Daisy Johnson loved Christmas. Not because she was a devoted Christian, though there was nothing wrong with that. Daisy loved Christmas because of the giant trees with lights, the cookies, and the assurance that even the worst kids got something. Well, unless you were seven-year-old Skye, but that had been a particularly rough foster family and Daisy didn’t think that counted.
“Hey, Coulson,” Daisy said, running up the hallway of the ancient SSR base (which, according to Simmons, had an absolutely fascinating history involving the Peggy Carter, but Daisy hadn’t been listening during that lecture). “Is there a SHIELD holiday party or a SHIELD secret santa or something?”
“Well,” Coulson replied, “there used to be an annual Christmas party that got changed to a holiday party once SHIELD got more inclusive, but I don’t think we’ve had it since, oh, 2013. Why?”
“Why since 2013?” Bobbi wondered.
“2014 is when SHIELD fell. I doubt HYDRA is all that pleased with the giving spirit, love,” Hunter answered.
“OK, can I plan a party?” Daisy asked.
“No parties,” Coulson declared. At everyone’s look of surprise and utter devastation, he added, “because you always spike the drinks, which causes numerous problems, and because they cost money, which we have limits on.”
“And because you hang mistletoe everywhere,” May cut in.
“That too,” Coulson amended, though he didn’t look mortified by the prospect.
“What about a secret santa? Please?” Daisy made sad puppy-dog eyes.
“Whatever Tremors wants to do, you better let her before the single tear,” Mack advised.
“Fine,” Coulson caved. Daisy, Bobbi, Hunter, Yo-Yo and FitzSimmons cheered. “Do you want to mention something at the briefing?” Daisy ran toward her bunk.
“How disastrous can it be?” She heard Fitz wonder. “She’s only got half an hour to prepare.”
“Knowing Daisy,” May muttered, “world-ending.”
- - -
”And finally,” Coulson announced to the assembled agents, “Agent Johnson has a few things to say about a secret santa program she volunteered to plan this year.” Daisy stepped forward beaming, armed with a bucket full of paper slips.
“Since we aren’t allowed to have a party,” Daisy began, with a May-worthy glare at Coulson, echoed by several other agents, “we’re doing a secret santa. The rules are that you take a slip out of this bucket, which has the name of every agent in it, and you buy this person a gift. There is no spending limit because whatever you buy come see out of your already-meager salary. On Christmas Day, which is in two weeks, your gifts will be delivered by myself.”
Several agents started to murmur amongst themselves until the room was louder than the engines on the plane.
“So line up and grab a slip of paper. If you don’t know what to give the agent, ask their partner or me and I’ll hack their computer,” Daisy offered. A few agents grinned at this while others looked mildly alarmed. She grabbed a slip out of the bucket before passing it down the line. Daisy almost started laughing when she saw the name on her paper.
AGENT MELINDA MAY
- - -
For the next few days, Daisy spent a total of six hours trying to find the perfect present for May. She wasn’t allowed to ship anything to a nonexistent location, and besides, there wasn’t anything online. Daisy went to the local stores, one of which had a nice leather jacket, which she considered Plan B.
She wanted to get something for May that was out-of-the-box and leather jackets were in, like, the center of the box.
On the ninth day of trying (and failing) to find a gift, Daisy caved in and decidedly to ask for help. Not because she couldn’t hack May’s computer, but because she was terrified of May kicking her ass because Daisy hacked her computer.
“Hey Coulson?” Daisy asked at the end of the briefing that morning. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”
“By all means,” Coulson replied, beckoning her to his office. He shut the door. “You got May, didn’t you?”
“How did you -” Daisy began. He cut her off with a wave of his hand.
“Daisy, Melinda May is the hardest person to shop for on the planet. Especially as someone who’s been getting her birthday presents for thirty years,” Coulson added. Interesting, Daisy thought. He gets her birthday presents?
“OK, well, I want to get her something more than say, a jacket,” Daisy said, frustrated.
“I think you might be over-stressing slightly,” Coulson informed her. “But I probably do that every time November rolls around.”
“What did you get her this year?” Daisy asked miserably.
“Tea from this little shop in China that doesn’t sell outside of their place. I had to take the day off to fly out there,” Coulson answered.
“Well, what should I get her?”
“Notice something she’s missing,” Coulson advised. Daisy sighed and walked out.
At least now Daisy knew Coulson and May got birthday presents for one another, which was absolutely adorable.
- - -
”This is impossible,” Bobbi declared one morning while she, Simmons, and Daisy were sharing coffee. “I have stalked Davis, asked Piper, and gone shopping for two hours. Nothing!”
“Oh, Davis is easy,” Daisy muttered.
“Not as easy as Fitz!” Simmons crowed.
“Damn it, I bet he got you too. You guys always manage to pair up,” said Bobbi, “though I wonder who got Hunter? No one’s asked me yet, though all they’d have to get him is alcohol...”
“Who did you get, Daisy?” Simmons asked.
“May,” Daisy whispered. She knew May was up at weird hours and didn’t want to spoil the surprise. Bobbi and Simmons winced in sympathy.
“And you don’t want to get her something basic, like clothing,” Bobbi guessed. Daisy nodded. “Did you ask Coulson? I bet he would know.”
“He just said to find something she’s missing,” Daisy replied.
“Positivity?” Bobbi suggested and the three girls laughed. But that got Daisy thinking.
“Hang on,” She told them. “You might be on to something...”
- - -
As soon as Daisy got back to her bunk she grabbed her laptop. May was missing... well, not positivity, more like she had PTSD. And Daisy had seen the news enough times to know what veterans did about PTSD - because May was a veteran, she had been in active war zones, and Bahrain left her scarred.
Daisy found the website in three seconds, and it took her another five to dial the listed number.
“Hi, my name is Daisy. Do you service outside of” - she checked the website - “Oregon?”