The moment Skye kisses Ward, she knows she’s screwed – figuratively at the very least. Because if she’s close enough to literally have his lips on hers she should be trying to bring him in, or kill him. Instead, she’s letting him crowd her up against the dresser in this dingy motel room, thanking all the powers that be that she turned her comm off.
Because she’s supposed to be on a stakeout right now, waiting for a guy claiming to be selling SHIELD tech, but now she’s hoping he won’t show up. Ward is kissing her in his all-consuming passion concentrated to a single point way, and as much as she hates him – and she does, she really does – he’s good at it. He’s brazenly desperate, the way his hands grip her body, the way he pulls her lower lip between his own like he might die if she stops him. Which she should, of course she should. Then he lifts her so she’s sitting on the dresser and slips his tongue into her mouth and fuck.
She opens her legs so he can stand between them and tangles her fingers through his hair.
His hand finds the gun tucked into the waistband of her pants and seems to make a grab for it. Skye pushes off the dresser, using her full body weight to tackle him to the floor. They land with a thump, but before Skye can react, Ward has moved to pin her to the ground.
“What was that for?” he asks.
“Think you can distract me that easily?” she says, trying and failing to push him off. “I’m a lot harder to kill than I used to be.”
“I’m not trying to kill you,” he says, simply. He’s only slightly out of breath and Skye tries to curb her heavy breathing.
“Then what are you trying to do?” She already knows of course; it’s very difficult to miss it in his eyes.
“You know,” he says because he’s still too good at reading her for comfort.
“Yeah, well, that sucks for you,” she says.
He looks at her for a long moment, then slowly stands up, steps back, not taking his eyes from her for a moment. Skye rises, cautiously, watching Ward in return like he’s a wild animal she came across in the forest. She steps to the side, toward the door, making sure to keep her back away from Ward.
“You can leave, or call the team,” he says. The team, not your team, as though he still has some connection to them. “Or you can stay.”
You can stay, if you want. Words he said to her forever ago. He had been reaching out to her then too – or, in actuality – doing what double agents do, getting her to like him. But here, now, there are no pretenses. She knows who he is. So really, if you look at it that way, it isn’t as bad as it seems.
She takes out her earpiece and sets it on the dresser. He raises his eyebrows.
“Don’t make me say it out loud,” she tells him, and he shrugs and closes the distance once more.
Before finding out about Ward, she had imagined scenarios similar to this one; being on a stakeout with Ward, things getting a little steamy. In her fantasies, this would eventually lead to them being together – but in secret of course, because agents aren’t supposed to fraternize. Coulson would give an overprotective dad speech, May would give an overprotective mom stare, and then she and Ward would plot to get Fitzsimmons together.
In reality, it’s different because none of them can ever know. She wouldn’t be able to stand the way Fitzsimmons would look at her if they found out she had spent the afternoon with her tongue down the throat of the man who had tried to kill them. Who had killed so many people. And, god, May and Coulson, too, they’d all be so disappointed… She would never forget the time they had caught her with Miles – and this is so much worse.
She pushes them from her mind because if she’s going to do this stupid, terrible, reckless thing, she might as well enjoy it. Because even though he’s evil, Ward is also hot. And he’s a spy, which means that he’s had a lot of experience – obviously – and confidence has always looked good on him.
Another thing that looks good on him: no clothes. Like, she knows what he looks like, but seeing through x-ray glasses is very different from seeing in the flesh.
He’s seen her before as well. The shower on the Bus is only a short dash from her bunk, but the Bus is only so big, and she has a bad habit of forgetting a towel and risking the skimpy scurry, and Ward has a bad habit of being in places unexpectedly. So the sight isn’t exactly new.
But that doesn’t stop him from looking at her the way people look at the stars, or sculptures in museums. He actually pulls back to look at her, and it’s pissing her off a little because this is supposed to be hate sex. They’re on opposite sides here – and not in the star-crossed lovers way, but in the diametrically opposed sort of way.
He’s not supposed to touch her gently or adoringly, he’s supposed to grab her hard and fuck her fast while they trade insults. He’s supposed to leave finger-shaped bruises and mouth shaped marks on her, not brush her hair behind her ear.
So she sets her jaw and shoves him toward the bed. He tilts his head, as though to say Someone’s eager.
“I don’t have all day,” she says, climbing onto the bed. “They’ll worry.”
He approaches the side of the bed. “If you don’t want t–”
“Shut up,” she says and pulls him down on top of her.
His weight on her is perfect and he wastes no time now. He takes her apart with skill and the utmost concentration. With every touch, Skye realizes how much he knows about her, things he has intuited that she likes. And it’s agonizingly intense, but not in a we hate each other and need to fuck out the tension way.
Skye tries to avoid his eyes in the beginning but finds herself seeking them out as she bites back a cry at her pinnacle. Then she pulls him into a kiss so she can avoid them again, as though eye contact is too intimate.
He might whisper three terrifying words as he comes. She isn’t sure, or maybe she’s just choosing to mishear him.
Ward rolls over, lies beside her, as Skye comes back to herself. She stares at the ceiling, hearing his breathing even out. She swallows hard and waits for him to say something.
It’s quiet for a long time.
He reaches out for her, and she pushes his hand away. She can feel his eyes on her but refuses to look at him, keeping her gaze on the ceiling. He shifts and sighs deeply.
“Do you… want to talk about it?” he asks finally.
Skye rolls her eyes. She steals a glance at him and immediately regrets it. His hair is messy and his eyes are soft and he looks… like a guy. Like just some guy. Some guy who she just slept with, who likes her, who hopes she likes him back.
“I’m gonna shower,” she says, getting up. She collects her clothes from where they are scattered on the floor and closes the bathroom door behind her. She hugs the bundle to her chest and leans against the door, staring at her reflection in the mirror. She expects herself to feel sick, to have an adverse reaction to sleeping with a man she should, by any logic, despise.
But the truth is that she doesn’t hate him. She hates what he does – and what he did – but she doesn’t hate him. She understands him, more than she would admit to anyone. Hell, under different circumstances, she could’ve been him. It could’ve been him standing in this bathroom, conflicted, while she lies in bed, loving him.
Because he does. Love her, that is. And doesn’t that mean that he’s not totally evil and irredeemable?
She still doesn’t know what to say when she steps back into the room, dressed, with her wet hair soaking through her top.
In the bed, Ward snores quietly, arm outstretched to where she had lain. And he still looks like a regular guy. His features are softer in sleep, more open. She watches him for a moment, finding herself wishing for the billionth time that they’d met under different circumstances.
Outside, the sky is getting dark. She crosses the room and puts her comm back in her ear. To her relief, there are no voices worried about her.
“Hey, guys,” she says quietly. “I don’t think this guy is gonna show.”
“You’re probably right,” Coulson says. “Why don’t you drive back, and we’ll regroup.”
“Skye?” he asks, and she finds herself glancing over at Ward’s sleeping body. “Are you alright? You sound…”
“Nah, I’m fine,” she says quickly. “Stakeouts just make me sleepy, that’s all.”
“All right, see you soon.”
“Yeah, see you.”
She can’t tear her eyes away from Ward. The fact that he let himself fall asleep with her here. It’s unfathomable. And stupid. She could call for backup and they could take him in. She could kill him, shoot him where he lies.
He could be faking, to see how she’ll react, but somehow, she doubts it. This is just how he operates with her. He makes dumb decisions because of how he feels about her.
And she’s about to make a very dumb decision as well, but not because of what she feels.
Because of how she doesn’t feel.
She doesn’t hate Ward.
It’s about the only thing she knows for sure when it comes to him.
She looks back at him one more time and then closes the motel room door behind her.