Lincoln woke up to a familiar beeping sound, that left him with no doubt that he was in a hospital, not as a doctor this time. He tried to remember what happened but his memories were coming back in pieces and probably not in a chronological order. His eyelids were heavy and it took a few minutes of trying to open his eyes properly. When he did, the first thing he saw was Skye, sleeping in a chair near his bed. For a moment he had a feeling of déjà vu, which was confusing because Skye was supposed to have long hair, but then he finally realized that he wasn’t here because he was tortured by Hydra and that Skye wasn’t Skye anymore.
Daisy was still the most beautiful woman in the world, of course, but his heart broke when he saw her like this – very pale, with dark circles under her eyes and visibly thiner than she was before. He wanted to just scoop her in his arms, take her far, far away from SHIELD and all this fighting and make her forget about what Hive did to her. But what if it wasn’t only Hive? He suddenly remembered how Daisy wanted to sacrifice herself and felt a lump in his throat. Lincoln couldn’t even imagine what he would do if he woke up to find out she’d succeeded. But if it wasn’t Daisy then who… He wasn’t sure when he lost consciousness and what happened after his talk with Daisy, though he had a vivid, probably drug-induced dream about stealing the cross and getting to the quin jet himself.
He felt guilty for wanting to wake her up, but he really needed to feel her, to make sure she was here and okay. But when he reached out to take her hand, a quiet voice suddenly stopped him:
Lincoln was a little startled, because he wasn’t expecting anyone else to be in the room, but when he turned his head slightly, he saw May standing by the window.
“She hasn’t had a good sleep for a long time,” the woman explained softly.
He nodded and looked at Daisy again.
“What happened?” he asked, his voice barely louder than a whisper.
“You think being under Hive’s sway and dealing with her loved one’s death isn’t enough?”
“Death,” he repeated, swallowing hard. “I’m sorry, I don’t… Who?..”
“You don’t remember anything?” May asked with her brow furrowed.
He shook his head slightly. Dread filled him at the thought of Daisy losing someone so close to her. Was it Coulson? Or Mack? Fitzsimmons? She has already been through so much, she didn’t need somebody’s death on top of that!
“You,” she said. “We thought you were dead for five days. Blown up in space”.
Lincoln blinked, trying to process everything.
So it was true. All of it – including his last conversation with Daisy when he finally told her he loved her. He did, with all his heart, but he had a problem confessing it to her. Lincoln didn’t even know it was possible to love someone this much. Before Jiaying found him all of his feelings were messed up. He just believed he was a heartless jerk, incapable of real feelings: he had a great family, friends and an amazing, caring girlfriend, but he always felt wrong, like something was missing. Then he was given a clean slate, a new purpose in life. He went through rehab, got into med school, prepared for terrigenesis, got a hold of his powers and started transitioning. He became an Inhuman and the emptiness inside him eased a little, but didn’t go away as it was supposed to. Of course, he found a better way of dealing with it – helping people, not drinking his sorrows away. He had new friends and occasional flings with pretty students or girls from Afterlife and sometimes he felt almost happy, but he still was lonely. He got used to it, thinking that he probably deserved all the loneliness, but this thought often kept him up at night – what kind of monster he was if he couldn’t even love a single person? But then Gordo showed up near his campus and took him to meet the new Inhuman he was assigned to by Jiaying. And when this beautiful – he couldn’t help but notice – terrified of her powers girl looked at him with her sad brown eyes – he suddenly felt more alive than he ever was. He was in love with her since day one. He said these three words to people when he felt he had to, but he never truly meant it. That’s why he couldn’t just say it to Daisy – he didn’t want it to sound rehearsed like all those previous times. And then it just slipped without him even noticing. And he was grateful it did when he thought it would be his only chance.
But it wasn’t. Lincoln was hit by a vague, but persistent flashback of saying he loved her and hearing her saying it back. He resisted the urge to wake her up just to tell her again and suddenly realized there was no memories between being in space and lying on a medical coat in Playground’s common room with Daisy’s bleary face hovering over him.
“How did you bring me back? I don’t remember my trip to Earth at all”.
“That’s the thing,” May said uneasily. “We didn’t. I already told you, you were de- absent for five days”.
“I don’t understand,” Lincoln frowned. “I couldn’t survive for five days with injuries I had. And I certainly couldn’t come back… Wait. Um… That’s probably painkillers talking, but- You don’t know a guy, dark hair, about eighteen years old I think…”
“His name is Adam,” May nodded instead of calling him crazy. “At least that’s what he told us”.
“He’s real? I mean, I saw him in space, so…”
“He had a time-travelling teleport which he used to save your life,” the woman explained, and though Lincoln could shoot lightning-bolts from his hands, he still couldn’t understand how May was so calm while talking about teenage timetravelers. “Basically that’s all, we don’t know who sent him or why they wanted you alive”.
“Well,” Lincoln said. “I’m glad they did”.
“Uh… Yeah. Thanks”.
“I mean it though,” May continued. “What you said about me and Coulson wanting you dead to play family with Daisy… You know it’s not true, right?”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” he shrugged. “I kinda had a bad day”.
“I do think you’re good for her. I want Daisy to be happy and I believe you can give it to her”.
Lincoln was a little taken aback by her words because he never really expected to hear them from Melinda May.
“Um… Thank you. I appreciate it. Even though I had to die first to earn that,” he joked, not knowing how to react.
“I thought so before. I just don’t talk to people about feelings”.
Lincoln laughed quietly.
“You guys suck at keeping quiet,” Daisy said groggily, and his heart swelled at the sound of her voice. “But thanks for trying”.
“Sorry,” he smiled, feeling only slightly guilty.
Her eyes snapped open.
“Lincoln,” she said watching him carefully, as if she was still doubting he was real. Well, he couldn’t blame her after what he’s known.
“Hey,” he smiled and saw May leave the room.
“Oh my God,” Daisy whispered, getting out of her chair and sitting on his bed closer to him. “Hey, how are you feeling?”
“I’m okay,” he said and reached out his free hand to put a strand of hair behind her ear and cup her cheek. “I’m okay”.
“I thought you were dead,” she said in a soft voice. Lincoln could see she was trying not to cry, but her eyes were already full with tears. “I thought I lost you forever”.
Daisy couldn’t contain her sobs anymore and put her hand over her mouth. He tried to sit up, but flopped back on the pillow.
“Don’t move,” she sniffled. “You need to rest. Maybe I should get Jemma?”
“Not yet,” he said. “Just stay here a little longer, okay?”
“Okay. But seriously, don’t try to get up”.
“Come here, then,” he shifted on the bed, making room for her, and lifted his arm.
“Are you sure I won’t hurt you?” she asked.
“I’m sure. And I happen to be a doctor”.
That finally put a smile on her face and she rolled her eyes chuckling.
Daisy toed off her shoes and lied next to him, curling up at his uninjured side.
“Is this okay?” she asked somewhat tentatively and he wrapped his hand around her tiny frame, pressing her close.
They fell into comfortable silence. He knew there was a lot of things they had to discuss – Hive, all this time-traveling thing and, more importantly, their relationship – but he wanted to enjoy this quiet moment before bringing seriousness into it. Her fingers were drawing patterns on his chest and he was gently stroking the small of her back. The thought of never seeing Daisy again was unbearable to him, and he only thought it for several excruciating minutes, but she had spent days believing that he was dead. He couldn’t even imagine how hard it was for her, especially after Hive. He nearly lost his mind when she was swayed, but he knew that she was alive and they would get her back. But if she died… He wouldn’t survive it.
Overwhelmed with feelings, he kissed the top of her head, then her temple. Daisy’s hand found its way to the nape of his neck and in his hair. Lincoln pressed his forehead to hears, not inching closer. As much as he wanted to just lean in and kiss her properly, he wasn’t sure she would want that. She was in a very vulnerable state after being controlled by Hive and he couldn’t push her.
“May I kiss you?” Daisy asked in a small voice.
Once Lincoln realized what she was asking and that she really thought she had to ask for that, he dove in capturing her lips in a kiss. God, did he miss her! Daisy signed against his mouth and he tightened his hold on her, so she was practically lying on top of him.
“What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?”
Daisy winced at Jemma’s indignant voice and reluctantly pulled away.
“I understand everything, but this is not how you treat a patient right after operation,” Simmons continued as she walked to the other side of his bed. “He is not cleared for any of your… activities”.
“Relax, Jemma,” Daisy rolled her eyes, but blushed slightly.
“I’m fine,” Lincoln said quickly. “I cleared myself”.
“Of course you did,” Simmons snorted. “Now, how are you feeling?”
For the next thirty minutes Jemma was checking his vitals and asking him questions and Daisy came back to her chair and didn’t let go of his hand for a second. Jemma insisted on giving him more medicine, so, when she left, he was already feeling sleepy again.
Lincoln made room for her on the bed, but Daisy didn’t move.
“What is it?” he asked feeling slightly concerned, when she didn’t look up.
She cleared her throat.
“We kissed. Uh… that happened. Do we need to talk about it?”
Lincoln smiled, recognizing his own words. But was she serious?
“No, we don’t. Why don’t we just see what happens?”
“Will it happen again?”
“Planning takes the fun out of it,” he said. “But I would gladly kiss you right now”.
The corner of her mouth twitched, but she still seemed unsure for some reason.
“It’s just you said you wanted to break up”.
Wha- Shit. So that’s what it all was about. He didn’t even think about that in the light of what happened after.
“I’m sorry, I thought,” he squeezed her hand. “I didn’t want to break up with you. I just thought it would be good for both of us to take a break.”
“Do you still think that?”
He shook his head.
“I don’t know. But I don’t want that anymore. I just got a second… Well, a third chance. I don’t want to waste any second”.
“Okay,” Daisy said quietly and entwined their fingers.
“I’m sorry about all that,” he said again. “I kind of assumed saying “I love you” canceled what I said before that”.
She finally looked at him.
“And I do,” he rushed to add. “Love you, I mean. I love you a lot, actually. Like very, very much”.
Daisy laughed happily and pressed her lips to his. He replied eagerly and she deepened the kiss, climbing onto his bed. He really wanted to do this forever, but the drugs were kicking in and soon it was hard for him to keep up. She laughed again.
“Sleep,” she said. “I’ll be here when you wake up”.
“You should get some rest too”.
He was running his fingers through her hair until he couldn’t lift his arm anymore.
“Lincoln?” Daisy whispered, checking if he was already asleep, and something in her voice made him look at her though it was difficult to keep his eyes opened. She was watching him with her big brown eyes he fell in love with the first second he saw her.
“Are you sure you still love me after what I did?”
“I am absolutely sure I still love you after what Hive made you do which was not your fault,” he said firmly without missing a bit. “I don’t think I could ever stop loving you”.
Daisy seemed like she was searching his face for confirmation that he wasn’t lying and smiled.
“Good,” she said as she burrowed her head into his chest. “I love you, too”.