“Where have you guys been?” John exclaimed as soon as they walked into the chapel, hand in hand. His eyes were bright and wide and he was swinging a bottle of rum loosely in one hand. His other arm was locked firmly around the shoulders of some dude dressed in all white. “This is my new best friend, Marcus,” said Reese.
“It’s Mark,” said Marcus.
“Hi Marcus,” said Root.
“Mark,” Marcus corrected.
“Whatever,” said Shaw impatiently. “Is this the place where you do the thing?”
“What thing?” asked John, taking a swig of his rum and completely missing his mouth. It dripped all down the front of his shirt and onto the floor.
“The wedding thing,” said Root.
“What wedding thing?” John asked.
“Yes, it is,” said Marcus, practically beaming and cleared his throat before launching into a well-rehearsed speech. “Welcome to Cupid’s Wedding Chapel; where we provide romantic and elegant wedding packages to-”
Shaw held up a hand to cut him off. “Hold it right there, bucko. All we need is the basics.”
“We?” said Reese.
“What kind of packages?” Root asked.
“Are you guys getting married?” Reese asked, his eyes going wider.
“Well,” said Marcus. “We do a special Elvis style wedding… But,” and here he lowered his voice as if he were telling them a secret, “my favourite package is the one with the doves.”
“Doves?” said Shaw sceptically.
“Oooh, do we get to shoot them?” asked Root, her eyes bright with excitement.
“Where’s my gun?” Reese said as if he had just remembered he had lost it. “Do you have my gun?”
“No,” said Shaw firmly, snatching the rum out of Reese’s hand and taking a large gulp before handing it back. “No guns, no doves and definitely no Elvis. Just the basics.”
Marcus’ face fell at that but he disappeared off to go set up for them.
“So,” said Reese, grinning widely. “Getting hitched, huh?”
“Shut up,” said Shaw. “All you need to do is be our witness. Right?” she said to Root quietly, unsure if anything else was actually required of him.
Root nodded. “I’d prefer Bear, but at least one of the dogs is here.”
Reese frowned and it seemed to take him a moment to work out he had just been insulted. “She’s mean,” he said, pointing an accusing finger at a smirking Root.
Shaw rolled her eyes and she took Root by the hand again when Marcus waved them over.
“Good news,” said Marcus, “we have a slot open, so you won’t have to wait.”
Shaw didn’t care all that much about the particulars of the ceremony itself, and she suspected Root didn’t either. In fact, it was Reese that insisted on the flowers and Shaw only agreed to it to shut him up.
“What about your vows?” asked Marcus. “Have you written your own or would you like to just go with the standard? Most people do,” he added hurriedly when Shaw stared at him blankly.
“We have our own,” said Root.
Shaw frowned. “We do?”
“Sure,” said Root, smirking knowingly.
“Um… okay,” said Shaw, not convinced and worried that when the time came, she wouldn’t know what to say.
She needn’t have worried.
Wedding ceremonies were boring, Shaw quickly found out, even if it was your own and she found herself tuning Marcus out until she realised he had stopped speaking and was staring at her expectantly.
“Uh…” said Shaw.
“I’ll go first,” Root offered eagerly. Shaw nodded, unsure what she was agreeing to.
“Whilst we’re married,” Root began and grinned, “I promise never to eat the last bagel.”
Marcus stared at her for a moment as if expecting her to continue. When she didn’t, he seemed to realise she wasn’t joking and cleared his throat awkwardly.
“Now, Sameen, what are your vows?”
“Wait,” said Shaw, ignoring Marcus and his boring, droning voice. “What about pancakes?”
“Pancakes?” said Marcus dubiously.
“Can you make pancakes?” Shaw asked Root.
Root pursed her lips together tightly in thought. “No… but I can always go pick up some for you. Or learn,” she added.
Shrugging, Shaw quickly warmed to the idea and gestured for Marcus to continue. He stared between them both with his mouth hanging open before snapping it shut and clearing his throat quickly.
“Now, Sameen,” he said. “Your vows.”
“Right,” said Shaw. Still not having a clue what to say, she glanced at Root who nodded at her encouragingly. It seemed to fill Shaw with a confidence she had never felt before, making her feel lighter than air.
“Um,” said Shaw, “I suppose you can use my guns… if you want.”
Once again, Marcus gulped at them in confusion as Root grinned and Shaw smiled weakly at her, glad that she had appeared to have done something right for once.
“Okay then,” he muttered. “Uh, the rings.” He glanced at Reese who was holding the rings in one hand, a bouquet of flowers in the other, with his bottle of rum tucked under one arm.
Reese quickly handed them the rings and Marcus opened his mouth, no doubt to start spouting off some boring thing about what the rings represented. Both Shaw and Root ignored him and shoved the rings on each other’s fingers.
Marcus smiled when they were done. “Well in that case,” he said. “By the power vested in me by the state of Nevada, I now pronounce you wife and wife. You may-”
But Root was already pouncing on Shaw, kissing her hungrily.
“Um,” said Marcus after a few moments when the kiss only got more heated. “You still need to sign…”
Not listening to him, Shaw was too busy calculating the fastest way to get Root’s dress off. They only broke apart when Reese came over to them, squeezing between them both as he bawled his eyes out.
“I love you guys so much,” he sobbed into Shaw’s shoulder. Shaw patted him awkwardly on the back until he pulled himself together long enough to sign his signature on the marriage certificate. Then he declared that they should celebrate, but all Shaw wanted to do was get Root naked and have her all to herself.
Marcus offered to call them a cab and told them to return the next day for the wedding video. Shaw was about to ask what wedding video, but Root’s tongue started doing distracting things to her neck and she quickly forgot what she wanted to ask.
“Bye Marcus,” Reese called on their way out. “You’re my new best friend.”
“Uh, it’s Mark,” Marcus insisted. “And thanks… I think.”
Much to Shaw’s irritation, Reese sat between them in the backseat of the cab. But he passed the bottle of rum around, so that was a plus, and eventually they managed to ditch him in the hotel’s lobby.
“Hey, you forgot this,” Reese called, waving the marriage certificate in the air as the elevator doors slid shut on him.
Shaw’s hand immediately found Root’s hips, pulling her into a kiss.
“You think he’ll be okay?” Root asked, fingers caressing the nape of Shaw’s neck.
“Who cares?” said Shaw and slammed Root up against the side of the elevator. Luckily, they were the only ones riding it. Lucky because Shaw had plans. Big plans.
“You might want to hold onto the rail for this,” said Shaw, sliding down Root’s body and pleased when Root’s breath caught audibly in her throat.
She slid her hands down Root’s thighs before dragging them and the hem of Root’s dress up again, her skin warm and soft underneath Shaw’s touch.
“I love that you’re not wearing any underwear,” said Shaw and ducked her head, tasting Root and liking the way Root’s muscles clenched around her, thighs digging into the side of her head.
“Shaw,” Root gasped. “We’re not gonna-”
With Shaw’s tongue circling Root’s clit, her voice wavered. Shaw glanced up and saw her hands clutching tightly to the railing, knuckles white. Shaw dug her fingernails into Root’s thigh, hearing Root hiss slightly in pain and rewarded her by sucking on her sensitive clit. A whimper escaped Root’s mouth when Shaw climbed to her feet as the elevator slowed to a stop two floors below theirs.
Root glared at the two people who got on and Shaw wondered if they knew what they had almost walked in on. She didn’t care if they did. She didn’t care if everyone knew.
The couple quickly turned away from them, staring fixatedly at the elevator doors. Shaw smirked and trailed a hand across Root’s chest, squeezing her breast through the fabric. She could feel her own heartbeat racing, pumping blood rapidly throughout her body and all of it seemed to fuel her own arousal, leaving her skin burning. She nuzzled on Root’s neck, willing the elevator to move faster and led Root out by the wrist before the elevator doors had even fully opened.
Root’s room was closest so they headed there, exchanging bites and kisses like they were wielding a duel. Once inside, they kicked off their shoes and clawed at each other’s clothes.
Shaw got stuck in her dress, tripping over it, causing them both to fall clumsily onto the bed, Shaw landing on top of Root with a grunt.A throaty laugh escaped Root’s lips as Shaw groaned into her neck and stilled, feeling dizzy again, like she was going to throw up.
“I hope you plan on finishing what you started,” said Root, threading her fingers through Shaw’s hair and pulling it loose so that it fell across Shaw’s shoulders in light waves.
“Give me a minute,” Shaw mumbled into her neck, torn between wanting to lick Root all over and just falling asleep.
“Can’t handle your drink, huh?” said Root and Shaw suspected that this time, she was laughing at her.
“No,” said Shaw, lifting her head up defiantly. “Just trying to devise the best way to make you come.”
Root snorted and leaned her head up to whisper in Shaw’s ear. “You know what I like.” Shaw did, because she liked it too, that mixture of pain and pleasure. But tonight, Shaw found that she didn’t want to hurt Root, remembering the self-inflicted cut behind Root’s ear, the blood she had been covered in only mere hours before.
Shaw bit and scraped her nails down Root’s body anyway. Never hard enough to draw blood though, just enough to leave Root gasping and wanting more, intending on just what Root had suggested: finishing what she had started.
A hand fisted in Shaw’s hair when she bit down roughly on Root’s inner thigh, lips finding sweet warmth. She listened to Root’s breathing as she moved her tongue, ignored Root’s requests for more, deciding to take her time. After all, they had plenty of it now.
Root made an executive decision then, pulling Shaw up roughly by the hair, kissing her hard. Shaw’s teeth sunk into Root’s bottom lip when she felt Root’s fingers inside of her and she rocked her hips against Root’s hand before pulling away.
Blinking at her curiously, Root moaned into Shaw’s mouth when Shaw kissed her softly, her own hand finding Root, picking up where her tongue had left off. She moved slowly though, despite Root’s impatience and she wanted to ignore the watery sheen in Root’s eyes. Didn’t want to think about if it was because of the Machine or because of her, how gentle she was being. How careful. Either option, right now, wasn’t a good one.
“Look at me,” said Shaw when Root closed her eyes. A single tear managed to escape and Shaw watched as it trailed across Root’s skin, dropping to the white sheet and staining it darker. Shaw stared at the widening dot, rippling outwards, uncontained, just like Root’s many tears.
Just like Root too, Shaw thought. Uncontained and relentless. Root had always been that. Relentless in her beliefs. Her belief in the Machine.Shaw tore her eyes away from the stain, her chest tightening when she saw more tears falling.
“It’s okay, Sam,” Shaw whispered, kissing her gently. “It’s going to be okay.”
Shaw wasn’t sure if Root believed her, or if the rock of her hips, the push and pull of her fingers inside of Shaw were just defiance. Shaw didn’t care all that much, just glad to see the tears dry up, glad to feel the steady rhythm of Root moving beneath her.
They came at the same time, loud and violently, the same name on each of their lips; Shaw’s quiet and desperate, Root’s full of hope and wonder.
Shaw collapsed then, feeling so tired. More tired than she had ever felt in her life. She fell asleep like that, one arm held tight across Root’s waist, holding her close.
Two days later…
Shaw hadn’t seen much of the others in the couple of days that followed after they found Harold. Reese had spent the time avoiding everyone. Disappearing off drinking, gambling or shooting kneecaps… Shaw didn’t know, or care all that much and was just glad when Harold left her be and busied himself tying up a few loose ends with both their numbers.
And Root… well, Shaw hadn’t seen or heard from her since she had walked out of the restaurant. A quick chat at reception had told Shaw that Root had checked out without telling any of them and Shaw didn’t know if she had gone back to New York or if she had just went to stay at another hotel, avoiding them all.
It did occur to her, when she tried calling Root several times, that Root might be gone for good, that she hadn’t gone back to New York, but somewhere far away where Shaw would never find her.
Shaw didn’t like to think about that too much and instead occupied herself at the craps tables, losing Finch’s money more than she was winning anything.
But the tightening in her chest caused by Root’s absence only intensified when Shaw saw her again at the departure desk at McCarran International Airport.
“Thought you’d gone already,” Shaw muttered. Root didn’t say anything, didn’t look at her either, just shrugged and disappeared through security.
Shaw watched as she was frisked by one of the security guards and bit her lip, feeling her insides clench once again inexplicably. She could feel Reese’s eyes on her as he stood behind her and wondered how much he was starting to remember from that night.
Flashes of memory came to Shaw at the oddest of times. Like when she was sipping her morning coffee or rolling the dice at the craps table. Most of the memories were vague, nothing clear or substantial. But almost all of them made her want to cringe or throw up or both.
She wondered how much Root remembered, how much the Machine had told her. If the Machine was even still talking to her at all. She wondered if Root knew it had been her idea. That this whole thing was her fault. If that was why Root was so mad at her.
Shaw hated flying and even more so considering she would be spending the return flight sitting next to a brooding Reese, who ordered two scotches from the airhostess before they had even took off. Shaw wasn’t bothered by it though. It meant she didn’t have to make small talk if he drunk himself into oblivion.
The flight was uneventful and Shaw found herself getting quickly bored, flicking through the in-flight magazine without really looking at it. Reese eventually fell asleep, snoring softly and reminding Shaw of the guy she had been stuck next to on the flight out. She had been bored during that flight too, but at least then she’d had Root in the seat behind her, making stupid jokes and innuendos.
For all her grumpiness and seeming irritation, Shaw did miss it. She missed the ease with which Root could slide into her life, keep her occupied and never bored. She missed the way Root challenged her and left her wanting more.
This Root though, the Root without the Machine, Shaw didn’t like. This Root that had been around ever since they had woken up two mornings ago with wedding rings on their fingers.
But Shaw had seen Root without the Machine before and she remembered how desperate that had made her, how reckless. Shaw didn’t like that Root. She feared for that Root. It reminded her too much of their first meeting, tied to a chair and Root so willing to torture her for information. So willing to do anything to get her hands on the Machine, regardless of the cost.
But even that wasn’t quite the Root she was seeing now. This new Root unsettled her in a way Shaw couldn’t explain.
Glancing up, Shaw was surprised to see the object of her thoughts making her way down the aisle, heading up front to the bathroom. Shaw waited a beat before deciding to follow, abandoning her unread magazine.
Jimmying the lock open wasn’t difficult and Shaw slipped inside, finding Root leaning against the sink with both hands, staring at her reflection in the mirror.
“I don’t think these are really designed for more than one person,” Root said dully as Shaw shut and locked the door behind her.
She leant against the far wall, watching Root closely. “I’m sure we’ll manage,” she said, playing along. Although she suspected it fell flat against both their ears and wasn’t surprised when Root’s eyes dropped, avoiding her gaze.
“What do you want, Shaw?” Root asked. She sounded tired, like she hadn’t slept all that much lately. Shaw blamed herself a little for that and wanted to scold Root for not taking better care of herself. But she didn’t. Because that road only led to an argument and Shaw wanted anything but to argue right now.
So instead she asked, “Are you okay?” and didn’t really expect a truthful answer.
Root let out a shaky breath, mouth twisting into something Shaw thought might be disbelief.
“Am I okay?” said Root, a harshness to her tone that seemed to whip at Shaw, leaving her stinging. “Even after everything, Harold still doesn’t trust me. The Machine...” Root shook her head, clenching her eyes shut as if in pain. “It doesn’t matter,” she muttered.
Shaw bit her lip, watching Root’s face reflected in the mirror. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she had let Root down somehow. That things would have worked out differently if she had done something sooner. She wasn’t sure what, but she couldn’t shake the feeling nonetheless.
“Root,” said Shaw slowly, choosing her words carefully, knowing that she only had one chance to do this right. Root glanced up, her eyes meeting Shaw’s in the mirror, their reflections obscured somehow, making Shaw feel like she wasn’t really talking to Root, not her Root, but some other version. “I don’t think the Machine was testing your faith in Her,” Shaw continued. “I think She was testing your faith in yourself,”
Root inhaled sharply, but at least she was still listening, albeit with a sceptical look on her face.
“You need to trust yourself to do the right thing, Root,” said Shaw, her voice softening. Root was staring at her, swallowing thickly as if she were holding back tears. “You did the right thing that night. Even if it was a little dramatically,” Shaw added lightly, remembering the glass bottle in Root’s hand and the blood that had covered her dress and was pleased when the corners of Root’s mouth curved upwards into a small smile.
“Shaw,” said Root, her name coming out more like a breath.
“What happened with Samaritan,” Shaw continued, “I know that isn’t how you wanted it to happen. None of us did.”
"But we still did it," said Root, her voice sounding faraway and lost. "And I don't know if I can live with myself because of it."
She sounded so much like Harold then that it amazed Shaw, and she wondered how he couldn't see it, how far Root had come. But then again, he had been testing all three of them, not just Root. She felt a stab of annoyance and it took her a moment to figure out that she wasn't all that bothered that he had been testing her.
She looked at Root, looking small and vulnerable, lost and alone and all Shaw wanted to do was scream at her that she was right here, that she wasn't alone. But Shaw couldn't find the words, her mouth dry and her tongue feeling thick, unable to move. Instead she reached out, fingertips brushing across Root's back lightly, moving without Shaw's permission. Root flinched and Shaw let her hand drop to the side when Root gazed at her with a hardened look that Shaw didn't know how to make go away.
Shaw felt suddenly unwanted under that unrelenting gaze and made a quick getaway, rushing down the aisle and slipping back into her seat with a relieved sigh.
"Join the mile high club again?" Reese muttered. His eyes were closed, his breathing shallow, giving him the appearance that he was still asleep.
"Shut up," said Shaw and felt a flash of annoyance when he smirked.
Root walked down the aisle and back to her seat, smiling briefly at Shaw as she passed. Elation swelled within Shaw, like someone had just turned off the gravity that was pushing her down and she smiled back, thinking that maybe things would be okay after all.
"You two made up?" John asked. Shaw shrugged. She wasn't sure yet.
"Speaking of which," said Shaw, hoping to deflect attention away from herself. "When are you going to talk to Finch?"
Reese clenched his jaw and said nothing.
Shaw sighed, the air leaving her lungs and leaving her feeling deflated. "Look," she began, knowing that Reese was probably going to just ignore her anyway. "I don't agree with his methods, but I get why he did what he did. What happened with Samaritan it... affected him. And I don't know how long it's going to take him to get over it."
Reese remained silent and, for a moment, Shaw thought he had ignored everything she had said.
"You think he's the only one having a tough time with this?" Reese said eventually, voice low.
Shaw didn't think that, remembering what Root had said in the bathroom, how she couldn't live with herself because of what they did. She wondered what it was like, to have so much guilt weighing down on you. As she watched her team, her friends, struggle with it, Shaw felt, not for the first time, relieved that she couldn't feel hers as acutely. It was there though. A dull throb, eating away at her stomach. Now that she had learned how to listen for it, she knew it was there. And she was getting better at that, at listening for these feelings she had been so sure for the longest time that she didn't have.
Sometimes, if not most of the time, she hated it. When they crept up on her when she least expected it, she couldn't stand it. That was how it was with Root most of the time. A mixture, a swell, of emotions that Shaw couldn't interpret and didn't know what to do with. But she had gotten good at tempering them down as needed, ignoring them as if they didn't exist. But it was exhausting and she didn't know how people managed it, having all these feelings at full volume, when she could barely handle them as they whispered and mocked from afar.
She was tired of it, of pretending they didn't exist, of trying to ignore something that seemed to be coming easier to her day after day.
She didn't think she would ever quite reach Reese's level of guilt, or Root's unwavering faith, Harold's capacity to care and value all life. But she wasn't as uncaring, as inhumane, as Samaritan had been and, she thought, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing. That she could stand on the side-lines and be the voice of reason, of cold hard logic, as the others let their hot emotions overwhelm them.
Beside her, Reese sighed. "Fine," he muttered and got up from his seat. Shaw wasn't sure what had made him decide, what sort of internal battle he had just had with himself, but was glad he was no longer brooding next to her all the same.
Shaw went back to flicking through her magazine, only sparing Leon the briefest of glances when he took the seat next to her.
"Finch and tall, dark and thinks he's the billionaire are having a talk," Leon explained.
Shaw ignored him but did allow herself a small smirk when she saw his bandaged hand.
"What are you reading?"
"You ever been stabbed with a pen before?" Shaw asked, leaning forward to pull one out of the compartment in the seat in front.
Leon gulped audibly and clutched his bandaged hand to his chest. "No, just forks."
"Keep making small talk and you'll experience what it's like first hand," Shaw threatened.
"You know," Leon muttered darkly, "Finch does not pay me enough for this."
"You want to avoid work related fork stabbings," said Shaw, "get a desk job."
She clutched the pen tighter in her hand when Leon opened his mouth to say something. But he quickly snapped it shut, practically jumping out of his seat and scurrying down the aisle. Shaw smirked to herself and used the pen to doodle absently on her magazine.
It was the scent of her perfume that Shaw noticed first, familiar and comforting, and she glanced at Root in surprise as she slid into the vacant seat.
"Leon wanted to switch," Root explained. "Something about a pen..." She smirked, eying the pen still clutched tightly in Shaw's hand. Shaw found herself smiling back, feeling warmth spread throughout her chest that Root wasn't giving her the cold shoulder.
"So, uh," said Shaw lamely, "how are you?"
"Since you saw me in the bathroom ten minutes ago?" Root said wryly and Shaw got the distinct feeling she was being mocked.
"That's not what I meant," Shaw said, fighting to control her annoyance both at Root for being so flippant and at herself for being so rubbish at this.
"It’s okay, Shaw," said Root, that serious edge back to her voice, "you don't have to make small talk."
"I want to," Shaw lied. Small talk was boring and redundant, but she liked listening to Root talk, even if most of the time she pretended otherwise. Sure, most of what she spouted was inane drivel, but Shaw had gotten used to tuning that out, turning it into a white noise that she found almost comforting.
Root shot her a sceptical look and didn't say anything. After a moment, she stared out of the window, seemingly fascinated by the dark clouds swirling beneath them and blocking the view of the ground. Shaw felt that urge to reach out to her again and she dropped her gaze, eyes landing on Root's hands as they rested on her lap. She was still wearing the wedding ring and Shaw wondered, if she reached out and touched it, would it feel cool against her fingertips or warm from Root's body heat?
Shaw looked away, feeling that swell again and looked down at her own hands. She was still wearing her ring too. She had almost forgotten about it and it no longer felt heavy, like it was wearing her down.
"Root," she began, voice low and serious and sounding unrecognisable to her own ears because she couldn't keep these new emotions out of it, no matter how hard she tried. "I-"
"Don't," said Root. "Whatever you're about to say, can it wait? Until we're back in New York, at least."
Shaw nodded, clearing her throat and wondering what Root was expecting her to say. "Okay," she said. "If you want."
Shaw was expecting them to descend into awkward silence and was surprised when they didn't, when it felt comfortable and natural for them to be sitting there, enjoying each other’s company.
Even though it had been several weeks since they had destroyed Samaritan, since Shaw had stopped being Sam the make-up girl with the criminal side-life, she still couldn't get settled back into her life. She had wanted to ditch her old cover identity's apartment right away, but couldn't seem to find somewhere else that suited her, so she was stuck there for the moment, staring at walls that should have felt familiar but didn’t.
They were still using the secret subway station as their base of operations and that too seemed wrong somehow, now that the Samaritan threat was over. Finch didn't look right sitting in a subway car, surrounded by computers. She would always associate him with books and wondered if they would ever go back to the library. But right now, Finch seemed settled where he was and Shaw decided to just go with it, meeting him in his subway car when he called.
"We got a new number?" Shaw asked and smirked when Finch jumped.
"I'm really considering buying you a bell," he said, frowning slightly as Shaw leaned casually against the open door way. "And no, not exactly."
Shaw raised an eyebrow, wondering what he meant and heard the sound of heels clattering on the floor behind her.
"Or perhaps a pair of noisy heels," Finch added as Root approached them.
"What?" said Root, staring between them both in confusion.
"Harold doesn't like me sneaking up on him," Shaw explained.
"Oh," said Root and didn't say anything else. Shaw hadn't seen her for a few days and the lack of sleep was even more noticeable.
"I'm glad you are both here," said Harold, looking like he hadn't expected either of them to turn up. If Shaw were honest, she was surprised that Root had. She had the distinct impression then that this was some sort of ambush and didn't like it.
"What’s going on, Finch?" Shaw asked. She wasn't in the mood for anymore bullshit and her tone made that clear. She was still annoyed about what he had done, but was willing to continue working with him nonetheless.
Harold looked at them both uneasily for a moment, choosing his words carefully. "My endeavours in Las Vegas," he began, avoiding both their eyes, "regardless of my motives, the two of you..." Here Harold paused, his cheeks turning pink.
"Got drunkenly married in Vegas as a result?" said Shaw flatly, feeling Root stiffen beside her. "What’s your point Harold?"
"My point, Ms. Shaw," said Harold, "is that I feel somewhat responsible for it."
Shaw wished it was that easy, to pass the blame onto him, but she found that she couldn't. It was all her fault, this mess that her life now seemed to be in. Hers and Root’s.
"So I took the liberty of making some enquires," said Harold, reaching over to his desk and picking something up.
"Enquiries?" said Shaw, feeling her stomach drop when Finch held out a business card and Root took it, looking like she knew what it was.
"Yes," said Harold. "Philip Shapiro, the best divorce lawyer in town. He’s expecting your call, if you would like to set up an appointment."
Shaw's throat felt like something had lodged in it and she stared at Harold blankly for what felt like the longest time. Eventually, he cleared his throat and excused himself, squeezing between them to exit the subway car. Root moved out of his way, but Shaw was still frozen in place, staring at the spot where he had been.
"I'll call them," said Root, "if you want."
"Wait. What?" said Shaw, shaking her head. "That's it?"
"Isn't this what you want?" said Root. There was a sharpness to her tone that seemed to cut at Shaw like knives.
"I don't-" said Shaw, struggling to speak and knowing that she had to be careful, that if she worded this wrong, said something stupid, then Root really would be gone for good. Then, more firmly, she added, "I don't."
Root frowned at her, fiddling with the card in between her fingers. Her wedding ring shone bright under the fluorescent lights of the subway car.
"You’re still wearing it," said Shaw.
"Your... ring," Shaw explained and couldn’t bring herself to say the word “wedding”.
Root shrugged. "You're still wearing yours."
Shaw stared down at her own hand, resisting the urge to twist the damn thing. She had considered taking it off upon returning home, but the thought of removing it had left her feeling cold. It felt like she would be cutting off her last tether to Root and she couldn't make herself to do it.
"Yeah," Shaw breathed out.
"Why?" Root asked, still with the hard tone, like she was angry Shaw had dared to keep it on.
Shaw shrugged. "It reminded me of you," she muttered and glanced up a few moments later to find Root frowning at her. "What?"
"What's that even supposed to mean?" Root asked, shaking her head in disbelief. "You didn't want this. You've made that perfectly clear."
Shaw bit the inside of her cheek, remembering how much of an ass she had been the morning after and wasn't really all that surprised by Root's anger.
"I was the one that got us into this," Shaw said quietly.
"Your drunken proposal doesn't exactly say a lot, Shaw," Root snapped and moved to storm past her. Shaw wanted to reach out and stop her, but didn't think brute force would do anything to convince her right now.
"I already made my decision," said Shaw. "About us," she added and Root stopped in her tracks. "That night, before we went to dinner, I had already made my decision."
Root turned to face her and Shaw felt her heart sink at the watery sheen to her eyes, once again caused by her.
"Then why didn't you say anything?"
Shaw shrugged, looking down at her feet. "I didn't want you to think I'd rushed into it or that I was just saying it because you were..."
Shaw closed her eyes, remembering Root in her red dress, their little tryst in the bathroom. Root had been so adamant about her no touching rule and Shaw had known then, despite already being drunk, the drugs starting to kick in, she knew that Root would have thought she was just saying it to get into her pants.
"I wanted you to know that I'd thought it through," Shaw said and looked up to find Root crying softly. She wanted to reach out and wipe the tears away but didn't think Root would let her.
"Shaw, what are you-"
Moving towards her, Shaw took the business card out of Root's hand and tore it in two.
"Marriage can't be too bad," Shaw mumbled, "my parents made it work."
She remembered then, before her father died, she remembered how happy they had both looked. She remembered the stories her mother used to tell her after the accident about how they met, the restaurant her father took her to in New York on their first date, all said with a small smile on her face. They had lived for each other. Sameen had been too young to understand or care, but Shaw could see it now.
"Shaw," said Root carefully, still wary, "are you sure?"
Shaw nodded, remembering something else from that night, the bike and the alleyway, Root desperately asking her if she was sure. Shaw had been sure then, despite being drunk and drugged, just as she was sure now.
"Let's just not be one of those boring married couples that never have sex," she said, scrunching her nose up in disgust at the thought. It earned her a small chuckle that warmed Shaw's heart with something she thought might be hope.
"Oh," said Root, wiping her eyes dry, "I can guarantee you that, Mrs Groves."
Shaw scowled as she moved towards Root. "No way am I taking your stupid ass name. You don’t even use your stupid ass name."
"Yes, dear," said Root, bringing their lips together.
"And no stupid nicknames," said Shaw, pulling away. Root's pout lost its battle with the smirk on her face and Shaw rolled her eyes as she led them out of the hideout.
"But I was looking so forward to calling you honeybun at parties," said Root gleefully.
"I hate you," Shaw muttered darkly.
"I love you too, sweetums," said Root, leaning over to give Shaw a quick peck on the cheek. "By the way," Root added, "we're getting dog."
Shaw paused. "What makes you think you get to be the boss in this thing? No way in hell are you the boss. I've seen your poor decision making skills. But, yeah..." she added as they started walking again, "we're getting a dog."
"I give it until the end of the month before they kill each other," said Reese, watching the newlyweds as they continued to bicker lightly on their way out.
"I don't know, Mr Reese," said Finch with a small smile. "I think they might just make it work."