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like a wildfire (she burns bright)

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It’s well past midnight when Shaw gets home from an assignment and shuts the door quietly behind her. She hears the telltale clicking sound of Bear’s claws on the wooden floors, coming to welcome her home.

“Hey, Bear.” She expects him to round the corner like he always does, but instead he barks once, twice. She finds him in the hallway, sitting dutifully by the bathroom, where yellow light spills out from the space under the door.

“Root?” Shaw calls out.

Bear whines, poking his nose at the door. Dread twists low in Shaw’s stomach. She’s never felt much, but she’s learning, with Harold and John. And Root. When it comes to her, every stupid emotion seems to be amplified.

The door opens with a creak, and she sees Root on the floor, hunched over the toilet. Her eyes are closed, tears wetting her lashes, and her body is shaking so badly she can barely hold herself up.

Shaw kneels down in front of her, her heart in her throat. She brushes back damp hair out of Root’s face with shaking fingers. There’s sweat budding at her hairline, and Shaw can feel the heat radiating off of her, but rests the back of her hand against her forehead anyway. “God, Root, you’re burning up.”

Root’s head lolls forward, leaning into the touch.

“Shaw?”

“Yeah, I’m here.”

“I feel like shit.”