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the world's a stage

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When it came to secret keeping, Jake put his own track record somewhere firmly around the zero percent range. Rosa, on the other hand, was probably closer to one hundred percent--could someone have a better than perfect track record? Jake bet if anyone could it would be Rosa. So between the two of them they were averaging a solid 50-50 chance that their secret would stay just that.

When it came out, Jake wasn't so much surprised that they've been found out so much as he was shocked it took five years to do so.

"You're married?"




In fall of 2009 Rosa showed up at Jake's apartment unannounced to propose marriage. Which was weird for a number of reasons, primarily because Jake had no idea she even knew where he lived.

"No seriously," he said, once he stopped laughing. "Why're you here."

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "One thousand push-ups."

"Cool," Jake said. "Let me get my coat."

They got married at City Hall with two witnesses Rosa introduced to him only as "Sam and Sandra," tall, terrifyingly beautiful women, who didn't alter their facial expressions the entire time, no matter how much Jake smiled at them. Rosa didn't say who they were, or how she knew them, or why any of them were there.

Jake didn't ask.

"Wanna get a beer?" he asked, after the Justice of the Peace pronounced them man and wife.

Rosa glared at the poor woman when she said, "You may now kiss," until she looked at Jake. He shrugged helplessly and patted Rosa on the shoulder.

This seemed to satisfy everyone.

The pub across the street was the kind that served about ten thousand kinds of beer and only six different food options on the menu. It was Jake's favourite kind of place to eat.

"So," he said, when they were seated with a beer each. "Cheers."

Rosa looked at him, but he just continued to smile unfalteringly until she grudgingly held up her glass for him to clink against.

"Mazel tov." He grinned.

She didn't crack a smile.

"C'mon," he said. "Nothing? We just got married. I think that warrants at least a little bit of warmth in your eyes. For your new husband." He waggled his eyebrows.

She kicked him under the table. Hard.

"Ow," he said, and reached down to rub his shin.

"Don't call yourself that," she told him.

"What?" he asked. "Your husband?" He drew out the last word so it was several syllables longer than normal, then pulled his legs up quickly so she couldn't kick him again.

"Yes," she said.

He rolled his eyes. "Fine, but this is significantly less fun for me if I can't tease you about it." He paused. "I know, I know, ask you if you care."

"I don't."

He shook his head. "You're no fun. I guess that means you don't want to seal the deal, so to speak."

She stared at him.

"I mean sex," he told her helpfully, and smiled the biggest, shit eating grin he could manage.

"I know what you mean," she said. "And no, I don't."

He shrugged. "Your loss. So, are you planning to tell me what this is about?"

She took a long sip from her beer, and met his eyes. "Nope," she said.

His shoulders slumped. "Seriously?" he asked. "Nothing? Not even a clue? C'mon, just give me something."

She stared at him over the brim of her pint. "One thousand push-ups," she said.

"Ugh, no fair. What if I want to veto?"

She shook her head. "That's not how this works."

"Damn," he said, sighing sadly. "You're really right."

The drank for a few minutes in silence. Well, relative silence, Jake provided a running commentary on everyone in the bar while Rosa pretended to listen to him.

"So," he said eventually. He put both his palms flat on the table and leaned in a little bit until she looked him in the eye. "I'm not sure what's going on here, and I'm not going to make you tell me, but I'm guessing this is something you want to keep a secret?"

She nodded. "Well, yeah. I mean, I don't want anyone knowing I'm married to your sorry ass."

He held his hand over his heart dramatically. "That hurts me, Rosa. I don't think you should be so mean to someone who's doing you a favour, and who is, I might add your--" he mouthed the word 'husband.'

She glared.

"Fine," he said. "Worst case scenario, this comes out, what do you want me to say?"

"Tax purposes," she told him.

He squinted at her. "I feel like you're shitting me, but that's what I'm going to say."

"Fine," she said.




Jake rolled his eyes.




After that, it wasn't so much that Jake forgot about it, but, well okay, he forgot about it. Being married had so little impact on his day to day life it was easy enough to put it entirely out of his mind.

There was one frantic text exchange the first time Jake hooked up after their wedding where he hid out in the girl's bathroom and frantically sent Rosa a, 'wait you don't care if i hook up right?' The following two minutes were probably the most fraught of Jake's life, and the ensuing ellipses he got in response was probably the angriest and judgingest thing he'd ever seen.




Jake wasn't sure if things would have continued indefinitely this way until Rosa one thousand push-ups him into a divorce. Maybe it would have, maybe it wouldn't.





Jake picked his head up off his desk from where he was percolating ideas for his current case, not taking a nap, and swung around in his chair to face Holt. "Captain," he said. "I don't care what Santiago told you I wasn't napping."

"I didn't think you were," Holt said.

"Great," Jake said, and smiled.

"Now I do."

Jake hung his head, and walked into Holt's office.

"Diaz is sick," he said once Jake closed the door.

Jake nodded. The only reason he knew that already was because she had left work early the previous day looking a little green around the gills.

"Thanks for the update," Jake said. "I was pretty worried about her."

Jake wasn't sure how Holt managed to convey an eye roll without changing his facial expression in the slightest, but he somehow did it nonetheless. It was pretty amazing, actually, and Jake was about to open his mouth to ask for pointers when Holt cut him off.

"There's some time sensitive paperwork that she needs to sign." He sighed. "The DA is breathing down my neck so I need you to go and get her to sign."

"There's two problems with that request, Captain," Jake said, holding up his hand to list them off. "One, I find sick people exceedingly disgusting, and two, I don't know where Rosa lives."

"Here's her address," Holt said. He handed Jake a stack of papers, with an address listed on top.

"But germs are gross," Jake whined.

"Ask me if I care, Peralta," Holt said. "Go ahead, ask me."

"I don't want to," Jake said under his breath, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

"I can't send Charles for obvious reasons," Holt said. "Same goes for Hitchcock and Scully."

"Well, what about Amy?" Jake asked.

"I value Santiago too much as a detective to do that to her."

"Hey," he said.

"And if I send Gina we'll probably never see either one of them again. Now go."

"Fine," Jake said. "But please know how unhappy I am about this."





It took five straight minutes of Jake pounding on Rosa's door and shouting obnoxiously before she would even answer.

"Don't worry," Jake told the people who poked their heads out of the neighbouring apartments, "I'm a police officer."

"What the fuck are you doing here?" she asked. Her normal ferocity was dulled a little bit by her fever bright eyes and red, stuffy nose.

Jake smiled widely.

"Special delivery, Detective Diaz." He held out the paperwork obnoxiously until she was forced to take it from him.

When she turned away from the door, Jake shouldered his way into her apartment. He had absolutely no illusions that she would leave him standing on the stoop given half a chance.

"Oh my god," he said. He took in the cartons of takeout strewn across the coffee table, dirty dishes in the sink, and tissues everywhere. "You're a slob!" he said, turning wide, delighted eyes on Rosa.

She sneezed. "Shut up," she told him. "I'm sick."

Jake grinned, but wisely kept his mouth shut.

Rosa sat down on the couch with the documents Holt had sent over. Jake watched her for a moment before he started feeling itchy under his skin. It was just--ugh, germs.

Not being able to help himself, he gathered the empty food cartons, and dropped them all into the trash in the kitchen, before searching under the sink for a pair of rubber gloves. No way was he tackling the used kleenex without some protection.

Unable to find anything, he settled for a pair of oven mitts, and began collecting all the trash, and taking it out to the garbage shoot. When that was done, he let himself back into the apartment, and immediately started in on the dirty dishes in the sink.

"What are you doing?" Rosa asked him a while later.

While Jake was sure Rosa would never describe any movement of hers as 'shuffling' there was no other word for it.

"I took out your trash," Jake said. "And these dishes were growing mold."

"Your desk is its own ecological system," she told him. "I don't think you're in a place to pass judgment."

"Harsh," he said. "But fair." He continued soaping up the plates and bowls in the sink.

"Stop it," she said. "You're freaking me out."

"Go sit down," he told her. "I'm afraid you're about to collapse."

She attempted to glare at him, but he just cocked his head to the side and made a shooing motion until she went back into the living room.

He put the clean dishes away and swept the floor, debating if he should try and tackle Rosa's bathroom or if that would lead to his grisly murder. Deciding to play it safe, he looked in her fridge instead to find only a bottle of pickles, some questionable deli meat, a variety of condiments, and some spoiling vegetables in the crisper.

He shook his head, pulled out the expired food to throw away, and marched back out into the living room.

"Your kitchen is a disgrace," he told her.

"Seriously?" she asked him.

He nodded. "I'll be back in twenty and you better let me in." He paused. "You know what, just give me your keys, that'll be easier."

She raised an eyebrow, but he stared at her until she sighed and said, "on the table by the door."

Jake didn't know what Rosa considered comfort food, but he figured everyone wanted soup when they were feeling like shit. There was a small place he liked that served the kind of soup that always reminded Jake of the diners he ate at as a kid. After, he went to the convenience store across from Rosa's building and bought orange juice, ice cream, and extra tissues.

When he let himself back into the apartment, Rosa was asleep on the couch snoring softly. Jake wished he didn't value his life enough so that he could take video for blackmailing purposes. But he enjoyed his junk very much where it was on his body, so he just put the food away, and left the box of kleenex on the table in front of her with a note before letting himself out.




Two days later Rosa showed up back at work and put a coffee down on Jake's desk. Even though it wasn't showing on her face, he could totally tell she was smiling.




Jake got slimed--literally, someone dumped a bucket of slime on him--in the middle of pursuing a perp.

It was terrifyingly disgusting, and both he and Amy stopped in the tracks to stare down at him in disbelief for several long seconds.

"I can take it from here," she told him.

He groaned, not wanting to let her get the arrest, but he was forced to admit he didn't have much choice.

When he tried to flag down a cab, the driver laughed right in his face. "No way you're getting in my cab like that, buddy."

"I'll arrest you if you don't give me a ride home," Jake said. He tried to sound serious, but it was difficult when you were literally dripping with some kind of unidentified substance.

The cabbie just laughed as he drove off.

Jake sighed and looked around. It was more than thirty blocks away from his apartment, and getting on the subway in his current state was definitely going to be tricky, if not outright impossible.

However--Rosa's apartment was only three blocks over, and although Jake didn't relish the thought of walking the distance all sticky and gross, it was probably the lesser evil.

"Go away," Rosa said through the closed door when Jake finally made it to her apartment.

"Come on," he said. "I'm covered in slime, Rosa! Slime!"

"I can see that," her voice was muffled. "That's why I know there's no way in hell you're getting inside my nice clean apartment."

"I highly doubt it's clean in there, I've seen how you live."

"Flattery will get you everywhere."

"Come on," he whined. "I already walked three blocks like this and it's soaking through my clothes. Things are starting to chafe, and I can tell you that is not a comfortable sensation, despite what you might think."

"I. Don't. Care."

"Rosa. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa." He punctuated each repetition of her name with several loud knocks against the door. "I'm not going away until you let me inside. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa. Rosa."

The door swung open, and Jake had to jerk backward to avoid getting any slime on her. Annoying knocking or not, he knew if he touched her he could kiss his chance at a shower goodbye.

"God, fine, you're the most annoying person on the planet."

"I know," Jake told her, grinning broadly.

"Wait here."

She disappeared into her apartment and came back a towel she put down on the floor.

"Stand on that and shuffle until you get to the bathroom. Don't touch anything."

"Aye, aye," he said.

It took way longer than Jake's standard five minute shower, but eventually he got all the gunk off his body and out of his hair.

He wrapped the (clean) towel Rosa had left for him around his waist and walked out into the main room. Rosa looked up at him and put her book down.

"I can't believe you showed up here on my day off covered in slime. Seriously, Peralta?"

He shrugged.

"It's not like I asked to be slimed, Rosa," he told her. "I keep that kind of thing for my personal life."

She rolled her eyes.

"Ugh, whatever. Do you have clothes for me to wear or not."

She stood wordlessly and walked into what he assumed was her bedroom. When she emerged a few moments later she threw a pair of insanely huge sweatpants and a threadbare t-shirt at him.

"Jesus," he said. "What kind of dudes are you sleeping with."

She crossed her arms.

"Right," he said. "Not answering that."

Once he was clean and clothed he sat down on the couch next to her.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

He shrugged. "I'll tell you what I'm not doing. I'm not going back to work, that's for sure. I was slimed, Rosa. Slimed!"

"So I saw," she said.

"If that doesn't deserve the rest of the day off I don't know what does. Besides, Amy's going to get the arrest anyway so there's literally nothing else for me to do."

"That's literally not true. At all."

He waved her off. "Tomato tomato."

"You just pronounced the word the same way twice."

He shrugged and settled down further into her couch, resting his head against the armrest, and considered seriously taking a nap.

The sharp trill of his phone vibrating against Rosa's coffee table snapped him out of the light doze he had fallen into. Holt's face flashed up at him.

He sighed heavily and got to his feet, gathering the extremely large waistline tighter. "Duty calls," he told her.

She looked up at him, but didn't stay anything.

"Right," he told her. "It's been great."




"What are you doing here?" Rosa asked when the apartment door finally swung open.

Jake slumped his shoulders. "There's a thing," he made a vague gesture, "going on at my building."

She shook her head. "Not good enough."

He sighed loudly. "My neighbours have been having non stop marathon sex for, I swear to god, Rosa, the past three days, and if I don't get a good night's sleep I'm going to go over there and murder them myself." He paused. "Or join in."

She crossed her arms over her chest.

"I'm going crazy," he said, and pulled at his hair a little bit. I can't jerk off again, Rosa. I can't. Can I please just come inside for a little bit, I promise you won't even notice I'm here."

She rolled her eyes. "I doubt it."

Still, she stepped aside, so Jake was going to take his victories where he could get them.

He settled down on the couch in the living room, and looked around a little bit.

"So," he said. "What're you doing?"

"That's not me not noting you're here," she told him.

"Can we watch a movie?" he asked.

She sighed but put on White House Down, so it wasn't like Jake was gonna complain.

Rosa turned to him when the movie was done before Jake had the chance to make himself scarce.

"I'm going to order a pizza," she said.

"Good... for you?" he asked.

She rolled her eyes. "No, you moron, what kind of topping do you want? And don't say green pepper or I'll gut you."

"Whatever's fine," he said, almost afraid to move in case she was going to take back her offer and force him back into the apartment of never ending sex noises.

She ordered the pizza on her phone and sat back down on the couch. "I'm not moving until I've recovered from a food coma, so if you want to watch something else, you're going to have to put it on," she told him.

It doesn't become a thing, okay, it doesn't. It was just that sometimes when Jake was feeling weird or lonely or hungry, or bored he would show up at Rosa's with some takeout or a movie, and the two of them would hang out together and watch television silently. Well, for a given value of silent, Jake supposed he could admit that was more along the lines of Rosa not saying anything and Jake offering a running commentary. But still, it worked for them.

It wasn't like it happened a lot. And there was no discernable pattern to it, or any one given thing that would make Jake trek across the city to go hang out. Sometimes he just did. Rosa never invited him over, which was fine, whatever. She also didn't turn him away, and only ever rolled her eyes once or twice before letting him in, which Jake figured was as good as it was going to get.

It was fine though. It wasn't like Jake was thinking about it.

"I brought Thai food and The Bourne Trilogy," Jake said, one Sunday afternoon when he showed up out of the blue.

Rosa just let the door swing open to let him in.

Halfway through The Bourne Supremacy, Rosa wandered into the kitchen and came back with two beers. She handed one to Jake silently, and he held it out for her to clink her own bottle against.

"Cheers," he told her.

It was warm in the apartment, and after a couple more drinks, Jake was the perfect mix of buzzed and sleepy. He put his empty bottle on the table, and snuggled down into the couch, getting more comfortable. He must have drifted off to sleep because the next thing he knew, the couch was shifting where Rosa came to sit by his waist. He was on his side, one hand tucked between his neck and the pillow, and his entire arm was numb. He stretched it out in front of him, and it brushed against Rosa's knee. She was looking down at him with the closest thing to a soft expression he had ever seen on her face, and when he shifted so he was lying on his back, she pushed his hair up and out of his face.

"Hey," he said, his voice raspy with sleep. "Sorry I passed out on you, I didn't know I was such a lightweight."

He smiled at her, and tried not to notice the way her hand lingered against his forehead, the way her fingers felt combing through his hair. She looked down at him and her eyes were dark and steady, but gave no indication of what she was thinking.

He was surprised when she leaned down and pressed her mouth against his. Her lips were soft and dry, and when she exhaled softly against him he could smell the faint trace of beer on her breath.

The hand that was resting against her knee curled around her waist loosely, not holding her to him, but a steady presence. She placed her hands flat on his chest and leaned back slightly to look him in the eye.

"Okay?" she asked.

He looked at her a long time, assessing. "You're not going to hear me say no," he said eventually.

Everything felt slow and heavy, almost dreamlike. Rosa moved with practiced surety, and Jake was helpless but to follow along with her.

After, they lay together in her bed for long moments just breathing, and he was forcibly reminded that they were married, that she was his wife. It may have taken them a few years, but their marriage was consummated.

He started laughing.

"What's so funny?" she asked.

"Nothing," he said, wisely keeping his mouth shut.




They weren’t sleeping together or anything. Except for how sometimes now when Jake went over to Rosa’s instead of eating takeout and watching a movie, they would eat takeout, watch a movie, and then have sex.

And the thing was it was good sex. Good sex that was happening enough that it took Jake a couple months to notice that he hadn’t been out on a date or slept with anyone else since the first time he and Rosa had hooked up.

That was… confusing, to say the least.

They were married, and they were sleeping together, and in that context, every time Jake went over and brought food and they hung out, couldn’t that be considered a date? It was pretty date like. They spent more time together than he ever had with any of his previous girlfriends, and if he was being honest with himself (which he tried very hard not to be), he liked Rosa a lot more than any of his past girlfriends.

Even when they weren’t having sex.

Sometimes he would go over after a case, or on a random day off and they would just collapse on the couch, both of them too tired to even contemplate getting up and putting a DVD. Those times they would watch shitty TV for hours, or sometimes Rosa would choose something off of Netflix, and they would just sit side by side, their bodies barely touching and just be together.

It was weird and terrifying and strange.

Jake didn’t like it.

Rosa never talked about what they were doing. She was always the one who would look over at him, or put her hand on his leg, or crawl into his space and straddle his thighs. But she never talked about it, or the fact that they were seeing each other a couple times per week and sleeping together.

Normally Jake would be over the moon about it. Casual, string free sex where he didn’t have to talk about his feelings? Perfect. Yes please. Sign him up.

Except he was noticing more and more that it wasn’t casual, which meant there were strings, and he did have feelings and he wanted to talk about them, dammit. Everything was terrible and he hated everything.

He didn’t hate Rosa.

Jake could be a man, though. He could. He could suck it up and ask Rosa what they were doing and tell her how he felt about her, he really could.

He could.

Okay, fine. He was scared. There. He admitted it.

Then one day he overheard Charles hitting on Rosa in the breakroom. That in itself wasn’t a surprise, Charles hit on Rosa an uncomfortable amount. It made Jake want to step in and say something because it was honestly pretty weird. The only thing that stopped him from intervening was the knowledge that Rosa definitely would not appreciate it, and she could handle herself more than fine.

So Charles hitting on Rosa wasn’t unusual. What was, however, was Rosa saying that she had a boyfriend.

That was definitely news to Jake.

He thought back to right after they got married. When he had asked her if she cared if he hooked up and she said no. Obviously, Jake knew that Rosa saw people and went on dates. She was smart, beautiful, and terrifying. The fact that she was seeing someone shouldn’t have been shocking, and it shouldn’t have made it hard for Jake to breathe, just for a second.

Just because he hadn’t been seeing anyone else, didn’t mean that she wasn’t. They never talked about being exclusive. They never talked about anything.

It was fine, he told himself. Everything was fine.

“Is it okay that I’m here?” Jake asked the next time he showed up at Rosa’s.

She stared at him. “What?” she asked. “Yes, it’s fine.”

“Are you sure?” Jake asked. “You don’t have plans or anything?”

She turned and walked into the apartment without answering. Jake followed.

“No seriously,” he said. “Is it okay?”

“I said that it was,” she told him, and sat down on the couch. He sat down next to her, but not too close. “What the hell?” she asked him. “You never ask if it’s okay. You just show up.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Well, I--I didn’t want to barge in on you?”

She just stared.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Forget it, nevermind.”

Rosa shrugged and turned on an episode of SVU.

He didn’t ask again, because yeah, it was weird. He just showed up, that was what he always did. If Rosa had a boyfriend, Jake didn’t know about him, and she never mentioned him. He just hoped the two of them would never cross paths.




When their secret finally did come out it was for the stupidest reason ever. No seriously, the stupidest.

The thing was, Jake really liked to fill out online ballots for contests, and it was just something he did for shits and giggles (although he did win a pretty sweet bike once). He never even remembered half of the contests he entered because there were so many, and most of them were probably scams anyway.

So when he came across one that was geared exclusively towards married couples, he thought why the fuck not, and did it. And promptly forgot about it.

Sometime later, two tickets for a couples New York City Boat Tour arrived in the mail. This would have been fine except a) Jake had all his mail delivered to the precinct, and b) they were addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Jake Peralta and Rosa Diaz.


That in itself could have probably been played out as a mistake or an ill advised joke, except somehow Gina got a hold of the envelope before Jake or Rosa got to work and by the time they arrived (unfortunately but totally innocently at the same time) the damage was done.

"You're married?"

"What?" Jake asked. He was still half asleep, and having to deal with the potential outing of his secret marriage first thing in the morning was more than any person should reasonably be expected to bear. "No. What? No. What?"

"Shut up, Jake," Rosa said. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared menacingly at everyone. It definitely didn't make Jake's chest feel tight and funny. "We're not married."

"Oh," Gina said, and Jake knew that expression on her face. He had come to fear that expression. "But you are," her voice was sickly sweet. "I checked it already in the database this morning." She grinned, and bounced on the spot a little clapping her hands. "You're totally married."

"Gina!" Amy said. "That's a huge breach of their privacy." She paused. "But tell me everything."

There was a loud ringing in Jake's ears. He could tell Gina was going through the bare bones facts of their marriage, while everyone else listened gleefully. Rosa was still glaring, but there was an edge to it that Jake didn't normally see.

"Hey," he said quietly. He touched her shoulder, and tried not to recoil visibly when she looked at him.

"Fuck, I'm really sorry."

She sighed. "It's okay, whatever."

"No," he said. "I fucked up, and I'm sorry. I didn't think about it getting out. I didn't mean to break your trust."

Her gaze softened, just slightly. "It's okay," she told him. "Really."

He tried a faint smile.

"Just remember when I murder Gina that you're not allowed to testify against me."

Jake stared at her. In the entire time they had been married she had never once made reference to it. Had never referred to him as anything other than a friend or coworker, and now here she was joking about him being her, well, her husband. It hit him like a punch to the gut, and he stood there for a long moment just trying to breathe properly.

"Why're you even married?" Amy said. "You don't live together, Jake dates all the time, I don't even think Rosa likes people. I don't get it, it doesn't make any sense."

Jake looked to Rosa, hoping she would jump in. She didn't.

"Tax... purposes?" Jake offered after a moment.

"Please," Amy said. "You don't even know what a W2 looks like, there's no way you're married for tax purposes. Try again, Peralta."

Rosa still didn't say anything.

"Technically," Jake said, holding up a finger, "Technically, in the sense that I haven't had to file my taxes since 2009 you would be wrong."

Everyone stared at him.

"What?" Rosa asked, speaking up for the first time. "If I didn't do it he'd be in jail for tax evasion. It just made sense."

Jake pointed at her. "Exactly."

"Okay," Amy said. "But what's the real reason."

Rosa didn't say anything. Jake shrugged.

"You know, right?" Amy asked. "Please, Jake, tell me you at least know the reason."

He held his hands out palm up, classic 'whatcha gonna do?' expression.

Amy literally face palmed.

"She asked," Jake said simply.

Rosa looked over sharply, and he couldn't quite decipher the expression on her face. Before he had a chance to puzzle it out, or open his mouth and say something to make it worse, Holt appeared in his office doorway.

"Peralta, Diaz, my office. Now."

"So," Holt said, once they were seated in front of him with the door closed.

Jake could feel the eyes of every person in the precinct in him. He didn't want to break first, but between Holt and Rosa there was no question.

He sighed.

"I don't know what to say," he said eventually.

"You're married," Holt said.

"Yes," he said, nodding.

"To each other," Holt said.

"Right again."

"In god's name why?"

Jake was about to open his mouth to answer, when he realised Holt was staring at Rosa.

"Hey," Jake said.

"It's not a conflict of interest," Rosa said, speaking for the first time. "We're not partners and we don't even live together."

Holt sighed, and it was almost the most emotion Jake had ever seen him express. He felt a faint frisson of pride of having induced that.

"See that it doesn't become a problem," was all Holt said, and dismissed them.




Jake showed up at Rosa's two days later. "Do we need to talk about it?" he asked.

He handed her the Indian takeout he had brought over as a bribe. Rosa was a sucker for briani.

"Talk about what?" Rosa asked.

They walked into the living room and settled on the couch in their normal seats. Jake took a moment to freak out over the fact that he had a normal seat here in Rosa's apartment. That this was a routine for them, and one even Rosa no longer bothered to question.

Jake was suddenly terrified that she was going to say that because the secret was out they couldn't do this anymore, and maybe he shouldn't have been so startled to realise he didn't want to stop. It wasn't even about the sex, although he wasn't complaining. They were having consistently great sex, and Jake would never say no to that, but it wasn't about the sex. If Rosa said they could never have sex again, it wasn't like he'd be thrilled, but he wanted to be around her. If she said they couldn't hang out anymore, or--he shuddered--get divorced, he didn't know what he was going to do.

"The fact that everyone knows we're married," he said.

She shrugged. "I don't think so." There was a brief pause. "Do you want to talk about it?"

He kind of did. He wanted to talk about what they were doing and if it meant anything and why they were married to begin with, but Rosa had said 'one thousand push-ups,' and he figured if she wanted to talk about it, she would.

"Nah," he said. "I'm good."




When Jake woke up his face was buried in the back of Rosa's neck, her hair tickling his nose. He had his arm slung around her waist, and his knees were tucked firmly behind hers.

He rubbed his face against the soft skin of her nape, and pressed a few sleepy kisses there, sucking lightly. After a few moments, he registered the fact that the early morning light was filtering in through the curtains.

He remembered coming over to Rosa's after a long day at the precinct. It was the kind of day that felt like no progress was made on any of his cases, a lot of paperwork and chasing his tail. Rosa knocked his shoulder on her way out.

"C'mon," she said. "Let's go."

Jake didn't bother fighting it, or even thinking about it. He got to his feet and grabbed his coat.

They took the subway back to her apartment, and he collapsed on the couch while she called for takeout. They spent the night dozing on the couch, drinking beer and eating their food. When he couldn't keep his eyes open anymore, he got to his feet, and started looking for his coat.

Instead, Rosa, grabbed his hand and lead him to her bedroom. She pushed him onto his back and stripped off both their clothes, and they fucked in a slow, lazy rhythm that wasn't so much movement as it was grinding their bodies together. Jake couldn't keep his eyes open, but he ran his hands up and down her thighs, over her hips and back, cupping her breasts.

After, the two of them spent and pressed together, Jake meant to get up, gather his things, go back to his apartment. Instead, between one breath and the next, he was asleep.

Now, with the early morning light in the bedroom, the bed warm, and Jake rested and comfortable, he wondered what was his best course of action. Should he leave? Wake Rosa up? Pretend this never happened? He had never stayed the night before, and Rosa never talked about wanting him too.

"Shut up," Rosa mumbled.

"I didn't say anything," Jake protested in a whisper.

"You're thinking too loudly, and it's early," she said. "Go back to sleep."

And, well--good enough.




Jake doesn’t exactly mean to start staying over some nights. It was just that sometimes after they had sex he would close his eyes for five minutes and the next time he opened them it was completely dark out and by then it just made more sense to stay under the covers and tucked up next to Rosa where it was comfortable and warm.

Rosa never said anything, but she never kicked him out either. Never forced him to leave or acted like having him around was a hardship. Sometimes when they woke up tangled together in the morning, she would rest her head on his shoulder and trace patterns across his chest and stomach before smacking him once and forcing them to get out of bed.

Sometimes Jake would stay for two days in a row.

Sometimes more.

Before he really knew it, a bunch of his stuff had migrated to Rosa’s apartment, and it wasn’t weird or out of the ordinary for the two of them to leave after work together without any spoken prior arrangement.

One morning Rosa dumped a plate of eggs in front of him as the two of them stood in front of her kitchen counter. Jake realised he loved her.

“T-thanks,” he choked out.

Rosa smiled.




“I don’t understand how you don’t know why you’re married,” Amy said.

Jake looked up from his paperwork. She was sitting at her own desk, ostensibly doing her own work, but Jake could tell she was mostly procrastinating.

“Oh my god,” he said. “Are you still on that? Let it go.”

“Yes, I’m still on that,” Amy said. She put her hands flat on the desk and leaned forward. “I don’t understand how you’re not. I don’t understand how you could ever let it go. Don’t you want to know? Doesn’t it drive you crazy?”

“It clearly drives you crazy,” Jake said.

“I know! And I want you to know so I can know and finally stop thinking about it!” She was breathing hard, clearly worked up. Jake spared a brief thought to wonder what it must be like to be that worked up about everything all the time.

He shrugged. “It doesn’t bother me. I don’t need to know. Besides, it’s not like it’s a real marriage. I was just doing Rosa a favour.”

Amy looked at him. Jake knew that look. It was the ‘you’re deliberately being an idiot look.’ Which, granted, most of the time he deserved because he was deliberately being an idiot. Right now, not so much.

“What?” he asked.

She held up her hands in a surrender gesture. “I don’t want to get involved in your life.”

“Are you kidding me?” he asked her. “All you want to do is get involved in my life. We were literally just talking about how much you want to get involved in my life.”

She sighed. “Fine. I just think it’s weird that you say it’s not a real marriage, but you two leave together every day, and you come in together, and when we’re out on cases you insist on stopping and picking up takeout to bring Rosa lunch, and you buy her drinks when we go to the bar, and the two of you sit next to each other all the time.”

Jake stared at her.

“Tell the truth,” she said. “When was the last time you even went back to your apartment.”

Jake… couldn’t remember.

“You two do a lot of acting like people who are married for two people who supposedly aren’t ‘really’ married. That’s all I’m saying.”

“But…” Jake said.

Rosa had a boyfriend. Jake heard her say she had a boyfriend. Granted, Jake was around pretty much all the time and he never saw her with anyone else. And he did go out of his way to spend a lot a lot of time with her, and she didn’t seem to mind it. They did eat almost all their meals together, and spend all their nights together, and he suddenly couldn’t see how this wasn’t a real relationship.

“Damn,” he said.

Amy looked smug.




At the bar that night, Rosa came up to him and handed him a beer. He smiled at her, holding his hand out. She stepped into his space, and he draped his arm across her shoulders. The two of them stood together like that for almost five minutes just talking before Jake realised how close they were, realised he had touched her without thinking about it, and she accepted it.

“You okay?” she asked, when he hadn’t spoken for a long moment.

“Yeah,” he said, and smiled. “Yeah, I’m great.”

He was.

Back at her apartment, Jake kicked off his shoes and grabbed a glass of water.

“So listen,” he said. “I know it’s like our thing not to talk about anything and that’s cool.” He paused. “No, wait. It’s not cool, that’s what I’m trying to say. I want to talk about it.”

“Okay,” she said. “What do you want to talk about?”

He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

Rosa stared at him.

“Any time now, Peralta.”

“I’m thinking!” he said. “Don’t rush me.”

She rolled her eyes.

“I just--do you have a boyfriend?”

She looked at him like he was crazy. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“I heard you, I don’t know, like months ago tell Charles you had a boyfriend, but I’m here all the time and we spend all our time together and I--” he trailed off losing steam.

“You’re a fucking idiot,” she said. “No, I don’t have a boyfriend.”

His shoulders sagged with relief.

“I have a husband, you fucking moron.”

He looked sharply over at her. “Wait,” he said. “What?”

She crossed the room so she was standing right in front of him. “You’re here all the time,” she said. “We spend all our time together. You’re my boyfriend. We’re just also married.”

“Oh,” he said, and smiled. “Right.”

She wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled him down for a kiss.

“Anything else you want to talk about?” she asked him, biting his lip a little.

“Nope,” he said. “I’m good.”

She smiled, and pulled him in for another kiss. He kissed her back for a long moment, running his hands up and down her back, and tugged a little on the ends of her hair. Then he pulled back.

“No wait,” he said. “There is one more thing.”

“What?” she asked exasperated.

“I love you,” he told her.

She smiled. “I know.”

He stared. “Do you just--did you just Han Solo me?”

She smirked.

“God,” he said. “Why am I even married to you?”

“I’ll never tell.”

Jake found he really, really didn’t care.