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Shaw ripped off her nametag and flung it against the wall, where it skittered unsatisfying into a corner behind the sofa. She strode across the apartment and into her bedroom, unzipping and stripping off her black dress as she went. She tossed it unceremoniously into the closet, where it landed next to the other three identical dresses she had worn over the past few weeks. The damn things were supposed to be dry-cleaned, although she hadn't realized that when she bought them, and damned if she was going to take them in the black mood she had inhabited since Samaritan came online. It had been more of a walk into the store, see an appropriate-looking dress, and buy five for that stupid cover job kind of thing. That meant she was down to one clean dress and exactly no patience.

Why do women even care about lipstick? She wondered angrily as she searched for more comfortable clothes. And how the hell am I supposed to know the difference between peach and coral? She threw on leggings and a loose t-shirt (black, of course—she didn't own much else) and stalked into the kitchen to viciously chop vegetables while pretending that the carrots were her clients' fingers.

She was just standing at the kitchen island eating her stir fry, too tense and angry to sit, when she heard buzzing from the next room. If that is Macy's…. she mentally threatened the lives of every employee and customer while making her way to her purse (oh God, I carry a purse). She ripped the off-grid phone from its god-awful little pocket in that god-awful purse and looked at the unidentified number.

Please be a number.

They hadn't had one since they realized that Samaritan had recruited that girl, the Root-alike. Shaw assumed that the Machine was keeping them even further off the grid as a result, but she still itched to fight. Being the getaway driver on small heists just isn't doing it anymore. Hell, even shooting kneecaps wouldn't be so bad at this point. She smiled a little, in an irritated way. Who knew I'd ever be content to shoot kneecaps?

Shaking her head a little at this follied line of thinking, she opted to pick up the call. Please be important.

"Hello, Sameen," drawled a familiar voice. Shaw could practically see the smirk on her face, and feel the familiar urge to punch her and then take on the world with her.

"What do you want, Root?" She asked in a clipped voice, letting none of her excitement be heard in her voice. Root didn't need to know that Shaw was dying for a mission, any kind of mission, and Root's tended to be so… fun. Maybe we'll get to steal a jet again…

"I missed you too, Sameen. And how is Macy's?" Shaw gritted her teeth. She'd sit through Root's banter, if it meant that she'd eventually get to the point.

"Do you still have that one lipstick color I really liked? It went over well at the job interview, I think, the interviewer just couldn't seem to stop looking at my mouth…. Although he may have been looking a little lower, too, now that I think about it." Root's tone was light and flirtatious, as usual. Shaw rolled her eyes and walked into the kitchen. She grabbed the cleaver she had used to make dinner and started throwing it up and catching it again in a rhythm that kept her marginally more sane as she waited for Root to lose steam.

"Not that I stayed in that job long, I actually never showed up for the first day. It's amazing what you can get done while waiting for an interview… Are you even listening, Sameen?" Shaw caught the cleaver one last time and leaned against the counter.

"Nope," she answered carelessly, as if she wasn't dying to know what the Machine's plan was and what Root had needed to accomplish at that interview. "I'm waiting for the part where you tell me what's going on, and where our numbers are."

"Can't a woman just call to check in?" Root pouted. Shaw could practically see the way her mouth curled up and predict the way she was going to sigh.

After a moment of silence, Root sighed. "I suppose not. Well, it was nice to hear your stony silence again. We should really do this more often." She sounded disappointed.

And then she hung up.

Shaw stared at the phone as if it had bitten her. What the hell was that?

For a moment she considered hitting redial, but that seemed too nineties to actually connect her to Root. She wasn't sure how Root had gotten the number of her safe phone, but she assumed Finch had provided contact information for all of them, since he had obviously given Root a phone. Since Finch had designed them, it seemed unlikely that the phones would function normally. So no redial.

No way to know what the hell Root had wanted, calling her.

Did she really call just to chat? Before the Claire thing, Root had stopped by Macy's several times, each time with less of an excuse. Shaw welcomed those visits, those chances exchange threats and meaningful words of violence with someone who knew exactly how many ways Shaw could kill someone. It was a weak substitute for actually getting to act on those threats, she reasoned. Working on the few numbers they had had recently had only whet her appetite for what she was good at, and she had spent more time restraining John than she had actually taking out the bad guys. Driving for Romeo's crew just wasn't the same, even if it was better than those miserable months alone in retail hell.

She had also seen John a few times, "chance" meetings arranged carefully to look like accidents. AA was an excellent way to see him, and sometimes Fusco came too. As she thought about maybe trying to make it to a meeting that night, though, her mind returned immediately to the perplexing question of Root and what she had wanted. She found, to her surprise, that she wanted to find Root somehow, more than she wanted to see John. Shrugging, she pushed that thought away and set about finding a method of Root-location.

I guess… I might as well try redial. When that brought no results (ringing, but no answer), Shaw called another number.

"Ms. Shaw?" Shaw sighed. Even though Finch had finally started calling her Sameen, he inexplicably reverted to her full address at the oddest of times.

"Hey, Finch. Do you know where Root is?" She waited through the pause that was Harold processing her lack of manners and moving on to her query. His mind was so computer-like it had become predictable in situations like this.

"I'm afraid, Ms. Shaw, that I do not. Ms. Groves has always played her hand extremely close to the vest." Shaw sighed forcefully but stopped when she heard Harold starting to speak again. "…But I might be able to connect you to her."

"Okay. How are you gonna do that?"

"Ms. Groves gave me a location for a dead drop should I need to communicate with her in a non-emergent situation. I can give you that location if you wish." Shaw just waited. "May I ask what this is about?"

"Just… a thing. What's the address?" Finch did some sighing of his own before telling her the address. It was a high school sports field with large security camera blindspots. Stakeout time.