If our love, is tragedy,
Why are you my remedy?
If our love's, insanity,
Why are you my clarity?
Clarity ~ Zedd
They did something to her while she was there. Skye could feel it claw at her insides, Raina did something to her. Or was it that monster that was supposed to be her father? Everything was fuzzy, she was pumped up on drugs most of the time. But the only thing clear to her was that something had changed.
The nightmares every single night were proof enough. Not that she didn't have nightmares before her abduction but these new ones took it to a whole other level. She kept seeing a ruthless version of herself, killing, maiming, tearing people apart just to feel the sickening rush of adrenaline that came with it. She always woke up the same way, drenched in sweat and puking her guts out.
She hide it at first, the team had enough on their plate as it was and with Fitz and Simmons gone it became only worse. Eventually May noticed the change in Skye, she noticed the dark circles under her eyes and the fact that she kept getting distracted. It wasn't long before she was pulled out of missions because she was endangering every single one of them and Coulson couldn't really risk losing her again.
May suggested sleeping pills and when those didn't work they had one of the doctors on the base give her a sedative. But neither did that and her nightmares only became more frightening. She felt the urge to kill getting stronger, the desire to dig her nails into soft flesh and feel it give away as she tore her victim apart.
She was becoming something dark and if that was her true nature Skye didn't want to stay alive. She didn't want to become what her father was, what he wanted her to be.
The answer to her prayers came on the form of buggy t-shirt. Ward's t-shirt to be more precise and the irony wasn't lost in her. Three months into her torture she stumbled across Rose's old room, the worn out fabric was hidden underneath the bed and that's probably why it was left behind. It still held his scent even after all this time, she brought the fabric up to her nose and inhaled deeply. It was like coming home, she felt like her old self was returning back. She didn't realise she moved to the bed until she felt the mattress bend under her weight.
And just like that she fell into a dreamless sleep...
The cynical side of herself was mocking her with the turn of events. Wasn't she the one that swore up and down that she would hate Ward forever? Hate him with everything she had but here she was now needing him to stay grounded. He was her anchor even from the grave. She found it funny in a sick kind of way that he would be the person to keep the beast inside her at bay. The urge to kill was still there, it still pressured down trying to break her but the thought of him kept her going. Skye would give everything to have him back now.
It was kind of funny that the only thing she thought she didn't need was the remedy keeping her from turning into something awful. Skye was never a fan of tragic loves yet here she was living one. Her mind played over and over again their last few meeting, what she said to him, what he said to her, the way they parted. The war that raged between them, he offered her an olive branch and she refused to take it.
He tried to make amends so many times yet Skye turned him down. What wouldn't she give to be able to drown in him again, to have his arms around her and his lips on hers. To have a small moment of clarity because what she was getting form memories wasn't enough.
She wanted Ward to come back, she wanted to go to bed and be able to sleep because he would be there to keep her safe. She wanted to turn back time and fix her mistakes.
Because in all this mess, all this insanity, he was the clarity she needed as much as she needed air to live. He was the remedy to the sickness no one else could cure.
It was a chilly night and October was starting to settle in. The full moon gave enough light for her to be able to see without needing a flashlight since the cemetery lights didn't do much work. She felt the beast inside her tag at its restrains and Skye pushed it back. She pulled her jacket tighter around her body. Skye knew she should be scared of the dark cemetery but the truth was that there were worse things out there than dead bodies. There were people like her, monsters that could tear you apart with just one move.
She had let Coulson know that she was coming out here again and assured him that she didn't need babysitting. Hunter and Trip needed the sleep after their last mission and May had work to do. So she took the SUV and drove all the way to where Ward was buried. It wasn't like she hadn't done it before, every time it would get too much and Ward's things wouldn't be enough to keep her sane she would take a walk here. She would come and sit by his grave, talk to him for hours until there was nothing left to said. It wasn't ideal but it was all she had.
There had been a huge fight with Rose about it but Coulson won eventually. Rose wanted to take the body with her back to London, to bury him like the brother he was to her. Skye on the other hand wanted to keep him here, close by. Apparently the saying was right, you appreciate someone only after you've lost them and Skye would regret her behaviour as long as she lived.
A cold breeze picked up around her as she turned the corner towards where Ward's grave was and she stopped dead on her tracks. The figure that stood over it was tall and thin, clearly belonging to a woman. Hiding behind a large tree bark she kind of regretted not actually taking back up with her. Hand against her ICER she checked the perimeter for any suspects. When she was sure they were safe she moved slowly towards the woman, worst case scenario she was going to meet a ghost. That would be kind of cool and a pleasant change, really.
"Hands up in the air where I can see them and turn slowly." Skye said in a calm voice and the woman did as she was told. The lamp was barely giving any light but with every step she took Skye could see the woman's face better. There was something familiar to it.
"I'm not an enemy." She said when they were face to face. "I assure you there's nothing to be afraid of."
"What are you doing here?" Skye cut straight to the chase.
"I came by for dinner and thought I'd crush here too because you know, it's just so homey." The woman said sassily hands still in the air. "I'm in a cemetery! Clearly I came to visit someone that's dead!"
"Okay you have a point." Skye nodded gun still raised.
"Could you please put that thing away?" The young woman motioned towards the gun. "My name is Annie by the way."
"I usually shoot before I ask for names." Skye joked putting the ICER back to its hostler. "I'm Skye."
"Nice to meet you."
"Right back at ya! Now wanna tell me why you are here?" Skye asked again.
"Family business. Why are you here?" Anne shot back.
"Estranged lover, turned enemy, died to save me. The usual tragic lover story arc." She shrugged making Annie raise a perfect sculptured eyebrow. "We had a history." She added sheepishly.
"So you are the one he died for." Annie smiled sadly turning to face the headstone again.
"He had a tendency to do stupid things." Skye shook her head running her fingers over his name.
"He was a good man. He might have done bad things but he was a good man."
"Speaking from experience?" Skye asked softly.
"Obviously." Annie snorted. "My great protector." She whispered more to herself than to Skye. "He was the one thing that kept me sane you know. Until they caught up to it and took him away too."
"My parents." She clarified. "They loved to play favourites and my big brother was the golden boy. The one to rise above all." Her voice took a comically dramatic tone making Skye laugh. "Christian also had other interests that they liked to overlook in favour of his future, of our future as a family."
"Other interests?" Something creeped inside Skye and she felt the beast claw its way out of her again. Demanding blood and guts and revenge for reasons unknown to her.
"Me." Annie said simply but the words sounded hollow, empty. Skye let the them sink in for a few moments as she turned to face Annie fully. She took the other woman in, she looked a lot like Grant. Tall and thin with a regal posture and the same chocolate brown eyes that made her fall for him all those months ago. Annie's hair fell straight down her back, her dress was a perfect fit, almost too perfect, and the pearl necklace she wore caught the moonlight.
What she implied couldn't be right, could it? She was way too pure and pristine for something like that. Ward was lying, they had looked into his past! His big brother was a humanitarian, he was loved and did good things as a Senator. But than again that's what she thought about Quinn too before she joined Shield. "It's hard to believe isn't it?" Annie's voice brought her out of her daydream. "That someone like him could do something like that and have people covering up for him."
"I guess so."
"Welcome to politics 101, Skye." She teased smiling bitterly. "Christian got away with what he did to me and he'll get away with what he'll do to so many other women like me. That's the way it is and we can't change it."
"You said Grant protected you. How he did do it, if he didn't stop it?"
"The word 'protecting' has a lot of definitions. I didn't expect from him to stop Christian, no one could. Frankly I kept it a secret from my little brother. It wasn't until he came home early from one of his baseball practices that he found me a mess before I could clean up. Christian was always careful to not leave marks that could be seen but everywhere else? God knows after some point I didn't even feel the pain of the bruises he left."
"You still haven't answered my question, though." She felt like she was prying but Skye needed answers and she needed them now.
"He kept me sane." Annie said simply. "He helped me up to my room that day and put me to bed and then laid down on the floor by my side with a blanket and a pillow and stayed guard all night so I could sleep. Christian never came after me when Grant was like that. Things had become difficult between them after Peter died. He did the same thing the next day and the day after that and when it became too much for Christian he took it up to our father. Grant confronted them and father just send him away, without even an explanation."
"Don't be." Annie cut her off. "I was the reason Grant came back from military school. There was a situation and I was terrified! I called him and I remember sobbing into the phone. God, he was just a kid! But he drove all the way back just to help me. It didn't matter to him that he would get hell for it. By the time he found me everything was said and done and I was back to my room the usual mess. That was the day Grant burned down the house." The information were too much for Skye. This whole thing was too much! She spent an entire year hating him for all the wrong reasons.
She had become what she despised. She had become the mindless sheep that was fed whatever crap the government liked. Her judgement was blinded by empty promises of building a better future. She didn't doubt for a moment that D.C indeed tried to do something like that but she doubted that he would succeed. What she wouldn't give now to go back, to change what she did, to apologise to him, to help him the way Rose did.
But it was too late for that now...
"I said some horrible things to him." Skye admitted. "He told me he loved me and I...told him some petty horrible things." She felt tears well up in her eyes, burning behind closed lids.
"Yet he died for you." Annie offered kindly, not even a hint of resentment in her words. "And he would do it again if it meant you would be safe and sound."
"What about you?" Skye asked suddenly. "If Christian is still bothering you we can do something about it." She grabbed Annie's hand and squeezed gently. "I could talk to my -"
"No need for that." Annie smiled sinisterly, in a way that remind Skye of a carnivore ready to pounce on its prey and tear it limp for limp. "You'd be surprised how you can scare a man if you threaten to cut their balls off and actually mean it." Skye was about to say something when she saw something move behind them and grabbed her ICER again. A moment later an elderly man dressed in a black suit walked towards them and stopped beside Annie whispering something in her ear. "Five more minutes and then we'll go." She said softly and he backed away. "Your company was lovely, Skye but I'm afraid my time is up."
"Maybe we could meet again?" She asked hopefully. Skye needed someone that was close to Grant, she needed a part of him even if it was through his sister. Annie shook her head negatively though.
"I'm afraid that's not possible. No one knows about you and Grant, I'd like it to stay that way." Skye didn't question Annie's reasons neither protested. She would take her word on that. Annie moved closer and wrapped her arms around Skye tightly. "In another life Grant would be alive and you would be his one. I just want you to know that I would be very happy to have you as a sister in law." She whispered in Skye's ear softly.
"Thank you." Skye murmured in return and Annie pulled away. Turning on her heels she slowly walked away. "What a mess we've made." She kneeled down by his grave, the wet grass soaking through her jeans.
Tonight she had got more than she bargained for but she also got closure. Skye needed that, even though it made her feel even worse. Grant Ward was no saint but he wasn't the devil either. He was just a kid like her that tried to do the right thing and simply failed.