Daisy wished she'd been more careful. She wished that she'd noticed that the device they'd found was not, in fact, inactive. Mostly she wished that she'd had the quick thinking to destroy it with her powers, because in the second that it auto-aimed at her, May did have the quick thinking to run to her, taking the hit from the energy beam.
That could have been the worst of it. It wasn't though. Not by far.
Because the moment the light faded and Daisy and Mack hurried to May, who had fallen, the first words out of her mouth were, "Who are you?"
Daisy felt like a kid who was in trouble with the principal. She followed quietly behind Mack as they went to Coulson's office to tell him what happened. Sat silently outside the med bay as Jemma checked May over, coming to the conclusion that the condition wasn't permanent, though she wasn't sure how to reverse it.
Daisy handed May a cup of tea, not making eye contact, and went back to her paperwork in the dark corner of the common room. This was all her fault.
At least Coulson seemed to be on top of this, sitting with May and talking to her, showing her old mementos of theirs. SHIELD badges, some pictures. She didn't look like she remembered anything, but at least she seemed happy. Calm.
"Where did I grow up?"
Daisy tried not to eavesdrop, but it was hard.
Coulson smiled a little. "Pennsylvania mostly. Sometimes you'd move around cos of your mother's work, but she did her best to keep you in one place."
Huh. Cool. She'd never known where May grew up.
May cocked her head. "Are my parents still alive?" Her knees were drawn up to her chest, her feet tucked beneath her.
"Oh, yeah." Coulson grinned, "Your mother is determined to see me in the ground."
"She doesn't like you?"
"In fairness, she doesn't like most people." He said. "And I'm pretty sure she blames me for most of the times you've gotten hurt in the field."
"She sounds intimidating."
Daisy snorted at the same time as Coulson. "You're not so bad yourself." He said teasingly, but muttered, "Don't worry about it." When May only looked confused.
Daisy looked up when another agent entered. "Director Coulson, sir, we need your clearance on the new Inhumans who need relocation."
Coulson sighed. "Right, of course, thank you." He said. "I'll be there in a couple of minutes." The agent saluted and left, and Coulson looked between Daisy and May. "Will you two be okay?"
Daisy nodded and May shrugged. Coulson smiled gently, taking May's hand. "Daisy can help you too." He murmured. "She's a great kid."
The words made Daisy feel warm and want to cry at the same time. Very few people had ever said that about her. She smiled at Coulson as best she could as he left, noting that May was mostly quiet.
She wasn't much of a talker, so this should be fine.
There were a few minutes of silence before May spoke. "Were we arguing?"
Daisy looked up. "What?"
May shrugged. "You haven't been saying anything to me. It seems like you're angry."
Daisy stared. "Oh- no, I just-" She sighed. "It should have been me. I was being stupid on that mission and you- you took the shot for me." She tried to laugh but it didn't land. "I know you'd be mad at me if you remembered, so... I guess I'm beating myself up for you."
May looked at her curiously. "You know me then?"
Daisy nodded. "Oh yeah, we've been friends for ages now. You- uh, you taught me everything I know about being an agent."
"Apparently I didn't teach you how to dodge energy beams."
Daisy gaped and May smirked. Apparently there was more of her in there than they'd thought.
May nodded to the arm chair next to the couch and Daisy stood, sinking into it with a sigh. "How are you feeling?"
May shrugged. "Fine." She rolled her eyes. "I don't know how I usually feel."
Daisy grimaced. "Right."
Melinda fiddled briefly with her hands. "Do you know where I went to school?"
Daisy looked up, surprised, then felt a pang of shame. "No, sorry, I don't." She muttered. Was that something she should know? It felt like such a basic fact, like how she didn't know May grew up in Pennsylvania.
They were meant to be friends, right?
May shook her head, but Daisy could see the pang of annoyance on her face, buried deep. It hurt. "Favourite food?" She tried, but again Daisy shook her head.
"You... don't usually talk about that kind of stuff." How weak was that? How had she known May for five years and not know her favourite food?
Daisy could see the slight tension in May's jaw and knew she was getting frustrated. She wished she wasn't so useless.
Daisy bit her lip. "Uuh, purple, I think?" She tried not to make it sound like a guess. She knew that May had some clothes that were purple, the odd shirt. Who was she kidding? "I don't really know though."
May snapped. "Well what do you know then?!"
Daisy swallowed. "I'm sorry." She mumbled, trying to keep her emotions inside.
She concentrated on her breathing, feeling her powers buzz under her skin. It's okay. She thought. Everything will be okay. Daisy let her eyes flicker closed for a moment before opening them with a gentle sigh. "I-I-" She coughed softly. "I don't know where you went to school." Daisy said quietly, eyes fixed on the floor. "But... I know you hated it there, cos the teachers were pretty racist."
She refused to look up. She couldn't face May right now. "I don't know your favourite food, but..." Daisy glanced up momentarily, "I can tell you haven't eaten since breakfast, cos you always skip meals and think no one will notice."
Daisy swallowed. "And I know that most of the others would think your favourite colour is black." She said, "But when I think of the times I've seen you look- actually happy, you're always wearing purple."
She blinked back tears, keeping her eyes down. It wasn't enough, Daisy knew that. Nothing she did was ever good enough.
After a moment of silence, May spoke. "Thank you." She murmured.
Daisy looked up and saw the softness in May's eyes. "I'm sorry I snapped." May said.
Daisy shook her head. "It's okay." She shifted. "I don't know- a lot of details, but- I know you fight for what you care about. For what you think is right." For the people you care about. Daisy thought, remembering the moment May had pushed her out of the way.
"I must love our team a lot."
Daisy stared, surprised. "I- uuh... you don't really talk like that much. Or like, at all."
May cocked her head. "Why not?"
Daisy shrugged. "You just... don't talk." She laughed softly. "You only do when people need you to. You're really..." She thought for the word. "Pragmatic." Daisy smiled. "I used to think that you just... didn't care." She said quietly. "But I was wrong."
May looked at how hesitant and closed off Daisy was becoming. "It seems like you don't talk like that much either."
Daisy looked surprised. After a moment, she softened. "I guess I don't." She murmured.
"Why not?" May asked, then stopped. "If you don't mind me asking."
Daisy shook her head. "It's okay." She said. "I-I never really thought about it." Daisy mumbled, fiddling with her hands. "I... I guess it's cos I never had a family growing up, a-and if I cared about the foster places I was at... it just hurt more when they sent me away."
She expected May to act surprised. To remind her that that happened was when she was a child, and she was an adult now so she should be over it. Maybe even to scold her. Instead, she softly said, "That makes sense." May paused. "I'm sorry that happened to you."
Daisy bit her lip and said nothing. She couldn't. "S'okay." She tried to brush off.
Melinda hesitated, the question forming in her mind. "Does it bother you? That I'm not... that I don't talk much?"
Daisy's eyes widened. "No! I mean, just cos you don't say it doesn't mean you don't care, I know that. Besides, you show it, you do stuff." May was staring at her in that way that seemed to look right into her soul, and Daisy deflated with a sigh. "Sometimes." She admitted quietly. "It makes me feel... I don't know." Daisy sucked in a shaky breath. "Sometimes I- wonder if you actually..."
May still said nothing and Daisy backpedalled. "It's okay though, that's- that's my problem, not yours." She said. "It's not your fault I'm dumb and insecure, and it's not your job to fix it."
May hid a small smile at her belligerence. This kid really was something special. "I'm sure I never wanted to hurt you."
"You haven't." Daisy said, blinking the emotion away. "You never have." She paused. "Well, except in training sometimes."
May snorted and Daisy grinned and it almost felt normal. "Do you remember anything?"
May looked down. "I don't think so. Maybe."
Daisy cocked her head. "What's the maybe?"
She shrugged sheepishly. "I- don't like you being upset." May murmured. "But that could be nothing."
Even knowing that it could easily be nothing, Daisy's heart warmed at the admission. "Well, is there anything else you wanna know?" She asked. "What I don't know I can always hack."
May raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that illegal?"
Daisy smirked. "Nah, of course not."
May rolled her eyes, but settled back, thinking for a moment. She bit her lip. This was... awkward to ask, but she wanted to know. "Is there... anything between me and Coulson?"
Daisy stared, but May could see the light behind her eyes, eager, but bottled. "Why do you ask?"
She shrugged, leaning back into the couch. "I don't know. It feels like there might be but I'm not sure. He's been with me since..." She shook herself, unable to remember, "And I keep catching him staring at me."
Daisy giggled delightedly, then stopped. "I- you'll probably be mad, but I don't know." She smiled distantly. "You've been friends for... ages, and- well, I think you should be together, but I don't know if you are."
May's eyes narrowed. "You don't know if we're not either? What kind of spy are you?"
Daisy spluttered a laugh, leaning to gently punch May in the arm. "The kind who doesn't try to find out if her bosses are having sex!"
May rolled her eyes again and Daisy smiled. "You would be great together though. Just so you know. And if you are... well, I'm really happy for you."
Melinda nodded. "Thank you." She said. "For helping me."
Daisy shrugged awkwardly. "It's okay." She muttered. "Sorry I don't know much."
May shook her head. "You know plenty." She assured, but she could see that Daisy didn't believe her. "You know me better than I know myself right now."
Daisy snorted. "Not funny." She muttered.
But she had smiled, and no matter how little Melinda knew about this girl, she couldn't ignore the urge to protect her from pain. To keep her happy, safe, and close.
It had been an hour since Jemma came to take May to the lab. Not that Daisy was counting. Not that she was worried. She knew that the worst case scenario was that it hadn't worked, but Fitzsimmons would find a way. They hadn't lost May.
They couldn't have. Not like this.
Not when it was all Daisy's fault.
She shook herself. No. Even if they couldn't find a way to fix this, May was still there. She still acted like May, there were just a few missing pieces. Like how she didn't recognise any of her friends.
Daisy didn't know if she could do this. She didn't know how May would manage, surrounded by these people who were desperately waiting for her to remember them. Wanting to remember them, but unable to.
Stop it. That little inner voice chimed. There's no point in thinking like that. That voice had always reminded her of May, and it was right. For all she knew May already had her memory back.
She hoped so.
Daisy wasn't sure what made her look up, but when she did she saw May in the doorway, watching her with something indiscernible on her face.
"Hey!" Daisy exclaimed, sitting up. "Are you- how do you feel?"
May walked closer silently until she was close enough to sink into the couch beside her. "Don't ever be that careless with random devices again."
Daisy hung her head, but the relief coursing through her undermined her contrition. "Sorry." She muttered.
There was a long pause before May said anything else, but Daisy tried to look more sorry than happy that she was back. She wondered if May remembered how they had talked when her memory was gone.
"I went to Great Valley High."
It was said so softly that Daisy almost didn't hear it, and she looked up, eyes wide.
Unsurprisingly, May wasn't looking at her. "Favourite food is a tie between my mother's homemade dumplings and Phil's homemade pasta." A nostalgic smile tugged at her lips. "My favourite colour's purple, and- I'm sorry for every time I made you feel like I don't care."
Daisy bit the inside of her lip. "May, it's okay." She said. "I told you, it's not your problem, it's mine. It's all just me being dumb."
Again there was a pause. "I don't talk because I'm scared." May said. "I don't know why, but I am." She looked up and held Daisy's gaze.
Daisy tried to smile. "Me too." She murmured, "So don't feel too bad about it."
May smiled too and wrapped one arm around Daisy's shoulders, "Thank you." She said softly. "For helping me."
"It's okay." Daisy said, snuggling closer. "I guess I can add 'cuddly' to the list of things I didn't know about you." She teased gently.
May scoffed and flicked her ear. "If you tell anyone..."
May smiled when Daisy let her head rest on her shoulder. "You do know me. I know it might not feel like it, but..."
"I didn't even know your favourite colour."
May shrugged. "I don't know yours." She said. "If I had to guess I'd say blue, but..."
Daisy cocked her head. "How'd you know?"
Melinda smiled distantly. "When you chose a name for yourself you chose the biggest, bluest thing in the world."
Daisy laughed. "Yeah, I did." She said softly.
"You don't need to know a thousand bits of trivia to know a person."
Daisy sighed. "I know." She said. "It's not that, it's just... I feel like it's been forever since we've just- talked." She couldn't say how scared she was that she was losing May.
"We could have."
"I know." Daisy murmured, leaning against her more, averting her eyes. "But I hurt you." She bit her lip. "I keep hurting you, and you just- pretend it didn't happen, but it did, and it's always there and... I'm sorry, I can't just act like it didn't happen, I can't."
May wove their fingers together. Daisy grasped her hand tightly. "That's my fault." May said. "That's just what I do to show that I forgive you."
Daisy tightened her grip on May's hand. "Forgiveness is hard for me." She whispered. "I-I'm still mad at myself for Afterlife, a-and about Bahrain, and leaving, even if you're not."
"You can be mad at yourself." May murmured, her thumb rubbing gentle circles on the back of Daisy's hand. "You can be impulsive and stubborn sometimes. That's who you are. Just like I'm cold and closed off."
Daisy shook her head. "You're not cold."
May rolled her eyes and Daisy poked her in the ribs. "You're literally letting me cuddle up to you on the couch cos I felt bad." She said. "You're not cold." Daisy smirked. "You're kind of quiet though."
"Take that back."
"But you are."
Daisy grinned. "I love you." She said in a sing-song voice.
May looked away, trying to ignore the warm feeling the words elicited. She let her hair fall around her face, hiding the little smile she couldn't suppress.
Daisy laughed. "Told you!" She cried triumphantly.
"Oh shut up." Melinda muttered, then softly said, "I love you too."
Daisy smiled contentedly. They were okay. May was okay. And she was definitely going to attack hug her at every opportunity now.
"Hey." Daisy said, a thought occurring to her. "You know, there was one other thing I wasn't sure about you, if you wanna tell me. Just in case this happens again."
May smirked. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You're insulting a superior officer now?"
"You're lying to your friends now?"
"I didn't lie."
Daisy scoffed. "Yeah, you're totally hitting that."
"I'm going to totally hit you in a second."
Daisy laughed. "Seriously though." She murmured. "You both deserve to be happy. I know how much you love him." She smiled sappily. "And how much he loves you."
May hesitated, biting the inside of her lip. She knew that they'd agreed to keep it a secret, but it was Daisy. Just Daisy. And she knew that if she asked her to, Daisy would keep it a secret too. It felt like a weakness though. May took a breath. "We're coming up on a month now." She said softly.
Daisy stilled, surprised, then beamed, throwing her arms around May in a crushing hug. "That's so great!" She squealed, squeezing tighter. "Ugh, oh my god, I'm so happy for you."
Melinda smiled weakly, hugging her back. "Thank you." She mumbled.
Daisy drew away. "You guys are happy, right?" She asked.
That dopey grin that May usually bottled came to the surface, and she nodded. "Yeah." May said, "We are."
Daisy smiled, snuggling her head into May's shoulder. "I knew you would be."
"Yeah, well you know me pretty well, don't you?"
She hesitated. "Yeah." Daisy murmured. "I do."