"State calls Detective Don Flack to the stand."
The man closed his eyes, reminded himself that it wasn't him they were calling to the stand, just a younger version of himself. Someone who didn't share the same foggy gray view of the world his father had tried to impress on him. Someone who still saw things almost in black and white.
Give him another twenty, maybe thirty years on the force, and maybe he'll see it my way.
Good guy, bad buy. Right and wrong. That was the way his son still viewed the world, and sometimes, frankly, it pissed his father off. Donnie had yet to find his happiness in the shades of gray. He was out to get the bad guy, and while admirable, he hadn't yet learned that he can't always win.
The older man's eyes flickered from the man in the witness box, to the defendant. The defendant who he had trusted to guide his son, his only son, through his beginning years on the force, now the defendant. For what? Tampering with evidence? Hindering the capture of a killer?
Protecting his son?
Flack's blue eyes lingered on Moran, and wondered if he could have kept himself from doing the same thing. From saving his son when the control was in his hands.
As Flack watched Don finish his testimony and step down from the witness box, he wasn't entirely sure he could do what his son was doing either. If his old mentor, who was now six feet under, God rest his soul, had taken advantage of his power as an officer, would he be able to stand up in court against the man he had admired and trusted with his life, and said yes, this man committed this crime? He wasn't sure.
"The court will declare recess for one hour." As the people began to mill about and chat about the case, Flack stepped out into the aisle to block his son's way out. He watched as Don froze, unsure of what to say or how to act. They hadn't seen each other in a while. Whatever the last major holiday was, Christmas, New Years, something of the like. Donnie had come by the house, just like his mother always begged him to, had planted a smile on his face, pretended to be amiable, but really Flack knew that his son viewed this as an obligation. He was there to make his mother happy.
"Detective," Flack began, knowing that even though Don didn't show it, the acknowledgement of the title was appreciated.
"What are you doing here, Dad?" Don asked.
"Am I not allowed to watch a court case involving someone I know?" Flack replied. He wanted to find the words to tell his son how proud he had made his father. How when he allowed Moran to walk out of that precinct with his pride and dignity intact, he made his old man proud?
Flack had never been sure about his son joining the force. True, it was in his blood, but he felt that Donnie was too much like his mother. Not necessarily soft, but not necessarily tough enough. And Don knew how his father felt too. And they had argued over it, screamed over it, hence the stiff holidays and seldom visits. But Donnie proved himself. Flack knew that in leading Moran out that door with the decency he deserved, Don had made the right choice with his life.
"It's a free country," his son shrugged, before pushing past him.
"Ya did good, Donnie," Flack said softly, yet quickly, so he could finish before his son got out of earshot. Don froze again, letting the words sink in before continuing to head out the door. Flack knew his son understood. He gave them a few moments of silence before speaking up again.
"Your mother will be happy to know you finally cut your hair," he began, "It was like there was a small animal living up there."
He watched his son's shoulders heave slightly as he continued to walk out the door, a slight shake of his head following the wake of his footsteps. Flack knew that his son understood what he was trying to say.
Donnie was gonna do just fine.