Skye would be lying if she said she wasn't afraid.
She had been sitting in the cockpit, reading over a pilot's manual that May had lent her. She wanted to learn to fly. She wanted to learn a lot of things really, flying was probably number three or four on her list. She was actually pretty good so far, identifying different knobs and dials, imagining taking off and landing, even if she was yet to actually fly the plane.
A lot had happened since San Juan, but they had been coping as best they could. Skye's powers were more or less under control now, and she had even begun to use them in the field, though they were careful to use her infrequently enough that no one outside SHIELD suspected it was her.
Still, nothing had scared her as much as Melinda May walking into the cockpit, locking the door behind her and saying, "I need a favour."
Skye stared. It wasn't that it was May, because she wasn't even remotely afraid of her any more. She was pale, sweaty and looked a little scared though. "What is it?"
May swallowed. "I was in the lab with Fitz and Simmons and they were experimenting with a truth serum, and they accidentally got me with the gas."
Skye balked. "Are you okay?"
"I feel dizzy, my head hurts, and I can't lie. I can't even not answer."
The hacker stared. "Wow. You really can't." May never liked to admit to injury or illness unless it was severe. Dizziness didn't seem to count. Ever.
May sighed and sat down in the pilot's seat. "That's what I said."
Skye frowned, putting down the book. "What do you want me to do?"
Footsteps approached the door. "Don't tell them I'm here."
Skye's face cleared and she nodded. She stood and as casually as possible, walked out the door, pulling it shut behind her. "Hey guys." She said, seeing Fitzsimmons, "What's up?"
"Skye," Simmons said, brow knitted with worry, "Have you seen May?"
"Not since this morning." She said. "Why?"
Fitz stuttered, "W-we were t-t-t," He took a deep breath, "Testing a-a truth serum, a-a-and a-accidentally hit her w-w-w-with it."
Skye grimaced as if she didn't know that already. "Oh jeez. Is she okay?"
Simmons nodded, "We think so. The serum should wear off in an hour or so. Once we told her that she ran off somewhere."
"There are no side effects. Seriously?"
The scientists looked guilty. "Some mild nausea, perhaps?"
Jemma shrugged. "As much emotional distress as would be expected. Truth serums tend to put a fair amount of pressure on people."
Skye rolled her eyes. "I can check the security cameras from my laptop." She said, "But you know that if May doesn't wanna be found we won't find her. Especially if she's 'emotionally distressed'. Maybe ask Coulson?" She knew that their new Director had been moving around a lot between different areas of the Playground today. It would take the two a while to find him.
Fitzsimmons nodded. "O-okay." Fitz said.
"Call us if you find her." Simmons said.
Skye nodded and went back into the cockpit.
"I told them to ask Coulson." She said to the unusually timid looking agent. "Should take them a while to find him."
May nodded. "Thank you."
"I thought SHIELD didn't have a truth serum."
"We do now."
Skye laughed softly. "Yeah, I guess." She was silent for a moment. "Why me?" She knew that asking May questions that she couldn't avoid was wrong, but she was curious.
May sighed. "Fitzsimmons babble." She said, "They don't mean to, but they do, and they'd just end up asking hundreds of questions that I don't want to answer." She paused. "And I'm not hiding anything from you."
Skye smiled sadly. "Guess that explains why you didn't go find Coulson, huh?" She had noticed how the two had been acting around each other, and even liked trying to make May admit that she had feelings for him, but the other woman had said nothing. Skye suspected that it was more because she was afraid of saying the words than admitting it to Skye. She certainly didn't deny it.
Skye put one hand on May's. "He feels the same way, you know?"
"No he doesn't."
Skye was floored, partly because it was the closest to an admission she had ever gotten, but mostly because, high on truth serum as she was, May really believed that. "He lights up every time you walk into the room."
"Skye, please. I don't want to talk about this." May knew that she could try to notice his behaviour more. To see if maybe he returned her feelings for him, if he looked at her in the same way that she couldn't help looking at him sometimes. Friendship was good though. Friendship was safe and stable.
Normally Skye would push. Would prod and try to get something out of her, try to convince May to act, to find Coulson and say something to him. But she was hopped up on truth serum and was pale and looked ill, and now she was upset on top of it all. "Sorry." She muttered and let it drop. "So... Cats or dogs?"
"Dogs." May said, then raised an eyebrow as if to say 'Really? That's your question?'
Skye grinned and lounged back in her seat, "Huh, took you for more of a cat person."
May shrugged. "I like a loyal pet. You?"
"Cats." May narrowed her eyes. "Oh shut up! I don't want some slobber monster following me around all day!"
Melinda smiled softly, relaxing a little. She and Skye had been talking a lot lately, sometimes about serious matters, sometimes about nothing at all. When she thought about it like that, this didn't seem so bad.
"Hey, when did you and Coulson meet anyway?"
"The Academy" Knee-jerk answer again, out of her control, but Skye wasn't asking questions that she would be avoiding in any other instance. "My mother's a legend, and he was Fury's golden boy, so we were paired together and worked really well that way."
Skye smiled. "Like the Fitzsimmons of operations?"
Skye bit her tongue to avoid asking the obvious question. It wasn't that she wasn't curious. It had taken her a long time to earn May's trust and friendship though, and she valued that. If she wanted to talk about that then she would, when she had a choice in the matter.
The older woman noted Skye's lack of prodding at the sore spot and felt a surge of affection for the hacker.
Skye sat up, pointing at her victoriously. "Oh. Ha! I've got you now!"
Skye leaned forwards, grinning cheekily, looked her dead in the eyes and said, "When is your birthday?"
"Twentieth of November." May said, then snorted with laughter. "Happy?" Skye had been trying to get it out of her for months. Even hacked her personnel file only to find a year, but no month or day.
She laughed delightedly. "So happy. I don't think I've ever been this happy."
May rolled her eyes and shook her head, but she was smiling. It was nice that the worst Skye could come up with when she couldn't lie was her birthday.
Skye was genuinely touched that May could sit there and let her throw random questions at her, trusting that Skye wouldn't ask anything that she didn't want to answer, even though they both knew that Skye's thirst for knowledge was very strong. She thought back and realised that she had never really been in a situation where she had the upper hand on May. Never had had more control over proceedings than her. None of them had, except maybe Coulson. This was a different kind of trust. "Hogwarts house?"
Skye smiled. "You should do the test." Then she tilted her head, contemplating her for a moment. She snorted, one hand coming up to cover her mouth. "Oh my God, you're totally a Hufflepuff."
"I don't know what that means Skye." But she was smiling a little. Skye's happiness was contagious.
Before Skye could reply there was a knock at the door. Both heads snapped around.
"May?" It was Coulson. "You in there?"
"Yes." She replied against her will, and both May and Skye cursed internally.
There was a slight pause. "You alright?"
"I can't lie." Against her will, but she did feel better than before. "But I'm okay."
Another pause. "You know you can come to me with anything, right?"
Skye could see that May didn't like this. They both knew that the right questions would end with her admitting to something she didn't want to.
There was some tension and anger in Coulson's voice now. "Are you not telling me something?"
Damnit. Melinda bowed her head, hating this. "Yes."
Just as May opened her mouth, Skye's hand clamped over it, muffling any response. Once she was satisfied that she wasn't going to say anything else, Skye released her and stood, a glare in her eyes to rival May's own, and went out the door.
The look in the young agents eyes had Coulson taking a step backwards. "Back off."
Despite his initial shock, Coulson found his anger again fairly quickly. He scowled. "Stay out of this Skye. You know how I feel about secrets." He hadn't known that she was in there too.
"I don't care." Skye said firmly. "You're being an ass." She had never spoken to Coulson like this before, and a part of her was shaking in her boots. Then again, she had rarely had cause to speak to Coulson like this.
"She's keeping secrets."
"Oh, jeez, my mistake!" She cried sarcastically, and the floor shook beneath them in response to her anger. "Let me go first then if you wanna hear secrets! I'll tell you all about my secret deviantart account filled with drawings of me as a fox!" It was a testament to how pissed off she was that her powers had been set off. It had been weeks since that had happened.
Coulson glared, but he had to acknowledge that she had a point.
"Are you seriously telling me that you don't trust people unless you know every detail about them? That's not trust, that's just sad."
That finally made Phil stop, and he sighed. He had promised himself and Melinda that they would never go down this road. After everything that had happened with the phone line and Fury, he never wanted it again. Yet here he was, picking a fight with his drugged partner because she wasn't telling him something, which could be anything at all. It could be what she had for breakfast for Gods sakes.
"You're right." He said quietly, hanging his head. He knocked softly on the door to the cockpit. "I'm sorry. Come talk to me when it's worn off, okay?"
"Okay." May's voice was softer than his.
Skye watched him go, waiting until their Director had disappeared from sight before returning to the cockpit.
"You okay?" She asked awkwardly, settling back into the co-pilot's seat.
May nodded. "Yes." If Skye didn't know better she would say that she was on the verge of tears.
Then she remembered what Simmons had said about emotional distress, and realised that she was probably right. "He's not gonna fire me or anything, is he?" She joked.
Skye cursed inwardly. Questions were not going to do any good. She thought for a moment. "Oh, hey, Hogwarts houses!" They had totally been talking about that, right?
May looked up, at least semi-interested.
Skye smiled, but it was a little forced. It didn't matter though, she just wanted to draw attention away from how much of a snarling animal she turned into when one of her friends was unhappy. "You've seen the movies, right?"
"Yeah." Skye was pretty certain that she wouldn't have replied at all if not for the serum. "What's a Hufflepuff?"
Skye snorted. "Sorry, if you got that reference it'd be hilarious."
May said nothing. It wasn't even that she looked unhappy, Skye noticed. She just looked flat.
She could punch Coulson in the face. "So, there's four houses, and they've all got their thing, you know?"
Skye kicked herself internally for asking another rhetorical question. "Right, sorry." She mumbled. "Anyway, so, they've got their... traits, I guess. Griffindors are brave and strong and all that stuff. I'm a Griffindor." She added with a hint of pride. "Ravenclaws are the smart ones, and Slytherins are meant to be kind of cunning and ambitious. They're the bad guys, if you can't tell."
Melinda nodded slowly, absorbing the information. "So... you're saying I'm not brave, smart or ambitious?" A hint of the light was back in her eyes, and she had to hide a tiny smile at Skye's floundering.
"What, no! No! I- No!" Oh God, when put like that Skye felt like the most horrible person ever. "That's not what I meant!"
The grin broke through her defences and Skye realised that she'd been had.
She glared at her SO half-heartedly. May finally released the tension she had been holding since Phil had knocked on the door, and Skye relented, smiling and fixing her gaze on the flight controls in front of her. "Hufflepuffs are loyal." She mumbled, not looking at May. "They're loyal and hardworking. I think... without those things, there's not much point in being brave or smart. Being brave, it comes from loyalty, and being smart comes from hard work. Ambition... I think that working hard can get you pretty far without that."
Skye finally looked up, and grinned at what she saw. "Are you blushing?"
May battled with it for a moment before the serum won out. "N- yes." She grumbled.
Skye laughed. "Awwww!"
"Shut up." She crossed her arms and scowled at the floor.
Skye giggled. "You don't scare me. Fluffy little Hufflepuff." She even went so far as to mess up her hair, getting a vehement glare and a slap on the wrist.
Skye smiled genuinely. "Love you."
It wasn't a question, but the itch to respond was still there. May knew that she could probably overcome it, but... "Love you too."
Skye smiled more brightly than Melinda had seen in a long time and hugged her tightly, releasing her a moment later. "Has it started to wear off yet?"
She could feel the answers bubbling up inside of her, but May resisted. "N- Y- I think so." She said, already having held back the initial response.
Skye lounged back in her seat. "Let's keep testing then. Am I any good as a field agent?"
"No, you suck." She teased her student after a pause. "I guess it hasn't worn off yet."