Wow! Agents of Shield was supposed to be the one show where I didn't become obsessed with a ship, but well, the introduction of Mack and the chemistry he has with Fitz has sent those intentions straight to hell. I have been struggling for two weeks to write something with this pairing, but have really been struggling to find a voice for Leo and/or Mack, so I decided a little outsider POV might help me break my writer's /
Please let me what you think.

Jemma clasped her hands together to keep them from fidgeting as they walked down the hall. She knew any sign of nerves could incite Fitz's anger and she really didn't want him to be mad at her, not when he obviously needed her. She looked out of the corner of her eye to Skye as they walked. She seemed so much more in command of herself than she had been when Jemma had left all those months ago.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" She tried, hopeful that Skye would agree that her being there would only put Fitz on the defensive.

Skye shrugged, "I don't know. I just know that he's been living in that lab so long the newbies are starting to complain about the smell." Jemma felt her nose wrinkle, "Yes, when Fitz gets focused on something he can be quite single-minded about it."

"That's the thing though. They say he's not focused on anything. Just kind of hanging around." Jemma's heart gave a painful lurch. She knew that she could be the cause of Fitz's withdrawal, though she honestly couldn't remember doing anything to warrant such a reaction. Of course, she'd been so busy...

"Did you talk to Mack?" He and Fitz had grown close while Jemma had been away, maybe Fitz had confided something in him.

"Well, he's still on assignment. I kinda thought maybe that's why Fitz was hiding out, but Parson's says it started before Mack left."

"Oh," Jemma had almost forgotten that Mack was out on assignment. They had been forming a tentative understanding of one another, perhaps even a friendship in last few weeks, but she'd been so caught up trying to fix the hard drive she'd stolen from Hydra that she hadn't noticed that he and Lance where gone until Bobbi mentioned how quiet it had been without Lance to annoy.

"Wait! Mack's been gone 3 days! They waited that long to tell anybody that Fitz had been sleeping in the lab?" She lowered her voice at Skye's raised eyebrow. Jemma was going to give those techs a piece of her mind when she got them alone.

"I did mention the smell part, right?" Skye's tone was light, but Jemma knew she was just as worried about Fitz as she was.

The glass doors into the lab showed that it was empty, as planned, save for Fitz dozing fitfully in his office chair. The poor man had to be exhausted. Sleeping in a position like that for days couldn't be comfortable or restful.

The opening door caused Leo to start violently as he quickly straightened his clothes and turned his attention to the computer screen in front of him. Skye's eyes met hers briefly, as they steeled themselves for what may prove to be a difficult conversation in more ways than one.

"Hello, Fitz?" Jemma hated how there always seemed to be a question in her voice when she greeted her friend lately, but she couldn't seem to get rid of it.

"Hey Fitz," Skye chirped as they made their way to Fitz's workstation.

Jemma watched as Fitz's face got closer to the screen in front of him, "I'm...uh...working on something." He mumbled as he resolutely ignored them both.

"Oh, that's nice, Fitz." Oh, God, she sounded so trite.

"So, what? You don't have time to talk your friends anymore?" Skye said as she came to a stop at Fitz's workstation, resting her hip against the table and crossing her arms in front of her.

Fitz's eyes rose as he quickly scanned the room. A look of disappointment flited across his face before disappearing as his eyes returned the screen in front of him. "I should be asking you that, shouldn't I?" Fitz eyes flashed from the screen in front him to Jemma.

He was angry at her absence, but she had a feeling there was more than being upset with her at play.

"Fitz, what's going on? Why haven't you left the lab in three days?" She asked, concern filling her voice.

A blush crawled from the collar of Fitz's shirt to the tips of his ears. It was one of the few times in all the years that Jemma had known him that she had seen such a reaction. Even during their school years when some of their classmates would attempt to tease or embarrass Fitz, he'd always managed to keep his reactions in check.

"I have left a few times!" Fitz said tugging his cardigan around him indignantly. "I came back, just ...just in case."

"In case of what Fitz?" Fitz's eyes flicked to Skye and back to Jemma as he pursed his lips together. "I'd rather not say."

"Fitz, you know you can trust me and Skye with anything. We'll help you, I promise."

Fitz stood, pacing quickly back and forth behind his work station several times before stopping. "Something happened." He said looking at them with an expression that Jemma couldn't quite read.

"Yeah, we figured. So, what happened?" Skye said, leaning forward in an effort to encourage Fitz to speak.

He looked at her, hesitating for a moment, before apparently making up his mind. "We were working on improving the cloaking mechanism for the...the..."

"The Quinjet," Jemma said nodding, relief washing over her when Fitz didn't react angrily to her prompting.

"Yes, yes," Fitz flapped a hand at her. "Well, we figured out how to improve the energy flow so that the jet could maintain the cloak longer with less power and we were happy and then Mack's making this joke," Fitz started to pace again as he spoke. "And then we were laughing, and then we weren't, and then he looked at me..." Fitz stopped, looking desperately lost, "And he ...and Mack touched my face and then he asked if it was alright," Jemma looked at Skye, whose eyes were growing wide in amazement. Good, she wasn't the only one surprised at where Fitz's story seemed to be going.

"And so I said it was, but I guess I didn't understand the question or maybe I couldn't even think that he'd be asking me that and..." Fitz stopped, turning the face them once again. "He kissed me."

"Oh," Skye was hiding a smile behind her fingers now. "And, how did you feel about that?"

Fitz looked around the room, grimacing. "I guess I was a little shocked and I reacted ...not well."

"What do you mean by not well?" Skye asked carefully.

"I told him he couldn't ...couldn't want that and ran away."

"Oh, Fitz," Jemma leaned across the table taking Fitz's hand and squeezing it gently. Fitz pulled his hand away slowly. "I haven't seen him since, and I didn't..."

"Didn't mean to hurt him? Of course not, Fitz." Fitz began shaking his head at her before she had even finished speaking.

"No, no, no," Fitz stepped back, "I mean -Yes, I didn't mean to hurt him, but..." Fitz looked down at his hands, "He's so handsome and kind," A slow smile began to spread across Fitz's face, "I couldn't believe that he'd, you know? I mean I'm a..." Realization dawned then, Fitz hadn't been rejecting Mack -he'd just been caught off-guard.

"You're handsome and kind too, Fitz." Fitz shook his head against the compliment, "And, obviously Mack agrees or he wouldn't have kissed you."

Fitz shrugged, "Doesn't matter now. I ruined it all."

"You didn't, Fitz."

"He's been avoiding me! He hasn't come to the lab in days and every time I go the garage..."

"He's on assignment, Fitz!" Skye said over the growing emotion in Fitz's voice.

"What? What did you say?"

"He's been on assignment, Fitz. That's why you haven't seen him."

Fitz's shoulders dropped, "I didn't know ...know that."

"You would have, if you'd left the lab or asked someone."

"I thought maybe he didn't want to see me," Fitz sounded distant for a moment, then he began gesticulate wildly as worry took over his features. "What kind of mission? Is he in danger? Who's his backup, if Skye's here?"

"Calm down, Fitz," Skye lifted her hand as though she were trying to calm a wild animal. "May is with them and their last report came in clear. They should be in the jet and headed back home sometime in the next 24 hours."

"Oh, oh that's good." Fitz's neck was growing red again.

"I'll monitor the comms tomorrow while I'm working." Skye offered. "I can let you know when Mack's in the air. You know, just in case you want to be there when he lands." Fitz nodded to her gratefully.

Skye smiled at her, her eyebrows lifting in a meaningful way. "Oh, yes, uhm, you might want to try taking a break from the lab for a bit, Fitz. You can sleep, perhaps a change of clothes after a shower. It would do you a world of good."

Fitz fiddled with the edges of his hair, "Yes, I suppose I could do that. Uhm?"

"Yes, Fitz?"

"You don't think he'd be upset to see me?"

She was trying to smother her own smile now, "Of course not. I'm sure he'll want to talk when he gets back."

"You think?"

"Yes, Fitz, I think so."

28 hours later...

"My hair won't stop curling." Fitz was using the flat of his hand as he tried to straighten an errant curl at his temple.

Jemma licked two fingers, flapping at Fitz's hand to get it out of the way. "Jemma!"

"Let me get it." She huffed as the wind from the jet rolling into the hanger caused Fitz's cardigan to blow open. He buttoned up the cardigan quickly, then changed his mind and unbuttoned it just as quickly.

"Do I look okay?"

"Of course you do."

"I feel...uh..."

"Nervous, frightened, excited?"

"Oh, god, I think I feel all those things." He looked all of them too. Jemma had to bite her lip to keep from smiling at him.

The jet rolled to a stop just as Jemma managed the get the product in Fitz's hair to cooperate with her coaxing fingers and spit.

The cargo hatch opened wide as the ramp descended to settle on the concrete floor of the hanger. Jemma took a few steps back as May, Mack and Lance disembarked. They all looked exhausted as they pulled their rucksacks and equipment down the metal incline. May and Lance were snarking back and forth about the comforts of home, while Mack seemed a million miles away. Or, at least he did till he saw Fitz giving him an awkward wave. The smile lighting up Mack's features put any concerns Jemma had about the situation going south to rest.

She heard Fitz's soft 'Hey', as Mack came to a stop in front of him. "Hi, yourself." Mack said, after a small chuckle. Fitz looked from Mack to May and Lance as they walked past. She was just about to join May and Lance as they walked towards their quarters, when Fitz's hands shot out grabbing Mack's collar causing the man to stumble towards him slightly. The heavy rucksack keeping him to be just enough off balance to give Fitz a bit of an advantage.

Fitz mumbled a question too low for Jemma to hear, but Mack's nod was all he needed to pull the man close enough to kiss. Jemma felt her cheeks heat as she let out a high-pitched squeak. She clasped her hands over her mouth to keep from disturbing them as they kissed and then kissed again and all but ran to catch up with May and Lance.

the end