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Disarming

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They closed down Wheelers and ended up at Charles’s place, drinking his beer, eating his food, and chatting.

Rosa, who had switched wigs with Charles, leaned over to Amy. “I swear he plans for us to come over. Did you see how all the food was already in bowls when we walked in?”

“It’s sweet,” Amy said, digging into the pretzels. She was glad that were at his place, since she hadn’t been grocery shopping in approximately forever. A party at her place had never once happened, and for good reason.

“Enough making fun of Charles for being the world’s best host— Let’s talk about my stunning win over the Captain tonight,” Jake said gesturing with his beer.

“Naw, let’s talk about our win,” Terry said. At some point that night, his salt shaker had ended up on his thigh, and the pepper had gone missing entirely.

Jake kissed his fingers and pointed up. “He called me a genius. It was beautiful.”

“You were superb,” Charles yelled from the kitchen, where he was baking more of those crab-things he always made.

“No, we were superb at making me be superb,” Jake answered, and Amy wondered if her eyes could actually roll out of her head.

She said that out loud.

Jake chuckled. “They might, since it’s a night for creepiness... not unlike your last date.”

“You would know, you ruined my last date.” As she said it, she realized she was essentially admitting she was in a dry spell. That night had been at least a month ago and had ended, like so many nights recently, on the couch falling asleep to Duggar marathons.

“You ruined mine. She never called me again after she left that restaurant. Her dinner was good, though.”

“That was your fault. And that’s the second time you’ve pulled that stunt! Don’t you have things to do? Bills to pay, laundry to wash—”

“Breaking up your dates is way more fun than Febrezing my electric bill—”

Gina interrupted them. “Your sexual tension is actually draining my cell phone battery. What do you say I yell mean things too, and then we make this a threesome?” She always got grabby when she was drunk, and tonight was no exception; after gesturing to both of them, she started rubbing her hand on Amy’s arm, or rather, Amy’s police tape. No skin was touched, but that didn’t stop Jake from giving her a shrug, and a “Good idea, or great idea?”

Ridiculous.

“Gina, keep your hands to yourself; Jake, stop thinking about me naked,” Amy said.

“Things I did after I saw that sex tape!” he said, a grin on his face. Amy turned around and slugged him, which was always satisfying. “What? I said I’d stop naming your tapes, not referring to them altogether.”

She turned back to hit him again when she felt Terry lift her up and carry her to the kitchen. “Alright, time for some water and some non-Peralta time.”

“I don’t know why I let him get under my skin,” she said, while Terry presented her with a large glass of water.

“Let me tell you what I would tell Lacey in your position. Boys tease you because they like you, unless they’re just jerks. Either way you can’t hit them if you work with them,” he said, patting her gently on the shoulder.

“Thanks?”

“I don’t want to have to fire you. I will, but I don’t want to have to” he said, grabbing more beers and going back out to the living room.

Amy was nursing her water when Rosa came in.

“You’re here to keep me company!”

“Nope”, Rosa said, but Amy liked to think they were friends despite all the evidence to the contrary. And Rosa sat down at the table with her, which was a win.

“I don’t get what you’re supposed to be,” Rosa said, gesturing at her crime tape.

“I’m the scene of the crime,” Amy said.

“That makes no sense.”

“I was out of time and the tape was free.”

Rosa considered that for a moment. “I can respect that.”

“When I was a kid I liked dressing up, but I always got my brother's hand-me-down costumes. Just once I wanted to be a princess, or a witch, or a ballerina.”

Rosa narrowed her eyes. “What did you say?”

“I got tired of being Spiderman. I haven’t dressed up properly for Halloween since, gosh, high school? Once everything became about sex, I didn’t want to anymore.”

Of course, Jake came in right then, and his face lit up. “The worst selling tape of your sex tapes.”

He laughed, Amy glared, and Rosa took it as an opportunity to leave.

“Why you, why always you,” she asked, cradling her head in her hands. She peeked out, and damn it, not only hadn’t he left, he’d sat down across the table from her.

“At least I’m thinking about you that way, which is like the biggest compliment I could give you,” Jake said.

“I think professional compliments are better than... fuckability,” she mumbled, and his eyes went down.

“Sorry, Santiago,” he mumbled.

“It’s fine,” she answered.

He grabbed her hand from across the table, and told her, in all seriousness, that she was a good cop and a fuckable cop.

“Which would be the name of our porn movie,” she said, enjoying how his thumb was rubbing her hand. That had to be the only explanation for why she said it, because she certainly wasn’t attracted to this idiot.

His face, those big brown eyes that always watched her, flashed concern. He walked around the table, grabbing her hands again. “Ok, someone’s a little drunk, let’s get you...”

But when she stood up from the chair, she decided she didn’t want to go home. She wasn’t drunk, not anymore, and she wasn’t Amy, she was the scene of the crime, and he was here, and she hadn’t been kissed in ages.

You’ll do, she thought. She grabbed him by the neck of his royal cape and pulled him down to her lips.

He reared back. “Whoa, I do not kiss drunk girls.”

“I’ve seen you do it, Peralta.”

He nodded. “Not drunk-drunk, just bar-drunk, and besides, none of those girls are my friends.”

“I’m not drunk-drunk or bar-drunk and we’re just barely friends.”

“Number one, that hurts, and number two, you seem drunk. And I can’t do that, not to you.”

She tried not to cringe. “Fine. You just go back to everyone, and I’ll go put my sober head in a woodchipper. See you tomorrow.” She turned, and he put his hand out, grabbing her arm.

His eyes raked over her, which was fine, because police tape was even less sexy than an unwashed skeleton costume.

Except... he was giving her a look that said he didn’t care that she was covered in plastic.

“Look, I’m not saying I haven’t thought about it. Occasionally. Ok, on multiple occasions. Especially when you wear that bun.”

She relaxed, and he dropped her arm. She felt cold, and wanted him to touch her again. “Do you think I’m sober?”

“Do you want to do a sobriety test? Like if I pulled you over?”

“You’d play the deputy? That doesn’t sound like you,” she said.

“This is just one of the many ways I’d degrade myself to get under your caution tape,” he said, leaning in. She leaned up, parting her lips—

“Alright, ma’am, I’m going to need to see some ID, and then I’m going to need you to recite the alphabet while hopping on one foot.”

It wasn’t the strangest request she’d ever gotten from someone she wanted to kiss, so she did it, quietly but perfectly.

He pulled out a pen next, to test her vision, and she knocked it from his hands. “You know I’m fine,” she said.

“I can’t even do the one-legged alphabet when sober,” he said. She laughed. He was charming when he wanted to. Then he gave her a wolfish grin pressed her back against the fridge. The he leaned down and kissed her, gently. She laced her fingers behind his head and kissed him with a little force. He looked at her, suitably impressed, before he pulled the caution tape from her hair with a little tug.

She smiled at him. He was a much better kisser than she’d have ever guessed, applying the right amount of pressure. His lips were strong, too, and—

“You’re not into it,” he said as he pulled back, looking disappointed.

“I am!”

He gave her a look. “No, you’re in your head. It’s like you’re not even with me.”

She gave herself a mental slap. She had been in her head, but then, she always was. “Don’t— sorry. I’m here. I’m just worried someone will walk in—”

“It’s ok, I get it, you don’t have to—”

“So let’s go to Charles’s bedroom.”

He paused and considered her. “It does lock.”

“Never tell me why you know that,” she said, and he pulled her down the hall.

Charles’s room was way too neat, even for Amy. She had the urge to disturb something in there, and she reached out and upended one of his weird creepy clown figurines.

“Don’t— you don’t have a clown thing, right?” Jake asked, his eyes wide. “Because I only have three dealbreakers—”

She reached over and kissed him, and this time, she tried to let go of all the things she was thinking about. Her paperwork, her mother, her empty social calendar... gone, in a little hot air balloon. Goodbye, problems, and Hello, here and now.

She focused instead on Jake’s chapped lips, on the warm feeling pooling low inside her, on the slipperiness of her costume.

“We have got to get you out of this,” he murmured, and felt his warm breath tickle her ear. “What’re you wearing underneath?”

“Pants and a blouse,” she said in her most seductive voice.

He laughed, then pulled out a pocket knife. For a brief second, she could feel herself go into cop mode, considering how she’d bring him down. She could do it, disarm him easily because he was pretty sloppy—

Then he grinned, his eyes shining, before he carefully started cutting away at the tape. “I’ve always found you hot,” he said as he freed her arms. “Even though you’re really smart and sort of stuck up. But like the hot kind of smart, you know?”

“I’ve always been book smart,” she said, enjoying the feel of his fingers as he slipped them between the fabric of her clothes and the caution tape.

“I hope you’ve been reading some dirty books,” he said as he freed her of the costume. She untied his cape and threw it aside.

Things got awkward again, so she went over to Charles’s bed. It was made beautifully, with precisely folded sheet corners. She apologized to her friend in the living room for what she was about to do, and then she pulled Jake to sit down next to her.

All her problems were in a hot air balloon, so this time when he kissed her she just felt. There was a slight suction he kept making with his mouth, sucking on her bottom lip, and she groaned a little from it. The sound made his pupils blow wide, and he kissed her with renewed vigor, unbuttoning her shirt slowly, like he expected her to freak out and run. Instead, she pushed his hands away before pulling the shirt off altogether.

She almost expected him to make fun of her plain white cotton bra, but his mouth was slack as he stared. She moved to cover herself with her arms, and he dragged his eyes up to hers. “No, please?” he said, kissing her again. “I just— really need this,” and his voice sounded ragged.

“You too, then.” He took off his shirt so fast he got tangled in it, and it was a turn-on, seeing him flustered.

He looked good without his shirt, fit but not steroided out. She traced down his chest, letting her hand rest near the button on his jeans. He sucked his breath in, and she felt powerful, so she pressed her chest against his and pushed him back on the bed, straddling him, pushing herself down experimentally.

“It seems unfair I’m wearing jeans and you’re wearing slacks,” he said.

“You should be wearing a regulation pair of—”

“No, no, this is not something we’re discussing when you’re— oh hell, that’s fantastic. You’re fantastic. Keep doing that.”

“I am,” she said. “Even though you’re just saying that because I’m—”

“No, I’m not,” Jake said, gripping her face and looking into her eyes. “I’m not.”

She wasn’t prepared for that, had never suspected he’s say something so... nice. “Thank you?” she said, and then she kissed him so there’d be no more talking.

***

Later, she snuck out, past Jake, asleep on the bed, past Charles on his couch, curled up around Gina’s hat. She thought about how she had to be at work in less than six hours. She thought about her balloon of problems, about to land with a brand new one inside. She thought about the pile of crime tape in the bedroom, and how Jake probably wouldn’t even think to clean it up. She thought about what would happen when she saw Jake, and Charles, and everyone else who’d realized they’d disappeared together.

But those were tomorrow’s problems. Tonight, she was living in the moment, and it felt damn good.