After Skye prepared Ace a meager dinner of a peanut butter and banana sandwich and some chips (or "crisps" as he put it) from Fitz's secret stash, she went about trying to find a place for him to sleep. She wasn't about to let him stay in the interrogation room, like his dad did. The dark room was too foreboding and the walls always had the creepy feeling that they were closing in on you. In the end, she decided to have him stay in her room and she would just crash on the couches in the lounge.
In her room, Ace took off his shoes, but left his socks on. He put his jacket on the chair and climbed slowly into her bed, turning to face her as he lied down. Skye read him a Dr. Seuss book that she had borrowed from Jemma, Oh, The Places You'll Go. Jemma had received it as a graduation gift and since it was the only kid's book on board, it would have to do.
As she closed the book, Ace looked at her intently, "Skye, where's my daddy? Is he coming back soon?"
He'd been asking the same questions again and again. Skye stiffened, knowing that she'd never find the right words, that she'd never be able to find an answer to satisfy him. "I don't know, honey. I just don't know. But, I'm here to take care of you. And soon, your aunt and uncle are going to come and take care of you."
He wrinkled his nose in mild disgust. "They have a stinky cat. I don't like their cat."
Skye almost laughed. She remembered, as a kid, a foster home that she stayed at for a month. There were four cats and the litter box was beyond foul-smelling despite the mother's best efforts. After that experience, she'd promised herself, no matter what, that'd she'd never get more pets than she could handle.
"Skye, can't I stay here with you?" he asked, bunching up the covers in his hands.
Skye felt her heart break a little bit at the question. What did Ace's future hold for him? Would his aunt and uncle be able to take care of him? Would he be passed around from one relative to the next? She knew, beyond a doubt, that Mike loved him. Loves him, she told herself. We don't know for sure if he's gone.
"I really wish you could. But this is no place for a kid."
"I'd be good. I wouldn't get in the way," he said eagerly.
"I'm so sorry, Ace, but you can't. Now, I've already read you a story. What else do you usually do before bed?"
"After a story, we do prayers and Daddy kisses me and tucks me in."
Prayers. Skye smiled wanly. After her own checkered past, she couldn't remember the last time she prayed. At the orphanage? It was even harder to remember when she actually meant them. But, maybe, after the losses they had suffered, it was a night for prayers.
"Okay, Ace, why don't you go ahead?"
Ace nodded seriously, folding his hands. "Okay, please watch out for Daddy and Mr. Coulson and please bring them back to us right now. And thank you for Skye and Ward and . . . and . . . all the other people on this plane. Amen."
Skye was shocked when she realized that she was repeating the words to herself and meaning every one. Ace laid his head on the pillow sleepily and she leaned over and kissed him on the forehead while tucking the blankets around him.
"Good night, Ace."
"Good night, Skye."
Author's Note- I had just planned this as a one-shot, but got a few reviews encouraging me to expand it a bit. I was unsatisfied with the lack of explanation about what happened to Ace so I thought I'd write a bit more about it. I hope you liked it!