“It's a female only cult. If any of us guys go in, they will slaughter us." Coulson told the women before him, who stood with curiosity at the next mission.
"Okay. So..." Daisy prompted for him to finish, waiting for explanation for why a mission was needed.
“They’re like modern day man-killers. They murdered all the men in their village, and their ‘Queen’ wields an 0-8-4." Phil explained, pointing to the map at the location in the Turkish-Italian mountains where the tribe of women lived.
“So… all of ‘em are like May but better?” Daisy joked, grinning. Melinda gave the girl a warning glare.
“No.” Coulson responded. “But us men will be waiting here on the Zephyr monitoring you all.”
“Whats the plan to retrieve the 0-8-4?” Bobbi asked, studying there terrain on the map.
“You will be going in as potential converts.” Phil answered. “Just give them some story about how the men in your life suck.”
“That shouldn’t be to hard.” Melinda muttered.
“Hey!” Coulson gave Melinda a look.
“Anyway, where is the 0-8-4?” Jemma asked.
“We don’t have very viable reports, but we believe that the alien artifact is in possession of their leader, who is regarded as the queen.” Coulson answered, and handed the agents communication devices.
Wrapping the hijab around her face and pinning it in place, Melinda fixed her billowy undercover attire, the outfits making the agents look more local, but Melinda loved this outfit. There were so many places to conceal weapons!
Joining her fellow agents, Melinda and Bobbi took the lead, guiding Yo-Yo, Jemma, and Daisy out and into the terrain. Sure, the outfits were good for hiding weapons, but not so much ventilation. The Turkish sun beat down upon the five women, leaving poor Jemma almost soaked in sweat. Daisy wasn’t that far behind, Yo-yo telling them to ‘woman up’ and that women have been living in heat worse than this for thousands of years.
“I’m gonna sue whoever invented clothing. I just wanna strip!” Daisy complained, fanning her face.
“We’re almost there.” Bobbi reported, scanning their surroundings, pointing to a narrow outcropping within the next half mile.
“Finally.” Jemma exclaimed, having discreetly fanned her own face by now.
“Movement on that ridge, three o’ clock.” Melinda ticked her head in the general direction. “We’re being watched.”
“Good.” Bobbi commented, and subtly pointed out another person up on the other side of the ridge.
Suddenly, three women dressed in a weird hybrid modern clothes, leather and armor ran from around the corner. They brandished spears, and The five agents backed into a circle.
“Who are you?” Melinda asked in Arabic. She hadn’t spoken this since Bahrain.
“Don’t even try, English-speaker.” One of the warriors said, “And I think you know who we are, considering that you are out here looking for us.”
“Well than, we are here to speak with your leader.” Jemma flashed a friendly smile and took a few steps forward. “I’m Jemma.” She said as she stuck her hand out for the speaker to shake. The woman frowned, and Jemma stepped back.
“How did you know about us?” One lady asked, glaring.
“Word of mouth.” Bobbi shrugged. “We heard that we could get away from our former lives by going with you guys.”
“First of all, we are not ‘guys’.” A warrior growled. “And second of all, there are no men in our village.”
“Perfect!” Yo-Yo smiled.
“Thats perfect! I left my husband in hopes of joining your reformation.” Apparently Yo’Yo’s word choice pleased them, because the women surrounded the agents and began marching.
Approaching a Small group of houses that were obviously a captured domain, The agent scanned their surroundings. The buildings were pressed up against the mountainside, overlooking a decent sized valley. They were escorted up to the largest home, and inside. The air conditioning was a welcome change from the outside temperature, the cool air washing over their faces. The rooms were almost empty, spare for necessities, the living room’s walls splashed with colored paint.
There was one woman with knee-length black hair, dressed in armor and a leather vest, her arms covered in tattoos and decorative scars. She was tall and well tanned. Beautiful, with heavy eye makeup that reminded Melinda of Katniss from the Hunger Games. She was surrounded by young girls - no older than fourteen at the very most - and was obviously discussing something with them in some language that Melinda didn’t recognize.
The woman brandished a spear, the tip made of some strange metal that was carved with strange symbols. The etched grooves glowed a ghostly blue.
“My queen.” The leader of the women who had brought them to the encampment called.
The regal woman turned to look at them, her eyes narrowing at the five newcomers. She shooed away the girls, and planted the butt of her short spear staff into the tile floors. She responded to the first warrior in the same melodic language.
“English speakers.” One woman told her. “They’re converts.”
“Oh really?” The queen switched to a perfect American accent, and approached Jemma. “This one doesn’t seem like much of a fighter.”
“Excuse me?” Simmons frowned, folding her arms. The queen raised an eyebrow. “You will always address me before you speak.” She hissed. “I am queen Termica of the Modern day Amazons.”
“Congrats on the cool name.” Daisy said. “-Queen Termica.”
“Silence filled the room. “So, why are you here?” Termica asked.
“Queen Termica,” Bobbi, the chosen speaker, stepped forward and knelt. “We have heard of your great deeds in freeing women of their husbands, captors, rapists, and oppressors. We agree with your message of feminism and wish to join your reformation.”
“Are you fertile?” The queen asked, ignoring Bobbi’s speech.
“Have you ever carried a baby to term?”
“Have you slept with any man recently?” Termica continued.
“Two month time frame is best, but three is acceptable.” Termica asked all of this with a strait face. “These are yes or no questions, so I’ll start over. All of you will answer at the same time.” She instructed. “Now, Are you fertile?”
A small chorus of reluctant ‘yes’s came, with May’s “I’m Fifty-four” cutting through.
“Have you ever carried a baby to term?”
“Have you slept with any man recently?”
Whispers of “Yes.” Surprisingly pleased the queen. “Perfect.” Termica purred. Lifting her spear, she walked up to Bobbi. “Boop.” She sneered playfully as she touched the tip of her spear to Bobbi’s middle, then Jemma, then Daisy, then Yo-yo, then finally May.
The second the tip of the stone touched May's lower belly, her ears rang and her vision went blurry. "What did you do!?!" She asked the Queen.
"I control many things with my weapon. I decided not to hurt you, or your friends. This is your test of loyalty,” The queen replied, smiling. Melinda's body shook as she exchanged a look with her fellow agents, her sight getting fuzzier by the second. A warrior ran up an injected something into her arm, emptying the syringe.
“What was that?!?!” Melinda growled.
“Synthetic Estrogen and Progesterone. The hormones will make it easier when you adjust.” The warrior answered with an evil gleam in her eyes, And Melinda didn’t have time to ask why she would need hormones before she blacked out.
Termica's intentions are revealed.
"May! May!" Daisy put her hand on her shoulder. "You alright?" May opened her eyes to the young girl leaning over her. Melinda immediately noticed the IV in her wrist. It pumping some kind of food substitute, May reasoned, reading the Arabic words on the IV bag.
The light was dim in the tidy room, The window shades closed. May could make out Jemma and Bobbi laying on their own beds. The room seemed like any other, with beds all lined up and a bookshelf-like cabinet in the corner with gowns folded on the racks.
She tried to sit up, but an unfamiliar weight and tightness in her stomach stopped her.
"Holy-" May breathed, and scanned her surroundings. Or more specifically, the other S.H.I.E.L.D. women around her. Daisy nodded. "We all are..."
"Pregnant." Jemma finished, making the situation real. “By my estimation, about six or seven-months along." The biochemist was also obviously uncomfortable, her arms wrapped around her extra-large stomach.
"How?" May asked. "I'm fifty-four. Fifty-four-year-olds don't get pregnant."
"Uh. Well, that's where you're wrong. Women have had healthy babies in their fifties." Jemma humphed.
"You're fifty?!?! Like, I can see Coulson as fifty, but you…. Wow, you're an immortal goddess!" Daisy ignored the look that May sent her.
"So how?" May returned to the former conversation, pulling herself up into a sitting position, her back scraping against the wall. She could tell that she no longer had her weapons, and they had taken her hijab too, letting her hair down. Melinda’s breasts hurt like hell, and she wracked her brain for any information that she had retained over the years on pregnancy.
"The 0-8-4 somehow did it.” Bobbi replied with sign language. The warrior women might be listening. “How long have we been here?”
“I can’t tell until nighttime, when the stars can come out.” Jemma told them.
"But how do we fix it?" May asked. The women around her gasped. "Uh, we have the babies..." Jemma slowly told her.
May stood on her shaky legs, and put a hand on her new baby belly. "What the hell? Is this immaculate conception? What about the father's?" May waited.
"I'll do a DNA test on us when we get back." Jemma whispered her offer to May. “But I have no clue.”
‘I’ve already ‘accidentally’ destroyed the camera in the corner.’ Bobbi signed.
‘Good.’ Yo-yo nodded.
A knock sounded on the door, and a younger woman walked in she might have been seventeen or eighteen, Melinda couldn’t tell. “Hello.” She smiled. “Forgive me, sisters, for my English is not very good. The queen has permitted me to be your assistant for the next few days and all they way until before your ceremonies.”
“Our ceremonies?” Jemma asked for clarification.
“Oh yes. The same day you give birth. The child is your right of passage, unless you birth a boy, in which you will have to try again.” She smiled. “I’m Shareta.”
“What’s it with the names?” Daisy asked. “And what happens to the baby boys?”
“Our names are direct translations of words in our language, which you will learnt in time.” Shareta smiled, ignoring Daisy’s second question.
“Learn.” Jemma corrected her.
“You are permitted to walk around the house and villages with an Amazon companion, but no communication with anyone who is not Amazon.” Shareta said, and asked, “Are any of you hungry?”
“Yes.” Several of the agents groaned, and Shareta Smirked. “I’ll be back in a small time.” She said before walking out the door.
As soon as she was gone, Bobbi said what they were all thinking. “We’re not gonna need to be undercover as long as planned.”
“Yeah, if they’re letting us in this easy….” Melinda added.
“Easy?!?!” Daisy retorted.
“Believe me. This is the easiest cult I’ve ever infiltrated.” Melinda huffed. “They’re practically handing us important information.”
Several minutes later, Shareta returned again, this time followed by two other girl with platters of food. “Its all vegetarian.” Shareta said. “We believe in a meat-free pregnancy.”
“Why?” Daisy asked frowning as she inspected her plate.
Shareta shrugged. “Because we believe that dead flesh is bad for the baby.”
Melinda was handed her own plate, which was, as explained, full of vegetarian food. “Where did you get this?” She asked.
“We captured a farm several moons ago.” Shareta answered. “Raids are so much fun!” She sat down next to Daisy, smiling. “Whats the fun part?” Daisy engaged the girl.
“The adventure!” She giggled. “I’ve been going out on raids since I was seven.”
“Impressive.” Daisy nodded. “Do you fight?”
“Oh yes.” Shareta responded. “Do you?”
“I know a little self defense.” Daisy responded. “Wanna spar sometime?”
“I don’t know about that during the pregnancy, but maybe.”
With Daisy’s connection with Shareta in place, all the women had to do was wait until nightfall to get the date. There was no way that they could get through six months of pregnancy in only a day, right? Because The guys would have come for them by now, breaking their cover.
When Evening fell, Jemma confirmed the impossible. “It’s still summertime.” She told them. “And the moon’s initial shape hasn’t changed.”
“But we had a few days before the micro-trackers we ingested eventually made their way out…” Yo-yo reminded them.
“So Fitz should still be able to pin-point our location.” Bobbi added.
“Yes.” Jemma confirmed. “But I don’t know if we can fight if we’re pregnant.” She said. “And if this happened in the span of one to five days, its more than obvious that the circumstances are far from normal.”
“So… your’e saying that for all we know, this… circumstance may be accelerated with alien science.” Daisy summarized.
“Exactly.” Simmons nodded.
After the women formed a plan, Melinda changed into one of the provided gowns, and stayed in the bathroom longer than needed. May scanned her reflection in the mirror. Before the Bahrain, she had been hopeful to someday carry a baby. But now… she wasn’t fit to be a mother.
She reached her hand down, snaking it over her new bump. The life within squirmed in response, and Melinda froze. It was an odd sensation, and she couldn’t really describe it with words. The movement made the situation real.
Melinda let herself smile. If this was her baby or not, whatever voodoo magic that 0-8-4 did had caused her to be pregnant, and that meant something.
The little baby moved again, pushing against Melinda’s spine.
Maybe they could get out of here along with the surprise babies.
the plot thickens as questions are asked and others are answered.
The next morning, The agents were permitted outside, still undercover. The biggest difference Melinda noticed was how her center of gravity had changed. Most women had already had six or seven months to ease into the change, but Melinda had one day.
She, along with Bobbi and Daisy were learning how to do everything around here in this village, with a strange mixture of modern and old. Every woman had a ‘guild’ as Shareta called them, which were basically groups of women that focused on one task. Some were hunters, some were in charge of clothing, some were farmers, all working together. If it weren’t for the man-slaughter, Melinda would have been impressed with the society these women had created.
Shareta explained that they would soon be assigned a guild depending on their skills, and that would be their contribution. Shareta herself was part of the mother and child guild, which Melinda basically understood as another name for their version of a midwife, Explaining why Shareta was their assistant.
“So how do we Amazons get more women?” Daisy kept her cover.
“Many times we rescue the wives of men that we’ve killed on raids, and bring them here, where the Queen uses her magic to force them to conceive, and speed up the pregnancy a few moons so that the women stay.” Shareta explained.
“And is the rest of the pregnancy also fast?” Daisy jumped forward to ask.
“Of course not. Just the first six moons. Then the pregnancy progresses normally for the final three moons.” Shareta answered, and pointed out the head house where the Queen lived, and where they had been taken earlier.
“But what of those who were born here?” Bobbi inquired. “And are still virgins?”
“We, uh, well, sometimes we rely only on converts who have slept with a man recently.” Shareta answered. "Which is why you and your companions are so welcome."
“Oh.” Daisy nodded. Melinda frowned. How…. Oh.
So the 0-8-4 somehow was able to force whatever was left behind after sex to join with an ova… what the hell? Melinda thought. How is this possible? This was beyond anything she understood.
“Aren’t we breaking national laws by killing and stealing?” Daisy pointed out, interrupting Melinda’s train of thought..
“The government doesn’t care about what happens this far out in the empty lands. And there are enough farms and small villages far enough apart that when we raid, we leave no male survivors to pass on news.”
“Ingenious.” Bobbi commented.
Shareta looked confused, “What?”
“Ingenious means smart.” Bobbi explained.
“Interesting.” Shareta said, And turned to lead the three women around the corner of the house. “Would you like to learn our language?”
“Oh yes please.” Daisy nodded.
“Alright, lets get started.”
“That was literally the most confusing thing I’ve ever learned.” Daisy sank down on her assigned bed, and looked up to May.
Melinda was also sitting, rubbing her hand up and down the bump. “I feel like a balloon.” May said. “Like when your’e full after a really big meal, and you know you need to loosen your belt, but everything’s ten times bigger.”
Daisy cracked up. “Yeah, thats pretty much it!”
“And the baby is moving a lot.” May said, her face flashing expressions as she felt the sensations. Daisy wiggled over. “May I?”
“Sure.” Melinda sighed, and daisy Pressed her hand down on May’s stomach. “Oh that feels wild,” daisy observed, and then removed her hand.
Melinda looked down again, and folded her legs under her. The decent sized baby bump rested nicely on her thighs, a pleasure she had never expected to ever have. And now she was here, undercover in a cult, suddenly seven months pregnant with a surprise baby of which she didn’t even know if it had a real father or not. Well, if Shareta’s cryptic explanation was somewhat correct… Melinda knew full and well who’s baby she carried.
But she couldn’t fight the same as before. Sure, she had once had a package strapped to her, but this was entirely different.
And she wasn’t alone.
May had four other women, plus their own unborn children, to think about.
“Hey, May, don’y cry.” Daisy came over, hugging the older woman. Melinda let the tears fall. How was she supposed to do this? Even if they got out of here with the babies, what were they to do? Melinda couldn’t just drop her job to take care of a baby she had only birthed, and yet… adoption broke her heart. The Zephyr nor the base was no place for a baby.
“Are we having a cry fest in here?” Bobbi came in.
“It’s to be expected. The hormones must be kicking in.” Shareta appeared at the door.
“My boobs hurt.” Daisy complained.
“That’s simply your milk glands-“ Shareta’s smirk was cut off by Daisy’s glare. “Well, I’m going to go find your friends, Elena and Jemma.” Shareta disappeared out the door.
“I wanna go home.” Daisy said. “Can we please get over this?”
“Soon, once we find a time to get that spear out of Termica’s hands.” Bobbi nodded, easing herself down onto her bed. “Hunter’s gonna be so surprised.” She laughed, and Melinda smirked. That was something she wanted to witness.
Shareta knocked on the door a few minutes later, Jemma and Yo-Yo in tow. The young amazon left, with promises of Lunch later.
Yo-yo rushed to toward the others. “If found out that there will be a party followed by a raid in two day time.” She said. “With most of the amazons gone, this is our chance.”
the men's POV as they start to figure out that somethings... different.
and also, I feel like publishing twice today.
“The trackers haven’t revealed that much.” Fitz reported. “But we only have five days before the trackers the ingested are passed out.” Fitz told Mack and Coulson. “But their monitors were removed, and I have no way of knowing anything about their present physical state besides their location.”
“What is that?” Mack pointed to the readings from a day and a half ago, right before one of the women’s monitors was destroyed. “What are those spikes?”
“Those confuse me as well.” Fitz frowned. “From what I was able to decipher, That blue one right there is her blood pressure. That green one is her hormone level, which we usually use to know if an agent has been drugged or not. The red one is her heart rate.” Fitz told them.
“But why did it all spike?” Coulson asked them.
“I’m not sure, but the hormone readings are strange, and nothing like I’ve ever seen before.” Fitz said. “They’re estrogen and Progesterone levels when up… abnormally.” Fitz seemed to try to choose his words wisely.
“Is there any time when it is normal? But why?” Mack asked.
“Well, the last time I saw this level was in one of mine and Jemma’s fellow students, Agent Sandy Murphy, back at the academy.”
“And what was so unique about her?” Coulson frowned.
“She was pregnant.” Fitz said.
There was complete silence that washed over the four men. “Who’s monitor readings are these?” Hunter asked.
“Uh… “ Fits moved some stuff on his tablet. “These are Bobbi’s.”
The readings changed slightly, and Fitz old them, “these are Jemma’s.” He flipped through several more, reading off each of the paired names.
“Stop.” Coulson said.
“What?” Fitz looked up.
“Whats that?” Coulson asked. Taking the tablet into his own hands and switching it back to May’s. “Oh God.” Coulson breathed. “And she’s on FSH.”
“What the hell is that?” Hunter asked.
“It’s a type of birth control.” Mack jumped in. “FSH is a hormone that prevents ovulation.”
“So?” Hunter shrugged.
“Listen man, did you have sex ed?” Mack sighed. “Progesterone and estrogen promote ovulation, and if May is on FSH….”
“When did you become a sex ed teacher?” Hunter snapped back. “I don’t understand a word out of your mouth, so please, speak English.”
Fitz, Coulson, and Mack sighed in unison. “Ovulation is when a woman releases an egg, and this process is triggered by estrogen and progesterone, and if the egg isn't fertilized, than it's passed of her body during her monthly time. FSH is a hormone that a woman can take to prevent ovulation, therefore also reduce her period significantly, but the main purpose of the Synthetic FSH is so that she can sleep with someone and has a much lower chance of getting pregnant. So with the estrogen and progesterone over riding the FSH, May could have a very painful experience.”
“Ohhhh.” Hunter nodded. “Meaning….”
“Oh god hunter, I’m going to talk to you later.” Mack nodded. “But Simmons could probably explain it better.”
“When she gets back.” Fitz reminded him.
“You mean if,” Coulson said, pointing to the trackers as they all blipped out of existence at once.
there will be plenty of #MayDaisy. I promise.
(Back to May’s POV, BTW)
“So, Shareta, I was wondering if I could invite my sister to join this reformation.” Daisy said, and quickly made up a story. “My sister, Raina, is soon to be married, but she is not ready, as she believes.” Daisy said, eating the provided lunch.
“There is no communication allowed outside the Amazon lands.” Shareta shook her head. “Maybe someday, when you come on a raid, we can stop and rescue her, but Queen Termica doesn’t allow communication.”
“How does she enforce that?” Bobbi inquired, frowning at the strange green mass of pressed vegetables on her plate.
“Our queen is very smart. Every other day at noon, she uses an EMP That turns off any device that is currently using electricity.” Shareta explained, “which is why the lights and the machine that makes cold air were turned off two hours ago.” Shareta explained.
“Did you mean the ’air conditioner’?” Bobbi corrected her English.
“Is that what they’re called?” Shareta watched The women nod. “Well than, yes.”
There was a silence among them, And Melinda considered what Shareta had just said. With an EMP… Than their trackers and monitors must have been deactivated. Which meant that the guys must be panicking. Great. Hopefully, the men would be sane enough to stay put until Jemma used her secret comm. If not, than things could get messy… fast.
“I talked to the queen, and she wants to find you a guild.” Sharers told them, standing at the door, her arms crossed. “Depending on your work, you will be given need clothes that fit your needs.”
“So what is the meaning of yours?” Melinda asked her, hoping to receive practical attire for herself.
“Mine is simple, and is meant to be a calm look that is easy on the new-mothers.” Shareta explained, fingering the soft, long dress tied with a cord at the waist. “Unlike the queen’s, which is meant to express her position.”
“So, depending on the job -I mean guild- I might get a different style of clothing.” Daisy asked for confirmation. Shareta gave it.
“I have to say, I’m really liking the ‘no bras’ part.” Bobbi shrugged, smirking.
“That is another cultural part of the Amazons.” Shareta said. “We removed all of you sister’s breast bindings, and burned them.” May could understand that action. “But Queen Termica wishes to have you settled in a guild so that you may join us in a celebration in two days.” Shareta said, and took Yo-yo and Daisy’s plate as the women finished. May scooped the last of her squash and seasoned rice into her mouth, handing the plate and fork to the girl. The other ladies finished as well, Shareta leaving with the excess.
“I cannot wait until this is over.” Melinda mumbled, her hand coming down to rest beside her baby bump, a habit that had taken hold of her in the last day an a half. Her baby moved against the sides of her enlarged belly, not happy with Melinda’s full stomach taking up more space than it thought the organ needed.
An unexpected wave of nausea washed over May, and the woman was barely able to make it to the toilet before he emptied her stomach.
“May, you alright?” Daisy called, And Melinda put her hand up in reassurance as she kept by the toilet bowl, her body telling her that she wasn’t done.
Melinda frowned at the regurgitated lunch, reaching up to flush away the vomit. Suddenly Daisy appeared, and pulled a towel off the rack, running some cool water over it, and handing it to the older woman, who wiped her face. “You aren’t alone, May.” Daisy whispered, easing herself to the bathroom floor to sit next to her former S.O.
Daisy sat, waiting as Melinda rested her forehead against the cool ceramic. May let one hand massage her belly, the bought of nausea slowly subsiding. “To hell with this.” May muttered. “I can’t keep throwing up everything I eat.”
“Wait,” Daisy squinted her eyes. “You haven’y been able to keep any food down? How long has this been happening?”
“Since this happened.” Melinda referenced to her stomach, her eyes still closed. Breath in, breath out. It’s that simple, Melinda. May thought, pulling herself up, and folding her knees against her belly, which made it an awkward position. Leaning against the wall, May closed her eyes again.
“But… why?” Daisy inquired. “My body somehow adjusted quickly.”
“I was on birth control.” May answered. “I don’t know if I’m reacting to some kind of weird withdrawal symptoms mixed badly with the synthetic hormones these amazons gave me or what. But theses last two days have been rough.” May explained, Daisy’s face expressing her concern.
“Maybe you should talk to Shareta.” Daisy suggested. “I think that she has good intentions, but is simply misguided.” Melinda hummed in agreement. “Or maybe ask for food with less seasoning that would be easier on your stomach.” Daisy idealized. “If Shareta-“
“I heard my name, sister?” Shareta appeared. “Elena informed me that you were sick, Sister.” Shareta kneeled down next to Melinda, the sixteen-year-old touching her shoulder. May shied away from the touch. “If the food is not to your liking, I can have the cooking guild change your diet.”
“Thank you.” Melinda nodded, and Shareta smiled, obviously pleased that her suggestion was a good idea. “I’ll get to that immediately.” Shareta smiled and nodded a quick farewell, and left.
Daisy scooted over to May, and hugged her. Daisy closed her eyes, and May took her hand. “I’ll be okay, Daisy.” May told her.
“Woah.” Daisy breathed. What? How was than an answer?
“What is it?” May asked.
“I can feel the vibrations of your baby’s heartbeat.” Daisy concentrated on something. Suddenly, a soft and steady ‘fa-woosh fa-woosh fa-woosh’ filled the room, and Melinda realized that Daisy had recreated the sound by sensing and absorbing the vibrations, then using her power to remake the collection of heartbeats.
Both women sat in awe at the sound, and the repetitive noise was something that May memorized. The consistency was soothing, and May closed her eyes.
‘Fa-woosh fa-woosh fa-woosh’
The calm serenity, even in the last day’s chaos, was something that May needed to reorientate herself. And what better way than to do so to the beat of her baby’s heart beat?
‘Fa-woosh fa-woosh fa-woosh’
Yes. Definitely something she needed.
The women get their assigned guilds, and come up with a plan to get the 8-8-4
“Sister, the queen wishes to find you a guild.” Shareta was gently shaking May awake. Daisy was gone from her side, and Melinda had never even realized that she had fallen asleep on the bathroom floor. She was awfully sore. Who knew that being pregnant also affected one’s sleep positions?
Shareta extended a hand to the agent, and May reluctantly accepted it.
“Sister, I have asked the cooking guild to change your diet.” Shareta told her. “They will begin to cook food that should be easier on your stomach.”
“thanks.” Melinda pursed her lips and nodded with a small smile.
“The queen is in the head-house.” Shareta said. “Sisters Barbra, Jemma, and Daisy have already been assigned.” Shareta lead Melinda outside. The sun was a drastic change from the cool house that Melina had been sharing with her fellow agents. Melinda scanned her surroundings. There were two spots worn into the ground beside the front door, proof that There were guards at night.
Melinda followed Shareta down the broken path and to the largest house.
Just as they reached the front entry, the door opened. Jemma and her own Amazon guide exited, Jemma chattering happily. “I believe that you will enjoy the medicine guild.” The guide said.
“The queen will interview you, and try to find the best guild for your skills.” Shareta nodded, holding the door open for Melinda and following after the pregnant woman.
“Melinda, you have no need to address me formally here. In this room, we are sisters in combat.” The queen was sitting at a table, the chairs hard and uncomfortable looking. May sat down. “I have been informed that you have been feeling unwell, and that you will be receiving a separate diet.”
“Yes.” Melinda nodded, and folded her hands in her lap.
“Have you adjusted well?” Termica asked, brushing some of her thick wavy hair over her shoulders.
“I can tell that you are strong. While you five were sleeping, I examined your physical form, already hoping to analyze where I’d want you.” Temica put her hands on the table. “You seem to be a fighter, so I want to ask you some questions.”
“Fire away.” Melinda shrugged.
“Do you wish to raise your child - if it is a girl -or would you rather Shareta find you a wet nurse, who bore a male child?”
“I’m… not sure.” Melinda answered.
“Alright.” Termica squinted. “Can you fight?”
“I have some self defense.” Melinda answered. If only the queen knew.
“Than you seem like the perfect candidate for our hunters and Warriors.” Termica turned around, and called to someone in the amazon language. May thanked her experience in this kind of thing, recognizing several words.
“Thank you.” Melinda forced a smile, waiting. An amazon came in, and handed Melinda a box. “Inside is several outfits already fitted to your form. They are standard of hunters and warriors.” Termica said. “But if this guild does not suit you, we can see about finding you another.” Termica added, waving her hand and dismissing the other woman.
“Obviously, you cannot join the guild until you have had your ceremony.” Termica continued, “But training is something we believe in.”
“Alright.” Melinda sighed.
“You will start tomorrow morning, and attend the guild meeting.”
“Sanitarium! They put me in the cleaning guild!” Daisy huffed. “What the hell?!?”
“Medicine for me.” Jemma grinned, leaning back.
“At least you got something you like.” Bobbi sighed. “Guess what? I’m a cook! I get to go kill animals!” Bobbi growled with disgust.
“And you, Elena?” Daisy turned to the Latina woman. “Boarder patrol.” Elena answered. “I get to stand around and watch the valley once the baby is born.” Yp-yo answered, then turned to May. “Alright, May, spill.”
“Warrior and hunting.” Melinda sighed.
“Lucky!” Daisy whined. “Have you seen your clothes yet?”
Melinda glanced to the box in her lap, teetering on the edge of her knees as it fought for space against her stomach. “No.”
Well, there are more important things to discuss.” Bobbi whispered, checking the door to make sure that it was closed. The outside twilight was slowly fading into the windows, the sun disappearing. “Tomorrow is the last day before our chance to get that spear.” Bobbi said.
“During my introduction to the rest of the cooking guild, They talked about a large outdoor meal followed by a raid.” Bobbi told them.
“And I found out that most of the women will be out on the raid.” Elena added. “But Termica will stay behind to party with the rest of the Amazons.”
“Perfect.” Daisy nodded. “One of us will get the spear, and then we all will meet behind this building so that Jemma can make the transmission to the guys.”
“You all will never guess what I found in their storehouse.” Bobbi grinned, and reached int her dress, and pulled out a small cloth bag, opened it, pouring some of the contents for the others to see. Melinda stood up to see the dried roots.
Jemma frowned in confusion. She walked over, and picked one up. Sniffing it, she grinned. “Oh Bobbi, your’e genius!”
“What is it?” Daisy asked.
“Valerian root.” Jemma answered. “The most powerful natural sedative known to man.”
the SHIELD agents put their plans into action.
Melinda woke up early enough to open the box of her new clothing. She looked at the garments with disapproval. Tight leather and wool crop-tops served as the top half, and a cloth wrap-around skirt and leggings waited to be worn. Frowning in exasperation, Melinda grabbed the outfit and went to the bathroom, and changing into the clothing. Coming back out, she saw that Daisy was awake. “What the hell are you wearing, May?”
“My uniform… Or whatever this is.” Melinda shrugged.
Daisy snickered, and Melinda rolled her eyes as she opened the front door. As she already knew, Two women dressed the same as her waited outside, guarding the women’s dwelling.
“Good morning.” One said, and Melinda nodded. The warriors turned, indicating that she should follow, which Melinda did. They lead her to the head-house, and the queen waited along with thirty or forty other women dressed in the same leather top, wool skirts and leggings. Most brandished spears, and they parted like a wave to let Melinda through. May approached Termica, the queen’s hair in a braid that brushed the floor. Termica smiled, reaching out a scarred hand for May to shake.
“Sister, we wish to welcome you.” One said. “The queen herself will judge your skill in combat, and then place you with one of us to train until you reach close to birth, and then your training will commence after the child is born if it is female.”
“And if it is a boy?” May asked.
“Than you will leave it in the mountains.” The woman answered. “Then you will carry again.” She paused. “But let us adjourn to the arena. The queen thinks that you are to be tested now, and not wait.”
May nodded, and all the women filled out through the back door, Melinda seeing a dirt circle surrounded by a small fence. “Fight your best.” Someone said.
Queen Termica herself stepped into the arena, and waited for Melinda. “No weapons.” She said, and May followed. “I and my companions attended a class outside of our husband’s knowledge.” She lied.
“Well than, are you afraid?” Termica flashed a friendly smile. “I will do what I can not to harm the child, as will you.”
They stepped into starting stances, and the woman who had explained all this to May called out, “Begin!”
Melinda waited for Termica to come for her, and studied her style, in case se needed it tonight, and as soon as Termica got within swinging range, Melinda dodged, spun around, and tried to kick her, but her newly enlarged stomach made all the difference, Leaving Melinda fighting to keep her balance. May grabbed a hold of Termica’s long rope of hair, tugging it backward.
Termica was able to over take her, picking up May. Melinda wrapped her thighs around Termica’s neck, squeezing. The queen stumbled, and Melinda resisted her wish to roll away, following the instant to keep her baby safe.
Termica released Melinda, and twisted around to wrap her arm around May’s waist, but Melinda knew this move to well. Elbowing Termica’s chest, May flipped her position, grabbing the queens wrist. Managing to get the other one in her grasp as well, They stood in the dirt, both straining to fight the other. Wrestling had never been Melinda’s favorite move to pull, but right now, it was her only option. Kicking forward as hard as she could, both women fell backward, Melinda catching herself and stopping her body from slamming into the ground.
“Good fight, sister.” Termica pulled herself up, and said something that left the other warriors speechless. “I wish to train you myself.”
That evening, Melinda watched as the warriors and several guild’s members loaded up into half a dozen or more jeeps, and took off with loud whoops and shouts. The feast had already been finished, and now it was Bobbi’s turn to do her part.
Returning to the party beside the queen, Melinda waited and watched until she saw Jemma slip something to Bobbi. Turning to the queen, Melinda asked, “Where are they raiding?”
“A ranch just around the mountain in the other valley.” Termica walked up to the rest of the women, firelight dancing in her eyes.
Crap. That was the valley were the Zephyr waited, May realized.
A happy shout arose as A woman threw more logs into the fire, and May smiled as She watched Bobbi discreetly throw in a package.
As the logs caught fire, so did Bobbi’s smoke bomb.
Melinda could smell the burning Valerian root, and smoke absolutely filled the clearing. May locked eye’s with Jemma, who took off the pennant to her bracelet, pressing the stone to begin sending the zephyr a message.
Termica frowned in confusion, and Melinda took her chance, Running toward the queen. Kicking her into the smoke, Melinda grabbed the spear from her grip, and ran like hell.
the agents finally have a reunion, and the guys get a surprise.
It was almost midnight when Jemma’s transmission came through. Fitz called the other men in to hear the short message.
“Hey, we got the 0-8-4! We need an immediate extraction as soon as possible! Something happened, and we can’t keep fighting like this. I’m sending our location!” Simmons voice crackled, and the transmission was put on repeat. Mack plugged in the coordinates, and the Zephyr lifted its cloaking as it auto-piloted itself to the valley. There was a massive fire in the center of a circle of houses. There were several forms of women fighting, and as soon as the plane landed, The men ran off, guns drawn.
“We trusted you!” A woman with ankle-length hair screamed at someone. The lady was dressed in leather and metal, and brandished two spears.
Phil looked at the scene, and almost had a heart-attack. Daisy, dressed in a long dress, ran at the terrifying woman and attempted to fight her.
“Quake her!” Mack yelled. For some reason, Daisy didn’t, and the woman pinned her, holding her spears against Daisy’s chest. Phil watched in awe, the fire light staining everything with orange light. Suddenly Melinda ran from between flames, a glowing spear in her hands, the tip flashing blue. Light reflected off her exposed skin, a leather skirt and crop-top really making the agent pull off the amazon flare. Phil watched in shock as she ran, spear ready, at the woman threatening Daisy. Then Phil realized why May looked different.
Her stomach was enlarged. She was pregnant.
Phil blinked, believing that it was a trick of the light, but the sight stayed in place. What the hell?
Melinda engaged the Amazon woman, both fighting faster than his eyes could follow. Melinda was graceful as always, but was obviously choosing moves that would keep her from jerking and flying. May swung her spear, and knocked one of the weapons from the woman’s hand. Daisy lept up, and grabbed it.
Daisy was pregnant too.
Melinda stabbed forward, driving the woman backwards. Daisy worked in perfect coordination, waiting until the Amazon woman was close before driving the spear through her thigh. Melinda took advantage of her opponent’s wounds, and punched the woman, knocking her out.
A young Amazon girl stood beside the fire, watching with fear. “Run, Shareta! Don’t get hurt!” Daisy yelled at her. The teen turned and fled.
“I got Jemma!” Fitz called to him, also seemingly to be having a strong reaction to the way things were unfolding. Then Phil realized the Fitz was carrying a Pregnant Jemma. WHY WERE ALL THE WOMEN PREGNANT?!?!
Bobbi ran through the fire, Lance not far behind, and they boarded the Zephyr. Mack had his arm around Elena, Guiding the pregnant inhuman to the plane.
A horde of enraged women covered in blood came screaming out and into the clearing, ready to engage the SHIELD agents.
Daisy ran past him, but Phil didn’t notice. He watched in awe as his lover stood up from the fight, her eyes reflecting the flames as Melinda raised her blue spear and jogged toward him, the angry amazons hot on her trail. Melinda shook hair from her eyes, and looked at him. He stared at her exposed stomach. “Yes. Phil, we’re having a baby. Come on!” She said, dragging him along, and up into the belly of the zephyr.
Fitz was already setting the coordinates to back home, and the plane lifted into the air, the ramp closing. Melinda held the spear, eyes narrowed. Phil scanned the length of her body, totally not noticing that she had probably gone up a cup size.
“You okay?” She asked.
“I should be asking that of you.” He stuttered.
“Besides this damn 0-8-4 forcing me to conceive, I’m just like I was five days ago.”
“But… but, how are you this far along?!?!” Phil stared at her stomach.
“Damn 0-8-4 magic. I don’t know!”
“Will the rest of it be as fast?” His eyes went wide. If someone told him he would be holding his and Melinda’s baby in a week, he wouldn’t be surprised, especially with how crazy 0-8-4s were these days.
“No. Shareta told us that the rest should be normal.” Melinda huffed, and walked into the lab. “Whatever you do, DON’T touch the spear tip.” Melinda warned the scientists. “Or Leo might end up getting Jemma pregnant every time they sleep together.”
Fitz blushed, as well as Jemma.
There was silence as each of the Zephyr members stood in a circle. “Okay, What the hell happened?” Mack asked. “Not that we’re mad, just confused.”
“The 0-8-4 looks to have kree writing on the side.” Jemma said, looking closely at the spear. “And with the translation data that Lady Sif gave us, it seems to be a fertility enhancer.”
“Well.” Hunter broke the quiet. “Thats a first.”
The agents stood in a circle, and Hunter spoke up again. “At least it’s my baby, right?”
“Thats what Shareta said, but we truly don’t know.” Jemma said. “So to answer everyone’s questions, I want all of you in the lab for a parental DNA test.” Jemma said. “Now.”
the men get some answers.
“Alright.” Jemma opened the cabinets. “First I need to ask some personal questions.”
“Crap.” Daisy muttered.
“Pair up with the last person you slept - with if they’re here.” Jemma ordered, and folded her arms. “If this is a one-night-stand with a civilian thing, than you need to tell me.”
Bobbi and Hunter shamelessly paired up, and Yo-yo and Mack scooted together. Fitz bit his lip as he joined Jemma, and May and Coulson stared at each other from the other side of the room, and the team glanced between the two agents.
“Daisy? May?” Jemma forced a smile.
May sighed loudly with annoyance as she moved across the room to Coulson. “Your turn, Daisy.” Melinda grumbled.
“Well, you see…” Daisy started, and looked at the ground. “He’s not here.”
May snorted. “What, a civilian?”
“No.” Daisy shook her head, and seemed distressed as she chose her words lightly. “Actually, Lincoln’s alive.”
There was silence in the lab. “What?!?!?” Mack gasped.
“So he’s alive and kickin’.” Hunter summarized.
“Yeah, he’s been staying in an apartment downtown…” Daisy said, folding her arms and leaning against the wall. “He didn’t want you all to know that he’s alive, but…”
“How is he alive?!?” Coulson asked. “The spaceship blew up!”
“He was rescued by the ISS.” Daisy told them. “I had him returned to me, and bribed the astronauts not to say anything. So there is no record of him. Thats why I snuck out several weeks ago; I was with him.”
“And thats why you’ve been disappearing at night.” Bobbi added. Daisy nodded.
There was quiet moment and each one of them stared at Daisy. “Well.” Jemma smiled. “Lets get started.”
“What exactly are you going to do?” Yo-Yo asked.
“A cheek swab for the men, and a blood test for the women.” Jemma answered. “Each of us women have traces of our Baby’s blood in ours. And because the fetus is half us and half of our partner, the Blood cells will have a different DNA code than the mother.” Jemma explained.
“Alright then.” Fitz raised his eyebrows, passing out swabs for the men.
“Line up.” Jemma cheerfully smiled, pulling out a collection of instruments to draw blood. “Bobbi, you wanna go first?”
“Well, this is perfect!" Jemma sighed, and held up the vial of drawn blood. She had been up all night pairing DNA strands, testing them, and separating Fetus blood from it’s mother’s. By now, Jemma's eyes were shadowed by dark circles. "This sample proves that this is Fitz's and mine!" She beamed.
"What about mine?" Bobbi asked.
"Hunter's." Jemma nodded. Bobbi looked relieved. And so did Lance, for that matter.
"What about mine?" Daisy asked. Jemma went quiet. "Yours and Lincoln’s,” the scientist responded. Daisy teared up, and smiled to the ground.
Elena ran off to tell Mack their good news.
“Let me finish running your’s, May.” Jemma said, and reached for the sample and results on the screen as they printed out. Reading the diagnostic, she looked up at the older agent. “This is your Baby’s DNA.” She said, pointing to a printed out picture on the paper. “That there is your DNA , and this one is Agent Coulson’s DNA.” Jemma handed May the paper. “Its a perfect Mix. 98.2% match.” Jemma said.
May pursed her lips. Turning around, she started the trek to Phil’s office. Opening the door, Melinda slipped inside, her unfamiliar baby bump brushing the doorframe.
"We need to talk" May said softly.
"About the baby?" Coulson guessed.
"I'm so sorry." He breathed.
May gave him a quizzical look.
"It's not Andrew's baby." May said.
Phil raised his eyebrows in question, then broke into a smile.
He reached out and hugged May, wrapping his arms around her. Phil kissed her, his hand coming down to press against the tightness of her stomach. "I love you so much." He told her. "And our baby."
“Stop.” May suddenly said, her face coming down, moving away, her hand reaching down to remove his from her belly. Phil kept his thumb on her cheek. “We can’t jump to conclusions.” Melinda whispered.
“What?” Coulson opened his eyes, frowning as May pulled away.
“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” May whispered.
“Promises that I can’t keep?” Phil echoed. “I don’t-“
“This baby doesn’t tie us together. Your’e free to go.” May said, her heart breaking at her own words. Phil hadn’t signed up for this role. He’d been shoved into fatherhood three months from her due time. She wasn’t going to force him into something that he probably didn’t want with her.
“Free to go?” Phil frowned, reaching for awe hand. “No, Mel, I want this.”
May sighed, still looking down. “You don’t have to do the-“
“Noble thing? To hell with that, May. I’m doing this because I love you.”
The morning had been chaotic, figuratively speaking. With Jemma’s confirmation that each woman carried her lover’s baby, all the agents were trying to figure out what to do. Jemma was ordering all field activity should be prohibited for the pregnant women, but May, Bobbi, Daisy, and Yo-yo all argued that they were perfectly capable of protecting themselves.
Hunter was dotting all over Bobbi, even though he had only found out the he would be a dad in the last twelve hours.
Fitz was still shook, staring at Jemma’s middle as if it were to stare back every time the scientist was around him. The poor engineer was jumpy at Simmons every request for assistance, and had already been caught reading an article on dealing with hormonal pregnant women.
Mack was already filing for parental leave, Yo-Yo arguing that she wasn’t ready. “I’m a capable human being, Turtle man!” She said.
Daisy wanted to wait until she went home to Lincoln and broke their news. The inhuman was afraid of her powers, fearing that the natural vibrations that her inhuman genes caused her to emit and handle would be to strenuous on her baby.
And then there was the hot mess that was Coulson and May.
The two veteran agents were absolutely freaked out, and Coulson wouldn’t shut up or stop asking questions as May answered them with only one word. May wouldn’t let him touch her stomach whenever he wanted, saying that he shouldn’t get to attached because she didn’t know what the future held. Coulson was trying to cook for her, but the specialist wouldn’t let him. “We’re in this together.” Phil said, folding his arms as he leaned against the fridge, trying to persuade May to come to bed.
“This isn’t even your fault.” May said, trying to cross her legs as she sat on one of the chairs pulled up to the counter. “It’s the 0-8-4’s.”
“But that kid is half me, half you. Don’t you think that means something?” He begged.
“I don’t want to force you into something that you wanted for Audrey!” May snapped.
Phil stared at her. “You think that I didn’t ever want a baby with you?” He replied, referencing to her stomach.
“I-“ Melinda bit her lip.
“I used to dream of little babies who looked like you and called me ‘Daddy’.” Phil told her. “But then you married Andrew, so that was thrown away.”
“See? You don’t want that now, don’t you.” May said.
“I never said that.” Phil responded. “I was just respecting the fact that you were happily married to a man that. Was. Not. Me.” Phil said. “So if anything, I should be asking you if you want this.”
He had turned the conversation around in an instant. Now May had to answer.
“Listen…” Phil sighed, walking forward and setting his hands to the table. “I’ve made my decision that I want this.” Phil said, closing his eyes. “And if you don’t, I’m going to ask you - plead for you- to carry that baby to term so that we can raise them together. That or I’ll leave SHIELD and raise that kid by myself. With or without you. Because I love you. I love the chance that we’re getting, I love-“
May got up, and walked over. Reaching up to turn his face toward her, May bit back the tears. “Are you sure?”
“I’ve never been more sure in my life.”
“What about SHIELD?” May frowned.
“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“You JUST found out about this.” May reminded him.
"And We'll figure it out together." Phil nodded.
"together." May echoed his whisper. "together."
That night, Daisy went home to Lincoln.
Bobbi and Hunter stayed the night in a hotel - away from the team.
Jemma and Fitz called their parents.
Mack and Yo-Yo retreated to their room.
May and Coulson had argued in the common room. Coulson won, and they slept that night in different rooms. May insisted.
The next morning, nobody reported in for work. Coulson had filed for all the women's removal from active duty to adjust. He was able to set this as "Recovery - Post Trauma" letting the women still receive paychecks for the next three months, which then they could claim maternity leave, and then they had six to eight month break from SHIELD.
Daisy was still with Lincoln downtown.
Bobbi was cursing about her restrictions . . . -such as no beer or raw fish.
Jemma and Fitz had flown to England on vacation to figure things out together, and meeting up with their parents.
Mack and Yo-Yo were still holed up in their room, 'talking' things out.
May decided that maybe nights alone while pregnant were a bad idea after she freaked out and suddenly realized that she had banished him from her room. The poor, hormone-ridden specialist was reduced to a blubbering mess as she crawled into Phil's bed at four in the morning, crying and apologizing for letting him be alone. He held her close that night.
But an hour later, Melinda had thrown up on the floor, unable to make it to the bathroom in time.
And that's how Phil found her at five in the morning, leaning her forehead on the cold ceramic as she threw up nothing but bile.
"I just keep throwing up." Melinda sighed, sensing his presence.
"We should take you to a doctor." he suggested, avoiding the badly cleaned up vomit on the tile floor.
"We can't." Melinda said. "We both know that there is no way we can go without having to explain that a Kree spear-head made me conceive strait into seven months along in pregnancy."
"We could pull the 'I didn't know I was pregnant' move."
Melinda fixed him with a forced stare. "Phil, put on your glasses. I'm fat as a whale. There is no way in hell that we could pull that off without being drug tested."
"You are not fat." Phil said, touching her shoulder. "You have another human in your uterus."
"I know. An extra ten pounds of water and flesh that I'm not used to yet." Melinda sighed, brushing her hair from her eyes as she faced him. "Phil. . ."
"Yes?" He looked up, picking up on her hesitant manor. "Melinda?"
"I know that -technically- the baby was conceived when we were drunk last weekend." Melinda looked down, her hand sliding down her stomach.
"Yes?" Phil nodded.
"Do you truly feel the same? Can we make this work?" Melinda wasn't asking anything more from him.
"I think, no, I know we can." He looked up. "I know you -we- never planned on children after . . ." he looked at her. Melinda knew what he meant. Bahrain. "But we are given a chance here. I know we aren't the youngest of parents-"
Melinda snorted. "You'll be sixty by their fifth birthday." she realized.
"So will you!" Phil said in defense. "Well, for you, they'll be six."
Somehow, discussing their possible future on the bathroom floor as she tried not to puke was something May found amusing. But Phil continued, "So, if you'll let me just, adjust to the news, I'll be happy to be with you. I'll spend every day for the rest of my life keeping you and the baby safe."
Melinda smiled, looking up from her position with her back to him. She inhaled sharply.
"You okay?" Phil asked her.
"Yeah. I'm hungry, but I can't keep anything that I eat down, and I'm sore." she answered. "I think that my FSH is still a problem, and who knows the quality of the synthetic hormones the Amazons gave me."
"We should really find an OB, or at least a doctor." Phil added."But we can't do anything legal without having to file cult abduction, rape, or illegal drug charges." He said.
"Maybe there is a SHIELD doctor who can help us?" May suggested. "And Then we can figure things out from there." She twisted around, wincing. Seeing Phil's reaction to her grimace, May informed him, "Baby didn't like that."
"What's it feel like?" He asked without thinking. May went quiet. She wrapped her arms around the baby bump, looking downward. "I'm sorry, I-"
"No, no. Its fine." Melinda violently shook her head, grimacing again. "Remind me not to do that when I'm nauseous." She whispered. "But, I guess it feels; weird. It's a movement that isn't mine. I'm not expecting it." She answered. "And when it moves around between naps. The baby moves sometimes when I talk."
"They have ears already?" Phil didn't think, and corrected himself after May's raised eyebrow of 'really?'.
"Yeah. Last night, when I was upset. He moved a lot."
"Just a hunch." Melinda smiled. "May women only have girls, but I've always been a rule-breaker." She nodded.
"May I . . . Would you let me, uh, feel him?" Phil sheepishly asked.
Melinda didn't answer. She reached out for his hand, and Phil complied, May tugging him closer. She placed his palm on her warm stomach. Her skin was tightly stretched to contain their child, and Melinda told him to wait. The rewarding shove against his hand made him smile. "How did you know he would move?" Phil asked her.
"He heard your voice." Melinda answered.
Phil smiled again, the baby pushing into his hand. "I'll look into some SHIELD doctors that are still around. I don't like seeing you in pain. Especially now."
----- -:x:- ----
By that afternoon, Phil Coulson had gotten in contact with former Agent Sandra Murphy, and Melinda would fly the two -three- of them to Vermont that evening to meet with her. Fitzsimmons had called home to base, explaining that they were in England, and would probably be there for a while. They expressed their concern for May's ever-growing hormone reaction problems, and wished them to tell Sandy 'hi' for them.
May had packed a bag, and the two agents planned to drop by Melinda's mother's house after their appointment next day if Lian would let them. "you're telling my mom." Melinda said.
"No, we tell her together." Phil compromised as they both stared at the phone in fear, sitting on their bed, mentally preparing their speeches. Finally, Melinda reached over and dialed her mother's number.
"Qiaolian!" Was the first thing out of the other end.
"Yes, māmā?" Melinda smiled with forced determination.
Lian went into a rant of angry mandarin words that Phil didn't understand, but by the look on his partner's face, it was something about not calling enough. "Māmā! English for Phil, please. . . Xie-xie."
"Phillip." Lian greeted him coldly.
"Mrs. May." Phil returned.
"Why have you two called?" One could almost hear her squint her eyes.
"Well, you see, there was a mission, and an 0-8-4, and crazy amazon ladies." Phil gulped. May rolled her eyes. "I'm pregnant, Māmā." Melinda interrupted.
There was silence on the other end.
Neither Melinda or Phil knew what to say as they waited. "I am to have a grandchild?" Lian asked.
"Yes, Māmā." Melinda answered.
"How far along?"
"About seven months, We aren't sure." Phil told her. "The mission turned out more complicated than expected. And Melinda isn't the only one pregnant. Every other woman on the mission also is seven months-"
"I'm not here for your excuses, Phillip, for you sleeping with my daughter-" Lian snapped. "-And not making her an honest woman first."
"It's not Phil's fault." May jumped in. "It just happens to be his baby."
"It sounds a lot like his fault to me."
"Well, you will not believe me if I explain." May said expectedly.
"The 0-8-4 touched me. I got pregnant. Within a day I was seven months along. And so were Bobbi, Jemma, Daisy, and Elena. I'm not the only one. It's the 0-8-4, māmā, not Phil, but we will be in Vermont tomorrow, for a doctor's appointment." Another beat of silence followed.
"You're right, I dont believe you." Lian said. "You come, spend the nights with me. No arguing, Qiaolian."
And the line went dead.
That evening, Melinda landed the Zephyr in her Mother's backyard. Exchanging a glance with Phil before she opened the ramp, May stepped down the metal slope, leaning back to keep balance.
Lian May was a short woman, shorted than even May, and she stood with a menacing look from the patio. Phil decided to focus on the large assortment of potted plants instead of her, not willing to admit that he was low-key terrified of the former CIA agent.
"Māmā." May greeted her mother. Lian starred up, and back down at her daughter's stomach. "You weren't lying." she observed.
"No, Māmā." Melinda said, walking forward. Phil following. "Phillip." Lian regarded him.
"Mrs. May." Phil ventured. "Thank you for letting us stay in your home."
Lian looked up at May. "At least he says 'thank you'." She squints.
"Xie-xie." May starts.
"To late." Lian turns, leading them inside. Phil carries Melinda's bag for her. There was no way in Hell he was going to appear as nothing short of a gentleman to Mrs. May.
"When will you meet with your doctor?" Lian asks once they are inside.
Phil has been here before, recognizing marble counters, the iron circle wrap around stairs that held the ancient bamboo plant upwards. The floors were wood, well word. Spots in the carpet showed the wear and tear of a younger Melinda.
"Tomorrow at eleven." Melinda answered her. Phil set down their bags. "You may stay in the guest room, Phillip. Melinda, your bedroom is just as you left it." Lian challenges them.
"Māmā, I'll stay with -" Melinda starts.
"You are not married." Lian squints her eyes again in warning.
"Wō ai tā." May glares back.
Phil wants to ask 'what happened to english for Phil', but chose the safer option when he was in a house with two deadly women.
"Fine." Lian glares. The evening has set in, the sunset melting into twilight. "Phillip, take the bags upstairs to your room."
"Melinda, stay with me." Lian says.
"Yes, Māmā." Melinda eases herself down on the couch. Lian waits. "Tell me how this happened." She says, then turned too look behind herself, down the hall. "All the way upstairs, Phillip!"
"Yes, Mrs. May." Phil guiltily responds, his voice growing fainter.
"He forgets I was once a spy." She mutters. "Now, Qiaolian, tell me the truth."
"We were serious. The 0-8-4 was some kind of kree fertility enhancer. The amazon leader used it to force conception and speed up the process seven months."
"You are too skinny." Lian says.
"Nothing that I eat stays down. We think that it's because of the FSH I was on is fighting the pregnancy hormones and synthetic Estrogen and Progesterone that the Amazon cult gave to us women."
Lian nods. "Phillip should have done more research before sending his agents into a cult." She pokes Melinda's side. "You need to nourish this kid. That or she-"
"He." Melinda corrects.
Lian pauses. "-He will strip you of yours."
"Mrs. May?" Phil tests the waters, hoping for permission to come back down.
"Phillip." Lian sighes. "Have you feed your child's mother tonight?" Lian calls.
"Yes or no, Phillip."
"Not well enough." Phil pauses, "No."
"I will feed her." Lian rolls her eyes. "It is a good thing I made extras. Phillip is starving his child's mother." she mumbled the last part.
"Māmā, he isn't starving me. I refused to worry about supper plans because I was expecting that you would feed us weather we'd already eaten or not." Melinda folds her arms, first beckoning Phil over with a pat to the couch for him to sit next to her.
He joins her, Leaning back. "Just, try not to mess this up, Phil." Melinda whispers.
"Yeah, I'll just be over here, trying to survive your mom." Phil smiles.
"Well, if we do this right, it won't be a problem. My mother loved Andrew, and I think she loves you deep down. You two just need a little work."
"You kidding, your mother hates me."
"She just has high expectations."
----- -:x:- -----
Parking the car in the parking lot to the address Agent Murphy had sent them, Phil winced as Lian beat him to opening Melinda's door for her, and the look the woman gave him when he slammed the door a little harder than she thought proper.
Walking next to a wadling Melinda, the trio approached the building. It looked like any doctor's office, and they entered, the desk worker looking up and saying, "Agent May, Agent Coulson. We've been expecting you." She smiles. "Here's the paperwork for doctor Murphy."
"Thank you." Melinda answers, taking the clipboard and walking into the waiting room. Phil claimed her left side, Lian her right. Both offered suggestions, Lian answering the family complications for the mother's side, and Phil for the father's, although he never knew much, considering that he never really knew this kind of thing before his mother passed.
Sandra Murphy was bright and peppy, exactly the kind of person Coulson and May could imagine Fitzsimmons hanging out with.
Agent Murphy had already been explained approximately what happened to cause this, and she guided the three people back to a room where she examined Melinda, took a blood sample, and asked some question, and left. She returned again, this time taking them into a dark room.
"Alright, Agent May. If you could pull up your shirt, I'd like to perform an ultrasound and get some pictures, check out the baby." Sandra said, grabbing a tube of gel and spreading some of the gunk on the tight skin of Melinda's stomach.
The computer was turned away from Coulson and May, Lian insisting on standing behind Murphy.
"Alright. . ." Murphy concentrated on the screen, moving the wand over Melinda's belly before she continued.
"You want the good news or the bad news first?"
"Do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first?" the doctor asked.
Melinda looked up at Phil with fear, her hand coming to her midsection. Phil reached out and took her other hand.
"Bad." They said in unison.
"It pertains to the gender that you two are predicting." Sandra warns, and they nod that they want to know anyway. "You guys have bad gender prediction skills." Sandra smiles. "This little one is female. You're actually having a girl."
May's eyes go wide and so do Phil's, Lian happily smirking, "I called it." Her grin is a satisfied one. "Qiaolian follows family tradition, even in unnatural situations - whether she likes it or not."
"I do like it!" May says. "I'm happy to have a daughter!"
"Now, would you like to see her while I explain my piece?" Sandy asked them. The two agents nodded.
Doctor Murphy turned around the computer, showing them the screen. "Mothers past fifty have their odds for complications quintupled since younger years, but there are some things I'm going to have to talk with you about:
"Sometimes for women your age, amniotic fluid will enter your bloodstream. That's a complication that can cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. So I'm going to need you monitoring this pregnancy to an extreme. Any negative sensation, any strange discharge or urine - I want you to write it down, time and date it, so that we can look for any possible problems.
"I'm especially worried about the shock and trauma to your body. Nothing can prepare it to suddenly carry a seven months gestated child." Sandra explained, pointing the outlines of the baby. "But you seem healthy before this happened, and your active lifestyle is definitely something that will help. I don't know how the uterus was able to expand to contain this little one in only a day, but your uterine lining hasn't ripped or torn yet, which is a good sign."
Melinda exhaled. "What about the baby?"
"From what I can see right now, the baby doesn't have any obvious problems, although, as said earlier, your age proves to be a factor. But I want to take a recording of the heartbeat."
"I've heard it before." Melinda whispers as the Doctor flips a switch, and a steady 'fa-woosh, fa-woosh, fa-woosh' filled the room.
"How? When?" Phil looked at her, confused, listening in awe to the unborn child's heartbeat.
"Daisy used her power to absorb than recreate the sound when we were in Turkey." Melinda said.
"Daisy?" Sandra scrunched her nose.
"You know her as 'Quake'." Phil offered. "Oh, which reminds me, Fitzsimmons say 'hi' and before you ask- yes, they are together."
Sandy Murphy smiles "Good! They always were such a slow-burn."
"Not as much as you two." Lian mutters pointedly at Phil.
"What?" Coulson chokes, eyes going wide.
"Every call from the Academy . . . Phil this-, and Phil that-." Lian rolled her eyes. "I was sorely disappointed when she brought him home for the winter break."
"It's 'Christmas', Māmā." May sighed. "And you know I brought him home because his mother. . ." had recently died, and I didn't want him alone during the holidays, Melinda finished in her head. Lian knew.
"As much as I'd love to hear of the adventures of younger days, I think maybe I should finish up." Sandy nodded, sending the ultrasound pictures to be printed. She was quickly done, handing Melinda paper towels to clean up the gel.
As soon as the ex-SHIELD agent was gone, Melinda sat up, struggling to tug her shirt back over her bump. Then she reached out to Phil. He indulged her, Wrapping his arms around Melinda. "A daughter." Melinda repeatedly whispered.
"I know, Mel." He softly responded. "A little princess."
"I'm . . . so happy." Melinda spoke into his shirt.
"Me too, my love." He dared the nick-name, fearful to look up at May's mother's response.
"Phil. We need to find a place to live. If this pregnancy is really that risky. . . and I need to be monitored . . . "
"We can see what we can find." Phil kissed her head.
"FINE." Lian suddenly said. "As long as he makes you happy, Qiaolian."
"Wô aí Tā." Melinda repeats whatever she had said the day before.
"We need to go shopping," Lian observes as a knock sounds on the door and Sandy returns. She smiles as she hands the ultrasound images to Melinda, and the paperwork to Phil.
"We'll be sure to keep an eye on Melinda and the baby." Coulson nods.
"Thank you, Agent Murphy." Melinda adds.
"Tell Leo and Jemma Hi for me." she smiles as she leaves.
"Well, I guess we have a whole afternoon left." Phil reminds them.
"We are going shopping so that Qiaolian will not be without proper clothing." Lian insists. Phil internally groans. This is going to be like Hell on earth.
Maybe Lian May isn't as scary as Phil thinks. . .
Note: I'm trying to learn mandarin, and surprise! It's actually not as hard as I expected. I'm still kinda new to it, but any mistakes in the grammar and language are entirely mine, not google translate's, lol
"Come, Qiaolian." Lian hobbled down the racks of clothing. "You cannot wear leggings for the rest of your time with child."
"Māmā, We could just got to walmart." Melinda tried again.
"No. Walmart doesn't have what you need." Lian shook her head. "Phillip! Have you at least prepared some way?"
"No, Mrs. May. I've known about the baby for about four days." Phil answered, following the two women like a lost puppy, staring at the floor like it was the most interesting thing in the world as Lian sifted through maternity bras. "You will need a larger size." Lian warned. "Your body will grow - and your rǔfáng will not disappoint."
"Disappoint? My rǔfáng?!? Māmā!" Melinda retorted with horror at her mother's assumptions.
"Phillip should have noticed a difference." Lian answered dryly.
"In what?" Coulson looked up when he heard his name, not really listening.
"My boobs." Melinda translated. Coulson blushed again.
"Take these." Lian shoved three garments into her daughter's hands. "When your body catches up, you will thank me. What cup size were you before the . . . transformation?"
"Thirty-two-D." Melinda sighs.
Lian snorts. "No wonder you are here now."
"That has nothing to do with it!" Phil interjects. He just wanted to escape this embarrassing situation consisting of Mrs. May joking that he loves Melinda for her. . .rǔfáng.
"And now?" Lian continues.
May shrugs. "My bra is a little small now." She confesses, closing her eyes with frustration.
"I'd judge thirty-two-and-a-half E." Lian guesses, "They are probably spilling out in your old one."
"Oh god." Melinda sighs as Lian moves on with the new bras. "Now for pants." The older woman decides.
"Māmā!" Melinda groans with pure annoyance. She sends an apologetic 'I'm so sorry' look toward Phil as they move across the aisle and out to another section of the clothing store.
By the time they've selected a decent amount of shirts - all dark colors, but Phil managed to snag a purple on of the same design as one that Melinda had chosen - the trio was almost done.
The cashier smiled, and said, "Oh! Grandma's coming along to help?"
"Yeah." Phil nods before Lian corrects, "It's wàipo's turn to shop."
"I'm hoping you found everything alright?" The young woman smiles as she begins to ring them up. "Well enough." Melinda forces a smile.
"It's always so nice to see dad helping to shop for mom." The woman musses as she swipes in the price, and Phil pay's it without a thought. He is going to prove to Lian that he can take care of Mel.
"Congratulations!" The cashier calls after them as they leave, Phil carrying the bags. "Put them in the trunk, Phillip." Lian instructs.
Melinda goes to take the wheel, but Lian stops her. "Wait." Phil puts up his now free hands. "Can I at least take you two out for lunch?"
"Where?" Lian asks.
"I was hoping you would know a good place in town, Mrs. May." Phil tells her.
"There is a mediterranean grill not far from here." Lian offers, and Phil goes for the driver's side, and Lian says, how am I supposed to direct you?"
"I'll sit in the back, Māmā." Melinda hauls herself in and sits, lowering the back of the seat so that she can sit comfortably.
Lian looks back. Phil knows that look. It's the face of a worried mother. He sees it in Melinda's face whenever she worries about The bus kids.
"You will want to take a left." Lian snaps back into herself again, beginning to give him directions as Phil backs the car out of the parking lot. Hitting the road, Lian bites her lip. "Soon you will take another left."
"Thank you." Phil nodded.
"You fear the future." Lian observed in a hushed voice.
Phil inhales sharply. "Yes."
"I am afraid for May."
"The baby or your relationship?"
"Both." Phil says. "May was forced into something she never planned for with me, and I'm only hoping I can make things easier for her and the baby." Phil confesses, gripping the wheel tighter as he takes the expected turn. "Melinda is. . ."
"Melinda is someone I couldn't live without, and she means everything to me." Phil finishes. "And neither of us know what would happen if we somehow. . . lost the baby."
"You are afraid Qiaolian cannot carry the child?"
"No. She is one of the strongest people I know. I'm just afraid because I have had only four days to know that she holds a human that carries my DNA inside her, and how the hell am I supposed to be able to support her when I want this, but have no idea what it's like?"
Lian hums, tells him to take . another turn, and looks back at her daughter. "Pregnancy is hard."
"I can imagine." Phil agrees.
"She probably doesn't know what to think." Lian whispers. "Look, Mellie is asleep." Lian smiles - a warm smile that makes her voice sound so much more loving. Phil checks the mirror. Sure enough, Melinda is asleep in the back seat, her hand resting on top of her stomach as she breathes slowly in and out. She's peaceful for now.
"You love her." Lian seems to hate saying it.
"Yeah. Very much." Phil smiles, eyes back on the road.
"Good. She does too." Lian mutters the last part just as Phil spots the restaurant, pulling in.
"Make sure Qiaolian eats easy food." Lian says. "She will listen to you." Lian adds as she gets out, leaving. Lian is letting him wake Melinda.
"Mel." Phil says as he opens the backdoor and leans in. "Melinda, love, we're here."
"Already?" She moans, turning to squint at him and stretch her arms and twist her back. "Hey Phil." She gives him that cute sleepy smile he loves, and Phil reaches in as she unbuckles herself and he helps hoist Melinda up, one of the few pleasures of helping May that she allowed of him.
Once standing again, Melinda rubbed her hand over her belly. "Baby's kicking." She yawned.
Phil instinctively put his hand out, a shove against his hand rewarding him, but at Melinda's expense. "Stay off Mommy's bladder, Please." Melinda whispered to her baby, leaning back. "I'm gonna go find a restroom." She tells Phil.
"Alright." Coulson nods, and wants to kiss her cheek, but then he sees Lian in his peripheral vision.
You know what? To hell with her opinion.
"Love you." He whispers, and does just that, kissing her cheek lightly before joining her on the way inside.
Melinda immediately heads to the restroom, and Phil sits down across from Lian. A waitress comes around, bringing water and asking for drinks. Lian orders tea, Phil chooses to wait.
When Melinda returns, she looks between her mother and Phil, trying to figure out where to sit. Lian nods, and Melinda suppresses a smile as she sits down next to Phil.
"Feeling better?" Phil inquires, trying -and failing- to start a conversation, because May just nods.
When the waiter makes their rounds again, Melinda ops for a tea as well, Phil still drinking his water.
"Qiaolian, you should eat easy." Lian starts.
"Māmā, I can handle food."
"From what I understand, you cannot keep anything down, correct?"
"Yes." Melinda sighed.
"What have you eaten?" Lian asked.
"Yogurt, Phil's oatmeal, crackers, fruit, and cucumber." Melinda counts on her fingers.
Lian hums, and suggests something, "Maybe if you ask for no spice at all, I would help."
"Māmā, I can handle spice. I'm not a mild white american."
"Nì zài aì tóng yī." Lian smirks. (You're in love with one)
"Māmā! Phil is not-!" Melinda looks up to her mother's amused face
Lian laughs. Phil quickly figures out what had been said. "Thanks, Mrs. May." He says in a sarcastically dry tone. "But she's right, Mel." Phil says. "About you eating. You should probably get something simple." Phil tells Melinda, the specialist giving him an unimpressed glare.
"Fine." Melinda rolls her eyes, and when the waiter finally takes their order, Melinda asks for a gyro - no spices or sauce - much to May's displeasure, She loved Tzatziki sauce.
When their meal was done, Melinda was able to keep her meal down with a little nausea, and they waited for a while in the restaurant, not wanting to risk adding car motion to the equation, because that would not end well for the seats or floor.
Once Melinda was feeling somewhat better, She was looking out the window intently. "What is it, Mellie?" Lian asks.
May shakes her head. "Nothing."
Phil sees it.
"You ladies ready?" He asks, paying for the ticket and tipping the waiter. "Congratulations." She says when Melinda's belly is prominent to view. "Thanks." Phil nods, and Melinda presses her lips in a firm line, her arms crossed.
"Melinda?" Phil whispers, and gives her a look, referencing in the direction May had been looking at. May turns, and her eyes are open wide.
"Yes please." Melinda nodded vigorously. "I've been staring at that ice cream parlor for an hour now."
"Ice cream, Mrs. May?" Phil suggested.
"Sure." Lian smiled. "Go, take care of my daughter's craving."
Chapter 15: Keeping up with the Fitzsimmons
-:x:- Fitzsimmons POV -:x:-
"Jemma?" Leo was fidgeting, looking once again to his left, were his fiancé dozed in the seat next to him.
"Mmmmm?" Simmons sighed again, smiling lightly.
"Will your Mum be mad?"
"I truthfully don't know." Jemma opened her eyes, glancing down at the bump in her midsection. "Last time she saw me, I was working for an organization that she knew next to nothing about." Fitz nodded. "And now, with SHIELD still on the run and 0-8-4's not being revealed to the public, I have no idea what we'll tell her."
"And your dad?"
"Probably will just ruff you up and give you the fatherhood talk, like he did to my sister's fiancé." Jemma shrugged.
"Oh." Fitz bit his lip. "I, uh, called my Mum."
"What did she say?"
"I didn't tell her ab-about the-the baby." Fitz stutters. "She wants to meet us at the airport."
"Tell her 'thank you', I hate cabbies." Jemma nods.
----- -:x:- -----
After a very awkward conversation with Mr & Mrs Simmons and Mrs Fitz, Jemma laid beside her boyfriend.
"What's it like?" Leo suddenly asked, "-To feel the baby move?"
Jemma exhaled, looking at him deftly before grabbing his hand and pressing it to her stomach. The baby pushed against her side, rippling under the biochemist's skin.
Leo stared forward, unblinking as he gaped. "And it's inside of you."
"That's generally where babies are grown, Fitz." Jemma replied curtly.
"I know, but. . . you can't turn it off."
At that, Simmons burst out laughing. "I don't want to!"
"Except for feeling like you're a part of Aliens."
"Not quite. To low, They're sometimes on my bladder." Jemma sighed. The silence between them was awkward, and Jemma suddenly said, "Do you wonder about the gender?"
Leo was quiet before nodding.
"Mack and Elena are waiting, letting it be a surprise." Jemma rambled, "Bobbi and Hunter are waiting too." She paused. "Daisy texted me that she let Lincoln find out, but the doctor didn't tell her until She dragged it out of him later, unable to not know any longer."
"What's Daisy having?"
"Female." Jemma nodded. "I haven't heard from Coulson or May."
"What about us?" Fitz bit his lip. "Do you want to find out?"
"Kinda." Fitz admitted.
"Me too." Jemma said. "We'll ask them at the doctor's tomorrow."
"Deal." Fitz said, letting the two of them enjoy each other's company next the each other, happily in Jemma's parent's home. Fitz's mother occupied
"I worry about May though."
"Why?" Fitz frowned.
"Because of the FSH." Jemma pursed her lips. "And her age."
"You think May is too old?"
"And considering her size. . ."
"May is to old and to small?" Fitz's eyes went wider as he expected the specialist herself to jump out and strangle them for calling her 'small'.
"Not quite. . ." Jemma said. "And, well, with Coulson's dominant european genes fighting her smaller body asian ones, May might require a caesarian section." Jemma told him. "Natural labour might be out of the question."
Fitz snorted. "You think the baby won't fit?!?"
"What?!? No!!!" Jemma lightly hit his arm. "Women's bodies are specifically designed to-" She paused, seeing his face. "Sorry." She smiled.
Fitz hummed. "And you? You want the baby natural?"
----- -:x:- -----
"WHAT?" Jemma squealed, suddenly sitting up.
"Baby A and Baby B are both healthy-" The obstetrician repeated. "Surely you knew you were having twins?"
"NO!" Jemma and Fitz exclaimed in unison.
The Doctor rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Do you want the genders?"
"Plural?" Fitz stammered.
"Fraternal twins." The doctor sighed with a smile. "You're having. . . "
Fitz leaned forward, Jemma waited, time slowing down, just crawling by.
". . . a boy and a girl."
----- -:x:- -----
A month later and Jemma was happily at 34 weeks theoretically, even though she had been carrying the babies for a month, and was finally ready to go home. With tearful goodbyes to her parents and re-emerging passports, The two geniuses boarded a plane bound for the US.
Sleeping most of the way back, Jemma and Fitz yawned away the jetlag and retrieved their suitcases, heading through the airport.
Walking beside Fitz, Jemma smiled at him until she suddenly felt the terribly recognizable feel of a gunpoint in her back, pointing right into her belly. The smell of the Amazon leather and wool uniforms filled her nose and made her freeze. A feminine voice hissed in her ear,
"Keep this quiet, and nobody dies."
Melinda goes into early labour, and neither Coulson or May are prepared.
It's been almost a month at Lian's home when May hit eight months gestation, and they want to leave before Melinda legally cannot pilot a SHIELD aircraft anymore. Waving goodbye to her mother, Melinda waddled up the Zephyr's ramp and settled herself into the Pilot's chair. Phil was close behind with the bags, and took as seat where he could see and watch May, who looks back after lift-off.
There he is again, on the Phone, a worried expression on his face. May can hear him in the background, and she looks up through the reflection in the glass at his pacing form. Phil finally hangs up.
"What's wrong?" Melinda asks when she sees his face.
"We have a problem." Phil sighes. "FitzSimmons were attacked on the way home from England."
Melinda wheeled around. "And. . . ? Are they okay?"
"Fitz managed to tazer the two women, and when they were hime, Mack and Fitz did some digging, and found communication ties between the Amazons and HYDRA."
Suddenly, Melinda looked to the radar. "Phil?" She started. "We're being followed."
"We are? By what?" Phil ask, leaning forward in his seat.
"Three small jets- HYDRA aircraft!" She read the Zephyr's diagnostic, turning the plane into a higher accent. "And they're closer than I thought." She growled in frustration. "Damn stomach's in the way." She muttered, frowning with concentration, reaching over her belly and Phil suddenly could see the radar's red dots closing in on the zephyr.
"Great." Phil huffed, glancing up to look at her.
"Spill." Melinda could read him like an open book.
"That's not the only thing, Melinda." Phil confessed, watching his best friend do a nosedive, holding on tight.
"What else?!?!" Melinda growls, and the plane shoots back up into the sky.
"We found out that HYDRA is sponsoring the Amazons. That's why they had all that land and equipment."
"You couldn't have told me sooner?!?!?" May hisses, her hands flying over the Zephyr controls. "BEFORE we had three small jets on our trail trying to kill us?!?!?"
"I'm sorry, Melinda!" Phil tries again.
Their pursuers are good. The Jets are gaining distance, and were herding the Zephyr into the upcoming valley.
"Melinda?" Phil asks urgently when she gasps sharply and grips the controls more tightly. He notices the sweat on her brow. "Are you okay?"
"'M fine." Melinda takes a breath, relaxing again and focusing on the sky.
"You don't look-"
"Phil." She warns pointedly at the radar. The planes are closer, driving them straight to a mountain.
Melinda goes rigged again. Her senses numb as her muscles contract and she want to close out the pain but she needs to pilot, she needs fly this plane to get them out of here.
"Melinda!" Phil screams as she tries to pull up, but the Rocky ledge is to close and she can't do anything to stop a crash but try to make it softer.
The jolt of the Zephyr's impact as it skids along the rock is terrible, and probably wasn't good for the baby.
The Zephyr finally slows, leaving behind a trail of wreaked trees and dark smudges in the snow.
"We need to get out!" Phil calls and Melinda stands.
The second May's upright, Pain radiated like fire down her legs, scorching her lower spine. Melinda catches herself on the chair. 'these aren't practice contractions', she thinks as she stumbles, Phil grabbing her shoulder.
Suddenly, her water breaks, fluid running down her legs and to the floor, soaking her jeans as another contraction hits her like a wave. Phil notices.
"Melinda? Was that. . . "
"We need to go!" Melinda says, and they climb out of the cockpit, Melinda biting her tongue to keep from whimpering as another contraction hits her. "We need to get out of here before they blow up the plane!"
"Agreed." Phil nods, and they haul themselves into an SUV and lower the ramp, Phil driving them out, four wheeling into the forest.
"It's to early." Melinda says, her hand coming to her middle.
"I thought labor averagely takes up to 26 hours!" Phil retorts.
"I thought it was false labour!" Melinda glares.
"When did they start?" Phil drives and an explosion lights up the mirror and casts shadows across the car and the pine trees. Coulson hands Melinda his Phone so that she can figure out where the closest road is.
"No service!" Melinda tells him. "I've had these. . ." She moans again, gripping the armrests, "-All day!"
"Why didn't you tell me?!?" Phil curses. His girlfriend was in labour with a surprise!baby in the middle of the forest with no service, he has no idea what to do, and it's snowing outside. This situation couldn't get worse.
Oh, wait. The SUV was almost out of gas.
It could get worse.
"I thought they were the practice, false labour, like Dr, Murphy told me about!" Melinda gasps.
"Babies come early, you know!" Phil growls with frustration, not at her, but at the situation. He drives, narrowly missing a fir tree. The enemy planes are looping around the valley, patrolling it. Any black SHIELD SUV is a dark contrast to the snow on the ground.
Phil curses as the SUV runs over an exposed tree root, making the vehicle jump and Melinda whimper.
"It's useless driving anywhere, Phil." Melinda says. "It's the Appalachian mountains. We could drive for hours and never get anywhere."
"You're right." Phil finally slows the SUV and parks it. He unbuckles his seatbelt and hauls himself back into the backseat, folding the middle ones down, sighing with relief when he found a couple blankets in the trunk and a first-aid kit.
He heard Melinda take in a quick breath and he heard it catch. Swinging back around, he sees her head fall to the side. "Melinda." He frowns with concern and she reaches up and grips his hand.
"Phil." She is trying hard, so hard, not to wince.
"Come here." He says, reaching around to unclick her own seatbelt, reaching around Melinda. Her sweat brushes off on his arm and he knows, she needs something.
Melinda works with him, struggling to get up and climb into the back. Phil settles her down onto the blanket, wrapping one around her. "I enabled the red alert signal on your phone. The base should get the signal even without service."
"Thank you, Melinda." He whispers, wrapping his arms around her, and she melts into the touch, the contact, her hands gripping his jacket. "I don't know what to do." He confesses.
"Neither do I." Melinda moans. "My mind went blank."
"Jemma should be here to tell us." Phil nods, his hand coming to the swell of her stomach and he can feel it get harder and May tugged on him again. "I'm so sorry, Mel." Hr whispered.
She's just there, curling up into him, occasionally letting out a hushed cry.
His phone tells him it's been two hours. By his calculations, Melinda has been in labour for about seventeen hours, using the time Melinda had told him about her first contractions the night before. But two hours since the Zephyr's crash. Two hours since her water broke.
It doesn't feel that way.
More like two lifetimes.
Melinda's condition doesn't seem to have changed, and the car is cold now, the two agent wrapping themselves in the blanket, their cocoon of warmth. Melinda was trying to sleep, hoping to be stronger later. Neither of them had eaten since Lian's home, at lunch time, four hours ago.
It was going to get dark soon. The snow had stopped thirty minutes ago.
Another hour passed.
Melinda was awake. Phil took her pants off for her, keeping her close, occasionally taking the blanket off her when she got to sweaty and hot and needed to cool off. He was continuously sweeping her hair off her forehead, every now and then rubbing her back and sitting with her.
"Phil." Melinda suddenly said.
"It hurts." Melinda's hand balled into fists and she looked up. "I am never going on any of your missions again."
"Especially not into a cult."
"And we are never getting drunk on Saturday night again."
"I can work with that." To bad. Phil would miss those nights.
Things continued like that for another three hours, Melinda complaining about the pain.
It had been six hours since the Zephyr's crash. Six hours since her water broke. Phil's Phone was dying. It was dark outside. Melinda was in even more pain, complaining at every contraction, which was coming quicker each time.
All that either of them could think was, 'It's to early'. Their baby would be two weeks early. Using Dr. Murphy's former estimation, that would put Melinda at only thirty-eight weeks.
Suddenly, Phil's Phone buzzed.
'We're coming' -Daisy
They were going to be found. Phil suddenly felt some of his fear wash away and He excitedly told a delirious Melinda, who simply responded with, "Please get my underwear off."
He slowly obeyed, and when he touched her, holy crap thats the baby, He realized, Phil's conscious kicking into high gear.
"Oh my God, Melinda!" Phil choked, and May opened her eyes to look at him. "What?" she gasped, tensing with pain. "That's the head!"
"I know!" Melinda retorted. "I need help!"
Phil was shaking as he pulled her into position on the back seat of this SUV. He moved to kneel beside her on the floor, her up on the padded bench. He could barely see in the dark. Melinda's phone!
Why had he never thought of it?!?!
The IPhone was fully charged, and he propped the flashlight up so that he could see. Melinda's skin shone with perspiration, her dark hair matted against her neck. She had her eyes pressed closed.
He didn't even know if she was supposed to be pushing.
"Phil!" Melinda bit down, reaching for his hand, crushing it under her own. One hand in hers, one hand ready for the baby.
Phil hadn't expected it to take this long. Sure, he's heard about the time it takes before, but now that he's here, with Melinda in a God-unimaginable amount of pain actually pushing a baby into the world was completely different. Every time he expected to see his daughter, the baby evaded him. Every time he thought or said, "Another push, Melinda, come on, you can do this," Nothing seemed to change except the ticking time and the increased volume of Melinda's cries.
Melinda was almost unconscious to the world even her tunnel vision fuzzy, Phil's voice breaking through the hard shell of pain that surrounded her, burning up within the space between her thighs and from the cradle of her hips and up her spine. Every time her stomach contracted, her muscles working against her will, moving her baby oh so slowly into the cold, dark world.
"We don't even have a name, Melinda." Phil said at some point. She didn't even care right now.
The baby was there and she could feel her, crowning, coming closer into this cruel world, not ready, not developed, not even growing for the correct, natural timing. This was wrong, so wrong in the most beautiful way. After a lifetime of killing, here she was giving life instead.
"I can see the head. Just a little more, Melinda!" Coulson called to her, reaching out to save her from this spiral of pain like she had never experienced before. Melinda thought she knew agony.
But there was something much more painful when it came to childbirth. It was a battle she was fighting every minute, every second. And not only that, but Melinda never screamed. That is, she'd never been in labour, either. And she screamed now. Phil was shuddering at the sound, tears about to spill down his own cheeks.
"Mel. Did you hear me? You need to push. Push low and deep." Phil whispered in her ear, pressing daring kisses to her pale, sweaty skin. She obeyed, pushing as she was told. Curse Phil's effect on her decisions.
She suddenly knew. Her battle was almost won.
"Oh god, oh god." Phil was repeating over and over, supporting the baby's head. Melinda was there, obeying her body when she knew it was all over. There was something warm and wet and not her in between Melinda's legs.
It wasn't moving either.
Phil lifted the still baby up, immediately trying to clean it with those sterile wipe from the first aid kit. "Come on, come on, come on!" he was panicking, and Melinda was sitting back, trying to catch her breath. She was weak, so weak, but now there was a baby -her baby- in Phil's hands and she wasn't crying. Phil Coulson and Melinda May both had tears pouring down their cheeks, but the Baby didn't.
Phil knew that you couldn't perform any type of CPR on a newborn, but it seemed to spark through Melinda's brain all at once and she came to the complete realization, My baby isn't breathing.
She was there, trying to get closer to see, and then it came, a slow sound into the silent night, a tiny, squeaky breath, and a couple seconds, another, then another. A cry pierced the dark. The child was a loud blur in May's vision until Phil was coming closer, almost in slow motion, and he pulled down her shirt and there. There she was, still covered in fluid, pink and white and looking like. . .
But there, right on her chest laid a pink naked baby with a shock of dark hair, eyes closed and tiny hands close against her. It was clear that the child's lungs were working, because she was not happy.
Melinda fell in love, and she fell hard. Her arms were wrapped around the child and she said, "Hey, hey, little one. Ní hâo, Bâobâo, Wô nî Mǔqīn." Hello, baby, I'm your mother.
The child wasn't calming, not at all, and the cord was still attaching the baby to her, and the best thing they could do was simply wait. It was best not to do anything for now. Not until she either delivered the afterbirth, or the team finally rescued them.
"Zhège nî Fùqīn." That's your father. She turned the child toward Phil. "But you already met him." She whispered.
"Melinda." Phil was there, over her shoulder, staring down, pure awe on his face.
He had moved the last clean blanket over the two of them, and then he moved back to her midsection. "Jemma, uh, gave me some book recommendations, and I read them. You're going to hate this, Mel." He placed his hands on her still swollen middle, and began to press down, massaging in the most painful way. Melinda cursed. "What the hell is this for?"
"The obstetrician who wrote the book said that the best way to make sure you don't get an infection is to make sure there isn't a bunch of dead tissue in your uterus."
"I hate you." Melinda looks back down at her baby.
"You just gave me a child, so I don't think you hate me." Phil smirks back, trying hard to be strong, to keep his emotions in check. But all he wants to do is wrap his arms around his two girls and shield them from the world, keep them safe. Melinda suppresses an eyeroll.
When Phil is finally finished with his torture, He rejoins her. The baby has finally stopped crying.
"Are you going to feed her?" Phil asks unexpectedly, watching the child wiggle.
"Now you want to see me braless?" Melinda snorts.
"I know." Melinda interrupts. Now she understands why he said something. Her shirt and bra is soaked with her leaking breasts, something she had encountered earlier, having adopted special pads. . . for her boobs.
But those were soaked too.
Removing her left one, Melinda arranged the baby against her. May had not one idea what to really do, and she was just following instinct. The baby turned away. Melinda frowned with concern.
Melinda ran her thumb over the baby's rosebud lips, prompting the child to open her mouth. Melinda then had no problem with getting her to latch on. "Ow." May observed. "This hurts."
Foreign lights flashed through the windows. Phil, in a panic, switched off her Phone's flashlight. It couldn't come to this. Now, with Melinda in no shape to move, with a vulnerable baby and a probably incredibly protective Phil, here to be caught by HYDRA and taken captive, separated from their baby or worse, killed.
But familiar voices shouting caught their attention. "I'll check this out." Phil frowned, opening the door and letting in a blast of cold air that set her baby burrowing further into her breast, hiding. Then he was gone.
It was so quiet, so alone, so silent without him.
Something bubbled up inside her and she needed Phil back right now. He needed to get back in here and back to her side no matter what. Melinda was about to try to get up, but then she heard his voice. "Mack! Over here!"
They were found.
Mack soon pressed his face into the glass, and shone a police light inside, making Melinda close her eyes from the brightness. "Eh, Hunter! Fitz!" Mack called.
A couple minutes later, The other two men appeared, also smashing their faces into the glass window, Melinda glaring at them, hiding her baby from their sight.
"Hey, Coulson, can we get a look?" Hunter asked.
"Absolutely not." She heard Phil say. "Just fly the Quinjet over here and I'll drive this thing up the ramp because I'm not moving Melinda."
Then she heard the driver's side door open and close, and Phil was able to look back at the two of them, the baby still eating. Soon the loud whoosh of the Quinjet could be heard and Phil was there, driving this SUV up the ramp and then it was closing and they were lifting off.
They were going home to base, where Mack told them Jemma was waiting with the medbay ready and they could sleep.
Finally, they could go home.
The second the quinjet touched down, Melinda was helped out by Phil and Jemma, the baby staying on her chest, fussy and unhappy. Melinda had the blanket wrapped around her and the child, and it was quickly evident that she couldn't stand, the sharp ache between her thighs and burning sensation in her pelvis making her mobility limited.
Phil picked Melinda up, careful to keep the child close the it's mother, and Jemma came out with a wheelchair, and they set Melinda into it, a small procession of agents running to the med bay where Jemma took over, instructing Daisy on how to help Melinda deliver the afterbirth as she cleaned the baby properly, returning with the child wrapped in a softer blanket, showing her to Melinda.
The first thing Jemma did was seal off the cord, then allowed Coulson to cut it, severing the line that connected Melinda to her baby.
Setting the baby back down on May's breast, Jemma leaned back to get a breath. "I need to give the baby some medicine and draw some blood, May."
Melinda was crying as she looked at her baby. Pink cheeks strewn with both mother and baby's tears.
"I had to clean her tiny little nose, and we need to make sure she can breathe properly." Simmons told the older woman, who waited for her to continue. "She's a premie, May."
"We know." Coulson stepped up, "But is she okay?"
"She seems healthy, but underdeveloped. She's going to need constant external heating and continuous care for the next several weeks." Jemma told them. "Not only that, but those rashes?" Jemma pointed to the child's back, arms and legs, "Those are from your body rejecting her."
Phil and Melinda looked up in alarm.
"This baby's blood type is different from yours, inherited from Coulson, and it seems that May's immune system was attacking this little angel." Melinda subsequently burst into tears. "There was nothing you could do about it." Jemma assured. "But this also means that the baby's growth was stunted and breastfeeding will be a pain."
Melinda muttered some colorful language to herself.
"Will. . . will this harm her terminally?" Phil asked the unspoken question.
"I. . . I'm going to have to give her a full examination to see if there are any lasting problems."
"I would be shocked if she never gets asthma, or other breathing problems." Simmons looked down at her hands. "But this early. . . I'm, well, I'm-"
"Spit it out, Simmons." May said, her hand stroking her baby's head.
"I'm amazed that she survived the birthing process." Jemma sighed. "And you, with your smaller asian bone structure and Coulson's dominating European height genes. . . well," Jemma stammered. "It's a good thing she fit."
"Are you calling me small?" Melinda looked up momentarily.
"No!" Jemma coughed. "Maybe."
"It was fine." May told her.
"I'm not so sure. You were in labour for twenty-three hours, six hours in a cold car with hardly any resources." Jemma frowned. "I don't know if you saw the blanket that had been wrapped around you in the wheelchair before we removed it, but. . ."
"But what?" Coulson leaned farther over May.
"It was soaked in blood." Jemma answered, and May stared down at the baby in her arms. "You've been bleeding since you gave birth." May's head snapped up. "I need to check you now."
Melinda looked between Jemma and Phil, then down at the baby. "I. . . I'm glad you saved her first." Melinda stammered, and made eye-contact with Phil, and he came even closer. "Take her." Melinda whispered, shifting her arms and the baby squirmed. "You need to keep her warm." Jemma told him. "Skin-on-skin is the best."
Phil unbuttoned his shirt and set the baby against him, leaning back.
He looked down and forgot about the world.
The little tiny body was pink and pudgy, chubby arms and little legs and the cutest little hands. But her face, the baby's face was scrunched with discomfort and annoyance, her eyes closed and not willing to look upon the world yet. "Hello, Baby." He whispered, gasping as she moved and her little hand came up to grip around his palm.
Five, tiny, perfect fingers splayed against his real hand.
"Phil, your prosthetic is glowing." Melinda whispered, smiling from the bed as Jemma worked.
Phil looked down, and she was right. The bionic hand was softly lighting up as he tentatively touched the baby's back.
"'Never glowed quite that bright for me." Melinda smirked before she winced as Jemma continued her work, carefully concentrating on Melinda's stitches.
"hmmmmm." Phil hummed looking down at the Baby. The child shifted against him, making his heart burst with an unexpected emotion: Pride.
The little kid had beat the odds against her, surviving not only the birth and post-delivery, but being forced into existence, then missing months of vital development, all wrapped up into a span of several hours.
But she was here. Phil coulson had a daughter.
"Name?" Jemma was suddenly there, smiling with her hand on her own stomach as Daisy chatted with May. "I have the live birth certificate, and I need a name."
Phil looked up at May, who was staring back.
"We, uh, don't have one." Phil stammered.
"Margaret." Melinda looked to the three of them. "You wanted Margaret."
"We-" Phil was taken aback. He hadn't realized that she had been listening back when he had been with Melinda at her mother's house and rambling to himself in the kitchen, testing names.
Suddenly he realized that Jemma was in tears, sniffling.
"What's wrong?" He asked her.
"I wanted to name my daughter Margaret!!!" She broke down. "But we can't have two Margarets, and- I- well," Jemma choked. "But I wanted to name my daughter after Peggy Carter!!"
"Calm yourself, Simmons." Melinda said. "We aren't set on anything."
"We can name her after your mother." Phil offered. "Or you."
"Absolutely not." May said. "We'll name her Julie Skye." Silence filled the room. "What, you don't think I was brainstorming names? Wow you must really think I'm heartless."
"No, It's, uh, that's my Mom's name, and-" Phil breathed.
"My name." Daisy finished from the corner.
"That is. . . so. . . sweet." Jemma sniffled again. "Thank you, for, uh, Margaret." she whispered, picking up her clipboard and handing it to May. "will you please print the full name so that I have a spelling?"
Melinda slowly lifted the pen, and neatly wrote, Julia Skye Coulson.
"Thank you." Jemma turned, and waddled out from the room.
"You- I have a namesake. You named her 'Skye'." Daisy whispered in awe.
"For a reason, Daisy." Melinda said. "You convinced me to keep her."
"What?!?" Phil turned and looked up in horror.
"I. . ." Melinda sighed. "I planned to give her up for adoption."
"How could you?!?" Daisy referenced to the way Phil's arm circled Julie, hugging the child tighter to himself.
"But I didn't." Melinda frowned, then her face melted with love when she looked to her side, staring at her daughter. "I planned, at first, to check into a local hospital, have her, never be told the gender or any other information. I never wanted to her my baby's cry. I never wanted to see her." Melinda was talking quickly in a pained voice. "As soon as I knew she was safe I would disappear." Melinda slowly reached over to stroke Julie's cheek. "But then I remembered Daisy, and how I didn't want her or him to grow up never knowing anything, believing to have been rejected when all I truly wanted was for them to be safer."
Phil was listening carefully. There was more.
"All I could think when you recreated the heartbeat was that I could never let go." Melinda took a deep breath. "But now. . . oh god what have I done?"
Daisy looked alarmed.
"She'll never be safe with me." Melinda closed her eyes.
"ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?" Daisy blew her top. "Her mom is a super-ninja, her father the director of a spy organization!"
"Still." Melinda huffed. "Have you forgotten about the report from Fitzsimmons in the airport earlier? And I was in labour as HYDRA was shooting down the Zephyr."
"Then they were hunting us." Melinda added. "And let's also not forget about HYDRA and the amazons being connected."
Julie began to fuss.
Phil looked between Daisy and Melinda before lifting the baby off his chest and holding her carefully holding the six pound baby to Melinda, who lowered the blanket, exposing her breast, leaving Daisy to turn around. "Could'a warned me?" She huffed.
"I deeply apologize. Please do avert thine eyes if the sight of me nourishing my offspring offends your honor."
Phil snorted at Melinda's reply and Daisy's eyeroll.
A phone rang. Daisy pulled the device from her pocket, and answered the call. Phil didn't really listen, more focused on Melinda's slow patience on trying to get her ever-growing crying child to eat.
"She won't even try!" Melinda sighed. "Am I already failing at this?"
"Here, let me support her head-" Phil reached around May, doing as he had told her, and Melinda attempted once again to hold her baby to her sore breast. Finally, with a little more prompting, they succeeded, Melinda's face contorting with triumph, love, then pain. "God, this hurts." She mused.
"Never told me that." Phil immediately regretted what he said, realizing just how close his hand was to her boob.
"Perv." Melinda hissed. "You're right, no one ever tells you how much breastfeeding hurts."
"Yup." Phil sympathized. She had a point. In a way, she was the one doing all the hard work. Okay, she was doing all the hard work.
But he had a job too now. Phil Coulson was now responsible for a tiny human who had no way to survive without them, and was completely dependent on them. This wouldn't be an easy ride at all, but he was ready for all the crap that would come with it.
Then Daisy was there. "Lincoln just called. He wants to be the one to examine Julie. Apparently Jemma called him because she felt he would be better, being a professional and all," Daisy nodded. "Maybe he will be able to give you tips on helping Julie out, being a premie."
Melinda nodded, looking back at Julie. She had a daughter.
A baby. A human with her genes and her traits, to grow up with her skin tone and her hair.
Oh god, what has she done?
"Hey, lets get some pictures, shall we?" Daisy interrupted Melinda's thoughts, pulling out her phone again. "We need at least something to remember the best day of your lives with besides the promise of no more full nights of fitful sleep."