“Do you ever think we should stop this?” They’re sitting on opposite sides of a lab bench, knees drawn up to their chests as they lean against it, and the air is full of everything they’ve said and everything they haven’t. There’s shattered glass somewhere, the echo of voices still shouting off the walls, and neither of them can bring themselves to clean it up.
“Stop what?” he asks her.
“All of this,” she waves a hand around the lab. “All the lying and secrets and fighting and going in circles and circles until we can’t hear themselves think.”
He wants to say that she was the one who lied, who left, who changed first but he wonders what the use would be in saying it. So instead he just tips his head back against the table and says carefully to her “We can’t erase the past, Jemma. Rewind back to that day we got partnered up in chem lab and start all over again, skip forward to the good parts and over the bad.”
“I know,” she replies, even though she’s begging him to tell her why they can’t just go back to who they used to be. But she knows better than that—they’re different now, different in a way that can never be undone—and she knows that time only moves forward. That, if she wants to end this silence between them, the only thing she can do is move forward. “I’m sorry,” she blurts out.
“I’m sorry, too. Jemma,” he says after a minute. “Come here?” She moves around the lab bench and wraps her arms around him, without even thinking about it, and they sit there for a long while, her head on his shoulder and him wrapped around her like he can shield her from whatever’s coming next, two lost children who had to grow up and (who maybe) are on the edge of being found.