‘things you said that made me feel like shit’ – okay, I know this is super cheating, but I just couldn’t bear to have Jemma or Fitz say something like this especially with current canon haha. So it’s a different kind of heartache!
“I hate you!” James screams, his face scrunched up in the devastating combination of impotent fury and heartbreak that only the very young can manage. “I hate you and I wish I’d never been born!”
Every cell in Fitz’s body seems to still; synapses refuse to fire in his brain. Is this parenthood? he wonders. He hadn’t known letting a piece of your own heart free into the world would mean there was the possibility of it returning ashamed and angry and wishing for annihilation as some nuclear option solution.
“I think you should go to your room now,” Fitz says, voice even and unflinching. “Just go to your room and stay there until you’ve calmed down.”
James turns and runs, stomping so loudly that dirty dishes rattle in the sink. He slams his bedroom door shut and Fitz winces at the echoing sound.
Fitz presses his fingers against the bridge of his nose, feeling slightly dizzy at how quickly the situation had spun out of control. He replayed his own words in his head and couldn’t see where he might have avoided the escalation. But of course he’s missing something. What other explanation could there be?
He walks to James’s bedroom door and knocks softly. When there’s no response he rests his forehead against the wood and closes his eyes.
“I just want you to know that I love you, James,” he says. “Nothing will change that, okay?”
“Go away!” James yells, and so Fitz does. What else is there to do when your own son hates you? What more can possibly be said?
When Jemma arrives from a late shift in the lab, the usually-cheery house is eerily silent and dark.
“Fitz?” she calls. “James?” She’s not worried, per se, but living the sort of life she’s lived has given her an edge. Sometimes, she still sees monsters lurking in the corners.
She finds Fitz first, sitting at the kitchen table with his head resting against his arms. She can sense sorrow thick as molasses pooling from him.
“Fitz?” she asks again, more softly this time. She sits down next to him and rests a hand on his shoulder, which finally causes him to look up. She can tell he’s been crying and her immediate reaction is to worry about their son.
“He’s fine,” Fitz says, as if reading her thoughts. He jerks his head over his shoulder, in the vague direction of their son’s bedroom. “We got into an…argument.”
“Oh, Fitz,” Jemma says in sympathy. James was normally the sweetest, most well-behaved boy, tender enough to melt your heart, but in the past year he’d decided yelling was the best way to air his frustrations.
“I’m absolute shite at this,” Fitz whispers, burying his head into his arms again. “I have no idea what to say to him.”
“You are not! It’s just a phase…I hope.” She realizes at the same time that Fitz scoffs that she probably hadn’t been very reassuring.
“He said,” and here Fitz lowers his voice even more, as if what James has said is some demon that can be brought forth by simply uttering its name, “he said he hated me and that he wished he’d never been born. That’s…Jemma, he’s eight and his biggest regret is that he exists.”
Jemma’s heart clenches tightly and she chokes on the inhale. Talk of regrets is, all these years later, still a delicate balancing act in their household. She rests her head against his arm, gripping his elbow with her hand. “Fitz, that’s not his biggest regret. He was just throwing a tantrum. He said the same thing to me the other week.”
At this, Fitz looks up, his normally bright eyes dulled with pain but questioning nonetheless. “He said that to you? You didn’t mention it.”
Jemma scrunches up her face, realizing suddenly that she hadn’t. “Of course I was going to,” she shrugs. “But then your mum came to pick him up and he was happy as ever when he came back. And we were in the middle of that big project. It just slipped my mind.”
“It slipped your mind?” Fitz repeats incredulously, as if he can’t imagine how something so awfully momentous could have fallen into the background of their lives.
Jemma smiles, running her hands lightly through his overgrown curls. “One of the boys at school was yelling at his mum the other day. I think they’re all feeding off each other a bit. Anyway, honestly, I don’t think it’s a huge deal. Children say these things. Didn’t you ever say something like that to your mum when you were a kid?”
But even as she says it, even as Fitz’s eyes widen at her question, she knows he never did. Fitz and his mum had been each other’s only allies. It had been the two of them—against his father, against a world they wanted to believe was beautiful despite its cruelty, despite how horribly it had let them down. No, Fitz would never have told his mother he hated her, would never have even thought it.
Jemma wraps her arms around her husband, as if she can shield him from everything. From bullets, from evil organizations infiltrating their lives, from an eight-year-old’s careless words.
“I love you,” she says, peppering kisses along his face. “I love you and James loves you and you are an excellent father. We’ll talk to him together, okay?”
Fitz melts into her, nodding carefully. Jemma sighs. Marriage and parenthood were her two favorite things she’d ever experienced in a lifetime of amazing experiences, but how was she to know letting pieces of your heart reside in other people could amplify your own sorrow?
Jemma places a kiss against his forehead, breathing in the scent of home, knowing her heart had never completely been her own anyway.
Fitz jerks awake, not entirely certain where he is, when he realizes his son is standing at his bedside.
“Daddy?” he whispers, voice thick with tears, and Fitz sits up in concern.
“What is it, James? Are you okay?” Next to him, Jemma hasn’t even stirred.
James shakes his head at the question and throws himself into Fitz’s arms, crying wretchedly into his chest. “I’m sorry, Daddy. I didn’t mean it. I don’t know why I said it. I love you, I promise.”
Fitz draws his legs up so that James is cocooned in his arms and rocks him gently, like he’d done when he was young. James usually fidgets out of his grasp if he feels he’s in any way being treated like a baby, but now he relaxes into Fitz’s embrace, nearly boneless with relief.
“I love you, too, James,” Fitz says against the top of his son’s head. His soft hair reminds Fitz of when he’d been just a baby, of cupping his perfect head in his hands and being terrified and enamored beyond belief.
“You’re my best friend,” James says quietly, and Fitz loses the battle with his own tears at the admission.
“It’s okay,” Fitz reassures him. “It’s going to be okay.” They sit this way for a while, Fitz gently stroking his son’s hair, before he realizes that James is about to fall asleep in his arms.
“How about I take you back to bed?” he asks, but James grips Fitz’s waist tighter and shakes his head.
“Okay,” Fitz says, pretending to think carefully. “How about you stay in here tonight, and tomorrow we make Mummy pancakes so she doesn’t get cross with us?”
James nods and allows Fitz to carefully lift him from his arms and place him in between his parents. Fitz shifts to his side so he’s facing James and kisses his cheek. “Let’s just go to sleep. You’ll feel better in the morning.”
Jemma moves in her sleep suddenly and James widens his eyes, putting a finger to his lips to shush his father. Fitz nods in agreement and they both hold their breath. A moment passes, and then another, and then Jemma turns until she’s curled up protectively against James, still sound asleep.
James grins over at Fitz and then snuggles closer to him. They’re both asleep within minutes.
Wait a second, if the baby was taken into county family services (According to Dr. Cochran’s story.) doesn’t that mean that that baby wasn’t Spencer? Because Spencer was given straight to the Hastings’, Veronica said she was already agreed to be Spencer’s parent along with Peter. Not saying Mary isn’t Spencer’s mom because that is already proven. I am just saying it would be more evidence to back up the twin theory???
I don’t know guys I have fallen down the 100s of theories about Spencer’s twin, and I am into it.
Shit-- what if the Men of Letters bunker burns down in the season 12 finale, and while both Dean and Sam are standing there looking at it go, already fighting back tears, Sam suddenly gasps and says "Dean ... where's mom?"