Something was off about Root this mission. Finch and Reese may not have noticed but Shaw did. They’d gotten a lot closer, Root and Shaw, since Shaw’s return from Samaritan’s clutches so it wasn’t difficult for her to realise something was wrong. Root had still flirted, made the usual comments to annoy Shaw but Shaw could tell her mind was elsewhere.
Shaw had asked Root about it but Root had shrugged her off, saying she was fine. Of course Root had then turned around and started teasing Shaw because she’d cared enough to ask in the first place. That would have usually been enough to deter her from investigating further and if it had been anyone else, Shaw would have given up there and then, not caring enough to really find the problem, if the person didn’t want help, then so be it. But this was Root and Shaw couldn’t give up on her yet, not after the months that Root had spent looking for Shaw, never giving up hope that she was still alive.
It had been Harold that gave her the answer she was looking for, and he only gave her the information after she’d made various threats. But Finch had seen the real reason behind Shaw’s asking, that she cared about the other woman, so Finch had given Shaw the information she’d wanted.
And then suddenly it all made sense, the distance, the feigned nonchalance and while Shaw wasn’t very good at this sort of thing, she knew what she had to do.
“You ready to go home?” Shaw asked as she found Root in the subway car, having just finished tidying up their gear from their last mission. Their latest mission, where they were all required to attend a wedding, and after Harold’s explanation of what had occurred at the previous wedding they’d attended together, Root’s behaviour now made a bit more sense (and it also made sense why Finch had refused to go to this one).
Root smiled at Shaw and Shaw knew it was due to the use of the word “home”, something they’d both started to use just recently even though they’d basically been living together for months.
Root nodded her answer and fell into step beside Shaw as they exited the station together, heading towards their apartment, the apartment they’d shared since Shaw’s return. Finch had given it to them, well to Shaw, as it was one of his various safe houses, for her to use while she’d recovered from being tortured by Samaritan. Root had of course refused to leave her side while she recovered and even though it’s been months, they’re still living there together now.
Shaw didn’t break the silence between them until they’d arrived back home, Root looking through the fridge to make them both something for breakfast, “did you want to talk about it?”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” Root replied, avoiding eye contact as she set out the ingredients for pancakes.
“I spoke to Harold about why you may have been acting off today,” Shaw said, taking a seat across the counter from where Root was now mixing ingredients together.
“And what did he say?” Root asked, still not looking at Shaw, knowing this was an uncomfortable conversation for them both.
“He didn’t notice anything today but he did tell me about the last time you guys attended a wedding, while I was away.”
“You weren’t away,” Root replied immediately, anger just under the surface in her voice and Shaw knew that this was a sore subject for them both, something they both avoided talking about if possible.
“You were missing for months.”
“I thought you were dead!” Root finally looked up at Shaw as she spoke, the pain clear in her eyes but then Root blinked and the pain was gone, her shoulders deflating as her face became expressionless, “I’m sorry, I know you don’t like to talk about it.”
“Maybe we need to talk about it though?” Shaw asked, pushing the subject more than she had in the past. They’d talked about her absence a bit, when she’d first returned, but then they’d pushed past it, focussing more on taking down Samaritan than themselves. They were good together, so why bring up things from the past that would only cause them both pain? Clearly it was causing Root pain not to talk about it though so maybe it was about time they did do some talking, as much as Shaw hated the idea.
When Root saw that Shaw was serious, she spoke again, “I missed you, so much when you were gone, and the wedding while you were missing made me realise what I may never have again, and I was lonely so I found the boys which didn’t help in the end because all I could think about was you and what could never happen.”
“What about now?” Shaw asked as Root set the pancake batter aside that she’d finished mixing so she could talk to Shaw with no distractions, this was an important conversation after all.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m back and you still feel lonely? Still feel like you’re missing something?” Shaw had to understand what Root was feeling if she had any chance of making her feel better.
“No, not anymore, but today just brought up a lot of things I thought were gone now that you’re back.” Root was surprised that Shaw was still pushing the subject and as much as Root didn’t want to talk about it, it showed just how much Shaw cared and how far they’d come that she was.
“If you’re not lonely then what is it?”
Root almost made a joke then, something to diffuse the seriousness of the situation and to get Shaw to drop the subject because she didn’t think this was something that Shaw wanted to hear but if there was one chance to say it it was now, so Root opened her mouth and spoke, letting Shaw know exactly what she’d been thinking about. “I was never one of those girls who wanted a big wedding, who wanted to find the man, or woman, of my dreams and settle down in a nice house with a garden, a dog and 3 kids.”
Root paused and Shaw cut in, “and you want that now?”
“No, of course not, not all of it anyway. But the marriage thing? Do I want to be tied to the same person for the rest of my life? Know that they’ll always be there and I can count on them to have my back? I want that, and the wedding today, remembering how it felt when you were gone, made me realise how much I do want that. I don’t even need the piece of paper, I just want to know you’ll always be there with me.”
After Root’s words, there was a pause in their conversation where neither of them said anything, Root too surprised that she’d said so much and Shaw stunned into silence by Root’s words.
“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said all that,” continued Root when Shaw still hadn’t said anything in response. She’d missed Shaw when she was gone, but it was enough to have her back in her life where they now share a home and a bed and where they get to work together on a daily basis. Root was happy with the way things were with Shaw it had just been hard today having all those memories come flooding back of a time when she didn’t have Shaw with her.
“After everything that’s happened between us, there’s no way I’m letting anything come between us again,” Shaw said, her voice strong and confident with the words she was saying, “I know I may not be very good at this but I do care for you and as long as I have anything to say about it, we’ll always be together. We’re perfect for each other, remember?“ Shaw smirked as she said the last words, something that Root had told her on multiple occasions which usually received and eye roll from Shaw, and the tense atmosphere in the room was broken.
“Does that mean we can wear matching rings?” Root asked, usual grin back on her face as Shaw’s words really took hold, knowing she meant everything she’d said and even if it wasn’t a proposal, it was the closest thing she was every likely to get.
“Don’t push your luck,” Shaw grumbled but she was glad that Root was obviously back to her old self and that she’d managed to get rid of Root’s earlier worries, “and hurry up with the pancakes, I’m starving.”
The next week when Shaw turned up with a ring on her finger and she slipped a matching one wordlessly onto Root’s finger, Root couldn’t help but grin in response and then, ignoring the shocked looks on both Finch and Reese’s faces, Root pressed a quick kiss to Shaw’s lips before they turned around and got back to work.