Title: The Christmas Present
Author: Demelza
Disclaimer:
Without Prejudice. I don't own any of the characters within, nor do I own the show Third Watch. The show and its characters are the property of all their respective owners. No infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.
Rating: T
Pairing: Bosco/Faith
Summary:
Something unexpected happens after Bosco sees an item in a shop window that he remembers Faith wanting for Christmas years ago.
Author's Note: For my very dear friend Audrey, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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It was Bosco's first Christmas since the Fifty-Fifth had closed its doors, and although he'd been invited to some Christmas party Davis and Nieto were throwing, over the last few months he'd began to feel something of an outcast whenever they all got together.

An hour before the party was set to begin he was sent a text on his mobile phone, reminding him to bring a plate of food with him.

Standing on the pavement where an intersection was, Bosco snapped his phone shut, shoved it into his winter coat pocket, looked both ways and then crossed the road. He continued his walk back to his car from the mall. He'd gone last minute shopping for his mother, but even still it felt like he hadn't finished yet.

His steps slowed as he passed an old antique store that was still open, even at this late hour. There was a small chestnut jewellery box sitting at the front of the window, and as he stepped up to glass pane, Bosco felt his breath hitch for a moment.

"One of these days," Faith said, rubbing her hands together in the passenger seat of the RMP. "I'm going to get what I want for Christmas."

"And what's that?" Bosco asked tiredly, casting a sidelong look at her.

"A jewellery box. One of those wooden ones that plays music."

"Let me guess, it'll play something beautiful, too?"

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow, if you must know."

Bosco huffed, and Faith let out a shuddered breath, rubbing her hands together again.

Turning, a sadness in his heart, Bosco continued walking, but as he passed the door to the store, he found himself stopping all of a sudden. He hadn't spoken to Faith in a while, and though they'd parted on amicable terms, there was an emptiness in him that always drew his thoughts to Faith.

It was that emptiness that caused him to turn around, step back towards the store front and open the door. A bell jingled overhead, and as he stepped in an older gentleman wearing reading glasses behind the counter looked up from whatever he'd been reading.

"How can I help you tonight, son?" the man asked.

Letting the door close behind him, Bosco took two steps into the warm store. "That jewellery box you've got out the front, what does it play?"

"Oh, that's not for sale. It's merely on display."

Sighing softly, Bosco went to turn and walk back out, when he stopped. "But the song, what is it anyway?"

The man pushed his glasses up onto his head and rose to his feet. Moving around the counter, he walked down towards Bosco, then to the front window. He bent, groaning as he did so, and retrieved the chestnut box. He lowered his glasses again, appraising some writing on the bottom of the box. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," he said.

"I'll buy it," Bosco said, his heart racing. "Please. I'll pay you anything you ask."

"I don't know, this was gifted to me by a very dear friend in her last will—"

"I'll give you a hundred for it."

"Three hundred."

"Three?" Bosco raked his free hand through his scraggly hair. "A hundred and fifty."

"Two-fifty," the man responded just as quickly.

"Two. That's all I can do."

"You've got a deal."

The man walked back to his counter, and Bosco let out a sigh. "You do take credit cards, don't you?" he asked aloud, retrieving his wallet from his back pocket.

Looking up at him over his glasses, the man shook his head, "Sorry son. It's on the door. No credit cards or cheques."

Bosco swore under his breath.

"There's an ATM just around the corner," the man said, pointing toward the direction Bosco had come from. "I'll hold it right here until you get back, that is if you still want it."

He thought quickly. "I do," he said, taking his card out of his wallet, and stuffing his wallet back into his pocket. "I'll be right back."

"Your jewellery box will be waiting."

Bosco left the store with rushed footsteps, heading as quickly and as carefully along the icy pavement as he could. He stopped at the corner, quickly ascertaining the ATM was on his side of the block, and he headed for it.

At the machine, he inserted his card, entered his pin code, hit 'credit' and the amount he wanted to withdraw, and that's when he froze. It was the perfect gift for Faith, knowing how much she'd wanted one that played Somewhere Over the Rainbow in their second year on the job, but he worried she wouldn't accept it.

Tapping his finger on the button to proceed to take the money out, he closed his eyes, let out a sigh, and pressed the button.

The machine seemed to take forever to do its thing, and when it was finally done he took his card, his money, and the receipt.

It was in that exact moment that he was struck in the back of the head, and he fell against the ATM machine, then to the ground. "Stupid son of a bitch!" a man laughed, and Bosco – his vision blurry – felt his money and card being snatched from him. There were footsteps running off, the same man calling out "Come on then!" and that's when Bosco wore a kick to the middle of his back.

A woman shrieked, and there were more footsteps. He tried to move, he tried to lift his head, but it and his back hurt so bad he blacked out.

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There was a sudden bright light, and loud noise when Bosco opened his eyes.

"Mister Boscorelli, you're in the hospital," a man said, though it sounded more like yelling to Bosco's sore ears.

"Wh-what happened?"

"It seems you were mugged, Mister Boscorelli."

Blinking, his vision turning blurry, then clear, with each blink, he struggled to focus on the doctor. "Faith. Where's Faith?"

The doctor looked at someone opposite him and nodded, "Bring her in," he said.

There were footsteps again, and Bosco looked left, towards the large glass doors. Through fuzzy eyes, he could see a nurse talking to someone outside the room. Whoever it was, she had long strawberry blonde hair, and was wearing all black.

Suddenly, the two women were moving into the room, and the second woman rushed to his side. "Boz?" Faith said through tears, "What happened to you?"

"Mugged," he replied, blinking and bringing clear vision to his eyes again. "I was at the ATM. I... I got hit from behind."

Her hand went to his face, a single tear streaking down one of her cheeks. She looked over at the doctor, "Is he going to be okay?"

"We did an x-ray as soon as we got him in here. There's a small fracture and he's likely got a concussion, so we're going to keep him in overnight."

At those words, Bosco tried to sit up, but dropped back on the gurney in pain. "Like. Hell!" he yelled, groaning from the pain in his back and head both.

"He also sustained a pretty bad kick to his back, though there are luckily no fractures or dislocations to his spine."

Looking towards Faith, Bosco noticed her nodding back at the doctor. She dropped her gaze to his after a moment, her hand going to his shoulder. "I'm glad you're okay," she said, her voice soft.

"I don't feel okay," he groaned again.

"You know what I meant."

"I do," he said, and he reached his hand over, placing it over hers. "I wanted to buy you something."

"Me? Why? You don't have to do anything like that, Bosco."

"It was the perfect gift. The one thing you've always wanted for Christmas."

Her brow creased in thought. "What?"

Taking a breath before answering, he said, "A jewellery box that played Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

He could see Faith's own breath catch then. "You remembered that, after all these years?"

"Yeah," he said with a nod.

She smiled, her eyes welling with more tears. "God, Boz..."

"I'm sorry I couldn't get it."

She moved her hand, and held onto his. "Don't. Don't you worry about that. I'm just so glad you're okay."

"It... it looks like they called you away from somewhere important," he said, worriedly. "I'm sorry."

Faith laughed, "Don't be, it was only dinner with the kids, Fred, and his new girlfriend."

Bosco swallowed, his mind telling him what he was about to ask shouldn't leave his lips, but it did anyway. "What about that guy you've been seeing?"

"It was over in a month," she replied with a shrug. She squeezed his hand again. "I'm really glad you're okay, Boz. I don't know what I would've done, if I... if I'd lost you again."

"You never lost me."

She raised her eyebrows, her eyes emotionally pained. "Yeah. I did. And I don't want to not have you in my life again. You're my best friend."

Tears forming in his own eyes, Bosco opened his mouth, but the words wouldn't form properly. He closed his eyes, trying again. "You're mine too."

"I... I love you, Bosco."

His eyes opened to hers, and there was an unexpected look in her eyes. One that relayed sorrow and heartfelt love all at once. He felt his chest warm at the thought of her words, of their meaning. Since he woke up from being shot, it had been there whenever she was near. "I love you too," he murmured.

They stayed standing like that for a long few moments, when Faith bent over and stopped, looking at his lips, then his eyes. Her eyes searched his, almost as though she was seeking permission, and, knowing why she was, he nodded.

Slowly, Faith lowered her lips to Bosco's, and he felt the warmth in his chest grow. There he had found himself finding and wanting to buy the one Christmas present Faith had once wished for, and she'd given him the present he'd long dreamed of.