The Return of Shield

An Introduction to Grant Ward

Kat was able to see Grant Ward only sporadically for a month following his arrest. Because of the injuries to his larynx, he had to have surgery and IV feeding tubes while his throat healed. He couldn’t talk during that time, so Kat decided it was best to ease into their acquaintance. After the initial pain of the surgery subsided, she breezed into his hospital room one afternoon.

He did not look good. Of course, he was hooked up to various tubes and the results of his fight with Agent May were still in evidence. But even so, there seemed to be a pall hanging over him. As someone who was trained to be sensitive to atmosphere, Kat realized that there was a lot going on with Ward but she initially decided to ignore it.

“Hi, Grant,” she said cheerily. “My name is Agent Katerina Sevda of the FBI. I’m a psychologist, so when you feel better and are able to talk, you’ll be meeting with me on a regular basis. I just wanted to stop by, introduce myself and see if you needed anything.”

Grant just looked at her without expression and shook his head. Kat hadn’t expected anything more from him but, despite her best efforts to just go, she prevented herself from making a quick exit. The tension in the room was almost overwhelming. Kat stopped a minute and thought back to what she knew about Grant: his family of origin had been abusive, John Garrett had saved him from prison, he spent a significant amount of time with Ward and, as his SO, taught him everything he knew. Ward had an excellent record at the Academy, his performance reports were stellar, and he was a loner yet rumor had it that he had integrated well into Coulson’s team, more than what would have been expected from a sleeper agent. Moreover, Grant didn’t seem to be a Hydra True Believer but was instead beyond loyal to Garrett. Kat had read the reports from the members of the military held captive by Garrett right before he was killed as well as the ones from Coulson and his team. It all came back to Garrett.

While Kat was deep in thought, two nurses came in and started checking Grant’s vitals and pain medication. While they were not exactly rough, Kat could tell that they weren’t being gentle either. They did not ask him any questions but talked only to each other and looked at Ward with distaste if they looked at him at all. For his part, Grant seemed to stoically endure whatever they did to him.

“Excuse me!” Kat said to get their attention as they finished up their tasks. The two nurses turned to her. “Hi. I’m his psychologist, Dr. Sevda, and I’d like to know how he is doing.” Kat said in an even tone.

“Well, his vitals seem to be fine and the surgery went well. He’ll have to keep the trach in for a week along with the IVs and he won’t be able to talk for a while,” the one in charge said with a bit of a smirk. She turned to go.

“What about his level of pain?” Kat inquired.

The other nurse looked up from where he was arranging wires and collecting materials. “What do you mean?”

“I mean,” Kat started patiently, “how do you know whether he needs more pain medication if you didn’t ask him about his level of pain?”

The two nurses looked at each other and shrugged as if they didn’t care. “I’m sure he’ll let us know if he needs something,” the male nurse said with a hint of a smile. Kat started a slow burn but knew she needed to wait.

“Well, why don’t we find out now?” Kat said pleasantly as she walked toward the bed and met Grant’s eyes. “Grant, on a scale of 10 with 1 meaning you’re not in any pain and 10 meaning you’re in the worst pain, what is your level of pain right now?” Grant turned his head away but turned back to look at Kat in surprise when she gently took his hand. “Grant,” she said in a low voice, “I know that you’re in pain right now. There is absolutely no point in making yourself suffer and, what’s more, I won’t allow it. Now, you can either let me know how you feel or I can have them bump up the pain medication to where I think it should be. I imagine that I will err on the side of caution, so if you would prefer not to be heavily medicated, then give me an honest answer.”

Grant held up a hand to indicate 5. Kat rolled her eyes, let go of his hand and walked back to the nurses. “I think we can assume that’s at least a 7. Can you adjust his meds accordingly?” The nurses nodded, adjusted the drip and once again turned to go. “Oh, I also wanted to ask about his other injuries.” The nurses looked confused. “He was in a bad fight not long ago and had a number of contusions, bruises and possibly sprains. He also had severe injuries to his foot. How are all of those healing?”

“Umm….I’m not certain; I’ll have to check,” the female nurse said, turning to go.

Kat felt a wave of anger wash over her. Now was the time. “Wait a minute!” she said in a harsh voice. She felt rather than saw Grant look over at her. “I realize that Grant Ward is considered a traitor and an enemy to this country but he is still a human being who deserves the best care you can provide! Your job is not to sit in judgment on your patients but to help people heal from whatever injuries they have. For this particular patient, that means that you and your colleagues will treat all of his injuries, not just the ones you care to see. It also means that you will provide him with the utmost in patient care, up to and including courtesy, because if you do not, believe me, I will hear about it and I will make your lives hell! Do we understand each other?” The nurses nodded, looking scared. “I also expect to be updated daily on his condition and I will be having a word with your supervisor to ensure that my instructions are followed.” The nurses nodded again. Kat turned away and said dismissively, “Now you can go.” The nurses scuttled out.

Kat took a deep breath and felt her body calm down a bit. She walked back over to Grant who was looking at her with a solemn expression. “I’m sorry,” she said quietly. “No matter what you’ve done, you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and I intend to see that you get that.” He gave a kind of half-hearted shrug and turned his face to the window. Kat continued to stand there feeling like there was something else that he needed.

“Grant,” she said to get him to look at her again. “Is there something you would like to ask me?”

He again shook his head but this time she could see the rigid set of his shoulders and, when he finally turned back to look at her, a hint of emotion in his eyes. Despite his excellent attempt at masking his feelings – and he was better at it than most people – Kat could tell that he was holding back an intense emotion, most likely sorrow. Whatever John Garrett had been to him (and she would figure out the details of that later), Grant was devastated by his death yet, given his circumstances, could not allow himself to truly grieve. His captors were angry enough that any sign of weakness would be commented upon and treated with gloating satisfaction. While she understood the temptation of that, Grant was still a human being with emotions that needed to be, if not expressed immediately, at least acknowledged.

“Okay. I need to go but I’ll be back later. Get used to my face because,” she smiled a bit, “you’ll be seeing a lot of it.” Her smile left and an expression of compassion replaced it. “But before I leave, I wanted to let you know that I realize how important John Garrett was to you and I’m sorry for your loss.”

Grant’s face twisted in surprise as he looked up at her. Kat smiled a little, patted his shoulder gently (she wasn’t sure where he was wounded and didn’t want to hurt him), and left the room. Behind her, she heard Grant’s breathing catch.

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