She stayed with Coulson for a while. They didn't say much, didn't do much. Worried about Skye. Tried to comfort themselves that she had been fine so far, and perhaps the GH325 only caused mental deterioration for patients who had been resurrected. That, given that Fury had continued the research after Coulson told him it was a dead end, maybe he had found another way to stabilise it. That Phil was okay, so Skye should be too.
Neither of them were big believers on playing the odds though. They always seemed to fail when you needed them most.
"Fury's alive." May said. "We should find him."
"Coulson frowned. "Who told you that?" When she smirked at him, he scowled, desperately trying not to smile. "You-" He broke off and fell backwards onto the bed, hands over his face. "I hate you." His muffled voice said.
"Do you?" May rolled the office chair over next to the bed.
Phil looked up, trying to be stern, but couldn't school his features properly, and she was smiling like he hadn't seen in so long, and christ, when did they travel back in time? "I'm glad you're back." He sucked a deep breath. "About everything. I-I'm..." He stumbled over his words.
Phil smiled gently, sitting up. "Can we just go back to the way we were before?"
"There's never any going back Phil." May said gently, putting one hand on his knee. "You taught me that. We just have to keep moving and see what's left."
He looked down, then back up at her. "But you're staying, right?"
Melinda smiled sardonically, crossing her arms. "It's not like I have anywhere else to go." She sighed, "And even if I did I'd still be here."
"There's a spare bed in Skye's room." Coulson offered. "Fair warning though, she's gonna hug you."
May frowned in confusion. "Why?"
Phil's eyes were veiled. "She thought you were dead. For a while anyway."
"Oh." Damn. That wasn't even a stretch of the imagination given what Skye had seen at the base. May cursed herself silently. "I'll talk to her. You should get some sleep."
"So should you. When did you last sleep? Providence?"
Pause. "Yeah." She wasn't going to admit that it was when Coulson had iced her. Power naps were one thing, but sleep was hard to come by.
Phil sighed. He knew a white lie when he saw one. "Promise you'll try to sleep tonight?"
"I'll try." May stood.
Coulson stood as well. "One more thing." He pulled her into a tight embrace. "I'm glad you're okay."
May smiled softly, knowing that Phil couldn't see, and returned the hug, savouring the contact. She usually hated touching people, but with Phil it was nice. After another moment of indulgence she pulled away. "Goodnight." She said, swinging the door open.
"'Night." Phil replied, smiling a little dopily. He could still feel her in his arms, warm and solid and alive.
May looked around the pool area, where she had heard the others talking when she arrived. Nothing. They must have gone to bed. She knew all their room numbers. It was one of the many things she compartmentalised, where her friends were. It helped to know that they were okay.
She knocked gently on Skye's door. If she was asleep, May decided she would go back to Coulson's room and sleep on the floor there, or use their old arrangement of sleeping back to back.
"I'm fine Coulson, really, you don't have to keep checking on me." Skye's voice called through the door.
"Skye?" May replied, feeling unreasonably nervous.
There was a loud thump followed by some scuffling noises before the door opened, revealing a slightly bedraggled hacker. She stared at May, wide-eyed and lost for a moment, then May found herself with an armful of Skye.
She wrapped her arms around the younger woman. "You're back." Skye murmured.
"Last time I checked."
"I thought you were dead."
May paused. "Sorry."
"It's not your fault. Just tell me next time you decide to run off into the wilderness by yourself."
Skye finally released her. "Deal." May said, smirking. Skye looked about ten seconds away from crying. "Coulson said you had a spare bed?" She asked leadingly.
"Yeah!" Skye only seemed to remember at that moment, "Yeah, sure." She stepped aside, allowing May entry.
"Do you need some food or something?"
May shook her head, dumping her bag next to the empty bed. "No, I'm not hungry." She turned. "Are you okay?"
Skye smiled, wiping her eyes. "Uh, no, not really." She blinked heavily to keep further tears at bay, "But hey, you're back, first good news I've had in a while, so maybe things are gonna get better now." She lay down on her mess of a bed, curled up with her back to the other woman to hide her tears.
Skye was surprised by the addition of weight to her bed signalling that May was sitting next to her, but allowing her to keep her back turned if she wished. "I know how you feel. Things have been hard, since Hydra, but we're getting a hold of it all now."
"That's not-" Skye bit her lip. "Not all of it." She sniffled a bit. "I-I never said anything, cos I know you guys needed to go through a psych evaluation or something, b-but, I've had some problems with- depression, before."
Oh. "Everything that's been happening can't help with that."
Skye hiccuped, just holding back tears.
May put one hand on her shoulder. "I know how you feel." She repeated. "I went through that too once, trust me, I know."
Skye pushed herself up, facing her. "H-how do you-?" She got out. She was a mess. Tears escaping, slowly, one by one, hair all over the place, red eyes.
May pulled her into a hug. "There are certain strategies that work for me." She said, letting Skye cry it out. "It's okay not to always be okay Skye, you know that."
Skye buried her face in May's shoulder, tears soaking the material. "I-I just feel so empty, like there's nothing, you know?"
May stroked her hair lightly. "I know. Like there's no light left in the world."
Skye nodded tearfully and May pulled away. She bit her lip. This was secret. No one knew about this, no one. "If I show you something, you promise not to tell anyone?"
Skye wiped her eyes, getting herself under control. "Huh?"
May looked away. If Skye didn't know better she would say that she was embarrassed. There was even a hint of a blush on her cheeks. "I- uh, no one knows about this, I'd just like to keep it that way."
Skye smiled through her tears. "Pinkie swear." She said, holding out her hand.
May rolled her eyes, but took the childish shake, then climbed over the bed and dug through her bag until she found what she was looking for. An airtight metal tin.
"What's that?" Skye asked when May threw it onto the bed.
She drew a screwdriver from the bag, then clambered back. "Here." May said, handing Skye the screwdriver. "Open it."
Skye gingerly prised the lid off the tin, then carefully slid the contents out.
It was pictures, and a lot of them. The top one was quite old, but Skye recognised it as May and Coulson, much younger looking, standing side by side, awkwardly smiling at the camera. "Our first assignment together." She said.
Most of the others were more recent. Fitz yelling at the others for the whipped cream prank. Skye playing cards with Simmons, both of them faking intense concentration. Coulson standing at his desk, flicking through a file. Fitzsimmons yelling at each other, but both unable to keep straight faces. Fitz wearing his little monkey beanie which no one would let him wear in public. Coulson teaching Skye how to play chess. May and Coulson sparring. One of Coulson pinning her to the mats, both of them smiling widely.
Had they always been that in love, or was it something Skye was just noticing now? She decided not to ask. Yet.
Simmons yelling at Coulson on their undercover train mission, the look of bemusement on his face. Skye didn't even notice how much she had been smiling looking at these. "Where'd you get these?"
May shrugged. "Mostly from the security feeds. It's nice to have a reminder sometimes." She snagged a random photo from the bottom of the pile, grinning at it. Skye scooted over so that she could see it too and giggled. It was Coulson, staring open-mouthed at a pack of vintage mint Captain America trading cards that the team had all chipped in for and gotten him for Christmas. She swore he was almost in tears.
"I need to have a shower." May said, putting the photo down and standing up. "Will you be okay?"
Skye nodded, picking at the mountain of pictures. "Do you mind if I look through these some more?"
May nodded, patting Skye gently on the shoulder. "Not a problem."
A quarter of an hour later May emerged from the en suite shower, steam trailing behind her. It was amazing what a hot shower did for the spirit, and she had almost burned herself with the heat she used. The dirt, sweat and pain from the last few days had been washed away. It felt nice.
"I know that this was you." Skye seemed happier already, almost like her old self. Melinda had gone through her tin and removed any photos with Ward in them. They didn't belong there any more. Skye waved the picture of Fitz, face covered in whipped cream.
May grinned, dumping her dirty clothes by her bag for washing another time. The sweats she had changed into were comfortable and suitable for sleeping in. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Uh huh." Skye said sarcastically. "You know, they blamed me for that."
That was a stifled laugh. Skye had never seen May laugh before. She looked up, smiling, but then frowned. Something seemed wrong.
May noticed. "What?"
Skye cocked her head curiously, raising one eyebrow. "Is the shower like a shrink ray or something?" She stood, looking at May. She could have sworn that they were about the same height.
May bowed her head, about a moment away from bursting out laughing. Wordlessly, she held up one of her boots, which she wasn't wearing.
Skye looked back and forth between May and the shoe, more specifically the heel, then burst out, "Oh my God, you're tiny!"
May shook with suppressed laughter, turning away to put down her shoes. Hard to believe that this was the first time Skye had seen her barefoot, but here they were. When she turned around Skye was standing right next to her, gaping. "Are you done?" She asked, amusement evident.
"But look, you're like-" Skye drew a line with her hand from the top of May's head over to herself. It ended up around her ear.
Skye just gaped, patting the top of her head repeatedly.
May batted her hand away, trying very hard to keep a straight face. "Stop it."
"But I'm like three inches taller than you!"
"Two and a half." She muttered, crossing her arms.
Skye laughed, finally getting over the surprise. "Aw, that's adorable!"
"Shut up." She was blushing.
"But you're even shorter than Simmons!"
"Shut up shut up shut up." May threw herself onto her bed and buried her face in the pillow, but it was mostly to hide her smile. Being teased for being short felt so normal. And Skye was happy, for now.
She might have to get into the motel security feed.
A new moment to add to her tin.