Charlie sends a plane down for them after most of the preliminary cleanup in Chamonix is done. The other Angels have come from all over, not just HQ, so they’ve got their own ways home, but considering Jane and Sabina’s (and Elena’s) involvement in the whole assignment they’re definitely needed back in California. Boz spends most of the first hour onboard giving Charlie an update on everything that happened at Brok’s mansion so Townsend can start working on cover-ups and linking with local authorities. When she’s done and exits the private communication area into the main body of the plane, she’s met with total silence.
Well, not total, apparently Elena kind of snores, which is less annoying and more adorable, which doesn’t surprise her in the least. The girls are all dead to the world in their chairs, Sabina sprawled out with one leg hanging off the side and Jane’s hand still curled around one of her knives and Elena dozing against the window in her still-upright chair, evidently not having realised she could recline it.
She stops to just… take it in for a moment. Not twenty-four hours ago she was on a street in Istanbul with a hotel in flames behind her and shot twice in the chest. Bulletproof cami or no, it still wasn’t a very pleasant experience, and it definitely knocked her out bad enough to fall and black out for a bit. Her chest still hurts if she makes too sudden a movement, and it hurts even more remembering the moment when she came back to consciousness and saw the street empty, Elena gone, and when she checked the wreckage of the hotel, Jane and Sabina too. That minute of sheer panic and horror, believing she’d lost them all, before she’d called Saint to rendezvous with him. None of this was easy, and she shudders when she thinks about how close she was to really losing them, but - all of it was worth it. To have them laid out, exhausted, on this plane, safe, on the way back to California.
She goes over to Elena, gently reclines her chair and slips a pillow under her head so she doesn’t wake up with a wicked cramp, slides Jane’s knife out of her hand and props Sabina’s leg back onto the chair. Digs out blankets from one of the cabinets and carefully lays them over the girls, makes sure they’ll wake up warm, and goes back to her paperwork.
She’s only barely completed the mountain of reports she’s had to file regarding the Calisto incident when she gets informed that Edgar was buried, quietly, in France, while she and the girls were still tracking Fleming in Istanbul. She’s not surprised - he’d talked about it before, not wanting his death, especially if sustained in the line of duty, to be some outrageous ceremony, but it still hurts to know she wasn’t there. He was her friend, and some days it still doesn’t feel real that she’s never going to see him again.
“Have you told Jane?” She asks Charlie, because she remembers the look on Jane’s face when she’d told her his name, the way her voice shook when she’d said it. Charlie sighs, crackling slightly through the radio. “Yes. She didn’t take it well, which is no surprise. She’ll need a lot more time.”
Boz thinks she might need a lot more than that, which is why she commandeers a copter and goes to look for Jane in her dorm, mechanically dissembling and reassembling her gun. “Hey. Fancy a trip?”
Jane glances up at her, expression blank and hollow. “I’m not in the mood.”
“I’m headed to France,” she replies, softer, and sees a bit of light return to Jane’s eyes. “I thought you might want to come.”
And she does, of course she does, so hours later they’re standing in a quiet cemetery, before an unassuming gravestone, side by side. Jane stays frozen for a few minutes, just staring unblinkingly, the tears falling slowly down her cheeks. Boz takes a gamble and gently reaches for her hand, letting her hold on tight.
“I know he wouldn’t want me to think that way,” she says, after another few long minutes. “But sometimes I still feel like - like it was my fault. I got him killed. If I’d been faster - if I’d been more careful - if I’d just taken Hodak out right there - “
Boz slowly, gently draws patterns against Jane’s hand with her thumb, lets Jane press closer and breathe in, deep, shaky. “He would have been so proud of you,” she replies, steady and sure. “You did so well. Wherever he is now - he’s watching you, I know it. And he’s so proud of you.” She looks up at Jane, who meets her gaze, a faint smile beginning to appear on her face. “And so am I.”
Jane swallows hard, looking still anguished but newly determined, and she nods, pulling herself a little straighter. “Thanks, Boz. For bringing me here. For…” Jane trails off, but she squeezes Boz’s hand, doesn’t let go, and Boz hears what she means to say anyway, so it’s enough.
Elena takes to training like she’s a duck and it’s water. She doesn’t instantly ace the class for everything, or something like that, but she works hard and pushes herself to be better and it comes through in all her tests. Boz always sees her frowning over a book in the library, or practicing her lockpicking skills in the training labs, or doing laps around the field to keep her strength up. It’s the kind of attitude she likes to see.
Not that it doesn’t come without its drawbacks, because being an ambitious, brilliant graduate of MIT and all, Boz knows Elena was never going to get through training without at least once pushing herself a little too far. The day comes when she’s sparring with one of the senior trainees, being a little reckless and using some advanced moves she obviously hasn’t fully gotten a handle on yet, and she overreaches. Boz is there to watch her put one step wrong and get kicked in the hip so hard she gets almost flung against the ropes. She takes the landing badly, and when Boz rushes over to help her up she sees a deep cut down her cheek, and it definitely looks like her shoulder is going to be bruising for a week. Her sparring partner is near tears, asking if she’s all right, and Elena forces a brave smile. “I’m okay. I’m fine.”
“I’ve got her, Rui. It’s all right.” She helps Elena onto her feet, giving her a brief once-over to make sure she hasn’t broken any bones or anything serious like that. “Come on, Elena, let’s get you to Saint.”
Elena makes a token protest, but Boz staunchly does not listen, dragging her to the infirmary so Saint can tut over the cut on her face and clean her up. He eyes her left ankle critically, watching Elena wince as he gently turns her foot to gauge her range of movement. “It looks like a sprain, but it shouldn’t be anything serious. Rest, ice, elevation, the usual litany.” He packs Elena off back to her room with a cold compress for Boz and a strict order for a week of zero strenuous activity. Elena looks strongly displeased and worried about it when Boz hefts her into bed and raises her leg, wrapping a towel around her ankle and then applying the compress. “Boz? This won’t affect my evaluation for becoming an Angel, right?”
She looks so genuinely concerned about it, so scared that the answer might actually be yes. Boz reaches for her hand and gives it a reassuring pat. “It won’t, Elena. Accidents happen, and you’ve been doing amazing otherwise. It’s just a week of missing physical training. You can make that back up in no time.”
“I will,” Elena says, sounding fiercely determined. “I’m going to be the best Angel I can be.”
You already are, Boz thinks fondly. She adjusts the compress, making sure Elena remains as comfortable as possible. “Swelling feeling better?”
Elena nods, looking a little shy and sheepish but grateful. “Thanks, Boz. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“Probably get up and keep sparring on an injured ankle and with a gashed face, earning yourself three weeks off physical training,” Boz replies drily, to Elena’s laughter. “Yeah, that’s fair.”
Boz gives her a look. “I’m serious, Elena. Don’t push yourself so hard all the time, okay? You’re doing well. You’re going to be a fantastic Angel. Cut yourself some slack sometimes. I don’t want to see you burn out.”
“Okay,” Elena replies softly, and wonders of wonders, Boz thinks she might actually listen.
Even months after it happens, and a lot of mandated therapy for all of them, the whole Calisto incident haunts them, for reasons evident. Boz keeps an eye on Sabina, especially. She heard all about what happened in the quarry after she was forced to leave them, has spent a lot of therapy sessions working through the guilt knotting at her insides, and she needs them all to know she’s there for them in any capacity they might need. That she’ll never abandon them like that, ever again.
Jane and Elena come to her, first hesitantly, then cautiously, then with more frequency - spending time with her over meals, talking to her about more serious matters - but Sabina doesn’t really follow suit. Boz respects it, and gives her space and time. If that’s what she needs.
So it surprises her a little, when she’s up late one night, going through paperwork at two-thirty in the morning, and there’s a knock at her door. Boz opens it a little warily and looks out to see Sabina standing in the corridor, eyes red and hair messy, looking exhausted and almost scared. “Hi. Sorry. Did I wake you?”
“No, I was up doing work. Are you okay? Do you want to come in?”
Sabina nods jerkily, haltingly moving in and letting Boz close the door behind her. Her jaw is pulled tight, her voice shaky. “Sorry. I don’t mean to - be inconvenient or whatever, I know it’s super late, Jane and Elena are asleep, I didn’t want to - sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Boz replies. “Do you want to sit down? You look awful - what happened, Sabina?”
Sabina does take a seat on the edge of her bed, putting her face in her hands. “Nightmare,” she answers, voice breaking on the word. Boz stays silent, waiting to see if she wants to elaborate, but Sabina just shakes her head and bites her lip. “I don’t want to talk about it. I do enough of that at therapy. I just, I don’t wanna be alone right now, I didn’t know where else to go. Can I just stay here? For a bit? I can sleep on the couch.”
“You don’t need to, you can stay right here. If you want.” Boz shifts over so Sabina has enough space on one side of the bed. “And don’t apologise. I’m glad you came to me. You don’t need to be alone, sweetheart.”
Sabina just nods in response, curling up tight on the bed, and Boz carefully picks up her tablet and gets back to work, doing her best not to make any sudden movements so Sabina isn’t disturbed.
The time passes in silence for a bit, and Boz thinks Sabina’s drifted back off into what she hopes is a more peaceful sleep, when she feels Sabina shift and move closer, resting her cheek against her thigh. She reaches to grasp Boz’s hand, looking so haunted and shaken, and Boz feels her heart ache. She pats her lap, letting Sabina shuffle uncertainly closer and slowly running her fingers through her short hair, rhythmic and calming. “It’s okay. You’re okay. Go to sleep, I’ll be right here. I promise.”
A soft murmur of acknowledgment, and Sabina briefly brushes her lips against Boz’s wrist before letting go of her hand and closing her eyes. Boz smiles down at her, feeling her breathing ease, and doesn’t stop stroking her hair until she sets her tablet aside and goes to sleep as well.
Elena’s first assignment after getting her tattoo is a low-risk, group assignment alongside Jane and Sabina, with Boz as their handler once more, starting her off in familiar territory. Unsurprisingly she aces it, flying colours all around, and when they land back in California she’s exultant and flooded with that joy Boz remembers from her first assignment too. It makes her proud to see, just like she did after the Calisto incident.
She makes them a sumptuous dinner to celebrate, gets them all around the dining table excitedly talking through the assignment and telling Elena just how great she did, all of them eating ravenously after all that work on the field. She feels so… endlessly content watching them like this. Safe and happy and accomplished. It’s a privilege she cherishes - to watch over them, to take care of them. To love them with everything she has.
“You should do a toast,” Sabina says, pouring more champagne into Elena’s glass. “To distinguish your first assignment. It’s tradition.”
“It is not,” Jane corrects, and Sabina laughs, making a face at her that Jane returns. “It is now. I’ve declared it. Come on, Elena! Let’s hear it.”
Elena just laughs, raising her glass and grinning. “I guess I just can’t believe I’m really here. Everything’s changed so much in the past year, and I’m so grateful. For this opportunity, and for Townsend and the work we do… and for you guys. For us. Always having my back. So… to us.”
“Yeah, to us!” Sabina cheers, tapping her glass against Elena’s. “And specially to Boz, for the best fucking risotto I’ve ever eaten in my life.”
And Boz grins back, touching her glass against all of theirs, and feeling the bubbly champagne slide down her throat, warm her from inside out.
… here’s the thing, she was an Angel and she’s a Bosley and she’s been blowing Townsend out of the water for half her life now, she’s looked to as one of the best, and part of that means she’s always been operationally ready for years on end, only one morning she wakes up and for the first time in maybe a decade, she has a pounding headache and her throat hurts and it feels a lot like she’s just been taken down by a fucking flu.
Thankfully she’s not being activated for anything, so she just sends a little note up to Charlie and Saint letting them know she’s going to hole herself up in her room and sleep it off. Conveniently - she blames the flu - she forgets that Charlie and Saint are fucking snitches and promptly inform Jane, Elena and Sabina and ask them to check in on her.
Boz does not need ‘checking in on’. She can take care of herself. She definitely does not need Jane picking her lock and all of them barging in and crowding around her bed, Elena pressing her palm against her forehead and saying something about high fever. She doesn’t want them to see her like this, and part of her rational mind tells her that’s stupid, she’s seen them at their vulnerable points too, but it still eats at her - she’s meant to protect them, take care of them, not the other way around, never, but -
But Elena’s holding her hand to her neck and checking her temperature again, Jane’s watching her with such concern on her face, and Sabina is holding a bowl in one hand and a spoon in another, talking to her. “Here, babe, drink this. I got it from Saint, he says it should fix you up in a flash, although fair warning it looks like something he got out of a sewer… but it’s fine, we trust Saint. I think. Anyway. Come on, can you sit up a little? I’ll feed you.”
Boz moans a barely discernible no, weak and hoarse, turning away when Sabina reaches out to gently cup her cheek. “Oh man, Boz, hey, come on, I was kidding about the sewer, you know Saint would never pull that crap on you. You’ve got to drink it and get better, okay?”
“‘m fine,” Boz manages to croak, feeling something uncomfortable sitting in her throat. “Just leave me alone, I’ll be okay. Go do your work.”
Jane snorts and just props Boz up a little further against her pillows so Sabina can put a spoon of warm liquid to her lips. “You’re really going to play the hero right now? Because you look worse than Sabina did when I dragged her out of our collapsed hotel in Istanbul. Come on,” her voice becomes gentler, though still firm. “You’ve been taking care of us all this time. Let us take care of you.”
Boz, over a decade older than her girls and with five years of Bosleyhood under her belt and having faced down countless criminals and terrorists without turning her hair, feels something break inside her and before she can stop herself, she’s turning and burying her face against Elena’s shoulder and letting out a series of very choked, very congested sobs. Elena gently strokes her hair and presses a kiss to her forehead and she’s vaguely aware of Sabina putting the bowl down, both her and Jane cuddling in close so she’s surrounded by warmth. She doesn’t think she’s let herself be this vulnerable with anybody in - years. But they make her feel so safe. They make her feel assured, for the first time in a long time, that if she falls, someone will be there to catch her.
They hold her until her sobs finally quieten and she lets herself be put into a sitting position again, leaning against Elena. Jane gently draws her blankets up around her and Sabina picks the bowl of soup back up, slowly feeding her sips of something warm and surprisingly delicious. Sabina gives her a small smile, holding her gaze. “All right, yeah. You’re gonna be fine.”
And she is, in so many more ways than one. Boz smiles back at her, lets Jane squeeze her hand and Elena kiss her cheek. “Love you, Boz.”
“Love you too,” she replies, and she knows she will, always, for the rest of her life.