Daisy hasn’t thought about Miles in a very long time. But as Sousa talks about Hydra – “This is a fight I’ll wage alone if I have to” – Miles rises in her mind unbidden.
They’re both so ready to fight, determined, and willing to go against anyone who stands in their way. She thinks that she almost should have seen it coming when Sousa steals the bike and gets off the plane because that’s exactly what Miles would’ve done.
She hopes the similarities end there, as they circumvent history and take Sousa with them, that Sousa sticks to his beliefs more steadfastly than Miles had.
The second is Robbie. It’s something about the possibility, the potential that hangs between her and Sousa. She’s not sure if she’s ready to pursue anything with Sousa yet, but that yet still creeps into her thoughts. The timing was never right with Robbie – and hell if timing isn’t also complicated with Daniel.
“I think this is my last stop,” he says and all she can see is Robbie stepping through that portal. Leaving before she even had a chance to see what they could’ve been.
Because everyone leaves. Or lies. That’s just how it seems to be.
But, for some reason, he stays.
The healing chamber isn’t the most comfortable place to sleep, but she very obediently follows Simmons’s orders to stay and rest. When she opens her eyes, he’s still there, snoozing in his chair.
And even though it’s the last comparison she’d ever want to make, it makes her think of Ward. Him coming by to check on her after she was shot.
That’s not the only time Sousa’s reminded her of him. The way he stared down Malick, playing the part of her fiancé, was the same way Ward had looked at Miles. He seems to always be there for her, the way Ward was before… Well, just before. Hell, if she squints at Sousa, he even kinda looks like him.
It’s ridiculous that after all these years – and they were never even really together – Ward still haunts her like this.
But Sousa’s nothing like Ward, she knows that. He couldn’t differ more, really. Sousa found Hydra infiltrating SHIELD’s ranks – the Wards of the past – and was killed for it.
What she’s the most afraid of is him reminding her of Lincoln. That messed her up more than most things in her life and she’s pretty sure she can’t go through that again.
But then, in the time loop, “If I die, I’ll just reset no problem. If you die you lose your memories and you have to waste all this time relearning everything,” and it’s like she hears it through a crackling radio, realization dawning too slowly. He reaches into the drawer before she can stop him and for a moment it seems like everything is going to be okay.
And then it isn’t.
Daniel slides to the ground and he’s in pain and he’s scared and she watches him die. Then the loop begins again and he’s fine, but she’s seen him die. She knows what he looks like when he’s dying.
And they fix the loop and get out of it but now she’s kissed him and she can’t help but feel like she’s handed him a death sentence. Like what happened in the loop is a preview of whatever future they may have together. And she can’t shake it.
Then things start to go well – or as well as any day on this team can be. Sure, odds are mostly against them, but they always are. And sure, he’s proven once again that he’ll follow her anywhere, and kissed her – for the first time in his memory – but that isn’t actually a death sentence. That’s ridiculous, she knows that.
And least until “I’ll stay. I belong here.”
Until “I’ve already been given the privilege of a second chance.”
Until he takes her hands in his and looks at her and she has to try so hard to pretend she isn’t about to fall apart at how familiar this feels.
And even though Deke takes his place, it doesn’t take away the fact that he offered to be the one to stay. The fact that his original death was also him dying in service of SHIELD, of the greater good.
That’s the thing about being with a good guy, she supposes. He might not lie and betray his principles or turn out to be a double agent and murderer, but he will do the right thing even if it sucks. He will go to a worse world to protect this one from a dangerous book or take her place and sacrifice himself to destroy a monster. He will stay behind in a time he doesn’t know to save the world from a robot alien invasion and let them all get back to their timeline.
Sousa is a good guy who left his post for her and would do anything for her and the team and the greater good and she likes that about him. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare her to death too.
The When We Get Back to Earth game isn’t really a game, it’s mostly off-hand comments she makes. While they can watch just about every movie, tv show, and political speech (Daniel insists on those, not her), it’s not the same as going places or experiencing things or, most importantly, eating foods. Street food cannot be replicated in space. Neither can Times Square or singing obscene lyrics way too loud as you drive way too fast.
So she plays the game.
The way he plays is by asking questions about how specific things are now. He’s quite excited about The Museum of Television and Radio, because of course he is.
But one day, he plays differently. They’re laying in bed, enjoying a lazy Saturday morning, and he says, “When we get back to Earth, maybe we could get a place.”
It’s not like it’s a surprise. She practically lives in his quarters already. But the last time she lived with a guy was Miles – unless she counts Framework Ward, which she doesn’t. The last time she seriously thought about living with a guy was Lincoln.
There’s no way he doesn’t notice her hesitation, but he doesn’t take it back (like Lincoln and Ward and probably Robbie would’ve), he just lets it hang there. Because he’s not uncertain in himself like Lincoln. He’s not playing her or being overly deferential like Ward. He’s saying it because he thinks it.
Because he’s not Robbie or Miles or Ward or Lincoln. He’s Daniel. And she can’t predict what’ll happen, good or bad. But if she keeps worrying about it, she’ll miss the good.
So she snuggles in closer to him.
“Yeah,” she says finally. “We should.”
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