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[personal profile] scurvyknavery
See Part One for headers.

The two of them fall into a sort of pattern over the next few days. Skye wakes up early to train with May, just like always.

But when it comes to doing work - she's modelling traffic patterns for her new comms project for Billy, feeding it back to him so that a second pair of eyes is double-checking the security - she brings her laptop to the lab. Usually, she works on her own stuff in the morning, and by the afternoon Jemma has her helping out in the lab with whatever experiment she's running. She learns how to use the centrifuge properly, and how to make a drinkable cup of tea, and how to follow Jemma's train of thought when she's in the middle of solving a puzzle.

After a few days, they have a whole rhythm down.

Skye gets to the lab early, after she's showered and started her day. Jemma is usually there already - Skye's pretty sure she's still sleeping in the lab. Skye sets up her laptop and gets started, working until Jemma needs her. Today, Jemma is puzzling through more of the Centipede stuff - she has some kind of candidate mechanism for the way GH-325 worked in Garrett, and Skye doesn't fully understand the details, but it involves Centipede and something about heavy metal exposure.

Jemma usually works quietly for the first few hours. Well, mostly quietly. Every so often, she'll sigh, say something like that's ridiculous or what if it bonded using partially inorganic properties? Ha!, then go back to writing things out. Skye doesn't really need to be around for it - she's not helping - but she sort of likes to be. There's something nice about watching Jemma work - the way she'll tap the end of her pen against her lips when she's thinking, or the way she'll twist a strand of hair around her middle finger over and over again while she thinks, until it curls by itself into one perfect ringlet.

If she's honest, she just likes being around Jemma. She's trying not to think too hard about why that is, but it's not unrelated to the way that she can't stop thinking about her.

Today, Jemma's mostly sketching things out in her lab book. Skye's watched enough to know that she's drawing out chemical reactions (retrosyntheses, she remembers from yesterday). She taps the end of her pen against her mouth, and Skye can't help but pay attention to the shape of it, the way her lower lip catches between her teeth when she frowns at the page. "Ohh," Jemma murmurs absently, just the right tone of voice to give Skye goosebumps. "I really should double-check the molecular structure of the other. . ."

Skye's laptop chirps, and she realizes she's just stopped a program mid-test with her elbow, distracted. She drags her attention back to the work she's supposed to be doing, setting it to run again and trying not to think about the way her face feels flushed and her heart feels like it's beating faster.

A few minutes later, Jemma says her name, still half-distracted by whatever she's working out. Followed by, "Can you warm up the holotable?"

Skye moves to help. She's never actually been allowed to use the holotable before, but it's basically just a computer with an incredibly fancy monitor, as far as she can tell. She flicks the power switch under the tabletop and waits, as it whirs softly into life. The opening display appears at eye level, rows of blue text that look pretty straightforward to figure out. She reaches forward, pulling a familiar-sounding filename towards her.

Jemma looks up. She doesn't yell, the way Fitz would, but she does frown and let out an exasperated sigh. "You really shouldn't use that unless you've done at least an introductory semester in holographic engineering, we've talked about this."

"Fine, fine," Skye says, dropping the file and bringing her hands back towards herself.

Jemma sighs. "I'm sorry. It's just - there are quantum principles you need to appreciate in order to keep from - " then she stops, suddenly. Skye can almost see her thinking, realizing that the Academy probably doesn't offer Introduction to Holotables For Super Geniuses anymore, what with being obliterated by a secret evil organization. She tilts her head, considering.

"Oh," she finally says. She sort of deflates a little, like she's not sure how to proceed. Then, more thoughtfully, "Maybe I could find time to teach you the basics."

It's pretty much the total opposite of what Skye was expecting to hear. "Yeah?" she says, hardly believing her.

Jemma's smile is a little indulgent as she nods. "Yes."

Skye feels a thrill, 50% getting to play with expensive, secret computer technology, and 50% taking lessons in anything from Jemma. "Badass," she says, trying to sound like it's no big deal. "When do we start?"

"Well," Jemma glances over to her microscope, considering. "I do have some time now, if you're interested."

"Definitely."

"Alright, then." Jemma says, settling into her Hermione voice again. "So. Each table is really a terminal, run on the same basic three-dimensional quantum display system as -"

Skye hears the word quantum and starts to glaze over. She forces herself to try and follow it, because she wants this, but anything with physics more complicated than gravity makes things fall down tends to leave her totally lost. Jemma only manages a few more minutes before she catches Skye's frown, backpedals. "Right," she says. "What if I try to explain it this way: there are four basic gestures to moving through the file system. Once you've mastered those, you can navigate through the database and find what you need. Later, I'll show you how to act on things in each data set."

Skye doesn't want to make a thing about it, but someday she needs to figure out a way to tell Jemma how amazing it is, that she takes the time to make Skye feel like this science stuff is something she can understand. Today, she says, "See? Did I really need a PhD in quantum engineering to know that?"

Jemma's mouth curls into this sweet little half-smile, like Skye's done something sort of cute.

They work on the four gestures for a little while - flick up to open, slide down to close, push away to expand, pull to collapse. Jemma makes Skye practice in front of her on the lab bench, gently naming commands and either smiling when she does it properly, or gently frowning and asking her to try again when her hands aren't quite right. She's patient with Skye, never sharp, never mean if she doesn't know an answer or messes something up. That's what makes this so nice.

They go over things until Jemma's satisfied that Skye can handle the basics, before moving on.

"Now, manipulating objects is slightly different. Each folder runs on - hmm." She frowns, quiet and clearly working to find the best way to explain without using physics. "A folder can only be open in one place at a time. Within it, objects can be moved in all three dimensions."

"That sounds easy enough."

"It is, but there's a technique to the - here, I'll show you."

Her hands flick up, and she scrolls through folders with her index finger until she lands on the right one. "This is from my first undergraduate thesis, the molecules are a bit simpler. They'll be easier to manipulate."

She gestures again to open the file, and suddenly the table screen is filled with a dozen spiky shapes. They're less complicated than the Centipede diagrams Skye's seen before, but they still look like small shrubs, balls and sticks everywhere. "I'm going to teach you about reactions."

"Whoa. You sure I need to know that kind of stuff if I'm just a lab tech?"

"I don't know," Jemma says, thoughtfully. "But, if you want to - it's really cool."

"Yeah?"

Jemma suddenly gets shy, and looks away. "I mean, if you want. We don't have to -"

"No, no," Skye says, too quick and too eager. "I mean, yes. I want to learn."

Jemma smiles, the wide one where her nose wrinkles, and her eyes get bright. "Excellent."

She explains about how the reaction software works, the way you can take molecules and smush them together and see what they'll turn into, like a simulation before trying the real thing. She demonstrates a couple of times, pulling shapes together just so, until they start connecting and reforming and settling into different things. Skye has to admit, it is really cool. She watches for a while, trying to follow the basics of what reacts with what and mimic the way Jemma flicks her fingers to get the molecules to interact with each other.

Eventually, Jemma turns to her and says, "Alright. Now you try."

Jemma points out which shapes to grab, and Skye does her best to drag them together and flick, the way Jemma showed her. But instead of reacting, the molecules bounce happily against each other, refusing to change. It's disappointing, and she's about to ask how to fix her technique when Jemma is just there, reaching up behind her arms to correct the angle of her wrist.

"Here," she says, voice soft and close to Skye's ear. "Like this. You have to line up the hydroxyl group just so."

Her fingertips are soft and gentle against the back of Skye's hands as she corrects the angle and helps her grab the molecules again, hand over hand. "You'll want to flick your fingers out, just like you did, but the trick is in the timing."

Jemma leans forward, reaching to make sure that Skye's arms are positioned just right, and when she does, her front presses into Skye's back, warm and solid. Skye does her best to focus very hard on chemistry. They move her arms back together, lining the two shapes up on the display. Then Jemma starts to ease her arms closer together. "Alright, flick of the fingers - now," she says, tapping Skye's wrist.

Skye does as she's told, and the molecules collide just like they're supposed to, meeting and changing into two different shapes in a flash of computer-generated light. She laughs, delighted, before she can think about how to respond. "Hey, I did science," she says, only half-joking.

She turns to Jemma just in time to catch her beaming, eyes warm on Skye's face. She makes a little pleased noise in the back of her throat. "You did," she says, matter-of-factly. Like she was always expecting Skye to be able to succeed.

Neither of them moves away.

Now that they're looking at each other and not the table, Skye realizes just how close Jemma's face is. She notices a bunch of other things, too - the way Jemma is just slightly shorter than her, enough that if Skye were to lean in for a kiss she'd have to duck down. She notices the smell of Jemma's shampoo, the colour of her eyes, the way she's looking at Skye like she can't decide if she's hungry or terrified. Jemma licks her lips, and it draws Skye's attention down to her mouth. She's struck, all over again, with thoughts about how nice it would be to kiss her. Without thinking, one of her hands moves from the table work surface to Jemma's waist.

As she moves, her hand flicks down, and the table display closes with an electronic hum.

Jemma is the one who turns away, looking down at her hands and coughing. "Well," she says, voice a little too loud, too cheerful. "I should really show you where the Centipede files are."

It sounds a bit like a proposition, because Skye's hand is still at her waist and Jemma isn't moving away, but she turns back to the holotable. If her hands are a little clumsy as she flicks up to the folder display screen, Skye doesn't mention it.


*


Skye is the one who stumbles across Jemma the night after that.

She's on her way to bed, tired after a day of working out and coding with Jemma in the lab. As she walks by the rec room, she notices a familiar shape sitting on the couch, and stops. She hasn't seen Jemma hanging out by herself outside the lab before. But the rec room makes sense - it's the biggest, most open space in the Playground, next to the hangar.

She's curled up on one of the couches with her tablet, back to the door. Skye should keep going. She has an early morning with May tomorrow, and she's had enough experience with weapons drills to know that her aim goes to shit when she shows up sleep-deprived. But now that she's seen Jemma, she can't help but slow down. She wants to sit next to her, make sure that she's okay and figure out what she's working on. And somehow, that feels way more important than getting to bed on time, right now.

She knocks on the doorframe, just loudly enough to break Jemma's concentration. "Hey."

"Skye," Jemma says, turning to smile over her shoulder.

Skye moves to lean over the back of the couch Jemma's sitting on, glancing at her tablet screen. "What are you reading?"

She recognizes the stuff on half the screen from the lab, sees the Centipede formulae lined up in neat rows. The other half is dense text, but what jumps out are terms like anoxic brain injury and therapeutic hypothermia and it doesn't take a super-genius to figure out why Jemma might be reading about that. Jemma frowns, looks away. "It's nothing. Just - research."

She doesn't look happy, anymore. That dark cloud is back over her expression, and her jaw clenches tight as she puts the screen to sleep.

It's so different from the way she's been the past few days, at least around Skye. She walks around to sit next to Jemma, ducks her head down to catch Jemma's eyes. "Hey, what's up?"

"I just - " she shakes her head. "It's alright."

Skye bumps Jemma's shoulder with her own. "I didn't ask if it was alright, I asked what was up."

Jemma goes quiet. She makes a point of not looking at Skye. Skye can see her jaw tightening, her expression growing impossibly sad. "I miss Fitz. I should be doing more for him," she says, voice tight. "I know, he's got a medical team, and they're - they're the most qualified. I don't want to meddle. But I can't help but feel like there must be the technology to fix this, if Hydra can create invincible super-soldiers, and I can't even -"

She doesn't finish, but then, she doesn't have to. Skye understands. But understanding doesn't make it any easier to see her like this, tearing herself up because she feels like she should be able to save him. Skye puts an arm around her and holds her close, because she can't think of anything to say.

Jemma leans into the embrace, tucking her head into the hollow of Skye's shoulder and staring down at her hands. They sit for a long moment before Jemma speaks again.

"He sacrificed himself, for me," she says, like she can hardly believe it, like she's testing it out loud. "We could have figured something out, we could have rerouted the oxygen tank to accommodate us both. We had at least another two and a half minutes."

"Oh."

"I wish he hadn't," she whispers, voice growing watery. "I wish whatever we'd done, it had happened to both of us, together."

Skye pets Jemma's hair, trying to comfort her. "He wanted to make sure he kept you safe. If you hadn't been awake, you wouldn't have been able to get rescued."

"i know. But I hate it. I just -" Jemma pauses take a long, deliberate breath in, then out. She's crying now, openly. "He saved me, because he's in love with me, and now he's unconscious and nobody knows what he'll be like when he wakes up. And the first thing I have to do is break his heart."

"Oh."

Skye doesn't know what else to say. Every part of her is just aching to fix this, to fix Fitz and the way Jemma is hurting and the anger burning under Skye's own skin with Ward's name on it, for doing this to them. But that's the hard part. She can't fix any of it. She wraps her arm tighter around Jemma's shoulders, letting Jemma curl into her as her tears give way to full-body sobs.

She lets Jemma cry until she can feel her tears through her shirt, petting her hair and whispering (lying, a part of her thinks) that it's going to be okay. It's not until Jemma looks up, sniffling, that Skye realizes she's been crying, too.

"Oh, Skye," Jemma says, and rests her forehead against Skye's.

Jemma's hands are on either side of her neck, warm and comforting. Her eyes are red-rimmed, cheeks pink and shining with tears. It shouldn't be pretty. It's not supposed to be pretty, but all Skye can think about is how beautiful Jemma looks and how deeply, desperately happy she is that Jemma is here and safe in front of her, even if she is upset. She has a sudden, inappropriate urge to tell Jemma that she looks gorgeous right now. She doesn't, but Jemma's eyes are so dark and her mouth is shining and before Skye really realizes what's happening, they're touching noses and then she's leaning into a kiss.

If telling Jemma she's beautiful was inappropriate, this is clearly so, so much worse.

Jemma kisses back, briefly, and something in Skye's chest does a flip. Kissing her, Skye suddenly realizes just how much she wants this, and it's overwhelming. Everything is too much. She doesn't know what to do, doesn't know how to handle how she feels or how Jemma feels or the fact that they're both crying, warm salt running over Skye's lips.

"I'm sorry," Skye whispers, pulling away. God, she's such an idiot. "I just - I'll go. I'm sorry."

She lets herself take one more look at Jemma. She's still beautiful - she's always beautiful, but especially like this. Just a little bit tousled, open-mouthed, fingertips pressed to her mouth in surprise.

Skye leaves, and doesn't look back until she's in her bunk, sinking down against the closed door. There, she lets herself keep crying, until she's tired enough to crawl into bed.


+


The next morning, Skye wakes up exhausted. Her eyes are swollen, and she does the best to scrub them clean before she drags herself down to weapons training. She's all over the place, aim way off her usual. She tries to tell May that it's because she's tired, but it comes out sounding like a lie.

She's not tired. She's distracted, because she can't stop thinking about kissing Jemma, and how dumb it was to do it, and how much she wants to do it again.

May is patient with her, even though it doesn't feel like she deserves it today. She holds her by the shoulders, fixes her stance. She looks her in the eye and gives her a mantra, repeats it in her calmest, most even voice until Skye settles down. Five, four, aim. Three, two, one, fire. Better. Now do it again. Maintain that focus. Skye does her best to pay attention to that instead of the fluttering of her heart.


The next night, Coulson comes back.

Without talking about it, everyone arrives for dinner at the same time, without question. They use the same shared cooking schedule they have since they arrived, but it feels different with Coulson back - grabbing a plate of whatever's ready and going back to work, like usual, feels a bit wrong. Family dinner is stretching the term a little bit, but when they sit down to eat at the table together, Coulson at the head, it feels a little bit like that.

Skye wants to enjoy herself. She has all these jokes saved up for A.C., and a thousand questions about where he went and who he talked to and what's going to happen with SHIELD. But instead, she can't stop thinking about the night before. She knows she did stuff - she coded, she met with Billy - but it feels like her whole day has been a blur of remembering. Her mind keeps alternating between the taste of Jemma's mouth, and the shocked, teary-eyed look on her face when Skye left.

She wants to talk to Jemma, wants to - whatever, apologize, explain. But she's not sure she can ever look her in the eye again.

Skye takes her usual seat, in the corner next to Coulson. Everyone else filters in, sitting, and when Jemma chooses the seat directly across the table from Skye, she feels something in her stomach do a flip. She can't quite bring herself to look up, but she can feel Jemma across from her, and that's hard enough.

Then Coulson starts talking, and that's a little easier. He has news from Maria Hill, and a list of agents - some Skye has heard of, some she hasn't - who are verified as loyal to SHIELD and want to work with them. She tries to focus on that, memorizing details and mentally planning the things he's going to want her to work on. That helps.

She looks up and across the table just once. It's near the end of dinner, and everyone is relaxed, two different conversations going back and forth across the table. She's listening to Coulson talk about his trip back, how his flight got rerouted through Canada, and her eyes drift over to Jemma's seat. She doesn't mean to, but she times it so that when she looks, Jemma is looking right at her. Their eyes meet, and everything from the night before comes rushing back. She can feel herself blushing, hard, from her chest to her ears, because she is the worst secret agent in the entire world when it comes to stuff like this.

She doesn't hear the rest of Coulson's story, but she follows enough to laugh at all the right parts, mostly. She starts counting in her head, trying to stay calm, present. Five, four, breathe. Three, two, one, listen. Somehow, she manages to make it through the rest of the night.


+


Skye manages to avoid Jemma for a whole two days, no mean feat when they're two of six living together in an underground base.

It feels awful. The whole time, she can't stop thinking about that night, the way that Jemma's touch made her heart race and her stomach flutter. She also thinks about how much she misses Jemma's company. Tech is traditionally a pretty solitary activity, but it suddenly feels to quiet to work on her laptop alone. She spends time with Billy, on the couch in his office, but even if he does let her play Call of Duty with him and his brother sometimes, he's terrible company compared to afternoons in the lab with Jemma.

She wants to talk to her, she does. She knows that the adult thing is to find her, to talk about what happened and apologize and hopefully fix things, a little. But she also doesn't - she can't figure out if she wants Jemma to tell her off, or tell her that she liked it.

Eventually, she caves, and goes to the lab to apologize. Because she misses her friend, and because she feels like a jerk for ignoring her after Jemma's best friend is already - not gone, temporarily unavailable.

To her total surprise, when she gets to the lab, Jemma's not there. Not that she has to be - she doesn't live there, or anything - but she just always has been. Skye's not sure where else she'd even be. She decides to wait for a while, and takes a seat in her favourite chair, the one that feels like an actual desk chair, in the corner.

It's not long before Jemma appears up the hangar deck with a mug of tea in her hand, looking absent in that way she has when she's really focused. Skye can almost see the wheels turning as she works on whatever puzzle is in her head. It's not until she gets to the lab doors that she notices Skye there, waiting. She stops dead.

"Hey," Skye says.

Jemma's expression is unreadable, somewhere in the neighbourhood of surprise. She sets her tea down, but a little too quickly, spilling slightly. With her free hand she tugs at the hem of her shirt, smoothing it. "Skye."

And then there's just silence. Jemma watches her expectantly, which is - well, it's probably the right thing to do, since Skye did show up here to talk. But now that Jemma's in front of her, she can't quite find her voice. She wants to say so much, and find the words to fix everything. But she's also so bad at talking about stuff like this. Eventually, she says, "I'm just, really sorry. About the other night."

"Oh," Jemma says. Her face is still expressionless, so with nothing to go on, Skye just keeps talking.

"I shouldn't have kissed you like that. It was out of line, and you were upset, and I - it won't happen again, okay?"

"Oh," Jemma says, but this time there's a hint of a frown. Like maybe that wasn't the answer she was hoping for.

"Is that okay?" Skye asks, suddenly unsure.

"Of course," Jemma says. "If that's what you'd prefer, I -"

"Well, because that's what you'd want, right?"

"Right?"

"Right?"

They're both blushing, talking over each other and talking with their hands. It's incredibly awkward, and by the time they've finished, Simmons winces, visibly.

"Okay," Skye says, taking a deep breath. "So, I'm really bad at this kind of thing."

"Me too."

"But I, um." She stops, trying to figure out how to explain herself, going through terms that are too juvenile, too serious. She finally settles on, "I like you."

"Oh," Jemma sighs out, like it's a relief to hear. "Good."

"Good?"

Jemma steps closer. She's standing right in front of Skye, fidgeting with the hem of her sweater-vest. "I like you, too."

Her smile is a little shy, but she still leans down towards Skye. One hand comes up and cradles the back of Skye's head, fingers loosely tangled in her hair. Her fingertips press, gently, and Skye tilts her head so that her mouth brushes against Jemma's. It's perfect, electric. She kisses into her, reaching out to wrap her hands around Jemma's waist, the curve of her back.

She pulls, trying to get Jemma closer, but she forgets about the fact that she's sitting and Jemma's standing. Jemma sort of stumbles forward, half into Skye's lap and half-straddling her leg, still kissing, still eager to hold her close.

They pull away. Skye's panting, so into this - into her. And Jemma is practically in her lap, pupils blown, mouth bright pink and kiss-swollen in a way that makes Skye just want to keep kissing her. "Is this okay? Am I - I feel like I'm taking advantage."

Jemma shakes her head, emphatically no. "You're not," she says, firmly. "I've thought about this."

Something un-knots in Skye's chest. She leans closer. "Are you sure?" she murmurs against Jemma's mouth.

Jemma answers with a kiss.

Skye reaches up, letting her fingers slip through Jemma's hair, messing up her ponytail completely. All she can focus on his how amazing this is, the way her heart feels like it's going to fly right out of her chest, it's beating so fast. She likes everything about this so much, the kissing and the taste of Jemma's mouth and the feeling of her, solid and real in her lap. Her hand fists in Jemma's hair, pulling slightly, and Jemma lets out this sweet, hungry moan against Skye's mouth. She likes that, too.

Jemma is the one who slides hands underneath Skye's shirt, raising goosebumps as she runs those fingers along her belly and her back. Her skin feels like it's on fire, overheated and sensitive everywhere that she's being touched. She tears away from Jemma's mouth and kisses a path down, along her jaw, along her throat. She kisses until she can feel Jemma's pulse under her tongue, beating strong and hot and alive beneath her skin. She moves lower, and finds a spot on Jemma's throat that makes her dig her nails in against Skye's back, whimpering. God, she wants this. She wants this and everything that she hopes is going to come after.

Jemma bucks her hips forward, grinding against Skye's thigh. The chair she's sitting on slides backwards, bumping against the lab bench behind her. It's not enough to distract her from what's happening in her lap, but it's enough to make her remember that they're making out - hard - in the lab. The very public lab, with the big open doors.

"We should probably stop," she sighs against Jemma's ear.

Jemma leans back, frowning. Her hair is all mussed, eyes a little glazed over with arousal. The sight makes Skye definitely not want to stop. "What?"

"We should stop," Skye says. Jemma's frown deepens. "Just for now. Here, in the lab."

"Oh," she says. Then she leans in to press a kiss to Skye's pulse, to lick in behind her ear. "Why?"

Skye takes a moment to groan, because Jemma's tongue is sending shivers right down to her groin and this is torture. "Well, for one thing, I just finished working on the security feeds for this place, and there are like nineteen cameras that can see us right now. I was thinking you might want to do this someplace more private."

"Oh, right. That does make sense." Jemma says, but her eyes say something entirely different.

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

"You might need to stand up for that."

Jemma makes a face that could almost be described as pouting, but she stands up. Skye's shirt is hiked up halfway to her breasts, and she doesn't miss the way Jemma's eyes find her bare skin as she tugs it down, trying to smooth it into something presentable. She doesn't know what to say. Her head is still foggy, stuck in a loop of maybe we could hook up on the holotable, but she's trying to be responsible. She's not sure what responsible people do, right now. "We could, um," she starts. "Do this again sometime?"

Jemma nods, reaching up to tug her hair back into a presentable, neat ponytail. "Yes. Yes, we - definitely."

"So I should see you?"

Jemma coughs, smooths out her shirt. "Soon, yes," she says. Her tone sounds like maybe she wishes soon was right now.

Skye doesn't know quite how to do this, what to say so that it's alright that she's walking away from this, even for a minute, when every part of her wants to stay. "Okay."

"Right."

She leaves the lab, because that seems like it might be the most responsible thing to do. Jemma watches her, with that longing look on her face, the whole way out.


+


Skye spends the rest of the day trying to get work done - after taking a break for the longest, coldest shower she can possibly stand - but her heart's not in it. She gets started on something, and then five minutes in, she's daydreaming about Jemma and her mouth and the press of her body against Skye's. It's not helping her finish all of the stuff Coulson wants her to be working on, at all. But somehow that doesn't seem like a big deal, when her heart is threatening to flutter out of her chest because Jemma kissed her, and she got to kiss back.

That night, she tries to sleep, but ends up spending an hour staring at the ceiling instead, remembering the feel of Jemma's nails across her back.

Eventually she gives up. She thinks about another cold shower (and thinks about a hot shower) but decides on a walk, instead. And if her feet somehow take her past the hangar area, to the corner where she can look in and see if Jemma's still awake, it definitely wasn't on purpose.


She probably shouldn't be so surprised to see Jemma there, sitting at her desk with her head down, like she's thinking about sleeping. It's not - Skye doesn't want to bother her. But she wants to be around her, all the time, and before she totally realizes what she's doing, she's walking up the cargo ramp and into the lab. Jemma looks up at the sound of her steps. She doesn't startle anymore, the way she used to.

"Oh, Skye," she says, running a hand sleepily across her face.

Of course, now that Jemma's in front of her, Skye doesn't really know what to say. "Hey," she starts. "I - um. I was going to go to bed, but then I thought about you."

Jemma responds with a look, like maybe that sentence came out more like a proposition than Skye intended. She tries again. "I just meant, if you're sleepy, I mean - I know the bunks aren't your favourite, but if you felt like sleeping in an actual bed, I could keep you company." Jemma's eyes go wide, and Skye realizes what she's just said. She tries to backpedal, blushing. "Actually. Just, like, sleeping."

"Alright," Jemma says, just a little too quickly.

"Oh," Skye says, dumbly. She hadn't really thought past that part. "Great. We can go to mine, if you want. Or yours, if that's -"

"No, it's alright. Yours is fine."

Skye walks back down the cargo ramp, down the hall towards her bunk. Jemma follows, close at her side. Every so often, her fingers brush against Skye's, like a hint. Skye's not usually the holding hands type, but with Jemma, she sort of wants to be.

The next time their hands touch, Skye grabs out with her pinky and wraps it around Jemma's index finger, keeping it there. Jemma looks down, smiling, and laces her fingers through Skye's.


Once they're there, inside Skye's bunk with the door shut, it sort of hits her. They're in her bedroom, alone, and Jemma's thumb is drawing gentle strokes up and down her wrist. Skye missed the part of being a teenager that involved having a bedroom to bring dates back to, but now that she's here with Jemma, she feels like she gets what that would have been like.

"So. This is where the magic happens," she says, trying to be glib.

Jemma doesn't even give her the disapproving look. She just smiles, absently, and lets go of Skye's hand to look around. It's not like there's much to see - bed, dresser, mirror, side table, dirty shirts in a pile on the floor. She picks up Skye's hula doll - the one piece of stuff from the bus she's sort of glad Hydra didn't wreck - and smiles down at it. She runs a finger over its plastic hair, making a face Skye can't totally read before setting it back down.

"It's nice," she finally says. "I like what you've done with it."

"Yeah, you know, I had some trouble finding a decorator, so I had to make do." That gets a laugh out of Jemma, a soft one that makes her bite her lip. Warmth spreads in Skye's chest, that sort of glow that comes from making Jemma smile, and oh god, does she ever have it bad for her.

They watch each other for a while, uncertain. It takes Skye a minute to remember why they're here. "So," she says. "Sleeping."

Jemma huffs out something between a laugh and a sigh. "Right, sleep. Boy, am I tired."

"Did you want to -?" Skye gestures toward the bed, but Jemma shakes her head and gestures back, you first.

So she sits, and Jemma sits next to her, perching nervously on the edge of the mattress. The sheets are all tangled in the corner of the bed, left there from when Skye got up in a hurry. She fights a sudden urge to straighten them. Jemma looks nervous, and Skye can't tell if it's from being in the small space or the fact that they're alone together in a room with a bed.

"Which side did you want?" Skye asks.

Jemma tilts her head, thinking for a long minute. Then she leans in, and pulls Skye into a kiss. Skye lets out a little squeak of surprise, caught off guard.

Soon, though, she settles into the fact that Jemma's kissing her - kissing her, like she means it, all gentle teeth and eager tongue. It's amazing - even better than this afternoon, because they're both a bit less nervous, this time. Skye knows it's okay to groan a little at the feel of Jemma's mouth, hard and sure against hers. She knows it's okay if she presses her palm to the base of Jemma's neck, and pull her close by the front of her shirt.

It's way better than sleeping.

Skye kisses back eagerly, lets her palms slide up and down Jemma's sides and under her shirt, searching out bare skin. She's amazing, every part of her, and Skye loves watching the way she responds under her hands. She loves the way she shivers, arches her back, when Skye hikes her shirt up just a little bit. She loves the way she can kiss Jemma until she whimpers, tilting her hips in Skye's direction on the bed. Skye wants this so, so much, she can hardly stand it. She never really got over how hot she was this afternoon, and now Jemma is practically in her lap again, every kiss sending sparks right to her groin.

She's so, so ready for this, but she's also aware that she's kind of got the upper hand here, what with this being her bedroom, and she just - wants to make sure. She doesn't want to take advantage. So she breaks the kiss, tries to catch her breath. "Hey," she says, and it comes out like a proposition, low and hungry. "I meant it, before. If you just want to-"

Jemma shakes her head, frowning emphatically before Skye can even finish. "Skye," she says, pulling away to look right into her eyes. "I definitely do not want to sleep right now."

Then she shifts her weight forward, throwing Skye off balance until she's on her back, pinned to the bed with Jemma straddling her hips. Skye reaches up to trace the shape of Jemma's back as she curves over her. As her fingertips walk across the ridges of her backbone, drawing goosebumps, Jemma reaches forward. Her hands find the buttons of Skye's shirt, and she opens them one by one, slow and sure. With every button, she spreads Skye's shirt open a little more, dragging her fingers across the tops of her breasts, her sternum, her belly.

Once Skye's shirt is completely undone she leans back on her heels, as though to take in the view. Her eyes are hungry as they move across Skye's body, taking in the sight of her kissed-out, half-dressed underneath her. She licks her lips, whispers, "Beautiful."

She slides forward, sliding her hands down Skye's arms to help Skye out of her shirt completely. Skye obliges as quickly as she can, all but tossing her shirt across the room, unhooking her own bra. It's Jemma who eases her back down onto the bed, fingertips gently pressing against her shoulders until she's flat on her back again, bra only half-on, looking up at Jemma. She's trying her best to be patient, but she can feel the weight of Jemma's hips across her own and it's just agony waiting to be touched like this, when she wants Jemma this much.

Jemma brushes feather-light touches across Skye's shoulders, her breasts. Her hands are tentative at first, making her shiver, but they grow surer with every touch. She leans in, pressing a kiss to Skye's breast, then her nipple. It's electric, amazing, and Skye arches up into her mouth with a whimper. Jemma sort of growls against her breast, grinds down into Skye's hips, and god, god, she can hardly stand it. She just wants, she wants so much. Dimly, she hears a mewling noise, please mmm please, and it takes her a moment before she realizes it's coming from herself.

Skye is the one who unbuttons her own jeans. She tries to wriggle her hips, to get out of them while Jemma keeps touching her, but she can't quite with Jemma on top of her. For a minute, she feels frustrated. But then Jemma's hand is between her legs, fingertips finding their way into her underwear to where she's slippery and hot. This time, when Skye grinds down, there's something to grind against, and her eyes flutter shut at the feeling. It's amazing, and she should probably be embarrassed at how eager she is but it's been forever since she's done this and she likes Jemma so much, she can't help herself. She barely needs any touching at all before she's crying out, bucking against Jemma's hand as she comes.

Jemma keeps kissing her while she shudders, riding out every last second. Her free hand is up at Skye's temple, stroking her hair, her chin, her waist. She keeps whispering beautiful, beautiful against Skye's chest, voice soft and kind. She's patient with Skye while she comes down, gives her time to catch her breath.

Skye feels like maybe she could stay like this forever, blissed out and a little sleepy, with Jemma wrapped around her. Slowly, she opens her eyes. Jemma is watching her, expression patient even though she clearly wants more. "Hey," Jemma whispers, gently.

Skye is struck, all over again, with just how much she likes her. "Hey," she says back. Her voice comes out sounding rough, like she's been shouting.

Jemma takes her hand out of Skye's pants and rests it on her hip, leaving warm, wet fingerprints against her skin. She leans up to press a different sort of kiss to Skye's mouth, reassuring instead of hungry. "How are you?" she asks. Her voice is so caring, so kind.

"I'm good," she says. "Like, really good."

Jemma's smile is a little bit proud, like she just aced a test but doesn't want to seem too smug about it. It's that, plus the way her hair is all mussed from Skye's hands in it, plus the look in her eyes as she watches Skye, patient but needy. It just makes Skye want to touch her, everywhere. She wants to know what Jemma sounds like when she comes.

She brings her hands up to Jemma's shoulders and pushes her back, until she's sitting on her heels and Skye has room to sit up, herself. She reaches for Jemma's hem, pulling her sweater and shirt off and over her head all at once. She unhooks her bra, and then the two of them are pressed together, Jemma's bare breasts against her own as Skye pulls her in for a kiss. She tangles one hand in Jemma's hair, pulls, and she doesn't miss the way that Jemma hisses and bucks down against her when she does. She kisses her way down Jemma's throat, nips at her mouth, her collarbones, trying to find all of the different ways she can make Jemma do that again.

By the time she makes it to Jemma's breasts, she's whimpering, pawing at Skye's back like she's just as eager as Skye was, a moment ago. Skye tries to unbutton her pants, but there's not enough room between their hips and she doesn't want to stop kissing her. It ends up as clumsy fumbling, almost at Jemma's cunt but not quite, and that just makes her whimper louder, arch her back. "Hey," she murmurs against Jemma's mouth. "Take off your pants?"

Jemma bites down on Skye's lip, like maybe getting bossed around is working for her. She grinds her hips down one last time, then eases off of Skye, standing up to shimmy out of her jeans and her underwear. Skye takes the opportunity to do the same from her spot on the bed, wriggling out of her clothes and tossing them onto the floor. And then Jemma is standing at the edge of her bed, eyes eager. She's so, so pretty, like this, Skye can hardly believe it. She takes a moment just to look, trying to memorize the shape of her breasts, the soft lines of her hips, the sight of her cunt. "Whenever you're finished," Jemma says, teasing.

Skye feels herself blush. But, whatever, it's worth it. She puts her hand out, and Jemma takes it, coming back to join her on the bed.

This time, it's Skye's turn to ease her onto her back. She lays down next to her. Jemma rubs along the length of her body like a cat, eager to be touched. Skye leans over to press kisses to Jemma's temple, her cheek, her jaw. She's trying to take this slow, but Jemma's already blissed out and arching up, sighing every time Skye touches her. She reaches down, touching the hair between Jemma's legs and then feeling her, so hot, so wet, it makes Skye want her all over again. Jemma's hips rise to meet her hand, and she shudders out, "Oh."

Skye slides her fingers down, finding Jemma's slit and pressing in, filling her up. That works for Jemma, too, and it's not long before Skye's added a second finger, a third, in and out while Jemma moans. She stretches her thumb up to Jemma's clit. She barely touches her, but that's enough to make her arch up, cry out. The room is a steady stream of yesyesyes and the sound of Jemma's breathing, harsh against Skye's cheek. She's beautiful like this. Skye likes everything about it - the way she whimpers as Skye moves her fingers faster, the way she clutches at Skye's back and pulls her tight. She moans against Skye's shoulder, mouth pressed against skin like she's trying not to be too loud. It's not long before she's gasping, arching back and staying there, mouth wide as she tenses around Skye's fingers, coming.

Skye thrusts until she's sure Jemma's done, until she's back down on the bed and she looks calmer. She takes her hand back and rearranges herself, so that the sheets are sort of on top of them and her head's on the pillow. Jemma hums her approval, resting her head on Skye's chest and snuggling into her, drowsily. It's adorable.

Skye strokes Jemma's hair, mouth pressed to the top of her head. She stays awake until she's sure that Jemma's breathing has slowed into the even rhythm of sleep, that she's safe. After that, she lets her eyes close.

Part Three
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January 2015

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