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Fic: Popsicles

Title: Popsicles
Fandom: Agents of SHIELD
Pairing: none; Melinda May, John Garrett, Skye, Jemma Simmons, Leo Fitz, Grant Ward
Rating: PG
Warning/Tags: minor violence, bullying; kidfic
Length: oneshot, ~1,500
Summary: Melinda just wanted a popsicle. She really didn't mean to beat up the neighborhood bully and have a bunch of kids following her around.
Archived: AO3
A/N: More older fic I forgot to post. I should get better at that...

Originally written for Melinda May Appreciation Week and Represent Fest. Inspired by this trope (which was meant to feature more prominently, but oh well) and how much I dislike Garrett.

For refernence, the ages in this fic are:
Melinda- 12
Phil- 12
Garrett- 13
Ward- 10
Skye- 9
Jemma- 8
Fitz- 8

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Melinda was waiting for Phil to bring the popsicles his mom had bought when she heard someone crying. At first, she didn’t really care. There were lots of kids on this street, and they tended to cry and yell a lot, often for no apparent reason at all.

Still, she found herself listening a little harder. Her mom always said she had a good ear for when someone was in trouble, and she just couldn’t help it if she didn’t like to see people, especially the younger kids, in genuine pain.

John’s voice, a little lower (except when it broke in a squeak, which Melinda found funny) and angrier than the other voices, was what tipped her off that it wasn’t just some kids playing around and one of them scraping their knee. This was something more, because where John was, so was trouble. He was a bully, all of the kids knew it, but it wasn’t always easy to stay away from him.

Melinda looked around, hoping Phil was coming back so he could come help. He didn’t like bullies any more than she did, and he was pretty good at dealing with John in a way that wouldn’t get them in trouble with any parents. She didn’t see him anywhere, though, so she took a deep breath and started heading in the direction of the crying and yelling.

She found them a little ways down the street, in the little space between Ms. Hill’s house and her shed. Ms. Hill didn’t usually care if kids played in her yard as long as they didn’t destroy anything, so it wasn’t unusual to see someone using the shed to play house or something of the sort.

There were three kids huddled on one side of the space, two girls and a boy about four years younger than Melinda. The boy was the one who was crying, and he looked terrified. The girls seemed to be trying to be tough, but it was obvious that they were scared as well.

John was standing on the other side, back to where Melinda was creeping up. He was obviously angry, hands waving around as he shouted, making the younger kids flinch.

Curiously, there was one other boy, maybe a year or two older than the other three. He was poised between John and the group of kids, apparently unable decide who he should side with. He flinched every time John shouted too, but sometimes he nodded along to the things he was saying.

it only took a few minutes for Melinda to figure out that this wasn’t a good situation for the three kids, and that John was far angrier than she’d ever seen him. He didn’t usually stoop to hitting, preferring his lackeys for that, but she thought he might make an exception this time.

“Hey, John!” Melinda called, stepping out into open space. Five sets of eyes whipped around to look at her, some looking hopeful, some wary.

“What do you want, May?” John asked, frowning at her. “Hurry it up so I can deal with these babies.”

Melinda raised an eyebrow, reminding herself of what her father always told her: don’t get angry in a fight, it will put you at a disadvantage. “I want you to go away and stop terrorizing those kids.”

John laughed, which Melinda thought was rather rude. She just crossed her arms, trying to look intimidating, though it was hard when John was taller and meaner and probably stronger. She had the self defense classes her mom made her take, but she’d always been afraid that when it came down to it, she wouldn’t actually be able to do anything.

“And what if I don’t want to?” John asked, taking a threatening step forward. His voice broke a little in the middle, which usually would have made Melinda grin, but this wasn’t really the time to be making him even angrier. “What if now I want to beat you up so I can go back to beating them up?”

“Then we’re going to have a problem,” Melinda said. She took a deep breath, collecting all of the courage she could. “If you leave now, I won’t beat you up, how about that?”

John looked her up and down for a second before laughing, a move that made her feel vaguely dirty for reasons she couldn’t really name. “Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said, and rushed her.

Melinda dodged his first fist, but wasn’t quite fast enough to dodge the second one. She tried to ignore the stinging pain in her left cheek, instead concentrating on looking for an opening while she dodged John’s rather heavy-handed punches. It only took her a moment to notice that he swung wide and didn’t really move his feet. That was her opening.

Hoping she’d be strong enough to keep him down, Melinda took a step forward straight onto John’s foot, pinning him in place. She ducked under his swinging fist, right into his personal space, and jabbed twice in quick succession. The first jab hit him just above the gut, making him bend over as all his air rushed out in a loud “oof!” The second jab hit him right in the fleshy part of the cheek, sending him careening to the side.

His fall was a little hampered by the fact that Melinda was still standing on his foot. He gave a strangled shout of pain as he hit the ground, probably less at the fact that he hit the ground and more at the fact that his leg bent at almost a ninety degree angle before she stepped back.

Melinda was breathing hard as she looked down at him, obviously in a lot of pain. There was only a little blood from the lip she’d glanced with a fist, but she knew he’d be feeling things for awhile yet. Hopefully it would deter him from terrorizing any other neighborhood kids.

“I think you should leave now,” she said once she could breathe normally again.

John scrambled to his feet immediately, tears trailing down his face. She felt a little bad, especially at the whimper he let out as he put pressure on his foot. She it wasn’t broken, but didn’t think she’d feel too much worse if it was. Her parents might have something to say about that, but she felt justified in doing what she had to to protect the other kids.

As John limped away, Melinda looked up, wondering if the kids were still even there. Surprisingly, all four of them were, the one who’d looked so torn apparently deciding he’d stick with the other kids instead of John. She hoped he’d learned something too, about not hanging out with bullies.

“Are you ok?” she asked, smiling at them in what she hoped was a comforting way.

“That was awesome!” one of the girls shouted. She blushed a little at her outburst, but went on. “Can you show me how to do that? Because that was super cool and I wanna know how to do that.”

“Uh…” Melinda said, a little overwhelmed. She’d expected a quick yes and she could go on her way, not this. “I can tell you which martial arts place to go to, I guess. But I don’t think I’m good enough to be teaching anyone.”

The girl who’d asked and the older boy looked disappointed at that, though the other two looked relieved. “That sucks,” the girl said, frowning.

“Skye!” the other girl said, looking far more scandalized than any eight year old should. “That’s rude!”

The first girl, Skye apparently, rolled her eyes, but smiled sheepishly at Melinda. “Sorry,” she said. “Thanks for saving us and everything. I’m Skye, by the way. And this is Jemma, Leo, and Grant,” she continued, pointing at the other girl then the scared looking boy and the other boy. “What’s your name?”

“Melinda.”

“Oh that’s such a pretty name!” Jemma squealed, face lighting up.

Melinda blushed a little, not used to being complimented. “Thanks,” she said carefully. She looked at them for a moment, then decided they’d probably be alright on their own now. “I should probably leave, Phil’s probably wondering where I am.”

All four of them perked up at that, the opposite of what’s she’d been trying for. “Phil Coulson?” Skye asked. “From the house on the corner?”

“Yes,” Melinda said, confused. “Do you know him?”

“He helped us out last week!” Jemma said. “Could we go with you?”

Melinda hesitated, not sure she wanted to deal with these kids anymore and not sure what Phil would say. He generally seemed to like everyone, especially younger kids, and they didn’t really have very solid plans for the day, but who knew.

“He said he’d be happy to hang out with us!” Skye said, obviously seeing her hesitation. “Please, please, please!”

“Fine,” Melinda said, sighing. Looked like she wouldn’t be able to get rid of them after all. “Maybe he’ll even have some extra popsicles.” She smiled as the four kids scrambled to follow her, already chatting happily about popsicles and martial arts.

Comments

This is so adorable and so in character too somehow. I love it. Skye idolizing May and the girls being tough and Jemma being scandalized are my favorite parts :)
Thank you! :)
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August 2017

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