The Return of Shield

An Uncomfortable Talk

Grant did decide to go talk with Skye. As far as he was concerned, it needed to be sooner rather than later. A lot had gone on in the past several days and he needed the chance to see where she was with everything. He knocked on her door and was immediately granted entry. She was, of course, working on her computer.

Grant sat down on the end of the bed. “Taking a break from working on Quinn?”

She looked up from the screen. “Yeah. Everything kind of starts to blur together after a while. AC insisted I relax and start fresh in the morning.”

Grant nodded but said nothing. Now that he was here, he had no idea of what he wanted to say.

Skye, recognizing his attempt to connect, shut down her computer and put it under her bunk. Then, she sat cross-legged on the bed, looking at him. “So, how is Kat? Finding out that your dead husband betrayed you and is actually alive has to be messing with her head.”

He shrugged. “She’s about as good as you might expect. I went to her bunk to see if I could help.”

Skye leaned forward and took his hand. “That was nice of you.”

Grant shrugged again and looked at the floor.

“OK,” Skye said briskly, letting go of his hand. “What else is going on? You have to talk with me, Grant. Remember, you promised no more Robot.”

Grant sighed and changed his focus to the wall. “For 15 years, I knew what to think, what to do, and what my future was going to be but now everything has changed. I thought Garrett saved me but he turned out to be just as abusive as my real father. He taught me a lot of things and I’m realizing that many of those things were wrong. But he wasn’t wrong about everything. So now I don’t know what to think.”

Skye looked at Grant carefully and saw that he was barely holding on. What must it be like to learn that almost everything you thought you knew was wrong? “What was he right about?” she asked in a neutral tone.

“Relationships. Garrett always told me that caring for people made you weak and he was right. It does.”

“What? How can you say that?”

“Kat is in there devastated because her love for Blake led to her parents’ death. I’m pretty certain that Blake screwed up his mission because he loved her. Mike Peterson and some of the other super soldiers allowed themselves to be used so that the people they loved weren’t hurt. I did things I didn’t want to do because I cared for Garrett.” He looked over at Skye. “You gave Hydra information you shouldn’t have because you didn’t want me to die. See? Weak.”

Skye’s mouth fell open. She’d had no idea of how screwed up Grant’s thought processes truly were. She leaned forward, trying to catch his eye. “You’re looking at it all wrong, Grant. People’s relationships, healthy relationships that is, are what make us strong. Our love for others is what keeps us going, makes us happy, helps us grow. AC is alive because Fury couldn’t let him die. Mike’s love for Ace is what helped him keep his moral center and survive. You were at your best when you were with us because you cared. And I don’t regret my decision to keep you alive. My feelings for you are what gave me the strength to make the hard call. I would do it again in a heartbeat because it gave you a chance to come back to us.”

There was a long silence as Grant mulled over what she had said. Skye watched him think, trying desperately to keep her anxiety in check. He had to believe her or they might just be back to square one. “Yeah, ok,” he said finally. “I think that’s what both May and Trip were trying to tell me too. And of course Kat has been saying that forever. It’s just hard to wrap my head around the idea that emotions aren’t just good ways to get you killed.”

“Wow. Hydra really did a number on your head, didn’t they?” Skye asked, leaning back against the bed.

Grant turned his body so he was directly facing her. “That right there is part of the problem, Skye,” he said with passion. “It wasn’t just Hydra that taught me that; SHIELD did too. Look at May and Trip. They don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves either.”

Skye opened her mouth to say something but Grant kept going, “You all keep telling me how horrible Hydra is but SHIELD is just as bad. The serial killer thing you called me on? Well, I’ve killed way more people for SHIELD than I ever did for Hydra but that didn’t seem to bother you. Remember how you were so angry at me for playing you? I’ve betrayed lots of people for SHIELD too. Everyone kept complimenting me for getting the best espionage scores since Romanoff but they were furious when those skills were used in ways they didn’t like.”

Skye was taken aback. She realized that he was making some good points but she didn’t know enough about SHIELD or Hydra to contradict or explain them. She also needed more time to think about what he said but she realized that he was waiting for a reply. “Where is all this coming from? I thought things were going better. Did Kat say something negative about SHIELD?”

Grant sighed. “Not really. It’s just that this Blake guy is another sleeper agent, like I was. Everyone is so ready to throw him to the wolves and I started wondering about my situation. Whatever you want to say about Garrett, when I was following his orders, at least I knew who I was and where I stood. Now right and wrong aren’t as simple and I have no idea of who I am or even what I should do any more. One day everyone on the team liked me but when they discovered I wasn’t the person they thought I was, the next day they hated me. Now they’re starting to like me again but I’m still the same person, Skye. What happens if I screw up or express an opinion they don’t like?”

“I don’t think you are the same person anymore. You’ve been through too much to go back. We’re even calling you by a different name!” she said smiling, trying to get him to smile back. When he didn’t, she got serious again. “I don’t have all the answers and I can’t speak for anyone else but here is what I know. If you screw up or express an opinion I don’t like, I’m not going to be quiet about it. You will definitely hear from me but I won’t shut you out or give up on you. We’ll talk about it and try to figure things out. That’s what people in healthy relationships do.”

Grant leaned back and raised his eyebrows. “We’re in a relationship?”

Skye smiled a little. “Friends, trainee/SO, teammates, maybe….more….but yes, we’re definitely relationshipping.”

Grant chuckled. “Relationshipping? You just made that up.”

“Maybe I did,” Skye said loftily. “But you have to admit that it fits.”

“That it does,” he said as he stood up to go. “Goodnight, Skye.”

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