"Why do you always come to me when you're scared?"
Daisy looked up, then swallowed. "I'm not scared." She mumbled, curling up on the ground outside of May's room. She should have known that she would wake up early. It was her habit after all.
May regarded her for a second before sitting beside her. "Okay." She said, "But you usually find me when you are."
Daisy shrugged. "I never really thought about it." She muttered. Thinking about it would mean putting it into words. Why May made her feel safe, even now that she had superpowers.
She knew deep down though. The same reason she found Coulson when she was upset, why she talked to Jemma when she was insecure, why she talked to Fitz when she was lonely. Why she talked to Mack when memories of Lincoln were too much, because he always knew.
May spoke up, not looking at her. "When I'm scared," She said, "I hide. Ever since I was a little girl. I didn't want anyone to know. It always feels like I'm being stupid."
Daisy looked at her curiously. May didn't talk about her childhood much. "Your parents never picked up on it?"
May smirked a little. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm pretty good at hiding."
Daisy smiled weakly. "It never really mattered when I was little." She said softly. "No one would care."
"People care now."
"I know." Daisy said. "I just- sometimes I need to check. If that makes sense."
"It does." May assured, letting them lapse into silence.
Daisy must have noticed her glancing to her own door, because she grinned. "You need me to close my eyes so that Coulson can sneak out and you guys can keep pretending you're on the DL?"
May rolled her eyes. "He's asleep."
When she saw the astonished, delighted look on Daisy's face, she elaborated. "In his own room Daisy."
Daisy grinned. "Oh yeah, of course." She said, then surreptitiously reached for the door. May slapped her hand away and she laughed.
Melinda shook her head with a grin. She knew that Daisy was happy for them. Pretending it was a secret suited her though. She had never been any good at showing affection in front of others. Admitting she cared about people. Speaking of which, "You feel better?"
Daisy shrugged. "Nothing was really wrong." She said. "I just-" She sighed. "I guess I was worried about this whole robot thing."
"I don't need you guarding me Daisy."
Daisy shook her head, looking up at the ceiling. "That's not what I'm doing."
May raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. She knew that Daisy would elaborate.
Daisy hesitated, "I just-" She blushed, fiddling with her hands. "I feel safer when you're around."
May hesitated. She never really knew what to say to things like that. "You could kick my ass six ways from Sunday."
Daisy shrugged. "Not without my powers."
May rolled her eyes. "Yeah, and I couldn't take down Piper without my arms." She said sarcastically, then watched Daisy, waiting for her to say something.
She shifted uncomfortably. "I-I never really thought about it. It's not a big deal."
"Didn't say it was."
Daisy swallowed. "You don't mind?" She couldn't help the question, insecure and worried. She hated the thought that she might overstay her welcome. That her friends would get tired of her.
Melinda was about to say something sarcastic, but caught herself and shook her head.
She smiled a little. "Okay... thanks." That was what May did. If Daisy was scared, she'd sit with her, if someone May cared about needed protecting, she would keep them safe. No matter the cost. Maybe that was why Daisy felt so safe when she was around. "I'm really glad you're back."
Melinda sighed softly. "Me too."
Daisy looked up. "Really?" She asked, surprised. "I- I know the framework was..."
"Wrong." May said, "But- tempting."
Daisy grimaced. "Speak for yourself." She muttered, thinking back to her 'boyfriend'. "But... a world with no pain, I can't even imagine."
"Me neither." May murmured. "That's the problem." She hesitated. "In there, I didn't have anyone. Any of you. I prefer this world."
Daisy looked down, colouring a little. "Me too." It had been pretty surprising to her exactly how easy the choice was. A real family in the framework, or their team. In the end, she didn't even regret it.
Daisy could feel May's eyes on her. "I mean, I always wanted a family, but- well, I like you guys better." She said it as offhandedly as she could, trying to downplay the importance of it all.
Of course that didn't work, and Daisy knew it wouldn't, but it was worth a shot. She jumped a little when she noted the contact, but smiled when she saw that May had just wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Daisy sighed softly and leaned closer. "I've missed you."
May raised an eyebrow. "I wasn't gone for that long." At the end of the day she had been captured for a few weeks. A long time to be captured, sure, but not by most measures.
"I know." Daisy murmured. "I dunno, it just feels like it's been ages since we've talked or anything." She looked down. "I missed it."
May thought about it. She hadn't really had a chance to talk to Daisy after her experience with Hive. Then she had run away, and she hadn't seen her for months. When Daisy came back, the last thing she had wanted was to talk to them. To her. She had even gone out of her way to try to hurt May when she had tried to reach out to her. "We could have." May said. She wasn't angry. She just needed Daisy to know.
"I know." Daisy murmured. "I-I'm sorry I ran away."
May shook her head. "Don't be." She said, tightening her arm around Daisy. "It's what you needed to do."
Daisy shifted a little. "I thought you said it doesn't work."
May smiled bitterly. "It doesn't." She said, "But that doesn't mean you didn't need it." She paused. "After- Bahrain," She started. This was hard. "Everyone wanted me to get better. Go back to being the person I was before. Even when they said they didn't, I could see it in their eyes."
Daisy didn't say anything. She knew how hard it was for May to talk about Bahrain. Instead, she snuggled slightly closer, just to prove that she wouldn't go away.
"I thought that because I couldn't be the person they all wanted me to be, it would be better to just leave." Now May let her hand encase Daisy's gently. "And I needed to do that. But I was wrong about some things." She sighed softly. "The people who mattered- they didn't want me to go back to who I was. They just wanted me to heal." She worked her lip between her teeth. "And I wasn't ready to do that yet, but... It means something, looking back."
Daisy squeezed her hand. "I get it." She murmured. "I- sometimes it's like... I can pretend. If I just- try not to think about it, I can fake being like I used to." She swallowed heavily. "But then- it all comes back to me, and I just can't. It feels wrong."
"I know." May whispered. "I feel it too."
"How do you do it?"
She shrugged. "Some days are easier than others." May said, "It's- hard to convince myself that I shouldn't be punished. But moving on isn't the same as forgetting."
Daisy sighed. "I don't know if he'd want me to move on."
"Hey." May gently turned Daisy's head with her hand, forcing her to look at her. "You really think he'd want you to punish yourself? To be miserable for the rest of your life?" Tears swam in Daisy's eyes and May paused. "Lincoln wanted you to be happy, even if it wasn't with him."
Daisy tried to blink away the tears, without success. "I just miss him so much."
"I know." May said softly. "And you always will."
Daisy sniffled. "I hate that- all I have left of him is pain."
May shook her head. "Just because it hurts to think about him... that doesn't mean that it's all pain." She sighed. "I- it hurts to remember Andrew." She admitted. "But in the end... I'm better because I knew him."
Daisy hesitated. "He was better cos he knew you too."
When May said nothing, Daisy pulled away. "May, come on." She said, "He loved you." She smiled a little. "And you loved him too. He wouldn't be mad that you've moved on."
May smiled at the ground. "He was so jealous of Phil at first." She murmured. "I don't know what he expected from my partner."
Daisy grinned. "Maybe someone less... male?"
She snorted. "I think that was it."
"Kind of sexist of him to assume you'd just run off with the only guy in your sightline."
"Oh, he told you what I said?"
Daisy laughed, hurriedly muffling it with one hand. If May wanted to pretend Coulson wasn't asleep in her room, fine, but that didn't mean she was going to wake him up. When she looked up and saw the warmth in May's eyes, Daisy's smile faltered.
She sighed, shifting slightly closer. "I don't know why I shut you guys out."
May wrapped her arm around her shoulders again. "You knew we could help you move on." She said. "And you didn't want to do that yet."
"Still." Daisy paused, then let her head rest on May's shoulder. "I'm sorry I hurt you."
"I forgive you."
Daisy smiled. "Thank you."
A moment later soft footsteps made them both sit up, and a bleary-eyed Coulson opened the door, wrapped in a robe. "Hey, what are-" He yawned, "You two doing up?"
Daisy beamed mischievously, her eyes darting back and forth between the two. "Nothing. What were you doing in May's room?"
May rolled her eyes to the ceiling and Coulson gaped for a moment. "I..."
Melinda smirked. "We were rehearsing a play." She nudged Phil's leg. "Right?"
Daisy groaned and Coulson grinned. "Oh yeah, of course. Rehearsing a play."
"You guys are so full of crap."
May smiled. "Prove it."
Daisy pulled away and glared. "I can and will hack the security cameras."
Phil sniggered. "Sure you wanna do that?"
Daisy grimaced. "That's disgusting."