vanillalime: (sean murphy)
[personal profile] vanillalime
Title: Guardian Angel
Main Characters: Sean Murphy, Claire Howell
Rating: PG
Word Count: 600
Summary: After being shot, Sean wakes up to a surprise in the hospital.
Notes: Inspired by [ profile] ozsaur, who practically triple-dog dared me in her [ profile] hardtime100 prompt. Written for the Murphy Appreciation Month fest at [ profile] oz_wishing_well.

sean claire

Sean woke from his drug-induced haze to see a lone figure standing next to his hospital bed.

He blearily tired to focus his eyes. Tim? No, too short. Too much hair.

"Hey, Murph."

Oh, God, it was Claire. Great.

Sean tried to slide upward, but the bullet hole in his side put a quick stop to that. He groaned and closed his eyes again.

"I'll go get the nurse."

But Sean lifted his hand and pointed a finger in the air. "Water," he gasped.

He heard Claire fumbling around, and a moment later a plastic straw was gently placed between his lips. He took sip after sip, relishing the cool water as it trickled down his throat. When there was nothing left in the cup but shaved ice, he turned his head and opened his eyes again.

He watched Claire's hand shake as she placed the cup back on the side table. "I told Tim to take a break," she said in an unusually high-pitched voice. "He's gonna be pissed that you came to when he wasn't here."

Something was off. Fear suddenly gripped Sean's heart.

"Claire, who else got hurt?"

"No, nobody. No one," she stammered. She paused before continuing, "Somehow, you were the only one he managed to hit."

Thank God.

Sean lay there, thinking for a moment. He couldn't help himself from asking, "What ended up happening to him?"

Claire lifted her chin up. "Just what you'd think."


Jesus, no. He shouldn't think like that.

Sean closed his eyes and quickly shook his head, then instantly regretted it as he felt a wave of nausea pass through him. He probably shouldn't have drunk all that water so fast.

He was about to ask for the nurse when he felt a hesitant, awkward patting on his arm. Opening his eyes again, he looked at Claire curiously. He saw in horror that her eyes were brimming with tears.

Holy mother of God. Claire Howell was crying.

Before he could say anything, Claire started prattling away, her words tumbling out in a rush.

"I'm so sorry, Murph. That bullet had my name on it. I've been giving him shit since the day he got to Oz, he was aiming that gun right at me. If you hadn't pushed me outta the way..."

She reached up to wipe her cheek.

Sean sighed. "Jesus, Claire, it's not your fault," he reassured her. "It's not like you handed him that gun. And you'd have done the same for me, right?"

She nodded her head uncertainly. An awkward silence fell between them, until she whispered, "You're not just a guard, you're a regular guardian angel."

Claire moved closer to his bed, then nervously tapped his shoulder with her fingertips in what appeared to be her idea of a comforting gesture. Suddenly, Sean tensed, alarmed by what might be coming next.

He raised an eyebrow. "If you try'n kiss me," he warned, "I swear to God I'll never let you hear the end of it." Somehow, he managed to force a grin.

Claire's eyes widened. Then she returned Sean's grin with one of her own, the relief evident on her face.

Sean heard a door open. "You're awake!" rang Tim's voice.

Under his breath, Sean whispered, "Besides, you don't wanna get Tim jealous."

Claire laughed at that and gave Sean a wink. "I'll go get that nurse now," she offered, her voice steady and strong again. She retreated from the room as Tim rushed forward.

Sean sank back down into his bed. It was time for his own angel to watch him now.


*Additional Notes: The "Hell is empty... " line in the graphic is from The Tempest, credit to William Shakespeare. The screencap is from the S3E8 episode "Out O' Time," right after Glynn decides to go into lockdown to prevent another riot. Claire asks Sean if he's afraid, and when he says, "Yeah," she replies, "Me, too." It's such a brief moment, but I love it. It's one of the few times Claire appears vulnerable, in such sharp contrast to her ususal role as one of Oz's most villainous COs. And, of course, I love that Murphy is the one CO who Claire feels comfortable in confiding in.

Date: 2017-02-19 04:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have the same feelings about that moment you screencapped. And I think that the fic that you wrote captures that part of Murphy that's willing to sacrifice everything for his fellow COs perfectly. I really enjoyed this look at the two of them. Nicely done!

Date: 2017-02-19 05:40 pm (UTC)
ext_407282: (sean murphy)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who picked up on the unique vibe between them in that moment.

I like to think that even someone like Claire could be influenced by Murphy's special brand of integrity and inherent goodness. Maybe not to the degree that she'd risk sacrificing her life, but maybe give her pause for thought about the way she acts, towards her co-workers as well as the prisoners.

Thank you for such nice feedback! I'm glad you liked it.

Date: 2017-02-19 08:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nice look at them. Really liked this.

Date: 2017-02-19 05:47 pm (UTC)
ext_407282: (sean murphy)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I've always thought that Sean and Claire would make for an interesting (non-romantic!) pairing, given how they were such opposites.

Date: 2017-02-19 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

This is the pairing I always wanted and never knew it.

So awesome! Yes, that little 'Me too' moment from the show is what makes this believeable. We get so few peeks at Claire's humanity, but I can definitely buy that this would do it. I'll bet she was really bitchy in the way she told Tim to take a break, and she'll probably say something snide next time she sees Tim just to get her balance back, but in here Sean gets this little piece of her. And part of the reason he gets to see it is because he knows just how to respect it and then let it drop, because he's Sean and he's the best.

But also, it's Claire, so I love that his first response when he realises it's her is, Oh, God, it was Claire. Great. And to think that something is off, when really it's just Claire being kind.

Small note: "Somehow, you were the only he managed to hit." You left out 'one' or something.

No, Sean. She would not have done the same for you. But her letting you see her tears is as big for her as you throwing yourself in front of a bullet is for you, so you should feel good about that.

This is awesome vanilla! I love it!


Date: 2017-02-20 04:23 pm (UTC)
ext_407282: (sean murphy)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, how I've longed for a good Sean vs. Claire story! I requested one the first year I participated in Oz Magi, but my gifter ended up filling the other request in my wish. I really like the idea of Oz's most-loved CO facing off against its most-hated and coming out the winner. But for the purposes of Murphy Appreciation Month, I decided to take the pairing in a different direction. If someone like Claire can learn to appreciate Sean, then anyone can (and should)!

I like to think of Sean as someone who always knows just how to react and what to say in any given situation to make it better (even if he's lying in a hospital bed after getting shot). Yeah, there's no way Claire would take a bullet for someone else, and I think Sean knows that. But maybe Claire will think that he really does believe that, and she'll feel better because of it. And, of course, a little of Sean's humor can do wonders. :)

(I briefly thought that Sean getting shot could maybe serve as a wake-up to Claire--where she'd realize that she needed to start treating the prisoners better, vow to change her ways, etc. Then I decided that was completely unrealistic. The character development of openly showing vulnerability was momentous enough.)

Thanks so much for such nice feedback! I'm glad you enjoyed this!

P.S. Thanks also for the note about the missing word--it was one of those last minute re-wordings that wasn't caught in the final read-through.

Date: 2017-02-21 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

No, you're right about that - I would never have bought Claire changing her ways. This is small enough to believe but huge enough to be touching.

Now... Now I want the story where Sean, just 'cos he's so nice a guy, ends up helping Claire with the baby, building a friendship until he essentially becomes Dad. Don't know if this evolves into romance with Claire, or if he stays gay and she ends up deciding motherhood isn't for her and leaves him with the baby. Either is good.

No danger of me writing this because babies are boring, but the idea shall make me smile.


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