+ this is based off one of number twenty two from 'don't bring tomorrow'.

+ title is from 'warmer climate' by snow patrol

+ also i feel like i should point out that i post a lot of ficlets/prompt fics on tumblr that i deem to short to post here, so you can find me at grantdouglasvvard.

The first time Grant sees her, he's barely past the rank of 'rookie'. In fact, this is his first real assignment, which makes it especially impressive. He's the newest guard Hydra's pet project: Operation Skye.

He's heard rumours of what happened to the last guard. Most of them involve his death after the subject had an episode.

He's been given one of the most prestigious jobs there are - protecting Hydra's number one asset against those who might try to take her away. He'll be one of the few people to ever see the subject in the flesh - in fact, he's to be at her side almost constantly, monitoring her, protecting her from any and all dangers.

But he's also been given a suicide mission. There are no two ways about it. The subject is deadly. And however long it takes, whether he has this job weeks or years, he will die for her, and it will most likely be by her hand.

The first time he meets the subject is what is referred to by the doctor as one of her 'good days', so they let him in on his own, while her other two guards wait outside. She is sitting on the bed in her room (cell?) with her legs crossed and her hands clasped in her lap.

She looks up at him, and a smile spreads across her face. Slowly, but it's filled with a bright, consuming warmth that has him losing his breath.

He tries to return it, but probably fails miserably.

She stands up, making her blue hospital gown rustle around her. She holds out a hand, and despite the warnings he's been given not to engage with her, he shakes her hand anyway. Her smile brightens, and he thinks it was worth it.

'I'm Skye,' she says. 'Are you my new S.O.?'

He's never heard it described like that before. His confusion must show on his face, because she giggles.

'S.O.,' she repeats, 'as in supervising officer. My doctor says guard suggests I'm a prisoner.' She laughs, like she's just heard a joke that he missed.

'Well,' he says, 'yes, I'm your new S.O..'

She rocks on her bare feet, back and forth. She's looking him up and down, and Grant has the feeling of a lab rat being studied. Which is ironic.

'So what's your name?' she asks, once she's finished her evaluation.

'Grant Ward,' he says.

She smiles, and he wonders what he did right. 'You're not very old, are you?' she says.

Grant feels the need to defend himself. 'I'm twenty five,' he says.

She nods, like he's just confirmed what she already thought. 'I'm the same,' she says. She doesn't look it, he thinks. She looks barely more than a teenager.

'You're twenty five too?' he confirms.

She laughs. 'No. Don't be silly. I'm eighteen, but I'm only a baby,' she says. 'The scientists say they think I could live for aeons.' She smiles up at him. He's struck by how tiny she is. Her forehead comes to about his chin, and she's skinny beneath her hospital gown. He wonders if they don't feed her enough, or it's just how she is.

'Are you here to take me to them?' she asks. 'To the scientists?'

He remembers real reason he was sent in here. 'No, he says. 'You're not going to see the scientists today. Garrett has a mission for us.'

She breaks into a grin and claps her hands in excitement. 'I can't wait,' she says. 'And us? I like that word.' She gives him a smirk that does something strange to his insides. She must be getting into his head. They warned him about this.

'Briefing in ten,' he says (looking anywhere but her).

She nods, schooling her features into a serious expression. 'Sure. Why don't you ask the other two in, then you can all take me along together.' She gives him an innocent look, and he has to remind himself not to be fooled. She's a monster, however sweet she might seem.

Warily, he takes a step back and knocks on the door. 'She wants you in here,' he calls.

The door opens, and the other two men enter. Both are older and significantly more experienced than Grant.

Skye smiles at them. She smiles a lot, Grant thinks, but it's never the same one twice.

'Hi,' she says, and they don't reply, but give her expressions that Grant thinks are purposefully stoic to avoid showing fear (and if he thinks it, she knows it too). She seems unfazed. 'So the thing is,' she carries on, 'I won't be needing you two any longer. I have Grant now. And I like him better.'

Grant sees their fingers go to their weapons, but he also knows they're under orders not to harm her in any way.

'So,' she says, 'bye.'

She lifts a hand lazily and points her index at the ground. Both men crumple at her feet.

'Are they... dead?' he asks (he's trying to keep the panic at bay, trying to kick his training in, but fuck, this was never something he was trained for).

'Don't be stupid,' Skye sighs. 'Of course they're dead. We don't need them any more.'

Grant hesitates. 'Why not?' he asks.

'Like I said,' she says, taking a step towards him. Her fingers reach out, and he resists the urge to flinch away. They touch his shoulder lightly, and he thinks he feels a little surge of electricity through his nerves where they makes contact. 'We don't need them. I have you now. And you're better.'

She freezes and looks up at him, head tilted to one side, frowning. 'That's okay, right?' she asks, sounding suddenly timid, unsure.

'Yes,' he says, because he doesn't know what the right thing to say is. 'But. Why?'

'Because you're different,' she whispers. Her hand strokes down to his chest and stops over his heart. 'You get it. What it is to be dark and… lost.'

He swallows and nods. 'We should go see Garrett,' he says.

He can see her brightening before his eyes. 'We can tell him I won't be needing a new S.O.,' she says. 'Because I have you now.'

'Yes,' he agrees, because somehow he can't stop himself. 'You've got me.'