Hondo Harrelson left late for work and detoured to a quiet street that wasn't so quiet a few days ago. He stopped at the curb and walked up to a neat home and pressed the doorbell.
"Hello, ma'am," he said to the woman that opened the door.
"Is there more trouble, Officer?"
"No, ma'am. I had an officer on your roof the other day – when all the trouble was going on next door. I'd like to check for any brass, empty shell casings, we may have left."
"Oh. Of course, Officer. There's a ladder out back by the shed."
"Thank you, ma'am. I won't be long and I'll be sure to put the ladder back."
"Okay. Be careful up there."
Harrelson settled in on the roof in the best approximation of where he remembered TJ had set up. Prone, he removed his hat, glanced back over his shoulder, checked his watch, and waited. Slowly, the sun inched higher behind him. When the minute hand reached about the time that the shooting began next door, he stared at the neighboring front window – as TJ was doing that day.
On cue, the sun rose over the rooftops and splashed against the window, turning it opaque. The glare was blinding. Harrelson didn't want to think how bright it would appear through TJ's scope. He's lucky TJ didn't receive permanent eye damage.
TJ skipped down the stairs into the Control Center. It was quiet. He knew Deke was subbing at Sunset for a couple days. Of course, Dom and Jim were out for a few more days. He stopped by his desk, drawn by a new item sitting in the middle of it – a pair of dark sunglasses. He turned, staring at Harrelson in his office.
"You know?" TJ asked, walking into the office.
"Yeah." Harrelson motioned for TJ to sit. "I also know how feeble an excuse it makes."
TJ shook his head. "After everything else, I couldn't say the sun was in my eyes. That just sounds so lame, like covering for a freeze."
"We know you better than that, McCabe." Harrelson leaned forward on his desk. "Enough to see that it was eating you up and do a little investigating."
"I took responsibility for it." TJ shrugged. "The shrink released me." He dropped the papers on the desk.
"You good with the other two?" Harrelson asked.
"Yes, sir. We went over … things … last night."
"No further injuries to report?"
TJ laughed. "No, sir. Unless you count slight hangovers."
Harrelson relaxed. "No, under the circumstances, that's not unexpected."
Harrelson quickened his pace down the stairs at the crescendo of voices. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs, smiling as Deke attempted to referee the rest of Olympic SWAT 1 at the coffee pot.
"Gentlemen!" Harrelson said, sharply and loudly. The instantaneous quiet was gratifying. He walked to the coffee pot, poured his cup, and settled at his desk. "Carry on!"
His smile returned as the bickering continued. He picked up the return to duty forms for Luca and Street from his desk and sipped his coffee.
"Street, Luca," Harrelson called. The men appeared at his door.
"Sir," Dom said.
"Lieutenant," Jim said.
"Welcome back," Harrelson said, toasting them with his coffee mug.
"Yes, sir!" they answered in unison.