TITLE: The missing piece

AUTHOR: faith-in-Faith

DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters – just the story idea.

RATING: PG-13

CATEGORY: romance, fluff

SPOILERS: Well, anything up to now I think….

PARING: Bosco and Faith.

SUMMARY: Have you ever lost a piece of a puzzle and not being able to find it no matter how hard you're trying? And then -- one day it just shows up – without you even looking for it? Well, that's what happens to Faith one day….

AUTHOR'S NOTE: OK, so this is a bit out of character for both me and the characters I guess, but I wrote it to sooth myself when we learned that Jason was leaving the show and considering how depressing things have been Bosco/Faith shipper vice lately I thought we might needed some faith. I really hope it isn't too sappy for you.

A big, big thanks to my beta Joey who managed to find time in her very busy schedule to correct this so you could read it. Thank-you, Joey! Have I told you lately that I love you?

THE MISSING PIECE

CHAPTER ONE

Faith was ironing when the phone rang. Sighing, she put down the iron and picked up the phone. She was pretty sure it was Charlie who was out of money again. "I swear that boy thinks I'm a living bank," she murmured to herself before she pressed the talk button.

"Faith."

"Hi, Faith. It's me."

Faith felt her heart skip a beat. Five years, five years and twenty-four days since she last heard that voice. Five years, and still he didn't even need to say his name for her to know who it was.

She took a deep breath and quickly wiped away the tears of joy that had escaped from her eyes.

"Hi, Bos. What's up?"

"Nothing -- just thought I should call you."

She felt her heart clench. Something was wrong. It had to be. Why else would he call her after all this time?

"Bos, what's wrong?"

On the other end Bosco smiled sadly. So it was true. She really thought he'd only call her if something was wrong. He felt even sorrier for her than he had before he'd picked up the phone. He'd never caused her anything but trouble and pain but he was about to change that now -- at least that was what he hoped.

"Nothing is wrong, Faith. I promise. Actually, everything is great."

Faith heard the genuine happiness in his voice and in spite of how much she missed him and how lonely she'd been feeling since he left, she was really happy for him. He had been so lost and depressed when he left and if anyone deserved some happiness, it was him.

"I take it you like it there wherever there is."

"Milwaukee."

"What?"

" 'There' is Milwaukee."

"Oh." She couldn't help but feel a bit surprised. She had expected him to move to a bigger, busier town, like Los Angles, Chicago or San Francisco.

"So, did you mange to find a job that you like?"

"Yep, I'm head of security on a computer company," he said proudly and, although she couldn't see him, she knew he had a big grin on his face.

Head of security. Wow, that was definitely not what she had expected. Not that she really knew what she had expected but it sure wasn't that. He must have changed a lot because she doubted that the head of security could walk around and yell "jag off" to people all day, or maybe they could. After all, he was the Boss.

"So you belong among the fancy suit people nowadays, huh?"

He chuckled slightly. "I guess so."

There was a moment of silence but just like back in the old day,it was a comfortable one, but finally he broke it by asking, "And you, Faith – how are you?"

Although, she knew he couldn't see her, she forced a smile on her lips.

"I'm fine. Still a detective, still working at the 55…." Still missing you.

"So, you're OK then?" There was a hint of worry in his voice and she couldn't help but smile. After all these years he still knew when she lied.

Still she continued on the chosen path. "Yeah, Bos. I'm fine."

He sucked in a breath. "Good, good and the kids?"

She smiled again, a genuinely happy smile this time. "They are great! They are both off to college now. Charlie is playing football and Emily is going to law school."

"Really? That's great, Faith!"

"Yeah, it is."

There was another silence and Faith decided it was time to get to the point.

"What's the real reason you called, Bos?"

He stayed quiet for so long that Faith started to think he was about to hang up on her.

"I had something important to tell you."

"Such as?"

"I was planning on getting married."

Faith's heart shattered in pieces. Deep inside she had always held a hope that she would have some kind of miracle and they would end up together. That hope was now gone and all she wanted to do was scream and cry, to tell the world how unfair this was, but she didn't. This was Bosco – her best friend – and he was happy. How could she disapprove to that? This wasn't a time to be selfish and if she was honest to herself; she had always known this was the inevitable ending. Guys like Bosco never lasted for long and she was actually surprised it took this long for someone to catch him.

So, as the good, supportive friend she once swore she would be to him, she swallowed her tears and said, "Congratulation, Bos. It's great. I'm so happy for you."

It didn't sound as sincere as she had wanted it to and she prayed that he didn't pick it up.

Bosco couldn't help but smile. It was obvious she didn't like it, and that gave him hope that she was going to like and approve of what he was about to tell her next.

"I said was planning."

He wasn't surprised that she didn't catch the "was" part. If she loved him as much as he thought she did, then hearing him saying he was going to get married had to be like a nightmare.

"What do you mean? Did something go wrong?"

"Yeah, you could say that. She turned me down."

Faith's heart broke all over again, but this time it was for him. She felt so sorry for him. The one thing he feared the most - except for ending up like his father - was to be rejected. It had kept him from getting involved with someone for years. It had made him put up walls that was almost impossible to tear down and now, now when he finally got the courage to take the chance to trust someone, it all backfired on him. The thing he feared the most had happened – he had been rejected. She felt so sorry for him. It just wasn't fair.

"I'm so sorry, Bos. I'm really sorry," she said sincerely.

She really meant it. No matter how much she hated the thought of him getting married,she didn't want this to happen.

"Yeah, well…shit happens."

"Wanna tell me what happened?" she asked gently.

"She said she didn't want to compete with a ghost."

"What ghost?" she asked, feeling slightly confused. Then something dawned on her. "This isn't about your father, is it? Because if it is, you have nothing to worry about, you're never going to be anything like him and I put him in jail for life three years ago. You know that, right?"

"Yeah. Ma told me. I should have called you then but…well, thank-you anyway. This isn't about him, though. He's not the ghost."

"No?"

"No."

"Then who is it?"

"You."

"Me?"

Bosco could hear the confusion in her voice and he didn't blame her. It had taken him a while to process the whole thing, too.

"Yeah, you. You know, I talk about you all the time. Talk about what we did, how you helped me, how much I admired you and loved you. I quote what you used to say and, according to Patricia, I even say your name in my sleep. Actually, I think you're all I'm ever talking about and I didn't even realize it."

Faith felt her eyes tear up. She had never thought he would miss her that much and she felt guilty - really, really guilty. She hated herself for having that kind of power over him. She hated that the memories of her had destroyed his chances to happiness.

"I'm sorry, Bos. I'm really, really sorry."

Bosco heard that she was close to tears and felt his heart sink. He didn't want her to feel guilty. It really wasn't her fault and he sure as hell didn't want her to cry. It freaked him out when she did – always had.

"Don't worry. It's OK."

Faith stared at the phone in disbelief. Was he out of his mind? How could this be OK? This weird, but obviously unbreakable, bond between them had just destroyed his chances at happiness and he thought it was OK?

"How can it be OK?"

"Because she gave me some great advice I'm planning on following."

"What kind of advice was that?"

"She told me to call you."

A soft smile gracedFaith's face. "I'm glad you took her advice. I've missed you."

The soft, vulnerable tone of Faith'svoice made Bosco's chest hurt. God, how he wished there had been some way to avoid causing her this much pain but at the time he didn't see any other solution, but again, he was hoping to make it up to her, starting now.

"I know and I obviously miss you, too."

Faith couldn't help but chuckle. "Yeah, you obviously do. So, did she give you any other advice?"

"As a matter of fact she did," he answered so softly she could barely hear him.

Faith felt worried all over again. There had to be something seriously wrong with him. He sounded so insecure and scared and he only did that when he was about to tell her something really awful.

"Bos?"

"Faith, please come here to me."

Faith felt her spirit rise. He wanted to see her! It was almost too good to be true "Sure, Bos. I'd love to come and visit you. I have this weekend off and a lot of overtimeI can take. I could stay for a couple of days."

"No, Faith."

"No?"

"No, not like that."

"Then how?" she asked, completely bewildered.

"Come here and stay. Don't leave -- ever again," he blurted out and groaned inside.

He'd been planning this very carefully. He had written down what he wanted say and he had rehearsed it before he picked up the phone, but what good did that do? When it came down to it, he acted likejust as much of a jerk as ever.

She was silent for so long that Bosco started to fear she had fainted or hadhung up on him or something like that.

"Faith?"

His only response was silence but he could hear her breathing

In New York, Faith tried to figure two things out: One: Was this a practical joke? Two: If it wasn't, then was it her or Bosco who was out of their mind?

"Faith, please say something," he begged.

Faith took a deep breath. "Let me see if I've got this straight. You're calling me, after five years, asking me to leave New York, my job, my friends and my family to come and live with you?"

Bosco swallow hard. "Yeah."

"Why on earth would I do that?" Faith asked, sounding like she couldn't decide if she should laugh or cry.

"Because you love me."

"Excuse me?"

"I saidbecause you love me."

Faith closed her eyes. How could he possibly know? She had never told anyone.

"How can you be so sure I do?"

Bosco took a deep breath. What he was about to tell her next could either send her running or make her his forever.

"Because for thirteen years you did everything I ever asked you to, no matter what the consequences. For thirteen years, I spent the better part of my days with you and every time I looked at you, I saw the love in your eyes. Sometimes that love was the only thing that got me through the day."

"You bastard! How could you? I hate you!" Faith yelled into the phone.

"Faith…."

"How could you, Bosco? How could you? If you always knew how much I loved you, then how the hell could you leave me like you did, huh? If you knew I loved you, then you had to know it would destroy me."

Her voice was thick with tears and Bosco closed his eyes in agony. Over the years he had worked very hard on not to think of how much he had hurt her and hearing the despair in her voice made it hard to breathe.

"I'm sorry, Faith. I really am, but at the time I didn't have a choice. You know that. I was a total wreck and I just couldn't stay."

"I'd have helped you, Bos. I'd have taken care of you. We'd have worked it out. I know we would have. All you had to do was to stay."

Bosco shook his had sadly. "No, we couldn't have. I was too lost. I would have destroyed your life, too, eventually."

"Yeah, and leaving me alone made my life so much easier."

She was crying now and it took Bosco all he had not to do the same. He hated himself for what he had done to her but there was no way he could change that now. The future -- on the other hand -- was a whole different ballgame. In the future he could make her happy – make it up to her. All he had to do was to make her see that, too.

"I'm sorry, Faith. Please don't cry. I would take all the things I ever did that hurt you back if I could. But I can't. I'm sorry, Faith. I'm so very sorry. Please forgive me. Please let me make it up to you."

For several minutes there wasn't a sound to be heard except for Faiths silent sobs.

"Please, Faith, don't cry."

Faith heard the, so familiar, desperation in his voice and knew that she should let him off the hook, but she couldn't. This hurt too much.

"How could you leave me?"

"I was lost and depressed, Faith. I couldn't take the chance of dragging you down with me and I didn't know then what I know now."

When she didn't answer right away, he added, "I didn't know then that I love you, too."

Faith felt like her heart had stopped. He couldn't possibly have said what she thought she heard him say. It had to be her imagination.

"You do what?"

"I love you, too, Faith," he repeated softly.

Faith took a shaky breath. "No you don't."

"Yes I do."

"Since when?" she asked doubtfully.

"Since always, I think. I just didn't realize it until now."

Faith tried to process his words. Could this really be happening? Could this really be true?

"And what made you realized it now?"

"Patricia. She told me to stop wasting my time on her and to call the woman I really love and tell her how I feel before it's too late."

Faith wiped at her tears with her free hand. "Tell me one reason I should believe you, Bosco. One single reason."

"Why would I call you after five years to tell you I love you if it wasn't true? You know how afraid I am to love. It makes you vulnerable and I hate being vulnerable,you know that, too."

It was true. She knew it was and still it was so hard to believe. Too many years of sorrow and pain, too many lonely nights. Too much pain.

She took a deep breath. "I can't do this, Bos. I just can't. It hurts too much."

Bosco felt his eyes tear up. It couldn't be too late. He couldn't lose her again. He just couldn't. He refused to.

"Please, Faith, please. I know you're angry and disappointed and hurt, maybe even afraid, but please don't walk away from me. If you still love me, you gotta give me a chance. Please, Faith. We have lost so much time already. We can't afford to lose anymore. Please come to me"

Faith knew he was right. They couldn't really afford to lose anymore time then they already had and she still loved him, she really did. But this was too big for her to process right away. This was huge and she couldn't help it. She needed time.

"I have to think about this. You need to give me some time."

Bosco breathed a sigh ofrelief. "You can have as much time as you need, Faith. Just never forget that I love you."

"OK."

"Um…you call me when you've made up your mind, OK?"

"I would if I knew where to call."

Bosco chuckled slightly. "Sorry, I forgot."

He gave her the number both to his work and to his cell phone.

"Thanks."

"You're welcome. Don't forget to call, OK?"

"I won't," Faith answered and hung up on him.

Bosco stared at the phone and whispered, "I love you."