Title: The Spirit of Christmas 2/?

Author: Kate Anderson

Email: sam_loves_jack@yahoo.ca

Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. I own nothing and no money is being made from this work of fiction.

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: just general knowledge of the series up through season three

Summary: The holidays aren't a happy time for Faith Yokas this year. Can Bosco help?

Author's Notes: You probably won't be reading about any big car chases or other exciting police action in this story. I have this desire to see Bosco and Faith interact with one another outside of the job. That's mostly why I'm writing this story; I want to see them ice skate and laugh. So if you're looking for adrenaline pumping action - I suggest you look elsewhere!

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on the first part, you guys are awesome. I'm glad that you're liking it so far!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"What size?" The man behind the skate rental counter looked bored, even though he had a line-up of customers.

"Ladies' ten please." Faith replied.

"Eleven." Bosco replied.

The man dug around on shelves before pulling out two pairs of slightly battered looking skates. He pushed them towards Bosco and Faith. "That'll be $14.00 for the skates and $30.00 for admission. So, $44.00 all together."

Bosco dug around in his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He took out a few twenties and handed them to the man. Once he received his change, he and Faith headed for a bench to lace up their skates.

"Ouch." Faith said once they sat down. "Now I remember why Fred and I stopped bringing the kids here. It was either go skating or have food to eat for the next month."

"You used to bring them here? I thought you didn't skate."

"I don't. Fred would go out on the ice with them, I'd sit right here with a cup of coffee and watch." Bosco pulled off his boots and shoved his foot into one of the skates. "There must be some kind of plague of rampant stupidity in this city." Faith commented. She was looking out at the ice.

"Rampant stupidity?"

"Yeah, look at all these people out here skating. Don't they realize how cold it is?"

"Something tells me they don't care. Are you gonna put on your skates, or do I have to do it for you?" Bosco asked. He had finished lacing up his own skates and Faith was still sitting in her boots.

Faith reluctantly pulled off her boots. "Where did you learn to skate anyway? I'm assuming you can, because otherwise we're both gonna be shining the ice today."

"When I was little," Bosco replied. "My dad taught Mikey and I how to skate, so we could play hockey. I'm not gonna be doing any of those triple axels or backflips out there."

Faith fought with the laces for a while before finally getting them done up. She stood up, wobbling from side to side before Bosco caught her arm and stabilized her. "Come on Katarina Witt, let's go." Bosco said with a laugh.

They stepped out onto the ice and immediately Faith's right leg began sliding. Her left leg stayed in place. "Are you gonna help me up Bos, or just watch me do the splits?!" Bosco reached out his hand and pulled Faith back to a standing position. She swayed a bit before steadying herself.

A man and a young girl whizzed past Bosco and Faith. The girl was laughing and holding his hand. Faith looked disgusted. "That kid can't be more than four years old and she can skate better than I can."

"You just need some practice. Here, take my hand. We'll start slowly and then see if we can build up speed." Bosco clasped Faith's hand in his and gently tugged on her.

Bosco held onto Faith's hand and they slowly made their way across the ice surface. "If you want, I could get you one of those things like that kid has." Bosco said, pointing to a small child who was pushing a metal thing resembling a walker.

"Those are for kids Bos! I'd rather just hold your hand, it looks less pathetic."

Bosco shrugged. "Suit yourself. You ready to go a bit faster?"

Faith rapidly shook her head no, but Bosco picked up speed. They made a few laps around the rink before Bosco came to a stop. Faith kept moving. "Whoa!" Bosco cried as Faith's momentum pulled him to the ground. Faith landed in a heap beside him. Bosco shook his head. "Next, we teach you how to stop."

After an hours worth of lessons, Faith was finally skating on her own. Bosco kept a slow pace and Faith skated along beside him. "So, I was thinkin'," Bosco said. "How about after, we hit that little cafe across the street, get outta this snow. Pick up some hot chocolate and soup or somethin'."

Faith narrowly avoided colliding with a young man who was trying to impress a girl with his skating prowess. "Sounds good to me." she said. "I'll pay though, you paid for the skating."

"You having a good time yet?" Bosco kept moving, waiting for an answer. "Faith?" he asked. "You having a good time?"

"Hey buddy I'm not Faith, but if you're looking for your girlfriend, I think you lost her back there." said a man in a bright orange hat who was now skating next to Bosco.

Bosco spun around and looked behind him. Faith was sitting on the ice and from his distance, Bosco couldn't tell if she was laughing or crying. Her shoulders appeared to be shaking and he hoped to god that she wasn't crying. Bosco skated over to her and knelt down beside her.

Faith made a squeaking noise and looked at him. Bosco was relieved to see a smile on her face. She had been laughing. "I really am a terrible skater!" Faith said, in between laughs. "I wiped out on that clump of snow back there!"

Bosco chuckled and then helped pick Faith up from the ice. He looked her over carefully. "You um, you have snow all over your behind." Bosco said and then before he thought about what he was doing, he began to wipe it off.

"You gettin' fresh with me now Bos?" Faith asked and Bosco's hand stopped moving. He stared dumbly at his hand for a moment before realizing where the hand still was and snatched it away as though he'd been burnt.

"I ah, just thought I'd wipe that off you know, before it soaked in."

Faith smiled. "Well thank you, I suppose."

"You ready to hit that cafe now?"

Faith checked her watch. "It's just after 2:00 and I didn't eat breakfast this morning, so I think I've been ready for hours!"

"Let's get out of these skates then." Bosco said. "You okay to skate back on your own?" Faith nodded and they glided back over to where they had left their boots.

_______________

About ten minutes later they were seated at a small table in the cafe. It was bustling with patrons, but many of them were just picking up coffee to take over to the rink. Bosco studied the menu. "I can't decide whether I want the beef soup or the chicken soup."

"I'm having the chicken, with a sandwich." Faith said. "I thought you usually ordered beef."

"Maybe I'm in the mood for poultry today. What kind of sandwich are you having? Cause if it's one with any smelly meat, I'd better get one too, or else I'm gonna be smelling your breath all day."

"I could pick up some gum if that's really worrying you."

A waitress approached their table and they placed their orders. They both ordered chicken soup and a smelly meat sandwich, with a hot chocolate to drink. "So when you and Fred brought the kids here, didn't you even try skating?"

Faith crossed her arms on the table and looked at Bosco. "Of course I tried. Do you think I liked sitting around while Fred had all the fun? I just wasn't any good, fallin' all over the place."

Bosco looked a bit smug. "Never had the right teacher before, that's all." he said. "All it takes is a little patience and understanding."

"Patience, understanding and Bosco. Now there's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one."

Bosco scrunched up his forehead. "Did you just call me a moron?"

"Oxymoron. Where were you in high school English classes? Boffing the cheerleaders in the washroom?"

Bosco frowned and was about to make a suitably nasty reply but was stopped by the waitress returning with their drinks. "Thank you." Faith said as a mug was placed in front of her. Bosco just nodded. The waitress smiled and made her way through the crowd back to the kitchen.

Faith cupped the mug in her hands. "Oh that feel good. My hands were freezing!"

Bosco took a sip and then stuck out his tongue. "Haaa." he said, fanning the air in front of his mouth.

"A little hot is it?"

"Just a little."

Faith smirked. "You know, it's because of people like you that McDonalds has to put warning labels on their coffee."

"I knew it was hot!"

"You just had to test your theory, right?"

"When did this turn into pick on Bosco day?" Bosco took another sip, this one more tentative.

"Oh probably from the time you dragged me out of my nice warm apartment into the frigid hell hole and tried to introduced me to the joy that is ice skating."

"Hey! I was doin' you a favour Yokas!" Bosco said. He sounded angry. "I'm startin' to think that maybe I should have you left you there in your apartment and let you wallow in your own self pity!"

Faith pulled back, a startled expression on her face. She hadn't expected Bosco to lash out at her. She bit down on her bottom lip and touched a finger to her lips. "Sorry Bos. I guess it's just gonna take me a while to get used this, you know?"

"Look Faith, I'm sorry that Fred left and I'm even sorrier that he took Charlie and Emily. I hate seein' a family break up, I really do, but it happens. Are you going to tell me that you didn't know this was coming?"

Faith picked up a spoon and stirred her hot chocolate. The foam on top swirled around and blended into a tan coloured muck. "I thought things were working out for us." she said, staring into her mug. "I guess I was wrong."

"You two weren't fighting?"

"We argued a bit, but who doesn't?"

"Was he drinking again?"

Bosco was sitting back in his chair, arms crossed. Faith looked up from her mug. "God no. He's been sober since that DUI we arrested him for a couple years ago."

"You arrested him for. Not me."

"He told me on the phone that he took the kids away so that I couldn't hurt them anymore."

The waitress appeared with their soups. "The sandwiches will be out in a few minutes!" she said cheerfully and bustled away. Faith picked up a package of soda crackers and ripped them open.

"So you couldn't hurt them anymore?" Bosco repeated, breaking open his own package of crackers. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"They never saw me. Fred's probably auditioning replacement mothers at this very moment."

"I'd like to think that he wouldn't replace you that quickly." Bosco said, crushing the crackers between his fingers before shaking the crumbs off into his soup.

"I'd like to think that he wouldn't replace me at all."

Bosco and Faith finished their meal with idle conversation. Bosco ordered a hot chocolate to go and then Faith paid and they left. "I can't believe it's getting dark already! It's only 3:00!" Faith exclaimed as they stepped outside. "And I think it got colder."

Bosco looked up at the dimming sky. "Looks like we're going to be in for quite a snowfall tonight."

"Just great. I'll be sure to look forward to all that traffic directing we're gonna be doing tomorrow."

Faith stepped out onto the road and her foot hit a patch of ice. Bosco grabbed her just before she hit the ground. "Whoa Faith, walk much lately?"

"Stupid ice." Faith muttered.

Bosco took a sip of his hot chocolate. "You sure that you don't want one of these?" he asked. "Because I'll go back in and order one for you."

Faith shook her head. "No, one was enough."

"You on a diet now or somethin'?"

"I just don't want to have to pee when we're halfway home!"

Bosco nodded. "Fine, you'd better not be askin' me for mine then. I saw the way you were looking at it."

"I wasn't looking at your hot chocolate Bos. I was looking at that ridiculous whipped cream moustache you're sporting."

Bosco looked alarmed and began frantically wiping at his upper lip. Faith laughed. "Dammit, I knew I shouldn't have gotten whipped cream on top!" Bosco said. "Is it gone now?"

Faith nodded. "Yeah, it's gone. Shame though, it was actually kind of cute."

"You want to walk over the tree and take a look at it before we go?" Bosco asked, looking in the direction of the giant Christmas tree. Even though the light outside was only dim, the tree was still lit up brilliantly.

"Charlie used to ask me why we couldn't have a tree like this in our living room." Faith said as she and Bosco walked towards the tree. "Fred always told him because then we'd have to take the roof off just to fit the tree inside. Of course Charlie thought that would be just great. I always thought it was a shame that we aren't allowed real trees in the apartment. A fake one just isn't the same."

"You can still decorate them though."

"Yeah, but they don't smell the same."

Bosco shrugged. "Just get some of that pine scented spray. That'll make your house smell like a pine forest."

Faith exhaled and watched as her breath billowed away from her. She chuckled slightly, remembering something from her childhood. "When I was little, I'd always go outside on cold days and pretend I was smoking. Did you ever do that Bos?"

"Pretend to smoke? No, I actually smoked."

"You did? I didn't know that. When did you quit? It must have been before we met."

"I quit the day I realized that I couldn't even run 20 feet without huffing and puffing. I guess I was about 23. I started when I was 13 though."

"13, that's young. I don't know what I'd do if Emily had started smoking. Probably kick her ass clear across to Queens or somethin'."

Bosco finished his hot chocolate and scrunched the cup up. He threw in a trash can they passed and then stuffed his hands in his pocket. "Ah well, we all do things in our youth that we regret. I'm sure you were just the perfect saint."

"Well I wasn't smoking when I was 13."

They reached the tree and Faith looked up at it. "It's huge." she breathed.

A couple with a small girl were standing near Bosco and Faith. The little girl was crying and her father was trying to get her to look at the tree. "Look sweetie, see how tall it is?" The girl continued to cry until finally the parents gave up and left.

"You ready to head back to the car if I can remember where we parked it?" Bosco asked.

Faith nodded. "Sure, let's go. I'm starting to lose all feeling in my toes."

_____________

Bosco scraped the ice off the windshield while Faith sat in the car and warmed her hands in front of the heating vent. Once he'd cleared a big enough patch to look through, he opened the door and threw in the scraper. Bosco followed it shortly. "If there's one thing I hate about winter - it's scraping my windshield!"

Faith chuckled. "You sound like Fred. He always bitched about having to do that."

"It's a common complaint."

Bosco turned on the headlights and flipped on his turn signal. After a small group of people passed by, he pulled out on the road. The snow was coming down faster now and it was sticking on the road. The car ahead of them veered slightly to the right as they slowed down for a stoplight.

"Is the road slippery?" Faith asked.

Bosco nodded. "Extremely. I'll be keeping both hands on the wheel, if you're worried."

"You drive in snow all the time. I'm not worried." Faith replied. She turned her head and watched the people pass by on the sidewalk. "Look at all these people, where do you think they're all going?"

"Probably doing their Christmas shopping. They looked at the calendar and realized they only have eight shopping days left and freaked out." Bosco replied. He frowned as the car skidded a bit to the left.

"I thought most people didn't freak out until Christmas eve when they realized that they forgot to buy their wife a gift."

"Maybe they're all just taking a stroll then."

Faith could see that Bosco didn't want to chat, he wanted to concentrate on the road so she stopped talking and went back to watching the people. Bosco turned onto a relatively deserted street and now that he was out of the traffic, he drove a bit faster. Faith closed her eyes and leaned her head against the window. She kept her eyes closed until she noticed them slowing down.

"Why are you slowing down Bos?"

The car made a gurgling noise and Bosco stared at the dashboard with disbelief. "Son of a bitch!" he yelled and smacked the steering wheel.

"Please don't tell me that we just ran out of gas."

Bosco looked sheepish. "I didn't realize it was down so low."

"I'm tellin' you right now, I'm not pushing this car to the nearest gas station. Let's just get out, push it off to the side of the road and take the train or a taxi."

Bosco shook his head. "No way, I am not abandoning my car on the side of the road! It just so happens that I'm prepared for this situation."

"You carry extra gas with you?"

"Nope." Bosco said and opened the door. "But I do have a gas can in the trunk. There's a gas station the next block over. We'll just walk over there, fill it up and then put it in the car."

Faith sighed. "No, you can walk over there. I'm staying here." she said, looking pointedly at Bosco.

"Fine. I'll only be ten minutes at the most!" Bosco said and then slammed the door. He went around and popped the trunk and then marched down the street, carrying his red gas can. Faith leaned back in her seat and waited.

She waited twenty minutes before she started to get worried. The streetlights had come on and she could see the snow was now falling quite heavily. "Come on Bosco, where are you?" she said out loud. "Don't make me go out there after you."

Faith had visions of Bosco laying on the side of the road bleeding. Maybe someone had mugged him for his gas. She didn't know whether Bosco had been packing his weapon or not, he usually did and she knew he wouldn't hesitate to use it. The snow was starting gather on the street and sidewalk and Faith shivered a bit, then wrapped her arms around herself. A person appeared from around the corner and Faith looked hopefully at them, then realized it wasn't Bosco.

After a few more minutes, Faith finally tugged her hat back over her head and slipped on her mittens. A stiff breeze had picked up and when she opened her door, snow hit her on the face. Faith bent her head down and began to make her way down the street in the direction that Bosco had gone.

It took her ten minutes to reach the gas station. She checked the pumps and not seeing Bosco at any of them, she went into the building. Faith stomped the snow off her boots on the mat in front of the door and then walked over to the counter. A young woman smiled at her. "Can I help you?"

Faith nodded. "Was there a man in here, not long ago, who picked up some gas in one of those red gas can things?"

The woman nodded. "Yeah, I think he was in here about twenty minutes ago. Cute guy, not very tall, wearing a brown jacket and black hat?"

"That's him. Twenty minutes you said?"

The woman nodded again. "I think so. It's really coming down out there isn't it?"

"Yeah, it is." Faith replied. "Thanks for your help."

Faith left the gas station and swore softly under her breath. "Dammit Bosco, where the hell are you?"

She stuffed her mitten covered hands into her pockets and trudged back through the snow. Maybe he'd made it back to the car by now and was wondering where the hell she went to. She took a slightly different route back, hoping that maybe Bosco had done the same thing, but the only people she encountered was a group of young boys throwing snowballs at passing cars.

The car was exactly as she'd left it. Faith leaned against it, wondering what the hell she was supposed to do now. Part of her wanted to head for the nearest precinct and make a missing persons report, but she knew they'd just tell her that they'd alert their patrol officers and that the patrol officers wouldn't really give a damn. She and Bosco had done the same thing a million times before.

Faith shook the snow that had accumulated on her head off. "Bosco?!" she called out hopefully, not really expecting a reply.

"Yeah?"

Faith looked to her right and saw Bosco struggling through the snow carrying his gas can.

"Dammit Bosco, where the hell have you been?" Faith yelled. "I went to the gas station and the woman in there said she'd seen you twenty minutes ago!"

Bosco set the gas down and fumbled with the gas cap before taking his gloves off and opening it with bare hands. "Sorry." he mumbled. "I was on my way back and this woman came up to me and asked if I knew anything about cars. Hers had broken down. What was I supposed to do, not help her?"

"You could have at least told me where you were going! I was worried sick about you!"

"Well I'm fine and now I've got a date for tomorrow night. Heather." Bosco said with a grin as he emptied the gan can into the tank.

"Great." Faith muttered and opened the passenger's door. She got in and slammed the door shut. "Just great. I'm sitting here in the cold and the snow, worried that he's laying dead on the ground and he's out there getting dates."

Bosco put the gas can back into the trunk and got into the car. "Did you at least get her car fixed?" Faith asked, wiping the snow off her face.

"Yup, she just had a loose connection on her battery. Got it running again no problem."

Bosco started the car and turned on the windshield wipers to remove the snow from the windshield. They drove to Faith's apartment in silence. "Do you mind if I come in for a while?" Bosco asked. "I wouldn't mind warming up a bit before heading home."

"You sure? I mean, if it keeps snowing like this, you're gonna be in for a bad drive home."

"Feel my hands." Bosco replied. He took off a glove and placed his hand on Faith's cheek. "I can barely hold onto the wheel they're so cold."

Faith shivered as Bosco's hand touched her cheek. "Yeah, okay. Maybe you'd better come in."

_____________

"Oh hey cool! I love this guy!" Bosco picked up the singing Santa Clause and punched his stomach. "Wow, he sounds even worse this year!" Santa moaned his way through Jingle Bells before making a few harsh screeches and shutting off. "Kinda sounds like you when you sing Faith."

Faith tossed a towel in Bosco's direction. "I'll have you know, he sounds better than I do!"

Bosco chuckled and ran the towel over his hair and face. "So I guess carolling is still out this year?"

"You guessed it." Faith replied. "You want some tea or something?"

Bosco made a face. "You know I don't like tea. Got any hot chocolate powder?"

Faith opened a cupboard door and pulled through various containers before pulling out one labelled hot chocolate. Bosco punched Santa again and then set him back down on the floor to finish his serenade.

"So Heather," Faith said as she put the kettle on the stove. "What does she do?"

"Lawyer." Bosco replied. "Works at one of those firms downtown."

"Wow, she sounds a little out of your league, don't you think Bos?"

"Because she's smart?" Bosco asked, sounding insulted.

"No, I just mean she must see a lot of rich and powerful men. And well, you're neither of those."

Faith set out two mugs and handed Bosco the container of hot chocolate powder. "I don't know how much you want, so you can do it yourself."

Bosco took a spoon from a drawer and dumped in several spoonfuls. "Why do you always insult every woman I go out with?" he asked, looking at Faith.

"I don't insult every woman."

"No? Let's see, you hated Nicole, and then there was Georgina, you said she looked like a cheap hooker and Jennifer was a dumb blonde. Kimberly, I'll admit was a mistake and now you're saying that Heather is too good for me."

"I just don't want to see you get hurt again Bos." Faith replied. She leaned back against the counter and looked at Bosco. His hair was sticking up from when he'd run the towel over it.

Bosco didn't reply and looked down at the counter. He reached out and picked up the piece of paper that Faith had written Fred's address down on. "I can barely read what this says. Does he live in apartment number 13 or 73?"

"13. Which reminds me, I should pack up those gifts and get them in the mail so they'll get there by Christmas."

The water in the kettle came to a boil and the kettle began to whistle. Faith took it off the heat and poured water over her tea bag and into Bosco's mug. "I think you were only supposed to use two heaping teaspoons Bos, not five."

"I like it really chocolaty."

Faith left her tea to steep for a few minutes and changed her clothes. Bosco sat down on the couch and stirred his hot chocolate. Outside the snow was still coming down. Faith returned to the living area and looked out the window. "Your car is already covered with snow." she said. "I'm not sure you should drive home tonight."

Bosco sipped his drink and burned his tongue again. "I'll be fine Faith. Like you said, I drive in the snow all the time."

"Humour me." Faith replied. "You can crash on the couch tonight."

"Fine. Fine. I'll sleep on this lumpy couch."

"It's not lumpy, I slept on it last night."

"Just kidding Faith."

Faith sighed and sat down next to Bosco. "I've been meaning to thank you. I really did have a good time today."

"We should do it again sometime." Bosco said, burning his tongue once more. "Maybe not skating, but there's other things we could do. Do you ski?"

Faith almost choked on her mouthful of tea. "Ski? As in hurtle down a mountain-side on thin strips of wood?"

Bosco laughed. "Well, if you don't want to ski, we could snowboard."

"How about something that doesn't involve me falling down?"

"Hmm, give me a few days on that one." Bosco replied and Faith hit him on the shoulder.

Outside the snow continued to fall. Had Bosco and Faith bothered to turn on the television or radio, they would know that New York was preparing for the biggest blizzard in recent memory.