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Connections

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Root did get Azar’s message and began working with her on infiltrating Greer’s system, undetected. Shaw listened in, but she wanted a more hands on approach – as in - annihilating Greer’s hardware.

“It’s not that I’m against your way,” Root shared, because she was pretty much never against anything Shaw wanted “…but I think we can be more effective handling this from the inside.”

“Yeah,” Shaw said, but that wasn’t her style and she felt bored. Now that she knew her fiancée had her own fleet of drones, Shaw figured she had the answer to any issue they faced.

“I bet people are worried after seeing the news,” Root said, as she looked at her screen.

“I’m sure Reese updated them. They’re probably throwing Janine a parade. I mean, they should do something,” Shaw said, her feelings mixed about the whole thing.

“I’m sure there are some people who would feel relieved seeing you,” Root said, laying out the breadcrumbs to lead Shaw where she needed to go.

“Like Martine? She’s fine,” Shaw countered.

“I was thinking Doctor Campbell. You know, she’s kind of out of the loop in terms of office updates. I bet she’d love to see you after the news. You know, to make sure you’re okay,” Root tried.

“What makes you think she’d think I wasn’t okay,” the very sharp, dark eyed woman asked pointedly.

“No, I meant after hearing the broadcast; I’m sure she’d be relieved if you just went in and said hi,” Root clarified.

“You think she’d feel better?” Shaw asked, always willing to help the Doctor.

“Yes,” Root said; leaving out the part where she also thought it would do Shaw a world of good, too.  This was simply, Root being Root.

“Okay,” Shaw replied and kissed Root goodbye.


Sameen made her way back to her floor, where for the first time in ages, her cubicle seemed very empty. There was no one there to greet her or give her messages. She sat down in her large leather chair, but she couldn’t get comfortable. In fact, her whole office felt uncomfortable for some reason.

Maybe Root was right – she should visit the doctor.

Sameen was walking down the hallway when Martine approached. “You okay there, Shaw?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Sameen answered halfheartedly.

“That was really something,” Martine assessed. “Reese says Greer’s group might have something to do with it,” she noted, looking around to make sure no one was there. “When are we just going to put an end to those people?”

If Martine had told Shaw she won the lottery, she would have been less enthusiastic. “RIGHT?” she said to her kindred spirit friend.

“I know the offense is probably more sophisticated than that,” Martine admitted, “…but I would really enjoy putting a hurting on those bastards.”

“YES!” Shaw said and moved in to hug the woman she thought was bloody brilliant in her analysis. She caught herself, coughed, and patted Martine on the shoulder. “I think we should discuss this further with Reese later.”

“Good,” Martine said, happy to see Shaw agreed.

“I gotta go make sure the doc is okay,” Shaw explained as she left.


Root wasn’t far off the mark when she said Iris was probably worried. She had seen the news and spoken to a certain detective who could update her. But she was concerned about what he couldn’t see going on with his friend.
Iris was deep in thought about her favorite patient when the woman suddenly appeared in her doorway. So surprised was the therapist, that she leaped to her feet and called out Shaw’s name in a high pitched, excited tone.

“SA-MEEN!” Iris said, astonished, yet thrilled, to see the woman standing right there.

“Hey,” Shaw said and looked around the office to see what had the doctor so excited.

“I’m so pleased you stopped in,” Iris said and Shaw figured Root was right – again.

“Yeah, Root said you would be,” Shaw replied and walked in. Since she was only there to show the therapist that she was okay, she wasn’t sure if she should sit. She walked behind the couch; her finger running along the back of it.

Iris tried to put together what she knew about her client. “Can you stay?” she asked, not assuming Shaw was there for herself. She knew Shaw’s approach would be indirect.

“Oh, well, I don’t know,” Shaw said, looking at her watch. She wasn’t sure why she would stay now that Iris could see she was alright. Maybe she had questions. “Sure,” she said and came around and sat down.

“I saw the news; I’m glad you’re okay. How is Janine?” Iris asked.

“She’s okay; she’s on her way home with a stranger that everyone seems to think is perfectly normal. I wanted her to stay with the rest of the captives at our apartment, but she suddenly got a stubborn streak in her and wanted to go home, so we let her,” Sameen replied.

Iris loved that Shaw’s spontaneous responses always offered them so much to discuss.

“So, you don’t trust the stranger?” Iris asked.

“I don’t trust anyone,” Shaw reminded the woman. “Except Root, of course, and you. Fusco, most days, but not about restaurants; and Reese, for sure, except about tracking devices, and Martine. Especially, Martine,” Shaw smiled because the woman had impressed her with her analysis.

“And Janine?” Iris asked , secretly happy she was on that list.

“Oh, yeah, of course,” Shaw responded. “Except when we’re shopping and there’s a robbery. Do you what she did? She pushed me out of the way. One minute, I’m standing there with my gun drawn, ready to take care of business, and the next thing, I’m on the floor!” Shaw explained and Iris could hear the tenseness in her voice.

“That must have taken you by surprise,” Iris suggested.

“By? Surprise? Yes, it did!” Shaw confirmed. “I mean, looking at it doc, you might think it was brave, but it was very careless, and she could have been hurt much worse than she is. I mean, I… I appreciate that she tried… that she did…but, I didn’t need her to.”

“Sameen, those sound like conflicting feelings. You had the situation under control, but Janine instinctively protected you,” Iris summed up.

“Yeah, how messed up is that?” Shaw exclaimed.

“Do you think it speaks to her affection for you?” Iris asked gently.

Dark eyes, filled with storms of confusion, glared back. It took a minute for words to form to match her feelings, but when they did, they were razor sharp.

“Affection? Do you know what you get when you have affectionate people? Accidents, careless mistakes, people who can’t concentrate on the mission at hand. And even worse?” Shaw asked, jumping up from her seat now. “…responsibility. I have a house full of people I’m responsible for now. My mother, who took it upon herself to walk into the enemy’s den and, brace yourself for this, flirted with the man.” Shaw’s whole body shuddered when she said that. “I’ll never unsee that, Doc.”

Iris was in the dark, but that was okay. Shaw’s feelings were coming through loud and clear. She leaned back in her chair, not yet ready to grab the pen and pad.

“I told my sister to keep an eye on my mother at our place because she got away from her once. God knows, what that woman will do next time. It’s like the CIA training in her woke up after all these years. Do you have any idea how dangerous it was for her to meet that man?”

“I’m guessing it was very dangerous,” Iris admitted.

“It was insane. Now, Root is encouraging her because she managed to slip the old guy a chip or something, I don’t know. But Root is cheering her on and the two of them are having a nerd-fest upstairs, but they don’t know what they’re up against,” Shaw affirmed.

“What are they up against?” Iris asked and it slowly dawned on Shaw that Iris was, indeed, clueless about these events. She sat back down on the edge of the couch cushion.

“Root has a… competitor, who’s pretty cutthroat in his attempts to steal Root’s… ideas. Sort of,” Shaw said, not really good at lying to this woman. “My mother thought she could help. Now, they’re like two nerds in a peapod. Someone’s got to watch out for them!”

“And that someone is you,” Iris stated.

“Yes!” Shaw said, glad the woman could so easily connect the dots. “But how am I going to do that if Tinker Bell is trying to protect me?”

“And Janine is Tinker Bell, “ Iris identified.

“Yes, I mean no. I don’t know, doc. Look at what you’ve done to me,” Shaw said, almost pleading. “You have awoken this giant blob of feelings inside and now I’m useless.” Then, to drive her point home, she waved her finger at Iris to pay close attention to what she was going to say next. “I… almost… hugged… Martine.”

Then, Shaw sat back and threw her arms out as if to ask Iris what more proof did she need after that.

For a split second, Iris thought it might be helpful is she installed a seatbelt on her chair to keep her steady with the twists and turns of Shaw’s sessions.

“Did you?” Iris asked.

“Did I what?” Shaw responded.

“Hug her?” Iris clarified.

“NOOO!” Shaw said, as if she had escaped the jaws of death.

“So, you were able to stop yourself,” Iris pointed out.

“Barely,” Shaw huffed. “I mean, I was this close…,” she said putting her thumb and index finger a half inch apart to show the proximity.

“But you didn't,” Iris pressed.

“Sometimes I think you think you’re making a point, but really what you’re doing is not,” Shaw said.

Iris had to control the smile that often wanted to appear at Shaw’s candor. “Sameen, what I am suggesting is that the feelings you have, about Janine and what happened, seem mixed to you, but that’s because you can have more than one feeling at a time.”

Shaw looked at the therapist like she just explained human nature using the terms of calculus. “More than one? At a time? You mean, like when I adore Root, but wish she wouldn’t get so turned at the most inopportune moments like in the middle of a crowded room?”

Iris smiled; not surprised that Shaw would ask for clarification using her feelings for Root.

“Yes,” Iris confirmed. “I’m sure you appreciate what Janine did, because she acted out of great concern for you, but it also left you feeling as if the tables had been turned. The point, Sameen, is that you handled all of that and were aware of your feelings enough to know when to refrain from hugging someone.”

Sameen listened carefully and thought about what the therapist offered. “So, I’m not going to turn into one of those people who emote all over the place, right? She was asking for Iris’ guarantee on that.

“I’m certain you won’t,” Iris said, going out on a professional limb. “The goal of this process, Sameen, is not to change you, but to make you more the person you are inside.”

Considering Shaw’s level of ego confidence, that sounded okay with her. Shaw being more Shaw. She liked it.

“Okay, then,” Shaw said, nodding her head and feeling like they had accomplished something. “I’m glad you’re feeling better,” she added because that had been the singular purpose of her visit.

“I truly am,” Iris shared, smiling as she walked Sameen to the door and watched her leave. “You have no idea,” she whispered.