By the time the couple met up in the afternoon, both couldn’t wait to share what each felt was the perfect plan to handle the situation with Greer.
“First,” Root said excitedly, having spent the day with her IT team, “... we create a concern in the business community about viruses. Social media picks up on it and spreads the word. Then, we offer our latest anti-virus software for free!”
The approach was a sound, logistical approach.
“What was your idea?” Root said, equally enthusiastic to hear about Shaw’s.
“A high powered rifle on the roof across from their offices,” Shaw said, with a ‘right?’ expression on her face at how brilliant that was.
Root desperately fired all cylinders of her highly developed brain to see how what would work. She pushed up on the eyeglasses that she only wore after staring at her screen for hours. “Okay…,” she said as if she figured it out, but hadn’t really. “What… will you shoot?” she asked in a ‘just to be clear’ kind of voice.
“Lambert and Greer,” Shaw said, thinking it should have been obvious.
Shaw wanted direct; Root wanted dramatic. Or maybe it was the other way around. Shaw wanted people falling over; Root wanted a slow systematic implosion of epic proportions.
“Sweetie,” Root began slowly, “… taking them out won’t stop this … whatever it is. We need to find out what they’re up to and eradicate them at the source.”
Militarily, it sounded like it made sense. “So, you want to put a firewall on thousands of computers with your free antivirus software that will detect what Greer’s doing? And then can I shoot them?” Shaw asked.
Root was not one to ever deny Shaw anything. “Yes,” she said and added a caveat.
Satisfied that they could both have their way, Shaw smiled and relaxed. “So, what was Gen smiling about so much this morning?” Root asked, playing with the hair that refused to stay back in Sameen’s ponytail.
She could tell by the way Root was asking that she already knew something was up. “She wants to be our babysitter. I mean, don’t you think she’s jumping the gun here? That kid! She’s like a mini-you on steroids. Really smart, but all over the place,” Shaw complained.
“What did you tell her?” Root smiled to think how adept the kid was at getting under Shaw’s skin.
“I mean, she wants to go to school around here so she can be available. And get this,” Shaw ranted on, “…if she’s not free, she says we can use Fusco’s kid because Joss’ son will be up in Boston at Harvard. Oh, she has it all figured it out,” Shaw laughed at how ridiculous it was.
Root wasn’t laughing. She started to smile, but something was absolutely pulling at her heart strings. Sameen saw immediately that Root was somewhere else. Sameen tried to get her back on track. “I mean, that’s nuts, right?” she asked and stared at Root.
Root pushed forward at Shaw as they sat there and took her hands. “I want your babies,” Root said.
“You want my what?”” Shaw said, pulling back because she was unsure of what this meant.
“I want your babies. I want to have kids that are like you,” Root said.
“Okay, well we know that means I would have to … you know… have like a … donor,” Shaw heard herself unnecessarily explain to her brilliant fiancée.
“Not necessarily,” said the woman with something up her sleeve. She didn’t want to reveal it just yet. “In the meantime, I have a great idea.” Root still didn’t say what it was, but Shaw could see from the twinkle in Root’s eye, that she thought it was bloody brilliant.
“O…kay,” Shaw said, getting up from her seat. “I’m… going to go back to work now, okay?”
“Yes,” Root said, coming back and kissing her goodbye. She had to get busy if she were going to test her hypothesis. She set out to get what she thought they needed to do it. An hour later, she employed Gen to help her.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” the tween asked suspiciously. “Do you have enough snacks?”
“It’s only for a short time,” Root explained. “How much could they eat?”
“I meant for Shaw,” Gen said, her chin dipped down as she looked over at Root.
“Good point,” she said.
If Shaw was methodical in her planning, it included the shortest route to complete her objective. She wanted payback for Greer and Lambert, so she’d shoot them from a nearby rooftop. Clean and simple. Root’s planning was usually a bit more unpredictable. The free software was a brilliant idea because it was targeted to the computer clusters that Greer’s machine had been data mining. But when it came to Root’s plans for her personal life; they were less precise and orderly and more… what’s the word?
“I have a surprise,” she said to Shaw as they entered the Penthouse lobby that night.
“Does it include talking Reese out of watching us, because he sucks at undercover,” Shaw moaned. John had insisted that he tail the two of them, at least for a few days, to make sure Greer didn’t try anything. “I do the protecting; I don’t need protecting,” Shaw stated again for the umpteenth time.
“Yes, but let John have this one,” Root pleaded. “Besides, you are going to be very busy tonight.” The smile on Root’s face announced something definitely was going on.
“You didn’t buy me a Wonder Woman costume, did you?” Shaw asked because the only fantasies left seemed to be in the comic book hero genre.
“Oh my, God!” Root said, having not come up with that one yet. “I love it!”
“I’m too short,” Shaw reminded her.
“I’m not,” Root said and put her two wrists up in the heroine’s signature ‘x’ position.
Sameen was expressionless, as she stared straight ahead.
“Now, remember, this is just a trial,” Root said when they reached the top floor.
It took Sameen a minute, but she finally guessed it. “You got the Extreme Sports package?” she said with such glee, that it took Root a second to figure out she was serious.
“No, silly,” Root said, forgetting Sameen’s interpretation of fun was always slightly different from hers.
And then the elevator door opened to what Root thought was a wonderful experiment for them. Shaw’s immediate expression was that she was looking out at a nightmare.
“Where… did you … who… are they? Where did you get them?” Shaw asked when she heard the shrieks of what she was sure were one dozen kids.
“I borrowed them!” Root squealed. “We’re babysitting. Oh, but there are so many.”
“No, we’re ….,” Shaw declared, but a kid in a big wheel ran into her leg.
“JEFFREY!” a familiar voice called out and came over to grab the runaway driver.
“Janine?” Shaw said, wondering what the hell was going on.
“She got you kids,” Janine explained. “Although, more than we planned.”
“She got me what?” Shaw barked; the noise seemed to come from every corner of the apartment. “OUCH!” Shaw yelled and looked down to see what just bit her ankle.
“Careful; she’s a biter,” Janine said and scooped the two year old up in her arm. “Shaw, this is Jane.”
“Tell Jane I bite back,” Shaw said, unable to get her head around that fact that she was threatening a toddler. “ROOT!”
“She’s running after the twins,” Janine said as if she just told her Root was getting groceries.
Shaw pulled on the woman who she was almost certain had pledged an oath of allegiance to her. “You knew about this?”
Janine took a deep breath. “To be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be a great surprise. But Root wanted to… you know… try them out.”
“Try… them… out? They’re not cars!” Shaw bellowed and stepped on a LEGO. “OH MY FREAKING…,” she said, hobbling on one foot. Even through the shoe, it hurt like hell.
“Language,” Janine said under her breath. “The eight year olds are really susceptible to that.”
“The what? ROOT!” Shaw called out.
Root came down the hallway, holding hands with the most adorable, curly haired identical twins. “I think I goofed,” she admitted.
“You think?” Shaw said and jumped back when the biting toddler walked back towards her.
“I thought we could, you know, try out a couple. But I asked a few people if we could babysit, and every one of them took me up on the offer,” Root shrugged her shoulders.
Root started to walk into the living room and Shaw followed; this time, the biting toddler along for the ride as she sat on Shaw’s shoe and held onto her leg. “Root! Get off, would you? Root, you offered to babysit a dozen kids?” Root turned to look at Sameen, who was desperately trying to unhinge a two year old from her leg. “Okay, just… if you could…get off… there you go. God, you have some grip.”
Watching Sameen interact with the foreign substances known as children was endearing. When Sameen put her hands out to stop the driver, the two year old reattached herself to Shaw’s leg.
“Root! They won’t listen. Get off. Get out of that car, you maniac driver. Is that a baby crying? ROOT!”
Root knew that kids were the best judges of character and it was a just a matter of minutes before they all fell under the spell of Shaw’s charisma.
Or… were locked up.
“All changed and happy,” Janine announced as she came out carrying a baby. “Here you go. Might as well try out the small ones, too,” she said, handing the baby to Shaw and then pried the toddler off her leg.
In spite of the fact that Shaw stood there, holding onto the baby with a worse expression then if she had been holding onto explosives, Root smiled broadly. Underneath the look of sheer terror on Shaw’s face and past the gritted teeth that she used to tell Root to take the baby, Root could see it.
Shaw was going to be a natural at this.
You know, after a while and some practice.
A lot of practice.