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For Sacrifice

Chapter Text

Reese was sitting shirtless on the edge of a table in the kitchen of an apartment none of them had ever been to or even known existed before. While driving their third stolen car in thirty minutes, Harold had flatly told them he'd arranged this emergency safe house using some of their meagre stolen cash, done it so secretively (for it obviously had to be within the shadow map) that not even the Machine had known about it until now. The AI had immediately begun researching, dug up a string of previous owners for this residence, but there was no paperwork for the current occupiers. Bear was with Leon. The subway remained undetected. It was all meaningless information in her ear, but Root couldn't switch it off, couldn't tear the implant out of her head. The Machine had been silent for months and now just when she wanted to be rid of Her...Root doubted she'd ever again be able to breathe properly now that half of herself had been ripped away. Somehow, she was still standing, arms folded in the middle of the floor. Itching for a gun in her hands.


"It should have been you." Root said.


John nodded, accepting that without question. That only made her angrier. She wanted him to attempt to justify his existence. She wanted to know why The Machine had sacrificed Shaw and not anyone else. Harold was right all along, the Machine didn't care.


"The Machine ran simulations before giving us the final plan. You died. I died. Harold died."


She saw that hit home. Good. Reese's face went completely blank, even paler than it had been getting from blood loss. "How did Harold die?" He rasped, obviously afraid to ask but unable to help himself.


"He was shot in the heart. You weren't there to save him. You were too busy getting yourself blown up, satisfying your selfish little death wish." That wasn't true at all. She was conflating two separate scenarios. Root wanted to hurt him. "If you hadn't gotten yourself shot, you wouldn't have slowed us down as we were escaping and she'd be alive. Even shot, you should've crawled out of the lift and pressed that button yourself before she had a chance to."


"Listen to me. We don't know for sure that she's dead."


She laughed. "Don't. Don't do that." Don't give me hope right now. Hope will finally kill me.


John was staring at her as though he'd never quite seen her clearly before. But she didn't want his understanding, she wanted his guilt, wanted to purge herself of her own and lay it all on him.


"I won't apologise for protecting Harold." He said, firmly. "If I hadn't, we'd be looking at two dead, him and me. That'd leave you, Shaw and Fusco against Samaritan. Are those better odds?"


"Yes, they'd be better." She was flying in the face of logic, but that didn't matter. Nothing mattered except Shaw.


"Hush, please. Arguing won't do either of you any good." Harold was back. Root couldn't look him in the eye. She'd just wished him dead, and he'd probably heard her, and it was all his fault in the first place that she'd found a family to lose. She had been better off living her life alone, performing random acts of violence for the highest bidder.


Finch began setting out medical supplies across the table, which had already been sterilized. "We need to rest and regroup. Tomorrow, we start again."


He was so calm. She was going to boil over with rage if she looked at either of them any longer. She went into one of the two bedrooms and slammed the door behind her.