Jemma was still fuming the next morning. Sure, cuddling up to her amazing boyfriend had helped distract her and made her feel a little better, but she was still annoyed. And hurt.
How could May think that she would leave them all behind? Just to climb the ranks? Couldn't she see what she was trying to do?
Apparently not, Jemma thought bitterly, going back to her work with a barely contained scowl. It wasn't like she liked the situation either. She just wasn't going to let it win.
Jemma had been training more and more lately. Honing her senses as much as she could. She heard the footsteps approaching long before May spoke. She didn't look up.
What? She was allowed to be a little petty. Besides, officially she was May's superior, which, though it was very strange, did give her license to be a little short with her.
Jemma hummed in response, waiting four seconds before she looked up from her microscope. "Oh, hello agent May, do you need me to sign off on equipment again?" Jemma wasn't entirely sure what made her so brave. Maybe it wasn't her rank so much as she was aware that May would never hurt her.
May swallowed, forcefully holding herself still even as she saw the ghostly figures out of the corner of her eye. "I need to talk to you."
Jemma set her jaw. "Yes, well, I'm very busy, so perhaps later." She started to turn back to her work.
"Jemma," May caught her wrist to stop her, voice cracking. "Now." She swallowed. "Please."
And suddenly Jemma could see. See the absolute terror in May's eyes. See how she was all but trembling. See the desperation. And any anger vanished immediately.
"What is it?" Jemma asked, standing up, "What's wrong?"
May glanced at the cameras, biting the inside of her lip. Jemma nodded and led her to the hallway, out of sight of cameras and agents alike. She could feel May trembling. It was rubbing off on her a little.
May balled her hands into fists, trying to breathe calmly.
Jemma felt herself getting worked up too. "Please don't do that." She begged, "The first time I saw you do that with your hands was after Daisy got shot by Quinn. It can't be that bad May. You wouldn't scare me like this on purpose." Part of her hoped that she was though.
May swallowed. It was unfair not to tell her. Maybe it wasn't as bad as she thought. "I- the crate that infected those men." She murmured. "It was some kind of airborne chemical- I think I was too close to the crate when we went in."
Jemma felt ice clutch her heart. "What makes you think that?" She asked, trying to sound calm.
Melinda shivered. "When we were standing there I felt... strange." She admitted quietly. "And ever since, I-" She stopped.
"What?" Jemma asked, stepping towards her. "Tell me and I can help. I'm the doctor, it's still my job." I want to help you. She thought. Let me help you.
May took a deep breath. "I've been seeing things." There. Hard part over. "Not hallucinations though, it's... different."
Jemma fought to keep her voice steady. "What kind of things?"
May looked down. "Sometimes it looks like a ghost." She said quietly, "Out of the corner of my eye. But people's faces change too. Like they're dead and burned. Eyes and mouth are just- black holes."
"Do you see it a lot?"
May looked up at her. "You look like that right now." She said in a small voice.
Jemma stared for a moment, then wrapped her arms around her, hugging her tightly. "We'll fix this." She said with certainty. "You'll be just fine."
May's arms remained at her sides. "I need to be put in isolation." She mumbled. "Those men turned violent."
"Maybe." Jemma acknowledged, drawing away. "But I'll have to take some blood samples first." She paused. "We can't fix this and keep it a secret. The director will find out. You know that."
May huffed, despite everything. "I don't trust him."
"Then trust me." Jemma said, taking her hand. "Don't let us lose you because of him. Let me help."
May sighed and closed her eyes. "Okay." She murmured, squeezing her hand. "But I still don't trust him."
Jemma rolled her eyes. "Neither do I." She muttered, leading May back to the lab. "But we have to make do."
Melinda took a deep breath. Time for the other thing that was hard to say. "I'm sorry I doubted you."
Jemma turned, surprised, then smiled. "Apology accepted. Now give me you blood and we'll call it even."