Shaw hissed as she peeled back the dressing on her cut. Somehow being attacked with a knife made her so much angrier than being shot at. Like it was personal. And let's be honest, personal's only fun if you're the one getting the cuts in. That thought made her smirk. Or doing the stabbing.
Her smile disappeared as she turned her attention to the kitchen. Kicking ass and taking names (as she liked to privately call her real job) really made a woman want steak. Without even looking in the cupboards, she knew that the closest thing she had was beef-flavored Ramen. Shouldn't have finished off the ground chuck yesterday.
With a groan, she stood on her toes and stretched her arms to the ceiling. All this horrible food was putting her out of balance, and it was only compounded with the number that those four-inch heels were playing on her spinal alignment.
She was begrudgingly making her way to the dark corner cupboard where the Ramen lurked when she heard a knock on her apartment door. Moving quickly, automatically, she pulled her mini from its customary place in the small of back and headed for the door. Then her attention was grabbed by the continued knocking. This was not the polite one-two knock of a next-door neighbor, nor the hard rap of trained agents. It was a light, breezy tattoo, doubtless to the beat of some song Shaw would hate. It could only be one person.
Holding her gun behind the door anyway, just in case, she opened the door a crack and was confronted by Root's face entirely too close to her own.
"Miss me, Sameen?" Shaw pulled back momentarily, then shoved her hand through the door and pushed Root's face aside. It was childish move, not very graceful; more of a gut reaction. Root had placed her face directly next to the seam of the door, at Shaw's eye level, and she was obviously filled with glee at Shaw's flustered response as she recovered her full height and grinned.
"What do you want, Root?" Speaking quietly, Shaw let her voice take on an edge. But not a worried one, of course, just threatening. "You can't show up here. You'll blow both our covers."
Root just continued staring into Sameen's eyes with her customary half-smile. "Oh, I wouldn't worry about it." Shaw was about to snap back a retort, but Root continued quickly. "Can't you invite me in?"
"Since when do you need an invitation?" Shaw still held the door nearly shut, but she could feel the inevitability of Root's entrance. After sighing and sweeping the door open, she warned, "If you tase me again, so help me God, I will shoot you again. I've already been stabbed today."
"Poor baby," Root sympathized in a fake voice. As she walked into the apartment as if she owned it, Shaw noted that she was carrying several shopping bags and had a tote looped over her shoulder. "I brought steak, just to make you feel better."
Shaw simply stood in the living room and watched as Root breezed into her kitchen. "Sure, just make yourself at home," she muttered. It was more out of form than actual annoyance, as even Root was welcome if she brought food. But why is she really here?
Shaw followed Root into the kitchen and hopped up onto the island. "Technically, I'm your guest," Root noted as she started to unpack one of the bags. "You could offer to help, or get me a drink." Shaw just rolled her eyes and kept watching.
"You brought takeout. What's left to do? Cut yours up into little pieces for you?" she asked sarcastically.
Root smiled, but she was obviously a little distracted. "As much as I enjoy watching you play with knives, I won't be joining you." Root studied her face as Shaw tried to keep the flash of disappointment from showing. Disappointment at Root leaving? That's new. I've been in this cover too long. "I could use that drink, though," Root hinted after a moment.
Shaw heaved herself off the counter, crossed to the drying rack, and filled a glass at the sink. When she turned to hand it over, Root was facing her with a curious expression on her face.
"What?" Shaw snapped, irritated. "It's tap water or nothing until Romeo gives me my cut from the last take. Macy's doesn't exactly pay like Harold did." Root continued to stare, but a grin was starting at the corners of her mouth and spreading across her face. "Don't tell me you didn't know that! And stop smiling," she said angrily as she turned back to the sink and almost threw the glass against the metal. She leaned against the counter for a moment, thinking I never took Root for someone who'd kick me while I'm down.
Until a hand came into her range of vision, bearing her favorite brand of whiskey.
"She knows you've been working with what little you've got, Shaw," Root said softly as she leaned back on the counter next to Shaw. Shaw turned a bit to face her and watched her for a moment. Root looked back. The eye contact was charged with something Shaw couldn't put a name to, so she did the only thing she could think of. She pulled her combat knife from her belt, popped the whiskey open, and silently offered the bottle to Root. Root seemed to understand the gesture. After regarding the bottle with a somewhat skeptical glance, she looked back at Shaw and drank before handing the bottle back. Shaw drank too, and they sat for a moment in silence, neither one looking at the other.
"Steak's getting cold," Shaw remarked when the comfortable moment seemed to have reached its end.
"And I should be going," Root said, regaining her lighter tone. "Unless you've decided to test that theory you have about the steak." Shaw rolled her eyes, aware that whatever little moment they'd just had was thankfully over. Ever since Shaw's comment in Miami, Root had not missed even the slightest opportunity to make sexual advances whenever steak came up.
"Maybe I have," Shaw said off-handedly, watching Root out of the corner of her eye. Root had turned back to the bags on the counter, but at Shaw's words she glanced back, uncertain. "There were some pretty cute guys at that charity thing our mark took Fusco to," Shaw cracked gleefully. Root hmphed, suddenly aware that Shaw was evening the score of teasing. Unable to resist, Shaw casually added "Women, too." She was openly grinning now, but straightened her face as Root turned and approached slowly, still carrying her bags.
Root came to a halt just a hair too close to Shaw, who was suddenly aware of how firmly her back was pressed against the counter, and how close Root was. Obviously enjoying Shaw's sudden awareness of the corner she was in, she suddenly dumped all the bags into Shaw's arms. Shaw managed to catch them all, but the tote slipped from her grasp and fell to the floor, spilling its contents. Are those…?
Shaw looked from the stacks of bills on the floor to Root, eyebrow quirked. The hacker shrugged. "Harold and I did our fair share today, too, you know. Consider it a subsidy for your new…" she wrinkled her nose, searching for the word. "… lifestyle."
"And what's all this?" Shaw lifted the bags in her arms up for Root's reference.
"Groceries, and a few other things." Root's eyes unfocused for a moment, but then she looked directly into Shaw's eyes. "I really must be going now," she said apologetically, as if she were leaving Shaw's garden party. Shaw shrugged and attempted to see the insides of the bags she was holding, but was surprised as Root took advantage of her laden hands and quickly planted a kiss on Shaw's lips.
In the millisecond it took Shaw to recover her senses, Root turned and strode toward the door.
"Root!" Shaw tried to sound as threatening as possible, but it was hard when she was still carrying so many shopping bags and following Root through her apartment like Bear looking for a treat.
She stopped as she saw that Root was already gone. Giving up, she simply raised her voice to get the last word in. "But what the hell else is in these bags?!"
The door opened a crack and Root leaned back into the apartment. "There are a few heels in there too." She grinned wickedly. "I hear you lost a pair."
Seeing Shaw's furious expression as she dropped all the bags and stalked toward the source of her irritation, Root quickly slipped out again, biting her lip to hold in a smile. As the door shut behind her, she added "Don't forget to wear the cushy insoles. I got them just for you, Sameen!"
Shaw bit back an oath and bent to pick up the fruits of Root's shopping as angrily as she possibly could. "These damn things better be designer."
Hey! Short note—if there's a demand for it, I have an idea for a short epilogue for this one. Just another layer of fluff :) Let me know in the reviews if I should write it or not!