"Last Exit to Brooklyn"
Disclaimer: All Third Watch characters are property of NBC. All original characters belong to me
Summary: After a terrible tragedy changes his life, Bosco goes undercover to find redemption and justice in the most unlikely of places
Authors Note: This is a long one! I was going to split it into two chapters but couldn't really find a good place to do that. I hope everyone enjoys!
'I'm a good man with a good heart
Had a tough time, got a rough start
But I finally learned to let it go
Now I'm right here and I'm right now
And I'm open, knowing somehow
My shadow days are over'
Liz stared out the window as the lights of Brooklyn reflected off the marshes. It was almost three am and the Long Island Expressway was nearly deserted. Out of the corner of her eye she watched Bosco drive. Something was different about him. The tension in his face was gone as the corners of his mouth turned upward in a relaxed smile. All this time the one thing he feared most was that she wouldn't accept him; that she would blame him for what happened. That, like everyone else, she would walk away. But she didn't because despite all the trouble he had caused her; something about him drew her in from the very beginning. A person whose life had been shattered in everyway possible; someone who was almost broken beyond repair, and someone who couldn't let himself give up. Whether he knew it or not, Bosco had locked her in that first night. Despite the fighting and the arguments, she couldn't have walked away even if she wanted to.
Bosco guided the car through the streets of Brooklyn as his mind was still back in Rockaway. It felt so good to have her there next to him; he thought that he could stay that way forever. After months of being alone in a world of pain, just having someone there to listen was enough. The physical contact, her arms around him, nearly sent him over the moon. He had ached for months for someone to put their arms around him and say that everything would be ok. That it wasn't his fault. That they wouldn't leave. Without even knowing it, she had given him everything he had been searching for and more.
Bosco's heart dropped as he pulled up in front of their building. He didn't want the moment to end. The feeling of closeness was intoxicating. Stiffly Liz slid out of the car. They hadn't spoken a word since they left the beach. Really, there was nothing left to say. Cradling her arm in the sling, Liz waited as Bosco opened the door. Their apartment was dark as she flicked on the light switch. Out of the bedroom Atlas padded across the carpet. They had been gone a long time and the dog was no doubt in serious need of a visit to the bathroom. Looking at the German Shepherd Liz had no energy left as she hoped that Bosco would save the day.
"You want to go for a walk, Atlas?" Letting out a sigh of relief she silently walked toward the bathroom. Liz hadn't seen herself yet, and even she was little shocked to see the bruises over her face and neck. Her long hair was knotted and matted with dried blood against the side of her face as her torn shirt hung loosely over her body. She didn't notice Bosco's standing behind her looking at her in the mirror. His fingers nervously played with Atlas's leash, as a look a pure guilt crossed his features.
When he spoke his voice was barely above a whisper. "I wish it was me instead of you." Looking at him through the mirror she nodded.
"I know." Turning she offered him a little smile. "It's ok." It wasn't ok. Not to Bosco, anyway. Sooner or later he would find Mickey and even if it was the last thing he did, Mickey was going to get a beating he would remember. For now, he offered Liz a small, although clearly guilty nod before walking out the door with Atlas. Even though it had led to a major breakthrough between the two of them, Bosco would never forgive himself for what happened to her. He couldn't believe how close he had come to losing another partner.
The hot water of the shower felt good against her tired muscles. Her face burned where it was cut, as the tub was stained red from the dried blood running down her body. So much had happened tonight that her brain was still trying to process everything. Turning the water off she stepped out onto the carpet. Even clean she didn't look much better. Sighing she reasoned that it could always be worse- she could be in the hospital or even the morgue. She heard the door open as Bosco and Atlas returned.
Brushing her wet hair, Liz's mind involuntarily wandered back to Rockaway Beach. She liked feeling Bosco next to her. She liked feeling like she meant something to him and that he was willing to let her in. More than that, though, she liked that he trusted her enough to lay himself completely bare in front of her. She didn't think that she had ever felt so intensely connected to another person in her entire life. And just like Bosco she didn't want that feeling to end.
Shutting off the bathroom light, she stepped out into the dark apartment. Quietly finding her way over to the bed, she collapsed into the sheets. Her eyes eventually adjusted to the dim streetlight as she stared up at the ceiling. Feeling that emotional connection with him was intoxicating and she couldn't stop thinking about it.
"Bosco?" Maybe he was asleep.
"Yeah?" Sitting up, she pushed herself out of bed as she walked toward him. Careful to step over Atlas she sat on the edge of his bed. Turning over she could see his eyes in the dim light taking in her appearance; shorts, t-shirt, battered face, and wet hair. It was suddenly awkward she didn't know what to say without sounding corny. Taking a deep breath she got right to the point.
"Do you mind if I stay here tonight?" It didn't sound good but it was what she wanted.
Exhaling deeply, she felt him brush his hand against her bare thigh. "Honestly, I would love that but I….I don't want anything to get complicated between us. I…" Before he could finish she stopped him.
"I know what you mean. I just really loved feeling close to you tonight and I didn't want it to end and…" She trailed off. Good thing it was dark because she could feel her cheeks burning red.
Bosco smiled at her. She really was one of the most honest people he had ever met. Liz never had any trouble saying exactly what was on her mind. Without saying a word, he moved over in the bed so that she could lie down next to him. For a split second she wondered if this was mistake or if she should go back to her own bed. Then, without thinking she tentatively laid down next to him. The bed was small as their bodies were instantly pressed against each other. Laying her head down against his shoulder, she felt him wrap his arms around her. Closing her eyes she rested her hand against his chest.
Next to him, she was warm and soft and his body tingled every place that she touched him. Turning his head, he inhaled the sweet smell of her wet hair as he allowed his eyes to drift shut. For the first time in a long time, Bosco felt content. With his partner next to him, he fell into a deep and dreamless sleep.
Rubbing his eyes, John Sullivan leaned his elbows on the kitchen table. In front of him was a mess of papers that he had been over a thousand times. The accident report; it held no proof but enough suspicion to keep him guessing. The best accident reconstruction team in the NYPD had been dispatched to investigate the crash and they had come to two basic conclusions. Bosco had braked and the vehicle sustained a significant impact from behind. Why these findings were never further investigated was beyond him.
Then there was Bosco's statement to IAB. Initially he told them that he braked. He braked. Then somehow, some way those IAB rats found a way to twist his words and take the grief and responsibility he was feeling and turn it into something they could use. Something that made the story fit the way they wanted it to. On the other hand, Brian Jackson had no trouble giving a well-choreographed version of events that matched Scott Geidel's almost word for word. It was more than clear to Sully that they had obviously spent a considerable amount of time getting their stories straight.
And there was the hooker. According to the database Lysette Jones was nineteen with two priors for prostitution and an otherwise clean record. In a sworn statement to Detective Jeff Rheam of the Bronx Vice Squad, Jones stated that an unnamed man who identified himself as a police officer stated that he and his partner killed a 'drug dealer' and another cop saw them do it. Then they killed her. Sully's eyes focused on one sentence, 'He said his partner made it look like an accident but that they killed her and that was for sure.'.
Running a hand through his hair, Sully had all the pieces but he couldn't make them fit. It was all hearsay. There were no eyewitnesses and there was no proof. His theory was circumstantial at best and he knew he would need much more to bring down two cops. He needed to talk to someone who was there. That didn't leave him many options. Faith was dead, Bosco was gone, and he could forget about Jackson and Geidel. Staring at the papers Sully took a long sip of beer. The driver of the truck. He hadn't even thought about it before. Sifting through the papers he found the information he was looking for. In the IAB report a meager two sentences were devoted to the only impartial eyewitness in the whole situation. It read: 'Detective Barlow spoke with Driver George Ramirez at his home in Queens. Ramirez states that he agrees with Officer Jackson's account and has nothing further to add.' That seemed a little too convenient for Sully's liking. Flipping to the back of the report, he copied down the address for Ramirez.
Scott Geidel laid on his couch staring blankly at the TV. The guilt was eating him alive. He thought of nothing other than Yokas, the faces of her children at the funeral, and the wild, wounded look in Bosco's eyes. He had caused all that. He could have stopped Jackson, stood up to him for once, but he didn't. He couldn't; because truthfully he was no better.
A loud knock at the door caused him to jump. Only one person would be knocking at his door like that at this time of night. Reluctantly, he got up and opened the door. In strode Brian Jackson without so much as a hello.
"Finally! I thought you were going to leave me standing out there all night!" Geidel's shoulders slumped as he closed the door.
"What do you want, Brian?"
Jackson looked at him a little incredulously before getting right to the point. "A couple nights ago I trailed Sullivan..." Before Jackson could finish his partner cut in.
"What? Now you're after Sullivan? This shit has to stop." When Geidel agreed to get into business with his partner, he had underestimated just how paranoid Jackson could get.
"Would you listen for a goddamned minute? Something's going on…" Geidel shook his head as he sat down at the table. This was such bullshit. Where would they stop? What would be enough to satisfy his partner? Staring straight ahead, he waited for Jackson to continue although he had to admit that he was only half listening. While still regarding his partner with a scowl Jackson continued, "I followed him and Davis to Hunts Point Avenue and they picked up some broad." The blood in Geidel's veins ran cold as he listened to the words come out of his partner's mouth. There was no way they could know.
"I thought it was a little weird because Davis was with him, but hey maybe they like it that way… I don't know." Scott hoped that Brian didn't notice the panicked look on his face. "Anyway, the weird part was that they seemed to be looking for one specific hooker and then when they found her she was only in the car a couple of minutes before she bolted. Davis chased her down the street! I mean, what the hell? They all got the same parts. I just couldn't figure out why they were so hot for this one hooker."
Directing his gaze toward Geidel, Jackson immediately recognized the struck look on his partner's face as fear. He didn't like this. "Do you know anything about this?"
Geidel shook his head slowly although he resisted making eye contact. "I asked you if you knew anything about this!" He was yelling, as Geidel remained silent. Jackson got up so that he was standing over his partner, leaning down on the table so that he was hovering over him his voice came out low and menacing. "You need to tell me what the fuck you did so that I can fix it before we get jammed up!"
Scott sat there. His breathing picked up as he refused to meet his partner's gaze. Jackson pushed back from the table; he already knew the answer. This needed to be dealt with right now. "Let's go."
He turned and walked out of the apartment. Starting the car he waited for Geidel to emerge form the building. He would come; he had no choice. Jackson called the shots and when he said something needed to be done, they did it. A few minutes passed and just as predicted Scott emerged from the building. Wearing a black shirt and a hat pulled down over his eyes, he quickly slid into the car. Jackson hit the gas without a word.
The problem about a place like New York is that there isn't any privacy. When you have business to handle, it's hard to find a place to do that in complete anonymity. Someone is always watching or listening. Cutting across the east side, Jackson slowed the car in an abandoned parking lot near the East River. Getting out he walked across the grass until he was at the edge of a rocky embankment that led down to the water. Across the water Queens and La Guardia airport glowed in the hot night sky.
Geidel slowly walked up behind him. For a second he wondered if he had it in him to push his partner into the East River. Over the rocks and right into the river, it wouldn't be that hard. Shaking his head, he quickly dismissed the thought. As he approached he heard his partner's voice low and threatening. "You ARE going to tell me what you did before we leave here."
Shoving his hands into his pockets, Geidel hung his head. When he finally did speak his voice came out as a whisper. "I was lonely and I felt guilty. I needed someone to talk to."
Spinning around, Jackson couldn't believe his ears. "What are you? Some kind of pussy?"
Looking away Geidel shook his head, "It was some hooker, Brian. I didn't use any names. Come on, what's the big deal?"
Jackson was about to explode, "The big FUCKING deal is that she told somebody who told somebody who told goddamned Sullivan and now he has a living person to tie us to this whole mess! What the FUCK !" Geidel stood his ground, anger beginning to bubble up.
"You know I never wanted to do this! This was all your idea. I just went along with it because we were partners!"
Jackson got up in his face, "No, you went along with it because you were greedy just like me. You wanted the money, don't lie." It really hadn't been about the money for Geidel; sure he took it but he was there to back up his partner. A switch flipped inside of him as he wound up, hitting Jackson as hard as he could.
Stumbling back a few steps, Jackson leaned over as he tried to catch his breath. "Is that it?" He was taunting Geidel out of pure disgust. He only asked him to do one thing and that was to keep his mouth shut. Now he comes to find out that not only did he fail miserably, he did it out of loneliness and guilt. It made him sick.
Geidel saw red as he charged at his partner. The two of them hit the ground hard as he wasted no time punched Jackson square in the jaw. "This is all your fault! I didn't want to do any of it!"
Jackson was a little bigger than his partner and had only moderate difficulty pushing Geidel back. Throwing his partner back into the dirt, Jackson scrambled to his feet as he wound up, punching Scott directly in the gut. "You came along because you wanted to! Don't lie to yourself, Scott!" Blood was running out of Geidel's nose as he lay on the ground. A sick smile spread across his face as he started laughing. Standing up Jackson brushed off his pants.
"What would you do if I went to IAB and blew the cover off this shit?" Pushing himself up, Scott stood there with a smug defiant look on his face.
Jackson looked at him for a moment before shaking his head vehemently, "You wouldn't do that."
Smiling back at his partner, Geidel nodded his head, "I don't care anymore, Brian. I can't live with this for the rest of my life. If I go down, go to prison; it would all be worth it just to take you with me."
In a flash the smile on his face was gone as Jackson pushed him roughly up against a rusted cyclone fence. Grabbing Scott around the throat, Jackson was a little surprised that he didn't struggled. Instead, Geidel stood there defiantly not gasping for air or moving an inch. Blood trickled down his nose and onto Jackson's hand.
"Listen to me you piece of shit. You might think you can do something about this but you can't. You hear me, you can't. If you go to IAB I swear to God. I will find Tommy and Christina." The color drained out of Scott's face. He didn't think that his partner would go that far. Christina was Geidel's ex-wife that he still loved immensely. The divorce was her doing; she couldn't stand the life. Tommy was Geidel's eight year old son who he also adored. He saw him on weekends and some holidays but it was never enough. His personal life was completely off limits to those at work, he never talked about them not even to his partner. Jackson leaned closer as he whispered into his partner's ear. "God help me Scott. If you go to IAB I will fuck your ex-wife and I'll kill your kid, and I will do it messy. Do you hear me?" Geidel felt his heart cold in his chest. He might not have cared what happened to him but he would rather die than know that he caused some kind of pain to Tommy or Christina. He wanted to fight back, tell Jackson to go to hell, but really what would that do? The man was deranged beyond anything he could have imagined. His chance to do the right thing had come and gone a long time ago.
Jackson stepped back from the fence seeing the struck look on his partner's face and feeling a sick sense of accomplishment. He knew exactly what buttons to push to keep him quiet. Wiping the blood off his hand with a sneer, Jackson walked back to the car. Starting the engine, he waited for Geidel. He knew he would come; he had no choice.
Looking down at the piece of paper in his hand, Sully looked back up to make sure the address matched. 22 47th Road was nothing to write home about. The red brick building looked like it had seen better days. A navy blue awning that was missing a few planks covered the dented steel door. Air conditioners hung haphazardly in the steel barred windows as a neat row of trash cans were kept behind a small fence. Stepping closer, Sully scanned the names on the box. George Ramirez was in 2B. Hitting the buzzer he anxiously waited for a response. Nothing. Again he hit the buzzer. Stepping back he looked up to see if anyone was peering down at him from the windows above. They were empty. Sighing Sully turned to leave when a voice came from the box next to the door.
"What do you want?" Quickly he hustled back over the buzzer.
"Is this George Ramirez?"
"Yeah. What do you want?"
"NYPD. I got a couple questions for you." Sully wished that Ramirez would just come to the door.
"Questions about what?" The accident was a couple a months ago, he might not remember.
"You were in an accident a couple of months ago. I'm just doing a follow up, and need a little more information." Sully was lying through his teeth. He hoped that no one called the precinct about his extracurricular activities.
"I already told those other cops everything I know. I ain't got nothing else to say. Bye." The speaker clicked off as Sully stood there grappling for next move.
Pushing the buzzer quickly, he leaned in a little trying not to sound too eager. "Mr. Ramirez. I promise I won't take too much of your time. I just…I'm not really here officially. It's kind of off the record." There was no response as Sully leaned against the doorframe. Well this went worse than he thought it would. Turning he started walking down the stairs Suddenly behind him he heard a door open.
"Hey man, what you want to talk about?" George Ramirez was younger than Sully would have thought. Not older than thirty he stood in the doorway wearing a white t-shirt and black gym shorts. Although his manner was standoffish his face displayed a look of genuine concern.
"I was wondering if I could come in and ask you a couple questions." Ramirez appeared to be considered it for a minute or two before finally motioning for Sully to come in. Relief washed over the older man as he followed Ramirez up the stairs to a small but generally clean apartment. Sitting down on the couch, Ramirez gestured for Sully to have a seat across from him. Sully wasted no time getting to the point, "Look, Mr. Ramirez, I know you already gave your version of events to the detectives and we are in no way investigating you. I just need to confirm what you saw that day."
Ramirez shrugged a smirk coming to his face. "Like I told the other cops. It happened so fast…I heard the sirens but I didn't see anything until it was too late. One minute I'm going through the intersection, the next there's a white car in front of me. I didn't have time to think let alone stop. I hit my head on the steering wheel, the next thing I remember is somebody getting me out of the truck." He paused for a moment. "That's about it."
Sully stared at him. It was clear that the man was holding back. "That's all?"
Ramirez stopped for a moment clearly contemplating his words, "Yeah."
Sully sat back in the chair looking around the room. There were pictures everywhere of two little girls. Smiling faces, they looked exactly like the man sitting on the couch. Turning back toward Ramirez, Sully spoke frankly. "Listen, George, the reason I'm here is because I've been looking into this accident and I don't think it happened the way that they say. I think something else happened but I don't have any proof." Sully noted the sudden change in Ramirez's posture as he visibly tensed on the couch, "I think a cop, a friend of mine, was killed by another cop; someone who works in my precinct. Faith Yokas, that was her name. She had two kids… about the same age the ones on your wall. They have to live the rest of their lives without a mother, George. Don't you think they want some answers? Maybe see the people who did this in jail where they belong?" Sully was laying it on pretty thick. Watching he was pleased as Ramirez nervously fiddled with the hem of his pants. He was getting to him. "Her partner, well he quit the force; can't even bear to think about being a cop without her. He was driving so he's taking the fall for all of this, but we both know it wasn't his fault, was it?"
Ramirez suddenly stood up. "I think you should go."
Sully sat there for a moment staring at the younger man. There was no use pressing him any further; the last thing he needed was a beat for harassment in his jacket. Standing up, he placed one of his cards on the table before walking out. "If you think of anything else, please call me." Ramirez stared at the floor as Sully walked out the door and down the stairs. He was definitely holding something back; there was no doubt about that.
Bosco rocked back in his chair as he watched the sun go down. The warm summer breeze felt amazing on his face as he closed his eyes. The roof was deserted, as he was thankful for a few moments of peace on an otherwise very eventful day. A small smile came to his face as he thought about last night. He never thought it could feel so freeing and so amazing to let someone in. For the first time in months he felt like he could really relax and be just be himself. No more walls, no more guards, no more fighting. At first he thought he would feel embarrassed and that he wouldn't be able to look her in the eye again. It was just the opposite though, he felt better, stronger now that she knew. Maybe it only worked out that way when it was the right person. Liz was definitely the right person. Never in a million years did he think that something so horrible as Faith death could lead him to something so wonderful. After what he did there was no reason why he should have someone like her beside him. He felt incredibly lucky; like someone had been looking out for him all along.
His smile faded as his thoughts shifted to Callahan. To say that the man was pissed would have been understatement. He was furious. First at him for leaving Liz alone and compromising the entire operation; second at Liz for thinking she could take care of things by herself. They both received a tongue-lashing but ultimately, Callahan couldn't bring himself to take any further action. As much as it killed him, he understood that Bosco had been placed in a tough spot and did what he had to do. He had been working with Liz for a while and he was decidedly harder on her. She was the lead on this; it was up to her to make the calls. She knew better but as usual she thought she could take care of things. Usually it worked out, this time it didn't. Bosco wasn't sure if Callahan was more upset that she had screwed the operation or that she had almost gotten herself killed. The way that Callahan was looking at her, he thought that latter to be more true.
They fumbled the ball on the one-yard line and now needed to figure out a different way inside. Both Callahan and Liz were pretty sure that the operation was done and that Barksdale had gotten away. For now, they would let things settle, stay out of sight and see what happened next. Maybe they would get lucky.
Honestly, Bosco didn't give a shit about the operation right now. He wanted revenge on Mickey and he wanted it bad. Whether undercover or not, a man cannot let another man beat on his girl and get away with it. A dusky darkness had settled over Brooklyn as Bosco let the chair slam to the ground. He was going to find that little prick Mickey and take care of business once and for all.
The apartment was dark as he tried to slip inside without making a sound. On the couch Liz rolled over, eyeing him suspiciously. "What are you doing?"
Dammit. She was too sharp. Swallowing hard he stepped out of the shadows, "I'm going out."
Confused she looked at him, "Out where?"
"Don't worry about it." He didn't want to lie to her but he also couldn't come straight out and tell her what he was about to do.
Pushing herself up on the couch, Liz struggled against the unbelievable soreness. "Bosco…"
Heading toward the door, he pulled a Yankees hat down over his eyes, "I'll be back later."
"Bosco!" The door was closing although she saw him pause. "Don't do anything you'll regret." There was silence as he closed the door without saying a word. Collapsing back onto the couch Liz exhaled loudly. She knew exactly what he was about to do. Briefly, she contemplated getting her gun out of the lock box in the bedroom closet and going after him. Then just as quickly as the thought had come, she dismissed it. She knew Bosco needed to handle this for himself. Undercover girlfriend, partner; she was both to him and no man would ever be able to stand by and watch his woman take a beating at the hands of another man. Pinching her eyes shut it was hard for her to sit by and let him go. She just hoped that he knew what he was doing.
Bosco walked down the street with purpose. For the first few blocks he kept looking over his shoulder half expecting Liz to be there. Inside he was satisfied that she was going to step back and let him do what needed to be done. In this world a man would rather be respected than loved. It is more deeply engrained in their psyche than anything else. After tonight, Bosco was fairly certain that they would respect him.
The club was crowded as a thick layer of smoke hung low in the cramped space. Pulling the cap down over his eyes, Bosco tried not to attract too much attention. Elbowing his way through the mass of people, he became aware that a few people were staring at him. The deal between Liz, Mickey, Barksdale and himself had not been common knowledge around the club and he wondered how many people knew Mickey gave his partner the beating of her life. Scanning the crowd, he finally found what he was looking for.
Standing by the bar, Mickey was smiling and laughing as he entertained a group of women. Bosco felt anger begin to boil in his veins. Pushing his way through the crowd he managed to step up behind Mickey undetected.
"Hey Mickey! We need to talk." Spinning around, Mickey couldn't hide his surprise. Eyeing Bosco carefully he appeared to contemplate his options before turning back around.
"No we don't." Bosco had half hoped to be able to handle this with a little discretion, maybe take it out into the alley. That thought went out the window quickly, however, as white-hot anger spilled over.
"Oh hey Mickey." The man turned his face slightly as Bosco wound up as far as he could. The pop that his fist made against Mickey's face was both delightful and painful at the same time. The women standing around him scattered as a small crowd turned to watch. Not letting up for a minute, Bosco landed a blow to the gut that caused Mickey to double over in pain. The thumping music cut out and soon the only thing Bosco heard was the pounding of his own heart.
Mickey crumpled into a heap on the floor, bleeding from the nose. Standing over him Bosco looked down in disgust. Out of the corner of his eye Bosco saw one of Barksdale's people coming over. The large man casually looked between Bosco and Mickey before asking, "Do we have a problem here?"
Shaking his head, Bosco sneered at the man on the ground. "No, there's no problem." Bosco turned to leave. "Hey Bosco I just got one question for you." He stopped but didn't turn around. "Yeah…I just want to know what kind of pussy sends his bitch to take care of business for him."
That was it. Something inside of him snapped wide open as he turned in one fluid motion. In the blink of an eye he was on top of Mickey pummeling him with his fists. Mickey wasn't going to take this laying down, though as Bosco felt him rear up from underneath as his knee landed squarely in Bosco's stomach. The air whooshed out of Bosco's lungs as he felt himself toppling backwards onto the cement floor. Blinking his eyes, he became aware of the ring of faces staring down at him. The large man that came over earlier was standing there making no attempt to intervene. Maybe it was too entertaining to stop. Maybe no one gave a shit about Bosco. Or maybe Mickey wasn't as popular as he made himself out to be. Either way, Bosco felt his teeth rattle as Mickey landed a punch on the side of his face. On top of him, the other man had finally gained the upper hand. Bosco felt dizzy as Mickey slammed his head against the concrete. Blood trickled down the side of his face and around the angle of his jaw. This wasn't exactly going as he had planned.
An image of Liz flashed through his mind as he blinked a few times. Standing in the hospital parking lot, her bloody, bruised face was illuminated by the dim light. He remembered the defeated look in her eyes and the sound of her voice. He remembered standing in that dark parking lot shaking thinking she was dead. He remembered the way his heart thumped with both relief and guilt when he found out she had barely survived. And after all that, he came back to the same image of her standing there in the parking lot, looking at him with that sad, defeated look. And from somewhere deep inside himself, he found enough strength to push Mickey up off of him.
The other man stumbled back as Bosco wasted no time retaking control of the situation. Kicking Mickey in the ribs, the man rolled onto his side in pain. Kneeling down, Bosco grabbed Mickey by the throat slamming him back onto the concrete.
"Now I got a question for YOU. Tell me what kind of punk ass bitch beats on a woman?" Bosco tightened his grip on the doughy flesh of Mickey's neck as leaned in closer. Reaching behind him he pulled something out of his waistband. A collective gasp was heard in the club as Bosco leveled the .9mm under Mickey's chin. "You might have thought that you won but lets be clear about something. If you EVER and I mean EVER touch her again I'll kill you." Letting go of Mickey's throat he stood up. Shoving the gun back into his waistband, Bosco stood up. All eyes were on him as he back away, giving Mickey a long stare. Pushing his way through the crowd he didn't give a damn what they thought of him. That bastard almost took the only person left in his life that still gave a damn. He got what he deserved.
Staring out the window, Sully watched as the people on the street blurred together. Lucky for him the shift was almost over. After his meeting with George Ramirez this morning Sully's thoughts had been wandering all day.
"Did you hear what I said?" Davis looked at him from the driver's seat.
Shaking his head, Sully looked confused. "What?"
"What's going on, man? You've been out of it all day." Looking back out the window, Sully tried to play it off.
"It's nothing." He didn't get anything out of Ramirez, so what was the use of bringing it up?
Davis raised his eyebrow, clearly not believing his partner. Shaking his head, he had a suspicion that this had something to do with Yokas. He was about to open his mouth when a high-pitched ringing broke the silence. Pulling his phone out of his pocket, an annoyed looked crossed Sully's face as he flipped it open.
"Yeah?" The car was silent as he listened and then finally. "Ok."
"Who was that?"
"The desk sergeant. Says someone wants to meet me at the Pinecrest Diner."
"Who?" Sully shrugged. He had an idea but he didn't want to get too excited.
Ten minutes later Davis put the car in park. Sully hesitated getting out. Regarding his partner he spoke slowly. "Maybe you should wait in the car."
"What the hell is going on, man?" Davis was becoming irritated with all the secrecy.
"Look, Davis, if this is what I think it is; maybe you shouldn't get involved. It isn't exactly on the record if you know what I mean."
"This is about Yokas, isn't it?" Sully was silent. "I'm already in it, Sully. I was in it as soon as you told me what you were doing. Come on, man. You think I'm not going to back you up?"
Sully shook his head, "It isn't that, Ty. This is serious, I'm trying to prove that another cop killed Faith, and it's all a hunch…a suspicion. I don't have any proof. And if it goes the wrong way and I get jammed up over this, I don't want you to go down with me."
Davis was silent for a moment before finally speaking. "Right or wrong, Sully, I'm not going to walk away now. We're in this until the end."
Sully was silent as he looked at the glowing lights of the diner. Ty was grown man, and even though Sully tried his best to look out for him, he was going to make his own way on this job. If this was how he wanted to do it, then so be it. But if George Ramirez was in that diner after tonight the game would be stepped up a notch and there would be no turning back.
The diner was mostly deserted that time of night and Sully had no trouble locating the person he was looking for. Seeing the two officers approach, George Ramirez looked up. Offering a slight smile he waited for Sully and Davis to slide into the booth across from him.
"Mr. Ramirez, this is my partner Officer Davis." Ramirez briefly acknowledged Davis before turning back to Sully.
"I called you because there's something else." Sully nodded, he knew that Ramirez was holding back. "Look, man, here it is. I know I might look like punk, but I work two jobs to provide for my kids. I really…I'm scared. I need my job." Sully was confused where he was going with this. Taking a deep breath Ramirez continued. "The night after the crash I was at home when a cop came to my door. He said he had to talk to me about a couple things. He asked me what I saw and I told him. He told met that wasn't the way it happened. I was like, 'What the hell, man? I know what I saw!'." Pausing Ramirez rubbed his forehead. "Then dude gets all crazy and shit, checks me against the wall and says that if I ever told anyone what I saw he would make sure I lost my job with the truck company. I can't lose my job, man. It's all I got. If I can't drive, my kids can't eat. I just…"
Putting his hand up, Sully stopped the man. "George, it's ok. Just tell me what you saw."
Ramirez took a few deep breaths. It was clear that he was in a tough spot. He knew the difference between right and wrong yet was driven by a desire to protect himself and his family. Looking down at the table, he began speaking slowly. "I was coming up to the intersection. The light was green but I heard the siren so I started to slow down. On the left side I saw the cop car coming down Lexington. He stopped at the intersection…" Before Ramirez could continue Sully raised his hand.
"Excuse me? You're saying that you saw the car stop before going through the intersection?"
Ramirez nodded, "Yeah he stopped. I saw it."
Next to Sully, Davis lowered his head. Running a hand over his head he muttered, "Oh my God."
Sully wasn't surprised. He knew that was what happened. He just needed some proof.
"I thought he was going to wait until I cleared the intersection. I was too close to stop. Then another cop car came up behind the first one and pushed him out into the intersection. The second guy…he didn't even slow down. That was the last thing I saw before the crash."
Sully stared him down. "You're sure?"
Ramirez nodded slowly, his mouth drawn into a thin line. "I saw her, you know. When the car rolled out in front of me. I saw her face; that lady cop you were talking about, the one with the kids. She looked right at me."
The three men were silent for a moment each digesting the shift that had just taken place. Finally Ramirez spoke, "What happens to me, now?"
Sully took a deep breath. "You're going to have to come down to the house. Make a statement. Probably testify."
Ramirez shook his head violently. "I'm not doin' that. That cop, he said he would take my job, even kill me if I opened my mouth."
"We can protect you."
"Right…you gonna be there when he comes back to my house at three in the morning? Are you gonna feed my kids when I lose my job? Nobody cares about someone like me. I'm just some dumb Mexican to them. We're a dime a dozen; if I can't drive they'll find someone who will." Standing up, he paused for a moment. "I wish I could help you. I really am sorry, Officer Sullivan." Walking out of the diner, Ramirez left Sully and Davis wondering what to do next.
The apartment was hot and dark when Bosco got back that night. Opening one of the living room windows he sat down on the couch. He felt better, like the world had been put back on its axis. Flexing his hand he looked at his skinned knuckles. It felt good to hit that bastard.
The bedroom door was closed as Bosco assumed that Liz was asleep. He wanted to wake her up and tell her about everything but then thought better of it. She didn't seem too happy when he left. Sighing, Bosco figured that he would let her sleep on it.
Getting up, he paced back and forth. From the floor Atlas perked his head up watching Bosco wear a path in the carpet. He was still too keyed up to sleep. He needed some kind of release.
It was nearly midnight when Bosco sat down on the front stoop. Tying his tennis shoes he looked down at the pavement. It had been a long time since he did any sort of exercise. He had never really been much of runner, but it seemed to work for Liz so he decided to give it a shot.
The first few steps felt foreign and unusual. Normally he ran in an all out sprint to catch a perp but this was a little different. He had to keep the pace to something he could manage over a distance. He wasn't sure how far he would run, only that he would stop when he felt like it had been enough. Thankfully the streets of Brooklyn were quiet as he turned the corner. The patting of his feet against the concrete lulled him into comfortable rhythm as his mind began to wander.
Finally, Bosco felt like things were really coming together for him. He was beginning to accept that what happened to Faith was not his fault. It was an accident. That's it. God knows he would trade places with her if he could. He had a new partner now and even though she would never be Faith that was all right with him. No one could ever replace Faith, and he was a fool for ever trying to make Liz fit into a space that only one person could ever occupy. That didn't mean he thought she wasn't as good as Faith; much to the contrary he was very impressed by her. Smiling a little, Bosco never would have saw himself partnered with only women at the academy. In fact, if someone had told him that he probably would have laughed in their face. Turns out two of the best cops and people he ever knew were not only women but also his partners. He had been luckier than most.
Turning off Flushing Avenue, Bosco continued on toward the Brooklyn Bridge. The lights of Manhattan glowed across the river as he turned his hat backwards. Looking up into the night sky he thought for a moment that he saw a few stars. Stars in New York City, can you believe it? Turning back to the street, Bosco felt himself slow down a bit. All the adrenaline and anxiety of earlier had washed away as it was replaced by a sense of addicting calm. Climbing the steps to the Brooklyn Bridge Bosco he stopped for a moment as all of lower Manhattan was laid out before him. It was a sight he had seen many times before, but somehow this time was different.
Moving forward the warm breeze dried the sweat from the back of his neck. On the lower deck the sound of traffic whizzing in and out of Manhattan blended with the soft creaking of his tennis shoes against the wooden planks. The walkway was deserted and mostly dark except for dim lights that hung from polished brass hooks. Somewhere down below Bosco heard water sloshing as a cargo ship passed under the bridge heading toward the ocean. It was amazing and in that moment Bosco felt like this experience, the bridge, the city, all of it belonged to him and him alone. If he could he would have stayed in that moment forever.
Slowing down slightly, Bosco turned off the Bridge and onto Vesey Street in Lower Manhattan. His legs were starting to ache as his body felt tired and heavy. Running a few more blocks he slowed to a walk as he reached the World Trade Center Plaza. Hands on his hips, Bosco sucked in air as he looked for a place to sit down. The plaza was beautiful and meticulously maintained as well tended flowers and shrubbery were all around. Between the towers he finally found a cement bench. Sitting down he took a few deep breaths. It felt good to run, better than he would have thought. The physical strain had pushed all the nervous energy out of him as a wonderful sense of peace took its place. Laying back he closed his eyes for a moment. When he opened them he was staring up at two building that seemed to go on forever.
He felt really good. Like his life was finally making sense. He felt like he belonged somewhere; like someone cared what happened to him. He never would have imagined that his life would turn out like this. He had taken a long, hard road but maybe just maybe in the end all the pain and suffering would be worth it. Lying there he stared up at the towers. From that perspective they were beautiful and limitless, soaring into the clouds and touching the heavens. They reminded him that anything was possible, that his life was hopeful and promising, and that all the dreams he once had for himself could still come true.
Bosco wasn't sure how long he lay there. By the time he got up and took the subway back to Brooklyn it was nearly 6 am and the sun was starting to come up. Throwing the apartment door open, he was surprised to see Liz sitting on the couch. He didn't really know what to say so he waiting for her to speak first.
"Are you ok?"
Pausing for a moment he let a genuine smile take over his features. Looking at her he nodded slowly, "Yeah. I'm good." There was no strain in his voice or attempt to hide the truth. It was honest and easy and it rolled right off his tongue. Smiling she nodded back completely believing him for the very first time.
Sully lay in bed looking up at the ceiling. This was serious now. Everything he suspected; everything he felt to be true had just been confirmed by George Ramirez. Now, the only question was what to do. Ramirez made it clear that he would not cooperate. Sighing Sully really couldn't blame him. Unlike most of the punks they dealt with who were only concerned with covering their asses, Ramirez actually had a good reason for not cooperating. He needed to protect his family and his way of life and Sully couldn't fault him for any of that. So, he would need to figure out a different angle.
He briefly considered going to the boss before quickly dismissing the idea. If you were going to take down two cops you needed proof and you needed to be sure of what you were doing. He had no proof although he would bet his life that everything he believed was the God given truth. Also, he found it unnerving that this information was spelled out in black and white on the accident report yet somehow it managed to get overlooked. Somehow the only story anyone wanted to hear was the one coming out of Brian Jackson's mouth. Was there a reason everyone felt the uncontrolled urge to believe him? The sick thought that someone else, like the boss, could be involved in all this caused a chill to run down his spine.
Then there was Bosco, the only other living witness to this whole mess. Sully didn't know if he was still undercover or not. He wasn't even supposed to know that much and he wouldn't have if he hadn't met Liz that day at the auto pound. A slight smile crossed his lips, he was happy that Bosco had someone who seemed to care about him. In the hour that they spent together, he found her to be very sharp, understanding, and funny. Bosco had gotten lucky…again. Even if he were able to find Bosco, there was still no guarantee that the man would talk to him.
Lying there he kept going over the same options. He needed to find a weakness that he could take advantage of. Immediately his thoughts went to Geidel. It was obviously that Jackson was running the show, while Geidel on the other hand often times seemed like a reluctant participant. At this point he had no other ins, so it was at least worth a shot.
That afternoon, Sully leaned against Scott Geidel's building trying to appear nonchalant reading the newspaper. Glancing at his watch he saw that it was almost two o'clock. Looking back up, Sully hoped that Geidel was working today, otherwise he could be standing here for a while. Halfheartedly he scanned the words in front of him until he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Geidel didn't see him as he walked by on his way toward the subway.
"Hey Scott!" The younger man turned abruptly at the sound of his name. Seeing Sully a panicked look immediately crossed his face. Glancing over his shoulder, Sully didn't miss the paranoid way he scanned the street.
"Sullivan?" He feigned surprise although he was pretty sure why the older man was there.
Tucking the newspaper under his arm, Sully took a step toward Geidel. "We need to talk, Scott."
Oh shit. Geidel didn't need to guess; he knew this was about Yokas. Still he tried to appear as cool as possible. "I really have to get going." Turning he started toward the subway again.
Pursing his lips together Sully decided it was now or never, "We both know what happened to Yokas was no accident." Geidel stopped walking. "I know it wasn't your idea. I just want to know why you did it."
Before he could continue Geidel turned around sharply. His face was a mixture of panic and guilt as his voice came out a few octaves too high, "I told you Sullivan! I NEED TO GO!" It was all right there, bubbling under the surface threatening to spill over at any moment. Sully watched as Geidel disappeared down the stairs. He had been so close.
Bosco leaned back against the wall as he watched Liz walk toward him. With the Barksdale operation down the drain, they were in limbo for the time being. Callahan was pissed and there was a good chance he would bounce them both back into uniform. As long as they stayed together he really didn't care where they ended up. Setting the beer down on the table, Liz straddled the picnic bench seat. In her normal life she was much more relaxed than undercover. Gone were the stiletto heels and black dresses, replaced with jeans, a t-shirt, and a backwards Yankee cap. Gone were the darting eyes and upright, on guard posture, replaced by a relaxed smile and easy, honest demeanor. If he thought he liked being around her while undercover, he loved being with her as a normal person.
"What are you going to stare all day or drink that beer?" Pointing at his full cup she laughed, "If you can't take care of it, I can help you."
Smirking at her he took a nice log sip. Laughing she shook her head. They had been working so much that she suggested they do something normal. Other than the run he took a few nights ago, Bosco couldn't remember the last time he did something "normal".
The bruises on his partner's face were beginning to fade as he eyed her closely. "Liz…I've told you pretty much everything about me. What about you? Where are you from?"
Liz wasn't usually open with other people about her life but Bosco was different. "Pittsburgh, originally. I went to the academy there, worked for a year and then moved to New York."
"I thought you said you were a rookie in Brooklyn."
"Well I was a rookie in the NYPD. No one cared I had worked in Pittsburgh, they treated me like shit."
Taking a sip of his beer, Bosco nodded. "Did you like it? The Pittsburgh Department?"
Liz nodded with a smile, "Oh I loved it. The department was great. Most of the guys were really nice; they didn't treat me any different."
Bosco was confused, "So why did you move to New York?"
The smile faded from Liz's face as she finished the beer. "A guy. Someone I thought I would marry. His business transferred him here, I followed, six months later he was sleeping with another woman. I thought about going back to Pittsburgh but I wanted to prove to him and everyone else that I could make it here." She paused thinking for a moment. "Shortly after all that happened, I met Dave and we became partners. Things turned around after that and I never looked back. I felt like I belonged here; like it was all meant to be."
Bosco wasn't expecting that. Finishing his beer, he stood up. "You want another?"
Liz nodded handing him a wooden token. Turning back to the wooden table she wasn't surprised by his reaction. Most people had a hard time finding the right words when she started talking about her past. Maybe she shouldn't have told him all that; would he look at her differently? Coming up behind her, he sat another beer down on the table. "For what its worth that almost husband of yours sounds like a real jag off." A hesitant smile crossed her face. "And just so you know, I'm glad you didn't go back to Pittsburgh." She just looked at him. It was perfect. He didn't need to say anything else.
The walk between the Brooklyn Brewery and their apartment in Bed Sty was about one mile, but it seemed like one block. Laughing, they had consumed a little too much beer and weren't really paying attention to anything but each other.
"Hey where did you go the other night?" Bosco stiffened slightly as his mind floated to less pleasant things.
"I went for a run." He was pretty sure she knew he was going to handle business with Mickey sooner or later; no need to rehash those details.
Liz was drunk and felt good so she didn't press him for anything else, instead concentrating on something positive, "A run, huh? I hear running's pretty good for stress."
Bosco smirked, "Yeah I think someone told me that."
They rounded the corner to their building, as Bosco opened the door. They were still drunk and laughing as they ran up the stairs. At the top Bosco stopped abruptly, the blood in his veins ran cold.
"I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't be here. I just really need to talk to you." Initial shock wore off as Bosco took a few steps forward. Behind him Liz glanced nervously between the two men. Something was going down.
Walking into the apartment, Bosco locked the door behind them. He was drunk; this was not a good time for this kind of thing. From the bedroom Atlas emerged to check out the strange man in their living room.
"How did you find me?" He had a million questions; this was the first one that came to mind.
"An old friend of mine knows your CO, Callahan. I called him, he told me where you were."
Bosco sat down on the couch. He didn't really know where to begin. "So…what's going on?"
"I've been looking into some things and I think that you need to come back to the 55 and go over this again." He was afraid that's where this was going. Standing up he shook his head violently.
"No! No, Sully. I'm not going back there. I don't want to look into what happened, it's over. I'm done with it."
Liz sat on one of the stools keeping her mouth shut. She immediately recognized Sully from the auto pound but hesitated to acknowledge that she knew him. Bosco was drunk and heated and she didn't think it was the right time to discuss how she tried to dig up the dirt of his past.
Sully pursed his lips, as he leaned against the wall. "Bosco, will you at least just hear me out?"
Bosco paced back and forth in his favorite path in the carpet. "Why? Tell me why I should do that, Sully? I've finally started to get on with my life. I was finally starting to feel happy and content with myself again. So tell me WHY THE HELL I SHOULD LISTEN TO YOU?"
Bosco had a way of pressing his buttons as he raised his voice slightly more than he had intended, "BECAUSE! I don't think Faith's death was an accident!"
I love reviews!
Above lyrics are from John Mayer's "Shadow Days"