I own nothing. The TV show mentioned is PBS' Victoria.

If you liked it let me know. It's good to be back.-MM


The silence in the cab of the car is suffocating.

Grant switches gears and waits a beat. "Alright, dude you might as well say whatever it is you have to say, because I refuse to fight in front of her." He side-eyes Lance, waiting.

"It's not like anything I say will hold weight with her. Once that girl gets something in her head, it sticks." He says, utterly resigned

Grant just nods, turning into the hospital's emergency entrance. "But you're not going to just sit and seethe at her either," he adds firmly.

"She literally almost died. What kind of prat do you take me for? Never mind that you're the direct cause of her near death experience, she is still going to choose you. I'm better off accepting it and going on," Lance says.

"And? Just so you know?" Lance looks at Grant like he's barmy, as Jemma would say. "You aren't exactly my biggest worry right now. I have to call our mother…" Grant isn't exactly sure what that means but he's gathered from the codependency Lance and Jemma share and how little Jemma has told him, her mother is no bed of roses. As he whips into a spot and they're out of the car all mom drama is forgotten. He'd barely remembered to kill the Tesla's engine in his haste to get to Jemma.

They race up to admittance. "She's being prepped for surgery." Bobbi says from behind them in the waiting room chairs. They sit on either side of her. "He did some serious damage, I've never seen them act so quickly."

"She's one of their own." Lance replies.

Jemma wakes to silence and wonders if that means she's dead. She opens her eyes and looks to her left. Her mother looms at the foot of the bed.

If she is dead this some form of purgatory. An irritating purgatory. It could be hell, it could definitely be hell.

Her arms feel heavy and even drawing breath hurts, so she doesn't speak. She simply waits for her mother to notice her.

It takes a while. She watches the hospital clock it takes her ten minutes have passed in the waiting.

Mum has her head bowed, almost as if she's praying. She glances up, at last, when Jemma takes a sharp breath.

"You're awake, my darling sweet girl, finally!" She showers Jemma's face in kisses. "Lance! Barbara! She's awake!"

She moves on from her exuberant kisses to petting Jemma's hair down. "Are you in pain, Dove? I'll go find that handsome doctor of yours. Oh! And I need to call Helen and Adelaide back home, as well!"

She scurries out as Lance walks in.

"Which one of you traitors called Mummy?" Jemma accuses tightly, her voice hoarse from disuse and strained because of the pain crawling through her body, like snakes coiling and covered in spikes.

Grant appears in the doorway, and he points to Lance in answer to her question. She wonders where Grant has been, that he's only arriving now, until she see the cotton swab in the bend of his elbow. Knowing Grant the way she does, she should have realized he'd needed to feel some sense of purpose in a helpless situation and gone to give blood.

"Lance!" she chastises belatedly in a harsh whisper.

"You were kidnapped, held hostage, and nearly killed. I had to call her. This isn't something that was going to be acceptable or possible to hide, even considering mother's neurosis, Jemmie."

"If she gets overly weepy or just too … herself, I got you, promise," Bobbi says as Grant crosses the room to bend in half and press his lips to hers in a startlingly gentle kiss.

"I'm okay. In a bit of pain, but okay," she murmurs to reassure herself and everyone else.

"I'm going to actually go get someone for you in case your Mom went airhead…"Bobbi says, heading out pulling Lance with her.

Grant twists Jemma's hair in his fingers, pressing his face into the crook of her neck as if he's trying to melt into her and hide what he's feeling. He presses his lips to the pulse point there, as though to prove she's still alive. She can feel him shaking and breathing quickly, trying to hold himself together.

"Grant, I'm alive. Nothing else matters. It's not your fault." She wants to pull him close and hold on, but she doesn't have the ability or strength to do that.

He kisses her again and clears his throat and is quick to move out of the room when Lance returns quickly, obviously having been waiting in the wings. She could feel hurt by his quick exit but she's not because he's giving Lance room to make up with her.

Without a word, Lance kicks off his shoes and perches himself along the edge of the bed. He draws her ever so carefully into his side. He'd known exactly what she'd needed: to feel protected and safe.

"I'm sorry, Squeaks. Really, really, truly sorry."

"We're fine, Bubs. I love you." She cuddles into him.

"I love you too, Jemma," falls onto her hair.


Her mother finally gives up on matching-making Jemma with Linc when she finds he's already married. Mum has wassn' immediately t warmed to Grant yet,likely because has more money than God. but Jemma can't worry over that now. Instead, she asks Dr. Campbell the only thing that's really been overridingly on her on her mind these past few weeks. "Will I be able to operate again?"

She's had her casts off for three weeks and she sleeps in splints, she's intomuch pain to even so much as move her wrist in any direction. PT has been a slow climb up a mountain.

There is a world of things said in the moment before he speaks. She has delivered enough bad news to know what that look means.

"With the damage done to your bones and nerves, barring experimental surgeries to re-graft the nerves, it is highly unlikely. You can regain function on a rudimentary level, but anything else may be impossible."

She knew that was coming, and yet it still hit like a punch to the solar plexus.

She sees her brother's responding flinch out of the corner of her eye. Otherwise, the room is silent. You could hear a pin drop. Grant is looking at the floor, arms defensively crossed over his chest as if he is preparing for a fight.

Bobbi looks directly at herm willing her to be strong, as Jemma's world goes wavy with tears.

"Alright, I understand." She nods.


Jemma doesn't always understand her mother, but she knows one thing for sure. Appearances matter to her mother. Public opinion matters. Wealth, status, importance, it all matters. Mummy is capable of love, but she is also very shallow and that often overrides everything else.

Nothing underscored that more plainly than her father's illness, as he slowly lost all the things that made their marriage work. Even at nine, Jemma understood sometimes what you are mattered more than who you are.

Her father died and her mother became more neurotic and self-oriented than ever before, and without her husband, she began attaching her self-worth to her children. This incident has just inflamed an ongoing issue.

When Lance has finally had enough of their mother's side-eyeing and muttered jabs, he blows up out in the hall. And he isn't bothering to be quiet about it.

"Mum, everything isn't always about you. Jemma's life just changed. Her Uuni loans and what it costs you? Don't matter. Jemma's 'scandalous' affair with an American doesn't matter, what matters is she's bloody alive! And don't say you aren't being bloody self-centered it's what you do! Hell, you still haven't forgiven me for marrying in the States, and we bloody invited you! It's not all about appearances. If you can't see that, then leave! You've done it many times!" Just leave.

Her mother and whispers something Jemma can't catch, and he starts again.

"They're telling her that she may never be able to operate again! Does it completely escape you why she chose medicine? She couldn't save him, and now she might not ever make another save! That's rightly fucking her up, on top of which she has loads of PTSD lurking in the shadows because someone tried to set her on fucking fire, Mum, and you're crying about what the neighbours might say! Reality check! Other people exist!"

That shuts her right up. Bobbi suggests a walk and Jemma isn't the least surprised when she catches the nect flight home playing the mrtyr to their relatives.

Lance walks in to her room shortly after.

"She loves as best she can, Bub."

'And sometimes that just isn't enough," he replies.


Jemma knows guilt when she sees it; she knows pain, and anger, and blame.

She'd seen it all in father's eyes over the course of his illness. Guilt that he was too sick to take her to the fair when she was six, Lance having stepped in for him. From that night on, guilt would always taste of candy floss to Jemma.

There was so much pain and not just in his own eyes: in Jemma's, her mother's, even in Lance's, who he'd won over.

Anger because her father was losing pieces of himself quicker than he could teach Jemma who he truly was.

Blame because he condemned himself and his failing body for making him leave before he was done.

Grant and her father are different men, but Jemma knows the signs like they are holes burned into her soul.


It's another day of visiting hours when Bobbi plops down on the foot of the bed, no other interlopers in sight, her mother thankfully convinced to go home while Jemma recovers.

"Just get it out, no one is here but me. I can see it all bubbling up in you, Jemma. Stop pushing it away. Having feelings about what happened to you? It's not against the rules. In fact it'd be healthier than this," Bobbi says.

"I just- I want to scream."

"So scream, curse, fucking cry. Wallow."

Jemma screams loud enough to make Bobbi flinch and attract a nurse, who is quickly shooed away.

"Why won't he just… fucking …. talk to me. I need him to say something. Anything. I need him to stop looking at me like that!"

"Looking at you like he nearly got you killed? Burned to a crisp so only dental records could identify you? Or possibly permanently disabling you? Because in a way, he did. Getting involved with you as deeply as he did, when he did? It was fucking stupid. He knows that."

"I'm not a child, I chose him! I chose him every single time we interacted and I'd do it again, and again. I love him. In this terrifyinglyterrifyingly deep way that I can't even explain to myself. I'd tell him, but he wouldn't hear mehear me now, anyway."

Jemma takes a deep breath, but as it turns out, she isn't done yet. "And mother! Oh my GOD, I swear if I hear Mummy blubber one more time about how devastated and traumatized she is via Aunt Beatrix, how much my education cost only to be dashed away, even after Lance read her the riot act? I swear on everything I own I'm going to get up and strangle her, bloody broken body cast and all. I'll even cross the goddamned pond to do so!"

Bobbi can't help the smile tugging at the edge of her lips. "I'm sorry, but the mental image of you strangling your mother in full length arm splintscasts? Is hilarious and kinda makes my heart happy. Also? Stop answering your aunt's calls."

Jemma smiles back. "I feel truly miserable that I dislike my own mother so much but honestly. I have strangers wiping my bum. If anyone is devastated, it should be me."

"And if you are devastated, that would be okay, Jem." Bobbi returns, reaching over to hold what little of Jemma's casted hand she can.

"I'm not…" Jemma's eyes glaze over with tears. "I'm not. I just I'm not sure who I am without a scalpel in my hand. And I… I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to so much as light a candle without flinching."

"Every single thing that makes you my person? Has nothing at all to do with a scalpel." Bobbi shrugs.

"Maybe you take your chances with something scary and experimental, or maybe you become a different sort of doctor, I don't know. What I do know Jem? Is that you will rise to the occasion. You'll survive, even if you're as scared as can be. Even if we stick electric tea lights on your birthday cake for the rest of time. You got this. So you you force Grant to talk to you, and make him listen. If not? Let me at him, deal?"



After three more days of Grant barely speaking to her and finding excuses to be elsewhere, she can't take it anymore.

"Do you love me?"

The question is so softly spoken, she's not even sure he hears it until his head whips up from the file he's reading.

"Yes." He looks so confused. In a different time it would be adorable.

She nods. "Okay. But … If you don't love me enough to do this whole thing, that's fine too. If you're backing off because this is too much for you, I'd really much prefer you break up with me now. Just pull the band-aid off and be done. Because what we're doing now? It's killing me. Slowly."

He opens and closes his mouth in shock. " I don't want that." Her brows turn down at that and he hurries to reassure her. "I don't want to break up with you."

"Then talk to me, please," she pleads. She'd reach for him but it's impossible.

"I don't know what to say. I love you. I love you, and I did this to you" he crosses to the bed to sit beside her..". You almost died. I should have just left you alone after that first night and we wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be here."

"We wouldn't be happy either, Grant! Damn it! We are here, and it's pants, but I wouldn't change it, not any of it, because without it all, I don't think I'd have fallen love with you. Deefinitely not as deeply as I have, in any case. You've changed me, opened me up, and I'll never regret that. So stop feeling sorry for both of us and just go back to loving me."

"Yeah, okay." He smiles.


"You said 'pants' in the middle of your big impassioned speech. It was cute."

"Bloody Christ," she mutters. "My nose itches, help me out?"

"Yeah." He puts down his files and crosses the room. He scratches her nose for her and then kisses her like he means it, and Jemma's stomach finally unclenches.


Daisy is dropping in on her Dad and Lincoln for lunch when she catches sight of Grant Ward staring pensively at the cafeteria's Jell-O selection.

"Dad says never eat anything that's coloring does not occur in nature, so I'd go with the green."

He turns and looks at her, obviously still extremely distracted.

"What's with you? Wait, is Bobbi okay?"

"Bobbi's fine. My girlfriend, however… She got caught in the crossfire of one of my ops and was injured. She'll survive," he rushes to assure her at her horrified look, "but not without some scars."

"Wait. Girlfriend?"

"My date to your wedding. Yellow dress, British, pretty as hell."


Grant laughs, and it strikes her, oddly, that he might not have laughed in some time. "I'm not a shut in, Daisy. Just a workaholic." He pays for his food, and she follows him.


"Whatever, is it serious? I liked her."

"It is." He pauses, something inscrutable on his face before it softens unlike she's ever seen. "You know, I think she'll be my wife one day."

"Well, how about that?" Daisy blinks. Then, "I better get an invite."


Grant knows he should have expected it, but it still surprises him to find Daisy and some guy he hasn't met yet but remembers seeing in Jemma's hospital room when she was unconscious, all three watching TV.

"Hey? What're you guys doing?" he asks, smiling as Jemma's unknown friend feeds her a bite of ice cream.

"Watching that period drama that you hate. Can you scooch, darling? You're in the way a bit," Jemma says, mouth full.

He moves over with a slight smile on his face. "I don't hate it, I just don't get the appeal."

"Do you not have eyes? Albert has definitely got something going on," Daisy says and somehow the fact that she has made herself right at home doesn't surprise him in the least. Daisy is sneaky; she can slip past well-placed defenses with perseverance and charm. It had worked on him, though they'd found they made better friends than lovers in the end, and Jemma's a much less closed of target, since she has a decidedly soft heart. He loves that about her.

He always thought exes being friends was the stuff of nightmares, but he finds he doesn't mind at all. Jemma could use a good dose of Daisy's optimism.

He moves to the couch where Daisy is sitting and nudges her over and watches Jemma looking contented. No matter how long it will last, he'll take it.

"See, I think you'd like Victoria, after all, you already have a predilection for tiny, bossy brits." Jemma teases, grinning at him. "Oh, have you met Fitz yet? No? Fitz, this is Grant Ward my boyfriend. Grant, Leo Fitz, my work husband."

"Touché, sweetheart, and hello Fitz."

"Oh! You're the motorbike from the car park. Nice to meet you," her friend nods, the refocuses on Jemma. "Nother bite, Jem?"

"No, thank you. Do you think she has an affair with the prime minister?"

"He's older and forlorn and kind of broody? Chicks dig that. Maybe," Daisy puts in.

"Nah, I googled it. Just lifelong friends," Grant answers.

Jemma smiles at him so bright, his heart catches. "See, you were just playing cool to keep up appearances! I knew you liked it!"