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Luckiest Man Alive

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Luckiest Man Alive
by Apple Blossom

Disclaimer: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D belongs to Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon, Stan Lee, ABC, Marvel Television, Mutant Enemy, and anyone else who wants to lay claim to it.

June 12, 2026
Sanibel, Florida

"Melinda, they're here," I say from the front window as the first car arrives. When she comes out of the kitchen I can't help but smile at the bright red apron that covers her dress. She's taken well to retirement, much better than I have, and as she wipes her hands on a dish towel she grins at me, easily guessing where my thoughts are. "Who is it?"

I turn back to the window in time to see Bobbi and Lance Hunter helping two young boys from the back of a mini-van. Even from this distance I can see that each child favors one parent over the other. The older of the two, Jackson, is the spitting image of his father while his younger brother, Logan, is easily his mother's twin. Opening the door, I feel the warm breeze on my face and take in the aromatic scent of magnolias in bloom as several brown anoles scurry off the top rail of the whitewashed deck, startled by my appearance. The boys grin wildly when they see me and rush forward, racing up the wooden stairs and wrapping their arms around my legs, yelling, "Hi Uncle Phil!"

"Hi boys," I say, smiling as I maneuver all of us inside as Hunter carries their luggage in behind us. The boys race toward their Aunt Melinda, looking for hugs, kisses and cookies and I can't help but laugh as Hunter admonishes his seven and five year old boys.

"They're fine," Melinda tells him as she lifts Logan up onto one of the stools at the island while Jackson pulls himself up quickly next to his brother.

"Is that a pool?" Logan asks at the same time as Jackson yells, "The beach!"

"Boys," Bobbi says, as she eases herself into one of the oversized chairs in the family room. At seven months pregnant, I can tell that they keeps her very busy and once Melinda has cookies in milk in front of the kids, she comes over, leaning down and hugging Bobbi and then Hunter, who has settled himself on the arm of the chair next to his wife. Retirement seems to suit them as well and with Hydra completely dismantled and the government no longer having to hide their existence, the two of them have been able to settle down and start a family of their own.

"Thank goodness this one's going to be a girl," Bobbi confides as she watches her sons devour the chocolate chip cookies in front of them, milk mustaches covering their lips. "They are just like their father."

"Hey," Hunter complains, one hand resting gently on her shoulder. "That's a good thing."

My eyes go from Bobbi to Hunter and see that this is a running joke between them and I smile as I realize that they have their hands very full and wouldn't want it any other way. The sounds of another car pulling up into the gravel driveway drifts in through the open windows and I glance out to see more of our family arriving. Another van pulls up and out comes Leo Fitz, Jemma Simmons and their three children. Eight year old Sophia is a mini version of her mother, in looks and temperament. She herds six year old twin brothers Liam and Charlie toward the house, smiling and waving as she sees me. It's been almost two years since we've seen them in person and they've grown so much since then. I greet them all and before I finally close the door glance back toward the road one last time, hoping our final guests will be here soon.

The adults settle into the family room as the children reintroduce themselves to each other and we catch up on what everyone has been doing since we've seen them last. Laughter fills the house and Melinda's eyes catch mine and I know she is thinking the same thing that I am; the house is way too quiet when our babies aren't here. There's one baby I'm desperate to see. The one that calls me Poppa and not Uncle. The one whose mother means the world to me and I barely hear the creak of the front door, feel the blast of warmth seeping through the opening, before she's there. Tiny sandals clip anxiously against the wooden floor as she runs toward me, arms outstretched and I'm out of my chair in an instant, pulling her into a bear hug and holding her close.

"Hi Poppa," she says, her arms tight around my neck as she places kisses on my cheeks. She is the spitting image of her mother with the cocoa colored skin of her father and her long dark ringlets are pulled back in a pink bow that matches her sundress.

"How's my girl?" I ask, holding Callie Mackenzie close, snuggling my four year old granddaughter as her father and mother appear in the doorway behind her. More hugs and greetings occur before we lead the families up to their rooms so they can get changed into swimsuits for an afternoon at the pool and beach. Our home on the water is large enough for a family reunion, with rooms for each family and a bonus room where we've set up mattresses for all the kids to enjoy late night slumber parties. The family room overlooks an amazing infinity pool and a sandy path through sea oats leads to the Gulf of Mexico where we have our own private stretch of beach. Melinda leads the Fitz's and Hunter's to their rooms while Mack and Daisy follow me to theirs.

"This is nice," Daisy says as we enter and her arms wrap around me for a moment, hugging me tight before she adds, "I've missed you."

***

"Poppa, watch me," Callie calls out as she stands at the edge of the pool, Mack waiting to catch her.

"I'm watching," I tell her. She takes a step forward and then another before she jumps into her father's arms, her eyes squeezed shut. Mack catches her and lets her dip carefully under the water before pulling her back up. Her eyes open immediately and she laughs happily as she seeks me out right away. "Did you see me?"

"I did," I answer, meeting Daisy's eyes as she smiles at her daughter before slipping into the pool to join her family. At the shallow end of the pool the boys are splashing each other and taking turns diving down to grab bright colored rings from the bottom of the pool. Sophia swims out to meet Callie and soon they are out of the water, drawing chalk scenes across the cool deck. As the kids play, the adults settle into chairs, some in the sun, others under the covered lanai and Melinda pours drinks for everyone before coming to sit beside me. The years have been good to us and I'm happier now than I have ever been. Leaving SHIELD behind wasn't as hard as I imagined, especially since I knew I was turning it over to Daisy. As director, she succeeded in reuniting the Avengers, working with world leaders to disassemble the Sokovia Accords, and establish a team of secret warriors that were able to continue to work in the shadows, all while promoting a atmosphere of mutual respect and inclusion. It wasn't easy but with Mack by her side, Daisy's was able to accomplish all of this and set up a new chain of command for SHIELD before leaving the Secret Warriors with a new leader and finally retiring herself. Well, mostly retiring. Now she and Mack mainly work on technology for SHIELD and with her computer designs and Mack's engineering skills, they are the most sought after team for new development.

I have to admit that I don't know what, if anything, Bobbi and Hunter do for employment. Whatever it is, they keep it to themselves and it doesn't seem to interfere with their family life. They've settled in California in a small town where no one knows anything about their former lives and from what I can tell, they like it that way. Their life as spies seems to be so far gone from who they are now and they are more content today than ever. Jemma and Fitz live in Scotland, where they raise their children in a quaint village and work on scientific things I will never understand.

As we talk and catch up the kids splash and play until finally one of the boys calls out, "Can we go to the beach?"

"I'll take them," Hunter says, reaching for beach towels as his sons drip water all over the deck. Fitz and Mack join them and soon they are heading down the path, the boys hopping from foot to foot over the warm white sand.

"I'm going to start dinner," Melinda tells me. I assure Jemma and Daisy that I will keep an eye on the girls and soon the lanai is quiet, with Sophia and Callie busily adding to their drawing.

"Come see, Poppa," Callie says, so I get up and join them, amazed at the amount of detail that the two have managed to add to their make believe scene. There is a beach and waves, with fish swimming underneath and a bright yellow sun shining down on a sleeping turtle. It doesn't take long to realize that Sophia is quite the artist and she quickly draws the outlines of a starfish in the sand before moving on to something else, allowing Callie to color it in as she pleases.

"This is beautiful," I tell them and both girls look up at me, smiling brightly.

"Draw something for Poppa to color," Callie tells Sophia. The older girl immediately complies and Callie hands me the piece of chalk she wants me to use and soon I'm coloring along with them. The time passes quickly as I get immersed in drawing with these two little girls until I hear the sound of one of the French doors opening and Daisy comes out to set the table. She smiles as she sees me and I wonder once again how lucky I am to have this life. For years I was alone. Married to my job and loving it, never knowing there could be something more. But from the moment that I met her, she's made my life better. She's the daughter that I have always wanted, and while I know there are many times when she misses the idea of what Cal could have been, Daisy chose me to fill that role and allowing me to be her child's grandfather means more to me than I can ever say.

Jemma comes out behind her and heads down toward the beach, calling for the boys to come in for dinner and soon they are hurrying up the path, hair plastered to their heads, wet with sea water and sand clinging to their legs, but they are happy and laughing as they stop just outside of the screened enclosure and Mack turns on the hose, rinsing them off.

Dinner is a raucous affair, with the children at one table and the adults at the next, but it is exactly how I like it and I wish we could see our extended family more often. We laugh as Hunter regales us with tales of his boys antics while Bobbi can only shake her head in amusement. After dinner and dessert, which seems to have made more of an impact on the kids' table and floor than in the children's stomachs, I insist on cleaning up and Mack helps me while Bobbi, Jemma, and Daisy take the kids for baths. After that, as the sun drops low on the horizon, we settle back into the family room where Melinda puts on a movie for the kids, that is surprisingly entertaining to the adults as well. Half way through, Callie comes to me, climbing on my lap, a blanket in hand. I cover her with it as she cuddles sleepily against me, and the soothing rocking of the recliner lowers her eyelids until one small thumb slips into her mouth and she is out.

"I can take her," Daisy says after the movie ends and Jemma and Bobbi usher their charges up the stairs to bed.

Glancing down at my sweet granddaughter I shake my head and say, "I've got her."

Daisy nods as I carefully slip my hands under Callie's legs and carry her up the stairs. Sophia is sitting on one of the mattresses and pulls back the covers, waiting patiently as I lower my granddaughter to the bed. As I do, she wakes just long enough to say, "I love you, Poppa," before rolling over and curling up next to her new friend. Saying goodnight to the kids I turn out the light, knowing that between the sun and sea, the boys will soon be asleep as well. I head back downstairs and find Melinda in our bedroom.

"This is nice," she says as she pulls back the covers, ready for bed, knowing that the kids will have us up as soon as the slightest ray of sunlight hits their room.

"Yes it is," I answer, sliding into the bed next to her and reaching for the lamp switch, plunging the room into darkness. Just enough moonlight peeks through the window and I see contentment on my wife's face. All of us have come a long way and I am the luckiest man alive.

The end