Jemma has no tears left. And she can't find the strength to muster any more. It's made no difference. Fitz; he's still gone. They were separated immediately once they were taken on plane. Grant was smart enough to advise Garrett of that. Coulson, Skye, May, Tripp. Who knows where they are, or if they even know where she is. If they know that Fitz and her are missing.
Her temporary cell is her own pod, which brings no comfort, just increases the ache. She can't help but think of the last time she was here, before everything went to absolute shit, when they were all still a family. It's all wrong and broken now and there's nothing for her to do but curl up on the bed, waiting for whatever Hydra decides to do with her.
It's quite a while before she's disturbed. She's managed to fall asleep from pure exhaustion, and the door opening startles her awake.
The man standing in the doorway is well dressed, smart, a look of authority in his expression. He doesn't look like a typical Hydra soldier. Jemma wasn't aware she could become more frightened than she was.
“My name is Sunil Bakshi. I'm here to explain a few things to you.” He isn't messing about, and she finds she's thankful for it. She feels she'll be able to handle this all better if she just knew what the hell was going to happen.
“According to your records Miss Simmons, you are quite the accomplished biochemist. We would like your help with a drug called GH-325, as it has come to our attention you've studied it before. My personal opinion is that we simply make you comply, but someone managed to convince the...higher ups, that you would be much more valuable to us agreeing of your own free will.”
Jemma lets herself feel a slight touch of relief. But only for a second. She doesn't want to ever help Hydra achieve their screwed up goals, but honestly, she's utterly terrified of dying.
Being brainwashed doesn't sound entirely pleasant either. She'd like to avoid that too if possible.
“We will also require your expertise with the people we have...liberated from Shield's Sandbox. Some of them have some truly remarkable talents that have not been fully explored. We wish to do just that. Give these people what they deserve.” His smile is vicious, and doesn't reach his eyes. “Do you have any questions for now?”
The distress has caused her throat to become impossibly tight, internally strangled, so she doesn't trust that any attempt to answer verbally would result in anything more than a strangled rasp. She has too much dignity for that. She shakes her head sharply instead, and that seems to satisfy Bakshi. He moves to the side and gestures towards the door.
“If you would like to step this way, we're going for a little walk.”
The plane must have landed at one point when she was sleeping, as she's lead straight outside into an enormous hanger. Two men step forward to flank them as Bakshi guides her towards an elevator. Jemma can feel sweat prickling the back of her neck as they step inside. Keeping a brave face is becoming harder than she thought; cramped into this tiny space with giant, intimidatingly armed muscles and this calculating, unreadable man.
The doors open onto an empty floor, looking like any office building she's ever been in; austere and unassuming. They stop in front of what she can only assume to be an office door, though no name graces the plate holder at the top. Bakshi gives her another one of his tight smiles, and goes to walk further down the hall. Jemma finally finds the courage to speak, afraid of what she wants to ask, but needing the answer.
“What happens if I refuse to help you?”
Bakshi halts, and turns back to face her. “He said he would make sure you didn't. No matter how it happens Miss Simmons, you will be made to comply. It is your choice as to whether the decision stays, I suppose, your own choice.”
He doesn't give her a chance to ask anything else, and disappears around a corner. Jemma can feel the dread building rapidly, but the guards are still beside her, making sure she enters, and breaking down in front of them is an embarrassing prospect. She really does value her pride that much. Especially while on enemy ground.
She can't say she's exactly surprised to see Grant Ward leaning against the wall of the office, the poster child of cocky and casual all rolled into one God-awful traitor, but it certainly doesn't boost the odds she feels being in the current situation. The door is slammed closed behind her.
“I stopped them brainwashing you.” He says it with such arrogance she almost punches him right then and there. Her anger fuels her, makes her feel stronger, more in control. She isn't willing to give him any satisfaction, or gratitude. He won't get that from her.
“Am I supposed to thank you?” The impassive tone causes Grant's mouth to twitch into a frown.
“Not they. You. You are a part of this. You betrayed all of us for Hydra. At least don't be a fucking coward and own up to that.”
“I saved you.” Jemma can't help but snort. “It wasn't easy. It took a lot of convincing. Especially Garrett. But who knows if any of that brilliant mind of yours would be lost in brainwashing. So I said you would be most valuable as you are.” It's almost the same spiel Bakshi had used. It doesn't ease her fear this time though.
“So yes, you definitely should be thanking me. It's more than I could do for...certain others.”
Her eyes snap over to him and her stomach plummets down to her feet.
He doesn't move, doesn't indicate that's what he meant. But he doesn't need to. His silence speaks volumes.
“What happened to him? What did you do with Fitz?” It takes all her will to keep her voice steady.
“I had to make a choice. It wasn't an easy one.” It's not an answer, and it chills Jemma right down to her bones.
“What did you do with Fitz?”
“Tell me what you did!” She's too desperate now to care about what raising her voice will do. Grant, surprisingly, ignores it, and instead begins to explain. She isn't quite convinced that his conscience believes he owes her anything, regardless of how much she does, but she doesn't have time to be confused over it.
“Garrett told me himself. Fitz wasn't needed. Not like you.” She can't hide her distaste at the words. “But he managed to get away, and he locked himself in a medpod. I didn't want to have to kill him.”
The way he says it, so calmly, makes her heart squeeze painfully tight. She can't breathe. Can't think. “Fitz. No, no, no. He can't be...He can't...Oh God.”
Jemma collapses beside the bin next to his his desk and promptly heaves out what little stomach contents she has. She can't stop shaking as she wipes the back of her hand across her mouth, and internally scolds herself for seeming so helpless in front of her current company. So she refuses Grant's help as she pulls herself upright, bracing back against the desk. She doesn't trust her legs to stay standing.
“I didn't shoot him Jemma.” His voice is gentle, as if this new information will somehow ease the emptiness inside her chest. “He wouldn't leave the pod. So I ejected him from the plane. It was the only way he had a chance of surviving.”
“Fuck you!” She rasps, “Fuck you! We we're travelling over the ocean! He's got to be at least 90, 100 feet deep by now! His chances of survival are minuscule to say the least!”
“It was either drop Fitz from the plane or put a bullet between his eyes. I gave him a fighting shot. No pun intended.”
Maybe he thinks that will make her smile. Maybe he's actually trying to show some compassion. All Jemma wants to do is hurl again. Then sleep.
And hopefully, mercifully, wake up out of this nightmare.
Grant sighs, knowing he won't be able to reason with her anymore. “I know you don't want to listen. But I'm sure you will soon. You'll understand.”
Although it has all the connotations of one, it doesn't seem to sound like a threat at all.