Actions

Work Header

Will We Be Okay?

Chapter Text

Simmons was staring at her.

It was a little unnerving. And irritating.

May watched as the younger woman opened her mouth, then closed it. She wrung her hands together and averted her gaze to the floor.

Be patient, a voice that sounded remarkably like Phil’s said in her head. You know Simmons, high-stress situations can get to her very easily.

May understood that perfectly. The problem was, she hadn’t realized this was a high-stress situation. And that was terrifying.

“Simmons,” she said, breaking the stifling silence. The girl in question lifted her head up, eyes wide. May sighed inwardly. “Just tell me.”

After a brief hesitation, Simmons opened her mouth again, and changed May’s world.

“Did you know that you’re pregnant?”

+++

It had been an accident. A momentary lapse of judgement where two people with pent-up feelings finally let loose. To be honest, it was a wonder it hadn’t happened sooner.

Ward had just escaped, and May had been unsuccessful in bringing him in. It weighed heavily on her shoulders the whole flight back to the Playground, a constant cloud over her head. It rattled her, knowing he was out there and knowing what he was capable of. In the silence of the jet, she could hear his voice echoing in her brain.

“Just like old times.”

“Oh, did the ice queen get her feelings hurt?”

May’s fingers tightened on the jet’s controls, and she struggled to maintain her breathing. She regretted every moment that man was alive. After everything he had done to her, to Fitz, to Skye… That man did not deserve to walk in a small cell, much less walk free.

Add that to Coulson’s quick bender, and May was barely holding on. The moment she touched down in the Playground, she was off the jet and moving through the base. Everyone who saw her cleared a path, knowing exactly where she was heading and that they shouldn’t bother her if they wanted to remain conscious.

She was in his office within two minutes of landing. He knew she was there without looking. He always knew, was always aware of her. May had simply waited for him to acknowledge her. She needed to hear him speak, needed confirmation that he was alright.

“I was stupid,” he finally admitted. May pressed her lips together.

“Yes, you were.”

He turned from the window. In the dim light, May could see the conflict in his eyes, the pain. She ached to take it away, but she was also angry. So angry that he had risked the team, risked himself without a second thought. She wanted to hold him and hit him. Phil Coulson had always brought out every side of her.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

May walked further into the room, right up to him. He looked worn, and she could tell he was sporting some injuries. She almost asked him where they were, but held back, not really wanting to see.

“You scared the shit out of me.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You said that.”

“I get the feeling I need to say it more than once.”

She tilted her head to the side. “Was it worth it?”

He thought it over for a moment before nodding once. “The compulsion is gone. I actually feel like I can breathe again. I’m… okay.”

As mad as she was, she felt instant relief. The nightmare was over. He wouldn’t be haunted by this curse anymore. She wouldn’t have to end him.

May sagged and allowed herself to lean on Coulson’s chest. He immediately brought his arms up, encircling her in a ring of comfort. His thumb rubbed her back, and she could barely suppress a moan of contentment.

“How are you holding up?” His voice was gentle, and May’s throat closed up.

“I’m fine,” she got out, taking a deep breath.

“I can tell when you’re lying.”

“No, you can’t.”

“I can when it’s about what you’re feeling.”

May wanted to say that that wasn’t completely true, but she knew that in this case he was right.

“I…” She let out a shuddering breath. “I can’t- I don’t-”

He shushed her, now rubbing her back with his full hand. May leaned back slightly and captured her gaze with his. For a moment, they simply looked at each other, drinking each other in, memorizing their face.

May wasn’t sure who kissed the other first, but the next second they were in a frenzy of lips and hands, moving desperately, trying to get access to every inch of skin they could. She had envisioned this moment many, many times, but it never looked like this.

Clothes were shed, and somehow they had maneuvered themselves to the couch he had in the corner. They were done within minutes, coming down off the incredible high wrapped up in each other’s arms. She vaguely registered him pressing his lips to the crown of her head before she drifted off to sleep, stated and – distantly – happy.

She was gone as soon as the sun had risen.

Neither of them brought that night up after that. May could see he wanted to, and there were moments when she almost did. But then she would remember their lives, their situations, and she would swallow her feelings and press on.

It didn’t change their relationship much, and for that she was grateful. If she had to face this life without Phil Coulson by her side, she would be lost. She planned on never having to deal with that situation.

The things that did change, however, were far more catastrophic. Skye gained mysterious powers, they lost Trip, Andrew came back into her life… May found herself relying on Coulson more than ever, sometimes just sitting in his office while he worked, being content with the sound of his breathing.

She loved that man, and she feared it would someday get the best of her.

Then the “real” SHIELD took over, toppling their precarious way of life. May watched from the shadows as Fitz and Simmons were quarantined in their own lab and as Coulson was detained in his own office. She rescued him, knocking Gonzales out and freeing Coulson from his restraints. She had guided him to the secret passageway, instructing him to save Skye.

At the last second, Coulson stepped forward, wrapped his arm around her waist, and kissed her. May could barely process what was happening before he moved away and into the elevator. He gave her a small smile before the doors shut, and May was left alone, the feel of his lips still tingling on her own.

She was locked up in Ward’s old cell. It made her skin crawl knowing she was in his exact spot. She slept on the floor instead of the bed, wanting to distance herself from him as much as possible.

Gonzales came in to question her the next day. May knew exactly what he wanted from her, and she had already resolved to give him nothing. It was already abundantly clear she was on Coulson’s side, and that would never change.

About midway through the interrogation, May became very aware of the growing nausea she was experiencing. This wasn’t new to her, she had been feeling sick for a while now. She had tried to ignore it, not wanting to take herself out of the field or add to anyone’s troubles. She always felt fine after throwing up, so it really wasn’t a problem.

In this moment, however, it was. She tried with all her might to keep the wave of sickness down, almost afraid to open her mouth. Her hands twisted into fists, and she focused on Gonzales’ smug face.

It wasn’t enough. She barely made it to the toilet in the corner before retching, collapsing to her knees on the cold floor. Gonzales had come closer, and she could faintly hear him asking if she was alright. Normally she would have fired back a sarcastic retort, but instead she rested her head against the chilled surface and closed her eyes.

Gonzales had her brought to the med bay, and Simmons checked her over. She asked May a plethora of questions and ran a variety of tests. May just laid on a bed, feeling the exhaustion that had followed her for months seep into her bones.

Eventually Simmons reached her conclusion, which brought them to the uncomfortable moment of her informing May of the little fetus growing within her.

May blinked. No. It couldn’t be possible. This couldn’t be happening. Not now, not when everything was in shambles.

“What?” she managed, her throat dry. Simmons swallowed.

“You’re pregnant, May. I’d say about eight weeks along.”

There was a loud roaring in her ears. May leaned forward, hanging her head between her knees. Simmons waited for her to straighten. When she did, May’s face was a blank mask.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.” She paused. “Congratulations.”

May let out a chuckle devoid of any humor. “This can’t be possible.”

“I’m sorry, Agent May, but-”

“I can’t have a baby,” she choked out, her calm façade cracking at a quick pace. “Not now, not-”

Ever, she finished in her head. Simmons somehow seemed to know what she was going to say, and she smiled sympathetically.

“It’ll be alright. You’ll be a wonderful mother, provided you want to keep it.” Her expression became uncomfortable. “There are several options for you if you don’t.” She hesitated. “I don’t mean to pry, but… the father…”

May’s stomach twisted. Coulson. Phil. He was out in God-knows-where, trying to put the organization they had dedicated their lives to back together. She didn’t even know if he was okay, if he was alive. The thought of facing this without him was like staring into a black hole. But telling him almost seemed scarier. She didn’t know how he would respond. She still didn’t know how she would respond.

“May?” called Simmons when May didn’t speak. She looked concerned, stepping closer to the older agent.

“He can’t know,” she said brokenly. “Not right now. No one can.”

Simmons clearly objected to this, but she nodded.

“I’ll help you,” she promised, looking May square in the eye. “Whatever you choose, I will support you.”

May felt tears press against her eyes, and she swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. She gave a nod, wishing she could convey her gratefulness. Simmons seemed to understand, reaching out to squeeze May’s shoulder.

“It’ll be alright, May. It’ll all be alright.”

May wished she had the girl’s hope. She was in very short supply.

+++

She gave Simmons strict instructions to tell everyone that she had just gotten food poisoning. That excuse would only last so long, she knew, but she hadn’t begun to show, and hopefully by the time she did, she would have some idea as to what she was going to do.

Simmons sent her to her room, ordering her to rest. May was secretly very impressed with the woman’s forcefulness, especially when Gonzales’ men objected to May using her own bedroom instead of the cell. Simmons refused to back down, and May was let back in on the condition that she was to have guards posted outside her door at all times.

In the privacy of her room, May stood in front of the mirror. Her eyes traced the shape of her body, stopping at her still-flat stomach. A hand came up to rest there, and the tears she had held back in the med bay made a reappearance. This time one slipped forth, sliding down her face and onto her collarbone.

“My baby…” she whispered.

There was life growing inside her. There was a time when she had so desperately wanted a child. She and Andrew had tried their hardest to get pregnant, and every time she saw she had failed another test, her heart broke. She had had the perfect job, the most wonderful husband; a son or daughter would’ve completed her dream.

Then Bahrain happened, and May couldn’t stomach the idea of being a mother. She wasn’t fit to be one. She saw herself a monster. She took away life instead of giving it. The darkness filled her life, and there was no going back from it. Any child would not be safe in her care, so she shoved that dream away and moved on. She had made peace with that decision a long time ago.

May stroked her thumb over her belly. It was still early enough to get an abortion. She considered it for only a matter of seconds before rejecting it. Even if it meant leaving the field, she would carry this baby to term.

The real question was what she would do after it was born. Giving it up for adoption seemed like the best choice, but May’s heart ached at the mere thought. Her life was not one for children, but that didn’t stop her from imagining a little girl or boy running around the base, pestering Fitzsimmons in the lab or begging Skye to play.

And Phil. He would be the best dad, she already knew. He would spoil the baby and teach him or her about Captain America right from the get-go. Picturing him curled up with a newborn in his arms was enough to send May into a full bout of tears, a sob escaping her. She wrapped her arms around her midsection, holding her child close.

What am I going to do?

A knock at the door brought her from her thoughts. Wiping away the evidence of her breakdown, she took a calming breath and smoothed her features. She would think this through later. Right now, they were at war, and she couldn’t afford to be distracted.

Gonzales was the one behind the door. He expressed his concern for her well-being, though May knew it was only a tactic to get her on his side. She wished he would just give up. Anyone within the base could tell him she was and would forever be loyal to Coulson. Gonzales was just wasting his time.

Apparently, he knew that, for he brought her to his helicarrier out in the middle of the ocean. May had looked for Simmons as she left, praying the good doctor might intervene. Unfortunately, she was nowhere in sight, and May was forced to leave.

On the ship, Gonzales gave her his offer: Join the “real” SHIELD’s board in order to protect Coulson. Her first instinct was to say no and spit in his face. But as he talked, May began to wonder if maybe he was right. Clearly, no one within this second SHIELD was in favor of Coulson. They were prepared to oust him and take over his base, there was no way they would show restraint after he had ran from them.

May accepted the position. She couldn’t tell if the unease in her stomach was a result of that or her pregnancy. Either way, she felt as though she was walking down a very dark path with no one to save her, and that scared her more than anything.

+++

As Mack laid out his theory about the mysterious Theta Protocol, May found it harder and harder to breathe. Everything he was suggesting made sense. The trips all over the world, the secret allocating of funds, meeting with Andrew… it was all very cloak and dagger, and May didn’t like it one bit.

What would Coulson have to gain from a super-powered army? The thought nagged her as she sat in his office by herself later that day. Sure, he had always been fascinated in those with abilities, ever since he first learned the name Steve Rogers. But he had grown since then. Surely he could see how badly this could end.

May’s hand drifted to her stomach. Coulson knew about her past with gifted individuals. He knew that everything could backfire in a matter of seconds. It made no sense to her, why he might be assembling powered people.

There was still chance he wasn’t, and she clung to it with all the desperation of a drowning woman.

She struggled to keep her emotions level, but it was getting difficult with each passing hour, as more information incriminating Coulson came forward. May had always believed in him, and she wanted to continue to do so, especially with the baby. But if he was lying to her, if he was doing something that he knew deep down would hurt her… How else was she supposed to feel?

+++

Coulson surrendered and returned to the base. May watched him step off the jet with an impassive gaze. She itched to cradle her stomach, but refrained. Her anger at his apparent betrayal simmered beneath her skin. She wasn’t ready to tell him. She wasn’t sure if she even wanted to.

She could tell he wanted to talk to her in private. The thought of their last kiss was at the very forefront of her mind, and she knew it was for him as well. She so desperately wished everything was easier, that she could tell him about the baby and they could raise it and love it and life happily ever after.

But their lives were as far from happily ever after as one could get, and they were no parents.

Coulson prepared a mission to raid a HYDRA base. Ward would be involved, a thought which repulsed May. He didn’t deserve any forgiveness, and he certainly didn’t deserve to work alongside them all as if nothing that happened. Coulson insisted though, which only served to make May more confused about her feelings toward him. Her mind was a jumbled mess, and there was no calming it.

Simmons took her aside right after Coulson announced the plan and voiced her objections to May going.

“It won’t be safe,” she warned, her eyes darting back and forth to make sure no one was eavesdropping. “You should sit this one out.”

“I can’t,” May hissed. “If I do, everyone will know something is wrong. Besides, it can’t be done without me. Not with the flying that needs to be done.”

Simmons sighed. “I just don’t feel good about this, May.”

“I’m not that far along, it won’t be a problem,” pressed May. “I’m going.”

Simmons hesitated, then nodded reluctantly. She gave May a pointed look. “Have you talked to the father?”

May stiffened. She hadn’t imparted the identity of the father yet, though she had a feeling Simmons already knew.

“No.”

“Are you going to?”

A pause. “Eventually.”

+++

Inhumans. That was what they were called. Skye was one, her mother was one, Raina was one.

The little girl in Bahrain had been one.

May could feel her whole world collapse around her as Skye shared what she knew about that day. The look of hatred on her face pinned May to the spot, her throat closing up. Her hand leapt up to her belly before she dropped it back down as though burned. Skye didn’t notice, she just kept her glare right on May.

Turning on her heel, May exited the room. She could faintly hear Coulson say her name, but she ignored him, moving as fast as she could without outright running. As soon as she was in the hallway, she took off like a shot, putting as much distance as she could between the two people in the office. The two people she cared about most in the world.

At some point she stopped in a darkened alcove, out of sight from prying eyes. It was there that she let the tears fall hard and fast. She sank to the floor, one hand pressed to her mouth to muffle the sobs, the other holding her midsection as though what was inside would be taken from her. Maybe it should be.

“Same could be said about you, May!”

“Well, if it isn’t the Cavalry?”

 “You of all people should understand why they’d want to keep their location a secret. What they’re so afraid of.”

“Take my hand. I need a new mother.”

“Stop,” she moaned. The voices in her head kept building though. They grew in multitude and volume until she could hear little else.

How could she have ever deluded herself into thinking that she might be able to be a mother? Yes, she was pregnant, but she was a monster. The fire in Skye’s eyes had confirmed that. She couldn’t raise a child. She couldn’t care for it, protect it, give her baby the best life she possibly could.

She felt as though she had been standing on a tightrope for a long time, and now the wind had started blowing violently. Skye hated her. Coulson evidently didn’t trust her. She had a baby on the way. One little misstep, and she would fall, and there would be no hope of getting up.

+++

“I’m sorry May, but you’re not welcome here.”

Those words crept back into May’s mind as she began to wake. It all came back to her: the trip to Afterlife, the sounds of gunfire, Skye turning on her.

Skye fighting her. Skye knocking her to the ground.

It was only years of intense training that prevented May from sitting bolt upright. She still reached for her midsection, a sudden panic spreading through her body. It hadn’t been a gentle fall. She could clearly remember her feet leaving the ground and her body spinning through the air.

My baby, she thought. My baby.

She carefully pushed herself up, taking note of her surroundings. She was back on the jet, and, thankfully, everyone around her seemed unharmed. Skye’s father was giving her a grin that sent chills down her spine, but everyone else was wisely avoiding staring at her.

“Are you alright?” a quiet voice asked. May twisted around to see Simmons kneeling beside her, concern plain on her face.

“I-I’m fine,” she managed. She wanted to say, I’m worried about my child.

Simmons glanced around at the other agents before leaning close. She spoke in hushed tones, so no one would overhear.

“As soon as we get back to the Playground, I can check on the baby.”

She pulled back, and May nodded, wishing the lump in her throat would go away.

“Thank you,” she whispered. Simmons smiled sympathetically, and May marveled at how much the girl had grown.

For the rest of the flight, May’s hand stayed pressed against her stomach. If anyone was confused about this, they wrote it off as a result of her fight with Skye. Simmons kept watching her, as though she was afraid the older agent would break down. Of course she wouldn’t, but that didn’t mean she didn’t want to.

As soon as they touched down, Simmons directed May into a private room within the med bay. May waited, barely breathing, as Simmons prepared and conducted the ultrasound. For several moments, there was silence in the room, and May could feel her anxiety increasing rapidly.

“There,” Simmons breathed after what felt like an eternity. “Your baby is right there. It’s alright.”

May let out her breath in a harsh gasp, hot tears stinging her eyes. She leaned her head back on the examination chair and turned to look at the little screen projecting her child. It was so tiny, so precious.

“You’re okay,” she murmured, relieved. “You’re okay, little one.” She raised her gaze to meet Simmons’. “Thank you, Jemma.”

Simmons’ lips quirked upwards. “It’s the least I could do.”

May resumed looking at the screen, amazed at the sight before her. There it was. Evidence of the life developing inside her. The life she had helped create. It actually felt real then. Before, she had only a string of words to tell her of what was going on. But this… this was concrete. Definite.

“Simmons?”

“Yes, May?”

“Can you go get Coulson?”

Simmons smirked briefly before composing herself. She nodded, cleaned up the ultrasound, and left the room. May reached out and touched the now-black screen, wishing she could have looked for longer.

“May? What’s wrong?” Coulson entered the room, worry apparent on his face. He started to come close before stopping himself a few feet away. She hated the distance, but knew she would have likely done the same.

She sat up, looking him straight in the eye. “There’s something I need to tell you.”

“Okay…” He appeared a little scared now. “Is everything alright?”

May let out a humorless chuckle. “That depends on how you view it.”

“Tell me.”

She hesitated for a moment, swallowing. He waited.

“I’m pregnant.”

Based on the dumbstruck expression that developed on his face, May knew that was the very last thing he expected to hear. He opened his mouth, then shut it. His eyes darted from hers to her stomach, as though he expected it to grow right then and there.

“Come again?” he asked weakly. May almost rolled her eyes.

“I’m pregnant, Phil.” She paused. “We’re going to have a baby.”

For a moment, Coulson seemed to forget who they were and what lives they lived, for a bright, happy smile spread across his face. May’s stomach swooped at the sight, and a grin of her own began to grow.

But then he remembered, and both smiles faded.

“How long have you known?”

May pressed her lips together before answering. “Just over a week.”

“A we-” He cut himself off, shaking his head. “I can understand you not telling me while I was away but,” he fixed his gaze on her, the hurt shining in his eyes, “I’ve been back for several days. How could you not tell me?”

“I was afraid of how you would respond,” she answered softly. “And it was never the right time. And… Theta Protocol.”

His expression hardened. “Are you really going to throw that in my face now? Yes, I didn’t tell you about that, but clearly I am not the only one keeping secrets here.”

May tilted her head up slightly, defiant. “Can you blame me?”

That seemed to take the fight of Coulson. He ran a hand over his face and let out a tortured sigh.

“What are we doing, May?” He looked at her. “What’s happened to us?”

“I don’t know.”

He hesitated, but then he took a marginal step forward. May wanted him to come closer, but he was frozen in place.

“Do you want this baby?” he asked. May bit her lip.

“I don’t know what I want, Phil.” Coulson studied her closely.

“No, I think you do. You just don’t want to tell me.”

“Do you want it?” she countered, fearing his answer. Both yes or no would flip this on its head, and she was terrified of both options.

Coulson crossed his arms over his chest, deep in thought. May was certain he had already chosen his response and was just trying to think of a way to phrase it. She waited.

“I think it doesn’t matter what I want.”

That was not what she expected.

“What? How can you say that?”

“Because I think you’ve already made up your mind about what you want to do,” he said, irritation coloring his tone. “You’ve obviously been thinking about this for a few days now. And based on what you’ve been saying since I’ve gotten back, I don’t think you trust me anymore. So what more is there to say?”

May felt as though the air had been knocked from her lungs. She couldn’t fault him for saying it, but it still cut deep.

“Phil…” She prepared to let it all out. That yes she wanted the baby, but she didn’t think she was worthy of it. That she wanted him by her side for all of it. That she wanted to be a team again. That she loved him and would trust him for the rest of her life.

Someone knocked on the door just then, and May nearly broke their arm. It was Hunter, citing his worries about Bobbi. Coulson told him he would be out in a moment, turning back to May once Hunter had left.

“We’ll discuss this later, okay?” His voice had a formal tint to it that made her heart clench. She nodded stiffly, and Coulson left the room. She gave herself another moment to compose herself before following.

Now was not the time to dwell on matters of the heart.

+++

May shifted her weight from one foot to the other, rolling her shoulders as she did. Her arms were crossed over her chest, and her gaze was fixed on the closed hangar doors.

She hadn’t moved from this position for nearly an hour. Bobbi was en route to the Playground, sporting gunshot wounds to the shoulder and knee, along with a variety of other injuries. Based on Hunter’s last message, she was in bad shape. His frantic, desperate voice haunted May. It was unlike anything she had ever heard from the temperamental mercenary, which was how she knew it was really bad.

May couldn’t stand to lose someone else. If Bobbi didn’t make it back from this, May wouldn’t rest until she sent a bullet straight into Ward’s brain.

She should’ve been on the mission to retrieve Bobbi. As soon as Hunter had filled them in on what he knew, she was moving, preparing the jet and gathering the essential weapons. Coulson stopped her before long, however, and ordered her to stand down.

“You can’t be serious,” she hissed.

“You’re not going,” he instructed firmly. “It’s too dangerous.”

“You can’t bench me, not now!”

“Watch me!” He sagged slightly, gathering his emotions. “Please, May. It’s my child, too.”

May wanted to object further, but the look in his eyes prevented her from doing so. She pursed her lips and gave a tight nod.

That was what led to May standing guard, awaiting the arrival of Bobbi. Hell had briefly broken loose at the Playground when Cal went on his rampage, but they got the situation under control before things turned dire again. Now they could focus on the latest catastrophe.

The doors burst open, and May’s heart leapt to her throat when she caught sight of the stretcher. A team of agents was pushing it along, and Hunter was pressed to its side, his hand wrapped around Bobbi’s. He was covered in blood, and it sickened May to realize it wasn’t his. She stepped out of the way as they all passed, and she managed to get a good look at Bobbi’s mangled form. There was so much red.

From her vantage point in the doorway, May could see Simmons and her motley team of doctors begin operating on Bobbi. Hunter was shoved to the side, his eyes dull and empty. He looked so broken. It crushed May to witness it.

She felt Coulson’s presence behind her before she saw him. It was quiet, but she still heard him suck a breath in. Her eyesight flickered back towards Hunter, and she tentatively held her right hand out behind her. After a moment, rough fingers slid through hers. She gave a quick squeeze, and he tugged her backwards in response. They moved down the hall a ways, facing each other once they came to a stop.

Hunter’s expression was still fresh in her mind as she took in Coulson’s face. Wordlessly, she lifted her free hand up to cup his cheek. He leaned into her touch, his eyes drifting shut.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“You have nothing to apologize for,” she replied, her voice equally quiet.

“But I do. I kept things from you I shouldn’t have.”

She almost smirked. “Yes. But so did I.”

Coulson opened his eyes. He turned his head to kiss her palm, letting his lips linger there for a moment.

“We both kept secrets from each other, and we both hurt each other,” he said. “We’re probably both still hurt, and it will take time to get past that.” He gazed at her earnestly. “But I don’t want to spend another moment at odds with you.”

“Me neither.”

Coulson gave a half-smile and tightened his grip on her hand. They still had a long way to go, May knew, but at least she had the comfort of also knowing he would be there at the end of it all, regardless of what happened.

Coulson hesitated for a brief moment before reaching out with his free hand to touch her stomach. Warmth spread through May’s body, and she placed her hand over his.

“We’ll discuss this later, okay?” he asked, gentle and familiar this time. May allowed a tiny smile to appear on her face.

“Okay.”

+++

A ceasefire had been called, yet May was still running.

She leapt off the jet onto the helicarrier and sprinted to the medical area. Coulson once again refused to let her come and fight, and once again she objected. In the end she lost that battle and instead stayed behind to run backend at the Playground. She wasn’t pleased with this situation, though she understood Coulson’s concern. It was almost sweet, in a way.

Only a few short hours ago, the brief but painful war had come to an end. Jiaying was dead, and the Inhumans had either ran or turned themselves over to SHIELD. Agents had descended upon the compromised helicarrier to do damage control and begin the reconstruction efforts. It was a major setback for the already fragile organization, but with time they would be okay.

It was only a few short hours ago that May received word that Coulson’s hand had been cut off. At first, she had just stared at her tablet, not quite grasping what Fitz was saying.

“His what?”

Fitz repeated his news, explaining that Mack had no choice. May barely processed the full story as she began gathering her things. She gave a few hurried instructions to Simmons before joining a departing jet.

She rushed into the med bay, her gaze darting around as she tried to locate Coulson. All around her were agents who had been hurt, as well as a few Inhumans. She spotted Skye, and her heart shattered. The girl looked awful, skin pale and eyes bloodshot. She was so tiny on the bed.

May took several steps in her direction, desperate to make sure she was okay. Skye saw her coming, and she weakly propped herself up.

“He’s over there,” she rasped, nodding to her left. May followed her look to see Coulson asleep on a bed a few feet away. Her breath caught at the sight of his arm cradled in a sling. Sure enough, she couldn’t see a hand poking out.

“Go,” Skye said. May looked back at her, and Skye nodded. May reached out and brushed Skye’s hair behind her ear before crossing the room. She snagged a chair and brought it up to Coulson’s side, grasping his right hand as she did. He stirred at the contact, his eyes slowly opening.

“Hey,” he murmured.

“Hey,” she parroted. She gestured to the sling. “How’s that feel?”

He shrugged, wincing a bit at the motion. “They’ve got me on the good stuff, but it still aches a bit. Certainly going to take a while to get used to.” He glanced at her. “Guess you’re going to have to be my left-hand woman too.”

He was attempting to make a joke, and she tried to laugh, but all she could manage was a stuttering gasp. She squeezed his hand tighter, feeling tears begin to gather in her eyes.

“Hey, hey,” he said soothingly, rubbing his thumb over the back of her hand. “I’m okay. Skye is okay, Fitz is okay. We’re all okay.” May reached up to stroke his face, blinking back tears.

“You were so close to not being okay though,” she said lowly. “Too close for my liking.”

Coulson shrugged again. “Occupational hazard, I guess.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to like it.”

He gazed at her for a moment before looking at her midsection. “How’s our baby?”

“The same, I would imagine.” Her whole body felt lighter when he said “our.” She could almost delude herself into thinking they were a normal couple, and he was asking her this after a long day at work. As though he hadn’t just had his hand chopped off because he had caught a gem that could kill people.

“You should take a vacation,” he suggested. “All this stress can’t be good for the little boy or girl.”

May studied him, taking in his caring expression. His statement reminded her of the discussion they needed to have, and while the med bay wasn’t the best place for it, she was tired of wasting time. She dropped her gaze to the bed.

“Do you want this baby?” she asked.

“Do you?”

“I asked you first.” She lifted her head, facing him straight on. The corner of his mouth quirked up.

“As crazy and stupid as this sounds, yeah, Melinda. I do. I want to raise this kid with you.”

May sucked in a breath. Coulson was watching her closely, waiting for her response.

“Are you sure? I would understand if you don’t. Our lifestyle isn’t exactly kid-friendly.”

He smiled fully now, bringing her hand up to press a kiss to her fingers.

“Do you want this?”

She hesitated. All her thoughts and fears from the last few days were growing around her, like a wave threatening to come up and drown her.

“I don’t - I don’t know if I’m cut out for this,” she whispered.

“Oh, Mel,” he murmured. He untangled his hand from hers and caressed her face. She took comfort from his touch, her eyelids slipping shut momentarily.

“You’ll be fantastic mother,” he continued. “I know you think that what happened in your past makes you unfit to be one, but I know better. You have such a big heart, Melinda, and you are so compassionate. You will protect and love this baby fiercely, and I wouldn’t want anyone else to be the mother of my child.”

A tear slid down May’s cheek. Coulson brushed it away with this thumb. She gave him a shaky smile.

“You mean that?”

“Of course I do,” he said. He reached up higher to twist his fingers in her hair, bringing her down to his level. Leaning forward, he kissed her, not caring that they were in the middle of a very crowded med bay. He tried to fill his kiss with all the love he had for her, attempting to show her how much faith he had.

“Do you want to raise this baby with me?” he asked once they parted. They stayed close, foreheads touching. She gulped.

“Yes.”

+++

Simmons agreed with Coulson’s request that May take some time off, and once the younger woman got on board, May really had no choice. After thinking it through, she realized it might actually be nice. Someplace warm sounded really, really good after the roller coaster she had been on recently.

She was in the middle of packing her bag when there was a light knock on her door. Turning, she saw Skye standing there, a shy expression on her face. Skye spotted the bag, and her face fell.

“What the… What are you doing?” She looked stricken. “Are you going somewhere? You’re not leaving, are you?”

May shook her head. “No, Skye. I’m just taking some time off.”

The horror was quickly replaced by confusion. “Why? You don’t seem like the type, to be honest.”

May considered not telling Skye the real reason behind her absence, but she quickly found that she actually wanted to. Now that she had Phil by her side, she wasn’t that afraid. She was still nervous as hell, and that would likely never go away. But she no longer felt like she was staring into a black hole, ready to be consumed. Besides, everyone would find out eventually.

“I’m pregnant.”

Skye’s eyes widened to comical proportions, and her mouth fell open. May smirked at the sight.

“You’re what?” she screeched.

“I really don’t know how else to say it.”

May was treated to an armful of Skye as the girl flung herself at her S.O. She was unable to stop the smile that spread across her face. It felt nice to smile again.

“Coulson is the baby daddy, isn’t he?” asked Skye giddily. May shrugged.

“Do I seem like the type to kiss and tell?”

Skye laughed, stepping back. She started to reach for May’s only slightly protruding stomach before freezing.

“Can I?”

May nodded, and Skye rested her hand on May. She looked up at her mentor, her features now serious.

“I’m really sorry, May, for everything that happened. For bringing up Bahrain, for fighting you, for knocking you unconscious…” She looked horrified as she considered that incident with the knowledge that May was pregnant.

“It’s alright,” May said. “I forgive you.”

Skye still seemed freaked, but she went with it. She offered May a tiny grin.

“You’re gonna be a great mom, you know. Not that I have a lot of experience with those, as my real mom tried to suck the life out of me, but… you always seemed like a great one to me.” She blushed, quickly pulling her hand away.

“Thank you, Skye.” She smirked. “I’m sure you’ll be a wonderful big sister.”

Skye’s face brightened, and she gave May another hug.

“Can I plan a baby shower for you when you get back?”

May sighed. “Sure. Whatever makes you happy.”

“My happiness isn’t the point here, May.”

“A baby shower seems fine.”

“Good. ‘Cause you’re getting one.”

“Yay.”

Skye helped May finish packing, and she walked May to the airplane hangar. Coulson was waiting for her, smiling when he saw his two girls headed his way.

“You tell her the good news?” he asked. Skye answered him by hugging him.

“Nicely done, DC.” May rolled her eyes.

“Thanks, Skye.”

Skye stepped back and eyed the two older agents. “Okay, I’ll let you say goodbye. Just remember there are cameras everywhere.”

She left with a parting wave, giving the parents-to-be some time alone. Coulson wrapped his arm around her waist and brought her close, resting his head on her shoulder.

“Promise me you’ll relax?”

“Promise me you won’t do anything stupid without me?”

He grinned at her. “You know I can’t promise that.”

She kissed his cheek. “Ditto.”

Coulson shook his head, then knelt down so he was level with her stomach. He kissed her belly button through her purple t-shirt before whispering to it.

“Make sure Mommy rests, okay? You gotta take care of her, even when she doesn’t. Especially when she doesn’t.” He glanced up at May, taking in her soft smile. “Your mom and I can’t wait to see you, little one. You’re going to be the most loved child in the whole world.”

May dragged him up only to pull him down for a kiss. He cradled the back of her head, and she grasped his shoulders, reveling in how close he was.

“Have I ever told you that I love you?” he asked. Her heart skipped a beat.

“No, I don’t believe you have.”

“Oh. Well, I do.”

May beamed. “I love you too.” Her quick response startled her, but she found she really didn’t mind it.

“Enjoy your break. Come back when you’re ready.”

May climbed into an SUV and drove out of the hangar. She watched Coulson become smaller and smaller in her rearview mirror, sad to see him go, but happy knowing he would be there when she returned.

She was even happier knowing that in a few months, they would have their own little family.

Chapter Text

“Staring won’t change it. I’ve tried, believe me.”

Coulson’s voice washed over her like a soothing balm, but it lasted for only a few seconds. The heavy ache in May’s heart came back sharper than ever. She had been standing watch in front of that godawful Kree rock for at least an hour and half now. It had remained solid the entire time.

May’s arms were crossed over her chest, feet planted shoulder-length apart. She felt Coulson’s hand as it gently came to rest on her right bicep.

“You can’t stand here all night.”

“Watch me.”

He suppressed a sigh, coming around to face her. He placed himself between her and the glass case, effectively blocking her view.

“You need to rest.”

“I just got two weeks of that.”

“Fitz will be back soon, he can take your spot.”

“I’ll stay with him.”

“Think about the baby, Melinda.”

May sucked in a breath, her hands dropping to hold her tiny bump. Coulson reached out and set his hand over hers.

“You’re not just taking care of you anymore, Mel,” he reminded her.

She attempted to twist around Coulson’s body and regain sight of the rock, but he smoothly prevented her from doing so. She glared at him.

“I know that, Phil,” she said, frustration coloring her tone. “But I can’t just – I can’t just leave her.” She cast her gaze to the floor. “She was there for me when I first found out I was pregnant. She supported me. And I wasn’t there for her when… this happened.”

Coulson’s expression softened, and he gave their overlapping hands a squeeze.

“You can’t think that way. There’s nothing you could have done to prevent this.”

“Doesn’t mean I can stop feeling like there was.”

Coulson gave her a sad smile.

“Like I said when I found out about the baby: You have such a big heart. And while that is a wonderful thing, it has its drawbacks, this being one of them.”

“How can we care for a baby when we can’t take care of our own?” she whispered, unconsciously pressing her bump more forcefully. “Are we stupid to think we can do this, Phil?”

“Hey, hey, stop that,” he instructed. “Don’t think like that.” He moved his hand up to caress her face. Her eyes slid shut as she leaned into his touch. “We will get Jemma out. We will save her. Before you know it, she’ll be asking you about your health and doing checks on the baby.”

May let out a shaky laugh. She opened her eyes and grasped his hand, keeping it against her cheek.

“We will be the best parents we can be,” Coulson said. “The very best. And I know you will be the best mother, because of that damn heart of yours.”

His words, as simple as they were, managed to lessen the tight ball of fear that had settled in her stomach the moment he told her about what happened to Simmons. She had to believe everything would work out. She just had to.

“I love you,” she mumbled. It was the first time she had said it since getting back, the second time overall. The words felt unfamiliar on her tongue, having not said them in a very long time. Nevertheless, it brought a bright, happy smile from Coulson. Something that been hard to come by lately.

“I love you too,” he replied, leaning forward to kiss her. “Now come to bed. Please.”

As if on cue, Fitz rushed through the door, clearly distraught about spending any amount of time away from the rock. He skidded to a stop at the sight of May and Coulson, the both of them dropping their hands as soon as they heard him enter.

“I-I’m sorry, I d-didn’t mean to interrupt,” he sputtered. May’s heart clenched. From the few hours she had been back, she had noticed his stutter had become more pronounced once again.

“You didn’t,” she assured him. “Will you be okay in here tonight?”

Fitz nodded, already settling down in front of the case. May and Coulson shared a look.

“Hold on one sec,” said Coulson. He left the room, returning a moment later with a blanket folded under his arm. May felt the stirrings of smile as Coulson held the blanket out to Fitz. After a second, the younger man accepted it and wrapped it around his shoulders.

“If you need us,” May said, “you know where to find us.”

Fitz nodded, and the two older agents began to make their way out of the room. They were partially out the door when Fitz’s voice stopped them.

“C-congratulations on the baby.”

May and Coulson reached for each other’s hand at the same time, their fingers sliding together perfectly. Fitz craned his neck in time to see the gentle smile on May’s face.

“Thank you, Leo.”

Fitz managed a tiny grin in response before turning back to the rock. Tugging on her hand, Coulson led May from the room. They walked in silence to Coulson’s room, where, after Coulson took off his jacket, tie, and sling, they climbed into bed. He pulled her close as best as he could, and she tucked her head underneath his chin.

“You are going to be a fantastic mother,” Coulson whispered. May snuggled closer.

“You’ll be the best father.”

“There we go, I was wondering when I would get a compliment like that.”

May smacked his chest in response.

“We’ll get her out, won’t we?” she ventured. Coulson shifted so he could kiss her on the forehead before moving back into their previous position.

“We will. Now get some sleep. That’s what Simmons would tell you if she was here, so listen to her.”

May nodded, already feeling her eyelids get heavy. She was certain that the only thing that could give her the feeling of complete security was Coulson’s arms, and she couldn’t help but relax in their embrace.

Tomorrow would be another day, where they would face the impossible and the terrifying. But for now, they would sleep.

Chapter Text

“I just thought I’d offer,” Simmons said. May shook her head.

“I can’t ask you to do that,” she replied. “It’s your night off, you shouldn’t have to spend it playing babysitter.”

“Nonsense. I love spending time with Lily. It’ll still feel like a night off.”

May sighed. “I don’t know…” She looked over to the kitchen, where her two-year-old daughter was being entertained by her honorary older siblings. Skye was using her powers to tickle Fitz from across the room. Lily shrieked with laughter.

“May,” Simmons said. “When is the last time you and Coulson spent some time alone?”

“Two months, one week, and four days,” May answered without missing a beat. “He told me this morning.”

“So go,” Simmons said. “You want a date with your husband, I want a date with my goddaughter. Everyone wins.”

May looked back at Simmons. The younger agent’s eyes were shining with excitement.

“We won’t be out too late,” May promised. “And we’ll have our phones if you need us.”

Simmons grinned and bounced on her feet. “Oh, wonderful! You two will have an excellent time.” May found herself smiling too.

“Thanks for this, Jemma.” May touched Simmons’ arm. “It’s much appreciated.”

“I know, which is why I don’t mind doing it. Now, shouldn’t you be getting ready?”

“Mmm, probably.” She glanced once more towards Lily.

“May.” Simmons gave her a knowing look. “She’ll be fine.”

“I know.” May smiled. “She’s in good hands.”

Chapter Text

It was a rare occasion:  A peaceful night at the Playground with the whole team gathered around. In their line of work, slow days were few and far between, and they had learned to savor them whenever they floated by.

On this particular night, everyone was gathered in the common room after dinner. Fitz and Simmons were curled up on one end of the couch, their hands intertwined between them. Daisy was on the other end, typing furiously on her laptop. Mack and Elena were sitting at the table with Hunter and Bobbi playing cards. Occasionally, Hunter would yell in frustration, and Bobbi would smack him before he could curse. Then Hunter would turn and mouth “Sorry” to May and Coulson, who were sitting on the other couch. Their five-year-old daughter Lily was perched on Coulson’s lap, babbling to him for the sixth time about how she’d met Wanda Maximoff last week.

“I’m going to put a muzzle on him one of these nights,” May said after the fourth instance of Hunter almost swearing. “It would serve him right.”

Lily turned to her mother. “Mommy, what’s a muzzle?”

“It’s something people put on their mouths,” Coulson said, shooting May a half-amused, half-exasperated look. “It’s not a nice thing.”

Lily seemed satisfied with this answer and looked over at Daisy. “Daisy,” she said, “can we play now?”

“Lilybug, Daisy needs to rest,” May said. “She’s still in recovery.”

Lily frowned a little as she tried to remember what that meant. “It’s okay, May,” Daisy said, closing out of whatever program she had been using and shutting her laptop. “I promised her we would tonight.”

“But you need to rest.” May was very aware she had started using her Mom Voice, but she just couldn’t help it sometimes. Especially not when it came to Daisy. Or Skye, as she still sometimes thought of her as.

“Jemma said it was okay!”

“I did,” Simmons spoke up from her Fitz-cocoon. “So long as she doesn’t overexert herself.” Daisy gave May a wide-eyed look as if to say See?

“Oh, alright.” May looked down at Lily, expecting her to be bursting with excitement. Instead, her little girl was frowning pensively and staring at Daisy. “Is there something wrong, baby girl?”

Lily tilted her head up towards her mother. “How come Daisy doesn’t call you Mommy?”

The room fell silent. May was focused on her daughter, but she knew Daisy had stiffened at the question. A glance at Coulson told her he was worried too. Truth be told, they had talked about this more than once as Lily continued to grow and spend more time with Daisy. For all intents and purposes, Daisy was her older sister. Coulson had even gotten her a t-shirt that said “Big Sister” on it right before Lily was born. Lily had no way of knowing that Daisy wasn’t actually related to her, and May knew it was just a conversation waiting to happen. She just didn’t think it would come this soon.

Everyone was clearly waiting to hear her response. She wished that Lily had waited until they were alone to ask, but she also knew the young girl wouldn’t have understood why that was necessary.

“Daisy doesn’t call me Mommy because I’m not her mother,” she said. It was a wonder her voice didn’t waver as she said it.

Lily’s face screwed up in concentration as she tried to understand. “But you take care of her like you take care of me.”

“Well, yes, I do.”

“And you kiss her boo-boos when she gets hurt.”

“I – yes.” That happened one time when Daisy had gotten a nasty cut on her forehead. May had been unable to stop herself from brushing a quick kiss over it. A side effect of becoming a mom.

“And you tuck her into sleep.”

Sometimes, when Daisy got nightmares, May sat with her until she fell back asleep again. During one night of this, Lily had wandered in because she wanted a glass of water.

“I do, sometimes.”

Lily was baffled. “Then why aren’t you her mommy?” She looked to Coulson. “Aren’t you her daddy?”

Coulson looked like he was unsure if he was happy to be included in this. “It’s a little complicated, peanut.”

“To put it lightly,” muttered Hunter. This time, Bobbi and Elena hit him.

May chanced a glance toward Daisy and saw she was sitting with her back ramrod straight, clutching her laptop with both hands. The subject of Daisy’s parents was still a complicated one, despite it being several years since everything had happened with them. Jiaying had tried to kill her, and Daisy had to live with the burden of that ever since. It made May wish Jiaying was still alive just so she could kill her again.

“Daisy isn’t our daughter like you are,” she said, returning her gaze to Lily. “She didn’t come to us as a baby. She was already a grown-up when we found her.”

“So you can’t be her mommy?” asked Lily.

May flicked a glance to her husband. He gave her a nod and a smile, somehow already knowing what she was thinking.

“I can be,” she said, acting like she isn’t in a room filled with agents. “Just not the way I am for you. That’s why she doesn’t call me Mommy. It’s just different for us.”

Lily contemplated this for a moment before sliding off of Coulson’s lap. She toddled over to Daisy, whose eyes were shining a bit brighter than normal.

“Where’s your mommy?” Lily asked. Daisy sniffed and swiped a finger under one eye.

“She isn’t around anymore,” she replied. “She wasn’t a very good mommy though, when she was.”

Lily climbed up onto Daisy’s lap, and Daisy wrapped her arms around her so she wouldn’t fall. She brought her head down when Lily leaned up to whisper in her ear. Only, Lily hadn’t mastered the art of quiet whispers, so everyone heard what she said.

“You can share Mommy with me. And Daddy.”

Daisy let out a watery giggle, pressing a quick kiss to Lily’s head. She looked at Coulson and May, who were now holding hands and smiling. An understanding passed between the three of them.

“I think we’ve already been sharing for a while.”

Chapter Text

May only heard it because she had been up late working. The process of re-legitimizing SHIELD was a long and tedious one, and she hated every second of it. Paperwork and politics had always been her least favorite parts of the job. Over the past few weeks, she had threatened to quit several times.

The Director of SHIELD was lucky he was her husband, because otherwise she really would have left.

That night, she was on her way back to her room when she heard it. A soft whimpering noise, like something was in serious pain. It brought May to a halt. She listened closely, carefully pulling apart all the sounds that made up the Playground until she could pinpoint the one that stood out.

Daisy, she thought as the noise sounded again, louder this time and accompanied by a faint vibration. An Inhuman’s power at work. Much as she was loath to admit it, it still frightened her a little, just how much destruction Daisy was capable of. She knew Daisy could control herself, but it was impossible not to feel a little awed in the face of such a force.

She was only a few steps away from the younger agent’s door. Hurrying over, she lifted her hand to knock, then dropped it and opened the door.

Daisy was tangled in her sheets on the bed, her brow pinched tight in distress. Even in the dim light, May could tell she was in the throes of a nightmare. It was a sight she had come across more often than she wished to count, whether it be from a fellow agent or her young daughter. This also meant she knew exactly how to proceed whenever it happened.

Perching herself on the edge of the bed, May was sure not to touch Daisy. She first spoke softly, saying Daisy’s name. When that got no response, she raised her voice. “Daisy.”

Daisy jerked awake, her hands flying as she sat up in a defensive position. The miniature earthquakes that seemed to be emanating from the bed stopped. Her body shook with uneven breaths, and she pushed her damp hair back with a quivering hand. After a moment of disorientation, her eyes zeroed in on May sitting beside her.

“May?” Her voice was tiny, hesitant. May didn’t hesitate to touch her now, placing a gentle hand on her bicep.

“You’re safe now,” May said. “It was just a dream.”

Daisy’s shoulders sagged. May watched as she swallowed and gave a nod.

“I knew it was, too,” Daisy said. “That’s why dreams are so messed up. Even when you’re in a bad one, and you know you’re in your head, it can still hurt you. So stupid.” She looked uncertainly at May. “Did I wake you? With my…”

“No,” May said. She squeezed Daisy’s arm  and let go. “I was already awake.”

“Kinda late to still be awake.”

“Too much work to be done.” May paused. “Do you want to talk about it?”

Daisy shrugged and wrapped her arms around her torso. “Standard stuff. Jiaying, Hive… it would be nice if my nightmares could have some variety.”

May’s lips twitched. “I’m not sure if that would be better or worse.”

“For once I’d just like to fight someone who doesn’t torment my dreams. Is that too much to ask?”

It was easy to see Daisy was deflecting. Joking had always been one of her ways of coping, and May was inclined to let it happen this time.

“Mommy?”

May and Daisy both looked to the open doorway. Lily stood there, a tiny hand rubbing her eyes as she slowly focused on the scene before her.

“You shouldn’t be up, Lilybug,” May said, her tone slightly admonishing. Lily pouted.

“‘m thirsty.”

May sighed. “Okay. I’ll get you some water in a second. Go wait for me outside.”

Instead of moving, though, Lily stayed put. She was looking at Daisy curiously. “Why are you with Daisy, Mommy?”

May opened her mouth to come up with some graceful response, one that wouldn’t put Daisy under any further scrutiny, but Daisy answered first. “I had a bad dream.”

Lily’s eyes widened. Just last week, she herself had had a nightmare about the Huns from Mulan. Coulson had to sit up with her for nearly two hours before she could sleep again.

Before May could object, Lily darted into the room and clambered up on the bed between May and Daisy. Lily slipped her arms around Daisy (May had to smile at how they could barely circle her whole body) and leaned her head on her chest.

“It’s okay, Daisy,” Lily said. “Bad dreams can’t hurt you. Daddy said so.”

Daisy’s eyes shone. She reached up and stroked Lily’s hair, sharing a shy smile with May.

“Your daddy’s really smart. That’s why he’s the big boss around here.”

Lily looked up at Daisy. “I’ll stay with you and p’tect you.”

As beautiful as this sight was, May felt she needed to intervene. “Lily, Daisy needs to get some rest. And you need to go back to bed.”

She shouldn’t have been surprised when Daisy held Lily tighter. “It’s okay, May. I want her to stay.” She smiled down at Lily. “I think she’ll be the best protector in the world. Considering who her parents are.”

There was a familiar burst of warmth in May’s chest. It often came around whenever she saw her children together, or was reminded of all the good things in her life.

“As long as you both promise to try and sleep,” she said, feeling the need to say so as a mother.

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Daisy said. Lily nodded, though she looked like she was already on the verge of sleep.

“Still thirsty, Mommy.”

May chuckled softly and rose from the bed. She went down the hall to the kitchen and filled one of Lily’s spill-proof cups with water.

By the time she made it back, Daisy and Lily were fast asleep. Lily was tucked up against Daisy’s side, who had slumped down against her pillows. May stopped to place the cup on the bedside table and kiss both of their heads.

The night was peaceful once again.