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Our Love is (Un)Conditional

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“Hey, Root, where did you put my spare .45?” Shaw had spent the last three hours trying to find the spare sidearm, and silently cursing the hacker for not having restored it to its normal resting place after borrowing it (without permission of course). After she’d realized the futility of her search, she’d thrown herself into one of the chairs resting beside the workbenches and proceeded to clean her remaining eight sidearms until Root came back from… where ever she’d been.

Shaw looked over as the gun landed on the bench next to her hand, which had been reaching for her gun oil.

“Thanks.” She didn’t try to hide the sarcasm in her voice as she placed the weapon in her hand on the table, spinning her chair around to confront the other woman. “Maybe next time you can-”

The words died on her lips as she fully took in the sight which greeted her, her brain completely shutting down at the utter absurdity.

In all the time she’d known Root – and that was a very long time now, about seven years, which was a lot longer than she’d spent with almost anyone else in the world – she’d seen a lot of rather strange things.

The instance where Root had trapped her in the subway wearing a bear suit (the actual animal, not Shaw’s dog, although she thought she probably would have it enjoyed the whole situation more if Root had dressed up as Bear) sprang to mind.

But this? This definitely moved to the top of her list.

Root pulled her helmet off, revealing her grinning face which had, until then, been hidden by the black material of the visor.

“What? You don’t like my new look?” Shaw couldn’t even begin to form a response. Luckily, Root didn’t seem to want one. “Shame, and here I was thinking about quitting my job to become an astronaut.” She shrugged, giving the helmet in her hand another look before throwing it to the side.

“Do I even want to know?”

Root grinned at her. “I had to take a little trip D.C. in order to rescue a very energetic NASA engineer who had gotten herself mixed up in some, let’s say, unsavory business.”

Shaw snorted, her brain kicking back into full gear; or well, mostly full gear. “What kind of trouble can a NASA engineer get into?”

“Well, for one, her boss was rather deep in a mobster’s pocket – you wouldn’t believe that kind of money that stuff like rocket fuel goes for. I mean really.” 

“And two, she worked with some pretty high ranking individuals, making her privy to some rather classified information – both on the job and not, if you know what I mean.” Shaw rolled her eyes. Even after nearly seven years of working with Finch and the Machine, the stupidity of mankind never ceased to amaze her; most of the time when the team got numbers, it had to do with some one spilling secrets (personal or professional, it never seemed to matter) in the wrong place, surrounded by the wrong people, and inevitably, some poor sucker always paid for it.

“Anyway, I got the wonderful identity of Maggie Knight,” Root took on a slight midwestern accent as she altered her expression to be one of joyful innocence, “an aspiring astronaut who just moved to D.C. from Rapid City, South Dakota.”

Shaw cut in, “Hence the…” she gestured vaguely towards the remainder of the astronaut suit Root was wearing.

Root grinned at her, “Exactly.”

Shaw shook her head, turning back to her workbench. “So how’d it go?”

Root hummed as she pulled up a second chair beside Shaw’s own, leaning back against the bench, head in hand as she gazed at Shaw. “Pretty well. Like I said, number was rather… energetic. Talked about a mile a minute, and about anything that came to mind. Sometimes it got to be a bit much.” She pursed her lips in thought. “Although, we did have a rather wonderful conversation about Harry Potter for a while.”

Shaw couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled from her chest. “Harry Potter?” Of all the things that Root would have talked about with a number, Harry Potter was not something that Shaw would have guessed.

Root looked mock offended. “Yes, Harry Potter.” She flipped her hair over her shoulder as she dropped her hand, “Turns out she’s a Drarry fan.”

Shaw just looked at Root, one eyebrow raised, and continued to look until Root sighed. “Drarry. You know, Harry and Draco? Like as a couple?”

Shaw shrugged. “Wouldn’t know, never read the books, or watched the movies.”

This time Shaw was fairly certain that Root was actually offended. “What do you mean you never read them?”

“I mean I never read them, Root. Pretty sure my sentence was self-explanatory.”

“Yes, but why not?” Shaw froze as Root’s hand caught her wrist, preventing her from continuing to clean her weapon.

“I guess, I was just never very interested. Not to mention I didn’t really have the time.”

“Everyone has time for Harry Potter.”

Shaw closed her eyes, silently counting to ten; she couldn’t believe that she was actually having this conversation with Root.

Actually, scratch that, she could, because it was Root she was talking to.

“Well, I guess I was a little more busy than most people, you know, getting through med school, then the army, and then I was a little preoccupied with trying not to die.”

“Well it’s not like you have to worry about that anymore.” Shaw just looked at the other woman, who sighed. “Fine, I suppose you still have to worry about that, but it doesn’t mean you can’t read them.”

Shaw put her gun on the table, placing both hand flat on the surface as Root removed her hand from her wrist. She turned her head to face the woman next to her. “Root, I think I have a few more important things to worry about than reading some children’s book.”

Root held her gaze for a moment, her eyes flickering between Shaw’s own, until, finally, she sighed. “Alright fine.” Shaw nodded, glad that the whole ridiculous conversation was coming to a close.

Suddenly, she felt Root grab her left hand, and before Shaw could pull out (probably punching Root in the process; she’d just blame the resulting injury on instinct), she found herself handcuffed to the bench, one loop around her wrist, the other around the metal handle grafted onto the top.

“Root,” Shaw ground her teeth together as she stared at her hand, “what the hell are you doing?”

“Making sure you have the time.”

“What?” Shaw turned her glare onto the grinning woman, and for a moment, a part of her wished they were still at the stage in their relationship where one glare would send the other woman scurrying in the other direction.

The other part of her wanted to know exactly when that had ever been.

Root stood up, the keys to the cuffs dangling from her fingers. Grinning, she leaned down, close enough that Shaw felt as though she were invading her personal space, but far enough away that she could reach the smug hacker. “You said you didn’t have any time, so I’m just making sure you do. Read the books, and I’ll let you go.”

“Root…” The other woman ignored her threatening growl, choosing instead to hum to herself as she straightened slightly, still dangling the keys in front of Shaw’s face, just out of reach.

“Hey, Toucan Sam, have you seen Fruit Loops any – oh my god.”

The two woman looked up as they heard a crash come from the doorway of the subway to find Fusco, beet red, standing with his hands covering his eyes, the broken remnants of his coffee cup at his feet.

“Really, guys? In the subway?” The two woman continued to stare blankly at the man.

Fusco, while keeping one hand over his eyes, waved the other one in the air in front of him. “You know what? Never mind, I don’t want to know. I’ll come back.”

With that Fusco made his way out the station, muttering under his breath the whole way.


Once he stumbled outside, and he was sure the coast was clear, Fusco removed his hand from his eyes.

“God, do those two ever do anything normal?”