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Shaw is enjoying a rare night off, celebrating with takeout and solitude and a bottle of beer. She scowls when she hears the simultaneous ding of her phone and the elevator. That's Root's standard method of announcing her arrival.

>It's me - don't shoot me through the door, says her screen, and Shaw's scowl deepens.

"I might still shoot you," Shaw calls over her shoulder. "It's my night off."

Shaw never gave Root a key or, frankly, permission to come into Shaw's apartment at all, but the door flies open nonetheless. Root stands in the doorway, swinging a pair of handcuffs on one finger.

"I know it's your night off!" she says, gaily. "That what makes it Date Night."

"Ugh." Shaw turns back to the television and her noodles. She's berating herself for noticing that Root dressed up: tight blue dress, stockings for miles, eyelashes of doom. Root does that stuff on purpose to unsettle Shaw, and Shaw hates that it works. "Date Night is stupid," she mutters, as much to convince herself as Root.

Root walks between Shaw and the television, then stands there blocking the view. At least she knows better than to get between Shaw and the takeout. She hefts a bag that bulges with gear and says, "I bet I can make you say you love Date Night."

Shaw's eyes narrow and she puts down the noodle box. "That's a weird bet," she says.

Root's explanation is blithe as she reaches into the bag and draws out a power drill. "Well, we don't exactly have a traditional relationship. I have to use my imagination to get you to engage. Oh! I almost forgot. Safety first." She dives back into the bag for a dorky pair of protective glasses and props them on her nose. They look ridiculously cute, especially when she gives the drill an experimental whir.

Shaw is intrigued enough to get up on her feet. She's never considered the potential of construction work as foreplay.

A couple of hours later, Shaw is twisting at the end of those cuffs which Root fixed to the iron loop they bolted into the wall. Root has kicked off her murder-height stilettos, and hitched her dress up so she can crouch between Shaw's legs to keep the Hitachi hard against Shaw's clit.

Just as Shaw is tipping over into orgasm, Root lifts the wand off her clit. Shaw hears herself wail in frustration. It's a desperate pathetic sound and Shaw is furious that Root managed to evince it from her. She swears and kicks, tries to get one leg wrapped around Root's neck to throttle her.

Root is cleverer than that, though, and scoots out of Shaw's reach just in time. She sits on her heels with her head tilted and the Hitachi held in mid-air, as if she were an artist and Shaw her canvas. When Shaw has calmed down enough that she no longer wants to kill Root – okay, so that she has enough self-control not to kill Root – she opens her legs and once again Root goes to work with the wand.

"You know what to say," Root says, the seventh time they go through this. Shaw is drenched by now, and her body aches from the constant build and let-down. Root knows how to play this perfectly. She pulls away so often that the frustration scratches something satisfying in Shaw's mind. She knows how high to let the pressure build, so that Shaw doesn't give up and dislocate a thumb to escape.

It's a good feeling, not just the relentless buzz between her legs, but the lack of control. Shaw doesn't easily admit it, not to anyone, but occasionally it's a relief to let someone else take over. It's lucky that Root is Root, because nobody else has the deranged tenacity to push Shaw to this point where her arms are shaking and the sweat is stinging her eyes. She should break free and throttle Root but all she wants is to come.

Root brings the Hitachi back and nestles it into position, pressed hard against Shaw's clit. "Okay, maybe this time we'll get there." She's using both hands to hold it in place, which is Shaw's fault for fighting her. Now Root doesn't have a spare hand to touch Shaw, even though Shaw wouldn't mind Root's mean, long fingers on her nipples right now.

Shaw groans and throws her head back. Her weight is hanging on her wrists, her fingers are turning numb, and she's on the verge of calling this shit off because she doesn't want it to damage her ability to aim a weapon. It feels so fucking good, though. She's almost there; she can feel orgasm curling up ready to spring. All she has to do is let go and float, let Root take her all the way there. She shuts her eyes and pushes forward with her hips, and groans. Finally, finally, she forgets everything: Samaritan, the bullshit with Control and Hersh, every single responsibility she's taken on. The only reason she can do this is the trust she puts in Root.

Root is a weapon herself, and that Shaw knows that whatever danger is out there, Root can take it on. Root is fearless – absolutely crazy but fearless – and the combination of that, and the massive power of the Machine supporting her is what makes Shaw safe enough to show vulnerability.

She's so nearly there – she's so lost in the vibrations – that she lets out a weak sound of protest. Root's going to take it away, she's going to make it stop, and Shaw has forgotten the stupid thing she was supposed to do in this mind game.

"Root, please," she manages to say. It sounds like someone else. "Root… I need you to… I need…"

Root must have gotten the message, because she presses that thing up a notch and leans in hard. "I got you, sweetie. You do what you have to."

Shaw is coming, and it's ripping her to pieces like an earthquake. Shaw is coming, and Root is kissing her. Shaw is coming, and her skin is on fire, and Root's hands are cool and every nerve is firing and her chest aches and Root is beautiful and the light is fading out.

Shaw wakes up in Root's arms, with Root's hair in her mouth. She sputters, swipes a palm over her face, and Root laughs. It's a soft laugh, the same kind of softness that Shaw is afraid to show to anyone but her.

"I think you blacked out there," Root says next to her ear. They're sitting on the floor. Root leans against the wall with Shaw bundled on her lap.

Shaw's head is thumping. "Fuck, that kind of shit can give you brain damage," she says. "You'll be sorry one of these days if you leave me drooling."

"That's not quite making the argument you think it is," says Root, and hefts Shaw a little higher up her body. "I might want to be the woman who fucked your brains out."

Shaw wants to complain, but Root is kissing her on the neck, soft, floating kisses that have the promise of teeth behind them.

"Shut up," Shaw says, and wriggles around to face her. She locks her ankles behind Root and shimmies closer to kiss her. Everything she touches with her mouth is slick and salty.

Root's breath is warm on Shaw's cheek. "Don't you have something to say to me?" she says. This close, Shaw can see her makeup has run, that she's been biting her lip, that she's still hungry for anything Shaw can dish out.

Shaw pushes her fingers into Root's hair and pulls tight, tips Root's head backwards.

"Date night is stupid," she says and puts her teeth to Root's throat.