As soon as the shooter, Hector Medina, had been apprehended, Sharon had observed Lieutenant Provenza talking on the phone with Chief Johnson. The Chief had wanted someone from their team to go to the site of the shooting, to get a better idea of what had happened. After a brief discussion between themselves, Flynn and Provenza had approached Raydor and asked if she’d be willing to go; they’d be transporting Maria Flores to the station, leaving Julio to escort the unconscious shooter to a hospital to get checked out by a doctor and Gabriel to stay with Flores’ car until tech would show up. Johnson had reluctantly agreed to it, and, so, Sharon had left the scene of the arrest for the coffee shop.
Her mind a jumbled mess of thoughts and questions, Raydor drove back. Though, despite the urgency she felt, she did it at a much more controlled speed. She was still trying to piece together what exactly had happened; If there was a hit on Robert Curtis, it made no sense that the shooter would target a café where the only people linked to his case were an FBI agent and a DDA.
As she arrived at the scene, Raydor was greeted by a controlled chaos; there were a few police cruisers and several ambulances in front of the café, and, even as she parked her car not far from the scene, another ambulance pulled up. Sharon wasted no time and walked briskly towards a young police officer who was still setting up the parameter. She showed him her badge and was about to start questioning him when she heard her name being called. Looking behind the young officer, Sharon saw FBI Agent Howard standing next to one of the ambulances. Sharon briefly thought how worried Brenda must be, and seeing him alive and none worse for the wear allowed Sharon to breathe a little easier.
Sharon was still approaching Howard when he questioned her presence: “What brings you here?”
Raydor bristled slightly under the enquiry; this was not an officer involved shooting, so, yes, technically she wasn’t supposed to be here. But she’d been asked, by the agent’s wife, no less, to come to the scene, and they all had the same objectives, so being questioned when all she wanted to do was help was frustrating.
“Seeing as Major Crimes Division has its hands full, and the case I’m currently working on coincides with hers, Chief Johnson requested I come and assess the scene,” Sharon explained, carefully maintaining her cool composure. As she reached the agent, he gestured for her to follow. Howard led her to the back of the ambulance where Sharon was shocked to see DDA Andrea Hobbs sitting at the back of the vehicle, being treated for what appeared to be a gunshot wound.
“Andrea!” Raydor exclaimed.
“I’m okay. It’s just a scratch,” Hobbs assured the Captain as a greeting, but her voice was somewhat shaky, and her pallor did nothing to convince Raydor.
“It’s not just a scratch,” Fritz countered. “And you do need to go to the hospital.”
Sharon turned to look at one of the EMTs who quickly filled her in: “She got hit on the upper arm, but she’ll be fine. We’re taking her to the hospital; they’ll be better equipped to extract the bullet with minimal damage to the muscle and stitch her up.”
“So it’s not a scratch?” Sharon clarified.
“Not quite. Like I said, she’ll be fine but she does need to go to the hospital.”
“Hello, she is sitting right here,” Andrea huffed indignantly.
Sharon tilted her head in apology, looking abashed; she hated it when people talked about her as if she couldn’t hear and now she was guilty of doing the same to Hobbs. She watched as one of the EMTs – Collins, Raydor noted her name – set a sling for Andrea’s arm. Sharon was still a little shocked at finding out Andrea had been hit. It wasn’t that they were particularly close, but she liked Andrea well enough; the DDA seemed to always remember they worked on the same side of the law and never gave her grief like most other people did. Sharon thought, distractedly, that Andrea was the sort of person she wouldn’t mind calling a friend, if only she had the time to invest in getting to know new people. Shadowing Brenda and her team, as well as running the FID, was taking all her time.
“Andrea, I do think you should listen to the EMTs; you do need to go to the hospital,” Sharon voiced empathically. She could certainly relate to Hobbs not wanting to go to the hospital as she herself disliked them strongly, but the Captain had a feeling that the DDA could use a brief interlude away from the case in order to collect herself.
Andrea grumbled something under her breath, but finally nodded her acquiescence. Collins helped the woman inside the ambulance, and Fritz took the opportunity to pull Raydor aside.
“Just before you arrived, the other medic told me Hobbs is in a mild state of shock,” Howard informed Sharon. “Now, I don’t want to step on any toes here, but seeing as, aside from being nicked by a few tiny shards of flying glass, I’m fine, I could be the eyes on the scene for the team in this case. I think she should probably have someone with her in the hospital.”
Sharon considered his words before nodding; not only could Agent Howard fill in the Chief on what happened with the shooting, but Sharon could be there for Andrea and also take her statement. Her own statement regarding the shooting of the suspect could wait as well. She turned quickly towards Hobbs and Collins: “Wait for me, I’ll be right back.”
Raydor hurried to her car to collect her bag before returning to the ambulance and Hobbs. As she was about to step into the vehicle, she noticed a young police officer standing nearby and beckoned him over.
“I need someone to bring my car to hospital,” Sharon directed, handing him her car keys, and, without waiting for the officer to acknowledge her, climbed into the ambulance. She knew her reputation would assure her car would be at the correct hospital in no time, and, though she didn’t often capitalize on said reputation, this time she was willing to make an exception.
Raydor watched as Collins attended to Andrea before she, too, sat back. Andrea was not in any immediate danger, and all the medic could do for the moment was to wait for them to arrive at the hospital and keep an eye on Hobbs’ vital signs.
Sharon herself kept a watchful eye over the DDA; maybe it was just because Andrea was in a vulnerable situation, or perhaps it was that inexplicable, deeper sense of connection Sharon felt towards the woman, but she needed to make sure Andrea would be fine.
“Is there anyone you want to call?” Sharon inquired after a few moments of silence.
Andrea hesitated, weighing her options. “No, I don’t think so. Not yet, anyway.”
Sharon wasn’t given a chance to ponder over Andrea’s answer when, at that moment, her phone rang. Checking the caller ID, she saw it was Lieutenant Flynn. Knowing the man wouldn’t be calling her unless it was related to the case, she was quick to accept the call.
“Lieutenant, I’m putting you on speaker; you have me and DDA Hobbs.”
“Right,” Flynn said after a moment.
There was something off about his voice; even just that one word had Sharon tense up. Raydor’s eyes flickered to Andrea’s before focusing back on the phone, concentrating on what the disembodied voice was saying.
“We went through Flores’ car and found evidence of the hit – pictures, and what looks like a down payment.”
When Flynn paused again, Sharon frowned; it wasn’t like him to mince words, and the way he was dragging his feet was making her nervous. Sharon hated to feel nervous.
“Lieutenant,” Raydor prodded him.
“Curtis wasn’t the target,” Flynn explained further. “We found pictures in the trunk of the car, and… well, they’re of DDA Hobbs.”
Both, Sharon and Andrea, gasped, and their eyes met; they were both shocked by the unexpected news. It didn’t make any sense. Why would there be a hit on Hobbs? The younger woman looked visibly shaken and, instinctively, Sharon took her hand and held it, brushing a thumb over white knuckles in a feeble effort to offer some comfort.
Raydor took a deep breath, collecting herself. “Umm… Do we know why?”
“Not yet, Captain. Maybe we can get some answers when the dirtbag wakes up.”
“Alright,” Raydor allowed, not happy with not getting any answers, but she knew that pestering him wouldn’t do any good either. “Well, thank you, Lieutenant. If you have anything new, I trust you’ll call me again. And if Chief Johnson wants to know, I’ll be staying with DDA Hobbs until she’s been released from the hospital.”
“Okay, Captain,” Flynn replied and disconnected the call.
Andrea finally broke their eye contact and, closing her eyes, lowered her head in what appeared to be an effort to calm herself. Locks of blonde hair fell in front of her face and, automatically raising her right arm to brush it back behind her ear, groaned in pain.
“Careful, careful,” Sharon cautioned softly.
Sharon looked at the injured woman, her mind whirling, searching for answers. Finally, she decided she just didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle – yet. They’d have to wait for more information and, until then, looking after Hobbs’ immediate welfare was her primary objective.
It wasn’t long after that that they arrived at the hospital, and, in no time at all, Andrea was being wheeled in. They were met by a resident who was promptly filled in, but when the young man tried to get Sharon to leave, Sharon flashed him her badge and, using her most authoritative Captain Raydor tone, made it clear the patient was under police protection, and she wasn’t going to allow Hobbs out of her sight. For a moment, it looked like the he might argue back, but then thought better of it. Instead, he led them to a curtained area and excused himself, promising to be right back.
“You don’t have to stay, you know,” Hobbs claimed, but refused to meet Raydor’s eyes.
“Of course I’ll stay,” Sharon countered immediately, not even considering leaving as an option.
Grateful to hear the Captain’s determined response, but feeling strangely reluctant to admit it, Andrea only nodded. The movement caused her hair to fall in front of her face again, obscuring it from Sharon’s gaze. Using her uninjured arm, Andrea tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, but, then, when a moment later she moved her head, it became loose again, and Andrea growled, irritated.
Sharon bit her cheek, trying not to laugh; it was wholly inappropriate, and maybe it was the nerves, but she found it incredibly amusing that the woman had a bullet in her arm, but seemed more frustrated about hair falling out of place.
“Are you sure you don’t want me to call anyone?” Sharon repeated her earlier question, needing something else to focus on.
“I’m sure. There’s someone I need to call, but I should probably do it myself once they release me,” Andrea mused and tried to blow a stubborn strand of hair that slowly crept in front of her field of vision.
Sharon couldn’t ignore the blonde’s futile efforts to keep her hair under control any longer and asked: “Would you like me to tie your hair back?”
Though Andrea seemed a little startled by the suggestion, she accepted the offer gladly. “Thank you.”
“All up or-,” Sharon asked as she took out a hair band from her bag.
“No ponytail, if I can choose.”
Sharon stood behind Andrea and, quickly and efficiently, divided Andrea’s hair and pulled part of it back before tying it with the hair band. The movements were automatic, and they reminded her of when her daughter was small and always asked to have her hair done. Sharon smiled; she should give her a call later.
“All done,” Raydor announced not a minute later. “Not a masterpiece, but it’ll do.”
“Thank you,” Andrea smiled gratefully.
With perfect timing, the resident who had met them earlier returned, offering apologies for being delayed due to another “short but critical emergency”. He asked a few questions as he poked and prodded Hobbs’ arm before explaining how he would proceed.
It was roughly half an hour later that Raydor and Hobbs were ready to head back to the police station. As Sharon had predicted, an officer had dropped off her car shortly after Andrea had been brought in. What they hadn’t counted on were two reporters outside the hospital doors. How the media had found them, Sharon was sure she didn’t want to know. Or, maybe she did; she’d have to have a chat with Chief Johnson regarding the matter, she might have ideas.
Though the reporters were persistent, the Captain and the DDA managed to make it to Raydor’s car without too much hassle. Once they left the parking lot, Andrea sighed, pulling her phone from her bag.
Sharon concentrated on driving as Andrea made her call, only to be greeted by an answering machine.
“Hey, it’s me. I just wanted to call you and give you a heads up before you hear about this through the grapevine: something happened about an hour ago, and I got shot. I’m fine, I really am. It was just a scratch, really, and I’m all patched up, and there’s no reason to worry. But I just wanted to let you know, because there were some reporters outside the hospital, so it’ll probably be on the news at some point. I’m headed for the police station right now, and I’m probably going to be tied there for the rest of the day. Call me later, love you.”
Andrea disconnected the call and stared at the phone for a moment, before glancing at Sharon. “Diane’s probably with a client, she’s insanely booked this month.”
“What does she do again?” Sharon asked. She had some inkling that Andrea’s girlfriend had something to do with the restaurant business, but she wasn’t sure if she was remembering right; the topic had only been briefly mentioned by Andrea once, and that was quite some time ago. She did remember, however, that they’d been together for almost nine years.
“She promotes restaurants,” Andrea replied. “It comes in handy when one’s looking for the best places to eat in.”
“Well, if you have any suggestions, I’d be happy to get a few; I hardly have time to cook these days, and there’s only so much take-out one can eat.”
“I’ll write you a list,” the DDA promised, somewhat amused.
Less than fifteen minutes later the women were standing in an elevator that was taking them to the floor where Major Crimes was located.
“Thank you, Sharon, for everything,” Andrea said, looking at the Captain who – and Andrea couldn’t help but notice this – despite everything that had happened, still managed to look impeccable.
“Oh, don’t mention it. I was happy to be able to offer some assistance,” Sharon assured. She noted how tired Andrea looked and wished she could offer to take the woman for a coffee, or get her something to eat as it looked like the woman could really use either. Unfortunately, Sharon was drowning in work and still needed to make calls about Diamond’s claims about police brutality. Then, once that was done, she’d have to write and file a report concerning the use of a beanbag gun to take down their would-be-assassin.
The elevator came to a stop, and the doors opened. Sharon could have just left Andrea to continue her way alone, but, at the last second, decided against it. They walked the corridors in companionable silence, and as soon as they arrived to the Murder Room, Sharon pulled up a chair for the DDA who was now starting to shiver. Sharon wondered if she should insist on Andrea going home, but she’d had enough dealings with the woman to know how stubborn she could be.
Raydor saw Agent Howard entering the murder room and, after a brief hello, exchanged information. Fritz told them Brenda was on her way back and should be arriving in just another fifteen minutes. Sharon, on the other hand, mentioned that she would need to stop by her office and asked if Howard wouldn’t mind making sure the Chief didn’t leave before Sharon got to see her.
As Sharon was about to leave the room, Sharon glanced behind her at Andrea who was still sitting at the desk, now just staring ahead.
“How’s she doing?” Fritz asked Sharon, keeping his voice quiet.
“She’ll be fine, I’m sure,” Raydor answered, confident. “I think she’s cold, though, the shock hasn't worn off, yet. I’ll go and get her a cup of tea before I head down to FID.”
In just a few minutes, Sharon returned with a cup of tea that she placed in front of Andrea. “Something to keep you warm.”
“Oh, thank you.” Andrea smiled gratefully.
“My pleasure,” Sharon said. “I have to go, but I’ll see you around. I hope you’ll have a speedy recovery.”
“I’m sure I will,” Andrea voiced with confidence. Just as Sharon was about to step back, Andrea grabbed her hand. “Thank you.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay,” Sharon offered with a smile of her own before turning around and heading for her own office. As she passed Agent Howard, she noticed he’d shed his FBI jacket, and it was now resting on the back of a nearby chair.
“Agent Howard,” Raydor spoke softly. “Could you perhaps lend your jacket to DDA Hobbs for a while? The tea probably helps, but I think the jacket would help further.”
Fritz nodded readily and grabbed the jacket before walking over to the DDA. He spared one last look at the FID Captain, wondering when the Major Crimes team would finally catch on that she wasn’t one of the bad guys.