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Sovereign District

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Apparently, God hates fags.

“It's disturbing the peace,” Jake had said, with Amy for once in total agreement, “and, oh, wait, yeah, we're the actual NYPD! But we can't just tell them to knock it the fuck off. Oh, no, that would be political.”

Amy does get, though, why they just have to deal – more so than Peralta, who's now dropping water balloons out the men's room window – though it is kind of galling to witness people committing public disorder offences right outside their windows. “Ignore, ignore, ignore,” Terry is chanting as they go through the main doors of the precinct, and the roar gets louder and the crush of reporters and people holding pickets presses in closer, so it even feels warmer, like it’s the foul breath of some enormous animal. Amy’s keeping her mind on Terry and on her own steps, aware of Rosa behind her muttering things under her breath, one foot after another. “Don’t react,” Terry says, and that’s right, it’s important to Captain Holt and to the NYPD and possibly the entire federal justice system that they get through this without causing any kind of scene, and they’re almost through, out to the clear space of the street beyond the crowd, when something snaps in Rosa like an over-tensed wire. “I’ll give them something to fucking shout about” – and her arms are around Amy, almost lifting her bodily above the crowd, and then Rosa kisses Amy, properly, deeply, right there in front of God and everyone.

Rosa's a great kisser, thinks the part of Amy's brain that's not shrieking what the hell is happening right now, and then all the homophobes are turning to look at them like hungry jackals, the sergeant is shouting something that sounds like abort abort abort, they’re turning on their heels and heading back to the precinct with their heads down and Amy's thinking, with some bitterness as they break through the door with the roar of the crowd breaking like a wave over them, New York's finest – and then a weird tempering sweetness. Rosa’s chapstick, she figures out after a minute: strawberry.

*

When they get inside Rosa won’t talk to anyone: she strides across the bullpen to Captain Holt’s office, the door closes behind her and that’s the last they see of her for a while.

“So, Rosa,” Amy asks thin air, "why did you just kiss me in front of a gazillion people? Hey, Rosa, do you think I'm pretty? Oh, hey, Rosa, don't you think it's cute that Detective Santiago has lost her mind?"

Jake looks up and says, “Are you okay?” – and his voice sounds careful and considerate, as though he’s asking because he’s got it in him to be a decent human being and genuinely concerned for her well-being. It’s weird and she doesn’t like it.

“I’m fine,” she tells him, “I’m fine, I’m just fine, seriously, I’m fine.”

“Oh, yeah,” he says, “anything you say four times must be true.”

“Look, Peralta,” she starts, and she’s not even sure what she’s going to say next, only that she's going to yell it, whatever it is – and then she stops, because he's still looking at her with something real concern and it's possible he's not the one in this conversation who's about to act like a dick.

“I’m just saying,” he says, “you could actually talk to Diaz rather than, you know, the ceiling. Also" – this as though he, Jake Peralta, has just thought of it – "you and Diaz should totally hook up! It'd be hot."

“Peralta,” Amy starts, revising her opinion of whether he's being a dick, but then the door to Captain Holt’s office opens and that actually is Diaz, crossing the room and coming right over to her. Rosa looks pale and harassed, and there’s a long moment while they both stand there in awkward silence.

“Detective Santiago,” Holt says, emerging from his office, “Detective Diaz has something she wishes to say to you.”

Diaz just stands there for another minute. “Sorry,” she says, eventually. “Sorry. About – like, your boundaries and stuff. Sorry. Sorry.”

“Rosa,” Amy says, but Rosa shakes her head and takes a step back. “Rosa” – but then Rosa’s gone altogether, darting across the room in a flash and vanishing down the hallway, leaving Amy and Captain Holt facing each other. He gives her a long, careful, appraising look. Amy stands still under that scrutiny: as usual, she can’t tell what he’s thinking.

“I’m grateful,” he says, after a moment, “for all of your forbearance during this time.”

And before Amy can respond to that he’s gone, too, and it’s quiet in here except for the sound of Jake cracking his gum, but somehow Amy is feeling like she’s outside in the crowd again, her ears filled with the roar of blood and anger, and her mouth bruised and sweet.

*

The following day, Amy tries maybe another five times to talk to Rosa, but it doesn’t work: Rosa slips off to the evidence room and slinks away to the ladies’ room and when she can't hide any more, declares she’s got a lead to follow the other side of the city and takes off without backup or another word.

Which is why she misses the moment (with everyone, even Peralta and the perps, sitting there in hushed silence) when before God and everyone else, Captain Holt’s mother is confirmed by the Senate in her appointment to Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

*

Amy’s catching up on her paperwork – which is kind of a lie; Amy’s never behind on her paperwork, but when she’s not doing something she’s in danger of having to think, and Diaz has been ignoring her for two days – when the door to the bullpen opens, quietly, and a woman enters the room. Gina’s gone to the bathroom, the captain has stepped out and nearly everyone else has gone home for the day. Amy lays down her pen and says, “Can I help you, ma’am?”

“I’m looking for Raymond Holt,” says the woman, soft-spoken but with a familiar, cultured solemnity in her tones.

Amy gets it. “He just went out to grab some food,” she says. And then, because she can’t help herself: “It’s a pleasure to meet you, your honour.”

Justice Holt glances at her. “We’re not in the courtroom now, Detective,” she says, without acerbity. “No need to be so formal. You have the advantage of me, I might add.”

"I'm Amy," Amy says. "Amy Santiago. Would you like some tea? I’m just making it.”

Justice Holt nods. “Yes, please,” she says, and while Amy's busy with tea bags and hot water, she sits down on Jake’s chair, looking up with a smile when Amy hands her a steaming mug. “Thank you, Detective. And while I'm here, I must also thank you for your patience. I understand from Raymond that certain political elements and the press have been making the precinct’s life very difficult during my confirmation process.”

“It’s all in a day’s work, ma’am,” Amy says, and she sort of meant that to come out chirpy and upbeat, but she just sounds depressed. “They’ve all gone now, anyway.”

“Fascinating, isn’t it, how they lose interest,” Justice Holt says, wryly. “I wonder how many of them would refuse to have perpetrators of crimes against them arrested by Raymond. Or yourself,” she adds, and something drops in Amy’s stomach – and it must show on her face, because Justice Holt goes on, quickly, “I only meant, life can’t always be easy for a Latina officer in the NYPD.”

“No,” Amy says, honestly, thinking that over. “It helps that there’s Rosa, too – Detective Diaz, you know.”

“Raymond has mentioned her,” Justice Holt says, warmly, and Amy’s reminded of Jake describing the Nine-Nine at Thanksgiving, lovingly: two black dads, two white sons, two Latina daughters. She was okay with that description back then and she's okay with it now.

“It’s a hard life, that of a police officer,” Judge Holt says, thoughtfully. “In some ways a judge – even a justice of the Supreme Court” – she pauses, smiles a little self-consciously – “is required to be courageous just once in a day, or week, or year, or however often she picks up her pen and writes, Justice Holt, dissenting.” She looks a little surprised at herself then, as though she isn't sure the name fits yet. “Whereas a police officer must, at every minute, inhabit the machinery of the state, and her own compassion; she must be loyal, but impartial; she must be brave enough to be the implacable tool of a polity, but also to live, and love, and serve her fellow woman.”

Amy pauses in sipping from her mug, taking that in. When she looks up, Justice Holt is looking at her with a slightly embarrassed look. "Forgive the ramblings of an old woman, Detective, it’s been a very long day.”

“That’s okay,” Amy says. There’s a sound from outside, and they both turn. “That’s probably the captain, I should get going.”

“Don’t leave on my account,” Justice Holt says, but Amy shakes her head.

“I’ve just realised," she says, "I have to go do something. It was good to meet you,” she adds, meaning it. "And congratulations."

“Thank you, Detective.” Justice Holt nods at her, and Amy picks up her coat and her purse and heads towards the door. On the threshold she can hear voices – probably the captain talking to Gina – and something makes her turn and look back.

“Justice Holt.” Amy pauses, thinks about all of it: about how late in his career Captain Holt got his first command; about the people trying to threaten and intimidate them right outside their own precinct; of how Amy tried and tried to talk to her and Rosa, tough-as-nails Rosa, turned and ran. “You will look out for us, won’t you?”

The judge smiles. “We’ll be brave together, Detective Santiago.”

Amy grins back, warmed by that smile. “Yeah, we will.”

*

And she’s still feeling good, buoyed and awesome, approximately ten minutes later when she’s banging on Rosa’s door. She bangs on it for a whole minute before Rosa pulls it open a crack. Her face falls visibly even through that tiny gap. “Santiago. What do you want?”

Amy keeps on banging. “Let me in, Rosa.”

“No. How do you even know where I live?”

“I’m a detective.” Amy rolls her eyes. “Rosa! Open the hell up. Why did you kiss me?”

“Okay,” Rosa says, “we are not doing this.”

“Did you mean it?” Amy yells, probably loud enough for all the neighbours to hear, and then nearly goes flying as Rosa opens the door. “Fuck!”

"Mind yourself," Rosa mutters, kind of sardonically; Amy sticks her tongue out, which, okay, isn't that mature, but she does spend all day every day with Jake Peralta. She collects herself and takes a proper look around, and notes to her surprise that Rosa’s apartment is minimalist but not Spartan. There are shelves full of books, a cosy-looking throw falling haphazardly off the couch. “Okay,” Amy says, getting down to it. “Either you meant to kiss me, I mean, kiss me like that, which is awesome, or you didn’t, which is fine, Rosa, really, it’s fine, just tell me.”

Rosa makes a growling nose into her hands. “Shut up, Santiago.”

“I will, if you start talking.” Amy plants her ass on Rosa’s couch and waits, expectantly. After a moment, Rosa gives up and sits down next to her, sighing.

“Those guys pissed me the hell off,” Rosa says after another minute. “Captain Holt in the precinct, his mom on the court? They don’t know how good they got it.”

Amy nods.

“You piss me off,” Rosa adds, a second later. “You’re so fucking perky, Santiago, seriously. You eat that stuff for breakfast. It's all brown and sticky and it isn't even food."

"Granola?"

"I bet you were homecoming queen in high school or some shit like that.” Off Amy’s look, Rosa groans again. “You were!”

“And valedictorian.” Amy won’t be ashamed of it. “Diaz. Is there a point to this?”

“Yeah, I meant it!” Rosa’s looking at her, defiant. “Yeah. I didn’t mean to do it, but I meant it when I did it. That make sense to you?”

“Yes,” Amy says softly, thinking about Justice Holt, talking about how to be brave enough. “Yes.”

“Fine.” Rosa crosses her arms and looks so damn pissed off that Amy laughs, delightedly. “Whatever.”

“So why have you been running at the sight of me?” Amy asks.

“This!” Rosa waves an irritated hand. “You want to talk about… feelings, and shit. I knew you would. I hate feelings. I hate talking. I hate…”

"Granola?"

"Shut up, Santiago."

Amy laughs again. “Oh, I don’t know,” she says, “I think I’m done talking.” She lifts her palms, a beckoning gesture. She feels good, right now – tough, ready for anything and open to it too. "Are you scared, Rosa? It's okay if you are."

Rosa glares at her some more. But she shrugs off her leather jacket and moves a little closer to Amy, her hands reaching out towards Amy’s face, pushing Amy’s hair out of her eyes with confidence in her movements. She kisses Amy, and Amy tastes strawberries again, strawberries and warmth and promise. Maybe, Amy's thinking, all she needed was time. After all, Rosa is a cop: she’s a detective in the NYPD, and they’re the bravest people Amy has ever known.