Following Orders

Summary: For Lassiter, this was the only order that O'Hara absolutely had to follow.

A/N: I swear I love their partnership and friendship more than sunshine and bunnies.

The man was desperate.

An understatement, thought Lassiter wryly as he maintained a steady grip on his gun...which was pointed directly at the man's chest.

Which was only fair, considering that the man – Daniel Walton, murderer – had his gun trained on Lassiter as well.

"Put the gun down. Now." warned Lassiter.

Walton did not heed the warning, and to be honest, Lassiter didn't expect him to. Walton, desperate and cornered by two trained police officers, had nothing more to lose. He was going to prison for a long time, and this was his final standoff against the world.

Or something like that.

Walton moved suddenly and Lassiter nearly pulled the trigger, but didn't. Whether or not that was a good decision remained to be seen, because now Walton, the goddamn moron, had the gun to his own head.

"Don't do it, Walton." growled Lassiter, more out of annoyance than actual concern.

Juliet, who was beside him, was not as callous, although she was just as professional, with her gun aimed at the criminal as well. "Daniel, come on. You don't want to do that. We've got a chance to get out of this. No one has to be hurt. Just put the gun down slowly."

She was trying to talk him down.

But there was something in Walton's eyes that Lassiter didn't like. Something that made Carlton think that someone was not going to get out of this alive. Granted, he had had this thought on many occasions before, and was, more often than not, wrong. Blessedly so.

But there was something a little too far gone in Walton's expression. Something bordering on insanity. And if someone was going to die – Walton, O'Hara, or himself – Carlton would choose Walton every damn time.

Walton's eyes wandered over to O'Hara, but he kept the gun firmly pressed to his own head. "Oh yeah, pretty lady?"

Lassiter groaned internally. He absolutely hated when criminals talked to O'Hara that way. God, Carlton thought, I should just shoot him now.

"What more have I got to lose?" Walton continued. "Won't it be easier for you and your partner this way?"

"We don't want anyone getting hurt here," said O'Hara, and Lassiter could only admire the sincerity in her tone.

Walton moved as though he was going to lower his weapon, and Lassiter felt a quick second of relief.

And it cost him, because Walton faked them out. He had taken the gun away from his head, but instead of lowering it, he swiveled the barrel in Juliet's general direction and fired.

Carlton wasn't fast enough to stop it. He was one millisecond late as he pulled the trigger, and he was all too aware of the way his partner had just collapsed beside him. Walton fell as well, with a bullet now lodged in his chest. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Lassiter was aware of the fact that he was probably dead before he hit the floor.

But, in all honesty, he didn't care that he had just killed a man.

He cared that his partner was bleeding on the ground with a bullet wound in her stomach.

His phone was to his ear before he had time to panic or even really think. "Officer down, send emergency vehicle immediately. The warehouse on Forster Street. I repeat, officer down. Ambulances and paramedics. Now!"

And then he snapped his phone shut and knelt down beside his partner, praying there was something he could do for her. Praying she could just be okay.

He didn't know what he would do if she wasn't okay.

She was still conscious, surprisingly, and gazing up at him with wide, pained eyes. He looked down at her wound. She was bleeding heavily through her blouse and jacket, and breathing raggedly. Maybe dying.

No.

That was his first thought, and it repeated over and over in his head.

No.

She was really hurt. What were the chances it had missed her vital organs? What were the chances that she would...?

Her eyelids flickered.

No!

He grabbed her hand on impulse and squeezed it tightly. He used his other hand to press against her wound, hoping desperately that he could slow down the blood, if only by a little bit. He only needed a little time.

"Carl – " she tried to say, but was cut off by a ragged gasp.

"Stay with me, O'Hara. Help is on the way." he promised. He nodded reassuringly, even though his heart was pounding fiercely with all the fear he didn't want to claim.

"What if I can't...?" she whispered, more coherent than he expected.

He swallowed tightly. "You can. You can do anything."

It was odd to realize that he had always, on some level, thought it to be true.

She shook her head slightly. "Carl – if – "

And now he was angry, furious with her. How dare she try and leave him like this? He glared at her with all the rage he could manage to put into one look. His tone was harsh. "Dammit, O'Hara! Just do what I say. Stay with me! It's an order!"

He could have sworn she smiled for just a second.

Or maybe she was just gritting her teeth.

She squeezed his hand, looked deep into his eyes, as if she found something to hold onto there.

"Yes, sir."

A/N: This could, in theory, have a second chapter. Or I can leave you to assume that she lives or dies...anyway, reviews are much appreciated.