It's two and a half months later that her world tilts off its axis.
She's out with Mack, Bobbi and Hunter doing recon on a supposed Hydra base when she sees him. Or at least, when she sees his... body.
The team split up when the base appeared deserted. Bobbi and Hunter went one direction, her and Mack another. They've cleared the first level and climbed to the second floor when hey find him casually resting against an old dilapidated desk.
"I was expecting you hours ago." he speaks, meeting their uncertain stares head on, arms crossed highlighting his impressive musculature. He makes no move to defend himself from their weapons.
"Ward?" Daisy questions, her voice trembling as she lowered her handgun in her confusion.
"No." comes the reply. "And, yes." comes the answer.
"What..." she begins as she steps closer to... him.
"Careful Tremors." Mack cautions her, gun aimed, arm steady.
"I don't understand, Fitz said you... that you died." Daisy went on, ignoring Mack's warnings.
"Fitz." he/it paused, tilting his head, thinking. "I remember him. Curly hair, accent. He was kind. My host liked him as well."
"Your..." she took a deep breath, "your host?"
"The man who's body I now inhabit." he/it stated plainly.
Daisy gasped, taking a stumbling step back as Mack took a step forward.
"The gun is of no benefit to you, it won't harm me. But if it makes you feel better, by all means, keep it pointed at me." he/it spoke to Mack.
"I think I'll keep it, if you don't mind. But thanks for the insight." Mack snarked.
He/it shrugged Ward's shoulders, unconcerned.
"What do you mean by your host?" Daisy prompted.
"The body I inhabit belonged to the man you used to know as Grant Ward. He was murdered, but that's no obstacle for me. I needed a new host body and his dead body was nearby. He's been a helpful body to inhabit, very capable." he/it spoke with Ward's voice, but now she could tell the pacing of his words was off. "He cared for you very much. Though you didn't care for him in return, if his memories are accurate."
"His memories? You have his memories?" she asked, her voice thick with emotion.
"I have access to my host's mind, yes. His memories, feelings, dreams." he/it explained. "Which is how I know that he loved you, and you shot him. His body bears the scar, it's a vivid reminder." he/it motioned to the where the gunshot wound resided on his/it's left side.
"It's not as cut and dry as that. I did care for him, at one time. But he betrayed us, betrayed me."
"You know and see so little. I forget how simple the human mind is." he/it responded. His head cocked again as he regarded her more closely, ignoring Mack all together. "But you're not, are you?" his/it's stare unnerving her. "You're one of mine, aren't you? What can you do?"
"I'm not sure what you..." Daisy tried to deny what he was insinuating.
"You can manipulate the vibration of this planet. How marvelous."
Daisy met his gaze, unwavering. Straightening her spine, she got back on point, back to their mission. "Why are you here?"
"I've cut my ties with Mr Malick. His organization was... shortsighted. I was exiled a very long time. I want nothing more than to be left alone. I'm looking forward to experiencing interaction with other creatures, without Mr Malick's absurd plans being foisted upon me."
"And, what, you expect us to let you go? Free to kill as you like?" Mack spoke up, joining the conversation.
"Hmm, I assure you, the trail of bodies I leave behind will not even be large enough for you to track me."
"Then why wait here for us? You could have disappeared without us ever knowing you were here?" Mack questioned, speaking up when Daisy remained silent.
"As useful as I've found this body, his former crimes have him on quiet a few a watch lists. It has somewhat limited my plans."
"So why not take another host?"
"And now you see why I waited here for your team." he/it answered with a slightly malicious grin. "His body and the associated crimes he committed may be prohibitive, but the skill he possessed has been very useful to me, as I said. I'm in the market for a new host of equal quality and skill." he/it stood smoothly from his perch on the desk.
Daisy and Mack both took slow cautious steps back at the exact moment Bobbi charged in from behind the creature, ready to strike with her batons. He/it turned abruptly, catching Bobbi midair, his hand squeezing her throat.
"Let her go you fucking bastard!" Hunter shouted, hurrying in after Bobbi, gun raised in the creatures direction. "I'll fucking kill you!"
"No. You won't" he/it spoke without fear.
"Hunter wait." Daisy cautioned him. "Please, don't hurt her." she pleaded. "We can find another way."
"She won't be harmed, I'll just be the one in control for a time. Once I get what I want and where I want to be, I'll let her go." he/it explained, the parasite visible crawling under the skin of Ward's body. "I'll let you all live if you leave immediately. If not..."
"Like hell I'll leave. You let go of my wife." Hunter demanded, not backing down.
The creatures only response was to tighten his grip on Bobbi's throat, causing her to gasp for breath before she lost consciousness.
"Mack, get him out of here." Daisy urged, prompting the other agent into action.
"Get your bloody hands off of me, you son of a bitch, that things got Bobbi."
"And it's not gonna hurt her, or any of us, unless you don't back off. Live to fight another day Hunter." Mack reasoned with the other man as he wrestled him out of the building and away from the creature.
"You should get going as well." he/it spoke to Daisy, focusing his sights on Bobbi.
"Wait, you really won't hurt her? Right?"
Daisy made to leave, but turned back after a few steps.
The creature turned to face her again.
"Is there any part of him left? I was just... I wanted to say goodbye, to tell him that I did love him..."
"So you did care after all." he/it spoke sagely, and looked contemplative. "I can see why he cared for you, as well. Stay where you are, but you might want to avert your eyes."
Seconds later he/it opened its mouth wide as the parasite slithered out of Ward's body and down his shoulder, down his arm and onto Bobbi's neck, up and into her mouth. Her body convulsed as Ward's body collapsed to the floor. Once the convulsions stopped, the creature, now in control of the female agent, turned again to address Daisy.
"He won't be the same. Though I had access to his memories, I couldn't restore them to him. Those memories are gone, along with the man he used to be. That man is dead. And gone with him are all the things that made him the person you knew - the traumas he suffered, the wrong choices he made. But perhaps you'll come to appreciate and care for whatever kind of man he will be now." she/it spoke to Daisy.
"Wait, what do you..."
"Don't follow me." she/it turned and slunk away swiftly.
Daisy stared after her/it's retreating form, trying to wrap her head around whatever clusterfuck she'd just lived through.
She was shaken out of her stupor by a deep groan. Her head whipped quickly to where Ward's body laid, her eyes growing wide as his body shifted.
"Holy shit." she murmured, slowly approaching the waking man.
"Ughhh." the man groaned, sitting up, one hand grabbing at his head, the other rubbing at his chest.
"Uh, be careful. You might want to take it easy." she spoke softly, but still managing to startle him.
"What happened to me?" the man wearing Ward's face asked her, his eyes taking in the scene he found himself in. "Who are you? How did I get here?"
"Well, you..." she tried to come up with a reasonable story to tell him, but stopped short at his next words.
"Who am I?"