Bear sniffed around her feet as Shaw looked up at the building. She wasn't nervous, nervous wasn't something she felt, but it was out of her comfort zone. Rescuing Gen from HR was easy. Visiting her at her new school, not so much.
Still, she couldn't face the smirking she was bound to get from Reese and the concerned questions from Finch if she didn't actually meet Gen. When Finch had mentioned the email he had got from the school, Shaw had been a little too eager in volunteering herself to visit.
She shook her head. She could handle a little teasing from Reese about this, at least she could always punch him if she got too annoyed, it was Finch's genuine concern she couldn't handle. "She'll like to meet you," she told Bear and he lifted his head to look at her. Gen would really like to meet Bear, Shaw couldn't back out now.
Deep breath and a conscious relaxing of every muscle in her body before she stepped through the gates. There were cars and people milling about the driveway, parents and teachers and nannies everywhere. The sun was catching on diamond rings and new car bumpers and hair laden down with so much hairspray that it would only take a spark to set the whole thing on fire. A small child was having a tantrum, adding to the noise.
If the whole scene wasn't already straight out of a nightmare, the cloud of perfume and cologne was mixing to form an unpleasant cloud of odour and Shaw couldn't see Gen anywhere. Bear stayed by her side, far more relaxed than she was herself, and she used him as a barrier against everyone else. She saw the glances but since they didn't approach her, she could deal with it.
But it didn't help find Gen.
"It would help if you could sniff her out," Shaw asked Bear. He looked up at her and blinked before sneezing as another cloud of perfume swamped them both. "Yeah, let's get out of this place." This was a bad idea anyway. Gen may have given her the medal but that didn't mean she wanted Shaw to show up on parents' day. It was bad enough her mother was in prison without some angry assassin trying to take her place.
"Shaw!" Gen's excited voice could be heard over all the noise around her and Shaw jumped. The small body that hurtled towards her would normally have her on alert if she didn't recognise Gen's mop of curly blonde hair. "You came! Harold said you would but I didn't believe him!" Gen's grip around her waist was tight enough to feel and Shaw didn't feel so strange when she hugged Gen back just as tightly. Bear barked once and Gen pulled back to look down at him. "You brought the dog!"
"Finch told you I was coming?" There was only so much information Shaw could take in in this shiny, glitzy nightmare.
"Yeah, he said he was going to come but then today he called up and asked if I would prefer you to come instead. What's the dog's name?" Gen stroked Bear's hair and was rewarded by a lick to the hand.
"His name is Bear," Shaw answered automatically. "You preferred I come instead?"
This turned Gen's attention from Bear for her to squint up at Shaw in the bright sunshine. "Of course. Do you still have my medal"?
"Yes." Anger was easy to feel. Shaw did not appreciate Finch building up Gen's expectations when Shaw hadn't even been sure she was brave enough to come. The warm feeling at Gen wanting her to be there instead of Finch was far less comfortable.
Gen smiled brightly and the warm feeling grew, overtaking the anger. That was - unusual. Shaw looked away from Gen. "So, what normally happens on days like this?"
"It's a day where the kids can show their parents round the school and where they live and everything." Gen shrugged, seemingly unperturbed she didn't have parents to show the school too. Finch would have shown up if she had asked but Shaw had a feeling he was glad he could keep up the reclusive billionaire guardian stick. "I want to show you the computer lab. It has all the best stuff," Gen said, moving on quickly. "And my bedroom. I have my own room and the common room is right next to it and the computer lab right down the hall!"
"Will Bear be allowed in there?" Shaw was way out of her comfort zone here. Gen smiled at Bear, stroking his head again.
"We're allowed pets so I don't see why not. Later we can take him down to the baseball field and let him off lead." Gen looked really excited at the prospect and Bear's ears pricked as if he understood her. And Shaw thought the idea sounded far nicer than hanging around in this parking lot. She was already getting a headache.
"Lead the way, kid." Shaw went to gesture with the hand not holding Bear's lead and realised she still had her arm around Gen's shoulders. She removed it, worried she was making Gen uncomfortable but instead Gen grabbed her hand and started leading her towards the main building.
"Thanks for coming, Shaw. I'm glad you did." Gen's smile wasn't as wide as earlier but it was sincere, even Shaw could see that much.
"Well, you had to meet Bear. It's not fair Reese and Finch get him all the time and you haven't even met him." He was the best part of working with Reese and Finch. And yes, saving lives like Gen's, but Bear was up there.
"It's better that you came." Gen nodded, ignoring Shaw's attempts to take the focus off her. She was too clever for her own good as proven by the whole mess with HR.
Shaw liked that. "So, you still going with the spying business?" She was more than a little proud when she saw Gen nod. "That's my girl."
"Wait until you see how I've rigged the school," Gen whispered to Shaw as they climbed inside the school. "I haven't told Harold because he doesn't like me listening to my classmates but how else am I supposed to practice?" Her eyes were bright with mischief and Shaw was hit by an uncharacteristic way of fondness.
Maybe she wasn't too angry at Finch.