The Return of Shield

Build Up

It had been a tough two weeks, Kat acknowledged to herself one morning while she sat on the stairs watching Grant go through his workout routine. True to his word, Phil had moved Grant to a bunk a few days after they had arrived. However, Grant would wear a tracking bracelet similar to the one Skye did and Coulson made it known that Grant also would be supervised when not in his bunk. Kat supervised most of Grant’s time and tried to make the most of it. The two of them worked out, cooked, discussed movies and books, played games (although not Battleship) and, of course, had their usual sessions.

Trip spelled her occasionally and, by the look of it, seemed to be getting along well with Grant. When she asked him what they talked about, Trip just shrugged. “Not much, specialist stuff mostly. He’s not real talkative but, between you and me, I think he’s dying to ask about Garrett. He just doesn’t know how to do it.”

Kat nodded thoughtfully. She knew that Trip’s relationship with Garrett was a sore spot not only with Grant but also with the team. No one knew just what to make of it and Trip didn’t talk about it voluntarily. Kat suspected that he was worried that the team would start questioning his loyalty.

The rest of the team tended to avoid Grant as much as possible even though Kat insisted that he join them for mealtimes and group meetings. Only Fitz would try speaking to him but when Grant wouldn’t give much more than one word responses, he would eventually give up.

After Grant sat down beside her to rest, Kat asked, “How are things?”

He shook his head and smiled a bit. “You know how they are; hell, the two of us are practically joined at the hip! How do you think they are?”

“Hard,” she replied.

Grant nodded. After several minutes of silence, he sighed and said, “It’s hard thinking about what could have been. Given what I’ve done, I don’t blame them for hating me. I just wish I could go back and do everything over. But I can’t, so all I can do is be prepared to do whatever they need me to do.”

“You know, life isn’t just about what you do; it’s also about who you are and how you connect with others. It might help if you actually talked with the team,” Kat said.

Grant snorted. “Yeah, right. They’d probably fall over in shock if I started a conversation. Even if they wanted to hear what I had to say, they aren’t used to me talking much.”

“That was the old you, the one who had to keep up a cover. The new you is someone they don’t know. And they’ll never get the chance to know this Grant if you don’t let them. Besides,” she smiled, nudging her shoulder with his, “talking can be fun.”

He smiled back at her. “Maybe for you. I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing a lot of talking. And other things too. Let’s see. You’ve been doing Tai Chi with May, cooking with Jemma, playing cards with Skye, and taking walks around the Bus with Fitz. The only people I never see you do anything with are Coulson and Trip. What are you up to?”

Kat said nothing.

“Wait, don’t tell me!” Grant continued. “You don’t need to bond with Coulson and Trip because you already know them, so you’ve been trying to connect with the others.” Kat raised her eyebrows at him but remained silent, watching him work it all out. “Ahh, I get it. You think that if they like you, then they’ll be more willing to give me a chance by association.” He laughed. “That’s pretty devious but I wouldn’t count on it actually working!”

Kat sighed. “People do things for all sorts of reasons, so I don’t think devious is the word I’d use. Sure, I would like for them to not only like but trust me and if that has benefits for you, I won’t be sorry. But that’s not the only reason I’ve been spending time with them. They’re a great team and are worth getting to know.”

Grant nodded, looking ashamed. “You’re right. They are worth getting to know.”

Kat ducked her head in order to make eye contact with him. “You’re worth getting to know too, Grant. And that’s the thing here. The team doesn’t know you, not the real you. I’d be surprised if you know the real you; the real you is someone you can all get to know together.”

“I don’t know how to do that,” Grant said softly.

Kat put her hand on his shoulder as she stood up. “Try talking,” she said as she went up the stairs. As Grant went back to his workout, Kat saw that Skye had been watching them and moved to join her. The two women turned as one to look down at Grant.

“He’s fun to watch, isn’t he?” Kat started.

Before she could catch herself, Skye nodded and smiled slightly. Then she looked over at Kat and the smile dropped off her face. “You two look pretty close. I lived with him on this plane for close to a year and I never saw him laugh as much as he does when he’s with you.” Kat smiled to herself. Skye sounded jealous.

“It’s a unique relationship,” she admitted. “My job allows me to know things about people that others don’t. A lot of times that makes people feel comfortable with me because they don’t have to worry about hiding who they are.” Kat wondered if Skye would take the bait.

Skye totally bit. “Since he’s been back on the Bus, I realized that I don’t know anything about him. I don’t know his favorite food, his favorite color, the kind of music he likes or even if he has a favorite author. I know a little about how he grew up but I don’t know why he joined Hydra or why he betrayed us! I don’t even know how he feels at all most of the time!” she said, her frustration evident.

“Why don’t you ask him?”

“What if everything he tells me is a lie? After what he did, how can I trust anything he says?” Skye asked somewhat loudly. The average person probably couldn’t tell but Kat noted Grant’s body language and realized he heard Skye’s questions.

“Trust is built, not given. Give Grant a chance to earn back your trust. He could lie to you but I doubt he would. What would be in it for him? Ask him things and then see if what he tells you is true. He wants to talk with you, Skye; he just doesn’t know how to start. Grant both is and isn’t the person you think he is. Not everything was a lie, just his mission. And there is a lot more to his history than you know.” With that parting shot, Kat walked back down the stairs.

Over the next few days, Kat noticed Grant trying to talk to the team more. He discussed monkeys with Fitz, went over choke holds with Trip and she even overheard him talking about music with Skye. Kat thought things were going well until Jemma cornered her in the kitchen with a stormy look on her face, “Dr. Sevda, may I have a word?”

“Of course, Dr. Simmons. What can I do for you?”

“I realize that you have a job to do and that Director Coulson agreed to let Agent Ward back on the Bus. I understand that but what I do not think you understand is how difficult it is! You seem to treat Agent Ward like he is a regular person but he isn’t. I don’t know how he got that way or why but he’s evil! Agent Ward tried to kill Fitz and me – he almost succeeded with Fitz! – and I don’t know if I can ever even look at him again without remembering that!” Jemma burst out.

Kat looked at her sympathetically. “It sounds like you’re having trouble dealing with that whole experience.”

Jemma looked confused for a moment and then irritated. “Perhaps I am struggling with it a bit but that isn’t the point!”

“I think it is,” Kat insisted. “Jemma, what you went through had to be incredibly traumatic and I have no doubt that you’re probably experiencing some symptoms of post-traumatic stress. But as long as you hate Grant for what happened, you’re not going to be able to let it go. If you let me, I can help you with that.”

“He was the cause of it! How can I not hate him?”

“Yes, he released the medpod into the ocean but Grant also saved your life once, right?”

Jemma nodded, the last statement having the effect of somewhat decreasing her anger. She looked down. “I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“I don’t know. I guess I’m wondering why the bad act gets more weight than the good one. From what I understand, Grant didn’t have to jump after you. He could have let Fitz do it or just let you die. Instead, he chose to try and save you at great risk to himself. Then, he held you above the water for a long time waiting to be rescued. Why would someone evil do that, especially when doing nothing would have been easier?”

“I don’t know.” Jemma looked down, her anger having given way to sadness and confusion. “I don’t know what to believe about him or even how to talk to him anymore.”

“I know,” Kat said gently, putting her hand on Jemma’s shoulder. “And I know this will be difficult but I think you should talk with Grant about what happened. Jemma, if it helps, I don’t believe that Grant is evil. He’s made some incredibly poor decisions but he did have his reasons and I know that he cares about the people on this team. I realize that talking with him will be a challenge but you owe it to yourself to at least try because I don’t think you’ll be able to put this behind you until you do. And my offer still stands: if you need help, please tell me and I’ll do what I can.”

Jemma nodded and Kat left the kitchen pleased at how things were going. She headed directly to Phil’s office, knocked and went in. Both Phil and May were there, so Kat jumped right in. “I think we need to have another team meeting and this time, everyone should be there.”

Phil nodded, “If you think they’re ready.”

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