A/N: There's not any really graphic violence or major character death, but due to the nature of this AU, there are mentions of death, violence, and gore. There is also use of guns and drugs.
Jemma has gotten a knack for this over the years.
At first, she was quite horrible. Her lying was atrocious, and her flirting was worse. She's better now, of course, at smiling at just the right times, at working the night so that it happens just the way she wants it to, at slipping something into their drinks or pulling the gun just when they aren't looking. There's an art to it.
There's also a whole lot of money, more than enough to fund her biology research, and the occasional test subject for a new drug if she should need it.
She wishes she could say she hates it, but she can't. She loves it, loves the adrenaline and the powerful feeling of clenching someone's life in your hand.
They meet like it was destined to happen by fate or some ridiculous fairy tale. Even though they're in entirely different majors, they somehow get assigned to one of the same intro classes, and they gravitate toward seats next to each other.
It makes a nice story later on, the kind of story married couples are supposed to have.
They never mention how they only started dating after Skye's boyfriend died under mysterious circumstances.
"Have you ever done something bad? Like really bad?" she greets Fitz when he shows up to her dorm room to study.
"Well, I mean - " he starts, brow furrowed.
"Never mind," Jemma says quickly. "Never mind, I just - I just earned a lot of funding for the project."
He gets a look of alarm on his face. "Jemma. Explain. Now."
She screws up her face and tries to think of a way to tell him that would make it seem less horrible.
"If you don't tell me I'm just going to start guessing." At her continued silence, he begins, "Prostitution. Murder."
"Yes!" she interrupts. "The second one, not the first one."
"You killed someone."
He gets an alarmed look and backs away a step. "Why? Who? How?"
"I used a syringe to shoot oxygen between his toes. It looks like a heart attack. No one will ever know."
He backs away another step. "Jesus Christ. What if they notice you took the syringe?"
"Oh, please. The people a lab up from us are constantly taking them to do drugs."
Fitz takes a breath to steady himself. "Was it someone I know?"
"I don't think so." She tries to think back. "Maybe."
"Oh, just tell me who it was." He runs a hand through his hair. He's making a big deal of this, but she knows that's the more normal reaction. Maybe she'll have a bigger reaction later.
"Miles Lydon." Fitz's eyes widen. "Oh, did you know him?"
"I - He's Skye's boyfriend. Why would you - "
"Well, he's clearly been into some bad business. There was a pretty big price on his head. He didn't deserve Skye anyway."
"Oh my god. You've gone insane. I knew it would happen eventually." He walks over to the door and opens it.
"Fitz." He turns around. "Please don't turn me in. I'm trusting you with something big here."
He deflates under her gaze. "You're lucky I need you to pass this class."
"I really am. Now get back in here. We need to study."
Skye doesn't know when she became an assassin. She knows when she became a killer. She won't ever forget her first kill, or her first paycheck. She had hot food for the first time in months, and some gas in her van. That was what mattered then.
Jemma is what matters now.
Skye also doesn't know what she could possibly have done to deserve a wife like Jemma. They had met when Jemma was studying biology at the same college that Skye studied computer science, with money earned from killing, of course. Jemma is everything good in her life.
So Jemma can never know. She can never know how good Skye is with guns and knives. She can never know how clean Skye's kills have gotten to be, or how much of their retirement savings are made up of money that was paid for with a death.
Even if Skye never deserved Jemma, Jemma doesn't deserve to know about the things she's done.
Skye gets the email when she's starving. She's been living in a van since she ran away from St. Agnes six months ago, and she can't afford much. She has to use a cafe's wifi to even check her email.
It comes from an email she doesn't know, and all it says is, "Kill this man, and we'll make sure you receive compensation." There's an attached picture file. She stares at it a while, trying to decide whether it's being serious. She wouldn't kill a man. She has morals.
But the thing is, she's very hungry, and she could use some "compensation." She assumes that means cash.
The next day the man comes out of the cafe and walks through the alley she's parked in. That really just makes it too easy.
She doesn't have any weapons, not even a little knife, so she hits him into the wall with her elbow. Then she hits him again, and again.
After that, she has to move her van, but she stays close by. She still needs her compensation, after all, and she doesn't have enough money for gas to take her far away.
The next day, when she gets out to stretch her legs, a cardboard box waits outside her door. She takes it into her van and opens it, curious.
Inside are more bundles of cash than she's ever seen in her life and a note that reads, "Thanks for doing business. -Ward"
That night she eats a hot meal for the first time in months.
They met in college. They started dating then and continued after that. Jemma does biology research at the university now, and Skye designs websites. They live a lavish lifestyle in a nice house and donate to many charities every year. They own two cars. They have a large and steadily growing savings account.
It doesn't add up.
Jemma smiles triumphantly at Fitz when he finally shows up in the lab. "I discovered the effect of the new drug on humans!"
"How'd you do that?"
"Look at this sample of blood on the drug after only a few hours!" she exclaims brightly, ignoring his question.
"You know that's illegal, right? Especially since with effects that fast they're probably dead by now." He stares at her happy expression. "That's really illegal. Also incredibly morally wrong."
She shrugs. "Maybe. But think of the detailed report I'll be able to write!"
"You really can't do that."
"Oh, relax, Fitz. No one will know."
"They will if they find a body pumped full of the drug and you give a really detailed report about it next week!" His voice gets louder and more high pitched with fear.
"Hush, do you want the whole building to hear? They won't find a body. Do you really think I'm that stupid?"
"No, I just - "
"Besides, with this money we can finally afford to complete the D.W.A.R.F.S. You know you've been wanting to work on them."
"Yes, I just - Murder is wrong."
"Whatever you say, Fitz."
Jemma laughs at a joke that isn't all that funny and wishes she could be at home with Skye. They would watch a movie, maybe, or she would cuddle with Skye while Skye works on the computer.
She can't do that right now. She's working.
She smiles brightly. (She has to smile, or they'll think something's wrong.) "Tell me more," she purrs.
He grins, a winning smile. She can see why he's such a success; he certainly doesn't lack confidence. But success always comes at a price, and someone has decided tonight is the time for him to pay his.
He doesn't even notice her fingers hover for just a second too long over his drink. They never do.
It's not long before he's asking her to accompany him back home for the sex he's sure she's been dying to have since the beginning of this exciting evening.
She declines politely and gives him a sultry smile. "Another time," she says like a promise. He looks confused, but she smiles like she's telling an inside joke. "I'm not that kind of girl."
"Oh." He's much more terse now that he knows he won't be getting sex out of this evening. In fact, he's already looking around the bar for another woman to succumb to his charms.
"I should go."
"Okay," he says. He makes no move to stop her. She knows he won't remember her half an hour from now. Good.
They're cuddled up together on the couch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Skye flips through the channel, trying to find something, if not good, at least watchable. They haven't had much luck so far.
Skye looks over at Jemma to see that her wife has dozed off. She had noticed Jemma spending a lot of late nights in the lab this week. She lets her get some much needed rest and presses a small kiss to her forehead.
"I can't work that day."
Ward looks up from his neatly laid out plans and raises an eyebrow. "You have to. This is a big job. We need you."
"It's my anniversary!"
"We can't reschedule at this stage."
"Then do it without me." Skye gives him a challenging look. She's not going to back down on this. They have a nice night planned, and she is not going to cancel that.
He looks at her like he thinks she'll break if he uses the right tactic. She stares right back. "Fine," he eventually says. "You're missing out on a lot of cash here."
"If you were married you'd understand."
Trip drives up next to her in his big black van while she's walking to work. He rolls down the window. "You have time to talk?"
He stops the car, and Jemma gets into the passenger seat. He starts driving again. "I have a job for you." He hands her the file. "Look it over, would you? Ward's normal girl canceled last minute, and we really need someone to fill this position. There'd be a lot of cash in it for you."
She glances over the file for a minute, but when she sees the date, she knows she can't take the job. "Sorry," she says, handing it back to him.
"Seriously? You're out too?"
"You know I wouldn't refuse unless it was something important," she points out. "You'll be able to find someone else, won't you?"
"Yeah. Don't worry about me." He pulls up at the lab. "Have a nice day, Dr. Simmons."
Skye checks the gun strapped to her thigh to make sure it's secure. She can draw it quickly, and it won't show, even with her already short skirt threatening to ride up every time she moves. Her hair and makeup are just the way she wants them, too, which means it's showtime.
She blends into the crowd with practiced ease. This club is meant for college students, but she's been pretending to be part of that crowd since she got her first fake ID at fifteen.
The target sits near the back drinking his weight in whiskey, so Skye doesn't approach him yet. She'll let him get more drunk; they put up less of a fight when they're drunk. For now, she'll spend some time on the dance floor. It looks less suspicious when she actually spends time in the club.
Skye hopes she can pull this off quickly. Jemma had said she was going to try to get home from the lab earlier tonight, and Skye intends to hold her to that.
After about 20 minutes, the target makes a wobbly exit. Skye follows from a safe distance.
The target is still with one of his friends, which makes this a little more difficult. She slips out of her heels and holds them in one hand. She draws her gun noiselessly with the other and shoots a little less noiselessly, but by the time the friend tries to find her, she's already around the corner, moving much faster without her heels. The parking lot isn't far, and she makes it to the car, heart pounding in her ears and a smile on her lips.
Just as she pulls out, her phone rings, a call from Jemma.
"Sorry I'm late again," Jemma starts the call, stepping carefully around a pool of blood.
"It's fine," Skye says.
"I'm sorry anyway." Jemma wipes away the prints she left on the counter. "I'll be home in about 15 minutes, okay?"
"Yeah. I'll see you in a few."
"Love you too."
Jemma stores her cleaning wipe and exits the victim's apartment complex. On the way, she starts another call, this time to one of her coworkers, Trip.
Jemma calls while Skye is putting together her rifle.
"It's going to be a late night at the lab again. I'm sorry, Skye."
She sounds so frazzled and upset that Skye wishes she had called first to cancel this time. They're both always so busy. "Hey, it's alright. How about we reschedule for tomorrow?"
"That sounds lovely. Thank you." Skye can hear the relief in her voice. "You're amazing."
Skye wonders if Jemma would be thinking the same thing if she saw where she was right now, sitting in the rafters of a nice restaurant patiently waiting for the target to sit down with whoever his date is tonight. She doesn't think Jemma would still think she was so great if she knew about all the things she'd done.
"It's all part of my charm," Skye jokes. "See you later."
Skye smiles lovingly as she hangs up. Jemma's late nights at the lab are the least of her problems right now, and if it keeps her from having to cancel their night together herself, she's fine with it.
The mark enters with some girl on his arm. Skye can't get a good look at either of their faces since they're facing away from her, but she can tell this is the mark because of his fancy suit and his timing.
They sit at the table they'd told her he'd sit at. It's all very predictable and arranged. This isn't one of her harder jobs. The target sits facing her, so she knows it's really him, but he won't see her unless he looks up. There's a window close by in case she needs to make a quick getaway, which she might later.
Skye aims her gun. She knows she won't miss. But then the date turns around to look at something and catches her eye.
It shouldn't matter. She knows this is the time to take the shot, but shit, that looks like Jemma. But that's not possible. What would Jemma be doing here on a date with someone else?
Skye takes the shot anyway. The target's nice black and white suit is covered in blood, and she's out the window. The window leads to an alley. It takes a while to climb down the wall but not nearly as long as it would've taken someone else. She needs to go home now and be alone with her thoughts.
"It's really not what you think." The voice can only come from one person, and Skye pointedly continues to look in the opposite direction.
"Oh? What do I think?"
"You really didn't need to shoot him. It creates quite a few questions. I'll likely be questioned by the police."
"Oh, poor you. You're such a bad liar. Are you going to tell them it was me?"
"I might be a better liar than you think."
Skye turns around to face her. "Right. I'm going to go home."
"I had already drugged his drink, is all I mean. You really didn't need to shoot him. It made a mess."
"What?" Skye thinks she must have misunderstood.
"That was my kill. Why were you even there? I had it taken care of."
"Your kill? What? I didn't know you - How long - "
"Since college." At Skye's incredulous, she continues, "Since a bit before we dated, really. I needed more funding for my research, and I had a friend in the business."
"Oh. Okay. You weren't - "
"On a date? No, definitely not. I'm married."
Skye has to smile at that. "Why don't we head back home?"
"So you really don't care?" Skye asks over breakfast.
"I care! I don't think we should keep secrets like this from each other. Trust is important in marriage."
"Oh? Where'd you read that?"
Jemma rolls her eyes fondly. "Don't make fun of me; you know I'm right."
"But you don't mind that I kill people for money."
"I do the same, dear. You seem to be forgetting that part."
"I'm not. You looked hot in that dress."
Jemma kisses her on the cheek as she goes to get her tea. "You're sweet. I have to go speak to the police about a murder I witnessed at a nice restaurant last night."
"What are you going to tell them?"
Jemma smiles. "I'm sure I'll think of something."
"We should do a job together."
Skye looks up from her newspaper. "Didn't we already do that?"
"No. That doesn't count. We should do a planned job together."
"Fine. What do you have in mind?"
Jemma tosses a file on the table in front of Skye.
Skye hates watching Jemma flirt with people. At least she'll get the satisfaction of killing this one.
It can be argued she doesn't deal with jealousy well.
Jemma bats her eyes at the target again, then leans in and whispers something in her ear. The target kisses Jemma. It's chaste and brief, and Jemma pulls away before it can become anything more than that. Skye reminds herself that it's a necessary part of the job.
Jemma starts to lead the target out the door. This is Skye's time to shine. She follows them, staying a few yards behind.
As soon as the door swings shut behind them, she draws her gun. She's careless, so the girl turns in surprise before the shot hits her.
"I thought we were taking her to - " Jemma is cut off by Skye's lips on hers, a deep and possessive kiss.
Jemma pulls away. "Are you jealous?" she asks in a hushed tone.
"Maybe," Skye answers.
"We need to move the body first." Jemma pulls herself out of Skye's arms. "This is why we were going to kill her in her apartment."
"Ugh! Couldn't we just leave it this once?"
Jemma is entirely unmoved. "Are you going to help or not?"
Skye kisses Jemma like it's the last day on Earth, and for them, it really might be.
Their enemies and competitors had been looking for them for years. That was normal; they're in a dangerous line of work. But now it looks like they've caught up with them, or at least, they've caught up with Skye.
"Run," Skye says, pressing a gun into Jemma's hand. "Don't look back. You're fast, and you have the gun. You can make it."
Jemma kisses her back just as fiercely, then whispers against her lips, "Never."