AN: Thank you for all of the reviews and sticking out through this depressing stuff that I can't even bring myself to reread (probably cause I'm sick of looking at it). With that being said, I hope you like this chapter.
Warning: The third warning from the summary is here. It's honestly not to bad, but just wanted to give you a heads up.
Chapter 27 The Way Out
Ward woke up with another nightmare; a nightmare that consisted of a mix between his past and his present. His brain was starting to get creative. He recalled the dream about the well, except this time Skye was in it, begging him to save her as she began drowning, unable to tread the water any longer. He shook his head trying to get her desperate voice that made his heart clench out of his mind. Sleep definitely was not an option right now.
Changing into his workout clothes, Ward headed to the punching bag to relieve some tension. When his hand connected with the bag over and over again, he could feel all of the stress that he had been denying release to. His mind couldn't help but to go back to the focus of his dream.
She hadn't been acting like herself. Ward felt like his rookie had made a lot of progress but over the last few days, it was like she was going backwards. She had stopped joining in on the conversations, not that she had jumped in many times since they had gotten her back. Skye didn't even bother eating, except a bite or two. When he tried to use the tactics he had used in the past, she simply would stare at him with sad eyes while he felt like an idiot with his mouth full.
The most painful thing to watch though was the fact that the analyst had started flinching again, even around their team, as if waiting for them to turn on her at the drop of a hat. When they first got her back, she had mainly kept her attention on the floor, not daring to look up. Gradually she had begun to raise her eyesight, even making eye contact for the briefest moments. But recently, the ground had become her focus once again except at those rare moments when he would catch her staring longingly at one of the team members, as if that person was going to fade away and she was the only one who knew it.
She had completely shut them out. He really thought that they had something; that she was really starting to trust him, but that had all changed. According to the rest of the team, it had started after he had left for his mission. When he had come back and she had let him stay with her, he couldn't help but to hope that he was able to undo what had occurred during his absence. But then he had woken up to an empty bunk and after finding Skye in tears from the therapy session, she had recoiled back from him. She had even begun to avoid him…avoid them.
And the therapist. The therapist was useless, Ward admitted, his punches growing in force as he thought of that man. He had confronted Laredo after the last session that had lead to him finding Skye in tears. The man had spouted some crap about patient confidentially. Ward had pushed, not willing to accept that answer till the therapist admitted that they had talked about the other Ward and hence Skye's reaction to him. Laredo then began to explain that this was normal and Ward had wanted to punch the man. There was nothing normal about the distress that he was causing her.
The specialist knew that he would never give up on her. Part of him wanted to confront her while the other part didn't know how to treat her. Every time that he had asked his rookie what was wrong, she would tell him that she was fine, if he was lucky enough to even get a response.
He took a break from the bag and sat on the stairs as he chugged down a bottle of water, squeezing the air out of it with this frustration before tossing the deformed piece of plastic in the trashcan. Ward looked over at his watch, realizing that it had only been an hour since he had woken up. Grabbing his towel, he headed up to the showers for a nice cool down.
After getting out of the shower, he still felt wide-awake, even with the work out. The specialist grabbed a cup of juice and sat in front of the TV, lost in his thoughts. He didn't even bother to turn it on, knowing it wouldn't do him any good.
His thoughts were cut short when he heard Skye's bunk door slide open.
Ward watched as Skye walked into the shower room. She didn't even hesitate, and that was odd. Ever since they had gotten her back, he had given himself the task of watching her closely and helping as much as he could to decrease her anxiety. Whether that involved changing or adjusting the environment, making sure that she got her space, or just being a supportive presence, he had promised himself that he would do anything to help her with the transition to normalcy.
Not hesitating going into the shower room was normal for anyone and he had hoped Skye could get there one day, but there was no way that she had overcome her somewhat crippling fear within the last few days. Not to mention at three in the morning.
Ward got off the couch and walked over to the shared showers, only hesitating for a second at the door before making up his mind that he needed to make sure that she was at least somewhat ok.
"Hey Skye?" He called out as he walked into the room, not wanting to catch her off guard. He got no response.
The room contained two shower stalls with slightly raised doors. The agent crouched down to look under the doors for her feet, but instead he found her sitting on the ground in one of the stalls, fully clothed. Pushing the door open, he studied his rookies form, curled in the corner with tear tracks running down her face.
As his gaze moved downward, he saw her left sleeve was raised revealing her forearm. Taking a cautious step closer he noticed that her right hand was in a fist held closely to her abdomen. Ward felt his heart drop when he realized what she was doing.
"I just can't take it anymore," his rookie explained in a soft broken voice that caused an ache in his chest at not being able to take the pain away. He took a few steps closer and crouched down in front of her. She didn't even bother flinching at the close proximity in the small space, and that scared him. She had completely lost and given up what little fight had remained in her.
Ward reached out his hand, taking her right fist into his. He gently opened it to reveal the razor blade. Retrieving the razor, he threw it aside before holding her hand in his again. "Come here rookie," he said in a gentle voice.
She immediately leaned towards him, burying her head in his chest, as he wrapped his arms around her.
"Please, just make it stop. I just want it to all stop," she cried into his chest. "I'm so tired," she finished quietly.
Ward rested his head on top of hers as he tightened his grip. "I gotcha now, I promise, you're safe," he comforted her as he began to rock the crying analyst, feeling helpless and unsure of how he could make her nightmares stop or make it easier on her.
He began berating himself. How could he have missed it! For crying out loud, she was at a point where she thought killing herself was the only option out.
His thoughts came to a halt when he barely heard her whisper, "Don't let go?"
Giving her a tight hug, "I won't let go," he promised. "We'll figure it out Skye, I promise." They stayed seated on the shower room floor with the specialist desperately holding his rookie and trying to convey that she was safe. He waited till Skye's crying subsided and her trembling decreased.
Without asking, he lifted the analyst up and walked out to the window seats on the plane. Ward began to place his rookie down, but she clutched to his shirt. "I'm not going anywhere, I promise," he reassured. He watched her close her eyes then reluctantly loosen her grip. Ward set her down before walking over to a cabinet and grabbing a blanket. Skye followed his every move, tracking him with each step.
Sitting in the seat next to his rookie, he raised the seat divider and held his arm up. She immediately moved towards him, having missed the embrace that made her feel safe. Ward covered them up with the blanket and they remained silent as they looked through the windows. The moon was full, casting a glow on the clouds, giving them a sight to see.
"I remember when I was a kid, whenever I felt trapped, I used to imagine flying in the sky with no boundaries or rules. I wondered what it would be like to go through one of those clouds," Ward quietly stated as he watched the clouds pass by.
Skye remembered how she used to go outside, find a shaded area and stare at the clouds, trying to decipher what they looked like. It was her escape. When she was out there focusing on the dragon whose wing was slowly de-morphing, she didn't have to focus on the fact that yet another foster family had given her up.
Ward felt the analyst snuggle into his chest as she burrowed her head before letting out a long breath. He couldn't help the extra beat that his heart produced and wondered if she had heard it as he tightened his grip around her.
She focused on his breathing and heartbeat as she felt the rise and sink of his chest and the thudding below her ear. She didn't want to think about her situation and what she had been about to do, but she didn't seen another way out. This wasn't the first time that she had wanted to end it all. At the facility, she really had tried to stay strong but she'd hit her breaking point; the point where ending the misery was a much more peaceful alternate than waiting and expecting things to change for the better. Skye glanced at her right wrist where the larger scar still remained from the time that she had attempted to hit a major blood vessel by pulling and grinding her wrist against the cuff. They had caught her in time to have FitzSimmons fix the vessel and placed her under constant watch after teaching her a painful lesson that revolved around the fact that she was someone else's property and couldn't end her own life.
And then today… Laredo had kept telling her how powerful a human mind was and mentioned that her subconscious was linked. In her desperation, she had come to the conclusion that if she ended it here, the pain would stop. She wouldn't have to wait for her team to turn on her. She wouldn't have to wait for herself to wake up at the facility because they realized she was becoming more lucid. She wouldn't have to listen to her mind constantly reminding her how pathetic and low she had gotten. She wouldn't have to think, because she would cease to exist. And with that cessation, the pain and anxiety would all stop. Except, looking at her situation in the present, Skye would be giving up this; giving up her team. She felt so exhausted and didn't want to think anymore.
Him walking in was definitely unexpected. His reaction was a surprise, and yet it was what she would expect her Ward to do.
Skye knew that she couldn't keep going the way that she was, but there was no denying that this was nice. Sitting next to her Grant Ward and feeling…the closest word she could come up with was secure. Secure felt nice, but she knew that he couldn't keep all of the monsters away. He would eventually have to let go, but for now she was going to enjoy it while she could, whether it was real or not. After all, she had absolutely nothing to lose.
It seemed so surreal that only a little while ago, the facility had conditioned her to think that Ward would hurt her and yet here she was leaning on him and craving the security that came with him. He was the first person that she had believed wasn't a drugged up hallucination that she had been forced to see. Things were finally looking up as she had begun to see that the members here were her old team, the real team. Then the change came and she had started to wonder if she was being punished for breaking the simple rules. Skye knew she wasn't allowed to make eye contact or talk without being addressed, but she had given up on caring as she tested each of her teammates. Not once had they given her a reason to question them, until…
Skye immediately stopped her thoughts, refocusing on the beating below her ear. She couldn't let her mind go there. Between the nightmares, the flashbacks, and everything else, she was determined to enjoy this moment.
What happens when he lets go? The little voice asked. Then I let go, she responded without hesitating.
Ward stopped looking at the clouds and instead focused his attention on the brunette that was tucked by his side. A part of him still couldn't believe that they had found her, and then his mind started to take him back to the shower stall where she begged him to make it stop.
They stayed silent, her watching the clouds and him watching her, neither sure how much time passed by. The sun began to rise and Ward finally looked up, taking in the sight. Not long after he noticed his rookie starting to dose off. "Come on, lets get you to your bed. I think we both could use some rest," Ward quietly whispered not wanting to ruin the mood.
Skye tensed at his words. "Can I stay with you? Please, I won't do anything. Please Ward?" She begged.
He hated it when she begged. Not in a 'don't give me those puppy eyes', but in a, he couldn't wait till they caught the bastards that made her feel so helpless. How could he say no. He bit the inside of his cheek.
Coulson would kill him, but it would be worth it to make her stop begging him. "Ok, you can stay in my room. Come on." He stood up and held his hand out, to which she took and held on to.
"You can have the bed, I'll grab a small cot," he stated once they made it to the room, but Skye grip remained tight on his hand, tugging him towards the bed. "Skye, I don't know if this is a good idea. This isn't something that you have to do," he resisted her pull. He was not going to put her through that, and he needed to make sure that she understood.
"Please," is all he got back. Ward looked out the open door of his bunk. Coulson was definitely going to kill him. As he thought of all of the creative ways that the older agent could dispose of his body, he slid the door so that it was only slightly open before turning back towards his rookie who had crawled under the blankets, back all the way to the wall.
"What do you say, we put a movie in?" Ward asked, to which he got no response, her gaze focused on the covers. What the hell was he doing? He questioned if he should offer to sleep on the ground as he grabbed the laptop and pressed play for Finding Nemo. It was a movie that Skye had placed on his hard drive among other movies, mainly romance comedies, as a joke. Now he was glad that she had done it. Knowing that they were both exhausted, he hoped sleep would come fast.
He turned off the lights and walked over to the bed, watching his rookie closely for any sign of distress. She had completely stopped moving, her eyes not leaving the blanket. "Skye, are you sure you're ok with me being in the same bed? I promise I'm not going to be mad," he asked again, trying to give her another out and a part of him hoping that she would take it.
The analyst actually laying in a bed was a large step in itself considering the closest he had seen her get to the furniture was sitting on the edge before his mission. He couldn't help but wonder, was this just like the shower where she didn't care anymore because she was ready to end it? Maybe it was a good thing that she was staying with him where he could keep an eye on her.
He watched her ponder over the question, before she moved the covers over. He slowly climbed in, staying close to the edge as he lay on his back. Turning his head, he could see the fear in her eyes as the light from the laptop screen illuminated her face. She closed them and the next thing he heard actually surprised him. "Can you hold me?" she asked, almost shyly.
He scooted away from the edge before holding his arm out for her. She didn't hesitate moving closer before resting her head on his chest, her arm clutching to his shirt. Once he wrapped his arm around her, he finally felt her relax. Covering her hand on his chest with his own, her grip loosened on his shirt. "You know that I would never hurt you, right?"
She contemplated over the question. Her Ward would never hurt her.
She nodded against his chest. That's all he needed to know. "Night rookie."
He barely caught the whispered reply, "Night."
AN: Thanks for reading! Please review and let me know your thoughts! They are much appreciated!
Hmm who's up for the whole team scene? I kind of miss everyone…