Time Carries Off All Things
By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. In this universe, Faith had just found the runaway Charlie when she got the call that Bosco was awake. This story stands alone and you don't need to read the other chapters before you read this one. Please see the note on the main page.
Previously on Third Watch:
Episode 22:Time Carries Off All Things
"Time carries off all things; wouldst thou exchange - Name, looks, nature, luck? Just give time full range"
“Charlie, I want you to wait out here, just until I see how he’s doing, okay?”
“Mom, you’ve told me like fifty times already.” Charlie rolled his eyes. “I’ll sit right here and you’ll come and get me if Uncle B can see me. Got it. So go in.”
“I’m kinda scared to.” Faith admitted. “What if – what if he’s – “
“You said that she said he was okay – so go!” He gave his mother a gentle push. “Go on!”
“You’re pushy, you know that?” Taking a deep breath, Faith opened the door to Bosco’s hospital room. Inside she stopped short, disappointed to find him sleeping. “Rose? I thought you said he was awake.”
“He is, sweetheart.” Rose got up from her chair and went to Faith, hugging her tightly. “They gave him something to sleep – real sleep and not like that damn coma. He didn’t want to, though, he wanted to wait to see you.”
“Is he – okay?” It worried her to think that Bosco might be brain damaged and not be himself. “I mean – did he seem – you know? Normal?”
“Maurice seemed normal to me – though I think the damn doctor was disappointed that Maurice wasn’t a drooling moron, you know what I’m saying?” She took Faith’s hand and led her to the bed. “Maurice, baby, Faith’s here.”
“Does he remember anything? Does – “ Faith noticed his eyes seemed slightly open. “Bosco?”
Bosco smiled, or tried to, his face not cooperating quite as well as he’d like. Faith was out of focus, and he blinked a few times until he could see her clearly. She looked good, and he felt his eyes burn with tears. This was the last damn time they were going to end up with one of them in the hospital.
“Hey, Bos.” Faith sat down in the chair Rose had been using. There was a tear trickling down his cheek, and she wiped it away gently. “Are you okay? Are you hurting? I can get a nurse in here if you need something.”
“N – no.” Bosco winced. Talking was difficult with the wire holding his jaws shut, not to mention the big holes in his face. “Okay. You?”
“I’m fine and you’re not supposed to talk.”
“I’m gonna go get something to eat, okay?” Rose leaned down and brushed a kiss across his forehead. “You kids need a little time alone anyway, right?”
“Oh my God, Charlie is in the hallway.” Faith put a hand over her face. He was sitting out there and she’d completely forgotten him.
“I’ll take him with me. He can visit later.” She patted Faith’s shoulder. “Don’t worry.”
“You – okay?” Bosco reached for Faith’s hand, trembling with the effort it took. “N – not hu – hurt?”
“No, Bosco, I’m okay.” Taking his hand, Faith held it to her face, laying her cheek against it as she had done for countless days and nights. “You pulled me down – I didn’t get a scratch.”
“Good.” A sigh of relief hissed between his teeth. He didn’t remember what had happened. Not all of it at any rate. Just bits and pieces of gunfire and breaking glass mixed up with screams. “S – scared.”
“You sound like a snake.” A giggle escaped her. It felt good, and she laughed again. “Oh my God, Bosco, I’ve been so worried about you. Don’t you ever do this to me again.”
“S – sorry.”
“Do you remember what happened?” She chewed her lip. On the one hand, she didn’t want to upset him, but on the other she needed to know what he remembered. Bosco being Bosco, he could be lying there scared to death and not wanting to tell her.
“Guns.” He shook his head slightly. “Hos – hospital – “
“Yeah, they came into the hospital. They shot the place up pretty good – you with it.” Lying his hand down on the bed, Faith touched his stomach gently. “You took four bullets, Bosco. Two here, one in the leg, and then your – your face.”
Bosco frowned. Four? That didn’t add up. He touched his throat. “Five?”
“Oh, no, that one is where it went in.” She touched the bandage under his chin. “In here – “ Her hand went to the bandage on his cheek. “And out here.”
“S – shit – “ The bullet had gone clear through his face? Bosco ran his tongue carefully along the wound in the bottom of his mouth. No wonder his face hurt.
“Yeah, but you’re gonna be okay.” Tears welled up suddenly, and Faith put her hands over her face again.
“F – Faith – okay – “ He reached his hand up to touch her arm. “Don’t c – cry – “
“I’m sorry, Bos – I’m sorry – “ The months of waiting and worrying, of thinking Bosco would never wake up, had taken a toll and Faith found herself sobbing. “I just – I was – scared – “
“S – stop – “ Bosco couldn’t reach her, his arm fell back to the bed. Why was he so damn weak? He shifted, trying to get closer, wincing as a sharp pain lanced through his gut.
She picked his hand up off the bed and held it to her cheek again. “I’m okay – “ It was hard to explain that the tears were good tears. That it was relief making her cry. It was as if a weight had lifted off of her, and Faith felt a bit lightheaded.
The tears slowed, and she reached for the box of tissues on the bedside table. “Sorry, I guess I didn’t realize how good this would feel. Some days, Bosco, I just thought you’d never wake up.”
“Days?” Looking at his arm, he noticed for the first time how thin it was. “How – long?”
“A few months – you know, it doesn’t matter.” She smiled at him. “You’re awake and that’s all that matters.”
Months? Pulling his hand free, Bosco clenched his fist. It took more effort than it should and the muscles didn’t flex against the skin. He was wasted away to nothing.
“You’re gonna be okay now.” Rubbing her hand up and down his arm, Faith saw the panic flare up in his eyes. “Bosco, you’re going to be okay now – are you listening to me?”
“Wh – what – wrong – me – “ He couldn’t move, his body seemed to weigh a million pounds.
“Your muscles have kinda gotten soft. But you can build them back up.” She knew Bosco had been proud of his body and he’d worked hard to keep in shape. “A little hard work and you’ll have the girls falling all over you again.”
His chest hurt and he recognized the signs of a panic attack. He hadn’t had one in years, but it wasn’t something he was likely to forget. Bosco focused on Faith’s face, on the hazel eyes, trying to force the panic down.
“Slow down, Bos.” The beeping from the heart monitor was coming faster, and Bosco’s breath was whistling in and out through the wires holding his mouth together. “You’re safe. You’re going to be okay. Relax.”
Leaning down, Faith slid an arm under his shoulders and held him to her. “Shh… just relax… “
Bosco clutched at her, hanging on and struggling for air. She was safe. He was safe. Ma was safe. Everybody was safe. He repeated the words over and over, desperately trying to force his mind out of the panicked circle it was trapped in. She was safe. He was safe. Ma was safe. Everybody was safe. No… Mikey… “Mikey – “
“Don’t think about him, Bosco.” Faith cringed. Mikey had been dead for months, and she hadn’t thought about Bosco remembering his brother’s death. “Just concentrate on breathing.”
“Mikey – “ He pushed at her chest. “Mann – kill him – kill us – “
“Bosco, Mann is dead – he can’t hurt anybody anymore.” A smile curved her lips as she remembered the smug look on Donald Mann’s face changing to one of pain and fear. “He’s dead, Bosco. You don’t ever have to worry about him again. He paid for what he did to us.”
“Dead?” Tipping his head back, Bosco looked up at her. “Dead?”
“Very dead. Dead and buried.” She eased him back down on the bed, smiling at the relief in the midnight blue eyes. “Mikey is gone – I can’t change that, but your mom is alive and we’re alive – Mann can’t ever hurt us again.”
The pressure in his chest eased a little. If he was a helpless cripple, at least he didn’t have to worry about Mann coming after Faith or his mom.
“I don’t want you to worry about anything, Bosco.” The panic was fading from his eyes and Faith smiled again. “I’ve been taking care of your bills and going by your apartment to get your mail and stuff. I got Lieu to let me put your car in the impound lot, 'cos I was worried about it sitting out on the street. And I went out and started it and let it idle at least once a week so that the battery wouldn’t go dead or anything.”
He nodded. His car hadn’t been a concern, he’d known Faith would take care of things for him. “Bills? Hos – hos – “
“Don’t talk.” When he rubbed at his throat, she got up and poured a cup of ice water for him. “Here, go slow.”
The ice water felt nice, sliding over the sore side of his throat. Sighing, he took another sip.
“There’s no hospital bills if that’s what you’re worried about. The city is picking up everything as far as I know – and the hospital hasn’t said anything to us.” She laughed. “Your mom said something about suing – I haven’t seen a bill yet.”
“Leave it – to Ma – “ Bosco smiled, wincing as the wires pulled at his skin.
“Well, I dunno if she scared them or what, but there’s no bills. So, no worries.” When his hand went to his face, Faith pulled it away. “No worries there either, Bos. The doctor says there’s going to be a couple more surgeries and you’ll be good as new.”
“More?” How much had they done to him while he was asleep?
“Oh, God, I’ve lost track.” She ran a hand through her hair. “They’ve worked on your leg again, and your jaw – they had to rebreak it and set it again after they did something with your face – you know, I lost track. I just know that they took care of you and now you’re awake.”
“Yay. Go me.” Someone was paying to fix him up at least. “When can – can I go – home?”
“You just woke up, Bosco.” The look on his face was pitiful and Faith laughed. “We’ll get you out of here as quick as we can, I promise.”
The door opened and Rose stepped inside. “Maurice, baby, are you ready for visitors?”
Bosco shrugged. Just as long as they didn’t have needles.
“Charlie, honey, come on in.” Rose opened the door wider. “Your Uncle Maurice is waiting to see you.”
“Uncle Maurice?” Charlie snickered as he came through the door.
“Watch it – kid – “ Bosco reached up to Charlie as he came over to the bed. “Kick your – butt – “
“Hey, Uncle B.” Taking Bosco’s hand, Charlie squeezed it carefully. “So did you have any good dreams? Mom said you were probably dreaming.”
“Naked girls.” He winked. Things were fuzzy and he didn’t remember any dreams, but if Faith had told Charlie that, he’d go along with it.
“Mom got a bunny for you – she was going to get the pink one – but I talked her out of it.”
“Bun – bunny?” Horrified, Bosco turned to Faith. “No pets.”
“It’s not a real bunny, Bos.” Faith assured him. “It’s a toy. A sensory toy.”
His eyebrows went up. Nicole had toys like that, but he couldn’t imagine Faith using one on him while he was knocked out. Well, he could, but it wasn’t a likely scenario.
“Here – “ She opened the drawer of the bedside table and searched through it. “Where did he – here he is.”
Bosco looked at the blue bunny Faith held up, looked at her, then back at the bunny again. “What the – fuck – is that?”
“Maurice! Watch your language!” Rose put her hands over Charlie’s ears.
“It’s a sensory tactile therapy toy.” Faith rubbed it along his arm. “It’s for people who’re in comas or injured – it’s for physical stimulus. You rub it over their skin.”
He glared at the bunny. “You rub – rubbed that – on me?”
“I tried to get her to get the shark, but she wouldn’t do it.” Charlie grabbed the bunny from his mother and squished it. “It squishes up real cool though.”
Bosco looked up at Faith. “Have fun?”
“It’s a recognized therapy!” Her face flushed. Leave it to Bosco to act like she’d done something kinky to him while he was in a coma. “Pardon me for worrying!”
“Maurice, behave.” Rose leaned down and patted his arm. “He’s awake five minutes and he’s already a pain in the ass.”
“I’m glad you’re awake, Uncle B.” Charlie leaned down and gave him a careful hug. “I knew you’d wake up – I knew the doctors were wrong.”
“Thanks.” He looked at Faith over Charlie’s shoulder. What did the doctors say?
“We tried to tell them they didn’t know you, Bos.” Faith shook her head, letting him know the doctors hadn’t given him much of a chance.
“What do they know, anyway?” His mother rolled her eyes. “But you watch now, they’ll be taking credit for his recovery and saying they knew it all along.”
A yawn caught him by surprise, and Bosco winced as the wires held his mouth shut even as his muscles tried to open. How the hell was a guy supposed to yawn?
“We better go, you need your sleep, Bosco.” Faith reached down and took his hand again. “I’ll be back later though, I need to take Charlie home.”
“Can’t I stay here?” Charlie sat down on the edge of the bed. “I’ll be real quiet.”
“You’re in trouble, you might as well get it over with.” She told him. “I haven’t finished yelling at you and then your father is going to yell at you.”
“Why?” Bosco squeezed her hand.
“He ran away, Bos. Had me scared to death.” A shiver ran down her spine. “I know how many perverts are out there that like little boys.”
“Mom! I’m not a little boy! And I didn’t run away – I went home! My real home! ”
“Only nobody knew where you were – you were supposed to go back to your Dad’s house after school, you know that!”
The conversation was strange and Bosco looked from one to the other. His real home? His dad’s house? “Faith – wh – what happened?”
“Instead of being where Fred’s girlfriend could pick him up after school, Charlie took off and went to my apartment – scared the hell out of me.” The shocked look on Bosco’s face reminded Faith that he didn’t know she and Fred were in the middle of a divorce. “Oh, Bosco. I forgot I hadn’t told you – I mean I did tell you – but you weren’t awake.”
“Fred left?” Was the man nuts? Bosco knew that Fred wasn’t the brightest bulb in the bin, but to leave Faith? “Jagoff.”
“That’s one word for him.” Aware that Charlie was right there, Faith clamped down on the anti-Fred feelings. “I’ll take Charlie home to face the music and then I’ll come back, okay?”
No! “’Kay.” He wanted her to stay, but Charlie had to come first. “Chuck – no more – scaring – your mom – “
“I just wanted to go home.” Charlie blinked back tears. Didn’t anybody understand how he felt? “I hate living there with her.”
“Honey, your momma knows that.” Rose hugged Charlie. “And she’s doing everything she can to get you back.”
“Back?” Bosco grabbed at his face and moaned as pain shot up his jaw.
“See why you’re not supposed to talk?” Faith rubbed his shoulder, watching as he clenched his eyes shut in pain. “Charlie, go get one of the nurses, tell her we need some pain medication.”
“Take it easy, baby.” Rose sat down on the edge of the bed. She looked up at Faith, worried. They hadn’t had to deal with pain because he’d been in a coma. Now that he was awake, she didn’t want to see him suffer.
“Fred left me, Bosco. He took the kids and left.” The best way to deal with Bosco’s pain was to ignore it. That was something that she’d learned years ago. If Bosco was hurting, just act like nothing was wrong until he got it under control. “We’re dukeing it out in divorce court, and the kids have to stay put ‘till that’s over. Then we get to fight over who gets custody.”
“Which you will win, because you’re their mother.” Rose said confidently. “He left you for some tramp – the judge is going to throw him out of the courtroom, you wait and see.”
“I hope so, Rose.” Faith smiled down at Bosco. He had his eyes open again, but it was obvious to her that he was still hurting. “There’s so much to tell you, Bos, I don’t know where to start.”
“Beg – beginning – “ Another sharper pain shot along his cheek, and Bosco closed his eyes again. The pain was becoming too much to bear.
A nurse came in, with Charlie right behind her. “We’ll set up the morphine pump in a few hours.” She injected medication into the IV tubing. “Just relax, Mr. Boscorelli, this will take effect in just a minute.”
“They’re giving you the good stuff, baby.” Rose rubbed his arm, taking his hand in hers. “You’ll be just fine in a minute.”
Bosco felt the drug hit his system, and the world began to fade away. He clutched at Faith’s hand, not wanting to lose her.
“I’m right here, Bosco.” Faith squeezed his hand. “You go back to sleep and when you wake up, I’ll tell you everything.”
He kept his eyes open as long as he could, staring into the hazel eyes, until finally he had to give in and let the morphine drag him under.
There was a difference in the way he slept. A subtle change between regular sleep and the coma that had held Bosco captive for months. Faith smiled and brushed his hair back from his forehead. “Everything’s going to be okay, Bos, I promise you that. You just get better and we’ll all be okay.”