Simmons is always sweet when she has a crush, Fitz has known this since they were Oxford undergrads too young to be there and too clever to be anywhere else. Then, she’d sat on Fitz’s desk in his room and fiddled with her hair and complained that no one she was interested in ever took her seriously because she was too young. Then, the most Fitz had been required to do, as her friend, was remind her that she was sixteen and had a bad habit of falling for professors, and then offering to go sample-gathering with her when her shoulders started to droop.
These days, it means not minding when Ward drops by the lab, even on off-days, to trade “I heard Melinda May did [blank]” stories. He’ll come in, sidle up to Simmons’ work bench, and lean forward across it to ask, “Did you hear—”
Often, that’s as far as he’ll get. Simmons will cut in with a brisk “yes,” before he can go any further. At the very least, he’s learning not to try to go on and tell her anyway after she does—she’s never bluffing, she does know what he’s going to say. Fitz personally thinks it’s this attitude of hers that keeps Ward coming back. It’s moved beyond simple Melinda May admiration for him and into the realm of a challenge.
It’s one of the less active roles Fitz has had to take in her love life over the years, and Fitz can’t really say he minds—they’re still Fitz-Simmons, he knows he’s the one she’ll come to if anything serious happens. For now it seems just as well to let she and Ward have their fun. It’s also one of the only times Ward lets his guard down around the team.
There’s one bug in the system, though, one fly in the ointment, and that’s the way Fitz and Simmons like to have work benches facing each other, so they can chat, Because of this, when Ward comes to gossip with Simmons about how many babies Melinda May has saved from burning buildings, when he comes in and faces her and leans close across the surface of the table to chat, he’s turning his back to Fitz.
Fitz always thought secret agents—the real ones, with the guns and the sharp suits and the really tense, low voices, not the geeky, tech-ey agents-only-in-name like he and Simmons—were supposed to have eyes in the backs of their heads, but Ward hasn’t seemed to notice Fitz staring yet.
Fitz doesn’t generally make it a habit to oogle his coworkers—if anything, in fact, he tries to avoid it—but Ward is just there so often. He’s there and he’s attractive and he’s utterly uncharming, and that fact just makes it worse not better, because people with highly developed social skills tend to intimidate Fitz a bit.
Lack of social skills, in fact, are a big part of why he likes Skye. They speak the same language both in terms of electronics and in terms of an utter unwillingness to beat around the bush when a sledgehammer’s worth of bluntness will do. This is why Skye is an integral part of Fitz’s plan for retribution.
Fitz is holding up his end of the deal, with the Melinda May thing. He’s fully supportive of Simmons wallowing in the depths of her crush for as long as she wants with whoever she wants. The other side of that unspoken agreement, though, is that she is meant to enable his complete and utter denial of any interest he may or may not be feeling towards another human being. Inviting the subject of that potential, hypothetical interest into the sanctuary of the workshop on a regular basis is not holding up her end of the deal.
And so, Skye. Fitz notices Simmons go all dreamy-eyed at the debrief, notices the speculative expression on Ward’s face, and on the way out of the briefing room, he takes hold of Skye’s arm and tugs her to lag a bit behind the group as they make their way down the corridor.
“Agent Fitz, are you trying to seduce me?” Skye asks, looping her arm through his at the elbow.
“Wha—? No, no I wouldn’t. Not that I shouldn’t! Though I shouldn’t. I’m sure you’re very seducible,” Fitz tells her, for once managing to grab hold of his rapidly spiraling sentences, “But I had something rather different in mind. Want to come objectify Agent Ward for me so I can get some work done?”
When Ward leans in towards Simmons, all conspiratorial, rather magnificent ass stuck straight out, Skye, who is sitting cross-legged atop Fitz’s workspace, lets out a long, piercing whistle. Ward spins around, glaring, and then, when Skye waves one of those cutesy little finger-waggling waves at him, turns around and storms out.