“They can stay with us, can’t they?” Monica had asked, all the hope in the world in her eyes.
Talos said nothing, not wanting to impose on the woman’s already colossal generosity.
Maria exchanged a quick glance with Carol, and Monica shivered with excitement, remembering the way her mom and Auntie Carol always used to have these silent conversations, just with their eyes. They still could, apparently, because after a few moments, Maria nodded.
“I don’t see why not. If they wanted to, that is. There’s enough land to build some add-ons to the house, if we needed.”
“Talos? Soren? Whaddaya think? Wanna stay and be creeped out by Goose a while longer?”
Talos and his wife turned to watch the hopeful eyes of the human child and their own child. They had their own private conversation with their eyes, just as Maria and Carol had.
After a few reflective moments, and just before Monica nearly burst with excitement and anticipation, Soren nodded in the human fashion.
“As long as you’d let us earn our keep, we’d love to.”
Monica and her new best friend skipped around in excitement, and it was Fury and Carol’s turn to exchange glances.
If the other Skrulls wanted to stay, too, they’d have to set up protections for them.
A perfect job for the new guy. Agent Coulson.
He’d get right on it.
But in the morning.
Because tonight was still a night for growing family.
Even after all the arrangements were made and precautions taken to keep the refugees safe and provided for, Fury would visit at least a couple times a week.
“To make sure everyone’s transitioning well,” he would shrug it off as a work commitment. But playing with Goose and letting Monica pick out his new eyepatch and swapping embarrassing stories about Carol with Maria late at night while drinking her homemade lemonade from his favorite sunflower glass, had nothing to do with SHIELD, and everything to do with family.
Carol tried to help with Sunday dinners. When both Fury and all the Skrulls, beyond just Soren and Talos’s family, would converge on Maria’s home for their traditional weekly gathering.
She turned on all the pots and pans and boiled water for tea with her bare hands, all for the entertainment of Monica and the Skrull children.
But beyond that, Carol was a disaster in the kitchen, and Maria took joy in kicking her out.
It turned out that Talos and Fury, however, both earned their right to keep their own aprons in Maria’s kitchen.
So Carol took the children flying in the back yard while they left Maria, Fury, and Talos to it.
She knew that Maria loved watching, and hearing, the way her eyes fluttered shut, the way she moaned in pleasure, whenever she tried something new that her girlfriend cooked.
So she made sure to put extra emphasis, every time.
“Get a room, you two,” Monica giggled.
“Actually, I made those sweet potatoes,” Fury injected, and Carol nearly choked.
Fury and Monica shared a high-five while Carol blushed. Maria kissed the back of her neck as Talos laughed long and hard.
Mini food fights and Carol teaming up with the children against all the other grownups and Maria falling asleep laying across Carol’s lap after dinner, as Soren and the children cleared the table.
“You’re beautiful,” Carol would whisper, every week, every Sunday dinner, as they watched their across-the-universe family laugh and talk and debate and enjoy.
“Not nearly as beautiful as my girlfriend,” Maria would respond, and Carol would, without fail, look around in shock.
“Really? Have I met her? Is she here?”
“Come down here and let me show you.”
Maria would reach up to bring Carol’s face down to hers, and the Skrull children would squeal while Fury teasingly covered Monica’s face.
But Monica was the happiest of them all, because the women who raised her were back together.
Like it should be.