Fatal Attraction

Turning Point

By Mady Bay – mbay@binghamton.edu

March 7, 2001

Disclaimer – I don't own any of the Third Watch characters. NBC and their affiliates do.

Author's Note – This is for Suzy and me. And it does not follow canon in the Faith/Fred department.

Turning Point

"How you doin' Boz?" Faith asked. She watched as a group of kids crossed the street in front of the patrol car.

"I'm fine," he replied. "Why?"

"Well, you and Nicole were supposed to go to the opera tonight," she answered. "You still gonna go?"

"Nah," he said, shaking his head. "I brought the tickets back and left them there with her name on them. Left her a message. She can use 'em if she wants." He took a long look at two men walking down an alleyway.

"You're taking this well," Faith remarked, giving him a raised eyebrow look.

"Hey, she's the one that didn't tell me about sleeping around with half the department. I'm the one that broke up with her!"

"Right, Boz."

"Who's watching the kids?" he asked, changing the subject and ignoring his partner's mutterings.

"Mrs. Mahoney," she replied. "And then next Monday, Natalie, the NYU student I got from their employment office, starts full time. She's really nice and the kids love her."

"You heard from Fred?"

"No," she said tightly, watching the traffic. "And I don't care if I never do again. I'm not taking him back this time, Boz." She finally turned her head a bit and met his gaze.

"You know if you need anything, all you gotta do is ask, right?"

"I know. Thanks."

OOOOO

The rest of the shift passed not too unlike their usual patrols. The partners broke up two domestic disturbances, making an arrest during one of them, issued several traffic tickets and backed up Davis and Sullivan during a robbery attempt at one of the many bodegas on their beat. By midnight, the two were more than ready to head for home. As usual, they headed out of the station house together.

"You need a ride home tonight?" Bosco asked.

She was about to answer when she saw something. Actually, someone. "Looks like you've already got a passenger tonight, Boz," she said, motioning to the woman sitting in Bosco's car.

He stopped short, seeing Nicole there, unsure what to think of the sight.

"I'll see you tomorrow," Faith said, patting him on the arm. She waved to Nicole before going on her way.

"What are you doing here?" he asked, having finally found his feet and gotten to his car.

"Give me a ride home?" she asked.

Wondering what the woman had in mind, and feeling just a bit guilty for his words to her a week ago, he nodded and got into the car. After a few silent moments, Bosco started the car and pulled out into traffic. Nicole finally broke the silence.

"Missed you," she said, absently playing with a bracelet on her wrist. "The opera just wasn't the same without you."

"Yeah, you didn't have me around to piss off your daddy," he replied sarcastically, automatically.

"Maurice…" she began.

"Or did you miss having someone to screw you in the limo on the way home?" he continued, ignoring her hurt expression. "I'm sure you could have flagged down a cop to–"

He didn't get to finish the sentence because Nicole interrupted. "You just can't drop this, can you?" she demanded. "What is it with guys? You screw around with every woman that spreads her legs and you're the king of the hill, mister macho himself! But because I had sex with even one other guy then I'm the biggest slut in the world!"

Bosco hit the brakes sharply and pulled the car over to the side of the road.

"Would it have been so difficult to tell me that you went out with those guys?!" he shouted.

"Would it have mattered back then?" Nicole asked back.

"Yes! I had a right to know! I would have been prepared!"

"You mean you would have just screwed me like the rest of them and not loved me!" she retorted.

She said the "L" word and it left Bosco speechless. He'd told Faith that he'd fallen hard for Nicole. Hell, he'd even had fleeting thoughts about having children with this woman. But he never loved her, did he?

"That's it, isn't it?" she asked when he didn't reply. "You can only fall in love with virgins, right?"

"I never said that, Nicole," he began.

"But that's what you think! You selfish bastard!"

And before Bosco could react to the flash of metal coming toward him, he felt the cold steel enter his chest.

OOOOO

Faith continued down the street. The train station was about four blocks from the precinct. She had been wondering what Bosco would say to Nicole. Or visa versa. She shook her head. Anything was possible with him. She shook her head again as she watched the two of them pass by her in Bosco's car. She had enough of her own problems to be bothered with her partner's. More bills than money, sudden single parenthood, guilt, shame…

She walked two more blocks and was about to head up the stairs toward the train station when she saw the car parked at the curb ahead. She watched as Nicole got out of it and ran away. The woman was obviously upset. What the hell did you say to her this time, Boz? When Bosco didn't drive away, Faith's thoughts went the other way. Maybe Nicole was the one that had the harsh words this time. Bosco's a big boy, Faith. And he deserves what he got. She headed up the stairs and caught another glimpse of the parked car. She stopped.

"Dammit, Bosco, why do you do this to me?" she muttered aloud as she turned around and headed back down the stairs. "Like I don't have enough problems without having to worry about your love life."

She half-walked half-stalked the block toward the classic car, wondering why the hell she was doing it. She was tired. She had a warm bed to get home to after paying the babysitter. She didn't need this. But Bosco did. Sometimes she wondered if she was the obnoxious cop's only friend.

She opened the passenger side door and got in. "Bosco, I don't know why I'm even bothering anymore. But you-," and that was as far as she got. That was when she looked at him and saw the hilt of the knife sticking out of his chest. Saw the pain and the silent plea for help in his eyes as he gasped for air. "Oh, my God, Bosco!" she shouted.

OOOOO

"SOMEBODY CALL AN AMBULANCE!!!"

"Oh, God, Boz? Bosco, can you hear me? Shit."

Faith tried to stay calm as she heard the pain-laced rasp of her name spill from Bosco's bloody lips.

"I'm right here. I'm not leaving you," she assured him.

She took off her coat and gently put it across his torso, being careful not to let it touch the knife embedded in his chest. She looked around the car for something to use to help stop some of the bleeding and found his duffel bag in the back seat. She grabbed a tee shirt from it and gently wrapped it around the knife's hilt and pressed carefully.

"I'm sorry," she apologized as the action caused her partner to gasp in pain. "God, did anybody call an ambulance?" she muttered, looking out the windows of the car, down the street.

She was about to get out, to go to find some help when she felt Bosco's hand grab hers.

"Don't…leave…me," he begged through ragged breaths.

"I gotta get help," she whispered. "No one's around here. But I promise, I'll be back." She put her hand to his cheek, made him look into her eyes. "I promise." He swallowed and nodded.

"Hurry?"

"I will," she said giving him a tender kiss on the forehead before backing out of the car.

Faith looked around quickly, trying to decide where to go to call for help. She didn't want to leave Bosco for too long. Across the street and down three buildings was a strip club. It would have to do. Checking for traffic, she ran across the street and toward the business.

Entering the dark entryway, she pushed past several of the club's patrons, several of whom she recognized. She hoped that they wouldn't recognize her. She found the bouncer.

"I need to use your phone," she ordered, discreetly flashing her badge. "There's a man hurt in his car down the block."

The man nodded and grabbed the phone behind him.

She quickly dialed 911. "This is Officer Faith Yokas, badge number 15724. I need an ambulance and a car to the south stairs of the Sixth Street Station, officer down," she told the dispatcher. After confirming the information, she quickly thanked the bouncer and headed back to her partner.

Faith hadn't been this scared since… well, she couldn't remember. As she approached the car, seeing Bosco's head lying back against the headrest, she thought the worst. She hesitated.

"Boz? Bosco, can you hear me?" she called, finally getting back into the car. "You still with me, Boz?"

She reached a shaky hand up to his cheek and was relieved when his eyes opened and he breathed in a gasp of air.

"Faith…I'm…scared…"

"Ssh…you're gonna be just fine," she soothed, hoping to convince herself as well as Bosco of her words.

He squeezed his eyes shut and said, "You're full…of…shit," with a grimace as a wave of pain swept through his chest. When the pain ebbed, he opened his eyes again. "Cold," he whispered.

Faith didn't hesitate to put her arms around him and slide him carefully onto her lap, then rewrap her arms around him. Bosco sighed and let his head fall back onto her shoulder.

"I got you, Boz," she murmured resting her chin on top of his head. "Just hang on."

She closed her eyes just before she heard the sound of the sirens approaching.

"Faith?"

"Ssshh… don't talk, Bosco."

"Faith… I…I love…you."

Faith opened her eyes, surprised by her partner's words. What the hell did he mean? Any further thoughts were cut off by the arrival of officers from the precinct.

"Yokas? That Boscorelli in there with you?"

Faith looked out the driver's side window at Pete Harrison. "Yeah, Pete, it's us," she replied. "Where the hell's the bus?!"

"Right behind us," he answered. "What the fuck happened?"

"Ex-girlfriend stabbed him," she said quietly as Bosco squirmed in her arms. "Help's almost here, Boz," she soothed him.

And before the words were completely out of her mouth, the car doors opened and Doc and Dougie Parsons, another paramedic, were on either side of her.

"What happened, Faith?" Doc asked, gently lifting up her coat to get a look at the knife wound.

"I think it's pretty obvious, Doc," she replied.

"Hey, Bosco? Boscorelli," he called. Bosco opened his eyes and met Doc's gaze with an unfocused one. "That's a good boy, Maurice. You having any trouble breathing?" he asked, even though it was obvious the policeman was.

Bosco nodded wordlessly. When Faith made a move to exit the car, to let Dougie in, Bosco grabbed her arm. "No…don't… leave," he begged.

"Boz, I gotta let Doc and Dougie in here to take care of you. I'll be right outside, I promise," she told him. After a moment, he nodded and let her go.

Pete met her on the sidewalk, waiting to question her. As she was about to tell him all about seeing Nicole run from the car, she felt someone put a coat on her shoulders. She looked around to see Ty Davis standing there. Sully was on the other side of the car, talking to Pete's partner, Claire Wilder.

"Thanks," she nodded to Ty. "I saw her get out of the car and run south onto Fifth. She's blonde, about thirty, wearing a tan mini skirt and a black jacket," she told Pete.

She was about to say more when she saw that they were taking Bosco out of the car. She thought she heard Ty filling Pete in about Nicole's last name and the address to her shop.

"You gonna ride in back with us?" Doc asked her as he pushed the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. She answered by climbing in after them.

Dougie closed the back doors to the ambulance before climbing into the driver's seat.

OOOOO

"Thanks again, Ty," Faith said, weakly smiling to the tall rookie. "And don't let them take advantage of you. Up by seven, out the door by eight," she added.

"Piece of cake, Faith," he replied before heading toward the exit.

"You sure he can handle it?" Sully asked, taking a seat next to her.

"Yeah, they'll be good," she replied. "Last time they met him, they were kinda awestruck. I think they were afraid of him. Charlie kept asking how big his feet were."

Sully smiled. Then laughed to himself, trying to picture his young partner taking care of the Yokas children in the morning if Faith didn't get home in time to get them off to school. "Yeah, he'll do fine," he said. "You get ahold of Bosco's mom?"

"No," she answered, shaking her head. "She's in Vegas for two weeks."

"Any idea where?" he asked, got another head shake in return.

"How much longer is it gonna take?" Faith murmured, ignoring Sully's further attempts to make her feel better. She stood and starting to pace the hallway again.

"Faith, they've only been in there a half an hour. Give it a little time," Sully said, getting up, too.

"I know, it's just… shit, Sully, how the hell could this happen?" she asked, frustrated. "I mean, I know quite a few people, me included, that have wanted to hurt Bosco for something he's said or done, but we'd never do it! How could she?" She quickened her pacing, not waiting for any answers from her fellow officer. "That bitch! First she uses him to get back at her father, then she tells him that she loves him, and now she tries to kill him!"

"Easy, Faith," Sully soothed, grabbing her hand before she punched the wall. "Look, here comes Dr. Morales."

"How is he?" Faith asked anxiously.

The Hispanic doctor stopped in front of the two police officers, put her hands into her lab coat pocket and sighed before saying, "He's in rough shape. The knife punctured his lung, hit a few major blood vessels. There might be some nerve damage, too. Too soon to tell. He's on his way up to surgery now, I'll keep you informed."

"Thanks," Faith said, shaking the other woman's hand.

"Come on, why don't we use the table in the nurses' work room and get your statement down," Sully suggested, pulling on Faith's arm. "That way it'll be over and done with and you'll be able to see him when he gets out of surgery."

Faith nodded and let herself be led to the work room.

OOOOO

At four a.m., Faith was led into the ICU. Jim Pennerton walked with her. He was one of the day shift officers that were assigned to sit guard outside the hospital room. Standard procedure when an officer was injured on the job and the perpetrator was still at large. She'd called the precinct house. They still hadn't found Nicole.

Faith watched as the nurses did some last minute adjustments to some of the monitors and tubes attached to her partner before giving her some time alone with him. The surgeon had told her that the operation went well, that Bosco should be up and around in no time at all. All he needed was a couple of weeks of complete rest before slowly easing himself back into his normal activities and work.

She took a chair and slid it close to the bed and sat down to watch over her partner. She'd seen him hurt before, remembered that time only a year ago that he'd been shot at and then gone through a window with a bad guy. But, being Bosco, the super cop that he was, a few bumps, bruises and scrapes was all he got. She sighed. Where was your luck this time, Boz? Looking at the pale form in front of her, hearing the beeps and whooshes of the machines attached to him, she sighed again. She reached through the bed rails and took his hand in hers and gave it a squeeze.

She was surprised to feel it squeeze back and looked up to see Bosco awake, staring at her.

"Hey," she said with a smile and stood up. "Welcome back," she whispered and leaned over to kiss his forehead.

While he couldn't speak back to her, his eyes told her how grateful he was to see her at his side. Feeling the pain flare in his chest at every breath and remembering why he hurt so, his eyes began to fill with tears.

"Ssshh…," Faith soothed, wiping away the tears that began to fall. "It's alright now. She can't hurt you anymore."

A nurse appeared, having seen the change in vital signs on the monitors. He checked Bosco over quickly before injecting some pain medication into his IV.

"Look, they're gonna kick me outta here soon. And I'm gonna try to get some sleep, too. But I'll be back later to check on you, okay?" Faith told Bosco, before he fell asleep. She got a quick squeeze of her hand in response.

She brushed her hand through his hair as his eyes closed and whispered, "I love you, too, Boz."

OOOOO

Faith opened the door to her apartment, trying to be as quiet as possible. She smiled at the sight of Ty sprawled facedown on the couch, an arm and a leg hanging over the edge. She was just tiptoeing past him when she heard his voice.

"How is he?"

"He's okay," she replied, stopping to talk. "Looks like shit, but the doctor said the surgery went well and that he should be fine in a few weeks."

"Good to hear," Ty answered with a smile. "Any word on Nicole?"

Faith shook her head. "I called the station before I left the hospital. She hasn't been to her apartment or her shop. I think they were gonna have Suffolk County check her parents' place out in West Hampton."

"Well, you go on to bed. I'll take care of the kids," the young rookie said, waving his hand at her, shooing her away.

"Thanks, Ty."

OOOOO

Lying awake in her bed, Faith stared at the ceiling and replayed some of the evening's events over in her head. The main ones being Bosco telling her that he loved her and her own words of love to him. They'd been partners for over two years, now. They were friends, antagonists. They argued with each other. They told each other their problems. No subject had ever been left untouched. Sports, politics, arts, family, work, sex and marriage. Bosco'd been to her home many times, both on and off duty. Had dinner with her family. Played with the kids. She'd been to his place. Met his Mom. They were friends. But did they love each other? She turned it over in her head. She guessed she loved him, as she would a brother. Hell, better than her own brother. But she knew how she said it to Bosco in the hospital. How he said it to her in the car. It was different than saying it to a brother or sister. Wasn't it? Why the hell am I even thinking about this? Geez, Faith, get a grip! This is Bosco we're talking about! Around six a.m., exhaustion finally took over and Faith succumbed to sleep. She never heard the squeals of surprise and delight an hour later when the children discovered their babysitter.

OOOOO

"Mr. Boscorelli? Maurice, can you hear me? I need you to open your eyes for me now."

Bosco opened his eyes slowly, reluctantly, obeying the voice of the doctor or nurse calling to him. Images of Nicole's face as she plunged the knife into his chest had been replaying in his mind while he slept, but the latest image in his dream, the one he didn't want to give up watching yet, was the one of his partner, Faith. She was always there when he needed her. Always willing, though somewhat captively, to listen to his problems and rants. There to tell him when he screwed up. There to tell him when he did good. And she was there to save his life last night.

"Mr. Boscorelli? Stay with me." That voice again.

He focused on the woman before him. Then squeezed his eyes shut as he felt her poking and prodding at his chest.

"Almost done…there," she said. "I'm Doctor Dane, I performed your surgery last night, and let me tell you, you're a very lucky young man."

Bosco tried to manage a nod and hoped he could convey his thanks to her. He wound up gagging on one of the tubes in his throat.

"Easy, now, just relax," she soothed, grabbing his arms, preventing him from pulling the tube out. "Another day or so and we'll see about getting some of these tubes out of you. Until then, let's just try to relax and enjoy the room service, okay?"

Closing his eyes and wanting nothing more than to be able to go back to sleep again, Bosco nodded his head.

"You giving your doctor problems already, Boz?"

His eyes flew open at the familiar voice and he reached out to her.

Faith grabbed his hand and held it as she took a seat next to the bed. "Hey, partner, how ya doing?" She looked at the doctor, expectantly.

"He's doing as expected," Doctor Dane responded. "He's still got some blood and fluids in the lung, but I think the chest tube should clear that up in a couple of days. We just need him to relax and follow orders."

"Yeah, fat chance on that one," Faith muttered teasingly to Bosco.

"I'll check up on you again later, Maurice," the doctor said and left the two police officers alone.

Faith felt her hand squeezed hard. She looked into Bosco's eyes; saw the question he needed to ask.

"Nobody's found her yet," she replied. "They've staked out her shop, her apartment, her parents' place. I think they even checked your apartment. Any other place you can think of?"

He moved his head side to side slowly, minutely, remembering how it felt to gag on the tubes.

"Well, don't worry, they'll find her," Faith continued, with conviction. She wanted to find her.

Faith watched as her partner's eyes began to droop, sleep claiming him again. She moved to put his hand back under the blankets but found that Bosco was unwilling to let go just yet. She looked to his eyes again and found them watching her, asking her to stay. She smiled for him and nodded her understanding as she held onto the hand and hooked a chair with her foot, bringing it closer to the bed.

OOOOO

"How's Bosco?" Sully asked, walking into the briefing room for roll call.

"He's holding his own," Faith replied. "A lot better than last night, anyway."

"Hey, Sully. Faith," Ty greeted the pair, slipping into a seat behind them.

"Hey, Davis. Thanks again for taking care of the kids," Faith replied.

"Not a problem – they're good kids."

"Listen up!" the watch commander called, quieting his officers down. "We're still looking for Nicole Forsythe, Boscerelli's ex-girlfriend. For those of you coming in late, she decided to knife him last night after work." He passed a stack of papers with Nicole's photocopied picture down to the officer in front of him to distribute. "I'm sure some of you already know what she looks like…" He paused and winked at several of the male officers to his right. "So lets find her and bring her in."

After the announcements were over, and the officers headed out of the briefing room, ready to hit their beats, Faith heard her name called.

"Yokas!"

Faith turned to see Dave Collins, one of the detectives investigating Bosco's assault.

"Yeah, what's up?" she asked.

"I was hoping you'd be able to ride with us, today, Yokas," he said. "Help look for Nicole. Figured, being Boscorelli's partner, you might have some ideas of where she might go."

Faith shrugged her shoulders. "I told you guys last night where she lives and stuff."

"You never double dated with them or anything?" Collins asked. "Know of any of their favorite places to go?"

"No," she replied. "I think their dates usually consisted of quickies in his car or spending the night at her apartment."

The detective looked at the tired looking officer. It was painfully obvious she hadn't gotten much sleep, worrying about her partner. He took pity on her.

"Alright," he said, waving her off.

OOOOO

Faith was riding with George Fornsel, a veteran cop in the precinct. She'd known him for a few years and had ridden with him when she was a rookie. She let him drive.

"You alright?" he asked.

"I guess," she replied absently, looking out the window, but not really seeing.

"Not easy seeing your partner get hurt," George continued, hoping to get Faith to open up. When he got no response, he continued, "He's not the obnoxious jerk everybody thinks he is, is he?"

"What?"

George smiled. "I know you, Faith. Partner or not, you wouldn't be so wracked up by this if Bosco was really the asshole everybody thinks he is."

"Deep down, he's a decent guy. He's just too macho to realize it or let anybody else know."

"Wouldn't want to lose face with the locker room gang, huh?" he asked.

"Something like that," she agreed.

"But you said he's going to be okay, right?" he asked.

"That's what the doctors say. Just needs some time." She sighed.

"So what's really eating you?"

Faith looked over at her partner for the day. She remembered George being able to pick up on her thoughts before, when she was a rookie. They were good partners. But being a Field Training Officer, George usually got a new rookie about two or three times a year. She moved on and worked with several partners before finally settling with Bosco. She looked at him again.

"Bosco… in the car last night… when I was holding onto him… he told me that he loved me," she got out.

"And you think it's more than just being your partner, being on his deathbed?" George asked.

"I don't know, George," she lamented. "Bosco has screwed every woman that looked his way and told me all about them. Yet, something… I saw something in his eyes last night. Shit, I don't know what the hell he meant!"

"What about you? What do you feel?" George asked. "I heard about you and Fred. That's gotta change things, right?"

"Fred has nothing to do with this, George," she replied. "I haven't loved him for a long time."

"Since you met Boscorelli?" her partner teased.

"Since the first time I found him drunk asleep on the couch while Emily was crying in her crib," Faith replied flatly.

The policeman was about to reply when Faith grabbed his arm.

"Turn right, over here," she said, sitting up straighter in her seat.

George did as he was told and made the right turn and then followed Faith's further instructions. When she told him to pull over, he looked up outside the patrol car to see that they were parked outside an opera house.

"What are we doing here?" he asked.

"Just a hunch," she replied. "Figure it couldn't hurt to check."

"The opera?" George questioned, following Faith out of the patrol car and up the steep steps.

"It's where they were supposed to go last night, before the break up," she replied, heading toward the doors, not bothering to check to see if her partner was following.

Meeting one of the opera house staff in the lobby, Faith told the woman what they were doing there. She was not surprised when the woman mentioned that someone meeting Nicole's description had been seen in the mezzanine area earlier that day, but no one indicated anything amiss, since she was a 'regular' there.

Faith thanked the woman and headed upstairs, to the mezzanine section, George following her. After a quick search of the main area, Faith headed for the ladies' room. She stopped just inside when she saw the woman, sitting on the edge of a settee.

"Faith," she said, looking up. "I knew it would be you."

Faith swallowed, her emotions already jumbled, were now mixing up even more. Here was a fellow woman – someone who'd been the victim of the old double standard, someone judged harshly by men for things that were dismissed or encouraged by them and their own. She felt for this woman. She'd been there. But this was also the woman that hurt her partner. Stabbed him. Tried to kill him. She had to hate her for that.

"Put your hands out where I can see them," she quietly instructed.

Nicole looked carefully at the policewoman. Saw both the understanding and the anger in her eyes. Felt it inside. She'd spent most of the night inside the opera house. Moving from the restrooms to the balconies to the stages, keeping away from the staff that might not know her. She'd contemplated turning herself in several times, but never got up the courage to do it. And now it came down to facing the woman she both feared and might find comfort in.

"Faith?" The name came out in a sob. "Is he?"

"I said to put your hands out where I can see them," Faith repeated. She would not give in.

Nicole looked into Faith's eyes again before closing her own. She stood slowly and held out her hands, submitting. Faith removed her handcuffs from their case and moved forward. She placed them on Nicole's wrists, securing them behind her back. Then she did a quick pat down search for weapons. Nicole's outfit left nothing to the imagination, but Faith kept to procedure. She would not mess this up. She would do this right, for Bosco. George approached then and grabbed Nicole's purse that had been sitting on the floor. He opened it and quickly went through it, looking for weapons and contraband.

"You gonna call this in?" he asked, following Faith and Nicole out of the restroom.

"Once we're on our way," Faith replied. She did not want a mob scene at the opera house. She'd turn Nicole over to Detective Collins and be done with her. "I'll take care of it," she added. George nodded.

OOOOO

Faith nodded to Claire Wilder as she left her post, officially relieved of duty now that Nicole had been found and was still in custody. She continued on towards the ICU, wondering just how she would tell Bosco the news. She didn't have too much time as she was still on duty, herself. George was waiting downstairs, talking with Doc and Carlos in the ER. Dr. Morales had given them all a quick update. Bosco was still on the respirator and had developed a slight fever, but was doing alright, overall. Better than he had been when he had come in last night.

She nodded to the nurse on duty, working at the desk across from his room before heading in. She still wasn't used to seeing her partner looking so helpless, despite all the time she'd spent with him in the morning. She almost turned around and walked out. But then she saw his eyes, his hand reaching out for her. She forced herself to smile at him.

"Hey," she said, grabbing the hand. She leaned over the bed rails and gave him a kiss on his forehead. "How ya feeling? Okay?" she asked, looking into his eyes for an answer. "As good as can be expected, huh?" She was nervous and looked down to the floor.

Bosco let go of her hand and reached up to her face, lifted her chin. He questioned her with his eyes.

"I found Nicole today," she replied, grasping his hand again. "At the opera house. Just a hunch, a feeling," she explained with a shrug. "She didn't resist or anything. Made a full confession to the detectives."

Bosco tightened his grip. He wanted so much to talk to Faith. Tell her what he was really feeling inside. That he didn't care what happened to Nicole anymore. That somewhere in his head he knew that she was getting what she deserved. But Faith – he saw the hurt and confusion in her eyes. Wanting to spare his feelings. Even though she didn't need to. His thoughts were interrupted by the dispatcher's call on her portable radio.

"Gotta go," she said apologetically. "I'll try to stop by again later, okay?"

Bosco nodded his head and returned the hand squeeze before watching his partner leave the room.

OOOOO

When Faith returned later, Bosco was sleeping. She stood next to the bed and watched him for a while, wondering what the hell she was going to do about him. Did he love her? Did she love him? It was just too much too soon. Damn, Faith, he could have any woman that walked in front of him. Hell, he's had every woman that's walked in front of him. What the hell would we do together? She brushed her fingers gently through his hair and started to turn away.

"He does love you, you know," a voice called from the door, startling Faith.

The policewoman crossed the room quickly and let herself be embraced in Angela Boscorelli's arms.

"Sssh… it's alright, now," she soothed. "He's gonna be just fine, my Maurice. You'll see."

"I know that," Faith replied, looking up, wiping her tears.

"And you two will figure something out together, too," the older woman added quickly. "Now you give me a few minutes with my baby and then you and me will have us a nice little woman to woman talk about him. Okay?"

Faith couldn't resist the woman's request, and did in fact, need someone to talk to about the last twenty-four hours. She nodded and left the room to wait in the hall.

About ten minutes later, Angela took Faith by the arm and led her down to the cafeteria. The women got some coffee and a couple of bagels before sitting at one of the tables.

"How are you holding up, Faith?" the older woman asked.

"Okay, I guess," Faith replied. "A whole lot better than I was last night."

"I know what you mean. When I got back to my hotel room and got the message to call Captain Brighton, I think my heart just about stopped. Good thing he told the clerk to assure me that Maurice was out of danger."

"It was touch and go for a while there, in the car," Faith responded, nodding.

"And I take it that that was where my boy finally sprung the news on you, huh?" Angela said with a wry smile, putting two fingers under Faith's chin, lifting it up.

"How did you know?"

"I could see it in your eyes," Angela replied.

"How long have you known?" Faith asked.

"For about two years," she replied, smiling at Faith's shocked look. "Yes, since you two have been paired up."

"I don't understand... I never… All the other women…"

"He's a good boy," Angela began. "He couldn't tell you. He knew you couldn't return his feelings. Not without breaking up your family. He knows how important they are to you. Even with Fred out of the house now, he knew it was too soon. And as for Nicole and the rest of them… I think he was looking for someone else. But I don't think he ever found someone who could compare. Nicole may have been the closest, and hell, you can't blame him for the great sex they had! But he never loved her. Not like he does you."

"So what am I supposed to do?" Faith asked, shaking her head at her own confusion. "Up until twenty-four hours ago, Boz was my partner and my best friend. What are we now?"

"He's still your partner. And he's still your best friend, Faith," Angela said softly, taking Faith's hand. "And those two things won't change."

"But…"

"But do you love him?"

"Yes. No. I mean… I don't know…"

Angela took Faith's chin in her hand again and forced Faith to look at her in the eyes.

"Yes."

"I thought so," the older woman replied, letting go. "You'd have to love him to put up with him for so long."

That made the women laugh for the first time in a while.

"Now. You go on home and take care of those children of yours. I'll stay here with Maurice."

"Thanks, Mrs. Boscorelli," Faith said, rising from the table to give the other woman a hug.

OOOOO

Bosco looked up to see the visitor at his doorway. He smiled and put down the magazine he'd been reading.

"Hey," he greeted his partner, his voice barely above a whisper and muffled under the oxygen mask he wore.

"Hey, yourself," Faith replied. "Sorry I couldn't visit yesterday. Overtime, Emily's recital and stuff."

"It's alright. My mom kept me company." He watched as Faith took a seat. He saw the nervousness in her posture, knew the reason behind it. "I meant it," he told her.

"I know," Faith answered.

"She told you."

"Yeah. But you told me first."

"Faith, I don't want to hurt you. I know you don't -"

"Yes, I do," she said, cutting off whatever her partner was about to say. When she knew she had his attention, she continued. "I may not have realized it until three days ago, but it's true. Like your mom said, I'd have to have loved you to put up with you for so long."

Bosco reached his hand out toward his partner and she grasped it tightly.

"So what do we do now?" he asked.

"Can we take it slow?" Faith asked back.

"Anything you need."

"Oh, come on and kiss each other already!" Angela exclaimed from the doorway, her hands on her hips expectantly.

"Mom!"

"Okay, so I'll close my eyes!" the older woman said, turning her back.

Faith laughed at the gesture and turned back to her partner and saw the embarrassed expression on his face that had probably matched her own. Then she looked into his eyes and saw the love he had for her reflected back. He moved the oxygen mask down from his face and silently asked permission. Her reply was to lean down and tentatively, gently, touch his lips with hers. The nervousness was still there between the two.

"Finally! I've been waiting two friggin' years for this!" Angela exclaimed, breaking the tension in the room again.

The two police officers shook their heads over the other woman's antics. After taking a quick look at her watch, Faith took Bosco's hand and gave it a squeeze.

"I'll see you later, okay, Boz?"

"Yeah."