They were in a stakeout.
Because SHIELD liked to cover their bases, they were assigned to the least likely spot for the perp to show up (People on the run tend to avoid their own house). Skye was stuck with her SO and neither of them were speaking. Not even the rain on the nondescript SUV gave enough ambience to help the crushing boredom she was experiencing. It was far too quiet.
Ward asked her to stop using the word, “perp.” to describe the man on the run. He also said they only got stationed at the house because she wasn’t technically an agent yet. That was the literal extent of the conversation so far.
New mini mission. Get Grant Ward to talk to her.
“So tell me about your grandma?” She asked, hopefully.
She turned most of her body in the seat to watch him. He barely glanced back at her from where he was positioned behind the binoculars.
Well there went that idea.
She decided to pull out the big guns and use his socially-awkward-ness against him. Skye leaned her small frame against the side window, tucked her legs under her chin, and sat facing him. All it took was three seconds before he got uncomfortable with another human staring at him
“What?” Grant finally put down the binoculars.
She blew out a breath she was holding in.
He was far too dignified roll his eyes but the look he gave her made it clear he really wanted to.
“There will be an agent to replace us in an hour. You’re doing a good job.” That sounded like a final comment but at least it was a kinder one.
“Shouldn’t we be using this time to,” She squinted and gestured her hands in a vaguely circular motion, “get to know each other… professionally?”
He sighed slightly, through his nose, probably trying to conceal it from her. At least he was trying to hide how annoying he found her. That must mean something.
“We should be using this time to see if the suspect arrives at this location.”
Ward’s voice was monotone and lecture-y and damn doesn’t he ever get bored of having no friends? Skye was certainly bored. Some people complain about friend-zoning. Skye thinks Ward straight-up stranger-zones people. It was exhausting.
“So look while you answer my questions.”
This time he actually sighed, like her voice was causing a migraine.
“No questions about my family. Keep it strictly SHIELD.”
Skye pretended to stroke an invisible beard and made a particularly sage face. She didn’t succeed in making him laugh but he upgraded from a frown to a neutral expression. So, hey, progress.
“Who was your last girlfriend or a boyfriend?”
“I will kick you out of this car right now, Skye.”
The sound of her giggle deflated any meaning in his threats.
“What? Too personal? You can’t even humor me a little bit?”
“This is hell. This, right here, is hell.”
“Please?” She goaded, “I need to know this!”
“I actually agree to have a conversation with you. You could’ve asked anything and you’re ruined it.”
“Wow. I’m just trying to get to know you!”
“This is hell.”
He was half-smiling though, so he didn’t mean it and that made Skye break into a shit-eating grin at a taste of victory. She made him sort of smile and in turn he made her day.
“Well?” She pressed.
Grant slightly shook his head.
“Strictly SHIELD.” He repeated, but in a softer voice.
“Fine,” She shifted to sit in the chair normally, no longer facing him, “What was the academy like?”
He also faced forward, finding it easier to talk if he didn’t have to make eye contact.
“My SO pulled some strings so I got my own bunk room. That and some other stuff made a lot of people angry at me so I didn’t really do much but train.”
“Angry like… angry? Or angry like jealous?”
“I guess jealous. It was intense and grueling and everyone hated everyone but it was… fun in some way.”
She had to bite on her tongue to stop herself from asking about high school.
“When was the first time you got shot?” Skye moved on to keep things interesting.
She could feel him scratch the back of his neck and relax into the chair, probably accepting how this was going to go.
“A couple months- like seven or eight- out of the academy. What people don’t tell you is how hot bullets feel when they whiz past your body. The burn hurt more because it grazed my shoulder,” He glanced at her, “And you won’t have to worry about that. You’ll be protected. There’s no chance you’d ever get shot.”
Instead of answering, Skye tried to picture a younger Grant. She couldn’t see him being 21 even though that was only like ten years ago. No matter how hard she imagined, he just had the same face and build.
“Who was your SO?”
“Nobody, really. His name was Garrett but I don’t really like working with him.”
“Did you have any people you preferred to work with?”
“I could sometimes request for this guy I knew to patch me up at the hub but other than that, I mainly worked alone.”
“Who’s the guy?”
“Just this agent named Fresco that worked quickly. He didn’t bother me with chatter,” He shot a side glance at her with that comment, “And he occasionally gave me sleeping pills when I saw him which guaranteed me a good night’s rest.”
“So you do have a friend.”
“If you allow the parameters to fit seventy year olds like Fresco who will retire any day now, then sure. He’s my buddy.”
Ward started to tap on his thigh and glanced through the binoculars again. She noticed that talking about himself for five minutes literally caused anxiety for him. Weird.
“Did you ever go against orders?”
She could practically see his expression, furrowed brow and all.
“And how would that help you as an agent?”
Great. Time to pull an answer out of her ass.
“So I can relate to how my SO was once like me and learn from his mistakes?”
Which, hey. Unfair. She tries her best.
“Fair point. Let me think.”
She found it amusing he had to think hard to remember a time he didn’t follow an order.
“I think it just stemmed from whether I liked whoever gave the order.” He said frankly, “My first drill sergeant reminded me of this bully I used to know which caused me to bite back a little.”
“Which I’m guessing didn’t go well.”
“I scrubbed toilets for months. Still managed to be best in class though so he can suck it.”
A laugh escaped without her intent. They finally made eye contact and smiled at each other, laughing at themselves.
“I know you don’t really have a choice now and you can’t really leave but, if you could take back being an agent, would you?”
His mouth twisted into a weird expression. Apparently, Grant didn’t know how to answer this.
“What I’m supposed to tell you,” He tried, “Is that this is the best job you could have. That you save and protect people and that makes anything worth it.”
Grant lowered his voice but didn’t break eye contact.
“But I don’t know. I never learned anything different from the life I have so I have no clue if any of this is worth-while.”
Skye nodded, a small understanding smile on her face.
He almost darted out of his seat.
“Who is dumb enough to go back to their house when they’re running from the government?”
They caught the