Daisy had done many things she regretted in her life. Saying 'I love you' to a foster family that she really wanted to stay with. Kissed a man who had been lying to her since the moment they had met. Running away from the foster system without saying goodbye to her best friend. She'd hurt people she loved.
Some more than others.
The moment Daisy had used her powers to throw May she'd regretted it. She'd hoped that things would be okay, she'd hoped that despite feeling nauseous about it, that she'd done the right thing. She hadn't hoped that May would forgive her. She didn't think that that was possible.
She had though. For whatever reason May had forgiven her, and Daisy had made a promise to herself.
She was never going to use her powers against anyone on her team again. Even if she was joking, even if it was just a little.
She could still feel the change in the pavilion when May had hit the ground. More than once she'd had nightmares of that day, nightmares of her putting too much force behind that hit and it ending with something much worse than unconsciousness.
Daisy worked past it though. And she kept her promise.
Until she didn't, because she couldn't. Because one person on her team wasn't who they thought she was.
She was a robot.
That shouldn't have been a problem. The LMD of May wasn't really her, it was just a duplicate, built to trick them and betray them. It wasn't really May.
Why then, when she broke it's legs, did the screams cut right through her?
If it wasn't May, why did Daisy still feel guilt for breaking her promise?
Why couldn't she look May in the eye?
The space station should have been cool, but it didn't feel that way. Fitz was back on Earth, however many years in the past, and as if that wasn't enough, she couldn't sleep for the nightmares about Lincoln.
Daisy kept catching herself staring at the windows, half expecting his body to float past. She wondered what he would think of everything that had happened. Everything she had done.
She tried not to think about it. Instead she sat with Jemma, trying to make her feel a little better about whatever had happened to Fitz. She watched the tenderness between Coulson and May with the barest hint of a smile, and the way the Mack and Elena were doing what they could to fix the ship. Their would-be kidnappers hadn't been much trouble really, even with May in her weakened state from the Framework.
They were going to get home.
Daisy caught herself staring at her phone again, wishing she could call Fitz. Make sure he was okay. Hers had been the only phone to come with them, and Jemma had managed to keep it charged through the ship.
It was only in looking at her phone that she noticed something. It was November. At least at home it was.
A few days later she found May working on the controls in the command centre. Daisy cleared her throat nervously and May looked up. "I knew you were there." She said with the hint of a grin.
Daisy shrugged sheepishly. "Didn't wanna spook you." She muttered. "I figured you've had enough people sneak up on you."
May had to acknowledge her point. "What's up?"
Daisy suddenly looked nervous. "I- uuh..." She fiddled with her hands. "I know you don't usually make a big deal about it and- I know you probably don't even know, but..." She held out her hand, revealing a small something wrapped in dirty paper. "Happy birthday."
May was surprised for a moment, then her expression softened. "You didn't have to." She said softly, taking the present but not unwrapping it yet.
Daisy shrugged. "I know." She mumbled. "I just- well, I missed last year." She'd been on the run. "And there isn't much around here but you've had pretty crappy year and I wanted to do something."
May leaned against the console with a small smile. "Thank you."
"You haven't even opened it." Daisy muttered awkwardly, and May shrugged.
"It's the thought that counts."
"Give it back then." Daisy grabbed for it, chasing a laugh out of her.
"No." May grinned, holding it away. "It's mine."
Daisy smiled too. "Then open it!" She urged.
May shook her head despairingly. "I thought I taught you to be patient."
Daisy groaned. "May come on." She whined. All this talk was starting to make her nervous. It wasn't like her present was that good anyway.
Melinda rolled her eyes, but picked at the paper. She knew that Daisy would feel self-conscious about this. The dirty paper, the almost certainly knocked together gift. It meant something to her though. That even in space in an uncertain future, Daisy would take the time to wish her a happy birthday.
She'd missed Daisy.
May pulled the paper away and cocked her head at the mass in her hand. It looked like a pile of black stone and some thread. Before Daisy could say anything about it, she lifted the end of the thread, raising it up.
It was like a wind chime or a mobile. The different shapes and smoothness of the stones glittered in the artificial light of the command centre, casting shadows and reflections on the walls. "It's beautiful." May murmured.
Daisy rubbed the back of her neck, looking down. "Thanks." She mumbled, blushing a little. "I figured that if there's one thing we'll all miss about this place it's the view, so it'd be nice to take a little of it home."
May cocked her head curiously and Daisy realised that she didn't get it. "That's... meteorite bits." She said, nodding to the chimes. "I found them downstairs, Jemma said they're not really good for much, so..."
The pieces turned in the air as Melinda processed what Daisy had done. After a moment of deliberation, she stepped forwards and pulled her into a tight hug, still holding the chimes in one hand. "Thank you." She said into Daisy's hair.
Daisy smiled and returned the hug. "You're welcome." She said softly before May drew away. "I'm glad you like it."
"It's beautiful." She said again. "How'd you shape the pieces?"
Daisy shrugged. "I've been getting pretty good with my powers you know. It was fun to try them on the meteor. Haven't done that before."
"I'll bet." May said, looking her over. "When did you last eat?"
Daisy crossed her arms, looking away. "I dunno." She muttered. "Time's not even real here, so..."
"So you need some lunch."
She groaned. "The food here's all gross."
"Phil could make something." May said, glancing at the digital clock on the wall. A smirk tugged at her lips. "I should eat in about an hour. Just go tell him what day it is."
Daisy's eyes widened and she bit her lip. "But that's mean." She protested, grinning. "You didn't even know it was today."
"You want food or not?"
Daisy snorted. "Okay fine." She said. "God, you're so demanding."
"Go." May shoved her with a smile. She felt good. Better than she'd felt in a very long time. Them all being at the base as a team felt like so long ago after the Framework. That emptiness haunted her dreams, but when she woke she found them. Her team. That counted for something.
Something niggled at her though. She didn't know what, but something was off. It stayed with her as she worked on the console and through dinner. Phil ended up making some strange concoction out of the rations that was actually pretty good. But he made so much that he'd needed to share with everyone and then Daisy spilled the beans and they all sang like it was some kid's birthday party and it was embarrassing and dumb and Melinda would never admit how much she loved it.
The feeling didn't go away though. She sat on her bunk, massaging her still injured leg when Phil came in.
He smiled at her. "I know that look." He said, sitting beside her. "What's up?"
Melinda shrugged. "Not sure yet. I'll let you know."
Phil wrapped an arm around her shoulders. "It's not the singing is it? You know the others were just teasing."
She rolled her eyes, but couldn't hide the upturn of her lips. "It's not that."
He chuckled. "I knew you loved it."
"Shut up." May muttered, then stopped massaging her leg with a sigh. "Has Daisy been using her powers... less?"
Coulson frowned. "I mean, we're in a pressurised metal tube floating in space so I'd hope so."
She shook her head. "No, I mean... the little things. Like how she used to freeze your coffee in the cup."
He smiled at the memory, then narrowed his eyes, thinking. "I- I don't think she has been. At least not since we came here. Is that a problem?"
May shrugged. "Her powers are a part of her." She said softly. "She's hiding them from us."
"Maybe she's just being careful of damaging the ship."
"No." May said, watching her chimes glitter in the light from the window. "It's not that."
"You're worried about her."
"I'm always worried about her."
Phil smiled, pressing a kiss to her head. "That's sweet." He murmured. "But I don't think it's a big deal."
Melinda sighed. He was right, but she couldn't help the urge to talk to Daisy. She knew why. "I- I don't want her to be hiding them because of me." That sick feeling in her stomach was back. It came every time she remembered what she had done in the Framework. How she had let Daisy be tortured, the experiments carried out on Inhumans.
As if she didn't have a bad enough track record with Inhumans to begin with. May bit her lip. "What if she's scared of me?"
Phil's hand encased hers. "You know she isn't." He said softly, his breath brushing her face.
"I do." She said, remembering how Daisy had found her that day, talked to her and teased her and made her smile. Those weren't the actions of someone who was scared. Still. "I should talk to her."
Coulson laughed softly. "Wow." He said. "I never thought I'd hear you say that."
She scoffed and shoved him away. "Ass."
He grinned. "Happy birthday."
May didn't know what she was going to say. How did she ask about something so oddly specific? It was probably nothing, but she had to make sure of that. She had to know that nothing was wrong. Daisy had been through too much to feel like she needed to hide part of herself now. Melinda knew that she had a history with Inhumans, and she remained grateful that Daisy didn't despise her for it.
She wasn't sure what made her feel like this was a big deal, that it was causing Daisy some degree of distress. The same sense that told her when they were in danger.
Daisy was fiddling with a broken comm link when May found her. "Hey." She greeted. "I thought you went to bed."
May shrugged halfheartedly. "Couldn't sleep."
Daisy grimaced. "Your leg playing up again?"
She rubbed it absentmindedly. "A little." May sat down in one of the crew's seats. She had to cut to the chase. She was starting to feel foolish for worrying. Before she could stop herself, May spoke. "Is something off with your powers?"
Daisy stilled, then put down the cables and settled on the ground. "Why do you ask?"
"You haven't used them in front of me since we got out of the Framework." There, she said it. "I thought you were worried about damaging the ship, but then..." May grimaced, knowing how flimsy and unimportant this all sounded. "If you say it's nothing I'll believe you."
Daisy bit her lip and looked down, trying to think of what to say. What she wanted to happen. She could keep this inside her forever really. As long as she kept from remembering throwing May through the air or breaking her duplicate's legs as she screamed in pain, she'd be fine. But when those thoughts arose, so did the bile in her throat. She didn't know if talking about it, telling May about it, would help. But it probably wouldn't hurt.
Daisy swallowed, crossing her arms around her waist. "It's not nothing." She said softly.
Melinda hesitated. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"I don't know." Daisy shrugged. "I-I guess." She meant to keep talking. She really did.
May slid off the chair so that she was sitting on the ground as well, within arm's reach of Daisy. "Are you okay?"
Daisy nodded. "Yeah. I'm fine." She sucked in a breath, not even sure where to start. "I-I promised myself I'd never use my powers to hurt you." She winced, backtracking, "I mean- the team, but- specifically... you." She clasped her hands together. "I know it's been a long time and- I know you said it's okay, but... I know I can't do that again."
A hand clasped on her shoulder and Daisy looked up. "I understand." May murmured, and Daisy gave a small smile.
That didn't last long, however. "I broke it though." Daisy mumbled. "Or- it felt like I did." She clenched her fists. "I know that the robot wasn't- wasn't really you, but it looked like you- a-and it thought like you, and when it screamed..."
May tried for a joke. Anything to make Daisy feel a little better. "I don't scream."
"You would if I broke both your legs."
May sighed. "You can't make promises like that." She murmured. "Sooner or later you'll end up breaking them."
Daisy laughed humourlessly. "I kind of thought that not attacking the people I care about was an easy one."
"That's easy to think." May said. "I shot you. Remember?"
Daisy looked away. "You had to. I would have killed Mack."
May smiled wryly. "And you think that the LMD wasn't going to do anything to hurt anyone?"
"I didn't say I was being logical here." Daisy muttered, and May let out a soft laugh.
"For what it's worth," May said, "I'm glad you could do that."
"Break your legs from ten paces."
"Yes." The force with which she replied gave Daisy pause.
"Why?" She asked, trying not to remember the feeling through her powers, the snap.
May looked at the ground and took a moment to breathe. "Because when I got sick last year and I was attacking the others, almost no one could have stopped me." She said softly. "Mace did, eventually. After I'd almost taken down my own Strike team and Coulson too." She swallowed. "I don't really remember, but I do know that I was lucky not to have killed anyone."
"I didn't know about that." Daisy said quietly.
May nodded. "People get hurt all the time in our business. You know that. Sometimes you're going to be the one doing the hurting. I shot you, Jemma killed me, you took down my LMD because it was what you had to do."
"I know." Daisy mumbled, squeezing her hand. "I just wish we didn't have to."
Daisy smiled a little. "I'm glad we got you back." She said softly, shifting to lean against her side. "I missed you."
Melinda sighed contentedly and wrapped one arm around Daisy's shoulders. "I missed you too." Daisy didn't say anything in response, but moments later her form started to shake with soft purrs, and May smiled.
They were gonna be okay.