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Forever May

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159 days. 5 months.

5 long months since they had landed in the Playground and Chen was exhausted though she wasn’t the only one either…

Thump

“You know,” Skye started, pushing herself up from the mat again. “Despite all things… I would have thought that fighting would have unsettled you.”

Chen rolled her eyes, raising her arms, moving back to let the younger agent recover. Not the first time Skye had brought that up; she had been very hesitant to want to be trained by her  “I know I can win.”

Skye rolled her eyes. “Yeah, but I’d like to win as well.”

“That is part of the point if your training, if you can beat me, you can beat the better agents about.”

“I bet you’d be on Par with-” Skye paused though Chen knew where the woman’s thoughts had drifted too..

Chen darted forwards with an attack, sending her onto her ass on the mat, her hands coming to her waist. “I know. Don’t let her name distract you. It’s been over 5 months, let her go and move on.”

It was odd but she had gotten too far used to hearing her old name being tossed about the base. No one knew the full truth of her Melinda May death; not that she was overly surprised. All They knew that she died ‘for’ SHIELD, a drive for the director to build it the right was. Coulson had even put up a wall of valour along the common room. Seeing her name etched into the brickwork was definitely not a sight that made her comfortable but it instilled the truth she wanted. Melinda May was technically dead.

Her name had made the first place after Nick Fury but in front of Agent Hand, Eric Koenig and numerous other agents names that died at the fall and aftermath of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Skye huffed, irritably but pushed herself up again, breathing deeply. “When will you stop saying that?”

“When you start following it.” Chen answered, “I get it, I do. But May’s not going to magically come back from the dead.” Which was oddly ironic hearing herself say it.

“I’ve barely had a chance to get my head around it.”

“You’re not the only one in the deep end.” Her tone turned cool, Skye didn’t answer though she got her implication.

Her ‘Ex’ to SHIELD’s knowledge. Maria had managed to scramble up a few pictures a couple of days after she had settled, though given she had barely arrived with anything, people didn’t ask for any more. It seemed to show Coulson to how closely they resembled for her react in the way she does. Still, she had yet to write up a report on her ‘attack’ though it was glad Coulson didn’t push her to either; no doubt worrying it might unsettle her even more.

Skye continued to glower but shook her head. “Okay, I get that that’s a really big thing for you. But you can’t just use-”

“Skye.” Her tone went from cool to warning. “It’s not something i can get over…. PTSD is something that lives in my head like a shadow. A woman’s death does take time to get over, you heal; scars and all. I am not using my psychological trauma as some excuse.” Her arms lowered, serious. “I struggle every day with it. Agent May herself changed after Bahrain, I knew the woman. Before and after.” She inhaled deeply; her throat healed and back to normal colouring than the dark bruises she had for weeks. “Look, I don’t mean to lecture but-

Skye shook her head. “No… no i see you’re point.” She rubbed her face. “Sorry,.”

Chen placed a hand on her shoulder, offering her a smile. “I know I’m pushing you hard and in a fast pace too. I recognise it and you’re doing extremely well, Skye.”

As Chen, she had worked to be more social than her real self had been. Offering praise and support more verbally.. and being more smiley . Simmons was by far the easiest to talk to since she knew the truth but she hadn’t been around lately; sent onto a mission though not everyone in the core group knew that.

Looking around Chen checked the time. “Let’s finish up now. Coulson wants to run down a few things with you in  15 minutes.”

It wasn’t often she let them off early but she’d add the 10 minutes let off onto next training session. Plus she wanted to freshen up before seeing Coulson and what fresh hell he had planned.

Chen didn’t wait for an answer though walked off towards the showers regardless; ones closest to her bunk. Her Nano mask was waterproof and she didn’t replace it often though she kept a replacement on her at all times; concealed into her watch should the current one get damaged; the last thing she needed was to get exposed.

Training Skye hadn’t been as much as a trigger to her PDs as she thought; but it was more of  way to vent in a practical way. A distraction as she was only focusing on Skye than anything else until needed. Plus, Chen liked it… it was nice. Getting to Skye better than she had before, letting Skye know more about well her. Skye didn’t know a lot about her, even as May so it wasn’t too much of a concern to let some truths slip.

The hot water of the shower was nice, the water feeling therapeutic in its beats as it rained down onto her skin; washing away the sweat and dirt  down the drain. Letting out a deep sigh, she let the water slash down over her face...soaking into her hair.

Her hands came to wash over the mask, almost tempted a second to turn it off and remove it before deciding against hit, her hands coming up to brush through her hair, remembering after a second that her once long lock had been cut… her hair now into a pixie cut; only recently done; unused to it’s length; it still felt like her hair had been pulled back than cut off.

Washing through shampoo and conditioner, Chen relaxed for a little further before taking her leave from the warmth of the water into the soft towel but coldness of the air; drying down then opted for a dressing gown to her room. There was no one about as she got into her room quickly, rubbing a towel to soak up any water from her hair and locking the door before she pulled the box from a small compartment in the wall; concealed by a panel. The last thing she wanted was her nano mask box to be found.

Opening it up, Chen quickly placed a new mask sheet to be uploaded then headed over to the mirror, taking in a moment to look at her Chen face before she reached up and turned off the mask.

It was odd, watching her face make a new appearance… far now too used to her new face than her old. It felt… uncomfortable even seeing what she used to look like. Her May face. Framed by her pixie cut though it oddly suited even her old face. Her hand drifted down to her throat. No bruises, no soreness but she half expected them to appear each time she turned her face off.

 

Sighing deeply, Chen folded up the thin plastic and slipped it into a compartment of the box to be recycled for a new mask. Properly cleaning her face with a wet wipe for any residue dirt under the mask, Chen placed her new on into place...feeling it warp and cling to her face like a second skin. Changing it often enough ensured she didn’t get one that faulted. A faulty mask was not what she needed.

“Chen, Director wants you in his office now!” Called Skye’s voice through the door, almost making her jump but thankfully nothing more.

“In a minute!” She called back; her vocal processor kicking back up to her ‘normal’ voice. She quickly closed the mask box and shoved it back into it’s hiding place. Grabbing her jeans and a shirt but quickly shoved on the necessary underwear

“What’s taking you so long?” Skye rammed impatiently.

Rolling her eyes, Chen unlocked her door, running a come through her wet hair. “I was mastubating.” Blurting out the first thing that came to mind; something she had been doing as part of her Chen self.

Skye’s face stayed frozen for a moment which made her chuckle, taking the lead from the bunks; slipping on her leather jacket

“Err… Okay...” She could hear the awkwardness in her tone; obviously not sure if she was telling the truth

“It was a joke .” Chen reassured which relaxed the other though it made her smile still; at the reaction.

“With you, it’s sometimes hard to tell.” Skye mumbled, shaking her head but was also smiling softly.

“If it’s anything to do with sex or matubation; it’s a joke.” She clarified for next time for her. “I tend to keep that part of my life private as possible.”

“Let’s just move on.” Skye added quickly though they were now in the main section of the base, Agents and many more scientists filling the base, which now felt more like a SHIELD base than when they had started

“Then don’t be prude.” She was quick to add before taking the sharp left through the common space and up the stairs towards the office. Taking a moment at the door before knocking hesitantly.

“Come in.” Coulson’s voice called through before she slowly opened the door. Sighing very deeply as he dropped the paper clip… not that she was surprised to see him carving into his desk.

Chapter Text

In the past couple of months, Coulson had did his best to distract himself to bringing SHIELD back from the brink… He had often found himself thinking about May… and Chen for that matter.
It had taken a while to even find a trust in her and vice versa but he could see her interacting more with other agents; Skye obviously taking to her as her new SO and the woman was working her hard which pleased him… Chen was dedicated to the job; he wasn’t a fool not to see that.
But he knew he couldn’t hide the new development of carving writing into a wall from her either. She had after all found him carving into the wall but fortunately helped him cover it up with plaster from the others. He didn’t need to ask. She had after all… ‘replaced’ May so of course she’d help. Despite her fears and reservations she was holding onto.
Coulson found he couldn’t blame her mental state with his growing hypergraphia one but that didn’t make it easier with the few episodes. The rise of compulsion made him crabby when he was due… but with his duties as director, he had to time himself for the next one. Like today.

Wanting to find out more, It hadn’t taken too long when Skye came after a training session to put her into searching more about it. Something Chen had ideally suggested weeks back, as there was no context to it and the fact he saw footage of Garrett carving into the lab door helped him have a reason for her looking.

Coulson had been lost a little in thought, absently drawing into the top of his desk before there was a knock.

“Come in.” He called, dropping the bent paper clip and reached for a document to cover it before he saw who it was.

“You wanted to see me, Sir.” Chen asked though he saw her eyes flicker to the desk but didn’t say anything.

“I’ve had Koenig’s canceled my afternoon appointments,” he started. “It’s time.”

Chen nodded, her eyes flickering to the wall, understanding quickly to what he needed. “I’ll get the plaster ready and ward people from disturbing you.”

He wasn’t sure what excuse she’d use now but usually they were good; no one disturbed them. They had after all had most of the equipment in his office but dry plaster packets weren’t easy to hide though they were near by.

Coulson rose to his feet as she disappeared off, pulling his tablet closer and pressed a button; the heavy secure shutters immediately began to descend slowly down, the screen on the other wall ascending. Pulling off his tie and began to remove his shoes before he heard Chen return with two buckets and a canister under her arm of water to mix the plaster solution and put then onto the side, pulling out a small step ladder.
Coulson bent down and pulled out the bundled up fabric and began to push it into place, heading over to his desk, sighing deeply as he pulled out his flick knife. He spared a glance to Chen who placed a gun onto the desk and a few previous pictures then began to set up the camera.
It was now a routines, he didn’t have to tell her though he could feel her caution. As she finished setting up her part but he turned his back and turned his attention back to the smooth wall and moved closer, his heart picking up a little more in anticipation to start… not holding back; bringing the knife then began to used the knife like a pen; unable to carve too deep but the etch was clear….Each circle and line seemed to come natural…


It was easy, getting lost into it, his entire attention fixated into continuing, to finish. Driven to carry on. Getting higher, the ladder got him high though the plaster flakes made him cough as it got into his face but it was ignorable.. Had to finish…

The ladder under him wobbled but he ignored it, even the warning Chen called, inching to lean further… he just needed a few circles down and across. The laddered wobbled again but he steadied himself against the wall… almost done.

The ladder gave a lurtch, the knife slipping but he just managed to jump back off, hissing as he trod on a sharp chip of the plaster but his other foot sunk straight into the wet plaster bucket to his midcalf.

“Coulson!”

He spun around automatically, his grip on the knife tightening. Chen stopped a few paces away. “Coulson, You should have gotten off and moved the ladder closer” She scolded but he wasn’t prepared to listen, anking his foot from the mixture.

“Back off.” He growled, yanking up the ladder, his hands trembling as he stepped back up.

“The leg’s bent let me-”

“I said back off!”
He spun around his knife raised but he was surprised to see her so close to him, almost crashing into her but it was like he was watching in slow motion; Chen’s head barely avoiding the knife that caught her raised wrist; the look of shock passing through her expression; her face draining off all colour before her body began to shake; her breathing speeding up fast and choked in her throat but he recognized what he had done...and what was happening

Chen blinked; eye far away, but stumbled back, almost swaying but took off towards the door.

“Chen!” The door was locked but it took a second before the struggle to open and unlock it before she was out.

Chen!”

Coulson almost followed. Almost….

But he had to finish. Damn it.

 

 

Chen’s head spun as she ran from the office, her heart hammering in her chest with pain but she could barely breath. Missing a few steps down, Chen practically fell down the stairs but she pushed herself up, her hands shaking pushing herself forwards; not sure where she was going; only to put distance between herself and him….

“Chen!” She heard a few calls but she couldn’t stop. She felt hot, she felt sold… she felt sick to her stomach. Her hands felt tingly and numb but she couldn't stop the overwhelming sensations of fear flooding her body. There was a slight ringing in her ears but her head felt so light…

Chen’s balance toppled her towards the wall but she barely noticed herself slide onto the floor, still heaving for breath.

Old but fresh memories flashing through her mind

‘Coulson's words weren't clear to her as the pressure against her windpipe increased but then she felt the sudden sharp crunch and white pain as she felt something give way to his grip, her eyes widening but felt the loss of connection to her lungs’

“Chen!”

‘Falling limp. Blood pooling into the back of her throat…’

“Chen!... Emily!” The voice was different, taking a moment to gain any reality to realize it was Skye a few feet away. “It’s okay, Just breath!” She said, her voice calm but she could hear the concern in her tone.. “You’re okay. It it’ll pass, just breath! Nice and slow!”

Chen tried to listen to her. Closing her eyes to try and gain ability to control her lungs. 1….2…..3...4..5..6. She inhaled deeply; her breath shaking, holding her breath for a couple of seconds then releasing… breathing in again…

“You’re doing good.” Skye praised softly, twitching to come closer but she held a shaking hand out to stop her incase “You’ll be okay…”

Chen tried to take that to heart, to get her brain to think positive than the the feeling of her throat being crushed… she’ll be okay… of course she would. It’ll pass….

It took a while… but her body began to relax though she was left into a cold sweat… Skye moved closer and helped her up as she swayed a little out of lightheadedness.

“Come on, let’s get you to the lab.” Skye whispered softly. Chen didn’t argue.

Chapter Text

Skye led her SO from the hallway, her arm gripping her wrist and shoulder though she knew better than to put her arm around her; especially not in this state.

She couldn’t deny that was wasn’t worried about Chen… she had only seen a few of her panic attack but this… this was by far the worst state she had ever seen her in.

Worse than Mack had only triggered her once by catching her attention by grabbing her shoulder suddenly but that wasn’t long…and he got his wrist twisted. That was simply a panic reaction but this… no, this was triggered by fear that ran deep.

She could feel Chen was still shaky so she definitely needed something more than breathing and calm words. If only SImmons was here…. she knew how to handle this much better; Simmons had only given her a brief overview on what to do but not this severe sort attack.

“Let’s pick up your meds, Get you a tea and let you sit down.” Skye suggested; finding it odd to suggest it to her superior though Chen nodded.

“Okay.” Her voice was much quieter than Skye had liked; a sigh the woman was much more drained than she was let on. Skye didn’t however remark on that for now, letting into the lab quickly though saw Fitz working on something.

He looked up when they arrived though his eyes flickered to Chen, noting her pale face immediately and straighten up. “What happened?”

“Not now.” Skye quickly said, letting go when Chen moved away to sit on a stood but that when Skye realized she had blood on her hand, looking at herself for a moment then to Chen’s wrist. “You’re hurt!” She noted, Chen looked to her wrist, almost surprised herself.

Fitz moved away out of sight but Skye reached to Chen’s wrist. There was a second of hesitance before Chen sighed; Fitz returning with the Med kit.

“Must have caught it..” She mumbled softly though allowed Fitz to look it it. While Skye wanted to help; she wasn’t exactly trained to patching people up. She had a hunch Fitz knew a little, given working with SImmons.

“I’m not an expert… Trip has more training than me. I’ll get it cleaned.” Fitz said though wiped away the blood and wiped over the wound with what Skye assumed was an antiseptic wipe.

“Where is Trip?” Skye asked for a moment, though kept her eyes on Chen’s face than her wrist.

“I think he’s taking inventory with Koenig… or weapons training.” He shrugged though she rolled her eyes. Fitz didn’t actually know, she guessed.
“I ran out my meds the other day. I’ll need more.” Chen answered after a moment, rubbing her temple.

“Okay… I get a see if I can get some signed off for you. Will you need some Benzodiazepines?”

“Simmons had me on them briefly. Brand will be on my Medical files”

Fitz nodded. “I’ll suggest a round with them for a couple days… Today was a bad one, Right?”

Chen nodded. “The worst.”

“Where’s Coulson?”

Chen stiffened at the name, Skye noted though looked to Fitz with a look.. “His office. Probably meetings so not allowed to disturb until he comes out.” Skye answered for her. Though she couldn’t deny she was a little curious on these meetings he had with Chen and whoever.

“Was he the one that...triggered you?” Fitz asked Chen though she nodded but stayed silent not asking their silent question to what happened. Fitz huffed, crossing his arms before Skye felt him look to her for a moment.

“Oh, dear lord, did i walked into a buzz kill.” Skye heard, her head turning to see Trip walk towards them, a box in hand though Skye could see his gaze turning to Chen. “Need some help?”

“Just a small cut.” Chen shrugged as Trip dumped the box down and came over holding his hand out to look at it properly., hi medical side kicking in.

Chen held her hand out to him with a slight eye roll as he examined it. “As you said, small though it’s deeper than I’d imagine. Won’t need stitches but I’ll get some tape to hold it together.” he decided.

“As long as it’s healing…” Chen shrugged, a little unconcerned on the small wound. Though it concerned Skye a little. There weren’t a lot of sharp ends about unless you’re in the armoury. While Chen did talk--much more than their dearly departed May, Skye knew she wasn’t gonna talk about this.

“How long till Coulson’s down?”

“20 minutes. “ Chen answered, though they all seemed to watch as Trip began to work on closing the wound up on her wrist, like some sort of weirdass theater. Skye shook her head a moment.

“Coulson’s put me on a task… I need to get started.” She sighed. “You good?”

Chen looked at her then nodded, giving her a small smile. “Thank you.”

Skye nodded softly, then took her leave. Chen would be okay, Skye had no reason to think not, she got on well with Trip; even if he was busy or she was.

 


Coulson sat down in his office chair, a deep breath exiting his chest but he was done… Finishing seemed like some relief.. His shoulders feeling a little lighter though not for long, no doubt. But the impulse was settled for the time being. He could think straight now but his mind went to one person…

Chen.

He hadn’t meant to snap her… not in the way that he had nor in the aggression that he was aware it had looked like. His drive to carve… it did make him lose control. A thing he hated with a passion but it was part of him...until he could understand it.

He and Chen… they had been trying to build some sort of trust; to make sure she didn’t fear him. He had seen the picture of her Ex; even he couldn’t deny the uncanny features. They had been doing well. Building it up slow; steady. Even with her hesitance to stand closer than 4 feet to him or anyone taller than herself, given her short height-- it was hard to get anyone she’s be comfortable around.

With what he did… Coulson would have to make it up to her. He didn’t want to set them back. She had after all tried to help and… well he saw the blood on the knife. He’d have to apologise to her. Though he knew to expect distance until she herself had calmed from her Panic attack; he didn’t know either what state she’d be in but… with SImmons, he had hoped to avoid this call but… she wasn’t here. Chen’s mental health was something that needed to be addressed, professionally. Something he or anyone else on the base wasn’t qualified to do and he wasn’t going to try.

Hiding the full buckets of plaster, he turned the screen down to cover his carvings. And began to put everything away. Before seating himself down, looking to his foot a moment. Covered in plaster and his pant’s leg too. He had a change somewhere….

Shaking his head, Coulson reached for his phone, taking a deep breath before he even began to dial the number, a tight sensation knotting in his stomach. Nerves. He hadn’t take to him for a long while…

“Hello.” Called the familiar voice on the other end of the line.

“Andrew.” Coulson sighed, breaking the ice immediately but he heard the long pause on the other end; hearing his breathing.


“Phil.” There was a very cool tone and Coulson didn’t blame him.

In the end, Coulson hadn't brought himself to confessing to Andrew that he had killed May… Only the scares details that he had been the reason why she had died. Andrew didn’t believe all of it but he certainly wasn’t happy about it either but nonetheless blamed him for her death. Andrew had even taken up upon himself to set up a memorial grave; something he wasn’t invited to so he didnt know if it had been done or still in the planning to do....

“I need a favour.” Coulson started. “ I have an agent-”

“Hold on, Phil” Andrew interrupted. “4 months after your tell me my ex-wife is dead, you’re asking me to come in for SHIELD business?”

“I wouldn’t have called if I didn’t think it was necessary.” he spoke softly. Andrew stayed silent for a long moment so he took the opportunity to talk. “My second in command… she’s suffering from PTSD from being assaulted from her Ex… boyfriend, I think. She suffers with PD as part of the PTSD and I may have triggered a bad Attack for her a bit ago. We’ve had her on Medication but I think.. I think she may need professional help. Please, Andrew. I want to help her but I need you to do that; putting aside what happened with May.”

There was a long moment of silence before Andrew spoke with a deep sigh. “What sort of assault did she deal with? Sexual, Physical, verbal?”

Coulson looked to the door a moment remembering how Chen was quick to exit. “Physical. He almost killed her, from what I know.”

There was a long moment though Coulson could just about hear papers shuffling. “Look, I can do a rudimentary assessment of this agent. But I’m not going to jump into SHIELD’s bandwagon at your beck and call. This will be for her, not SHIELD. If i feel i need to continuing seeing her, then I’ll let you know after I meet her.”

“That’s all I’m asking.”

“Does she know you’re making this call?” There was a slight tone change though he rolled his eyes softly.

“How soon will you be able to see her?” Coulson asked, changing the subject; a clear indication that Chen had no idea he was calling a shrink.
“Give me a couple days, Phil. I need to reorganise my week.” Andrew answered.

“Okay, Let me know the details, See you in a couple days.” Coulson said though ended the call, his heart a little faster in his chest.

Chapter Text

With her wrist looked after, Chen kept her distance from Coulson or occupied with paperwork or training to allow a conversation relevant to what had happened in the office. While it was probably not ideal to do so; probably seen as petty, Chen wanted to mentally prepare herself with any conversation that wasn’t relevant to their immediate work.

Training Skye more frequently, wanting to push the agent and herself. Even if Skye was more hesitant with their fast paced routine.

“Again.” Chen demanded once Skye picked herself up; swinging at her

Skye ducked her blow grabbing her wrist and twisted but Chen moved, ducking down in the direction of the twist and grabbed the woman’s calf and yanked her foot out of balance. As expected, Skye fall back once again. Chen moved forwards; getting her arm out her grip aiming a punch to the woman’s face but Skye grabbed her fist, the kick to the gut sent her back, mis-balancing thought caught herself on the closest wall. Skye pushing herself up, then swung-

“Sorry.” Chen’s attention was caught, hearing Coulson’s voice but took the hard heavy blow to her face. She grunted, falling face down to the ground but she felt the small sensation of her mask glitch for a second before it reverted back. Her hand went to her nose which began to bleed furiously through her fingers though nothing was broken; she could feel.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” Skye exclaimed though felt her kneel down beside. Chen pushed herself up though looked to see Coulson standing, looking like he regretted his announcement.

“I’m fine, Skye.” She answered, pushing herself up. Taking off her training gloves and dropped them off to the side, her hand coming to stem the flow of the hot red liquid that was staining her chest and vest.

“What do you want, Coulson, I’m busy and we haven’t got a mission brief.” Her tone turned sour, mostly at the fact he had interrupted.

Coulson looked to Skye a moment. “Skye, please give us the room.” He requested though Skye hesitated at the order, looking to her, then still bleeding nose then to him. Chen nodded for her to go.

“I’ll get you ice… and something to clean up with.” She murmured and left quickly. Leaving her alone with Coulson.

Chen sighed deeply, moving to lean on the wall pinching her nose then leant her head back though her posture remained stiff, watching him though not starting. He had after all started this.

Coulson shifted then looked to the door then back to her before walking over to close it. “We need to...address the elephant in the room.” He started, folding his arms.
Chen just nodded.

“So. I’m gonna start off with an apology.” He straightened up. “I’m sorry for lashing out at you the other day in my office. While I wasn’t in a good mindset, which is hardly an excuse; I didn’t mean or intend to hurt you,” he nodded to her wrist, “nor trigger you…. and getting you punched in the face just now.” he added.

Chen looked way for a moment, breathing through her mouth. She could tell he was being genuine from his tone of voice… his posture also attending that as well; his shoulders relaxed and a loose jaw.

“Apology accepted.” She answered after a moment.

Coulson nodded, some relief in his face beofre it was gone to something serious again. “There’s also another thing i need to discuss.”

That caught her attention more, her eyebrow raising pushing herself from the wall. “Go on…”

“Due to… the severity of your panic attacks and PTSD, I organised you to have a session with one of SHIELD’s best psychiatrist.”

Chen’s jaw immediately clenched. “A shrink?!” She exclaimed,dropping her hand and shaking her head. “I’m not seeing a shrink.”

Chen knew who he’d contact… of all of SHIELD’s psychologist. A good one, one that Coulson could trust. One that he knew. Andrew Garner

Coulson’s expression was enough to know he'd get this reaction, Chen folded her arms over her chest. “Yes, you are. Because I’m ordering you to see him. He’d a good man who I can trust and I want you to… improve.”

“I don’t need to talk to a stranger about my personal life and issue!” Her hands clenched, a bubble of anger washing through her… that he had ordered her to see him. It pissed her off.

“It’s affecting your work life, Chen.” Coulson answered over her, “You’re my second in command… by Fury’s request. I respect that… I also respect the fact that you have had a traumatic experience in your life and it takes a mental toll. Panic attacks. Insomnia, anxiety… you can see where I’m going with this.”

“I can handle it.” Chen growled, glowering past him, wiping the small trickle of blood from her nose, wiping her hand onto her shirt.

“I know you can… to a point. But this session.. It may help lighten what baggage you have. It’ll be private, not recorded in anyway… It won’t even have to be on the base.” Coulson reasoned, his voice softer than before. “This is not negotiable. But I’ll leave it up to you if you want the session on base or off.”

Chen’s expression didn’t change, her jaw tight and her arms folded across her chest as Coulson walked away…

Damn it! She let out a huff from her chest. Damn it! Chen glared to the nearest wall, half hoping it’d combust. Her nose stopped bleeding now.

She hadn’t planned this… not Andrew in the picture… He knew her well… or at least her real May self well. He could ask the right question; make her slip up. ‘Chen’ didn’t know him so pretending she didn’t know her own ex-husband was going to be hard.. Especially that he was going to assess her mental state. Things could go horribly wrong… He could even find her out. How could she even explain that she was alive… or to why she was under a name and alias…

Coulson wouldn’t have told him he had murdered her. If he had, then he wouldn’t have been able to set it up….and if Andrew found out Coulson had in fact murdered her… how would he even react? If he was even cool with the idea of her being here then...he could easily slip up.. Give her away.. Though he was trained for keep things on the down low… Chen couldn’t help but worry.

What if she slipped up on her… power. That she could come back from the dead… that’d be something that would be a 50/50 thing that could stay quiet or He’d have to tell Coulson. She hadn’t been about the latest missions to be in any immediate danger to even risk her life. A good thing to keep herself hidden in that regard.

Chen continued to ponder, pacing around the square mats evan as Skye popped her head back in.

“You okay?” She asked slowly, Chen spared her an annoyed look that was still on her face. “No… or just don’t want to talk about it…?”

Though Chen saw the cleaning stuff in her hands, moving towards her for a wet wipes she had; she knew she was covered in blood now… the sticky mess had easy spread, not just on herself but nothing that couldn't be cleaned off the walls and mats. She didn’t need to freak anyone out by leaving looking like she had murdered someone...or been attacked.

Skye handed her the wipe, though she started to clean her hands first, surprised a little how much her nose had leaked. Hard punch.

“I’ll work on the mats” Skye started, “Then maybe get Trip to make sure-”

“My nose isn’t broken.” Chen answered, her voice coming out much gruffer than intended, grabbing another wipe to clean up her arms. Why did blood get everywhere?
Skye nodded with a hum, thought there was an edge she didn’t like to it. Chen looking to her for a moment. “What?”

Skye paused as she squirted bleach onto the dark mats, looking to the closed door for a moment, almost hesitant to ask before. “Why did your face glitch?”

Crap.

Chapter Text

Chen’s breath held… her heart thumping in her chest as the words echoed around her head. Skye had seen… seen her mask flicker after the punch. While the masks could take a beating...maybe there was a weak spot…

“Excuse me?” She echoed, playing it off coolly though Skye raised her eyebrows; unconvinced.

“I saw it. Don’t deny it; it’s insulting.” Skye folded her arms over her chest, a serious expression on her face; a stance of not moving without answers written in her posture.. “Who are you really ?”

Chen chewed her lower lip for a moment, trying to find some excuse … or appropriate reason to why anyone would wear a nano mask in a paranoid secret base of a fallen government agency. Skye finding out now… really was a spanner in the works.

“I am Emily Chen.” She started, “I’m not denying the presence of the mask, really.”

Skye’s eyes narrowed, suspicious. “ Why the hell are you even wearing one?”

“Fear… mostly.” She started, looking down to her hands, debating a moment to show her real face but… she didn’t want Skye to know. Revealing her true face.. That’d have to a be a break glass emergency. This wasn't in that zone yet… she had a chance to turn it around. “Look, Please understand, the face under the mask… isn’t me. Not anymore. After.. What happened with my Ex… He got away with it. He thinks I’m dead and I know he’s out there.”

Skye didn’t say anything, nor was there much belief in her features. “Your mask is some twisted security blanket?” She answered.

“Yes.” Chen answered. “Essentially.” She took a deep breath, running her finger over the bride of her sore nose. “I don’t want to remember what happened to me every time I look in the mirror, Skye. I’m...scared of seeing what happened. It weighs on me a lot and I’m struggling to come to terms on it. I can’t have another weight.”

“You can’t just… hide.”

Chen shrugged, turning her back on the other woman, resting her forehead into her hands. This conversation going deeper than she wanted, it was pulling a few strings.... “Not forever, I know.”

Skye took a deep breath. “Does Coulson know?”

Chen shook her head. “No.” Chen could hear the displeased tut. “I will. When the time is right.”

“He has a right to know!” exclaimed Skye moving closer to her, Chen faced her again, her hand up for distance.

“Skye…”

“No, You can’t just pretend… We were suppose to trust each other. You’re my S.O. !” Skye’s voice seemed to put her into a hazy head space with the words. But she could feel this was different to her usual panic attacks...

“Skye please….”

Chen found focusing was a little hard,  dull ringing in her ears, her head began to feel unusually light. She could feel a cold clammy sweat over her skin as she swayed.

“For months ! After me helping with your Panic attacks… you’ve lied on- Chen!”

Chen’s body seemed react there...her breathing slowing as her vision filled with blurs of spinning white as she collapsed forwards towards Skye, unseeing her being caught and lowered to the floor….

 

Chen groaned quietly in her chest, breathing in deeply as things began to connect back up as she stirred, her head felt a little hazy but it took only a couple of seconds for awareness to catch up. Chen soon slowly realising she was laying on her side, her hand tucked under her ear… the floor under her was soft and she could pick up the scent of bleach in her air but a coppery smell too. She was still on the mats…

Then she could hear talking, soft voices not far.

“When she wakes, send her to the Bus’s cage... “ It took a moment her her to realise it was Coulson’s voice.

“Copy that… Though shouldn’t we get a Medic or Trip to help carry her there before she wakes up?. It might make it smoother.”

“No, that’ll only freak her out. We don’t need another incident. Twice in 3 days isn’t a good sign.”

Skye’s sigh was easily heard. “I’ll stay.”

Chen didn’t know what response Coulson did but heard the door shut; implying he had left. Chen’s eyes flickered open after a moment, blinking to see Skye now kneeling above her.

“What happened?” She murmured, inhaling deeply.

“We were.. Talking. You fainted.” Skye answered simply.

Chen moved, slowly at first to push herself up. “Oh… yeah…. That’s a first.”

“I’m sorry. I stressed you out.” Skye answered, “And… I’m sorry for.. Saying the less than pleasant words. I suppose with what’s happened to you.. You need a break.”

That stirred up a new memories. “Did you tell him?” She asked, her hand coming to her face, surprised to feel a wet cooling liquid down the side of her face, she pulled her hand back to see it was blood.

“You… re aggravated your nose bleed when you fainted.. And no. I didn’t tell him.” Skye answered, Standing up, offering a hand, which she took despite the blood. Wobbling a seconds long before finding her balance.  “I’ll leave that for you.”

“You trust me?”

Skye shrugged. “As long as you’re not hydra or out to kill us... Plus, Fury sent you to this team so.. Kinda have to trust the big guy.”

Chen looked at her for a long moment then nodded at her logic. Her mind still had a hazy though with fresh air, that should clear.

“What was Coulson saying? About the bus?” Chen asked, changing the subject a little.

“You’re to meet someone he brought in.” She shrugged, though she had a hunch she didn’t know who it was.

Chen groaned softly.

Andrew.

It was today ? Didn’t he give her the choice to choose where to have her session? She hadn’t expected so soon either… Coulson had only really told her.

Chen turned and headed to the door, grabbing the wet wipe packet as she left and headed straight towards the hanger, not caring on the looks or stares; not doubt at the bloody mess she was well aware of down her face, front and hands.

Accessing to the Hangar door. Chen didn’t slow as she got to the bus, passing Mack who looked up from the vehicle parked on the ramp he was working on; she could see the look of surprise on his face as she passed and headed up the spiral staircase.

“I thought you said I could choose where to do this!” Chen called, seeing Coulson now talking into the interrogation room from the doorway. How did he even get there so fast.

Coulson looked to her with a deep sigh. “That was before you fainting...Plus Dr Garner was on the premise anyway getting debrief.”

Chen gave him a look, mostly out of annoyance than disapproval. “I’m tired and my head feels like it’s gone through a dishwasher… and I’m covered in my own blood. Can’t I do this later?”

Coulson looked into the room but Chen resisted, not wanting to look to Andrew just yet. “You’re here now, you got wet wipes and there’s a seat you can sit on.” he reasoned, moving from the door past her; though at a few feet distance to her relief.

“You’re unbelievable!” She hissed as he walked further and further away

“Realistic, Chen.” He called back before disappearing from sight, leaving her fuming quietly.

There was a long moment, glaring in the direction Coulson went before she refocused her attention to the lone male standing in the interrogation room.

Chapter Text

Chen stared at Andrew for a long moment then down at herself, assessing a moment what she actually looked like to a person who didn’t ‘know’ her.

“You okay, Agent Chen?” Andrew asked, concern in his polite tone; something she fondly remembered.

“Got punched in the face; it’s fine.” She grumbled moving into the room and shut the door behind her. Though headed straight over to the bed and dumped herself down though set the set of wet wipes into her lap and began to pull a couple out to clean herself up.

“How’d you want to do this?” She asked after a moment, wiping up the side of her face, pulling a face at the red stain on the wipe.

Though she was aware of Andrews movements as he also sat down, watching her. Now their session was… well started; she could expect him to start analyzing her. Chen didn’t look at him though… keeping herself occupied with cleaning herself up. Not unnoticed either.

“How about a proper introduction.” Andrew lent back in his chair. “I’m Doctor Garner, though You’re welcome to call me Andrew if you’re comfortable with informality.”

Chen shrugged, not answering though she felt bubbles of nerves settle more into her stomach… HOw to even play it… He knew her pre and post Bahrain… who she was, even. Her Chen self was… sort of in between those two chapters of her life. Would she even seem like a different person? So far, yes. The team… they saw a difference.

“What name would you like me to call you? Agent Chen, Chen… Or Emily?” Andrew started, Chen’s eyes flicked up to him a moment, rubbing her wipe down her cleave of her vest, pausing briefly. “Chen is fine.” She spoke. “Adding agent, in front of it is too formal and a mouthful. Emily is too informal at the moment.”

Andrew nodded softly though she watched him write softly onto a pad, though she examined his face for a moment. He seemed… different . A few more lines did line his face since she saw him as May. But this.. This was more than a physical… there was an air about him. While masked by his professional posture and attitude. It only took her a couple seconds to figure out why…

Grief.

Coulson would have told him about her death, or ‘May's’ death. 5 months… some people dealt with it longer… some even years. But while they had been split for the 7 years prior to her ‘death’, their divorce was only due to her… her PTSD from Bahrain… it shouldn’t be a surprise that he was affected by the news. They had after all been a happily married couple… What was she actually expecting?

Chen looked away a moment, feeling him look up. Tossing her last used wet wipe into the bloody pile on the edge of the bed; pretty much cleaned up.

“I pulled your medical file, I was debriefed on what happened to you but.. there wasn’t much to go on.”

“Haven’t filed a report on it.” She shrugged,

“Simmons documented the injuries, I’m sure you remember that at your physical when… well this base was starting up. A couple of x-rays too. Heavily brushed trachea and larynx , cracked ribs… the latter no doubt aggravated by Ward.”

Chen shook her head softly, unsurprising at how thorougher he was. “Looking for proof of assault?”

“Never said that.” He spoke, leaning forwards in his chair. “But what I am saying is this… While you’re physically recovered from the attack; amazingly really. I wouldn’t thought you could take on what you have done with damage done; especially to your throat. You haven’t actually been recovering mentally of the assault. But… I need to know what happened to help you recover the best you can.”  

Chen said nothing, looking to her knees. It was odd, being on the end of it… Andrew had not dared analyze her after Bahrain, or never brought it up if he had. His assumption was… accurate at the least.

Andrew sighed deeply but not out of aspiration. “I understand that you don’t want to talk. What part of talking scares you?” Chen’s eyes flickered up to his face than away, biting her tongue softly, though felt an odd lump in her throat.“Scared of… reliving the assault? Scared what if you open up; everything will burst out? By not talking that you… have control?” He propped softly. .

“I..” She started, then shook her head.

“You built up walls… I can see that. “ He spoke softly. “You’re open, friendly to other people, but when a subject is anywhere near something you don’t want to deal with; bam! Walls are up. To protect yourself from people who want to help. Once the walls are up, other things kick in, especially when those walls are breached suddenly… Panic attacks..fainting spells… While part of the PTSD; it can easily grown as part of a defense mechanism.”

“I can’t help it!” She snapped quietly, looking up to him.

Andrew simply nodded. “You’re angry?”

“Don’t miss the obvious.” Chen remarked, bitter leaking into her voice  “My head hurts, I’m exhausted. I don’t even want to be here. Coulson… he shouldn’t have to make me.”

Andrew nodded. “He is the director of SHIELD, Chen. You’re angry at him… but i feel on lots of levels; not just on him making you come here. “

“What gave you that impression?” Chen answered, watching him.

Andrew tilted his head at her for a moment, watching her face back though she couldn’t quite read his expression. “What did he do to make you so angry at him?”

That was a good question, stumping her for a second. He was right though… she was angry but that wasn’t for the people out the loop… Her Ex excuse while was good enough. It wouldn’t fulfil every excuse in the book to her behavior.

Andrew sat back again. “Is it because… he looks like your Ex? I saw the picture you handed over in your file. So it makes me assume that while you consciously know it’s not him, subconsciously tells you to fear him that he could attack you like your Ex did? But it not only bubbles inside you of fear, anger also bubbles along side it to help cover that fear”

“I don’t want to be angry… or scared all the time at him.” Chen answered. “I respect him, But those feelings.. I find trusting him hard.”

Andrew nodded. “Can you tell me his name? Your Ex?”

Chen’s eyes flicked down to his note pad. Of course, Chen had planned ahead for her ‘ex’ Fortunately having Maria but ‘him’ into the system should Skye look for him too; though the paper tail on him would disappear. Photographs had been mocked up of herself and her ‘ex’ and placed into her safe house, acting as her real house. If need be, she had a place that would seem like they had lived together.

“Ronald Becky-Deke.” She answered after a moment, in a stiffer tone. “Called him Ronnie for short.”

“What was your relationship with him?”

Chen shrugged “It was happy, or so I thought. It was… strained a few times due to work but…”

“Was he an agent?”

Chen shook her head. “Not a SHIELD agent.” Her hand went to her throat. “I suppose… he could have been a hydra one..but I don’t know...”

Andrew nodded. “Can you walk me through what happened?”

Chen shook her head a moment f but could feel small swells of anger residing still inside her. “I don’t want to.”

He nodded softly then smiled softly. “It’s okay.”

“You’re going to make me anyway.” grumbled Chen, standing up, feeling a little cramped standing up and folded her arms over her chest.

“I’m not, Chen. I understand you feel pressure but-”

“CAN’T YOU JUST SHUT UP” Chen shouted, surprising herself at the burst of anger. “I CAN’T TAKE TALKING TO YOU!” Her heart seemed to hammer in her chest. “I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER! I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS LIKE! EVERY TIME I PANIC I FEEL HIS HAND AROUND MY THROAT, I FEEL LIKE MY WINDPIPE IS GOING TO GIVE UNDER THAT PRESSURE!” Chen sucked in deep breaths, though there was some ringing in her ears again as hot tears dripped down her face. “I don’t even remember what happened after… I don’t know how i got out. I couldn’t even fight him… I never got the chance to.” She shook her head. “I don’t know how i got in that lake but-” Chen stopped herself, shaking her head again…. No.. she couldn’t do this..

“Chen…”

“I’m sorry.. I can’t…” Ignoring his calls, Chen darted to the door and darted out of it.

Chapter Text

Coulson was sitting at his desk, though looking through his files. He was due for another tip out for recruitment and to check up on the thea protocol. Sam Koenig was helping oversee that on the other base which was a huge lift for him but Coulson needed to make personal visits to ensure it was still running smoothly in his absence.

Not that it was something he needed to tell anyone. Not even Chen. She probably had enough to deal with for now. The last thing he needed was for her to be distracted. Plus he was still waiting on her evaluation from Andrew…. and what he’d advise once they were done.

Coulson packed the files into a briefcase and put it to the side though his eyes lingered on the small carving in his desk, sighing deeply; running his finger along it before there was a knock at the door. Coulson lent forwards onto his desk, his palm covering the indent.

“Come in.” He called though he was surprised to see it was Andrew. Coulson looked to the clock on his desk. “What happened?” He asked after a moment.

“She ran out.” Andrew sighed, shutting the door after him. “Not that I’m too surprised.”

Coulson nodded after a moment and sighed. He hadn’t pegged Chen to do a runner but… he wasn't that surprised either..

“I know you can’t say a lot but… what’s your assessment of her.”

Andrew shrugged. “She’s loyal to the cause, which is the reason she’s here but… her trauma runs deep.”

Coulson already knew it was deep with her reactions. “Did she open up to you?”

Andrew gave him a look. Yes, seemed the answer though how much was question. “Chen is...guarded. It’ll take time but i feel there is progress to be made.”

“She did walk out on you.”

“I wasn’t going to lock her in with me, Phil. Despite her statue, she’s... quite intimidating, especially covered in her own blood and waved it off like getting punched in the face was a minor inconvenience” Andrew shook his head with a soft chuckle.

“That was kinda my fault…” Coulson admitted, “She and Skye were training; i distracted her as Skye swung…”

“Chen as a lot of fire.” Andrew admitted, pulling out his note book though Coulson sat up; the evaluation. “She reminds me a lot about May, actually. Same fire and drive.” Andrew looked away a moment and sighed deeply.

Coulson’s eyes dropped as well to his desk top. He had noticed that as well… they were very similar in that way but two different people…especially the way Chen was handling her trauma in comparison to May… Though he didn’t actually know Chen before her situation.

“But it concerns me a great deal that… she had no form of vent; it seems. Physically or emotionally. She has a lot of emotions with nowhere to go; it’s being bottled up So I’m advising Agent Chen to be removed from major supervising jobs to stop the stress building. Field operations minimal and well I think she’ll need some time off. Away from SHIELD.”

“That’s your assessment?” Coulson questioned though took the paper as Andrew held it out to him.

“I think I will need to continue seeing her, weekly. Out of base.” Andrew added, putting a second copy onto his desk though Coulson knew he’d need to give that copy to Chen when he next saw her.

“I’ll try and arrange that with her when I next see her.” Despite the difficulty, Coulson knew there was going to have to be some changes if Chen was going to step down… Billy Koenig would probably have to step up to take that position for the time being. “What about your office at the university?”

Andrew nodded, “Possibly.”

Coulson nodded as well though he looked to the clock. “Anything else I should know, that’s not on your evaluation that you can disclose?”

Andrew rolled his eyes but rose to his feet. “Don’t pressure her into things. Otherwise she may snap and I don’t think either of you want that. You said she’s an SO of another agent?”

“Skye, yes”

“If they’re close and trusting then try to get Skye to talk to Chen more. She’ll respond better to her than you.” Andrew advised again though his eyes darted down his desk, a small frown denting between his eyebrows. “What’s that?” He asked after a moment of silence, nodding his chin down. Coulson looked down as well.

His carvings.

Coulson placed his arm over the writing, though didn’t choose to lie to the expert. “Hypergraphia issues…”

“Phil.” There was a hint of disapproval in his tone, Coulson looked up.

“Chen is helping me work through it, it’s fine.” He waved it off,

Andrew lent forwards, pushing his arm to get a proper look at the lines. “That’s not normal hypergraphia, Phil.”

He let out a deep sigh, sitting back as Andrew examined the table more. “What triggered you to do this?”

“I don’t believe we organised a session here, Dr Garner.” Coulson pointed out, raising an eyebrow. Andrew’s head raised though not too pleased with the expression he hand.

“How long has this started?”

“A couple of months.” he admitted. “Let’s call it.. side effect of being brought back from the dead.”

Andrew didn’t know all the details and Coulson didn’t plan to go into details either. “Chen was helping, did you say?”

Coulson chewed his tongue though nodded. “We have a system in place…” He started. “It’ been rocky but it’s working.”

Andrew sighed deeply, “I should also recommend you come see me every so often as well. Talk about it.”

He was well aware that Andrew meant the best, and that he wasn't going to be passive aggressive on him with May’s when it concerned his mental health… perhaps talking to a trusted expert, it could help… though not that he planned to tell Chen. Last thing he wanted spread around the base was he was seeing the same one that she was.

“I think… i could agree to that. On the down low.” Nor will it be hard to arrange it as a cover either.

“Good.”

Though He could see Andrew was anxious to leave… his  voice and tone suggested as much as his posture; the looks to the door and his watch.

“I’ll organised transport back. “ Coulson added, after a moment picking up the phone. Andrew rose back to his feet though lingers as Coulson quickly made a short call to Koenig to get a car; they couldn’t risk a jet out or in the base; Fitz was still working on cloaking tech but it was taking time…

He moved and took the lead from his office though, Andrew following though left them with almost awkward silence…

It was on the tip of his tongue to talk… to talk about her . He had hardly spoken about May and with Andrew; it made the feelings of guilt settle deeper of what he did… and the fact Andrew believed a lie. He knew Andrew was still pissed at him, under the professional attitude he had up for the sake of the job.

They hadn't even cleared the air between then but… he wanted to. He wanted to make the best he could between himself and Andrew but he couldn’t admit the full truth. Not to him… Not if Andrew was going to help with Chen.

“I am sorry, Andrew.” Coulson spoke after a moment, opening up the hanger door, glad to see not many agents milling about.

“For what?”

Andrew knew perfectly well, Coulson hunched though fell back to walk beside him. “May.”

He saw Andrew’s jaw tighten a little, looking straight ahead than glance at him.

“You can’t apologize to me , Phil.” He answered, voice tighter.

“I can’t apologize to her, Andrew. You were her husband.”

Ex- husband.” Andrew corrected though shook his head a moment. “We’re not talking about her Phil. I don’t want to hear it.”

“I need to talk about her.”

Andrew stopped, Grabbing the top of his arm; forcing him to a stop as well but didn’t take his hand off him. A glare on his face which was odd to see “No, Phil. You want a person who was close to her apologies to to alleviate the guilt you feel.”

“Andrew…”

No , Coulson. I mean it. You called me that day. Called. Not visited me. You told me my ex wife was dead. Nothing more. You never told me how she died… or where her body was.. I was left to bury a empty box while you rebuilt S.H.I.E.L.D. in a fancy underground base” He snapped, his breathing fast. “I loved her. Never stopped after we split. I only agreed to the divorce because that was what Melinda wanted… She had a lot to handle with Bahrain and the aftermath that followed. She didn’t deserve to die and I certainly don’t care to hear your apologies on your mistakes to make you feel better.” His grip softened, stepping back.

“Don’t bring her up in our sessions, otherwise I’ll walk from SHIELD for good.” Andrew added, walking away, leaving Coulson feeling stunned; not expecting Andrew to have such a reason.

Chapter Text

Chen hadn’t gone far from the hanger, though she had shoved a couple agents out the way with a little apology- something she could do another time. But instead of going to her bunk or the gym, she headed straight to the showers.

The water she found often relaxed her and she knew blood she missed was drying into crevasse. The showers were fortunate empty, locking the doors in then stripped down, though made sure a bathrobe was in range before turning on the water and stepped in.

She shuddered softly as the cool water hit her skin, the temperature not yet sorted but Chen let it run down her skin… her mind wandering..

Andrew… It had been so weird. To know him but...him not ‘knowing’ her. Seeing him as a patient. The last thing she had ever expected when coming back was… this.  Being subjected to a Shrink who happened to be her ex husband… and oh… she let slip the lake…

Chen sighed deeply, the water heating up against her skin her hand feeling for the standard body wash. What would andrew say about that? WHat would he think… or conclusion? She had never mentioned a Lake to Coulson, so would he ask him about it? Waking up at a lake though...how could that sound to the third person? Nuts for sure. Something Andrew would no doubt bring up again… this wasn’t going to be her only session with him, that she knew. He would see her as a person who’d need more sessions to open up with.

Chen sighed deeply out, closing her eyes before the water began to pour down her head; washing through her pixie cut and down her face. Her hair sticking to her skull… the heat of it now comforting as the thumping rhythm of the cascading water as it hit her skin. Her hands coming to her face, running along the bridge of her nose…

No damage…and no blood would seem under the mask either… but maybe it was time to see if she could upgrade the hardware and software. Make the mask punch proof… maybe calibrated so it would only be able to be removed or turned off by her touch…last thing she needed was to be demaksed if she had another attack or fainting spell. Something she’d have to talk with Maria about. They were overdue a conversation… and god she missed someone who knew who she was.

Chen’s mind wandered to Simmons… The woman who knew who she was since day one. At least she understood her more; not treading on eggshells around her like so many people were… though the fact Simmons kept her true identity a secret so long, it was faith that she could remain undercover for her mission. Even if Chen missed having Simmons to talk to or to get the medication she usually had.

Reaching for shampoo, She squirted a little too much into her palm though didn’t care as she raked it though the short locks. It felt good to have this new haircut though… it helped her become ‘Chen’ more. No one saw May in her style now; they hadn't actually seen her hair pre-cut before; having kept to a beanie hat though she only wore that now if her head got too cold. It made training much easier without anything to flick out her face too. A pro choice…

Chen had began to rub conditioner through her hair before there was a heavy knock to doors.

“What!” Chen called, irritable at the interruption and breaking her out her thoughts.

“It’s just me.” Called the voice though Chen recognized her easily.

“I’m kinda in the middle of something, Skye” She called, leaning her head into the water to wash out the conditioner.

“I know. But It’s important!”

Chen growled in annoyance but cut the water and jumped out the shower, grabbing a towel and wrapped it around her body and walked to the door.

“What now?” She answered as she opened it, surprised to see Skye with a pile of fresh clothes on top of a small box.

“Coulson’s cleared your timetable for the time being so… I think you need time to destress from the past couple days.” Skye started, handing her the box. “Get dressed then come find me.” She smiled then walked off, leaving Chen in the shower door way looking after her.

Chen frowned, watching her leave before turning her attention back to the box; withdrawing back into the room and locked it up, dropping the towel to keep her arms free as she opened it up; the new clothes dumped onto the side in favour of the box

“What’s this…” She mused as she pulled out an small clear plastic bag of what looked like chocolates at the bottom but with bubble wrap over the top pushed into the bag on top; on the outside there was a printed label which said;

Stress relief package;

Directions; simply pop stress relieving capsules every 4-6 hours or as needed. If symptoms persist, take a chocolate.

Chen cocked her head to the side but couldn't help the soft smile at that. Skye had been waiting to give this to her… it seemed.

Looking back into the box, which was also filled with styrofoam, Chen also found a couple of sealed envelopes, new looking shampoos and body washes, CD, scented candles… then a flask though she didn’t open it to see what was in it

Though the cold of the showers forced her to stop looking through the box and start drying quickly and changed into the clothes Skye had handed her… Much better than leaving in a bathrobe or towel… or even her bloody clothes.

Chen couldn’t deny she wasn’t touched by Skye’s actions here…. The woman had put in thought and heart into it. She’d no doubt use what Skye had given her. Though it made her curious now to what Skye was intending next. Chen left the shower stall, the smile lingering on her lips as she dropped the box off to her bunk, grabbing her leather jacket then headed out towards find her as suggested.

It took a moment to find her by a SUV, on her phone though she looked up as Chen approached, smiling brightly.

“Thank you.” Chen started off though Skye smiled.

“Well. It’s a small thing I can do… I know you’re my SO and all but out of everyone, it’s nice to receive a small boost. I care about your wellbeing and I know we’re gonna be very busy in the next couple weeks.”

Chen nodded. “Things are gonna pick up more. Hydra especially. Since SHIELD is running smoothly, missions are going to be more of a priority.”

Skye shrugged. “Yeah, which is why I think we need to take advantage of this afternoon. Away from SHIELD for a bit, so to speak. Plus, I got a few things we can do.”

Chen tilted her head, “Like?”

Skye didn’t answer but took the lead from the hanger with a grin. Chen took the cue to follow.

“Skye…” She called, though the younger woman disappeared from sight. Chen hurried up after her, turning a corner to see Skye shoot through into the room at the end of the corridor.

Chen jogged forwards and paused to see it was the room with the heating. Old school. A fire flickering from the boiler though she was surprised to see a couple of mats and Pillows on the floor.

“Of all the places in SHIELD, the boiler room never has any cameras…. Or bugs.” Skye started, though was looking at the flickering flames; standing in front of it. “No one comes down here often.”

Chen looked around a moment then slowly stepped forwards. “Why are we here?” She sighed softly; wanting to get to the point.

Skye looked to the mats and smiled softly. “A place away from agents and missions. Bunks are good but too small. Here I thought we could relax a bit. It’s warm. Quiet… and I think you could use this area to go to when you’re stressed. Mediaite, tai chi… stare into the fire.” she suggested before moving to  sit on the mat. “Plus, we can talk freely.”

Chen didn’t say anything for a long moment, looking to the fire then shut the door, dragged a mat towards the wall to sit and lean back. Pushing a pillow behind her back. Skye watching her for a moment and copied, sitting beside her.

Skye wasn't wrong in that aspect… Though Chen didn’t say anything for a moment. She had known about this room of course… having explored the base and gotten to know the layout well but never thought about it in this context.

They stayed quiet for a long moment though Skye shifted a couple of times. Though Chen did listen out; it was very quiet. Apart from the crackling of fire from the boiler it was… peaceful.

“Can i ask you something?” Skye spoke after a couple of minutes.”Since we’re out if range of bugs and camera’s… no seems more appropriate to ask.”

Chen nodded slowly, closing her eyes.

“I know that..what happened affected you, I’ve helped the only ways I can and will continue but I just want to ask... How did you survive Coulson’s attack, May?”

Chapter Text

Skye watched as Chen blanched at her words; her eyes shooting open and looking at her sharply through Skye watched with a careful look, raising her eyebrow. Chen, or May did not expect that question; completely thrown from the look of it.

“How did you-”

“When you fainted…. I turned your mask off.” Skye started, holding a hand up as Chen opened her mouth, a flash of anger washing through her face. “I’m sorry I did, but I needed to know who was under the mask. I don’t know what I expected to see, but I thought if i saw who you really were without you knowing it’d make trusting you easier again from the lie. I didn’t expect to see...well you .”

Skye looked away and sucked in a deep breath. Pausing before speaking again. “I thought you were dead… for over 5 months… only to find out that you were my SO, pretending all this time.” She shook her head. “I can understand why, May. Really .”

She felt Chen’s stare at the side of her head. “ Don’t call me that.”

Skye shook her head, though complied. Throwing around her ‘name’ could get suspicious; after all she needed to keep the metal check that Chen was her real name; to not slip up. The new face though; huge help.

“Look, I have the right to be upset with you, Chen .” She started. “You could have told me!”

“I didn’t want Coulson to find out.”

“Yeah, I figured but you could have trusted me.” Skye growled, folding her arms. “I would have thought that what we’ve been through, you could confine with me…”

Chen shifted beside her to kneel beside her, hands supporting her up against the wall. “Less people who knew...the better. Less risk of exposure, Skye.”

It annoys Skye to hear the annoyance in the woman’s tone. “So what…. I can keep a secret. I could have easily ratted you out but I didn’t. I respect you, even now but how you’re even here opens up a lot of questions. I can’t understand how . I watched what he did. I know all the bull shit on why you stayed hidden. I can see what he did to you from what i saw on that clip to your  PTSD you’re dealing with now. I know the lies you made about your ‘ex’ is about Coulson. You are good. Brilliant , I really have to hand it to you, playing a whole new person...” Skye shook her head, looking to her knees though inhaled deeply the hot air in the room.

“I didn’t know I could have come back, Skye.” Chen answered after a moment with a softer tone she expected her to have “ I don’t know… how either, not really.”

Skye scoffed though with little mockery in it. shaking her head again with a shrug. “What happened to you?” She had heard Coulson’s side of it, not May’s (with the obvious reason).

Chen moved back down, against the wall with a deep exhale “I realized Ward was hydra…. I turned back. I got back too late, of course. Coulson was mad. I didn’t know what had happened to cause this fresh hell of anger… Still don’t. .”

“Ward killed koenig.” Skye answered quietly. “Edited the forensics and said you were hydra into one of the picture windows. Coulson was.. going to forgive you for the phone after what happened with Audrey and Daniels but the apparent betrayal again just....”

“...fueled him into a rage.” Chen shook her head. “I know he didn’t mean to kill me. But I feel his hand around my neck every time i panic… the way he crushed my throat-” Chen stopped and closed her eyes but Skye could see the picture she was painting.

The panic May must have felt… the confusion of being attacked and not knowing why. The pure fear of what was happening and being useless to stop it. As someone as strong and as badass as May… Skye really couldn’t blame her for the PTSD or the other side effects.  Bahrain was bad enough once. But this was no doubt on a much bigger scale; having actually been killed. Experiencing death… Coulson himself was the only one who knew what that could do to someone.

“What happened, after? Coulson said you disappeared… the security camera never really got a good look below knee shot.”

Chen sighed deeply. “I… came up out of a lake.”

Skye looked to her shapely  “A lake?” she echoed, not quite sure if she heard correctly “Seems…random”

“It was… the place of my first death, apparently.”

That surprised her. “You died before ?”

Chen shrugged. “I don’t remember. I was too young. My parents never told me.”

“I suppose...coming back from the dead is gonna rock your childhood.” Skye agreed with a soft nod… still trying to wrap her head around the fact May died and came back. Twice. If May had known then she wouldn’t have mentally suffered from the assault to this degree. “This is so… trippy.”

Chen beside her snorted, “You have no idea... “

“Wait, your clothes were left behind! What happened at the lake?” Chen looked to her and raised an eyebrow though Skye figured what that meant. “Oh…. you were bare-ass naked . Talk about an awkward situation. What’d you do.”

“Just stole a picnic blanket from a family… I’m just glad i wasn’t arrested for streaking.” Chen chuckled

“How many times have you died so far?” Skye probed, curious more now.

“Err...three… I got involved with cybertek..”

Skye frowned softly, a couple of things sprinting to mind “How did you know to even go there… and to fight Ward in the factory?”

Chen laughed softly. “I have my ways, Skye.”

Though Skye could tell she wasn’t going to tell. But it was oddly refreshing.. To see May, or Chen in this instance opening up more than she had ever done in the past as pre-death ‘May’ had… it was nice to see this side of her. Properly bonding with her. Here she used to think May was a robot.

Though May had never been a robot; May before acted through actions than with words. But May as Chen… she had been stripped back raw, it seemed. Pretending to be someone else...that gave her the opportunity to open up in another way. Words as well as actions. May was just… human .

Skye sighed deeply, turning her head to look at the fire. “I won’t tell Coulson.”

Chen didn’t answer her but heard her exhale deeply as well.

“Sorry for punching you in the face, again… and causing you to faint...turning off your mask like that” Skye added again softly.

Chen shrugged. “It’s okay, you don't need to apologize. I should have expected this sooner, if I’m honest.”

Skye chewed her lip a moment. “Who else knows?”

“Only Simmons.”

Skye snorted, “So just me and Simmons...Okay. I can work with that and keep the charade going as well. You’ll probably have to tell Simmons I know…”

Chen nodded. “I’ll put it with my todo list.”.

They fell into silence but now… the air felt a little better between them now. Comfortable. “I do like this room though…” Skye mused. “If i bought marshmallows we could have had smores.”

Chen smiled though Skye watch her move and lie down onto the mats. “Good place to have a nap…”

“Why don’t you?”

You’re here for starters… and I’m paranoid.” She pointed out with closed eyes. “Insomnia is a side effect so I don’t get good sleep.”

That brought the mood down a little, to Chen’s mental health.“You can mediate..in corpse pose?” Chen’s eyes flickered open but she could see the light humor in her eyes. “Bad joke?”

“A tad .”

“Sorry.”

Chen’s chuckle hung in the air though they both settled back into the silence. Enjoying this and the peace and quiet… they sure as hell won’t get much of an opportunity like this again..

Chapter Text

Chen found that things had gotten moving much more swifter than she had thought as the next couple of weeks rolled by since her. Her responsibilities over the base had significantly dropped with Koenig on equal grounding; over seeing the base though she still oversaw Coulson.

Though it annoyed her that Coulson hadn’t yet informed her of her next session with Andrew… she knew the shifts in her responsibilities were due to his evaluation; she had read her copy though it had helped her balance of her mental scales from the stress.

Having Skye know… did help on some degree but it didn’t change anything in the long run. With her time table much more free; Chen kept up her intense training with Skye. Though Chen found out Coulson had put her into looking into the writing, she had Skye put out a few tabs on resurrection abilities and connections to lakes; going broad so all angles could be covered. If there was a chance someone knew how powers came about, spontaneously or not, she wanted to know.

That said, there hadn't been much feed back but Chen was staying positive. Keeping busy. Coulson had put Hartley and her team undercover; a former SHIELD agent selling tech had been on the radar so they were looking into that. What becomes of that had yet to be seen.

Chen hadn’t had many other major Panic attacks since her talk with Skye, mostly with Coulson now away with recruitment and other over sea matters; he wasn’t around to trigger her so she was much more comfortable. Fitz was still working on Cloaking but still, hitting a few bumps; mostly with the bits she didn’t understand.

Trip, while busy, had began to talk to her more. Since the start she had noticed his distance from her. Only really had talked on business than personal. Though she hadn’t talked to him a lot even when she was May. So getting to know him was more… genuine . Nice even.

She liked being someone else… Being Melinda May, she had formed a shell around herself; a stone reputation she hated which had given herself restrictions. Not that anything but herself had made her keep to it for self comfort. Being someone else, it now allowed her that breathing room to explore without any looks or comments, or anything that could be wildfire gossip.

It was easy to tell when Skye forgot who she really was occasionally, her face and new persona made it easy.  Skye today though, she was having  some time from base; where, she didn’t know.

“Hey, Chen. Got time for a drink?” A voice called, bringing Chen from her thoughts to see it was Trip; two beers in hand.

Chen looked to the clock, chewing her lip a moment. “I got about 5 more minutes left..”

Trip shrugged. “It's okay five minutes, put down that pen and take a swig.” He probed, smiling at her holding the bottle out.

Chen gave him a look. “You do realize we’re on duty.”

“Doesn’t mean we can enjoy ourselves from time to time. Plus, You have an appointment with your head doctor in two hours…”

Chen’s eyebrow rose. “Wait, Coulson told you that?”

Trip shrugged. “I may have overheard him on the phone with Koenig…”

Chen groaned softly, taking the offered beer, making Trip chuckle as she took a heavy swig. Pushing her papers away from her, leaning away with sour expression.

“You don’t like him?” Trip guessed, taking a sip of his own, relaxing into a neighbouring chair in front of her.

Chen shrugged. “No… it’s been a few weeks. Not sure how long I’ll stay without walking out again.”

Trip nodded softly. “Well, would you like me to drive you?”

“I can drive myself, you know...and fly.” Chen answered, though Trip gave her a look.

“I wasn't doubting your abilities and, Agent Chen.” Trip answered softly. “Just here for some...emotional support.”

Taking a swig from the bottle again before placing it down, Chen sighed deeply. “I don’t know… I don’t think we’re too close for that sort of thing.”

“Then why don’t we talk ourselves to that level. You’ve been busy lately, take a breather from it. Plus, 7 days without any form  panic or anxiety attack so which is good.” There was no patronizing in his voice; nor did she expect any, despite what he said.

“Yippy.” She mumbled, running her finger over the top of her bottle. She could feel Trip’s stare for the moment, the calculating look.

“My favorite colour… “ he started, ignoring her sarcasm “well, I’d have to say orange. Specifically Blood Orange you get in sun sets.”

Chen tilted her head, surprised a little. “I would have thought Green or blue to be your sort of thing.”

Trip chuckled “I like them, I won’t deny but that orange brings me a load of good memories. What about you, your favorite colour?”

She looked to him for a moment then sighed, Trip wasn’t going to give up so easily it seemed; even with his good intentions. Though she knew her favorite colour… it wasn’t hard.  “Violet.” She sighed after a moment, keeping her eyes on the rim of her bottle.

“Oh?” There was a note in his voice; betraying that he didn’t think she’d go for that colour too.

“When I was younger I loved the Cranesbill Patricia flowers that grew in the gardens, Violet was…my mother's favorite. She’d often pick them and have them on our table when we eat dinner.” Chen explained softly then sighed.

Trip hummed airily for a moment, thinking as he drunk more of his beer. Chen did too, her eyes falling onto her paperwork. Clicking her pen closed, she dropped it into the pot and began to collect the sheets together.

“How’s Skye doing with her training?”

Chen looked up to him again. “Good. Hand to hand has very much improved. I’m pleased how driven she is.”

“She’s a motivated woman.” Trip agreed softly.

“Weapons training... I haven’t done as much. I want her to prefer using hand to hand; less lethal but I’ll get her used to the other weapons to cover her needs in a case of emergency.”

“You don’t like guns?”

Chen shrugged. “I prefer ICERs in comparison. But it depends on how dire the situation is or what I’m facing. If I was trapped in a room, surrounded by Hydra agents; Guns are my favorite weapon. If I’m trapped in a room by brainwashed SHIELD agents then… ICER.”

Trip looked at her a moment.   “Fair enough.” He agreed with a short nod though Chen saw his eyes flicker to something behind her, turning to see Koenig backtrack into the room; no doubt passing in search for her.

“Agent Chen, Your due your next Therapy appointment, best get going. It;s off base and at the university.”

Chen rolled her eyes, glad that Trip had been the one to tell her first than Koenig launching it on her suddenly. “Alright.. I know where I’m going.” She answered, so not to be told by Koenig. After all, it wouldn’t be out the ordinary to know where Andrew worked.

“Will you let me drive?” Trip asked as she stood.

Chen sighed deeply. “Fine. But you’ll not enter the building.” She warned, grabbing her leather and took the lead past Billy

“I can make that deal.” he agreed with a chuckle, trailing after her.

Getting to the university hadn’t taken as much time as Chen had anticipated; which was odd though she left Trip in the SUV and headed straight into the building. Knocking at the door that had Dr Garner on it though waited until she hard his voice to enter to open the door.

Andrew was at his desk, looking through notes though he smiled softly when he saw her.

“Agent Chen. Wasn't expecting you for another...5 minutes. Please take a seat.”

Chen shut the door behind her though slowly moved into the room, looking around his office. It was weird, being in there… it had been so long. Before bahrain from what she last remembered. Slipping into the seat, Chen looked back to Andrew who turned over a new page.

“Thanks for making the effort out. I know it’s been a busy time.” Andrew started.

Chen just nodded. “Coulson’s lack of communication really.” SHe answered bluntly. “He’s taken most of your… recommendations so far.”

Andrew nodded, “Are the new changes helping you in terms of your stress levels?”

Chen shrugged. “It’s been odd. Lots more free time than I need; I’m finding it odd to fill.”

“Days off out of SHIELD?” He probed.

Chen shook her head. “No, I don't really see much of the point leaving the base…”

Andrew tilted his head. “Please, Explain why.”

Chen huffed. “We can’t use our planes at the moment, Our technician hasn’t perfected the tech we need to use it and I don’t want to draw attention to the base more than we need to.”

“SHIELD isn’t a life, permanently speaking.” Andrew spoke. “Do you have a home? Outside.”

Chen looked to his desk a moment sighing. “I… haven’t been home for a long while. Too far to go for single day.”

Which wasn't a lie… it was too far to just pop back and forth. It was the only place that was close to her place of rebirth… though she wasn’t sure if she ever liked that wording… rebirth .

Closer to respawning than rebirth…

Andrew lent back a moment though she could tell he was going for a new angle. “Before you walked out last time, you mentioned a lake…”

Chen looked away, crossing her arms. She had slipped up… of course he had noticed that. “I did.” She answered, her tone closing.

“Coulson never brought up anything to do with a lake with my briefing on you when we first met, I assume this isn’t something you told him.”

Her jaw stayed clenched, starting just past him.

“What happened?” Andrew asked softly. “I’m going from the facts here. He attacked you.. You passed out and you woke up in a lake.” He clarified. “I can’t imagine that would have been good to experience…waking up from an attack like that… to that”

“He thought I was dead.” Chen answered out, her tone tighter, her hands clenching a little, eyeing the door.

“He was trying to… forgive me for this harsh word but… dispose of your body?” That sat him up a little but it took a moment before she nodded stiffly.

It was logical that it could be perceived as that… and she could work with it. Though she could see the many many flaws it’s have. Human bodies had limits.

“I assume so..” She spoke.

“What did you do after you woke?”

Chen sighed, closing her eyes. “Got out the water… needed to find some clothes. I was bear ass naked.” She shook her head. “Stole a picnic blanket too… called my Mom.” She sighed out deeply.

“Why not the cops?” There was a hint of curiosity in his tone though heavily masked.

“I was naked at a public lake. I would have been arrested for streaking.” Chen answered.

Andrew shook his head. “Not strictly true, Chen. It would have been obvious to day something happened out of your control that had you in this situation.”

Chen‘s eyes flickered open. “No.”

Andrew’s eyebrow raised. “No?”

“There would have been nothing for them to do but document it and let it sit on a shelf with dead leads. I needed to call someone who could care for me… Someone i knew I could fully trust . I don’t have faith in the cops because they wouldn’t provide the emotional care I needed . They would only want the hard cold facts I couldn't provide. I could hardly speak and… still trying to process what had happened.”

While it surprised her more that she could talk like this so freely, but the fact she gave him more truthes than lies…

“You seem less agitated in this season than last... ” Andrew noted, change the topic away for a moment.

“Coulson’s been off base the last couple of weeks.” Chen answered. “Recruitment mostly so he has to meet face-to-face.”

“What do you feel? When he’s away?”

“Relief.” Chen shrugged. “Less… on edge i suppose.”

“Has that helped? Being away from him?”

Chen nodded after a second thought. “I haven’t had a Panic attack or faint for the last 7 days…. He’s been away all through that.”

“But you have in the last couple weeks then?”

“Sometimes at night, I wake up in what crappy sleep i get; i suppose it… just comes back to haunt me to let me know it’s still there..” Chen shook her head.

“But do you feel like that you’ve made some progression?”

Chen fiddled with the hem of her shirt. “I.. talk to Skye more.”

“You’ve opened up to someone, which is good. It means you’re not bottling it all up. Bottling up can lead to increasing stress and induce more anxiety which will press onto your panic attacks and bad dreams.” Andrew spoke, leaning onto his arms on his desk.

“I know what bottling up with do to my mental State, Dr Garner.” Chen spoke back, though moved her hands from fiddling with her shirt to fold her arms over her chest.  “I can handle it.”

Andrew said nothing more a moment but Chen didn’t look to him, not wanting to see what expression he was wearing.

“You don’t have to handle it alone , Chen.” He spoke softly but Chen didn’t answer him…. Hoping that the session would end soon; feeling almost done with talking about her feelings.

*

 

Leaving though, that was a breath of fresh air though Chen knew Andrew could tell she wasn’t going to talk much longer.

Though it took a moment to find the SUV and hopping in, she saw Trip was deep asleep in the back though she did see a small bunch of violet flowers on the passenger seat which made her smile.

Chapter Text

Getting back to base was quick work, despite the distance. Trip had woken up halfway, through Chen didn’t pull over to get him change seats; keeping going until they got there. Though she was surprised to see the other SUV being packed up and Skye now dressed in dark clothes and a dark leather cowl and hood

“What’s going on?” She heard Trip ask, watching them for a moment.

“Chen, Trip!” Skye’s voice called, gaining their attention. “Sorry. Mission’s just popped up. Hartley's made contact with Agent Browning a few days earlier than expected. Coulson’s put us on point. I’ll brief you on the way.”

“Okay, I’ll get into gear.” Chen nodded, glad though for this abrupt change; it’d keep her distracted enough.

“Er, i don’t think Chen should-” Another voice started but Chen turned and gave the source-- Koenig-- a deep glare; effectively cutting him off. “You know what, never mind, have fun.” There was a look of nervousness that past his face though Koenig was quick to carry on to his station. Away from her.

“Wow, never saw someone do that before…” Mack chuckled from behind, a box of tools in his hand.

Chen moved her eyes from Koenig’s disappearing figure then smiled softly past trip to Mack. “I may be small… with a lot of issues, but i can be as scary as hell if need be.”

Mack nodded. “Duly noted, Agent Chen, duly  noted” He agreed.

Chucking softly, Chen moved away to her bunk at a jog, to change into her gear., changing quickly then headed out to find Skye again in the hanger by the bus. Pulling up the zip of her leather as she left. Taking the offered ICER and holster before she got into the vehicle,

 

Skye quickly briefed her and Trip on the way before they pulled up to the warehouse a couple hours later. It was raining heavily though ignorable, the thunder would cover most of their sounds. They parked the SUV at the back of the warehouse for quick extraction and snuck into the building. Though Chen noted the leaking pipes and puddles that gave the dull smell of mold, handing Skye the zip line to make the descent.

It felt good, actually; getting into a proper mission than Intel gathering; taking her mind completely away from her shrink session; putting her in a focused headspace to the mission. Though For now, Skye could be the ears of the Op…

“Remember, break silhouette protocols in favor of Hartley's team. Coulson’s orders.” Skye said, slipping  the buckle of her harness onto the line from what Chen could hear over the comms. So far, radio silence from the base.

“Copy.” Trip called through though Chen moved to kneel closer to him for a better look as he pulled out his tablet; setting it up.

Chen’s eyes flickered to the Side of Trips face then down to his tablet, moving a little closer; if hesitantly. She had barely been closer to a taller male by a few feet. Trip was inches . It made her feel nervous; her senses running a little to alert to his movements. Rationally speaking; Chen knew Trip of all people wasn’t going to hurt her. So she tried to concentrate on the mission.

“Got ears on them.” Skye called though a couple minutes later. “Package is in the open.”

“Don’t engage until the deals done.” Chen reminded softly, then looked to the tablet after getting Skye’s reply, “Got eyes on them now, Trip?”

“Yep, now we do.” Trip answered back, the screen popping up with a live image from the camera Skye had placed; giving them a good view of the scene bellow.

Chen lent forwards a bit a frown as she watched two teams, one being Hartley's and the other Browning’s, noting the third guy Browning had join in… from what she had been briefed; that was not part of the deal.

“What are they buying from them?” She asked after a moment.

Trip hummed after a moment, zooming in briefly. “Intel, not hardware.” He concluded.

Chen nodded airly. “Were we wanting the former or the latter?” She asked after a moment. Though she watched further as Idaho from Hartlys group move forwards with the case of money and opening it up to Browning who lent forwards before Hunter shut it suddenly.

“The mystery, I’d like to solve is, why should we be paying you so much?” Hunter spoke, “ This looks like a box- sorry, a picture of a box. A picture of a box, you don’t have. ”  He clarified, straightening up.

The angle of the camera made it hard to see the expression on Browning’s face. “ The government has it. Along with thousands of other assets the seized from SHIELD” He started. “They don’t know what to make of half of it. I worked in a SHIELD containment facility where they had hundreds boxed just like this one; but this one is the only one with a Level 10 clearance dedicated to it.” Browning answered, flipping it shut but Chen could read into the back of him that he was less than impressed with Hunter’s assessment.

“Let’s move closer… Browning or his guards might become hostile.” Chen pointed out, straightening up. Trip nodded.

“Copy that.” He answered

Chen headed first to the zip wire and slid down and cleared to crouch beside Skye for Trip to make his descent to the ground floor. Chen pulled her ICER from the  holster, the other two following suit.

But their attention was caught when guns shots went off; not hesitating to move forwards from their hiding place. Just in time to subdue Browning’s guard but Trip darted after the third guard who darted off through the window; not a guard, it seemed. Third party.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Hartley questioned, half surprised but half annoyed at their presence, lowering her gun.

“Who was that ?!” Idaho questioned, looking a little disbelieved, pointing to the window.

“Third Party.” Chen answered, Hartley's eyes darting to her a moment, her eyebrow raised. Not expected her on the op, it seemed.

“He’d gone… 25 foot drop. Must be enhanced.” Trip called, looking out the hole in the window.

“This is suppose to be an undercover operation, why the hell were you even shadowing us for?” Hartly shoved the gun under the back of her shirt; into her jeans, Chen holstered her ICER as well.

“We’re your backup, which you needed.” Skye answered, bending down to the floor, Chen noted the metal shards but kept her eyes back to the others.

Hartley opened her mouth but Hunter spoke first, bending over Browning’s dead body. “So did he.”

Chen rolled her eyes but Hartley was quick to get on her phone, sirens in the distance coming into range… not good if they stayed.

“Sir, mark’s down, third party, possibly hydra. We’re out in the open. What are our orders?”

There was a pause though Chen watched as Trip handed Skye a small container before she flipped the metal shard into it. Not touching it.

“Copy that.” Hartley hung up. “Going dark, let’s get going!” She ordered. Hunter collected up the cash case though Chen took the lead out down to the SUV.

“I thought you weren’t due to operations, Agent Chen.” Hartley stated as they got into the SUV. “Coulson-”

“I don’t care what Coulson had told you about me,” Chen answered back cooly though kept her eyes on the road as she drove. “I know my limits and If you question anything to do with my mental state in this vehicle then I’ll hold no responsibility to what damage my fist will do to that nose.”

That silenced the vehicle but that’s all she wanted. Quiet. Threatening other agents, not a strong move but she wasn’t in the mood for a talk on her mental state or relative topic. Telling them to shut up about it wouldn’t apply to most of then anyway. Hunter would just keep talking and Hartly would probe a little. Plus, despite her mental conditions, she knew had the small reputation to put someone in their place and a intimidating presence if she tried or need be.

“So…. should i put the radio on or settle into this awkward silence?” Skye asked after a moment. Chen’s lip twitched.

Chapter Text

Chen pulled up a while later into the base, parking beside the bus though conversation had started up at the back. Nothing fortunately related to her, only the mission now.  

“You know, Our black market contact was the only reason the guy believed we weren’t SHIELD.” Idaho argued back.

Chen hadn’t been bothered to keep up with it a lot through the drive; only keeping tabs for her own interjections to the arguments. As soon as she shut off the engine, she jumped out, the others following suit but the conversation wasn’t over as Skye spoke next.

“Yeah, but Coulson knows Hartley. She’s the only one on you team that he can trust .” Skye pointed out as she opened up the trunk.

“But why’d you break protocol?”

“We were ordered to.” Both Chen and Trip pointed out; even if Skye had told them of Coulson’s orders.

“Yeah, but we can’t maintain solid cover with agents shadowing us.” Hunter complained, too close to her for comfort, Chen pulled a way at his direction grabbing one of the bags and took the lead; distancing herself from them and headed towards the hanger doors.

“With the amount of money in that case; we can’t be sure you won’t run off with it.” Skye quipped back a few feet behind her. Chen fished out her ID from her back pocket.

“Changing the subject; anyone got an idea on how that freak show found us?” Idaho interjected.

“Shut it, Browning said we were the highest bidders.” Hartley started, before Hunter could speak “Meaning he sent the word out wide.”

Chen snorted, shaking her head. “Yeah, that idea really bit him in the ass now, didn’t it.” placing her ID onto the screen at the hangar entrance.

‘Agent Chen’ The screen spoke in a cool female voice, Agent Emily Chen appearing along with her mug shot on the screen beside her name

“Yes it did…” Skye agreed, copying her and following. Chen unzipped her leather and hooked it over her arm. “How’d the session go?” Her voice much more quiet.

Chen looked behind to the following agents then back. “Alright, as expected.”

“Walked out of it?” She guessed.

Chen shook her head, “He got the hint I was close.”

Though Chen directed the group towards the communal area under the director’s Office.. Good place to unpack; get refreshments and a comfy seats…usual place to end up after missions.

Though walking in, She saw Koenig waiting though walked past him and dumped her bag and  the jacket down, her hand coming to unclip her holster from her waist and thigh.

“Director wants you for debrief.” Koenig started, taking the cash from Idaho as he passed then headed towards the stairs

“The feeling, is mutual.” Hartley sighed out, “Throw him up on the big screen We’ll tell him his enemy's have gone bulletproof.” Hartley pulled out her gun and placed them onto the table.

“He’s in his office.”

That caused a pause all around. Chen froze for a second then sighed deeply out. Not that she shouldn’t expect him… He was due to come back; just not today in her books. He wasn’t the one to even stick to the recommendations she had given weeks ago when handling his carving issues.

Chen dumped her holster down onto her bag a little harder than intended.

“Coulson’s here? Kinda buried the lead there, Bill.” Hartley spoke stepping forwards but Billy was quick to put his hand up.

“Just, Agent Chen.” He spoke though no surprise to Chen’s ears.

Hartley huffed. “Copy that…” She walked away at that point towards the kitchen but Chen lent forwards and picked up a basic file on what the intel Browning had been trying to sell them. So Coulson would know what they had been looking at; the footage they shot wouldn’t quite cover what was on the file.

Ignoring Hunter’s voice calling after her, she took a step at a time slowly up along the corridor and paused at the open door to see Coulson with his back towards her, phone to ear.

Though she waited until the phone was back in place to step into the office. Coulson grasping another file then turn.

“Hi.” He stated briefly and headed over to his desk.

Chen moved in more. “14 days.”

Coulson’s head rose, eyebrow raising. “What?”

“I gave you recommendations, remember. I said you need to check in every few days, not weeks”

“Don’t lecture me on breaking rules, Chen.” He started. “Koenig caught me up. You weren’t supposed to be on this mission.”

“Skye came to me, Coulson” Chen pointed out. “Dr Garner also didn’t have me fully removed from field duty.”

"You weren’t supposed to jump straight into a mission after a session with him either. I heard you threatened to punch someone-”

“Only if they continued to talk on my mental welfare in the SUV; where I am present.” CHen finished with a nod. “So yes, I did say that. Not fond of Hartley's questioning. It feels like they were treading on eggshells too. Don’t care for that either. It’s irrelevant to the situation at hand”

Coulson straightened up. “Less threatening, Okay. We want to work with them. You know, I told Skye to keep you in the loop. Not drag your ass with her.”

Chen rolled her eyes, heading over to him and placed the file onto the desk. “The mission felt good . Coulson. I was focused. Nothing to trigger me and it felt good to be off base and going something more productive. Even if the mission went side wards.”

“Speaking of which...” Coulson picked up the file she had put down. Gesturing her to get back to topic. The debrief.

“Skye briefed me on the way; So I know we were hoping Browning would be a friend, or sell us his tech. Negative on both.” Chen folded her arms over her chest.

“Assassin--hydra?” He flicked through it slowly

“Most likely. Possibly gifted; Bullets bounced but Skye found some metal shards so Fitz can look into analyzing it; priority.”

“Good.”

“Killed Browning, wanted the intel, made a 25 foot drop out a glass window. Another 084, i guess”

“Hence why possibly gifted.” Coulson nodded then looked up. “What’s your assessment on Hartley's group?”

Chen scoffed. “They’re mercenaries , only here for the money; not the cause.”

“But your assessment ?” Coulson empathized.

Chen sighed deeply. “They're good mercenaries.” She shrugged her shoulders.

Coulson nodded. “Hartly spent a lot of time undercover. Those are the sort of friends you make.”

“Questionable friends.”

Coulson shrugged this time. “As long as She trusts them then-” He stopped, a frown appearing in his face. Chen looking sharply to him, her head tilting.

“What?”

“...S.S.R… I’ve just read about it.” He said softly, flicking through it to a picture. CHen leant forwards.

“Where?” There was nothing that came to mind about it; she had seen the picture briefly and read plenty of SSR related subjects.

“Fury’s toolbox.” Coulson dropped the file then darted to the phone. Chen picked it up, getting a proper look at the image. A vintage metal trunk with 084 plastered in white across it.

“An 084 could be anything.” Chen pointed out as soon as Coulson hung up; having canceled his afternoon which meant this was big . “What do you know about it?

“Not a lot…. But this one… this is our first 084. Specific. All Fury knew was the trail of bodies it left in it’s wake.”

“And if Hydra’s interested..” Chen started.

“Then Hydra can move from underground. Talbot claims he’s beaten both sides but…”

“We need to get to work. What’s our plan?” Chen started.

Coulson paced behind his desk a moment, a frown on his face as he thought. “Get to the lab, get Fitz to speed up. Send Hartley's team up- no threatening them with punches.”

“We’ll see on the last part.” Chen quipped heading to the door.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t long before things were rolling, Chen sent off the three mercenaries were up in Coulson’s office. Chen headed straight to the lab as instructed. She could see the back of Fitz; bent over something in the back.

“Any update on the material Skye found?” She asked, sighing deeply though chuckled as Fitz jumped at her voice.

“Err.. yeah, yeah… well sort of. I got sidetracked with the cloaking… but all rudimentary tests are done.” he answered, running a hand through his hair, sighing deeply out.

“Okay…” Chen moved to stand by the table, glancing to the cloaking device, although her eyes flickered back to see the metal shard under some magnification lenses.

“Ah well, all current tests show it’s the same lead from a bullet but it’s… it” He scratched the back of his head, “It’s also containing unknown properties that don’t--is that blood.” He lent forwards.

Chen’s eyes flickered from Fitz down to the scrap of metal, a frown on her face as she saw in fact blood was seeping from the shard… that seemed to turn from it’s silver state into something else entirely… almost reminded her of a tiny tanned chicken fillet.

“Yeah… It’s blood.” She confirmed, in case Fitz thought he was seeing things.

“Blood…. Now that’s weird..” Fitz muttered.

“You’re telling me. Ugh, putting off my chicken fillet salad now..” Chen shook her head. “Though, can you find out who’s blood?” Getting back to subject than rambling off.

Fitz shrugged, “Shouldn’t be too hard…”

Chen nodded. “Good. We need that ASAP. We can probably identify the enhanced male that killed Browning; we can check through the Index for a match… incase SHIELD came across him in the past.”

Fitz nodded, though began to move about, grabbing a few things, taking a swab of the blood. “Why don’t you get access to the Index database while i start the process…. Should take about...10 minutes to break it down to the DNA profile… and a couple minutes screening through the profiles on the index…” Fitz started, though Chen moved towards the computer and quickly logged in.

“Copy that…”

Though she watched Fitz work. It only really took about 30 seconds to have access to the index. Waiting and leaning back in her chair as Fitz worked on the sample. Chen was no scientist; and Fitz was no biologist either but she assumed he knew what to do. If Simmons was here no doubt she’d be much faster at that he was doing.

Chen gently pushed the chair back, taking a moment to realize the chair had wheels when there was little resistance.

Don’t spin on the chair.” Fitz called abruptly. Chen looked up to the back of him.

“How did you know?” Chen chuckled, folding her arms over her chest.

“I could see the wheels turning in your head when you moved.” He answered. “Tests are done, sending to your computer..now.”

Chen wheeled herself towards the computer, opening up the sent file and began to screen it through the systems…. Taking only 30 seconds for a match to be found….

Her eyebrow raised. “Huh, Third Party is a dead guy; no wonder we didn’t see that coming.” She mused though printed it off… though reading through the file as the pages continued to print, her eyes lingering on a particular name that gave her a well of anger. Chen rose to her feet, taking the first sheet from the pile. “Fitz, Look into Creel and his powers; see if you can find something against it. Everything should be on his index file… look into it and put cloaking aside for the next couple of hours” She called back

Not waiting for a response, Chen quickly left and headed up to Coulson’s office, slowing after a moment as she stepped up the stairs, taking a deep breath before entering.

“We got a DNA  match.” She said, catching the attention of the occupants, holding out the sheet of paper to Coulson and moved back.

“Carl Creel..” Coulson read outloud. “He was on the index.”

“And crossed off.” Chen pointed out.

“Shield protocol; hostile gifted are put down.” Hartley answered, for Hunter and Idaho who were out the loop regarding SHIELD protocols.

“Apparently not good enough.” Hunter answered.

“They never tried.” Chen answered, turning to give Hunter a look with a raised eyebrow then back to Coulson. “Supervising agent.”

“John Garrett…” Coulson spoke, looking annoyed as well as grim.

“I assume they faked his death and recruited him.” Chen answered. “One shiny ass toy they weren’t gonna let get thrown out the pram.”

“Well, at least we know for sure he’s Hydra.” Hartley answered, a little louder which made Chen roll her eyes.

“John Garrett…. Ain't he the guy that used to be your mate that joined the dark side?” Hunter asked, taking a swig of beer; not that Chen was surprised to see he was still nursing a beer.

“Yeah… Then went Nuts.” Coulson added. Chen tilted her head.

“Nuts?” she echoed. She wasn’t aware Garrett was less than sane… When she last saw him as ‘May’ he was being escorted out of the Hub to the fridge; though she knew with Ward being Hydra he wouldn’t have stayed long…. Nor had she seen his body after Deathlok crushed his skull. But as Chen; she’d never have met him.

“I’ll tell you all about it later.. But now, I need to talk to Skye.” Coulson decided, folding the papers she had handed to him in his hand.

“I’ll start trying to track him. Facial recognition, Security…” Chen started, getting to business. “I’ve put Fitz into looking into his powers for a solve; doing that though may delay Cloaking tech.”

Coulson nodded. “Priorities. I have a plan on the Cloaking, Creels powers are a priority for the moment.” He agreed. “But, Chen, You stay here; Hartley and her team can do those tasks.”

“Copy that.” Hartly answered, taking the lead out.

Chen frowned. “Why stay?” She questioned.

Coulson looked to her. “A new angle. I want you in the loop as Billy.” He answered.

Chen kept the frown on her face then sighed. “ Him ?” She asked, her body stiffening a little. The bastard that set her up to die. She was all for letting him rot in that cell but if he was going to get intel then Chen knew who he’d get to talk to Ward… giving Ward what he wanted . If she had a bat; she’d love to beat him with it.

Coulson didn’t looked to pleased either but nodded. “We have to work all angles, Chen.”

“He’s also 50% of why Agent May is dead, Sir.” Chen started but she watched his jaw clench and his knuckles whiten.

Don’t go there, Chen.” He growled then walked off, leaving her with Koenig who whistled out a deep sigh.

“Below the belt, there. Chen.” Koenig answered.

Chen shrugged. “I know.” Though she moved to settle against the desk, waiting now. “You know how to control the barriers…” She hinted after a moment though Koenig was quickly gone; leaving her now alone in Coulson’s office; awaiting for them to return. Though pulled the tablet on Coulson’s desk onto her lap and pulled up a live stream from Vault V and sat on the table closest to the screen.

Chapter Text

It didn’t help his temper, hearing Chen bing May up so casually into conversation. It annoyed Coulson deeply. She had no right or entitlement to that; especially implying the other 50% of her death on him; even if she was 100% right about that.

Coulson was well aware she had issues with Ward; given she had brought the sucker down at Cybertek; reaggravating her injuries from her Ex and all that nonsense...He was going to have to talk to her about it… or get Skye to. May was not a subject to throw around in that manner; he would not allow it. But for now; they needed what they kept him here for.

Coulson found Skye with Trip in the Bus, the carvings scrolling through the screens and holocom.

“There he is, happy to see you, Sir.” Trip called seeing him, not to Coulson’s surprise he was noticed.

Coulson nodded, “Agent Triplett.” He started before his eyes flickered to Skye who was smiling softly at him. It had been a good few weeks, he had to admit since he saw them face to face “Skye.”

“Sir.” Skye nodded back, arms folding.

Coulson looked to Triplett, “Can you give is a moment?” He asked though Trip got the hint.

“Yes, Sir.” he answered, taking his leave from their area. Coulson waited though; watching him out of ear shot before looking back to Skye.

“What… no hugs?” Skye jocked. “Trip was really looking forward to it.”

Coulson smiled softly, fiddling with the papers in his hand

“I’ve crossed checked the writing in the lab with the new images you’ve given me, Mostly the same but the code breakers haven’t found any-”

“That’s not what I’m here.” Coulson interrupted, before she got into it. Holding out the sheets, which she took. “The bullet proof assassin you encountered on the Op; we know who he is.”

Though he knew she’s make the same connections as Chen. Giving her intel was random without a reason.

“You want me to go down… there . Don’t you?” Skye answered after a moment. His mental statement correct.

“You’re the only one who can get a response.” He answered.

Skye moved, pacing if a little with a deep sigh and a frown. “Why now?”

“The situation demands it. Powers...tech.. We need to know what we’re facing.” Coulson reasoned softly.

Skye let out a deep sigh. “Do I get a say?”

Coulson was well aware she didn’t want to, but he was after all director and circumstances… he needed that intel, even if it meant sending her down there though they’d of course keep an eye on her.

Skye sighed, “Copy that..”

Coulson nodded, “Billy will update you on the containment parameters.” He called though let her walk away, taking his own leave from the plane to head back to his office.

Opening the door to the office, Chen was still there. Sitting on a desk looking bored though she looked sharply to him as soon as he entered.

His eyes flickered past her to the live screen of Ward pacing around inside the opaque laser grid.

“Billy should be up as soon as he’s done talking with Skye.” He spoke after a moment, shutting the door behind him

“I know.” Chen answered, shifting to look at the screen.

Silence ticking by though being in the room with her alone.. Given the last conversation. It brought up an elephant in the room; on his end at the least.

“I’m going to ask you this once , Agent Chen.” He started drawing her attention again, “Please don't bring up May again.”

Her eyebrow rose. “Eh?”

Coulson sighed deeply. “Look, I get sometimes that name will no doubt be be bounced around but I don’t want to hear her being spoken about. Not casually and not in an irrelevant situation. Okay?”

Chen had an unreadable expression though nodded. “Copy that.” She answered before the door suddenly opened again. Billy returning; looking a little winded; jogging back no doubt.

All of them looked back to the screen, Coulson turning up the volume more.

The lights brightening more in the Cell as the opaque laser grid became translucent once again. Skye’s figure appearing down the stairs before she took a seat in the chair in front of the grid; ignoring the comment from Ward.

“I told Coulson weeks ago that I was willing to speak to you...to give you Intel. Why now? Did something bad happen? ” Ward questioned.

“Carl Creel. Garrett reported Dead, turns out he’s alive. Do you have any information on that?” Skye questioned, her tone bleak of emotion; getting to the point.

“How’ve you been?”   Ward continued.

Coulson glowered at the screen though Chen tittered.

“Eager Bastard.” She remarked though stayed otherwise silence as Skye stood and grabbed the tablet to leave

“The name sounds familiar.” Ward called before she could leave. “Do you have a picture?”

There was a long moment before her figure moved, this time towards the laser grid then Held up the tablet. Ward stepped closer though the laser grid which glowed and crackled as he lent forwards.

Though It made Chen sigh, Coulson noted as Ward sidetracked to the scars he had from suicide attempts; just from Syke’s simple glance.

“You know, If he wasn’t needed. I would have been happy to go in there with a baseball bat.” Chen drawled out, shaking her head. “He seems to think that she’d care.”

“I know you would. But as long as he’s telling her the truth; we need him.” Coulson reminded softly.

Chen didn’t answer though they focused back onto the screen.

“Your arm’s tell a different story. I see May’s training you to favor your left first since you’re right handed. Smart.”

Coulson stiffened. SO did Chen.

“May’s dead .” Skye spoke, her tone from blank to cold, stepping closer to the grid. “She died because of you. There will never be any form of forgiveness for what you did. I can see you trying but drop it. I will only gonna say this once; Unless what you say is other than what i ask for, then I will walk.” She growled. “ May is dead. So don’t you dare ever bring her up or tarnish her memory either. The woman you fought was not agent May. So don’t get confused. Do you understand what I’m telling you?

Coulson looked down, sighing deeply. Ward thought she was alive? After the effort he had put into to getting her killed? What changed his mind?

“Ward thought you were... her ?” Coulson questioned to Chen who looked to him, running her hands through her short cut.

“Most of my face was covered and i had longer hair…” She shrugged, no looking to him. “Given the fact me and May are Asian; he may have not seen the obvious different features under my scarf.” Chen shook her head. “At least Skye’s not gonna take his bullshit.”

“Right…” He sighed though it didn’t quite settle him on that answer….

“...a boxer, nick named The Crusher…” Ward carried on, although Coulson had missed the start of the new conversation. “Turns out any opponent as a glass jaw when you have steel firsts under your gloves. Once Creel touches a substance he can absorb it and by will; transform himself into that substance.

Skye sighed loudly; as if bored. “Pointless information, we already figured that part of him. But if you don’t know where to find him then-” She rose to her feet again,

Wait .”

“This interrogation is like roller coaster…curvy wervy and not sticking to the point” Chen muttered.

“You’re not helping.” Billy hissed.

“When Hydra was communicating within SHIELD, we’d use white noise in the gaps between SHIELD’s quantum key distribution channels to hide messages. Now, while SHIELD might be gone… not those frequencies. If hydra is giving Creel commands; that’s how.”

Coulson glanced to Billy who moved to pick up a tablet; no doubt checking. Coulson’s attention shifting from the live screen to Billy. The screen turning from the feed to a map.

“Believe it or not, there is a directive going out over those channels right now… But, I can ping an echo request, see if there’s other receivers out there and see how many hydra Agents can communicate this way.” Billy called out.

“And we could get locations as well…” Chen realized. “We could leak them to ward off the US government for a while, let them do our job for us.”

“So Ward’s telling the truth.” Came a disgruntled voice from the door.

Coulson looked to Skye as she came in then nodded. “It seems so. Thank you”

“It won’t be the last time, huh?” Skye grumbled. Chen reached over and patted her shoulder.

“No, but I’ll willingly go in there with you... Ruff him up...staple his testicles to his-”

“Chen.” Coulson’s voice warned before she could carry in though he saw Skye’s lip twitch; lightening her mood. “Look, we kept ward for this reason. It’s paying off. If he’d giving us what we need to know then we have a chance to bring down hydra.”

“Yeah.. we have have some issues with that..” Billy called, all three of then turning to look at the screen as it beeped. A low sigh escaped his lungs as more and more red ydra dots began to spread on the digital maps… far and wide. Every country, more or less.

“Well...we’re screwed…” Chen answered, pushing herself up off the desk.

Chapter Text

It had been quite the rush; getting into the swing as things as Coulson began planning though Chen sat back as the Directive was read out; an attack on Talbot. It hadn’t taken too long either but she knew Coulson had a plan. Not just concerning the immediate threat to Talbot.

However, Chen took her orders to get Skye ready for the new mission quickly. She and Skye were to deal with Creel, Hunter and Hartley with Talbot and Coulson wasn’t going to leave the base but that wasn’t a big concern. Trip had his orders and a phone to plant.

Getting to the park was smooth, parking a short distance away. Hartley and Hunter in air force uniform. Chen placed an ICER into the SUV and took her position…

Her eyes following Trip as he made his move, just about bumping into Talbot who looked at him for a moment before the generals attention shifted.

“Phone is planted” Trip called through the comms.

“Copy that.” Coulson called back.

Chen eyes scanning around, looking at the people in the distance… looking to the shiny bald head. She did spot the shiny bald head though not on a hunk of muscle.

She felt Skye nudge her softly. “Ready to do this?” She asked softly.

Chen nodded. “I know I am.”

She didn’t need to see Skye to know she was smiling, running over a brief check on Skye’s weapon before she heard her cue; Talbot throwing the planted phone away and picking up his own for reinforcements.

But she could see Creel now… the man’s eyes fixed on Talbot. Moving from her spot towards him

“Watch your six!” She shouted, Talbot immediately taking to her warning and punched Creel in the face; not expecting that. SHe could see both men ruff about before Creel got the opening and knocked Talbot out to the floor.

Darting forwards, Chen threw her weight into a kick to his lower stomach, sending the surprised male back off the small stone step and onto the stone paving. She watched him though, as he got back up, inhaling deeply as he yanked off a large metal ball off a boundary railing; his arm turning the same metallic gold… but not all the way, Chen noted.

Chen moved forwards again as he began to , noting the chain and distance… though she could hear behind her cars pulling up behind her.

Creel swung the chain but she didn’t hesitate to dodge the ball and duck the next swing that left her with an opening to kick him again in the chest; then two electric shots that reacted to each other’s proximity though she knew this was her time to exit.

Jumping over the chain barriers and over the stone wall towards the parked up SUV, Hunter and Hartley in place. She pulled the ICER from the door side and sat back more against the door, her leg resting a little on the middle though watched as Hartley grabbed Talbot's arm and led him towards the car, making her smile a little… so easy .

So easy kidnapping a general of the US government  in broad daylight and surrounded by his own personal armed guards…

Talbot jumped into the car before he saw him took to her; taking aim with the ICER. “Hi, again.” She smiled, things catching quickly in Talbot’s head.

“Son of a bitch.” He hissed before Idaho in the front pressed down on the pedal. Speeding away now.

With the ICER pointing towards him, Talbot was smart not to kick up the fuss but the agitation was rising, especially as the windows tinted completely and cutting out his view. Though she got bored of holding the ICER to him, and no doubt they’d travel longer to throw him off the directions. Deciding to hell with it, Chen pulled the trigger on the ICER and watched him slump.

“Did you just shoot a US general in the back there?” Idaho called after a moment, no doubt hearing the shot and thud.

“Yes, I did.” Chen answered, sighing deeply and put the ICER onto her lap and sat back for the rest of the journey.



“You knocked him out?!” Coulson exclaimed as two Medics loaded the unconscious  general onto a stretcher, although stripping him of his blue uniform before heading towards the bus to put him into the interrogation room.

Chen nodded. “He’s not exactly a complying passenger.”

“He’s smart, he wouldn’t have done anything to compromise himself since you had the gun. Idaho said he wasn't kicking up a fuss”

“You just had his clothes removed, I don’t think he’d be happy about stripping. Plus, this way he doesn't get any idea how long it’s been or  the location of the base and it means he had no idea where he is. “ Chen argued back, having come logic on her side that made Coulson gave her a long look, unsure whether to be annoyed, pissed or aspirated.  

“Haha, Chen Logic beats Coulson Logic.” Skye sniggered as she passed taking her leave from the SUV and headed out towards the armory to place her weapon back. Chen smiled as well but it broke the tensions at the least.

“Okay, Fine.” He started. “But go to my office, get Skye to go there as well; she might as well be in the loop for this interrogation.”

“Copy that, see you in the big screen.” Chen nodded then headed out of the hanger towards the large doors. Passing Trip who was looking at the pile of clothes he had, no doubt getting a replacement Badge at the lab.

Though she saw Skye disappear around the corner. “Skye!” She called, gaining the woman’s attention, Skye’s head peeking around the edge..

“Yep” She greeted back.

“The office asap.” Chen smiled.

“Noted,” Skye called; disappearing again though Chen made her way straight up to the office and took a seat; awaiting now the next part of the mission.

With Talbot here now, she knew this could aid the last part of the mission; no doubt to obtain the Cloaking equipment that Fitz had spent his days and nights trying to complete and to get that Weird killer 084 from the US Government. All Coulson had to do was play their cards right… she just hoped that they had some serious luck.

Chapter Text

Chen watched though airily as Coulson appeared on screen. Skye standing a few feet away. Talbot was now awake, tied into one of the chairs and looking around though strangely calm. An agent standing in to keep an eye on him who disappeared as soon as Coulson was in; redundant.  

“Are these straps really necessary?” Talbot questioned, as Coulson placed his tablet down onto the corner of the table.

“You tell me.” Coulson was quick to answer, straightening up again.

Talbot sighed out deeply as he looked down to the straps, aspirated. “I guess...to ensure your safety.”

Coulson nodded but changed the topic. “Look, Talbot. I’m hoping we can work together, be buddies.”

Talbot scoffed . “Buddles? We haven’t even met, face to face at least. Only briefly when you left that base; the Hub and ran with your tail between your legs.”

“Oh please, you’ve been chasing all about; we bonded.” Coulson quipped, “You also discovered that secret base; got a big promotion from it as well, Brigadier General Talbot. I think that counts also counts as bonding.

Chen snorted a little, shaking her head. “How’d they find that Providence base?” she asked, looking to Koenig.

“Maria told them after meeting up with Coulson.” Skye answered instead of him.

Chen nodded. “Make sense….” she mused turning her attention back onto the screen.

“. ..but i want to make your job easier. Chasing us is a waste of resources, General. We are the good guys and we can help you catch the bad guys.”

“Kidnapping and tying me up in your honeycomb kill room isn’t helping your case; do you think I’m an idiot?! ” Tabot snapped.

“Oh, no. You’re the real deal.” Coulson answered, his tone now very cool. “ But your surrounded by people who constantly underestimate the threat they’re up against. Me and my people swore an oath. We don’t intend to break it- to protect the innocent. To watch out over people. People like your son.

There was an immediate reaction from Talbot, making Chen’s eyebrow raise. “Talk about ripping off a band-aid.”

“But it was smooth…” Koenig chuckled. Chen glanced to him. “Rile him up, got him to grab the arm rests; we have an active fingerprint analysis...89%”

“Good.” Skye nodded. “We can have Fitz help with the techy side of it. Track his voice biometrics and speech patterns… we may need that as well as his finger prints…”

“Yeah, Wait where is Fitz?” Chen asked.

Both Skye and Koenig shrugged, making her sigh deeply. “He’s-”

“We need to get him out the lab more.” Chen shook her head. “Get Mack maybe to interact with him…I know he’s having trouble making any relations past acquaintances with the new lot of agents. I myself is just in his box of friends, Just .”

Koenig sighed deeply; ignoring her though more concentrating on the screen in front of them. Chen looked back to see Coulson ICEing Talbot, making her roll her eyes.

Don’t comment.” Koenig started, looking to her.

“What?” Chen mused innocently but watched as Coulson left, two other agents coming into the room before the feed was cut. No doubt to dump Talbot somewhere.  

“Chen, Skye, go down to the hanger. Hartley’s gearing up ready; so should you.” Koenig ordered, tapping his tablet

“I’m on this op?” Though Chen  knew that she was 90% but there was always that nigging voice that the 10% could expand and coulson would completely follow through with Andrew’s advice and take her from the Field, more permanently.

Koenig gave her a long look but nodded reassuringly. “Yes, Look I know with what’s going on with you may effect your field work but Coulson has you cleared for now. Which is why you’re part of this little screen watch, unnecessary comments and all.”

Chen nodded with a smile. “Thanks.”

Though she didn’t need to stay much longer, leaving the office and headed down after Skye who had left to the hanger, picking up a tablet to run over the mission brief Coulson had formulated. Fitz was at a laptop desk set up beside the bus though moved and began talking to Skye when she arrived.

Chen slowed to a short stop, watching Hartley, HUnter and Idaho talking to each other with Mack… looking through the piles of weapons but she didn’t approach. Though she saw Skye hold out her holster, which she took and began to put it on.

It was almost starting to hit her a little more… last mission she had jumped into it will little preparations; she was focused immediately but now… there was time; proper debriefing she hadn’t had for months, and given that was when she was ‘May’. It was odd for some reason. Or was it because she was working with Mercenaries or the second real mission… much more dangerous and more threats than last time. Being Emily Chen . Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Not Melinda May, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Nothing she couldn’t get over; but unlike others; they didn’t have the escape plan she had access to; but even then she couldn’t risk exposing that to the others or the US government. They wouldn’t understand and she wasn’t going to expose that; what would happen> She had no way to explain it; though she could easily be ‘unaware’ of it to escape deep questioning. She was hardly emotionally ready to get into it.

“Chen.” Skye called, breaking her out her thoughts softly.

“What?” Chen asked.

“Nothing.” She smiled, getting back to work.

Chen chuckled softly but looked back down, getting her mind out that whirl pool and onto the mission more; to get her focused.

20 more minutes passed before Koenig’s phone went off. Skye immediately focusing on her laptop, preparing to press the keys. Though Chen was a bit out of hearing range to hear Talbot’s voice. Hearing Koenig’s attempt however to sound like a US agent was entertaining; he didn’t have the same mannerisms.

“victor-niner. Niner.” He added to Skye; pulling the phone away from his mouth so Talbot didn’t hear him.

“Okay…” Skye answered quietly. Ignoring Koenigs another attempt to reassure Talbot before he hung up.

“Okay, we, ugh traced the number to a spot near the pentagon. We’re ready to go.” Koenig smiled. Though now they had a location of the Facility of SHIELD seized goods…. Good.

Hunter moved forwards next though not to much of her surprised.

“Err….We have a small Logic question to this whole situation; Why ?” Chen looked up, surprised to see him looking to her of all agents. Hunters arm crossed over his chest. Hartley as well though Chen straightened herself up; shutting her file with a raised eyebrow.

Hartley took the stand now though with rolled eyes at Hunters attitude. “Look, We trust Coulson’s judgement.”

“We do?” Hunter echoed, looking to the back of Hartley’s head with a raised eyebrow.

“But Talbot’s not a bad guy… and last time i checked the US government is one of the lesser evils at the moment, So they got the weapon in a locked box and now they have this enhanced man in a locked box too… isn’t so bad.”

“She’s got a point.” Mack pointed out, cocking the gun he had before pulling out the empty mag. “It does seem as safe a place to keep them as any.”

Skye shook her head, putting in her own input now to her relief. “They had no idea what they’re dealing with, that’s more of the issue. They can lock him up but what sort of prison? How are they gonna stop his powers? Will he be able to fool them? You can break a steel box if you’re made of steel.”

Hartley sighed loudly, her focus turning to the younger agent. “But that’s their problem. Isn’t the danger worse if we’re sending in every field operative you have in available into a secure Military compound?”

Chen could see the flicker to her, no doubt in silent question to her mental issues. Not helping at the hint either. Chen rolled her eyes.

“Yeah, and guarded by the name happy-trigger people who’s been hunting us down.” Mack added in again.

“Belly of the Beast, Man.” Idaho mused, shaking his head.

“Take a risk; we have an abort strategy.” Chen pointed out, though even that had its own risks.

“You don’t exactly have a lot of options in that regard. Your plan for starters, can’t even get it out the hanger.”

“Exactly.”

The sudden nature familiar voice made Chen stiffen up, something not unnoticed by Hartley but Chen quickly recovered and looked around to see Coulson coming into the hanger to join them.

“This is a make-or-break moment.” He carried on, stopping beside her but Chen moved away a few paces, taking a deep breath to keep her heart back to normal rhythm from his arrival. Not best to stay too close. She did not want to break that 7 day streak she had going.

“For an object we have no data on?” Hunter pointed out.

“Not the only thing we’re after, Hunter.” Coulson pointed out smoothly. But didn’t impart further, giving the marcinary a long look though felt him look to her. Giving him a nod, she was well aware of what else they intended to steal back from the government.

“Now it’s all or nothing…. Huh?” Hartley shook her head softly. “Well… alright then”. Not speaking any further, Hartley took her move with Hunter on her tail, if a little displeased.

Chen moved as well, to get ready. It was going to be a hard mission; she couldn’t help the little nerves.  Not something she felt familiar with since a while back… times had changed…

Her head tilted as she heard Skye move to catch up. “You taking point?”

“No. Coulson’s on comms. Too risky for him to be out in the open. But, let’s stick together on this one, Okay?” Chen clarified swiftly

“You got it.” Skye agreed but Chen was quick to move now. Now she had to get her back back in the game.. Get focused. Get used to it all again.

Chapter Text

“I hope we can pull this off…”

There was a soft sigh beside Chen, not that she needed to look at her to feel the eye roll. Though she could see Skye’s lip curl up from the reflection in the mirror.

“What if with you and these snarky comments?” Hartley hissed as Chen came to a stop as they parked up at the military’s compound entrance.  

“Lightening up the mood. It’s very-”

“No, don’t start with another one!” Though that didn’t stop Chen chuckling softly, but made no further to comment, keeping a professional front as she saw some of the guards look to them.

“Military installations, bury all their cables.” Skye whispered softly, a small beep following. “Wisely.”

“Not that wisely.” Hunter whispered back though Chen risited looking back to see how she was doing hacking into the system. “Okay… Delta-3-6-5-Sierra-victor-”

“-niner” Skye finished over him. 

“Oh. Coulson’s getting involved.” Chen mused. The guard in the booth by the barrier rapped to get the first guard’s attention; the phone. Fitz had done good to get the voice print perfect for this.

Though Chen was glad that she wasn’t hearing the conversation, though no doubt the others too. Harley's issues with her remarks were no doubt deeper than simple annoyance; something she could ask about later. This would have been a goldmine of remarks to listen. Though it was something she’d started to do for her new ‘personality’, though not entirely on purpose. It was odd for her, being so uptight to.. well being something more humorous.

Seeing the front SUV start moving, Chen followed after. Taking the lead once they pulled up to the storage warehouse. Using the fingerprints they had taken from Talbot in specialized gloves, The doors opened up.  They wouldn’t have long until the Military were on them. So they’d need to be fast.

Chen waved the car in, scanning behind it before walking around though saw Idaho was on the verge of getting out. “Stay, keep it running incase we need to abort.” She instructed. The warehouse shutters closing behind them. Good.

“Got it.” He nodded, strapping back in.

“Needle in a haystack, no kidding.” Hartley shook her head.

“But we know what we’re looking for.” Chen answered then looked to the SUV then the boxes around them. “If we have the time, we can load a few boxes into the cars…see if we get some of our tech back..” She mused a little more quieter then nodded Skye along to look for the 084 down a different aisle. Keeping her ICER out, Chen took her own aisle, looking at a few of the crates, the numbers.

But.. she saw a small box. About the size of a DVD case but she saw the word “Photostatic veil’ on the side, opening it up to see what looked like two electric probes though she had a hunch it would be used to repair damaged masks… a few chip processors , even a few contact lenses from the round shape of the tiny container, a small manuel was included but not other actual masks.

Looking around, Chen slipped it into her small shoulder bag. Not going to pass that up. Her masks could do with a few upgrades. She’d need to look into it. Later.

“I got it!” Hartley called through the comms. Chen immediate hurrying in her steps towards her. Sooner the better. “Repeat, I got the damn thing… Southwest side.”

It took longer than she had liked but her heart was in her mouth as she heard an odd sound of metal on stone before a scream of pain.

“Hartley!” She called, speeding up. Gunshots were fired. Turning the corner to see Creel darting away from Hunter’s gunfire but Chen’s focus was to the agent on the floor. The Obelisk in her hand but… her hand was grey… spreading up her arm. Not hard to figure how what was causing it. Chen moved forwards towards her

“What the hell is happening?” Hunter dropped to Harley’s level

“I can’t let go!” Hartley wailed.

Alarms suddenly began up.

Chen could feel the pressure and stress rising as Hartley screamed out again.

“Okay, Hartley, just relaxed your hand!” Chen bent down.

“I… I can’t feel it! I can’t let go.”

Chen looked around, to the other agents, to Skye then to the Obelisk

“Don’t touch it!” Harley pushed her other hand against Hunter as he reached for the 084 but Chen, moving her hand away but closer to Chen.

It wouldn’t be long… not long before Hartley were completely stone. Unless it stopped is she didn’t hold it…

But.. the small idea she had. It could mean exposing her secret. But she’d rather that than the alternative. Not waiting for another second, not listening to Skye as she spoke about the Military finding them. Chen grabbed Harley's wrist, stone for sure, then grabbed the Obelisk and yanked.

It was a horrible sight, the woman’s stone fingertips breaking off as she yanked the obelisk free from the woman’s touch but for a second, there was silence apart from Harley’s whines of pain and the alarm.

But Chen looked to the 084… then she felt a mild stinging sensation for some reason but.. Nothing more. She was half expecting to begin to turn to stone but there was nothing . But she definitely noticed the orange undertone and the writing on it as it reacted to her touch before it became it’s natural silver state.

“What the hell!” This was Hunter again. Chen looked around, blinking in surprise but she could see the odd look on their faces.

“Sir, we got the Device but Harley's injured and will need Medical, do we abort?” Skye called through but Chen knew Skye’s stare was to the device in her hand.

“Negative. Carry on with the Mission.”

“What?! We got what we came for!” Hunter growled, his arms coming to help Harley up.

“Not everything.” Chen started. Placing the 084 into her bag. A worry for later. “Go!”

“Where?” Hartley breathed but Chen could see the turning had stopped. For now at the least.

“What we need to get you to a doctor.!” Hunter spoke out, but Hartley shook her head.

“No time. I can follow. We have our orders. It’s my choice Hunter.” Though she gave him a hard glare.

“Idaho, Drive through the warehouse.” Chen ordered next, but she could hear other people now.

“On my way!” the chirpy ignorant voice of Idaho, called through before she heard wheels spin then the sound of things being run over.

Gunshots and calls were fired, Chen taking cover behind a box but she realized her ICER was on the floor… a few feet away.

“Skye,” She called though Skye didn’t need to be told twice. Turning and firing, hearing the bodies hit the floor Chen swooped down and grabbed her ICER, following Trip down towards the west entrance.

“Trip, Skye you get onto the Quinjet with Hunter and the others.” Chen called. “Idaho, Drive into the jet.” Her eyes landed on the motorbike. Creel was out there. She needed to track him down.

“What are you going to do!” Skye called. “ You have the 084.”

“Creel.” Chen answered back, taking cover behind another car as shots fired behind them as they got into a landing strip… a couple Quinjets lazing over it’s surface. Chen turned and fired, knocking out a military guy then made her move. She didn’t see how they got in, starting up the motorbike but saw the SUV drive into the open ramp before it began to move and take off.

Chen watched though as she raced down the strip, the Quinjet disappearing as it cloaked, making her smile. They had what they came for…..

Chapter Text

It was quite cramped in the quinjet with the SUV, not really meant to have something so big but she knew they couldn’t lose too many vehicles. Though… she could see through the front screen that there were other boxes and crates filling it, no doubt Idaho had heard Chen talking about possibly stealing back some SHIELD equipment.

But Chen…. That concerned her more now. She had seen how she was concerned; but she couldn’t have stopped her from trying to save Hartley; the logic had a few flaws in regards of her power and not knowing if Hartley would continue to pertify. But somehow; it didn’t turn Chen to stone either; it felt deeper than simply her powers. If she had been turned to stone as she should have done; She’d come back. Simple. But not turning her to stone… that was going to open up a lot of questions.

Looking around now, it was an elephant in the room and no one was going to bring it up just yet. Not with the state Hartley was in. Her arm just up to her elbow was just… grey. No doubt a Med team would be waiting to assess before amputation. Hartley now was, taking deep breaths and curled up to hunter for support though he had ripped off her sleeve with her knife to show off her shoulder and rest of her arm, incase it spread.

But they had 1 of the 2 things they came for at the least. Chen had gone off after Creel with the 084 tucked in her bag. Sure, Skye had seen Chen slip something else into the bag  though didn’t know what but she couldn’t risk finding out. Coulson wouldn’t be too pleased but he’d be much more concerned to why Chen could pick it up. Chen herself was very surprised so what would he do?

They couldn’t keep it a secret, not with everyone who saw it so someone was going to report it; no doubt it’d lay on herself to do that… damn. Skye let out a deep sigh.

“You alright?” Trip asked beside her.

She shrugged softly. “Chen.”

Trip nodded after a moment. “She’ll be fine.”

“I know… but what’s going to happen when she gets back?” Skye looked to Trip who stared at her a long moment then looked away.

“I don’t know… Want me to tell him about… what happened?”

“No..” Skye shook her head. “I can do it. Chen will understand why… and i know you’re trying to build up a buddy relationship with her more.”

Tripped shrugged. “I don’t want this to damage your relationship with her. Mine, not so much.I can take the heat.” He patted her knee softly. “If you change your mind, I’m right here.”

Skye sighed out and nodded softly. “Okay.”

Though it was a relief and dread when they got closer to base, Trip requesting to land before the hanger doors began to open.

“Med team are ready.” Koenig called through.

“Coulson?” Skye asked after a moment

“On comms with Chen. Tracking Creel along a highway. She’s gone into surveillance mode.

Skye nodded, though watched as the hanger came more into view as they descended and landed close to the bus.

As soon as the ramp was down, Idaho reversed out; almost running down the med team but stopped short. The Med team dashed onto the jet and went straight for Hartley, taking her from Hunter and lifting her up onto the gurney and wheeled her quickly away towards the lab Hunter following behind.

Idaho jumped out, confused. “Okay what actually happened?”

“Later.” Trip answered, clapping his shoulder. “Why don’t you unload and see what you packed, Mack can check it through inventory with other agents..”

Idaho nodded and began to get to work a few agents coming to help.

“Chen did good though.” Trip started, taking point through the hanger to meet Coulson.

“She saved Hartley.” Skye agreed. “Whatever happens, we’ll be supportive of her. She didn’t expect to… be able to touch it.”

“I just don’t see how she’d expect to survive it…” trip mused, “I know she has issues and all but I don’t want to peg her-”

“She’s not suicidal,” Skye answered quickly. “She’s just… impulsive.”

Though she stopped talking as she saw Coulson talking with a few agents. “I need a full inventory, Food, fuel and ammo, understood?”

“Yes sir, “ both Agents nodded and walked away.

Coulson turned to them and smiled. “You got the Quinjet. Well done.”

“Thank you, sir.”  Skye nodded with a smile, Trip echoing her.

“Let Fitz and Mack know the Jet’s here. I want them both to reverse-engineer the cloaking hardware right away. Sooner he does, sooner we can get the bus operational again”

“Roger that.” Trip nodded, taking those orders himself, slapping her shoulder and left. Coulson walked away towards the doors but Skye quickly followed, flashing her ID at the screen as per usual and kept to pace

“Something else?” Coulson asked.

Skye nodded, taking a breath, then nodded. “A few things, really.”

Coulson gestured to carry on as they walked. “The 084, that messed up Hartley's arm; they had the same weird symbols that you’ve had me researching”

Coulson looked to her sharply, coming to a stop. “The same symbols….You sure?”

Skye nodded. “Yes, it came up out of the object… sort of like braille. By touching it… it seemed to trigger the lines and circles.”

Coulson nodded, though there was a slight frown on his face. “What else?”

Skye paused this time, looking around them hesitantly.

“Skye..” Coulson tone turned.

Skye sighed, “Chen… To save Hartley… she took it off her.”

Coulson’s frown deepened. “Took it off her?”

“She held it in her bare hands. The writing was triggered like Hartley but...nothing more.” Skye admitted.

“She actually touched it?” He clarified. Skye nodded softly.

“Where is it now?” He asked, his tone much more serious.

“She still has it. In her bag; there weren’t any volunteers to take it from her-”

“Okay, Good work Skye.” Coulson interrupted softly. “Look, go to the lab, Get some of Chen’s things moved into the containment pod in the Lab and get a doctor”

Skye’s eyebrows shot up. “You’re putting her in containment ?!”

Coulson began to walk away. “Yes, and we need to run tests to understand why she can. If something on that obelisk she touched is like the virus we encountered last year then i need to make sure nothing is infectious.”

Skye moved after him. “But, Sir-”

“Get it done, Skye. That’s an order .” His tone was final.

She stopped but watched him leave, her heart in her throat but felt a welt of guilt in her throat…. She couldn’t believe Coulson was putting Chen into quarantine… damn it!

There was a great risk… that she could be found out. That her powers could be found out. Who she was found out.

Chapter Text

Chen managed to locate Creel’s new wheels he had stolen and followed to a diner. Though she stayed outside, assessing the building then parked up, taking cover behind a large vehicle and waited.

There was radio silence from base so she also assumed Coulson was busy as well. No doubt with Hartley and the others. Though she felt nervous at the idea of returning to base. Chen couldn’t deny she wasn't worried at what might have been said to Coulson concerning the 084. Hartley’s arm… that should have happened to her.

While she and Hartley were far from friends… she couldn’t let her die like that. It was a horrible way to go. God knows what was going to happen on her return. Sighing deeply Chen focused back to the diner. She could see the back of Creel’s head through the window. So she’d know if he left.

Chen’s attention span wavered; moving back to sit on her newly acquired motor though she wheeled it to a cover spot as well  to keep a eye on Creel though she shifted her bag onto her lap.

Looking into it for a moment, sighing deeply as her eyes landed on the obelisk in the depth of the bag then the nano mask tech box. Opening up the small box to get the manual. Since acquiring her own nano mask, Chen found himself understanding the text as she read, looking up every so often to check on Creel.

It was refreshing though she picked up on a few neat tricks… with this tech, she could manually repair old masks and a small upgrade… the contact lens and miniature processor would enable her to copy faces in front of her. Useful…. There was another processor type too… Chen’s eyes scrimmed through the pages… looking for what it could be...

“What’s the status on Creel?”

Chen jumped a mile. Her heart in her mouth but she almost felt herself go further into a attack but immediately turned her focus to counting so she didn’t spiral.. Noting different cars, colours before she felt some grounding to calm down

“Sorry, did I make you jump?”

“Little bit…” Chen answered breathlessly, breathing in deeply. “Almost went all the way.” He’s know what that meant.

“What’s the status on Creel?” Coulson repeated after a moment. Though she could pick up there was a tone in his voice.

She looked at the clock then to Creel’s head. “He’s been in there over an hour. No doubt waiting for a drop or getting drunk off his ass.”

“Why’s he be waiting for a drop? He doesn’t have the obelisk.” Coulson asked, no doubt thinking out loud.

“No, but no doubt to update his superiors on the mess he made.”

“Don’t approach him. Not while it’s on you. ” Coulson answered.

Chen rolled her eyes. “I know. I’m not an idiot.”

“Never said that. But for now, we can’t do anything with him without backup. I can leak his current location to the US military if he’s going to be there any longer but I need you to go dark and return to base immediately now.”

Chen frowned. “Coulson, It’s fine. I can still watch him.”

“That’s not what I asked you, Agent Chen. I need you to return to base now . The Obelisk out in the open like that is not good.”

Chen could see he had the higher ground in logic there, sighing deeply. “Copy that…” She turned off her comms then put the manual back into the box.

Though she looked at her motorbike a moment, moving back off the seat then lifted up the seat. It wasn’t SHIELD but she had to find a place for the Photostatic Veil box. Having it on her would be suspicious if the others looked into it… she needed to hide it and pick it up later.

There was no good place on the bike so she slipped it back into the bag. With this sort of bike, a Harley- Davidson, it was no doubt something Mack was going to look over too. So bad choice anyway to try and hide it.

Though Chen had confidence she could hide it at a drop spot herself. Maybe get Skye to get it... Skye getting it would be safer if something happened. Skye knew who she really was…

Chen made a detour as she got closer to the base. With her comm off she wasn't being tracked so Chen placed the Nano kit underneath a public bin, making to to note which one and how easily it could be to spot before taking off. She texted the coordinates to Skye though ahead then told her to delete the text after. Deleting her own text and headed to base.



Chen drove through the tunnel way but slowed to a stop as she saw a huddle of agents waiting by the Quinjet, spreading out to block her path as she was seen. Coulson moving in font but saw his hand shootout to get her to slow to a distance. She did with a frown.

“Coulson?” She asked, frowning as some moved away. She killed the engine and got off.

“Agent Chen, Please hand over the 084 then put on the hazmat suit”. Coulson instructed. Though saw a box open and held by one of the agents ; no doubt to put the Obelisk in.

Hazmat suit?” Chen echoed, almost in disbelief. Wondering what he was going for.“You gotta be kidding.”

Coulson’s face didn’t change but nodded to the bag. After a moment, Chen reached in then picked up the Obelisk. Hesitating, especially at the viewing agents around her before she pulled it out. A few whispers echoing around; Coulson’s jaw clenching but Chen moved forwards slowly.

Nervousness flooding more of her system the closer she got; feeling of stares at her that did not feel good. It was disturbing her. In a few ways.  Chen placed the Obelisk down into the box but as soon as she let go, the box was yanked back and slammed shut with a loud snap.

She flinched at how harshly done before a suit was dropped off. Her cheeks gaining a tinge of colour. Why was this happening?

“Is the suit-”

“Just put it on!” Coulson interrupted.

Chen blanched, unable to hide the surprise at his hard tone…but picked the suit up. Her eyes darted about; looking for Skye or a familiar face that wasn’t looking at her like… she had stripped naked or something.

She put on the suit with shaking hands… she could feel her heart rate pick up.  Being at the end of… this was odd. Like she was some sort of freak… or that she was carrying a deadly virus or something worse. Her heart fluttering in her chest and she did her best to control her breathing.

She didn’t look to Coulson as she pulled the helmet down before it was sealed. Chen felt a little offended by how he was treating her… she didn’t like it. It almost like she was being stabbed in the back, she did the mission and saved Hartley and here she was being forced into a hazmat suit with an audience. It made her head feel weird. Not the sort of thing to trigger her panic attacks but it was triggering something…

“Take her down to the Lab. Skye should have her cube setup…”

There was a dull ringing in her ears as she stood there... Her head began to feel lighter and unbalanced…. Focusing in front of her… everything seemed to get lighter… and lighter as she swayed… things blurring out of sight…

Chen collapsed.



Beep….beep….beep.

 

Those there the next few sounds that Chen heard. Then the feeling of something holding her wrist then a stinging sensation. Her eyes flickered open, taking a moment to realise she was in the quarantine cube from the glass walls… frosted text on the glass., then the person in with her was in a hazmat suit; something she had been stripped of now she was in the sealed cube.

Her heart monitor picked up; now she was awake, looking to the person in the suit; an unfamiliar medic from the look of it. Taking blood. Though she could feel her mouth was drier than it should have been; tasting like she had cotten in her mouth. Cheek swab?

“She’s awake.” The medic called, putting the third blood draw from her into the holder then grabbed another vial to fill. Chen pulled her hand away, yanking out the IV. “Hey!”

She pushed herself up, noting her new attire as well. Her PJ shorts and tank top then looked out the glass to see most of the team out. The medic’s voice catching Coulson’s attention.

“What the hell!” Chen screeched, jumping off the bed towards the glass, thumping her fist against it.

“Chen. Calm down.” Coulson spoke; as if expecting her mood.

Anger flooded through her system. She was out longer than she would have been… fainting spells only a couple minute at best… the clock said a lot longer by 20 minutes. They drugged her in the sleep was the only conclusion.

“No. Coulson. I won’t!” She growled. Glaring to him. “You don’t get to do this without any explanation. Why the hell was i drugged whilst unconscious!”

Coulson sighed deeply, though Chen didn’t look away, glaring at him.

“It’s one thing forcing your second-in-command into a hazmat suit then the other drugging them.” Chen’s chest leaved; the could heat the frantic beeping of her heart monitor in her rage but she didn’t care. She needed to be told… not kept in the dark on why she was in a sealed cube to begin with.

“Chen..” Another voice spoke. Her attention shifting to see Skye shuffling a little behind Trip; uncomfortable. “I’m so sorry… I told Coulson you touched the 084…”

“Didn't expect less, Skye. Not what I’m pissed off at.” Chen bit back quickly, her anger at Coulson lingering but she was true to her statement. She wasn’t angry at Skye for that; she had expected Coulson to be told by someone but not expected this reaction.  Chen looked back to Coulson immediately.

Talk . Director.” She growled, leaning against the glass.

“You know, we have new hand dryers in the toilets..” Trip started. “Mack, hunter, Idaho. Come on I’ll show you.” Trip started, taking the lead from the room. To give them the room

“I thought that was just a rumor.”  Fitz added, dashing after them; abandoning the cloaking equipment on the lab table.

Skye stayed though moving to the back of the lab but in range, Hartley was nowhere to be seen so Chen only assumed she was in theater still for her arm.

Chen took some deep breaths through waiting until the hazmat medic in her pod got out with her blood samples before speaking. “I’m really really finding it hard not to take this personally. This.. this does not help my mental health. I have issues… then you lock me in a box… right after I’m triggered into a fainting spell..”

“I’m being cautious!” Coulson started, waving his hand up to stop her.

“For what ?!”

“Alien contamination.”

“How is that relevant!” Chen yelled. “The Obelisk wasn't covered in any rust… or dust… it’s not the Chitauri helmet.”

“You still touched it.” Coulson pointed out. “You survived it touch. That’s another thing.”

“So I’m being locked up because of something I didn’t know I can do….”

“It’s temporary. Agent Chen.” Coulson sighed out.

“Don’t change the subject.” Chen thumped on the glass again then moved away. Her shoulders were slumping as she shook her head. “You could have told me, before I was a forced into that suit.”

“I was being quick. Airborne viruses-”

Chen shook her head. “You’re such an ass-hole.”

Coulson’s jaw tightened a little. Chen could see he knew he had wrong methods to contain her. But things felt a little different now… the trust she build with him… didn’t feel the same. Fractured for sure… He had done that.

“What you plan to do to me next, Director?” Chen grumbled out, looking down to the floor.

There was a moment of silence.

“In the next 3 hours, You’re going to go through physical evaluations. The blood and tissue samples will be tested. It should shed some light on what caused you to survive and if you’re carrying a virus.  Observations will be carried out for the next 58 hours. You’ve also been removed from Field missions; effective immediately.” Coulson said then walked away quickly.

What?!” Chen called but he was gone.

Removed from field ops….Chen stared after him, disbelieved at what she was hearing. Tests… evaluations… it was one thing after another..

“Okay… that was an ass-hole move..” Skye agreed, coming closer then sighed, placing her hand on the glass. “Don’t worry, Chen. I’ll stay… keep you in the loop.  I know you’re not infected with anything… and i really don’t agree with what he’s done. I’m sorry though... ”

Chen’s shoulders slumped. “It’s… it’s okay Skye.” She sighed out, her voice quiet now, shaking her head. “Just… please pick up what i dropped off. I sent you a text.”

Skye nodded. “I’ll go when I can catch a break. Want me to get you anything immediately, Food… drink-”

“Bubble wrap.” Chen answered, moving to lay back on the hospital bed. “And a small quarantine  survival kit please…”

“You got it.” Skye nodded, hesitation but after a moment walking away. Leaving Chen alone. She didn’t move until she wiggled herself under the blanket, wrapping it around herself and curled up into a ball.

Today sucked.

Chapter Text

Coulson knew he had not done it right… the methods and lack of communication was the major factors of the woman’s anger so he didn’t really blame her though he wasn’t appealed to her blatant disrespect; even if he had earned it.

But he had to do what was right. The last thing he wanted was some sort of Virus that had infected Simmons. If Chen had been infected… in anyway then they needed to know. The Hazmat suit was to keep anything on her on her then risk her walking through the base into quarantine and infecting everyone else on her merry way. The Hanger was well ventilated. Sure the many agents there was a bad call but she seemed the type to kick up more of an argument.

30 minutes later, Coulson moved into his office after his check trhough the base, letting out a deep sigh as he sat down, tapping on his tablet to bring up a live feed of the cube… then the curled up figure on the bed under the covers. Chen...

Despite all her flaws… she had a lot of fire, much more than he had expected to see. Chen had been so wrapped up in her own world… that he looked like her ex- something he had grown to accept as part of her trauma to be careful of. He had hoped though… that she could understand his view. It wasn’t personal. The risk.. The deaths that had followed the Obelisk through history… how could he not be cautious. All those people who had died… the statues.. Hartley’s own suffering and the loss of her arm… Yet while he couldn't deny the selflessness of Chen’s impulsive desire to save Hartley, it opened up a few more worries.

Not just her ability to touch an untouchable alien artifact, but the fact she was willing to lose her own life. As admirable as the gesture was...It almost made him think her mind was going down a darker path… A path he had hoped she wouldn’t go down. PTSD wasn’t a light subject and he knew he still didn’t have a lot of details her her assault.. Andrew wouldn’t be able to tell him if she opened up; patient confidentiality and all. Maybe she needed another session soon.

Coulson watched though, Skye returning to the cube with a large bag, stuffing it into the small slot then continued to push bubble wrap on top very determined to make it fit for Chen.

Bubble wrap?

The curled up figure of Chen on the bed wiggled as Skye wrapped on the glass for her attention.  her head popping out from under the blanket but the angle of the camera made it hard to see her face. There was no audio so he could only watch as Skye spoke soundlessly to Chen.

It was easy to see that Skye and Chen were close… very close. He wasn’t sure how but he could see Skye was torn between loyalty to him… and loyalty to Chen. He had put her in a difficult position too but he could see she had sided with Chen in this instance. Skye wasn’t quiet on her opinion of things and… Skye seemed to be very protective of her too. Not just in regard of her well being. It was odd. But he was no doubt going to be on the cool side of her as well.

“Sir, Hartley’s out of her operation.”

“What’s the damage?” Coulson asked. There was a long moment.

Well… exposure to the 084 left her arm from what’s left of her fingertip to her elbow unsalvageable. Closer inspection to her arm showed the strone growth occurring more up into her bone at a slow rate since the removal of the 084 so we amputated ahead above her elbow before any turning bone.. We’re running blood tests to determine that the infection of it won’t be traveling through her blood to reoccur. We’re also putting her into another containment cube alongside Chen. All doctors wore hazmats suits during the op.”

Coulson nodded, relieved to hear that Hartley would have a chance; if her blood results were good.

“Good. Keep me in the loop.” He answered before he closed the comms, then there was a knock at the door. “It’s open.” He called, though he was surprised to see Hunter, his head poking around the door before he moved into the room.

“Hartley's being locked in a pod as well?”  He fired, displeased but not angry.

“A precaution as she touched the 084 as well.” Coulson smoothly answered. “They’re running tests to ensure no infection is set.”

“Good. I’d hate to lose her.” Hunter agreed but his posture and tone was still stiff; not finished it seemed..

“What?”

Hunter shook his head. “Look, I haven’t been part of SHIELD long. I don’t get on well with people I don’t trust. Many agents fit into that.”

“What’s your point, Hunter?” He let out a deep sigh, watching the man roll his eyes.

“I didn’t trust Chen. I thought she was a little pathetic; given how everyone pussyfoot around her. Quiet but snarky as hell when she’s in her comfort zone. Intimidating in some cases. Not my type of person to hang around with.” He shook his head. “But… she was prepared to do what she wanted, to save Hartley. Even at the expense of her own life.”

“You suddenly trust her for that?” Coulson questioned.

“She opened up my eyes a bit . Is all I’m saying.” Hunter answered, rolling his eyes. “I’m not the one for these speeches Coulson but I know a woman dedicated to the cause . Not to you, but to SHIELD . But… rip that cause away then what does she stay for?” He sighed deeply, heading to the door “She’d make a good mercenary...With Hartley on medical leave; i might have a vacancy..” he called out behind him

Coulson shook his head, “She’d never take it..”

“You may be surprised Coulson.” Hunter called before leaving him alone again.

Hunter had come all the way here to talk about Chen? Didn’t seem like it was all him… But Coulson couldn’t deny Hunter had a point. He was well aware that Chen was for the cause…

But he couldn’t pussyfoot around her any longer, as Hunter said. He did have his interest to keep this base running smoothly as Director. Preventing a virus was top priority and who know what had been festering on it the last 70 years in a box.

Idaho though would no doubt stay now they’re a couple agents down. Hartley could be moved into housing to recover off base. Fitz could look into making a new arm for her though he had currently set him an important one for the time being.. To throw Creel and Hydra off the scent for the Obelisk for the time being while they figured out what to do next, including with Hydra and Creel on top of the Chen situation.

Of course. He may have added 10 unnecessary hours to the normal 24-48 hours but it’d give him plenty of time to come up with an apology once the Hydra Mess was dealt with. With Simmons undercover at Hydra, properly looking into the blood results would be slower than he’d like; to why that time quarantine would be more logical.

“Sir. We’re going to start setting up the equipment now for the physical tests though I’m not sure if we can fit anything but the treadmill into the cube; we can’t take it out until after the biological tests are done .” One of the agents called through from the lab

“So ahead, We can work with the space, the bed’s been moved into the corner for room for a reason..”

Yes sir.

There was another knock at the door, making him sigh deeply, resting his hand in his. “Come in…” He heard it open though didn’t look up to see who it was. “Please tell me you’re not here to talk about Chen, are you?”

“Err.. no.” Fitz’s voice answered, almost sounding like a question but Coulson looked up, his blue eyes landing on the box in his hand.

“Is that it?”

Fitz nodded. “An exact metal replica of the 084. I had countless scans done as I began the planning of the design. Steel outer shell, lined the inside of it with lead since there’s no way to see into it with any type of scanner.. The inside is filled with thick gel to make up the weight; however there’d be no reaction on touch but if Creel saw what it did to Hartley, he won’t want to pick it up.”

Coulson stood up and reached for the box and opened it up, a soft smile on his lips as he examined the 084 “Good work, Fitz. We need to get this out in the open, let some chatter leak and let Creel find it.”

“I’ve also included a tracker inside between the steel and the lead layer.”

Coulson nodded, his mood greatly lifted. “And the real Obelisk?”

“In a clear box in the lab. Sealed though I think they’re going to test Chen touching it a few times later.”

“Well, as long as they’re progress..” Coulson didn’t touch the fake Obelisk but shut the box. Though eyes flickered to his Fitz face. “I;m not going to talk about Chen.”

Fitz shrugged, scratching his head as he took the box back. “I know, i know. But-”

Fitz.”

Fitz’s shoulders slumped though saw his jaw tighten. “I’ll get the fake out. But if you're not willing to listen to your agents or second in command than what sort of Director of SHIELD does that make you?” He said quickly then walked out without another word.

Chapter Text

Chen watched from her bed the new treadmill that had been places into her small cubicle her fingers gently popping the bubble wrap though Skye had long gone… having been called away by Coulson for a brief mission no doubt to help track down Creel. 

It bothered her a little though she had watched when Hartley was brought in in a small bubble before being lifted into her own hospital bed in her separate quarantine cube then hooked up to many machines. She was still under anesthetic from the looks of it. Chen could see the new stump of her arm, or what was left. Just above her elbow was as far as her arm went but she saw Fitz take notes of her stump through the glass; no doubt in the planning for a new.

Though Skye had done good, in packing some of her clothes here ready too; noting the small flat pack she knew was a spare nano mask for emergencies. She had wash stuff; wet wipes and even an air freshener; which was ideal if she was going to be festering away in a sealed cube for the next couple of days; especially if she was going to go through a few physical and get sweaty.

Food and drink was another thing Skye had packed, a range of healthy to non so it was nice to know she could graze whenever she wanted. Who knew what sort of meal was going to be handed to her?

“Knock knock.” Called a voice, her eyes flickering from Hartley to see Trip by the door, his arm twisted behind his back.

Chen smiled softly. ”Hey, Trip.” She greeted softly. “Kinda feels like in a zoo…wrong side of the glass though.”

Trip chuckled softly. “It’s only temporary, Chen, But don’t worry. I don’t mind spending some time with you..Skye suggested it as well and I don’t have any work that’s not world threatening. I got you theses to help brighten the place up…”

From behind his back, he produces purple flowers in a bunch, similar to the ones he had bought for her the other day.

Chen moved off the bed towards the small box in the wall. Watching him put the punch into the slot then pushed it forwards into her side. She smiled softly, picking them up out and lent her head down. Noting the lilies in them as well as she inhaled the scent it had. It was a small thing but… it brightened her up a little more.

“Thank you, Trip.” She smiled, moving to sit back on the bed, running her fingers over the petals then sat back against the side.

There was a long moment of silence before he spoke. “How do you feel?… apart from being in a zoo…” Trip asked.

Chen shrugged softly, letting out a deep sigh. “Irritated… bored. Isolated… wishing Coulson took that stick out his ass.”

Trip chuckled quietly. “He’s a busy man.”

Her eyes flickered to his face. “Doesn’t excuse his behavior.” She sighed deeply, “Look don’t get me wrong; I understand the reason to why with quarantine and tests; but the way he’s gone about it-”

Not the best route. I know. I’m trying to stay neutral in this whole situation.” Trip moved around; grabbing a wheely chair and slid to the other side of the glass closest to her

Chen tittered softly.

“Hey, Emily, It’s nothing personal. But you’re right but he behaves the way he does… i think because..” He paused though Chen didn’t look at him, keeping her fingers on the soft silky texture of the petal. “After May… died, he hasn’t been the same.”

Chen’s eyes flickered up to his face at that, her eyebrow raising. She couldn’t help but be surprised that he brought ‘her’ up in this. “I know what happened to her.”

Trip nodded, “And he has been affected by what he did. He can compartmentalise, but it doesn't make it all go away. And don’t get me wrong. You’re good at your job, being there for him and helping with SHIELD despite the mess you’re dealing with but she was the person he wants to work alongside him as well.”

Chen shook her head softly, though wasn’t offended by Trips wording; she can see Trip’s perspective.

“We can only call him out on his behavior. But he’s still our Director. For now, until we know what the hell is going on, we have to trust that he had a higher picture in mind. Coulson can’t make up for what he did, not by a long shot but he’s sure as hell making sure to do this the best way he can… for her.”

Trip sighed in deeply shaking his head.

“Still mad at him.” Chen mumbled, placing the flowers down in favor of the bubble wrap again.

“Don’t worry, You’re not the only one.” Trip’s lip curved a little though she could see he was a little down, no doubt on talking about ‘May’

There was a moment of silence before she saw  the odd lumps in Trip’s pocket. “What’s that?”

“Huh?” He followed her gaze down before he reached in an pulled out three small monitor pads. Similar to the ones Ward had to wear after the Berserker staff incident.

“Well, they’re going to start your physical in an hour, They told me to give these to you as well.” he started. “I was going to wait…”

Chen sighed deeply with a shake of her. “It’s fine, Trip… gonna happen sooner or later.” If she was honest, Trip was far the better person to give her things than some random scientist. “Will you be running the Physical as well?”

Trip nodded. “If you want me to, I can boot off the agent planning on it and have Fitz oversee your vitals.”

“Fitz isn’t a biologist… so have him work with someone with the Biochem degree... Kinda makes me wish Simmons was here…It’d be much more comfortable with her.”

But Simmons was undercover, not that Trip knew the details. But With Fitz about then at least she’d be surrounded by people she was comfortable with.

“I’ll see what I can do. You need to change and stick those on then I’ll be back in 10.” Trip nodded then quickly hurried away after sending over the monitoring pods.

Sighing deeply, Chen changed from her PJs to her Gym kit, pressing the pod onto her Neck, Chest and heart and turned them on, Fitz arriving a few minutes later to synth them up.

Coulson was nowhere about so she felt more relaxed as a few more people arrived with Trip. One in a Hazmat suit with made her roll her eyes as they came in.

“Okay, We have your vitals on screen, Heart Rate, blood pressure and a read of your hormone levels.” the Medic announced from beside Fitz. “All looking good for now. We’ll start you on the treadmill, Slow pace.”

“Aye Aye.” Chen sighed, poking the hazmated agent out the way to get to the treadmill, ignoring their attempt to turn it on but started it up with little worry and began at a fast walk…



Chen found herself getting rather bored as the couple hours passed as the tests continued; stopping a few times to allow her to rehydrate and letting them take another blood and tissue sample though it relaxed her to see Skye make a reappearance as they began to do less and less tests.

“You look like you could punch someone.” Skye mused as Chen wiped her forehead clean of the sweat…

 “I feel like a Monkey in a circus.” Chen answered back in a huff

“Primary tests are done. Bloods and tissues are still being worked. We only have a couple more to run then we’ll leave you to it.” Fitz called but Chen didn’t have to ask what before she saw the Hazmat agent return into her cube with a clear box, inside it now she could see the Obelisk.

It didn’t surprise her that they were gonna try this. Taking a seat in front of the small Table and watched as a camera and scanner was set up beside her as the Obelisk was set down on the surface then the glass casing removed.

Chen looked around, to the few curious faces then to the recording cameras then reached forwards slowly, pausing purosly as her fingers almost closed around the 084; to antagonise the viewers a bit longer before her  skin once again made contact with the cold metal. There was a second before there was the same reaction, the pattens immeidlay brailling out the surface as the colours shifting a little in undertone then revert back into the obelisk.

Again, Chen could feel the soft tingly sensation, like pins and needles from holding it but she wasn’t petfrying.

“Tiny bit envious…” Called a small yawned voice from the other cube.

Chen’s head turned to see Hartley on her bed, Pale and peaky, though still watching her handle the Obelisk. Hartley looked to what was left to her arm then back to her then chuckles, Closing her eyes again, no doubt too tired to really get into a conversation.

“What’s it like, Holding it?” Fitz asked after a moment.

Chen looked back to him, setting it down and placed the glass lid over the top. “Like holding a metal object that giving me soft tingles in my hand.”

Tingles !” Hartley snorted, keeping her eyes closed “Hm, did not feel like that to me.”

“Yeah well out the both of us, you were turning to stone.” Chen bit back. Hartley’s smile lingered briefly before she shot up her middle finger but made no comment.

“Okay, Hartley, sleep through the morphine.” Fitz called, incase things escalated.

Chen chuckled but waved the hazmat agent to take it away. Her temperament with the tests done and they knew it. Letting them clear out fore Chen went to her kit, grabbing some wipes to clean herself with, Relaxing more and more once the Lab area was clear of the audience she had. Only Skye now remaining.

Chen relaxed back onto her bed as she swapped her gym tank top for her PJ one. “So, What did Coulson send you out to do?“

Skye shrugged. “A replica of the Obelisk was needed to be stolen.”

Chen’s head tilted. “Was it?”

Skye shrugged. “Not yet but it should be found soon. Fitz planted a tracker in it so we should get a location soon.”

Chen nodded. “Good.” She agreed. “Nice trip back?” Though she hoped Skye would understand what it meant, her nano mask tech she had taken and hidden. Iven that they were in a lab, who knew what was listening.

Skye‘s eyes flickered to Hartley then nodded. “Yeah Stopped off to get you a new ‘shirt’. It’s in your bunk.” She answered.

Chen nodded, relief filling her next though kicked off her trainers and tossed that into a pile.

“Good. I look forwards to my own bed…” She yawned softly.

Skye smiled and nodded. “Take a Nap, I'll be back later with some lunch.”

“Okays..” Chen nodded, closing her eyes. Not seeing why not. After all the tests were tiring and she’d kill for a shower; wet wipes could only go so far...

Chapter Text

Skye had left Chen to her nap and headed up to Coulson’s office. Knocking softly and waited untill she saw his shape in the frosted glass move and open the door up for her.

His head poked around. “Skye.” He greeted.

“Sir.” She answered back, walking into the room. “So, did the decoy work?”

Coulson nodded, shutting the door. “So far It’s still in place but Security footage has spotted him nearby. Our agent with it has been told to bail as soon as Creel makes a grab for it.”

Skye frowned a moment. “So, I didn’t need to go out with it?”

Coulson gave her a soft look. “You were at the warehouse with Creel, having you about would give more credit that the Obelisk the agent has is real. The Agent that has it is ‘waiting’ for a drop.”

“So once Creel has the object; what’s our move after that? We already know where Hydra’s operating from? Can’t we just catch Creel in the act?”

Coulson shrugged. “Too dangerous, we’re down a few agents and the situation with Creel is going to need to be more covert.”

Skye sighed out deeply but nodded. “I understand that, Sir.”

“Once Creel has the object; we can use that to track the higher agents that handle him personally.”

“But Hydra will find out the Obelisk is fake.” Though it was a matter of time. No doubt but Fitz was good; even with the amount of time they had and how divined his attention was with the Cloaking technology.

“They will. But for now; they don’t” Coulson answered, folding his arms. “Everything is almost going to plan. Trip and Idaho are up for the task..”

Skye nodded though relieved, that though they were down a couple of agents; Idaho was going to stick around. No doubt Hunter too if he wanted to be around for Hartley.

“Idaho manages to steal back some SHIELD tech, which was a good call…”

“Chen suggested it.” Skye answered, smiling softly. “In passing, but he took initiative to follow through. Is any of what he took of use?”

Coulson flicked through a few papers. “Some weapons, A nano mask kit… some sort of self-sustaining batteries and…. Well the list goes on.”

“Short list.” Skye mused though she picked up upon the nano mask kit… interesting.

“But useful.” Coulson shrugged thought here was a long moment of silence.

Skye’s attention was drawn to the screen where she could see was the basic map, recognising it was the street to where she had been with Agent McCrawford, who was no doubt the red dot along side the blue that represented the tracker in the fake Obelisk.

“How’s Fitz and Mack doing with the Cloaking tech?” Coulson asked after a couple of minutes.

Skye didn’t turn, though shrugged. “Mack’s working on it a lot more. Most of its duplicated for the bus. Fitz is sidetracking with Creel’s power solve and a new arm for Hartley.”

“How’s the solve looking?”

Skye shrugged again, “Not sure, but He’s been going over Creel’s DNA results. Simmons would be able to crack it though in half this time.”

Skye hadn't seen Simmons for months… and she had to say she missed the scientist but she knew it was important to be gone this long, she just wished she knew where… Though she knew better now than to go looking; incase it revealed her. Though she had to wait until Simmons was back to let her know she knew about Chen’s...two faces.

Coulson didn’t answer though Skye watched suddenly the dots moved, making her smile. “Hook, line, sinker.” She mused.

“Good work, go dark and get back to base, McCrawford.” Coulson called through, Skye turned to see Coulson on the phone before he hung up and rose to his feet.

“Should I ready a team now?”

Coulson shook his head. “No, not yet.”

Skye’s eyebrow rose. “Then what should I do?”

“Track the Fake obelisk, and get visual on Creel. I’ll handle getting the team together.”

Skye frowned. “But Sir-”

“Skye, I don’t have the time for this. You’re the best radar we have for this. I’ll be taking Agent Triplett so you’ll be needed at the base; to oversee Chen as well as Hartley.”

Skye nodded, “Fine. I’ll be in contact shortly” She didn’t wait for an answer before walking out, heading down. Grabbing her laptop from her bunk, she headed down passed the Lab; passing Trip who gave her a short shoulder pat and glimpsing into the Lab to see Chen asleep in her cube as well as Hartley before she set up her laptop in the common room.

A neutral area.

“You look happy.” Called a voice from the kitchen. Skye didn’t look up.

“Take a guess, Morecambe”. Skye replied back to Hunter.

Hunter chuckled softly, moving into the room though she heard a chink of a glass to see him placing down a beer.

“I’m busy, Hunter.”

“Yeah, tracing a tracker, such hard work.”

Skye rolled her eyes at his sarcasem, the dot of the tacking coming to a stop so she began to slip into the Security network to get a camera view of the location.

“When are we swooping in?” Hunter lent forwards though Skye held a hand so he didn’t slop his beer over the laptop.

“When Coulson tells you to.”

“I’m invited?”

“Only if you’re asked by the boss-man” Skye shrugged.

“Maybe I’ll volunteer.” His comment made her snort. “What?”

“You have to be a boy scout for that.”

“Hey, I can pull it off.” He feigned offence in his tone and expression

“Yeah, and how do we know you’re not going to pull a stint for revenge against Creel for what he had Hartley do to herself?” Skye turned from the screen and have him a look, eyebrow raised.

“She’s not dead so I’m not that nuts, Plus, Coulson needs warm bodies, remember..” Hunter pointed out.

“Yeah well when he keeps taking those bodies out the group tasks then things are gonna be a lot harder.” Skye grumbled, getting back to work though she pulled up the screen of an alleyway and a large truck. “That was easy…”

Hunter shook his head, sitting back. “Since the big man isn’t telling us to get off our asses, I suppose we’re gonna have to wait till tomorrow to swoop in.”

Skye looked to the clock and sighed at the time. “Time goes fast.”

Hunter shrugged. “Better than slow… although Chen’s perceive of time isn’t going any faster.”

Skye looked to Hunter. “I thought you didn’t like her.”

Hunter shrugged, “Still don’t…but I can trust her more than can with Coulson.”

Skye watched him for a long moment. Though he did have a point though Coulson was more of a dick recently, Chen was.. Well in most cases, honest and blunt. She spoke her mind; even at the worst of times. As May; that wasn't something she’d do but.. She wasn't May anymore; by choice. It was easy to forget sometimes that Chen was once May…

“At least you’re sticking around…. Idaho too.”

Hunter shrugged. “You’re two people down, until Hartley’s up an running again.”

“Fitz is looking into developing the arm for her.”

“Glad to hear; might be an improvement.”

Skye snorted finding herself amused at that, despite how it had happened. “Well, I’m just glad it wasn’t worse. Getting into the Quinjet was the fastest way to get back than driving out; and with Creel, he could have made a move for it… Could have killed you lot.” She sighed softly out, glad they had not gone down that alternative. Who knew what would happened

“Then it’s a good thing Chen stepped in. Hartley lives and we have the real 084.” Hunter finished his sentence off with a swig of his beer. “Other one got stolen to plan, yet… We’re not moving. Am i the only one bothered?”

“There is plan in place.” A voice called behind them, Trip making his reappearance. “Don’t worry. As long as we keep an eye on him, we can scramble a team to take him out. For now, we need people rested up for tomorrow.”

Skye nodded. “I’ll set up a live feed to Coulson’s office… track any movement; if he leaves a perimeter; we’ll know and the alarms will go off.”

“Good idea. I’ll take the first watch though.” Trip nodded, moving to sit beside her. She smiled softly, rising up.

“Night.” She wasn’t in the mood to argue, and she was tired.

Though she did hope he was right, that Coulson had a plan in all of this. She’d hate if this went south.

Chapter Text

Skye woke earlier than usual though took that extra time to shower deeply and get some food then headed down to the Lab, a tray of food with her as she entered, unsurprised to see Chen awake and doing Tai Chi.

"Going nuts?" She asked softly, catching the woman's attention; her eyes flickering open before she shrugged and smiled.

"Nuts will be when I'm hanging off down off this cubicle ceiling yowling like a cat." She sighed out, pointing above her

"That is oddly very specific." Skye chuckled, opening up the exchange pod then began to put the bowl, toast and Orange juice into it then softly pushed it into the cube.

Chen chuckled softly, taking the juice first and gulping it down quickly which suddenly made her realize something

"Ah, damn, I forgot to pack water bottles!" Skye breathed, remembering what she had missed for Chen. "I'm so sorry!"

Chen shook her head. "It's fine. Your survival kit had enough to drink though… wouldn't mind any today. I suppose you'll be busy today."

She made the mental note to get Chen's room restocked; she knew who to ask too. "The fake Obelisk Fitz built has been stolen which was to plan though I think today is the day we bring that superpowered bastard in."

Chen nodded, "Sound like it's all figured out…" She mused picking up the bowel and looked into it, picking out one of the strawberry's from the oatmeal and ate it. Though Skye could sense Chen's feelings...that she felt left out and alone. That that was was surprised… she'd no doubt feel the same.

"I haven't been told but what's happening in the moment really. Coulson's… quiet. Kinda still a ass but whatever it is; it's working to get us this far. Wish you were out here though."

Chen shrugged, dipping her finger into the bowl this time. "Me too… and that I had a spoon." She added.

Skye closed her eyes a moment. "Sorry…"

"No, Don't worry, I can try drink it from the bowl." She waved it off casually.

Skye shook her head. "No.. I'll get you a spoon. I'm not usually this forgetful."

Chen raised an eyebrow, leaning the bowl in her lap as she lent back onto her bed. "Relax, Skye. It's just stress. It happens."

Skye tittered softly annoyed at herself. How could she forget a spoon…. She prepared the whole thing and forgot the one thing Chen needed to use to eat it. Plus, it wasn't sloppy so Chen drinking it wasn't going to be much of a possibility unless she planned to use her fingers.

"Skye. Don't hang onto it." Chen moved from the bed and headed back over though Skye crossed her arms over her chest. Chen knocked on the glass, "Hey, don't make me break out and slap you in the face...with my fist and this oatmeal. Come on, lighten up.."

Despite her sour mood, that made her lip twitch. "Fine."

Chen smiled softly at hr then reached for the toast and moved back to settle in the bed again. "So, plus side of being in a cube, i get to lounge around all day. Bad side, it's good at trapping farts."

Skye's lip curled up more. Despite how random Chen was, she knew more on how to lighten her up.

"Yeah, it's gonna be toxic when you're let out."

Chen shrugged."Please, I would love to see poor bastards that come in here. Kinda glad now you packed the air fresheners." She prodded the bag beside the bed.

"A life saver" Skye chuckled.

Chen dipped the toast into the Oatmeal which made her roll her eyes. "I'll be back in a couple of minutes...with a spoon." She added then headed away.

"Can I have some oatmeal too?" Called another drowsy voice from the second cube. Skye nodded.

"Sure. " She called back to Hartley then left.

Since it was still early morning, she was surprised Hartley had awoken, though no doubt to their chatting though at least Hartley was up then being on drugs though she had a hunch the women would need strong pain killers. At least until the tests were done, she could recover and get easy visits from Hunter and idaho.

Skye headed back into the Kitchen and began to make up Hartley's food, pocketing two spoons so she didn't forget about them this time.

Chen watched as Skye Left, nibbling on the toast then dipped her fingers into the warm oaty mix.

"She's getting you a spoon, don't be an ass."

"I'm hungry." Chn answered back to Hartley, "Plus, in some cultures, eating fingers with your fingers is perfectly normal."

Hartley gave her a look and pushed her bed to sit up with the buttons beside her. "Why do you do that?"

Chen raised an eyebrow, scooping some of the goop into her mouth. "Do what?"

Hartley shook her head. "Those comments, flamboyant behaviour-"

Chen scoffed, shaking her head. "No, Flamboyant is the wrong word."

"Perhaps. You're not an attention seeker but you sure as hell can be effortless about it."

"Is that why you don't like me?" Chen turned to look at her properly. "Because I say what's on my mind?"

"Mostly."

There was a pause as Chen waited for her to continue. Hartley shut her eyes a moment.

"Look, I know only what I've heard. But I know some of that is an act."

Chn could see she was going to go deep her, letting out a disgruntled sound and moved from her bed to sit furthest away at the treadmill, making sure it was turned off for a second before sitting.

"...and there it is, don't want to face the facts?"

Chen glowered in her direction. "Hey, I know the facts; I just don't care to bring it all up again."

Hartley just hummed, unconvinced. "So, we're gonna be here awhile and no one is about so why not talk?"

Chen stayed quiet, getting quickly irritated at the woman she had saved.

Beside her cube. Hartley huffed out deeply then stayed silent though Chen softly began to eat with her fingers again. It was going to get cold so why not.

Skye returned after a bit, a new bowl in hand and two spoons. "Oh come on, you could have waited!" She whined jokingly, seeing her almost empty bowel though Chen gladly took the spoon to finish up the rest.

Hartley rose out of bed though was slow and steady to stand, looking down to her stump then to the cube draw where her breakfast was. Chen looked at her for a moment then sighs, Hartley's new adjustment period with one arm… though she doubted she wanted the assistance though Chen was a little concerned that she'd still be in pain with her arm.

"You okay, hartley.? Do you want me to get a doc for pain meds?"

Hartley shook her head, "Nope, It's good." She answered, stepping quicker towards the draw and opened it up clumsily.. "I'm just a little...disoriented… My arm still feels like it's there…"

"Phantom Limb pain too, don't forget." Chen points out, putting her bowel to the side on the treadmill band. "They'll give you some pain killers for the physical pain though the mental pain… you could google how to manage it."

Hartley have her a look as she moved to settle back on the bed, the bowl in her la before using the spoon.

"Now, I'm just going to check on the watch on Creel. Maybe relieve the agent currently watching. So you two, don't argue."

Apparently their tensions wasn't missed as much as she hoped though Chen shrugged. "Fine."

Hartley shrugged. " copy that."

"Don't worry, Hunter and idaho will pop by before the mission. I'll get an agent to get you two some water" Skye reassured then headed away.

Chen giving her wave goodbye then headed to her kit bag and dug through it still she found a set of headphones and her phone which made her smile. A good couple of hours and she wouldn't have to deal with Hartley.

"Look, Chen.." Hartley spoke after a moment to catch her attention before she plugged in. "I'm an greatful you saved me."

Chen passed her a glance, sighing out deeply as she moved lay on her bed, headphones in hand. "You're welcome…"

"But, please hear me out." Hartley added, Chen's eyes closed. "It Just, i know why you're guard is up, you use those comments as a way to...keep it up. Make sure that people don't know what you're really feeling."

"You're not my Therapist, Hartley. Don't analyze me." Now was not the time for that.

"All I'm saying is that you don't need the comments, or partnering when things are okay. Taking the Obelisk from me, that was a risk, you couldn't possibly know that you'd survive."

"I'm not suicidal, if that' what you think." Chen answered softly, "It was an impulse move. I didn't grip it with the intention to keep hold of it, your fingers were too wrapped around to even let it slide. I was willing to loose my hand when I saw what was happening. But at least then, you'd live to tell the tale. Sure, My PTSD runs deep and probably not the best of times, but i know my Limits, and I know when to get help. I have a Therapist, Dr Garner. He does help me. But I'm not prepared to talk to you about my issues since I don't have a large amount of trust in you to start with. You have enough to deal with too, your arm, the recovery and the fact we're both in quarantine having our bloods tested for alien viruses and in your case; incase the infection spread.."

Hartley didn't say anything though nodded after a moment, looking away.

"I also get that you're trying to be friendly and all, maybe be more friendly terms but that's not something I want when we're going to be in each other's company for the next 2 days. We're gonna drive each other crazy. So lets respect each others space in this. Okay?" Chen sighed deeply. Watching as Hartley nodded after a moment.

"Okay, you have a good new points there…" she mused softly, spooning some of her oatmeal into her mouth after a moment.

Chen smiled at her softly, relieved that she would for now not go deep. Chen lifted her headphones onto ears then began to scroll through her phone music.

 

Chapter Text

Getting to the common room, Skye sighed deeply as she saw Trip fast asleep on the sofa next to another dozing agent, a look to the screen showed enough… that Creel wasn’t there. The truck gone.

Creeping up on the two agents, Skye slammed her hands onto the back of the sofa, starting both agents awake though Skye ducked the swing Trip threw on instinct while the other agent jumped up and tripped over the table.

“What the hell?” Trip blinked a moment then to the screen, realizing the cause of her less than impressed expression. Despite how funny waking them up was, Creel was more important. “Oh…”

“Yeah, ‘oh’.” Skye sighed moving to shut the laptop. “I thought you were keeping watch.”

“It’s 5:55 am!” The other agent grumbled but got up and left; leaving her with Trip.

“Sorry. I was meant to swap out with that agent but I must have drifted off…”

Skye poked his muscled arm. “Next time we’re putting a rotor up for this… Good new, Trip, Creel still has the obelisk and we have a location. I’ll pull it up later.”

Trip nodded softly, relaxing back into the sofa. “I assume you saw Chen and Hartley this hour?”

Skye nodded with a soft smile. She liked and enjoyed the fact Trip was making more of an effort with Chen… she couldn’t miss it and she knew Chen appricted the friendship. As Chen; and not as May.

“Yeah, checked up on them. Chen’s no doubt gonna bite Hartley’s head off if they keep arguing…”

Trip snorted. “Well, we knew not everyone is gonna mix well. Cocktails settle on different levels.” he described, putting his feet up on the table.

“Yeah well, if you see Chen dangling on the underside of her ceiling and yowling then she’s cracked.”

Trip looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “Huh?”

Skye chuckled, shaking her head. “Never mind…. Just something she told me.” her smile lingered on her lips. “Hartley’s doing okay, she had food though she may need more meds soon. They’ll need to be stocked with water… i kinda forgot. Things got busy.”

Trip patted her knee. “Hey, don’t hold it to yourself.”

Skye tittered softly. “Don’t you join on Chen’s bandwagon too. I forgot their spoons, Trip. Spoons. Chen ended up eating most of hers with her fingers.”

Trip let out a laugh. Skye slapped his thigh playfully next; cheeks tinging a little. “Yeah yeah, laugh it up!”

Trip’s laugh settled into a smirk, shaking his head softly, moving to pull her into a one armed embrace “Don’t worry, we all have those days.” he sighed out deeply. “Not worse than sleeping through a watch though.” he nodded to her laptop.

“Point…” she agreed then wiggled herself up from the sofa. “Though. I'm going to head down to the gym. Do an hours or so training then get to work on the tracking when it’s a reasonable time.”

“Want me to help with the training?” Trip offered, yawning though Skye shook her head softly. “Okay, see you later.”

Smiling still, Skye moved and grabbed her laptop then headed off towards the gym to change. Chen often had her run through routines on the days she was away. Weights, punch bag and other means of exercise.


Though Skye finished her routine quickly, she showered then got back to her laptop, though she immediately saw something was catching her attention and opened it up. Though not to plan… Grabbing the laptop, Skye headed up to Coulson’s office, knocking softly then opened it up.

Coulson was pacing around though Trip and Idaho were also leaning against the desk though Coulson was looking displeased. Both looked to her when she entered.

“You found Creel?” Coulson started off, stepping towards her though she shook her head.

“No, But it shouldn’t be too hard unless he’s already ditched the obelisk.” Skye answered, “But something’s pop up… you know the hydra frequency we were monitoring, well something been sent; to us.”

Coulson moved, looking over her shoulder at the screen. “What was it?”

“A phone number, no names or addresses; which would have been helpful.”

“Could it be creel?” Idaho suggested.

Trip scoffed, “Creel? A phone number, what is he, Lonely?” Idaho tossed him a look back.

Skye grinned a little. “I doubt it, the guy is jacked and can turn any part of his body into any material…” She pointed out with a nod though she knew they got what she was hinting out

“Okay, thank you for that. Just what i need; a mental picture” Coulson remarked in almost aspirated.

“Mhh-mmm.”

“Call the number.” He finished though she was quick to take a seat and placed the laptop down; connecting the line to the phone, glancing to Coulson before starting up the call, the phone ringing on speaker phone.

Hello?” came the smooth quiet voice though Skye knew she recognised it… she just couldn’t place it. Though she began to start to trace the line.

Coulson moved forwards, fronwing “Who is this?”

“Agent Coulson, I’m glad you got my message.”

Raina, as i live and breath…”

Skye almost paused. Raina? Of all people…

“It’s been a while since we last spoken?”

“Can we make this quick? Kinda in the middle of a man hunt here.” Impatience was leaking into his tone.

“Why? Don’t you need time to trace this call, don’t you?”

Skye looked to to Coulson at that for a second. Though it surprised her a little, although she was well aware Raina was far from dim; she had only personally met Raina face-to-face was when punching her in the face to rescue Coulson though was well aware with Raina’s affair with Hydra.

“I take it then you haven’t tracked down Mr Creel or the item he stole.”

“What do you know about that?”

Real obelisk or not; someone else knowing about it was a definite interest. Skye could see it in his face;

“I know Hydra's about to get their hands on it.”

“Well, congratulations.” Coulson bit back,

There was a moment of silence before Raina spoke again.

“Let me be clear, Mr Creel is working for Hydra. I do not.” Her tone was hard, annoyed even at the implication in the air. Skye’s lip twitching a little, especially as Coulson answered though she soon found the trace of the call, sitting back now.

“Why the break up? Bad dental plan.”

“Hydra has only one thing on their minds; world domination...which is so 1945.”

“What do you want, Raina…. This is getting boring real fast now.” Coulson sighed out, his aspirating unmissable.

“It’s what I don’t want.. Which is the obelisk falling into the hands of people who don’t understand it… i reckon you might.”

“I’m thinking you’re gonna tell me why.”

“John Garrett understood it. The moment he was injected with the same drug that saved you. He had visions, he started to carve those visions into the walls-”

Skye blinked as Coulson picked up the phone, taking it from the speaker phone, not able to hear what Raina was on about.

“Garrett was a mad man.” Coulson spoke, turning a little so she couldn't see his expression.

Though Skye sat back, sparing a glance to the other two. Idaho looked mostly confused; no doubt having not known about Raina or even the topic they had moved onto. Trip was pacing around.

“You’re not here to talk about Fate; you want us to catch Creel.”

Skye’s eyebrow rose though she sensed Raina had tried something as well, though she began to look for their own tracker in the fake Obelisk, the dot much harder to find, even as Coulson put the phone down.

“Must be on the move still, but I can-”

“Raina handed him a tracker with something. Might do us another favour if the obelisk and Creel are parted.” Coulson spoke up to her.

Skye hummed softly. “I can scan for those frequencies. Alongside this one.”

“Good. Because how it’s time to get on the move.”

“Am I still benched?” Skye asked, takin the laptop as Coulson headed out the door. Feeling a bit like a baby duck casing it’s mother as she tried to keep up.

“Ideally, I want you on base; but I suppose it won’t hurt to have you on the field.”

“I can work much better on the field; I’ll have much closer and quicker range to get into the system feeds.”

“Then I’ll stay on base; see it from a far. Trip. You can lead the team. If Creel is handing the Obelisk to hydra then we need to keep up and see where it leads.”

“What about his powers?” Idaho asked. “We haven’t been given a solution on it yet; the tests on Chen and Hartley.. Cloaking tech… all that’s have slowed the entire department down.”

Coulson came to a stop, facing them for a moment, “If he’s an immediate threat to civilians, Trip has the back up plan.”

Skye peered to trip, “What sort of back up plan?” she quizzed after a moment.

Trip gave a soft shrug, “The heavy-duty kind with armour piercing rounds.”

The picture was easy to grasp. Though no doubt necessary but Skye easily remembered bullets bouncing off him at the warehouse. “WIll that work?”

“Get close enough to him, catching him off guard then he should be receptial to shots.” Hunter’s voice called as he wandered through the halls, eating a yogurt on his way which made her roll her eyes.

“Hopefully we won’t have to find out, Since the fake is in play, we’re not pressed if hydra gets their hands on it. Once they figure out it’s fake then they;ll continue the hunt.”

“Right, so where do you want me?” Hunter answered, his attention shifting to Coulson, yogurt finished and aside.

Coulson faced him a moment, calculating his expression. “That depends, Can you follow an order?”

“Absorualey, Sir.”

“Because part of me wants you back here, running back end… while the other part knows we need boots on the ground and I’ve only got a few good pairs.”

“Especially since the other two are locked in a cube.” Skye muttered though she knew Coulson ignored that.

Hunter sighed deeply, “I’ll be good… scout’s honour..” he finished holding up three fingers into the salute.

Skye wasn’t convinced, watching him deeply for a moment. Though she didn’t trust that he didn’t have something planned. If Hartley had died then no doubt Coulson would have put him on the bench. Too much of a risk and Hunter wasn’t for being 100% honest. Or trustworthy.

“We could do with him.” Idaho interjected quietly. “I’m no fighter; more of the driver and dealer.”

Coulson let out a deep sigh, “Fine, Suit up.” he growled out aspited then split away. Trip nodded to Skye and followed after him. Though she knew what she needed to do to get ready.

It was about time they brought this bastard in now...

Chapter Text

Skye sat in the van with her laptop open, looking through the map, their tracker pinging up on screen then a red one which made her smirk. Good.. though they were both still moving.

“ICERs?” Hunter complained behind her. “What good are ICERs are going to do against a man who can turn to stone at will.”

“Trip called heads, man.” Idaho answered, loading up an ICER and handed one over to her. Skye placed it beside her. “ You shouldn’t have called tails.”

“It was a 50-”

“Boys.” Skye sighed, aspired, “Mama’s trying to work so if you can keep your voices and squabbling down; we can take actually locate the rat bastard we’re tacking down.”

She didn’t need to see then to know they were glowering at her, no doubt at her usage of names but she needed to concentrate. Though she paused as she heard Fitz in the comms.

“Er, we may have something for stopping Creel’s powers, I’m just getting it ready now!” Fitz called through before she assumed him disappearing

“Noted.” she called through then glanced to the two Mercenary's “Word is that Fitz has a solution for neutralizing Creel’s powers.”

“Good.” Hunter grumbled. “Best news all day.”

Skye nodded, though watched as the dots came to a stop on the map, drawing closer. “Trackers have stopped in your vicinity Trip.” She called. “You in position?”

Yep, lock...loaded and looking.” Trip called through after a moment. “Found Him. He’s got the package”

With his location secured, Skye opened up the security feeds, the clearest being a good shot of the sides of their heads; and Creel wasn't alone. Talking to the guy behind him no doubt, so she sent the feed back through to Coulson’s screen on base.

“He’s talking to the guy behind him, must be his hydra contact.” Coulson spoke, “ Deal’s going down, Skye-”

“Don’t worry, sir, already ahead of you there..” Skye called, starting up the facial recognition to the male behind Creel in the suit. “Let’s put a name to the face…”

Good, let the exchange happen. Idaho and Hunter, you follow the new guy, Skye you stay with Creel, keep him in your sights. Every one copy?

“Copy” Idaho called first

“Copy.” Hunter grumbled  

“Copy that.” Skye called, finalising the last few details before she gasped as she felt something cold and sharp suddenly price down her shoulder; immediately sending her into a world of darkness….

//

Idaho jumped back startled to see Skye suddenly collapse against her Laptop. “What the hell!” He exclaimed but Hunter had pushed past him to the door, “you can’t just do that!”

Hunter spun around to face him. “One of our teammates is in a medical cube because of him. She could have died and She;s lost almost all her arm and I’m not letting that bastard get away. Stay here or help.” He growled before heading up the stairwell of the building.

Idaho sighed, looking into the truck at the unconscious woman then to Hunter’s figure. Stuck between a rock and a hard place…. Coulson had a plan and Hunter was going to mess it up.

“Sir,” Idaho called, moving back into the truck, Moving Skye away from the keyboard.

What ?”  Coulson called.

“Hunter shot Skye, he’s going after Creel.”

“What?! ” this tone was different, then he could hear the sounds of annoyance. “ Keep Skye safe, I’ll deal with Hunter.

The line cut from there but Idaho moved to the laptop. While he was no hacker, he let the facial recognition save the details then watched through the monitor as Hunter with Trip’s gun send off a shot to Creel but it was all to fast to see… but Creel was still standing.

Not good.

Hunter ran off out of the screen shot, making it next to impossible to see where he had gone. Though Idaho was surprise to see Coulson running fast through the shot after then, a odd device in hand

Idaho scrambled to the doors and flung it open, squinting to see into the far building though he couldn’t quite make out the shapes well; although Creel was surprisingly easy to see. He was the tallest.

Though he could only watch was the figure of Creel suddenly react and jerk about before collapsing.

“Idaho, bring  the truck around.” Coulson called through after a moment.

“Yes, Sir.” He jumped out the van and into the front.

Now with the park clear of all civilians, Idaho drove through through though he cringed as he heard a thud from out back. He hadn’t fixed Skye down before driving…. oopse.

“Get him in the back.” Coulson voice growled, irritant though Idaho stretched around to see both men dragging the unconscious man slowly towards the back. He jumped out again and quickly opened it up, pausing himself as he saw Skye lying on a pile on the floor and her laptop on top of her too.

“Move.” Hunter called though Idaho compiled, and helped heave the mass of muscle into the van.

“Idaho, drive, We’ll keep an eye on Creel.” Coulson instructed quickly jumping in after Creel and immediately went to check on Skye.

Chapter Text

Chen has never felt so bored…. She had spent the last couple hours going from naps to taking a run on the treadmill to give her some exercise though she could on occasion see the stare from Hartley as she ate. She knew why when she was using both knife and fork while Hartley’s food had been cut up in advanced; while helpful, Chen knew Hartley wanted to do things herself.

Though they hadn’t spoken much more; she could feel a little more at ease around the sleeping woman as the hours ticked by from Lunch. Though Chen had been almost dozing off her bed when a huge box was moved from the corner of the lab out, then after 5 minutes Chen woke completely up as she recognised two gurney’s being wheeled in.

“What the hell?!” She pushed herself from the bed and darted straight to the side, pressing her head against the glass as she saw Skye and Trip side by side.

“They were ICED, don’t worry.” Idaho called, jogging into the lab, scratching the back of his head.

“That’s not any better, what the hell happened out there?” Chen called, waking Hartley up too though she didn’t pay her any heed, her eyes running over Skye, picking out the blue veins of the dendratoxin keeping her in her forced nap-time.

Idaho looked nervously around then to Hunter who swanned into the room but her temper rose, connecting the dots from Hunter’s sheepish expression as he looked from the unconscious agents to the quarantine cubes

“You British Backstabbing Turdpike!” She growled thumping on the glass, glaring dangerously at the aforementioned. “You ICED them!”

“I was just-” Hunter started, aspirated but Chen thumped on the glass.

“No. You do not justify shooting members of your own team for vengeance. You wanted Creel, didn’t you.” She knew Hunter was icey given Hartley’s turn of events but she didn’t think the bastard would be idiotic to follow through and risk everything for revenge. She’d understand more if Hartley was dead but that wasn’t the case here.

“Hunter….” Hartley groaned softly. “If I wasn’t locked in this cube i was smack the back of your head and demand a beer… then slap you in the face for pulling a stunt like that.”

Hunter headed over to her cube, his eyes lingering on her bandaged stump but Chen moved to the corner and continued to glare to the side of his face.

“He is the reason your in this state, Izzy.” He started, “He shouldn’t get away with it.”

“There was a plan, Hunter. He wouldn’t have gotten away.” came a soft groan from Skye.

CHen’s head turned, her attention shifting and moved back around the the side closest to Skye.

“You okay?” Chen asked, pressing herself against the glass, her eyes searching the woman’s tired face

Skye nodded softly. “Just a headache..tired..”

Chen nodded. A lingering side effect of the toxin in her system still. Having been hit with the shot before- as May from Coulson when the bus was tractorbeamed to the hub when shield was under siege- she knew the after effects would  last longer; especially for those who hadn’t been on the receiving end of it before.

“Get some fluids, rest up and eat. It helps.” Chen advised softly; her anger disappearing in favour of her concern for her trainee. Skye nodded softly and didn’t get up , closing her eyes though Trip seemed to twitch awake and sit up suddenly with a groan; his head no doubt spinning.

“Where’s that son of a..” he started out with a groan, his eyes flickering open, taking in the surroundings through his pounding head though his eyes narrowed as his glaze locked onto Hunter who backed a little more away.

“Where’s Director Coulson?” Hartley spoke up to stop the tension.

“Putting Creel into a cryo chamber. He’s planning to hand him over to Talbot as a peace offering from S.H.I.E.L.D., I suppose.” Idaho answered, “I think Talbot has a more secure facility now they know more on what they’re dealing with too… so it’s better than him being here.”

“What if he escapes again?” Hunter argued softly.

“Then you’ll be locked in a cube until he’s caught.” Chen called out to him. “If I wasn’t locked in this box then I would have kicked you so hard in the testicles that your balls with assent back into your body.”

Hunter sighed softly “Look, I am sorry I crossed a line, Agent Chen.”

Chen shook her head. “No, don’t apologise to me .”

Hunter’s eyes flickered to Skye who was watching quietly. Though after a moment, moved around to her gurney. “I am very sorry for shooting you in the back with my ICER. You know my reasons and I know it wasn’t very smart. I messed up then mission and could have potentially turned the situation worse.”

Skye nodded, “I’ll accept your apology for now.” she started, “But shoot me in the back again and I’ll allow Chen to deal with you.”

Chen kept her face stern in her glare to the man.

“We’re not friends but you should know; I am very good at holding grudges.” Chen spoke, her tone cold. “And the thing is….S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t about vengeance or settling scores. It’s about protection and you risked unleashing Creel for revenge on what Hartley did. She chose to pick up the obelisk. She didn't know what it’d do to her; never occurred either. Creel didn’t forcefully have a hold of Hartley and have her hand pressed onto it either. It was her choice .” she emphasised with a growl. “We got lucky this time, Hunter. But next time…” she shook her head. “Next time we may not. Especially if you’re going to go around shooting your own team mates and attempt to kill a man that was going to be brought in and call it justice.”

Hunter sighed deeply, “I understand that, Agent Chen. I’m aware.”

“Given today’s behaviour, maybe not.” Chen added. “Now, before i break my way out this cube to smack the stubble off your face, take a walk and let everyone else rest and calm ourselves down. Understand?”

The immediate area was quiet, Even Mack and Fitz in the corner of the lab was watching, playing with what looked like a the original Overkill Device.

Saying nothing and looking around, Hunter nodded and walked away from the room, all eyes following him before other agents began to mill about quietly again.

“Okay, that was a little deep, Chen. Even for you.” Hartley spoke after a moment, chuckling softly.

Chen scoffed, moving from from the glass and looked back to Skye as she was settled back. “He needed to hear it. It’s not about him. It’s about protecting and it’s not gonna work the way he was going about it.” Though she knew she didn’t have all the facts here; she had figured enough of it to get an idea of what Hunter was thinking and how it went down.

“I’ll go see Coulson..” Trip moved to push himself from the gurney.

“You need to rest.”

“I did; but Coulson still may need me.” Trip answered back though gave them a reassuring smile “Don’t worry.” before he was gone.

Chen sighed deeply, moving away from the glass side then lent against the glass. Then she looked to Idaho who was drifting towards the two engineers in the corner

“What happened to the fake Obelisk?” Chen called out, catching his attention.

Idaho shrugged. “Not sure. I think it might have been taken by the hydra guy though I think Coulson’s gonna look into it later after Talbot’s personal gift wrapped delivery of Creel”

“I can do that.” Skye yawned, sitting up.

“No, Lie.” Chen ordered, giving the woman a look until she complied. Chen looked back to Idaho. “You can do that. It’s not that hard and It’ll be useful.”

“Yes, Ma’am” he nodded then headed away to so as she said.

//

The room was dark, barely lit but Raina stood admiring the Obelisk as it sat majestically on the metal tray on the table. The light shining off it’s sliver surface… It had been fairly easy to take… her plan had worked; SHIELD taking Creel had the best opportunity to take the box with the chaos. It was beautiful, to have it now; earning favour with Cal once again. A step closer too

“You did good.” The voice startled her a moment, turning half to see the fall man in the shadows, wiping off his hands with a cloth.

“Thank you.” Raina smiled, “I-”

“Now,” Cal interrupted, his focus to the Obelisk, “Pick it up.”

Raina blanched a moment, her heart picking up if a little. Picking it up… the risk of turning to stone scared her, being able to touch it could verify her true unawakened potential...Or it would kill her.

“You want me to-”

“I need to know.” He interrupted again, his eyes looking to her. “So do you.”

Raina inhaled deeply, looking back to the innocent looking device and moved closer. Her hands twitching a moment before she forced herself to move them… slowly approaching the alien device.. Her fingers coming to get closer to the surface of the Obelisk. Hesitating for a second before she grasped it, holding her breath but nothing happened.

Then the metal reacted but not in the way she expected…. A frown appeared on her face. Pulling it from the tray but the markings didn’t go down… nor was there any share of orange within it. Just touching it now, she didn’t feel special; like this was  the real-

“It’s a fake!” she breathed out, closing her eyes in quiet frustration.

Chapter Text

It hadn’t taken them much longer to get the cloaking tech installed onto the Bus, now with Both Fitz and Mack no longer hung back on Creel things had pushed on ahead. With the Quinjet in base, they had a blueprint for more and connections to others; he’d have Skye later take a look and tractorbeam some back to base so they didn’t have just a single solitary number and a money burner to build more. More would up their missions tenfold.

Despite his reservations with Hunter… and stunt he pulled, Hartley had put in a good word. Bobbi too when he got in contact last night. He had yet to talk to Hunter on staying on for working with SHIELD though Hunter was only staying for Hartley. He’d had plans to move her to a recovery base, Homerun, for full recovery without interference with their missions. He didn’t need her to worry or get sucked into anything that could compromise her recovery. But having Hunter here for now was necessary; if he took the mantle.

Though Coulson made plans to talk to Chen later once he got back, maybe covertly given Hartley’s bedside cube. She still had 40 hours in the Cube but even then he could feel his… compulsion to carve starting up again though he fought it back, resisting all last night though he bent enough paper clips to keep him occupied before he fell asleep but he doubted he would be able to resist much longer. As much as he wanted to, he knew better than to carve by himself for the moment. Unless the test came back sooner, he’d have to enlighten Skye to aid him until Chen’s quarantine was up and cleared.

For now, he had a present to deliver for good will. Standing by the white truck, Coulson was waiting now for the arrival… the Bus and Quinjet concealed quietly. As back up. US air force was no joke and he intended to walk away.

As predicted, after a further few minutes, 3 SUVs began to pull up, followed immediately by armed soldiers that began to spread out, luckily not near the Quinjet; last thing needed was an awkward run in; as humour as that mental picture was.

Coulson watched though as a soldier opened up one of the doors and Talbot  jumped out and began his approach.

“Glenn.” He greeted as he came to a stop. “Can I call you Glenn?” He asked; knowing the answer.

“No.” Coming to a stop in front him, his hands on his hips. “Where’s Creel?” he demanded.

Coulson looked to the tuck and nodded his head to the Van. “In the van in a basic cryo tank. Which had enough juice for… 56 minutes.” He mused, looking to his watch. “As much as we’d like to deal with him, we don’t have the resources to stretch. Plus, think of it as a goodwill  and peace offering present from SHIELD.”

“Goodwill?” Talbot echoed with a scoff.

“As long as you bring in the bad guys that are run by HYDRA and contain them- preferably much better than before; just saying.” Coulson added, implying the fact Creel escaped the US air force.

“Is that why you decided to show your face?” Talbot questioned, his eyes soon scanning around, passing over the jet before returning to him. “You’re being surprisingly generous. I don’t like it.”

Coulson shrugged. “As long as you have something to tell your superiors at the end of the day; might get you more promoted and we’re left to have more breathing room. Sort of a deal. I want to work with the US to take down hydra. We can’t do it without you and vice versa; like it or not.”

Talbot shook his head, scoffing with a laugh. “You have some solid brass ones, Coulson.” He stopped laughing though Coulson simply watched him with a calm expression. “Coming out here to meet me… all by yourself. Face-to-face. No back up.” He even offered a growl,

Coulson’s lip twitched at that. More at the fact Talbot assumed than anything else.

“Let’s face facts, You’re not in the position to make a deal. You and your team are hardly SHIELD. As you said, you don’t have the resources, artillery and no doubt the man power to take down a convenience store so sorry,  gonna have to say no to that deal.”

Coulson shrugged. “I don’t know. I think we’re good on artillery.” To make his point. Coulson’s eyes and head turned up, the signal to Trip in the cockpit to uncloak.

Almost everyone turned to see the bus coming into view, the under gun loading visibly though he knew he had made the impression he wanted by the body language Talbot was expressing.

“And incase you get any ideas, General. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.” Coulson made his move there and headed towards the quinjet, the ramp began to lower so he knew where to go before that too uncloaked.

“Let’s get out of here before the iceberg runs out of fuel.” He said, jumping into the ramp and took a seat as the jet began to move, strapping himself in and watched as they cloaked once again out of sight.



Getting back to base, He immediately headed down to the labs. Pausing to see Skye talking to Chen. Fitz talking to Mack, much more cheerfully now he had opened himself up more to someone else. Which was nice to see. He had been worried Fitz wouldn’t open himself up to people beyond their original team….

“Have fun flipping the bird to Talbot?” Chen’s voice called, drawing his attention away. Skye snorting quietly as she lent up the side of the cube.

“Flipping the bird?” He echoed, shaking his head. “If I did that then I would be in a lot of hot water.”

Chen rolled her eyes. “I know, take the joke. Although, making your exit like that is like saying ‘haha, can’t catch us’. ” She answered. “Hence, flipping the bird.” Chen even went as far as to follow through the gesture towards him. Skye’s shoulders began to shake, trying to remain quiet in her laughter. He knew Hartley was also smiling in the corner of his eye.

“Okay, whatever.” Coulson started, looking to Skye then to Chen. “Skye, please go to my office. I need to have a talk with you.” Skye nodded and left though Coulson waited till she was out of sight and headed over to the slot and opened it up, putting in a new small tablet and sent it over.

No, he had to tell Skye about the carvings. He just needed Chen to be on the same page too. Work together since they were close even too… plus he knew now that in the long run, it’d be for the best; he wouldn't hide it forever from Skye.

Curious, Chen wandered over and picked it up, not saying anything as she opened it up to the pre-written text about telling Skye his new hobby; her eyes flickering to him but he said nothing; not with Hartley next door. She spared the woman a look as well then nodded.

“See you later. I hope this thing has games.” She said out loud as a cover, then walked towards her bed.

“It does, have fun.” He answered, turning away.

“Can I get one?” Hartley called.

“I’ll have Hunter give you one.” He answered back then headed to talk to Skye.



Skye was pacing around his office as he got there, stopping when she saw him, her back towards the screen.

“Sir.” She greeted, despite the fact it had been a couple of minutes since they last saw each other.

Though he knew she was awaiting a reason to this. Coulson nodded and shut the door behind him then locked it and headed over to his desk.

“I know a lot had happened in the last couple of days, I know i haven’t been brilliant as the director concerning a couple of people. Ever since  what happened with...May..” He paused, “Things are hard. My Fault. But she did what she did to help me. But now, I need help. With Chen in containment, I need someone else to take her place.”

“To do what?” Skye asked, concern deep in her tone as well as the frown on her face.

Sighing deeply, Coulson reached over to the tablet and pressed a buttons, the screen behind her rising; and startling Skye in the process. Though the wall was blank now, there were a few bits of the writing he had missed when covering it on his own last time.

Skye’s attention was drawn to the remnants left, walking over to the writing. “I’ve seen this… You put me to work on searching for it.”

Coulson nodded. “Yes, because I can’t stop carving it.”

Skye turned to look at him, the frown on her face but he could see her mind ticking. “You and Chen’s alone meeting time was this?”

Coulson nodded.

“Oh…. I thought that was weird.” She mused. “Why are you telling me now?”

Coulson sat down heavily. “It’s… compulsion. I don’t know why… but something was triggered inside me when I saw Garrett's carvings. It started off… long gaps between the computations but-”

“It’s getting more frequent.” Skye finished quietly. “What did Chen do?”

“Documented it all, made sure I wasn’t putting myself at danger and… had a gun ready incase i went off the rails.” He answered, “Kept an eye on me basically but… I just need to do it again and I don’t trust myself to do it alone.”

Skye stayed quiet for a long moment, looking to the door. “Are these like visions you see? Or just happen?”

“The latter. While it means nothing to me, I want your help to uncover why I’m doing it.”

She nodded again softly. “What do you need me to do now? You have a system going.”

Coulson pressed another button, a slot in the wall opening up. “Take photos, stay back and let me work. You will have a gun. Once it’s done, take a photo of the work then I’ll need your help to clean up as well.”

Skye exhaled deeply. “Okay.” Though she reached to the back of her trousers and pulled out an ICER, “But I won’t be asked to kill you. Coulson. I’m not that person to ask for that so don’t”

Coulson’s jaw clenched a moment but he nodded to her point. “Fair enough.” He answered. “But i need to get to it now. It’s… getting harder to concentrate, the effects tend to disappear for a bit before the computations starts up again.”

Nodding Skye headed over to the slot and pulled out the blankets then dumped it onto the floor, though he took his time to take off his tie and shoes… Relieved now he had the help.

Chapter Text

Chen was worried… and moody. Even as she had played the games on the tablet; she could only let her mind wander to Coulson and Skye in the office.. him carving… her watching and making sure he was okay. It worried her a lot… the possibility if him going nuts when she wasn't there to help him...or help Skye. Chen was not about to forget the knife he had almost struck her with; the wound now just a healing scab but she knew it could have been much worse.

But… having Skye in the loop would be a good on the long run. She'd be aware of the source and the cause… maybe come up with her own theory outside the box. Skye saw the world through a different filter so why not use that opportunity with fresh eyes.

"When are these stupid tests gonna be done!" Hartley called, bored out her mind from her tone, so Chen assumed they were both in the same boat there.

"if Simmons was here they'd be done by now" Chen added, grumpily as she began to tear up bits of paper from a pad onto her tablet to screw up into balls; intending to flick them at the target she had draw on the side of the glass. "You lot suck!" calling to the scientists in the lab.

"Chen, don't bite the hand that feeds you." Fitz called cheerfully, wandering over from what he was doing with Mack.

Chen looked up to him and gave him a long look. "I'm not biting….nibbling at best."

Fitz lip twitched if a little. "The tests will be done soon. i can promise to get the results."

"if the tests are normal, can I be let out early?" Chen chucked her tablet onto her bed and folded her arms and lent back onto her pillows, tapping her foot against the rails

Fitz shrugged a moment. "I should think so."

Chen exhaled deeply. "good, because being here sucks...and boring and I don't have any privacy." She complained.

Fitz hummed a little, no doubt to agree to please her. "I know. I can reserve out the shower block if that's what you're ask for."

That hadn't occurred to Chen before now, her eyebrow raising. She sniffed at her shirt then pulled a face. "Probably a good call. I've been festering here like a bored and agitated nugget."

She lent down and rested her face into her hand, exhaling deeply to try and calm her festering bad mood. Being locked in the box for so long, it was getting to her more and more as the hours ticked by. She wanted fresh air, she wanted space...mental stimulation…..a shower…. She didn't want to spend all her time in a laboratory and be in the constant presence of Hartley and scientists. Isolated in a way let no form of freedom. It was starting to feel like a prison cell made of glass…

Chen let out another deep sigh, much more louder a little aggravated.

"You okay, Chen?" Fitz asked, concern leaking into his tone but Chen forced herself to sit up and gave him a sour look

"I've been here almost 2 days, Fitz. I am stressed and anxious and it's pissing me off." She growled, her mood souring more.

Fitz nodded, "Not long now, Chen. Then the Tests should be done then if all is well, you can get out."

"If not?"

Fitz paused, "Well we'll need to do more tests… which might increase your quarr-"

Thump

Fitz flinched back as her tabet hit the glass wall though Chen didn't feel sorry for it as her mood blew up. The glass remained undamaged

"I am not staying here for much longer!" She started angrily, her breathing increasing, darting from the bed to the side, thumping on the glass. "I do not do well in small glass boxes for days on end! There...There is nothing wrong with me! I am not contagious…. It-" Chen paused for a moment to catch her breath though she could feel her pulse racing now…. Her chest was starting to hurt…

"Chen?"

It was Hartley this time but Chen closed her eyes, shaking her head.

"Get the tests done now!"

Fitz backed away from the glass, uncertaintantly. "Chen, I don't think-"

"I don't care what you think, Fitz….. I have been here for days… I am tired and Cranky and I haven't showered for that amount of time. There is no privacy or feeling of being alone. I want my own bunk. I miss fresh air and I am very cramped and feeling more and more claustrophobic."

"Chen…"

Chen thumped on the glass again, though her hands began to shake much more and catching her breath became harder.

"I need out." She bit down onto her lower lip, closing her eyes as she tried to focus on her breathing but she could a ringing in her ears… "I…. too small space… too long." She got out before Chen felt herself sink more into her panic attack mode….

Chen knew she had worked herself up into it the last hour… nor was her mood improving. She just… needed to take a break. She needed to do something. Sitting by was not something she could do…

Chen's head felt light, resting her forehead against the glass as she tried to keep her focus…

Chen!" This was a new voice…. Though she shook her head at her. "LIsten to me, CHen. It'll be okay."

"Skye.." She exhaled deeply, her presence felt immediately reassuring.

"Look, I know you're feeling weirded out with this… but not long left. Take a breath and use what you know to calm yourself down."

Of course, Chen knew what to do, but having Skye talk her through it made it easier to focus. Listening to someone...someone she could trust than anything else…

Slowly, Chen could feel her pulse slow down more… her breaths still fast but she could feel she was getting there. Skye Continuing to talk to her softly until she felt it clear away though she stayed where she was for a longer moment.

"Emily, take a pill, go to sleep and I'll get the tests to be ready for when you wake, Okay?" Skye spoke. "Then I'll let you out myself and you can go for a shower and a walk about."

"I hate this…" Chen slid down to the floor, resting her side against it.

Skye moved and slid down next to her on the other side. "I know. Though… i never expected you to freak out on being here, of all people."

Chen could see the slight hint. Right, Melinda May freaking out inside a Quarantine cube.

"It's cabin fever and feeling more clastaphonic." She sighed. "I want out."

I know. But, I'll make a deal. Once you're up for it, we can do some sparing. I know you want to punch things."

"Hm.. Coulson's face would be a good start for putting me in here, good intentions aside or not." That comment made her chuckle softly, Skye too. "Okay. Fine. I'll take another nap then beat the crap out of you later."

Skye nodded, "Yes, it's a deal."

Chen pushed herself up and headed over to the bed, yanking everything off the bed and onto the floor then pulled back the covers, pulling it over her head for a sense of darkness and privacy…

/

Skye sighed deeply, watching the woman set herself up to sleep. Of all the things to expect from Chen, her getting a panic attack she hadn't anticipated…. Though Skye knew Chen was more prone for triggers, she suppose she should have guessed they could spontaneously happen, especially in high anxiety and stressed patients. She so needed to talk to Simmons about this. Formally May or not, She needed more things to keep her mind stimulated. Quarantine wasn't good for her mental health.

Skye looked to her watch then to Fitz in the corner of the room, watching them with a frown. "Is there some buttons you can just… mute. Shut the sound out?" She asked softly, walking towards him. Fitz's eyes flickered over to her.

"No."

"Then find a way to do that, maybe even tint or tint-able glass or something. There is no what of privacy in there and no one wants a constant onlookers." Skye proobed, "Please, even if not for Chen, then next time, someone else is gonna go nuts locked up in there."

Fitz Chewed his tongue a moment then nodded. "I'll look into it."

"Thank you."

Though she spared another glance to the box then back. "Tests. Get them done."

The engineer rolled his eyes at that, scratching his cheek. "I know, I know. I got the hint." Though he grabbed his tablet, he headed away.

/

Chen woke though to a tap to some glass, taking a moment in her barely dark covers to gain momentary bearings before she heard the tapping again, sighing deeply out and pushed the covers back, the calm feelings she had under there evaporating at the sight of the interior cube.

Her eyes found Fitz standing a little away from the cube now though tablet in hand.

She perked up. The tests… it has to be.

"Tell me!" She demanded. Hartley also hovering near the door, eager to jump out too, her attention also on Fitz.

Fitz looked to them both and sighed. "Agent Hartley, You're tests are good, no signs of mutations or illnesses. No traces of the obelisk infection in your blood or bones." He started, a waiting agent opening up the cube and let the amputee out, leading her away though Chen didn't look.

"Fitz…" Her tone warningly.

The male shuffled on his feet.

"Well.." He started, then flipped the screen to face her. "I can't let you out just now… Your DNA has shown mild mutations on a cellular level in comparison to the first sample we took when we put together your file."

"What?!"

Chapter Text

"No, no no, no!" Chen growled, a part of her not too surprised… her powers had to come from somewhere. But that sure as hell didn't mean that she had to stay here…. "I am not staying here any longer!"

"Chen, Your DNA has mutated! How are you not freaking out?"

"I've been in a glass box for 47 hours!" She snapped, "I don't care about my DNA right now! I have only just calmed down from my freak out… don't mess it all up!"

Fitz sighed deeply. "Okay, Well… Chen. I know. I get it. But there are a few more tests we need to do to make sure you're okay. This could mean lots of things… organ failure, genetic defects that could cause illnesses, spontaneous petrification… even manifestation of powers… we don't know. But we have to be careful"

"Is it contagious?" Chen fired back. "If it isn't then I'm not needed in a glass box. I'll be happy to be confined to my own bunk."

Fitz sighed, "You have 11 hours lefts of your given time, Chen. Give me an hour and if It's all well and dandy then I can let out. Please just 1 hour. That'll give us the results on if this is just on you."

Chen glowered at the male then nodded. "Fine." She grunted out through gritted teeth. "But only that test. If not I'll get Skye on your ass."

The scientist nodded, "Fair enough," he answered before walking off. Chen spared a look to the clock and sighed… 59 and counting down….

The hour passed slow and agonising long… she was counting 5 minutes until Fitz's hopeful return with the key to freedom….

Though her attention to the clock was diverted to see Coulson walking in. She didn't glare but watched him as he walked past to an area out of sight… then return 30 seconds later and head towards her.

"I was given the update." He started, "How you feeling."

Chen let out a deep exhale, "LIke i'm going crazy off my head"

Coulson gave her a look, "I mean really… banter aside."

"I feel perfectly fine. No lumps, bruises or abnormality." She sighed. "I need to be out… I want to be on my own, eat my own food, sleep in… i don't know underwear…" She exhaled out. "I'm just… so bored… not at all mentally stimulated and I can't scratch my face without everyone knowing about it…"

Coulson nodded, leaning against the glass. "3 minutes away."

Chen shook her head. "I still blame you. Fifty eight hours. Five, eight. Forty eight, fine but fifty eight."

"You've made that very clear, Agent Chen." Coulson emphasized. "We can always sedate you if need be."

Chen knocked on the glass beside his head. "Rude."

Though she said nothing more, simply waited though she immediately straighten up, as did Coulson, when Fitz returned. He looked between them a moment.

"We can let her out. Not infectious but if you ever have kids, there is a likely chance this mutation is passed down."

Chen let out a deep sigh of relief that seemed to flood her body…. Making her feel so light and happy… she could leave!

"But it's not doing any harm?"

"No, but we will need to keep an eye on you, tests will be mandatory after month to make sure it's not going to get worse."

"Fine by me now open the door." Chen pressed, rapping on the door in impatients now, Watching the engineer move and unlocked it. Chen didn't hesitate to push past him and down and out the lab.

"Punch a hole people!" She shouted, not hesitating to run towards the showers….

The idea of a hot long shower with fresh clothes and raiding the fridge for whatever she wanted….

She slammed the doors and locked it, making sure to get the whole space free and turned on the shot water. The sound of it like music…. Fresh, hot water…. Even the steam felt so good; she hadn't felt so grimy and dirty for a long time, even in training that felt mild...and the walls were opaque.. No one to see in.

Chen stripped down and tossed them into a pile. Getting her towels ready before hopping into the streams of water with a deep sigh of relief; the water feeling so good and clean… and fresh. She was going to spent a lot of time here… though she knew she was forgetting a thing or two that could really help. Still, Skye could get them. She would have heard about her freedom soon enough.

 

 

Fitz and Coulson stared after her after a long moment. Coulson feeling he shouldn't have been so surprised than he was.

"I vote never to be locked in a confined space with her." Fitz started after a moment, pulling a face at the open door. Chen had been right to be running from the smell of a festering person. He shut the door quickly. "Though… her dopamine levels have really risen!"

Coulson looked back to Fitz with a questioning look. The Scotsman held up the tablet. "She's forgotten to remove the couple of pads off that read her vitals." He shrugged.

"Uh-hu…" Coulson hummed then looked at his watch as it beeped. "Well, I'm needed off base for the next couple of days. Please remind Chen that she's still off field work in my absence and good luck"

The beep wasn't a good one either…. Damn it. Something had come up. Coulson was quick to dart away to his office to see Koenig already there.

"What happened?" He asked.

"Agent 33… her perimeter alarms gone off, as well as a few other safe houses… Empty ones but she's in one of them." Koenig answered, pulling up a map on screen. Coulson sighed deeply. Only a few select agents knew of those… Hydra was no doubt using Bobbi's intel….

"Scramble a tactical team together. Her house will hold up against hydra but only for a short while. She had defences and is a good agent… If we can extract her, the better and retire her to another location or bring her back. I'll over see it." He started, though Koenig held out a case ready. "Thanks"

"Good luck, Director Coulson. " Koenig answered though Coulson made his way down from his office.

"You too." He answered, much more quieter as he went. Chen would not be pleased with this sudden absence but too bad. Koenig could fill her in. But he didn't want hydra to get his hands on Agent 33.

"You leaving?" Skye's voice echoed as he headed to the Bus.

"Urgently. Something's come up." He answered. "Keep training with Chen to occupy her as usual she's out of quareteen early. Fitz Koenig can fill you in."

"Copy that…" Skye answered, moving from the cargo door and away quickly… not doubt to Chen..