Fitz can’t help the poison as he says this and Jemma looks up. God, she looks so beautiful. “And I would see the future and accept the fate awaiting for me. I just hope that you still would be in it.”

 

Jemma lays her head on Fitz’s chest while her fingers find an engagement ring in the pocket of her coat. She bites her lip and in a one swift movement drops the ring on the floor.

 

She doesn’t need to know the future to know one simple fact: she is not going to lose Fitz, engagement will be damned.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, I want this car.”

 

Fitz rolls his eyes and turns around to stare at his girlfriend who leans on a shiny white surano grand tourer, furrowing his eyebrows. He hears the owner of the garage shuffling on the background.

 

“I, uh – that’s not for sale, dude.”

 

Jemma pouts and straightens her posture, giving Fitz a glare but doesn’t say anything. He can’t help but smirk and watch as she wanders around the garage, judging the other man’s collection of cars.

 

He turns back and folds his hands on his chest, scowling apologetically. “Excuse me, she has a bit of a fetish. Who doesn’t like sport cars, right?” He laughs the man in the face which is terrifying enough, considering Fitz hides guns in the back but the man doesn’t know that.

 

This is a perfect deal and a dream job for someone like Fitz and Jemma – a couple of skillful and feared criminals. Noone really knows it’s them – they keep their true identities in secret, in the four walls of their apartment. It’s not that hard when you are an acting school dropout; a rising star that fell a little bit too early.

 

But you know what they say – if you want to get through life, you learn to adapt which was exactly what Jemma and Fitz did. Los Santos may be gorgeous at day, but the demons come alive when the sun goes down and you’ve got to learn to survive the night.

 

With the right company and the amount of ideas, it’s getting easier each year.

 

“Now, let’s get back to the business,” Fitz crosses his arms on chest, wiping the smile off his face. The guy in front of him shudders. “You probably thought no one would find out about your dirty deed but the right amount of money we can deal with those dickheads you owe money to.”

 

“Babe!” Fitz looks over his shoulder to stare and his beaming girlfriend – an almost wife, really – and almost laughs watching as his girlfriend fixing her lipstick in the side window. Jemma fixes her leather jacket and grins. “How about this one?”

 

The guy visibly gets nervous and almost shaking but the couple ignores him, exchanging a meaningful look. Fitz trust her, and he can see it in her burning hazel eyes as she nods her head and it takes a few seconds before a dull gunshot rings and the man falls on the floor.

 

Only then Jemma gets in a car, caressing the wheel and Fitz joins her on the passenger seat and leans in to kiss his girlfriend, capturing her lips in a sensual kiss before Jemma pulls away.

 

“It would be a shame to get blood all over my nice new outfit,” she tells him and proceeds to starting the car; Fitz shakes his head.

 

“Go on, then. We gotta tell that bastards the target has been eliminated and get our cash. And of course, test your new car.”

Chapter Text

“Miss Simmons, please come to my office.”

 

Jemma sighs and grabs the folders on her table, trying to look less worried than she already is. She loves her work and does it perfectly, because yes, she is that smart, but sometimes you never know what to expect.

 

It’s neither a blessing or a curse working as a secretary, but something in between. In this cruel world, she’d rather have a stable job and working in a Fitz enterprise is almost considered a luxury. It’s not easy to get there (and in this case, easy means impossible) unless you have at least one Ph.D.

 

So yes, Jemma has nothing to complain about. Not when her boss also her best friend since college; god, she misses those times sometimes.

 

She pauses at the doors of the kitchen, deciding whether she should or not make him a coffee. He didn’t ask, but Jemma hasn’t seen him going out for brunch and it slightly bothers her. She shakes her head and decides not to overstep her boundaries; he must be interested in the reports she’s prepared, not a break.

 

Jemma knocks three times before coming into his office, a familiar ritual they had when they were students. It’s simple and them and Jemma likes this kind of secrecy. Especially when it comes to his father.

 

She smiles gently when their eyes meet, but there is something more in his blue ones that make Jemma drop her folders when he grabs her and pulls closer, capturing her lips in an ardent kiss.

 

They’ve been doing for… two years now, and they were lucky no one found out about their little affair. It’s started when he invited her as his date on this one gala, and they haven’t come back from this… situation yet.

 

Jemma laughs into his mouth, looping her arms around his neck, deepening the kiss. It felt odd at first, kissing your best friend – your superior – but they quickly got used to late night kisses and a couple of quickies in his office. They kept this in secret; not when his father was the head of the company and could easily fire Jemma and make sure she had a bad reputation behind her back.

 

None of this matter, of course, because she knows Fitz would never allow his father to do that. He treats her better than everyone else and while people gossip about Leopold Fitz’s love life (and wondering why he doesn’t have a girlfriend), Jemma Simmons shags him and accepts his courtship.

 

As usual, Jemma is the one who has to stop them. She knows she has to, but when she feels Fitz’s hands under blouse softly caressing her skin, she is a no-brainer. She didn’t even notice they’ve moved to the sofa near the panoramic window and – dear God – if they won’t stop now, they might get in a very big trouble.

 

Jemma delicately pulls Fitz away and laughs at his protesting sounds, cupping his face while trying not to get distracted with his hands under her blouse, dangerously close to her breasts.

 

“Jemma,” Fitz looks her like she is the sun and the stars and his whole damn galaxy, and the world around her stops existing. Jemma tilts her head and grins, caressing the stubble he’d grown over the past few years. “I want you.”

 

“I’m here,” she replies without thinking, leaning in to kiss him. He’s so soft and kind with her that she almost forgets he has a bad side. The bad side is called Leopold and she loathes this name. Jemma and his father, understandably, have a lot of bad blood between them.

 

“No, I know,” Fitz laughs nervously, something that Jemma did not expect. “But I mean…”

 

They are interrupted by a loud knock on his door office and Jemma hears Fitz cursing under his breath. The interruption was expected but unwelcomed and Jemma stands on her feet albeit clumsily, fixing her outfit. She can say Fitz is angry, or at least disappointed, and she wouldn’t dare to cross him now, disappearing in his en-suite bathroom to clean up.

 

Fitz glares at the intruder as he fixes his tie and sits back into his chair. Lance Hunter – his driver – approaches him slowly and places a few folders on his table.

 

“Is this…a bad time?”

 

Fitz flashes an annoyed look at his friend, feeling the ring box burning his jacket pocket.

 

“A very bad time.”

Chapter Text

Fitz arranges a date a few weeks later, cancelling all of his plans and meetings for the evening. It’s been a rough time since Hunter interrupted them, and he could barely sleep at nights, thinking of proposal and Jemma’s reaction to it.


He’s known her long enough to learn her likes and dislikes; he even learned how to cook back when they were in college, to surprise her with toasts in the morning after the particularly nerve-racking exam. It’s been easier this way, to stick around Jemma Simmons — the one who saw something more than looks in him.



Months spent on impressing her were somehow the toughest challenge, but Fitz had no idea that the outcome of his attempts would have a lasting benefit for him. He’s been grateful for a woman like Jemma Simmons support him, push him forward and bring something good in him.



Jemma was everything Fitz’s father tried to kill in him. There was another persona — Leopold — who seemed to hate everything and everyone; except Jemma Simmons. Fitz is not sure how this was possible, but even the darkest part of him protected her, kept away from all the evil this world could have.



So when she kissed him back on that gala, Fitz — and Leopold — knew that she is more than just a friend. Locking those feelings and trying to ignore them was a dead end anyway; not when she was greeting him with a warm smile in the mornings; not when she caught his wandering gaze and blushed, looking as beautiful as ever.



She was the sunshine in the dark sky of his, making him forget what his father told him in the midst of their arguing and somehow all of his insecurities faded away.



The restaurant was almost empty when they’ve arrived, soft jazz music playing on the background and dim lights brightening Jemma’s hazel eyes. Fitz felt her shiver and squeezed his hand, catching her shy smile. He knows she’s not used to this, but he sees her trying to look less bewildered and smiles gently.



He wants to get down on one knee right now, forget all the preludes and just propose to her, but his inner romantic screams at Fitz to wait just a bit more. It all will be worth it.



“God, will I ever get used to this?” Jemma laughs when Fitz takes his place across from her, trying not to look as if she’s here for the first time. “You know, this dress and all this… atmosphere.”



“I understand,” Fitz looks around and waves the waiter to bring the menus. “We haven’t been out for a while, have we?”



He wants this evening to be special, to do everything so Jemma felt comfortable and yet, he starts having doubts that everything goes as planned. He feels his insecurities causing him more anxiety, the voice that surprisingly sounds like his father’s calling him a coward.

 


He hates this voice, and he hates his father. Fitz wishes he could tell him off, to shut him down but even Leopold can’t fight the man’s temper and the fight between these two usually ends the same.



Fitz shakes his head and catches Jemma’s glance, his worries slowly fading away. She is here, and she is sitting with him and the world around him doesn’t matter.



Somehow, Fitz forgets all his worries, enjoying Jemma’s company. He is ridiculously proud of his stupid jokes, but they make Jemma laugh and this means the world to him. The restaurant slowly fills in with more people and Fitz clears his throat, trying to find the courage to finally do what he’d planned.



“Jemma,” his voice is suddenly shaking, but he tries to hide it, smiling warmly. “I have been thinking about us a lot lately. You know… when we met and all these college years spent together.”



Jemma grins and nods her head, something glistening in her eyes. “Yeah, that time you almost burnt our dorm room?”



“I’ve tried to impress you,” Fitz rolled her eyes, Jemma’s carefree laughter making him smile nonetheless. “But you did like the pancakes. I know you did.”



“But um, I’ve also been thinking about working together and when we started dating, it almost felt like I’ve been sleeping,” Fitz chuckles and lowers his head, his hand goes to his pocket. “And you know, every day since then has been amazing. I know I may be not… the best boyfriend material but I love you. And you’ve been making me happy since the day we’ve been paired up at Chemistry class where I knew I’d never get an A+ without you.”



Fitz takes a deep breath and looks up, noticing tears glistening in Jemma’s eyes and her lip trembles even though she’s smiling. He knows what she is thinking about; because he is thinking about it as well.



“And now, after all these burnt toasts and midnight projects and tons of paperwork,” he takes Jemma’s hand and places a ring box in her palm, holding his breath. “Jemma Anne Simmons, would you do me the honour of being my wife?”



The world stops existing for five minutes (not that he counted) before Jemma looks up at him and beams, nodding her head yes. Fitz feels his heart drop a beat before standing up and embrace her, her lips kissing his face and repeating one word.



“Yes.”

Chapter Text

Fitz's world stopped existing five minutes ago.

 

The pain and hurt in his chest only to seem to worsen, but he did not expect any less. This is what dying feels like.

 

She feels as if his heart has been ripped out his chest, thrown away and burnt while they made him watch it. The voices in his head are loud, the one that tries to reassure him it's not his fault is faded away behind the cacophony of other voices, screaming at him. In theory, he knows he couldn't have done anything, but he still can't stop the blame.

 

It is the consequences of his actions, a reminder that he could have done only one step before the inevitable death.

 

Maybe he will get over this; maybe not; maybe he will die still thinking about it, carrying the guilt until it swallows and destroys him completely.

 

He decides that he's ready to accept this case scenario if only not to live with such a heavy weigh on his shoulders.

 

Fitz can barely move when he leaves the police officer's office and meet his wife's gaze.

 

He blames himself again because Fitz doesn't know how to tell Jemma the truth.

 

Her eyes are red and puffy, lips trembling and she already knows the answer. Fitz can see it in her now glossed hazel hues and the way she moves to fall in his arms, her whole body shakes as she breaks down into tears. Fitz embraces her so tight he thinks he can break her ribs, but this is what they need right now.

 

Their bond. Their psychic link.

 

They stand in the middle of the empty corridor at the police station, unable to comprehend that their son may be dead.

 

There were others before him; boys that were too young and too pure to face the cruelty of the world. They don't know what to do now, because the police can't help except shake their heads and throw hands in the air, saying they are trying to find the killer.

 

They key word is trying.

 

Fitz caresses Jemma's hair, and when her wails turn into small sobs, he pulls away, cupping her face. There is so much they could have done.

 

"It's him, isn't it?" Jemma whispers and Fitz tilts his head. "The Origami killer," she adds a few seconds later. Fitz purses his lips into a thin line and looks away, his wife's sobs breaking his heart; as if there is something left. "How many children will have to die before they catch him? Why are they so slow at this investigation?"

 

"I will find him, Jem," Fitz finally finds his voice even though it's hard to talk with the lump in your throat. He wants to rip it off. "We don't have to give up just now, love. We won't."

 

"It's dangerous, Fitz," her voice is weak and he can almost feel that she is going to faint. It's too much. They have both lost their son and none of it is easy. But they still have each other, and they still have to fight. They are not losing just yet.

 

"Maybe it is," Firz agrees as he helps Jemma to sat down on the bench, kneeling in front of her. "But... I don't think he is dead yet, okay? It's been twenty-five hours, not five days. I just... we have to dig at the bottom of it all, to find whatever clues there are hidden. Fitz takes Jemma's hand and intertwines their fingers.

 

"I promise, love," he vows. "I will find him. And I will kill him."

Chapter Text

Jemma stares at her hands, trying not to show how scared she is. It is a very hard task, considering The Doctor standing a few steps away from her and she can't really understand how it had happened. They had everything under control; she had everything under control. Fitz's therapist guaranteed the couple healing, that everything that younger mad had endured for the past few years would go away.

 

Jemma forgot she can't trust people; not when they keep lying to you.

 

She looks up to meet his gaze and bites her lip from starting to cry. She must stay strong, for both of them. She knows they will get through this but she's so extremely tired of fighting. All she wants is to stop the world and run away with the man she loves.

 

Run away from the fear, danger and people that hurt them.

 

She carefully looks around and meets Deke's gaze who tries to be as quiet as possible. Jemma knows he wants to help her, but she shakes her head as if telling him not to move. He is not the one for this war.

 

Jemma shifts uncomfortably and The Doctor looks up, his blue eyes scan Jemma's posture. She freezes immediately, knowing that it is better not to mess with him but she feels as if she is about to faint and he notices that.

 

She doesn't know whether it's her Fitz or The Doctor. She can barely see the difference now.

 

"Get the chair for her," he says, or rather, orders and Jemma feels a shiver down her spine. She's not sure why he's so attentive now, considering he shot her in the Framework. She's so stunned that she forgets to thank him as she sits down carefully, glancing at Deke. He shuffles to her side and stands behind his grandmother, laying a hand on her shoulder.

 

"I must apologize though," The Doctor finally muses and Jemma furrows. Did she hear him right? Or this is yet another mind game? Everything is so confusing lately and Jemma's not sure whether she should believe what everyone says. "The last time we saw each other I shot you. That wasn't very nice of me. I'm sorry."

 

"What?" Jemma manages to choke, staring at Fi- The Doctor in disbelieve. Well, that was odd.

 

"I know how Fitz feels about you," The Doctor shrugs his shoulders and puts away the gloves he was sterilizing. Then he leans on the table and tilts his head, his focus on Jemma. "I have realized my mistake; I shouldn't have done that. Hope you can forgive me but if you don't, just know that I regret that."

 

Jemma almost wants to laugh but instead, she chuckles, trying to cope with the reality. This is Fitz - still, her boyfriend whom she adores - but at the same time, he is not. This is a twisted version of him, the one Jemma slightly feared, even though she knows this wasn't real. The Framework was a virtual reality that managed to destroy people's lives. It had broken the most important person in her life and if there's someone to blame, it's probably Aida and Radcliffe.

 

"So you have regrets, then?" She dares to ask him and Leopold tenses.

 

"There is one more regret that I have," he admits and Jemma freezes. "I shouldn't have listened to Ophelia or my dad. And Fitz shouldn't have worked on... Aida? I think that was her name in this world. She manipulated me, and him. I was too blind to realize that. But you opened my eyes and now I am able to make my own decision and think myself."

 

"Why are you doing this?" Jemma hoped to finally find out his motives, why he appeared again, in the worst of their moments. The world was about to end and she might as well play with fire if only to help Fitz cope with his trauma later.

 

"Why, for you of course," The Doctor smirked. Jemma exchanged looks with Deke and shook her head, trying to understand what does it even mean. It didn't make any sense, why would he help them and yet, there was a glimpse of an idea in her head. "I am doing this for your and Fitz's future."

 

"So you help us?" Jemma whispered, suddenly feeling sick. The Doctor didn't reply anything but his silence had all the answers Jemma needed. She just had to solve the mystery herself.

 

"Well, then, if you do, maybe we could... not hurt Daisy and just work together on a solution together?" Jemma suggested teary as she stood up and made a step toward the Doctor. Behind her back, Deke muttered something and followed her, keeping the distance.

 

"You know he would do that if there was a chance of it actually working," The Doctor smiled sadly and carefully put on the gloves. "But this is how science works, isn't it? Everything we do, we do for you and your future," he reminded once again.

 

Jemma pursed her lips and took a few steps back, not sure how to respond. The only wish she had right now to get her Fitz back; but apparently, they had to go through the final circle of hell before the inevitable heaven.

Chapter Text

With a cup of coffee in his hand, Leopold Fitz tries not to fall asleep while reading the files he was provided. The crisp white walls of his office are too bright and distract him from work, but he hopes the coffee will do its job.

 

It's been three hours since they dragged him from his house because of the woman they had found in Times Square and everything has been a mess since that moment. Fitz is not sure why they needed him - he had a day off, actually, a well deserved one - but he is the legendary FBI agent and if they need him here, there is a reason.

 

Everything they have on that woman is that her whole body covered in tattoos and her amnesia is a dead-end. This isn't easy for neither FBI or her and the team tries their best to find out more about her; but there is nothing on her on the internet, as if her very existence had been wiped off the map.

 

They call her Jane Doe till they find out her real name, but Fitz doesn't know it would be possible with the lack of information. He has his people working on the case but even that's not enough. What they are doing is not enough.

 

Fitz groans and leans back on his chair, staring at the photographs on his desk. The woman's tattoos don't make any sense; there are symbols and phrases in languages he hasn't seen before, ink drawings of animals and shapes. He decides to divide the scans of her tattoos into groups, hoping that it would help them to see if there is any pattern that would help them.

 

Fitz feels his heart skipping a beat when he notices the tattoo he hasn't seen before; the one no one warned him about. It's on the woman's back, closer to her neck and the night gets even more unbearable when Fitz starts having his doubts and fears for the most.

 

The whole situation seems like a perfect trap for FBI. He stares at the scan of the tattoo, trying to make his brain work.

 

1. They find a woman in Times Square in the bag, terrified and completely naked.

2. She doesn't remember anything, not her own name, what year it is, how old is she.

3. His own name tattooed on her back as if it is supposed to give them answers, but instead, it doesn't.

 

Everything is so confusing, but Fitz doesn't feel tired anymore. He finishes his coffee in one gulp and folds the scan of the tattoo in the pocket of his jacket but before he has a chance to see his boss, Victoria Hand joins him in his office and nods her head.

 

"She wants to see you."

 

"Well, it's mutual," Fitz mutters and follows Hand, his hand twitches as it always does when he's nervous. An old trauma of his that wouldn't let him live. What if that woman is the same? Perhaps this is what unites them. Perhaps this is the reason why there is his name tattooed on her back.

 

Fitz hopes they will find out it as soon as possible. Being in the FBI as long as he is, Fitz hopes for the better even though 'better' is an abstract concept for them.

 

He notices his colleagues and greets them with a smile before watching their psychologist - Grant Ward - talking to the woman they have found earlier. He asks her simple question but she just shakes her head and shrugs shoulders. Whatever they ask her, the answer is still the same.

 

"She says she doesn't remember anything," Victoria Hand says before Fitz can do that himself. "Maybe she recognizes you."

 

Fitz has doubts but he prefers not to say this out loud; they don't need to know that he feels lost. He is supposed to be professional.

 

He ignores Ward when he joins them, Leopold's eyes not leaving the woman's back. He loosens his tie just in case, the picture of the tattoo burning his pocket. He feels someone's hand patting his shoulder and he turns around to smile at Bobbi. She is one of the members of his team, and he trusts her with his life. He smiles albeit awkwardly and opens the door with, shutting it behind him.

 

The woman turns around and Fitz feels his breath taken away when he meets her gaze. She is terrified, brown eyes keeping as many questions as FBI has. He smiles, keeping his smile friendly and the woman shifts on her seat, watching his every step. Fitz sits carefully on the chair in front of her and lays his hands on the table to show the woman he is unarmed.

 

"You wanted to see me?" He asks, which is quite stupid of him. That's obvious. There is his name on her back. Not Ward's or Victoria's. "My name is Leo Fitz and I am in charge of your case."

 

He sees if she recognizes the name but she just nods. Fitz notices that her hands are shaking and she shivers, but the room is not cold. Fitz studies her frame and how skinny she is.

 

"I just want to know what's going on," her voice is quiet and shaky, but Fitz recognizes the accent. She must be from England, not so far away from his own motherland. "If... if you have found anything on me."

 

"I'm sorry to say this, but we didn't," Fitz tells the truth. He decides that she deserves to know that; they won't lie to her. He bites his lip when he comes up with an idea. "Do you... recognize me?"

 

The woman furrows her eyebrows and shakes her head. That's understandable, but Fitz doesn't stop.

 

"You see, there is a reason why I asked you this," he explains and unfolds the photograph on the table, pushing it to her. The woman gasps. "My name - Leo Fitz - is tattooed on your back. Do you know why?"

 

He notices the woman watching the photograph and taking it in her hands, tracing the tattoo with her fingers. Fitz doesn't push her but he feels a shiver down his spine when she looks up, a regular deer caught in headlights and moves her hand to touch his.

 

Fitz freezes and watches the woman's cold fingers touch his skin and he turns around his hand to allow her room. Her touch is soft yet cold and holding his breath, Fitz gives her his other hand, to see if that helps her. He hopes she remembers something - anything that would help her to find her identity - and he meets her teary eyes when she raises her hand to trace his features. Her fingers caress his stubble and jawline, and Fitz can see something glistening in her eyes when he thinks that she remembered something, but her lips start quivering and a single tear streaming down her cheek.

 

He carefully takes his hand underneath hers, not to startle or scare her, and lifts up to gently take her hand that caresses his face. Fitz takes her hand in his, holding it tightly.

 

"We will find out what happened to you, okay?" He promises the woman, Jane Doe, for now, looking in her terrified honey hues. "We will help you. I promise."

 

They have a lot to solve, but there is nothing Leo Fitz's team couldn't do yet.

Chapter Text

Jemma finds him packing the rucksack in their small room lit by the candles. The only source of light in the Metro.

 

The only source of light left after the catastrophe. There is nothing romantic about it, and Jemma feels anger rising in her chest because she knows what he is up to.

 

The worst thing about this is that he didn't even tell her about it.

 

"Where are you going?" She demands the answer, without even hiding her annoyance. They have been discussing it so many times before. Yet, she finds him getting ready for the patrolling the surface every day before the sun goes down.

 

Fitz shakes his head and winces at her wife's voice. He hoped no one would tell her, but she might have found it out herself. She is smart and knows him better than anyone else.

 

He opts not answering her question, for he knows her reaction and what she would tell him. Jemma doesn't believe that there are human beings out there; nobody at the Metro does. Fitz is the only man here who hopes to find them, to see if there is a life outside the Metro.

 

Fitz can almost feel the fury his wife radiates and it is so much worse than the radiation out there.

 

He could survive the radiation. (He did.)

 

But his wife's wrath? Never.

 

"You know exactly what I am doing," he replies a few moments after, checking on the flashlight he had crafted a few years earlier. Fitz purses his lips and looks over his shoulder to meet Jemma's furious gaze. "And you know why I am doing this."

 

"Goddamnit, Fitz," Jemma exhales sharply and crosses her arms on her chest, shaking her head. "Do you think about me at all?"

 

"What?!" Fitz feels as if he was set on fire and he stares back at Jemma. "Of course I am! Jemma, I am doing this for us. For our future."

 

"We won't have a future if you die of radiation, Fitz," Jemma tries to talk some sense in him, but she knows this is all in vain. "Why do you keep going up there? What are you hoping to find?"

 

He doesn't reply to her questions. They have discussed this million times. They have also discussed it with her father who did not seem impressed by Fitz's bravery. He had heard them arguing about it, and while Jemma was displeased that his husband was visiting the surface of the Metro, she was also on his side.

 

"This is our home," her voice is quieter this time and Fitz freezes, closing his eyes. "The Metro is all we have left. Each time you go there, I... I wonder if you'll ever return. Why are you doing this to me, Fitz?"

 

He feels guilty then because he didn't want to upset or hurt her the way he already did. He loves his wife deeply and can't imagine his life without her anymore, but he also doesn't want to end their life by staying at the Metro. They are still young and have a life ahead of them, and if there is a way Fitz can give this life for her, he would do anything.

 

He looks down at his rucksack full of various inventory, gas mask, flares and dosimeter. He doesn't remember a normal life; he had never had it; Fitz had been taught to survive since the day he could talk, the war had taken away from him everything he had. His mother. His dog. His house. His future.

 

Unlike Jemma, who lost hope to bring their normal life back, Fitz believes that they would be able to leave the Metro and find a better place to live. Maybe they could have a house with a backyard and all that beautiful domestic crap he had seen in the torn magazines they used for kindling.

 

He straightens his back and zips his rucksack, but before he leaves on another dangerous mission, Fitz approaches Jemma and embraces her tightly, as if for the last time. He can feel her shaking and he's afraid she'd pull away, but Jemma relaxes and buries her face in his neck, sniffing the smell of coal.

 

"Come back to me," he hears her whispering and Fitz smiles a bit, pulling away but no far away yet. He cups Jemma's face and presses a soft kiss on her dry bitten lips, a promise she needs so much.

 

He leaves with a heavy heart but determined to find something that will prove his wife - and everyone down there - that the world out there exists. They are not alone. They have to fight for their future.

Chapter Text

It happens abruptly, and Fitz thinks that his very existence stops this right second. He for sure stops breathing for a minute or two, watching his wife coughing blood out; everyone and everything around him stops existing and he feels a shiver down his spine when the darkest thoughts race in his head.

 

He's beside Jemma in the blink of an eye, and even though some of his friends try to push him away, he glares at them and helps Jemma to lay down on the nearest cot, his hands shaking on their own accord.

 

He looks up to meet Jemma father's worried gaze and he's glad he's not saying anything. Fitz knows he blames him for this, never the world around them, and Fitz reluctantly agrees with the older man.

 

He was the one who dragged them on the surface.

 

He was the one who initiated this mission.

 

He was the one who talked Jemma into helping him.

 

But Fitz still remembers that Jemma's father had been lying to them this whole time. The world around had been hidden, the Metro was a sacred place and people who sought for help couldn't reach them. He knows that the man wanted the best for his people, but they could have saved so much more human beings.

 

It doesn't change the fact that Fitz is angry at himself though he knows his wife would deny it. She's changed so much since they have left Metro. But is it worth it, if she dies here in his arms?

 

This is so unfair and cruel.

 

"It's okay," Jemma's voice bring Fitz back to reality and he leans forward but she pushes him away. In case she's infected. "Must be the gas I breathed in that ammo pit," she coughs again and Fitz can feel his heart breaking in two.

 

"How long have you been hiding this from us?" Hunter, Fitz's best friend looks worried. Fitz had never seen him so damn serious and scared.

 

"I... I just didn't want to worry you guys," Jemma closes her eyes and takes a few shaking breaths. Fitz can't do anything except hold her hand and caress her wedding band. A reminder that he is here. He will protect her. "And that time when we were captured by the cannibals, their bastard of a leader examined me and told my lungs were falling apart."

 

"Well, that's nonsense," Bobbi, the woman they have saved in Southern Urals who also happens to be a doctor finally says. Everyone turns to her, silently demanding her explanation. The blonde woman smiles warmly and checks Jemma's pulse. "That's not necessarily true. We have just left the desert. Such a change of climate could also cause Jemma's current state."

 

"Is there anything we can do to help her?" Fitz clears his throat and prepares himself for the worst. If there is a chance of saving his wife - from whatever she's suffering - he would do anything; kill anyone; cross the bloody universe to make sure his wife lives long enough to breathe fresh air and start a family with him.

 

"We could go to Novosibirsk, I am sure we could find something in their labs there," Bobbi looks up at Jemma's father and stands up. "Sir? Can I have a word with you?"

 

The two of them leave to discuss their new route though Fitz tells them he'll join them later. For now, he just wants to be with his wife.

 

Jemma looks pale and weak, not getting enough sleep and dehydrated from their time spent in the desert. Fitz lifts her hand to his lips and shakes his head.

 

"Jemma..."

 

"No," she interrupts him before he can say anything because she knows what follows his statement. "It's not your fault. Or anyone else's here, really. I guess Bobbi's right. Maybe we can find something in Novosibirsk."

 

"We will," for some reason, Fitz believes this. He doesn't want to lose hope just yet if only not to look weak in the eyes of his wonderful and strong wife. "We are not giving up, okay? But I need you to take it easy and rest more."

 

"Well, that depends," Jemma chuckles lowly. "You'd need a partner in Novosibirsk."

 

"Don't think about it just yet," Fitz can only admire his wife's stubbornness and courage but she's been playing a hero for too long. It's selfish, but he can't do anything but think of the scenario where he loses her.

 

He could never survive this loss.

 

"In sickness and health, remember?" He reminds her, a small smile on his lips. She lets out a small laugh and nods.

 

"In sickness in health."