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What Happens In Vegas...

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10 hours ago…

“Are you crying again?” Shaw asked, dumping a drink down in front of Root.

Root said nothing and continued to stare absently at a row of slot machines as tears flowed freely down her cheeks.

Shaw sighed and took the seat next to her. Root had been stoic and withdrawn ever since they had left the police station. Even at the ER she had remained quiet, unresponsive to the nurse’s questions.

It had been John’s idea to go to a casino, thinking that might cheer her up. Shaw had agreed but only because she had wanted another drink. She’d had several at the bar with John before he disappeared off to play some blackjack and now here she was, struggling to think what she could do with a crying Root.

“Wanna play something?” she asked, even though John had all the money. But Shaw thought she could steal them some chips from an unassuming gambler.

Root shook her head, sniffling softly.

Sighing again, Shaw leaned forward and rested her forehead on Root’s shoulder, feeling suddenly tired.

“Root,” she said and told herself it didn’t sound like she was begging. “You have to stop crying.”

Root’s entire body turned rigid and Shaw didn’t know if it was because of what she had said or because of the physical contact. She decided she didn’t want to look up and see the look on Root’s face then. So she kept her eyes closed and waited.

"What's the point?" Root said, sounding far away and lost. "The machine's gone. You don't want anything to do with me."

"That's not true," said Shaw, sitting up straight.

"Isn't it?" asked Root and Shaw wasn’t sure what she could do or say to convince her otherwise. She had been too busy trying to push Root away, to maintain some semblance of indifferent distance between them that she hadn't actually realised that was exactly what she had achieved. She'd pushed too far and too much and now it seemed Root had finally reached her limit.

Ice seemed to settle in Shaw’s chest then and she swallowed down some of her drink, hoping the burn of the alcohol would melt it. It didn’t and it only left her feeling sick.

"Where are you going?" Shaw asked when Root stood up suddenly.

Shrugging, Root said nothing and walked into the throng of gamblers. Shaw quickly lost sight of her and it wasn’t just like she was losing Root to the crowd and that she could find her later, pushing quarters mundanely into a slot machine and mechanically pulling the lever. No. This felt different somehow. Shaw couldn’t help but think that she had missed something important, but she couldn’t think what.

A bell sounded, announcing that someone had just won the jackpot, followed by the tinkling rush of coins and a raucous cheer. Shaw didn't know what there was to be so cheerful about and she swallowed down the rest of her drink, thinking that Root would have had something amusing and scathing to say about the lucky winners.

But Root didn't have the Machine anymore and Shaw didn’t have Root.

Finishing the drink that had been intended for Root in two quick gulps, Shaw wavered for a moment before making a decision and stood up. She was shaky on her feet and Shaw put it down to the sugar in Root’s fruity drink.

Even as she stalked through the crowd, lightly pushing the gamblers out of her way, Shaw couldn’t shake the feeling that her world was crashing around her. It wasn't a new feeling. She remembered Cole then, bleeding and dying on the ground because of her. That moment when she thought, this is it. This is the end and I'm taking all these bastards with me.

A New York sidewalk, the world around her changed, when she was no longer Sameen Shaw and she didn’t know if she would see her team alive again. Walking away from Root, harder than she ever thought it would be. But somehow they had fought back; somehow the team had got back together again, despite Samaritan looming over them, watching everything. She had found Root again. Even when things were at their worst, Shaw always found Root and they always seemed to beat the impossible.

Shaw thought they could beat this now, this thing with the Machine and the number and the Machine’s resultant silence. But she had to find Root first.

Finding Root was her main priority. Shaw ignored everything else around her. Ignored the noise and the rush of the gambling as she pushed through the crowd.

A guy dressed in a white frilly tux stepped into her path and Shaw almost punched him in the face. He thrust a leaflet into her hand and Shaw took it automatically, moving past him and out into the casino’s lobby. There she found Root, sitting on the floor, her knees drawn up with her face buried in her arms wrapped around them.

Shaw wondered if she was crying again as she moved closer, dropping to her knees in front of her and resting one hand on top of Root’s, squeezing gently.

“Root,” she said softly, afraid to startle her if she spoke too loud.

“Leave me alone.” Root’s voice was muffled and cracked, so unfamiliar sounding to Shaw’s ears.

“You still have me,” Shaw assured her. “Even if the Machine is gone, I’m still here.”

“You’re just saying that,” Root mumbled so incoherently that it took Shaw a moment to work out what she was saying.

She knew then that she didn’t have the capacity for words to convince her. That she needed to prove to Root that she was serious.

Glancing around for inspiration, Shaw noticed the leaflet still clutched in her hand. Letting go of Root, Shaw straightened the creases out of it and looked at it carefully, the threads of an idea forming in her mind.

As advertisements went, this one was both corny and cheesy, making Shaw want to simultaneously roll her eyes and throw up. Cupid’s Wedding Chapel was printed in bold pink letters, surrounded by red and purple hearts. The letter “C” in cupid was shaped like a big fat baby wearing nothing but a white toga and shooting an arrow into one of the hearts. Underneath this monstrosity were the words “Drop-ins welcome; marriage licenses available until midnight - 7 days a week!”

“Marry me,” Shaw blurted before she could change her mind.

Root’s head shot up sharply, crying suspended momentarily. “What?”

“Let’s get married,” Shaw said, sounding surer of herself this time.

“Are you making fun of me?” Root asked, wiping her cheeks dry with the back of her hand.

“No,” said Shaw. “We’re in Vegas. It’s what people do, isn’t it?” she added with a shrug. She didn’t like the way Root was looking at her as if she had just announced her allegiance with Samaritan.

Shaw closed her eyes briefly, feeling dizzy again as she tried to find the right words that wouldn’t send Root running.

“You still have me,” Shaw repeated, struggling to push the words out of her mouth that suddenly felt like it was full of cotton wool or something. “If we get married, then you have me forever, right?” It made sense to Shaw. She thought it would give Root reassurance that Shaw wasn’t about to bail any time soon, and Shaw always did find actions easier than words.

“You’re serious?” Root asked, staring at her dubiously.

Shaw nodded. She wanted Root and if this was the only way to convince her of that then she would do it.

“Married?” Root asked. “When?”

“Now,” said Shaw, glancing at her watch. If they hurried, they would have time.

“Now?” asked Root, sounding startled and unsure of herself.

“Yeah, now,” said Shaw, feeling Root’s uncertainty seep into her skin. “Don’t you want to?” Shaw asked hesitantly. She had been too busy worrying about losing Root that it had never occurred to her that Root might not want her.

“You know what, nevermind,” said Shaw, standing up quickly. “It was a stupid idea.”

She let the leaflet drop from her hand and fall to Root’s feet as she made a quick getaway, thankful, for once, of the crowd that she could get lost in and headed to the bar. She ordered several shots of tequila, put them on John’s tab and then proceeded to down them all one after the other.

She wanted to forget. Forget this stupid night, their stupid number and the Machine going haywire. She wanted to forget Root but didn’t think any amount of alcohol ever could let her forget about her. Her touch, the smell and the taste of her. It was all so ingrained in Shaw’s mind that she thought she would remember it for the rest of her life.

Shaw ordered and downed five more shots when she felt hands on her shoulders. She knew who it was without looking. Recognising that scent of perfume, the curve of those hands.

“It’s not a stupid idea,” said Root.

Shaw stiffened, expecting to hear doubts and the many excuses as to why this was a Bad Idea.

“But we’re going to need a witness,” Root added.

Shaw smirked, downed her last shot and stood up, turning so she could kiss Root. “I have someone in mind,” she said. “Wait here.”

Disappearing back through the rows of slot machines again, she found who she was searching for. Turning her nose up at the frilly white tux, Shaw stanched one of the Cupid’s Wedding Chapel pamphlets out of the guy’s hand and was back making her way through to the blackjack tables before the guy could protest.

She found Reese. He wasn’t playing blackjack.

“Dude,” said Shaw, averting her eyes. “Put a shirt on.”

But it didn’t look like Reese was paying her any attention, too busy allowing some blonde chick in the casino’s uniform to do body shots off his bare belly.

“I’m busy,” Reese said, waving Shaw away.

Shaw didn’t budge. “I need you to cause a distraction and then meet me here.” Shaw shoved the leaflet into his hand and glared at him until he knew she was serious. Reese sighed and pushed the blonde away from him. She scowled at him crossly and tried to get his attention again.

“How big a distraction?” he asked, pulling his shirt back on and shrugging the blonde away from him.

Shaw grinned. “I just need a five minute window.”

Returning to the bar, Shaw found Root where she had left her, sitting at the bar and sipping at a bright pink drink. Shaw moved up behind her and grabbed her hand.

“Come on, let’s go.” Shaw tugged on her hand gently and pulled her towards the middle of the casino.

The jackpot winners from the slot machines were in deep discussion with an important looking casino person who Shaw assumed must be the manager. He had a set of keys in his hands, a large keyring with the casino’s logo on the front attached to them. Shaw knew exactly what they were for and eyed up the bright red motorbike behind him. She liked the colour, reminding her of Root’s dress and she thought it would be kind of hot to have Root matching it as they rode the bike out of there.

“What are we doing?” Root asked.

“Getting us a ride,” said Shaw and waited for Reese and his distraction.

As distractions went, it wasn’t Reese’s finest performance. But it worked. Shaw allowed herself only a moment to watch him running through the crowd, pile of casino chips he was unlikely to have won by himself clutched tightly inside the upturned bottom of his shirt, the blonde casino worker chasing after him.

The manager’s head whipped around at the commotion and Shaw snatched the keys out of his distracted hands at the same time as the blonde tackled Reese to the ground.

Shaw pulled Root towards the motorbike and hopped on, starting the engine quickly as Root got on behind her and wrapped her arms around Shaw’s waist. Her grip tightened as Shaw rode the bike off the small stage it was displayed upon and out towards the casino’s exit.

Gamblers screamed and jumped out of the way as Shaw rode on, heedless of the crowd and uncaring if she hit anyone. She heard shouting behind her. No doubt whatever attention had been on Reese was now on her and Root.

The tires screeched underneath her as they made it out of the casino and onto the busy street, and it didn’t take Shaw long to escape any pursuers. The wind whipped at her face, like ice stabbing into her skin, but Root was warm and solid behind her, reassuring in her presence. Shaw pressed her foot down on the pedal harder, enjoying the way Root’s grip tensed, the way she held on tightly to Shaw as if she were her anchor to the world. She only slowed when Root’s hold became painful, digging into her ribs and making it difficult for Shaw to breathe.

Root’s teeth found her neck, one hand dipping lower, brushing lightly across Shaw’s thigh, causing Shaw to shiver for reasons other than the cold, biting wind.

“What are you doing?” Shaw croaked, unsure if Root had heard her over the rushing wind.

Root’s lips moved from sucking at Shaw’s neck and up to her ear. “Keep driving.”


Root’s fingers brushed against her labia, causing Shaw to swerve the bike violently.

“Stay steady,” Root mumbled, nuzzling on Shaw’s neck again.

“Root, this isn’t-” Shaw began, unable to form words coherently and struggling to see straight. “You’re gonna make us crash.”

“Just keep driving,” Root ordered gently and Shaw groaned as Root pressed her fingers inside of her.

She swerved again, but Root’s other hand pressed firmly against her stomach, allowing Shaw to focus and straighten them onto the centre of the road once again. Shaw slowed them down, dropped them ten below the speed limit, but still felt like they were going too fast, being too reckless.

“Faster,” Root demanded. Shaw obeyed and when the bike picked up speed, so did Root’s fingers.

It wasn’t the fear of crashing, the possibility of getting stopped by a cop and arrested for the second time that night, that prompted Shaw to eventually slow down, turning the bike sharply into an alleyway and killing the engine. It was the fact that she couldn’t touch Root when she was busy driving and, right then, there was nothing Shaw wanted to do more.

Hopping off the bike, Shaw grabbed onto Root and slammed her up against the orange-brick wall. Root let out a moan, quickly muffled by Shaw’s lips crashing against hers. Desire flashed through Shaw’s body, setting her nerve endings alight, leaving Shaw with a heightened awareness. She could smell Root’s perfume just as keenly as she could taste the sugary aftertaste of Root’s fruity cocktail on her mouth. Root’s skin felt smooth and soft under Shaw’s fingertips, her body heat radiating and seeping into Shaw’s skin, filling her whole and making her think she would never be cold again.

Pulling away, Root leaned her head back against the wall and grinned before pushing Shaw backwards until her back hit the far wall. Shaw grunted, a dull throb quaking in her bones.

One of Root’s knees thrust its way in between Shaw’s thighs and she bit down hard on Shaw’s bottom lip, pulling apart slightly without letting go. Shaw enjoyed the sting and dug her fingernails into Root’s upper arms. Root seemed to know what she wanted and her hand slipped beneath Shaw’s dress once again, resuming her steady rhythm as if they had never been interrupted.

Shaw’s eyes fluttered closed and she forgot everything around her, forgot who she was and why she was here. Knew only Root and the familiar feel of her.

“Are you sure?” Root mumbled against her lips.

“About what?” Shaw asked, opening her eyes and seeing Root’s in front of her, big and bright, desire mixed with something else. Worry, Shaw thought and remembered that the Machine was gone.

“About this,” Root said, kissing her softly, despite the rapid contrast of her thumb brushing furiously against Shaw’s clit.

Shaw’s breath caught in her throat and, for a moment, she was unable to speak.

“About us,” Root continued, lips sucking at the base of Shaw’s throat.

“Yes,” Shaw groaned, but she could be agreeing to anything right now if Root continued to touch her in that way. Just the right amount of gentle teasing and harsh strokes.

“But are you sure?” Root repeated.

Shaw groaned again, her muscles tightening around Root’s hand. She was close and she almost whimpered when Root stopped.

Eyes flashing furiously, Shaw glared at her. “Root…”

“I need you to be sure,” Root said.

That vulnerability was back, seeping into her look, into her voice and Shaw felt a flash of annoyance at the Machine for leaving her like this.

“I’m sure,” said Shaw, feeling more sure than anything, even the solid weight of a gun in her hand or the ground beneath her feet.

A grin shone bright and wide on Root’s face and she ducked her head, kissing Shaw hungrily, moving within Shaw once again, all teasing forgotten.

Shaw came then, Root’s name on her lips, lost to the layers of her skin as she buried her face in Root’s neck, holding onto her tightly. Root let out a breezy laugh and Shaw wasn’t sure if it was at her or with her, but at that moment, she didn’t care all that much. She was just glad there were no more tears.


“Why would the Machine want us to kill him?” Shaw asked, following Root as she stormed back down the alleyway. She left Reese to try and get some answers from the number and wondered once again if Root was holding something back. “Root?” Shaw grabbed onto her arm, slowing her down as she tried to get her attention.

“Don’t touch me,” Root snapped, pulling out of Shaw’s grip. To Shaw it felt like a slap in the face and she stepped back, watching Root warily.

“What’s going on?” Shaw asked, this time more softly. She wanted to get mad, say terse words and get into the argument that Root was itching to start. But she found that she couldn’t. She felt only exhaustion and wanted this goddamn day to end.

“Nothing,” said Root, her eyes bright and watery.

“Don’t lie to me,” said Shaw.

A breathless exhale left Root’s mouth, something akin to a humourless laugh. Shaw saw the anger flare in her eyes and felt it when Root pushed her roughly up against the wall. The impact jarred throughout Shaw’s body and she knew she would be feeling it later, bruised and aching.

Root crashed her lips against Shaw’s, almost desperate in the way that she clung onto her. Shaw kissed her back automatically, but there was an edge to it, that worry that sat heavily in her gut that she couldn’t seem to shake. She wanted to chalk it up to being hungover, the leftover remnants of whatever she had drank last night and whatever drug someone had spiked her with. But she knew that was a lie even as she thought it. That the worry was real, tangible in the way that she was acutely aware of everything that was wrong with Root.

She pushed Root away then, breathing heavily as she stared at her, the worry clawing its way up her throat and she couldn’t swallow it away. Root looked as shit as Shaw felt, but there was something else there too, sitting behind her eyes, distant and cold.

Shaw opened her mouth to say something, but she quickly swallowed back her words when Reese appeared behind Root. He shot her a concerned look which Shaw ignored, her eyes only for Root.

“Am I interrupting something?” Reese asked.

Yes, Shaw wanted to say. Wanted to shout at him to go away. But instead she said nothing.

“No,” said Root coolly, staring at Shaw defiantly before walking away.

“I don’t think our number knows anything,” Reese explained as if everything was normal. Shaw didn’t know if he was oblivious or if he was just pretending for her sake. “Whatever trouble he was in, getting picked up by the police last night seemed to have prevented… well, whatever the hell was going on.”

“You mean us,” said Shaw absently, staring after Root as she walked down the block a bit before stopping and staring down at her feet with her arms wrapped tightly around herself. “They prevented us from killing him.”

“I wasn’t planning on killing him,” said Reese adamantly and when Shaw turned her head to look at him he looked more than a little affronted.

“How do you know that?” Shaw asked. “We can’t remember anything.”

“I’m starting to remember stuff,” said Reese. “Flashes of things.”

“Yeah,” Shaw muttered, remembering kneeling in front of Root, who was crying so much that it didn’t seem like she would ever stop. “Me too.”

“There’s still one place we haven’t checked,” said Reese.

Shaw forced the memories away, knowing they wouldn’t be forgotten anytime soon.

“The restaurant where this all started,” Shaw said. Reese nodded and she followed him as he moved towards Root and hailed a cab.

Shaw spent the journey staring out of the window. Reese rode up front, responding to the cabbie’s questions reluctantly and Shaw was reminded of something else. Another cab ride, Reese up front and her and Root in the back. Only that time they hadn’t been so far apart, didn’t have the distance of an ocean between them as Root sat coldly on the other seat, refusing to acknowledge anything. It made the ride seem like it was ten times longer and Shaw held back the sigh relief that was eager to leave her lips when the cab finally pulled up outside the restaurant.

The place looked like it had just finished setting up for the lunchtime rush when they walked in and Shaw grabbed a menu from one of the empty tables, flicking through it as Reese cornered one of the wait staff and started asking him if he remembered them from last night. The waiter claimed that he didn’t and moved to get back to work. Shaw stopped him and ordered something off the menu, feeling her stomach rumble unpleasantly.

“You’ll need to be seated at a table if you are going to eat,” said the waiter.

“We’ll take that one,” said Root, not looking at any of them but further into the restaurant's dining room. Shaw followed her gaze, blinking in disbelief by what she saw there.

“Finch?” said Reese, his voice low with surprise.

“Mr Reese,” said Finch, climbing awkwardly to his feet. “I’ve been searching for you all day.”

“You’ve been searching for us?” said Reese.

Shaw was pretty sure Finch missed it, but she could detect the anger in Reese’s voice. There was relief there too, relief that Finch was safe and sound. And confusion as to why that was. Maybe also disappointment, Shaw thought, that he hadn’t been allowed to play the hero this time.

“Please, have a seat,” said Finch, gesturing to the three empty chairs around the table. “Allow me to explain.”

“I think we’ll stand,” said Root coldly. Shaw glanced at her, surprised by the hostility in her voice. Root’s relationship with Harold had always been tense, but lately, in the months before the war against Samaritan got really bad, they had come to a sort of silent mutual understanding. This new hostility was unsettling and Shaw knew then that the Machine was back in Root’s ear, telling Root Her tale of what had happened last night. And whatever it was, Root didn’t like it. Neither did Shaw, not liking the way Root was reacting to whatever the Machine was telling her.

“Finch, what’s going on?” Reese asked. He too seemed to have sensed that something wasn’t quite right about all this.

“He did this,” Root said. “Him and the Machine.”

“What?” said Reese, glancing between Root and Finch, as if unsure of who to believe.

"Please," said Finch, "sit."

He looked apprehensive to Shaw, making her wonder just what exactly he and his creation had gotten up to last night. She sat down then, willing to hear him out even though she already had an idea as to where this was going. She could feel both Reese and Root shoot her mutual incredulous looks. It was probably the first time in a long time that they had agreed on anything.

"You want answers, don't you?" she said, gesturing for them both to sit. Although it was mostly for Reese’s benefit. She suspected Root already knew all the answers.

Reese clenched his jaw for a moment, everything about him tense before he finally took the seat opposite Finch. Root remained standing, hovering nearby Shaw's right shoulder. Shaw felt her presence as keenly as every bullet that had ever pierced her body, hot and burning, unrelenting in its pursuit of pain. Except Shaw didn't know if the pain was intended for her this time or for Root.

"You have to understand," Finch began slowly, choosing his words carefully. It was the first time Shaw had ever seen him like this. She was used to a Harold Finch that conveyed his intentions eloquently and clearly.  "These past few months haven't been easy for me."

"They haven't been easy for any of us, Finch," Reese said.

"Yes," said Finch,  although it sounded more like he was disagreeing. "And it hasn't been any easier for me now that Samaritan has been destroyed. What we did..."

Shaw remembered then, that final showdown. The battle that decided the war. She remembered the blood and the screaming and didn't have to wonder if it kept Harold up at night.

"The cost was too high," Harold continued, his voice raspy with pain and regret.

"We did what we had to do," said Reese, sounding tired, like they'd had this argument already a thousand times before.

“But I have to know it won’t happen again,” said Finch.

“Harold,” said Reese slowly, “what did you do?”

“They,” said Root. “Harold and the Machine. It was a test.”

“A test?” said Shaw, glancing up at her. There was a dark look on Root’s face, like her entire world had just been shattered. Shaw realised then that it wasn’t because the Machine was gone. The Machine was back, talking to her again in whatever way She chose to. It was betrayal, that look in Root’s eyes. Betrayed by her God, her faith splintered and torn.

“You were testing us?” Reese’s voice was tight with barely suppressed anger.

“I had to know you wouldn’t kill again,” said Finch, almost pleadingly. “Not even if the Machine told you to.” He glanced at Root then and Shaw felt her stiffen beside her.

Annoyance burned through Shaw at that. Root did a lot of things at the Machine’s behest, and usually at the risk to her own life. But she never killed. Not anymore. None of them did.

Not until that night. That night where they destroyed Samaritan for good. Their last desperate attempt and winning an impossible war. But somehow they had. They had won, but not everyone had survived on both sides.

“And the drugging?” said Shaw, feeling her headache spike.

“Ah,” said Finch, looking sheepish. “I believe Mr Tao can answer that question. I employed his services to aid me with this endeavour, but it turns out Mr Tao has more initiative that I was expecting.”

Leon drugged us?” Shaw asked sceptically.

“Apparently he slipped something into the champagne,” said Finch.

“GHB,” said Root, no doubt being told by the Machine what and how much exactly they had been given and was still circulating in their systems.

Harold nodded. “When I realised what he had done I removed your weapons and tried to stop you from receiving the number. But evidently I was too late.”

Shaw clenched her jaw in annoyance that she hadn’t noticed last night that something was wrong, that she had been too... distracted to realise her drink was spiked. She was even more annoyed about Harold taking her gun without her noticing. And now that she thought about it, although her memory was hazy still, she couldn’t actually remember seeing Harold drinking anything. He had been pouring the drinks freely but had never once taken a sip of alcohol himself.

“I can’t believe this,” said Reese, shaking his head and abruptly pushing himself up from his seat. The chair fell back with a clatter. “You should have trusted us.”

“John,” said Harold, but Reese was already making his way out of the restaurant. Harold stared after him, looking like he wanted to follow. But he remained where he was and eventually his eyes dropped down to the table.

"At least no one was hurt," said Harold.

Shaw wasn’t sure what it was about that statement that made Root walk out, but she felt the urge to go after her. Although she didn’t know what she would say once she caught up.

Instead, she stayed where she was, staring at Harold who carefully avoided her eyes until the waiter appeared with her food. Shaw was glad for something to focus on and took a large bite of her club sandwich, grateful she didn’t have to make conversation. She didn’t trust herself not to say something she would regret. Finch was still her boss after all.

“Is that a ring on your finger?” Harold blurted, staring wide-eyed at the shining band on Shaw’s left hand.

Shaw scrunched her nose up, not appreciating the reminder whilst she was trying to eat.

“Yes,” she sighed, seeing no point in trying to hide it.

“Who?” asked Finch, although he looked like he would rather not know.

“Who do you think?” said Shaw. She wasn’t under any delusions about the fact that everyone, including the dog, knew about her and Root.

“I see,” said Finch, still looking mildly surprised. Shaw chose to ignore the slight smile on his face and glared just to make sure he didn’t start spouting sentiments or anything. He didn’t, thankfully, and Shaw took another bite of her sandwich.

“Excuse me,” said Finch abruptly and stood up, following Reese and Root out of the restaurant. Shaw wasn’t sure which one of them he was going after, if he was going after either of them at all. She didn’t care all that much. Yes, she was pissed about the drugging and the deceiving, but she was just glad they had solved this whole thing. And Finch was right, no one had gotten hurt.

Not seriously anyway, Shaw supposed, thinking of the wound behind Root’s ear. It wasn’t the only wound she had, Shaw thought. The rest hidden below the surface, hard to see unless you knew how to look. And Shaw had gotten good at knowing how to look.

“Where did everybody go?”

Shaw clenched her teeth and looked up to find Leon sitting in Harold’s recently vacated seat.

“What?” said Leon innocently. “Why do you look like you’re ready to murder someone?”

“GHB?” said Shaw tightly. “Really?”

“What?” said Leon, shrugging his shoulders. “You all need to loosen up, looking so miserable and scary all the damn time. And angry,” he added, looking at Shaw. He stiffened and leaned slightly away from her. “You’re about to stab me with something, aren’t you?”

Shaw smiled a humourless smile and, if anything, Leon looked even more terrified.