Annie watched as they sat together. It was a brief moment—a brief break in the stress that had been surrounding the three of them. For once, for this brief moment, none of them were injured, none of them were being directly threatened, and none of them were actively working on a battle plan. For the three of them, this was a moment where they could pretend to be normal twenty-somethings, normal friends.
She felt a comfortable weight on her shoulders and tipped her head back to smile up at her husband. He squeezed her shoulders gently. “You doing alright?” He asked.
“Yes. Yeah. Of course. Just—watching.” She made a vague gesture in the direction of the three kids—well, young adults.
“Ah,” Ross watched the three of them for a while as well, “Look at them, huh?” There was a note of pride in his voice, as David said something that made River laugh out loud. David gave himself a little self-satisfied smile.
“Look at them,” Annie repeated, with a little less pride and a little more sympathy.
“Are you feeling a little bit bad for our girl?” Ross asked sweetly, leaning down to drop a kiss on the top of her head.
“I do, Ross, don’t you? Don’t you wish they could have more moments like this? That River could have more moments like this? She’s had such a tough life and some really bad things are coming her way. I do feel bad for River.” Annie sighed and Ross sank down onto the little bench next to her. He dropped an arm around her waist and she rested her head against his shoulder.
“She’s tough. She’s strong. She’s been trained her whole life for this, whether she realized it or not. She’ll do what needs to get done—she’s probably the only one who can. She’ll get these moments where she can. But she has a job to get done. She’s the only one who can, and she’ll do it well.” Ross said with a bit of sternness, almost a military-like cadence. It was what made Ross a good leader. It was what made Ross, Ross and she loved him for it. But—
“But—“ She offered.
“But yeah. I do feel a little bit sorry for her.” Ross admitted quietly.