"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

Author's Note: An extra long chapter for all my friends weathering this hurricane! I hope those of you without power are safe and those with are enjoying this extra long update !

Chapter Nineteen

"The worst things in life come free to us

Cos we're just under the upper hand

And go mad for a couple grams

And she don't want to go outside tonight

And in a pipe she flies to the Motherland

Or sells love to another man"

The Evergreen Diner was certainly nothing to write home about. Runny eggs, burnt toast, and a waitress with an attitude did little to whet Bosco's appetite. Running a fork through the eggs he shot a glance at Liz from the corner of his eye. She was staring into a glass of orange juice completely mute. Gnawing on a piece of toast, Bosco sighed. This was awkward.

In all fairness Liz had never alluded toward a relationship. They were partners. She was there for him when he needed her. They held hands and kissed in public because that was part of the scam. They were never anything but partners. Except they weren't; not for him anyway. There wasn't another person in this world that he trusted as much as her. She was there for him in every way a person could be there for you. Regardless of the meaning behind it, the hand holding, and hugging, and all the physical contact made him feel better. It made him feel like he wasn't alone. The night she picked him up from Ryker's he was ready to die, and today he actually had some hope that his life could be good again. She did that. So how could he not feel something for her? She gave him his life back.

Liz shot a look at Bosco as his eyes remained transfixed out the window. He was upset. She could feel it as a cloud of tension hung over their table. Truth be told, Liz had been attracted to Bosco the night she picked him up from Ryker's. He had been so defeated, so hopeless but somewhere deep inside of him the will to survive remained strong. That determination, especially in the face of such heartbreak, had locked her from the moment she laid eyes on him. Beyond that, his willingness to let her inside had fostered a sense of extreme closeness. When they left Brooklyn last night the possibility of something more than partners had crossed her mind, although she quickly dismissed it. Bosco had just started to get himself together. She didn't want to complicate anything for him. If he wanted something more, she would leave him to initiate that on his own terms.

This morning had been a surprise in more ways than one. She did not expect Chris to show up. They had dated for less than a year before she got the call for undercover. It had been nice until she had to leave for Brooklyn. A cop in the 39 Chinatown, Chris had been forever trying to get into narcotics. Each time he was passed up for someone with more experience he worked harder, made more collars, worked extra shifts. Anything he could do, he did it. Still, there were cops better connected than he who always managed to move ahead. During that time, Liz was working vice in Brooklyn, nothing too spectacular; hookers and pimps all night long. They were on equal ground so to speak. Then Liz got the call she had been waiting for; a deep cover operation in Brooklyn. She was so excited and although Chris did his best to be happy for her it was more than clear that he was jealous. Liz didn't expect them to last through an operation like that but she had half hoped he would have been more supportive. The night before she left for Brooklyn he sent her a text message. 'I can't wait for you. Good Luck' That was it. So when she left her life that day she assumed it was the last she would see of Chris. When he showed up at her door this morning, she was more than a little surprised. He seemed happy to see her and genuine about getting back together. While she was gone he had apparently found a spot on an Anti-Crime unit in Harlem and seemed more than pleased with himself. The jealously of before was gone as he now had his own ace in the hole to stack up against her. They talked for a while and it was nice, but it wasn't the same. Bosco was on her mind and then he was at her door.

The minute she saw his face she knew why he was there. She had just agreed to give Chris another chance. After all, she didn't even know if Bosco thought of her that way. Sure they were close, but was it just because he needed her? Need and want are two different things. With his old life back, would they still share the same level of emotional intimacy? She had no answers to these questions and instead of torturing herself she gave in and did the easy thing. One look in Bosco's eye made her stomach flip and her heart sink with regret. It was too late to go back now. The walls were back up and she doubted a second chance would come any time soon.

"Bosco! What is up?" Bosco's face broke out into a smile when he saw Davis and Sully walk into the diner. Standing up he hugged Davis and acknowledged Sully with a nod; their not so joyful reunion had taken place a few days ago. Liz pushed the plate away as she stood up. Offering a polite smile, she waited for Bosco to introduce her to his tall friend. Sitting back down he ignored her standing there. Sighing, she shot him a dirty look before taking a step forward.

"Hi! I'm Liz, Bosco's partner." Davis paused for a moment. He had never heard anyone use that title other than Faith. Smiling, his shock was melted away by her honest smile. She was a cute girl, not at all what he would have expected.

"Liz. I'm Ty, Ty Davis." Sully didn't miss the chill that passed between Bosco and Liz. Whatever it was it was probably Bosco's fault. Pulling her into a hug, he made sure to shoot Bosco a disapproving look. Rolling his eyes, Bosco moved over so that Davis could sit down next to him.

"So I take it you had time to think things over." Sully eyed Bosco carefully silently wondering why he called this impromptu meeting.

Bosco nodded, before replying slowly, "Yeah. I…uh…I want to do it. If someone," he paused for a moment shaking his head ruefully, "someone in our house did this. I want to know."

Davis shook his head, "It's not a question of if, man. We know who did, we just can't prove it."

Bosco nibbled on his fingernail as he stared out the window. Brian Jackson had worked at the precinct for about three years. He didn't really know him, neither did Faith. Jackson and his partner Scott Geidel didn't associate with many people at the 55; mostly kept to themselves. That was why he couldn't figure this out. What did they have against Faith? As far as he knew, she had never even spoken to them outside of work.

Shaking his head, Bosco narrowed his eyes at Sully. "I don't get it, Sully. What did they have against Faith? We hardly even spoke to them."

Sully sat back in his chair sighing loudly. "Really, I don't know, Bosco. The best that I have come up with is that maybe Faith saw something…something she wasn't supposed to see." Bosco was doubtful. How could Faith have seen something and not him? They were together all the time. About to open his mouth and offer a rebuke he was quickly silenced. Faith was riding alone while he was out on suspension. She was alone for three days out there. A new wave of guilt crawled up the back of his throat causing the muscles to tighten. If he hadn't lost control at that factory, he would have been there with her. Or more accurately he would have been there for her. Just one more way he had screwed up.

Liz watched as a guilty shadow shrouded her partner's face in darkness. He was blaming himself for something, something he hadn't remembered until just now. Underneath the table she kicked his foot. Hesitantly his eyes met hers and although they were in a bit of a snit, he still couldn't hide his feelings from her. Shaking her head slightly she mouthed the word 'Don't'. Bosco couldn't stop the corners of his mouth from twitching up into a smile. She knew him so well. The private exchange had gone completely unnoticed by Sully and Davis as Bosco brought himself back to reality.

"I want to talk to this girl." Sully stopped talking as he eyed Bosco cautiously.

"Bosco, we tried that. She won't say anything. Davis even chased her down the street." Sully was doubtful that Lysette Jones would be up for round two.

"I don't care. I want to talk to her." Sully shook his head.

"And then what? She tells you what she told Todd and then what are you going to do? You still don't have any proof! The word of a hooker against the word of a cop, how do you think that'll work out?"

Bosco shook his head as he looked away. Sully was right. "Well what about Jackson? Do you have anything on him?"

Davis let out a wry laugh. "There have been some incidents but nothing that would tie him to Faith. He's onto us now, though."

"Yeah, he knows we've figured him out but really he doesn't care. We have no proof and he knows that too." Sully gestured toward the stack of papers sitting on the table. "It's all circumstantial."

"What about a new cop. Someone to get inside, maybe gain his trust." The three men looked at her in shock. In theory it was a good idea, a great idea. But would that really work?

Davis shook his head, "No, him and Geidel are pretty tight. I don't see him letting anyone get close."

"That's fine. I can hang back for a while, check him out, and when the opportunity comes…"

"It might never come with this guy. He's smart, he covers all the bases." Sully was doubtful this would work although he had to admit that the concept had piqued his interest.

Liz opened her mouth to speak but was cut off by Bosco, "She's good Sully; better than you think. If she got the biggest drug operative in Brooklyn to trust her, she can get Brian Jackson."

Liz felt her cheeks flush. She didn't expect Bosco to be so complimentary given the sudden rift between them. Quickly she recovered, "Are there any openings now? Because if I just suddenly show up for now reason at all, I think that'll make him suspicious you know."

It sounded like a good plan. Sully reasoned that it was at least worth a try. Trouble was, there weren't any openings at the 55. Bosco and Faith had been replaced with a couple of guys from midnights. Shoulders slumping, Sully couldn't think of anything.

"Hey what about that K-9 position?" Davis offered coming up with their only option.

Sully shook his head, gesturing toward Liz, "She's can't do that. You need special training for that and…"

Before Sully could continue Liz broke out into a fit of laughter. "I don't believe this."

Bosco smirked at the irony of it all before cluing his friends in. "Before she went undercover she worked on a two man K-9 Team in Brooklyn. She's even got a dog."

Ever the pessimist Sully, shot Bosco a disbelieving look. "You mean that fat fur ball I saw laying on your couch over in Brooklyn? Bosco…"

"Hey…hey…come on now. Atlas has only been retired for a couple of years, I'm sure with a little refresher he would be ready to go." Liz was a little irritated that a man of Sully's size and shape was calling her dog fat. Atlas was out of practice; there was no doubt about that but with the right amount of training she thought he would be ready to go again. The only thing that worried her was would the dog want to do it again? After Dave died, Atlas lost all interest in police work. Had it been enough time for the memory of his beloved handler lying cold and dead on the pavement to fade away? She didn't know the answers but she hoped that this would work out for everyone, especially Bosco.

Bosco watched his partner think it over. Was the dog ready to come back? Could he, just like Bosco shake off the ghosts of his past and continue on? She might not be sure but he was. The night that he had been arrested by the prick Collins, Atlas was more than ready to back him up. No hesitation, no uncertainty, the dog had been there all the way.

"And what are you going to do?" Sully knew that Bosco couldn't sit back and do nothing.

What could he do? As far as anyone at the 55 knew he had been banished from the NYPD. Forced to resign rather than being fired in light of his actions at the hospital that night. In reality it was an intricate cover story that fit like a glove. It had served them well in Brooklyn, but it was actually becoming quite detrimental for their present situation. "Well I can't really show up at the house, now can I Sully?" Bosco wracked his brain. He didn't want to make it seem like he had no purpose in all of this. Worse than that he didn't want to make it seem like his partner was doing all the leg work for him.

Seeing the frustrated look on Bosco's face Liz quickly came to the rescue, "There's going to be a lot of surveillance and tracking people down that's going to need to be done to build a case like this. If you think we're going to just wait around until Jackson decides to confess you're wrong. Guys like that don't have a change of heart, their conscious doesn't eat away at them. You need to build a corner and then back them into it. He won't fall apart unless we box him and…"

She stopped talking as Sully and Davis stared at her. Maybe this girl did know what she was talking about. Bosco smirked at their surprise. Liz was very sharp and her time undercover had only served to hone a perceptive nature that made her a natural investigator. She knew how to build a case and how to back a suspect into a corner. They needed her for this.


Davis smiled and shook his head, "Wow, Bosco wasn't kidding."

Liz smirked at him; this is what she was good at. "All I'm saying is that you don't go to war with someone like that unless you're prepared."

Davis nodded, up until then he thought that Sully had been going about things the right way. He was, but Liz opened his eyes to a whole new level of organization that actually made him feel like they had a chance. Maybe they could do this.

"Have you said anything to the boss?" Bosco eyed Sully hoping that he hadn't sent this up the line yet. Aside from the fact that Swersky would call IAB, Bosco couldn't shake the feeling of betrayal he felt toward the man. Rubbing his wrists absent-mindedly he remembered the feeling of handcuffs digging into his soft flesh.

Sully shook his head, "No. I haven't said anything." Scratching his chin, he chose his words carefully. "Look, Bosco…I don't know how far up this thing goes. So…"

"You think the boss is involved?" Prior to then Bosco hadn't even considered it.

Sully shrugged, "I don't know. All I know is they looked into the accident and knew something was up, but somehow the only thing anyone wants to believe is what's coming out of Brian Jackson's mouth. It's strange, that's all I'm saying."

Bosco let the words settle. It was strange but yet again Sully had no proof, only suspicion. "If the boss isn't in on it, how are you going to make sure she gets the position?" Davis posed an obvious question.

"Our boss is down for it," Liz replied casually. "He'll get us what we need." With that it was decided. This was the plan, for better or worse they were going to see this thing all the way through.

On the way out of the diner, Bosco let Liz and Davis walk ahead as he stopped Sully. "Look, Sully you don't have to be involved in this. It's my problem and I don't want you to get jammed up over it."

They didn't know where this would lead and Bosco wanted to make sure he didn't drag anyone down with him. Liz was his partner and she had already made it clear that she was going to stick it out. They had already stepped in an even bigger pile of shit out in Brooklyn so compared to that, the ramifications of this didn't concern her nearly as much. Sully and Davis both had something to lose. Sully was near retirement and if this went the wrong way they could take his pension. Davis was new on the job and he didn't need a stain like this following him around for the next twenty years. They were going to accuse a cop of murder, one of their own. The cardinal sin in policing was to rat out a brother. So he needed to be sure they knew what they were doing and that everyone was in it for the right reasons.

"Forget it Bosco. It's too late. I can't turn back now. I'm in this as much as you are."

Bosco wasn't going to argue with him. "And Davis?"

"I tried to discourage him in the beginning, but he wouldn't listen. He's his own man; he makes his own decisions. I can't do anything to change his mind."

Bosco swallowed hard. It was settled then. Sully had given him the name and mug shot of the prostitute as he stuffed the information in his back pocket. Nodding at Sully he waved good bye to Davis as he walked toward the subway. Liz didn't miss the hesitant look in his eye as he passed her. Quickly bidding farewell to the other two men, she followed Bosco toward the underground stairs.

"Bosco! We need to talk." He slowed his gait but didn't acknowledge her. Pulling up next to him Liz walked down the cement stairs struggling to find a place to start.

"We just talked for two hours." He knew what they needed to talk about although that didn't stop him from playing dumb. Liz rolled her eyes as she scanned her MetroCard and followed him through the turnstile.

"We need to talk about this morning." She followed him down the platform and away from a crowd of people that had gathered on the other side of the turnstiles.

"What about this morning?" It was weak but playing stupid was the best defense he had right now. There was no one else in this world that had the potential to hurt him as much as she did. The thought was frightening and after this morning, he decided the best option would be to build a wall around those feelings and hope that they eventually faded away.

If he wasn't going to cooperate she was just going to start talking. "Look, I didn't know Chris was going to be there. Really, I didn't know Chris was going to be around at all. We ended on bad terms and I figured we were done. He wants to try again and I don't know, I guess it's worth a shot. I just…"

She didn't sound so sure and on the inside he was pleased. An involuntary memory of them lying in bed next to each other flashed behind his eyes, as his body was filled with familiar warmth. He wanted that so bad, to feel that way all the time. He couldn't tell her that, though, what if she didn't feel the same? He had just started putting the shattered pieces of himself back together. Something like that could fracture his already weak emotional psyche beyond repair. He wasn't willing to take that risk, at least not yet.

Turning toward her, he grabbed her by the shoulders so that they were squarely facing each other. "Liz, I don't care about your personal life. I just…" The sound of the train rumbling through the tunnel made him hard to hear. "I just need you to be there for me. What we're doing here, it's serious and I need to know that no matter what you're going to be there. Can you promise me that?" The train burst into the station causing the platform to vibrate. They stood there, staring at each other as a rush of wind caused Liz's hair to blow around her shoulders. Bosco looked at her, his eyes filled with sadness and desperation. He needed her in more ways than she knew but right now all he could focus on was making Brian Jackson pay. They were silent for a moment, the lights of the train causing a flashing around them as a blur of faces whizzed by.

"Of course I'll be there for you. I'm you're partner, I'll always be there for you." Bosco had to look away. It hadn't been much more than a year ago when he had said those exact words to Faith. 'I'm your partner. I was there for you, I'll always be there for you.' Keeping the emotions at bay, Bosco let go of her as the doors of the train swung open and a sea of people flooded their moment of privacy.

Offering her a weak smile he shrug his shoulders. "That's all I need." It wasn't even close to what he needed and every part of him screamed it. Never one to shy away from confrontation or the truth, Liz wanted to lay it all out there. Right here and right now. Forget about the stained white tiles, the sound of water dripping through the ceiling, or the smell of trash that came up from the tracks. Forget that they were in a crowd of strangers and facing a long road that could end up with them both labeled as traitors and exiled from the only thing they knew. Forget all of it. The only thing that held her back was the fragility of an existence that he had just started to rebuild. She couldn't shatter that for her own selfish needs. It wasn't fair. She didn't know if he needed her because it was the only thing he knew or because he felt the same connection she did. So she let it go. Maybe one day, just not today.

The moment was over. Glancing toward the train Bosco gestured, "You getting on?"

Liz snapped out of it to realize that she was on the wrong side of the platform. Shaking her head, she replied, "No. I need to go to the other side."

"Ok, then. I'll call you. We'll work something out." With that he stepped onto the train and the doors shut. It was a quick exit that he was thankful for. The longer he stood there with her the more he wanted to breakdown. She had that effect on him. The train jumped forward as the driver released the brakes. Holding onto the pole, Bosco glanced over his shoulder. The train moved forward but he still saw her standing there. Watching until they disappeared into the tunnel, Bosco pinched his eyes shut. This was going to be harder than he ever could have imagined.

It had been two days since he left Liz standing on the platform at 125th street. She called him yesterday and said that she was taking Atlas out to the academy to see if he could still cut it. Bosco kept his fingers crossed that the dog would pass the necessary testing and they could go through with this. He had met up with Callahan the night before. As promised, their boss would do anything he could to make this happen. If Atlas could do it, he would make sure Liz got the K-9 job at the 55. Before starting he just wanted to meet up them both to make sure their stories were tight. Even though Bosco had caused him a lot of trouble, Callahan had proven himself to be more than helpful. He was better than Bosco could have asked for, especially under the circumstances.

Tonight, he and Liz were going to go to Hunt's Point to try and find the hooker. It was a long shot, Bosco knew, but they needed to start somewhere. Sitting back on the couch he looked at the box in front of him on the coffee table. He needed to accept this. The fantasy in Brooklyn was over and he had just crash landed back to reality. No matter how much it hurt he needed to face the fact that Faith was gone. Looking back at the box, he had decided to look at one thing in it everyday until it was empty. Reaching in he pulled out the first thing he felt. The glossy finish of a picture clued him in as he pulled the small square out of the box. Blinking he turned it over. A sharp pain radiated through his chest as he stared ahead. It was a picture, but not just any picture. It was a picture of him and Faith sitting on the hood of 55 David. They were parked under the FDR at the fringe of the precinct on a hot summer night. Closing his eyes, Bosco was thrust head first into a bittersweet memory.

"Oh man…we've been running hard all shift."

Pushing the hair out of her face, Faith leaned out the passenger side window. It was hot, really hot and the A/C in the car had been broken for the last two days. They had been running from call to call all afternoon, and now, as dusk settled over Manhattan, they finally found themselves in a lull.

"What do you say we get something to eat, park under the highway for a while?" Casting a glance, she hoped that he knew where she was headed with this.

"Officer Yokas are you suggesting that we duck calls?" Bosco's face broke out into a smile. He had been thinking the same thing for hours and had been wracking his brain trying to figure out a way to convince her to go along with it. Turns out she didn't need much convincing at all.

"I didn't say that…I'm mean we've had what six calls in the last three hours? Have you seen Sully at any of them? Let him take a turn…"

"Whoah…Whoah…Do you really think you need to persuade ME to duck calls?" Bosco shot her an incredulous look that caused Faith to break out into a fit of giggles.

Thirty minutes later they were parked under the FDR. Above them cars made a swooshing sound against the cement of the overpass. The sounds of the neighborhood echoed in her ears as Faith realized that their peace would most likely be short lived. On hot nights people didn't want to stay inside so they flooded the streets and laughed, and argued, and fought, and eventually shot each other. It wouldn't be long before a call of shots fired came over the radio. For now, though, they would enjoy a rare moment of peace.

The sound of a siren echoed in her ears as Faith snapped her eyes open. Pulling up next to them 55-Charlie, came to an abrupt halt. Sully was pissed.

"Having a nice break, Bosco?" Rolling his eyes, Bosco threw the apple he was eating on the ground as he wiped his hands on the front of his pants. Leaning back against the car he made sure to project a sense of indifference.

"Uh..Yeah. I sure am."

Sully didn't know why he was so mad. It was the status quo for Bosco to lay down on calls. "It would have been nice if you had backed us up on that accident. We had to do eight reports!"

Bosco faked concern as he rolled his eyes at Sully. "We all get a break, Sully."

Stomping back to the car, the older man threw over his shoulder, "Yeah except mine never lasts two hours!"

Bosco laughed at Sully's gross exaggeration. Even Faith couldn't help but to crack a smile. A couple of weeks ago Davis had bought his first camera phone and he was all too eager to use it. Pulling the toy out of his pocket, he aimed it at Bosco and Faith. Naturally Faith smiled, as Bosco was quick to plaster a smirk across his face. Snapping the picture, Davis put the phone back into his pocket.

"I think I'm going to call that one '55-David in their natural habitat'." Faith and Davis broke out into a laugh as Bosco tried hard to keep a straight face. Getting back into the car, Davis winked at them. "See you guys later." 55-Charlie sped away with an irritated Sully at the wheel as Bosco and Faith were once again left in their moment of peace.

As the memory faded Bosco realized that he had completely forgotten about that night until just now. He couldn't believe that Faith had a copy of that photograph. Shaking his head he set the glossy paper down on the coffee table as he closed the box. That was enough for now.

Liz had briefly spoken to Bosco about tonight but otherwise had not heard from him since they parted ways in the subway. She missed him. It came as sort of a surprise although it shouldn't have. They had been together constantly for the last few months; she had gotten used to having him around. It didn't help matters that Chris had been hanging around more than usual. What she had with him was nice and she didn't want to ruin for a big maybe.

"You look good." Her daydreams were interrupted as she flashed Chris a smirk through the mirror.

"Shut up." She was dressed like a hooker. Coming up behind her he put his arms around her waist.

"No I mean it. Why don't you ever dress like this for me?" The playful glint in his eye made her smile as she shook her head.

"I have to finish getting ready." Pushing back, Chris rolled his eyes.

"What's with this new partner of yours? Bosco? I thought you didn't want a partner." Liz didn't miss the jealousy in his voice. He was right, though, she didn't want a partner. After Dave, she was more content to work by herself than get involved with a steady source of aggravation. Bosco was different, though, whatever aggravation he brought she didn't mind.

Shrugging her shoulders she tried to appear casual. The last thing she wanted to do was start something with him right now. "Nothing. We worked well together undercover now we're working on some other assignments." She had no plans of telling Chris what they were really doing. It wasn't his business. In addition to that she had only been back a couple of days and still couldn't get a good read on him. His intentions had shifted dramatically from what they had been in the past and she couldn't help but to have a certain sense of suspicion.

Snorting, he rolled his eyes. "Whatever." She could pursue this right now and they could fight or she could let it slide. Narrowing her eyes at him through the mirror she watched as he walked toward the door grabbing his coat. "I'll see you later. Have fun with your partner." Shaking her head she knew that he was jealous, she also knew that he could get over it or move along. She wasn't about to compromise anything for him. He had been more than happy to drop her before Brooklyn and just because she was back didn't mean that all was forgotten. Her life had changed, like it did every time she went under, only this time is really changed. While she didn't know where she stood with Bosco, she did know that Chris was on thin ice. She was going to give him a chance, not two.

It was hot outside as Liz teetered on three-inch heels. Sitting in his mustang, Bosco waited for Liz with a certain sense of nervousness. He needed to find this girl; he really needed to find her. Bending over, Liz crawled inside the car. She had imagined Bosco would have such a car. Glancing over her general appearance he let out a laugh.

"You're a pretty convincing hooker." Liz rolled her eyes and acted offended as she quickly changed the subject.

"A mustang, huh?" Peeling his eyes off her scantily clad body, he refocused himself on the glowing lights of the dashboard. His car…he loved this car. Now, he was indifferent to it. The car was part of past life that he barely recognized. He would have just as well taken the train or walked to meet her but it was more socially acceptable to drive a car when trolling for hookers.

"Yeah." His response was short as his attention was clearly somewhere else. Letting it go, Liz settled into the leather seat. Winding the window down she let the warm air blow her hair as they cruised south toward Hunt's Point. After some discussion, it had been decided that she would look for the girl on the street while Bosco drove the track. They were least likely to raise suspicion that way and Liz thought it might work better. She also thought that they would have better luck since she was woman. Usually these girls are intimidated by two men whereas they a woman sometimes has better luck.

Bosco pulled the car over a couple of blocks north of the avenue. They sat there in silence for a minute. Glancing over at him, Liz could see the nervousness in his features. He wanted…no he needed this to work out. It was a critical first step what would be a long, hard, and emotional journey. Even though their connection had cooled off slightly, she was still saddened by the battle he was constantly fighting.

Reaching across the console, she took his hand in her own. The gesture surprised Bosco. He was immediately filled with a sensation of warmth although he was careful not to let himself enjoy it too much. She had a boyfriend; she wanted to be with him. She was his partner but he didn't have unlimited emotional access to her like in Brooklyn. This wasn't undercover; it was reality. Hesitantly he met her eyes, "We're going to get her."

Somehow, someway she always knew exactly what to say. A sad smile crossed his features as he let go of her hand. Getting out of the car, she slammed the door. He watched her walk toward the track before pulling out.

When Liz looked at the picture of Lysette she immediately recognized her as the girl from Todd's apartment. Jason's girlfriend that was none too pleased about having to leave. Liz knew that Bosco had also looked at her picture and wondered if he had made the connection. It didn't really matter either way. She doubted that the woman would recognize her dressed like this and even if she did Liz would use that to her benefit. Give her a couple of seconds and she could spin a story about her and Todd cutting her man off, maybe even throwing his ass in the clink. It was a card she didn't want to play but would to get what she needed. In addition to the picture, Liz also obtained her sheet. It was pretty typical; the only thing standing out was the lack of arrests. Either this girl was really good or really new. Going over the some other choice facts, Liz organized the information in her head. Street name Lola, two priors for possession and one for prostitution, and most interestingly a tattoo of a dragon on the side of her neck. Discernable characteristics were good. Adjusting the blonde wig on her head, Liz walked around the corner. Immediately she was immersed in a scene of scantily clad girls, suspicious looking men, and red taillights. Walking down the sidewalk she scanned faces for the right one. Over her shoulder she saw Bosco turn the corner and come back around the track. Cruising slowly behind her he was ready to jump out if Liz gave him the signal.

Stopping to lean against the building, Liz hoped that she didn't look too suspicious. White plunging tank top, scant black shorts, and heels that seemed to shoot for the moon were slightly too refined for the locals. In Brooklyn, many of the girls had been around her age so she fit in better, here the girls were just that; little girls. Some of them didn't look much older than twelve and instead of strutting their stuff in the usual hooker fare, they wore whatever, however. Some of them were dirty, others were in tattered, ripped clothes. Pushing off the building she needed to forget it, she had a job to do here. Strolling up to a group of older girls she tried to appear nervous and in need of a fix.

"Hey, you guys know where I can get some blow?" Make them think you're just like them and they'll be more likely to help.

The girls looked her over, before one casually replied, "Guy on the next block is usually holding. Ten bucks for a blast…" she trailed off a smirk coming to her face, "Sometimes he trades, you know, if you don't got any cash. It's not bad when you need to get started." Liz estimated that the girl was probably fifteen or sixteen; so young to be lost in a world like this. Resisting the urge to give her a swift talking to right on the spot, Liz nodded her head and smiled.

"Thanks." The girl gave her a slight smile before turning back to the group. An unspoken sisterhood existed among women of the street and with a half convincing get up and casual attitude Liz had gained an inch on them. Give someone an inch and they'll take a mile. Turning back she indifferently added, "Hey you haven't seen Lola tonight, have you?" The girl thought it over before gesturing toward the other side of the street.

"I seen her over by JB's earlier." Looking up, Liz's eyes landed on a flashing neon sign. 'JB's Corner Store'. A run down bodega that was ground zero for hooker invasion. Walking into the street Liz saw Bosco coming up the track as she made eye contact with him. Stopping the car, she leaned inside the passenger window.

"Hey baby you lookin' for a party?"

Bosco laughed a real, genuine laugh before rolling his eyes. "Yeah."

Liz leaned further in to the car, careful not to be overhead by any one of the women circling around. "I think she's over by JB's," nodding toward the ghetto market Bosco shifted his gaze. Scanning the faces he didn't immediately pick her out but that didn't mean much.

"Check it out. I'll go back around, if it's her wait for me." Nodding Liz pulled out of the window but not before adding her own special touch to the encounter.

"Fuck you, asshole. I'm not givin' out free-bees here!" Bosco cracked a smile as he drove away. Behind her, Liz heard a couple a women chime in their approval. No matter what the situation, she always found a way to blend right in.

Crossing the street, Liz smiled at a couple of horny drivers before focusing back on the task at hand. A group of girls were standing around the corner near JB's although none of them were the one she was looking for. Disappointed she began brainstorming just a car pulled up and a light skinned black girl got out. Leaning through the window she collected her payment before the driver took off. Her long hair cascaded around her neck making it impossible to see a tattoo. Liz stepped back against the building hoping that she would step out into the streetlight. Pushing her hair back, Liz was able to catch a glimpse of her neck and a black dragon. It was her. This was it. Walking over to her, Liz reviewed a story that she had concocted earlier. On one of the arrest reports, a girl named Kristen was rounded up with her. Maybe they were friends, or at the least acquaintances.

"Lola?" The woman turned, eyes landing on Liz with a sense of fear. Squinted her eyes in the dim light; she tried to form some kind of memory. Liz was relieved when a look of confusion took over her face. At least she didn't remember her as a cop. "Hey, I'm one of Kristen's friends."

"Kristen?" Oh shit, maybe that wasn't the right way to go.

"Yeah, remember last month you and Jason were there." Oh now she was reaching.

She thought it over before turning away. "I don't know you." Shit. Liz followed her as she saw Bosco coming up on the right. Tucking her hair behind her ear she hoped that he didn't miss the sign or more obviously the way she was chasing a whore down the street. Speeding up a little, Bosco pulled the car into an alley blocking the sidewalk as Liz closed in. Jumping out of the car Bosco was ready to chase if she ran.

Turning the other way, Lysette was surprised to find Liz right behind her. All possible exits blocked she stomped her heel. "What the hell is this?"

"Get in." Bosco opened the door as Liz provided the order.

"Fuck you. I'm not getting in there." Just as mouthy as she remembered, Liz was losing her patience. Any more dramatics and a crowd would start to form.

Flashing his badge the girl was clearly deflated as her fears were confirmed. "Cops? God damn it."

"Now get in, we don't have all day!" Liz pushed the girl into the backseat among a chorus of protests. Crawling back into the car, Bosco and Liz slammed the doors. "Let's get the hell out of here."

"If y'all gonna arrest me the you might as well just do it. I been down there before I'll be down there again."

Pulling the heavy earrings out of her ears, Liz pulled off the wig letting her own hair fall down. "Relax. No one's getting collared."

"Then what the hell is this?" Neither Bosco nor Liz answered her as they left Hunts Point headed toward Manhattan. Bosco didn't know where he was driving, but Liz had told him not to stop. The longer they drove around, the longer this bitch had to stay with them. She might be desperate but she probably wouldn't jump out of a moving car. Eventually the girl calmed down and the car was quiet.

"Lysette," Liz turned to face her and for the first time a flicker of remembrance flashed across her face.

"You're that cop, from Todd's place." It didn't really matter if she identified her now. They were obviously cops, Bosco showed her his badge for Christ's sake . "I knew you were a cop. Ratty ass wig and all." Bosco smirked as Liz tried to control herself. She thought her outfit as pretty good.

"Lysette, we need to talk to you. It's important. You saw something and we…" Before she could finish an exasperation sigh arose from the backseat.

"Not this bullshit again. I done told them other two I didn't know anything. I never should have said anything to that asshole in Vice."

"But you did," Liz was trying to be as calm and even as possible although she knew what was on the line. "You did, and we need you to tell us. Please…"

"I ain't sayin nothing. As soon as you start talkin' cops be dragging you into court and all kind of bullshit. Whoever this Yokas is, she just goin' to have take care of this mess herself."

The mention of Faith's name made both Bosco and Liz stop cold. She knew, she really knew. A switch flipped inside Bosco as she slammed on the brakes. Pulling the car over, he jumped out slamming the seat forward. Reaching into the backseat, he grabbed whatever he could dragging the girl out of his backseat.

"WHAT THE HELL?" Pulling her up onto the sidewalk Bosco checked her into a brick wall.

"Listen to me, bitch. She's dead, alright! FUCKING DEAD! So she can't take care of anything. I need to tell me what the hell that cop said to you, NOW!" Liz came up behind them.

"Bosco, stop!" This really wasn't the best way to go about doing things, but she knew that all of Bosco's buttons had just been pushed. The look on Lysette's face was a mixture of fear and confusion. Pushing back off the wall, Bosco paced back and forth as the girl was too afraid to move.

"Look, Lysette, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that." What the hell? Liz did a double take to make sure she was hearing things right. Taking a deep breath, Bosco closed his eyes. "Faith Yokas was my partner for thirteen years. She was my best friend and someone killed her. Another cop, someone I know. I'm going to make them pay if it's the last thing I ever do but I need your help. You don't have to testify, you don't have to come, but I need you to talk to me." He paused a wry smile coming to his face. "You can also tell me to piss off but this is going to be a lot harder without you. So I'm begging you, please, please help me."

Liz could not believe what had just happened. Apparently neither could Lysette. Straightening up, she adjusted her skirt. Regarding Bosco with a cautious curiosity, she finally spoke, "Nobody's ever apologized to me and really meant it."

Bosco shrugged his shoulders. He didn't have anything left to give. If she didn't take that, he was out of luck.

"What you want to know?" At that moment the heavens opened and Liz could have sworn that the light of God was shining in the south Bronx. Bosco had come through with a last second hail mary that she never could have anticipated.

"Are you hungry? Have you eaten today?" Liz knew that most of the girls went for days without a meal, saving all their extra cash to chase the dragon. Shaking her head, Lysette appeared ashamed as a monumental shift in attitude took place. "Let's go." Without a word they got back into the car.

Twenty minutes later they were sitting in a booth at Chaing Mai's on Grand Concourse deep in the middle of a Bronx wasteland punctuated by addicts, unsupervised children, and abject poverty. It was one of the worst neighborhoods in New York and apparently Lysette living just around the block. A product of her environment, Liz didn't miss the way she gauged their reaction to the area. Unfortunately she was disappointed as this only reminded them of a home that no longer existed.

"How long have you been out there?" Liz tried to show some genuine interest to break the ice.

"About five years. I didn't really have a home growing up. I never knew my dad and my mom was on the rock. We lived over on 161st until I was about twelve then we lost our house and I had to go live with my aunt. We fought all the time, so I left. Lived on the street for two years until this guy rolled up on me one day. Said I was so pretty and he wanted to date me." Liz was surprised at how willing she was to share information although she didn't stop her. Bosco's truth filled plea had fostered a level of immediate trust between them. "It was nice for a while." Her voice trailed off as she looked down at her hands. "One day he brought some friends over and said if I wanted to stay there with him I would have to do what they wanted." She paused. "Couple days after that I as out on the track, been there ever since."

It was a sad story and one that was all too common. "You guys don't want to know about all that, though."

Reaching into his pocket Bosco produced a photo of Brian Jackson. Setting it out on the table he gauged her reaction. "Have you ever seen him?"

Taking the photo she slowly shook her head, "No." He waited a second before he produced another picture of Scott Geidel. Immediately the recognition was apparent. "Yes. This is the guy."

Bosco let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, "Tell me what happened."

Lysette took a deep breath as she set the picture aside. Looking out the window she slowly began, "I was on the track, this guy pulled up. He asked me how old I was. He looked like a cop so I wasn't really to hot for it but I hadn't scored yet and I really needed a blast to get out of the gate, you know." Heroin. Liz figured she was on something, maybe crack but she just looked too clean for heroin. "So I get in the car, and he drives off the track into an alley. I do my thing but in the middle of it he gets all weird, you know?"

Bosco nodded, eager for her to continue. "I ask him what's wrong and he said he's had a rough couple of weeks. I keep going, then he starts telling me about him and his partner…they were crooked, ripping people off and whatever. Your partner, she saw them do something, so they killed her; to protect themselves. As I finished him off he said 'You didn't deserve it Yokas'. I was freaked, I didn't know what to do."

Bosco stopped her, "You're sure he said 'You didn't deserve it, Yokas.'"

She made eye contact with him, "I'm sure. He said it twice."

Bosco sat back in the booth and exhaled loudly. Their food came and they ate in silence. When they were done, Liz pushed her plate away and exhaled loudly. "We'll keep you out of this as much as possible, Lysette." The girl cast a nervous glace at Liz as she finished eating the fried rice.

Leaning in to the center of the table, Bosco lowered his voice. "Thank you. You didn't have to do that, but you did. Thank you."

Liz didn't miss the slight embarrassment on her face. It had been a long time since a man was level with her. "Is there anything we can do for you?"

Confusion overtook her features, "What?"

"Have you ever thought about getting into a program?"

She rolled her eyes, "Yeah. They always get ignorant with me and then I got to walk out."

Pulling out her phone, Liz scanned the list. "I know a woman. She's really good and she runs her own program."

Lysette shook her head doubtful, "I don't know."

Scribbling her number down on the napkin Liz passed it across the table. "At least check it out. She used to be a prostitute so…" Bosco didn't miss the flicker in her eye as she eyed the napkin carefully.


"Yeah…" Liz didn't push it any further as Lysette stuffed the napkin in her bra and got up.

"Can I go?"

Bosco nodded. As she turned to leave Lysette stopped abruptly, "Why didn't you lie to me?"

Bosco turned and eyed her carefully. Shrugging his shoulders he didn't really have any sort of dazzling explanation. "Because...it wasn't the right thing to do." She stood there for a moment staring at him like he had just landed form outer space. A cop and a man who actually treated her with some respect. She couldn't believe it. Without another word she walked out of the restaurant the bell on the door jangling behind her.

When she was gone Liz let out a whoosh of air. "Jesus! That was close."

Bosco nodded lost in thought. He had a good idea of what he was going to do next.

The next night Bosco was crouching in the space between two buildings waiting for a certain person to emerge from the subway. Glancing at his watch, he wiped the sweat form the back of his neck. It was early August and the heat was oppressive even at night. Leaning against the bricks, Bosco waited. Coming up the stairs he saw a flash of dark hair as a familiar figure neared his hiding place. In one swift movement he came up out of the crouch and grabbed the man by the back of his shirt. Off balance and not expecting an attack, he stumbled as Bosco shoved him into the dark crevice.

Of the two it didn't take a genius to figure out that Scott Geidel was the weak link. Armed with the information of last night, Bosco was going to start chipping away. Liz didn't know about his little side trip and he didn't care. As soon as those words had come out of her Lysette's mouth he knew exactly what he was going to do.

Pinning Geidel on the ground Bosco brought his face so close that he was whispering in the man's ear. "You mother fuckers thought you got rid of me, huh?"

The sheer terror that Geidel felt at that moment was unparalleled. Bosco. He knew this day was going to come. Sooner or later Bosco would come around and make this thing right, he told Brian those exact words! Now it was happening and Bosco would not stop until they paid.

Pulling a picture of Lysette out, he held it up to Geidel's face. "You know her?" Sputtering, his eyes widened as Bosco wedged his knee against the man's throat. Putting the picture away he leaned in again with a deadly whisper, "Well guess what I do, and if you think you're going to get away with this…" He trailed off. He didn't want to give him too much but he wanted to scare him enough to shake something loose. Getting up he sneered at the man quivering on the ground. Walking backwards toward the street, he paused before disappearing around the corner. "Watch your step, man. I'm back."

Above Lyrics are Ed Sheeran's "The A Team"

I love reviews and I haven't got many lately. I hope everyone is still happy with the direction of the story. If you're reading, please take a minute to let me know what you think! It makes me write faster!