DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ralst31[at]yahoo.co.uk
SPOILERS: Season 5.
SERIES: Scenarios.

Scenario # 9
By ralst


No one on the team had ever seen Harold turn that particular shade of red but John was willing to bet that they'd be seeing it a lot more once Samaritan was defeated. Not that Root and Shaw would film their more private moments and force Harold to watch - perhaps, pre-Machine, Root would have taken some kind of pleasure out of seeing him squirm, but she'd mostly reformed in that respect - but he doubted that after their enforced separation that they'd care to hold back. Root had already intensified her flirting to an eyebrow scorching degree and Shaw had actually encouraged her or at least smiled in her direction with an openness he'd never seen before. Yes, if they could just refrain from dying horribly at the hands of Samaritan, things were going to get interesting around the subway.

"Please, can you turn this off?" Harold begged, although whether he was pleading with the Machine or one of his team mates it was unclear. "I don't see how Ms Grove's and Ms Shaw's personal life is relevant to defeating a rival ASI."

Lionel slurped his drink and pretended to be paying attention to the shenanigans on screen, but like John he had already figured out that by focusing on the blank monitor behind the one the Machine was using he could perfectly make out everyone else's reactions. "Maybe Cocoa-Puffs and Shaw hooking up is vital to defeating the magic eight-ball?" he said, watching closely to see if Harold's head would actually explode. "I mean, it's worth a shot."

Shaking his head, Harold tried once again to reach for the keyboard but was thwarted by a large tub of popcorn thrust in his direction. "Snack, Harold?" Shaw asked, rattling the buttery contents in such a way that she continually managed to block his every attempt at prematurely stopping the scenario. It wasn't that she had any great desire for the team to spy on her and Root's sex life - or possible sex life, with all these scenarios running through her head, it was a little difficult to keep track of exactly what they had and hadn't done - but after he'd made her sit through eight different versions of Root dying alone, she owed him one.

"Don't worry, Harry, it's only a simulation," Root reassured him. "If it was real I'd be using the fur-lined cuffs." Her enjoyment of the simulation had little to do with embarrassing Harold or even taking revenge for having to watch herself die; no, Root was simply enjoying having her theory confirmed: they were indeed perfect for each other.

On screen the two figures relaxed into post-coital slumber, their bodies entwined in a way that spoke more of love and affection than all their previous sexual gymnastics. It was a moment that caused both John and Lionel to shift their eyes back to the screen and quickly away again as they realised the true intimacy inherent in the scene. Root stood, her hand hovering over the keyboard as she turned to Shaw, silently asking her permission to end the scene. The words about to be spoken weren't ones she wanted Shaw to hear from a duplicate's lips and, whatever Shaw's response, she wanted it to be real and not merely the Machine's best guess, no matter how accurate its predictions.

Shaw nodded, her fingers briefly brushing against Root's and promising that if they made it out alive the moment would not be forgotten.

As the screen went dark and Harold let out a sigh of relief, Shaw turned to him and said, "Maybe next time, Harold, tell your Machine it can fade to black. I don't know why you insisted we all needed to watch." He opened his mouth to strongly refute the accusation but before he could form so much as a syllable, Shaw cut him off with a curt, "Next."

Scenario # 9 terminated

The End

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