The Ties That Kill

By Maquis Leader




Author’s note: Set after the epi Rat Bastard. A continuation of sorts of So What Did You Do Today?

Rated : R for language




There was someone in his room.


Bosco lay still, keeping his eyes closed and his breathing steady and even. Someone was moving toward the bed.


Probably another nurse who wanted to wake him up and ask if he was sleeping okay. Fucked up system in his not so humble opinion.


He had an arrangement with the nurses. They did their crap as quick as they could, and he ignored them. It worked pretty well. Most of the time.


Ignoring the nurse – per the previous agreement – Bosco tried to go back to sleep. His wounds weren’t hurting too bad, so he left the joy and happiness button alone for now. As long as she didn’t want to check his water hose, he’d be fine.


A sudden chill rippled over his skin. Whoever was in his room – it wasn’t a nurse. There was no efficient checking of the monitor or his piss bag – and the sound was wrong. A soft, scraping like paper, nothing like the nearly silent sound the nurse’s shoes made.


As he wrapped his fingers around the TV remote, Bosco considered his options. He had the TV remote for a weapon and the call button to holler for help. Whisper for help in his case. Great, he was toast. The controls for the bed were next to his other hand, and he carefully moved his fingers over them. He did, however, have the element of surprise.


Slitting his eyes open, Bosco saw someone standing at the foot of his bed. If Fred had come into his room to stare at him again, he’d bounce the TV remote off his fat face. The room was dim, but not dark, and he could make out the jagoff’s face. Monroe? What the fuck is she doing here?


He opened his eyes as he hit the button to raise the bed. No way he was lying there flat on his back and freaking helpless with her standing there. Nope, he’d face her like a man – TV remote at the ready.


Monroe jumped and let out a startled cry as Bosco’s bed suddenly rose. She’d thought he was asleep. Leave it to Bosco to ramp up his hospital bed like he drove the RMP.


Bosco pointed to the door. He didn’t need to talk to get his meaning across.


“Bosco, hi.” She walked around the end of the bed. “I wanted to talk to you.”


Pointing at the door again, he shook his head.


“I just wanted to explain.”


Okay, maybe he did need to tell the dumb bunny exactly what he meant. “Out.” Bosco added his get the fuck down the street ‘cos you’re blocking traffic, jagoff point. It never failed him.


“Please, Bosco.” Monroe stopped next to the side of the bed.


Hello? Nobody ignored him when he did that. Of course, he was usually wearing a uniform and a gun instead of sitting half naked in a hospital bed. Picking up the call button, Bosco showed it to her and hooked a thumb at the door.


“Just one minute.” Her head ached, and she wiped at the tears trying to fall. “Please.”


He shouldn’t be so damn soft-hearted – what did he care if this rat looked like she was going to cry? Why am I such a sucker?


“Please, Bosco.”


Raising one finger, Bosco rolled his head to look at the clock on the table next to the bed. He looked back at her and raised his eyebrows in the well, I’m waiting look.


“I didn’t want to hurt anyone. All I wanted to do was get dirty cops off the street.”


Bosco rolled his eyes and made a yap yap motion with one hand.


“They make us all look bad, you know that.”


He lowered his hand to his lap, pumping it up and down as if jacking off. Same old song and dance – he’d heard it before.


“Fine. I just wanted you to know that I never made friends with anyone at the 55 to try and take somebody down. I don’t work that way.” Whatever else anyone thought of her, Monroe wanted them clear on that point. “We rode together, Bosco – you know me better than that.”


He wished he could yawn. Maybe he could just make the little hand patting motion? That should get his point across. Besides, this wasn’t what Faith had told him – believe his partner or the rat? No choice there. Why did he even ask himself these stupid questions?




Monroe shook her head. “That was different.”


Bosco raised his eyebrows and gave her his best I don’t fucking believe you look.


“It was.” She insisted.


“What the fuck ever.” He wished he could get up and kick Monroe’s ass. Since he couldn’t, he settled for glaring at her. “You hurt her.”


Glad that Bosco couldn’t get up out of the bed, she shook her head again. “I didn’t mean to.”


He rolled his eyes. Nobody means to. He could write a book on that. With illustrations.


“I didn’t want to do it that way – I was really happy for Faith – “ Gripping the bedrail for support, Monroe tried to hold back the tears that were still threatening. “I hated what I had to do.”


“Boo hoo.” Bosco pretended to wipe away tears. Cry me a river, baby.


“You don’t understand – Finney was threatening me!” Monroe blinked back tears, frustrated by how her life had been so easily screwed up. “He said he’d blow my cover if I didn’t get to Faith and get what he wanted.”


Why the hell would the head of IAB want to blow one of his rat’s covers? That made no freaking sense – not considering how hard it was to sneak one of their rats into the house. Put the crack pipe down, honey.


“He thought Cruz had murdered Mann – he wanted her in jail for it.”


Which was pretty fucking ironic considering that Finney might’ve been in on Davis’ pop’s murder. Not that he ever listened to old rumors. Hardly ever. Most of the time.


“He was crazy – I mean completely crazy – to get her.”


Bosco waved his hand back and forth to get Monroe’s attention, before making a time out gesture. “Mann was – a clean shoot.”


“No.” She shook her head. “No, he wasn’t.”


Now that was news. Faith had told him that Mann was dead and they were safe. Bosco had assumed that meant it was a clean shoot.


“Everything’s, okay, Bos. There’s nothing to worry about. I took care of him.”


Again it was Faith’s word over Monroe’s, and he shook his head. “Clean.”


“It wasn’t.” Monroe rubbed absently at the ache in her side. “Mann had bruises – from handcuffs – he was cuffed when he was shot and then the cuffs were taken off.”


He didn’t have to fake his look of surprise. Assume and ye shall be an ass, apparently. Wait a minute… Cruz had shot a cuffed perp? Bosco ran his tongue over the wires on the inside of his mouth as he thought about that scenario. It didn’t sound like her – not that she wouldn’t kill one if they didn't give her a choice – and sometimes even if they gave her a choice. But handcuffed? Nah, once she had a guy cuffed he went to jail.


“It was big news – you know, NYPD gets major drug lord – the press ate it up. Faith was promoted, and they loosened the ties on Cruz.” Wiping at her eyes, she continued. “Finney wanted to put Cruz away for it – but he couldn’t prove it.”


“Ballistics.” Bosco pantomimed shooting at her.


“No.” She shook her head, smiling at the ironic twist. “Your gun killed Mann.”


“Me?” He shook his head right back at her. Oh, no, no – IAB was barking up the wrong tree on this one. Bosco pointed at the bandages on his face and neck. “Alibi.” One hell of one, in fact.


“Your backup gun – it was the one that was used.”


Like hers was used on Steeper. There really ought to be a law about swiping people’s guns when they were unconscious. And bleeding. Bosco shrugged. “Alibi.”


“I know, Bosco. Nobody thought it was you.” Monroe shuddered, remembering how his face had been torn open. “You were in no condition to shoot anyone.”


No one had told him anything about the shooting except that he’d been in a coma and now he was okay. “Bad?”


“Bad? God, Bosco, you looked – it was horrible – “ Another shudder rippled through her, and she rubbed her arms to ward off the goose bumps. “I didn’t even think you were alive.”


“’M tough.” He shrugged as if it didn’t matter. Later he was going to have a word with Faith. This you were shot but you’re okay now story was obviously lacking in detail.


“Yeah, I can see.” Smiling, she reached out to touch his arm. “I’m glad – you know we thought you weren’t going to make it.”


Bosco pulled away and pointed at the clock. It was way the hell thirty past her minute. He waved bye bye.


“It was insane. Guys with guns everywhere – this one had a knife – “ Monroe touched her throat, remembering the hands wrapped around her throat. “He almost killed Ty.”


Bobbing his head up and down in a clear yeah, yeah, whatever motion, Bosco waved good bye again.


Monroe was no longer paying attention. She was back to that day – the fear and the blood – gunfire echoing off the walls. “Faith was – she was crazy, Bosco – she was all – bloody – “


“Faith was hurt?” Faith had sworn to him that she hadn’t been hurt. He’d have to kick her ass for lying to him. Just as soon as he could stand up.


“Your blood was all over her – her clothes were just soaked – it was all over her face.” She raised her hands as if seeing blood on them again. “She gave you mouth to mouth – “


There was a bit of an ick there – but then again, he’d do the same for Faith if he thought she was dying. When she’d been lying on the floor of Noble’s hotel room, gasping for air while they waited for the paramedics to get there – he’d have breathed for her if she’d needed him to.


“She was saying crazy things – just insane things – “


Bosco glared at her. This little heart to heart was losing its fun factor.


“She was – she loves you, Bosco – she was out of her mind – “


“You don’t know – Faith – you don’t – know how she – feels – ” His jaw began to ache from so many words being forced out at one time. “You don’t know – ”


“Faith and Cruz were the only ones there when Mann was killed – Finney thought Faith covered for her – he was certain – “


Faith cover for Cruz? Not unless it meant a sheet for Cruz’ dead body. He made a pfft noise through the small opening in the metal wires. “You cozied for info – good rat – “


“I didn’t want to – and nothing came out of it anyway.” She shook her head and looked up at the ceiling. “It was all a waste.”


“Good.” He pointed at the door and waved good bye. Again.


“It was the knife. The damn knife.”


Bosco rolled his eyes. First it was his gun and now it was a knife. “Who killed Kennedy?”


“See, the knife was here – “ Monroe made a gesture as if the knife had been in the room. “Cruz picked it up – Ty saw the picture, and he remembered.”


All very exciting. “Good bye.”


“Cruz said Mann came at her with a knife and that Faith shot him to save her.”


Faith shot Mann? Bosco frowned, trying to remember exactly what Faith had told him. She’d never said how Mann had died. Only that they were safe.


“Everything’s, okay, Bos. There’s nothing to worry about. I took care of him.”


“Finney – he – “ Monroe put both hands to her aching head. “He was obsessed with it.”


She was rambling, and Bosco ignored her, trying to picture the scene. Mann attacking Cruz with a knife, and Faith shooting him. She would do that. Faith’d save Cruz if she had to – she just wouldn’t like it much. It was all pretty reasonable on the surface – only Mann wasn’t the type to get his hands dirty. He paid goons to do it for him.


“The knife gave Finney enough to arrest Cruz – he had her sent to Rikers.”


A cop in Rikers was a dead cop. That got his attention. “Rik – “ Pain shot through his jaw, and Bosco grabbed at his face. R’s are bad – r’s are bad – r’s are bad – 


“He wants her dead, Bosco.”


“Have to get – her out – “


“Faith was brought in to close the case – tie it all up by telling him Cruz did it.”


Mann going after Faith made even less sense. He’d be more interested in Cruz – she was the one involved in his kid’s death. Bosco shook his head. So it had to be Faith as the shooter. But why was Finney trying to pin it on Cruz?


“Faith shot him.” He said firmly. As firmly as he could without moving his mouth, anyway. His jaw was fucking killing him.


Monroe shook her head no and then yes.


Bosco stared at her. She had to have gotten hit too hard on the head. “You said – Faith saved her.” Rubbing at his aching jaw, he fumbled for the button to the joy and happiness machine and gave it a hit. “Story over.”


“No.” She ignored his good bye wave. “Faith shot him – but Mann was cuffed – “


“No.” Bosco blinked at several times, wondering if he’d hit the button too hard and was getting too much dope. Faith wouldn’t shoot someone in cuffs. She wouldn’t.


“She thought you were dead.” Monroe told him. “Faith said she killed him because he’d killed you.”


She would. Bosco knew she would. He’d kill for her in the same situation. He couldn’t even stand for some jagoff to badmouth her without wanting to punch his fist through their chest and pull their heart out. If Cruz had killed Faith that night in Noble's room – her brains would have been all over the carpet a second after Faith had stopped breathing.


“Finney – he’s off the deep end.” Leaning on the bedrail again, she touched his arm. “He wanted it to be Cruz.”


Finney knows? Finney knows Faith killed Mann? Fear choked him – he couldn’t get any air. Faith would go to jail – a cop in jail doesn’t stand a chance.


Monroe had taken his silence for acceptance and took his hand in hers. “I don’t know why he cares – I don’t know why this one case means so much to him, Bosco. I’m scared he’ll do something – “


“Get out – get out –“ Bosco pulled his hand free and pointed at the door. He had to warn Faith that Finney was after her.


“Bosco, you have to understand – I didn’t know – and – “


“Out.” What the hell was he going to do? He couldn’t get up out of the damn bed!


Monroe leaned over him again and he pushed her away, hit her hands as she reached for him once more. “Get out – “ Bosco put as much as he could into yelling at her, but it came out a weak whisper that only made his jaw throb that much harder. “Out – out – “


The monitor above his head began beeping shrilly.


“Bosco, calm down.” The alarm brought Monroe out of her fog. “Just calm down.”


The door opened and the lights came on. A nurse pushed Monroe out of her way as she reached for Bosco’s shoulders. “Mr. Boscorelli, I need you to calm down.” She looked over her shoulder at Monroe. “And you need to go back to your room.”


“I just wanted to talk to him.”


“Go back to your room.” The nurse held Bosco down on the bed with little effort. “Try to take deep breaths, Mr. Boscorelli. Just relax. Do you need a sedative?”


He shook his head. “Fine – now.” He couldn’t risk her knocking him out. He had to warn Faith – get her out of danger.


“No more talking.” Eyeing the readings on the monitor, the nurse reached up and shut the alarm off. “I want you to relax and try to go back to sleep.”


Bosco nodded. Gave her his best I’ll be a good boy face.


She picked up his wrist and checked his pulse. The machine gave accurate readings, but it didn’t give her the same information that contact did. His skin was warm and his arm was trembling. Fear, not pain, would be her guess.  “What’s gotten you so upset?”


He pointed over her shoulder at Monroe. Widening his eyes, he tried out a new look – the oh my God, she’s the evil bitch from hell look. It seemed to work – the nurse shot Monroe a dirty look.


“He’s okay – isn’t he?” Monroe asked nervously. She hadn’t intended to upset him; everything had just come spilling out.


“He’ll be fine once he calms down.” The nurse lowered the bed back down and put the call button in his hand. “Mr. Boscorelli, if you need anything or you want something to help you go back to sleep – just call.”


Bosco smiled as best as he could and nodded. I’m a good boy, yes I am – now get the fuck out!


“Come on, Ms. Monroe.” The nurse turned to her. “Let’s get you settled back in your own room.”


“Goodnight, Bosco.” Monroe said as the nurse pointed her toward the door. “I’m sorry.”


Pulling the blanket up to his chin, Bosco closed his eyes and pretended to go back to sleep. Get out! Get out! Get out!


“Remember to push the call button if you need anything, Mr. Boscorelli.” The nurse turned the lights off again. “Good night.”


Bosco’s eyes popped open the second the door closed. Options – he had limited options – crap! He had no options! He couldn’t get out of the damn bed! Curling his hands into fists, he slammed them down on the mattress in frustration.


I’ve got to warn her! Think, Bosco – use your head for something besides a hat rack! Gotta warn Faith – what am I gonna do? I can’t get to her – how can I get her to come to me?


Faith would be by in the morning; she stopped by on her way to work every day to sneak him something good. Turning his head, Bosco looked at the clock. That was hours – hours – away –


The phone was sitting next to the clock.


Ah, let your fingers do the walking!


Rolling carefully onto his left side, Bosco stretched his arm out toward the phone. It was out of reach. He glared at it. The phone was still out of reach.


The pressure on the bullet wounds in his gut reminded him that he had big holes in his body. Big holes that didn’t like to be bothered as they healed. Rolling back, Bosco closed his eyes and took a couple of deep breaths.


This was going to take a little time and finesse. He was short on both.


Slowly, carefully, Bosco inched his body closer to the edge of the bed. There was a brief fight with the metal railing before it gave up and folded down out of his way.


Pain ate at his strength as he wiggled and squirmed to the very edge of the bed. Each inch was harder than the last. Each move was shorter. Bosco sucked air in with long, controlled breaths. The freaking machine would give him away if he wasn’t careful.


Tipping his head back, he studied the upside down numbers. One hundred and twenty? Was that his heartbeat or his blood pressure? Maybe it was how much piss was in his piss bag?


Let’s rest a minute, take deep breaths, think clean thoughts. Bosco took a long, deep breath and tried to picture something peaceful. A long, leggy, naked blonde walking on the beach… oh yeah, that was nice…


Normally, his favorite blonde walking naked down the beach fantasy was not relaxing. Normally, it would get his johnson awake and ready to play. Normally, he didn’t have a ten gauge hose stuck up his johnson.


Speaking of… Bosco slid a hand under the blankets and adjusted the hose. Moving had angled the damn thing uncomfortably. He hissed in a breath as it pulled on the only sensitive spot he owned, according to several past girlfriends. His mother. And Faith. The pressure eased, and he sighed.


Someday, he hoped to use his dick again – preferably with the naked blonde on the beach if possible. Did he still have her number? Had he bothered to get her number?


Rest time over, Bosco. Move your ass.


He was exhausted, but he had to warn Faith. To warn Faith, he had to reach the phone. Not so hard. Reaching out his arm, Bosco found the phone was still out of reach. Fucking phone!


Okay, so it was hard. Fuck it, he could do it. He’d had to run faster than Eddie Poltoratzky. Bosco inched toward the edge of the bed. He’d had to lift more weight than Jeff Oballo. Another precious inch. He’d had to hit harder than Troy Walker.


Sweat beaded and trickled down his forehead. He’d had to climb the ropes faster – run the obstacle course cleaner – his fingers brushed the phone. He’d had to be the best on the range – the receiver wobbled – drive faster – better – safer – he pulled the receiver off the base.


Clutching it to his chest, Bosco grinned despite the pain from the two hundred pound rhino on his chest. He rolled onto his back, a moan escaping with the heaving breaths as his wounds ganged up on him and kicked his ass.


Bosco blinked the sweat out of his eyes and focused on the buttons on the phone. They kept moving as he tried to push them. The phone fell onto his chest as his strength gave out.


Come on, just push the fucking buttons! He turned the receiver over and pushed the button to hang up. When the dial tone came back on, Bosco pushed the buttons one by one, the number long since burned into his own personal speed dial.


The phone weighed at least a million pounds as he dragged it up to his ear, and he winced as it hit the bandage on his cheek. If he switched it – he might drop it – and he ignored the pain. Later he’d hit the freaking joy button a dozen times and drift off to la la land.




“F – F—Fai – th – “ Bosco forced the word out between gasps for air. “F – Fai –“


“It’s fucking one o’clock – “ There was harsh breathing in her ear. Faith groaned and rolled over. “Can’t you get your rocks off with someone who’s already awake?”


“F – Fai – th – m – me – “


“Who the fuck is me?” Now that she was awake, she was pissed off. “I’m a cop, you fucking jagoff!”


“B – B – Bos – “ Great – just great – she thought he was a crank caller. “F – Faith – “


“Bosco?” Sitting up, Faith turned on the bedside lamp. “Bosco?”


“Finney – he – knows – “ Bosco gripped the phone tighter, his body trembling and shaking with pain. “R – run – go – “


“Bos, what’s wrong?” She got up and began pulling clean clothes out of her dresser. “Are you all right? Call the nurse!”


“Fin – Finney – knows – “ Red hot needles shoved themselves into his face with each word, but he had to warn her. “Mann – Finney – knows – “


It frightened her to hear how worked up Bosco was. The same fear and pain he’d had when she’d seen him after he’d awakened from his coma. “Bos, calm down, it’s okay – there’s nothing for you to worry about.”


“No – no – run – “ Sweat was running down his face, and the phone threatened to slip from his fingers. Hang on to the fucking phone – don’t fail her again! “Jail – run – “


“Listen, I’m coming over – “ Faith pulled her jeans on and juggled the phone to get a shirt on over her head. “You calm down – call the nurse – it’s okay!”


“No – my cr – credit cards – my car – “ Frustration at not being able to say what he needed to say made him shriek behind the wires holding his jaw together. “Run – Can – Canada – run – “


“Bosco, listen to me, I don’t need to run anywhere.” Slipping on her shoes, she walked out of the bedroom. “I want you to calm down. I’ll be right over, okay? Bos?”


An alarm on his monitor began beeping for attention, and Bosco flinched. The nurses would be there in seconds. “My car – take it – money – check – book – cards – run – “


“Mr. Boscorelli!” The lights came on and a pair of nurses moved swiftly to his bed.


“Bosco?” Faith gripped the phone so hard that the plastic creaked. What the hell was that beeping? Had his heart stopped? “Bosco!”


“What are you doing?” One of the nurses pulled the phone away from Bosco and held it to her ear. “Who is this?”


“Who is – “ It had to be a nurse. Faith took a deep breath. Someone was with him. “This is Faith Yokas. Is Bosco okay? What’s going on?”


“He’s upset about something.” She moved back a step as Bosco reached out for the phone.


“Faith – “ The other nurse pulled his arms down and held him still. He struggled, but his strength was gone. Tears mixed with the sweat on his face. “Faith…”


“What the hell is he upset about?” Picking up one of Emily’s school notebooks, Faith scribbled a quick note and tossed it on the coffee table. “What the hell is going on down there?”


“There was a visitor in here earlier – he was upset by something she said, but he’d calmed down.”


“A visitor? Visiting hours are over.” The five dollar bill she’d had in her jacket pocket landed on the note.


“We’re going to have to sedate him.” The other nurse said. “His blood pressure and heart rate are elevated.”


“No – no – “ Damn it! Bosco struggled against the nurse holding him down. Faith was on her way and these bitches were going to knock him out? “No – “


“Mr. Boscorelli – “ The first nurse switched off the alarm, noting the readings as she did so.  “Do it.”


“Who the hell was there?” Faith demanded.


“Officer Monroe was – “ She held the receiver away from her ear as Faith began shouting at her. “Really, there’s no – it was – Mrs. Boscorelli – “


“I’ll be down there in a few minutes – “ Faith snarled. “And he better be safe and happy!”


“Visiting hours are over, Mrs. Boscorelli.”


“Whatever, lady.” Hanging up, she dropped the phone on the sofa on her way out of the apartment.


“He’s torn the IV out.”


“What?” The nurse looked at the phone a moment before hanging up. It was a toss up as to who was the most difficult to deal with – Mr. Boscorelli or his wife.


“The IV – “ The other nurse was still holding Bosco’s arms down. “We’ll need to put a clean needle in.”


“I’ll get one.” She sighed. “And something to help him sleep. I’ve got to get off nights.”


“From your lips…”


Bosco lay still, trying to convince them he’d behave, but they were having none of it. In a few moments, he had a fresh IV and a shot of nighty-night juice. His eyes closed and the pain faded away. But the fear followed him into the dark.





Faith paused outside the ER doors to compose herself. Just because she was a nervous wreck didn’t mean she had to let them see it. Taking a deep breath, she walked into the ER as if she were there on business.


The nurses on desk duty looked up as she walked up and showed them her badge. “I’m Detective Yokas; I need to check on Officer Monroe’s condition.”


“Let me see… “ One of the nurses turned to the computer next to her and pulled up the information. “She’s in good condition and expected to be released tomorrow afternoon.”


“Thanks.” Faith could care less about Monroe’s condition – what she cared about was the room number on the screen. “You’ve been a big help.”


“You’re welcome, Detective.” The nurse smiled as Faith walked away.


Monroe’s room was close, just down the hall from Bosco’s. Too damn close. Shoving open the door, Faith stalked over to the bed. For a moment, she looked down at the helpless woman. Had Monroe stood over Bosco like this?


Leaning down, she slapped a hand over Monroe’s mouth. The other woman woke immediately and began pulling at Faith’s hand.


“I told you to stay away from Bosco.” Faith pressed her hand down harder, ignoring Monroe’s whimper of pain. “You got him so upset they had to sedate him.”


Shaking her head, Monroe tried to push Faith away, but the sleeping pill she’d had taken earlier had left her weak and groggy.


“He didn’t need to know none of this stuff – not until he’s able to handle it.” She shifted her hand so that it covered Monroe’s nose. “You ever go near Bosco again – and I’ll fucking kill you – you hear me?”


Monroe tried again to push Faith away, but the other woman held her down easily. She tried to tell herself that Faith wouldn’t kill her – but the hand cutting off her air convinced her otherwise. She nodded frantically.


“Sweet dreams, rat.” Faith jerked her hand away and walked out of the room.


Bosco was asleep when she checked on him. Asleep but far from peaceful. His face was tense and his hands were clenched into fists. Behind his eyelids, his eyes moved rapidly back and forth as if he were caught in a bad dream.


“It’s all right, Bos.” Faith said softly. “I’ll be right back, I gotta take care of something.”


At the end of the corridor, several nurses were at the nurses’ station, looking over charts and monitors. Faith shoved a stack of charts onto the floor, the clatter making the nurses jump and cry out.


“Mrs. Boscorelli!” The head nurse on duty glared at her. “Please try and – “


“You let her go into his room!” Faith reached across the desk and grabbed the nurse by the front of her shirt. “You just sat here on your fat asses while Monroe waltzed into his room!”


“We didn’t see her go in!” The woman protested.


“Ma’am, please – “ Another nurse tried to work Faith’s fingers loose. “We’re sorry – we didn’t see her go in – “


“Yeah, you’re sorry.” She let go of the woman’s shirt and left them staring at her back. “You’ll be sorry.”


One of the nurses picked up the phone, but the head nurse stopped her. Mr. Boscorelli’s mother was already threatening to sue; bringing to attention the fact that they’d let someone go into his room in the middle of the night and disturb him wouldn’t help matters. 


Bosco was still sleeping, and Faith figured he would be for some time. Whatever they put in the needles to make someone sleep – it worked, she could vouch for that. She straightened his blankets out, tucking them under his feet. His feet were cold, and she wished she’d thought to grab the bag of stuff she’d put together for him. That old blanket of Charlie’s would keep him a hell of a lot warmer.


“I’ll ask – “ Ask the nurses she’d just pissed off? Who might have her tossed out? Screw them. “I’m going to get you another blanket, hang tight for a sec.”


There was a storage closet just down from Bosco’s room. Going inside, Faith grabbed a couple of blankets, some towels, and a handful of washcloths. Stingy bastards, they had an entire closet full of blankets, while Bosco froze his ass off.


She tossed her pile of stolen goods in one of the chairs, taking one of the blankets and shaking it out. Gently, Faith put it over Bosco, tucking it in around him. Sitting on the edge of the bed, she smoothed his rumpled hair. “It’s all right, Bos. You rest, I’m right here.”


The lines around his eyes eased and his fists slowly unclenched.


“Don’t worry. Just sleep.” Pulling a chair next to the bed, Faith sat down, keeping her hand on his arm. “I’m right here.”





Someone had glued his eyes shut. Bosco forced them open, but they closed again. How much beer had he downed? His eyes opened again, and this time he managed to keep them that way.


The ceiling came into focus and he remembered where he was. Shit! How long had he been out? Had Faith been here and left? Shit!


There was a hand on his arm. Following the hand up the arm, he found Faith at the other end. She was asleep, her head resting against the side of the bed. Bosco smiled even though it made his face hurt. Oh my God… thank you… He’d had nightmares that she was trapped in a cell and Finney was beating her to death.


His arm was a hell of a lot heavier than he remembered. It took more strength than he had to reach out to her.


Faith shifted, reaching for whatever was tugging on her hair. “Knock it off, Bos… it’s not your turn to sleep yet...”


Another tug and she sat up, frowning at him. She’d been dreaming they were parked under the bridge, taking turns catching some shut eye. Bosco had liked to see how much of her hair he could pull down out of her pony tail while she slept.


“Hey, Bos.”


“Run.” Bosco found the controls to the bed and raised it. “Finney knows.”


“Don’t worry about it.” What the hell had Monroe told him? “Everything is all right.”


“Take my car – my credit cards – “ How could she be so damn calm! Didn’t she understand that Finney was probably looking for her right now? “Go – Canada – go – I’ll come after – “


“Bosco – “ He was getting upset, and Faith got up from the chair. Sitting on the edge of the bed again, she leaned down and put her arms around him, hugging carefully. “Listen, Finney knows, but it’s okay.”


It was not okay! “You gotta run – “ Bosco clutched at her jacket, holding her to him. “Canada – take my car – “


“You’ll need your car.” She rubbed a hand up and down his back. “Bosco, listen to me – it’s okay. I got him to give me immunity – total immunity – for what I knew about everything.”


If his jaw wasn’t wired shut, it would have dropped open. Immunity? Total immunity? From IAB?


Sitting up, Faith brushed his hair back from his forehead. The look on his face was of total shock, and she smiled. Bosco shocked speechless was rare – even for a guy with his mouth wired shut. “Yeah, so no worries.”


His eyes narrowed and he cocked his head to one side. This was just too easy.


She giggled. “You shoulda seen his face – looked a lot like yours. He didn’t want to believe me. He wanted it to be Cruz so bad he could taste it.”




“Yeah, well.” She shrugged. “He wouldn’t let me go till I talked. He had me dragged out of the custody hearing. Nearly cost me my kids – might still keep me from getting Charlie.”


“Jagoff.” Bosco frowned. “Sure you’re safe?”


“Total immunity, Bos. I can’t be prosecuted for it. Period.”


That didn’t add up. He rolled the idea around in his head. Why give Faith total immunity? Why give up the whole plate of cookies? “He wants something.”


“Yeah, Cruz in jail.”


Oh, shit! Cruz was in jail!  Bosco grabbed Faith’s arm. “Get her out – “ He’d completely forgotten about Cruz.


“She’s out, Bos.” There was no jealousy. Really. Not at all. “He had to let her go.”


“Good.” Cruz wasn’t on his Christmas card list, but she didn’t deserve what would happen to her in Rikers. “Something else.”


“Something else what?”


“Finney.” Bosco couldn’t put his finger on it, but something stank here. “Something he wants.”


“Who knows? Who cares?” Stopping, Faith smiled at him as something he’d said bounced back to her. “You’d come after me?”


“Butch.” He tapped his chest. “Sundance.” He tapped her chest. “We’d rob banks… in Bolivia.”


“Oh, yeah, cos that went well for them.”


Tapping his head, Bosco winked at her.


“If you’re the brains of the outfit – “ She yawned. “We’re in trouble already.”


“Sorry.” He’d woken her up for nothing. Of course if somebody had told him about it to begin with, he wouldn’t have been making plans to tunnel under the wire.


“It’s okay. I’d have been freaked too, you know, if I’d heard that.”


He nodded. You think?


“I shoulda told you, I guess. But the doctor said it was important to keep you calm and not worry you with stuff.”


His eyebrows went up in a why did you listen to this guy look.


“Of course, this is the same doctor who said you’d be a brain dead drooling veg, too.” She admitted. “You were already brain dead, so I wasn’t too worried.”


Rolling his eyes at her, Bosco stuck the tip of his tongue out through the gap in the wires.


Faith stood up and stretched before sitting back down in the chair next to the bed. “I promise, anything else important, I’ll tell you.”


She looked tired. Well, he had called her in the middle of the night. Turning his head, he looked at the clock and was surprised to find it was five o’clock. “Go home.”


“Nah, I’ll stay here a little bit. I’d have to be up in a couple of hours anyway.” Patting his hand, she smiled. “You go back to sleep.”


Sleep? His mind was running in circles. He’d found out she’d killed a man – a handcuffed man – and that the head of IAB had listened to her confession and had then given her a get out of jail free card. Sleep was off hiding somewhere.


“Close your eyes.” Faith ordered. “Go to sleep.”


Ignoring her, Bosco fished under the blankets – did he have more than he had before? Somewhere under here was his TV remote.


“Here.” She picked up the button for the morphine machine. “Is this what you’re looking for?”


He waved it away and dug under the blankets for a moment longer before finding the TV remote. Eureka! Bosco showed it to her.


“Do I wanna know where you had that stashed?”


The TV came on, and he winked at her.


“Bosco, turn that off. Come on.” He was worse than her kids. “Go to sleep.”


Ignoring her, he flipped the station to Animal Planet. Hyenas. Discovery Channel. Egyptian crap. Back to the hyenas.


What the hell, he was in bed all day anyway. Faith settled back in her chair. “You know your mom will be here at what – eight?”


He put his hands up under his chin and pretended to sleep.


“Bos, that’s mean.”


And? He looked back at the TV.


“Okay, so it’s the best defense – still it’s mean.” Rose talked nonstop every time she came to visit. Bosco wasn’t the only one who wanted to take a nap.


He nodded and shrugged. What can I say?


“Yeah, it’s you.”


Faith dozed off somewhere between the hyenas following the lions and them cleaning up the scraps left from the lions' kill. Bosco turned the sound down a little. She was grumpy when she didn’t get enough sleep. He could tell Jelly stories that’d curl his hair.


The hyena show ended, and a new one started. His eyes widened. Bugs? There were plenty of cockroaches in NYC if he wanted to watch bugs. Shivering, he changed the channel. Discovery still had the Egyptian crap on. You seen one dead mummy – you seen ‘em all.


He was about to flip to ESPN and check out the fantasy football stats when the narration caught his attention.


“His power and standing in the kingdom were tied to the Pharaoh’s vizier, and everything began to crumble when the vizier was assassinated.”


Bosco lowered the remote to his lap. Something about that seemed familiar.


“His power was in fact a false power – limited by his connection to the vizier.”


Tell me more, dry boring guy.


After several minutes, Bosco reached out and shook Faith awake. When she looked at him, he pointed to the TV.


“What? Did you lose the remote? I’m not digging around under the blankets for it, you pervert.” Blinking the sleep from her eyes, she spotted the remote lying in his lap. “Are the batteries dead?”


He shook his head and pointed at the TV again. Listen! He cupped his hand around his ear. Tell me what I’m missing!


“I’d rather watch a movie.” Faith watched the show for a few moments. Some dead Egyptian guy who was losing his ass after his sugar daddy died. “Okay, Bos, this is really boring.”


There was something here; he just couldn’t figure out what it was. He lifted his hands helplessly.


“Well, I’m gonna go pee while you figure it out.” Faith got up and stretched a kink out of her back.


Covering his ears, Bosco shook his head. I don’t wanna know!


“Like I wanted to hear you talk about draining your snake how many times when we were out on the street?” Faith ruffled his hair before walking to the bathroom.


Totally different! He looked down at where his snake was lying pathetically abused beneath the blankets. Pee for me too, would you?


Thinking about his dick was depressing, and Bosco turned his attention back to the TV. It was boring as hell listening to the crap about ancient politics and backstabbing. And yet… there was something in this story that nagged at him. What the fuck was it?


The door to his room opened slowly, a little at a time.


Bosco looked at it. Considering how weird his day had been – it could be the boogey man dropping by. He had the TV remote and the call button – and Faith was in the bathroom. He could whisper for help and she’d come running… next week when the sound finally traveled that far.


Cruz stuck her head in around the edge of the door.


He relaxed. Jesus… It was only Cruz. Cruz? He tensed up again. This was not good.


“Hey, Bosco.” She stepped inside the room and leaned back against the door.


Cruz was the last person – or pretty close to the bottom of the list – that he’d expected to see.


Cruz stared at him, not sure what to say now that she was here. Bosco was staring back, confusion in the dark blue eyes. She hadn’t stopped by to see him since he’d woken up. Only the one time while he was in a coma, and she hadn’t been able to bear looking at him.


Bosco stared at her. It had just dawned on him that Faith was going to come out of the bathroom – see Cruz – and freak. And possibly break things. Like Cruz’ bones.


Normally, he’d enjoy a cat fight. With a little oil and some skimpy bikinis. But with Faith – that was like incest or something weird. And he’d seen all of Cruz he wanted to see naked.


Faith opened the bathroom door and walked out. “Holy Christ! Are they just letting anybody walk in here?”


Cruz jumped. She hadn’t realized anyone else was in Bosco’s room. Shoulda known that Yokas wouldn’t be far from Bosco’s side. She glared at Faith. Fucking mama bear with one cub.


“First Monroe comes in here and now you?” She stalked over to Cruz and met her glare for glare.


“Monroe?” The other woman’s eyes went wide and her jaw dropped. “That two faced bitch was in here with Bosco? You let her in here?”


“I didn’t let her in here – they were gonna put her in here with him!”


“Are you serious?”


“Wheeled her in, big as day – “ Faith told her.


“You threw her out, right?” A quick look showed the other half of the room was empty.


“Of course I did!” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Why am I telling you this – get out.”


“I came to see Bosco.” Looking back at Bosco, Cruz saw he was still staring wide eyed.


“You’ve seen him, now get out.”


“I want to see if he’s okay.” Why the hell was he just sitting there and staring?


“He’s fine.” Faith put herself between Cruz and Bosco. “Get out.”


She turned her attention to Faith again. “You’re like a broken record, you know that?”


“Yeah, well here’s another spin.” Squaring her shoulders, Faith took a step into Cruz’ space. “Get out or I kick your ass.”


This was all pretty entertaining, even without oil and bikinis. Bosco grinned. There was something to be said for women getting angry. So long as it wasn’t at him. He’d put money on Faith over Cruz in this case. Where’s a bookie when you need one? Though if he waited long enough, one would probably wander in.


“I said I wanna see if he’s okay.” Cruz said again.


“And I said you need to get the hell out.”


“What?” She put her hands on her hips and cocked her head to one side. “You’re his social secretary now, Yokas?”


“Yeah, I am – all appointments go through me – “ Just one move and she was going to clock this snotty bitch once and for all. “And you’re not on the list, Cruz.”


“Listen, I don’t wanna fight with you.” It took a lot of effort to swallow down her pride, but Cruz managed it. “I just want to know if he’s okay.”


“He’s fine – he’s good – now go.”


“Is he – “ She looked around Faith at Bosco, who was still staring at her, and then back to Faith. “The doctor said – is he – damaged?”


Damaged? Bosco frowned. Damaged? He lifted the blankets and looked at himself. Okay, he had a freaking hose up his dick so he wouldn’t piss the bed, but he was pretty sure that he was mostly in good working order. Okay, so he hadn’t had a hard on since he woke up – but that was just a temporary thing. Just a temporary thing. Repeat as often as needed. Just a temporary thing.


“Damaged? Are you smoking crack?” Faith laughed, but it was harsh and bitter. “Of course he’s damaged – he took four bullets – four of ‘em – through and through.”


Dropping her voice, Cruz made a crazy motion next to her temple. “I meant in the head.”


Bosco tapped the remote on the metal bed railing. When the two women turned to look at him, he held his hands up and raised his eyebrows. Hello? Right here.


Stepping around Faith, Cruz walked slowly toward the bed. “Bosco?”


He gave her a yeah, what look.


“It’s Cruz – do you – remember me?” She asked slowly. “Are you – okay?”


Behind her, Faith looked ready to burst out laughing.


Looking deeply and intently into Cruz’ eyes, Bosco slowly held up his middle finger.


She frowned.


“Bosco is fine.” Faith told her.


“So I see.” Cruz spun around and headed for the door. “Sorry I fucking worried.”


Faith let the laughter out. “Okay that was worth coming over in the middle of the night for.”


“So there’s nothing wrong with him?” Cruz stopped, turning to glare at her.


“He’s doing good. The doctor was wrong about the brain damage.” She laughed again. “There’s only what he had before.”


Snapping his fingers, Bosco pointed to his chest as they turned to look at him.


“Sorry, Bos.” He hated being talked about and not to. Faith went back to stand beside the bed.


“Why are you here in the middle of the night, Yokas?” Cruz had counted on Bosco being alone so she could get in, see him, and get out.


“Monroe. She snuck back into his room a couple hours ago – got him so riled up they had to sedate him.”


“She snuck in – did she hurt him?” Cruz didn’t need much of an excuse to kick Monroe’s ass. If the bitch had hurt Bosco, that’d just move up her time table a little.


“Nah, she just dumped all the crap on him about Mann and Finney – “


“That was nice of her – did she bother to tell him she’s IAB?”


Faith caught Bosco giving her a pay attention to me or die look. “He kinda accidentally found out when they first brought her in here, huh, Bosco?” She gave him a sheepish smile.


“Does he know…” Cruz let the question trail off.


He is here.” Bosco said.


“He can talk?” She stared at him. His voice was softer than she’d ever heard before. Even when they’d been in bed, Bosco hadn’t been one to whisper.


Bosco looked at Faith. Does she think I’m a fucking retard or something?


“His jaw is wired shut, so he can’t talk much.” Faith patted his arm. “Which is okay.”


Okay? He pinched her arm, making her yelp.


“Ow! Hey, cut it out!” Rubbing her arm, she gave him a look that promised he’d pay later.


Cruz smiled, relieved that Bosco was all right. She’d been afraid he’d end up a drooling, mindless cripple – and be better off dead.


“Okay, so now you can see he’s fine – “ Faith pointed at the door. “So go.”


“Later, Bosco.” Giving him one last smile, she turned to go.


“Wait.” He shook his head as Cruz turned to look at him.


Faith nudged him and gave him a look that reminded him they were through with Cruz.


“Monroe says – Finney’s obsessed.” He said.


The two women looked at each other. Obsessed didn’t cover it. They both shrugged.


He pointed to Faith and then at Cruz. “Why?”


“Finney’s IAB.” Cruz shrugged again. “Who knows?”


Bosco raked his hands through his hair. Damn it, this was a pain in the ass! He held one hand up, fingers together, and made a slight shaking motion.


“There’s something?” Faith asked. “What?”


This was going to hurt. He was going to have to tell them what was rattling his cage. Gestures and his clear and obviously readable expressions were not going to get this across.  “Finney is IAB. Gets dirty cops. Mann was a dealer. Not some innocent guy.”


When they continued to look at him, not getting it, he sighed. “Why so hot – for this one?” Bosco rubbed his jaw. Five fucking seconds in, and his jaw was already beginning to ache. “She said – he’s crazy – over it.”


Cruz nodded. “I getcha. Why be so worried about a drug dealer buying it? You know, it’s not like we’re selling drugs or shit – we’re good cops.”


Faith took the high road and bit back the snarky comment that came to mind. Instead, she picked up the pitcher from the bedside table, pouring ice water into a Styrofoam cup and putting a straw in it for Bosco. “Why is the head of IAB even involved? Doesn’t he have people that handle the agents and stuff?”


“She said – he threatened her.” Bosco took a sip, tilting his head so the cold water ran over the sore spot in his throat. “Said he’d blow her cover – if she didn’t get – him info he wanted.”


“That doesn’t make any sense, Bos.” Watching him hold the cup, Faith was ready to catch it. He’d get pissed at her if she tried to hold it, but she didn’t want it to land in his lap.


“If he blew her cover – she’s useless to him.” Cruz agreed.


“That’s what he did, though.” She chanced a look at Cruz. “Davis said he was down at IAB and Finney brought her in so could see her. He outed his own agent.”


“Davis?” Bosco frowned. He set the cup down on the tray, his hands shook but he set it down without spilling it. Proud that he’d done it without Faith having to catch the cup, he grinned a little. Today a cup of water – tomorrow the strong man competition.


“I dunno, Bosco.” Faith shrugged. “There’s something going on with Davis – his father’s death.”


Bosco made a slashing motion across his throat.


“Yeah, he was murdered.” She nodded.


“Davis got the file?” He asked. “That guy’s dead?”


“What guy?” Cruz looked from one to the other.


“Some PI – used to be a cop.” Faith told her. “He gave a file to Davis – something to do with his dad’s murder.”


Bosco wiggled his nose.


Faith raised her eyebrows. “That’s your rat imitation?”


Like you could do better? He stuck the tip of his tongue out at her.


“He was IAB?” Those were the only rats Cruz knew of. She thought Bosco looked kinda cute wiggling his nose. If Faith wouldn’t take her arm off, she’d pet him. And that little bit of tongue sticking out? Get your mind back on business, Maritza.


“Ex – and now dead.”


“And he gave a file to Davis?” She thought about that. There were no coincidences in her life. “An IAB file?”


“Think so.” Faith thought back to when she’d questioned Monroe as they were putting her in the bus. “Pretty sure Monroe said she got it from McKinley to give to Davis.”


There was a connection here. Bosco made the something gesture again.  His jaw was killing him, and he rubbed at it. How the fuck does Davis’ father fit into this? Think, Boscorelli!


Faith picked up the button for the morphine machine and raised her eyebrows. When Bosco nodded, she pushed it.


“Is that – morphine?” Cruz watched Faith place the button back beside Bosco’s hip.




Bosco smiled slightly. Just your basic joy and happiness, and they couldn’t even arrest him for it. Of course, he’d had to get several holes put in his body to get it, too. Possibly not the best trade off, now that he thought about it.


“That’s – it’s – “ She looked at the machine hooked to Bosco as if she thought it might jump up and eat him. “It’s – morphine – “


“He doesn’t use much.” Faith defended. “Less and less all the time, right, Bos?”


The smile faded, and he nodded. As cops they knew the danger of morphine – they’d seen too many junkies. No way was he ending up like some of the trash on the streets, selling themselves for a fix. Maurice, male gigolo didn’t sound like that much fun. Okay, well… it did. But only for fantasy type sex.


Faith patted his arm. “Bosco needs to rest, Cruz. I think it’s time for you to go.”


“Yeah, I guess…”


No, they weren’t done yet. “Hungry.” Bosco said.


“You’re hungry now?” Faith opened the cabinet under the bedside table. “I think there’s some pudding cups left.”




“You want soup?” She straightened up, putting her hands on her hips. “It’s like six a.m., Bos.”


He gave her his please feed me, I’m starving look.


“All right – soup.” Sighing, she caved. “Where the hell – “


Bosco put his fingers beside his eyes and pulled the skin back so they looked slanted.


“Bosco! That’s just wrong!”


“What?” Cruz looked from Bosco to Faith.


“There’s a Chinese joint around the corner that’s open all night.” Faith gave him a dirty look.


What the hell, it hurt less than saying Imperial Garden. He shrugged.


“Fine, I’ll get you some soup.” She picked up her purse. “You bigot.”


Bosco shook his head. Not in the plans, partner. He pointed at Cruz.


‘You – you want her to get you some soup?”


“Sure, I can do that.” Cruz nodded.


“Why?” It hurt that Bosco wanted Cruz to do more than let the door hit her in the ass on the way out.


When Bosco reached out to her, Faith put her hand in his. He squeezed hard. It was their signal for how badly he was hurting. “Okay, okay.” Bosco dealt with his pain pretty well – better than she did – but he liked to have someone there with him so he didn’t focus on it so much.


“I can get it, it’s no problem.” Cruz assured her. “Where is this Chinese place?”


Digging one handed in her purse, she didn’t look up. Didn’t want Cruz to see that it hurt to know that Bosco wanted Cruz to do something for him. “Go out the ER, take a left – down two blocks and take another left. The Imperial Garden.”


“Got it.” She nodded. “What kind of soup?”


“Egg drop. Make it a small one, he can’t eat too much, it’ll come back up and we’ll have a real mess.”


Hey! He hadn’t thrown up in awhile. Bosco pouted at her. He’d learned to swallow slowly and not to fill up too much at once, no matter how much his stomach begged for.


“And tell them no green onions or crunchy noodle things.”


“Why not?” Cruz frowned at her. Bosco probably didn’t need them in his condition, but Faith was damn bossy about his food.


“’Cos he’ll choke. Bosco can’t eat real well and his jaw’s wired shut.” Faith found the money she’d shoved into the bottom of her purse. “He chokes and they’ll cut his throat open.”


Eek! Bosco clutched his free hand to his throat. Nobody had told him that! That was the kind of thing a guy needed to know!


“Jeez.” Grimacing, Cruz put a hand to her own throat.


“Besides, he’s not on solids yet.” There was an area nobody wanted to think about.


“Okay, small egg drop, no onions or crunchy things.”


“I like crunchies.” Bosco protested. It was a weak protest – the thought of having his throat slit open wasn’t a pretty one. But he really liked the crunchy things. Faith liked them too; she used to steal his. “Get crunchies.”


“You’ll choke.” Faith used her mom tone, knowing it didn’t work any better on Bosco than it did on Emily or Charlie.


“Soup, huh?” Cruz smiled at Bosco. “Is that what you really want?”


“Steak.” He closed his eyes. He’d sit down and there’d be a plate with a huge porterhouse steak, baked potato and a ton of sour cream and butter. Maybe even one of those sissy salads on the side.


“Steak, huh?” Her smile widened. That was the Bosco she knew – he loved to sink his teeth into things. “You get outta here – I’ll buy you the biggest steak in New York.”


“Here.” Faith held out a five dollar bill.


“I can get it.”


“Just take it – I don’t want to owe you for anything.”


“I’m not getting it for you – “ Cruz ignored the money. “I’m getting it for Bosco.”


“Yeah, well, Bosco doesn’t want to owe you either.” Faith stuffed the five into the other woman’s shirt pocket.


Bosco shrugged when Cruz looked at him. What the fuck do you want me to do? She’s vicious when she’s pissed.


“I’ll be right back.” Turning, Cruz left the room.


All right, now he could get back to business.


Faith sat down on the edge of the bed, resting their joined hands on her leg. “Feel better?”


“Some.” He nodded.




“You have to work with her.”


“Excuse me?”


Holding up his free hand, he gestured. “Finney – Davis’ dad – Mann – “


“Something?” She chewed her lip. “You think there’s a connection?”


He shrugged. “I heard rumors once – couple times. Finney was dirty. Something with Davis’ dad.”


“There’s something going on with Davis’ dad, that’s for sure.” A man had gotten his brains blown out over that folder.


“Finney’s dangerous.”


“You think so, oh master of the obvious?”


“You fucked him over.” Bosco squeezed her hand. He hadn’t saved Faith just to lose her to some psycho IAB asshole. “Something he wants – bad.”


“Why does he want it so bad?” Maybe Bosco was on to something, but what?


Shaking his head, he pointed at the TV again. The Egyptian show was long since over. He gestured again. Something – there was something.


“Good thing you’re Italian and born knowing a thousand hand gestures or we’d never be able to carry on a conversation.” She joked.


Bosco put his fingertips under his chin and flicked them out at her.


“Yeah, I know that one too.” Smiling, Faith repeated it. “Right back at ya.”


Wait a second… there was someone could help them with this. “Sully.”


“What about him?”


“Davis – old man Davis – was his partner.”


“That’s right… and Finney was at the 55 then too, wasn’t he?”


Holding his hand up, he rubbed his fingertips together, shaking them slightly.


“Something’s going on.” Faith agreed. Now if they could only figure out what.


Bosco smiled. He had no doubt they’d figure it out. The partner vibe was going strong. He winked at her.





Bosco was drowsing when Cruz came back. Faith was back in her chair, watching the History Channel. Cruz set the soup on the tray table that was over Bosco’s bed. “I got a straw.” She said softly.


“Thanks. We’ve got some that bend.”


“Yeah, well…” Was there nothing this bitch didn’t already have taken care of? “I was just thinking he couldn’t eat with a spoon and I didn’t know if you had any.”


Getting up, Faith took a spoon from the table drawer and began to scoop out the bigger egg chunks from the soup, dropping them into the trash. Satisfied that there were no pieces left big enough for Bosco to choke on, she put the soup into a cup with a lid before setting it on the tray again.


Cruz watched her, wondering if anybody would be doing that for her if she’d been shot up that night. She came up blank. What the fuck, I don’t need anybody.


“Bosco thinks there’s something going on.” Faith sat back down. “Something we need to work together on.”


“Us? Work together?” She laughed. “Like hell.”


“Yeah, well – “ That was her thought too. “He thinks Finney is gonna come after us.”


“So? Let him.” The bastard had already tried to kill her once. “I can handle him.”


“We may not be the only ones.” Faith looked at where Bosco slept peacefully, the center of calm in the room.


“Why would he come after Bosco?” Alarmed, Cruz stepped closer to the bed. Her heart tried to claw its way out of her chest.


“If he’s after either of us…” Faith let the thought trail off. There was real fear on Cruz’ face. Probably the same fear she’d felt earlier when she’d realized that Finney might come after Bosco just to even the score.


“Jesus…” Bosco was a sitting duck.


“I’m gonna get a uniform on the door. Since they just let anybody walk in.”


Cruz pulled the other chair close to Bosco’s bedside. The panic she’d felt worrying about Bosco living or dying was back. The same fear she’d felt for years with Lettie. Loving someone made you weak. She’d cut him out of her heart if she could. Looking at Bosco’s peaceful expression, the thick, dark hair tousled around his face, Cruz didn’t think there was a knife sharp enough to do the job.


“Sully’s on his way over.”


“Sully?” Focusing on the here and now, Cruz pushed the fear down. “What’s he got to do with anything?”


“Bosco thinks there’s something with Finney’s past.” Faith shook her head, not sure if Bosco was on to something or not. “Maybe with Davis’ father and how he died.”


“So what’s Sully got to do with that?”


“Davis Senior was his partner.”


“Ah…” Cruz smiled. “Then he might have some dirt on Finney.”


“Yeah. Sully hates Finney’s kid. There has to be a reason. You know Sully; he’s a pretty easygoing guy.”


“Well, if Finney had a hand in his partner’s death – yeah, hell yeah he’d have a reason.”  Cruz looked up at the TV. “The History Channel?”


“What? I like history.”


“I’m just sayin’…”


The door opened, and Sully walked in. Seeing that Bosco was asleep, he kept his voice low. “Morning, ladies.” He looked around for a chair.


“Morning, Sully.” Muting the TV, Faith let him have her chair, sitting on the edge of Bosco’s bed again.


“Welcome to the meeting, Sul.” Cruz waved a hand. “First meeting of Paranoia R Us.”


“Yeah, whatever.” Sully sat down. He wasn’t sure why he’d even agreed to come up here. He didn’t want to talk about Finney or Davis. Only the concern that things were going to get dangerous for everyone had made him get up out of a warm bed and blue funk.


They waited. Sully would spill in his own time. Faith laid a hand on Bosco’s forehead, checking for a fever. He hadn’t had one yet, but she wasn’t letting one sneak past her. Cruz slouched down in her chair, crossing her legs at the ankle.


“I don’t know how this is going to help.” He sighed. “It’s been fifteen years? Almost twenty, hell I don’t know anymore. Finney, Davis, and some others were taking money from drug dealers. They looked the other way and let the dealers do what they wanted. Every now and then to keep things looking on the up and up – they’d haul a dealer in and lock him up. But then they’d make sure the guy didn’t do any jail time.”


“How’d they manage that?” Cruz thought about what it would take to get a dealer off. “Bad busts – but too many of those and they’d get their asses in a sling.”


“I dunno the details – I stayed the hell out of it.” Sully remembered arguing with his partner more than once about how he didn’t want to take a cut of the action. “Maybe they had a connection at the DA’s office? I didn’t ask.”


“I heard Davis was dirty.”


Sully looked up at Cruz. “And you’re asking if I was? No. I wasn’t.”


“We know that, Sully.” Faith shot Cruz a dirty look. Everybody knew Sully might look the other way sometimes, like he had with Candyman, but he wasn’t dirty.


“I never took a penny. I tried to get him to get the hell out.” He shook his head. “But the money was too good, and he had two families to support.”


“So what happened?”


“IAB found out – or suspected – and they started keeping tabs on us.” It might surprise them that he’d once worked for a unit like Cruz’ Anti Crime bunch. “Things were getting hot, so they decided to pin things on Davis. He thought he’d beat them to the punch by going to IAB and giving them everything.”


“Only he didn’t make it.” Cruz was a bit torn. On the one hand he’d have been a rat – on the other he’d have been ratting out dirty cops.


“We get a call – we go out – and then – “ Sully looked down at his hands. “He was dead.”


“And you kept your mouth shut?”


“Yeah, I did.” He’d been down this road with Ty, and he didn’t want to defend his decision again.




Sully looked up at the soft whisper. “Hey, Bosco.”


Bosco rubbed the sleep from his eyes. “You’d be dead.”


“No joke?” He agreed. “Even if I’d made it to IAB with the story – all it would have done is cost Maggie the pension money she needed to get by.”


“It wasn’t her fault her husband was dirty.” Faith shook her head. She knew all too well that most of the time a wife was in the dark about what her husband was doing.


“But it let Finney and his buddies get off scot free.” Cruz pushed herself back up in the chair. “I mean, okay the widow needs the pension, but these guys stayed in business ‘cos you kept your mouth shut.”


“I’m not asking for your approval – it was my decision.” She thought it was so damn easy? Wait until she had a partner who was more important to her than anything. Sully looked at Cruz. Forget it. Never happen.


“Finney took money – from dealers?” Bosco grabbed at the connection. Mann was a dealer. How long had he been one?


“Yeah, that’s where the money was. Still is.” He saw Cruz nod. They all knew drugs were where the big money was.


Pointing at Sully, Bosco waited until Faith tapped Sully on the shoulder to get his attention. “From Mann?”


“I don’t know.” Sully rubbed a hand over his face. “I wasn’t involved.”


“We need the file Monroe gave to Davis.” Faith said.


“And we need more info on Mann. How he started, where he came from.” Cruz looked thoughtful. “I can dig that up. Nothing unusual about me digging up a Narco record.”


“What the hell’s Mann got to do with any of this?” Sully protested. “This is about Finney and Davis.”


“There’s something else going on.” Faith borrowed the something gesture from Bosco, making him laugh softly. She grinned at him. She’d be a card carrying Italian by the time he could talk again. “Bosco thinks there’s a connection between Finney, Mann, and Davis’ murder.”


Bosco noticed the cup of soup sitting on the tray. Nudging Faith, he pointed at it.


“Let me get a straw.” She pulled open the tray drawer and took out a hot pink straw.


“Pink?” Barbie pink? He’d avoided using them. Blue was cool, purple was all right, and green he could live with. But pink?


“It’s all that’s left, Bos. Jeez, a pink straw won’t make you look like a sissy.” She stuck it through the hole in the lid and handed him the cup. Bosco took it and began to sip slowly. Faith watched, ready to take the cup if he got tired.


Bosco pouted around his pink straw. He looked like freaking Barbie. Hospital laid up Barbie. Dumped by Malibu Ken Barbie.


“Mann’s a dealer – a big one. Where did he come from? How the fuck did he get so big?” In her head, Cruz was starting to put the pieces together. “Suppose he had some help?”


“A little help from the cops?” Faith nodded. Scary fucking thought but it fit.


“With IAB in your back pocket… “ Sully leaned back in his chair. “Damn.”


Bosco pointed to the TV. Just like in the boring Egyptian show.


“You can’t go five minutes without Animal Planet?”


Bosco handed Faith the cup of soup and stuck his tongue out at her. He really needed to work up some new insults. He couldn’t flip her off, she’d already threatened to break his finger off.


“Watch it.” She set the cup back on the tray. “I’ll cut it off and your many fans will be heartbroken.”


Not so long as he had his dick. Which would work again! He pointed at the TV again. “The Egyptian crap.”


“The boring thing about the priest?” Faith frowned at him. “What does that have to do with the price of eggs in China?”


“He got where he was – because of some other guy.”


“So… Mann got to where he was… “ She put the two pieces together. They fit nicely. “Because of Finney.”


Bosco raised his eyebrows.


“Yeah…” Faith nodded slowly. “I gotcha.”


He raised his hand and gestured.


“Something is right.” She mimicked the gesture again.


Cruz watched, jealous of how they seemed to communicate so well with Bosco hardly talking. She hadn’t been able to communicate with Bosco except in the sack, and even then it had been a fight.


“Mann’s operation – it’s huge, right?” Bosco asked.


“Oh yeah.” Cruz answered. “He’s like the biggest freaking dealer in New York.”


“New York?” Sully scoffed. “Try the entire east coast.”


“So who gets – his operation?”


Faith looked at Bosco, knowing her jaw was practically in her lap. The boring show he’d made her watch. “Oh my God, it’s all falling apart!”


“Well, yeah. That’s good.” Cruz smiled and kicked back in her chair again. “Now it’s all gonna break down and we’ll be picking up the pieces for months. He may have a few lieutenants who’ll try and hold it together – but let’s face it – drug dealers are greedy.”


“And stupid. This is the perfect opportunity for the guys at the bottom to try and move up.” Sully shook his head. “Jesus, what a mess.”


“Yeah, but they get careless.” Cruz rubbed her hands together in anticipation. “We’ll be handling so many busts – we won’t have a place to put the jagoffs.”


Bosco and Faith both frowned at her. Jagoff was his trademark. Bosco pantomimed shooting at her.


Sully nodded. “Bodies too, all over the freaking place. I might just retire.”


“Hey, less dope on the streets? Fine by me if they kill each other off.” Cruz smiled again.


Faith smiled and winked at Bosco. She knew what he’d meant by the gesture.


“Finney. If he’s tied to Mann – “ Bosco reached for the cup of water, batting at Faith’s hand when she tried to hand it to him. “His money may dry up.”


The others turned to look at him. Bosco took a sip. “No pun.”


“No wonder Finney’s crazy.” Faith reached for the phone. “I’m getting a uniform on your door.”


Bosco tapped his chest and raised his eyebrows. What the fuck for? Though traffic control would be nice.


“If he’s gonna come after me – he may come at me through you.”


“Me too.” Cruz leaned forward and patted Bosco’s leg.


Faith gave an inelegant snort. “You and Bosco are history – everybody knows that.”


“Doesn’t mean I don’t – “ The rest of what she’d been going to say was quickly bitten off. She’d almost admitted that she still cared for Bosco. “Doesn’t mean Finney might not think I care about Bosco. Which I don’t. But, you know, Finney might not know that.”


Bosco smiled slightly and gave her a nod. It was too bad it hadn’t worked. When it was good, it had been damn good, but most of the time it was just shit. They were both too much alike. They both wanted to be the dominant half – neither of them would give in to the other. In bed or out of it.


He looked up at Faith. She was the only woman he backed up a step for. And he wasn’t sure why. She ordered him around like one of her kids half the time. Her kids – reaching up, Bosco grabbed her sleeve. “Emily – Charlie – “


“Shit!” Faith’s eyes widened, and she almost dropped the phone. “I’ll call Fred and have him take them to my brother in Connecticut.”


“You think he’d come after kids?” Cruz asked Sully.


“I don’t know.” He leaned closer to her and lowered his voice. “Yeah.”


Bosco rubbed a hand up and down Faith’s arm while she tried to explain the situation to Fred. She was shaking, and he wished he hadn’t had to bring up her kids. But better safe than sorry. After what had happened to Mikey – he shuddered.


“We need to see that file Davis has.” Cruz told Sully.


“Why?” He sure as hell didn’t want to ask for it. Not when he and Davis were almost talking.


“To see what the hell is in there.”


“What’s worth – killing for.” Bosco added.


The file was almost twenty years old – what could possibly be in there that Finney wanted kept hidden bad enough to kill? Sully looked down at his hands, surprised to see them twisted together.


“Fred – listen to me!” Faith closed her eyes and raised a hand to her forehead. “I am not making this up – it’s not about Bosco!”


It’s always about Bosco. He watched as she took the phone into the bathroom for some privacy. Somehow he was always fucking her life up.


“We need that file.” Cruz leaned forward again, grabbing Sully’s hands to get his attention. “Maybe there’s nothing there – but we gotta know.”


“Does Finney know – where the file is?” Bosco wondered how the dead guy had gotten his hands on it in the first place. He’d have thought that Finney would have had anything incriminating shredded years ago.


“We don’t even know if he knows the file is missing.” Sully ran a hand through his hair. “McKinley is dead – Finney may have thought he was talking to Monroe – or about to.”


“Davis is digging – Finney knows that.” Cruz sat back. “Davis could be next on the hit list.”


“Yeah. All right. I’ll get the damn file.” Standing up, Sully looked for the phone before he remembered Faith had it. Better to have some privacy for his argument, too. “I’ll go call him.”


Bosco dug around for the remote. It wasn’t under the blanket. Oops, there it was, next to his leg. Leave it to a woman not to put the remote back where it belongs. Faith and her damn History Channel. If they had the history of animals, that’d be different. He flipped the channel. Wolves. He liked wolves. Bosco tucked the remote back under the blanket to keep it safe from History Channel fans.


He looked at Cruz, noticing the bruises on her face. He’d meant to ask and then forgot. Bosco lifted a hand and curled his fingers around to ask if she was okay.


She looked up at the TV. “Is that what you wanted to watch?”


Frowning, he pointed at her and then made the okay gesture again.


“Oh, me? Yeah.” She touched her face. “I’m good.”


And a fountain of information as always. Nodding, he reached for the soup; his stomach was still feeling empty. Halfway to the cup, Bosco grimaced in pain as the movement pulled on the wounds in his side. Damn – damn – damn – wish I was a lefty!


“Here.” Cruz got up and handed him the cup of soup.


She watched him drink slowly. The careful swallows. The white bandages on his throat and cheek stood out against his skin. The bullet had gone through his throat and out his face, if what’d she’d heard was the truth.


There’d been too much blood all over him that night to know what the real damage was. At the time, Bosco’s cheek had been a gaping wound, bone and muscle exposed, and if Cruz hadn’t known it was him, she’d never have recognized him.


Bosco was uncomfortable with the way Cruz was staring at him. Hello? You’re being rude. Nobody stared at him – they knew the wound on his face bothered him. He looked over her shoulder at the TV.


Cruz bit her lip, staring at the bandage on his cheek. It didn’t look too big, but on his face… “So, is that gonna scar real bad?”


He choked on the soup he was swallowing. His lungs refused the delivery, and he coughed. The movement made his guts and face move in directions they didn’t want to move in. Bosco’s shriek of pain was trapped between coughs.


“Bosco!” Cruz grabbed the cup as it fell from his hands.


The coughing turned to retching, and his stomach gave up what little he’d eaten. Helplessly, Bosco curled inward, heaving and coughing in painful spasms.


Faith was coming out of the bathroom, the phone held tightly in her hands. She stopped as she saw Bosco clutching his stomach and coughing. “What the fuck are you doing?” Rushing to the bed, she shoved Cruz back.


His guts were coming out. If he let go, they might just squeeze out the holes. He couldn’t stop coughing – each cough pushed his guts another agonizing inch out of his body. Please – please make it stop – please –


Terrified that Bosco was choking, Faith put her arms underneath him and pulled him forward, turning his head to the side like the nurses had taught her. He was breathing – horrible gasps and wheezes – but air was getting through. The alarm on the monitor began beeping shrilly.


“What did you do to him?” She turned on Cruz.


“He was – he was drinking and – “ Cruz watched helplessly as Bosco continued to cough and writhe in pain. “I just said – “


“Get me a wet washrag and a towel.” Faith ordered. Bosco wasn’t choking, but he was suffering.


While the other woman rushed to the bathroom, Faith searched for the button for the morphine machine. It was next to his leg, and Faith punched it. Bosco clung to her, moaning and wheezing against her chest. “Hang on, Bos, it’s okay – try to breathe. Little shallow breaths – remember?”


Cruz came back with a wet washrag and a handful of towels.


Faith laid Bosco back on the bed as his breathing began to ease. She grabbed the washrag from Cruz and wiped the soup from his face and neck. “Go tell them we need another gown for him.”


“I’m sorry.”


“You’re always sorry!” Faith snarled at her. “Go!”


“Yeah, okay, sure.” Setting the towels where Faith could reach them, Cruz hurried out of the room.


Bosco tried to take small breaths, but it was harder than hell. The coughs had eased up, but the pain was chewing him up and spitting him out. Even the wound in his leg was throbbing at maximum warp. Please – please – I’ll be good – I swear – please –


Faith unsnapped the shoulder snaps and eased the gown down. “You know, I got you a t-shirt the other day. It says, ‘don’t like my attitude? 1-800-who-cares’.”


Breathing in one thousand and out one thousand. In one thousand and out one thousand. Please – I’ll be good – in one thousand –


“I saw that and thought ‘that’s a Bosco shirt.’” Sitting carefully on the edge of the bed, she wiped his neck and chest off. Who would’ve thought he got that much soup down?


“The doctor said pretty soon they’ll take the cath out and you can wear sweat pants so you’re not freezing your ass off.” Faith wanted hold Bosco, comfort him like she would Charlie or Emily, but that wasn’t the way Bosco dealt with his pain. He wanted her to talk about normal things, give him a chance to focus on something besides how bad he hurt.


“They said you can’t wear undershorts and they kinda thought I’d know if you wore any or not. I mean, I do, we’ve changed in the same locker room for years.” Picking up a clean towel, she rubbed his skin gently, trying to ease the bad with some good. “I went to your apartment and got a couple pairs of your sweatpants, and some socks. Emily wanted to get you frog socks, but I figured you’d kick her butt.”


Cruz came back into the room. “They’re bringing one. They were on their way in 'cos of the alarm anyway.”


Bosco reached for the blanket. He was humiliated enough, thank you, without lying here naked for everyone to see.


Faith pulled the blankets up over his bare chest. “What did you say to him?”


“I just asked about his face.”


Bosco’s eyes briefly flickered open before he clenched them shut again. Faith brushed his cheek with her fingertips. That was not something they discussed. They’d gotten very good at not discussing it.


Turning, she glared at Cruz. “Do not – ever – bring it up again. You hear me?”


“Okay, whatever.” Cruz sat down in her chair again.


A nurse came into the room with a clean gown. She eyed the cup and then Faith. “You know he’s not supposed to have that.”


“It’s just chicken broth, same as you give him here.” Faith helped the nurse put the clean gown on Bosco. “Only they used real chickens.”


“And he choked.” The nurse took a quick read of his vitals as she shut the alarm off.


“No, he choked because someone asked him something they shouldn’t have.”


“It was me.” Cruz sighed. “I’m guilty, okay? So fucking shoot me.”


“Don’t tempt me.” Faith combed Bosco’s hair back from his forehead with her fingers.


“Mr. Boscorelli, are you all right now?” The nurse asked as she tucked the blankets around him. “Do you want something to help you sleep?”


He shook his head.


“Mrs. Boscorelli, you should leave and let him get some sleep.”


“He’s not sleepy.” She smiled at the nurse. It was the same smile she always used on people who thought they could sweet talk their way out of a speeding ticket.


The nurse left, muttering about difficult patients. And their spouses.


Bosco opened his eyes again to be sure she was looking at him, though he knew he was the center of attention – wasn't he always? He held up his left hand and tapped his third finger. His eyes drifted shut again; holding them open took more strength than he had to spare.


“Ah… yeah… well…” Faith was glad Bosco’s eyes were closed. He wouldn’t be able to see how red her face was. “They kinda think we’re married.”


His eyes popped open again. Had Faith taken advantage of him while he was in a coma? Would she say she was pregnant now? He had to stop watching those damn soaps.


“Oh, I can’t wait to hear this one.” Cruz snickered.


“Who asked you?” Faith glared at the other woman.


“Nobody did, Mrs. Boscorelli.”


Turning back to Bosco, Faith ignored Cruz. “When you were first – hurt – they thought I was your wife. And since your mom was hurt and – you know they don’t always tell everything to people who aren’t family.”


Faith was family. He tapped his chest. Maybe not on paper but where it counted.


“I was afraid they wouldn’t let me know anything – or let me sit with you – “ She shrugged. “So I just didn’t correct ‘em, you know? They called me Mrs. Boscorelli, and I just went ‘uh-huh’.”


Sounded reasonable enough. He remembered being on the outside when she’d been shot and it had made him crazy to not know what was going on. Bosco nodded and gave Faith a small smile. Reaching for the button to the happy machine, he pushed it. The pain was going away but it still hadn’t hit the highway.


“Yeah, you need drugs after that story.” Cruz snickered again. “Waking up to find out you’re married to Yokas?”


“I told them – later – that my name wasn’t Boscorelli.” Faith ignored the snide remark. “But I think they just think I’m using my maiden name or something.”


It sounded like something he’d end up doing. If it wouldn’t hurt, he’d laugh.


“You’re not mad at me are you, Bos?”


Faith sounded worried, and he didn’t like that, not at all. Reaching up for her hand, Bosco patted it. Don’t worry. And don’t ask for alimony.


The door opened, and Sully walked in carrying a coffee pot. “What’s the nurse’s problem?”


“Us.” Faith took the coffee pot and set it on the bedside table.


“Oh. So nothing new then.” He sat down.


“Davis going to give you the file?” Cruz asked.


“Yeah, he’s bringing it over.” Sully looked Bosco over. He was pale, and his eyes were closed. “What’s the matter with Bosco?”


“Coughing fit.” Faith sat down on the edge of the bed.


“Davis wasn’t happy to share, but he’s bringing the file over.” Sully said again.


“Maybe if we nail Finney – he’ll be happy.”


“I damn sure will be.” Cruz smiled an evil smile. “Fucker had me tossed in Rikers.”


“Heard you had a real creative way to keep yourself safe.” Sully grinned at her. “Started a fight?”


“Jumped the biggest bitch I saw two seconds inside the joint.” At the time, it was the only thing she could think of to get herself out of general population.


On the one hand, it was a move typical of Cruz, but on the other hand Faith had to admire the tactic. “Nothing like a little time to yourself.”


That reminded Faith that she was going to do something about people wandering in and out of Bosco’s room. Picking up the phone, she dialed the 55 and asked for Swersky.


“Swersky.” He barked into the phone.


“Lieutenant, this is Yokas. I need you to put a uniform on Bosco’s door.”


“What the hell for? And need I remind you, Yokas, that I give you orders – you don’t give me orders.”


“Sorry, Lieu, but it’s been like Grand Central in here.” Briefly she told him about Monroe sneaking into Bosco’s room and how the nurses hadn’t seemed to notice – and they hadn’t seen her or Cruz come into his room either.


There was silence on the other end for a moment before Swersky spoke again. “And what else?”


“Just a feeling, Lieu.” Faith hesitated. She didn’t want word to get back to Finney. Not that Swersky wasn’t on their side – but better safe than sorry. “I’m just worried this ain’t over, you know?”


“If you’re worried, then I guess I’m worried.” He picked up the duty roster. Yokas was a good cop, and if her gut told her something was wrong, then he believed her. “I’ll get someone over there. Someone you can trust.”


“Thanks, Lieu.”


“I suppose you’re going to want the day off?”


“Um… I dunno…” Faith chewed her lip thoughtfully. It might be better to keep up the appearance that everything was business as usual. “Actually, no. I may be in a little late, but I’ll be in.”


“Well, whatever you’re doing… “ He sighed. “Be careful.”


“Will do.” She hung up the phone. “Swersky’s putting a uniform on the door. Someone we can trust, he says.”


“One less worry.” Sully leaned back in his chair. “So what the hell are we gonna do? Take Finney on ourselves?”


“We sure as hell can’t tell anybody.” Faith looked at her watch.


“We don’t know if there’s another rat in the house.” Cruz added. “’Sides, ain’t like we can ask permission to investigate him.”


“Ten minutes, Bos.” Faith said softly.


He didn’t like to take too many hits off the machine, but he still hurt like a son of a bitch. Bosco nodded, and Faith pushed the button.


“All right.” Sully resigned himself to no pension. “We do this on the sly then. What do we do first?”


“Proof.” Bosco whispered.


There was a soft knock on the door before it opened and Ty looked in. “Hey, guys.”


“Come on in, Davis.” Faith waved him in.


Bosco grinned and waggled his fingers at Ty. The boy knew his cue.


“Sully said you guys needed this.” He handed the file to Sully and set the McDonald’s sacks he was carrying on Bosco’s tray. “Brought some breakfast, thought maybe someone might be hungry.”


Bosco sniffed at the wonderful smells. Was that a McMuffin? A Sausage McMuffin? Oh, God, I want real food!


Pouring Sully a cup of coffee, Faith handed it to him and passed him one of the McDonald’s sacks. He handed her the pictures from the file.


Cruz watched her go back to sit on Bosco’s bed. “Yeah, no thanks, I can get my own.”


Bosco pointed at a picture of Sully and laughed softly.


“Behave, Bos.” Faith thought Sully had been kinda handsome when he was younger. “Someone’s gonna look at pictures of you and laugh someday.”


Me? He looked over at Sully. Like that’ll happen.


Sully handed Cruz the back half of the file, and she grabbed a sandwich out of the sack.


“Pretty detailed stuff in here.” She said around a mouthful of McMuffin.


“That’s IAB for you.” Sully frowned as he read down the first page.


Ty looked around for a chair. There was one on the other side of the room. Obviously for the people visiting whoever might get lucky enough to room with Bosco. Probably why the other bed was empty.


Grabbing the chair, he dragged it over and sat down. “Hey, Bosco.”


Bosco looked up and waved at him again.


“You know what’s going on here?”


“He’s the brains of the outfit.” Faith smiled as she shuffled through the pictures.


Nodding, Bosco tapped his forehead. That’s right, I’m on the job.


“Well, hell.” Ty leaned back in his chair. “And here I thought we might get somewhere.”


Ha fucking ha. Bosco flipped him off.


“Watch him, Davis.” Sully grinned. “He’s pretty good with that middle finger.”


“He’s pretty good with all his fingers as I recall.” Cruz smiled and wiggled a little in her chair.


“Eww…” Faith made a face. Brain scrub on aisle four! She’d tried hard – very hard – not to picture Bosco and Cruz having sex. Or even being on the same planet.


“TMI, man.” Ty shook his head. “Thank you for not sharing.”


Bosco buffed his fingernails on his chest. None of his exes had ever bitched about the sex. His lack of sensitivity, yes. His not taking them to dinner before he fucked them, yes. His dumping them for someone else, yes. But never about the sex. ‘Cos I speak of the pompitous of love.


“Hey, who’s this?” Faith squinted at the picture she was looking at. “Bos, look at this guy.”


He squinted at it, too. “Finney.” Finney had been just as ugly when he was younger.


“And look who’s with him.” She handed the picture to Cruz. “That’s Mann.”


“I think – “ Cruz looked at the picture carefully. “I’ll be damned, I think it is.”


“Hey, here.” Sully got up and set the open file on the tray. “List of suspects. There’s Mann.”


“So there’s our connection.” Faith smiled at Bosco. “Looks like you were right.”


Of course I was. He did a little victory shimmy dance.


“Looks like the drugs are working.” Ty laughed.


“Now what do we do with it?” Sully looked at them. “How do we nail the son of a bitch?”


Bosco frowned. He hadn’t gotten that far yet. Jeez, do I have to do everything for you guys?


“This is all circumstantial evidence.” Ty pointed at the file. “It’s enough to maybe get Finney removed as head of IAB – but I dunno if it’s enough for a conviction or anything.”


“Yeah, and the last thing we want to do is give Finney another reason to wanna kill us.” Faith frowned. “We need testimony – someone who was there and knows exactly what happened.”


“I know – “


“No.” Ty interrupted Sully. “That’d cost you your pension, man. I don’t want you to do that.”


“Besides which – “ Cruz looked at the pictures of Sully. He was alone in most of the shots. “What did you see? Did you actually see Finney taking money from Mann?”


“No. I stayed out of it.” Sully rubbed his chin. “I didn’t want to see anything, you know what I mean?”


“So that leaves us with nothin’.” Cruz flopped back down in her chair.


Maybe. Maybe not. Bosco waggled a finger. “Confession.”


“You want Finney to confess?” Ty laughed. “You’ve been hittin’ that button way too much.”


“Now wait a minute…” Sully smiled slightly. “Finney always loved to talk – always liked to let people know he was smarter than they were. He was such a jackass.”


“All right, so we got a shot then. We just need a plan to get him to talk.” Faith looked at the picture of Finney and Mann again. “Bet we could use this?”


“Draw him out.” Bosco agreed. Smart girl, his partner. Of course, she’d learned from the best.


“Wait a sec – this isn’t gonna work.” Shaking her head, Cruz waited until they turned to look at her. “We can’t just get him to confess to murder and then take him in. Who the hell’s gonna believe us?”


“She’s right.” Ty rested his head on the back of his chair and sighed. “None of us is exactly impartial – he could say we coerced him – it’d never make it into court.”


“Proof.” Snapping his fingers, Bosco looked around at his little Get Finney group. Rats had their way of getting the goods. “Tape.” Why not use their own methods against them?


“Tape? Like wearing a wire?” Sully nodded. “That’d work.”


“We could use a camera – video the son of a bitch.” She’d used video surveillance many times with her AC team. Cruz smiled. “I can get us a camera, no sweat.”


“We’d still need to hear his confession – tape it.” Ty sat up again. “That judge – what’s her name?”


“Judge Halsted?” Sully frowned at him. “You want to bring her into this?”


“We can’t tape anyone without a court order – or something – “ Ty wasn’t quite sure what it was they needed. He gestured helplessly. “We can’t tape record someone without, you know, special permission.”


“Yeah, cos then you go to jail.” Faith covered her smile with a hand over her mouth. She elbowed Bosco when he snickered.


“Cut me some slack.” Ty shook his head. “I haven’t had any sleep.”


“I’ll talk to her.” Sully put the file back together. “I’ll have to show this to her. If nothing else, I guess she can give us a little legal advice.”


“Hey, um, I’ll go with you.” Ty got up and walked around the end of the bed. “We should maybe stop and make a copy – or two.”


“Good idea.” Sully gave him a smile. “Yokas, Cruz, we’ll check in with you before our shift, all right?”


“Yeah.” Faith looked at Cruz, and the other woman nodded in agreement. “Anything happens before then – let me know.”


“We will. Later, Bosco.” Opening the door, Ty followed Sully out.


Bosco waggled his fingers at them. Bu-bye.


There was an uncomfortable silence before Cruz got up from her chair. “I’m gonna go see what the hold up is on that uniform. I’ll be back.”


Don’t threaten me. Bosco watched her walk out. He sighed, suddenly exhausted. It’d been a long night.


“Should we warn your mom? Tell her to go visit your aunt?” Faith asked.


“She won’t go.” She’d stay and worry and drive him crazy. More than usual.


“I’ll have a squad put on her house.” She knew he was right. Rose wouldn’t leave if she thought Bosco would be in danger. “Your mother’s going to be here soon.”


“Fun.” He made a yap yap gesture with one hand. At least today he could actually sleep through most of her yammering. He was worn out from all the excitement.


“You’re rotten, Bos.” Faith pushed his hand down. He raised his eyebrows, and she laughed. “I’m not saying she doesn’t talk a lot – but you’re rotten.”


“Ma’s…” His mother was acting weirder than hell. She’d come to sit with him and then spend most of the time moving around the room and staying as far away from him as she could. And talking a mile a minute. Bosco waved his hands around, unable to come up with the words – or gestures.


“She’s scared, Bos.” She knew that Rose chewed everyone’s ear off because she was a nervous wreck.


What the fuck for? Bosco cocked his head and looked up at her.


“I think…” Faith stared down at the blanket on his bed, smoothing it where it lay over his chest.


He dipped his head down, trying to catch her eye. All right, we’re being very avoiding here! Look at me! Time to play bad cop/good cop. Wait… we usually do that together. Okay, just good cop.


Bosco’s hand cupped her chin, raising her head up so he could look her in the eye. “I think she’s scared, Bosco.”


“Of what?” He wasn’t going to kick off anytime soon. He might starve to death – but other than that – he was okay.


She wasn’t sure she should tell Bosco what Rose had told her. He deserved to know, but she wasn’t sure if it’d hurt less coming from her or not. “Bos… you’re probably gonna need a lot of help when you get outta here.”


So? He shrugged. It wasn’t like his mom had to foot the bill. The department was covering all of them, and his mom was threatening to sue the hospital because they’d let in the machine gun toting goons who’d shot him.


“So, she’s afraid she can’t take care of you.” Hurt flared up in the dark blue eyes before Bosco looked away. Faith bit her lip, instantly regretting that she’d caused it. “It’s not like she doesn’t want to – but she doesn’t know if she can.”


Sure, whatever. Bosco found the TV remote and turned the TV up. He didn’t need his mommy to take care of him.


“Bosco, she’s worrying over nothing.” Faith assured him. “You’re gonna be able to walk outta here – you’ll be fine.”


Yeah, yeah, he’d be fine. He didn’t need anybody to baby sit him. Bosco impatiently flipped through the channels. There wasn’t a fucking thing on!


“Bos…” Faith wondered if maybe she shouldn’t have said anything, but his mother was afraid Bosco would need more help than she could give him. “She’s afraid she’ll hurt you – or keep you from getting better because she’s not good enough.”


Not good enough? “She’s my mother – ” He winced. You can’t yell, bozo!


“Yeah, but – Bos, we don’t know how you’re gonna be doin’ when they send you home. You may be walking and you may not.” Faith hoped it would be the latter. She’d been stuck in a wheelchair and could vouch for it being a real bitch. Bosco would go crazy in a day. Half a day. “If you’re not walking – your mom wouldn’t be able to lift you or anything.”


He tapped his chest. “Home.” Screw everybody, he had his own apartment to go home to.


“I understand what she’s saying. Fred took care of me the best that he could – but honestly – I’d have been better off with someone else to take care of me.”


“Me.” Bosco tapped his chest again. Fred was a moron – he had no clue how to handle Faith – how to motivate her. If she’d let him take care of her, Faith would have been out of that chair in half the time. And with no fucking phantom pain shit, either.


“Yeah.” She smiled. “I’m sure you’d have kicked my ass outta that chair in no time.” As much as Fred had tried to help, she’d had the feeling he’d liked her being dependent on him.


“Bet’cher ass.”


That had to be what scared Rose. “Your mom might be scared that you’re going to be completely dependent on her – you’re always the one she’s leaning on – you take care of things. She’s not used to you being this way.”


He’d had to be the man of the family. His father was a loser who wasn’t around, and Mikey was – well he was Mikey.


“She depends on you a lot – you depending on her may kinda freak her out.” The more Faith thought about it, the more she thought she was on the right track. “Your mom’s really worried that she’ll do you more harm than good.”


Bosco shook his head. She was his mother, how could she hurt him?


“I don’t want you worryin’ over this.” Sitting back down on the edge of the bed, Faith pulled the remote out of his hand and shut the TV off. “If you’re too much for your mom to handle, you can come stay with me and Em.”


“Home.” He wasn’t staying with anybody. He could go home and they could check on him sometimes. If he let them.


“Bosco. The doctor said depending on your condition, you’ll either have someone with you all the time, or you go to one of those transitional care places.”


What? He glared at her. You’re gonna lock me up? That’s the thanks I get for carrying your butt for years?


“You’ll come home with me and Em.” She glared back at him. Too many years facing down the Boscorelli temper had made her an expert in staring him down. “You can have my bed and I’ll sleep in Charlie’s. If – and we dunno – if you’re not well enough to be on your own.”


It wasn’t fair that he couldn’t turn his back on her and walk off. She was probably right, but he didn’t have to like it.


“Your mom’s had to deal with a lot of things lately. Mikey’s death, you almost dying – “ Faith knew better than to tell him that his father had been trying to reconcile with his mother. Especially since the bastard hadn’t come to visit Bosco even once. “She’s not sure how to handle this.”


His mother was weak. He loved her – God knew he loved her – but she was a weak person. How long had she put up with his father’s crap? Even after they were divorced, she’d still let him come back and abuse her. And her boyfriends? More of the same.


“Come home with you?” Bosco looked up at Faith. Seemed home sweet home was out of the question.


“Yeah. You can come home with me.”


“Fred.” How the hell would that play out in the custody battle that was going on? A man who was not her husband living with her? A man who was not her husband that her husband – soon to be ex – hated with a purple passion.


“That’s all gonna be over in a few days.” And it wasn’t looking good.


It didn’t seem to matter to the judge that Fred had cheated for who knew how long, or that he had moved from their apartment right into his girlfriend’s place – with their kids. All the judge seemed concerned with was that she hadn’t been home enough and that her job was dangerous. Finney hauling her out of court hadn’t helped any, either.


“Don’t worry about it.” She tried to smile. Emily choosing her over Fred had made him madder than hell. He’d let her know that he would use her abortion – and Bosco – against her if she continued to fight him.


Bosco didn’t like the look on Faith’s face. That tired, resigned, my life is crap and there’s nothing I can do about it look. He’d seen it too often over the years they’d been together. “He cheated – he won’t win.”


“It’s not lookin’ good, Bosco.”


She couldn’t lose Charlie to that jagoff. “Can I help?” He doubled up a fist. “Kick his ass.”


Faith smiled, a real smile this time, and took his fist in her hands, uncurling his fingers. “I’d pay to see that – after you’re better.”


Like he couldn’t take that fat slob. Okay, so right now he couldn’t – but under normal circumstances he’d kick Fred’s ass any day of the week and twice every fucking Sunday. All those years he’d told Faith to stick with Fred – she’d have been better off to have divorced him the time she’d thrown him out for getting trashed and wrecking their car.


“He’ll probably get custody of Charlie.” She squeezed his hand. “I’ll have him on weekends and alternate holidays. With my hours, that’s about all I ever saw him anyway.”


“You had a job.” It wasn’t fair to hold her job against her. Faith was a cop and a damned good one. Fred didn’t have the balls to be a cop and this judge damn sure didn’t either. Just sitting in her courtroom waiting for people to bring the bad guys in already safe and handcuffed. “You’re a good cop.”


“Maybe – maybe not.”


“What the fuck ever.”


“Well, you know I got promoted because of what happened with Mann. Now that the truth is out – I may get sent back down, you know?” A grin curled her lips. “Be back in uniform. Think anybody will ride with me?”


Hello? Bosco gave her an are you fucking kidding me look. He tapped his chest.


“Well then, you better get better.” It might not be bullshit she was feeding Bosco. So far there hadn’t been a peep from One PP about how the Mann shooting had really gone down – but who knew what they’d do? “I might end up a meter maid before it’s all over.”


Bosco smiled at the image of them riding in one of those funny looking little meter maid scooters. “55 Alice?”


“I’m not wearing the apron.”


“I will.” He laughed softly and squeezed Faith’s hand again.


The door opened, and Cruz walked in. She hesitated as she saw the two of them holding hands and laughing. “I ah… Michaels is on the door. We can trust him.”


“Yeah.” Faith nodded. He’d worked a lot of years at the 55. “Did you tell him anything?”


“Just that nobody but Bosco’s mom or me, you, Sully, or Ty is to go in.” She walked around the bed to the side opposite of Faith. “Told him about Monroe sneaking in – that we don’t want no rats in here with Bosco. No matter how big a rat they are.”


“Think he got it?”


“Yeah, I think so. He’s not stupid.” Cruz pulled out her back up gun. “Here, I want you to hide this – I don’t like you not having a weapon.”


Bosco took the pistol and checked it over. It was identical to his service pistol. Yeah, baby, I’m ready to kick ass now.


“Where the hell is he going to hide that?” Faith was irritated that she hadn’t thought of giving him a gun.


He stuck the gun under the blankets. Down here with all my goodies. TV remote, bed control, joy juice button, and a gun. Okay, I’m good to go.


“Let me get a towel to wrap it in.” Sliding off the bed, Faith picked up a towel from the pile she’d brought in earlier.


While Faith had her back turned, Cruz pulled the five out of her pocket and handed it to Bosco. He took it and she winked at him.


Bosco slid the five under the blanket as Faith turned back around. He’d keep it and buy her something with it. Or maybe get himself something from the vending machine if he ever got back on his feet.


Turning back, Faith handed him a towel. “This way they won’t see it if they come in to change his sheets or something.”


“Bath.” He grinned. There was a pretty pair of nurses who bathed him every other day. “Bath day.”


The two women looked at each other over the bed. Leave it to Bosco to try to score in the hospital.


Bosco pulled the gun back out from under the covers, wrapped the towel around it, and tucked it back out of sight. Undercover – literally, for a change.


“Just don’t shoot the family jewels off.” Cruz winked.


He pulled the gun out to check that the safety was on.


“I didn’t put one up the pipe, either.” She couldn’t help smiling at the indignant look he gave her. “Like I said, don’t want you to shoot off anything important.”


“Wouldn’t want to disappoint his bath girls.” Faith looked up as the door opened again.


Rose walked in, stopping when she saw Faith and Cruz. “Faith, sweetheart, aren’t you going to be late?”


“I called in, Rose.”


“You're such a sweetheart.” Rose went to her and held her arms out for a hug.


Faith accepted the hug from Rose. "You're the only one who thinks so."


"That's not true! Maurice thinks so too." Rose held the hug a moment longer than normal so she could whisper in Faith's ear. "There's an officer outside Maurice's door, is something wrong?"


"Ah... no..." Crap! She hadn't thought of what to say to Rose about a uniform guarding Bosco's door. "A reporter was trying to bother Bosco – you know how they can be." Faith smiled in relief when Rose nodded as she stepped back.


“Maurice, baby, who’s your friend?” Rose leaned down to kiss her son on the cheek.


“I’m Maritza Cruz.” She held out a hand to Bosco’s mother.


Rose looked at Faith for a moment. She’d heard only bits and pieces about this woman, none of it good. She looked back at Cruz, ignoring her outstretched hand. “You work with Maurice?”


“Yeah.” Letting her hand drop, Cruz shrugged. “Used to, anyway.”


There was an uncomfortable silence before Bosco reached up and tugged on Faith’s sleeve. “Go home. Sleep.”


“Good idea.” Faith leaned down and whispered in his ear. “Be nice to your mother.”


Turning his head, Bosco brushed his lips across her cheek. “Be careful.”


“Call me if you need anything, Rose.” Motioning to Cruz, Faith headed for the door.


“I will, Faith.” Rose settled herself on a chair next to Bosco’s bed. “You take care of yourself today.”


“So she knows everything?” Cruz asked softly as they neared the door. “All the dirty secrets?”


“I dunno what Bosco told her.” Faith opened the door and waved her through. “It’s not like it’d be lies.”


“You know, it doesn’t matter anyway.” Like she needed Bosco’s mother to like her? What the fuck ever. “I’ll get us a camera and a wire.”


“Good. I’ll be at the house after noon.” Looking over her shoulder, Faith smiled at Bosco before the door closed.


“Maurice, is that the girl who came between you and Faith?” Rose had only heard a little of what was going on at the time and Maurice had tried to explain how Faith had been shot. He hadn’t made a lot of sense, and she’d ended up just holding him while he cried it out.


Great. Just what I wanted to talk about today. Bosco sighed. “Old news. All over.”


“Good, she’s not our kind of people anyway.”


Our kind of people? He looked at his mother? What kind would that be? People who beat their wives? Wives who take it? Sons who are either crack heads or emotionally stunted morons? “What kind?”


“She’s not…” Granted she’d only met the girl once, but Rose didn’t like her. “Not good people, I guess.”


“Sleepy.” Bosco closed his eyes and shifted away from his mother. And Faith thought he was a bigot?


Today he didn’t have to fake the need to sleep while his mother rambled on. Wrapping his hand around the pistol grip, Bosco drifted off to sleep.





Bosco woke suddenly. It was quiet. Either his mother had bored herself to sleep or she was gone. Carefully opening his eyes, he saw Faith sitting in the chair next to the bed. He reached out to tug on her hair.


“What is it with you and my hair?” She put her magazine down and smiled at him.


Gets your attention, doesn't it? Raising the bed, he rubbed at his eyes. No matter how much he slept, he still felt tired as hell.


“They’re gonna come take your cath out pretty soon.” Faith got up from the bed and picked up the duffel bag she’d brought along. “I brought some sweat pants and a t-shirt for you to put on.”


Anything was better than this damn gown. It was thin as hell and open all up the back. He might as well be naked.


“Look.” Holding up the t-shirt, she grinned at him. “I thought this was perfect for you.”


Must be the attitude shirt she’d told him about. No, this one was different. Bosco read the front of the shirt.


Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I cannot accept,

And the wisdom to hide the bodies of those people I had to kill today because they pissed me off.


Bosco laughed, then grabbed his belly when it reminded him laughing was not as much fun as it used to be. He settled for a thumbs up.


“Thought you’d like that.” Stuffing it back into the bag, Faith dug around for the video game case she’d packed. “Brought you a toy, too.”


Toy? He took the black case and unzipped it. A Gameboy? Cool! There were a handful of games in the case. Now he might not die of boredom. He stopped and looked up at Faith. “A Gameboy?”


“Sure. You’re just a big kid.” Plugging in the power cord, she ran it carefully along the side of his bed, making sure not to tangle it with any of the other wires.


He suddenly had a sneaking suspicion that she’d given him one of Charlie’s Christmas presents. “If it’s fun – you can get Charlie one.”


“Yeah, I could do that.” So much for putting one over on Bosco. Faith reached into the duffel bag and pulled out a plaid blanket. “I brought a warmer blanket for you. These hospital blankets are crap.”


“Cold feet.” He agreed. How they expected a person to get well when they were freezing their ass off was beyond him.


The door opened and the doctor came in, followed by a pair of nurses. “Mr. Boscorelli, how are we doing today?”


We are thinking you’re a moron today. Bosco ignored him and switched on the Gameboy.


“Let’s check your catheter, and we’ll see about taking it out.” The doctor said cheerfully. “We’re going to remove the monitor as well – just see to it there’s no repeat of last night’s excitement.”


Bosco laid the Gameboy down and reached under the blanket for the gun. He couldn’t let them find the damn thing!


“Just a second!” Faith held the blankets to the bed as the doctor tried to pull them down. “He’s uh… he’s got all kinds of stuff under there.”


Bosco handed her the towel wrapped gun.  He eased out a breath as she set it on the chair and nobody blinked twice. To keep up appearances, Bosco handed over the TV remote, the Gameboy, and the little black case of Gameboy goodies.


“He’s a packrat.” She laughed nervously.


“A lot of patients do that.” One of the nurses assured her. “It’s easier for them to reach things if they’re tucked right under their blankets.”


Thank you for the alibi. Bosco smiled at the nurse. Today I like you. Tomorrow you’re on your own.


“All right then, let’s take a look.” The doctor pulled the blankets down and Bosco’s gown up.


Oh my God, can this get any worse? Bosco turned his head to one side, embarrassed as hell, and met Faith’s startled eyes. Wait! Forget I asked!


Faith hadn’t intended to stay while they did this, but it was too late to run for cover now. Remembering how it had hurt to have her cath removed, she slipped her hand into Bosco’s and squeezed. “It’s over quick, Bos.”


Pulling her hand up to his chest, he squeezed hard as the doctor began pulling the hose out of his dick. It hurt like a son of a bitch, and Bosco couldn’t stop the moan of pain before it escaped.


“Shhh….” She leaned over and put her free hand on his cheek. “Don’t clench your jaw, Bosco. Just try to relax.”


“Hurts…” Tears stung his eyes, adding to his embarrassment. Bosco fumbled for the button to the joy and happiness machine.


“It hurts worse for men.” One of the nurses said as she moved to the head of the bed and shut the heart monitor off. “The tube goes in lubricated, but then it dries out while it’s inside the body.”


“It wasn’t fun.” Faith rubbed her fingers gently over Bosco’s injured jaw. “No clenching, Bos. You’ll hurt yourself.”


“Plus, there’s maybe an inch and a half for women. But with men – maybe six inches on the average.”


“Not average…” Bosco defended between gasps of air.


The nurse paused in removing the monitor patches from his chest and looked up at Faith. She smiled. “No, you’re not, but I’m sure Mrs. Boscorelli already knows that.”


Faith felt her face turn that horrible blotchy color it got when she was embarrassed. Oh my God… No way was she going to answer that. Maybe this Mrs. Boscorelli stuff had gotten out of hand.


“There we go.” The doctor handed the catheter to one of the nurses. “Let me just clean the area and we’re done.”


“From now on, you call us when you need to urinate.” The nurse lifted a container from the table next to the bed. “We’ll come in and help you, okay?”


“Okay.” He’d gone from the hose to having people help him pee. Bosco wasn’t sure if that was better or not. Once upon a time he’d been picky about the people who were allowed to touch his dick. Well, okay, picky about them being pretty women. Under twenty five preferably. Blonde being at the top of list.


“I… uh… I brought him something to put on.” Giving Bosco’s hand one last squeeze, Faith turned and pulled out the sweat pants and t-shirt from the duffel bag.


“I’m not sure we can allow that.” The doctor frowned. “The gowns are made for easy access to wounds and for easy removal.”


“Yeah, I know that. That’s why I had snaps put on the shirt so it can be opened up.” She pulled the snaps along one sleeve open. “It’s just like the gowns. And I didn’t bring him any shorts, so pulling down the sweats so he can piss shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”


Bosco gave the doctor a pretty please look. It didn’t seem to get to him, so Bosco changed his focus to the nurses. He added a poor, poor pitiful me to the look, and they both turned on the doctor.


“I think that would work.”


“It would – we wouldn’t have any problem.”


The doctor looked from one to the other. “All right. You’re the ones that have to deal with the extra clothing. Mr. Boscorelli, I’ll check with you tomorrow.”


One of the nurses followed him out, carrying the catheter and piss bag, and Bosco wasn’t sorry to see either of them go.


Yeah, yeah, good bye, you jagoff. Bosco unsnapped the snaps on the gown he was wearing. “Clothes.”


“Uh… Bos… let me… “ Faith looked at him, trying to make him see that she didn’t want to help him change clothes. “The nurses… they’ll help you…”


“You can help, it’s all right.” The nurse unsnapped the other side and pulled the gown off. “I’m sure he’d be more comfortable with you helping.”


Actually… no… Bosco pulled the blanket up over his crotch.


“He’s shy.” Faith tried to keep her eyes on his, but she couldn’t help looking at the bandages on his torso. Reaching out, she ran a finger over them. They were so big. He was going to have horrible scars.


“I can’t say I blame him.” The nurse carefully pulled the t-shirt up over his arms and snapped the sleeves up. She smiled as she read it. “This is a good idea. Everyone hates those gowns.”


“You’re all vulnerable and naked.” Faith concentrated on smoothing out Bosco’s rumpled hair while the nurse slipped the sweat pants on him.


“Not naked in the good way.” He agreed.


“Lift your hips up for me.” The nurse slipped the sweat pants under his hips and pulled them up to his waist. “All right, there you go. Feel better?”


“Yeah.” Bosco wiggled a bit on the bed as Faith laid the flannel blanket over him.


“Remember to call when you need to urinate.” The nurse helped put one of the hospital blankets over him. “Mrs. Boscorelli, we’ll show you how to help him tomorrow.”


“Help him?”


“That way when you’re here, he doesn’t have to call a nurse do it.” She patted Bosco’s leg. “I’m sure he’d be more comfortable with you helping him.”


“I’m not Mrs. Boscorelli!” Faith blurted out. No way was she handling Bosco’s – anything – when he pissed.


“I thought… “ The nurse looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry, we’ve all assumed you were his wife.”


“I’m his partner.” Faith told her. “I’ll shoot somebody for him – but I’m not holding his dick.”


Bosco looked up at her. Hey! That was insulting. Possibly. He’d have to think on it. At least she’d shoot somebody for him, but he already knew that.


“I’m sorry.” Flustered, the nurse left the room.


“Well that was just horribly embarrassing.” Faith sat down.


She was embarrassed? He was the one who’d been stripped and had the hose jerked out of his dick. Speaking of… Bosco lifted the blankets and looked under them. The sweats were in his way and he lifted the waistband up.


“What are you doing?”


“Looking.” Yep, his dick was now hoseless. Sliding a hand down to feel himself, Bosco hissed in pain as he hit the irritated skin at the opening.


“Yeah, wait till you piss.” She grimaced. “It’s gonna burn like hell.”


Covering himself up again, Bosco rubbed his hands over the t-shirt. Real clothes. Much better. He held out his hands to her. “Gun.”


“Say the magic words.” Faith got up and retrieved the towel wrapped gun from the chair.


“Now.” He grinned as she turned and glared at him.


“Give him pants and he’s back to the old Bosco.” Faith remembered the socks she’d brought, and dug them out of the duffel bag to slip on his feet. “No more cold toes.”


Tucking the gun back down at his side, he put the TV remote where it was handy and switched the Gameboy back on. Life was good. Considering he was stuck in the hospital and his dick felt like it had the time he’d tried to wear leather pants.


“Sully talked to the judge. She said we don’t need a court order for the wire, but she’s gonna get us one anyway.” Faith sat down again. “She also said that he should stay out of sight so that Finney don’t bring up anything that can cost Sully his pension.”


“Good idea.” Sully had been a cop for too damn long to lose his pension now. “What’s the plan?”


“Ty faxed a copy of the picture to Finney’s office. He wrote ‘we know’ on it. Kid’s got a flair for the dramatic.” She smiled and shook her head. “He even went to some copy joint out in the Bronx to fax it.”


“Too much TV.” Bosco frowned as he lost the game. The damn thing was cheating.


“We gave him a few hours and then called his office and set up a meeting. Cruz and Davis will go talk to him. Me and Sully will be in a car with the camera going.” The whole thing was set to go down in a few hours, but Bosco didn’t need to know that. “We’ll get him to say what we want and then take him down.”


“Be careful.” Finney hadn’t gotten where he was by being stupid.


“We are. Don’t worry, Bos.” Faith smiled at him. “We’re gonna take him down.”


He smiled back, not minding that he’d lost another game. It was good to see Faith confident again. A little piss and vinegar in her blood as his Grandma Sophie used to say. Bosco wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she’d always said it about him, so it had to be good.


This morning, Faith had looked like she had when they’d first met. Scared as hell and absolutely no faith – pun not intended – in herself. Why he’d bothered to talk to her that day, he still didn’t know. Maybe ‘cos he had a thing for the underdog? There’d been just a few women in the class, and most of them had quit pretty quick – they were treated like crap by the other cadets.


He’d figured Faith to last maybe a week – two, tops. But she’d stuck it out. Of course, she’d had his help. Bosco looked over at her, remembering finding her sitting at the bottom of one of the walls on the obstacle course, crying and kicking it. He’d been out doing extra runs, just to show the big guys he was tougher than they were. After listening to her whine for a few minutes, he’d hauled her ass up and taught her how to get it over the wall. Faith had been his ticket to good grades on the exams; he’d had to keep her around.


“What are you smiling at?”


Bosco blinked, the dirty, tear stained face from the past fading into the smiling face of the present. “Academy. The wall.”


“The wall? Oh my God, Bosco.” Faith covered her face. “I haven’t thought about that in years! You threw me over it! Threw me over it how many times until I could do it?”


“I needed the exercise.” He shrugged. At the Academy, he’d had his own cross to bear, being the little guy. After they’d run off most of the women, the other guys would pick on him. Every other guy in their class had been at least six feet tall – and they’d loved to lord it over him that he was barely past the height requirement. Not the first time he’d had to run faster and work harder. Or kick someone’s ass.


“Yeah, sure, like you needed a kick in the pants.” She snorted. “And you made me run and run and run – I threw up like every day. I still don’t know why you put up with me.”


He didn’t either. Faith’d had no confidence in herself at all. Why she was even there, he had no freaking clue. But she’d made it, was even an expert marksman – with his help, of course. Then after they’d graduated and were at the 55, he’d find her sitting in the locker room at the end of the shift, staring into her locker – even crying sometimes. There’d been plenty of bets that Faith wouldn’t last through their probationary year. Just to be stubborn, he’d bet that she would – not that he’d expected her to – and they’d had a nice anniversary lunch with his winnings.


“You used to bitch at me. ‘What the hell are you cryin’ over?’” Faith got up and mimicked Bosco’s stance, poking at him lightly with her finger. “’You think you’re the only one who had a crappy day?’ Some motivational speaker you are.”


“Worked.” Bosco grabbed her hand. Pissing Faith off was a sure way to get her spirits up. Of course, partnering with him had done wonders for her confidence. “I made you – what you are today.”


“Should I thank you for that?” Pulling her hand free, she patted his chest. “I’m gonna go put your extra clothes in the bathroom.”


Watching her walk away, Bosco laughed softly. Faith had no idea how many times during that first year that he’d wanted to sit and cry over how frustrating his day had been. Not that he would have – he was a man, after all. Partnering with Faith had been good for him too, come to think of it. Who’d have thought that he – Mr. Macho Boscorelli – would end up with a woman partner and like it?


“Faith.” Ah, she couldn’t hear him in there. The damn door was closed – women had itty bitty freaking bladders. He’d have to tell her when she came out that not only was he not a bigot, he was the picture of affirmative action. Resetting his game, Bosco maneuvered the cop car through the dangerous streets of wherever the hell it was so he could shoot the bad guys.


The door opened, but he didn’t look up. Faith was here, his mother had gone home, so that left just nurses coming in and he didn’t like them.


“Looks like the little lamb is all alone.”


Bosco looked up at the voice. An older man stood just inside the door. An older man with a gun. Bosco dropped his game and reached for the call button.


“You do that – and you’ll have a dead nurse.” Finney moved a step closer to the bed. “So you’re Boscorelli… funny, I thought you’d be taller.”


Smartass. Bosco kept still, waiting to see what would happen next. Faith was in the bathroom, and this guy didn’t seem to realize that. If he could get him closer to the bed, then she’d be able to come out behind him. “Finney?” He said softly – softer than usual.


Finney frowned, not quite making out what Bosco had said. “What?” He took a step closer.


“You – Finney?” Come on, you jagoff, just a few more steps. He didn’t want to risk pulling the gun that Cruz had left him out from under the blankets. If Faith came out of the bathroom just as he shot at Finney – Bosco shuddered.


“Scared?” Finney smiled. “You should be.”


This was not in the plan. I remember the plan and this was not there. Bosco glared at the old man. “Jagoff.”


Still not catching what Bosco said, he took another step closer.


The bathroom door opened and Finney turned to find himself face to face with a startled Faith. He swung the gun up, smashing her in the face with it before she could react.


“Faith!” Pain shot up his jaw and Bosco clutched at it involuntarily. He saw Faith stagger back against the door frame before Finney hit her again. This time she went down. “Faith – you son – of a bitch – “


“Don’t worry, Boscorelli, I’ll take care of your partner when I’m done with you.” Looking down at Faith’s limp body, Finney gave her a kick for good measure.


“Kill you – you fucker – “ Bosco reached for Finney as the man walked over to the bed. Grabbing Finney’s coat with one hand, Bosco doubled up his fist and swung at Finney with the other.


The punch was slapped down with little effort, and Finney leaned on the bed, pressing the gun barrel to Bosco’s head. “This is all your fault, Boscorelli. That damned brother of yours – just couldn’t keep his mouth shut.”


“Leave Mikey – out of this – “ His jaw throbbed, making it hard to get the words out.


“What’s the matter, Boscorelli? You act like you can’t talk – doesn’t it run in the family?” The gun tapped at the bandage on his jaw. “Your brother talked.”


Looking past Finney at where Faith lay on the floor, Bosco prayed for her to get up. Come on, baby, get up and shoot this jagoff for me!


“He screamed and begged there at the end.”


Bosco’s attention snapped back to Finney. “What?”


“He was begging to die.” The older man smiled at the anguish on Bosco’s face. “Mann kept him alive while they cut him into pieces. He was still alive – screaming like a woman – when they started sawing on his throat.”


“You – fucker – kill you – “ Bosco raised his hands again, swinging wildly at Finney. “Kill you – “


“’Fraid it’s the other way around, Boscorelli.” Finney grabbed Bosco’s jaw with one hand, the other easily batting Bosco’s hands away.


White lights went off behind his eyes, the pain was so intense. After being handled with nothing but care since he’d woken up, Bosco had no idea that there was pain this bad. Red hot spikes of agony hammered into his face. Tears welled up and ran down his cheeks, and he cried out behind the wires that were trying to hold his jaw together.


“What’s the matter, Boscorelli?” Finney squeezed harder, grinning at the cries of pain coming from the other man. “Thought you were a tough guy.”


Mindlessly, Bosco clawed at Finney’s hand. His face was going to explode if he didn’t get the pressure to stop. Please – please – God help me – please –


“It’s best to put you out of your misery. You’re nothing but a worthless cripple now.” Leaning down closer, Finney put his mouth next to Bosco’s ear. “I’m going to shoot you with your own fucking gun, and then I’ll put the barrel in your partner’s mouth and blow her fucking head off. Murder suicide, we’ll call it.”


The barrel of the gun was pressed to his mouth, and Bosco tried to turn his head away.


“Get off of him!”


Finney turned to see Faith struggling to her feet. “You want to be first, bitch?” He moved the gun in her direction.


“No – “ Fighting the blackness circling the edges of the pain, Bosco shoved a hand under the blankets. His hand closed around the butt of the pistol and he raised it. Flicking off the safety with his thumb, Bosco forced a smile. “Fuck – you – jagoff – “


Finney’s eyes widened at the muffled blast. “What did you do?” Another blast and another before his body began to weaken. “You little son of a bitch – what did you do?”


Bosco pulled the trigger again and again, locking his eyes with the watery blue ones of his enemy. “Say – hello – to – Mann – “


The gun in Finney’s hand swung back toward him, and he knew there was no way to stop Finney from shooting him. Bosco continued to pull the trigger of his own gun, grimly ignoring the burning along his hip from the weapon overheating.


Just as the pistol reached Bosco’s head, it wobbled and fell from Finney’s fingers. Finney stared at Bosco a moment longer before collapsing on top of him.


“Bosco – “ Faith staggered to the bed, her own gun now in her hand. “Bosco – are you all right?”


No, he was not all right. His jaw as hurting so bad he didn’t have words for it. If there’d been a wall handy, he’d slam his head into it a few times just to knock himself out. His leg was burning where the pistol lay against it and with Finney’s dead – hopefully – weight on him, he couldn’t move his arms up to hit the button on the damn machine!


“Get off!” Faith rolled Finney’s body off of Bosco. She gasped at the blood covering Bosco. “Jesus, Bosco! Did he shoot you?”


Reaching across him, she grabbed the call button and frantically pushed it to call a nurse. “Where are you hurt?”


“List?” Bosco asked weakly. Everywhere, all over, everything.


“Let me see.” She pulled the blankets back, half expecting to see holes in his body like she had once before. The t-shirt was untouched, however, and so were the sweatpants. Faith yelped as the towel next to Bosco’s leg exploded into flames. “Oh my God!”


Grabbing Bosco’s shoulders, Faith pulled him from the bed. The towel must have been smoldering since he’d fired the gun, and she’d fed it enough air to burn. “Come on, Bos – outta the bed.”


He tried to help, leaning on her as she dragged him out of the bed. The IV’s jerked him to a stop and he grabbed at them. “Hate – needles – “ Bosco pulled them out of his arm and let them drop. He really hated to lose the morphine though.


“Come on – “ Lifting his arm over her shoulders, Faith locked her arms around his waist and guided him to the door. “Open it – can you – “


Bosco grabbed the handle and pulled. The door opened about an inch. Where’s my spinach?


“You can do it, Bos – “ She was afraid that if she let go, Bosco would end up on the floor. He wasn’t standing so much as he was hanging from her. “You can do it – “


“I can – “ Grunting, he pulled on the door again, and it opened far enough for Faith to get her hip past it and push it open farther. “Team work – partner – “


The sprinklers went off just as they stepped into the hallway. They looked back into the room, watching the water spray down from the ceiling. Bosco wondered what that would do to his new Gameboy.


Nurses were running down the hallway toward them and Faith gave Bosco over to them. “I’ll be right back.”


Going back inside, Faith approached Finney cautiously. Judging from the holes in his stomach, he had to be dead, but she’d seen people get up before that should have been dead. She crouched down beside him and laid her fingers to his throat. No pulse. “Good riddance, you son of a bitch.”


She stood up and walked back out of the room, wiping the water off her face as she went. Outside, Faith found Bosco sitting in a wheelchair, frantically watching the doorway. He held his hands out to her and she went to him.


Squeezing his hands, Faith looked around. “Where’s Michaels?”


“He was here.” One of the nurses looked up and down the corridor. “I saw him maybe ten minutes ago.”


There was a shriek from down the corridor, and they saw a nurse back out of the storage closet.


Bosco thought that didn’t sound good. He’d seen this movie and the cop they found in the closet was usually dead.


“I need a phone.” Faith started to walk to the nurses’ station and Bosco tightened his grip on her hands. “What? Okay, no reason you can’t come along.”


“I have – wheels.” He tried to smile like he was being a smartass. The truth was, he was suddenly scared as hell to let her out of his sight. When were people going to stop trying to kill them?


“Come on, Speed Racer.” Pushing his chair down the corridor, she wondered how she was going to explain this mess. Should she start with how Bosco got the gun? That one was easy enough – she could just blame Cruz. Or maybe she should just ask to be demoted to meter maid right off?


Kick the sirens on! Bosco leaned back in the chair, waving at the curious patients peeking out of their doorways.





“So no damage from Finney’s manhandling?”


“No.” Bosco shook his head. He’d been x-rayed top to bottom and all the places in between, and he was fine. The wires in his jaw had held everything together. “Doctor says maybe – an extra week.”


“Yeah, better to be safe than sorry.” Faith looked around Bosco’s new room. “I think this is nicer than the other one.”


As far as he could tell, it looked pretty much the same. Like the inside of a jail cell. You seen one, you seen ‘em all. “How’s your face?” The left side of Faith’s face was black and blue from her temple to her jaw.


“Hurts like hell.” She wondered how he managed with his jaw held together with screws and wires when hers was only bruised and she wanted to lay down and cry. “I’ll live.”


Bosco nodded. Good. Finney had scared the hell out of him when he’d hit her. “Michaels?”


“Concussion. Finney sucker punched him after Michaels told him he couldn’t go in.” They’d been relieved to find that Finney hadn’t killed Michaels, though it was possible Finney had planned on finishing him off after he was done with Bosco.




“He’s a little upset that we didn’t get to arrest Finney for his father’s murder. But he said considering the circumstances, he understands.” She grinned. Actually Davis had said he should have known Bosco would shoot Finney. “Sully’s happy about the way it turned out. And I think he’s got a date with that lady judge tonight.”


“Finney was there – when they killed Mikey.” Bosco said softly. He still hadn’t gotten used to the idea that his brother was really dead and never going to come back. “Said that he – he – “


“Bos, don’t.” Getting up from her chair, Faith sat down on the edge of the bed and took his hand. “You don’t know that he wasn’t making that up. Just being mean.”


“Why?” If Finney had been going to kill them, why tell him that? “Coulda just killed us.”


“You’ve seen the movies. Bad guys like to do those big long speeches.” She squeezed his hand. “He just wanted to hurt you.”


“Worked.” It had been bad enough when he’d seen Mikey’s body all over the street – not even knowing it was him – and worse when he’d heard that Mikey’d been tortured before Mann had murdered him. But for Finney to give him details – to paint that picture for him – was too much. “I shoulda protected him.”


“Bosco, you can’t protect everyone.”


“Not everyone.” He pulled her hand up to rest over his heart. “People I love.”


Faith was caught off guard. This was territory that she and Bosco had rarely ventured into in the past – and not at all after what had happened with Cruz. They’d always joked ‘you love me anyway, right?’ with each other, but never an out and out spoken declaration.


“It’s okay.” That was a stupid thing to say! Faith was staring at him like he had two heads. Now she probably thinks I’m going to get all freaking mushy on her. “Must be the drugs.”


“Must be.” Leaning down, Faith kissed his forehead. “I’m just glad I’m one of those people.”


“Why did you – go to the – Academy?” Bosco asked as she straightened up again.


“What?” She’d have thought that after all these years, the whiplash change of directions wouldn’t take her by surprise.


“Before Finney. We were talking – about the Academy.” He’d been really proud of how Faith had taken charge of the situation after he’d shot Finney. She’d barked out orders and told people where to go – in the literal and the figurative sense – acted like she’d been a cop all her life.


“I thought we were talking about good memories.” Why she joined the Academy wasn’t one of those.


“You were scared.” Bosco remembered the look on her face the first time they handed out the pistols to use on the range. “I always wondered – why you were there.”


“Scared?” She laughed softly. “Bosco, I was beyond scared. I was terrified. But – I had to stick it out.”


Faith’d been married, why did she have to stick it out? He tilted his head and waited expectantly. Gimme the rest of the story.


“Fred was drinking – a lot. And we were fighting – also a lot.” Faith sighed and shook her head. “I was going to leave him. I thought if I could make it through and become a cop – I could take the kids and leave.”


“But you didn’t.”


“No. There was always a reason not to.” Looking down at their hands, she rubbed a finger over Bosco’s knuckles. “You know, I think I just didn’t have the strength.”


“You?” Faith was probably the strongest person he knew.


“I married Fred to get out of my parents’ house. Stupid, huh?” Her laugh was bitter. “I thought he was saving me.”


“If it was bad – “ He’d never understand why people stayed in bad relationships. Personally, he thought it was better to just break it off and keep moving. Of course, he’d only had like two relationships and both had gone south in a hurry.


“It wasn’t all bad, Bos. It was good in the beginning – and there were times it was great – and I wouldn’t trade Emmy and Charlie – “ Faith didn’t understand it herself, how could she explain it to him? “I’ve never been alone – till now. I just felt like if I let him go – everything would fall apart, you know?”


“You’re not alone.” He held their hands up. “You’ve got me.”


“One slightly damaged partner?” Bosco stuck the tip of his tongue out at her and Faith grinned.   “Good thing for you, that’s exactly what I’m in the market for.”


“Do you have any idea how much trouble you two are in?”


They turned to see Lieutenant Swersky standing in the doorway.


“Do you have any idea just how big a mess this is?”


Turning back to each other, they exchanged a look that said if they were very lucky, they’d get to be meter maids.




*When Bosco says “‘Cos I speak of the pompitous of love”, he’s quoting a line from The Joker by the Steve Miller Band.


“Some people call me the space cowboy, yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
Cause I speak of the pompitous of love”



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