Daisy wakes with a frown. The bed is colder than usual and the familiar weight of Daniel's arm over her waist is notably absent. He's a naturally early riser whereas Daisy only wakes up early if there's an apocalypse that needs her attention. They figured this out early on, when Daisy would ask what time it was as he got up and he'd say some ungodly hour and she'd groan at him. When they decided to share a bunk onboard the zephyr rather than waste space for another room that they'd never use, Daniel had taken to enjoying the later start. Of course, he'd still wake up unnaturally early but it wasn't often he got to see Daisy so utterly peaceful and relaxed. Space was beautiful, but it seemed there was always some disaster awaiting them. In their bunk, it was almost like they were a normal couple. Well, as normal a couple as a world war 2 veteran and a half alien woman could make. They hardly ever went to sleep without the other, only if something required the commander's attention, and they never woke up without the other. Which was why Daisy's heartbeat spiked when she realised he wasn't there.
Daisy rolls over and takes a deep breath when she hears paper crinkle. A smile fights through her exhaustion and takes over her face as she sees her name in Daniel's neat handwriting. She unfolds the sheet of paper and rolls her eyes, but her grin reveals it as the empty gesture it is.
I lost a bet with Kora when we were on Linell, so I have to make her breakfast and coffee for when she wakes up. When she relinquishes me, I'll bring you some back. I know you'll call me a dork but you deserve a breakfast in bed. I know you were worried about being a leader but you've been doing an incredible job. You deserve something nice, especially because Valentine's Day was ruined by those Kree.
Daisy never thought she'd receive a love letter never mind find herself looking forward to the next one. But there were a lot of unexpected things in her life and Daniel was probably the best one of all. The closest she'd come to Daniel's handwritten notes or typed reams had been a text from Miles with a heart emoji or Lincoln's scrawl on the bottom of a medical form suggesting she take it easy for a few days. So the fact that there is a small, purple box hidden in her drawer under a sweatshirt she stole from him that is practically overflowing with her square's written declarations of love is truly and entirely unexpected. And then it hits her again. That stupid wave of insecurity that she doesn't deserve him. The most she's ever written him is a text or an email. But a memory resurfaces and she thinks maybe she has a way to pay him back.
She clambers out of bed and stumbles on half-asleep legs over to their bookcase. Most of the books were Daniel's, a way to catch up on time he had missed or return to times he missed, but there were a few that belonged to Daisy. She picks up a worn and battered notebook, Andrew had suggested keeping a journal to monitor her emotions and express her thoughts when she didn't feel like talking. She had done it on and off ever since she got her powers, even took it with her when she left SHIELD after Hive although she never wrote in it.
A few sheets of paper fall into her waiting hand and she bites her lip. Maybe she was the one who started their letters to each other, she just hadn't sent this one. After she woke up from the healing chamber back in good old present day, she had found Mack who had strict instructions to give it to Daniel if she didn't make it back or return it to the writer if she did. She had hidden it away and completely forgot it existed until that morning.
The vibrations of the zephyr beginning to wake up thrum through her and she feels the approach of a steady heartbeat she would know anywhere. She grabs a book from the shelf and slips the letter in between the pages, taking note of the number. She jumps back into bed just as Daniel enters with a small tray of food.
"Hey, sleepyhead." He mumbles and lowers himself down beside her. She rolls over and fakes a yawn that quickly becomes real. "You got my note?" She nods, smiling, and sits up.
"Dork." He passes her the tray and presses a kiss to her temple as she wraps her hands around the coffee mug.
"Your dork." He reminds her.
"My dork." She agrees and captures his lips in a short kiss.
She has barely made a dent in her breakfast when there's a knock on the door. Daisy hangs her head and takes a deep breath.
"Sorry, ma'am, but there's an urgent message from HQ for you." Agent Greene's voice is muffled by the door, but they can still make out the slight apprehension at interrupting the commander's morning.
"Be right there." The footsteps retreat and she climbs over Daniel, falling to the floor of the bunk. She stays there for a moment and stares up at him.
"You okay down there?" He offers her a hand and she accepts it, then accepts the unfinished mug of coffee he hands her.
"You should start reading that cosmos book Fitz leant you." She pulls on some clothes as he digs into her breakfast. "Interesting stuff." She stops in the doorway. "Especially page 55." And then she's gone.
Daniel frowns at her oddly cryptic recommendation and suddenly the food on his lap is much less interesting. He wastes no time in taking the book from the shelf and catches the piece of paper that falls out. The furrow in his brow deepens as he recognises Daisy's god awful handwriting.
I don't really know what this is, but I felt like I had to do something. I'm coming back. I know I am. I always do and this time won't be any different. Or, well, it will be. But it'll be different because I have something to come back to that isn't just another end of the world situation. You. You got me back home the first time, I'll get myself back home this time. For you. So this isn't a goodbye its a just in case.
This is harder than I thought it would be, but then again I'm a high school dropout and I can't say I ever paid that much attention in English. The most I've written these past few years is a SHIELD report. I'm just now realising how little you know about me. We'll fix that. I'll tell you everything. Maybe not all at once that would... Well that would probably faze the unfazeable man.
I'm sorry I didn't tell you what I was going to do. I guess this makes me a huge hypocrite. Ten minutes ago I was shouting at you for offering to sacrifice yourself and you wouldn't even be dying, my death is pretty much guaranteed. But I'll come back. I didn't tell you because I knew you'd be worried and then you'd be distracted and that would mean you're more at risk and jesus fucking christ it would be just my luck to be resurrected and find out you're dead.
That's another thing. You're a mystery to me, you know that? After Lincoln-I'll tell you that story myself, but in case I can't I'm sure the others will fill you in on why its so monumental that I'm feeling anything romantic for you-I just got rid of every thought of love or relationships. I had my family and that was enough. But then you walk into your office and your pictures in the SHIELD history books do not do you justice Chief Sousa and I didn't even think I was capable of feeling what I felt then. And the more time I spent with you, especially after the barn and the loops (oh ask Mack about the loops if I can't tell you), the more I felt. It was terrifying and I knew I should try and squash those feelings before they could hurt you, but I didn't want to and that terrified me even more. But the thing that terrified me the most was that I wasn't terrified at all because you just make me feel completely safe. I mean, Malick practically tore me apart but all I could focus on was your voice and how nice it felt to have you play with my hair. And the loops were so fucking traumatising that every time I woke up I thought about just staying in the chamber until it was over, but you were always on that chair using a box of medical gloves as a pillow and it can't have been even remotely comfortable but it got me up and ready to go again. Maybe I run into walls, but you're damn good at tearing them down.
Um yeah, I don't know. I just wanted you to know... That you mean a lot to me? Doesn't begin to cover it but yeah that's all I'll write for now.
It takes him a minute to put it all together in his head. He pieces it together bit by bit. Daisy wanted him to find this, she wanted him to read it, she wrote it, she wrote it before they were even officially together, she had written this for him. He wonders what made her think about it after a year, but he doesn't really care. He's up and out of their bunk before he can think about it in any depth.
Daniel is not one for public displays of affection, if Daisy so much as kisses his cheek in front of other people his face turns bright red. He doesn't really care about the crew when he sees her, doesn't really care that he was the one that suggested they show some semblance of professionalism being leaders and all, doesn't really care about anything besides the beautiful, incredible, wonderful woman stood at the communications console.
He grabs her waist, spins her around and kisses her with all the passion he can muster. Her arms travel up his chest and wrap around his neck as she deepens the kiss. He pulls her impossibly closer and steps forward so that the backs of her thighs bump into the console. They break away, panting. But Daniel is already pressing kisses to her cheeks, her forehead, her chin. She scrunches up her nose and laughs.
"I take it you liked my letter?" He pulls back enough for her to see the way his eyes shine under the fluorescent lights and he remembers that he still has the papers clutched in his hand.
"I loved it." He whispers against her lips.
"Public space!" Kora yelps as she enters, making a spectacle of covering her eyes and gagging.
"Private moment." Daisy retorts without tearing her eyes away from Daniel. She leans back in, but her eyes widen before they can meet. She spins and Daniel looks at the screen for the first time, his own eyes growing twice the size. "Fuck, Mack—"
"Tremors, Sousa." He sighs.
"Director." Daniel squeaks.
"Mack—" He silences her with a hand.
"Don't want to know! Really, really don't wanna know. Just send me that report." The screen goes black.
"How would you feel about being swallowed by the cold expanse of the void, Commander Johnson?" He asks once his voice returns.
"I would feel great about it." She buries her face into his chest.