It was so hard to think, so hard. Her mind was so muddled and in a corner of it, her own voice screamed that she would die in this place if she didn't do something. Anything. If only she could. Her vision kept swimming around every time she moved her head and the floor was so cold, so cold. And the women, they wouldn't look at her. She wanted to shout at them, yell at them, anything to break them out of their vacant glances and self-imposed imprisonment. He was only one guy. If they all rose up he would go down. A part of her knew some of them would be hurt, maybe even die, but they would be free. Wasn't that worth it? Wasn't it? Maybe it wasn't. She had a husband and kids. If she died, people would cry.
Bosco would cry.
With that name, a moment of clarity entered the chaos of Faith's thoughts and she moved her head slightly, as if to brush away the cobwebs that reduced her mind into the ramblings of a child.
He would come for her. She knew it. How she knew it wasn't important. She just knew it as a certainty. He would come and she would have to help him. She needed to be focused, be calm, for him. She was his partner, she couldn't let him down. He would need her. Yes, he would need her. She had to be ready.
Grunting with the effort, Faith lifted her head, trying to see beyond the veil of murkiness that hung over her vision. It cleared a little, allowing her to see the other women, each one sitting on the ring of a circle, nine of them in all, spiraling out from where she lay in the center. For a moment she almost understood the pattern, it was so simple, she knew it was, but it wouldn't come to her, so she turned away. Her tired eyes found her kidnapper at the back of the room, muttering to himself, or maybe he was talking to himself. She watched him and after a moment he threw something down in anger before suddenly shaking his head and storming into an adjoining room, out of sight. Faith blinked. It had looked for all the world like he had been holding a conversation with someone only he could hear. Bosco would make a joke about that, she was sure.
And then out loud, "Bosco."
The woman nearest her looked up, almost confused by Faith's plea. She was young, younger than Faith, with shoulder length brown hair and dark green eyes that seemed shadowed and restless. Faith took a chance.
The woman glanced over her shoulder in the direction their captor had gone. When she didn't see him, she looked back to Faith.
Some of the other women were watching her. Faith could feel their eyes. If she could do this…
There might be a chance.
"Is anyone hurt?" she asked softly, her training reasserting itself as her mind slowly cleared. Carrie glanced around nervously.
"I don't think so."
Faith nodded and struggled to sit up, her limbs curiously hard to move. "Good. Then there's hope."
Carrie was watching her with wide eyes, clearly afraid but her will to live was stronger. "What should we do?"
Faith gave her a wane smile. "Fight."
* * * *
The door banged against the wall with the force of Bosco's kick as he hurried into the house, gun steady in his hands. "Police!" Williams was right behind him, covering him. It was Faith's place and Bosco felt a surge of anger. It should have been her with him. Parker would pay for what he had done.
"Clear!" Williams called from the kitchen. Bosco made his way done the hallway of Briggs and Parkway 329, checking the corners with sharp eyes, knowing instinctively what they would find.
"The place is clear!" Bosco growled, still searching for anything that would lead them to Faith. There was nothing. The house was almost empty, devoid of trinkets or pictures of family or furniture. Parker hadn't been there in some time and it was almost certain he wasn't coming back.
Bosco almost laughed. Maybe there had been too many voices in that old house.
"He's not here," Williams called and Bosco nodded as he reentered the living room.
"Yeah, this place is dead." He glanced out the window and stopped suddenly, a strange feeling sending shivers up his spine. 331 was right there, old and tattered, a veritable ghost house, its windows and door boarded up since it's owner death. The place must have never been resold.
Why then was the side door polished and clean, looking almost brand new?
"Son of a bitch," Bosco muttered under his breath. He jumped into action, crossing the living room at a run. "Williams, he's next door. The neighbor!"
Hold on, Faith. I'm coming. I'm coming.
* * * *
Faith jerked as the man's voice echoed through the basement room, the girls stilling immediately as the released their time had run out. Faith stiffened as the kidnapper approached her, his expression one of sad determination. There was something about that look that made her think but the thought flitted away, elusive. Her head felt stuffed full of cotton and any kind of quick movement made her feel as if she were swimming underwater. There wasn't much time, not much time at all.
The man came to stand before, looking down at her for a moment, almost as if listening. Then came the surprise.
"Sorry," he said as the hidden knife curved downwards, aiming for her heart but only cutting her arm as she rolled out of reach with a cry. It was too quick, too fast, and she was too slow with her head pounding every second. She would not last. She looked up at him, watching her own blood drip from the knife in his hand. He was crying. "I'm sorry, so sorry, but it's the only way. It has to be done and I must do it. I've been chosen. You understand, don't you?" He was pleading. "It's the right thing to do. Nothing can survive without the sun. You are the heart, the power, if I kill you, everyone will live, don't you see? If only the ten of you die, everyone else will live."
His words didn't make sense but she could tell that he really didn't want to hurt her, but somehow thought that doing so would save her and everyone else. She needed to talk to him, calm him, if they were to have enough time.
"I understand," she said at last, ignoring the gash below her shoulder and the blood that was dripping onto the cold floor. "You're right. It's the only way." She looked down, not having to try very hard to feign sadness. "But, can't I say goodbye? There are people that I care about. I…I want to tell them I love them." She looked up, begging with her eyes, but her captor was already shaking his head.
"It's too late. Too late." His voice grew dim and a misty look came over his eyes. "Too late for all of us." Without warning he lunged for her again with an almost superhuman strength, knife high, ready to plunge into her chest. She cried out again and rolled, missing the moment when Carrie suddenly screamed in pent up fear and dashed across the floor to throw herself on their kidnapper's back, fingernails clawing like daggers. In an instant, the other eight women joined her, fighting for their lives as well as for Faith's. The man cried out under the weight of all the bodies but his knife gleamed deadly and sharp. Faith knew she had to take it away before he killed someone. It was her job. She was a cop.
Finding somewhere the strength to stand, she lurched into the fray as some women ran from the group, screaming for help and searching for a way out of a place they had never seen before. Faith made a grab for the knife as it lashed out at Carrie when she suddenly found herself with the cold blade against her throat and her captor backing away from the group of woman using her as a hostage against their rebellion.
"This isn't the way it's supposed to be!" he screamed, clearly unnerved. Faith held on to his arm, desperately hoping he would not slip and slit her throat. He was wild now and on the edge of violence and she no longer had any strength with which to fight him. "It was supposed to be easier. You have let me kill her! Then it would be over!"
Two men entered the room then and she felt the wind rush out of her as she recognized the one in the lead, his gun pointed at her attacker's forehead, brown eyes equally full or worry and rage. This was her avenging partner, hot-headed, rash, but good-hearted to the core.
Faith had never been happier to see anyone in her life.
"Bosco," she whispered, struggling to keep herself from tearing up. She was so tired. His eyes lifted to hers and she felt the strength of his silent message.
I'm here now.
Yes, it would be alright. Bosco would take care of it.
The man with Bosco spoke. "Let her go, Parker. Nothing can come from adding one more murder to your list. You need help and we can help you. Let her go."
Her kidnapper, Parker, shook his head, backing up a step and taking her with him. "No. No one understands. They all must die. They must, or everything ends."
"It'll all end right here if you don't give her up, Parker," Bosco commanded, anger thinly veiled. "Let her go and we can all walk out of here together and work this out. No one else has to die."
Parker's arm tightened and Faith gasped, making Bosco jerk in response. "I'm sorry," her captor whispered, "I'm sorry. But it has to be done." Faith cried out, knowing what was to come, and so felt only shock when Parker suddenly stiffened, gurgled something unintelligible, and fell to the floor, a bullet through the head.
Smoke was rising from Bosco's gun.
In sudden tears, Faith fell to her knees, too emotional and too hurt to stand with the weight of everything that had happened to her in so short a time. Within seconds, strong arms grasped her shoulders and Bosco was looking into her eyes, his voice cracking as he spoke.
He wanted to know she was alright, but she wasn't. She swallowed a sob and whispered, "Bosco."
Without hesitation he drew her to his chest and hugged her tightly, one hand around her back, the other tangled in her hair as he held her against him.
"I was so worried," he said, his voice filled with emotion, just like the time he had come to her after the Two Towers had fallen. "I didn't know what to do without you." His arm tightened around her. "You're my best friend, Faith. I know I never tell you, but you are. I'd be nothing without you." His voice broke. He was always so strong, so reckless, but when he was deeply hurt, he shattered like glass. It had always made her heart ache.
"I know, Bosco," she said into shirt, "I've always known." She shushed him as he started to cry, deep silent sobs shaking him from the inside out. No sound but halted air escaped but she knew he was crying. She always knew when he cried on the inside. "It's okay, Boz. I'm okay. You came for me. You came for me." Her voice dropped to a whisper as she circled her arms around his neck. "Now please, lead me away from here."
And he did.
* * * *
"Apparently, he thought that by capturing ten women, each one representing a different planet plus the sun, he could somehow rearrange fate and avoid the apocalypse that he thought was coming. With their deaths, Death itself would be sated and mankind wouldn't be destroyed." Williams voice dropped with pity. "He thought he was a savior."
Bosco shook his head. "But in the end, he was only a murderer." He held out his hand and Williams shook it. "Thanks for letting me in on this case, Detective. I would have gone crazy on my own."
Williams smiled. "No problem, Boscorelli," he replied, slipping into his coat. "You're a good cop and I hope your partner will be alright."
Bosco nodded. "She will be, she's tough."
"She sounds like a soldier."
Bosco gave the other man a half smile. "She taught me everything I know."
* * * *
"Bosco, if you don't stop hovering I'm going to give you a concussion."
Bosco grinned. Annoying Faith was his all-around favorite pastime and, even though she would never admit it, he knew she liked getting him back. And right now he wanted to see her smile.
"Oh come on, you know you missed me. Besides, the doctor condones my hovering."
Faith rolled her eyes but kept her arm through his as they left Mercy and he led her towards his Mustang parked on the curb, slowing his pace to match her slow, steady steps. She had spent only a night in the hospital, diagnosed with a concussion. She had been released on the terms that she take it easy and that she not stay alone since Fred and the kids were out of town. Bosco had immediately commanded her to stay with him and she hadn't disagreed. It would be nice to be looked after, if only for a few days, and Bosco had time off since he had killed Parker. Faith felt only pity for her kidnapper now that Bosco had told her the story behind the man. He had been sick and disturbed but he had not been evil. There was a difference.
"So, what do you want to do?"
"Do?" she questioned as he helped her into the car.
"Yeah, you're staying with me, aren't you? That mean's were like roommates."
Faith groaned. "Bosco, I'm not stripping down to my underwear to have a pillow fight with you."
Bosco sighed. "Damn."
She smiled up at him. "But I could go for some ice cream."
"Really?" he asked, perking up.
"You know, comfort food. I do have a concussion, after all."
"Alright then, ice cream it is." He winked and closed the door before speaking to her through the glass so she couldn't hurt him. "And then the pillow fight."
"Boz!" Faith laughed as she watched him walk around to the driver's side. Some things never changed. Or maybe they did, changing into something better so quickly it was hard to notice. Whatever the case, the week seemed to be turning up.
"Take me away, Boz, take me away," she murmured as he got into the car.
And he did.
Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who stuck with me through the long wait between updates, it was your reviews that helped me finish this story. I would also like to apologize to Quartz for not getting the other TW characters in. I just couldn't seem to write them in. I guess this story was dedicated to Faith and Bosco alone. ^_^
Thanks for reading and comments are appreciated!