Okay, I'm not all that happy with this one, but it's been AGES since I posted anything, and crownedtiger was awesome and talked me into posting it.
It was past new years when they finally managed to have their 'Christmas' party. Skye had put her foot down and demanded that Coulson come back to the base for a few days to celebrate 'Christmas', as well as Fitz walking and almost talking.
They had set up the secret santa months previously. Skye and Simmons had gotten Tripp in on it, as the idea had spawned not long after Skye had woken from her gunshot wounds.
Each member of the BUS team, plus Tripp, had pulled a name out of the hat and been charged with purchasing a gift for whoever that was. In the end the decision was not to reveal who the gift was from, though guessing was allowed.
They had all gathered in the common area, the gifts being left one by one in the hours leading up to the event. Tripp whistled at the massive present the size of a small person. "Woooow, tell me it's mine."
Skye grinned and read the tag. "Sorry Tripp, this one's for Fitz."
The quiet engineer looked up, actually engaged in the proceedings for once. "M-m-me?" He asked, uncertainly.
Skye smiled brightly and heaved the gargantuan gift over to him. "All yours."
Fitz smiled tentatively at the hacker, then, after shooting a look at Jemma to check that he had it right, started shakily tearing the paper.
They all smiled when the contents were revealed. "Monkey!" Skye shouted, laughing.
It was indeed a monkey, large and stuffed, a big grin on it's face. If it's legs were functional it would be almost as tall as Fitz himself.
Fitz smiled at the stuffed animal, the first genuine smile any of them had seen since he had woken up. "Th-th-th-thanks." He said, knowing that the person responsible was in the room, even if they would not reveal themselves. Everyone knew he liked monkeys, so it was impossible to guess who got it for him.
The others smiled and Skye dove back into the presents. "Coulson!" She cried, tossing him the smaller gift.
The man tore the wrapping off. "Oh!" He drew out some ties, two very nice silk ones, but more importantly, a gaudy christmas themed one. He pulled off the tie he was wearing and expertly tied the new one. "How great is this?" He said.
Simmons squinted at it. "It looks like there's a button there sir."
Coulson felt down the material and when he reached the button the tie began to flash and play 'jingle bells'. The others laughed and groaned, but he seemed delighted.
May had one hand over her face. "I will find you." She said exasperatedly, "And make you pay."
They others knew better now than to take her too seriously. "I think they already paid for the ties May." Coulson said, grinning. "See, no security tags."
She glared, but said nothing else. The more observant among them noticed the smile tugging at her lips.
Skye was very happy with her role as unofficial santa, and took great joy in handing out the rest of the gifts. Tripp had received some vintage howling commando comics, and had given everyone in the room his 'specialist eye' trying to figure out who had gotten them. Simmons had received a large box set of classic Doctor Who, though it was anyone's guess as to who got it for her.
Finally Skye's was the only gift left under their makeshift tree. She gingerly picked it up, trying not to show how big a moment this was for her, how few presents she had ever gotten. It was a medium sized, flat, square-ish box, meticulously wrapped. Skye shook the box hesitantly. She knew that people did that sometimes.
The others groaned and Tripp threw a scrunched up ball of wrapping paper at her. "Get on with it!"
Skye grinned and pulled at the tape until it came off, carefully peeling off the paper. Her eyes widened. "Holy crap. Oh my GOD!" It was a new, top of the line laptop. "No, no, this is too much, you can't." She didn't have the first clue who had gotten it for her, but whoever it was, this was way too expensive.
When no one stepped forwards the others grinned. "I think you'll have to figure out who got it if you want them to take it back Skye." Coulson said, smiling.
Skye knew that her hands were trembling around the box, but she couldn't make them stop. Oh God, don't cry. "I-I- thank you." She stuttered, not looking at any of her teammates for fear of them seeing exactly how close she was to tears.
She wasn't sure if they figured it out anyway, because a moment later Tripp loudly announced that it was time for the 'Christmas feast' he had prepared, and they all trooped into the kitchen.
It wasn't until much later in the evening that Skye noticed what had been missing.
She was lounging around in Coulson's new office, as she liked to do from time to time to annoy him. Even if they both knew that he wasn't remotely annoyed.
Skye was transferring all her programs and files onto a large external hard drive, ready to put on the new machine once the transfer was complete. "We should do this again next year." Skye said warmly, leaning back into the couch. "It was fun."
Coulson smiled, sitting at his desk and still wearing his novelty tie. "It was." He acknowledged, though there was a hint of sadness behind his eyes. "We could even aim for Christmas next time."
"Yeah, that'd be good." The hacker grinned. "And no expensive presents, got it?" She pointed at her superior officer firmly.
"Huh?" Coulson was confused until Skye reached for the new computer, booting it up for setup. He contemplated breaking the rules of their secret santa, watching the young agent for a little while. "Skye, I didn't get you the laptop."
This made her look up, confused. "What do you mean you didn't?" It was such a dad kind of gift that she felt certain.
Coulson shrugged. "I got Tripp."
Skye frowned at the laptop, watching the files transfer. A minute later it clicked. "It was May, wasn't it?"
Coulson shrugged again. "You'd have to ask her."
"But you think it was her, don't you?"
"It does make the most sense."
"Hang on." Skye said, looking puzzled. "What'd she get?" Coulson was silent and Skye suddenly felt like the worst person alive. "She didn't get anything."
"I guess Ward was meant to get her something."
Skye looked like she might be sick or cry. "That last thing he gave her was three broken ribs and a concussion."
Part of Coulson wondered when Skye had started caring about his best friend, but he had the tact not to ask. "May's never been that big on presents anyway. She says she doesn't want things that she doesn't want."
Skye huffed. "Still." It was always said that it was the thought that counted, and she hadn't even noticed that May hadn't gotten anything. None of them had. That made her feel horrible. May was their friend, she had placed her life directly between Skye and danger on more than one occasion.
The computer on her lap beeped, completing the transfer, and Skye stared at the screen blankly, thoughts screeching to a halt.
Coulson noticed the quiet to her. "What?"
The question roused her and Skye shut the lid. "Nothing." She said in a strained voice. "I-I just- I've gotta go."
"Skye." Coulson called out to her and she stopped in the doorway. "I think she wrecked her last yoga mat a few days ago."
She smiled. "Thanks." She said softly, hurrying out the door.
Melinda had been expecting Skye to come and find her by now, after the surprise left on the laptop. Maybe Skye wasn't interested, which was... fine. It didn't hurt, she wasn't offended. May knew that she and Skye hadn't exactly had the best relationship in the past. She just wanted to offer.
May didn't mind that she hadn't gotten a gift, not really. None of the others would have the first clue what to get her anyway, so in a lot of ways it was a mercy for everyone involved. She was content spending time with her team, seeing them happy. Phil would probably say she was being sappy.
Tai chi in her rather cramped room wasn't exactly ideal, but she hadn't felt compelled to use the gym right now. The training mats in there stained and old. She would have to get a new one herself for tai chi, but for now the softer carpet in her room would have to do.
Melinda's head turned sharply at a knock on her door and she cursed herself. Damnit, she didn't care that Skye hadn't talked to her yet, they had gone weeks without speaking a word to each other before. Why would it matter now?
She calmly completed her form and approached the door, opening it to reveal a wide-eyed hacker. Melinda raised her eyebrows, bemused. Skye was laden down with a satchel which probably held the new computer, as well as three rolled up yoga mats, haphazardly piled up in her arms. "So- I know you didn't get anything, and that sucks and Coulson said you needed a new yoga mat, but I figured you could use a spare as well, and they had a three for two deal, and-..." She trailed off, words sticking in her throat.
May would never admit how hard it was not to react to any of this. Skye's babbling reminded her of Phil, and the gesture warmed her heart. "You got Fitz." She said, not responding to Skye's words.
Skye shifted nervously and almost overbalanced. "I know I did." She said once she had her footing back, not questioning how May would know that. "But you didn't get anything, and-... did you mean it?"
"Mean what?" Playing dumb wasn't the best defence mechanism, but it was the only one she could muster in the face of Skye's child-like sincerity.
Skye finally put the mats down in a pile by the door. "Don't, please." She pleaded. "If you're screwing with me then just say so. I've had too many people turn around and say they don't want me to play this game."
So it came down to this. Both too afraid of being turned down to just say it. May took a breath. "Skye- you need a new SO, and there aren't many options around here. I haven't trained many people, but... you saw my schedule, if you want-"
She was interrupted by Skye pulling her into a rib-crushing hug, and Melinda froze. "Thank you." Skye whispered, but quickly let go, smiling apologetically for the unexpected embrace. "Sorry." She muttered.
Melinda shook her head slightly to indicate that it was okay.
Skye rubbed at her neck nervously. "I-I know we haven't had the best track record." She admitted. "But- can we maybe start over?"
Melinda regarded the girl softly. Skye was really something. She drew a breath. "No." May said. "Starting over never works." Skye looked absolutely stricken, so she continued as quickly as she could. "But I think we can move on."
Skye smiled, blinking away any trace of what were not tears. "I'd like that." She said softly, and after contemplating it for a moment, wrapped her arms around May again. "I'm a hugger." She said. "So you should probably get used to it."
Melinda smiled, and for the first time in a long time found that she was able to return the hug. It was actually kind of nice. Maybe she could get used to it. "Happy Christmas Skye."
Skye grinned. "Happy Christmas." She murmured.
May pulled away first. "You should get some sleep." She said. "Training starts at five tomorrow morning."
Skye's grin widened and she gave a stiff salute. "Yes ma'am."
Melinda raised a sardonic eyebrow. "We'll work on that."