The Dead - Chapter 3 - Somewhere In Between
A/N - This is the final chapter of this fanfic. Can Bosco and Faith overcome there differences and put the past behind them?
This idea for this fanfic was inspired by two things; my own real life experience when viewing an old home movie taken just before 9/11 and the short story, 'The Dead', by James Joyce.
The timeline in my fic doesn't exactly match the timeline of the TV show (I seem to recall Cruz appearing way after 9/11 but as a writer I have taken the liberty of rearranging it for my own personal use.
Disclaimers: I don't own any part of Third Watch or 'The Dead' by James Joyce
Somewhere In Between
The evening air was cold and crisp. Darkness had started to cover the horizon but the light grey skies and the muted light from the moon gave the world a dreamlike feel.
Bosco's still form was framed by the glow of the street lamp. He stood with his back to the precinct, his hands splayed open on the hood of his car, his shoulders slumped forward either to brace himself from the cold or to hold himself up against the weight of the world.
Faith stood motionless outside the precinct door, her frosty breath barely visible against the fog descending on the city. She could have easily stood there and watched him from afar until she convinced herself to turn back and leave well enough alone. But the paper in her clenched fist reminded her why she had come out to seek him. She couldn't let things continue on the current path which could only lead to a point of no return.
She walked slowly and deliberately, buying herself time to think of what to say to him. The closer she got, the more she was unable to imagine how she could bridge the gap between them with mere words. She moved to the side of the Mustang, within Bosco's peripheral vision. She waited for him to acknowledge her presence and after some moments, he did so with a sideways look and a half hearted, "Hey".
He didn't change position, just continued to lean on his arms and turned his head back to face the hood of his car.
"Hey," she responded softly. She waited patiently but he offered no other acknowledgements. "What are you doing out here, all by yourself?" She asked. Except she didn`t really need to know why he was alone, just why he seemed to be so tormented. She wound her arms around herself to keep warm and waited. He didn't react, maybe he hadn't heard her or maybe he just didn't want to answer but after a long pause he replied, "Nothing... just thinking."
Faith nodded imperceptibly, confirming her understanding that his lack of interest in her presence meant he didn't want her around. She almost turned to leave when she wondered why there seemed to be no words left between them. Ironic, she thought because she could not begin to count the number of hours they spent in the RMP talking about a million stupid, little things or the most imponderable mysteries of the universe. It was as if all the words between them were used up and there were no new conversations to start up. But she knew better; there were still plenty of words but lately, they were all spiteful and hurtful.
Tonight, as she clasped that note in her hand, she chose to push away the recent battles and recall how they had spent the majority of their time together; laughing, chatting and firing witty one liners at each other.
She felt a grin pull at the edge of her mouth as a litany of smartass answers to Bosco's lame reply swirled in her brain. These were the kind of retorts that once upon a time, were second nature to both of them. She could not recall the last time she felt this mischievous.
"Sounds like one and the same," she quipped, hoping the joke would find its mark. "Doing nothing and thinking," she elaborated.
Bosco's eyes shot up almost instantly and she couldn't tell whether they displayed anger or surprise. Then a crooked smile formed on his lips just before he rolled his eyes at her comeback. "Yeah, I guess I deserve that," he chuckled lightly.
Faith relaxed. It felt good to be on the right side of the invisible line they had drawn and she wanted it to stay that way. "It's been a while since I heard you laugh," Faith offered in an almost a sad voice, the smile fading from her eyes.
Bosco shrugged apologetically as if accused of something. "I guess I haven't had any reason to," he answered ruefully. He resumed his position facing the hood of his car and Faith sighed as she thought about the lack of words between them.
"Just thinking," he repeated softly.
"What?" Faith asked in confusion.
"You asked what I was doing," Bosco explained. He turned slowly and leaned back until he sat on the car. He eyed Faith intensely. She imagined he was angry at her for one of their recent fights but she couldn't tell which one. So, she waited for him to start in on her as was their now customary way of speaking to one another. To her surprise he did not speak, just kept sitting and staring. He seemed eerily quiet. Moments passed with nothing but silence between them and when Bosco's scrutiny did not abate Faith began to feel uncomfortable.
"What are you looking at?" she asked nervously but hated the accusatory tone of her question and quickly added, "I didn't mean it that way".
Bosco didn't take his eyes off her; he just sat there calmly and ignored her awkward apology. He continued to stare patiently and then worded, "Everything."
Faith wasn't expecting such a response. Her confusion was clearly etched in her features and sensing her uneasiness Bosco immediately regretted his statement. He averted his eyes remorsefully as he corrected himself and whispered, "Nothing."
But Faith's mind spun on Bosco's original reply trying to make sense of it. Was this his attempt at an apology, she wondered. But she was unable to sort this out in her mind, and Bosco's demeanour offered no clues on his inner thoughts. Faith pushed aside her own nervousness and finally broke the empty silence as she released the hushed question gnawing at her. "What does that mean?"
Bosco shifted his weight and looked down at his feet. Not so long ago it was the most natural thing in the world to confide in Faith. He had been able to tell her everything and now, he just wanted her to know how much he missed her but he had trouble getting the words out. He took a deep breath and tried to put his thoughts in order before starting again. "I used to recognize us," he said softly.
Faith waited quietly. She understood that this was not a conversation between them but Bosco's confession to her.
"55 David," Bosco stated as he looked up and smiled wistfully. Faith had to momentarily look away to hide the ache that she felt at the nostalgia emanating from Bosco's words. Nevertheless, she quickly gathered her strength and met his gaze with a small nod of her head, urging him on.
"That was the one place, the only place, where I didn't feel alone even when you weren't there..." his voice trailed off as his eyes focused down the street at some unseen memory. Faith clutched the note in her hand and felt the same sense of loss Bosco was expressing. They had been hurtling out of control for such a long time that it was hard to remember what they were like before.
"I wish...," Bosco whispered his voice laced with longing. Faith allowed herself a brief moment of hope as she waited for Bosco to finish his sentence, but he let the thought drift away like so many other unfulfilled wishes. She watched him shut his eyes and she could all but hear his internal conversation telling himself he was stupid to think this rift could be repaired by wishing it so.
After a lingering silence, Faith found her voice, gathered her courage and asked, "What do you wish?"
Bosco's shrugged his shoulders in defeat and after a long shaky breath opened his eyes and stared back at Faith. Faith saw a mixture of anger, disbelief and shame, a look Faith had only seen once after Bosco confronted his mother in the hospital about her low-life boyfriend Skaggett. Faith half expected Bosco to storm off in a huff. Instead, he shook his head in disgust as if to berate himself. "I wish," he started as his eyes hardened, "we would stop hanging on to things that don't exist anymore." He pushed himself away from the car and took a few steps until his back was to Faith making it clear he wanted this conversation to end.
Faith was not wounded by his tone; she understood how difficult this was for Bosco and knew his anger was directed at himself for hoping and wanting 55 David back. His statement echoed in her ears and she wondered if it was true they were hanging on to something that didn't exist anymore. She hated to admit it to herself, but as she searched her memory, she found no evidence of a partnership much less a friendship in recent months. It dawned on her that their continuing fights created the illusion that she and Bosco were still connected but she knew that when the fighting stopped, there would be nothing left and 55 David would cease to exist. The realization left her feeling like she had been punched in the gut.
Bosco stood motionless before her as if made of stone. The only give away to the turmoil within was the misty breath spewing from his mouth like steam from a simmering volcano. Faith stood apprehensive but steadfast before him, she did not want this situation to continue to fester until their relationship reached a slow and inevitable death. It was better to cut it off now if that's what he wanted. She braced herself before asking again, "What is it you want?"
Faith expected anger and fury in response to her question. Instead, as Bosco turned to face her he let out a deep sigh as if his want was a dead weight in the pit of his stomach. Faith could sense his indecisiveness and the battle raging within as to which way he would take this conversation. More than anything Bosco wanted his old life back. His world was full of lies and deceit masked as justice. It was hard to tell the good guys from the bad and he had only himself to blame for the mess he was in. He could not imagine Faith taking him back and at the same time he could not imagine a world without her. He felt trapped in a no man's land and before he could stop himself, he allowed his answer to slip heavily into the night air, "Everything and nothing."
Faith tried to understand the meaning of what Bosco said. He was normally so straight forward and blunt but she sensed that he needed her to understand him without all the words in between. A feeling of helplessness invaded her and she thought how these words perfectly described the immensity of the gap between who they once were and where they stood today. She looked up and saw what she could only describe as both dread and resignation in Bosco's eyes. The same look that she had misread earlier when she spotted Bosco at the top of the landing in the precinct. His expression reminded her of the person who comes to tell you that a loved one is dead all the while choking down their own grief. Faith fingered the note in her hand while the realization dawned on her that there, inside the precinct, above her on the landing; Bosco understood that their old lives were gone forever.
This was true, but Faith also understood that every day and every moment was a thing of the past. Her children had taught her that everything is fleeting for better or for worse and that was how life worked. There are no constants. Faith smiled at this thought; there were no constants including the fighting between her and Bosco. One day that would end – for better or for worse.
Faith knew that in Bosco's world everything was an all or nothing proposition and somehow he needed her to show him another way. "Maybe, we just need to find somewhere in between," Faith offered as she stepped towards him.
Bosco looked away from Faith ashamed that she would even consider taking him back after everything he put her through. And as he gazed down the street, he realized the past was in the far distance and the future he had once envisioned would never come to pass and all that mattered was the here and now. He understood that endings don't mean that there are no new beginnings.
He looked up at Faith and sensed her nervousness. He returned her gaze with understanding and gratitude and nodded his acceptance as he stepped towards her and reciprocated her offer with one of his own, "let's start somewhere in between."