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Title: The Way Things Change

Author: ~L or Elle, whichever tickles your fancy… but I mostly go by plain old L

Summary: A partnership and a friendship hang in the balance when a line is crossed and a way of life is destroyed. 

Author's Note: This story kicks off during the wee hours of the morning following the season four finale.  The introductory chapter is actually part one, or A of the prologue, which will stretch two chapters.  It may seem that I have totally skimmed over the actual ending to the season finale, but that's just because I'm building something here.  I'm starting a bit after the cliffhanger scene and working my way backward; where I'll start to unfold my little take on what could have happened.  Don't worry, all will be revealed in due time, cause lets face it; we ain't got nothing but time till September.  Oh and please don't think this going to be a happy; 'all is perfect and swell' kind of romance story, because I don't even feel right calling it a romance fic.  It's more a 'make your main characters suffer 'till they can't suffer no more' kind of story… aaahhh… emotional hurtness.  Don't ya love it?

Oh and this is my very fist fic attempt, so please, any feedback you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated! =)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything having to do with "Third Watch". That honor belongs solely to Edward Bernero, John Wells, and a bunch of other damned lucky people.

Spoilers: Up through and including "The Price of Nobility" as well as beyond… but that's just what's going down in my little world.

Pairings: Yes, Bosco/Faith is the general theme, but it won't be any easy road… where's the fun in that?  It might even leave some of you shippers wondering if together is better than apart. Wait… did I just say that? Nah… couldn't have been…_

And that brings us to the nitty-gritty of it… on with the fic…. ~L

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The Way Things Change

Prologue: Part One

It seems, sometimes, that a dream can go on forever, almost to the point of being trapped within it, unable to shake its hold.   Unfortunately… that wasn't much of a problem for her right now, as she lay awake in quiet, unwilling contemplation.  She hadn't wanted to wake up… no, not yet, not while being asleep was so much easier than being awake.  At least in sleep you could forget, loose yourself in the solace of the dark and the tranquility of the engulfing quiet.  It was all she wanted at that moment, well, all her heart wanted.   Her mind, she had learned, was quite a different story, and restful silence within her head would not be granted her tonight, or for quite some time to come she imagined.   

It wasn't absolutely quiet; it never can be in the city, but aside from the buzz of the streets below and the world around, which you learn to block out and not even notice after time, it was almost completely still… almost.  The sound of rhythmic breathing belonging to an individual lost within the serenity of sleep, hummed at her side, beckoning to her with its peaceful chime to join in its slumber.  Oh how she wished she could.  After all, life was so much simpler in sleep, when you don't have to think, and you don't have to feel.

She rolled herself on her side, slowly, as if the slightest sudden movement would bring the world around her crashing down into irreversible ruin.  With an arm folded and tucked under her cheek, she stared at her companion, who still had the profoundly simple pleasure of being wrapped within a good dream… she was sure of it.  A sudden, overpowering need to see him with more clarity stabbed at her, and she swiftly lifted her free arm over her head, and pushed the heavy curtain open, just a bit.  The pale blue light that filtered through made his form barely discernable, and the fierce and unexpected desire was satisfied as her eyes eagerly took him in. 

She could make out the curve of his nose as it dipped down to meet his mouth, the mouth that had over the years, stunned her with it's capacity for reckless immaturity, insensitive bravado, and when she was extremely lucky, boundless caring.  From there her careful eyes followed the line of his chin, all the way down to his strong and muscular chest, which was bare and almost glowing in the soft light that surrounded them.  She watched in simple awe as his chest rose and fell so gracefully.  It was something she would always be thankful to see, a fact that had been made painfully clear to her only a few hours ago. 

She could have lost him. 

This, whatever it was that they had now… had almost never been. The thought sickened her, but stunned her with the uncomplicated possibility that it set before her.  'What if… Would we have… Would I even be here?'  She wanted more than anything to believe that she would have found her way to him, even without the traumatic shove fate had given her, but part of her had serious reservations.  But, despite any misgivings she may have about her path to his bed, it didn't change the fact that she was there.

  'Yes… I would be here.  I want to be here,' she tried her best to reason with her mind, pushing the doubtful little voice down and out of her head, hoping to silence it and to quiet the stinging shame she felt.

'But I shouldn't be here…' And there went that pesky little voice again, throwing it all back in her face.

 Sighing heavily as defeat crawled across her weary mind, she closed her eyes, breathing in the tranquil air of the room, needing it to soothe her guilty thoughts and to calm the awful blame that stirred within her. 

She was tired, though the word hardly seemed to do her weariness justice.  A part of her wanted to keep her eyes closed, to surrender to the simple obliviousness of sleep and to pretend that she was where she was supposed to be.  But there was that stubborn desire again … to see him, and her eyes fluttered open.  She wasn't sure where this nagging want came from.  Well, she wasn't entirely sure.  After all, he was okay.  Miraculously, both had escaped those moments of vengeful fury, unscathed. He had risked himself to ensure her safety, and by the sheer grace of God, he not been taken from her.  But still she needed to remind herself, to reassure her shaken heart that he was indeed still aliveIt was that relentless need that had brought her here to him, against every caution.

 She had gone home, settled in her own familiar bed even, along with its familiar occupant.  She had tried to cast the burning thoughts away, but they were stubborn and they only grew, until that need to see him, to be sure, had run away with her. 

She walked, as she always did.  She could have taken his truck, but somehow, that just didn't seem … appropriate, given the destination.  The cold, early morning air had stung her lungs as she took her first deep breath, adding to the urgency she felt, but somehow slowing her step.  She had spent the time between her home and his thinking, submitting to her mind's endless line of questioning.  Perhaps, she had wished to talk herself out of it… whatever it may have been.  She hadn't known.  All she knew, all she was sure of was that she had to see him, to prove to herself once and for all, that this day that lay behind them had not claimed his life as it did their friend's, that his body was not in reality laying cold and lifeless on a slab of sterile steel.  But she knew that wasn't the case.  She had said goodnight to him herself, seen him turn and leave with her own two eyes, but part of her still had to be sure.  'I had to be… '

 Feeling brave, she reached out slowly, and gently laid her hand over his, absentmindedly stroking his knuckles.  The mere feel of his skin on hers, delighted her, it made her feel at peace, finally happy… after all this time. But the feeling also brought with it a note of something else.  Belonging.  As if this place beside him, with all the uncertainty and looming despair that it held, was right where she was meant to be.  

It was then, as she stroked his strong hand with such gentle caring, that he began to stir.  It didn't startle her, for she knew his movements.  As he rolled on his side, to face her with his eyes still closed, she knew he wasn't hurried.  She could tell by his breaths, by the slight, unconscious smile that played so deliciously on his lips.  He had no intention of leaving this bed, not by any stretch of the imagination.

That feeling of peace, of belonging, wasn't new.   She had felt it earlier, when he opened his door to her, when his mournful eyes locked with hers.  She hadn't known what to do at first, standing there in his doorway, her hands tucked away within her jacket pockets to hide their shaking.  She had always been afraid to show him weakness, any emotion other than anger.  But now she simply could hold back no longer.  The day, the pain of it all was just too much and an errant, lonely tear escaped the corner of her eye and rolled swiftly down her cheek. In an instant his hand drew from his side and stopped her hasty movement to wipe away the tear.  She had watched him shake his head slowly as she felt his touch play warmly on her cheek, his thumb gently brushing the tear away for her. 

It was then, at that moment that every emotional barrier she had ever built up around herself, crumbled miserably at her feet.  She would have collapsed if it weren't for the strong and ready arms that caught her as all feeling left her legs.  She cried, truly cried for the first time in years and he just held her, stroking her hair, pressing her head tightly to his chest and whispering soothingly in her ear.  It was a reaction she had never expected.  It contradicted his tough-guy persona in every imaginable way, yet he did it so well.

They didn't speak; words had never been necessary for them.  Communication for them was based on feeling, interpretation of the eyes.  It may seem difficult but in reality, nothing could have been or was ever more natural for them.  They had sunk to the floor, though the fact had escaped her until later.  He had followed her, easing her down as theirs knee connected with the hardwood floor.  And that's where they stayed, for how long she didn't know, though it felt like an eternity.  When she finally pulled away, it was only enough to look at him. She had to see his eyes, because she knew that if she could find even the tiniest shred of hope in them, then maybe, just maybe, everything would be okay.

 It was what she saw that made her do what she did. 

His eyes, for as long as she could remember, had always held a certain sparkle.  A charming, boyish light that always let her know, that no matter how screwed up things may get, he would be okay, because that symbolic inner light would carry him safely through.  As she looked into his eyes she couldn't help the bleak feeling that rushed over her.   It was gone, that glimmer was gone and in its place … darkness, endless depths of pain and sorrow filled darkness.  It was then that her feeling of hopelessness was swiftly replaced with a wave of harsh resentment.  'That bitch…' The last image she wanted to conjure up at that moment was one of her, but it couldn't be helped, it was her fault.  She had done this.  That awful woman had taken from him what no one, not even his miserable father had managed to take from him.  She, had stolen his light, his precious, and sacred inner strength, and at that moment, Faith wanted nothing more than to be the one to give it back to him.  She never doubted her ability, and she never would again, because it was his own words that had finally made it clear to her, 'you're the only one… Faith, I don't have anyone else'.

 He truly didn't have anyone else, and though she had a family, husband, a whole other life, in basic and sad truth, she didn't have anyone else either, not the way she had him.  No, the bond they shared was something completely different and entirely separate from anything else that existed in her life.  What they had, the two of them together, partners, friends, soul mates… it was something infinitely stronger than she had ever intended it to be. And as the anger faded, the peace that had proved so fleeting in the past returned, just long enough for her to do what she had never planned on doing. 

She kissed him. 

She knew she should have been shocked by her actions, appalled by the mere possibility of it, but she wasn't.  All she could do was surrender to his touch, to the way his strong yet gentle hands came up to her face and cradled her head, his fingers entangling passionately in her hair. 

A definite and sacred line between friend and lover had been crossed and passage had been granted as well as accepted, hungrily and eagerly.  She became determined not to allow her mind to take over, to deter her course, because whether this was good or bad, she wanted it and so did he.  So, she dispelled her reasoned thinking, allowing herself for the first time in her life, to just feel, and quite honestly, she never imagined that destruction could feel so very good.  Because that's what it was, destruction.  And no matter how hard she fought to deny it, her perfectly passionate encounter, was nothing more than the beginning of an end… for so many things.

T.B.C…?  I'm already working on part two of the prologue (Bosco's take on things) but please R&R if you want me to continue… I wouldn't want to go posting up an unwanted fic, now would I?  Oh and please keep in mind that this is my first fanfic attempt of any kind and that I'm still trying to get a feel for it and find my writing rhythm, so please be kind, but please feel free to let me know how I'm doing, and what could be improved upon. =)

Thank You! ~L