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 [livejournal.com profile] ozsaur, who practically triple-dog dared me in her [livejournal.com profile] hardtime100 prompt. Written for the Murphy Appreciation Month fest at [livejournal.com profile] oz_wishing_well.
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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."

Good.

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.
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