The words “yes, sir” die in her throat as her mind catches up with her instincts, and her eyes drop to her wrist where it’s laying on the table in front of her, tapping fingers stilled.
Coulson says her name, and Bobbi clears her throat and says as if she isn’t still recovering from her shock, “Understood, sir.” And before she can decide if it’s a good idea or not, she asks, “Agent Simmons? Her wrist, is it-”
“I think it’s best if I don’t tell you,” Coulson interrupts quickly, but she can hear a smile in his voice, no matter how much he tries to play it cool. “Good luck, Agent Morse. She’s a notoriously bad liar. And May will kill you if you fail.”
Then he hangs up, and Bobbi’s left with the warring mental images of May advancing on her with murderous intent and the familiar shadowy form of her soulmate.
Agent Simmons, it turns out, is better at lying than Coulson had advertised her to be. At least, she makes it through the initial interview for Hydra without drawing undue suspicion to herself (she’s a former Shield agent as far as they know, that’s obviously going to draw suspicion).
As head of security, Bobbi is asked for her opinion, and with months of practice, the words come easy. Every Shield agent that has been brought in has been a risk, but Jemma Simmons is one definitely worth taking. And the others nod agreement, and Simmons is in.
Bobbi stays away, simply keeping an eye on Simmons when she can. Once she’s cleared for the labs, she seems much more at ease, distracted from her nerves by the prospect of new science.
They don’t speak; Bobbi doesn’t approach her, and Simmons sticks to herself.
There’s no opportunity for Bobbi to see her wrist.
It’s on the weekly security check about a month after Simmons joins Hydra that they finally meet. Bobbi takes Simmons’ level because she has no self-control (and with the valid excuse that it’s the most likely to actually have a security risk) and sends her underlings off elsewhere.
Bobbi’s cover means she spends more time checking Simmons desk than the others, but of course it’s clear. Coulson wouldn’t have sent her if she couldn’t handle herself. And maybe she lingers just a bit longer than necessary, hoping for a glimpse of Simmons’ wrist, to no avail.
Simmons is obviously terrified of her, no matter how she tries to hide it. It’s obvious the pressure of being undercover so long is beginning to weigh on her, and the nerves that had been hidden a month ago are beginning to peek through.
One of Bobbi’s deputies goes missing after he mentions to her feeling off about Simmons. (It’s pathetically easy to plant fake Shield files in his desk.)
The day the tip comes in about a mole, Bobbi feels sick to her stomach all day, that familiar gut feeling that something terrible is about to happen. She reduces an agent to tears before lunch and spends her break alone in her office, staring at the name on her wrist and trying to ascertain if it’s her or Jemma that’s making her feel sick.
She takes her time before she gets to Simmons’ desk when they run the surprise check that afternoon, giving her the opportunity to clear her desk of anything Shield-related she might have in it, and she’s satisfied when she sees Simmons masterfully slip something into the desk next to hers.
There’s nothing in her desk, of course, but nobody but the two of them know it, and maybe she enjoys leering over Simmons just a bit more than she probably should.
But Simmons doesn’t falter under her stare, and there’s a tingling in Bobbi’s chest.
Simmons’ sleeves are pushed up to her elbows where she’d been in the middle of work, and Bobbi knows that when she passes, she’ll be able to see the name printed on the inside of her wrist.
The announcement of one of her agents finding the flexipad in Simmons’ neighbor’s desk has her scowling.
It’s a long day. The feeling in the pit of her stomach doesn’t subside, and Bobbi finds herself tracking Simmons, waiting for an opportunity to speak with her in private. (Or at least as private as you can get in a Hydra lab with cameras stuck all over the place.)
She eventually corners her in the bathroom and tries to tip her off to her true identity, but past experience seems to have made Simmons even warier than before and she brushes off Bobbi’s words and scurries away.
Her sweater sleeves are still pushed up, and Bobbi grins when she finally sees her name written in cursive across the inside of Simmons’ wrist. The meeting wasn’t a total bust, at least.
The picture of Simmons with the Shield flexipad arrives in her email with a cheerful sound, and when she checks the message, expecting something worthless like usual, her blood runs cold instead.
She’s immediately out of her office, agents springing to their feet at the sight of her, and she takes a pair of them and heads for Simmons’ level. Odds are she’ll be long gone, but if she hasn’t seen the picture yet…
Simmons is gone when they get to the floor she works on, but everybody is more than eager to point out the way she’d gone and within a few minutes, they’ve found her, hovering uncertainly in the hallway with no idea where to go.
The agent to Bobbi’s right makes a move to chase her down, and Bobbi trips him easily. And before either of them realize that they’ve been betrayed, they’re out cold on the tile and Bobbi’s tucking her staves back under her jacket and heading for Simmons, who’s staring at her with wide eyes.
“There’s more on the way,” Bobbi says as Simmons shakes herself out of her stupor and frowns suspiciously at her. “Coulson told me to keep an eye on you and get you out if something happened,” Bobbi tells her, stopping a few feet away from her lest she bolt.
But the doubt in Simmons’ expression doesn’t falter, and Bobbi curses and yanks up the sleeve of her own jacket and shows Simmons the name hidden there. “Bobbi Morse, agent of Shield. Now c’mon, May’ll have my head if you get caught.”
Once they’re out and Bobbi’s riding an adrenaline high she hasn’t felt for months, cooped up and acting a loyal Hydra agent, she finds Simmons staring at her and gives her a questioning look marred by the fact that she can’t stop grinning.
“It’s just-” Simmons starts, then stops and shakes her head. “I’m still in shock, I think. I just met my soulmate while undercover in Hydra. Not exactly the situation I was expecting.”
Bobbi laughs, and it’s such a relief finishing an undercover mission that she feels like she’s drunk. “Trust me, I know,” she says. “I’ve been trying to see your wrist for a month.”
And Simmons laughs, and it’s the most wonderful sound Bobbi’s ever heard. “It’s very nice to finally meet you without fearing for my life.”
“Sorry about that. You know how it is,” Bobbi tells her. “But I’ll make it up to you, I promise. As long as you stop calling me Agent Morse.”
It’s what Simmons had called her in Hydra, and it doesn’t feel right for Simmons to keep referring to her as that. Her first name’s much better, Bobbi thinks, especially when Simmons nods and beams at her and says to call her Jemma then, as well.
They shake hands, grinning like idiots at each other, and while it doesn’t feel like nearly enough, Bobbi’s hand tingles where it touches Jemma’s and she decides it’s good enough for now.