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you are the ditch I tumbled into running blind

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Skye may not be a team player, and she may be a double agent, but let it never be said that she doesn’t appreciate the new possibilities this gig at SHIELD offers her.

Namely, taking every opportunity she can find to troll her new teammates.

Ward’s usually an easy target – he’s too by-the-book, too uptight. Their talk loosened him up a bit (now sometimes he even pushes back when she ribs him good-naturedly, especially while they’re training) but he still looks at her warily.

Agent May saved her that once, and she hasn’t forgotten that – saved all their asses, in fact. But Skye sees the way she looks at her: like an exasperated general watching one of his youngest, most foolish recruits. May doesn’t quite trust her. It’s obvious, and Skye’s not offended by this – she’d feel the same way were she in May’s position. Skye’s only here because she’s less dangerous working with SHIELD than against them, or that’s what they think, at least. Still, she doesn’t push her luck with May. She thinks on her feet, has more experience in more fields than ten people get in their lifetimes, and could probably break Skye in half with nothing but her pinky. Plus, she broke her own wrist to free them. Skye respects that.

Toying with Fitz-Simmons is the most fun, though. Fitz gets all huffy when she gets too close to touching his gadgets, swatting her away like an angry kitten protecting its food. Simmons reminds her of a kitten too, but a frightened one, staring at her with wide eyes whenever she comes into their lab and stuttering when she talks to her. It took Skye a few of these encounters to figure out why, since Simmons had seemed so excited to greet her when she’d first stepped into the plane.

But somewhere around the fourth time she turns scarlet and ducks her head when Skye enters the lab, Skye puts the pieces together. Simmons has a crush on her.

The absurdity of this revelation makes her laugh out loud. Fitz gives her a strange look for it, to which she quips something about reveling in her own secret genius, and he goes back to his work with only an eyeroll for an answer. Simmons, meanwhile, stares resolutely into the microscope that she hasn’t adjusted for the last three minutes.

But it makes complete sense. The way Simmons’ gaze darts to look at her, and then away again, never making eye contact for more than a few seconds; the way she tenses up when Skye comes into the lab; her childlike excitement when Skye first arrived. Granted, she’s that way about…well, everything, but there’s a kind of nervous energy to the way Simmons interacts with her that Skye recognizes from her hormone-ridden high school days (what there were of them, anyway).

Let it never be said that Skye doesn’t take advantage of intel.

At first it was a big joke, just another way to mess with a teammate. Skye’s become very proficient at flirting with anyone and everyone, and while she usually prefers the give-and-take she gets with a confident flirting partner, there’s something endearing about the way Simmons gets flustered so easily. Maybe she just hasn’t gotten this kind of attention very often (which doesn’t really makes sense because she’s cute as a button, the kind of girl nerdy biochemist guys dream of meeting) or maybe she’s just not used to getting it from another woman. Either way, Skye’s enjoying this way more than she thought she would.

She gets in really close to Simmons when she’s analyzing samples from their latest mission, asking her questions about them. She casually brushes her hand down Simmons’ arm or back when they’re walking close together. Every now and then, she pays her a compliment: “You’re hella cute when you get all excited about science.” “You’ve got pretty eyes, you know that?” Simmons eats it up. She flushes and smiles hesitantly at Skye, like she can’t quite believe what Skye’s saying but she wants to.

Once, after a week and a half of this or so, Skye announces her arrival in the otherwise empty lab by sneaking up on Simmons from behind and tugging on her ponytail. When Simmons whirls around, Skye catches a glimpse of the fury on her face before she realizes who the intruder is and her smile obliterates the anger. “Oh, hello there! I didn’t expect you to be, well, er, you. I didn’t even know anyone else was in here.”

Skye grins and shrugs. “I get that a lot. I’m kind of a ninja.”

“Is that how you managed to evade detection for so long?” Simmons is more comfortable pushing back now. “Secret ninja training to compliment your hacker skills?”

“Yeah, totally. I have a whole group of ninja buddies in hiding and we’re coming for you all.” Never mind that the last part of that is technically true. Always better to thread a lie with the bit of the truth. She chuckles, and Simmons laughs with her. Keeping things light and jokey is good; keeps people from being suspicious. Not that Simmons would be suspicious of her. Simmons is ridiculously, stupidly trusting, or maybe naïve is a better word. In a way, it makes Skye cringe. People like that usually drive her crazy.

But…she also likes Simmons’ laugh. It’s high and warm and almost musical, and a month ago Skye would have punched anyone who told her she’d be thinking that way about someone else’s laugh but here she is, doing that very thing. She suddenly really wants to make Simmons laugh again. As it turns out, it’s not very hard.

After another week, she bounds into the lab one day and chirps, “Yo Jem, how ya doin’?” She’s never heard anyone call her anything but Simmons, but Jemma’s a nice name and she figures they’re on good enough terms now that she might as well try it.

Simmons looks a bit taken aback, but doesn’t protest, and after blinking in confusion for a moment she smiles and replies, “Very well, thank you, Skye. And you? You seem chipper today. Ward going easier on you?”

Now that Skye thinks about it, that might’ve been the first time Simmons addressed her by name too.

Jemma.

Skye starts thinking of her as Jemma from then on.

Being on a first-name basis with someone after so long is weird…but also kinda nice.

---

Jokes get old if you do the same thing over and over.

That’s Skye’s justification for the kissing.

It certainly isn’t because one day she sees Jemma walking down the hall several yards ahead of her, and something strange flutters in her chest. Not because Skye practically runs to catch up, calling her name, and when Jemma turns around her smile is as bright and warm as sunlight and she looks so pretty Skye just stares at her for a minute and thinks about how soft her lips look. And then because that thought freaks her out, she asks Jemma what she’s up to in the hopes that listening to someone else talk will distract her, and Jemma starts chattering about her new assignment from Coulson and Skye realizes what a horrible mistake she’s made because, dammit, she hadn’t been lying when she told Jemma she’s hella cute when she gets excited about science. And before she realizes it, the words are tumbling out of her mouth: “I really wanna kiss you right now.”

Jemma stops mid-syllable. “Sorry, what?”

And Skye decides fuck it and grabs Jemma’s face and plants one on her.

She was right. Jemma does have really soft lips.

And not much kissing experience, or maybe it’s just that she was too surprised to kiss back properly. It’s over quickly enough that it doesn’t matter much. When Skye lets her go, Jemma looks more dazed than unhappy. “Skye?”

“Uh. Sorry. I just…” And Skye realizes that what she was about to say – I just really like you – might’ve been the truth, so she switches tactics entirely and finishes with “I’ll just leave you alone forever now, I think.”

“Oh, don’t do that!” Still looking flustered, but happier, Jemma ducks her head and mumbles, “I didn’t say I minded. You could do it again if you want.”

It’s Skye’s turn to be a bit flustered. “Well…okay then.”

The second kiss is better, probably because Jemma actually knew it was coming. It’s been a while since Skye’s gotten any action (living out of a van and working for an elite group of hackers might be exciting, but it doesn’t exactly mark you as prime dating material) and this is…

Nice. It’s really nice.

They keep kissing right up until they hear a male voice say “Jem?” and Jemma pulls away, yelping “Fitz!” and turning white and Skye can feel her own face getting hot. To cover that up, she quickly fakes a smirk and chirps “How ya doin’, Fitz?”

He narrows his eyes at her, not quite a glare but definitely not a nice look. It’s far from intimidating, but it’s cute that he’s trying anyway.

---

It’s way more difficult to look casual at the next team briefing than Skye anticipated.

Between the way Fitz is very resolutely ignoring her and the way that she and Jemma keep meeting eyes and then looking away (while smirking in her case, giggling nervously in Jemma’s), Skye figures it’s a miracle nobody else has drawn attention to their weird behavior yet. Or maybe Coulson’s noticed but doesn’t care to interrupt himself to discuss it. Though by the end, Ward’s begun to suspect something. He stops her while they’re leaving the room and asks under his breath, “Is there something I should know about you and Fitz-Simmons? All three of you were acting oddly in there.”

She gives him her most innocent face and says, “Were we? I dunno where you get this stuff from, Ward. Is this job getting to you, you getting paranoid? You need a few days off? I’m all for getting to sleep in for a week.” He sighs in a long-suffering way and brushes past her, and she congratulates herself on her own quick thinking. Question-dodging’s always been a talent of hers.

And from then on, she suggests to Jemma that they be a bit more careful.

---

It’s not that Skye’s ashamed of being seen with Jemma or anything like that. Far from it. But when secrets have been such a huge part of your life for so long, how do you wean yourself off of that?

Besides, she enjoys the thrill she gets from it. And Jemma seems to too, if the silly grin she’s wearing every time she sneaks into Skye’s room after hours is any indication. “I missed out on most of, well, this in my school years,” she confesses once while they’re in various states of undress, with Skye pinning her down. “Trying for top marks round the clock doesn’t leave much room for getting off.”

“Hey now,” Skye says, grinning, “do you mean that in the British or American sense?”

“Both,” Jemma giggles.

“Well, I can help you out there,” murmurs Skye, feeling for the clasp on Jemma’s bra.

Later, once Jemma’s snuggled up next to her and passed out (and snoring a little, but even her snores are all cute and proper, it’s disgusting), Skye lies awake and wonders how long this will last. Rising Tide won’t wait forever for her to make a move from the inside. But the longer she stays, the more she learns about SHIELD’s inner workings. That’s valuable stuff, right? Totally worth keeping up the façade for. Her reasons for staying have nothing to do with Jemma at all.

She punctuates this completely legitimate justification by reaching out to run a hand through Jemma’s hair, which is as impossibly soft as it looks. Jemma makes a soft contented noise in her sleep, and Skye’s suddenly embarrassed because she’s acting so goddamn mushy and she’s the worst double agent in the history of the world, bar none, and nothing about this is a joke anymore.

There’s a reason she never aspired to be a comedian, she supposes.