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families come in all shapes and sizes

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“I’m going to try contacting Enoch,” Jemma says as soon as they land the Zephyr in the Lighthouse. Everyone lets her go because Fitz is a sore spot for everyone. The fact that he’s out there, stuck in a cryo-pod, thinking he’s going to wake up in seventy years is a miracle – but it doesn’t erase how much shit that Fitz has already gone through with them since they met him again in the future. He and Simmons got married, for gods sake, Daisy thinks as she listens to Mack order Agent Piper and Agent Davis around. By the time he turns to her though, she’s tuned out, thinking about Fitz and how they’re going to explain to him what’s happened.

“Daisy,” Mack puts a hand on her shoulder, prompting her to blink back into focus. “Take the rest of the day off.”

“No,” she immediately denies, “I can help out-”

“You’ve done enough,” he says, before smiling slightly, “Anyway, you have a letter to read.”

“…right,” Daisy’s eyes widen as she swallows, remembering all of a sudden Coulson’s letter. “Right, yeah, the letter. I’ll…I’ll go.”

Mack squeezes her shoulder, “Good luck.”

Daisy nods, feeling a kind of numbness seeping in before she steps back, watching Mack sling an arm around Elena’s shoulders. The letter, she forces herself to twist, turning around and power-walking off the Zephyr to her room, walking through corridors with new, renewed focus. I have to know what he said.

They said they loved each other before he left. Daisy can remember how her emotions overwhelmed her, then, how they suffused her chest so much it hurt; how he gripped her tight like he knew he was what held her together. Daisy doesn’t know what she’s going to do when he finally dies. Will May call them while he’s flatlining? Will she wait until he’s cold before calling everyone for a funeral, his plot already dug somewhere in Tahiti?

I hope one of those jellyfish sting him and heal him, Daisy thinks bitterly, remembering one of Jemma’s old theories from before they knew it was alien DNA keeping him alive – that a species of jellyfish from Tahiti was what saved him, due to their cell-regenerative properties. She knows it’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened to them.

Without realising it, she finds herself in her room, the door shut and the lights on. Only the thick envelope on her bed pulls her from her thoughts, from her impossible theories, wishes, hopes and dreams.

Is it a Will?

Trembling, Daisy reaches out, picking it up. The envelope is larger and heavier than she thought a letter would need and as she turns it around, she frowns at the open end. She sits down, kicking off her boots, emptying the envelope out in front of her. Her eyes flicker over the official documents as she tugs off her gloves, losing speed as the actual words catch her eyes. Abruptly, she takes off both her gloves, reading through the documents as fast as she can. There are three.

The first is an adult adoption form.

Daisy has to wipe her eyes, but it does nothing because there are too many tears, both happy and sad. Phil’s signature – Phillip J. Coulson, below ‘Phillip Joseph Coulson’ in print – is there and so is May’s, which is just so weird – good, but weird, but so good – along with a notary’s and to Daisy, this is everything. Everything. She’s being adopted by people who love her, people who she loves.

The second document is a Will, Coulson’s Will, like she thought. She reads through some of it, skipping the legal jargon and pausing to read the post-it note which says ‘this is a copy, real one not filed yet, call the number on the back so my lawyer can do it if you signed the other form’. On his Will, she gets half his money with May, the rest to be spread through various friends, some she recognises, some she doesn’t. There’s also a specific point about Lola, who goes to Daisy on the condition that May can borrow it whenever she likes.

The third document is a list of names, contact details and favours owed to Phil. A post-it stuck to the outside says ‘keep for a rainy day’. Daisy flips through it briefly, still a little overwhelmed by the adoption form and when she comes to the last page, there’s one last post-it note stuck underneath the only two names and contact details on the page, devoid of favours.

‘William and Lian are May’s parents. They don’t owe me anything, but I think they’d like to meet you. You might as well go while I’ve got May trapped with me on Tahiti – she won’t let you go see them otherwise. Don’t worry, they’ll love you and don’t forget to ask Lian to make you food, she’s great at cooking.’

Daisy presses her hand to her face, still holding the post-it. Her shoulders shake because Coulson is still doing it, giving her a family even when he’s so close to leaving her forever. May, as well, Daisy bites her lip, looking over to where the adoption form sits.

Phillip J. Coulson

Melinda Qiaolian May

It’s not like Daisy hasn’t imagined it before – them being her parents. But the proof is in front of her and all she has to do is sign and hand it in to be processed. I’ll have a mom and dad, Daisy thinks, wiping her face again, remembering Jiaying and Cal. I’ll have two each. She tries not to think of how everything will be balanced – with one mother and father who are alive and one mother and father who are dead. When May gets back, Daisy might actually hug her.

Daisy snorts, shaking her head, “Maybe she’ll cry. She wanted kids, didn’t she? Now, she’s got me…”

Well.

Not yet.

Coulson, too. Coulson and May.

Daisy reaches for a pen.