Cal couldn't recall ever seeing Gillian so terrified, but the irony of it was that she wasn't even scared for her own life, of the clearly disturbed man who was holding her in one hand and a gun in the other. No, instead she was afraid for his life.
But the fear in her eyes wrenched his heart just the same as she cried, writhing in Sanders' grasp with complete disregard for her own safety as she reached out for him even though he was too far for her to reach.
"I'm sorry, luv," he told her quietly. The sight of the terror and desperation on her face was enough to make tears prickle behind his own eyes but he held them back and kept his gaze steady on hers.
The gun suddenly felt heavy in his hand to the point where his arm ached from holding it up. Cal took a breath; pulled the trigger.
Everything after the shot seemed to happen both very quickly and very slowly. She knew the things around her were occurring in rapid succession, yet it felt as though the moment stretched on for hours. And through it all her eyes were still clamped shut, making every sensation that much more powerful.
The first thing she felt was the knife sliding across her throat, leaving a stinging trail in its wake before it fell away. She knew she had been cut but she was left with little time to dwell on that as she fell down and back, weighed down by what she could only assume was Sanders' arm. She twisted, just barely managing to wrench herself from his grasp before she hit the ground - hard. She thought she heard a vague cracking sound preceding the pain, but she couldn't be sure. Either way, a searing pain flooded her left shoulder. For a few moments there was nothing but the pain, her heartbeats and the feeling of blood spilling from the wound at her neck. Then she became vaguely away of shouting above her head, except she couldn't quite make out what was being said over the thrum of her pulse pounding in her ears. It thudded an erratic and painful rhythm, beating out his name (CalCalCalCalCal) against her ribs.
She refused to open her eyes until she sensed someone directly above her, pressing shaking fingertips into the sticky warmth at her throat. Even then it was with reluctance that she opened her eyes, squinting at the lights that suddenly seemed too bright and very far away. But as things came into focus - eyes blurring, then adjusting to take in the visage above her - all injuries and discomforts were forgotten as she registered that it was Cal, not dead but alive, alive and breathing and thank God alive. A thrill of joy and adrenaline coursed through her as she pulled him down to her in a fierce embrace.
"Cal," she breathed, pulling him still closer when she felt that he was shaking, "I thought..."
"I know. Easy, love, easy. I'm fine. I'm fine." He murmured, breath tickling her hair as he pulled her up and practically into his lap. She was warm in his arms but shaking all the same - he couldn't tell where his trembles ended and hers began.
In that moment they must have been a bizarre sight: a blood-spattered couple clinging tightly to each other on the floor, a wounded and bleeding man lying only a few feet away, clutching his side in agony. And that strange sight was exactly what Ben Reynolds stumbled across as he wanted into Lightman's office, shock stopping him short in the doorway for a moment.
"What the - Somebody call an ambulance!" Reynolds shouted over his shoulder to a concerned Heidi who immediately scurried off to a phone to do just that.
Both Cal and Gillian startled at the sound of Ben's voice. Cal stood and offered his hand to Gillian who took it and tried to pull herself up, but sucked in a sharp breath through her teeth and quickly sat back.
"You alright, darling?" He asked, eying the shoulder that she was now clutching.
"I think I dislocated my shoulder. But other than that, yeah."
Behind them, Reynolds had already retrieved Sanders' gun from where Cal had dropped it just a few minutes earlier and was now tending to Sanders himself.
"Lightman! What the hell happened in here?" Ben demanded, pressing his hand down on Sanders' wound, making him groan weakly in protest, as he tried to slow the growth of the red stain that was rapidly spreading across his shirt.
"What happened is this bloody psychopath came in here waving a gun around and threatening Gillian! I talked him into handing me the gun and than I shot him." Cal explained quickly as he helped Gillian up, careful of her shoulder.
"I can't believe this. I leave for five damn minutes and something like this happens!" Reynolds complained to nobody in particular.
"We're fine, by the way. Thanks for asking." Cal snarked, "We both had a near-death experience, but everything's just peachy for us."
"Yeah, well you two aren't the ones bleeding to death over here," Reynolds snapped back, grimacing at the blood that was spilling out over his hands in spite of his efforts. Ben glanced up at the sound of distant sirens approaching, but shoot his head. "This guy's not gonna make it..."
"Pity." Cal muttered, indifferent. "Seemed like a nice guy. I mean, aside from being completely bonkers and all."
"Hey, if this guy dies there's going to be one hell of an investigation to deal with, so I'd start caring a little more if I were you," Reynolds warned.
"I was completely justified. Textbook case of self-defense if I ever saw one. Whole thing got caught on the security feed too. It'll be an open and shut investigation." Cal said, dismissing Reynolds' concern with a wave of his hand. "Now I'm taking Foster to the hospital to get her arm looked at."
"Wait, you can't just leave! The both of you are going to have to give a statement when the cops get here and -"
"Have Loker or someone pull up the security feed, that's the only statement you'll need," Cal called over his shoulder, already half way to the exit with a still shaken Gillian at his side.