“Would’ve been appropriate,” he growled.
He hadn’t been able to bear saying out loud, even to a creation of his own broken head, that if that had been a practical course of action, he might have done it.
“You’re ruled by your heart, Fitz, and that’s not always a good thing,” the real Jemma had said to him once, during their Academy days. He was at the time facing dire consequences in one of his classes because he had made the mistake of working with Eamon Torse, finding out the hard way the guy was an utter asshole and not nearly as smart as his grades had made him look. He’d walked out on him, even though his mark had become dependent on working with him. He might have even accused him of cheating. Jemma had eventually managed to help him save his mark for the class, but not without considerable scolding.
“You’re all heart, Fitz,” Skye, as she was still calling herself then, said to him later, when she’d been holed up in the safe room on the old plane. She had mixed feelings about it, of course; on one hand she was grateful for his support and acceptance, on the other, she wanted him to fear what she herself did.
By then, he’d seriously started to worry there would never be a time he wasn’t angry. He’d started to feel a little less broken in the head, but the heart had been another matter, especially with how Jemma had been acting then. Telling her just what he’d thought of how she’d changed was both the greatest relief and the worst pain he suffered in all those months, at least before she was grabbed by the monolith.
Ironically, the first months immediately after that was the time during all of 2015 he was the least angry, when he was confident he’d get her out and hopeful for what would happen after that, before he started to perceive that he might not be able to get her back, that she might even be dead.
He didn’t have to be hallucinating Jemma to hear her voice in his head even as he’d screamed at that damn rock, hoping if it had killed her it would just kill him too and be done with it. Have you learned nothing, Fitz?! He’d known what he was doing was stupid at best. But he’d suffered rage that had completely overruled his morals in the past; his sense of self-preservation had never stood a chance.
He thought maybe he’d had it more under control when Jemma had finished her story, her guilt almost louder than her words, and he had known that he could not be angry with her, and he could not let his emotions keep him from doing what was right, especially not when she would never be happy if they didn’t try to rescue this man. He’d started telling himself those things halfway through her account, when it had become pretty obvious where the story was going.
He’d felt pretty good about himself for managing those things. Sure, he was so furious at the universe that he wasn’t sure what he wouldn’t have done had there been anything he could do to it, but he felt he had a right to that. For Jemma’s sake as well as his own; he hated to see how the whole situation was absolutely killing her.
But the truth was, Leo Fitz never realized just how much rage he had within him until he was tied to that chair and hearing Jemma Simmons scream.
His thoughts veered like mad from agony to desperation to fury the entire time. He stayed sane by fantasizing about doing things to Ward that he wouldn’t be able to bear to think about later. When they finally took him off the chair, he didn’t know how he kept himself from just winding up his fists and doing all the damage he could to anyone within his reach.
After all that had been over, Bobbi talked at length to him and Jemma both about torture, and how he was officially a victim of it as well. He wondered if she or anyone else had any idea of what he’d done to Ward in that cell nearly a year ago. It had been on camera, of course, but it was possible nobody had bothered to look. It didn’t seem like anyone cared. Ward certainly hadn’t seemed to.
He might have been sorry at some point that year. Not after what they’d done to Jemma, though.
And so he was now walking around keeping another man’s secret, because he had the feeling Coulson hadn’t even gone into details with May about just how Grant Ward had died. The image of it remained burned across his eyes, like Jemma’s screams still echoed in his ears, like he could still smell the dust of the planet and the stink of Will’s body burning.
And Leo Fitz didn’t know what horrified him more, that Coulson had actually done that, or how too much of his heart had screamed with joy when he had done so, or that he didn’t know whether, had he been the one hovering over the man with an enhanced hand, he wouldn’t have done it.