Disclaimer: Person of Interest does not belong to me. Neither does The Pretender. Neither do any of the involved characters. That should cover it all.

AN: I wrote this because isagrimorie suggested it. And she did so because I was bored, and uninspired, and asked really nicely.

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* Cat and Mouse (The Centre edition) *
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Shaw is cleaning her nine millimeter Beretta Nano pistol when her cell starts vibrating on the glass surface of the table. She frowns. This is her day off, - not that she exactly wants it, but that's besides the point - and if she has to go to the office because some idiot couldn't keep the place intact for one goddamn day, she's not gonna stop herself from testing her perfect aim on some vital extremities just because Control wouldn't like it.

She looks over to the phone and curses at the blocked number. Of course. It's not like her week couldn't use a little more worse.

"What do you want?"

"Now, now Sameen. Is that how you greet all your old friends?"

"We're not friends Lab Rat. And didn't I say what I'd do to you if you kept calling me that?"

There's a throaty chuckle across the line and Shaw's jaw clenches so hard she's almost sure the bane of her existence hears it.

"What. Do. You want Root?"

She grits through the teeth, enunciating every syllable.

"I called to apologize Shaw. I didn't plan to shoot you, but you didn't give me much of choice there did you?"

Her side throbs from the bullet graze under the bandage. Oh yes, the reason she's been banished to her house when there's productive things to be done. Next time Shaw catches her she's not going easy on the damn woman just because the boss wants the Pretender alive. Alive doesn't mean intact.

"Of course I did, all you had to do was come along like a good little experiment. It'd make both our lives so much easier."

"But where's the fun in easy? You'd be so bored you break me out again yourself."

"Dream on."

"Oh Shaw," Root's voice lowers into a purr. "My dreams involving you are so much more… colorful."

Her hand suddenly squeezes the cell without her permission, as if she's suddenly imagining it to be the thrice damned woman's throat and not… no, choking the life out of her sounds about right.

"Fine. You've apologized, So are we done or do you wanna braid hair and talk boys?"

"As I remember it, it's not boys we talked about when I braided your hair. Pretty sure we-"

"Don't."

There's a silence that lasts for a moment longer than Shaw expects.

"As you wish."

She clears her throat, trying to regain her equilibrium. She hates it when Root does this, the past is gone. And in the present Root is nothing to her except a target. Or so Shaw repeats to herself every time she has to point a gun at her and squeeze the trigger.

Little Sameen is supposed to be dead. Shaw has worked half her life killing her and burying what's left. And despite that, even after two years of cat and mouse games, the woman who used to be a girl named Samantha is still free.

It's a constant irritation and an unfortunate question mark on her otherwise perfect record.

"You should talk about it to someone. Keeping stuff bottled up can lead to uncontrolled emotional outbursts."

Shaw's brows furrow. That doesn't sound like Root at all.

"What?"

"Thanks for the chat. This was nice, we should do this more often. And Shaw? Catch me if you can."

The line goes quiet and Shaw sighs. So Root's taken on the persona of a psychologist? Well that should be a nightmare.

She wants to grimace but instead she grins to herself. This should also be a bit of fun.

Grabbing the Beretta Shaw stands up, and while ignoring the stinging at her side with one careless flinch, she speed-dials one of the two numbers that need to hear about her latest conversation. Well… some of it.

She's already leaving out the front door when Finch finally picks up.

"Miss Shaw?"

"Meet me at The Centre. Root left us another bread crumb."