But maybe Fitz would’ve heard her even if it had. Instantly he was switching on the lights and sitting up next to her, hands held out, but not actually touching her. She saw him look over her, and see she’d left the knife on the table. “Wasn’t the planet this time, was it? What was it? Hydra? Bakshi?”
Of all the things he could’ve asked. Jemma knew getting angry from that was irrational, but she whirled on him anyway, as she said, “Those terrorists slicing you open and watching you bleed out.”
His arms stayed exactly where they were, though she saw them twitch with the urge to fold themselves. “If I hadn’t done it,” he said, “you’d still be there. I’m not sorry. I can’t be.”
They’d had this argument already, from the time she’d first been able to have feelings over what he’d done to get to her. But the more time she put between herself and those 4,722 hours, the more upset Jemma got over the whole thing. “And what if I’d been dead?” she pressed. “There was…” she stopped, she still wasn’t up to talking about her time on the planet just after a nightmare in the middle of the night. “What if you’d gone in there and you’d gone searching for me and gotten away from the portal and you’d gotten trapped there too?”
“Then hopefully it would have been over quickly,” he said, matter-of-factly, because he’d already made clear to her that if he’d ever lost hope completely, he would’ve been happy to die. It wasn’t impossible, he’d even said, he might have done it himself that there not been anyone or anything else to do it for him.
That was the true reason for Jemma’s fury with him. “No,” she protested, her voice too weak. “No. You shouldn’t die for me. Not you. Nor for me.”
“Well I’m not going to now, am I?” he said. He wasn’t going to apologize. Jemma supposed he shouldn’t, since he’d even just said he wasn’t sorry, but it still drove her crazy.
“But what if you had?” she persisted. “Oh, Fitz, what if you’d been dead because of me?” She was started to cry. She couldn’t help it.
Fitz shuffled closer, close as he could get without touching, and Jemma leaned in to give him permission. Her face buried itself in his neck at the same moment his arms finally made contact and settled against her, and she breathed his embrace in even as she cried. She could feel his pulse against her cheek, and she pressed towards it.
Strange, that even after two weeks of sexual relations, this simple contact hadn’t lost its impact on her at all. Not that they wouldn’t be going further. She had the feeling they in fact would, within a few minutes from now or so, and perhaps afterwards, when she saw him relaxed and just happy in her arms, she would be able to be happy herself. It seemed so little to give him, but it was something. But they did need to finish this conversation first.
“I suppose Coulson basically told me this,” he said, “that you’d want me to move on. But you, at least, Jemma, should’ve realized I couldn’t have lived with myself…you know I can’t help loving you as much as I do.” Couldn’t help risking his life time and again to save her. Couldn’t help wanting to go with her if she ever went back-he’d told her that when she’d thought she’d wanted to.
Couldn’t help refusing her when she’d first offered him what he’d wanted from her for so long. “Not until you’re touching me all the time purely because you want to,” he said. “I’m not taking advantage of you when you’re still acting out of need.” She’d wanted to scream at him then.
“But I don’t deserve it,” she wept. “Not after I failed you when you were the one like this. I know Mack told you I left because you were worse around me, but I should’ve figured out another way to fix that. And you know who I am, and you know what I did-to Bakshi, I mean, when I…”
But he laughed darkly, and said, “You know, Jemma, that I did more than a few crazy things in my search for you. In fact, I met with groups of shady characters more than once, and those terrorists were the only time I caused chaos among people I could tell myself deserved it and ran, and I didn’t even care what happened to them. We’ve never had any of them confirmed as dead, but we never made any effort to find out, and it’s unlikely none of them got killed because of me. And I can’t even repent that.”
Of course he couldn’t. That part she didn’t even care about either; she was far too hard for that now. And that was just the thing. “But you’re still so good,” she said. “You’ve been here, and when I wasn’t, you’ve been so good to me….”
“Those were different circumstances,” he said. “You made me worse. I made you better. I told you, I understand that now.”
“But still,” she got to the point, the thing she’d thought so many times, that on that night finally came spilling out, “You deserve so much better than me. You deserve someone who can give more and take less, who doesn’t wake you up with her nightmares every night, someone who’s still not afraid of the universe, who can still look at it the way you still do, who can still see the wonders, rather than the dangers. You deserve…you deserve the woman you fell in love with.”
“Oh, Jemma,” he sighed, heartbroken for her, because of course he was. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, and then he said, “Jemma, you ought to realize, love isn’t about deserving. A-and even if it was, and y-you really think me so grandly deserving, well, shouldn’t I just deserve to have what I want?” She hated to hear his stammer return, though at least he was getting all his words out. “T-that’s you. What…whatever you are now. More…more than anything else in this entire universe.
I know you hate the idea of my dying for you, Jemma, of you hurting me. But I meant what I said, back when you wanted to go back; I’d rather die by your side, or just trying to get to it, than live without you ever again. T-that’s my choice to do that. And all I want besides that is to make you happy and well again, as much as you can be. J-just let me do that, Jemma. L-let me, please.”
As if she would refuse him when he begged her like that, especially when he offered her everything the selfish, primal parts of her had wanted almost nonstop from the time they’d first been able to focus again on anything besides basic survival and recovery. That id, that had her growling, “Yes,” and meeting his mouth hungrily, feeling dazed in between kisses, because she still wasn’t used to this, for the love she’d always had for Leo Fitz to be interlaced by this ferocious passion and desire.
They fell together, kicking the sheets aside; they always made love on top of them, with the lights on; now that she was used to them again, that was how Jemma felt safest. Just them and their skin and sweat; she had gone on the pill months ago when stress had turned her cramps crippling, and certainly they knew themselves to both be clean.
Just his name on her lips and her own whispered in return, their hands everywhere-not needing to touch him the way she’d needed to seven months ago hadn’t made her want to any less, and his hands giving her mind an anchor to hold itself too even as they roused her up and made her feel hot and so, so good, and that was before he slid into her. She placed her hands where through his back she could feel his heart beating; she would never get tired of knowing he was alive and whole and here.
Her body arched with each thrust; her skin tingled where his hands touched it; more words washed over her, whispers of love and devotion that her ears drank up greedily. All Jemma Simmons could do was breathe.