Title: Five Times Cal Let Gillian Know Just How Important She Was To Him

Cal/Gillian, fluff with a touch of angst and drama, pg

Words: 1,418

Spoilers: Up to 2x16 Delinquent

Author's Note: A big thank you to my beta, tempertemper77 for beta-ing this so quickly for me! This is for pottermanic's birthday. Her prompt was the title, and for it to be in the vein of the wonderful scenes we got in Blinded and Delinquent. I hope this does justice to your request. Happy birthday, Evie!

i.

They'd barely been working together a month and already somebody was trying to poach her. He could see it in his stance, in the hand extended with the business card between his fingers, in the arrogant smile that screamed how horrible a company his must be to work for.

He stalked towards the pair, throwing his arm around Gillian's shoulders and waving the man away. "Gillian already has a job."

Seeming to think better of retorting, the suited man bid Gillian farewell, making sure to leave his card with her regardless. Once he was out of sight Gillian rounded on Cal. "What makes you think I wouldn't have been interested? You might have just sabotaged a lucrative business deal for me." Her eyes were playful and she was grinning at him.

"Oh come off it, love, you don't want to work with anyone who wears a suit and whose most impressive accessory is a business card."

"Whatever, Cal," she responded, seemingly touched by his actions rather than frustrated. "You just didn't want to lose me."

"Right you are, love," he replied, and his words came out softer than he'd intended, his eyes belying his joking tone.

He knew she'd caught it. She stepped back towards him, resting a hand on his arm. "I'm not going anywhere, Cal."

He held her gaze for a long moment, wondering how exactly she'd managed to make herself so important to him in so short a space of time. "Well I should hope not," he tried to level his tone, "because you only just got here."

ii.

The bitter air whipped around his face like icy splinters, sobering him almost instantly.

"Thank you," he muttered, looking down at his feet.

She watched him twist his wedding band, the vulgar glow of the twenty-four hour bar sign reflecting cheaply upon the expensive gold. "Let's go home, Cal."

"I don't have a home." For the first time in days his words held no bitterness, only sadness. He was a ship lost at sea, his anchor torn from the wreckage.

"Yes, you do," she replied calmly, maintaining her patience despite being chilled to the bone. "Your home is wherever Emily is. You'll figure this out." She smiled. "But until then, you can stay with me."

He looked up at her. "Alec'll be alright with that, will he?"

Her steely gaze was the only answer he needed, and he was awed once again by just how strong Gillian actually was. "Yes, he will be."

As they walked up her front path half an hour later, the cloud of alcohol completely dispersed from above him, he laid a gentle hand on her wrist, stopping her movements. "I don't think I'd be able to get through this without you, you know." He was staring at the ground once more but his eyes flicked up to hers occasionally and she saw the honesty there.

"Yes you would." But she smiled with creases around her eyes and he just nodded at what he found there. They moved towards the house and out of the cold night air.

iii.

It wasn't that they always drifted to this bar after the hard days (sometimes they drifted to it after the good days), but they never brought anyone else with them to this one. The booths were crowded so they helped prop up the bar, and he twisted around on his stool so that he was facing her, elbow leaning on the bar supporting his head. He knew that most people abhorred his observing them so keenly, but for some reason it had never bothered her.

She looked more relaxed than he'd seen her in months, but there was still a slight tension in her shoulders that he longed to ask about. She was staring into the bottom of her tumbler as if it held the answers, swirling the amber liquid around occasionally.

"What are you thinking?"

She sighed, ever so softly. "I'm thinking that today we caught a killer, and that it should feel better than this."

He nodded, knowing he didn't need to add that murder cases never make you feel like you've succeeded because you are already too late to save someone before you even take the case.

"I should go, I'm late already," she said softly, though made no move to slide down from her stool. The orange lamps hanging above the bar bathed her in a warm glow and when she turned her head to face him her eyes sparkled with sadness.

"Hot date?" he joked, but he already knew the answer.

She pursed her lips ever so slightly before pulling one between her teeth. It was unlike her to show how unsure she was. "Do you like him?" she asked.

She was watching him closely, and though she schooled her features he knew she was taking in every detail of his face. "If you like him that's good enough for me."

He smiled but it didn't reach his eyes and she smiled back but it didn't reach hers either.

iv.

"Gillian!"

His voice focused her wandering mind, her eyes scanning the crowds for him. Their eyes met across the cordoned-off road and then he was a blur moving towards her, his strong arms encasing her in his protective grasp as she felt her world return to balance. She breathed him in deeply, the mixture of aftershave and sweat comforting her more than she thought possible.

"I was so scared," he confessed, his words spoken so close to her neck she felt she had a heat pad there. "Don't ever do that to me again."

She only gripped him harder, clutching fistfuls of his shirt as she watched, over Cal's shoulder, the armed robbers being escorted away.

"It's ok now darling," he whispered, as she began to cry.

v.

It was a quiet evening, like so many others past, yet it felt different. Cal had finished laying the table and was leaning against the kitchen worktop watching Gillian as she stirred the sauce. She even managed to do that gracefully, he thought, as he observed her tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear.

"Your hair looks good up," he murmured, flicking her ponytail with his finger. She glanced over her shoulder at him, smiling. "Makes for easier access, too," he grinned as he came to stand behind her, hands rubbing up and down her arms as he pressed soft kisses to the back of her neck.

She resisted for mere moments before resting the spoon in the pan and turning in his arms. She cupped his cheek with a hand, placing a gentle kiss on his lips. "Emily will be home soon," she whispered.

"I know," he replied softly, making no move to intensify the moment. Instead he just watched her watch him, memorizing the freckles on her cheeks and the flecks of gold in her eyes.

"What is it, Cal?" she asked quietly, the small smile on her face the only reassurance he needed that she wasn't at all uncomfortable under his scrutiny. She never had been, and he loved that about her.

"You mean the world to me." He paused. "You know that, right?" He told her standing with one hand on her hip, the other holding her hand. The simplicity of the moment overwhelmed her and she leaned forward, pouring everything she knew he knew she felt into the kiss.

The front door slamming forced them to pull apart but she didn't step backwards, only rested her forehead against his as they both breathed deeply.

"Dad! Gill! I'm home!" Emily's voice carried through the house as they heard her footsteps approaching. She arrived in the kitchen doorway and leaned against the frame, watching the pair of them with a smile on her face. "Everything ok?" she asked.

Gillian finally took a step back from Cal to tend to the sauce, but didn't relinquish his hand. "Everything's perfect, Em," she replied, smiling. And she meant it.

Fin