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Reaction To Circumstance

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For once, the base is quiet. 

The other members of the team have already scattered for the night having been dismissed after the mission, with Trip helping Skye to her room so she can rest. Which leaves her alone. Well, not really alone because she's in a top secret military base filled with people but still... and he's here. Somewhere in this vast building she hopes he's resting like he had earlier been instructed to do so but knowing him as she does, he isn't. Despite that, she walks slowly through the dimly lit hallways in the direction of his office and quarters. Today had been one hell of a day, well to be precise the last two days actually. What they had thought was a straight forward mission had turned out to be anything but and in the process, Skye and Coulson had been caught in the crossfire. They'd been kidnapped by a low level group of Hydra agents hell bent on bringing down Coulson and his merry band of do good helpers. A job they took to make themselves look capable, hoping to move up through the ranks of Hydra. The leading man and his minions had known exactly who they were and because of that, their treatment had been somewhat brutal. Coulson unfortunately had suffered the most, the Hydra agents taking issue with the fact that he is now running Shield, which in truth he is while also doing his very best to destroy everything they believe in. He also took the brunt of punishment so Skye wouldn't have too. That's not to say she had been targeted, just not as much as he had. Thankfully. It also helped that these men where also not the most intellegent. They hadn't called upon the higher ups as they should have.  

Coulson and Skye had done what they were trained to do by withstanding  whatever they faced until they were able to either escape or they were rescued. Luckily for them, in the process, they learned some vital information during their imprisonment because the men who held them had loose tongues and were far to confident in their lacking abilities. Thankfully, the team eventually got them out and the latest minions of Hydra were either dead after fighting back in a hail of bullets or captured to become prisoners in their basement.

When she and Trip had brought back Skye and Coulson, medical had been ready in the med bay. Even after all these years she still hadn't got use to the sight that initially greeted her. They had been beaten black and blue, Coulson the worst of the two had also been clipped in the shoulder during the fire fight with a bullet. The older man had made the doctors deal with Skye first, telling them she'd lost consciousness. She, along with Skye had tried to argue on his behalf because of the amount of blood covering him but to no avail. Eventually though it had been his turn and when they'd gotten him on the med bed, he really had been a sorry sight. Covered in blood and dirt, a cut above his eyebrow, a spilt lip and a face already bruising from the unholy amount of blows he had suffered. She stood back and watched, blood slowly escaping the gunshot wound at his shoulder. The state of his clothing was the least of his worries and they soon had him out of them to examine him properly. She watched as he sat uncomfortably, even more so because his scar was on full display. Bruised ribs were then added to the list of injuries as the doctor stitched up the cut above his eye and the one at his shoulder.

She had tried to push down her feelings as she watched with a blank expression as his injuries were dealt with but that was easier said than done. He was hurt, looked a goddamn mess and he could have died and she didn't know how to deal with that. So she'd tried to concentrate on what was being said but it didn't make it any easier. It's not as if he hasn't been hurt before while on a mission but it's the first time since she's admitted to herself the true depth of her feelings for this man. If it had been bad before, it's far worse for her now. 

It still isn't any easier now, a few hours after he'd been brought back. She still couldn't shake the feeling that if they were any later, he might not be here right now and that's a hard feeling for her to shake off. She's been down that road before, she doesn't want to travel it again. Maybe that's why she's on the way to his quarters right now under the pretense of bringing him more pain meds, to see with her own eyes that he actually is here and that he is okay. Well, not okay but he's alive, albeit if a bit battered and brusied.

She turns the corner to the hallway outside his office and just down the hall she can see his door. She frowns when she reaches it, because it's half open which is unusual so she gently knocks before pushing it open wider. Stepping a foot inside, she finds the room void of his presence. She frowns. Where on earth could he be when he'd been told he needed to rest. Shaking her head, she steps back and turns to continue down the short hall on the way to his private quarters except when she gets around the next corner it's to find him leaning against the wall, bent over slightly.

"Coulson?" She says quickly, worry filling her as she rushes to close the gap between them. "Are you alright?"

He looks up and tries to smile though it falls short as he grimaces. "I'm... fine," he tells her, sounding out of breath.  

"You don't look fine. What are you doing here? You were told that you needed to rest."

He rolls his eyes. "Yes, Dr May but I wanted a shower."

It's at that moment she notices that he's holding a towel and a change of clothes under his arm.

"You're in no fit state to stand in a shower," she tells him dryly, pointing out the obvious.

"I'm covered in dirt and I have dried blood in my hair. I'd rather not go to bed like this. Besides I thought it would help."

She has to concede to that. "The warm water would help your muscles but you can barely stand up."

He rolls his eyes at her again. "I'll be fine May, don't worry."

But that's the thing, she does worry about him. She always has and that's never going to change. "I'll help you," she says suddenly. It takes her a moment to realise just what she's offering but she has offered and she isn't about to back out now. He needs help. 


"I'll help you with your shower."

Coulson stares back at her, his eyes glassy from the meds unblinking. "Are you offering to get naked and shower with me?"

Forcefully she shoves away the image his words conjure up. She can't think about that or her feelings or her attraction or... that isn't what this is about! This is about helping someone she cares about who right now, needs her help. "No," she tells him slowly, dragging the word out. "I'm not offering to get naked but I am offering to help you shower."

"Pity," he mutters under his breath.

She chooses to ignore that but she can't ignore the flash of something crossing those glassy eyes to quick for her to identify.

"But I can't ask you to do that."

May stares him down, placing a gentle hand on his back. "You're not asking, I'm offering."


"This is what friends do for each other, Phil."

He stares back at her in disbelief. "So you're saying you'd shower with Skye or Trip... or Hunter?"

That question brings her up short because she'd help Skye without hesitation, with Trip comes some hesitation but it's a part of the job. It's the latter name that  throws in doubt. As much as she barely tolerates Hunter, she can't ever imagine wanting to help him shower. No. Never. She thinks that might make her an awful teammate but whatever, that doesn't matter, not anymore. She thinks far worse things about herself. But she can't tell him any of that so she lies. "Yes, to help them I would."

His stare intensifies as if he's trying to root out the truth but she holds her ground until eventually he caves in. "I think you're lying but I can't tell. My head feels fuzzy." His shoulders slump and he nods. She knows she has won this round.

"Come on, the sooner you shower the sooner we can get you into bed."

"Are you offering to join me there too?"

It draws a smile from her which she guesses was his intention. Once again she has to push away the image that draws up. "Those meds must be pretty strong."

"Yep, they're helping."

"That's what they're supposed to do." 

"Maybe. I don't know, they're making my head feel really fuzzy though."

May shakes her head as he repeats himself and they continue down the hall to his quarters where they head to his bathroom. It's almost as though the room knows what's about to happen because before they stepped inside there hadn't been any tension, now there is, ten fold. She ignores it and helps him to lean against the sink. 

Coulson buries his groan as he leans back to support himself and looks at the woman before him. "So, how are we going to do this?"

May shrugs, trying to show how unbothered she is with the situation when inside, it's the total opposite. "You get undressed and I'll change into something then I'll help you in the shower."

"That simple huh?"

May looks confident when inside she feels anything but. "Yes," she replies, also looking far more comfortable than she feels. "So you get undressed and we'll go from there." She pauses to look him over. "Do you need help getting undressed?" 

"No, I'm good." 


Coulson looks at her clothes the glances back to his bedroom. "In my room in the closet, top shelf, there's spare Shield tees you can borrow." 

May nods, appreciating the offer. "I'll be right back."

She turns away when he nods and she moves out of the bathroom to his bedroom. When she opens the door to the closet, she rolls her eyes at the rows upon rows of familiar suits that greet her. Reaching up to where he said, she grabs a tee with a familiar logo adorning the front. Closing the door, she moves to the chair in the corner of the room, beginning to remove her clothes in exchange for the t shirt. It's a large enough size that it adequately covers her though she's not bothered by her own nakedness. Except that's not what this is about. She doesn't want to complicate matters or make things uncomfortable. 

It takes her only a few minutes to change out of her clothes and into the oversized t-shirt. It takes her a few more to gather herself enough to walk away from where she is not hiding in his bedroom because what she's about to do is a big thing, for her at least. Yes, she wants to help him and that is the main priority here but her heart is throwing her feelings forward and her mind is thrusting thoughts she doesn't want to the forefront. In a few moments she will step inside a shower with a very naked Phil Coulson. A subject which has been the cause of many a fantasy except this is reality and this reality is under very different circumstances to the images she's conjured in her mind previously.

She takes a deep breath to settle herself as she grabs her hair tie from her neatly folded clothes, ready for later to tie back her wet hair away from her face. She runs her free hand along the edge of the tee, feeling the thin material which hides the fact she's naked beneath it but this is the best option she has. She's covered and that would be enough.

Before entering the bathroom, she reprimands herself. This isn't how the formidable Melinda May approaches things and she tries to channel that more forcefully. 

When she reenters the bathroom, it's to find Coulson exactly where she left him, leaning forward with his face buried in his hands. He has a towel wrapped around his waist and she swallows against the knowledge that he's just as naked underneath that as she is beneath the tee. Which she doesn't blame him for, his clothes are filthy having been covered in blood, dirt and who knows what else.

"You ready?" She asks softly.

He looks up, his eyes drag over her, from her feet up her legs to... up, up and up until he finally reaches her face to meet her eyes.

"May, listen I appreciate..."

May waves her hand. "Shut up Phil, this is fine. I'm your friend and I want to help but if you're uncomfortable--"

"I'm not but I don't want you to be."

Of course she is except it isn't for the reasons she assumes he thinks. "We'll be fine, it's just a friend helping another friend who's hurt." And that's what she keeps telling herself.

"If you're sure."

"I am," she nods firmly though her voice is still soft. "Come on, let's get you showered."

He stands up and they both move to the shower where inside on the shelf rest his products.

May reaches in and twists the shower on, the sound of water splattering against the tile fills the room. She tests the water, wanting the temperature just right, not to hot and not to cold. She turns back to find him watching her, his hands on the band of the towel around his waist.

She rolls her eyes. "You haven't got anything I haven't seen before." She tries to break the tension and she seems to succeed.

He huffs a laugh.

She looks over his injuries that litter his upper body, his scar. Her stomach drops. "It's a good job they dressed your wounds with waterproof dressings."

Coulson nods, swaying a little on his feet. "Can we?..." he flicks his eyes toward the running shower.

May nods. She keeps her eyes on his face when he removes the towel and drops it to the floor.

She steps in after him as he turns to back against the wall, leaning against it for support. Almost instantly, seconds after she'd stepped inside, her tee is soaked through, plastering to her body. It's uncomfortable but the look on Couslon's face is worth the slight discomfort. His eyes fall shut against the water pelting down upon them, a sigh escaping him as the warmth slowly begins to sooth his aching, battered body. He makes for a tantalising sight, all naked and wet, even as injured as he is, he's beyond handsome. He always has been, right from the first look she'd got at him back at the academy. She decides to make herself useful because that's why she's here, to help. She shakes her head slightly, once more pushing away those thoughts and reaches for his shampoo. 

She squeezes a generous amount into her palm before lifting her hands to his head. His eyes open at the contact, meeting hers and she smiles in reassurance. "It's okay, I got you. Let me help." There's a fraction of a pause before he nods then his eyes flutter shut once more. The trust in this moment isn't lost on her as he allows her to take care of him. It allows her to progress with her task while she also tries to ignore how intimate this is and wonders if he's thinking the same thing.

She maneuvers his head away from the direct spray. Her fingers are soft and careful as she washes his hair, the shampoo lathering up more as she massages it in, the pads of her fingers pressing gently into his scalp. She keeps the pace slow and soothing and she can't ignore the slight smile on his face or the moan that escapes him. It lightens her heavy heart. 

"That feel good?"

He keeps his eyes closed and just nods.

May can already see how he's beginning to relax and it does her heart good to see. However she feels being here, this is why she had offered in the beginning, to help him however possible to feel better. It's returning the favour, more times than she can count he's been there to take care of her, to patch up her wounds. If she has to ignore her thoughts and feelings to accomplish that, then okay, it's worth it.

After what feels like a good amount of time, she cups his head and moves it back under the spray, helping the water wash away the suds with her fingers, raking them slowly through his hair. She smiles when he leans into the motion, obviously finding pleasure in it. She continues to do just that, massaging his scalp before she eventually pulls away. She reaches for the soft sponge on the rack that rests  next to his body wash which she also picks up. Again, a generous amount is applied to the sponge and the scent fills her nostrils. It's just Phil... which of course it is, this is what he uses when he showers but still. Tentatively, she reaches out and brushes the sponge over his right shoulder, her actions are so very tentative, almost as if he's going to shatter into pieces but she's just conscious of his bruised skin, not wanting to hurt him further. She continues on in much the same way, slow and timid strokes of the sponge over his skin, cleaning away the blood from his chest. She pauses at his scar briefly before slowly brushing over it, her eyes remain fixed to the sensitive skin as she washes away the dirt from his arms... Eventually her eyes move away and he turns when she directs him to, his hands bracing against the tile so she can wash his back and for the first time, the barrier she had erected breaks down. Her eyes pause at the entry scar on his back before they wander over him and down. She's always found him to have a nice ass, often enjoying how his jeans cling to him but this, here... is all the more better. Her body reacts further and she knows she's wet, another thing she continues to ignore. She lifts her eyes quickly away, pushing through the adjectives her mind shoves forward to describe his form to instead focus upon washing his back.

"You can turn back around now," she tells him over the water when she's done. 

He does as he's told and his eyes meets hers. There's a look in them she hasn't seen before and she struggles to identify it.

"You okay?" She asks him, blinking against the water falling upon them.

Again he doesn't answer, instead just offers a nod. She can tell the warm water is helping him relax, she can feel the tension leaving him.

Taking his word or rather nod for it, she continues with her task. The sponge slowly brushes over his chest again before moving down over his ribs, following over the trail of hair that leads lower and it's at that point when his hand suddenly encloses her wrist. She automatically looks down to where his fingers are wrapped around her and as she does, she sees that Coulson's just as affected by this as she is. He's hard and by God, isn't it a sight for her eyes. She looks up and meets his eyes. That look from before is still there and now she knows the reason behind it. Arousal.

"I'm sorry."

It's the first words he's spoken since they had stepped inside the shower.

"Why are you apologising?"

"Because of this," he says waving his free hand at himself and she knows he means his reaction. "You're trying to help and I..."

"Phil, it's alright," she attempts to reassure him while rolling her eyes, wanting him to know she isn't freaked out by this, far from it actually.

He shakes his head, running a hand over his face. "Is it?"


That one word holds so much more feeling than she intended and she can see he understands when his gaze sharpens on her. "This is a common effect. Most men would react like this in these circumstances, it just so happens it happened for you with me." She doesn't know why she's trying to downplay this but she doesn't want him to be uncomfortable, any more than he already is. This started with her wanting to help, that's all it was ever about despite her feelings for him. He's her best friend and partner, before anything else. 

He stares at her, his gaze piercing as if he can see directly passed the bullshit and into her soul. "Do you think that's what this is? A reaction to circumstance?"

His words make her swallow. "Isn't it?" She questions in challenge. Inside her heart thumps wildly in her chest, outwardly she gives nothing away. 


Heat courses through her, her heart races. She holds his gaze hostage. She finds her courage and decides to be brave. 

May loosens her fingers from around the sponge and allows it to fall away to the floor with a dull splash. She takes his hand away from her wrist and pulls it towards her. Since she joined Shield, she has had to face terrifying ordeals where she had succeeded but this feels different. She doesn't allow her iron clad courage to fail her as she places his hand between her thighs so he's able to feel her for himself.

"This isn't a reaction to circumstance either."

Those beautiful eyes of his darken further. "Melinda..." he murmurs softly. "Take off your shirt."

She falters then because as much as she wants this, he's injured. "You're hurt, Phil."

"I don't care," he shakes his head.... then- "please."

It's the way that he says it, low and rough with a hint of desperation that makes her comply with his request. Leaving his hand where it rests between her thighs, she reaches for her tee, peeling the soaked material up and away from her body. She watches his eyes, hears the ragged inhale of breath as he takes her in for the very first time.


She steps into him and cups his face, there's a fraction of a pause before she takes his mouth with hers. They've shared kisses before while undercover, it's a part of the job but it's never been like this. His mouth is softer than she remembers beneath hers. She is conscious of his spilt lip, so her kiss is delicate and tender but by no means less passionate. She smirks against his lips when he groans, her tongue slipping into his mouth, teasing and tasting. Then it's her turn to groan when the hand between her thighs starts to move, inquisitive fingers slipping through her folds, sliding over her clit, dipping inside of her.... she gasps against his mouth when those fingers slip further inside, widening her stance as he starts to move them. This situation has spun 360 degrees so quickly she feels more than a little off kilter. This is everything she's wanted for so very long, years but has been too afraid to reach out for, to afraid of risking everything that already exists between them, their friendship, their working relationship. He's her best friend and partner. Now, they're taking the first steps in becoming lover. She could chastise herself for ever waiting so long, for wasting so much time.

Reaching down she curls her fingers around his wrist but doesn't hinder his movements.


He pulls away from her kiss, wanting to watch her and he's rewarded with the stunning sight of her coming, eyes closed, mouth slightly open as she cries out.

She falls into him, her mouth against his, resting there more than initiating a kiss as she pants.

Phil pulls his hand away from her, brushing it along her hip.

Her eyes meet his and his silent question his answered with a nod.

May lifts her left leg and he hooks it in the crook of his arm, opening her up to him. With his back braced against the wall, his feet planted steady on the floor, he shifts just slightly as she reaches between them to guide him into place. There's no talk of protection in this moment, which is reckless but neither care. He slides home easily, a sigh escaping them both at the union of their bodies. She's hot and tight around him and far better than he could have ever imagined. For her, it is just as overwhelming as she rests her forehead against his, her arms sliding around his neck, her eyes on his. The connection goes further than their joins bodies and it only deepens when they begin to move.

In the dying hours of the day, in the dim light of the shower stall, they begin the act of making love.

It's probably the slowest and most intimate sex either has ever experienced. His injuries inhibit excessive movement so instead they rock together, unhurried but steady. May takes up most of the work but it's good, beyond good as they move together towards their release. The sounds that escape them, whimpers, moans and ragged breathes are drowned out by the sound of the now cooling water falling over them. His free hand trails down her spine and continues down to cup her ass, guiding her movements with just a tad more urgency.


The sound of her name falling from his lips in such desperation is all it takes to push her closer.

It's beyond telling how in the moment she is, how much he makes her feel and forget, that she allows the walls to fall and just be herself. "I'm-- oh god, Phil. I'm going to..." She doesn't get to finish because with a harsh snap of his hips in a move he'll probably pay for later, he sends her catapulting over the edge. She comes so forcefully she nearly blacks out, the intensity of their love making having a vast effect on her. Never has she felt like this, so connected to another person. She opens her eyes to find his boring into her. She cups his face. "Come," she says to him, beckoning him, demanding him to follow after her.

And he does, hard.

If it wasn't for her weight against him, pressing him into the wall, he fears his legs would collapse under him.

They stay locked together like that until they recover enough to pull apart.

It's when they do that May notices how he sways slightly on his feet, the wince he can't hide as he moves.

"Are you hurt?"

Coulson chuckles, kissing her quick. "No more than I was before. Though I think I might need some more meds soon."

May frowns as she looks him over.

Coulson reaches out to brush his thumb along her lower lip. "Don't. I know what that mind is thinking but don't. What just happened, that's worth any amount of discomfort. No regrets. We've waited to long, wasted so much time."

She doesn't look convinced though she's touched by his words.

"I've wanted this for such a long time and if what happened got me here with you tonight, I wouldn't change it."

Tears fill her eyes. Fuck, what this man does to her, he has her emotions, her walls crumbling. 

"You could have died-- again."

"But I didn't because of you and the team."

She nods and all she can do is accept his words because they do hold truth however much she hates to admit it. They are here now because of what happened to him.

She reaches around him to turn of the water. "Let's get you dried so you can rest."

Coulson's shoulders slump and he moves to step out of the shower. With every movement he still hurts, though the shower as well as the orgasm has done wonders to help him relax further. He doesn't feel as tense. Though in the morning, he knows it will be a different story.

May accepts the towel he offers her quietly, side by side, they dry themselves off. Once dry, as Coulson slips on a pair of navy shorts and an old academy tee, May slips on her jeans before grabbing her shirt.  

"How's your dressing? Do they need to be changed?"

"No, they'll be fine for tonight."

May nods then frowns as a tension settles between them. She picks up her belongings, holds them in her arms hugging them to her chest. Despite what had just happened between them, she doesn't know where they go from here.

Coulson, though, seems like he does.

"Will you stay?" He asks quietly, looking more unsure than she's ever seen him. "I mean, with me, tonight."

Her heart flutters in her chest. "If you want." It's what she wants too but she doesn't say it outright. 

"I do," he steps towards her, his hands cupping her face. "I have wanted this, you, for such a long time. From the moment I saw you at the academy, it's always been you."

May leans forward and answers him with a kiss, it says everything she needs it to.

And it's as they leave the bathroom, Coulson leaning more heavily on her for support as they go, she can never regret offering him her help in his time of need.

It was the exact circumstance that they needed to move forward.

The end.