Skye always wondered, since she was of conscious age, what kind of person would say “Hun… wha, uh?” in their first meeting with their soulmate. At first she was convinced her soulmate was going to be a drunk and she’d be the one to lay one on him/her for being such a dumbass, then she thought her luck had probably gained her someone with mental deficiencies. When she reached fifteen she tentatively thought that maybe she’d become someone so beautiful with age that her soulmate had been speechless by the mere sight of her. That line of thought didn’t last much though, because she finally reached the conclusion that she’d left them speechless thanks to her charming personality and witty disposition. Or the other way around.
So she thought out a plan and put it into action. She adopted sarcasm as her usual way of talking and started talking only if she had something noteworthy to say. Still she didn’t find them and by the time she joined SHIELD she decided she didn’t care when they came, she’ll be waiting but not pressuring herself to do things a certain way. Besides, the action being an agent provided her was more than enough to keep her going.
Then one day things changed.
“Skye, I need your help with something”, Coulson was standing at the door to the training are and, didn’t he seem a bit pale?
“Sure, AC, give me a sec”, she said.
Cleaning herself of the sweat with a towel was quick enough that she didn’t take long to join him.
“What’s up? Do you have another mission?”
“Kind of. I just think I’ve commited a mistake and I don’t know how bad it is”, he winced. That wasn’t good.
“Director Fury left me some things to look into and let’s say when I opened them they sent some kind of signal. I might have accidentally revealed our position”, he said opening the door to his office and going straight for the computer monitor. “It wouldn’t be so bad if the people the signal went to didn’t think me dead.”
“Yes, you see, I’m pretty sure the signal went to Tony Stark seeing as the file I was looking into was about his suits. I was looking for a way to include the reactor technology in the icer so they’d had two modes, thought it’d make Fitz happy to work on it. But I’m pretty sure there was a hidden program that’d get activated at the opening of the files. Here, take a look.”
The screen showed pretty clearly what to her seemed the schematics of one of Stark’s suits but what interested her was the line of code that run the right side of it. She took the portable keyboard and looked at the actions the computer had made and, there it was. A signal from a program that definitely wasn’t in their systems bedore. She cut access to the internet as it seemed the program was still active and proceeded to dismantel it.
“Well, there we have it, this was made by Stark with a capital yes. How did you know?”, she asked Coulson curiously.
“I supposed Stark was the only being in the planet who would rig his archives with spy programs”, he shrugged. “So what do we have?”
“What we have is an extremely good luck because the program was built to only send a signal to Stark and not hack us, or plant bugs or copy our archives. And I’d say we’re extremely lucky to not have them already at the door. But considering he’s Stark I wouldn’t hold much hope. Shall we evacuate The Playground?”
Coulson started thinking but at the end didn’t appear to have reached a positive conclusion. He sighed.
“No, this base is irreplaceable, we can’t lose it. We’ll wait and, I guess, leave the doors open. He won’t come alone so I just hope someone more reasonable comes with him. Tell May to come see me and inform the others, we don’t have much time until they’re here”, he ordered then turned to look into his other files.
It was only when she got to the lounge’s door that she realized she’d be meeting Tony Stark, TONY, STARK. She so was going to tell Fitz before he heard it from the others. And if she let out a screech of glee in a side room before going into the lounge, well, no one had to know.
Four hours, an interminable number of coffee cups, giggling and histerics after, a quinjet and a red and gold garishly painted robot landed in the rooftop, where May was waiting. Skye got the impression she wasn’t very impressed with their entrance because Stark took the armour off almost immediately and the quinjet stopped being visible a couple of seconds after. Technically she was supposed to stay hidden and observe, to provide another point of view in the proceedings and, well, just in case something went wrong.
“Well, you’ve got an interesting base here”, said Stark following May into de lounge, which the team had vacated mere minutes before. Behind him marched Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America. Coulson was going to have an aneurysm. “Looks like a piece of crap from the outside but, hey, it’s pretty decent.”
“I’ll be sure to take that into account, Mr Stark. I’m sure we can improve it”, said Coulson’s voice from the door with a little smile that almost managed to seem happy.
The response that garnered was almost funny if one didn’t take into account how bad things could turn very quickly. The Black Widow and Hawkeye turned around fast and while one got out her gun the other put himself in position with his bow. Captain America was obviously dumbfounded and Tony Stark was alternatively open and closing his mouth while pointing to Coulson. Skye was honestly hoping Koenig was getting this recorded.
“Surprise?”, winced Coulson while shrugging and she had to stop a snort from getting out and revealing her position.
“Surprise? That’s all you got to say?”, Coulson’s question seemed to have shocked Hawkeye out of his stupor and his face was turning very red very quickly. “What the actual fuck, Coulson?! You’ve let us think you were dead for over two years and all you have to say is “Surprise?”?!”
“Actually, it was only for a year because I wasn’t capable of doing much before that…”, Coulson tried to say.
“I don’t care! I trusted you, with my life! You were the reason I joined S.H.I.E.L.D and you know it, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you! I trusted you like I’ve ever only trusted Natasha and it took me years to let myself do it. And now you pull this shit and I only know because you hacked Stark’s computers which means you weren’t going to tell us or you’d have done so already and I almost didn’t come because I’ve had a shitty week and I had to force Nat to accompany me and I didn’t think it was important enough to give it any attention and I ended up coming because I thought this was going to be a HYDRA base and I could let out some steam!”, Hawkeye had worked himself up pretty quickly and even though Coulson was wincing a lot Skye thought he needed to hear it. He’d been thinking of himself as some kind of machine lately with the only purpose of bringing S.H.I.E.L.D to life out of the ashes and he needed to know there were people out there who cared for him. Skye hadn’t known Hawkeye was one of them and though some of the words were pretty bad maybe they’d do some good.
“Clint, I’m sorry, I couldn’t tell you, Fury said…”
“Fuck Fury, Coulson! And fuck you too! You were one of the only two people I’ve ever cared about since I ran away from the circus! So what if it was protocol?! So what?! You should have said something, you’ve had time enough for it! And what were you doing in the meantime? Doing missions and living the life and just not caring, right? Otherwise we’d had known.”
Okay, that Skye didn’t like, he was entering dangerous territory and Coulson was looking utterly heartbroken. If Hawkeye didn’t have care with what he said she was going to have to intervene. Coulson was their Director, after all, and he’d been AC before.
“I’m sure she knew, your cellist. She was important enough to tell”, Hawkeye said viciously.
Ok, that was it. No one had a right to laugh at his no-thing with Audrey.
She let herself fall from the rafters in front of Coulson and adopted a protective and aggresive posture.
“That’s enough, you Hawkass!”, she shouted in his face. Her hands on her hips spoke volumes and a look towards Stark had him with his hands in the air trying to not so subly elbow the Widow into toning down her glare. The good Captain seemed to be speechless still. “I’d shut up my mouth if I were you. Have you maybe considered that there was a reason for not telling you anything? Did you know that Coulson spent 8 months recuperating from New York? And for your information, he really was dead that time, it wasn’t a ruse.”
“Skye, don’t, they don’t need to hear how fucked up I am”, Coulson tried to warn her.
“Oh, no, they definitely need to hear this or they’ll be hanging it over you head forever. And besides, don’t think I haven’t seen that photo of you three that you keep hidden in your desktop with an encryption better suited to highly dangerous data”, she wiggled her eyebrows. It was that photo with the Black Widow and Hawkeye that he never disposed of that had helped her keep her hope he’d survive all the mess with the symbols. She turned again towards the Avengers present, taking note but dismissing Hawkeye’s dumbstruck expression. “So yes, he was dead and director Fury pulled a big one when he decided to inject him with a dose of alien blood to make him come back to life, which he apparently didn’t want, and which appart from hurting a damn lot, almost sent him crazy. So, you don’t get to judge too harshly until you know all the facts. Any question?”
Stark looked like any number of questions would be too little and the Black Widow was looking at Hawkeye as if expecting him to pronounce himself first. The only thing that came out of his mouth were murmurings and babbling to himself, really, could no one in this team hold a conversation?
“C’mon, hun, say something, I know I struck dumb the mayority of people but this is getting a little too much”, she arched her eyebrows. But what came out of his mouth she wasn’t really expecting.
“Hun… wha, uh?”
Tell me he hasn’t said what I’ve heard him say, she thought. But the sight of the Back Widow facepalming herself behind them belied that possibity. So, her soulmate was Hawkeye. Though, was he? Maybe he had another person’s words in him somewhere.
“Tell me you’re not my soulmate”, she said to a gawping Hawkeye, who immediately acted really offended and then turned red with her next words: “God, my soulmate can’t string two words together if they’re not cuss words.”
“Hey, I’ll have you know I can talk perfectly well!”
“Yes, well, you didn’t spend all your life with babblings in you arm. I came to the conclusion that I was so amazing that you were without words and it so happens that it was just me giving my soulmate a tongue lashing”, she looked down at him, somehow ignoring that he was taller than her.
Muffled laughs from Iron Man and Black Widow made her turn her head and give them a glare, which prompted Coulson to take them aside to give them some space. “So, Phil… that photo…”, she heard the Widow say and Coulson squeak a reply. She turned to Hawkeye.
“Well, what now?”
He was scratching his nape in thought but finally sticked his hand out.
“Clint Barton, Hawkeye, Agent of SHIELD level 7, or at least I was, Avenger, 43, male, joker, archer, I like to climb furniture and into air vents and I’m a little thick”, this last thing was said with a little wince, testament to how it hurt his pride to aknowledge it.
She looked him over and then took his hand in hers.
“Skye, no last name, though my psychotic father would tell you different, Agent of SHIELD, level 1, 25, female”, she arched her eyebrows with amusement, “hacker, ex-affiliated to the Rising Tide, half alien I suppose, I produce earthquakes, don’t touch my laptop.”
Hawkeye, no, Barton whistled.
“That’s an impressive list.”
“We have to start somewhere, right?”