A Hand to Hold
It was an accident really. She hadn't even been on duty at the time. It had been her day off. Peyton had spent her afternoon shopping and was heading off to meet Stella to make plans for Lindsay's birthday. She had just been exiting the elevator when the shots rang out. The next she knew the wind had gone out of her lungs and her shoulder was on fire. Someone was pressing down on her shoulder, and a hand was holding onto hers tightly.
"I need you to keep your eyes open, ma'am." A young woman's face appeared in her line of vision. "Stay with me. The paramedics are on the way. Can you tell me your name?"
The woman smiled. Her eyes were grey. "Okay, Peyton. I need you to keep talking to me. Can you do that?"
She blinked. The pain had dulled. "Of course."
The other woman smiled again, and Peyton found herself frowning. Hadn't her eyes been grey? Maybe she had just been seeing things as they were definitely blue.
"Thank you. You're doing a wonderful job with him." A hand gently ran through her hair. "You're going to be fine. I just needed to talk to you for a bit."
"Do I know you?"
Claire smiled again. "I owe you, you know. I was afraid that Mac would spend the rest of his life in mourning. And then you came along, and you were exactly what he needed."
"Then you don't mind? I'm not overstepping? Stella," Peyton blushed. "Stella said I wasn't, but it's hard to tell sometimes."
"I want Mac to be happy. You make him happy, and you're good for him. You've handled things I know I would have bungled. Like that Clay Dobson case. You knew exactly what he needed to here." Claire shrugged. "I'm more of a righteous wrath person. The point is, Peyton, you love Mac. You make him happy, and that makes me happy."
Claire looked away, and suddenly the pain was back full force. Claire squeezed her hand. "Time to go. Take care of yourself, Peyton. I don't want to see you back here for a good long time. Mac will be waiting for you."
Peyton closed her eyes against the pain. She couldn't feel Claire's hand in hers anymore. A whisper of sound brushed her ear.
"When he asks, say yes."
The pain dulled again, and she could feel a hand in hers once more. Peyton's eyes flutter open to see a grey eyed woman. "Claire."
"No, I'm Aria, Peyton. Remember? We're almost at the hospital. The police are going to meet us there."
She felt her eyes drift shut again. When she opened them a third time, it was a pair of worried blue eyes watching her and a large hand holding her own.
Mac tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Hey yourself."
Peyton smiled. "What happened?"
"Some idiot accidentally set off his gun. You got hit in the shoulder."
He stroked her hair. "You scared me. You were unconscious most of time, and they were worried about how much blood you lost."
She squeezed his hand. "I'm okay."
Mac kissed her forehead. "I know. Just to warn you, Stella is coming over once her shift. She mentioned something about bringing proper entertainment and food."
"We were supposed to meet for lunch," she admitted quietly. "I probably scared her when I didn't show up. When do I get to go home?"
"Sometime tomorrow if the doctor approves."
The painkillers in her system were making her drowsy. She smiled at Mac. "I love you, you know."
"I know." He kissed her forehead. "Go to sleep, sweetheart. I'll be here when you wake up."
"I know," she murmured sleepily. "Claire told me."