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Were You Waiting?

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‘He’s not here, and I’m going to kill you’

Daisy sent this text to Jemma, who had insisted that she go on this date with whats-his-face from Admin. His name was Jim, she knew, but whats-his-face had a better ring when he was 30 minutes late for dinner. She had tried texting him, but he wasn’t responding, and she had no clue if he had seen her texts and was standing her up or if something had just kept him late at the office. It wasn’t exactly a 9-5 job working for SHIELD, even as a pencil pusher, but a quick text or call would’ve been nice.

Daisy glanced up again, moving the menu she held in front of her face down. Her waitress was circling around again. Daisy planned to slip her a $10 bill for her trouble and bolt, but just before the waitress got to the table, a man slipped into the booth across from her.

“Sorry I’m late, traffic was awful,” he said easily and apologetically. The waitress veered off at the last second, seeing that Daisy’s date had finally arrived and needed to get settled.

There was just one little problem—this wasn’t Jim.

“And who the hell are you?” Daisy asked in a light tone.

The man across from her ducked his head a bit. “Yeah, sorry. I know this is really weird. I’m Daniel. Daniel Sousa. I’ve seen you around HQ, and this is my favorite spot off base, and I was getting some dinner and saw you sitting alone. I figured you might like some company.”

Now that Daisy was looking at him, she remembered seeing him in FitzSimmons lab. She had been bleeding fairly heavily at the time, so she hadn’t been too concerned with the other agents in the room, but it was hard to forget a man like this. They had passed in the halls a few times before that too, shared an elevator once. Why hadn’t she noticed the crinkle in his brow before, the tiny bit of gray at his temples?

“How’s the leg doing?” Daisy asked. “Fitz mentioned yesterday he was having some trouble because of how long you’ve been without it, something about Simmons having to calibrate for the different muscle development?”

Daniel motioned to the cane he had leaned up against the wall next to him. “They haven’t quite figured it out yet, and I’m a bit scared to go without this until they do. It’s fine most of the time, until it isn’t.” He seemed almost sheepish as he continued, “But honestly, I’d prefer not to talk about my leg or our work right now. Were you waiting for someone here?”

It took Daisy a second to remember Jim. She checked her phone again. Still no text. “Jemma set me up with a guy from Admin, but it really doesn’t look like he’s going to show. You seem like more interesting dinner company anyways, if you don’t mind me crashing your peaceful plans?”

Daniel smiled and teased, “Well I don’t know, I was really looking forward to getting takeout and heading back to my apartment. My show is on tonight and I wouldn’t want to miss it.” He got a little more serious. “Nah but for real, I don’t mind at all. You seem cool, and I want to get to know you a bit.”

Daisy smiled back. “What is it you want to know? Ask me a question. It’s the least I can do, seeing as how you’re saving me from a bit of an embarrassing time explaining to the waitress why I’m leaving.”

Speaking of the waitress seemed to summon her, as she came to grab Daisy and Daniel’s orders. Once she left, Daniel said, “Well, let’s start simple. Where are you from?”

Daisy laughed. “That’s actually … a really complicated question. Short answer, New York City from as long as I could remember until I ran away from the orphanage at about 15. Since then, I’ve just kind of bounced around until SHIELD picked me up when I was 24, maybe 25? My timeline is a little bit messy.” She shrugged.

“Well, that’s quite the short answer.” Daniel grinned. “How about you ask me a question now, one that you know you can answer.”

Daisy looked around and crinkled her face in a joking manner. “Let’s start small. What’s your favorite color?”

“Oof, that’s a tough one.” Daniel sucked air in through his teeth. “I’m going to have to go with blue. Like the sky right after it rains, just as the sun is starting to come out. What about you?”

“Purple, without a doubt. I saw this one sunset when I was in Bali. That mission was a mess, but one of the windows in the place I was tied up showed me a glimpse of the best view I’ve ever had. It was this perfect mix of purple and pink and orange. I considered taking up painting just to capture that.”

Daniel blinked at her. “Tied up? That sounds like a bit of a story.”

“Not for tonight it isn’t. That’s a work topic, and we’re steering clear of that right now.”

He sighed. “Fine, I suppose I did make the rules. My turn. Favorite place that you’ve been to that wasn’t for a mission?”

Daisy thought for a moment. “I’m going to have to go with the Grand Canyon. It’s a bit cheesy, but the hiking is unbeatable. And I’ve never been out of the country other than with SHIELD.”

Daniel looked shocked. “Never? Like not even once?”

She laughed. “Yeah, last I checked, that was what never meant. I always wanted to go, but I was too nervous. And well, I haven’t exactly had much free time in the past decade or so, between the half dozen times that SHIELD has been called a terrorist organization and the equal number of global catastrophes. The closest thing I’ve had to a vacation besides space was Afterlife, and neither of those counts at all.”

Daniel groaned. “I know I said no work talk, but that was a hell of a statement, and I need to know more. What the hell is Afterlife, and why wasn’t it really a vacation?”

“Oh, it’s where I learned to control my powers. It was a lovely place other than the sketchy politics and mild cultishness. Afterlife was designed for Inhumans to live in peace temporarily, especially after they went through Terrigenesis. I still feel awful that it was destroyed.” Daisy sighed.

“Wait, you’re an Inhuman?”

Daisy was startled out of her self-reflection. “Yeah, I thought everyone at work knew. I have powers.”

Daniel grinned. “Damn if that’s not the coolest thing. What’s your power, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Well Agent Sousa. If you play your cards right, I’ll do you one better. Once we’ve eaten, I’ll show you my powers.”