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Everyone in the precinct stops and stares when Jake and Amy walk in on Monday morning, which, really, is sort of disappointing, because they could at least pretend to be subtle.

Exchanging a dark look with Jake, Amy crosses her arms self-consciously. “I told y-”

“Mornin’, lovebirds!” Boyle interrupts, bounding toward them from his desk. “Anything exciting to tell us?”

“No.” They respond at the same time, too quickly.

“Sure about that?” Rosa asks from her desk, looking at Amy with a knowing grin. Amy doesn’t reciprocate, stalking toward her desk and collapsing unceremoniously into her chair.

“Come on,” Boyle presses, following Jake in Amy’s footsteps, “no big news, or announcements to make, or-”

“Charles,” Jake warns, drawing a hand across his throat in a ‘cut’ gesture, but his friend continues, undeterred.

“-perhaps new jewelry to show off, specifically on the fourth finger of the left hand...”

“Do you want to tell them, or should I?” Amy asks Jake, who’s perched on the corner of her desk. With a sigh, he reaches into his coat pocket, pulling out a small velvet box and setting it where everyone can see it.  There’s an audible gasp, and Terry actually gets out of his seat, holding out his arms to grab them in a hug.

Jake holds up a finger to stop him, then opens the box to reveal the thin silver band still sitting inside.

Another gasp (really, thinks Amy, they’re not even trying to be lowkey about this). Rosa looks from Jake to Amy and back again, and Boyle seems on the verge of tears.

“Wait, so you didn’t...”

“Oh no,” says Jake, “I proposed.  Really well, might I add. Got down on one knee, asked the waiter to bring over a bottle of champagne and everything.”

“So Amy doesn’t want to-”

“Oh, I definitely want to marry him,” Amy says, and Boyle frowns.

“So... both of you want to get married. Jake proposes marriage. And the problem is...”

“The problem,” Amy cuts in, “is this.” She reaches into her coat pocket and slams an identical velvet box onto the desk.

By this point, she almost expects the resounding gasp.

Gina claps her hands, laughing like it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, and her birthday at the same time. “I didn’t know that anyone could screw up a proposal this badly, but I probably should have known it would be you two.”

“It’s not funny!” says Amy desperately. “The waiter charged us for both bottles of champagne, all because this guy,” she jabs a thumb toward Jake, “couldn’t let me have this one thing.”

“Hey!” Jake protests, “Why do you get to propose?”

“I fake proposed to you at Darlene and Lynn’s wedding, remember? It just makes sense that for the real thing, I’d do it as well. Like... showing how far we’ve come.”

“Woah, woah, woah,” Jake says, “okay, just for the record, I fake proposed to you, like, a year before that. Also, I already loved you by their wedding. We’ve come way further than that.”

Temporarily distracted, Amy looks up at him. “You really loved me at that point?”

“’Course.” Jake shrugs, and Amy can’t help but smile as she meets his gaze.

“Aw,” she says, “that’s... that’s...” Her eyes widen, and she shakes her head quickly. “Not the point! Stop trying to distract me by being romantic.” She gets to her feet, nudging Jake off her desk, at which point he promptly steals her chair, spinning to face her.

“I’m not unproposing.”

“Neither am I.” She fixes him with her best intimidating ‘licensed to carry a weapon’ stare, but long exposure has made him immune, so he doesn’t drop her gaze. Instead, he wheels the chair a little further back, drumming his fingers like a super villain.

“It seems we’re at an impasse, Detective Santiago. The only solution is a duel to the death.”

“I call Santiago’s desk when she loses.” Rosa chimes in, and Amy shoots her an offended look.

“No one’s getting my desk,” Amy says, “because there’s no duel, because there’s no impasse! Look, we agreed to share the big gestures, right?” She addresses Jake, and he nods.

“So?”

So, it’s my turn. You kissed me first.”

“Yeah, but you’re the one who said we should move in together.”

“Because you already practically lived at my place!”

Gina cackles from her desk, and Rosa gestures to the door. “This going to get interesting, or am I wasting my break?”

Amy rolls her eyes, about to rebuke her, when Jake says thoughtfully, “You know, maybe Rosa’s right.”

“Rosa’s always right,” says Rosa, at the same time Amy says, “Excuse me?”

“Not about the duel,” Jake clarifies, “even though I’d totally kick your ass. But maybe we should take her suggestion and make things interesting.”

An excited murmur travels around the bullpen, and Amy watches Jake curiously. “I’m listening.”

“We’re not going to agree on who proposes, right?”

“No chance in hell.”

“Agreed,” he says, and Amy’s known him long enough to know that he’s just had a terrible idea. “So why don’t we both do it?”

Amy narrows her eyes, unsure where he’s heading with this. “What are you suggesting?”

“We have one month,” says Jake. “Best proposal wins, loser has to do a solo dance routine at the wedding. To 80s synth-pop. Choreographed by Gina.” He stands up, holding out a hand to shake. “What do you say?”

In the seconds that follow, Amy weights the costs (abject humiliation) versus the benefits (Jake’s abject humiliation), decides that the trade-off is worth it, and takes his hand. “You’re on.”

Terry whoops excitedly, and Gina immediately starts taking bets. Jake meets Amy’s eyes and waggles his eyebrows suggestively.

“You really think that you can win a bet against me? Do I need to remind you what happened last time?”

“Oh please,” Amy scoffs, “I could do it with my eyes closed.”

“I could do it with my eyes closed, title of our sex tape.”

Amy rolls her eyes in fond exasperation. “You’ve really got to retire that joke.”

“Nah, you like it too much.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Amy grabs the pile of arrest reports from her desk, patting his chest before turning and walking toward the interrogation room to speak to her perp.

“The joke evolves, Santiago!” Jake calls after her retreating back. “It evolves!”

////

“Ames,” he says, later, when they’re curled up on the couch watching her favourite cheesy romantic comedy. Amy’s riveted on the screen, mouthing along with the characters, so Jake tosses a piece of popcorn at her nose to get her attention. “Amyamyamyamyamy-”

Swatting at him with a pillow before he can hit her with another kernel, Amy grabs the remote and pauses the movie. “So help me god,” she says, “if you interrupted the big reunion scene to ask me to bring you more orange soda-”

“How did you know?” He asks with a teasing grin, and laughs as he ducks her next swing with the pillow. “Okay, no, seriously.”

“More serious than orange soda?”

“Very slightly.” She looks at him, waiting, and he hesitates.

“What?”

“You know I want to marry you, right?” There’s something almost nervous in his eyes, like he needs reassurance. And it’s odd – she loves confident joker Jake as much as the next girl, but these glimpses of vulnerability are heartwarming in an entirely different way.

She grabs his hand, lacing their fingers casually. “The whole proposal thing kind of gave me that impression, yes.”

“No, I mean... whichever of us ends up proposing. I just want-”

“Jake,” Amy says, “we’re doing this thing. No take-backs. Okay?” She squeezes his hand, and after a moment, Jake grabs the remote, pressing play on the movie and adjusting the blanket covering their feet.

“Okay,” he nods, then gives her a crooked grin. “I was only asking to give you a chance to back out, you know. Since we both know I have this bet in the bag.” Amy scoffs, and Jake goes on, “But hey, you’re brave for trying.”

“I’m the best at romance, is what I am,” Amy says confidently. “I’m going to propose your pants off.”

“Literally, or-”

She elbows him, laughing, and rests her head on his shoulder as they settle into an easy silence. The soundtrack of the movie swells, and Amy sighs contentedly.

“Besides,” she nods toward the TV, where the dashing leading man is sprinting through an airport to stop his love interest from leaving the country, “no way you can reach airport-running levels of romance.”

“You know I take that as a challenge, right?”

“Shhh, he’s about to confess his love!”

“Okay, but-”

“Shhh!”

////

Proposal number one comes that weekend, and she doesn’t have to be a detective to see it coming.

To be fair, though, the billboard does come as a surprise.

They’re walking home from the store down the block, weighed down with bags of groceries and bickering over which Olsen twin is better looking, when Amy happens to look across the street.

“What the-” She does a double take, and nearly drops the bag with the eggs. The old billboard across the street, the one that’s been advertising the same burger joint for as long as Amy can remember, reads in huge, pink letters, ‘Jake Loves Amy’. Of course, in place of ‘Loves’ there’s a giant, flashing heart, which is ridiculous and over the top and so very Jake that she can’t help but smile.

“Here, really?” She turns to Jake, expecting to meet his eyes, but finds him on one knee, holding the ring and smiling up at her. A crowd is beginning to form around them, and a couple of tourists even hold up their phones to take pictures.

“Really,” Jake says, grinning assuredly, “told you I’d win.” Amy opens her mouth to retort with a clever, biting comeback (that she admittedly hasn’t thought of yet), but he clears his throat and continues.

“Amy Santiago, on the list of people I love, you are only marginally defeated by the producers of Die Hards one through four.” Despite herself, Amy laughs, setting the groceries down on the ground. “You’re more fun to hang out with than Bruce Willis, though, hence me proposing to you instead of him.”

“I love you,” continues Jake, “and I’ll love you ‘til I’m old and gross and wrinkly and honestly, the pavement is really uncomfortable so it’d be really great if you’d just say yes.”

Amy purses her lips, pretending to think about it before extending a hand – instead of accepting the ring, though, she pulls him to his feet next to her. “Come on, Jake, you didn’t think I’d make it that easy on you, did you?”

He brushes off his jeans with a groan. “Really? Not even with a billboard? The ultimate in big-city proposal clichés?”

“Not even with a billboard.” Amy shakes her head. “This bet is mine, Peralta.”

He exhales, giving a small smile. “You’re super hot when you’re crazy competitive, you know that?”

“Yeah, I know.” She leans in to kiss him, but her response is punctuated by a loud cracking noise that makes her jump. Jake grabs her instinctively, and they both look toward the source of the noise. Amy watches with horror as, as if in slow motion, the giant flashing heart detaches from the billboard, falling to the ground in a shower of sparks that sends the crowd scattering and at least three car alarms wailing.

“Well,” says Jake, after a moment of dead silence, “we should probably run now.”

“Good idea,” says Amy, and lets him grab her hand and tug her down the street at a flat out sprint. She’s running so fast that she can feel the wind stinging her eyes, but she’s laughing too hard to notice.

By all accounts, it’s a fairly disastrous start to the bet, and they end up forgetting the groceries, but Amy thinks it was probably worth it for the look on his face.

////

Proposal number two comes almost a week later and, if Amy doesn’t say so herself, is kind of perfect. She even works up the nerve to get Gina in on it, because she knows Jake won’t suspect it.

Glancing downward, Amy checks the time on her phone, tapping the screen anxiously. If Gina’s played her part and everything has gone according to plan, he should be here any moment...

“You sure this is the place, Gina?”

Amy sits bolt upright as Jake and Gina’s voices drift upward from the stairwell. She tugs her jacket closed more tightly, unsure if the shivers running down her spine are from the excitement or the breeze that’s gusting along the rooftop.

“Duh!” comes Gina’s response. “This is most definitely the place. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“’Dunno,” Jake says mildly, “I just find it weird that our class reunion is on the roof of an abandoned warehouse.”

Gina’s response is cut off as she and Jake finally reach the top of the stairs, and Jake does a double take. Gina shoots Amy a thumbs up, then backs up and shuts the door behind a still-shocked Jake.

Amy grins, watching his face as he takes in the rooftop. She’s hung strings of lights across every available surface and has his favourite Taylor Swift song playing in the background. Like she said – it’s pretty much perfect.

“Told you I’m the best at romance,” she says, raising her voice so it’ll carry to where Jake stands at the door. Finally collecting himself, he starts clapping slowly, laughing.

“Return to the site of our first stakeout date. Twinkly lights. T-Swizzy. I can’t believe I’m going to admit this, but I’m impressed.”

I can’t believe that you just referred to Taylor Swift as T-Swizzy.” Amy teases as he draws closer. “Now shush so I can propose to you.”

By now just inches away, Jake holds his hands out, silently inviting her to continue. Amy reaches out and takes his hands, bouncing ever-so-slightly up and down on the balls of her feet.

“So,” she says.

“So.”

“I love you,” she starts, “and you know that, duh, but I don’t think you really realize just how important you are to me. And I don’t know about you, but I’d love to spend the rest of our lives showing you.” She meets his eyes, smiling at the look on his face. “Marry me?”

In lieu of a response, he leans forward and kisses her – and hey, she’s not complaining. The giddy, first-kiss, stomach-butterfly feeling that she felt when he first kissed her still hasn’t worn off, and she sighs contentedly, using their still-joined hands to pull his arms around her waist.

When he eventually pulls back, resting his forehead against hers, Jake laughs quietly. “Be honest, how many binders did you use to plan this?”

“A couple,” wheedles Amy, then gives in, “okay, five. And a Pinterest board.”

“Nerd.”

She retaliates by kissing him again, and can feel him smiling against her lips. Slightly breathless, she draws back.“Now’s about the time when you say yes.”

“I would, but... it’s not romantic enough.”

“What?” Amy demands, mouth dropping open. “I nailed every single rom-com cliché! No way you can pull off a more romantic proposal than this.”

“A lot can happen in a month, young padawan.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it.” Amy grumbles, but can’t help a small smile. She probably should’ve known that he wouldn’t make it this easy on her.

What she needs, she reflects, are more binders.

////

Proposals three through five are hopeless disasters – a flash mob in the precinct, what the hell was Jake thinking? – but Amy plans proposal six down to every last detail, determined to propose so well that there’s no choice but to declare her the winner.

And, okay, fine. She should probably be expecting it when things go wrong, but to be fair, what the hell kind of thief steals a wedding ring?

They’re halfway into the restaurant when the man brushes past Amy, ducking his head so that she can’t see his face. And it’s nothing important, just another rude stranger, but his footsteps quicken behind her and, on a whim, Amy checks her pocket. Sure enough, the ring and its box are gone.

“Are you kidding me?” She bursts out, starting after the man. “Hey, stop!”

Jake grabs her arm, confused, and she gestures angrily in the thief’s direction. “That guy just stole the ring!”

“He stole the- wait, what?” Jake blinks, taken aback, and it sort of looks like he wants to laugh. “Really?”

“Yes, really!”  Amy stands on her toes, peering over the crowd. She can still see the man cutting a path through the pedestrians. Already heading after him, she turns to Jake and says, “You cut him off around the corner, I got him this way.”

“Got it.”

Amy pushes past the people on the street, struggling to keep the man in sight as he takes off at a run.  (A complete bastard, she decides. That’s the kind of thief that steals a wedding ring.) Gritting her teeth, Amy breaks into a run, wobbling slightly in her heels. The guy turns into an alley, and Amy skids after him. Some particularly paranoid part of her mind wishes that she’d brought her baton or taser or something because she really wasn’t planning on fighting a criminal next to a dumpster tonight – before she can give the idea any more thought, however, the man comes to an abrupt stop.

“NYPD,” Amy says unnecessarily, “don’t move.”

His back to her, the thief raises his hands above his head.

“Turn around,” she orders, trying to sound authoritative while tugging at the newly-ripped hemline of her dress. “Slowly.”

He does as she says, turning until his face is visible for the first time. He meets her eyes with a grin, and – wait a second.

Wait just one damn second.

“I’ve seen you before.” Amy says, unable to hide her surprise. “You stole the captain’s watch.”

 “Technically, it never left his possession, but sure.” The man – what’s his name, Fingers – gives a jaunty shrug. “Guilty.”

“But why...” Amy starts then stops, shaking her head in an attempt to clear her mind. “Hold on, how could you even know-”

There’s a pointed cough from behind her, and just like that, she knows.

“You didn’t.” She starts. “You didn’t hire a professional pickpocket to steal the ring.”

When she turns around, Jake is leaning against the brick wall, looking far too proud of himself for her liking. “Totally did. Should I propose now, or do you want to take a couple seconds to appreciate my genius?”

“You’re crazy.”

“Proposing it is.” Jake gets down on one knee, clearing his throat theatrically. “Out of all of the memories that I treasure, including our first stakeout and the time you finally kissed me, my favourite is now the sight of you chasing down a terrified pickpocket in a cocktail dress and heels. My point, here, is that I think we make pretty good memories together, and we should make a few more.” He pauses, taking the ring box (which he now somehow has and wow, Fingers is good at his job) from his pocket and opening it. “Marry me?”

Amy pauses, narrowing her eyes. “Just to clarify,” she says, “you hired a professional pickpocket.”

“Yep.”

“And got me to chase him into an alley?”

“Yeah.”

“An alley containing,” Amy looks around pointedly, “a dumpster?”

 “Fair point,” Jake admits. “In my defense, though, we’ve had a surprising amount of heartfelt moments in these things.”

“Nice try,” Amy says, pulling him to his feet. “Y’know, I actually have to admire your attempt to seduce me with good planning.”

“’Seduce me with good planning’,” Jake quotes, “the Amy Santiago story.”

Amy sighs, laces her fingers with his, and lets him back her closer to the wall. “I still can’t say yes, though.”

“You don’t seriously think you can one-up me on this one?”

“I know I can.”

Jake brushes a strand of hair from her face, letting his hand lean against the wall when he’s done. Amy takes a moment to thank the universe for the small height difference between them. “You’ve only got, like, a week and a half left, you know.”

Amy puts her spare hand over her heart, feigning offense and trying to ignore how the close proximity has casually set her heart racing. “Are you doubting my superhuman romance skills?”

“Not for a second,” Jake promises, and his eyes flicker down, sending a not-entirely-unpleasant shiver down her spine. “Amy?”

“Uh huh?” His lips are a hair’s breadth away from hers, now.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

She smoothes down the collar of his shirt, feigning thoughtfulness. “Making out against the brick wall?”

“Yes!” Jake enthuses, and he actually high-fives her, the idiot. “We are such sex gods.”

(She loves him so much it makes her breathless.)

He kisses her, then, pressed against the wall so she really is breathless. She can feel his pulse thrumming in his neck, and the ring in its little velvet box, so she decides that, all in all, they can call the night a success.

////

“Can I look yet?”

“Nope.”

“What about now?”

“No peeking!” Amy orders, checking to make sure that Jake’s blindfold is still in place before guiding him the last couple of feet toward the front door. Jake follows obediently, chattering absently as they make their way to the sidewalk outside.

“Y’know, I never thought you’d be into the weird blindfolded sex stuff. Don’t get me wrong,” he rambles, “I’m always up for some weird sex stuff. Just, when I imagined it, it wasn’t happening on the sidewalk in front of-”

“Jake.”

“Yep. Shutting up now.”

“Not that,” says Amy, then reconsiders. “Well. Yes, that, but you can also take off the blindfold.”

At once, Jake rips off the blindfold, looking around wildly. Then he sees it, and his mouth drops open in shock.

(‘It’ being, in this case, a slightly-battered-but-instantly-recognizable 1967 Ford Mustang.)

(Yeah. She’s awesome like that.)

“No.”

“Yes.” Amy nods, savouring the look on his face.

“Oh my god,” he practically whimpers, “baby.”

Amy raises an eyebrow. “You talking to me or the car?”

“You’re alive!” Jake cries, throwing himself on the car’s hood and, if Amy isn’t mistaken, hugging it. (She decides to assume he’s talking to the car.) “This is impossible,” he says, running a reverent hand along the bumper before turning to Amy and shaking his head in shock. “The guy I sold her to moved out of town, how did you...

Amy shrugs, not quite managing to hide a proud smile. “I did a seminar with some guys from the city impound lots a while back. Called in a couple of favours, asked them to keep an eye out.”

“You,” says Jake, “are the single most incredible being ever to grace this planet.”

“Me or the car?” Amy teases, and Jake pulls her into a tight hug.

“You,” he says, “definitely, definitely you.” He punctuates each word with kisses peppered to the top of her head, and Amy laughs, pulling back but keeping her arms looped around his neck.  

“Hey,” she says, acting as though an idea is just occurring to her, “you know how you should repay me?”

“Sex in the car,” Jake says instantly, and Amy rolls her eyes.

“This thing has been in the possession of two pimps, a professional exterminator, and a heavily pregnant woman since you sold it, so no, we are not having sex in this car. What you can do, however, is, I don’t know, maybe... say you’ll marry me?”

Jake narrows his eyes suspiciously. “Oh my god,” he says, “is this a bribe?”

“What? No, I’m just casually suggesting-”

Jake gasps dramatically, drawing back and pointing a finger at Amy. “It is! You’re trying to bribe me to marry you!”

“Ugh!” Amy gives in, stamping her foot in frustration. “Fine, I’m bribing you. But,” she shouts over his protest, “but, I wouldn’t have to bribe you if you’d just suck it up and admit that I’m better at proposals, already!”

Jake shakes his head, clicking his tongue like a disappointed teacher. “Bribing an officer is a punishable offence, you know. What would Captain Holt say?”

“Don’t you dare,” Amy threatens. “And... ha! I’m not giving you the keys ‘til you admit that I win. So there.” She grins smugly, or at least, she does until Jake coughs pointedly, lifting a finger and spinning the keys in the air.

Amy’s mouth drops open. “You- how did you-”

“Keeping them in your front pocket, Ames, you’re practically asking to be robbed.”

Amy glares at him half-heartedly and seriously considers jumping him before leaning against the car with a sighed, “Jerk.”

“Criminal.” He sits next to her on the hood, and she looks up at him hopefully.

“Fiancé?”

Jake meets her eyes with a small smile. “Not yet. Airport running levels of romance, remember?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

No way he can beat this.

////

On Wednesday morning, Amy wakes up before her alarm. The first thing she’s aware of is heat – Jake is pressed into her side, one arm flung haphazardly across her stomach. Still half-asleep, Amy squirms under his arm, stretching tiredly. Her movement wakes him, and she watches as he blinks himself awake.

“Hi,” she says, almost in a whisper, and Jake gives a lazy smile.

“Hi.” The arm that’s still around her pulls her close, and Amy gives a surprised squeak that turns to laughter as she relaxes against Jake’s chest, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips. When she pulls back, he meets her eyes, inches away from his own.

“Marry me,” he says, soft with the last remnants of sleep.

“Nice try,” says Amy, with one more kiss on the tip of his nose for good measure before she pulls back, sitting on the edge of the bed and pulling on her slippers. “Pancakes?”

“Mm,” Jake hums eagerly, “good idea.”

“Great,” Amy says, “I’ll have blueberry.” She shoots him a grin over her shoulder, and he opens his mouth to retort but is interrupted by his phone ringing.

Jake grabs the phone from the bedside table, frowning at the screen. “It’s Holt.” He and Amy exchange a confused glance – they aren’t supposed to be at work until after one-thirty today – and Jake picks up. “Hey, Captain... oh, it’s cool. I’ve been awake for hours.”

 He makes a face, and Amy laughs under her breath, getting to her feet and heading toward the bathroom for a shower.  She can hear Jake’s voice as he rattles the drawers in the kitchen, aside from the occasional pause as Holt speaks. It’s calm and peaceful and for a few blissful minutes, Amy just stands under the water and enjoys being completely and utterly content. Then-

“Ames?”

Jake knocks on the bathroom door, and Amy raises her voice so he can hear her over the water. “Yeah?”

“The captain wants me to come in early. Sounded pretty serious.”

“Oh,” says Amy, frowning, then remembers that he can’t see her. “Is everything okay?”

“I think so, he probably just spilled soup on his pants again. I’ll see you later, ‘kay?”

“See you,” Amy echoes, and listens until she hears the door close behind him.

(When she walks into the kitchen ten minutes later, wringing out her hair, she can’t help but smile at the sight of a plate stacked high with slightly-misshapen blueberry pancakes.)

////

Amy walks into work at exactly half past one, sees the look on Jake’s face, and knows that something has changed.

“Hey!”  He greets her with a kiss on her temple and a bright smile that almost manages not to look forced. “How were the pancakes?”

“Nearly as good as when I make them,” Amy says, not worried enough to miss the chance to tease him. “What did the captain need?”

Jake fidgets, rubbing the back of his neck. “Oh, y’know...”

And now she’s worried.

With a quick glance at the precinct around them, Amy steps closer, lowering her voice ever-so-slightly. “Everything okay?”

Jake meets her eyes for the smallest second, then looks over her shoulder. “Oh, hey, there’s Rosa, I’ve been meaning to ask her about the evidence from that drug bust – can we talk later?”

“I- yeah. Yeah, sure.”

She stands still for a couple seconds too long after Jake leaves, taken aback. He never brushes her off like that, ever.

Correction: He never used to brush her off like that. It is, evidently, a new habit - as the day goes on, he does the same thing three different times. By the time they make it back to the apartment, Amy is frustrated enough to step in front of him, blocking his entrance.

“Okay, that’s it. What’s this about?”

He tries to sidestep her, but Amy, resolute, puts her hands on her hips. “What’s going on, Jake?”

He holds his resolve for a moment longer, then, all at once, it’s like he deflates. “Remember the Iannucci family?”

Not what she expected, but at least it’s something. “Yeah, the big undercover case a few years ago. Why?”

“Antonio Iannucci – one of the grunts who ended up pleading out of court – has been setting up shop in Vancouver.”

“Canada?” She frowns.

“No, Amy, Vancouver, Afghanistan. Yes, Canada.” His sarcasm is sharper than usual, and Amy’s surprise must show on her face because Jake immediately winces. “Sorry.”

Amy waves away his apology, leaning closer. “Why does Iannucci matter, Jake?”

He hesitates before answering. “The Canadian police want me to head the joint task force.”

A pause, then Amy laughs, relieved – the dread in his voice had made her expect something horrible. “Jake, that’s amazing! Think of how good it’ll look on your resume,” she counts her points on her fingers, “it’s international policing, it’s leadership experience, it’s-”

“Six months.”

The relief disappears as quickly as it came, and is replaced with a realization that feels her veins are being flooded with ice. Amy doesn’t remember much from high school geography, but she knows enough to know that Vancouver is a huge distance from New York City, and that six months is an equally huge time to be in a different country than the person that you see every day.

(This would be a lot easier if Jake was still nothing more than the annoying person she sees every day.)

Far past the time when she should say something, it occurs to Amy to respond. “Oh.”

Jake, who’s been watching her cautiously the entire time, waits until she meets his gaze, then says, “I told him that I’m not doing it.”

“What?” Amy blinks, stunned, and he shrugs.

“I’m not about to pack up and leave you for six months. Not going to happen.” He smiles, but she looks in his eyes and sees – he wants this. He really wants this.

Shit.

There’s a sinking feeling in her stomach as he continues. “Charles’d have a heart attack. There’ll always be other drug lords, and besides-”

 “You should go.”

Now it’s Jake’s turn to freeze in shock. “I should- what?”

Amy looks up at him, and kind of can’t believe what she’s saying. “Jake, I know you. I know that this is the kind of thing you’d be completely great at.”

“Not arguing with that, but in case you haven’t noticed, we’re kind of at a pivotal point in our relationship.”

“The relationship is still going to be here in six months. The case, though...” She meets his eyes with an attempt at a nonchalant smile. “I can’t be the one to hold you back from this.”

“Amy-”

“Jake. You’d say the same to me.”

“Debatable.”

“I don’t think it is.” She says. “Not really.”

Jake stares at the ground and opens his mouth like he’s going to say something, then closes it again. He doesn’t protest, and god the selfish part of her wants him to protest, but he doesn’t, so Amy tries to smile, nudging him playfully.

“When do they want you to go, anyways? I still have time to kick your butt at proposing before you leave.”

“They, uh- they wanted me to fly down tomorrow. Just for a couple of days, meet the team, confirm some things.”

She exhales, fast and all at once, like she’s been sucker-punched in the gut. “Perfect.” She can hear how strained her voice sounds, and it’s worse because Jake’s still not meeting her eyes. “You want to propose to me now, or should I grab the ring from upstairs?” She’s only half joking, but Jake nearly flinches. “What is it?”

“I just- maybe we should wait.” The jolt of hurt that she feels must appear on her face, because with a pained look, Jake continues. “Not forever, just- I don’t want it to be because I’m leaving, y’know?”

It takes her a minute to muster up a response. “Wow.”

“I didn’t mean-”

“I got it.”

“Amy-”

“You should go upstairs,” she says, and now she’s the one not making eye contact. “You’ve got to pack.”

“It’s only for a couple days.”

And then for six months. “Yeah.” She says again. “I got it.”

////

In a surprise to absolutely nobody, Amy Santiago most definitely does not ‘got it’. If pressed, in fact, she’d say that she’s the opposite of ‘got it’, considering that the ‘it’ she’s supposed to have is currently passing through customs on his way to Canada.

Fucking Canada.

“Name and age,” she says automatically, not even looking at the perp that she’s supposed to be booking.

If she didn’t know any better, she’d say that it’s like one of those scenes from the romantic comedies she loves so much, except instead of a montage set to a song by some indie band, it’s two days before the end of the month and they’re supposed to be engaged by now and instead she spent her morning watching him walk out the door.

 (She decides that she likes it better in the movies.)

“Santiago.” She jumps, startled, and somehow Rosa’s standing next to her desk like she’s been trying to get her attention for a while. “You alright?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”  

“You’ve smoked, like, a pack of cigarettes.” Rosa looks pointedly at the empty carton on Amy’s desk, which, for the record, was only half full before she came in today. And, fine, she’s destructive when she’s stressed. Whatever. “What’s going on?”

Amy scrawls her signature at the bottom of the form she’s filling out, avoiding eye contact. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“She called me Jake earlier,” says the criminal, unhelpfully.

“That is untrue,” Amy lies, but Rosa’s looking at her with something like pity and she can feel Gina watching from across the room and –

“Amy-”

“I just- ugh! I hate Canada!” She bursts out, then nearly staples the guy’s hand instead of his paperwork. She figures it probably says something about their work environment that the only one to bat an eyelash is the perp.

The part of Amy that’s still somewhat rational has to admire the ruthless efficiency with which Rosa passes the paperwork to Charles, leads Amy to the break room, and herds Scully, Hitchcock, and Scully and Hitchcock’s disgusting lunches out so the room is quiet.

“Okay, talk.” Rosa says, leaning against the doorframe and crossing her arms.

“There’s nothing to talk about, I’m fine.” Amy insists, and it would probably sound convincing, too, if her voice didn’t quiver at the end.

“The solution to your problems is here,” announces Gina, entering the room and perching on the couch next to Amy. “It’s me.”

“You hate emotions,” Amy says, trying for derisive and winding up on the wrong side of pathetic. Gina pats her shoulder delicately.

“That’s very true, but I’m also an amazing friend. Also, your tears are fogging up my desk mirror.”

“I’m not crying,” Amy argues, as her eyes well up with tears. Gina and Rosa exchange a long look.

 “Or,” Gina says, “you are crying because your lame boyfriend is leaving the country. Obvious solution: stop him from leaving.”

“No,” Amy shakes her head, determined. “No, if you love someone, you’re supposed to let them go and if they come back-”

“That’s it.” Rosa says, and crouches down so that she can look Amy in the eye. “Amy, does Jake love you?”

The question strikes Amy as so ridiculous that she nearly laughs. “What?”

“Does he love you, yes or no?”

“I- Yes.”

“And do you love him?”

“Of course.”

“So there’s your answer. Loving someone and letting them go is for when you’re unsure. You’re sure about Jake, so you don’t let him go.”

“But... the task force. It’s everything he wants-”

Gina chimes in, nudging Rosa out of the way with her hip. “I’ve known Jake since we were eight years old, and that boy has never wanted anything as much as he wants to be with you.”

“What do I do, then?” Amy looks beseechingly at Rosa, who throws her hands in the air like it’s obvious.  

“Stop him from leaving and marry the hell out of him.”

Despite herself, Amy laughs. She has tear tracks on her face and should probably blow her nose, but, on a whim, she pulls Gina and Rosa close in a tight hug. Rosa stiffens awkwardly, and Gina’s eye roll is practically audible, but neither of them pulls away.

“Thanks, guys.”

Gina disentangles herself from Amy’s grasp, only just failing to hide a smile. “If I find your tearstains on my shirt, you’re buying me a new one.”

Rosa scoffs, getting to her feet and adjusting her leather jacket. “So,” she asks, “we going after him or what?”

Amy nods, swiping at her eyes. “Yeah we are. Can you give me a drive to the airport?”

“Know what this is like?” says Gina. “This is exactly like the scene in Friends where Rachel is getting on the plane and Phoebe and dinosaur boy try to delay the flight by saying that the phalange is missing.”

Scully pokes his head into the room, looking concerned. “The phalange on Jake’s plane is missing?”

“You’re a waste of oxygen,” says Rosa flatly before turning to Amy. “Let’s go.”

She extends a hand, pulling Amy to her feet before heading toward the exit. In the doorway, Amy pauses, and looks back at Gina questioningly.

Gina gives a long-suffering sigh, getting to her feet and grabbing her coat off of its hook. “Fine, I’m coming. But just so we’re clear, I’m Phoebe in this situation.”

////

They’re out of the car before Rosa has the chance to pull up to the curb, pushing past the travellers to get into the airport.  Amy takes off at a run, only to be yanked backward.

“This way,” orders Gina, tugging on Amy’s arm until she follows her, which would seem a little pushy if Gina hadn’t just hurtled a Louis Vuitton suitcase for the cause. In any event, Amy’s too busy apologizing to everyone that she’s currently shoving out of her way to protest.

They manage to make it past the baggage claim with no incident, or at least little enough incident for Amy to start considering what she’s actually going to do once she gets to Jake. She needs her planning binder, she needs-

A security guard steps in front of her, blocking her path.

“I’m going to need you to join the lineup, miss.”

A quick glance at the line, winding for what looks like miles, is enough to let Amy know that lining up isn’t going to happen.

“I can’t do that.” She says as Gina catches up to them, panting. “This is very time-sensitive.”

The guard doesn’t look moved. “I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t allow you to-”

“NYPD,” says Gina, holding up a badge and fixing the guard with an ice-cold stare. “Or would you like to inform the police commissioner that the man who killed his wife just fled the country?”

“I-”

“Good, I didn’t think so.”

Which, Amy supposes, is one way to get past airport security.

When they’re running again, having been ushered through one of the metal detectors with enough urgency to make Amy feel a little guilty, she turns to Gina.

“Do I want to know why you have that badge?”

“Depends, have you suddenly changed your entire personality and become someone cool?”

“I’ll take that as a no.”

She has just enough time to see Gina’s quick grin before her face changes. “Gate 38, right?”

Amy nods, turning around just in time to see, with a sinking feeling in her stomach, the attendants walking away from the metal doors that lead to the plane.

“No,” she says, “no, no, no- wait!”

One of the women turns to look at her, more than a little concerned at the crazy woman sprinting toward her.

 “I need to get someone off this plane.”

The attendants exchange a look that Amy can’t quite read. “I’m sorry-”

“No,” Amy says again, clenching her fists til she can feel her nails cutting into her palm. “No, you don’t get it. We’re supposed to be getting engaged and I was stupid – well, no, he was stupid too, but also me and I just really need to speak to him-”

“Ma’am-”

“Please, you have to let me-”

“Miss, the plane left five minutes ago.”

For what it’s worth, she manages to look sympathetic.

(It’s not worth much.)

Feeling like she’s been slapped, Amy takes a reflexive step back.

It feels like the time she lost out for high school valedictorian, the combination of failure and helplessness and stupid stupid stupid- And she knows, in whatever part of her brain is still somewhat rational, that he’ll be back in two days, back for weeks, probably, before he leaves, but it still feels like losing.

The flight attendants are still looking at her, and Gina’s nowhere to be found, probably distracted by the duty free store, so Amy tries to get a grip, shaking her head and forcing a probably-horrifying smile.

“That’s that, then. I’m just going to- go.”

No one speaks, and it occurs to her that, great, there’s something of a crowd forming. Some of them are even smiling, which strikes Amy as especially dickish, considering her present situation.  Going home and pity-eating an entire carton of ice cream seems to be the best option at this point; and she intends to do just that, she really does, only she turns to walk away and finds herself face to face with-

“Jake,” she breathes, then shakes her head. “Jake?”

For a couple infinitely long moments, it’s silent.

“Hi,” Jake says with a small wave, and Amy just stares.

And stares.

And stares.

“You’re in Vancouver,” she says, when she can speak.

“Nope.” He shakes his head. He’s staring at her just as intently, a smile just barely tugging at the corner of his mouth.

“But- Your plane left. I couldn’t go in.”

“Title of your sex tape,” Jake says, and Amy can’t help but roll her eyes, and now he’s smiling for real. It catches her off guard, and whatever she was going to say gets lost on its way to her mouth.

“This is-” She starts then stops, blinking rapidly. “This is just-”

He crosses his arms, looking superbly proud of himself. “Airport running levels of romance, I believe?”

All at once, she remembers movie night. You know I take that as a challenge, right? Amy gapes at him. “You rom-com’d me.”

“It was your idea, actually. I just made it, like, eighty times more epic.” Jake shrugs. It does nothing to make him look anything close to modest.

 “But Gina-”

“Also in on it. I had to bribe her with Beyoncé tickets, which I now have to buy, so, y’know. We’re going to be living in a box.” He hesitates, looking unsure for the first time. “I mean. If you say yes.”

Amy’s going to kill him. Or kiss him. Or both. Can she do both?

“How long were you planning this?” she asks instead.

“I don’t know,” he says lightly, but he’s watching her carefully. His hand hovers at his side like he’s stopping himself from reaching out to her. “Since movie night. ’Bout a month?”

Later, whenever he brings it up, Amy will categorically deny that he actually managed to seduce her with good planning. Now, though-

A month.

She kisses him, clutching at the collar of his shirt to pull him close. His arms flail for a second (like she’s surprised him, which is flattering) before coming to rest at her waist. The crowd that formed around them actually cheers, and Amy thinks she hears Gina wolf whistle, but all that’s in the background because he’s here, and he’s hers.

She only pulls back for long enough to say, “Yes.”

Jake laughs, strangely breathless. “I haven’t even asked yet.”

“You should do that.”

He leans back a little further, meeting her eyes like he’s not sure if she’s joking or not. “Really?”

She nods. “Yeah.”

“Holy crap,” Jake says, then flushes bright red, down to his ears. “I mean- I love you, god, I- for real?”

“Jake!”

“Right.” He reaches into his pocket and takes out the little box. It takes him a couple of tries to open it. She makes a mental note to tease him about that later.

No one’s kneeling, and his hands are shaking so much that the ring is sort of a silvery blur, but then he’s grabbing her hands, clumsy and earnest and Jake.  

He holds her gaze. “Want to get married?”

Amy nods clumsily, feeling tears welling up, smiling so big her face hurts. “You?”

Jake returns her smile, and she thinks he might be crying more than her. “Yeah,” he says, leaning his forehead against hers. “Yeah, I do.”

////

For the record, they both end up dancing at the wedding. It’s embarrassing and over-the-top and entirely too techno for anything this side of 2005, but Jake’s holding her hand and their family is laughing around them, so Amy thinks she might not mind losing, just this one time.  

Besides, she thinks, there’s always the next bet.