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Fake It Til You Date It

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The first time I dated Fitz, we were in the Boiler Room at the Academy. 


 

"Psst!"

Jemma wrinkled her nose and smacked at the elbow that was digging into her ribs. "Just a second," she pouted. "I'm calculating my blood alcohol level based on my intake and the amount of time that's passed."

"But-" Eileen tried once more to get her attention, but Jemma was too focused on her inebriated mental maths. "Jemma!"

"What?" she asked impatiently. She'd been in the process of carrying the 1, and now she'd have to start all over again. 

Eileen pointed to the stairs where Paul was just descending onto the dance floor. 

"Oh god." The blood drained out of Jemma's face. Her ex. The man she was here currently drinking to excess in order to forget. He was meant to be visiting home this weekend. What was he doing here? "What do I do?" she asked, turning to Eileen in a panic. 

"This is fine," Eileen said promptly. She always kept her head in a crisis which meant that she was just the right person to be drinking with at this moment. She dug through her purse for a moment and pulled out a red lipstick. "Put this on," she said, handing it to Jemma.

As Jemma did what she was told, Eileen pulled her plaid shirt out of her jeans and unbuttoned the bottom three buttons before tying the shirt tails in a knot that showed off Jemma's belly button. She took the lipstick back and put it away, casting a critical eye over Jemma's hair. It was a bit flat and clearly hadn't been washed in a couple of days. "Ponytail," she decided immediately, handing over an elastic from her wrist.

At least Jemma was wearing jeans instead of the athletic pants with SHIELD across the bum that she'd been practically living with since her breakup. The Uggs had to go, though. 

"Here," Eileen said, kicking off her ballet flats. They quickly changed shoes and then she squinted. There was still something missing... Inspiration struck and she took the gold hoop earrings out of her ears and passed them over. As Jemma put them on, Eileen smiled proudly. 

"You look hot," she proclaimed. 

"Really?" Jemma asked, a worry line appearing between her eyebrows. 

"Really," Eileen promised. She was mentally trying to figure out a way to add "2 minute makeover" to her list of skills on her resume. "Now we just need to get you a man."

"What?" Jemma asked, face flushing. "I'm hardly going to go home with someone just becau-"

Eileen sighed and rolled her eyes. "Not for you. For Paul."

Jemma blinked. She'd known that he'd cheated on her. She hadn't realized any of his partners had been men. Maybe she should have demanded names after all? Not that it made any difference.

"To make him jealous?" Eileen continued. 

"Ohhh." That made a lot more sense than Eileen suddenly being concerned over Paul's romantic prospects.

Looking around, she didn't see anyone she wanted to approach and the only man she knew well enough to ask was Randy, who was openly gay. There was no way Paul would believe that

But then the crowd parted for a moment and she saw her new lab partner over by the bar. Fitz was a bit shy, but he seemed like a nice fellow. She could probably convince him to be her pretend boyfriend for a half an hour in exchange for some study notes ahead of their mid term. 

"I'll be back," she said to Eileen with a nervous smile. "Wish me luck!"

"Luck!" Eileen called after her. Then she sat back to watch the scene play out. 

Jemma pushed her way through the press of bodies until she was standing right beside Fitz. He didn't notice her at first, so she had to put her hand on his arm. 

"What?" he said, jumping a bit in surprise. 

"Hi," she said. She hoped her smile wasn't as manic as it felt like on her face. "I'm Jemma? From Chem lab?"

Fitz nodded, still looking very surprised and perhaps a little scared as well. 

"I have a strange favour to ask you."

"Okay?" 

"Can you be my boyfriend for the next twenty minutes?"

"I'm sorry? The music's pretty loud, I thought you said-"

"My boyfriend. Can you pretend to be my boyfriend?"

Fitz stared at her with an emotion she tentatively identified as shocked. 

"I used to date this fellow named Paul and we've broken up, but he's here right now. I want him to know that I'm over him and I've moved on."

Fitz's brow wrinkled in confusion. "So why not introduce him to your real boyfriend?"

"I haven't got one," Jemma confessed. "I've actually not moved on just yet. Still in the drinking-and-crying-to-friends stage if I'm honest. But I don't want to give him the satisfaction, you see?"

That seemed to strike a chord with Fitz. He immediately nodded his agreement and stood up from his stool as if in solidarity. 

"Where is he? And what do you need me to do?"

Jemma smiled broadly. Fitz was a better man than she'd thought. 

"I'll just sit down as if you've offered me your stool and I'll give a quick scan, alright?" What was the point in going to spy school if you couldn't put your lessons to good use?

She spotted Paul almost immediately, and he seemed like he was actually going to have the bloody cheek to come right over and talk to her. 

"Kiss me," she said, looking at Fitz in a slight panic. 

"Wha-?"

She grabbed the front of his shirt, pulled him between her knees, and pressed her lips against his. 

As kisses went, it was a bit lackluster. Fitz was sort of limp and not really kissing back, but his hands had moved to her hips, so she didn't need to do much to sell it. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she slipped one hand into his hair. They held it for almost thirty seconds before they finally parted. 

"Sorry about that," Jemma said, faking a laugh and brushing a hand down the front of Fitz's shirt. She was trying to look as flirtatious as possible. Paul was still visible in her peripheral vision. 

"No, that's- It's fine. I mean, I-" Fitz stuttered. 

"Smile," Jemma said through clenched teeth, keeping her own smile in place. 

"Oh, right!" Fitz let out a fake laugh of his own. It was moderately convincing. 

It must have been more so when it wasn't audible because Paul turned away and moved to the far corner of the club. 

"Oh, thank god," Jemma breathed out in relief. 

"He's gone?" Fitz guessed. 

She nodded. Then she grinned at him. "You were brilliant, though. Thanks for that!" Hopping off of the stool, she grabbed his beer and handed it to him. "Come on," she said. Hooking her hand in the crook of his elbow, she started dragging him back to where she'd been sitting before. 

"You've earned yourself a night of free drinks from me and my friend, Eileen."

Smart as he was, Fitz didn't say no.