A/N: So, this is me starting to put some of the work out here that I have been working on for the past two months. This piece was sparked after the Season Finale, obviously, and while my heart hurt thinking of what May's life would be like now, to watch the man she loves die, I also felt the need to make her happy a little. So the majority of this story will be bittersweet, but just that - sweet. In a way. (And considering I've finished the entire thing already, I know that it will have a happy ending.)

There will actually only be Philinda in this story, with some chats with Daisy but those are too short to give her a place in the list of characters. Just May and Coulson, doing what they were always supposed to be doing.

Also, just a quick note to all the Mentalistas who are following me and might be disappointed with me no longer writing anything Jisbon: I'm completely empty. I have no ideas left. I think after 180 fics I have officially run out of ideas. So I'm afraid it will just be Agents of SHIELD from this point on. Sorry!

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.


'Number One'

Chapter One

She wasn't herself, that much was clear.

Ever since Fitz had died, she was continuously on edge. The team was falling apart, even though they were pretending they weren't, and these people were family to her, the closest she'd had after her parents. She couldn't bear the thought of never seeing them again.

Coulson walked into her room without announcing anything, without asking for permission, and maybe she should have been angry, but she couldn't find the strength within her to tell him off.

"I'm leaving," he said.

"I'm not surprised."

He paused, then nodded. "I would like it if you came with me."

"Where to?"

"Not the point." He stepped closer and put a hand on her arm. "I don't want to part from you just yet."

That was a nice thought, but she wasn't sure what that would mean for her.

"Melinda," he whispered, "I can't say the words just yet. I need a little more time."

"I'm not forcing you to say them."

"No, I know that. But you've said them. You deserve to hear it."

"So what would we do if we left together?" she asked him, changing the subject. Her feelings for him were clear but it didn't mean they were easy. And it wasn't about to get any easier, with his upcoming demise and all.

He seemed to accept the fact that she wanted to change the subject. He pulled out a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and showed it to her, without leaving time to let her read it. Now she wondered what was on it.

"I've made a bucket list. I've lived a full life but I've spent most of those years with SHIELD. There's so much I haven't done yet. And… I can't think of a better partner to do this with than you."

She already knew she would come with him, because joining him in this crazy plan of his was way better than having to say goodbye now. She pushed aside the thought that she would likely have to watch him die in this scenario, but it was still better than the alternative.

"I haven't really thought this through, I know. I won't have time for everything I want to do. But… I want to share it with you. You're the single most important person in my life."

His eyes told her of everything that could still be awaiting them, the future they could never have but also the past they did have. She could never have been his lover for longer than she had been his best friend, but she was still proud of what they had been so far, appreciated their friendship.

She had no illusions - going with him was as a friend, yes, but it was mostly as his love. The only question therefore was if she was ready for that.

She had to be. He didn't have much time. Whatever he had left, she wanted to be there. They deserved as much.

"Just let me pack a bag."

He smiled like she had never seen before, like rainbows and unicorns would fly out of his mouth if he would say something, and she realized she had made the right decision. There wasn't really a choice anyway.

She reached out and they hugged tightly, something they hadn't done in a while and she hoped they could do some more in this little scheme of his.

"Thank you," he whispered near her ear. She would never leave him.

~...~

She felt so safe and content here next to him, even though it was too hot for words and there were tears in her eyes waiting to come out.

Her own goodbye from the team had been bad enough. Mack and Yo-Yo wished her the best, Jemma had stayed tough like a right little soldier (she deserved a break, May thought, but that was way out of her control), and Daisy had just pleaded for her to stay. When May had told her she needed to be with Coulson, Daisy had nearly cried, but she understood. For her question of when she would come back, if she ever would, May had no answer. She didn't want to think about life after him, not when he was still standing right beside her, ready to be with her, spend some time with her. He did it under the pretense of ticking off his bucket list, but she had a feeling he only did it to be close to her.

She looked to him briefly and saw pain in his eyes, even though he was smiling. He was a pro at that, especially right now, but they both knew that tears wouldn't make it any easier.

She couldn't imagine what his goodbye had been like, knowing he wouldn't see them ever again. While she wanted to say that he had handpicked them to be a member of this team, that wasn't the truth because she had, but he had trained most of them and guided them, and she knew he saw all of them as a vital part of their missions.

His hold on her hand tightened as the Zephyr flew over their heads, and then they were alone, and he had well and truly left their lives. He took in a deep breath and held it, before letting it go, a bit more shakily than he probably would have wanted.

"I'm gonna miss them," he admitted.

"And you should," she replied, knowing it sounded rough, but it was the truth and he would know that. "They are pretty amazing."

He nodded, taking some more time to compose himself, then looked at her.

"Thank you for coming. Again. I feel like I have to say it often, that's how grateful I am."

"You don't have to say it, though." She looked at him. "You're my best friend. I'll always support you."

He turned so he no longer had to look to the side to look at her, and she did the same. Their hands were still entwined and she looked at the view, amazed by how easy that had been, her hand slipping in his. She looked back up at him, and he dropped her hand, to cup her cheeks. She felt the overwhelming need to kiss him, and perhaps he felt the same way, or maybe he could read her mind, because he leaned down and kissed her, his thumbs brushing her cheeks. Her arms wrapped around him and pulled him close, and she realized in that moment just how much she loved him, and how she would break when he died.

She shouldn't think of it, she should cherish the time they had together, but it just kept creeping up on her, like a tiny voice in the back of her head telling her from time to time that he was going to die. She wanted to turn it off. If only she knew how.

One of his hands left her face to wrap around her waist, while the other landed in her hair, and he seemed to lose patience, in what she didn't know, because he was pulling her closer and closer until she pulled away to breathe because he was simply pushing all of the air out of her lungs. She put her forehead against his and closed her eyes, their sunglasses massively in the way. She wished she could have had more time with him. She wished that they had done this thirty years ago, and she thought of everything that could have been if they had just thrown all caution in the wind back then - they could have been married, had a family, been happy together. But then she knew, even if she'd been with him like that for thirty years, his death would still leave her broken. He was everything to her, so Melinda May without Phil Coulson was just… impossible.

She opened her eyes and he was looking at her, as though he hadn't done anything else, ever, his eyes speaking of feelings and words he could never voice, and she put her hands on his biceps, willing him to say the words. Say the words, Phil, and I'll do anything for you, I'll watch you die. Just say the words.

But it was difficult for both of them, not just him. She remembered when she had told him about her own feelings, and it had felt like ripping a piece of her soul out, laying it all out, vulnerable, easy to damage, and it had taken so much courage from her side that she knew she wouldn't say it that quickly again. Maybe if he said it, it would flow out of her, but there was only one way to find out.

Yet he wouldn't say it. She knew that. It would make everything harder, even breathing, for both of them. And they deserved better than that. In any case, she knew how he felt, she could feel it in the way he held her in his arms, like she was so precious to him, and she was.

"Hmm." He brushed her hair out of her face and she smiled at the affectionate gesture. "Let's get you out of these clothes."

She startled and chuckled in shock. She wanted them to take things slowly, in a way, to perhaps make it more precious, but his hands told her he couldn't wait. "Are you serious?"

"Of course. We're on Tahiti and we're still dressed for Chicago."

"Right." For a moment, she wondered if his comment was only that, innocent, like he had been so many times in his wonderful life, but then he kissed her deeply and wrapped his arms around her tightly, and before she knew it he was lifting her into his arms and he was carrying her to their beach house, only putting her down when they were inches from the bed.

"This is number two on the list," he whispered.

"What's number one?"

He hesitated, before he decided to gently push her jacket off her shoulders.

"You'll see."

She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him, reveling in the feel of him against her, his lips brushing against hers and his hands roaming her body. She would make the best use of the time they were given, and if it would mean that she had to spend all day in bed with him, who was she to argue with that?


A/N: Thanks for reading this first chapter! I will see what kind of schedule I can come up with for publishing the chapters, maybe I'll just post randomly when I feel like it. Anyway, let me know what you thought in a REVIEW, thank you!