It’d been a long time since Jemma had felt this relaxed. Taking another long swig from the ice cold longneck she was currently gripping tightly in her hand, she felt herself swaying back and forth even though there was no music currently playing in their hotel room. “Why is there no music playing?” she pouted at the tan brunette currently raiding their minibar. “We should dance.”
Skye popped her head up from behind the door of their small fridge. “Yes! There’s a bar right down the street, too! We should totally go there,” she nodded enthusiastically, standing up and closing the door while heading towards her suitcase.
Simmons shrugged. “Oh, bloody hell. Let’s do it. I haven’t been out in a proper pub since Fitz and I graduated the Academy.”
Skye gasped and flung her arms excitedly. “Leo! Let’s totally bring him!” She bounced around a little bit, taking a long sip of her own bottle before putting it down and flinging open the top of her suitcase, rummaging around for a quick minute. Pulling out a shiny top, she seemed to mull it over for a minute before throwing it at Jemma. The scientist was too busy taking a long sip and flinched when she was hit in the face with the object of clothing. “Throw that on and you’ll be perfect!”
Jemma winced. The blazer was cute but she wasn’t really much of a sequins girl. “I’ve got a nice black cardigan I could just wear, though,” she said, extending her arm out to hand the blazer back.
Skye smirked. “Just wear it. It’ll look perfect over your current shirt and you might even get attention from a male who doesn’t care your IQ is probably triple his. Win win for us all!” Jemma just laughed and shook her head, acquiescing to Skye’s demand. It was a once in a lifetime event, anyway; there was very little likelihood that Coulson would drop the younger members of their team off to have a weekend of fun while he took care of a matter above their clearance level. It was that same train of thought that had led Jemma and Skye to the lounge downstairs for a mini girls’ night that turned into them raiding the minibar in their admittedly swanky room.
Ten minutes later, the girls had finished their respective beers, grabbed another, and made their way over to Fitz and Ward’s shared room. Jemma chuckled as Skye knocked a “musical” pattern into the boys’ door. Fitz pulled open the door, looking confused. He rolled his eyes when he noticed it was just the girls and opened the door to let them in. “What are you two doing?”
“Fitz! We wanna go out and you’re gonna come with,” Skye said, batting her eyelashes in an exaggerated manner. “C’mon, Simmons loosened up! I know you can too.” She added a wink at the end of her statement and the two girls dissolved into giggles. At this, Fitz rolled his eyes once more but he smiled at them. Jemma knew Fitz had a small crush on the hacker and would do anything the two girls asked him to do.
“Yeah, Fitz, it’ll be fun,” Jemma added, throwing an arm around Skye and smiling encouragingly at her best friend. “Skye saw this cool bar just around the corner from the hotel and it’ll be nice to get out and have fun outside of a lab for the night.”
She could see Fitz’s already weak resolve crumbling and he sighed, feigning annoyance at the duo. “Okay, fine. I’ll go. But only to keep an eye on you two; I don’t trust either one of you,” he joked. Skye cheered and the girls clinked their glasses together before tipping them back.
“What are you two doing in here?” a gruff voice behind them asked. Jemma, startled, turned around and almost choked on her beer; in front of her, Ward was still damp from his shower, a pair of sweatpants slung low on his hips while he towel dried his damp hair. Coupled with the steam billowing out from behind him (that she logically knew was a result of his undoubtedly hot shower but…still), Jemma became suddenly aware that it had been a very painstakingly long time since she’d been with anyone and, at the realization she was probably staring, winced, turned around, and chugged the rest of her drink.
“We’re going out…you should come with! Or does having fun short out your microchip?” Skye teased, waggling her brows teasingly while taking the last swig of her respective beer. Ward just pursed his lips and threw his towel on the bed next to him, turning back to the bathroom. “Okay well, if you’re interested in coming, we’re going to this bar literally two blocks away called Mike’s Tavern and we’re going to be the people having fun.”
Ward simply raised a hand up in a brief wave before disappearing in the bathroom again. “Okay, well…bye!” Skye announced to his retreating form, grabbing Fitz’s wrist while linking her other arm through Jemma’s and pulling the two scientists along.
An hour later, Jemma’s gone from buzzed to drunk and she can’t even say she’s that upset about the fact that she will probably not be as happy tomorrow morning. She’s leaning against the bar, playing with the cocktail straw from her last drink and bobbing her head to the beat of the music, waiting on the round of drinks she’s ordered for her team. The bartender winks at her and she giggles, playing along. The bar they’d ended up at was apparently a favorite among the local college students and when someone had mistakenly assumed they were undergrads, Skye had been determined to play along.
It was a fun activity. Skye had weakly tried arguing that this would help their undercover skills but it hadn’t taken much convincing; their real lives were so hectic that pretending to be someone else for a night was actually a nice break from their normal activities. Looking back at the dart board her friends had taken hostage, Jemma smiled as she saw the easy way Skye and Fitz interacted. He still looked at her like she was sunshine and rainbows but Jemma wasn’t exactly sure that Skye wasn’t reciprocating the feelings.
“There’s no way you’re a student here,” a deep voice from beside her asked, breaking her of her reverie.
She she turned to look at her companion, biting her lip nervously. She’d never been all that great of a liar and even though this guy posed no threat to her, she still felt the anxiety begin. “I’m sorry?”
He smirked at her. “I’m sure I’d remember seeing a face like yours around here,” he finished. Jemma resisted the urge to roll her eyes and turned back to the bar, trying to silently tell him to go away. The bartender reappeared with her drinks and Jemma smiled gratefully at him, dropping some cash in his tip bucket.
“Is that really the best you’ve got?” she asked when she felt him still beside her.
“Is that a challenge?” he responded.
Jemma didn’t turn around, simply trying to think of a way to carry all three drinks through the crowded bar without dropping any of them. She had briefly debated entertaining the younger man but his arrogance had immediately turned her off. “No, I’m simply stating that you have absolutely no chance of…well, I’m assuming you were trying to pick me up and that’s just not happening.”
The man scoffed, “Whatever. It’s not like you’re even worth it.”
That one hurt. Jemma looked back down to the bar before she felt an arm circle her wait and someone press a quick kiss to the side of her hair. “Hi,” he breathed before turning to the man and eyeing him with amusement. “Do we have a problem here?”
The younger man looked up at him, clearly trying to pretend he wasn’t intimidated. “Whatever,” he repeated, turning and walking away. Jemma let out a low chuckle, trying to ignore the way she knew her cheeks were heating up as she looked up at Ward. While visions of him still wet from his shower were certainly coming back to the forefront of her mind, she wasn’t going to deny he looked almost as delicious in the usual form fitting black t-shirt and leather jacket he’d opted to wear.
“You okay?” he asked, brows furrowing with concern. She laughed, the tension from the stranger leaving with him.
“I couldn’t figure out how to carry the cups and not drop them,” she shrugged, turning back to the bar before quickly turning back, realizing his arm is still around her waist. “D’you want a drink?” Ward looked up at the bar, briefly crinkling his nose. Jemma rolled her eyes and smacked him softly on the arm. “Stop being so pretentious and order a bloody drink!”
Ward gave her a look she assumed was meant to be stern but she simply ignored him and turned back to the bar again, flagging down the bartender. She shouted her order at him over the noise and dropped another couple bills into his tin when he reappeared with several little cups of colorful liquor. Ward just gave her a look she responded to with an exaggerated wink while handing home one of the cups. “Loosen up, it’s fun!”
Ward just gave her a quick smile before throwing back the shot. It was too sweet and not strong enough but Jemma did a little dance while putting her empty cup back on the counter and focusing on getting their drinks to their friends. He grabbed his own drink and followed her over to where Fitz and Skye were chatting by the dart board.
“Ward! You came!” Skye cheered, clapping her hands together briefly. “This is perfect. We’re going to play darts and you can be on Jemma’s team because Leo and I are going to kick your asses quite spectacularly.”
After a couple rounds of darts later, Skye and Fitz shared a quick look before making an excuse to head back to the hotel. Jemma just laughed and shook her head, giving her two best friends a quick hug before they made their way through the crowded bar. She turned back to ward, amusement glinting in her eyes. “One more round?”
Ward shook his head, “Not here, please.” Jemma looked around them. The crowd had seemed a little older before but it had quickly filled up with kids clearly much younger than them. Turning back to him, she let out a little chuckle before she nodded her head. He stood up and she quickly followed, grabbing his right elbow to keep close while exiting.
Stepping out into the fresh air, Jemma sighed contentedly. Though she’d sobered up a little bit, she was still feeling pretty tipsy (which she would later use as the excuse for leaning up against Ward while he led the way home, not because she kept remembering the way he kissed her hair so easily, so gently, and definitely not because she kept wishing he’d kept up the act after the boy walked way) and hadn’t realized she’d announced it until she felt Ward’s chest rumble with his deep laugh.
Before she could make a comment, she felt something vibrate in her hand and looked down at her phone. She let out a loud laugh at the text: Skye had sent her a grainy picture of her winking at the camera while lying down in what looked suspiciously like Jemma’s bed with Fitz in the background, followed by the message, “Let’s have a sleepover tonight!” She showed it to Ward as they rounded the corner and came up to the hotel’s front doors. Jemma pulled away from Ward, cheeks starting to heat up, and quickly darted into the rotating door before he could follow. She made a beeline for the elevator, hoping to not have to explain her sudden boldness.
“Still want that drink?” Ward called after her. She stopped in her tracks and turned around. He didn’t look bothered by her and she wasn’t exactly sure she was allowed back in her room at the moment. She looked him up and down.
“Okay,” she agreed quietly, smiling a little as she tucked some hair behind her ear. He quickly closed the distance between the two and stuck close to her side as they made their way towards the lounge’s bar. It had mostly cleared out since she and Skye had been there earlier; the bartender was wiping down his bottles as he closed up shop. Leaning against it, she looked up at Ward and gave him a sad smile at their night’s early ending. However, she was surprised when he quickly and quietly leaned over the bar and grabbed the first bottle he could reach. Tucking it into his side, he turned and made his way out, Jemma not far behind.
Though Ward expected a lecture on stealing the bottle, the minute the elevator doors closed behind them, Jemma simply held out her hand and took a large swig of the amber liquid, wincing as it went down. She silently handed it back to him and glanced down at her phone, clearly nervous. She wasn’t quite sure what to do now that they were alone.
Walking down the hall in an uncomfortable silence, they stopped when they reached Jemma and Skye’s room. They heard Skye giggling and a quiet murmur next to her that they knew had to be Fitz. While it didn’t sound like they were doing anything inappropriate, Jemma felt bad intruding.
Before she had time to think of a decision, however, Ward’s arm was settling around her shoulders and leading her to the end of the hallway and into his room. She stole the bottle from him again and took a larger swig, ignoring the burn. She was happy for her two best friends, really, but she couldn’t help but feel like this was going to result in her being left out.
Ward settled down on his bed, one arm behind his head while the other cradled the bottle, watching as Jemma began to worriedly pace across the floor on his room. He observed her with amusement for a few minutes before he cleared his throat. She jumped a little, as if she’d forgotten he was in there with her. “Come. Sit. Watch TV. Talk. Do something other than think about it.”
With that, Jemma seemed to be propelled into action and by the time her mind had caught up with her body, she found herself straddling Ward and clutching his face between her two hands, his own settled comfortably on her waist before moving to her shoulders and pushing her away gently.
“Well, that was a surprise.“
They stopped when they realized they were talking over each other and Jemma, mortified, tried to stand up before she could humiliate herself further. Ward’s hands had moved back to her hips and kept her in place. “Is this about Fitz and Skye?”
“What?” Jemma was taken aback by his question.
“Is this about the fact that Fitz and Skye are currently…well, sharing a bed in your room right now?” Ward’s eyes searched her face earnestly, almost as if he was hoping for a certain answer.
“No,” Jemma answered. “Honestly, I don’t know where it came from because you pulled me in here and then I was thinking about Fitz and Skye and then I started thinking about how it’s been so long since I’ve y’know, been with anyone and then earlier when you saved me from that guy and how nice it felt and then I know that realistically I’d sleep in Fitz’s bed but then I started thinking of you in the towel and h-“
Jemma was the one startled this time when Ward grabbed her face between his slightly calloused hands. By the time her mind caught back up with her, she was entangling her fingers in his hair, pulling slightly as she tried to pull herself closer to him. His hands were skimming down her side and briefly toyed with the hem of her shirt before she felt his fingertips glide along her lower back.
She moaned quietly and bit his lip when she felt his hands moving up dangerously further, pulling her shirt up with them. She quickly made to discard the blazer her friend had lent to her and pulled away, partially out of the need for breath and to pull her shirt off the rest of the way. Ward’s eyes raked over her hungrily and she couldn’t fight the shiver that went through her at the sight.
It wasn’t as if she’d thought she was unattractive or hadn’t noticed how attractive Ward was. It was just that in this world, in her world, she was never quite the girl that men like Ward looked at, the one that they wanted. She was just the scientist that patched them back up and sent them out and to have him looking at her like he was going to devour her gave her a thrill.
She took advantage of the moment and pulled his shirt off before they moved in synchronization back to kissing. She was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was just as skilled as she (had totally not, absolutely not fantasized about) would have thought. Humming a little in contention, she realized she would’ve been happy to just do this all night. Ward, however, had different ideas. In a moment, she’d gone from being settled in his lap to being flat on her back against the bed, Ward making his way down her jawline and her neck, his hands making their way down to the button on her jeans.
When he finally got them off and she’d returned the favor, she sighed happily. “Oh, Grant,” she’d whispered against his lips when he’d come back up to kiss her. No, she’d be perfectly content to do this all night.
When she wakes up the next morning, the first thing she sees is a bottle of whisky half-full on the nightstand. Her mouth slightly dry, she darts her tongue out to wet her lips and makes a move to reach for the glass of water that had appeared sometime after she’d blissfully passed out and before she’d woken from the best sleep she’d had in a while. Sitting up, she realizes she’s wearing only a shirt that is not hers and she’s painfully, embarrassingly alone. Groaning, she places her head in her hands and reaches for her phone. There’s no message from Skye or Fitz which means they must be sleeping still. She makes a move to get out of bed and at least make herself presentable to go downstairs and try to eat the complementary breakfast before she hears the door open.
“Oh,” he says, surprised to see her awake. He’s sweaty and glorious looking and Jemma’s mind goes back to last night when he’d been on top of her, whispering her name and embedding it into her skin and she feels herself flush. “I thought you would still be sleeping when I got back.”
“Sorry to disappoint?” Though she means for it to be a joke, it comes out like a question and Jemma instantly wants to smack herself. She’d decided last night (in the heat of the moment, of course, in the heat of everything) that she was going to be professional about this. They were adults, they were teammates, and he was not into her like that. She could handle it.
“Don’t do that, Jem,” he says and the easy familiarity in which he says her name has the butterflies in her stomach fluttering in a frenzied fury.
“Look, what happened last night -“
“What happened last night was not a mistake,” he interrupts and she’s worried that he’s in her mind already. “Do you believe it was?”
He’s slowly been making his way towards her the entire time and he’s right in front of her now and she can’t say what she knows she should say. We’re on a team together and we just broke a million rules last night and I’m afraid if I give you my heart, you’ll break it but instead, “No, I don’t,” comes out and she can’t breathe because he’s kissing her again. She has to step up on her tiptoes and wrap her arms around his neck for leverage because he’s so tall but his arms are tight around her waist and she thinks this might be even better than anything that happened last night.
“How’re you feeling, by the way?”
She sighs and pulls away slightly. “I feel like my head is being pounded by a sledgehammer and all I really want is a nice, long, hot shower and a giant omelette,” she says, pouting slightly.
Unfortunately, she doesn’t see the mischievous glint in his eyes until he’s lifted her up, wrapped her legs around his waist, and started making his way towards the bathroom. Somehow he manages to get out, “I can help with that,” between kisses but she just laughs and shuts the door behind them.
She’d been wrong last night; she was definitely just as happy in the morning.