Five and Fifty

Bosco pulled over to park near the subway station. He didn't want to do this, but he knew he had to. Given that, he'd rather do it here than anywhere near the station.

Anywhere near Jimmy.

He leaned against the hood of the car and waited as the train pulled up. Passengers began streaming past. He felt his stomach tighten, nervous and wondering if he shouldn't just go, now. Before she--

"Bos? What are you doing here?"

He looked up, and she gasped. Then she frowned and came over, grabbing his chin and taking a closer look. The bruises were two-days' faded, and the cut on his lip mostly healed. But she could see it, and she knew exactly what had happened.

"I thought you talked."

"I thought we did," he replied quietly.

"What happened?"

With a shrug, he tried to answer that same question he'd been asking himself all weekend. After throwing Jimmy out, he'd locked the door and spent the entire weekend trying to think past the shock of the fight. It hadn't been much worse than usual, as far as injuries went. But Jimmy had said he'd stop. And he hadn't. "We argued. He threw a couple punches, just like always."

"God, Bos..." She looked at the bruises again, then looked him in the eye. "We have to do something."

"We? Yokas, what--"

"We. Isn't that why you're here waiting for me?"

Bosco glanced away. "I was waiting for you because I didn't want to get yelled at down at the station."

She looked confused. "Yell at you? I'm gonna yell at Doherty!"

"Don't, Yokas. I don't need..." He trailed off, realising that he honestly didn't know what he needed. Maybe Jimmy did need someone else to yell at him, to make him realise what he was doing.

Bosco had never in his life been in this sort of situation -- it wasn't about being out of control, unable to protect himself. It was just that he had to, from someone he shouldn't. If he didn't like Jimmy the answer would have been simple: walk away, or beat the hell out of him. Of course he could easily do both -- knock Jimmy on his ass and walk away. Giving in to that level of violence, though, against someone he-- liked, someone he'd slept with, felt wrong. He'd been taught to reserve his anger for those who deserved it. Trained to focus physical violence on... well, not on a lover. Angry as he was at Jimmy, he wasn't angry enough to cross that line.

Of course, that left him taking it. And he couldn't do that, either. Which left him, really, at a loss.

But Yokas was all-business, and she wasn't taking his 'no' for an answer. "Look, you asked him to stop twice now, and he hasn't. Legally you can arrest him for assault. Hell, since you've told me about it I'm almost obligated to arrest him, myself."

"Yokas, I don't want him arrested," he reminded her.

"Yeah, I know." Suddenly her eyes lit up. Bosco gave her a worried look. "What he needs is motivation to stop, right? So what if we arrest him," she held up a hand to forestall Bosco's protest. "You don't have to file charges. We'll just take him and toss him in lock-up for a couple hours. That should shake him up enough to realise he has to get control of himself."

Bosco frowned. "I don't know. Someone's gonna wanna know why he's in there. What am I supposed to say, that I can't keep my boyfriend from hitting me? I'll be hearing handcuff jokes for years."

Yokas shrugged. "It's either that or just break up, never see him again so you don't keep arguing."

Bosco considered that. He'd been considering it. But he couldn't shake the desire to stay with Jimmy. Arguments aside, it was the best thing he'd had in a long time. "What if he just starts in on the next person he dates?"

It sounded like a rationalisation, but it gave him a reason to do something and not just walk away.

"You know it isn't your responsibility," she offered.

Bosco gave her a half-grin. "What, god forbid we actually prevent a crime?"

She returned the grin. "Yeah, well. So what, you wanna go arrest him? Throw the fear of god and the law into him?"

"I don't..." He wasn't sure what his objection was. He just couldn't bring himself to say 'yes'.

With a gentle tone, she asked, "You want me to do it?"

"That'd be just perfect, wouldn't it? I can't protect myself to the point I have to hide behind my partner?" She narrowed her eyes at him and he added hastily, "Nothing personal. Normally I'd trust you to take point anytime. But this feels like you're taking care of a personal problem. Something that shouldn't be your responsibility."

"I don't mind." When he didn't reply, she asked, "Hey, if it were me, wouldn't you help?"

"I guess... if you asked me to."

"So, ask, already."

Bosco looked down at the ground. Taking a deep breath, he asked himself if he really wanted to do this.

Well, if he changed his mind, there was still plenty of time to stop her. "Yokas, would you please--" he choked on the words 'arrest Jimmy' and grinned at himself. "help me?" he concluded.

"I'd be happy to. Come on, we gotta get to the station in time for rollcall."

"Get in, I'll give you a ride."

She smiled, and accepted.

~~~~~

He was totally unable to sit still throughout rollcall, though somehow he managed to avoid getting the captain's attention -- or ire. When they headed off to pick up their squad he wondered if he should tell Yokas he'd changed his mind.

"Come on," she said. "Let's get over there before they get a call."

He stopped, and gaped at her. "Now?"

She gave him a look of disbelief. "Yes, now. What, you want to wait until after lunch? Worry about it for the next few hours?"

"I..."

She gave him a Look. "You want a chance to back out of it."

"No, I mean... I don't want to back out. But I'm not sure I'm ready."

"Do you not want to do this?" she asked, clearly willing to accept his change of heart.

Bosco sighed. "No, I want to. I just... I'm still not sure it's the best way to handle this."

"Well, if you think of anything, let me know, quick. It'll take us about five minutes to get over to 57s."

He gave her a half-grin. "Thanks."

It actually took less than five minutes to get over to the fire station. One of the ambulances was gone already, but it appeared that everyone else was still inhouse. Bosco followed Yokas inside and up the stairs. He heard Doc greet her, then nodded his own reply to the paramedic.

"What brings you two over?"

Bosco looked at Yokas, then risked a glance towards Jimmy. He could see the black-eye that was still visible. He wondered what Jimmy had told anyone about it.

Yokas went over to Jimmy. "Doherty," she began. He nodded to her, and Bosco saw him give him a querying look. "Charges have been filed against you--" was as far as she got before the room exploded.

Everyone tried to demand for what, by whom, and what the hell was this all about. Jimmy gave Bosco a look of sheer disbelief, which Bosco returned as impassively as he could. Finally the captain called for quiet, and repeated the question. "What's this all about?"

Yokas gave him her best 'professional cop' expression, and replied, "Charges have been filed against James Doherty for assault."

Jimmy's eyes went wide, and again he stared at Bosco. However, it was Kim who spoke up. "You mean she actually filed charges?"

Attention was turned to her, then, expressions of confusion melting themselves into demands for information.

Obviously bewildered, she said, "Bosco asked me about it last week, wanting to know if he'd ever hit me. Find out if this person's claims had any weight." She looked expectantly at Bosco. "I thought it was just unofficial."

Bosco shrugged. "Charges have been filed. We're required to make an arrest."

That set off another round of demands and questions. It took Yokas and the captain a few moments to regain control. The captain looked at them both. "You don't have to arrest him, do you? I mean it's obvious the charges are false. Can't you release him on his own recognizance? Or mine?"

"Only a judge can do that," Yokas explained. Bosco was watching Jimmy carefully.

Jimmy was looking completely dumbfounded. It was almost an expression of outrage and disbelief. Somewhat annoyed at his reaction, Bosco asked him directly, "Are the charges false?"

Jimmy didn't respond. Bosco hadn't expected him to; they both knew the charges were true, but he wanted to see what Jimmy would say. The others turned to him, as, one by one, they realised Jimmy wasn't responding. Wasn't denying it.

"Doherty?" His captain asked in a hard tone.

"It wasn't assault," he finally said. "It was a fight. A fair exchange of blows."

Yokas replied, "According to the report, you threw the first punch. And it was several fights. And you agreed to stop fighting, then you didn't."

Now everyone was looking at Jimmy, varying degrees of astonishment and disbelief on their faces.

"Is this true?" the captain asked.

For a moment it looked liked Jimmy was going to deny it. Then he sighed, and nodded. "I suppose it's true."

The captain cleared his throat. "As of now, you're on probation. Regardless of what the cops do, you're on probation until cleared to work again." At Jimmy's wide-eye stare, he added, "They'll probably just want you to talk to the department shrink a few times, depending on what the court says." He was frowning, now, but said, "Don't worry about it, Jimmy. You want me to arrange for a lawyer to meet you at the station?"

"I guess I'll need one," he said, giving Bosco yet another perplexed look. He almost looked hurt. Bosco found himself wanting to yell at him. He controlled himself, however.

Yokas moved forward, taking her cuffs out.

"Do you really need those?" asked Caffey, who standing next to her.

"We're required," she said. "I'm sorry."

She continued towards Jimmy, who said nothing as she turned him and cuffed him. She pulled the Miranda card out and began to read. The entire room was utterly silent.

Bosco suddenly wanted to interrupt her, tell her not to do it. The look in Jimmy's eyes made him want to admit it was only a ruse, only meant to scare him into realising what he was doing.

It certainly seemed to be working, anyway. As Yokas finished reading him his rights, it was as if Jimmy then realised they were serious. The look of fear he turned towards Bosco vanished into regret. "I didn't mean," he began, then shook his head. "It wasn't... I didn't think it was that serious."

Bosco gave him a hard look. "It was."

Jimmy nodded. "I'm sorry." And for the first time, Bosco found that he believed him. He glanced at Yokas, and found her waiting patiently. He could say 'no', now, and it would be over. He nodded at her. She tugged on Jimmy's arm, taking him away.

Bosco watched, amazed that he had actually done this. The fact that in a couple of hours Jimmy would be back out, no charges filed, didn't change what he'd done. Maybe it would be enough. Otherwise, he had a feeling Yokas would talk him into arresting him for real.

Before he could leave, Kim stopped him. "Who filed the charges?"

For a second he panicked, then he shook his head before it could show on his face. "Sorry, I can't give you that information." Then he hurried after Yokas before anyone else could ask difficult-to-answer questions.

~~~~~

They put him in a cell, both of them ignoring Jimmy's demands to talk to Bosco alone. Yokas glared at him and, in a low-enough voice that she wouldn't be overheard, informed him that he should have expected this. Jimmy realised that Yokas not only knew, but was very much of Bosco's side of the matter. He shut up, and they left him alone and headed back out to the streets.

The lawyer from the fire department was due an hour later, so they went back into the station before she could arrive. Bosco had Jimmy brought into an interrogation room, then had them left alone. Jimmy simply sat at the table, looking up at him, totally lost. Bosco forced himself to frown at him.

"You really filed charges against me?" Jimmy asked quietly.

Bosco didn't think there was anyone in the next room listening through the one-way mirror, but he responded equally quietly. "Are you going to listen to me, now?"

Jimmy blinked. "Of course! What... Bos, I'm sorry. OK? I didn't mean to. I just lost my temper. You know how it is."

Bosco watched this play of guilt, and wondered if he should admit it was convincing him. "No, I don't. I didn't lose my temper. I was defending myself."

Jimmy looked down at the tabletop, face flushing. "Bos, I wasn't--" He stopped, and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. What more do you want?"

"I want you to stop."

"I'll stop, I'll stop! Whatever you say!"

"You agreed last time, too, remember?"

Jimmy started to reply, then stopped. He nodded slowly. "I wasn't thinking about that when I... when I hit you the last time. I was just so tired, and so angry. I thought -- it was a good way to let off steam, you know? After we argued I always felt better."

"I didn't."

Jimmy looked at him again, straight into his eyes. "I'm sorry."

Bosco watched him for a moment. He certainly seemed more sincere than he had since Bosco had first brought this up. He was actually listening, and seemed to finally be hearing. Slowly, Bosco nodded. "All right."

Jimmy blinked. "All right? You'll drop the charges?"

He half-smiled as he admitted, "Never filed 'em."

"You what?"

"Never filed charges. I just... needed to make you listen to me."

Jimmy looked around the room. "Well, I'd say this was effective." He gave Bosco a rueful smile. "Maybe next time you can just talk louder?"

Bosco glared. "Next time?"

"I meant... next problem we have. I don't mean I plan on hitting you again."

"As I understand it, you've been saying you didn't plan to hit me the last time." Bosco considered letting Jimmy stay in lockup while they spent a few hours trying to find the paperwork to release him.

Jimmy sighed. When he looked up at Bosco, he was half-smiling, half-cautious. "Please, Bosco?"

"Don't make me regret this."

"I won't."

"Come on, then." He waved Jimmy to his feet, and took him out of the room.

Yokas met them in the hall, giving Bosco a brief, querying look. He just gave her a nod. She shrugged, and said nothing. Jimmy, looking from one to the other, half-grinned. "I take it you just discussed me?"

Bosco laughed, Yokas just gave him a glare. "I'm not feeling very amiable towards you right now, Doherty," she warned.

Jimmy started to protest -- then he stopped, and just nodded. "Yeah."

Bosco found it encouraging. "Come on, get out of here before your lawyer shows up and starts giving us hell."

"I'm... free to go? You don't have to de-process me or something?"

"We never processed you," Bosco replied.

"Huh. You gonna come explain that to the captain?"

Dryly, Yokas asked, "You want us to tell him the truth?"

"Uh, no."

"Thought not," she replied.

They escorted him as far as the door, then let him go. Bosco watched him heading towards the fire station.

After a minute, Yokas asked, "Are you OK?"

He looked over his shoulder, surprised. "Yeah, I'm OK."

She nodded, and they headed back to their squad. Bosco got behind the wheel, feeling able to handle traffic for the first time in days. As he was about to pull away from the curb, Yokas said, "He hits you again -- shoot him."

~~~~~

Jimmy was waiting for him at his apartment, that night after work. As Bosco walked up, Jimmy looked up at him with a worried, hesitant smile. "I wasn't sure... I should come over."

Bosco wasn't sure, either, but he shrugged. "Why shouldn't you?" He unlocked the door, and led Jimmy inside. He wasn't surprised to find himself apprehensive. Jimmy seemed even moreso, following him into the living room then standing there, awkwardly. Bosco waited, but it soon became clear Jimmy wasn't going to speak first.

"What'd your captain say?" he finally asked.

"Oh, uh, since the charges were... I told him they were dropped. I'm not on probation. Basically the department's gonna pretend it didn't happen." Jimmy grinned, then, ruefully. "But Kim said I can't see Joey until I 'get myself together'."

"She what? She thinks you'd--"

Shrugging, Jimmy nodded. "I guess. I know I would never hurt my own kid. But... Kim said she thought I'd never hurt anyone. Until she can trust me, she's... So anyway, I still have to talk to a shrink, so I can prove to her that I'm dealing with it."

Bosco nodded. Part of him wanted to comfort his lover. Another, louder part, wanted to call Kim up and thank her.

Jimmy was still talking. "So I've already made an appointment. Gonna see Dr. Swinney, Thursday morning."

"Good."

"Yeah. I... just thought... I wasn't sure if you wanted me around, until I..."

Bosco grinned, finally feeling on secure ground. "I still want you around, Jimmy. That's what all of this was for." He moved forward, and put his hands on Jimmy's face. "Because I still want you here."

He gave his lover a kiss.

Jimmy sighed, and Bosco felt the tension draining away. He wrapped his arms around Jimmy's waist, and held him.


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