Author's Note: Verse/Setting: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. post season 1 episode 5 - “Girl in the Flowered Dress”. Summary: Skye had heard Jemma’s comment about the team. She hadn’t realized she actually agreed with the scientist.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm not making any money from this fic.
Warning: Parental discipline of an adult.

Family Matters

Skye stared at the gleaming metal bracelet cuffed around her wrist, a distant look in her eyes. She’d been sitting in the same position for the last hour and truth-be-told it was beginning to bother Simmons. No one should look that lost and alone- even if they did bring it on themselves- the scientist thought to herself.

Of course that didn’t mean she was actually going to go over and talk to Skye. The other woman had betrayed the ‘family’ and while it was obvious that Skye regretted that fact, it wasn’t so clear if she would have done anything differently if given the chance or choice. Regrets were pointless if you had no intention of changing course of action. Besides- Coulson and Ward hadn’t seemed to make any effort to engage Skye in conversation; her betrayal had hit them the hardest. Simmons most decidedly did not want it to appear that she was choosing Skye’s side over them…and the easiest way to avoid such an unfortunate conclusion was to just hang back and do nothing; although if Skye would just look in her direction, she’d be willing to smile if nothing else.

Nope. She was still staring distantly at the bracelet on her wrist. Oh well. Jemma sighed silently and went back to the lab area.

# # #
Skye could feel Jemma’s eyes on her, but steadfastly refused to look back at the other woman- not wanting to see the look of betrayal in her eyes. She knew the scientist viewed the team as family. For what felt like the millionth time since she had been found out, Skye swallowed down bile and tears as she attempted to keep from throwing up or crying. She had known the scientist viewed the team as family, but she hadn’t realized that she’d begun thinking of them in that way herself- until she’d opened the door and seen May standing there and realized just what she had done.

They’d never believe her now- but what she had seen in this team seemed like what she had thought a family should be like and she’d wanted that for herself. It was unfortunate that she hadn’t realized that she’d wanted it until she’d pretty much trashed any chance she had of getting it. She swallowed hard again.

Ward had continued training her. He was professional and perfunctory, touching her only as much as necessary to allow training to proceed, keeping his comments only on what he was teaching her. When they weren’t training he ignored her. She wasn’t too proud to admit that it hurt. May was much the same- professional but aloof when she couldn’t ignore Skye all together. Fitz and Simmons would smile at her when they couldn’t avoid her, but they had made a point of not saying anything beyond what was necessary- taking their cues from the other two agents.

And then there was Coulson. Phil had personally vouched for her despite his own boss’s reservations. He had believed in her and given her a chance. Seeing the look of disappointed betrayal in his eyes had hurt worst of all. She’d fully expected him to send her to jail for her actions (at the least). But he hadn’t.

After she’d finally confessed and given him the information she had gleaned, he’d handed her the box with the bracelet in it and then proceeded to…well she wasn’t entirely sure what he was doing. He wasn’t ignoring her like the others. She wasn’t entirely certain that wouldn’t have been preferable. His dealings with her were cold and clinical- detached. If it hadn’t been for those few short moments when he had pointed at her and made it clear her excuses weren’t going to be accepted, she would have thought he didn’t care at all about what she did. It wasn’t until he had emotionally withdrawn from her that she realized how much she had allowed herself to connect to him and depend on him. The contrast between then and now was painful in every sense of the word.

She wanted, needed, to make things right somehow- but she didn’t have a clue how she could begin to earn back their trust if they couldn’t forgive her enough to allow her to make the attempt. She suspected it all hinged on Coulson. If Phil forgave her and allowed her to begin working to make things right- the others would reluctantly follow his lead. So…the obvious answer was to go to Phil.

She’d just ask him- point blank- how she could earn his forgiveness, if it could be earned. She’d ask him directly how she could earn back his trust. And then…if there was any hope at all of doing either… she’d do what he said, no matter how difficult or how long it took. Skye stood up, a resolved look on her face and began to walk toward Phil’s office. Her steps only faltered once, when she had to ask herself what she would do if his answer was ‘nothing’ and that she couldn’t gain forgiveness or a chance to earn back trust. But the faltering was short-lived and she forced herself to continue to the office. If the answer was nothing, then she’d do what she was told and accept that the consequences of her actions were much more difficult than she had expected. And then she’d leave when she was allowed. She was able to admit she deserved what she was given…but she wasn’t a masochist.

# # #
Grant sighed leaning back into the chair he’d been perched on since entering Phil’s office and rubbed at his neck in agitation. “So, you’re letting her stay?” He didn’t make further comment, but Coulson could tell the idea irritated him. Whether it irritated him because Ward truly thought she shouldn’t stay, or because he was still chafing at finding out she’d been lying was a bit more difficult to discern.

“When the choice is keeping her close where I can keep an eye on her and know what she is doing, setting her loose to cause who knows what havoc- or putting her in jail. Well, I think keeping her close is the best option at the moment. Other than lying to us, she didn’t actually do anything that warrants putting her into jail. Not yet anyway…” Coulson frowned at the idea that she might do something bad enough to be sent to jail. If that happened, he might have to reassess his ability to trust his instincts.
Ward frowned in resignation, actually pouting as he admitted “No. I don’t think jail is the answer and you are right. We can’t have her running loose to cause havoc.” The younger man glanced up at his leader and gave a crooked smile.

“It wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t allowed myself to actually start caring about her.” He sighed again. “I actually told her about one of the defining moments in my life that caused me to want to be an agent…” his voice trailed off as he hesitated. “She told me one of the defining moments in her life…although now who’s to say it was actually the truth.” Grant couldn’t help the bitter tone that crept into his voice.

Phil slanted his head curiously. “Oh. What did she tell you?”

“She said she never had a family growing up. That the one time she actually allowed herself to start getting close to one of her foster parents- she made the mistake of calling the woman ‘Mom’ just because she wanted to know what it felt like…to have a mother….Within the week she was in a new foster home.” Ward sounded and looked sad before he shook his head briskly and smiled weakly. “Of course, knowing how she was playing us all this whole time, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was just one of many lies.”

Coulson grimaced, thinking about the information she’d finally revealed when given no choice but to tell him the truth. “I somehow think that was one of the few times she was actually honest with you…” he responded, then glanced toward his door just before there was a timid knocking.

“Enter.” Phil called out briskly, making certain to make his tone neutral. Neither one of the men were surprised when Skye hesitantly opened the door and took one step inside, looking uncertainly from one to the other.

Giving a soft grunt, Ward stood up and nodded at Coulson. “I’m going to check on the lab-rats. It’s about time they did a little more practicing in their self-defense.” Once Phil had nodded back in dismissal, he quickly stepped around Skye and left the office, barely acknowledging her presence.

Skye tried in vain to hide the hurt that flashed across her face at her teammates reaction to her, but Phil’s knowing look as she finally faced him told her that she hadn’t succeeded.

“Skye” Coulson greeted her perfunctorily, without any of the warmth she’d come to associate with him. She couldn’t help but cringe, wrapping her arms around herself in a self-hug in an attempt to bolster her nerves. She’d been all set to face the man and accept responsibility and consequences if she could only make things right, but self-doubt had crept in the moment she’d stepped into his office.

Opening her mouth in uncertainty, she blushed darkly and found herself unable to look the older man in the eye. She heard him sigh before he ordered. “Sit down.” She quickly sat in the chair that Ward had vacated.

“What did you need to speak with me about?” Phil was proud that he was able to keep his voice neutral and calm when what he wanted to do was lecture and berate the young woman for her actions. His eyes narrowed when he noticed Skye wince at his words.

“I…I’m sorry…” she finally got out in a tiny almost fearful voice. “I didn’t…Jemma said the group was like a family…but I didn’t know….” Skye took a quivering breath. “I didn’t know until it was too late that I was part of that family…that I wanted to be part…. And I’ve ruined everything!” She sniffed rather loudly in an unladylike way and wiped her eyes on her shirt-sleeve. Phil grimaced and handed her his handkerchief.

“Thank you,” she whispered, taking a deep breath and forcing her emotions back under control so she could make her request. “I know I don’t deserve anymore chances, but….is there anyway…anything at all I can do…to earn your forgiveness and trust back?”

Skye’s voice was high and quivery and broke at the end making her seem so much younger than she was. Phil couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards her, but underneath the sympathy was his anger at her betrayal and the need to correct her for her poor choices so that she wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. Leaning back in his chair, he formed a tent with his fingers as he observed her silently. When she began to fidget from his stare he finally answered her.

“I have often felt like a father to my teams- and treat them like a father would treat them. I can tell you now that any daughter of mine who baldly lied to my face- the way you lied to me- would not like my response to that lie.” He watched her closely to see her response and wasn’t surprised to see a tiny bit of hurt mixed with curiosity in her eyes when his words registered.

Skye swallowed hard and held the arm up that wore the bracelet. “You already grounded me, for the most part. Is…is it too much to hope that maybe I can still be…” she didn’t’ know how to finish her question. Was it too much to ask if she could still be a member of the team family? That he might still feel like a father to her? She forced herself to look in his eyes, even though she wanted to avoid his gaze. She truly was ashamed of what she had done.

There it was. Phil couldn’t help but give a tiny smile of satisfaction that he hadn’t been totally wrong. She felt guilt and shame, and as long as she was able to feel those two emotions it wasn’t too late for him to correct her behavior and teach her a better way to do things. Of course, she had to agree to his correction and training….

“I spank my children.” Phil stated softly, matter-of-factly, and with no room for argument.

Skye’s eyes widened comically as his words registered, her mouth falling open in a silent,’ Oh. ‘ Phil watched as she argued with herself before she finally straightened her shoulders and gave a slight nod of acceptance. “If that is what you believe I deserve, then….please….” she swallowed again hard forcing the words out. “…spank me. I’ll do anything and accept anything if it will help me make things right and let me be forgiven…” she rushed the last sentence out, desperate to convince Coulson that she was serious.

Phil frowned gently and stood. “Sweetheart….You don’t need to earn my forgiveness. All you need for that is to ask for it.” He held a hand up to stop her from speaking and continued. “Yes. I forgive you.” He moved around to the front of the desk so that he stood directly in front of her, forcing her to look up at him with her uncertainty. “As for earning our trust back- that can only be done through you being honest, truthful, and open. No more lies, Skye. Period.”

“Yes, sir…” Skye agreed, her voice hoarse from unshed tears.

Phil slanted his head and looked at her in consideration. “Have you ever been spanked, Skye?”

Skye shook her head no, unable to voice an answer. Phil nodded as if he had expected as much. He motioned her to stand then took her by the arm and led her over to the couch near the corner of his office, sitting down and drawing her to the side so she was standing between his knees.

“Here is what is going to happen,” he explained gently what he would do. When he was done with his explanations, Skye had a slightly fearful and embarrassed look on her face, but there was no confusion. He asked to make sure, “Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Skye answered softly. Coulson nodded his head gently to indicate they would begin. Clearing her throat, hesitating a second, and turning bright red in embarrassment, Skye undid her jeans and pushed them down to her knees before bending over her boss’s thigh. Coulson didn’t make any comment, instead pulling her panties down to join her jeans as soon as she was situated. He pressed his legs together trapping her own legs in place so that she couldn’t get away, then wrapping one arm around her waist and pulling her in tightly against his torso he rested his hand against her bottom and looked down to catch her eye.

“You should be more embarrassed about the actions that got you to this position than the fact you are in this position,” he commented gently before raising his hand up and letting it fall with a sharp slap on the left side of her pale bottom. A rosy handprint quickly developed where the slap had landed.

Skye had wanted to take her punishment bravely, but his words caused her shame and regret to push forward again and she almost immediately began crying. She gripped Phil’s leg in a desperate attempt to keep the tears from becoming sobs and only managed out a choked, “Yes sir” in answer to his admonishment.

Phil didn’t waste any time asking questions. She knew why she was in this position. She knew what she had done wrong. He was quick, thorough, and forceful. Within moments Skye’s feet were stamping and she was squirming in a desperate attempt to get her bottom away from the punishing blows. Phil just tightened his grip so that she couldn’t move and smacked her a bit harder, making certain to land several slaps to the tender crease between thigh and bottom.

It hadn’t taken Skye long to begin whimpering and sniffling. She tried valiantly not to let her tears turn into straight out crying. She deserved what she was getting. She knew she deserved it. She didn’t want Phil to think she was a baby who couldn’t handle the consequences of her actions. Unfortunately, the past several days had been emotionally draining. The knowledge that Phil had forgiven her and was giving her another chance mixed with her shame and regret from her actions, made her attempts to keep control of her emotions nearly impossible. By the time Coulson had started a second round, smacking on already sensitive and reddened skin, she couldn’t keep control any longer.

“I’m so..sorry. Please….” She sobbed out, squirming more frantically in a futile attempt to ease the sting. “So, so, sorry…” She finally lay across her disciplinarian’s thigh, limp and accepting- too tired to do anything else.

“I know you are…”he replied gently, continuing his relentless punishment but taking care to not leave bruises. “And I know you will continue to be sorry even after you have been punished. But I would be remiss in my duty to you if I did not make certain that you never forgot this punishment. Anytime you are tempted to lie or hide anything in the future, you will remember this moment and you will have to think hard about if the consequences are worth the obfuscation.” He raised an eyebrow as what could only be described as a mixture between a sob, a laugh, and a frustrated groan, escaped Skye’s throat at the same time.

A few more smacks and Skye’s choking sobs had gone silent, her voice having given out. The young girl’s bottom was scarlet and hot to touch, Phil gently rested his hand on one of her thighs and held her in place as her body shook from her crying. He gently rubbed her back with the other hand in an attempt to help her calm down. “It’s done now. You’ve paid for your misdeed. You will get a clean slate now. Everything will be ok, Skye. It will…” he gently crooned to her.

It took her several minutes to realize that the spanking was over and his hand was rubbing her back in comfort, not punishing her. She took several deep breaths and was finally able to regain control over her emotions. Once she’d stopped crying enough to breath regularly, even if it was quivery choppy breaths, he helped her stand and then gently helped her fix her clothing.

Skye looked at Phil uncertainly when he stood up in front of her and gently wiped her face with another handkerchief. He then pulled her in for a tight hug, tucking her head under his chin and rocking her gently before kissing the top of her head and stepping away from her.

“Go talk to the others. Apologize. Answer any of their questions with the truth…” Phil’s smile was warm and accepting, all detachment gone. “We’ll work through this Skye. Everything will be ok.”

“Ok…” Skye whispered before giving him a relieved smile and quickly leaving the office. Phil watched her go, noting that her shoulders were no longer slumped and she no longer looked hopeless. Other than the hesitant way she walked (due to a very sore bottom) she seemed in much better spirits than she had when she first walked into the room.

He turned back to his desk and pulled out a file on their next assignment- not even noticing when he began to whistle a cheerful little tune. His family was on its way to mending. Life was good.

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