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03 January 2014 @ 11:58 pm
Agents of SHIELD Fic: Solos  
Written for yuletide 2013
Crossposted to shield_tv

Title: Solos
Pairing/Characters: Phil/Melinda, Melinda/Grant
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: 1x01-1x08
Summary: Living on a plane clearly limited one's recreational sex options
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Other comments are housed at Yuletide/AO3.

It came down to Phil or Grant; living on a plane clearly limited one's recreational sex options.

She'd had to decide quickly too. It was clear to see that any woman with a heartbeat Phil added to the team would try to stake a claim in Grant as soon as she could manage so Melinda had to get there first if stamina and acrobatic expertise was her first choice.

She'd known Phil for a long time, but they'd never acted on their longstanding mutual admiration. There just hadn't been a spark there and, to be honest, she'd had better prospects on land.

Something told her that at this stage in her life she needed someone who understood her, someone closer to her own age, someone also facing life altering processing of past events. Normally she was exceptionally good at ignoring that small voice, but it had grown louder over the years even as her friendship with Phil had deepened with time.

But Phil... He'd changed. Sometimes she could buy him as the same Phil she'd come up through the ranks with, but other times? This new man felt like a bit of a stranger, more dangerous for how well he could see into her despite their history. She might have always seen him as too safe, too boring, to easy, only now the uncertainty she'd never imagined clouding his suit and tie existence was expanding and threatening to suck her in like a tornado.

Grant, on the other hand, was used to being alone and that usually meant easy emotionless attachments. Only with Phil's new lease on life the plane was oddly full of emotions. Even the ever clueless Fitz and Simmons were finally figuring out how they'd remained glued hip to hip for years.

Grant had gone on and on at the start about how being an operative meant only relying on himself. Melinda almost wanted to laugh. Talented as he clearly was in the field, Grant had an almost kind of naivety about the work that made her shake her head in public and all but crack up in private.

Still, he understood that adrenaline was a mean bitch; she fueled the body and made it want even when wanting was intensely inconvenient.

So here she was: solo, in need of ready release and having the option of pairing up with two other solos.

It made her want to laugh, this idea of putting such solitary people into a team, but then if Phil could survive the battle of New York, he could work that miracle.

Still, she doesn't believe in miracles.

She takes the easier path: Grant.


After working off a few rounds of adrenaline in the sparring ring with Grant and then again in clandestine hotel rooms during their scant free time on land, Melinda decides she's chosen the wrong team member to bed down.

She saves Grant's life during a raid and he gets all appreciative. He barely saves hers and he gets all clingy.

He broaches the subject of coming out to the rest of the team and it's no longer stress relief or fun – it's a relationship.

She uses the next near miss, of which there is always one handy, as grounds to break it off then take some vacation time to go look up an old lover in Spain.

That holds her a while.

But when she returns, she still lives on a plane. She still has that voice in the back of her head growing more annoying and more difficult to squelch. She still has the need only she can't go back to Grant. He's moved on like he should and she should too.

Phil shouldn't win by default so Melinda fights it for a while.

Then that voice makes itself known: Phil's not the left overs or the rebound guy. He was always the good idea, the one she kept avoiding.

So she decides to give Phil a try.

At least some part of her brain decides that. It fails to inform her heart and the rest of her brain.


It's not as simple as she thought, hooking up with Phil.

He's not exactly immune to her charms. He's just so damn proper, such a gentleman. She half expects when he does cave it will be with a kiss to the back of her hand.

Seeing his scar in her mind's eye doesn't help either. She's faced death enough, but somehow Phil's experience unnerves her – so many questions and no answers.

She finds herself growing awkward around him, then avoiding him as he astutely figures there's something going on between them he doesn't understand. How could he? She doesn't understand it herself.

It feels like she's falling from the sky, no plane, no parachute, no control. She tries another vacation, but finds herself totally uninterested in sex with anyone.

So she goes to a SHIELD therapist when Nick Fury tells her it's an order – that she's not getting back on the plane until she does.

She could kiss him. Damn him for not posting her where he's at. Nick would make a great distraction.

The therapist is a riot. She basically tells Melinda to demand more shore leave from SHIELD so she can have a relationship with whoever she damn well chooses and that fucking Grant because he was convenient and the prettiest side of beef handy was a lousy idea. Melinda wouldn't want a man to treat her like that so why did she do the same to him?

She dates an FBI agent for about six months after SHIELD changes their shore leave policy. It helps.


Two years later she and Phil barely get out of a firefight alive. She's in the hospital for two weeks; Phil's in the ICU even longer. They won't tell her, but Melinda's sure one or both of them flatlined.

Once Phil's released to recuperate at home Melinda goes away to recover on her own. She can't stop thinking about him though. They chat or email daily and work their way up to spontaneous yet long phone calls.

Phil asks her to come visit.

She claims he's not recovered enough and then that she's not when he doesn't agree.

Eventually she just shows up on his doorstep unannounced.

Unable to speak at the sight of him Melinda can't help but kiss Phil just out of gratitude for being alive.

It's not who she is; it's more about who he is... to her.

What happens next is a surprise.

Phil invites her in, slows her down, makes her be fully present. He holds her close and waits through all the emotions – anger, regret, fear, uncertainty... He kisses her temple as she shakes and reassures her with gentle touches and his calming presence.

When he kisses her she's filled with a soothing warmth that eases her mind and makes her want to just let go.

Then he takes her by the hand to his bedroom and makes love to her so slowly and attentively she almost wants to cry at the beauty and perfection of it all.

This man truly knows her, all of her, even the parts she can't bear herself.

And it shows.


Melinda and Phil sit together at Grant's wedding. She even wears a dress. She's not sure which garners more stares.

Who knew that the new shore leave policy would lead to Grant finding himself smitten by a former West Point woman working for the State Department?

Theirs will be a long distance union, but they'll make it work.

Phil's not said anything to anyone about the fact that they've just been sharing a house for the last three months. He gives her that gift of privacy and asks nothing of her.

He would let her have this, have him, without revealing who they are to each other now just because she wants it this way.

Only she knows he deserves better and she should have no reason in the world to hide who she loves.

She reaches over and takes Phil's hand in hers and holds it.

His eyebrows and expression ask her a silent question: are you sure?

She flashes back her best 'shut up and don't be an idiot, you know I only do what I want' face.

He smiles and tightens his grip looking as pleased as she feels inside.

Melinda knows, plane or no plane, they'll make it work too. Together.

Emma DeMarais: BlueEyeemmademarais on January 7th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC)
This fic was written as a Yuletide pinch hit for recipient okdreaming as part of the 2013 Yuletide challenge. They had two great fandoms in common with me so I wrote two fic! The request for AoS asked for Melinda and Grant and included: "something that explores these two characters, in some ways they are very similar." I was intrigued by them doing the whole sex for release in a relationship of convenience thing, especially from a woman's perspective. Still, I wanted more for Melinda, ergo the happy ending.

Very special thanks to beta ladypoetess for her assistance with this fic.


Emma DeMarais
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 7th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
I love this. I love Melinda and Phil's happy ending and I love her rationalizing sleeping with Grant.
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on January 7th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad you do. I feared this was too far out of character for Melinda, but then again we don't really know what she's like under that hard candy shell. ;-)

Wait until you see what I'm posting next! ♥
ladygray99ladygray99 on January 7th, 2014 11:39 pm (UTC)
Andreadizzydrea on January 8th, 2014 12:17 am (UTC)
Now I'm jealous of your beta!

This was fabulous! I love how you show Melinda's internal struggle. Knowing she should have gone for Phil and still going for Grant anyway. And then coming back to Phil but still fighting it with every fiber of her being. Such a strong woman and yet so deeply afraid of letting anyone see what's beneath that strong exterior. And for all that she and Grant have in common, it's she and Phil who just click, because he understands her scars in a way no one else can.

Well done!
daria234daria234 on January 8th, 2014 02:06 am (UTC)
Lovely depiction of their relationship and May's character!

Love this line too:
She flashes back her best 'shut up and don't be an idiot, you know I only do what I want' face.