Thinking On The Crime
By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: Set after Bosco goes home from the hospital. Based on a weird rumor floating around several months ago. Thanks to Liz and Bobbie and TWfan30 for looking this over for me and helping me tweak it!
“In here.” Bosco shifted on the bed and hid the gun under the pillow.
“You didn’t answer your door.” Faith leaned on the bedroom doorframe. “I knocked for a couple of minutes and then used my key – hope that’s okay.”
“Yeah, sure.” He shrugged. “I was just thinking – I didn’t hear you knock.”
“I figured.” She’d stopped by in the middle of the day to see if Bosco wanted to go grab some movies and pizza with her tonight. Normally, she would have called, but she’d been just a block or so away at a crime scene, and dropping by seemed like a better idea.
“So, what’s up?” He hadn’t expected Faith to come by until tonight. Emily was going to be at Fred’s and Faith would expect to spend the evening with him like she usually did. “It’s kinda early, right?”
“There was a murder – guy shot his roommate.”
“No, he’s still putting up with Nieto as far as I know.” Faith wished Bosco would look at her. He’d been staring out the window since she’d walked in. “So, you’re just sitting here thinking?”
“Yeah. Thinking. Lots of things to think about.”
“I’d feel better if you weren’t thinking with a gun in your hand.” When he turned, she raised her eyebrows. “I mean, I’ve done some serious thinking, but I’ve never done any with my gun in my hand. Least, not at home.”
“I… uh... I… “ She must’ve walked in before he’d heard her.
“Usually when people are thinking with a gun in their hands – it doesn’t end well. For anybody.”
“I didn’t have a gun.” Even he could tell he was lying. Bosco laid a hand on the pillow. “I don’t have one anymore, remember?”
Yeah, and it’s so hard to get a gun in New York. “I probably shouldn’t worry, ‘cos you’re not the type to do that sort of thing.” It was hard to keep her voice steady, but Faith didn’t want to put him on the defensive and have it escalate into an argument.
“I’m not.” Bosco couldn’t meet her eyes.
“Of course, how many times have we heard that? She wasn’t the type to take all those pills, he wasn’t the type to slit his wrists, I would have never expected them to do this – how many times, Bos?”
“I dunno.” Shrugging, he looked out the window again. “Lots.”
“Usually from someone who thought they knew the person pretty well, too.” Faith pushed off the doorframe and walked to the bed. “Usually from someone who had no idea that someone they loved felt so – so – I dunno what the word is, Bos.”
“Empty.” He whispered.
“Empty.” She nodded. “Maybe they felt like that ‘cos they didn’t know that someone loved them? What do you think, Bos?”
“I don’t know.”
“You know, if anybody ever asked, I’d have to say Bosco wouldn’t think about that. He’d never do it – he’s not that kind of person.” Faith laid a hand on his shoulder. “Do you want to tell me what you were thinking about?”
“Nothin’.” Bosco looked up at her for a moment and then down at the floor. “Just… what to maybe get for lunch?”
“I want you to know that you don’t need to feel that empty, Bosco. Not ever.” Kneeling in front of him, Faith ducked her head down trying to meet his eyes. “You have someone who loves you. Someone you can tell anything to.”
“My mom – “
“I’m not talking about your mom.”
“You wouldn’t understand, either.” The word love hung between them. He knew that Faith was only saying it out of friendship and that added to the emptiness in his heart.
“I wouldn’t? As long as we’ve known each other, you don’t think I’ll understand?” She laughed softly. “Bosco, even when I didn’t understand some of the crazy things you’ve done – I still listened – and I was always on your side. I might’ve bitched – but I was on your side.”
That was true. He could always count on Faith. He’d counted on her finding him later and understanding why he’d done it. Yet knowing deep inside that she’d never really understand. One more reason he hadn’t been able to pull the trigger.
“Why don’t you tell me what’s got you thinking?” Carefully, she put her hand over his on the pillow. “Help me understand what you’re thinking. ‘Cos I’m not gonna understand if you don’t.”
“I can’t.” How could he explain the hole in his life? That his life was a hole?
“Well, you sure won’t be able to if you think too much – while you’re holding a gun – “ The thought of walking in and finding Bosco dead – his brains splattered all over the bed – made her insides shake. “Then you’d never be able to explain – and I’d be pretty mad at you – forever.”
“You wouldn’t forgive me?” Bosco looked up at her. The hazel eyes were full of tears – and dead serious.
“Never.” Faith moved closer, putting her other hand on his leg. “Never. Ever. Ever. In a million years. Never.”
“They sent me a letter – said I can’t – “ Despair welled up inside of him, and Bosco closed his eyes. “They sent a letter – couldn’t even tell me in person.”
“What letter?” Looking around, she spotted a piece of paper on the bed next to him. Faith picked it up and scanned it. “It says they’re recommending that you take disability.”
“They’re throwing me away, like I’m nothing.” He laughed, long and bitter. “I am nothing.”
“You’re not nothing.” Tossing the letter aside, Faith moved a little closer, keeping one hand over his on the pillow and putting the other on his side. “And they’re only recommending – they didn’t say you had to take disability.”
“If I don’t – I’m limited to desk duty.” Bosco rubbed at his eyes with his free hand. “Like some old man who can’t do the job anymore.”
“Right now you can’t do the job.” She hated to hurt him, but it was the truth. He’d asked her not to lie to him anymore and she wasn’t going to. “Right now. But you’re still healing – still getting better.”
“The doctors said my lung may not get any stronger – it was too damaged.” The bullet that had hit his upper torso had busted a couple of ribs and sent bone fragments ripping through his lung. “If I can’t run – I can’t do the job.”
“Oh, now you’re listening to the doctors? You wanna know what the doctors told me, Bos?” Faith lifted her hand to his chin, forcing him to look at her. “They told me you were never going to wake up – and if you did, that you wouldn’t be able to walk or talk or feed yourself. And guess what – they were wrong.”
“Not this time.” Jerking his chin out of her hand, he stared out the window again. “Not this time, Faith. I can barely meet the requirements for limited duty – and it's been almost a year.”
“You spent how many months in a coma and then lying in a hospital bed? You’re not just gonna jump up and be back to normal in a month or two.” She ran her hand up his arm, squeezing the muscles. Better than when he got out of the hospital, but nothing like they’d been before. “It’s gonna take some time, Bos.”
“If I’m not a cop – I’m nothing.” The emptiness pulled at him and Bosco slid his hand under the pillow, feeling for the gun. “Go back to work.”
“No.” She pressed her hand down on the pillow, pinning it in place.
“Go back to work!”
“Then I’ll do it with you here.” He threatened.
“If you think you can.” The midnight blue eyes snapped up to meet hers. “If you can look at me while you do it – fine.”
“I – I will – “ Looking at Faith, holding her gaze with his own, Bosco knew better, and bitter defeat choked him. The only thing holding him back had been the thought that Faith would be the one to find him. Why didn’t they have strangers you could call to come clean up and make sure that the family never saw what really happened? With her here – watching him – he’d never be able to pull the trigger. “You don’t think I will?”
“I’d like to think I know you better, Bosco.”
“After fourteen years? “ She nodded. “I think so. You’re not a coward and you’re not gonna take the coward’s way out. Not with me sitting here watching you.”
“I am a coward, Faith. I’m scared.” Ashamed to admit how weak he’d become, Bosco looked away. He couldn’t even do this for himself. “I’m fucking scared to death!”
“Bosco, take the desk duty. Work on your strength, you know I’ll help you.”
He shook his head. “I don’t want you feeling sorry for me.”
“Feeling sorry – that’s crap! Didn’t you help me get in shape back when we were in the Academy? Wasn’t that you?” Faith squeezed his arm again. “Kicking my ass all over the gym to get me in good enough shape to pass the obstacle course – wasn’t that you?”
“I had to keep you around so I could graduate.” Bosco shrugged like it was nothing. “Otherwise, I didn’t care.”
“Liar. Besides – “ Grinning, she looked down at herself. “I gotta maintain this new girlish figure of mine, you know?”
Divorce agreed with her, Bosco had to admit that much. Faith had slimmed down and wore clothes that showed off her new figure. “You lost a couple hundred pounds of deadweight without my help – you don’t need me now.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Nobody else pushes me like you do.” Faith poked his chest with her finger. “And I’m gonna push you. Together we’ll get you back to acceptable Bosco condition.”
“And if we can’t?” Looking into her eyes, Bosco searched for pity. “I’ve always known what I was – if I’m not a cop – what am I?”
“You’re alive.” Smiling, she brushed her fingers across the scar on his throat. “Maybe I’m selfish – but for me, that’s all that matters.”
“This is the one that matters.” Bosco took her hand and guided it to the scar on his cheek.
Faith blinked. She didn’t see the scar anymore – hadn’t since it had healed over months ago. “It’s not that bad, Bos.”
“Then why do people stare at it?” The gray color had faded to white, and he’d had a couple of surgeries that had helped – but the scar was still ugly. “They try not to, but they do. Their eyes get big and they don’t know what to say or where to look.”
“Only people who don’t know you.” She traced the edges of the scar where it ran up close to his right eye.
“Yeah, 'cos I never see people I don’t know.” He said sarcastically. Jerking her hand down, Bosco rubbed at the scar. “People never come in to the desk at the house that I don’t know.”
“Yeah, and if I’m looking for another job – those people are gonna have to look at it – “ He lowered his head. “Can I say screw them?”
“Bos – “
“You think they’re not gonna look at me and think ‘Jesus, we can’t hire this guy – he’s a fucking monster!’”
“Bosco, you’re not – “
“I guess I can always be a night janitor or something – some job where nobody sees me? The weird guy that works at night – that’s what this scar makes me, Faith!”
“I’m sorry – if you hadn’t – “
Bosco looked up as he heard Faith’s voice break. The guilt in her eyes hurt more than the bullets had. “I didn’t mean it like that – Faith, you know I’d do it again.”
“I know.” She wiped at her eyes. “And if it’d been you standing there like a moron staring at the guys with machine guns – I’d have tackled you. I wouldn’t have thought about it for a second.”
“I hate the scar – but if you’d died – I couldn’t take that.” Pulling his hand out from under the pillow, Bosco lifted both hands to her face and wiped the tears away. “When you got shot – I was so afraid you’d die before help got there – you have no idea how crazy I was.”
“Actually, I do.” Faith laughed. “Obviously nobody’s told you about crazy Faith waving a gun around in the ER. I guess I didn’t think they were moving fast enough or something, I don’t know.”
A laugh burst out of him at the image. His mother had told him Faith had been ‘upset’ – she sure hadn’t told him Faith had been threatening to shoot people.
Come to think of it, he hadn’t been told anything about that day. Everybody seemed to think it would turn him into a babbling nutcase or something. “You threatened the doctors?”
“Not exactly.” Her cheeks flushed. “I was just telling them to hurry up and get the surgery team there. And then I told them that it was your gun and that I was saving it for you.”
“Is that where it is?” Dropping his hands to her shoulders, Bosco slid his hands down Faith’s arms to take hold of her hands. “Everybody gives me the runaround when I ask.”
“Well for one thing, asking for a gun – all things considered – probably freaks them out.” With good reason.
Bosco crossed his arms over his chest. If he hadn’t been thinking of shooting himself five minutes ago, he’d be offended. “My gun was strapped to my ankle – now it’s MIA. If it turns up in a robbery – I’d like to know how it got there.”
“It’s not gonna turn up in a robbery. Monroe made me put it in my purse.” That sounded normal enough. If she left out that she’d been covered in his blood and still slightly hysterical.
“And you left it where?”
“It – it’s in the evidence locker.”
“Why would it be there?” This was like pulling teeth. They’d questioned perps that gave answers easier than this.
“’Cos… I sorta shot somebody with it?” The smile she gave him was weak. “So they took it and uh… I dunno if you can have it back or not.”
“Okay, enough of this.” Bosco flopped back on the bed. “I’ve got to hear all of this.”
“Bosco, we don’t want to go over all of this stuff.” Faith got up, her knees creaking a bit, and sat down on the bed next to him. “Nobody wants to dredge it up.”
“I do!” Sitting up again, he pulled the gun out from under the pillow. “I’m sick of not knowing!”
“Bosco!” She reached for the gun. Faith knew Bosco wouldn’t hurt her, but she wasn’t completely convinced he wouldn’t hurt himself. “Give it to me!”
“I will.” He leaned back, holding it out of reach. “But you have to tell me everything. And I mean everything – I’m tired of not knowing and people tiptoeing around me all the time.”
“I will, I promise.” It took all her will power to lower her hands. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know. Just give it to me.”
“Bosco – “ A chill slithered down her spine. “I can’t leave you and – I can’t.”
“I suppose I deserve that.” Handing the gun to her, Bosco watched her tuck it in her jacket pocket. He probably wouldn’t trust himself either, if he was in her shoes.
“Promise me you won’t do – “ Faith grabbed his chin and made him look her in the eye. “Promise me you won’t do anymore thinking like this.”
“Faith, I won’t do – “
“Promise me, Bosco!”
“I promise – I promise!” They both knew that he wouldn’t go back on anything he promised her.
Her phone went off and Faith checked the display. "Damn, it's Jelly. You'd think he could manage on his own for five minutes."
"Probably dropped his donut."
"Listen to me, Bosco." She looked him in the eye once again. "You're a protector, that's why you became a cop. That's who you are. You're more than just a number on a shield."
"What good does that do me if I can't protect anybody?"
"Don't borrow trouble. Let's just work on getting your ass back in shape, okay?"
"Okay, okay." He had been getting stronger, but some days it seemed as if he'd never be normal again. "You can get even for how I treated you at the Academy."
“Now there's incentive to work out if I've ever heard it. Come on, I’ve gotta get back.” Standing, she held out a hand and helped him up. “Why don’t you go rent us some dvds, and get some takeout for dinner? When I get off, I’ll come over and we can relax and do nothing.”
“And you’ll answer my questions?”
“I’ll answer your questions. I promise.” At the front door, Faith turned. “And try to get a least one movie that doesn’t have Bruce Willis in it.”
“Hey, Bruce is the man.” The door was almost closed behind her. “Faith.”
“What?” She opened the door again and leaned in. “I can stay if you want – “
“No. I just wanted to ask something.” Bosco ducked his head, he couldn’t look at her and ask. “Do you really love me?”
“Bosco – geez – “ Faith laughed and shook her head. “After all these years, you have to ask?”
“Is that a yes?” That sounded pathetic and he looked up, hoping she’d take pity on him. “It sorta sounds like a yes.”
“Yes, Bos.” Smiling, she turned around again. “That’s a yes.”
“Okay.” He was grinning like an idiot but it felt good. Helped to fill the empty hole in his heart.
“Remember, only one Bruce Willis movie!” She said over her shoulder as she walked out.
“You’re gonna make me choose between Armageddon and Die Hard?” Following her, Bosco yelled down the hall after her. “Let me get two at least!”
“Be a good boy, and maybe I’ll let you get a better look at my new figure.”
“Wha – “ Bosco watched her walk away, for the first time, his eyes dropped to Faith’s ass. He’d never realized she had one. Up to now, his love for her had been fairly lust free.
Hmm… Faith always got sniffly at the end of Armageddon… maybe… this had some promise…
Still grinning, he shut the door and wondered if he should pick up some wine and candles to go with dinner.
The title is from this quote:
“The crime of suicide lies in its disregard for the feelings of those whom we leave behind.”
E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970)