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Of Regrets and How To Cope

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May felt exhausted and tired, wanting nothing more than to spend a night in an actual bed that was in an actual room located somewhere on solid ground. The team had been stuck flying around on the Zephyr for days on end and still, there had been no sign of when they would actually be able to touch ground, which didn't exactly help to lighten anyone's mood. After spending so much time together in a contained space everyone started to feel a bit on edge. They've grown a lot closer too, and May would never deny caring very much for them but it was hard to get some privacy and alone time. The only time she truly felt like herself again was when she was sitting in the cockpit. She'd always liked flying; the feeling of freedom and calmness and quietness it provided. It had been the initial reason she had accepted Coulson's offer, though how could she ever say no to Coulson?

With a sigh she sank back in her seat. Her shoulder and neck muscles felt tensed and stiff, and she tried massaging them to release some of the uncomfortable pain. Her mind wandered back to the time she promised herself to never go back in the field again. Look at where you're now, she thought. A part of her wanted to return to her little cubicle, back to stamping documents, signing letters and answering phones. She'd admit that it was boring but at least it was a safe place, physically and mentally. There was no risk of getting shot or stabbed or tortured and she wouldn't have to live with the fear that someone on the team could possibly die anytime they went on a mission. She couldn't afford losing any more people.

But then again, she couldn't be so selfish and stay away. She had tried; going on vacation, rekindling the strained relationship with her parents but something has always pulled her back to the team. More like someone… Coulson. She needed to be there to protect him, as well as everybody else on this plane, whatever the cost. Because that is what she'd ultimately signed up for. No one calls in the Cavalry just to fly a plane.

Yet, she had failed this exact tasked all those years ago because she chose to be selfish. She chose to sit behind her desk and keep her head down; working in Administrations instead of going to New York with Coulson because he'd clearly needed her by his side. But damn him for always relying on her to save him and damn her for not being there to protect him when he needed her most. It had always been this way since the Academy. He'd been funny, dorky and charming and particularly great with words, somehow invariably able to convince people of what he needed to. She'd been quiet, letting her actions speak louder than words, whether it was on missions, in her martial arts training or those pranks that she loved to pull in their dorms. She smiled at the memory. She missed those times, back when she didn't feel like the responsibility and weight on her shoulders was crushing her.

She had to admit that she hid those feelings well. Still, she scoffed at the memory of Daisy calling her a statue and Phil describing her as robot-like. Everyone believed that she didn't feel anything, that she was able to just brush every tragedy that happened to the team, every loss of a friend or every betrayal from those you trusted the most, off like they were nothing. But on the inside, she'd felt everything just as intense as the others but she'd chosen to push it down and keep a blank face because the team needed her to do that. They needed the Cavalry to protect them, to be strong for them and keep them from harm, not to break down crying because their friends got hurt. So it had been easy to forget that the Cavalry was human, and that human was Melinda May and she had feelings and emotions just like everybody else.