"Kids all in bed?" he asks her coming down to the training area in sweat pants and a ratty, old t-shirt. It's a shock to the system whenever she sees him in anything other than a suit, even when they're training.
She stops punching the bag and gives him a look. "I don't think they'd appreciate you calling them that."
Phil shrugs, not at all apologetic. "They seem like kids."
She gives him that though. Even Ward, who's much closer in age and experience to both of them, she considers a kid. Apparently anyone below the age of forty, they consider a kid on this Bus. Melinda May is no one's mother, but she'd consider herself the luckiest S.H.I.E.L.D. agent to have kids like them. She doesn't have to ask to know that Phil feels the same way she does—he's much more sentimental than she is, after all.
"You ready to get your butt kicked, old man?"
His eyes widen. "Old man? Looks like someone's forgetting who won the great sparring match of 2002 already. I think I might have some fight in me left."
She knows he's just joking, but it brings to mind when he died. When Fury wouldn't tell her everything. When her breath felt like it was knocked out of her as well, like the sudden spinning of the earth had stopped when Phil's heart did.
"You just got lucky then," Melinda says, trying to push the depressing thoughts away. He's here now, and that's all that matters. If she has anything to say about it, she won't ever lose him again.
They start circling around each other, on guard, but waiting for the other to move. When they do finally move, it's together. She gives him blow for blow, tries to remember not to hit as hard as she'd hit an enemy, but once her limbs start moving of their own accord, her mind is only focused on the fighting.
Phil gives as good as he gets. It might've been a while since he was out on the field, but he hadn't forgotten anything. If anything, he looks like he picked up some new tricks.
He manages to throw her off her feet once, but she gets him back for that a minute later. It's only when he has her pinned under him on the mats a second time that she thinks maybe she might've been less focused than she'd like to admit. She tries to wriggle free, but he's holding her down tightly. He might win this round too.
"Melinda..." he starts. She stops trying to get free, ready to admit defeat, but when she looks up at him, he's staring down at her with this weird look in his eyes.
"Phil...don't." She knows where this is likely to go, tries desperately to head it off before it gets too much and they do something they'll both regret.
But he brings his lips down to hers anyway, kisses her like his life depended on it (maybe it does). They stay wrapped in each other, and Melinda tries not to think how romantic they must look.
"You can say no now..." he says, starting to move away from her, but her arms come up around him and lock in him.
"It's too late now."
"Is that what sleeping with Ward was all about? He was a rebound?"
"Well, you left me."
"I came back."
"I didn't think I could have you back."
"You can always have me back."
"I'll remember that for next time."
"Let's not have a next time."
She starts kissing him again, agreeing with him. She pushes his hands under her training bra, taking comfort in his warm hands that undress her. Though they're on the floor, there's warmth all around Melinda.
Neither of them regrets anything the next morning.