“Agent Sitwell,” Phil said, entering the infirmary. He’d just received a panicked voice-message from Simmons and a follow up text from May. He could hardly believe that Jemma would do such a thing but then she had recently jumped out of the Bus in flight, so he should stop underestimating Jemma Simmons. “I’m glad to see you’re …feeling better?”
Sitwell was leaning on the edge of a medical gurney, his tie askew and jacket rumpled. He stopped rubbing his head when Phil entered, put on his glasses, and fixed Phil with a glare as he righted his jacket.
“I feel like I’ve just been shot with a tranquilizer gun.”
“I am very sorry about that,” Phil said. He meant it, too. It was a relief to see Sitwell recovering so quickly. Jemma must have reduced the toxin dosage. “It’s… they call it the Night-Night gun. It’s taken down some very strong adversaries without any damage or lasting effects.”
“I’m supposed to be grateful then?” Sitwell huffed and rubbed the back of his head again. Phil winced in sympathy knowing he must have a nasty bump from the fall.
That wasn’t, however, quite enough to keep Phil from manipulating the situation for his team.
“I realize this is not protocol, and you’re well within your right to file a grievance, but let me address Agent Simmons’ insubordination in house.”
Sitwell’s eyebrows shot up. “You call shooting me insubordination?”
“That should never have happened, I admit that. She panicked under interrogation.”
“I wasn’t interrogating her. I was just talking to her. She shouldn’t have been hacking a secure panel.”
“You’re right. But she was just--”
“Why was she hacking the panel, anyway? Agent Simmons doesn’t strike me as the rogue type.”
Jasper was as dedicated to regulation as Phil was, which he hoped meant that he understood that sometimes a situation fell outside of regulation.
“She’s not.” Phil lowered his tone, angling for sympathy. “It’s just that our people, Fitz and Ward, they’re on the ground and they’ve got no way out. She was just trying to locate them.”
“Wait up.” A crease formed between Sitwell’s brows. “There’s no extraction?”
Phil shook his head. “No. We’re just trying to get our agents back.”
Jasper’s eyes flicked away in thought before looking at him again.
“Phil, I didn’t know about that, I hope you know. That’s the truth.”
Coulson considered for a moment and nodded. He was losing trust in everyone and everything he knew but he liked Jasper and didn't want to believe he would knowingly leave agents behind.
“I’m glad. Our team is on our own. We’re just looking out for our people. You know Simmons and Fitz have worked together for years, she was just—“
“No. I get it.” Jasper held up a hand and then waved off the thought.
“Thank you,” Phil said, relieved. “You won’t file disciplinary action against Agent Simmons?”
Jasper slumped slightly. “No.”
“You’re a good agent. I owe you one. You know I’m good for it.”
Jasper squinted at Phil, looking interested. “Yeah? Personally?”
“Of course. Anytime I can return the favor.”
“Alright. Well, uh.” Jasper looked around, there were med techs passing through but no one listening to them. “Are Simmons and Fitz…?”
“Yes?” Phil said, not sure of the question.
“They are?” Jasper asked.
“You just said. I’m asking…” Sitwell cleared his throat and shrugged, looking more flustered and awkward than irritated about being shot. “You know… are they together?”
“Oh.” That was not at all what Phil had been expecting. He clenched his jaw muscles to keep from smiling but he could tell it showed in his eyes anyway. “I honestly don’t know, Jasper. I don’t ask.”
“Fine. Forget it. If you don’t know then maybe they’re not. And don’t say anything.”
Phil pursed his lips and let a little of the smile show. Jasper and Jemma, he never would have thought.
“Would you like me to pass her a note for you?”
“Oh shut up.”
There was moment of quiet between them. In a day full of disappointments, it was reassuring to know that he could still count on Jasper.
“You could…” Phil started, getting an idea. “You could, maybe, write an incident report? Agent Simmons is a brilliant scientist and is very enthusiastic about field work even though it’s not her forte.”
“Okay…?” Jasper looked suspicious.
“If you were to submit a report about today’s misunderstanding, you could satisfy the disciplinary issue against Agent Simmons and a letter from a superior officer acknowledging the effectiveness of her, ah, innovative field work wouldn’t go un…” He couldn’t say ‘unappreciated’ because he had absolutely zero business speaking on behalf of Jemma’s feelings. But, “…noticed?”
Understanding dawned in Jasper’s eyes and he knuckled away a smirk, nodding. “I see. Yeah. Maybe.”
“Thank you again, Jasper.”
“Good luck getting your guys.”
“We don’t need luck, but I appreciate it.”
Phil nodded and left the infirmary. He had to get back to the Bus and find May, Simmons, and Skye.
Simmons let out a little squeak, and waved her hand in the direction of her tablet.
“No. Fitz. It’s … I can’t read it. I can’t.”
“What’s it?” Fitz got up and leaned over her tablet, reading aloud.
“From J Sitwell, carbon copy: M. Hill, P. Coulson, J. Simmons.”
“Oh god,” Jemma wailed again. Skye got up and moved to stand behind Jemma, hands on her shoulders.
“What’s it say? No, I don’t want to know. Am I fired ? Demoted? Oh god.”
Fitz read, muttering words as he skimmed through “unauthorized access …shot at point blank range …”
“Oh god,” Jemma said through both hands covering her face.
“Ah! Here we are then,” Fitz said. “And while her actions exceeded the boundaries of procedure, Agent Simmons proved herself a cunning operative and dangerous adversary when a mission is at stake. Therefore, it is my opinion that Agent Simmons be counselled by her supervising officer and that this letter of reprimand be attached to her permanent file, with no further disciplinary action to be taken so that she may continue to hone her already inimitable skills.” Fitz looked up at Simmons and they held their surprised expressions and at the same moment broke into matching grins.
“Cunning?” Simmons asked, her nose scrunching.
“Dangerous?” said Fitz and then snorted.
“Get it, Simmons, you’ve got a letter of reprimand on your permanent file,” Skye said, teasing. “Who’s the bad girl, now?”