A/N: Hey guys. Sorry again that it's been so long. Again. But I have four AP exams next week, and of course, instead of studying, my brain has become a slave to my muse. Fuck. But I guess it's great for you guys, because you get a new chapter after an eternity.
Disclaimer: As always, I don't own anything you see here.
Once the plane was in the air and her meager belongings somewhat organized in the bunk Fitz and Simmons had directed her to, Skye's first stop was the lab. She needed to have a physical workup and be put in the system, a fact that made her skin crawl. She'd wiped herself off every database when she was 17, had destroyed any physical copies that denoted her existence, and had kept herself invisible for years, and now she was willingly undoing it. Erasing herself again, if she ever needed to, would be close to impossible.
She ran her thumb over the phone in her pocket and thought of Steve. She didn't need to be erased anymore, she reminded herself. She told herself she was more convinced than she really was.
It took her only a few minutes to decided that she liked the scientists. Simmons was sweet, even if a little excitable, and seemed to be genuinely excited that Skye would be joining them. Fitz was much the same, though he seemed more flustered by her.
She caught herself smiling a bit too much when Simmons stated that she was sure they'd be great friends, and forcibly reminded herself not to get attached.
May appeared in the doorway nearly soundlessly around the time Simmons was drawing blood from Skye to test her type (she'd never bothered to find out). As bickering erupted over where the typing cards were, the senior agent came to stand beside her.
"When she asks about your soulmarks, you're not to say that you've found one." She instructed in a tone firm enough that Skye wasn't even going to try to argue. "Understood?"
"Yeah," she replied with a small nod, arms crossing over her chest, though she wondered if she shouldn't have answered 'Yes ma'am' with the arched eyebrow she got. She'd have to work on that - she'd never been much for authority or titles. Before she could correct herself though, May was gone again, just as silently as she'd come. It was more than a little unnerving, to be honest.
A few moments later, Simmons had finished the typing - she turned out to be O positive.
"Alright then, do you have a soulmark?" She asked with a smile, fingers hovering over a tablet, prepared to fill in the response.
"Uh, yeah. Two."
"A platonic and romantic?" She asked knowingly, already typing.
"No, actually. Two romantic." Simmons' fingers froze, and Skye was pretty sure she saw Fitz wilt a little bit.
"Oh really? How fascinating!" She exclaimed with a grin, "I've never actually met anyone with two romantic soulmarks before. I've heard about it of course, and studies show that it is becoming more and more commonplace but still!"
The best Skye could manage was a thin lipped smile. When she was in the orphanage, the fact that she had two romantic marks had been a source of disdain among the nuns. They hadn't frowned at her as firmly as they did a boy who had three, but they'd made it quite clear that they disagreed with the notion. A romantic and platonic were perfectly acceptable, but two romantic?
"Sorry, I didn't mean..." Simmons quickly apologized, ears turning pink, "I get away from myself."
"No, it's fine," Skye soothed, "It's just- not everyone's quite that open minded."
"Which is completely ridiculous." She added, before amending whatever she'd put on the tablet. "Can I get a picture of them?" She asked. Skye nodded, rolling up her sleeve for the one on her forearm and tugging her t-shirt's collar down to expose her collarbone for the Steve's.
"And have you met either of them?"
"No." It wasn't as though Skye was adverse to lying - hell, a big reason she'd survived on the streets for as long as she had was her ability to lie - but something about lying about Steve made it taste like acid on her tongue. It was ridiculous, but there it was.
"Oh well, it'll be worth the wait when you do." She assured.
"Do you have one?" The question really came without Skye's permission, but Simmons didn't seem to mind much.
"Fitz is my platonic," she told her, affection laced in her voice. The engineer in question turned from what he was working on to beam at her, and really, she should've figured.
"You know there's a rumor that Coulson and May are platonics too?" Fitz told her, lowering his voice as if one of them would walk around the corner the moment he spoke which, considering May's stealth, was entirely possible.
And with that, they were bickering again, this time whether or not the interactions between the higher ranking agents matched typical platonic soulmate interaction. It was at that point Skye chose to make her escape, returning to her bunk as quickly as she can reasonably get there.
Skye's head was spinning.
Since agreeing to consult for SHIELD - a whopping twenty hours ago - she'd kept secrets from locals, violating everything she'd ever stood for, had been shot at, held hostage, and almost sucked out of a plane in flight.
And yet she was more optimistic than she'd been in years. They'd worked together, as a team, and had stopped the bad guys. It felt good to be able to do something not from the other side of the screen.
She'd even come to some strange sort of understanding over worldviews with Ward, whom May had informed her would be taking charge of her training.
Maybe changing sides wouldn't be so bad.
New-found positive outlook aside, she was dead on her feet, and by the time they'd disposed of the 0-8-4 (by flinging it into the sun, no less) she all but stumbled toward her bunk. Despite the fact she'd heard the others complaining about the small size of them, she liked it. It reminded her of her van.
She didn't even bother to change clothes, collapsing unceremoniously on the surprisingly comfortable mattress.
Just as she started to drift off, her phone vibrated against her hip. Cursing under her breath, she rolled over, onto her back, and fished the cell from her pocket. Unlocking the phone was automatic, mechanical, but it took a solid few seconds for her eyes to focus on the caller ID. It was Steve, and as tired as she was, it brought a smile to her face.
She flicked her eyes to the door, assuring herself that it was securely shut, she answered, half mumbling, half humming a greeting.
"Skye?" he asked, something akin to worry in his voice, "Is everything okay?"
"Everything's fine," she assured quickly, stifling a yawn with her wrist, "'M just tired. 'S been a long day."
"You start training?" He asked, humor replacing the concern in his tone.
"No, that's tomorrow morning." She corrected with a slight wince, dread pooling in her stomach. She had no doubt Ward would put her through the wringer. "Things just... didn't go according to plan today." The question they both knew he couldn't ask hung heavy between them, to distract from it, she asked: "How're thing going with Stark?"
"About as good as expected," He replied, and it was impossible to miss the exasperation in his voice, "But I'm heading back to D.C. at the end of the week."
"It'll be good to get back home then, huh?" She asked, ignoring the twist in her gut as she was reminded that neither of them had any idea when they'd be able to see each other again.
"Yeah," he agreed, letting a lull fall in the conversation. She was opening her mouth to say something when he continued, almost tentatively, "Maybe if your unit stops at the Triskelion, I can show you around?"
The thought alone widened her smile, though she barely managed to get out an "Of course," through the yawn that overtook her. She heard him chuckle.
"Get some rest, okay? You sound like you need it."
"Is that an order Captain?" she teased, though the thought of sleep was more than a little bit tempting, and she was pretty sure she could hear him rolling his eyes, though there wasn't any annoyance or irritation in his tone when he answered, just warm affection that made her chest feel funny.
"Nope. Just a suggestion from a concerned soulmate."
It was completely and utterly ridiculous the way those words made her stomach flip in a way it hadn't since her first crush.
"Alright," she conceded, "T-1000's gonna make my life miserable in the morning anyway, no reason to make it any worse than it has to be."
"T-1000?" He asked, confusion plain in his voice.
"My S.O. It's just a nickname." She explained, making a mental note to ask later about the state of his pop culture catchup list. "So I guess I'll talk to you later?"
"Yeah, just, whenever you get the chance." If she'd had any whether he knew that she wasn't supposed to tell anyone about him, it vanished then. His next words, though, caught her off guard. "Stay safe, alright?"
"I'll do my best," She assured, which was as close as she was willing to go to a promise. If nothing else, today had taught her how unpredictable, potentially dangerous, and uncertain things could get in the blink of an eye. "You be careful too, then."
"Yes ma'am," he responded, and she could hear the smile in his voice, practically see it if she tried. "Good night, Skye."
"Good night, Steve."
The line disconnected, and for the first time Skye could remember, she fell asleep with a smile on her face.
So yeah. Again, sorry it took so long. I'll try to do better, promise.
As always, reviews, follows, favorites, etc are always greatly appreciated, and I'll see you next chapter!