He waited until Gracia and Elicia had left. He had already promised her that he’d come over for dinner tonight. He knew that she didn’t want to be alone any more than he had. They didn’t see him as Gracia walked her daughter out. Maes, your little girl is so cute, he thought as he watched her pigtails bounce, her hair caught up by ties that looked like little cherries.
As a general, he had been expected to attend the Memorial Day graveside services. His men were with him, even Havoc resting heavily on his crutches. Almost every one of these men and women in blue had nearly ended up here under the grass because they followed him. Roy hated this day, hated the absolutely needless loss of life Bradley in particular had caused. Yet, he remained torn because he understood what it was to give to his country, proud of these soldiers who gave all.
He waited until the cemetery was mostly empty before going to the grave, kneeling, chest tight as it always was when he came here. Roy splayed his fingers over the sun-heated stone. “This time, buddy, I can tell you we won. The thing that killed you is dead, Bradley, too. The boys are whole again. The only thing missing is you.”
Wiping tears from his face, Roy felt a hand brush his head: Riza, there for him as always. He leaned against her, his head on her hip as she stroked his hair. She would wait quietly as he said whatever he needed to, to Maes. Roy’s mind flashed to blood pouring from her neck, imagined her stone on a hill not far from Maes and he stifled a sobbed.
“I’m here, Roy,” she whispered and he knew she always would be.