Fic prompt because I LOVE your work!!! Fitz with Ophelia "I'll never stop fighting you!" I
You’re so sweet, thank you! I should have spent longer on this (I’m gonna reread it and cringe later), but I wanted to get it in under the wire before canon blows it to shreds haha! [tw: obv ophelia features in this, dealing with feelings because of non-con, but they don’t have a ‘relationship’]
Read below or at AO3!
He doesn’t fight. When she lands them in a desert and lets go, he barely has the strength to lean over before throwing up.
“Oh, Leopold,” she says, concern etched into her features. “I’m so sorry. You’ll get used to the teleportation.”
As if an unexpected dematerializing is even on the radar of things to churn his stomach. He has been split wide open, the core of him exposed for everyone to see. He has flaws, so many of them, and before he might have listed them dispassionately: temper, loyalty to the point of blindness, jealousy, arrogance, a false bravado when he secretly feels like a coward. Years ago, he remembers thinking: Jemma knows my flaws and she loves me anyway. I’m not a bad person.
But now the protective film has been stripped away and he’s seeing clearly for the first time; this darkness has always been there. He is a bad person. He’s an evil person, and he has hurt people. His brain spins with images of his friends and his victims. In another reality, he had yelled at Mace for sending Jemma away without warning, but the punishment for that was not supposed to be death.
“You mean nothing to me,” he had told the woman he’d wanted to marry, and he would have killed her. His hand shakes, as if still straining with the weight of the gun. Fitz falls to the ground, rocks biting into his knees. He can’t remember how to breathe.
“It gets easier with time,” Ophelia says, attempting to run a comforting hand along his arm. He turns his face from her and retches again.
He doesn’t fight because he doesn’t have the strength and deep down he knows he deserves this punishment anyway. Perhaps he is doomed to wander through the desert with her for forty years; he hopes they both die before reaching her promised land.
“I understand what you’re going through,” she tells him. “And I’m going to help you, because you were the only one to treat me with compassion when I was a slave.”
“Don’t you regret anything you’ve done?” he asks. It’s the only thing he’s said in hours. For a moment, he’s not sure he’s even spoken aloud.
Ophelia gazes at him searchingly and then frowns, as if working through her own emotions. “No,” she finally replies. “I have learned so much, Leopold. I fixed a single regret for each of you, to make you happy. And everyone simply created new regrets.”
He wants to tell her that she rewrote his entire life. He wants to tell her that she took away all of his choices, that he loves his mother and would never have traded her for a lifetime with an abusive father. I wanted a father who loved me and supported me and stayed, he thinks, surely you knew this isn’t what I meant.
But he doesn’t argue with her because this, like everything, is his fault. You don’t put wishes out into the universe without carefully considering the consequences—he of all people should have known that.
“Humans don’t understand what’s best for them,” she says. “This is what I’ve learned. All this capacity for feeling, for free will, and they waste it. We’re going to create something better. We’re going to help people, and we’re going to be so happy.”
He marvels at how genuinely delighted she appears. Maybe she stole his soul to become a real person because he can’t even remember what happiness feels like. He thinks of Jemma, but all of his good memories are tainted by the acrid smell of gunpowder and the words he’ll never be able to take back.
“It’s time to go,” Ophelia says, grabbing his arm to disappear him again. He shudders at her touch, but he doesn’t fight. He doesn’t know how.
He sits in an abandoned house, head in his hands, and breathes through another panic attack. Ophelia, it seems, is growing impatient with his weakness.
“I need your help,” she says. “For our plan. And if you’d just let me, I can make all this pain go away.”
But he needs the pain, because it’s there to remind him that this world is real. He cries when he thinks of Jemma, but he needs to replay her words over and over so that he never forgets what he’s done and why he’s here. He has lost faith in everything, but he offers up silent prayers anyway: keep her safe. Keep them all safe, and I will stay here with Ophelia and I will not fight. No one could accuse him of not accepting his prison sentence.
Ophelia’s plan doesn’t make much sense to him, although perhaps that is because nothing makes sense to him at the moment. Or perhaps she doesn’t fully trust him so she’s only letting him in on part of it.
He has so little strength, but he holds her back in small ways. He sabotages where he can. Sometimes he hears Jemma’s voice in his head, guiding his actions. Sometimes he even sees her, but she never lays a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“It’s okay,” he tells this imaginary Jemma. “I understand.”
“Is this how you felt?” Ophelia asks, kneeling next to him. She has procured a bed for them to share, but he spends every night curled up in the corner of the living room, the stiff wood of the floor burning his joints. “Is this how it felt when she chose someone else? Do you know how much you’re hurting me?”
No, he thinks, of course this is not how it felt. With Jemma, his heart had shattered into a fine dust. With Jemma, he had seen her videos and known she loved him, maybe even loved him the most, and that made it hurt more. But with Jemma, he had thought her happiness could be enough to save them both.
Now, he and Ophelia are locked in a sick dance and when he falls, he will pull her down with him. He will sacrifice himself to stop her, and his anger and disgust and self-hatred will be enough to save the world.