"Caroline, I'm gonna tell you something and I don't want you to react."
Caroline can see the seriousness in Max's eyes; they're slightly over-bright and scaring her just a little bit, so she makes an offhand "I knew you'd get pregnant!" joke. But Max doesn't smirk or laugh or sarcastically retort. Instead she says "That man over there is robbing us. He has a gun. He wants you to empty your purse into this bag."
"Oh my God," wails Caroline, unable to contain herself. "Oh my God!"
"Shut up!" shouts the man in the coat, which only serves to terrify Caroline more.
"Caroline, listen. It's gonna be fine, all right? Just…. Just get your purse."
"Max, I can't die! I especially can't die in this uniform-"
Max rolls her eyes and Caroline knows what she must be thinking. Leave it to Blondie to worry about fashion now.
The man in the suit is getting impatient, and they can hear sirens in the distance. Who called the cops? Caroline wonders, then remembers Oleg is still in the back, out of sight. She has never experienced more appreciation for the man before. She feels relief, but it is short lived when the man demands "Miss, step out from behind the counter!", pointing his gun at her.
Caroline is frozen, unable to move or react. Fear has overtaken her, and all of her muscles seem to have locked on her.
"Now!" roars the thief.
And Caroline's body hums back to life again, and she jerks forward, doing what she is told; Max does not approve, howling "Stop!" and taking a protective step in front of Caroline. Her sudden yell is all it takes to startle the man, and his gun goes off.
Max slumps suddenly against Caroline, and everything is overwhelmingly clear and vivid. The red staining her mustard uniform, the alarmingly fast whitening of already pale skin.
"Max," gasps Caroline, thin arms securing around the other girl's waist.
"Oh man, I wasn't serious when I said I'd be okay with dying today. Damn you, karma!" Max weakly waves her fist in the air.
The man, upon hearing the sirens growing nearer, has decided to flee. Everyone in the diner heaves a collective sigh. Caroline gently lowers Max to the floor.
"Max? Max, can you hear me?" The brunette's eyes are glazed, but she still has the energy to look irritated.
"I've been shot, Caroline; I'm not deaf."
Caroline gives Max one of her best withering looks and takes stock of the wound; a clear shot through the left shoulder. Painful, and though Caroline is no doctor, she assumes it is not life threatening.
"Oh man," Max's voice trembles a little, and Caroline becomes sympathetic.
"I know it hurts-"
"No," Max interrupts, looking horrified. "I mean, yes. But no. I…. I think I peed myself."
Maybe it's the completely appalled way that Max says it; maybe it's the shock of it all going to her brain. Whatever it is, Caroline can't really explain the sputtering laugh that comes from her. Soon she's giggling hysterically while Max whines "Caroline, shut up, I'm serious, stop-"
But Caroline snorts, and that is amusing to Max, who joins in on the laughter. However she soon stops with a quiet "oooowww."
"Quit whining," says Caroline facetiously, "weren't you shot as a baby?"
Max stares at her blankly. Caroline shrugs. "I feel like you told me that."
Comprehension dawns on Max's face. "I said I did shots as a baby!"
Caroline isn't allowed to ride in the ambulance with Max; she has to stay at the diner and give a statement. And though she's worried, the sound of Max demanding drugs from the stretcher reassures her some.
She's at the diner well into the evening; when the police finally release her, she immediately flags down a taxi and makes a trip to the hospital. Upon arrival, she is pleased to find that sometime between them meeting and now, Max has put Caroline down as her emergency contact, so she is allowed to see the brunette without any fuss.
"Hey you," says Caroline when she enters the room to find Max sexually harassing the nurse (verbally, of course).
"Oh, how kind of you to visit my in my hour of need!" sighs Max dramatically, throwing her hand over her forehead in a damsel-y sort of way. "As you can see, I am on my death bed."
"Yes, I see," giggles Caroline. "Sorry it took me so long. The cops had me at the diner forever."
"I'm not sure I'm ready to forgive you," states Max with a mischievous smile. Caroline returns the gesture.
"Yea," confirms Max, and Caroline imagines that if she didn't have one arm in a sling and heavily bandaged, she'd be crossing her arms huffily right about now.
"Well, what can I do to make it up to you? I mean, it is your hour of need."
Max scootches to one side of her bed and pats the empty space. "Lay with me? I'm a little traumatized and think I may need to be spooned."
And though her voice is just as sarcastic and light hearted as always, Caroline can see the fear on her face and hear the quivering undertone in Max's voice. She pretends not to.
"Max, are you asking me to sleep with you?" she inquires suggestively, grinning.
"I sure am, whore, now get in here!"
Caroline obliges, curling herself around Max's gently trembling form.
They fall asleep that way, and the nurse lets them even though it's against policy because it keeps Max from saying obscene things to her for a while.