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Inner Claims I Hadn't Breadth to Shake

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She's ashamed how long it takes her to put the pieces together. After she finally realizes it, she wonders why it took her so long to see it.

It was clear to see in Fitz determined avoidance of talking about his second trip to the other planet, in his forlorn looks in her direction, and in his quickly shifting his gaze away whenever she tried to make eye contact with him.

It was evident in Coulson's classified debrief about the mission that she couldn't get her hands on. And in his out and out refusal to spend any time in her company, a huge shift from how their relationship had been previously.

She knew he had been on the planet with Coulson and Fitz. And she knew that he hadn't come back through the portal with the other men. Her initial conclusion - that he must have been left on the other planet - was the obvious one. And as much as the thought of the man she used to l... to care about, abandoned on an inhospitable planet caused an uncomfortable ache deep in her chest, the truth, when she finally saw it... It caused a gnawing pain in her soul that was unshakeable.

The truth of the situation came to her as she was dozing off at 3 a.m. after a grueling 18 hour op. She was so tired that she was borderline incoherent as she stripped off her tactical gear and fell face first into her bed. As her body was drifting into oblivion, her mind supplied her with a 'what if' that she couldn't shake. As the thought popped in her mind, she tried brush the idea off as ludicrous, but she was unable to do so. The clues all seemed to add up.

She had to know for sure.

Fitz, she decided, was her best bet for answers. Especially if she went right then, knowing how out of sorts Fitz was when he was woken up. Catching him off guard would get her answers she sought, she was sure. She pulled on a pair of yoga pants and a tank over her sports bra and panties, and headed straight to Fitz quarters.

Using some of her less than savory pre-Shield tricks, she picked his door lock and quietly entered the dark room. She silently made her way to his bedside and shook his shoulder, rousing him from sleep with a sharp "Fitz."

"Huh, wha... Daisy? What're you..." he sat up, reaching over to switch on his bedside lamp.

"Ward. I need you to tell me what happened." she stated plainly, offering no room for denials. "You just left him there, right?" she prompted.

At Fitz sleepy but wary look, she went on.

"You just left him there, but he's alive. Right?" she questioned, her voice raising slightly as her unease grew. "He's alive?"

The lack of any verbal reply, coupled with the shifting of his eyes in unease, was all the answer she needed.

"Oh... oh my god." she gasped, her hand grasping at her chest as her breathing grew shallow. "Oh god, I can't... " she trailed off, turning quickly and retreating from his room. She ignored his voice calling out to her as she raced back to her room.

As tired as she was, she didn't sleep a wink that night. She spent the hours before dawn lying on her cold bathroom floor, in between bouts of vomiting and then dry heaving into the toilet.

She wasn't entirely sure why she was so torn up about it. She knew what Grant Ward was, what he was capable of, all the terrible things he had done. But the thought of the man he had been before, the friend he had been to her, the man she had nearly loved no longer existing... It caused her an almost physical pain.

By the time the sun rose, she'd shaken off her tears and pulled on her stoic agent mask, channeling her inner Melinda May, hiding her grief behind a cold, professional shell.

Fitz attempted to talk with her about his sleep addled confirmation of her fears, but she quickly shut him down and went about her usual routine. She had all the information from him she cared to know. There was nothing further to be said.

She carried on, acting like she wasn't almost crippled by grief. And she continued to do so every day after, and she succeeded. No one had a clue the inner turmoil she was enduring. It didn't get any easier, dealing with the ache inside, but she grew to view it as a reminder of the loss.

Until she felt it wasn't enough of a reminder.

"So, what's the story behind this?" the woman with the colorful skin asked as the tattoo gun buzzed across her skin.

"My friend, uh... I lost him." she cleared her throat, trying to get past her own emotions and the pain from the needle in the gun.

"A friend?"

"It was complicated." she explained. "At one point I thought there was going to be something more, but..." she trailed off. "Like I said, complicated."

"Well, I hope that this brings you some comfort and closure." the artist sat back, putting down the tools of her trade. "You ready to see it?"

"Yeah." she nodded, her voice faint.

"Alright, what do you think?" the other woman asked, holding a small mirror up for her to see the finished work.

"Hey Robot." she whispered, a smile on her face as a tear trailing down her cheek.