Jemma glanced at the clock across the lab, unsurprised to see it was almost 3:00am - she'd been back for almost a week and still wasn't even close to a normal schedule. Skye had teased her about it right up until yesterday, when her own op ran ridiculously late and she didn't crawl out of bed until after Jemma had finished breakfast.
Before this recent mission, Jemma had never paid close attention to the assignments of her coworkers. She'd notice when they were gone from the base, of course, but unless it affected her work it wasn't something that drew her attention or concern.
Bobbi’s current absence changed that.
The initial crisis they’d been tasked with had been resolved three days ago, but a new situation cropped up in Bobbi’s vicinity and she’d been sent there to handle it.
Now Jemma found herself thinking about her coworkers - specialists like May and Bobbi, in particular - and of how often their lives were in flux, being dropped into one mess after another. It was a testament to their strength and abilities, but also a formula for pain, both mental and physical. It was no wonder they were so adamant in cordoning off the cracks in that strength - quarantining it is what kept them from breaking apart.
The lab doors sliding open behind her interrupted any further ruminations. She thought for a moment it was Skye, but the stride was too long, the gait one she'd become closely attuned to.
“I don't think you're properly dressed to be listening to this kind of music,” Bobbi drawled, referring to the familiar bass heavy beats suffusing the lab.
A smile crept onto Jemma’s face as she lowered the volume a bit before turning to look at Bobbi.
“I could go pick something out for you to wear,” she continued, grinning. “I spotted my apparel amongst the boxes in my room. I’m assuming you received yours as well.”
Jemma rolled her eyes. “Yes. Skye came across it when she helped me unpack.”
“Oh, no.” Bobbi’s mouth split into a wide smile as she leaned against the table next to Jemma.
“Oh, yes. She decided she’s throwing a Halloween party, with the express purpose of getting us to wear items from those boxes. And before you say anything, the answer is no bloody way in hell.”
“That's what you say now,” Bobbi smirked. “But if all the rest of your clothing just happens to go missing…”
“I'll lock myself in my room.”
Bobbi shrugged. “Skye can hack the lock.”
“And then what?” Jemma arched an eyebrow at her. “Are you going to wrestle me into one of those dresses?”
“Maybe.” Bobbi’s smile turned lascivious. “But only if you ask nicely.”
Jemma shook her head in amused exasperation as she jotted down a note about her current experiment. An annotation from earlier in the day caught her eye, thus she failed to hear the soft approach of Bobbi's footsteps behind her.
Her attention was quickly drawn when she felt Bobbi press up against her back, her arms wrapping around Jemma’s middle.
“I missed you,” Bobbi said, all teasing aside as she pressed a light kiss to the curve of Jemma’s neck.
“I missed you, too,” Jemma breathed out.
She’d just started sinking into the comfort of that exchange when Bobbi continued on, with words Jemma didn't expect.
“I asked Coulson for the night off tomorrow. For the both of us. I want to take you out to dinner.”
Jemma stilled. From the way Bobbi phrased it, it would seem obvious what she was implying, but…
“Are you asking me out on a date?”
“Yes.” Bobbi confirmed, smiling against Jemma’s cheek.
Jemma wrinkled her brow in confusion. She tried to turn, wanting to see Bobbi's expression, but the arms around her held her in place.
“Aren't we…sort of past that?” she finally asked.
“Yes, and it’s- that's kind of the point,” Bobbi explained haltingly. “We did this backwards. Moving in with each other, sleeping together. We never did the first part - the dating part - and I kind of really want that. If that works for you, too.”
It took a moment for her to process the words, thrown off by Bobbi's noticeably missing confidence and swagger, but eventually Jemma let out the breath she felt like she'd been holding all week.
“Yes,” she answered firmly. “Very much yes.”
Bobbi exhaled and loosened her grip, affording Jemma the opportunity to swing around to face her. Wrapping a hand around Bobbi’s neck and standing up on her toes, Jemma put all of her thoughts and feelings into her kiss, seeking to erase any lingering doubts Bobbi might be harboring.
To echo that purpose, Jemma slid her fingers underneath Bobbi's top, urging it up and off before moving forward to mouth the top of each breast. Meanwhile, her hands traveled in the opposite direction, skimming over Bobbi's stomach to undo the front of her jeans.
She was teasing her hand lower when Bobbi reached down and gently stopped her.
“Hold on,” she said, taking in a quick breath before meeting Jemma’s questioning eyes. “I know you said yes, but-”
Bobbi looked away, her eyes gone glassy, and Jemma waited as she fought whatever was momentarily overriding her emotional control. When Bobbi turned back, it was with a pained expression Jemma fervently hoped she could mitigate.
“Jemma, you’re the most open, straightforward person I know. And I’m not. I can’t be. I need to know if you're okay with that before-”
Bobbi stopped and shook her head, looking down.
“I can't go through that again,” she admitted, eyes closed, fists at her sides.
Jemma lifted her hand, brushing her fingers along Bobbi's jaw. She had known since their conversation about Bobbi's ex that this could potentially be a problem.
“Bobbi,” Jemma said softly. “There’s a difference between truthfulness and honesty. I don’t want you to lie to me. But, that doesn't mean you always have to tell me what you do. Or even what you think or feel, for that matter. I'm fine with that.”
Bobbi didn't say anything for awhile, eyes fixed somewhere near Jemma’s collar.
“It's just-” Bobbi looked up, and Jemma was caught by the vulnerability she was seeing. That Bobbi was choosing to let her see.
“My reason for not telling you would be different than it was with Hunter,” Bobbi confessed. “I don't know how you'll respond if you get to know the bloody and brutal side of me.”
And now it was Jemma's turn to look away, blinking a few too many times, because she really needed to not cry right now.
“Bobbi,” Jemma’s voice cracked as she looked back at her, “- just because I'm not a specialist doesn't mean I’m unaware of what you do. I’ve been around enough agents from operations. Hide things from me because they're classified, or because you don't want to talk about it. Not because you think I'd ever judge you for it.”
Bobbi swallowed roughly and fell silent, seemingly unprepared for the response Jemma had given her.
“Why are you making this so easy?” she finally asked.
Jemma paused for a moment, her heart breaking a little, because Bobbi should have already known the answer.
Taking a breath, she said, “Because you’re strong and brilliant and wonderful and kind…and because I’m kind of falling in love with you.”
It probably could have been said more eloquently, but it didn't matter because the look in Bobbi's eyes shifted, replaced with something else. Something warm and happy.
Bobbi pulled her in close, resting her cheek on top of Jemma's head.
“I’m kind of falling in love with you, too,” she whispered fiercely.
And then she was leaning into Jemma, bending her back over the table as she captured Jemma’s mouth, all earlier hesitancy gone.
Jemma’s hands gripped the edge of the bench until the angle became too severe, and when she fell back onto her elbows, Bobbi took advantage and lifted Jemma’s hips up onto the table.
A moment later she was flat on her back, with Bobbi crawling on top of her.
Jemma picked up where she left off from before, tugging at the zipper on Bobbi’s jeans. Meanwhile, nimble fingers slipped the buttons of Jemma’s top open, giving Bobbi unfettered access to swaths of bare skin. She squirmed as Bobbi laved attention on her breasts, sucking and biting through the fabric of her bra, while her hand drifted down Jemma’s torso.
Jemma was one step ahead, her fingers already sweeping into Bobbi. Bobbi shifted her body after a few strokes, resting her forehead against Jemma’s and cupping the back of her jaw as her hips rolled forward with Jemma's motions.
“Faster,” Bobbi breathed out, nipping at Jemma’s bottom lip as her fingers slid into Jemma.
She increased her pace, then circled her thumb over Bobbi’s clit, pulling forth a low growl. She repeated the action with every stroke, and soon Bobbi was groaning into her mouth, crying out hoarsely as her climax washed over her.
Jemma hadn't realized she'd closed her eyes until she unexpectedly felt lips covering her own, Bobbi’s tongue seeking access as she worked Jemma towards her own release.
When Bobbi’s mouth withdrew, Jemma made a small noise of protest. But opening her eyes revealed Bobbi’s blue ones looking at her intently, desire and need laced with love and affection.
Jemma couldn't look away, wondering what her own eyes shown.
Any further thoughts fell away as Bobbi’s fingers curled, making Jemma arch in response. Her nails dug into Bobbi’s shoulders when she found that spot again and again, leaving Jemma gasping and throwing her head back as her release took over.
Collapsing onto the table, her surroundings slowly came back into focus.
“This will be a problem,” Jemma finally said, smiling lazily. “I don't think I'll be able to look at this table for at least a few days without blushing.”
“Mmm. Get used to it,” Bobbi replied. “This won't be the last time it's used for extracurricular activities.” Bobbi snuck in one more kiss, then climbed down to pull her shirt back on and zip up her jeans.
Jemma was partway through buttoning her own top when Bobbi waylaid that effort, sliding her hands in between the still open upper halves to palm at Jemma's breasts. Feeling her body instantly start to respond, she hastily pulled Bobbi’s hands away. “We’ll end up rechristening the lab if you continue.”
“And?” Bobbi quirked her eyebrow.
Jemma’s laughter bubbled forth. “And I do have actual work that needs doing.” She shook her head, smiling as Bobbi stepped away, reluctantly allowing Jemma to resume fastening her shirt.
Once she’d finished, she looked up to see Bobbi wearing a more serious expression.
“Thank you,” she said.
“For saying yes,” Bobbi replied, soft, but fervently. “And for being okay with everything that comes along with that.”
Jemma smiled and nodded. “Of course,” she murmured.
Sensing the mood might be slipping into somberness, she teased Bobbi in response.
“But you do realize it was a conditional yes,” she said playfully.
“Oh, really?” Bobbi retorted, grinning. “What’s the condition?”
“Just because it’s a date, doesn’t mean we’re stopping at first base,” Jemma declared, letting her smile grow suggestive. “Or any of the bases for that matter.”
Bobbi stepped forward, pressing herself flush against Jemma. “That's very much not a problem,” she replied, hands immediately starting to wander.
Jemma sidled out of her grasp, attempting to look reproachful but only getting an eye roll in response. Reaching for her safety glasses, she switched to an apologetic gaze. “I’m sorry, but I really do have-“
“Work. I know.” Bobbi sighed dramatically as she sauntered towards the door. She turned at the last moment, narrowing her eyes at Jemma such that she felt like a small animal caught out in the open.
“Regardless of Skye’s Halloween aspirations,” Bobbi intoned, eyes gleaming, “don’t think you’re done wearing those outfits just because our assignment ended.”
Bobbi let that statement hang in the air for several breaths, holding Jemma in her sights, before slowly turning around and walking out the door.
Jemma swallowed hard, face flushing to an empty lab as she turned back to the experiment she'd been in the middle of…while trying to stop thinking about which outfit she was going to wear first.