Amy Santiago noted that it seemed to be a normal day at the precinct, which in itself was abnormal. It seemed that everyday was a slippery slope of mishaps and hijinks and it was nice to get some actual paperwork done. Paperwork was so much fun. Inadvertently, Amy looked up at Jake sitting across from, half-expecting him to make fun of her before she remembered that she didn't say it out loud.
However, Amy didn't return to her paperwork just yet. She took in the relaxed profile of Jake, smiling warmly. As much as she loved his jokes and child-like enthusiasm for so many things that most people take for granted, it was humbling to see him tune out the world, not attempting to make everyone happy as he usually did. He was actually quite handsome. Not that she thought he was unattractive before now, but she had become used to reprimanding herself for ideating such thoughts about what used to be just a coworker.
Amy was still a little unsure about this new thing that they had, but looking at him in this moment, she felt lucky to be with him. As irritating as his refusal to organize his files or his laundry or his anything was, she admired his optimistic wonder at the world and his genuine attempts to help those around him.
Finally noticing Amy staring at him, Jake looked up at her from his paperwork. A smile broke out on his face, and Amy blushed pink. “Admiring my contemptible features, Ames?”
Amy narrowed her eyes. “You don't actually know what that word means, do you.”
“Amy, you know that I don’t. I heard Alex Trebek say it last night.”
She cocked her head. “I didn't know that you watched Jeopardy?”
“Oh, I don't stick around for the boring questions. I just like to watch the awkward interviews in the beginning to feel better about myself.”
Of course. Amy chuckled and returned to her work. These criminals won’t process themselves. Haha.
The precinct fell into a calm pace of shuffling papers and gently ringing phones. It was a mild day, at least as mild as a police precinct in New York city could be.
Amy should've know that it couldn't last.
Jakes phone rang. “Peralta.”
Jakes brows furrowed at whatever the person on the other line was saying. “Yes, this is he.”
“I don’t- I don't understand.” A faint buzz as the correspondent continued speaking. “I can’t- Yes. No, I’ll tell her. Okay. Yes. Thank you.” Jake hung up the phone.
Amy continued writing, trying not to invade Jakes privacy. That is, until she heard the telephone being smashed into the ground.
Jake had thrown it at the ground, and Amy jolted, shocked at how distressed Jake must be to do such a thing. He looked absolutely wrecked eyes shining with unshed tears, tears he refused to let escape in accordance with his strict policy regarding public displays of emotion. Under the shocked and concerned gazes of his friends and coworkers, Jake took off, overwhelmed and needing to escape before he cried or destroyed more precinct property or- Jake didn't know what.
Amy sat utterly fazed at her desk, running through what could have possibly been said in the phone call that caused such a reaction. Amy was terrified- was his mother sick? A relative dead? Amy shook her head and convinced herself to stop the scenarios in her head and be there for Jake.
It didn't take long to find him- he was in the evidence locker- what seemed to be the go to place for anyone to do anything that wasn't evidence-related.
She softly opened the door under the faded lights of the evidence locker, but Amy’s eyes found Jake right away. The plaid of his shirt was by a stack of boxes. “Jake?” She softly inquired.
Jake sighed and turned around. “Ames- I’m sorry. For making a scene. I- I just-“
Amy approached him. “Jake, it’s okay. It’s nice that you care about everyone else, but you shouldn't apologize for having emotions.” Jakes eyes were shining red, and the sparkle that usually twinkled in his eye that promised a bad pun or an impression of Captain Holt was no where to be found. He was so vulnerable, so wrecked, her heart felt twisted. Amy needed to know what had happened on the phone. “Jake… what happened?”
“I know you don’t like talking about emotions, but Jake, this is not healthy. I care about you, and you're not gonna scare me off. I want to be here for you and honestly it’s hurting me not to hug you right now but I don’t know how you respond to contact in this kind of situation-“
“It’s my father. He’s dead.” The words hung heavy in the air, dead weight domineering the silent, empty room.
And that’s when Jake broke. Sobs wracked his body as he finally gave way to the embracing arms of his girlfriend, tears dampening the shoulder of her blouse. “Oh, Jake…”
Amy considered the implications of what she had just heard. Jake’s father had been absent since he was seven years old, and it hurt to picture a little curly haired, wide eyed Jake knowing that his dad wouldn't show up to his birthday party but still checking the door every five minutes. Though he would never admit it in a serious context, she knew it had wrecked him and his mother.
And his death? Before Jake had the chance to resolve his issues with him? That could be devastating.
“Amy, I just- I’m sad because he’s- dead and I’m angry at him for leaving us and angry at myself for caring that he’s dead and guilty that I’m angry at a dead man and regretful because I never had a chance to- to”
“I know, babe, I know. I’m so sorry.” Amy and Jake clutched at each other, Jake in a desperate attempt to keep himself from breaking down completely, and Amy to ground the warmth in her arms.
From over Jakes shoulder, Amy saw the door crack open as Terry and the eyes of Rosa silently peered in. Amy was sure that Charles and probably Gina were behind them, maybe even Hitchcock and Scully there to check in on their distressed friend. Amy nodded to them and Terry gave an understanding look before stealthily retreating.
Jake’s sobs started to subside, and Amy could feel the shattered pieces of the bottle that Jake kept his emotions in retreating deep into himself, the jagged and irreparable pieces attempting to weld back together again.
Amy lifted her head to look into Jake’s eyes. “Come over tonight. We can order in Chinese and watch Die Hard, just forget about the world for tonight.”
Jake smiled a sad, gentle smile at Amy, who he noticed seemed to glow like the sun despite the darkness that wallowed around her everyday. “I’d like that. Can we invite the gang? I kinda… shouldn't have an opportunity to be alone right now. Some… old habits of mine might make a reappearance.”
Her heart panged yet again, but that was an issue for another day. “Of course.”
By the end of the day, most of the gang was gathered on and around Amy’s sofa with their orders from Number One Chinese Restaurant in hand. Jake and Amy claimed the center of the couch, cuddled together under a soft burgundy blanket. Jake was picking at his beef lo mein, but Amy considered tonight a win as she delved into her dumplings.
“Bruce Willis’s eardrums are gonna be permanently damaged. Man, explosions are dumb.” Terry commented from the armchair next to the couch, baby corn in his chopsticks.
“Badasses don’t care about eardrums. You’re such a dad.” said Rosa, relaxing against the sofa from the floor.
Charles , who had insisted on being on the couch right on the other side of Jake, commented, “Hey, don’t blame Terry for being prudent. All I’m saying is, you better wear noise-cancelling headphones when you jump out of the helicopter with the machine gun while surrounded by a double explosion, Jakey.”
Amy’s eyes widened and she turned to Jake. “What?”
Jake smirked. “I may have told Charles that I had that planned. And no, I will not be wearing those big headphones, I have to look like a verified bamf.” Jake paused. “I’ll wear earplugs.”
“Ugh, Charles, how did you manage to get something gross at a generic Chinese restaurant?” Gina scoffed while mixing up her shrimp fried rice.
“I’ll have you know that duck feet are a celebrated Chinese delicacy.”
“I guess that makes sense, as you yourself are the personified version of a duck foot. However, you are not celebrated by the Chinese or any other racial group.”
Jake surveyed his friends, warmed by their presence. Suddenly, he felt overwhelmingly grateful for each and every one of them, honored that they even wanted to be a part of his mess of a life. He turned to Amy. He marveled at her perfect features, the glow in her deep, warm eyes, the way his day brightened a little whenever she smiled. He loved the scent of her hair from her lavender shampoo and conditioner, and her soft touch, and the feeling that overcame him whenever she walked into a room. Inexplicably, he kissed her, and she gently smiled at him before settling back into his arms.
Jake felt like he might be okay.