Hey there. Thought I'd try my hand at writing Shoot, or raw, whichever you like to use. Might turn into a series if people like it. Forgive any mistakes, and I hope you enjoy and review.
Shaw was wrenched sharply from the warm embrace of her slumber, back into the cruel, cold world she lived in by an incessant ringing from her phone. Swearing to behead the perpetrator, she snatched the offending object, using as little movement as she could manage. She accepted the call and held the phone to her ear, her face still half buried in her comfy pillow.
"What?" she snapped. Even with the pillow muffling her voice, the ire was still blatantly obvious. Though Shaw was aware of this fact, she wasn't in a mood to worry about Finch's feelings. Although, she was never in a mood to care about that.
"Somebody's grumpy today," replied a familiar but unexpected voice. Shaw quirked an eyebrow, withdrawing the phone and checking the time. It was quarter past three in the morning. With a curse, Shaw hung up the phone and tossed it to the foot of her bed, slumping back down onto her pillow and sinking beneath the covers. It was way too early to deal with this. However, barely ten seconds had passed before her phone rang again. Somehow, the ringtone seemed almost as obnoxious as the person calling. Shaw elected to ignore it. However, as it continued ringing at her relentlessly, Shaw felt her nerves grating. Finally, the phone was silenced. Shaw listened for what must have been a full minute before settling back down to sleep, glad – if not a little disappointed – that the caller had given up so quickly. Closing her eyes, she sighed into the pillow, allowing her irritation and stress to flow out of her lungs and let herself doze. Not five seconds later, the ringtone blared from her phone again. Unable to contain her frustration anymore, she whipped the covers off and lunged for the phone, jamming it against her ear and squeezing tightly, imagining the device was the caller's neck.
"What do you want at this hour?" she demanded, the last vestiges of sleep disappearing from her brain. She knew she'd never be able to relax until this was dealt with now.
"Now you're just being rude," said the voice, and Shaw could swear she could hear the smirk. "Did I wake you?" asked Root innocently. Shaw bit back an angry retort, knowing it was the reaction Root wanted.
"Yes," Shaw deadpanned. "You're the only person crazy enough to be up right now, unless somebody's dying." She paused for a second. "Is somebody dying?" she added, concern gripping her for a moment as she knelt on her mattress in her shorts and tank top.
"Are you concerned about my welfare, Sameen?" asked Root suggestively.
"No. I just don't want someone else to have the satisfaction of wiping that smirk off your face," Shaw responded, her grip on the phone still tight enough to make her fingers ache. Another light chuckle sounded over the phone, making Shaw's lips purse in irritation.
"You care about me," said Root, her chipper tone frying Shaw's nerves. "Admit it and I'll let you sleep."
Shaw rolled her eyes and knew that she was stuck. She wanted to sleep, to have this crazy woman leave her alone until Shaw had the energy to deal with her. But her pride got in her way.
"I knew it," said Root with a laugh.
"I didn't say anything," growled Shaw, wondering if Root had ever tried diagnosing herself while she was pretending to be Caroline Turing, the psychologist.
"You didn't have to."
Shaw took the phone away from her ear, punching the pillow with her left hand, letting out some of her anger before raising it again, trying to keep the weary tone from her voice.
"Tell me what you want or I'm hanging up," she stated, glaring at the darkness in her room. How could the hacker so easily get under her skin? The worst part was that she couldn't even shoot her, for all the trouble Root had given her. She remembered the satisfaction of punching her in the face and used that as an anchor as Root sighed from the other end of the line.
"I just have one small favour to ask. Nothing too taxing, I promise."
Shaw let out a frustrated groan, loud enough for Root to hear it.
"What is it?" she asked, resigned to her fate. Even if she hung up, she'd have a tiny, niggling worry at the back of her mind. She wondered how people functioned with their loud, out of control emotions all the time. How Root managed to be the disciple of the Machine and have that know-it-all chattering away to her all hours of the day, Shaw would never know. That was true devotion.
"Let me in? It's freezing out here," said Root. Now that Shaw's brain was functioning a little better, she could hear the tell-tale chatter of teeth.
Shaw blinked, surprised at the odd request.
"Come again?" she asked, wondering what the hell the hacker was talking about. She heard a chortle from the other end of the line, quickly followed by a hiss of pain, which Root seemed to be trying to hide.
"Well, if you insist," replied Root in a voice dripping with suggestion and innuendo. Shaw ignored the quip and climbed off of her bed, crossing to the window in a few strides and pulled back the thin curtains, scanning the street below. The road was quiet, full of parked cars that glistened in the orange light of the streetlamps. And there, at the front steps of her apartment building was a woman wearing a black coat and holding a phone to her ear. She looked up, brown tresses cascading over her shoulders and smiled when she saw Shaw, giving her a small wave with her left hand, still clutching her phone. Her right arm hung limply by her side. Shaw did not return the wave.
"Why are you outside my apartment?" asked Shaw, wondering why she really bothered now. She might as well just roll with the crazy.
"I have a tiny problem to take care of," she replied, still gazing up at Shaw. The grin widened across her face. "It requires your skilled hands –"
"Stop," ordered Shaw, glaring down at the hacker, who tilted her head, signifying she was amused but backing down. Shaw was silent for a few moments, observing the woman below as her mind whirred, trying to plot out the best course of action. Root was crazy. It was too early for this. But there was something about the way Root held herself as she gazed up at Shaw, her face betraying nothing, but her eyes sparkled slightly, her face slightly taut with concealed pain. Coupled with how she sounded on the phone – as irritating as ever but with a tense edge to her words, her happy tone somewhat forced – Shaw could feel a tiny flutter of anxiety. She was sure her concern had started to show on her face as Root smiled up at her, a cloud of fog streaming out of her mouth in the cold air.
"I'll take that as a yes," said Root triumphantly before disappearing inside and hanging up the phone. Shaw stared at the device in her hand like it was a bomb. Had Root really just invited herself up here? Not that Shaw would have left her out in the cold, as much as she hated to admit it. Especially now she suspected the hacker was injured. This didn't change the fact that this was going to be a long night. Root could just be so irritating most, if not all, of the time.
Root wore a self-satisfied smirk as she awkwardly pulled open the door with her left hand. Her right bicep had been torn open from the elbow to her shoulder by a thick shard of glass from her stolen car's windshield. She had managed to escape the car and patch herself up as best she could – with newspaper, of all things – but she needed medical attention. She would much rather visit Shaw than go to a hospital, where there would be questions and people she didn't like. Holding her tense forearm steady by her side, she jogged up the stairs, ignoring the pain on the left side of her face. It was probably just bruised. She didn't know exactly what state she was in, though she had tried to tidy herself up on the way over. Her arm was oozing blood under the newspaper she had lifted from a 24/7 shop. But it wasn't going to kill her any time soon, and other than a few scrapes and bruises, she was fine as far as she could tell. Finally, she reached Shaw's apartment – of course she knew where it was. She located the correct door and knocked with her good hand, plastering a wide smile across her lips.
Shaw heard the knock about half a minute after Root had hung up. She crossed her apartment while retying her messy ponytail, switching on the lights as she went and pulled open her front door, confident in the knowledge that her gun sat five strides away, safe under her pillow. But she had a feeling that with Root, she didn't need it. Not tonight anyway.
"Good morning," greeted Root cheerily as she leant against the doorframe with her good shoulder. Shaw physically winced at the brightness of her demeanour, wondering how a woman could be so chipper even when injured. Upon close inspection, Root seemed to have been through quite an ordeal. The left side of her face had the beginnings of a bad bruise, along with various cuts peppering her pale skin. Her hair was matted and covered in dust or dirt.
"What have you gotten yourself into now?" asked Shaw, stepping back to admit Root into her home. Root brushed past her and immediately headed to the couch, where she settled down, propping her feet on the coffee table and folding her left arm across her body – her right arm remained by her side, the fingers of her good hand brushing her bicep softly. Shaw closed the door and stood opposite her uninvited guest, arms folded and a scowl on her face. They remained quiet for a moment, simply looking at each other. Finally, Shaw's patience was worn thin.
"What do you need?" she inquired, hoping to get a straight answer this time. Root nodded, sitting up and moving her left hand to unbutton her coat.
"Your skill as a doctor," Root replied as she struggled to pull off her coat. Shaw watched, amused. She was waiting for the hacker to ask for help. Only then would she lend her assistance. After all she'd put up with from the maniac, it was only right she gets to tease the hacker once in a while. Root winced as she tried to manoeuvre her injured arm free before looking up at Shaw.
"Aren't you going to take my coat? I am a guest, after all," she smiled, her voice dripping with sweetness and honey, laced with the innocence she feigned so well.
"Uninvited guest," corrected Shaw gruffly, but nevertheless, she circled around the sofa and gently eased Root's arm free of the sodden sleeve – Shaw could smell congealing blood on the material. The hacker's clothes smelled a little of smoke, her hair coated in dust particles and matted with blood in places – since Shaw could see no wound, she assumed the blood was from sweeping the hair out of her face with a bloody hand. Dumping Root's coat on the kitchen unit, she fetched a basin and filled it with warm, soapy water and sat down next to Root, who was prying wads of balled up newspaper off of her wound. The woman's black, short-sleeved top made accessing the wound easy – Shaw didn't relish the idea of stitching Root back together with her top off, though somehow she didn't think the hacker would mind that at all. Shaw gently smacked Root's hand away before shifting closer and peering at the wound, tossing the last of the newspaper onto the table.
"It's deep. It'll need stitches," she mused aloud as she dipped her cloth into the basin and began cleaning the messy, oozing cut.
"More needles. Fantastic," sighed Root, hissing in pain from time to time. Root had been vague about what had happened, but Shaw knew it couldn't have been fun being tortured like that, even for someone who claimed to enjoy it.
"I'll be quick," replied Shaw, unable to think of anything else that might help.
"Thank you," replied Root, and for once, she seemed genuine. Shaw glanced up from the wound, the pair of tweezers held steady in her hand as she peered at Root's face. The woman's brown hair hung limply over her face like a curtain as she stared at the floor, her good hand clenched against the pain.
"I can get you some painkillers if you want –"
"Just get it done," requested Root quickly. Shaw could see that Root's eyes were shut tightly through the locks of hair. "Please," she added, glancing up at Shaw with an apologetic, almost pleading look.
"If you insist," shrugged Shaw.
Root made no attempt to start a conversation while Shaw worked away. The prospect of having another needle near her was daunting, even if the needle was being held by Shaw, who was the one person she could trust with this kind of procedure. Shaw allowed the silence, concentrating as she finished cleaning the wound and disinfecting it. Only when she had threaded the needle and was holding it above Root's skin did Shaw speak.
"I'm about to start now. It will hurt," she warned.
"Like it wasn't already – OW!" cried Root as Shaw forced the needle through her skin.
"It's okay," said Shaw, noting Root's knuckles were now pure white and shaking. Root nodded, her lips clamped shut, suppressing a cry of pain. She could feel Shaw's warm fingers working across her skin with great and surprising tenderness and care, so she focused on that, trying to block out the pain. She could also feel Shaw's knee brushing her own. Root had a feeling the contact, which had not been there until the needle had punctured her flesh, was an attempt at comfort, since both Shaw's hands were busy. Root smiled, knowing that this might not be the case but believed it anyway.
"You going to tell me how you managed to mess up your arm?" said Shaw quietly as she worked. Glad of the distraction, though not quite so pleased with the topic, she mulled over her answer.
"She had a job for me," she replied vaguely, resisting the urge to shrug.
"Did She mention your arm would be cut up in the process?" asked Shaw before she could think. Root couldn't resist jumping on this question.
"Are you worried she'll get me killed, Shaw?" Root winced as Shaw yanked the needle a little harder than was completely necessary. Shaw didn't reply.
"All done," said Shaw finally, packing away her equipment to be dealt with later.
"This is a work of art," smirked Root, peering at her stitches curiously.
"Hardly," replied Shaw quickly, unaccustomed to compliments about her handiwork. Gently, she placed a sheet of gauze over the stitches and taped it into place to cover the wound.
"Keep it dry," she ordered, shaking her stiff hands. Shaw sighed, glad she could relax now and plonked her feet on the table, closing her eyes for a moment. Root shifted on the couch, daring to stretch her legs over Shaw's as she rested her head against the arm of the sofa. Shaw turned to her slowly, her eyes narrow, caught between annoyance and slight awe that Root had the guts to continue pissing her off. Root smirked back, her face still slightly tense from the pain in her arm. Shaw decided she was too tired to fight a losing battle with the hacker and simply yanked the woman's dirty boots off before they stained her sofa cushions.
"Car crash," said Root suddenly, somewhat amused by Shaw's actions, and a little surprised she hadn't been threatened yet.
"What?" groaned Shaw irritably, refusing to open her eyes as she rested her hands behind her head and tried to sleep. She could feel root shifting again, trying to get comfy.
"She asked me to find someone. Long story short, they got into a car and I had to stop them."
"So you crashed your car into them?"
"I knew what I was doing," retorted Root defensively, lightly digging her socked heel into Shaw's leg.
"Clearly," said Shaw sarcastically, not moving from her position. Root chuckled as she shifted, twisting so she was lying on her good side, her eyes still lingering on Shaw. They lapsed into an almost comfortable silence. Shaw was glad of it. Whenever Root opened her mouth, the urge to punch her returned. But Shaw knew that she would feel a twinge of guilt if she hit Root when she was injured. When they first met, it definitely wouldn't have been a problem at all. But now, she found a tiny flutter of something, some strange, new feeling whenever Root was around. It was irritating, but Shaw hid it well. She hid anything well. But Root seemed to realise that Shaw wouldn't kill her. And she constantly tortured Shaw with that fact, that Shaw might actually miss the hacker occasionally. Soon enough, Shaw had drifted off to sleep, her thoughts drifting around one particular word: Root.
Root's smirk slid off her face, replaced with a genuinely warm smile as she watched Shaw's breathing slow. Soon, she was asleep. Root settled down, using her good arm as a pillow and decided to try and get some sleep too. She had woken Shaw once, she didn't really want to again. Her eyes fluttered closed, her arm still throbbing, but she had had worse. A stream of words sounded in her ear, causing Root to grin. It was comforting to know that She was talking to her. Not even about a mission this time. The Machine was actually checking up on her. Root sighed contentedly as she curled up a little, shifting her legs. She felt a weight across her legs.
Root woke up in a bit of a daze. She didn't have a home, so she was used to staring up at unfamiliar ceilings. Usually, She would just tell Root where was a safe place to sleep before waking her up when it was time to move on. She even ensured Root ate well during the day. This morning, however, she had woken up to silence. A familiar presence was near her, coupled with a comfortingly familiar scent. Root remembered Her last orders were to stay with Shaw and rest until her arm was better. Shaw. Root twisted onto her back, blinking blearily, trying to clear her hazy vision. Sunlight streamed through the gaps in the curtains, illuminating Shaw's small form next to her on the sofa. Shaw was stretched out, her feet crossed at the ankle on the coffee table. Root's legs rested comfortably on Shaw's lap, her hand resting on Root's calf. Shaw had slumped in the night, her back sliding down the cushions and lolling to the side. Root was caught – should she move? No, she didn't want to wake Shaw again. Although, seeing Shaw's face in their close proximity would be priceless. No, she could tease Shaw when the woman was fully rested and maybe less irritable.