The Zephyr was on route to the closest match to Robin's picture when Daisy finally collapsed into the co-pilot's seat. Robin and Polly were resting, most of the crew was on break, and the sky was dark. May didn't even need to be on the stick right now, but Daisy knew that she'd want to be.
May didn't look up when Daisy loudly sat down, not that she expected her to. Though they were well past the point of Daisy cautiously asking before invading her space, May was as quiet as ever. After a few minutes of silence and looking out over the clouds, Daisy sighed. "You okay?"
May shrugged. "We're a few hours out."
"Okay, but not what I asked." Daisy said, trying not to seem annoyed. When May said nothing in response, she laughed softly. "You know, I think Robin's the only person I know who talks less than you do. I guess you're a pretty great match."
May remained silent and Daisy bit the inside of her lip. "I-I'm sorry I brought her here." She said quietly.
May shook her head. "Don't be." She murmured, "She'll help us find Coulson."
"Well- I'm sorry that her being here is so hard for you."
Daisy rolled her eyes. "May." They both knew that wasn't true.
It took May several seconds to think of what to say. To figure out if she even wanted to say anything. Eventually, she murmured. "I don't know why she needs me so much."
Daisy shrugged. "You're amazing." She said softly, "And you were- will be there for her when she needs someone."
"That's it though. If we fix the future then none of that will happen." Daisy spotted the subtle tremble of her shoulders. "Do you think she'll remember?"
"I-I don't know."
"I hope she doesn't. She'll have a better life without me."
Daisy glanced at her sideways. "Not because it's without you." She said. "You- you were the only good thing she had in her crappy life."
"Not much competition then."
Daisy grit her teeth and sucked in a breath. "I swear to God." She muttered under her breath, "Look you can't hate yourself cos you helped this kid. That's a good thing."
May sighed. "I'm just feeling sorry for myself." She muttered. "Don't worry about it."
"I'm worried about it." Daisy said. "I'm worried about you."
May shook her head. "You don't have to be, I'm fine." Something about the way she said it made Daisy's heart quake, and it only took her a moment to realise why.
That tone, the way she said it. That was exactly how she talked to Robin. Daisy swallowed thickly. She was always too scared to even bring it up, but... "You're a great mom, you know that right?" May gave no reaction. "I sometimes imagine it, if- if things were different and you'd been a- a foster parent." Daisy smiled. "I'd have followed all the dumb rules for you. The seven thirty curfew, the no TV, because- you're always there for me, and that's all a mom needs to be." She could feel the tears burning behind her eyes and tried desperately to keep them at bay. "That's everything I wanted my mom to be."
When May didn't respond Daisy bowed her head, the humiliation climbing her neck getting stronger and stronger with each passing second. She shouldn't have said that. Shouldn't have put it all on May right now. May didn't need her unloading all of her dumb abandonment issues on her.
"It was going to be an eight thirty curfew."
Daisy looked up, dazed. "What?"
The look on May's face made her feel more vulnerable than even spilling her mother issues all over the cockpit. She looked so open and nostalgic even. "It was gonna be an eight thirty curfew." May said again, a gentle smile colouring her face. "Andrew and I- we were planning to, for a while." She looked out over the stars. "Eight thirty curfew, they needed at least a B plus on homework, had to do one weekend sport, and I wanted them to learn Chinese."
Daisy smiled tentatively. "Not as strict as I thought."
May shrugged. "I didn't want to be my mother." She confessed. "I remembered how much I hated her when I was a teenager, I didn't want my kid to hate me."
"I can't see any kid hating you."
She rolled her eyes. "I'm not exactly warm and fuzzy."
"You are so warm and fuzzy." Daisy grinned. "You just hide it well."
"Prove me wrong."
May glared at her for a long moment but Daisy's grin didn't falter. "Ass."
Daisy laughed. "Pushover." May grumbled under her breath, trying and failing to hide her amusement. Daisy looked down. "Look, just because we're trying to change the future, it doesn't mean you can't be a part of Robin's life. You know she'd want you to be."
May shook her head. "I can't afford to just leave every other weekend. Even if we stop this, we're still wanted. SHIELD brings danger, and I don't want to take that to Robin."
Daisy fiddled with her hands. "I- look, I don't want you to-" She stopped herself and took a breath. "You and Coulson aren't exactly getting younger, and I just thought... you've given your whole life to SHIELD, and if you wanted to leave after this no one would blame you."
"No." May said without hesitation. "SHIELD's my life."
"It doesn't have to be."
"Are you trying to get rid of me?"
Daisy laughed. "No, God no. The last thing I want is for you to leave, I just... don't want you to give up something that you want this much. Not again."
She could feel May's eyes on her, boring into her soul. The hairs on the back of Daisy's neck stood up and she resisted the urge to squirm in her seat. It was better to tell May she could go if she wanted to. That way at least she felt like she had a say.
A hand covered hers and Daisy looked up. May had that soft look on her face again, the way she looked at Robin.
"Robin's not the only kid I want to keep an eye on." She murmured.
Daisy smiled tentatively for a moment, then laughed. "Okay, I don't know if I should be grateful or offended."
May shrugged. "Take your pick."
Daisy hesitated then squeezed her hand. "Thank you." She said softly. "I couldn't do this without you right now."
"You're doing great." May assured, weaving their fingers together. "The others are still adjusting, but you're doing well."
Daisy smiled. "Thanks." She murmured. "It means a lot, coming from you. It's- it's been really nice having you just- teach me stuff again. I missed it." I missed you. She thought.
"Me too." May said, looking out over the night.
Daisy glanced at her out of the corner of her eye but otherwise kept her eyes fixed on the stars and the dark, savouring the feeling of May's thumb tracing circles on the back of her hand. This was nice, she decided.
This was home.