Stabbing pain, beginning in her stomach, but somehow all over as well.
Trying to call for help, hearing the others, but her voice being so weak that she could barely hear herself.
Dim awareness of them all yelling, so loud, and then darkness.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep. Skye groaned. That noise was annoying. Why would anyone need that anyway? She batted a hand in the direction of the noise, then cracked an eye open when she heard a sharp intake of breath.
She squinted. Her vision was blurry. And the lights gave her a headache.
"Skye?" The voice didn't hurt. The soft timbre was familiar.
Skye blinked heavily a few more times and May's concerned face came into view. "..."
She opened her mouth to ask questions, but no noise came out.
"It's okay." May almost looked afraid, "Slowly, don't try to talk." She gently held up a glass of water with a straw in it to Skye's lips, from which she took a grateful sip, her throat feeling stuck shut. "You've been through a lot." When Skye looked confused, May elaborated. "Quinn shot you. You were almost dead. I don't know how much you remember."
It was coming back to her now. Pieces. "How?" She managed. Her voice sounded foreign, weak and raspy.
"It's a long story. You should rest." It was so weird for May to be nice to her. "Simmons showed me how to boost the sedatives in case I thought you needed them, are you in pain?"
Skye shook her head. She was a bit puzzled as to why the others weren't there.
As if reading her mind, May's lips quirked into a smile. "I made them all go to bed. The plane's on autopilot. Leaving the sedatives was Simmons' condition to getting some rest."
"You okay?" May looked a bit of a mess. Fatigued, bruised, stressed.
"I've been worse." When Skye kept staring she said, "I feel better than I did. I can't sleep right now though. And someone needed to keep an eye on you."
"You-" Skye waved a hand in her direction, "Face." Was all she managed.
Melinda put one hand to the bruise she had acquired from the fiasco of a train journey. "Just an interrogation."
Skye looked a little sick.
May smiled. "Skye, it barely lasted five minutes. I'm fine. You're the one who can barely move."
"I-I" Skye tried to talk again but was cut off.
"No talking." May said sternly, "Or I'll up the sedatives and you'll fall asleep."
Skye's eyes widened in an exaggerated begging expression, but May simply raised an eyebrow. The hacker's face fell into a pout.
The pilot could see something behind it though. Some worry or tension. "Whatever you want to talk about," She said, "We can talk about it later. I promise."
Skye raised her eyes to meet May's, and suddenly May noticed that Skye's were swimming with tears.
"It's okay." Not usually one for physical contact, she lightly grasped Skye's hand. "Everyone's safe. You're going to be fine. Quinn's in custody, and a little worse for wear."
Skye smiled a little, hearing the faux guilty tone in May's voice. Hoped she did something permanent. Then she felt a wave of fatigue wash over her and saw May's hand, the one not holding her own, changing the settings on her IV. "W-wh..."
"You need to rest, Skye." She said as gently as she could. "We'll all be here when you wake up."
She wanted to stay awake and talk, and get answers, and see the others. But the warm darkness was so inviting, and the bed was soft and warm, and her friend's hand was still holding hers, a reminder that everything was okay.
The next thing Skye knew, the room was lighter, sunlight streaming in from a window outside the medical area. She squirmed, a little hot in the blankets, and saw that Simmons was fiddling with some dials.
"Skye!" She cried, enveloping her in a hug, hurriedly pulling away as soon as she did. "Oh, I'm sorry! I don't know what I was thinking, are you in pain? May changed the settings." She sounded annoyed.
"S'okay." Skye slurred, "I needed t'sleep."
Simmons smiled, tears in her eyes. "But you feel alright now?"
Skye nodded, "Yeah, jus' ... fuzzy."
"Do you feel up to seeing the others? They've been worried."
Skye smiled and nodded.
It was emotional. There were more tears than anyone would admit. Skye had to hold back some pained groans when she was hugged too tight a few times. But they were all so happy. May didn't say much, just stood by the door with that almost hidden smile of hers. That was something that Skye had noticed, that May avoided being in the centre of any given group. That she masked her emotions so well it had taken Skye this long to realise that she had them. Probably down to the training. She had noticed all kinds of little idiosyncrasies about her team.
A little later, after they had landed for debrief, May knocked gently on the glass door to the medical area.
Skye smiled and pressed the door control by her bed. "Simmons won't let me get up." She said, "Won't even let me use my laptop or anything. Like that's more exhausting than the broken ribs Ward gave me." She was leagues better than she was even five hours before, but every movement had her wincing, and Skye's voice, usually animated and loud, was raspy and weak.
"He's been worried." May said, putting something large and fluffy on the sick bed, resting on Skye's lap.
"Seriously?" Skye examined the teddy bear. It was fairly standard but quite large, with 'Get Well Soon!" written on it's tummy.
May shrugged, a hint of amusement on her face. "Thought it could keep you entertained."
The hacker picked it up experimentally by the head. "It's heavy." She said, poking it. "Does it talk or something?" She asked when her finger encountered something hard.
The averted eyes and suppressed smile made Skye's eyes narrow.
May said nothing, though if Skye didn't know any better she would say it looked like she was holding back laughter.
She kept poking at the bear until she encountered something on it's side. "Is that a zip? Oh my God, you didn't." When Skye's hand reached inside and removed her laptop she laughed so hard she sent aches shuddering through her torso.
May was smiling again, "Like you said, it's not going to strain you."
Skye giggled. "Simmons is gonna kill you."
May raised an eyebrow.
"Well she'll try."
"Only if she finds out."
Skye looked around over-dramatically and put the laptop back into the stuffed animal for safekeeping and hugged it to her chest carefully, grinning. "Thanks."
"You're welcome. Do you feel better?"
Skye settled back into the numerous pillows, wincing a little. "Still not back, but going by how I felt before, I should be up and about in a few hours."
May rolled her eyes, "Say that in front of Simmons and she'll kill us both."
Skye giggled again, then fell into a coughing fit.
"Are you okay?" The hacker couldn't help be feel touched at the level of concern in her voice. "Do you need some water?"
"I'm okay." Skye said before she had fully stopped coughing, which contradicted her words somewhat.
May shook her head, but said nothing. There was a large water bottle by the bed if Skye needed it. "If you say so."
"Kinda." Skye clarified, reaching for the bottle.
May waited until she had had some water. "You seemed worried about something last night." Skye averted her eyes. "Is it important?"
Skye shook her head, arms wrapped tightly around the plush bear, staring at her hands.
May bit the inside of her lip imperceptibly. So it wasn't a threat or a secret that Skye was keeping. It was clearly something that was bothering her. "Do you want to talk to Coulson about it? I can call him."
"No." Skye mumbled, "No, I-I don't want to talk to him about it, h-he won't help. I just..." She drew a deep, steadying breath. "I never said thank you for finding out about w-what happened to me. Where I-I came from. I know you didn't want to."
Ah. So that was it. "That's not- It's not that I didn't want to, Skye." She sighed. "I knew what happened to Avery, and I thought that it would be better for you if we didn't find out the truth. I was wrong."
"Do you know what I am?" Skye was trembling, tears escaping her eyes and burning down her face, and she still refused to look at May.
"No more than you do." Melinda really wanted to call one of the others. Not out of selfishness, but she was the absolute worst at dealing with emotional situations, and she and Skye weren't exactly close. "0-8-4's aren't always weapons, they can be anything. And they're not always alien either."
Skye squeezed her eyes shut, trying to get herself under control. She took deep, shuddering breaths for a moment, then looked up and asked the one question that had been haunting her.
"Do you think I'm dangerous?" Skye knew that this was something she would have to ask May. Coulson would immediately dismiss the idea. May was the most honest person she knew.
There was silence for a second before she said. "Yes." She formed her next words carefully. "I think you're dangerous because you can hack into SHIELD's mainframe from a van, with a laptop. I think you're dangerous because you can get an invitation to Ian Quinn's house with a phone in less than five minutes. Because you're progressing at least twice as fast as any other SHIELD trainee, most of whom came from military schools. Because you would look Director Fury in the eye and tell him he was a jackass if you thought so."
Skye was staring at the bear in front of her, head bowed, though May suspected she was crying again.
"Hey," She said, grasping Skye's shoulder. "It's okay. You're not going to endanger anyone. If you were going to exhibit anything strange then you wouldn't have stayed off of SHIELD's radar for so long."
"What should I tell the others?" Skye's voice had gone higher, the fear eating at her. "I'm scared."
"They won't turn their backs." May hated his. Hated seeing Skye this way, hated her inability to fix it. "We haven't, so why would they?" She paused. "You don't have to tell them if you don't want to."
"I'm not as good at keeping secrets as you." She made it sound like she really wished she was.
May paused. "Do you want me to tell them?"
Skye shook her head over and over, tears refusing to stop, not allowing her to speak.
"Okay." May said, wrapping her arms around the younger woman, "It's okay." She wasn't good at comforting, never really knew what to say. But it didn't take a genius to see that Skye needed a hug.
Skye buried her head in May's shoulder and clung to her, shaking with tears. She hated this. Hated being so weak. She wasn't even any good at being comforted. She had never had anyone there when she felt like this. Everything was just too much. She was happy here, she had the closest thing to a family she had ever had, and this... thing could bring it all crashing down. Again.
Skye hiccuped, squeezing her eyes shut and May unconsciously began to rub soft slow circles on her back. Skye began to follow the rhythm, her breathing slowing and the tears beginning to dry. "Sorry." She muttered, pulling away and wiping her eyes on her sleeve.
"You don't have to apologise. Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes."
May huffed an unamused laugh.
"I tried to tell Fitz." She mumbled, "On the train, b-but I just... couldn't."
Skye looked like she was going to be sick. "I asked if he'd ever heard of an 084 being a... person." She whispered the last word. "A-and he said he'd hate to meet that person."
May sighed. "You can't take it like that. You put those words in his mouth. The only other 084 he's seen was in Peru, and it didn't exactly go as planned."
"Simmons'll probably wanna dissect me."
"I think she'd ask first."
Skye laughed a little at the mental image of Simmons sneaking up on her with a scalpel and trying to cut her open without Skye noticing.
May's warm hand encased her own. "They'll take it fine. Trust them." An instruction and a reassurance.
Skye bit her lip. "I'll try."
May smiled minutely. "Good girl."
Weeks later, after the world had fallen apart, Skye ventured into the gym area to train, only to find that the punching bag was in use, and taking more of a beating than Ian Quinn. She had checked the security footage not long after having her laptop delivered to her. She was curious.
"Mind if I go a round?"
May rounded on her like a wild animal, not hearing the hacker enter.
Skye was taken aback. The unbridled anger and frustration almost made her turn tail and run. The tears ripped by furious fists into the punching bag backed up that idea.
But May's eyes were red raw. Her breathing was heavy and laboured, beyond the exertion. Messy tear tracks ran down her face, though she wasn't crying at that moment. She was a mess.
May said nothing, just turned around and continued to hit the bag, trying to keep everything internal. She didn't usually punch things. She had learned that there were better ways to deal with feelings of frustration and anger, but right now they weren't working. Nothing was working.
She didn't have time for this.
Skye moved around slowly, trying not to scare her again. She took hold of the bag, holding it steady. "Coulson told me about..." She trailed off, putting more of her weight behind the bag as she was almost knocked off her feet. "So, I guess I owe you."
May finally stopped, though it seemed more out of surprise. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Skye shrugged and released the bag, trying to seem nonchalant. "If you hadn't made the team, then I'd still be in my van behind some cafe. Alone."
"Yeah, and I should be thanking Hydra," She started beating the bag again, "Because if it wasn't for them taking over, then I wouldn't still be on the damn plane." Her fist sank into a hole in the bag up to her wrist, sand flooding out and over May's wrist, flowing to the floor. She seemed to tremor, not moving her fist, or the bag.
Skye put a gentle hand on her shoulder, barely refraining from flinching at May's jerk as her fist was removed from the bag, sand sticking to the grazes and cuts. "Let's get some coffee."
"No." She sank her other fist into the bag, closing her eyes, breathing heavy and ragged.
"Hey." Skye gently guided May away from the bag, letting the sand fall to the ground. "Deep breathing, yeah?"
May's hands balled into fists, clenching the sand into any of the grazes that she could, savouring the sharp sting. But she let her breathing even out, closing her eyes to try to get a grip.
When she opened her eyes again she saw that Skye's eyes were filled with sympathy and compassion, not blame or distrust. "I'm sorry." She said, echoing their conversation from weeks before. "I thought I was past believing the worst of you, but..."
"You were right to." May tried to push past and leave, but Skye stopped her, grabbing her arm, but being mindful of the gunshot wound.
"No, we weren't. If we'd let you fly the plane, anything, we would have worked it all out faster. Maybe we could have saved another base. It's not like a pair of cuffs can stop you anyway."
May tried to walk away again but found Skye in her way. "What do you want from me?!" She burst out.
"I'd settle for a conversation!" Skye snapped back.
May drew a shaky breath. Skye could see the fractures in her defences growing bigger. "I can't sleep." She muttered after an age. "I want to, but I can't."
"It's been a long day." Understatement of the century.
May bit her lip hard enough to draw blood. "If I sleep then I'll feel better, I just..." Something in her seemed to break. Maybe the anger had just run out. Some subtle slump in her posture. The tension in her face simply vanished.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
The look on May's face was one Skye had never seen before. Misery. And fear, like a lost child. Now Skye knew what she had been feeling lately looked like. Wanting to talk about something, but not knowing how, or even where to begin.
"Okay, sit down." Skye pulled May over to the staircase, sitting her down. "I'll be right back."
When she returned a few minutes later she found May dragging the punching bag over to the side of the gym.
"I thought you were sitting down."
"I need to put this away." May muttered. "I'm not an invalid."
"Never said you were." Skye said, sitting on the bottom step of the spiral staircase, holding out a mug. "I brought tea."
May shoved the burst bag into place, then sighed, both hands resting on it, and slumped. She glanced at Skye, who offered a small smile, then she caved. She walked over without a word, and sat next to Skye, not saying anything.
Skye passed her one of the steaming mugs. "I went with chamomile." She said, "It helps me sometimes."
May watched the spiralling steam coming from the mug, feeling the heat burn her hands a little. "You don't have to do this." She murmured, not looking at Skye.
"Sure I do." Skye said, "You helped me when I had my freak out. What are friends for?"
"I'm not a friend. I'm an ally." She spat the last word like a curse.
Skye grimaced. "Coulson said that?" She knew that it was really only Coulson that could reduce May to this.
She said nothing.
"He's just angry. It'll take some time, but he'll let it go." Skye kind of wanted to give her a hug, but didn't think it would be well received. Instead she let her head rest on May's shoulder, which was allowed. "You did whatever you did to protect him, you know it, I know it, and he knows it too, he just won't admit it. You were trying to keep him safe. What you do best."
"I don't do a very good job of it."
"Better job than anyone else could."
"He still died." May said flatly.
Skye shrugged. "You weren't there."
May shook her head. "You know, that's exactly what I thought when I heard." She took a sip of her tea. "I kept thinking if I'd been there I could have stopped it. I could have saved him."
Skye drank some more of the burning hot tea, savouring the steam washing over her face as she took a sip. She was quiet for a while, a meditative silence taking over the gym.
May used the void to calm down. She had been tense all day, so she took the time to fall into the same mindset she used when practising her tai chi, breathing deeply, but calm, muscles relaxing. She had tried before but it hadn't worked. Now she had Skye's presence, for some reason, she could. She could take strength from the younger woman, could appreciate what Skye was doing for her by simply being there.
"It's okay if you don't want to tell me." Skye said, looking very sad all of a sudden, sitting up. "I was just thinking though, I didn't know Coulson before... this," She waved her hand around at the plane. "Neither did Ward, or Fitzsimmons."
"What's your point?"
The hacker worked her lip between her teeth for a moment before replying. "How long did you think he was dead?"
"About a month." It was said so quietly that Skye didn't hear at first.
She gaped. "A month? A MONTH?!"
"Calm down Skye."
"But, a month?" Skye stood up, looking genuinely outraged, "And he didn't tell you? His funeral, you could have gone to his funeral!"
May said nothing, knowing that her silence was enough of an answer. A month was a long time to think her best friend was dead. It was time to grieve, to remember the good times they had together, to rage, to think of every scenario that could have saved him. It was even enough time to start moving on. To wake up in the morning and have that moment when she didn't remember why her whole body ached. To think that maybe she would call him on the weekend, before remembering that he wasn't there any more. To call him anyway just to hear his voicemail message.
"Jesus! And he has the balls to be pissed at you for lying?! At least you were protecting him!"
"He had orders Skye."
"So did you!"
May just shrugged despondently.
Skye sagged, calming down a little. "Why aren't you angry?"
She shrugged again. "It wouldn't achieve anything. If Coulson's angry then nothing I can do will stop it."
"Did he even apologise?" Skye asked softly.
May didn't answer. "He's alive. The rest doesn't matter."
Skye shook her head. "You're weird, you know that?"
May was silent.
"Can't you just yell back when he rips into you?"
She shook her head, staring distantly at the half empty mug.
May opened her mouth, then closed it again, taking a deep breath. "Because it hurts. I won't do that to him."
"But you're okay with him doing it to you."
"Just leave it, Skye."
Skye sighed in frustration and stood abruptly, walking out without another word.
May sighed softly and finished off her tea, swirling it around in her mouth before swallowing. Then she stood and pulled out a new punching bag. She felt calmer now, but practising was always helpful.
She lost herself in the steady rhythm of fists against leather, not even registering the sting from the cuts on her hands at each impact. It could have been an hour or more later when she caught someone in her peripheral walking up the cargo ramp. Assuming it was Fitzsimmons or Skye, she ignored them.
When they got closer, May glanced away, just in case it was a threat. She felt the familiar pit in her stomach open when she saw that it was Phil. She wanted to leave. She wanted him to stop looking at her.
"I just talked to Skye." He said as she continued to pound the punching bag. "Well, I guess talked is a bit wrong. She shouted. I mostly just sat there."
May dropped his fists and sighed. "I told her not to." She said, still not looking at him.
"She said you thought I was dead for a month."
There was something wrong with the way he said it. Like he wasn't aware. Needed confirmation.
May said nothing, did nothing. She wasn't going to make this personal.
Coulson took her silence as an answer. "Christ, May..." He breathed.
"You didn't know." It wasn't a question.
"I thought Fury told you."
"He did." May walked around him for a towel, hiding in every way she could. "After a month he came to me and told me what had happened. That's when he asked me to keep an eye on you."
There was silence, so she tried to walk away, but Coulson grabbed her arm. "You could have said that." He said softly.
"That's not the point." May pulled her arm free but didn't leave. She met Coulson's gaze steadily. She didn't want a fight, but she wasn't going to shrink away either.
"Then what is the point?"
"That I'd do it again!"
Phil was a little taken aback at the outburst, but it was mostly because she shouted it. "I know you would."
May sighed. "You're not going to stop being angry, and I'm not going to apologise, so can we just stop talking about it?"
Coulson said nothing, didn't move, frozen as a statue. He didn't even notice she was leaving until May was half way through the lab, walking away.
He wanted to stop her. Wanted to hold her close and tell her that all was forgiven.
Wanted her to know that she meant at least as much to him as he did to her. But she had lied to him, even if it was for the right reasons.
He would forgive her.
He just couldn't do it right now, no matter how much he wanted to.
Time had passed. So much had happened. Fitz was unconscious. Simmons refused to leave his side. Agent Coulson was now Director Coulson. Ward had been captured. Garrett was dead. They were the new SHIELD. Not that it meant much yet.
Within an hour of arriving at the Playground, they all decided that they needed some sleep. Skye had taken a blanket and pillow to Simmons in the medical area since it was clear that she wouldn't leave Fitz. They had taken whatever quarters they came across first, and crashed. It was difficult to tell who was the most tired. Though when Skye thought about it, she figured May had a pretty solid claim on that title.
It had been days and the end of a war since May had offered to train Skye. She didn't really expect her to join her right away, after the ordeal they had been through. So she was surprised when, as she started her breathing exercises, there was a soft knock on the gym door.
May opened her eyes, gaze dating to the doorway.
Skye stood there nervously. Hair tied back, workout clothes on. "Uh, you serious about teaching me that hate-fu?"
A sideways smile tugged at May's lips. "I call it tai chi."
Skye still looked uncertain, waiting for an invitation perhaps? "Come on." May said, gesturing gently for Skye to join her, "Face me."
"I've never done this before." Skye said, warning her. Still sounding like she was expecting to be kicked out.
May shrugged. "Basics are always important."
"Okay." Skye approached awkwardly. "What's basics?"
"Pretty sure I know how to breathe."
May smirked an feigned a punch.
Skye gasped and took a step backwards, one arm coming up to block where it might have landed.
"Improper breathing causes a lot of problems." She said, "If you breathe properly, then you avoid unnecessary reactions."
"What do you mean, 'properly'?" Skye asked, confused and on edge.
"Deeply," May explained, demonstrating, "To the bottom of your lungs. It's used in meditation."
Skye tried to imitate May's calm inhalation, but the second she sucked in air, May shook her head.
"Deeply doesn't mean you need to gasp. If your shoulders rise while you do it, it's not right."
"If you breathe to the top of your lungs then your shoulder muscles are activated, which is why they go up. You should be able to feel your ribs expand, like this." She placed her hand gently on her own ribs, drew a deep breath, and yes, Skye could see May's ribcage expanding as she breathed.
"Never knew breathing could be so hard."
May shrugged. "It's not something you'd put much thought into."
"I guess." Skye tried again, thinking 'calm', one hand resting on her ribcage to feel.
May smiled and nodded in approval and Skye felt a ridiculous surge of pride from such a small action. They continued the breathing exercises for another ten minutes, in for four beats, out for eight. Even after a few breaths like that Skye could feel herself starting to relax more, her shoulders losing tension she didn't even notice they were carrying.
Soon after that May stopped the controlled counting of her breathing, keeping the relaxed state though. "I'll start simple, you try to copy me. Don't forget your breathing." She instructed. "I'll correct you if you need it."
Skye nodded, adopting May's stance. It seemed so natural to her, but Skye copied her movements as best she could, even if she felt cumbersome by comparison.
"Relax." May instructed after several minutes, and yes, Skye noted, her breathing was shallow and unchecked.
"Sorry." She muttered. In for four, out for eight. She remembered, feeling the tension fade.
May waited for her to regain her breathing before starting again with a more complicated move, weight shifting from one leg to the other and back again. Skye tried to mimic her fluid movement while remembering her breathing, but couldn't seem to get it right.
"You're too tense around your waist." May mumbled, breaking form to observe her better.
Skye tried again under May's watchful eye, but still couldn't get it right, almost overbalancing. "Damnit." She muttered angrily, then took a moment to fix her breathing again.
"It's okay." Skye looked up. May looked legitimately sincere. "May I?" She gestured to Skye.
Skye knew it was polite to ask before physically correcting someone's stance. She barely refrained from replying with 'Skye I', though she grinned internally at the bad joke. "Sure."
When May's hands manipulated her sides however, Skye squeaked a shied away. "Hey, watch it!" She grinned, "That tickles."
A hint of a smile tugged at May's lips. Skye was ticklish, good to know. "Sorry."
Skye returned to her position, still grinning a little, started her breathing, and tried the movement again.
May tried to fix her stance again, this time using a firmer touch, but Skye yelped with laughter all the same. "Quit it!" She protested and poked May in the ribs in revenge.
Skye didn't know what she expected. Anything from a glare to a smile to a jump to being slammed onto the floor.
That was not what she got.
What she got was a hiss of pain and a recoil.
Skye dropped her stance immediately, any smile on her face vanishing and replaced with concern. "What is it?"
May grimaced. "Nothing, I'm just a little bruised."
"Did you get Simmons to patch you up?"
May gave her a look. Of course not. Simmons was a mess, she needed rest a lot more than May did. "It's not that bad."
Skye's brow was knotted with worry. "Let me see?" A question and a demand. Worry transformed into horror when May reluctantly rolled up her shirt, revealing the ugly black bruising along her ribs. "Oh God, that's..."
"Not as bad as it looks." May completed.
"If it was as bad as it looks you'd be dead."
May smiled softly. "It's fine."
"No it's not." Skye said firmly, "Come on, med bay, now. You need some anti-inflammatory medicine or something." She didn't notice the corners or May's mouth tighten.
Skye practically dragged her to the nearest medical bay and dug through the cabinets until she found what she was looking for.
May watched her from the medical table. Skye worried too much. They had been doing tai chi for almost an hour, but now that Skye was aware of her injury she was refusing to let May move, lest she hurt herself. She was such a sweet girl. May thought she trusted her.
"Ward did that, huh?" Skye said, facing the cabinet but not looking for anything.
"Most of it." May acknowledged.
Skye looked a little sick when she returned with ointment and bandages. "Sorry."
"It wasn't your fault." She said. "Trust me, he's looking a lot worse."
"Still." Skye stared at the bruising for a moment, imagining his fists doing that. "Do you mind if I-"
May nodded and pulled off her shirt, under which she wore a black sports bra.
Skye grimaced as she gently applied the ointment, "I think this one's broken." She said, "I don't even know how you slept with this."
May was silent. Best that Skye didn't know.
Skye gently wound the bandages around her. "Cos you obviously slept." Ah. So she did know. "Only a complete moron would stay awake all night after the shitstorm we just went through."
"Skye." May actually sounded amused.
Skye glared. "Yeah?" She said, begging May to argue.
"I knew I wasn't going to sleep." She shrugged as Skye finished bandaging. "This had nothing to do with it."
Skye cut the bandage off and taped it down, gently yet aggressively at the same time. "Why?"
May pulled her shirt back on and took a deep breath. "I had to hold that damn staff yesterday." She said, "So I knew I wasn't going to sleep."
Skye scowled and crossed her arms. She grumbled something about 'making me feel sorry for you' and pulled a bottle of painkillers from a drawer.
"I don't need them."
"I don't care."
Skye's eyes were hard, and May sensed that she wasn't winning this one. Honestly, she kind of enjoyed when any of the others would dispute her, argue and force opposing decisions on her. It was proof that they weren't afraid of her, which was something that she inexplicably loved. "Fine." She said, taking the bottle and swallowing two tablets. "Happy?"
"Getting there." Skye said.
May grinned a little, standing up. "Come on, it's almost time for breakfast. We can make pancakes."
Skye smiled grudgingly, still trying to be angry. "Seriously, you should look after yourself better."
May rolled her eyes. "I'm fine." When Skye gave her a look, she sighed. "I'll tell you next time I break any bones, is that okay?"
"Fine." Skye said firmly, "As long as you actually do it. And make sure you're patched up okay afterwards. I'm not a doctor."
May shrugged. "You'll pick up a lot in the field." She said, leaving the medical bay with Skye, "Coulson's pretty good at fixing most injuries, at least temporarily, and he never did any medical training."
Skye grinned teasingly, "Oh, is that what you call what you two were doing last week?"
May frowned in confusion, then her eyes widened when she realised what Skye was talking about. "I- we were just..." She was lost for words.
Skye laughed, hanging off the wall to stop herself from collapsing to the ground. "Oh my god, you're actually blushing!" She exclaimed.
May just stared, eyes wide and a blush painting her usually stoic features. When she had returned to the team, she and Coulson had shared a moment.
It could have meant nothing at first, he was just apologising for how he had treated her, thanking her for coming back. Up until he had kissed her.
She had kissed him too. So glad that he was okay, that he forgave her, wanted her back. They hadn't told the others yet. Things were so difficult it was hard to just shoehorn into a conversation. But they were together. She couldn't articulate what it was about Phil, there was just something about the way he smiled at her that made it impossible to not smile back. Always something in his eyes trying to tempt a grin out of her.
"Aaaaand now you look like some teenager with a crush."
May buried her face in her hands. "Shut up."
Skye giggled. "Simmons and Trip owe me money. And Fitz, when he wakes up." May scowled at her between her fingers. "Oh come on, we've had bets running for months. You two with the constant eye-sex? Not exactly subtle."
May smirked, eyes narrowing. "More than just eye sex." She said suggestively. She was actually lying, but Skye didn't need to know that.
Skye pulled a face. "I did not need to know that."
"I've always admired a man who can get creative with his tongue."
"Oh my god, shut up!"
"He's open to whips."
Skye screeched and bolted away, with May in hot pursuit, offering oddly open ended factoids about ball gags and leather through barely contained laughter, even as Skye shoved her fingers in her ears, sang as loudly as possible and shouted about brain bleach.
Simmons walked into the kitchen not long after the two began making the pancake mixture, attracted by the noise, and Trip joined them not long after that, calling for bacon, which thankfully Billy had procured.
Skye demanded that she cook the pancakes, because, apparently, they all sucked at it. "I'll go get Coulson." May said.
Skye smirked and had a million different responses go through her head, but settled with, "You do that." And a knowing glance, aware of Simmons and Tripp's presence.
May rolled her eyes and left. It took her no time at all to find where Coulson was sleeping. She gently pushed the door open and approached the bed. "Phil." She said gently, "It's time to get up."
He groaned, rolled over and opened his eyes. When he saw who it was, he smiled dopily. "Hi."
She couldn't help but return the smile. "Hi. It's time for breakfast."
Coulson sighed, "It's nice here." He complained, then after a moment, reached up and pulled May bodily towards him.
She yelped a little in surprise and toppled onto the bed, but smiled into the kiss immediately following it.
"Much better." He said, snaking his arms around her waist. "What happened?" He asked, feeling the bandages under her shirt.
May shrugged. "Skye was worried about some of my bruises. She insisted."
"You should have said something." Phil pulled her closer.
"It's fine." She tucked her head under his chin, enjoying the intimacy.
"Still." Phil wrapped his arms around her, kissing the top of her head. "I'd hate to lose you."
"It'll take a lot more than one Hydra agent to beat me." May said. "Skye knows about us."
"What? How?" He wasn't overly concerned, but really. They were top spies, had been keeping secrets professionally for decades. How did Skye find out?
"She saw us, last week."
"Do you want to tell the others?"
"I don't know." She said softly, "But she hasn't. I don't think she will unless we want to."
Suddenly there was a banging on the door. "Breakfast is ready!" Skye yelled. "Do not make me come in there!"
May smirked and reached for her phone, selected an app and shook the device, resulting in a loud whipping noise.
Skye made a sound like a dying animal and left.
May laughed softly, starting to extract herself from the embrace.
"What was that about?" Phil asked.
She grinned. "I may have implied some details about pastimes of ours."
"She doesn't know that."
Coulson tried very hard not to smile. It wasn't funny. He could only imagine how Skye would look at him now. He laughed softly. Okay, so it was kind of funny. "I love you so much."
May smiled and kissed him softly, trying to tell him through actions rather than words. She was always more of a doer anyway. And no matter how much she wanted to, the thought of saying it terrified her.
The way he looked at her told her that he understood.
"Skye made pancakes."