They had just caught one such glimpse, and it had sent them running to a tiny refuge that had been formed by the ship going too long without repairs. Part of a wall had fallen off by a corner, creating a slanted alcove where, sitting down, they were only visible from one side. They had taken to having make-out sessions there, once those had started getting hot and heavy, with their asses now free game, and Fitz even liking to nuzzle into her clothed chest.
Sometimes, too, they could whisper important things to each other there, ones they could disguise as sweet nothings. It was this way Fitz had told Jemma he’d figured out how to send a transmission, if they could just get access to the equipment long enough. And preferably go undetected, since it was hard to believe their captors wouldn’t do something to further restrain or isolate them if it was found out.
Right now, however, Fitz just collapsed crying in Jemma’s arms, and she just held him and felt lost. What they had just heard might’ve shaken anyone, but it had hit him much harder, obviously because he had memories of a life where he’d been on the side responsible.
When she could get herself to speak, she started, “We don’t know exactly what’s going on.”
“I do,” he sighed. “I know what it means when members of a minority group disappear, and the authorities say *that.* I saw it said a hundred times, when Hydra was being a little more subtle. I was the spokesman myself twice, and I lost count of the number of times I accompanied Ophelia to the pressroom in the early days. I know the tones. I know the pattern. I know who they used, who gets sighted with what weapons. I don’t know if any of the ones who have disappeared are still alive. I wonder where poor Joey is, if he’s still alive. And we’re stuck up here!” He pulled firmly away from her so he could punch the fallen bulkhead, then leaned right back in.
At that point, Jemma knew everything. Not only that they were sending that signal if they had to outright attack the guards to do it, but everything that would happen afterwards. She’d wondered, very early on, if they might stay up in space even if they escaped, if only to avoid having to go to prison. But Fitz had to go back now. Daisy and Elena too, of course; they’d already been in that category, but he’d joined them there. All of them together, and if there were any Inhumans left on Earth to save when they got there, the heavens help any creature who tried to stop them.
So when Fitz, his tears drying but his voice just as broken, said, “I’m thinking about what I am now. What I’ve been in whatever universe is one thing, but up here…” she said, “I know what you’re going to be, Fitz.”
He turned his face up towards her. At last, they could meet each other’s eyes and hold them indefinitely. Or at least Jemma could do it when Fitz looked like this, sad and tired, but hopeful, because he was finally believing more of what she said than not. And his eyes were not without light when they took her in, and they focused on hers as if to do otherwise was unthinkable, his love for her so matter of fact it needed no more pointing out than the existence of the universe did. Nowadays Jemma wondered how she’d ever failed to see it.
“I’m looking,” she said to him, “at what we’re both likely to become-what I would anyway, even if you weren’t involved.” Because of course she would, because of Daisy, because she wasn’t going to behave again like she had when first confronted with the Inhumans, because it was just plain the right thing to do. “So you don’t get to blame yourself for it. It’ll be hard, and we’ll both get another layer of tarnish on our souls.” She hoped their captors took that as coming from prolonged captivity, rather than because they’d be on the run from the law like never before. “But in the end, you’ll become a man I love even more. You won’t even have to do that for me; you’ll do it on your own.”
She wished that they could talk freely, that she could tell Fitz just what she was seeing. Starting with two of them working together to fool pursuers, to help smuggle refugees away, to alternate helping the needy with harming those after them. She could see Fitz’s face hardening as he did the latter, getting the expression she would forever hate more than anything, that anger and pain that would never go away finding its outlet against a target they could justify.
Then she saw it softening as he gently explained to those under their protection how things were going to work, and what they were going to do. Followed by his crying in her arms in the evening, maybe a little less haunted than he’d been before, but anxious about everyone anyway. She could also see him recklessly risking his life to save that of someone he would’ve tortured to death in the Framework, never able to fully finish his lifelong penance.
“I think…I can see what you’ll become too,” Fitz said, and she knew he understood, that he too knew the course they were going to take if they could just get back to Earth. “Things you’d do anyway, as you said, so I’ll try not to blame myself. And really,” he paused, and she knew he needed to say something dangerous, before he came up with: “I think I’d be proud of you anyway, if…if I had any right to be.”
“Well,” Jemma countered, letting smile and words come forth, “a man can be proud of his wife, right?”
He was stunned, though he must have known that she knew. “Why not?” she said. “Even if we may not be able to have a legal ceremony for a very long while, is that really that important in our current situation? Isn’t it the case that Scottish law would once have recognized us as married if we dragged the guards out here right now and got them to act as witnesses? We could still do that, let it be enough for as long as it has to be.” Although perhaps they would’ve preferred to wait until they could do it in front of their friends, but of course she couldn’t say that out loud.
Instead she finished up, “We’re pretty much already agreed we’re going forward together, effective throughout the rest of their lives.” Because even if they’d never said that exact thing, everything they had said more than added up to it. “Why not make it official?”
But Fitz bent his head, and said, “Intellectually, I know you’re right, and I agree with everything you’ve just said. But I still don’t trust myself enough to agree to be your husband. Not yet.”
Sadness and hope warred within Jemma. When he looked up, he must have seen them both all over her face. “Hey,” he offered, “we’ve got time, right?” Probably a prudent thing to say anyway, though then again, their voices had dropped so much, the guards might have to replay the footage with the volume turned all the way up to tell.
When he kissed her, Jemma knew he was going to give her more information. Not yet; they were going to be a while at this first. She was glad for that; their makeout sessions were used to pass information, yes, but they were also engaging in them for their own sake. She squirmed closer to him as they continued to kiss, relatively chastely, in no hurry for anything.
This has been difficult for Fitz once. Sex for him before Jemma had always been businesslike one-night stands, where kissing for kissing’s sake had only exacerbated his issues with nerves. It was only with her he’d learned to enjoy it, and it still hadn’t been his favorite thing.
But this sort of thing was now what his father’s upbringing had turned the Framework version of him against. He’d tended to be aggressive with Aida, and to the point, everything having a purpose. “Like that bloke who first fucked me when I was nineteen,” was how’d described it to Jemma.
For that reason alone, Jemma was pretty sure this was going to be his favorite thing to do even after they got back to full-blown sexual relations. Fitz especially liked touching her in places most of her lovers (himself included) hadn’t thought to. The front of her forearms. The edges of her hairline on top of her forehead. The middle part of her back, and then up above on her scapulae. When he moved to kiss her neck, he paused a moment to just breathe against her, the sight of which might have done more to her than even the rest of it.
She didn’t try to keep track of how long they were at it before the heat really started to build in earnest, both their hands now in less innocent places, what had been lips on lips turning into something far more dirty, and even their embrace morphed into a tangle that had his thigh between her legs, and she could feel him hard against her when she moved. His mouth was back on her neck, and this time he was licking his way over to her ear, doing everything he knew would get her breathing so loud it might be impossible for their guards to get his words audible no matter how loud they made it. She sank into it, though she pulled her mind together enough to take note of he was about to tell her.
“Auxiliary console,” he murmured. “We’ll come up with a distraction.” So there was one; they’d already suspected that. Jemma mentally repeated the words to herself as best she could when Fitz’s hands were there, just to make sure she remembered them later.
He stayed in place a few moments, probably letting her file the message away, before he then drove it out of her mind completely with his next words, “Jemma, I w-w-want for you to come.”
“Yes,” Jemma hissed back, fast, before either of them could think better of it. They both looked down, and Fitz shifted so that mostly the only thing visible outside the alcove would be him from behind. Precious little privacy, but Jemma officially wanted this too much to give a damn. “Do you want to…” There wasn’t room for him to get his mouth down there, and he probably wasn’t willing to get his cock involved in this, and even if he had been, there was no birth control, and neither of them would be recovered enough to be parents in a mere nine months’ time. “Your hands?”
“Yeah.” They were trembling as he placed one of them over her crotch. Jemma moved to do it herself, getting her trousers and panties down just enough. Fitz actually moaned slightly just at the sight of her genitals; he had to see how swollen her clit was, maybe how wet she’d gotten.
His fingers were tentative at first contact, carefully stroking around her mons, only ghosting around her clit. “This hasn’t changed,” she whispered to him. “Your expertise…”
Fitz screwed his eyes shut, as if struck by a memory; she mentally cursed herself. “Did she…” she started.
“I don’t think she could even experience sexual pleasure properly without a human body. She could have sensations, including intense ones, and she definitely tried for those. But it’s not what actually happened, that was always too…but it’s the memories…Jemma, I, uh, in the water closet, sometimes, I’ve been…”
“I know that,” she interrupted. “Really Fitz, we woke up two sleeps in a row with you having had nocturnal emissions, you apologized to death both times, and then you started taking more time in there at regular intervals. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what you’ve been doing, and why.” She tried to keep the heartbreak out of her voice; that would probably just make him feel worse.
“Well, I haven’t always managed it. I try so much to think about you; since everything happened, I can barely stand the thought of thinking about anyone else, honestly. But sometimes the memories of her hit, so badly I can’t…please let me do this.” She couldn’t tell if he was begging her, or himself.
“Whatever you need, Fitz, whatever helps.” Hell, if it would help him to have intercourse, they might just risk it. “If…if you even know.”
“I don’t. We’re neither of us psychologists, are we? But I want to do this so much.”
A moment later his finger was flicking teasingly over her clit, making her groan involuntarily with want. “This,” Fitz breathed somewhere near her face. “This is how you are.”
Then his thumb was firmer on that nub, and two more fingers were digging deep into her, and his mouth was back on hers too, and good thing, too, because she couldn’t keep quiet. She couldn’t remember Fitz’s fingers in her ever feeling this good, or making her this frantic, her hips bucking wildly. His pressing them closer together just made her feel more crazy, especially when it got her in constant contact with his cock. She didn’t think he even realized it when he started humping just a little, though she did, and that made it all even better, as did the whimpers he was making against her mouth, the vibrations making her lips tremble, knowing that he was so overwhelmed just to touch her again.
Unlike Fitz, she hadn’t come since they’d been abducted. When it hit, it was a white-hot pleasure that burst between her legs, then spread out until she could feel it all the way up to her neck, and down to her shaking feet and clenched toes. She thought she might have sobbed from the sheer strength of it. Or maybe that was just from everything she’d just been feeling, all the pleasure and all the pain and all the grief and all the hope and all the determination, and maybe especially everything she felt for the man still working her through it, his tears getting on her face, his voice murmuring her name to her over and over.
He kept moving after she was done, and she kept kissing and holding him, trying to encourage him by nudging him with her legs. It only took a few more seconds before he was coming too, shuddering against her, so beautiful, his groan into her skin fueling her elation, and how could she be so lucky as to have this in her arms? When she found her mouth was by his ear, she murmured, “Yes, Fitz, you coming like this, it makes me so…” She couldn’t even get any more words out, she was so wrecked. He wasn’t in any better a state.
They would be able to move again eventually, she was sure. They would limp down to the nearest water closet, and maybe they’d even go in together to avoid letting go of each other, or maybe they’d still take turns. They would figure out that distraction, and send that signal, and get off this ship, and do everything they now had to do. Strange, how straightforward it all seemed now, when an hour ago it had felt all confusing and uncertain.
Although she still wasn’t sure when they were going to do any of that when Fitz said, “I fantasized about us having a handfasting, you know. Knew a lot about what I was going to say during the ceremony. Of course that w-would all be different now.” The way he said it, she thought he’d been tempted to say will.
And she could see them now, their friends forming the circle around them, as they spoke their words to each other-and Jemma had occasionally thought about what she might say for her wedding vows too. She didn’t know who they’d be able to get to perform such a thing, but they could make do.
She held onto that vision, tried to keep it in her head. It was a good one to have.