allofthefeelings replied to your post “allofthefeelings replied to your post:Before Bahrain and before…”
BUT YEAH Natasha, Clint and Melinda being an ABSOLUTELY LETHAL TEAM IN THE FIELD. Melinda mentoring but also Melinda CARING, Melinda being a force for stability for two people who never had any before.
Clint’s actually terrified the first time he crashes a SHIELD jet, because he’s convinced that that’s it, he’s blown the chance at this one good thing, but before his SO can chew him out for it Melinda May sort of just shows up and sits him down in an interrogation room and he’s terrified. Then she shoves a plate of cookies at him and tells him to have a cookie. Tells him that the standard SHIELD course doesn’t teach them how to do a barrel roll and that she would, for next time. She tells him 5 am and he wonders why anyone would ever get up that early but he does for her, and she teaches him, and she doesn’t give up. She even keeps baking him cookies, and after he brings Nat in, after all of SHIELD looks at him and judges, she bakes him three times more.
May’s not scared of Natasha, but she doesn’t pity her, either, and that’s something very few people at SHIELD could do. Nat suspects that May knows something of her background - and she does, her mother worked a case involving the Red Room and May’s never really forgotten the haunted look her mom had on for the duration of the case - but like everything else for May, Natasha’s past just is. It’s not something May fears or holds against her, but she does acknowledge it, and Natasha remembers May fighting for her right to whatever little was left of her childhood - she’s just a kid, May said, and that’s not a side of Natasha anyone else saw or bothered fighting for.
And May just shows up for them, you know? They may not need extraction plans now but there probably was a time where they did need them, and May just keeps showing up to get them even when SHIELD preferred to pretend they didn’t exist for the sake of the mission, when SHIELD was willing to leave them. I just keep imagining that even when the system failed Clint and Natasha, Melinda May showed up. Nick Fury showed up.
They’re among the first people to tell Natasha and Clint that they’re worth showing up for. Worth saving, just as much as the people they themselves save.
May doesn’t take herself out of the field right away after Bahrain, I think. Rather she sends herself on several successive suicide missions - to convince herself that she can still do this job, that she’s still alive, that she can still survive - but on every single one of them Natasha and Clint just keep showing up. Keep having her back, even when she won’t talk about it, even when she pushes them away.
She wakes up in the hospital after one mission goes particularly badly and Clint and Natasha are there and they just look so scared, like the teenagers they were when she first met them, and they’ve called her mom, and Melinda just loses it. She files her paperwork for a transfer to admin the next day and Fury yells but she can tell it’s because he’s scared too, and so she goes.
She watches over them even in administration, though. Denies the budget requests for the operations that are going to get them killed and approves the tech she knows they need, no matter how expensive. Makes sure insurance covers all of the accidents actual walking human disaster Clint gets into, approves reimbursements for all the drinks Natasha has when undercover for Stark. She tries to be there for them, as best as she can.
And then New York happens, and TAHITI happens, and May doesn’t just grieve over what’s happened to Coulson, she also grieves the loss of two of the handful of friendships in her life that were honest and true and genuine, or as honest and true and genuine as all parties knew how to be. She keeps track of them and she’s proud of the heroes they grew to be, both in everyday acts and in the big, world-shattering ones.
Natasha leaves her own files up on the internet, blows all of her own covers, lives with the world seeing her as she really is. Yet of all the files that go up that day, she goes back and erases every trace of just one: Bahrain.
She knows it’s Melinda’s story to tell.