Chapter 1: one yellow petal, sitting in a palm
She's glowing. That's such a cliché. Whatever.
Gina Linetti has taken the squad to Shaw's bar for a celebration, surprisingly understated for the woman who had organised elaborate and extravagant parties for each of her eight engagements.
Five of which Rosa has attended.
There's an uncomfortable twist in the latter's stomach, and she knows she has to tear her eyes away.
"Pull yourself together, Diaz," has been her mantra for this entire evening, and she repeats it to herself for the 24th time. It doesn't work, not even a little bit, in fact, her stomach squirms even more, seeming to have sensed that she's addressing her feelings.
Because it's not an engagement party.
Gina saunters over to Rosa's desk wearing a complacent smile.
"Hey, Ro-Ro. Look at this baby!" she singsongs, thrusting a hand at Rosa's curious face.
"Huh. He really went all out, didn't he?" she replies, amusement lacing her voice. Directly in her line of vision is a sparkling ring. A large, round-cut diamond is set in the centre, smaller ones clustered around it, and all are set in a shining, platinum band. "Guess he's really into you, then."
"Uh, please. This man positively worships the ground I walk on, Rosa. I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to follow me around, throwing roses at my feet. It's exhausting being this radiant." She heaves a dramatic sigh, continues, "You'll be there for the party, won't you? Tonight?"
"Obviously. Free drinks?"
Gina's smile becomes devious, as she responds, "I'm not the one paying, so yeah. Open bar."
Before Gina turns to go back to her desk, where she does exactly nothing but scrunch up pages from an A4, narrow-lined notebook ("a travesty", Amy had declared later, when she had found out. "I could have given that notebook a loving home!") and throw them at Charles' head, Rosa blurts out, "Don't you get tired of these?"
Gina's eyebrows knit together in her bemusement, and she laughs out, "Why would I? It's great fun, for a couple of months. It's this . . . feeling. I don't know how to describe it. You aren't fully committed, but it feels serious, y'know? But a fun kind of serious." She watches Rosa's concerned expression intently, and hops down from her perch on the desk. "It's not going to last, silly. Anyway, I needed a new washing machine. Someone else has to pay for that now," she notes, her tone seemingly indifferent.
Rosa nods and turns back to the paperwork she was working on. "I'll see you tonight," she declares.
"See you tonight," Gina answers, and the detective glances back up at her retreating figure.
The bar is so warm. It could be the three scotches that are making their way around Rosa's system, but in any case, she needs a breath of fresh air, she needs to get out of here.
She lifts her jacket, which is strewn over the chair beside her, and makes her way to the door -
"Rosa! What're you doing?"
Jake sits a couple of feet away from her, Terry sitting opposite him. The two of them have been engaged in deep conversation for most of the night, and Rosa supposes it's about something serious, as Jake's face hasn't cracked a smile the entire evening, surprisingly out of character for the man who just this morning had made a joke about the old dead guy lying at his feet. ("Looks like this guy had an exciting nap! Oh, oh wait! Why were we called out to a pile of dust - ow! Fine, I'll stop!")
She angles the rest of her body towards their table and replies, "I was just gonna-" she releases a breath she hadn't realised she was holding, and carries on. "I was gonna go and get some fresh air."
Her head is a mess right now, but she's not going to admit that to anyone. This entire situation is fiddling with her emotions in ways she couldn't have imagined. An unidentified feeling is weighing heavily on her, and her shoulders are slumped where they usually stand upright and tall. Jake seems to notice, because of course he does, Serious Jake wearing Serious Jake's Serious face, taking things Seriously for once. She had to be stuck with Serious Jake on the night she needed him least.
"I'll come with you," he declares, and stands from his seat.
"It's okay, you don't need to. Just - keep talking to Terry or something."
Terry pipes up, "I need to talk to the Captain about the precinct's numbers. Jake's good to go." He gives a nod of finality to Jake, and he gives one in return.
Rosa turns away from the table and walks out the door into the frigid November air.
"What's the deal, Rosie?" comes Gina's determined voice. She closes the door behind her, and stares at the taller woman unyieldingly, arms folded against her frame.
Rosa has been avoiding her for most of the morning, ignoring the emails she's sent about how boring Holt's schedule is today, escaping to the copy room when she's in her general vicinity, and just now, making a beeline for Babylon when she had realised Gina was heading towards her desk.
She hadn't bargained on the other woman following her.
"Uh . . . nothing? Everything's okay. I just needed to go to the bathroom, Gina." She feels backed into a corner, and she has been - quite literally. Her leather-clad back rests against the cool wall, as Gina stands directly in front of her, her intense presence towering over Rosa.
"No. I don't think so. You've been avoiding me, boo." She relaxes against the door, but her gaze remains unwavering. "Now you're going to tell me what's going on, or we're not gonna leave this room."
She wants to melt into the ground, to become an inconspicuous puddle on the floor, but Gina would still probably stand over her, admiring her reflection and asking relentless questions about why puddle Rosa is constantly running away from her.
So she answers.
"Last night. We got into an argument about your relationship. It got messy, so I left." Her eyes are beginning to sting, but she blinks quickly before tears can appear. She can't let Gina know that this is affecting her. She can't let Gina know that she's . . . developing feelings.
She's expecting her to start up the entire debate again, to yell at her about minding her own business, but not . . . whatever this is. Her shorter companion's muffled laughter echoes around the room, and Rosa's alarmed. Gina must have finally gone mad.
She seems to sense her confusion, however, and straightens up with a broad smile on her face.
"Rosa. I was so shitfaced. I literally cannot remember half of last night. Two bottles of vodka does that to me, ask Jake!" Her tone is light and filled with mirth, and her hands come up to her eyes to wipe away tears of laughter.
"But-" Rosa exclaims, and is quickly silenced by Gina's reply.
"No buts. We're good." She advances towards Rosa again, arms open, and says, "First we have to cure that angst ridden face. Bring it in, Rosie Pose."
So Rosa does. She embraces Gina, buries her face in her sleek hair and holds on as though, if the other woman lets go, the world will tip.
Jake leans against the brick wall of Shaw's bar and shoves his hands in his pockets to shield them from the cold air. A bright grin breaks out across his face, and his eyes meet Rosa's.
She can't help it, she's curious, so she asks, "What's up with you, man? You looked way too serious the entire evening. Now you look as though someone's about to give you the best news of your life."
His answer is filled with quiet joy, and he squints at her contentedly. "I uh, I'm proposing to Amy. Next week, actually. I was just talking about it with Terry."
She can hardly say she's surprised. Almost two years of dating, and they've never been anything less than sickeningly sweet. They're so in love, it makes her heart hurt.
She wants that, so badly. She thought she'd had it, with Adrian, to begin with. Now she finds herself annoyed at almost everything he does, his every habit, every hobby, every quirk.
And more and more in love with Gina Linetti.
"Good for you, man," is her genuine response. She smiles at him, and then turns her attention to the dark and glittering night sky.
"I was gonna do it this week, actually, but you know. Gina's pregnancy. I didn't want to take that moment away from her." His tone is relaxed and happy, but the mention of Gina and her unborn baby makes Rosa's chest constrict. It's seemed to do that anytime she's thought of the woman tonight, and it's painful.
Feelings are hard for her to deal with.
She focuses on the sky instead, breathing in, and breathing out.
Turning towards Jake again, she releases a ragged cough. She brings her hand to her mouth, and continues to cough into it. When she's finished, she pulls her hand away again, responds, "Yeah. I'm happy for her."
"Me, too." His tone becomes suddenly questioning. "You got a cold? You've been coughing like that all week. You ought to get that checked out, dude," he tells her, his voice filled with concern.
She closes her eyes. It's okay. She's fine. And then she opens them again. "I'm good. It's just a cough. I'm fine."
Opening her palm, she peers at a single, yellow petal, and lets it go.
Chapter 2: two blue eyes, chaos in the calm
hi there it's time to suffer
again!!! it's like uhhh 4am, i'm dying, listening to my spotify shit because apparently i literally don't give a single fuck about having a regular ass sleep cycle but. whatever.
still not forcing u to but uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh listen to slow it down by the lumineers
um?? enjoy then
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It's 9:42AM on Monday morning when Rosa finally shuffles into work.
She half-runs up the stairs, the elevator, by some inconvenience out of service for the day. ("The scent of Boyle's lunch was . . . frankly awful today," Holt had informed her in his low monotone, when he had called her into his office later. "Detective Peralta thought it would be a good idea to leave it out in the elevator. Back to work, Diaz.")
Her lungs are on fire, but she's doing her best to ignore it. Diazes don't get sick.
That's what her mamá had said to her when she had run downstairs at age six with a red, runny, nose and itchy eyes. "You will be fine, niña. You have a strong heart," she had told her as she ran her thumb over her cheek. "Now have a bowl of soup."
She steps into the bullpen and immediately, everyone's eyes flick to her. She's hard not to notice today, she knows, her hair is a bush, her face gaunt and pale, her entire frame looking about ten times smaller than usual. This morning, Rosa had looked into the mirror to a different person.
She looks around the precinct, at Jake, whose eyes are filled with silent concern, at Amy, who dons deep lines of distress when she notices her.
To Gina's desk.
And she isn't there.
Charles seems to be oblivious to everyone else staring at her as if her head had rolled off, and pipes up, "Rosa, there's this great Italian place that's just opened, and no one else believes me when I say it's amazing, but it's a-"
She grimaces. Boyle's food rants have stalled her cases in the past, and she doesn't think she can deal with another one.
Jake, however, seems to notice her irritability relatively quickly, and steps in before Charles can do or say anything that might leave the precinct in disarray.
"Charles, buddy, uh, there's some really important case files we need to go look at. Come on," Jake calls to him, and his spiel on the structural integrity of meatballs is stopped.
"Sorry, Jakey! I'll be right there!" He's not remotely affected by the expressions that surround him, and turns his attention to Jake's desk.
Finally, she's left to wallow with the ache in her chest, and collapses into her chair.
Gina twists Rosa's leather sleeve as she fumbles with the key in the lock.
"Hurry up," she says, her voice low and breathy.
The situation was certainly unprecedented. One drinking session at Shaw's left them both unable to drive, and so they walked to Rosa's apartment.
Or rather, ran.
Finally she's able to turn the key, and they fall against the door into the apartment.
It bursts open, and the room brightens, as if it can sense Gina with all her brightness and exuberance, is here.
She turns and closes the door, faces Rosa again and tugs her warm hand insistently with her own cold one. Her expression is desperate, searches every inch of her face, and Rosa's seriously alarmed by it.
"Seriously, Gina, what's going o-" is what she manages to get out before her entire demeanour transforms.
All of a sudden - she wraps her arms around Rosa's neck, entangles her fingers in her hair and pushes herself up on the tips of her toes to press her forehead against her dark eyed companion's.
Her eyes - a blueish-grey colour, are intense and chaotic, among a sea of calm, and reveal to Rosa only one thing. She can't predict one move this woman will make.
"What's going on," she whispers softly into Rosa's mouth, her breath warm and slow and intermingling with the quick, light, exhalation of her own, "is that we're going to make out, Rosa."
From there, she forgets everything she knew, and leans forward into Gina's soft lips.
There's one last detail about a case Rosa has to check up on, and then she's free to go home.
The entire day has been awful, to put it frankly, her friends watching her warily, eyes full of pity, as if, if she made one wrong move she'd break.
Rosa Diaz is not fragile. Fragility is not a concept she has ever associated with herself, but today?
She certainly felt like she was.
Her heels clack on the floor of the precinct as she makes her way to the archive to check the evidence pertaining to her case, and she hardly has her second foot in the door when it slams behind her.
A glance over her shoulder reveals a set of crossed arms, and she realises she's in for it.
"Rosa? What's happening with you?" comes Amy's careful voice, and she turns around to face her.
Her lips are pursed tightly, faint lines running around them, as she looks Rosa in the eye, her gaze hawk-like and unwavering.
A swell of pain and emotion in her chest causes her to double over, and she's suddenly overwhelmed by racking coughs.
"I, uh," she manages, before a fresh wave of pain erupts, "I think I'm sick."
As she hears her own voice, she can hear the smallness of it, the almost undetectable quiver, and it's there that she completely breaks down.
Amy's leaning down over her, and warm, strong arms wrap around her, murmuring, "It's okay, we'll sort this out."
"Gina is, well. She's something." Peralta laughs out.
"Something meaning . . ." she responds. "Peralta, if she's a complete weirdo-"
"Anna wasn't a weirdo! She just . . . had some odd interests! Everyone has an odd interest or two, Diaz."
"She pulled me into the copy room to tell me that the government was spying on me. She had the entire precinct on lockdown because she thought the FBI were out to get her!"
He sighs heavily, sniffs dramatically before turning back to her. "Fine, I conceive defeat," is his reply, amused annoyance bubbling in his tone.
"Concede, Jake. Concede defeat."
She pulls her feet from beneath the desk, lies them up on the table in front of her, and folds her arms across her chest.
"So. Tell me more about this new girl." is what she says, and Jake immediately complies, recounting stories from his childhood involving his narcissistic best friend, Gina Linetti.
He's perched comfortably on top of her desk, feet dangling, not quite reaching the ground, as he gets further and further into their
"So we're at Brandon Morgan's party, and she just whips out some random guy from the crowd and says, "Here, Jakey, go make out or whatever," and she's wasted, like completely off her face, but she's still going! And after that she disappears for the rest of the night, I ask absolutely everyone there where she is, and no one knows! I woke up the next morning and there she is, sitting in my beanie bag chair and staring directly at my bed and she says, get this, "No one will ever know of this, understand me, Pineapples?". Next thing she's out the window like she's freaking Batman!" His eyes are wide with wonder, as if to this day, he couldn't quite grasp how she accomplished what she did.
"Sounds awesome. Did you get the makeout?"
Regret pours across his face, and he answers dejectedly, "No. I realised I had to go look for Gina. I didn't even get his number! It was kinda sad," he chuckles, "he was cute."
"That sucks, Peralta. Could have at least gone for an ass grab before you went, right?"
"See, seventeen year old Jake didn't know that! Man, you two would have gotten on so well. You will! Gina's awesome." enthusiasm filling out his voice, swelling it out with pride.
She leans back in her chair, can feel it falling, falling, but catches herself just before it tips.
"Yeah, guess so. Can't wait, dude."
Now she's sitting in a hospital waiting room, Amy sitting by her side.
The scent of disinfectant is strong and chemical, dulling out her sense of smell. She's always hated hospitals.
There's uncomfortable silence, no one in the room acknowledging each other, shifting eyes, subtle coughs. Not one person wants to address the common issue, because to do that means having to address that there is, in fact, an issue.
Amy had booked an appointment with her brother, Manny, and insisted upon driving her out here after work, silencing her protests with, "That's ridiculous, Rosa," "Quit being ridiculous, Rosa," "Rosa, I swear to God, it's not an inconvenience!". She's still not convinced.
But she's grateful. Amy hasn't breathed a single word to anyone other than Manny. ("He's really good, Rosa, don't worry! Jake loves him, and Jake hates going to the doctor.") She hasn't even said anything to Jake, just rung him to tell him there was an unexpected emergency and left it at that.
A nurse soon makes her way out of a room, clipboard grasped in hand, pen in the other, wearing a slightly stressed expression.
"Diaz for Doctor Santiago," she calls out, and Rosa stands up, slightly shaky at the knees.
Diazes don't get sick. Diazes don't get sick. Diazes don't get sick.
She faces Amy, whose worried face is likely a result of the paled look spread across Rosa's usually confident and assured face.
"Will you - will you come with me?"
She avoids her eye, not wanting to reveal her weakness, her fear, even though it's probably obvious from her body language.
And Amy, dependable as ever, resolve tightening, replies, "Of course," and she hoists herself out of her own chair.
They make their way down the short corridor to a room that's completely different from the rest of the hospital she's witnessed, it's warm and comforting, children's paintings adorning the walls and brightening the dull, grey paint, pictures framed on the desk, clean, and yet home to some sort of happy disorder.
Manuel Santiago sits expectantly at his desk, and looks up to the door with a pleasant smile.
It somewhat eases Rosa's nerves, and she steps through, walks over to the chair and sits, Amy following her.
He relaxes in his chair and greets his sister with a wicked smile and an, "Amy, hey! What's up?".
Her eyes crinkle cheerfully at her older brother, but she nods to her side, and says, "It's to do with Rosa, actually."
At the mention of her, he turns and extends a hand across the desk. "Miss Diaz, hello!" She reaches and takes it, firmly shakes it (it must run in their family, she supposes), and drops it again.
"So, can you tell me what's going on?"
She opens her mouth to speak, makes an incomprehensible noise, squeezes her eyes shut. She can avoid it. Maybe she can just ignore it.
"Take your time, it's okay. We have plenty of time." a genuineness in his tone.
"Um. Sorry. I'm not . . . great at this stuff."
Amy reaches under the table and finds Rosa's hand, softly squeezing it, and gives Rosa an encouraging smile -
And so, she spills.
"I-it started about two months ago. I got some, uh, stabbing pains in my chest. It wasn't much. Just like, a nip. But about a week later I started coughing, it kept getting worse, and worse, and -"
Her eyes are beginning to prick -
"A-and then, there were little bits that I was coughing up -"
He interjects, "Bits, Miss Diaz?"
Throat is choked up with emotion -
"Bits, yeah, little - little green bits -"
Tears are freely falling down her face now, she takes a shuddering breath -
"And then, um, about - two weeks ago, I was at the bar and - a-and I coughed up something, and it-it looked like a petal, a little yellow petal, and, and blood, and blood."
And she finishes, and Amy once again hugs her, lets her sob into her shoulder.
When she breaks away, she's handed a tissue, and she wipes furiously at her eyes and nose, intending to get rid of any evidence of her having experienced weakness, and looks back up at Manny.
"That's it. It's still happening, but nothing new has developed." her voice is raw, she can tell, from crying, anyone could tell.
He looks at her with immense concern and pity in his face, and pinches the bridge of his nose.
Letting his hand fall away, he addresses her. "Rosa, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to ask you: have you heard of Hanahaki disease?"
She's struck cold, because this is exactly what she was trying to avoid. Her voice is flat as she answers, "Yes."
A flower in her lungs, because of two blue eyes.
hating myself after writing these is a staple i guess can't write without hating on me ! oh well
please leave feedback! also if u want my social media!
hit her up she thirsty for that validation