“I’m fine. Stop. Stop .” Daisy waved the EMT away from her face until he stepped back. Sighing, she pulled the blanket tighter around herself. “Thank you. But I’m okay.”
“We should take you to the hospital.”
“Nope, I’m good,” Daisy said with a blinding smile despite the chaos around them and the gash on her forehead.
“Ma’am, I must recommend it. You likely have a concussion,” the young man said nervously.
Before Daisy could tell him no again and apologize, everyone turned as two black SUVs pulled up.
“What in the hell happened here,” Director Fury barked. A handful of agents in suits walked over to him as he got out of his car. Coulson, dressed in a suit as always, stepped out of the passengers' side of Fury’s car.
“Go check on the others,” Daisy said to the EMT, tossing the blanket inside as she hopped off the edge of the ambulance.
Catching sight of Coulson she headed towards him, instantly regretting her choice of heels that morning. If she had realized today would be a field work day, she would have worn jeans, a leather jacket and combat boots, not a fucking suit and heels. But at the moment, that was the least of any of their worries.
“Daisy, are you injured?” Coulson asked quietly, as to not disrupt the spontaneous Fury meeting in the middle of the SKYE Tech parking lot.
“Mild concussion probably,” she admitted, noticing standing was making her slightly dizzy. “A few stitches. I’m fine.”
Coulson nodded once, before taking her wrist and guiding her away from the crowd of people, until even the news crews couldn’t see them. Once they were safe from watchful eyes, Coulson looked back at her. “What happened?”
Daisy ran a frustrated hand through her hair. “It was a package addressed to me. Somehow it made it through security. I’m waiting on more details, but it made its way to my office. I felt the ticking in time and quaked the package out the window - I didn’t open it - but the blast was strong and I was sorta too late. Everyone has been accounted for. A dozen of my employees were injured but so far no fatalities. I’ve gathered a team to make a list of possible suspects and find any oversights in our security protocols. My gut is telling me it has to do with our new project. I mean, the new contract with S.H.I.E.L.D was only announced this month. It must be related, right?”
Nodding in agreement, Coulson said, “Okay, Daisy. Good. But first, you need to take a deep breath. Fury and I are putting together an investigation -“
“Hold on. This is my company-“
“Which is why you will be involved in the investigation and have ultimate control over what happens, per our agreement-“
“Good,” Daisy huffed.
“But there is one thing I need from you-“
“Johnson, good to see you’re okay,” Fury said, rounding the corner.
“Has Coulson told you-“
“No, I have not.”
“What?” Daisy sighed, sensing she was about to make an unwilling compromise.
Smiling one of his ‘there is no room for argument’ smiles, Fury said, “While we consider what level of threat this attack was, S.H.I.E.L.D. and S.W.O.R.D. are placing you under twenty-four hour protection.”
“No,” Daisy said heatedly, stepping towards two men she respected greatly. “My company was attacked. I was attacked. I don’t care who wants me dead. I’m not going to hide in some underground bunker like a scared little bitch.”
Fury’s eyes widened while Coulson tried to cover his smile with his hand. “Then what would you like us to do, Ms. Johnson?” Fury asked, only a hint of irritation under his curiosity.
“I’m tripling my security at Skye Tech and giving my employees the rest of the week off, but I’m going to oversee the construction as they fix the building and I want in on the investigation.” Daisy crossed her arms resolutely.
“Fine,” Fury agreed, leaving Coulson and Daisy stunned. “But Coulson is going to hand pick trusted agents to follow you twenty-four-seven. This is my only offer.”
“I can handle myself,” Daisy said smiling cockily, “Agent May trained me and I live with another field agent. If you send me more than one agent at a time, I will lose their tail. Every. Time.”
Fury smiled at her and nodded. “One body guard, it is.”
Daisy nodded at them both in agreement. “Alright, then I need to go find Fitz and update him. Jemma took Alya to Tripp’s place for her protection, but she should be back soon as well.”
Right as Daisy was about to walk away, Coulson grabbed her arm again. “Have you contacted Kora, May and Mack?”
“I texted them, yeah,” Daisy said quickly, her mind a million miles away. “They all responded. Tripp and Yo-Yo too.”
“This has been picked up by every major news station, Daisy.”
She grimaced, closing her eyes. “Yeah, makes sense. I hadn’t thought about it.”
“Johnson,” Fury grumbled. “Have you been checked out yet -”
Her phone vibrated and a surprising number popped up. “Sorry, hold that thought.” She picked up her phone and smiled as she answered, “Hello, Pepper.”
“Daisy,” Pepper sighed into the phone, “Tony just told me the news. For fuck sake, you two have the worst luck.”
“Or the best luck, depending on your perspective.”
“Ha-ha. I’m sure you’re being pulled in a million directions right now, but Tony and I are in the city this weekend if you need anything. We’re more than happy to help. I’m glad you’re safe.”
“Thank you. I, ah, might take you up on that offer but I’m currently staring at two very peeved men.”
“Oh god. Okay. Say hi to Coulson and Fury for me.”
“Yep. Bye.” As she hung up her vision blurred considerably, but she ignored it. “An EMT gave me a basic look over a few minutes ago. I likely have a concussion, but I’ve dealt with way worse ones. I’m fine.”
“You don’t look fine,” Fury added bluntly.
Daisy waved them off dramatically, but at that exact moment her vision flipped and danced so drastically, she felt she was going to vomit. She didn’t. She did, however, fall. If not for Coulson’s quick reflexes she would have slammed her head against the pavement.
Everything went black anyway.
She woke up in a completely new place. The sterile smell and sound of her rapidly beating inhuman heart on a monitor immediately set her on edge as she looked around. Blinking back to reality it took her a moment to realize she was laying in a hospital bed. “Fuck,” she grumbled under her breath as nausea rolled through her as viciscously as her pounding headache.
“Oh thank god, you’re awake.”
Daisy squinted at Jemma as she walked into the room. Trailing behind her was Coulson and a man in a suit she didn’t recognize.
“Mmmhmm,” Daisy grunted, barely moving an inch in case it angered her head further. “Why aren’t we on a base?”
Jemma frowned. “Quicker. The Lighthouse is on the other side of the country and even the playground is hours away. We couldn’t risk it.”
“Kay. So this must be my new bodyguard,” Daisy mumbled unhappily.
It was bad enough she was in the hospital and her business had been attacked, but she really had to be watched over by a rando agent? It felt patronizing. Mean. God had a shitty sense of humor, which she had always known, but damn.
“Yes,” Coulson said before anyone else could react. “This is Agent Daniel Sousa. He’s worked for me for years. He’s good friends with Agent Davis and Agent Piper.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Ms. Johnson,” Agent Sousa said. “I’ll stay out of your way as much as possible.”
“Great,” Daisy said sarcastically. She trusted Davis and Piper with her life, but she had no interest in small talk right now.
“I’ll be compiling a small pile of other agents to switch Agent Sousa out with, but for now consider him a house guest.”
Daisy glared at Coulson. “I have a guest room you can stay in, Agent Sousa,” Daisy said, grimacing in pain as she attempted a smile. “My sister lives with me and I have a dog. Hopefully that won’t be a problem.”
“Not at all, Ma’am. I love animals,” Sousa said with a casual smile.
Well at least her snappy manner hadn’t pissed him off. That’s probably a good sign, she decided.
“We convinced the hospital to allow us to use their x ray machine-”
“Wait,” Daisy cut Jemma off, suddenly worried, “They have my records now?”
“No. We’re going to strip the file once you leave. You’re safe, Daisy,” Jemma clarified quickly.
Daisy dug her palm into her forehead, which relieved a bit of pain. “Sousa, have you signed an NDA?”
“Excuse me. What?” Sousa asked in surprise. “I would never share anything I learn on assignment.”
Coulson sighed. “Daisy, he’s fine.”
She eyed him suspiciously, but Sousa didn’t flinch. He just looked at her respectfully with mild amusement and a touch of honest curiosity.
“Would you mind shutting the door?” she asked him, giving in. Once the hospital room door clicked shut, Daisy addressed Jemma and Coulson. “No one else has seen my heart rate or taken my blood?” She noticed the confused look on the agent’s face, who was still standing by the door, but ignored him. “No one can know. We’ve been too careful.”
“I never left your side,” Jemma said confidently. “When you passed out I had already arrived. I saw you being wheeled to the ambulance on a stretcher and accompanied them.”
Daisy closed her eyes and sighed in relief. “Okay.”
“We’re going to do some more tests. I will send them to Fitz to look over thoroughly there. But as long as the concussion hasn’t caused severe damage we’d need to operate on, you should be okay to go home and rest there. Kora is grocery shopping for comfort foods.”
Daisy smiled, eyes still closed. “Of course she is.”
After what felt like a week's worth of tests, Jemma gave Daisy the all clear to go home. She had a concussion, three bruised ribs, a bruised shoulder blade, countless minor bruises and 5 stitches on her forehead. But she was okay.
Coulson had gone back to the crime scene hours ago. She had talked to six of her closest friends, including her sister, while in the hospital. It was now dark out and Jemma was talking to a nurse who had been assisting her all day.
The door was slightly ajar as Daisy changed back into her suit. Agent Sousa was respectfully staring at the hallway, keeping a lookout. He had been nothing but polite all afternoon, but she was aggravated by his presence. More than anything she was angry. She wanted nothing more than to go a round with a boxing instructor, but the concussion got in the way of even simple movement. She felt restless, helpless, which was not something Daisy Johnson, the former S.H.I.E.L.D. superhero turned tech powerhouse, felt often. She didn’t feel comfortable that a stranger, especially someone who worked with her former boss and father figure, saw her like this. Daisy hated it.
Grinding her teeth, she grimaced in pain as she slid on the arm of her suit jacket.
“Are you O-”
Daisy turned to see Sousa staring at her, frozen in place at the door. He clearly regretted saying a word, but Daisy was too tired to argue or care. She very hesitantly nodded to her jacket, which was still only half on. Her ribs and shoulder blade hurt too much.
His eyes went wide. “You want my help?” He sounded as surprised as she felt.
“You’re making me wanna change my mind, Sousa,” she said dryly.
He shook himself out of it and walked forward. He whispered “Sorry” and gently held the jacket open as he helped ease her arm into the fabric so she didn’t have to lift her arm very far. He was surprisingly careful to not jostle her body too much as well.
“Thanks,” Daisy breathed as she buttoned the jacket closed. “I’m sure there will be at least one reporter outside. I should probably do my makeup.”
“You saved an entire floor of people and almost died in the process. You look - good enough for any unwanted cameras.”
Daisy looked up at him, her eyebrows rising from the tone of his voice, and suddenly realized he was standing incredibly close, so close she could feel the warmth of his body heat. Right then he must have noticed as well because he took a step back, his face calm, open.
“I should be at the door.”
Sighing, she brushed off whatever that was and sat down on the bed again as he went back to his post. She knew there was no way she would be released without Jemma personally taking her home. But if the glimmer in Sousa’s gaze said anything, maybe she could skip redoing her makeup after all. She grabbed her phone instead and checked her emails while she waited.
An hour later, Jemma and Agent Sousa were walking her into her two story home in San Francisco. Fun fact, she really regretted the decision to buy a home on a steep hill right now. If she didn’t have them on both sides of her, Daisy wasn’t sure she’d be able to stay upright.
Jemma was going on about what medications she could not take and what she needed to do for the next twenty-four hours. She promised to check up on her tomorrow and to bring over a new piece of biotech that might be helpful. Daisy was only half listening because her vision was swimming again. Hopefully, Sousa would remember some of the instructions as well. If not, oh well. She’d text Jemma or tell Kora to.
“Hey freak,” Kora said, opening the door with an anxious smile on her face. “I’m considering having a talk with the big guy to make an arrangement for another nine lives. You’re running low. But I may have to sell my soul like Robbie. You good with that?”
Agent Sousa looked confused and mildly offended. Jemma rolled her eyes, but smirked. Daisy laughed despite the pain that shot through her scalp.
“I’m fine, guys,” Daisy said, like a liar, as she pushed Jemma’s arms off of her and waved for Daniel to step back.
He had been keeping an absurdly close pace with her, his arms in the air ready to catch her if she fell. If she didn’t feel like she might actually fall, she would have quaked him on his ass on her front lawn.
Jemma sighed and shared a knowing glance with Kora as Daisy walked into her house. She pretended not to see it.
“I take it, this is our new roommate?” Kora asked politely, eying Agent Sousa.
“Hello,” Sousa said, holding his hand out to shake Kora’s hand, “I -”
“Daniel Sousa, meet my annoying baby sister, Kora. Kora, meet the straight-laced-Coulson’s-pet-Agent-Sousa,” Daisy mumbled as she dropped her purse on the floor and kicked her heels off. She could practically kiss the comfy rug under her feet, if not for the pesky dizziness.
“Nice to meet you,” Kora said quickly before turning to make sure Daisy didn’t fall as she took her shoes off.
“You too.” Sousa followed them inside, but stayed out of the way.
“I would stay, but I should go pick up Alya.”
“Oh my god, Jemma. I have two babysitters. Please go check on your daughter. Fitz’s email tracker says he was still at the office a half hour ago. Go yell at him for me too, while you’re at it.” Daisy sat down carefully on her favorite chair and rested her head on her palms. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Jemma sighed. “Make sure she doesn’t take ibuprofen -”
“It’s a blood thinner, I know, Jem,” Daisy yawned. “I’ve had a concussion before.”
Jemma hugged Kora on the way out and shared a glance with Agent Sousa before heading out; she should ask him about that later, Daisy told herself, as she leaned back against the chair.
“Can you do stairs now?” Kora asked quietly as she closed the door. “I bought your favorite junk foods, soup, crackers, ginger ale and ginger tea. I can bring it to you in bed.”
“Ah,” Daisy grumbled, her head spinning. “I kinda don’t want to move.”
“I figured,” Kora said, nonchalantly. “I set up the guest room for you since it’s on the first floor. That way you can be right next to me.”
“Smart,” Daisy sighed, blinking her eyes open. “Sousa, you can take my room for the night. It’s the only bedroom upstairs. Plus, I have a room off of my closet with my security feeds. My tablet has a plug in. I can add it to your phone if you want later, but not tonight. Kora can show you around, right?”
Kora nodded immediately but Agent Sousa looked unconvinced. “I can take the couch for the night. Though I should have a look at your security system.”
Kora looked back at Daisy, unsure of what to do. Daisy glared at Sousa, too tired for any bullshit. “You’re here to protect me if say a bomber or a crew with machine guns rolled up. Correct?” Daisy asked bluntly.
“Well, yes. Of course.”
“Then you should accept my offer of a bed and a good night's sleep.”
When both women looked at him with glares of a thousand suns, Daniel sheepishly accepted.
“Great,” Daisy said, “Then Kora can show you around upstairs. I’m gonna stay right here for now.”
“Perfect,” Kora agreed, as she grabbed Sousa’s arm to scurry out of the living room.
“Bring me my sweats when you come down!” Daisy yelled to her sister.
Every inch of her body hurt. She should probably get up to have some water and get a few ice packs, but she was tired and her head felt like it was vibrating. A concussion was always hell with her powers. Everything became so much louder and more sensitive. She overheard Kora upstairs giving the agent a tour and sighed.
Everything was so much simpler this morning.
Now she had a stranger - who took orders from her over protective father figure - taking up residence in her home, a sister who was about to become insufferably considerate, a PR and literal mess, injured employees and on top of all that she had to find a bomber who apparently wants her dead. Oh yeah, and she needed to keep her secret because while Daisy Johnson had become a CEO of a fortune 500 tech company since leaving S.H.I.E.L.D. four years ago, she was also a powerful inhuman who under the rules of the Sokovia Accords should be locked away in a prison in the middle of the ocean.
“I’m fine,” Daisy repeated quietly to herself. “I can handle this. No problem.” After all, she had, in fact, handled worse.