Big thanks to StardustOwl for correcting this piece and to Nathy.

He was lying on hard ground looking at the clouds above thinking how something so peaceful and beautiful could become scary and dark in matter of minutes, just as much as the contrary effect, something dark could turn beautiful as well. Was the sky a mirror of a human being? Was it supposed to give you hope when you looked upon it and take it away when you dismissed it?

He didn't feel his body being lifted gently and then rested over someone else's lap until he managed to turn his head to the right side. He surely wasn't expecting Coulson or the fact that his former boss had tears glistening in his eyes threatening to fall. Ward's mind questioned itself. What had happened? Why was he sad? Was Skye okay?

He tried to say something but found out that he couldn't, something was blocking his throat making it hard to make a sound. He felt pain all over his stomach and somewhere in his chest, he wasn't exactly sure where. Why it was so hard to breathe? Why was Coulson so distressed? He couldn't think about it.

He should get up, but he was tired, so very tired. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt as tired as he did now. His eyes were still glued to his former boss's face, wondering why there was sadness in his blue eyes, Ward thought it was the first time since Skye's shooting that he had seen the man so sad. Skye. God, how much he still loved her.

Ward felt his eyelids droop of their own accord, he didn't fight back, he was so exhausted.

He heard voices around him asking him to open his eyes, to look at them. He tried, he really did, but the heaviness in his head made it so hard. He blinked a couple of times, managing to open them half way, and when he did familiar faces of his former team were staring back at him, uneasiness written all over their faces. He just couldn't comprehend why they all looked so sad, then a memory hit him – the warehouse, fighting and the sounds of guns firing, somewhere close to him.

Ward had been helping them for so many months now, lurking in the shadows, protecting them from the things they couldn't see or when they needed help to win a battle. He hadn't planned on stepping out of his hiding spot, but when he saw what was about to happen he pushed Coulson aside and waited for it.

He remembers being shot, of his legs failing him and then gravity taking it's toll, of falling with a loud thud, his gun leaving his hand – with a smile he had thought – not a gun, an ICER. He wasn't a killer anymore. He had never liked nor wanted to kill anyone before, that wasn't gonna change.

He turned his head, his eyes meeting the sky again. It was so peaceful and quiet today. It was a nice day to let go. He finally could. He just had to ask for one small favor, he turned his head again meeting Fitz's eyes, and in a voice, not much louder than a whisper he asked them to take care of his puppy. After that, he feels nothing, he feels as if he were lighter, relieved. He closed his eyes one last time.

They waited for days for him to wake up. He didn't wake up even after the breathing tube was out, ten days after the shooting and he had been breathing by himself for almost two days. Simmons said that he was still weak from the trauma he endured and it might take another day or two until he would wake up.

It had been three days when his eyes finally started to stir and he opened them slowly, showing a slight discomfort. Ward looked, disoriented for a moment, but as soon as Skye squeezed his hand, he relaxed. He glanced around the room to find out they weren't alone. Everyone was here. They didn't look mad or sad any longer, just happy, silly smiles on their faces.

"We weren't sure it was you, but we hoped." Coulson said while looking at him. "Fitz, probably the most." He added with a knowing smile.

"Hey Ward, do you wanna see your dog? You forgot to mention her name." Leo said while holding the small puddle in his arms.

"Her name is Espoir." He answered with a smile on his face as Fitz put the small Labrador over him in the medical bed. The dog immediately found his owner's arms and face, licking him happily.

Skye watched the scene unfolding in front of her and with unshed tears questioned. "What does her name mean ?"

"Hope. It means hope." Grant said, his voice barely a whisper.

They knew his reasoning for naming the dog like that. He needed hope in his life and that little puppy was giving him precisely that. One by one, they left the medical pod; well not exactly, Jemma practically kicked them out since Skye and Fitz were talking nonstop with Ward as they also played with Espoir. Skye kissed his cheek, and Fitz messed his hair before they finally left him alone to rest.