Chapter 1: Waking Up
The future's far away
-Hootie & The Blowfish, “Time”
Jemma was nervous.
She pressed her palm to her jaw and tried to breathe normally as the Zephyr’s docking clamps engaged with a clank.
It had taken longer than she would have liked, but they’d found him. Found Fitz.
Well, a Fitz. The one she was married to was still healing after his near-death experience, which he really needed to stop having. He’d been hurt terribly and in the ICU for weeks, but he’d made it. There was a nasty scar on his side now, one she liked to trace with her fingers while telling him she loved him dearly and to never scare her like that again.
It’d been that Fitz who’d reminded all of them that there was another him out there and while he could provide a rough location, finding the small ship had not been easy. Enoch, however, had been happy to see them and to hear that half the planet hadn’t been blown to bits.
There were a few more mechanical noises as the airlocks clicked into place. The door slid open, and Jemma hastened across to Enoch’s ship. He inclined his head at her.
“Ah, you must be Ms. Simmons?” Enoch asked.
“Mrs. Fitzsimmons,” she corrected. The room was alarmingly barren, and unless Fitz was hiding in the shadows, he wasn’t there. “Where is he?” she asked, peering around Enoch.
“He is still asleep. I thought you would like the pleasure of waking him up.”
She would, but this was taking too long. “Take me to him, please.”
Enoch nodded and led her down a short hallway to what had to be the cryo-pod. The window was frosted over, and she couldn’t make out anything through the rime.
She bit her lip. This was very strange. The man in there loved her, and she loved him, only he was an extra now. Or the one at home was the extra. Really, she didn’t consider either of them expendable. She also had yet to figure out what to do with him, but everyone had agreed it’d be wrong just to leave him frozen, so here she was.
Jemma hadn’t been able to imagine him waking up to any face but hers.
“He will be physically weak at first,” Enoch said, handing her a blanket.
“I’ll take care of him.”
Enoch tapped a string of numbers into the pod. “I shall leave you to it, then?”
“Thank you,” she said, watching, mesmerized, as the frost cleared, revealing familiar lips, nose, and brows. “Davis, Daisy, and Piper on waiting on the plane. There’s room for you and anything you need to bring back.”
“I will be returning to Earth, yes. I will see you shortly, Mrs. Fitzsimmons, and have the cargo Mr. Fitz requested be brought along transferred to your ship.”
He bowed and left as the cryo-pod degassed with a whoosh.
Jemma had tried to prepare for this moment, but she had it’d been impossible. She still had no idea what to say. Or what to do.
This wasn’t going to be easy.
Fitz felt terrible.
He was cold, and his stomach was threatening to launch itself through his nose.
It certainly didn’t feel as if he’d slept for seventy-odd years.
“Hello, Fitz,” said a voice. The most beautiful voice in the universe.
“Jemma!” he cried, struggling to sit up. He succeeded, but the room tilted sideways. It righted itself as a blanket was wrapped around his shoulders. Her gentle hands guided him to sit shakily on the edge of the pod.
Her face swam into focus, looking as lovely as ever, and to his relief, she stepped into his arms when he opened them. He held her for a long time, breathing in her scent as he nuzzled the side of her head. As he started to warm up, he brushed the hair away from her ear and kissed the spot below it, and she shivered just like she always did.
Hesitantly, giving her a chance to stop him if she wanted, he kissed down her jaw until he reached her chin, and then his mouth was on hers. Her lips parted immediately, and he slid his tongue over hers, relishing the little gasp she made.
Eventually, he’d need to know how Enoch had found her, but right now he just wanted to taste her, feel her. It was a pleasure he’d thought she’d never allow him again. His hands dropped to her hips and tugged her even closer. His prick hadn’t woken up quite yet, but at this rate, it wasn’t going to be long.
Only, he wanted to say the words first. The ones he’d been practicing, the ones he’d swore to himself he would tell Jemma so that she’d know how serious he was about there being together forever more. That there was no way he was leaving her side ever again.
It was difficult, but he managed to break the kiss and she took a half step back as he clasped both her hands in his. “Jemma—” he started, gazing into her familiar, warm, brown eyes. Then stopped and frowned. He was running his thumbs over her fingers and on her left hand there was a ring. He looked down. Third finger of her left hand.
He pushed her away and stood, only managing to get a few feet away before stumbling to his hands and knees as he heaved up what little was in his stomach.
He couldn’t fathom it.
Married. Jemma was married.
“Fitz,” she said, kneeling by him with her hand on his back.
He shook his head.
Everything. Everything was wrong. “You’re married,” he croaked.
“Well, yes,” she said, and his stomach rolled again. “But that’s where it gets complicated.”
“Complicated?” He pushed himself up with a laugh that sounded hysterical even to his ears.
“Rather.” She made a face he knew all too well. It was the one when something wasn’t working out well during an experiment.
He sighed and sat down cross-legged on the floor, waving her over with one hand. She smiled and crawled into his lap, resting her head against his shoulder. He couldn’t help but snuggle her close, even if he couldn’t make sense of anything that was happening.
“Explain complicated,” he said, voice hoarse.
“I’m…I’m married to you.”
That made even less sense. “To me?”
“Well, the you that made it all the way through the time loop and helped us with getting back and stopping the world from cracking open.”
He blinked. “What?”
“There’s…two yous, now.”
“How long have I been asleep?”
She smiled sheepishly. “Not even a year.”
Was she serious? What about everything he’d wanted to say to her? Had his words worked?
“Did I propose to you?” he said.
Jemma snorted. “I asked you.”
“Oh.” It was both disappointing his speech hadn’t been needed and thrilling to know Jemma had been on the same page as him. He didn’t know what to say. Fitz opened his mouth several times before something finally came out. “Why are you here?”
She tilted her face up towards him. “Because you’re still my Fitz.”
Jemma watched him grapple with something she hadn’t got her own head around yet.
Slowly, she stood and helped Fitz to his feet.
“Let’s get onboard the Zephyr—”
“The Zephyr is here, in space?” he asked, startled.
She grinned. “Your design is amazing, Fitz.”
She retrieved the blanket, wrapped it around him again, and led him towards the airlock. Once through, she called to Davis to take them home.
“Daisy!” Fitz said, smiling widely as she walked towards them. There was a hiss from the airlock, then a loud clang as the Zephyr disengaged.
Daisy’s smile was slightly pained, and her expression confused. Jemma understood. She wasn’t sure how to deal with this Fitz, either. Or how to even start catching him up on everything he’d missed.
Fitz looked at his feet. “How are we standing?”
“Gravitonium,” Daisy answered. Fitz’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “It’s a whole thing,” she said, hitching a shoulder.
“It’s good to see you,” he said.
Daisy hesitated for a split second, then hugged him fiercely. “It’s good to see you too.”
Jemma tightened the arm she had around him as he nearly stumbled when Daisy let go.
“Let’s get you to a bunk, alright?” Jemma said.
“Sure,” he replied. “I hear there’s two of me,” he said to Daisy.
She snorted and tilted her head. “Yeah. This is all kinds of wild.” Her gaze went to Jemma and turned calculating.
“Time to get going,” Jemma said, trying to sound cheerful while completely ignoring Daisy.
Fitz came unresisting when she tugged at him, following her down a hallway and to an empty bunk. She helped him onto it, and he collapsed against the pillow. She didn’t know what to do with herself, but when she started to stand, vaguely thinking she’d check on Davis, Fitz’s hand circled her wrist.
“Don’t leave,” he whispered. “What’s going to happen when we get back?”
“I don’t know,” she said. Her heart was confused. It was screaming at her that this was Fitz, but she knew it’d say the same thing once she saw her husband.
“Stay with me. Until we land.” She could hear the heartbreak in his voice. He was expecting her to push him away. God, she didn’t know if she ever could. She was in a situation that didn’t have a rulebook.
This seemed like one of those times she maybe she should stop thinking, for at least a little while.
Jemma lay down beside him, curling up against him and arranging the blanket over both of them.
His arm was tight around her, and his fingers slowly stroked his back. She’d thought he’d fallen asleep when he spoke. “Do you remember when I was sick our last year at the Academy?”
“Yes, you were so miserable.” Jemma was almost surprised. Two people, two Fitzs, with the same memories. They’d even have the same thoughts and emotions about those memories.
“This feels like that.”
“Oh, Fitz. Should I go make you some tea? If you’re that ill—”
“No, not that part. I mean, I don’t feel wonderful, but not quite that awful. But you lay with me then, too. Did you forget?”
She shook her head. “Of course not.” She’d been worried about how ill he was and stayed late in his dorm room, until well after curfew, and ended up sleeping in the bed beside him. Mostly she remembered how normal it felt to wake up beside him. She really had been clueless about her own heart.
“I think you fell asleep in two seconds,” Fitz said. “But I lay there for hours, worried I’d never be that close to you again. Only…I’m going to say now what I barely understood then. I love you, Jemma. I love so much.”
His face crumpled, and tears were blurring her eyes as well. “I love you, too,” she said, because it was true. He was the same man that’d rescued her from Kasius. This Fitz and the one waiting for her were more genetically similar than a set of identical twins.
They might even be atomically similar, though some intense research had ruled out any chance that having both Fitzs together might create some kind of paradox. Things simply, or not so simply, didn’t work like that.
Fitz’s lips found hers again, and she kissed him hungrily. His hand stroked down her back to grab her rear, but she was glad when he didn’t try to take it further because she didn’t know what she’d do and was glad not to have to make a choice.
Their tears had dried when they paused, panting for breath.
For a moment, he looked like he was going to say something, but then he closed his eyes instead. Jemma put a hand on his cheek.
“If I fall asleep, will you leave?” he asked, his voice breaking slightly.
“No.” She lifted up his arm and turned until they were spooning, his front to her back. Fitz settled his arm over her again.
He pressed his face against her hair. “You smell wonderful.”
“I smell like I’ve been sweating nervously in a spaceship for hours.”
Fitz inhaled deeply. “Nope. Just regular Simmons.”
“Are you implying I stink all the time?”
He snorted, but the fingers of the hand around her stretched up to lightly stroke the underside of her breast briefly before relaxing again. His touch made her shiver, and she tried to cover it by shifting around like she was getting more comfortable, but she probably wasn’t fooling him.
“I missed you,” he said.
She bit her lip as an ache spread through her chest.
“I know it’s been different for you, that I was there, but for the me that’s here right now, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. Longer than that since…” Fitz paused. “I missed you.”
She closed her eyes. “The future we went to was horrible, Fitz. I don’t even want talk about it right now. And before you got there…I missed you too.”
Fitz had to be swimming in confusion and doubt, but she didn’t know how to reassure him, because she didn’t know what would happen when they got home. She was terrified she would be forced into a decision she couldn’t begin to imagine making.
Eventually, Fitz’s breathing evened out, and she fell asleep as well, content to be in the arms of…whoever this Fitz was to her.
Fitz woke to someone banging on the door.
“We’re at the lighthouse,” Daisy called. “Time for you two to get some clothes on.”
His eyes went wide. “Does she think that we…er?” he asked a sleepy looking Jemma.
“Probably,” Jemma said with a yawn.
She stood and helped him up. He was still in his jeans and t-shirt, his hair probably a rumpled mess, but it would have to do.
Jemma was as gorgeous as always. He put a hand on her arm as she reached to open the door. She looked up and him, and he pulled her into another kiss, deepening it when she gasped slightly. Her fingers curled into her hair, and he held her for as long as possible. In case it was the last time.
It couldn’t be the last time.
His heart was pounding wildly as she broke the kiss, looked deep into his eyes, and led him into the corridor and down to the open rear cargo ramp. She let go of him and trotted ahead, breaking into a run, and straight into a hug.
Fitz stopped froze. It was…him, hugging her. Slowly, Fitz approached the couple, who were locked in a tight embrace.
“Never leave my side again,” he heard his own voice mumble, and Jemma shook her head. This older version of him had a scar over his left eyebrow, and cane in his right hand.
The other him looked up and saw Fitz staring open-mouthed. Letting Jemma go, the other him straightened up and looked him in the eye before speaking. “We need to talk.”
Chapter 2: Complicated
Oh, I believe in yesterday
-The Beatles, “Yesterday”
He hurt, damn it.
His side hurt. His leg hurt. And his heart hurt.
Jemma was coming back with another him. One that wasn’t broken. One that didn’t need fixing.
As he stiffly worked his way to where the Zephyr was landing, part of him wondered if she’d walk out arm-in-arm with this other Fitz and push the damaged version to the side.
He had to hope not. While she’d been gone, he’d had far too much time to think, and if he was strong enough, he knew what he wanted to have happen. Now he just had to get his other self to agree to it. And Jemma to go along to it. There were a lot of variables in play, and even if everything worked out, it was going to be damn weird.
Since he was going to be dealing with the him that had gone into the pod determined to find Jemma and never leave her again, he knew it might be an uphill battle to convince that him to share her. To make it obvious he needed this to work, he was willing to cede the name Fitz to the other him as a peace offering. He’d go with Leo, which made his eye twitch, but compromises were going to have to be made.
The Zephyr’s ramp lowered, and he couldn’t bring himself to look, staring at the ground instead, but then Jemma was in his arms, and everything was okay. Leo held her close, his heart beating wildly as his fear that she’d abandon him left in a rush. He couldn’t keep doing this. There’d be no more Jemma going anywhere for a while. He murmured as much to her, feeling her nod in response, then raised his eyes to meet his counterpart’s stunned stare.
Right, that was ooky. And did his hair really look like that?
“We need to talk,” Leo said.
Jemma let go, and her eyes darted between them.
“Sure,” Fitz said. “Yeah. Talk.”
Leo caught Daisy looking in their direction and whispering something to Piper. Both girls hid grins behind their hands at his glare. He turned, wincing as something in his side sent a stab of pain through him, and leaned on the cane as he walked towards the entrance to the Lighthouse. Jemma kept an arm around him, and Fitz nearly walked into the door jamb he was so busy watching what they were doing.
At the door to the empty room, Leo jerked his chin for Fitz to enter, then put a hand on Jemma’s arm. “Let me talk with myself for a moment? Alright?” Her face clouded with worry and he pressed his forehead to hers. “Trust me.”
“Always.” She kissed him softly, and he lingered for a moment before pulling back and entering the bunk, shutting the door behind him. Leo had no doubt she’d wait right outside.
He fixed Fitz with a stare, only to be met with the same steely gaze. It made him feel…good, actually. There was no way Fitz was giving Jemma up without a fight, which meant things were as they should be.
“That shirt looks terrible on you,” Fitz said, crossing his arms.
Leo tugged at the collar. There was nothing wrong with the blue button up he had on. “Your hair’s a mop. You look like you’re six.”
Fitz scoffed. “Not what Jemma said.”
Leo had to bite his tongue to keep from replying, but he wasn’t a saint. He crossed his arms and wiggled the fingers of his left hand. Fitz’s eyes dropped to the ring and he scowled. That’s right, Leo was the one she’d married. But this wasn’t going where he’d meant it to and he was going to dig an impossible to get out of hole if he wasn’t careful.
Time to act like either of them had at least a few ounces of common sense.
“I don’t want to stand here and fight with you,” Leo said. “Jemma would hate that.”
After a second, Fitz nodded. God, this was weird. Like talking to a mirror that showed the past.
“Semantics first,” Leo said.
Fitz frowned. “Semantics?”
“Now wait just a minute—“
Leo waved a hand, cutting him off. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I want this to go well, so I’m going to…you can be Fitz. I’ll be Leo.”
The other him’s mouth dropped open.
“I think you know what I’m giving up,” Leo said, slouching against the wall and dragged a hand over his face. Jemma said Fitz, a lot. When she was thinking, when she had something to share, when she was coming.
“I don’t know what to say.” Fitz rubbed the back of his neck. “I…thank you.”
Leo shrugged. “Might want to listen to the rest first.”
“I’m not going to leave.”
“And I’m not going to ask you to. You’re forgetting I’m you. I know what was going through my head when I went into that pod—”
“You didn’t propose to her! The words were all ready, and you didn’t!”
Leo grit his teeth. “I did!” he hissed. “She just had an alien implant in her ear and couldn’t hear me.”
“Bloody hell. Look, if you did leave here, how long do you think you’d survive out there? Without her?”
Fitz was silent, but his eyes went to the floor.
“Not long, right? Jemma is everything. And I know this isn’t what you wanted, but you stay. Something happening to you would be more than she could take. So we share.”
“Share?” Fitz stomped over, stopping when he was right in front of Leo. “What the fuck does that mean? She switches who she bunks with every other week? Do I get to fuck her, or would that be just you since you have the ring? I never had the chance to save the world, and I’m getting punished for it.” He swiped a hand through his hair, sending it into further disarray.
Leo shook his head. “No, share. All the time.”
Fitz frowned. “Even during…”
“Even during that.”
“I…I…” Fitz scratched his cheek before letting his hand fall to his side.
“Did you shag her on the plane?”
“What? No.” Fitz shifted his weight. “There was kissing and cuddling.”
Leo looked heavenward. “You had Jemma alone and didn’t try to get into her pants?”
“She has a wedding ring on!” Fitz’s brows drew together. “Was I supposed to?”
“If you two had…I thought this might be easier to sell to Jemma.”
“I’m not sure I’m sold.”
Leo pinned his counterpart with a glare. “I shagged her the first chance I got. And we are going to have to learn to work together and put up with each other.”
“Those things are completely unrelated…how was it?” Fitz put his hands on his hips. “Was it good? Did she come? You didn’t go off to early, did you?”
“Hey, no, I…it went just fine for a frantic shag with most of our clothes still on in a less than comfortable spot.”
Fitz closed his eyes briefly and wrinkled his nose. “The wedding night?”
“That was perfect.” Leo had to rub the wetness from his eyes. “But that brings up another point.”
“Which is?” Fitz glanced at the door.
“Jemma doesn’t know this, but while my…equipment works well enough, when I was hurt—” Leo tugged up his shirt and Fitz gaped in horror at the scar “—there was vascular compromise. I’m most likely sterile.” Leo let the shirt fall and worked on tucking it back in.
Fitz’s brow furrowed as he worked through that, then anger flashed in his eyes. “Wait just a minute! I’m not some kind of stud horse. I’m not going to perform until I’m not needed anymore.” Fitz’s face was flushed bright red. “Jemma gets knocked up, and I’m put out to pasture?”
Leo held up a hand. “Stop. And would you think about what you’re saying? Jemma loves you, and me, and us. Or at least I hope she does. And if you think she’d be capable for one second of doing something like that—” Leo’s temper reached its frayed end. “This entire situation is completely fucking insane. I don’t want you here. Everything is hard enough as it is. You have no idea how hard. I don’t want to share my wife with you, but you’re me! You watched Jemma fall out of the plane to save you, gave her the last breath, jumped through a hole in the universe, and were prepared to travel through space and time to find her. You love her, and I’m the only god damned person that understands just how much. In her ruddy wedding vows she talked about starting a family. I’d do anything to make her happy, even this.”
For a moment Fitz looked like he was going to argue, then he deflated. “Yeah. I don’t…it won’t be all bad, will it?”
“I don’t think so.” Leo lifted his eyes to Fitz’s, whose gaze darted away and then back as a flush crept up his neck. “You thinking about her being pregnant?”
They both looked away and simultaneously rubbed the back of their necks.
Oh, hell, this was going to take some getting used to.
Jemma pulled her hair loose and finger combed it. She straightened out her blouse. For a few minutes she distracted herself by running through the equipment she needed for several planned experiments, but even that quickly fell flat. What the heck could Fitz and…er, Fitz, be talking about?
Mack heading towards her was a relief. She smiled widely at him.
He half smiled back.
“Am I coming off more manic than happy to see you?” she asked.
He nodded. “Simmons, you look like you’re about to start climbing the walls.”
“I very nearly am.”
Mack glanced at the closed door. “They in there?”
“Yeah. Talking about…I don’t know. Whatever you discuss with yourself.”
“I just wanted to assure all of you, or you and…them…this whole pronoun thing is ridiculous.”
Jemma laughed weakly.
Mack’s smile reached his eyes this time. “What I’m trying to say is this other Fitz is welcome to stay and has a job here if he wants it.”
“Do you think he will?” Jemma asked, wringing her hands.
“You’d be a better judge of that than me.”
She frowned. “I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Fitz…he’d always stay where I was, but this is different.”
Mack looked at the door again. “You are sure it’s safe, right?”
She made a dismissive noise. “We’ve gone over that. Fitz prepared an entire report about how the world will not somehow magically fly apart. It’s not that complicated, really—”
“Oh, fine. I know you don’t have the math. Actually, I don’t have the math either, but the concept isn’t that complex.”
“It kind of is, but I trust you, and I trust him. Them.” Mack waved a hand. “What about you? What do you want?”
Oh, that was easy. “Fitz.”
“Yeah, that didn’t answer my question.”
“I don’t have a different answer.” Jemma bowed her head for a moment before raising her eyes to meet Mack’s gaze. “I meant it, at the wedding. He is my life. It’s not his fault there’s two of him now. He’s still the same Fitz. Both of them are. The same sweet man that’s been my best friend for more than a decade. The brilliant man that challenges me at every turn and makes me think harder, be better. The one that would have died for me again and again. I don’t…I don’t want to make an impossible choice…”
Oh no, not more crying. She rubbed at her eyes.
“Jemma,” Mack said. “Maybe you should tell him…them. Fitz’s mind can get squirrelly, especially when it comes to you. It’s probably best if you say what you want, not let him…them hash it out while assuming they know what you’re thinking.”
She nodded, hesitated a second, then gave Mack a quick hug. Spinning on her heel, she opened the door to the bunk, surprising both Fitzs who were standing not a foot apart and who both looked wrung out. Slamming the door closed, she launched herself at them, ending up being caught by two pairs of arms and finding herself squished in an awkward hug. She was facing the Fitz she’d just rescued from the cryo-pod.
“Don’t leave me,” she said, twisting her hands into his t-shirt.
“He’s not going to leave,” the other Fitz said quietly. She watched as they shared a glance over her shoulder. “And, damn it, I have no idea how to say this.”
“Can’t I just have both of you?” she said, her voice breaking.
“See?” the Fitz she was married to said. “She’s always ahead.”
“Jemma.” The Fitz she was holding onto cupped her face. “Um, to make things less confusing, I’m going to go by Fitz, and he’s going to be Leo.”
She frowned and wiggled around in the arms holding her until she was facing the other way. “Leo?” she said. “You hate your first name.”
“It’s not the entire thing, and I want this to work. All three of us.”
“All three of us…all the time?”
“Yes,” Leo said. “All the time.”
“Oh.” She thought she probably should be more weirded out than she was, instead her body lit up as a thousand different ideas stampeded through her mind. Fantasies that had never occurred to her before because for quite a while the only person to feature in her daydreams had been Fitz. But…it was still just him.
A smile stretched the corners of her mouth. Leo’s—she was sure she would mess that up—face mirrored hers, and when she glanced over her shoulder, Fitz was grinning as well.
Fitz’s fingers edged down and under her blouse to stroke the skin of her stomach. Her breathing hitched, and then Leo’s mouth was on hers.
Well, that was rather a lot of hands on her, and she only had two. Wasn’t fair. Blindly, she reached behind her, found Fitz’s hip, then slid her palm down to grab his rear. He made a choked sound and moved his hands up to cradle both her breasts as his lips found her neck, making her moan.
Leo groaned in response, but she felt him jump as his hands went to her breasts and discovered they were already occupied. He broke the kiss and glanced down, and for a second, she thought he was going to call the whole thing off, but when he looked back up her, his eyes were glazed over and dark blue with lust.
Fitz’s fingers found her nipples through the fabric of her bra and rolled them, making her whimper and push her chest into his hands.
Leo’s mouth crashed back into hers, and his hands went to her hips, gripping her tightly. She carded her fingers into his hair, pulling him towards her.
Her entire body was alive with desire. Heat was flooding the area between her hip bones and every little noise her boys made drove her higher. She needed. And needed. And needed.
One of Leo’s hands left her hip to drag up the inside of her thigh, pressing the seam of her jeans against her clit. She rocked on his hand as her body coiled tighter. His mouth left hers and kissed down the other side of her neck, nipping as he went.
She twisted, and Fitz’s lips caught hers.
He jerked his hips forward, grinding his hard-on against her rear.
“Oh,” she gasped. “Oh, my. I’m going to…” She trailed off as Leo’s fingers pressed more determinedly against her clit and one of Fitz’s hands worked its way inside her bra to palm her bare breast.
Her orgasm hit hard, and she wordlessly keened her pleasure. Her vision was gone, and the waves of bliss left her breathless. Sagging, she was held up by her guys, who were wearing matching looks of satisfaction when she pried her eyes back open.
“Bed?” she mumbled, hoping her legs would cooperate.
Fitz was just stepping back when a loud noise blared from Leo’s phone. He hastily grabbed it and silenced the alarm, but his expression was pained.
“Uh, that…I’m running an experiment with the new…I have to go to the lab,” he said before reaching down and adjusting his cock in his trousers.
Fitz sighed. “Fine. Show me what you’re working on and we’ll continue this later.” He looked entirely put out.
“It’ll be worth the wait,” she promised, putting a hand on his shoulder. He smiled, and she went to take a step to retrieve Leo’s cane from where he’d left it by the door, but her knees didn’t want to cooperate. Fitz caught her with his arms around her waist, and she had to smother a giggle as her guys shared a very pleased with themselves look.
Once she could move under her own power, and her boys had fussed with themselves and their trousers enough that it wasn’t too obvious they both were very…blast, why did Fit—uh, Leo have to be running a timed experiment right this minute?
They made their way to the lab, where both Leo and Fitz immediately stepped up against the lab bench, and Leo began to explain the project.
Jemma went to her station, but as she pushed a few things around, she knew she wasn’t going to get any work done.
The only thing she could do was grin.
Chapter 3: Beginnings
If you fall I will catch you
-Cyndi Lauper, “Time After Time”
Jemma checked her email, but there wasn’t anything new from when she’d looked thirty seconds ago. She’d been doing the same thing for the last several hours.
This was impossible.
She glanced over her shoulder. Leo and Fitz—dear lord that was weird—were side-by-side now, arguing about the specifics of the gravity gun’s muzzle, which was in pieces in front of them. She caught a few words of what they were saying, but like when they went to visit his mum, his accent was thickening. It was adorable and a little strange.
The view of the two of them, their backs to her, was certainly not the worst thing she’d ever seen.
Personally, she still wasn’t sure the gun was a great idea. It wasn’t even really a gun, just a small amount of gravitonium, taken from what they’d recovered after Daisy’s fight with Talbot, housed in a gun-shaped contraption that exposed it to electrical fields. A beam was, theoretically, created that could either attract an object or send it flying.
It was all very Half-Life 2, only clunky and not working at the moment. Currently, Jemma was supposed to be working on making sure the electric field, generated by powerful magnets, was going to stay contained in the gun’s housing and not kill the user.
If they could get the gun up and running, there were a lot of practical applications, which would be fun to test.
Fitz waved his hands as he made a point, and turned to the side. He caught her staring, and nudged Leo, who looked around and grinned at her.
She flushed and had to glance away. It was a bit intense to be on the receiving end of quite that much attention. And love.
She bit her lip as her heart seemed to swell in her chest. “I’m just going to run to the loo, and maybe grab something to drink. Can I get you guys anything?” She had to peek back up at them.
They glanced at each other, then Leo shook his head. “We’re good. I think we’re finally on to something with the focusing mechanism.”
“That’s excellent,” she said. Focusing the beam had been a huge hurdle and one of the major stumbling blocks.
Fitz made an unimpressed noise. “He thinks we’re on to something. I think he’s got the whole thing arse-backwards.”
“It bloody well is not,” Leo said. “Repeated trials with the ruddy—”
Jemma rolled her eyes and walked out of the lab. In the hallway, once she couldn’t see or hear her boys, she stopped dead. Panic was creeping in around the edges of her mind, and she wanted to run back and check to make sure they were still there. That she wasn’t dreaming.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Then another. She pressed her palms against her legs and reassured herself that everything was fine.
Shakily, she continued to the WC, used the restroom, and washed her hands while wishing the Lighthouse was stocked with something besides serviceable white cotton underwear. Not that she imagined Fitz would complain, but it’d be nice to be a little posh to welcome him home.
Jemma squeezed her eyes closed. Okay, right, she was going to…with both of them.
It was a great deal more than she’d ever imagined, and now, after having a taste of what it’d be like, her body was hovering somewhere between lust and absolute terror.
She opened her eyes and headed to the kitchen. Piper was sitting on the counter, soda in hand, with Daisy leaning beside her. Jemma didn’t know if they were a couple or not. She hadn’t known Daisy would think of a woman that way, and Piper had said Daisy wasn’t her type. But they did hang out together an awful lot.
They didn’t move away from each other when Jemma walked to the fridge and snagged a bottle of water and a yogurt.
“So this is crazy, right?” Daisy said. “Two Fitzs?”
Jemma opened her water and gulped half the bottle down as she tried to figure out how to respond.
“Yes,” she finally said. “It’s not quite how I thought my life would ever go.”
Daisy and Piper shared a look.
“I understand,” Daisy said quietly.
Jemma set the water bottle on the counter and opened the yogurt. She took a spoon from a drawer and ate quickly as Daisy and Piper had a whispered conversation. When she was done, she dumped her trash in the bin and rinsed her spoon. Jemma returned to the fridge and opened it, wondering if she should have something else to eat, though her nerves were making her not hungry. Scanning the shelves, her eyes landed on a package of prosciutto, and it occurred to her just how long it’d been since Fitz would have had one of her special sandwiches. And while she’d made one for Leo before she’d left to collect Fitz, it’s not like he’d complain about having another one.
She pulled the meat, cheese, lettuce, and Tupperware with the leftover pesto aioli she’d made and placed them on the counter beside her water before retrieving two rolls.
“Twice the work now?” Piper said with a raised eyebrow.
Jemma shrugged a shoulder as she sliced the rolls. “I don’t mind.” She paused and took a ponytail holder from the pocket of her jeans and used it to pull her hair back.
Daisy laughed. “Oh my god, you really don’t mind.”
Cheese in hand, Jemma turned to look at Daisy and Piper, who were both wide-eyed and giggly. “I don’t?” she said slowly.
Piper raised her hands and touched a finger to each side of her own neck. “Hickies,” she gasped before dissolving into laughter again and leaning against Daisy.
“Oh for…” Jemma turned around and very determinedly returned to making the sandwiches. “We were just—”
“Playing tonsil hockey?” Daisy said. “Swapping spit? Necking-literally. Sucking face? Also known as making out?”
Jemma turned around again, her face burning. “Need I remind you two I’m holding a knife.”
“I’m so not sorry, Jemma,” Daisy said. “It’s just…you’re always so, I don’t know—”
“Uptight?” Piper supplied.
Daisy patted Piper’s knee. “That,” Daisy said. Jemma sighed and returned to carefully doling out the aioli onto the rolls. “So I’m just surprised and thrilled that you have two Fitzs together for like five minutes and you’re all over both of them.”
Jemma pursed her lips. “They’re Fitz. Well, the one I’m married to is going to go by Leo now, and the one we picked up on Enoch’s ship will still be Fitz. Anyway, they’re both…I can’t…my heart can’t tell the difference. There’s no way I’m asking one to go.” She finished assembling the sandwiches and went to look for something to wrap them in.
Piper jumped down from the counter. “That’s good, Jemma. I’m happy for you.”
“Yeah,” Daisy said. “Honestly, everyone was really worried, because we were expecting you to, I don’t know, chose one, I guess, and leave the other adrift. And while I know you know him better than any of us, Fitz with no hope of being with you…” she trailed off.
Jemma finished wrapping the sandwiches. “I couldn’t,” she said quietly. “And it’s still just us. It’s hard to explain, but I suspect we’ll all get used to it after a while.”
Piper was obviously trying to keep from grinning. “Poor Jemma, you’re the one that’s going to have to used to it. I’m guessing after tonight you’re going to have learn how to walk again.”
“Piper!” Daisy squealed.
Jemma’s mouth fell open. She grabbed the sandwiches and marched out of the kitchen.
Behind her Daisy and Piper howled with laughter.
Fitz was crouched down, looking at the bit of the damned gravity gun that he had in a clamp. Beside him, Leo was soldering something that had him mumbling curses under his breath.
The frightening part was that it didn’t feel that odd.
They thought the same way and worked together well, already solving a problem that’d been deviling Leo on his own for weeks.
It wasn’t what he’d been dreaming of when he’d gone into the pod, not at all, but from the hints Jemma and Leo had dropped so far, it seemed like things could be a lot worse.
Speaking of, Jemma returned, stopping in the lab’s door with her hands behind her back.
“Can we be done for the day?” she said. “I’ve got dinner.”
“Oh?” Leo said, wiping his hands on a rag.
The corners of Jemma’s mouth turned up, and she brought her hands out from behind her back.
Fitz winkled his nose at the white packages she was holding, but then it hit him.
“Is that what I think it is?” he asked.
Jemma nodded, and Fitz was across the room and plucking one of the packages from her fingers. Tearing it open as his back hit the wall, he took the biggest bite he could. Heaven. She’d made him heaven. He moaned as he took another bite.
“Good?” Jemma asked.
“You know it,” he replied, opening his eyes to find Jemma looking at him with amusement. Leo was standing beside her, wincing and leaning heavily on his cane. The poor guy looked exhausted.
Still chewing, Fitz pushed himself off the wall. “Bunk?” he asked.
Jemma became flustered, but Leo nodded the direction it was in, and Fitz trailed behind as Leo walked beside Jemma. It wasn’t far, but Fitz had managed to finish the entire sandwich by the time he walked through the door.
The outside was as nondescript as the rest of the Lighthouse, and he hoped he’d remember which bunk it was later. As Leo sat heavily on the bed and unwrapped his sandwich, Fitz poked around the room. There was a TV and a couple of photos, including one of him and Jemma at the Academy. He picked it up and ran a finger over the glass. They looked impossibly young.
Setting it down, he opened drawers and the closet but found little besides serviceable clothes and shoes. Except for one dress, covered in plastic and shoved into the very back. He snuck a glance at Leo and Jemma, but they weren’t paying attention. Leo was stretched out on the bunk, propped against one end and eating, while Jemma was perched on the edge and looking at something on a tablet. Hoping he wouldn’t be found out, Fitz lifted the plastic so he could see under it. The dress was old-fashioned and lovely.
Making sure his fingers were clean, he reached out a trembling hand and ran it over the silk and lace. Jemma must have looked so beautiful in it. His heart ached. It was all very confusing. Their lives had been so intertwined for years that he could barely figure out where she ended and he began, until now. Now she had memories he didn’t share. Or he did, he’d done all the things he’d wanted to, like rescue and marry her, only it was a different him.
The ache grew as his fingers slid over the fabric. He loved her so much. Unable to stand it, he let the plastic drop back into place and nearly tripped over his own feet as he stumbled to the bed. He collapsed onto the thin mattress beside Jemma and pulled her into his lap. She squeaked in surprise, and he gave her what he hoped was a reassuring peck on the cheek before he buried his face against her neck.
He felt her drop the tablet on the bed, and then her arms were around him, holding him tight.
After a moment, there was a soft touch on his elbow, and he looked up to find Leo had leaned forward. His face was full of understanding.
“Maybe tonight I should—” Leo gestured with his head towards the door.
Fitz wanted to pounce on the offer, but it wasn’t right. This brave new world he found himself in wasn’t going to change if he pretended for a night Jemma was his and his alone.
“No,” he softly. “All of us together.”
Jemma twisted to look at Leo, then shifted around until she was straddling Fitz’s lap.
“I love you both the same,” she said, her hands gripping his shoulders. “I can’t make sense of this, but we’re in it together. I know there’s a lot we don’t have settled. A mountain of issues and baggage. I know this isn’t what any of us expected. And we’ll have to work out a shower schedule, and get another toothbrush…but right now…right now we start to learn something else.”
Fitz looked up into her very determined face, then at Leo. Who Fitz still did not entirely know how he felt about. He was jealous of him, yes, but everything else was complicated. Fitz knew he didn’t have a lot of positive feeling about his own self, and an entire other him was just a question mark.
But for Jemma, he’d even figure out how to get along with himself.
The same emotions were working their way across Leo’s face as he swung his legs off the side of the bed.
“Together,” Leo said.
Fitz hesitated only a second. Jemma was warm and soft against him. “Together,” he echoed.
Jemma let out a little whimper, and then her mouth was on his. She tasted so damned good. Like his past and his present and his future, all rolled into one. He probably tasted like garlic, but she didn’t seem to mind as she twisted his tongue around his and moaned. The sound sent a great deal of blood directly to his groin.
Her wiggling in his lap was everything he’d been dreaming of for months locked in that bloody prison cell. Gripping her arse with one hand, he used the other to tug her ponytail holder off and accidently sent it zinging to the far corner of the room before tangling his fingers in the cascade of her hair.
“Jemma,” he breathed against her lips.
Her hands hiked up the back of his t-shirt, and she pressed her palms flat against the exposed skin. Her fingers were freezing and wonderful. He was home. After so long, he was finally home.
The bed dipped beside them and, panting, they turned their faces towards where Leo, stripped down to the ugliest pair of grey boxers, was crawling to the far side of the bunk. The scar on his side still made Fitz cringe, and he could only imagine how much it had hurt. How much it probably still hurt.
“Undress her,” Leo said, his eyes fixed on Jemma and Fitz as he lay down on his side, his head propped on one hand.
Jemma stood and backed up a pace, giving Fitz room to get to his feet. He reached for her blouse, but his fingers felt clumsy, and his left hand was trembling as he worked at her buttons. He glanced at Jemma’s face, and then at Leo, but neither one looked impatient or judgmental. The tension that’d been gathering in his shoulders eased. Fitz was in a room with the only two other people in the world that understood him.
It was a heady thought, and he felt much less self-conscious as he worked his way down the front of Jemma’s shirt. Once it was undone, she shrugged it off. Her bra was plain white, which meant her nipples were visible as a shadow through the cotton of the cups.
He figured out he must have been staring for longer than he thought when there was a chuckle from the direction of the bed.
Fitz waggled his fingers to loosen them, then undid the button and zip of Jemma’s trousers. He pushed them down her legs and knelt as he helped her remove them along with her shoes and socks. When she was standing there in nothing but her knickers and bra, he leaned forward and pressed his face against her hip, basking in just being where he’d never thought to be again.
It was all so immediate. The hard floor against his knees, the warmth of her skin, the scent of her, the wild drum of his heartbeat, the ache of his erection.
Jemma’s hand caressed his cheek. “Now you,” she said, helping him to his feet and kissing his shoulder before walking to the bed. He tilted his head to the side, he watching her rear as she climbed onto the mattress and stretched out on her side beside Leo, her back to Fitz. Leo nuzzled her face before bringing his lips to hers, kissing her languidly as his hand worked its way under the elastic of her knickers to knead her behind.
Fitz mentally braced himself for a wave of jealousy that never arrived. As he grabbed the hem of his t-shirt and pulled it off, he tried to work through why he wasn’t anything besides incredibly turned on. It certainly wasn’t because he had some unacknowledged voyeuristic streak. He’d barely bothered with porn even when all he’d had for company was his hand.
But that was Simmons rolling her hips, her soft noises of pleasure.
And it was him…well, a him, that she was enjoying.
Leo raised his head. “Stop trying to figure out why you’re turned on and get over here.”
Fitz quickly stripped off his jeans but left his black boxer-briefs on since everyone else was still in their underwear. He settled himself on his side facing Jemma, trailing his fingers down the bumps of her spine until he reached the clasp of her bra. He undid the hooks then continued his journey down her back. When he grazed the top of her knickers, Leo pulled his hand out and plucked at the side of them. Fitz took the hint, curled his fingers around the elastic waist and sat up until he could pull them down and off her legs.
His hand skimmed back up, over her calf and thigh.
She was perfection. Every scar a story Fitz knew.
Jemma rolled onto her back, moving to position him between her knees. She pulled off her bra and threw it to the side.
And there she was.
“Fitz,” she whispered, sitting up and tugging at his pants.
“Go on,” Leo said. “It’s okay. I know how long you’ve been waiting.”
Fitz was finding it hard to breathe. “What if—”
Leo snorted. “You’re not going to mess up.”
God, he hoped not.
Jemma was adrift in her senses. She’d always been terrible at those mindfulness, live in the moment type of mental exercises, but with Fitz above her and Leo beside her, she was existing from one heartbeat to the next.
With a little cry of triumph, she succeeded in pulling Fitz’s pants down around his knees and freeing his erection. For a second it seemed odd that it was the same cock she was so familiar with, the broad head dark red and the thick shaft that curved slightly to the right. It seemed like something should be different, that somehow her boys shouldn’t be exactly the same, but then she glanced up into Fitz’s face and saw the worry in his blue eyes. It was the same concern as always: that he wouldn’t be enough for her.
Which was patently ridiculous.
She licked her lips and returned her focus to his cock. She wrapped a hand around it and slowly stroked, making Fitz grunt as his hips jerked forward.
There was a faint touch on her thigh. Leo, one palm pressed against the front of his boxers, had his fingers hovering over her leg. She nodded, and he slid his hand down to her folds, easily finding her clit. Gasping, she rocked her hips, moving the hand she had on Fitz’s hardon in the same rhythm.
His eyes closed, and his head fell back as he thrust artlessly into her fist. Her body was a jangled collection of confusion and desire.
Fitz stopped moving, and his hand closed around hers, stilling it on his cock. His head turned towards Leo, and while there weren’t any words, they certainly communicated something, because Leo’s hand disappeared and he shifted slightly further away on the bed.
Jemma lay down and held her arms open to Fitz, and he settled his weight between her thighs as his mouth went to her breast, closing around her nipple. She moaned and threaded her fingers into his unruly hair. He was warm and solid under her hands. Wrapping her legs loosely around his waist, she clung to him as he diligently licked and sucked every inch of one breast and then the other.
There was a faint moan from beside her, and Jemma tilted her head, worried for a moment, but Leo’s hand had migrated inside his pants, and his eyes were glazed over.
The corner of his mouth quirked up when he saw her watching, and he jerked his head in a get-on-with-it motion, though his lust-filled expression softened the gesture.
Satisfied that Leo wasn’t freaking out, she tugged on Fitz’s hair and pressed her heels into his ass, guiding him up her body until his forehead was resting against hers.
“Hi,” she whispered as the head of his cock bumped against her pussy and slid over it, making them both groan.
Fitz was breathing hard. “Hi,” he gasped before pressing a messy kiss to her lips. He paused again, putting his weight on one hand and reaching down to grab his cock and line it up with her opening. “Jemma, can I…” he said, voice rough.
She locked her gaze with his, marveling at how dark the blue of his eyes had become. “Yes,” she replied.
With a whimper, Fitz thrust into her, but it was only partway. His hips jerked back and forward again, and Jemma grunted as this time he plunged in to the hilt. Beneath her hands, his muscles trembled.
“It’s alright,” she murmured in his ear. “It’s alright. You’re home.”
Fitz gave a little cry and started moving, jerkily at first as if he couldn’t quite remember how, but then he found his rhythm and shifted so the angle was just right, and she moaned her encouragement.
He was chanting her name over and over as she clung to him, overwhelmed and floating on the joy of having him in her arms.
A hand stroked her hair, and she turned her head towards Leo. “Touch yourself,” Leo said. “He’s not going to last long, and he’ll want to feel you come.”
Jemma nodded and forced one of her hands to give up the grip she had on Fitz so she could work it between their bodies to rub her clit. It didn’t take much before her inner muscles were tightening around his cock and her belly was thrumming with impending release.
She pressed her cheek to Fitz’s, enjoying the scratch of his beard against her. “Now,” she said. “I’m going to…now!” He plunged harder and faster, grunting with his thrusts. Jemma breath caught, and she was coming, her hips lifting off the bed as bliss spiraled out from where she was joined with Fitz.
Her head fell back against the pillow, and she watched Fitz’s face as his brows drew tight together and his mouth opened slightly.
He lost his rhythm again, his hips moving in jerky, staccato beats until he thrust deeply one last time. His entire body shuddered, and he muttered something garbled as he came. His cock bucked inside her, pulsing as he spent himself. She held tight to him until the last of his ecstasy had left him. Fitz rolled them onto their sides, his softening cock slipping from her with the movement.
With a sigh, he nuzzled his face against hers.
Jemma inhaled sharply as an arm wrapped around her from behind.
“Jemma,” Leo said, voice hoarse as he pressed his erection against her rear. He must have taken his pants off while she’d been busy, and the feel of his cock sliding against her ass sent a jolt through her.
She blinked, this was going to take some recalibration because she wasn’t done. Her pussy pulsed with renewed lust and she reached back to grasp Leo’s hip and tug him towards her.
With a hitch of his breathing and hips, Leo slid easily inside her.
Fitz opened his eyes as she moaned, and uncertainty filled his face.
Leo must have seen it as well, because he reached across Jemma and grabbed Fitz’s wrist, lifting his hand and settling on her breast.
Oh, that was nice.
Leo let go and pressed his fingers between her legs, circling her clit as he thrust his cock in a slow rhythm.
She closed her eyes, and her lips found Fitz’s, kissing him softly. Behind her, Leo brushed her hair away from her neck before planting open-mouthed kisses to her nape. The fingers on her breast and pussy moved deftly, and before she knew it, another orgasm ran through her, leaving her gasping and shaking.
Leo increased his pace. The kisses to her neck faltered and then turned into a bite. Not hard, not hurting. It was more like he was determined to keep her in place. The rough thrust of his cock made her worry for a moment that he was hurting his side, but she didn’t want to stop him. He needed this. Needed to show her something she didn’t quite understand.
A third orgasm was building low in her belly, and she groaned, accidently nipping Fitz’s bottom lip as she did.
Fitz responded by squeezing her nipple harder.
It was all so much.
Her brain was blank, and she was lost in the feeling of the hands and mouths on her skin. Lost in the feeling of satisfaction at knowing exactly where both her Fitzs were. Lost in the pleasure of her own body. That was an entire galaxy they’d barely begun to explore.
Leo’s fingers stroked her clit faster, and her thighs quivered.
“Love you,” she said a second before she came, her body writhing between her two lovers.
Fireworks exploded behind her eyelids, and she keened loudly, the sound becoming a near sob at the end.
Fitz’s hand moved from her breast to cup her cheek as she shivered through the aftershocks.
Leo’s fingers went from her pussy to grasp her hip. He was grunting and thrusting hard, and she was nearly going to tell him to stop before he hurt himself, but then he groaned her name and dug the tips of his fingers into her as he came, his cock jerking with his release.
Afterward, he struggled to catch his breath, but when Jemma went to roll over, he stopped her by wrapping his arm around her waist. He pulled his cock from her, but immediately spooned tight against her back.
Fitz didn’t seem to know what to do with himself, so she gently pushed on his shoulder until he got the message and settled onto his back. He scooted towards her, and she snuggled her head on his shoulder. His heartbeat was loud against her ear, and its very existence was a comfort. She could feel Leo’s beating in the same rhythm against her back.
Fitz pulled the covers up around all of them and reached to the side to click off the lights.
“Together,” Jemma said, because she knew no matter what else happened, she wasn’t going to give up either one of her boys. Not now that she had them. Life was strange, and she wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told her back in the Academy that not only would she spend the rest of her life in love with her best friend, but that she’d end up with two of him. Both needing her with a fierceness she understood because she needed them just as badly.
“Together,” Leo and Fitz echoed.
Tomorrow she’d worry about what their unknown future was going to be like, for right now she was simply going to bask in how sated she was and how safe she felt with her boys surrounding her. The problems, of which she was sure there were many, could all wait until later. For now, she was content to simply be loved.
Chapter 4: Morning
Leo woke to something tickling his nose. He blinked his eyes open and raised a hand to smooth Jemma’s hair down. She was lying on her side, snuggled against him with her head resting on his chest and one arm wrapped around him.
His side ached, but he ignored the pain.
It was a little harder to ignore the version of himself that was sprawled on the other side of Jemma, lying on his belly, face to the side and drooling. What a great look.
With a huff, Leo wiggled his arm out from under Jemma and pushed on Fitz’s shoulder.
Fitz snorted and lifted his head. “Uh…what?”
“You’re drooling,” Leo said.
“I am not,” Fitz grumbled, then frowned and wiped his mouth before looking down at the pillow in horror. He quickly flipped it over.
“Morning,” Jemma said, not opening her eyes.
Leo pressed his lips to her forehead. “Morning.” He shifted around until he could hug her. She was smiling and put her arm around him as well. It by sheer strength of will that Leo didn’t roll his eyes as Fitz scooted over and settled a hand on her waist.
“Morning,” Fitz said against the back of her head. Some of Leo’s irritation evaporated as Jemma’s smile widened.
Jemma wiggled back against Fitz and tugged on Leo, who rolled on his side with a wince. He might have overdone it the night before. Gingerly, he slid over until Jemma was squished between him and Fitz.
She let out a delighted-sounding sigh. Leo caught Fitz looking at him with worry on his face. Shaking his head slightly, he mouthed ‘it’s fine’. Fitz appeared skeptical but didn’t argue, instead he closed his eyes and nuzzled his nose into Jemma’s hair.
“You can never go away again, either of you,” Jemma mumbled from between them. “I have you both here, safe. My Fitzs.” She sighed, and her fingers dug harder into Leo’s back.
“Mmm,” Leo said, finding it hard to ignore she was naked and pressed against him. “I would have liked to see someone try and explain this one to us when we were sixteen.”
Fitz snorted. “Leo…we would have just gone comatose.”
“Most likely, what about you, Jemma?”
“I like to think I would have figured out that if I was going to be in bed with two of you, we’d best get practicing right that minute.”
Leo groaned, the sound echoed by Fitz. He wasn’t sure at sixteen if he’d been much worth practicing with. Hell, he wasn’t sure about now. At least Jemma had seemed pleased enough last night, and that was all that mattered.
Jemma giggled, but then grunted and stretched. “I hate to break this up, but my bladder’s full and I need to figure out my hair this morning.” Fitz rolled and sat on the edge of the bed. With a last peck on Leo’s lips, Jemma stood. She rested a hand on Fitz’s shoulder for a second before walking completely naked to the bathroom, shutting the door behind her.
Leo had the uneasy feeling he was wearing the same dopey look Fitz was from watching her hips sway.
Fitz ran his fingers through his hair and stood, stretched, and padded over to the drawers. “I’m going to have to borrow some of your things, mate.”
“Technically, they’re yours anyway,” Leo said with a grunt as he moved towards the edge of the bed. His side was on fire.
Fitz pulled on a pair of grey boxers, but then paused and turned towards Leo. “You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, bloody fine.”
“What’s wrong?” Fitz pulled out another pair of boxers and came to set them on the edge of the bed near Leo.
Leo let out a deep sigh. “What’s wrong? Maybe the fact I, we, are still cursed. I nearly died. Again—”
“Did she stay, this time? I mean, while you recovered.” Fitz asked. His brows were pulled together and Leo grimaced. Damn it. That was a pain he knew. It was odd to see that old hurt stamped on another person’s face.
“Yeah, she stayed.”
Fitz’s eyes went to the floor, but he let out a breath in what sounded like relief. He turned away to rummage in another drawer. “That’s good.”
Leo grunted and steeled himself for the pain that getting his pants on was going to entail.
Fitz pulled a white t-shirt over his head, then turned back around. “I’m not going to apologize for being here. You have to know that waking up to a world where someone else, even if it’s me, was Jemma’s hero…that’s not what I wanted.”
“And what I want is an untarnished version of me—”
“Untarnished?” Fitz looked completely confused, and the last thing Leo wanted to do was explain. To talk about hurting Daisy or locking Mack in a cell. “I was in the bloody Framework,” Fitz continued. “I held a gun to her head.” His chest was heaving. “My entire world and I almost…”
Leo stood, having to keep a hand on the bed for support. His heart ached. “Yeah. Well, that wasn’t any fun either.” He glanced at Fitz, who was standing in his shirt and pants, arms crossed and head bowed. “You going to cut your hair?” Leo asked, wanting to get far away from things neither of them needed to be focused on.
Fitz shook his head. “Going to keep it curly, let my beard grow in more. Jemma probably wouldn’t have an issue telling us apart no matter what, but I thought it’d be easier for everyone else. I’ll wear t-shirts, you wear the buttons ups.”
“You mean I’m going to have to look at a sloppy version of myself for…forever?”
Fitz put his hands on his hips. “Do you have a better idea?”
Leo took a step towards the closet. “Yes. You wear a hat. A really ridiculous hat. With flowers on it.” He took another step and pain seared down his side, making him gasp and stumble. To his surprise, Fitz caught his arm and kept him from falling.
“What’s going on?”
It was probably useless lying to himself. “It’s just my side. It didn’t heal that well.” Leo grit his teeth. “I might have overdone it last night.”
Fitz led him back to the bed, and Leo leaned against it. “Overdone it?”
“Yes, yes! Trying to keep up with you. I didn’t want to disappoint her.” Leo turned away, disarmed by the sheer amount of understanding in Fitz’s eyes.
Fitz didn’t say anything, but he went to the closet and came back with a blue button up and a pair of slacks he set on the bed beside Leo. Leo managed to get his kit on without help, only envying Fitz a little as he easily donned a pair of jeans.
Fitz dropped Leo’s shoes in front of him and leaned against the wall to do up the boots he’d been wearing yesterday.
“I understand. When it’s Jemma…I understand,” Fitz said as he straightened back up.
“Can we drop it for now.”
Fitz nodded, and they both looked at the bathroom and fidgeted, waiting on Jemma.
“How long was it before you could go down on her?” Fitz asked out of nowhere.
Leo’s shoulders slumped. “Really? That’s what you want to know?” He wasn’t that surprised. “A while. We were kind of busy.” He tried to sound disinterested.
Fitz scoffed. “Don’t act like that wasn’t what you were imagining in prison while you tried not to be obvious about having a wank under the blankets.”
“Now that’s just bloody weird.” Leo pinched the bridge of his nose. It hadn’t entirely occurred to him that every thought that he and Fitz ever had were the exactly same right up until the pod opened for each of them. Leo eyed Fitz. It was awkward that an entire other person knew about every perverted thought he’d ever had. Though he supposed that meant he knew all of Fitz’s as well. Mutually assured destruction.
“Next time, tonight, whenever, that’s what I want to do,” Fitz said.
Leo sighed. “Sure, fine.” He couldn’t help the smug smile that tugged at his lips.
“What?” Fitz asked, eyes narrowing.
“It’s simply…look, after I was hurt it was a bit before I could do much in bed. But I could use my mouth. So I did, a lot. And she’s used to that now, me having learned every nuance of what she likes.” Leo shrugged.
Fitz wrinkled his nose. “You’re assuming that because you have one way of doing things, I can’t come up with something new and completely blow her mind?”
“New?” Leo asked, right as the bathroom door opened and Jemma exited in a cloud of sweet-smelling steam. Both he and Fitz fell silent as Jemma walked between them with a small smile. She plucked knickers and a bra from her drawer and went to the closet, sorting through the hangers and ending up with an ivory blouse and black trousers. She glanced shyly over her shoulder at them, then dropped the towel and quickly got dressed.
It was disconcerting to hear Fitz make the same whimpering noise at the sight of her bare arse.
When Jemma was done, she put her long hair up and walked to the door. “Breakfast?” she asked. Leo grabbed his cane as Fitz’s stomach rumbled. Jemma led the way out of the room, and Leo found himself trailing behind her and walking next to Fitz. Her chin was high, and her shoulders were pulled back.
Jemma Simmons was ready for anything.
No one would say anything, Jemma reassured herself as she turned the corner into another hallway, heading for the kitchen and dining area. Stare, yes, say anything, she hoped not.
How was she supposed to respond if anyone did mention the fact they’d all shared a bunk? Why, yes, my private area is sore today after I had my husband and my…boyfriend make love to me like crazy last night?
She pressed her lips together.
“New?” she heard Leo whisper to Fitz as they walked.
“I’m sure you don’t have a monopoly on every move,” Fitz said. “I’ll figure out something that’s specifically mine to do. Like a signature.”
“I’m serious,” Fitz insisted, voice still low. What the heck were they talking about?
“Trust me,” Leo said. “What I can do with my tongue and fingers? That’s what she wants. Or don’t trust me. I’ll show you how I make her scream.”
Jemma winced. Oh no.
“You do that,” Fitz hissed. “Once I have a baseline, you know I can improvise. She’ll be begging for my mouth.”
“Stop it,” she grumbled, but didn’t think either of them heard her.
Leo smacked the end of his cane harder into the floor than was necessary. “Stick to using your prick. There’s no way you can compete. You’d just embarrass yourself.”
Jemma glanced over her shoulder. Fitz and Leo were wearing matching scowls as they stared daggers at each other.
It was almost funny.
“How about, after we get the gravity gun working, we can do a timed test? Whoever gets me off more times using only their mouth and fingers wins a blow job?” She bit her lip as her boys narrowed their eyes at each other. Heat was gathering in her belly. There was no stopping Fitz once he decided he was going to do something. She knew that from long experience, but she also knew how to channel that mulish stubbornness into something useful. In this case, she’d be the beneficiary, which really didn’t sound too bad.
“It’s not quite fair,” Leo said. “It always takes longer for your initial orgasm. Whoever went first would be at a distinct disadvantage.”
“I’ll masturbate to the first one.”
There were matching hitches of breath from behind her.
“And we can go from there.”
“How much time are you thinking is permissible?” Fitz asked.
Jemma considered. This was a first for before-breakfast conversation. It made her wonder what had gone on inside Fitz’s head before there’d been a second him to force those thoughts into being spoken.
“Fifteen minutes?” she suggested.
Leo hemmed an agreement. “Reasonable. I think my record is at least five times.” He sounded smug.
Fitz scoffed. “Another question,” he said.
They rounded the corner, nearly at the dining area.
“Can I wank while I’m eating you out?” The last word was a bit of a squeak because they’d just walked through the doorway and Fitz had been speaking in a regular voice.
Everyone was there, and they had all frozen either mid-bite or mid-chew to stare at the three of them. Both Fitz and Leo had turned bright red. Jemma waited for a beat, expecting to be embarrassed, but mostly she felt smug. Life had been difficult for so many years. There’d been so many compromises and so much fear and awfulness that giving everyone confirmation that she was indeed getting spoiled by two versions of her husband, well, part of her entirely believed she deserved it.
Not that it was easy for Fitz or Leo, but she had the suspicion it might not hurt for him to discuss things with himself. He tended to close himself off from even her when he was stressed, but hiding from yourself was a lot harder.
Jemma turned, shrugged, and patted Fitz’s chest. “Sure. Though you don’t want to let anything distract you.”
Piper put her hands over Daisy’s ears, but Daisy batted them away and made a face at her girlfriend.
“We so getting the lowdown later,” Daisy said to Piper as Jemma led Leo and Fitz to where the food was laid out. They both loaded up plates while they were still side-eyeing each other, so she was surprised when Fitz took Leo’s plate for him. It allowed Leo to walk to a table without having to limp because he didn’t have a hand for his cane. Her boys sat down next to each other and across from her.
Non-bedroom talk was probably safest. “Do you have a plan for what you want to work on today?” Jemma asked her boys as they simultaneously bit into sausages. Behind her, everyone else returned to busily eating their breakfasts.
“I think we might be able to finally get the complimentary accelerator to work,” Leo said, gesturing with his fork.
Fitz nodded. “It’s most likely not as complicated as I…he?...we? were worried it was.”
Jemma smiled. As weird as this was, at least Fitz and Leo had rapidly figured out the two of them were able to function as a team.
Jemma spent most of the day concentrating on the shielding, and happily, the work flowed easily for her. The muted rumble of Fitz and Leo talking to each other, punctuated by louder exclamations when one or the other of them—sometimes both—became frustrated, was surprisingly comforting to her.
She knew right where they were, without even having to look.
And while she’d briefly wondered if she might become superfluous since they could run things by each other, it quickly became apparent that she’d never simply been a second pair of eyes, because they continued to frequently lob questions her way, answer hers, or ask her opinion on things.
Late in the afternoon, there were twin barks of excited laughter from where they were hunched over their workbench.
“Jemma, Jemma!” Leo called, and Fitz hurried across the room to grab her wrist and haul her over to what appeared to be an assembled prototype of the gravity gun.
“We got it working,” Fitz said.
“Only took two of you.”
Both Fitz and Leo frowned at her.
“I just messaged Mack,” Leo said, poking at a tablet. “He’s on his way. Fitz, can you do the honors?”
Fitz didn’t argue, just slid the strap of the gun over his head and shoulder and headed for the far side of the lab, where he pulled a small metal trash bin out from the table it’d been under.
Leo slid an arm around her and kissed her cheek. She turned and pressed her forehead to his.
“This is going to be cool, isn’t it?” she asked.
“It’d better be,” he said with a half-smile. Jemma’s eyes drifted closed as Leo softly pressed his mouth to hers. There were the sounds of Fitz continuing to set up a demonstration, and she thought it rather convenient that she had one to snog while the other continued to work.
There was a loud noise as someone cleared their throat from the direction of the entrance to the lab. Jemma, Leo, and Fitz stopped what they were doing and looked over at Mack. Daisy was there as well, her eyebrows high.
“I was expecting a different kind of demonstration,” Mack said, crossing his arms.
Jemma put on her professional mask. “Of course, Director. Leo and Fitz have gotten the gravity gun working finally, and I have all the data that shows it’s completely safe for use.”
“See that bin?” Fitz gestured with the muzzle of the gravity gun towards where it was now resting on top of a metal stool.
Daisy tilted her head. “Yeah.”
“Keep watching it.”
Leo’s fingers were twitching nervously, and Jemma intertwined them with hers, giving him a little squeeze.
Fitz fiddled with the controls, and a soft whir came from the gun. He braced his legs, aimed, and depressed the trigger. There was the faintest orange beam that unfurled from the gun’s muzzle as the whir got louder. It engulfed the bin, and, grinning broadly, Fitz lifted the bin off the stool. He shifted where the muzzle was pointing, moving it slightly left and right and the bin followed along. He returned the beam to the center, and the bin hovered just above the stool again.
“Let me reverse the polarity,” Fitz said, looking down and reaching with a finger to press a button.
The whine from the gun increased and then there was a bang as the bin hurtled backwards to crash into the wall.
Fitz hastily powered down the gun.
“There are still some kinks,” Leo said, with a grimace.
Fitz set the gun down on a counter and went to retrieve the badly battered bin. He held up the mangled remains. “We’re working on it.”
Mack put a hand over his eyes.
Right before dinner, Jemma got a message from Daisy, asking if she had time to chat and that Mack had an idea.
Fitz and Leo had pulled apart the gravity gun’s control mechanism and were mostly making incomprehensible Scottish noises as they examined the components.
“I’m going to go see Daisy,” Jemma told them.
They both nodded and didn’t look up. Rolling her eyes, Jemma walked to the conference room Daisy had said to meet in.
“Mack will be here in a second, so you have to dish fast,” Daisy said by way of greeting as Jemma claimed a chair.
“About?” Jemma had a good idea, but she was going to make Daisy work for it.
Daisy huffed. “Jemma! Did you guys, you know…” Daisy trailed off and seemed to be struggling with what to say.
“Did we…?” Jemma raised her brows and had to bite her lip to keep from smiling like the proverbial cat.
Elena walked into the room. “Daisy wants to know if you, how do you say it? Bumped uglies with both of your Fitzs.”
Jemma gaped at Elena.
“I want to know too.” Elena shrugged. She looked completely unapologetic. “This situation is loco, but at least it’s not something terrible for once.”
“I had the same thought,” Jemma said. “But that’s a very personal—”
Both Daisy and Elena pursed their lips and fixed her with a glare, and Jemma squirmed in her chair.
“Okay, fine,” she blurted. “Yes, yes I did. It one after the other and it was wonderful, and I fell asleep sandwiched between them.”
Daisy laughed. “Way to go, Jemma.”
“I’m impressed,” Elena said. “You’re so…” She waved the hand of one of her mechanical arms. They were more refined than her first ones, but she hadn’t wanted ones that looked normal, refusing by saying she didn’t need to pretend to be something she wasn’t. Elena looked to Daisy for help with the phrasing.
“Jemma, you usually have a stick up your ass,” Daisy said. “Finding out you can be a freak is pretty cool.”
“I…I...” Jemma stuttered. Dear lord, she was, wasn’t she?
Elena was suppressing laughter. “When Daisy said you would, I didn’t believe her. No manches!”
“You look happy,” Daisy said. “That’s nice to see. And we’re still getting used to all of this. Leo is the one with the ring, right? And Fitz is the one with just the t-shirt on?”
Jemma nodded. “And you think you have a lot to get used to.” Her hand flew to her mouth as she realized what she said, and she could feel her cheeks burning.
“Dos,” Elena said with a smirk, holding up two fingers. “You’re a brave woman. I have enough trouble cleaning up after one man.” She said the last a little louder as Mack walked in the room.
“Hey, I occasionally remember to put my clothes in the hamper,” he said.
Jemma winced. She hadn’t thought about the extra laundry. Fitz, Leo, and she were going to have to come up with a chart of some kind for chores.
Mack sat in the chair beside her. “I know Fitz and Leo are working on the gravity gun, so I thought I’d run this by you first.”
“Yes?” She sat up a little straighter. Mack sounded serious.
“The gun needs more testing and fine-tuning.”
She nodded. “That was obvious, yes.”
“Somewhere you can’t destroy the base.” Mack rubbed at his temple.
Jemma wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “That may be a good idea.”
“I called Coulson,” Mack said.
Daisy immediate leaned forward. “How’s he doing?”
“Well. He and May send their love.”
Daisy beamed. Jemma knew Daisy missed Coulson terribly, but the wonder of the physical progression of his death halting, perhaps because of his choice to save the planet—no one knew for sure—had come as a complete shock. Now he was traveling with May, visiting parts of the world he’d always wanted to, and they’d linger wherever they wanted, happy to have no schedule.
Mack put a hand flat on the table and spread his fingers. “Coulson knows just the place. He thought it’d be good for you two…uh, I didn’t tell him it was three now.”
Jemma nodded. She was grateful. If anyone was going to explain it to Coulson, it should be her.
Mack smiled. “How does a trip to Scotland sound?”
Chapter 5: Daylight
Fitz didn’t know if he was excited or scared to death to be heading home. Was Scotland home, or was it just the place he was from? He hadn’t lived there for years now. Maybe Jemma was home. He ran a finger over her knee. She was strapped into the jump-seat beside him, her head on Leo’s shoulder as she dozed. Leo had an arm around her, and Fitz found himself feeling like an outsider.
The night before their early morning flight with Davis at the helm of the Quinn Jet—how the hell was he alive?— had been the three of them frantically packing and then falling into exhausted slumber.
They were heading for a safehouse located in the far north of Scotland. There was a town about a forty-minute drive away, but for the most part, the place was isolated. It had a propane tank, generator, solar panels, and well water. At this point, they were hoping the floor wasn’t dirt. It was remote, the perfect place to work out the kinks in the gravity gun.
And maybe the kinks in his life. Fitz winced. That did not sound right even in his own head. He hunched over and put his elbows on his knees.
Somebody should have told him he’d wake up and find the center of his universe married to someone else. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten in the damn pod. Only that someone else was him and Leo obviously felt the same bloody way about Jemma as he did. And if Fitz hadn’t gotten in the pod, then there would be no Leo, and she might still be trapped in the future.
With a snort, Fitz undid his harness and stood. Leo shot him a look as Fitz walked past him and Jemma but didn’t say anything.
Fitz sat in the co-pilot’s chair.
“Sorry, I have to ask, which one are you?” Davis said.
Fitz plucked at his t-shirt. “The one you picked up in space,” he said. It was easy to get lulled by Jemma’s instinctual knowledge of which one of them was which.
“Ah, got it.” Davis fiddled with the controls. “Settling in okay?”
“Sort of, this wasn’t what I was expecting.”
“Life never is. Jemma seems thrilled to have you.”
Fitz perked up. “Yeah?”
“She’s smiled more in the last couple of days than I’ve seen for a while. Things have been hard on her, and the other you. On everyone, really. It takes a lot of time to work through all that.”
Fitz nodded but then grimaced. “Sometimes I think all I’ll ever be is a third wheel. I was planning to marry her, was thinking about a family. I beat myself to that, and everything is up in the air now.” He sighed and rubbed his eyes.
“I seriously have no idea how it’d feel to be in your position. None. Zero. So if you want confirmation that what you’re dealing with is totally weird, I can give you that. But the rest, I think that’s a problem for the three of you. Now strap in, we’re getting close.”
Fitz did up the harness as they descended out of the clouds. It was early afternoon, the sun beating down on the sparse vegetation. Davis set the jet down close to the little stone cottage.
Standing, Fitz was dismayed to see Jemma groggily waking and patting his empty seat, her expression alarmed at not finding him where she expected. “Jemma,” he said, and the worried lines on her face dissipated as she caught sight of him standing near the front of the jet.
Leo pushed himself to his feet and picked up his cane, grabbing a duffel in his other hand and walking stiffly towards the back as Davis lowered the ramp. Jemma gestured at Fitz, and he hefted some of their luggage and hastened to her side so the three of them could exit together.
They walked down the ramp and out into the low-lying heather.
Jemma gasped and spun around, taking in the stone cottage and the vast, empty space around it. Hills were visible in the distance with clouds making their outlines hazy. Leo tipped his head back, eyes closed, and a smile on his face as the sunlight spilled over them. Everything even smelled lovely, earthy and green, with a hint of sea salt in the air.
Fitz just gaped. It was overwhelming after being in prison and then at the Lighthouse. Actually, Jemma and Leo had probably been cooped up even longer. After a moment, Fitz turned and helped Davis carry the rest of their luggage out of the jet, along with the crates of equipment they’d need to work on the gravity gun.
Davis clapped him on the shoulder when they were done. “Have fun,” Davis said with a smile and wink. He shook hands with Leo and gave Jemma a pat on the back before taking off in the jet and leaving the three of them on their own.
Jemma pushed open the door of the cottage, which did have a foundation, thankfully, and beautiful wood floors. In the kitchen there was a large fridge, and Fitz opened it to find it well stocked. Someone must have been here to prepare for their arrival. He nabbed a beer and popped the top, taking a long pull.
“Leo’s setting up some of the lab equipment,” Jemma said, coming into the kitchen. “But it’s such a lovely day I thought we could have a bit of a picnic outside.”
“Food sounds good.” He guzzled down the rest of his beer and tossed it in the trash. Jemma was pulling sliced cheese and meat from the fridge and putting in on the counter. He caught her with a hand on her arm and pulled her into a kiss.
Jemma melted against him. As always, everything felt right when he was holding her. Far too soon, she was breaking the kiss and stepping back. “Let me finish up these sandwiches,” she whispered, slightly breathless.
Fitz didn’t know if he was pleased because she was obviously affected by him, or annoyed she’d pulled away.
“I’ll go help Leo,” he said, and Jemma nodded as she picked up a loaf of bread to undo the top of the plastic bag around it.
Fitz was settling on annoyed. He could have taken her on the counter, made her feel bloody good. But maybe she wouldn’t have let him because Leo wasn’t there. Fitz scowled as he picked up a bag full of equipment and headed towards the lab. No matter what he did, Jemma would always see him as the extra one.
He set the bag down as he entered. Leo had his back to him, working to set up a mass spectrometer.
You could kill him, a seductive voice whispered. An accident. Who would Jemma turn to in her grief?
Fitz winced and shook his head as he brought a hand up to sweep over his hair, almost surprised to find curls instead of it being smoothly combed to the side.
The next thing he knew, Leo was shoving him back against the wall, a hand around his throat.
“You heard him.” It wasn’t a question. “I don’t care what the bastard had to say, but if it happens again. You tell me. I know you don’t want to admit to even yourself that the Doctor’s still hanging around, waiting on a chance to slip through.” Leo’s face softened. “But you can tell me when you can’t tell anyone else. I understand. I get it. Don’t let him win. There’s enough of us in this relationship right now as there is.”
Leo let go of Fitz and stepped back, crossing his arms and looking at the floor.
Fitz rubbed his neck. “What happened?”
“I couldn’t figure out a way to fix something, so I let him out because he could.” Leo’s voice was wooden.
“And?” Fitz asked softly.
“And? And I hurt Daisy. Mack locked me in a cage. I think I drove Jemma off the deep end for a while.” The bitterness in his voice was obvious. Fitz couldn’t process any of what was being said.
“Hurt Daisy?” he asked.
“Yeah, she had this inhibitor the Kree had put in her to stop her from using her powers. I needed them, so I cut it out. She said she’d never forgive me. I don’t blame her. I’ll never forgive me.” Leo sighed. “But you don’t have to worry about that. She can still be your friend, the one you remember her always being.”
“Sure, I’ll be the one she remembers from the Framework.”
Leo closed his eyes and mumbled, “Fuck.”
Fitz pinched the bridge of his nose. “She didn’t seem upset, these last couple of days.”
“It’s not like it was before…everything.”
Fitz stared at Leo. Hurting anyone, here in the real world…he wouldn’t let that happen. Not when he had a chance to prevent it. “I promise I’ll tell you if I hear anything else,” Fitz said. “But you need to do the same.”
Leo seemed to shrink, like he was pulling himself tight, but he nodded sharply. Fitz pushed himself off the wall, hesitated a moment, then carefully wrapped Leo in a hug. Leo leaned against him, even if he didn’t hug back. For the first time, Fitz wasn’t envious of him. The Framework had seemed like the ultimate hell, but that hell had followed Leo, and now Fitz, into the real world.
“How do you…deal?” Fitz asked.
“I’m not sure I do,” Leo said, shuffling back and going to a small bag on a counter. “But these help.” He took out a bottle of prescription pills and tossed them and Fitz, who read the label. It was an antipsychotic, a mild one. “I got extras but hoped you wouldn’t need them.”
“Sorry,” Fitz said.
Leo shrugged. “Focus on Jemma, making her happy, and the work. That helps too. And…I’m here for you, okay? We’re in an unusual situation. I know that, but we need to not be fighting. For her.”
Fitz nodded and rolled the bottle of pills in his hand. They rattled against the sides. For her. For Jemma. She was his…their true north. “Thank you,” he said and popped the top of the bottle, swallowing one of the tiny pills with just his spit.
“You two ready?” Jemma called.
Leo raised an eyebrow.
“Picnic,” Fitz mumbled.
Leo retrieved his cane and gestured for Fitz to go first.
Jemma grinned at both of them as they joined her outside the door. “Shall we?”
Outside smelled so much better than the Lighthouse, where there was always the taste of metal in her mouth.
Jemma breathed in the sweet air, marveling at how fresh it was. She was lying on her back, her head pillowed on Leo’s stomach. He was sprawled on his back as well, his eyes closed, though he wasn’t breathing deeply enough to be asleep.
Fitz was sitting cross-legged on a corner of the blanket, sipping another beer, looking off towards the hills on the horizon.
Jemma felt more relaxed then she had in a long time. They needed to start working on the gravity gun tomorrow, but there were no other demands on their time. Or other people to navigate feelings with or about.
It felt like a gift. As if Mack had realized the three of them had to cement things between themselves before trying to find a place amid everyone else. Maybe he had. Jemma knew she was going to treasure this time of them being alone. As they’d eaten their sandwiches, she’d worked out that something had happened between her boys when they’d been in the lab earlier. She badly wanted to know what but had decided not to pry. They had to figure things out between themselves, and she had to accept that the figuring out wouldn’t always involve her. It shouldn’t always involve her, not if she wanted the three of them to function as an actual…well, not couple. She didn’t precisely know what word fit. It wasn’t a concept she’d ever thought to need in her life. She hadn’t even known that it was possible to love two people with your entire heart. It was slightly unsettling to think she had internalized far too much of her relationship ideals from mass media.
Having two lovers certainly did present some interesting possibilities. It felt a bit like cheating that she didn’t need to learn the foibles of the second one. They needed to discuss what was okay and what wasn’t. There were no boundaries at the moment, and that risked one or all three of them ending up with hurt feelings.
Which was quite a daunting task, really. Fitz was recalcitrant about discussing sex at the best of times. Now she was going to be facing twice the stubbornness.
Leo ran a hand over her hair, bringing her out of her thoughts. At the same time, he felt around with the other one, finding a plastic spoon and throwing it at Fitz. It pinged off Fitz’s shoulder, and he looked at them with a frown. Leo pointed at her.
“What?” Fitz asked.
Leo didn’t say anything, just stared at Fitz. Jemma would have sworn they were having an entire conversation.
Her suspicion was confirmed when Fitz set his beer down and scooted over beside her.
“We think you’re overdressed,” he said.
“What?” She squinted up at him. “We’re outside.”
Leo chuckled. “Astute observation.”
She poked at his ribs, but Fitz caught her hand and kissed her knuckles. “There’s no one for miles. We can’t even see the main road from here. I think we’re safe.”
Heat that had nothing to do with the sun flared to life in her belly. She freed her hand and started undoing the buttons of her blouse. Fitz undid her trousers, pulling them off along with her knickers. She sat up and removed her shirt and bra, before returning to how she’d been lying with her head pillowed against Leo as he seemed uninclined to move at the moment.
“This is hardly fair,” she said. “I’m feeling so exposed, and you two are still dressed.”
Fitz hummed something. He was doing the freaky eye communication thing with Leo again, then looked down at her. He put a hand on her cheek and traced her lips with the pad of his thumb, leaned over to kiss her briefly, then sat back and slowly trailed his hand down her throat and over her collarbone. He continued to her breasts, pausing to pluck her nipples.
Jemma jumped slightly as Leo’s hand brushed over her ribs. He cupped her breast, and she moaned.
Fitz shuffled around and pushed her knees apart, moving in between them and bending over, his hands bracketing her hips. He kissed her stomach before blazing a path to her hip bone. His teeth grazed it, and she moaned again while arching her back.
“This is all very one-sided,” she managed to say.
“That’s the point,” Leo said, voice husky. “Don’t worry. We’ll be okay. We want to watch you enjoy yourself right now.”
“Okay.” She’d meant to follow that up with another statement, but Fitz suddenly scooted down further and hooked her leg over his shoulder, and she couldn’t do anything besides squeak as his tongue swiped over her folds.
Fitz made a sound deep in his chest. “Missed you,” he said to her pussy, which would have made her giggle if she wasn’t too busy being focused on the pleasure they were driving her towards. His tongue circled her clit, licked it, dipped down to her opening, then repeated the process. Leo’s hand was working in counterpoint on her breasts, kneading one then the other, pausing to pinch her nipples or roll them.
Fitz’s tongue was making quick work of her.
“Get your fingers inside her,” Leo said. Fitz did as told, pressing first one, then two fingers deep inside her. She rolled her hips and squeezed her inner muscles around the intrusion. The heat from the summer sun, the warmth of the two bodies close to hers, it was all delicious.
“Angle them up,” Leo said, but Fitz paused. “About 37 degrees or so.” Jemma wanted to giggle again. Engineers.
Fitz grunted and the angle of his fingers adjusted until he was hitting to exact right spot inside of her.
Jemma couldn’t stop the way her hips were rocking, or the sounds she was making.
Her body tightened, and her toes pointed as her legs stiffened. Fitz was lashing her clit wildly with his tongue, and Leo’s fingers squeezed on her breast.
Just a little…more…
She came with a cry, flying over the edge and into bliss. Her thighs clamped for a moment around Fitz’s ears, and he nuzzled against one, his scruff scratchy against the sensitive skin.
Panting, she came back to earth. “That was nice,” she slurred, and both Leo and Fitz chuckled. She turned her head to the side, to see Leo smiling at her. The sun made his eyes bright, and she adored the slight crinkles at their corners as the mirth encompassed his entire face. She turned the other way, only to be presented with the evidence of his arousal. The front of his trousers was tight over the bulge his cock was creating, and it looked quite uncomfortable.
With a little cry, she untangled herself from Fitz and rolled over onto all fours. Fitz’s hand caressed her rear as she hastily undid Leo’s trousers.
“Jemma?” Fitz asked.
“Yes,” she said, glancing at him over her shoulders as she tugged Leo’s trousers and pants down far enough to free his cock. “Please.” Then bit her lip. “I want both of you now,” she whispered in case they didn’t get the message.
She bent down and licked a path along the underside of Leo’s cock. He groaned and tangled a hand in her hair. Jemma’s heart rate skyrocketed as she sucked the tip of his prick while she could hear Fitz undoing his jeans. Leo was leaking precum, the taste salty on her tongue. She lapped her tongue against the slit on the top of his cock, making him moan.
Being perpendicular to him made the angle of everything a little different than she was used to. She swirled her tongue around the head of his cock as she slowly sucked more of it into her mouth. Fitz’s hand grabbed her hip, and she groaned as he swiped the tip of his prick over her clit before positioning it at her opening.
He hesitated and pushed her hips towards him, hoping he’d get the message.
“Fuck her,” Leo rasped. Jemma glanced towards him. He had pushed himself up on his elbows, and his eyes were darting between her and what she was doing to him, and Fitz.
Fitz didn’t hesitate. He slammed his cock into her, and she yelped as the motion sent her forward, inadvertently sending Leo’s dick further down her throat.
“Jemma,” he groaned loudly.
The three of them paused, and she basked in feeling so full. She was probably being greedy, but she didn’t care.
Fitz shifted his knees further apart and began to thrust, the wet sounds of her body surprising her. She was terribly turned on. This was a fantasy she hadn’t even quite known she had.
Jemma braced herself and started bobbing her head in time with Fitz’s thrusts. Leo’s fingers tightened in her hair, and she gloried in it. Pleasure was running through her. She was giving and receiving, and it was all wonderful.
Leo was continuing to watch Fitz as he steadily thrust inside her. The stretch of her body around his, the sharp plunges, it was heavenly. She lifted her mouth off Leo’s cock, needing a few minutes to catch her breath. She shifted her weight to one hand and pumped him with the other. He groaned and jerked his hips, making her smile.
“This is lovely,” she said brightly. Leo looked slightly askance at her, and she glanced over her shoulder to find Fitz giving her the exact same look. “It is,” she insisted. “It’s a nice day, beautiful weather, just enough breeze that there are no bugs, we had an excellent meal, and I’m very much enjoying having both of you inside me.”
She was watching Leo, who glanced at Fitz with a puzzled look. They must have quickly reached a consensus because Fitz moved his hips harder and Leo tugged at her hair, his fingers covering hers and directing her mouth back to his cock. Oh, fine, her boys could think she was weird.
The hand she’d been using on Leo she moved to between her legs, rubbing her clit in little circles. Her body coiled again.
“She’s close,” Leo said.
“On it,” Fitz replied, tightening his hold on her hips and adjusting them so the angle was slightly different. His thrusts started hitting exactly where she needed them to.
Jemma inhaled deeply through her nose. Oh…oh…she came hard, fireworks exploding behind her eyelids as she sucked fiercely on Leo’s cock. He grunted and humped her face.
“God, Jemma,” he groaned. Once she could get her muscles to comply, she bobbed her head faster, using her now-free hand to cup his sac. Fitz was timing his thrusts to match the movements of her head, and every time she went down the momentum from his pushes helped her take more of Leo into her mouth than she normally would.
Her pussy was still pulsing faintly when Leo stiffened. He pulled on her hair, making her moan, as his sac drew tight against his body. His moan was loud as he came, his cock so far in the back of her mouth that she could hardly taste his load as he spurted it down her throat.
His hand kept her in place for a few moments longer. When he let her go of her, it thumped to the ground.
Fitz started grunting with each hard thrust. Jemma put both her hands securely on the ground and pushed her hips back to meet him. He rand a hand over her ass before gripping it tightly.
His thighs quivered, and he came with a loud grunt, his cock bucking inside her, his release a warm rush. After long moments, he softly stroked her rear, patted it, and pulled out of her. Jemma turned and flopped down next to Leo, her head on his shoulder and her leg over his. Fitz snuggled against her back, spooning her.
“You’re right,” Fitz said. “This is nice.”
Leo chuckled, and she half-heartedly swatted his chest. “We can’t stay out here too much longer,” Jemma said, even as she closed her eyes. “Or we’ll all be as red as a lobster. This is more sunlight than any of us has seen in months.”
“Just a little longer,” Leo said. He squeezed her shoulder, then leaned over and patted Fitz’s before relaxing back onto the blanket. “This is nice.”
Chapter 6: What Matters
Jemma let out a deep sigh from where she was sitting on the couch. It’d been a long day of testing the gravity gun, making tiny adjustments, and testing it again. Control was still an issue. A big issue. They were never going to find that bucket. It was probably three counties over.
Fitz and Leo were in the lab, loudly and somewhat incomprehensibly arguing over whether adding resistance to one of the circuits would help.
She looked at the pile of dirty dishes in the sink. There wasn’t a dishwasher, so she was stuck. Standing, she smoothed down the knee length skirt she’d put on for dinner. Jemma had thought it, and her strappy kitten heel sandals might be enticing, but she should have known that working on the gun’s innards would be even more seductive.
At least her boys were predictable.
She started the water running and laid out a fresh dishtowel. She’d just grabbed the handle of a pot and was scowling at whatever was stuck to the bottom of it when two hands landed on her back.
“We got this,” Fitz said, plucking the pot from her fingers.
Leo nudged her with his shoulder. “Just relax. You cooked, let us take care of the cleaning.”
She thought about protesting but gave up as they both moved between her and the sink. Instead, she went and plopped down on the couch and kicked her shoes off before sitting sideways on the cushions. Picking up her tablet, she toyed with an article, looking at the diagrams. Jemma quickly gave up and dropped it into her lap. She peeked over the back of the sofa at Leo and Fitz.
They were facing away from her and still talking about the gravity gun as they washed and dried the dinner dishes.
It was better than porn.
She pressed her thighs together and bit her lip.
All hers. They were all hers, and they were doing the dishes.
Jemma flopped back and giggled at herself. She only lasted a moment before she was peering over the couch again. Fitz had jeans on that made him look rather nice from the back, but Leo’s crisp white button up showed off his shoulders better. Lucky her that she had both of them after they’d reached double digits on the pushups.
She lay down again and wiggled her toes. Putting a hand on her belly, she tried to imagine their family in the future. Her, Leo, and Fitz gathered around a dining table with several young children, laughing together. Jemma knew without a doubt that’s what she wanted things to be like in a few years. She’d never gone back on birth control after returning from the future, but every month she was disappointed when her period showed up like clockwork.
Leo was always sad along with her but made sure she had chocolate and would rub her back, so it wasn’t all terrible. Just an unfulfilled possibility.
Had they told Fitz she was trying to conceive?
That might be something to double check. Jemma sat up just in time to see Leo and Fitz drying their hands.
“I’ll make the modification,” Fitz said, jerking his thumb towards the lab.
Leo nodded and dropped the dishtowel on the counter. “I’ll be there in a minute.” He unhooked his cane from the counter as Fitz left.
Jemma straightened up and pulled her feet under her as Leo sat down beside her. She leaned her head against him.
“Thank you,” she said, nuzzling his neck.
He turned and wrapped his arms around her. “It was the least we could do.”
She shifted and straddled Leo’s lap. “But then you’re going to go work on the gravity gun.” She pushed her lower lip out in an exaggerated pout.
“A canary’s going to land on there if you’re not careful.” He cupped her cheek and ran his thumb over her lip. She nipped at him. “Vicious wee thing, aren’t you?”
Leo pulled her into a kiss, and she moaned. Her skirt had ridden up, and she rubbed against Leo. His cock was rapidly hardening behind his zip, and she felt rather proud of how she was affecting him.
Jemma knew she was already wet and ready to go, having been turned on since she’d sat down on the couch. Leo’s hand drifted to her breast, and she arched her back. Even through her shirt, he zeroed in on her nipple.
“You’re not wearing a bra,” he mumbled against her lips.
She sat back. “You’re just now realizing that?”
Leo wrinkled his nose at her and undid the buttons of her blouse. Once he had enough open to free one of her breasts, he tilted his head and sucked her nipple into his mouth.
She groaned and ground her center against his prick. There were entirely too many layers of clothing between them. Fumbling, she reached between them and undid his trousers. Leo hissed as she pulled his cock out and stroked it. He released her nipple and leaned against the back of the couch with a smile on his face.
Jemma loved making him look so happy. She hooked the soaked crotch of her knickers with a finger and pulled it to the side. Leo lined his cock up with her opening, then settled his hand on her ass and pulled her towards him as she sank down onto his erection.
It was lovely to feel like she could simply indulge herself. There was no one else around, and she didn’t have to wait until they were back in their bunk, or prioritize anything else over her pleasure.
Jemma felt free.
Her breathing hitched as she started to slowly ride Leo. Her fingers dug into his shoulders. The hand not on her rear gathered up the drape of her skirt and held it out of the way. He bowed his head, and she did the same. The sight of her thighs tensing as she raised and lowered herself on his thick cock was almost as erotic as the feel of him stretching her.
Her toes curled, and she moved faster, ignoring the burn in her thighs. Her head tilted back and she squeezed her inner muscles around Leo’s cock as she moaned. He dropped her skirt, and his fingers found her clit. He rubbed it, making her pant.
“Can you come for me, Jems?” he rumbled, leaning forward to kiss her neck. “Let me feel you. Please.”
“Oh,” she breathed. “Yes.”
He rubbed harder, and her hips rocked faster. Blindly, she sank a hand into his hair and held him to her as she peaked with a soft cry. Her legs quivered as the pleasure briefly overwhelmed her.
Leo grabbed her hips and kept her moving. “So good,” he muttered. “So bloody good.” He jackknifed off the couch as he came with a harsh grunt, spilling inside her. He kissed her as he spent himself, finally collapsing back against the cushions with a long sigh.
He cupped her cheek. “I love you, wife,” he said.
“I love you, husband.”
There was a noise from beside the couch, and Jemma looked up. Fitz was standing there. Which was great, she could entirely use a second orgasm, but his face was blank, and he spun away before she could hold a hand out to him.
Leo pushed her off his lap and onto her feet. “Go after him,” he said, reaching for his cane.
“Go,” Leo said. “I guarantee what you were thinking, which was ‘oh goody, more’ is not what’s going through his mind.”
Fear wrapped around her as Jemma put her arm across her chest and ran after Fitz, who’d headed towards the bedroom.
Leo used his cane to push himself to his feet and paused to do up his trousers before following Jemma.
“Stop, Fitz,” she said. “What’s wrong?”
Leo stopped in the doorway to the bedroom and leaned against the frame.
The front of Jemma’s shirt was still open, and it amused him to no end that Fitz, even with how upset he looked, couldn’t help but glance down at her tits.
Fitz was standing beside the bed, which had an open duffle bag on it. There were a few things haphazardly shoved into it.
Leo wanted to roll his eyes. Did the berk think he was going to leave?
“What’s wrong?” Fitz snarled. “What don’t you ask your husband?” He pointed a finger towards Leo and Jemma turned tear-filled eyes towards him.
“That’s the problem, isn’t it?” Leo looked past Jemma at the angry Fitz.
“We should have talked about this,” Jemma said, wiping at her face and smearing the tears over her cheeks. “You two can’t keep score. No balance sheet on who does what with me. It won’t work if you do that.”
Fitz scowled and looked at her.
“It’s not about the sex, not really,” Leo said. He shifted his shoulder against the doorframe and rubbed at his side.
Fitz put his hands on his hips and turned away.
“You didn’t like that you weren’t immediately included,” Leo continued, and Fitz’s shoulders hunched. “I get that, but we weren’t being secretive or going behind your back. You could have easily joined in.”
“That’s what I wanted,” Jemma said. Fitz turned towards her but didn’t reach for her. Jemma was fixing her shirt as her eyes darted between Fitz and Leo.
Leo tilted his head. “But it was the words at the end, wasn’t it? You felt a little excluded, and then a whole hell of a lot.”
“Fitz?” Jemma said, putting a hand on his arm. He kept his eyes on the floor.
Leo gripped the top of his cane until his fingers were white knuckled. He knew how to fix this, but hadn’t he already given up enough towards making this relationship work?
Fitz stepped out of Jemma’s reach and opened a drawer to pull out whatever was in it. Jemma’s hand went to her mouth as new tears ran down her face.
“Would you quit?” Leo snapped at Fitz.
Fitz banged the drawer closed. “Why don’t you? You know what I went into that pod thinking. What dream I had. And now it can never be.” He pushed the wad of clothes in his hand into the duffle.
“Why not?” Leo asked.
Fitz’s brows drew together as he spun to face Leo. “Because, because…”
“Yeah, I know what you were thinking,” Leo had to push out the words. He vividly remembered the visions he’d had of Jemma in a white dress as Enoch had frozen him. “Of course I do. But there’s no wedding registered anywhere. Nothing legal. I don’t see why you and Jemma couldn’t be the same as Jemma and me.”
Jemma’s expression was stunned.
“But—” Fitz sputtered.
“Why don’t you ask her and see what she says?” Leo said, forcing himself to loosen the hold he had on his cane and stretch his fingers out.
“I don’t have a ring.”
“Neither did I.” Leo watched as Fitz huffed and snuck a glance at Jemma, then looked at the ceiling, then back at Jemma, and finally over at Leo. “I can go, if you need me to,” Leo said, not wanting to.
Fitz waved a hand. “No…don’t. You told me you never actually told Jemma what you said to her.”
“He refused,” Jemma said quietly. “Said it didn’t matter now.”
Leo nodded. He’d never been able to bring himself to repeat his carefully chosen words to her. Somehow, they hadn’t mattered, not when she’d already asked him and been so eager about it. Spur of the moment and all wild action, she’d been, and he’d been swept away. In the end, that it’d happened had been the only important thing.
Fitz wrinkled his nose. “Of course it matters. I’m sure Leo has some meandering thought process as to why he says it doesn’t.”
“But,” Fitz continued. “It was all I could think about as I got into in the cryopod. My last thoughts as I was frozen. And, bloody hell, not all of it will make sense anymore—”
“Just ruddy change it,” Leo grumbled.
“I’m going to,” Fitz said. He took Jemma’s shoulders and guided her to sit on the edge of the bed. The duffle he grabbed and tossed to the side. His expression one of fierce concentration, Fitz sank down to one knee in front of her.
Leo’s heart stuttered, and he couldn’t help taking a step forward to hover behind Fitz, though Leo’s attention was entirely on Jemma.
Fitz inhaled deeply. “Jemma,” he started, stopped to pick up her hand and swallow, then tried again. “Jemma, I realized something. The universe can’t stop us. Because we’ve crossed galaxies, we’ve seen the impossible. We’ve survived the bottom of the Atlantic just so we could be together. Now, a love like that, that’s stronger than any curse. And you and I—” Fitz glanced back at Leo “— we are unstoppable together. I don’t want to live anywhere but at your side. So, Jemma Simmons, will you marry me?”
Jemma was sitting completely still with tears running down her cheeks.
Tears blurred Leo’s eyes as well, and he had to wipe them away.
“Oh, Fitz,” Jemma said. She stood, and Fitz scrambled to his feet as well. His face was pale and solemn until she pulled him into a hug. “Yes, of course I’ll marry you.”
Fitz clasped her tightly as a smile split his face. Jemma’s cheeks were still wet, but she was grinning as well.
Leo felt the corner of his mouth tick up. That’d been nearly exactly what he’d imagined, Jemma being moved, then hurtling into his arms and agreeing they should never be apart again. It was alright that it was a little delayed and he was watching himself from the outside.
Fitz’s lips met Jemma’s, and she leaned against him as his hand flattened out on her back.
Leo had the distinct feeling he wasn’t needed, which was probably how Fitz had been feeling earlier. Turnabout was fair play, he supposed. Didn’t make it any easier.
Pushing off the doorframe, he leaned on his cane and started to turn, only to be stopped by a hand on his arm. Fitz had stepped out of his embrace with Jemma and grabbed him. The understanding in Fitz’s eyes was almost too much as he tugged Leo over to stand behind Jemma. She reached back and grabbed his arm and pulled it around her. Leaning back against Leo’s chest, she hugged Fitz again, who for a moment didn’t seem to know what to do with his arms, but then looked heavenward and wrapped one around Jemma and put his other hand on Leo’s shoulder.
“Thank you,” Fitz whispered, squeezing his hand.
Leo nodded. “It was just what I’d hoped for.”
Jemma wiggled slightly. “It was magnificent, but Leo, how was yours different?”
“You couldn’t hear me,” he muttered.
She elbowed him, but not very hard. “You know that’s not what I meant. I want to know. I should never have let you bottle your words up as it was, and both of you need to work on that. Despite what you two might think, I’m not a mind reader. I have never been, or we would have been together much earlier, I’m sure. Maybe even before we left the Academy.”
Leo caught Fitz’s eye and shared a moment of solidarity with his counterpart over being glad Jemma hadn’t been able to read his mind at sixteen.
“Leo,” she prompted.
He sighed and pressed his face into her hair. “I had a part about how we traveled through time, but it made sense to change it to something about the impossible.”
“We are in a rather unique situation,” Jemma said. “And as exciting as that is, I have to say we have all seen far too much. I think staying close to home and having a family shall be quite enough adventure from here on out.”
Leo pressed himself tighter against her. “You won’t get an argument from me.”
“Or me,” Fitz added.
Jemma was well aware that she was dreaming. She had that swimmy feeling that came along with being in a dream, accompanied by the fact she had no idea how she’d gotten from Scotland to…wherever this was.
Now if only she could convince the more primal side of her brain that what she was seeing wasn’t real.
It took Jemma a moment to recognize her location. She was in the lab her she and Fitz had shared at the Academy. What was she doing here? Was she behind on her homework? That never happened, though the clawing feeling in the pit of her stomach said otherwise.
She turned around, desperately trying to remember what assignment she’d forgotten. Leo and Fitz, both with wayward curls and smooth cheeks, were talking about something while they leaned against one of the workbenches. Fitz was dressed in a white t-shirt and Leo in a plaid button up. They turned their head as she ran to them.
“Are you alright?” Fitz asked as Leo frowned at her.
“I forgot I had…a…lab write-up due. I’m going to fail.” Jemma was completely panicked. She never missed turning something in. She wrung her fingers together, trying to remember what she’d missed so she could finish it.
Leo put his hands on her arms. “We’ll help you, Simmons,” he said, looking steadily into her eyes. She paused, getting lost in his gaze. Fitz put his hands on her waist and snuggled against her back.
Jemma was not entirely certain how this was supposed to help, but desire was flaring to life between her legs, and it was difficult to remember what was happening.
She put her hand on Leo’s face. “Okay,” she said. Hadn’t they been talking about getting together at the Academy? Leo kissed her and the lust she was feeling intensified. But she had homework, didn’t she?
The light changed as Jemma became aware that she’d been horribly mistaken. They weren’t in a lab. They were under the water. She was still in the bloody pod with the oxygen canister in her hand. Fitz and Leo were side-by-side in front of her, twin looks of anguish on their faces.
“No,” she said, panicking. Cold fear had replaced her desire. Hadn’t she figured this out before…but that had to have been wrong because here she was. “I can’t pull both of you out of here,” she said. They looked at each other.
“We know,” Leo said. “Don’t try.”
“You’re going to be fine.” Fitz attempted to smile, but it was pained. He backed away from her even as she reached for him. Jemma had to save them. From the corner of her eye, she saw Leo move, knew what he was doing, but both Leo and Fitz were too far away now. There wouldn’t be any light, and she’d lose them, and they’d never know how she felt—
There was a muffled thump and water rushed in. With her last breath, she screamed.
“Jemma!” she woke up flat on her back with both Leo and Fitz hovering over her. Her first thought was that she had somehow swum out with both of them in tow, but no…there’d just been the one at the time.
It’d only been recently that her heart had doubled.
She put an arm around their necks and pulled them down so they were squishing her, their heads against her breasts as she sobbed.
Fitz’s hand, or maybe it was Leo’s, rubbed her stomach.
“Nightmare?” one of them asked.
“It started out nice,” she hiccupped. “We were, I mean all three of us, were in the lab at the Academy, and I’d forgotten to finish a homework assignment.”
“That doesn’t sound much like you.” Another hand combed through her hair.
“No, but you two were distracting me with kisses.”
She had to pauses to get air into her lungs. “But then we were in the pod, and I couldn’t pull both of you up with me, so you were moving away so I couldn’t even try.” New tears washed down her cheeks. “My subconscious now seems to think there was two of you all along. Which will be interesting, once I stop crying.”
Her boys shifted, and there were lips on both her cheeks, kissing her tears away. Jemma closed her eyes and let out a soft sigh as she did her best to relax.
“We were all there,” one of her boys said. “We remember, but it’s over and done.”
“You saved us. No more nightmares,” added the other. “We won’t let there be.”
She was too exhausted to figure out who was who as they settled down on either side of her, each with an arm draped over her, anchoring her to reality.
“We’re all here together,” one said. “We made it, and in the end, that’s all that matters.”
Chapter 7: Family Ties
Jemma hadn’t meant to get up as early as she had, but she had a wedding to plan, and once her eyes had opened her mind had started making checklists and prioritizing things she needed to do.
Now, at six in the morning, she was on her third cup of tea and had four neat to-do lists beside her computer. She’d located a consignment shop in the nearest town that had several wedding dresses, and a jewelry store that was family owned and specialized in wedding rings. She’d emailed a local minister who sounded open minded about her odd request and was hoping he would be amenable.
It made her miss Coulson something fierce.
The next item on her list was labeled ‘suit’ with several question marks after it.
The bedroom door opened and Leo, cane in hand, shuffled out, yawning.
“Sit,” she said. “I’ll bring you a mug.”
He nodded and plunked down into an open chair. Jemma returned, overly sweetened tea in hand, to find him reading down her checklist.
Taking the mug from her, he blew on the top as she glanced at the bedroom door. “He’s still fast asleep,” Leo said in answer. “I’m glad you’re doing this.” He gestured at the papers and laptop.
“I’m happy to be doing…but are you okay with it?” she sat down and put a hand on his knee. “Really, Leo, tell me.”
His nose wrinkled up, and he sighed. “Jemma, he’s me. It’s blasted annoying, but I can’t imagine telling him to sod off, you’re mine. Because I know every thought and feeling he’s having. It’s somewhere way past empathy. It drives me barmy that we get hungry or sleepy at the same time.”
Jemma squeezed Leo’s knee. “Or horny.”
He looked heavenward. “That too.” He shifted to face her as he took another sip of his tea. “The truth is it doesn’t bother me, not in the way you’re thinking, that I’m jealous there’s another me for you to marry. I am jealous because I’d like to have it all to do over again, but this is close enough.”
“I love you, Leo,” she said, leaning forward to kiss him. He tasted of tea and sugar, two things she’d grown exceedingly partial to in the morning.
“I love you too, but stop being distracting. I have an entire new control board to solder today, and,” Leo reached out and tapped his finger over the item labeled ‘suit’ on her list, “I’ll get this taken care of.”
“You’re the best.”
The bedroom door opened again, and Fitz, his hair going twenty different directions, stumbled out. “I smelled tea.”
“Did you get attacked by a pack of rabid cows last night?” Leo asked.
“A what?” Fitz sleepily scratched his chest.
Jemma snickered. “You’ve got more than one cowlick.”
“Oh.” Fitz ineffectually patted at his hair.
“I’m afraid it’s a lost cause,” Jemma said. “Now let me make you a cuppa while you discuss getting a suit with Leo.”
Fitz’s eyes went wide. “A what?”
Fitz plucked at his suit jacket. He’d opted for grey, as black had seemed a spectacularly terrible idea. The outfit was a bit much, but Jemma had frowned, and Leo had rolled his eyes when Fitz had suggested maybe, since it was such a small ceremony, that he get married in something besides a suit.
He looked up at the room where Jemma was getting ready. She’d not let him see her dress, which was silly because, honestly, after everything, it couldn’t really be bad luck to see her in her dress. Leo had excused himself several minutes ago to walk out front for who knew what reason and mostly Fitz was nervous and worried. What if Jemma had changed her mind and run off? And it felt odd that their families weren’t here, not even their friends.
Feeling very lonely, he hunched forward and put his head in his hands. He was sitting on a hard bench in the entryway of a small public event center. It was all beige walls and scuffed linoleum floors.
“You okay, son?” a kindly voice asked, and Fitz looked up to see the lined face of the minister that had agreed to their less than conventional wedding.
Fitz swallowed. “Probably.”
“It’s normal to be nervous, tying the knot is a big deal.” The minister patted Fitz’s shoulder. “And I doubt anyone much understands the situation you three are in, though you’re not the first set of twins I’ve married to one other person.”
“We’re not?” Fitz asked. It’d seemed a better story to tell than trying to explain time loops.
“Not at all.” The minister sat beside him. “First was forty years ago, and I was much more shocked, but those sisters had done everything together, and the poor boy they were in love with was just being pulled along for the ride. Forces of nature, those girls were.”
“They had twelve children between them.” The minister smiled. “That poor fellow still looks like he has no idea what he’s doing.” Fitz snorted, and the minister patted his shoulder again. “It’s okay not to have all the answers, lad. None of us do. But if you love her, and your brother does too, and she loves you both…” he trailed off and shrugged.
“We’ve known her since we were all sixteen,” Fitz said quietly. “And I can’t imagine a life without her in it.”
“I think she’d say the same.” The minister made a pleased hum. “And she is lovely. I’ll just go and get things ready.”
Fitz stood as Jemma walked into the foyer, a shy smile on her face. The minister nodded at Jemma as he headed for the room the ceremony would take place.
Jemma looked radiant. She was in a white dress, much more modern looking than the one Fitz had seem in her closet, and she swirled around before taking his hand.
“You’re beautiful,” he mumbled around the lump in his throat.
“Thank you.” She glanced around. “Where’s Leo?”
“Right here,” Leo said from just inside the building’s front doors. There was a taller man beside him that Fitz didn’t recognize, but who was staring at Fitz with a shocked expression.
Jemma let go of his hand to rush the stranger. “Deke!” she exclaimed, plowing right into him and hugging him fiercely. He hugged her back, and Fitz frowned at the case of Zima in his hands. She didn’t let him go, and Fitz shifted his weight nervously. He was supposed to be marrying her, not watch her gush over some unknown arsehole with poor taste in drinks.
Leo looked smug.
“Who’s this?” Fitz asked, walking stiffly to Leo’s side.
“It’s Deke,” Leo said.
“What’s a Deke?”
Jemma finally pushed back from the loser, but only after kissing his cheek. Fitz wanted to punch the guy with the way Jemma was staring affectionately at him.
Deke put an arm around her and finally turned towards Leo and Fitz. His brow wrinkled. “This is way weirder in person than it sounded on the phone.” He glanced down at Jemma. “But congratulations, Nana. My mom would have been so weirded out.”
Jemma’s smile slipped for a second. Who was Deke’s mum? Why did even mentioning her make Jemma sad? But then Jemma was grinning again. “It’s so good to see you. Did Leo call?”
“Yeah, he explained a bunch, and it worked out I was able to slip away for a few days from London. Your mother and father send their regards and are hoping you’ll be able to tell them where you are soon.”
“Me too,” she said and hugged Deke again.
That was enough. When Jemma let the berk go, a berk who apparently knew her parents and called her Nana, Fitz reached out and tugged Jemma over beside him. “Who are you?” he asked, sounding more brassed off than he meant to.
Deke’s brows shot up. “You didn’t tell him?” he asked Leo.
Leo looked like the cat that ate the canary, and Jemma poked his ribs. “Fitz, this is Deke Shaw. He returned with us from the future…and he’s our grandson.”
The world spun around Fitz. “Excuse me?” he said weakly.
“Hey,” Deke grumbled. “It’s not like I’m quite settled with the idea of having two grandpas. Though on a weirdness scale…” He shrugged, and his eyes went to the floor. “I guess it’s not so bad. My mother always spoke very highly of her dad, and I was so young when…but you meant a lot to me too.”
Fitz thought he might cry. He wrapped a startled Deke in a bear hug. He got it now, Jemma’s sadness. Deke’s mum would be a daughter they never had now, not with the time loop broken. This guy was family.
After a moment, Deke hugged him back. When Fitz finally stepped back, Jemma wiped at her eyes, and Leo’s face was pained.
“I like him better than you,” Deke said to Leo, but the words were softened by a smile.
Leo put a hand on Deke’s shoulder. “I’m glad you’re here. Even if you brought that piss.”
Deke held up the Zima. “It’s tradition now.”
“You know Jemma’s parents?” Fitz asked as Deke set the drinks and his coat on the bench.
“Yeah, they helped me start my place, a corner pub sort of place. I still do some work for SHIELD, but I’m not an agent, and I needed something else.”
“I’m not sure they entirely understand, but yeah. Your mom too, I stopped on the way up and promised her pictures.”
“Wait, she knows there’s two—” he cut himself off, not sure how to end that sentence.
Deke shook his head. “Not that part. She, and Jemma’s parents, know there’s a lot of sensitive stuff you two have been involved in, and that Fitz…er, Leo, was hurt. Mack still thinks it’s too much risk if they know much, including where you two are, but I told them you’re getting married and mostly I got a lot of “It’s about time’s”.
Leo put an arm around Fitz and took Jemma’s hand. “It can’t be much longer,” he said. “Soon, we’ll see them soon.”
Jemma bowed her head. Fitz didn’t even know what to think.
“Oh, and I got a message from Mack. He’s worried about communications being monitored, so Daisy did something crazy to get this to my cell phone. It starts off serious, but then everyone gets excited.”
He handed his mobile to Leo, and Fitz looked at the screen while Jemma peered around Leo’s shoulder.
“Congrats, you two,” Mack said, then frowned. “You three. I wanted to warn you that we’re seeing a big upswell in activity from a movement that looks like a new version of the Watchdogs. We think they’ve tapped communications somehow, Daisy’s working on that, and are otherwise attempting to monitor us and rally public support against inhumans and SHIELD. We don’t think your location is compromised, and that you’re safe, but watch out for anything suspicious.” He broke into a wide smile. “And enjoy your wedding!”
The phone was grabbed from Mack by Elena. “¡Felicidades! I am so happy for all of you!” She gave them a thumbs up, and Daisy and Piper took the camera.
“We wish you all the best!” Daisy said. “By the way, I legally separated you two Fitzs. So there’s Leopold Fitz—that’s you, Leo—and James Fitz now, and that way you’re both getting paid.” She put an arm around Piper. Fitz wasn’t that upset about becoming officially James, even if he was never going to remember it.
“We hope you’re having a good time and are happy being in love!” Piper said as Daisy kissed her cheek.
Davis took the phone. “Wish you…three joy! I can’t believe I lived to see this!”
Mack grabbed the phone back. “You’ve got 48 hours before I want a status update on the gravity gun.”
The scene changed to Jemma’s parents. “Hello Jemma, we miss you,” her mum said. Jemma sucked in a breath.
“Miss you too,” Jemma murmured.
They offered congratulations and well wishes, and then it switched again, to Fitz’s mum standing in her garden beside her prized rose bush.
She shook a finger at the camera. “Leopold James Fitz, I always knew you’d marry that girl. She was all you could talk about since the first time you called me from the Academy.” Fitz’s cheeks warmed, and Leo’s face was red too. Jemma laughed. “I wish you both the best, and as soon as possible, come for a visit. It’s not fair you have a grandchild before I do. I love you all.”
The video stopped, and Deke put the phone in his pocket, looking a little sheepish.
“Soon?” Fitz asked, glancing at Leo.
He nodded. “Soon.”
There were so many people to miss, but at least there was one who was right here. He put a hand on Jemma’s wrist and pulled her in between him and Leo as they both hugged her.
“Do I get to be best man?” Deke asked.
Leo looked up. “Actually, sure.” He fished the rings out of his pocket and handed them to Deke. “I’ll video it, and you can show everyone.”
“Cool!” Deke looked delighted.
The minister opened the door to the room. “Everyone ready?”
“Yes,” Jemma said. “We had family show up. It’s perfect.”
The minister smiled and ushered them into the small room. Fitz frowned at the frayed blue carpet, lines of empty chairs, and the faded picture of the queen on the wall. Not exactly glamorous. Jemma deserved—
“Stop,” Leo said in his ear. “It’s what’s happening, not where.”
Fitz’s shoulders slumped. “Do you have to be the bloody voice of reason?”
Leo pushed him towards the front of the room where Jemma was already standing. Deke stood slightly to his side.
Fitz took Jemma’s fingers, his left hand trembling more than he wished it would, but when he looked up into her warm brown eyes, full of more love than should be possible, his fears and doubts melted like snow under a July sun.
He was exactly where he was meant to be.
The minister’s words were a blur, and he didn’t really pay attention, too lost in the sense of coming home that getting married to the woman of his dreams was giving him.
When Jemma started speaking, though, every word went straight to his heart. “I didn’t have to write anything down this time,” she said, “because I’m going to make you the same vow.” She paused and took a deep breath. “Fitz, from the first moment I saw you, from our first conversation about dielectric polarization, I knew that you’d be in my life for a long time. But I didn’t know you’d be my life, my heart, my home. We joined the team for adventures, and got more than we had hoped.” Her hands squeezed his, and he knew without a doubt that while she may have meant something sadder the first time, that now she meant him. It was a heady rush, being someone’s adventure. “I can’t wait for our next adventure: building a family together. My love for you grows deeper and always will. No matter where the universe takes us next.”
Fitz was floored. He almost forgot to speak until Deke cleared his throat.
“Oh, um…I had a lot of coaching last night. Mostly on what not to say.” Jemma smiled, and they both glanced at Leo, who was still filming, but who looked close to tears. “Jemma…I know things aren’t what we expected, but I am incredibly grateful to be standing here today, and I vow that I will always love and support you. You shine brighter than any star, and with you, I know peace. Whatever the future holds, whatever other surprises we face, I know we will face them together, and that makes all the difference, on any world.”
There were some more words, and Deke handed him the rings, which he slipped on Jemma’s finger to rest beside the one already there, and she placed the other on his finger, from where he hoped it’d never be removed.
Then it was over, and the minister shook his hand, Deke and Leo hugged him again, and somehow he ended up back out in the foyer with an open Zima in his hand.
And a wife. He couldn’t take her eyes off Jemma. She was beautiful as she tilted her head back and swallowed most of her Zima before making a face, but even her scrunched up face was the cutest thing he’d ever seen.
“We’ll get her home fast,” Leo said, elbowing him. “Though I shudder to think how often I look quite that dopey.”
Fitz glanced away from Jemma to frown at Leo. “I don’t look dopey.” His eyes returned to his wife.
“You really do. And don’t worry, tonight I’ll stay out of the way.”
A night, alone with Jemma. His wedding night. It sounded like heaven. “Thank you,” he said.
“Don’t mention it. And come say good-bye to Deke, he’s about to drive back. Though who thought it’d be a good idea to let him behind the wheel, I have no idea.”
“I like him,” Fitz grumbled. Even if he brought Zima to a wedding.
Leo paused. “He’s okay.”
“When we can, I want to get to know him better.” He was family, blood, and a connection to an unknown child.
Leo’s expression became shrewd. “It won’t bring his mother back.” His voice was rough.
“I know.” Fitz glanced at where Jemma was making Deke promise to call more often. “But it doesn’t mean we have to pretend she didn’t exist and that he’s not a part of her.”
“Jemma’s not on birth control,” Leo blurted.
Fitz was briefly startled, but honestly, he should have figured that out.
Leo crossed his arms. “We can’t replace his mum, either, this girl we’ll never meet.”
“I know that too.” Damn the time loop that’d stolen her. “But giving her son a better world to grow up in? And a family? Aunts and uncles…” he trailed off. Why did doing the right thing have to hurt so often and so much?
“You better get busy making that family,” Leo said with a grin.
Fitz turned towards him, but any retort died at the sad expression on Leo’s face. “Hey, we are a family. And I’ll have you know I’m more than just my good looks.”
Leo gave a short bark of laughter. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Me too.” Joy spread from Fitz’s head to his toes as he looked back at his wife.
Jemma kissed her new husband’s mouth, her lips gliding against his as she lay on her back in the bed. She was in her knickers and bra, and he had his shirt off, allowing her to run her hands down the smooth planes of his back. Fitz was half on top of her, a leg between hers and his erection digging into her hip.
The world felt a little more right, with a ring on his finger and a second one on hers, but there was something missing, even as he moaned and palmed her breast. Breaking the kiss, he dropped his mouth to her chest, yanking down a cup of her bra and sucking on her nipple.
They were squished close to the edge of the king-sized bed, leaving the rest of the mattress untouched. Jemma put a hand out to the side, almost surprised to find nothing but empty space.
Fitz lifted his head to look at her. “It’s not right, is it?” he rasped.
“Everything’s good,” she said, trying to smile. “This is our night, for us to celebrate.”
Fitz groaned and dropped his head, resting his ear on her sternum. “I know, and I thought I wanted it, and now I’m thinking about how I’d feel if it was the other way around…I’m going to get him.”
Fitz sat up and rubbed a hand over his face. Jemma thought about protesting, but he was bloody right. She sighed and slumped back.
“Sorry,” Fitz said.
“Oh, don’t be. It felt off to me too but after the other day…I wanted you to feel special.” Jemma held out her hand, and he clasped it in his warm one.
“I do feel special. I married the woman I love today.” He grinned and kissed her knuckles. “That we’re in a different situation than I dreamed of a decade ago—” he shrugged “—that doesn’t seem to matter, not now. I want us all here, cementing the relationship that we’re going to have going forward.”
Jemma clutched his fingers just a little tighter. “I love you.”
“I figured that out when you wanted two of me around.” His voice was teasing, and she laughed. “I’ll be right back, Leo in tow.” He stood, adjusted the front of his pants, and walked out to the living room. Jemma hesitated only a moment before going to hover in the doorway.
Leo was sitting on the couch, his feet on the coffee table and a shot glass of something dark in his hand. He was looking up at Fitz in surprise.
“C’mon,” Fitz said, nodding towards the bedroom. “You shouldn’t be out here.”
Leo grimaced and stared at the liquor he was holding. “Not my wedding night.”
Fitz put his hands on his hips. “How many drinks have you had? And no, but close enough. Jemma keeps reaching for you.”
Leo looked up at Fitz. “This is supposed to be my gift to you. A night alone.”
“Bollocks, we’re returning it.”
Her boys were eyeing each other.
“How many?” Fitz asked again.
Leo set his feet on the floor and plunked the glass down on the table. “Not even one.”
Leo snorted and grabbed his cane before pushing himself upright. “Thank you,” he said softly as he walked past Fitz.
Glad it hadn’t been more of a trial, Jemma fisted the front of Leo’s shirt as he made it to the bedroom and pulled him towards the bed. Leo laughed and cupped her cheek, kissing her before he let her push him onto the mattress. He ended up on his back and Jemma eagerly straddled his hips. Her fingers undid the buttons on his shirt and pushed it open.
The bed dipped as Fitz climbed onto it behind her.
She bent over to kiss Leo, her tongue dipping into his mouth as his hands traced down her sides. A happy sigh escaped her as a second set of hands trailed down her back, then found the clasp to her bra and undid it. Jemma sat back, and Fitz pulled the straps down her arms while Leo pushed the cups off her breasts and cupped them, rubbing his thumbs over her nipples.
Fitz kissed the side of her neck and plucked at the top of her knickers. “I think these need to come off.”
“It would make this much easier without them,” she agreed, moving to the side so she could sit and slip them down and off her legs. Fitz had stood beside the bed and was pushing off his trousers and pants, and Leo was working on his fly with a look of fierce concentration.
Jemma’s head spun. This was her life now. And she supposed that maybe she was supposed to be intimidated, or worried, but instead, she was simply gleeful. A girl in a candy shop.
She repositioned herself with a knee on either side of Leo’s hips, delighted at the way his cock lay proud and ready for her. Fitz returned to kneeling behind her and wrapped an arm around her middle.
“My wife’s all smiles,” he said as he kissed her neck and shoulder.
“I’ve spent far too much time crying,” she said. “Now I want to be happy, and I don’t think that’s too much to ask of the universe.”
Leo’s hands paused on her breasts, and Fitz’s lips stilled on her neck.
“It’s not,” Leo said after a moment. “And you deserve all the joy in the world.”
“I have it.”
Fitz pressed his cock against her rear and moaned softly.
“Is she—” Leo said, and one of Fitz’s hands slid down to press between her folds.
Jemma rocked against his fingers and whined when they disappeared, but Leo let go of her breasts and grabbed her hip with one hand and urged her up so he could position the head of his cock at her entrance.
With a soft sigh of delight, she dropped down on him.
Fitz’s hands look over the job of playing with her breasts as she rocked her hips and Leo urged her on, his fingers on her thighs as his hips lifted off the bed to collide with hers.
Her eyes drifted closed as she got lost in the slide of Leo’s cock inside her and Fitz’s hands on her breasts. He was mouthing her shoulder and grinding his prick against her ass.
It was all a tad overwhelming, but it seemed like barely any time before she was hovering on the brink of a climax.
Leo said something she didn’t catch, but Fitz must have because his fingers went back between her legs to circle her clit. With a ragged cry, she came, riding Leo roughly as her bliss exploded through her. She didn’t stop moving, and a second orgasm followed quickly on the heels of the first. She was left panting, held upright only by Fitz’s arms around her middle.
Leo was groaning and thrusting erratically, his fingers digging into her. Jemma managed to roll her pelvis, though she felt rather boneless, trying to keep up. His brows were drawn together, and his mouth was set in a firm line. Fitz’s hands caught her hips and moved her in firmly in short, rapid undulations.
Leo grunted and arched off the bed as he emptied himself deep inside her. Fitz released her, and she collapsed forward onto Leo’s chest. He nuzzled her, and his lips found hers, kissing her softly.
“Not done,” he said, brushing her hair behind her ear.
Jemma moaned as Fitz pulled her hips up. Leo’s cock slid from her, only to be replaced a moment later as Fitz thrust hard inside her. She gasped against Leo’s lips, and he deepened the kiss, his tongue stroking hers.
Fitz’s rhythm was wild as he pistoned into her, and Jemma was almost surprised as another orgasm curled in her belly. She whimpered, and Leo must have understood because he worked a hand between her bodies to rub at her clit.
Jemma arched her back and rocked into Fitz’s thrusts, hovering on the edge.
“Come for me, wife,” Leo whispered, pressing more firmly against her clit. She whimpered, but then the pleasure crashed into her. Leo kissed her frantically, nipping at her bottom lip as the pulses of bliss left her breathless.
“I’m spoiled,” she gasped as she dropped heavily onto Leo’s chest and his arms wrapped around her. Behind her, Fitz lost his rhythm. His hips churned a few more times, and he grunted loudly as he came.
He pulled out and crashed to his side beside her and Leo, and she found herself rolled to the side and ensconced between two solid and warm bodies.
Jemma felt like she was floating on some other plane of existence, one of contentment and joy where Fitz, both of him, never had to leave her side. Or sides. She giggled.
“Everything alright?” Leo asked.
“It’s a good thing I have two sides because I can keep one of you on each of them.” It made perfect sense in her head, and he always understood her anyway, even if she was a bit nutty.
Leo snorted. “I think we broke her.”
“Mmm, no, I’m just fine.” She pushed at Fitz’s chest. “So very, very fine.” Jemma tilted her head and kissed Fitz’s lips. “Husband.” She twisted so she could do the same to Leo. “And husband.”
She lay back down, her cheeks starting to ache from how wide her smile was.
“It was a good day,” Leo said.
Fitz slid his hand down her arm and then patted Leo’s shoulder. “The best.”
Chapter 8: Double Trouble
A Week After the Wedding
Leo squinted through the magnifying glass at the circuit board he was fussing with. Fitz was working on reassembling the gravity gun’s muzzle. It was hard not to go and look over Fitz’s shoulder to make sure he was doing it right, but the irritating thing about having Fitz doing half the work was that it was done exactly how Leo would do it. There was nothing to ever complain about, although he still double-checked everything.
And Fitz annoyingly double-checked all his work.
Which was fair, Leo supposed.
He looked at his counterpart again and glanced at the door to the lab. Jemma had some test running, assessing seals on a part of the gun’s housing, but the test was mostly automated, and she’d gone to take a shower.
Leo had been wanting to discuss something with Fitz, about Jemma, since a few days after the wedding, but hadn’t found the courage to do so. Now seemed like the perfect opportunity. He stood and limped to the door, shutting it.
Fitz looked up as Leo returned to his seat. “Something up?” Fitz asked.
Leo set his palms flat on his workbench. “Not exactly.”
Fitz abandoned his work to come and lean against the bench beside Leo. “You going to tell me?”
Leo rubbed at the back of his neck. “How’s married life treating you?”
“What?” Fitz frowned. “Nice try. For the record, it’s lovely, and I wake up every morning happier than the last, but I know you didn’t close the door to ask me my view on being married to Jemma since that’s a question you already know the answer to.”
Leo sighed and hunched forward.
“Just tell me.” Fitz put his hands on his hips. “Am I doing something wrong?”
“No, that’s not it at all. I’m just having trouble thinking of how to approach this.”
“You’re talking to yourself.”
“Don’t remind me.” Leo closed his eyes briefly as he drummed up a little courage. “See, I’ve been thinking.” Fitz raised an eyebrow. “About Jemma, and you, and me…and what we do in bed.”
Fitz nodded. “You shouldn’t feel you need to be reluctant to say anything. If anyone understands, it’d be me, and since I knew every secret of yours, including that you stole her pink knickers to wank with at the Academy, you might as well just spit it out.”
“Don’t tell her that,” Leo hissed, his heart thudding. That was a deep dark secret. Jemma never needed to know just how—
“Like I’d update our wife on how much of a prevent teenager us was.”
Leo’s shoulders slumped. Of course, he shouldn’t have worried, it implicated Fitz as much as him. “They were silky,” Leo said, in fond remembrance. Fitz looked slightly dreamy-eyed as well. It wasn’t something to be proud of, but those knickers had really been able to set him off at the time, having been so close to Jemma’s girl parts. Though seventeen-year-old him probably couldn’t have articulated that.
“Are you going to tell me what you were thinking, or should we reminisce more about how terrible we were?” Fitz asked.
“Oh, right. See…I was thinking Jemma…well, she might like…both of us, at the same time.” Leo studied Fitz’s face, but from the way his brows drew together, it was clear he wasn’t getting it.
Leo waved a hand. “Not her mouth and…pussy, though I’m certain she likes that, but, well, she talks about how much she likes being full of us and I was thinking…” Damn, why was this so hard to put into words?
“Are you talking dual penetration? Pussy and…the other one?” Fitz blushed and turned so he wasn’t looking at Leo.
“Yeah, that.” Leo drummed his fingers on the workbench.
Fitz took a minute to respond. “I think that’s something you have to work up to slowly, and unless things have changed drastically in your head, I know that kind of sex isn’t much of a fantasy of ours.”
“No, nothing has changed, not until very recently.” Leo poked at the corner of the circuit board. “I think…it could be nice. And Jemma likes exploring new things.”
Fitz nodded slowly.
“I’ll do the research and be the one to, ah, you know.” Leo’s cheeks burned.
“Since I’m the one not firing blanks?”
“Well.” Fitz dragged a hand over his face as he considered. “I’ll help out too because you’re right, I can see us…” he took a shuddering breath.
“Yeah, I can see us too.”
Fitz made a face. “Talking about this makes me want to go find her right now.”
“Yeah,” Leo said. “No reason we can’t. Maybe we can have our little competition? See who can get her off with their mouth the most in fifteen minutes? Then when she’s all half comatose from orgasming repeatedly, we ask.”
Leo grabbed his cane and stood. “This is going to be fun.”
They found Jemma in the kitchen, her hair still slightly damp from washing. They flanked her and Jemma crossed her arms.
“Yes?” she said, probably trying to sound stern, but it came out too breathy for that.
Leo put a hand on her lower back. “We thought now might be an excellent time for that competition I’m going to win.”
“I see.” Jemma glanced between their faces and smiled indulgently. “If I remember right I’m going to have to start by stimulating myself to orgasm, correct?”
Leo stifled a groan as his cock twitched. “Yes.”
“Well, let's get started then, shall we?” She flounced towards the bedroom, pulling her shirt off as she went.
Leo shared a look with Fitz as they trailed after her.
Jemma took off the rest of her clothes in record time. She crawled onto the bed, giving Leo and Fitz an excellent view of her behind and pussy. Leo didn’t muffle his groan this time, and Fitz echoed it.
“She shaved again,” Fitz whispered. Leo nodded and patted Fitz’s shoulder.
“Strip down to your pants, please,” she said, sticking her fingers in her mouth as she lay on her back. Her other hand supported her head as she dragged her pinky down her chest and belly. She spread her legs and Leo forgot what he was doing for a moment as he stared at Jemma and how completely unashamed she was as she circled her fingers around her clit.
Fitz seemed just as dumbstruck, and Jemma gazed at them in amusement. “Are you two going to finish?” she asked.
Leo somehow got his kit off, as did Fitz, and the bed dipped and swayed as they sat down on opposite sides of Jemma and scooted over to lie next to her.
Jemma turned her head to look at each of them, then sighed as her fingers picked up speed.
“You look amazing,” Fitz murmured, and Leo mentally kicked himself for not saying something first.
“Gorgeous,” he added, and entertained himself for a split-second with the idea of shoving Fitz off the bed, rolling on top of Jemma, and stuffing his cock in her.
“Mmm,” she said, moaning softly. Twisting her head to the side, she kissed Fitz’s shoulder.
She continued to touch herself, the sound gradually growing wetter as she became more aroused. Which made Leo’s blood run hotter. He’d imagined her doing this plenty of times, including when he was wanking, but the sight and sound, accompanied by the scent of her skin, was so much more intoxicating than he could have imagined.
Jemma whimpered, and her hips lifted off the bed, humping the air, only to drop back down as she made an exasperated sound.
“Everything okay?” Fitz asked.
Jemma sighed. “I’m sure I can come like this, but my mind seems a little wonky. I think I need penetration.” Leo frowned at Fitz.
“What did you have in mind?” Fitz asked cautiously.
“Oh, a finger from each of you should do quite nicely.”
She circled her clit again and spread her legs even further apart. Leo trailed a hand over the soft skin of her inner thigh while Fitz did the same from the other side.
Right, they could do this. They both hesitated, but then Fitz huffed and shoved his index finger deep inside her. Jemma bucked and moaned. Leo grunted. He’d be damned before he let Fitz have all the fun. Fitz slid his finger in and out a few times, but then positioned it along the back wall of her vagina.
Leo nodded at his counterpart and pushed his own index finger into Jemma’s wet heat.
She moaned as he twisted his hand and pressed the pad of his finger against the front wall of her pussy. It only took a few strokes before they were easily fucking her in tandem, and Jemma arched her back off the bed as her fingers furiously circled over her clit.
“Bloody hell,” she moaned, then cried out, loud enough to make Leo wince as her pussy strangled his and Leo’s fingers and then fluttered. Leo couldn’t help but grin and share a proud look with Fitz, who appeared just as chuffed. But then Fitz’s eyes narrowed, and Leo knew the game was starting.
Jemma didn’t know if she should laugh, or moan, or just close her eyes and pretend to be asleep, but the way her boys were eyeing each other over top of her, each with a finger still buried in her pussy, was delightful.
They must have come to a mutual disarmament agreement, because they pulled their hands back simultaneously, both immediately sticking their fingers in their mouths, then glared at the other again. Jemma couldn’t quite contain her snort of laughter.
Fitz picked up his phone and hit the button to start a timer. “Five minutes,” he said. “And we flipped a coin ages ago. I go first.”
Jemma straightened her legs and squeezed her knees together. “Five minutes?” She wiggled. “That sounds like forever.” She wanted now.
Leo shrugged. “We agreed on it to make things fair.”
“Well, not sure I care about fair, at the moment.”
Fitz frowned as he rolled on his back and pushed his boxers down. “Where’s scientist Jemma? You don’t want to skew the results of the experiment, do you?”
She pouted, deliberately exaggerating it. “I’m sure it won’t be biased in any way even if we start now.”
Leo chuckled. He scooted close beside her and cupped her breast, toying with the nipple. She shuddered and moaned. Fitz, now completely naked, cuddled against her on her other side. Jemma dropped her head back on the pillow and shut her eyes, basking in the feeling of being surrounded by love.
She squeaked as Fitz’s mouth closed around her nipple, then groaned, only to squeak again when Leo did the same. This was too good to pass up looking at. Opening her eyes, she lifted her head to watch both of them mouthing her breasts. Fitz was pressing his erection against her thigh, hard and hot, and moaning slightly. The vibrations on her nipple felt exquisite.
Leo still had his pants on, but his hardon was clearly visible, and there was a wet stain near the tip that let Jemma know just how turned on he was. The timer on Fitz’s mobile caught her eye. The competition had sounded like a good idea, just a bit of fun, a friendly rivalry. She’d be the winner no matter what, but as she watched the numbers tick down on the timer, she found herself reluctant.
They’d been tested all their lives, made to perform over and over again to show how smart they were or to prove they were an asset, or worthy of being noticed.
Sometimes just surviving had been a test.
She grabbed the phone and turned the timer off, both Fitz and Leo were too busy to notice. Her arm on Leo’s side was squished between them, so it was easy to worm her hand down the front of his pants to grab his cock. She had to work a little harder to get her fingers wrapped around his stiff prick, but their combined noises of pleasure were worth it.
Leo nipped at her breast before letting it go. “Jems, we’re supposed to be making you feel good.”
“I know, but it feels too much like an exam. You have to perform, I do, and so does Fitz. Haven’t we been tested enough? Can’t we just enjoy ourselves with no competition?”
Fitz moved his mouth from her breast to her shoulder. “It was just for a laugh.” He was thrusting against the palm she had wrapped around his cock.
“I know, and I thought I was into it, but I…I rather we didn’t. Sorry.”
Leo locked eyes with Fitz over top of her again, then they both nodded. “Don’t be sorry,” Leo said. “We’re in this together. We have to be able to be able to communicate, to say when we’re uncomfortable or something isn’t working. So what do you want to do?”
“Anything is good,” Fitz added. Both he and Leo were breathing hard as she continued to stroke their cocks. She really was lucky. And she wanted them both, somehow.
Letting them go, she sat up. “I might have a few ideas.” She bit her lip as Leo wiggled out of his pants before lying down on his side again. He was fisting his cock, and her eyes slid over to where Fitz was doing the same. It was threatening to make her go up in flames. She looked back at Leo, and he raised an eyebrow.
Jemma stuck her tongue out at him.
He laughed. “Don’t be showing me that if you don’t plan to use it.”
“Well, I wouldn’t want to be a tease.” She pulled her legs under her and crawled down the bed until her head was level with his hips. Lying on her side, she pushed his hand away from his cock and replaced it with her own before sucking the head between her lips.
Leo moaned, and his hips jerked at the same time he put a hand on her thigh and pushed her legs apart, pushing himself up slightly and eagerly licking her pussy.
She gasped and wiggled, then yipped as Fitz snuggled up behind her. His cock ended up in the crack of her ass, and he ground against her. His fingers trailed over her cheek as she bobbed her head and sucked on Leo’s cock, then moved down to cup her breast.
Jemma moaned. It was a lot of stimulation, and she was enjoying every bit of it. Grasping Leo’s hip, she slid her hand around until she was cupping his bum, kneading it and making him grunt. His mouth left her pussy, and she glanced down to see him poking Fitz’s side, but her eyes slid closed again when he returned to flicking her clit with his tongue.
Fitz moved slightly, and then his cock was nudging her entrance. “Oh,” she gasped, as he slid inside to fill her, while Leo continued to lave her clit. She held herself still and drew back from Leo’s cock. “Leo, are you sure that’s alright for you?” Leo’s hand grabbed her hair and tugged her back towards his prick.
“I’m watching you get fucked by my cock while you’re sucking me. It’s fine.”
Jemma couldn’t argue with that, not that she wanted to. She undulated her body as Fitz rocked into her and kissed the back of her neck.
With the stretch of Fitz’s cock inside her and Leo’s tongue on her clit, she headed towards a climax at lightspeed. She dug her fingertips into Leo’s ass and sucked fiercely on his cock as she came, the bliss like rolling thunder. Its peals had barely subsided when she was catapulted into another, and then another.
Fitz was bucking wildly, his hand mauling her breast. “Fuck, Jemma, fuck, fuck, fuckfuckfuck—”
He came with a groan, his cock pulsing strongly as he spent himself. She was heading back up herself, chasing one last orgasm, but Fitz pulled out of her and Leo’s mouth was more just there as his belly tightened.
“God, Jemma,” he whispered as she stroked her tongue over his shaft as she sucked. He came, moaning as she drank down his release. Leo sagged against the bed as she let go of his prick, and Fitz cuddled her. She squirmed, the urge to come still there.
“We got you,” Fitz whispered in her ear. He nodded at Leo, who returned to gently licking her clit. Fitz’s hand stroked her face. “Open up.” She parted her lips, and he slipped a finger into her mouth. “Now suck.” She did as she was told, and Fitz’s breathing hitched as she spiraled her tongue around his knuckles.
Leo moved his tongue faster and harder, then paused to suck on her. Her belly tightened, and she drew harder at Fitz’s finger, but he only pulled it from her mouth.
“Can you trust us, Jemma?” Fitz asked.
“We’ve been thinking, and want to try something, but if it’s a hard no, say something.”
She nodded, not sure what was happening. Fitz shifted, pulling his hips away from hers, and then his wet finger gently nudged at her anus. She stiffened, and Leo made soothing sounds as he mouthed her clit and pet her thigh.
Fitz pushed slightly at her anus again. It was something they’d never discussed, and something she’d frankly thought Fitz would never bring up and she’d have to ask for. But with two of him…
A series of images of the three of them intertwined flooded her mind. Oh, what a lovely idea. She felt rather proud of Fitz and Leo coming up with it all on their own.
Jemma relaxed. Fitz slid his finger into her rear, not very far, but enough so she certainly knew it was there. Her body seemed not to care that it was a new feeling as she raced towards orgasm, spurred on by Leo’s tongue.
She couldn’t help how her hips jerked, or the wail that she made as she came. The pulses of pleasure were magnified by the finger in her ass, and dear god, if that was just…what would…
Jemma groaned as she sagged against the mattress. Fitz kissed her shoulder and stood, going to the WC. Leo somehow managed to turn himself around and laid his head beside hers on the pillow.
Fitz returned and snuggled up behind her again. He held his palm out to Leo, who high fived him.
“Mission success?” she asked.
“You’re the best, Jemma,” Fitz said.
“I have to be to put up with you two.”
“Aw,” Leo smiled. “You love us.”
She kissed his nose. “You know it.”
A Few Days Later
The reassembled gravity gun was safe. Jemma was ninety-nine percent sure of that. She couldn’t be a hundred percent, because nothing was ever a hundred percent, but her test had confirmed that everything was properly shielded and extremely durable, even under harsh conditions.
They’d walked not far from the cottage to test it, Fitz and Leo being much more sure nothing disastrous would happen, and it was a lovely day. The sun was playing hide and seek with a few high clouds, and the air was fresh and sweet-scented from the plants their feet had disturbed.
Leo was leaning on his cane and having a last-minute discussion with Fitz while Jemma set up the metal bucket—luckily there’d been a large supply in the garage—for the test. She walked back to them, and Fitz gleefully settled the gun’s strap over his shoulder and pointed the muzzle at the bucket.
Leo came up behind her and put his arms around her waist. He rested his chin on her shoulder as she leaned back against him.
“Here goes,” Fitz called. There was a muted whine as the gravity gun powered up, which became higher pitched as he pressed the button to generate the stream. It raced out from the tip and engulphed the bucket, which lifted up as expected. Fitz directed it in a series of figure eights, then grinned. “Watch this.” He sent the bucket high up in the air, switched the polarity so the bucket started to be pushed away, then switched back and caught it, setting it back down where it’d started from.
He cut the power and turned towards Jemma and Leo, sketching a little bow.
Jemma clapped. “Wonderful! I think it’s ready.”
“I suppose we should tell Mack,” Fitz said
Leo’s arm hugged her. “Maybe in a week?”
Fitz laughed, but it became a yell as a bullet plowed into the ground at his feet. He scrambled backward, heading for Leo and Jemma.
Jemma could hardly breathe as a dozen men, all armed, started appearing seemingly out of nowhere. They’d been cloaked, the tech beyond anything SHIELD had. She glanced behind her. The way back to the cottage was clear. Their unknown assailants hadn’t cut them off yet. She took a step back, forcing Leo to do the same, and grabbed Fitz’s sleeve, tugging him along as well.
“Who are you?” she yelled. The men were wrapped head to toe in pale bodysuits, their faces obscured by helmets.
The closest man pulled the helmet off, revealing a craggy, scared face. He was expressionless. “We are the New Watchdogs.” His voice was midwestern flat. “SHIELD and their blasphemous disregard of humanity and alliance with aliens and inhumans must be stopped.”
Fitz held up his hands. “Listen, you guys are seriously misinformed.”
The man leveled his pistol at Fitz and Jemma pulled on his sleeve again.
“You three have been identified as using this SHIELD safehouse for experimentation with non-human technology. It will be destroyed, and you will be eliminated so that it cannot be replicated.”
Leo sputtered, and Fitz’s mouth fell open.
“It’s not alien,” Jemma snapped, pulling Fitz behind her. “It’s created with very human ingenuity. Just because you and the rest of the New Watchdogs are too ignorant to fathom—” She was cut off as Leo yanked her aside and the gravity gun powered up. The stream caught the group’s leader and Fitz sent him spinning into the others. Leo, Fitz, and Jemma turned and ran for the cottage. A few shots hit the stones as the three of them burst through the door and slammed it shut.
Fitz engaged the cottage’s advanced security as Leo collapsed on the couch, panting hard. He was holding his side and grimacing in pain. Jemma pulled her mobile out and hit the emergency code. Her phone rang a second later.
“What’s going on?” Daisy asked.
“Our New Watchdog friends showed up. We’re compromised.” Jemma headed to the bedroom and dragged out a duffle bag as she talked. “They said they were going to execute us for dealing with non-human tech.”
“Well, shit.” Daisy sighed. “I’m sorry, Jemma, I thought that you guys wouldn’t be on their radar at all.”
“The cottage’s security is holding for now,” Jemma said, tossing clothes into the duffle. “But we need an extraction.”
“I’m already on it. We have a jet returning from another mission over France, it’s been diverted and is maybe twenty minutes out.”
“I’m sorry,” Daisy said again. “We’ll make it up to you, alright?”
“What? This isn’t your fault.” Jemma retrieved her wedding dress from the closet and winced as she wadded it up and shoved it in the bag.
“We all wanted you guys to get away for a while and have a good time. Kind of a real honeymoon.”
Jemma paused. “We’ve been working on the gravity gun.”
“Are you going to tell me that’s not your guy’s idea of a good time?”
The cottage shuddered as something explosive tested the strength of its shielding.
“Jemma?” one of her boys called.
“We’ll see you soon,” Jemma said to Daisy and hit the off button. “I’m fine. Jet’s on the way.”
She filled a second duffle as another explosion went off and the power flickered. Returning to the living room, she found Fitz with a bag in hand, and the gravity gun slung over his shoulder. Leo was still on the couch, hunched up. She sat beside him and carefully put her arms around his shoulders.
“I’m fine,” he said.
“Save it.” She kissed his cheek.
Fitz was pulling up security camera feeds and checking the security program’s options on a laptop.
“Anything offensive?” Leo asked.
“Not a bloody thing, but this place is a lot tougher than it looks. Which is good. Because they have an RPG.”
“Terrific,” Jemma grumbled. There was nothing to do but hunker down as they waited for the jet. The cottage withstood several more grenades and RPGs, and they could see the New Watchdogs hotly arguing something when, as a group, they turned to look at the sky.
Machine gun fire sent them scattering, and they must have been out of RPG rounds because it was cast aside as they all ran for cover.
The QuinJet made a low pass, then swung around in an impressive maneuver. It looked like Davis had been learning a few new things. The jet settled down with its hatch towards the front door. Fitz helped Leo up and supported him, and Jemma clutched the few things they were salvaging in her arms. They paused at the door as Fitz disabled the security.
“Let’s go,” he said, and they opened the door to the roaring of the jet’s engines. Somehow, they made it across the open space unscathed and into the jet, which lifted off the second the hatch clanged shut. Jemma dumped the duffels on the floor, and Fitz dropped the gravity gun on top. Leo was pale and had his hands wrapped tightly around the head of his cane as he used it to support most of his weight.
Jemma touched his arm. “I’m going to get the medical kit.” He nodded, and Fitz stayed beside him, a worried look on his face.
Moving forward to pull the kit from where it was hanging on the wall, Jemma was surprised to see Davis in the co-pilot’s chair. Sitting in the pilot’s seat was May. She turned and nodded at Jemma.
“Thank you,” Jemma said.
May hit something on the jet’s control panel and pulled the headphones off her ears. “Is someone hurt?” she asked, nodding towards the kit Jemma was holding.
“Not bad, but Leo’s injury isn’t doing well after we had to make a run for it. I’m just going to dose him with painkiller, and he can sleep on our way back.”
“Leo?” May echoed, frowning. There was a snort of laughter from Davis’ direction, and Jemma sighed. It seemed no one had told May about there being a Fitz and a Leo now. Jemma would explain after Leo was resting comfortably.
May trailed behind her as Jemma returned to her boys. Both of them smiled, though Leo’s was strained.
“It’s good to see you, May,” Fitz said.
“I seem to be woefully misinformed.” May’s voice didn’t betray anything, but when Jemma glanced up at her as she removed the morphine from the med kit to draw it up, she was surprised at how bewildered May looked.
“I guess nobody told you?” Leo asked.
May shook her head. Jemma rolled up Leo’s sleeve, swabbed his arm, and found a vein. He kissed the top of her head as she injected the painkiller.
“We’re gone for two seconds, and everything goes sideways,” May said. “Are any of you going to tell me what happened?” She marched forward and grabbed Jemma’s hand, looking at the two rings before letting her go so Jemma could finish disposing of the sharp. “This isn’t an LMD situation, is it?”
Jemma dropped the med kit, Fitz cursed, and Leo slammed the butt of his cane against the floor.
“Sorry,” May said immediately. “I just…cloning?”
Jemma helped Leo over to sit in a jump seat. “No. And cloning would take years. It’s simple. Leo came back with us from the future, but that left the Fitz in cryo-sleep heading towards a future where we wouldn’t be. One where the earth wasn’t shattered. We rescued him and brought him home.”
May raised an eyebrow. “And you married him?”
“What else was I supposed to do?”
May snorted, then outright laughed. “I didn’t know you had it in you, Jemma.”
Fitz frowned. “Had what in her?”
“Both of you.”
Jemma dropped her face into her hands.
“Uh…so, thanks for rescuing us,” Fitz said. “And it’s good to see you, it really is. From my perspective…”
He trailed off, and May’s laughter died. “Hey, Fitz—” she paused.
“T-shirts, longer hair, I’m going by Fitz. Button ups, no curls, he’s going by Leo,” Fitz said, pointing at himself and then Leo.
May nodded and stepped forward to put a hand on Fitz’s shoulder. “Thank you for getting in that chamber, for coming for us. I know you must have woken up to a world you weren’t expecting, and Leo, I don’t know if I’ve ever said this, but thank you. It’s been nice, having a world that isn’t broken apart.”
Fitz looked close to tears. “May,” he said, and hugged her. May tolerated for a few seconds before pushing him back.
Leo yawned. “Is Coulson back at base?” He sounded slurred from the morphine.
“Yes,” May grinned as Fitz sat on the other side of Jemma. “And for the first time, in a long time, I know something he doesn’t. I can’t wait to get home.” She shook her head. “This is a surprise, but I’m not as shocked as I maybe should be.”
Jemma put a hand on each of her boy’s knees. “No?”
May’s grin widened. “Jemma, I remember you shooting a superior officer with an ICER, in what should have been a career-ending move, simply to find out where Fitz was. Who you swore was just your friend.”
“Yeah,” Fitz said, and Leo leaned over and put his head on Jemma’s shoulder.
“So it doesn’t shock me,” May continued. “That you’d want any and every version of Fitz under your wing where you’d know right where they are at every moment.”
“She’s pretty,” Leo said, sounding even more slurred. Jemma rolled her eyes.
May snorted. “And Fitz, both of you, I remember an idiot boy who, not very long before that, was going to jump out of a plane with zero training to try and save his girl.”
“Oh,” Fitz said, shifting in his seat. “That.”
“I got better at it,” Leo protested, ending with a yawn.
“So to me it’s not surprising you’d put up with whatever life threw at you to stay by her side.” May turned towards the cockpit, and Jemma was startled to see her wipe at her eyes. “I’m glad you’re all together. Being with the one, or ones, you love… that’s something important.”
Chapter 9: Here and Now
Jemma leaned against Leo while the jet hovered as May waited for the Lighthouse’s landing pad to appear. Fitz and Leo were talking about the physics of the hidden entrance, and Jemma wanted to tell them they were discounting the surface tension of water too readily, but that would mean opening her eyes and not cuddling, so she let it slide. For now.
It was good to be home, but she was going to miss having the two of them all to herself.
The jet descended and landed with hardly a bump. With a groan, Jemma sat up and stretched. Fitz was already unbuckled and gathering up the belongings they’d been able to bring with them. He handed the gravity gun to Davis, who appeared uneasy and was holding it at arm’s length.
She rose, and Leo planted his cane before standing with a wince.
“Do you think you need to go to medical?” she asked in a whisper.
He frowned, then shook his head. “It hurts, but I think I just aggravated some scar tissue. It’s a fun reminder that I can’t gallivant around.” His eyes went to Fitz as he said it, and Jemma sighed. It couldn’t be easy seeing a less damaged version of yourself walking around. She put a hand on Leo’s cheek and turned his face towards her.
“I’m not going to complain. It means you can’t easily run off.”
The corner of his mouth rose, and she kissed him softly.
Fitz returned, bags in hand, and her boys flanked her as they walked down the jet’s loading ramp. It made her feel rather regal, a queen with her attendant knights.
There was no one on the landing pad, but May waved a hand, and they followed her to the Lighthouse’s command hub.
Coulson was speaking to Daisy with his back turned when they walked in, but Daisy’s eyes lit up, and she waved. After finishing what he was saying, Coulson turned, took a step towards May, and stopped dead. May looked smug as his eyes darted between Fitz and Leo before finally landing on Jemma.
Fitz’s hand brushed hers, and she threaded their fingers together.
“Simmons, do you want to explain?” Coulson said.
She had to fight down a flippant answer, but she couldn’t stop a grin from forming. “Due to the closing of the time loop, there ended up being two Fitzs, the one that found us in the future, and the one in this time frozen in space and traveling towards a future that no longer existed. So we went and got him.”
Coulson’s brow furrowed. “Are you…I don’t know how to ask this.” He looked flustered, and behind him, Daisy put a hand over her mouth to hide her laughter.
“Oh, no worries,” Jemma said. “I married him too.”
Coulson’s mouth fell open.
“It’s good to see you, sir.” Leo said, and reached over to put a hand on Fitz’s shoulder. Coulson nodded slowly. “I’m the one who made it all the way to the future. Going by Leo, the other me is Fitz. And last time he saw you was in a diner.”
Fitz’s hand tightened on hers.
Coulson rubbed his forehead, then reached out and put a hand on Fitz’s shoulder and pulled him into a hug. Fitz stood awkwardly for a moment, then relaxed and hugged Coulson back. “I’m so happy to see you,” Fitz said, and Jemma’s heart nearly broke.
“You did the right thing,” Coulson patted Fitz’s back and straightened up, putting both his hands on Fitz’s shoulders. “Coming to save us.” He pursed his lips. “But I’m not sure of the right sentiment for the current situation. Congratulations on getting married. Sorry I wasn’t there this time, and am I supposed to be sorry there’s two of you now?”
“I’m not sorry!” Jemma said, and Fitz looked over his shoulder at her while Leo elbowed her ribs. She poked his arm in retaliation.
Coulson chuckled. “I suppose it’s her opinion that matters.”
“I’ve found that’s the best way to operate,” Fitz said as Coulson patted his shoulder.
“How’s it feel to be a member of the impossible situation club?” Coulson asked.
“As long as we’re all here, it’s good.”
“I second that,” May said, coming to stand beside Coulson. “But if we’re done gawking, Mack does have something to say.”
Fitz returned to stand beside Jemma, and she leaned against Fitz’s side as she threaded her fingers with Leo’s.
Mack nodded. “These New Watchdogs have been growing and spreading like a cancer. Now they have the resources and opportunity to bring the fight to us. We are not going to sit here and be a target. I have a crate full of materials—weapons, armor, and supplies—that we intercepted being shipped between Watchdog safehouses. Or at least that’s what we believe it was being sent between. It needs analysis.”
“I’ve got it,” Jemma said, excited to get to work on something so tangible. “Can I have May and Elena as well?”
“We need people ferreting out information on them online. They’ve got to be communicating somehow or someone has to know something. They’re not ghosts.”
“I’ll spearhead that.” Daisy held up a hand.
“I can help,” Leo said quietly.
“Me too,” Fitz added.
Jemma bit her lip and looked at Daisy. Things were still unsettled between her and Leo. They might never be fully rectified, but this would be a good step.
Daisy nodded. “Yeah, I could use the help.”
“Right,” Mack said. “Coulson, with me, we got some strategy to talk. The rest of you can drop by the office if you have any other good ideas about how to combat this threat.”
Jemma hugged Leo. “You going to be okay?”
“Don’t worry.” As if she could ever manage that. Not when it came to either of them. She kissed his cheek and then Fitz’s.
“Take care of them,” she said to Daisy as she walked by.
Daisy rolled her eyes. “I’ll try to keep them in line.”
“Good luck, I haven’t managed that yet.”
Fitz wasn’t sure how he felt about Jemma heading off with Yo-yo and May to do whatever cataloging and investigating they had planned. He’d gotten used to her always being right there, and he stood, looking down the hall at the corner she’d disappeared around until Leo put a hand on his shoulder.
“She’s fine,” Leo said. “So are we. Let’s get to work on this, alright?”
Fitz nodded and followed Leo into a room stuffed with computers and servers. Some looked ancient, and some looked brand new but cobbled together and shoved into any available nook and cranny. Cables and power cords snaked everywhere. He looked around, bewildered, but then it all snapped into place. Leo had done this, and therefore the chaos wasn’t really chaos, but an order Fitz could comprehend. Damn it. They couldn’t even have individual messes.
Leo and Daisy claimed terminals and started pulling up data feeds. Fitz edged towards a computer in between them and sat down. He started to type, then paused with his hands hovering over the keyboard. The silence was a bit oppressive, and while he understood why, this wasn’t going to work with them being silent and cranky.
“Leo,” Fitz said. “Where’d you start?” Leo glanced at him and rattled off several websites that, damn it, were the first places he’d thought of too. “I’ll take the FBI servers then.” Fitz brought up the website and started in on making sure he wouldn’t set off any alarms and that his tracks were covered.
Daisy was looking at him from the corner of her eye.
“I had to ask,” Fitz said. “We tend to think alike.” He shrugged a shoulder.
“Not too alike, I hope,” Daisy grumbled as she returned to her screen.
Fitz bowed his head as the keystrokes from Leo got louder. “Is it going to be like this the whole time?” he asked.
“What?” Leo snapped.
“Dude, just let it go,” Daisy said. “I’m assuming you’ve been filled in and for us, this is working well together at the moment. You wouldn’t get it.”
Fitz opened his mouth, closed it, then opened it again. “Yeah, because I wasn’t there in the Framework. I don’t remember any of that.”
“Fitz,” Leo said.
Fitz held out a hand towards him. “Stop. I know you think I’m some untarnished version of you, that I’m not fighting the exact same demons, which is horse shit, by the way. I’m not the ‘good Fitz’ or whatever people are thinking. I’m trying to be the best me I can after finding out I’m just the extra one. That you, Leo, did everything I was planning on. Was the hero. Saved the girl. And then lived through some crap you think I can’t even imagine, but you know bloody well I can. But I never even got the chance.”
Leo looked stunned, but it was Daisy who stood up.
“Sorry,” she said, then sighed. “Wait, no, I’m not I can’t for—”
“You shouldn’t,” Leo said. “And me being sorry isn’t going to ever be enough.” His face twisted into a grimace. “Trust me, you’re not the only one who can’t forgive me.”
Daisy nodded. “Yeah. You’re right and okay, I know the last part. But I can remember when we were friends. When you believed in me when no one else did. And a lot of bridges got burned, but maybe it’s time we built new ones. Okay? I’m tired of being mad, even if I know I deserve to be. I’m happy for both of you and Jemma, and this is all exhausting.” She sat back down and put her head in her hands.
Leo was hunched over his computer, which left it to Fitz to make the first move forward.
“Thanks, Daisy, for both of us,” he said. She nodded, and he paused, trying to find safer ground. Something that would be a step in the right direction. “Um, tell me about the thing with Piper, how’d you two work out that you were more than friends?” Fitz returned to picking at the FBI server, guessing it would probably be easier for her to talk to the side of his head.
“Geez, I keep forgetting you missed so much. Don’t you and Leo have some thought sharing power or something?”
“Only when it comes to making out with Jemma,” Fitz said, then held up a hand to catch the scrunched up wad of paper Leo launched at his head.
Daisy laughed. “TMI, dude. Though it’s hard for me to believe the baby nerds I met on the Bus…” she trailed off. “Well, anyway, it took Piper and me way too long to figure it all out. I’ve always thought she was cute, but I didn’t know how to flirt in gay. She literally had to spell it out.”
“What did she do?” Fitz asked.
“I’m not kidding. Piper spelled it out. In sharpie, on a piece of paper, and handed it to me. ‘I LIKE YOU’ in all caps. We went on some dates, and I asked her approximately a million times if she was sure they were date-dates, which she patiently reassured me they were. Finally, we went to this really nice Italian place, and I drummed up the courage to ask her if we were officially together as girlfriends. She rolled her eyes, and told me duh and kissed me. Right in front of everyone. We got applause and cheers.”
“I hadn’t heard the last part,” Leo said, sounding amused.
“It’s a cool restaurant. You two should take Jemma there.”
Leo shrugged. “I think we’re past dating.”
Daisy snorted, loudly. “Don’t listen to yourself,” she said to Fitz. “Trust me, Jemma wants to be taken out.”
Fitz wrinkled his nose. “It’s different for us.”
“Oh, don’t even. If I can go out with a girl, the three of you can manage it. If it helps, none of the waitstaff even looked twice at us. I doubt they’ll assume you’re a threesome, just a couple with…an identical twin along for the ride.” Daisy squinted at him and Leo. “Can Jemma actually tell you two apart, y’know, when you don’t have any clothes on?”
“Daisy!” Leo made a face.
“Don’t ‘Daisy’ me. I’m just curious.”
“Er, yes. I believe so.” Fitz scratched the back of his neck. “Uh…” He poked at his keyboard. “I think, if we’re all good with the embarrassing questions for the moment, that I could use some help with this FBI server?”
Daisy scooted her chair over beside him, and they spent the next fifteen minutes brushing away successive layers of security. Leo came over to join them, and Daisy didn’t flinch when he leaned over to point at something on the screen. Which made Fitz relax a fraction. Maybe there were ways to bandage up some hurts. And while Fitz didn’t know exactly what had happened, he could guess. The things that had happened in the Framework were seared into his memory. Not all of them, of course, a lot of the made-up backstory had faded away like a bad dream, but his actions? The things he had done? Those weren’t going anywhere. At least for him and, unlike Leo, they hadn’t followed him into the here and now.
Fitz just had to believe that who Jemma saw when she looked at him or Leo was the real him. That the Doctor had been nothing but a distorted image in a funhouse mirror, and that he could leave it behind.
Fitz rubbed his eyes and typed in a last bit of code, which finally allowed them into the files they’d been searching for. He scrolled through the file names until Daisy pointed at one and he clicked on it. It was a small collection of photos and documents, but it clearly referenced the New Watchdogs. They looked global and highly organized, but there was nothing specific.
“I guess we keep going,” Daisy said, and Leo patted her shoulder before going to sit back down at his computer. Daisy put her arm around Fitz’s shoulders and gave him a quick squeeze. “I’m glad you’re here.” Her voice was a whisper. “He’s been having a rough time.”
Fitz tried to smile. “I’m glad to be here, but truthfully, we’re not very different. It’s just easier to see Leo’s scars.”
Daisy nodded, and one corner of her lips turned up. “I’ll leave any actual scar viewing for Jemma.” Fitz chuckled, and Daisy patted his back.
“Everything okay?” Leo asked as Daisy rolled her chair back over to her terminal.
Fitz rolled his eyes. “Daisy’s being gross.”
Leo sighed. “Don’t make me turn this computer room around.”
A Few Nights Later
The wine was excellent. Jemma eyed the bottom of her glass, not sure if she should have any more.
Leo and Fitz certainly didn’t need another round. They’d progressed from sitting quietly, Leo beside her in the booth and Fitz across from her, looking more at tablecloth than the waiter when he’d taken their order, to ties loosened and hands not being where they should be.
Not that she was behaving either.
Her pump was lying on the floor as she wiggled her toes against Fitz’s burgeoning erection. His fingers were skimming up and down her calf, while Leo’s were working their way under her skirt. He was leaning close to her and feeding her tiny bites of tiramisu. The dessert was rich, and its decadence made her moan, which was keeping her boys enthralled.
“Home is feeling a terribly long way away,” Fitz said, tilting his head.
Jemma bit her lip and glanced around the restaurant, but no one was paying them any mind. “Then we better hurry, I’ll just run to the loo.” With a last pat of her toes against Fitz’s crotch and a kiss to Leo’s cheek, she stood, slid her shoe back on, and hastened to the restrooms. The restaurant didn’t have the typical men's and ladies with a few stalls, but several small individual rooms with a commode and sink. They were rather nice for bathrooms, clean with soft lighting. They even smelled nice, and there was a cushy-looking chair tucked into one corner. After finishing, Jemma stood at the sink washing her hands.
Over the sink hung an oval mirror and she leaned closer, rather surprised by the woman she saw there. The Jemma in the mirror had cheeks that were a little red from the wine and her mouth turned up in a smile that couldn’t be repressed. Her hair was up, but slightly mussed, and her dress seemed clingier than Jemma had thought when she’d put it on.
The Jemma in the mirror looked happy. Could that be her?
The world twisted a little sideways, and she remembered the first time Fitz had taken her somewhere nice. She hadn’t been able to appreciate it, everything inside her too raw. What would have happened if Will had made it back through with her?
Jemma gripped the edges of the fancy basin sink. What would have happened is not much, if she was being honest. Whatever she and Will had meant to each other, it wouldn’t have survived back on earth. She shut the water off. It’d been Fitz. It’d always been Fitz.
The world twisted a little further and for a second she wasn’t in a posh restaurant WC, but standing amid the endless sands of Maveth, the dry wind whispering over her skin. She staggered and returned to the present, but panic was still gripping her and she needed Fitz and Leo. Her anchors. She opened the door and found them both lounging against the wall outside the bathroom. They were poking at their mobiles, but when they looked up and saw her, the phones disappeared.
Jemma grabbed their sleeves and dragged them into the restroom, closing and locking the door once all three of them were inside.
“Jemma,” Leo said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “What’s wrong?”
She looked between the confused faces of her boys, who were standing side-by-side. She raised trembling hands and flattened her palms over their hearts. “I’m here, right? On earth. In a place to eat that’s nice? With both of you?”
Leo and Fitz’s eyes met, and in the next heartbeat, she found herself pinned against the door. Fitz’s mouth was on hers, and he kissed her wildly. She moaned as she fisted the front of his shirt.
“Quiet,” Leo murmured against her neck. “This door is tissue paper thin.” He was nibbling on her and he wanted her not to make noise? Bastard. She retaliated by pressing her hand against the front of his trousers, gratified to find him already hardening. He ground against her palm and growled against her neck.
That was better.
Fitz cupped her breast, but then broke their kiss. “We need to get home,” he panted.
“All the way back to the Lighthouse? And down the lift? And past everyone to our bunk?” Her voice rose with each question.
“Er, yeah.” He was kneading her breasts, and she arched into his touch.
Then she blinked and was standing cold and alone, the sand whipping her face as unfamiliar stars wheeled overhead. Another blink and she was back in the bathroom, two concerned faces looking at her. She shook her head. “I need you now. Here. Please. Bring me home.”
“Oh, Jemma,” Leo whispered.
“I’ll be okay. I’m always okay. I just feel a little…unmoored at the moment. You know it’s hard to remember you both weren’t there with me after…after…”
“We both were,” Fitz said. “Just not quite like this yet.”
“Oh, right, of course.” A shudder passed through her and Fitz pulled her away from the door, which allowed Leo to snuggle against her back. He wrapped his arms around her waist.
Fitz kissed her again, and she let go, letting herself get lost in the rich taste of wine on his tongue. Leo palmed her breasts, and she sighed as his cock pushed against her backside. Fitz’s hand grasped her hip, and he ground his erection against her belly. Jemma melted, her arms going around Fitz’s neck to support herself.
Someone should have told her when she was half-dead on a strange planet that this would be her reward. That she’d know what it was to be in the middle of a maelstrom of love and desire.
Leo let go of one of her breasts and grabbed the sleeve of Fitz’s jacket, pulling them both towards the oversized and overstuffed chair in the corner. Letting go, Leo fumbled with the front of his trousers and pushed them down before sitting and slouching back on the chair. He fisted his prick.
“Take her knickers off,” he said to Fitz and Jemma raised a brow.
Fitz didn’t hesitate. Still kissing her, he slowly pulled the skirt of her dress up while turning her so her rear was toward Leo. Fitz kissed along her jaw and down her neck before dropping to one knee and hooking his fingers into the side of her knickers—still, plain cotton, damn it—and dragged them down to her ankles. He helped her get one leg hole off over her shoe but then pressed on her knee until she spread her legs wider apart.
Catching on, she bent over to kiss Fitz, giving Leo a good view of her slick cunt. The low groan from his direction let her know he appreciated the view. Fitz slid his fingers over her folds, circled her clit a few times, then plunged two fingers deep inside her, making her cry out.
“God, yes,” Leo said, his voice hoarse.
Confused, she straightened up and looked over her shoulder at Leo, who was jerking off as Fitz continued to pump his fingers inside her. “I didn’t know you were a voyeur,” she said to Leo.
He shrugged a shoulder. “I always like watching you come.”
She glanced back down at Fitz, who seemed slightly dazed as he concentrated on her pussy. If things were different she might be content to put on a show, but she needed them both at the moment, so she took charge.
“We’ll explore that some other time,” she said firmly. Catching Fitz’s wrist, she pulled his fingers from inside her and helped him back to his feet. Kicking off her shoes, she pulled her knickers from around her other ankle and dropped them on the floor before walking over to Leo, the skirt of her dress still up around her waist. He smiled at her as he continued to pump his cock.
She bit her lip and considered, then turned her rear towards him. Grabbing onto Fitz’s arms, she awkwardly felt backward with one foot, found the sofa, and slid her leg next to Leo’s. With a little hop and leaning on Fitz, she managed to get her other leg up on the chair as well and slid backward until she was hovering over Leo’s lap.
“Very lovely view,” he breathed and ran a hand over her ass as he positioned the head of his cock at her opening. Groaning, Jemma lowered herself down, still clinging to Fitz, who was watching her wide-eyed. She experimentally rocked her hips, and Leo gasped.
Satisfied, Jemma turned her attention to the front of Fitz’s pants as she humped Leo slowly. Fitz’s hands tangled in her hair as she undid his zip and pushed his trousers and pants down. The ruddy head of his cock was just begging for her mouth, but it took her a moment to work out the logistics on how to hunch over and suck him between her lips while still rocking on Leo’s cock. She ended up with an arm around Fitz’s waist and her other hand on his prick, and he had to move a hand to her shoulders to help, but the taste of him was worth it.
Leo started thrusting upwards, helping her out, and she moaned, the feel and taste of her boys overwhelming as always, and exactly what she needed. There was no time, no world, no worries outside of how they moved together and the pleasure building inside her.
She gasped and jerked as Leo’s fingers slid around where they were joined. He toyed with her pussy for a moment, but then slid his fingers back to press at her anus. Jemma nearly laughed. Her boys could be so single-minded when they had a project.
Leo pushed a finger inside her, and she pressed her hips back to encourage him since her mouth was occupied and she couldn’t tell him it was okay. He fingered her in time with the thrusts from his cock, and she groaned around Fitz’s prick.
She was so spoiled.
Another finger joined the first, and Leo paused as she got used to the feeling. The slight burn soon disappeared, and she was eager for him to move.
“I’m fine,” Jemma mumbled around Fitz’s cock.
He moaned, and his hips jerked. “I think she said she’s alright,” Fitz said to Leo.
“I’m not going to last much longer,” Leo panted. “This is quite the view and the angle…” he broke off and groaned, his thighs quivering.
“Jemma?” Fitz asked.
She considered, but she was in an awkward position, and her clit wasn’t getting enough attention. She slid Fitz’s cock out of her mouth. “I don’t think I can get off like this. But Leo, go ahead.”
It was absurdly polite, and she found herself close to laughing again.
“Sit up and back a little,” Fitz said, helping her to do so, and then going to his knees in front of her to kiss her breasts and belly as she rocked on Leo’s cock and fingers.
“Jemma,” Leo whispered, and his fingers in her ass went still as his hips surged one last time upwards and he emptied himself into her.
As he sagged back into the chair, Fitz’s fingers trailed down her sides, then helped her unfold her legs. He pushed them wide apart, and Leo groaned as he slid his softening prick from inside her. “Scoot forward a bit,” he encouraged, and she did so as he moved his knees further apart to balance her. Fitz, rose up until he could push his cock into her pussy. One of his hands went to her clit, as Leo resumed moving his fingers in and out of her ass.
She moaned, loud and low, surprised at how intense it felt. Leo pushed against the front wall of her rectum, and Fitz’s eyes went wide. He could feel it too, she guessed, but then her eyelids slid closed as her climax neared.
“All of you,” she gasped. “I need…all of you.”
She came, her orgasm slamming into her, colors popping off behind her eyelids. Fitz moved harder and faster, grunting with the effort. He came not long after she did, letting out a string of curses as he held her tight and his cock jerked.
Slowly they untangled from one another, with looks and touches. Jemma cleaned up a little with the absurdly soft paper towels the place had and Fitz helped Leo to stand. He limped to the sink and washed his hands before reclaiming his cane from beside the door.
“That was perfect,” she said kissing Leo’s and then Fitz’s cheek.
“You with us now?”
“I’m always with you,” she responded. “But now I’m grounded right back here on earth, where I belong.” She opened the door, only to find another customer with his hand raised to knock.
Laughing, they ignored the guy and spilled out the restaurant’s side entrance into the warm night.
Jemma tilted her head back and looked up at the stars. One streaked across the sky.
“You going to make a wish?” Fitz asked as Leo took her hand.
She shook her head. “I already have everything I need.”
Chapter 10: Explosion
The neatly ordered list, fastened to a clipboard that Jemma was holding, was doing very little to explain anything about the New Watchdogs. May and Elena had moved on to other projects, but Jemma was still sitting amid the uniforms, cooking utensils, and reams of blank paper that had filled the intercepted crate.
She’d collected as much particle and fiber evidence as she could, but besides knowing that the place of origin had beige Berber carpet, she hadn’t learned much.
“Hey, any leads?” Coulson asked, picking his way over a row of saucepans with lids.
She shook her head. “Not a thing. There isn’t any identifying information on or contained by any of this stuff. We just got a box of stuff they could have been selling at a rummage sale.”
“I guess the pots and pans lets us know they’re not robots.”
“That’s not remotely funny, sir.” There’d been more than enough killer robots in her life already.
Coulson heaved a sigh. “Sorry. I wasn’t thinking along those lines.”
“I know, just a bit of a touchy subject. I’m sure there has to be something I’m missing.” She picked up a spoon and glared at it.
Coulson sat down opposite her, and she glanced up at him. He looked well and was even a little tan from days spent on the beach. It irked her that she didn’t know why he’d started getting better, why the tissue damaged had reversed itself. She didn’t even have a working theory at the moment.
“How are you feeling, sir?” she asked. Maybe he’d let her take blood samples soon.
“Fitter than any fiddle, but you know that.”
“It’s a medical impossibility that you’re here talking to me, and I simply want to understand.”
Coulson smiled. “I don’t mind having been struck by lightning twice.”
“You were struck by lightning? That might explain—"
“No, no, it’s a figure of speech, Simmons.” He held up a hand and chuckled. “Though speaking of being struck twice.” Jemma plastered a smile on her face. She should have known Coulson would want a word with her about her boys. “I really did think for a minute there that you’d somehow figured out how to clone your husband. I know you like Fitz, but that seemed a little, I don’t know, out there?”
Jemma groaned and dropped her head into her hands. “Can you just ask me the same questions as everyone else?”
“Everyone else wants to know if they both snore?”
Jemma laughed and peeked through her fingers at Coulson, who was grinning.
“More I want to know if you’re doing okay?” he asked. “You hold yourself together long past the point when anyone else would have asked for help. It makes me worry about you.”
Jemma clasped her hands in her lap. “I’m doing fine,” she said.
Coulson was studying her face. “Fitz is a good kid, but he can be a little…high maintenance.”
“Leo and Fitz have actually been doing quite a bit to take care of me. It’s gotten to be somewhat of a competition between them.”
Coulson raised an eyebrow.
“Oh, not like that. Or not just like that, anyway.” She winced and laughed. “And they’re surprisingly good at recognizing what each other needs and talking through things.”
“Really?’ His other eyebrow raised.
“I know, not what you’d expect from any version of Fitz, but it’s hard to hide things from yourself. They’ve gotten good at calling each other out.”
“I’m impressed. And thankful. Fitz always spent too much time in his own head.” Coulson held out a hand, and Jemma passed him the list of the crate’s contents.
“I think they’re both doing very well,” Jemma said. “And I’m enjoying having both of them here. Much more so than these piles of a hundred percent polyester uniforms.”
Coulson leafed through the pages. “I imagine you are enjoying both of them.”
Jemma groaned. “Sir!”
He looked up and grinned. “I had to get one jibe in because you have to admit that out of all of us, you’re the last person I would have expected to be—” He made a face and gestured with a hand.
She couldn’t resist. “In a polyamorous relationship? And to your unasked question, which I know you want the answer to, it’s at the same time.”
“You looked so sweet when you said that.” Coulson chuckled. “And thank you for assuaging my curiosity.”
“You’re like a cat, with the nine lives and curiosity.”
Coulson handed the list back to her. “If I start knocking things off tables, May is going to be so mad.”
“I’m glad to see you, sir.” She’d missed him. Mack was a great director, but the family felt complete with May and Coulson there.
Coulson stood. “And I’m glad to be here. Jemma, you know you can come to me if you need someone outside of your situation to listen to you. No judgment. I might tease because it’s ingrained, but I’m happy to see you looking so well.”
“It’s easy when I’ve got two men falling all over themselves to do my every whim.”
“Fitz, both of him, would be glad to know you consider him your loyal knight.”
“He would, wouldn’t he?”
Coulson crossed his arms and looked around. “Too bad this mess isn’t telling us anything.”
“We still know next to nothing about the New Watchdogs. Only that when I was looking into the eyes of the men that came to kill us, I saw nothing. No compassion, no hint they saw me as a fellow human. It was eerie.” She swept a hand to indicate the things spread around her. “Now all I know is that they need to cook, make copies, and wear far too much polyester.”
Coulson put a hand on her shoulder. “We’ll figure this out. You, Leo, and Fitz are going to be safe. Alright?”
Jemma nodded. “I hope so.”
Two Days Later
It was tempting to peek. Jemma could hear Fitz and Leo talking, or more accurately, strategizing together, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was driving her nutty, honestly, and she felt terribly exposed lying blindfolded and naked in the middle of the bed, but she trusted them to make this an enjoyable experience for her.
She hadn’t been sure, when they’d proposed trussing her up and playing with her while she guessed which one of them was doing what to her, that it was a great idea, but they’d made giant puppy dog eyes at her simultaneously, and it’d been a lost cause.
Jemma wondered if Coulson had said anything to them about making sure they took care of her, but she didn’t want to start quizzing them when she was supposed to be relaxing. She wiggled her behind and pressed her thighs together while trying to imagine what they had planned for her.
It was a nice change of pace for the three of them to be alone after the last few days when the entire team had been doing their utmost to ferret out information on the New Watchdogs. Besides the fact that they were becoming increasingly active, the organization itself remained frustratingly elusive. Mack had finally ordered everyone to take a break for the evening and get a good meal and some rest.
For her little family, there was something else to fit in before rest, and Fitz and Leo had hatched a plan over the last couple of days. Jemma was frankly thrilled. And impatient. Though mostly she was glad to get her bra off. She’d been working such long hours it’d started to feel confining and her breasts were a little tender.
She turned her head towards where she could hear Leo and Fitz. “Should I get started without you?” She called, sliding her hands down her body. A second later, the bed dipped on either side of her, and two warm hands caught her wrists before she could reach her pussy. Jemma pouted.
They simultaneously raised her fingers to their faces and drew the pads over their cheeks. She could certainly tell which was Leo and Fitz, as Fitz’s beard was much thicker.
“Fitz on the right, Leo on the left,” she said.
“Very good,” Leo responded, stroking down her arm.
“So what do I get for being correct?”
“We haven’t decided that yet,” Fitz said. “But if you’re wrong, you’ll get a swat on the rear.”
They directed her hands over her head, leaving them on the pillow. “We had no difficulty agreeing on that part.”
“I shall endeavor not to be naughty, then.”
Fitz laughed and kissed the end of her nose. “Too late for that.”
“Entirely too late,” Leo agreed. Her boys stood, and there was shuffling and a few chuckles, then the mattress shook as one of them climbed onto the end of the mattress. He grabbed her ankles and encouraged her to spread her legs, which she did with no hesitation. Whichever one it was crawled forward and kissed a line from her knee, up the inside of her thigh, to the juncture of her leg and hip, and finally on the other lips of her sex.
She moaned and pushed her hips forward, but the mouth disappeared and was replaced with fingers. They swept over her pussy, trailing through the slickness, circling around her clit, and then pushing into her channel. She arched her back and whimpered.
The fingers glided in and out of her in a familiar rhythm, and she was sure it was Leo between her legs from the angle he was using and the slight flick of his fingertips as he finished each thrust. She clenched her inner muscles and rocked her hips, needing more.
“Who’s fingering you, Jemma?” The man between her legs asked.
She bit her lip and pretended to be carefully thinking it through. She could give them the correct answer, but she was more interested in finding out if one of them would actually spank her.
She slowly undulated her body. “I think…Fitz?”
There was a slight growl, and the fingers on her pussy disappeared. “Roll on your side.”
“Was I wrong?” she asked as she did as she was told. A palm smacked her rear, and she gasped. It was more arousing than she’d expected it to be. There was another one on the other cheek. “Two?” she questioned, though she sounded more than a little breathless.
“One,” Leo said from between her legs, “for being wrong. And one for lying. We know you too well for that.”
Leo retreated from the bed. There was a hushed conversation before they returned to being on either side of her. Their mouths closed over her nipples, and she groaned. Hands caressed her body, but one of her boys left her breast to kiss her mouth instead, she was sure it was Leo. Fitz was still somewhat fixated on her boobs after not having access to them for so long. Leo had been that way at first too.
The kisses were long and lingering, and she whimpered when the mouth left hers. There was some rustling, and then something entirely different brushed against her lower lip. She turned her head and opened her mouth, sucking the head of Leo’s cock into her mouth as Fitz continued to mouth one nipple and fondle the other breast.
Jemma hummed contentedly around the prick in her mouth, tracing her tongue over the underside before wiggling against the slit at the end. Leo grunted and shallowly thrust his hips.
Fitz’s hand left her breast and glided over her belly. “Who are you sucking on?” he rasped.
She pulled her head back. “Leo.”
“Lucky guess,” Fitz muttered as Leo chuckled. “What’s her reward?”
“Lick her,” Leo answered as he sank a hand into her hair and gently tugged her back towards his cock. She darted her tongue out and laved the head as Leo groaned and Fitz shuffled down her body until he could reach her pussy. His pressed a kiss to her clit, then dutifully started licking her. He had to be at an odd angle because she could feel his knees against her side, but his hands were on either side of her hips.
She moved her hands, easily landing one on Leo’s hip and sliding it around to cup the cheek of his ass. It was a little more of a challenge to get her hand on Fitz. Jemma had to pat around until she felt his leg. She trailed her fingers up his thigh until she was able to grab his ass as well. Perfect!
Moaning, she lifted her hips off the bed as pleasure coiled in her belly. Leo grunted, then shifted backward. She tried to hold him still with her hand and follow his cock with her lips, but he gently took her hand and evaded her.
“I don’t want to come yet,” he said, stretching out beside her on the bed.
“I do,” she responded, snuggling against his shoulder as Fitz flicked his tongue harder against her clit. Leo tucked her hair behind her ear before dropping a hand to her breast.
“Let go,” Leo murmured. “We’ve got you.”
Jemma gasped. “You do. I love you. Oh!” She came, her body quivering as Fitz continued to lick her, waiting until she’d stopped shuddering to disappear. Leo rolled off the bed, and she scowled as her boys had another quick conversation.
“Roll onto your stomach,” one of them said and, grumbling, she did so. Breath tickled at her ear, and she squirmed as one of her boys traced his tongue around the outer shell of it. “I’m going to have you now, Jemma.”
He climbed onto the bed, and she raised her ass into the air, still not sure which of her boys it was. He ran a hand over her behind and positioned the head of his cock at her opening. With a sigh, he surged inside her and Jemma moaned.
“No going easy on her,” her other boy said to the side, his voice hoarse.
The one screwing her must have agreed because, after a few rolls of his pelvis, he began plunging hard and fast into her. She mewled and rocked back into his thrusts as his fingertips dug into her. Every time he pulled back she tightened her pelvic muscles, not wanting him to go.
She was still sensitive from already having come once, and it wasn’t long before she was moaning and close to coming again.
“That’s it,” her boy beside the bed said. “Come for us, Jems. We want to see you get off.”
She whined and arched her back, and it took only a few more thrusts of the cock inside her before she was gasping and coming. Fireworks were exploding behind her eyelids. She dug her hands into the mattress as she rode out her bliss.
Fitz or Leo, whoever it was, went a little wild as her pussy pulsed around him. He pistoned into her, grunting with the effort, and she had to brace her forearms against the bed to keep herself in place. Jemma wondered if she should be surprised at how much she was enjoying being pounded into.
Only the last little while had shown her she had a vast, unplumbed sea of sexual proclivities she’d never had any inkling even existed, and wanting to feel desired by being jackhammered during intercourse certainly wasn’t the oddest thing she’d learned about herself. Or her boys, for that matter.
The one screwing her slammed deeply into her, and his cock bucked as he flooded her channel with come. Panting, he pulled out of her and helped her lay on her side. His hand stroked over her breasts and ribs as her other boy returned to the bed and cuddled against her front, his erection poking her thigh.
She hooked her leg over his hip and guided him to her channel, moaning as he pushed inside her. His hand slid into her hair as he kissed her and rocked in a soft rhythm. She flattened her hand in his back and dragged it down until she could grab his arse again, sighing as the muscles flexed under her hand.
The one spooning her plucked her nipples and kneaded her breasts. It had to be Fitz. He’d screwed her hard and now was playing with her tits again, while it would be Leo moving more carefully against her.
Pleased with herself for figuring out, she rolled her hips, ready to get off again.
Fitz’s hand left her breast and smoothed over her belly, before wiggling between her and Leo to circle her clit.
“Oh, yes,” she breathed. “Please, yes, like that.”
She moaned and the one—Leo?—between her legs kissed her again, pressing his tongue into her mouth. This was where she belonged. Well, in the lab, certainly, but here with her boys making love to her where there were no masks, and it was just them. Where the only demands on them were the ones of love and pleasure and—
“Oh,” she gasped, her belly clenching. The lips on hers became more demanding, and the hand on her clit rubbed faster. She fell into bliss, became an ocean of it caught between her lovers. It was still pulsing through her as a voice whispered in her ear.
“Who inside you now?”
“Leo,” she panted. The sharp smack on her rear made her yelp. Jemma snatched the blindfold off, stared at Fitz, who was grinning at her, then twisted around to find Leo behind her looking just as smug.
“Don’t worry,” Fitz said, kissing her forehead. “We are a little interchangeable.” He was still humping her, and aftershocks from her orgasm were making the thigh she had slung over his hip tremble.
Leo brushed her hair out of the way and kissed the back of your neck.
“Not to me,” she said. “I can’t believe—”
“We tricked you?”
She sighed as Fitz’s hand grabbed her hip. He surged harder against her, and she pressed her lips to his as he came, drinking in his cries of pleasure. Jemma put an arm around him as he stilled. Leo put his arm over her, hesitated, then draped it over Fitz as well as there wasn’t anywhere else for it to go. Fitz ended up doing the same.
“Your side alright?” he asked Leo.
“It’s a little sore, but nothing I can’t handle.”
Jemma smiled, delighted to remain squished in between her boys.
She’d just started to drift off, warm and safe, when a klaxon blared.
The three of them sat up and hastily grabbed clothes, pulling them on and trying to sort out shoes as the alarm continued to sound.
“That’s not a fire alarm, is it?” Fitz asked.
“No.” Leo shook his head. “We’re under attack.”
Jemma focused on putting her hair up and getting out the door. Any other thoughts were too frightening.
The control room was packed by the time the three of them made it there, but Jemma pushed through the gathered agents to the front, and Fitz followed in her wake along with Leo.
“What’s going on?” she asked, her eyes fixed on readouts spooling out on one of the screens.
“New Watchdogs,” Mack answered. “They somehow got access to codes that let them into the Lighthouse’s security. There are three helicopters hovering over the lake, waiting for the landing pad to open. I don’t think they’re here to talk.”
Fitz was already pulling a chair out to sit down at a computer. Leo was doing the same.
“I’m going general,” Leo said. “To try and kick them out of the whole system. You go specific, keep them from opening the bloody hanger.”
“On it.” Fitz’s fingers flew over the keyboard as he pulled up subsystems. Jemma stood behind him and put her hand on his shoulder. “Daisy?” he asked without looking up. She’d been to one side with a tablet in her hand.
“I’m rewriting the code as fast as I can,” she said. “It looks like some of it’s from the nineties and that’s what gave them access. It’s not meshing well with the modern stuff, but I’m working as fast as I can. I just need more time.”
“We’ll get it for you.” Leo’s voice was sharp.
“How did they know where we are?” Elena asked.
Jemma’s fingers tightened on Fitz’s shoulder. “They knew where the safe house was in Scotland. It stands to reason they’d know where SHIELD is headquartered.”
“Inside information?” Mack sounded like he wanted to break something.
“Not necessarily,” Coulson said. “It could be related to something Hale had, information or network access that they bought from an information broker, or that what remains of Hydra fed to them.”
Fitz glanced at Leo, who was wearing the same disgusted face he probably was. Couldn’t Hydra take a break for once? Fitz looked back at his computer screen right as it flickered. “What?” he asked, and Jemma bent down beside him. It happened again. “They’re interrupting data flow.”
Leo cursed under his breath.
Fitz put his hand over Jemma’s on his shoulder. “I think I need to get local with the hanger controls.” He looked up at Mack.
“Isn’t there a way around it?” Jemma asked, her voice tiny.
Fitz shook his head and started to stand, but Jemma’s hand was like a vice.
Leo pushed himself up with his cane and limped over to remove Jemma’s hand from Fitz, clasping it in his own. “It’s okay,” he whispered. “There’s two of us. We aren’t going to let them in. Alright?” He tugged her into a hug and Fitz scrambled to his feet, kissing her cheek.
“I’ll be back before you know it,” he said, but she grabbed his wrist.
“I’ll go with him.” Mack hefted a weapon that it took Fitz a second to realize was an updated version of his shotgun-ax. Jemma’s face was pained, but then she pressed her lips to Fitz’s briefly and cupped his cheek.
“Be safe,” she murmured, then let him go.
“You can’t go anywhere,” Elena said to Mack. “Sorry, Fitz, but Mack, you’re the director.”
Mack shook his head. “I’ll have a walkie-talkie, and Coulson’s got this. I’m sure he can remember how to herd you cats for a few minutes.”
“He’s got it,” May said, the steel and conviction in her voice quieting the room.
“We need to hurry.” Fitz grabbed a tablet and powered it on even as he jogged for the lift. He glanced back right before leaving the room, only to see Jemma’s face staring after, looking pale.
“She’ll be fine,” Mack said as they entered the lift. “Coulson will give her something to focus on, and she’s with Leo.”
Fitz shoved his worry aside and brought up the programs he’d need on the tablet as the lift rose. When it stopped, Mack leveled his shotgun, but the corridor was empty, and they quickly made their way to the hanger’s main control room.
He connected the tablet and directed Mack to monitor the security camera feeds. It was much easier to work with the hard connection, and Fitz had complete control over the hanger in less than five minutes.
He brought up other data feeds, watching Leo and Daisy work to kick out the New Watchdogs.
“I think we have them on the run,” Fitz said, glancing up at Mack. “Would have been much more difficult if there wasn’t two of me.”
Mack snorted and called to the control room. “Fitz has the doors secure. Crisis averted for now.”
“Better stay there,” May responded. “Until we have them kicked out of the entire system.”
Fitz opened a new window on the tablet and started constructing the basis of an extra layer of encryption for the controls. He was just really getting into the rhythm of the work when an explosion rocked the base.
Wiring fell from the ceiling along with a lot of dust as the entire room shuddered. Mack launched himself at Fitz, who ended up on the floor with Mack hovering over him.
“You okay, Turbo?” Mack asked, eyes wide.
The walkie-talkie squawked, and Mack sat back and grabbed it from where it’d fallen.
“Mack?” It was Jemma. “Mack, are you there? Is Fitz okay?”
Fitz paused in brushing dirt off himself. Jemma sounded terrified.
“I’m here,” Mack said. “And Fitz is just fine.”
“I’m positive. You want to tell me what that was?”
Jemma sighed. “The Watchdogs gave up on infiltrating the base, but they dropped some kind of bomb into the lake. Leo’s running diagnostics, but it appears there wasn’t any damage. The helicopters have left…are you sure Fitz isn’t hurt? There are some minor injuries here.”
“He’s fine. We’re coming back up now.” Mack clicked off the walkie-talkie and stood. Fitz did as well before checking the thankfully undamaged tablet and finding that all hanger systems were reading optimal.
“Bloody big bomb,” he grumbled, following Mack into the hallway. “They have to be getting their munitions from somewhere.” Fitz looked up at Mack’s hunched back. “Hey, why did you follow me down here? May could have come. Not that I wouldn’t have appreciated the backup if they’d gotten in.”
Mack stopped and turned around. “I was there when Fi—I mean Leo was hurt. I had to tell Jemma her new husband was nearly dead and being airlifted to a trauma unit. That felt like it was on me. I owe her one, and that means looking after you. Now c’mon, let’s go study the videos of the bomb being dropped.”
Fitz trailed behind Mack into the lift. He felt funny, because while he knew Leo had been severely injured, he hadn’t thought about it from Jemma’s side of things, and having to see him yet again in a hospital bed. It made him twitchy. He never wanted to put her through anything like that, but at least Leo hadn’t left her bereft. Fitz couldn’t even imagine the mess she’d be.
Because he knew what he’d be like without her.
His fingers twitched, and when the lift doors opened, he zipped around Mack, eyes peeled for Jemma. She was putting a plaster on Davis' forehead, and Fitz dropped the tablet in his hands on the first available counter. She looked over, caught sight of him, and stood to sprint into his arms.
He caught her and hugged her tight.
“Did you get hurt?” she asked, pushing herself back and running her hands over him.
“Not a scratch, Mack took good care of me.”
She turned, scanning the room for Mack, but he was already talking to Coulson. “I’ll thank him later. We need to start going over the images we have of the New Watchdogs and seeing if they gave anything about themselves away.”
Fitz claimed a chair beside Leo, who already had some of the footage up on a computer monitor and was tinkering with different overlays. To Fitz’s surprise, Jemma sat in Leo’s lap as he pushed the keyboard towards Fitz. Scooting his chair over to get a better view, he smiled when Jemma kicked her shoes off and put her feet on his thigh. Fitz cued up the footage from where the crate containing the bomb came into view and started enhancing the image.
“Try a thermal overlay,” Jemma said, her head cocked to the side.
Fitz did, and the three of them squinted at the screen. “I don’t suppose you have underwater drones?” Fitz asked, switching the thermal to an electromagnetic one. “Getting a piece of casing might help.”
“Actually, we’ve been working on that.” Jemma leaned forward and took the keyboard to make a note before advancing the image a few frames.
“They’re not functional yet,” Leo said, turning towards Fitz and grinning. “Feeling up for a challenge?”
“Don’t forget I have calibrations to run on some of the sensors.” Jemma was frowning at the so-far unhelpful footage.
Fitz pushed himself upright. “I think there’s a lab calling our names.” He looked around and waved Piper and Davis over to work on the image analysis.
Jemma had her shoes back on in a hurry, and Leo was leaning on his cane as Fitz turned the computer over to another agent. Excitement was fizzing inside him. It was like old times: a little danger, a lot of science, and good company. Fitz’s heart felt light as he took Jemma’s hand.
“Where are you three going?” Coulson asked.
“To put together a way to retrieve whatever is left of the bomb casing,” Jemma said. “If that’s alright.”
Coulson looked to Mack, who turned and nodded. “Don’t take too long, and don’t have too much fun.”
Fitz held a hand up in acknowledgment. “I’ll try not to, but I can’t guarantee anything about these two.”
Chapter 11: New Things
The last week and a half had been a century long. Mack had locked down the Lighthouse because of the threat from the New Watchdogs, which made sense but was boring as hell. Leo had already taken apart the gravity gun once, cleaned the components, and put it back together. He was doodling ideas for a way to scale the beam, to tailor it for the object the user wanted to lift, but at the moment he was mostly working on balancing his pencil on his index finger.
Jemma was staring at a computer screen and occasionally pecking at the keyboard, looking half-asleep. He was sure she’d slept well the night before, curled up between him and Fitz, but lately, she’d seemed more tired than usual. He’d like to pretend it was because he and Fitz were wearing her out in bed, but it seemed more like she was coming down with something.
Leo tried to catch Fitz’s eye, wanting to ask if he thought Jemma seemed a little under the weather as well, but he was concentrating hard on whatever it was he was doing and ignoring everything else. Sighing, Leo grabbed his cane, stood, stretched, winced as his side pulled, and made his way over to Jemma.
The spreadsheet on her computer had a partial data set, but her face was relaxed, and Leo thought she might be dozing.
“Jems?” he whispered, tucking her hair behind her ear. They’d been working on the bomb casing after retrieving fragments from the bottom of the lake, which had been an exciting challenge for the three of them.
Unfortunately, the twisted metal they’d found hadn’t given them a lot of information. There was only one tiny bit of chemical residue that might be a clue as it was an infrequently used compound in explosives, but it also could have come from contaminated lake mud. Jemma had been testing samples of the lake bottom from the area and trying to figure that out. It didn’t appear to be very exciting work.
Jemma woke with a start, then smiled at Leo, which made him feel lighter. “Sorry,” she said. “I’ve been drowsy lately.” Leaning forward, she gave him a quick kiss. Her belly growled as she straightened and she sighed. “I don’t suppose it’s lunchtime?”
“Close enough.” Leo glanced at the clock. It was ten thirty in the morning, so not that far from when they usually ate. “I know I could eat. Fitz?”
“Just a minute,” Fitz said. He was peering at something in his hand.
“What are you doing?” Jemma asked.
Fitz held up what he’d been working on. “Ta-da!”
Jemma raised a brow. “Is that a hacky sack?”
“What?” Fitz shook his head and held up two more small bean bags. “No. I’m going to learn to juggle.”
Leo snorted. “Yes, that’s what we’re missing. Someone who can juggle.”
“Can you?” Fitz asked, scowling.
“Didn’t think so.”
Jemma crossed her arms. “Care to share why you suddenly want to run off and join the circus?”
“I want no such thing.” Fitz looked heavenward. “It would be something that was just me, right? Something only I could do.”
“Ah, yes,” Jemma said. Her face became serious. “Please, let me introduce you to my husbands. They’re both brilliant scientists. And this one can juggle.” She broke out into giggles.
“You laugh now.” Fitz pointed a finger at her. “But wait until everyone wants me at their birthday party.”
Leo dragged a hand down his face. “Go ahead, let’s see you.”
“I just finished making the bean bags.” Fitz tossed one up and caught it. “I do have the theory.” His forehead furrowed as he shook out his arms and stepped back from the workbench. “Okay, here goes.” He sent one bag upward, then the second and third. All three landed on the floor.
“I’m sure you’ll get it with some practice,” Jemma said.
Fitz grabbed the bags, grumbling.
“How about you work on that after lunch?” Leo jerked his thumb towards the lab’s door.
“Yes, excellent idea.” Jemma hopped off her stool and went to take the bags from Fitz and set them on a table. He let her lead him towards the kitchen while Leo trailed behind, admiring his wife’s rear. Once there, Jemma headed towards the fridge while Fitz pulled crisps from the cupboard. Leo was walking to the pantry to look for biscuits when Jemma yelped. He turned and rushed to where she was holding the fridge door open. Fitz got there at the same time, and they both peered at the shelves, which looked the same as always.
“What’s wrong,” Leo asked, putting a hand on her back.
Jemma was pale and breathing through her mouth. “We can’t eat anything out of here.”
“We can’t?” Fitz said, sounding alarmed.
Jemma frowned. “It stinks.” She pulled open the freezer door, and her frown turned into a grimace. “This is just as bad. This fridge is disgusting, and it reeks. Lunch is on hold.”
“It is?” Fitz sounded even more alarmed.
“Yes.” Jemma’s voice was firm, and Fitz shot Leo a desperate look, but he could only shrug. “We clean, then we eat. I’ll get the bleach.”
Jemma marched off, and Fitz sighed as he started pulling food out of the fridge.
Leo’s shoulders slumped as he grabbed a half-empty gallon of milk and carried it to the table.
“Is she okay?” Fitz whispered as they both returned for another load.
Leo shrugged. “The fridge does need to be cleaned out.” He picked up a container of fuzzy strawberries that had been shoved in the back. “See?”
“Gross. But it could have waited until after we eat. It’s not like there’s anything sentient in here.”
“These strawberries are close.” He took them to the bin and Jemma, now wearing rubber gloves and a determined look, returned with bleach spray and a roll of paper towels.
Leo rolled his eyes in tandem with Fitz as they continued emptying the fridge.
Most of an hour later, Leo was leaning against the wall and watching as Fitz, with pointed directions from Jemma, wiped down the spaces behind the vegetable crispers. She was scrubbing the drawers themselves in the sink. Leo was trying his best not to do anything, which had so far been surprisingly successful.
He glanced towards the door as Elena walked in.
“Dios mio,” she said, looking bewildered at the food piled on the table. “What happened? I just came to make lunch, but instead I find a mess?”
“It’s not a mess,” Jemma said, gesturing for Leo to take over her scrubbing. He sighed and went to the sink, plucking the brush from her fingers. Jemma brushed her hair off her forehead. “We came to do the same thing but the fridge smelled disgusting, so instead we’re cleaning.”
Elena nodded. “I see.” She met Leo’s eyes.
“I didn’t think it was any different than this morning,” he said.
“It was terrible.” Jemma crossed her arms. “Completely unacceptable.”
“It smelled off?” Elena asked, putting a hand on Jemma’s arm.
“Yes. It was abominable.”
Elena’s eye narrowed. “Come with me, Jemma. I have a question.”
Jemma gestured at the fridge. “But—”
“We’ve got it,” Leo said. “Fitz and I will take care of it. Go see what Elena needs and when you get back we’ll have lunch.”
Jemma hesitated, then nodded and left with Elena.
As soon as she was gone, Fitz grabbed the crisps and opened the top. Leo wiped the suds off his hands and joined him. The scarfed down half the bag without speaking before setting it aside and getting back to work.
“What’s your plan for moving the whole sex thing forward?” Fitz asked from where he was with his head inside the fridge.
Leo groaned. He snapped the kitchen towel he was holding in Fitz’s direction before grabbing one of the crispers to dry it. “It’s complicated.”
Fitz straightened up. “It’s really not. You stick it in her ass.”
“Thanks for that ever-helpful tip.” Leo set the crisper down on the counter with a bang. “I’ve got the general idea. It’s more the mental leap that I have to make that’s stopping me.”
Walking towards Leo, Fitz winced. “Yeah?”
Leo concentrated on drying the plastic he was holding. “I keep thinking I’ll get more comfortable with the idea. We’re already doing plenty I’d never thought about before. Adding anal sex isn’t a big jump.”
“But…” Fitz put his hands on his hips.
“But what if she doesn’t like it? What if I’ve worked myself up to this and then she hates it?”
Fitz nodded. “That makes total sense. But that’s an old fear, isn’t it?”
“That Jemma might not be into anal sex?”
Fitz groaned. “Yes, all those long nights in our dorm room lying awake worrying about that.”
“Aren’t we supposed to be on the same page?”
Leo brushed past Fitz, carrying the drawers to the fridge. “Just spit it out.”
Fitz followed him. “Us worrying that Jemma’s going to reject something. Or that she’ll suddenly not like us. That if we do the slightest thing to upset her, she’ll dump us in a heartbeat and run off.”
“Oh, that.” Leo was stymied when he got to the fridge because he wasn’t sure his side would let him bend over to replace them. Fitz took them without a word and knelt. “I think we’ve done more than enough to prove we can’t easily chase her off.”
Fitz shoved the drawers into place and grunted as he stood. “I think you just answered your own question.” He wiped his hands on his pants. “Now grow a pair and fuck your wife in the rear.”
Leo chuckled as he grabbed a bottle of mustard to return it to the fridge door.
They made quick work of replacing the food and were admiring how neat everything looked when Elena and Jemma returned. Jemma had something clutched in her hand and looked dazed. She glanced at Elena.
“You’ll be fine. These two will be so happy.” She hugged Jemma. “I’ll go so you can tell them in private.” She left, but Jemma remained rooted to the spot.
“Everything okay?” Fitz asked, going to put an arm around her. Leo leaned his hip against the table and crossed his arms.
“Jemma?” he asked after a few moments of silence.
“Um,” she started. “Elena took me down to the pharmacy supplies.”
“You’re not sick, are you?” Fear stabbed at his insides.
“No, no, not exactly.”
“What’s not exactly?” Fitz’s eyes were wide.
Jemma’s gaze darted between them. She held her hand out towards Leo, and he walked forward to take the object in it from her.
It was a white stick with a cap on one end. And a little window that contained a single word ‘pregnant’. The word blurred, and Leo sniffed as tears leaked down his cheeks. “Oh, Jemma.” He wrapped her in a hug, his arms tight around her.
“Guys?” Fitz asked. Leo blindly put his hand out in Fitz’s direction, and Fitz took the pregnancy test from his grasp. The was a minute, then Fitz was hugging her too.
“Jemma,” he breathed, and Leo cracked an eye open to see Fitz was crying too.
“I know this isn’t the best time to have a baby,” Jemma said from where she was squished between them.
“Any time’s a good time.” Leo kissed her cheek.
“You’re going to be such an amazing mum.” Fitz’s voice was choked. “The best.”
Leo couldn’t add anything to that. He simply held his universe and remembered what it felt like to hope.
Jemma sat perched on the side of the bed with her hand over her belly. She was in her regular nightgown, though she wished she had something cute or flirty to wear. They were supposed to be celebrating.
In the bathroom, Leo and Fitz were brushing their teeth and good-naturedly ribbing each other. They sounded happy. She was too but was also terrified. Being pregnant had always been an abstract concept before, something that would happen one day. Now that the day was here, she hoped she could do everything that would be required of her to get through the pregnancy safely with a healthy baby being born at the end of it.
Though really, that would be just the beginning.
She closed her eyes, imagining family dinners, school plays, and before-sunrise Christmas mornings.
It was just hard to believe they’d get there. The universe seemed to like throwing obstacles at them, and Jemma didn’t know if she’d survive if something happened to the little life inside of her. She’d already lost one baby, the one never born because the time loop had been broken, the one only Deke remembered now, and losing a second one would be more than she could bear.
“Everything okay?” Fitz said, coming to stand beside her. She nodded as Leo leaned his cane against the bedside table, looking quizzically at her.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
She tried to smile. “I’m just worried I won’t be up to this, or that something bad will happen and take this joy away from us.”
“I won’t let it,” Fitz said fiercely.
“That might not be up to you,” she muttered.
“We won’t let it,” Leo echoed his counterpart. He put a hand on her cheek and tilted her head up until their gazes met. “We’ve paid all our dues. We’re a family now, and it’s our bloody turn to be happy.”
She smiled slightly, wanting to believe that so badly. Fitz crawled into the bunk and got under the covers.
“Come and cuddle,” he said, patting the bed. “It’ll look better after you sleep on it, and we’ll both be right here if you need anything.”
Leo’s thumb caressed her cheek. “Anything at all. Here, in the lab, anywhere. If you need something to eat, just ask.”
Jemma rolled her eyes. “Are you two planning to smother me for nine months?”
Fitz laughed. “I’d go with the term ‘spoil’. And the answer is yes.”
She sighed, heavily. “Well, I’ll complain less when I can’t see my feet. But at the moment, I don’t want to sleep. I’d been planning for us to have a little fun tonight—”
“You need your rest,” Leo said, looking earnestly into her face.
“Dear god, I’m pregnant. I did not transform into a delicate hothouse flower or a nun. I’m suggesting we entertain each other with a great deal of dirty sex. Which I’ve been thinking about all day.” She brushed Leo’s hand away and fisted the sides of her nightgown before pulling it over her head. “Now, are you two on board or should I plan some quality time with my vibrator?”
Leo glanced at Fitz over her shoulder, then met her gaze. “No need to do anything drastic. We’re happy to oblige.”
“I should think so.”
Leo’s cheeks turned a little pink. “What did you have in mind?”
“You’re not going to get out of it that easily,” Fitz said, and the bed shook as he crawled over to slide his hands around her and very gently cup her breasts.
“Get out of what?” she asked, groaning slightly and thrusting her chest forward.
Leo’s blush became brighter.
“Doing you in the ass,” Fitz said in her ear. His hands stilled. “Though maybe now—”
Jemma sighed. “I promise being just over a month pregnant does not mean I suddenly need to lie on my back, and we only do it quickly in the missionary position.” Fitz’s hands started moving again. “And there’s a tube of medical lube I stole from the infirmary in the drawer.” The corner of Leo’s mouth ticked upward.
“Should’ve known you’d be prepared,” he said, retrieving the tube and setting it on the nightstand. Jemma leaned back against Fitz.
“Your boobs feel fuller.” He squeezed them and looked over her shoulder. “Leo, check this out, I can see her veins.”
Leo traced a finger over her breast. “They are already darker.” He grinned and bent forward to replace his finger with his tongue.
Jemma ran a hand through his hair. They were both so excited, and sweet, and she loved them so much. It felt like she was going to cry, and then she wanted to laugh. She was barely pregnant. There was no way she should be dealing with the hormones already.
Leo’s hand slid around and palmed the cheek of her ass, and her weepiness disappeared in a firestorm of lust. Those hormones she could welcome.
She pushed Leo back, then slipped out of Fitz’s grasp. Turning, she shooed Fitz out of her way and climbed onto the bed. Once she was kneeling on the blanket, she tugged at Fitz’s boxers. “Off. Get them off. I want you now.”
He quickly removed them, and her lust surged again at the sight of his cock jutting out proudly from the soft curls of his pubic hair. She patted the bed and Fitz immediately lay down, his expression soft. Only she didn’t want soft. Or even foreplay.
Jemma turned to look at Leo. “Why aren’t you naked?” she said, then swung her leg over Fitz to straddle him. She grabbed his cock, pumped it several times, then positioned the head at her opening before sinking onto him. “Yes,” she moaned. That’s what she needed.
She rolled her hips and whimpered. Fitz’s eyes were wide and shone with awe. She dug her fingers into his chest and started riding him in earnest, only turning her head when Leo finally joined them on the bed. He was on his knees with his hand wrapped around his prick.
Impatiently, she waved him over. Once he was within reach, she put her hand on the back of his head and pulled him closer so she could kiss him. He let go of himself and instead splayed his palms on her breast and rear. That was more like it.
She moved faster, and Fitz’s hands flew to her hips, yanking her down harder each time she dropped.
“You’re fucking gorgeous,” he panted. “Can’t wait to see you rounded out with a babe.”
“Clit,” she gasped against Leo’s lips. His tongue surged deep into her mouth, and his hands moved firmly over her as Fitz’s hold on her tightened. Her thighs quivered, and she moaned loudly. “I’m close. Rub me, please.” It was closer to begging than she appreciated. Neither of her boys made a move towards her nub, and with a groan, she reached for it herself.
Leo’s hand clamped on her wrist. He broke their kiss, then swiftly moved behind her before catching her other wrist. “Not yet,” he said, as Fitz thrust up into her.
“Excuse me?” she asked, though she didn’t stop riding Fitz at a gallop.
Leo didn’t say anything, but brought her arms behind her and loosely held them in a single fist. His other hand caressed her ass. It disappeared, and then returned as Leo pressed a finger against her anus. She moaned in encouragement. He slid his fingers to where she was stretched around Fitz’s cock and teased there for a moment, before returning to her anus and working a finger in.
“Yes,” she moaned.
Fitz was watching her breasts as she rode him, and his cock was getting more insistent as he slammed up into her.
She mewled as Leo pushed a second finger in to join the first. “That okay?” he asked. Jemma rocked back against his hand.
“More,” she gasped. Leo slid his fingers back and forth, increasing the pressure as he moved them apart.
Fitz arched off the bed. “Jemma,” he said. “Jemma. Jemma!” The last was loud as he peaked, his cock bucking inside her.
She stopped moving and gaped at him. “I still need to get off.” She wrenched her hand out of Leo’s grasp and smacked Fitz’s chest. Fitz caught her wrist.
“You will,” he said, with a smug smile.
“I better.” Her belly was tight. “I’m feeling decidedly uncared for at the moment.”
“Trust us,” Leo said, pressing a kiss to her neck. He pulled his fingers out of her bottom, and she whined.
Fitz tugged on her arm. “Lie down, Jems. I promise there’s a plan.”
She knew she was pouting, but her body was coiled tight and in desperate need of release. Fitz tugged again, and she started to move off him, but he instead tugged her forward so she was sprawled half on top of him.
Leo had crawled to the side of the bed. To grab the lube, she guessed. He returned to kneeling beside her and encouraged her to spread her thighs and lift her rear into the air.
“If it’s too much, tell me to stop,” he said gruffly.
“I will, but please Leo, please. Hurry.”
Fitz tangled his hand in her hair and pulled her mouth to his so he could kiss her. There was the sound of the tube of KY being squeezed, as she jumped slightly as the cold gel hit her skin. Leo returned his fingers to her anus, making sure to spread the lube well, and the glide of his fingers was much more pleasurable with them being so slick.
She moaned and wiggled her rear.
His hand left her. Fitz kissed her deeply, his tongue swirling around hers, and she got slightly lost in it, only to be reminded what she was doing when the head of Leo’s cock pushed against her anus.
Her entire body tensed.
“Relax,” Fitz whispered. “Relax for us.” He nipped at her bottom lip, and Jemma took a deep breath and slowly let it out. Her muscles unclenched as Leo ran a hand over her back.
“Going to start now,” he said, and she nodded.
There was pressure against her anus, and then he’d slipped the head of his cock inside her. It hurt for a second, then burned. She twisted her neck to look at Leo. His head was bowed, and he was concentrating on what he was doing.
“Alright?” he asked.
She consciously relaxed again, and the pain became less. “Yes.” This was a very naughty thing for her to be doing, getting fucked up the ass while being draped over her other lover. A little thrill went through her, and her lust came rushing back. “More,” she slung at Leo over her shoulder, then focused on Fitz. “And what’s your hand doing?”
He wiggled the one under her. “Mostly falling asleep.”
“I can think of something better.”
Fitz pressed his forehead to hers as his hand shifted and delved between her legs to circle her clit. She moaned, and Leo slowly thrust forward, until he was completely inside her. It was deeply erotic.
“Everything’s going okay?” Fitz asked Leo.
“Bloody fucking hell…er, yes. It’s different. Good different.” He pulled back slightly and thrust forward again as Fitz rubbed her clit. “Am I hurting you, Jemma?”
“Not exactly,” she swiveled her pelvis experimentally. “I rather like it, I think.”
“You do?” Leo sounded completely surprised.
“Yes, though it’s somewhat overwhelming at the moment.”
He moved a little faster, still thrusting shallowly, and she groaned and arched her back. “Is that alright?”
“Yes,” she gasped. “I’m close again, don’t stop with your hand, Fitz.”
Her orgasm rolled over her, and the noise she made was much louder than she intended as bliss blossomed inside her. It was different than usual, with more of an edge of pain to it. It was wonderful.
She rested her head against Fitz’s chest as she caught her breath. His fingers moved much more slowly around her clit, dragging out the pleasure.
“Good?” Leo asked.
She tried to say something, but it came out an incoherent sqeuak.
“You’re doing something right,” Fitz responded instead. “She squirted all over my hand.”
Jemma’s eyes went wide. “Oh, I didn’t mean to.” She cringed, having read more than a few studies on the topic.
Fitz kissed the tip of her nose. “Quite worrying, it was damned sexy, and I’m a wee bit jealous it wasn’t me that had you doing it.” His accent was thick, and Jemma relaxed since he seemed thrilled.
“Is this okay?” Leo asked from behind her, continuing to swing his hips as he had been.
“Um, you can move harder. I’m completely relaxed now.”
His pace picked up, and Fitz wiggled his fingers in a similar rhythm. Her pussy clenched and she very quickly found herself working towards a second orgasm.
“Yes,” she moaned. “Again. I want again.” She was jerking her hips, making Leo grunt. Her belly clenched and her thighs tensed. She came again with a cry. The mix of pleasure and pain was overwhelming, and she thought she might start sobbing. “I love you, Fitz. Both, all, all…Fitz.”
“We love you too,” Fitz said, hugging her close. Leo was moving raggedly.
“Oh god,” he whispered. “Gonna, gonna…fuck…Jemma!” He thrust hard forward as he peaked with a roar. She couldn’t feel his cock nearly as well as when it was in her pussy, but there was still the echo of its pulses as he released. He finally pulled out of her and collapsed on his back, panting hard.
Jemma worked her way over to him and kissed him tenderly.
“That was lovely,” she said. “And just think how much better we’ll get at it.”
“Uh,” Leo responded.
She started to say something else, but her bladder abruptly demanded her attention. “Sorry,” she said as she scrambled over him. “I have to pee.”
“Well, that’s not going to become less urgent for a while,” Leo said to Fitz from behind her.
She didn’t think it had anything to do with being pregnant, but she wasn’t going to tell them that. After relieving herself, she gave up trying to clean herself off quickly and started the shower. She’d barely stepped under the spray before the door opened. Leo squeezed into the stall with her a moment later.
“Seemed like a good idea,” he said, and she smiled.
They washed quickly, though Leo pulled her into a hug and just stood under the spray with her in his arms.
“Everything okay?” she asked.
“Yes. No. I…Jemma, you realize the baby’s his, don’t you?”
“Leo…you’re the same person. No genetic test in the world could tell which of you fathered it.”
He hung his head and traced a hand down her side. “I never told you, but after getting hurt the doctors said I might not be able to father a child. Something with blood flow immediately after. I wanted them to be wrong. They weren’t.”
Jemma tried to digest that. “Were you ever tested?”
“Then you don’t know. And why didn’t you say something? Is that the only reason you wanted him here?”
“God, no. As you said, he’s me. The nightmare of waking up in a future without you is not a nightmare I wanted him to face. But knowing he could get you pregnant? That made it easier to accept him being here. Because I want you to have the family you’ve dreamed of.”
“Ugh, Leo. There are other medical options.”
“This way we’re all together and happy.”
She leaned against him. “I hate when you’re right.”
Jemma sighed. It was such a Fitz thing to do. A big, dramatic gesture to show how much he loved her. She wanted to bean him with a fire extinguisher.
After drying off, she retrieved her nightgown and pulled it back on. She though Fitz was asleep, but he lifted the covers when she sat on the edge of the bed. She lay down, and he spooned against her back.
Leo stood at the side of the bed. He’d pulled his boxers back on and was just staring at her and Fitz. Jemma patted the bed. “Come lie down.” He hesitated, and she patted harder. After another moment, he sat and swung his legs in, only to grunt and rub at the scar on his side.
“I can’t sleep on my back tonight,” he said. “I’m sorry.” He lay down with his hurt side up, facing away from her. She picked up Fitz's arm and scooted over to spoon Leo. Fitz came along and curled up around her again as soon as she let him go. He rested his hand on Leo’s shoulder, allowing Jemma to snuggle flush against Leo. “I love you,” he said.
Jemma kissed his back. “I love you too.”
“Sleepy,” Fitz muttered groggily, and both she and Leo chuckled.
A Few Days Later
Jemma was monitoring an automated test she was running on swatches of New Watchdog uniform fabric. Everything was humming along, and at least it was something to do that wasn't sleeping or eating, both of which she was becoming increasingly enamored with.
Her life had always been so cerebral, her mind her most valued instrument.
Now it was becoming increasingly physical, both in what she did alone with Fitz and Leo and in the subtle changes her pregnancy was causing. Those would only get more prominent as time passed. She was hoping for thicker hair, just preferably on her head and not her back.
Leo and Fitz had even less to do at the moment that she did. They were watching a football game on a telly in the corner of the lab. Leo was providing a running commentary that she supposed made sense to Fitz, who was practicing his juggling. He could almost not drop them now and was very determined that he was going to learn.
She watched him manage nearly ten seconds of keeping the bags in the air and clapped her approval. Fitz, grinning, darted across the lab for a high five while Leo yelled something very Scottish sounding at the screen.
Fitz had just picked up his beanbags when Mack’s voice came over the intercom. “Fitz-Simmons…Fitz-s-Simmons…would you three please come to the command center?”
“On our way,” she responded.
They hurried to the lift and rode it up, and Jemma had to put her hand on Leo’s shoulder as her stomach lurched. Oh dear. They hadn’t told anyone besides Elena she was expecting, and Elena seemed to have kept it to herself as well, but Jemma bringing up her lunch from an elevator ride would be a dead giveaway.
In the command center, Leo pointed at a chair, but before she reached it, she was caught in a hug. “Deke!”
“Nana! You look wonderful! You’re almost glowing! It’s good to see you, and my two grandpas.” He let go of her and Fitz hugged him, and Leo tried to take a step back, but Deke caught him anyway. Leo patted Deke’s back and smiled, which he quickly wiped off his face when Deke stepped back.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“Check it out!” Deke held up a thumb drive. “Bobo, er, Fitz…well, that one—” he pointed at Leo “—sent me some info on a chemical you got off that New Watchdog bomb casing. I know a guy, and he knows a guy, and anyway, I think I found the source of the explosive they used.”
“That’s terrific,” Jemma said, looking around the command center. The entire team was there, Daisy at a computer with Piper beside her, Mack, Elena, and Davis. Even Coulson and May were to one side. Her stomach lurched again. “What have you found out?”
“I hacked into the company’s database,” Daisy said, sending an image to one of the big screens. “The Watchdogs gave a fake address of course, but they paid with an electronic transfer. Bitcoin.”
“I thought that was supposed to be untraceable?” Mack leaned on the table beside Daisy.
“Please, as if. That’s a company line.” She sent several more shots to the screen. “I found that the purchases had been made at kiosks in Florida. I pulled the security footage. The guy doing the buying didn’t even bother wearing a mask. Facial recognition software let me find him in Russia. I pulled up the internet connection to the hotel his staying at. He’s using a standard firewall and hotel wi-fi.”
“Moron,” Piper muttered.
“Anyway, I got into his computer, sorted his contacts, and traced them to places I think are New Watchdog bases. Thermal imaging from drones shows that most of them are highly guarded and well-staffed.”
“Knowing where they are is a good start,” Jemma said.
Mack sent a satellite image of northern Canada to the screen. “Daisy said ‘most of them’, there’s one that’s not. It’s above the Arctic Circle in Nunavut. Minimal staff. We think it’s a research center.”
“I want to get my hands on their cloaking technology,” Leo said, and Fitz nodded in agreement.
“Well, you’re going to have your chance.” Mack crossed his arms and surveyed the room. “Because we’re going in. We’re not going to wait for them to come here again.” He turned towards Jemma. “I want you, Fitz, and Leo along. It’s minimal fighting and you three can cover the base quickly and make sense of what they’re working on.”
Deke held up a hand; he was looking at his mobile.
“Yes,” Mack said, pointing at him.
“Well, you might want to wear gas masks, I just got an alert. Someone with the same account bought the basic components of a nerve agent from the same chemical company.”
“Then we wear suits.”
“Jemma isn’t going,” Leo said.
Everyone in the room turned to look at him.
“We can discuss that,” Jemma said. “We’ll be in the proper gear and—”
“Nerve agent,” Fitz said, coming to stand beside Leo. She sighed. If something happened, she’d never forgive herself.
“Right, I’m not going.”
“But Jemma—” Mack started.
“Fitz and I will go.” Leo’s face was grim. “That two scientists. And why don’t you give Hunter and Bobbi a call? She’s a biologist, and what does that past stuff matter after everything that’s happened? They’d be here in a heartbeat, and then you'll have a biologist.”
Mack rubbed at his eyes. “I have a biologist right here.” He gestured at Jemma.
She bit her lip and looked at her boys before turning to Mack.
“Yes, but this biologist is pregnant.”
Chapter 12: Bubble-Gum
Jemma leaned against the wall of the bunk, watching Fitz and Leo suit up and fighting down nausea. Whether her stomach was turning from morning sickness or nerves, she didn’t know. Maybe a little of both.
She was in a skirt, blouse, and fuzzy slippers because the floor was cold, and she didn’t feel like cramming her feet into shoes at the moment, which would also be cold. The base itself had seemed chilly lately. Which, when she’d learned that the mission would take place at night and she’d be alone in her bed with no company, had seemed impossible to deal with and she’d grumbled under her breath about the artic nature of the air.
Leo or Fitz must have heard her, however, because the next day they’d presented her with an electric blanket they’d made to keep her toasty. She’d smiled, kissed them, and cooed over it, even though she absolutely hated it because she’d only need it when they weren’t there.
It was strange, watching them put on their tactical gear, even if the view of them in their fitted black pants wasn’t a hardship. They were making sure they had everything done up correctly and were divvying up who was carrying what equipment with barely a quibble.
The final touch was black knit caps because it was going to be freezing at the New Watchdog base. Jemma had taken it upon herself to stitch their names in white on the caps, but only on the part that could be folded down and hidden. With them in matching field gear and the hats on it was much more difficult to tell them apart.
She still could. Fitz’s scruff was thicker than Leo’s, and it was very obvious to her, but they’d appear almost identical to anyone else, and Jemma didn’t like the thought of them being interchangeable. Neither of them had complained, thankfully.
Leo and Fitz turned around, depriving her of her view.
“How do we look?” Leo asked.
She put a finger to her lips. “Not bad.”
Fitz raised an eyebrow and walked over to lean his shoulder against the wall beside her, wearing a look she knew very well. Jemma turned to face him. Her stomach seemed thrilled with the turn of events and settled down. And they should have enough time before the jet left.
Leo had his arms crossed and was watching her and Fitz intently.
She returned her gaze to Fitz and reached out to cup his cheek. “On closer inspection,” she murmured. “You look good enough to eat me.”
Fitz groaned and pushed her back against the wall. He braced his hands on either side of her head and leaned in to catch her lips. Jemma put her palms on his chest and opened her mouth, sliding her tongue against Fitz’s. She mewled as heat unfurled in her belly. Need, desperate and wild, rose in her. She whimpered with it.
Her hands were removed from Fitz’s chest by a firm grip on her wrists, and she was lost for a second until she figured out that Leo was undoing Fitz’s vest. Leo made quick work of it and slid it off Fitz’s arms one at a time. There wasn’t a pause in the snogging, and as soon as the vest was gone, Fitz used his entire body to push her against the wall.
She moaned. Fitz’s cock was hard and jammed against her thigh. “Need you,” he gasped, leaving her lips and kissing his way across her cheek to nibble at her earlobe as he dropped a hand to knead her breast. It felt good, then quickly became uncomfortable.
“Fitz,” she said, pushing against him. He immediately froze, and his head shot up.
“Tender,” she said, pulling at the arm of the hand that was on her boob.
“Oh, god, sorry, Jems. I wasn’t thinking.” His arm dropped.
There was a snort from Leo.
Fitz sighed. He reached down with both hands to undo his belt, then cursed. “Bloody thing—” He growled and stepped back, fighting with his gear.
Jemma didn’t know if she was looking sympathetic or if the fact she was trying not to giggle was showing. A finger caressed her cheek, and she nuzzled against Leo’s hand.
“You get your kit unstuck,” Leo said to Fitz. “I’ll keep her warm.” Jemma ran her hand down Leo’s chest. He’d already gotten his vest and t-shirt off, and his belt was nowhere in sight. She bit her lip at his proud look, then threaded her hand into his hair and pulled him close for a kiss.
He stepped back, and she followed, moving away from the wall. Leo put his arm around her and turned them both so her back was to the bed. She followed his lead until they bumped into the side of the mattress. Leo tried to push her backward, but she didn’t want to stop kissing him, so she stayed right where she was.
Leo pushed at her shoulders again, but she refused to stop kissing him, sucking hard on his lower lip so he knew she wasn’t kidding. He sighed, then both his arms were around her, and she found herself picked up before being toppled over onto the bed. When she landed, she giggled and scooted backward, Leo catching her leg before she got far.
“Knickers off,” he rasped, and she complied, pulling them and her skirt off and down her legs. Leo frowned when he had to let go of her and put his hand back on her leg almost immediately. He kissed her knee, then scooted up and kissed her thigh, pressing her legs apart with his hands so he could lie between them.
Leo didn’t waste time teasing her. His warm mouth fastened over her clit and sucked. Jemma’s back arched, and she moaned as her fingers found his hair and clutched at it to keep him from going anywhere. The bed shook as Fitz, now completely naked, settled on his side next to her. He put his hand on her belly and his fingers spread out. Leo’s hand left her leg and covered Fitz’s, a gentle weight on her abdomen. She put her hand over theirs, and the three of them paused for a moment. There was a little life, their child, growing safely inside her.
“I love you,” Leo said gruffly before returning to flicking his tongue against her clit. Fitz slid his hand under her blouse to gently cup her breast and circle his thumb over her nipple.
Jemma tilted her head to the side and sought out Fitz’s mouth, kissing him hungrily as her body spiraled towards climax. Fitz traced her lips with his tongue, swirled it around hers, and then used the end of it to rub against her tongue in an echo of what Leo was doing between legs. Her body undulated. Dear lord, she was awash in sensation.
Leo sucked at her clit again and worked his hands under her arse, lifting her slightly and tilting her pelvis. “Fitz,” he said. “Fingers.”
Fitz’s hand left her breast and headed to her pussy. He circled her clit while Leo dropped down and pressed his face against her sex, darting his tongue roughly into her channel. Jemma moaned, and her hips jerked. It was infuriating because he couldn’t hit quite the right spot, but it still felt good, and Fitz’s fingers were rubbing just right—
Her legs stiffened, and she let out a started breath as she came. Fitz kissed her wildly, and Leo continued lapping at her as she rode out the waves of ecstasy.
When she could see straight again, Jemma used her foot to bump Leo’s side. “Other thing now,” she said. Fitz chuckled, and Leo, his hair messy from her fingers, sat up and wiggled out of his slacks and pants. “I’m not sure why you two bothered with all that heavy gear when you were just going to be taking it all off again.”
“Practice.” Leo kneeled on the bed and stroked his cock as he looked at her. Her legs were still splayed, and she was wet from his mouth and her juices. Fitz was curled around her side, his hand tracing her breasts through her shirt and his cock pressed against her thigh.
Fitz nuzzled her hair. “Now we can put it on faster when we’re making a mad dash to the Quinjet.”
Jemma pursed her lips, but since she was the reason they’d be on the late side, she couldn’t argue.
“Still, I think it would have been more expedient if—”
Fitz kissed her. Which was perhaps a little rude, but she only sagged against the bed, cracking her eye open just in time to see Leo high five him. They were impossible, but she guessed she’d keep them anyway.
“Turn over,” Leo said to her, patting her thigh.
Jemma broke her kiss with Fitz and raised an eyebrow. “Are you certain? I may speak my mind again.”
Leo shook his head. “Fitz can think of something else for your mouth to do.”
Her other eyebrow shot up, and she pushed herself up on her elbows. Both Leo and Fitz were grinning, and she sighed. They were far too cheeky. “So that you know,” she wagged a finger at Leo before poking Fitz with it. “I’m doing this because I want to, not because you told me to.” Point made, she rolled onto hands and knees, paused to pull her shirt off, then slid her legs apart in invitation.
Fitz shuffled around on his knees until he was in front of her and put his palm on her cheek. His thumb caressed her lower lip as she opened her mouth. He quickly replaced his thumb with the head of his cock.
Leo had positioned himself behind her, and she sucked in a breath as his cock teased her clit.
Boy, the girl she’d been during her first semester at the Academy, with her color-coded notecards, an array of highlighters, and pressed slacks, would be so surprised to know that someday her life would turn out like this. That the cute, but pasty and awkward, boy who kept staring at her in class when he didn’t think she was looking, would end up being the most important person in her life. Well, that and that he’d end up doubled. Part of Jemma found it even more surprising that she, the ambitious, stars in her eyes girl, would be happiest when she was naked with that gawky boy.
That they’d started a family together.
Leo’s hand smacked her rear, and she moaned. That newly minted Academy-girl had had no idea what she was missing.
Fitz murmured something to Leo. They stilled, then pushed their hips forward at the same time. Fitz’s cock slid between her lips as Leo’s filled her channel. It was exactly what she needed, to be completely overwhelmed. She swirled her tongue around the prick in her mouth and pulsed her inner muscles against the one in her pussy.
Fitz and Leo both groaned. Leo pulled back, then thrust deeply again. He repeated twice more, making her moan around Fitz’s cock. She rolled her hips, and Leo took the hint, finding a steady rhythm that had her mewling as his sac slapped against her sex with each plunge. Fitz’s movements were gentler but at the same speed. She pressed her tongue against along the underside of his prick with each push in and flicked it over the head every time he pulled back. She couldn’t get enough of his salt and musk taste.
Fitz’s hands sank into her hair. “God, Jemma,” he whispered.
Having already come once, it wasn’t long before she was working towards another one. She swiveled her hips, her thighs tense and her belly quivering.
She gasped as she came, pleasure exploding from her pussy to the ends of her fingers and toes, only to come echoing back.
Leo was grunting as he continued pistoning into her, and Fitz had cupped his sac with one hand.
She’d barely come back to earth when she was suddenly at the edge again. Her hips jerked, and she moaned loudly as she came again. This time the pulses suffused every bit of her with warmth.
Her boys murmured praise and love to her. Leo caressed her back with one hand, the other firmly gripping her hip. She pressed her rear toward him and teased the slit at the tip of Fitz’s cock with her tongue.
“Jemma,” Fitz said. “God, Jemma—” Fitz groaned, and his hold on her hair tightened. His cock bucked as he came and she drank down everything he gave her, the taste familiar and welcome. She let him go when his cock stopped twitching, and he scooted to the side and lay on his back, panting.
Leo pulled out of her. She twisted to see what he was doing, but his hand pushed at her side, and she let him guide her to lay on her back, her head close to Fitz’s.
“Love you,” Fitz whispered to her.
“I love you too.”
He kissed her as Leo positioned himself over her and thrust back inside. He moved hard and fast, and she released Fitz’s mouth only to have Leo claim her lips immediately. He came in a flurry of hard thrusts, his breathing harsh as he snapped his hips forward one last time. He collapsed beside her on his stomach.
“Love you,” she said, stroking his back
“Love you,” he mumbled.
After a moment, both Leo and Fitz scooted closer to her and rolled to put their heads on her shoulders.
Jemma wanted to remain there forever, but the coms units on both vests emitted a burst of static that made all three of them jump.
“Leo, Fitz,” May’s voice cut through the static. “Get to the hanger now. We’re wheels up in ten.”
“Fuck,” Fitz said, wiggling out of bed. Leo followed a little slower, leaving Jemma to hunt around in the bedclothes for her shirt and skirt.
They did get their gear on much faster this time, and Fitz tossed Leo his boots. They didn’t bother with the laces, tucking them in. Leo grabbed his cane, snorted, and fished beside the nightstand until he pulled out a matte black one.
The three of them walked to the hanger. It was a little more than ten minutes, but the jet was still on the tarmac and equipment was being loaded when they arrived.
May held out her hand and, grumbling, Mack slapped ten dollars into it.
“What was that about?” Jemma asked.
Mack sighed. “May said she better call now because you three were probably, er, busy and wouldn’t arrive on time otherwise. I shouldn’t have taken the bet.”
May crossed her arms. “All three of you have sex hair.”
Jemma winced, and both Fitz and Leo immediately patted their heads. “Lost cause, I’m afraid,” Jemma told them. “Maybe put your hats on?”
They sighed in tandem but didn’t cover their heads.
Her boys went to double-check some of the more sensitive equipment, but Jemma stayed put, not wanting to hover. She watched them, chewing at her bottom lip.
May strode over to Jemma, stopping by her side. “I’ll look after them,” May said softly. “They’ll come home alive and unharmed.”
“Thank you,” Jemma whispered. May nodded and headed towards the jet. Jemma glanced around the hanger, spotting Deke talking to Daisy. Mack was staying behind to direct the op from the command center. Jemma wondered if he hated it as much as she did. Deke wasn’t going either. He’d said he didn’t have the training for this kind of thing, but Jemma had seen Leo and Fitz talking heatedly with him a couple of times, which made her think Deke was staying behind to take care of her.
For now, she’d let her boys think they’d pulled one over on here, but when they got back, she was giving them a lecture about not being allowed to coddle her endlessly. Except for when she wanted to be coddled.
The techs that had been prepping the QuinJet signaled that it was ready, and Jemma heart dropped along with her stomach.
Fitz and Leo hurried back over to her. His expression sad, Fitz wrapped her in a hug and stroked a hand over her hair. Jemma held him tightly. Leo put a hand on her back, and she kissed Fitz softly before turning and hugging Leo.
“You keep each other safe,” she said when Leo stepped back.
He cupped her check. “We’ll be back soon.”
Together her boys walked up the ramp and disappeared inside the jet. Jemma could hardly breathe. The tiny collection of cells inside her, their future, was worth a night of sleeping under a heating blanket. Her mind knew that. This baby was real. It’d already changed their life. But part of her felt like it was missing at the moment.
Mack put a hand on her shoulder as the jet lifted off. “My heart’s in there too,” he said.
“It won’t be a long mission.” Jemma tried to sound like she usually did to reassure Mack. “And we have a while to rest and eat before they get to the base. I might even do some laundry.”
Mack snorted. “Doesn’t that sound like fun.”
Fitz knew he should probably be doing something besides playing Candy Crush on his mobile as the QuinJet headed for the pickup with Bobbi and Hunter, but if he just sat there, he’d start panicking about having left his pregnant wife in Deke’s care. Part of him very much wanted to turn the plane around and head back, but if they wanted a life free of worry that the New Watchdogs were going to come after them, there was work to do.
He’d developed a back-seat player. Leo was leaning over and pointing out moves. Which should have been annoying, except they’d already unconsciously divvied up the game tasks, and it meant the levels seemed easier. What wasn’t helping was how tense Leo was, which was probably echoing how Fitz was, it was just easier to see Leo’s clenched jaw and feel how tight the muscle in his arm was where it was bumping Fitz’s.
You could easily take over the entire plane, a seductive little voice whispered, and Fitz winced as an entire plan unspooled in his mind. Terrific. He shoved his mobile at a startled Leo and dug around in his rucksack for his pills. He swallowed one without water and reached to take his mobile back.
Leo didn’t let it go. “Is everything alright?” Leo asked in a low voice.
“I just got a highly detailed plan about how to render everyone on her unconscious except for Davis, who I’d coerce to fly back to the Lighthouse,” Fitz grumbled.
“Ah.” Leo sighed and patted his arm before returning Fitz’s mobile to him.
“I take it you’re not getting the same set of instructions?”
“I took my pill before we left,” Leo said and pointed at the screen. “You can do four in a row here.”
Fitz swiped his thumb across the screen. It was much better to focus on digital candy.
Coulson was talking to Daisy across from them. Piper was asleep with her head against Daisy’s shoulder. Elena was reading a book and ignoring everyone. May was piloting, of course, and Davis was in the co-pilot chair.
Jemma not being there made everything slightly off-kilter, but the only thing worse than there being a hole where she should be would have been the constant worry of losing her or the baby. Or both. It was barely even a baby this early, but all the potential the little bundle of cells held made him dizzy.
Leo flexed his hands. “I don’t think I can do this again,” he said to Fitz.
“Go on a mission?”
Leo nodded. “We belong where ever Jemma and out child are. I know we’re making the world safe for them, but…bloody hell, this is too rough.”
Fitz hunched his shoulders. “I didn’t think I’d hate it this much.”
Leo pointed out another match as the QuinJet’s engines whined and they began to descend. Fitz and Leo played in silence as May set the jet down. The back hatch had barely started to creak open when May appeared. Fitz glanced over at her.
“I’m looking forward to this,” she said with a nod.
Fitz snorted and went back to his game, though nerves were making his hand shake. Every new person was another chance to be misunderstood, to be judged or questioned. It was much easier when Jemma was right there, and everything made sense and was peaceful. At least the pill had done its job, and he wasn’t getting any more helpful advice on how to incapacitate his friends.
Footsteps clanked on the open hatch door. Fitz turned off his mobile and slid it into one of the pockets on his vest before wiping his palms on his trousers. Leo leaned his shoulder against Fitz’s, and Fitz met his eyes, which echoed the same uncertainty Fitz was feeling. At least it was shared.
Coulson had risen to greet Bobbi and Hunter, and was shaking their hands as the ramp closed behind them. Bobbi’s hair was much shorter than the last time Fitz had seen her, but Hunter looked the same. From what Fitz could hear, Coulson was briefing them on the mission. Bobbi glanced around the jet, nodded to May, waved and smiled at Daisy and Piper, but then her eyes landed on Fitz and Leo. Her mouth fell open, and she blinked a few times before poking Hunter’s shoulder.
“What?” he said.
She put a hand on the top of his head and turned it towards where Fitz and Leo were sitting. Hunter’s face scrunched up in bewilderment.
May smiled and headed back to the cockpit.
Fitz mentally braced himself.
He didn’t have to wait long. Hunter marched over and planted himself right in front of Leo and Fitz. “What the fuck is going on?”
Fitz shared a glance with Leo.
Hunter’s eyes darted around the jet. “Where’s Jemma? She’ll have an answer, and it better be a good one.”
Leo sighed. “She’s not here.”
Hunter grimaced and held up his hands. “Where the hell is she then? I moved heaven and earth and made someone—” he jerked his thumb at Bobbi “—royally brassed off at me to get you to her. And now she’s not here? And explain this.” He waved at Leo and Fitz.
“Sweetie,” Bobbi said, coming to stand beside Hunter. “I’m sure there a perfectly logical reason for everything.” Her face became stern as she fixed Fitz with a glare. “Now talk.”
Fitz rubbed the back of his neck. “Um, Jemma, not being here, uh…we needed you, Bobbi, as a biologist—”
“That’s a complete non-answer,” Hunter interrupted. “Elephant. Room.”
Fitz could see Daisy and Piper giggling into one another shoulders, and even Coulson and Elena looked highly amused.
Leo slumped back in his seat.
The jet’s engines roared to life, and they lifted off, but neither Bobbi or Hunter moved.
“Okay, okay,” Fitz said. “I go by Fitz. He’s Leo.” Fitz pointed at his counterpart. “We were the exact same person until the cryo-pod opened. Leo made it to the future, helped save everyone, came back. And I…” He trailed off and shrugged.
Leo put a hand on his shoulder. “When the time loop broke, it changed everything, but I was still out there, waiting for a future that didn’t exist. I couldn’t imagine waking up to a world without Jemma.” Leo’s grip tightened on Fitz’s shoulder. “I couldn’t let it happen, even if it meant that there would be two of me.”
“Let’s pretend that made sense,” Bobbi said. “But it still doesn’t explain why Jemma would let you two wander off on a mission without her. Where is she, at the Lighthouse?”
“We left her with Deke,” Fitz said.
“Who the hell is Deke?” Hunter was completely exasperated.
“Uh,” Fitz didn’t know how to answer that.
“More confusing time travel stuff. Deke’s our, Jemma and our, grandson.”
Hunter and Bobbi both blinked.
“Don’t try to figure it all out,” Daisy said. “Just roll with it.”
Coulson leaned forward in his seat. “This base we’re headed for is a research center. We need people who can tell us what we’re looking at. So Leo and Fitz, and now Bobbi. Jemma couldn’t come because she’s pregnant.”
Fitz winced in tandem with Leo.
“What?” Coulson said, deadpan. “Was I not supposed to say that?”
“Makes sense.” Bobbi hefted a shoulder and went to sit beside Coulson. Hunter dropped into the seat beside Leo.
“Congrats. That’s good, but I have so many questions.” Hunter drummed his fingers on his thigh. Fitz groaned. “So…Leo, you married Jemma, right?” Leo nodded cautiously. “But what about Fitz?”
Fitz held up his hand. “Ditto.”
Hunter snorted. “Okay, weird, but whatever. What I really want to know is: do you have a schedule? Switch off nights? Like sister-husbands?”
“Hunter!” Bobbi exclaimed, but Fitz grinned at Leo, and they both laughed. Leo waved a hand at Bobbi.
“It’s okay,” he said. Bobbi rolled her eyes and glanced at where Piper and Daisy were whispering to each other.
“Well?” Hunter leaned forward. “Inquiring mind here.”
“Wait!” Bobbi nearly bounced in her chair. “Wait, no. Jemma is the most practical person I know.”
Hunter flashed her an annoyed look. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Do you seriously think she’s going to bother with having two completely separate rooms to clean?”
A line appeared between Hunter’s brows. “No?”
“No,” Fitz confirmed, and Bobbi’s smile was smug.
“So…” Hunter seemed to be struggling. “I don’t get—”
“Jemma sleeps with them at the same time,” Elena said. “They are both married to her, they share her in bed, and she’s pregnant.” Everyone had turned to look at Elena. “Now can we go back to talking about the mission?”
Fitz bit his lip and nudged Leo with his elbow, who nudged back. It was a succinct description of their life.
The line between Hunter’s brows had gotten deeper. “Really?”
“Yes,” Leo said, using the end of his cane to smack Hunter’s leg.
Hunter batted at it, then frowned. “Hey, uh, Leo, I’d heard you’d gotten hurt. You sure you’re cleared to come on this mission?”
Fitz straightened up, offended. “He’s fine. It’s mostly a search and destroy mission. We see what they’re up to, send the minimal staff out of the base with proper shelter, Daisy uploads a virus into their computer system so we can track their network and find them, and then we blow it up.”
“Ah.” Hunter rubbed at his ear.
“And,” Fitz continued. “It’s not just a cane. It’s got defensive and offensive capabilities. You should show him.” Fitz nudged Leo again.
“My hand’s got a warming function,” Coulson said, holding up his prosthetic one.
“That’s…nice.” Hunter didn’t seem impressed, and Coulson looked annoyed as he lowered his arm. “What about you, Fitz?”
Fitz perked up. “I’m going to be carrying the gravity gun.”
Hunter’s jaw dropped. “The what?”
Jemma pressed her hands to her jaw, trying to quell the riot of anxiety inside her. There was still a chunk of time before the team reached the base and turned on their cams.
Not that she knew what to do with herself until then. Snippets of projects she could be working on dancing through her brain, only she was too worked up to tell if they were current ones or unfinished things from the past. She was almost sure one equation demanding attention had been from a half-baked idea her and Fitz had come up with after a late night at the Boiler Room.
A shudder passed through her. She needed not to be standing and shivering in the middle of the hallway.
“Hey, there you are!” Deke’s hand landed on her shoulder. She took a deep breath, looked up into his face, and burst into tears. His brows drew together. “It’s okay,” he said, pulling her into a hug. “The mission will be over before you know it and Fitz and Leo will be here to bug you again.” Deke stroked her back.
Jemma tried to do something besides cling to him and cry, with little success. “I’m sorry,” she managed to get out between hiccupping sobs. “H-hormones.” It was very embarrassing. She was the strong one who took care of others, not the one that cried over a routine mission.
“Want some ice cream?” Deke asked.
She started to say no because how could she eat right now? But her stomach growled. She ended up nodding. “Y-yes.”
Deke ushered her to the kitchen and opened the freezer as she grabbed paper towels to clean her cheeks with. The tears had stopped at the promise of food.
“What kind do you want?”
“What are you having?”
Jemma made a face. “Not something I fancy. Vanilla will be fine.”
She sat at the table and had gotten control of herself by the time Deke set a bowl full of vanilla down in front of her with a spoon stuck in it. He sat across from her a dug into his obnoxious looking choice. It was green.
Deke ate a few bites. “So, you’re…you’re pregnant?”
“I hate ice cream.”
“That’s not what I asked?” He looked perplexed.
“That was a yes. Because otherwise, I’d never be eating this.”
He nodded and looked down at his bowl, poking at the ice cream with his spoon.
“It’s not your mum,” she said gently, needing to remind both herself and Deke.
“I know.” He didn’t look up.
Jemma ate a bite. It wasn’t bad, though it didn’t taste a good as she’d been hoping. “I’m sorry I can’t give her back to you.”
Deke sighed and finally met Jemma’s eyes, giving her a sad smile. “My mom was a good person, but you know what? She wouldn’t mind that she wasn’t born if it meant that her sister or brother grew up on a world that was whole. That they can go to school and college. Get a degree. She hated that she didn’t have that chance, that she couldn’t decide who she was going to be.”
The ice cream lost its flavor completely, and Jemma set her spoon down. “I hate that I’ll never meet her.”
“But it’s okay,” Deke said, wiping at his eye before shoveling a huge spoonful of ice cream into his mouth.
Jemma picked her spoon back up but just held it. “When Fi…when Leo got hurt, and I thought he was going to die…I sometimes wished that we hadn’t stopped it. I was so angry that everyone else got a future when my happily ever after was what was broken instead. Which I can recognize as not being a rational thought process, but at the time I wasn’t feeling rational at all.”
Deke dropped his spoon and held his hand out, and she took it in hers. “It wasn’t a fairy tale, not even close. Yeah, my mom had good memories of you and would tell me stories, but I hardly remember you at all because you died when I was very young. After that, Bobo…Fitz was broken. He didn’t last much longer, though I do have some clear memories of sitting on his knee at his workbench as he showed me how to take things apart, fix them, and put them back together. Those are good ones.”
Jemma took a deep breath, but there were already tears on her cheeks again. “I’m sorry.”
“Trust me.” Deke squeezed her fingers. “Nana, trust me, my mum would want things to be like this more than anything. She would be so happy to know that I’m sitting here with you, eating ice cream and that there’s a beach to go to, a sky, mountains. Wind. Maybe not tornados. Could do without those.”
Jemma laughed through her tears and Deke smiled.
“I know this baby is technically my aunt or uncle, but that’s kind of weird. I thought maybe,” he paused and visibly swallowed. “I thought I could be Uncle Deke? The cool uncle that spoils them?”
Jemma wiped her face with the back of her hand, nearly sticking herself in the eye with her spoon. “I’d like that.” Deke’s green ice cream was starting to look like it might not be too bad. The color was growing on her. “We can do all kinds of family things together, but especially holidays. You always have to come for Christmas and New Year’s.”
“I promise.” He was solemn, and Jemma knew he would do whatever it took to be there. A future with her family around her sounded very promising. Her work was still extremely important to her, but there were so many memories of good times with loved ones she wanted to create that no amount of time in a lab would ever replace.
She nodded at Deke. “Thank you for staying with me. I didn’t think I’d turn into such a watering pot.”
He grinned, and she let go of him to reach across the table with her spoon and sink it into his ice cream. Quickly she shoved the bite into her mouth. The sweet taste washed over her. It was exactly what she wanted.
“I thought you didn’t like bubble gum ice cream?”
“It’s so good. Disgusting, but good.”
He nudged the bowl towards the middle of the table. “Share it with me?”
Chapter 13: Sub-Zero
“Isn’t it fucking spring?” Hunter asked, looking around at the deep snow that covered the landscape.
Leo pulled his cap down tighter, grateful that it was as warm as it was. He should have known Jemma would only send the best equipment. Fitz was hunched up in his jacket with his hat jammed onto his head. Ice was already crusting the hair on his face, and Leo was sure he looked just as miserable. The gravity gun slung over Fitz’s shoulder had frost on it as well, but it should still work. There’d not been time for actual tests, but simulations had shown functionality at temperatures lower than anything recorded on Earth.
Coulson and May were consulting a tablet, and, after a few moments, they started walking towards the horizon, where hopefully the base was. Thick clouds hid the night sky, and it was impossible to see almost anything once they were away from the jet and its lights turned off. There was the faintest silver sheen, which meant it wasn’t pitch black, but only barely.
It was hard going in the deep snow, and Leo’s side was soon burning, and nerve pain was shooting down his leg. Terrific. He grimaced, but kept going, until Fitz’s hand grabbed his arm.
Fitz leaned in close. “Walk behind me.” Leo nodded and waited for Fitz to plow ahead, then followed in his footsteps. It was less work than breaking the snow, and he mentally kicked himself for not thinking of it earlier. Or first. He’d been determined not to need anyone’s help but was grateful Fitz had seen him struggling and not made a big deal out, just given him a solution. Damn it. He wasn’t used to feeling grateful about himself.
The base’s buildings were squat structures, a few windows with yellow light just visible over the snow. Most of the complex lay buried in the permafrost, and the team's access point was a service tunnel.
“Elena,” Coulson said. “Give us a quick scout.”
The snow flew into a flurry that hadn’t settled by the time she returned. “Nothing stirring. I didn’t see anyone in the labs, either. Must be dinner.”
May nodded and led the team towards where the tunnel was. There were tire tracks in the snow that appeared to drop into nowhere. The tunnel had a bed of dark black asphalt that was clear of snow.
“They make people come out and shovel?” Daisy asked.
Fitz bent down to press a hand to the surface and shook his head.
“It’s heated,” Leo said.
Bobbi shrugged a shoulder. “Makes it easier for us.” She pulled her batons out before heading into the tunnel. The others readied their ICERS, and Fitz powered on the gravity gun. Leo gripped his cane more securely and ran a thumb over the buttons on the handle, hoping they weren’t frozen.
“Cameras on,” Coulson ordered. Leo pulled his out of his coat pocket and settled the tiny device on his head before activating it. He was acutely aware that now Jemma would be able to see what he did and hear him speak. It made him feel closer to her.
The overhead lights were off in the tunnel, but there were dull red lights along the sides painting everything a muted crimson. It was brighter than outside, and Leo did his best to inspect everything as they descended. Several semi trucks were parked to one side of the tunnel as they neared the end. Hunter and Bobbi scouted them out, but they were empty and their engines cold.
Leo kept looking at the ceiling of the tunnel. There were air vents and pipes, but something was wrong about it. He nudged Fitz and pointed up. Fitz made a face.
“Nothing’s insulated,” Leo said in a low voice.
“Maybe they’re just incompetent?” Fitz’s nose scrunched up further. “There’s not enough ductwork for a high-tech lab. Or pipes.”
“What are you two thinking?” Coulson asked, coming over to stare upwards with them. “Looks like a ceiling.”
“Something’s off,” Leo said. “Either these people are incompetent, which is a possibility, or there’s something else going on because there’s not enough ventilation for laboratory work, and nothing’s insulated. Any water in those pipes would freeze every night.”
“The price of getting a plumber out here has to be astronomical.” Coulson crossed his arms, then turned back to the rest of the team. “Fitz and Leo think there’s something off. Everyone be extra careful. Piper, May, flank the doors. Daisy, be ready to quake anything that comes out of it.”
Jemma walked into the command center. She paused, closed her eyes, and slowly counted backward from ten. She couldn’t be the weepy pregnant lady right now. Or the scared wife. Or really anything besides an Agent with a mission to complete.
Her professional calm settled over her and she clung to it. Going to stand beside Mack, she quickly scanned the cams, which were all broadcasting different views of a tunnel. She found Leo’s view quickly enough, but her stomach filled with butterflies until she figured out that Fitz’s was labeled ‘James’, which made her feel funny. It was a better disambiguation that ‘Fitz’, but it was still odd.
“They’re in the tunnel, just outside the base’s entrance,” Mack said. “Your boys are worried because the pipes and air shafts don’t appear outfitted for a lab.”
Jemma grabbed a tablet and pulled up Leo and Fitz’s feeds, running both back until the red tinted pipes and conduits were visible. Where was the insulation? Or labeling? And why was there only one set of air conduits? She stuck an earbud in one ear, listening to Fitz and Leo having the same thoughts, even as she watched the main screens where Leo was hacking the door’s security. The sound of their voices made her heart ache.
When she set the tablet down, Mack touched her arm. “What do you think?” he asked.
“Same as them. Something’s off. Either this is an extremely tiny lab, or it’s not what it seems.”
Mack’s hands tightened into fists. Jemma didn’t need to ask how he felt. If their intel was wrong, and someone was hurt…she took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
“Hey,” Deke said, coming to stand beside her. “We in?”
“Not yet,” Mack replied.
“Leo’s opening the door,” Jemma said, then dropped her voice. “I’m not sure this is a research facility.”
Deke frowned. “Fuck.”
“My sentiments exactly.”
Nobody had come rushing out of the base’s entrance, and there hadn’t been a hail of bullets, both of which were good. The first few rooms had been barren. Now the team was working room by room down a hallway. It appeared to be a series of labs, with workbenches, sinks, and instruments. A cursory glance, or an untrained eye, wouldn’t have realized anything was wrong.
Fitz wasn’t an untrained eye.
“You seeing this, Jemma?” he whispered.
Her soft voice spoke in his ear. “Copy. The chemicals on the counter, methylbenzoic acid, and thionyl chloride, they shouldn’t just be sitting there. And there’s no fume hood in this room.”
“Thionyl chloride is used to make DEET, isn’t it?” Leo asked, frowning at the large plastic jug.
“Yes,” Jemma said. “And nerve agents.” Fitz could feel her worry over the comm link.
He met Leo’s eyes, then waved Coulson over.
“I heard,” Coulson said. He stared at the jug, then made a hand signal that indicated everyone needed to have their respirators and eye protection ready to go. The team collectively pulled out masks and looped the fasteners around their necks, ready to pull them up into place. They were a special design that…Fitz didn’t know quite how to put it now. That he and Jemma had perfected at sci-ops? But that excluded Leo. That he, Leo, and Jemma had…no, not right either. Anyway, the masks had been designed for maximum protection with minimal weight, but protection was time-limited once the seal on the respirators was broken. It was useless to have them on before they were needed.
They swept the rest of the room and proceeded to the next. The same containers were sitting on the counter.
“Maybe they got a discount?” Daisy asked.
Fitz shrugged. “These labs aren’t set up for making chemical weapons. Or biological experiments. Or anything.”
“They’re for show.” Leo held up the cord to a minifridge that was sitting on a counter. “Nothing’s even plugged in.”
“It’s a trap,” Elena said.
“Why haven’t they sprung it?” Piper said from where she was standing in the room’s doorway.
Coulson grimaced. “We haven’t done whatever it is they want yet. The part of the mission that was science-based is a wash, but this is still a New Watchdog facility and should still link up to their servers. We keep looking for a computer. Just be on high alert.”
Fitz sighed. “Guess we’re S.O.L. on getting ahold of the cloaking technology.” He was glad Leo would feel the same amount of disappointed he did, instead of trying to explain his crankiness to Hunter.
“I think you’re right.” Leo rubbed at his temples and titled his head back.
“Get out of there now!” Jemma’s panicked voice blared in everyone’s ear.
“What?” Mack asked as the team scrambled out into the hallway and Coulson slammed the door shut.
Jemma put a hand on his arm. “Look up,” she said into her mic. Fitz did, but the ceiling was just tiles. “Are the door to the labs all closed?” Fitz glanced both directions in the hallway.
“I think so,” he replied.
“Report, Simmons,” Mack snapped.
“When Leo looked up I could see the fire suppression system.” Jemma fought down nausea to keep her voice steady. “The plumping is wrong, and the attachments are not standard. They’re set up to diffuse gas, not water.”
There was a loud scraping sound behind her, and she turned to find Deke, his face pale, pulling over a chair. When it was in place, Jemma gratefully sank into it.
“They’ve got masks?” Deke said in her ear.
“That’ll work for ten to fifteen minutes.”
“It’ll be okay.” Deke sounded sure, and Jemma wished she felt that confident.
Mack’s gaze narrowed. “Find a computer,” he said to the team. “And make it quick. We need to get this mission over.”
Leo leaned on his cane as he followed the others. The odds of finding a working computer seemed slim. Why would the New Watchdogs have bothered? This place was set up as a death trap. At the end of the hallway, they rounded the corner and found what appeared to be a security gate and guard station. There was a computer that Daisy immediately claimed, while the others pointed their weapons to where a hallway on the side made a sharp turn in a mirror of where they’d just come from.
“I…I don’t think this is going to work,” Daisy said after a few long, tense minutes. “This is an extremely rudimentary system, and I think it’s only connected locally.”
“Surprise,” Leo muttered. Fitz elbowed him.
Bobbi was hunched down beside Daisy, looking at a haphazard pile of books.
“What do we do now?” Piper asked. “Do we call this a bust and head back? Or do we keep going?” She glanced at Coulson.
He shook his head. “I don’t know. I…”
May grabbed his arm and put her finger to her lips. Coulson fell silent. Leo moved to stand close enough to Fitz that their shoulders were touching. Fitz’s hands tightened on the gravity gun.
There was the sound of boots pounding on the linoleum.
Jemma put her hand over her mouth to keep from making a noise and distracting the team as they rushed back around the corner of the hallway. May peeked out. Her camera showed nearly two dozen well-armed men standing or kneeling by the security station. She quickly ducked back into cover as a bullet slammed into the wall close to her.
“Well, fuck,” Hunter said.
“They’re probably waiting outside the back door we used.” Bobbi flipped her batons in her hands.
Daisy slumped against the wall. “I need a link to the New Watchdog system.”
“There’s too many for you to quake,” Coulson said.
Jemma pulled up the footage from May’s camera and ran it back.
“Look,” Deke tapped his finger on the screen. “This guy here. He’s got a tablet.” The person in question was ducked down behind the first row of kneeling soldiers.
“Leo,” Jemma said into her mic. “There’s a man with a tablet in among the shooters. Sort of at two o’clock from the hallway entrance.”
“That’ll be linked to their system.” Leo glanced at Daisy, who nodded.
“Why haven’t they released the gas or the second team swarmed in the back?” Mack asked. Jemma’s heart threatened to beat out of her chest.
“There aren’t any gas spigots in the hallway,” she said.
“An error?” Jemma grimaced. “Or perhaps they don’t wish to gas their soldiers. I’m more worried as to why the second team hasn’t advanced.”
“They don’t want to put holes in us or our equipment.” Fitz’s voice was tight.
Leo’s sigh was loud. “They want to do to us what we were trying to do to them. They’ve got us between teams, and they expect us to hide in one of the fake labs, then they’ll take us out with gas.”
Deke’s hand wrapped around Jemma’s.
Mack braced his hands on a table and hung his head. “Elena, can you get that tablet?”
“Si. There’s too many for me to disarm them all, but I can get the tablet.”
“I still need to time to hack it,” Daisy said.
Piper pressed against her side. “And we need to get out.”
“One problem at a time.” Mack’s voice was tight. “Jemma, Fitz, and Leo, work on a way out that’s not shooting everyone. Elena, get the tablet, Daisy, get the worm into their system. Hunter, Bobbi, May, Piper and Coulson, you keep her alive.”
Leo took a deep breath, trying to stay calm. He pictured Jemma, her eyes bright and a baby in her arms. That was what he wanted most. His wife and child happy and safe. He glanced at where Fitz had squatted down on his heels and had a hand scrabbling through his hair.
Jemma was Fitz’s wife as well, and the baby was his baby. Leo slowly let his breath out. He wasn’t needed. He was expendable and with his side and pain, the slowest in the group. If it came down to it, he’d sacrifice himself. He wouldn’t be missed for long. Jemma would still have her husband, and it was even him, she wouldn’t have to mourn Leo deeply.
He was expendable.
There was a flurry of motion from the hallway entrance, then a few gunshots and confused yelling from the New Watchdogs. Elena triumphantly handed Daisy the tablet.
Daisy hooked her mobile up to it and began to work. “It’s a live link,” she said. “Now I need time.”
“Don’t know how much you have,” Hunter said, pointing at the far end of the hallway. It was cracked, and the muzzle of a rifle was visible. Hunter squeezed off an ICER round that hit the door. The muzzle disappeared.
Leo planted his cane and dropped down beside Fitz. “We need a plan.”
“I know,” Jemma said. “I’m trying to think. There’s not a lot there to work with.”
“Too bad they’re not mosquitoes,” Deke’s voice was distant and tiny. “Because didn’t you say there was stuff to make pesticides?”
“Yes, but as annoying as they are, they’re not giant insects, just men in mostly polyester uniforms.” There was a sudden intake of breath. “Polyester!” she cried.
Fitz and Leo shared a look. “The chemicals.”
“Explain,” Coulson said.
Leo pushed himself back to his feet. “It’s not a good idea to use DEET on polyester, because it can eat the material.”
“I don’t think making them naked is going to help,” May grumbled.
Fitz stood, and his fingers fanned out. “But it will. It’s freezing out there, and if we can alter the formula like we’re going to need to, the energy from the chemical reaction will be nearly burning. They’ll think they’re on fire, then be unbearably cold.”
“Dispersion?” Jemma asked after quickly running through chemicals and ratios they’d need.
Fitz looked down and patted the gravity gun. “I think I have a plan.”
Leo flexed his fingers. “We still need to get and mix the chemicals.”
“They’ll gas the rooms.”
“Yeah.” Leo dragged a hand down his face and grabbed his mask. “That’s why I’m going to do it. I love you, Jemma. I’ll get your husband home to you.”
He didn’t give her time to respond, just ripped his camera and earpiece off, tossed away his cane, and sealed his mask against his face as he beelined towards the closest lab door. As soon as he was in, there was a hiss from the overhead valves. He ignored it, instead grabbing a large metal trash bin and thumping it on the counter.
He knew the formula and started lining up the right jugs. There wasn’t much time. His side pulled, and he had to stop and pant through the pain. The door opened a smidge, and another figure slipped in before slamming it shut.
“Hunter?” Leo asked, surprised.
“I’m helping you out, you berk.” The gas mask muffled Hunter’s voice.
“Just tell me what to do, there’s not much time. Bobbi’s holding Fitz back and your wife is sobbing uncontrollably.”
Leo hesitated. “I’m—”
“Trying to play the hero like always. Come on, hurry up. Time’s ticking.”
Leo pointed at the heavy jugs. “Into the bin.” He didn’t let himself hope. He wasn’t making it back. The nerve agent might have already poisoned him despite the mask. It was meant to give him time to flee, not to work in a contaminated environment.
Working fast, Leo measured out smaller amounts of reagent, giving the beakers to Hunter.
“What happens if the gas gets to us?”
“Um, runny nose. Then paralysis. Loss of control of bodily functions.”
“Terrific. I’ll die shitting myself. Bobbi is going to be so pissed.”
“They’ll leave us here.”
Hunter grumbled something as he stirred the mix with a broom handle. “We done?”
“Actually, yeah.” Leo squished down hope again. He looked through the narrow window on the door. “Everyone’s moved further down the hall. We have to strip off our outer gear when we get out there.”
Leo slipped out and held the door open just far enough that Hunter was able to get the bucket and then himself out. They quickly backed away from the room. A cough was tickling at Leo’s throat, and he forced it down as he pulled his winter gear off, even his hat and boots. Last part was the gloves. Hunter did the same. They pulled off their masks, and Leo finally gave in and bent over, coughing uncontrollably.
It was chilly in the hallway, and Leo shivered. He stood back up just as Fitz plowed into him, wrapping him in a bear hug, there were tears on Fitz’s cheeks.
“If you ever do anything like that again, I’m going to kill you,” Fitz said.
“There’s atropine on the jet, Jemma.” Bobbi was frowning as she spoke into her mic. “But I think they’re okay.” She walked over and punched Hunter’s shoulder, then kissed him.
“Is Jemma very mad?” Leo asked.
Jemma was on her feet, shaking in rage. “You bloody idiot!” she yelled, even though she knew Leo couldn’t hear her. “You don’t get to decide things like that. Not again. Not ever! Am I mad? I’ll show you mad.”
“She’s a little upset,” Fitz said to Leo.
“Tell him I’m going to rip his lungs out through his nose!”
“Uh…Jems, I don’t think that’s going to help.”
She made an inarticulate sound of anger, but then Mack’s arm went around her. “Let’s get you all home. Then we can talk about extreme violence. Daisy, report.”
“Everything is nearly in place. Just another minute or two.”
There was a loud noise that made Jemma jump, and Mack let her go. It repeated. Gunshots.
“We don’t have time,” Bobbi barked. “They’re trying to close the noose.”
Leo found his cane shoved in his hand by Elena as Coulson sent an ICER round towards the corner leading to the guard station. It’d seemed like a good idea, being able to shoot and not kill New Watchdog scientists, but if the soldiers figured out the rounds weren’t lethal things were going to get hairy fast.
Fitz powered on the gravity gun and sent the beam out to curl around the bucket.
“Okay,” Hunter said. “That’s cool.”
“You can keep it steady?” Leo asked as Fitz started walking towards the door to outside.
Fitz snorted. “I can juggle. This is easy.”
Leo wasn’t so sure, and he hoped Fitz was better with the gun than keeping bean bags in the air.
At the door, Bobbi and Hunter shared a look.
“We need cover from both directions,” Bobbi said.
“We got them back here.” May gestured down the hallway with her ICER. “And Davis is ready to drop the jet down to the tunnel entrance.”
Hunter nodded at Bobbi. “We’ll get the door, then.” She stowed her batons on her back and accepted an extra ICER from Hunter.
Leo picked his cane up. “Once we’re in the clear I have a surprise for anyone thinking they can tail us.”
Coulson nodded, and Fitz grit his teeth.
Bobbi kicked the door open, and she and Hunter rushed through with her close behind. There were a few shots from the Watchdogs, which increased as Fitz sent the bucket through the door.
Hunter yelled in pain, but it was drowned out as Fitz upended the bucket and immediately pulsed the gravity gun, making the thick liquid falling from the bucket spatter over the waiting New Watchdogs. They howled as their uniforms began to dissolve.
“Now,” Bobbi yelled, and the team made a run for it. Daisy was the first out. She held up a palm and sent the already terrified soldier spinning away from the door.
They moved as fast as possible away from the downed New Watchdogs. Daisy sent one of the empty semi trucks tumbling over on its side once the team passed it. The boom of the truck landing and the loud crumpling of metal echoed off the tunnel walls.
Hunter’s thigh was bleeding, and Bobbi had an arm under his shoulders, helping him along. Leo’s teeth started chattering, and his side ached, but Fitz propped him up, and half dragged him along towards the now visible Quinjet. Leo was absurdly grateful for the heated asphalt of the tunnel under his feet. It wasn’t warm, but it wasn’t going to give him frostbite. And the frigid air was numbing his side.
He fumbled with his cane, pressing a series of buttons before forcing Fitz to pause. He deployed a base stabilizer which allowed the cane to stand on its own and set the cane with the handle pointing to where the New Watchdogs were starting to climb around the truck.
“What is it?” Fitz asked as they resumed their dash towards the plane.
“Directional sonic attack. Should buy us a little more time.”
Leo glanced back in time to see one of the soldiers drop his gun and clamp his hands over his ears. As soon as they reached the jet, it was lifting off and the hatch closing. May headed for the cockpit, Coulson and Elena collapsed into seats, Hunter was on the ground with Bobbi pressing gauze over the hole in his leg.
“I’m fine,” Hunter said. “It didn’t hit an artery.”
Bobbi sighed. “You’re never fine.”
“That’s not what you said last night.” Hunter yelped as Bobbi pressed harder.
Piper draped a thermal blanket over Hunter’s torso, then wrapped on around Leo’s shoulders. Now that the adrenaline was waning, he was starting to feel the chill.
Fitz was digging in a locker, finally holding up a small packet. “A self-warming tea kit.”
“Thank you,” Leo said. “Jemma—”
“She’s gone to get some rest,” Fitz said. “But let me tell you how glad I am that I’m not you.”
Leo chuckled. “Just make the tea.”
Jemma woke up as the bed dipped. She’d fallen asleep under her electric blanket as her relief at her boys being safe had given way to exhaustion.
“Fitz?” she whispered.
“It’s just us,” a voice responded as both sides of her blanket raised and Leo and Fitz snuggled against her.
“You were supposed to stop for fuel and rest and be back in the morning.” She yawned.
“No one wanted to wait,” Leo or Fitz said.
She started to push herself up. “I should go see about Hunter’s leg.”
“Piper’s already taken care of it. It was a small caliber, and he didn’t lose much blood.”
“Oh, good.” She lay back down and rolled to her side. She was too muddled with sleep and emotions to be a very effective physician at the moment. One of her boys spooned her, and the other kissed her forehead. “Leo, I’m still incredibly mad at you.”
“I know,” said the one spooning her. His hand dropped down, and his fingers spread out over her belly. “But can we save the lecture for tomorrow? I’m exhausted.”
“Love you, Jemma,” Leo muttered.
“Love you, Jems,” Fitz echoed.
“And I love you both.” Jemma pressed back against Leo and grabbed a handful of Fitz’s shirt. “You’re never to leave my side again. I’m serious. Agreed?”
They spoke at the same time. “Absolutely.”
Chapter 14: Strawberries
Fitz was still groggy. He was half asleep with his head resting against Leo’s shoulder, and Jemma was doing the same on Leo’s other side. They’d been woken up much too early by a call from Mack, who’d wanted a full debrief. Despite bagels and several cups of tea, Fitz still didn’t feel like he was completely awake.
Leo was a lot more alert, and he stiffened every time Jemma opened her mouth, waiting on the inevitable cussing out. Though Fitz had no idea why his counterpart was so worried, it was obvious Jemma wasn’t about to tell him to start sleeping on the sofa.
Fitz was looking forward to Jemma being in a proper fury over Leo thinking he was going to martyr himself. Mostly because Fitz was upset about it too, but he was having an issue articulating exactly why. Shouldn’t he want Jemma all to himself? Only now…now it would feel wrong without Leo there. Fitz had never imagined being in a situation like this, but it was normal now. The thought of it changing made fear gather in his belly.
Normal was waking up warm and comfortable in a tangle of limbs and no one wanting to move. Normal was knowing that no matter what, there was someone to back him up. Normal was someone who laughed at his jokes even if Jemma rolled her eyes, who understood when he was grumpy and shared his candy stash, someone who understood that Jemma, and now the baby, were more important than anything else in the world.
In a way, Fitz supposed he’d come to love Leo. Love himself. Which was confusing. It was a warm, comfortable feeling. It wasn’t like how he felt for Jemma. When it came to being physical there was a line he was in no way ready to cross, but Fitz liked Leo being there. They were closer than brothers. And honestly, Fitz has zero issues sharing Jemma sexually, as long as it was with Leo. It was almost funny. Fitz had never thought he’d be enough for her, but she could hardly complain now with the two of them to keep her busy between the sheets.
Speaking of things he wanted to do, Jemma was at the top of that list. If this meeting would ever end.
Daisy was rattling off a report about the cyber attack on the New Watchdogs. Her two-pronged attack had worked. The virus that was the more obvious one and been detected by the group and stopped. So far, the New Watchdog’s hadn’t realized it was a decoy, and the second, less obvious virus had done what it was supposed to, spreading through their system and lighting up their locations along with making copies of files from every computer and device it infected.
The best part was that it had brought a great deal of shady financial details to light, and Mack had started disseminating the information to every government that would talk to him. SHIELD might not have the manpower to take down the New Watchdogs by force, but the Watchdog’s penchant for tax evasion would.
Mack was also working on a PR campaign, counteracting the hardline the New Watchdogs had taken. The fact that there were records for the purchase of agents used in chemical warfare was a big blow to their image.
Daisy wrapped up her report, and Mack finally dismissed everyone.
Fitz stood and stretched. He grabbed Leo’s sleeve and helped pull him upright. Jemma remained sagged against the back of her chair, but her eyes narrowed as she gazed at Fitz and Leo.
“I’m going to go check on Hunter. Then I want to talk to the two of you. Alone. In our bunk.”
“Alone?” Fitz asked, going for hopeful. Alone could be good.
Jemma stood. “I need privacy to yell me head off—” Fitz’s eyebrows rose. “—in anger.” Jemma turned on her heel and marched out of the conference room. Fitz’s shoulders slumped.
“You guys are in trouble,” Daisy sing-songed as she walked passed them. “If you’re still alive later come help Piper and I sort through all the data we’re still getting from the New Watchdogs.”
“Sure,” Fitz said, wincing at how unenthusiastic he sounded. He wanted to nail the bastards to the wall, sure, but he wanted to…uh…nail Jemma a lot more.
Leo sighed and leaned on his cane. “This is going to be terrible,” he whispered to Fitz as they walked towards their bunk.
“Probably. I might yell at you too.”
Leo heaved another sigh. “I deserve it.” Fitz wasn’t about to argue that point.
In their room, Fitz leaned against the wall while Leo perched on the side of the bed and ran his fingers through his hair. It was tempting to sit beside him and reassure him. It would be okay. Jemma would get angry and snarl a bit, Fitz would probably do the same because he was hurt too, but in the end, there would be makeup sex and a lot of delicious cuddling. Too bad they couldn’t just skip to that part.
But Leo needed some yelling at. Had he really thought Fitz and Jemma would be okay without him? Were all these feelings on Fitz’s part one-sided? It’d been easy to assume they weren’t because Leo was usually in lockstep with Fitz on things. But maybe Fitz was wrong or hadn’t communicated well enough that to him, the three of them made up their family.
Keeping silent wasn’t going to make anything better. Fitz needed to break that tendency if they were ever going to get anywhere. Might as well start.
“What are we, to each other?” Fitz asked, and Leo raised his head.
“What do you mean?”
“We’ve just been stumbling along, trying to figure out how we fit with Jemma and how all three of us fit together, but what about just the two of us?”
Leo’s face scrunched up. “I…I’m not sure how to answer that. I care about you. I care about what happens to you. I don’t want to see you hurt.”
“Because Jemma wouldn’t?” There was a tremor of worry in Fitz’s chest. Was Leo just going along with Jemma’s wishes? That was entirely a possibility. Fitz knew he’d do anything she asked, but he’d started hoping that their little group was more than that.
“Well, yes, and no…” Leo ran his hand through his hair again. “No in the sense that I don’t just care because Jemma does. I’m not simply putting up with you if that’s what you mean.”
The knot in Fitz’s chest unwound a little. “Me either. I care about you. You’re my friend, closer than any brother. We know everything about each other, good and bad.” Fitz pushed off the wall and went to sit beside Leo. “And while we’re not the same person anymore, we’re still linked, reflections of each other. I think I’ve avoided talking or thinking much about what you mean to me because…because I’ve never liked myself much.”
Leo huffed. “Same here. No matter what I tried to do to prove myself, I always thought I fell short, but now…” he trailed off and rubbed the back of his neck.
Fitz understood with absolute clarity. “Now I can see myself from the outside. And I think, that maybe…I am, or I should say we are, not so terrible. That Jemma’s love is not misplaced.” Fitz put a hand on Leo’s back.
“Yeah,” Leo said quietly.
“Still not sure what we should call our relationship.”
“I have no idea,” Leo said with a chuckle. “But I can put up with you, and there’s not a lot of people that feeling applies to.”
“That’s the truth.”
Leo turned towards Fitz and hugged him. Fitz returned the embrace. “I’m not about to start making out with you or something,” Leo said.
Fitz choked back a laugh. “Might keep Jemma from yelling at you if she walked in and found us snogging.”
“Still not happening.”
“God, no. I’m in no way, shape, or form ready for anything resembling that.” Fitz sat back and smiled at Leo. “Admitting I care about you was difficult enough. It’s still a little weird that we see each other naked as much as we do. I was in no way prepared for feeling as turned on as I do by watching you and Jemma together.”
“Bloody hell, you’ve got that right.” Leo shook his head and scuffed his toe on the floor. “Is it odd I sometimes wish we were more different? When we’re with Jemma?”
“Not really, but I don’t know what you could do that wasn’t permanent. I mean if you fancy a cock ring, go for it.”
Leo fixed him with a glare. “No.”
Fitz shrugged. “Tattoo?”
“What about if you just shaved?”
Leo groaned. “Terrific, if I want to look like a twelve-year-old.”
“I didn’t mean your face.”
Leo’s brows drew together, and he glanced down at his lap. “You’d think Jemma would like that?”
“No idea, and it grows back if she doesn’t.”
“How do I do it? I don’t think I want to just grab a razor and have at it.”
Fitz’s balls jerked in sympathy. “What about the clippers with no guard?”
“That’d work.” Leo left his cane next to the bed as he went to the bathroom. Fitz waited with his arms crossed. A few minutes later there was buzzing. It stopped quickly, and Leo stuck his head out of the loo. “I hate to ask, but can I get some help? My side isn’t going to let me bend how I need to.”
Fitz rolled his eyes. “Sure.” He entered the bathroom and took the clippers. With the two of them the light was mostly blocked, and Fitz couldn’t see what he was doing. “Out in the room, or I’ll end up pinching something you don’t want pinched.”
Unplugging the clippers, Fitz carried them to the bedroom and plugged them in by the bed. Leo followed, stopped to strip his shirt off and drop it on the floor, then pushed down the front of his trousers and pants just enough to expose his pubic hair. It was obvious where he’d made a start, as one side was uneven.
“Don’t read too much into this,” Fitz said, getting on his knees and tugging Leo’s trousers down a little further. Leo was watching him with a worried look as Fitz flicked on the clippers.
Jemma knew she was working herself into a snit. She’d checked on Hunter, who was doing absolutely fine and seemed to be enjoying having Bobbi fuss over him, and she was headed back to her bunk.
Leo should have known better. They could have found another way. Maybe just snatching the chemicals and dashing into the hallway. Or at least he could have said something before deciding he was the one to risk death when he had a baby on the way. Not that Fitz, all of him, had ever asked her opinion on playing the hero.
She just had to let Leo know he was valued, that he deserved to be around just as much as Fitz, singular, did.
Jemma barged into the room, intent on giving Leo a piece of her mind, only to stop dead in her tracks. Her first thought was they’d started without her, but then she registered the buzzing noise and put it together that Fitz was helping Leo shave his groin. That was unexpected.
The clippers turned off. “I think that’s it,” Fitz said.
“I hope you have a rational explanation for this.” Jemma tried to keep her face stern as both her boys flushed as they turned to look at her. Fitz scrambled to his feet.
“Getting a trim.” Leo waved a hand at where the top of his cock was just visible.
“He wanted to be a little different when we’re in bed.” Fitz set the clippers down on the nightstand with a thunk.
Jemma crossed her arms. “I thought it was something else at first.” Leo and Fitz’s blushes deepened.
“We talked about that,” Leo said, a little hesitantly. “Not something we’re interested in.”
“That’s a discussion for another time.” Her fingers flexed, and she slammed the door closed on those thoughts. “I’m very upset with you, Leo, and I don’t know if I should scream, or break down into tears, or just break something, because risking yourself like that wasn’t your decision to make. Even if I’m barely pregnant, I am pregnant. It’s not just me you’d be leaving.”
Leo tugged his trousers back up and returned to sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Well?” Jemma said.
Fitz’s hand shook against his leg. “And it’s not just Jemma or the babe, but me too. There’s three of us needing you around.”
“I guess I’m not so sure.” Leo’s voice was quiet. “Jemma, you have Fitz now. He’s not hurt, he didn’t violate Daisy because he lost control of the demons in his head, he’s a more perfect version of me. And he’s your husband.” Leo hung his head. “You don’t need me.”
Jemma wiped at her eyes, then crossed the room and put her hands on Leo’s shoulders. “Leo Fitz, I won’t stand for this.” She pushed him backward, and he landed flat on his back. Fitz appeared and helped her climb on the bed so she was straddling Leo. She ran her hands over his bare chest. “Leo, you’re the man who saved me from the Kree. You played the marauder to perfection, and you were my hero that day.” She leaned forward, looking into his pain-filled eyes. “You were the one who got everyone home. Who I married, who figured out how to close the rift.” Leo’s eyes darted away from her. “Do I approve of how you did that? No. It’s never going to be the same for us and Daisy. And yes, that hurts. But you’ve been taking steps since then not to let it happen again. And you’ve helped Fitz not to suffer the same problem. I can respect that. We jumped out of a plane together. We saved England from killer robots. You outfitted the Zephyr for space. That was you, not Fitz.”
“Jemma—” Leo ran his hands down her sides but didn’t seem to know what to say.
She looked to where Fitz was sitting cross-legged on the bed, she reached out and took his hand as she settled her other one over Leo’s heart. “I love both of you. Very much. Our family is us. It’s you, Leo, and me, and you, Fitz. And now the very tiny being growing inside me. One of us simply can’t decide to split us up. We’re in this together.”
“Together,” Fitz said, getting to his knees and leaning forward to kiss her cheek.
“I’m sorry, Jemma,” Leo said. “I’m sorry.”
“And seriously, no more leaving, of any kind.”
“Never again.” His eyes were shining with unshed tears. “I’m sorry, I love you.”
Jemma wasn’t entirely sure she believed the never again. There’d been a lot of promising not to leave each other side’s since Leo had found her in the future, and those promises kept getting broken. And while it was probably an impossible goal, she’d appreciate if fate could be on their side, for once.
Fitz scooted closer. “I understand, Leo. You know I do. Giving Jemma the last breath, diving through a hole in a universe for her, trying to find a way to keep her and everyone we care about from ever getting hurt again—”
“A lot of good that did,” Leo snapped, turning his head away from Fitz. It took her a second to realize they were talking about AIDA and the LMDs. She hadn’t thought of it like that. Even the Framework itself was supposed to be a place to perform dangerous experiments in without anyone being hurt. It’d just gotten so twisted with the Darkhold.
“I don’t know if you can keep everyone safe all the time.” She lightly scratched her nails on Leo’s chest until he looked at her. “It’s a noble goal. I love you for it.”
Fitz poked Leo’s shoulder. “I think it’s time we stopped with the grand gestures. That’s what this is really about. Or at least change them to hand dipping strawberries in chocolate, or something else much less death related.”
Jemma’s mouth watered. “Strawberries?”
“See?” Fitz said, poking Leo again. “Maybe in our own house.”
Jemma looked down at the man under her, then at the one beside her. “I’d like that. I’ve been talking to Deke and…I don’t want to raise our child here in the Lighthouse.”
Leo cupped her cheek. “We’ve saved the world a lot. Might be someone else’s turn. And I really am sorry, Jemma. And Fitz.” Leo turned his head towards his counterpart. “I owe you an apology too. You were right there. We should have combined our brain power to work out a solution.”
Fitz set a hand on Leo’s shoulder. “Don’t you think I feel like I’m the one who’s extra? All those things Jemma listed? I wasn’t there. I’m just some kind of leftover. I struggle with thinking I’m important or even needed at all.”
Jemma was floored. “Oh, Fitz, no—”
“Fuck that,” Leo said. “You’re a part of this family. We need you. If it makes you feel better, you can take all 3 am diaper changes.”
“What? Wait—” Fitz started.
“I like this idea!” Jemma chimed in, relief ebbing into her. “Thank you for volunteering.”
Leo let go of Jemma and patted Fitz’s leg. “Just kiss her.”
Jemma grabbed Fitz’s shirt and pulled him forward before he could say anything else. His lips met hers, and she groaned, wiggling her toes against Leo’s leg. His mouth was warm and soft, and she kissed him hungrily, needing him to feel how much she cared.
Leo’s fingers brushed up her thighs and under her shirt, paused to stroke her belly, then headed upwards to her breasts. “Are we done with the talking?” he asked, plucking a nipple.
Her hips bucked. “I think so,” she said, releasing Fitz’s mouth and tugging at his shirt. He pulled it off, then shuffled behind her and took hers off as well. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed the nape of her neck, pushing his hips tight against hers. She ground back against him. Heat was beginning to pool in her belly. Desire that was sweet and hot.
Leo bucked up against her core, and she whimpered. “I need to be naked.” She circled her hips, pressing against both Leo and Fitz’s rapidly hardening cocks. “You two need to be naked.” She bit her lip. “Maybe it’s time to,” she waved her hand, indicating all of them.
“Would you like that?” Leo asked, voice deep and rough. “Both of us working to give you pleasure?”
“Both of us filling you up?”
Jemma shuddered. Even the thought was like touching a live wire. “Yes.”
Fitz shifted back and off the bed, and Jemma reluctantly followed. They both discarded pants and trousers quickly, and Jemma grabbed the lube from the bedside table. Leo had moved on the bed so he was lying with his head on the pillows and had wiggled out of his trousers and pants as well. He was watching her, his hand slowly stroking his prick.
She tossed the lube beside him and turned to Fitz, pulling him close and snogging him. His hand went to her hip, and he pushed his cock against her thigh.
Leo groaned, and Jemma remembered she wanted to get a look at his newly shorn groin. She nipped sweetly at Fitz’s lower lip before letting him go and hopping onto the bed. Crawling on hands and knees, and letting Fitz get a good look at her rear and already slick pussy, she made her way over to Leo and pushed his hand away from his cock.
“What do you think?” he asked as she studied him.
Jemma ran a finger over the closely shorn hair. He wasn’t silky smooth, but it was quite nice. “I think I like it.” Leo grinned. She bent over and kissed the head of his cock.
“Come up here,” Leo said, gently tugging at her hair. She crawled up next to him, and he turned on his side. She did the same, and he cupped her cheek as she kissed him. Fitz lay down on her other side and stroked her back.
“You smell good,” Fitz said nuzzling the back of her head.
“Like Jemma.” Leo kissed her chin and raised his head to suck on the skin of her neck.
She laughed. “I’m glad I don’t smell like someone else.”
“Mm, me too.” Fitz’s hand found her breast and gently cupped it as his thumb strummed over her nipple. “Just sweet Jemma.”
She wiggled, and Leo sucked harder at her neck. It was going to leave a mark, but she’d wear a turtleneck rather than complain.
“We need you to relax,” Leo said, his palm gliding down her thigh. He raised his head further to look at Fitz. “Fingers?”
Jemma squeaked as Leo’s hand moved to caress between her legs. His fingers were sure as they circled over her clit. Fitz’s hand left her, there was the sound of the tube of KY being squeezed, and then she sucked in a breath as his finger, cold with lube, pressed against her anus.
Leo’s lips returned to hers, and he teased her tongue with the tip of his. She closed her eyes and sunk into the sensations. The feeling of Leo’s teeth, lips, and tongue, the roughness of the pad of his finger against her clit, the slight pressure of Fitz’s finger on her anus, and the feel of his breath warm on her shoulder.
She moaned softly as the pleasure began to build. Fitz’s finger slid inside her, working gently in and out of her rear as the one Leo had on her nub drover her higher. Fitz added a second finger, and she inhaled sharply, but he waited until she was used to it before moving again.
Jemma’s hips began jerking as her climax neared. She kissed Leo desperately, their teeth clicking in her desperation and he moved back with a grunt, but he was back a second later, sucking on her lower lip as she rolled her pelvis against their fingers.
Her legs stiffened as she came. “Unh,” she gasped, her body pulsing with release. Jemma pressed hard against Fitz’s fingers, but it wasn’t the sensation she needed. The orgasm was both relief and frustration. “More,” she said when she was able to.
Leo chuckled. “You’ve very demanding.” He removed his fingers from her and casually licked at them, his blue eyes bright.
“Oh, fuck you,” she grumbled, flopping on her back as Fitz removed his finger from her and rolled towards the nightside to grab something to clean them off with.
Leo grinned. “That’s the idea.” He reached over her to retrieve the lube. “Now turn over the other way.” She did so, watching Fitz’s back as Leo snuggled up behind her and patted her ass. Fitz returned to lying on his side, facing her. He looked relaxed and happy, and Jemma couldn’t help smiling back. Leo rolled slightly away from her, there was the sound of the tube being squeezed again, and he returned to being close behind her. She inhaled sharply as his cock, slick with lube, slid down her crack and found her ready anus.
Fitz kissed her, and she moaned softly as Leo worked the head of his cock inside her ass. He paused, breathing harshly, and she felt him nod at Fitz, who scooted up close to her front. She closed her eyes.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yes,” Jemma breathed. She was a little worried, not sure if she’d be able to take both of them inside her, or if she could, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to come. She’d been imagining this for a long time, and if didn’t work, she was going to feel terrible.
“Jems,” Fitz said. “We don’t have to do this. It can wait. If you don’t feel up—”
Her eyes popped open. “I’m ready.” Did he think she wasn’t up to…oh, wait. Challenging her was what he was trying to do. She hooked her leg over Fitz’s hip. “I love you,” she said. “But you know me far too well.”
“Love you too,” Leo said, pressing a little more of his cock into her ass and making her grunt.
Fitz wiggled forward and used his hand to line up his prick with her pussy. “Love you,” he said, thrusting forward and sliding his cock inside her almost to the hilt.
Leo mumbled something before he surged into her, not stopping until his prick was entirely buried in her and she could feel his shorn groin against her ass. She was full, stretched around their cocks and hovering somewhere close to paradise. It was a little odd, but she didn’t hurt, which was the best-case scenario.
Fitz pulled his hips back and pushed them forward again, groaning softly. He repeated the motion a few more times before Leo followed suit.
Jemma bit her lip. It was overwhelming, and she could barely do anything besides feel. Fitz’s thrusting became faster and a little harder, while Leo’s motions remained slow and easy. Everything between her legs was being stimulated, and it was nearly too much. Her climax built swiftly, and she didn’t teeter very long at the top before falling into a deep and primal bliss.
She thought she might have screamed. This was far beyond best case. She was made of desire and ecstasy.
They were moving as one. Jemma’s hips rolled as Fitz and Leo surged and ebbed inside her. Jemma thought she might be crying as another peak made her wordlessly keen her joy as the pleasure rolled through her in endless waves. Fitz’s mouth latched onto hers, their moans mingling.
The glide of their bodies together was everything. Every time she’d been alone, or scared, or afraid, this is what she’d dreamed of. Being covered in love. Perhaps not this exact scenario, but Leo was mouthing her neck, and Fitz’s face was full of awe, and she would never go back and change anything if it meant missing this.
“Jemma,” Fitz moaned, closing his eyes and resting his forehead against hers. His hips stuttered and churned frantically. Leo groaned, and his movements become wilder. She reached back to grab his hip, encouraging him by pulling him against her with each thrust.
Fitz’s cock bucked, and he grunted loudly as he came, the sound becoming a whimper as he emptied himself into her.
She kissed him softly as he quivered through his orgasm.
Leo moaned, his climax hitting just as Fitz’s cock stopped pulsing. “Fuck, Jemma!” Leo barked as he spasmed against her. He buried his face in her hair as he rode out his orgasm, gasping softly and finally sagging against the bed.
None of them moved.
Jemma was thrilled they were a sweaty, tangled, satisfied mess.
Maybe she could fall asleep, except there were strawberries in the fridge. Red, ripe ones that would taste so good. They’d be juicy and delicious and, damn it, she really wanted strawberries.
She pushed at Fitz, who snorted, then popped an eye open. “Uhgh?” he muttered.
“Move,” she said. “I need strawberries.”
“What’s that,” Leo asked, sounding slurred. She wiggled, and both her boys scooted away from her, which left her feeling empty and a little sore. And a lot sticky. She scrambled over Fitz and went to the bathroom to clean up, returned with a rag for Leo, who still looked dazed, and pulled her clothes on.
Fitz yawned. “Can you bring them back here?”
“Why? Do you want some?” She wasn’t entirely sure that she’d been planning on sharing.
“No, but I’d like you to be here.”
“Yeah,” Leo added, chucking the flannel into a corner near the bathroom.
“I’m just going to be eating strawberries,” she said.
Fitz’s lower lip pushed out. “There’s not been enough cuddles. That was one of the most profound experiences of my life, and you’re going to get fruit.”
“Yeah,” Leo said again.
Her heart melted. “I’m pretty sure this is a craving. I’ll get them, bring them back, and you can feed them to me while we snuggle.”
“Naked snuggling?” Fitz glared at her with his one open eye.
“Yes,” she said with a laugh. “And for the record, I think I might have touched heaven there for a moment. It’s just—” Jemma shrugged and put a hand on her belly. She was tired too, a little wobbly on her feet, and she was sure there was a hickey on her neck, but none of that was going to keep her from strawberries.
Fitz nodded and his eye closed.
She hurried to the kitchen, grabbed a basket of the berries, and beelined straight back towards her bunk. The only person she passed was Elena, whose brows went up as she pointed at her own neck.
Jemma gritted her teeth and put a hand over the spot until she was safely back in her bunk. As promised, she undressed and returned to sitting between her boys, who appeared to be valiantly struggling to stay awake.
Leo took a berry, kissed it, and held it to her mouth. The taste exploded across her tongue, and she sighed. It was as sweet as she hoped their life would be.
Goodbyes were hard.
Leo stared up at the circle of cloudless sky visible over the walls of water that thundered around the edges of the landing platform.
Fitz was standing beside him, watching Jemma as she hugged and chatted with the team. It’d taken them longer than they’d wanted to leave the Lighthouse, but there was snug and secure cottage waiting for them near Glasgow. That Jemma wanted their child to grow up close to where he had still shocked him, but his mum, after she’d gotten over the surprise of abruptly having two sons, had been thrilled.
Jemma’s parents had hardly blinked at Leo and Fitz but had gone a wild when Jemma had said she was pregnant. It was good to know where he ranked.
At just over four months pregnant, Jemma was already starting to show, which delighted her. And him, if Leo was being honest, but Jemma was absolutely glowing. Which made it difficult for both him and Fitz to keep their hands off her. Jemma didn’t seem to mind that at all.
Coulson stopped in front of Leo and Fitz. “Part of me wants to apologize,” he said. “I had no idea what I was asking when I recruited you and Jemma.”
Leo shook his head. “Don’t.”
“I wasn’t going to.” Coulson put his hand on Leo’s shoulder. “We all did what we had to, but you three, or four now, need to go out there and live in the world that’s still here. We sacrificed to save it for the future, which you’re making. My wish for you now is peace.”
Fitz frowned. “You do know SHIELD is still paying us? We’re officially consultants now.”
“I know, but I cornered Mack and told him not to do anything that would put any of you in danger.”
“Thank you,” Leo said. “But text Fitz or me if there’s something you need us to solve. Jemma doesn’t have to know.”
Coulson fixed him with a glare. “Then it would be my life at risk.” He clapped Leo’s shoulder, then pulled him into a hug. “You’re going to be a great father.”
Leo was close to tears and unable to get any words out. He hoped Coulson knew how much he meant to him. How much of a father he’d been. Which was an issue to discuss with the therapist that he, Leo, and Jemma already had appointments with. She had SHIELD credentials and clearance, but Leo would bet the poor woman had no idea what she was in for.
Letting Leo go, Coulson hugged Fitz as well.
“You’ll come and visit?” Fitz asked when Coulson straightened up.
“I’ve already bought the loudest baby toys I could find. You better believe I’m going to help your son or daughter drive you up the wall.”
Leo chuckled. “We’ll see you soon then.”
With a last wave, Coulson left to walk over to where Jemma was talking to Mack
“Are you sad?” Fitz asked Leo in a low voice.
“Yes,” he said. “But I can’t say why. I’m going to miss everyone, but it’s something else. Like I’m saying goodbye to more than people. Maybe the idealistic dream Jemma and we had when we started.”
“Saying goodbye to those starry-eyed kids who thought saving the world would be fun and not exact a toll?”
Leo nodded and met Fitz’s gaze. Simultaneously, they looked towards Jemma. She was laughing, her eyes bright and a hand resting on her belly.
“Maybe it was the price we had to pay to reach here,” Leo said. It’d been high, maybe too high, but being loved by Jemma was not something he could ever put a value on.
“Hey,” said a voice behind them. Leo and Fitz turned to find Daisy standing there. “You look like doom and gloom.”
Leo rubbed his temple. “It’s odd, leaving.”
“We’ll still see you,” she said with a shrug as she toyed with something she was holding in her hands. “And I don’t know how to say goodbye, but I did want to say I’m happy for all of you. This is where I wanted you and Jemma’s story to go.” She rolled her eyes. “Okay, maybe this isn’t exactly how I imagined it, with two of you, but close enough. And if you need a name, Skye is a pretty cool one.”
“It is.” Leo smiled at her.
Daisy looked down at what she was holding before holding it out to Leo. He took it, realizing it was the hula girl that had once been in her van. “Daisy—”
“You take her and put her somewhere safe, okay? And don’t let your brat play with it.” She smiled to soften her words, but then spun and walked away before Leo could think of a reply. She wiped her eyes and Piper said something to Jemma before hurrying over and putting an arm around Daisy. They disappeared inside the base.
The Quinjet’s engines kicked on.
“We should go,” Leo said. Fitz nodded, and they went to collect Jemma, who was openly crying and hugging Elena.
It was time to start their future.
Jemma wiggled on the exam table and the paper under her crinkled. The room was dark, and the woman performing the ultrasound was clicking keys on the machine as she set it up.
The little town that was now their home had been initially scandalized by Jemma and her two husbands, who she had introduced as being a set of twins. However, once everyone figured out Leo and Fitz could fix nearly any piece of machinery or electronic gadgetry, they’d been made very welcome. Every few days Jemma would get a call for her to “send one of those husbands of yours round” to set up a wi-fi network, or repair a washing machine, or once the elderly woman two farms over had asked for Leo or Fitz to come and get her cat out of a tree.
Fitz had returned with a clawed-up hand and a giant plate of fresh cookies.
“Pull your shirt up,” the nurse asked, and Jemma scrunched the fabric of her blouse up to expose her belly. Leo and Fitz were on either side of her. They were radiating tension, as this was their first ultrasound. Jemma was certain the baby was fine and growing well. Today was just a formality.
“Cold gel,” the nurse said as she gooped Jemma’s baby bump.
Jemma bit her lip and Leo and Fitz each grabbed one of her hands.
The nurse moved the ultrasound wand this way and that on Jemma’s stomach, a line appearing between her brows. She repeated a few of the movements with the wand, glanced at Jemma, and shook her head. “I’m going to get the physician. It’ll be just a moment.”
Jemma’s heart was pounding. “Is something wrong?” Fitz and Leo’s fingers were nearly crushing hers.
The nurse smiled. “Relax, dears, nothing bad, but I’m sure Dr. McKee is going to want to be the one to tell you this.”
She bustled out of the room, and Jemma turned towards Leo.
“I’m sure it’s fine,” he said, which would have sounded more convincing if he wasn’t pale and his voice hoarse.
Fitz hunched up and pressed his forehead to the back of her hand.
Dr. McKee, who was a gentle giant of a man, shuffled into the room behind the nurse, who put the wand back on Jemma’s belly. The physician frowned at the screen and took the wand, shooing the nurse to the side as he sat on the stool beside Jemma.
“Well, you three are never going to believe this,” he boomed. “Ready to see?”
Jemma nodded as fear pooled in her chest.
Dr. McKee turned the screen towards them. “Here’s your baby? See it kicking?”
Leo gasped as a tiny leg on the screen moved. Fitz was leaning over her, staring slack-jawed at the screen. Jemma was going to cry. That was their baby.
The physician shifted the wand. “Here’s its wee face. Going to look like mum, I think.” Jemma couldn’t help the tears that ran down her cheeks. She was already in love. Dr. McKee shifted the wand again, and for a moment Jemma didn’t know what she was looking at. “And here’s your other baby. From the way they’re laying in there I’m going to say you have yourself a set of identical twins. That’s some impressive odds.”
Jemma was speechless. How had she not guessed that she was having twins?
“Two?” Fitz squeaked.
The physician laughed. “You should play the lottery. A set of identical twins having a set of identical twins. Here in a few months, you’re going to be glad for the extra hands.”
Leo was staring at the screen. “I think we’ve beat enough odds,” he said quietly. Jemma acknowledged the images of those odds that floated out of her memory but didn’t dwell on them. Her therapist would be pleased.
“Do you want to know their sex?” Dr. McKee asked.
Jemma nodded. “Yes, we’ve already talked about it. I’d very much like to know.” Twins. They were having twins. Leo and Fitz’s mum was going to be over the moon.
The wand glided over Jemma’s belly again. “Don’t be shy,” Dr. McKee cooed. “Ah, there we are. Twin girls.”
“Can we have a minute?” Fitz asked, and the physician nodded as he cleaned off Jemma’s belly.
“Make an appointment at the front,” he said, handing her a printout of the shot that clearly showed two babies. “I want you back in a couple of weeks.”
After he’d lumbered out, Jemma pulled her shirt down and wiped her face.
Leo still looked stunned, but Fitz was pulling his phone out. “I’ve got to tell mum.”
Jemma laughed. “You do. And we’re going to need a whole second set of everything.” She couldn’t stop smiling and pulled Leo into a hug. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders, and she buried her face against his shirt.
Fitz reached his mum at her office and eventually managed to get the words out about the babies. His mother’s scream was audible through the speaker of the mobile.
“We’re going to be a family of five,” Leo said. His hand caressed Jemma’s belly, and he kissed her softly. “We’re going to need a bigger car.”
Fitz was half asleep, relaxing in a recliner. His six-month-old daughter was lying on his chest, completely asleep. Leo was snoring on the couch, napping along with their other daughter, who was sprawled on top of him.
Jemma was in the kitchen, having insisted on making a chocolate cake for Deke’s birthday.
Fitz’s mum had taken Deke out shopping, and they were bringing Indian takeaway home for dinner, which was what Deke had asked for. Jemma’s parents had already thrown him a party two days ago before he’d driven north to see his aunts.
Deke loved them an insane amount and was always buying and sending them things. They were going to grow up very spoiled at this rate.
Which was fine as far as Fitz was concerned.
He touched Ellie’s soft cheek. She and Sarah were miracles.
Dr. McKee had been surprised by how well Jemma’s labor had gone. Fitz knew her well enough to know it hadn’t been as easy as she’d been making it seem but compared to so many other things they’d been through, the pain of bringing their daughters into the world had not been worth fussing over. At least according to Jemma. Fitz and Leo had been panicked until they were both holding tiny, red, and very loud babies.
Jemma’s organization skills had proven invaluable with two new little ones in the house. Fitz had thought she’d gone overboard during the last month of her pregnancy, when he’d wake up and it’d be just him and Leo in the bed. More than once they’d found Jemma relentlessly organizing onesies by color or arranging outfits in plastic bags to cover the twin’s first two months of life.
Fitz had been proven very wrong once Ellie and Sarah were home. It’s been a whirlwind of feedings and burping and nappies.
He sometimes felt like his heart had grown in size to hold all the love he had for his daughters, and he understood much better how Jemma had felt when she’d first had both him and Leo. There wasn’t a limit on how much love one person could give.
Ellie stirred and blearily raised her head. Fitz hastily stood, but Ellie’s face was already screwing up. She was the instigator. If she cried, Sarah cried. Fitz knocked Leo’s shoulder with his knee as he passed the couch. “Empty babies,” he said as Leo’s eyes opened.
Leo immediately popped up, Sarah burbling in his arms.
Jemma met them at the door to the kitchen. “The timer on the cake will go off in ten minutes.”
Ellie sniffled and held her arms out to her mum.
“We’ll get it on the cooling rack,” Leo said as Fitz passed Ellie over. Jemma hurried towards the bedroom, having found it was easiest to nurse the twins while sitting on the bed. Leo followed her with Sarah, which left Fitz on cake duty.
Their kitchen was warm and currently smelled of chocolate cake. The room wasn’t big, but it was homey, with a rustic table and a stove that looked old fashioned, but was modern. Jemma had insisted on a classic look, from the salvaged wood floor to the blue gingham and white lace curtains.
Fitz hadn’t been able to articulate how happy he’d been when instead of trying to mash together some delivery mechanism for alien antiserum, he was working out how to hang the curtains his wife wanted over the sink.
Daisy’s hula girl sat perched on a shelf beside a clock that looked like a cow, well out of the reach of little hands.
The things Mack asked them for were still challenging but were more on the equipment side, and the current project was a new suit for Daisy. Jemma was certain they could create a better alloy for her gauntlets.
Daisy had been tickled to no end when they’d named one of their daughters Evelyn Skye. The other was Sarah May, and Melinda had cried, just a little, when they’d told her, though she’d never admit it.
Coulson and May visited nearly once a month. Technically they were checking the progress of projects and bring needed supplies, but after dumping the crates, they’d spent the nearly their entire stay cuddling the babies. Sarah and Ellie essentially had three grandmothers.
The timer dinged, and Fitz carefully checked that the cake was done before removing it from the oven. He set it on the cooling rack and was just putting down the hot pads when the back door cracked open, and Deke peeked in.
“They’re awake and having a bite to eat,” Fitz said, and Deke relaxed. He was wearing a new coat, which his great-grandmum had probably bought him. He waved behind him, and Fitz greeted his mum with a hug and a peck on the cheek as Deke went back to the car for the takeaway.
Fitz held the door open, letting the afternoon sun warm his face. A breeze wound through the trees that were a windbreak for the cottage, swaying the branches. In the garden, the crimson and peach heads of Jemma’s roses bobbed.
It was peaceful and lovely, and Fitz’s heart was full. Life was sweet.
Twelve Years Later
Jemma laughed as Hunter ran by, chasing his six-year-old son. The boy was everything he and Bobbi deserved.
The London Zoo wasn’t too crowded since it was Tuesday afternoon, and Lance Jr. was simply rushing to keep up with Jemma’s son, who was seven and very determined to see everything possible. He’d made a list.
His older sisters were keeping an eye on him, and Fitz was watching them, while Leo sat with Jemma on a bench as she rested her feet.
Bobbi sat down on her other side. “Snack?” the toddler in Bobbi’s arms asked hopefully.
Leo produced a bag of apple slices from his rucksack and handed the little girl one while Bobbie looked incredibly grateful. “I’m exhausted with just one in diapers,” she said. “I don’t know how you managed the twins.”
“Lots of help,” Jemma said, resting a hand on Leo’s knee. “And it gets much easier once they get older.”
Bobbi sighed and resettled the squirming toddler in her arms. “I hope so.” She pressed her lips into a line and glanced at Jemma and Leo. “Speaking of little ones. I hate to ask, but I thought you were going to stop with three.” She gestured at Jemma’s seven-month baby bump.
Leo grinned wolfishly.
“We were,” Jemma said. “It seemed like a good idea not to be outnumbered. It was a bit of an accident, actually. After Leo was so badly hurt, he was told that he was most likely sterile. Fitz got a vasectomy after Thomas was born. We’d all just gotten so used to thinking that it was him that was…” She gestured towards where the children were clustered, and Fitz was explaining something about the monkeys they were looking at.
“Turns out I’m not firing blanks,” Leo said happily. Jemma smiled at him. He’d been thrilled when she’d gotten pregnant again, and Jemma was happy for him. Even if genetically the children were technically both his and Fitz’s, she knew Leo had felt sad that he hadn’t been able to contribute to growing their family. Now, with another daughter on the way, he was quite chuffed.
Bobbi stood. “I’m happy for you, but not jealous. At all. Two kids are plenty. Three if you count Hunter. Now, I’m going to see if anyone else wants one.” She shook the bag of apple slices. Fitz saw her coming and met her halfway. They whispered together for a moment, then Fitz came to sit in the spot Bobbi had just vacated. He shared a look with Leo, then both of them scooted closer to Jemma.
“We set it up so the kids are going to stay with Hunter and Bobbi tonight,” Fitz said, putting an arm around Jemma.
Leo put a hand on her cheek and turned her face towards him. He rested his forehead against hers. “We thought we’d take our wife out on a date, and then spend an entire night alone.”
Jemma bit her lip as excitement flared to life inside her. “So we can sleep?” she said, trying to sound innocent.
Leo kissed her mouth, and Fitz’s hand slid down her arm, his thumb brushing the side of her breast and making her gasp. He leaned in close as Leo sucked on her bottom lip.
Fitz’s breath tickled her ear as he whispered, “Eventually.”
Thank you so much for reading this fic! I really enjoyed writing it and I can hardly believe this is the last chapter. Please feel free to drop me a line here or on tumblr @sunalsolove and tell me what you think whether it's been ten seconds, ten hours, ten months, or ten years since it was posted!
-SunAlso November 17, 2018 @ 0736 (my kitchen table)