Twas the night before December twenty fifth and all through the Airborne Mobile Command Station, not a SHIELD agent was stirring not even a-
“I just don’t understand how you can call yourself a scientist, and yet hold your theory up for all of the scientific community to see Fitz!” Simmons yelled, jerking me out my sleep. Really Simmons, really? That’s just the way a gal likes to be woken up at ungodly o’clock in the morning by high pitched, irate Britishness right outside your paper thin door... cabin... bunk... thing. “There’s just no empirical evidence that supports your preposterous theory.”
“Just because I’m a scientist doesn’t mean I’m opposed to belief! A scientific leap of faith based upon historical accounts dating back hundreds of years is just logical. How do you explain all the eye witness testimony?” Fitz yelled back. And yeah, this is just not how I wanted to get up today. I don’t even know what time it is. I hit the clock- yeah, too f$%@£g early.
“Fitz! You’re a scientist! You’re basing your entire hypothesis on a small subfield of parascience.” And wow, she really does get high pitched and screechy this early. I should probably do something about this.
“You believe in Thor!”
“Oh don’t be absurd, of course I believe in Thor! There is actual evidence that Thor exists, have you seen his arms Fitz? His arms!” Which sounds like my queue to break it up. Why is this my job? Seriously, why is this my job?
“Guys!” I slam my door-cabin-bunk thing open, looking between the pair of them. You know what? These guys rock the scientific community and yet, it is ungodly o’clock in the morning and their standing outside my bunk squabbling like children. I doubt Bruce Banner has to put up with this. Well, I mean if he weren’t generally on the run for being a big green smashing things type of guy. “Do you even know what time it is? Seriously!”
“Sorry Skye,” Fitz says, looking down and abashed like some kind of kicked in the face puppy. Damn it. “But she started it!”
Yeah, not going to forgive him this time. I have seen the time; I am immune to his puppy face of doom (which I’m pretty sure S.H.I.E.L.D. trains their agents and operatives how to use. It would explain everything; it would explain Coulson.)
“Excuse me? Well, I wasn’t the one who posted on the scientific forums about my stupid theory!” Simmons snapped back. And I shouldn’t bite. I shouldn’t ask the question.
“What theory is that?” Damn it Skye, I asked the question.
“That Santa Claus is real.” FitzSimmons replied together in perfect harmony.
Of course I asked the question.
Rubbing my temple, I take a breath. I should not follow this up; I should go back to bed and leave them to sort out their thing alone. And yet I ask the damn question. Again. Really, if there was a handbook for prospective agents under Dumbass, there would probably be a picture of me. You just have to keep asking the questions Skye, keep digging yourself a bigger grave.
“You believe in Santa?” Aaagh, why can I never shut up? Stupid insatiable thirst for truth, knowledge and the free movement of information.
“No, Fitz believes in Santa despite the lack of scientific evidence to support his theory. Really, children get over this Fitz. This is just like the monkey thing all over again,” Simmons begin and I, Dumbass Trainee Agent of the Year, go to open my mouth. And promptly shut it. Whatever the monkey is, I do not want to know. Damn it I do. But focus!
“Firstly, this is not like the monkey thing-“ What’s the monkey thing?! “-and secondly, what Jemma is failing to tell you Skye is the long and recorded history of eye witness testimony surrounding the mysterious case of the J.R.F.P.U.O.”
“The Jerfpoo?” Yeah, I asked. Sue me.
“Jolly Red Fat Persons of Unknown Origin.” FitzSimmons say again, in their freakish Vulcan mind meld way.
“Of course you acronym’d it.” I say sighing, leaning against my door. Why did I engage with them? I could have just kept my door shut and play Minecraft or hack Walmart again but oh no, I had to be a team player, didn’t I?
“The- it’s not pronounced Jerfpoo- J.R.F.P.U.O has been seen by multiple eye witnesses-“ Fitz began before Simmons interjected.
“Christmas songs and children’s stories do not count as eye witness testimony.”
“-As I was saying Jemma before you interrupted. It’s not just the eyewitness testimony,” Fitz grinned, he looked so buoyant. Kind of like a kid. I bet his holidays were always the fun kind, not the- yeah, I’m not going to go maudlin. “Look every year, every single year there is an anomalous data result on the S.H.I.E.L.D. global monitoring software. Every year, at exactly the same time, at each and every station something happens and we lose power. Just for a nanosecond but something happens.”
“And Fitz thinks that it’s Santa Claus,” Simmons finished off while I just stare at them both. Okay, so I don’t think that it could be Santa Claus. Norse Gods aside, that is just crazyFitztown calling. But a nanosecond? A nanosecond of data insecurity, where the eyes (eye singular?) of S.H.I.E.L.D isn’t upon us. Well that? That I could definitely use. In a non creepy way. I swear!
“Well, it could be Santa Claus.” I say finally. I’m a bad person I know. And I feel especially bad when I see that look on Fitz’s face. On his stupid, adorable, puppy face. Yeah, I feel guilty. I sigh and admit. “It could be a lot of things. How were you going to find out?”
“We’re- erhem, I’m going to monitor the carrier’s data and monitoring equipment, check for anomalous readings and analyse them.” Fitz said with a grin as Simmons sighed and rolled her eyes. “Well, I am. And-“
“-I’m going to tell him I told you so when the data shows that it’s not Santa Claus.” Simmons replied.
“You’re welcome to join us; we’re going to have hot chocolate the kind with the miniature marshmallows in it.” Fitz said, I have to admit a little too quickly for my liking. Yeah, I’m not one for playing awkward third wheel even if it does mean I might get a nanosecond of hacking in. It’s bad enough when Coulson is alone with his collectibles. I’ll make up an excuse. A disease! Maybe not a disease. But something. I could totally use the nanosecond here in my bunk-cabin-thing.
“Oh do, one more bloody mad person won’t do any harm.” Simmons says. And damn her, she has puppy eyes nailed too and is that her arm looped through mine. I’ll just have to be extra sneaky. “Go on it’s practically a tradition. Even if it is based on a pretty shoddy, evidence lacking hypothesis.”
The pair glare at each other for a moment and I’m starting to think I might actually need Ward to come and separate them. Then again, this is Ward he would probably night-night them both and leave me to it.
“Sure, I mean it’s not like I’m going back to sleep now, is it?” I say, little sarcastically. And then there it is. The double FitzSimmons puppy look of doom.
“Oh, we didn’t wake you up did you? Silly Fitz, you know you get too loud when you’re excited.” Simmons says, promptly ignoring the look and the hand gesturing going on behind her from Fitz. Which is sensible. Probably for the best. Wow, I didn’t think Fitz could bend that much. “Come along then to the laboratory!”
I stare at the closed door-cabin-bunk things and wish that maybe- just maybe that this was a team-family thing. A bonding exercise, yeah I know dumb right?
“You know even if Jemma is right, which she’s not but even if she was then Santa Claus could still exist. In the multiverse.” Fitz says, leading us all down to the lab which was festooned in holiday spirit. Festooned in it.
“Well, that’s the multiverse Fitz. Anything could happen there.” Simmons says, setting everything up. And you know, for such an apparent unbeliever she really was going whole hog on this thing. Every doohickey was lit up and doing something.
“And the multiverse is? Wait; is that the whole Evil Spock thing?” I ask, looking so subtly for somewhere to connect into. Oh yeah, subtle. Agent Melinda May has nothing on me.
“It’s the hypothetical series of infinite or finite possible universes that compromise everything that exists or could potentially exist. So, yes technically the whole Evil Spock thing.” Fitz replies with a grin, launching into this entire monologue about Santa Claus, monkeys and the- yeah, I tuned out. Look I’m a hacker, I’m a lifelong nerd but even I have a struggle keeping up with a slightly hyperactive Fitz. Even Simmons looked a little... glazed over as she made us all hot chocolate.
“It’s starting!” Simmons says interrupting, Fitz as they leap practically in unison onto the bench together. And then they look at me with that stupid adorable, puppy look and pat the bench beside them both. This is my chance- this is my- “Well, come along Skye.”
Look, I could hack every S.H.I.E.L.D mainframe and one nanosecond of unsecure network is all I would need. A nanosecond of data could tell me where my parents are, who my parents are, what the hell happened. Or I could sit with FitzSimmons and enjoy myself, at ungodly o’clock in the morning waiting to see if Santa, honest to God, Santa exists.
“Screw it,” I say, pocketing my tablet. My parents can wait, my family can’t. And you know sitting around in a cold lab, the night before December Twenty Fifth is actually a whole lot cosier than I imagined. Especially now that we have hot chocolate with the tiny marshmallows in it (as if there was any other way to drink hot chocolate.) It’s nice, the three of us sat together with those two bantering back and forth.
“Okay, so according to my research. The anomaly should occur in five, four, three-“ Fitz begins as Simmons and I help him finish the countdown. “-two, one! There!”
“Oh my God Fitz!” Simmons says, leaping to her feet and then the pair of them are movement, noise, talking at a billion miles an hour over each other. “Scanning, scanning...”
I can’t believe this; I can’t believe I’m genuinely holding my breath to find out if Santa Claus is real.
“...nothing. Nothing, I’m so sorry Fitz.” And there it is, the reason I’d give up a nanosecond of data. Simmons and her scepticism still supporting Fitz, still being there for him despite what she’d said about his hypothesis or whatever.
“It’s alright, honestly it is.” Fitz says. All sad puppy eyes until Simmons pats him on the back. My chance is gone but my family isn’t.
“There’s always next year?” I say and that gets a smile from the pair of them before they launch into a full scale plan of action. Next year, next year they’re going to find out if Santa exists. And I’m apparently going to help? Yay?
“It should have worked though; everything was set up to work. I don’t know what happened.” Fitz finishes before smiling at me. We clink mugs and I grin at him over the miniature marshmallows. Who knows what happened. Maybe it really was just an anomalous data result after all?