Jake gets shot for the first time, and everybody totally overreacts to it. He’s a cop! Cops do cool spin moves over the hoods of cars and make quippy banter with hot criminals and get shot. It’s a fact of the trade, a badass fact. He’s even got a cool scar now, so he can stop lying and saying his appendectomy scar is from a knife fight with a perp.
Sure, it hurt like nothing has ever hurt before, and, yeah, he bled out for awhile and Santiago had to wrestle him to safety in her remarkably capable arms, but it’s not like he died. For more than, like, a minute.
“Vacation,” Holt says.
“Does it count as vacation if you’re forcing me to go?” Jake asks.
“Would you like me to describe it in a different way?” Holt asks. “Mandatory leisure time. Enforced poolside merriment.”
“Keep going,” Jake says.
“Departmentally mandated fun,” Holt says, sliding the paperwork over his desk. “You will sit on a beach. You will stare at a clear Californian sky and eat festive foods. You will not use department funds to buy alcoholic beverages because that is strictly prohibited in our bylaws.”
“Damn,” Jake says. “You make it sound so appealing.”
While he’s packing up his bag at his desk to go home, Santiago comes over.
“Did he fire you for cracking wise too many times?” she asks, smiling.
“Nope,” Jake replies. “It was for being too much of a loose cannon.”
“Always knew you’d go down for that.”
“I’m actually going on a mandatory week-long vacation,” he says. “And I need you to know that if you beat my arrest record while I’m gone, I’m going to become a murderer, frame you all for those murders, and then arrest you.”
Santiago nods, then steps around his desk to give him a quick, extremely professional hug.
“Thanks for not dying,” she says.
“Thanks for helping me not die,” he replies.
“Could you two do that again?” Boyle asks, fumbling with his phone nearby. “I want to get a picture for my scrapbook.”
Gina shows up in a cab the next morning to see him off at the airport, but, when he goes to put his bags in the trunk, there’s already three hot pink suitcases there. He stares at them for a second before shoving his duffel bag and backpack in next to them and ducking back into the backseat. Gina lazily waves at him.
“Did you get shot, too?” he asks.
“You think they’re just giving away free vacations and I won’t get one?” she replies, sprawling further down into her seat as she adjusts her sunglasses. “Imma get tan as hell.”
“How’d you convince Holt?”
“I told him that I was suffering from the trauma of almost losing my oldest and dearest friend Jake,” she says.
“Of course, but what actually convinced him?”
“That you’d do something dumb because you can’t be trusted with free time and I could make sure that you chilled out and didn’t get shot again,” she acquisces. “Which is true. I can do that. I brought a mixtape of smooth mellow jams and an inadvisable amount of rum.”
“Is rum a good idea? Do you remember what happened the last time we drank rum together?” Jake asks. “Because I don’t.”
“Better to take shots,” Gina says, solemnly, “then to get shot.”
Jake considers this.
“Can’t argue with that logic,” he says, and Gina presses a golden flask covered in tiny pink rhinestones into his hand. It sloshes as their cab driver takes a particularly sharp turn. When Jake opens it, it smells like rubbing alcohol and death.
“To departmentally mandated fun,” he says, before knocking back a fourth of it.
By the time they get on the plane, Jake is already drunk enough that he instantly passes out on Gina’s shoulder until the pilot is telling them that they’ve landed in Los Angeles.
“Ah, Los Angeles,” Gina says, in a voice that is soaked in booze. “City of angels.”
“The windy city,” Jake adds, half-asleep.
“Sure,” Gina says, patting him gently on the head before unlocking her seatbelt and standing up in the aisle. “Time to go. I have a bar crawl planned that will make you forget all about the crime that’s totally happening all over the place since you’re not there to stop it.”
“I’m so good at fighting crime,” Jake murmurs.
“I know you are, baby,” Gina says. “Now be a doll and get our bags. I’m going to go have a quick jam sesh with our flight attendant re: getting about fifty of those salted peanuts for protein to keep us sustained tonight.”
This is the third bar of the night. Jake only knows this because Gina explains, “Too dubstep, too straight—this one’s just right,” when they get out of the Uber car.
“What about this particular bar makes it just right?” he asks.
“Based on a mix of positive and negative Yelp reviews,” Gina says, “I’ve determined that it’s just seedy enough to have cheap ass drinks but not seedy enough that we’ll get a sexually transmitted disease immediately upon crossing the threshold. It’s what we in the business call: Peralta seedy.”
“The business?” Jake asks. “Is that the business of binge drinking? Table dancing?”
“Fun,” Gina says, poking him in the chest before heading towards the door. “That’s the business of fun.”
They sit at the bar and Gina orders them both margaritas, which is secretly exactly what Jake wanted, because Gina’s an alcohol psychic. The bartender, who introduces himself as Nick when questioned somewhat aggressively by Gina, says, “I spilled like half of the margarita mix earlier, so those are mostly tequila.”
Gina points a finger at him.
“I like what you’re about,” she says, and Nick smiles awkwardly at them.
“Okay then,” he says, then goes back to his friends. Gina’s sitting next to one of them, and before Jake even realizes, she has a hand resting on his arm and is flirting so much that Jake feels like he might need to get his own hotel room for the night.
“Jacob,” Gina says. “This is Winston. Isn’t he a nice looking man?”
“Well,” Jake says, gamely. “Sure. He’s. . .pretty hot.”
Winston smiles at him.
“Thanks, man,” he says. “You’re not too bad yourself.”
Jake salutes him lazily, feeling the tequila already. He turns more in his seat as the conversation going on beside them gets louder, and Nick says, leaning forward with his hands on the bar, “You can’t kill your boss, Schmidt.”
“Well, obviously I can’t, but somebody should,” Schmidt says, arms crossed over his chest. “She’s a demon. Somebody should have exorcized her by now.”
“Don’t you have a thing for powerful women?” Nick asks. “You spent like three months roleplaying with your scary politician lady. I heard terrible things about desks and paperwork that I’ll never forget. I’m pretty sure I can’t even vote now.”
“Uh, I don’t think you’ve ever voted, Nick, but I agree,” the pretty girl sitting cross-legged on one of the barstools says, making some vague twirly hand gestures. “Are you sure you’re not just sublimating some weird sexual stuff onto her, like, via your hate?”
“I don’t have violent sexual fantasies, Jess,” Schmidt says, frowning at her. “I’m an astoundingly gentle lover. Besides, I’m spoken for. My heart and my genitals belong exclusively to Cecelia now.”
Beside Jake, Winston is leaning forward to say, in Gina’s ear, “You know, I’ve got a cat back home. If you want to meet him.”
Gina pats his knee.
“I really hope that’s a euphemism,” she says.
“His name is Ferguson,” Winston replies, and Jake decides he doesn’t need to hear anymore of that, so he gets up to lean against the bar next to Jess, who is saying, “Maybe instead of literally killing your new boss, Schmidt, you should try killing her—get this—with kindness."
“You know,” Jake says, interrupting them loudly and possibly also slurring, “You maybe don’t want to talk about murdering people around me. I’m an officer of the law.”
They all turn at once to look at him, including Winston, who asks Gina, “He’s a cop? I’m a cop. Are you also a cop?”
Gina replies, batting her eyelashes, “No, but I’m pretty good with a pair of handcuffs.”
He looks intrigued.
“Are you sure you’re a cop?” Schmidt asks, staring at Jake appraisingly. “You’re wearing swim trunks as pants right now.”
“And they are the color of the sun ,” Jess adds. Jake glances down. They are pretty bright.
“I’m on vacation,” he replies, shrugging.
“You got a badge?” Winston asks, pulling his from his back pocket to flash it at them. All of his friends roll their eyes. Apparently he does that a lot.
“Do I have a badge!” Jake says, scoffing. “Do I have a badge? Gina, where’s my badge.”
It’s definitely not on his person. These swim trunks have a functional mesh lining but they do not have pockets.
“IDK, man,” Gina says. “Possibly at the hotel. Probably in the last bar we were in, when you decided that your pants were too New York City and you needed to immediately take them off.”
“Oh, right,” Jake murmurs. “That might be a problem in the future.”
“You're a New York cop?" Nick asks.
“I'm an NYPD detective," Jake says, trying to look rakish and absolutely succeeding.
“Nine nine!" Gina shouts, then says: "Oh shit, wait." She digs around in her purse before producing six condoms, a copy of Chelsea Handler's book, and Jake's badge. "You gave it to me for safe keeping before you took your pants off in public, you beautiful disaster."
Jake grabs it and brandishes it at them. Nick leans over the bar to look at it.
"Seems legit," he says. "Tell me, how realistic is Die Hard compared to your actual life? How many German terrorists do you arrest every month?"
"Enough," Jake says, vaguely. Nick looks impressed.
“What brings you all the way to L.A.?” Jess asks, reaching out to take the badge from him and run her fingers over it curiously.
"Detective Jake Peralta is on enforced vacation," Gina says, "because of a tiny little horrible gaping bullet wound in his shoulder."
"A bullet wound?" Nick asks. "Can we see it?"
"You’ll have to excuse Nick," Schmidt says. "He's a ten-year-old child."
Jess levels a hand at Jake.
"But can we see it?" she asks.
And that's how Jake ends up shirtless in the middle of the bar, with a small crowd of people looking at the scar on his shoulder. It's pretty okay. He seriously is proud of that scar, all mangled and dark.
"I want to touch it," Nick says, "but also I don't?"
"You can touch it," he says, nonchalantly. "It barely hurts anymore. Most of the pain is from the intensity of my revenge fantasies."
Nick's fingertips are gentle as they trace the skin, and Jake watches as his mouth falls open. He feels kind of warm all over when Nick breathes out, “This is honestly the most badass thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Right?” Jake says, excitedly, before he pulls himself together and says, “I mean, whatever, all in a day’s work. Protecting the city and stuff. The usual.”
“Who shot you?” Jess asks, crowding up behind Nick. “Wait, is that impolite to ask? Can you not reveal the details of an ongoing investigation? I know some stuff because I watch Law and Order. And also Rizzoli and Isles. And sometimes also Castle.”
“It was a drug kingpin,” Jake says, which is not technically true, since it wasn’t so much a drug kingpin as the lackey of said kingpin, but nevertheless. There was a bullet directly related to a drug kingpin and it was once inside of Jake’s body.
“Well, then, let me buy you a drink as a thank you for your service,” Schmidt says, clapping him on the back. “Nick, your finest champagne for our—for our boys in blue.”
“I keep telling you, we only have one type of champagne, Schmidt,” Nick says, frowning, but he rounds the bar anyway and disappears into the back room.
“Schmidt becomes the rich guy from Monopoly after three drinks,” Jess stage-whispers to Jake, making a monocle with her fingers.
“I think it’s more like Thurston Howell III,” Winston says, but the thought is interrupted by a sudden high-pitched scream.
“Was that a. . .woman in distress?” Jake asks.
“I think that was Nick,” Jess says, and they all rush behind the bar. Nick is pressed up against the wall in the back room, eyes wide.
“Holy shitballs,” Jake says.
It’s a dead body.
“Detective,” Nick says, seriously, turning to stare at Jake instead of the dead woman on the floor and, also, all of the blood. “There are not normally dead people in my bar.”
Schmidt pushes through the door then stops in his tracks when he sees the body.
“Uh, guys?” he says, faintly. “Guys. That’s Lancaster.”
They all stare at him.
“Your evil bitch of a district manager?” Jess asks, slowly.
“The one you just said you want to kill?” Winston asks.
They all take one step back from Schmidt, who gapes at them.
“I didn’t do it!” he cries.
“You did just openly say that you want to kill her, babyface,” Gina points out.
“Well. . .okay, yeah, I did say that, but I would never actually kill anybody!” Schmidt pulls at his sweater. “Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of one hundred percent cashmere?”
“Do you?” Jake asks, squinting at him
“No!” Schmidt yells. “And I don’t plan to find out!”
“Okay, let’s be real here. Schmidt couldn’t kill somebody, guys,” Nick says. “He’s too delicate.”
“I am neither delicate nor a murderer.” Schmidt erratically waves his hands in the air. “Can one of the law enforcement officials in this room please deal with this situation!”
Jake starts to step forward when Winston stops him with an arm.
“This isn’t your jurisdiction, Detective,” he says, going crazy eyes for a second before he smiles. “God, I’ve always wanted to say that.”
“Winston, a woman is dead. . .” Jess says.
"Oh. Yeah. I’ll call it in.”
"You found a dead body," Holt says, over the phone, "while on vacation."
"While on departmentally mandated jolly good fun time," Jake corrects, cheerfully.
"Of course," Holt says, "you won't be a part of this case and will leave it to the local PD."
"Will I?" Jake asks. "Because, I mean, while I'm here--"
"While you're there, you're to be relaxing. Strictly."
"I'm really at my most relaxed when I'm on a case, Captain," Jake says. "The heat of the moment is when I'm cool as a cucumber."
"Stop using delightful turns of phrase, Peralta, and tell me that you will not be investigating this murder," Holt says. He sounds even more serious than usual.
"I will not not be investigating this murder," Jake says, quickly.
"I'm deeply offended that you thought you could fool me with a double negative," Holt says. "I'll be calling Gina to make sure she keeps an eye on you and that you're only participating in activities that can be defined as leisurely."
"Okay, but what if I solve this murder while also wearing flip flops and a novelty floral shirt?"
"Leisurely," Holt says, pronouncing every syllable before hanging up. Jake makes a frustrated noise, turning when he hears "Glamorous" by Fergie start to play from Gina's phone. She glances down at it and scoffs.
"I'm on vacation, bitches," she says, declining the call. Jake beams at her.
"Gina, you're perfect," he says, taking off at a run towards where the local police are talking to Schmidt, yelling, "IT'S OKAY, EVERYONE, PERALTA'S ON THE CASE."