Trip and May are in France on a reconnaissance mission when Amelia flings herself at him. Literally. A motorcycle stops three meters from him, and all Trip sees is angry brown eyes and a familiar hijab, and suddenly he has an armful of angry French woman.
May has her weapon pointed at the young woman, but she is speaking a mile a minute, and judging from the young woman's tone of voice and Trip’s sheepish smile, she is not an enemy.
"Pardon my manners," Amelia says, once she realizes May has not lowered her weapon. "After SHIELD's... fallout, it was difficult to get a hold of him." She shoots him a look, her eyes clearly saying she has more than a few words to give to Trip.
May holsters her weapon. "It's a pleasure." She subsequently joins Amelia in staring at Trip, waiting for an explanation.
"I - I was going to email y'all but you know," Trip shrugs his shoulders helplessly. "I didn't want to compromise the mission or myself."
Amelia gives him a look that swears a trip to the guillotine, "Howling Commandos are the antithesis of Hydra."
“So was SHIELD,” says Trip bitterly.
Amelia soundly sucker punches him in the arm.
During the conversation, it must have dawned on May because she is looking at Amelia much more closely.
"Grandfather was Jacques Dernier," Amelia explains plainly.
May's eyes widen fractionally in recognition.
The look May gives Trip says he has some explaining to do.
Amelia continues, "We have a secure listserv for a reason, dearest cousin."
"I just figured since the agency fallout, y'all had better things to be doing.” He attempts to change the subject, “I'm surprised Interpol has you in France, I thought you were situated in Austria for the time being."
Amelia snorts, "Why do you think I'm here? I pulled a favor and had a friend monitor security feeds with your description, and boom, here you are." She nods at May, "I made sure to cover your tracks of course."
May raises an eyebrow, "You are using international security satellites to look for him?"
"America is such a trendsetter. Of course, all the other agencies had to up their intelligence game," says Amelia with a shrug. "That, and this doofus was doing a shoddy job of informing the family he was still alive,” she eyes May, still in uniform and packing, “And clearly active."
Later that evening, Trip writes an essay basically apologizing to his family.
Before the mission in Cuba, Trip had momentarily slipped away from the team. Just a few hours. Just enough.
He is sitting on a bench in Los Angeles, watching pedestrians and squirrels frolic on the other side of the street. He hears the familiar click of heels on the pavement.
“Glad to see you’re alive, son.” Gabriella Carter-Triplett sits next to him, relaxed and relieved.
Trip exhales, his voice refusing to remain steady. “Sorry, mom.”
Gabriella leans against him, her arm interlocking with his. “Wasn’t your fault.”
“He was my SO,” murmurs Trip. She bristles.
“I told you he was a son of a bitch,” seethes Gabriella. He squeezes her hand and she huffs before resting her head on his shoulder, “I retire and SHIELD goes downhill.”
“Mom,” says Trip, chuckling.
“It’s true,” Gabriella insists. “I expect you and your team to clean this up and pronto.” She looks up at him, a reassuring grin on her face, “I can’t go to the reunions and have the only child who’s part of a defunct security agency, can I?”
“No,” says Trip as he leans down and presses a grateful kiss to her forehead, “You won’t.”
They remain on the bench for a while longer.
"She doesn't look like a pizza guy," says Skye. The monitor is focused on a tall blonde woman casually standing in front of the Playground, a top secret, heavily armed installation, as breezily as any other. She is dressed in black jeans and a navy blue leather jacket, so definitely not military. "I thought you said the Playground was secret. Like, nonexistent secret." Skye pointedly looks at Koening.
"I, too, am surprised," is his response. He shrugs his shoulders as if to emphasize his flabbergasted state.
The woman turns her head, pulling off her sunglasses to look directly at the hidden camera that Skye herself had installed and thought was invisible from detection. Apparently not, since she waves her hand slightly causing Skye and Koening to jump.
"She's rather impressive," says Fitz. At the bland look Skye gave him, he flushes, "I meant her motorcycle."
"I think I recognize her,” Jemma states as they watch as the woman's knuckles rap against the boron steel door as if she was merely asking for sugar rather than asking for entrance to a high security base. "Should we assume, since she's knocking, that the likelihood of a Hydra invasion is minimal?"
“They might be changing their tactics,” Skye jokes, but her free hand inches towards the holstered weapon on her side.
A figure appears at the entrance.
He is smiling; his weapon nowhere in sight and his arms wide open as he walks toward her.
"What is Trip doing - oh," Skye abruptly closes her mouth mid sentence. "That was even more unexpected."
Trip and the woman embrace, a full-blown bear hug; Skye, Jemma, Fitz, and Koening awkwardly look at one another.
"Are they...?" whispered Fitz.
May is quietly behind the bewildered group, her hands folded primly behind her back. "Agent 13, otherwise known as Sharon Carter."
“Carter…” Simmons exhales the name reverently, “You don’t mean - “
May’s lips quirks upward, “That line of Carters.”
“Am I supposed to be impressed?” Skye frowns.
"I'll update you later," reassures Simmons, "But yes, you should definitely be impressed."
Coulson rounds the corner, eyes trained on the screen. "I heard she was on a classified assignment." Everyone in the room can hear the barest notes of envy in his voice. "With Captain America."
"Lucky," murmurs May.
"Not really," says a voice in the hallway. Trip and Sharon are now standing in the doorway, matching amused looks on their faces.
“This really is supposed to be a top secret facility,” sighs Koening mournfully.
“Hill,” responds Sharon. “She owed me. Now, quiz me so I can get a lanyard.”
As soon as Sharon is cleared to be a non-traitor and cross-examined by Coulson and May, she whisks Trip away.
“How much family does he have?” Skye is more than a little envious of him, but the giggle she earns from Jemma reminds her that yeah, she has her own kickass family that would scour the multiuniverse for her.
“I thought our rally point, in case we were burned, was Idaho?” Trip leans back against his seat and stretches his legs with a satisfied grunt. It was a long trip from the boondocks to Virginia.
“It was,” Sharon glares at him. “I waited for two days. You never came. All I get is a shitty mass email,” she jabs him in the shoulder with a finger, “And only after Amelia tracked you down and confirmed you were alive.”
“You sent an email too!” Trip swats at her finger as she continues to rapid fire poke him.
“The same week SHIELD went under, not a month later!”
“It got busy,” Trip answers weakly. He had meant to go to Idaho, to the coffee shop with the friendly cat and awesome expresso, but his anger toward Garrett had given him tunnel vision. He had meant to send an email, a text even, but he was hardheaded and this was such an inconceivable failure, his pride would, could not, let him face his family.
“Excuses,” scoffs Sharon as she unbuckles her seatbelt. “That’s why we’re doing this together.”
“I tried,” insists Trip.
“Really?” She dubiously raises an eyebrow.
“I did,” he continues, “I could only make it to the front door before turning away.”
“She should know. You know, that you and I are alive. And…and that,” Sharon says, although her voice is gentler. “Same. I…couldn’t...” she turns her head, balling her fist. “Trip, she needs to know.”
“Mom already told her.” The disappointment in Sharon’s face mirrors his mom’s. Trip is a coward. He was a coward when he did not report Garrett for his shady behavior, for the microaggressions that eventually manifested into behavior that got two of his team members killed trying to save his sorry ass. He was a coward when he did not confront Fitz regarding why the agent was behaving unusually around him. He was a coward in front of his mother, and he was definitely a coward now. “Together,” he finally says - no, begs, because he cannot face Gramma Peggy alone.
“Of course,” Sharon squeezes his hand, her hand is as damp as his.
Together, they walk toward into the hospice facility. They finally walk through the door and Peggy remarks how much they have grown. They hold her hand and inform her of the past few months and what has transpired. She knows, she is the Peggy Carter after all, and she grips their hands even tighter.
“You both will overcome this,” she says, conviction in her voice.
Trip and Sharon believe her.
Peggy stares at them for a moment and then – then she tilts her head ever so slightly, her eyes suddenly wide but nevertheless pleased. Her grip on their hands does not lessen. “What a surprise, I didn’t expect you two to find time and visit me anytime soon.”
“Of course Gramma,” croaks Trip after a beat. Sharon buries her head against Peggy’s side, “We thought we drop in since we’re in town.”
“Yeah,” Sharon says, finally looking up. Her eyes are glassy. “Sorry, still no updates on a great-grand baby.”
“Sharon was close though,” Trip interjects. “If she had accepted an invitation for coffe, but no, she gotta cockblock herself.”
Trip and Sharon start bickering and Peggy watches, and for a second, everything feels normal again.