Root loved watching Shaw. At first, it was pure professional interest. She had meant it when she told her that she was kind of a big fan after reading her file. It was rare to find a woman like Shaw in military business and with amazing resume, too. Then it became a game—a way Root tried to get under Shaw’s thick skin. She would stare at her, mischievous smile intact, in hope that Shaw would squirm (she never did).
For quite some time, it had felt like interacting with a brick wall, but even the strongest wall would be affected under continuous rain. After several more blatant staring, accompanied with a well-placed flirtatious comment, Shaw succumbed. It developed into a habit between them. Root would stare and Shaw would glare back, roll her eyes, and shake her head before turning her attention back to whatever mission they were doing. It took more time before the intensity of the glare lessened and the eye-roll was done as a mandatory action rather than one out of annoyance.
As of late, their exchange had escalated and much to Root’s surprise, it came from Shaw’s side. There was faint upward tug on the corner of her lips whenever she caught Root gazing at her. The change was miniscule and it was not a real smile yet, but still, Root reveled on it. There were far too few things that could make Shaw smile—food, Bear, guns, fast cars, and shooting people—and Root hoped she would be in that short list someday. For now, she enjoyed what she could get.
Thus when Shaw took out a pack of gummy bears from the inner pocket of her jacket, Root abandoned the binocular she was using to monitor their current number to commence another stare-at-Shaw moment. Shaw wasn’t facing her, but she could see her popping several colorful bears into her mouth and the vague reflection of her smile on the car window.
What Root didn’t expect, however, was for Shaw to snatch the binocular and dump the half-empty pack on her lap. She looked down at it then at Shaw in bewilderment. After several long seconds, Root picked up the pack and pinched one tiny red gummy bear between her forefinger and thumb with hesitance. She knew better than to take food without permission, even more when it belonged to Shaw, who could break her wrist faster than she could blink. Shaw didn’t glance back at her, not even once. Root took the lack of reaction as a go-ahead sign and ate the gummy bear.
The sweetness lasted long after they had wrapped the mission.
The next time another food-sharing happened, Root didn’t notice it at first.
They were in New Jersey, running away from Samaritan’s eyes. Shaw and John had taken each side of the booth. Even though staring at Shaw from across the table had its own appeal, Root chose to share the seat with her rather than with John. Their knees brushed against each other’s every time any of them moved and Root was pleased with her decision-making skill.
The coffee was unsafe, but the food wasn’t as bad. Shaw had wanted to order steak at first, but then changed it to burger and fries like Root’s. She was eyeing John’s rib eye steak and Root teased her about it, to which she huffed back and stuffed her mouth with fries. She finished her entire meal faster than Root and John did.
It was much later, after they had walked out of the diner that The Machine informed Root about the fries Shaw had transferred to her plate.
Shaw didn’t even bother to be discreet anymore. She was never good at expressing herself, even more through words. Action, however, was what she excelled at. She loved food and she felt something about Root. It was only logical for her to share and give food to Root. It worked out just fine since Shaw insisted on not saying anything and Root wouldn’t ask either.
They settled on their new routine without hassle. Shaw bought more of whatever she was buying and Root found random pack of gummy bears or chocolate in her possession, or they just shared whatever Shaw had brought. Whenever they had meals together, Root got extras on her plate—bacons, half of club sandwich, and even a couple slices of steak. At one time, Shaw even ordered for her and found out that they didn’t have the same stomach capacity.
It didn’t come as a big surprise for Root to receive a text from Shaw saying I’m cooking, dinner at my place tonight. She was glad Shaw couldn’t see her too-wide grin as she replied back with a simple I’ll be there.
Root was sure this was how love felt like when it came from one Sameen Shaw.