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and start again (future's not that far away)

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After their world has exploded and ended and somehow managed to endure, perhaps because it wasn't quite clear on what other options were available to it, Jemma finds herself standing in the kitchen with May, Skye, and a three-hour-old cup of cold coffee.

"Well!" she says brightly. "This is awkward." She isn't quite clear on what went on with May and Ward, or Skye and Ward, or how the two intersected, but she's clear that they did. "You're standing in front of the machine," she concludes, in a hopeful bit of distraction. "Could you move?"

"Sure," Skye says, but the kitchen is small with three of them in there, and she has to step quite close to May to allow Jemma room to empty her cup in the sink and punch the buttons on the coffee machine in the correct sequence. The atmosphere changes, but not in the way Jemma had been aiming for. "May--" Skye starts on a rising breath, and Jemma's shoulders tense in horrified anticipation.

"Yes?" May asks blandly.

"Would you like some coffee?" Jemma asks. "I'm making some for Ant and maybe Fitz if he can stop talking long enough to drink it this time."

They're still working their way through the tech Ward had managed to salvage. She isn't sure they ever won't still be working their way through it, but as with most things nowadays, she lives on hope and caffeine.

"Oh, coffee's done!" she realizes, and forgets about her companions until May says, "Yes, I'll have some, please," as Sky rushes out, "May, I hope you don't think I--"

"I really don't think about you at all," May says into the gap left by Skye's lack of coherent thought.

Jemma thinks May means that to be reassuring, because Jemma would be reassured to discover she wasn't a blip on May's radar, but by the time she turns around with May's coffee Skye is vanishing towards her bedroom.

"Oh, dear," Jemma says, and when May's eyes turn from watching Skye's retreat, "Strong, black, and sweet, just how you like it."

"Thank you," May says.

"So," Jemma starts, because it would be remiss in her not to make the attempt, doomed as it ever is to fail, "Not to make things worse--"

"Oh, good," May says dryly, but Jemma forges on.

"--but what exactly did happen with you and Ward and Skye?"

"Nothing," May says.

"Oh," Jemma says sadly. "I was afraid of that."

May pauses, halfway out the door. "You were what?"

"I was afraid that you and Ward had broken up and Skye and Ward had never quite gotten together," she explains.

"Ward and I--"

"Because everybody is so awkward and sad," she concludes, sadly.

May turns around slowly. "That might have more to do with SHIELD's fall and Ward's betrayal and how terrifyingly close Hydra came to usurping our country and destroying the world without any of us being aware of it," she suggests.

"Close but no cigar!" Jemma reminds her cheerfully, and ignores the rest of it because it doesn't matter, and also she can't bear to think about it now that she can allow herself the weakness of flinching away. "And I think you're all too distracted by your own unhappiness to be unhappy about any of that, because if you were thinking about that at all, you'd be far too focussed to be so awkward with each other."

May tries and fails to come up with a rebuttal, and instead says, "Ward and I didn't break up."

"That might explain Skye's misery-gutsiness, but--"

"We were never together," May continues, and Jemma laughs.

"Yes, you were," she says, and then takes a sharp step backwards, because May is still May.

"Not in any way I noticed or cared about," May says, and that's probably true.

"Still counts," Jemma says sadly. "I'm just saying, if people besides Ant and me had themselves together, then everyone would be a lot happier and more productive, and maybe Ant and I could get half an hour alone together with Fitz interrupting to try and get Ant to touch an 0-8-4 without the proper protective gear. It isn't as if I don't know what he's doing."

"Jealous," May says, apparently thinking herself in agreement.

"Fitz?" Jemma squeaks. "Oh, good heavens no."

"No?" May asks dubiously.

"I'm not his type."

May looks her up and down.

"I'm really not his type," Jemma insists. "But I'm just saying, he's lonely, and if other people paired off, things would be a lot better for me." She sips at the dregs of her coffee and adds, "And Ant," the afterthought warm and welcome. "I'm his type."

"We've noticed," May says.

"Agent Triplett has not been on board long enough for anybody to notice anything even if there were anything to notice," Jemma says with dignity, and ignores May's secret smirk. May has definitely been on board long enough for Jemma to know when her face wants to make an expression but her mind won't let it. "Anyway, why did you and Ward have to break up? It wasn't just because of the whole Agent of Hydra thing, was it? Because--"

Jemma doesn't really know how she's going to argue May out of that objection, so she's rather glad when May interrupts her. "Lorelei saw inside his mind and told me he had feelings for another member of the team."

"Huh," Jemma says, and shuts her mouth.

"No skin off my nose," May reassures her, and Jemma lets the grin break across her face.

"Skye!" she announces triumphantly. "I knew it! They would be such a good couple. We have to get them together, we have to make this happen! Somebody besides me should be getting some out of the fall of civilisation, and--"

"SHIELD is not civilisation," May says, "And that is more than I needed to know."

"We're doing this," Jemma tells her. "Nobody would ever suspect me of scheming and nobody would ever suspect you of giving a monkey's about your colleagues' personal lives--"

"Because I don't--"

"--we're the perfect team."

"We're not a team," May says. "And how is getting Skye and Ward together going to make Fitz less lonely? Shouldn't you be focussing your efforts on finding someone for him?"

"...Huh," Jemma says. "But then where am I going to find someone for you?"

"What?" May says blankly.

"And I don't even know if Agent--where are you going? Come back!"

But May is already out the door, making tracks for the cockpit. There's nowhere to hide, though. The bus is far too small.

"Needs more people," Jemma tells herself thoughtfully.

Though really, she thinks she can work with what she's got.

She hums happily, and starts the coffee brewing.