But the thing about the military custody was that she and Phil got enough downtime that in the end, they decided to talk sooner in the process than planned, even without any access to alcohol. They hadn’t resolved everything before they got out, but they ended up sharing their first real kiss while leaning against a large teleporting dog and waiting to see if Fitzsimmons would get the teleporting block down before disaster struck. They more or less finished the talking during nights spent in sleeping bags on the floor of Fitzsimmons’ apartment, done in whispers because Daisy was asleep on the other side of the living room.
That’s when they agreed that they’d been through enough, and were comfortable enough, and were facing a financial situation uncertain enough, that they might as well move in together. So now, at last, Melinda May is going to sleep in her own bed, except this one’s not just hers.
It was a busier day than they’d anticipated. They’d started the day owning nothing in the world but a new lease, enough newly bought furniture for them to function, a kitchen set in a box, a pair of laptops, two bionic arms, and a bag each of what else survived of their old possessions. They’d known they’d have to put the furniture together, which they’d assumed would be the biggest task. Maybe they should’ve realized their friends wouldn’t hold with that, that they’d show up with a TV and electronics and furnishings, and even toiletries, since they’d mentioned they still had to get those. Also food, which had been very good of them.
Not so good was the part where they kept coming up with new ideas and making new lists of things Phil and Melinda needed to buy, and, most vitally, not leaving until it was well into the evening. They helped clean up a little, but finishing that job still took long enough that by the time their new apartment was clean, it was absolutely time for bed.
They’re holding hands as they enter the bedroom, but suddenly it’s hard for Melinda to look at him. He sighs, and says, “This would be easier if we’d had sex already, wouldn’t it?”
It would be, but Melinda’s not sure when they could’ve. They weren’t ready for it in military custody, even if they would’ve been allowed the opportunity for conjugal relations. There wasn’t time after that. And they sure weren’t doing it on their friends’ apartment floor with Daisy even in the room. They’ve indulged in some pretty hot and heavy makeout sessions, but that’s all.
“I’m not your fair maiden bride,” she said softly. She’s even been here before, and he has memories of being here before. “You don’t have to…”
“What if I wanted to? I mean, nothing too elaborate or anything, just…a little more romantic. I just didn’t want to be standing in front of this bed and thinking I’m so tired I don’t even know if I can get it up.”
Melinda understands it, she does. Phil’s always had that idealism in him, and always will, no matter what shit life throws at him. It’s one of the reasons she loves him, really.
Plus she’s dealt with it long enough she can work with it. “You could serve me breakfast in bed tomorrow. I’d enjoy that.”
“Thanks,” he says, and lets go of her hand to quickly strip down to his boxers and unmake the bed. Melinda took her bra off while they were finishing the cleanup; she ends up joining him in only her panties. They take hold of each other and share a soft kiss, and then look at each other, finally facing the reality of their latest situation.
“Can we take tomorrow off, you think?” Coulson asks. “Just have an ‘us’ day? Plenty of time for sex, maybe watch some of those DVDs Mack insisted on bringing us, the ones that aren’t sci-fi horror movies, tell any officials who call us to call back next week?”
“I’m good with that,” she agrees, and she moves to get under the cover while he starts taking his arm off to put it away.
The sheets are as new as the bed, crisp and clean. It’s an alien feeling for her now. She stretches her arms out, and it’s now weird to lie on a bed and not be able to reach both edges at once.
When Phil comes back over, of course he can tell. “You’ll get used to it again,” he says, and climbs in next to her.
They don’t try to cuddle in their sleep; that’s not either of their things. But they keep their eyes on each other’s faces with their heads on the pillows, and Melinda likes that, especially when Phil murmurs to her, “I’ll hard boil the eggs.”
It’s the best sleep Melinda May has had in ten years.
(The breakfast the next day’s good too. So’s the sex.)