‘Fitz. Get up. Start walking to the room. I’ll rendezvous with you in ten minutes. Remain calm.’
As if the last instruction was even possible to follow in the best of circumstances. Danger lurked around every corner. He was out in the field, his best source of protection at least ten minutes away. Last night had been spent watching the targets decrypt all his hard work on the hotel security system. Now, you had the audacity to tell Fitz to remain calm? Way to make that nearly impossible, [Name]. Way to get him in this situation to begin with, Simmons.
Fitz had never seen a longer hotel hallway in his entire life. Each of his steps felt like it might jitter his feet out from under him, and then what of the mission? They were watching. If Fitz slipped up, who knew what would happen to S.H.I.E.L.D., to him, to you? This was why he didn’t go out in the field. Give him a computer lab, nice and safe, then maybe Fitz could concentrate on counting down ten minutes like he was supposed to be doing.
‘Nine minutes and fifty seconds. Nine minutes a fifty-one seconds. Nine minutes and fifty-two seconds. Nine minutes and—'
Footsteps racing rapidly down the hall in his direction. Fitz sucked in a breath. He spun. Someone was coming right for him: someone in insane stilettos and a flimsy skirt and shirt that hardly attempted to cover an acceptable amount of skin. So distracted by someone running in an outfit like that was Fitz that the woman was upon him before he looked up and saw your face on top of the ludicrous getup.
“What are you wearing?” he hissed as you reached for his wrist. You smiled in answer, such a smile that Fitz’s stomach turned over. This was not an unusual occurrence when he was around you, but he definitely had the feeling that something was going to go wrong—even more than things were already going wrong, that was. And when you finally spoke to him, Fitz knew for sure that things were going wrong.
“Not now, sugar booger,” you practically cooed, causing alarm bells to start going off in his head.
“Sugar booger?” Fitz repeated incredulously, but he wasn’t able to get much more out, because you shoved him forcefully up against the wall. “Wha-”
There were voices coming down the hall. You stopped to listen. Fitz knew you probably understood more than he did; that was the whole reason you were on this mission. The team needed all the help they could get tracking down Centipede and the Clairvoyant. One favor called in from May, and they had it: Agent [L Name], rumored to have trained under Natasha Romanoff herself. Fitz would believe it, after everything he’d seen the past few weeks with you, but he hadn’t been able to work up the nerve to ask if that rumor was true. There were a lot of things Fitz couldn’t work up the nerve to ask you, such as what in God’s name was going on just now?
If the voices were saying anything important, Fitz certainly couldn’t make out actual words. Only noise. Before he could attempt to process that noise, you had turned to him with what he could only describe as a concerned expression. Oh, because that was certainly going to calm his nerves. He could barely stand still for fear, and the field agent was scared now. No time to ask what that was about, though. You had stepped a hair’s breadth closer, and that hair’s breadth was all it took. He was too busy looking at you to mouth off.
Your big [color] eyes were wide in your face as you gazed at him; soft fingers drummed against his shoulder. Fitz very nearly forgot the situation he was in until you cocked your head, pressed your lips together, shrugged, and said, “Probably should have practiced this first.”
“I beg your pardon?”
Not that you were looking at him anymore, or listening. You were rearranging his body as though Fitz were some bizarre, breathing mannequin. His hand on your shoulder now, his face pushed towards yours, his other hand’s fingers latched tightly around your hip. Just as the voices grew close enough to distinguish, you took a final step into his personal bubble, and stood on your tiptoes so that his lips were nearly on yours.
“Now kiss me like you mean it,” you breathed.
Fitz had no time to question this order either, of course. Then again, the desire to didn’t last long. You were kissing him like he had never been kissed before. There’d been kisses prior to this, due to his role in the mission—but those were soft kisses, nice kisses, pecks on the cheek while out shopping in public, or on the brow when you found him asleep by the pool. Nothing so burning or invasive as this. Your tongue against his lips and your fingers in his hair all made for a rather pleasant distraction. Distantly, he heard the footsteps close in and fade away, a voice at the end of the hall saying Michaels must be losing his mind, no way was S.H.I.E.L.D. in on this, no one in the hall but a couple of horny teenagers, that woman in the suit probably just found the wrong conference room ‘cause she sure weren’t wearing heels like that.
Then the men were gone. Surprisingly, this did not immediately end the kiss. Rather, their absence softened it. The cool down was quite nice, really, and Fitz was only just thinking he ought to have tried actual dating at some point in his life when you pulled away. Your blush-painted cheeks were definitely pinker now, he noticed as you continued to stare at him and work your fingers gently through his hair.
“There,” you whispered throatily after a minute or so passed. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
“I’m that bad, am I?”
“No!” But you laughed, and the throatiness had left your voice entirely. Which meant you weren’t trying to keep the truth from him. He knew very well you could have if you wanted to. Bloody secret field agent that you were. He peeled away from the wall to look toward the door out to the dark parking lot. Empty. At least he had not forced you to quit touching him for nothing.
You’d saved the day, as per the norm. All the same, now that the magic was gone, Fitz felt all his usual grumpiness at having been put in need of saving return. “Yes, well. Next time you’re in need of someone to make out with against a wall, ask someone else.”
“Now why would I do that, sugar booger?” In answer to his responding glare, you simply entwined your fingers with his and started leading him to the elevator. “You’re my boyfriend.”
“No one with half a brain really believes I’m your boyfriend, Agent [L Name].” No one but Simmons would have even believed someone like Fitz had a chance a hell with someone like you. He couldn’t even appreciate her support now, what with the whole ”Take Fitz! He can pretend to be dating you. It’s the perfect cover!” plan being her uncharacteristically stupid idea. So he thought you were beautiful. So he admired your talents. As far as he could tell, every man on the face of the planet felt the same, and they were all better suited to you. All this charade was doing was making his ill-suitedness plainer than day.
You caught his frown in the reflection on the metal wall. “They won’t if you keep calling me that. Unless you’re into roleplay?”
Another short laugh turned into a sigh as the lift came to a stop on your floor. “Just a couple more weeks, Fitz. You can put up with me that long, can’t you?”
Here was where your tremendous acting ability came into play: Fitz actually felt bad when he caught the look of hurt upon your face. Bad enough, even, to squeeze your hand tighter in his and press a faint kiss to your temple when the two of you stepped into another hall. This only made you beam, which only highlighted how your tears were every bit as fake as the romance between you.
He closed the door to the hotel room, and you finally let go. His hand felt oddly cold without yours in it. Flexing his fingers in the hopes of ridding himself of the sensation, Fitz rolled his eyes. “You’re the one putting up with me, if you think I’m that a terrible a kisser.”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself!” you said from where you were already digging through your staggeringly large wardrobe for whatever would cause the next disaster. When he did not smile back, you stopped the search for new clothes at once. “I’m serious, Fitz. You’re probably the best fake boyfriend I have right now.”
He snorted, then settled on the edge of the single bed in the room—the single, not quite large enough to avoid touching bed he had to share nightly with a woman who must have thought he was an absolute joke. “How many fake boyfriends to do you have,” he asked, “currently?”
“A girl can never have too many beaus. But don’t worry, you’re the best I’ve got. If you’re not careful, I’ll decide I want to keep you.”
“That’s a laugh right there.”
“I’m afraid I don’t follow.” Gathering several articles into your arms, you picked your way through the dark to stand in front of him. You were not, as Fitz had suspected, carrying some back-bearing evening gown and preparing to sneak into another Centipede party. Rather, you held a pair of modest pajamas in your arms. His eyes went from those to your face, then back again before he gave a shrug.
“You could get anybody. Like—Like someone who knows what to do with his lips, for instance."
“Maybe I like my men inexperienced.” You smiled cheekily over your pajamas when he chanced another glance at you. “You did fine, Fitz. I’m going to go take a shower. Won’t bother inviting you to join me.”
The bathroom door clicked shut, though there was no further sound of you locking it. Just a testament to how safe you felt, even here surrounded by Centipede sharks and psychic maniacs. Whereas Fitz, even ensconced inside with the door deadbolted shut, would spend the rest of the evening jumping at every little ambient sound. When he heard the water turn on, Fitz allowed himself to lay down, roll over, and close his eyes.
No matter how badly he might have wanted to forget his completely real feelings, that was easier said than done after a kiss like that. Warmth still flooded him from the kissing session ten floors down, and a sort of tingling sensation in one specific area hadn't faded yet either. A shower didn’t sound too bad, but no way on God’s green earth was Fitz going to attempt to slip in there with you. You were kidding. Had to be.
The cellphone on the bedside table buzzed, and Fitz groaned into his pillow. A few seconds of blind groping later, and his hand found the vibrating object. “Hello?” he asked dully.
“Fitz!” came Simmons’ bright voice. “I was hoping I would get you.”
“What do you need, Jemma?”
“You know. Coulson asked me to check in.”
“The mission, of course. Though, I wouldn’t mind hearing how you’re progressing with [Name]. I’m sure he doesn’t care much, but Skye and I are dying to know. Is the plan working?”
Sitting up, Fitz rubbed at his eyes. “Plans like that only work in the stories Skye reads on the internet, Jem.”
“So you have nothing new to report?”
He caught the disappointment in her voice. For one moment, he thought of sharing what had happened between the two of you in the hall. Almost immediately, the thought vanished. That kiss was no more real than anything else—the hand holding or the snuggling or those cheek pecks at the mall. No need to get Jemma’s hopes up, and his along with them.
“No,” Fitz answered. “Nothing.”
Because another thing he couldn’t work up the nerve to ask you? Was if you’d go out with him for real.