“My boobs hurt.”
He pouts in sympathy. She wants to grab his face and kiss it but her hands are occupied, trying to relieve the pain.
“Want me to do that?” he asks, glancing down at her cupped breasts.
She rolls her eyes. Then she thinks. Shrugs. “Alright.”
She climbs into his lap and lets him take hold. They just feel so heavy. She groans audibly.
“PMS?” he asks.
She’s going to fall asleep in the next ten seconds. “Must be,” she murmurs.
When he pushes open the bathroom door, her eyes flit up to his, but her expression is stuck in amused shock.
He takes a step forward but his foot hits something. Actually, several somethings.
“You shouldn’t litter,” he says.
“Maybe I just like to live in a pile trash.”
“This is a lot of pregnancy tests.”
“Yes it is.”
“Like, a comical amount of pregnancy tests.”
“Well, Simmons likes to be thorough.”
“Why didn’t she just do a blood test?”
“She thought this would be more fun.”
(“Twelve positive tests,” Jemma breaths. “We’re having a baby!”
“I’m having a baby.”
“Don’t ruin this for me.”)
Skye shrugs, amused.
He kneels in front of her. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. Are you?”
“You know that I am.”
She does know this. It only takes a few minutes of talking to Trip to realize he’s a giant dork. Sure, he may be a specialist working for a secret intelligence organization, but he likes to watch Indiana Jones in his boxers and he can’t hold his liquor and he desperately wants a little half-him half-her monster running through the halls.
“Is now the right time, though? Because it’s okay if it’s not.”
Her eyes go misty, far away, looking past him. She’s trying to imagine for a moment what it will be like. “I think I’m okay with this.”
She looks back at him. “Yes.”
He smiles widely, cups her face, leans in.
An audible squeal comes from the shower, then a soft oh! and the sound of a hand slapping to a mouth. Trip draws back the curtain.
“I hid,” Jemma says, “in case you wanted to have a moment.” But her excitement bubbles over again, and she hops happily, throwing an arm around each of them. “Baby!” she shouts.
Suddenly Jemma stiffens.
“Oh nothing.” She steps out of the shower. She’s got her anxious face on. “I just need to go learn everything there is to know about obstetrics.”
“Jemma, it’s fine.”
“Of course! Of course it’s fine!” She half-shouts. “I just have to!”
“Jem? Are you in here?” Fitz peeks his head around the corner.
“How many people need to be in this bathroom right now?” Trip asks, rubbing his head.
“Four,” Fitz says. He notices the floor. “Those look like pregnancy tests.”
“Skye’s pregnant!” Jemma bursts before Skye can say anything.
“We’re having a baby?” Fitz asks.
Skye gives Trip a look.
It’s not real until the first ultrasound.
Even after Jemma did the blood test and gave them the whole rigmarole about her levels of whatever, it was still imaginary. A vague concept. There’s a little tiny thing in her belly that’s using her body to live. But at the ultrasound, the reality hits her: it’s going to come out of her and it’s going to look like her and Trip and she’s going to love it. A whole new person that’s going to be spit out.
Just like she was.
“I hate you right now.”
“No you don’t.”
“Yes, I do,” she insists, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.
“Well, I love you all the time.”
“Seriously, every horrible and disgusting thing my body now produces is your responsibility, from my puke to the kid.”
“And I will gladly take responsibility,” he says, kissing her forehead. “Well, the puke’s pretty gross, but I’ll deal with it. I love you.”
“I love you too,” she says. “Despite the fact that you put our spawn inside me.”
“Our spawn,” he repeats, exquisitely pleased.
She can’t help but smile.
Considering the fact that Jemma told Fitz almost immediately, it’s kind of ridiculous that she makes Skye wait until twelve weeks to tell everyone else.
She comes to Coulson’s office on a bright afternoon. “Time for lunch, AC.”
He smiles warmly. “Do you have an appointment?”
“Since when do I need one?”
“You don’t. I’m just wondering if I forgot.”
“You didn’t. This is a surprise.” And it will not be the only surprise of the day.
They walk down the street to a diner. All of her significant moments take place in diners. This is probably not an accident, but she won’t look too closely.
After they order she takes a deep breath. “I have to tell you something.”
“I guessed that,” he says knowingly.
She doesn’t know how to say the words. She’s said it a few times, but. It’s Coulson.
His eyes go wide in awe. He’s momentarily speechless, and then: “We’re having a baby?”
“Oh Christ, AC,” she says, but she’s smiling. “I am having a baby.”
“Who’s the father?”
She gives him a look. “Who do you think?”
“Agent Triplett is…acceptable.”
“You love Trip.”
She rolls her eyes. “I’m twelve weeks.”
“I’m so proud of you,” he says suddenly, nearly clipping the end of her sentence, taking her hand on the table.
Her brow knits. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”
“I’m not talking about this.” Tears are filling his eyes. Uh oh. “You’ve grown up so much. And you’re absolutely spectacular, Skye. I’m very glad I found you. And you’re going to be a great mom.”
No one makes her cry like AC does. Plus the hormones.
“Well, you’re going to make a great grandpa.” She ducks her head. She’s never called him dad before.
But she’s thought it.
His tears threaten to spillover and he squeezes her hand.
“So have you thought about preschools?”
She rolls her eyes.
When she was six, she asked one of the nuns why some kids have parents and some kids have to be orphans.
“God works in mysterious ways.”
She’d heard that answer before. She just wanted to see if the rhetoric ever changed. But they all parroted out the same thing.
What use is it to tell that to a little kid all alone?
Her conversation with May is short and perfect.
“You’re going to be there, right? To keep me calm.”
“Not feeling calm when you’re in labor is perfectly reasonable, Skye.”
She nods. “Of course.”
Jemma’s spending the night. Trip is away on assignment; and Fitz isn’t invited. Jemma had no friends when she was a kid because she was a freaky little genius (well, still is) and Skye had no friends when she was a kid because she was a hell-bound little deviant (…shut up). So sometimes they have sleepovers.
“You’ve got a tiny bump,” Jemma coos, cold hand on the skin of her stomach.
Skye just smiles. There’s a tiny little thing in there. Her body is its home. So strange. It’s not technically the strangest thing in her body, but that’s why Jemma’s the only one qualified to be her doctor. Presumably, they’ll learn how to handle double-strangeness.
“I’ve asked May to help me, so we should be covered,” Jemma is saying.
“Help you with what?”
“The delivery!” Jemma says brightly. “I would’ve used Fitz but I think if Fitz saw any of the things that happen during childbirth he’d be scarred for life.”
“Yeah, I don’t want Fitz down there.”
“May’s going to help.”
Jemma gives her a long look. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. Is it going to be six more months of people asking me that question?”
“Probably.” Jemma purses her lips for a moment. “Are you nervous?”
Skye nods, tiny quick bobs. “I know that everything’s going to turn out okay. But I also know that everything might go horribly wrong.”
Jemma thinks that over. “No matter what,” she says, “we are here for you and Trip. We’re a family. We’re going to figure out everything together.” Jemma has a sureness about her that Skye can’t help but believe. It’s not arrogance; it’s self-determination.
Skye sticks her arms out, desperate. Jemma scooches over on the couch and throws her arms around Skye’s shoulders. They stay that way for a long time.
“But why do you get to do it?” Jemma pouts.
“Because it’s my technology,” Fitz responds.
“That I helped design!”
“You got to do the last one! I won’t do any of the medical stuff, just the machine!”
“Fine, but make sure—”
“Guys,” Skye cuts in. She’s propped up on the lab table, gooey stuff already on her stomach.
“Right,” Jemma says pointedly. “Sorry.”
Fitz does something wiggly with the sensor thing and adjusts some dials and then there’s a clear picture of, something. A blob. She’s seen this blob before but it was much tinier. Now it’s human-shaped. Now there is a tiny human-shaped blob inside of her. She is home to a tiny human.
“Do you want to know the sex?” Jemma asks.
“Shouldn’t we leave first?” Fitz murmurs to her.
She gives him a look. “Know the sex. Of the baby.”
“Oh. I misheard.”
Jemma turns to them expectantly.
“Yes,” Trip and Skye say in unison. “We want to know what it is. So we can stop referring to it as an it,” Skye finishes.
Jemma nudges Fitz and he adjust the machine, trying to get the picture clearer.
Jemma fiddles with the hologram, looking it over, then smiles. “It’s a girl.”
The room erupts into happy noise for a moment, and then Trip presses a kiss to Skye’s lips. “Our baby girl,” she murmurs to him.
The smile slides off of his face.
Trip doesn’t usually panic. Like ever. But it’s happening right now. “Our baby girl,” he repeats. He sounds…horrified?
“Oh, god,” Skye says, frozen. “What is happening?”
Trip is now bent over, one hand on the table to keep him steady. “Our baby girl.” He stands abruptly and starts to pace. “Our baby girl.”
“Just let him work through this,” Coulson says knowingly. Skye cocks her head at him, and catches May rolling her eyes behind him.
He’s freaking out pretty bad.
The room stares on for a long moment until he circles back around.
“You okay, babe?” Skye asks, eyebrow raised.
“Our baby girl,” he repeats.
“Jemma wants to know if we want to go to birthing class,” Skye says, looking at the text message she just received. “Which implies that she is already going to birthing class.”
Trip breathes a laugh as he buttons his shirt. “The girl does love to be prepared.”
“I used to be the hot one,” she hisses. He’s already in bed, but she must stage her protest first. “And then we got together and I thought, okay, fine, I won’t be the hot one in this relationship; I’ll be the brains.”
“Babe,” he says, “you’re the most beautiful pregnant woman I’ve ever seen.”
“Yeah, but how much time have you spent around pregnant women? Like none. I’m number one out of one.”
“Yes, but you’re the only one that matters.”
She frowns aggressively. “Ew. Why do you have to be so cute?”
“I was born with it. And this baby will be born with it too.”
Her shoulders relax. “I guess that’s okay.”
“Come lay down; I’ll spoon you.”
“Spooning is the only option! I can’t lay on my back or my front anymore.” But she lies down anyway.
He sighs into her hair. “I’m sorry I put a baby in you.”
He sits up and leans close to her stomach. “I’m not really sorry,” he whispers.
She rolls her eyes.
When she was younger, she used to spend a lot of time in the library. But not for the same reasons as Fitz and Simmons.
It was open to everyone. Big enough to lose yourself in. Air-conditioning was a huge plus. Nooks secluded enough that she could sleep if she needed to. Quiet enough to listen to her own head for a while. Quiet enough to breathe.
And computers with such weak password protection she could break through them in her sleep. The endless expanse of the internet was one of the only shreds of control she had a grasp on. And that’s where she started looking for her parents.
At first it was public records, but those led to dead ends. At least, until she figured out how to turn the dead ends into speed bumps. She consumed programming like a fire, unstoppable. She had a purpose. Apparently that made a high-school dropout into a hacker.
The Rising Tide noticed her only because she didn’t know how to cover her tracks. But they were impressed, so they taught her anyway.
This is how she spent her days. Her nights were spent differently.
“So have you thought about names?” Jemma asks. Another sleepover. They’ve had to pause their movie three times already so Skye could pee; it’s basically abandoned at this point.
“Yeah, actually, we picked one.”
“What?” Jemma shrieks. “Why didn’t you say?”
Skye wants to give an excuse but she tells the truth instead. “Because I felt weird about telling you.”
She frowns. “Why?”
“Well, we wanted to pick names that meant something to us. So her name will be Cassidy Margaret Triplett.”
Jemma smiles. “Margaret for Peggy Carter?”
“What does Cassidy mean?”
“It means clever,” Skye explains, feeling strangely bashful. “I wanted something that reminded me of you and Fitz and I couldn’t decide – I mean, I’m not going to name my baby Fitzsimmons so – oh god, are you crying?”
“Yes,” Jemma says, water-logged.
“Please don’t cry!”
Suddenly Jemma is hugging Skye tightly. “I’m going to be the best auntie this world has ever seen.”
“I believe it,” Skye says, laughing a bit.
Jemma pulls back. “I love you. And I love Trip. And I love this baby.”
“Good,” Skye responds. “Because we love you too.”
(“Wow. You are very large.”
“That’s rude, Ward.”
“No! I mean. Sorry. I mean you’re supposed to be. I’m sorry.”
She peers behind him. “What’s that?”
“It’s a crib. I built it. With wood, and my hands.”
“Have you been living in the woods again?” She quips, because she doesn’t want to cry.
She wakes him in the middle of the night. This probably isn’t a smart idea – Trip is not without his share of nightmares – but she can’t help it.
“What’s wrong?” he says, voice tight.
“I don’t want our kid to grow up without parents,” she blurts, voice raspy from disuse and unshed tears.
“She’s not going to,” he says, and it’s a vow. He sits up to match her and puts a hand on a spot on her back, the spot where the world lives.
“We have dangerous jobs. And I like our dangerous jobs. But I can’t live with the possibility that she might have to grow up the way I did.”
He doesn’t know the story, not really. Actually, none of them do. There are two versions of her life: the one that glosses over the details, and the one that leaves the details rough.
“Do you really think, if something happened to us, that Jemma and Fitz and Coulson and May would just let her go?” He asks. “They love her so much.”
Her lips are pursed and trembling. She knows this, she knows all of this.
“And there’s my family, too. If something happens to all of us.”
She knows. Trip’s family is great. She knows this.
“But I don’t have to tell you that I will spend every last breath in me fighting to get home to her, because I know you’ll be with me doing the same thing.”
They are stronger than they appear. She’s rocking a bit. She knows, she knows.
“I know. I know.” And the tears are making her rabid now. “I just can’t help it, I can’t–”
And she’s gone. Dissolved in fear. He pulls her close to his chest, lets her lose herself against his throat, against his chest.
They stay that way until she wrecks herself to sleep.
“Why would I—?” But then he looks up to her face. He sucks in a sharp breath. “Okay.”
“It’s fine. I’m not worried. You have no reason to worry,” she says, standing up from the mess she’s just left on the couch. They had been running tech support from the base, but, well, clearly Baby has shot this mission to hell already.
“Why are you reassuring me?” Fitz shrieks. “I should be reassuring you!”
“I’m clearly not the one who needs reassuring right now.”
“She’s early,” he says. “Why is she early? Baby Cass, why are you early?” he implores her stomach. She rolls her eyes.
“Call everyone and tell them. I’m going to take a shower.”
“You’re going to take a shower? You’re in labor!”
“I have time. I’ll be five minutes.”
He follows her towards the bedroom.
“In any of the scenarios you and Trip practiced, was I the only one here to help you?”
“Not remotely,” she says as she grabs clothes to change into.
“Leopold,” she says, slapping a hand to his face, “it’s fine. I trust you. Well, not in a medical sense, but—”
She leaves to take her shower, which is largely uneventful; however when she exists, clean and sorted, she nearly trips over Fitz, who’s sitting on the floor in front of the door.
“Oh, here she is,” he says into the phone.
“What are you doing?”
“I wanted to be close by in case you, I don’t know, fell down or something.”
She tries not to find that adorable and gestures for the phone.
“How do you feel?” He sounds intensely relieved for a split second before switching the most anxious she has ever heard him.
“Icky. How far away are you?”
“Half an hour. We turned around as soon as Fitz called. Jemma and May are going to scrub up as soon as we get back and then she can start helping you with the pain.”
“You know, it hasn’t actually been that bad y– FUCK. MOTHERFUCKER.”
“One sec,” she pinches out as she tries to breathe through it.
“Oh fuck that shit,” she rips when the contraction has passed.
“I’m coming, Skye. We’re on our way.”
Three days ago, she sought out May.
“Tell me everything’s going to be alright.”
She blinks in surprise. “Well, that’s not very helpful.”
“Skye, it doesn’t matter what I say to you. You’re going to be afraid no matter what. And it’s not going to stop when the baby is born, or when she can walk or talk or when she goes to college. This child will terrify you for the rest of your life.”
“I’m still waiting for the helpful part.”
“You’re helping to create a new member of your family.”
“Our family,” Skye quickly corrects.
“Our family. And I know that that is a pursuit you value highly. You’re creating something important. Not just for you and Trip, but for all of us.”
Skye smiles slowly. “You’re wrong.”
May rolls her eyes. “About which part?”
“It does matter what you say to me.” And before May can protest, Skye kisses her on the cheek.
In total, Skye’s boyfriend, her father figure, and her best friend – the males of the room – get cursed heavily during the delivery. She’ll apologize when she has a spare thought in her brain that isn’t focused on this magnificent nugget of a kid.
Cass Triplett was brought into this world screaming. Well, her mother was screaming. Cass was pretty relaxed.
Several years later, it’s her uncle and her grandfather who are the ones screaming.
Yeah, Cass can see her whole ragtag crew sitting in the stands, but the rest of them are behaving normally. Well, normally for them.
Anyway, apparently when she’d joined the district soccer league this implied a grand sports career that required Grandpa and Uncle Fitz to learn the rules of every single version of soccer that exists. Ever. And apparently that gives them the right to yell at the referee.
Cassidy Triplett is twelve years old; her mom and dad are making out on the bleachers, her auntie is holding her uncle back, her grandfather is shouting at the sixteen-year-old boy who is playing referee, and her May is probably rolling her eyes. Cass can’t tell from here, but she has a good feeling that May is rolling her eyes.
Quickly, she runs forward, finds her opening to take the ball, and runs down the field. She has their attention. She kicks it in wide for a goal. She circles back around to see her family erupt in cheers.
She rolls her eyes. At least that’s distracted them. For now.