disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: Rachel, love me.
notes: I wrote a thing at work and it makes me happy but it'll probably make you sad.
notes2: this is part of junior agent may!verse, but it needed to be on its own for reasons

title: softly, like an apology
summary: She'd rather stop breathing than see me again. — Skye/Grant.

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Skye smiled like a knife cut.

With blood down her lips, she smiled up at him exactly as she had the first time they'd met—sunny with a killer's curl to the edges. It was her favourite smile of all the smiles she had in her arsenal; it was Natasha's smile, her mother's smile, Aunt Maria's smile: it was the smile that was the most honest, the most, and, of course, the most bloodthirsty.

Grant could hurt her (and he probably would), but he couldn't take that away from her.

"I can't believe you," she said. "I really can't even—wow, fuck you so hard."

She watched his jaw clench, a tiny miniscule involuntary movement that, for all she knew, might as been as orchestrated as the rest of the person she'd known for four years.

"HYDRA all along," she mused. "Shoulda known. You don't like Slurpees. Who the hell doesn't like Slurpees? Oh, right, people who don't like happiness, so HYDRA agents! Congrats, Ward, you had us all fooled. I'm so proud."

"Shut up, Skye," he said out of the corner of his mouth, and there was something wrong with his eyes, but Skye couldn't stop now if she tried. Laughter bubbled up and out of her blood-stained lips, bright and vulgar over her red-black tongue and her red-black teeth. She leaned forwards towards him, writhing against the zip ties around her wrists that kept her chained to the chair. They hurt, but Skye could compartmentalize—she'd been working on breaking through them anyway, and it wouldn't be long until she broke through them now.

And besides.

She'd had worse hurts than this, before.

The physical proof always disappeared far earlier than the mental scars did. Skye would get over this, but she was going to kill Ward first. Really, it was all that she could do to repay him for four years of lies.

(She determinedly did not think of the way his mouth had felt, pressed against hers and desperate-wet-hot, nor did she think the way he'd said please. Softly, like a prayer. Softly, like an apology.)

"You know what's the worst part, Grant, babe?" she purred at him, eyelashes brushing her cheeks as she blinked.

He stayed quiet, and wouldn't quite look her in the eye.

"Don't wanna answer? Whatever, I'll say it anyway. The worst part," and here, Skye paused to relish in the way he flinched a little, as though he knew what she was about to say would gut him, "is that you've turned into your brother."

He froze, and triumph washed over Skye in waves. He was going to hit her, and that would be it, that would be her winning.

After all this time, all it took was a comment about his brother. Typical Ward. Typical, typical Ward.

And Skye, always one to run her mouth, kept going. If she was going to die, she was damn well going to deserve it. "Yeah, definitely like your brother. He tried to drown your other brother, right? Did he do it? Is that what you're gonna do to me? Let me drown? Or are you going to push me underwater yoursel—"

His hand cracked across her jaw.

"Pulling your punches, Agent Ward?" Skye smiled with a mouth of blood. "C'mon, you've hit me harder than that in practice. What, can't deal with the fact that your brother has more guts than you do? At least he had the balls to be straight-up evil—"

Crack.

"Better," Skye snickered. "Still not good enough. Aren't you s'posed to be interrogating me or some shit? You're terrible at this, how did you ever pass the Academy, the standards must be getting lower—

Crack.

This time, Skye opened her mouth side and popped her jaw. The sound echoed around the room. Hm, he'd hear it if she popped her wrist out of its socket—probably why they coated this place in metal.

Well, Skye thought grimly, I'll just have to make more noise.

"Much better," she said. "That actually hurt! Or, wait, am I not supposed to tell you that?"

"I don't want to hurt you," he said, very quietly. "But I will if I have to."

"I thought you were already trying that. You're terrible at making a girl swoon, babe, it's almost sad. And really, this whole HYDRA thing? You are so bad at it, you should just stop—"

Crack.

Skye's tongue snuck out to lick the blood away from her lips. "Oooooh," she said, "at this rate I might even actually lose a tooth! Why don't you just kill me and get it over with? Your brother would."

Crack.

Skye spat blood to the ground. No sense ruining her clothes more than they already had been. When she got out of here, she was going to have a burning party with Jemma and Fitz, and then she was going to charge a whole new wardrobe to Ward's account. Maybe whole new wardrobes for all three of them; Fitz seriously needed shirts that weren't either plaid or full of holes, and Jemma could always use cute new dresses.

Ward couldn't take the shit with him, anyway. Someone might as well get some use out of all that cash.

"Skye," he said, "I don't want—"

"Don't call me that," Skye said pleasantly, voice light but sharp as a razor. "You've lost the right to call me by my first name. It's Junior Agent May to you, fuckweed."

"Skye," he said again.

She spat blood in his face.

Skye watched him wipe it away, slow enough that it left a smear of red against his cheek She thought she saw his fingers tremble. Probably not.

"You should not have done that, Skye," Ward said, very quietly.

"Yeah?" Skye asked. "I'm so, so scared."

And then she popped her wrist out of its socket like her mother had taught her at ten years old, whipped the chair out from underneath her, and broke the fucking thing over his head. His gaze went dazed, and Skye darted around him.

The violence that came next was both satisfying and sickening.

(She was going to vomit her guts out, later, about this.)

When they got too close, hand to hand, she kissed him quick and shocking, bit at his lips hard enough that she wasn't the only one bleeding.

"I hate you," she said into his mouth.

"I know," Ward replied, and it sounded—pained, that's what it was.

Another wave of ugly triumph shivered through Skye, and she bit him again, hard, one more time before she'd shoved him away and whirled to kick down the door.

She looked over her shoulder for only a second, to give him one last loathing glare.

"I hope you burn," she said viciously. "And I hope it lasts a long, long time."

And then she was gone.

She would never know that Ward hit the wall, slid down, and breathed for five long minutes before he called Garrett with the news that Junior Agent May had escaped and was loose in the building.

Anything to give her a head start.

Anything to give her a chance.

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fin.