Plus ça Change…
By Maquis Leader


Rated R

Author’s note: This story is set in the Season 6: Reloaded universe. It 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:



Two recruits came to the New York Police Academy for different reasons. One looking for an escape and the other looking for acceptance. With different strengths and weaknesses, they helped each other to graduate.

These same two rookies came to the 55th precinct with different expectations. One looking to fit in and the other looking to rise to the top. After months of pairing with one training officer after another, they found themselves together again. Again, their strengths and weaknesses balanced.

For thirteen years, through good times and bad, they were partners and worked side by side. Now, they’re separated, but they find that old habits are hard to break.



Episode 64: Plus ça Change…





“What the hell is it we’re doing again?”

“We’re waiting for Emily’s group.”

“Wake me when she gets up there.” Bosco leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes.

John laughed, turning it into a cough when Faith turned to glare at him.

“I guess it could be worse.” Faith leaned against John. “He nearly got us thrown out of her kindergarten recital.”

“Did not.” Bosco protested. “And that crap at Chuck’s Halloween party wasn’t my fault either.”

“Oh, I can’t wait to hear this one.” For John, Bosco was a source of never ending amusement. It seemed if there was a near disaster – Bosco had been involved.

“I swear I only went through labor with two kids.” She threw her hands up.

“Just wake me when Emily gets up there.” Bosco stuck his feet between the two chairs in front of him, ignoring the irritated looks from the people seated there.

He closed his eyes again, hoping he could catch a few winks before Emily took the stage. This All City performing arts crap was just to help keep the gay music directors and costume designers in business, and he’d rather go watch a football game. But Emily was in the All City Honor Choir and he wouldn’t miss watching her for a lifetime of front row fifty yard line nose in the cheerleader’s cleavage Giant’s tickets.

Without fail, Bosco had been to every play, recital, and soccer game of Emily and Chuck’s when he and Faith hadn’t been working. Even when Fred began treating him like the enemy, he’d found a way to sneak in and watch from the back.

“Bosco!”

“What?” He jumped as Faith slapped his arm. “I’m awake!”

“Look!”

Sitting up, Bosco looked up at the stage. Some prissy group of teenagers was prancing around singing about moonlight. “Emily’s not up there.”

“No – not on stage – “ She pointed across the crowded auditorium. “Look over there!”

He turned, looking in the direction Faith was pointing. All he saw was a half a million bored parents. “What the hell am I looking for? That blonde over there looks promising, but I told you I’m not cheating on Grace.”

“Get your mind out of the gutter.” She took his chin in her hand and turned his head to the left. “There, by the column.”

“I don’t see – “ Bosco sat up, jerking his feet free from the chairs in front of him. “Is that Yoshi?”

“I think so. You worked with him – “

John leaned around Faith and scanned the crowd. “I’ll be a son of a – that is him!”

“How would you know?” Bosco shot him a dirty look. Was there nowhere in Faith’s life that Miller didn’t fit in?

“I’ve got a file on him.” John got to his feet. “We were tracking him down and then we lost him.”

Or had cases that would get you on TV. One thing he didn’t like about Miller was the way the guy always ended up with a camera in his face.

“You were trying to find him?” Faith turned a startled look on John.

“He helped murder five New York police officers – of course we were looking for him.” John stood up. “Then the girl showed up in the dumpster and by the time we’d solved that case Yoshi’s trail was cold.”

“We’ll talk about it later.” Bosco began shoving past people to get to the aisle. “Right now I’m going to get that jagoff and beat him to death.”

Faith was one step behind him. Normally, it was her job to stop Bosco after he’d gotten in a few good – and justifiably explainable – punches, only this time she wasn’t sure she’d want to stop him.

They reached the aisle just as the act on stage finished and a large section of people between them and Yoshi stood up and began applauding wildly.

“Damn it!” Bosco tried to go around the group, but people began filing out of the rows, effectively cutting him off. “Sit down, all ready! The show’s not over!”

“Hey, buddy, I sat through as much of this crap as I can stand.” One man told him. “My kid’s done, I’m outta here.”

Not that Bosco blamed the guy, but right now he was in the way. Shouldering his way through the crowd, Bosco made as direct a line as possible to where they’d spotted Yoshi.

After several minutes of pushing, sidestepping, and threatening, they found themselves at the column where Faith had seen Yoshi. He wasn’t there.

“Crap!”

“Let’s fan out. I’ll take this side, Faith, you take the center, and, Bosco, take the far side.” Without waiting for an agreement, John walked away.

“Who the hell put him in charge?” Bosco glared at John’s back.

“Go on.” Faith gave him a gentle shove. “I’ll meet you back at our seats in forty-five minutes.”

Fanning out, they searched the auditorium. In the end, there were too many exits in the huge building and too many people coming and going. There was no way to locate one man out of the thousands that surrounded them.

Meeting back at their seats, they sat down to compare notes while they waited for Emily’s performance.

“The last information on Yoshi was last June. One of his kids had a doctor’s appointment and we’d staked out the office.” John told them.

“So what happened?” Last June, he’d been in a coma. In Bosco’s mind that was the only reason Yoshi’s ass wasn’t already up for rent at Riker’s.

“Something came up.” John searched his memory. “I think there was a 10-13 call or something – anyway, we abandoned the stake out.”

“Why didn’t you set it back up?”

“There weren’t any new leads. Other cases kept coming up and it just kept getting moved to the bottom of the pile.”

“You’re telling me that finding the guy who sold us out and got half a dozen cops killed isn’t a priority?” Faith shot a glare at him, but Bosco was too pissed off to care.

John let it roll off his back, he’d been around Bosco long enough to know that meeting his bad attitude with more bad attitude would only lead to a massive explosion. Calm logic was the best approach. “I have file on Yoshi – it’s still active – but the leads have dried up. His kids were pulled out of school, there’s been no new doctor appointments, and no contact with his in-laws.”

That covered all the bases and Bosco slumped back into the uncomfortable metal chair. He still thought Miller was a glory hound who’d rather chase a hot new case than do any real detective work, but he kept that to himself. Faith was looking back and forth between him and Miller and he didn’t want to force her to choose between them. That had been one of the reasons her marriage had fallen apart, and he didn’t want to screw up what she had going with Miller.

“You can have the file, Bosco.” When the other man met his eyes, John gave him a sympathetic smile. He knew Bosco had personal reasons for wanting to track down Yoshi that had nothing to do with the cops Mann had murdered.

“Yeah, that’d be good.”

“Bos, what are you going to do?” Faith asked.

“I’m going to find the SOB who set us up.” And make him pay for Mikey. When Faith started to question him further, Bosco pointed at the stage. “Emmy’s up.”

They settled back to watch Emily perform, but Bosco’s mind was on Mikey and how he was going to track down the man who’d helped kill him.

 

 

 

 




The next morning Faith walked into the small office the detectives of the 55 shared and found Bosco already at his desk. “What, is it a holiday or something? You’re never here early.”

“Just trying to get a little work done.” He lifted his coffee cup. “Why don’t you make yourself useful and make some coffee now that you’re finally here.”

“Number one, I’m ten minutes early. Number two, I’m not your waitress.”

“You want me to make the coffee?”

Damn. Bosco’s coffee resembled motor oil – after it’d been drained out of the RMP.

Dumping fresh coffee grounds into a new filter – unlike Jelly she didn’t believe in recycling – Faith poured water into the machine before going back to Bosco’s desk.

She perched on the corner of the desk, noticing how neat it was with its grouping of pictures and his name plate, and how the dying plant seemed to be coming back to life. A small picture of Grace sat next to the plant and Faith looked away.

On the one hand, she was glad that Bosco had found someone that made him happy, on the other it made her gut feel funny in some way she couldn’t figure out.

Ignoring those feelings, she focused on the papers in Bosco’s hand. “What are you doing?”

“I’m trying to figure out how to find out what schools were at this thing.”

Looking closer, she saw it was a copy of the program from the night before. “It was an All City event, Bos, there were probably hundreds.”

“Somebody has a list, they made up this program.” He flicked a finger against the colored paper. “So they know what schools were supposed to be there.”

“There was probably someone who coordinated it all – maybe an office or something.”

Reading the list, Bosco saw that some numbers had a school listed with them instead of a generic “All City group” or “Honor group”. “What was on at the time? You remember?”

“Yeah, ‘cos I was paying attention and not taking a nap.” Faith tapped one of the numbers listed on the program. “This one.”

“All City Interpretive Dance Group.” Bosco frowned. “That doesn’t help.”

“Well, it’s not going to say ‘the bad guy’s kid was in this number and here’s his address’. Jeez, Bosco.”

“You’re so funny, you know that?” Folding up the program, he stuck it in his jacket pocket. “Get Yoshi’s file from Miller, will ya? I’ll find out who to talk to about these artsy-fartsy groups.”

“You have work to do, you know.” She reminded him.

“I’ll find the time.” Bosco picked up one of the framed pictures on his desk, running his fingertips over his brother’s face. “At least I’ve got the time.”






“Mom! It’s Bosco!” Emily shouted over her shoulder.

Bosco winced. “So charming.”

“Tell him I’m dressing!”

“Guess where I learned it from.” Emily walked away, leaving the apartment door open.

Taking that as permission to come in, he followed Emily inside and shut the door. He locked it, this was New York, after all.

“Did that number help?”

“Yeah, thanks.” He shrugged out of his jacket, tossing it on the sofa. Walking into the kitchen, Bosco helped himself to a bottle of beer. “She hooked me up.”

“Make yourself at home, Bos.” Faith pulled her wet hair up into a pony tail as she walked into the kitchen.

“What?” He twisted the cap off and tossed it in the trash.

“Nothing.” Smiling, she patted his shoulder. With Fred gone, Bosco was a frequent visitor once again and he’d quickly reverted to his habit of helping himself to whatever was in the fridge.

“I figured you should call her.” Emily told him.

“Call who?”” Faith frowned at her.

Emily couldn’t resist jerking her mother’s chain. If her numbskull mother would stop hanging around John and take a good long look at Bosco, she’d be a lot happier. “I gave him this lady’s phone number. She’s nice.”

As she expected, her mother’s back stiffened and her eyes narrowed. Bosco of course was totally unaware. He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. “Yeah, she was real nice. Gave me everything I wanted and then some.”

“Bosco!”

“What?” What the hell was Faith so upset about?

“What’s the matter with you?” Faith gave him a push.

“What’s the matter with me? You’re the one pushing.” He sat down at the kitchen table. “Emmy, call and get some pizza.”

“Gotcha!” She reached for the phone.

“Bosco – “ Sitting in the chair to his right, Faith leaned close and hissed at him. “Don’t you dare use Emily to get dates!”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“This!” She snatched the paper out of his hand.

That is the numbers for the schools that were there and the numbers of the people to contact for the groups that were made up of kids from different schools.”

Glancing over the list, Faith saw that it was indeed a list of names and phone numbers. The handwriting wasn’t Bosco’s familiar scrawl, however. “How much charm did it take to get these?”

“Not that much.” He frowned at her. “What’s with you? I’m not cheating on Grace, I told you, I’m trying to do things right this time.”

Faith’s face grew hot. She’d jumped to the obvious conclusion and worse, it pissed her off. “Sorry, Bos, I’m not used to the new you.”

He shrugged it off. “I did flirt, but it was strictly in the line of duty.” For the first time, Bosco noticed the file on the kitchen table. “Is this the file on Yoshi?”

“Yeah, John gave it to me last night.” She flipped it open. “He was right, Yoshi’s pulled his kids out of school, they’ve moved – it’s a dead end.”

“We saw him, that’s no dead end.”

“True. We just need to figure out which school his kids are in.”

“Uncle Bos, pizza’s on its way.” Emily yelled from the living room. “Twenty six and change!”

“What the hell did you order?”

“Food!”

“For who?” Pulling out his wallet, Bosco fished out a ten and a twenty.

“Would you two stop yelling?”

“She started it.” Bosco waggled the bills in Emily’s direction.

“If you don’t yell in this house, nobody’ll hear you.” Emily shot back as she took the money. “If Charlie were here it’d be even worse.”

Worse in a good way. The one missing piece in her new, perfect life was that she only saw her son every other weekend and alternating holidays.

“What we need to do is go to these schools and get a list of the kids involved.”

“We?” Bosco’s comment stopped Faith’s gloomy train of thought.

“We’re both off tomorrow, we’ll go check it out.” What was she giving him a dirty look for? It wasn’t like she had anything better to do.

“I’m off and I planned on going to lunch with John.”

There was proof, in Bosco’s opinion. “You can have lunch with him anytime. We’ve got work to do.”

“At a hotel.” Faith finished.

That was a visual he didn’t need. Luckily, Emily set the pizza boxes on the table, effectively ending the conversation.







“That was a pretty good movie.”

“Uh huh.”

“I really liked the part where the beautiful paramedic clocked the handsome but absent minded detective upside the head.”

“Uh huh – what?” Bosco turned to look at Grace. “What?”

“I said I liked the movie. She smiled as she watched him search his memory. “You do remember the movie, right? Aliens, lots of explosions?”

“I’m sorry, Gracie, I’ve got a lot on my mind.” Now that he had a lead on Yoshi, no matter how slim, Bosco hated sitting around and waiting.

“You seemed like it when you picked me up. You’ve been pretty good about leaving your work at work.”

“Yeah, I know, sorry.” When he’d picked her up, Bosco had thought about begging off, but he was determined to give this relationship a go.

“It’s okay. Actually, I’ve been thinking everything I’ve heard about dating cops is a load of crap.” Grace ran her fingers through the soft, auburn hair. “Something selfish chicks make up because they’re not always the center of attention.”

“Usually I leave it all at work – or I go hole up with a six pack.” And pout, as his mother would say.

“Is it something you can tell me about? Maybe I can help.” When he raised his eyebrows, she laughed. “Okay, so maybe I can’t help – but maybe it’ll help you to talk about it.”

“Maybe.” Crazier things had happened. “You remember when the hospital got shot up – never mind, that’s a stupid question.”

Biting back her usual sarcastic comment, Grace rubbed the taut muscles at the back of his neck, silently encouraging him to continue.

“All of that – the hospital, the car crashing Mikey’s wake, the explosions – all of it was because of Donald Mann wanting to get back at us for his son dying in a pursuit. What he did to Mikey – “

None of this was news to her, but Grace kept quiet, letting him tell the story at his own pace. She still felt guilty about her own part in his pain over brother’s death.

“He had a guy on the inside, someone who helped set us up.”

“Are you serious?” That was something she hadn’t known. No doubt the NYPD didn’t want it known that one of their own had turned on them. “I had no idea, Maurice. No wonder you’re not all here tonight. Did you catch him?”

“No, but we’ve got a lead. He just dropped out of site until a couple of days ago.” The list of phone numbers was burning a hole in his pocket. “We spotted him and now all we need to do is run down a list and I think we’ve got him.”

“So what are you waiting for?”

“School hours.” When Grace looked confused, he explained where they’d spotted Yoshi and how they planned to track him down.

“He didn’t leave the city? I mean, I know it’s a big city, but come on.” She shook her head in disbelief. “Every cop in the city was probably looking for him.”

“Yeah, well, you know how it is. You move from Brooklyn to Queens and it’s like you’re in another state.” Out loud, Bosco defended his brother cops, but inside he wondered how the hell they could have let Yoshi run loose this long.

“So you have to wait until morning to call any of these schools?”

“Faith says seven thirty is probably the earliest I can get a hold of anybody.”

“Well…” Grace shifted closer and whispered into his ear. “I’ve got to be back at work in an hour… maybe I can help you kill some time.”

Bosco shivered as she kissed the sensitive spot behind his ear. A few kisses would help move things along. Turning, he captured her lips and kissed her gently.






Pounding on his front door woke Bosco up from a sound sleep. “Hang on!” He shouted.

When he looked through the peephole, he saw Faith standing outside in the hallway. “What the hell? It’s seven o’clock!”

“Good morning to you, too.” She pushed past him as he opened the door.

“Come in, sit down, make yourself at home.”

Faith held her hand out. “Gimme the list.”

Bosco looked down. He was wearing a wife beater and boxers. “Do I look like I have the list on me?”

“So get it.” She picked his jacket up from the back of the couch and dug through the pockets.

“Someday I may have a wife – “ He jerked the jacket out of her hands. “And she’ll get to go through my pockets. Until then, they’re off limits.”

“Don’t flatter yourself that digging through your pockets is all that exciting, Bosco.”

Handing the list to her, Bosco watched as she compared it to the event program. “Why are you here again?”

“I thought we’d start with the group that was on stage when we saw Yoshi and work back from there.”

“That’s funny, I thought I was the one who was doing the leg work and you were going for a little romp at the No-Tell Motel.”

“It wasn’t going to be anything sleazy!“ Faith glared at him. “John was called downtown to help with a case.”

“And it’s going to take all day?”

“Captain Redding from Major Cases asked him to come and work with them. The suspect is somebody John put away a few years ago.” Bosco’s smirk made her want to smack him. “This could be good for his career!”

“Whatever.” Personally, Bosco thought Miller’s career was too important to him. If he were in Miller’s shoes, he’d blow off the President for the chance to spend all day shacked up with Faith at some fancy motel. But he wasn’t and that day would never come.

“Will you get dressed?” Faith pulled out her cell phone and dialed the first number. “Go on, hurry up!”

After Bosco left the room, Faith wondered about the sadness that had passed over his face. Bosco was a detective and finally doing “real police work”, so what else did he want?

An answer on the other end of the phone pulled her attention away and Faith forgot about Bosco’s sadness.






“So what have we got so far?”

“Heartburn.”

“I told you not to eat the chili fries.” Faith dug in her purse for an antacid as Bosco pushed the greasy plate to one side.

“I keep forgetting my stomach isn’t up to my favorite foods yet.” The limp, the scar on his face, and a cranky stomach were the only parts of him that were still recovering from the shooting.

Not counting his eye, which would never heal. Self consciously, he glanced at his reflection in the window. The contact lens was just as invisible as it had been this morning.

“Yoshi’s kids aren’t on any of these lists.” Faith studied the three lists they’d gathered so far.

They’d spent nearly half of their day tracking down the group coordinators and requesting a list of the students involved in each group. Only three had the list on hand and would give them a copy, the others either had to look up the list and fax a copy to the 55, or they were insisting on a court order.

“Let me see one of those again.” Bosco took one of the papers from her and read slowly down the list of names.

Faith had highlighted the names that matched the first names of Yoshi’s kids. Unfortunately, Yoshi and his wife had decided on all American and all too common names.

“What grades are his kids in?”

“Um…” Faith flipped open her notebook. “His daughter is in seventh grade, one son is in fifth, and the other in second. That is, as of last May.”

“Okay, so we mark off any girls past ninth and below seventh – just to be safe – and for the boys let’s say… seventh and fifth for the one and fourth and second for the other one.”

“Good idea.” She began crossing names off. “There’s still way too many.”

“One step at a time.” Bosco told her. “You do the boys, I’ll do the girl.”

“Sexist.”

“But you love me anyway, right?”

A smile quirked the corner of her mouth. She waited, knowing Bosco would ask again.

“Right?”

She couldn’t keep the smile hidden at the plaintive tone in his voice. “Right.”

Content with their little ritual, Bosco went back to work. There were still a lot of kids the right age on his list. Yoshi had been smart enough to not use his last name when he enrolled his kids in their new schools. Yoshikima wasn’t a common name even in the culturally diverse New York City. He’d needed to go with something simpler.

“God, this is making my head hurt.” Faith rubbed at her temples. “This is too much like the Valentine’s list and the birthday list and the Christmas list – every freaking year until Em and Charlie got out of grade school.”

“Ma always made our Valentine boxes.” A good memory surfaced, sitting at the kitchen table with his mom and Mikey pasting construction paper hearts on shoeboxes.

“That’s one of the good mom jobs.” She smiled at a fond memory of her own. “Which is good, ‘cos Fred sure as hell never lifted a finger to help. ‘They belong to you when it comes to school crap’ is what he always said. I can’t tell you how many times I came home from work and had to help finish up some school project while Fred cuddled a beer bottle. They’re my kids until he wants them.”

“What?” A light started to flicker at the back of Bosco’s mind. “What did you say?”

“Fred let me do all the school stuff, why?”

“No, you said he said they ‘belonged’ to you.”

“Yeah, so?” Faith leaned her elbows on the table, lacing her fingers together. There was a faraway look in the midnight blue eyes that she recognized. Bosco had stumbled onto something. Now she just needed to help him drag it out in the open.

“A mom ends up doing a lot of school related stuff.” She said. “While the dad handles the sports stuff. It’s almost like they’re her kids at school and his kids – “

“Her kids…” Bosco blinked a few times, bringing Faith and the restaurant back into focus. “You’ve thought about going back to your maiden name, right?”

“Yeah, but I haven’t decided yet.” With anyone else, she might think this was a change of subject, but with Bosco it was just a hairpin curve on the track that Bosco’s train of thought ran on.

“What’s Yoshi’s wife’s maiden name?” He started flipping through the pages of his notepad. The light had gone off like a beacon.

Faith rested her chin on her hands and watched. He was cute when he was tearing into a problem. Mentally, she shook herself, where had that come from?

“Here – oh, they’re not married! I bet the kids never had his name anyway!” Bosco was so excited by this small piece of information he was practically bouncing in his seat. “No wonder there’s no contact with her family – they probably don’t approve!”

Aware that people were staring, Faith shrugged apologetically. “He just loves soap operas.”

“Her name is Badalamenti.” Bosco looked thoughtful. “That’s Italian –Sicilian I think. Her family probably disowned her for taking up with a Chinese guy.”

“I think he’s Vietnamese. And you really think that would matter anymore?” Hell, Emily had been practically a year old when she and Fred got married and her mom had still insisted she still wear white.

“If her family is heavy duty, old school Catholic – and Sicilian on top of that?” He nodded. “Especially if she had kids with out being married first? You betcha. Yoshi being Chinese would be insult to injury, even a late wedding wouldn’t fix that.”

“He’s Vietnamese.” Faith corrected again, more out of habit than any real belief that Bosco would listen. At least he hadn’t called him a Chink. Maybe those sensitivity classes had paid off after all.

“Whatever. Let’s see who we’ve got with her last name.”

After they’d crossed off anyone without Badalamenti for a last name, there were only four names left. One of them was listed as being a performer during the musical number when they’d spotted Yoshi.”

Bosco smiled and pulled his car keys out of his pocket. “Want a ride to school?”

“Mom warned me about boys like you.” She laughed.

 

 

 

Back to the Third Watch fic

email: maquisleader.net