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Angels

Chapter Text

 


 

S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters

“You want me to do what?” Agent Daisy Johnson screeched so loudly, that Director Mace almost dropped his steaming coffee.

“Well, uh, that is to say,” he backpedaled, setting his Teamwork Makes the Dream Work mug down. “Part of my role as the quarterback is to call the plays. And as a team player, you sometimes have to play second string.”

“But in a fucking strip club?” Daisy scraped her chair back and jumped up. This was bullshit!

Director Mace took a deep breath and steeled himself. He had clear instructions from President Ellis about Inhuman recruitment, and no way was he giving Phil Coulson a chance to gloat if this op didn’t work. It would be a feather in his cap.

“Sit down, Agent Johnson,” Director Mace tried another tactic. “Remember our deal? Reinstatement at S.H.I.E.L.D and you don’t get locked up on those pesky domestic terrorist charges?”

“Flashing my tits and ass in East LA is not part of that!” Daisy wanted to add ‘you asshole’, but she promised Coulson she’d give the new Director a chance.

“Your, uh, assets will be covered. Mostly.” Mace soothed. “And not all East LA, just one man. It’ll be an easy mission, in and out.”

“Who’s the lucky guy getting a quickie?” Daisy asked sarcastically, flopping back in the chair.

“Robbie Reyes.” Director Mace diligently ignored Daisy’s quip, a talent he’d been cultivating since he’d met her. “We’ve been keeping an eye on his movements. All he does is go to work, home or his brother’s school. No friends, no girlfriends, no doctor visits.”

“Sounds harmless,” Daisy commented. “Maybe he’s just a good guy.” She picked up her tablet, and after her thumbprint was verified, she accessed the file on Reyes.

“Well, you should know ‘good’ is relative,” Mace was getting the same file on his computer, so they could review it, but glanced up when Daisy’s tablet clattered to the floor. Dammit. There he went misspeaking again.

“What I mean is, you’re a good person, Daisy,” he said, leaning toward her and holding her gaze. “Even when it didn’t look it to the public, or even me, you were. We just need you close enough to Reyes to get some DNA samples. So we can see if he's a good guy, too.”

Daisy’s eyes misted, and she bent to pick up the tablet.

“So, Robbie Reyes, huh?” she exhaled and forced a smile. “Okay, fine. Let’s see if that’s a villain name or a superhero one. But I swear to God, if Simmons needs bodily fluids…”

Mace smiled, appreciating her effort. Maybe Daisy Johnson and her endless supply of quips weren’t such a terrible thing.


 

Canelo’s Auto and Body Shop, East LA

“Can you explain that again, boss?” Ignacio, the day shift manager was confused, and Canelo was questioning his decision to promote the man.

“What’s to explain?” Canelo was exasperated. “I told you, it’s an important business matter. I need you and the crew to make sure Robbie is at Angel’s on Friday night. And he has to be there by 9 pm.”

“But boss, Robbie never comes out with us. And I don’t think he likes girls. Or boys for that matter.” Ignacio scratched his head trying to recall if he’d ever heard Reyes make comments of a sexual nature.

Canelo narrowed his eyes, thinking quickly. Ignacio had been with him the longest, and his discretion was the only reason he kept him around so long. Maybe he needed to bring him in on this deal to make things smoother.

“Ok, I’ll level with you,” Canelo chuckled. “Some men in suits offered me ten grand to make sure Robbie is at Angel’s and in the Champagne room by 9 pm. Make it happen, and I’ll give you half of the take.”

“Should have said that from the start,” Ignacio smirked, and Canelo breathed a sigh of relief.

“Glad we have an understanding, mijo.”

“But, boss?” Ignacio asked, after a pause. “Will Robbie be in any trouble?”

“The Champagne room is booked for an entire hour!” Canelo laughed raucously, slapping Ignacio on the back. “I hope Robbie gets into some trouble!”

Ignacio returned to work, thinking that while he wouldn’t mind being in Robbie’s shoes, the money was more attractive. No girl would be worth five thousand dollars an hour.

Satisfied with the outcome, Canelo stepped out to make a discreet call.

“Yeah, it’s me. It’s handled. But listen, make sure nothing happens to Reyes okay? He’s a good kid. Alright.” And Canelo disconnected the call, looking around warily. He was actually getting $20,000 to make sure Robbie was there, and for that price, he probably should be more hands on. But, he had appearances to maintain, and he was never directly involved in his more clandestine activities. Plausible deniability, and all that.

Canelo walked back on the shop floor and surveyed the man in question. Robbie had an intense look of concentration on his face as he was working on an engine, ignoring the chatter of the men around him.

What in the world is Robbie involved in? Canelo mused, that he had to be in a strip club of all places.

Shaking his head, he went to greet a customer that walked in the door. As long as there were no dead bodies, everything would work out.


 

East LA

Daisy always loved puzzles, ever since she was a kid, and the more impenetrable, the better.

She didn’t give Mace enough credit, he really did do his homework, there was literally nothing on Reyes; the man was an enigma. Dude didn’t have a Facebook account, didn’t look at porn, didn’t even use email. Apparently, he was a ‘pick up the phone and call’ kinda guy, except his call records only showed calls to work, his brother’s school, and occasionally to take out restaurants.

But that was only part of the mystery. S.H.I.E.L.D had influence. They could work with local law enforcement to pull Reyes over on a routine search, accidentally plant something illegal on him, and offer to make it all go away with just a cheek swab and a blood draw. Why the hoopla with this classified mission?

“I wish Coulson was still in charge,” Daisy muttered to herself, nursing cold coffee.

She was in Hillrock Heights, Robbie’s neighborhood, parked discretely about a block away from his home, with a pair of long-range binoculars. She was weary from jetlag but there was a small window of opportunity that she had to seize if she was going to break into Reyes’ house. His brother had already left for school, thankfully. She just needed Robbie to leave so she could slip in, grab his hairbrush or toothbrush and prevent any strip club shenanigans.

Finally, he came out the house, and Daisy forgot to breathe.

The picture in his file, showed him to be a serious man her age, who she may have passed by without a second glance.

But here? In person?

He decisively closed his door and locked it, flipping his keys before pocketing them. He gracefully jogged down the stairs, his movements almost predatory and Daisy tightened the grip on her binoculars. This was no ordinary man. The sun caressed him, as he walked towards his car, and she didn’t expect the wave of sadness when she saw the loneliness etched in the creases of his face, and pain hewn in the set of his jaw.

Robbie Reyes was beautiful and wounded, like a fallen angel. He looked up suddenly in her direction, and Daisy dropped the binoculars.

“Ugh, he can’t see this far, silly!” she chided herself. When she looked for him again, his car was peeling out the driveway, as graceful and dangerous as its driver.

Daisy was uneasy, and waited an extra ten minutes before getting out.

Luckily, he didn’t have an active security system, and she picked the backdoor lock easily. Once inside, she checked her surroundings, making note of all the exits, and headed to the first bedroom. And lucky for her again, she found Robbie’s. It was devoid of any personal attachments and was in varying shades of brown and beige. At least it was clean.

She immediately rushed to his dresser, looking to see if he kept a hairbrush there. Nope. She needed to work quickly in here then check the bathroom down the hall. She searched the desk by the window, just a half-empty ream of copy paper and old bills. She sat on the bed and rifled through his nightstand. Nothing there, not even a skin magazine or a stray condom.

“God dammit!” Daisy complained. “The hell kind of man are you?”

“If you knew, you wouldn’t be here,” a voice growled.

Daisy gasped and looking up, a deathly calm Robbie Reyes stood in the doorway, inspecting her like she was prey. He stalked in, quietly shutting and locking the door behind him, not blinking once nor dropping his gaze. Blood drained from Daisy’s face and she heard a thudding in her ears. Was that her heart?

She gulped.

Maybe the strip club would’ve been better, after all.

Chapter Text

 


 

Daisy panicked as she weighed her options. Sure, they were on the ground floor, but there was ironwork barricading the windows, so no escape there.

She could fight him, except he was a suspected Inhuman and that could have disastrous consequences for the neighborhood. Director Mace would have her ass if she quaked her way out of an unauthorized mission and brought unnecessary attention to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Maybe she could bullshit her way out and take him down with her ICER?

He was towering over her now and shrinking back, Daisy gave her best Valley girl imitation.

“Oh my god, am I like, in trouble?” she breathed, blinking guilelessly at him.

Robbie’s eyes narrowed, but she pressed on. “So, my best friend Kourtney thinks her new boyfriend Scott is cheating on her with our other best friend Khloe and I was supposed to find evidence and…I think I came to the wrong house! I’m so sorry! Please don’t be mad at me!” Daisy let her chin wobble and sniffled, hoping to appear like a lost and confused damsel in distress.

Distressed damsels wore all black and leather, right?

Robbie hauled her up from the bed and indelicately shoved her against the wall.

“Bad neighborhood to be caught in the wrong house, girl,” he didn’t raise his voice, didn’t lower his gaze, didn’t loosen his grip. “Not many Kourtneys and Khloes in this area.”

Fear washed over her at his menacing tone, but Daisy tamped it down. It was time to go big or go home.

“I’m sorry, but that’s like, hella racist!” she huffed, hands akimbo, her fingers snaking for her ICER tucked into her back waistband. “That’s like, reverse racism towards the names Kourtney and Khloe.” And thankfully, she grappled the ICER because her well of bullshit was running dry.

It wasn’t her smoothest fighting move, kneeing him in the groin, but it worked. She shot him three times and as he staggered to the floor, she rushed out, grabbing her backpack and slamming the door. Her instinct was to run as fast and as far as possible, but she was too close to just leave. She hurtled down the corridor to the single bathroom, and hands shaking, she scoured the bathroom counter. She found two toothbrushes and threw them into her backpack not bothering to use the sterile baggie.

Time to get the hell out.

Daisy hurried to the front door, hoping Reyes didn’t suffer any adverse effects from the shots. One was enough for a powered Inhuman, and she’d unloaded three at point blank range, right over his heart.

She faltered, remembering the time she shot herself, years ago.

God, that had hurt, and it was only her shoulder, but she would’ve borne any pain, shot herself a hundred times, to not hurt her friends. ICER technology had only gotten better since then; could he take it?

She hovered in the open doorway, tasting freedom. She could just run away now, and never see him again. But Gabe would and if he called 911, the first responders would assume drugs because of the way the dendrotoxin worked. Was her freedom worth a kid losing his guardian? Her grip loosened, and her backpack fell, the sound echoing throughout the too silent house.

Sighing, she knelt, and after searching her bag for a neutralizer, she trudged back to his room.

File this under suicidal and stupid, she thought.

Hesitating, she pushed his door, holding her breath as it creaked open. Robbie was still on the floor and Daisy gasped when she saw his charred and mangled face. What was he?

She ran over, her blood running cold as she checked his pulse. It was faint and unsteady; what had she done?

“Robbie!” she shook him. “Stay with me!” Sitting on the floor, she moved his head to her lap, needing him close and steady for the next part.

His face was healing as the seconds ticked away, but his breathing was erratic. He whimpered and tried to crawl away from her.

“Hey, hey,” she soothed. “I’m not going to hurt you. I promise.” Thankfully, his eyes closed, and she readied a large needle with 10 mls of the anti-toxin. He didn’t flinch when she injected him, but she still held his hand as the needle went in.

Too many blasts from the ICER could be fatal, as the body thought it would be shutting down, dying, and the brain would complete the process, Fitz once lamented. Daisy shuddered at the thought.

“Please be okay,” she prayed. “Please.”

His face was completely healed now, but he was still unresponsive and as Daisy held Robbie closer, she choked back a sob. She kept making bad decisions, and the consequences always hurt others.


 

Robbie was disoriented. One moment the Rider was taking over, right as she shot him, but then he slumped to the floor, unable to move. He wanted to transform, but couldn’t complete it; it kept going back and forth till he felt like he was fading.

It was like the last time when he died, this familiar descent into nothingness. He was welcoming it when he faintly heard someone pleading his name.

Was it that girl? No, she ran away, and despite her little charade, no one was that stupid to return after trying to kill him.

He was being moved now and for the first time in years, he felt true fear, not being in control of his body. He needed to escape. He tried moving, but he was too weak. He closed his eyes, needing to plunge into the darkness and finally be at rest. It was pleasantly quiet again, till he heard low crying. Was it his funeral? Would anyone come? He was feeling hot and cold, then it was just a blessed drifting into nothingness.

Someone was shaking him now, and he felt a low thrum in his bones, a vibrating throughout his body. It was like the buzzing of bees, and annoying as fuck.

“You don’t get to die,” the buzzing was speaking to his very essence, not letting him go. “What about Gabe? He needs you!”

Robbie jolted upright at his brother’s name. How could he forget? How selfish was he?

“I got you,” a gentle voice soothed. “Lay back, I got you.”

Robbie obeyed, settling his head in the lap of a stranger. Callused fingers were checking the pulse at his neck, but there was a wetness on his face. His eyes fluttered open.

There was a woman crying, tears rolling down her cheeks and onto his own like holy water, a halo of dark hair spilling around her face.

“Are you an angel?” he murmured, trying to keep his eyes open, but they were closing against his will.

“Thankfully for you, no,” she was gently stroking his face now. “I won’t be an angel in heaven.”

He wanted to ask where else angels would be, but couldn’t. Everything went silent.


 

When Robbie came to, he had no idea how much time passed. He felt like a truck rolled over him, every muscle was throbbing.

The hell happened?

The buzzing from earlier came back and he was on high alert. Was the woman still here? But no, he was alone, like always; the noise was his cell phone vibrating. Robbie fumbled to get it, and cleared his throat before answering.

“Yo Robbie! You okay, man?” It was a too loud Ignacio.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Robbie lied, tripping over the words.

“I guess you’re not coming in?” Ignacio asked. “You already missed half the day, you can take the rest if you need it.”

“Huh?” Robbie shook his head to clear it, and it started pounding. He groaned.

“Listen, I won’t tell Canelo that you didn’t show up,” Ignacio began in a wheedling tone. “But you need to come out with the boys on Friday night. We could use a DD!”

“Sure.” Robbie didn’t know what he was agreeing to, but he knew there was no way in hell he could drive, or make it through a shift at Canelo’s.

“That’s what’s up!” Ignacio crowed. “Hey, let me know if you can’t come in tomorrow, okay? Take it easy.” And with that, Ignacio hung up. Maybe Reyes wasn’t as straight-laced as they thought, he mused. He must be on some good shit to be passed out like that.

Robbie was about to drag himself to the kitchen, when he saw a glass of water on his nightstand, with a couple other items. Hobbling over, there was a mini bottle of ibuprofen, the seal still intact, and an unopened granola bar that had seen better days the way the wrapper was crinkled, and the bar felt crumpled. He was too weak to open the painkillers, so he guzzled the water, spilling some, and dropping on the bed, he passed out again.

He was completely out of it when Daisy came in silently.

She removed his shoes and jacket and tucked him under the covers, then using the edge of her shirt, she wiped his face. He was so still. She gave him the final dose of the anti-venom, and after making sure his pulse was fine, she took out a kit from a bag and swabbed his inner cheek. His hair was cut low, but she took a few strands for good measure.

This is wrong, she thought, even as she continued. Her own moral compass seemed to be spinning erratically these days.

She packed it away for Simmons and then grabbed her personal laptop and work tablet. The follow-up injection had a sleep aid, and while Robbie was out, she could work while watching over him.

Still, she was wary, and sat next to the door, in case she needed to make a hasty exit.

Tracking and finding Inhumans was what S.H.I.E.L.D did, but something was wrong with this entire op. She had a hunch that just like she was working unofficially today, so was Director Mace.

“Team that trusts, my ass,” Daisy muttered, hacking into Mace’s communications. She was impressed but then frustrated by the security measures in place.

“Good thing I put that bug in your office, huh?” She’d dropped her tablet on purpose in Mace’s yesterday office, sticking a tiny recording device on the underside of his desk. To any camera in his office, it would just look like her fumbling to bend and get her tablet.

Daisy sighed, and leaned back on the wall, looking at Robbie. Light filtered through his blinds, casting a soft glow on his features. Even in sleep, he looked tense, his brow furrowed. She watched him breathe, in and out, his chest moving faintly, and soon they were breathing in sync.

What kind of man was he, asking about angels? What did Director Mace want with him?

She cracked her knuckles and began to work.

It was time to find out.

 

Chapter Text

 

Angels Gentleman’s Club

Raina’s signature red-bottomed heels clicked efficiently as she descended into the Champagne room, a cloud of Chanel no.5 in her wake.

Angels was her crown jewel, the trendiest Gentleman’s Club in Los Angeles. Celebrity chefs hosted pop-up menus and she’d had dancers who changed their names and went on to Hollywood. And it was funded by running the distribution center for unauthorized Inhuman capture in California.

So, when she received a text from her manager that a certain snake had slithered in, ordering them to use a new girl or else…well, she needed to address it.

“We have an understanding,” she said coolly, as he rose to greet her. “Your boss financed this club, and I allowed your modifications, but you do not get to choose the dancers.”

“Sorry, but my hands are tied,” he smirked.

Raina didn’t let her ire show. This double-crossing son of a bitch underestimated her, over and over and he never seemed to learn. But being a spoiled senator’s son with a crippling lack of empathy would do that. He simply thought she was beneath him, with her color and her gender and her profession.

But she played along.

She skimmed the pictures he provided- a series of candids- cataloging the girl’s defects and assets. Cute face. Crooked smile. Nice ass. Barely decent chest, even with the best push up bra.

“You do know I run an adult entertainment establishment, right?” Raina threw the pictures on the ground. “Her eyes are sad. What makes her special?”

“A woman like you wouldn’t understand,” he responded, touching the pole that ran from ceiling to floor. “That’s Quake, a S.H.I.E.L.D agent. Her powers are wasted there.” He gave an oily smile. “She’ll be a wonderful addition to my collection.”

“You’re crossing S.H.I.E.L.D and your boss? Ambitious.” Raina knew subtle compliments fed his ego.

He ignored her, still touching the pole. “I personally want all camera footage before she and Reyes get taken. I want to see what my little bird has learned after she flew away from me.”

Raina hid her revulsion. This one thought he was a handsome catch, but his beady eyes told his true nature.

“Normally, I’d want double payment for this, since two are being captured,” Raina eyed him closely. “But it’s quadruple since you’re involving me in your little scheme.”

“Triple, and not a penny over,” he countered.

Raina bowed her head in compliance. He left the room then, trampling over the pictures scattered on the floor.

She picked them up, sifting through them once more. This was a pretty girl. Getting coffee, exiting that revolting van, shopping for hideous clothes, chatting with strangers – Raina shuddered- smiling with others but always with those sad eyes as soon as she was alone.

Something unfurled in her chest, her long-forgotten conscience maybe?

“You won’t get this one, Grant,” she vowed.


 

The Montebello Hotel, East Los Angeles

It was late, and Daisy was running on fumes. She slurped her fluorescent energy drink, having tapped out from coffee hours earlier, and surveyed her scattered notes.

All the angles and scenarios circled back to the same outcome: working with Robbie Reyes.

President Ellis’ Inhuman Integration Initiative sounded perfect on the outside, but Daisy was uncovering that it served a nefarious purpose. Inhumans were being graded and ranked according to their powers and those with more destructive ones were being siphoned to work directly for the United States Government.

Thankfully, Director Mace wasn’t aware of it, he was just being used.

She’d traced the calls he received and then hacked those, and it seemed that a shadow organization was working within the U.S government. Another iteration of Hydra? They should be gone and destroyed, just like Hive. A searing pain shot through her, as she remembered a sacrifice that should have been hers.

She was in way over her head, so she decided to video call Jemma on a secured line.

Haltingly, she began the story, that the official op with Mace was on Friday, but she went to Robbie’s house instead and mistakenly used the ICER 3 times.

“That was against protocol and you could have killed him! Or been killed!” Jemma interrupted sharply.

“Yeah, I kinda get that,” Daisy returned drily.

“Well, you did the right thing following the neutralizing procedures,” Jemma admitted. “But Daisy, I don’t think you understand. Coulson is no longer Director. You can’t just…have rogue missions, then bat your eyelashes afterward.”

“Jemma, I’m uncovering something really big!” Daisy needed her friend to understand. “I think Inhumans are getting sold to the Military.”

“A fact you should bring up to Director Mace” Jemma was exasperated. “What if you’re wrong? S.H.I.E.L.D is under scrutiny and Director Mace is under an immense amount of pressure.”

“And what if I’m right, Jem?” Daisy asked.

Jemma sighed and sidestepped the question. “So, you’re contacting me of your own volition, after running off on your own. You must want something?”

Daisy’s stomach dropped at her bitter tone. Since she’d returned to S.H.I.E.L.D, everything was topsy-turvy and Jemma, well, she was getting harder and their closeness was fading. So Daisy made a decision.

“Um, I was thinking we needed to do a girl’s weekend when I come back?” Daisy ventured.

“A girls weekend?” Jemma sounded surprised. “That sounds …wonderful.” She smiled, her features softening. “I’m sorry I’ve been so awful, it’s just been all so much,” she sniffled.

It was her turn to confess now, about her discomfort with higher security clearances, everyone only wanted what they could get from her, and Fitz spending more time with Dr. Radcliffe and his eerie assistant Aida.

And at the end of the call, even though Daisy didn’t get what she needed, she knew she made the right choice.

Except now she was on this op on her own.


 

Hillrock Heights, East LA

It was midnight when Robbie finally awoke. He rolled out of bed and texted Ignacio and Canelo that he needed to be out for another day. Ignacio responded that Robbie better have his ass ready for Friday night at Angels, all the boys were depending on him.

Angels.

It jogged something with his memory, but everything was still foggy. Groaning, Robbie stumbled to the shower. It didn’t clear his head, neither the cup of coffee he made afterward.

“Coffee at midnight? Going out again?”

Robbie was in the kitchen, absently stirring his steaming coffee when his brother rolled up.

“Nah, staying in tonight,” Robbie took a sip from his silver and black Raiders mug, a long-ago gift. Gabe seemed relieved at his words, and Robbie welcomed the soft feelings. God knows he was already a monster; Gabe was his only saving grace.

“Everything okay? You were sleeping like the dead when I came home.” Gabe moved closer to Robbie.

Robbie tensed. He dreaded accidental touches, but then a sensation teased the edge of his memory, of his face being stroked, of being held and kept safe.

“Robbie? Robbie?”

He looked up and realized that Gabe had been calling his name.

“Sorry, I’m out of it," he apologized. “Be extra careful okay? Heard there were break-ins around here.” He ruffled Gabe’s hair as he moved passed him to check all the doors and locks.

Satisfied everything was secure, Robbie returned to his bedroom where he stripped and slid under the covers. Thank God it was just him when that girl broke in. Suppose Gabe had gotten shot? Robbie turned over and punched his pillow, trying to get comfortable.

Soon Robbie was fast asleep, in the grips of a nightmare of fading away and dying, but then it shifted to an enchanting dream of soft touches healing his heart and tears renewing his parched soul.

A scratching sound woke him.

Robbie turned over, not wanting to leave his dream; his angel was there, and he wanted a few more precious moments where he was worthy of love.

The door creaked.

His senses thrummed to high alert, if it was that intruder from earlier, he would be ready. He summoned the Rider but perplexingly, it wouldn’t come.

Shit.

He would have to do this old school.

He kept his breathing even and stayed still as she crept silently towards him, somehow able to sense her presence. She was patient, he’d give her that. She was moving at a glacial pace, and if he wasn’t bare ass naked, he would’ve gotten up and ended the farce.

She was at this bedside now, leaning over him, her scent familiar and strange all at once.

Opening his eyes, he grabbed her.

She shrieked, and Robbie pulled her down and clamped his hand over her mouth, his fury rising. First, she couldn’t even kill him properly, and now she was back with another hack job? She flung him off, and they struggled.

“We’re on the same side,” she pleaded. “We need to talk.”

“Time for talking is over.” Robbie growled, moving for her again.

“Do you only speak in one-liners,” Daisy complained, as she deflected his grab.

A knock sounded on the door.

“Robbie! You okay?” It was Gabe.

“Yeah, it’s all good. Just a bad dream.” Robbie called out, as he seized her neck with his free hand. Time for play was over. She scrambled to get away and knocked his nightstand lamp over where it shattered on the floor. They both froze at the loud sound, and Daisy used it to her advantage, jostling out of his hold and racing away from the bed.

Incensed, he got up and lunged after her.

“That sounded like a girl, though?” Gabe was still outside the door, not giving up.

“It was a dream where a stupid girl was about to be killed,” Robbie hauled her back towards him, clamping her mouth shut, while she tried to shake him off.

“You keep quiet, or else,” he threatened.

“Mmmm! Mmmmm!” she was getting more agitated now, and looking over his shoulder.

“I said be quiet,” Robbie repeated, shaking her, and moving to pin her arms behind her back. “My brother’s in the next room.”

She went still and even in the darkness he could make out her massive eye roll.

“Uh, Robbie?” Gabe’s voice was hesitant, and definitely not outside the room.

Fuck

Robbie slowly looked up and around to Gabe in the doorway, mouth agape as he took in the scene.

Gabe quickly shut his eyes and looked away. “Is ‘killed’ a euphemism I’d rather not know about?” he asked, faintly.

Robbie scowled at Daisy who was shaking with laughter.

This was the perfect opening, she thought as Robbie dropped her. She smoothly got up and went to his dresser and rifling through, found a pair of shorts for him.

“Put that on, babe,” she teased, throwing it at him, enjoying his embarrassment. He silently caught it and hurriedly slid into them, too mortified to argue.

She unzipped her jacket and draped it on Robbie’s desk, like she had a claim to his space, then turned to Gabe who was looking shyly at her.

“Hi Gabe! I’m Daisy. I’ve heard so much about you!” she grinned, toeing off her shoes now. “I’d give you my hand to shake, but uh, I don’t know if you’d want it.” She leered suggestively at Robbie and had to hold back laughter at his responding glare. It promised affliction and woe as soon as Gabe was gone. She couldn’t wait.

“Nice meeting you,” Gabe said quickly, backing into the hallway. “Sorry, I’ll just leave you guys. I didn’t know Robbie had, um, company.”

“No problem,” Daisy called after him. “We’ll be quiet, I promise!”

Gabe slammed his room door shut.

Satisfied they were alone now, Daisy locked the bedroom door, only to find herself pushed up against it with a livid Robbie Reyes in her face.

Lack of sleep must be making her delirious because she wanted him to press closer and harder.

“You must be crazy coming back here,” he was taking care not to be loud, and his raspy voice sent a jolt of heat low in her belly.

“I definitely am something” Daisy murmured, her gaze flicking to his lips. The room was dark, but the moonlight was filtering through the curtains, illuminating his features. His grip on her waist was tight enough that she could feel the heat of his fingers through her clothes.

She touched him, lightly and he jumped. His hands slid to her hips, his grasp tightening.

He moved in closer, an unmistakable heat in his gaze.

“Why are you here?” his voice was low, and Daisy’s breathing grew shallow as she welcomed the pulsing between her thighs. How long had it been? She pushed aside memories of laughter and a sunny smile.

“Come closer,” she whispered. “I’ll show you.”

He leaned in, a whisper of a breath between them, and Daisy reached up, kissing his lips, gently. His lips were cool against hers and he tasted like coffee. He cautiously kissed her back. Had it been a long time for him, too?

“What are you doing?” he asked, against her lips, his rough voice sending a thrill through her. She didn’t come here for this, sex was the furthest thing on her mind, and probably his too, but maybe they needed a detour.

“If you must ask, I’m not doing it right” she teased, stealing another kiss. Why was she still wearing so many clothes when he gloriously had on so little?

Her fingers trembled as she unbuttoned her shirt, but she grew bolder as she made out his features in the moonlight. His eyes were hooded as he watched the increasing expanse of skin, and when her top sailed to the floor, he helped her unbutton her pants. But when he felt the waistband of her panties, his fingers stilled.

Daisy sensed his hesitation.

“You’re thinking too hard,” she told him, unzipping her jeans, and sliding them off.

“You tried to kill me this morning,” Robbie was aiming for an accusing tone, but it came out reverently.

“I didn’t want to, I promise” Daisy reached out and tenderly touched the discolored skin by his heart. “I just wanted to get away.” Her brown eyes shimmered in the moonlight.

“I must be the biggest fool,” he said softly, his fingertips skimming her nipples through the lace. He slid her straps down, undoing the clasp while she slid her panties off.

Robbie would ponder later on how easily they went from fighting to fucking. But seeing Daisy in that moment, vulnerable and bathed in moonlight, he knew that's when he really started living.

She pulled him in for a deep kiss, her hands roving his body and her soft moans driving him crazy.

“You sure?” he panted against her mouth.

She hooked her leg over his waist.

Fuck.

At the feel of her hot wetness on him, any residual distrust melted away till his only thought was claiming every inch and getting inside her.

“So, this is why you came back?” he whispered in her ear, pressing against her so she could feel his hardness. “You wanted someone to fuck?”

She moaned and rubbed against him. “Only you,” she whimpered. She needed this blessed distraction, to forget all her wrongs.

He devoured her mouth, then moved to her nipples, sucking them till Daisy was incoherent, scratching his back and trying to pull him closer.

Instead, Robbie knelt to the floor. Daisy, watched in wonder as he moved her thighs apart and his dark head moved closer. Gently, he stroked and then licked her.

Her knees buckled, but he showed no mercy, lifting her leg over his shoulder, opening her up to him. He stopped her when she tried to close herself.

“You brought this to me,” he growled. “Let me see.”

Daisy was in heaven. Nothing else existed but this ecstasy, and she moaned loudly when Robbie licked then gently kissed her clit. He was a faithful acolyte teasing her darkest secrets with his mouth, as she shamelessly moved on his face and begged for more, grasping his hair. It was all too much and not enough. Then when he tongued her, she exploded, shattering into tiny pieces. She would have fallen but he caught her and picking her up, he carried her to the bed.

“You okay?” he asked, softly kissing her forehead, and her cheek.

She nodded, still breathless.

He held her for what seemed like a lifetime, and as she floated back to earth, Daisy knew she wasn’t the same.

“We don’t have to. We can wait,” he was saying. But his hardness was digging into her side.

“No, it's fine,” she forced a smile.

Robbie was watching her intently now. He fixed her hair, and kissed her forehead reverently, with more care than she deserved. Tears threatened at his gentleness. She closed her eyes and inhaled, hoping it would pass. Only she would throw herself at a stranger and then fuck that up.

“Hey,” he whispered. Her eyes fluttered open, and to her eternal shame, tears rolled down.

Robbie brushed them away. “Let’s wait. It’s been a long day.” He inched away from her. “Can you, uh, give me a few moments first?” he asked, shyly, turning his face.

Daisy recognized the vulnerability in him and wanted to share it. She reached out and trailed her fingers from his shoulder, down his abs and when she touched his cock, he jumped.

She reached for him and when they kissed, there was passion, but something else beneath the surface, eluding them both.

“Don’t ever hide, not from me,” she whispered. “Let me.”

Robbie guided her hands over his, showing her the rhythm he wanted. She matched then increased it, driving him into a frenzy. He was past caring and bucking his hips wildly into her hands, he spilled his seed, moaning loudly.

Watching him lose himself in ecstasy could be addicting, Daisy thought.


 

They cleaned up as best as they could, and Robbie helped her into one of his t-shirts. It was dark red, and swallowed her up, reaching to her thighs. Daisy was about to grab her bag with her laptop when he stopped her.

“I’m tired, let’s go to sleep,” he stifled a yawn, and she knew he was still feeling effects from the ICER.

“Let’s? Like, together?” she stammered. “On this bed?”

“Don’t see anyone else,” he pointed out. “Help me change the sheets?”

Daisy simply stood with her mouth agape. Change the sheets? They went from literally fighting to giving each other orgasms, to … doing chores?

“What is this? What are we doing?” she asked him, still not moving.

“I’m not sleeping in that wet spot.” Robbie had already stripped the bed and was putting on another set of beige sheets.

She watched while he made the bed, and cleaned up the broken lamp, then took the side of the bed closer to the door. She hesitated, then followed him, taking the other side. She slipped under the covers, taking care to stay as far as possible away from him.

They had so much to talk about, but the quiet and the darkness was so soothing, and she was so tired.

“This is crazy, you know that right,” she decided to state the obvious.

“Shooting me this morning, or what we just did?” He was matter of fact, no judgment.

Sleeping in your bed,” Daisy answered like it was the obvious choice.

“Why?” he asked, genuinely curious. This girl was a puzzle.

“We don’t know each other,” she felt suddenly shy.

“Is your name really Daisy?” he asked, his voice quiet.

“Yes,” she answered, softly, thinking back to the other names she’d had. She wasn’t prepared for what he said next.

“Daisy, I licked your pussy till you came all over my face. And we just cleaned up my cum from all over your hands.”

Her jaw dropped. “Your mouth is filthy!” she exclaimed. Still, she inched towards him, luxuriating in the cool cotton sheets.

He grunted. “And you tried to kill me,” he reminded her again, his eyes closing.

“A fact you keep bringing up," she replied innocently. "But did you die?”

He opened his eyes and she made out his scowl in the dark. She hoped he didn’t see her grin.

“It was an accident,” she reached over and touched his face. “I really am sorry.”

“I know,” he mumbled. He was sprawled on his front now, somehow closer to her and minutes later, he was fast asleep.

Daisy stayed up, watching him, just like she did earlier. His face was relaxed, and his lips were parted as he slept. What type of power did he have, she wondered. That the U.S government wanted him?

Unbidden, a memory about a boy who could manipulate electrical currents rose up. She turned away from Robbie and buried her face in the pillow. Sadness was washing over her now.

“What are you thinking about?” Robbie's voice was low, but it startled her.

“I don’t deserve to be alive,” she answered, moving away from him. How’s that for getting to know someone.

Robbie was silent, and Daisy continued. “Innocent people suffer because of me and the universe is too stupid to do anything about it.” Daisy curled up at the edge of the bed needing to be alone. She’d move to the floor as soon as he went back to sleep.

There were rustling movements and then Robbie’s arms were around her. She choked back a sob.

“Come here,” he soothed, rocking her. He remembered his dream from earlier. “It’s okay. I got you.”

She tried to pull away, but he held her tighter, hauling her to his chest, right where she shot him, and she cried there till she was exhausted.

This was healing, falling apart with a stranger, Daisy thought, as Robbie took off her t-shirt to wipe her tear streaked face and his chest. She was naked again now, but there was nothing sexual about it, as she snuggled into the crook of his neck and he rubbed her back.

Daisy fought back the feelings of security welling up within her as they drifted off to sleep. After this weekend, she won’t see him again, she would be a fool to get attached.

But what did the sisters at St. Agnes say?

Fools rush in where angels dare to tread.

Chapter Text

 

Hillrock Heights- East LA

Daisy woke up to the soothing hum of a running household.

The dim whir of the washing machine was causing vibrations on Robbie’s desk, and in the distance, she could pick out the rumbling dishwasher. The coffee pot must’ve just started brewing, as the scent wafted through the air.

Robbie’s home was cozy, Daisy decided.

The bedside clock blinked that it was 7:38 AM, and wanting to ignore the real world for a little longer, she closed her eyes, snuggling deeper under the covers.

“So, is that your girlfriend?” a voice playfully asked. Daisy perked up.

“No,” Robbie answered solemnly. “Keep your voice down.”

“Keep my voice down?” Gabe laughed openly. “Dude, I slept on the couch last night because some people don’t get that concept.”

Daisy gasped, her face burning.

There was a pause and then the beep of the microwave. Robbie must be walking away because she couldn’t make out his reply, she just heard his gravelly timbre.

“I see how it is,” Gabe’s voice was still close. “What happened to bros before hoes, huh?”

“Oh shit,” Daisy sat up, wrapping the bed sheet around her. Time to get up.

“Watch your mouth, man” Robbie’s voice was clearer now. “You know we don’t talk like that.”

Daisy snorted as she went hunting for her clothes. Reyes would be the type to shut that line of conversation down.

“So, is Daisy going to live with us now?” Gabe asked wistfully, and she paused. Why would Gabe want a hookup to move in?

“Nah, she’s just passing through. Needs help with something,” Robbie answered.

There was a silence as Gabe absorbed this information.

“It feels like everyone who comes here just passes through. No one stays,” he confessed quietly. “Our parents, Tío…”

“Is Janet picking you up after school today?” Robbie roughly cut his brother off, changing the subject, and Daisy glared in the direction of his voice. Why was he being so mean?

“Yes, she is,” Gabe replied, bitterly. “And chaperoning the team trip from now all the way till Sunday because you won’t.”

You get him, Gabe, Daisy thought approvingly.

There was a knock on the front door, interrupting Robbie’s reply, and Daisy started. Too much eavesdropping and not enough clothes finding. She quickly scanned the floor, Robbie’s desk, then the clothes basket. Nothing.

Crossing the room, she opened his closet, and the first thing she noticed was his jacket, somehow still menacing without its owner. Hesitating, she touched it, trailing her fingers down the sleeves. It smelled like Robbie, and the smooth slickness of the leather reminded her of when she touched him intimately, faster and harder till he was wet all over.

“What are you doing?” a quiet voice interrupted, and she jumped.

It was Robbie, in the doorway.

“Where are my things?” she countered, mortified he might guess the carnal direction of her thoughts.

His gaze heated, then drifted down her body, before resting on her face again.

“Here,” he entered the room, and walking over, he offered a stack of folded laundry. Daisy was stunned and accepted it wordlessly. It was soft and warm, fresh from the dryer and smelling like a bright, sunny day. Their fingers grazed, and Daisy blinked back tears.

“This is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done.” Daisy revealed softly. The words were out before she could stop them. She’d been doing her own laundry since she was 8 years old in the orphanage and then in foster homes and as she got older, in laundromats and friends' homes. It was a simple gesture, but Robbie didn’t just give her things to wear, it was a gift of his time, his thoughtfulness, his care.

Robbie knew he was in way over his head, they both were. Too much was happening, too fast and too soon.

Since he’d been shot - since she shot him - he’d been at a disadvantage, unable to summon the Ghost Rider. But with just one kiss, he trusted her, and with one look at her in his room, his instinct was to strip her naked and pick up where they left off last night.

She looked up, and when their eyes met, Robbie’s heart skipped. Last night, she’d bared her soul, and cried till she fell asleep. He'd held her, drifting asleep easier than he had in years and when he awoke, she was curled into his chest like it was the safest place in the world.

“I, um, can leave while you change,” he searched for something coherent to say.

Daisy watched him, saw the way he rubbed his neck, looking softly at her.

This wasn’t the same man she’d met, she was changing him just like she did everyone else. A memory of Lincoln flashed, telling her he wanted no part of S.H.I.E.L.D, but she convinced him anyway. And now he was dead and there was a hole in her heart filled with pain that would probably never go away.

“You look like you need a minute," Robbie was saying. "Get me when you’re ready?”

He was seeing too much, acting like he knew her, and Daisy bristled.

She wasn't here for emotional intimacy, but maybe they could go for another kind.

Stepping closer, she let the sheet covering her float to the floor. “I’m ready now.” Reality could wait for a little longer.

Robbie’s sharp intake of breath bolstered her confidence, and when he kissed her, she welcomed the licks of fire throughout her body. Her demons would never truly leave but right now she just wanted the flames of pleasure to burn away her memories.

Daisy moved to unbuckle his belt, and he had to help her because her hands were shaking.

“Look at me,” he murmured, as he pulled off his shirt. Her gaze darted to his face but his stare was too intense, so instead she watched him undress.

Soon he was naked, stroking himself.

“Look at me, not my dick,” his lips curved into a semblance of a smile, and that’s when Daisy truly panicked.

Nope.

This was nothing more than fucking before getting back to the reality of S.H.I.E.L.D and her op. No smiles and light moments allowed, they weren’t making love.

“That’s enough talking,” she told him, deciding it was time to take charge.

She pulled him to her, capturing his mouth and sucking on his tongue, and soon their thoughts were as filthy as their kissing, just like she wanted. Satisfied he was learning, Daisy walked him towards the bed, pushing him down. He broke into a smile and got comfortable, placing his hands behind his head and watching as she straddled him.

“Stop smiling,” she ordered. “Or we stop.”

Robbie grew serious, flipping her, so he was on top.

“No talking, no smiling,” he licked her nipple, then sucked it harder. “What can I do?” He moved to her other breast, as she writhed.

“Just fuck me,” Daisy gasped, and while Robbie wanted nothing more than to fill her up, he knew she needed more. They both did.

He held her face as he settled in the cradle of her thighs, and she wrapped her legs around his waist. He almost forgot his resolve when he felt her wetness.

“Don’t hide, not from me,” he whispered against her lips, recalling her words from last night. And didn’t he trust her? To see that side of him, to let himself go?

And she must have remembered the same thing because her eyes filled with tears. His face softened, and he kissed her tears away as he gently eased inside.

Daisy moved under him, enjoying the feeling of fullness, and trying to get comfortable, to find their rhythm and how their bodies fit.

Robbie trailed his tongue in the dip of her collarbone, and seeing his cheeks flush and his eyes drift close, was as revealing as when he took off his clothes. Daisy decided to trust him, to not hide.

“Hey,” she whispered, stroking his hair. He paused, and lifted his head, eyes on her. The sunlight filtering through the blinds highlighted the dusting of freckles on his face and Daisy grew shy.

“Let me get back on top,” she mumbled, looking away.

The corner of Robbie's mouth turned up, and he rested his forehead on hers, kissing her tenderly once, twice, before easing off.

They switched and as he helped her straddle him, Robbie realized that her honesty, letting him see what she needed, was as intimate as their bodies joining. And when they kissed again, tongues tangling and breathing ragged, it was paradoxically more passionate, but gentler than before.

Robbie moaned, gripping her hips and she stroked his chest, where his bruises were fading. Their gazes met, and her dark hair formed a curtain, creating a familiar halo.

Daisy quickened the pace still not looking away, and she bit her lip as tears rolled down. When the first teardrop touched his face, that's when everything fell into place. It was her. She came back for him, held him and made him want to live. He hauled her down, kissing her like he needed to breathe. Daisy fell over the edge first, and when Robbie followed, his eyes were wet too, because he was falling in love with his angel.


 

S.H.I.E.L.D Headquarters

Director Mace was in a bit of a pickle.

He’d barely taken a sip of his morning coffee but he was already feeling the effects of heartburn with the conversation he was having.
“I’m sorry,” he winced. “You want me to do what now?”

“Pull Agent Johnson back,” President Ellis’ personal secretary was on his secured line. “She’s walking into a trap.”

“But you said Quake needed to be there, it was an urgent matter of National Security!” Mace blustered. If anything happened to Johnson, he would never hear the end of it from Coulson.

“The White House was getting false information from a worm that’ll be disposed of,” the voice on the line was dispassionate. “You’re on your own with this.” There was a pause. “The President will disavow any knowledge if you get caught.” And with that, the call disconnected.

Mace slammed his fist on the desk, in a rare show of anger. This job was so unforgiving, so thankless, and he was so alone. Sometimes he wished he never took it.

He sat back and gazed at the accolades on the wall from S.H.I.E.L.D over the years and the prize-winning picture of his heroism that never ceased to fill him with shame.

He exhaled, steeling himself.

He needed to do better, be better for S.H.I.E.L.D and for the people that counted on them; this was bigger than his insecurities.

Sighing, he picked up the phone and called the one person he couldn’t stand, the one person who recognized he was a fraud.

“Phil? It’s me, Jeffrey.” Mace clenched his jaw. “I … I need your help.”


 

Raina’s Penthouse Suite, Los Angeles

Raina hummed as she prepared for her morning appointments. She was feeling patriotic and chose a cobalt blue dress with blood red flowers. Rubies, or sapphires? she mused, inspecting her jewelry. Ah, diamonds.

President Ellis’ personal secretary would screen early morning calls from world leaders and diplomats, but Raina always got the President’s ear. Her machinations placed him in the White House, and she made sure he remembered it.

“Ward has been keeping Inhumans for himself,” Raina informed him, earlier that morning. “He and Garrett have been using them in an exclusive underground fighting circuit. They’re making a killing in gambling and bets.”

“How does this affect me?” President Ellis had asked. His assistant just brought his morning coffee, and he was more concerned in sneaking real sugar than the plight of Inhumans being sold.

“Your order to make sure Quake is at my Club?” Raina’s mouth curved into a smile. “It came from Ward, not for your Inhuman National Security Project. He means to capture her for himself. To use her for his profit.” Raina paused, so the implications of her revelation could sink in. “Quake should be part of your stable, not his.”

Raina felt a jolt of satisfaction as she let the President know what his godson was up to. She should be the one working in the White House with a prestigious cabinet position.

She came from nothing, from the streets of Thailand, and learned new languages and earned her multiple degrees.

Grant Douglas Ward was an American senator’s son, born with a silver spoon, and despite several failings as a teenager, in the Military and at S.H.I.E.L.D, he kept getting chance after chance.

Except, no matter what environment Ward was in, he only thought of himself and pleasing his mentor so instead of ensuring he did the right thing for President Ellis, he was helping Garrett’s scheme of match-fixing with Inhumans.

“What do you have to gain from this?” The President asked, knowing Raina did nothing for free.

“Absolutely nothing, for once,” Raina admitted. “There is a debt owed to one of Daisy Johnson’s family members that must be repaid”

“So Quake is not to be taken, either by Ward or by my secret project?” Ellis needed it spelled out.

“That is correct,” Raina’s replied. It was his words, not hers. “But Quake is a minor concern, Mr. President. Ward has been a naughty boy and he's been seen in activities that would hurt your reelection campaign.”

That got Ellis’ attention, and they chatted some more, with Raina promising to offer any and all assistance to get him another four years, while the President assured her that Grant Ward would no longer be a problem.

Raina finished dressing, surveying her reflection.

She was immaculately coiffed, pressed and made up, but there were those troublesome bags under her eyes.

The time difference between her and President Ellis meant she was on the phone when she should be sleeping.

“Daisy Johnson should feel some of my pain,” Raina decided, picking out a blood red lipstick to match the flowers on her dress.

 

Chapter Text

 


 

Sidamo Coffee, Tea & Bakery, some distance away from HQ

“So, let’s get this straight,” Agent Phil Coulson, leaned forward in his chair. “You sent Agent Johnson on a secret mission for the President, with no backup, and the White House just washed their hands of it?” The corner of his mouth lifted. “I hope this isn’t the good news.”

“Well, when you put it like that -,” Mace squirmed, loosening his collar. “But I serve at the pleasure of the President, and I didn’t think-.”

“It’s okay, Phil.” Agent Melinda May spoke up for the first time since the Director told the story.

“It is?” Coulson and Mace asked in unison.

Tess, their server, approached at that moment, bringing an earthenware mug of steaming jasmine tea, which Melinda accepted with a curt nod.

“Daisy contacted me about midnight her time,” May disclosed, gently blowing on her tea. “President Ellis’ Inhuman Integration Initiative? It’s a front for buying the strongest Inhumans and for the military.” She took a measured sip before continuing. “Daisy thinks there’s an intermediary that’s facilitating the transactions.”

“A brilliant scheme, actually,” Coulson commented. “Apart from the whole 'people buying' thing.”

Their server returned, this time with a colorful clay coffee pot and matching ceramic cups; Mace welcomed the distraction.

“I don’t know how to fix this,” he sighed, pushing his cup aside. “What should we do?”

“May, tell us everything Daisy told you, leave nothing out.” Coulson began. “We need to assemble a team we can trust, to look at the big picture.” He smiled at Mace. “Sorry, I know that’s your catch-phrase.” He picked up his coffee – a fragrant, in-house roasted blend- and took a thoughtful sip. “What’s so special about this op in East LA?”

“Robbie Reyes,” May answered before Jeffrey could. “Daisy thinks that whatever power he has must be strong enough that the government needs it. She shot him three times in the heart with Fitz’s latest ICER- and he’s still alive.” Her eyes darted to Mace. “Simmons told me that, not Daisy.”

“But why Daisy?” Coulson pressed. “Why did President Ellis need her there?”

Jeffrey Mace’s jaw tightened. “They probably want to capture her, too, along with Reyes. Quake would be the perfect weapon.”

The color drained from Melinda’s face, and she was grateful for Phil’s reassuring hand under the table.

“Even if we didn’t figure it out, which we did,” Phil spoke up. “Daisy’s too smart to be taken. What’s her angle?”

“Work with Robbie Reyes,” May replied skeptically. “And uncover the middleman selling the Inhumans. She won’t leave Los Angeles without that.”

Director Mace pinched the bridge of his nose. He doubted himself on most days, and the knowledge chafed that not one, but two of his agents confided in May, rather than him. And who the heck authorized Johnson to confront Reyes? But this was bigger than his need for control, he already had the title of Director, time to act like one.

He cleared his throat.

“We should let Agent Johnson stay and gather more information,” he announced, bracing himself for Coulson and May’s displeasure. “We won’t get a chance like this otherwise.”

But they surprised him, exchanging wordless glances that spoke volumes.

“That might be best,” Coulson conceded. “Daisy will want to learn about any threats to Inhumans, whether she has our blessing or not. Might as well make it official.”

“And if the White House is pulling back,” Director Mace added, thoughtfully. “That means Reyes and Daisy aren’t in any danger.”

“But what about the middleman, that’s actually doing the capturing?” Melinda interjected. “They might not be happy being left in the wind.”

“Johnson can handle it. We’ll do a video call later, so she’s not going in blind,” Mace finally tasted his coffee, and relaxed. One of the rookies, Agent Crawford, recommended this place, and he was glad he listened.

“I agree with Jeffrey,” Coulson declared, lifting his cup in salute. “I trust Daisy, and if Reyes is as strong as we think, she has back up.” He quirked a smile at Melinda. “I bet they’re working it out right as we speak.”


 

Hillrock Heights, East LA

Daisy and Robbie were in the shower, bodies pressed together under the warm spray while Robbie washed Daisy’s hair.

“What do you mean your power’s gone?” Daisy was asking, eyes squeezed shut as the bright scents of the verbena and mint tickled her nose.

“I haven’t been able to use it since yesterday,” Robbie replied, no censure in his voice. He grabbed the handheld showerhead and began rinsing the lather out her hair.

“I’m sorry that I-” she began, but he stopped her.

“Don’t be. You don’t know what I am,” he confessed. “I know my story sounds crazy, but it’s true. The Devil changed me.”

Robbie needs Inhuman transition counselling, Daisy thought, if he figures the Devil changed him.

“What does your power do exactly?” she changed the subject. “When I came back, your head… it was charred, like there was fire. And I-, I saw your skin and bones knit back together.”

Robbie remained silent, water trickling down his face and body, as he looked away, unable to meet her eyes.

“Hey, it’s natural to feel weird. Or even guilty,” Daisy soothed, touching his face, turning him to her. And on impulse, she moved her hands, rearranging the molecules of water till they swirled in an ethereal pattern around him.

“That’s amazing,” Robbie couldn’t help the wonder that crept into his voice. “So, you’re a water bender, huh?”

Daisy laughed. “Do you bend fire?” Water flowed out normally now, and she grabbed a washcloth and the bar of soap.

“I settle scores and burn souls,” he said, flatly.

The soap clattered to the tiled floor, and Robbie flinched.

This is what he was needed, her judgment so he could stop the tendrils of hope blooming in his heart. That someone like him, could possible deserve love.

“I came to find out if you’re Inhuman, too,” Daisy tried to keep her voice steady. “S.H.I.E.L.D looks out for people like us, we can help you.”

“I told you, I’m not like you.” Robbie couldn’t help the edge in his voice. “And how did breaking into my house help?” He picked up the soap, and grabbed her washcloth, needing his hands to be busy.

“Yeah, about that,” she exhaled. “I was, um, trying to avoid the actual mission, and things escalated.”

“What were you supposed to do?” Robbie asked, lathering up the cloth so he could wash her. It was a habit he cultivated over the years, to do something practical when he was overwhelmed.

“Meet you at Angels tomorrow night,” Daisy moved her hair, as he soaped her up. “My boss was pretty adamant it had to be there. I think something big is going down.”

“The strip club? And something big like what?” Robbie frowned. He trusted Daisy, but the story was getting more and more fantastic.

“I think people want to take you… maybe sell you… because of your powers,” she answered. “Which you still haven’t told me about by the way.” She took the shower head to finish washing herself and braced for his displeasure. It had only been a day, but she’d brought nothing but drama since they’d met.

He remained silent, and started washing himself, and Daisy found the harsh set of his jaw and his furrowed brow alarming. He was ignoring her, turning into a stranger right before her eyes, not the man who rubbed her back and kissed her hair while she cried.

And she must have looked as stricken as she felt, because his hands stilled.

“When I’m thinking,” he explained. “I get quiet.”

Daisy let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. “If it’s such an event, you probably don’t do it too often.” she teased.

He didn’t smile, but his expression softened, and she blinked back tears. Dammit, what was it about Robbie that had her constantly on the verge of crying?

“I don’t normally have anyone to talk to,” he confessed. He met her eyes under the spray of water, then looked away, watching the steam rising.

A tear escaped, as Daisy remembered her vow at the wall of Valor. That she’d never get attached again. Could she comfort Robbie without falling for him?

“I’m here,” she offered softly. “If you want to talk.” She reached up, tracing the deep lines bracketing his mouth. They were echoes of happier times, memories that were probably faded and gone. What harm would come in creating new ones? Her fingers drifted down his face, skimming his chest, and she pressed closer to him.

“I’d like that,” he murmured. “To talk.” He leaned forward and kissed her softly, then deeply as the warm water cascaded over their slick bodies like a blessing from the heavens. He drew back when Daisy giggled against his mouth.

“What’s funny?” he asked, pushing her back against the wall.

“I suddenly don’t feel like talking,” she reached up to kiss him, but squealed instead when without warning, he lifted her. “Don’t drop me!” she laughed, wrapping her legs around his waist, clutching his back.

Robbie didn’t reply, he wanted to taste her smile, and make up for years when his soul had no light. He pushed away the sobering thought that shadows always lurked, and happiness never lasted. The Rider would be back, and when Daisy saw what he truly was, would she want to be around him?

“What did I tell you about thinking too hard?” she playfully nipped his neck to get his attention.

Robbie gripped her tightly, and pressed intimately against her, seeking entrance. “This the only thing on my mind,” he murmured. But when he met her eyes, she saw his pain that was lurking inside.

“Come here,” she whispered, drawing him closer, and when his dark head leaned into the safety of the crook of her neck, Daisy realized this wasn’t just a quickie, they were making love.

Jesus Christ, she was so fucked.

She pushed the worry aside, when Robbie gasped her name like it provided his salvation, and his hands grew more urgent. They didn’t need long, and when they finished together, breathing heavily, Robbie turned his head away, avoiding her face as he helped her stand.

“Hey,” she nudged him. “No hiding, remember?”

“Yeah,” his voice broke as he met her eyes. “Sorry I-, we need to talk.”

He exhaled, and Daisy chose to reach up and wipe the wetness away from his cheek, rather than pretend it was from the shower. His mouth drew in a hard line.

They went back under the water again to clean up, but this time, the water suffocated rather than soothed.

Had they exceeded their allotment of grace?

 

Chapter Text

 

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Reyes Residence, and Sidamo Coffee, Tea, and Bakery. Later that day

May sighed, settling back in her seat, while Fitz and Mace looked on in horrified fascination. Jemma’s head was tilted in wonder as she watched the screen, while Coulson was oblivious, attacking his warm pastry with vigor. They were in a backroom at Sidamo, the second time that day, having a secured video call with Daisy and Robbie Reyes.

Or attempting to, because the couple in question had been bickering for the last 5 minutes.

“You can obviously shoot guns,” Robbie was saying sarcastically, pointing to his chest.

“Oh my God, I shot you like, one time! Well, three times but-”

“And all this computer shit because you were spying on me and everything I do-” Robbie’s voice rose.

“I’m a freaking spy! It’s in the job description!” Daisy was getting animated now, in Robbie’s face.

“You have honest to God powers that can do serious damage-”

“And spoiler alert: they didn’t come from the devil,” Daisy crossed her arms.

“But your boss is making you go undercover as a stripper!” Robbie turned and glared at Director Mace. “That’s some bullshit.”

“Erm, in my defense,” Mace looked around for help, and finding none, met Robbie’s angry face. “I was ordered to by the Office of the President.”

“She’s not doing it.” Robbie stated, ignoring Daisy’s gasp of outrage. “Strip clubs are sketchy, there are probably cameras all over-”

“Sketchy, huh?” Daisy interrupted. “Wonder what kind of sketchy men spend their Friday nights there?

“He walked into that one,” Fitz murmured to Jemma, and she nodded.

“Like I said, I’m helping a co-worker,” Robbie scowled at Daisy.

May arched an eyebrow, noting the couple’s body language and tone. Heated words for sure, but no malice, and they were inches apart, seated on the faded couch.

“Well, aren’t you a good Samaritan,” Daisy rolled her eyes at Robbie.

“Okay, kids that’s enough,” Coulson had finished scraping up the last bits of icing on his ceramic plate. “Robbie, a bit of life advice. Don’t tell Daisy what to do. Especially since you know how good she is with a gun.”

Daisy smirked at Robbie, smugly settling on the couch.

“Daisy, you’re not off the hook,” Coulson turned to her. “Accepting a mission with no backup? Then moving on your own and shooting a target? And not reporting with the proper chain of command?”

“Phil, you’re not following the chain of command,” Mace interjected drily.

“Fair point, but you might need my expertise with this one,” Coulson replied. “Fitzsimmons, you’re up.”

Robbie frowned as he turned back to the screen, he didn’t remember that name from the introductions.

“We’re a team, I’m Engineering, she’s BioChem,” Fitz explained, deciphering Robbie’s expression. “And with the help of my mentor, Dr. Radcliffe,” he was shuffling through some papers and didn’t see Jemma’s glower. “I found the specs for that, erm, gentleman’s club. The private rooms are all built out as S.H.I.E.L.D. standard containment modules. Complete with the poly-adaptive material that-”

“Containment modules!” Daisy turned Robbie. “That’s how they’re capturing people like us.

“He’s not Inhuman, Daisy,” Jemma spoke up. “I got the samples you air couriered. Thank you for Robbie’s cheek swab and hair, by the way. The toothbrushes were compromised since you didn’t use a sterile bag.” And both Jemma and Robbie were staring at Daisy now.

“You guys, let’s stay on task,” Daisy smiled, happiness bubbling in her. God, she loved working with her team, squabbles and all, and Robbie was getting to meet them. “And it’s not like I didn’t replace your toothbrushes.” She elbowed Robbie. “So, Jem, what is he?”

“I’m hoping he would tell us,” Jemma narrowed her eyes. “Robbie Reyes has perfectly normal human DNA.”

Robbie clenched his fists.

It was a curious thing, realizing how foolish he’d been, thinking he could be normal, meet someone who knew his secret, and they care for him. Daisy was about to find out he was a monster.

“Robbie?” she touched his knee, and he stared at her hand.

All eyes were on him, and the weight of their stares was making Robbie retreat into himself. He’d been partly ashamed, partly afraid to let Daisy see the Rider, and locked it away, but-.

Time’s up, Roberto.

It was surfacing now, the other guy.

Just in time. Sin is here.

Wait. Last night Daisy mentioned people dying because of her, and the universe not stopping it. Dios mío, she couldn’t have blood on her hands, could she? His body heat was rising, and Robbie panicked. He was supposed to protect her, not bring danger.

We avenge those in need. Not hide sinners.

“Daisy-” Robbie choked out a breath. His skin was melting, and the white-hot pain told him the transformation was beginning. “Run. Go!”

But she was transfixed in horror, mouth agape as his face and head burned away.

“Daisy, GO!” he growled, and when she screamed he knew the transformation was complete because his voice was an animalistic roar.

“Ok Satan Jr, you were right, I was wrong,” Daisy finally snapped out of her shock, and scrambled to get up. “But I hope you know this makes you a very bad Catholic.” Maybe Flaming Head had a sense of humor.

That was foolish, wishful thinking on her part, as it fixed her with a malevolent stare, and like Hive, it was coming into her mind, and she was struck in mute terror.

But it didn’t seek to overtake her, instead it was breaking her open, spilling long forgotten memories. Bright orange and yellow flames clouded her vision as shattered pieces of her past flashed. All her sins, mortal and venial. Stealing food as a child because she was still hungry. Lying to save her new foster brother from getting a beating, then lying to her new social worker about marks on her own body.

“Stop showing her that!” Robbie was locked within his own consciousness, whenever it took over, and he never felt so helpless. He tested the bars of his mental cage, and as always, it stood firm.

I am looking for her sin.

“Please, don’t,” Daisy begged. “I can’t.” She could faintly hear exclamations from the team, but she was scared that they’d see her ugliness laid bare.

More memories, and so many deaths.

Every single villager that was slaughtered because of her and every single S.H.I.E.L.D agent that tried to protect her.

But as sweat beaded on her face, a wave of anger washed over her, burning away her fear.

It wanted to pry and judge her? She flung everything at the beast. Let it see.

Trip. Andrew. Charles Hinton. The people who died when she was part of Hive. Lincoln.

Do it, Daisy dared it, willing to accept her fate. If I deserve it, do it. The Ghost Rider took Daisy’s hand, and there was a loud gasp from the S.H.I.E.L.D. team, while Robbie railed against the Rider to regain control. Daisy had no idea what she was dealing with.

It's time you learned Sin Eating, Roberto, since you locked me away to protect this girl. But she has no egregious sin. Except for how she lies to herself. Ghost Rider made sure Daisy heard his thoughts, before it dropped her hand.

Daisy panted as it left her, wanting to tear at her clothes and hair, to get that thing out of her mind.

Sin is here. Ghost Rider cocked its head at the screen, taking in the terrified faces and shocked expressions. All but one. He pointed at the person. Evil. Work with these people to stop the coming abomination.

Robbie glanced through the Rider’s eyes but was worried about Daisy. “Fine! Just let me back out.”

And to the fascination of Fitzsimmons, and the shock of everyone else, the licks of flames subsided, and Robbie’s skin and bones re-formed. He was gasping, and immediately reached for Daisy, but she recoiled.

“Don’t touch me!” she cried. “Don’t look at me.”

“I’m sorry, it was trying to-” Robbie began.

“Don’t talk to me!” and with that Daisy jerked up and ran to the bathroom.

Robbie groaned, holding his head in his hands as he heard her throw up and his own labored breathing.

“This is one hell of a first impression, Mr. Reyes,” Coulson spoke up, breaking the painful silence. “More life advice? Don’t have meetings where other people can drop in.”

And turning around, it was as if Robbie’s worst fear came to life and punched him square in the stomach. Gabe was in the hallway, bookbag on his lap, his face drained of color, looking as revolted as Robbie was feeling about himself.

“I have to go,” Robbie stammered, about to run after Gabe, who was backing away.

“Not yet, son,” Phil stopped him with a soft tone.

Robbie felt his eyes get wet, as he saw Gabe move farther away from him, and Daisy slam the bathroom door shut. He looked back at the screen, everyone but Coulson was pretending to be busy with shuffling papers or their tablets.

“We need to make sure the public is safe from whoever these Inhuman buyers are,” Phil continued. “I just need a few minutes to get some clarification, and then you can go.”

Robbie sighed, and sat down. “What do you need?”

 

Chapter Text

S.H.I.E.L.D. Headquarters

Coulson was at his desk making notes. He’d met a Spirit of Vengeance before - well, Nick Fury did, he was only a bright-eyed rookie- and Phil suppressed a jolt of glee. That one had a motorcycle, but this one? A sweet ‘69 Charger with a BTS blower. Ok, so he kept Robbie a few minutes longer asking about it.

“Planning some playdates for Lola?” May walked in and stood next to him. She wasn’t happy that Coulson stopped Robbie from going after Daisy, but waited to bring it up when they were alone.

Coulson smiled, happy to see her, and knew to immediately address her concern.

“Daisy is going to be fine,” he assured her. “Robbie’s a good kid. Not a fan of a demon inhabiting him, but Daisy might like knowing he can’t die easily.”

“I don’t think Daisy wants anything to do with him or that demon,” May retorted.

“And there was a time you didn’t want anything to do with me,” Phil reminded her gently.

“But you didn’t give up,” Melinda admitted, softening.

“Let’s hope those kids learn the true secret to friendship,” Phil said, pulling up a chair for May. “Being stubborn as hell.”


 

Hillrock Heights, East LA

Daisy was in Robbie’s bedroom, sitting on the floor, with her back to the locked door. The absurdity of the situation wasn’t lost on her, that she locked Robbie out of his own room, in his own house, while wearing his jacket. She pulled it tighter around her, and breathed, like May had taught her.

In, hold, and out.

She should have quaked that thing when Robbie started changing. She should have tried to vibrate the flames away when it came towards her. A wave of nausea passed through her as she thought about what Robbie would have seen. Unwanted and unloved Mary Sue. Flighty Skye, too weak and stupid. Daisy Johnson who let her friends down again and again.

“You’re not my brother,” Gabe’s voice cut through her thoughts. “You’re a monster.”

Daisy Johnson, letting down friends and breaking up families since 1988, she thought bitterly.

“I’m sorry, Gabe,” Robbie sounded so forlorn. “I didn’t know how to tell you.”

“What do you mean you didn’t know how? I just want the truth, Robbie!”

A door slammed and there was silence.

Daisy exhaled, waiting for Robbie to come find her next, unsure if she wanted to let him in.

She heard his steps, and when they faltered outside the door, she started taking off his jacket. No need to look like a creeper wearing his clothes. But he kept walking, the sounds of his steps getting farther and farther away, till there was nothing but silence.

She wiped away a tear. Time to get up.

The next couple hours passed silently, as she kept in touch with the team, and worked on investigating the money trail in and out of Angels and Canelo’s. Coulson wanted to know about the people Robbie was going to the strip club with, and he wanted any and all information about the club itself. No one mentioned the scene with Robbie, and Director Mace even called to apologize for putting her in a sticky situation.

“It’s no biggie,” Daisy decided to be easy on him. “I should look into another career anyways, S.H.I.E.L.D. is always 5 minutes away from being disbanded.”

“Not on my watch, I promise you that,” Mace settled in his chair. Ignoring Johnson’s sarcasm really did wonders for their conversations. “One thing I wanted to mention if I may?”

Daisy rolled her eyes, ready for a pep talk on teamwork.

“Be easy on Reyes. Sometimes we find friends in the unlikeliest of places. You know, Phil and I are meeting for brunch tomorrow?”

Daisy couldn’t help it, she laughed. “That’s adorkable,” And she hung up, leaving Mace to wonder whether he’d just been insulted or not.


 

Later that day

Dusk was falling in East LA, and Robbie was nowhere to be found.

The house was only that big, but his car was still in the driveway. Daisy even used her quake power to make sure he wasn’t on the roof. Finally, she mustered the courage, and knocked on Gabe’s door.

“Go away!” he responded, and Daisy smiled. Robbie must be a good guardian if Gabe felt that comfortable.

“It’s me,” she called. “Daisy, I mean.”

There were some rustling sounds, and then the door creaked open. “What do you want?” And he sounded so much like Robbie, Daisy melted. Everything was fucked up, but they were still family.

Daisy slid to the floor, so she could lean against it and talk to him. “Robbie is really sorry. He was trying to protect you.”

“Why do you care, you’re just going to leave him like everyone else,” Gabe scowled. “Why are you even around my brother? Did you turn him into that thing?”

This was family, protecting your older brother, even when you were spitting mad at him.

“Robbie’s my friend,” she said, softly. “And I might leave, because I don’t live around here, but I won’t leave him, okay? I’ll stay in touch, I promise.”

“Is he going to be okay?” Gabe’s voice broke. “He never tells me what’s going on. Is he going to die? What happens to me if he dies?”

Daisy was on her feet and pushing the door open to wrap Gabe in a big hug.

“It’ll be okay. Nobody’s dying.” He accepted her embrace, and Daisy remembered being a teenager, powerless to make decisions, while the adults kept secrets. “And if Robbie does, you can come live with me, if you want. But let’s not kill him off yet, okay? He’s too damn stubborn for that anyway.”

“What’s happening, Daisy?” Gabe implored. “Is Robbie an Inhuman? How does his head do that? Who were those people on the screen? What kind of computer was that anyway? Who do you work for?”

Daisy laughed as Gabe peppered her with an endless stream of questions that were surprisingly astute. It was as if Fitzsimmons had an over-caffeinated younger brother.

“Okay, okay! I promise to answer as many questions as I can after I find Robbie,” Daisy smiled, standing up. “You know where he is?”

“I dunno,” Gabe answered, then smirked. “Why you’re asking me? You’re wearing his jacket.”

Shit.

“You and Robbie are friends, huh?” Gabe continued, grinning. “You know, Robbie never even lets me touch his jacket.”

And Daisy didn’t mind being on the receiving end of his teasing if it meant that he was happy again, but still she scurried away to put Robbie’s jacket up.


 

Robbie was in his car, in the backseat of all places, staring into space and flipping his keys. He looked away when Daisy slid in.

“Hey,” she felt sparks of shame and anger, knowing that he knew everything about her, things she wanted to keep hidden.

He didn’t answer.

“What do you want for dinner?” she asked, sharper than she intended.

His hands stilled. “Dinner?” he scoffed.

“Gabe wants a family meeting. With the two of you, I mean. I’m mediating.”

“I’m not hungry and I don’t feel like talking,” Robbie resumed flipping his keys. “Nothing to say.”

Daisy welcomed the anger coursing through her.

“Your brother is worried sick! You think this is only about you?” Daisy glared at him. “How about you get your ass up, and get in the house.”

He turned to her, and the movement reminded her of the Flaming Head. She couldn’t help it, she shrank back.

Robbie gave her a look of disgust and shook his head. “Thought so.”

Daisy narrowed her eyes, and reaching out, she grabbed his arm. “You don’t get to feel sorry for yourself. Not when you have someone that loves you. You can do the emo routine in the house.” Her own hypocrisy wasn’t lost on her, there was a time when she thought coloring her hair black and shutting everyone out would help.

He jerked his arm away, glaring. “Leave me the hell alone. Gabe’s probably better off without me. You too. Mind your business.” And he scooted to the corner.

Daisy surveyed him. She ran away after Lincoln died, just knowing she was cursed. She'd wanted to be alone, but what did she need? Robbie was curling up against the window now, trying to get as far away from her as possible.

After he let that thing inside him get to her.

Asshole.

She scrambled out, slamming the door, noting Robbie’s disappointed look. And she marched right around the Charger and opened the door on his side. He wasn’t expecting it and almost fell to the ground.

“The hell are you doing?” Robbie sputtered.

“Something I wish someone did for me,” Daisy informed him, and hauling him up, she swiftly picked him up in a fireman’s carry.

“What the fuck?” Robbie shouted, as the world tilted upside down. “Put me down!”

“No!” Daisy was rapidly losing her temper. And she kicked his car door closed, and stalked across the front yard.

“Let me go!” Robbie was struggling. “Jesus fucking Christ!”

She thought about him sifting through her memories and resisted the urge to quake him.

“You’re heavier than you look, quit moving around!” she growled.

The front door was open now, Gabe’s room was to the front of the house and he must have heard the commotion. Her arms were aching, and she dumped Robbie unceremoniously in the foyer, next to his brother and locked the front door.

“Don’t you ever do that again!” Robbie scrambled to his feet.

“Or what?” Daisy was starting to vibrate with anger. “Your judgment demon will break into my mind? You think that’s the same as me bringing your whiny ass inside?”

“It was trying to take your sin away. Not burn your soul.”

Gabe looked worriedly from Robbie to Daisy. “What are you guys talking about?”

“Nothing important,” Daisy tried to soften her tone. “Robbie, is it okay if Gabe comes with me if you die?” She crossed her arms, hoping the question knocked some sense into him.

Instead, he closed his eyes, looking like he was holding back tears. “I already died,” he whispered.

The silence was deafening.

“Please tell me there’s tequila in this house,” Daisy exhaled, turning to Gabe.

Gabe looked up and grunted. “We’re Mexican, so we gotta have tequila?” But his eyes were warm, and then he flashed a smile. That was the moment Daisy realized she could love Gabe like her brother.

“I don’t give a shit what you have,” she replied. “We’re getting drunk.” And that was the moment Gabe wished that no matter what happened with her and Robbie, Daisy would stay in his life.

“Robbie has some of Tío’s old stash hidden.” Gabe said, conspiringly. “I’ll show you.”

“It’s about to be Daisy’s stash,” Daisy punched Gabe’s shoulder. “How old are you again?”

Robbie listened to Gabe and Daisy chatter, his heart racing, now that the monster he feared the most was slain. The two people he cared about, knew his secret, and they were still here.

“I travel a lot for work, I’ll send you some shot glasses,” Daisy was saying now, as she rattled around in the kitchen.

“Where do you go?” Gabe demanded. “What type of work do you do? Do you think you’ll be back in LA? Can I come visit you?” He gazed at Daisy, assessing her. “Why do you even like Robbie?”

He should probably interrupt, tell Gabe he was being rude, Robbie thought, but for right now, he just wanted to hear laughter, and friendship, and family echo throughout the house. It had been too long.

“So why are you home right now?” Daisy was asking. “Thought there was a team trip or something?”

“My ride’s coming back later tonight. I was kinda mad at Robbie this morning and didn’t want to go away without saying sorry.”

Robbie turned his head, because crying in front of your baby brother and your girl, wasn’t the most manly thing to do.

“Go tell him now, he’s eavesdropping.”

Robbie smiled through his tears, hastily wiping his face.

They all took a shot before Robbie told his story, about that night when he died, the deal he made, and the Ghost Rider.

“So, you murder people?” Gabe was so heartbroken. Daisy held his hand.

“Sounds like they deserve it.” Daisy tried to be positive.

“Only God decides!” Gabe exclaimed. "It's not our place to judge!”

“It’s the thing in him,” Daisy didn’t agree with it, but she understood. “It’s not Robbie.”

“He’s right,” Robbie looked at her. “It’s my responsibility, it’s my body. I need to learn to control it.”

“You can do it,” Daisy held his hand. “S.H.I.E.L.D can help.”

Robbie sighed, grabbing the bottle of tequila. “Last one for you,” he nudged his brother. He poured a shot them all.

“To one hell of a ride”

The glasses clinked musically, ringing in new beginnings for new friends and family.

 

Chapter Text

 

The buzz from the tequila was wearing off, and Daisy started gathering her things.

“I’m heading back to my hotel,” she mumbled. “Gotta get ready for tomorrow. Thanks for letting me hang out.”

Robbie remained silent, hovering in the doorway.

“I’ll be by when you get off work tomorrow,” Daisy studiously avoided his eyes as she wrapped up her charging cords. “Unless Child Services takes you in for giving Gabe alcohol.”

He leaned against the door jamb, still silent, still watching.

“He holds his liquor really well, though,” Daisy’s mouth lifted in a smile. “I would’ve been drunk after one shot at his age.” Her mouth twisted. “But you probably know that, right?”

“No, I don’t.” Robbie stepped into the room. “It’s the Ghost Rider that checks, I get a sense of things, but not the details.” His eyes darted away.

“You can’t even lie properly,” Daisy heard the pettiness creep into her voice. “Your demon rating just dropped a star.” She was zipping up her bag now.

“I don’t normally look,” Robbie took a careful step towards her. “But when it was searching your soul,  I was trying to take back control. I didn’t intend to-.”

“Where are my damn car keys?” she interrupted. “Listen, it is what it is. Let’s move forward. I need to know who’s behind capturing the Inhumans. And how the hell they got S.H.I.E.L.D tech.”

Robbie exhaled;  he was so out of his depth.

He’d never been caught before, with someone who knew his secret. And here she was, part of his life, his family, lodged in his heart permanently. How could he say sorry, make amends, if she didn’t want to talk?

“You’re leaving in a couple days, right?” he asked, searching her face.

Daisy nodded, avoiding his eyes.

“Maybe we can get something to eat?” Robbie stepped closer. “I’m starving. You like Mexican food?”

And at that moment, her stomach let out a very unladylike growl.

“I like anything,” Daisy’s voice was softer. “But I could go for a cheeseburger and some hot fries?”


 

Virgil’s Futuristic Burgers

It was nighttime now, and after they went to the drive-thru, Robbie parked near a row of trees in the parking lot, so Daisy could eat. For all his talk earlier of being hungry, he’d lost his appetite.

The wind picked up outside, whistling in the leaves.

“I know you're mad about the Ghost Rider.” Robbie’s voice broke the quiet. “I'm sorry.”

“It is what it is,” Daisy laid her seat back, looking out at the stars, avoiding his eyes. She'd already inhaled her bacon double cheeseburger and was going through her fries at a steady pace.

“Please don’t-” Robbie faltered. “Don’t shut me out.”

“You don't have the right to tell me that.” Daisy snapped, sitting up. “I am angry, okay? I'm pissed off that you know all of my shit.” She clenched her fists. “It's shameful.”

Robbie exhaled. The night air was cool, and a breeze lifted Daisy’s hair away from her face. His chest physically hurt, seeing her upset and he didn’t know how to fix it.

“It's scary, sharing your ugly parts,” Robbie cleared his throat. “Things you don't want people to see.”

Gabe's disappointed face flashed. In one evening, the facade Robbie hid behind was destroyed. He was no longer Gabe's awesome big brother, who worked two jobs to provide, who kept him in line and loved him.

“I'm just a monster to Gabe now,” Robbie’s mouth twisted. “I didn't know how much I needed him, just one person, to believe that I’m normal.”

“I'm sorry,” Daisy whispered. He looked up, and her eyes were glimmering.  For him.

“Don't cry. Not for me,” Robbie reached out and wiped a tear away. “I am what I am, but you-", he felt his eyes fill. “You're the first person who knew about me. And you accepted me.” He hastily dried his eyes “Even after I fucked up.”

She put her fries on the dashboard and reached for his hand.

“What I'm trying to say,” Robbie continued. “I'm here for you, too. With your secrets.”

Daisy sniffled. “But you took my choice away in what I could share, on my own. I changed my name, twice, for a new start. To move on.” Tears were rolling down her face now. “You cheated me. It's not fair.”

“I’m sorry,” Robbie wiped her face. “I'm so sorry.”

“I'm sorry too.” Daisy’s voice was hoarse.

She started crying, so Robbie pushed his seat back then tugged her closer. The Hell Charger was thankfully large, so after she climbed over the gearshift, she curled into him, laying her head in the crook of his neck.

Why can't I keep the people around me happy , Robbie thought. He unzipped his jacket, so she could hug the soft cotton of his t-shirt rather than stiff leather. She was trying to be quiet as she cried, hiding her face, and he held her tightly.

“Tell me something you've never told anyone.” She wiped her face with his shirt. “Something no one knows.”

Robbie grew still as shameful thoughts came to mind from hidden places.

He hesitantly met her eyes. Whatever makeup she’d worn on her eyes was smudged now and looking down,  he saw his shirt was smeared too.

He silently grabbed a napkin from her takeout bag.

“When my parents died, I was really angry.” He wiped under her eye with the napkin. “That they left me.” His mouth twisted. “Angry that Gabe got to cry and grieve.” He folded the napkin and went to work on her other eye. “I didn't. I had to be the strong one.”

Daisy looked at him warily, and the wind picked up again, howling ominously through the trees.

He took a deep breath.

“When my uncle got put away, I had to drop out of school. I was so disappointed.” Robbie’s voice hitched. “I didn’t want to. I wanted to be an engineer. Could you believe that?” He shook his head. “Me. Build engines, not just fix them. Never told anyone that.” He started tearing the napkin into pieces. “Calculus was my favorite subject. Always was top in the class even though I never studied.”

“Calculus, huh?” Daisy touched his face and smiled encouragingly. “Didn't take you for the type, Reyes.”

Self-loathing filled him, as she tried to make him feel better.

“I get jealous of Gabe sometimes." Robbie looked away, ashamed.

Daisy dropped her hand, she wasn't expecting that admission.

“He’s gonna grow up and get to finish school.” Robbie's voice rose. “Get to leave here. And I'll be alone, working the same dead end job. With this monster in me.” He looked Daisy in the eye.  “That ugly enough for you?”

Daisy tentatively reached out and stroked his chest, his heart beat rapidly. She didn't know what to say.

Robbie covered her hand with his. “I don’t want to die alone,” he confessed. “With this evil in me.”

Daisy blinked back tears.

“You could come work for SHIELD?” she offered. “The pay is good. You could maybe go back to school? We could try to get rid of -?”

“I can’t leave Gabe,” Robbie interrupted automatically. “I won't. It won't be good to have him change schools. Plus he wants to go to Stanford.”

He's a great big brother, Daisy thought, laying back in the crook of his neck. She sniffed him and realized she was getting used to his scent.

Robbie cleared his throat. “What's next?”

“I was gonna say take me to my hotel,” Daisy said. “But food and a good cry worked wonders.”  She moved to untangle herself, and scoot back to the passenger seat, Robbie’s words echoing in her mind. “How about I check out of my hotel, then go back to your place?”

Robbie nodded and was getting his keys when Daisy reached out, stilling his movements.

“Robbie?” She bit her lip. “I think you need a friend more than a lover. Me too.”

Robbie’s stomach dropped.

But I'm falling in love with you, he thought.

“Sounds good,” he said, instead. “I can sleep in Gabe’s room tonight. You can take mine.”

“Friends, right?” Daisy persisted.

Robbie sighed and squeezed her hand. “Yeah. Friends.”

Daisy beamed. “I'm still hungry. Have a good Mexican place in mind?”

Robbie smiled in return, her joy was contagious. “Actually, I do.”

He pulled out the parking lot, and neither he nor Daisy realized they were being followed.


 

“So the Mexican place is your house?” Daisy scrunched her nose. Robbie was rummaging in his fridge, pulling out Tupperware containers.

“If you can drink my tequila, you can eat my food, chica.” Robbie was taking out rice and beans. “Our neighbor Janet made this, she’s a great cook.” He grabbed an avocado from a bowl on the counter.

“I was hoping for something with beef, covered in cheese.” Daisy teased.

Those were her last words, as the front door burst open. A blast echoed and Daisy slumped to the floor.

Robbie growled as the avocado fell, rolling away. His skin was already burning away, about to transform into the Ghost Rider, when a feminine voice spoke.

“Daisy Johnson is dead if you make a move.”  It was a petite woman, wearing an elegant dress, with flowers on it.

Robbie’s heart thudded. He couldn't risk Daisy.

He raised his hands as three burly men, dressed in all black and carrying guns approached, while the woman watched.

 “Who are you people?” Robbie bit out. “And how do you-?” His eyes widened. “Hey! Don't touch her!”  

One of the men had knelt to the floor, checking Daisy's pulse.

“Unlike with you, she's in good hands now,” Raina smirked. “You did let this happen.”

“What do you want?” Robbie growled.

Raina’s stepped closer, sizing Robbie up. “I want you, Mr. Reyes.” She tilted her head. “Well, what's in you. But don't worry. Daisy will be safe. We just need her to guarantee your cooperation.”

“How do I know I can trust you?” Robbie eyed her suspiciously.

“You don't.” Raina looked around his house distastefully. “First I had my sleep interrupted because of her.” She waved towards Daisy who was being carried out. “Then I had to come to this God forsaken neighborhood.” She shuddered. “Anderson, make sure they shower and change into new clothes when we get back to Angels.”

Robbie stilled. “Angels?”  Not that damn club again!

“I doubt a man of your caliber would normally get in,” Raina sniffed. “You should be thanking me.”

“Thanking you?” Robbie’s voice rose. “Listen lady-"  A gun cocked in Daisy's direction and he stopped.

Raina smiled. “Romantic attachments can prove cumbersome, no?”  She turned to the man she’d called Anderson. “Make sure there's no trace of us coming here.” And she turned on her heel and left.

Robbie was opening his mouth to call after her, when a sharp noise exploded and coldness seeped through him.

After Daisy is safe, he thought. They're all gonna pay.

His last thought as darkness claimed him, was that good thing Gabe was away.