Trip was dead.
Skye was…who even knew at this point. Still Skye but something was going that she wasn’t telling them; panicking over both the loss of Trip and feeling trapped in the glass room now, just waiting for a verdict.
And Trip was dead.
He couldn’t say it out loud, it just kept repeating over and over in his head between every other thought and when he crawled into bed that night it was the last thing he thought of before he fell asleep.
He woke up groaning, feeling more like he hadn’t slept at all and he probably hadn’t by all the tossing and turning and the nightmare of the cavern falling to pieces- of Trip falling to pieces- plastered in his mind.
He was probably horribly dirty, hadn’t even showered the dust of the cavern off and just sat in his bed thinking about it until he finally stood up, deciding he’d see Skye at least.
It was then he noticed something strange – he was wearing different clothes than he’d gone to sleep in, clothes he could have sworn he’d worn the day before.
Fitz tugged at them and frowned, looking at the mirror in his room and being taken aback.
There wasn’t a speck of dust on him, or even the bruise he had known he’d gotten last night in the cavern from running around and placing explosives.
Explosives that Trip had gone to stop and- Fitz swallowed hard.
He was just imagining things that was all. He must have changed, even showered, and just forgotten.
Now disoriented Fitz stumbled into the hallway; running a hand through his hair. Had he somehow gone back to hallucinations? Gaps in his memory and words there but lost between his head and his mouth?
He made it to the kitchen and froze.
Jemma stood there, making tea, and right next to her scrambling some eggs stood Trip.
“You really should stop moving so much Trip, you’ll slow the recovery of your arm.” Jemma tsked but Trip just grinned.
“Who would feed you all then? You’d live off poptarts and old Chinese food.” He teased and turned around, seeing Fitz in the door way, “Fitz! Tell the doc here I’ll be okay.”
“You’re okay.” Fitz mumbled, staring wide eyed at Trip who caught on quickly that something was going on and walked over, leaving Jemma to make sure the eggs didn’t burn.
“You all right man?” Trip peered at him curiously, “You’re not feeling guilty over this whole bullet thing right?”
There was a bandage on Trip’s arm, right where he’d been shot on the mission a few days ago. Or yesterday.
Fitz was getting a headache, rubbing at his forehead.
“I think you need to go back to sleep.” Trip put a hand on his shoulder, solid and warm and clearly alive.
He’d dreamed everything else up, that must have been it, probably just worry on upcoming missions and Trip being shot.
“I can take your spot going cavern hunting and-”
“No.” Fitz said sharply, remembering that he was part of the team off to find it that day and shuddered at the idea of Trip going near it. “It’s fine, I’m fine.”
He pulled away from Trip and tried to smile.
“Everything is fine.”
It wasn’t fine.
It was happening all over again, Mack falling prey to the cavern, Skye kidnapped, the explosives, Trip running after them…
“He’s dead.” Jemma was choking on her tears once they reached the doorway after the cavern shook around them. “Skye!”
She rushed forward to get Skye who sat against the wall in the round room, staring at where Trip had been in horror.
Fitz stared at where Trip had been and numbly wondered if all this dreams were doomed to come true and turn all of them into dust.
Maybe he’d just stop sleeping after all.
He woke up wondering how he got to bed because the last thing he remembered was sticking around with Skye and Jemma and trying to cheer Skye up; to at least make something different from his dream happen.
“What the-” Fitz glared at the clothes he was wearing, the same as they were the day before. “This can’t be happening.” He muttered and rushed out the door towards the kitchen.
“You really should stop moving so much Trip, you’ll slow the recovery of your arm.” Jemma said, just like she had yesterday.
“Who would feed you all then? You’d live off poptarts and old Chinese food.” Fitz mouthed the words along with Trip and when Trip turned around and grinned at Fitz he did the only thing he could do.
Ran back to his room and wondered if he’d gone crazy.
A moment later there was a knock on his door and Trip walked in.
“Fitz? What’s going on, you okay.” A hand on his shoulder like last time and Fitz glared at it.
“You’re not real. This isn’t happening.”
“Fitz?” Trip leaned in, brown eyes full of concern and Fitz laughed because hadn’t he been thinking he’d never see Trip look concerned or amused or even angry ever again just last night? “You’re scaring me man, don’t tell me you stayed up watching those horror movies without me and they got to you.”
Fitz snorted and rolled his eyes.
“What? You don’t need my protection from mythical leprechauns? I’m hurt.” There was the amusement again and Fitz relaxed; feeling better at seeing that already. Trip seemed to catch on to that, “You good?”
“Yeah I’m good.” Fitz brushed Trip’s hand off his shoulder.
“All right then.” Trip nodded, walking towards the door and stopping, “If you need anything though…I’m here for you.”
He left before Fitz could reply.
Twenty four hours later he was dead again and Fitz felt like screaming.
He didn’t wake up screaming though, woke up determined and looking down and almost sighing in relief that he was wearing the same clothes because something was happening to him yes but Fitz was going to find out what.
He was going to fix this and Trip was going to live.
Everything was going to be okay.
He regretted thinking it would be that easier when the explosive went off right in front of him; he hadn’t made it in time to stop all of them, even though he had only falsely planted his.
But he opened his eyes and started again.
Fitz groaned, nothing was working; trying to convince Coulson not to go to the cavern led him off the team there, stopping the rescue of Raina just let to him being shot, and disabling the planes had him stuck in an interrogation room with Bobbi.
And Trip still dead.
“You better not be groaning about my food,” Trip said from across the table with his own plate in front of him.
This time Fitz had decided just to act like everything was fine and wait for the perfect moment.
“I’m not.” Fitz quickly took a bite of the eggs, they were better than anything he’d have been able to make. “Thankyouforbreakfast.”
“Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to talk with your mouth full?” Trip shook his head when Fitz just made a face at him.
“Be glad I like you.” Fitz said after he swallowed his food.
“Or what?” Trip raised an eyebrow, “You going to go all mad scientist on us?”
“Yes.” Fitz stood up, “And you can be my assistant.”
“I may not have the quick thinking you and Simmons do but I can keep up, equal partnership or no evil deal.” Trip said, pointing his fork at Fitz. “And I call naming our team Moby Dick.”
Fitz threw a spoon at him which Trip ducked easily as he knew he would.
“You’re Dick.” Fitz told him and marched out of the room to Trip’s laughter behind him.
It was exactly things like that that made him miss Trip in the first place.
Which is why he stunned Trip and trapped him in the room on the Bus while the rest of the team took off without him.
That time Hydra blew up the plane.
“I’m stuck in a time loop.” Fitz announced walking into the kitchen. “And you keep dying.”
Trip and Jemma exchanged worried glances.
“Fitz maybe you should go lie down.” Jemma began, walking towards him.
Fitz nodded, “I’ll sit this one out.”
Trip took his place in the cavern, he found out from Jemma with tearful eyes that Trip had fallen down the hole in the struggle with Mack.
He hadn’t made it.
“I’m stuck in a time loop and you keep dying and I hate this.” Fitz told Trip the next day when Jemma walked out of the room.
“Are you watching those horror movies without me again?”
Fitz sighed, “Maybe.”
Trip shot him a worried a look and Fitz just shrugged.
“Please stop dying.”
“I’ll try to.” Trip promised, resting his hand on Fitz’s shoulder and squeezing it, eyes still worried.
“I’m fine.” Fitz lied.
“I’m fine.” He lied again twenty four hours later and dragged himself off to bed.
This time the explosions had gotten Trip.
He ended up in the cavern with Trip, this time having gone down with him and the two of them grabbed hands as Skye and Raina turned to stone before them.
“Fitz!” Trip looked in horror as the stone began to encase them too.
“No no no no.” Fitz repeated, tightening his grasp on Trip’s hand. “Stop this, please.”
He should have tried to push Trip out of the way when they got to the cavern.
He’d do it next time.
“I’m stuck in a time loop.” Announcing it made him feel a little better if only because after the usual joke about horror movies Trip didn’t question it.
Sure enough right after that quip, “And you can’t get out of it?”
“No.” Fitz scrubbed his face with his hands, “You keep dying.” His voice cracked just then and he knew it.
Trip tilted his head, “You okay?”
“I haven’t slept. I can’t stop today and you…keep dying.” Fitz laughed, broken and tired.
“Maybe you just need to let me.” Trip said quietly after a few minutes had passed and Fitz hadn’t said anything else.
“No.” Fitz told him, shaking his head. “That’s not the answer.”
“Undying love declaration of some sort?”
“Hey it worked with groundhog day.” Trip shrugged and grinned, “Maybe you just need to kiss me.”
So Fitz did, desperate and hopeful and willing to try anything so long as it meant as Trip was alive.
“Oh.” Fitz blinked as he pulled back. “I might be in love with you.”
“Took you long enough.” Trip was still grinning.
Fitz kissed him again.
They didn’t even make it to the cavern that time.
Skye came in laughing and yelling about some bet with Lance and distracted the mission long enough that it didn’t happen and Fitz began to hope it would turn out okay as the seconds ticked by.
Then Hydra stormed the base and he hated himself for that hope.
“I’m in a time loop. I’m in love with you. Don’t go into the cavern.” Fitz kissed Trip and walked out, leaving Jemma and Trip gaping after him.
Then he stole a plane and blew up the cavern himself.
“Who would feed you all then? You’d live off poptarts and old Chinese food.”
“We aren’t that bad Trip.” Fitz announced his presence, giving up and playing it normal this time.
“You are the worst of them all. How can a scientist burn water?” Trip snorted.
“I didn’t burn it!” Fitz denied, remembering the night that Trip had tried to teach him how to cook.
“It tasted burnt.”
“That was the food.”
“Flavoured by the water.”
Fitz let out an indignant noise and Jemma patted him on the shoulder on her way out.
“Want some breakfast or you gonna try to make it yourself?” Trip asked, holding the pan of eggs.
“Just give me the bloody eggs.”
“You want bloodied eggs, that’s gross Fitz.”
Fitz glared at him while Trip whistled innocently as he got plates.
“You should take today off, your arm still isn’t recovered.” Fitz fiddled with the fork in front of him, hoping to dissuade Trip from going despite that it had ended badly last time.
“You look like you need a day off too.” Trip pointed out.
“Maybe tomorrow.” Fitz laughed to himself.
“I’ll take it off if you will.”
“Something else. Just…something else.” Fitz sighed.
“All right, whatever you want. But no hogging the twizzlers this time.” Trip sat down next to him, “Sharing is caring Fitz.”
He smirked when Fitz rolled his eyes.
He went to the cavern with Trip this time, letting everything play out as it had before until that point and this time when they reached it with all the explosives off he shoved Trip to the ground, stumbling into the cavern from the force as the door started to shut.
“Fitz?!” Trip scrambled up, trying to rush forward.
“See you tomorrow.” Fitz smiled when the door shut.
“Fitz? What’s going on?” Skye grabbed his arm,
“It’s going to be okay.” He told her, hugging Skye just in case and wishing he’d decided to tell Trip that morning anyway. “Just- it’s going to be okay.”
Stone cocooned them and Fitz took one last look at the door that had shut behind Trip.
Then there was blissful nothingness.
Then Fitz woke up.
At first he cursed, shutting his eyes again and nearly crying that it hadn’t work, but then Skye was yelling his name.
“Fitz?” She was as confused as he was, stone flying off of her as it did him. “What’s going on?”
He stared at his hands.
“I don’t know.”
The door opened to reveal Trip, still alive and rushing forward.
“Fitz! What the hell?” Trip caught him by the shoulder. “What were you thinking?”
Fitz shrugged, and then passed out.
When he woke up again his first instinct was still to curse.
He heard a whistle and looked over to where Trip was sitting right next to him.
“Didn’t your mother ever teach you-”
Trip didn’t get to finish, Fitz sat up and grabbed a hold of his shirt, pulling him close for a kiss.
“I’m not arguing but what’s going on?” Trip asked when he let go.
“Groundhog day.” Fitz said, like it explained everything.
“Something like that.” Fitz sagged against him, resting his head on Trip’s chest and hearing the heartbeat beneath him.
“Is this the undying love declaration to fix it?”
“Something like that.”
“Fitz man, you suck at this.” He knew by the tone of voice Trip was teasing him.
“How’s Skye?” Fitz changed the subject.
“Managing, Simmon’s with her now. Girl made the whole cavern shake and then just breathed and it was done.”
Fitz frowned, powers. It sounded like Skye had inhuman powers and he’d bet it had to do with that diviner.
Except that would mean…
“Hey,” Trip jostled him and made him look up, “We’ll figure it out. You’re smart.”
“You’re not so bad yourself.” Fitz admitted, grinning.
“Now see that’s a little bit of a better love declaration.”
Fitz rolled his eyes.
“I can’t believe I love you.”
“Shut up Trip.”
“I’ll take it.”