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Witness to an Argument
By ralst


The argument had erupted out of nowhere and Shaw couldn't quite bring herself to pick a side; not just because she was torn between her loyalties to Finch and John, but because she couldn't make heads nor tails of what they were really arguing about. The five months she'd been held captive by Samaritan had left a number of gaps in her understanding of events but she'd thought Finch had brought her up to speed on everything important.

"John's girlfriend," Root whispered, her eyes glued to the arguing men as if they were performing some Shakespearean tragedy for her pleasure. "I think Harold's jealous."

Shaw wasn't certain if she'd call it jealousy but Harold certainly seemed to have a bug up his butt about professional misconduct; whatever the hell that had to do with John and this Iris woman. "What happened to Zoe?"

"She's still around." Root pulled a bag of chips out from one of the drawers and offered it to Shaw. "I don't think they've hooked up in a while, though." She began crunching her way through the chips and nodding her head encouragingly when one or other of the arguing men made a particularly valid point.

Popping a chip into her mouth, Shaw took a seat on the desk next to Root, her curiosity roused by Root's interest more than anything. "Have you met her? Iris?"

Root's smile was oddly lecherous as she said, "We've bumped into each other once or twice."

The smile, more than the wording, caused Shaw to revaluate her decision to remain neutral. "Finch is right," she decided, despite not quite understanding the full scope of his objections. "John should stick to one night stands."

"Like you?" asked Root, her attention finally diverted from the quarrelling men to zero in on the aggrieved looking woman beside her.

Shaw shrugged. "It helps siphon off the tension." At least it had, before Samaritan, and before Root, when she'd been happy to pick up some random guy or girl for a few hours of fun. It had been easy. Nothing was easy any more.

"If you need help relieving the tension..."

The look on Root's face promised a fun filled few hours of stress relieving sex but Shaw knew it was a lie. She had seen the devastation on Root's face as the elevator shutters closed and she'd been forced to leave her behind. She'd also felt the tentative touch upon her return that spoke of happiness and dread. "I don't do relationships."

"That's not what I -"

Shaw watched as the playful light left Root's eyes and she began to withdraw behind the facade of meaningless banter. "Yes, it is." Even before she'd been captured she'd known that they'd gone beyond the point where either of them would be satisfied with a casual relationship. She'd rebelled at the knowledge. Purposefully sought out the other woman for mindless pleasure. But it hadn't worked. She'd managed to brush off those times as meaningless but each night it became harder and harder to leave before dawn.

She reached out and took Root's hand, smiling slightly at the feel of the grease left by the potato chips and how it added a sense of reality to something she'd thought as beyond her as space flight. "I don't do relationships," she reiterated, "but I guess if Reece is willing to put himself on the line, I'd be a chicken if I didn't do the same."

Root's brows furrowed as she looked from a scowling and suddenly silent John to an impatiently waiting Shaw; a smile suddenly blossoming across her face as she realised the intent behind the words. "So, you wanna date me?" She sing-songed in her best Sandra Bullock impersonation, earning an eye-roll from Shaw and a baffled look from Finch.

"Shut up," said Shaw, using their joint hands to pull Root away from the group and towards the station's nearest exit. "Or I'll change my mind."

The End

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