a.n. Funny you should say so Silverstream XD (Dude, we should email or something, are you on tumblr?). Really, it was a bit of a dogfight between the last chapter of Apologies and this, I started this right after the finale and alternated between the two, it just depended what kind of mood I was in which I worked on, and I've been in a bit of a rut trying to juggle my job and my uni and my other job and working out NEXT semester's uni, so in the end I polished off Apologies first. Also this is longer.
Melinda May closed her locker door with a sigh, packing the gun in her holster. She looked at her bag with a tiny smile. For the first time in a long time she felt... calm. At peace. Which after everything that had happened was a bit of a surprise. It felt like the end though, of everything that had happened in Bahrain, everything that had come from it. There were so many things she hadn't known, hadn't been able to comprehend or come to terms with.
Now she had.
So now she was going to Vegas to hustle some poker.
She had told Coulson that she was taking a break, let him think that she was going with Andrew. She could punish him a little, right? She had time to herself, and the idea didn't seem as distasteful as it would have a few weeks ago. It didn't frighten her, it didn't worry her. She knew that her team could look after themselves, and Melinda wasn't afraid of being with herself, not anymore.
She went to raid her bunk for socks, taking in the musty mechanical smell of their base as she threw some spare clothes into her bag. She would miss her team, but she needed some time to herself.
A moment later she heard footsteps come to an abrupt stop and a shocked gasp.
May turned to see a horrified looking Skye standing in the doorway, eyes wide. "You- you're leaving?" She asked, heart in her throat.
Melinda immediately realised the mistake. "Skye-"
"You can't just go, we need you!"
"Who am I supposed to train with if you leave-"
"Skye!" May raised her voice a little and Skye fell silent, though she did look very upset. Melinda smiled a little. It was nice to know that she cared. "I'm just taking a vacation. I'll be back in a couple of weeks."
Skye stared for a moment, wide eyed, then exclaimed, "Well why didn't you say that?" And threw her arms around her SO.
May smiled warmly and returned the hug. "I tried, but you kept interrupting."
"I hate you."
Skye buried her face in May's shoulder. "M'sorry."
Melinda let one hand come up to gently stroke her hair. "It's okay."
"I'm really gonna miss you." Her voice hitched, and that was it.
May pulled away with a gentle smile on her face. "Let's get some tea." She offered. She hadn't really spoken with Skye properly in weeks.
"Don't you have to go? Catch a plane or something?" Skye fidgeted with her hands. She didn't want to ask May to stay when it was the first time she had ever seen her willing to take some time off, let alone actually wanting to.
May rolled her eyes. "It's my holiday, I can do what I want. And I want to have a cup of tea and have you tell me how you're going to start this task force. I've still got a few hours." She added.
Skye's mouth twitched into a shy smile and she nodded. "Okay." May left her mostly packed bag and the two began to walk to the kitchen. "Where are you going anyway? Oh no, let me guess," A truly impish grin now. "Vegas."
Melinda smiled too. "Is it a crime to want to hustle some millionaires for their retirement fund?"
Skye snorted. "Crime not to I'd say."
When May was filling up the kettle Skye felt compelled to apologise again. It was easier since she was facing the sink. "I'm really sorry."
Melinda's head turned slightly, and a moment later she put the kettle on. "You said that already." She said, facing her student.
"I know- just- I mean-" Skye wanted to shrink away, even though May's eyes weren't as piercing as usual. "For everything I said too. I didn't- I-I'm sorry." She had no defence, and knew that May didn't appreciate excuses.
The unbridled emotion shining in May's eyes threw Skye a little, but she had been noticing the difference to her over the last several days. "I know."
Skye looked like she wanted to hug her again, but the tea was made, so she settled for curling up on the couch beside her SO.
May sighed contentedly. "Your powers seem like they're under control."
"Yeah," Skye said. "I probably would have sank that boat if they weren't." She smiled and sank further into the couch, not quite leaning on May, but pretty close.
"I'm glad you've got it down now." May said without a hint of bitterness. "I'm glad you're not hurting yourself."
"Me too." Skye mumbled and looked up at her. "I'm sorry I brought up Bahrain."
"You don't have to keep apologising."
"I do if you keep brushing it off."
May rolled her eyes again and grasped Skye by the shoulders, looking her directly in the eyes. "I forgive you." She said clearly and firmly. "So stop apologising."
This time Skye did hug her, almost knocking them both off the couch. "Thank you."
"It's okay Skye." It felt nice to hold her. She had missed Skye. "Bahrain... it's over." She had the full story, after almost a decade. It all made sense now, ans the war that it had started was finished. Melinda would always remember that little girl, but she could admit to herself now that there was nothing she could have done.
"Good, I'm happy for you." Skye said firmly, but then hesitated a little. "There is something I've been meaning to tell you though, but you have to promise not to freak out."
Oh great. "What now?"
Skye paused again, then poked May on the shoulder. "This shirt isn't black. Are you feeling okay?"
Melinda scoffed and shoved Skye away. The girl fell backwards on the couch laughing, and May smiled herself. This felt nice. Messing around with Skye, teasing. The hacker giggled, sitting up. "It looks good." She said sincerely. "You look good."
"Thanks." May mumbled, then changed the subject, taking a sip of her tea. "Have you thought of your code name yet?"
Skye shrugged. "Mack's been calling me 'tremors', that could work." She didn't seem convinced though.
May turned up her nose. "I don't think so. Tremors are so small sometimes you don't even notice them. You don't tremor Skye, you-"
They both smiled. "I like that better."
"Me too." Skye grinned. "Makes me feel powerful."
"You are powerful." Melinda shifted slightly, stretching her legs out. "There aren't many people who can take me down."
Skye looked away. She didn't like thinking about it. "It doesn't count. I cheated."
"I've told you that you take any advantage you have. Powers, kicks to the nuts, biting, anything it takes to win." She shrugged. "You won, Skye."
The younger agent only looked sick. "No way I could stand a chance without my powers."
May sighed softly. "Everything you've done Skye, everything you've achieved, controlling your powers, standing up for what you believe in, fighting to protect people that you've never met, it's remarkable. Having powers doesn't diminish that." Skye was looking down, embarrassed. "You did good."
"Thanks." She mumbled, the compliment making her smile despite herself. Skye didn't really do very well with praise, receiving so little of it growing up. She usually dismissed it, disregarded any positive words offered, because they were either a lie or a complete joke.
This was May though, and she never said nice things lightly. May was honest and tough. She was kind and warm too though. She was a lot of things. She was Skye's SO, her friend, the closest thing she had to a mother.
Melinda frowned at a rumble in the couch, but wrote it off as a quinjet coming in on the other side of the base and had some more tea. When the feeling continued, longer than it would take a quinjet to land, she glanced at Skye. "You okay?"
Skye nodded. "Yeah." She looked uncertain about something.
Melinda raised an eyebrow. "You- uh," She gently grasped Skye's bicep for confirmation. "You're... shaking."
"Not hurting yourself?" Dumb question maybe, but May would be angry if there was any chance that she was.
Skye shook her head, raising one hand to mess with her hair in what Melinda realised was a deliberate attempt to hide her face, which was getting slightly red.
So it wasn't serious. Skye wasn't hurting herself, and she seemed almost embarrassed. "You doing that on purpose?"
Skye laughed nervously, though she was smiling. "Not really."
May frowned bemusedly. "You sound like a motor." She said, and Skye grinned. "Here." She grabbed at Skye's arm and held her student's hand against her shoulder, humming in false relief. "Mmmm, that's been killing me."
The hacker laughed in surprise, wrenching her arm back. "Screw you!" She exclaimed, and May smiled too.
There was something about it that tipped May off. The way the buzzing oscillation changed in time with what appeared to be Skye's breathing. Melinda shook her head, wondering what had happened that led her to the point where this was a valid question. "Are you purring?"
"No!" Something in the abruptness of Skye's reply, the way that she was now bright red and refusing to look Melinda's way, confirmed the opposite.
She couldn't hold in the laugh that bubbled out of her. "You're purring."
"I am not!"
Melinda grinned so widely her cheeks ached. "Then what are you doing?"
Skye crossed her arms and scowled, though the purring notably continued. "My powers are reacting to emotions, that's all."
"Mm-hm, and when you're happy they react by-"
"We're not calling it that."
"Well we're not calling it purring either!"
May snorted. "You're not calling it purring you mean."
Skye groaned. "Stop it! I'm a dog person damnit!" She whined.
"Well you're not wagging your tail."
The hacker whimpered dramatically and buried her face in her hands. "Shut up! I hate you!"
May grinned; the purring buzzing thing still hadn't stopped. "Pretty sure you don't." There was something endearing about all of this. Skye was happy, here and now, sitting with her and just talking. This might even be the first time this had happened. Melinda felt a surge of affection for the hacker. Maybe if she had powers she'd be purring too.
Skye was still trying to bury her face as far in her hands as best she could. "Screw you."
May smiled affectionately and wrapped one arm around her student. "You're something else." The soft shaking felt strange on her arm, like pins and needles.
Skye snorted, timidly removing her hands from her face. "Like you can talk."
"You're the one who almost disabled a jumbo jet when you had a bad dream."
"Yeah, and you're the one who ran onto the jet when I was having a bad dream."
The refutation made May grin. She could see exactly what Skye was saying. I might be the most messed up person ever, but you love me, so you're worse. "Hmm." She acknowledged. "But you are the one who's purring, so..."
Skye shoved her SO. "I'm not purring!"
"Who's purring?" Jemma entered the kitchen, noting the two on the couch.
Skye glared and May smirked. "Well..."
"May, I swear to God-"
"It looks like Skye's powers still react to emotions-"
"I will bring this base down on you I swear."
Simmons seemed to be catching on, smiling and sitting down on the single chair. "So when you're happy you start-"
"Vibrating!" Skye cut in, then immediately wished she hadn't.
Jemma laughed surprisedly, covering her mouth with one hand, and May was grinning so widely and wickedly that it almost looked painful.
Skye groaned and sank as far back into the couch as she could, turning face down. "Or purring, we can call it that!"
Melinda bit her lip to keep from laughing. "I don't know Skye, that seems a little misleading."
"Yes," Jemma said in agreement, "Purring really describes a sound, whereas what you're doing does seem to be some kind of vibration."
Jemma grinned and addressed May. "Just think, if we give Skye ice cream and hook her up to a generator then we would have free energy!"
A pillow impacted with her face, hurled by the hacker.
Melinda laughed softly. This was nice. First Skye couldn't control her powers when she was upset, but now it was the other way around. It was... sweet.
Jemma smiled affectionately at Skye's cowering form and turned to May, mercifully changing the subject. "So I hear you'll be leaving us?"
She nodded, ignoring her student. "Just for a little while. I need a vacation."
"You deserve one." She said genuinely. "But we'll miss you."
"Speak for yourself." Skye muttered.
Melinda smirked. "Careful, or I'll make you train with Hunter while I'm gone."
Skye scoffed and sat up. "Please, like he's gonna make me get up at five in the morning."
"You're underestimating how scared of me he is."
"You're underestimating how lazy he is."
They seemed to have reached an impasse, but a moment later Skye realised something. "Hey, how come Jemma heard that you were leaving and I have to see you pack a bag to get clued in?"
Jemma grinned. "I read the monthly reports, Skye."
Skye scowled, but glanced at the clock. "How long until your flight?"
The other two looked as well. "I should go soon." May said, draining the rest of her mug and standing up.
Jemma surprised them all by hugging the other woman tightly. "We'll miss you." She said again. "If anything happens, I'll call."
"Thank you." Melinda mumbled, returning the embrace.
Jemma drew away and May's eyes turned to Skye.
She crossed her arms stubbornly. "Oh no, you get no hugs from me." She said, trying not to smile. "Not until you admit that I don't purr."
May grinned and wrapped her arms around Skye anyway, ignoring her protests. "I'll miss you." She mumbled next to Skye's ear, then smiled wickedly at the subtle rumble that ran through her student. "And you're purring again."
"Go to hell." Skye said, scowling and pulling away.
"Vegas Skye, I'm going to Vegas."
"If you don't take pictures I'll be pissed." She crossed her arms and smiled. "And I want souvenirs."
Jemma rolled her eyes. "Oh for goodness sakes."
May just grinned. "What about a yacht?"
That got a laugh out of both younger agents. "Oh my God, can you imagine Coulson's face if you came back with a yacht?" Skye giggled
Jemma grinned. "Well we do have room for it, so why not?"
Melinda looked at the scientist, brow furrowed. "You used to be innocent." She said, as if wondering where it had all gone wrong.
Skye laughed and Jemma grinned. "Yeah, remember how boring that was?" The hacker joked.
Jemma looked quite smug really. "Well you are the one who taught me to lie May, so really it's your fault."
She rolled her eyes. "I'm going to Coulson's office to debrief." Melinda said firmly. "I'll come back after that to say goodbye."
"Pretty sure Coulson's going to be the one without his 'briefs'." Skye muttered as she left, and Simmons giggled.
"I- I should go and talk to Fitz." She said with barely contained excitement. "He- the two of us should talk."
Skye grinned at the happiness her friend was exuding. "And you'll definitely be talking?"
Jemma scoffed and Skye knew that she was right. "Of course we will Skye, don't be crass." The knowing glint in the hacker's eyes made her blush and she hurried away. "I'll see you later for dinner!"
Skye watcher the scientist go and felt the content rumbling grow in her chest, which she made no effort to hold back. Everything felt right. In it's place. All of her friends were happy and safe, and her team finally felt like they were clicking again.
The thought made her happy, and she purred.