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It's All About Biochemistry

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"So that happened," Jemma said breathlessly.

"Yeah. It...that totally happened," Sky said. "There was happening here."

Jemma couldn't entirely fight down the urge to giggle. One day she'd learn the secret to doing that.

"Are you laughing at me?" Sky asked in a tone so indignant it had to be faked.

"No, no, just..." Jemma pulled in a calming breath. "Just. I'm not really used to this kind of thing yet."

"What kind of thing?"

"Post emotional crisis kissing," Jemma said. "It's new to me."

"Huh." Skye made a face. "It's not usually my thing either."

"Not that it wasn't great!" Jemma said quickly. "It was. You're very, very good at that and you should absolutely feel free to do it again if you need to. I've just never been in a situation where this kind of thing happens to me. The kissing part. Actually, the nearly dying part as well. Not that I haven't kissed anyone before, that would clearly be silly, but kissing like this isn't something I'm, uh..."

Thankfully Skye took pity on her and gave her something much better to do with her mouth than talking. Jemma had always had trouble suppressing the instinct to babble but the way Skye was nibbling on her lower lip was an excellent cure.

Sky was a good kisser. Probably in the top five of people Jemma had kissed. Maybe top three.

Skye's mouth tasted like mint and chocolate and her lips was unexpectedly soft.

Top two kisser. Definitely top two.

A loud bang on the wall she was leaning against startled her enough to make her jump and her eyes flew open. Skye hopped back a step and her knees hit the edge of the bed behind her so she sat down with a look of surprised.

"Are you expecting anyone?" Skye whispered.

"It's probably just Fitz. I promised him that we'd make Ward watch Star Wars." Jemma tugged her shirt straight and hoped she didn't look too lipstick smudged. She definitely felt smudged. "He's still a little emotionally fragile about the nearly dying part of this week."

"So am I," Skye protested.

Jemma smiled. "Yes, clearly, otherwise we wouldn't be having 'thank god we're alive' kisses. I'm sorry, he'll just keep thumping the wall if I don't go out there. Maybe we could do this on another day?"

"Sure we can," Skye said with a note of forced lightness in her voice that Jemma pretended not to hear. "Next time one of us nearly dies again, we'll make a date."

"Great! Fantastic! We'll definitely do that!"

Jemma unlocked her door and slipped out before Skye could say anything else. Fitz held up a huge bowl that was wafting popcorn smells everywhere and Jemma carefully stood where he couldn't see into her pod until she heard the door swish closed.

"Ready?" she asked.

"What were you doing?"

"Reading."

"Oh. Your hair's all..." he gestured vaguely. "Messy?"

"It was a really good book."

Jemma made a mental note that kissing Skye was both smudgy and messy and ignored Fitz's confused expression.

***

"So that happened," Jemma said unsteadily. "Again."

Skye shrugged and Jemma admired the way Skye could do that when they were lying squashed up on her narrow bed.

"I nearly died," Skye said. "If Coulson hadn't found a way to disarm that device, I'd be dead."

"So this is post-nearly-dying-kissing again?"

"Definitely."

"Oh, good."

Jemma leaned in for another kiss but their lips had barely touched when Skye pulled back.

"Good?" she said. "What does that mean?"

"Nothing!" Jemma said quickly. "Just that it's good to know why this keeps happening. We're burning off all the chemicals our bodies release during the fight or flight reflex."

Skye's brows wrinkled in a frown. It was a little adorable and Jemma pushed down the ridiculous urge to trace a finger over the lines.

"When you put it that way," Skye said, "it doesn't sound that great. 'Burning off chemicals' sounds kind of...creepily scientific."

"It's very scientific," Jemma said, trying to look deeply serious. "That's why it's good. It's a practical application of science that's mutually beneficial and has wider effects in terms of providing a calmer, more focused atmosphere on the plane when all those chemicals have been released."

"You're just making stuff up now, aren't you?"

"Of course not. I'm a scientist. We don't make things up."

"Ri-ight. And I guess you never fudged a lab result to get the right results even when you were just a baby scientist at school."

"That would be cheating," Jemma said primly, or as primly as she could when she was feeling rumpled and smudged again.

Really, she needed to check whether Skye was wearing lipstick before they did this again so she didn't have to keep wondering whether her mouth looked funny.

"And you don't cheat," Skye said.

"Not on the important things."

"But on the...ah...on the...uh..." Skye trailed off with a breathy little moan.

"Post nearly dying kissing is only successful if we actually kiss," Jemma said against the skin of Skye's throat.

It was oddly gratifying to be able to reduce Skye to incoherent muttering just through some well-placed nuzzling under her ear. Jemma smiled and delicately scraped her teeth over the corner of Skye's jaw, just to make sure her conversational abilities didn't return for a while. Turnabout was fair play, after all, and Skye had pulled exactly the same trick last time. Skye didn't seem to mind being forced to stop talking and she joined in with gratifying enthusiasm.

The narrow bed was too small to do much rolling around on but somehow Skye managed to get a hand under the hem of Jemma's shirt, an action Jemma was more than happy to encourage. She was just trying to work out how to return the favour without tipping them both on the floor when there was a loud thunk on her door.

They both froze.

Fitz's voice sounded worryingly loud as he asked, "Are you ready yet?"

"Shit," Jemma said quietly.

"What?" Skye asked.

"So sorry, I promised Fitz we'd bully Ward into playing board games," Jemma said. "I didn't notice how late it is."

"Oh."

"Two minutes, Fitz," Jemma called out. "I just have to finish something. Can you see whether we still have those bags of crisps in the kitchen?"

"OK, two minutes," Fitz said after a brief pause and then there was the sound of footsteps retreating.

"You could join us," Jemma said as she tried to free herself from the tangle of blankets and Skye's limbs so she could stand up. "Boys against girls, it could be fun."

"I guess it could," Skye said cautiously.

Jemma finally managed to roll off the bed and began tucking her clothing back into place. Skye shifted round to sit on the edge of the bed. Somehow she managed not to look hopelessly mussed and Jemma envied that slightly.

"Come on," Jemma said. "It'll be fun. Ward gets this funny look when he's trying to work out whether we're lying to him."

"The squinty look? Yeah, that's pretty funny."

"Are you in?"

Skye shrugged. "Guess so, if we're done here."

"Next time," Jemma promised. "I promise not to arrange anything with Fitz the next time we nearly die."

"I'll hold you to that."

***

"So, remind me again why we couldn't wait until we were on the plane to do this?" Jemma asked.

"Because you nearly died - again - and you looked kind of jumpy," Skye said. "I figured you should burn off those chemicals you were talking about before you do that babbly thing you do and Agent May really does kill you."

"Oh." Jemma shivered as Skye pressed a sucking kiss just over the point of her collarbone. "And the janitor's closet was the only place you could find for it?"

"The only place that was close and private."

"It's not very romantic, is it?"

She couldn't see Skye's expression in the dark, but from the way Skye's lips suddenly left her throat and Skye's hands stopped moving restlessly on her back she could guess that the look she was being sent was an injured one.

"This is about a chemical release, right?" Skye said, her tone too calm to be natural. "Biochemistry doesn't need romance. Does it?"

"No! Of course not! And that's all this is. Biology."

"Right."

"Biology doesn't need romance."

"It just needs a janitor's cupboard and a few minutes," Sky said. "Right."

"Glad we've got that settled then."

Jemma wasn't entire sure what they'd settled, but it felt important to establish that they'd settled something. Because Skye was right, biochemistry didn't need a romantic setting. A bit of privacy and a few minutes of frantic kissing - maybe a bit of frantic touching if they got bold - was clearly all that they needed because this was all about biology. Biochemistry.

Hormones.

No feelings. They were just friends helping each other out by relieving an itch.

Really good friends.

And god, Skye was a really good kisser. She had a way of kissing that made Jemma feel shivery and impatient all over but she never seemed to have a drool problem or an uncomfortably demanding tongue action. Skye seemed to have a thing about necks, throats and collarbones, something Jemma had never been particularly into before but then she met Skye and became a convert. The talent Skye had for knowing exactly when and where a gentle bite would be perfect was like no one Jemma had ever met.

It was great having a friend she felt so close to who could kiss this well without any other feelings getting in the way. She couldn't imagine doing this with Fitz, who was a wonderful friend but didn't really inspire her in a kissing sort of way. He was more of a brother and soul mate while Skye was...Skye was Skye.

Jemma wrapped her arms around Skye and pulled her in for another embrace because they only had these few minutes and she really needed to taste Skye's mouth a dozen more times before they went back outside.

***

Even when the plane wasn't in the air, there was a constant quiet hum in the air that had taken Jemma weeks to get used to. Now it was a soothing background noise that she missed on the rare days when she slept in a bedroom somewhere else. She settled a little deeper in her bed and tapped her tablet to turn the page. The beds on the plane were still too small, but she'd gradually customised her pod with blankets and cushions so it was comfortable and homey.

Someone tapped softly on the door and Jemma sighed. There was no such thing as a quiet night of reading in a place like this. She called out for whoever it was to come in and lowered her tablet, figuring that it would be Fitz checking in to make sure she was alright. It was sweet that he did that but it had really only been a very small explosion and she'd been across the room from it so she hadn't even been hit by flying debris.

Sometimes Fitz worried far too much about everyone.

The door swished open and Jemma was surprised to see Skye standing there, twisting the hem of one sleeve between her fingers.

"Hi," she said.

Skye's smile was uncertain and she hesitated before stepping inside the pod and allowing the door to shut behind her. "Hi.'

"Is anything wrong?" Jemma asked.

"No, nothing's wrong," Skye said. "Of course nothing's wrong."

"Okay."

Jemma waited and Skye continued to twist her shirt sleeve until Jemma started to worry she'd hear fabric ripping soon.

"I was just thinking," Skye said.

"Thinking?" Jemma said when Skye seemed to run out of words.

"Thinking. Yes. You nearly died today. Again."

"I didn't."

"You did! There was an explosion. You totally couldn't have died."

"I might have got scorched eyebrows if I'd been standing over it, but it wasn't going to kill anyone. Not an explosion like that."

Skye raised an eyebrow. "I heard Ward talking. He didn't think it was so minor."

"Ward is an over protective mother hen," Jemma said. "Trust me. Trust Fitz. That explosion wasn't in danger of killing anyone."

"Oh."

"Why is it so important?"

"I thought...I thought, maybe, you might need to burn off some of those chemicals again?" Skye said hopefully. "We didn't have a chance earlier and you looked a little tetchy."

"Tetchy? Where did you pick that one up?"

"Fitz."

"Hmm." Jemma tilted her head curiously. "Did you really come here because you thought I nearly died and needed some help with that or did you just want to kiss me?"

Skye didn't say anything but the way her nose wrinkled and her lips twisted into an expression halfway between guilt and hope told Jemma more than enough.

"I'm not very good at this kind of thing," Jemma said, "but we could see how the kissing part works without the death-defying terror and adrenaline beforehand. Couldn't we?"

"Only if you want to," Skye said quickly. "Really. I can go back to my pod and watch a movie or something if you're not interested."

"Don't be silly, of course I'm interested."

Skye grinned. "Really?"

"Really." Jemma shifted on the bed and patted the narrow section of empty mattress she'd freed up. She carefully put her tablet on a little shelf overhead. "See? I don't put down important research papers for just anyone, I only do it for people I like."

"Huh. You do, do you?"

Without any warning, Skye made a dive for the bed and Jemma made an inelegant sound at the sudden weight sprawling on her. As Skye immediately dived into an enthusiastic kiss - and she was really very good at it - Jemma didn't mind. She twined her hands into Skye's hair and did her best to make Skye breathless, which was a delightful thing to witness that she fully intended to try to see regularly.

A few minutes later, Skye lifted her head and Jemma was slightly embarrassed to realise she'd made a protesting whining sound. Skye's grin and raised eyebrow sent warmth rushing to Jemma's face, which seemed unfair when Skye was only looking slightly kiss-smudged.

"This isn't just about convenient make out sessions, right?" Skye said.

"You're very convenient, but so is Fitz and I don't plan on doing this with him any time soon."

"I can work with that," Skye said cheerfully.

Jemma smiled and pulled her down again, vowing to herself that she'd get Skye flushed and rumpled if it was the last thing she did. As Skye seemed to be equally determined, she thought this arrangement would work out very well for both of them.