a/n: slow burn only satisfies me for so long before i devolve into complete trashy smut. sorry i couldn't hold out. rated explicit for some heavy petting and then... a bit more (okay a lot more).

He doesn't wait a week. He doesn't even wait a day. Grant Ward sits in his car, parked a mile down the road from the dance studio as the impact of the past hour hits him full force like a freight train.

His fingers remember tracing the edge of a bullet wound. His eyes recall the small smile that warms her eyes and reminds him of why he first felt himself crashing headlong into her. His mind remembers running his hands up past the pattern of exposed ribs, as her drank in her lips on his.

But it's the bitter echo of her words that rings in his ears that forces him to face the reality that he hated to confront. What the hell happened to you? How can you even stay with her when she treats you like this?

He realizes that she's the only person he's ever truly told about Lorelei's infidelity. Sure people had suspected, but no one approached him about it, and he never spilled his secrets. With her, somehow, he always felt like he needed to bare his soul to her.

Unwelcomed memories rush back of before this all happened, before Lorelei, before Miles, before bullets, before weddings. When he was just a boy living down the hall from a girl in a less than impressive apartment complex. Somehow they'd managed to become friends, the adopted orphan with the soul of a wild child and the black sheep who barely recognized who he was in the reflection of a mirror.

So, what's the plan? What do you want to be when you grow up?

He hears himself chuckle, a younger face and a skinnier frame shrugs. Aren't we already grown up?

Hell no! I'm never growing up. You shouldn't either.

She sounds like Peter Pan luring Wendy into Neverland. He guesses in this case that makes him Mr. Wendy Darling.

I'm supposed to go work in government. The family business. Probably run for office if my parents can help it.

It sounds impossibly sad and demure, and his memory replays the honest faced girl with honey brown eyes that colored in sympathy as she reaches out for his hand. She touches him for the first time, it's gentle and full of empathy. Is that what you want?

Even now he couldn't answer that question. By all rights his mother and father never forced him down any path. He was simply walking the well-paved road that had been set down by many Wards before him. He remembers the day he suggests going into International Law. It might be influenced by Skye's voracious hunger for justice and information, but she sucks him into it too.

She's overjoyed.

He remembers the day he mentions it to Lorelei.

She's less than impressed. But you'll be away from me all the time. I mean, I'll support you in whatever you want, but I don't want to be dragged around the world. I like my home. Don't you? Don't you want to stay with me?

By then Skye was half-way around the world, and he couldn't convince himself that part of the reason he wanted to get away was to somehow collide into her again. But Lorelei was right. It was no way to live. So he stayed the course, abandoned his focus and looked towards something else.

Three years later and he looked at nearly half a decade of regret. The drive home is agonizing. Skye brings back painful, unhealed scars. Not only from his time with her, but the inherent flaws in his engagement. He hears his mother ask him, Is this what you really want?

The question repeats as he closes in on his apartment. Parked in his driveway he's staring blankly at the condo he shares with Lorelei. It feels unwelcome, cold. It's never really felt like home. Instead of getting out, he backs out of the driveway, the question hammering in his head.

What do you really want? What the hell happened to you?

That gaping hole in his heart feels so familiar now. It's never properly healed because it never wanted to be. Even in his happiest moments with Lorelei (and yes, sometimes there were some happy moments) the gaping hole reminded him that he was incomplete. Hollow.

It's a familiar route. He took it every day for over four years of his life. The same dilapidated apartment complex that's been gentrified since they moved out, but he knows he'll find that part of him here. He drives through the complex four times, making the slow rounds because anxiety builds up in his chest and he never quite makes it to parking. The fifth bout around and he sees the light on in the living room.

She's changed.

And yet, that couldn't be further from the truth. She looks older. She has her scars. Her hair is different. Her clothes are different. But she's still the same wild child. The same part of him that has been missing for so long. The gaping hole aches to be whole with its counter part. It makes him park and get out of the car.

It doesn't really register in his mind what is happening until he gets to her front door. He doesn't get nervous anymore, despite his short comings as far as interest went he was still an orator and wordsmith. He was as much the politician as he wished he could deny it sometimes. But standing in front of her door, the smell of a storm in the atmosphere, he felt scared stiff.

He was ready to turn around, leave. Their argument was still too fresh, this would be salt on the wound.

But he barely makes a half turn when the door opens of its own accord, and his heart leaps into his throat as he is confronted with Skye holding a drink in her hand and a trash bag in the other. Somewhere in the distance there is a clap of thunder and he tries not to link the odious sound to her discovering him.

Skye stares him down, her mouth gaping for longer than a few minutes until she mouths his name.

"Skye," he breathes, apologetic and devotional.

"What are you doing here?"

By all rights it's been less than a few hours, he's driven in circles repeating their argument in his head and replaying memories of them. She looks at him like he's lost his mind, and maybe he has. She waits expectedly, waiting for an answer as she stands in front of the open door to her apartment.

Still exactly the same. His is two doors down and he can remember back to a time when they'd take walks together to the trash can three buildings away, chatting about their roommates and joking about the crazed man who inhabited to the convenience store down the street.

"I'm here because, you're right."

She frowns. She looks suspicious as she glances down the hall and around them as if searching for some trick. "I'm often right. What are you talking about?"

"No one changes that much."

He repeats her words and she looks immediately uncomfortable. She probably hadn't expected him to be so blunt, but he was making up for lost time. Mentally he noted that it had been a week since he'd last kissed her, and before that three years. He had to make up for a lot of lost time.

"I don't want to talk about this Grant. You said your piece. I'm sorry but I don't think I can keep up with this. You're going to have to find someone else. I'm a shitty best man, and I don't want to keep going in these circles." She makes a move to step around him, taking a gulp of what looks and smells like half coke half rum.

He doesn't move. He doesn't block her exit, but he doesn't make it easy for her to slip by. "No. I haven't said my piece. I need to tell you the truth. I can't go forward unless I deal with this."

"I'm not your therapist, Grant. I'm not an outlet you can spew words at. I don't give a shit about Lorelei."

He stops her as she makes to walk down the stairs. "No, Skye. You don't get it. I don't either."

She stops, her eyebrows furrow, and there is confusion written across her face as lightening strikes and thunder booms overhead. The ironic setting of this conversation is not lost on him. "What are you saying?"

"I'm saying, you left. And I let you go. I should have gone after you. I should have done something. I shouldn't have let you go. I don't love Lorelei. She's gotten worse since the engagement, and I don't care that she cheats on me because she's like a stranger." Words spill out of him and he feels suddenly vulnerable to her stoic countenance, though her eyes waver between confusion and frustration, watery and expressive.

Tilting up her chin, she clenches her jaw a little. "What if I don't feel the same way anymore?"

The thought never occurred to him. But her suggestion feels like a swift kick in the gut. The creeping heat of humiliation colors the base of his neck with warmth.

"Would you marry her? If I told you I don't feel the same way anymore? That I'm not in love with you?"

Well, that's the million dollar question isn't it? Hours ago he would have said that without Skye in the picture, he would have married Lorelei. Accepted his fate and seen how the cards could be dealt in his favor. But, the hour driving had done him some good, even if she rejected him now. "No. I don't want to think about what I have to deal with in the future, but I can't keep lying to myself that I'm going to eventually be happy with her."

Her expression is unreadable and for a few minutes he believes that she doesn't love him anymore. That all of this was friendly concern. But she drops the bag of trash and takes a few steps towards him. The sound of water droplets hitting the leaves of the trees in the complex grow as rain starts sprinkling down.

"And what if I told you that I wish that I hadn't left? That I wished I didn't run away after that night? That even running away to the other side of the world wasn't enough?"

Grant takes her in, as she looks up with an unsure expression that makes him wish they hadn't waited for for this moment to admit something that had been bubbling beneath the surface all along. His hand touches the softest skin beneath her jaw at her neck and combs his fingers up into the roots of her hair at the base of her skull. She lets him draw her in.

"I'd say that I felt the same. That I only asked you to take on this ridiculous position because I selfishly wanted you by my side again." He takes the perspiring drink out of her hand and puts it on the railing so her hands are free.

"That I was unreasonably jealous of a man I never met because you chose him over me." He draws her closer with a hand at her waist, the air between them electric and heated despite the cooling rain.

"That I settled with Lorelei because I tried to trick myself into forgetting you." She's inches away, and he wants to stop regretting the time lost between them because now she's in his arms. Cupping her face, he feels her hands slide up his chest, pulling him down to meet her with her hands at his neck.

It's tender, she traces her tongue over his bottom lip before he can deepen the kiss when her lips breathe a sigh. Tightening his hold on her, he leans her back, curling down in a different angle, dragging her lower lip between his teeth to tease before biting down a little causing a mewl from Skye.

She runs her fingers through his hair and he's reminded of just how familiarly erotic the feeling is when memories of their first time together invade his thoughts. She pushes him backwards into the apartment, he's happy enough to let her lead as his fingers slip below the cotton fabric of her flannel shirt.

"Skye," he whispers into her. She bites his lip in return, raking her fingers down his back and sliding her fingers under the waistband of his jeans, past his boxers and against bare skin.

Her fingers hook on and bring him closer before the hand returns and slides south, above the denim to the part of him that has become achingly hard at the mention of her touch. "Eager," she teases, a grin on her face. He chuckles harshly, the sensation of her touch too overwhelming to play it cool.

"Forgive me?" she asks, her hand regrettably moving away from his cock and up his waist, they grazed over abs and moved along the sinew of his back, memorizing parts of him.

He shakes his head in reply. "We both made mistakes. I should have pursued you, but I didn't."

"Were you intimidated?" Skye asks jokingly, her arms wrapped around him, as she looks up at him with the ghost of a smirk.

"Maybe," he admits. "Scared you didn't feel the same. That nothing would be the same afterwards." Adding to the lifelong joke that, in the fact, nothing was ever the same afterwards.

Her hand finds his face, and she looks at him, earnest and frank. "I do, Grant. Just to clarify. I feel the same."

He doesn't need to respond. Grant pulls her up into another kiss, crashing into her this time with some lack of control as he walks her back and slams the front door behind her so that he and pin her to it. Outside rain pours as the lights flicker out and their world plunges into darkness.

They barely notice.

His hands, cruelly repentant, if there was ever a thing, roughly roam over her. Skye let out a small moan as his bruising kisses moved from her lips down to the sharp clavicle and his hands swiftly yanked the button up open in one sharp tear. She inwardly thanked the karmic intervention that chose the snap-on button-up flannel over hoodie she almost wore. The wisp of lace underneath is barely a bra, some kind of pale imitation that makes Grant's eyes hungry in the darkness. Watching her, eyes clouded in desire, he slowly draws his hands up her waist before curving over the ridges of her ribs and arriving at her chest, thumb slips under the frothy material, teases the nipple painfully hard. He pinches it hard enough for her to bite down on her lip, half glaring at him with a punishing look. He smiles wickedly before pulling his hand away.

Skye doesn't have enough pride to hold back a small noise of disapproval. But he reaches down, and picks her up, cupping her ass firmly as she wraps her legs around his hips and he pulls her in, carrying them to the closest surface he can find, which happens to be her dinner table. It's a fold out and a paltry excuse for dining, perhaps an even more unstable environment for what they were about to embark on, but logic is not the dominant force right now.

He props her on the table, before she yanks off the shirt and tosses it to the side. He pulls her forward to the edge, beginning his assault on her with his lips. This time his hand drags down the material of the bralette, shelving her breasts at his eye level. He takes one in his hand, teasing with his fingers as he rolls the nipple between his index and thumb. The other receives full attention from his mouth. He envelops her nipple and part her breast in his mouth, suckling briefly, letting his teeth teasingly scrape against the delicate skin while the coarseness of his beard scratched at the circumference. It's wet and hot, and she bites her lip to keep from moaning out the pleasure she feels when he teases her again with a pinch of pleasurable pain.

"Grant," she pleads. An hour ago they were arguing, now she felt the distinctive thrumming of her own blood pumping through her veins, the hum traveling directly to the juncture between her legs. His tongue teases, as he pulls away from her, leaving the cold air to bite at where his lips and fingers were. He looked at her, eyes glittering with desire, reflected only by the purple-black sky behind them. His gaze travelled up her body, examining his handy work before forming a stupidly triumphant grin. As if they were even close to being over, she thought.

Skye pulls him in by his shirt, bringing his head down for a harsh kiss before yanking the shirt off over his head and lobbing it in a general direction. She didn't try to hide her approval, as her hands slid up his abs and towed him in flush to her. "I definitely missed this," her fingers traced his torso, guiding over small hills and valleys of admirable muscle.

"That makes two of us." His hand running over her from her neck down her shoulders. His hand pauses on the scar, the bullet wound. It doesn't sting anymore, but somehow his touch sears her. He twists her torso a little to look at the scar, she feels more exposed now with her shoulder to him than with her tits propped up on some skanky lingerie. But he leans in and places a small kiss on the scar. Trailing up from the back of her shoulder to her jugular to her jaw and back to her lips.

Her insides feel inflamed. She is on fire, and it's all his fault. As their tongues spar, he slips a hand between them, splitting her legs apart as he slides a hand underneath the band of the sweatpants she had put on. The matching panties are barely in existence and as he drags two fingers down the front, she acknowledges that they are completely soaked. It's not the first time some guy has felt her up, and it's not even the first time that that guy has been Grant Ward. "Fuck," she curses, when he pushes the fabric to the sides and slides a finger between the folds, meeting the tender bundle of nerves that makes her clutch him. She's been surviving off of the memory of his touch, the ghost of that friction and heat, for the past three years. The reality is like a drug.

"Oh, did you like that?" he taunts, his voice barely a whisper. She digs her nails into his back harshly in response. It triggers a chain reaction, in him brushing a knuckle against her clit again and slipping in two fingers through the wet folds.

She moans back in response. He catches her with his own mouth, as he slips another digit in, while his thumb teases her clit, flicking back and forth causing undulating waves of heat. His tongue mimics his tormenting hand, and it's all she can do to claw her nails into him as some sort of relief. His hand moves with deft skill, sliding fingers in that repetitive motion while his thumb seemed to only increase in the speed of movement when she felt her body lock up. She bevels her hips forward against his knuckle and hand, the table shaking a little beneath them. She clutches onto his shoulders as she feels the explosive crescendo to the climax as he rasps her name underneath his breath. "Yes," she pleads, when her cunt tightens around him and she feels the sharp height of her relief from the pit of her stomach down to the numbing tips of her toes.

He slows his movement, riding the last waves of her orgasm before bringing that hand to his lips and licking her off of him. He's been watching her this whole time, and she can imagine the restraint he's put himself through, but satisfaction colors his face as he sucks her off of his fingertips and brings her in for a victorious kiss, she sweeps her tongue inside his mouth tasting herself.

Pulling away, regarding him, as her hand slides down his torso and over the denim that imprisons a painfully hard cock. She pouts a little, sympathy for the devil and all that, and he swallows hard in response. She pops a button at the top of the jeans and unzips it slowly, letting her fingers graze over him. The hard evidence of his desire is gratifying as his jaw clenches shut at her touch. Pulling the band of his boxers down, she pulls his cock out slowly with her hand, it's velvet steel in her hands and she is impossibly hot all over again. Her hand runs up and down, keeping just tight enough of a grip for him to unleash a low growl in response before watching her as she let her thumb roll over the tip. The length of him twitches involuntarily in her hands as she smirks, watching him suffer the same medicine he had just doled out to her.

But she aches again, he's throbbing in her hand but she still wants to be selfish. Her hand unleashes him as he lets out an exasperated sound. Still riding on the adrenaline of her first climax, she is eager to have more. She holds him back acknowledging how desperate he looks with his cock standing at full attention in front of her as she sits on the table. She reaches around his back into his pocket and yanks out his wallet, where she knows there will be some form of protection. Grant watches her with unbridled lust, there is nothing stopping her, definitely not on his end. She rips open the packet and rolls it onto him as his hands reach her waist band and pull down the pants with no small measure of force. She kicks off her pants and undies, and reaches behind her to unclasp the meaningless bralette that she's kept on.

They both seem to acknowledge that it is absurd for them to be fucking for the first time in forever on her rickety kitchen table during a power outage, while what might be a hurricane is hitting the city. But it's the thought of a moment, before he pulls down his pants, too impatient to properly remove them as he yanks one leg out for the sake of flexibility and neglects the other. She's wet and sore all over again, leaning back so that he can be drawn closer.

"Skye?" he asks for permission, as if she isn't literally serving herself up to him like Thanksgiving dinner.

She throws back a wild smile, something careless. "Yes. Now please, I really need you to fuck me."

A moronic grin paints his face, as he pulls her in for the thousandth time, this time with a hand between them to guide himself into her. It's nothing like the first time. The first time was tender, unfamiliar, awkward. It exposed themselves to one another and confessed honesty where they hadn't been able to voice them. This was nothing like that.

They both managed some measure of restraint, before she ran her hands through his hair and pulled him in by the neck. He thrusted hard into her, eliciting a moan from both of them. He buries himself into her, deep, until he reaches the hilt. She marvels at the sensation that is both so familiar and foreign. It's not long before she nudges him on with her hips, begging for some sort of friction, or else she might go mad. Grant is more than happy to comply, pulling out in near full before plunging back in. The repetitive thrust shakes the table beneath them, as she wraps a leg around him for some stability, moaning out his name.


It's such a familiar moniker. Something they'd joked about. He was never really Grant to her. It fit him fine, but Ward came easier to her lips. It rolled out in familiarity, and at the sound of it, he sounds off in pleasure. He lays her down for a better angle, propping her on his arm (they can admit later that perhaps it would have been a better idea to just have started this on the bed). She feels him increase in speed with each earth shattering thrust, as she senses herself tighten around him, the same tingling surmounting within her. He's repeating her name in her ear, as she pulls him in closer for an embrace, feeling the rough prickle of his beard against the side of her face as he thrusts one more time before they both spiral into a welcoming oblivion.

The creak of the table beneath them gives out, and in a jarring epilogue to the current events, they crash hard into the ground beneath them. It takes a moment for them to notice, to realize that the world seems to also be crumbling down beneath them and they are no longer propped on the table. They are both hypnotized by the delicious satisfaction that they enjoy before they realize what is going on. Grant pulls himself up from the crook of her neck, they are sweat slicked and on a table that sadly needs replacing, but he can't seem to wipe the cocky, shit-eating grin off of his face.

"Sorry about the table."

Skye lets out a laugh, before shaking her head. "Never liked it anyways. Wasn't really sturdy, you know?"

endnotes: haha clearly i can't resist some smut. but actions have consequences and we'll deal with that in the next chapter. for now, i just wanted some sort of reconciliation and it was inevitable that i chose this. comments and feedback always welcome!