a.n. Okay, so back story for this one, it's basically me venting because my oboe cracked the other day, and it messed me up a bit.
The whole team had been surprised when Skye volunteered to clear out the Bus. She was usually the one shirking those kind of responsibilities, not picking up extras. Jemma had already cleared out the lab, and May had removed and disposed on the contents of Ward's bunk at the first opportunity, mostly so that none of the others would have to do it.
Most of the rest of the plane was a mess of Hydra stuff mixed up with their gear, and it needed to be sorted into what was useful and what was junk.
Not really an interesting job to volunteer for, but no one was complaining that Skye wanted to spend her afternoon off doing it. They were all aware that there was more to it than that though, and had each approached Skye making sure she was okay, even Fitz in his stuttering sentences, who preferred to remain silent now.
Melinda May knew that there was something else to Skye's offer. But she also knew with absolute certainty that the young agent was not telling what it was.
When Skye didn't show up for dinner however, she felt the need to go and find her.
May did have to admit that Skye was a fast worker when she put her mind to it. The Bus interior almost the same as it had before the Hydra take over.
Skye was sitting in the main area with her back to May, though she had probably heard her coming.
She spoke up just in case. "You missed dinner."
Skye's head turned slightly, but she didn't move. Instead, she spoke in a flat voice. "I've been looking for my laptop." She said softly. "You guys wanted to know why I'd clean the Bus, that's why. I wanted to find it."
May approached her, and her lips parted slightly in surprise. Skye's laptop was on the table in front of her. Or what was left of it.
"I found it." Skye said tremulously, looking up at her SO. "I guess Garrett was pissed that I got away."
Melinda put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "You okay?" This wasn't really her area, but she had to try.
Skye shrugged on the attempt at comfort. "It was just a computer May." She said coldly. Even saying it out loud felt like a betrayal, like an insult.
May recognised the tone from when she used it. "Was it?"
The question cracked the hard face Skye was trying to put on, and she pursed her lips, shaking her head. She didn't speak, and Melinda sat down beside her. The computer was nigh snapped in half.
"Nothing you can do?"
More shaking of the head, but Skye seemed to have enough control over herself now to speak. "Hacking's the first thing I was ever good at." She said softly. "I- when I was a kid I tried so hard to be good at whatever foster families wanted, sport, music, dancing, and it was never enough for them." She was laying herself bare here, and it terrified her, not least of all because it ended up being May that she broke in front of this time. "A-and I picked up the computer- this computer, and a few months later I could hack into the FBI."
May's hand was back on her shoulder, and this time she didn't push it away, instead wiping her eyes and choking in a breath. "It was the first thing I had that was worth anything."
"The first thing that made you worth something?"
Skye sniffled. "Yeah." And hey, sometimes the laptop did seem like it was alive. It didn't let her down, not when she really needed it. She mentally urged it to go faster when doing a difficult hack, took care of it, kept it updated and free of viruses. "It's stupid."
"It's not stupid." May said. "Objects don't disappoint you." Skye was quiet and Melinda sighed. "You poured your soul into this thing. Of course it matters."
Skye squeezed her eyes shut. "It wasn't even a good computer."
She felt May's shoulder nudge her as she shrugged. "So? It was still yours." When you owned something it became better, perfect even. It became yours.
Skye bowed her head. "Tell me it's not important, please. Tell me that there are fifty ones better than it inside right now." Cold. She wanted May to tell her that she was wrong to care. That her laptop had only ever been a lump of plastic, wires and keys.
"I'm not going to do that Skye."
The hacker trembled slightly, reaching out a hand to brush over the mess of smashed keys and broken wires.
Melinda wrapped one arm around her student. "What do you want to do?"
"I don't know." The thought of just throwing it out with the trash made her queasy. Burying it was too much, too personal, and everyone knew that getting dirt in with the wires would ruin a computer.
"When you're ready, why not talk to Fitz." May suggested softly. "You two could repurpose some of the parts, maybe build a new one from what's left." And it would be a good way to get Fitz working again, thinking again.
Skye mulled it over for a minute. "I'd like that." She whispered. "Just... not right now."
"No." Melinda agreed. "How about we do some practice at the shooting range now?"
It was a nice offer, the idea did make Skye feel marginally better. Hacking wasn't the only thing she could do, not anymore. Nothing was broken on the shooting range, other than the targets, and it would be a nice distraction. "Sure." She said, brightening ever so slightly before glancing back to her destroyed laptop. "I just- I shouldn't leave it here." She mumbled. Someone could throw it away by accident.
May collected it up carefully. "Let's drop it off in your bunk then, and after that we can go and shoot things."
The wording had Skye smiling a little, despite seeing the pile of broken pieces in May's arms that had once been her computer. She didn't speak until they had deposited it in her room, at which point she mumbled. "Thanks."
May smiled warmly. "Any time." She said, an acceptance and a promise.
She would never admit it to Skye, but a good number of the target she gunned down were, in her mind, John Garrett.