Skye’s eyes flutter open slowly, and a wave of relief washes over Jemma. The surgery lasted four terrifying hours, and adding that to the time it took Skye to wake up from the anesthesia, Jemma is exhausted in every way possible, but mostly emotionally.
"Hello," Skye mumbles hoarsely. She looks around her, examining the room with a confused expression. And then looks back at Jemma and smiles dumbly, seeming a bit out of it as the doctors said she'd be.
Jemma wants to laugh and cry at the same time. She was so worried she'd never see Skye's beautiful smile again.
"Who are you?"
And just like that, Jemma doesn't want to laugh anymore. The almost unbeareable need to cry, however, is still there. Her watery eyes sting, tears threatening to leak.
They warned her this could happen. In the end, she's just glad Skye is alive and apparently well. Memory loss can be considered luck compared to the other possible consequences of the surgery Skye went through.
It's fine, Jemma tells herself. They can deal with this.
That doesn't make it any less heart-wrenching to see Skye stare at her like she's a complete stranger.
"Hi, Skye," Jemma says, her voice trembling. She should try to remain calm in order not to alarm Skye. This is certainly going to be overwhelming for her in itself, Jemma doesn't need to add to it by crying.
Skye's response is definitely not like anything Jemma would expect. "Oh, wow."
Jemma furrows her brows. "I'm sorry?"
The meds in Skye's system might be affecting her more than Jemma previously realized. It's clear now as Skye raises her eyebrows and gives Jemma the once-over, looking like she's in absolute awe.
"You're so pretty," Skye blurts out, face incredulous. "Oh my god, you're gorgeous. Ridiculously gorgeous."
Skye lets out a chuckle and Jemma doesn't know how to react. She narrows her eyes and steps closer to Skye's hospital bed. "Skye, are you alright?"
"Yes!" She replies excitedly. "I'm good. I think so." She blinks, confused, as if struggling to remember something, but quickly snaps back and looks up at Jemma again. "Are you alright? God, I hope you're alright."
Jemma laughs, because that seems like the only option at the moment besides crying, which would only scare Skye off, and she honestly can’t figure out another way to deal with this. Skye seems pleased to see Jemma laugh and does so as well.
"I think you're the most beautiful woman I've seen in my life," Skye says, suddenly serious like she just had an important realization. She even gasps in surprise, and then shakes her head. "Forget that. No man in the world can be as beautiful as you are. Not even close. You're the most beautiful human I've seen in my life!"
This time she's expecting some sort of response from Jemma. The scientist brushes her hair behind her ear. "Um, thank you? I'm flattered."
She has no idea how to tell Skye the truth. Maybe she should wait, let the meds wear off first.
"No, thank you for being here!" Skye gives her a toothy grin. "So, are you a doctor or...?"
Maybe her plan of waiting won't work so well. Jemma has improved her ability to lie ever since she first met Skye, but Skye herself has always been able to catch Jemma’s lies. Her expressions are going to give her away easily.
"Well, technically I am, but not-"
"Oh, thank god,” Skye cuts her off with a sigh of relief even though she just said she was fine. “Doctor, my head- I feel strange. What’s going on?”
Skye raises her hands to touch the bandage around her head, and Jemma automatically sways forward and reaches for her wrists. Skye backs away, startled by Jemma’s sudden contact, and the beeping of her heart rate monitor accelerates for a moment, making Jemma take a step back awkwardly.
The question in Skye's eyes is loud and clear. Instead of answering it, Jemma can't help but try one last time, as hopeless as she is by now, "You don't remember me at all?"
Skye hesitates. And shakes her head slowly, carefully, as if she's afraid of Jemma's reaction. "Should I remember? I feel- You seem familiar. Aren't you my doctor?"
Jemma sighs, defeated.
"Skye, I'm your girlfriend."
At first Skye doesn't seem to believe her, as if this whole thing is an elaborate joke. When she keeps staring at Jemma in confusion and Jemma nods softly to assure her she's serious, though, the beeping of her heart rate monitor goes frantic.
"We've been together for five years," Jemma adds impulsively, doing the opposite of what a reasonable person would do considering Skye is already borderline hyperventilating.
Skye covers her mouth with a hand, and in the process, notices the golden ring on her finger with a look of utter shock. It nearly knocks her sideways.
"You're kidding me," she says, her breathing ragged, rotating her hand to take a good look at the ring. "What- This ring, is it-"
Jemma lifts her own hand to show Skye her matching ring. "We're engaged, actually."
Once again, Skye's reaction comes as a surprise. A smile makes its way onto her face, and she looks more amused then anything else. Ecstastic. "Holy shit!" She exclaims, huffing out a breath in sheer disbelief. "I'm engaged to you?"
Jemma smiles as well, taken aback by Skye’s excitement.
"You're- My future wife. I can't believe this." She shakes her head, almost refusing to let herself believe that, like she's preparing herself for when it turns out to be a joke. "No, that can't be true, you're way out of my league." Skye scoffs. "I mean, look at you. You- God, you look like the personification of an actual ray of sunshine. Seriously, who are you?"
Jemma's jaw drops slightly. "I'm, uh..." She trails off. How are you supposed to introduce yourself to your fiancée who has no memory of you and simply can't believe you two are together? "I'm Jemma Simmons, I'm a biochemist... We've known each other for so long. Long before we started dating. We live together now... We have a dog."
Skye gasps again. "A dog? You and me have a dog? Whoa. That- That's huge. How did I get so lucky?"
Jemma blinks, not sure how to answer that. She’s never considered Skye “lucky” for being with her; quite the opposite would be more accurate, if Jemma’s being honest. She can’t imagine her life without Skye.
"How did we meet?" Skye is eager to know more, like a child listening to a captivating story, except the main characters are her and the woman standing in front of her.
"We were roommates in college," Jemma says. "Best friends for years before we got together."
"That's lovely," Skye says, misty-eyed, still completely amazed. "Jemma Simmons. I'm engaged to you."
Jemma's phone buzzes in her pocket. It's not time to check her messages, but it gives her an idea. She pulls it out and hands it to Skye, pressing the home button.
The lockscreen wallpaper is one of her favorite pictures of them. Fitz took it when they were out to celebrate their engagement months ago. Skye's arms are wrapped tightly around Jemma's neck, almost too tightly, and she's pressing a kiss to Jemma's cheek. Jemma has the biggest smile on her face.
Skye smiles fondly at the picture, and suddenly her eyes are filled with tears. Slowly, the smile fades away, replaced by a sad expression. “We’re so cute,” she mutters. "I can't believe I don't remember any of this.”
"It's alright," Jemma assures her. "We can deal with this."
Jemma's optimism is contagious; Skye doesn’t think she’s ever felt so lost in her life, but she has Jemma—this sweet little scientist whom she somehow managed to get engaged to, and who’s doubtlessly willing to go through whatever it takes to have Skye back.
"I guess I'll just have to fall in love with you all over again," Skye says, watching as a smile makes its way onto Jemma's face. She shrugs. They can deal with this. "I doubt it would be too hard.”