When the shooting starts, I react on instinct, drawing my gun, planting my feet in a shooting stance, all in a matter of a second. The courtroom has become chaos, bullets flying everywhere, and out of the corner of my eye I can see blood and bodies flying.
Before I can fire, the panicked crowd begins a stampede, trying desperately to reach the courtroom door. A man barrels into me, and I am sent careening onto the floor, gun sliding from my hand under the crowd's trampling feet. In trying to climb to my feet, I place myself in a perfect vantage point to watch in utter horror as Elliot's arm is pierced by one of Kyle's bullets.
Elliot goes down, out of my line of sight, and I scream his name, but no one can hear me among the cries of a terrified crowd. No one will help me up, no one will let me through, and my gun lies feet away but I cannot move my arm to reach it. I am jammed in a mass of humanity, able to do nothing but keep trying to get to my gun, forced to observe through tear-stained eyes as Kyle stalks towards my fallen partner with his gun outstretched.
I cannot help it. I squeeze my eyes as tightly shut as they will go. When I hear the shots, I crumple, but because of the teeming bodies surrounding me my limp body remains upright. My condition finally alerts the people around me, and one kind woman gently puts me into a seat. I stumble off the seat and over to where Elliot's body is sprawled on the floor. I drop to my knees. My violently shaking fingers take three tries before they can land on Elliot's neck. His pulse bolsters my fingers up and down, slowly but steadily.
My head sinks in exhausted joyful relief onto Elliot's chest, reveling in its rising and falling. It is only then that I notice Kyle's dead body, his father bending over him and shaking him. Star's shouts of "Federal Agent!" fall on my ears, but I am too caught up in Elliot's state of living to be in anyway surprised.
The paramedics arrive, and Elliot is lifted on a stretcher. I can't tell how badly he is hurt, only that he has been hurt. Grasping his uninjured hand, I follow him out the door. My wandering eyes suddenly notice Munch on a stretcher, Fin walking right next to him. Finn must feel my gaze on them, because he turns for a second and his eyes meet mine. We are paralleled, soul-shaken survivors clutching the hand of our unconscious best friend, and we are friends to each other, offering up a silent comfort our grief-stricken throats cannot speak.
In the ambulance, Elliot wavers between conscious and unconscious. In his times of consciousness his eyes focus on my face and he murmurs "Liv." I say strings of words, not knowing if he can hear me. I tell him he will be ok. I tell him I need to be ok. Once his hand brushes my cheek, then sinks back to his side and his eyes close again.
When we arrive at the hospital, Elliot is immediately wheeled into surgery, and the door slams shut in my face. I collapse into a waiting room chair, and my head falls into my hands. Suddenly I sense pressure on my shoulder, and I glance up to see Fin sinking into the chair next to me. I imagine it is like looking into a mirror, the same bloodshot watering eyes, identical new wrinkles, twinned fear. Fin puts his arm around me, and I press my face into his shoulder, letting my frightened tears shake my body again. His hand strokes my hair and I feel his warm tears strike my neck.
Word spreads fast, and soon the waiting room is filled with other policemen. Fin and I are constantly brought cups of coffee we can't drink, and sandwiches we can't eat. I see a few officers who have lost their partners, and I pray I won't ever have such pupils filled with constant mourning.
John's doctor comes out first, and I swear I have never seen Fin move so fast, not even when collaring a perp. The doctor says words I cannot hear, but I know the verdict because Fin's smile is bigger than I've ever seen. Before he heads to his partner's room, he leans over and kisses my forehead.
I am left alone, surrounded by friends but missing my other half. I get this idea stuck in my head that if Elliot's doctor takes five more minutes to come out Elliot has died.
Six minutes later my face is tearstained again as his doctor comes out and tells me Elliot will be just fine. I sprint into Elliot's room, the extra minute creating my fear that the doctor is wrong and I have lost the friend I love most in this world.
When I am standing in the doorway and see Elliot's open eyes, I cannot stop a loud relieved sob from slipping past my lips. Elliot turns his head and sees my red face and murmurs, "Oh Liv." The sound of the nickname he has given me in his loving sympathetic voice, a voice I had thought I would never hear again, breaks the restrain I had planned on showing. Before I know it my head is on his chest and I wrap my arms around him. His uninjured arm grips across my back and we hold each other as my waves of tears soak his hospital gown.
I finally get a hold of myself and stand up, running my shaking hands over my face. I turn so Elliot can no longer see my face. "Liv, I'm ok," I hear him say. "Everything's ok."
"I couldn't have gotten there in time." The words choke their way out of my throat before I can stop them.
"What? Liv, what do you mean?"
For a soul-shattering moment, I am in that courtroom again, screaming, forced to watch helplessly as Kyle's finger inched the trigger closer to Elliot's murder. I'm glad I'm facing away from Elliot because I'm sure my nightmare is being relived on my face. "I could see everything," I say finally through another thick wall of tears. "I could see Kyle with his gun pointed at your heart, but I was pinned in the crowd and I couldn't move. I could never have gotten to you in time to save you."
I feel his hand come up on mine, and he interlaces his fingers with my won. I still don't turn around. "I shut my eyes and when I heard the shots I-I thought-I thought he'd killed you." A deep painful shudder runs its way through my whole body and I start to shake. "It was the longest moment of my life."
Elliot's fingers tighten on mine, and I let him pull me around and back into his arms. "You can't let me lose you," I say into his shoulder.
"I won't," he says, and though I know he can't actually promise this, he's here now, and with the life we've chosen I can't ask for more.