Home of Hondo Harrelson – Evening –
It had been tense around the house with Hondo home every day. Both Darryl and Pops had made an effort to give Hondo his space; everybody was walking on eggshells. Charice, Hondo’s mother had brought dinner over several times in the past week and the other nights she’d invited her guys over for dinner, with Hondo declining the invitation each time.
Unbeknownst to Hondo, Darryl had decided to make dinner for everyone in hopes of changing the mood and lifting Hondo’s spirits. Darryl owed his guardian his life for surely if Hondo had not stepped in, he’d be in jail or dead. Hondo was the reason that he was facing graduation instead of a life of crime and he was the reason that the courts had established his rights as a father, allowing him to see his son on a consistent basis. Now it was his turn to do something for the man who’d been more of a father to him then his own father.
Pops strolled into the kitchen while Darryl chopped tomatoes and lettuce. The menu consisted of tacos; the only thing Darryl knew how to make that everyone in the family would eat. So, tacos it was. Shaking his head, the older man grabbed the plates and began setting the table.
“Do you think Hondo will get mad that I invited everybody for dinner?”
“Hondo gets mad at everything these days, but it’s a nice thing you’re doing so don’t worry he’ll get over it.” Pops assured.
“Do you think he’ll ever get better you know get back to the old Hondo?”
“He will; we just need to be patient with him, son. What happened to him is hard for him to deal with and even after his body heals, his head will still need some work.”
“Yeah I know but I feel helpless, like I’m in the way or something.”
“You’re not in the way. Hondo needs you here and so do I.”
The two worked in silence until Hondo arrived struggling through the front door with pizza and soft drinks; a peace offering for his foul mood over the last few weeks. He owed them all an apology.
The three looked at each other shocked not sure what to make of the sight of each other; Darryl and Pops preparing tacos and Hondo with two boxes of pizza. The vision was hysterical and the three shared a much-needed laugh before the doorbell rang.
Pops rushed past a confused Hondo toward the front door. Darryl looked at Hondo as his mother stepped through the door. Pops and Charice still seemed on good terms as the elder man planted a sweet kiss on her lips. Hondo recognized the smell of her macaroni and cheese. Obviously, Hondo had not been informed about the plans for the evening.
“Mom, what are you doing here?”
“I was invited.” She replied planting a kiss on her son’s cheek.
Then without further explanation the woman walked into the kitchen and took control, much to Darryl’s dismay.
“Everything looks good, baby!”
Charice gave Darryl a big mama bear hug. Darryl loved her hugs; his own mother had never hugged him like that.
“What’s going on?” Hondo asked.
The other three stopped what they were doing and looked guiltily at Hondo each waiting for the other to speak.
“I know you’ve been upset lately…” Darryl began.
“About that, I’m really sorry for taking my foul mood out on all of you.” Said Hondo.
“We need you to know that you’re not alone; we’re here for you.” Charice added.
“Anything you need, even if it’s just to talk or listen…” Pops started.
“I…I don’t know what to say.”
Hondo fought to keep his emotions under control.
“There’s nothing to say! Now, let’s eat before this food gets cold.” Ordered Charice.
L.A.P.D. Metro Division –
Lt. De Silva was one of a few still in the office; everyone else had left for the day. This was the quiet time he needed to plan his next moves; moves that didn’t have much to do with his normal police duties. His earlier meeting with Hondo Harrelson concerned him and he was second-guessing his decision to offer him a spot in his crew.
Sgt. Krasinski made his way over to De Silva’s office. He’d promised to keep him updated and judging by his phone call, De Silva had some updates of his own.
“Krasinski, come in; have a seat.”
“Your call sounded important.”
“I met with Sgt. Harrelson today.”
“Is he on board?”
“No. In fact, he was quite concerned that I may have had something to do with Pretty Ricky’s death.”
“Really. Do you think he’ll be a problem?”
“Sgt. Harrelson is a by-the-book cop. He may not join us, but he’s loyal to his brothers in blue; he knows to keep his mouth shut.” De Silva assured.
“I hope you’re right because if he decides to turn on us…”
“Not to worry Sergeant, you let me handle Hondo.”
B.A.U. Headquarters –
Hicks looked up at the blonde standing in his doorway. It had been a long day and the last thing he needed was a meeting with the hard-nosed homicide detective. He knew her well and the only reason for her visit was to ruin his evening. Suddenly, the commander regretted not accepting his daughter’s invitation to dinner.
Hicks stood to greet her with a firm handshake. The two veteran police officers knew that their past was riddled with unpleasant run ins and so neither was fooled by the other’s false pleasantries.
“It’s a little late for you to be trolling the halls of S.W.A.T. isn’t it?”
“Well you know, this is the best time to catch the biggest rats!”
“So, I’ve been told, so I’ve been told.” Pleasantries were officially over. “What brings you by? Surely it’s not because you missed me.”
“Not hardly. I’m here about one of your men.”
“What can you tell me about Sgt. Hondo Harrelson?”
“Sgt. Harrelson is one of the finest men I’ve ever worked with.” He answered puzzled.
“Come on Commander; isn’t it true that you two butted heads when he first took over as twenty David?”
“There were some growing pains, but that’s to be expected when there’s a change; Sgt. Harrelson and I are fine, we have no problems.”
“I heard about what happened to him. In your opinion commander, do you think Sgt. Harrelson would ever take the law into his own hands?”
“What are you talking about Lieutenant?”
“A young man was murdered last night; a man considered a person of interest in the attack on Sgt. Harrelson.”
“Is that why you’re here?”
“We have reason to believe that there is an underground vigilante group working within the LAPD.”
“I’ve heard the rumors too; it’s old news.”
“Do you think your sergeant would ever take part in a group like that…to make sure the men who attacked him paid for what they did to him?”
“Sgt. Harrelson believes in what he does, and he would never step outside the law for any reason! It goes against who he is as a cop and as a man! So, if there’s nothing else…”
DelDotto took one last stern look into her old colleague’s eyes before heading toward the door.
“Okay, I’ll accept that for now but if you hear anything to the contrary, I expect you to let me know.”
“Let me make myself crystal clear; if you try to pin a murder on my sergeant, I’ll make sure it’s the last case you work. You got that, Lieutenant?”
“Good night, Commander.”
She smiled and then disappeared out of sight down the hallway. Hicks was furious by the visit. He would never believe that Hondo would commit murder; still he knew now that he needed to have a talk with Hondo. He’d put it off for far too long.
Home of Hondo Harrelson – Evening –
Pops walked Charice to her car as Hondo and Darryl put away the last of the dishes. Hondo was amazed at how far Darryl had come over the last couple years. He had no idea what he was doing or why when he had made the decision to take the young man in. His father was in prison for life and his mother had settled for a life with a man who had nothing to offer but misery, a man who had no love or place for Darryl in his home. Now he couldn’t imagine what it would be like without Darryl; he was family now and he loved him as if he were his own son.
“Thanks for what you did tonight.” Hondo began.
“It wasn’t nothing.”
“Yeah, yeah it was something; it meant a lot. I’ve been in a bad place lately and I know I’ve taken it out on you and pops, even my mother.”
“Hondo, when I didn’t have anybody you were there for me. My own moms didn’t want me. You opened your home and helped me get my life back on track when I was ready to give up.”
“Some pair we are, right?” Hondo joked.
Darryl smiled at the notion of them being a pair. It made him happy to be wanted and to be shown love.
“Yeah, yeah we are.”
“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you, without flinching — they are your family. ”- Jim Butcher