“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” – Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
Hondo had been blindsided by the Commander. He’d seen a lot in his years with the Marine Corp and with LAPD, but this he didn’t see coming. He knew the brass would be coming for him, but he’d over-estimated his importance. No matter what, he thought that what he represented optically to the Mayor and to the city was enough to protect him from actions that could be seen as racially motivated.
He was wrong. He was the one who’d crossed the line, he was the one who had shown the spotlight on LAPD’s ugly truth and he needed to learn that he was just a tool and at the end of the day, those in charge would have the last say. No, he wasn’t important not in the same way he wanted to be. Squashing him and putting him in his place was more important than anything he could ever say to the media. Besides, the city and the nation had grown weary of the protests that seemed more like the whining of petulant, spoiled children who’d gotten their way for too long. The LAPD brass needed to check their spoiled brat and put him back in his place. They had made Hondo who he was, placed him in the forefront of the city’s efforts to make things “right” and to prove to the restless masses that they were committed to the fight for equality.
Now as Hondo slowly packed up his office, he felt numb and dumb. He’d overplayed his hand and it didn’t matter that he had risked his life for the department and the city that had birthed him. He’d been willing to overlook the fact that he had been a victim of corrupt, racist cops as a teenager. He had been taught by his father, that he had to become the change. Now, he was learning that that ‘thing’ didn’t want change, it didn’t want to be changed. More importantly, it didn’t want him. Hondo had a choice to make. No one had officially fired him, instead his demotion had created a situation where he had to leave. So now what? Would his next decision be one of pride and principle or was there enough fight left in him to stand alone on his own two feet and return fire? He didn’t quite know, so he kept packing filling the box, going through the motions, and praying that his legs would carry him through the door and back home.
Chris had finally admitted her feelings for Street. Then there was the kiss, the kiss that gave them both the courage to say out loud what their hearts had kept quiet. A slight smile crossed her face as she remembered the countless times he had pleaded with her to give them a chance. Her excuses and fears had not deterred him and so he waited.
She was headed for Europe for a rare career opportunity that she had worked hard for, and he was donating a kidney to his mother which was another reason she loved him. Chris had told him again and again that his mother didn’t deserve such a sacrifice, but she knew she was wasting her breath. The two had already said their goodbyes but she wanted to see him again, to tell him again that she loved him.
Street wanted her to stay but they both had things to take care of before the night was over. He knew that she was still apprehensive about the two of them; what it would mean, how it would look and what others would think but she had come a long way in admitting what he already knew. He loved her, she loved him and the only thing he felt bad about was Molly. She didn’t deserve his half-hearted attempt at loving her, as if he really could.
Tomorrow morning, his life would change. He realized that he didn’t owe his mother such a huge gift, but he knew he’d never forgive himself if he left her hanging. And so, risking everything, his surgery was scheduled for 9 a.m., the same time Chris’ flight left for Europe to join Luca. Chris had given him hope, enough to believe that things would work out. Hope to get him through his surgery and for that he was grateful.
Everything was changing; 20 Squad had become a mangled mess, so it seemed. The last few months had damaged the team and if he believed in karma, Deacon would have blamed it on the past sins of them all. But he didn’t believe in karma and so Deacon chose to believe that this was a changing of seasons and he would weather the storm and move on if only for a little while.
Deacon had felt pressured to do something that he wasn’t sure he would have ever done without the prodding of Hondo. Turning against his fellow brothers in blue seemed wrong. The real question was, if he would have been able to turn a blind eye to the wrongs of a brother especially if those wrongs could bring harm to another human being.
Watching and listening to the racist rants of the other officers who’d identified him as one of them, had forced Deacon on his knees because he was far from being like them. Still, he wasn’t ready to turn them in. But he did turn them in along with an airtight case against them. It didn’t matter the bad apples were still cops, protected by the LAPD machine whose true mission was self-preservation.
Now, suffering his own cost for his deeds, Deacon had taken refuge at the police academy, training new recruits to be better, more compassionate, teaching the true meaning of, “to serve and protect.”
No one had paid for their actions more than Hondo. Deacon admired the man; he’d lost everything in his pursuit for justice; he wondered if his friend would survive it all. He had to talk to him to say what, he wasn’t sure, but he still needed to let him know that no matter what, he had his back, and he would stand with him as a friend and as a brother.
So, this was it. Hondo tucked the box under his arm and headed toward the door. His time at SWAT had amounted to a few certificates, files and trinkets that fit easily into a box. He’d risked his life, he’d been shot at, injured, and had spent countless sleepless nights working to protect this city. It was so easy for that same city to discard him. It hurt but what did he expect? His very position as SWAT leader had been for the city’s benefit, not his. He’d felt the pressure of that truth from the beginning.
“Take some personal time to decide what you want to do.”
The commander’s words felt like ice scraping across his heart. Why did personal time sound so much like rejection instead of concern. Decisions, he had decisions to make, and they would be made alone. If these last few days had taught him anything, it was that he had taken on a big enemy with an army of one. He wondered if truth was a noble enough cause after all; his wounded heart and bruised ego perhaps would argue otherwise.
With his personal belongings tucked under his arm, Hondo took one last look at the space that had been his for the last four years. It felt cold and the gray walls seemed to mock him as he made his exit. Personal time, yea that’s what he needed, time alone to lick his wounds, to think, to make decisions on the next chapter of his life. It was a time of much needed rest.
“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing and should therefore be treated with great caution.” – J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
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