content warning: thinly veiled metaphors for dysphoria
they spend a lot of time cooped up indoors doing cool science shit or sparring
root would be down for leaving the lab, but shaw’s super paranoid
crowds make her nervous. she hates when people stare at her. like they know shes not a human.
which like, shouldnt matter anyway? because humans are dumb, she’s more than a human, shes better than they’ll ever be–
their opinions shouldnt even matter
but they do
root tells her it shouldnt matter. “who cares if we pass as human or not, sweetie? it’s not like they can actually hurt us”
shaw gets quiet
“no! no dont brush this off. if this is important to you, then it’s important to me! i’d never make you do anything that makes you uncomfortable”, root hurriedly exclaims
“i know that they cant hurt us. my bones are titanium alloys. my skin is kevlar.” shaw begins haltingly, “but when i have to make trips to harold, sometimes people try to talk to me. and i answer, of course. because that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
bitterly, she adds “and when i speak, sometimes…”
root scoots a little closer. her pressure against shaw’s side is reassuring.
“sometimes they just look at me. like they know. and i hate it. was i too lyrical or too stiff? was my vocabulary too simple or too complex? was it my tone, my pitch?”
shaw grips the edge of the bench. the steel begins to give under the pressure. “and it shouldnt even matter, root. it shouldnt. who gives a shit if im an ai or not, and who gives a shit that they know? it shouldnt matter, and it shouldnt bother me, BUT IT DOES. and i hate it.”
“i hate that it gets in the way of me living, root. i know you. i know you’re sick of being trapped in here with me. you want to see the world–”
root opens her mouth to protest
“–and dont even try, root. you know you cant lie to me.”
“i hate that i cant give that to you” shaw whispers.
root’s ears catch it, of course.
“i’ll always take what you can give me. i’d never ask you for anything else, sameen”, root says gently.
shaw shrugs her off after a few minutes of silence. she walks back to her work station. she’s going to build rifle that shoot knives semi auto or something.
just to distract herself.
root quietly goes back to her work as well.
she just barely hears the “thank you” over the steady metallic clinks.
The blizzard was going to be hitting New York that evening, so Shaw was glad to have the day off. Now she could just relax and watch her favorite show in peace…without interruption…it was going to be the best day ev—