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Sliding Doors

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The rest of the team left - Skye was in tears and Simmons watched through her blurred vision drying her eyes, looking back at Fitz who wouldn’t meet her gaze. She couldn’t hurt the team or him - she couldn’t kill them all. She had to make this sacrifice and they were running out of time. She slowly walked over to the other side of the lab and picked up the fire-extinguisher in her hands. He wouldn’t let her do this and he wouldn’t leave her side. She hated the fact she had to hurt her best friend. But, it was for his own good. At least he could survive this, even if she wasn’t meant to.

“The electrostatic pulse from the third rat seemed much less, so we’re making progress,” he told her in a robotic tone, looking down. “If we can calibrate the anti-serum.”

Oh Fitz, he said it right. She was going to miss him so much - her heart was breaking at the thought...

“Antiserum, yes. You finally got it right, Fitz,” he looked up slightly but then back down. Simmons felt tears running down her cheeks - her voice breaking, lifting up the fire-extinguisher. “I’m so sorry...” she whispered.

“Don’t be...” Fitz turned around and was met with red - he blocked the fire-extinguisher with his arms. “HEY! WHOA! What are you doing?!”

“Fitz...I...”

“Simmons! Wh...what’s going on? What...?”

“I...I need to go!” she dropped it and walked out of the lab.

“Jemma? JEMMA!” he called after and ran after her. “WHERE ARE YOU GOING!”

“NO FITZ! YOU...YOU CAN’T STOP ME! I...I’m going to kill everyone!” Simmons cried and walked out of the lab. "I'm going to jump and you can't stop me. You know it's the only way!"

“You’re going to...throw yourself off the plane?!” he stopped and she turned around - hearing how absurd the words sounded aloud. “Simmons! No! We’ll find a way! We always find a way!”

“Not this time...” Simmons said and hit the button that locked the lab doors.

“NO!” Fitz grabbed the sliding door and pushed it back, running out towards her. “I WILL NOT LET YOU DO THIS!” He grabbed her round the middle and picked her up with all this strength, dragging her back to the lab.

“LET ME GO, FITZ!” Jemma screamed and kicked, wriggling in Fitz’s arms. “YOU’RE GOING TO GET INFECTED!”

“I DON’T BLOODY CARE! I WON’T LET YOU DIE!” he said as he pulled her back into the lab, his head on her shoulder. “You mean so much to me Jemma Simmons, your life means so much you c...hey...” Fitz looked over at the rat which had started to move as normal. “It worked!” Simmons stopped struggling and looked over. “The pulse just knocked the rat unconscious. It worked! Jemma! It works!”

“It works...it works! FITZ IT...IT WORKS!” Simmons sobbed with happiness. Fitz let her down and ran, grabbing the anti-serum and his delivery device, placing it inside and stared at her - ready to save her.

“This...might hurt a bit but I’m here, okay?”

“But...but what if it doesn’t work on humans? Fitz, there’s so many unknowns...” Simmons told him but Fitz shook his head.

“I have to try,” he said and she looked down at the device in his hand and then back up into his eyes and swallowed. Simmons nodded and rolled up her sleeve. Fitz held her arm and pressed the button - she squinted her eyes shut and felt a sharp electric pulse. Fitz looked at her and she looked up. “Well? How do you feel? Did it work?”

“I...I’m not sure...but I’m feeling b...” Simmons felt dizzy and fell forward into Fitz’s arms as a blue ray of light immersed them and she fell unconscious. “Jemma? Jemma...” he held her and sat on the floor with her in his lap, checking desperately for a pulse and breathed out heavily when he found out.

The bus shook.

“What was that?” Coulson asked and looked between May, Skye and Ward.

“Simmons,” May said and they ran towards the lab. Coulson was first to jump down and reach the door.

“FITZ! SIMMONS!” he yelled.

“OVER HERE! IT’S OKAY!” Fitz yelled back and the team piled into the lab. “The third rat was just unconscious. It worked...but I don’t know if...” he indicated Simmons who was lying limp in his arms. “She’s alive, her pulse is slower but...”

“Has the virus left her system?” May asked.

“I don’t know,” Fitz looked up slightly but then back at Simmons, stroking back her damp hair. “We’ll need to take some blood tests and...” Simmons stirred and moved slightly. “She’s waking up. Jemma? Can you hear me?” he asked, looking at her and she slowly opened her eyes.

“Oh thank God,” Skye said.

“Hey...” he said softly and she looked around in confusion. “How are you feeling?”

“Fitz?” she said, focussing on his eyes. “Did it work?”

“You’re still alive so I think that’s a good thing,” Coulson knelt down next to them and Fitz then realised he was still holding her and loosened his grip a little.

“We need to get the blood results, but you can rest for a while,” Fitz told her and Simmons looked around, between everyone.

“It worked...I’m not...” she looked back at Fitz who nodded. “Oh!” she said and hugged him around the neck, burying herself closer to him. Fitz smiled and patted her on the back slightly.

“It’ll be okay,” he said and both he and Coulson helped her to stand up as Skye rushed in and hugged Simmons tightly.

“Skye...” she said and hugged her back.

“I’m so glad you’re okay,” Skye dried away her tears and May came over to hug Simmons too, rubbing her back slightly. Simmons looked up at Fitz, but stumbled a bit as she walked - Fitz steadied her.

“You should get some rest. Do you want to go to your bunk?” Fitz asked her.

“No, I think we should do these tests,” she said and Fitz nodded. “Do you mind if...?” she looked at the team who understood.

“We’ll give you some privacy,” Ward said and smiled at Simmons who smiled back at him for acknowledging that she was okay.

“You’ll have to instruct me what to do then,” Fitz asked and Simmons shook her head.

“Fitz, what happened back then, I...I wasn’t...”

“It’s okay, we don’t have to worry about that,” he told her and they walked over to a stool where she could sit down.

“I just didn’t think there was any other way. I thought that was it and I didn’t want to hurt anyone,” Simmons had tears in her eyes again.

“There’s always a way. Look how it turned out now we gave it a chance? He’s all happy wandering around over there like nothing happened,” Fitz indicated the rat.

“And if there wasn’t a way?”

“Even if there wasn’t a way, I wouldn’t have let you throw yourself off a plane. You mean too much to me for us to just give up?” he said to her and Simmons looked up at him. “I would’ve been with you the whole way.”

“The whole damn time?” Simmons looked up and Fitz nodded with a smile. She hugged him closely and buried herself into his chest again. “Thank you.” She muffled. “You’re my hero.”

“Really?” Fitz smiled to himself and hugged Simmons back around the shoulders and felt her nodding.

“You saved me. You were by my side in the lab, searching for a cure and giving me hope and even though I could’ve killed you or infected you, you still stopped me from...” she trailed off and Fitz put a hand on her matted hair. “Do I mean that much to you?”

“Of course you do. I wouldn’t lose you, and I hoped you’d do the same if I was in that situation, although I doubt you’d be able to carry me back into the lab,” he told her and smiled, looking into her eyes. Simmons laughed slightly.

“If I’d hit you over the head I would have been able to,” she smiled. “Sorry for that.”

“Apology accepted. Now, are we going to do these tests or what?”

“Yeah...sure,” Simmons said and got up slowly - Fitz still helping her as she tripped forward again, back into his arms and looked up slowly at him, bringing herself back to her full height before standing up on tip-toes and kissed him lightly on the lips. “Thank you.”

“Any time,” Fitz replied with a smile.

Chapter Text

Simmons couldn’t believe what she was hearing or what was happening as she threw herself into Fitz’s arms and hugged him tightly.

“No...” she sobbed. “No...” she said and started to kiss his face all over - she had so much love for the man who had been by her side all this time and tears were falling from her eyes as she held him.

“Jemma...Jemma...” he said her name and she cried - she couldn’t let him do this. “Jemma...Jemma we have to hurry...”

“No!” she refused to believe it but he made her let him go. “No...”

“Take it Jemma,” he thrust the oxygen mask into her hands. “Take it!”

“No...” she looked at him, keeping a hand on his shoulder - looking deep into his sincere blue eyes and him back at hers. She couldn’t...

The EKG started to beep.

“FITZ!” she yelled and saw his hand move towards the button but ran and pushed him back. “NO! FITZ LISTEN!” she said and pulled him towards the EKG. “That’s...that’s morse code!”

“They...someone’s listening!” Fitz said and with his one good hand he rigged the signal to send out a different slightly help call - hoping whoever it was would notice the difference. He didn’t meet Simmons eyes as she knelt down and waited.

Another beep came back and Fitz laughed.

“Someone can hear us!” he said and Simmons started to laugh through her tears. “If you take the oxygen now, you’ll be saved!”

“What? FITZ! NO! DON’T YOU DARE!” Simmons grabbed his arm.

“OWWWW!” he said and recoiled back. “That’s my broken one!”

“I don’t CARE if it’s your broken one, how DARE you Leopold Fitz! How DARE you!” she said and hit him in the chest and then pulled him closer and hugged him tightly. “You never EVER make me think I have to do something like that ever again! I am NOT taking that oxygen from you!”

“Jemma...”

“Don’t you ‘Jemma’ me, you are NOT giving up! We will both find a way out!”

“How? We don’t have time...”

“We do! And if we don’t, then I’m not going to leave you!” she said and looked up at him. “And what on earth do you think you’re playing at! Putting that kind of pressure on me!”

“Pressure? I’m giving you a way out of here! I’m the one who...”

“Don’t!” she said sharply. “You are not going to put this one me. You’re the one who’s telling me how you feel and then forcing me to sacrifice you! If...if someone likes someone else, they usually buy them flowers or something or give them their phone number, not give them oxygen whilst they die at the bottom of the ocean!”

“Well, even if we’re not going to die down here, it doesn’t change anything does it? You don’t feel the same way.”

“And how do you know I don’t!?” Simmons retorted. “I didn’t even know you felt that way and then you give me this...this responsibility and guilt, seconds before you’re about to die!” she hit him in the chest again.

“I’m sorry, I just...”

“Would you have even told me if we weren’t down here!?”

“Of course I...I’m sure I would have...that doesn’t matter!” Fitz fought back and then looked out the window. “Jemma! Jemma look!” he said and she turned around, seeing a probe scanning the area. “HERE! WE’RE HERE!” he tried to wave his arms but found he could only wave one. Simmons ran to the window and knocked on the glass hoping that they would be noticed.

The probe scanned and Fitz returned to the EKG, calling out for an SOS call.

“AGENTS JEMMA SIMMONS AND LEOPOLD FITZ,” a familiar voice came - Director Fury! “ARE YOU DOWN THERE! KNOCK ONCE FOR YES!”

“Fury? I thought he was dead?” Fitz said and Simmons knocked once, loudly on the window.

“HAVE YOU GOT ENOUGH OXYGEN? WE WILL TRY TO PULL YOU OUT OF THE OCEAN BUT IT WILL TAKE SOME TIME! KNOCK ONCE FOR YES AND TWICE FOR NO!”

Before Fitz could comment, Simmons knocked twice.

“TRY TO STAY CALM AND WE WILL KEEP IN TOUCH USING THIS PROBE!” Fury replied and Simmons looked at Fitz.

“They’re going to get us out! We’re going to be okay!” she said.

“It must have been a cover up. I wonder if they used the GH...”

“Hold on! Don’t you change the subject,” she walked over to him. “You wouldn’t have told me how you felt if you hadn’t been forced to. Why would you keep it to yourself? How long have you felt this way?”

“A while,” Fitz said quietly. “I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t feel the same and it would change our friendship.”

“You never asked me if I feel the same! How can you make that choice for me!?”

“Well, do you feel the same? Or...or are you going to say it now out of...pity or because I said it first?”

“I don’t know what I feel, but I know that I feel something!” Simmons told him. “I know you’re my best friend and I’d be heartbroken if I had to live without you, and that I look forward to seeing you every day and that the only person I want to tell my secrets to and hug when I’m sad is you! I know that I can’t imagine my life without you!”

“That doesn’t mean anything.”

“Oh, doesn’t it? Fitz you stu...” Simmons said and walked up to him and grabbed him by the back of his head and kissed him on the lips. Fitz pushed her away.

“Simmons, what are you doing? You don’t need to...”

“Just...shut up,” she told him and put her arms around him and kissed him on his lips and all over his face again. “You mean the world to me, Fitz and I don’t know whether this is more than friendship, but I’m willing to give it a try.”

“That sounds like pity to me,” Fitz responded.

“You...you’re never going to believe me are you?” Simmons asked and Fitz shrugged - looking at the sincerity in her eyes.

“If you keep kissing me, I might?” he smiled and she grinned.

“I guess I’d better keep convincing you then?” she said and placed her lips on his once again.

“FITZSIMMONS, I CAN SEE YOU THROUGH THE SENSORS ON THE PROBE!” Director Fury said. “I KNOW YOU’RE HAPPY TO BE ALIVE BUT DON’T MAKE ME WATCH THIS! SAVE IT FOR WHEN YOU’RE BACK ON DRY LAND!”

The two broke off and laughed and Fitz put his good arm around Simmons as they waited, holding hands.

Twenty minutes later, with limited oxygen, the med-pod was pulled out of the ocean and onto a larger plane. Fitzsimmons climbed out of it and were given a full medical and Fitz’s arm was tended to properly. Fury explained he’d been looking for Coulson and wanted to know where he could find him? Of course, the two had the tracking quarter which would take him directly there.

“Where are we going now?” Simmons asked him.

“One of my bases, seeing as the last one got destroyed,” Fury responded.

Fitzsimmons looked at one another and then out of the window across the ocean they’d just been in as the plane led them to their destination.

“You really mean this, Jemma? You really want to give it a go?” Fitz asked when they finally had some privacy.

“I do,” she said and held his good hand tighter. “The whole world is changing around us and everything is falling to pieces. But, at least we still have each other,” she told him and planted a kiss on his cheek and leant on his shoulder as the two prepared for the next part of their adventure.

Chapter Text

2x21/22 Sliding doors

“No! I don’t! You keep rambling on and on and I still don’t know what you mean!” Simmons said, exasperated.

“Dinner!” was the only word that Fitz could make out - he was so frustrated with himself. He wanted to get this moment perfect, the moment he’d been waiting for for over a year but he was making a mess of it.

“Fast approaching, yes and we’ll eat it, I’m sure…”

“Yeah, no no no…” Fitz waved his hand. “But…er…” he pointed to himself. “Me and you…” she looked up at him from the tech box.
“Maybe we could eat somewhere else? Somewhere else, you know?” He leant up against the box, closer to her.  “Somewhere…nice?”

She looked up - was he asking her out? Was Fitz really asking her out?
She looked up in shock, not really sure what to say. Her best friend was asking her out on a date and her heart was flying.  

She tried to keep it casual with a simple nod.

“Oh…” was all she could say and nodded again as her lips twitched into a smile.

Fitz smiled at her, that was good enough for him. It was then he stumbled and fell towards the box with the stone inside. What a klutz. He regained himself and moved away.

“Good. Okay.” He said, trying to be cool. “Well…er…you should er…come and find me when you’re finished here and I’ll start working on some options to run by you.” He placed his hands together - Simmons couldn’t keep the smile off her face. “For that.” He placed his hands on his hips and before he could embarrass himself further he turned and walked towards the door, shutting it behind him.

A date? Simmons grinned from ear to ear and placed the box she was holding down in the crate. What would she wear? How would it go?

It was then she looked up and saw that the box with the stone inside had been opened.

“Urgh what…” she reached over to close it as the door reopened.

“Sorry, Jemma I forg…JEMMA NO!!! DON’T OPEN IT!” Fitz ran for his life as the stone turned to liquid. He grabbed Simmons around the middle and she screamed as the liquid poured out at her feet and it tried to pull her back in. Fitz with the tightest grip he could muster pulled Simmons towards him.

“FITZ!!!” she cried - it was too strong, it would take them both. It was dragging them towards the box…

“YOUR SHOES! KICK THEM OFF NOW!” Fitz yelled and Simmons quickly pushed her shoes off her feet as the liquid swallowed the shoes, releasing her, and pulled them into to box. Fitz fell back from the force, still holding Simmons but then ran up towards the box.

“NO FITZ!!!!” Simmons cried but he grabbed a wrench from the box and threw it towards the open door, hard enough so the door to the box swung shut.

Simmons breathed heavily and sobbed and Fitz bent down, resting his hands on his knees and exhaled.

“Need to find something stronger to hold it…” he said and stood up straight and looked at Simmons and walked back over to her. “Are you okay?”

She nodded slowly and sniffed as Fitz held out his hands to her and pulled her up and she clung to him as he embraced her fully.

“Now…now do you see why this alien stuff scares me so much?” she whispered to him and he nodded.

“I know, but you’re safe now, I’m here,” he said and she nodded into him. “Let’s get as far away from here as we can.”

Simmons agreed as Fitz, with his arm still around her, opened the door and then shut it behind them, letting his arms fall to his sides.

“Italian,” Simmons blurted out.

“What is? Your shoes?”

“No…dinner. Dinner could be italian, if…if you still want to go?” she said and Fitz nodded eagerly with a smile.

“And there was me thinking that you’d risk getting swallowed up by that alien goo to get out of going on a date,” he said and she laughed slightly. “Whatever you want. Let’s just…do things right this time and preferably without anyone getting hurt.”

“I’d like that,” Simmons said and looked up into Fitz’s eyes and he looked back at her. “Feel much shorter without my shoes.”

“You’re lucky I caught you. You’re so tiny that thing would’ve completely consumed you,” Fitz said in a somber tone. “Don’t let me lose you again. Promise me?”

Simmons nodded and swallowed back before giving Fitz another big hug.

“Want to go see what italian restaurants are near by?” she asked and Fitz nodded as Simmons let go of the hug and walked along the corridor with him.

She let her hand rest by her side for a moment but then decided that it was feeling far too loose alone, so she stretched her fingers out towards Fitz’s fingers. He smiled and let them link with hers as they walked along together towards his room. It would be a new beginning for them.

Chapter Text

“DO SOMETHING!!!” he yelled desperately at the rock, banging his fists against it. It wouldn’t even move, it wouldn’t even shift - yet on the images he’d seen on the security footage in the room, it had literally turned into a liquid within seconds and swallowed Simmons whole, covering her tiny body and dragging her inside. It hadn’t turned since - had it finally got its prey? Had it ‘eaten’ her and was it never to change again?

No, no Fitz wasn’t going to take that as his answer as he continued to pound and pound a way at the rock. Do something. He yelled until his throat was raw, his eyes were streaming and hit it one last time.

Do something he had pleaded -

Something it did.

The rock swirled and splashed like an ocean - Fitz looked around, filled partially with fear, but the rest of him was filled with adrenaline because the rock had finally answered his plea, and it dragged him into darkness.

His eyes were shut and his breathing was the loudest thing he could hear.

Fitz opened his eyes, laying flat on rocky ground. He looked up - where the hell was he? And why was it so...blue?

His eyes darted around and he saw mountains (or what looked like mountains) around him and desert sand under his body. He pushed himself up and looked around, turning around 360 degrees at the barren place with no sign of the rock that had taken him there.

Then he saw it - the view of a giant planet in the sky and a smaller moon above - it was like something from a sci-fi movie and he had to blink back to check that it was real. It was the most beautiful and most terrifying background he had ever seen.

Where was he, but more importantly, was she here too?

“JEMMA!!!” Fitz yelled at the top of his voice, but of course there was no reply. This was a whole different planet - it would take a lifetime or longer to scourer it and whilst she’d been gone for 6 months, it was still a very long way to walk around a place.

Where would Jemma go? Somewhere with water and food and shelter - Fitz considered her thought processes, even though he knew she would’ve panicked at first. It was taking a lot of his strength not to panic himself - lost and potentially alone on a planet with no way back. No one would have the knowledge to get him back, let alone the both of them. If she was even here.

It would take him forever to find her - but it was a forever he was willing to take, which is why he began to walk towards the mountains.

Rocks filled the terrain on either side of him and it was like going through a maze - Fitz desperately looked for signs of life, but there was nothing to be seen. Nothing that could even suggest a human could survive here, except for the air itself being oxygen. That he hadn’t considered. Where on earth had oxygen in the universe? Asgard did, he knew that and potentially other planets where there were humanoid life forms, but this...it was unlike anything he’d ever imagined.

Fitz could hear the wind, loudly, much more loudly than on earth. Neptune had wind storms and that was blue? But it didn’t have oxygen - that they knew of. It was an eerie sound, albeit not at all cold, but just...unsettling. He knew that he had to find shelter for the night, if this damn place even had days and nights like earth.

He was sure to die here without food or water and he didn’t seem any closer to finding that at all. This whole damn place was completely barren. It could’ve even been hell, if it had been hotter.

A loud groan came from behind and Fitz spun on the spot - it was even louder than the wind. What kind of creature had made that? Was it a creature? What the hell was it? It was more of a creaking sound, but whatever it was - it wasn’t earthly.

He looked desperately around for shelter - behind a rock? There were plenty of those, but none which would be shelter enough for him to hide behind. Not for long anyway.

The noise seemed louder and he knew he had to hide - he slowly backed up against a rock, peering out to see what was coming - dreading that his adventure here would be very short lived. Dreading even more that Simmons had already...

Simmons...

“Simmons...” Fitz blinked back, expecting a mirage or a hallucination but he saw a figure running in the distance. And that figure just had to be here. “SIMMONS!” he yelled and started to run after her. He felt tired from the walking but he pushed himself to run after her - or was it just a wild goose chase? “JEMMA! JEMMA!!!” he yelled, but she was running away and hadn’t heard. “Please God, Jemma...” he looked back as the creaking noise came again and saw some mountains in the distance that weren’t too steep but looked rocky. He saw her starting to climb them.

She was struggling and practically crawling up the first one - had she hurt herself? It was his chance to start speeding up, he might be able to catch her. With everything he had, Fitz sprinted up towards the mountain which was still metres and metres away but he was moving faster than her - if he kept it up, he’d surely meet her.

He reached the bottom of the mountain out of breath and started to climb - he knew why she had almost crawled - the terrain was so crumbly it was breaking off with each step. It was his turn to slow down - no, no, no he couldn’t lose her! He tried to yell out but slipped and started falling down the mountain. He grabbed a jagged edge, cutting his hand in the process which made him yell out, but with the pain covered by gritting his teeth, he pulled himself back up and started to run again.

He reached the top and saw she was now on two mountains away - this time it was all downhill so would be faster. His feet were near slipping as he started to run down and yelled out again and again - the creaking noise from behind still growing and he hadn’t even turned around to see what it was.

“JEMMA!!!!!!!!!” he used his whole voice to shout. It wasn’t enough, she still hadn’t heard and he ran even faster, tripping and sliding down half of the mountain. He reached solid ground and with his limited strength he pushed himself to reach the flat ground at the bottom.

He looked around - she was no where to be seen.

“No...no Jemma...no!” had he just imagined the whole thing? Had he just been thinking too wishfully? What if it had been a trap to lure him to his death? What was he going to do now?!

He looked down at his cut hand and noticed the blood spilling. He looked around and then tore off a piece of his sleeve and tried to cover it, breathing heavily. He was weakened and tied the material into what he could manage of a bandage with one hand.

He had to stop running and leant up against a rock, his head back against it and started to breath normally. He looked up at the blue sky and tears filled his eyes - it had always been hopeless.

The creaking was louder - whatever it was, it could take him. There was nothing else left for him now. He had nothing - no earth, no Simmons, no team. No one would ever find him and she had vanished. He was alone on this big blue world and he would never escape.

“Come on Jemma...” he croaked quietly, daring to shut his eyes for a moment. “Please...do something.”

She ran past and he heard her footsteps and her panting. What? But she’d surely overtaken him before, but within feet away from him, there she was again, running away. She stopped and stared into the distance, not facing him.

Fitz slowly pushed himself up.

“Jemma?” he said and started to walk towards her. “Jem?” He reached out his non-cut hand towards her shoulder - he could nearly touch her. His breathing heightened as he saw her hair falling on her shoulders, her white blouse as before and her boots. His fingers were shaking as he slowly reached to touch her shoulder.

An object collided with his Jemma and he watched as she turned into dust. The object was a person, and that person was the real Jemma Simmons who looked up, after attacking the fake one. That Jemma Simmons hadn't been real - it had been fake. Maybe that's what had been chasing them?
Her brown eyes looked up with tears and gladness, but also determination. Fitz breathed so heavily at the sight of her before him. She stood up slowly and she stepped forward reaching one hand out to his cheek - slowly touching it as if she were testing he was real. He didn’t move, but his mouth was slightly agape staring at her with her matted hair, ripped blouse and jeans, dirt on the side of her eyebrow.

And then, she flung herself onto him in a hug and cried and he pulled her into his embrace tightly, near lifting her off the ground, and as she moved her face away from his shoulder, she kissed his face over and over again and placed her hands behind his head, pulling him closer to her as she reached his lips and kissed him there. Over and over. Fitz kissed her back just as much with each small kiss and looked at her with tears in his eyes.

“I thought...I’d lost you...” he cried at her and she held his head tighter between her hands.

“And I...thought you’d never find me,” she cried back. “How did you?”

“I did what I should’ve done in the beginning. I should’ve jumped straight into that rock to follow you. They told...they said I was insane, that you were dead and that we’d never...but you’re here. Where is here?”

“I don’t know where we are, but it’s...it’s a place with water and I’ve got supplies and there’s things that come out each day. They’re hunting. I’ve never seen one but I know they’re after me, they can smell my blood. They take on different shapes, that one...that one took on me, but now it's turned into dust it. It'll be back. We have to get out of here.”

“Good thing I covered this up then,” Fitz showed her his hand and she looked at it in shock, between him and his hand.

“We’ll mask it, I have supplies...come on!” she started to run again, holding his good hand as they ran through the desert and towards a crevice in side a large rock side - barely a meter wide. It nearly didn’t fit them both inside until Simmons moved up against the wall and pulled her legs towards her and Fitz copied her movements. “We’re safe here.”

Fitz watched closely as Simmons unwrapped the bandage and started to dig in the ground. She placed some dirt from her hands onto his cut which made him wince. He knew it was to mask the smell. She kept a hold of his hand.

“What have you been doing for all these months?” he asked her and she shook her head.

“It’s felt like years...surviving. I guess?” she said in a small voice, tears in her eyes again. Fitz couldn’t really move his arm to put it around her but twitched the hand she was holding a little in response. “I don’t know how we’re ever going to get home.”

“I don’t know either,” Fitz sighed. “But we’ve got each other now and that’s...that’s better than you being on your own.” He managed to wiggle his other hand free and placed it on her bent knee. “I’m here now.”

She placed a hand on his and then moved it up his arm to his cheek, pulling his head forward to kiss him again on the lips. It was slower this time. She leant her forehead against his and he slipped his arm around her waist instead, pulling her onto his lap.

“What are we going to do?” she whispered to him.

“We’ll do what we always do. We’ll fix this, together,” Fitz whispered back. “I didn’t come to the ends of the earth for us to lose each other again. I’ll get us back home if it’s the last thing I do. You know for a moment, I thought you’d stood me up? For our dinner?”

“No, no never! I was so excited,” Simmons sighed and then reached into her bag. It was a small green fruit and she handed it to him. “It’s not much, but...it’s some sort of dinner.”

“You take it, I’m not hungry,” Fitz replied and Simmons put it back in her bag. “We’ll get home. I got here, didn’t I? And so did you. Two brains are smarter than one and if anyone’s going to be able to get back, it’s us. Working together again. There has to be a way back.”

Simmons nodded and slowly leant in to Fitz as he held her close to him.

“I barely sleep,” she whispered and he nodded.

“Sleep now. I’m here, I’ll wake you.”

“But what if I close my eyes and you disappear?” she asked him.

“I swear I won’t,” Fitz replied and slowly reached a hand up to her hair and stroked it back. “You’ve been so strong, doing all this, but let me take some of it now.” He held her tighter with his other arm and he felt her relax into him. “Jem...I think I love you.”

“Oh Fitz...” Simmons exhaled and finally shut her eyes. “I know that I love you.”