“Shit. Fuck. Goddammit.” Skye sat with her forehead pressed against the wall, trying (and failing) to take comfort in the coolness it radiated onto her feverish skin. With knees pressed against her chest and both arms wrapped around her body protectively, she cursed her inability to make smart decisions when it came to gorgeous men.
She’d really done it this time. There was no getting out of this mess she was in. She’d allowed her future to be compromised all because of one agent; one sleeper agent. An agent who she’d trusted with her life and her heart and who had betrayed everyone and everything she held dear.
A single tear slid down her cheek as she played through every memory she had of Grant Ward; from the truth serum to their small moments of downtime to the first time they’d kissed. Nowhere in her memory could she find one small hint that it had all been an act. That he’d just been playing them-playing her. Grant Ward deserved an Oscar for that performance because despite what her heart wanted to believe her mind knew it was all a lie; in spite of what his last words to her had been.
“I love you, Skye. No matter what happens after we leave this room, promise me you’ll remember that. I love you.”
Skye hiccupped out a small sob before laughing bitterly. She’d been stupid enough to believe that and to cling to that belief for days after he left. But days turned to weeks and the bodies had begun to pile up. She’d tried desperately to force Coulson into confessing that he’d sent Ward in as a mole but that hadn’t gone as well as she’d hoped.
“I’m sorry, Skye. I know how hard this is for you, he was your S.O. but…I didn’t send him undercover.” Phil rested his hand on her cheek as she cried silently, much like the night when he’d told her the truth about her past.
“But, he could be, right?” She managed to get out. “You said he was angry, maybe-”
“In a fit of anger he said he wanted to kill Garrett and Victoria knew that, which is why she allowed him to come along. But Skye, John Garrett is still-”
Garrett was alive and Victoria Hand and her guards were dead. He’d played them all for fools but when it came to Grant Ward she couldn’t see reason. The heart wanted what it wanted and her heart yearned for him.
“I’m sorry,” Phil whispered and not for the first time since Hydra’s reveal Skye found herself in A.C.’s arms crying over Grant Ward.
She couldn’t cling to the hope that wherever Ward was he loved her. Not anymore. It was time to get over her broken heart and move on-for everyone’s sake.
“Skye? I don’t mean to interrupt but you’ve been holed up in there for hours. There are six of us and only one toilet you know.” Jemma’s compassionate voice echoed through the small bathroom and Skye let out a sigh. No, she couldn’t hide in here forever. She reached over and unlocked the door before resting her head back against the cool tiles of the wall. She stared up at the ceiling from her spot on the counter as the door opened followed by two sets of footsteps: Jemma and May. She didn’t even have to look to know her usual babysitters were the ones who’d come for her.
The plane was docked in a secret underground S.H.I.E.L.D. location, somewhere in Canada, which meant it was safe, for now. Fitz was hiding up in his lab, Trip was beating the crap out of a punching bag like he did most days, and good ol’ A.C. was gone. He’d left them three days ago to have secret meetings with Commander Hill, Director Fury, the good Captain and his new sidekick, and Mr. Tony Stark himself. Only Coulson would think reenacting the Avengers Initiative was the solution to getting S.H.I.E.L.D. to rise from the ashes.
“Skye, do you want to talk about it?”
“Nope,” she answered. She ignored the quivering in her voice. She refused to cry one more tear for that bastard.
“Is Blake dead?” She glanced over to find Jemma watching her guiltily. She glanced towards May, knowing she’d give her a real answer. “So?”
“He’s still in surgery. But the surveillance footage is in: it was Ward.”
Skye chuckled and shook her head. “We sure know how to pick them, don’t we?” May gave her one of her disapproving looks before exhaling. May had been far more patient with Skye’s little mood swings than Skye thought possible. She felt sorry for her, everyone felt sorry for her.
Poor little Skye, in love with a murderer.
Sure, they’d all assumed at first that she was upset because of her professional relationship with Ward but the women knew better. Simmons because she was Skye’s best friend and May-well…
“He loves you, you know.”
“Melinda May, I didn’t take you to be a liar.”
Skye was laid out on one of the practice mats after letting May kick her ass. Her heart wasn’t into training. Trip had offered but it felt weird, like she was replacing Ward, so she’d let May take her under her wing but her heart wasn’t in it today. She’d spent the night having terrible nightmares about Ward killing innocent agents and then proceeded to cry about it for hours. She was exhausted and sick to her stomach and what was the point? S.H.I.E.L.D. was gone, they could try to rebuild it all they wanted, but her faith was gone. Nothing mattered anymore.
“You know Ward and I…after the Berserker Staff we were both in a dark place. We were only together a handful of times but I knew he was only doing it to distract himself.” And to get close to his biggest threat, Skye thought angrily.
“On the two occasions he stayed the night he called your name in his sleep.”
Skye toyed with a loose string on her shirt and shrugged.
“Could have been remembering orders to kill me,” she muttered. “It doesn’t mean anything. We all say stupid shit in our sleep.” Like she had when she’d begged for him while recovering from her shooting; a shooting his mentor was responsible for.
May sighed and a moment later her face came into view. Skye resisted the urge to roll her eyes and allowed May to help her to her feet. She turned to leave but May held her in place.
“When Lorelei had him under her spell he confessed to her that he loved you. Just because he’s Hydra doesn’t mean his feelings weren’t real. You have to stop beating yourself up for falling for him. Shit happens when you’re undercover; sometimes you feel things you never meant to.”
Skye wanted to believe her, so she could feel less like this was her fault. She should have known, she was closer to him than anyone, but she was distracted. She’d let her feelings get in the way, a mistake she’d never make again.
“He could have faked being under her spell, to have an excuse to kill us all. Did you ever think of that?” Skye’s voice was barely above a whisper. This was no angry retort meant to hurt May, it was the truth, and the look on May’s face told Skye everything she needed to know; May had thought the exact same thing.
Skye shook her head. “I appreciate it, May, but I’m done trying to make excuses. He played us all. And the next time I see him, one of us is going to end up dead.”
An hour ago she knew she could have pulled the trigger, but now…
She’d gone through all of the proper phases of her grief. She’d refused to believe the truth. She’d hidden herself away from the people who loved her. She’d lashed out by throwing herself into training as hard as she could, until she puked. Then had come the ‘what if’s’. What if she’d used her head and not her heart? What if she’d paid more attention? What if she’d done something that could have saved lives instead of allowing Grant Ward to keep playing them?
The moment the depression had set in was when the men on the team came to their senses. Maybe not Trip, he seemed to understand the root of her pain, but to his credit he’d never said a word. He was solid that way. Fitz had come around first, but only because she’d flat out told him.
“The stabilization was off. I just need to calibrate…there we go. I can’t believe I made such a rookie mistake,” he muttered while tinkering with a new version of the Icers.
Skye, in the process of testing the most recent model, immediately snapped in anger. “A rookie mistake is being stupid enough to fall in love with a psychopath.”
It’d been pretty hard for Fitz not to get it after that.
And A.C. …
Skye was surprised he was the last to catch on. Maybe it was because he was too much of a father to her and not enough of a boss. He didn’t see it because he didn’t want to. Seeing the truth meant reprimanding her for her poor judgment and not allowing her to have time to grieve.
But in true A.C. fashion he’d managed to stick to the fatherly role, which she’d needed at the time. He’d simply placed a hand on hers and told her a story about a woman he’d loved in Portland and how losing people we loved was a part of life and we couldn’t regret our choices because they made us who we are.
Apparently she was a naïve girl who was a glutton for punishment.
She’d accepted her fate days ago but now-well, now things weren’t as clean as she’d like them to be.
Skye had been ready to pull the trigger if that’s what it came to but now…
Jemma took Skye’s hand and Skye looked up into the worried eyes of her best friend.
“Skye, it’s okay, you can tell us.”
Skye rolled her eyes. Of course Jemma would have caught on. She caught on to everything. She wondered how long she’d known when Skye had only discovered it herself twenty minutes ago while she’d stood in this very bathroom, clutching on to the hope that this was all a mistake for dear life.
But like every other aspect of her life, there was no happily ever after in this scenario.
Skye unclenched her fist, revealing the item she’d held so tightly in the palm of her hand that it was now bleeding. A small gasp escaped Jemma’s lips as May stared down, only a brief flicker of shock registering on her face. Skye focused on May, needing her to be her anchor. If she looked at Jemma she knew she’d find her best friend crying and then she would cry and Skye was done crying.
“So,” Skye began as she tossed her positive pregnancy test onto the counter, “which one of you is going to be the first to congratulate me on my complete and utter lack of judgment?”