Category: Marvel: Agents of Shield
Disclaimer: Marvel and all related characters do not belong to me.
Summary: Agent Grant Ward embarks on his most important mission ever: a dinner to impress Jemma's mother, with a little (unsolicited) help from friends. Inspired by OMGLifeHack's How to Impress Your Girlfriend's Parents. Future fic; established BioSpecialist relationship.
Continuity: Future fic.
Author's Notes: This is my first M:AoS fic. There's something about Jemma and Grant that just grabs a girl and does not let go. I'm not a native English speaker, so any feedback on the British English would be love.
For Thea who encouraged me to write this crack.
Four innocuous words followed by the most high-pitched of feedback made Grant Ward fear not only for his hearing, but also for his sanity.
For a moment, his poker face slipped, replaced by a wince.
"Everything alright there, Agent Ward?"
From across the table, Grant gave the woman he was trying to impress what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "I'm fine, Mrs. Simmons. Just, uh, brain freeze."
Evelyn Simmons' brown eyes pointedly looked from Ward's face to his steaming cup of coffee and back at his face again. Thankfully, she refrained from comment and opted to put more sugar in her tea.
"Is this thing on?"
Ward immediately hid his hands beneath the table before they involuntarily tightened, as if he was wringing necks, necks belonging to a self-titled hacktivist and her engineer friend, between them.
"Ward! Hey! Ward! Can you hear me?"
Ward had a feeling that Skye would continue screaming at his ear if he did not answer her. He had no choice but to turn away from the table and bark his most inconspicuous, "Yes."
"What is that, Agent Ward?" Evelyn asked, her accented voice clipped.
"Ah, nothing. Nothing. Just a tickle. In my throat."
How something could spiral out of his control so fast, he had no idea.
Actually, he did have an idea.
Two ideas, actually.
Skye and Fitz.
The day before, he was so nervous about meeting Jemma's mother for the first time.
After Jemma once again missed going home for a family holiday because of her work at the Bus, the indomitable Evelyn Simmons took matters in her own hands and travelled to New York. She demanded that her daughter be with her for a short visit.
Jemma was gone for three days.
Ward missed her, as he had been spoiled with her contestant presence in his life. He was unused to her not being within arm's reach.
He could barely wait until she returned, but there was one thing marring it. Before Jemma could go back on the Bus, Evelyn Simmons had dropped another demand: Agent Grant Ward was to pick her up so that he could meet Evelyn.
Grant Ward would rather face twenty mercs unarmed in his underwear than meet Jemma's mother: he had heard a lot of horror stories about her. Unfortunately, he had no choice. He loved Jemma.
Of course, Ward, being Ward, wanted to go into the mission with all the information he could get.
Years ago, Ward remembered hearing a snippet of information where Jemma was bewailing that her mother loved Fitz more than she loved her.
And this was where Ward made a tactical error. He went to Fitz for advice, forgetting that whenever Fitz went, Skye was sure to follow.
"You're meeting her mother?" Skye had screeched when she overheard Ward's request. "Oh, my god, Ward! This is huge! You need to make a good impression!"
"Really?" Ward had asked dryly. "I did not know that."
"Do you even know how to make a good impression? How many of your girlfriend's parents have you met?"
None. The answer was none; but he'd be damned if he admitted that to Skye.
Unfortunately, Skye was able to read the answer in the way he had stiffened (and also perhaps from the look of complete and utter fear in his eyes).
From there, Ward wasted three solid hours hearing a lecture from Skye on how to behave on his meeting with Jemma's mother.
("You should dress up properly," Skye had said, as if he was an idiot who planned on going to dinner in an old holey shirt and scruffy shoes. "Maybe one of your suits. I really love that dark blue one with the matching tie. You could also wear those glasses of yours..." then she trailed off dreamily.)
("And don't do the Ward thing." Fitz nodded sagely. When asked what he meant, he hunched his shoulders, squinted his eyes and muttered, "Hi, I'm Agent Ward. I can bench press thirty times my bodyweight with my index finger.")
("And don't forget to smile," Skye declared brightly. "But don't overdo it." she winced at Ward's forced smile.)
He tried to make a great impression, he really did.
He went with Skye's fashion advice with the dark blue suit. He did not do the Ward thing, per Fitz's suggestion. He arrived at the agreed-upon coffee shop early, andgave Evelyn his most disarming smile (and made sure not to overdo it). These, however, were not enough for the overly discerning mother.
Evelyn Simmons looked formidable.
She was dressed in clothes that looked as if it costed a year of Ward's salary. Her honey blond hair was pulled back in a severe bun. She did not look old enough to have a teenaged daughter, much less someone of Jemma's age. In her six-inch high heels, she towered over her petite daughter. And Evelyn Simmons looked at Ward as if he was the scum beneath her thousand-dollar heels.
"Ma'am," Ward greeted her with a firm handshake.
"This," Evelyn sniffed as she settled herself gracefully on the table. "Is who you dumped Leo for?"
Ward stifled a groan. This evening would not end well.
"Mum, for the last time," Jemma groaned. "Fitz is my best friend. We never—"
"And maybe that is the problem!" Evelyn told her daughter sagely, totally ignoring Ward's presence. "Maybe the two of you should have tried before embarking in a relationship with," she paused and looked at Ward. "This."
"Mother!" Jemma exclaimed before looking at Grant apologetically.
Beneath the table, he reached for her hand in reassurance. He could and would stand her mother. He would withstand anything for her.
To make matters worse, Jemma was suddenly called out for a consulting emergency.
("I'll be back in a couple of hours." Jemma told them. "Try not to kill each other, yes?")
Ward had been trying. He really was. However, the way things were proceeding, jumping off an airplane without a parachute was easier compared with dealing with Jemma's mother. How Jemma came out of her childhood unscathed was a mystery to Ward.
Of course, the voices in his ears were not helping at all.
"Ward, don't just let the silence extend all awkwardly." Skye hissed from his earpiece.
He was going to kill her and Fitz. This was against protocol. The two of them knew better than to whisper dating advice into his earpiece. One never knew who was listening.
"Don't worry that someone's listening," drawled Fitz as if he heard Ward's thoughts. "Skye worked her magic to highjack us a secure channel."
"Ward! Say something!" came Skye's voice that had Ward inwardly cursing the suit that imposed the regulation that he must wear his earpiece because he was not on official leave.
"Oh! Ask her about the family business." Fitz suggested. "She loves talking about that."
"So, uh, Mrs. Simmons," Ward started awkwardly.
"Agent Grant," Evelyn smoothly talked over Ward. "I take it you work for the same shadow organization that Jemma works for?"
"And how do you propose to maintain Jemma in the manner in which she had become accustomed?" Evelyn took a sip of her tea before continuing in a voice filled with disgust. "On a government salary?"
"Oh, ouch." Ward could almost see the wince on Skye's face.
"Did we ever mention that Jemma's family's rich?" Fitz asked. "No? Whoops."
"I don't—" Ward tried to interrupt.
"I was so sure she would outgrow this need to assert her independence." Evelyn continued. "She turned her back on her trust fund just so she could prove herself and go on this great adventure. And now she's hooking up or whatever it is kids all it this days with an...an...American!"
"At least with Leo, he's a Scotsman. And it's also not outside the realm of possibility that he'd invent something that would earn him billions." Evelyn continued, as if to herself.
"What can I say?" Fitz asked. "Aunt E loves me."
"Or your nonexistent millions," was Skye's riposte.
"I believe she said billions!"
"Shut up!" Ward hissed at them.
Evelyn's teacup wavered in midair. "I'm sorry, Agent Grant?"
"Nothing," he was quick to reassure her.
"So, Agent Ward." Evelyn seemed to shake herself before she daintily placed her teacup on top of its saucer. "What are your intentions towards my daughter?"
Ward to a deep breath, prepared to say anything, do everything, to be deemed worthy of Jemma Simmons.
Before he could speak, however, there was a loud crash followed by a million pieces of glass showering from above.
Ward's training took over. He had slid down the table, grabbed Evelyn's arm and shoved her underneath. "Stay there until I come get you."
The other patrons of the coffee shop were screaming and stampeding towards the exit.
Ward looked up and saw about half a dozen men rappelling down.
He wished for the night night gun, but he was prepared to fight with what he had.
"Surrender the woman." the first man on the ground declared as the other men in ski masks surround Ward and the table where he had stashed Evelyn.
"What?" he thought he was the target, after all, he had acquired hundreds of enemies in all his years at S.H.I.E.L.D. But the woman? Evelyn?
"The woman, now." the man repeated as he waved a long, black staff threateningly. His companions likewise did the same.
"No." Ward declared before disarming the man nearest him and taking his staff. "She may be difficult, but she's soon to be my family."
Ward tried, really he did. But he could not have known that the staff they were holding had the capability of sending out an electric shock that could take down a full grown elephant?
He had four men down when he himself went down. The last thing he saw was Evelyn, who was watching everything intently from underneath the table. He thanked all the gods he knew that Jemma was not there.
Ward did not know how long he was out. But his first thought when he regained consciousness was, "Jemma." He groaned. He felt like the morning after his hazing at the Academy. The events of the night came pouring in.
"Oh, good, Agent Ward. You're awake."
Ward jerked up and his body made itself felt in protest.
He touched the communicator in his ear to radio for help, but nothing happened. He cursed.
"I think the charge they gave you fried your equipment. You could try mine." she tossed a cellular phone at him.
Ward failed to react and the phone hit his chest before sliding down the floor. How could she be calm after the incident? He expected her to be running and screaming and demanding that Jemma fly immediately back to England.
"I had hoped that you would be able to take care of this little problem for me. But no matter. I took over when you took a rest." Evelyn was seated on the table, neat as a pin, calmly sipping tea, as if the bodies of (hopefully only) unconsious men surrounding her were of no moment.
"You," Ward gaped at her. "you took over?"
"My daughter isn't the only one with secrets, Agent Ward."
"S.H.I.E.L.D.?" he asked.
"Of course not." Evelyn sniffed. "As if I would join something so pedestrian."
"I don't understand."
"Of course you don't." she replied. "Your clearance level is not high enough."
"You took down two men with cattle prods." he asked in disbelief. And without a scratch or a hair out of place too.
"Yes. And I will not hesitate to do the same to you if you ever make Jemma cry. I can promise you that I am better, faster, and meaner than you could ever hope to be."
This was his sweet Jemma's mother?
And all of a sudden, it hit Ward that Jemma's strength and determination stemmed from this woman. Jemma grew up to be a woman who would make the tough decisions because they were the right ones to make: a woman who would jump off a plane without a parachute or jump on a bomb to save the ones she loved.
He gave one swift nod.
"I'm glad we came to an understanding." Evelyn said. "But I take it this does not have to reach her and my husband?"
"No, ma'am." Ward gulped and nodded.
"Mum? What happened?" Jemma burst into the cafe. Grant Ward was never more glad to see someone.
"Oh, dear!" Evelyn gasped out loud in fear. "These men suddenly burst in here, all violent-like. Good thing your young man was here to save me!"
She was so convincing that if he hadn't just lived it, he would have believed her.
Grant Ward wondered what he had just got himself into. But moments later, when a thankful Jemma Simmons had launched herself at him before checking for any injuries he might have sustained, he figured, it was all worth it.