“It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it? All the different types of fireworks.”
Fitz turns from where he stands at the window of their apartment, an empty glass with dregs of champagne held loosely in his left hand. The right sits in his pocket, gently cupping the previous item within. Jemma looks at him with bright eyes and a soft smile and his heart turns molten within his chest as it does almost every time he looks at her.
“Yeah. They’re alright,” he smiles, gently setting down the glass on the windowsill before lifting up his arm and allowing her to nestle into his side.
“Just alright, Fitz?” Jemma asks, mock-horrified.
“I dunno. Some things are just prettier. Like you.”
Fitz feels a soft thump against his chest but then a small chuckle. Looking down, he sees Jemma looking back up at him. As much as she will never admit it, she does always fall for the cliché lines.
“Cheesy,” she confirms. “But thank you.” And she stands on her toes to kiss him gently before turning back around to look out the window.
They stand silently for the next few minutes, looking out of the window at all of the fireworks being let off. They really are quite dazzling. The rockets and the willows and the whirlwinds. The chrysanthemum fireworks are Fitz’s favourite. They seem to embody the spirit of celebration more than any of the others. He hopes there will still be some going off later. They seem fitting for the occasion.
Jemma hums a note of slight discontent against his shirt and Fitz smiles because he knew this was coming but he waits for her to say it anyway.
“I don’t understand why they are letting the fireworks off now. It’s still twelve minutes to midnight.”
“I don’t know either,” he confesses. “I guess it’s cause it’s the new year in some parts of the world already. Maybe they just want to join in.”
He can practically feel Jemma wrinkle her nose. “It’s not the new year yet here, though. What makes them unable to wait for the next eleven minutes?”
“Maybe,” he whispers, with a kiss on the top of her hair, “they just want this year over with. Maybe they want the new year quicker, to bring them something better.”
Fitz feels her twist around until she is facing him, and she wraps both her arms around his middle. She looks up at him and he can see the thoughts flitting through her eyes.
“I suppose we can both relate to that,” she murmurs.
Fitz puts both his arms around her, and Jemma presses her face into his chest. She holds onto him tightly, and he thinks he might complain if he wasn’t doing the same thing to her. They both need this. The assurance that they are both here, both safe and alive and healthy to ring in the new year together. It was why they denied the offer to stay with their respective families once Christmas was over. It was why they had decided to stay in the new apartment tonight rather than go to the small party the team was hosting. As lovely as both those things may have been, they needed to be alone.
Jemma gently breaks away, and turns around but not before Fitz sees her swipe quickly at her eyes. Something tugs within his heart as something always does whenever he sees her cry but he says nothing, allowing her to have that all to herself.
“More champagne?” She says suddenly, swiping her own empty glass from the coffee table and holding her hand out to take his.
“Are you trying to get me drunk?” He teases gently, handing her his glass but walking with her to the kitchen.
“Fitz,” she admonishes softly and pours equal amounts of champagne into the two glasses. “Of course not, but we do need something to toast with.” She holds a glass out to Fitz.
“Of course we do,” he says, dry, taking a glass from her. “New year might not like us if we didn’t toast to it.”
Jemma snorts. “You make jokes like that and yet if we didn’t toast you would be the one complaining about how we’d already cursed the year.”
“I said one thing about curses, Jemma. One thing!”
“I think you’ve said more than one thing.”
“Oh, I can’t think of a specific time.” She waves a hand dismissively. “But I’m sure you have.”
Fitz is quite sure he’s only mentioned curses once and is ready to argue his case but Jemma is already walking back through to the living room and he remembers the thing in his right pocket so he stays silent. Although it would be very ‘them’ to drop it in the middle of bickering, it doesn’t have the romantic vibe he is going for. A little voice in his head whispers to him that he has been carrying around the item for a week now, in the hopes that the right moment will suddenly appear.
Although Fitz knows that there are no such things as ‘right moments’ but there is such a thing as tempting fate. He just hopes he hasn’t pushed it too far.
So he goes back into the living room and finds Jemma sipping her champagne while standing in front of the TV.
(This is Bridget. She wasn’t allowed in the bedroom after it was discovered that the wall was just plasterboard and could not support such a large and heavy item, much to Fitz’s disappointment and Jemma’s delight.)
“Hey, I thought the champagne was for toasting,” he jokes.
Jemma doesn’t hear him. Fitz follows her gaze to where the countdown clock to the new year is displayed in the corner of the programme.
“Isn’t it strange?” She muses. “Time is just a fabricated concept and so is the year and yet in four minutes and thirty seconds, everyone will begin counting down from ten to begin a new year even though just as midnight strikes everything stays the same. You know what I mean? Nothing changes within the planet – it just keeps on spinning as it always does – but because we designate that this is the day that marks the end of the year then it feels as though there is a change coming. It’s strange that in four minutes and eighteen seconds then this year will be done with, never to be seen again.”
At the reminders of the time, Fitz’s palms begin to sweat a little and his mouth feels dry. A part of him wants to take the easy way out and have this conversation with her. It is quite fascinating after all. The majority of him, including his brain and his heart, wants to do what he has wanted to do for such a long time. Surreptitiously he sets down his champagne glass, and slides the box out of his pocket, opening it and ensuring the ring is sitting just right. He gets down on one knee with only minimal wobbling.
“Uh, Jemma?” He says and cringes a little at how timid his voice comes out.
She spins around, and one hand flies to her mouth. “Oh, Fitz…” she says softly.
“Jemma Simmons,” he begins. “You are and have been a lot of things to me: the youngest SHIELD graduate, my lab partner, my friend and then my best-friend. My girlfriend.” The smile she gives him is so bright that the nerves are banished from him in an instant. “I uh, I love you, and I don’t want to spend any day of this new year without you. I can’t promise that the cosmos won’t try to tear us apart but maybe this will make it a bit harder for it so… Jemma Simmons, will you do me the greatest honour of marrying me and becoming my wife?”
She can no longer hold herself back and flies to him, spilling her champagne over the floor as she sets it down roughly, kneeling down beside him and kissing him deeply. Pulling back, she cups his face between both of her hands. Her eyes sparkle with tears. “Yes, Fitz. Of course it’s a yes. Of course I will marry you.”
The way she says it, as if it’s obvious, as if there was any doubt there was going to be another answer makes his heart swell with joy and taking the ring out of the box he places it on her finger. Then he kisses her again and holds her tight.
They break apart slightly and feels Jemma smile against his mouth. “We’re getting married,” she whispers excitedly.
“We’re getting married,” he repeats, his excitement mirroring hers. He can’t quite remember why he was so nervous.
They’re still kneeling when, on the TV, crowds begin to count back from ten. Neither of them is paying much attention to it except when it turns midnight and an impressive firework display is shown. Outside their own apartment, a chorus of fireworks goes off, also, lighting up the room, catching the diamond on Jemma’s finger and making it sparkle spectacularly. Jemma gazes at it adoringly, whilst Fitz gazes at her adoringly.
“Happy New Year, Jemma,” he murmurs.
“Happy New Year, Fitz.”
They kiss again and Fitz thinks that he’d do all of the past year again, just to have a new year like this once more. Kneeling with Jemma in his arms on the floor of their own apartment, his engagement ring on her finger, and the bright promise of a happy new year before them.