But he finally manages it after about a day, when Daisy’s a bit more recovered, and Jemma and Lincoln end up going with Elena to call Joey, who’s still in the Cocoon. “Next call, you involve me,” Daisy calls to them as they’re walking out and Fitz is walking in. She does not look pleased to see him. “You are not sending him in to babysit me, Simmons.”
“I had nothing to do with it!” protests Jemma, holding up her hands.
“She didn’t,” Fitz confirms. “I’m here on my own impetus.”
“I think that makes it even worse,” Daisy mutters, but Fitz doesn’t think she really means it. Besides, when the door closes and leave the two of them alone, she said, “Well, I guess I should tell you too I’m happy you and Jemma have finally gotten with it.”
“Yeah,” said Fitz, grinning. “Some good news. Although we’re not telling everyone just yet.”
“I know, Jemma actually had to wait until Lincoln had gone to pee to tell me. I could tell she was bursting with it by then, though, with her thinking I was going to live and everything.” There was gladness in her voice just now, but she hasn’t smiled, and now she looks just worn again, chewed up and spat out.
Fitz doesn’t know if it’s even smart to say what he came here to say, but he nonetheless launches into it: “I…” No, he tells himself, don’t presume anything, “I-I don’t know if I know what you’re going through, exactly, but I, uh, I think I have some idea of it, at least. I, uh, remember, I do know what it’s like, t-to have someone take control, well, m-more of your heart than your mind, even if it’s literally taking control of your brain, and h-how that’s worse, b-because you’re still thinking on your own, s-so you still feel responsible for everything you’ve done, a-and you felt what you now hate having felt…”
“It didn’t feel like it!” It sounds like Daisy’s repeating something she heard someone say. She must see his confusion, because she said, “Ward said that to me. When May told me the full extent of what Lorelai did to him, and I told him I was there for him to help him deal with the fact that he’d been raped. I was confused when he wouldn’t call it that then. I didn’t know at the time, of course…he probably never saw it that way. Garrett conditioned him not to, really. Hive probably doesn’t see it that way either.”
Fitz can’t suppress a shudder. He’s not sure it all wouldn’t have happened to him eventually if they hadn’t stopped Lorelai. A terrible thought occurs to him, “Daisy, Hive didn’t…”
“Wasn’t interested. Doesn’t have interest in it anymore. I think he’s even pretty much agender. I was lucky. I would have let him.”
He breathes a sigh of relief. But then she continues, “He did sort of treat me as his girlfriend, though. It made me feel privileged. Part of what made me want to stay.”
He can tell where her thoughts are going, and he says, “Just because he took advantage of your actual emotions to further manipulate you doesn’t mean you need to beat yourself up over things you still know you would never have done of your full free will. Besides…” He hesitates, because this could hurt. “Y-you don’t r-really think you don’t belong here…d-do you?” He needs to stammer less. He usually doesn't this much anymore, though the situation makes it unsurprising.
Daisy is silent for a very long minute. “I do and I don’t,” she finally says. “Honestly, I think I’m always going to have that insecurity, at least when I’m in my right mind. There were too many years where I really didn’t belong anywhere. Twenty-five of them.”
“It must have felt pretty good,” he says sympathetically, “not having that feeling anymore.”
“Yeah, it did.” She sounds too broken. “But now, having to face it again…”
“W-would it help if I told you as far as I’m concerned, you absolutely belong here? Maybe if we persuaded Coulson to talk about his feelings enough to make you understand just how much you mean to him?”
“I do know all of that,” she sighs. “But maybe. It was kind of scary hearing from Lincoln what he did for me. You know, I have very much never wanted anyone to die for me. I remember when we had him in the cell, one day Ward pointed out to me he would. Said he’d find a relief. But I wouldn’t have wanted to sacrifice even his life for my own.”
Fitz tries not to think about how Ward finally did die. He doesn’t know how much of that Daisy’s aware of, or what she’d think of her surrogate father if she’d seen it the way he did. “He wanted to die for you for selfish reasons,” he says simply, because that’s obvious. “He even pretty much admitted that, saying he’d find it a relief. Then he wouldn’t have had to face any more consequences for what he did, and we would’ve felt obliged to him, at least a little.”
Daisy nods to all of that; she’s probably thought of it all at some point herself. Then she says, more nervously, “You know, Jemma told me what you said to her when you agreed to go with them back to that planet.”
“I meant it,” says Fitz, reminding himself there’s no point in being ashamed of what he can’t help. “I admit, it was selfish of me too, in a way, but what I’ve done for Jemma, what I’d do for her…” He has to stop to collect himself, his feelings about this are so strong.
“What either of you might now do,” she says softly. Of course; there’s no way that’s not on her mind.
“Fitz,” she says. “I’ve heard about the warhead. When I think of that vision…well, it’s all coming together way too much. I think someone’s going to sacrifice themselves to save the world.”
“Any of us would do that,” he comments, trying to stave off the thoughts of who it might be. It’s more likely to be him than to be Jemma, he tells himself, if it involves the warhead; that’s his field of expertise, after all.
“She’s worried, Fitz. I told her what I just told you, and she had the same reaction as you, that yes, that would happen, that one of us is going to willingly go to our death. She doesn’t even know how she’ll cope if it turns out to be you, and if it turns out to be her…”
Fitz wants to protest, that it can’t be, that maybe it’s self-centered and insensitive of him, if someone dying is truly inevitable, but it can’t be Jemma and that’s that. But he knows better.
“You need to promise her, Fitz, and you need to promise yourself, that you’re going to be strong, that you’re going to figure out a way to live without her if you have to. I’ve already told her she needs to make you the same promise, by the way. Because I don’t know if you’ve realized it, but she’s just as afraid of outliving you as you are of outliving her. Which is going to eventually cause you a problem down the road, but I suppose the lives we live, we might as well worry about one thing at a time.” First hint of a smile, but it doesn’t last long, just a moment before she urges on, “The moment you two are alone again, Fitz. Promise her.”
“All right, all right.” He can’t refuse, not when she’s looking like that. Even though she’s wrong, he’s sure; Jemma’s always been stronger than him; he accepted that as fact long ago. “I’ll promise.” And he’ll have to fulfill that promise, somehow, if it comes to that, even if he has no idea how; he’s never broken a promise in his life.
“Thank you,” says Daisy, which confuses him for a moment, but when he watches her sag into the bed as if a burden’s been lifted from her, he realizes.
“Daisy,” he says, “you are not going to hold yourself responsible for this upcoming death?”
She just glares and him and says, “And if Lorelai had guided you to actions that left someone dead? Especially if she hadn’t actually specifically ordered you to kill that person?”
Yeah, Fitz had to admit, he would’ve had a lot of trouble dealing with that. Especially if it had been Jemma. Although if it hadn’t been, she no doubt would’ve lectured him relentlessly about it not being his fault. Whether or not that would’ve helped is something he wouldn’t mind not knowing if Daisy wasn’t in this situation right now.
He tries to think of something else to say, but he takes too long. Daisy angrily turns over, as dramatically as she can in her weakened state, and is now facing away from him as she mutters, “You don’t know. You can’t. You got knocked out quickly. You can’t understand anything.”
The door opens, Jemma and Lincoln are back. “Daisy?!” An alarmed Lincoln is by her side, then glaring back at Fitz, demanding, “What did you say to her?”
“Oh, leave him alone,” Daisy tells him. “He and Jemma have something to say to each other, don’t you?”
“Yeah,” Fitz says as Jemma agrees too, though his heart is hammering as they step outside together.
It’s calmed a little as Jemma pulls him into a surprise hug, even more when she presses a kiss to the hair by his ear. She chokes up as she whispers, “Daisy told me what was in her vision, and I’m so afraid it’s going to be you. Oh, Fitz, and we wasted so much time…and I know it’s stupid of me and completely nonsensical, but you may be the only person I’ve slept with for nearly four years who isn’t yet dead.”
“We don’t know about Anne,” Fitz reminds her. “For all we know, Coulson has her operating out in the world the way he presumably still has Mike Peterson somewhere right now. He wouldn’t necessarily know she’s even acquainted with anyone here; why would he tell us? And except for Will, who voluntarily went on a dangerous mission to a new planet, you’ve only slept with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents since forever ago, and a lot of them have gotten killed these past three years. Even if Fate does exist, which of course can never be proven, that might just be a matter of luck.
And even if sleeping with you condemned me to death, Jemma, I-I’m still not sorry. Being with you’s been worth it.” He emphasizes his words with two kisses to her face, then one to the eyes he finds too wet. “If this whole thing with Hive wasn’t going on I’d be the happiest I’ve been in my life this past couple of weeks. Sometimes I think I am even so.”
But she’s crying outright. He’s not sure how much of it’s the emotions and how much of it is just plain exhaustion, but either way, it makes it easy to make that promise, impossible to deny her, really, “B-but if it is you, Jemma, I promise I’ll figure out how to keep going. Probably have to make multiple tries at it, but I’ll do it, I-I’ll keep trying methods until I find one.”
Unfortunately she’s not crying any less, but at least she’s able to talk: “I promise it too then. Even though I can barely stand to even think it, I’ll do it. For you, I’ll do it.”
He’s the luckier one here, he knows. He can believe her.