Disclaimer: "Agents of SHIELD" is not mine. Basically, I shamelessly ripped and adapted the redemption storyline from the Agathon storyline in "Battlestar Galactica." Different scene set-ups, lines from different places. Laura Brown is from the Marvel Universe.
Summary: The redemption of Grant Ward. Simmons-centric.
- very alternate universe because
(1) it ignores the death of Victoria Hand, because really, show? Good night, nobody's calling her Mother Teresa, but she was a great character.
(2) Coulson and May are friends, because seriously, the last two episodes I've wanted to punch him in the face for how he's treating her.
(3) no doubt, the story doesn't have enough Skye to please tptb.
- nearly every scene is controversial. You are forewarned. And no, I'm not about to get into a battle about it on the comments page. You can PM me.
- NOTE ON WARD JUMPING OUT OF THE PLANE AFTER "THE SCIENTIST": In light of Ward's parachute comment to Raina, I realized I missed something - apparently as did tptb and bad!Ward. As stupid as his no-goggles/equipment jump from the plane was, the parachute was the least of Ward's issues. Ward in "FZZT" only makes sense with good!Ward in SHIELD, not bad!Ward in HYDRA. Here's why.
FitzSimmons make an antiserum (not an antidote) for the Chitauri virus victims. They test it on rats; the last rat still discharges and floats, like all the bodies, but survives. There's no time to test it on humans, obviously a huge prerequisite for other drugs. Simmons should take the antiserum, because she'll die regardless, but this only applies to her.
Fitz is NOT infected and not likely to be - until he steps into the lab with Simmons. Ward is NOT infected and not likely to be - until he jumps after Simmons.
Jemma is contagious at the moment Ward catches her. Remember, in the lab, Fitz jokingly tells her to keep her hands off of him, and she never touches Fitz. By contrast, Ward grabs her bodily and they're face-to-face.
Ward could also have been infected after giving her the antiserum. Had the antiserum only worked on the mouse and not on her (not human-tested, rememeber?), she would have died away from the plane, as she wanted, but Ward would most certainly be infected almost immediately from his contact with her body. After all, she got infected just by coming near a body; Ward held her. Even if the antiserum works on humans - and it does - antisera only give the person injected the antibodies needed to fight the invaders; they do not directly kill the viruses and infections themselves since they're not antidotes. The anti-serum would only protect Jemma, because she was the one injected with antibodies. The virus itself is still potent, and in the initial minutes or hours after injection, when her body hasn't killed off all the virus yet, Jemma would still be contagious.
The problem with Ward jumping out of the plane isn't that he risks hitting the ground, and that's fixed by the parachute. The problem with Ward jumping is that he risks infection. Parachutes do not fix infection.
The only way Ward could guarantee his own survival is to jump off the plane, dive after Simmons, then once out of eye-line and earshot let her go splat (no witnesses to his treachery), then go back to the bus sobbing that he couldn't catch her. (That might be more character development than Ward saw in the first half of the season.) Obviously Ward didn't; he returned with Simmons intact.
In general, though, bad!Ward should know that he needed to off Simmons ASAP. How is saving Simmons helping HYDRA? She's the least of the group, next to Coulson, who's going to the dark side. If they want Fitz, they have to separate him from Jemma. And SHIELD is stronger for having her. Really - should've let her pancake. Not being able to "catch" her in time would have been a perfect way to kill her.
So either bad!Ward is a blithering idiot ("better than Romanoff"? Puh-leeze), or his motivations for saving Simmons weren't completely mercenary. If I had been his Deep Cover Tactics 101 professor, I'd have failed him. (bad!)Ward, should have had a V8. Or stayed in a Holiday Inn Express.
When Jemma and Fitz are captured, four months after HYDRA first comes out of the shadows, he is kneecapped (from the back) without remorse and she spends the ride back to the HYDRA headquarters with her hands on the knees of her best friend, desperately trying to save what she can. Unlike regular amateur kneecappings, HYDRA actually gets his kneecaps and more, and the neurovascular damage is so severe there's no saving his legs. By the time he's seen by a doctor, hours and hours later, it's too late; his legs are amputated above the knee.
HYDRA refuses to give him normal prosthetics: it's a wheelchair or it's Deathlok-type legs. Fitz would rather die than have the latter. She completely understands and supports his decision one hundred percent, even if it does mean she will have more work until he adjusts to his chair.
She sees the self-loathing in her best friend's eyes when she comes every morning to help get him out of bed, when she helps him to the bathroom. Even when he becomes strong enough again to lift himself in and out of the wheelchair, she can see how angry he is. So is she.
The guards assigned to their cell leer at her. It makes Fitz even angrier, especially now that he's not able-bodied enough to help her. Not that, given how many guards there are, the two of them would have been able to fend them off under normal circumstances. She is terrified.
They are not asked to do anything in those three weeks. They see nobody they know for three weeks, not even Garrett.
In some ways, it's a horrible gift when Ward finally appears.
She hasn't seen him in four months and ten days.
The team already knew something was wrong when Ward disappeared after Providence, and then when he didn't meet them at every other checkpoint along the way. Hopeful she might be, but that is not to be mistaken for naïveté. Jemma realizes before Skye and Fitz what this all means. She sees May and Coulson's faces, hears their hushed discussions behind closed doors.
Whatever conflict the two senior agents have had over May's reporting on Coulson to Fury is quickly buried, because he has nobody else to trust, and May has always been loyal to Coulson - even if he didn't like how she demonstrated that loyalty. And in light of Ward's betrayal, Coulson comes to rely on May more than ever, and it's not hard to see what their relationship was before Bahrain. It may be the only benefit Jemma sees for all this HYDRA mess.
She feels sad for Skye, who was not a little in love with her SO and thought perhaps he returned her feelings. She feels sad for Fitz, who was just starting to warm up to the very different specialist and to be able to appreciate what the other agent brought to the bus. She feels sad for herself; she thought they were friends, at least. She doesn't indulge any other considerations, because anything she thought about Ward before was clearly steeped in lies anyhow, so what's the point?
When he appears, it's almost anti-climatic. She is helping Fitz by reaching up to the shelf for something, and when she finally comes down and they turn around, he's standing in the cell doorway, having appeared like a ghost.
They simply stare at each other in silence for a full minute. She says nothing; neither does he. She doesn't really hear Fitz's angry rants, and she doubts he does, either. It makes her sad: Fitz's animated shouting, the colorfulness of the language in the rapidly thickening Scottish brogue, would have made her and her teammates laugh less than three, four months ago. She and Skye and Ward would laugh and laugh, to the point of having to prop themselves up against each other; she can almost see Coulson's eyes twinkle and even May's slight, amused smile.
How big a difference a few months make.
Now he looks at them, and although it's clear he recognizes them, she sees none of the gentleness he used to show when they hurt most.
She is vaguely, dimly aware that Fitz is now hissing at him about the guards assigned to them, in a voice that's low enough so only the two of them can hear and the guards can't. She has no illusions, though, that anything Fitz says will make a difference in their circumstances. Even as Fitz is still talking, she looks at Ward dully, then turns away and heads back to her books. There is no mercy in his expression, and her hope dies with it. She doesn't look up when the door shuts behind them.
It surprises her, then, the next morning, when a female HYDRA guard comes into her and Fitz's cell and unceremoniously plops the food tray on the table and walks out. Fitz is surprised but grins in relief. She just stares the door, confused. She didn't even think HYDRA had female agents.
(She will not see the male guards again, not until - until.)
The next week, the ship they're on gets in a especially bad firefight with a SHIELD helicarrier, and she and Fitz are put under lock and key in their cell during it. She helps Fitz with his secret project, trying to sabotage the internal computer system, but all they're able to do during this short time they aren't watched is to patch a feed into the main control tower. It's good enough. They get to hear how the battle goes. Fitz even manages to send a few false HYDRA orders into the mix of directions being fired at the different HYDRA pilots, and in the ensuing chaos, they're actually obeyed, sending a few units off on wild goose chases. SHIELD wins decisively, and the two of them are giddy like schoolchildren.
The euphoria doesn't last long. The door to the cell swings open, and it's the head of the night shift guard. "You." She points at Simmons. "They're asking for you."
"She doesn't go anywhere I don't," Fitz barks.
When they reach the upper medical bay, it's obvious what they want Jemma to do: help treat the wounded.
She treats the HYDRA agents as best she can, but she finds that there are barely any medical supplies about, and that the sole doctor and the sole nurse on board are swamped already. She comes to the sinking, horrible realization of what this organization is when she sees how disposable it considers human life to be. However the agents themselves may feel about dying for a greater cause, HYDRA itself treats its people as disposable pawns to be sacrificed.
She patches over thirty people in those two days; she closes the eyes of forty who die on her table.
She holds the hand of a HYDRA agent who won't make it. He recognizes her - "Dr. Simmons? Jemma Simmons?" and in his delirium believes he's back at SHIELD. He babbles that he can't believe he got to meet one of the FitzSimmons, and everybody at Ops is going to be jealous because hey, the Academies never mix and he still got to meet Jemma Simmons. In his last moments, he asks for his mother to be brought, and for him Jemma Simmons fades away until he believes his mother is the one there, comforting him. He passes quietly, holding her hand.
Fitz can't believe she's helping. "You realize every one of these agents you're patching is going to get better and go out and try to kill Coulson and May and Skye and Hand and Blake and Trip," he hisses at her, furious. "Why don't you just hand them the bloody gun!"
"They're still people!" she spats back at him. "These are still human lives! I'm not the one who gets to decide who lives or dies!"
"But you do," Fitz snaps back at her in a furious tone, his voice low. "You marked all those wounded coming in, those you thought were saveable and those who were too far gone."
"That's not the same," Jemma retorts in a whisper. "I'm limited. I can't save them all. If I can save one, then I will save one, rather than let both die."
"I'll bet if May came in worse than one of these HYDRA agents you'd save him before her," Fitz spits at her in anger, and she raises her hand to strike him, barely managing to stop herself in time.
"Oh, please," she hisses in a low tone. "Of course I'd help a good person first. Of course. There's no question. But it doesn't mean I just stand by and let an enemy die when I can save him! You - you want even the saveable ones to die!"
"You talk like you would have saved them all if you could," Fitz retorts angrily but quietly.
"Because I would!" she shouts. "Because they're human, Fitz! Because they have value! I didn't join SHIELD so I could win! I joined SHIELD because it protects life, justice, all the things we believe in! I don't cease to be SHIELD because I'm here!"
The entire medbay has gone silent, the only sounds the antiquated monitors checking the dire patients' heart and blood pressure rates. Her eyes flicker to the side, and she notices everybody looking at her, both patients and agents.
She washes her hands again and picks up her clipboard. She walks past Ward without giving him a second glance.
Three days later she and Fitz are moved to an even more secure cell, but one with a bit more amenities. They have a private bathroom now, rather than a toliet to which she has to wear her winter coat in order to cover herself from the view of outsiders.
Their room is attached to a lab, and Garrett tells them he wants them to reproduce GH325. When they tell him they don't understand it, he tells them to work harder; after all, they've worked with alien things before, like the Chitauri virus. (He smirks as he mentions that, knowing how betrayed the two scientists feel that he knows it. Ward simply stands by, stoic.) They can figure out GH325, he says, if they can figure out how to deliver an antidote for some Chitauri virus.
As the two HYDRA agents leave, Fitz mutters at the door, "It was an antiserum."
The third month, she ends up in Ward's bed.
She hates him for it. She is frighteningly and depressingly grateful for it.
It's a horror she begins to understand a little of, finally. When one is "willing" to have sex in the narrowest defintion of consent, but something one would never, ever do under normal circumstances of complete freedom, when there is no relationship of power in place. For her and Fitz, Ward controls life and death.
Jemma can only be grateful that Ward is never harsh, violent, or demanding. She knows that the millions trafficked around the world and subject to systematic enslavement do not have what she does. But, as Fitz reminds her, that doesn't mean she is OK with it. It doesn't mean she isn't suffering from exploitative rape. It doesn't mean that she consents freely.
She does it because she doesn't know how else to repay Ward, and she has realized quickly that he provides for their needs. Her and Fitz's rations have increased a little, there is no more torture, there are no more male guards leering at her. In addition, although Garrett keeps pushing, there doesn't seem to be much punishment when they drag their feet on doing borderline unethical things they had promised each other never to do - at least, not yet. And yes, Garrett is getting impatient with them; Jemma is well aware the angrier this man gets, the more precarious their circumstances are.
The first time she thanks Ward, it's verbal. He simply looks at her and walks away. Fitz says nothing.
The second time she thanks him, it's verbal. He says nothing. Fitz rolls his eyes.
The third time - the third time.
Garrett shows the both of them a video HYDRA has shot. There are two charred bodies in body bags, and May and Coulson and Skye are there, and it seems they're HYDRA's versions of Life Model Decoys - and they're of Fitz and of Simmons. May and Coulson are staring down at the bodies, their faces frozen in shock. Skye is screaming on the video, and even if there's no audio, her expression is clear: denial, and then anger, and then tears as she sinks to the floor, sobbing. Coulson is so stunned he is unable even to comfort his young protégé.
"They're not coming for you," Garrett says, then makes a mock pouty sad face at them. "They believe you're dead. Most likely even grateful you're dead and not in the hands of HYDRA." He smirks. "You're lucky to be alive, you know. I'm not even sure you're worth my pain and trouble, except Ward says you are, so ta-da-da!"
She and Fitz just stare at the monitor, stoic.
Fitz is angry, determined. He's bound and set on getting home and ripping a new one in HYDRA. She is, too, but for the first time she feels overwhelmed. She puts on a brave face for Fitz.
One night Fitz stays up late to work on something, and she goes to their cell, and she just weeps, silently, overwhelmed. She feels as helpless as she did when she stood in that cargo bay, looking down at the forty-thousand foot drop, when her biggest hope was that she died from the Chitauri virus before she hit the ground.
She knows Garrett is turning on her and Fitz. She has no idea how to counter that.
He's watching. He comes to her, sits awkwardly by her, and for a moment all she can see is the man who jumped out of the plane after her, the one holding her when she regained consciousness, the one who gave her his hand and steadied her and (clumsily) reassured her as she faced that fifteen-foot climb up a tree. He reaches across to hold her hand, just as he had then, and she's too exhausted to sort through the logic of the fact that he's most likely just manipulating her.
She thanks him again for watching out for her and Fitz here. She stupidly mentions her fears. She can smell alcohol on his breath when he leans in to her, and his eyes are dulled by whatever amount he's drunk. He kisses her neck and slurs his quiet promise that he'll take good care of her and Fitz.
And that's the third time. Or, more accurately, the first time.
She slinks into the lab the next morning, her eyes dull and sad. Fitz has been frantic, not finding her in their cell when he returned. He's infuriated with Ward when she tells him, quivering so hard with rage that she's afraid he'll give himself a stroke, as good as his health is.
Ward doesn't come by for three days. The next time the HYDRA agent does come around, Fitz launches himself at the man, and Ward learns for the first time since they met that Fitz has an excellent left hook. She hears herself screaming, because she's afraid Ward will kill Fitz, but the taller man just stands there and takes it until the HYDRA guards come and pull Fitz off.
Ward does not look at her.
It's even worse when, a week later, a set of prosthetics arrive. They are simple stainless steel blades with a hinge for the knees, and the HYDRA doctor tells them he has new orders to allow them to be accompanied to Iceland, to Ossur, to get better ones. Ossur! If it had been any time previous to these few months, they'd have been on the first flight to Iceland. Ossur!
But they both know who issued these new orders, countermanding Garrett's; they both know who bought the prosthetics, and it's due to this that Fitz refuses to put them on; in fact, he is so furious he can barely speak. Blood money, he calls it, and throws them in the corner.
When she's "accidentally" "bumped" in the hallway by several male HYDRA agents, and Fitz is helpless to come to her aid, it's then that they look back at the gift. They check and recheck the blades for tracking devices and needles and everything, but it seems they are genuinely what they are and are actually swept clean of monitoring equipment. Fitz puts them on with great reluctance but sets about determinedly to becoming mobile and agile in his new legs. He refuses to be helpless next time, he tells her.
Those prosthetic legs, though, are a horrible reminder to both of them of the price paid.
She can't help but wonder if things would be different if she weren't who she was. If she were May, she would have crossed off everybody by now, and she and Fitz would be home. If she were Skye, she'd have sweet-talked their way out of here by now. If she were some non-descript, uneducated layperson, she and Fitz wouldn't be considered at all. But she's Jemma Simmons, who failed her field test and can't lie to save her life, and so they're stuck here at the mercy of HYDRA.
The next time it happens, it's five weeks later, after she and Fitz have injured themselves badly with chemical burns because of HYDRA's lack of safety precautions. To be honest, she and Fitz almost welcome death, even though it will be a long, agonizing death for both because their wounds aren't really life-threatening if they get medical help. Hey, if they have to go, at least they're going together.
With the support of their female HYDRA guards and the crusty old doctor on board, Fitz and Simmons are both treated. They're assigned a new nurse, a sassy, short brunette with crazy curls poking out everywhere from her head, and it becomes quickly evident why: even the biggest HYDRA agents seem to fear her. FitzSimmons watch in barely concealed shock when a six-foot-four HYDRA agent gets a gigantic hypodermic needle full of vaccine right in the rear because he won't cooperate with her. Fitz barely manages to conceal a giggle, and Simmons manages her first real smile in weeks.
She finds out later from that same sprightly nurse that Ward, whom they have not seen since the incident started, had ordered care for them to be brought in from the outside.
When the two SHIELD agents are both truly well and back in their cells, Ward finally stops by. He does not argue with the rant the engineer launches a tirade at him; the man then silently allows the engineer to leave, which the latter does in a huff. Jemma gives Ward a piece of her mind, too, and he takes it with stoic silence.
Still, she's alive, and Fitz is alive, and she knows he ordered them specially treated, and he's said again that he'll take care of them - and what if he doesn't? she panics - and that - that's the second time.
After he lifts himself off of her, he pulls the sheets and blankets up firmly around her shoulders, cocooning her gently against the cold air. He murmurs quietly in her ear before wrapping an arm around her and falling asleep with her carefully tucked against him. He has not been unkind or violent or even selfish, and she knows how fortunate she is in that regard. Still, it's never just physical, is it. She can't sleep, and lies awake for hours after, tears stinging her eyes.
In her rarely-indulged fantasy, it's never like this. Never. And never in these circumstances. But then she never thought Ward would turn out to be HYDRA.
She wonders if she's suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. She knows that his actual power over her life and death, and over Fitz's life and death, is clouding her judgment. She fears that she won't recognize that any more, and she fears she won't recognize this - thing, not a relationship - for what it is.
It's two weeks later when she offers - offers, this time, and this time it has nothing to do with thanks. Fitz has been attempting to send out a signal to SHIELD and in the process got electrocuted because of faulty and damaged wiring around their lab. He's good enough that he's hidden the signal, so HYDRA doesn't find it, but right now that's the least of their problems. There is no AED, and she's doing what she can to try to save Fitz. She's screaming for help, and the guards get him on a cart and to the medical bay.
And it's there she learns that since the chemical spill accident, Garrett has given orders that they not be treated. For ANYTHING. And on this HYDRA ship, Garrett's word is law.
She stares at the doctor, agape, for a full second of silence, and then begins arguing, but nobody says or does anything. They roll Fitz into the surgery theater, but nothing is being done, and now they won't let her into surgery to help him, either. And the worst of it is that she knows Fitz is easily saveable - if they act quickly.
The door opens, and in comes Ward.
She turns on him in fury. "He saved your life on more than one occasion! More than one occasion! He developed those ICERs for you, he developed tracking for you!" It seems to get no reaction, and soon tears are streaming down her cheeks. "Please. Please, please don't let him die." She falls to his feet, weeping. "I'll do anything. I'll do anything, I swear. I'll come tonight. Tonight! Just don't - please, please, don't let Fitz die!"
She has two doctorates. She was SHIELD SciOps' golden child. She is on her knees, selling herself to get medical treatment for her best friend.
Her grandaunt, her grandmother's sister, lost her husband to the Nazis when they took the Channel Islands in World War II. She had five children and no income, and when her oldest son was caught aiding an Englishman in escaping, she slept with the Nazi commanding officer so that they would commute his sentence instead of sending him to a concentration camp. She was a jerry-bag for the rest of her life.
That night, as the guards watch over a resting Fitz, she goes back to their cell. She combs through her things for what is her most attractive clothing, which is nothing because HYDRA burned the clothing she was captured in and supplied all her other clothes. She settles on just her underthings, then wraps her winter coat over herself to preserve her modesty.
She picks the lock to Ward's room, though not very well - Fitz, despite all his lessons, could never get her to the level of ease he had. She then shuts the door behind her and locks it, then takes off her big winter coat and puts it on the door hook and sits down on his bed. She's trembling. She covers herself with a pillow and takes deep breaths, trying to keep herself calm enough not to cry. She can't stop the tears, though, and she focuses on trying to keep herself from shaking, and to disconnect mentally enough to keep from shivering.
One would think these things got easier. They don't. Each time is worse than the one before.
The door opens, and her breath catches, and he walks in and drops his things onto the desk, and then whirls around, his gun raised and pointed at the intruder. She starts, sucking in her breath and willing herself to complete stillness. He stares at her, his eyes hard but clear shock flickering across them.
"I - I promised," she swallows, and she succeeds in getting her hands from shaking, but she can't stop the sting of tears.
She mistakes his look as disgust for her. "I'll stop crying. I can stop. I promise. I - "
He lowers his gun, then walks over to the phone and presses one of the buttons. He radioes for one of her guards, who are all staying with Fitz in the med bay. When the guard shows up in a few minutes, he shoves Simmons' winter coat at the guard to give to her; then he gives the HYDRA guard orders to remove Simmons from his room. He completely ignores the woman in question.
She panics. "Please," she begs him, directly. "Please. You won't stop treating Fitz, will you?" When he says nothing, she yanks herself away from her guard, her coat left in the other woman's hands. She grabs at his hands, pleading as she kneels in front of him, pressing his hands to her forehead as she begs for Fitz's life. She's shivering, whether from the cold or from everything that's happened she doesn't know. "Please. Please. I'll come back tomorrow. I won't cry. I - Please."
He says nothing. The guard puts her winter coat on her and walks her back to the med bay. She spends the night in scrubs and her winter coat, seated by Fitz's bedside. The next day, the engineer continues to get medical treatment; that night, she tries again with the HYDRA agent, terrified that if she doesn't at least try they'll stop Fitz's care.
Ward does not return to his room that night. Or the next.
In her hours of sleeplessness, she thinks of the women and the children. She wonders if this is the choice they make every day: to give away part of themselves for food. To give away part of themselves to live. To give away part of themselves so their loved ones can survive. She wonders about those who are beaten, burned, abused, slashed as part of their torture. She wonders about those who have lost loved ones and now must appease the murderers. She wonders about those who were kidnapped, those who have loved ones who don't know where they are. And she wonders about those who are abandoned, who have nobody looking for them, and just have the yawning abyss of each future day ahead of them.
She wonders about the workers who fight back: the ones who get shot and hurt on raids to free people, the ones who teach a new trade to these women and children, the ones who will spend the rest of their lives counseling these victims. She wonders if these workers' minds and hearts end up just as cold and hopeless as the ones of those they save, as they look at the millions suffering.
Things rapidly deteriorate after that. In hindsight, saving Fitz must have tipped Ward's hand to HYDRA.
Jemma is alone in her and Fitz's lab when the former guards, the ones Garrett had originally assigned to guard her and Fitz, come to "interrogate" her about SHIELD, Fitz's recent accident, and and her lack of progress on her projects. There's no question exactly how they intend to do it.
She swings a chair in front of her, holding them off, and she manages to throw chemicals at two and put them out of commission. But there are still eight more of them and only one of her. She is sobbing as they grab her, pinning down her arms and legs, and even in her terrified screams and their laughter she can hear belt buckles loosened and the sounds of pants' zippers.
Brave, brave Fitz comes tearing around the corner at a run, and it's a testament to how easily he's taken to his prosthetics that he manages to stay upright the entire time. He shot a HYDRA agent once to save May; he has no gun now, but it's not wise to take on an engineer who makes bombs for a living. He manages to stuff one of his projects into one agent's chest pocket, and the subsequent small explosion makes him leave the room, screaming. Fitz jumps on one of the other guards and wraps the chain on his handcuffs around the man's neck and pulls, choking him to unconsciousness.
It's still a lopsided fight, and she has no doubt everything would be worse if he hadn't arrived.
Ward crosses off the guards in the same way he used to clear hallways for SHIELD: cold, calculated. The guards are no match for a SHIELD-trained specialist - a SHIELD-trained ex-specialist. These guards - the ones who had leered at her when she first came aboard, the ones who were removed - are now dead or unconscious around the lab.
There's more shouting as HYDRA sends reinforcements, and they're yelling. She sees Fitz lying on his stomach on the ground, his hands cuffed behind his back; she sees Ward kneeling, his fingers interlaced behind his head in his demonstration of surrender.
She is still sobbing, barely able to sit up, trying to pull her pants up and her shirt back down over herself. She pulls her lab coat over her back to hide herself, still shaking as tears stream down her face.
The chief of the guard for FitzSimmons is pacing angrily in the medical bay even as Jemma sits on the edge of the bed, tense. The crusty old doctor is furious about the whole thing, and he treats her with a gentle tenderness he does not reserve for the HYDRA agents who are in the next bunk, and whom he makes wait for treatment. When the chief guard tells the doctor that Jemma gave one man a concussion and cracked ribs with a chair and a few others chemical burns with her vials, the doctor hmphs proudly.
She doesn't share that sentiment. It's still too close for comfort. And it hurts to breathe.
"What will happen to Fitz and - Agent Ward?" Jemma asks quietly.
"Your partner will most likely be executed right away," the blonde says shortly. "Agent Ward will be put on trial and then executed." It seems Ward's trial will be a complete farce.
Jemma closes her eyes.
"How is she?" the guard asks the doctor, as if Jemma isn't there.
"Your ribs need taping," the doctor finally pronounces, speaking directly to the SHIELD scientist. That explains why it hurts to breathe. "Your bruises should fade in time. And the baby is OK."
Jemma opens her eyes, then stares at the doctor. Her guard is staring at the doctor, too.
"Oops," the doctor mutters.
Two nights later, Simmons is roused from her bed. Her chief guard stands over here, a gun in hand.
As if in a dream, Simmons is placed in a large mail bag and hauled through hallways, fireman-carry style. She wonders if she should scream, but what good is it? Nobody here will help her. Her best friend is in the brig. And her - whatever Ward is - is there with him.
She is unceremoniously dumped on a chair and unzipped, and as the bag falls away, she sees that she is in a cargo bay. Fitz is lying on the ground, unconscious. She runs to him, sees a big bruise on his face. "What did you do to him?" she whispers angrily.
"He wouldn't shut up," her guard replies curtly. She walks over to the tall figure standing in the shadows, cuffed. She pulls the black bag off his head, then unlocks his cuffs. She points at the small transport and says to the HYDRA agent, "Get in and get out."
Jemma looks up at that, shocked, and looks straight at her guard. Ward stares at the guard also, uncomprehending.
"Get in and get out," she repeats. She hands Ward a gun with a silencer. "You're going to have to make it look good."
Ward snaps out of it first. He nods, taking the gun and sliding it against his back.
"Wait, what?" Jemma gasps.
"I'll be executed if it looks like I helped you escape." The blonde quickly points towards the transport.
Ward picks Fitz up and puts him into the far side of the two-seater transport, buckling him in. He then uses a quick start, only the essentials, to get the engine going. He turns back to them, but Jemma isn't ready to go.
"Why?" she asks.
"Because," the HYDRA agent states in a clipped tone, "it was wrong." Jemma is silent for a moment, and then the guard leans in to her quietly. "I don't know if you can ever recover from what was done to you," she says, softly. "But you - " she smiles, and it's genuine and kind and such a rare sight for Jemma these last few months. The woman grips her hands encouragingly. "You be brilliant, Dr. Simmons."
"What - " Jemma can't believe she's never asked. "What's your name?"
The guard pauses, then says, "Laura. Laura Brown. Now go. Quickly."
Jemma quickly climbs into the transport as Ward aims the silenced gun at the blonde guard and wings her in the arm and then the calf, then pistol whips her unconscious. He scratches his nails down her face, drawing blood, and punches her in a few places that are very visible but should hurt less. He uses the metal of the gun to cut the palms of his hands, then smears his own blood on her hands and knuckles before climbing into the transport.
As they fly away, Jemma turns back to watch, the open cargo bay quickly swallowed up in the night.
They dock with a SHIELD helicarrier, and although Fitz manages to give all kinds of codes to the air control team, SHIELD is understandably suspicious. They are surrounded the minute they land, and then their landing spot slowly, mechanically, sinks to a lower level - which has legions of SHIELD agents, guns pointed at them.
From the window of the transport she can see May and Coulson and Skye standing there, guns at the ready.
Ward silently pulls the gun from his back and hands it to Fitz, who carefully opens the door on his side and slides the weapon across the floor towards May and Coulson.
There's a lot of shouting, and there are shocked gasps when Fitz exits, his prosthetic blades stepping out of the transport first. He holds up his hands as he comes out. The fact that he's now disabled seems to make SHIELD trust him more.
Ward nods to her. She carefully scoots out from her seat, trying not to jostle her ribs too much, then steps out of the transport with her own hands up. She can see May and Coulson's faces: half-hope, half-agonized disbelief. Skye is staring with her mouth agape.
Ward wisely makes the choice to exit on the side of the transport where May and Coulson are. He scoots his long legs all the way across the small two-seat transport, then holds his hands up and slowly steps out.
This time there's actual gunfire, and she's shouting, "No, wait!" Fitz is yelling, too, but she doesn't hear it, because she feels a hard tug down towards the ground, and somebody protectively covering her. He grunts in pain, and for a moment she feels his heavy weight drop on her. Somewhere Fitz is shouting frantically for them to stop, and she feels something wet run down her arm.
As they pull Ward off of her, she sees the blood flowing down his arm and his side. She sits down against the side of the transport, gasping, even as Fitz sprints towards her to check her over for wounds. She's fine. It's not her blood.
She looks past all the crowds, and sees him staring back at her before he's pulled out of sight.