"Thank you for coming today…"
At her words Danny hugged Catherine tightly, gently stroking her back, the last in their small group to do so.
Chin and Kono were stood just to his side, having shaken hands with and hugged Steve, who looked somber in his dress blues.
Catherine was wearing the simple black dress she had worn to the funeral of 'Dicey Hot'. She didn't feel the need to buy anything special, for she could imagine her dad saying that no one had to make a special effort for his funeral…
She could imagine him rolling his eyes and waving away the spread and farewell he had been given.
Steve had been by her side the whole day, resting his hand on the small of her back when she needed it, putting his arm around her shoulder as they watched his coffin go in the ground, and although he was saluting with his other, he reached for her hand when the three gun salute shattered the air.
Catherine hadn't cried.
It had felt like closure, and although it was sad, it felt like things were moving in the right direction for her.
Yes, her dad was gone, but the men responsible for her it were not going anywhere.
Danny let her go, and turned to Steve.
Catherine's eyes moved to the photos of her father which were laid out on the buffet table amidst the sandwiches and sausage rolls.
There were photos of her as a child, then at the naval academy, then one of her, Steve and her dad, outside his new home on Hawaii, taken only two weeks previous.
She swallowed, walking towards this image and lifting it from the table.
"How's she doing?" Danny whispered to Steve, whose eyes had followed Cath's moves.
"About as well as can be expected… she lost her dad and… now she just has to learn to live without him being there."
"She won't be doing it on her own." Danny reminded him.
Steve nodded, quiet in his own house which was full of people in naval uniform he did not know, men who had hugged Catherine as though they knew everything about her, and told her time and time again that her father would have been so proud of her, and that they were thankful that they caught the villains who were behind it.
"He would have laughed at all of this, and told everyone to stop moping around and go for beer…" Steve chuckled at the memory, "he would have hated all this somber…" his words trailed away when it dawned on him, as it had on Catherine, that the larger than life admiral was not coming back.
He sighed "but he would have appreciated it, and no doubt commented on the fact I should be in uniform more… like you he uh, questioned, for want of a better word, why they are called dress blues when they are black."
"He was a smart Guy," Danny nodded, "it is a reasonable question."
Danny sensed Steve's attention was drawn back to Catherine, his eyes flitting to her back every few seconds.
Danny walked to Kono and Chin, both looking around sadly, discussing politely the photos of Cath and her dad with and the old sailor who had come to the house the night Geoff Rollins was killed.
Steve slowly walked away from the crowd of mourners towards Catherine, who stood with her back to it all, staring down at the photo she held.
In it, on a perfectly mown Hawaiian front lawn, Steve and Catherine stood with her father, beaming at the camera. Steve and Cath alike had protested having the photo taken, but he had insisted, wanting one of them with him outside his new home.
The home he would only live in for two weeks.
Slowly, so he didn't startle her, Steve reached to wrap his arm gently around her shoulders, tilt her towards his chest as three tears spilled down her cheeks.
"He was happy." She drew in a breath, "and I am happy, that those who killed him are gone… and that he can be at peace now."
"Yeh…"Steve murmured into her hair, stroking it softly as he had done when he had consoled her at Billy's funeral, "and I know he loved you very much…" he whispered, "as do I…"
Her eyes fluttered closed as she he kissed her temple, her fingers pushing hair from her eyes as she blinked rapidly in a naïve attempt to stop the tears as they slipped through, the photo still held in her hand to her chest.
Her voice was as thick as it had been that day in Afghanistan, and the words were no less true.
"I love you too."