Hey guys! Long time, no see, no? Sorry about that. Graduating from college, its not as easy as it seems. Hopefully you guys are still with me, because I have not given up; updates are just really slow, especially because I lost my Beta. This chapter has not been Beta-ed (?), so please forgive if it's not up to par. If anyone is willing, I am still looking. :) Thank you so much to everyone that reviewed, alerted and added it in their favorites. You guys made my day in every way possible.

This story is set in Season 1, as I am only on episode 3 of season 2 (no spoilers!). If I had to put a time frame on my story it would take place between 'FZZT" and 'The Hub.'


"Keep your hands up!" Ward yelled for what seemed like the hundredth time before catching her shoulder with his fist.

Marley wasn't accustomed to having her ass kicked, but today, she was apparently making an exception. In the past thirty minutes, she's managed to get one decent kick against Ward, but that is where her victory ended. Sadly, Coulson was right; she was out of shape, but she had to give Agent Ward credit; he was damn good.

Another hit to the side of the head reminded her of that.

"Hands up Brackett!" He hit her again, this time whacking her ear.

"Well if you would stop hitting me in the head, I'd remember to—"

Ward swept his leg underneath her, effectively dropping her to the blue mat with a resounding 'thud.' Marley simply lay there, breathing hard, and trying to blink the sweat out of her eyes.

"Were you this bad before or after your training?" Ward was kneeling next to her.

Marley took a deep breath before swinging her legs out and knocking Ward off balance. Sadly, Ward was faster as he quickly rolled himself over Marley, pinning both her hands above her head. She thought of struggling, but Ward had clearly beaten her. Again.

Marley huffed in frustration. "Don't be so smug, eventually I'm gonna kick your ass."

Ward raised an eyebrow, easing off her. "Smug? 'Calling the kettle black' aren't we?"

"I said eventually. If I were smug, I'd say today, which reminds me…" Marley punched Ward in the jaw with almost too much force. "Now that is what I'd consider smug, also cheap, but mainly smug." She couldn't suppress her smile.

"A good agent doesn't just go for cheap; they go for calculated and effective. Cheap doesn't keep you alive." Ward was dead serious as he rose to his feet, leaving Marley sprawled out on the mat. "I think it's time to move onto weapons."

Marley cringed, struggling to her feet. "I think my body has other plans."

"Suck it up—" Ward began.

"Go fu—"

"Actually Agent Ward, I kind of require Agent Brackett per Coulson's request."

They both looked up to find Simmons standing in the doorway to the lab. Marley resisted the urge to run over and hug the petite woman.

"Oh, so sorry, Ward. Really, shooting a gun is considered one of my favorite past-times," she chidded, her words coated in sarcasm.

Ward held his hands up in surrender. "She's all yours."

Simmons waited until Ward was out of sight before she spoke. "So, shall we get started?" She said turning to Marley.

Whatever relief she was feeling was now replaced with worry. "What exactly are we starting?"

"Coulson just wanted me to have a little chat with you."

Marley raised an eyebrow. "I don't really know Coulson all the well, but SHIELD, as a general rule, doesn't 'just' do anything."

"Why do make SHIELD sound so sinister?" Simmons laughed before moving into the lab.

"No offense to you," Marley started, "but in my experience, there is little evidence to suggest otherwise." While she tried to keep the bitterness out of her words, they were still laced with contempt.

"That's understandable—" Simmons turned back around to see Marley was still planted in the same spot; not moving. "You can come in, I don't bite."

Marley slowly inched forward until she was right in the doorway. It wasn't that labs made her uncomfortable; it was various scenarios that could happen while in them that made her want to run. She heard enough horror stories and been subject to some of them herself that one of these scenarios could happen at any time, even if it was with someone like Simmons, who seemed innocent enough.

Pushing out every bad thought, Marley closed her eyes and inched her way across the threshold. Peeking out from behind her eyelashes, all she saw was Simmons waiting patiently; nothing happened, world didn't end. She let out the breath she'd been holding.

"Come on over have a seat." Simmons seemed too cheery for 'just a chat.' Not that Marley really had much of an opinion of the Brit or anyone else on the plane; she'd only just met them less than twenty-four hours ago. While she wasn't too keen on Agent Grant, she only disliked them for who they worked for.

Slowly walking over to the stool next to Simmons, Marley gingerly sat down. After about a minutes of unwanted silence, Simmons finally spoke.

"So, how are you today?"

"What?" Marley laughed. Her question seemed so simple, which was a surprise.

"How are you, right now, in this current moment?" Her question held a genuine subtext.

"I mean, I know what you said, I just wasn't—I'm fine, I guess." Marley didn't know what else to say; it wasn't a question she'd been asked in awhile.

"And how do you feel about your situation, working with SHEILD again?" There was a pregnant pause afterwards, like she wanted to ask something else, but she stopped herself.

Marley let out sigh. To Marley, the question before now made a little more sense; the first question was a lead in. She knew Simmons was just trying to make her feel comfortable, but she hated small talk.

"Simmons, please spare us both this awkward conversation and just ask me what you want to ask me." She noticed Simmons become a bit tense at her words. While she didn't mean for her tone to be so bitchy, it still held a bit of sting.

Oddly, Simmons only smiled and casually wrote something down on the clipboard that was in front of her, but Marley could not see what it said.

"Okay, tell me about the night SHEILD turned you over to the Institute."

For the second time in the past two minutes, Marley was stunned. Of all the things she expected to be asked about, that night wasn't one. It also wasn't something she wanted to talk about either.

"I believe that can be found in that very large file you have one me," Marley said, her words tight.

Simmons's eyebrows rose. "Yes, it is, but in your own words would be—"

"Next topic."

Without a word, Simmons pulled out the exact file Coulson laid before Marley when she made her deal. Flipping it open, Simmons quickly found what she was looking for.

"According to Director Fury's debrief, you were quite emotionally violent when they attempted to put the cuffs on you."

A shudder ran through Marley. She could still feel their hands on her shoulders, holding her in place.

"Several other agents' accounts of that night coincide with Director Fury's, except they state that you pleaded with the Director for—"

"Stop."

But Simmons continued. "He also states that you were informed well before the mission began that you agreed to be taken into custody as opposed to a jail—"

"That's a lie!" Marley practically yelled, her hands clinching tight. She faced Simmons, finally making eye contact. "Who would agree to such a ridiculous deal? That report makes no sense. Fury's just covering his own ass!" Her anger continued to escalate, along with the volume of her voice. "I cannot not believe I almost fell for this crap, yet again!"

"Marley—"

Snatching her file from Simmons's hand, she threw it to the ground. Digging her hands into her hair she all but groaned out her ever building frustration.

"The truth is I got screwed okay? I was betrayed and I got screwed. You want to know the real kicker? I'm letting it happen again!" Marley had begun to pace, her frustration oozing into anger. "Let's be real, Simmons, SHIELD is just a kid with a magnifying—"

Simmons grabbed her wrist, stopping her spiral. "Marley!"

"Wha—"

A fist connected with Marley's jaw, sending her into straight into the lab's work bench.

"What the hell, Simmons?" Marley asked out of both astonishment and pure anger. Marley had never thought Simmons could throw a punch, let alone a punch that could cause a bruise. Sure, she'd just gone toe-to-toe with Ward, but at least he was pulling his punches.

"Marley, I'm...I'm so sorry. I don't what came over me." Simmons looked just as surprised as Marley was.

A deafening silence fell over the room and for once in her life, Marley was speechless. The only sound was both of their harsh breaths as she and Simmons held each other's stares. It was Coulson's voice that broke their eye contact.

"What hell is going on?" Couslon's question was directed at Marley. Coulson and Fitz were standing at the door, looking as though they'd been prepared for the worst.

"We heard yelling," Fitz added, looking between the two women.

Marley simply shook her head in response.

"Simmons?" Coulson asked, repeating his original question.

"I'll let you know when I figure it out, sir." Her answer was a much more intelligent head shake.

Coulson and Fitz questioned Simmons further, but Marley drowned them out as she replayed the situation in her head.

'I came in, we stared our chat, and things started to get heated. I got pissed, yelled, Simmons grabbed me, I yelled, she hit...'

Realization hit Marley so hard she had to brace against the work bench. Apparently it got the attention of the room, as the distant talking ceased. Coulson and Fitz had made their way inside the lab, standing next to Simmons.

"Oh god," she whispered, still staring at her hands.

"Brackett what—" Coulson began.

"Oh god. I can't...I mean, I...I can't," she stammered, breathing becoming a bit difficult.

Coulson stepped forward, reaching out his hand in support.

"No. Don't!" She shouted, jumping out of his reach. She took off towards the door, needing space. She heard Simmons and Coulson call out to her, but she was too busy stumbling up the stairs to care.

Coulson had been right to come in preparing for the worst, because the worst thing Marley could think of had just happened.

She'd lost control and she hadn't even realized it.

Shit.


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