They rode together in the town car during the procession. There seemed to be hundreds of vehicles representing every law enforcement and rescue agency within two hours. The procession route to the cemetery had been blockaded and the cemetery secured. No one but the employees of the cemetery and attendees of the funeral would be there, considering the VIPs and the slim possibility of another attack. They sat for what seemed like hours waiting for everyone to arrive at the cemetery before they exited their car. Rick barely spoke the whole time, knowing that Kate was struggling to maintain her composure; he didn't want to accidentally say the wrong thing and upset her. If she didn't have to speak, maybe he wouldn't worry so much about protecting her from tears.
He jumped a little when she broke the silence. She spoke softly. "He commented once…" she shook her head and rolled her eyes, "that it was sad that one of our vics had to die because everyone was too scared to say how they really felt."
Rick wondered where that out-of-the-blue comment came from. "When was that?"
"Before you left for the Hamptons…. After he said it, he stepped aside so I was looking directly at you. You came to tell me you were taking Alexis to Princeton for the summer program, and you gave me a funny look, like the look on my face confused you."
Rick looked confused right then, too. He quietly said, "I remember that."
"He knew back then that I cared about you."
"You did? But… you were with Demming. You seemed so… into him. I was surprised when I got back that you had broken up."
Her voice was so low, he barely heard her response. "I broke up with him then."
Rick was thoroughly confused. "When?"
"As soon as you walked out to take Alexis to Princeton."
Rick's mouth opened, but he said nothing. He looked at her sad face for a long time. The reason was written all over it, but he couldn't believe it. So he whispered, "Why?"
She looked into his eyes, and the answer was clear.
He looked down in shame. "That's what you were going to say when Gina walked up."
"That's why everyone hated me when I came back…. I knew it was more than me not calling, but I never could figure out what."
She nodded again.
"I'm so sorry, Kate. I'm so very sorry." He pulled her into a secure embrace. "I won't ever walk away from you again."
They waited for the rest of the cars to arrive in each other's arms, silent. He mentally beat himself up for hurting her without even realizing it. She took comfort in knowing it would never happen again. She was plucking up the courage to do what Roy had encouraged a year before - to tell Rick exactly how she truly felt about him - when the driver informed them that it was time.
They stepped out and joined the other pallbearers. Kate had on her strong mask again. Rick did not. So he put on his sunglasses to hide the emotion.
They carried the casket between the honor guard, each saluting. The flag was folded and presented to the widow. Her body shook as she tried not to lose all control, but she sobbed when she accepted the flag. Her son and two daughters were seated next to her, tears streaming down their cheeks. By the time they reached the front, Rick had finally put on a poker face and removed his glasses.
The mayor spoke of Captain Montgomery as a hero and friend. Rick didn't really listen. He was focused on Kate. She stood between him and the mayor, so no one could tell that he was studying her. He kept thinking of their quiet conversation in the car.
She said it was sad that someone had to die because everyone was too scared to say how they really felt. I've never actually told her how I really feel. I've always been too scared. She knows, though, right?
When she got up to speak, he focused on every word that came out of her mouth. Her lovely, perfect mouth.
"Roy Montgomery taught me what it meant to be a cop. He taught me that we are bound by our choices, but we are more than our mistakes. Captain Montgomery once said to me that, for us, there is no victory. There are only battles. And in the end, the best you can hope for is to find a place to make your stand. And if you're very lucky, you find someone willing to stand with you."
She paused to look at Rick. He saw in her face right then that she already knew he'd always stand with her. What he'd promised in the car only underscored her faith in him.
She continued, "Our captain would want us to carry on the fight-"
What was that flash?
"-and if there ever is…"
It can't be. The cemetery is secure. Another flash- OH GOD NO!
"KATE!" Nooo! I was too slow! There's too much blood! Kate's blood! Oh, God, please.
He held her, afraid to make it worse, but unable to not hold her.
"No, no, no. Kate…. Shh…. Kate, please. Stay with me, Kate. Don't leave me. Please. Stay with me, okay?" I never said it. She might die right here, and I never told her. "Kate… I love you. I love you, Kate."
He saw her tear and what looked like a hint of a smile, and he hoped she heard him. He hoped his confession would give her strength. But her eyes closed, and she went limp in his hands.
I can't save her. Please, God, save her.