Fan Fiction Friday: 10 “Person of Interest” Stories Because Root and Shaw Are Everything

People spend a lot of time telling me I’m living a half-life because I’m not watching whatever show or shipping whatever couple, but only because they don’t understand just how many hours of TV I watch for my job. The effect is two-fold: 1) There’s not a lot of extra time to watch things that aren’t hardcore canonically queer. 2) I’m desensitized to so many television emotions. Oh, but ha ha ha! I followed Person of Interest by the gif sets my buddy Race Tumblr-ed for a long time, and then one day, out of nowhere, Root and Shaw were REALLY KISSING. Well, you can bet that I used that smooch as an excuse to dive in to the show and pretty soon I was drowning deliriously in it. I finally, finally, finally caught up two weeks ago. And here is the result.

Caged Animals by BlondeQ

Plot: What if Shaw had to stay in that subway station after “The Devil You Know.”
Length: 90,000 words

Root waited two days after she sank the syringe into Shaw’s neck before going back to the subway station.

She knew that Shaw was going to be angry with her, and she hoped that giving her a little time to cool off might help. On the other hand, she knew it was possible (probable, really) that Shaw would spend that time getting herself more and more pissed.

Root had promised herself that she would stay away for a full forty eight hours. Forty seven hours and fifty six minutes after she left Shaw on the cot with Harold looking over her, Root was back at the entrance to the subway station. She thought about slipping inside now, but she liked the idea of the exact forty eight hours, so Root passed the entrance by, head down, hood up.

Her mouth twitched a tiny bit into a smile when she remembered the way that the needle, clutched in her tight fist, pierced through Shaw’s skin so smoothly. The bullseye that was the soft area just behind the tendons in Shaw’s neck meant that when Shaw flinched, it only drove the needle deeper. And when Shaw’s hand gripped Root’s, her tight fist covering tight fist, Root knew that Shaw was too late, the plunger had already been pressed and Shaw was going to drop momentarily. No matter how good of an assassin you were, when you were hit with that much tranquilizer, you were going down. Root had let Shaw jerk her hand away.

At The Still Point (There The Dance Is) by journaliar

Plot: Ever wonder what happened after “Prophets”? It’s this!
Length: 4,000 words

“What’re you doing here?” Shaw asks quietly, stepping into the bathroom as the light flickers and the fan hums gently.

Something loosens. Something that was knotted and tight and high in her chest ever since she spoke with Harold, just lets go at the sight of Root bent over the bathroom sink, her blood glowing where it’s smeared along the counter top and splattered on the tile floor. “Besides bleeding all over everything.”

“Searching for buried treasure.” Root bites out, bloodied forceps shaking visibly as she pulls a bullet from the unassuming wound at her shoulder. She is topless, the straps of her black bra cutting across pale skin and Shaw watches her ribs expand and contract with relief from behind as the bullet clatters noisily into the basin.

“I could’ve done that for you.” Shaw points out as Root shakily sets down the forceps, meeting Shaw’s gaze in the reflection of the mirror and even though her mouth turns up in a smirk, her eyes are dull.

Untitled Tumblr drabble by winged-mammal

Plot: Drabble!

“Tell me about Caracas.”

Shaw’s eyes flick up to meet Root’s, but otherwise she remains lying still, pressed against her side. “What?”

“You said there was a story behind that scar on your thigh.” Root laughs, a huff that sounds more labored than it has any right to be. “Never did tell me though.”

Just to Remind You by randolhllee

Plot: After Samaritan goes down, Shaw comes back.
Length: 17,000 words

“Eagle One is in position,” came the breezy announcement over the earpieces.

John mouthed Eagle One? to Shaw, but she was already rolling her eyes. Since Samaritan’s downfall and Shaw’s return, Root had wholeheartedly embraced a new level of the lighthearted philosophy get your kicks when you can. It was impossible to predict her sense of humor.

“Currently Doing That, what’s your twenty?”

Shaw’s fist thudded off John’s shoulder before his expression could complete its transition to amusement.

“Root,” Shaw growled, “don’t call me that.”

“Why not?” Root asked evilly. “You kissed me first, remember?”

“Well, she did think she was gonna die, Root,” John added. This earned him another sock to the arm. He rubbed at it half-jokingly. “That’s going to bruise, Shaw,” he advised her.

“Suck it up,” Shaw ordered. “Root—“

“You started it, Sameen. No take-backs!” Root’s transmission cut out in the middle of what sounded suspiciously like chuckling.

Natural Selection by kesdax

Plot: Right after the season three finale, Root and Shaw commit to keeping their heads down. (They fail.)
Length: 50,000 words

She walked down the town’s main street which consisted of Joe’s, the bar she worked in (she had never met Joe and, as far as she was aware, neither had anyone else), and a few shops: the nearest grocery store for fifteen miles, a pharmacy and – because every small town needs one – a tattoo parlour slash liquor store. There were a few other stores that she barely glanced at as she walked by, the street lamps flickering overhead and casting an ominous shadow over the deserted street.

She passed a row of payphones and stopped dead in her tracks when one of them started ringing, the sound loud like a foghorn in the one am quiet.

She stared at it before briefly glancing down the street. Still no one in sight. This phone call was for her.

Her hand was steady when she reached for the receiver, but the adrenaline had already started pumping through her veins and she felt the urge to run.


The voice that spoke back to her was metallic and cold and so very familiar. A number and an address before the line went dead.

After six months of nothing, no contact and no word from her team, the Machine had finally spit out a number.’

Root and Shaw Prompt Haven by pleasanthell

Plot: Literally everything, y’all.
Length: 44,000 words

“I can get you a bed in here Ms. Shaw,” Harold offered.

Shaw shook her head. She was going to sit right where she was sitting until Root woke up.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” she sighed softly.

“What do you mean?” Harold asked.

Shaw looked Root over. “She…” She couldn’t even say the words. She looked down at the rug under her feet and then back at Root, “She loves me doesn’t she?”

“I believe so,” Harold nodded. He walked to the foot of the bed.

Shaw sighed heavily and leaned back in her chair. She didn’t know how to articulate what she was feeling. She never knew how to do that because she so rarely felt things. But what she felt for Root was strong. She wondered what it would be like if she was normal. If she had the normal range of emotions, there’s no telling what she would have done or said when she realized she started falling for the witty assassin. Maybe she wouldn’t feel so guilty that Root may never wake up without ever really being told how she felt.

Never Tell Me The Odds. by gigi2690

Length: Drabble length.

“Never tell me the odds.”

“Did you just quote Star Wars?”

“No.” The lie was in the minute widening of the eyes before she answered, she would have missed it had Root’s eyes been anywhere else- though the Machine had already warned Root of the increasing frequency to which her eyes were drawn to Sameen during missions.

to be a dagger by charizona

Plot: Oh, it’s a Harry Potter AU, all right, and Shaw is definitely from Drumstrang.
Length: 39,000 words

Sameen Shaw drowns in her robes, sinking in shades of crimson, but she’s in the front. She’s in the front and she doesn’t get to be small. Not now, not ever, and especially not with Headmaster Hersh’s hand on her shoulder as he stands next to her.

Her fingers curl around her staff and she leads the representatives from her school, Durmstrang Institute, into Hogwarts’ Great Hall. It’s rehearsed and strange, but as she catches glimpses of the starry-eyed Hogwarts students, it’s worth it. All the hard work to get here was worth it. Since the tournament was announced, Hersh has spent almost every waking moment working with her, sparring one on one — she’s had to endure the envious looks of her classmates. It’s obvious she’s Hersh’s first choice, but compared to the others, her scores are higher, she throws stronger and better placed punches, and magic comes to her faster and easier than anyone else she’s ever met.

If anyone’s name is going to be chosen from the Goblet of Fire, it’s hers.

Her cloak curls over her shoulders and her uniform molds around her body stiffly when she sits down with Grice and Brooks, paying more attention to the food on the table rather than what they’re saying. She catches an offhand comment from Brooks, something about Hogwarts being dirty. All castles are subject to dust, really, so Sameen agrees between bites of savory beef and thick drinks of something she doesn’t have a name for. Brooks sends her an odd glance but keeps talking regardless.

99.607% Match Compatibility by ionizable

Plot: What if the Machine thought of itself as Cupid? What an AU that would be!
Length: 13,000 words

With an unexpected tenseness in her muscles, Shaw punches in the last digit and hits “Enter” almost defiantly, before turning to watch Root striding back towards Reese with the first aid kit.

Satisfied that their attention is occupied elsewhere and not on the vaguely illicit behavior she feels like she’s engaging in, Shaw considers the error message returned to her by the program.

Feeling resigned to the probable result she knows she’s about to get, she enters “y” for the “return known alias instead?… y/n” prompt.

Her mouth twists wryly at the name printed out in the “highest match compatibility result…” line.

“99.607% match compatibility, huh?” she mutters to herself.

She erases the output window and clears the memory cache with the method Harold taught her a few months ago before heading over to take a look at the bite mark on Reese’s shin.

Digital Lion by journaliar

Plot: Takes place right after “Post If-Then-Else.” Root goes back for Shaw’s body.
Length: 9,000 words

“Do you know where Shaw is?” Root murmurs quietly, breath fogging in the icy air while John snores quietly from the backseat. It’s the middle of the night and they are staking out the home of a Samaritan higher up, waiting for the opportunity to pounce.

The Machine remains quiet like she often is nowadays. Her disapproval of their vigilante rescue mission obvious.

Root tries not to think about it. What it means that The Machine is refusing to help her. What it means that Root is so angry.

“Why won’t you help me?” Root bites out.

She doesn’t jump when The Machine answers.

‘Asset irrelevant’

I’m so new to this fandom, y’all. Teach me everything.

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Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. This piece is everything! Finally someone besides me has noticed this pairing and this show.

  2. I really enjoy the whole Natural Selection series by kesdax I powered through all 5 stories in one weekend.

  3. godbless the length of all of these fics- maybe* this can hold me over until season 5 comes on again

    *though highly improbable

  4. Check out phwaa’s fics. My absolute favorite and probably the best written Shoot fics.

  5. We just got season 3 on Netflix so are super behind…as ever…in the UK. Thus I’m avoiding fics that may be spoilery. I love Root and Shaw and have since their first appearance on screen together. Hoping for the flix to get season 4 when channel 5 stops showing 3 in a couple of months so we can catch up. It’s a pipe dream but I’m really really really hoping for it.

  6. I WANT TO WATCH THIS SHOW!! But I’m a little worried because according to IMDB Amy Acker doesn’t even appear until season 2, and Sarah Shahi isn’t in it until even later! How much of the boring white dudes do I have slog through before I get to the good stuff? And how boring are the boring white dudes? Is POI like Orphan Black, where I would watch it even if it weren’t for Cosima and Delphine, or is it more like Chicago Fire, where I lost interest the second Shay got killed off?

    • It’s not Orphan Black-level amazing, but I found it pretty engrossing from the get-go.

    • I won’t lie, I found season 1 to be a bit of a slog, but it does set up stuff that will help you appreciate the introduction of Amy Acker’s character in particular at the end of the season. To me, it was worth it. If you’re feeling hesitant, here’s a season 1 episode guide which gives an outline of the essential episodes to understand the storyline. Plus, season 1 does have lots of Taraji P. Henson, so that’s a bonus. I really started watching for the Root/Shaw stuff, but now that I’m invested, I watch the show for a lot more than that.

    • Heya, friends of mine recommended to start at 2×16, that’s when Shaw appears.
      I have actually grown to appreciate and love the show so much, that now, that I’m caught up, I’ve actually circled back to season 1 and unseen part of season 2 and am enjoying those extremly, because some completely innocous things at the beginning turn out to be important later. This show really evolves into something you wouldn’t really guess at the beginning.
      So my advice would be: Take your sweet time and start at the start.Like an ep or two a day, no binging. It’s a little routine sometimes.Sometimes fun, sometimes twisty, occasionally very different.
      If you’re there exclusively for #shoot, start at 2×16. But you’ll miss out on some stuff.
      The guy characters are written well enough for me not to mind them being guy characters. And I usually do mind.

    • Season 1 is a slog but to be honest it’s worth it for the Detective Carter backstory. She is completely awesome and a brilliant female protagonist.

    • Also I found that even in Season 1, the characters of the week were extremely well written, and were very diverse (women, POC, etc). So yes, when you begin the two leads are white dudes, but you still get stories about women on the regular.

      • For example, I think the trope of the “white savior” who sweeps in (here literally) to save the damsel in distress is often averted because as it turns out either she wasn’t in distress to begin with or she was but then finds agency and kicks ass for the rest of the episode.

        It’s honestly one of the best shows out there in terms of how they write in women.

    • It’s a great show, though the first season seems a bit mediocre to the later ones. Still, I recommend watching it from the beginning for the show’s concept and the characters’ development. You can catch a glimpse of Root on 1×13 and she finally appeared in season 1 finale. Shaw’s first appearance is 2×16. I love love love Root and Shaw, but Person of Interest is even more than that, it’s probably the best written show on TV for me. Btw, don’t worry, the white dudes aren’t boring at all, they’re pretty great :)

    • Hey there! When I first became aware of Root/Shaw in PoI I had the exact same thoughts… I mean how many shows with boring bro dudes can you watch?

      But imo PoI is a really good show especially in those first two seasons and if you want to get into Root everyone else dynamics you can’t afford to lose the beginning… IF you like pprocedurals you will love it!

    • Season one is definitely slower and more procedural oriented than the later stuff. A lot of the earlier episodes are technically skip-able, but there’s so much incredible character work that is really worth watching. I also just recently did a re-watch of the series and the early stuff holds up incredibly well–I enjoyed it all much more the second time around, so skip at your own risk. The show is one of the very best things on television right now, even without the Root x Shaw stuff. As for the white dudes…I was a little bored with Reese in Season 1, but he (and the others) have really grown on me. I also imagine that they’re easier to tolerate when binge watching, as opposed to waiting a week between episodes.

    • The first season is two white dudes and Taraji Henson solving crimes. Root appears in concept in episode 13 and in person in the final episode of Season 1. She’s also in the first episode of Season 2 but then vanishes again for a while, as is her way. Shaw appears in a brilliant episode called “Relevance” (ep. 16) and that’s the first meeting between her and Root. It’s a doozy! Shaw and Root are both on-again/off-again for the rest of Season 2, then both become regulars in Season 3, though Root disappears once again from time to time. Aside from their meeting, the first big “whoa” episode between them in Season 3, episode 6 “Mors Praematura” and from then on it’s away we go! I love the show as a whole, even the dudes and their dog – Bear! It’s pretty awesome once they start moving away from the crime of the week aspects and into the mythology, which happens mid-way through Season 2. But I went back to watch season 1 again anyhow once I knew all the Root/Shaw parts because it’s mostly a fantastic show overall. Kara Stanton and Zoe Morgan are lovely. Hope this helps.

    • I was bored by season 1 the first time around, and I skipped to Amy’s episodes. But the story (regardless of Amy and Sarah) gets really amazing seasons 3 and 4, and it does actually call back to things from the first two seasons. So now going back and watching those episodes I skipped, I appreciate them a lot more.

      But I do think it’s not that it’s a bad show that got better because of them. It’s just my personal preference for the kind of story it’s telling. Season 1 and some of two is very procedural, which is not my thing. Amy’s storyline is all about the big multi-season arcs, and so those are the episodes that get me hooked. If you enjoy procedural, you might really like season 1.

    • POI is a brilliant show. Root and Shaw becoming an item is the cherry on top. It’s a smart show and the showrunners value their audience and challenge them. Sure, season 1 is a bit slow because it follows a procedural format, but even that is way above your typical CBS procedural like NCIS or CSI.

    • I’m kind of late but you can do what I did and just watch Amy and Sarah’s episodes! (Although to be fair, Carter is pretty epic and not part of the ‘boring white dudes’)! :) I attempted from the beginning but after episode 5, it had gotten really boring so I just skipped to Root. And once Shaw came along, I started watching depending on how good the opening was.

      Root and Shaw are the most beautiful, perfect couple I have ever seen in my 16 years of getting hooked on shows and as a pansexual? Such beautiful representation.

    • Also, I apologize for the horribly messed up links in this post, I’m not usually so bad at html. I promise if you click on them you will find some quality fic :P

  7. Seconding works written by phwaa. One of my favourites is her hold me a while longer (she won’t be gone for long)

    Kismet and Other Movements by aelysian is an amazing Soulmate AU that’s still set within the canon POI universe. Her soul mate markers is a really great concept, do check it out!

    I didn’t think I would like a mermaid AU but ieatmyfingerprints’s Fish Out Of Water blew me out of the water. Her other works are also great~ n

    Two college AUs that I really enjoyed;
    by ionizable’s The 32nd Annual IFTEC (science puns!also her other work, Recommended Reviews cracks me up.) and wolfwars’s RUSH

    A What If the whole dysfunctional team machine family try to raise a child?
    Hashtag Ohana by halfabagoffritos

    Lastly, I dread for Lamachine’s A Beautiful Mess to become the direction that Shaw’s return in S5 will become. T

    Other writers to check out would be andymcnope, chancellor-clarke, amiphobic. Enjoy~

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I was running dangerously low on #shoot crack.
    For being relatively new to the fandom, I’ve read a shocking amount of these already. Like the HP one.
    Just how brilliant was it to place Shaw in Durmstrang of all places?
    I really have a soft spot for HP crossovers..every fandom needs at least one really good and lengthy one.

  9. Heather do you only post fan fic from AO3? I have moved to Fanfic . net because I find I have better readership and the stats are really cool.

  10. I have been *waiting* for this but it turns out I’ve already read everything lol.

    Fics you missed. Obviously the other stories by these writers (I’m partial to Overheard and Let your body overflow by Winged Mammal) and all the aelysian fics. (I find Soulmate AU’s cheesy often but hers works here).

    hold me a while longer by phwaa is a terrific AU.

    I haven’t seen anyone mention weytani or andymcnope yet, and I’d stand behind all their fics as well.

    There are some great comics, but most of them come from the Asian fans so they tend to not have readable text. Carenpenthy has some cute ones up on AO3 though.

    I’m sure I have more in bookmarks somewhere. Maybe I’ll come back to add to this ;)

  11. “Oh,look, there’s a drabble.” she thinks.
    “It’s almost two in the morning and let’s read something quick before falling asleep,” she thinks.
    “Why is there a drabble in a section usually dedicated to longer stuff?” she wonders as she begins.
    And she keeps wondering.
    And then she reads the story again, hoping she guessed wrong.
    But the details add up.
    They add up to devastation.
    It’s shortly after two in the morning, and her heart clenches over a drabble.
    “Of all the things,” she thinks, “this was rather unexpected.”

    • Nearly 4 years later, it’s 2:02 am, and I have literally just run through the same gamut of emotions.

      Wasn’t actually planning to cry myself to sleep on a “school night”, but I’m still leaking, so here we are.

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