by Te
October 2000

Disclaimers: They belong to a bunch of people that are not me. If
they were mine, Boz would have a back full of welts.

Fandom: Third Watch

Spoilers: All kinds of stuff.

Summary: Faith and Boz talk about things.

Ratings Note: R

Author's Note: Third Watch is a show about beat cops, paramedics,
and firemen. Faith is a square-jawed toughie. Married with kids,
good cop who is, nonetheless, not pure. Boz is her partner, classically
pretty features. Violent, bigoted, old-fashioned, etc.

Acknowledgments: To V, for putting this in my head again and then
audiencing. <g>

Feedback: PLEASE.


"Aw, hell, Faith, this shouldn't have happened to you --"

"But it did, Boz, so can we please just fucking deal and move on?"

And Boz's teeth, amazingly, clicked shut on whatever protect-the-
female macho bullshit he was about to start on. We've been partners
for what feels like forever now, but he *still* tries it on me
sometimes. I can only shut him up sometimes, though, but it seems like
I'm getting a break this time.

But then I get a good look at him:

Bruised around the eyes, like this was really something *personal* to
him. And I don't know whether I want to laugh or cry or kick him in
the balls.

Because the ignorant woodenheaded bastard cares about me. And this
isn't a surprise, but I'm dumb enough to feel that way, I guess. Still
a little shell-shocked, because, hey, I just killed my baby. Which means
I'm just as upset as Boz thinks I am, and just feel like a *shit*
for the lies.

Not much better than my drunken shit of a husband, and oh, yeah, I'm
gonna add divorce to my list of sins, too.

Lying, baby-killing slut and Boz is still looking at me.

Feeling my fucking *pain*.

A call comes in over the radio, saving me from whatever stupid thing
I was gonna do.

Turns out to be something nasty and straightforward. Two tough
guys beating the shit out of each other over fucking *box* scores, and
not having enough sense to do it in a neighborhood where people don't care
about shit like that. I'm maybe a little rough, which gets me a
brave-little-soldier look from Boz -- mingled with the usual fucked up
pride and disappointment thing he's got going on.

All in all, it's a sick look.

The booking is just mind-numbing enough, and then we're back out
there. I've had too much coffee today, but I'm having some more. Boz
brought it, of course. Came with a double chocolate donut -- my favorite
-- and a manly shoulder squeeze that nearly made me choke.

Brave little baby-killing soldier.

I swear I didn't think of it as a baby yesterday. I *swear*.

I can't seem to find that peace of mind again, though, or at least
something like that cool, grey practicality that made it so *easy*.
There's no comfort in knowing I made the right decision. I take Boz
on a tour of the city, rousting drug dealers on the barest hints
of probable cause.

They'll be out tomorrow, at the latest, and so this is just as pointless
as it is mindless.

A little old couple smile at me through their dentures, and thank me
for helping to clean up their neighborhood. I lose all the coffee and
donuts in a greasy little diner bathroom.

The waitress holds my hair, asks me if I'm pregnant. I retch for
another several minutes. She leaves, comes back with a handful of
mints while I'm washing my face. The weird little ribbon ones.


And I have to get some of it out.

Half-washed out bile and mint, back in the car. Rest of the mints tiny
little weights in my pocket.

"Fred is going to be staying with his parents for a while."

Boz whirls on me. "He's bailing out at a time like this?"

And oh, God, it's *good* to see him angry at the sonofabitch at last.
Finally. But, "He doesn't know it, yet."

"He doesn't... Faith, what's going on?"

He's a liar and a drunk and none of that will cut any dice with Boz.
None. So here's this: "He cried in *my* arms last night. Then he left to
go out drinking with his buddies. Told me I had to understand how hard
it is on a *man* to lose a *child*."

And I know my voice is getting louder, can feel my knuckles
trying to crack, I'm squeezing the steering wheel and I know, I know
that this is a *test* for Boz. For our partnership. And when
I hit a red light, I turn. And wait.

Boz is absolutely still in the passenger seat, and I didn't take silence
into account, I don't know what to do with it, and I know I'm about to
start yelling and I know that won't stop me from crying.

And I'm so afraid, God, I don't want to be the hysterical woman
stereotype of a cop, I don't need this right now and Boz is still silent.

But he takes one of my hands off the wheel and squeezes it.

"Faith, I green light."

"What? Oh..." Taking off again, leaving a little rubber behind. "You what?"

"You know I don't... Fred's your *husband* --"

Snatch my hand away. "By whose lights, Boz? Hunh? Yours?"

And he's practically snarling now. Yeah, I knew exactly how telling him
about Fred's tears would make him react. Tears are for the woman.
The *wife*, right, Boz? Right?

I don't have to turn around, I can *feel* him fighting with himself
over this one, and I have to fight back a mean smile. "You... *Christ*,
Faith, you made a vow to *God*."

The laughter is out before I can stop it, because all I can see are
the half million little opportunities I've had to break my fucking
vows. All the little ways Fred beat me to it.

"Faith --"

"You think I'm some kinda weak sister, Boz? Do you?"

"Hey, Faith, come on, you're my *partner*. I wouldn't have a weak
sister for my partner."

"Then why the *fuck* do you want me to go home and be one for a man
who can't even figure out why he shouldn't pick up the kids from
school when he's drunk? Why he shouldn't fucking *lie* to me every
damned day? To the kids, to his boss, to himself -- "

"He's your husband."

"I don't have a husband."

"So that's it? You're just gonna divorce him? Jesus fucking *Christ*,
Faith, I'm sorry, OK, I never wanted anything like this to happen to
you, but you're *not* the only one who lost a baby, all right? You're
just fucking... *not*."

"I don't need a man who cries into his beer, Boz."

"Oh, don't fucking *tell* me this shit, Faith. What, you're gonna be
one of those pussy girls now? Fucking rainbow flag waving carpet

"I've already got a woman for a *husband*. Why the fuck should I
want another one?" And oh, Christ, yeah. Gonna go home and chant
50 Hail, Glorias and volunteer to canvas for Hilary now...

"So what, he loses it once and you're giving --"

"Don't you sit there and even *pretend* to me like this is the only
reason I have for kicking that sonofabitch out of my house!" Screaming
in his face now, hoping to God there's no one else on the road because
I can't drag my eyes away from his face. Angry and *hurt*.

Oh, you stupid bastard.

It clicks, just like that. It isn't about the kids I'm supposed to protect
from the horror of divorce, or the sanctity of marriage, or any of that
other bullshit. It's about me, plain and simple.

Me. And his perfect fucking image of me. Strong wife and mother who's
not afraid to kick ass when it's necessary. Like having his fucking
ideal *mother* for a partner. Christ Jesus, help me.

The only woman in the whole fucking world Boz hasn't found a way to
put down. My *fucking* lucky day.

He's been going on about something the whole time. Something about
"responsibility" and "broken homes" and on and fucking on.

"I'm not your mother, Boz."

"What the hell are you talking about now, Faith?"

"I'm not your mother, and I don't *want* to be your mother. I'm not
your fucking idol of perfect womanhood. I curse. I beat up people.
I'm divorcing my fucking husband."

Silence again, and more silence, and I'm considering whether to go
look for some more dealers to fuck up when Boz speaks so quietly I
almost don't hear him.

"Never wanted you for a mother."

"Then *what*?" I know before it's even all the way out, of course,
but I'm so *sick* of this. All of it. All of *his* shit, too, and all the
women he's spit on because they aren't fucking *good* enough.

And he's just looking at me. *Good* and angry. That quiet tense-jaw
kind of angry that makes me want to lock him up somewhere for a
while until it passes. I find a spot to pull over, but before I can
do anything he lunges at me.

Half a heartbeat of struggle and he tastes like the coffee I lost
and apple danish.

Dry, hard lips, skull-rattling tooth bump and his tongue in my mouth and
his hands on either side of my face, pressing too hard, too fast, too
much heat between us and it takes too long to get my hands up because
I'm kissing him back before I can push him away.

I do it anyway, though. Not soon enough.

His eyes are wild and open and I can feel it, all of a sudden and too scary
for words.

But the shutters come down fast, and Boz is all closed off again. Except
for the sweep of his tongue over his mouth.

Jesus. Jesus fucking Christ.

I'm not sure how long we sit there, but at some point I look up and
notice that our shift's over. Back to the station. Slow and easy,
this time, and I don't take my eyes off the road.

By the time I park the car and run the gauntlet of condolences he's
gone from the locker room.

And I have no idea what I'm going to do.