Title: A New Beginning
Author: Kate Anderson
Email: sam_loves_jack@yahoo.ca
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine! They belong to Edward Allen Bernero and John Wells and um, some other people! No money is being made from this work. Don't sue!
Rating: PG-13, just be on the safe side
Pairing: Bosco/Faith, UST - eventual romance
Spoilers: None, I think (??)
Summary: After a criminal attempts to attack Faith's kids, Faith finds that her life is changing.
Author's Notes: Wow, my first attempt at a Third Watch fic. Any and all feedback is eagerly welcomed, I gotta know if I'm doing this Bosco/Faith stuff right!



CHAPTER ONE

"Faith? Faith? You alright?" asked Bosco with a concerned expression on his face.

Faith wrapped her arms around herself and shivered a bit. "I keep thinking about the kids Bos. What if we hadn't been there?"

"Fred say where he was takin' them?" Bosco asked.

Faith shook her head. "Didn't say. Probably as far away from me as possible."

"Don't bust yourself up over this Faith. It wasn't you fault. You had no way of knowing that that creep would go after Charlie and Em."

"I should have been more careful. Fred's always said that one day my job would hurt the family."

Bosco kicked a rock and watched as it skittered across the rough pavement. "You wanna grab something to eat?" he asked, hoping to get her mind off recent events.

Faith shrugged. "Not really hungry. Look Bos, why don't you go. You don't have to stick around."

"You planning on staying in your place tonight?" Bosco asked, casting his gaze at Faith's building.

"Yeah, why?" asked Faith.

"It's kind of a mess you know, what with the blood and the crime scene investigation crap all over it. Why don't you crash at my place tonight?"

"No way." Faith replied. "I can just grab some things and stay at a hotel."

Bosco didn't look satisfied with Faith's response. "Seriously Faith." he said. "It's no trouble. I'll even let you take the bed."

Faith studied her partner for a moment and knew he was serious. "Okay." she relented. "I'll just grab a duffle bag."

"Want me to come up with you?" Bosco asked.

Faith shook her head. "No, I can go alone. Why don't you get the car warmed up. It's freezin' out here!"

Bosco watched Faith walk away before unlocking the door of his car and getting in. He turned the engine on and flipped the heat to max. Before long, the car became almost unbearably warm.

_____________

Faith pulled a bag out of the closet and threw it on her bed. She grabbed a handful of bras and panties from a drawer and stuffed them in the bag.

The apartment seemed unnaturally silent. In her mind Faith still heard Charlie yelling for help and the sound of breaking glass.

Trying to block out those memories, Faith quickly threw some sweats and shirts into the bag and zipped it up. As she walked past Charlie and Emily's room, she didn't look in.

Faith hurried towards Bosco's car and opened the passenger door.

"Hey, hurry up and get in will ya? You're lettin' all the cold air in!" Bosco said with mock annoyance. Faith didn't even smile, she just threw her bag in the back, got in and closed the door.

"My offer for food still stands." Bosco said. "Haven't got much in the way of food at my place."

"Somehow that doesn't surprise me." Faith said.

"Tell you what." Bosco said. "We don't even have to stop any place. We'll just hit a drive-through."

Faith shrugged. "Whatever." she said, leaving Bosco to make the decision.

They drove in silence for a while before Faith suddenly said, "We've been discussing getting a divorce."

Bosco turned his head to look at Faith. "You and Fred? You serious? I mean, I know that you two don't always see eye to eye, but I thought you always worked things out."

Faith snorted. "Yeah well, somehow I doubt we'll be able to work through this one."

"Give yourself more credit Faith." Bosco said as he turned off the road and headed for the drive-through lane of an all night fast food joint.

"What are you having?" Bosco asked.

"I told you, I'm not hungry."

"You gotta eat something and besides, I'm paying. How often does that happen?"

Faith sighed. "Fine, get me a small fries and a drink."

"That it?" Bosco asked. "Usually you at least get a cheeseburger."

"Don't push it." Faith replied.

Bosco knew when to shut up, so he placed their orders and drove ahead to the pickup window. A young man appeared and Bosco shoved a few bills his way. "Thank you sir, your order will be right up!" the employee said.

Bosco and Faith waited in silence until their order was handed to them. "Here's your fries and drink." Bosco said. "You sure you don't want a bite of my burger?"

Faith wrinkled her nose and shook her head. Bosco shrugged and with one hand holding his burger and one hand on the wheel, he pulled back onto the street and headed for his apartment.

___________

"I'll put some clean sheets on the bed." Bosco said after they'd both entered his apartment. "Sorry about the mess."

Faith kicked aside a pair of jeans and set her bag down. "What do you do Bosco, just take off your pants the minute you're through the door?"

Bosco decided he didn't want to answer that question and said. "Make yourself at home!" before heading towards his bedroom.

"You know Bosco, you don't have to do that." Faith called after him. "I can sleep on the couch."

"No, it's alright." Bosco replied. "I'm going to be up for a while. I'd only keep you awake."

Faith looked around Bosco's apartment and made a mental note to herself to help him clean the place the up. A pile of twisted sheets landed in the hall with a soft thump and Faith picked her bag up and took it to Bosco's room.

"Flowery sheets Bos?" Faith asked with a small smirk on her face as she looked at the bed. "I'm impressed."

"They're for company." Bosco replied and tucked the last corner of the bottom sheet in.

"I can finish up with that." Faith said and grabbed the top sheet from where it was laying on the dresser.

"Have it your way." Bosco said. "I'll just grab some stuff and then I'll be out of your way. There's some towels and a facecloth in the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom. Oh, and an extra blanket in the top of closet if you get too cold."

Faith nodded. "Thanks Bosco."

"Hey." he said. "Don't mention it."

Faith nodded again.

"No, I'm serious." Bosco said. "Don't mention it. Everyone will think I've gone soft."

"Good night Bosco." Faith said and Bosco left the room with a pillow, blanket and a handful of clothing.

___________

Faith woke up the next morning and reached beside her for Fred. When her hand didn't make contact with anything, Faith sighed and the events of the previous day came flooding back to her. She was at Bosco's place and Fred and the kids had left. She closed her eyes again and saw the man standing over Emily with a piece of jagged glass clutched in his hands.

Faith opened her eyes again and shook her head, willing the image to go away. She swung her feet off the bed and sat up. The duffel bag sat at her feet and Faith rummaged through it and pulled out some clothes for the day.

"Mornin'" said Bosco as Faith appeared. He was sitting on the couch with a bowl of cereal in hand. "Sleep well?"

"Mmmm hmmm." said Faith. "I'm going to take a shower, alright?"

"Yeah sure, go ahead. We gotta go down the station today." Bosco said. "Lieu give you some time off?"

"Yeah a few days. Told me to get my bearings back."

"Great." Bosco muttered. "Looks like I get to pair up with Gusler. I'd rather be riding solo."

"You could talk with Lieu." Faith said. "Maybe he could put you at a desk."

Bosco did not look impressed with Faith's suggestion. "I'd rather be riding with Gusler than riding a desk." he said.

"You're not on today are you?" Faith asked.

Bosco shook his head. "Nah."

Faith turned around and left Bosco with his cereal to head for the shower. "Oh God Bosco!" she said once she was there. "When was the last time you cleaned this thing!"

"It's not so bad!" Bosco yelled back to her. "You just gotta keep your eyes closed!"

Bosco laughed to himself as he heard Faith groan and the water start running. He dug his spoon back into his bowl and just as he went to shovel the spoonful into his mouth the phone rang.

Bosco set the bowl down and reached for the phone. "Hello?" he said.

"My wife there?" asked the voice on the other end.

"Fred?" asked Bosco.

'Yeah, unless she's got some other husband that I don't know about. She there?"

"Uh yeah, she's here but she's in the shower right now."

"I'm not sure that I like the thought of my wife in your shower but I'll ignore that for the moment." Fred said. "You can tell her that I've gotten a lawyer and she can expect divorce papers soon. Should I have them sent to your place?" he asked snidely.

"Yes Fred. Have them sent to my place." Bosco replied and before he could say another word, Fred hung up.

___________

"Fred called while you were in the shower."

Faith's eyes widened. "What did he say? Are the kids alright?"

"He didn't say anything about the kids, I assume they're okay. But he, uh, he said to tell you that he's gotten a lawyer and you can expect the divorce papers soon."

Faith closed her eyes and willed herself to control her emotions. "I knew this would happen." she said. "I'm never going to see Charlie and Emily again."

"Don't be ridiculous." Bosco said. "Of course you'll see them again. You're a good mom Faith. He can't take your kids away from you forever."

"Yeah." was all Faith said.

"We'd better get down to the station." Bosco said. "Lieu was expecting us around 9:00 and it's already 10:00. We'd better do some grocery shopping afterwards."

"Look Bosco, if it's all the same with you, I'd rather go home after we're done at the station. I don't want to impose upon you."

"You're not imposing Faith and besides, I don't think that going back to your place is a good idea."

"I have to go back there sometime." Faith said. "Of course now I'm not going to be able to afford it." she said sadly.

"You're staying here at least another night." Bosco said. "I'm back at work tomorrow, so if you want to go back to your place then, I won't be here to stop you."

Faith nodded and tugged her shoes on her feet. She and Bosco had to go down to the station to make full reports about what they had witnessed. Faith didn't want to think about it, but she knew that if she wanted to convict the guy, she had to tell them what had happened.

Bosco stood by the door with keys in hand. "Ready?" he asked.

"Yep." she said and they left the apartment.

CHAPTER TWO

You want to drive or shall I?" Faith asked as she and Bosco got a cart at the grocery store.

"You can drive." Bosco said.

Faith and Bosco had finished at the police station and Faith was assured that the guy would be kept behind bars. They had then headed for the nearest store to pick up some things.

As they strolled up and down the aisles, Faith began to notice Bosco throwing an inordinate amount of junk food in the cart. "Hey Bos, what's say we get some real food." Faith said and attempted to put the bag of chips back on the rack.

"No way." Bosco said and threw the chips back in the cart. "You gotta have chips and stuff when you're watching movies."

"Watching movies?" Faith parroted.

"I was thinking that maybe tonight we could just rent some movies. You know, have a movie night."

"Movie night?"

"Are you just going to repeat everything I say?" Bosco asked, feeling a little frustrated.

"No." said Faith. "I just never pegged you as the type of guy to have a movie night."

"I happen to like watching movies, just so long as they aren't chick flicks."

Faith shrugged and quickly pushed the cart out of the snack aisle. Bosco ran after her with a bag of cheezies in one hand and licorice in the other. Faith slowed down once she reached the cleaning supplies aisle. "Hey Bosco." she said, picking up a tub cleanser. "Ever hear of this stuff?"

Bosco chose not to dignify that question with an answer and mutely watched as Faith tossed the cleanser in the cart. "I can't keep my eyes closed indefinitely in the shower." she said.

It took them another twenty minutes in the grocery store and soon they were loading bags into the trunk of Bosco's car. "There's a corner store just down the road from my place." Bosco said. "They rent movies there. I thought we'd stop there on the way back."

"Sounds fine to me." Faith said. "We can't take a long time in there though, the frozen stuff will melt."

"It's freezing out here Faith. I don't think that stuff has a hope in hell of ever melting."

"You'd be surprised." Faith replied.

____________

"I can't believe that I let you talk me into watching this movie." Bosco said, looking disgusted at the screen. "What does she see in that guy?"

"Shhhhh!" Faith hissed. "It's just getting to the good part."

"I knew we should have rented the other one." Bosco said, not really caring about the good part.

"God, you're just like Fred!" Faith said.

Bosco wasn't sure if he should be insulted or upset that he reminded her of Fred. Wisely deciding to keep quiet, he tried to turn his attention back on the tv screen but instead found himself looking at Faith out of the corner of his eye. She looked fairly relaxed and at least the movie seemed to be making her happy.

Bosco sat and fairly twiddled his thumbs for another thirty minutes before the movie ended. Faith smiled and got off the couch, stretching her back. She reached down to pick up various bowls and glasses from the coffee table but Bosco put a hand on her arm. "I'll get those. You look beat, why don't you just head to bed." he said.

Faith looked at him gratefully. "Night Bos." she said and headed towards the bathroom.

Bosco grabbed the bowls and put them down on the kitchen counter. They had almost polished off the bag of chips and the bag of cheezies. Bosco looked into the bowls and decided their contents weren't worth keeping, so he dumped them into the trash.

After he'd collected the glasses and loaded everything up into the dishwasher, he returned to the couch and flicked through a few channels before stopping on ESPN and catching up the latest scores. A while later Bosco realized that Faith was still in the bathroom and that the water had been running for quite a long time. He got up and knocked on the door.

"You okay in there?" he asked. The water shut off and he heard a few clunks before Faith's voice replied, "I'm fine."

"You aren't cleaning my bathroom are you?" Bosco asked.

The door opened and Faith's face appeared. "It was truly disgusting Bos. I realize that you're a guy and guys don't care if their shower has streaks of dirt running down the tiles, but if I have to be here, it's gonna be clean."

"I was going to get that done tomorrow." Bosco said. "Before I go into work."

"Well, now it's done and you don't have to worry about it." Faith said with a note of satisfaction in her voice.

"Besides." Bosco said. "I thought you were going home tomorrow."

Faith's eyes clouded over a bit and she shrugged. "Doesn't seem to be much point in going home if there's no one to go home to. Like you said, the place is a mess. I'm gonna have to clean it up sometime and talk to Fred. He can't afford a place that like with just his salary either, so I don't know what we're going to do."

"You're welcome to stay here as long as you like."

"You sure I'm not cramping your style?" Faith asked. "Because I know how embarrassing it would be to bring home a girl only to find me asleep in your bed."

Bosco shrugged. "Who needs a bed? I've got a couch and besides, it's closer to the door."

Faith looked almost horrified and Bosco had to laugh. "Don't worry." he said. "I promise, no chicks while you're here."

Faith rolled her eyes. "You'd better get back to your scores." she said. "Don't want you to miss anything important." And then she shut the door again.

____________

It was two days later and Faith's last day off work. Bosco came home and found her on the phone yelling at someone, presumably Fred.

"I called because I thought we should talk!" Faith yelled. "Not to get into a screaming match!"

Faith held the phone a distance away from her ear and Bosco tried to go about his business, pretending that he couldn't hear every word Fred was saying.

"I've been gone, what three days now Faith and you're already shacked up with that jag-off partner of yours?!" Fred yelled.

Faith cast a glance in Bosco's direction. "I'm not shacked up with him as you so eloquently put it." Faith hissed. "I'm just staying here until I can figure out what the hell I'm supposed to do with myself."

"Yeah, you keep saying that Faith." came Fred's reply. "I'm not sure I believe you."

Bosco grabbed a can of soda from the fridge and headed for the couch. On the coffee table lay a pile of papers. Bosco picked them up. Divorce papers, already signed by Fred.

"You can't do that to me Fred!" Faith said, her voice trembling. Bosco hadn't heard what Fred had said before, he must have lowered his voice. "Can I at least talk to them?" Faith asked sounding a bit pathetic.

Bosco turned on the tv but kept the volume low, partly so Faith could talk on the phone and partly so he could hear what was going on. "Hi sweetie." he heard Faith and knew she was talking to one of her kids. "How are you doing?"

Bosco suddenly felt bad for listening in on Faith's conversation with her kids and turned the volume up louder. He turned around and looked at Faith, hoping that the increase in volume wasn't bothering her. She didn't seem to notice.

Finally Faith hung up the phone and joined Bosco on the couch. "Whatcha watchin'?" she asked. Bosco shrugged. "Not much. Just flipping around."

"Have a good day at work?"

"You actually think I could have a good day while babysitting some kid who thought it might be fun to become a cop?" Bosco replied.

"Gusler that bad?"

"He gets nervous about directing traffic Faith. That kid can't do anything! I need someone out there who's not afraid to grab the perps by the nuts and throw 'em around a bit."

"I'm back tomorrow."

Bosco looked towards the pile of papers on the table. "You wanna talk about it?" he asked. "You and Fred seemed to be in fine form tonight."

"He's suing me for full custody of the kids Bos. Can you believe that? Plus, he says he's keepin' the apartment."

"After all that happened there? How's he gonna pay for it?"

Faith shrugged. "Says the kids need at least one stable factor in their lives, he doesn't want to pull them out of their school."

"That guy's a certifiable whack job Faith. He can't keep you away from your kids forever."

"I miss them." Faith said. "He let me talk to them, briefly. Charlie said he wants me to come home. You wanna try telling an 8 year old why his mother isn't coming home?"

"What did Em say?"

"She was a little more reserved. I think she does blame me for what happened." Faith said with a sigh.

"You wanna do something tomorrow before our shift?" Bosco asked.

"Like what?"

"I don't know. Head down to the waterfront or something. Just get away from it all for a while."

Faith smiled. "You know what Bosco, I think that's the nicest offer anyone's made to me for a long time now."

___________

It was a sunny day, cold, but sunny. Faith was sitting on a park bench while Bosco threw stones into the water. "Aren't you gettin' cold just sitting there?" he asked.

"My toes are getting a bit numb." she replied.

"Let's walk." Bosco said.

Faith stood up and the two of them began to walk. "Bos?" Faith said.

"Yeah?"

"I just wanted to thank you for being so supportive the last few days. You've been great. I promise that I'll start looking for a place of my own soon."

"No rush." Bosco replied. "It's kind of nice to have someone else in the apartment for a change.

"You mean someone you haven't tied to the bed?"

"Hey! I resent that implication Faith." Bosco said. "Seriously, you're welcome to stay as long as you want."

"You sure?"

"Let's see, in three days you've cleaned my entire apartment, kept my kitchen well stocked, and mended the holes in my shirts. What's not to like about having you around?"

Faith laughed and then checked her watch. "We'd better get heading over to the station." she said. "Lieu wanted to talk with me before roll call."

"Yeah? What about?"

"Ah, he didn't say. Probably just wants to make sure that I'm alright before sending me out into the streets."

"Are you alright?"

"I'm fine! I just want to get back to doing my damn job. I'm tired of sitting around your apartment all day sewing up your ratty shirts."

Bosco threw Faith a glance and then started to head back towards the car.

___________

"You wanted to see me?" Faith asked as she entered Swersky's office.

"Yokas." Swersky said. "It's good to have you back. How you been holding up?"

"I'm fine Lieu. Just anxious to back out there."

"Boscorelli's been a real pain the ass these last few days. It's a relief to have you back. I have no idea how you manage to put up with him all day."

"It's an acquired skill." Faith replied.

"You sure you're ready to be back out there?" Swersky asked, looking directly at Faith.

"I said I was anxious to get back out. I'm fine."

Swersky nodded. "Well, you'd better get changed. Roll call's in ten."

Faith left Swersky's office and headed for the lockers. "Faith!" called Sully as she entered the room. "Good to have you back."

Faith smiled and looked around. "Bosco not here?" she asked.

"Been here and left. Must be eager to be back with his partner." Sully replied.

Faith opened her locker and took off her sweater. She reached for her vest and put it over her head. "Hey Yokas!" called another voice, one that Faith recognized at Ty Davis'.

"Davis." she said with a smile.

"Glad someone's back to whip Bosco's ass back into line." Davis said.

Faith pulled on her blouse and buttoned it up. "Was he really that bad?" she asked.

Sully and Davis nodded. "Worse." Sully replied.

Faith grabbed her jacket and hat. "No need to worry about him anymore." she said and left the locker room.

Faith entered the room and spotted Bosco already seated a desk. She sat down next to him. "This has to be the first time you've ever been early for roll call." she said teasingly. "I wanted to talk to you down in the lockers, but Sully said you'd already left."

"What about?" Bosco replied.

Faith opened her mouth to speak but then Christopher walked into the room. "Yokas, back so soon?" he asked. "I would have thought you would have taken more time off, considering what happened."

"It's my job." Faith replied, gritting her teeth.

"Seeing as how you're the only that can keep Officer Boscorelli here in line, it's good to have you back. One more day without you and Bosco would have found himself riding a desk or doing lock up."

Faith leaned closer to Bosco. "Geez Bos, what did you do while I was gone? Everyone seems to be after your ass."

Bosco rolled his eyes. "Nothin'." he replied.

The rest of the third watch shuffled into the room and orders were given. Bosco and Faith were told to patrol their sector as usual. As they headed for the RMP Faith asked. "So you really aren't going to tell me what went on while I was stuck at home?"

Bosco shook his head. "Nope." he said and opened the driver's door.

"Okay. Have it your way." Faith said and sat down in the passenger's seat. "Central, this is 55-David, we are 10-98."

"10-4 55-David." came the reply and Bosco began to drive.

CHAPTER THREE

Bosco looked at Faith sitting on his couch calmly reading the newspaper. She'd been staying with him for two weeks now and Bosco was more than happy to have her with him.

"What's so interesting on that page?" Bosco asked from his place in the kitchen where he was slapping some peanut butter on toast.

"Oh, it's the classifieds." Faith replied. "Just seeing if there's any good, cheap apartments available."

Bosco screwed the lid back on the peanut butter and stuffed a huge bite of toast into his mouth. "Finding anything?" he asked around his food.

Faith's head shook. "All the good ones are too expensive and the ones cheap enough are in terrible neighbourhoods. If I can't find a decent place, there's no way that I'll ever get the kids back from Fred." she said with sigh.

Bosco nodded knowing that her kids were always the first thing on Faith's mind. Faith hadn't been allowed to see them in the two weeks since the attempted attack and it was tearing Faith up inside. She had spoken with both of them on the phone several times, but Bosco knew that Faith wanted to see them and hold them.

"You know when the custody hearing is yet?" Bosco asked.

"Not sometime until the new year." Faith replied. "That gives me a bit of time to get my life sorted out."

"You'll get them back Faith, I know you will." Bosco said, trying to be supportive.

"Thanks Bos, but honestly, I'm in a dangerous line of work, I doubt that any judge would rule in my favour. I'm already not allowed to see them."

"Ever thought about leaving the force?" Bosco asked quietly.

Faith nodded. "Yeah, plenty of times but I couldn't do it Bos. It's my job, it's who I am."

Faith threw down the paper and stood up. "I'm going for a walk." she announced. Bosco looked up at her with an 'are you insane?' expression on his face. "It's freezing out there Faith!" he said.

"I need to clear my head." she said. "I'll see you later."

Bosco watched as Faith pulled on her heavy jacket and did up her boots. She grabbed a hat and gloves and went out the door. A part of him was glad that she'd said that she wouldn't leave the force, but another part was sorry that she was putting herself through this. Even if Faith got a desk job she might have some chance of gaining custody.

Bosco turned on the tv to keep himself company until Faith came back. The television was set to a cooking show and Bosco just left it on, deciding that learning how to make a souffle might some day come in handy. As the chef droned on and on, Bosco eventually tuned her out and began to think about Faith and her situation.

___________

It was two hours later by the time Faith had returned from her walk. Bosco was more than a little worried and told her so as she came through the door. Faith had shot him a nasty look but bit back any comment she might have had.

"Where did you go?" Bosco asked as Faith hung her jacket up.

Faith shrugged. "Around. I ended up in the park for a while, watching kids play."

"I can't believe parents actually let their kids play outside when it's this cold. Haven't they heard of frostbite or hypothermia?"

"It's better than having them run around in a small apartment." Faith replied. "And besides, they're constantly on the move, so I don't think the parents are too worried about their kids getting hypothermic."

"What are you watching?" Faith asked as she noticed the tv was on. "Is that the food network?"

"I'm trying to broaden my horizons." Bosco replied. "Actually, I turned the tv on and that's what was on, couldn't be bothered to change the channel."

"Does this mean that you're cooking supper tonight?"

"I thought maybe we'd order in. Pizza sound good to you?"

Faith nodded. "Sounds great. I'm starvin'."

Bosco grabbed the phone and placed their order and then joined Faith who had sat down on the couch. "I was talkin' to some guy down at the park." Faith said. "Said someone in his building is looking to move. He's willing to take whatever he can get for the place."

"He lives in this neighbourhood?" Bosco asked, trying to ignore the sick feeling in his stomach.

Faith nodded. "Yeah. The place is supposed to be quite nice. Only two bedrooms, but Charlie and Em are used to sharing a room."

Bosco nodded mutely as Faith continued. "He gave me the number to call and see if we can arrange a tour of the place. I think I'm going to give a call right now."

Faith jumped up and grabbed the phone off the counter. Bosco tried not to listen as Faith eagerly arranged a time to view the place. Was she that excited to get out of his place? Faith returned with a smile on her face, Bosco tried to smile back but he was afraid it looked more like a snarl.

"I'm supposed to come over tomorrow around noon and have a look." she said. "I told him that I'd be bringing you along, for moral support."

"That's great Faith." Bosco managed to get out.

Faith's smile broadened. "I"ll bet you can't wait to get your room back." she said. "It must be killing you. Two weeks without a girl, that's got to be a new record."

A knock sounded at the door, saving Bosco from making a reply to Faith's last statement. "Pizza's here." he said and ran for the door. He took the boxes from the delivery boy and stuffed a few crumpled bills into his hand. "Keep the change." he said and shut the door.

Faith was at the fridge grabbing a couple of beers so Bosco set the boxes down on the coffee table and sat down. "Smells wonderful." Faith said as she sat down next to Bosco again and handed him a bottle. "How about a toast?" Faith suggested.

"A toast? For what?" Bosco asked.

"For luck, tomorrow."

Bosco smiled weakly and held up his bottle. Faith clinked hers against his and smiled at him. "I really want this place Bos." she said. "It would be great to live near you, the kids love you and we could ride into work together."

"Yeah great." he echoed.

"You wouldn't have to worry about me taking the subway alone anymore." Faith said.

Bosco grabbed a slice of pizza and stuffed it in his mouth before he could say anything that he might later regret. Faith also reached for a slice and the two ate their dinner in silence.

____________

"How does my hair look?" Faith asked.

Bosco glanced at her. Her hair was neatly pulled back in her usual barrette. "Looks fine Faith. I don't see why you're so worried about how your hair looks though."

"I want to look good." Faith said. "You ready to go?"

"I don't see why I have to come with you." Bosco replied.

Faith stared at him. "I thought you would want to." she said. "But if you don't, please, don't feel that you have to."

Bosco could see that he'd upset Faith so he shook his head. "No, of course I'll come. Let's go."

The two left Bosco's apartment and headed out onto the street. "Wow." Bosco said as he breathed in the cold air. "I'm surprised it hasn't snowed yet. How far is it to this place?"

"Just a few blocks, don't be such a baby."

Once they reached the place, Bosco wasn't sure if his toes even existed or not. "I can't feel my toes Faith." he said. "And I think my nose is disappearing as well."

Faith looked at him. "Well, I can assure you that your nose is still firmly in place on your face." She then looked at the piece of paper she had clutched in her hand. "Number 23." she said.

"What's this guy's name anyway?" Bosco asked.

"Andrew." Faith said. "Didn't give a last name."

They entered the building and found their way to apartment 23. "This looks nice" said Faith as she knocked on the door.

A young man opened the door and smiled at Faith and Bosco. "You must be the woman I spoke with on the phone yesterday." he said. Faith nodded. "Come in, I'm Andrew." he said and ushered the two of them inside.

"Now, I'm afraid that it won't be coming furnished, but the appliances will remain here." he said. Faith nodded. "That's alright. I can always find some cheap furniture at an estate auction or something."

"This is kitchen slash dining area slash living room." Andrew said, gesturing around. "Do you two have any children?"

Bosco nearly choked and Faith quickly corrected Andrew's mistake. "Oh, we're not together." Faith said. "He's just my friend. I do have kids though, two of them."

Andrew nodded. "Sorry about that. I just assumed that..."

Faith smiled. "No problem. Can we take a look at the bedrooms?"

Andrew led them down a short hallway and showed Faith and Bosco the two bedrooms. "I've been using the other bedroom as a storage room." Andrew said. "But I'm sure that with a little paint or wallpaper, it would make a good room for your kids."

"This looks great." Faith said enthusiastically. "What do you think Bos?"

"Great. Wonderful. I think you should take it." Bosco replied hurriedly.

Andrew took Faith's arm. "I think you and I should take a seat in the living room and discuss some offers." he said. Faith followed Andrew to the couch with Bosco trailing behind.

"So Faith." Andrew said. "What is it that you do?"

"I'm a cop." Faith replied.

Andrew looked a bit startled. "A cop?" he asked and then composed himself. "I'm sorry." he said. "I just assumed seeing as you said you had two kids that you were, well, something other than a cop."

Faith laughed. "Don't worry about it." she said. "I get that all the time."

Faith and Andrew idly chatted for a few more minutes before getting down to business. Faith told Andrew what she was able to pay and though Andrew looked slightly less than impressed he never the less nodded and smiled at her. Bosco stood by the window watching the two of them.

"Well Faith, or should I say Officer Yokas?" Andrew said.

Faith laughed. "No, Faith is fine."

"Okay Faith. I've got a few more people who are interested in the place and then I'll make my final decision. I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

"Thanks." Faith said standing up. "It was nice to meet you!"

Andrew smiled and looked over at Bosco. "It was good to meet you too." he said. Bosco just nodded and began zipping up his jacket again.

"That went well." Faith said once she and Bosco were outside.

"That guy was all over you." Bosco said.

"Oh please Bos. He's almost young enough to be my son."

"Maybe he likes older women." Bosco said.

"What's with you today Bos?" Faith asked. "You're acting like you don't want me to get this place."

Bosco shrugged. "Maybe I don't." he said quietly. Faith stopped in her tracks. "What?" she said.

"Never mind." Bosco said. "I just didn't like that guy."

Faith looked at Bosco curiously and decided not to press the matter any further. She pulled her scarf up over her mouth and continued back to Bosco's place in silence.

_____________

"55-David we have reports of shots fired at 1623 West Broadway." said the male voice over the radio.

"10-4 Central." Faith replied. "55-David responding to 1623 West Broadway."

Bosco stepped on the gas and steered the RMP towards the address. Faith pulled her cell phone from out of under the seat and checked for messages.

"Still nothing?" Bosco asked, turning his head slightly to look at Faith.

Faith sighed. "Nope. I'm starting to think that maybe I didn't get it."

"Hey, didn't he say he'd call you when he made a decision? He didn't say he'd call just if you got the place. Maybe he's having a hard time choosing."

"Yeah maybe." Faith replied half-heartedly.

"Well, this is the place." Bosco said as he pulled up along side a curb outside an apartment building. He turned off the car and grabbed the keys from the ignition. "Better check it out."

He and Faith exited the car and looked around, taking note of who was in the area. A few young women stood near the steps and Bosco approached them.

"Heard anything around here?" he asked them. The girls all shook their heads. "We ain't heard nothing." one of them replied.

"We got a call about possible shots fired at this location." Faith asked. "You guys sure you heard nothing?"

They all nodded. "Come on." Bosco said to Faith. "Let's check out inside."

They cautiously entered the building and looked around. It appeared to be empty. Both had their guns drawn just in case. "Hello?" Faith called. Silence.

"Anyone here?" Bosco yelled.

The two exchanged glances. Bosco motioned towards a corridor with his head. Faith nodded and followed him down it.

"Did you hear that?" Faith whispered.

"Hear what?" Bosco asked.

"A clicking noise."

"Clicking noise?"

Faith held her breath but didn't hear anything more. "Maybe it was just my boot." she said and they continued.

As Bosco turned the corner Faith heard a loud bang and the terrible sound of Bosco crying out. "Bosco!" she shouted.

Bosco lay on the ground clutching his chest. Faith activated her radio. "This is 55-David!" she said. "We need assistance and a bus on the rush. We have an officer down! I repeat we have a 10-13 and we need a bus!"

As she was calling it in, Faith was frantically looking around for the shooter. "Bosco!" she said. "Did you get a look at who shot you?"

Bosco groaned. Faith knelt down beside him and ripped his shirt open. Off in the distance she heard the wail of sirens. "Help will be here soon." she said and prayed that the shooter wouldn't be stupid enough to hit her too.

CHAPTER FOUR

"What happened?" asked Sully as he and Davis entered the building.

"Someone shot at us. Bosco took a hit, his vest stopped the bullet, but he's in a lot of pain." Faith replied, still kneeling down beside Bosco.

"Either of you see who did it?" Davis asked.

Faith shook her head. "I heard a noise, and then a second later a shot was fired and Bosco was on the ground."

Sully nodded. "We'll take a look around. The bus was right behind us, they should be here soon."

Bosco groaned and Faith grabbed his hand and squeezed it. "Hold on Bos." she said.

"It hurts." Bosco managed to get out. His breathing was shallow and sounded forced.

Faith heard sirens approach the building and then stop. A minute later Alex and Kim came running down the hallway with their bags slung over their shoulders, Kim pushing a stretcher.

"What happened?" Kim asked as she knelt down beside Bosco. Faith moved slightly but still kept ahold of Bosco's hand.

"Some idiot shot him, that's what happened!" Faith said.

"He's lucky his vest stopped the bullet." Alex said. "We've gotta get it off of him."

Kim and Alex moved Bosco a bit so that they could remove his vest. Bosco kept his eyes closed and his breathing became increasingly ragged. Faith could see a large bruise on the right side of Bosco's chest and knew that he had probably had a broken rib.

Kim placed a stethoscope to Bosco's chest. "Decreased breath sounds on the right!" she said. "We're going to have to put a chest tube in."

Alex looked at Kim. "Tension pneumo?"

Kim nodded and reached into her bag for a tube. Faith looked anxiously at both paramedics. "What's wrong with him?" she asked.

"When the bullet impacted his vest." Alex began to explain as Kim carefully made a small incision in Bosco's side. "It shattered one or more of his ribs. The jagged edge of the bone most likely punctured a lung. If we don't get a tube into him now to equalize the pressure in the chest cavity, we're looking at serious problems ."

"Give me a hand here!" Kim said and Alex moved swiftly to comply.

"So that's why he's in so much pain?" Faith asked and both women nodded. "We've gotta move him." Kim said. Bosco was placed onto the stretcher and as Kim and Alex wheeled him away, Sullivan and Davis returned to Faith.

"Couldn't find anyone in the building except for a very frightened old woman who I doubt could even hold her cane let alone fire a gun." Sully said.

"Guy probably took off as soon as he shot Bosco." Davis added. "He gonna be alright?"

"Taylor and Zambrano just took him to Mercy." Faith replied. "He probably has a punctured lung."

"You alright?" Sully asked, looking at Faith critically.

"I'm fine." she said.

"Look, if you want to head over to Mercy." Sully said. "We'll take care of things here."

"Yeah thanks." Faith said. "I'll call in."

Faith turned and left Sully and Davis standing in the hallway. "You think she's really okay?" Davis asked. Sully shrugged. "She's seen her partner shot more times than I care to think about." Sully replied. "But she'll be okay."

Davis scratched his head. "I heard a rumour in the lockers that those two are living together."

Sully laughed. "Living together yes, but not what you're thinkin'! Faith's been lookin' for a place of her own. Come on, let's canvass the area."

____________

Faith parked the squad near the entrance to the ER. She ran in and headed for the desk. "My partner was just brought in here!" she said, slightly out of breath.

The desk clerk looked at her. "Your partner? Officer, I'm going to have to ask you to please wait in chairs."

"His name is Boscorelli, Maurice Boscorelli." Faith said. "I have to see him!"

"Faith!" said a voice and Faith looked to her right and saw Kim walking towards her.

"How is he?" Faith asked.

"He's been taken into a trauma room." Kim said. "The doctors have checked the chest tube and his pressure is doing good. He'll be okay Faith."

Faith's eyes still held a wild look in them and Kim put her hand on Faith's arm. "Why don't you sit down?" Kim said, trying to guide Faith towards the row of chairs. "The doctor will be out once he's stable."

"We shouldn't have gone in alone." Faith said, sitting down in a chair.

"What?" Kim asked.

"We should have waited for backup. We got a report of shots fired and we went in alone."

"It's not your fault." Kim said as Alex approached the two of them.

"We got a call." Alex said.

Kim frowned. "Can't Carlos and Doc take it?"

Alex shook her head. "They're busy. We gotta take it."

Kim leaned closer to Faith. "You gonna be okay here?" she asked. Faith nodded. "Go." she said and waved her hand.

Kim stood up and hurried to join Alex who was already heading out the door towards the bus. "She looked pretty upset." Alex commented as Kim jumped into her seat.

"Her partner just got shot." Kim said. "Of course she's upset."

"Someone told me that her and Bosco are shacked up together." Alex said as Kim flipped on the lights and sirens.

"That person wouldn't have been my charming ex-husband would it?" Kim asked as she began to drive. "Where am I going anyway?"

Alex gave her the directions to their call and then said. "It might have been Jimmy."

Kim shook her head and scoffed. "He never knows what he's talking about."

_____________

"Officer Yokas?"

Faith's head snapped up and she saw a young doctor walking towards her. She stood up immediately. "Yes." she said.

The doctor smiled at her. " I'm Doctor Peters, I worked on your partner when he was brought in. He's been asking for you."

Faith exhaled. "He's alright?"

The doctor nodded. "He's got a chest tube in, but his breathing is returning to normal. We're going to keep him here overnight at least. He's going to be in a lot of pain for the next little while as his broken ribs and bruising heals, but he's lucky."

Faith looked extremely relieved. "So, I can see him?"

"He's been moved into semi-private room on the second floor. Follow me."

Peters led Faith into the elevator and then into the room. Bosco lay on his back with his eyes closed. An IV line was in one arm and his chest was wrapped in bandages with a small tube protruding from them.

"We've got him on a morphine drip to quell the pain." Peters said.

Faith approached the bed slowly. "Bos?" she said softly. Bosco's eyes opened and he attempted to smile at her.

"How do you feel?" she asked.

"They've got me pretty well drugged up." Bosco said, his voice raspy.

"Do you remember what happened?" Faith asked. Bosco closed his eyes again and his forehead wrinkled as though he were deep in thought.

"I got shot." he said finally. "Did you find who did it?"

Faith shook her head. "Sully and Davis arrived and they couldn't find anyone. I left them at the scene to come here."

Faith touched Bosco's arm with her hand and looked at him. "Officer Yokas?" said Doctor Peters from behind her. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you leave now. He's been through a lot, he needs rest."

"I'll be back as soon as I can okay Bos?" Faith asked and Bosco's head moved slightly in what Faith determined to be a nod.

_____________

Faith opened the door to Bosco's apartment and slipped inside. It seemed unnaturally silent without him there. As she went to crash on the sofa, Faith remember that her cell phone was still in her coat pocket. She hadn't checked it for messages since the time in the car before she and Bosco had responded to that call.

She pushed a few buttons and it came up with one message. She listened to it and sighed. Well that's just great, she thought and sat down the couch. Her eyes started to droop and before she could even think of getting up and brushing her teeth and actually going to the bed, Faith was asleep.

It was just after 7:00 am when Faith was awoken by a ringing phone. She fumbled around trying to find the phone on the end table before realizing that it was in the kitchen. Thinking it was the hospital calling about Bosco, she snatched it up and practically shouted her greeting.

"Faith, is that you?" came the voice on the other end. A voice that Faith knew all too well.

"Yeah Fred, it's me." she said. "What do you want?"

"I wanted to let you know that I'm taking the kids on a trip." he said.

"A trip? To where?" Faith asked.

"If you must know, we're going to Disneyland."

"You're pulling the kids out of school and taking them to Disneyland?" Faith almost shouted. "You can't just do that!"

"We'll be gone over Thanksgiving, they won't be missing that much school. I just thought with all the shit you've put them through lately, they could use a vacation."

"All the shit I've put them through? As if you've been the perfect saint Fred." Faith hissed. "Not letting them see their mother."

"That wasn't my decision." Fred said haughtily. "The courts decided that and you know it."

"When are you leaving?" Faith asked.

"The day after tomorrow. They're both really excited."

"Can I at least say goodbye?" Faith asked, trying to hold back the tears that were threatening to spill over.

"I suppose so." Fred huffed. "I'll see if they want to speak with you."

Faith waited with one hand pressed over her mouth and the other clutching the phone. "Mommy?" said a small voice over the phone. "Charlie sweetie." Faith said. A tear ran down her cheek.

"Mommy!" he said. "Daddy's taking us to Disneyland!"

"So I hear." Faith said, holding back a sob. "Are you looking forward to meeting Mickey?"

"Yeah, but I wish you were going too." Charlie said. "Not Melissa. I don't like her."

"Sweetie? Who's Melissa?" Faith asked.

"Daddy's girlfriend." Charlie replied. "She comes over every night. She tries to call me honey but I don't like her doing that."

Faith's heart thudded in her chest as Charlie told her that Fred had a girlfriend. Here he was accusing her of shacking up with Bosco when he wasn't any better. "Charlie, is your sister there?" Faith asked.

"She's in the bathroom." Charlie replied. "Probably putting all her makeup on."

"Oh." Faith said. "You know what sweetie? I have to go because Bosco is in the hospital and I promised him that I'd be there in the morning. Promise me that you'll have a good time?"

"Why is Bosco in the hospital?" Charlie asked. "He is hurt?"

"He got hurt a bit yesterday." Faith replied. "But he's alright. You know I love you, right?"

"I love you too." Charlie replied. "Want me to give Goofy a hug for you?"

Faith laughed. "Yeah hon, give Goofy a hug for me."

"Okay, bye Mommy!" Charlie said and hung up the phone. Faith lowered the phone from her ear and stared at it numbly. Fred was taking her kids to Disneyland, with his new girlfriend.

_____________

Faith entered the room quietly, not wanting to wake either occupant. Bosco's roommate was snoring soundly and from what Faith could see, Bosco lay on his back, sleeping silently. She approached the bed and reached out a hand and lightly touched Bosco's face.

Bosco stirred slightly and mumbled something incoherent. "Hey Bos." Faith said, barely above a whisper. Bosco moved again slightly and Faith gently brushed his hair back a bit. His eyes opened a crack and then closed again when the light from the room hit his pupils.

"Faith." he said groggily.

"Yeah, it's me. How do you feel?" Faith asked with concern.

"Kind of thirsty."

Faith noticed a pitcher of water and a paper cup sitting on the table and poured some water into the cup. Bosco was struggling to get into a sitting position and Faith put the cup down to help him. When Faith handed him the cup and he put it up to his mouth, Bosco almost sighed with relief.

"I think they took the chest tube out last night." Bosco said glancing down. Faith also looked and didn't see the tube anymore.

"How's your breathing?" Faith asked.

"Hurts a bit." Bosco said. "I don't think I'll be chasing down any perps any time soon."

Faith shook her head. "No, you won't be. Lieu's gonna have you riding a desk."

"They ever find the shooter?" Bosco asked.

Again Faith shook her head. "I stopped by the station on my way over here. Sully and Davis found nothing and if you can't give any description, they don't know how they're going to find him."

"I didn't see anything." Bosco said somewhat sadly. "He must have been firing from around a corner."

"The only occupant in the building at the time was an older woman." Faith said. "Sully doubted she could even hold her cane let alone a gun."

Bosco started to laugh but then stopped when it made his chest hurt too much. "Any news on when they're springing me from this joint?" he asked.

"Depending on how your chest x-rays looks, they might be releasing you later today." Faith replied. "I talked with your doctor on my way up. He said someone should be coming by to take you to x-ray soon."

"Hey." Bosco said. "You ever hear about that apartment?"

Faith looked down as though suddenly intrigued by her boots. "Yeah." she muttered. "Didn't get it."

"Hey, I'm sorry." Bosco said sincerely. "I know how much you wanted it."

"I guess he got a better offer that he couldn't refuse." Faith said. "And I thought my day couldn't have gotten any better."

Bosco gave her a weak smile. "You'll find something." he said. "My place is yours until then, you know."

Faith smiled back at him and then frowned. "Fred called me this morning." she said.

Bosco's smile faded. "What did he want?"

"Called to tell me that he's taking the kids to Disneyland. Can you believe that? I talked to Charlie, apparently Fred's got some new girlfriend who's coming with them."

"Fred has a girlfriend?"

Faith nodded. "Apparently she's over every night. Charlie doesn't think much of her."

"He sure didn't waste anytime." Bosco said.

Faith shrugged. "I wouldn't be surprised if he was already seeing her before this whole mess happened. He's the one that mentioned getting a divorce."

Bosco opened his mouth to reply but was cut off by a cheery nurse who came into the room and announced it was time for Bosco to get his x-rays done. Faith waved to Bosco as he was pushed from the room and then decided that a stop at the cafeteria for some coffee was definitely the order of the morning.

____________

"I can't believe they're keeping me here another night." Bosco groaned.

"Your x-ray wasn't satisfactory." Faith said evenly. "It's for your own good Bos."

"Do you know how much that guy snores?" Bosco asked, waving a hand in the direction of his roommate who was obscured by a curtain.

Faith laughed. "I heard him this morning when I came to see you."

Bosco looked at Faith critically. "You look tired." he announced. "Why don't you head home, get some rest."

Faith rubbed her eyes and suddenly found herself yawning. "You're probably right." she said.

"You on tomorrow?" Bosco asked. Faith nodded. "Riding with Gusler?" he asked. Faith shrugged. "Don't know." she replied.

"You know how everyone was after me when you were off work?" he asked. Faith nodded, remembering the various comments she'd heard from everyone around the station.

"It's because I 'forgot' to retrieve Gusler after responding to a call." Bosco said.

"What?" Faith asked. "You forgot to get Gusler?"

"He pissed me off, so I left without him. Lieu got Sully and Davis to swing by the place and pick him up."

Faith laughed and gently cuffed Bosco on the shoulder. "The poor guy." she said. "No wonder he's afraid of you now."

"Yeah well, I'm just warning you that if you're riding with Gusler tomorrow, he probably won't ever let you out of his sights."

Faith yawned again. "I'm gonna head off now." she said. "I'll drop by tomorrow before my shift and see you."

"Maybe they'll let me outta here tomorrow!" Bosco said.

"We can only hope." muttered the nurse who had just come on duty and entered the room. Faith exchanged knowing looks with the woman and then left the room.

CHAPTER FIVE

"I don't remember getting a call for here!"

Faith eyed her current partner. "We didn't." she replied. "I just need to stop for a few minutes."

Faith parked the squad alongside a curb and left Gusler sitting in it, staring after her. She scanned the field of kids, who were running and laughing, happy that school was out for the day, hoping to catch a glimpse of Charlie or Emily.

As Faith entered the school yard she heard Gusler yell after her, "Hey! What if we get a call?" She turned around and waved dismissively before continuing into the yard.

Faith gazed around at the kids. Several of them stopped what they were doing and stared at her. Faith smiled at them, hoping her presence wasn't making them too nervous.

"Mom?"

Faith whirled around as she heard the questioning voice. Emily stood a few feet away staring at Faith, almost in disbelief.

"What are you doing here?" Emily asked. "I thought you weren't allowed to see us."

Faith smiled at her daughter and felt an almost overwhelming desire to hug her. "I know sweetie." she said. "But I had to see you before you left for your trip."

Emily's eyes bored into Faith's head and she didn't say anything so Faith continued. "Are you excited about going to Disneyland?"

Emily shrugged. "Sure, I guess."

"I really miss you." Faith said, holding back the tears that were threatening to spill over. "I'm so sorry."

Again Emily shrugged. "Everyone's okay." she said. "Isn't that all that matters?"

Faith shook her head and began to reply when another young girl ran up to Emily. She examined Faith and said, "What's up Em. You in trouble with the cops now?"

Emily rolled her eyes. "No, it's my mom."

"Your mom? I thought she wasn't allowed to see you." the girl said as though Faith couldn't hear her.

"Yeah well, she just wanted to say hi." Emily said to her friend. Then to Faith she said. "Look Mom, I gotta go. I promise that I won't tell Dad you were here."

Emily started to leave and Faith called after her. "You don't know where your brother is do you?"

"Check by the swings." Emily said. "He and his friends like to dig holes and stuff there."

Emily and her friend took off across the field and Faith zeroed in on the set of swings in the distance to her left. A group of young boys were crouched down, pushing a toy truck over small dirt hills.

"Charlie?" Faith said as she spotted her son. Charlie looked up and immediately the truck was forgotten as he ran up to her.

"Mom!" he said happily. Faith knelt down and hugged him. "Hi sweetheart." she said as she ruffled his hair.

"Did you come here to arrest someone?" Charlie asked.

Faith laughed. "Nope, not this time!" I came to see you and Em. I wanted to see you guys before you went away."

"I'm already packed all packed." Charlie said proudly. "We get to go on an airplane!"

"You're not scared are you?" Faith asked, her voice filled with concern.

Charlie shook his head and did his best to look brave. "Nope. Dad said that the pilots will shoot anyone who tries to take over the plane."

Faith looked at her watch and then back at her son. "It's 3:30." she said. "You know you're supposed to be home by 4:00."

Charlie frowned. "But I want to stay here with you!"

Faith smiled sadly. "I know sweetie, but you know what? I've got to go. My partner is waiting in the car."

"Bosco?" Charlie's face lit up.

"No, remember I told you that Bosco's in the hospital?"

"Oh yeah." Charlie replied and frowned.

Faith hugged him again and then stood up. "Have a good time at Disneyland." she said and waved to Charlie's friends who were looking at her in awe.

As Faith walked away she heard Charlie say. "My mom has a gun! She can beat up anyone!" proudly to his friends.

___________

Faith unlocked the door and slipped inside the apartment. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw a figure sprawled out on the couch. Moving quickly she flipped on the lights and breathed a sigh of relief when she recognized the person.

Bosco moved slightly when the lights came on but didn't wake up. Faith quietly hovered over him, as though inspecting him for damage. His face was set in a grimace like he was in pain and Faith didn't doubt that he was.

When she'd been by to see him that morning the doctor had told her that they were keeping him one more night. Either they'd changed their minds or Bosco had discharged himself AMA.

Faith caught herself yawning so she moved away from the couch, intending to turn off the lights and head towards the bathroom. Unfortunately as she walked past the table, her foot caught on a chair and when she tried to yank the foot free, the chair came crashing to the ground.

Faith stood very still, praying that she hadn't awoken Bosco. She glanced over at the couch and saw his head peering over the back at her.

"Think you could have made more noise?" Bosco said.

Faith returned the chair to its standing position and went back over to the couch. "Sorry." she said. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"Yeah, so that's why you decided to wrestle with my chair?"

Faith laughed then her expression grew sombre. "I thought you weren't being released until tomorrow." Faith said.

Bosco shrugged. "They had a sudden rush of critical cases. I guess they needed the bed so they kicked me out. Gave me a prescription for painkillers and put me in a taxi."

Faith noticed the pill contained on the coffee table and nodded. "How do your ribs feel?"

"Sore as hell." Bosco replied. "Even with those things." he said, gesturing to the container.

"Why don't you sleep in the bed." Faith said. "It will probably be more comfortable for you than the couch."

"I'm not really sure that I could move right now." Bosco said. "It feels like my chest is going to crack open just when I breathe."

Faith winced as she felt Bosco's pain. "They shouldn't have released you from the hospital." she said. "I'm taking you back there tomorrow if it doesn't get any better."

"I'll be fine." Bosco said. "Just don't move me! Anyway, how was your day?"

"Fine I guess." Faith replied. "I was riding with Gusler."

"He say anything about me?"

"He said he was sorry to hear about what happened... I stopped off at Charlie and Emily's school this afternoon."

Bosco looked surprised. "Did you see them?"

Faith nodded. "Emily just blew me off but Charlie was happy to see me. I had to see them Bos. I couldn't let Fred take them away without at least saying goodbye."

"Hey, he is bringing them back you know."

Faith rubbed her hand across her face. "Sometimes I'm not so sure." she said quietly.

Bosco moved his arm slightly and winced as pain shot through his chest. "I'd hug you." he said. "But I'm afraid I'd pass out."

Faith gave him a small smile. "Thanks Bos. I think I'll head to bed now."

"Watch out for those chairs on your way through." Bosco said. "I hear they can get pretty vicious."

____________

The next day, Faith left Bosco laying on the couch with a large glass of water and his pills beside him. She'd tried all morning to get him to go back to the hospital but he kept insisting that he was okay. He tried to cover up the obvious pain that he was in but Faith could see it in his eyes. She'd left him with specific instructions to either call her or the paramedics if the pain became too much for him to bear, but she knew that she wouldn't hear from him.

As Faith entered the locker room she heard Davis' voice say, "I'm telling you man. I heard from Haggerty in the 32nd that he saw the two of them kissing down at the park."

Sully laughed. "That's impossible Davis and you know it. He was still in the hospital, how could he have been kissing her in the park?"

Faith froze as she realized that Davis was talking about her and Bosco. "Hey, I'm just saying what I know." Davis said. "Maybe they let him out early and Yokas decided to take him to the park for a little R&R."

"You gotta stop putting so much faith in rumours Davis." Sully said. "Because they're just that, rumours!"

Faith decided that she didn't want to hear anymore of that conversation so she loudly banged the door behind her and strode into the room. Davis looked up at her with a somewhat frightened expression on his face and Sully greeted her cheerfully.

"How are you doing?" Sully asked. "I went by to see Bosco this morning but they told me that he'd already been released."

Faith saw Davis shoot Sully a sly 'I told you so' look and she said. "Yeah, they released him yesterday. He said they needed his bed, so they kicked him out."

"He doing okay?" Sully asked.

"I tried to get him back to the hospital this morning. I don't think he got much sleep last night, he's in a lot of pain."

Davis pulled on his jacket and hit Sully on the shoulder. "I'm gonna go to roll-call." he said. "I'll save you a seat." Sully nodded and watched his partner leave.

"Faith," Sully said. "You didn't hear what he was sayin' earlier did you?"

Faith opened her locker and starting taking off her shirt. "I might have." she replied.

"He doesn't know what he's talkin' about." Sully said. "None of them do."

Faith turned around to look at Sully. "It's okay. I mean, I know that I wasn't makin' out with Bosco in the park yesterday."

"That's not all they're saying." Sully said.

"Do I want to know the rest?" Faith asked as she did up her vest.

"Probably not." Sully replied. "I know you've had a rough couple of weeks." he said. "If you want me to talk to Lieu about getting you a few days off..."

Faith shook her head. "I'm fine. Besides, I've already got Thanksgiving off. Fred and I were planning on taking the kids to my mom's but now..."

Sully nodded and put a hand on Faith's shoulder. "Say hi to Bosco for me." he said. "You'd better get moving. Christopher's gonna use your ass for target practice if you're late."

"He's in a good mood today I take it?"

"Oh, he's in fine form." Sully replied and left the locker room.

Faith finished getting dressed and then hurried to the roll-call room where she found Gusler had saved her a seat. She only half listened to the cases that were on the board and barely heard Swersky when he told her to remain behind.

As the rest of the cops shuffled out of the room to collect their radios, Faith approached Swersky. "Yokas." he said. "Why don't we talk in my office."

Faith nodded, a sick feeling coming over her. She followed him to his office, ignoring the questioning stares of the other officers. "Have a seat." Swersky said as he closed the door to his office.

Faith sat down. "Yokas. I was hoping that I wouldn't have to bring this up, but I've been getting reports from some of the other officers regarding some questionable behaviour as of late."

"What are you talking about?" Faith asked, hoping that he hadn't heard the rumours as well, even though that was highly unlikely.

"There have been reports that you and Officer Boscorelli are involved in a, well, a less than professional relationship."

Faith groaned and wanted to go and bury her head in the sand somewhere. Instead she said, "I'm aware of these rumours Lieu and I can assure you, there is nothing going on between myself and Bosco!"

"But you are living together."

Faith nodded. "He offered to let me stay until I could find a place of my own. That's it. I was not kissing him in the park yesterday."

Swersky's eyebrows lifted. "Oh? I hadn't heard that one."

Faith stared at him. "What did you hear?" she asked, hoping that she wasn't sounding too insubordinate.

Swersky coughed. "Let's just say it involved you and him and a backseat."

Faith felt her leg twitch and she stomped her foot. Swersky looked at her as though he were afraid she was going to kick him. "Let's just forget about it." he said. "How is Boscorelli doing?"

"He's home from the hospital." Faith said. "But he's still in a lot of pain."

"Tell him not to come in until he feels up to it." Swersky said. "He'll be on desk duty or lock up for a while though."

"Yes sir." Faith said and moved to stand up.

"One more thing Yokas. You're down for having Thanksgiving off, you still okay with that?"

Faith thought briefly about saying that she'd work that day but then found herself nodding. "Yeah, that's fine." Maybe she would make herself and Bosco a nice dinner that day.

"You're dismissed. Go join your partner, he looks ready to piss his pants out there." Faith looked through the window and saw Gusler standing in the hall looking anxiously in at her.

As Faith left the room, Gusler handed her a radio. "I picked one up for you." he said. Faith affixed it to her jacket. "Thanks Gusler, you ready to roll?" she asked.

He nodded then asked, "What did Swerksy say to you?"

Faith pushed open the door and stepped outside. The cold air bit at her face and she breathed in. "Nothin'." she replied. "Hey, you want to drive today?" she asked.

Gusler looked at her as though she'd suddenly sprouted another head. "Are you serious?" he asked.

"Sure. You gotta drive sometime, why not start today?" Faith tossed him the keys and tried not to smile as he missed catching them and they landed with a clang at his feet.

CHAPTER SIX

"Have you gotten up at all?" Faith asked when she got through the door.

"Once, cuz I had to take a leak." Bosco replied.

Faith dumped her bag by the door and sighed. "Bos, would you just let me take you back to the hospital?"

"No way. I am not going back there. I told you, I'm fine."

"Fine? You call being in so much pain that you can't move fine?" Faith said, a little louder than she'd intended to. "Those bastards at the hospital never should have let you go. I have half a mind to go there myself and kick their collective asses!"

Bosco shifted a bit so he could look at Faith. "I asked to leave." he said quietly.

Faith stared at him. "You did what?"

"I overheard some of the nurses talkin' about them not having enough beds, so I asked to be discharged."

"That doesn't change the point that they let you go." Faith said.

"What's this all about Faith? Is this really about those damn doctors letting me go or is it something else."

Faith sat down on a kitchen chair and rubbed her temples. She could feel a headache coming on and it wasn't pleasant. "They're talkin' about us Bos." she said finally.

"Who's talkin'?"

"The guys at the precinct. Hell, even guys at other precincts."

"Yeah? What are they sayin'?" Bosco asked with interest.

"I probably shouldn't tell you." Faith said. "I don't want you to strain yourself."

"You gotta tell me Faith. What are they sayin'?"

Faith licked her lips. "Stuff, about the two of us. Davis said he heard from a guy in the 32nd that we were getting hot and heavy in the park."

"That it?"

Faith shook her head. "Lieu called me to his office after roll call, wanted to have a little chat with me. Apparently we had been seen in the backseat of a car."

"Whose car?"

"Does it matter?" Faith asked incredulously.

"Just wonderin'." Bosco replied.

"This doesn't bother you?" Faith asked.

"It's just some guys talkin' Faith. They're all asses anyway, asses who don't have anything better to do than make up stupid stories."

Faith stood up and went over to the couch. She placed her hand on Bosco's forehead. "Hey, what are you doing?" Bosco asked.

"Makin' sure you don't have a fever." Faith replied.

"I just don't see why you're getting all riled up over this." Bosco said.

"Is this part of some testosterone ego trip you're on?"

Bosco raised his eyebrows. "What?"

"These rumours. They making you out to be some irresistible stud?. 'Oh, look at Boscorelli. He can have any chick he wants, even that bitch partner of his.' Is that why you don't care?"

"What the hell are you talkin' about?" Bosco asked, trying to sit up. "I just don't care because it's not worth getting upset over!"

"Oh come off of it Bosco." Faith said. "When's the last time you just let something slide? Huh?"

"Geez Faith, I know you're pissed over Fred taking the kids away from you, but you've really gotta calm down."

Faith shot Bosco a look that could have melted cold steel. "I can't believe you Bos." she said. "Maybe it's all those drugs you've got in your system, but you're not the same guy you were two days ago."

"What do you want me to do Faith? Go kick their sorry asses? Haven't we got more important things to think about than some stupid rumours? Besides, why would I ever be in a backseat with you anyway?"

Bosco looked at Faith and instantly regretting ever making his last comment. All traces anger had left her face and she looked close to tears. "Oh God, that came out wrong Faith. That wasn't what I meant to say." he said, trying to make amends.

"That's fine Bos." Faith said. "You know what? I think I'm gonna go to bed. You need anything?"

Bosco shook his head. "No, thanks."

Faith nodded and left, hoping to hold back the tears until she made it into the bathroom. Bosco watched her leave the room, her shoulders shaking. The bathroom door slammed and he heard the water start to run. In his mind he pictured Faith, bent over the sink, sobbing. It made his chest hurt even more.

____________

Bosco woke up the next morning and grimaced at the pain came back to him with full force. He reached out to the coffee table for his pills and then found that he had no water. He groaned thinking about how far away the tap was. He briefly wondered if Faith was up yet and then remembered the argument they'd had.

He swung his feet off the couch and sat up, trying to take shallow breaths. The room seemed to be spinning a bit so Bosco waited a few minutes before trying to stand up. Once up, he grabbed ahold of the back of the couch to steady himself and then reached for his glass.

The walk into the kitchen was slow and arduous. He couldn't take deep breaths and the room seemed to be turning into a bad version of the tilt-a-whirl. He sagged against the kitchen counter and reached out to turn on the tap. The edges of his field of vision began to blur and turn to black. When his glass fell from his hand and shattered on the ground, Bosco barely registered the shards of glass hitting his feet. He looked down and realized that the floor seemed to be getting closer. Then nothing.

Faith woke up when she heard the glass fall to the floor. Her head was still throbbing, the headache had never gone away. The breaking glass was soon followed by a louder thump and then silence. Faith was instantly alert and jumped out of bed.

She ran into the kitchen and saw Bosco in a heap on the floor, his face in a pile of broken glass. "Oh God!" she said. "Bosco!"

Faith knelt down beside him, not even noticing when a shard of glass cut into her knee. "Bosco!" She gently shook his shoulders, getting no response. She checked his breathing and pulse and was relieved to find that both were present. His breathing sounded a little shallow to her but his pulse was good and strong.

Standing up, Faith reached for the phone and dialled 911. She told the dispatcher was had happened and was assured that the paramedics would be there within a few minutes. Faith sat down on the floor beside Bosco to wait.

____________

"I should report you, you know that?" Faith said angrily. The doctor simply looked at her and nodded calmly. "You let him go. You should have realized that he wasn't well enough to leave, but no, you just happily put him a taxi and sent him home!"

"He asked to be sent home." Doctor Peters said. "I had determined that he was within the acceptable standards to be sent home, so we let him go. It's not our business to keep patients here against their wishes."

"Even if it's not in their best interest?" Faith asked, her anger still very evident.

"He had told us that there would be someone there to look after him. I assume that he meant you."

"That's bullshit!" Faith exclaimed. "He knew I'd be at work all afternoon."

"That's all I can tell you ma'am." Peters said. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have work to do."

Peters pushed past Faith and walked down the hall. Faith rubbed her temples again and wanted to slam her fist through a wall. She tried to calm herself down by taking several deep breaths and closing her eyes and when she had finally gotten herself into a calmer state, she steadied herself and entered Bosco's room.

He had an oxygen mask on and his bare chest was wrapped in thick bandages. An IV line was in, Faith assumed it was the morphine drip again for the pain. She walked up to him and put her hand over his. Bosco opened his eyes and looked up her.

"Hey." she said.

Bosco reached up and moved the mask away from his mouth. "Heard you yelling at the doctor out there." he said.

Faith nodded. "The bastard deserved it." she said. "Why did you tell him that I'd be looking after you?"

"I just wanted to go home Faith." he said. "I hate being trapped in a hospital."

"I know Bos, but you weren't ready to leave. You're staying here this time until I tell you that you can leave."

"What, you my mom now?"

"Sometimes it feels that way." Faith said.

Bosco put the mask back over his mouth and took a few breaths before removing it again. "I'm sorry about last night. I didn't mean what I said about the backseat thing. It came out wrong."

Faith almost laughed. "So now you're sayin' that you want me in a backseat?"

Bosco closed his eyes, realizing the hole he'd just dug himself into. "I wouldn't say no." he said quietly.

"You're right Bos, I over reacted." Faith said, ignoring Bosco's last statement. "I shouldn't have let them get to me."

"And they shouldn't have been sayin' that stuff." Bosco said.

Faith squeezed Bosco's hand. "I think I'd better go." she said. "You look exhausted and besides, you made quite a mess with your little trick this morning. I better get that cleaned up."

"I'm gonna be stuck in here for Thanksgiving." Bosco said. "Can you believe that? They're probably gonna feed me pureed turkey and canned peas."

Faith smiled. "I'll tell you what, you behave and I promise I'll bring you some real food on Thanksgiving, okay?"

"Thanks." Bosco said and then put the oxygen mask back over his mouth once more. Faith grabbed her coat and put it on. Before she left, she gently kissed Bosco on the forehead.

____________

It was Thanksgiving and as Bosco had said, he was still in the hospital. He was finally getting better though. Faith had requested another doctor look after him, so a Doctor Beckett had been assigned to Bosco and according to Beckett, Bosco was making excellent progress.

Faith took the turkey out of the oven and poked at it. She'd been cooking all day and was preparing to pack up the food and take to the hospital with her. She had spoken with the doctor and he had told her that it more than alright for her to bring him Thanksgiving dinner.

True to his promise, Bosco had been behaving himself and had even made a casual friend out of his roommate, something that Faith found to be nothing short of a miracle. She carved off thick slices of turkey and put them on a plate. Everything was wrapped in foil and Faith carted it out to Bosco's car, which he'd told she could use, only if she promised to obey every single traffic law.

When Faith arrived at Bosco's room, her arms laden down with food, she found him sitting up in bed, staring the tv which was airing a repeat of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

"Hey Faith." Bosco said.

Faith dropped her packages on a table and then dragged it across the room to Bosco's bedside. "Hey Bos. How you feeling?"

"Barely hurts now." he said. "What's in the foil?"

"That's good." Faith said nodding, ignoring Bosco's question. "Watching the parade?"

"Yup." Bosco said. "Hey, Sully came by to see me today, with Davis in tow."

"That was nice of him." Faith said.

"You gonna tell me what's in the foil?"

Faith reached over and grabbed one of the foil packages. She unwrapped it and handed it to him. Bosco's face lit up and he grinned at her. "I shoulda known." he said.

Faith smiled back at him and reached for the other package. "I told you that I'd bring you some real food if you behaved."

Bosco picked up the fork and dug right in. "This turkey is great." he said with his mouth full. "Sure beats anything they'd try to stuff down my throat here!"

Faith nodded and settled back in her chair and the two ate their dinner in comfortable silence while watching the parade.

Bosco put the empty plate down on his lap and sighed contently. "I don't think I've had such a good Thanksgiving meal in years."

"Your welcome." Faith said.

"I don't suppose you brought desert?"

"Oh, I might have." Faith said and reached into her bag. She pulled out a pumpkin pie and a can of whipped cream. "I didn't bake it." she said. "But I figure store bought is still pretty good."

"What have I done to deserve this?" Bosco asked. "Maybe I should get shot at more often."

"Don't even think about it." Faith said seriously as she sliced off a large piece for Bosco. "I can't have my partner in the hospital all the time."

She handed Bosco his pie and the can of cream. "You can spray your own." she said. "I don't know how much you want."

Bosco took the items and eagerly shook the can of cream and sprayed what Faith figured had to be half the bottle onto his pie. "Hey Bos." she said. "How about some pie with that cream?"

"Oh come on Faith." he said. "Can't a guy have any fun around here?"

Faith took the bottle from him and put a small dollop on her own piece. Bosco looked at her disgustedly. "That's all you're having?" he asked.

"That's all I want." Faith replied.

"Give me that."

"Give you what?"

"The bottle, give it to me."

"No way!" Faith said, holding the bottle to her chest.

Bosco reached out and snatched it away from her. He shook it up and aimed it at Faith's pie. As he pushed the top of the can, Faith moved her pie away and she watched as a pile of foamy white cream ended up down the front of her shirt and in her lap.

Faith looked down and then up at Bosco. He was still holding the can in his hand, his eyes wide. Faith looked down again and started to laugh. Bosco looked relieved and began to laugh as well.

"I need a towel." Faith said, still laughing. "Or maybe I should just use your pillow!"

Bosco made a face and Faith chuckled. She put the pie she still held in her hand down on the table and went into the bathroom to clean herself up. When she returned she found that Bosco had transferred some of the cream from the top of his pie onto hers.

"You gotta live it up Faith." he said. "Pile on the cream."

"I'll try to remember that Bos." Faith replied with a smile and sat down.

Bosco and Faith finished their dessert and by that time the parade was over and it was getting late. "I should probably get going." Faith said.

"Thanks for dinner." Bosco said. "Greg'll be jealous when he gets back and finds out that you brought me dinner."

"Speaking of Greg, where he is?"

"Had to do physical therapy today." Bosco said.

Faith nodded and threw the foil and the whipped cream bottle in the trash. The plates and cutlery and the rest of the pie were shoved into her bag.

"Faith?"

Faith threw her bag over her shoulder and looked at Bosco. "Yeah?"

"Thanks for being there for me." he said.

Faith nodded and brushed some hair out of her eyes. She bent over him and kissed him on the cheek. "Night Bos." she said softly and walked out of the room.

CHAPTER SEVEN

"Did you manage to talk to Charlie and Em?" Bosco asked from his perch on the kitchen counter. He'd been home from the hospital for several days now.

Faith nodded. "Charlie said they had a great time. They went on all the rides and he got to meet Mickey Mouse and Goofy. He said that he'll try and get me some photos once Fred's gotten them developed."

"He does know that they're just people dressed up in costumes, doesn't he?"

"Of course he does." Faith replied, sounding insulted.

"Hey, I'm just askin'. Did he say anything about Fred's new chick?"

"Fred's 'new chick'?"

"I thought you told me that he was taking some chick named Melissa with them." Bosco replied as he hopped off the counter.

"Yeah, but his new chick? What am I? His old chick?"

"Whatever, it was just a question, you don't need to get all huffy about it." Bosco said.

"Charlie didn't mention her." Faith replied. "Probably got told not to."

"You're better off without him Faith." Bosco said, scratching his ear. "This Melissa probably looks like one of those before women in those before and after ads."

"You think I'm jealous of her?" Faith asked, staring at Bosco with disbelief. "She can have him! I just want my kids."

"You didn't talk with Em?"

"Apparently she was out." Faith replied as she opened up a cupboard and peered inside at the contents. "We don't have any food."

"What about left-over turkey? We finally use all that up?"

"No, but aren't you tired of it yet?" Faith asked. "I'm sick of it."

"We could go out." Bosco suggested. "There's a good Italian place down a couple blocks."

"Are you feeling up to the walk?" Faith asked. "The doctor said nothing strenuous for at least two weeks Bos."

"I would hardly call walking a few blocks strenuous and besides, I'm tired of being cooped up in here. You get to go out all the time." Bosco whined.

"To work Bos, I go to work. I'd hardly call that getting out! Besides, it's freezing out, that cold air could be hard on your lungs."

"Just put on something nice and we'll head over there. We'll drive if that would make you feel better." Bosco said.

"Do we need a reservation?" Faith asked.

"Hey, you're with a Boscorelli, you think I need reservations? I got an in with the manager, guarantees me the best seat in the place."

"Somehow that doesn't surprise me." Faith replied and went to find something nicer than a pair of jeans to wear.

___________

"You tell the manager that Maurice Boscorelli is here." Bosco said, staring down the host who was refusing to seat him and Faith.

Faith tugged at Bosco's sleeve. "Let's just get out of here. We'll find some place else to eat." she said, wanting to get Bosco out of the restaurant before he caused a big scene.

"Uh uh Faith, we're eating here. I just need to talk to the manager!" Bosco replied, putting emphasis on the word manager and staring at the host again.

"Is there a problem here?" asked an authoritative sounding voice.

"Yes sir." began the host. "This man refuses to leave the restaurant! He doesn't have a reservation and..."

"Boscorelli!" interrupted the other man, whom Faith took to be the manager that Bosco had been so eager to see.

"Hey Frankie!" Bosco said and clapped him on the back.

"Long time no see Bosco." Frankie said in a thick Italian accent. "I was startin' to think that you'd found a new place to eat."

"Never." Bosco said. "I've just been busy lately."

Frankie eyed Faith. "So I see. I think your table is clear." He turned to the host and said, "Please seat Officer Boscorelli and his lady over by the fireplace."

The host shot Bosco a dirty look but picked a couple menus and led Faith and Bosco over to a cozy table by the fireplace. Once the host had left, Faith leaned in closer to Bosco and whispered, "What did you do to get such great service here? Threaten the man with deportation?"

"Oh ye of little faith." Bosco said. "It just so happens that I saved his life. He owes me one, several times over."

"You're unbelievable Bosco, you know that?"

"I've been told that a few times." Bosco replied with a smirk.

"Oh God." Faith said and leaned back in her seat. She picked up a menu and looked it over. "So what's good here?" she asked.

"Just about everything. I'd stay away from the clams though."

"Do I want to know why?"

"Probably not." Bosco replied. "How does red wine sound to you?"

"Sounds great. Now if only I could decide what to eat. What are you getting?"

Bosco studied his menu. "The baked manicotti with extra cheese is always good, but I don't know, the ziti is good too."

A waiter approached their table to take drink orders and Bosco ordered them a bottle of red. When the waiter returned with the wine, Bosco and Faith ordered their meals, both were having the baked ziti. Faith smiled at Bosco and held up her glass of wine. "We should have a toast." she said.

"To what?"

Faith shrugged. "I don't know - to good friends?"

Bosco picked up his glass. "To good friends." he said and they clinked their glasses together.

____________

"So when's Bosco back at work?" Sully asked Faith as they stood in the locker room together before their shift started.

"Not for a few days yet. He's going stir crazy at home though!"

"They're not putting him back on patrol right away are they?"

Faith shook her head. "No, he'll be answering phones and harassing the perps in lock up for a couple weeks I think."

"I feel sorry for them already!" Sully said with a laugh.

"Tell me about it." Faith said and she looked around. "You seen Gusler yet?"

Sully shook his head. "Haven't seen Davis either."

Faith looked at her watch. "We've got roll call in five minutes, usually those two are right on time."

"Maybe they're off sick." Sully replied.

"Maybe." Faith said with a frown. "You know, Bosco took me out for dinner Saturday night." she said suddenly, not sure why she was telling that to Sully.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, to some great little Italian place."

"Was it a date?" Sully asked, eying Faith curiously.

Faith shrugged. "We had a good time. Drank too much wine. Had to walk home because both of us were too intoxicated to drive."

Sully reached into his locker and pulled out his jacket. "Not that it's any of my business, but did anything happen? You know, between you two?"

Faith shook her head. "No, we got home and I crashed on the couch. I guess Bosco fell asleep in his bed, for a change."

"He's been sleeping on the couch?"

"You didn't think we were sleeping together? Did you?" Faith said accusingly, staring directly at Sully.

Sully tried to look interested in the gloves he held in his hand. "No! I mean, no, I thought you would be sleeping on the couch seeing as how it's his place and all. But you know, with all those rumours flying around..."

"This is unbelievable." Faith said. "A woman can't live with a guy without everything thinkin' they're doing it."

"Well, not when the guy is Bosco." Sully replied. "Look, we'd better get to roll call and see where those no-good partners of ours are at."

As it turned out, both Davis and Gusler had called in sick, so Sully and Faith were paired up and Faith rode in 55-Charlie for the day. When she got home to Bosco's place that evening, she found Bosco sitting at the couch, staring across the room at what she presumed was the blank tv screen.

"You know." Faith said. "It works better if you turn it on."

"What?" Bosco replied, not taking his eyes off the screen.

"The tv. It works better when it's on."

"Oh, I'm not lookin' at that."

"Yeah?"

"I'm thinking of redecorating." Bosco said. "I've been trying to decide what colour would go good with my furniture."

"I think you've been watching too much of that home decorating channel." Faith replied.

"I need a change." Bosco said. "My apartment is so...so...blah."

"Speaking of a change, I rode with Sully today." Faith said.

"Why Sully?"

"Both Gusler and Davis are out sick. There's a flu going around. What did you have for dinner?"

"I ordered in some Chinese." Bosco said. "There's some leftovers in the fridge if you're hungry."

Faith opened the fridge and pulled out a box. "I'm starvin'." she said and sniffed the contents of the box.

"How could you be hungry after riding with Sully all day? I thought that guy stopped at every weenie vendor and hamburger joint there is."

"We had a busy night." Faith replied and then stuffed a forkful of noodles into her mouth.

"Argh, what I wouldn't give to be back out there!" Bosco said.

"You've gotta give yourself time to heal Bos." Faith said and sat down next to him on the couch.

"It'll be the new year before they have me back on patrol again. I'm gonna miss out on all the Christmas and New Year fun."

"All the drunk people, taking off their clothes, getting into fights? You think that's fun?"

"More fun than sitting on my ass answering phone calls and calming down old ladies who have lost their dogs!" Bosco replied.

"Well, for what it's worth." Faith said. "I miss having you out there with me."

Bosco sighed and leaned back against the couch. He still felt a twinge of pain in his ribs everytime he moved suddenly, but he had learned to ignore and mask it. Faith put her feet up on the coffee table and looked over at Bosco. "Anything on tv tonight?"

Bosco shrugged and handed her the remote. "Probably some movie on one of the channels."

Faith turned the tv on and began flipping through the channels. She settled on an older movie from the 80's and watched it for just over an hour before she noticed that Bosco had fallen asleep beside her.

She turned the tv off and set the remote down on the coffee table. Faith smiled as she looked at Bosco sleeping, he looked so peaceful. Very quietly, Faith threw out the empty Chinese food box and carefully walked around the table, avoiding the chairs.

Faith thought back to Sully's earlier words, about how he had assumed that she'd be the one sleeping on the couch. He was right, Faith though. She should be the one on the couch, not taking up his bed. Faith approached Bosco and put her hand on his shoulder. She gave him a small shake and whispered his name.

Bosco smiled in his sleep as Faith said his name. Faith shook him a bit harder and he finally opened his eyes. He blinked a few times, and then looked up at her.

"You should take the bed." Faith said. "I'll sleep out here."

"You woke me up to tell me to go sleep in the bed?" Bosco asked. "Maybe we should just buy another bed or else start sharing."

Faith shook her head and felt her face grow warmer at Bosco's suggestion of sleeping together. "No, I'll find my own place in the new year, but for now, I think we should switch. I'll sleep on the couch, you can have your bed back."

"Whatever." Bosco said and sleepily rose from the couch and stumbled down the hall into the bathroom. Faith sat down on the couch to wait for Bosco to finish up in there. A few minutes later she heard the toilet flush and the water run and then Bosco wandered into his room.

As Faith brushed her teeth, she suddenly realized that she hadn't grabbed her pyjamas from the bedroom before Bosco had gone in there. She spat out the mouthful of foamy toothpaste and reached for the glass to rinse her mouth out. She briefly contemplated sleeping in her clothes, or even just her bra and panties, but then quickly decided against both options.

Faith turned on the hall light and paused outside the closed bedroom door. She knocked softly, hoping that he hadn't gone to sleep yet. When she received no answer, she knocked a bit louder then pushed open the door. She was greeted by the sight of Bosco, sprawled out on his bed, wearing only his boxers.

Faith tried not to notice how nice his chest looked as she crept over to the chair where her pyjamas were laying. Behind her, she heard the bed creak and she held her breath, praying that he hadn't woken up. After a few seconds, Faith glanced behind her and noticed that he now had a hand splayed across his chest. Faith pretended she didn't wish that hand was hers.

Clutching her pyjamas to her chest, Faith crept back out of the room and once she had closed the door again, she collapsed against the wall. Her heart was pounding and she was feeling as though she'd just been watching a dirty movie on television or something. No, she reasoned with herself, you were just admiring the sight of your partner and best friend mostly naked.

Faith sighed and stalked back into the bathroom to change. On her way past the bedroom again, she found herself stopping and pressing an ear to the door. The bed creaked again and Faith tried to picture how he was laying now. The picture she conjured up made her face burn.

"This is ridiculous." Faith said under her breath and continued on down the hall until she reached the couch where she flopped down and pretended not to notice that the cushions smelled like Bosco.