A.N.: I do not own SHIELD, because if I did, Grant Ward would be more than a cardboard cutout Big Bad. This was originally going to be superangsty, but the Muse went left with it. Let me know what you think!


She should never have come here.

She knows it, even as she watches him through the opaque barrier.

He is everything that has gone wrong, he is the source of all their pain. Her pain.

And he is still everything she wants.

She steps closer to the barrier, looks at the control pad. Dances her finger towards it.

Nothing good would come of it. Nothing good at all.

"I know you're there."

She scoffs, because he can't possibly. It's the middle of the night, he's on the other side of the barrier, and she's trained with May. Her footsteps are silent and sure.

"Skye."

Now it's a challenge. She turns away.

"Don't let them change you."

She stops. Listens.

"You never let anyone tell you what to do. Never let anyone else decide for you. It made me crazy as Agent Ward and drove me crazy, the real me. All I want is to protect you. I - Don't let them train that away."

Is that what he worries about? She clucks her tongue. "You think you know so much."

He walks to the border of the barrier, the charge tingling along his skin. "I knew you were there, didn't I?"

She swears softly.

"Tell me why you came, then. If I'm so mistaken."

She laughs, ignoring the shards in her own voice. "To watch the lion in the cage."

"A lion will defend what he loves until his dying breath," he offers. "I don't mind the description."

Loves. That's the word that hangs in the air, turning it thick around her.

Nothing good. Nothing at all.

But she steps closer.

"I promised I would never lie to you, Skye. So ask me."

She's right in front of his face now. If she taps that button, she could lean in and taste him.

She reaches. Touches. And leans in.

"I'm not fucking asking." She grabs the collar of his prison scrubs and drags his lips to hers.

He groans into her kiss and picks her up off the floor, tongue tangling with hers.

She wraps her legs around his waist and tries to breathe.

"Skye..."

There's her breath, the space she needs, while he murmurs her name like a prayer. She tries not to let the sound of his voice burrow too deep, but she suspects she's already lost. His hands brand her the worst kind of traitor, and set her skin on fire, every whimper and sigh he draws given from the depths of her soul.

Don't hurt me anymore. If she'd thought, that's what she would have asked for. Instead she settles for whipping the shirt over his head, fingertips tracing the lines of his chest, only more defined by his captivity. A lion in a cage. She's picked the right description, he's part feline predator and protector, and the strength in the lines of his body above her, beneath her, make her feel safe in a way she hates to think about.

He can protect her. He will protect her. It's all he wants to do.

She believes him.

The bite of his teeth on her nipple brings her back, and it wouldn't do to miss a minute of his attentions. He worships her body the way his mouth shapes her name, over and over until she feels drunk with it.

Burning.

All her clothes are gone, somehow. She's melting away under his hands and now it has to be his turn. She uses his move to flip them - she missed when they moved to the bed, now that she thinks about it - and tugs his pants off and away. She isn't surprised to see he's going commando, and her mouth and hands learn the contours of his cock while he slowly unravels. She crawls up the length of his body, trailing tongue and teeth along his skin. She drinks in his gasps and moans, works her way up until they're face to face. She slips her hand between them to position his length against her entrance and looks down, into his eyes.

She shouldn't have looked down at him.

His eyes are dark with desire and desperation, and something else she dare not name. Loves. It still hangs in the air.

She should never have come here. Nothing good will come of this.

She slides down slowly, slowly, and the stretch and the pull and the heat are going to drive her insane.

If she isn't already.

And she very well might be.

"I love you, Skye," he whispers as he grabs her hips and thrusts up inside her.

"Grant!"

It's the first time she's said his name in literally forever and her eyes are locked on his and she is lost, utterly destroyed and she can't get close enough. There's no rhythm, there's just his eyes and his hands and her hips and the heat, and she breaks every rule she ever learned in Pretty Woman and kisses him again, keeps moving, can't stop.

Loves. Not hanging in the air but the thread of tension through her body, wrapping and squeezing somewhere in the vicinity of her heart.

One of his hands abandons her hip and she would whimper with the loss but it's wrapped in her hair, pulling her close so she can't break away.

Her knees buckle and she just grinds against him, knowing she's almost over the edge. She takes a moment to be grateful for his mouth on hers, any words on the tip of her tongue staying silent.

He flips them again, hiking her heels to his shoulders and pushing so deep she feels it behind her eyes and she's flying far past any edge she had known. He groans and buries his face in her neck, biting down as he follows her over.

His teeth on her pulse send her hips shooting up and she breaks her silence with his name again. She doesn't recognize the needy tone, doesn't want to think about why it even exists.

"I love you," he whispers again. He rolls them so she's pillowed on his chest, and somehow he manages to produce a blanket to settle over her.

"Why," she whispers. "Why do you keep telling me that?"

A long pause before he answers. "Because I need to say it," he whispers. "Because you need to hear it." He threads her hair through his hand, watching it fall through his fingers. "Because I'm afraid I'll lose the Skye I love, being locked up in here."

She refuses to acknowledge how right he is, was, always. "You should have thought of that before you followed Garrett over a cliff." The words are out and she can't call them back. She feels him tensing beneath her.

"I did," he whispers. "I told you I'm not a good man."

She freezes, because when she replayed that conversation in her head, that's never what she considered. That he was telling her he wasn't a good man not for her to deny it, not to manipulate her feelings, but because it was true.

"Can you be?"

She wonders if that's the question he thought she wanted to ask, but she knows in this moment it's the right one.

The silence is deafening before the barest of breaths. "I want to."

She exhales. Looks at him. This time his eyes aren't just desperate. There's hope. Maybe even some of her own reflected.

She settles against him, closes her eyes.

Tonight, it's enough.


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