I KNOW I said no more fics for a while, but this one was already mostly done and I've done a ton of uni work today, so I get to reward myself. Bugger off uni.
Skye was not jealous. That would be stupid.
She wasn't jealous.
It was just... weird, was all. When May had told her that she had only trained one other agent, Skye hadn't really thought about who that other agent was.
So when the Black Widow had shown up on their doorstep, it was only slightly less shocking than May greeting her with a hug.
Natasha Romanoff. Skye's SO had trained Natasha Romanoff, and Skye couldn't help the feelings of deep inadequacy.
Seriously though. How in Gods name could she measure up to someone like the Black Widow?
Pile on top of that the fact that the two were thick as thieves, and it wasn't really surprising that Skye was a little put out. Not jealous though. She just looked up to May, more than anyone else. She liked spending time with her SO, even if it was just sitting in silence sometimes. It felt safe, and as much like family as anything Skye had ever felt.
Skye couldn't even bring herself to dislike Natasha, because the woman was actually really fun once she decided to let her guard down. She could see why May and Natasha got on. Birds of a feather and all that.
But Fitz was always hanging out with Mack, and Simmons buried herself in work, and Coulson was usually away, and Skye didn't know Bobbi that well, and Hunter was best in small doses.
So yeah, maybe she felt kind of lonely.
She could deal with that though. It wasn't like loneliness was a new thing for her.
So she went to her training at the usual times, and the rest of the time she worked, usually alone. There was something unusual in May's eyes sometimes when she looked at her, but Skye didn't say anything in training. She didn't need anyone's pity. May wanted to spend time with her old student, and that was... fine. Understandable, really, because who knew how long it had been since they had seen each other?
Skye didn't want to get in the way. She didn't want to be that annoying kid who always butted in.
She was sitting in the common area on her laptop when a Russian assassin joined her, flopping down on the other couch with a computer of her own. "Hi." Natasha greeted, and Skye jumped slightly, not hearing her approach.
Another thing she and May had in common. "Hey." Skye greeted, trying to smile, because she really genuinely liked Natasha, and it wasn't her fault that Skye was feeling needy.
She could feel Natasha's green eyes watching her as she worked. "May thinks you're angry with her." She said calmly, watching Skye to see her reaction.
"What?!" Skye actually looked up, baffled. "Why?"
She shrugged. "Apparently you've been avoiding her."
Skye stared for a moment. "I've been working." She muttered, gesturing to her laptop.
"I can see that." Natasha said sarcastically, looking at her own laptop. "Hydra must be hiding on deviantart. No one would suspect."
Skye's eyes snapped back to her laptop and with a few swift keystrokes, she ejected Natasha's virtual presence. At least she was a better hacker than her. God, when did she get so bitter?
Skye sighed heavily. "Look, you guys haven't seen each other in ages, and I just figured you had some catching up to do, and I didn't want to get in the way or anything." She said it all in one breath, trying not to sound too miserable and pathetic.
Natasha watched the younger agent stare forcibly at her computer, refusing to meet her eyes. She remembered the things May had told her about Skye. Foster kid, hacker, picked up by Coulson. Almost died just before Hydra rose. Stubborn, passionate, fun sense of humour, fast learner. "I never had a home either, you know." She said softly, remembering. Wondering what, if anything, May had told Skye about her.
Skye nodded. "Yeah. SHIELD's the closest I've had."
"Me too. I can't even remember my parents."
"I was only a few months old when I was left at Saint Agnes'."
They were silent for a little while. 'parentless and alone' didn't really make for great small talk.
"May doesn't seem like the motherly type, does she?"
Skye laughed, surprised at Natasha's abruptness. "Oh my God, don't even go there."
Natasha grinned. "I'm just saying, I can't imagine her cheering on the sidelines at some little league game."
Skye smiled too. "I dunno, I think she can be kind of motherly." When Natasha rolled her eyes Skye giggled. "Like a mama bear or something. Rip apart anyone who gets near her kids. Did she tell you what she did to Ian Quinn?"
Natasha shook her head, leaning forwards to hear the story.
"I- uh, last year, I got shot, twice, here." Skye gestured to her abdomen, and Natasha nodded.
"I heard about that."
"Oh cool, yeah. Anyway, Ian Quinn was the guy who... did it." Skye swallowed. She didn't like saying that name. "Yeah, they caught him after, but I was pretty messed up, on life support and all that, and May... might have broken his nose."
"And fractured, I dunno- something else in his... face area, and I'm pretty sure he got a scar." Skye grinned sheepishly. "Coulson told me when I woke up, he thought she was gonna beat him to death."
"She might have."
"Yeah." Skye sighed, sinking back into the couch. "I was pretty surprised. We didn't get on too well back then. I thought she hated me."
There was a certain amount of insecurity there, the spy noted. Skye didn't think that May hated her now, obviously, but there was something. Like she was very mindful of overstaying her welcome. Which made sense, Skye had been bounced between foster homes for a lot of her life. "She doesn't hate you now, that's for sure." Natasha threw her a bone. "She talks about you all the time."
Skye rolled her eyes, not buying it. "That's implying that May talks."
Natasha grinned, always on board for teasing her old SO. "Well as percentages go, I'd say you're at least sixty percent of what she talks about." She paused. "You should go see her."
"Nah, it's okay, she's probably busy or something." Skye waved her off, trying to seem casual.
"She wants to talk to you." Natasha said, softly but firmly. "Go. Gym."
Skye opened her mouth to argue, but thought better of it when she saw the steel in Natasha's eyes. "Jeez, pushy. No wonder you two get on."
The Russian smiled as Skye closed her laptop. "You're one to talk. I don't know how Agent stubborn and stubborn junior get anything done."
Skye laughed a little and went off to find her SO.
May was doing tai chi in the gym when Skye entered. "Hey." She said, approaching. "Mind if I join you?"
Her head moved slightly towards the sound and she nodded, assenting. Hoping that Skye had stopped avoiding her now, even if Melinda had no idea why she was doing that to begin with.
May didn't want to admit how much that hurt, how much she missed Skye's presence. She had though.
May kept her breathing steady and continued the movements, Skye slipping into the motion seamlessly beside her. It was good, it was familiar, and it almost got rid of the knot in her stomach.
Not quite though.
Skye spoke up first, once the motion had come to an end. "Hey, I-I'm sorry if you thought I was mad at you, that's really not what I was going for."
May regarded her for a long moment. "Then what were you going for?" Because Skye had definitely been avoiding her.
Skye glanced away, blushing slightly. "I just- I figured you hadn't seen Natasha in ages, and I didn't want to get in the way."
May raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. It was obvious that there was something else. "And?"
The hacker crossed her arms and grimaced, still not meeting her SO's eyes. She was silent, wrestling with the words, trying to work out how to explain without sounding like a complete brat. "You never said that you trained Natasha Romanoff." She finally muttered.
May shrugged, frowning in confusion. "I didn't think it was important."
"Yeah. I know. Just..." There was really no way to say it without sounding like a child, so she just went for it. "How the hell am I supposed to compete with that?"
May was taken aback. "Why would you have to compete?"
Skye rolled her eyes. "Oh come on! We're the only two people you've trained and you're seriously telling me you don't run comparisons?"
May thought about it for a second, then nodded. "Yes, I am telling you that."
Skye sighed exasperatedly and crossed her arms. "Whatever, I'm just being stupid, don't worry about it."
She turned to leave, but May stopped her with one hand on her shoulder. It really did make sense for Skye to feel like that, and she couldn't let her go if she thought that May played favourites.
"Don't." Skye muttered, blushing a little at her own foolishness.
May waited for Skye to meet her eyes before saying. "No one could replace you."
Skye scoffed, but said nothing. The point of foster kids was that they were inherently replaceable. If a family didn't like the one they got then they could trade them in. Skye got traded in a lot. Especially from families that already had kids of their own.
She hadn't really noticed that a part of her was waiting to be replaced in the team too. "It's stupid." She repeated, mumbling.
May shrugged. "So? We've all got issues to work through. It helps to talk about it."
Skye fake coughed the word 'hypocrite'.
A smile flashed across May's lips. She paused, trying to say it right. "You do help me, Skye." She said softly, sincerely, hoping that Skye could understand.
Something in Skye's eyes said that she did, and she smiled awkwardly. "You help me too." Pause. "Sorry I've been avoiding you."
There was an unusual softness to May. She had missed her student more than she would ever admit. "You can tell me if something's bothering you."
Skye grimaced. "I'm not too good at that." She muttered awkwardly, "I-it's not... important."
"I know." In the grand scheme of things it wasn't. "But you can tell me anyway." Friendship was not a concept that May was very good with any more, at least not outwardly. But she wanted Skye to trust her, to know that she could approach her with anything. Not as a superior officer.
Skye nodded. "I'll try." She said softly, then smiled a little. "Natasha came to talk to me earlier."
"I'm not surprised." May said, happy to be on steadier ground. "She likes you." Sue her for having two like-minded students.
Skye grinned and the two headed towards the common area. "Yeah, she's pretty awesome. Did that big intel dump."
May rolled her eyes. "Of course you approve. Any hacker wins in your book."
"Oh come on, it's not hacking if you've got a login! I could have done it in half the time with no password."
"I suppose you have to better than her at something." May said slyly.
May grinned and Skye glared.
All of a sudden there was a shriek in the distance, putting both women on their guard. A moment later a familiar British voice screeched, "PEGGY CARTER WAS HER S.O?!"
May sighed deeply and hung her head. "Damn it Natasha." She cursed.
Skye groaned. "Oh yeah, of course she was. I've got nothing to worry about, huh? Nothing to live up to. No crazy legacy here at all."
May glared. "Shut up, I'm the one who has to hide from Simmons."
The hacker rolled her eyes. "I'd feel sorry for you if you hadn't kept it all a secret."
"I'm a spy!" May defended before fleeing from the fast approaching footsteps of their biochemist.
Skye laughed, watching her SO retreat just as Natasha rounded the corner, ahead of Jemma. "So am I." She said softly, smiling and preparing to stall them.