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all around me are familiar faces

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It’s been a long day. There are a lot of those in this profession, but this one definitely make the list. Skye would prefer not to think about that poor man and what was dripping out of his orifices ever again.

That’s where the drinking comes in. (After a long shower, of course. She had to rinse her hair about four times just to get rid of the smell.) There’s a bar near their hotel, so it all works out. Of course, she’s not planning on getting entirely wasted, and Fitzsimmons are here to make sure she sticks to that. She’s just going to drink enough that she won’t have trouble getting to sleep later.

At least they get to stay in France. It might not be Paris, but Skye can check that off her bucket list now. She would do something ridiculous and dorky for tourists, but honestly, this day has just taken the energy right out of her.

“I’m gonna go get us another round,” Skye says.

“Ooh, could you get me that double IPA at the top of the middle list?” Jemma requests, pointing at the chalkboard over the bar.

“Got it,” she says, glancing up to see which one she’s referring to. “And for you, Fitzy?”

“Just whatever’s on tap should be fine,” he answers with a grim smile. Skye knows the day affected him in much the same way it did her. Jemma, on the other hand, seems to be very much on the side of delighted and intrigued when things start dripping goo, which is cute most of the time but a bit off-putting right now.

Skye needs to stop thinking of Jemma as cute. She obviously doesn’t swing that way. She needs to focus on getting beer. She gives the bar a quick once-over. It’s crowded; there’s even a small line.

A girl at the bar turns around. “Merci,” she says, accepting her drink. She and Skye meet eyes, and it’s like looking in a mirror. She looks like Skye, but at the same time, she’s a stranger.

With an expression like a deer caught in headlights, the woman turns and runs out the door. Skye wants to know who she is, so she does the only rational thing; she chases after her. With the beer bottle slowing her twin down and Skye’s added speed due to S.H.I.E.L.D. training, it doesn’t take Skye long to catch up.

“Hey,” Skye says. “Who are you?”

“I wish you people would just leave me alone!” the woman yells in a thick French accent, waving her arms around wildly. Her bottle drops to the pavement and shatters. “Merde.”

Skye backs up, trying to appear as nonthreatening as possible. “I don’t know what people you’re talking about, but I’d be willing to buy you another beer if you tell me why we look alike.”

The woman looks at her suspiciously. “Vraiment?”

Skye nods, glad her lookalike is calming down. It feels like the right answer, even if she isn’t certain what she said.

“We can’t do it here or at my apartment…” She trails off, clearly expecting Skye to provide a meeting place.

“I have a hotel room,” Skye offers. She’s glad AC decided to splurge and let them get their own tonight. She’s not sure what she’d say to Fitzsimmons.

“That should be fine.”

“Okay, here’s my room card. I’m in that hotel,” she says pointing at the neon sign across the street. “Room number’s on the card. I’ll go get you that beer.” Skye smiles reassuringly at her, and she manages a hesitant smile in return, though she looks nervous.

“I, erm, I ordered from the list on the right, the third one down,” she says, accepting the room card and slipping it into her pocket. Skye turns around and walks back into the bar.

Jemma waves her over immediately, looking adorably concerned. “Where did you go?”

“Sorry. I just went to get a bit of fresh air. I’ll go get those beers now. Then I think I’m gonna turn in.”

Jemma looks like she wants to ask more questions, and her brow is furrowed. “Well, okay, I guess,” she says, frowning.

“Night,” Fitz says, not seeming to notice anything out of the ordinary.

“Night,” she replies. She walks back up to the bar and orders the three beers, none for her so they don’t get suspicious. Something tells her to keep this from them, just for a little while, even though she usually prides herself on not keeping things from her team anymore. She should figure out what’s going on herself before she worries them. It’s not like they don’t have enough to worry about. She puts Fitzsimmons’ glasses on the table and waves goodbye before walking out the door.

She wonders who the woman is to her. At first she’d assumed that they were twins, which is pretty logical given their visual similarities, but after her outburst, Skye isn’t so sure. She doesn’t know what else they could be, though. What, some mirage caused by an 084? Alternate realities? It’s all ridiculous stuff from science fiction. She knocks on the door, and her double opens it.

It’s not getting less freaky.

She walks into the small room, shutting the door behind her. She starts to wonder if this is such a good idea after all with the way this woman is acting, then steels herself. She’s been trying to find information about her family her entire life. She’s not giving up this opportunity now.

The woman takes the beer from Skye, twists off the cap, and takes a big gulp. “My name is Amalie,” she says, pausing for breath and figuring out what to say, “and we’re clones.”