Chapter 1: Prologue
‘Primadonna girl, yeah
All I ever wanted was the world
I can't help but I need it all
The primadonna life, the rise and fall,’
~Marina and The Diamonds
You were a cop. A bloody good one, too. You might not have as much experience as your peers, but no one doubted your ability after the saw they way you handled your first major case, two weeks after joining the Nine-Nine.
That had been just over a year ago. But you still remembered your first day as if it were yesterday.
Terry had been the first person to greet you at the elevator door. He was warm, and welcoming, and told you over and over that you could come to him with any problem, at any point. And you believed him. He had taken you to meet everyone, one by one.
Gina had certainly made an exciting first impression. Wild and eccentric, her energy was something that wasn’t present in you old precincts, and you loved it. Even though she had described herself as being on a higher plane of existence. She still ended the exchange with a handshake before bouncing off.
You could tell immediately that Amy was somewhat of a teacher’s pet. But you found it somewhat endearing. She was sweet, and unassuming, and was pleased to hear that you didn’t hate paperwork. You sensed that you’d become close friends, and you had.
Rosa offered nothing more than a nod in your direction, and you had been offended until Terry said that it was the warmest greeting he had seen from her toward a stranger. She’d warmed up to you since. Or, rather, as much as Rosa Diaz could warm up to another human being.
Charles was full-on, and definitely the most eager of the detectives you were meeting on your first day. He kept throwing about terms like ‘it’s an honour to meet you,’ And you laughed and told him you could be a huge asshole, he had no clue. But he laughed, shook his head, and told you he could sense you weren’t.
You didn’t meet Scully and Hitchcock formally that first day. You were going to, but they were doing… something involving ears and a torch. Terry simply waved his hand in their direction and said, ‘Not today,’. And you had already met Captain Holt during a meeting to make arrangements for your transfer. The nature of why you were transferring was a serious one, and it needed to be discussed with your new Captain at a very high level of discretionary.
Jake was the person you met last. He had came in late, hungover and full of excuses. He looked like he slept in his clothes, he was gripping a coffee with all his life and he looked slightly dead both inside and out. He was incredible. If you weren’t nervous before, you were now.
When you were kidnapped, you kept rethinking your first day at the Nine-Nine over and over again. You wanted to be back in that moment so desperately.
Chapter 2: Left or Right
‘I'm wasted, losing time
I'm a foolish, fragile spine
I want all that is not mine
I want him but we're not right,’
9.13am. Briefing room. You pinched the bridge of your nose, not entirely paying attention.
It was your birthday today, and you could not be bothered with it. You loved your birthday. Who couldn’t love a day that celebrated the simple fact that they existed? But what happened on your last birthday, the one before you moved to the Nine-Nine, had soured the day for you.
You had deliberately not told anyone it was your birthday. You didn’t need a reminder about what happened. A big screaming day reminding you of what chased you from your old precinct. You felt nauseous.
‘We have a stalker!’
Jake’s sing-song voice broke your daydream. You blinked. No one had noticed you had barely paid attention.
‘Woo!’ Charles yelled.
‘Yeah, not a good time to come in on that,’ Jake sucked air between his teeth.
‘Sorry, I got caught up in the energy,’ Charles smiled apologetically.
You felt someone nudge your shoulder, ‘You okay, (Y/N)?’ Amy whispered next to you.
You looked at her and offered her nothing more than a smile and a quick nod. She seemed satisfied enough by that. But the nature of this case hit a little close to home, and you felt your palms getting a sweaty.
‘What do we know about them?’ Rosa’s voice rang out from the back of the room.
Amy rose her eyebrows at Jake, ‘Wait, what?’
‘This woman-’ Jake flashed a photo up of a woman on the screen, ‘- Carly Vasey, claims she is being stalked. Caucasian male, about 5’ 9”, wearing black jeans, black jacket, black cap, standing outside her house at night and following her to and from work. CCTV has shown nothing, but she swears it’s happening,’
‘Cuckoo,’ Rosa sang. Jake pointed at her in agreement.
‘You’re absolutely right,’
Terry stepped in, ‘Whether or not she’s making it up, do you have a plan?’
‘Yes Sarge, glad you asked. We’ll get an UC car and two cops to stake outside her apartment and see if anyone dodgy comes past,’
‘Oh, I’ll get in on that,’ you immediately offered. Anything to stop reminding you about your birthday, ‘It’s tonight, yeah?’
‘Actually, no, our victim is out of town tonight on a business trip. She flies back in tomorrow afternoon,’ Jake explained.
‘Good,’ Terry nodded, ‘Two cops can go undercover. Stake out the airport, follow the victim back to her home to make sure she’s okay. They can then proceed to stake outside in a car,’
‘Yeah, me and Charles can do that,’ Jake said.
‘Woo!’ Charles exclaimed for the second time that morning. It was too early for this.
Terry didn’t see an issue with that, and you were dismissed. You were slightly gutted you couldn’t stake out that night. And even more so that you couldn’t do it alone with Jake.
The squad poured out of the room, and you were inwardly grateful about the short briefing. You needed coffee. Lots, and lots, of coffee.
You jumped, ‘What the hell, Charles, you scared the shit out of me,’
‘Sorry, sorry,’ he held his hands up.
It was later in the night by now, around 8pm. You hadn’t kept track. Your new birthday tradition was burying yourself in every task around you as to not remember anything else. The others had left; and you felt successful in that you hid your birthday from them.
‘Why are you even still here?’ you asked. You were pretty sure Charles had left hours ago.
‘I am here to take you to a surprise party. For your birthday. Sorry, I know I suck at keeping secrets. I don’t know why people keep trusting me.’
Your heart sank.
‘How did you know it was my birthday?’
‘Oh, Gina broke into your file and read it,’
‘That isn’t surprising,’ you grumbled.
You spun your chair around to face him.
‘You coming then?’ he asked.
You bit your lip, thinking, ‘Is everyone there?’
He nodded, looking pleased, ‘Yup. Even the Captain.’
‘And it’s at Shaws, I’m guessing?’
You sighed. This day sucked.
‘Right,’ you began, ‘Um, I have something I need to do. You head off without me, and I can meet you there? Considering I now know where and when I’m going,’
Charles smiled unknowingly, accepting your offer without even questioning it. That was typical Charles; unassuming, but kind.
‘Sure, sure, see you soon,’
You watched him walk off, and get into the lift. You banged your head onto table and groaned into the empty office.
You waited about ten minutes until you were sure Charles would be long gone, before heading to your car. As you drove, you came to an intersection. Turning left would’ve taken you home, turning right would’ve taken you to the bar, where your closest friends were throwing you a carefully planned surprise party.
You turned left.
You noticed that everyone was ignoring you. And you didn’t blame them. It was the morning after you had skipped out on your own surprise party. They didn’t have any explanation; not that you had had the chance to offer one. You’d been given the cold shoulder all morning.
You sat in the front row during the briefing, and noticed no one had sat next to you. You couldn’t help feeling a bit annoyed, despite yourself. They weren’t even bothering asking if you had a genuine reason.
Jake took the briefing for the second day in a row.
‘So, we’re beginning our stalker stakeout this afternoon. But, Charles has had to drop out,’
You looked about. It was only now you noticed he wasn’t there.
‘He got food poisoning from some dodgy street vendor last night and is at home losing his stomach lining as we speak,’
‘Well that’s disgusting,’ Amy said.
‘Wait, Charles ate from a street vendor?’ Terry said, ‘Charles, who is incredibly pretentious about what he eats?’
‘Yeah, turns out his appetite is really something else when he’s drunk,’ Jake laughed, ‘But it means that I need someone else to jump on the case with me,’
‘Take (Y/N),’ Terry decided, ‘Everyone else is too busy on other stuff right now,’
‘Cool. Cool cool cool,’
Captain Holt shot you a look. You knew what he was thinking. You prayed inwardly that he didn’t say anything.
‘(Y/N), are you sure you’ll be okay on this case?’ he asked.
‘Yes, Captain,’ you said slowly, giving him a ‘ please don’t’ look.
‘Why wouldn’t she be?’ Terry raised his eyebrow.
‘I’m scared of planes,’ you said, ‘They’re death traps. Sky death traps. I’ll be fine though.’
‘Well, that’s settled in,’ Terry seemed satisfied by your response.
‘Guess we need to go get ready then,’ You said to Jake.
‘Yup,’ he said, a tone of annoyance underlying his reply. Great. Someone else that was annoyed at you.
Chapter 3: I Can Do My Job
‘I sometimes think too much
But say nothing at all,’
You had staked out Carly - the victim - from her airport to her apartment with no hassle. You hadn’t had much chance to talk to Jake by then.
But now you were sitting in an undercover minivan across the street from the apartment, and an awkward silence had feel across you both.
‘No one showed up yet. That’s pretty disappointing, isn’t it? Well, I mean, I don’t want the woman to be stalked, but still,’
You were floundering. Jake didn’t reply, before he sighed and said, ‘So why didn’t you turn up last night?’
You fiddled your fingers, ‘It’s pretty personal,’
‘Too personal to tell us? Too personal to send a text saying you couldn’t come? Too personal to lie and say you were sick?’ he didn’t sound angry. It confused and hurt. Which was probably worse.
You considered this for a second and said, ‘Yes.’
Silence fell for a second again. Jake turned to face you, ‘Okay then,’ he smiled.
‘(Y/N), I trust you. Completely. And if you tell me that it was a personal issue that is that serious, then I believe you. And I can’t be angry at you because of that,’
‘Jake… thank you. I am really sorry that I didn’t go. I feel bad,’
‘(Y/N), shut up,’ he said warmly.
‘Well,’ you leant back and took a sip of your coffee, ‘Sorry I’m not Charles at least,’
Jake laughed, ‘You’ll do. You’re hotter than him at least. With your boobs and stuff,’
You snorted, ‘I’ve never felt more flattered,’
‘You should feel flattered! I’m the master of seduction,’
‘You trying to seduce me, Peralta?’ you raised an eyebrow at him.
‘Sshh,’ he said suddenly, waving his hand at you to shut up, ‘Look,’
You followed the direction he was pointing at. A man, walked down the path, was donning a black hat, black clothes and certainly looked suspicious.
‘Quick, photos,’ you said, and Jake obliged.
However, the man didn’t stop at the apartment. In fact, he didn’t even raise his gaze from the pathment, and he simply walked completely by.
‘That was weird. He fit the description exactly, but he didn’t even stop. We can hardly pick up a guy for walking , can we?’
Jake nodded, ‘But we got pictures. Maybe he was scouting the area?’
‘Yeah, maybe,’ you bit your lip, ‘Let me see the photo of Carly again,’
He passed you it, staring out the window. You studied the photo, and a realisation hit you that previously hadn’t.
‘She looks just like me,’ you laughed a little, and shook your head.
‘What?’ Jake grabbed the photo, ‘She really doesn’t. You don’t even have the same colour of hair,’
‘We do,’ you argued, ‘Naturally. Mines is dyed,’
‘ I’m naturally the same colour as Carly. But I dye my hair (Y/H/C),’
‘ Why?! How have I not noticed?’
You shrugged, ‘You’re a man,’
He laughed. You were glad that answer satisfied him because you weren’t sure you wanted to tell him the real reason.
It was the next day. Your stake out had been swapped with Amy and Rosa, which hadn’t bothered you too much. Sitting in the car for too long did horrible things to your back. But you were a little surprised because typically, one team would stake out for more than one day.
Your confusion was soon to be answered, by your Captain.
You were sitting at your desk when Gina called you over, saying that Holt wanted a word with you. You were always a bit uneasy around Holt. He was a fantastic captain, he was just a little difficult to read. Well... little was maybe to delicate a word to describe that man.
‘(Y/N), sit,’ he gestured to the seat across from his desk. You did so, a horrible sinking feeling in your gut.
‘How was the stakeout?’
‘It was fine. Nothing came up, was a bit surprising, but fine,’
‘I’m guessing you probably know why I brought you in here,’
‘You think I’m too close to the case. You think I can’t handle it. You want to remove me from it.’
‘Yes.’ The Captain gave you a piercing look.
‘I can’t do that,’ you said shortly.
‘And why not?’
‘Well firstly, people are going to ask questions. Why I left the case and stuff,’
‘No they won’t,’
‘Captain,’ you snorted, ‘Come on. We work with the most nosey people.’
Even Holt couldn’t deny that.
‘Plus,’ you continued, ‘I’m over it. I can’t let it affect my work. If anything, it might give me a better eye on it. You can’t kick me off this case because you are worried I’m too close to it.’
‘I understand your point. But I have to, (Y/N). Higher ups have also caught wind of this, and they have also expressed concern. I’m sorry, but I have to do this,’
You swore, and Holt rose his eyebrows, ‘This is beyond a joke. I’m entirely capable of doing my job,’
You stood up, stormed out, and put effort into slamming the door behind you.
‘(Y/N)? Are you okay?’ you heard the Sergeant call after you as you grabbed your bag and entered the elevator. You pushed the close button furiously and watched as your colleagues stared at you in mild confusion, and the doors closed in front of you.
‘Yeah, I'm sick of losing soulmates
Won't be alone again
I can finally see, you're as fucked up as me
So how do we win?’
As unwilling as you were to open up to people, you were still predictable. So it wasn’t unusual when Jake found you an hour later, sitting at your normal park bench, overlooking the heritage park.
You had a coffee in one hand - as bitter as you felt - and the other hand was aimlessly pulling at a loose thread on your jeans. It was growing late. The sun had set, the park was empty bar a few late night runners, and a chill had spread. You had barely noted the cold though.
You weren’t shocked when Jake slide onto the bench next to you, as you had seen him from the carpark across the water. He said nothing to you at first. You sighed.
‘ I’m not here to talk about what happened. It’s only if you want to. Just wanted to see if you were okay,’
You sipped the coffee and grimaced.
‘ This is shit. The coffee, not you.’ You clarified.
‘ I’m shit too, don’t worry,’ Jake winked at you. You weren’t sure if it was the coffee or his charm that warmed you.
‘ Holt doesn’t understand that I can do my job,’ you said. Jake nodded.
‘ I’ve been there. Did I tell you what he was like with me when he first moved to our precinct?’
You snorted, ‘Rosa did. In fairness, you’re a bit of a twat,’
‘ True, true,’
There was a pregnant pause.
‘ Okay, I take it back. I want to know what happened. (Y/N), the past couple of days you’ve been acting so weird. Please tell me what happened,’
You breathed in lowly, ‘Okay. I’ll tell you. But,’ you pointed at him, ‘You aren’t allowed to talk until I’m done. Okay?’
Jake mimed zipping his lips and throwing away the key. You nodded.
‘ Okay, so…’
He was a stalking case you had brought in. An absolute creep, who took pleasure in stalking woman and breaking into their homes. He had cut a deal - much to you complete frustration - and missed jail.
But whatever. You cut your losses, and moved onto the next case. You kept him in the back of your mind, just incase he cropped up again.
You just never expected to be the next victim.
You didn’t fit in with his typical victim profile. But maybe that was the problem. Because, as you eventually found out, you were his ‘special one’.
18 months of hell. 18 months of not enough evidence to convict, of paranoia, of harassment.
When it began, you weren’t sure it was real. Just little glimpses of him out of your peripheral vision. Then more. He was ‘bumping into you’ everywhere. He’s be just outside your work. Just outside your home.
You had a colleague with you at all times. People could see what was happening, but you couldn’t arrest him. He wasn’t trespassing. He wasn’t approaching you. Nothing illegal.
But you stopped sleeping. Stopped eating. Your weight dropped as the bags under your eyes grew and your hair fell out.
Messages had began coming in at that time. And letters. And phonecalls. He was everywhere. At all times.
As you tried to investigate him, you realised that he had a fake name and almost no traceable persona beyond that.
There was nothing you could do.
Then your birthday came about.
You didn’t want to go out. You were too scared to go out. But your friends begged you. You needed to lighten up, get some time off, they said.
He turned up at the bar halfway through the night. He was rubbing against you. Grinding you. You fled, sobbing, and was considering missing to your friends for the rest of the night.
You slept in the precinct that night. You wanted to feel sleep.
You went home in the morning to shower and change. To reboot.
You were two seconds in the door when he appeared from behind it. Hands around your throat. The fight shattered your table, your dishes. It tore down paintings and sent you and your stalker flying.
You broke your ankle amongst other injuries. But the fear and adrenaline was pumping through you, and you didn’t notice until afterward.
You had managed - only just - to knock him out. But you lost yourself. You were beating him, mercilessly, within an inch of his life. You stopped yourself, though.
Perhaps your colleagues noticed that and pitied you, or they actually believed you when you said it went that far for self defense, but nothing was ever questioned. He was in a coma for a week, and you suffered months of rehabilitation.
When they finally found his home, you were nauseated to learn that he actually lived across the street from you and one flat up. Perfect for looking down and into your home. His bedroom wall was papered with photographs of you, doing day to day chores (and working). He had even kept a timetable of what your schedule was.
That was when you requested transfer to another precinct. You packed your life up into cardboard boxes and fled.
How could you be the same person after that?
Jake ran his hand through his hair and let out a low, shaky breath.
‘I… well, I mean,’ he stumbled over his words.
‘Yeah,’ you said absently.
There was more silence. Which you didn’t mind. You expected it.
‘I’m really sorry, (Y/N),’
‘Not your fault,’
‘I know, I know, what I mean is-’
You rose your hand, ‘I know what you mean. Thank you,’
That peaceful silence fell once more. You didn’t notice, but at some point Jake’s hand had sat on top of yours, fingers intertwined.