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notes in a symphony

Chapter Text

“Is that my shirt?”

Elena glanced down to the hilariously oversized white, paint-splattered shirt she donned. It hung off her small frame. “…no.”

“No?” Mack echoed, the end of his question fading into an amused chuckle. He stepped further into the room, stalking slowly toward her, eyes bright. “You sure? Because it looks like my shirt.”

“And what if it is?”

“Then I’d have to take it off you.”

She set her palette and brush down to slide her surprisingly clean hands around Mack’s waist. Tilting her head back, Elena grinned up at him. “I wouldn’t be opposed to that.”

Chapter Text

“Did you do something different with your hair?”

Phil tossed Melinda a flat look in the mirror. What little hair he had was thoroughly decorated with sparkly clips or yanked into sloppy, tiny sprouts with pink hairbands. “You’re hilarious.” 

Melinda pushed away from leaning on the wall, walking into their bedroom to stand behind him from where he sat. “So I’ve been told.”

“You’d think my obvious lack of hair would deter that kid from wanting to play beauty parlor but,” Phil trailed off with a sigh and tugged at another barrette, wincing as it pinched. 

Melinda directed Phil’s hands away and replaced them with her own but not before taking a second to admire their rings again. Her smaller, nimble fingers began to undo the mess. “You love it.”

“I love spending time with her,” he corrected, hissing as his hair caught. “I don’t particularly love my hair being yanked off my head.” Melinda rolled her eyes and just for that, plucked at another barrette a little too hard. Phil grimaced at the amount of hair stuck in the plastic. “All these beauty parlor visits are making me bald faster.” 

“Well the sooner you lose it, the sooner you won’t have to play.”

Phil laughed. “Oh, I’m sure she’ll think of another way to play it. She’s just like Daisy, trying to find a way around the system.”

“Don’t act like you’re not proud.”

“Oh, I am,” he said, watching Melinda. “She might move onto you next.”

Melinda scoffed. “If you think I’m going to let a four-year-old near my hair, you’re mistaken.”

“At least I’ll always have the title of Overindulgent Grandparent then.”

“A small price to pay.” Melinda carefully removed the last hairband and set it down before ruffling Phil’s hair. “Alright, you’re done.”

Phil gasped theatrically, turning his neck as he pretended to admire her work. “I love it!”

She rolled her eyes but bent to press a kiss to the top of his head. “Dork.”

Chapter Text

“I fucked up.”

Melinda’s only answer was to cross her arms. As if sensing the mood she was in, thunder clashed loudly outside. Before her stood both Phil and their dog who wore almost identical oh shit expressions. They were covered from the waist down in mud and drenched in rainwater that puddled on the floor beneath them. 

Phil flinched when Cap shook, sending more mud and rainwater across the living room. 

Melinda’s lips thinned. “I just cleaned.”

“I’ll clean it up,” Phil insisted, grimacing at the muddy paw prints on the flooring. He sighed. “All of it.”

“You better.” 

Her threat didn’t phase Phil. He smiled as he toed his shoes off before beginning to walk toward her. Melinda’s stomach dropped at the mischievous glint in his eyes. 

“Phil, I swear if you-”

The end of her sentence was lost in an uncharacteristic shriek as Phil’s soaked arms came around her. Melinda twisted in his grip, trying to get away. “Phil! You’re getting me wet!”

Laughing, he squeezed her closer, cold nose bumping against her cheek. “That’s the idea.”

With that, Phil began to rain kisses down her neck, purposefully nipping at ticklish points. Melinda squirmed before shrieking again as his fingers danced along her sides. She couldn’t stop the laugh that bubbled out as Phil tickled her and thrashed against him between breathlessly begging for him to stop. Only he didn’t and kept tickling her, laughing as well. 

Somewhere below them, Cap barked, excited by his humans’ laughter. Melinda felt his tail thump against her calf a few times before she realized what was about to happen. Phil’s protests joined hers. 

“No, no, no!” “Cap, no-!”

Melinda shrieked again as Cap jumped up against her, sandwiching her against Phil and covering them both in mud and doggy kisses. 

Chapter Text

“Let’s run away together.”

Fitz took the hand Daisy offered without hesitation. “Brilliant idea.”

Together they stood and quickly left the common room. If their absence was noticed, it wasn’t voiced. Their teammates and friends continued to talk and laugh as the party carried on. 

Fitz groaned, the sound echoing in the empty base hallway. “I thought that was never gonna end.”

“Me either,” Daisy agreed. “Who knew retirement parties were that intense.” She then turned to him, moving close before pressing a soft kiss to Fitz’s mouth that ended with her coquettishly nipping his bottom lip. “How about we have a party of our own?”

Chapter Text

“Is that a new perfume?”

“Mhm,” Melinda confirmed with a low moan, tilting her neck as Phil’s lips brushed against her jaw. “You like it?”

He chuckled, hot breath fanning across her exposed skin. Melinda shivered. “I thought that was obvious.” 

As Melinda wound her arms around Phil’s shoulders, he pressed her further against the wall, slipping one leg between her thighs. “So it’s just the perfume that has you trying to ravage me in a supply closet?”

Phil nibbled just below her jaw, enjoying Melinda’s sharp intake of breath. “I always want to ravage you anyway, perfume or not.”

Chapter Text

“We’d make a cute couple.”

Melinda didn’t look at him as she shuffled through the weapons cache. “Heidi and Charles?”

Phil scoffed. “No. Those two are completely dysfunctional. I meant us. Me and you.”

“I know what ‘us’ means, Phil.”

“Right.” He cleared his throat. “Right, of course, you do.” When a few silent seconds ticked by, Phil cleared his throat again. “So, uh. Does that mean you agree or-?”

Phil’s breath caught as Melinda walked over, but she only handed him a gun. “I’ll let you know my answer once I have a pair of comfortable shoes on again.”

Chapter Text

“You’re cute when you’re angry.”

Melinda huffed, glaring at Phil over her casted toes. “I’m not angry.”

“You’re also not a great liar then.” Since Melinda was bedridden, Phil felt safe enough where he could make the comment. Nearing her bedside, he set down the flowers he held on the side table. He took a glance at the steadily beeping monitor Melinda was hooked up to before turning back to her. Aside from the cast stretched up nearly to her hip, Melinda looked fine with the exception of a few bruises and scrapes. “How are you feeling?”

“Like I fell from a second story window.”

“Oddly specific.”

She hummed, gaze falling to the flowers. “These are nice.” Melinda thumbed a petal between her fingers. “Any chance there’s a scalpel hidden in one of the stems?”

Phil laughed. “Not a chance. Hand would have my ass if you busted out. Besides, you couldn’t get very far on that leg.”

“Try me.”

“Then again, I could always call Fury and have him move you to round the clock observation.”

Melinda pushed her bangs aside to glare at him again. “Do it, and I’ll see that you wind up there next.” 

Phil gestured to her cast. “May I?”

“If you draw a shield I get to draw on you.”

To no one’s surprise, Melinda had picked a plain white cast that so far remained plain. “I’m shocked Barton hasn’t already doodled on it.”

Melinda wordlessly pointed to a scraggly purple arrow surrounded by hearts on the underside of her calf. “He dropped in when I was sleeping. Remind me to kick his ass when I get out.”

Phil snorted, brows furrowed as he concentrated, dragging the tip of the sharpie across her cast. “Kick his ass with what, exactly?”

He laughed when Melinda swatted at him and quickly finished, capping the marker. “Alright, done.”

Eyes narrowed, Melinda leaned forward to see what Phil drew. Her face softened, and a smile tugged at her lips when she read the thick writing. 

#1 Badass Partner   

Chapter Text

“Are you jealous?”

“What?” Phil scoffed. “No, of course not.”

Melinda watched Phil sulk further into the couch, crossing his arms petulantly as the cat bumped its head against her hand again. “Uh huh.”

The ginger cat Phil had affectionately dubbed Nat purred, stretching up to lick Melinda’s chin. Phil’s pout deepened. 

Melinda sighed. “Come here.”

Nat mrrurphed? when the couch dipped as Phil joined them but continued to purr. She reached her paws over, beginning to knead at Phil’s thighs. Smiling, he cuddled into Melinda’s side. 

“Not jealous, huh?”

He ducked his face against her neck, grumbling, “Shut up.”

 

Chapter Text

“I’m pregnant.”

“…yes,” Hunter said slowly, eyes momentarily focusing on Bobbi’s rounded stomach before moving up to her face. “You are.”

She flopped back onto the couch with a groan, throwing one arm over her eyes. The instruction manual in her hand fluttered to the floor, resting against her swollen ankles. “I’m tired of being pregnant, Lance.”

“I wish I could help you, love, but I can’t speed up the process.” 

Bobbi pouted, and he was rendered helpless. Hunter set down the screwdriver he was using before joining his wife on the couch. She tried to cuddle into him immediately but shifted to accommodate her midsection with another frustrated groan. 

Hunter scooted, so his back pressed against the armrest, allowing Bobbi to lean back into him. “Here. That better?”

“Yeah.” She craned her neck up, searching for a kiss which he eagerly complied to. “Thanks.”

Hunter hummed, nosing her hair. “Can’t have you two being uncomfortable now can we?”

“Oh, she’s comfortable all right,” Bobbi groused. She tucked her cheek against Hunter’s neck with a sigh. “I’m the one that’s not.”

He dropped a kiss to the top of her head before lowering his chin to her shoulder. “What’s she been up to today?”

“Just going to town on my kidneys.” Bobbi picked up their hands, moving them to rest on her eight and a half month pregnant belly. “Here.”

The second Hunter’s palm touched her stomach, a swift kick was delivered right to it. He laughed. “Think we’ve got a football star on our hands, Bob.”

Bobbi sighed. “I just want her out.”

“Only a few more weeks,” he reassured her, kissing her temple. Hunter glanced to the sprawling mess of screws and metal on the living room floor. “Maybe by then, we’ll have this bloody baby swing done.”

Chapter Text

“I’m going to keep you safe.”

Hunter pretended to swoon as much as he could in the cramped space behind the couch. “My hero.”

Melinda rolled her eyes. “I could always let them know where you are-”

“No!” he squeaked. “No, that’s okay.”

“That’s what I thought.” Melinda crouched, squeezing herself down next to him. She frowned. “Where’s Bobbi?”

“She had to pee.”

Now?” Melinda asked in a harsh whisper. “Of all times?”

“I can’t control her bladder function, woman!”

Both of them froze as the door flew open. Bobbi rushed in and vaulted over the couch, narrowly missing clipping Melinda in the head with her heel who protested with a sharp hey! “Sorry,” Bobbi said breathlessly. “I couldn’t shake my tail.”

Footsteps and voices echoed down the hallway, getting closer with each second that passed. 

“Why would you lead them here!?” Hunter hissed. 

“If I go down then we all do.”

The door opened with a bang. The footsteps quickly neared where the three were hiding. There was a gasp and then a screech of, “Found you!”

“You found us!” Bobbi exclaimed. A grin that matched the tiny one above them appeared on her lips. Standing, she lunged and tickled the five-year-old who shrieked. “You’re getting so good at this!”

“You know,” Hunter whispered lowly to Melinda. “We can probably still get out if-”

It was too late. Myna crawled behind the couch, giggling. “Daddy! Mama! I find you!”

“You did,” Melinda agreed, leaning over Hunter to pick the toddler up. She nuzzled their noses together, heart flipping at their daughter’s laughter. 

Hunter pressed a kiss to Myna’s palm, grimacing at the slight stickiness. “How’d you find us?”

From her place on Bobbi’s hip, Isabelle slid the tip of her pointer finger into her mouth. “Mommy.” 

Bobbi huffed. “Traitor.”

Chapter Text

“Shut up and kiss me already.”

The Elvis impersonator snorted. 

Phil made an affronted noise, waving the slightly crumpled sticky note. His hands shook slightly from nerves, causing their rings to clink together. “I worked hard on these, thank you very much.”

Melinda rolled her eyes. “You wrote them ten minutes before the ceremony.”

“And they’re amazing,” he defended. “Best paperwork I’ve ever done and I’ve done a hell of a lot of it.”

“Phil.”

He sighed, pocketing the sticky note as he glanced pointedly to Elvis who grinned. 

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” he bellowed. “Kiss your wife!”

With that, Melinda pulled Phil into a kiss that sent his toes curling and the word wife ringing in his ears. 

Chapter Text

“I fucked up.”

Elena glanced around the kitchen. On the stove was a pot of water that boiled over when she walked in seconds ago, there was some type of marinade splattered on the floor, and the smoke alarm finally stopped beeping when Mack finished waving a few kitchen towels around. “That’s an understatement.”

Mack huffed. “Thanks.”

“What were you trying to-” Elena’s eyes caught on an oddly colored clump of… something teetering on the edge of the kitchen counter. She squinted. “Is that masa?”

With a sigh, Mack scratched the back of his neck, wincing. “Yeah, I was trying to make-”

Then Elena noticed a pile of banana leaves on the table surrounded by a line of string that traveled down to the floor in a tangled heap. Coupled with the masa and the smell of burning pork, she knew what it was. “Tamales?”

Mack nodded. “You’ve been so busy lately, and I can see how stressed you are so I thought I’d try and make you dinner.”

Any anger she felt about the messy kitchen dissolved completely at his confession. Elena stepped forward, dodging the mess at her feet. She nearly leaped back though when Mack reached to hug her. “Nuh uh. Not until you and this kitchen are clean.”

Mack sighed but didn’t argue. The apron he had the foresight to put on was filthy as were his masa-covered hands. “Can I at least get a kiss?”

Elena grinned. “Sí.”

She leaned up on her toes as Mack bent down. They met in the middle with a sweet kiss that nearly caused Elena to melt into the floor. It was hard not to slide her hands around his waist or pull him closer, but she didn’t want to get dirty. Alternatively, Mack didn’t seem to have an issue with it.

Elena pulled back, swatting at his hands. “Mack!”

“Sorry,” he laughed, raising them away. “I forgot.”

“Sure, you did.” Elena couldn’t help it and leaned in for another kiss. Then she stepped away, maneuvering around the mess. “You clean this up then shower while I order out.”

“Only if you join me in the shower.”

She bit her lip, lingering to watch Mack strip off the apron. “Deal."

 

Chapter Text

“Can we cuddle?”

As if she had been waiting for Bobbi to ask, Melinda set her book to the side and held out an arm, beckoning Bobbi closer. Bobbi scooted across the space she had tentatively set between them and tucked herself into Melinda’s side, inching down the bed slightly to do so. With a sigh, she rested her head on Melinda’s chest, calming at the sound of her girlfriend’s heartbeat. 

Melinda held her close, idly stroking Bobbi’s back. “Want to talk about it?”

There was a pause before Bobbi shook her head. That was okay. Melinda would be there for her when she was ready. 

 

Chapter Text

“Of course, I remembered!”

“No,” Melinda said, biting back an amused smile. “You didn’t.”

Daisy’s shoulders sagged. She sighed. “No, I didn’t.”

“Of all that we’ve done for you, you couldn’t remember our anniversary?” Phil joked, squeezing Daisy’s shoulder who relaxed before rolling her eyes. 

“You two have only been married for a year, anyway,” she said. “And I wasn’t even at the wedding!”

“Would you have remembered to show up?”

Phil laughed while Daisy spluttered. “I thought we were supposed to be the ones having memory problems.”

With a groan, Daisy sat on the couch, throwing an arm over her eyes. “Why am I even here.” 

Melinda scooted over, tucking the girl against her side and kissed her temple. “Because you love us.”

At that, Daisy gave a dramatic sigh before giggling as Melinda playfully pinched her thigh. “I guess I do.”

“And you’re our favorite,” Phil added, squeezing himself into the hug from Daisy’s other side. 

She grinned, leaning into their embrace. “I am. And I expect to see more wedding photos that I know you have. Coulson couldn’t get married without taking like, a thousand pictures.” 

“Hey!”

“It felt like five thousand,” Melinda grumbled even as she reached for the thick photo album on the coffee table. “Get ready to be here for a few hours.”

Chapter Text

“Stop hogging all the blankets!” 

Lincoln was jolted awake as Daisy tried to yank the covers off him. “Hey!”

“Linc, I am freezing .”

“Well, so am I,” he retorted, clutching the soft blankets around him even as Daisy continued to pull. “Your dad is the one that keeps this place an icebox. Talk to him about it.” 

“I’m sorry, I thought my boyfriend wouldn’t leave me to suffer in the cold.”

Grumbling, Lincoln burrowed further in the warm cocoon he created and shoved his face back in the pillow. “It’s every man for himself, Daisy.”

With a huff, Daisy yanked at the blankets again, this time so hard that they unraveled around Lincoln. He flailed, trying not to fall off the bed and caught one of Daisy’s hands against his in the process. 

They both yelped. “You shocked me!”

“No,” Daisy said. “ You shocked me . You’re the one with the electricity powers.”

“And you’re the one with the vibration controlling stuff. Can’t you vibrate the air around you to be warmer?”

Daisy rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to do that in my sleep, Lincoln. Give me the damn blanket.” 

“Why don’t we just share?” Lincoln asked, rolling back onto the still warm sheets. He lifted one end of the pile of blankets up invitingly. “Come here.”

“If you shock me again, you’re sleeping on the couch for the rest of the week.” 

“We don’t even have a couch.”

“Lincoln.”

“I didn’t- fine. Now hurry up, I’m getting cold.” 

“I’m getting cold,” Daisy repeated in the familiar high pitch she used when mocking him. Even so, she quickly crawled across the bed. “Says the one that was wrapped up in the blankets.” Daisy cuddled against him, shivering at the press of his hot skin against hers. “You’re so warm.”

He sighed. “Can we go to sleep now?” 

“Yeah, now that I’m no longer turning into an icicle. Night, grumpy pants.” 

Lincoln grumbled in return, already asleep with his cheek pillowed on top of Daisy’s head. 

Chapter Text

“You’re teasing me again.”

Daisy flattened her tongue against the spoon, dragging it up before licking off the rest of the ice cream. She swallowed, eyes glinting as she grinned. “I’m doing no such thing.”

Robbie whined. It was torture watching her eat but not being able to. “Daisy.” 

“It was your fault that you went against my direct order,” she said, easily scooping out another spoonful of ice cream and eating it. Robbie’s gaze was downright envious. “Now you have to pay the price.”

He huffed. “I’m already getting surgery. Isn’t that enough?”

Daisy ate more ice cream. “Nope.” 

Chapter Text

“Stop being so cute.”

Elise just blinked up at Daisy, wide eyes roving over her mother’s face. 

Lincoln chuckled, resting his chin on Daisy’s shoulder. At the sight of him, Elise wriggled on Daisy’s lap, little arms waving. “I don’t think she’ll ever be able to do that, babe.”

“Where did you get all the cute from?” Daisy asked, cooing at their baby who burbled back. “Not from daddy, that’s for sure.”

“Hey!”

At Lincoln’s exclamation, Elise squalled before blowing a raspberry. She cooed when Lincoln lifted her up then screeched with joy when he began showering her chubby cheeks with kisses. 

Chapter Text

“They’re going to love you, don’t worry!”

Melinda only nodded. Daisy’s reassurance didn’t fall flat, but Melinda was still apprehensive. Walking into this area of the Cocoon felt like she was walking back into that warehouse in Bahrain. But she pushed that thought aside. This wasn’t Bahrain. 

“They’re excited to meet someone new,” Daisy continued, eyes bright as they always were when talking about the inhuman children in Shield’s custody. “I think they might be getting tired of me,” she joked.

“That’s impossible.”

Daisy’s excited grin turned bashful before she perked up again as they reached the last checkpoint. They scanned their ID’s and came to a stop before a door. 

“You ready?” Melinda nodded but, Daisy sensed her hesitation. “May, you don’t have to-”

“I want to,” Melinda said. “If I have to listen to one more story about these kids and not meet them, I think I’ll go insane.”

Daisy snorted. “As if that would ever happen.” Still, she waited for Melinda to nod before scanning her ID again and reaching for the panel control. “Alright, here we go.” 

As soon as the door slid open, two tiny voices rang out. “Daisy!”

“Hey!” Daisy had just enough time to drop to her knees to intercept the small bodies that barreled into her. She hugged the girls tight, grinning at their giggles. “I hope you two haven’t been torturing Piper that much.” Piper scoffed as she left the room. “Thanks.”

“Nuh uh.” Sydney, whom Melinda recognized by her red hair and smattering of freckles, stuck her tongue out at Piper as the agent left. “We’ve been playing the card game that Director Coulson taught us and Davis brought us a puzzle earlier and-” she paused, turning to Melinda. “Who’re you?”

At the question, Jiya, tucked to Daisy’s other side suddenly gasped and disappeared. Sydney frowned at her sister’s distress and snuggled closer to Daisy. “Daisy, who’s she?”

“Hey,” Daisy soothed. She stroked Jiya’s hair who had reappeared. “It’s okay. Remember yesterday when I told you I was bringing someone to meet you? This is Agent May.”

Familiarity dawned in Sydney’s eyes. She studied Melinda before whispering loudly to Daisy, “Is she your mommy?”

“She is,” Daisy agreed without missing a beat. Melinda’s heart skipped as it always did when Daisy referred to her as her mother. “But she’s also my mentor. She’s the one that helped me when I first got my powers.” 

Melinda smiled. “Hi.”

The girls just… stared. Melinda swallowed back the unease she felt and the desire to bolt for the door. Daisy’s smile faltered, but before she could say anything though, Sydney bounded up to Melinda, sticking out a tiny hand. “Hi, I’m Sydney!”

Her stomach rolled at the sight of the hand before her. The walls threatened to turn into brick and the couch into a pile of bodies, but they didn’t. Instead, Melinda smiled. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she said, shaking the little girl’s hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you.” 

Sydney squinted at her. “You look like you’re good at puzzles. Can you help me with one? Please?”

“You’re right,” Melinda said. “I am good at puzzles, and I would love to help you with one.”

With a grin, Sydney tightened her grip on Melinda’s hand and led her over to a small plastic kids table where puzzle pieces were strewn about. The puzzle so far only had the borders done.

“It’s five hundred pieces,” Sydney informed her, tugging at Melinda to sit next to her in a tiny plastic chair. Melinda sat. “Davis doesn’t think we can finish it in one day, but I bet him that we could. If we win, we get pizza night. You’re invited.” 

Melinda didn’t flinch as Jiya suddenly appeared at her elbow. Instead, she handed the little girl a puzzle piece. Jiya kept her eyes on Melinda before looking down at the puzzle piece and placing it correctly in the puzzle. She grinned at Melinda’s quiet yet sincere good job

“Daisy!” Sydney hollered, twisting to look at Daisy who stood nearby. “Come help us!”

“Alright,” Daisy laughed. “I’m coming.” She took the tiny chair across from Melinda, shifting to accommodate Jiya who crawled into her lap. “Am I invited to pizza night too?”

Jiya pressed a puzzle piece into Daisy’s hand. “Uh huh.”

Sydney began talking a mile a minute again as they all continued working on the puzzle. Melinda half-listened between handing the girl puzzle pieces. It was still a bit overwhelming being around the inhuman children, but Melinda remained calm. She glanced up at Daisy, who was practically glowing with happiness and pride and couldn’t help but feel the same way. 

Chapter Text

“Stop hogging all the blankets.”

Skye huffed sleepily. “‘S not my fault this safe house only had one blanket. Who even does that?”

“I don’t know, but I’m firing them,” Melinda grumbled. She tugged harder at the blanket Skye had wrapped around herself. “Give it.”

“Is that an order?”

“I can make it one real quick.” 

With a dramatic groan, Skye rolled over to Melinda and unraveled the blanket slightly before draping it over her as well. At the sudden sensation of being enclosed in warmth, Melinda shivered. While the safe house was heated, the fire was rapidly going out, and the temperature outside was dropping. Melinda hated Iceland. 

“Mmm,” Skye mumbled, pressing herself against Melinda. She tucked her cold nose against Melinda’s neck. “You’re warm.” 

“And you’re cold,” Melinda said but wrapped her arms around Skye. The younger woman’s body heat immediately seeped into her and Melinda sighed. 

Skye shifted. “This bed is lumpy.”

“Would you rather sleep on the floor?”

She huffed. “No. ‘m just saying.” Yawning, Skye turned her head before resting her cheek on Melinda’s chest. “When’s Trip supposed to be here?”

“0600. Get some sleep.”

“Don’t steal the blanket.”

Melinda scoffed and opened her mouth to retort, but Skye was already asleep. The tough mask Skye put on since they arrived at the Playground fell away when she slept, leaving behind the girl Melinda first saw when she stepped onto the Bus. Melinda tucked Skye’s hair behind her ear, allowing herself a moment to mourn the part of Skye that had been lost in the past few months. It hurt to see pieces of herself reflected in Skye even if Melinda was her S.O. Careful not to disturb her, Melinda checked the icer on the nightstand once more before curling around Skye and following her into sleep. 

Chapter Text

“You’re so beautiful.”

Hunter turned, halfway through tugging his shirt over his head. Bobbi watched mournfully as his abs disappeared from view. When his head popped out, there was an adorably confused frown on his face. “Me?”

Bobbi snorted. “No, the chair. Yes, you.”

“It is a nice chair,” Hunter mused. He crawled onto the bed, bracing his knees on either side of Bobbi before leaning down to press kisses to her neck. “I’m beautiful, huh?”

“Mmm,” She agreed though it was more of a moan and tilted her chin up as Hunter kissed up to it. Bobbi ran a hand up his arm and to his cheek that she cupped, thumb scraping against his day-old stubble. “Yes. My beautiful husband.”

“My beautiful wife,” Hunter murmured against her skin, turning his head to capture her lips in a kiss that made Bobbi wish he was as naked as she was. “Can you believe we’re doing this whole marriage thing again?”

“This time will be easier. We already played this level before, but now we know how to beat it.”

He laughed, and Bobbi kissed him again. “Like in a video game?” Hunter asked, shaking his head fondly. “I married a dork.”

“Twice, in fact.”

Hunter smiled and kissed her nose. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”  

Chapter Text

“Please don’t hurt me like this.”

Skye’s pleading, coupled with her pout and wide, watery eyes almost chipped away his resolve. Phil shook his head, fingertips slipping against hard plastic. This was it. 

“I wish there were another way,” he said solemnly. “I’m sorry.”

With that, Phil threw down a Draw 4, crowing, “Uno!”

Skye groaned, tossing her head back as she slumped in the chair. “Dammit!” She threw her cards down in frustration, glaring at Phil who only laughed. “How are you so good at this?”

He picked the cards up, shuffling them for another game. “You have to pass the time on a stakeout one way or another.”

“And that’s why you were always behind me,” Melinda said as she joined them at the table, steaming mug of tea in hand. She turned to Skye who was listening raptly. “One time, he pulled out a card instead of his badge. You should have seen the look on the guy’s face.”

“How can you leave out the best part?” Phil asked, puffing up proudly. “I held it up and said ‘Y ou know you couldn’t hide forever.’” 

Melinda rolled her eyes while Skye laughed. “Oh my God. So your jokes have always been that bad, then.”

“Excuse you. I think you mean underrated. He didn’t even laugh!”

“We were arresting him.” 

“I’m surprised these are even here,” Phil said as he dealt out the cards. “I wonder who brought them?”

Melinda sipped her tea. “I’ll give you one guess.”

Phil shook his head fondly. “Maria.”

The simplicity of the moment was strange, albeit welcome. It was a complete one-eighty from the past three non-stop months of trying to rebuild Shield and Skye fidgeted. The casual, familial intimacy felt like it came out of her dreams, teasing her before it would suddenly be snatched away. “Shouldn’t we be like, training or something?” she asked. “Or even trying to reach the base?”

Melinda and Phil shared a glance. To Skye’s surprise, Phil looked sad, but Melinda remained composed as always. “There’s too much interference with the storm,” Melinda said. “It would be a waste of power. And no, we deserve some downtime.” 

“Contrary to popular belief, Shield agents do get to have fun,” Phil added with a wink. 

Melinda hummed. “Occasionally.” 

With that, Skye relaxed and picked up her cards. 

“Alright.” Phil tossed down a card with a mischievous grin. “Let’s see if either of you can beat me this time.” 

Chapter Text

“How did we get here?”

Lincoln sighed, resting his cheek on the side of Daisy’s head. “I don’t know.” 

The white walls of the containment room were designed to make the space seem bigger, but with each breath Daisy took it felt like the room was closing in on them. All that kept her panic at bay was Lincoln’s steady heartbeat at her back and the knowledge that she was back in control of her own mind. It was too soon to try and begin to process what Hive did to her, what he made her do, and what he made her feel

Instead, Daisy leaned further into Lincoln and closed her eyes so she couldn’t see the white honeycomb anymore. 

 

Chapter Text

“Will you marry me?”

Melinda hesitated, brought up short by the question before she shook her head and shoved Phil inside their bunk, grabbing his arm as he tipped forward. “You’re drunk, Phil.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“You just had to try and beat Elena at shots.”

“I almos’ won!”

“You’re gonna pay for this in the morning,” Melinda said as she sat him on the bed. Phil blinked at her, pouting when he realized she wasn’t touching him anymore. He reached out, sluggishly pawing at her hips before she bent to untie his shoes. “Probably for the next three days too.”

He snort-laughed. “Prob’ly. ‘M old.”

“We both are,” Melinda said as she stood. “But you’re the one that seems to forget we aren’t in the Academy anymore. Arms up.”

Phil obeyed, lifting his arms as Melinda tugged his shirt over, then helped with his pants. He watched as Melinda folded the clothing, wavering slightly on the bed.  

“‘Ve wanted to marry you f’a long time.”

She glanced at him, barely biting back a smile at the sight of his mussed hair sleepy pout. “Have you?”

He nodded. “Uh huh. Ever since M’des’o.”

“Since Modesto?” Melinda asked, remembering one of their trial run missions. “You mean when I saved you from that girl that thought she was a vampire?”

Phil’s nose wrinkled, but he nodded. “She wan’ed to suck m’blood. Only you c’n do that.”

Melinda rolled her eyes. “I’m flattered.” 

To her surprise, Phil went willingly when she directed him to lay down. He sank into the pillows with a sigh but kept his eyes on Melinda. “So will you?” he asked. “Marry me?”

Melinda smiled, leaning to kiss his cheek, then his temple. “Ask me again when you’re not drunk.”

“S’that a yes, though?”

“Go to sleep, Phil.”

Chapter Text

“I’m sick.”

“And I told you to bring a jacket when you went on that mission to Canada.”

Daisy huffed, but it came out as a stuffy wheeze. She blew her nose pitifully, wincing from how it was already rubbed raw. “Ow.”

Phil sighed as he glanced at the thermometer before back to Daisy. She was propped up by pillows in her bed, surrounded by a nest of blankets, and wearing one of his old academy sweatshirts that Phil thought he lost months before. “One hundred even.”

“Hey,” Daisy said. “Ad lead id’s gone down.”

“How’s your head?”

She sniffled. “Hurds.”  

“You can have more medication after lunch. The soup’s almost done, and you’re going to eat all of it.” Daisy pouted, but Phil stood firm. “It’s either that or I make one of Lian’s compresses.”

“...Suddenly ‘m darving.” 

“That’s what I thought.” He patted her knee, lingering at the foot of the bed for a moment. “I’ll be back in a few minutes, okay?”

Daisy rolled her eyes and blew her nose again. “I’ll be fine, dad.”

Once he reached the kitchen, Phil quickly dished out the chicken noodle soup and saltine crackers before grabbing another water and Gatorade before leaving. His phone rang when he was halfway to Daisy’s bunk. It was the special ringtone he had set for Melinda, so Phil quickly fished it out, balancing the tray of food with his robot hand. “Hey, Mel.”

“Phil.” Even though the greeting was brief, it was still fond. But of course, Melinda got straight to the point. He knew she hated being away from Daisy when she was sick. “How is she?”

“Well she sassed me earlier, so it’s nothing too serious,” Phil said. “Still has a headache and enough mucus for three allergy seasons. I just took her temperature and now I’m about to bring her lunch.”

Melinda snorted. “Good luck getting her to eat it.”

“I threatened her with one of your mom’s compresses.”

Phil practically heard Melinda’s shudder. “That get her to cooperate?”

“We’re about to see.” He opened Daisy’s door with his hip and at her curiosity said, “It’s May.”

Daisy lit up, making a grabby hand for the phone as Phil handed it to her. She lifted it to her ear immediately. “May.” A beat. “‘m sick. I miss you.”

While Daisy talked, Phil busied himself with adjusting the humidifier and getting the acetaminophen and Benadryl ready for Daisy after she ate. With that in mind, he prodded at her sock-clad foot sticking out of the blankets before covering it up. “Lunch time.”

She sighed. “Couldon’s gonna make me ead now. Okay. Uh huh. ‘Kay . I love you, doo. Bye.”

Phil exchanged his phone for the bowl of soup that Daisy frowned at. “All of it.”

With a miserable groan, she picked up the spoon. 

Chapter Text

“It’s lonely here without you.”

“Hey,” Mack’s voice interrupted, his deep timbre slightly tinny over the phone. “Who’s been making you dinner every night?”

Flint laughed. “Taco Bell.”

“I’m just glad you haven’t seen the inside of the microwave for every meal again,” Elena said, keeping her phone between her ear and shoulder as she finished rolling a dough ball. She placed it with the others and washed her hands before heading out of the kitchen into the heat of the night. The stone bench was slightly cooler, pressing against her bare thighs as she sat. Elena couldn’t remember the last time she wore shorts. But Colombian summers didn’t allow dark jeans. 

“Microwave food is amazing!” Flint defended. “Microwaves are so cool, and they make the food so fast!”

“It’s terrible for you.”

“And? I grew up eating kibble. It can’t be worse than that.”

Mack sighed and raised his voice, so it was clear he was talking to Elena. “He gets this from you.”

“What?” Elena asked, teasing. “That he knows you’re a pushover?”

He grumbled. “I’m not- I get off shift late, and Taco Bell delivers now.”

She rolled her eyes. Though May said Mack had pulled back some more since she left, he still overworked himself even with Flint there. At least Elena had someone there aside from herself to tug Mack away from his desk. But then again May had told her that most often it was both Mack and Flint up in the office. Once Flint was presented with a problem, he insisted on solving it no matter how late it was and was more than willing to help Mack with anything. 

“When I get back I’m showing you both how to make better tacos. No more takeout.” 

Flint sounded intrigued yet doubtful. “Better tacos?”

In the background, Mack laughed. “You got a lot to learn, kid.” 

“When are you coming back?” Flint asked. “It’s not the same without you.”

“It’s not the same around here without you, either,” Elena said, glancing around the quiet courtyard. Her apartment was too empty without Mack and Flint even if only one of them had ever been there. “Next time, you’re coming with me.”

“Really?” 

“Yeah,” Elena agreed, smiling at his excitement. “You need to see the world from outside of the Lighthouse.”

“I already have.”

Teenagers. “The world as it is now . Not as a bunch of rocks.”

“Hey,” Flint said. “There’s nothing wrong with rocks.”

“You know what I mean.”

“Yeah.” Elena heard him sit down, presumably on the couch with a slight groan. “I can’t wait to train with you again.”

“Daisy going easy on you?”

Flint scoffed. “No. She quakes the rocks before I can even form them. I think Mack’s one more exploding boulder away from padding the entire training room.”

“More like I’m one more exploding boulder away from putting you in a suit of bubble wrap.”

“Flint,” Elena said. Concern eclipsed any bit of relaxing she was doing. She sat up straighter, gripped her phone tighter. “Did you get hurt?”

Flint’s pause was an answer in itself. “It was just a bruise.”

“Yeah and then you nearly got a concussion.”

Elena’s stomach dropped. “A what!?”

“I’m fine!” Flint insisted quickly. “It’s fine. I’m okay. It’s not a big deal.”

“You didn’t tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to worry. I knew that you’d come right back and ditch the show.”

She sighed. “Flint. You matter more than some gilipollas ricos wanting to buy my art.”

“I just- “ He began. Elena heard a familiar soft clacking which meant Flint was palming the two smooth stones he always carried around. “You deserve a vacation. I didn’t want to ruin it.” 

Elena softened. “Mijo.”

Flint didn’t respond. Clacking filled the line for a few seconds before he finally spoke. “I- We miss you.”

“I miss you both too. I’ll be back soon. Only one more exhibit and then I’m on a plane.” 

“How many more nights of arguing between microwave dinners and Taco Bell is that?” Mack asked.

“I’m not sure,” Elena said. “Maybe try something other than tacos. I don’t want you to be tired of them by the time I get back to make some.”

“I could never get tired of tacos,” Flint swore. 

“We’ll see. Alright. It’s your bedtime.”

Flint sighed. “I’m sixteen. Do I really need a bedtime?”

“Yes,” Mack said. Parenting was natural for him even with a teenager from a dystopian future. “You do. Come on.”

“Fine. Bye Yo-Yo. Talk to you tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Elena said. “Goodnight, Flint.”

No sooner was the phone handed over and Elena heard a door shut, she sighed. “Mack.”

“I know,” Mack insisted. “And I’m sorry but was he wrong?”

She frowned. “No. But I still deserved to know.”

“You do.”

“Call me if anything else happens, especially if he gets hurt again.”

“I will. I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Mack hung up. Elena sat for a moment, staring at her phone in the dark before getting up and walking back into the apartment. The kitchen was bright with the smell of freshly made arepas and melting cheese. Elena breathed it in. It was home, but it wasn’t home . That was back in Lake Ontario. Lina didn’t glance up as she entered and only slapped another rolled arepa onto the stovetop. It was way past dinner, but Elena would gladly put on ten pounds for Lina’s food. She missed the older woman’s cooking and her presence. 

“Empezaste sin mi?” Elena asked, pocketing her phone before she rewashed her hands.  You started without me? She grabbed a stuffed arepa sitting on the plate and ignored Lina’s disapproving huff as she bit into it.

“No sabía cuánto tiempo estarías,” Lina said. I didn’t know how long you would be. She glanced at Elena- who was on her second arepa by now- before turning back to the stove. “Tus chicos?” Your boys?

Elena nodded, biting back a grin and swallowing the mouthful of food she had. “Sí.”

Chapter Text

“About the baby... It’s yours.”

Melinda’s statement was met with shocked silence. Hunter, still frozen from his seat on the couch, simply stared at her six-month pregnant belly. Suddenly hit with a wave of shame and embarrassment, Melinda crossed her arms over it. That seemed to snap him out of whatever stupor he was in. 

Hunter cleared his throat. His gaze drifted to the empty space of the couch beside her. In his eyes was a vacancy that made a shiver run down Melinda’s spine. “It’s not-?” 

She shook her head, heart bleeding at the fact he had to ask. “It’s only been you, Lance.” 

Hunter’s whole body moved with the force of his exhale. He rubbed his hands over his face, muttering, “What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know.” 

“I’m sorry-” Hunter began, moving off the couch and away from the living room. Melinda could see his hands shaking as he passed her. “I have to-” The patio door opened then slammed shut. 

Melinda didn’t bother to go after him. The rejection, disapproval, or whatever it was, stung. Tears pricked at her eyes, slipping down her cheeks and splashing on her rounded stomach. Melinda bit back a sob when she brushed them away, and the baby kicked. For now, it was just the two of them as it had been for the past six months.

Chapter Text

Mack didn’t know how long it took until Daisy’s sobs turned into sniffles. He didn’t care either. All that mattered was being there for her. He tightened his arms around Daisy, as if trying to hold her together, trying to glue back the pieces Hive shattered. Mack pressed a kiss to her hair, brows creasing as he realized Daisy was repeatedly mumbling, almost too soft for him to hear. 

“Don’t leave me,” she whispered, trembling. “Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.”

Daisy’s nails dug into his bicep, but it didn’t compare to the pain of seeing her so broken. Mack swallowed thickly. “I won’t.”

Suddenly, Daisy pulled away. Afraid she was going to fight him again, Mack carefully grasped her elbow but Daisy didn’t flinch. Earlier she could have easily thrown him across the room if she didn’t want his embrace. She needed the comfort that the stark white containment room, and the others, didn’t offer. 

Daisy’s cheeks were streaked with tears, and her eyes only filled with more. She looked at Mack, lower lip quivering and softly said, “Everyone leaves.”

Mack brought Daisy back against him who eagerly clasped his arm once more. “Not me,” he promised. “I’m not leaving you, Daisy. I couldn’t leave my partner.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t die on me- please.”

Elena hissed as Daisy jammed more gauze into the bullet wound in her abdomen. It was a through and through which meant that Daisy wasn’t going to be digging a bullet out of her but instead trying to plug it up. Elena turned her head, so she didn’t have to see the blood coating her side and Daisy’s trembling hands. “Not dead yet.”

Daisy grit her teeth as she ripped more gauze. “What is it with you and zooming in front of bullets?”

“You all are too slow.” It wasn’t even a choice. When Elena saw the gun pointed right at Daisy’s head, she didn’t think twice before taking it. “Wouldn’t have moved fast enough.”

“Yeah well maybe it was my time,” Daisy grumbled, pointedly avoiding Elena’s gaze when she turned to look at her. 

“It wasn’t,” Elena insisted intently, gripping Daisy’s blood-soaked hand in one of hers even as the motion made her dizzy. She waited until Daisy met her eyes to say, “And it isn’t mine either.”

Chapter Text

“I thought you loved me.”

Melinda popped another dumpling into her mouth, moaning at the taste. “I don’t love anyone as much as I love dumplings.” 

Hunter huffed as he watched her eat, picking up dumplings with chopsticks effortlessly. “That’s all I had to do then to win you over?” he asked. “Bring you some dumplings?” 

“Yeah, but the added chivalry was nice.” Melinda flagged one of the waiters over, asking for more dumplings in Mandarin before turning back to Hunter. She pointed to the two dumplings on his plate. “You gonna eat those?”

He surrendered them, blinking as they disappeared in seconds. 

Chapter Text

“Can we cuddle?”

Phil didn’t hesitate to sit on the edge of the med-bay bed and let Daisy snuggle against his side. She pushed her face against his ribs, snuffling in content when he stroked her hair. A few seconds went by before she pulled away, blinking bleary eyes that landed on Melinda. 

“May?”

“Daisy,” Melinda began, eyeing the many machines Daisy was hooked up to. “I don’t think-” 

Daisy’s bottom lip trembled. Melinda was a goner even before Daisy lifted her arm from where it was slung across Phil’s stomach to make a pleading grabby hand toward her. “Please?”

“Careful,” Phil coached, helping Daisy as she shifted to make room for Melinda. She ended up on her side, almost teetering on the edge of the bed. Immediately, Daisy clung to her, attaching one braced hand to Melinda’s shirt as she pressed her cheek to Melinda’s shoulder. 

“Comfy?”

Daisy made a low sound of agreement, wiggling herself close to Melinda, all while keeping contact with Phil. A weak purr vibrated in her chest when Melinda kissed her temple, and Phil rubbed her back. She hummed, nosing Melinda’s neck in drug-induced affection. “Maybe I should let a building fall on me more often if it means I get cuddles like this.”

Melinda clutched her closer, swallowing the bitter taste of fear. “Don’t you dare.”

“You’re lucky all you got away with was a concussion,” Phil said. 

“Yeah.” Daisy frowned. She fidgeted as if repressing the urge to touch the bandage that wrapped around her head. “That hurt.”

Alarmed, Phil moved to stand up, presumably to find a doctor. “It hurts still?”

“No,” she said, moving her head slightly when Melinda’s fingers probed around the area. “It’s just all floaty up there now.”

Even so, Phil brushed some of Daisy’s hair away to peek at the bandage then addressed Melinda’s concern. “It’s not bleeding.”

Melinda relaxed and continued to stroke Daisy’s hair as the younger woman kept talking. 

“I didn’t know I could do that,” Daisy said, referring to the force field of vibrations she had created around herself when the building came down. “That was cool.”

Cool . Melinda had never been that terrified in her life. “Don’t ever scare us like that again.”

Daisy grew quiet, murmuring, “I’m sorry.”

“We’ll talk about that more when you’re cleared,” Phil soothed, taking the hand that Daisy reached to him. He ran the pad of his thumb lightly over her bruised fingertips. “Right now, you need to rest.”

She nodded or at least tried to. As soon as Daisy moved her head, she winced, whimpering in pain. 

Melinda frowned. “What is it, baby?”

“It’s hurting now.”

Phil was closest to the iv pole. Leaning over, he upped her drug dosage before turning back to Daisy, who was sluggishly playing with the tips of Melinda’s hair. “Better?”

“Uh huh.” She blinked at him, nuzzling into the palm he set on her cheek before abruptly shoving her face against Melinda’s neck. “Night dad.”

He chuckled and kissed her temple. “Night, Daisy.”

At this point, Daisy was pretty out of it and mumbled something intelligible against Melinda’s skin but Melinda heard it, and ducked her head to whisper in Daisy’s ear. “I love you too.”

Chapter Text

“You’d make a great dad.”

Hunter glanced over at Melinda. “Yeah?”

She nodded without a doubt. “Yeah.”

The conversation lapsed into silence, blown away by the gentle breeze that filtered across the back porch. Melinda continued to keep the patio swing moving by pushing her foot against the wood deck. She kept one eye on the shiny grill which reflected Bobbi moving about in the kitchen and the other one on Hunter who was fidgeting in the familiar way that preceded a question. Instead of asking, Melinda waited, content to sit next to her husband in the late summer sunset. 

“Are you-?” Hunter began suddenly, turning to face her. “This can’t be easy for you.”

It wasn’t. Melinda had only been this scared a handful of times in her life. They were having a baby . With each day that passed, the due date grew nearer, and the pit in Melinda’s stomach grew deeper. It was strange how something so small could be so terrifying. Melinda couldn’t count the number of nightmares she had where instead of the little girl in front of her, it was their child. To Melinda, Hunter, and Bobbi’s knowledge, none of them had Inhuman markers, but then again, they never got tested. It didn’t matter if the baby was Inhuman or not; Melinda would love them regardless, but it certainly brought a new factor into her fears of being a mother. This wasn’t going to be another Bahrain, though. She wouldn’t allow that.

“It’s not,” she agreed. “But I have you two.”

The lines of worry around his eyes softened. “Yeah you do,” Hunter said. “You’ll make a great mum, and I’m not just saying that.”

His sincerity caused her throat to tighten. Melinda managed a smile. “Thank you.”

Hunter lifted an arm to drape over the back of the porch swing and Melinda eagerly pressed against his side, tucking her head against his shoulder with a sigh. Her eyes shut in content as he pressed a kiss to her hair. They both jumped when there was a sharp tap on the patio door behind them. Bobbi stood on the other side of the glass, arms crossed over her rounded belly.

Hunter lazily tipped his head back to look at her. “Do you need something?”

“I’m re-organizing the kitchen and can’t get the stand mixer down.”

“Hasn’t she re-organized that bloody kitchen five times already this week?” he muttered to Melinda.

“I can still hear you!”

“We’ll help you in a minute,” Melinda said and gestured to the space on the swing beside her. “Come here.”

“Yeah,” Hunter agreed. “Come on out and join your spouses.”

“Are you kidding?” Bobbi asked, indignant even through the glass. “No way! It’s hot as hell out there, and I’m already sweltering in the air conditioning thanks to this kid.”

They sighed. There was no use pissing Bobbi off but a pregnant Bobbi? Hunter had lost count of how many times he was banished to the couch and by now Melinda was well acquainted with the silent treatment. 

“Alright,” Hunter groaned, reluctantly dragging himself off the swing. “We’re coming.” 

Melinda followed as he stood. “Once he gets the mixer down, you’re headed to the couch with an ice pack.”

Bobbi’s nose scrunched in displeasure but she didn’t argue. “Fine.” 

Chapter Text

“You’d make a great dad.”

Hunter glanced over at Melinda. “Yeah?”

She nodded without a doubt. “Yeah.”

The conversation lapsed into silence, blown away by the gentle breeze that filtered across the back porch. Melinda continued to keep the patio swing moving by pushing her foot against the wood deck. The late summer night was serene, a sharp contrast to the turmoil churning deep in Melinda’s stomach. If it were Melinda and Hunter’s choice, they would be inside and either camped outside of the bathroom door or crowded in the bathroom with their wife. But Bobbi practically threw them out. This time they didn’t argue. 

“You think this is it?”

“I don’t know.” Melinda had learned not to hope years ago. It was foolish and always led to heartbreak, but she couldn’t help it now. She glanced at the timer on her phone- one minute remaining. Waiting was hard but waiting for an uncertain outcome was even worse. 

Hunter continued to stare out into the yard, worrying his bottom lip. “You think she’s okay?”

At that, Melinda floundered for an answer. She’d never been in Bobbi’s position before and couldn’t begin to imagine what was going on in her head. It was a long shot to think Bobbi was okay, though. But, Melinda did know one thing. “She has us.”

He nodded. “She does.”

They were already pressed side to side, close enough that Melinda could imagine the summer heat melting them together. But she reached for Hunter’s hand, slightly sticky with sweat either from the humidity or how nervous they both felt. He laced their fingers, bringing their joined hands up to kiss the back of Melinda’s. 

Hunter lingered there, eyes watching Melinda intently. The second kiss was more for her comfort than his. “You’d make a great mum, too.”

His sincerity caused her throat to tighten. Melinda managed a smile. “Thank you.”

The patio door suddenly slid open. Melinda and Hunter turned to see Bobbi, both parts eager and cautious. From Bobbi’s red-rimmed eyes and defeated curl of her shoulders, Melinda knew. The smile Bobbi gave them as she held up a pregnancy test was forced. “It’s negative.”

Hunter sighed. “Oh, Bob.”

The mask Bobbi put on wavered. Melinda and Hunter quickly scooted apart to make room for Bobbi who squeezed onto the swing between them. When Hunter took her hand and Melinda placed a palm on her knee, a sob caught in Bobbi’s throat. 

“Hey,” Hunter soothed. “It’s alright.”

“I really thought this was it, y’know?” Bobbi sniffled. Tears dripped down her cheeks and onto her jeans, but she refused to look at her partners. “With all we’ve been through why can’t we have something good for once?”

“We can try again.”

But Bobbi shook her head, whispering, “I’m so tired, Lance.”

Melinda’s heart shattered at the helplessness etched on his face, something she knew was mirrored on her own. She gently tugged on Bobbi’s elbow. “Come here.”

Bobbi remained pliant as Melinda directed her to lay on the swing, carefully prying the test out of her fist to set on the table. Bobbi didn’t protest and instead settled with her head on Melinda’s lap and her calves across Hunter’s thighs. She sniffled, gripping Melinda’s hand and flexed her fingers around her knee. 

“When it happens, it’ll happen,” Melinda began, tipping Bobbi’s face toward her with a finger under her chin. Bobbi met her gaze hesitantly, eyes filling with tears that Melinda calmly brushed away. “Until then, we have each other.” 

Bobbi nodded before shifting to press her face against Melinda’s stomach with a shuddering sob. Melinda swallowed her own emotions back in favor to keep hold of Bobbi’s hand and stroke her hair as she cried. Hunter started the swing again, keeping it going until it was well into the night and the cicadas buzzing was all they could hear. 

Chapter Text

“Don’t die on me. Please.” 

Daisy’s begging fell aside, replaced with paced breathing as she knelt over May’s body. 

“Come on!” She pleaded, continuing the compressions. May’s body jerked beneath them, but her chest remained unmoving. “May, please.” Daisy tried again, counting under her breath. There was a sharp crack under her palm, but she didn’t stop. Frustrated, Daisy pushed harder. “Come on!

Nothing happened. Daisy shoved her fingers against May’s neck, searching for a pulse but found none. “No, no, no.” Frantically, she reached for Melinda’s wrist. There was no pulse there either. “May!” Daisy yelled, tears pricking at her eyes. It didn’t take much for them to spill over. “May, please. Please,” she begged, fingers twisting in May’s shirt. “You can’t leave me. You can’t leave me.”

A catwalk in the warehouse rattled. At the sound, Daisy’s eyes widened before falling to her hands. She’d done this before. Obviously, it wouldn’t work the same without Lincoln’s powers, but it needed to. 

“Please work, please work,” she muttered, bracing her hands over Melinda’s chest. “I can’t lose you too. Not you.” 

With that, Daisy took a deep breath before delivering a quick, strong vibration over Melinda’s heart. No sooner, Melinda’s chest heaved, and her body jerked. She gasped sharply, eyes flying open. 

A sound between a sob and a laugh left Daisy’s mouth. She surged forward, nearly knocking Melinda’s head back with the force of her hug. “May!”

“Wh-” May gasped, trying to breathe again. Even still, she lifted a hand to Daisy’s back, returning the embrace in confusion. “Daisy?” she asked. “What- what happened? What’s wrong?”

Daisy stifled her sob against Melinda’s neck, clutching her closer. “I almost lost you.”

“I’m here,” May soothed, lethargically petting Daisy’s hair as she continued to cry and as Melinda continued to catch her breath. “I’m here.”

Chapter Text

“This is why I fell in love with you.”

Phil froze, and the bottle of medication fell from his hand onto the makeshift bedroll with a muffled plop. He blinked, then blinked again before squeaking, “What?”

Melinda squinted at him before nodding. “Mhm.”

“You’re delirious,” Phil said, ignoring how fast his heart was beating. He scooped the bottle up and placed it on the thin square of cardboard on the rotting floor, organizing the sparse other items with shaking hands. “You don’t know what you’re saying.”

Even with a fever, Melinda still managed to roll her eyes. “I’m sure I do.”

“We’ll talk about this when you’re not burning up and know what you’re saying.”

“It won’t change. I’ve been in love with you for years.”

He sighed. “Melinda-”

“Phil.” Melinda then frowned, gaze drifting off to a spot on the wall behind him. Phil turned, but there was no one there. It was only them. “Where’d Nat go?”

“She’s coming along with extraction,” Phil assured her, reaching to press the back of his hand to Melinda’s sweaty forehead. He frowned. She was hotter than before. He should peel back his suit jacket that was covering her to check on the status of her bandages but refrained. The place they managed to find was filthy, and Melinda was already fighting off the infection that had quickly set in her knife wound. 

Melinda frowned, shutting her eyes and tossing her head on her rolled-up jacket they were using as a pillow. “Clint, get out of my room.”

Phil smothered his smile and instead pushed her damp hair back. “I’ll tell him to leave.”

“Not you,” she murmured. “Stay.”

“I’m right here,” he promised. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Melinda blinked at him again before her eyes fluttered shut, and she breathed, “Good.” 

Chapter Text

“Why did you spare me?”

Melinda managed to drag her eyes from the blood-soaked wood to the man in front of her. After months of chasing the man, she finally had him, though, made no further move. Hunter tugged the bandana covering the lower half of his face down with a huff, revealing tell-tale scruff Melinda had only seen on Wanted posters. To her surprise, when Hunter tipped the brim of his hat up, he was younger than she expected and not a bit intimidating even for a criminal who had just shot up a room of gang members.  

Turning to her, Hunter holstered his still-smoking gun, seemingly unbothered by the carnage around them. “I need a partner.”

Melinda’s eyebrows nearly disappeared into her hat. “You want to partner with the sheriff?” 

“Against my better judgment.” Hunter shifted, eyeing the shiny star on her chest. “Look,” he sighed. “I know you have it out for me- “

“Because you robbed no less than ten banks and are wanted for allegedly murdering-”

“-but I need your help.”

A pause. “My help,” Melinda repeated. 

“We both know this is bigger than just me.”

He was right. Based on the whispers around town, the information Trip provided, and the meeting they busted into, something was brewing. 

“You’re an outlaw, and I’m the law,” she said, stepping forward. Melinda wasn’t afraid of Lance Hunter. He was the one outlaw that didn’t mercilessly kill anyone in his path. “What makes you think this could work?”

He tilted his head, studying her in a way that no doubt showed he had seen her fight. When Melinda frowned, he grinned. “Call it an instinct,” Hunter said and stretched out a hand. “What do you say, love?”

With a placid smile, Melinda reached for Hunter’s hand, savoring his ignorance at the moment. But she was unprepared for the start her heart gave at the quirk of his lips and glint in his eyes. Then, she yanked him forward, kneed him in the gut before wrenching his arm behind his back as he slumped. Hunter’s initial yelp of pain shifted into a series of groans. But he didn’t fight back. 

Melinda leaned down to hiss in his ear, “Don’t call me that again, and we’re good.”

She let go of him, watching with a certain satisfaction as he stumbled.  

Hunter wheezed, still doubled over. “Loud and clear.”

Chapter Text

“Dance with me!”

Melinda reluctantly pulled away from Phil, who gave them a fond smile before being swept away on the dance floor by Elena. She held out a hand to Daisy, who eagerly grabbed it and immediately invaded Melinda’s personal space. Daisy stepped closer, and for the first time that evening didn’t gloat at the obvious height difference between them that her heels allowed. 

“You tired of the canapes already?” Melinda asked, taking her other hand to hold Daisy’s elbow as she wobbled when they began to move.

“It’s about time he stopped hogging you,” Daisy pouted. “I missed you.”

Melinda rolled her eyes at Daisy, who gave her a wide, relaxed smile. “You’re drunk.”

“Nuh uh,” Daisy said but stumbled when Melinda led her into a twirl. She fell into Melinda’s arms with a giggle. “I’m tipsy. There’s a difference.”

“Mm.” 

“So,” Daisy began, tilting her head in the direction of the main table where the wedding cake sat. “Are you and Coulson gonna be next?”

Melinda laughed. “No.”

“That’s not what I think,” Daisy sang. 

“Well, you’ve had a few head injuries recently.”

Daisy watched her, glassy eyes clear for a moment. “He loves you. I love you.”

“I think you’ve had too many drinks,” Melinda said though she affectionately tucked a few strands of Daisy’s hair back from where it fell out from her bun. “I didn’t know you could dance this well.”

“Coulson taught me. You could brush up.”

“I could?”

Daisy just grinned, and Melinda melted. She’d been rendered powerless to that smile since Phil brought her on board the Bus. When the music slowed, Daisy stepped closer to Melinda and stooped slightly in order to rest her chin on Melinda’s shoulder. She settled with a content hum, looping her arms around Melinda’s waist. Melinda mostly had to hold her up.

“You should sit down before you twist an ankle.”

Daisy hummed, nosing Melinda’s neck. “Not yet.”

Melinda caught Phil out of the corner of her eye, watching them in concern as he nursed a tumbler of what looked like whiskey. He began to set it down and walk over, but Melinda shook her head. Daisy was fine if a little heavy. Phil watched them for a moment more before turning back to Davis. Melinda continued to rock back and forth with Daisy who was now drowsily clinging to her. She didn’t mind though and stroked a hand up and down Daisy’s back as the music continued. 

Daisy then shifted, turning to face the floor. Her gaze trailed to Mack and Elena who swayed in the middle in their bubble of newlywed bliss. She sighed. “I’m so happy.”

Melinda kissed her temple. “Me too.”

Chapter Text

“Let’s have a baby.”

Hunter inhaled sharply, which turned into choking on the tea he had been drinking. 

From her place on the couch next to him, Melinda harshly smacked his back as she set her own tea down. With an amused smile, she glanced to Bobbi, who stood in the doorway of the living room. “What brought this on?”

Bobbi crossed her arms, shrugging. “I thought it was the best time to bring it up. I’ve been thinking about it for a while.”

“Right when I’m in the middle of a cuppa?” Hunter managed to ask, voice still a little raspy from coughing. “What the bloody hell is wrong with you, woman?”

Melinda smacked Hunter’s back again for good measure but kept her attention on Bobbi who stalked over to the couch, perching on the arm. “How long have you been thinking about this?”

“About a month.”

Melinda’s brows rose. “When you were a day late on your last period?”

She nodded and leaned in for a kiss which Melinda eagerly complied to though she was still slightly confused. 

“We need to talk about this more.”

“We will,” Bobbi muttered against her mouth. “But for now, I want us to have a baby.”

“Well.” An ornery glint shone in Hunter’s eyes right before he pulled Melinda into his lap and Bobbi onto the seat beside him. “Guess we better get started.” 

Chapter Text

“You’re special to me.”

Hunter shifted to look at Melinda, head still pillowed on her chest from where they laid in bed. “I’d hope so,” he said. “Can’t really stomach the thought of you going around doing this with everyone.”

Melinda rolled her eyes, moving slightly to toss a blanket over their naked forms. She snuggled in close to Hunter again, lifting a hand to run her fingers through his hair. “I don’t- I haven’t felt what I feel for you in a long time.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t come along sooner.” 

Melinda shook her head and tilted Hunter’s chin to press her lips to his. “Now is perfect.”

Chapter Text

Melinda groaned and went to shut the door. “Not you again.”

“Wait!” A foot quickly shoved between the door and the wall. “Ouch.” A pause. “Can I come in?”

She sighed, opening it to free Phil’s foot as he stepped inside her dorm. “What do you want now?” she asked, crossing her arms defensively as Phil glanced around the room. “I’m in the middle of writing I will not put skunks in the staff locker room one hundred times.”

“What?” He turned to her, mouth open. “You only have to do a hundred? I had to do three hundred.”

“Well, you did instigate the prank,” Melinda pointed out. “Why are you here? You can’t be in the girl’s dorms this late.”

Phil rolled his eyes. “I know the rules.” He took a seat on her bed, watching as she came to stand in front of him. “You know Garrett?”

“Your roommate?” Melinda asked. John Garrett, nearly incapable at hand to hand and ate mat more than she could count. “Yeah. Why?”

A wicked glint appeared in Phil’s eyes. “He’s out for the night.”

“Good for you. And this matters to me how?”

“I know how much you like pranks and how much you hate Garret,” he said. “Let’s say we combine the two.”

It was enticing, but Melinda shook her head. “Coulson. We’re still on Hand’s list from the last stunt we pulled. He’ll squeal.”

“Ah,” Phil began with a grin. “That’s where we have some wiggle room.” He ignored Melinda snorting and mouthing wiggle room. “If he squeals, they’ll ask why he was out so late off-campus. Then they’ll find out about how he’s sabotaging the robots Sci-Tech is building to calculate our scores next month.”

“He’s what?” Melinda exclaimed. That was an expulsion level mistake. Their prank would be forgotten if Garrett was exposed. “Why?”

“Because he’s an idiot. What do you say?” Phil asked. “You in?”

“I’m in.”

Chapter Text

“I want to take care of you,” Daisy said. “But I can’t if you won’t let me.”

Melinda grunted, wincing as she picked up the needle with bruised fingers, angling her equally bruised back to the mirror to see the bloody gash on her shoulder blade. “I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” Daisy walked into the tiny bathroom and washed her hands before holding one out. “Here. Let me.”

She trusted Daisy. Melinda handed the needle and thread over, leaning sluggishly against the counter as Daisy prodded at her wound. “Did you clean it out?”

With a bloodied hand, Melinda gestured to the many pink-tinged sterile wipes strewn across the dingy sink. 

“Please tell me you know how to do this.”

A few seconds passed before Daisy said, “Lincoln taught me.” Before Melinda could reply, Daisy cleared her throat. “This is going to hurt.”

Getting stitches always hurt, but without any lidocaine to help, it hurt like hell. Then again holing up in a motel without any medical supplies besides the pocket-sized first aid kit Melinda always carried wasn’t the best idea. “Nothing I haven’t felt before.” 

“Alright. Ready?”

Melinda nodded. She was used to this. Even so, she couldn’t hold back the choked gasp that slipped from her lips when the needle first pierced her skin. Daisy whispered an apology but didn’t stop. It went by quickly and soon Melinda was blinking awake as Daisy cut the thread off and swiped another antiseptic wipe across her shoulder. “All done.” 

Melinda glanced in the mirror, eyeing the new, neat line of stitches. “Looks good.”

When Daisy didn’t respond with her usual joke, Melinda frowned. In the mirror, she could see Daisy’s head bent, blonde hair obscuring most of her face as she stared at Melinda’s back.

“Daisy?”

Daisy lifted her head to look at Melinda, eyes wet as they met hers in the mirror. “Please don’t do that again,” she said, voice tight. “He’s gone, and it hurts, but you can’t just throw yourself into any danger to make it go away because it won’t. I know.” 

Melinda faltered. How Daisy could see right through her was unnerving. She wanted to fight, wanted to snap that she was okay, that Daisy was ridiculous but… she was also right. There wasn’t any reason to mask her pain anymore. Daisy was hurting as much as Melinda was. 

She turned, shifting in the cramped space to face Daisy, offering a hand which Daisy eagerly grabbed. Daisy’s chin wobbled when she saw the bruise across Melinda’s cheekbone. She squeezed Melinda’s hand tight. “I can’t lose you too.”

Chapter Text

“I don’t deserve to be loved.”

Melinda looked stricken, glancing to Phil. She had said those same words to him years ago when all that remained of her was a shell of a person. Daisy, finally free from Hive, was a frightening reflection of Melinda after Bahrain. It had only been a week, but Daisy refused to leave her room and let anyone aside from Phil and Melinda see her. 

Phil walked over to where Melinda and Daisy were sitting on the bed and sat on Daisy’s other side. He took her hand, thumb running over her too-pale skin. 

“Love isn’t something you earn, Daisy,” Phil said. “It’s freely given.”

Daisy chuckled humorlessly. “But why would you give it to me ? After all I’ve done-”

“We love you,” Melinda gently interrupted, cupping Daisy’s cheek when she looked at her. “That isn’t going to change, no matter what you do or what happens.”

Daisy’s bottom lip quivered before she began to cry. Phil pulled her into a hug, holding the back of Daisy’s head as she sobbed into his shoulder. Melinda reached for Daisy’s hand, surprised when she was pulled into the hug as well. Daisy clutched them close. “I love you too.”

 

Chapter Text

“I don’t love you anymore.”

“Really?” Hunter asked. “Just because I ate the last cookie?”

“They were madeleines,” Bobbi exclaimed, gazing forlornly down at the now-empty box. “From Paris!”

Hunter sniffed. “They weren’t even that good.”

In the next second, he yelped in surprise as Bobbi tackled him onto the couch. Hunter landed with an oof even though the impact didn’t hurt. Bobbi followed, straddling his waist and kept Hunter’s hands above his head with one of hers. He wriggled, trying to move, squeaking as Bobbi’s nimble fingers dug into his side. 

“I told you not to eat it!”

“Bob-” he gasped between laughs, squirming beneath her. “Please-!”

“Are you going to go to Paris to get me some more?” she demanded, continuing to tickle him but shrieked as Hunter managed to roll off the couch and pin her under him. It was Bobbi’s turn to squeal as he began tickling her. 

“La-ance!” she begged, laughing. “St-top!”

Reluctantly, Hunter stopped, sitting on Bobbi’s thighs with a laugh. She remained lying on the floor, trying to catch her breath. 

“How about we make some?” Hunter asked. “Will that make you love me again?”

Bobbi picked her head up and grinned. “I guess.”

Chapter Text

“There was never an us,” Melinda hissed. “There was just a you.”

Hunter sighed exasperatedly. “Are you really still upset about paintball? I bloody told you I was going to meet you at the rendezvous point!” 

“You went off without me!”

“You never said we shouldn’t separate!”

“I didn’t say we should either!”

“Stop fighting,” Bobbi groaned, swinging her legs onto the couch as she sat beside Melinda. “And you wonder how I won. I could hear you two whispering from across the room.” 

“You won because you cheated,” Hunter said.

She scoffed. “How did I cheat?”

“You’re a hell beast. They can see in the dark.”

Quicker than Melinda could blink, Bobbi took out a familiar-looking gun from nowhere and fired it, sending a bright splatter of yellow paint across Hunter’s thigh. He yelped. “Bloody hell! You’re insane! You shot me!”

“You’ve been shot by one of your girlfriends before. Now we’re two and oh.”

Melinda gazed approvingly at the paintball gun. “Did you steal that from the paintball place?”

“Yep.” Bobbi grinned, proudly waving the large gun while Hunter ducked out of the way. How she snuck it out was beyond Melinda. “Here.” Bobbi held it out it to her. “You want a go?”

“I’m good,” Melinda said. “But we’re keeping it.”

Chapter Text

“Hey.” Lincoln knelt by the bed, placing a hand centimeters away from Daisy’s. “You okay?”

She sniffled and wrapped his Shield jacket tighter around her. “Not really.”

“Daisy.” The gentleness in his voice caused more tears to drip down her face. He watched her, eyes brimming with concern. “What do you need?”

“Just,” she whispered. “Just hold me and never let me go.”

But the arms around her never came. Daisy was alone. She stared at the space where Lincoln had been but he wasn’t there. And he wouldn’t be. Turning, Daisy buried her face into his pillow and sobbed. 

Chapter Text

“I’m dying.”

Phil had his back turned to the cameras, but Daisy knew he rolled his eyes. But in a room full of high ranking people and idly swaying on the dance floor, Phil quickly disguised it by ducking close to Melinda, pretending to murmur something to her in which she responded with a fake laugh. “No, you’re not.” 

“You don’t know that,” she said. “I could be getting stabbed to death right here in the surveillance van or dying from mortification of seeing and hearing you and May make out .”

He sighed. “It was to maintain our cover.”

Daisy scoffed. “Sure. Just- warn me next time, alright? I’d rather not lose my dinner.” 

“Was it that bad?” Melinda asked, her deadpan tone not giving away to if she was teasing or not. 

“It was gross !” Daisy exclaimed, slightly distracted by hacking into the server of the building. “No one wants to see their parents making out.” 

Once she realized what she said, Daisy froze, fingers hovering over the keyboard. With wide eyes, she glanced to the security camera that May and Coulson were in. Neither of them faltered. She waited for rejection, but it never came. Instead, they continued dancing as if nothing happened. By the time Daisy gathered enough courage to explain herself or even say something , the computer code she ran beeped.

Daisy cleared her throat. “Alright, I’m in. Head to the control room.”

Phil paused, digging his phone from his suit pocket. He answered it, putting on a great show of concern for no one being on the other end before hanging up. Together, he and Melinda left the dance floor, headed over to the exit and the guard stationed there. 

“You’ll have to excuse us,” Melinda began. 

 “Our daughter called,” Phil explained with an apologetic smile. “Family emergency.” 

Reluctantly, the guard let them leave. Daisy watched through the cameras as they navigated the building, remaining hand in hand. 

“Family emergency, huh?” Daisy asked, filling the silence as Phil and Melinda walked to the room at her direction. 

“Well,” Phil said. “You’re family, and this is an emergency.” 

Before Daisy could respond, a guard that had slipped out of her sight rounded a corner. She gasped, but Phil and Melinda were one step ahead, as always. Daisy watched as Melinda yanked Phil down, hiked a leg up his waist, and pulled him into a heated, filthy kiss. 

“Ugh!” Daisy groaned, quickly looking away just as the guard did but couldn’t rip out the com in her ear to avoid hearing them. “Gross! Seriously?!”

The guard awkwardly cleared his throat, and Melinda and Phil pulled apart, apologizing. They began to walk away back toward the ballroom, but once they were out of his sight, Daisy directed them down another hallway that would lead them back. 

“So,” Melinda began. It was clear she was teasing now. “Better than last time?”

Daisy made a retching noise. “I’m going to puke.”

Chapter Text

“Can I kiss you right now?”

Hunter almost fell off the chair but instead gaped at Melinda who only blinked sluggishly at him from her hospital bed, a few hours out of an appendectomy. “You want to kiss me?” he asked. Melinda nodded. “Maybe later, love.”

She pouted, and no he was not going to cave. “Why?”

“Because you are high as a kite right now,” Hunter told her, biting back a smile at her confused expression. “We’ll all talk about it when you’re not.”

The door opened, and Bobbi walked in, two cups of coffee in hand. Melinda brightened at the sight of her. “I want to kiss her too.”

It was only Bobbi’s reflexes that prevented her from dropping the coffee. She froze, wide eyes darting to Hunter but cleared her throat and walked over, handing him the second cup. “Those drugs are pretty good, huh, Mel?”

“Mhm.” Melinda stared at them before frowning. “You didn’t bring me any?”

Bobbi laughed. “You hate coffee, babe.”

“Oh.”

“She is so out of it,” Hunter murmured, both amused and fond. “Think we all need to have a chat when she’s not drugged up.”

“Yeah,” Bobbi agreed. She set her cup on the tray before sitting on the bed. “Hey, Mel. How’re you feeling?”

“Hey,” Melinda said as Bobbi sat on the bed. “Floaty.” She leaned into Bobbi’s hand as the woman cupped her cheek, smoothing out the micropore there holding the nasal cannula in place. “I have a secret for you.”

“What might that be?”

Melinda reached and tugged at the hem of Bobbi’s shirt. “C’mere.” When Bobbi obediently leaned over her, cupping a hand around her ear, Melinda whispered, “I really like you.”

“I really like you too,” Bobbi whispered back, grinning at the dopey smile Melinda gave her. 

Chapter Text

Thunder boomed outside, rattling the Bus’ windows. Skye jumped, startled even though she was wide awake. Suddenly her bunk felt too small, too crowded even though it was sparse. She jumped up in between the thunder clapping and stepped into the hallway, shivering at how eerie the plane was. 

It was late at night. The plane was lit only by the few emergency lights that had a habit of coming on since they got the Bus back. Skye tiptoed quickly to the cockpit, stopping at the door right behind it. She lifted a hand to knock but hesitated. Then thunder boomed again, this time closer and shook the plane. Skye nearly slammed her hand against the bunk door. 

It slid open in the next second, and she stepped through, immediately calming though her heart still raced. May sat up in bed, clicking on the bedside lamp to squint at her. “Skye?” 

She’d just woken up. Skye envied her. But, she shivered, crossing her arms. 

“What’s wrong?” May asked. “Everything alright?”

Skye tried to nod but jumped as more thunder hit. Instead of explaining why she was there, all that came out was a shaky, “Can- can we cuddle?”

Wordlessly, Melinda beckoned her over, welcoming Skye who eagerly climbed into the bed and snuggled into her. When she first met May, Skye never thought she would be in the position to seek out a cuddle without getting maimed. But over the past few months spent as S.O. and trainee, it became normal. 

May kept the light on as she laid back down, smoothing Skye’s hair. “You should be sleeping.”

“Couldn’t.”

The plane shook. Skye shook with it. She pressed closer to May, who asked, “You’re scared of thunder?”

Skye nodded. “One family I stayed with locked me outside during a thunderstorm,” she told her. Skye kept her eyes open and trained on the light from the lamp, blocking out the memory of the cold rain against her skin and her soaked back pressed against the house. “I, uh, haven’t really gotten over it.”

“How old were you?”

“Five.” 

The way May’s hand flexed was almost imperceivable, but Skye noticed. May sighed and tucked her arm around Skye. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Skye shrugged then scoffed. “It seems stupid to still be afraid of thunder after everything that’s happened.” 

“It’s not stupid,” May said. “It’s human. Everyone has something they’re afraid of.”

Skye shifted to peer up at her. “Even you?”

May nodded but didn’t meet her eyes. “Even me.”

“Like what?”

“Locusts.” 

“Locusts?” Skye repeated, raising her eyebrows in shock. 

“The giant ones with the beady eyes. I can’t stand them.” 

“They’re pretty gross,” she agreed, laying her head back on May’s chest. Her heartbeat thudded under Skye’s ear, distracting her from the thunder that still shook the plane. Soon, it was hard to keep her eyes open. 

“Time to go to sleep.” May’s hand was still against her head, stroking down her back. Skye had never felt safer and found herself dozing off. “I’ll be right here.” 

Chapter Text

“I’ve liked you for a while now.”

“Have you?”

Robbie chuckled. “I’m not going to repeat myself, Dais.” 

“Shame,” she said, grinning. “I’d love to hear it again.” 

Robbie stepped forward, crowding Daisy against the charger. She pressed against it, eyes boring into Robbie’s as he braced his hands on either side of her. He leaned into her space with a look so intense, Daisy’s heart skipped. Her lips parted on their own accord as he came closer. With his lips brushing hers, Robbie whispered, “I like you.”

“I like you too,” Daisy said before closing the gap between them. 

 

Chapter Text

“I never meant to hurt you.”

Skye laughed though it lacked any amusement. “Could’ve fooled me.”

“Skye,” Jemma breathed, twisting her fingers together before her. She stepped further into the Cage, closer to Skye who sat on the cot. “I’m sorry. I was completely out of line. I was just- I was just so scared.”

I’m scared too,” Skye said, blinking rapidly. She crossed her arms before wincing and resting them on her lap. “This is happening to me. This- this I don’t even know what it is.”

“That scares me too,” Jemma admitted. “That we don’t know. That I can’t figure it out. I don’t- I don’t want you to-” end up like Trip “-get hurt.”

Skye held up her compressed wrists, showing her fingers still splotched purple and blue. “Too late for that.”

“I’m so sorry. I’m trying everything I can to help, but I’ve never seen anything like this before. I don’t know what to do, and that isn’t fair to you.” 

“You don’t have to try and fix me.”

“I’m not trying to fix you!” Jemma exclaimed, startling both herself and Skye as her voice reverberated around the room. She quieted and continued. “Not anymore. By now I realize that this is a part of you and even though I don’t understand it yet I still love you and want to keep you safe.” 

Skye frowned. “But you still want protection from me.”

“You’d never hurt me,” Jemma said with complete conviction. “I know that. But we don’t know hardly anything about this new ability of yours or what it could do besides break glass and shake a plane.” She gestured to Skye’s arms. “I know these seem like I’m trying to force it away with those sleeves, but I’m trying to help you control it. I’m doing everything I can to find a way. I don’t want it to hurt you any more than it already has.” 

When Skye didn’t reply, Jemma took a seat on the cot, keeping her hands primly in her lap no matter how much she wanted to reach out. 

“You mean a lot to me, Skye,” she said. “I shouldn’t have said what I said earlier. Being scared isn’t an excuse to be cruel.”

It took a moment, but Skye met her eyes. “Thank you.”

Jemma nodded. The Cage fell silent. It was unnerving. But then Jemma perked up, shifting slightly on the bed to reach into the pocket of her oversized jumper, pulling out a plastic baggie. “I did manage to bring you something other than pain medication,” she said, digging into the bag. “I had to sneak it in.”

Jemma held up an oreo with a small, hopeful smile. “Forgive me?”

Skye stared at her for a moment before nodding. “Yeah.” She scooted over on the cot in wordless invitation which Jemma quickly accepted. She laid beside Skye, handing her the cookie and a plastic baggie full of them. Skye took them. “I’m surprised you’re allowing me to have these, Doctor Doctor Simmons.”

Jemma bit back her grin. They were okay. “Yes, well, I suppose once in a while can’t hurt. Although I can’t understand why you don’t enjoy the gluten-free biscuits I bought.”

“They taste like cardboard, Jems.”

“They do not!” Jemma huffed. She held out a hand for the cookie bag. “Give it here.” Skye surrendered it but not before taking out another oreo. “These are quite good.”

Skye grinned. “Better than gluten-free biscuits?”

“Undecided.”

“Uh huh.” Skye took another cookie, biting into it and idly brushing the crumbs that fell onto her shirt. “If May catches us she’ll make us change the sheets.”

Jemma groaned. “And sweep. I guess that’s the price we have to pay.” 

“Only if she catches us.”

“She’ll know anyhow.”

Skye hummed, biting into another cookie. “You know how Hunter eats these? He twists the cookie apart and eats everything individually like a psychopath.”

“Ugh.” Jemma grimaced. “Then he licks the icing off.”

“Like this?” Skye stuck her tongue out obscenely and dragged it up the icing part of the cookie, waggling her eyebrows. 

“Skye! Gross!”

Skye was laughing, a full belly laugh that made Jemma laugh as well. Skye breathed out one last giggle before whispering, “I’ve missed this.”

“I’ve missed this too.” If Jemma closed her eyes, she could imagine the steady hum of the Bus’ engines, cuddling with Skye in her too-small bunk all while feeling completely safe. Now the only place she felt safe on the Bus was in the Cage, and even then she was afraid Hydra would jump out. It was ridiculous, but Jemma curled closer to Skye.

In turn, Skye shifted to face her. “Thanks for the cookies,” she said. “And for apologizing. I’m sorry I kept it from you.”

“Skye, no,” Jemma sighed. “You had every right to. I- no reaction I would have had would have been good, and you don’t deserve that. Thank you for forgiving me.”

Skye nodded, munching on an oreo. “You think we should brush our teeth?”

“No, Doctor Doctor Simmons says one night without brushing is fine.” Jemma poked Skye’s side who choked on her oreo at the unexpected tickle. “Pass me a cookie.”

“Maybe we should call you Doctor Doctor Bossy instead.”

“Maybe I should just take the rest of these with me when I leave.”

“No, Jemma,” Skye whined. “May would find the bag.”

“She’d think you snuck out.”

“As if I’m sneaking around anywhere with these fingers,” Skye said, wiggling her fingers in Jemma’s face who huffed. “I’d rat you out.”

Jemma gasped. “You wouldn’t.”

Instead of answering, Skye tickled Jemma’s side who squealed, twisting away. With a laugh, Skye stopped and flopped back beside Jemma, curling into her. She rested her cheek on Jemma’s shoulder, sighing as Jemma tipped her head to touch hers. “Are you leaving soon?”

“Not if you want me to stay.”

Skye grinned and instantly, Jemma felt like it was a year ago, and everything was different. Simpler. “We can have a sleepover like we used to.”

“Except this one is in the Cage,” she pointed out. 

“It isn’t so bad,” Skye said. “Just lonely.”

Jemma swallowed the cookie remains and sudden emotion she felt. Skye shouldn’t be isolated like this, not away from the team, their family. She set the cookie bag between them and shifted closer to Skye, who carefully tucked an arm across her waist with a happy hum. “Well, it won’t be tonight.” 

Chapter Text

Melinda lifted her head from her book with a sigh, casting an annoyed glance to the doorway of the common area where the coughing echoed in from. For once the base was mostly empty due to various missions, and she wanted to take advantage of the peace and quiet while it lasted. But whoever was coughing was disturbing it. Melinda turned back to her book before putting it down with a frustrated huff as the coughing started again, this time closer. She turned, ready to tell the person off but it was only Daisy, leaning gingerly against the frame as she gave one last cough.

Any annoyance Melinda felt disappeared at the sight of her. She softened. “I’m surprised you haven’t coughed up your lungs yet.”

Daisy tried to laugh, but it was more of a throaty wheeze. “So am I.”

Melinda motioned her over, setting her book down to make room for Daisy on the couch. “You getting sick?”

She shrugged, pain flitting across her face at the movement. Daisy coughed again, weakly stating, “I just need a hug.”

“You need to go to Medical.” But, when she sat, Melinda wrapped her arms around Daisy, who carefully leaned into her side. She kissed Daisy’s forehead, brushing back her hair. “What’s the matter?”

Daisy sighed, resting her cheek on Melinda’s shoulder. “Nothing.”

“Daisy.” When Melinda reached across Daisy to pull her closer, her arm brushed Daisy’s ribs. She hastily drew it away at Daisy’s hiss of pain, worriedly watching how Daisy cradled her side. “Is it your ribs?”

Nodding, Daisy coughed again, wincing. “I think they’re broken.”

Melinda frowned. This could have only happened during the mission Daisy was on recently. “Have they been like this since you got back this morning?” Daisy looked away, biting at her lip. Melinda sighed. “Daisy.”

“I know, I know,” Daisy said. “But I don’t want to go to Medical.”

“Why?” Melinda asked. Though she was concerned for Daisy and half wanted to haul her to Medical that second, she kept her arms around Daisy, though gingerly. “Because Simmons isn’t there?”

She nodded again, curling further into Melinda even though it must hurt. “I don’t like the new doctors.”

The new doctors were fine, in Melinda’s opinion. Clinical and impersonal, sure, but capable doctors that she had vetted before hiring. They just weren’t Simmons. Even though Jemma would be back the next day, Melinda wasn’t going to let Daisy go another hour like this. 

“You need to get your ribs checked out,” Melinda insisted. When Daisy’s face fell, Melinda said, “I’ll go with you.”

Daisy looked up at her, cheek still on Melinda’s shoulder. She looked surprised, yet hopeful. “Really?”

Melinda carefully untangled herself from Daisy and stood, reaching a hand back to her. “Come on.”