“So… how did you two meet?” their number – Tina – asks them.
“Uh…” says Shaw, doubting that it involved a Taser and an iron and the promise of some torture will go down well. On the other hand… Tina and her wife are swingers, maybe they are into kinkier shit than she is.
“Through work,” says Root, looping her arm through Shaw’s. Shaw allows it. Only because they are undercover – as a married couple, no less (Shaw is going to kill Finch later. And John. And probably Fusco as well just in case. But not Bear. She’ll keep Bear.) – and not because she likes it.
“And what is it you do again… Veronica?” Tina asks.
Veronica. Shaw cringes. Trust Root to be sentimental. Apparently keeping things as close to the “truth” as possible is important for maintaining their cover. Yeah, right.
“I work for the CIA,” says Root – Veronica – casually. Shaw shoots her a glare.
“Ms. Groves,” Harold admonishes, his voice sounding scandalised through the open com link. Shaw easily imagines his little disapproving face as he sits in front of his computers in the subway, safe and far away from all the awkward human interactions.
“CIA?” says Tina awkwardly.
“She’s joking,” says Shaw, digging her fingers into Root’s arm, almost daring her to interject.
“Oh,” says Tina, somehow looking even more confused.
“Actually,” says Root, “I work in IT. But working in the cut throat corporate world with all their secrets and backstabbing, I may as well be in the CIA.”
“I see,” says Tina. She doesn’t look convinced and it is with some trepidation that she turns to Shaw and asks, “And what do you do, Sam?”
She’s half tempted to say “part time bank robber” but Finch is listening in and is already wary about Root working this number with them so she opts for the safe mumble of, “I work at Macys,” and ignores the smirk on Root’s face.
Tina wisely, both for her own health and Shaw’s sanity, doesn’t comment and disappears into the kitchen to fetch them more drinks.
“Well this is nice,” says Root, leaning further into Shaw once their number is out of earshot.
“What is?” Shaw asks through gritted teeth. She glances around to make sure no one is looking before wrenching her arm out of Root’s grip.
“You, me,” says Root fondly. “On a date.”
“This isn’t a date,” Shaw says firmly. “We’re on the job.”
“Still kind of a date,” Root insists.
Shaw opens her mouth to argue some more, but then Harold cuts her off.
“May I remind you both that our perpetrator is more than likely to attend this evening,” he says. Shaw rolls her eyes through the scolding. As if she could have forgotten the reason why she is at this ridiculous party, spending her Saturday evening with Root, of all people. “It’s imperative that you stick close to Ms. Sharpe.”
“Uh, Finch,” says Shaw. “You know this is a swinger’s party, right?”
“Yes,” says Harold, as if she is stupid. “Which is why you and Ms. Groves are posing as a couple. Now I suggest you start acting like one.”
Shaw huffs and tries to keep the annoyance off her face as Root takes her arm once again.
“Maybe we should…” Root starts to suggest.
Shaw can tell from the leering alone where her train of thought is going and lets the firm “No” burst out of her mouth. She looks away from Root and is even more annoyed when her gaze lands on the other couples attending Tina Sharpe’s party. A few of them are just talking, in their own little world, but two couples are busy sucking face, making sounds obnoxious enough to be found in a porno movie.
“Oh, come on, Sam,” says Root sweetly. “It’d be for the mission.”
Shaw narrows her eyes, not trusting the stupid smirk on Root’s face for even a second.
Tina comes back from the kitchen, handing them both a beer before quickly darting back to her wife. Shaw watches their hushed conversation, the way their eyes dart over to her and Root, suspicion clear in their look.
“I don’t think they are buying our story, Finch,” Shaw mutters. Before they had arrived this evening, Finch had done a little digging into the couple. Tina and her wife were big into the New York swinging scene and used Facebook and other social media sites to organise their little parties. It had been easy enough for Finch to set Shaw and Root up with fake accounts and make it look like they had just moved from Chicago a few months ago. He also made it look like they were big swingers in Chicago. All the more easy for them to blend in…
Except now it didn’t look like it was working all too well.
“Finch?” says Shaw, watching as Tina and her wife move purposely towards them, getting the distinct feeling that they are about to be kicked out.
“Well,” says Finch. “It is for the mission…”
Shaw sighs. Figures he would take Root’s side in this. She resists the urge to roll her eyes at the grin that that has appeared on Root’s face. It makes her look goofy and dumb, but it’s nothing compared to the dazed expression, that almost drunk quality which remains after Shaw leans in and kisses her.
Not one for public displays of any kind of affection on a regular day, Shaw makes the kiss quick, barely giving herself enough time to register the softness of Root’s lips, how strong her perfume smells this close up. Then she’s pulling away with something akin to reluctance that comes as a surprise. But, despite its briefness, Tina and her wife seem to buy it and quickly make a beeline for the group of chatting couples at the other end of the room.
“Not a word,” Shaw warns, turning to face Root again. She needn’t have bothered. Root still looks stunned and Shaw can’t believe it has taken her this long to figure out that the simplest and most effective way of shutting Root up is to plant one on her. Shaw snorts and it seems to snap Root out of it.
“What?” she says, clearing her throat awkwardly before taking a hasty swig of her beer.
“If I didn’t know any better,” says Shaw, leaning in close and enjoying the way it seems to make Root squirm for once, “I’d say the mission was compromised.”
Unsurprisingly, Root doesn’t dignify that with a response.