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Baby, You're My Flame

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Root was tired of being sick, of being stuck inside Shaw's apartment, and of the long silences in her ear. The Machine was keeping quiet, obviously because Root was of no use to Her while she's getting over this stupid infection from this stupid bullet wound.

"You. Need. Rest," was the last thing Root had heard from Her, before the Machine had started diverting activities to John. It didn't help that John got along well with the Machine, juggling irrelevant numbers and Samaritan-oriented missions with ease.

Shaw was depressingly unsympathetic about it all. "If you'd done the right thing when you got shot, you'd be back out there already. Instead, you got septicaemia."

Root closed her eyes and tried to get comfortable. Shaw's bed was lumpy in all the wrong places and the springs twanged annoyingly whenever she moved. It's weird how she had never noticed that any of the times they'd had sex here. "Your bed is too small," she said and hated the bitchy tone in her voice.

"Well, it's not like we're doing anything in it right now," Shaw said, calmly. She was heating soup in a saucepan; the soup was from the deli down the road.

Despite her gripes, Root watched, fascinated. She had never seen Shaw do anything remotely domestic beyond matters of personal hygiene like brushing her teeth.

"What?" Shaw noticed her watching, and she stirred the soup defensively. "I know how to warm soup. You need some decent nutrition if that gunshot is going to heal properly."

Root sat up, bouncing gently with soft little twangs from the mattress. "I didn't know you had a saucepan. I thought all your storage space was filled with explosives."

"I stole it from Reese," Shaw said. "Finch fitted his place out with all this expensive catalogue kitchen stuff. Why does a wetwork specialist need a stand mixer, anyway?"

"Maybe he makes cupcakes?" Root hugged her knees, and rested her cheek on the scratchy army blanket. This wasn't so bad. Even if the bed was too small and her head too quiet and the world still swam around her, being here with Shaw made all of those things easier to endure.

Shaw tested the temperature of the soup, and turned off the heat. Root cupped her chin and watched Shaw glance from side to side in frustration.

"Something wrong?" Root said, after a few minutes.

Shaw's face was rueful. She poked the garbage, where she'd shoved the empty carton. "I probably should have stolen some bowls, too."

In the end, they sat together on the bed, knees touching, and shared the soup from the saucepan wrapped in a dish-towel. When the soup was finished, Root leaned over, scooted up close to Shaw's body and rested her head on her shoulder. Holding tight to Shaw's arm, she dozed on and off, and found that she was content.

"Don't get shot," Shaw said, suddenly, into the quiet. "Leave that stuff to me. I'm much better at it than you."

Root started to say something sassy, like, "Well, practice makes perfect," but Shaw's mouth was already there. Shaw kissed her with the desperate passion that she normally only showed in darkness, when there was no chance of being mocked, and Root regretted her early complaining. She hadn't thought that Shaw would worry.

Root kissed Shaw back, stroked her hair, and only stopped when Shaw swatted at her hand, because Shaw didn't do all that emotional stuff. Root settled for letting Shaw arrange the army blankets, and not complaining when she took Root's temperature for the umpteenth time.

"You're lucky I'm a great patient," Root said. She was drifting off to sleep now, proper sleep that wasn't fever dreams full of horror.

Shaw sat on the floor beside the bed and disassembled her Glock. Root didn't need to see her face to know Shaw was rolling her eyes.

"I've had worse patients," said Shaw, as she pushed a square of cotton through the barrel of her handgun. Root turned on her side, and gently brushed the back of Shaw's head with her fingertips, so that the last thing she saw before her eyes closed properly was Shaw silhouetted by lamplight, cleaning her gun, keeping them both safe from the monsters.