Grace

Missing scene from the season one episode "Office Blue". Stella's thoughts as she attends Valasquez's funeral. 300 words.
No copyright infringement is intended

"Amazing Grace" plays mournfully. Stella bites the inside of her lip to keep from crying. It doesn't matter that she didn't know him. Any funeral is sad, any police officer's death is tragic, anytime she hears that tune she weeps.

Mac stands beside her, his dress uniform as spotless as her own. He's stoic, a seemingly perpetual state for him. Can he grieve any more than he already is? Will he ever stop grieving for his wife? Part of her hoped this solemn occasion might solicit some response, allow him space to rail against the unfairness of the world. His outburst in defence of the horse gave her hope of a step forward for her friend and colleague but now he's closed up again, silent and withdrawn. She wishes they hadn't argued earlier, wishes she could reach out to him for comfort, and to be comforted.

Nearby, Flack is staring at the ground, focussing on anything other than his surroundings, probably for the same reason Stella is on the verge of drawing blood. He looks so young and vulnerable and it touches her, and makes her feel a little old. She wants to hold him and tell him it's okay, even though it's not okay and it never will be. Every officer's funeral it's the same mixture of grief for the deceased and relief it wasn't you this time.

She remembers Flack comes from a family of cops which can only make this harder. She's thankful she doesn't have his burden of trying to measure up to the collective memory of the officer his father was.

The first volley catches her unawares, so much so she begins to reach for her weapon. Three times, seven guns fire for the salute. Ironic, because it only took one bullet to kill him.