The thing is that Skye can’t stop thinking about it. It’s not like she thought sleeping with him would get him out of her system or anything. But she had been starting to get over him until he showed up again like that.
And now she can’t get him off her mind. She’s having breakfast with Simmons, wrapping her hands around a cup of coffee and she remembers how warm his skin was under her touch. Training with May and she fixes Skye’s stance with a nudge to her leg, and she remembers his strong hands gripping her thighs as she sat on the dresser. Playing video games with Mack and finding the exact shade of his eyes on the tv screen. His soft, deep eyes, far too expressive and open to her, begging her to fall into them.
She’s sure everyone notices that something’s off, but Mack is the first to say anything.
“What’s up with you?” he asks after he’s beat her yet again, leaning back on the couch.
Skye shrugs. “Nothin’. Just… feeling a bit off, I guess.”
He doesn’t press the issue. “Rematch?”
“Nah, I should probably– I got stuff to do.”
“Coulson’s really working you to the bone, huh?”
“No, it’s nothing official.” She hesitates, trying to think of some plausible personal project but the answer that comes out is pretty indicative of her mind is at. “I’m looking for Ward.”
Mack frowns. “I thought he wasn’t a priority right now.”
“He’s not. But when I have time, I reach out to contacts and stuff. I just… don’t like the thought of him being out there somewhere.” She doesn’t like the thought of him being anywhere, if she’s entirely honest.
He looks at her for a long moment and she suddenly gets the absurd feeling that he knows. Because he couldn’t. No one could. “Alright,” he says finally. “I get that. I think a lot of people around here would feel better if we had him in custody again.” And he lets her go without any more questions.
Even if she wanted to talk about this with someone – which she really doesn’t – no one would get it. Sure, May also slept with Ward, a thought she is trying very hard to purge from her mind, but that was before, and once they knew, Maybe beat the hell out of him. May’s not embarrassed that they had a thing, but he would certainly never do it again.
And anyway, she can’t tell anyone from the original team, or who knew either of them before. Tripp had been Ward’s friend, so he’s not an option. And she can’t tell Mack, because he’d look at her in the same disappointed way they all would.
Which leaves Hunter. She’s already regretting everything when she knocks on his door, but at least he won’t judge her. He’s definitely made some bad sex-related decisions in the past. Although, having met Bobbi, she’s now not entirely sure how true his stories are.
He opens his door. “Skye!” he says in surprise. “How can I be of service?”
She is definitely going to regret this. She steps into the room. “I have a hypothetical question.”
“That is how all the best conversations start,” he says, closing the door, and he is way too excited about this.
She still has time to bail, to make something up, but what the hell. “Let’s say, hypothetically, that I slept with a guy that I… don’t like. Despise, even.”
He stares at her for a moment. “Well, fortunately, I have a lot of experience with that. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but my ex-wi–”
“You don’t hate Bobbi,” Skye says with a sigh. “You guys have a complicated relationship, sure, but you don’t hate each other. That’s pretty clear.”
He sputters for a second. “I– Well– She hates me, that’s– Wasn’t this about your hate sex problem?”
“As in, you’re hypothetically thinking about it, or that you’ve hypothetically done it already.”
She just looks at him.
“Right, well, step into my office.” He gestures at his unmade bed and desk chair covered in clothes, which he unceremoniously dumps to the floor so Skye can sit.
“So, who is the lucky man? Hypothetically.”
Her gaze falls to the floor. Even with Hunter, she can’t look him in the eye as she says it.
But Hunter is more intuitive than she gives him credit for because he says, “Oh. The psycho who lived in our basement and then escaped. That wasn’t you, was it?”
“No,” she says firmly, looking up again. “Like I said, I hate him. He killed Hand, he killed Koenig, he tried to kill Fitzsimmons.”
“You don’t have to convince me,” he says. “Sounds like a right bastard.” He looks at her. “And now you’re wondering if you’re a bad person? Because contrary to popular belief, the attributes of people you sleep with do not transfer to you. Otherwise, I’d be an insane hell-beast.”
Skye rolls her eyes.
“Was he at least good in the sack?”
“That’s not really important.”
“So, he was. And it is important because you wouldn’t be feeling this bad about sleeping with him if it wasn’t good.” He fixes her with a gaze that makes her want to squirm. “Why did you come to me about this? You don’t even really like me.”
She sighs. She might as well be honest with him since she’s come this far. “I knew you wouldn’t look at me the way the rest of them would. I mean, he tried to kill Fitzsimmons,” she says and it all dawns on her again. “God, what the hell is wrong with me?”
“Skye,” Hunter says, snapping her out of it. “We all do stupid things. Clearly, you had feelings for him and those don’t go away just like that just because you want them to.” It’s the most emotionally healthy thing she’s ever heard him say, so of course, he follows it up with: “I mean, otherwise, I wouldn’t still be hung up on my she-devil ex-wife, now would I?”
She laughs and the room feels a little lighter. “I know I’m not one to give advice,” she says, getting up. “But maybe you guys should talk to each other sometime.”
He shrugs. “Maybe. I’ll tell her you said so.”
“Don’t you dare,” she says with a grin, opening the door. “Seriously though, thanks, Hunter.”
“Anytime,” he says. “And Skye, you’re not a bad person, just try not to do it again. I say this from experience: you’ll probably regret it.”
Skye lasts about two weeks. For two weeks she throws herself into training and any project she can find. She’s the most production she’s been in ages, and she knows people notice, but they don’t say anything. She goes on ops to get back S.H.I.E.L.D. tech. She goes on a stakeout and definitely does not imagine Ward appearing, silent and last time. So what if she scans Hydra backchannels in her spare time – she’s just being thorough. And maybe she watches and rewatches the footage of her and Ward’s conversations from Vault D. It’s all part of her ongoing research into Hydra and what their next moves might be.
It’s all explainable until she sends out a message over the Hydra channels. “Pieces solving a puzzle” with a time and place.
He probably won’t show, she thinks, sitting in the diner. He probably thinks it’s a trap.
It really should be a trap.
Maybe later she’ll set a trap for him, but for now, she just wants to talk.
But he does show up. At exactly 2:30, Grant Ward enters the diner, in casual dress. He scans the diner until he sees her, nods in greeting and then scans the room again. When he sits across from her in the booth, he keeps his body angled partially outwards and keeps an eye on the exits.
He looks at her expectantly and she tries to stay calm and relaxed like May has been teaching her. Nonetheless, she keeps her hands wrapped around her coffee, afraid they might betray her nervousness.
“I’m not here to bring you in,” she says.
Ward glances around again. “Really? Cause this situation seems a bit familiar.”
“So you don’t get the wrong idea about what this is.”
“And what is it?”
“I just wanna talk.”
He nods slowly. “Alright.” He flags down a waitress. “I’ll have a coffee, one sugar.” He glances at her. “I think I’ll have pie; do you want pie?”
Skye manages a smile, for the sake of the waitress. “No thanks, I’m good.”
The waitress leaves and Ward turns back to her. “Does Coulson know you’re here?”
“He knows I’m out in the city, just not why,” she says. “But I can let him know where I am if I need help as soon as I need it.”
“I wasn’t asking to –” He sighs. “I’m not gonna hurt you.”
“This might surprise you, but I don’t trust you.”
He nods and looks so genuinely regretful that Skye wants to believe everything he says. “I understand.”
His coffee and pie arrive and they’re quiet until the waitress is gone again.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” he asks after a sip of coffee.
Skye honestly didn’t think she’d get to this part of her plan, so she finds herself at a loss for words. What does she want to talk to Ward about? She figured most things out after talking to Hunter, so why is she here? She knows what Ward feels. What could he possibly contribute?
“Why?” she asks finally. After everything we’ve been through. Why? How could you?
“I assume you were also there because of intel on a guy with SHIELD tech. Why would you pass that up?”
“Because you were there,” he says like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Like he would give up anything for her – except for his loyalty to Garrett and Hydra, of course.
“Because I was there.”
She leans back and crosses her arms, frowning at him. Because that can’t be it.
He’s working some angle; he has to be. Maybe he thinks he can use her to get to SHIELD, as a hostage, or he’ll get her to spill secrets. Maybe he thinks he can recruit her, or seduce her, or some combination. Either way, he’s severely underestimating her.
Which, although it isn’t like him, wouldn’t be the first time he’s done that.
“You decided that sleeping with me was more valuable than whatever tech there might’ve been.”
“I mean, when you put it like that it sounds– I just wanted to see you, talk to you.” His eyes are so soft. “And I’m glad that we… but that wasn’t my intention initially.”
The thing is that she’s sure he knows he could never turn her against SHIELD. Whatever she might feel for him, however more he could make her feel, that’s still her family.
But that just makes it worse. There’s nothing he can get from being with her, except for being with her. And that’s such a human thing that she doesn’t want to attribute it to him.
And if he’s not a threat to SHIELD – at least, not through her – that means that the only responsibility she holds right now is to herself.
“What do you want?” she asks, a little too loudly. A few people look at her.
“To spend time with you,” he says simply. “What do you want?”
Vaguely, Hunter’s warning echoes and Skye can almost see the way the team would look at her if they knew. But they don’t have to know. They never have to know.
They barely make it to the elevator of the nearest hotel before his lips are on hers.