Title: Always By Your Side.
Summary: Joan deals with a tragedy.
Author's Notes: Tissues are HIGHLY recommended. Angst ahead! Character death. FEEDBACK GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Shots fired! We have shots fired! Officer down! Officer down! Get me an ambulance, NOW!

The call went out over the radio as Joan was walking into a presentation for her work. She hesitated as she stood in front of the group, a strange feeling running down her spine. It was as if someone had whispered in her ear, too softly for her to make out.

Her mind wandered as she gave her presentation. It seemed like there was someone watching over her shoulder. She froze as the new assistant from the front desk came in the back, looking serious. Something in his face caught her attention. He came forward and handed her a message.

Her world stopped. She heard her heart in her ears. She started to shake and everything seemed distant and unreal, tears filled her eyes and she heard someone cry out and realized it was her. She took a step but didn't have the strength to stand, felt the assistant catch her as she started to sob, her legs folding beneath her.

"Oh, God…" she sobbed.

A soft voice murmured in her ear, "I'm here, Joan…" She looked at the assistant, realizing and latching on even more. Her coworkers were silent, not sure what to do, not sure how she knew the new assistant so well, or even what was going on.

"I didn't even get to say goodbye…" she murmured brokenly.

"Shhhh…"

He helped her to stand and walk out of the room. She saw Him in the lobby on the ground floor and on the bus to her apartment and at the airport. She noticed Him across the street as she went up the stairs to her old house. He was there the day they lay her father to rest and it was His hands that held her as she knelt near the newly turned ground as the tears dripped from her chin, gently touching the words engraved on the cold, granite headstone: William Gerald Girardi Loving Husband and Father September 4 1955 Killed in the line of duty May 18 2022.

He wiped away the tears and she found the strength to stand, walking beside her. And it was His presence that reminded her that Death wasn't the end. Because the people she loved never truly left her. They only changed form and became harder to see. After all, death was a dividing line, but there were some things it could never destroy.