"Last Exit to Brooklyn"

Author: carmen_085

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

Chapter Eighteen

"When you feel my heat

Look into my eyes

It's where my demons hide

It's where my demons hide"

Bosco crossed his arms over his chest as he rocked back in the metal chair. Letting out a slow deep breath a bitter smirk played across his features. It seemed like every time his life started to make sense the proverbial rug was pulled out from under him. Finally, after months of guilt and pain and self-loathing, he had accepted that Faith was gone. It was still hard to honestly believe. In his head he knew she was never coming back, but in his heart he was still waiting for her to come walking around the corner one day. Like nothing had ever happened, like this had all been a horrible dream.

Those thoughts were still there, but he kept them locked away now. They weren't at the forefront of his mind as he had managed to find a way around them. A path that was uncertain at times, but had ultimately proven itself to be more than worthy. His life in Brooklyn wasn't perfect but it made sense. He knew who he was and what he was supposed to be doing. The work was dangerous but the freedom it offered addicting. His partner was more than he ever could have hoped for. Liz was a good cop and a great friend. For the first time in months he belonged somewhere and it felt good.

Then Sully showed up and with one sentence managed to destroy the life had been so carefully constructing. 'BECAUSE! I don't think Faith's death was an accident!' And everything he had worked so hard to create, all the struggle and the pain, and the long road he had traveled disappeared. And he was back at the start with the same sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. Opening his eyes, he stared blankly at the glowing lights of Manhattan across the river. No matter how much he fought it, he felt himself tumbling backwards into something he couldn't control.

'Bosco I really need to talk to you,' her voice came out disjointed as they bounced over the rough road. What the hell was her problem? She had been up his ass all day about something and he just didn't want to hear it. Too bad she wasn't taking the hint, he would have to be more blunt.

'Jesus Christ Faith, can't this wait until later? I don't want to hear about Fred when we're on our way to a call!' He didn't take his eyes off the road to look at her; he didn't need to. He could feel the hurt radiating off of her. Instantly he regretted it, he didn't mean that; he always wanted to talk to her. The words hadn't been out of his mouth ten seconds and he was already wondering what possessed him to say such a thing.

The RMP sailed down Lexington as he saw the intersection up ahead. He needed to apologize to her. Eyes darting to the right, he opened his mouth to say something but no words came out. He knew what he needed to say but couldn't find the nerve to say it. There would be plenty of time for that later. As far as Bosco knew, he had the rest of his life to make this right.

The light at the intersection turned red as he reached across the console. Flicking the siren on he moved his foot from the gas to the brake. He would need to slow down if not stop completely. His fingers tightened around steering wheel as he felt the car lose speed. In the passenger seat he saw Faith turn and look over her shoulder. In that flicker of a second he thought it strange that she was more concerned with who was behind them rather than clearing the right side of the car. Turning back around she eyed him with a wild, panicked look.

'Bosco! Jackson and Geidel I saw them…" Pressing down on the brakes he turned toward her to clear the right side of intersection as he opened his mouth to say something. A rocket shot out of the back seat as he felt the brake pedal shake under his foot. The car whined and shimmied forward despite the squeal of tires. Before he could figure out what was going on something plowed into them so hard that the last thing he remembered was the sickening crack his head made against the driver's side window.

"I thought you might be up here." The sound of Liz's voice caused him to jump as the chair rocked forward. His heart raced as the metal slapped the ground with a crack. Even though she practically knew everything about him, he still couldn't help but to feel slightly embarrassed that she had walked into such a private moment. It was ridiculous but he felt like she had just caught him with his pants down. It was a rush of nervousness that he didn't expect.

Forcing a smile, he just nodded his head. Settling back into the chair, she eyed him carefully. Something was bothering him and given the recent events she was pretty sure that it was Faith. Never one to hold back, Liz took a deep breath. She too had been thinking about the bomb Sully dropped. She would stand behind him no matter what he decided but if he wanted to know her opinion, she thought that he needed to pursue this and find justice for Faith. No matter what he said or thought, she knew that he would never be able to rest until he knew the truth.

"You need to do it. No matter how much it hurts, you need to do it." Bosco sighed loudly; he didn't need to ask what she was talking about. He knew she was right, and he knew that she just wanted the best for him. But he didn't care. He didn't want to hear it right now. It was just too damn hard to think about going back there and facing that all again.

"Don't pretend like you know how I feel." It was much harsher than he had intended and began to feel a pang of regret as he watched the hurt look cross her face. Getting up he refused to apologize. Everything inside of him said that he needed to face this, yet somehow the only thing he wanted to do was run away. He was scared and he didn't want her to know it although he was pretty sure that she saw through his lace-curtain effort. "Why do I have to go back there? Tell me! Faith's dead and no matter how many doors I knock on, no matter what I find out she'll still be dead. So tell me why I should go back there and go through all that again when I've just started to feel like I belong here?"

The anger in Liz's eyes softened a little. It made her feel good to think that he felt like he belonged here, with her. Still, she couldn't help but to think that he was making a mistake. Looking into his face she saw fear and it made her sad. He had come so far since she met him; it hurt to see him back at the start again. "Because…" her voice was low gauging his reaction. "She would have done it for you."

Bosco had to look away as he felt a sharp pain go through his chest. Faith would have done it for him if the situation were reversed. No way in hell would she have sat back and let the bastard who killed him get away. She would have risked everything for him and he knew it. Apparently so did Liz. It pissed him off that she kept telling him exactly what he didn't want to hear; the truth.

"You don't know what she would have done." His voice was weak and unconvincing and she didn't buy it for a second. For some reason it was easier to lie to her, to fight with her than it was to admit that she was right.

Over his shoulder Bosco heard her let out a wry laugh as she mumbled, "This is ridiculous." She wasn't giving him any mercy and while deep down he knew that it was for the best, he also knew that it annoyed him. So Bosco began looking for a way to turn the focus onto something else, something safe.

He had been drunk last night but not drunk enough to miss the look of acknowledgement that passed between Liz and Sullivan. Like they had met before or something. He couldn't quite place it, although it had been bothering him all day. Turning around he narrowed his eyes at her, "Hey you want to talk about something? Let's talk about you and Sullivan!"

Liz felt her heart drop. She knew this would come out eventually, she just hoped it would be on her own terms and not in a fit of anger. She knew that Bosco would feel betrayed but there wasn't much she could do about that now. At the time it felt like the right decision, the only decision. Leaning forward, Liz rested her elbows on her knees as she regarded him thoughtfully.

"Ok. A couple of months ago I went to the auto pound to find out what the hell happened to you and I met Sullivan there. We talked," she shrugged indifferently, "That's it."

Bosco felt genuine anger begin to build up inside of him. She had gone behind his back. All the while he thought she was there for him, she was sneaking around behind his back, digging up the dirt of his past. "What?!"

She didn't look at him because she knew what she would find there. "You heard me."

"So you went behind my back…Why didn't you just come to me? Why didn't you just…" Before he could finish she cut him off.

"Come on, Bosco! I tried! You wouldn't let me in. I didn't know what to do! You were all over the place…"

"You didn't have to do that." She saw a look of hurt and betrayal cross his face.

"I didn't have to do that, oh ok. So what? I just sit by, twiddle my thumbs, hope that maybe you'll let me in eventually."

Bosco shook his head, "It wasn't your place. All this time I thought you were standing by me even though you didn't understand what was happening…"

Liz stood up quickly, tipping the chair over in the process. It was a hot night in late July as the air around them was heavy with tension. Sweat began to bead up on the back of her neck as her veins pumped with adrenaline. Now she was pissed. "Stand by you?" She let out a bitter laugh, "I stood by you through everything! So, I went behind your back but I did it because I wanted to be there for you. I didn't want to give up on you. I was putting my life on the line for you to have another shot at being a cop!" Bosco opened his mouth to say something but she quickly continued, "And in case you forgot…I almost died that night because I was standing by you- covering for you. So don't even think about saying that shit to me again."

She watched as he flinched at her words. It made her feel bad for a second but she didn't care. Really Bosco didn't know what to say. She was right about everything. He felt sad, and angry, and scared and he just needed to get out of there. Turning he hurried toward the door.

"Where the hell are you going?" Her voice called from behind, although he didn't turn around. Jerking the door open, he yelled back.

"None of your damn business."

Bosco sat on one of the benches of the Brooklyn Bridge as he let his eyes drift close. Wrapping the dog leash around his hand he felt Atlas stir slightly at his feet. He didn't really know where he was going when he left the apartment; he just knew that he needed to get out. The last thing he wanted to do was fight with Liz, but for some reason he had this innate ability to push those away who were closest to him. It was a protective mechanism from his childhood. If he opened himself up completely to another person, the potential to get hurt was more than he could bear. So he kept himself closed offed and for the most part it worked. That was, until he met Liz. The rules were different this time as he suddenly found himself in uncharted emotional waters with her.

The rhythmic whizzing of traffic on the deck below calmed his nerves slightly. He just had so much to think about that he didn't know where to start. In his heart he knew that there was only one thing to do about Faith. He needed to figure this thing out. No matter how much it hurt, no matter how hard it was going to be; he needed to go there and figure this out. He could never go on with his life knowing that her killer was free and he didn't do a damn thing about it. But before that, he needed to go back and apologize to Liz. He felt betrayed but he understood why she did it. Liz was the real deal and he didn't want something like this to come between them. He doubted that even if he looked, he would never find a better partner than her. So he needed to make this right between them.

Looking down at his watch he saw the numbers glowing back; two am. He needed to get back. Standing up, he tugged on Atlas's lease as the dog awakened from his slumber beneath the bench. Slowly the pair made their way home; Bosco searching for the words to make everything right again.

Liz rolled over in bed. She couldn't sleep, the argument with Bosco playing over in her mind. She didn't regret doing it; only wished that maybe she would have told him sooner. She never meant to hurt him, although it sure didn't seem like that now. Sighing she knew that he would eventually come around. They were partners and friends but beyond that she felt a stronger connection with him although she didn't immediately understand why. It was confusing and comforting at the same time; and while the fight made her feel sick she was strangely comforted by a deeper knowledge that it would take a whole lot more than that to break them apart.

Letting her eyes drift shut she fell into a restless sleep. The sound of shattering glass woke her as she sat bolt upright in bed. Had she dreamt that or was it real? Underneath the bedroom door she saw an orange glow. Maybe Bosco was home. Swinging her legs over the side of the bed she got up and moved toward the door. Still wiping the sleep from her eyes she opened the door. In an instant her heart was in her throat. The living room, the kitchen, the entire place was on fire. Slamming the door shut, she sucked in a sharp breath. Her mind raced as a momentary wave of panic came over her. Then just as quickly has it had come on; the panic was replaced by a methodical process that had been ingrained in her since the police academy. Keep calm; if you don't you'll never make it out alive. Her mind started clicking as she robotically ran around the room; put your clothes on and get out of there. It took her less than ten seconds to get dressed; rushing over to the door she opened it only to be overcome by a thick black smoke. Dropping to her knees she covered her face with an old shirt. This was bad. The fire escape was on the other side of the living room out the kitchen window. Crawling on her hands and knees she wasn't sure where she was but estimated that she had only made it 2 feet. Looking up through the smoke she could see the ceiling rolling with flames. Drywall collapsed all around her as she heard a creaking from above. Her lungs burned as she coughed and sputtered for air. Liz felt dizzy and weak as she tried desperately to find a way out.

Outside across the street, a man leaned against the building in the shadows. A small smile spread across his lips as he watched flames shoot out of a second story window. The cracking and popping of glass made his heat skip a beat, as he felt satisfied with his efforts. They made him look like a punk. Ruined his big break and his chances with Barksdale; he wouldn't stand for this. He couldn't stand for it. If he didn't have his reputation; he had nothing. In the distance the sound of sirens caused him to recede further into the shadows. Taking on last look at the burning building he turned and ran.

Liz wasn't sure if she was making any progress, her throat was on fire as she gasped for air. Above her the ceiling whined and creaked before letting loose. Scrambling, she barely made it to the bedroom before the room caved in. Slamming the door shut, she crawled over to the window. Her brain struggled to rise above the haze of toxic substances that were clouding her judgment. No one was coming; this was on her. Pushing the old, glass frame up she was delighted by the rush of fresh air. Straddling the windowsill she contemplated the two-story drop below. She might make it, but she would surely break one or both of her legs. Behind her the door whooshed and fire rolled into the room. Liz didn't have time to think about it, she just needed to jump. Closing her eyes, she pushed herself out of the window.

Bosco rounded the corner of Fulton Avenue as he began to pick up the faint smell of something burning. Atlas stopped and pointed his nose upward. His ears scanned the area as the fur stood up in his back. Pacing back and forth he began pulling Bosco toward the apartment with a sense of urgency. Seeing this reaction in the dog made Bosco's stomach turn. Something was wrong. Walking faster his heart pounded in his chest. His hands were shaking as he rounded the corner of Fulton and Nostrand Avenue. Stopping dead in his tracks, Bosco sucked in a sharp breath. Flames shot out of their apartment. This wasn't happening. Dropping the leash he ran toward the door, stopping only when he saw someone jump from a second story window.

Bracing herself for the worst, Liz gasped in surprise when she landed awkwardly on a small ledge about six feet below her window. Grabbing onto a rusted pipe she steadied herself. Taking a deep breath her heart raced. Glass rained down on her as she ducked against the building. Looking up flames and smoke shot out of the window she had just been sitting on. Coughing loudly, she looked down.

Bosco closed his eyes when he saw her jump, expecting the worst. When he didn't hear anything he hesitantly opened them. Clinging to a small ledge, he saw her waver from side to side. She was probably still a good ten feet off the ground. Without even thinking about it, he ran to her. "Liz! LIZ!"

Clutching to the pipe, Liz felt the wooden ledge cracked under her weight. Hearing her name she looked down. Bosco. He was there. Panicked she held on as she felt the bottom begin to slip out from under her.

Bosco watched as she teetered on the unstable ledge. This was bad. The company was just around the corner as he heard their sirens grow louder. She just needed to hold on for a little bit longer. "LIZ! THEY'RE COMING! JUST HOLD ON!"

Gripping the pipe tighter she felt the wood begin to disintegrate from underneath her. On the ground Bosco watched in horror as the ledge collapsed and tumbled to the sidewalk. Clinging to the pipe he saw her arms shaking as she tried to hold on. Behind him Atlas pacing nervously, letting out a worried whine every few seconds. Holy shit! Where were they?!

Liz's fingers were numb around the worn metal and her arms ached but she held on. The pipe was old and rusted and she was surprised that it had lasted this long. Scraping her feet along the building, she tried desperately to find any sort of indention in the bricks that she could put her weight on. There was nothing. The movement caused her grip to loosen slightly as her heart raced. The pipe groaned as the flames above had done a number on its already borderline integrity. Before she even knew that was happening she felt herself falling backwards toward the ground.

His heart pounded in his chest. Taking two steps forward he held his arms out. He didn't know what he was doing. Pinching his eyes shut he could only hope that God would take care of them in that moment. The next thing he felt was her falling into his arms as they both went tumbling backwards.

The impact with the concrete was less than she expected as it took her a minute to realize that Bosco caught her. Pushing herself up pain radiated through both of her knees but other than that everything seemed to work.

"Holy shit! Are you ok?" Her voice was raspy from the amount of smoke she inhaled. Bending over she helped him up as he became aware of the acute pain in his left shoulder. Trying to move it, he was met with more resistance. "Jesus! Your shoulder is out of place."

Pointing at the distorted limb a look of guilt crossed her face. She had caused that. Shaking her off, Bosco didn't want her to feel bad about it. "It's nothing."

"BULLSHIT! You need to go to the hospital." Now that was the last place he was going. He could put it back in himself. Swinging his right arm around he tried lifting his left back into the socket. The pain was enough to make him double over. "Bosco! STOP!"

By this time the company had arrived as they were showered with the spray of their hoses. Liz noticed that most of the neighborhood had come out to watch as the sidewalk was littered with people. Black soot ran down her face as her hair hung in wet strands. Looking back up at the burning building she couldn't believe that she had survived that. For a minute there…she wasn't sure.

"You guys need to go to the hospital?" A young medic approached them with a concerned look on his face.

"No." Bosco was quick to respond.

"Yes." Liz was equally quick to counter as the medic looked between them in confusion. In his estimation both of them needed to go to the hospital to be examined but if they refused he couldn't force them.

"Why don't you guys just come over to the ambulance and I'll see what I can do." Bosco was doubtful that he could put his shoulder back in on his own so he reluctantly agreed.

When the crowd began gathering Mickey slowly drifted back to watch. He couldn't help himself. Pulling a hat down over his eyes, there was no way they would be able to pick him out. Leaning against the building across the street, a smirk came to his face. There was no way they survived that, he made sure he threw the fire bomb in the window right next to the fire escape. He wanted to make sure he got rid of them this time; both of them.

His reverie was short lived, however, as he saw what looked like Bosco and Liz being led toward an ambulance. Pushing through the crowd to get a better look he couldn't believe his eyes. They were alive.

Out of the corner of her eye Liz saw a commotion in the crowd. Scanning the faces she felt a chill run down her spine. She didn't recognize anyone but couldn't shake the feeling of being watched. Reflexively, Mickey dipped his head down behind the wall of bodies. Pulling the hat down over his eyes he hesitantly glanced up just long enough to seem them climb into the ambulance. Angrily he spun around heading back toward the alley his punched the side of the building as hard as he could. Pain radiated through his fist although he didn't feel it as he stalked off in the darkness.

"Were you inside?" The medic brought her back to reality as she hoisted herself onto the bench seat. Nodding hesitantly, she allowed him to shine a pen light up her nose and in her throat.

"Yeah." Shaking his head the medic stuffed his light back into his pocket.

"You should really come in. You have singed nasal hairs; it could be an inhalation burn." Liz shook her head. She wasn't going in, no way no how. She'd had her fill of hospitals.

"No. I'm good, really. I'm fine." Bosco's arm was hanging out of the socket; they didn't need to be worried about her. Pushing the medic away she gestured toward her partner sitting on the cot. "He needs something done with that arm." Shaking his head ruefully he turned his attention to Bosco. Carefully palpating his shoulder, he stopped and looked him in the eye.

"I'll make one attempt to put it back. If it doesn't go; I'm taking you in." Bosco nodded his head as a veil of tension took over his features. His eyes nervously darted toward Liz. His right hand clenched the bed sheet as the medic stood up taking Bosco's wrist in one hand and his shoulder in the other. Liz smiled reassuringly as his hand let go of the bed sheet and turned upward. Anyone else would have missed the gesture entirely but over the past few months they had developed a way to talk without actually talking. A secret language if you will. Moving from the bench seat, she sat next to him on the cot. Interlacing his fingers with her own, she felt him squeeze her hand. "Ready for this?"

Gritting his teeth Bosco pinched his eyes shut. "Do it." In one swift motion the medic pulled his arm up in a c-like movement. Not only did he feel the pop, he heard it as well. Instantly, his arm felt better. Moving it up and down it was a little sore but mostly it felt like nothing happened at all. The medic smiled clearly happy with his efforts. Releasing the death grip he had on her hand, Bosco let out a breath he didn't know he was holding.

"I don't believe this." Callahan's voice caused Liz to jump. Taking in their appearance he shook his head. "What the hell happened here?"

Stepping down out of the ambulance she gestured toward the charred windows of her former home. "I don't know boss. I was asleep, the place was already going when I woke up." Looking past her into the ambulance his eyes landed on Bosco.

"Where were you?" Gingerly sliding his shirt back on, Bosco waved the medic off as he hopped off the bumper onto the pavement.

"I was out walking the dog." Shooting a glance at Liz he wondered if she would say something. Looking down at her shoes, she showed no hint that there was anything more to say. The disagreements they had were between them; it was none of Callahan's business.

Looking between them suspiciously he had a feeling that something else was up. Shaking his head he exhaled loudly, it was no use. In the last few months he had noticed that they were tight, and if something was going on they would most likely cover for each other until the very end. He had hoped that they would mesh well when Swersky called him and told him about Bosco but he didn't expect this. In a short amount of time they had become partners in every sense of the word.

"Out walking the dog, huh?" Looking down Atlas sat at attention giving Callahan the most sincere look he could muster. Smiling wryly he shook his head. Even the damn dog was on their side. Turning back toward the building Callahan surveyed the charred remains of their apartment. "Any thoughts?" Narrowing his eyes at Liz she knew exactly what he was asking.

Shrugging she shook her head, "The place went up pretty fast. Doesn't really seem like much of an accident."

Bosco felt his stomach turn. Mickey. That bastard just wouldn't quit. "One of Barksdale's people…you think?" Callahan's eyes scanned the crowd as Liz nodded in agreement.

"Probably." Probably…definitely…it was god damned Mickey. All the same thing really. Perusing the crowd she searched for any familiar faces. Mickey was a problem. They didn't have enough to put him away just yet but the bastard wouldn't give up. Each time he came back around it was more violent, more dangerous. He almost had her this time. Sighing, Liz reasoned that perhaps some space would be good. If they went back to Manhattan; maybe spent some time in uniform, hopefully it would put enough time and space between them and Mickey for him to forget about it. That or someone else would piss him off and he would at least be distracted for a while. She wasn't giving up on him or Barksdale. Some way, somehow she would get them. Liz didn't spend eight months of her life undercover to watch those two scumbags walk away. She couldn't do it now, but sooner or later she would come back for them. If it was the last thing she did, she would make sure they both paid.

"I'll give you guys a ride to Manhattan. Then I'm taking the car back to the autopound." Liz frowned; in her real life she didn't have a car and over the last eight months she had been spoiled. Still she knew that she couldn't keep it. Nodding, her and Bosco and Atlas followed him around the corner. Lagging behind Bosco stared at their building once more. A total loss, their apartment has been charred beyond recognition. Standing there a lump rose up in the back of his throat. Never in his life did he think he would be sad to leave a place like Bed-Sty. This place gave him his life back. Five months ago he had all but given up. The night that Faith died, the night he put a gun to his head; he was ready to die that night. When Liz picked him up from Ryker's he had no idea the often painful, extremely difficult, and ultimately amazing journey she would take him on. She said that she was taking him to Brooklyn but where she really took him was back to his life. A better life than he had known before. A life that had waited for him while he stumbled down a dark and confusing path. A life that almost didn't happen. And a life that he loved.

"Bosco! Let's go." Standing in the doorway of the car, Liz waved to him. Taking one last look at the burnt out building Bosco turned. Even if he lived to be a hundred years old he would never forget the way that cheap twin bed dug into his back. Or the sounds of the street coming in their window at night. Or the way that the lights of Manhattan glowed across the river. He would never forget the sight of his partner and her dog sleeping together on the threadbare couch. Or the way the neighborhood smelled like Chinese takeout and cigarettes. More than anything else, though, he would never forget the way this place made him feel. Like he was someone. Like he meant something. Like all the hope had had once had for his life still existed. Faith was gone; there was no changing that. But he was still here, still alive with a chance to make it count.

Wiping the soot from her face, Liz flipped the visor back up. It was nearly four am but there was still traffic on the FDR. Tightening her seatbelt, she gripped the door as Callahan weaved in and out of traffic nearly rear ending a bus. Red taillights illuminated the car as she cast a glance in his direction. He seemed completely unfazed, as he appeared deep in thought.

"Have you two thought about what to do next?" He assumed that they wanted to stay together. Liz shrugged.

"I think we need to go back to uniform for a while. We can't go back to Brooklyn, it's too hot there. This whole Barksdale thing needs to cool off for a while." He nodded, he had been thinking the same thing.

"Sir." Bosco's voice caused them both to stop talking as Callahan glanced in the mirror. "I really appreciate everything that you and Liz have done for me. This has been more than anything I ever could have asked for. I know that I haven't always been at my best and I'm sorry about that." He paused, as Callahan was quick to chime in.

"Don't worry about it. You were in a hard place, we did what we could. Things didn't really work out…but I'm glad that Liz found a partner. A good partner." It was probably the best that he could get out of his CO. Bosco had screwed up…a lot. But he was still here and that meant something. He compromised their investigation but they never asked him to leave. They believed in him even when he didn't believe in himself.

"I appreciated everything, sir. Really, I do." Taking a deep breath he hesitantly began, "That's why it's so hard for me to say this. I need your help, again. Both of you." Liz knew where this was going although she listened quietly gauging Callahan's reaction. "It has recently come to my attention that my partner's death may not have been an accident." Bosco sucked in a sharp breath; the words came out of his mouth but they sounded so foreign.

"What?!" Concern and shocked played across Callahan's face as he swerved around a stopped car.

Bosco had expected this. "Sir, I know what you're going to say and I've already thought about it. There is no way I'm taking this to IAB. Faith was my partner and I want to make sure this gets handled the right way and…"

Before he could finish Callahan cut in, "Those filthy rat bastards? I wouldn't hand a bag of steaming shit over to them…No way are you taking this to them."

Bosco was surprised, after all the trouble that he had caused the man he was still on his side. "I need to take care of this and I need your help. Both of you. I just…"

Liz turned around as she smiled at him. "Are you kidding? You know I'm in, all the way partner." Bosco chuckled softly. In light of the nights events, their fight earlier had been forgotten and he was glad. He had expected that she would back him up on this; Callahan was another story. Without the help from someone above, he knew that there was only so much they could do.

The car was quiet as they took the exit for the Bruckner Expressway toward the Bronx. Bosco was nervous until the boss finally spoke, "OK. But if either one of you gets hurt that's it." Relief washed over Bosco's face as he let a whoosh of air escape his lips. "Have you figured out how you're going to do this?" Bosco shook his head. Callahan nodded, "Well figure something out and let me know what you need. I'll see what I can do."

Slowing the car, they exited the expressway into a tree lined reasonably clean neighborhood called Parkchester. Reaching into his pocket, Callahan pulled out a set of keys. Handing them to Liz, "Your emergency set until you can get to your box tomorrow." Smiling she took the keys and slid them into her own pocket. Stopping the car in front of an ordinary looking apartment building, Liz got out of the car. Leaning down she made eye contact with Bosco in the back seat.

"Call me tomorrow. We'll figure something out." Smiling at him she shut the door. He hair was still wet and her shirt and face stained with soot. Walking slowly to the door, Bosco watched as his partner and Atlas disappeared into the building. This was their real life now. No more cover stories, or dressing like drug addicts, or acting like they were a couple. That was over.

The car was quiet as Callahan drove Bosco back to his own apartment on East 86th street. When he stopped the car, Bosco looked up at his building like he had never seen the place before in his life. He knew that he wouldn't be able to stay in Brooklyn forever but he didn't think he would be thrust back to reality this abruptly. Hoisting himself out of the car, he stopped as he bent down. "Thanks, boss. For everything." Callahan nodded as a look of understanding passed between them. Slamming the door shut, Bosco dug into his pocket. On his key ring were the keys to his mustang, the building he stood in front of, and to a home that no longer existed.

Standing in the middle of his apartment he looked around. Everything was just the way that he left it. Taking a few steps he sat down on the couch. The sun was just beginning to come up as he lay back against the cushions. It was quiet; for the first time in five months he was alone. Closing his eyes, he wasn't sure how long he laid there, but when he woke up the sun was shining in his windows. Wiping his eyes, Bosco looked around. Things didn't really look any better in the daylight. He felt like he didn't belong there, like he was suddenly squatting in someone else's life. The place that he once considered home was cold and uninviting. Eyes wandering around the room, he focused on a cardboard box in the corner. Taped shut and undisturbed were the contents of Faith's locker. All of the things Fred didn't care to come get. That was ok with, Bosco, though Fred had an entire life full of things that reminded him of Faith. For Bosco, that box contained the only tangible items he had of his partner's existence. Bending over he ran his hand over the tape but then abruptly pulled it back. No. It was too soon.

Looking around the lonely apartment, Bosco suddenly felt the urge to get away. He didn't belong here. Down the stairs and out the door, Bosco felt the tension ease as he stepped out onto the sidewalk. Eyeing his mustang on the street, the same feeling of unfamiliarity rose up in the back of his throat. That was part of his life before.

The six train screeched to a halt at the elevated station. Getting up and walking out onto the platform, Bosco took stock of the neighborhood in the daylight. Parkchester was an average working class Bronx neighborhood with a mixed demographic of black, white, and Hispanic. Thinking back he vaguely recalled Liz mentioning that she moved to the Bronx when she began doing UC work in Brooklyn. Something about needing to put some space between her real life and the fictitious one she had created on Fulton Avenue.

Walking through the neighborhood, Bosco's mind drifted to what exactly he was doing here. What was he going to say? Yes they had agreed to meet up but he wasn't here to talk about work. How was he going to tell her that he didn't belong in his real life? That his home felt foreign and strange. That he would rather take the train than drive the car he once loved. That when he thought of home only one thing came to mind…her. That was the problem; he had become so attached to her over the past few months that he couldn't imagine his life without her there. Of course they would see each other at work, but, really, it wasn't enough. It wasn't even close. Over the last month or so, Bosco had begun to realize that Liz was becoming more than a partner and friend. Somewhere along the way he had started developing feelings for her.

Bosco stopped in front of a building that looked vaguely familiar. Reading the names on the box, he found what he was looking for. Standing there he took a deep breath. And now it was time for the truth. He was just going to lay it all out there. A man came through the door as Bosco slid inside the building. Heading toward the stairs there was no turning back now.

Apartment 3G was at the end of the hallway. Knocking on the door, he stood there excited, nervous, and scared all at the same time. Much to his surprise a man answered the door.

"Hey. Can I help you?" The guy was of average build, dark hair and dark eyes. Leaning against the doorframe Bosco double-checked the number on the door. He hadn't gone to the wrong place, had he?

"I…ah…I think I went to the wrong place." The guy nodded his head. Looking past him, Bosco saw a familiar pair of worn shoes kicked off in the hallway. "Liz doesn't live here does she?" The guy stopped giving him a curious look.

"Yeah. Who are you?" Bosco felt like someone punched him in the gut. Standing behind the man in the hallway was his partner.

"Bosco?!" The man opened the doorway wider as Liz came over. "I thought you were going to call."

Bosco didn't know what to say. Standing there, mouth hanging open he struggled to find the right word…any words really. "I…um…"

"Who is this guy?" The dark haired man in the apartment thumbed his finger in Bosco's direction.

"Chris…this is Bosco, my partner. Bosco…this is Chris, my…ah…my boyfriend."

As always I love to hear what you think! Never fear Sully fans, Sully and Davis are back in action next chapter.