A.N. So, I've removed the 'complete' tag and I've decided to make this a series of one-shots set in the same universe as chapter one. This is 'what brought them together' as referenced in the last chapter. Also, I'll totally accept prompts, so if you got 'em, send 'em and I'll see what I can do!
Skye sighs wearily as she props herself upright with one hand as she rubs her tired eyes with the other. She's been sleepless for three nights straight. She's actually kind of surprised that no one on the team has commented on the bags under her eyes over the last few days, but she supposes that everyone is a little on edge after Simmons jumped out of the Bus because she thought it would keep them all from blowing up.
She's watched the replay of it several times. It's like some horrible multi-car pile-up on the side of the highway; sad, nauseating and just horrible enough that she can't tear her eyes away. Even in the seconds before Jemma drops out of view, when her eyes are haunted with the knowledge of what she's about to do, Skye can't bring herself to look away. It's only when she's completely out of sight that Skye snaps her laptop closed and wants to cry.
A quick glance at the clock next to the bed tells her that it's nearly three a.m., and she figures now might be just the time for the pint of Cherry Garcia she hid in the very back of the freezer - where she knows Fitz won't find it – and a TV marathon of something mindless.
She tucks her laptop under her arm and makes her way down to the lounge. As she approaches, she notices the faint glow of a light on up ahead. She makes her way closer quietly, not wanting to disrupt another team member if they're having the kind of night she's having.
This is the kind of pain she likes to keep to herself.
Skye feels her heart stutter in her chest when she sees Jemma seated on one of the couches with a book and a cup of tea. She stands silently for a few moments, debating whether or not she should join the other girl, but her presence is detected before she can make up her mind.
Jemma smiles softly, if tiredly, up at her. "Hello, Skye."
"Hey." Skye returns the smile, but doesn't move from her spot in the doorway. She stands there rather awkwardly, like she's still sort of debating entering the room, even though she knows that leaving now would be super rude. Plus, it seems like lately she's finding herself wanting to spend more time with Jemma, not less, so to leave would be rude and sort of stupid.
Jemma's lips quirk at the corners as she watches Skye standing there, and she raises one eyebrow. "Care to join me?" She scoots further into the corner of the couch, tucking her legs under her, and lifts the corner of the blanket she has thrown across her legs. She pats the cushion next to her. "Come sit."
Skye finally moves into the room, setting her laptop on the table. She drops into the space next to Jemma, conscious to leave an appropriate amount of space between their bodies.
"What are you doing up so late?" Jemma asks silently, breaking Skye from her mental distraction of judging the space between them.
"Ah," Skye stutters, missing the adoring smile shot her way as her gaze drops to her fidgety hands. "I would guess the same as you." She meets Jemma's eyes in time to see any and all amusement drop from her features as she remembers why it is that she's awake at this hour. "Can't sleep." She slouches down into the cushion, leaning her head back against the back of the couch.
Jemma forces a small smile, looking uncomfortable all of a sudden. "I know why I can't sleep. What is it for you?"
Skye rolls her head to the side to catch Jemma's eyes. "Every time I close my eyes, I see one of my best friends jump out of a plane with no parachute."
Jemma has had to defend herself so many times over the last three days that she's not sure she can do it one more time. She opens her mouth to start, but flinches when Skye suddenly hops up.
"I was gonna have ice cream, but I think we need something a little stronger." Skye glances back over her shoulder to wink, a playful smile tugging at her lips as she crouches to dig in the cabinet.
"Are you sure that's such a good idea?" Jemma manages to ask around what feels like her heart in her throat. Skye winking at her is almost too much. "We're both clearly sleep deprived and-"
"Exactly!" Skye cuts in as she finds what she's been hunting for. She pulls a bottle of Skyy Vodka from the cabinet. She gathers a few other items then resumes her spot on the couch. "If nothing else, a few shots might help us sleep."
Simmons wants to object, but finds she's too tired to really care. Plus she has a feeling she'll never be able to say no to Skye when she's grinning at her like that.
"So, you and Fitz never…?" Skye leaves the question hanging as she tips her head back to down another shot.
It's been an hour and the two are well past being tipsy and are headed straight for drunk. They're seated much closer now, hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder.
"No!" Jemma actually looks rather offended by this.
Skye smirks. "Why not? He's…cute in his own way."
"He's like my brother." She shakes her head, slumping back into Skye's shoulder. "Besides…"
Skye perks up at this and turns her head towards Jemma, bringing them nearly nose-to-nose. "Besides?"
Jemma blushes and shakes her head, leaning forward to pour them each another shot. She leans back against the cushions and hands Skye one of the shots, clinking them together.
"You can't distract me with alcohol," Skye tells her as she sets the glass back on the table. She notices Jemma doesn't look any closer to telling her than she had a moment ago and she pouts and slaps Jemma's leg playfully. "Come on, I thought we were friends!"
"We are friends," Jemma tells her, a giggle escaping. She sighs, her eyes rolling as she turns to sit Indian style on the couch to face Skye. "I'm a lesbian."
"That's the big secret?" Skye looks disappointed. "I thought you were going to tell me he's a robot or something."
Jemma snorts, making them both burst into uncontrollable laughter.
"I'm glad you two are having fun, but the rest of us are trying to sleep."
The laughter cuts off abruptly and they both turn to find Ward standing in the doorway, looking only mildly annoyed. He actually looks rather pleased (in that weirdly sweet older brother kind of way) that both of them are smiling. He hasn't seen much of that over the last few days from either of them.
Skye's lips press together as if she has to physically restrain herself from laughing, so Jemma speaks up. "Sorry about that, Agent Ward. We'll try to keep it down."
Ward's lips just barely quirk and he nods. "Thanks, Simmons. Good night, you two."
"I think we've had enough for one night." Jemma stands up, only a little unsteadily, and pulls Skye up with her. She places the shot glasses in the sink and stows the vodka back under the cabinet where she'd seen Skye remove it.
Skye is still teetering a little, so Jemma moves to her side and wraps an arm around her waist, smiling when Skye slides an arm around her as well.
"Come on," Jemma coaxes softly, pulling her close into her side. "Let's get you to bed."
"I don't want to," Skye mumbles softly, and she suddenly sounds so sad.
Jemma stops and moves to stand in front of Skye, keeping one arm around her, and reaching out to tuck a few long curls back behind her ear. "Skye? What is it?"
Skye meets her gaze, and her eyes are watery. "Every time I close my eyes, I see you jumping out of the plane. And I've heard you wake up screaming for the last three nights. I can't do it again."
Jemma's bottom lip trembles, and she finds herself blinking back tears as well. She nudges Skye with the arm wrapped around her. "Come on."
"No." Skye's tone is just a hair shy of petulant and under any other circumstances, Jemma would have found it rather adorable, but she knows it came from a place of fear.
Jemma releases her and reaches out to cradle Skye's face in her palms gently. "Trust me?"
Skye stares at her for a few moments before finally nodding.
Jemma guides them down the hall to her bunk and she deposits Skye onto the bed carefully, smiling when she immediately curls on her side. She slides the door shut behind them and turns back to the bed. She manages to get Skye settled under the blankets and watches her for a moment, looking sleepy, tucked comfortably in her bed.
She quite likes the picture it paints.
Jemma moves around the small bunk, plugging in the small night-light her mother had given her as a (sort of) joke, and she snaps the main light off. After discarding her sweater, she slides into bed next to Skye.
"Jem?" Skye whispers.
Jemma is sort of thrown by the use of not only her first name, but the shortened version that no one has used since high school. She finds she really likes the way her name sounds on Skye's lips.
"Hmm?" she hums, turning on her side to face the other girl.
"What if one of us has a nightmare?"
Jemma is quiet for a moment and she watches Skye's hand move between their bodies until it reaches her hand, and suddenly there are soft fingers ghosting over her own. "Do you know what the worst part of jumping was?"
Skye's eyes snap to hers, and her head shakes. "What?"
Jemma sucks in a shuddering breath, feeling a little warmer when Skye's hand closes over hers and squeezes. "I wasn't afraid of dying. As a scientist, I understand that death is just a natural part of life. I was just terrified of dying completely alone."
Skye stares at her for a few moments. Her hand suddenly moves to Jemma's cheek, her thumb swiping softly over her cheekbone. "You're never alone."
"No?" Jemma whispers, unable to trust her voice suddenly.
Skye shakes her head, lifting it from the pillow to close the distance between them so she can press a kiss to Jemma's lips. "Never. As long as I'm alive."
Jemma's smile practically lights up the bunk around them, and the sight of it makes Skye's eyes twinkle in the low light.
Jemma's eyes map the beautiful face before her, and she leans in slowly to press their lips together once more. "Think you can sleep now?"
Skye nods, but remains still for a moment. "I'm really glad we met."
"I am too," Jemma replies softly. She leans forward to press a kiss to the tip of Skye's nose. "Sleep now, sweetheart."
Skye nods and with one more soft smile she rolls over and visibly relaxes. Jemma remains on her back for a minute, still trying to figure out how she's going to sleep with Skye so close, when Skye suddenly rolls over and grasps her arm, pulling her as she turns back on her side, so Jemma is spooning her.
"Little spoon, really?" Jemma grins silently at the feeling of Skye's laughter against her body.
They both shift a little to get comfortable, and within minutes they're both sound asleep.