May had been hiding in the cockpit ever since Skye had woken up. Coulson didn't think that the others had really noticed. She spent most of her time there anyway. Skye had been awake for two days when she finally went down to the medical pod.
Coulson and Simmons were already there, Simmons was fiddling with Skye's IV and Coulson was seated beside her bed.
May knocked gently on the door to announce her presence, some dishes balanced in one hand. Her eyes rested on the girl in the gurney for a moment, before darting away. "Dinner's ready." She looked to Coulson and put down two bowls, each with a fork and spoon, as well a smaller bowl of cheese.
Coulson nodded. "Thanks."
May nodded. "You're looking better." She said to Skye, not quite meeting her eyes.
Skye nodded, eyes darting around awkwardly. "Yeah, I guess." She said, then paused. "You can cross 'gut shot' off your list of ways to get rid of me."
The comment, casual though it was, felt like a gut shot itself, but May didn't let it show. "Right." She said stiffly, then turned on her heel and left, Simmons following her and shooting Skye a disapproving look over her shoulder.
Skye slumped back into the bed, crossing her arms. Coulson passed her her dinner, frowning. "What was that about?"
Skye's eyes snapped up to meet his, surprisingly hostile. "What? She hates me. I haven't even seen her since before I got hurt."
"She doesn't hate you." Coulson said, baffled by the assumption. "She's come down a couple of time when you were asleep."
"Sure, whatever.' She muttered, clearly not believing him, digging her fork aggressively into her pasta. Coulson sighed and continued to eat his dinner. He had tried talking to Skye about May once, he didn't know what doing it again would do. "I get that you said she's not like... A robot, or whatever, I know she's not." Skye said, "but seriously, she hates me."
"She let Hand kick me off the plane when you were captured."
He swallowed a mouthful of food. "I got the impression she did that so you could find me without interference."
"Who told you that?"
Skye scoffed. "Yeah, well no one told me that, so it's either that or she wants to throw me out the cargo door the next chance she gets."
"Skye." The one word was enough for her to at least pause her bitterness. "She's my best friend."
Skye stared at him for a moment. "Sorry." She muttered, mollified. She had another forkful of pasta, it sticking slightly in her throat. "She doesn't like me though, I don't know why. I tried being nice and she just..."
Coulson sighed through his nose, putting his empty bowl aside. He glanced at the door, though he knew none of the others would be coming down any time soon. "Can you get into the security feeds from here?"
Skye frowned. "Yeah, of course. Why?"
He took her empty bowl. "Something you need to see."
Skye pulled her laptop onto her lap from the table. "Okay mister mysterious." She said. "What am I looking for?"
Coulson swallowed, thinking back. "Go from about 5:30am, four days ago."
Skye did so, getting nothing on the screen but empty plane. "After I was shot?"
He nodded. "We were in Switzerland. Nearest SHIELD medical facility." Skye didn't have many specifics yet on what had happened. "Simmons kept you alive until we got there, we sat up in the waiting room all night, waiting for news."
"Hey," Skye put one hand on his shoulder. "I'm okay now."
"I know." He said softly. "The doctor's said you weren't going to make it though." He went to continue but stopped at movement from the screen. "Don't tell her I showed you this."
Skye nodded, still looking slightly confused, and turned her attention to the laptop. It was May, making her way forcefully through their BUS to the interrogation room where, Skye noticed with a sick feeling in her stomach, Ian Quinn was being held.
May entered the door code with a cold fury, walking into the room. "Finally." Quinn's voice sounded tinny on her laptop speakers. "I was beginning to think you'd forgotten-"His comment was interrupted by May slamming his face into the interrogation table.
Skye jumped at the sudden brutality from May, who was usually so collected. The specialist pulled the chair out from under the stunned man, who collapsed to the ground, hands still cuffed to the table."Wait, you can't!" He cried, clearly not expecting this turn of events.
Even Skye was afraid. If ever she wanted to use the word 'wrath', this was it. "Why? 'Cos you're defenceless?" May grabbed him by the collar."Like she was?" She punched him once, twice, thrice, over and over until Coulson came through the door, shouting at her to stop.
Skye had never seen May do something like this. When she had seen the other woman being violent before, she was efficient, finding the fastest route to incapacitating her target. That was not what this was.
Skye was frozen, watching the events unfold."Outside, now." Coulson said, and Skye didn't think anyone else would be brave enough to make such a demand of the woman, let alone have her follow it. Quinn was bloody and looked to have a broken nose, but was still conscious, twitching slightly on the floor.
May swung around the door frame on her way out. The usual control she had over herself was gone. She was off the rails. "He deserves to die, not her!" Oh God, was she about to cry? May looked so frustrated and broken that Skye wanted to reach through the screen and hug her.
"Agreed. But right now Quinn doesn't matter, only Skye does, and I need you to pilot the plane." It was a strange role reversal, Skye noted. Coulson being the one in control and May being overly emotional and irrational.
"You heard what the doctors said!" Ward was on his guard, Skye could see, unsure of what May was going to do.
"They said there was nothing more they could do for her."Ouch. "But there are doctors who brought me back from the dead. If they can do that I'm betting they can save Skye."
The words did have an effect on May. She looked less like a caged tiger now that a possible route had been shown to her."We can still save her?"
Coulson stopped the video. Skye did not move or speak, too shocked from what she had seen. May beating the stuffing out of Quinn? May practically in tears over seeing her in such a state? Did she, Skye, have the power to rip down the carefully constructed walls around the other woman after knowing her for only a few months?
"What I said before still stands." Coulson said softly. "Don't tell her I showed it to you."
Skye looked up at him, still processing what she had seen. Her eyes widened when she remembered the comment she had made earlier. "Oh my God." She put the laptop aside and tried to get up. "I've gotta apologise."
Coulson placed a hand on her shoulder to stop her. "You can't get up yet."
Skye stared at him, wide-eyed. "But..." A million sentences filled the gap.
Coulson sighed. "I'll talk to her." He said, "Maybe get her to come down a bit later, as long as you stay in the bed, agreed?"
Skye nodded, brow still knitted with worry. "A-and if she doesn't want to," Which honestly she could understand, "Tell her I'm sorry?"
He nodded and stood. "Okay." He said, before leaving.
Skye's eyes returned to the laptop screen, glued to the broken woman frozen in time.
It was two hours later when May came down to the medical pod, alone. She walked robotically, overly cautious.
Skye had never liked beating around the bush. "Hey, I'm really sorry about what I said earlier, I-I didn't mean it. I'm just spending half my time doped on pain meds and the other half in pain, so you shouldn't listen to, like, half of what I say."
May said nothing, she just stared. Skye felt like she was being assessed.
She took a deep breath and forced herself to slow down. "Look, it was mean, and- hurtful, and I'm sorry I said it."
May stared for a moment longer before seeming to be satisfied with what she saw and taking a seat. She still hadn't said a word. Without looking at Skye, she said, "Coulson told you about Quinn."
Skye gaped for a moment. "I- uh- he told me that he's in custody."
May raised one eyebrow.
The hacker caved. "Okay, yeah, he showed me the video footage." May nodded, eyes downcast. "I just- I thought you hated me."
May would never say it, but that hurt most of all. She said nothing. She didn't know what to say. She had first shouted at Skye, then gotten her kicked off the plane, and she had never apologised or explained why. She was meant to protect this girl, and now she couldn't even get out of bed because of the holes ripped through her.
It wasn't meant to be Skye that got hurt, it wasn't meant to be any of them. They were a shield, their team, but the others were the shield that protected people. May was meant to be the one who got hurt. The one who came out bloody and broken from the conflict.
"Stop it." Skye's voice interrupted her thoughts. "I've seen enough ditched kids to know self-destructive thoughts when I see them."
May looked up in surprise, lips parted slightly.
Skye didn't think she'd ever seen the other woman looking so open, at least not in person. "I'm fine now, seriously."
She nodded, but went right back to staring at the floor.
"I'm sorry I scared you." Skye mumbled in another attempt to draw her out. "I should have waited."
"Promise that next time you will and I'll let it go."
A smile touched Skye's lips. It was the most May had said to her in weeks. "Deal."
The pilot nodded again. Skye hand moved unconsciously to scratch at her abdomen. "You shouldn't pick at it." May said. "You could open the wounds again."
Skye looked at her hand, barely noticing what she was doing. "Right, sorry." She grimaced. "I've never had a scar before." She frowned now as if trying to see through the bandages. "Will it scar? I dunno what the miracle juice does."
"It probably will."
Skye looked up. "Coulson did?"
If she was feeling stabler in her friendship with her, Skye might have asked under what circumstances May had seen him shirtless. Instead she said. "It's weird."
May cocked her head slightly. "How so?"
"I dunno, just-" She sighed, "I'm gonna die with these marks on me." Oh. Mortality crisis. Kind of. "It's weird. I don't even know what's gonna happen for the rest of my life, but I know I'm always going to have these scars."
"There are worse scars to have."
Skye laughed softly. "Yeah, I know, just... It's stupid, I was just really proud of how good I looked in a swimsuit." She rolled her eyes. It was vain and stupid, but she had to admit it to someone. May was good at keeping secrets.
It could have been a smile on her face. "SHIELD doesn't have beach days for a reason."
"Tell me it's not a contest at Operations, who's got the most scars."
"I could, but I'd be lying."
Skye grinned. "Contest you'd lose. Someone needs to land a hit to leave a scar."
It was a compliment, and she smiled a little. "This one will leave a mark." May said, pulling the neck of her shirt sideways to momentarily display the stitched up knife wound.
Skye sat up abruptly, eyes wide. "Jesus Christ! What happened?"
It was surprising how shocked Skye was by a little knife wound. Though, May considered, it wasn't so little to Skye. "Interrogation. Russo wanted to know where Coulson and Ward were."
Skye looked slightly sick. "D-did he- do anything else?"
May smirked. "He didn't have the time. Left the knife in."
The hacker seemed to be torn between horror and awe.
May rolled her eyes. "Half your internal organs were turned into putty. This is nothing."
Skye shrugged. "It's different when it's someone else."
May had to agree with that. Still, she couldn't help but imagine what Skye's reaction would have been like if she had seen her when she returned, eyes black from the running makeup, and covered with blood. She smirked internally at the thought.
"Hey." Skye's voice cut through her consciousness. "You know martial arts and stuff, right?"
May's eyes narrowed, but she nodded. "I know most forms. It helps in hand to hand combat."
Skye nodded hesitantly. "Could you, maybe, teach me some time? I just- I don't wanna feel that helpless again."
The older woman was silent for a little while.
Skye backtracked. "If you don't want to or you're too busy then that's fine, I-I just thought I'd ask."
"I'm happy to teach you some basic forms." May said. That was not her problem, apparently. "But there's nothing you can do to stop feeling helpless sometimes."
Skye shrugged again, awkwardly. "You're don't."
May sighed, not looking at the hacker. "I was helpless to stop what happened to you." She said softly. "I was helpless to fix it."
Skye paused. "Kind of want to hug you now."
"Then it's a good thing you can't get out of bed."
Skye grinned, and she was pretty sure that that was a smile on May's face too. "Shake then?" She extended a hand.
May rolled her eyes but stood and took her hand, shaking it. A moment later Skye pulled hard on her arm, bringing her closer still and wrapped her arms tightly around her.
Skye laughed victoriously. "Gotcha."
May rolled her eyes again. "Let me go."
They both knew that she could. Skye was still injured though... "Skye."
"Fiiiine." She loosened her arms and May took a few steps backwards. "Thanks." Skye said, "For- agreeing to the martial arts stuff."
May nodded, but said nothing. Thank yous always made her freeze up.
"And for beating the shit out of Quinn." Skye grinned. "Oh hey, don't tell Coulson I told you. He said not to."
"Don't tell him that you told me that he told you that I broke Quinn's nose?"
Skye laughed. "Sounds stupid when you put it like that."
May's mouth twitched into a smile. "I need to fly us to the Hub." She said, "Do you want me to send one of the others down?"
"Nah, I'm good." Skye waved off the offer. "Can you bring me my laptop though?" She wheedled. She had been trying to get it since she had woken up.
"Good night Skye."
Skye pouted. "'Night."