Lines That Tie
By Izzy

Starting over, they’d told Daisy, but there was one thing they’d kept from the past: their ability to know what the other was thinking. Not as strong as it once had been, “but we’ll get back there,” Jemma had said, and she’d just sounded so easy and sure about it.

They kept more physical distance than they had at first, putting the screen between them as they worked, sometimes still looking at it more than at each other, though the readings were coming up so fast that might not have meant anything. Daisy herself had to keep her eyes on it most of the time too, and she was the one who could just glance and know what it meant without thinking about it first.

There’d been a lot of talk about the communication devices of the Secret Warriors, and how they’d be linked together. They’d ultimately had to concede they’d do it through the internet, since the only viable alternatives would have been impossible to keep from the government and Talbot; it was better for their signals to be lost in the crowd of the world’s communications. They were going to have as much encryption as they could manage, though. Daisy had already spent a few hours preparing the most complicates scheme she’d been able to come up with. Now there were looking at what devices from Fitz could make their signals harder to detect, while still being receivable and decodable by the Warriors. He was also talking about something that could automatically translate something to Spanish while it was being decoded, but that might take a while.

“The amount of memory this requires,” said Fitz. “I’m afraid that eliminates my smallest design.”

Daisy took in the tiny chips on the table. “Is that one visible?” she asked.

“It’s this one,” laughed Jemma, gingerly picking up the tiniest of them. “You don’t mind my touching them, Fitz?”

Fitz did seemed to genuinely consider it, which made Daisy a little sad to see. But then he shrugged. “They’re all small enough to fit within the wristbands, of course,” he said. “New battery design. I actually used that idea you told Mack about, Jemma, the one about the conducting alloys…”

“He told you about that!” Jemma sounded truly delighted.

“Yeah,” said Fitz. “He said…he said he was pretty sure I was the one you wanted to hear about it.”

Daisy wanted to ask when any of that had been; she knew Mack and Jemma didn’t work together that much, though they had more towards the end of her recent rehab from torture. But she didn’t want to endanger this.

Fitz was even hastily moving on: “So, yeah, I’ve got about fifty of these, though most of them are probably useless without a lot of tweaking. I….I might have designed them at a time when I hadn’t gotten enough sleep.”

“Oh,” said Jemma softly, and Daisy could tell that she wanted to ask, but the two of them weren’t there yet.

“It’s all right,” he added. “I’m sleeping better now.” That cheered her up.

“At least you weren’t designing iron suits in the middle of the night,” Daisy said, deciding they could use the distraction. “You know Stark did that for a year after the battle of New York? After that incident with the Extremis I went hacking into his systems and found that out…” She’d laughed her head off when she’d read the records. She wasn’t sure if she should mention that or not.

But Fitz chuckled, and said, “Yeah, we heard that story.”

“Took you a while to believe it,” said Jemma.

“Thought it took you even longer.”

She was giggling when the screen let out a flurry of beeps that made Fitz say, “It’s ready to upload. Let’s try putting it in C3 first, then 6, then TDS.”

“You’d better not break TDS, Daisy,” Jemma added, gesturing to the cylindrical blue one. Daisy didn’t mind the menace in her voice, not when it told her Jemma had seen enough of these to have chosen a favorite.

She wasn’t going to be unhappy about anything, really, when she saw that, as Fitz with one hand tapped at the copper chip, if his other hand wasn’t actually holding Jemma’s, they still had their fingers interlaced as their hands lay on the table together.