With every August came another family reunion for the original SHIELD team. Every year, the kids all looked forward to seeing each other during this week. Sure, they got to see each other during holidays and some birthdays, some of them even lived closed to each other, but these official family reunions were very special. They got to spend a couple of weeks with each other to just hang out and catch up.
Growing up, the kids all heard stories from their parents' missions and adventures throughout the years. It was these stories that made pretty much all of them want to be a part of SHIELD in any way, shape, or form whether it was going out into the field, running back end, going into space, or just being a scientist, they all wanted to be just like their parents, despite their parents' reservations. The parents just wanted their kids to be kids before they had to make any decision.
However, normal seemed to be out of the picture when they had an uncle from the 1950s, two aunts who had superhuman powers, a grandmother who could read your emotions, an uncle who has technically died but is still alive because of space and time, and a grandfather who is a robot.
The one thing they knew they had to make sure their kids understood were inhumans. Five of the ten kids carried the inhuman gene, so educating them on the subject was vital. Sure, they all grew up knowing about inhumans and people with powers, but Daisy, Daniel, Elena, and Mack wanted a plan to prepare their kids for the change if they choose to go through. Both Daisy and Elena, with the help of Kora, decided that a full inhuman education would start at ten years old, physical training would start at thirteen, and the choice to go through terrigenesis would be given at the age of eighteen. As Kora explained, eighteen was a good age because they were old enough to understand while still being young enough to adapt to new powers.
Unfortunately, things sometimes don't always work according to plan. Sometimes, accidents happen and things have to move a whole lot quicker.
After dinner on one of the nights, the three youngest kids - Penelope, James, and Eleanor - were playing in different rooms of the Lighthouse. Of course, the three of them had been told numerous times to not wander off into certain parts of the Lighthouse without their a parent or at least one of their older siblings, but the ten, almost nine, and eight-year-old trio seemed to be a little on the rebellious side today.
"We're not supposed to be down here," James told the girls.
"Come on, James," Penelope responded. "We're only gonna be down here for a little bit, then we'll be right back up. Easy peasy."
"You sure your dad will be okay with it when he finds out we were down here by ourselves?" Eleanor asked. "I mean, he is the director. We should've come down here with Alya, Bella, or maybe even Lilly."
"Guys, I'm pretty sure we're fine on our own."
The three kids made their way to a room in which they knew was probably off-limits for them. "I wonder what they keep in here," James said.
"I think it's the terrigen crystals," Eleanor said. "My mom said they usually keep them on the lower levels just in case they crack."
"I can't wait until I get my inhuman power," Penelope said. "How cool would it be to have super speed like my mom or make earthquakes like Auntie Daisy."
"You better not..."
"Don't worry. I'm not that stupid." Penelope scoffed.
It wasn't long before the three of them began to fool around. They shoved each other and laughed as they wrestled one another. They definitely were babysat by their Uncle Hunter way more times than their parents probably would've liked.
Suddenly, Penelope pushed James with a little too much force. He bumped into Eleanor, who was behind him, and she bumped into one of the terrigen containers. A terrigen crystal fell out of the container, cracking into pieces as it hit the ground. Penelope and James both ran out of the room, knowing one of them would become inhuman while the other would turn to stone. However, the mist did not seem to miss Eleanor.
"Uh, guys?" Eleanor said, starting to panic. "What... What's happening?"
"She's going through terrigenesis!" Penelope told James. "I just had the whole inhuman talk with my mom, and she said inhumans go into this cocoon when they turn."
It wasn't long before Eleanor was fulling encased in the cocoon. James looked to Penelope, fear written all over his face. "Ellie has her inhuman powers now? What are we going to do? Is she even old enough to have them yet?"
"Stay here with her. I'm going to go get help." James nodded as Penelope rushed to find any help she could.
"Help! We need help!" Penelope called out.
"Penelope?" Mack asked as he saw his ten-year-old daughter running towards them with a worried expression on her face.
Both Mack and Elena got up from their seats and approached their daughter. "Mija, what's wrong?"
"James, Ellie, and I were playing down in the lower levels and-"
"Wait, what?" Mack asked. "Penelope Faith, you know you're not allowed to go down there by yourselves."
"Yes, I know, and I'm really sorry, but something bad happened," Penelope cried.
Concern was starting to grow on all the parents' faces as they turned their attention to the distraught ten-year-old.
"We were playing near some terrigen, and we may have bumped into one of the containers, and a terrigen crystal broke."
"You're not turned," Jemma began, afraid of what could have possibly happened. "But is James..."
"James is alright," Penelope said. "But the mist hit Ellie."
Suddenly, there was a crash that drew everyone's attention from Penelope. Daisy froze as the glass she had in her hand was now shattered on the ground. "...what?"
"Ellie is turning into an inhuman right now," Penelope finally said.
Without a second thought, Daisy got up from the couch and started running towards the lower levels, Daniel not far behind her. She prayed that their little girl was alright. This wasn't supposed to happen. Not now.
When Daisy and Daniel finally arrived to the terrigen room, Eleanor had already broken free of her husk. She was sprawled out on the floor, a terrified look prominent in her eyes. James was sat next to her, his arms holding her tightly. He was trying to comfort her, but it didn't seem to look like Eleanor was really comprehending anything he was saying to her.
Daisy bent down to the kids' level. "James, has anything happened? Like, were there any signs of powers?"
James shook his head. "All that happened was that she broke out of the cocoon and fell to the ground. It doesn't look like she got powers, but she keeps mumbling things to herself, and none of it makes sense."
Daisy began to take Eleanor into her arms as Eleanor blurted out something. "He... He's disappearing and reappearing. He... He's after Hannah. He locked Uncle Fitz in a closet!"
Daniel bent down right next to Daisy. "Ellie, what was that?"
"He loosened the bolts!"
Daniel and Daisy looked at each other, not really knowing what their daughter was talking about and worrying about her well-being. Daniel could see the look of fear in Daisy's eyes as she rocked their eight-year-old in her arms.
Daisy could feel herself getting overwhelmed. It wasn't supposed to happen like this. Her little girl wouldn't have started inhuman education for another two years, and the poor girl didn't even have a choice if she wanted it.
Daisy was so focused on the little girl in her arms that she didn't notice Jemma come in. "Let's get her up to the medbay. Make sure everything is alright physically."
Daisy nodded as she stood up, still cradling her daughter in her arms. "Momma, she's gonna suck the life out of you!" Daisy sighed as she followed Jemma with Daniel right behind her.
They all walked back up to the upper levels to the medbay. Kora and May watched from outside the medbay as Daisy and Daniel stayed with Eleanor while Jemma examined her.
"Poor thing," Kora said. "I struggled with my powers when I went through the mist, and I was already in my twenties. I can't imagine going through this at eight years old."
May nodded. "I can feel her fear all the way from out here." She shuttered. "It's overwhelming. Ellie's feeling a lot right now."
During her examination, Eleanor had stopped mumbling and shouting out at random times, but this was probably the most scared both Daisy and Daniel had ever seen their daughter. Ellie was definitely more on the shy and quieter side, but this was something different entirely.
Jemma shined a small flashlight into Eleanor's eyes. "Hm, she doesn't seem to have a concussion, so we can rule that out. As for anything physical like scarring, bruising, or swelling, little Ellie here seems to be free of that as well. You know, unlike someone else I know."
Daisy gave Jemma a smile, but her face turned back to worry as she held her daughter close. Eleanor snuggled close into her mother, obviously scared of something, but what it was, no one could tell.
Suddenly, Eleanor had another outburst. "No!" she shouted. "She's gonna get hurt!"
"Kora," Daisy called for her sister. Kora entered the medbay, May not far behind her. "Do you have any idea what her power could be?"
"Don't open the door, Uncle Hunter," Eleanor whispered.
"From what I can see, I think she might have a category three gift," Kora said, eyeing her niece with sadness.
"Category three?" Daisy asked. "There are different categories of powers?"
Kora nodded. "At Afterlife, we worked with a three-category system. It really helped organize all the different types of powers and how they work physically and mentally. They don't really have set-in-stone names for them, but they can easily be described. We all know that an inhuman's gift has a special connection to them specifically, so emotions play a huge part in it all. Category One gifts are typically strictly physical powers. Sure, one's emotions can affect their Category One power, but their power really only has one way of working. Yoyo would be an example of a Category One gift. Her power is super speed. Simple as that. You've mentioned before that you've worked with inhumans who have lightning powers or ones that can melt metal. All of those would be an example of Category One."
"But Lincoln's powers were affected by his emotions."
"Like I said, emotions can very well play a part in the overall control of the power, but the actual power itself is in a simple form. Mom was also a Category One. She was powerful, yes, but her powers were pretty simple. Not aging was just an added side effect to her gift."
Daisy nodded, understanding what her sister was saying. "Category Two gifts are similar to Category One gifts, but have much more to them," Kora explained. "You and I have Category Two gifts."
"What makes our powers so special as opposed to Category One?"
"We have powers that work outwardly like every other Category One power. However, our powers also work inwardly with the world around us. For example, you can shoot seismic waves from your arms and physically change the vibrations of an object, but you can also feel the world around you. You've mentioned before that you can feel heartbeats as well as other vibrations that you are not causing. Everyone around you has a different vibration, so you know who exactly you're around. This is the world working towards your gift. I think the only other person that you've met in this category was Gordon. He could teleport, but he could also sense where people were. Not to brag or anything, but Category Two powers are usually the most powerful."
Daisy cracked another smile. She knew she was powerful, but a part of her was filled with pride when finding out she was scientifically proven to be part of the most powerful inhumans.
"Category Three gifts are usually the rarest," Kora continued. "Unlike Category One and Twos, which are mostly physical powers, Category Threes are usually strictly mental powers. If May was an inhuman, this is most likely where she would be. It's all mostly inwardly. This category still needs exploring, but so far the most well-known gifts in this category are empathy, telepathy, and precognition. You've mentioned before you knew an inhuman who could see glimpses of the future. Raina was her name? Yeah, she would be a Category Three. Based on what we've seen, I think Eleanor could be a Category Three as well."
"Lao Lao, there's a ghost right there," Eleanor said. All the adults in the room couldn't help but feel sorry for the young girl who had no idea what was going on with herself either.
"But what about inhumans like Hive or Lash?" Jemma said. "I don't think those categories are enough to explain their power set."
"Or that little girl in Bahrain," May added. "She seemed to have empathic abilities, but she was also able to extend and mind control civilians."
"Again, there were still lots of things at Afterlife that needed to be explored," Kora replied. "It is believed that some people's gifts could land them between categories. There was also talk about adding a fourth category, but how to describe it drove everyone crazy. There just happen to be outliers here and there that just don't fit into any category."
"I just wish we knew exactly what Ellie's gift is," Daisy said, still holding on to the little girl. "Maybe then we can help her."
"That's the thing about Category Threes. It's hard to tell what their power is sometimes because, for the most part, they have no idea what's going on either," Kora said.
"Well," Jemma began. "Ellie does look exhausted, so maybe it would be best if she goes and gets some rest. Trying to figure out her power can be done tomorrow. Her powers don't seem to be physical, so she should be safe from harm aside from whatever is plaguing her mind at the moment."
Daisy nodded. She was about to pick up Eleanor, but the little girl froze, eyes staring off into space. This was different from her last outbursts, so it was really scaring the crap out of Daisy and Daniel. When it seemed to be whatever she was seeing as over, Eleanor crawled over to Daniel, and he lifted his daughter into his arms.
Jemma gave Eleanor a very light sedative to help her sleep before Daisy and Daniel headed towards the bunks to put their eight-year-old down for bed. While walking, Daisy was extremely quiet, obviously having a lot in her mind. Daniel knew better. He could tell she was worried.
"You okay?" he asked his wife.
Daisy shrugged. "I thought we'd at least have ten more years before she even was given the chance to make a decision for herself, but now here we are, she's eight years old with a power she doesn't understand. I just... I have no idea how to help her. Given that her power is more mental than physical, I have to wait until she can explain to me what's going on. Daniel, she's too young to understand or to even deal with it all."
"I know," Daniel said, placing a kiss on top of Daisy's head. "But like I told you when you were pregnant with the twins, the best thing we can do for our kids is to make sure we're there for them when they need it most. Ellie needs us most right now, so we can be there for her every step of the way."
"I know," Daisy replied. "I just wished this played out differently."
Daniel nodded in agreement. As they continued towards the bunks, fourteen-year-old Michael and Lillianne came running in, worried expressions on their faces. "We heard what happened," Michael told his parents. "Did Ellie really go through terrigenesis?"
"Yes," Daisy replied.
"What powers does she have?" Lillianne asked.
"We still have no idea, Lilly," Daisy explained. "We figured it's mostly a mental power since she doesn't seem to have any physical outbursts. However, she still is suffering quite a bit."
"Is she okay though?" Michael asked, looking at the girl drifting asleep in their father's arms.
"Physically, she's fine," Daniel answered. "Your Aunt Jemma just gave her sedative to help her sleep. Hopefully, sleeping can help her calm down a bit. Tomorrow, we'll be looking more into what her power could be."
"Everyone is worried," Lilly added. "They all want to make sure she's okay."
It warmed Daisy's heart to know that all of their kids were super close with one another. Knowing that all the kids were worried about Ellie made her feel a little better. No matter what happens now, Eleanor would have people that love and care about her to support her through this transition.
"Just tell everyone that she's fine, but it's complicated," Daisy said. "We'll talk with your aunts and uncles once she's tucked in."
The twins nodded before going back up to the common area where everyone was. The two worried endlessly about their little sister and hoped she would be alright.
Once in the room that their kids were sharing while they were staying at the Lighthouse, Daisy and Daniel changed Eleanor into pajamas and tucked her into bed. Before she was fully asleep, she did blurt out a couple of things that neither Daisy nor Daniel was able to make out. They thought that getting her to sleep would hopefully subside whatever she was seeing, but Eleanor would wake up every so often to blurt out something else.
At this point, both parents were extremely worried for their daughter.
A couple of days had passed since Eleanor initially went through terrigenesis. The first whole day was exhausting for her parents and siblings. They all observed, trying to figure out what her gift was, but nothing came up.
Aside from her outbursts, Eleanor didn't really speak to anyone. Whatever she was seeing in her mind was interfering with her mind in its normal state. Jemma had run some brain scans, but none of them could show what exactly was going on in the eight-year-old's mind. All they showed was what they could see: Eleanor was scared.
By the second day, they were at a loss. Eleanor's outbursts continued, and no one knew what to do to help the poor girl. Eleanor had made an effort to explain what was going on, but she couldn't get the words out before having another outburst.
"Have you guys been able to figure out what's going on in her mind?" Bobbi asked.
Daisy shook her head. "Not specifically. We think she's seeing something."
"Like a vision?" Hunter asked. "So your daughter can see the future?"
"We have no idea," Daniel added. "We just know that whatever these visions are, she has no control over them, and she's scared of what she's seeing."
"What has she said in her outbursts?" Coulson asked. "Maybe we can narrow it down through those."
"Well, when we first found her, she was talking about Hannah and someone locking Fitz in a closet," Daisy said.
"Didn't something happen with a girl named Hannah back during the Bus days?" Fitz contributed to the conversation. "Like wasn't it that this guy had a crush on her and he loosened bolts that ended up killing people? And then he haunted us."
"Oh yeah, that does sound familiar," Jemma said, taking a sip from her tea.
"She also mentioned something about May and a ghost," Daniel added.
"Well, May was possessed with a ghost virus one time," Mack added.
"The twins also said that last night, she screamed something about a shadow attacking us," Daisy said.
"That sounds like Russia to me," Bobbi said.
Daisy rubbed her eyes. "I just have no idea what to do. I feel like she's newborn again when she was so little and couldn't tell me what was wrong. I just hope we can figure this out soon because school starts up in a month, and, in a kid's mind, I don't think it's socially acceptable to go into the classroom with your kid on the first day of third grade. At least that's what the twins told me when they were her age."
After a few more comments, May finally entered the room. "Where were you this whole time?" Yoyo asked.
"I made a phone call," May elaborated. "I think I know someone who can help with Ellie's visions. They should be here in a couple of hours."
Daisy waited impatiently for the guests May mentioned to arrive. She was out of options and was desperate for anything to help her daughter.
Soon, May came walking in with, to her surprise, Robin and Polly Hinton. "Robin!" Daisy said, getting up from her seat to greet the now twenty-four-year-old girl and her mother. "Oh my gosh, it's been so long! Look how big you are!"
Robin greeted Daisy with a hug. "It's so good to see you again, Daisy," Robin said as Daisy went to greet Polly.
"May tells us you're in a situation that can really use Robin's expertise," Polly said.
Daisy sighed. "Yeah. Come with me."
The four women walked down the halls together. Daisy explained everything that had happened in the last two days. They soon reached the room of the Lighthouse that had been transformed into the kids' hangout area. Daisy motioned to Eleanor, who was sitting at one of the tables with Penelope and James sitting next to her, trying to comfort her.
"Don't worry," Robin said. "I've got this."
Before Robin approached, Francisco, Penelope's older brother, motioned for her and James to leave Ellie with Robin for a little bit.
"Hi, Eleanor," Robin said, getting the little girl's attention. "My name is Robin. We've met before, but you probably don't remember since you were pretty little the last time we've seen each other. You've gotten so big! Mind if I sit?"
Eleanor nodded, moving over slightly to give Robin some room. "Your mom tells me that you went through terrigenesis. Is that right?" Ellie nodded again. "You know, I was only a year or so younger than you when I went through terrigenesis, and it was really scary at first, and just like you, I had visions."
Eleanor perked up, listening to the woman who had a similar experience to her. "I was scared out of my mind," Robin continued. "But thanks to the people around me, I learned to control it. I still constantly see visions of the future, but now, I know how to push it to the side until I can express it."
Eleanor was still silent. "You wanna know how I did it?" Robin asked. Eleanor nodded once again. "I found that drawing my visions out helped me express and understand them better." Robin reached into the bag she had brought with her. She took out a folder that had stacks upon stacks of sketches and drawings. Eleanor automatically became intrigued.
Robin reached for a certain sketch. "This one was pretty sad," Robin explained. In the sketch, there seemed to be a box-like object in the middle of the paper. Inside looked to be a baby. Outside of the box were two figures that looked to be the mom and dad of the baby. "Do you know who those are?" Robin asked.
Eleanor looked around before speaking for the first time in two days besides her outbursts. "They look like my mommy and daddy."
"Well that's because they are," Robin answered. "And the baby in the incubator is you." Eleanor looked up to the woman. "Have your parents ever told you about when you were born?" Ellie nodded again. "You were pretty sick and had to stay in the hospital. I saw this happening maybe a week before you were born." Robin pointed to the date at the bottom corner of the drawing that read '02-16-27'.
Robin pulled out another drawing. "This is one of my favorites," she said. The drawing had a beautiful flower arch. In the middle of the arch, there were two people: A man in a tuxedo and a woman in a white dress. "This is of your parents' wedding," Robin explained. She pointed to some of the guests that were drawn on it. "See, right here is your Grandpa Coulson and Grandma May, and on their laps are your brother and sister. I think they were a little over eighteen months old when your mom and dad got married. This one is special to me because I was actually there to watch one of my visions play out.
"Have you had any visions that made you smile?" Robin asked Eleanor. Eleanor nodded her head, a small smile growing upon her face as the memories of happiness flooded her mind. "Do you guys have paper, pencils, markers, and crayons in here?" Eleanor nodded again before going to retrieve the items. "Use the tools here to express what you're seeing. This was the only way I was able to learn how to not be afraid of my visions. I also felt like when I drew them out, they felt less overwhelming."
Soon, Eleanor began drawing her visions out with the crayons. Some of them were simple drawings while others were a little more elaborate. Robin carefully stacked her drawings, making sure they were organized.
Daisy and Polly watched their daughters from afar. "How did you do it?" Daisy spoke up.
"How did you do it?" Daisy repeated. "I just feel like I don't know how to support her. Especially with the age they were when they went through terrigenesis, it's too young."
"I'm not going to lie: it wasn't easy at all," Polly admitted. "Some days were definitely harder than others. She would talk for weeks on end only to shut down when she sees something so painful. I just did my best to show her that I cared and that I was there for her even if I didn't know what was going on in her brain. Eventually, she learned to control her emotions over it. I'm sure Eleanor will be back on her feet in no time."
"Hey, Daisy," Robin called from the table she and Eleanor were at. "You wanna take a look at some of her drawings?"
Daisy walked over to the table. She looked at the crayon drawings her daughter had finished, taking them all in. The first one that caught her eye was a skull on fire. "This reminds me of my old friend Robbie Reyes."
"He drives a really old car," Eleanor said, focused on her current drawing.
"That's... right," Daisy said confused. She had mentioned Robbie to Ellie maybe once or twice in the past, but she didn't think she told her about the car. As Daisy continued to look through the drawings, she realized that a lot of them seemed familiar. Eleanor would provide her with information on some drawings that were correct, but Daisy hadn't told her daughter every detail of their past missions.
"Wait, you're saying that you've lived through all of these events?" Polly asked, looking over a drawing that looked like a place with green hills and red arches.
Daisy nodded. "But... how can this be?"
"I don't think Eleanor can see the future," Robin said. "I think she sees the past."
Suddenly, everything started to fall into place for Daisy. It made sense why all of her outbursts were of events that had happened in the past. It wasn't long before a smile grew on her face. "Well, that certainly is an interesting power to have, Ellie," she told her daughter. "I don't think I've ever heard of that power."
Later that night, right before dinner, Eleanor was running around, sharing her drawings with everyone. Everyone was happy to see a smile on the little girl's face again. Polly and Robin were staying for a day or two so their company had grown. Robin talked with some of the older kids while Polly sat with the adults.
"So your daughter as precognition?" Hunter asked.
"Precognition is seeing the future," Mack added.
"Postcognition? Is that even a word?"
"It looks like it," Daisy said.
"That's incredible," Kora said. "I don't think that gift was in any of mom's books."
"It wasn't," Coulson said. "Those who were assigned to look through the books took note of all of the known powers Jiaying recorded, and post cognition or past seeing or whatever the heck the name of the power is was not one of them."
They all watched as Eleanor showed Damien a drawing. Daisy soon turned to Daniel. "You know, I blame you for her power."
"What? Why me?" Daniel exclaimed.
"Well, you're from the past."
"Because that totally was the determining factor when the universe decided to give our daughter a superpower," Daniel said sarcastically.
"I don't know. It's too much of a coincidence for me that the kid who's the daughter of a man out of time would be able to see into the past."
"Speaking of," Bobbi began. "Lincoln mentioned before that every inhuman gift was to fill an evolutionary need. What would post cognition fulfill?"
Daisy shrugged her shoulders. "Who knows, but I'm sure when the time comes, Eleanor will have it all figured out."
It wasn't long before Eleanor found herself seated on the couch next to May. This wasn't a new thing where Eleanor would retreat back to her parents or siblings when her social battery ran out. May wrapped her arm around the little girl who curled into her side. Suddenly, May heard giggles coming from the small girl.
"What's got you all giggly?" May asked.
"Does Uncle Fitz know you were the one to put whipped cream in his hand while he was sleeping?" she asked.
May couldn't help but smile. She thought she would bring that secret with her to her grave, but the little eight-year-old seated next to her got the best of her. May held out her pinky towards the girl. "We're gonna keep this classified between us, alright?"
Eleanor laughed as she wrapped her small pinky around May's.
Daisy watched her daughter's interaction with her grandmother. It was crazy to her that this was the same girl that was terrified just barely two days ago. Ever since she was born, Eleanor was always a resilient one. She was Daisy's little fighter. It was because of that that Daisy knew she was alright.
She was going to be okay.