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to love a prophet

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There are probably thirty good reasons why Shaw should stay put and let Root meet her maker under the streets of New York. The reasons vary from “she eats like a bird and that’s not normal because food is delicious,” to what she has dubbed “the iron incident,” to “she’s too tall and scowling at her makes Shaw kind of sore because she has to crane her neck because Root isn’t a normal human height.” Plus she kills people and stuff.

She really should just leave Root to die. Let the Vigilance dudes take care of her, put a bullet in her brain, whatever. It would solve a lot of her problems, not the least of which is that Root keeps getting the jump on her and it’s really fucking annoying. 

She’s the only person in the last decade, at least, to have pulled one over on Shaw.


She’s not going to think about that. Because if she does, she really will walk away and get herself a Philly cheesesteak instead of helping Root not die.

So yeah, Root’s death wouldn’t be the worst thing to ever happen to Shaw, and it might actually improve her quality of life. Or at least her quality of sleep, which is basically the same thing. 

Seriously, who wakes somebody up with a fucking taser? 

(She’s kind of pissed she didn’t think of it first.) 

But whatever. She’s pretty sure Finch would be mad if she let Root die, although she can’t understand why he’d care – he’s also been through Root’s Kidnapping 101 course, and he’s a hell of a lot more delicate about that stuff than Shaw is. So why he gives a fuck is beyond her, but he didn’t want her to die in the warehouse in Utah, so he probably wouldn’t want her to die here either. 

Which really is a shame. A Philly cheesesteak sounds fucking excellent. 

There’s always a chance Root could take care of herself and manage not to die all on her own. Shaw tries to remember how many rounds Root had shot off before disappearing with Jason. Even if she only has one left, she’s a good enough shot to make it count. Plus, she’s got the Machine doing that weird “Here, I’m going to tell you everything, including things about people’s personal lives so that you can be really obnoxious about it” thing, so it would probably help her aim. Or something. 

Except if the Machine had any common sense, it would have told Root not to get herself cornered in the first place, so she can’t really hold out hope for a heroic intervention from Big Brother. She still doesn’t know why Root would so blindly follow a computer that doesn’t give a shit if she lives or dies but whatever, not her problem. 

But it kind of is her problem because sure, the Machine doesn’t care what happens to Root and neither does she, but Finch does and, for now, she takes her orders from him. And okay, he didn’t technically order her to save Root, but he tends to get Finch-y when Shaw kills people, and not saving Root is as good as killing her, so… yeah. She’s going to go save Root’s ass even though she’d rather be enjoying a sandwich and a beer.

Stupid Finch.

The smell of burnt spaghetti lingers in the damp tunnel air and she smiles a little. The spaghetti blowtorch thing had been kind of fun. 

She can hear Root as she makes her way down the hall saying something about being out of bullets, so she quickens her pace. Vigilance’s goons are almost certainly not out of bullets, and she doubts Root is proficient enough at hand-to-hand combat to disarm both of them without getting herself shot. She’d end up dead, or worse – injured and in need of medical care that Shaw would then have to provide. 

“Alright bitch. Where’s Greenfield?” Goon number 1’s attempt to sound threatening is almost cute. Shaw points her weapon at the back of his knee – she’ll take him down first, and then the other one.

She can’t really see Root – the Goons are too tall – but she knows Root sees her when Goon number 2 asks her why she’s smiling. 

“I’m not smiling at you.” Her voice is almost sing-song-y, like one of those dumb Disney princesses, and when the Goons fall to the ground clutching their knees, Shaw sees the matching Disney princess grin.


It’s bad enough that Root had kidnapped her, ziptied her, tased her, and forced her to go with her as she gallivanted around New York listening to a fucking computer blabbing in her ear with no explanation as to why they were doing anything, but now she has the audacity to smile like that? No. Not gonna fly.

“I knew you’d come back for me.” 

She really should’ve left her to die. Whatever punishment Finch would have doled out couldn’t be worse than listening to Root’s smug superiority all the way back up to the street. 

Unless she doesn’t have to. Her earlier threat – you better hope I don’t remember – comes back to her and she smiles a little. 

“Mission accomplished?”


This is going to be fun.


Her fist makes contact with Root’s jaw and Root’s body crumples in on itself as she falls to the ground. Shaw shakes her hand out a bit, and lets her grin widen. It’s not as satisfying as that time Shaw put a bullet in her shoulder, but it’s a pretty close second. 

She steps around the Vigilance operatives, at least one of which seems to have passed out – she doesn’t know if it’s from blood loss, or a thwack to his head when he fell, or just because he’s a fucking pussy, but she’s glad for it. Less for her to deal with. She kicks the other one in the head and he stops groaning, too. 

Root lies on the cement, limbs twisted awkwardly and for a moment, Shaw considers leaving her here and letting her wake up with all kinds of strange aches and pains. Or maybe she’ll come back in an hour and wake her up with a taser, see how she likes it.

But the Vigilance guys could be up before Root is (because she’s sure as hell not wasting her energy hauling them anywhere), and they could finish what they started, and then Shaw would be back at square 1 with a pissed of Finch lecturing her about how life – even obnoxious, self-important life – matters and one should always venture to preserve it whenever possible, or some other vaguely-patronizing shit.

So as it stands, she’s stuck with an unconscious Root – she grins at that because hey, Root fucking deserved it – in an underground tunnel, and maybe she should have thought through things a little bit and punched her above ground because getting her up the stairs is really going to suck. She crouches down and hooks her arms under Root’s, pulling her up with her as she stands.

Root’s body is limp and her boots scrape against the concrete as Shaw drags her back the way they came. Finch had better have a good idea on what they’re going to do with her when she wakes up. And he had better have a car waiting for them, because she’s not dragging Root one foot past the entrance to this stupid hole. 

She settles at the foot of the stairs and lets Root slump to the ground for a minute, shaking out the ache in her arms.

The stairs stretch out in front of her.


She deserves a fucking raise.