Disclaimer: I don't own Third Watch, or the characters thereof. This is just for fun.
Only a week later, Faith and Fred decided that it would be for the best if she was to return to work on a part-time basis. Faith had withdrawn too much, physically she was doing alright, but the emotional effect of spending weeks in the apartment was taking its toll.
Dr Knight had approved the idea, agreeing that Faith was medically fit enough to work while still undergoing the chemotherapy treatment.
Lieutenant Swersky was a man of his word, and he had not discussed Faith's illness with anyone, he hadn't even written it down. When Faith called asking to return to work part time, after he established that she was medically fit to return, Swersky was more than happy to arrange a part time schedule with her; until Faith's treatment was finished, she would 'share' her position with probationary Officer Gusler. Faith would work a block of ten days, then have eleven off, working around her treatment schedule.
It was a nerve wracking experience for Faith, the first time she returned to the precinct; she was wearing an impressively realistic wig, the wig was similar to her previous hair colour, but Faith had opted for a shorter, modern style, mainly for the reason that it stayed on much better than others she had tried, and just days before, Faith had bought a proper prosthesis, unless you knew, from a distance you wouldn't be able to tell that it wasn't her real breast. And Faith had no intention of getting close enough to her fellow officers that they would be able to tell.
Still being back, wondering if any of the officers she passed knew the truth, praying that her wig wouldn't slip, it felt as though the walk upstairs to the locker room went on forever.
The afternoon shift was due to start in just ten minutes, and so the locker room was bustling with officers both coming off the previous shift and coming on to the next. Amongst the group were Faith's fellow officers Steven Gusler, John 'Sully' Sullivan, and her long-time partner, Bosco.
Sully noticed Faith's presence before the others, he called out to her, "Hey Faith, you're back!" He crossed the distance between them, "I like the new haircut, it looks good."
Soon enough Faith and Bosco were out on patrol in their sector car, 5-5 David. To the best of Bosco's knowledge Faith had taken extended leave to spend time with her family after their initial trip to the Jersey shore; that was the story that Swersky had told anyone who asked after Faith.
As they drove around the streets, Faith reflected, it seemed impossible to her that everything was suddenly so ordinary, the same as it had always been, when she still had cancer, she still was so ill, her body had been knocked in every direction by the surgery and chemotherapy. Her partner sat next to her, oblivious to the battle that her body was fighting every minute, assuming that nothing had changed.
Little did Faith know, she was not the only one in that car going through a personal level of hell. In the time that Faith had been gone, Bosco had been through a number of incidents that combined with 9/11 had left him traumatised. But all too soon Faith would realise that her partner was not the same man he had been before.
They were going to a shots fired call, Bosco was driving the RMP, while Faith rode in the passenger seat, everything seemed normal to Faith, but then she felt the car swerve. "Damn it, Bosco!" Faith swore in surprise, she turned to her partner, only to find him in the clutches of a panic attack. She tried to grab the steering wheel, avoid the cars that were now swerving to miss them as they careened through the New York City traffic. "Bosco, hit the brakes! Pull over, Bos! Pull over!"
After several terrifying seconds Faith managed to get the car under her control, and off to the side of the road, she pulled on the handbrake to bring the RMP to a halt. Then Faith could turn her attention to her partner, who was doubled over in his seat, hyperventilating, and screaming in blind panic, panic that had nothing to do with the traffic incident he'd just caused.
Faith put her hand on Bosco's back, comforting him as she tried to figure out what was happening; he wasn't improving, and after a moment, Faith reached for her radio. "5-5 David to central, I've got an officer down, I need an ambulance!"
Several hours later as Faith waited in the emergency department of Mercy Hospital for news on her partner. Faith was standing at the desk, when Gusler and Sully came in with a perp needing a med clearance, while Gusler took their perp in to be seen by a doctor, Sully came over to speak to Faith, "What're you doing here?" He asked.
Faith was still rattled by the incident, shakily she replied, "Bos is sick, he was having trouble breathing."
Sully gave Faith a knowing look; he had ridden with Bosco a few times while Faith had been on leave, and just days earlier there had been a similar incident involving Bosco. Bosco had been pursuing a bank robbery suspect, just when Bosco had nearly caught him, the suspect threw down the bag that held the stolen money; unbeknown to anyone the bank workers had placed a dye-pack in with the money. The dye-pack had exploded in Bosco's face, triggering a panic attack; Sully and other officers on scene had thought that Bosco was having a heart attack. "We've got to talk."
So as it turned out Faith wasn't the only one who had been going through a rough time, by the end of her first day back, Faith had heard about more crap than she ever imagined could have happened in her absence.
But still Faith had made it through her first day back.
The weeks and months that followed seemed to go by in a daze for Faith. Fred had a heart attack in September, he spent close to a month in the ICU, and even now, two weeks later he was still very weak.
Faith nearly lost her husband, but in a strange twist of fate, Fred's illness brought Emily closer to her mother, Emily finally saw what her mother went through every day in the hope that she could make a better life for her children.
Now Faith was back at the chemotherapy unit, having what she hoped would be her final treatment, with her daughter sitting by her side.
The nurse was giving each of the chemotherapeutic drugs, one at a time through the central line in Faith's chest, while Faith and her daughter chatted.
It wasn't easy for Emily to see her mother undergoing the treatment that made her so ill for days to follow; to keep her fears at bay, Emily kept up a constant stream of chatter. Emily didn't stop talking until just as the nurse was unhooking the empty saline bag from Faith's line, her mother's cell phone rang.
Though Faith was feeling queasy as a result of the treatment, she answered her phone, "Faith Yokas."
"Sergeant Matthews here, Officer. We have a shortage on the afternoon shift, I am aware that it is short notice, but can you come in?"
Even then Faith knew that it was a bad idea, but if she said no, questions would be asked; she was so close to finishing this without anyone from work knowing that it ever happened, there was no way that she was risking that happening now. "Yeah, I can come in. No worries."
As soon as Faith ended the call, Emily commented, "You can't work today, Mom. You're going to be-" Emily didn't have a chance to finish her sentence, as her mother was suddenly doubling over an emesis basin, retching painfully.
It was just an hour into the shift, Faith and Bosco finished up the report of a property damage only traffic incident, already they could tell that it was going to be one of those days.
They were heading to the next call, a domestic, Bosco was driving erratically, and that didn't help Faith to control the feelings of sickness that she was having. "Bos, take it easy would you? I'm not feeling so great."
"Just another couple of blocks," Bosco was in the zone, it was as though he didn't even hear Faith.
Faith could feel bile rising in her throat. "Damn it, Bos! I said slow down, it's not even an urgent call!" Faith yelled at her partner, still nothing, and she couldn't wait any longer, she was going to be sick. "Pull over right now!" Faith clamped her hand over her mouth.
Bosco finally realised that Faith wasn't alright; he pulled the RMP to the side of the road, before Bosco had even brought the car to a complete stop, Faith bolted out of the car, to a nearby garbage can.
Bosco grabbed the car keys, and wandered over to his partner, who had an iron grip on the sides of the bin, still vomiting. Truth be told, when he first saw his partner being sick, Bosco thought that she was pregnant again, and he said exactly that as soon as Faith was upright.
Faith's response was quite simple, though indignant, "I'm not pregnant, Bos."
"Are you sure, coz you've been sick a lot lately, ever since you came back from Jersey actually. What, did you and Fred get in some time together down there?"
"I said I'm not pregnant, Bosco. Drop it," Faith insisted, she would have continued, but the nausea was coming back. She held up a hand, telling Bosco to back off, as the dry heaves just kept coming.
Finally Faith felt the nausea ease, still she didn't feel great, and she knew that she never should have come to work today. It was clear to Faith that her partner needed to know why she was not able to keep up; it would be dangerous to keep it a secret, knowing that if anything she was only going to get worse as the day went on.
Faith led Bosco back over to their RMP, she turned to him, and took hold of his jacket sleeves to steady him in preparation, as she told him, "I'm not pregnant, Bos, that's not what's wrong with me."
"Alright, what is it then?" Bosco asked in reply, he saw the expression on his partner's face, the pain in her eyes, and he knew that this was something very serious, "Are you okay, Faith? Tell me."
Faith tried to offer Bosco a reassuring smile, but it fell somewhat short. "...I'm sick. I've got cancer, Bos."
"Cancer?" Bosco murmured, shocked, "Are you gonna be okay?"
Then Faith managed a smile, "I had my last chemo session this morning. I'm going to be okay."
"That's why you've been sick, taking all that leave... Right?"
"So, all that time when we all thought you were in Jersey with Fred and the kids, you were in hospital because you have cancer? Why the hell didn't you tell me, Faith? We're partners," The hurt in Bosco's voice was unmistakeable.
"I know that, Bos, and I'm sorry. It's been a hell of a couple of months. Back when I first found out the doctors thought it was just a small lump, they didn't even know if it was cancer, it wasn't until they got in there; they had to take the whole breast. I know that we're partners, I know that I shouldn't have kept it from you, but I've been so sick, and nothing's been the same at home, so when I came back to work it was just so good to have a few hours when everything just felt normal."
Bosco pulled Faith into a hug, seeing the tears forming in her eyes. "Don't you ever keep something like this from me again, Faith, please," Bosco pulled back just enough to look Faith in the eye, "You're sure that you're alright now, right?"
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