Author's note: This chapter was hard to write, but also very rewarding once I finished.
This chapter has a little bit of everyone - Faith, Swersky, Sully, Davis, Michael Boscorelli and of course, our beloved Bosco. Enjoy. :)
As always, thanks to my faithful reviewers.
P.S., if you've never listened to the Goo Goo Dolls, you're missing out on a great thing.
Chapter 4: Pain
"Now we're grown-up orphans, that never knew their names;
We don't belong to no one, that's a shame..."
-Goo Goo Dolls
The silence was deafening inside of Lieutenant Swersky's office.
He'd quickly escorted a subdued Bosco there after the scene in the holding area, and Faith had followed.
Bosco slumped into a chair, eyes staring vacantly at the opposing wall, while Swersky busied himself around the room until the blinds on every window were closed.
Inwardly Faith was relieved that their boss understood Bosco needed privacy right now after his very emotional, very public loss of control.
"Stay here," he had ordered finally, glancing at Faith once before slamming the door shut behind him.
In the sudden quiet of the room, she stood staring at her partner, her back resting against the wall.
After a few minutes she let out a soft, weary sigh. It had been a horrible day – she couldn't imagine what Bosco was feeling.
What was going through his mind right now?
He just sat limply in the metal chair, arms lying loosely in his lap, chin tipped slightly toward his chest. To see him sitting there so still and quiet unnerved her even more than his meltdown had just minutes ago.
He was hurting, and she didn't know how to reach him.
"Bosco?" She tried timidly.
He exhaled harshly before responding.
"Is there anything I can get you?" She swallowed. "Maybe coffee or something?"
His head shook almost imperceptibly. "No."
"Okay…if you need—"
Her words were abruptly cut short by Swersky's return.
He slammed the door behind him, then slowly walked up to the younger man and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Boscorelli…are you alright? Is there anybody you want me to call?"
"I'm okay, Boss." Bosco remained stoic, refusing to make eye contact.
Swersky sighed, removing his hand.
"It's a hell of mess I'm going to have to clean up because of you," he began, moving to stand with arms crossed in front of the younger officer.
"I know, Boss. I'm sorry."
"I want an explanation. What the hell was that?"
Bosco clenched his jaw, lowering his gaze to the floor.
"It's been a long day, Lieu…" Faith cut in, trying to help her partner.
"Yokas – I want to hear it from him," Swersky replied. He leaned back to sit on the desk behind him, arms still crossed, and returned his inquiring gaze to the officer in front of him.
"I lost my temper, Lieu. There's no excuse. I take full responsibility," Bosco said, almost mechanically.
"You took another officer's service piece and threatened to shoot an unarmed man in a holding cell! I think that was more than just a loss of temper, Bosco!" Swersky replied, his tone rising again in anger.
"I don't ever want to see anything like that in my house again, do you understand me?"
"You're a police officer, not a vigilante!"
"You do know that procedure requires me to suspend you without pay, and report you to IAB for professional misconduct?" Lieu continued.
"We're talking about a command discipline, a psych evaluation, possible termination…are you hearing me, Boscorelli?"
"I'll take whatever I got comin'," Bosco replied, his voice firm.
"I know you, Boscorelli," Swersky countered. "I know how much this job means to you. You're one of my best officers. I need you out there, and if your temper gets you kicked off the job, that puts me in a bad position. You were this close to being kicked off the force today with that stunt you pulled!"
Bosco didn't respond verbally, but Swersky could tell by the twitching muscle in the younger officer's jaw that he was listening.
Swersky paused, studying the man in front of him for a moment before speaking in a softer tone.
"I know you just lost your mother. And that's the only reason I'm going to cover for you. But you owe me, Boscorelli. I'd better not hear one negative report about you for the next six months. Is that clear?"
"Good. Now, I want you to take some time off."
"No, Boss –
"At least three days, Boscorelli. With pay. No arguments. After that you're on desk duty for at least a week, until I think that you're fit to be out on the street again."
"Alright. Both of you are dismissed. Go home."
Bosco stood to leave, and Faith quickly followed.
"Boscorelli," Swersky called out just as Bosco reached for the doorknob.
"I'm sorry about your mother. If there's anything you need…anything at all, you let me know."
Bosco just nodded, his throat tight, before opening the door and slowly walking out into the hall.
"Hey, Yokas," Swersky called out again, his voice quieter this time. She looked up at him expectantly from the doorway, reluctantly lingering behind when all she wanted was to catch up with her partner.
"Is he going to be okay?" asked Swersky, the concern evident in his facial features.
"His father just beat his mother to death, Lieu. I don't know."
"You'll keep an eye on him?"
She looked away briefly. "He's been shutting me out. I don't know what to say to him."
"Sometimes you don't have to say anything. Just be there."
Faith looked up at her superior and gave a small, grateful smile.
"You don't have to thank me. Just go find your partner."
She found him sitting on the bench in the locker room, staring blankly in front of him.
Quietly, she walked up to him, leaning casually against one of the lockers.
"Bos? How're you doing?"
"How do you think I'm doin', Faith?" he retorted snidely.
"Yeah…I guess that's a stupid question, huh?" She replied, refusing to be deterred by his demeanor. "So what are you going to do now?"
He cocked his head to the side irritably, staring straight ahead as he stood and opened his locker.
"I'm gonna get changed Faith," he answered coldly. "D'you mind?"
Wordlessly she nodded, then walked over to her own locker to change, having already made up her mind that she wasn't going to leave him alone tonight.
Bosco had finished changing and was just slinging his duffel bag over his shoulder, simultaneously slamming his locker shut, when Sully entered the room.
"Hey Bosco," he called loudly.
Bosco sighed. "What, Sullivan?"
"Your brother's here looking for you."
Faith whipped her head around to watch Bosco's reaction. He'd paled considerably, his shoulders slumping in defeat.
"Mikey?" he whispered, swallowing convulsively. "Mikey's here?"
"Yeah, he's waiting downstairs."
"Does he…does he know?"
Sully shook his head. "I don't think so. He doesn't seem upset or anything."
Letting the bag slip off of his shoulder and onto the floor, Bosco slowly lowered himself down on the edge of the bench.
Exhaling loudly, he brought a hand up and rubbed his forehead.
"What do you want me to tell him?" Sully asked quietly.
"Just…just tell him I'm changing and I'll be down in a minute," Bosco replied softly.
As the door closed behind Sully, Faith shut her own locker and went to stand next to Bosco's hunched form. She could almost feel the exhaustion emanating from his body.
"I forgot about him, Faith. What the hell kind of brother am I? I shoulda called him back at the hospital."
"Bosco, it's okay," Faith replied. She didn't know what else to say.
"No, it's not Faith. It's not okay," he objected, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees and rubbing his hands together anxiously.
"What the hell am I supposed to say to him? How the hell am I supposed to…to explain this?"
She didn't have the answers to his questions.
"You want me come with you?"
He blew out a breath slowly, then shook his head.
"No. It's a family thing, Faith…it's…I gotta do this alone."
He looked up at her then, noting the sadness in her eyes. All she wanted to do was help him. The last thing he wanted was her to think he was ungrateful for the concern.
"I appreciate it, though…you know? You bein' there."
She nodded hastily, looking away so he wouldn't see the tears misting her green eyes.
"How about I stop by your place tomorrow before work, huh? I – I'll bring that Chinese chicken you like," she offered. "We can have lunch together."
He wanted desperately to turn her down, but felt the need to appease her. She was trying so hard.
"If it'd make you feel better…sure."
She gave him a tiny smile. "Okay. Call me if you need anything?"
As she spoke, she reached out to brush the back of her hand lightly against his cheek. It was the smallest of touches, but her heart broke in two at his reaction. Instead of flinching or jerking away, he froze, clenched his eyes shut, and inhaled sharply, almost painfully. When his eyes opened seconds later, they were suspiciously bright.
"I gotta go," he forced out, standing abruptly and grabbing his bag.
She said nothing as he pushed past her, and remained standing in the middle of the locker room, fighting tears long after he'd gone.
"Boss, have you seen my brother?" Bosco asked Swersky, who was on the phone behind the front desk.
"Yeah, I think he's waiting outside."
"Thanks Boss," Bosco rapped knuckles once against the wooden desk, then headed out into the chilly night.
Michael was sitting at the bottom of the precinct steps, his back toward him.
Bosco walked slowly down the steps until he was standing next to his brother.
"Mikey," he breathed out, eyes closing in dreaded anticipation of the tragic news he'd have to share.
The younger man jumped up, immediately on the defensive.
"Look, Mo, I don't need a lecture from you. I'm just here to bail him out, that's all."
Bosco's face scrunched up in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"Word on the street is that you locked the old man up. I'm here to bail him out. So just tell me where he is and what I gotta do, and I'll be outta your hair."
Bosco was almost physically sick with the rage boiling suddenly in his gut. It was only the knowledge that his brother had no idea what had transpired earlier that day that kept him from losing control.
"Mikey…you don't even know what he did."
"Does it matter? It's called family loyalty, Mo. Something you don't know nothing about." Micheal retorted angrily, his entire posture screaming defiance.
Letting out a long-suffering sigh, Bosco reached for his brother's arm.
"Look Mikey, there's something I gotta tell you. Something's happened…."
Noticing the troubled look on his brother's face for the first time, Michael took a step back.
"What? What's going on, Mo?" He demanded as Bosco led him away from the building and over to where his Mustang was parked along the street.
When they reached the car, Michael pulled away roughly. "What the hell's going on?"
"Look. Mikey…I don't know how to tell you this, but – something's happened to mom."
"What?" Michael breathed out, growing fearful of the devastation reflected in his brother's eyes.
"I was called to the scene of a domestic earlier today. A woman got beat up real bad…it was mom."
Michael's eyes grew wide with fear and anger.
"What? W-why the hell didn't you call me? Is she alright? Jesus, Mo – you shoulda called me!"
Bosco hung his head in shame, his voice rough with emotion.
"I know, I know. Mikey…it just all happened so fast…"
"How is she? Are we going to the hospital, or what? I want to see her, Mo!" Michael demanded.
"Mikey…Mikey…" Bosco grabbed hold of his little brother's shoulders and shook him slightly. "We're not going to the hospital."
"Well, what…was she released already?" Michael asked, and the desperate hope in eyes felt like a knife in Bosco's gut.
"No, Mikey. She's gone. She's gone, Mikey. She didn't make it," he explained, hot tears welling in his eyes. "Her injuries were too severe."
Michael processed this information, shock evident on his face. He pulled away and scrubbed at his hair with his hands.
"Jesus…" He whispered, then turned around again to face his brother.
"Does dad know?"
Bosco almost laughed at the irony in his brother's words. Poor Mikey. He'd always stuck up for their dad in the vain, desperate hope that the man would show him any kind of love or attention.
His idealistic dreams were about to irrevocably shattered.
Bosco's silence, coupled with the wry smirk on his face, infuriated Michael.
"What, you didn't tell him? Mo! How could you be so heartless, man?"
Bosco's hand shot out before he could stop it, and roughly latched on to Michael's coat.
"Heartless? Heartless?" He hissed. "He beat her, Michael! He beat her, and this time her heart gave out and she died! You still gonna defend him?"
"Come on, dad wouldn't –"
He was cut off as Bosco violently yanked him forward, then shoved him up against the side of the car.
"I was there, Michael!" Bosco screamed in his brother's face, the tears spilling over and down his cheeks. "I watched the paramedics give her CPR while dad sat across the room in handcuffs!"
"He was drunk, and he beat her to death! Do you understand?"
"Get off me!" Michael shouted, shoving his older brother back.
The brothers stood staring at each other for a moment, both breathing heavily.
Michael watched as Bosco reached up to wipe the tears off of his face with trembling hands. He looked like hell, and somewhere deep down Michael knew that he should be comforting him now. They should be comforting each other.
But it was too horrible and painful to accept. And he felt his heart harden in that moment.
"Do you know for sure that he did it, or were you so desperate to get back at him that you just locked him up?" Michael spat, surprised when an almost detached feeling of satisfaction washed over him.
He wanted to hurt someone like he was hurting. So lashed out at his brother. And damn, it felt good.
Bosco's eyes flashed with shock and anger.
"Mikey…you better back off what you're saying right now."
"What? What are you gonna do that could possible hurt me more than you have already?"
"Mikey…I'm sorry I didn't call you, alright?"
"No, you're not. You're just saying that to try and make me feel better. You're not really sorry."
He saw the hurt cross his brother's features, then went in for the kill.
"How long ago did it happen, Mo? How long were you with her in the hospital? Huh? How much time did you get to spend with her before she died? Time that I didn't have, because you didn't call me!"
He paused, stepping forward and giving Bosco a shove backward.
"I had to find out from the street that dad was locked up. Hell, I probably wouldn't have found out that mom was dead if I hadn't come down here tonight, would I?"
"Mikey, please…." Bosco whispered brokenly.
"Did you ever think that maybe she'd want both her sons to be there? Huh? Or were you just being selfish?" He shook his head in disgust. "You don't give a damn about our family."
Bosco was in his face in an instant. "Don't you dare say that!"
"Get outta my face, Maurice," Michael warned, hands clenched into fists.
"She died this afternoon. And you wanna know why I didn't call you?" Bosco retorted, chest heaving with rage.
"When's the last time you visited her, Mikey? Hm? Scratch that – when's the last time you had a conversation with her when you weren't stoned out of your mind?"
His voice lowered to a growl. "I didn't call you because I figured you'd rather be hiding out in some bathroom snortin' a line than being a man and standing next to your dying mother's hospital bed."
The words had spewed out of his mouth like fire, and Michael stared at him in shock for only a second before pulling his arm back and punching Bosco in the jaw.
Taken off guard, Bosco stumbled back a few steps, his body now coiled with rage.
"You son of a…" he hissed, his fist flying into his younger brother's mouth.
Michael became instantly enraged, slamming himself headlong into his brother's body.
They fell to the ground together, and within seconds, it was an all-out brawl. The brothers were rolling on the ground, punching and kicking and cursing loudly in the street next to Bosco's Mustang.
Sully and Davis happened to be walking out of the precinct at the time, and were alerted to the sound of the scuffle.
"What the hell?" Sully exclaimed.
"Is that Bosco?" Davis wondered aloud, as they began hurrying toward the fight.
At the same time, Bosco viciously bucked Michael off of his torso, his body tumbling out into the middle of the street.
Bosco rolled to his knees and squinted into the bright headlights of a car.
His brother still lay on his stomach in the middle of the street – directly in the path of the oncoming vehicle.
"Oh, no!" Sully moaned as he and Davis watched the scene in horror, sprinting down the steps toward the road – they weren't going to get there in time.
"Oh my god," Bosco gasped. Michael was dressed in dark colors and was lying in the middle of the road – there was no way that the driver would see him.
Without a second thought, Bosco jerked himself forward, yanking his brother up to his knees and practically tossing him out of the vehicle's way.
He got there with just enough time to push Michael out of the way.
Michael turned his head at the sound of squealing brakes and a sickening 'thump', all anger forgotten as he watched his older brother's body fly across the hood of the car, the momentum carrying him up and over the hood before slamming his body mercilessly down onto the concrete.
He let out a strangled yelp as he crawled to his brother's side. "Mo? Jesus! Talk to me, Mo!"
"M'okay…m'okay, Mikey," Bosco rasped, struggling painfully to pull himself into a sitting position. No one was more surprised than he that he was still conscious.
By that time the driver had gotten out of the car, which happened to be a taxi.
"Is he alright? Oh God! I didn't see him!"
"Sir, I need you to step back!" Bosco recognized Sully's breathless voice and looked up just in time to see Davis fall on his knees next to him, his eyes wide and stunned.
"Bosco! It's alright man, just stay down 'til the bus gets here."
"I'm okay, Davis. Just a little scraped up," Bosco said tiredly, leaning his head back against the side of the car. "Just gimme a minute."
"Mo…I'm so sorry, man. I didn't mean for this to happen. I'm really sorry," his brother pleaded, eyes shining with tears.
Bosco just stared at him for minute. He was so damn tired that it seemed to override any pain or anger he'd previously felt. His little brother looked shaken, sitting in front of him on his knees, face covered with cuts and scrapes from their fight. Bosco was struck with guilt. If his mother was here, she'd be disappointed - crying probably.
He was the older brother. Michael was his responsibility. And he blew it big time.
Heart filled with regret, he held a hand out to his younger sibling.
"S'okay, Mikey. Help me up."
"Bosco, I think you need to wait for the medics, bro," Davis said with a frown.
He was ignored as Michael, convinced that his brother knew best, helped him to his feet.
Bosco stood slowly, grimacing at the pain in his side and swaying against his brother's arm. He caught Davis' questioning stare and rolled his eyes.
"I'm just a little bruised, alright? No big deal, man." He desperately just wanted to go home and sleep.
Sully walked over then, and tried to lay down the law. "Bosco, you were just hit by a car. You're not leaving here until you get checked out."
"Look Sul, I appreciate your concern. But I'm a big boy, and I know when I need to go to the hospital and when I don't. I'm tellin' you, I'm fine. I just wanna go home."
"I'll drive you," Mikey offered quietly.
"Huh. That's rich, coming from the guy who was beating the hell out of him just a minute ago," Sully responded sarcastically.
"Hey Sul," Bosco cut in angrily. "Mind your own damn business, okay?"
"Bosco," Davis said the name disapprovingly, staring at his friend in surprise and concern.
Bosco threw a hand up, dismissive. "I'll see ya later."
"You wanna press charges against this guy?" Sully called out irritably as Bosco made his way to the Mustang, leaning heavily on his brother.
"No!" Bosco retorted over his shoulder.
Sully and Davis watched as he stopped next to the driver's side door.
"I'm driving," he demanded. Michael looked up at him worriedly.
"Mo, I don't think -"
"Damn it, Mikey! It's my car!"
"Are we just gonna let him leave like that?" Davis asked his partner worriedly. "He can barely walk."
"What do you want me to do, Davis?" Sully replied angrily. "If he stayed for the ambulance, he'd refuse transport, and if he went to the hospital, he'd sign himself out AMA. If he wants to be stubborn, let him."
"Aren't you being a little hard on the guy, I mean...he just got hit by a car, man. And his mom was murdered. I'd say he's having a real shitty day."
Sully's eyes softened, but only marginally. "Let me tell you something, Davis. I've known Bosco for a long time. And he's not the kind of guy to let you help him even if he knows he needs it. Believe me. There's no sense in trying."
He paused. "The only one who's ever been able to get through to him is Faith."
"Should we call her?" Davis asked.
"What and have him pissed at us? He told us to stay out of it. Besides, she'll probably check up on him later, anyway. He probably just wants to be alone right now."
Davis turned to watch the Mustang pull slowly away from the curb, lost in thought and worried for his friend.
"Davis," Sully called gruffly. "Let it go."
Reluctantly, the younger officer turned and followed Sully back toward the house.
"You want me to drive?" Michael had asked uncertainly.
His brother looked awful. His was lip split a swollen, as was his eye, and he was holding himself like he was in pain.
"No, I'm fine," Bosco's voice was quiet and fatigued.
"You sure you don't need a hospital, bro?" Michael asked as his brother turned the key in the ignition.
"Mikey, I'm tired, alright?" Was his only reply.
It was a silent ride back to Bosco's apartment, the tension thick and suffocating.
As he watched his brother's, stiff, careful movements through the dim lights of passing cars, Michael wondered how he could fix all the damage that had been done.
It hit him like a brick – they were all they had now. All that was left of a shattered family. And Maurice had nearly been taken from him tonight, all because of his anger, his selfishness.
Michael Boscorelli was ashamed. Truly ashamed. Probably for the first time in his life.
Overnight, their lives had fallen apart.
One question remained – did they care enough to try and put the pieces back together?
A/N: So whatchya thinkin'? :)