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Connections

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Root told Azar that she was meeting her daughter for lunch and invited her to come along. Azar politely declined. “Thank you, Samantha. I appreciate the chance to come up here today and see that both of you are okay. But, I think Sameen would prefer to have lunch alone with you. It has been my experience that after an event like last night, it is good to reconnect with loved ones and enjoy the moments together.”

Root looked at the woman who spoke those words with a smile, but whose tone was laced with sadness. If there had been any missions like this in her life, she didn’t always return to her loved ones. In fact, until recently, she couldn’t. Root asked her again, but she smiled and shook her head. “I cannot tell you what joy I feel when I see Sameen with you, Samantha,” Azar shared before she left. “I truly believe that you have managed to heal some of her deepest wounds; some that I caused myself.”

Root’s heart ached for this woman who lived with such regret. “I think it’s time that you forgive yourself, Azar. I believe Sameen has,” Root shared.

“Thank you,” the dark haired woman said, touching Root’s hand affectionately. “Please tell Sameen we’ll do dinner soon.”

As much as Root looked forward to having lunch with Shaw, she felt a tinge of regret when Azar left. She didn’t only admire the woman’s technical brilliance; she was beginning to see where Sameen got her inner strength from.


“Hey,” Shaw said as she approached the staff dining room where Root was waiting. “Where’s my mother?”

“She said she had some things to do, but thanked us for inviting her,” Root said, and stood there staring at the face she missed. “Did you have a good morning?”

“Yeah,” Shaw said, walking into the inner space. “I learned I’m a shark.”

She ordered… or more like wrestled the Parks Deli owner… for her sandwich and then joined Root at a table. “I don’t know how you eat salad every day,” Shaw said, the smallest piece of pastrami hanging from her mouth.

“I pretend it’s you,” Root smiled, her eyes bursting with laughter at her own joke. “How are your wounds?” getting more serious.

“Fine,” Shaw rolled her eyes.

“We have to put that medicine on tonight so they don’t get infected,” Root reminded her.

“Yeah,” Shaw said, taking a bite out of the sandwich that seemed bigger than her mouth.

“Is it because of the way you eat?” Root asked, going back to Shaw’s comment.

“What?” Shaw asked.

“That you think you’re a shark,” Root explained because the eating behaviors seemed a little similar.

“No!” said the woman who was defensive about her eating habits. “Why would you ask that?” she wondered as she ripped the next bite off her sandwich.

“Oh, I thought… never mind,” Root smiled.

“Dr. Campbell said I was the shark,” Shaw explained.

“Why?” Root asked, because she was getting the tail end of this story.

“I had a dream. A shark was trying to eat you,” Shaw explained.

“Oh, I see it entirely now,” Root smiled at the idea.

“No,” Sameen said, rolling her eyes. “Is everything sex with you?”

“You said there was a shark eating me and you were the shark, so naturally I thought…,” Root tried to explain.

“Stay with me here,” Shaw implored. “The shark was who I used to be. You know, Axis II Personality and all.”

“I never truly believed that diagnosis,” Root shared.

Sameen just stared at her, thinking that getting her lover to stay on track was like turning a moving ship in deep waters. A really big ship. “O…kay, the point is that I’m thinking about our future… together.”

Root liked the sound of that. “You are?” she asked, clasping her hands together; her heart fluttering with excitement.

“Yeah, because I want to be with you and all and we should decide what that looks like,” Shaw thought out. “And I can’t be naked when we do!”

“Wait, you can’t be naked when we talk about our future, or you can’t be naked IN our future,” Root teased.

“Root!” she warned because the woman had the uncanny knack of confusing her.

“Okay, okay. Well, I like the sound of this very much, Sameen Shaw,” Root cooed and reached over to push a loose strand of hair behind Shaw’s ear.

“We should decide about my apartment downtown, too,” Shaw said.

“Well, that’s your decision, but I hope you feel you won’t need it,” Root suggested, tucking another strand away from her mouth.

“Most people wouldn’t get that close to her when she’s eating,” Fusco said, interrupting their lunch and sitting down with Reese.

“She’s my shark,” Root overshared because she was stuck on the image.

“Ladies,” Reese said; his way of apologizing for barging in.

“No, please, sit down and disturb my lunch,” Shaw said on her next bite.

“Trust me, we wouldn’t be here unless it was really important,” Fusco said and Reese nodded. “That girl from last night just got released.”

“How does a would-be terrorist get out?” Shaw barked.

“A high priced lawyer,” Fusco answered, and took a small piece of the pastrami that fell onto Shaw’s wrapper and ate it.

Lions that have their food taken away look less fierce than Shaw did.

“Sorry, I’m hungry,” Fusco explained.

“They run out of donuts at the store?” Shaw asked.

“The point is that Claire Mahoney is back in her apartment and probably will be reporting back to whoever this Greer guy is. We’re not going to let that happen,” Reese explained.

“Yeah, me and Captain America are going to talk to her,” Fusco explained.

“I should go,” Shaw said, getting ready to leave.

“No, I think you and Root need to be here in case we need you,” Reese explained. “If she’s contacting anyone, we’ll need to know that.”

“Some shark,” Shaw huffed at not being invited.

Fusco looked at her, already giving that statement thought. “You’re more of a butterfly, Shaw.”

“WHAT?” Sameen inquired; her hands on either side of the table now.

“You’re more like a butterfly,” Fusco repeated and triggered one of her worst pet peeves of people repeating what they just said.

“Take-that-back,” Shaw warned him.

“No, it’s a good thing. When you started here, you were… different,” Fusco tried to elaborate and Reese just stared at him because he could see the disaster this was going to be.

“We should go,” Reese said, trying to save his police buddy.

“You know, all rough and stuff. And now… it’s like you went into a cocoon here,” Fusco kept going.

“Root! Make him stop,” Shaw said, even though she was staring straight ahead.

“Lionel, I don’t think Sameen appreciates the analogy,” Root pointed out.

“It’s metamorphosis, Shaw,” Fusco said and now she felt he was only adding insult to injury.

“I’m going to metamorphosis your ass if you don’t stop talking,” Shaw barked.

Don’t say it; don’t say it.’ Reese repeated in his head, praying Lionel would not remind Shaw.

“Speaking of that,” Lionel said, jumping from the frying pan into the fire. “How’s your….,” he asked, looking down. Fusco truly meant it out of his concern and wasn’t even trying to give Shaw a hard time.

But Shaw wasn’t in the mood for Fusco’s pearls of wisdom.

“Listen, Fusco, I have things on my mind. Big things and I don’t have time for your insights right now,” Shaw said.

“Geesh, okay,” the detective said, his feelings slightly singed by Shaw’s reception.

“We’ll call you when we get to Claire’s apartment,” John said, getting up and hoping to end this train wreck.


Root smiled her goodbye, but Shaw just stared hard at her friends. “A butterfly? Really?” she asked Root, her disgust palpable.

“We all change is what he meant, I think,” Root said, trying to find the silver lining.

“Change my ass,” Shaw said and that reminded her of what she was still carrying. “How do we get this thing out of me?”

Root tilted her head to the side, and scrunched up her face. That was not good. “We’re going to have to work on that,” Root said, not wanting to get Reese in trouble for literally jumping the gun.

“I am going to shoot both of them,” Shaw said to her lover.

“There you are!” Janine said as she pushed her phone into her pocket.

Something about that movement made Shaw suspicious. “How did you know…?” she was asking.

“Your portable radar device. It shows up here,” the assistant said and showed the pulsating dot on her screen to indicate exactly where Shaw was.

“Root!” Shaw said.

“Let’s go work on that now,” Root said, getting up and taking Shaw by the hand.

“Maybe it will just come out when I sprout wings!” Shaw bellowed.


Several blocks away, a very hyper and anxious Claire Mahoney was trying to reach the man she had only spoken to once. “I need to speak to Greer,” she pleaded with the man who answered the phone. “What do you mean, he’s unavailable? Tell him I have to speak to him!”

The man told her to wait by her phone and not to leave her apartment.

“Tie up those loose ends,” the elderly man in charge told his subordinate. “I really have to be more choosy in who I pick next time,” he lamented.

Claire did as she was told; she sat in the chair and waited for someone to call her back.

It was exactly where Fusco and Reese found her – dead.