It was quiet. Peaceful. Beautiful. The grass was green and thick, the early morning dew sparkling like crystal in the rising sun as a lone figure quietly made his way down a small rise. Rows upon rows of stark white headstones reflected the light in stunning contrast to the green fields upon which they sat. The figure moved confidently but his head was lowered as he cast his eyes down in recognition of the dead. He passed too many graves with too many names that he remembered, but such was the life they all lived. He was merely surprised that he, out of all of them, had lasted this long.

In his hands, he held two roses. One was red, representing the blood that had been lost on a day not so long ago, and the other was white, in recognition of a pure and gentle soul taken far too soon. Their symbolism was comforting to him in a way as his feet finally paused next to the grave he was there to visit. He slowly went to one knee, the crisp blue material of his dress pants sinking slightly in the damp grass as he reached out a gloved hand, reverently depositing his roses in front of the cold white stone. His eyes rose to the name, and he couldn't help the tears that fell as he reached out to wipe a blemish from the pristine surface he knelt before. Allowing his hand to linger for a moment, his eyes slowly fell shut, and he was transported back to a time that he wished he could return to, if only to say goodbye…

He sat in the driver's seat of a familiar RMP. From the scars on its sides to the way the vents blew air on his face, the burly old cruiser felt like home. Slowly he turned his head, almost afraid to see who was sitting there, hoping against hope that it was her face he would see and not another. He felt his heart sink when he realized that there was no one, and that he was alone. He sighed, lowering his head and sinking deeper into his seat as he rested one hand on the wheel. The 'click' as the passenger door opened startled him, and he whipped his head to the side to see who it was.

"Takin' a nap, Bosco? Awfully jumpy today, aren't we?" It was her. She dropped neatly into the seat with a thump, slamming the door almost as an afterthought as Bosco stared at her, unable to breathe for fear of shattering the moment. She was there. After so long not hearing her voice or seeing her face, she was there. She was so close that he could reach out and touch her. Hell, he could even smell her, the scent of the shampoo that she loved so much wafting towards him and filling him with a warmth he hadn't felt in far too long.

"Boz? What's with you? You're starin' at me like a hunk a meat." She said teasingly, her green eyes flashing with amusement as they met his warmly. He shook his head slightly, managing to rip his eyes away from her for just a moment before he turned back, an aching sorrow present in his gaze.

"Faith…you're here…you came back…" His partner tilted her head in confusion, the gesture so familiar to him that he felt a lump forming in his throat when he saw how her blonde hair glittered in the light.

"Of course I came back, Bosco. I was just usin' the bathroom." He couldn't hold back his tears any longer; turning his head, he buried his face in his palm, weeping unashamedly as Faith stared at him in open-mouthed shock. It was all too real, the two of them just sitting there in their RMP, like nothing had happened. The realist side of Bosco knew it wasn't real; Faith was gone, had been for a year now. The optimist in him, however, the little voice of hope he carried in his heart, was reveling in the moment and loving that the woman that had been his partner for so long was right there.

"Boz?" Faith's voice was uncertain, but the hand she placed upon his shoulder was warm and reassuring. He grabbed her hand immediately, holding on for everything he was worth as she watched him in growing concern. He didn't know what reality he had been transported to but he didn't want it to end, not with her right there. Here, she was alive, breathing, and safe. Back in the back of his mind, where reality was quietly lingering…she was not.

"Faith…" Bosco's voice broke on her name, and the tears flowing down his face were instantly renewed. Finally she had had enough; tugging on his shoulder, she pulled him halfway across the RMP, hugging him tightly as he buried his face in her shoulder. She let him cry as he clung to her like she was the only thing that mattered in his entire world. In reality, that assessment of Bosco was not far from the mark. Anyone that knew the veteran patrol cop had seen him go from a loud, snarky, and stubborn but dedicated enforcer of the law to a man without anything left to fight for overnight. Bosco had walked into the locker room one day just in time to hear Sully quietly tell Davis that he was expecting Bosco to eat his gun any day now. Bosco acted like he hadn't heard the remark but in reality…with memories of Faith plaguing his every waking moment, all he wanted was to be at her side once again. Some partnerships were so strong that nothing could keep them apart, be it violence, distance, or even death. Bosco and Faith were a shining example of such a partnership.

"Don't leave me, Faith…please…please don't leave…" He begged, though the devilish little bastard on his shoulder was whispering a truth that Bosco solidly refused to hear. In the end, she was going to leave again, just like she had before. Even though he knew this, Bosco still wasn't ready for it. Not again.

"Bosco, I know you have something you desperately want to say. Say it, partner. You know I'm listening." Her voice was right next to his ear, only slightly muffled by his shirt but still perfectly clear. Bosco squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting to speak. The sooner he spoke, the sooner she would leave, and it was that exact outcome the Bosco was doing his damndest to avoid.

"Boz…we can't stay here forever. You have your life to go back to. And me, well…don't you worry about me. I'll wait here for you, just as I always have. You need to say what you have on your mind. You may never get another chance." Faith's words cut through Bosco like a knife, but he knew she was right. Slowly, he raised his head, staring straight into her curious green eyes with a sense of resolve that he did not feel. He searched for the right words, knowing he only had one chance, and cursing that he was so terrible at speaking from the heart. He'd be damned if he didn't give a good go at it, so he took a deep breath, willing his voice to stay steady, if only for her.

"I miss you, Faith. God, I miss you. They let me ride solo for awhile after…well, you know. Then they assigned me this new kid, clueless rookie so street stupid that I have to babysit him. If it weren't for me not wanting to have the kid's death on my conscience, I would have just let him flounder until he figured out how to actually be a patroller. He doesn't understand anything about the streets, Faith! Little shit hates me, won't listen to me, and makes a point to tell everyone we come across in the precinct that I'm an opinionated asshole and the worst training officer ever. He doesn't understand me at all, and he just doesn't try. Every time I feel like booting his stupid ass from the car, all I hear is your voice, telling me to give him a chance, get to know him…like how we got to know each other. So that maybe one day, we'll be partners like you and I were. But that ain't right, Faith. That ain't 5-5 David. You and me, WE were 5-5 David. Ever since day one. But those days are gone, huh? Gone for good." Bosco paused just long enough to swallow hard, sniff once, and then he took a steadying breath before continuing to speak.

"The job…it was all I had after I lost you. It was okay when I was solo; there was no one there, trying to fill your seat, trying to fill your shoes. There was no one else that was trying to be the second piece of an incomplete puzzle. Of course, I had Sully and Davis out there on the tough calls where I couldn't do it alone, but I still had our cruiser, our callsign, and the memories of us all to myself. Then the new kid showed up and made my life a living hell. So now I don't even have the job anymore. I'm tired, Faith…I'm so tired…" Bosco closed his eyes, unwilling and unable to stop the tears that made their way down his face. He didn't want to waste one precious second with Faith, so he sucked in another deep breath and continued speaking, his voice rough with emotion and filled with a painful longing.

"I want to stay here with you, Faith. I don't want to go back, because at least here, I know I matter. At least here I still love the job. At least here…at least here I'm with the woman I love. That's all that matters to me anymore…finding my way back to you, no matter the cost." Faith had listened to Bosco quietly, rubbing his back unconsciously as the male officer rested his head on her shoulder mournfully. His final words sent a ribbon of tension through her frame, and Bosco felt it. She pulled away to stare into his sorrowful blue eyes, her own eyes suspiciously bright as she looked upon him sadly.

"Bosco, no. That isn't who you are. Giving up has never been something you have ever done. Don't start now, not because of me. You have so much life left to live, and there are so many tales yet to be written about you. You need to go back there. You need to teach those dumb young rookies everything that we learned the hard way, because they'll be the ones guarding our streets long after you have followed me here. Teach them so that they don't suffer as we did. Guide them so that they never lose their way, as we did. Be there for them, so they understand what it means to be a friend, a patroller, and a partner. Tell them our story, so that our names are remembered forever. They can learn, and they will, but you have to be there to teach them. Go now, Bosco. Go. I will wait here for you, as long as it takes." With every word she spoke, Bosco felt his throat constrict just a little more as he struggled to hold her compassionate gaze. Finally he failed, lowering his head and pressing his forehead to her chest as she held him one last time. He felt her strength and was comforted by the warmth of her frame, and he trembled when he felt her slowly starting to fade. He raised his head swiftly, capturing her gaze once more and memorizing every feature as she continued to fade.

"I love you, Faith. I've wanted to tell you since we first met but I couldn't, not with your family. It was always you though, Faith. It was always you." She smiled at him, love and compassion and understanding sparkling in her fiery green eyes one last time before she faded entirely. Just like that, she was gone.

Bosco slowly let his eyes fall shut, and as they did, the world faded around him, until nothing but white surrounded him. The next time his eyes opened, he was back at the cemetery, staring at her name emblazoned on the stone he was still kneeling in front of. His hand still rested upon her headstone, and he took just a moment to compose himself before he rose. Allowing his eyes to linger for just a moment, he took a breath and spoke just a few words, then he walked away.

"It was always you."

In the days that followed, Maurice Boscorelli changed. He became more like the beat cop that Sully and Ty remembered, but there was something else. When he spoke, he spoke like the wise old veteran cop he was, damaged and jaded but with more compassion than he had ever had. When he looked at his rookie partners, his eyes were still sharp, but calmer and a little warmer, a little more understanding. Sully swore that if he didn't know any better, the change in Bosco reminded him stunningly of Faith. Ty even said once that if you looked deep enough into Bosco's eyes, the blue of his eyes tended a little more towards a familiar fiery green that belonged to one person, and one person alone. But that was just his opinion.

Bosco still never stuck with one partner, not after Faith. He spent time with all the rookies, training them, guiding them, and giving them a wise sounding board when they went astray. But through it all, Bosco retained the callsign 5-5 David and still drove the same battered old RMP. He threw a fit when the department retired the cruiser, but he calmed after a few shifts in the new vehicle. When asked why he had been so upset about the old RMP, his eyes had flashed to a brilliant blue-green, and he had answered in one sentence.

"Because that old RMP, it was me and Faith's, you know?"

And as the years passed and Bosco's retirement finally loomed, he visited Faith's grave one last time, as he always had on the anniversary of her passing. A passing observer may have seen a fit, muscular old cop kneeling before a headstone worn by the weather and time as he deposited two roses upon the grass in front of it. He reached out to brush some dirt from the stone, allowing his hand to linger and his eyes to close for just a little while. Then he rose, spoke a quiet few words, and turned and walked away.

Bosco died later that day, gunned down by a panicked drug addict robbing a store for his next high. As the old officer lay bleeding on the unforgiving pavement, he blinked up at a clear blue sky as an ironic smile crossed his face. His eyes fell shut one last time, and Bosco saw beyond the horror-struck officers and people around him, finding himself sitting in the driver's seat of his beloved old RMP once again. He was young and strong once more, and he ran a reverent hand down the dash with a look of wonder on his face. He looked to his right as the passenger door opened, and a brilliant smile crossed his face when Faith dropped into the seat next to him. She slammed the door and their eyes met, a slow smile crossing Faith's face as she settled comfortably in her seat and nodded towards the road.

"Time to go, Bosco. I've waited for you long enough. Let's go, partner." Bosco smirked, dropping the RMP in gear and pulling away from the curb as eternity beckoned to them both. Bosco felt a sense of peace settle into his soul as the residual noise from the mortal realm faded from his ears, and he drove into the setting sun with Faith sitting next to him once more.

A/N: A sad piece, this one. I like it though. Nice little one-shot, in my opinion.

On another Third Watch spree. Go figure.

I dedicate this story to the memories of two officers lost only a couple short years ago back home. I wasn't there to see them buried and I have not yet had a chance to visit their graves. I intend to, the next time I'm home. And into eternity, hail and farewell. May you rest in peace.

Until we meet again...