Shaw glared, her teeth gnashing together almost painfully as she hoisted the man off of the floor by his collar.
"Touch me again and I’ll break your fucking hand."
He had been smirking sleazily just seconds ago but the expression had quickly shifted to one of terror. Now he was nodding frantically, his hands trying to pry hers off of his clothing.
Shaw knew that she should have just ignored him like she had in the past but she was on edge. It had been two months since she had heard from the gang, two months since she’d had a number.
And ever since she had started with the company this asshole, Greg, had made it his mission to piss her off.
Today innuendos had turned physical though and it was more than she could take.
The woman stiffened as someone cleared their throat behind her and she lowered Greg back to the floor.
"Didn’t learn your lesson yet, huh, asshole?"
Shaw recognized the woman speaking, Alexis, if she remembered correctly. She was on another floor but Shaw saw her occasionally, when she took her break for lunch.
She’d taken the other woman for a snob, with her expensive skirt suit and tightly tied back hair. She was higher up in the company too and definitely let off the air of aloofness that said that she was all to happy to remind those around her of that fact.
The way she was looking at the two of them now though, Shaw wasn’t so sure she had read the other woman correctly.
She blinked, realizing then that Greg was trying to talk. “I-I’m sorry, ma’am please don’t mention this to Mr. Morris.”
Shaw released him and the two women watched as he hastily headed for the door. It was the end of the day and while it was obvious that Alexis had been on her way out she lingered, fixing Shaw with an intense look.
Shaw arched a brow before nodding, “Yeah, Danielle Carillo.”
"Would you like to pursue sexual harassment? Or wait and see if your intimidation tactics get through to his tiny brain?"
Shaw smoothed down the front of her skirt, a tight lipped frown tugging at her lips. “I think he got the message but, if it happens again… You’ll be hearing from me.”
Alexis nodded, the same look of intrigue lingering on her features. “I’ll mention the incident to Morris but I don’t have to bring up your name. Have a good night, Carillo.”
Things had been quiet since the incident Tuesday evening. Shaw liked quiet.
Greg had shot her a glare or two but as soon as she returned the expression he looked away. There was a little chatter around the office about it but nothing too serious.
Shaw was busily typing away on her computer in her small cubicle when a light knock was rapped against the dividing wall.
The brunette glanced up, surprised by the fact that she hadn’t heard the visitor coming.
"You got any plans tomorrow night, Carillo?” Alexis asked, leaning against the wall now.
"No, I don’t." Shaw replied, staring at her steadily and waiting for her to elaborate on why she had needed to know.
Alexis merely smiled, “Good. Don’t make any.”
Shaw had come in Friday morning to find a sticky note stuck to her desk. On it was a simple address and nothing more.
She didn’t waste time debating who it was from and although she had no plans to go anywhere, she still stashed it in her purse. Danielle’s purse.
By the end of the day though, her curiosity was getting the better of her.
She hadn’t seen Alexis at all and it wasn’t like she had any plans anyway.
So around dusk, after stopping home to change, she found herself standing in front of what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse.
She immediately thought that this was probably some kind of underground club and internally cursed for dressing so casual. Sure, it seemed shady but this part of town was also lacking in cameras. Perfect for staying low and away from the prying eyes of Samaritan.
Unless Alexis was actually a Decima agent planning on ambushing her as soon as she crossed the threshold.
Shaw blinked before narrowing her eyes as voices met her ears and they were growing closer fast. She ducked down a nearby alley to watch as a group of three women knocked on the warehouse door.
A tall and stocky woman opened the door slightly, exchanging a few words with the group before letting them in.
Shaw’s curiosity reared its head again and she exhaled slowly before heading over herself a few minutes later.
She’d barely touched the door to knock when it was being pulled open again, the same woman staring down at her. “Password?”
The woman’s eyes narrowed into a glare but someone behind her shifted her attention away from Shaw.
"Ah, Carillo… Didn’t think you’d show.”
"You know ‘er?" The taller woman asked, placing a hand on her hip.
"Yeah." Alexis replied sharply, "I invited her."
The other woman rolled her eyes but waved her free hand toward Shaw in an exasperated manner, “Alright, get in here.”
Shaw shot her a glare as she passed her but didn’t push the subject and instead followed Alexis deeper into the building.
"Don’t mind her… She’s just pissed that she’s missing the action." The slightly taller woman said, smiling over her shoulder.
Shaw didn’t say anything and just made her way down the steps a few paces slower. She wrinkled her nose as she was met with the smell of stale sweat and smoke.
The view was much more pleasant than the smell, though.
Already, only halfway down the staircase, Shaw could see a rough fighting ring set up on the open floor.
It was hard to tell through the crowd behind the fighters but it looked like there were two more.
"Good…" Alexis said, turning to face Shaw once she’d reached the bottom of the steps. "I wasn’t wrong about you."
"What is all of this?"
Alexis’ smirk widened, “Seems a lot of us need an outlet after spending all day in a stiff business suit.”
Shaw was about to agree when a loud cheer cut her off, “Come on, now we’re missing all of the action.”
Alexis lead her through the crowd, bypassing the first fight which looked like it was mostly grappling at this point.
The women were slight and now that she had better vantage point, Shaw could see that they were pulling hair, too.
"They’re amateurs, only a few weeks old." Alexis commented, sounding equally unimpressed. "The vets tend to claim the rings furthest from the stairs."
More cheering erupted from the farthest ring and it didn’t take long for them to discover why.
The fighters in this ring were much more agile and landing much bigger hits. The taller of the two had her back to them, her long hair pulled back.
Her muscles were smaller than the other woman’s but it was obvious by the way she had her opponent stumbling that she was just wiry.
Shaw watched, impressed, as the taller woman faked out her opponent before landing a heavy blow to her head.
The chick fell like a stone, her head bouncing off of the padded floor before she laid still. A loud roar erupted from the crowd around them and two women ran out into the ring. One checked on the fallen fighter, while the other lifted the right hand of the victor.
Shaw’s eyes widened then when she realized she recognized the woman. “Who is that?”
"Claire Keaton… She’s been winning a lot lately. Got her ass handed to her until the last second of her first fight though."
Shaw kept her eyes on the brunette as she made her way off of the stage and toward a door at the far end of the room.
"Why? Want me to introduce you to her so you can be her groupie, Carillo?” Alexis asked, a playful grin tugging at her lips.
"Yeah, sure." Shaw said, too preoccupied with the bizarre fluttering sensation in her stomach to get angry over the question.
The walk back to the locker room was a short one and Shaw tried to keep her anticipation to a minimum as she followed Alexis into the muggy room. It had actually been built for that same purpose originally, allowing whoever had worked in the warehouse in the past to clean up before going home.
"Hey Claire, nice fight…" Alexis said, her voice taking a more low and sultry tone to it as she made her way over to the brunette. Root had already stripped free of her tank top and was attempting to dry off her body.
Shaw lingered by the door, watching the two of them closely.
"Thanks, she got some good body shots in though."
Shaw swallowed, a little shocked by how the familiar voice affected her. Root glanced her way then, as if she could sense her eyes on her.
She kept her expression neutral, although Shaw could swear she saw the hint of a smile.
"How rude of you to not introduce your friend, Alexis." Root said, setting down the towel she had been using to dry off her sweat.
Shaw took a few steps closer, bringing herself over to them. “Claire, this is Danielle Carillo, Dani… Claire.”
Shaw arched a brow at the nickname but said nothing as she accepted Root’s hand. The other woman’s knuckles were wrapped and her skin was still a little clammy. “Nice to meet you.”
The words felt so awkward spilling out but Shaw said them anyway.
She kept her eyes on Root, completely missing the way that Alexis looked between the two of them. “I’m going to go catch some more of the fights… Have fun.”
Root slid her hand free of Shaw’s to turn back toward her bag and waited to speak up until the door was closed.
"Thought I’d see you here sooner, Shaw."
"You know her?" Shaw asked, nodding back toward the door.
"We met one of my first weeks here… She helped me after I won my first fight. Got the shit kicked out of me in the process." Root said with a slight shrug.
Looking at her now and remembering the easy way she had moved in her last fight, Shaw found that image hard to believe.
Root’s pale skin had a few bruises on it but most were small or in the final stages of healing. Tonight’s marks were still angry and red, the worst of which was over a large portion of her rib cage.
Shaw reached out without thinking, her fingertips brushing Root’s side.
The taller woman jumped at the contact and narrowed her eyes.
Shaw smirked, amused by the irony of finally being able to sneak up on the other woman when she wasn’t even trying.
"So you know how to fight now, huh?" She asked, stepping a little closer.
Root rolled her eyes and pulled a fresh shirt from her bag, “Obviously.”
The taller woman turned, a little surprised by the request.
The padded floors were only out in the main room, in three sections for the rings. The floor in the locker room was cold, hard and cracked cement.
"I’ll pass… You can buy me a beer, though." Root said before smiling cutely.
Shaw shook her head, “C’mon… Show me.”
As she repeated the words, she cuffed Root lightly in the arm.
When Shaw didn’t get a response, she tried again, harder the second time around.
Root glared at her, shoving her back slightly by her shoulder.
In a matter of seconds, Shaw had the taller woman pinned to the row of lockers nearby. She pressed her body against Root’s, a smug grin playing at her lips.
The look of surprise that had passed over the hacker’s face disappeared quickly to be replaced with one more neutral. Shaw could see the annoyance swimming just beneath the surface, though.
The two stared each other down, the only sound around them was the dripping coming from one of the showers.
Shaw’s eyes stayed locked with Root’s but her other senses were in overdrive.
Root’s perfume and the unique smell of her sweat filled her nose and left her feeling lightheaded. The hacker’s skin still had a light sheen of moisture on it, despite her attempts to wipe it away.
Shaw’s fingers fanned out, pressing into the cool metal of the lockers as she leaned in slightly.
Root licked her bottom lip, her eyes darting between Shaw’s eyes and mouth as she drew closer.
Shaw wanted to say that she had missed the other woman. Her voice, her eyes, the way she smelled… But she was never good with words. So instead she showed her, made her feel it.
Root’s eyes fell shut, a soft moan escaping into their open mouthed kiss. Her hands found the small of Shaw’s back and held the other woman closer. Genuinely afraid that she might regret whatever it was that was happening and pull away at any second.
Shaw pulled away slowly after several minutes and Root’s eyes fluttered open to meet hers.
"Took you long enough." The hacker mumbled through a lazy smile.
Shaw rolled her eyes and tried to back away, “Oh, shut up.”
Root held her for a few seconds longer before letting her go, watching as she moved for the door. “You aren’t leaving completely, are you?”
She tried to hide the hurt and worry from her voice but judging by the look Shaw shot back over her shoulder, she hadn’t done a good enough job.
"I still owe you that beer… Don’t I, Claire?"