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Agents of SHIELD ficlet: A Spell I Could Not Break (1/1)

May 14th, 2014 (09:55 pm)

feeling: productive

Title: A Spell I Could Not Break

Disclaimer: I do not own Agents of SHIELD.

A/N: Missing scenes to the finale, from Jemma’s POV. Because all the Fitzsimmons scenes left me emotionally distraught. Thanks to lena7142 for the read through. Mistakes left behind are my own. Title borrowed from Mumford and Sons.

Spoilers: S1 finale (I'm bad with titles)

Summary: That’s when Jemma realizes, she loves Fitz; she knows Fitz. She just doesn’t know herself very well at all.


It was too fast
Casting love on me as if it were a spell I could not break
When it was a promise I could not make
What if I was wrong?

-from “Hold On to What You Believe” by Mumford and Sons


Jemma Simmons has loved Leo Fitz since the first day they met. She’s loved everything about him, from the way his mind works to the silly jokes he makes. She knows him, inside and out, every last thing. She knows the way he sets up his lab work and his morning routine. It’s how a sister loves a brother; it’s how best friends know each other.

At least, that’s what she thinks until they’re at the bottom of the ocean, and he’s giving her his last breath like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

That’s when Jemma realizes, she loves Fitz; she knows Fitz.

She just doesn’t know herself very well at all.

(Fitz is right. It’s like 100 punches to the stomach.)


She has to fight against the water, push herself against the onslaught, and she thinks about giving up. At this point, she’s not even sure what she’s fighting for, and it’d be easy, really. The first law of thermodynamics; her end might be a better beginning. But her hand brushes against Fitz, grabs hold of his shirt, and there’s only one option.

The surface seems so far away, and she doesn’t know what will be there when she makes it, but she’s going to find out.

The oxygen burns in her lungs, but she doesn’t care. She’ll hold this breath forever if she has to. She’ll die with it in her lungs if that’s what it takes.

Fingers curled tight, she kicks upward because Fitz did all the math, and Fitz is never wrong.


The first breath of air is desperate. Her body is weak and her head is pounding as she heaves Fitz above the waves. He’s limp in her arms, head lolled back and she tries to get them on their backs as the water laps against them.

For a moment, the sun is blinding and it burns against her retinas as the salt water dries out her mouth. Fitz is still against her, and every breath she takes seems less satisfying than the last. Tears fill her eyes, and she wonders for a moment if this is it. If they’ve finally run out of solutions, if this is a problem they can’t solve.

(Fitz wants to show her, and Jemma still tastes his skin on her lips and can feel the curls in his hair. She holds him tighter as their hearts pound in tandem. He loves her, and she loves him, but not like that. At least, not yet. They’ve had a lot of problems they can’t solve, it seems.)

But the pounding isn’t between her ears, and the waves aren’t just from the wind, and she almost thinks she’s hallucinating when she sees the helicopter.

Jemma doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, but Nick Fury offers his hand, and it certainly looks like salvation.

Panting and scared, Jemma clutches Fitz tight with one hand and reaches out with the other.


Waking up in a small confined space is nothing short of terrifying. Jemma is looking for a way out when a hand presses against the glass.

At first, she thinks it’s Fitz.

Nick Fury offers her good news and praise, but Jemma wants neither.

She just wants Fitz.


Jemma sleeps.

There’s not much to do, and the doctors are quiet when they visit. They tell her nice things and speak in soothing voices. They’re professional and kind, and they assure Jemma in so many words that she’s going to be fine, she’s going to be just fine.

(They won’t tell her much about Fitz, just that he’s resting and doing as well as can be expected. There’s no way to know more, they tell her. There’s no way to know.)

Jemma is many things, but she’s fairly confident that fine is not one of them.


When they let her out, she feels weak and disoriented. Standing upright leaves her light headed, and she clutches the arm of the doctor in order to get her bearings.

“You should take it easy,” the doctor says. “There’s no rush.”

Jemma shakes her head and forces the nausea back down. “You said yourself, I’m fine,” she says with as much certainty as she can muster. She lifts her head defiantly. “Now I want to see Fitz.”


She agrees to a wheelchair, and she lets them give her some food and drink first. Outside the door, the doctor stops her and looks at her seriously.

“You need to understand,” the doctor explains. “He’s still deeply unconscious--”

Jemma sighs, shaking her head. “He’s in a coma, I know,” she says. “You haven’t said it, but I know it. Given the period of time he went without oxygen, it’s only to be expected. And I assume that your lack of information means that the scans aren’t overly promising. You have to wait and see, of course, as his neural function continues to improve before you can definitely say just what damage was incurred, which could range from simple short term memory loss to a persistent vegetative state.”

The doctor stares at her.

Jemma straightens her shoulders and refuses to blink. “So I understand,” she says. “Now. Let me see Fitz.”


Inside, Jemma’s bravado wavers. Because she’s understood from the start all the implications. She knows what happens to the human brain when it is deprived of oxygen. She knew from the moment Fitz handed her the oxygen canister that he wasn’t just being gallant.

He was giving her a chance to live.

And effectively condemning himself to death.

Fitz drowned for her, willingly and with no regrets, and Jemma’s been forced to reckon with that fact, but she hasn’t been forced to reckon with this.

He’s still in a chamber of his own, eyes closed and body still. There’s not much room for medical equipment inside the chamber, but the monitors nearby tell the rest of the story. His vitals are stabilizing, which is the good news. His temperature is within normal limits, and his oxygenation levels are good.

But his EEG tells a different story.

Mostly, it tells no story at all.

Fitz, she thinks, pressing a hand to the glass. She closes her eyes. Fitz, Fitz, Fitz.

(He never said I love you, but Jemma’s known longer than he has. Jemma’s always known.)

With a strangled breath, she opens her eyes and forces a smile. “You did it,” she says. “You did it, Fitz. We’re okay.”

It’s the first lie she’s ever told him.

She hopes it’s not the last.


By the time she’s released to the rest of the team, Jemma has been cleared by the doctor. She’s fine.

When the ramp to the plane opens, she sees the faces of her teammates’ brighten. Coulson looks relieved; Tripp grins. May inclines her head, and Skye rushes forward to wrap her in a hug. They’re reunited and victorious, even if they are a man down.

Jemma tells herself again, she’s fine.


“Please, tell me he’s okay,” Skye begs.

Jemma wants to tell them about the pod at the bottom of the ocean. She wants to tell them about Fitz’s signal and their ingenious escape plan. She wants to tell them about the things they didn’t say, and all the things they did. She wants to tell them, in no uncertain terms that Fitz is a hero, that he’s the hero, that he’s the best among them and always will be.

(She wants to tell them how scared she is, how she feels like part of her is still at the bottom of the ocean. She wants to tell them about how empty she feels, as if something’s been ripped out of her and can’t be put back in. She wants to tell them that she wishes they’d both drowned because at least they’d be together. She wants to tell them that Fitz loves her, and she’s not sure if she loves him the same way, but she knows she can’t live without him. She wants to tell them about the first law of thermodynamics and how it’s not true after all. Because she lost something in the ocean, she lost part of Fitz and part of herself, and it’s just gone.)

Instead, she forces a smile. “He’s alive,” she says.

As if that’s enough.


Posted by: sothereyougo (sothereyougo)
Posted at: September 26th, 2014 07:19 pm (UTC)
Sad Dean They Shoot Horses

Oh come on, now. Are you trying to kill me here? You got it exactly right. Jemma isn't in love with Fitz, but she might be once she figures out what part of herself might have been holding her back from realizing that it's a possibility. I think she doesn't like things messy, and telling her his true feelings out loud, even if not in so many words, has opened the door to messy-town. I hope she gets a chance to go on in there and get dirty. Hee.

It'll be interesting to see how they handle this. It would be just like a Whedon to figure out a way to have her fall in love with him , but then whatever they do to restore him cognitively makes him forget he was in love with her. *because Whedons are evil incarnate*

Great job again! (Yes, I am going through and reading all your AOS fics, why do you ask?) Can you tell FitzSimmons reminds me a bit of the times when Rory broke up with Dean because she wasn't smart enough to get how amazing he was? Amirite?

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: October 23rd, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
dean rory i love you

Ugh, Fitzsimmons. This new season has been so hard on that front and not quite in the ways I expected. I guess I won't go into that in case you haven't seen yet!

That said, they set up the dynamic between these two so so well last year. Seeing Fitz realize that he's in love with Jemma, and how it culminates with his sacrifice for her -- that just killed me. I thought her response to his confession was totally realistic -- even if Jemma could be in love with Fitz, she's not going to be aware of it in exactly the same moment he is, especially when he's talking about essentially killing himself so she can live.

Which just makes it even harder. Because they played it so realistically and the aftermath is going to have to be right down that same line. I really hope that Fitzsimmons has a happier ending than Dean and Rory, that's for sure. But the whole dynamic of a devoted boy and a somewhat oblivious girl does ring true. But I have a bit higher regard for Jemma at this point, compared to Rory anyway.

Thank you! I do love your comments :)

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