Daisy was avoiding her, and that was fine.
Melinda knew that her actions would have hurt her, going away for so long without a word for months. They hadn't left things very well, the two of them, and Sk- Daisy had some pretty deep abandonment issues.
So Melinda could understand if she was upset, angry even. She would get over it, eventually. She wasn't going to make Daisy talk to her though, she wasn't going to confront her.
She knew that it was a mistake not to call them. May couldn't really find an excuse. She hadn't called at first so that she could clear her head. For a little while she told herself that it was because she didn't want them to track her, but she trusted them not to, if she asked. Besides, they couldn't force her to return. Not really.
Melinda just wished that she hadn't missed them all so damn much.
Okay, so it wasn't actually avoiding May if she hadn't tried to approach her either, Daisy reasoned. It wasn't that she hadn't missed her. She had, more than she could say. But so much between them was uncertain. May was like Schroedinger's mom right now. She wouldn't know if they were okay until they had that conversation, and Daisy was terrified of that conversation.
So yeah, avoiding it seemed to be the best option. At least for now. Daisy needed to have that conversation as an agent, as an adult. Not as Skye, not as some ragtag kid. She wasn't that anymore, she was Daisy now. She needed to be Daisy.
Being Daisy was sometimes really hard though. She didn't even know how May felt about the name change, if she was okay with it, if she was resentful because of how it reminded her of attacking May at Afterlife.
Daisy wasn't sure she wanted to know. That might mean facing the possibility that she had lost May for good.
"You're avoiding Daisy." Coulson observed one evening, and Melinda raised an eyebrow.
"I'm not." She said softly. "She's avoiding me. I'm just letting her."
Phil leaned back in his office chair, stretching his arms. "Why?" It wasn't like May to avoid confrontation, if that was even what this was.
A shrug. "I don't want to make her talk if she doesn't want to. I understand if she's angry with me."
Phil frowned. "Angry?"
May sighed, hesitating. "I should have called." She admitted haltingly. "I should have-" Come home sooner. Left some kind of message.
Phil softened. "And you think she's angry with you for that?" He asked. "May, we all know you needed the time. I missed you," He said, "But I'm not angry."
"That's you." Melinda murmured, ignoring the feeling in her stomach that came from Phil missing her. "Not Skye."
"You mean Daisy." Coulson corrected, secretly glad that he wasn't the only one forgetting.
May shook her head. "No. I mean Skye. The foster kid. How many times has she been abandoned by people she cares about?" Phil was looking at her in that way that made her feel like he was figuring out all of her secrets. "What?"
Phil smiled. "Just... did you two get a chance to talk before you left?"
Coulson rolled his eyes, a trait he had picked up from his partner over the years. "I don't know, maybe about her knocking you unconscious."
"She didn't know Phil, she was just trying to keep people safe." It didn't hurt as much to think about it anymore.
"You didn't answer the question." He shot back, "So that means you didn't."
"There's nothing to talk about Phil." Melinda said tiredly. "She was just trying to do the right thing."
Coulson sighed, smiling bemusedly. "Mel... What if Daisy's avoiding you because she thinks you're angry?"
The thought made May pause. She shook her head. "No. It's not her style to avoid confrontation."
"It's not yours either."
Melinda rubbed her eyes, feeling a headache coming on. "Fine. I'll talk to her. And Phil..."
Tentative eyes met his. "I missed you too."
"Hey." The soft voice interrupted Daisy's fists pounding the punching bag. In the microsecond she had, she panicked. She wasn't ready for this. She wasn't ready to find out if May cared about her at all now.
Daisy hesitated, then looked up. "Hey." She returned, burying the fear. Her 'inner May' voice chimed in, it doesn't matter if you're ready or not – it's happening, so deal with it.
"Your technique's improved." May noted, approaching. "Haven't let up on your training."
Daisy shook her head. "Every morning, unless I'm on a mission." Some primal part of her wanted to run. At least then she wouldn't have to deal with the over-polite 'I can still work with you even though you threw me across a pavilion' speech. The distance between them hurt.
May came closer, her eyes soft but critical, and Daisy instinctively took up her stance against the bag again. "Not bad." May noted, "Your shoulders are still too tense though."
Her hand automatically came up in an attempt to fix it, and Daisy kept unnaturally still, trying not to flinch away.
May's hand stilled on her shoulder when her thumb brushed Daisy's neck, and her brow furrowed. "What's wrong?"
Now Daisy did move away, but only to face her. "What do you mean?" She asked, keeping her expression calm as she stepped away to a more casual distance.
May's eyes darted up and down her form, taking in every ion of her body language. "Your heartbeat." She said, having felt it hammering under her fingers.
Great, just having May mention it had her heartbeat increasing even further, and it kind of felt like the floor was coming out from under her. "I- it's been kind of messed up since I changed." Hoping that she would buy it.
"I know." May said. "And it's still unusually fast." She hesitated, unsure if this was pushing it. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing." Daisy said, but she knew it was too fast, too nervous, and when May moved towards her she couldn't help but take a step back.
Melinda stopped dead, retreating as if stung. She knew it. Daisy was afraid of her. She had embraced her identity as an Inhuman, and after all, she was the monster that they feared. Maybe they could work together still, but they wouldn't be close. "Sorry." She murmured, masking the pain.
Melinda walked away quietly. It was stupid to think that they could go back to the way they were. A vain hope.
Daisy watched, trying to force her mouth to open and words to come out. She knew that May was upset, she knew her well enough now to see that. Maybe she didn't hate her.
Though part of her was still frozen, Daisy managed to speak. "May?" She called shakily, just as she reached the door.
Melinda stopped, because damnit, some weak pathetic part of her still hoped that Daisy wanted her around. "What?"
Daisy gnawed on the inside of her lip. "I- uh, I've been working on fixing my stance for my spinning kick, d-do you mind telling me what you think?"
May didn't turn. "I'm sure you can handle it." She didn't need anyones pity.
"It's just hard to judge for myself."
"Bobbi could help you."
A swallow, and Daisy could feel the nervous quaking bidding itself to be free. "I don't want Bobbi to help."
The silence felt like an age, waiting for May to say or do something, but in the end she turned and walked back to where Daisy was standing, though her head remained permanently down.
Daisy's eyes were, contrarily, fixed on May, wide and curious as ever.
Melinda wordlessly manipulated her limbs, hands as gentle and sure as ever. Daisy remained malleable, letting her fix her stance. It felt like a test, the atmosphere stretched almost to it's breaking point, both waiting to see if this could still work.
The moment Melinda's eyes flickered to meet hers, Daisy couldn't help but pull her into a desperate, rib-crushing hug.
May froze at first, not expecting the sudden contact, but the surprise gave way to an unimaginable relief. The tension she had been carrying melted away, and she returned the embrace, blinking back the tears behind her eyes. Daisy didn't hate her, wasn't afraid. Oh thank God, she didn't hate her.
After another moment, Daisy cursed, "God damnit!"
Melinda smiled. She had missed her. "What?"
"I'm trying to stop being so freaking clingy!" Daisy complained, not pulling away. "Then you come back and- ugh, I hate you."
May laughed softly. "I missed you." She offered.
"No. Shut up, you don't get to say that." Daisy snapped, trying to sound angry and failing. "I spent weeks trying to sweet talk Andrew into giving me your number, and you didn't call once."
"Sorry." Melinda muttered, beginning to pull away, but even as she did she was smiling.
"Why didn't you?" Daisy asked softly, forcing her arms off of her. She tried to keep the hurt from her voice, but didn't quite manage it. She couldn't help it, she was hurt.
"I don't know." May admitted. "I kept putting it off, then... I didn't want you to be mad."
Daisy grinned. "Wait, you thought I'd be mad that you hadn't called, so you... didn't call?"
Melinda smiled slightly too. "I didn't say it made sense." She said. "I should have. Sorry."
Actually apologising wasn't something May did often, and Daisy appreciated it. "It's okay." She said. "I know you needed some time to yourself. I just- I missed you."
"I missed you too." May murmured, forgetting that she wasn't allowed to say so. She paused. "You know I'm not angry about what happened at Afterlife, right?"
"I figured." Daisy muttered, wringing her hands a little. "You don't usually try to hide it if you're pissed about something."
May smirked. They'd gotten to know each other pretty well.
"Thanks, though." Daisy said. "I just- forgiveness isn't something I've really... had." No one's ever cared about me enough to forgive something like that. "I'm sorry." She mumbled. "I- I was kind of scared you'd hate me."
Oh. "It would take more than that to make me hate you." May said firmly.
Daisy laughed humourlessly. "More than that. More than... betrayal, punching you, knocking you out-" Daisy had to stop the list because she felt sick. She always felt sick when she remembered knocking May unconscious. Her eyes were downcast now.
"Yeah," May said softly, gently grasping her shoulder. "A hell of a lot more than that. Got it?"
Daisy crossed her arms and her shoulders hunched, shrugging her off. "I don't get it, actually." She could feel herself getting upset, but she refused to let on.
"Hey, I forgive you." May said. "Do us both a favour and forgive yourself too."
Daisy shook her head. "I can't do that. Every time I think about it-" She broke off. "I can't."
"Try." May instructed like she was teaching a new form. If not for yourself then for me.
"Okay," She whispered. "I'll try." Daisy wanted to say a lot of things. She wanted to apologise some more, for everything. She wanted to tell May again that she had missed her, because it was hard to express how empty the base felt without her. She wanted to say that May was the best mother she had ever had. Most of all she wanted to tell May that she loved her, because she wasn't sure that she knew.
She couldn't say anything though. The words stuck before they even made her throat, so Daisy swallowed heavily and instead opted for another hug, trying to put it all in there instead.
The embrace surprised Melinda. It was close and clinging without being so tight as to squeeze. It was a question, a request. It felt like 'I want you here, but I won't make you stay.'
Daisy buried her face in May's shoulder, hoping she wouldn't question why she had spontaneously hugged her. Again. She sighed softly when May's arms came up to pull her closer, one hand gently combing through her hair. I'm sorry, she thought, hoping it would come out. I missed you so much, I'm sorry. You're all I wanted my mom to be. I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you. All that came out was a brief, incomprehensible mumble, muffled even further by May's shoulder.
May stilled, and if the words had come out as something resembling words, Daisy might have been worried. As it was she just hoped she wasn't going to pull away.
She was surprised, however, when May murmured, "You too." Softly.
After a moment of confusion, Daisy sagged in relief, squeezing her eyes shut. Of course May didn't need her to say it to understand. She never needed words to communicate. Melinda May was the champion and showing her feelings through actions.
Daisy got that from her.
a.n. Guys, I won't be watching the episode live, so can you not post spoilers in the comments/reviews? I actually have never really cared about spoilers, but come on, don't be that person. Last year someone commented on a fic of mine 'Oh my God, I can't believe Skye is Daisy Johnson!', and that's just being a tool.