Author's Note: So, this is my first fanfiction for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Although the hiatus is killing me, it actually provided some room to dwell on FitzSimmons. How amazing are these two, really? I think Fitz and Simmons have a bond that surpasses any label. I love the dynamic of their duo so much that I'll be okay if they either evolve into a romantic pairing or remain platonic friends. They are so precious.

I'd also like to thank Meadowlark27, my wonderful beta, without whom this one-shot would not be what it is. As I'm French and English is definitely not my mother-tongue, we can all pay tribute to her for the lack of grammar mistakes in this piece. By the way, if you're a Hunger Games fan, you should totally check out her amazing stories. She writes the best Everlark ones—trust me on this.

Without further ado, let's get into the actual story. I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I unfortunately don't own Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., nor Doctor Who or Harry Potter. Life's hard.


"We need to get her to a medical facility and fast. Until then, I'll do everything I can to keep her alive. Excuse me."

Keeping her head down, Simmons walked out of the room as fast as she could without drawing any attention to herself. She knew her voice must have sounded somewhat robotic, and it was a wonder that it didn't break on the last two words, but maybe the others hadn't noticed anything. Or maybe they were still too wrapped up in their own grief to care about hers right now—not that she complained.

She wasn't sure Fitz would be fooled that easily, though; the boy always seemed to know when something was off with her. However, as she didn't hear any footsteps behind her, she presumed she was safe for now. She knew that she needed to get a grip on herself; Skye couldn't afford her falling apart. Simmons had to be strong and bottle up all her emotions, locking them away until her friend was healed.

So, she would do what she knew she did best—be a scientist.

Almost instinctively, Simmons' feet dragged her to the storage room. Taking a deep breath, she stopped at the entrance, examining the various shelves and closets, urging her brain to set itself in motion. All the medical supplies necessary to help Skye were there, and in less than two minutes she was frantically rummaging through the contents of one particular drawer.

'Gauze, gauze, come on, I need gauze,' Simmons chanted in her mind, over and over again, until she found what she was looking for, enclosed in a hermetically sealed plastic bag. She was fumbling with the opening, her fingers frenetically trying to rip the thing open, when she saw it.

Blood.

Blood all over her hands, incrusted right down to her knuckles and underneath her nails, bright and red and warm. She tried hard to steel herself, to focus on the now open bag as she removed some gauze from it, but she could sense her resolve crumbling as tears began to blur her vision. The coppery scent of blood rose straight to her nostrils, daring her no to gag, making her nose wrinkle. She furiously scrubbed her hands, attempting to rub them clean, but the blood wouldn't come off, wouldn't let her forget, wouldn't leave her alone

Just when Simmons was about to loose it, his hand was on her shoulder.

She didn't have to look to know that it was Fitz—of course it was Fitz. It was always Fitz. She turned around slowly, a tear finally rolling down her cheek, and raised her eyes to his. There was such a powerful maelstrom of emotions twirling in them that something broke in her chest, a sob tearing through her entire body. She couldn't decipher every single one of the feelings battling in those azure eyes of his, but some she did recognize—understanding, pain, weariness, surrender, concern.

Affection.

She could grasp that, too, in the way his eyebrows were lightly scrunched and in the intensity of his gaze on her face, searching her. Perhaps that was it—this unwavering level of care displayed in his very features—that finally brought her walls crashing down.

So, when Fitz wordlessly drew her into his chest with all the gentleness he could possibly muster, Simmons relented control and let go. Tears were flowing from her eyes, her body trembling as she cried freely. When she wept, she did for Skye, for the team and for herself, because she knew that everything had changed and there was no going back.

Yet, Fitz was right beside her, bringing the same steadiness he'd always been able to provide her with since they met. He didn't say a word, but he was never good with words anyway. As Simmons figured out from the beginning that he was far more socially awkward than she was, she had always managed to find comfort in his mere presence by her side, never expecting anything fancier than a smile or a thumbs-up. And still, there he was when no one else was, his arms wrapped tightly around her shaking frame, his nose nuzzling the side of her neck, giving her more than she ever deserved.

Forgetting all about keeping her bloodied hands off his jacket, Simmons grasped Fitz's shoulders, silently begging him to hold her steady. As if he could read her mind—'could he?' she sometimes wondered—, he strengthened his embrace and began to draw soothing circles over her back.

In that moment, Fitz was Simmons' anchor, the only thing that felt authentic and solid and real enough to tie her to the world. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to relax for the first time in weeks as she was enfolded in Fitz's warmth, drinking in his familiar scent and struggling to ignore the desperation that threatened to swallow her whole.


After several minutes, Simmons finally stopped crying. She was gradually regaining control of herself—Fitz could feel it in the way her hands loosened from his shoulders. Ever so slowly, he drew away from her but kept her at arm's length nonetheless, not yet willing to let her go. She was still sniffling profusely, but at least she wasn't trembling anymore. The tentative look in her eyes caused his throat to constrict, and he could feel his face softening immediately.

"Let's get you cleaned up, a'right?" he whispered.

When she nodded, Fitz's face broke into a feeble smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. Taking her hand in his, he led her to the only place in the world he knew she would feel useful and complete and safe.

Their lab.

Somewhere along the way, Fitz felt Simmons intertwining her fingers with his. He found he didn't mind. He gave her hand the slightest squeeze, just to let her know that she wasn't alone—that he was here.

Once in the laboratory, surrounded by familiar scientific devices and tools that reminded them both of home, Fitz made Simmons sit on her stool before lowering himself in front of her, one clenched fist on each of her knees, level to her eyes. Brown met blue.

"I'm goin' to fetch a towel, okay?" he said. "I'll be right back."

He waited for her to bob her head before standing up and taking off the way they came. He was positive it had taken him less than a minute to grab the cloth and come back—he may or may not have ran down the stairs—, but when he entered the lab for the second time that day, Simmons was definitely not sitting where he had left her.

'Of course,' Fitz thought, rolling his eyes.

He heard the sound of gushing water even before spotting Simmons facing one of the sinks, her back to him. Approaching noiselessly, he quickly noticed something was wrong at the sight of tiny clouds of mist rising in the air.

"Simmons," he called out anxiously, eliciting no response from her. "Simmons!" he repeated, alarmed by both her lack of acknowledgment and the way her arms seemed to move franticly.

He understood in a split second.

Closing the remaining distance between them, Fitz came to stand right behind Simmons, bending over her left shoulder so that he could see what was happening. With her hands under the running water, she was rubbing at her skin with the same energy as if she were trying to strip it off her bones.

"Simmons, what the bloody hell…" Fitz trailed off, instinctively moving his own hands forward to grip her wrists, one arm reaching around on either side of her. "OI!" he yelled as the scalding-hot water touched his own bare skin. "Dammit, Jemma!"

But she wouldn't let him turn it off—as a matter of fact, she did her best to deflect his hands from reaching the tap, pushing him off with her back against his chest and muttering something unintelligible under her breath.

"Please, Jemma," Fitz begged, his Scottish accent thicker than usual. "Stop it! You're only hurtin' yourself."

He didn't know what did the trick—perhaps the urgency in his voice or the unbearable pain from the scorching water—, but Simmons stopped thrashing altogether, eventually allowing him to cut off the steaming stream.

"I'm so sorry, Fitz," she murmured almost inaudibly; he could nearly hear the tears welling up in her eyes once more. Keeping her head low, she weakly leaned back into him, a sigh escaping her mouth when his comforting hands smoothed over her elbows.

"Don't be silly," he scolded her with a hint of a smile, his breath caressing her hair. "Now, will you please go back to your stool so I can take care of you?"

Even though he couldn't see her face, Fitz knew that a flitting smile had forced its way on it. Doing as she was told, Simmons docilely made her way toward her seat, sat down in it and looked up expectantly. Grabbing a basin lying nearby, Fitz quickly filled it with reasonably tepid water before joining her and crouching down.

"Stand still," he instructed her.

Very carefully, he dipped the end of the towel in the water and raised his hands toward Simmons' face to rinse the blood that had somehow ended up there. His left hand went behind her head for leverage, fingers delicately combing through the strands of her hair before settling firmly on the nape of her neck, while his right one lightly rubbed the piece of fabric against her temple.

Fitz was fully aware of Simmons' stare, her huge brownish eyes unfaltering on his features, but he couldn't let himself be distracted. He needed to get on with the current task, needed to fix it. After all, it was the only thing he was good at—fixing things. And whenever Simmons was involved, he was willing to try his hardest.

So he acted with exactly the same amount of focus as when he worked on his inventions—steady hands, deft fingers, extra thoroughness—until he had removed all the blood from Simmons' face. Fitz's thumb absentmindedly skimmed over her cheek when he released her head from his grasp.

"Now, put out your hands," he told her while wetting the other end of the towel. Simmons presented her hands to him, open palms turned upwards, but her arms were still tightly clamped at her sides as if she couldn't unfold herself. "A wee bit more?" he asked.

She didn't move.

Spotting Simmons' lips quivering and her not-so-convincing attempt at hiding it, Fitz felt a cold iron fist clutch at his heart. However, as he knew he couldn't rush things, he looked right into her chocolate eyes and spoke in a voice filled with something close to tenderness.

"Jemma. Do you trust me?"

He regretted it the moment the words left his mouth. What was he thinking? All those years they had been friends—the best friends, really—, but never ever had they voiced anything that might be directly or indirectly related to how they felt about each other. Well, Simmons would definitely be comfortable expressing her feelings, but Fitz certainly wasn't. Asking her out of the blue to reassure him of her trust, although she was distraught and he should be the one comforting her, suddenly seemed like a very selfish thing to do.

Fitz was just about to backpedal when Simmons surprised him.

"Of course I do," she assured him.

She had spoken with so much self-confidence, as if she was expressing a universal law of science, that Fitz forgot to answer altogether. Evidently, Simmons misread his silence for disbelief.

"You know that, don't you, Leo?" she went on with her refined English inflection.

There. She'd used his first name again. It had only occurred twice in the past: the first time was four years ago, when his grandma had passed away; the second only six months ago, when she was far more excited than him about S.H.I.E.L.D.'s proposition and was trying to talk him into it. Fitz loved the way her tongue curled around his forename; the scarce usage she made of it caused it to be all the more special, like a term of endearment of its own.

"Sure," Fitz said, emerging from his torpor with a small grin. "So, will you please give me your hands?"

Seemingly satisfied, Simmons drew her arms from her body and obeyed. Fitz took hold of her hands and started wiping them, carefully removing the remnants of Skye's blood. It was a time-consuming process as the red substance was now dry and crusted, but Fitz's gentle touch eventually fulfilled its purpose, his fingers casually lingering on Simmons' skin while working.

As they remained in a comfy silence, Fitz's thoughts returned to that awful, awful day when he had almost lost her, remembering vividly the unpleasant things they'd thrown at each other's faces. He recalled how he had reproached her for dragging them into the heat of the action, despite the fact that he'd rather have stayed safely burrowed into his lab.

Yet, when he softly kissed her forehead after having put away both the cloth and the basin, Fitz couldn't have doubted for even a second that he was exactly where he was supposed to be.


Simmons had been at Skye's side for the last four hours. Like she had promised Coulson, she'd done everything in her power to stabilize their friend's condition until they could provide her with better care. She could feel her eyelids dropping with alarming weight, but she wouldn't allow herself to rest. Not now, not when Skye was dancing on the thin edge between life and death.

"What are the odds of my convincin' you to take a nap?"

She couldn't help but smile at the playful tone of Fitz's voice, even if she wasn't fooled about the adamant seriousness of his attempt.

"Not in your favor," she replied.

Facing Skye's motionless body in the hypobaric chamber, Fitz came to stand right beside Simmons, his arm unconscientiously resting against hers.

"Any development?"

"None," she reluctantly confessed. "I did everything I could, but I'm no miracle worker, Fitz. There's nothing more I can do until we get her to a medical facility."

She was aware of the lack of emotions her tone was carrying, but even though she had regained her cool, scientist-ish composure, a potential display of sentiment was still a threat that needed to be kept at bay. And not only for Skye's sake.

Deep in her thoughts, Simmons almost started when Fitz spoke again.

"Then why are you still here?"

That grabbed her attention, causing her head to jerk toward him.

"I cannot possibly leave her, Fitz!" she exclaimed, her voice filled with reproach. "What if I go to sleep and something suddenly occurs and I'm too late?"

"It won't happen," he assured her.

Strangely, the poise in his eyes made her want to slap him.

"Oh, really?" she screeched. "How do you know, Doctor Fitzy?"

When anger flashed upon Fitz's face, she knew her intent of hurting him had succeeded. She was almost pleased, but then a surge of shame instantaneously made her cheeks flush.

"Come on, Jemma!" he said, annoyance written all over his face. "The Bus's not bloody Hogwarts! The journey between here and your bunk would merely take you fifteen seconds!"

He had moved away from her while talking, his arms flapping around for emphasis, and Simmons instantly missed his warmth. Once he was finished, they observed each other for a long moment before Fitz finally gave in, his eyes softening at the sight of what she realized must have been her contrite expression.

"You know you're no use to her in the state you're in." Simmons did not answer, but the tension in the room seemed to evaporate as her shoulders slumped. "You go to your bunk and give your brains a break. I'll ask Agent Ward to watch over Skye and to come get you if there's anythin' new, no matter how meaningless. Okay?"

Simmons knew he was giving her a choice only to keep up appearances, and she was glad for it. Fitz had obviously memorized that she was not comfortable when control over things—especially the freedom of her movements— was denied her.

"Okay," she conceded with a thankful smirk.

A quarter of an hour later, Simmons had taken a shower and changed into clean, bloodless clothes. She was just about to put on one of Fitz's old sweaters—he'd always complain about how she was emptying his wardrobe over time—when there was a faint knock on her bunk's door.

Sure enough, she opened it to find Fitz awkwardly carrying two steaming mugs of what she assumed was hot tea. Rather oddly, he was looking at her as if he was a child caught red-handed.

"I made your favorite," he explained, showing her the two cups. Suddenly, uncertainty was plastered all over his face. "If you want to be alone, though, I totally get it."

She just rolled her eyes, but offered him a grin anyway to let him know it was okay.

"Come on in, Fitz."

Looking relieved, Fitz walked past her into her room and went to sit on the bed, holding up one of the mugs as an offering. She joined him and took it from his hands, enjoying the soothing warmth of the porcelain.

"Thanks," she said before sipping a small gulp of the liquid. "Mmh, Fitz," she sighed. "It tastes wonderful!"

"Just as you like it," he responded with a humble tone, but Simmons could see he was struggling hard to hide his pride.

They didn't speak again for a long time, both of them swallowing their tea with vacant stares. When Simmons broke the silence, it came out as a raw whisper.

"I don't know if I'm up for this."

Fitz quickly turned his head, his attention now latched completely on Simmons. To hide her embarrassment, she fumbled with her empty cup for a while before putting it down at her feet, avoiding his gaze.

"What are you talkin' about?" Fitz asked when it became clear that Simmons was not going to elaborate.

"I'm talking about… this, Fitz," she answered with an encompassing gesture. "All of this." Fitz's eyebrows were still crunched together, as if he had no clue what she was referring to. "Maybe it was a mistake to join S.H.I.E.L.D. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be an Agent."

Fitz only snorted, which kind of irritated her. "Sellin' yourself short, are you?" His slight sneer infuriated Simmons even more.

"I am being serious, Fitz," Simmons snapped. "How long has it been since we came aboard, huh? Four or five months? And it has been nothing but hectic, really! We risked our lives multiples times— "

"—Well, that's because you keep doin' rash things—"

"—Getting off the hook at the last moment—"

"—Like jumpin' out of a plane or takin' a freakin' grenade—"

"—And now we don't even know if Skye is going to make it or not—" Simmons stopped abruptly, realizing she had rose off the bed. She expected tears but none came; she figured she must have shed her entire stock. Numbness was the only thing she still felt, as if all of a sudden she was some kind of deflated balloon.

Any remaining thread of strength had deserted her, and she unexpectedly became conscious of how tired she was. She found herself longing for nothing more but a nice, peaceful sleep—forgetting her troubles and fears and doubts.

"Forget it," she said. "I'm just exhausted, I guess—"

But Fitz was facing her, his mug forgotten on the ground. His gaze was stern, although not one bit reproachful.

"Simmons," he murmured, much more tenderly than she had anticipated. "I'm not goin' to recite your résumé, mostly because you don't need me to tell you how smart you are. But I do know you."

Simmons stared intently at him as he took in a deep breath.

"I know that you can do anythin' if you put your mind into it. I know you are far more capable and skilled than any other potential S.H.I.E.L.D.'s recruit. And I know that you becomin' an Agent is definitely not an error."

As Fitz ran a hand through his hair, Simmons began to grasp how difficult it must have felt for him of all people to confess that sort of things; she was absurdly grateful for her partner.

"You belong here—not only because of your brains," Fitz went on, "but because you're you, Jemma. Compassionate and perceptive and bloody optimistic all the time. You inspire people."

An unwanted smile crept upon Simmons' face at his words, and it reflected on Fitz's features.

"I just wish I could do something for Skye," she admitted.

"I know," Fitz acknowledged. "But you've already done more than your share. Let someone else carry the burden, 'kay?"

"Okay," she nodded.

"Good." Pause. "Now go to bed," Fitz instructed.

Hope flooded through Simmons' veins once more, the familiar sensation invigorating her as she slowly climbed into bed, burrowing herself under the covers. She had started to turn her body toward the wall when she felt her mattress bend under an extra-amount of weight.

Simmons rolled on her side to face Fitz, who was cautiously looking at her.

"Mind if I stay?" he tried to ask in a casual way, but Simmons noticed he was biting his lower lip.

To be totally honest, she'd been surprised at first. True, they had shared a bed many times before, generally to watch episodes of Doctor Who on his laptop. Which was a very innocent, anodyne reason.

However, on that particular day, the atmosphere felt entirely different—filled with dread and graveness. And she couldn't deny this new level of attraction between her and Fitz, albeit purely platonic, that had only intensified with their recent ordeals.

She might've even questioned the 'platonic' part if only she'd had enough time left to think.

She snapped out of her daze when Fitz cleared his throat, obviously drawing the wrong conclusion from her stretching silence.

Good ol' Fitz, afraid of rejection.

"Of course I don't," Simmons claimed, putting all the assurance she could in her voice. She found it very hard not to burst into laughter as the boy couldn't hold back a relieved sigh.

As Fitz laid on his back, stifling a yawn with the back of his hand, Simmons threw caution to the wind and scooted closer. If he was taken aback, he managed quite well to hide it, actually holding out his arms as an invitation.

"C'mere."

Simmons did not hesitate as she rested her head in the crook of his neck, her arms encircling his waist of their own accord. Fitz's own arms folded around her frame, and Simmons allowed herself to enjoy this unusual yet welcome feeling of safety, the warmth emanating from Fitz spreading through her from head to toe.

It felt like home.

No words were spoken for a very long time, until—

"And, Simmons?"

"Mmh?" she mumbled, eyes closed.

"You're not givin' back my sweater, are you?" Fitz probed, the smile evident in his voice.

"Not a chance," she said, earning a chuckle from him before snuggling deeper into his chest.

Simmons eventually fell asleep to the sensation of Fitz's fingers gently stroking her hair.


Fitz awoke with a start, vivid images from his nightmares seemingly etched forever into the backs of his eyelids. Bad dreams were a new occurrence to him—as far as he could remember, he'd always slept like a baby. Well, that was until he joined S.H.I.E.L.D.

With a shudder, Fitz realized that all of the visions were involving the one person he was currently holding into his arms. Quiet as a shadow, smooth as silk, he extracted himself from under Simmons' sleeping form. After that crazy day, the girl definitely needed her rest, and he would not be the one to wake her up.

Taking in big gulps of air in a pitiful attempt to calm down, Fitz swung his legs out over the edge of the bed, pushing himself into a sitting position. Eyes wide open in the dark, he leaned his elbows on his knees, head in his hands, fingers pulling at his hair.

He'd taken a huge risk by climbing into Simmons' bed after her. What if she had reacted in a bad way? What if she had decided that she didn't want him by her side? He was almost sure indecision had danced on her face right before she made up her mind and allowed him in. And if she had turned him down, not only would he have looked like a complete idiot… the blow would have broken him.

Simmons had been in his life for so long now that Fitz couldn't remember what existing without her felt like anymore. He found solace in the certainty of their daily routine—meeting in the lab every morning, working side by side every day, parting for the night every evening. And yet, taking her for granted had been his biggest mistake.

It had taken a few missions going awry for him to notice, but now he just couldn't get the idea of losing her out of his head. The sheer concept of Simmons being gone provoked a chill to run up and down his spine.

If a half was missing, could the ensemble still keep functioning? To him, it was only a rhetorical question—what was the point of FitzSimmons without Simmons, really? After all, they were living proof that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

Fitz's thoughts went to cadet Donnie Gill, the boy from the Academy who had reminded him so much of himself when he was the same age; lonely but brilliant, eager but afraid, torn between righteousness and egotism. Waiting for a friend. Under bad influence, Donnie had made all the wrong choices, and Fitz could see himself going down the same path back in the days.

Except Simmons had found him first.

Brave, selfless and highly moral Simmons, who wore her heart on her sleeve and drew people to her with the electromagnetic force of an atom. Until he met her, Fitz was a free electron, wandering around without having exactly solved yet what to do with all his potential. And suddenly there she was, attracting him the same way a fly is magnetized by light, grounding him safely within the lines of good and fair and right.

She'd been the atom to his electron.

"Fitz?"

Fitz jumped slightly as Simmons' sleepy voice echoed behind him. Evidently, he hadn't heard her stir.

"Did I wake you?" he enquired.

"I was cold," she explained. "Is everything okay? Is it Skye?" Simmons added alarmingly.

"Yes. I mean, no. Everythin's fine. Go back to sleep, Jemma." He really couldn't blame her for not believing him; even to his own ears, his words didn't sound that convincing.

Sure enough, she wasn't swayed. "Fitz," she murmured, all trace of sleep gone from her tone. "Tell me what's wrong."

Fitz abandoned all pretense of bravery the moment Simmons placed her hand on his shoulder, her thumb gently caressing the curls at the nape of his neck. He allowed himself a moment to gather his thoughts before talking.

"I wasn't kiddin' earlier," he said. Simmons' silence was evidence enough of her puzzlement. "You really need to stop doin' rash things."

Fitz couldn't see her reaction, but he sensed movement as Simmons came closer. Both of her calming hands were now located on his back, and he could feel her breath against the side of his head when she spoke.

"You know I do only what I have to, Fitz."

He shook his head in disbelief. "Jumpin' off a plane, really?"

"Well, I couldn't risk the lives of everyone else on the Bus, could I?" Her voice was soft but her intonation firm.

Frustration almost took over Fitz. "How about puttin' yourself between me and a grenade, then?"

"Skye was there too, may I remind you," Simmons responded wittily. "No need to boost your already ridiculously-inflated ego."

"Jemma," he warned her.

Simmons paused for a second. "It was only dendrotoxin, Fitz," she sighed.

"You didn't know that," Fitz pointed out. "What if it wasn't? What if—"

"—Then I'd have been blown to pieces!" she snapped without hiding her exasperation. "Is that what you want me to say?"

He wanted to scream at her, 'Of course, it's not!', but all the fight in him brusquely dissipated, replaced by a sickening sensation of unease, as if a dark hole was gnawing at his stomach. His attitude shifted from smug to drained in a matter of seconds.

"I just don't want to lose you," he admitted so low he wasn't sure Simmons had heard.

She must have though, because the next moment her arms ensnared his middle, and she was hugging him closely from behind, her right cheek pressed against his back. He wasn't aware of the tension in his muscles until he relaxed in her comforting embrace, resting his hands on hers and giving in to the temptation of brushing her soft skin with his fingers.

They stayed in this position for a very long time, breathing in sync, not willing to move one bit. It felt so good, so impossibly good, that Fitz knew he wouldn't be the one to withdraw.

However, his stomach had very different plans; its growl resonated awkwardly against the walls of the silent room.

Simmons lifted her head.

"You're hungry?" she asked.

Fitz cursed his gut as a second rumble rang, even louder than the first. Pretending wouldn't do him any good. "Starvin'," he confessed. "Haven't eaten for like sixteen hours."

"You counted?" A giggle escaped Simmons' lips, and Fitz couldn't help but smile.

"More or less."

"You're impossible," Simmons said before retracting her arms and drawing away from him.

She started making her way toward her bunk's door, but she turned around as she reached the entrance. Fitz figured disappointment must have shown on his features as Simmons let out a musical laugh.

"Fancy a sandwich?" she questioned.

A whole new kind of glint shined in Fitz's eyes. "Prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella?" he wondered in an awed voice.

"With a hint of my homemade pesto aioli," she confirmed.

A huge, genuine grin broke Fitz's face. "Fantastic," he declared happily.

Simmons beamed at him. She was just about to leave the room when she stopped herself, forehead faintly wrinkled in ponder.

"And, Fitz?"

He answered immediately, intrigued. "Yes?"

"You won't lose me, you know," she stated with conviction. "Beside you the whole damn time, remember?"

Fitz mirrored her smile with one of his own. "You bet."