The Ever Growing Quagmire

Bosco couldn't stand still. He hated being here, hated it when their shift dragged on past eleven and threatened to go on past midnight as well. It always meant something had gone wrong -- usually horribly wrong.

Tonight it wasn't quite so bad that somebody was dead, or likely dead before morning. Tonight it was just a screaming woman who wanted somebody arrested. Bosco hadn't even been able to figure who she wanted arrested -- she changed her story every five minutes. But sometimes it was him she was pointing at, so the dicks had "requested" that he and Yokas stick around.

They were all in the woman's shop -- newspapers, magazines, and cigarettes. It should have been closed hours ago and people kept poking their heads in to see if they could come in and buy something.
One look at the place full of cops and they left quick.

Bosco wanted to leave, too. If the woman decided he was to blame, she could file charges while he was home in bed.

He glanced over at Sergeant Patterson, who was patiently trying to get a statement from the woman that made sense. Bosco and Yokas had tried to give their own reports -- they'd responded to a basic robbery call, and found the woman and two men all screaming at each other. He and Yokas had tried to break it up and find out what the real problem was.

As far as he could tell, one of the men was trying to steal the store. Or maybe the woman was insane, and thought she owned the place and they were trying to get rid of *her*.

But during the initial confrontation, one of the men had taken a swing at Bosco and he'd swung back. That guy had gone off to the hospital bleeding from the forehead. The woman and other guy had refused to go anywhere hospital or station or even home to cool off. The woman was demanding an arrest -- of who, he didn't know -- and the man just wanted everyone to leave what he said was his shop.

Trouble was, no one could prove anything. If he hadn't known better, Bosco would have said it was crazy enough that it had to be a full moon.

He glanced over at Yokas, who was long past trying to look like she cared. "Wanna sneak out and grab some coffee?" he asked.

She shook her head, but gave him a smile. "I might be forced to shoot us for evading arrest."

"So? That'd get us out of here. I'd rather be in the ER getting a bullet taken out of me than stand here any longer."

"Yeah, you say that because you'd be healed in a day."

Bosco grinned. "As long as you don't shoot me in the head, yeah."

Faith gave him a look like she was seriously considering it. For a moment, Bosco thought maybe she really *would*, and he asked himself if he really minded. He glanced at the woman who was pointing at him again, and thought maybe he didn't mind at all.

Then he caught scent of something and tried not to roll his eyes. He saw Faith look over his shoulder and watch as the other two cops walked in.

"Hey, what are you two doing here?" Lou Menetti clapped Bosco on the shoulder, all friendly and familiar. Bosco bared his teeth at him, even though it really didn't have the same effect. Didn't matter as it bounced off Menetti's thick skull, just like before.

Then he remembered that Faith didn't know he was working the K-9 unit and he wondered how fast he could get Delacourt and Menetti out of there before anybody said anything.

"We're waiting for them to decide who the hell to arrest," Yokas told him, greeting them both with a nod and sending Bosco a confused look.

Brian Delacourt stepped around them and peered farther into the store. "Sounds like the woman's winning."

"What are you guys doing here?" Bosco demanded before they could get settled in for a nice, long chat.

Brian gave him a grin. "It's a little thing we like to call 'walking the beat.' You see, these uniforms mean we're police officers--"

Bosco thumped him on the arm to shut him up. Brian thumped him back, unfazed. "I mean what are you doing *here*?"

"Unless you're here to stand in for us?" Yokas asked, eagerly. "I'm not sure she'll notice if we leave and you guys stay here."

"Nah, we've got real work to do." Menetti shook his head. He looked amused by the whole thing.

"Thanks a lot," Bosco muttered.

Menetti looked mildly surprised. "You really are a grouch, aren't you? I thought it was just a mood."

Yokas laughed at him. "Your reputation precedes you." Then her amusement faded, and she sent a confused glance at Menetti. "When were
you ever around Bosco to know he's a sullen bastard?"

Menetti looked at Bosco with the beginnings of an apologetic look on his face. Bosco didn't say anything. He knew Yokas was gonna take one look at his face and know something was going on. Sure enough, she glanced from him to Menetti to Brian, sized everything up, and went straight for the jugular. "Bos?"

He sighed, and rolled his eyes. In as soft a voice as he could, he said, "They work K-9 three nights a month."

It didn't take her long. Her eyes went wide for just a second, then she looked at them each, again. Brian raised a hand when she looked at him, giving her a slight nod.

Then the introductions were over and his own, personal hell began. Yokas looked right at him again and said, "I thought you didn't work those nights."

Bosco groaned as Menetti replied, "Nah, he works with us now. But -- why don't you two work together? Since you... obviously know?"

Bosco didn't want to look at Yokas, but he had to. He opened his eyes and found her glaring at him.

"Because I didn't know that was an option. He didn't used to work at all, those nights." She made it sound like he'd been withholding information about bonus paid vacations or something.

He said quickly, "Captain changed his mind when Menetti volunteered me. But we have to work graveyard shift, and you always say you hate those hours."

She narrowed her eyes at him, and on either side of them, Menetti and Brian were watching like they were the entertainment of the night.
Bosco reminded himself to bite one or both of them the next chance he got.

He was stunned with relief when Yokas said reluctantly, "I don't hate it, it's just... with the kids, I can't really be working until seven in the morning."

Bosco could tell that she was about to say she'd do it. It occurred to him that if he talked her out of it, he'd be stuck working with Menetti
and Brian.

He had no idea which was worse.

"He's welcome to stick with us," Menetti said, predictably. "We'll take good care of him." He grinned and stuck out a hand and thumped -- patted -- Bosco on the head. Bosco jerked his head away and gave him a fierce glare, and jabbed an elbow in his side. It bounced off the vest he was wearing and Menetti didn't even blink.

But Yokas was still looking thoughtful. Bosco thought maybe he could go over and harass the woman who was shouting, again, about the evils in the world and how she could never catch a decent break.

Finally, though, Yokas shook her head. "I can't guarantee I could work every shift," she said, apologetically. Bosco felt relieved -- and tense at the same time. Then she said, "But I can definitely work some of them."

Bosco closed his eyes again as Menetti clapped his hands together, once. "Great! You can work with us the first few times, get you trained as a K-9 officer. And I've got a bunch of tricks up my sleeve for how to deal with... difficult canine partners."

"Hey!" Brian and Bosco objected, simultaneously. Bosco gave Brian a glare, but Brian was still scowling at his partner.

Menetti ignored them, and leaned towards Yokas. "A rolled up newspaper right across the nose works wonders. No matter what form they're in."

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