After the events of 2x10 'What They Become', everybody got out of the city and is now back on the Bus on their way to the Playground. Tripp is dead. Raina has turned into some kind of weird porcupine-creature and they are not sure what kind of powers Skye acquired. For safety reasons FitzSimmons suggested she stay in the Cage on the Bus, because in there she won't be able to hurt anybody by accident, while FitzSimmons try to figure out what might have happened. Coulson goes into the Cage to check up on Skye. [Set just hours after the last scene (eyeless-Inhuman(?)- phone call scene not included)]

DISCLAIMER: I own none of this show or of these characters.

Coulson closed the door behind him when he entered the cage. The titanium-alloy walls giving him that instant sort of weird mix of feeling claustrophobic and safe at the same time. Skye sat in fetal position near corner against the wall opposite the door. She was crying and shaking from the sobs ripping through her. Coulson moved towards her.

It was only then that she really registered that he had actually entered and was nearing her. Her fear kicked in again, and she went into a flight response.

"No, no, don't come near me!", she tried to move away from him further into the corner.

"Please, leave! Please! I don't want to hurt you, I don't want to hurt you!"

Hearing her so panicked and so afraid was a stab to his heart (again), but he wasn't just going to leave. While she turned her head away from him and hugged her own knees even tighter, he walked towards her and sat down to her right with his back against the wall and his knees pulled up.

He looked at her with warmth and understanding and put his right hand gently on her shoulder. He cared so much about this girl. He felt that they had clicked right from the beginning. When he had interrogated her and she had questioned their methods and slightly embarrassed them for not know about Centepied, he had found her tough in her own way and kind of extraordinary for what she had accomplished on her own with her laptop in a van. Even when it had seemed she betrayed the team, he had found it very difficult, because he had already begun to care for her and desperately wanted to believe she was on their side. Luckily, he was able to let all his mixed feelings of mistrust go, when she had saved him from Raina and Centepied. From then on they had become closer and closer. It had been extra hard to keep his secret carving from her, even though it was to protect her. She really, truly became the daughter he never had. He had to admit to himself that seeing her father had brought up major feelings of jealousy and protectiveness over Skye. He was glad that at least, for now, he had won that battle and she was here with him again. That she was save and by his side and if he could, he would never let her to leave again. He knew though, that she was an adult and a very capable agent now, so that he would eventually have to let her go again on missions into the unknown.

He could feel Skye trembling under his hand. Weirdly, it also seemed like the floor was shaking a little bit around her as well; like a mini-earthquake. He was probably imagining things. It must be the adrenaline catching up to him, he thought.

"I'm going to hurt you and I don't want to hurt you! You're the last person I want to hurt! Please just leave…", she began muttering again.

He couldn't stand to watch her deal with this all alone anymore. He moved his left arm around her shoulder and pulled her against him. She half-heartedly tried to fight the hug, because she was actually very afraid of accidentally hurting him, but she was exhausted and she had missed him and wanted his comfort. After meeting her psycho-father, she desperately wanted his comfort. She wanted someone that actually felt like her father. She wanted the unconditional love and affection of a parent, which her father seemed to want to give, but she was angry with him and he was a murderer. It didn't feel right. But with Coulson, sitting here with his arm around her shoulder because her cared so much for her and would always be there for her; that feels right. She didn't need her biological father, when the person giving her the unconditional love she wanted was already sitting next to her. So she let herself relax her head on his shoulder.

Feeling her lean into him, he moved his right arm around her front too and pulled her even further towards him. She shifted her head more to the front of his shoulder, half on his chest. Luckily he wasn't wearing his bulletproof-vest anymore, so she could feel his heartbeat beneath her right ear. He moved his head to rest his chin on the top of her head, providing both her and himself with a with a feeling of protectiveness. He felt warmth spreading through his body, as she clinged and snuggled into him a little bit. He only partly feels bad for thinking it, but he was very happy that she wants him and not daddy dearest. He has never been an actual father, but he thinks that this is what it feels like. He loves her and he knows he will always be there for her when she needs him. Being the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and she one of his agents will sometimes make things complicated, but when she needs him, she will always come first for him. And he will do his very best to protect her. Always.

He too had been running and fighting that day, so he smelled a quite sweaty and a bit of gunpowder and smoke; but she could still smell his cologne through it and the familiarity of it calmed her. She sighed.

They sat like that for what could have been minutes or hours. Time didn't exist at that moment. When her breathing was evened out and she felt calm enough, Skye broke the silence:

"I just can't believe he's not coming back… He should not have been… Down there."

She didn't have explain; they both knew who she was talking about. Coulson sighed, momentarily thinking of how he was going to answer.

"The Obelisk triggered a massive earthquake", he said, "imagine how much worse it could have been if he hadn't destroyed it." Tears started forming in her eyes again and Coulson could practically physically feel her grieve, guilt and self-destructive thoughts.

"Trip died a hero", he emphasized. She nodded against his chest.

He heard her sniffle and handed her the handkerchief in his pocket. The old-fashioned gentleman he secretly aspired to be should always have a proper handkerchief with him for such occasions. She took the handkerchief and blew her nose.

When she tried to give it back to him, he said "no that's ok, you keep it".

"Thanks", she said, "I didn't mean to get snot and tears all over your shirt and tie…". A small laugh escaped him.

"Don't worry about it, I have others. Also, I'm pretty sure it's not the worst thing I've gotten on there today."

Against his chest, he could feel a small smile forming on her face. It was only short-lived though, because the image of stone-Trip disintegrating flashed before her eyes again.

"I miss him so much already", she said with a quite, trembling voice. His heart broke a little again, because the smart, witty agent had grown very much on him too.

"I know", he answered, "me too".

The end.