Work Header

I don't know what you do (but you do it well)

Work Text:

It’s just an average extraction thing gone wrong, because apart from this district being a HYDRA lair (apparently), there are also cartel wars going on beyond your front door. That’s also why it’s pretty hard for them to find a hotel, and when they finally do, they only have one free room left (because apparently, someone got shot in the other free room yesterday and ... well).

It’s not a big deal. Not really. Phil braces himself for having to share a bed with Daisy, which, of course, shouldn’t be a totally bad thing, just ... awkward, and he’s had enough awkward lately what with his hand and everything. Daisy also seems to hope it’s not a double bed, because she offers to sleep on the couch as they walk up the stairs, just in case, because Coulson’s shoulders really look like they wouldn’t survive a night on something that’s not actually a mattress.

She tries very hard to hide her relief when there are actually two beds. Coulson, ever the gentleman, lets her choose the bed that’s both closer to the room’s only window and to the bathroom. In exchange, she wordlessly hands him the small hotel chocolate from her pillow as she’s going to take a shower, towel on her shoulder. He smiles, and it feels like the first nice thing of the day, after all the difficulties they’ve had during the past few days. Also, there’s been what the army usually calls ‘collateral damage’ and that’s something that gives Coulson nightmares and makes Daisy’s hands shake, so – this little smile is actually something that makes her whistle all through her shower.

The first awkward moment of the night is when they both lie down, because the two single beds are sort of framing a corner and their heads are more or less almost next to each other. It’s probably nothing, though, because they’re both really exhausted – also, they’ve both slept under much weirder circumstances (and much more uncomfortable positions). Daisy briefly considers turning around, but that would be worse because then her feet would be close to Coulson’s head (also, the door would be behind her and she’s never been comfortable with that).

They kind of laboriously turn around to half-face each other, say goodnight, and Coulson turns off the lights (the switch is right above him). It feels weird, it’s like a sleepover Daisy’s never had but heard some of the girls at school talk about: staying at a friend’s place on some kind of makeshift bed, not really knowing when the other was actually going to fall asleep or wake up or say something, sort of afraid to touch anything in the room, not quite sure in the dark where the door was.

After a while, she hears Coulson turn around, and oh boy, the sound that makes. Obviously, this isn’t the poshest of hotels, and that’s totally fine, but Coulson’s mattress must be decades old, because Daisy swears it’s one of the loudest, most unexpected (and also one of the most obnoxious) sounds she’s ever heard.
“I’m sorry,” Coulson growls. “It’s not really – I can’t get comfortable.”
“That’s okay,” she replies, “I’m not comfortable either. Prepare for me to turn around, too,” she half-jokes, but then turns, and to their surprise, there’s not more noise than the very slight aching sound you’d hear from an intact bed. She’s about to make a joke, but then her arm accidentally hits something, and she’s mortified because she’s pretty sure the back of her hand’s just landed square in Phil’s face.

There’s a beat, Daisy’s holding her breath, then blurts out a dozen little oh God oh Gods and a few are you okay?s, sorrysorrysorry. She can hear Coulson sit up. “I’m so sorry, Coulson. Do you want me to – get a wet towel or anything or maybe – do you want me to sleep on the couch?”
“It’s fine, Daisy. It’s nothing. Also, there is no couch. But I think I’m going to sleep on the floor nonetheless, this mattress nose is driving me crazy, and it’s not going to do anything for your sleep either.”
“Phil, no –“
“It’s fine, Daisy. It’s a carpet floor. It’s not cold. And it’s better than this mattress. You can imagine what something that sounds like this feels like to sleep on.”
“Do you wanna switch beds?”
“No, Daisy, just – I’m tired. I’m just gonna put this blanket down here and I’ll be fine just like that. You earned the bed. I’ve never seen anything like what you did today.”
“It’s nothing, I’m slowly learning to – thank you.”
“It’s true.”

After some nestling, Coulson seems to have found his spot on the floor, and there are no further noises coming from him. She can feel that he’s nowhere near sleeping, though; neither is she. Coulson’s really been going through a lot lately and this day was just, well, one of the worst, especially since this is actually the first mission they’ve been on together since ... well, since stuff happened (also, in space). Daisy’s been through a bunch herself, okay, but seeing Price get shot right next to himself must have been ... well. Also, the prosthetic hand isn’t working out for him, it’s his fourth or fifth model and things keep going wrong or giving him pain or turning out to have poor fine motor functions. She knows Coulson never asked to be promoted to Director, but she also knows it must have cost him a lot of conscious effort to entrust someone else with the responsibility of the job, even someone as competent and capable as Mack.

Long story short, Coulson shouldn’t be sleeping on the floor, even if he’s insisting it’s fine and being a gentleman and easy to cope with and whatnot. He might not have said anything about it but she knows the reason he’s wearing his prosthetic during the night is because he’s considerate and careful like that and thinks it might irritate or even trigger her. Which, okay, she can’t say the guilt’s gone completely, but she gets that it’s not physically her fault that Coulson lost his arm.

“Coulson.” No answer. She’s pretty sure though that he’s actually pretending not to be asleep so she won’t feel guilty about the whole thing.
“Coulson. Are you awake?” Still nothing. It’s stupid but who knows what might be going on. They’re in this shady hotel in the middle of a civil war-style cartel battle, right in the center of an only half-eradicated HYDRA lair. A little scared, she extends an arm towards him, trying to reach his shoulder or something with her fingertips.
Coulson. Phil. Are you okay?”
And with her luck, it happens again: her fingers touch not Coulson’s arm, not Coulson’s shoulder – her fingertips sort of wipe across his face.

She’s mortified.
“Daisy. Are you okay?” He sounds a little sleepy, but she’s not buying it; she’s convinced he’s just being that nice and pretending he was already falling asleep in order to spare her the embarrassment.
“I’m – I’m good, yeah, sorry, I don’t know what came over me. I swear I wasn’t going to – you know. Sorry. I just – You shouldn’t be sleeping on the floor.”
He sighs, and she wished she could just dissolve into thin air right now because of how awkward this is. She probably won’t be able to look him in the eye in the morning.
“I told you it’s fine. Seriously. And you heard the mattress, the bed’s not really an option if we intend to get any sleep tonight. You know how much I turn around in my sleep.”
She chuckles at that, tries to hide it. “Yeah. But still. If anything, I should be sleeping on the floor.”
No. I’ve seen you fight today. You must have tons of bruises all over your back, I won’t have it.”

She swallows, fighting herself on this.
“We could share the bed.”
There’s an awfully long stretch of just silence and she’s biting her lip, wishes she hadn’t said that, because it’s Coulson and he’s okay with so many things, but she doubts this is one of them.
Then, finally, “You sure...?”
More swallowing, she tries to sound cheerful. “Sure. Plenty of space. Mattress not squeaky. Pre-warmed spot.”
She’s pretty sure he smiled at that last bit.

He’s standing up, carefully walking over to her bed.
“Are you certain you’re okay with this? Should I switch the light on?”
“No, Coulson, that’s okay, I’m just gonna – mhm – yeah, look, I think there should be enough space for you too now. Pillow, too.”
Rustling. He’s extra careful.
“I won’t bite.”
He chuckles. “Me neither.”
They try to settle down, and it’s not that bad. Their legs are sort of glued together and it’s very warm, but weirdly okay. He seems to try not to touch her with the prosthetic (because it’s metal and probably really cold), because he’s sort of holding his breath to make himself thin and fit into the bed without making anything but their legs touch, and it’s actually pretty sad. Not that Daisy’s been waiting to snuggle with Coulson, because no?, but he shouldn’t be that self-conscious about it.

She waits a little, then makes a point of discreetly moving closer and closer and closer until her lower arm is exactly paralleling Coulson’s prosthetic, and she wonders if he can feel it until he’s actually holding his breath.
“...Daisy.” It sounds a little suffocated.
“You seemed so – worried about it that I thought –“ She stops, holds her own breath, because he might have wanted to say something entirely different, something like how uncomfortable all of this is to him or how the bed’s just too small for someone you’re not that close to or whatever, okay, she doesn’t know.
“Thank you.”
She doesn’t know what to say; you’re welcome seems too hollow, so after a beat, she laces her fingers through his and holds her breath until he squeezes back.

It feels weird but also strangely warm and familiar and their fingers seem to melt into each other until suddenly, there’s too much tension and too little air and Coulson’s still tense, so she just turns a bit and touches his cheek with her other hand to locate his face, and she presses her lips against his. He doesn’t move away, and after a moment, his arms are around her, drawing her towards him, and she doesn’t think she’s felt this close to anyone before. Limbs are everywhere and it’s far too hot with the blanket in the game, but she doesn’t care, because Coulson’s kissing her back, again and again (she’s actually lost count).

Everything is like a very human, very real paradise (in this filthy little room with the worn-out mattresses and the reddish brown floor carpet and the obnoxious lampshades in the middle of Hydra District during a small street war), until –
“Daisy. Daisy, wait – I think – wait, stop for a minute, I –“
“What’s – God, Coulson, just please don’t tell me you don’t want this, because I can’t –“
He’s just laughing, but it sounds unexpectedly shy and bright.
“No, I’m just – I think I might be falling off the bed. Your leg –“
She can’t help giggling. “Oh God, sorry – hang on – come over here.” A single kiss. “You – you scared me.”
It’s too dark to see him, but she knows he’s smiling. “I’m scared, too. Very scared.” More kissing; it’s becoming a habit, she thinks, and it makes her inexplicably happy, he can hear it in her voice. “Well, you should be –,” she counters, and he’s pretty sure he’s never been kissed like that before.