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If brokenness is a form of art, (I must be a poster child prodigy)

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. If brokenness is a form of art,
(I must be a poster child prodigy) .


 Prologue

It's the 24th of December and he's stood in the middle of Glasgow, dragged back by the promise of a Christmas visit and a SHIELD assigned case, the place that he's supposed to consider home yet all it is is a reminder of a past he really doesn't want to face. Smoke is rising from somewhere in the distance, whether it be a festive bonfire or from a group of kids burning wheelie bins he can't tell - his childhood home can be funny like that.

It brings back memories of being a teenager and taking a drag from a fag, the ash falling from the cigarette like petals plucked from a flower. In the end it'd been moving to America and meeting Jemma that had gotten him to quit. The image in his head mixes with the snow and the cold bitter air. He leans against a bench on the hill, there's rubbish everywhere and the smell of smoke lingers and brings his attention to the filters that have been discarded on the ground, the only things left once the colour's faded and the rush from the nicotine is gone.

The snow is crunching under his feet, more grey than white as it turns to slush and mixes with the dirt on the ground. 

A Christmas carol is clanging with bells and he can hear voices in the distance, carried and distorted by the wind to the point where it almost sounds like someone singing. The wind is cold and harsh and slides into his coat, past the tattered fabric, forcing recognition as he shivers and teeth begin to chatter.

Glasgow winds are cold and biting as they howl and scream, nothing like the rush of air he feels whenever he gets off of the quinjet or the sound of the zephyr's engines.

All in all, Glasgow isn't America and it isn't his home.

Jemma had offered to come with him and he feels like an idiot now for not accepting it but she left, she left him and everyone else lied to him and he just hadn't known what to do. So he ran, he ran like he had all those years ago because that was all he knew to do, Leo the lionheart - brave in the face of everything barring his abandonment issues.

He hates being back in Glasgow, he flinches at every noise and as a group of teens come up to him with their chests puffed out and eyes searching for trouble. He fumbles his words as he tells them to sod off and flashes his SHIELD badge. 

Even the air feels different, it's heavier - more polluted than America because Glasgow isn't the Playground or the Bus. It's the city where you work till you die, where everyone knows the way to the pub from the pits long since closed and where council towers and maisonettes replace glamorous skyscrapers and the hollowed out, yet homely, SHIELD buildings. Where inside the council towers paper thin walls force you to turn up the music to ignore some poor babies cries as the walls pretend privacy and give you none.

Where you end up using your bairn's drawings to cover up dents and cracks in the walls from a glass that was thrown in a drunken rage the night before. It's pretending not to see the bruises or the split lip on your ma' because you promised not to tell anyone what happened.

It's stupid, he's stupid, he can't even scare off a bunch of kids now he's back where he'd grown when at SHIELD he'd faced off with men twice his size and lived. And won.

Sometimes Fitz wondered how he'd gotten the job that he had, he wasn't the least bit intimidating and yet was required to face off against people and things that wanted to kill him on a near-daily basis. He'd stared down the barrel of a gun in the defence of SHIELD, yet on the plane ride to Glasgow he'd been weak at the knees. Even after everything, no matter how hard he tried he couldn't intimidate anything or anyone. Hell, he'd had to ask Bobbi to get rid of a spider from his desk the day before because he couldn't bring himself to touch it to move it or to just kill it.

He was pretty sure he wasn't going to be living that one down, anytime soon.

He was also pretty sure that Skye had decided to film the entire thing.

A part of him suspected it was because of his Father, the man knew how to be intimidating and how to make you feel like a piece of gum that had gotten stuck to his shoe, biting comments reminding Fitz of how much he was worth in his Father's eyes rung in his head and haunted him at night whenever something went wrong. Unlike his Mother, Alistair Fitz had had no problem disciplining his son even if it was for what most parents would view as a minor offence. 

He'd claim it was out of love, that it was him trying to make sure his son turned out great.

'Everyone needs the belt across their backs at some points in their life.'

The only good thing Alistair Fitz had ever done was leave, pack up his bags in the middle of the night, leaving behind broken beer bottles and cracks in the wall as the only physical reminders that he was ever there. By the end of the next day, no traces of Alistair Fitz remained and Fitz felt the world was better for it.

No one needed that man in their life.

It was only many years later that Leopold James Fitz realised that no matter how hard you try, nothing can truly disappear from the world forever. 

Because it didn't matter how many times you plastered the wall because the paint would never quite blend with the rest, it didn't matter how many times you cleaned the carpet because the stench of alcohol was still soaked in and it didn't matter if he joined SHIELD and practically became an honorary American because he'd still always be that scared little boy from a Glasgow Council Estate helping covering up the dents in the kitchen wall with his drawings and designs as he pretended to ignore his Mam's split lip or the black marks littering the side of her face.

You can wear cardigans and ties, carry a gun and badge, but you'll always be the scared little boy running from the Estate: his Father's love is a bastard like that, and even SHIELD can't kill that side of him. 

He was always going to be running from Glasgow, running from his past and his Father's 'love', but the ghosts would never stop chasing after him.

Maybe now he was back 'home' they'd stop.