A.N: I'm so sorry this took so long! I've been super sick so posting it has been super delayed. But with the new semester starting this week, I figured now is as good a time as any to post this. I hope it was well worth the wait! As always, review are always welcome! And yes... this one is way longer than the others were. I hope that's not a problem. ;-)
Running Back to You
It had been four months since they'd seen each other. Four long months had gone by since she walked off The Bus to train as a field Agent and to get away from him. He didn't know what to expect to find the next time he saw her. The person who stood in front of him was certainly not something he'd ever imagined.
Her tense posture was visible from the other side of the glass. She was standing in the command center at The Hub. Most Agents don't usually have clearance for that but she was different. She was always different. He wouldn't have put it past her to move up to Level 7 or 8 within the few months she was away. A part of him was almost proud of her. She was his rookie first. Before she went on to train under Commander Hill.
He walked in behind Coulson with May at his side and tried to keep his features stoic. She looked up at him before greeting the three of them with a soft smile.
"Agent Carter…" Coulson smiled. "Nice to see you again."
"Agent Coulson…" she gave him a slight nod to hide the blush the crept up on her.
"Agent Carter is here as a consultant. She's still only at Level 1 but this is… kind of her area of expertise…" Commander Hill explained.
Skye stepped up to her superior officer before touching a few key strokes to bring up a file on the much larger screen behind her. "We've been disbanding The Rising Tide around the globe… but a few days ago, this post popped up… and I recognized the signature…" she looked up at Coulson. "It's Miles."
"Your ex-boyfriend, Miles?" Ward asked harshly. "I thought he was under surveillance."
"He was..." Commander Hill shrugged. "Until he went off the grid a couple months ago…"
"And no one told us anything?" Ward accused.
"Stand down, Agent…" Commander Hill glared. "This wasn't your concern."
"The hell it wasn't." he muttered under his breath as Coulson placed a hand in front of his chest.
"Commander Hill… My apologies for Agent Ward's… reaction to the news…" Coulson apologized. "Miles Lydon was a case we worked on last year. We brought him in and we tagged him. Agent Ward just feels responsible for any damage he may have caused since then."
Commander Hill nodded understanding. "Skye's been tracking his every move online. But he's good."
"He's gotten better." Skye jumped in. "He's working with someone else. He's not with The Rising Tide anymore… this is way above and beyond anything they've ever done."
"What's he doing?" May spoke up for the first time.
Skye sighed sadly before playing a video of an explosion on a train track. "He's graduated from just being a whistle blower to full blown terrorist. No pun intended." She still shuddered when she watched the short video so she pressed pause at the exact moment of the explosion and looked up to find three stunned faces. "This was yesterday…"
Coulson frowned as Commander Hill spoke again. "Agent Carter will join you on this mission. She'll be using her skills to track Mr. Lydon and your mission will be to find the people he works for." She took a deep breath. "Use any measures necessary to bring this group down. Dismissed."
Skye dragged her small carry on behind her as she walked onto The Bus. She looked around the cargo bay smiling when she realized that nothing had really changed. The punching bag she used to train on was still there. She grinned when she spotted the cherry red collectible and walked up to it.
"Don't touch Lola."
She looked over her shoulder and smiled when she found Coulson looking down at her.
"I see nothing much has changed in four months." She said walking toward the stairs to meet him upstairs. "It almost feels like I never left."
He was smiling when she reached him and took the luggage handle out of her hand. "Come on… you still have your bunk."
Fitz and Simmons welcomed her warmly. They were talking a mile a minute about all the adventures they'd been on since she'd been gone and how many times Ward and May had burst in to save the day. Skye was smiling throughout their entire storytelling despite the ache she was feeling inside. She would have given anything to have been as much a part of those stories as they were.
"So…" Simmons was saying. "Level 1… how exciting!"
"Hardly…" Skye rolled her eyes. "I'm the equivalent of a snot nosed kid who just graduated from the Academy."
"Did you go to the Academy?"
Skye nodded. "Operations actually… but only for about a month. I spent the rest of my training under Commander Hill in some classified location…" she finished her statement using quotations with a laugh. "I know it was Montana."
Simmons and Fitz gave her a panicked look before talking at the same time. "You shouldn't have told us that!"
"What?" Skye asked. "Why not?"
"No one is supposed to know where the training facilities are…. It's…"
"Classified…" she finished. "I know. Which is why I lied."
She laughed out loud at their facial expressions.
"Relax guys… it was just a joke. I spent the last four months at the Academy…" she shrugged. "Not what I was expecting but I'm sure Hill had her reasons."
"She always does." Coulson spoke up as he walked into the lab with Ward and May behind him. "I see the three of you have been catching up."
"Yeah... FitzSimmons was just telling me about all the super cool missions you guys have been on…" Skye answered. "I'm jealous."
"You were definitely missed." Coulson added. "But we have a mission now… and we have to get to work."
"Where do we start?"
He walked past her bunk on the way to the kitchen. She'd been unpacking the few items she'd brought with her and his brain instantly traveled to the day she was packing to leave. Fitz and Simmons had both passed by and hung around her bunk while she unpacked. He'd stayed mostly out of the way. Before reaching the kitchen, he turned back around and walked up to her open door.
She looked up and greeted him with a smile. "Agent Ward… hey."
"Hi…" he mumbled leaning against the doorframe. "You settling in okay?"
"It's just like a riding a bike." She shrugged.
The silence was deafening.
She glanced at him with a confused expression. "You okay?"
"Uh… yeah… just wanted to make sure that you were… you know… settled."
"I'm… very settled." She confirmed with a nod.
"I'm gonna go…" he stood up straight.
"I'll see you in debrief…" she said with a smile.
"Yeah… see you then…"
Ward turned around to leave but stopped himself. He was about to turn back toward her open bunk when her voice made him stop in her tracks.
"Hey…" she breathed. "I just got on The Bus. Just wanted to check in so you knew I was fine…"
He leaned in to listen more closely listening to her side of the conversation.
She laughed into what he assumed was her phone. "I should only be gone a few days. I'll be back before you know it."
Ward frowned before turning to leave.
"Miles must have found someone to remove the bracelet…" Skye was saying in debrief later. "I'm not sure how because I tried pretty much everything when I had mine…" she rolled her eyes and looked up to see everyone eyeing her oddly. "What? It was itchy."
"Alright…." Coulson mumbled before taking over. "What are his last known whereabouts?"
"After Japan, he made it home to the states…" she shrugged. "He was local up until recently when he fell off the face of the map."
"And he hasn't tried to make any contact with you?" May asked.
Skye shook her head. "He knows I chose you guys last time… he wouldn't even have tried."
"You sure about that?" Ward spoke up suddenly.
"Pretty sure…" Skye nodded in confusion. "He'd be stupid to try."
"Well, he's not the brightest bulb in the shed…" Ward spewed before shrugging nonchalantly. "It didn't take much for May to catch the two of you last time."
Simmons gasped while Fitz's jaw dropped. May tossed a glare his way while Coulson narrowed his eyes.
"You got something you want to say to me, Agent Ward?" she asked calmly.
"Are you still leaking intel to your boyfriend only to send us on another wild goose chase?" he blatantly asked her with his arms crossed.
Fitz and Simmons glanced between the two people in the room who were currently seething. May and Coulson eyed one another before silently planning their method of attack.
"Alright…" Coulson voiced out loud. "Time for a break. Agent Ward… my office…"
"What the hell is your problem?"
"Am I the only who's trying not to be taken for a fool…? Again?" Ward argued.
"Skye has proved her loyalty on numerous occasions." Coulson told him.
"It's not Skye I'm worried about… Not exactly anyway…" Ward frowned. "It's Miles…" The name came out with such disdain that he hoped his superior officer didn't notice. "She has a blind spot when it comes to him, sir. She always did."
"She may have had one once… but I really don't think that is the case anymore."
"But what if you're wrong?"
"Don't you trust her?" Coulson asked.
"Well, yes… but…" Ward started. "What if he got to her while she was away… while she wasn't with us…"
"What's this really about, Ward?" Coulson crossed his arms. "And save me the spiel about risk assessment. This is Skye we're talking about."
"I don't know what you mean, sir."
"I've been on the same plane with you for the last four months remember?" Coulson frowned. "We all have…. We know you missed her."
Ward stood up straight and crossed his arms over his chest. "She made a call. She put herself ahead of others for once and made a hard decision."
"Do you believe she made the right call?"
"It's not my place to-"
"Ward, she's here for the next few days." Coulson said with a soft smile. "Instead of alienating her, why don't you try talking to her? Get some answers for why she left. You owe it to yourself."
"Thank you, sir."
"Good. Now get the hell out of my office."
Ward chuckled before turning to leave.
"Remember there's no "I" in team, Agent Ward."
He found her sitting on the couch in the common room reading a file. With a smirk, he headed down the rest of the steps and walked straight to the bar. He pulled out a bottle and two glasses before sitting down in front of her.
Skye looked up with a confused look. "This feels like déjà vu."
Ward shrugged. "Looks like we got off on the wrong foot… again."
Skye let out a soft chuckle before shaking her head. "Are you trying to apologize, Agent Ward?"
He nodded shamefully. "Is it working?"
"Depends on what you're apologizing for…"
"Being a jackass?" he tried.
"Amongst other things." She grinned. "But it's a start…" she nodded toward the bottle. "Better make it a double."
He poured her a glass and handed it to her before pouring himself one. "I am sorry…" he started. "About what I said in there."
She held the glass in her hand and eyed the amber liquid swirling inside. "I can't say I blame you… I don't exactly have the best track record when it comes to Miles…"
"You made a choice back then." Ward said. "You chose SHIELD. I have no right to continue to rehash what happened."
"No…" she said taking a sip. "You don't… but I can see why you would." She watched him over the rim of her glass before taking a sip. "I've missed you, Grant. Training hasn't been the same without you around."
He smiled. "I've missed our training sessions too… You were my first…" he choked on a sip of the drink. "Rookie… First rookie… I mean… You were the first Agent I ever supervised."
She smiled knowingly. "Your first is always special."
"It is." He agreed.
"Do you have any regrets?" she asked suddenly.
"Like life altering regrets or regretting I had beans this morning kind of regrets?"
She laughed. "You've gotten funnier since I left."
She smiled softly. "The life altering kind…"
"Sure, I guess." He shrugged.
"Yeah, me too." She sighed.
"What do you regret?" he asked softly watching her stretch back on the couch.
Skye closed her eyes before opening them again to look at him. "Leaving The Bus."
He felt like he was choking on air. She regretted leaving them. Maybe she regretted leaving him. He took a deep breath, trying to calm his beating heart. "Why did you? Leave I mean?"
"At the time it seemed like the right thing to do."
He nodded in understanding.
"What about you?" she asked. "What do you regret?"
He opened his mouth to respond. Just tell her how much you regret letting her go. Tell her that you regret not standing in that cargo bay the day she left. Tell her, something, anything.
"I guess I regret-"
"Ward… Skye…" Coulson interrupted. "HQ sent coordinates of Miles' last known whereabouts. Looks like he surfaced again in an internet café in Paris. We're heading there now. Get some rest. You two are going in the field tomorrow."
"Got it." Skye stood up quickly and watched the older man walk back up the stairs. She turned to head to her bunk and stopped. Turning around, she looked over her shoulder, "I'm sorry, Ward. What were you going to say?"
Ward chugged the rest of what was in his glass before shaking his head. "Nothing… you should get some rest like Coulson said."
Skye walked out of the internet café with a frown. "He hasn't been here in a couple days. I'm walking to you."
Ward looked up from the newspaper he was reading and lowered his sunglasses. "No. Meet me back on The Bus. We'll rendezvous there."
"Gotcha." Skye said before her communication went silent. "Ward? Damn it." She stopped suddenly when she felt someone standing behind her. "Listen buddy, for your own good you might want to keep on walking…"
"Are you Skye?"
She turned around to find an older man standing in front of her. "Who wants to know?"
"He said you were spunky."
"The man you are searching for… he is waiting for you. I can take you to him."
"I don't know what you're talking about… you must have me confused with someone else…"
"He said you'd say that…" the older man nodded. "So he told me to tell you that your favorite flowers are lilacs and that the first time you met, you gave him a bloody nose for trying to steal your… codes?"
Skye's jaw dropped. "How do you… where is he?"
"Come with me and I'll take you to him."
"I have to alert my team-"
"No!" the older man burst. "He had very specific directions. You have to come alone."
"Okay…" Skye nodded. "Fine… take me to him."
Skye walked into a dark room and frowned. "Did you forget to pay the light bill?"
The older man who had escorted her inside shook his head. "They have to believe he is still asleep so we keep it dark and he wears eye masks."
"The people watching my every move."
She turned toward the familiar voice. "Miles?"
"Hello, Skye. It's been a while."
Ward walked on to The Bus and went straight to Fitz and Simmons lab. "Did Skye make it back before me?"
Fitz and Simmons both looked at him with confusion.
"We thought she was still with you in the field…" Simmons answered.
"No, we agreed to meet back here." Ward shook his head. "But she was closer to the air strip than I was. She should have gotten here before me."
"Skye hasn't returned, Ward." Fitz told him.
Ward glanced between the two of them before pulling out his cell phone. He dialed a number frantically and growled when it kept going to voicemail. "Something's wrong."
"Miles?" She could barely see him because it was so dark in the room. "What's with a aversion to sunlight? Did you become a vampire in my absence?"
"It would probably be better than the fate I was given." He muttered.
"What happened to you?" Skye asked. "How did you become what you are?"
"They got to me." He answered vaguely.
"That group in Japan…" he whispered. "The one you and your super secret spy team were tracking… Centipede."
"Oh… Miles…" Skye whispered.
"It's my own fault." He continued. "I believed them when they said they were the good guys… Until they surgically planted a camera in my eye."
"They track my every move…" he was saying. "They make me do things… I knew sooner or later you'd find me… but I didn't want to risk them knowing I made contact with you."
"Miles…. God damn it… what did you do?" Skye felt frustrated.
"I'm sorry…" he said. "I didn't want to but they said they would kill me and I remembered what happened to that guy in Japan… I didn't… but maybe I should have…. I can't expect you to even want to help me."
"Shut up, Miles…" she glared at him. "Shut up and let me think…"
She paced the floor in the dark room and bit her lip until she could taste the metallic blood. She looked up at him and sighed sadly. "We can perform the surgery to remove the camera. We can take away the hold they have over you. But you have to trust me. You have to let me bring you in."
"No! Damn it, Skye!" he screamed in anger. "I don't trust them!"
"Well then trust me!" she countered.
He took a shuddering breath before nodding. "Fine… I do trust you… More than anyone."
She smiled softly even though she knew that he couldn't see her and took out the gun from her bag. "This will sting a little."
She fired one shot and watched him collapse into a deep sleep. She checked on him before pulling out her cell phone and dialing a number she'd memorized a long time ago. "Ward…. We have a situation."
"What the hell were you thinking?!"
"I was thinking that he needed our help!" she wasn't expecting to have to defend herself against them when they got back to The Bus.
"Skye…" Coulson was trying to break up the argument. "You brought a known fugitive on The Bus… I mean… Are we sure he's safe?"
"Of course he's not safe!" Ward growled. "He's a damn terrorist!"
"Those explosions weren't his fault!" Skye argued. "He's being controlled. Like that girl we saved last year…. They're making him do those things."
"Convenient." Ward mumbled.
"Look…" Skye took a deep breath. "I know Fitzsimmons can help him." She looked at the two scientists. "He'll have to lose his eye but I think that's better than his life, don't you?"
She glanced at Coulson, May and Ward.
"That's not your decision to make for him, Skye." May started.
"Please…" she whispered. "Just… help him…"
Coulson glanced at the two scientists in the room who were currently looking down at their feet. "Prep for surgery."
Simmons and Fitz both nodded before hurrying out of the room. Skye let out a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding.
"Thank you…" she breathed out.
"We're not doing anything until he's fully aware of what is happening." Coulson said. "Come on… Time to wake him up."
"If you wake him up then whoever is watching will know he's with us." Skye followed him out of the room.
"Whoever is watching already thinks he's back in his hotel room reading the newspaper and awaiting his next orders." Coulson glanced at Ward. "Make sure HQ knows to buy us some time."
Ward nodded before leaving the room with May following.
"He's really mad at me, isn't he?" Skye muttered before looking back at the older man.
"He'll get over it." Coulson shrugged. "Let's go wake up your ex."
Miles opened his eyes slowly and sat up quickly. He saw Skye with Coulson and turned away quickly. "What did you do?! They'll see!"
"No, Miles… they won't." Coulson reassured him. "They don't know you're here. We've kind of… done this before."
"Done this? What's this?"
Skye stepped forward. "We know there's a failsafe. We know it's in your eye. We can remove it." She sat down next to him. "But there's a catch…"
"I'll do anything to get my own free will back…" Miles whispered. "Do it."
"Miles…" she started. "We'll have to remove the whole eye."
He turned away from her. "I figured as much." Miles looked from her to the older man in the room. "Do it."
"Miles…" Skye shook her head. "I'm so sorry… I'm sorry that they used you to get to me… to get to Shield."
He leaned his forehead against hers. "I'm not. You're worth it…"
She touched his face softly. "Fitzsimmons are the best at what they do. You'll be in good hands… I promise."
"I know…" he nodded. "I meant it when I said I trusted you."
She pulled him in for a hug and looked over his shoulder at Coulson. She gave the older man a meaningful glance that he understood.
The next time he woke up, he could only see through one eye. He looked around to find he was lying on a bed in what could be a hospital room.
"You're at a Shield facility."
He turned toward the familiar voice and smiled regretfully. "You still turned me in."
"I had to, Miles… you knew that…" she frowned before sitting on the bed beside him.
"I know…" he touched her hand and gave her a sad smile. "How do I look?"
"Like a sexy one eyed pirate…" she bit her lip to keep from laughing.
She let herself frown again. "I am so sorry…"
"Stop apologizing…" he groaned. "This isn't your fault. None of it is… I'm the idiot here."
She squeezed his hand. "How do you figure?"
"You gave me a chance to do the right thing last year and I didn't take it…" he frowned. "But I plan to… things will be different from now on, Skye. I do want to be the man you think I am. I plan on being him."
She smiled softly before leaning in to kiss his forehead. "I believe you."
He was smiling when his good eye caught movement on the other side of the glass looking into his hospital room. "The Navy Seal is out there watching us…"
She looked over her shoulder to find Ward standing outside with his arms crossed looking in.
"He's just worried is all…"
"He cares about you…" Miles said with a shake of his head.
"Ward?" Skye scoffed. "He's my S.O…."
Miles arched an eye brow.
"He's a friend." She answered his unasked question.
"For now… maybe…" Miles turned back to the glass before facing her again. "But I don't need two good eyes to be able to see that he has feelings for you." Miles settled back into the bed. "Maybe he did back then too… It would explain his hostility toward me."
Skye shook her head. "You're insane."
"And you're in denial."
She stood up and kissed his check. "Feel better, okay? I'll be checking up on you."
"Should I be worried?" he asked before she left. "About what they'll do to me?"
"They wouldn't have saved you if they were just going to hurt you…" she winked before leaving the room.
"You did." He mumbled after she'd already left.
"How is he?" Ward asked when she closed the door to Miles' room behind her.
"Better…" she nodded. "At least as good as one can be after losing an eye."
She turned to walk away but he caught her wrist to stop her.
"I'm sorry…" he mumbled. "I'm sorry I didn't trust you."
She smiled softly. "Apology accepted, Ward. I don't actually blame you considering my track record isn't exactly spotless when it comes to Miles."
"This time was different though." He said letting her arm go. "This time you went in as a Shield Agent. How did it feel?"
"Gratifying." She answered honestly.
"Is this it then?" he asked. "Is the mission done now that he's here?"
She shrugged. "I'm not sure. Commander Hill hasn't exactly given me my next orders." She shrugged and walked down the hall away from the window overlooking Miles' room.
"What if we asked you to come back?" he asked catching up with her.
"To The Bus?"
"Yeah…" he nodded.
"I'd be flattered but you guys don't need me." She said with a smile. "You're doing fine on your own."
"That's not exactly true…" he fumbled on his words.
She eyed him carefully before crossing her arms. "Ward… what are you trying to say?"
"The team needs you, Skye… they… we…" he stuttered. "I… always have… needed you, I mean."
"I'm not asking you to come back for their sake… not really… though, I'm sure they'd agree…" he cut her off. "I'm asking you to come back… me… for… me…"
Skye gasped. "But…"
"I was an idiot four months ago." He shook his head. "I shouldn't have let you go… but I'm glad I did… I wasn't ready and neither were you but now… I think we are… I think we're both ready to see where this will lead."
Skye watched him calmly before shaking her head with a soft chuckle. "Wow Agent Ward… you sure know how to make a confession…"
"And without any truth serum, I might add…"
She stepped in closer to him. "I thought you said we didn't have truth serum."
"Did I?" he asked. "Sorry, Rookie… that's level 7 classified."
"Ass." She shook her head with a grin.
"Is that a yes?"
She leaned up and touched her lips softly to his. He cupped her face in his hands before deepening their kiss. Skye wrapped her arms around his neck and allowed him to pull her flush against him. When it was getting hard to breath, he pulled back. "You haven't exactly answered my question, Rookie…"
"I guess I could stay until we catch a new lead on those sons of bitches who caused Miles his eye…" She grinned at his eye roll. "What do you think?"
He closed the gap between them again and kissed her fully. He pushed her up against the wall of an alcove and wrapped his arms tightly around her. It was Skye who broke the kiss this time breathing heavily.
"We're breaking like a bunch of different protocols right now…" she was out of breath. "You are aware of that right, robot?"
"You're worth it." He said before kissing the corner of her mouth. "I've been waiting so long for this." He kissed her again.
Skye smiled into the kiss. "You're not the only one."
She wrapped her arms around him again and kissed him back.