Jemma Simmons meets Sharon Carter largely by accident.
Sharon is a Spec Ops darling known widely as 13; though as ominous as that sounds, it doesn’t undermine the fact that she is capable and kind and running large ops only a few months after she’s graduated the Academy. One of these large ops involves a complex network of espionage and intrigue that would probably make a fascinating spy thriller, or even just a good story if one had the time; but today, Jemma Simmons doesn’t.
Today there is a flurry of activity throughout Triage Bay 7, which is right outside of where SHIELD 423 is docked, shuttling a metric ton of injured agents back to the Hub for immediate treatment.
Jemma is 21 years old, has been at Sci Ops for eighteen months now, and is finding her medical training to be somewhat lacking as her eyes dart throughout the fray. The distress call over the loudspeaker (All available medical, biomed, field medical personnel and trainees please report to—) had chased her away from the lab she and Fitz share and towards the emergency. They only call everyone in if it’s a serious bloodbath.
Knowing that, however, hardly prepared Jemma for the sight of it.
Different colored lines marked clear zones of severity of injury, but there was intense human spillover. Pain has no boundary. White coated and blue scrubbed bodies dart purposefully, frantically, through the haze. Jemma can’t tell if the mood is successful or not; she can’t even tell if all of these people are SHIELD agents or not, but she waits in the quick moving line to be assigned to a zone.
Her Level 3 badge gets a single glance before the severe-looking Asian woman directing traffic tells her green. But then a hand stops her. The woman looks over her name, squinting at the print for a moment. Then she looks her dead in the eyes: “Yellow.”
Jemma’s eyes widen, terrified, and then she darts off to the center of the room.
Someone passes her a med cart and she dons a stethoscope as she leans down next to the first untreated person she can find: a young blonde, wearily watching, stoically unmoving. Jemma doesn’t notice how strange that is until she’s finally looked up at her face.
“What seems to be the problem?” Jemma hears herself saying, although her tone is a little too cheerful for the event.
But the woman just gives her a strange little grin, like she noticed it was weird and immediately decided to follow suit. “It’s a through-and-through. My right arm.”
Jemma’s eyes cast down where the woman is clutching her arm. Ah, yes. Blood. That explains the blood. She digs through the cart to find gauze and sterilizer and thread and bandages. But she turns back to her before she starts. “What’s your name?”
She raises an eyebrow. “Sharon.”
“Jemma Simmons,” she says, and she offers her hand. But Sharon’s is covered in blood, and she gives Jemma a weird look again, so Jemma takes it back quickly. “Oh, right. Sorry.”
“It’s okay.” Sharon just sounds amused.
“So,” Jemma starts conversationally as she starts to cut away Sharon’s sleeve. “How did the operation go?”
Sharon grins. “Not a total loss. But I can’t give you any details, Level 3.”
“I didn’t ask! I would never ask for details above my clearance,” Jemma says, sounding like she’s reading from a textbook. “But it’s good to know you didn’t get shot for a loss, yes?”
“It’s all part of the job,” Sharon says charitably. “But…yeah.”
Jemma smiles a bit. “This is going to hurt,” she warns, poised to hose her with disinfectant.
“Oh, you don’t have to tell me,” Sharon jokes.
“You’ve been here before?”
“Won’t be my first, won’t be my last.”
Jemma smiles. “Do you like it? Operations?”
“I have something of a history with it,” she says. “Family business.”
“What about you? Do your parents know where you are right now?”
Jemma really looks at her before answering. She seems to be just as young as Jemma is. Maybe a prodigy like her. Does Operations have prodigies too? “Not really. My parents didn’t really know what to do with a scientist. I ended up here when I ran out of schooling.”
“Do you like it? Sci Tech?” Sharon mimics, before grimacing in pain as Jemma draws a thread through.
“Yes.” And Jemma smiles wide, which must look like she’s enjoying inflicting pain on her patient. Which she’s not.
“Good. And you’re only Level 3 and they put you in yellow triage? You must be a natural.”
“I was supposed to be in green but the agent in front changed her mind.”
“May?” Sharon asks. Jemma shrugs. “Well, if May thinks you can do it, you can.”
“You tell me,” Jemma says, completing a stitch. “How am I doing?”
“Honestly, not the worst stitch up I’ve had.”
Jemma smiles. “I’m used to hearing ‘perfect.’”
“Well, then you’re perfect.”
“I’ll get better,” Jemma promises. She ties her last knot and covers it quickly with a bandage. “I can’t promise it won’t scar.”
“My family says I’m in the honeymoon stage because the scars don’t bother me yet. I’m a little proud of them, stupidly.”
“You should probably stay proud of them as long as possible. An injury suffered doing something good can’t be such a burden, I imagine.” And suddenly Sharon is looking at her, really looking at her. Jemma blinks. “But what do I know, I’m the one who stays here and doesn’t get shot at.”
Sharon’s long gaze breaks into another grin, so Jemma gives her some painkillers and bids her goodbye.
But it doesn’t take Sharon long to find her again.
Both Fitz and Jemma turn.
“Sharon!” Jemma says. “Is your arm healing alright?”
“Yeah, it’s fine. Actually, I’m here to invite both of you to a party.” Before Jemma can say anything, Sharon pivots. “You’re Agent Fitz, right?”
Jemma looks to Fitz finally to see his mouth gaping wide open. “Uh. Um. Yes. I’m Fitz.”
“A party?” Jemma says.
“This has never happened before,” Fitz says in a daze.
“It’s not a big thing, just some of my friends, other agents, get together every once in a while, and I thought maybe you could come along.” Sharon explains. “It’s my way of saying thank you.”
“Then I accept,” because how could she not.
“Great,” Sharon says, seeming genuinely delighted.
She gives them the details, and as soon as she’s gone Fitz turns to her, eyes wide. He grabs her shoulders. “Do you know who that was?”
“Sharon, she’s an ops agent that I—”
Jemma goes blank.
“Do you mean—?”
Fitz nods helplessly.
“You knew that a descendent of Peggy fucking Carter roamed these halls and you didn’t tell me?”
“I. Okay. I did keep it from you, yes. But only because I knew you’d lose your head.”
Jemma lets out a high-pitched wail.
“We have to go,” Fitz says.
“Of course we have to go,” Jemma hisses. “But it’s not like she’ll be there.”
“That’s probably a good thing, you.”
“I know! It’s just going to be a nice party with some of Sharon’s friends, no SHIELD legacies, of course not. We’ll go and everything will be normal and fine.”
So they go.
“Hey, guys!” Sharon greets them, drink in hand. She brushes a kiss by Jemma’s cheek and slaps Fitz’s back cheerfully, somehow producing drinks for them and whisking them out of the foyer in seconds. “I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
The pair of them follow her dutifully with wide eyes.
“This is not what I was expecting,” Fitz whispers in Jemma’s ear.
Jemma says nothing.
The room is filled with plush leather couches and crystal decanters of port and brandy. Old money, almost. More like playing at old money. And the rather rowdy adults, a generation up from the rest of them, don’t seem to be aware of how fancy the room seems to be. They are all shouting over each other, curses flying.
“Okay,” Sharon starts. “There’s May by the wall, you remember her. There’s Agent Coulson and Agent Blake is next to him. Sitwell’s on the couch there; he’s the one that’s eating, see? And trying to ignore—”
“Who’s the peach?” One of the shouting voices breaks towards their direction, and it’s the woman Sharon was pointing to next.
“Leave her be, Aunt Tori.”
“What did I tell you about calling me that?”
“That you secretly love it,” Sharon fires back.
“Victoria Hand,” the woman says, stalking up to them in her heels. “Aren’t you two fucking adorable.”
“Leave Sharon’s friends alone, Vic. It’s bad enough for the poor kid is stuck hanging out with us,” a man – the man Agent Hand was loudly arguing with – breaks in. He comes over to lead her away from the younger agents.
“Don’t touch me. Who knows where your hands have been,” Hand fires at him.
“Hey, I’m not the one who spends her free time—”
“That’s Agent Garrett, there,” Sharon says loudly, attempting to drown them out. “My cousin Trip is around here somewhere? Probably with my aunt and Nick.”
“Nick?” Jemma asks.
“Fury,” Sharon confirms.
“Oh, we know him,” Fitz says.
“Do you?” Sharon says, equal parts amusement and interest.
“Oh, yeah,” Fitz says. “He used to come to the Academy to see what we were working on.”
Sharon frowns. “I didn’t know he did that.”
“I don’t think he usually does,” Jemma says. “But we were working on some fairly advanced ideas.”
“Right,” Sharon says. “Because you’re FitzSimmons.”
They both look chagrinned. “That’s what they call us,” Jemma says.
“I didn’t put it together that that’s who you are until I did some digging. You guys are practically legends already,” Sharon says.
“Oh, hardly!” Jemma stutters. “Not compared to you, really. I mean.”
“Oh, so you figured it out?” Sharon asks.
“You didn’t seem to recognize me in triage.”
“Fitz knew who you are,” Jemma says.
Jemma bunches her lips. She doesn’t want Sharon to feel weird. “It must be a lot to live up to.”
“Yeah, sometimes. But. I don’t know.” She looks up now. “Injury suffered doing something good can’t really be a burden,” she says. “Or so someone told me.” Jemma flushes. “It’s hard sometimes, but the family business is helping people, ultimately. It’s hard not to like that.”
Jemma smiles. “I’m sure your family’s very proud.”
“Yeah, I think they are,” Sharon smiles. “My aunt worries. So do my parents. But I think I’m doing okay.”
“I’d say more than okay,” a voice says from behind them.
Jemma stops breathing completely.
Sharon smiles again.
“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friends?”
“These are Agents Simmons and Fitz. My new friends.”
“Agents,” Agent Carter tips her head. “Director Fury has told me a lot about you.”
“Kids,” Fury greets them. He winks at them with his good eye. He’s always had a bit of a soft spot for them. If you could call any part of Nick Fury ‘soft.’
“It’s an honor to meet you, ma’am,” Jemma chokes out.
“SHIELD is great,” Fitz blurts. “Good job, creating it and stuff. We really like it here.”
Jemma gives him a panicked look, psychically begging him to shut his stupid mouth.
Peggy is benevolent. “I’m glad to hear it. Have a good night off, Agents.”
And Director Fury leads her away.
Sharon peeks at their faces. “You alright?”
“I feel like I’ve been seen by an angel,” Jemma breathes.
“That’s pretty unscientific,” Sharon teases.
“She’s a hero,” Jemma continues, eyes wide.
“What did I say?” Fitz asks suddenly. “Did I speak words?”
“Something like that,” Sharon laughs.
“Sharon,” Jemma says seriously, grabbing her arm. “We will never forget this night. Not a single moment, for as long as we live.”
And then they get drunk enough to forget the large of this unforgettable night.
She wakes to a text from Sharon.
My aunt was very impressed with how many shots you did last night.
JK JK JK. Sleep it off, agent
Jemma groans and does just that.
(This is the beginning of a very beautiful friendship.)