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I must confess, I’m addicted to this,
Shove your kiss straight through my chest.
I can’t deny, I’d die without this,
Make me feel like a God,
Music, love and sex.


“So, it looks like we have ten hours to kill.” Root’s eyes glitter as they meet Shaw’s, a smirk on her lips as she rests on the edge of the table, curling her fingers around the edge as her voice turns suggestive. “Whatever will we do to pass the time?”

Shaw pointedly ignores her, instead turns her attention to the body of the CIA agent on the floor, reaching for the zip ties Root had laid next to her (with a wicked part of her hoping that maybe, just maybe, she’d have the chance to use them before the CIA carted her off – judging from Shaw’s permanent glower whenever she’s in Root’s presence, Root thinks that the chances of that are probably very slim indeed but hey, she could always try), and binding his wrists before dragging him towards the bathroom.

“Is that wise?” Root calls when she realizes where Shaw is heading and the shorter woman pauses to shoot Root an annoyed look, her arms wrapped around the CIA agents upper arms. “I don’t know about you but I’m probably going to need the bathroom at some point in the next ten hours.”

“What, you don’t like an audience?” Shaw’s voice is clipped, and Root knows that she’d rather be anywhere other than here but it doesn’t phase her. She’d take an angry and pissed off Shaw over the aching loneliness she’s used to, any day.

“Well, sometimes it can be fun,” she murmurs in reply, smirk on her mouth again, her meaning clear, and she watches Shaw’s jaw clench in annoyance and grins, enjoying this more than she ever thought she would. Shaw is just so easy to rile up, and she looks so hot when she’s glaring at Root like she wants to rip her apart. It sends a thrill through her and she wonders how far she can push Shaw, how long she can taunt her for before she snaps – a part of her wants that more than anything, wants to see Shaw round on her with dark fury in her eyes, wants to feel the force of that anger tear her to shreds.

“Would you rather I put him in the bedroom?”

“I don’t see what’s wrong with that.” Root’s voice is smooth as velvet and she quirks an eyebrow upwards as she meets Shaw’s gaze. “Unless you had plans for in there that you wouldn’t want an audience for, too?”

She swears she hears Shaw growl in annoyance, ignoring her once again as she changes direction, dragging her quarry into the bedroom, instead, Root’s soft laughter following in her wake. Root finishes her apple as she waits for her companion to return, delighted at the prospect of spending ten un-interrupted hours with Shaw – she doubt the other woman feels quite the same way.

Sure enough, Shaw is glowering once again when she strolls back through the door of the bedroom, shutting it firmly behind her, but Root doesn’t take it too personally. She had given Shaw a rather rude awakening earlier that day, and she knows that Shaw still hadn’t forgiven her for their first meeting, judging from the knife that Shaw had held to her throat when she’d woken up in the car before.

She shivers slightly at the memory, remembering all too easily the pressure of Shaw’s body, the raw anger in her eyes and the fury in her words, and she remembers too having Shaw completely at her mercy, tied to a chair and unable to move an inch, an iron held in Root’s hand and a glint in her eye and she’d known then, as their eyes had met and Shaw had uttered ‘I kind of enjoy this sort of thing’, that Shaw was special.

She wonders if this will always be how they communicate, with threats whispered into one another’s ear and weapons pressed to each other’s skin, and finds herself thinking that she wouldn’t mind at all if they did.

“Stop staring,” Shaw growls, her voice breaking Root out of her thoughts, as she leans against the wall beside the bedroom door and folds her arms across her chest, standing guard.

“It’s hard not to stare when you’re wearing something so delectable, Sameen.” Her eyes drop to the plunging neckline of Shaw’s shirt, and the other woman’s lip curls as she draws her coat tighter around herself and Root bites her lip to hide a smile.

“Well if you hadn’t dragged me out of my bed,” Shaw replies through gritted teeth, a storm in her eyes as they meet Root’s and she thinks that it would be remarkably easy to drown in them. “Maybe it would be easier for you to concentrate.”

“But I don’t need to concentrate,” Root points out. “There’s no-one else here but you – I don’t think the CIA agent really counts, considering he’s gonna be out for a while.”

“Please don’t remind me,” Shaw mutters to herself, sounding pained, but Root ignores her, shifting so that she’s sat fully on-top of the table, her feet resting on the chair, deciding that if she’s going to be here for a while, she may as well make herself at home. “How do you go along with all of this?” Shaw asks after a few moments of silence, and when Root glances towards her she sees curiosity in the other woman’s gaze.

“With what?”

“Not knowing what your next move is. Not seeing the bigger picture. How do you… how does that not make you crazy?”

“Well, I’m sure some people would call me crazy,” she starts, thinking fondly of Harold. “But it’s easy.” She thinks of her life before the Machine, a life without purpose, alone and wandering through the world and leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in her wake. “I trust Her.”

Shaw looks at her like she thinks she’s crazy, then, but Root doesn’t let it offend her. Shaw doesn’t know what it’s like, Shaw can’t feel the Machine’s constant presence, warm and comforting like the embrace of an old friend.

“I know that must be hard for you imagine,” Root continues, and Shaw looks at her warily. “What with your trust issues and all.”

“Speaking of,” Shaw says then, moving towards Root with quick steps, and Root tilts her head to one side, curious. Shaw doesn’t stop until she’s in-front of her, close enough to touch and Root can feel the heat of her, waits with baited breath for Shaw’s next move.

She doesn’t move when Shaw reaches for her, both hands curling around the edges of the front pockets in her jacket, and Root is so distracted by Shaw’s closeness that she doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late – Shaw’s hand curls around her taser and pulls it from Root’s pocket, and for a second she aims it towards Root’s heart and she wonders if Shaw’s going to use it. “I’ll take this.” Shaw’s voice is low in her ear, and Root bites her lip as she meets the other woman’s gaze, wishing more than ever that she could read the emotion there.

“Oh, Sameen,” Root breathes, wanting more than anything to reach for Shaw, to bring her closer – but she catches sight of the taser held tightly in Shaw’s left hand and knows that she won't hesitate to use it if Root tries anything. “I’m not going to hurt you – not unless you ask me too, anyway.”

“Yeah?” Shaw’s voice is coloured with disbelief, and she waves the taser as she speaks her next words, backing up her point. “Cause I distinctly remember you using this on me just a few hours ago, so forgive me if I don’t believe you.”

“You never would have come with me willingly,” Root points out, a tiny pout on her lips because she knows that Shaw would rather be anywhere other than here. “I had to improvise.”

“Why not Reese?”

“You’re much prettier to look at.” Shaw huffs out a frustrated sigh, and Root wonders if it’s as easy for anyone else to get under her skin. “And She told me to go to you. She trusts you to keep me safe.”

“Seriously? Does she know that I’d rather kill you then help you?” Shaw’s jaw is clenched hard with her anger, but Root doesn’t believe her words.

“If you wanted me dead, Sameen, I would be. I have no illusions about that.” She remembers all too well the bite of a bullet into her left shoulder, the sting lessened at the time by the crushing realization that the Machine wasn’t where She was supposed to be. “Besides, you’ve already had your chance to. And you missed.”

“I don’t miss,” Shaw hisses, furious, and Root grins.

“Then you don’t want me dead, Sameen,” Root says, smug, and she watches Shaw’s hand tremble as it grips the taser, finds herself holding her breath as she wonders if the other woman will bring it to her skin, wonders what the burn will feel like, a part of her craving the electricity running through her veins.

“Finch is the only reason you’re alive,” Shaw snarls then before she turns and stalks away, shooting Root one last glance over her shoulder. “And stop calling me that.”

“What, your name?” Root can’t resist continuing to push her, still wondering if she can make Shaw snap. But the other woman returns to ignoring her, instead begins to root through the cupboards in the kitchen. “What are you doing?”

“If I’m going to spend the next few hours holed up in here with only you for company,” Shaw begins, her voice acerbic, “the only way we’re both getting through it alive is if I can have a drink.” She lets out a noise of approval as she finds a bottle of whisky, twisting off the lid and lifting the bottle to her lips, taking a long swig.

“Are you gonna share?” Root calls, and Shaw doesn’t turn around as she answers, her hand clutching the bottle as it rests on the kitchen counter.

“Wasn’t planning on it.” Root sighs, thinking that a drink might actually be exactly what she needs and pushes herself off from the table and pads towards Shaw – she sees her tense as Root approaches, but she doesn’t move.

“Don’t you know it’s rude not to?” Root leans close to Shaw to breathe the words into her ear, and she presses Shaw into the countertop with her body, resting her hand on-top of the other woman’s on the whisky bottle. “Are you always so selfish?” It feels like every single muscle in Shaw’s body is tensed, ready for a fight and Root relishes it. “I really hope you aren’t in bed.”

She hears Shaw’s teeth grind at that and smirks, and then Shaw’s twisting so that she’s facing Root, her eyes dark with her fury and Root is transfixed as she watches Shaw’s hands move to shove at her shoulders. She stumbles back a few steps but her smirk doesn’t leave her face as she watches the way Shaw eyes her, knows that the other woman wants nothing more than to hurt her and a part of her wishes that she would.

“Do you ever shut up?” Shaw asks gruffly, and she shoves the bottle towards Root while she waits for her answer, and the hacker grabs it with a smile, takes a gulp and tries not to wince as the bitter liquid slides down the back of her throat.

“Well - ” She starts to reply, a lewd remark on the tip of tongue, but Shaw must recognise the mischief in her eyes, is quick to interrupt.

“You know what, don’t answer that.” Shaw yanks the bottle out of Root’s hand, and Root watches the way Shaw’s throat bobs as she swallows and wonders what it would be like to run her tongue over the same spot.

She doesn’t know what it is, exactly, about Shaw that is so… alluring. Maybe it’s the fact that she could destroy Root with nothing but her bare hands. Maybe because of what she can offer – something rough, something dangerous, something that would undoubtedly take her breath away.

She flirts with Shaw because it annoys her, because it’s a small way to control her – but also because she enjoys it. She wants her, in a way that Root has never wanted anyone else in her life. And it should probably scare her because she’s never wanted to rely on anyone else before, but Shaw… Shaw is different, somehow. Shaw makes her want to draw close, instead of shove her away.

“You’re staring again,” Shaw mutters, voice disgruntled, and Root’s smile is innocent.

“Was I?” Shaw’s eyes narrow, a clear warning, but Root’s grin only widens. “My mistake. Won’t happen again.”

“Why do I doubt that?”

“I don’t know, Shaw,” Root practically purrs, taking a step closer and watching the way Shaw eyes her warily. “Why do you?” She reaches out a hand, intending to smooth the collar of Shaw’s jacket but Shaw is quick – she grabs her wrist in spins them around, shoving Root bodily back into the kitchen counter. She gasps as she feels marble dig into her back and Shaw press against her front, the other woman’s eyes wild and dangerous, and she wonders if Shaw can feel the frantic beat of her pulse beneath the tight grasp of her fingers.

“If you want to keep that hand attached to your body,” Shaw warns, her voice low, “then don’t touch me again.” Heat radiates between them, and this close Root can feel every lean inch of Shaw’s body and she’s never wanted her more. “Got it?”

Root nods, not trusting her voice to be steady with Shaw so close, and after a moment Shaw releases her, spinning away and walking back towards the table, snatching up the whisky as she goes. Root follows after a moment.

“You know - ” She starts, but she’s cut off by Shaw’s groan as she drops into the chair, running a frustrated hand through her hair.

“You really don’t ever shut up, do you?” Root doesn’t answer, just leans one shoulder back against the wall, and Shaw eyes her curiously. “I could knock you out. At least then I’d have a few hours of peace.”

“Know what else would shut me up?” Root can’t help but ask, and Shaw has the taser in her hand the next second, and Root rolls her eyes. “Not what I was thinking.”

“Oh? And what were you thinking?” Root raises a suggestive eyebrow and Shaw scoffs. “Not gonna happen, Root.”

“Why?” She feigns hurt, even though she knows it’ll have little effect on the other woman. “Am I not your type?”

“I don’t fuck people who might shoot me the second I get distracted.”

“I told you, Shaw,” Root replies patiently, eyes never leaving Shaw’s face. “I’m not going to hurt you. I don’t want to hurt you.”

“And I don’t trust you.”

“You can tie me up.” She watches the way Shaw reacts to that, the way her eyes widen slightly as she licks her lips, and she smirks, wondering if Shaw gets off on the thought of having Root completely at her mercy, for once. “Now, won’t that be fun?”

She tilts her head to the side, continuing to watch Shaw closely, and she can tell that her offer is tempting. She’s seen the Shaw’s eyes lingering on her when Shaw thinks she isn’t watching, on more than one occasion, knows that there’s a part of Shaw that wants this, too.

“You can do whatever you want to me.” She bites her lip to hold back a moan at the thought, dragging it between her teeth and watching the way Shaw’s eyes follow the movement. “Nine and a half hours, Sameen,” she murmurs, her voice soft. “That’s how long we have. Now, I could spend the whole time getting on your nerves or - ”

She’s cut off by Shaw, who moves so fast that Root barely sees her, grabbing her hips and slamming her roughly back into the wall, and Root’s gasp of surprise is quieted by Shaw’s mouth as it crushes against hers.

Shaw’s kisses are hard and bruising, their teeth clashing as Shaw wedges a leg between her thighs and Root groans at the feeling, amazed that her night had come to this. Because for all her teasing and her flirting, and for as much as she wanted this, she had never thought that this would happen, that Shaw would ever give in to her.

A small part of her wonders why she has – if it’s more just because it’s something to do, or because she wants Root too much to pretend she doesn’t anymore. She tells herself that the reasoning doesn’t matter, wills her mind to stop working on overtime as Shaw bites her bottom lip harshly, enough for Root’s eyes to water, before she soothes away the sting with her tongue.

When Shaw pulls back her eyes are dark, and her fingers scramble for purchase at the shoulders of Root’s jacket, pushing it impatiently down her arms. Root shifts to let it fall to the floor and then Shaw’s hands are at the bottom of her top, tugging it upwards until it, too, lies on the floor and she’s left in just her bra.

Shaw eyes her appreciatively before she’s kissing her again, tongue sliding into Root’s mouth and licking at the back of her teeth as her nails rake down across her ribcage and she groans at the feeling, hips grinding against Shaw’s thigh as her hands reach for the other woman’s arms, pulling off her jacket.

Shaw yanks it off the rest of the way herself, throws it somewhere over her shoulder, but when Root reaches for her t-shirt Shaw’s hands close around her wrists, bringing her hands above her head – Shaw has to stretch to reach, breaking the kiss as she presses Root harder against the wall.

“If we do this,” Shaw murmurs, not sounding nearly as affected as Root thinks she should after kisses like that. “Then it’s my way.” Root’s too distracted by Shaw’s heaving chest to notice what she’s doing until it’s too late – she feels plastic around her wrists and when she glances up she sees Shaw tugging the zip tie into place, tightening it so much that Root can barely move her hands an inch. “Keep them up there, or I stop,” Shaw warns, releasing her hold when she’s satisfied Root’s hands are bound tight enough, and Root swallows hard and nods, wondering if Shaw will stop anyway, if she’ll suddenly realize how much of a mistake she’s making.

Because she’s sure that’s what Shaw will see this as; Root’s under no illusions about that. She also thinks that this might be her one and only chance to have Shaw like she wants her, because she’s pretty sure Shaw’s a one-night stand kinda girl, one who doesn’t break that rule often.

Shaw trails a finger from Root’s cheek, down the side of her neck, over her collarbone and down, and Root’s breath hitches in her throat, not expecting something so gentle to come from someone so fierce. Then the moment’s gone, Shaw shoving the cup of Root’s bra down roughly before her fingers find a nipple and tugs, hard enough to draw a quiet hiss of pain from Root’s lips, even as her head thuds back against the wall behind her.

Shaw’s mouth moves to her neck, then, pressing biting kisses to her skin, and Root’s hips grind harder against Shaw’s thigh as she presses a particularly hard bite to where her neck meets her shoulder, and Root wouldn’t be surprised if Shaw had broken the skin.

Not that she’s complaining. She’s high on the feeling of Shaw’s lips moving across her skin, on being surrounded by her – she just wishes that her hands were free, that she could run them through Shaw’s hair, that she could feel Shaw’s skin beneath her fingertips just in-case she never gets this chance again.

Shaw’s head moves lower, tongue sliding down Root’s sternum until her mouth reaches Root’s breasts, and when her teeth close around a nipple Root can’t bite back her moan, wants to scream as Shaw bites down, so hard that a tear escapes her eye, sliding down her cheek.

Her eyes are closed, and she jumps slightly when she feels Shaw’s thumb wipe the tear away, opening her eyes to find the shorter woman looking at her with a hint of concern in her eyes. “Maybe we should have a safe word.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Root manages to say through heaving breaths, her skin still tingling from the heat of Shaw’s mouth. “I can handle a lot more than that.” Shaw’s eyes darken at her words, before she nods and dips her head once again, tongue swiping across her tender nipple, soothing some of the sting, before moving to the other.

Root feels like she’s on fire beneath Shaw’s touch, grinding freely against Shaw’s thigh but knowing she needs more friction to alleviate the ache between her legs. She feels Shaw’s hands at the button of her jeans and bites her lip, holding her breath as she feels the zipper pulled down.

Shaw’s mouth is back against hers, then, the kiss desperate and needy, teeth clashing as their tongues meet and Root can feel Shaw’s hands burning on her hips, wants to ask her what the hell she’s doing because she needs more but she doesn’t dare ask for it because she thinks that’s exactly what Shaw wants and there’s a part of her that wonders if Shaw is spiteful enough to get her this worked up and then leave her, high and dry with her hands trapped and no way of getting herself off, for the remaining hours they have to spend here.

And shit, maybe she should have thought about that before she got herself into this position.

But then one of Shaw’s hands is moving, shoving into her jeans, the pad of a single finger running the length of her sex, over her underwear, and she swears she feels Shaw groan into her mouth as she realizes how wet Root is. A blunt nail scrapes against her clit and Root’s knees almost buckle – she hears Shaw’s dark chuckle as she pulls away from Root’s mouth and curses her body for giving her away.

“How long have you wanted this for, Root?” Shaw’s mouth is at her ear, her breath hot against her skin. “Since we first met? That why you tied me to that chair, because you thought a little torture would get me hot under the collar?”

“I tied you to that chair because I knew you’d kill me if I didn’t.” Her voice is breathy, affected by both the low, husky tone of Shaw’s voice and her touch – her whole hand is against her now, cupping her sex, the heel of her palm resting against her clit but she’s not moving an inch and it’s infuriating. She tries to shift, to grind against her hand, but Shaw breathes out a laugh and flattens her free arm against Root’s stomach, holding her in place.

“You tased me,” Shaw replies, and there’s a note of annoyance in her voice and Root smirks, knowing the fact that she’d gotten one over on the other woman bothers Shaw. “I couldn’t have done anything to you even if I wanted to.”

“I wasn’t going to take that chance.” Her breath catches as Shaw’s teeth nip at her ear lobe. “You can never be too careful.”

“That what you call this?” Shaw asks, pulling away so that their eyes meet. “Being careful? I could kill you, right now, and you wouldn’t be able to do a thing to stop me.” There’s an edge to her words, and Root knows that there’s still a part of Shaw that calls for her blood, knows that she’d probably deserve it if Shaw decided she was wasting her time here – instead of the thought filling her with fear, she feels a bolt of heat at the realization.

“I doubt I’d be able to do much to stop you anyway,” she points out, because she can just about hold her own in a fight now, with the Machine in her ear and a gun in her hand telling her when and where to shoot, but Shaw is… Shaw is something else altogether. Trained to kill, her hands stained with more blood than Root’s, probably, and while Root now felt a flash of remorse whenever she thought of the bodies that littered her past she knew that Shaw had no regrets about the things that she’d done. That she enjoyed it, maybe more than she’d ever admit to. “May as well go out doing something fun.”

She shifts a little restlessly against her restraints, wincing when the plastic cuts in to her skin, feeling a thin line of blood trickle down her wrists. Her shoulders ache from holding her arms above her head, her body aches because she wants nothing more than for Shaw to peel her underwear away and fuck her until she can barely even remember her own name.

“You don’t look like you’re having much fun.” Shaw’s smirking and Root glares, growing frustrated and wondering why she had ever thought this would be a good idea in the first place, because of course Shaw’s not going to give her what she wants.

Not without a fight, anyway.

“Well, if you’d just - ” She’s cut off as Shaw’s hand grinds against her suddenly, palm putting pressure against her clit for one blissful second, and her mouth opens in a gasp, all thoughts fleeing her mind, and Shaw chuckles again, low and dark.

“What’s the matter, Root?” She dips her head, teeth scraping against the edge of Root’s jaw before pressing a hard kiss to the side of her neck. “Something you want?” Shaw’s words are breathed against her skin and Root swallows, hard, biting back the pleas that are desperate to escape her lips. “All you have to do is ask.”

“I don’t beg,” she says through gritted teeth, and when Shaw raises her head she sees a smirk across her mouth, a wicked gleam in her eye, and she thinks that she’s said exactly what Shaw wanted her to.

“No?” Shaw’s hand pulls away from her and she feels the loss acutely, forces her expression to remain defiant and not let the disappointment she feels show on her face. “Well, you will tonight.” It sounds like a threat and a promise, all rolled in to one, and then Shaw kisses her again, teeth closing around Root’s bottom lip, harder than before, and Root feels the skin break before she tastes copper on her tongue.

“I didn’t think you were the teasing type,” Root murmurs when they part, breathless, wondering if she can goad Shaw into touching her again.

“Usually I’m not,” Shaw concedes, nails raking down Root’s sides, hard enough to leave a trail of red in their wake. “But for you, I think I’ll make an exception.” There’s a dark look in her eyes, and Root knows that this is getting her off, that having Root like this, powerless and pliant beneath her fingertips, might be more intoxicating to her than watching Root’s life slip away before her eyes. “We have nine hours to kill, after all.” Root doesn’t need the reminder – if Shaw keeps this up, she’s not sure she’ll be able to survive that long. “So there’s really no need to rush.”

Root wants to scream that yes, there is a need to rush, because there’s fire in her veins and her heart is racing in her chest, and she’s slick with want beneath her jeans – but she keeps her mouth shut, because she might have started this… game, or whatever this is, between them, and she may want to surrender herself, totally and completely, to this woman who she barely knows but feels such a connection with, but that doesn’t mean that she’ll take whatever Shaw throws at her without a fight.

Her jaw clenches, and when Shaw moves to kiss her she’s ready, this time, closes her teeth around her lip and drags it between them, watching the way Shaw’s eyes spark with want, and then there’s a hand around her throat, forcing her head back against the wall, and she wonders how long it will take for Shaw to admit to herself that she wants this just as much as Root does.

Shaw’s fingers dig painfully into her skin, and Root’s sure that there will be bruises in the morning, but she doesn’t care as she tries to suck in a breath – Shaw’s hand tightens, and Root meets her gaze, bites her lip to prevent any sound escaping her mouth. Shaw presses harder until Root’s vision starts to blur, and she sees white spots whenever she blinks – she wonders if Shaw will ever let go, as her mind starts to go black, wonders if she really was stupid to start this, thinks of how disappointed She will be that she’s failed in this mission.

Shaw’s hand releases her, then, and Root’s mouth falls open, gulping in oxygen as she struggles to clear her fuzzy head. It takes her a moment to feel Shaw’s arm moving against her, glances down to see Shaw’s hand down the front of her own pants, and she’s transfixed as she watches the ripple of the muscles in Shaw’s arm as she works her fingers inside of herself. Root starts to fight against the restraints around her wrists all over again because she’d give anything to replace Shaw’s hand with her own, to slide her fingers inside Shaw’s body and feel how much she needed her, to feel Shaw clench around her as she came.

Root tears her gaze away from Shaw’s hand, instead takes in the sight of her heaving chest as she sucks in heavy breaths, her mouth inches away from Root’s. This time, when Root leans forward to press their lips together, Shaw doesn’t shove her away – instead she curls her free hand around Root’s hip, pulling them closer together. Root feels Shaw’s arm shaking from exertion as her fingers move faster and faster, and she slides her tongue along Shaw’s and wishes she was toying with her clit, instead – she bets that if she ever got the chance, Shaw’s hands would be harsh in her hair, would hold her in place so that she could grind against her face, and the thought makes her groan, hips shifting, seeking Shaw’s thigh so she could at least get some relief from the ache between her legs.

But Shaw is just out of reach, and Root thinks that she’d definitely planned that, but then Shaw lets out a quiet moan into her mouth, her arm stilling as her body trembles, and Root kisses her harder, ignoring the sting of protest from her split lip, wanting to feel every inch of Shaw pressed tight against her as she comes and wishing she could feel it under her fingertips, too.

When Shaw pulls away, she rests her head against the wall beside Roots, breathing hard, and the heat of her, pressed so close, is electric. Root dips her head and presses a kiss to the side of Shaw’s neck – Shaw tenses, but doesn’t move away, even when Root lets her tongue trail across her skin.

Shaw shifts, then, dragging her hand from her pants and splaying across Root’s hip, and her fingers are sticky as they rest against her skin and Root’s tongue darts out to lick her lips, a part of her wishing that they were in her mouth, instead.  

She bites at Shaw’s neck, drawing her skin into her mouth and sucking, hard enough to leave a mark, determined to give the other woman a lasting reminded of this encounter – Shaw lets out a low growl before pulling away, and Root grins as she examines the reddened patch of skin in the fading sunlight.

“Am I going to pay for that?” Root can’t help but ask, desperate for Shaw to touch her – more than the maddening way in which she’s trailing a lazy thumb over Root’s hip, dipping beneath the waistband of her underwear but never any lower – thinks maybe she can goad her into it.

But Shaw ignores her, glaring at her for a long moment with anger in her eyes and again, Root wonders if she will pull away and leave her like this, wonders if keeping her mouth firmly shut would be the best way to get what she wants, but she just… she can’t help it, not when she’s around Shaw.

“I thought this was supposed to shut you up?” Is what Shaw says, eventually, her voice infuriatingly even.

“It would, if you’d do somet - ” She’s cut off by Shaw for the third time, her hand sliding quickly beneath Root’s underwear, two fingers sliding through the wet beneath, and Root chokes on a gasp as her hips buck forward, and all she sees before she closes her eyes, her head thudding against the wall behind her, is Shaw’s wicked smirk.  

“You were saying?” Shaw’s mouth returns to her neck, nipping lightly at her pulse point as her fingers tease her, just barely dipping inside of her before darting away, the touches against her clit frustratingly light.

“Shaw…” Her name leaves Root’s mouth as a desperate moan, almost a plea, and she almost hates herself for it, but Shaw rewards her, swiping a lazy circle around her clit that has her legs trembling and draws another moan from her throat. “Please.”

“I thought you didn’t beg?” Shaw has to have the last word, and Root regrets caving so easily – her eyes snap open, narrowing into a glare as she lifts her head to meet her smug gaze, jaw clenching. Shaw laughs at the expression on her face, and Root opens her mouth (she doesn’t know what she’s going to say, just that she has to say something), but then Shaw slides two fingers into her and all thoughts flee her mind, her eyes slamming shut once more as Shaw drives into her, her hips arching off the wall in an attempt to press her deeper. She wraps a leg around Shaw’s hips to pull her closer, and Shaw’s free hand moves to Root’s waist, steadying her, nails biting into her skin.

The room echoes with the sound of Root’s laboured breathing and the wet sound of Shaw’s fingers sliding in and out of her. Her hands scramble for purchase against the wall behind her, nails scratching against the plaster as Shaw curls her fingers, angling her hand so that her palm presses against her clit with every thrust, and Root doesn’t think that she’s ever felt quite so alive

She knows she won’t last long, not after Shaw’s relentless teasing, and not with the way her fingers move within her, pressing deep and hard and the few times that Root has found herself imagining what fucking Shaw would be like pale in comparison to the real thing.

She wishes now more than ever that her hands were free, that she could dig her nails into the small of Shaw’s back and urge her to go faster, or so that should could tangle her fingers in dark hair and tug hard enough for Shaw to moan, and she longed to feel Shaw’s skin beneath her hands, to feel all of her, and her wrists are raw from her futile attempts to free herself, but she barely feels the pain over the waves of pleasure that each thrust of Shaw’s fingers brings her.

Shaw shifts, pushing her thigh against the back of her hand so she can press deeper, and Root swears she sees stars, an undignified whimper escaping her lips and she ducks forward to find Shaw’s mouth with her own, determined to quiet any more sounds, to not show Shaw how much she needs this (though she suspects, from the frantic movements of her hips and the way she arches into Shaw’s every touch, that the other woman probably already knows).

She can’t stop the groan that tumbles from her mouth when she finally comes, though, her leg quaking so hard that she would have fallen, if not for the solid pressure of Shaw pressed so close against her. She’s panting when their lips part, her head resting on the wall behind her as she gasps for breath, her pulse thundering in her ears and god, she’s pretty sure she’s never come so hard, her legs still trembling, fighting to keep her upright.

Shaw had slowed the pace of her hand, never quite stopping, as she let Root ride out the wave of her orgasm, but as soon as Root’s caught her breath Shaw is moving again, so quick and rapid that it has Root’s head spinning, a groan of protest on her lips as Shaw’s fingers slide across sensitive flesh, even as she feels flames of desire starting to lick through her veins once more.

She opens her eyes to find Shaw watching her with a dark gaze, and wishes she could discern the emotions she sees churning within. And then Shaw presses her fingers deeper, her thumb pressing against Root’s clit, the contact sending her hips jerking as her eyes flutter closed once again, the angry hiss of Shaw’s voice in her ear the only thing that’s keeping her grounded.

“This will never happen again.”  


It happens again.

Not for a while – Shaw had seen to that, pretending that nothing had ever happened between them, no matter how much Root had taunted her, teased her, flirted with her; no matter what she did, Shaw just brushed her off, and she tried to bite down the ache of disappointment that settled in her chest every time Shaw rolled her eyes at her and then looked away.

And then the world had gone to hell, Samaritan had come online, and they both had bigger things to worry about than one another (thought Root did, because every day she didn’t see Shaw was a day that she could have been discovered, that she could have been killed, all without her knowing, and the thought of that is dizzying, and it terrifies her to know how much losing Shaw would destroy her).

It’s getting harder for her to deny that all she feels towards Shaw is simple attraction, because she knows in her bones that it’s much more than that. When she had blazed through that hotel and blown her cover, exposing herself to Samaritan, if only briefly, the only thoughts in her head had been for Shaw. Regret that she’d never see her again, kiss her again, that she’d never get to touch her the way she’d wanted since the very first day they met (that day in the safehouse, Shaw had only released her hands when she’d been so dazed and exhausted that all she’d been able to do was slide to the floor and try to recover from the sensations her body had been exposed to – by the time she’d finally felt like herself again, there hadn’t been enough time left for her to return the favour (and there was a part of her that doubted Shaw would even let her)).

She thought she was going to die, and the only thing she could bring herself to wonder was if Shaw would even miss her.

She thinks that she would – there’s a tinge of concern in Shaw’s eyes, whenever they meet hers, and she knows that it’s because she’s not entirely herself without Her in her ear. She’s a shell, empty and alone and she never should have become so reliant on the Machine but she had and now she feels the loss of Her like she’s lost a limb, and sometimes the only thing that gets her through the day is thought that maybe she’d get to see Shaw again, because whenever she’s around the other woman the loss of the Machine is easier to bear, if only for a moment.

She knows it’s dangerous, to think of Shaw like that. Because Shaw has made it clear that she doesn’t want her, not like that, and that’s… it’s okay, because she knows that, in whatever way she can, that Shaw does care about her, even if she’d never admit it.

Root tells herself that she’s not jealous, when she hears Shaw on her ‘date’, flirting with someone in a way that she’d never really flirted with her, and she sits in the subway station after Shaw cuts her off and glowers, furious at Shaw but also at herself, for caring so damn much in the first place.

When Shaw finds her afterwards, falling in to step beside her, she’s surprised. Shaw had rarely ever sought her out before the Samaritan mess and now she can’t, but she’s there now, looking at her with eyes filled with a glimmer of something Root might think was affection, if it were anyone else.

And when she tells Root that there are things she cares about here, she can’t help the flash of hope that crosses her face, because maybe Shaw finds herself thinking of that night in the safehouse as often as Root does (and maybe she’s gotten herself off thinking about Shaw’s hands on her skin, wishing it was Shaw’s fingers curling inside of her instead of her own), but as usual she brushes off Root’s question and she can’t help her flash of disappointment showing, too.

But then Shaw is asking for her help (and Root thinks that Shaw should already know how to destroy the virus, unless her years of medical training have been all but forgotten – but she dares not bring it up in-case Shaw huffs at her and stalks away, leaving her alone once again with nothing but silence ringing in her ears and god, out of all of it, everything that’s happened to her over the years, the silence is by far the worst), and she finds herself walking back towards the other woman’s apartment with a spark of hope fluttering in her chest, because it’s the first time two of them have been alone together like this without a mission hanging over them in a long, long time.

Root wraps a hand around Shaw’s arm as soon as they’re inside her apartment, pulling her to a stop as her eyes take it in – it’s not the nicest of places, the wallpaper peeling, the couch threadbare and some questionable stains on the wooden floor, but it’s something that a job at a make-up counter could afford, and at least Shaw has a place to call home. Root doesn’t even remember the last time she had. The subway station is the closest thing she has to one, these days.

“Strip,” she tells Shaw, turning to see her reaction and smirking when she sees a look of outrage cross the other woman’s face.


“Full decontamination,” Root reminds her, moving into the tiny kitchen and looking through the drawers until she finds a plastic bag big enough to fit all of Shaw’s clothes in, returning to Shaw’s side and looking at her expectantly.

“The virus needs decontaminating, not me,” she protests, folding her arms across her chest and glaring. “I’m not infected.”

“I would hope not,” Root murmurs in reply, eyes meeting Shaw’s. “You wouldn’t look nearly as cute as you do now with haemorrhagic fever.” Shaw rolls her eyes, and Root grins. “You’ve been in contact with the virus, you could be carrying it. So strip, and go shower.” Shaw doesn’t move, her jaw clenching in annoyance, and Root sighs. “You were nearly a doctor, Sameen. You know that you really can’t be too careful with things like this. And the longer you stand there, the more chance there is of it spreading…”

She trails off, and she knows her words have gotten through to Shaw when she huffs out an impatient sigh before she’s slipping out of her jacket, throwing it with slightly more violence than Root thinks is necessary into the bag she’s holding open. Then her hands curl around the hem of her shirt and begin tugging it upwards, and Shaw’s scowl deepens when she notices the way that Root’s eyes can’t help but dip to take in the sight of Shaw’s bare skin, marred by more scars than Root thinks she could ever count, and she wonders at the stories behind each and every one.

“Stop staring,” Shaw mutters sullenly as the shirt joins her jacket in the bag before she kicks off her shoes and slides her jeans down her legs. Root can’t help but admire the sight of Shaw before her, all lean muscle, hard edges but soft curves, and she longs to reach out and touch her, even though she knows it’d probably get her kicked out.

“Can’t help it,” she replies, forcing her eyes to remain on Shaw’s face as the other woman shifts in response to her scrutiny. “The underwear, too,” she says then, biting her lip to hide a smile when she sees the way Shaw’s face darkens at her words. But she complies with another sigh, stripping quickly out of her sports bra and boyshorts – Root barely gets a glimpse of the bare skin beneath before Shaw is storming away from her, disappearing into the bathroom and slamming the door loudly behind her, and Root lets out a light laugh as she ties the handles of the bag together and disappears into the hallway outside, shoving it down the garbage chute and hoping that Shaw wasn’t particularly attached to any of the clothes she’d been wearing that day.

Back in Shaw’s apartment she fights the urge to snoop around (she doubts very much that that would be appreciated), instead grabbing the papers Shaw had handed her earlier and spreading them out on the kitchen counter.

They’re fairly simple to understand, and Root smirks at that realization, positive that Shaw could have done this without her help and she finds herself wondering at the true reason why Shaw would have invited her back here. She wonders if Shaw had thought about the hotel where Root was so close to death (she can still feel the sting of a bullet in her shoulder, the wound barely healed), if that has anything to do with… whatever this is.

Her instructions for the virus decoded, she shakes her head and gets to work, rooting through Shaw’s cupboards (muttering to herself as she realizes that Shaw has barely anything in the kitchen and wondering how the hell she’s survived these last few months alone), eventually finding what she needs and setting a pan of water boiling while she traipses towards the bathroom, leaning beside the door.

“Want me to bring you some clothes?” She calls, and she hears a clatter and smirks as she wonders if she’d manage to startle Shaw into dropping something.

No,” comes the haughty reply and Root grins to herself before wandering back towards the kitchen.

“Suit yourself.” She hums softly to herself as she gingerly drops the vials of virus into the water, wishing that she could do this somewhere slightly safer than here, but also knowing that with Samaritan out there this was the best that she could do.

Shaw emerges from the bathroom sometime later in a cloud of steam, towel wrapped tightly around her torso and one slung around her shoulders, and she doesn’t say a word to Root as she pads into her bedroom, re-appearing a few moments later wearing shorts and a tank top, her wet hair curling around her shoulders, and Root eyes her appreciatively, un-used to seeing Shaw so casual.

“You sure that’s safe?” Shaw asks, nodding towards the pan on her stove before opening her fridge and grabbing a beer from within (Root notes with disdain that there’s barely anything other than alcohol in there), and twisting off the lid before pressing the bottle to her lips.

“Probably not,” Root shrugs, eyeing the beer with distaste – she doesn’t know how anyone drinks the stuff. “But it’s the best I can do.”

“Want one?” Shaw asks when she notices the way Root’s looking at the drink in her hand.

“I thought you didn’t share?” She teased, and Shaw’s eyes narrow, jaw clenching with her irritation, no doubt remembering the last time they’d shared a drink (Root doesn’t count the cocktails in Miami – they hadn't been there long enough for her to truly enjoy it).

“Do you always have to be so - ” The words burst from Shaw’s lips, burning with irritation, and Root raises a questioning eyebrow when Shaw cuts herself off abruptly, wondering what she was going to say.

“So… what?” She goads, leaning a hip against the kitchen counter and admiring the column of Shaw’s neck as she tilts her head to take another swig of beer. “Delightful? Wonderful? Witty? Adora - ”

“Fucking annoying,” Shaw interrupts, voice deadpan, and Root lets out a soft laugh.

“Oh, Sameen, You say the sweetest things.” Shaw rolls her eyes and begins to walk away, but Root speaks again, voice sly, stopping her in her tracks. “You know, Sameen… I’m not really sure why you needed my help with this.” Shaw turns, slowly, to face her, her expression wary when their eyes meet. “You could have easily done this yourself. So I’m just wondering… Why am I really here?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Shaw mutters, downing the rest of her beer before setting the bottle down on the counter with so much force that Root’s amazed the glass doesn’t crack. “I don’t speak Finch, so I needed you to translate.”

“But you had years of medical training.” Root moves forward as she speaks, until she and Shaw are just a few inches apart. “You probably know more about viral decontamination than Finch and I combined.” She reaches out, curls a strand of Shaw’s hair around her index finger, watching the way her breath hitches and smirks. “So I’ll ask you again – why am I really here?”

Shaw doesn’t answer her, just meets her eyes, her gaze steady, and Root wants to drown in her, wants to bury all the worry and panic and fear that’s crept into her over the last few weeks, ever since Samaritan went online, wants to reach out and grab Shaw and never let her go, because she doesn’t know what she’ll do if she ever loses her, doesn’t know how she’ll survive, and she had no idea how this woman, who she’d tasered, tied up and threatened the first time they’d met, had come to mean so much to her, but she had. Shaw was everything she’d told herself she’d never need, close enough to touch but still so far away.

Her hand releases Shaw’s hair, moving instead to curve around the back of her neck, barely breathing – and then Shaw snaps to her senses, knocking Root’s arm and taking a step away, and Root hisses as pain flashes through her arm, the stiches from the bullet hole screaming in protest at the sudden movement.

Shaw frowns before reaching for her, tugging the collar of her shirt to one side, like she’d done in so long ago in Harold’s safehouse, and her fingers are gentle against her as they examine the stark line of stiches in her skin.

“It’ll heal,” is all Shaw says, her voice gruff, and Root rolls her eyes.

“Is that your expert medical opinion?” Shaw’s hand doesn’t leave her skin, her thumb swiping absently against the wound in a way that makes Root shiver.

“What were you thinking, Root?” Shaw’s voice turns angry, her fingers digging into Root’s shoulder and she winces in pain. “You could have been killed.” There’s a look in Shaw’s eyes that Root’s never seen before, and Root wonders if it’s fear.

“At least I would’ve gone down fighting.” The words are soft, and she doesn’t know when she’d become so reckless with her own life but she knows it’s harder to worry about herself when she thinks about something happening to Shaw, about not being able to stop it, and without the constant chatter in her ear that had used to feel like she was coming home.

“Don’t say that.” Shaw’s voice is soft, too, softer than Root thinks she’s ever heard it, and she steps so close that she can feel the heat of the other woman’s body, is surrounded by the scent of her shampoo. “We can’t do this without you. We can’t win without you.”

“I’m flattered you think so highly of me.” She finds it hard to speak, with Shaw so close, with her hands on her skin. “I thought you didn’t care what happened to me.”

Shaw’s reply is a kiss; just the barest brush of Root’s lips with her own and Root can barely breathe, can scarcely believe that this is happening because for all her pushing and all her teasing, she never thought that she’d have this ever again.

Shaw’s hand slides from her shoulder and into her hair, tugging as their lips meet in a more demanding kiss, and Root groans at the feeling, shifting so that she can press Shaw against the counter at their backs, letting her thigh fall between the other woman’s legs as Shaw’s tongue licks into her mouth, her other hand at Root’s hips, pulling her closer.

There’s a desperation to the way Shaw’s mouth moves against hers, and Root wonders now more than ever how the events at the hotel had affected her – she regrets not getting into touch with Shaw sooner, but Harold had known she was fine and she had assumed that was enough, but from the frantic way Shaw grasps at her hip, nails biting at her skin, she thinks that maybe that wasn’t.

She wonders if Shaw feels the same worry for her as she does for Shaw, wonders if her dreams are haunted by the image of Root’s lifeless body, cradled in her arms – because that’s what she sees whenever she closes her eyes, now, wakes up in a cold sweat almost every other night, blinking away tears that had fallen while she slept.

Shaw’s hands reach for her jacket, tugging it from her arms and letting it drop to the floor, her fingertips trailing gently across her injured shoulder before returning to her hair, and blunt nails scrape across Root’s scalp as she lets her own hands drop to Shaw’s thighs, and she groans at the feeling of Shaw’s bare skin.

A tiny part of her wonders if Shaw will slap her hands away, if she’ll find her hands bound once again, unable to do anything but surrender to the feeling of Shaw’s hands and mouth on her skin. But Shaw doesn’t move away, even when Root’s hand slides higher, beneath the leg of her shorts, and when she discovers that Shaw’s not wearing any underwear beneath them she sucks in a harsh breath, and Shaw lets out a low chuckle.

“Why, Sameen,” Root murmurs, against Shaw’s mouth, “did you plan this?”

“Shut up,” Shaw grumbles in reply, tugging on Root’s collar until their lips are meeting again, smothering the sound of Root’s laughter with tongue and teeth. Root wonders if Shaw had opted to forgo a bra, too, and slides one hand beneath the blank tank top, achingly slowly, and Shaw bites harshly on her bottom lip in response, the message loud and clear – don’t tease. But then, Root had never been very good with rules.

She groans when she finds that Shaw had indeed neglected to put a bra back on after her shower, her hand cupping a breast eagerly, thumb teasing at a nipple as Shaw’s hips buck against her thigh – she feels the heat of her, even through her jeans, and it sends a spark of desire rippling through her, fire in her veins.

A low hiss from the direction of the stove has Root’s head turning, and when she sees water bubbling over the side of the pan that holds the vials of virus she tears herself away from Shaw, breathing heavily as she turns off the heat.

“Think they’re safe, now?” Shaw asks as she appears at Root’s shoulder, peering down into the pan with questioning eyes, and Root can only shrug.

“Honestly? I don’t know. But they’ve been boiling for over half an hour, it should’ve worked. And I’ll drop them at a lab in the morning to get them treated with radiation to be sure.”

“In the morning?” Shaw glances at her, smirk on her lips. “Who says you’re staying the night?”

“Me.” Root doesn’t wait to hear Shaw’s reply – instead she turns and saunters away, heading in the direction of Shaw’s bedroom, slinking through the door and turning to face the doorway once she’s inside, fingers toying with the buttons of her shirt. “But if you don’t want me to stay,” she continues, as Shaw follows her through, looking annoyed that Root’s made herself so at home. “If you’re having any regrets… tell me now.”

“I don’t.”

“So you want me to stay?” She tries to draw the admission out of Shaw, but the other woman just scowls and Root laughs. “What happened to this never happening again?”

“I changed my mind.”


“Why do you talk so much?” Shaw counters, exasperated, and Root wonders if Shaw will ever be able to bring herself to tell her she cares.

“I’m sure you remember how to shut me up.” Shaw doesn’t need much more encouragement than that, striding towards her with quick, easy steps, fingers sliding through the belt-loops of Root’s jeans and yanking her forward until they collide, lips crashing together once again and Root sighs in contentment at the feeling, knowing that no matter how many times they do this, it will never be enough.

Shaw’s hands fist in the material of Root’s shirt and pull, and she’s outraged as the buttons spill across the floor, the shirt ruined as Shaw tugs the scraps from her shoulders. A reprimand is on her lips but then Shaw’s deft hands are at her back, flicking open the clasp of her bra and she’s distracted by the feeling of Shaw’s fingers tugging at her nipples, hard enough for it to sting.

Root’s being pushed backwards, then, and she has no complaints as she lands on her back on Shaw’s bed, the shorter woman’s lithe body quickly following her, a thigh pushing between her legs as Shaw licks down her neck.

She twists a hand in Shaw’s damp hair as she settles at Root’s chest, teeth closing around a nipple and tugging as her tongue drags across the tip in a way that has Root’s back arching off the bed, a breathless moan leaving her lips because it’s been too damn long since she’d had this, and she’s already aching for Shaw’s touch, her hips moving against Shaw’s thigh, the seam of her jeans providing pressure that’s just not quite enough.

When Shaw’s mouth releases her nipple she trails heated kisses across Root’s ribs – when her teeth nip at her skin Root’s hands claw at Shaw’s shoulders, nails digging in so hard that Root’s surprised she doesn’t draw blood. Shaw drifts lower, mouth moving across the trembling muscles of Root’s stomach while her hands pop the button of her jeans, and her hips lift eagerly to help Shaw slip them off, kicking her shoes to the floor at the same time.

Shaw peels her underwear off and leans back to admire her for a long moment, her gaze heated as it sweeps across Root’s exposed skin, tongue darting out to lick her lips and Root’s eyes follow the movement, kind of wishing that that tongue was somewhere else, instead. Shaw notices her gaze, a smirk curving at her lips like she knows exactly what Root’s thinking.

“Something on your mind, Root?” Shaw shifts so that she’s lying beside Root on the bed and props her head up on one elbow, beside Root’s hip, looking like she has all the time in the world, and Root aches with need, aches for Shaw and damn her and that stupid smirk – and damn herself for falling so hard for someone that can make her so crazy.

“Just that you’re wearing too many clothes,” she replies evenly, despite her laboured breathing and the urge to just surrender herself and beg for Shaw’s mouth to busy itself between her legs.

“Maybe I’ll let you do something about that later.” Root’s delighted at that, a part of her still not believing that Shaw will let her return the favour – she thinks it would only be fair, considering Shaw had reduced her to an incoherent mess after their first time together.


“Mm. It all depends how good you are.” Shaw’s voice is low, and as she speaks she splays her hands across Root’s thighs, pulling her legs apart in one easy motion and sliding between them. Her tongue trails along the inside of one of Root’s thighs before she’s pressing a harsh kiss to her skin, teeth biting in a way that leaves Root thinking she’ll have a mark to remember this encounter by, later. She can barely breathe, her whole body tense with anticipation, but Shaw is maddening, her breath ghosting across Root’s centre but her mouth never quite touching her, until Root’s thighs tremble on either side of Shaw’s head, so aroused that she wonders if the first touch of Shaw’s tongue against her will be enough to make her come.

She’s wondering who will crack first – if she’ll be the one to beg, once again, or if Shaw won’t be able to resist the temptation to taste her any longer – when she feels Shaw’s hands press her legs further apart, her tongue running through Root’s sex a moment later. Root’s mind goes blissfully blank, her eyes slamming shut as she buries a hand in Shaw’s hair and arches her hips from the bed, desperate for more contact, but Shaw growls and presses her hips down with a strong arm across Root’s stomach.

Shaw’s still teasing, tongue never staying in one place for too long – darting against her clit before flitting away, sliding inside of her but then back out again, and Root’s hand is fisted so tightly in Shaw’s hair that her knuckles flash white and god they should have been doing this a long time ago.

“Fuck,” she breathes when Shaw’s teeth scrape against her clit for the first time, seeing stars behind her eyelids as her hips desperately try to grind against Shaw’s face, needing more, and she swears she feels Shaw grin against her. “Sameen, I – god.” Her plea is cut short when Shaw slips two fingers inside of her easily, curling within her and then her mouth is back against Root’s clit, lips wrapping around it and sucking, and then Root’s coming hard, thighs pressing tightly against either side of Shaw’s head, her free hand twisting so hard in the bedsheets that her injured shoulder twinges in protest but god, she doesn’t care, white hot pleasure racing through her, pushing the breath from her lungs and sending her heart hammering in her chest, and she’d be embarrassed by the breathy moans leaving her lips if it didn’t feel so damn good.

Just like last time, Shaw doesn’t stop – her fingers are relentless as they press into her, tongue still working at her clit, gentler than before, and Root comes twice more before she has to tug Shaw away, legs trembling and hands shaking, because she’s not sure she can take a fourth before passing out and she will not allow that to happen because she knows Shaw will laud it over her forever.

She opens her eyes just in time to see Shaw wipe her mouth with the back of her hand and it sends another bolt of heat through her as Shaw presses a trail of lazy kisses across Root’s torso as she slinks back up her body, and Root brings their lips together in a messy kiss when Shaw is close enough, moaning when she tastes herself on Shaw’s tongue.

When she feels like she’s re-gained control of all her limbs she pulls at Shaw’s top until it’s tugged over her head and dropped to the side of the bed, and her hands roam of the newly exposed flesh as she presses a line of kisses against Shaw’s jaw and down her neck.

Shaw’s head tilts to give her better access, tendons standing out against her skin and Root closes her teeth around them, gratified by Shaw’s hiss of appreciation, hand in her hair encouraging her, and she pulls at the skin until it darkens beneath her mouth, and when she pulls away she hums in satisfaction at the bruise, wondering how Shaw’s going to explain that one away to curious eyes in the morning.

Root shifts down Shaw’s body until Shaw’s breasts hang over her mouth, and she lets her teeth graze lightly over straining nipple and smirks at the way Shaw’s hips buck into her, her impatience clear, but it was Root’s turn to tease, now.

She traces a lazy circle with her tongue, and Shaw’s nails dig harshly into her scalp; she lets out a gasp of pain, biting down roughly and realizing belatedly that that was exactly what Shaw had wanted, but the sound it draws from between Shaw’s lips, a guttural moan that floods Root’s mind with desire, is one she wouldn’t mind hearing every single day for the rest of her life.

She spends a long time focusing on Shaw’s breasts, wondering just how many different noises she can pull from between Shaw’s teeth, and she only stops when she notices Shaw sliding a hand down her stomach, catching her wrist before it slips into her shorts, and she yanks Shaw’s arm away roughly with a tut of disapproval.

“Nu-uh, you’re not doing that again.” She tilts her head up to see Shaw glaring at her, frustration etched across her face. “This time I want to make you come, I want to feel you…” She trails off, mind over-run with images of all the ways she could do just that, and she hears Shaw expel a shaky breath above her.

“You’d have to actually touch me for that.” It’s infuriating, how Shaw sounds completely normal and not like she’d just almost moaned Root’s name because Root had done something Shaw particularly liked with her tongue, and the wonders what it would take to get Shaw to completely lose control, and she feels a shiver of anticipation when she thinks of all the way she could try.

“Are you always so impatient?”

“Yes.” Root shakes her head but her hands slip to the waistband of Shaw’s shorts, pushing them down her legs, because really, she thinks they’ve both waited long enough for this. Shaw practically rips them from her body and Root almost laughs at her enthusiasm, because there’s still a part of her that’s kind of amazed that she’s in this position, that Shaw wants her like this.

She knows their relationship’s shifted, since the beginning. She knows that Shaw trusts her now, in a way that she’d sworn she never would – she knows that Shaw would lay down her life for Root’s, without a second thought, whereas once she would have gladly taken it. But still, still, she’s taken aback whenever Shaw’s open with her, whenever she catches Shaw looking at her like she gives a shit what happens to her, because she’s so used to Shaw rolling her eyes and brushing her off and denying that there will ever be anything between them.

But there’s something between them now, as Root urges Shaw to move up her body so that her knees rest on either side of Root’s head, and she wonders if, after this, anything will change. She wonders if things could ever be different between them – if things can be any different between them, with Samaritan looming over them, where all they can share is stolen moments behind closed doors between missions that they shouldn’t even be doing in the first place.

She wonders, even if things do change, even if Shaw lets down her walls a little and this… thing between them starts to happen more often, how long it will even last for, because she’s all too aware of the truth of her words to Harold in that hotel room – there’s no chance in hell all of them will make it through this war alive.

The thought makes her clutch at Shaw tighter, her nails digging into her thighs, and she forces herself to just stop thinking because Shaw is poised above her, one hand resting on the wall behind the bed to steady herself and the other sliding through Root’s hair, and she’s surrounded by the scent of Shaw and she’s wanted this for so long that she feels like she should take a moment to take it all in.

But Shaw is restless, and Root aches to taste her, so she lifts her head and licks the length of Shaw’s sex, groaning when she realizes how wet she is. When she flicks her tongue against Shaw’s clit the hand in her hair tightens until she winces in pain, a low groan leaving Shaw’s lips that Root wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again; when she slides her tongue inside of Shaw for the first time, her hips grind against Root’s face and she moans in approval, hands sliding to Shaw’s ass, fingers digging in hard enough to leave a bruise and wonders absently how many marks they will both be left with when the night is done.

Shaw’s hips rock against her face, her movements becoming more frantic, and Root focuses her attention on Shaw’s clit as she lets two fingers tease at her entrance – they slip into her easily and when she pulls them out she slides back in with three, and Shaw’s hips press harder against her mouth, a breathless gasp leaving her lips as Root stretches her.

She’s fluttering around Root’s fingers a few moments later, Root’s teeth teasing lightly at her clit, and when she comes her knees shake so violently that Root’s afraid for a second that Shaw’s going to collapse on-top of her.

It’s just as good as she thought it would be, feeling Shaw clench against her fingers, trying to pull her in deeper as her hips continue to rock against Root’s face, and she definitely wouldn’t mind doing this again. She lets her head drop back against the pillow, admiring the sight of Shaw stretched above her, her forehead resting against the wall, a light flush on her cheeks, her chest heaving as she struggles to catch her breath – she’s never seen Shaw so unguarded, and it’s something she wishes she saw more often, because she’s even more breath-taking than usual.

She waits until Shaw’s legs have stop trembling before moving her fingers, pulling back slightly before pressing back in, determined to give Shaw the same treatment she’d given Root earlier – she watches the way Shaw’s mouth opens as she bites back a moan, her eyes still closed, and Root bites her lip as she watches her, wants the sight of her brandished on the back of her eyelids for the rest of her life.

She works Shaw back to the brink slowly, all the while watching the way her hips work against her hand, appreciating the way her breasts sway each time she moves, and she turns her head to press her teeth to Shaw’s thigh when she feels her tighten around her fingers, marking Shaw’s skin as she comes for the second time.

When she tries for a third Shaw’s hand moves to gently grasp her wrist, tugging her hand away before she rolls to the side and collapses next to Root, an arm thrown over her eyes and Root curls around her body – when she slings a leg over Shaw’s waist, she lifts her arm and opens one eye to glare at her.

“What?” Root asks innocently, drawing absent patterns against Shaw’s hip with one hand – Shaw shoves at her shoulder until she’s lying on her back beside her.

“I don’t cuddle,” comes the gruff reply, and Root grins as she turns once again, resting her head on her palm, eyes traversing Shaw’s frame once again because really, how was she supposed to ever stop?

“Even with people who make you come that hard?”

“It wasn’t that hard,” Shaw grumbles to herself. “I’ve had better.” But Root can tell by the tone of her voice that she’s lying and is ecstatic.

“Really?” She lets scepticism creep into her voice and Shaw groans, rolling over so that her back is to Root – when Root reaches out to trace down her spine with a single finger, she sighs. “Because I don’t think that - ”

“Oh my god.” Shaw rolls back over with a huff, signature scowl back on her face as she meets Root’s gaze. “If I let you cuddle me, will you finally shut the fuck up?”

Root doesn’t point out the fact that, if Shaw was really so against the idea, she could kick Root out of bed or even out of the apartment (she thinks she’d prefer that than risk sleeping on that couch), because she thinks Shaw would get extremely defensive and then actually kick her out.

So she stays quiet, slinging one leg and one arm across Shaw’s chest and hiding her smile in the crook of the other woman’s neck.


After that, it seems to happen whenever they’re alone somewhere together. Which isn’t often, not with the way they’re supposed to still be leading their cover lives and chasing after numbers when they’re not, but at least it’s led to sex in some… interesting places. Root’s fondest memory is bringing Shaw to her knees with her mouth in the bathroom of the department store where she works, and watching her stumble back to her counter on shaky legs after.

Their relationship isn’t any different. Root still teases and flirts and Shaw still rolls her eyes or shoves her away (when other people are looking, at least – when they’re alone Shaw is more likely to yank her closer and shove her hand down her pants, and Root’s definitely not complaining).

But when the Machine bleats into her ear that Shaw is in trouble, that Samaritan has found her and she’s in imminent danger, Root swears that her heart stops dead in her chest. It had been a worry for so long that it had almost become easier to push away, easier to convince herself that maybe they could all get through this, somehow, easier to forget just how dangerous Samaritan was, how easily it could bring her whole world crashing down.

She’s on the move within seconds, relieved that she’s not on a mission (her latest had just wrapped up and she’d been enjoying the brief reprieve by stopping to grab a coffee from her favourite place on the way to the subway station – she’d been so surprised by the voice in her ear, absent for such long periods of time, now, that it had taken a moment for the words to sink in), scrambling for her keys and rushing to her bike, praying that she wouldn’t be too late.

She expels a heavy sigh of relief when she sees Shaw emerging onto the street as she pulls up to the curb, relaxes a little as Shaw climbs behind her, hands pressing against Root’s hips as she drives them to safety.

She tries to subtly check Shaw for any injuries when they’re pressed close together in the truck, and she longs to twist a hand in Shaw’s hair and turn her head to press their lips together, because they’ve barely had a minute alone since the last time she’d slipped out of Shaw’s bed, several days ago. The Machine had a mission for her, and it had been with regret that she’d de-tangled herself from Shaw’s body (she still insists that she hates cuddling, but Root thinks she’s lying, because the few occasions she’s been allowed to spend the night she’s always woken up with Shaw’s body wrapped around her own) – the other woman had stirred, eyes fluttering open, confused, and Root had murmured that she had to go before kissing her goodbye, tugging on her clothes and slipping through the front door. 

The thought that that might be their last pleasant memory together weighs on Root’s mind as they traverse the streets, trying to get to the subway station without Samaritan operatives seeing them. She’s known all along that they’d been running on borrowed time, on stolen moments amidst the chaos of their everyday lives, and she’d been naïve to think that they would ever be able to have anything more than that.

Shaw is frustrating, with the way she has no regard for her own safety, for her own life, and Root wonders how she could have been so angry with Root for risking hers when she’s being so careless now. Root thinks she says more than she should have, on that street with Shaw staring at her with those deadly eyes, but she can’t help it, her throat closing up at the thought of losing her (of how close she’d come to losing her, because what if she’d been just a few minutes later, getting to the department store, earlier?), because Shaw has to know that she cares. Shaw has to know that the thought of losing her sends a paralyzing kind of fear through Root’s chest, and thinks as she looks at Shaw and struggles to blink back tears that what she’s feeling seems a lot like love.

It’s why she has to keep her safe. She knows Shaw will hate her for this, that whatever fragile chance they’d ever had of having… something together is gone the second she slides that needle into Shaw’s neck and releases the sedative into her veins. Shaw’s hand closes around her throat and a part of her relishes it, but there’s a look of cold fury in Shaw’s eyes that makes her wonder what she’ll do the next time that they see each other.

She stays away from the subway station for a little while, after that. She doesn’t think that Shaw will be happy to see her, can’t bear the thought of her looking at her like she wishes Root weren’t there. In the beginning, she’d lived for that – for pushing Shaw, watching her become increasingly frustrated, wondering if she’d snap. Now she doesn’t know if she’ll be able to bear the brunt of that anger.

But she can’t stay away forever. When she pads down the steps into the station a couple of days later, she sees Shaw kneeling on the floor, playing with Bear – when she sees Root she scowls, rising to her feet and stalking away. Harold sits at one of his computers and looks relieved when he sees Root, and she wonders just how crazy having a restless Shaw holed up here is making him.

“No escape attempts?” Root asks sweetly as she comes to a stop behind Harold, bending to pat Bear on the head as he rushes over to greet her (she thinks she hears Shaw murmur ‘traitor’ from somewhere behind her).

“Not yet.”

“Good.” Root turns and saunters after Shaw, knowing that she probably shouldn’t but going anyway. She finds a makeshift bedroom nearby, a cot set up beside the wall in one corner. Shaw sits on the edge, and glowers at Root when she approaches, stopping when she’s in-front of Shaw and reaching out a hand to cup the side of her face.

“Sameen, I - ” But Shaw knocks her hand away, climbing to her feet and brushing past Root – she catches Shaw’s wrist, desperate to get her to stay, but Shaw whirls them around and presses Root back against the wall, her forearm pressing against Root’s throat.

Shaw’s eyes are filled with cold anger, so far away from the way she’d looked at Root the other night, in the kitchen when she’d chastised her for risking herself. She doesn’t move to try and pry Shaw’s hands away, even when her brain screams for oxygen and her vision begins to fade.

“Miss Shaw, Miss Groves - ” Harold’s voice comes from over Shaw’s shoulder, but he stops speaking with a gasp when he realises the position they’re in, and Shaw releases her hold on Root like she’s been burned, turning away and running a frustrated hand through her hair as Root presses a hand gingerly to her throat, wondering how bad the bruises will be this time. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Harry.” He doesn’t look convinced, eyeing Shaw warily as she stands with her arms folded across her chest across from Root, glaring. “What’s up?”

“I… There’s some business I have to attend to. I was wondering if you’d be able to stay here with Miss Shaw, but…”

“I don’t need a babysitter,” Shaw snaps, but both Harold and Root ignore her.

“We’ll be fine.” Shaw’s eyes find hers, burning with fury, and Root wonders, from the look on her face, what scene Harold will come back to whenever he returns.

“If you’re sure…” He trails off and Root nods, watching as he turns and walks away, muttering to himself. She expects Shaw to turn and walk away, to get as far away from Root as she possibly can (a part of her wonders if she’d leave the subway, just to spite her, and the thought fills her with cold dread), but she doesn’t move. They stand there, on opposite sides of the room, staring at one another, and Root wonders how long it will be before she cracks and breaks the silence – she’s surprised when Shaw is the first one to speak.

“You had no right.” The words burst out of her suddenly, like she’d never meant to speak at all, and Root feels the heat of her anger like a tangible thing. “No right to do this to me.”

“I was trying to keep you safe!”

“By locking me up and throwing away the key?” Shaw takes a couple of steps towards her and Root forces herself to stand her ground, even though a tiny part of her is afraid of what Shaw might do when she gets too close. “You can’t do this to me.”

“Then go!” The words rip from her throat, almost a scream, and she stretches one hand towards the open doorway. “Go! Get yourself killed. That’s what you want, isn’t it? To go out in a blaze of glory, to be the hero? So go, get captured by Samaritan if being here is so fucking awful for you.”

“I’m useless here, Root. I can’t stand it.” An edge of desperation tinges Shaw’s words, a bleak look in her eyes. “What if something happens to one of you because I can’t be there to stop it?”

“And what use will you be to us dead, Shaw? How are you supposed to help when you’re - ” She chokes back the words as the image of Shaw’s body, lifeless and bleeding, flashes through her mind (it’s the same image she sees in her dreams almost every night when she closes her eyes to try and sleep), and she blinks away tears furiously, refusing to let them fall.

“I can’t stay here forever, Root.” Shaw’s looking at her strangely, and Root aches to reach out and touch her, to know that she’s there, she’s still breathing and she’s okay and she’s alive. “I won’t.”

“I know,” she breathes, because she knows that Shaw could have run as soon as she’d woken up down here, knows that if Shaw really wanted to leave none of them would stand a chance of trying to stop her. And soon, whatever reasons Shaw had for staying would fade away, would be replaced by the restless energy of being held captive (Root remembers how she’d felt, locked in that metal cage without the Machine in her ear, remembers the aching loneliness, worst of all – she’s glad that Shaw doesn’t have to deal with that, at least), or one of them would be put in danger and she would come rushing to the rescue without sparing a single thought for her own safety. “I’m not asking you to. Just… for now. Please.”

“For now,” Shaw agrees, her voice soft, her anger fleeing her face. “I guess we’re even though now, huh? I put you in a cage, you put me down here.”

“I tased you, you shot me…” She trails off, and Shaw’s lip quirk into a half-smile. “Do you think we’ll ever stop hurting one another?” She watches the way Shaw’s eyes flicker to her neck, wonders if the bruises are already starting to show.

“No,” is Shaw’s blunt reply. “Not that it’s ever seemed to bother you before.” Shaw’s voice turns husky, and Root smirks as she lets the other woman step closer, pressing her back against the wall.

“Looks like we have some time to kill,” Root murmurs as Shaw’s hands splay across her hips, pushing her further back into the wall and she shivers as the cold from the coarse brick seeps through her clothes and into her skin.

“Mm, and how do you suppose we spend that time?”

“I have a few ideas.” Root wonders, not for the first time, as she tangles a hand in Shaw’s hair and kisses her hard, just what, exactly, Shaw gets out of this. Because for her, the only time she feels alive is when Shaw’s hands are on her skin, when she’s tugging her closer but knowing that it’ll never quite be close enough, this will never be enough but she knows that with Shaw this is all she’ll ever get so she’ll take it.

There’s more desperation than ever to the way Shaw’s mouth moves against her own, and Root refuses to let herself wonder if this is a goodbye, if this will be the last time they ever do this, if they’ll have another chance before Shaw decides she’s had enough and leaves the safety of the subway station.

She knows that the second Shaw steps onto the street, she’ll be in danger. She can’t use the shadow map forever, and Root knows that she’s too impatient to navigate the city streets that way for long, won’t even think about it if Harold or Reese needed her help.

Once again she’s struck by the thought of losing her, grasps at Shaw tighter as the other woman’s tongue slides against hers, her hands fisted so tightly in the thin material of Shaw’s shirt that her muscles burn, and she feels a tear run down her cheek before she can blink it away, tastes salt in their kiss and Shaw pulls away, frowning.

“You know, this kind of kills the mood.” She swipes the tear away with gentle fingers, letting her hand curl around the back of Root’s neck, thumb stroking softly against her skin. “What’s wrong?”

“I thought you preferred it if I shut up when we did this.” Her voice wavers and she curses herself, because she knows if she says too much of what she’s thinking then she’ll send Shaw skittering away.

“Root…” Shaw’s voice is low, and the hand around Root’s neck twitches with her frustration, and Root sighs softly.

“I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Why you even care?”

“Because I’m not going to fuck you if you’re gonna cry the entire time.” Root scoffs, her mouth opening to make a haughty reply but then Shaw’s speaking again, her voice unusually soft. “And because I care about you. I thought you knew that.”

“How am I supposed to when you’ve never said that before?”

“Not everything has to be voiced out loud for it to be true,” Shaw mutters sullenly, and Root knows she’s uncomfortable because she’s somehow coaxed Shaw into talking about her feelings.

“Aw, Sameen - ”

“I’d care if you died,” Shaw interrupts quickly, recognising the teasing look in Root’s eye. “That’s all. It doesn’t mean anything. Just like I’d care if Reese or Finch died.”

“And do you fuck them the way you fuck me?” Root almost laughs at the way Shaw’s lip upturns in disgust at the thought.

“They’re not really my type.”

“Oh?” Root arches an eyebrow as she releases her hold of Shaw’s shirt and slides her hands down to her ass, squeezing lightly. “And what is your type?”

“Insufferable, know-it-all, loud-mouth hackers, apparently.”

“Oh, Sameen, you say the sweetest things.” Root ducks her head, capturing Shaw’s lips with her own in a kiss that begins chaste but quickly turns heated, as Shaw flattens herself against Root’s body. Root groans as a thigh falls between her legs, and she urges Shaw’s hips to grind against her by digging her nails into her ass.

Shaw’s hand is in her hair, tugging her head to the side so she can press kisses down the column of her throat, teeth nipping at her skin before her tongue laves away the sting. Shaw’s other hand flattens across the small of her back, urging Root’s hips to move faster against Shaw’s thigh, and they’re pressed so closely together that every thrust of Shaw’s leg has the seam of her jeans pressing against her clit and she’s pretty sure she could get off from this alone.

Root grows impatient, as Shaw’s mouth sweeps across her collarbone, frustratingly slowly, needing to feel more of Shaw against her, needing to bury the fear and the panic that still runs through her mind in something, thinking there’s no better distraction than sinking her fingers into Shaw and fucking her until neither one of them can remember their own name.

Her hands fall to the waistband of Shaw’s pants, pop the button and shove them down her legs – Shaw hums in appreciation against Root’s sternum as she kicks off her shoes and steps out of her pants, and Root drags two fingers across Shaw’s sex over her underwear and smirks when she feels the other woman tremble beneath her touch.

“Don’t tease,” Shaw hisses against her, teeth nipping at the swell of one of Root’s breasts as her hands move to yank her shirt down to give her more access – under her bra Root’s skin is littered with red and purple marks from the last night she and Shaw had spent together, and she watches Shaw eye them fondly before bending her head and flicking her tongue over a straining nipple.

Root lets her eyes fall closed as she enjoys the way Shaw’s mouth works against her chest, pushing the other woman’s underwear aside impatiently and she groans when she feels how wet Shaw is beneath, wastes no time slipping two fingers inside her and grinding the palm of her hand against Shaw’s clit.

They’ve done this so many times that by now Root knows exactly how to work her fingers inside Shaw to bring her to the edge, and it’s not long before Shaw’s starting to clench around her, drawing her deeper, and she’s panting against Root’s mouth in-between messy kisses and she knows that Shaw just needs a little bit more – but then Root’s phone rings, and her fingers still as she reaches to answer it, ignoring Shaw’s growl of frustration against her jaw.

“Yes?” She answers when she sees it’s Harold, prays that he or the big lug are in some kind of mortal danger because she (or Shaw) might kill them for interrupting if not, and she knows she sounds breathless and hopes that he doesn’t pick up on it.

“Is everything alright, Miss Groves?”

“Aw, Harry, were you worried about me?” She teases, biting her lip to stifle a groan as Shaw’s mouth starts to move down her neck once again. “We’re fine.”

“You’re sure?”

“Y-yeah! I’m sure.” She glares down at Shaw, who had bitten roughly at her pulse point, and the lazy smirk that’s sent her way makes her brush her thumb against Shaw’s clit and she grins at the way Shaw’s eyes flutter closed as her lips part in a soft gasp. “Is there a reason you’re calling or were you just checking in?”

“No, I was wondering if you could do something for me…” She lets Harold drone on, only half-listening, glad that she’s become so accustomed to the Machine whispering in her ear because it’s easy for her to multi-task, now, and she drives her fingers into Shaw once again, curling them as she lets her thumb circle her clit until Shaw’s shaking around her, teeth closing around the skin of Root’s shoulder to quiet herself as she comes, and she hopes that Harold can’t hear their laboured breathing down the phone. “Is that okay?”

“Mhm, I’ll get right on that.” She hangs up before he can say anything else, and she’s barely slipped her phone back in her pocket before Shaw is on her, tangling a hand in her hair and turning her head to press their lips together in a bruising kiss that leaves Root breathless, and if she’d known that this kind of thing got Shaw so hot then she would’ve started doing it a long time ago.

It’s with regret that she pulls away, and Shaw’s attacking her neck with renewed vigour, and Root has to slide a hand in her hair and tug her away, and there’s something almost like a pout on Shaw’s mouth and Root grins, pressing one final, chaste kiss to Shaw’s lips before detangling herself from the other woman and padding back into the other room.

“I have to do something for Harold,” Root calls over her shoulder, glancing back to see Shaw standing in exactly the same position Root had left her in. “I won’t be long.” She knows it’ll drive Shaw crazy, to have to wait to touch Root and she’s barely sat down in-front of Harold’s computer before Shaw comes hurrying after her, frustrated look on her face.

“You can’t make me come like that and then leave.” Shaw stands to the side of the computer screen, arms folded stubbornly across her chest, petulant, and Root smirks.

“So you’d rather Reese and Harry got in trouble just because you couldn’t keep your hands to yourself?” Shaw grumbles something under her breath that Root doesn’t quite manage to hear but then she’s quiet, though Root can feel Shaw watching her with hungry eyes as her fingers move quickly across the keyboard, hacking into the security feeds Harold had asked her to look in to.

Shaw becomes bored after a few minutes and wanders away as Root calls Harold back, once again only half paying attention and praying that he wouldn’t ask her to do anything else because although she’d acted like it’d been easy to brush Shaw off, there was still a burning need within her, still an ache between her thighs and she craved Shaw’s touch now more than she ever had before – just not having her within sight makes Root nervous, although she doesn’t think that Shaw had looked like she was planning to slip away.

She starts to panic when, after she’s hung up on Harold, she finds that Shaw’s makeshift bedroom is empty. Her heart thuds loudly in her chest, a sick feeling in her stomach because god, what if she’d actually done it? What if Shaw had actually slipped away because Root had been so stupid and had trusted that she’d be enough reason for Shaw to stay?

She’s near hysterical as she turns to leave the room, determined to search every inch of the subway station and the streets beyond – when she nearly runs straight into Shaw, who’s slipping through the doorway just as Root’s about to step through it, and Root’s hands curl around Shaw’s shirt, nails scratching against her skin as she yanks her closer.

“Don’t ever do that to me again.” Her voice is low, and Shaw looks startled as their eyes meet and Root wonders what her expression is, for Shaw to look so concerned.

“I – what?” Shaw frowns, confusion settling across her features. “I had to pee? I didn’t think I needed permission for – wait.” Realization dawns then, and Shaw’s frown turns into a glare. “Did you think I’d gone? You really think that little of me? I told you I’d stay.”

“For now,” Root repeats Shaw’s earlier words back to her, a little guilt settling in her chest at Shaw’s hurt expression.

“Yes, for now,” Shaw sighs, and Root wonders how much agreeing to this is killing her, wonders how crazy being stuck down here with nothing to do is making her. “For now I’m not going anywhere.”

“But you will.” There’s an edge of desperation to her voice, her earlier fear flooding back into her and she lets Shaw lead her back to the bed, sits on the edge and lets Shaw step between her legs and drape her arms across Root’s shoulders. “I can’t lose you.”

She watches the way Shaw’s jaw clenches at that, knows that the way her voice shakes and the look in her eyes say a lot more than those words do, watches as Shaw’s mouth opens as she struggles to find the right words but Root knows that they’ll never come because Shaw doesn’t (can’t and it’s the way she’s wired and Root knows that, too, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt, sometimes) feel the same way.

Then there’s a hand sliding to cup her cheek, and Shaw’s lips brush against hers sweetly, more gentle than Shaw has ever touched her before and it makes tears well in her eyes but this time she refuses to let them fall.

“You’re not going to lose me.” But Shaw’s words are empty, and they both know it – there are no guarantees in this world that they live in, not now with Greer and Samaritan hot on their tails, not with the lives that they lead.

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” Root’s voice is soft, the words murmured against Shaw’s mouth and she keeps her eyes closed and just breathes Shaw in, loathe to shatter the moment because she knows that their time is running out (that it has been since that very first time, in the CIA safehouse when everything had been so much simpler and Shaw had held her like she wanted to break her rather than like she’s trying to keep her together).  

“I’m not planning on going anywhere.” Root’s mouth opens to protest but Shaw quiets her with another kiss. “I’m not going to promise that I’ll be saying that in a month or a week or hell even a day because we both know that would be a lie, but… I’m trying. I don’t want to put you or the others in danger. Or myself. I know what Samaritan will do to me if they catch me, and I know how likely it is that they will now that it can see me. I just… it’s so hard being down here while you’re all out there. I hate it.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Her hands release their tight hold on Shaw’s shirt to instead wrap around her hips, pulling her closer and tilting her head back so that their eyes meet. “I can give you some incentives for staying down here though…”

“Oh?” Root almost laughs, at how quickly Shaw perks up at that, and she can tell from the way her tongue darts out to wet her lips that she’s no doubt thinking of all the ways she could pass the time with Root down here, too.

“Mm, come here and I’ll show you.” Shaw doesn’t need any more invitation than that, ducking her head to cover Root’s mouth with her own as her hands tug at the hem of Root’s shirt, their lips parting so that Shaw can throw it over her shoulder. She moves to straddle Root’s hips as her hands roam across the newly exposed skin, hands palming her breasts and thumbs tugging at her nipples as Root’s hands slide across Shaw’s thighs, nails dragging along her skin and leaving Shaw trembling against her.

Shaw’s hand presses against Root’s sternum and she takes the hint and lies back, letting Shaw move over her – her wrists are caught by Shaw’s hands and held above her head, and Root is almost surprised when she doesn’t feel cool plastic (or metal – they’ve used more than one set of handcuffs in the last few weeks) around her wrists before Shaw releases her.

“Did you not bring any toys?” Root asks as Shaw settles back on her haunches, weight balanced around Root’s hips as she eyes her hungrily.

“It’s not like I was planning to have an extended vacation down here.”

“I’m sure you could find something.”

“That would take time that could be better spent doing other things.” Shaw’s hands trail from the underside of Root’s bra down to her hips, nails raking across the skin of her stomach and leaving a line of red in their wake and Root hisses at the pain, her hips shifting beneath Shaw’s thighs.

Shaw’s mouth is on her, then, and Root closes her eyes and surrenders herself to the sensation, arching her back as Shaw’s hands discard her bra and her tongue finds her nipple. It’d be annoying, how easy it is for Shaw to reduce her to an incoherent mess using just her teeth and tongue, if it didn’t feel so damn good.

Shaw’s hair tickles her skin, strands escaping from her signature ponytail and Root longs to reach down and tug out the hair tie and run her fingers through it but she knows the second she moves her hands Shaw will stop so she doesn’t; instead she digs her fingers into the bedsheets above her head.

Shaw is rarely in a teasing mood – the amount of time they get together, snatched between missions, makes it difficult for that and usually they’re lucky if they can fit in a quick fuck against the nearest vertical surface – but when she is she’s relentless, will drive Root to the edge but refuse to let her cross until she’s completely spent, almost delirious, and it’s those days that she can barely stand afterwards, those days that she usually ends up spending the night in Shaw’s bed, too exhausted to move until the following morning.

“Not that I’m not enjoying myself,” Root breathes after a little while, as Shaw pauses her ministrations in order to divest Root of her pants and underwear, “but maybe we should hurry this up a little before the boys come back.” Root smirks as she imagines the look on Harold’s face if he returned to find she and Shaw like this, and there’s a part of her that’s almost tempted to ‘accidentally’ make it happen because she was sure it’d be priceless – Shaw probably won’t agree with her on that, though.

Shaw doesn’t answer her, just drapes herself back over Root’s body having tugged off her own shirt and bra, and Root admires the view as Shaw settles between her legs. One hand makes a lazy decent down Root’s torso until Shaw’s fingers tease at her clit before dipping inside of her and then back to her clit, over and over again until Root’s hips strain against her hand, desperate for some friction to soothe the aching need that settles in her stomach, desire running through her veins like blood.

She hooks one leg around Shaw’s hip and groans when she’s rewarded by two of Shaw’s fingers slipping inside of her, curling in just the right place and Root doesn’t know when Shaw got so good at this, at reducing to her to this – someone who begs and who pleads, the words coming from her mouth more easily every time they’re together and she begs now, for Shaw to press deeper, harder, and when she does Shaw’s name spills from Root’s lips like a prayer.

She dares to move her arms, needing to touch Shaw, needing to feel her around her, as Shaw uses the solid weight of her thigh to drive harder into Root, and she expects a reprimand that never comes as she curls one hand around the back of Shaw’s neck and lets the other snake between their bodies until she can slip her fingers into Shaw, too.

Shaw twists so that she can press their lips together and her kiss is hard and rough, their teeth clashing as she grinds against Root’s hand but never falters in the movement of her own against Root and it’s just enough for Root to forget about the danger that presses close, all around them, just enough for her to let go and lose herself completely in the woman pressed so tightly against her.

Shaw groans into her mouth when Root sucks on her tongue, her free hand dropping to Shaw’s shoulders and she digs her nails into the skin there when she feels herself growing closer, wants to feel Shaw come undone around her at the same time but it’s all too much, Shaw’s fingers curling in all the right places and her palm pressing against her clit in just the right way and she comes with Shaw’s name on her lips, gasped against her mouth and it’s not the first time she’s wanted to say it like this but it’s the first time she’s ever let it escape, and she’s almost afraid to see what look is in Shaw’s eyes when she opens her own but all that’s reflected back at her is molten heat and she realizes belatedly that at some point her hand had stilled against the other woman and it must be taking a lot of self-control for Shaw to not snap at her to hurry up.

Root rolls them over in one easy motion, sees the flash of surprise that sparks in Shaw’s eyes as she finds herself on her back and Root smirks. Shaw opens her mouth, no doubt to protest, and Root quiets her with a thrust of her fingers and with a thumb pressed against her clit and her smirk widens at the way Shaw bites her lip to bite back a groan.

It’s always been a challenge for her, to see what kind of sounds she can pull out of Shaw when they’re like this. She can tell that for Shaw it’s a challenge, too, to keep herself quiet but it just makes Root try harder and there’s nothing she likes to hear more than the sound of Shaw’s moans.

She knows Shaw’s close from the way she tightens around her fingers, from the way her hips press harder against her and from the shallow gasps that spill from her mouth and she ducks her head, taking a straining nipple between her teeth and tugging hard – she hears something that sounds a lot like a whimper and smirks against Shaw’s skin, wondering if she’ll ever be lucky enough to hear that ever again (probably not – she swears that once, after almost an hour of teasing, that she’d heard Shaw whine but she would never admit to it and Root hadn’t heard it again since).

She drags her tongue along Shaw’s breast, tasting salt on skin slick with sweat and she lets her teeth find a mark she’d made the last time they were together, now faded purple, and bites hard, almost enough to break the skin and definitely enough to leave another mark in its place and Shaw shudders against her, comes with a soft moan as she clenches around Root’s fingers and Root thinks that she will never tire of this, of knowing the taste and the sound of the feel of Shaw against her like this.

Root shifts, lying on her side beside Shaw and pulling her hand away – she licks the taste of Shaw from her fingers and the other woman’s eyes open to meet hers as she does, Shaw watching her every move with eyes still dark with want.

She watches the way Shaw’s chest heaves as she struggles to catch her breath, admires the lean muscle of her body and traces her damp fingers across the skin, expecting Shaw to bat her away but instead she just closes her eyes and lets out a soft sigh.

Root traces across Shaw’s ribcage and down to her hip and back again, feeling the raised edges of the hundreds of scars that litter Shaw’s skin, some looking more wicked than others and marvels at how she’s managed to survive all of these injures – there’s a particularly jagged looking scar across her stomach that Root finds her fingers running across again and again.

“Piece of shrapnel,” Shaw murmurs quietly, and when Root looks up from where her gaze had been fixed on Shaw’s skin she sees the other woman watching her closely, her head propped up on her arms, folded behind her head. “Hurt like a bitch.”

“How many times have you been shot?” Root runs her thumb across several bullet-shaped scars, and Shaw shrugs.

“Too many to count. You’ve got a few of your own though, now.” Shaw reaches out to brush her fingers against the two scars on Root’s shoulder, one put there by her and the other the one that Root thinks started this whole thing, that night in Shaw’s kitchen. “Too many.”

“Part of the job,” Root says softly, like the fact that she’s shot at on an almost daily basis nowadays is completely normal. Shaw hums in response and then shifts away, out of the bed, and Root feels cold air against her skin where it had been so warm before and pouts. “Where are you going?”

“The boys could come back any minute,” Shaw explains as she bends to pick up her shirt from the floor and Root is momentarily distracted and thinks that that will be an image she’ll be replaying over and over.

“But…” Shaw tugs the shirt over her head and Root’s pout deepens as she reaches for her underwear next. “Can we not just… stay here for a little bit?” Shaw rolls her eyes and her mouth opens to speak but then she catches Root’s eye and Root wonders what her face must look like because Shaw pauses, looking at her strangely. “Please?”

She doesn’t expect it to work – it rarely does, not on Shaw – so she’s surprised when after another long moment of staring Shaw heaves out a sigh before clambering back into the bed beside her. Her shock must show on her face because Shaw quickly turns defensive, glaring at her.

“What? Like I’d ever hear the end of it if I left you in here. Hell, you’d probably wait for Reese and Finch to get back and wander out there naked just so you could get a kick out of the look on their faces.”

Root doesn’t answer her, just lets Shaw rationalise the fact that she’d just essentially agreed to cuddle without any protest whatsoever and curls up against her side, tracing her fingers across Shaw’s shirt and feeling the steady thrum of her heart beating beneath Root’s hand; she wishes that they could stay like this forever because as they are, pressed so intimately together, she knows that Shaw is safe, and somewhere along the way that had become the only thing that seemed to matter to her.