Disclaimer: I don't own Third Watch or its characters. Wish I did.

Author's Note: This is just a little something that's been in my mind the past couple days.

I make many references to actual occurrences in the show, but pay little regard to the timeline. I guess I'd put this somewhere in season 3 after "Sex, Lies and Videotape", but before "The Long Guns".

The idea spawned from one of my favorite episodes, "Superheroes" when Bosco demands to know why Faith would go to Swersky to get him to talk to a counselor. She mentions his "delinquent father" as one of the reasons he should go. This story is a spin-off of that conversation, and takes place months before. However where the story ends up will probably make it completely AU.

As always, Reviews are greatly appreciated.

Chapter 1: Betrayal


It had been a quiet shift, thus far.

They'd only had three calls, one of which turned out to be bogus. Somebody had called about a hit and run in front of an apartment complex; but when the officers arrived, they found no victim, no witnesses, and and no evidence of a hit and run. The other two calls had been minor affairs: they'd arrested a man for public intoxication, and had investigated a report of vandalism outside of a store.

Now they were on meal break, Bosco pulling to a stop in front of his favorite burger joint.

"Aw, do we have to eat here again, Bos? It's the third time this week!" Faith whined from the passenger seat.

"What? I thought you liked this place; you never complained about it before!" Bosco retorted.

"Look, I'm just sick of eating at the same damn restaurant all the time."

He sighed. It was obvious his partner was in one of her moods again. She'd been quiet all day – quiet, distant, and irritable. He'd given her space, trying in his own way to be patient and understanding. God knows she put up with enough of his shit over the years – it was the least he could do.

"Fine. Where do you want to eat?" He asked, relenting.

"I'm not hungry."

"Well, I am. So I guess we're eating here," he said, smirking at her as he cut the engine.

"Fine, I'll just wait out here," she replied stubbornly.

"Do you want some coffee or something?"

"No, don't worry about it. Go enjoy your meal," she said dismissively.

He just looked at her. "Why do you gotta do that?"

"What?"

"Guilt-trip me about eating just because you're not hungry."

He was turned in his seat to face her, waiting for an answer. She wouldn't look at him.

"Look Bos, I don't want argue with you today. Just go eat."

He sighed before getting out of the car. He couldn't win.

He came back out 20 minutes later with two brown paper bags in one hand, and balancing two cups of coffee in the other.

"I got you some stuff in case you get hungry later," he said, making it sound nonchalant, like he hadn't just gone out of his way for her despite the way she'd been treating him.

"I didn't ask you to," she said coldly.

He glanced at her, patience wearing thin. "So? I did anyway."

"I'm not gonna thank you."

"I didn't expect you to."

They barely spoke the rest of the shift.

As they were driving through night time traffic, a mere hour left on the shift, Faith finally exploded.

He'd been incredibly bored – she wasn't talking to him, and he was starting to get tired. To keep himself awake as he drove, he'd begun tapping out a rhythm on the steering wheel with his thumbs.

He nearly jumped when she yelled at him.

"Will you quit it! That is so annoying! God, you're like one of my kids!"

His eyes briefly flickered with shock and hurt before his face swiftly contorted in anger.

He whipped the RMP into a nearby parking space before turning to her.

"You know, you've had a hair up your ass all day, and now it's really starting to piss me off! If I did or said something that irritated you I'm sorry, alright! But you don't have to be a bitch about it!"

His rant seemed to shake her out of her complacency, and she glanced guiltily toward the window to compose herself before turning to face him.

"I-I'm sorry, Bos. It's not you. I'm sorry I took it out on you. You didn't do or say anything."

He looked at her for a moment, letting the anger slowly drain. He absently wondered what the problem was, if it wasn't him, and felt a small stab of something mingling pity and fear.

"Did something happen with kids?" He asked suddenly.

"No, they're fine." She sniffed. She wasn't really crying, but close to it, more because of the guilt now than anything. She hadn't meant to put him through this.

He swallowed, and could not hide the fear in his next question.

"Is it the cancer?"

She whipped her head toward him, surprised.

"No, Bosco, I…that's fine. That's been fine. I'm not sick anymore." It still shocked her, how badly that had shaken him.

"You pregnant or something?" Was his next question.

She rolled her eyes. "No, Bosco, I'm not pregnant."

He threw up his hands, exasperated. "Well I'm not gonna play twenty questions all night."

"It's Fred, okay? That's what's bugging me."

"Why? What'd he do now?"

He seemed almost relieved, as if Fred wasn't that big of a deal, and that angered her.

"I'm thinking about leaving him, that's what."

"Faith…." He let out a sigh, as if he was disappointed. That pissed her off even more. Who the hell did he think he was, anyway?

"What?" She demanded. "What?"

"Look, Faith…." He held up a hand as if to placate her. "Fred ain't perfect. I know that – I mean hell, half the time I don't even like him. But he's a good guy. He's a good husband to you, and he's a good father to your kids."

She glared at him, furious. "What the hell do you know," she spat.

He shrugged, refusing to respond. He'd said his peace.

Her mouth was moving faster than her brain or her conscience, but she was so angry that she didn't bother stopping it, though she knew from experience her next words be foolish, even hurtful.

"You know, you amaze me, Bos," she began, her voice so hard and sarcastic that he turned to stare at her, curious about what she was going to say.

"You seem so compassionate out here on the job, getting all tangled up inside about the women we see stuck in abusive relationships – but when it's your own partner you don't give a damn!"

He shook his head at her with something akin to pity. "Don't."

"Don't what?" She was breathless from the yelling.

"Fred isn't abusive," he said, his face twisting into something resembling disgust. At her.

"How the hell would you know?" She shouted. "You don't live with him! You of all people…."

"Don't!" He growled, suddenly in her space. "Don't you dare!" He knew what she'd been about to bring up, crossing a line in their partnership. His eyes were furious, glinting fiercely in the darkness.

It was a warning, and she knew it.

She didn't care. Her pride wouldn't allow her to stop.

"What – you gonna hit me, Bos?"

The horrible, sarcastic words were out of her mouth before she could control herself, and she suddenly felt revolted by her own ugliness.

She watched as he immediately shrank from her, wide-eyed and breathing fast – she had emasculated him with a single sentence.

She knew he would never do such a thing. She knew how it bothered him. She knew about the wounds from his childhood – wounds that would never heal.

He'd trusted her with that, and she'd used it against him in a moment of thoughtless anger.

She took in his sudden paleness, saw that he was visibly shaking, and the reality of what she'd just done to him hit her like a brick.

"Oh my god, Bosco…." Her eyes filled with tears of regret, and she covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh my god…."

Silence filled the RMP. She watched as the digital clock clicked to 11 PM. Their shift was over.

His next words were quiet – bitter.

"I think I'd know if Fred was abusive. We both know I've had a lifetime of experience with the kind of bastards who beat up women." He laughed sardonically. "Hell, it's in my DNA."

"Bosco…."

"Faith!" He held up a hand, silencing her. "I don't know if I can take anymore tonight, okay?"

He drove quietly back to the station house.

She was glad it was dark. Glad he couldn't see the tears streaking down her cheeks.

She'd messed up bad this time, and she had no clue how to make it right.


TBC….