Daisy reclined back on her bed with her tablet, mindlessly scrolling through the newsfeeds. The servers up in Control were tasked with doing the real monitoring, but post-Chronicoms, post-Malick, post-Battle-for-Earth’s-survival-#412 it was strange to have so much free time—free time to lie on top of her bed and do nothing, really. There were of course still things to do—Deke had finally been convinced to downgrade his offer of buying Fitz and Simmons a castle in the Scottish highlands with his tech-CEO money and settled for a quaint four-bedroom cottage in Perthshire instead; Mack, May, and Coulson were recruiting again with talk of rebuilding the Academies; and when she wasn’t helping FitzSimmons pack for the move, she and Elena were checking in remotely with Inhumans all over the world, making sure they hadn’t been abandoned or hunted down by their own governments in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s month-long absence. There was also lots of tacos with Flint, beers and stories all around with Piper and the other smattering of agents who’d escaped the Chronicoms’ initial purge of the Lighthouse, and playing with little Maisie Fitzsimmons, whose very existence she still hadn’t quite gotten over.
Her best friends had a kid. A tiny, adorable child with Jemma’s smile and bright curiosity and Fitz’s blue eyes and bullheaded stubbornness, her accent a garbled amalgamation of them both. Daisy couldn’t get enough of her or of seeing Fitz again after so long apart, and she got the sense that Jemma and Deke couldn’t either.
Maisie was hope, and a new beginning.
Still, it was good to have some time alone as well after weeks of nine people living practically on top of each other in the cramped space of the Zephyr. It was good to sleep in her own bed again—well, some approximation of her own bed; she would probably always miss her room at the Playground—to eat food made in a real kitchen with fresh groceries and a full rack of spices, to wake up in a time period where she wasn’t going to get unfriendly stares on the street for having the audacity to be walking around half-Chinese or wearing pants, even if her arrival back had been somewhat marred by the sight and smell of rotting fruit that had greeted her in her bunk. At least it had only been one lemon this time, and Deke had apologized profusely and she’d gotten a new set of sheets in Egyptian cotton out of it, so she couldn’t complain too much.
She had just switched over to some old Rising Tide message boards that she still liked to lurk on due to their knack for catching things the main streams didn’t when there was a knock on her door. “Come in,” Daisy called, sitting up and setting the tablet aside. It opened and Coulson entered, wearing a soft button-up decidedly more casual than his usual suit-and-tie, with May just behind him, a folder tucked under one arm.
Daisy could probably guess what they wanted to talk about. “Why do I feel like I’m in trouble?” she joked, covering up the way her fingers balled into fists on her bedspread, sharp points of pain exploding where her nails bit into her palms.
“You’re not in trouble,” Coulson assured her.
May raised a singular eyebrow. “Should you be in trouble?”
Daisy gave her a smile, forcibly uncurling her fingers. “Whatever it was, Deke did it.”
Coulson closed the door behind them. “Now that everything has calmed down, we thought we could talk,” he told her.
“You’ve been avoiding us,” May added point-blank.
“What? No, I haven’t,” Daisy said, having successfully avoided being trapped in a room alone with May and Coulson since they’d gotten back from St. Agnes one week and twenty years ago.
(Yeah. Time travel was weird.)
May simply gave her another flat stare. “Okay,” Daisy said slowly. She scooted backward on the bed until she was nestled against the headboard to make room for them. “What did you want to talk about?”
“We thought you might want to talk about what happened at St. Agnes,” Coulson said, sitting down on the edge of it. May remained standing.
“Uh, no.” Daisy shook her head, trying not to look too emphatic. “I’d be perfectly happy never mentioning the place again.”
“We don’t think any less of you, Daisy, for what we saw,” May told her.
Daisy pulled one hand through her hair. “Yeah, well, it’s still…embarrassing. I never wanted you guys to see me like that.”
“Like what?” Coulson asked softly. “A child?”
“Helpless,” Daisy said, the word grating. “Someone to be pitied.”
“I thought you were adorable,” he told her.
Daisy rolled her eyes, the sarcastic remark ready and waiting on her tongue. “Yeah, thanks, Dad.”
“Of course we didn’t like seeing how they treated you, but Skye herself was…”
“A spitfire,” May nodded.
“Okay, stop, stop,” Daisy said, smiling in spite of herself.
“Although,” May said, the humor fading from her face to be replaced by an ominous death-gaze, “just say the word and whoever made you flinch away from Coulson the way you did will get tracked down by me and murdered.”
“Wow. That was…direct, even for you,” Daisy said. “And yeah, um… Don’t worry, I had them blacklisted when I was twenty-two. Miles helped me do it. They won’t be fostering anyone again, at least.”
May gave her an approving nod. “Good.”
“We just…we just wanted to tell you how proud we are of you,” Coulson said.
“You did,” she reminded them. “At St. Agnes, you did.”
“Well, we wanted to tell you again. And…we wanted to make sure that you were happy here.”
“Have you been talking to Deke?” Daisy asked suspiciously, remembering their conversation in the 1930s car over marshmallow Peeps, of all things.
May looked amused at the thought. “I try not to.”
“—Because I was just having a bad day,” Daisy continued. “We had just gotten back, and it was a lot, and I never wanted you guys to see that side of me and I was feeling super exposed—”
“Deke didn’t tell us anything,” Coulson assured her. “This is just us, wanting to know that we haven’t failed in…well, wanting to know that you found what you were looking for, all those years ago.”
Somehow, Daisy knew he didn’t mean Jiaying and Cal. “Of course I did,” she said, leaning forward. “How can you even think… Coulson, what you’ve built here is more than a team. They’re family, and they have been for years.” Her eyes focused on him. “You taught me that I was worth something, when nobody had ever told me that before. You taught me that I belonged, that I had a place to call home no matter how many mistakes I made, whether I wanted it or not. And May…” She turned her gaze to the older woman. “You taught me to fight, to shoot, to believe in myself. You taught me that strength isn’t just how hard you can throw a punch, that it’s resilience and just refusing to give up when things get hard, because they always get hard, and the only way past it is through it. You taught me how to be who I am.” She blinked, trying to impress upon them that this was one thing about which she had zero doubt, that this was a truth they themselves had written in her heart, in her soul. “You guys raised me in all the ways that matter.”
Coulson chuckled, a happy, watery sound. The expression on May’s face was as soft and warm as she’d ever seen it. “I—I’m glad. Daisy…” He broke off, shaking his head ruefully at himself, and wiped his sleeve across his eyes. He reached out toward May, and for a moment Daisy thought he was going for a hug, though the thought of either of them being that lovey-dovey—in front of her—was strange to say the least.
May handed him the folder from under her arm.
“Just—” Coulson said, holding it out to her. “Here.”
Brow furrowed, Daisy took the thin folder from him. She flipped it open, then froze at the words staring up at her.
D.R.L. §109, et seq. | Form 29A
FAMILY COURT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK
PETITION FOR ADULT ADOPTION
“It couldn’t happen for Skye in 1995,” he said, his voice shaking slightly. “But if—if you still want—”
Her eyes fell to the signature line, at his name printed there in scrawled cursive. “C—Coulson—” Her vision blurred with tears, the folder shaking in her hands. Yes, she wanted to say. Yes, I want it. Thank you. Thank you, I— But she could only nod over and over again, lip bitten raw between her teeth, small choked sounds the only ones she could get out of her throat. He seemed to understand, though, and she set the documents aside with trembling fingers before practically flinging herself at him. His arms closed around her immediately, holding her close, and Daisy cried her thank-yous into the soft, worn cloth at his shoulder.
He wanted to adopt her.
He wanted them to be father and daughter legally, officially, in all the ways he knew she’d never had.
“There’s more,” Coulson told her finally, gently, and Daisy pulled away, blinking away a few more tears that had collected in her eyelashes. He nodded toward the folder, and Daisy wiped her wet hands on her jeans before picking it up again and turning the page.
PETITION FOR ADULT ADOPTION
Petitioner Signature, ___Melinda Qiaolian May___
“May,” Daisy breathed, a fresh rush of hot tears rising to her eyes. She bolted off the bed, the stone of the Lighthouse floor cold under her bare feet, and then was hugging her former S.O. even tighter than she had Coulson, nearly knocking the older woman over with the force of it. May’s hand began stroking rhythmically over her hair and back, and only then did Daisy realize that the floor was literally trembling. She hadn’t really lost control of her powers since the dark days after Lincoln’s death, but…this was the opposite of that.
Daisy gulped in a huge breath and smiled through her tears, willing the ground to stop shaking, feeling the humming in her bones lessen and cease. “I love you,” she said, still in May’s arms. She looked between both of them. “I love you.”
One of May’s hands caught her under the chin, her thumb running softly over her wet cheekbones, and Daisy let out a sound that was half laugh, half sniffle. She let go reluctantly, sitting back down on the edge of the bed and tucking her legs close as she stared at the two precious documents again that just awaited her signature.
“We love you too,” May said, coming to stand next to Coulson, leaning against him with one hand resting on his shoulder.
“I can’t—I can’t tell you how much this means to me,” Daisy murmured, lifting her head. “I didn’t expect—I never expected—” She made a vague gesture with her hands, somehow encompassing all of them. “I thought I was over it, but—”
“Some things you never get over,” Coulson said softly, and Daisy nodded, unable to quite articulate the soaring feeling in her chest, of being loved and complete and whole, but glad they understood her anyway. “We didn’t do this just because we knew it would make you happy. We also did it because it makes us happy, and it makes official something we’ve all known for a long, long time,” he told her.
“I know,” she assured him, hugging the documents delicately to her chest.
“We’re so proud of you, Daisy.” He swallowed, eyes going misty again. “You make us so proud.”