Shaw doesn't know why but the minute Finch says 'at any cost' she knows what to do, where to go. She is eighty percent sure – maybe, seventy percent, seventy-five – if Root is still alive then Shaw knows where she would go. Shaw cannot explain it, she is not going to try to, because in the end her instincts have always been her guiding force and they are nearly always right. There is no need to over think it because her instincts tell her: Go. Home.
It is not really home; it is just an apartment. It is an apartment the Machine picked out for her. In fairness, the Machine did allow a bit of Shaw's minimalistic tendencies in the furniture and decorating scheme. However, to keep with the precious cover, it looks more like a real apartment than anywhere Shaw has ever lived – dishes in the kitchen and couch in the living room – though the wi-fi is uncharacteristically bad for New York. It seems to fail at the oddest times and without any reason the super has been able to explain, despite repeated complaints from tenants and calls to Comcast. Imagine that.
Shaw unlocks her door with the least grace she has shown in a while and shuts it behind her with less silence than usual. She stalks down the hall and her eyes sweep the living room as soon as she enters: corner – clear, couch – clear, kitchen doorway – clear, far corner – clear. Then she sees the drops of blood on the floor in the kitchen beyond. She just sees the edge of a cabinet around the wall open. Shaw turns left, back toward the one wall, and walks down the hall toward the bedroom. She pauses at the bathroom: clear – and sees traces of water in the sink, the bathmat on the floor shifted two inches. Shaw keeps walking and then into the bedroom: corner – clear, window – clear, bed –
Shaw hurries over to where Root lies on the bed. She opens her eyes as Shaw stops beside her and smiles in a sleepily way.
"Hey there, Tigger." She closes her eyes, breathes in deeply then opens then again. "Sorry, gave myself a sedative earlier. Probably should be wearing off by now."
Shaw reaches out and touches the bandages on Root's arm. "Did you do this yourself?"
"Not the shooting part."
Shaw grits her teeth, checking the wrappings. "Bullets go through?"
"The one was more of a graze." Root waves a lazy hand across the bed to the night stand tucked into the corner on the opposite side of the bed. "Got one bullet over there if you're looking for a souvenir."
“You did not –” Shaw looks over at the table.
Root chuckles. “I was kidding, it went through. No bullets left to speak of.”
"Good. Did you use my kit?" Shaw asks, looking back at Root. "You had to have needed stiches.” She starts to peel back one of the tapped edges. “I can probably –”
Root puts her hands over Shaw’s. "I knew you'd have what I needed. I think I did a passable job. Leave it for now."
“Not my first battle field injury.”
"Fine." Shaw pushes Root's arm a little so she can look at the underside, same good bandage and no signs of blood at the moment. "These fresh at least?"
"As the morning breeze."
Shaw gives her a look. "Care to give me a time table on that breeze of yours?"
Root chuckles and shifts herself up a little against the pillows. "Don't worry, Shaw, I'm fresh and clean and not bleeding through anything at the moment."
"I’m checking them later."
Root nods. “Okay.”
Shaw finally drops her hands from the bandages and sits down on the edge of the bed beside Root. Then she frowns. "Did you call me Tigger?"
Root smiles slowly. "Well, you called me Eeyore. Looks like you started the pet names this time around."
Shaw frowns. "I am not Tigger."
"Don't think you're bouncy enough for the job?"
"Tigger is the annoying one."
Root raises both eyebrows. Shaw frowns and looks away. Root makes a 'tch' noise and touches Shaw's arm with her uninjured hand. "Don't be upset. Not Tigger then. More like Rabbit maybe, grumping and growling about carrots?"
Shaw shoots a glare at Root.
Root laughs. "Okay, you want to be Pooh?"
"He's the dumb one."
"I always thought of him more as endearing. He had that accidental philosophical side; honey bringing happiness?"
"Now you're calling me philosophical?"
Root pinches the skin of Shaw's arm with her nails so Shaw pulls her arm away. Root grins. "Okay then, want to be Christopher Robin? You could be in charge, playing with all the toys."
"Wouldn't that be Finch?"
"Hmm, I thought maybe he should be Owl." Shaw cracks a smile at that making Root grin back at her. "Ah ha, she smiles."
"Why would I have been smiling, you..." Shaw cuts herself off, eyes shifting around the room. "Stupid conversation anyhow."
Root nods. "And here I thought you were just trying to distract me from the pain with a bit of flirty banter."
Shaw looks sharply down at Root's arm. "It hurts? Didn't you take anything? I have meds." She stands up from the bed suddenly. "Let me get you –"
Root grabs Shaw's arm. "I'm fine. I took something." Shaw sits back down and Root lets go. Root cocks her head toward Shaw's bathroom out the door. "You do have quite an impressive stash."
Shaw smiles. "Modern department store girl needs to be prepared."
Root scoots herself up carefully a bit more so she sits against the wall with pillows beneath her, cradling her wounded arm against her abdomen. "Lucky me."
They sit silently for a moment, just looking at each other. Root rests her good arm across her body, finger tips close to Shaw but not touching her. Shaw looks away at the wall – no photos or paintings decorating it, just plain off-white.
Shaw turns back to Root. "Finch didn't give me details on what happened."
"I think you can see." Root waves her hand at her wounded arm.
"I can see that you went in on your own." Shaw shifts closer slightly. "I know we wanted to protect Simon, like all the numbers, but we have this system involving back up."
"Well, at the time, you and Piglet were busy; didn't really have another option."
Shaw frowns. "Now Reese is piglet? Seems a bit of a reverse on the size scale."
Root snorts quietly. "Well, he does a lot of following around."
"You've changed Finch to Pooh?"
"It's an imperfect metaphor."
"Then I'll skip it and go back to the real stuff. You can't do that." Root just raises her eyebrows. Shaw raises hers right back. "You said it before, seven people to take the world back, right, and four of them really active? So we really can't afford to lose one of those seven, especially when you're the only one out of those seven actually talking to the Machine."
Root's face falls suddenly and completely. Shaw blinks and opens her mouth but shuts it again right away.
Root swallows once, quiet for a moment, then looks away. "I heard Her. It was just a moment, a few words telling me what to do, about the agents coming." Root looks back at Shaw. "It was..." She sighs. "Even if it was just a moment it was… it was so good just to hear Her voice again."
Root looks away toward the curtained windows. Her good hand clenches against her stomach. "She... She just whispers now."
"But the map, you..." Shaw breathes in once. "She can't talk to you, can She? Not with Samaritan on the line."
Root looks back at Shaw and her face is so sad. "No."
Shaw reaches out impulsively in a way quite unlike her and grips Root's hand.
Root clears her throat. "She'll find a way. She did last night and... I don't know, that makes me feel like maybe there's a chance."
"For you to speak to Her?"
"For us to win." Root rubs her thumb along the back of Shaw's hand. Shaw shivers just a little and squeezes. Root looks down at their hands then up at Shaw again. Root cocks her head, her face shifting back into a semblance of a smile. "Looks like you might have been worried about me."
Shaw frowns on reflex and looks back to the wall. She does not pull her hand away though. "Well, you were the one running around nearly getting yourself killed."
"Worried about losing an asset?"
Shaw looks back at Root sharply. "You know you're not just...." She cuts herself off with something like a growl.
Shaw turns around quickly, leans over Root's injured arm and kisses her. Root’s hand slides up the side of Shaw’s neck, fingers at the base of Shaw’s hair. Shaw kisses her hard, pushing Root’s head back against the wall, and hands in Root’s hair. She shifts her legs up onto the bed so she straddles Root’s one leg, grips Root’s hip with one hand and keeps touching Root’s skin with the other. Root’s hand slides down Shaw’s side, nails digging, as Shaw bites her lips. Shaw makes a low noise in the back of her throat, kisses Root deeper, slides her tongue against Root’s and wishes breathing was unnecessary.
Then Shaw pulls back just enough so they can breathe. She rests her forehead against Root's, hand half in Root’s hair and half against her cheek. They breathe for a minute and say nothing, Root’s hand tracing circles around Shaw’s thigh.
“I fucking hate you sometimes,” Shaw says quietly.
“I know,” Root says back and Shaw feels Root’s lips move against hers when Root speaks.
Shaw pulls back a little so she can see Root’s eyes. “You’re really stupid, you know that?”
Root smiles – lips redder now. “Not really.”
Shaw huffs a laugh and kisses Root again, bites her lower lip. “Yes, you are.”
“I’m still here, aren’t I?” Root moves her hand off Shaw and pats the bed spread. “Appreciate the real bed by the way, better than your old box spring on the floor.”
Shaw grins and slides the hand not against Root’s cheek up Root’s stomach. “You can thank your Machine for that.” Shaw raises her eyebrows. “Maybe She had some ideas?”
Root chuckles. “That you’d like to sleep?”
Shaw makes a face as she slides her hand up over Root’s breast, thumbing over her nipple under her shirt and bra. “I wasn’t thinking about sleeping.”
Root gasps. “I think I noticed.”
Shaw shifts closer, hikes her knee tight against Root’s crotch – Root makes a grunt that is very good – and pushes Root against the wall to kiss her. Root hisses in pain. Shaw pulls back, hands in the air and looks at Root’s bandages again.
“Yeah.” Root grimaces. “Not the best for pressing into walls.”
“Or anything else for that matter.”
Root laughs a little and smiles. “Maybe I can see your point about that not getting shot thing.”
Shaw gives her a look. “I’ve got a lot of points about that.”
Shaw sighs then moves over onto the other side of the bed off of Root’s legs. Root turns her head as Shaw settles down beside her. She reaches out and touches a stray strand of Shaw’s hair. Then she slides her fingers back through Shaw’s hair and pulls out the hair tie. Shaw’s hair falls down in a poof and Root flings the hair tie away somewhere behind Shaw. Shaw just raises her eyebrows.
Root shrugs with her uninjured shoulder. “A girl likes something to grab on to.”
Shaw bites her teeth together. “I want to take you out of those clothes so bad.”
Root grins. “You are good at it.”
“But then I’d probably start to bleed through my bandages.”
Shaw tilts her head. “I could be really, really careful.” Root just smiles until Shaw sighs. “But no. Injuries.” Shaw lies her head down on her arm on the pillow beside Root. “You just like to make things difficult.”
Root runs her fingers over Shaw’s arm. “I don’t think I made things difficult in Anchorage.”
Shaw grins. “Yeah, maybe not.”
Shaw’s mouth drops open. “I…”
Root chuckles and runs her fingers over Shaw’s cheek. “Aw, you did try so hard not to give in to my charms but Alaska sure is cold.”
Shaw huffs. “Psycho.”
Shaw smiles. “I am going to fuck you so hard and long once that heals.” She gestures to Root’s arm.
Root bites her lip. “Doesn’t sound like a punishment to me.”
“It’s not.” Shaw props her head up on her hand. “It’s a reward for taking on the Samaritan crew on your own and getting yourself and our number out.”
“Hmm, well if I get a nice long night with you out of it then I might have to put myself in dangerous situations with guns more often.”
Shaw groans. “Damn it, Root.”
Root laughs and kisses Shaw’s forehead. “Shh, I prefer less guns when I can. I’ll keep to it.”
Shaw looks up at Root. “I hate you.”
“I know.” Root kisses Shaw hard then pulls back. “Look at the time.”
Shaw frowns. “What?”
“The clock. Don’t you have work?”
Shaw turns her head awkwardly to look at the side table on the other side of the bed: 10:21 AM. “Fuck.”
“You can always blame that polling volunteering you were doing.”
Shaw turns her head back around. “When you talk to the Machine again, tell Her I hate Her job choices.”
Root chuckles. “I think She probably already knows that.”
Shaw shoves herself upright and slides off the bed on the opposite side. She walks around the end of the bed back to Root’s side and stands next to her. She touches the hand of Root’s injured arm. She swallows once and taps her fingers over every one of Root’s.
Shaw looks up at Root again. “You have to change into someone new now?”
Root waves a hand toward Shaw’s dresser against the wall. “Already am. Karen was shot at a hotel you see. Tragically she died.”
Shaw turns to see what looks like a chef’s coat on top of the dresser – strange that she hadn’t clocked that difference in before. She turns back around. “Cook?”
“Chef is the proper term. Would have told you last night but you didn’t come home.”
Shaw pulls her hand away from Root’s. “Wish I had.”
Root just smiles. “Go to work. Spray people with perfume. Maybe you could aim for their eyes.”
Root chuckles then sighs as she scoots down slightly into the pillows.
Shaw looks at the wall then down at the floor. “Will you be here when I get back?”
Root suddenly grips Shaw’s fingers in hers so Shaw looks up at her. “Long as I can.”
Shaw nods. She stands awkwardly for a moment then leans over and quickly kisses Root hard. “Don’t get shot again.” Then she pulls back and turns away, walking out of the bedroom.
Root’s voice follows Shaw down the hall as she leaves, “Just for you, Sameen.”