The Keeper

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot

Home of Chris Alonzo – Morning – 

The daylight had managed to find a way past the blackout drapes in her bedroom.  Chris wanted to pretend that last night had not happened, but her raging headache assured her that it had.  She couldn’t move, the pain and her pride kept her in bed until the screeching sound of her alarm clock seemed to chastise her for her recent behavior.  She had to get up no matter how horrible she felt, no matter how much she did not want to see Hondo today.

Chris slowly pulled herself from beneath the bedding and gingerly placed her feet on the floor. The cold tile was uncomfortable and reinforced the need to get dressed and start her day. She needed coffee and a shower not necessarily in that order.

Hondo felt uneasy about leaving her alone last night but staying was out of the question.  No matter what, he was still her boss and there were lines he would not cross.  Chris had been pushing herself to be the best and she had not made plans to take care of herself. Erica’s death had made that clear.  No one had ever questioned her strength, her capabilities or her heart. No one except Chris.  She’d pushed everyone away who would have come running to her rescue had she asked. It was up to him now to make sure she didn’t fall on her face and lose everything she had worked so hard to achieve.

Quietly, he walked up the flight of steps to her apartment and placed the large Styrofoam cup and white paper bag at her front door. Then waiting for a second he pulled his phone from his pocket as he hurried away.  Hondo knew it would be awkward between them for a while, but they would work through it. One thing for sure, she wasn’t ready to get back in the field, not now anyway.

Chris stepped out of the shower and saw her phone buzzing on the dresser.  She frowned puzzled at the text message: “Go to the front door. Breakfast is served. – Hondo.”

Chris looked through the peephole before opening the door. Even before opening it, she could smell the coffee, wonderfully strong coffee. Smiling she picked up the coffee and the bag and inhaled. Now all she needed was something for her headache.

S.W.A.T. Headquarters – 

Hondo was surprised to see Dr. Wendy standing outside his office when he arrived. Her smile was deceptive, and he’d been fooled by it too many times to count. She never came by just to say, hello and he assumed something was up. He invited her in and held his breath.

“What’s up doc? This is a pleasant surprise.” Hondo began.

“Well, I thought I’d stop by to see how things were going.”

“It’s been three weeks since Erica’s death. I’m not going to lie, it’s been rough, the team is taking it pretty hard.”

“It’s always tough when you lose a teammate. Erica was just getting started, but it seemed as if everyone took to her.”

“Yeah, she was amazing, hardworking and she was smart. It was good to see her, and Chris become friends.” Hondo added.

“Well at least the review board cleared you all to get back in the field. I know the press has been pretty rough on you.”

“Everybody’s looking for a way to bring us down. But we did everything we could, we followed the rules…”

“I know it’s tough.” Wendy interrupted.

“It’s just that with everything that’s happened over the last year, every cop is looked at as the bad guy.”

“That’s not really the issue, Hondo. You of all people know that.”

“I don’t know, maybe. What I do know is that my team is struggling, Doc. Everybody is walking around like they’re okay, but I know that they are not okay!”

Wendy watched Hondo pace the floor.  He had literally picked his team up and placed them on his shoulders. It was a pattern and she saw the cracks and weight that was now making his knees buckle.  He’d done the same with everyone in his life, his father, mother and Darryl all of them sat squarely on his shoulders. She was worried and her visit was made more out of concern for him than the others.

“Hondo, sit, please.”

He reluctantly sat across from her. He didn’t want to talk, he had too much to do and too much to protect.

“I asked how things were going and you talked about everyone but yourself, Hondo.”

“I’m fine. I just need to make sure my team is okay.”

She watched him before responding. This wasn’t going to be easy; he’d become good at covering and hiding his heart, refusing to be vulnerable and showing weakness.

“Hondo, you are not fine.”

“Doc, please…”

“It’s okay not to be fine! You’re human, just like the rest of us.” She continued to watch him struggle to deny what she was saying. “Have you always carried the world on your shoulders?”

“What?” He asked.

“I’ve known you for a long time, Hondo. You take care of everybody, don’t you?”

“I don’t know about that, Doc. I need everybody to be good, you know?”

“Who takes care of you? Who watches over you?”

“If you’re asking if I’m in a relationship.” He chuckled bitterly. “No one wants to sign on for this.”

“This? Listen to me. It’s not about being in a relationship. It’s about letting that wall down and admitting that you can’t carry everybody.”

“Like I said, Doc I’m fine. I can handle it.”

She watched him struggle and the cracks became more visible with every assurance that he was fine.

“One day, you’re going to get tired; too tired to carry the weight. Nobody is asking you to carry this weight, Hondo!”

“I’m okay, trust me. I can do my job, and I can take care of my team and my family!”

Wendy gently took his hands in hers and waited for him to look into her eyes.

“You’re going to get tired.”

He shook his head, no in disbelief.

“You’re going to get tired.” She repeated. “And when you do, I’ll be back.”


“I’m trying to get people to see that we are our brother’s keeper. Red, white, black, brown or yellow, rich or poor, we all have the blues.” – B. B. King


(Photo credit: CBS/ SWAT IMDb)

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