“Ms. Shaw,” said Harold, “I’m going to need you to meet me at the safe house.”
“Why?” Shaw asked, clutching her phone tightly to her ear. “We get a new number?”
“Not exactly,” said Harold ominously and hung up.
Shaw frowned at her phone before shoving it in her pocket. It wasn’t like Harold to sound so cagey and she wondered, as she headed to the safe house, what had gotten him so riled up.
“Ah, Ms. Shaw,” said Harold as soon as she walked in the door.
Shaw narrowed her eyes. She knew that look on Harold’s face and she didn’t like it. It was the look he wore whenever he was about to ask her to do something she would most certainly not enjoy.
The exclamation came from the couch. Shaw glanced over, barely taking in the mess of blonde curls before Gen bounded towards her eagerly. Bracing herself, Shaw fully expected to be hugged or something equally as uncomfortable, but Gen stopped just in front of her, bright smile on her face as she stared up at Shaw. Somehow, Shaw found herself smiling back. It was not as awkward as she thought it would be.
It was summer break and with Gen’s school retrofitting most of their buildings over the holidays, Gen had no option but to stay with Harold. School had finished only four days ago, but Finch already looked like he was at the end of his tether.
Shaw, for her part, had been busy with numbers, so this was the first opportunity she had of seeing Gen.
She found, unwilling, that she wasn’t all that annoyed to see her again.
“What’s going on, Finch?” Shaw asked, watching as his eyes darted to Gen before resting back on her. Whatever this was about, he didn’t want Gen to hear about it.
“Hey, kiddo,” said Shaw, looking down at Gen. “There’s some ice cream in the freezer. Go get yourself a bowl.”
Gen frowned at them and Shaw could tell she wanted to stay and hear whatever it was they were discussing. “Okay,” she said in response to the hard stare Shaw directed at her before skipping off into the kitchen.
“Well?” said Shaw, turning her gaze to Finch once she was sure Gen was out of earshot.
“I’m going to need the safe house for the next few days.”
“Our number?” Shaw asked.
“Shh,” Harold scolded, eyes darting quickly to the kitchen. Shaw rolled her eyes. There was no sign of Gen. Besides, she was a smart kid. It wouldn’t surprise Shaw if she had worked out more than a little of what it was they did. She had been a number herself after all. “This is the safest place for him,” Harold continued in a hushed tone.
“Right, so?” said Shaw. Their latest number wasn’t a particularly exciting one. Just a deadbeat moron who had gotten himself involved with slightly less moronic drug dealers who now wanted him dead.
“So,” said Harold slowly, shrinking back from her slightly. “I need you to look after Genrika for a few nights.”
“No way,” said Shaw.
“It’s only for a few nights,” said Harold reasonably. “I can’t very well have her staying here with a former drug dealer, now can I?”
“No,” said Shaw sullenly. Knowing Gen, she would only get herself into trouble. “A few nights?” Shaw asked hesitantly.
“At the most,” Harold reassured her.
Sighing heavily, Shaw nodded. “Okay, fine.”
A small smile appeared on Harold’s face. He had won this round, but Shaw would make damn sure he owed her for this.
“I’ve booked you both rooms at The Plaza,” said Harold.
“Why?” Shaw asked with a frown. “What’s wrong with my place?” If she was going to be stuck babysitting an eleven year old for the foreseeable future, she wanted to do it in the comfort of her own home.
“What?” she said in response to the concerned frown that crossed Harold’s face.
“I don’t think that’s wise,” he said.
“Why?” said Shaw. “It’s not like I’ll let her near my guns. I’m not stupid.”
“That’s hardly my only concern, Ms. Shaw,” said Harold who didn’t look like he was at all impressed by the thought of Shaw’s ample arsenal.
“Then what?” Shaw asked. She had a spare room, the weapons could be locked away. Finding food was never an issue… “Root.”
“I don’t think –” Harold began.
“She’s not even here,” Shaw said, rolling her eyes. Harold’s concern wasn’t surprising. Just annoying. “I’m not staying at some stupid hotel,” she continued. If he was concerned about Root interacting with Gen, he didn’t have to be. Root was off somewhere with her little nerd minions doing something for the Machine and wasn’t due back for another few days.
“Oh, all right,” Harold said eventually.
“So I can stay with Shaw?” said an excited voice.
Harold jumped slightly and Shaw turned to glare at Gen who had appeared in the kitchen doorway, tub of ice cream in one hand, spoon in the other.
“Couldn’t find the bowls?” Shaw glowered, grimacing slightly when Gen took the spoon from her mouth and put it back into the ice cream still in the tub. It was disgusting and she made a mental note not to go near that particular tub of ice cream the next time she was having cravings.
Gen shrugged. “So can I stay with you?”
Shaw turned to Harold. He still looked slightly sceptical, but eventually, whatever concerns he had seemed mild compared to his dilemma about keeping Gen away from born again drug dealers. He nodded his assent and Gen practically squealed with excitement, only sobering up when Shaw glared at her in annoyance.
In the next few days, Shaw was going to wonder more than once why she had ever agreed to this.
“You live here?” Gen said, her nose crinkling up in revulsion.
Shaw scowled at her as she shut the apartment door behind them.
“Why?” Shaw asked. “What’s wrong with it?” It wasn’t her usual style, she would admit, but the Machine hadn’t really given her much choice. She preferred the bare necessities. The Machine clearly did not. But Shaw could live with it, after taking some time to get used to it. It was a roof over her head, the bed wasn’t too soft and the kitchen was a decent size. Plus there was plenty of storage for all of Shaw’s guns.
The only downside that Shaw could see was the pieces of computer innards sprawled all over the living room. Although Root was getting much better at tidying her crap away. Especially after that time Shaw (most definitely by accident) stood on a particularly important (according to Root) motherboard.
“Nothing,” said Gen quickly. “It’s just not what I was expecting, is all.”
“Whatever,” Shaw muttered, not really caring all that much about what Gen had or had not been expecting. “Your room’s over here.”
“I get my own room?” Gen exclaimed.
Shaw rolled her eyes. “It’s just a spare room, kid.”
But the excitement and enthusiasm didn’t leave Gen’s face as she followed Shaw to the room. It quickly disappeared though, when she got a look inside.
“Something wrong?” Shaw asked with a smirk.
Gen shrugged. “It’s a little bare, I guess. But so much better than sharing a dorm with three other girls.”
She dumped her bag on the bed, then threw herself onto it, bouncing up and down to test it. Seemingly satisfied, she turned to face Shaw. “So… what are we doing tonight?”
“Uh…” said Shaw. What exactly did eleven year old girls do for fun?
“Can we watch a movie?” Gen asked, unconcerned by Shaw’s hesitancy.
“Um, I guess,” Shaw replied.
“Cool!” said Gen. “I brought some DVDs. Can we have popcorn?”
Gen’s constant yammering and enthusiasm was starting to leave her with whiplash.
“I don’t have any popcorn,” said Shaw. She hadn’t been grocery shopping in days, picking up take out as needed in between numbers. The only time Shaw ever went grocery shopping properly was when Root was around.
“Well, can we go get some?”
“Fine,” Shaw said, thinking she should have asked Harold for some sort of budget. He so owed her for the grocery bill too.
Popcorn bought, amongst other things, and heating in the microwave, Gen disappeared into her room to fetch her movie. Shaw had no idea what she was about to be subjected to and she had bought herself a fresh six pack from the grocery store. Being drunk seemed like the best course forward. As long as Harold didn’t find out.
She was just about to settle down on the couch with her beer, fully preparing herself for a night of boredom when she heard the front door unlock.
Only one other person had a key to Shaw’s place…
Shaw was on her feet, beer abandoned on the coffee table, as she rushed towards the door. She reached it before Root could step through and Shaw pushed her backwards into the hallway, closing the door firmly behind them.
“What are you doing here?” Shaw hissed.
Root scowled and straightened her jacket. “I live here, last time I checked.”
“You’re not supposed to be back for another three days,” Shaw said.
“Well this isn’t quite the welcome home I was expecting,” said Root, smirking down at the hand still grasped roughly in her jacket. Shaw let go of her abruptly and glared.
“Harold’s going to flip his shit,” said Shaw.
“Why?” said Root, leaning against the far wall casually as she leered at Shaw. “Why would he care how we make up for lost time?” she asked, her voice dipping lower.
Shaw licked her lips. “That’s not –”
“What did you do?” Root asked, straightening suddenly and narrowing her eyes. “Did you break my computer again?”
“No,” said Shaw resentfully. “It’s complicated. I –”
“What’s going on?”
Shaw whipped around, not expecting Gen in the now open doorway and felt her annoyance over the whole situation flaring dramatically. She quickly glanced at Root and found her grinning wickedly.
“You must be Gen,” said Root, her eyes twinkling with mischief. Shaw closed her eyes. Not liking this at all.
“Who are you?” Gen asked coolly.
“What kind of dumb name is that?” Gen asked.
Shaw snorted, unperturbed by the glare Root shot her way.
An awkward silence descended upon the hallway as Gen continued to stare at Root with a mixture of suspicion and wariness.
Shaw cleared her throat. “Why don’t you go back inside and check on the popcorn while I talk to my friend here.”
“Fine,” said Gen, shooting Root one last distressful look before heading inside.
“You can’t be here,” said Shaw as soon as the door was closed.
“Why not?” Root asked, her lips forming into a pout.
“I told you,” Shaw said, ignoring her pout even if it did pull at something inside of her. It wasn’t the first time Root had pulled that look on her and it annoyed Shaw that it seemed to irritate her less and less these days. “Harold won’t like it.”
“Where else am I supposed to go?” Root asked.
“I don’t know,” said Shaw. “A hotel or something.”
The pout got worse. Shaw could feel her resolving weakening and felt like punching the wall the in frustration.
“Come on, Shaw,” said Root coyly as she moved into Shaw’s personal space. “You’re not going to leave me out in the cold, are you?”
“It’s 100 degrees outside,” Shaw pointed out and the pout reappeared on Root’s face. Close up, it was even harder to resist.
“I promise to stay on my best behaviour,” Root said.
Shaw sighed heavily. “Fine,” she said, cringing at the bright smile that immediately blossomed on Root’s face. At least it was better than the pout. Although Shaw didn’t trust it any more than the gleam that always shone in Root’s eyes whenever she was up to anything particularly mischievous.
Root leaned closer, eliminating the distance between them as she pressed her lips hard against Shaw’s.
Shaw almost deepened it, her brain taking a moment to catch up with her body. She pushed Root away from her, glaring as she wiped at her mouth with the back of her hand as if Root was infected with something particularly nasty.
“There will be none of that,” Shaw said, gesturing between them.
Instead of the pout she had been expected, Root just smirked in a way that Shaw had come to learn it was best to be wary of.
“Whatever you say, Sameen.”
“Good,” said Shaw. Something in the back of her mind screamed that this was too easy and she didn’t like it.
“So what are we doing?” Root asked, shrugging out of her jacket once they were inside.
“Watching a movie,” said Shaw, moving towards the couch and retrieving her beer from the coffee table.
“Ooh,” said Root. “Is it a rom-com?”
Shaw scowled. “No.”
At least… she hoped not. But that was the kind of soppy crap eleven year olds were into, wasn’t it? Shaw couldn’t see how this evening could possibly get any worse and wished she had bought some hard liquor in favour of the beer.
Root raised an eyebrow at her.
“Gen picked,” Shaw muttered, throwing herself onto the couch.
“That was nice of you,” said Root mockingly.
Gritting her teeth as Root sat down next to her, Shaw shifted on the couch, realised there was no more room for her to move and shot Root a glare. Heedless of it, Root took the beer from Shaw’s grip and took a sip.
“Are you trying to lose a limb?” Shaw asked, snatching it back.
“Are you offering?” Root said in what she probably thought was supposed to be a sultry sort of voice. It wasn’t.
“How did you get lumped with the kid anyway?” Root asked. Then, with a smirk, “Did you piss Harold off again?”
“I’m just doing Finch a favour, okay?” Shaw grumbled, swallowing a large gulp of beer and almost choking on it when one of Root’s hands found her thigh unexpectedly.
“What are you doing?” Shaw asked tersely.
“Nothing,” said Root innocently, removing her hand. Shaw watched with narrowed eyes as she pretended to yawn, stretching her arms up high into the air before bringing one down to rest across Shaw’s shoulders.
“Really?” said Shaw. “This is your idea of ‘best behaviour’?”
“What?” said Root, still with that faux innocence. “I’m not doing anything.”
“Sure you’re not,” said Shaw, shoving Root’s arm away from her.
“I’m just getting ready to watch a movie,” Root protested.
“Just keep your hands to yourself,” Shaw warned, doubting that Root would even as she said it.
“I hope you guys like The Avengers,” said Gen, carrying a large bowl of popcorn in one hand and her DVD in the other as she made her way from the kitchen. “It’s my favourite movie,” she added, placing the bowl on the coffee table and putting the disc into the player. Shaw tried to focus on what Gen was doing, but it was proving difficult with Root and her wandering hands. They only retreated when Gen turned around, frowning at them both.
“I’ve seen it like ten times already,” said Gen.
“Great,” said Shaw, still glaring at Root out of the corner of her eye.
Gen glance around, as if unsure where to sit. A moment later, she moved purposely towards the couch and squeezed herself in between Root and Shaw. An elbow hit Shaw in the side and she grunted as Gen wiggled her butt until she was firmly on the couch. With little choice but to make room for her, Root scowled over the top of Gen’s head and moved a little towards the other end of the couch.
Shaw smirked. At least this new arrangement meant Root had to keep her hands to herself and Shaw watched her out of the corner of her eye as she folded her arms haughtily when Gen turned the movie on.
Quickly finishing her first beer before the opening credits had even finished, Shaw went and got herself a second. She didn’t bother offering Root one.
The movie had plenty of action, Shaw had to admit and, somehow, she found herself enjoying it as time wore on. She did her best not to show it though, feigning bored indifference as she sat with her elbow leaning on the arm rest and her head in her hand. Annoyed at herself for liking some dumb superhero movie, she was even more annoyed to find that Gen was a popcorn hogger. You would think she hadn’t stuffed her face with a double cheeseburger an hour ago.
Finally, the movie ended and Shaw shut off the TV. It was late – the movie had lasted longer than she had anticipated and she could feel her eyes itching with tiredness.
“Did you like it?” Gen asked eagerly, staring up at Shaw.
“Not really,” said Shaw. Maybe a little too quickly. Root shot her a knowing look over the top of Gen’s head. Shaw ignored her.
“She’s lying,” said Root. “She liked it.”
“Thor’s my favourite,” said Gen, unconcerned by Shaw’s lack of enthusiasm. “Who’s yours?”
Saying nothing, Shaw focused on swallowing down the rest of her beer.
“Well,” said Root, “I liked Iron Man. He had cool gadgets.”
“Pretty sure he’s just Black Widow’s sidekick,” said Shaw.
“Is that what you are?” Gen asked, turning to face Root. There was a hesitancy to Gen’s voice every time she interacted with Root. Not that Root ever made it easy for anyone to like her. “Shaw’s sidekick?”
Chuckling lightly, Shaw muttered under her breath, “More like the villain of the story.”
It was still loud enough for the others to hear her and she felt Root’s glare on her. Turning her head to give her a smug smirk, Shaw caught the flash of hurt on Root’s face before it quickly disappeared. It took one roll of Shaw’s eyes to tell Root it was just a joke. Payback for Root’s inability to keep her hands to herself. It was a ridiculous conversation anyway and Shaw couldn’t fathom why she was still participating in it.
Next to her, Gen yawned loudly. The kid had to be exhausted and most definitely required more sleep than Shaw did.
“Time for bed, kid,” Shaw said.
Gen pouted like she was about to protest, but another yawn escaped her mouth, proving Shaw’s point. “Okay,” said Gen, climbing to her feet.
Shaw watched as she slowly made her way to the spare bedroom and then stood up herself, stretching the kinks out of her muscles. She could feel Root’s eyes on her, boring into the exposed flesh between the waistband of her pants and the hem of her shirt.
“I’m going to bed,” Shaw said, heading towards the bedroom.
“Good idea,” said Root, following Shaw closely. At the threshold, Shaw turned on her heel and shoved a blanket in Root’s face.
“You’re on the couch.”
Root pouted again. This time, Shaw didn’t fall for it and she glared until it dawned on Root that she wasn’t kidding around.
“Seriously?” said Root.
“Seriously,” said Shaw, moving to slam the door in Root’s face.
“Never took you for a prude,” Root muttered, looking forlorn as she clutched the blanket in her hand.
There was no guilt on Shaw’s part. Root wasn’t even supposed to be back yet. As far as she was concerned, she was still due three nights with the bed to herself.
Before she fell asleep, Root made a mental note to get them a better couch. This one was not good for the neck and if she was going to suffer anymore restless nights on this thing, for whatever reasons, she was at least going to do it with some degree of comfort.
In the end, it took Root several hours to fall asleep and even then she spent most of it tossing and turning, waking up abruptly at one point when she almost fell to the floor.
The sun was up, shining brightly through the blinds when Root woke up. A jab of pain stabbed its way through her neck. But that wasn’t what had woken her. Root opened her eyes, jumping slightly when she found Gen sitting on the coffee table, eating a bowl of cereal as she watched Root sleep.
“Geez, kid,” Root muttered, running a hand tiredly across her face. “Could you be any creepier?”
“What’s your real name?” Gen asked through a mouthful of cereal. “Root’s obviously not it.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be some sort of mini spy?” said Root, sitting up and letting the blanket slip down to her lap. “You figure it out.”
Gen smiled like it was the challenge she had been waiting for. “I’m very good at this, you know,” she warned.
“Whatever,” Root muttered. Gen continued to stare at her as she ate her cereal. Under the scrutiny, Root felt like squirming.
“You could get it over with now and tell me what it is,” Gen suggested.
“And where would the challenge in that be?” said Root, more than a little relieved when Shaw emerged from the bedroom. This kid was getting on her nerves.
Shaw narrowed her eyes as she moved towards them. “You’re up early,” she said to Gen.
Gen shrugged. “They get us up way earlier in the dorms.”
“Just help yourself to breakfast,” Shaw muttered darkly, glancing at the cereal bowl in her hands.
“What’s Root’s real name?” Gen asked quickly as if hoping to catch Shaw of guard.
Ignoring the question, Shaw just scowled at them both as she headed towards the kitchen. Gen seemed unconcerned and Root was surprised by how at ease she seemed after only one night. She was also annoyed that Gen didn’t seem deflated by her lack of progress in finding out her name.
“Can’t you go bug someone else?” Root asked, when Gen continued to stare at her. She had to resist the urge to run a hand through her hair and check it wasn’t sticking up in places.
“Why does this bug you?” Gen asked.
“Why do you ask so many questions?” Root countered and was met with another shrug. She was starting to think this was Gen’s signature move.
Awkwardness descended. Root had never spent much time with kids and she had no idea what she was supposed to say. Fortunately, Shaw appeared a few moments later. Even though Root doubted Shaw had any more experience with kids than she did, Shaw certainly seemed more at ease around Gen than Root felt.
Two steaming mugs in each hand, Shaw handed one to Root and sat on the opposite end of the couch from her as she sipped at her own mug. Inhaling the scent of freshly made coffee, Root felt instantly more awake.
Root wasn’t sure if it was planned or not – although she suspected it was – but Gen voiced her next question at the same time as Root took her first sip.
“Is Root your girlfriend?”
Root choked, the coffee going down the wrong way and she spluttered for a moment before getting herself under control.
“No,” said Shaw quickly, shooting Root a glare as if this was all her fault.
“Because it’s okay if you are,” Gen continued. “I mean, Root’s a little weird –”
“Hey!” Root protested.
“–but so are you, so I guess that works,” Gen finished.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Shaw said haughtily.
“Well that’s a lie. I saw you guys kissing through the peephole,” said Gen. “Spy, remember? I’m not stupid.”
“Not stupid,” Root muttered under her breath, so only Shaw could hear. “Just a nosy brat.”
“Hey,” Shaw scolded and glowered at Root.
“Well she is,” said Root, not caring if she sounded childish. Her neck was still sore from sleeping on the couch and as far as she was concerned, it was all the kid’s fault.
“Did you guys have a fight?” Gen asked. “Is that why Root’s on the couch?”
Shaw sighed in exasperation. “No – look, we’re…”
Root raised an eyebrow, a smirk quirking at her lips as she waited for Shaw to finish that particular sentence. They had never really discussed it, this thing between them. Root preferred it that way. It was easier. Talking about it, defining it, that would make it too real for both of them.
“It’s complicated, okay,” Shaw continued.
“Complicated how?” Gen asked. “You either are or you aren’t.”
Root pressed her lips together tightly and shook her head. This kid had to be more annoying than she was. She was surprised Shaw was as calm as she was and not tearing her hair out or, more realistically, reaching for her gun in frustration.
“Stop asking so many questions,” Shaw grumbled.
“Why?” asked Gen. Root noticed the smile playing on her lips and knew that she was doing this on purpose. Every time a terse word left Shaw’s lips, it only amused the kid further.
“Just go get dressed,” Shaw said tightly. “And wash your dishes. I’m not doing it for you.”
“Fine,” Gen said and stomped off to the kitchen.
Rubbing absently at her sore neck, Root watched her leave, waiting until she was out of earshot. “So how long is Harriet the Spy going to be staying with us again?”
“Finch said a few days,” said Shaw, sipping at her coffee.
“Good,” said Root. “That kid’s annoying.”
“She’s not so bad,” Shaw said absently.
Root snorted. “You’re kidding? You’re not kidding,” she added when Shaw stared at her flatly. “What is it with you and this kid?”
“Nothing,” said Shaw, shifting slightly in her seat. She didn’t say anything else, but Root remembered the Order of Lenin medal Shaw had made sure to carry around with her, despite being on the run from Samaritan. How grateful she had seemed when Root had returned it to her after she thought she had lost it. She made sure to keep it hidden away these days, but Root knew she still kept it close. It was weird. Root didn’t understand it or the pang of something akin to jealousy she felt whenever she thought about it.
“So,” said Root, deciding to change the subject before Shaw got grumpy about it. “Since she knows about us, does this mean I’m off the couch?”
“Absolutely not,” said Shaw. A knock sounded at the front door and Shaw rose to her feet.
“Oh, come on,” Root pouted. “This thing’s uncomfortable.”
“Not my problem,” said Shaw. “You shouldn’t have come home early.”
“I thought you would be happy to see me,” Root grumbled, watching as Shaw opened the front door.
“Harold,” Shaw said in surprise, edging the door shut slightly so he couldn’t see within. Root grinned and stood up. “What are you doing here?”
“Things with our number worked out sooner than expected,” said Harold. “I thought I would take Ms. Zhirova out of your hands.”
“Oh,” said Shaw.
“Hi, Harry,” said Root brightly, coming up behind Shaw. She could feel her tense up and smirked, ignoring the frown that now creased Harold’s forehead.
“Root came home early,” Shaw quickly explained.
“I see,” said Harold. “How was your trip, Ms. Groves?” he asked with forced politeness that made Root want to roll her eyes.
“Fine, Harry,” said Root, smiling at him until he started to visibly squirm. “Thanks for asking.”
Beside her, Shaw nudged her in the ribs, glaring out of the corner of her eye. She recalled Shaw saying last night that Harold wouldn’t be happy about her being here and she wondered if Shaw was preparing herself for Harold chewing her out later. Root would feel bad… but she did have to suffer the couch. That seemed like more than enough to dissuade her guilt.
Silence descended which Root suspected was more awkward for both Harold and Shaw than it was for her. Both of them looked relieved when Gen appeared a few moments later, now dressed. She seemed a bit dejected to see Harold and it was with slumped shoulders that she went back into her room to get her stuff.
“Ready to go?” Shaw asked when Gen emerged from the spare bedroom.
Gen nodded, slinging her backpack over one shoulder. “Thanks for letting me stay,” she said.
“Sure,” said Shaw indifferently.
“Come along,” said Harold, gesturing impatiently.
“Bye, Shaw,” said Gen, following Harold out into the hallway. “Bye, Groves,” she added with a grin.
Root scowled. “Does that kid spy on everything?” she asked as Shaw shut the door.
Shrugging, Shaw swallowed down the last of her coffee and smirked. “I think she liked you, Groves.”
Root narrowed her eyes. The feeling certainly wasn’t mutual, but it didn’t look like she would have to put up with the kid for the next couple of days after all.
“Whatever,” said Root. “I’m going back to sleep.”
It was still early and, normally, Root rarely got up before noon unless the Machine needed her for something or Shaw got annoyed and dragged her out of bed.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Shaw demanded, making Root freeze mid-step.
“Uh, to bed?” said Root. Although… if Shaw wanted to welcome her home in other ways…
Whatever playful smirk had been dancing on Root’s lips quickly disappeared at Shaw’s hard look.
“I don’t think so,” said Shaw. “You’re still on the couch.”
“What? Why?” said Root, pouting again. She doubted, as with last night, that it would actually work. “The kid’s not even here anymore.” She was whining. Most definitely and going by the grimace on Shaw’s face, it was grating on her nerves.
“Tough shit,” said Shaw. “You weren’t supposed to be back yet. The bed’s mine for another two nights.”
“Technically,” said Root, moving closer to Shaw and trailing her fingers lazily up her bare arm. Goosebumps formed, the only sign that Shaw had been affected by her touch. “It’s daytime.”
Shaw smirked, standing on her tiptoes so their mouths were now barely an inch apart. Root felt her breath catch in her throat and licked her lips in anticipation.
“I don’t care,” said Shaw, pulling away abruptly and smirking at Root’s disappointment. “You’re still on the couch.”
“Ugh, fine,” Root huffed. Too tired to argue, she threw herself onto the couch and lifted the blanket over her head to shut the world out. It blocked out the sun and the Machine quietened down to nothing more than a whisper in her ear. The only sound was Shaw crashing about in the kitchen, making as much noise as possible. Just because she always rose at the crack of dawn…
Root growled in annoyance at the sound of two pots clashing together and shifted until she could find a more comfortable position. She didn’t. It was impossible and by the time Shaw returned from the kitchen with a plate of scrambled eggs in her hands, Root’s mood had plummeted.
“I’m buying a new couch,” Root announced, her neck spasming again when she lifted her feet to make room for Shaw at the opposite end of the couch.
“No, you’re not,” said Shaw through a mouthful of food. “I like this couch.”
“You try sleeping on it then,” Root grumbled.
“It’s not night-time,” Shaw smirked.
“I hate you,” Root muttered into the couch cushion.
“No, you don’t,” said Shaw, shovelling more eggs into her mouth.
“Right now I do,” Root said. Giving up on ever getting back to sleep, Root yawned and sat up. “Did you at least make me breakfast?”
“Nope,” said Shaw.
Root scowled. It had been a little much to hope for with Shaw in this mood, but Root wasn’t exactly having the best morning. She was tired, her neck hurt and now she was hungry.
That stupid kid had a lot to answer for.
“Can I have some of yours?” Root asked.
“Please?” Root whined.
Shaw sighed, took one last forkful of eggs before handing Root the plate of leftovers. Root smiled and swallowed them down eagerly.
For Root, it was a small victory. It wasn’t exactly the welcome home she had been hoping for, but Shaw sharing her breakfast… that was still a good one.