Chapter 1: Prologue
It started, like all stories at the Nine-Nine do, with a case.
All their intel indicated that the stash house was an unassuming apartment in Boerum Hill. It was going to be a hell of a bust, and Jake and Charles had put in a huge amount of hours tracking down leads, staking out corners, and putting together the tidbits of info they shook out of their CIs. It was supposed to go off without a hitch.
"Everyone in position?" Jake muttered into his radio. A series of codenames and affirmatives came back. Behind him, battering ram in hand, Sarge was suited up and ready, the white earpiece glinting slightly in the hallway light. Behind the Sarge were Charles and half the Nine Nine, the rest of the squad distributed through the floor and covering exits.
Jake raised a hand and knocked loudly, three sharp raps against the steel-reinforced door. "Paeng Celino, this is the NYPD. Come out with your hands up."
There were sounds of movement on the other side and Jake gave the signal to bust in. Sarge and a member of SWAT busted down the door and Jake and Charles walked in.
There was a young woman brandishing a large, knobby branch. "Stand back," Jake shouted, but it wasn't clear if he was talking to the woman or to the others. "Ma'am, we--"
"Canis lupus jurisprudence!" the young woman cried, waving her big stick. Jake's world went white, and then black.
"Has anyone seen Jake?" The Sarge asked, his voice carrying in the small room.
There came a loud bark, and the group turned as one to face it. They found a large, lanky dog wearing a fan chain with Jake's badge, standing on Jake's clothes.
"Why does that dog have Jake's badge?" Amy asked, hand slowly reaching out to point.
The dog barked again, and then smiled, tongue lolling out.
"Jake is a dog now," Rosa said, and it was almost a question.
"Technically," the young woman piped up, voice surprisingly cheery. "He's a low-content wolfdog."
"Oh no," said Charles.
"Ew," Amy muttered.
"Really?" Sarge asked, perplexed.
"Technically, he's three-quarters German Shepherd, one quarter lupine," the young woman added, trying to move her hands to gesture. They caught on the ring she was handcuffed to by Terry's desk.
"Who is this bohemian-looking young woman, and why is there a large dog in my squadroom?" Holt surveyed his bullpen of detectives with a keen glance that took in the entire scene, including Gina tussling with the large dog creature in the center aisle.
At Holt's voice, the large dog had extricated itself from Gina and padded over to Holt, where it stood at attention, ears pricked and expression expectant.
"This dog," Holt started, pausing to look it over. It looked remarkably like a German Shepherd, but larger, with longer legs, a more elongated snout, and slightly slanted, deep brown eyes, whereas the dogs in the K9 unit downstairs had more rounded eyes. Its face was mostly brown, with dark rings towards its snout, jaw, and paws. It had a dark back with sable underside, and a straight tail, and its ears were slightly smaller than the usual Shepherd's. "Has no collar," Holt finished. "But he's wearing Peralta's badge?"
The dog barked, then raised one paw.
The others in the precinct eyed each other nervously.
Rosa stepped forward. "That woman over there is Lucy Daniels--"
"Oaksdottir, I told you," she broke in, her strawberry blonde hair falling out of the bandanna holding it back. She was frowning.
"Whatever," Rosa continued. "She's a pagan priestess. The apartment we raided today was hers, not Celino's. She saw Jake go through the door and turned him into a dog."
"Wolfdog," Lucy corrected. "Low content wolf-dog hybrid."
"Whatever," Rosa repeated. "We arrested her and brought them both back to the precinct for questioning.
"And treats!" Charles added.
Jake barked and panted, tongue lolling out once more. His tail began to wag in earnest.
Holt frowned slightly. Sarge swallowed; he had never seen the Captain so upset. Or was he confused? "Lucy," the captain stated slowly, "it seems you have some explaining to do."
"But why a dog?" Terry looked perplexed, hands on his hips, suspenders threatening to snap. Lucy looked both terrified and intrigued. "We usually get called 'pigs' and Jake is definitely not a pig. I know what pigs look like!"
"Like cops?" Lucy snarked.
Terry practically growled.
Lucy held up her hands. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding!" She lowered her hands and looked sheepish. "I couldn't remember the word for pig in Latin."
In lockup, Jake the Wolfdog made a whining noise.
"Do we really have to keep him there?" Gina frowned. "It's Jake, I've known him since we were kids, he wouldn't hurt any of us."
"He's a quarter wolf," Amy pointed out, a slight note of panic in her voice. "He could attack us in our sleep."
Jake the Wolfdog made a sound that was a cross between a snort and a huff.
"Even Jake doesn't believe that, Ames." She shot Amy a superior look before turning back to Holt. "Can we please let him sit by my desk? Or at his own desk?"
"We are going to need that lockup back in business pretty soon," Terry pointed out.
"Fine." Holt gave a slight nod. "But he needs a collar."
"Oh! I have one!" Charles reached into his desk.
"Ew, Charles, it better not be a weird S&M slave collar," Gina declared, looking both disgusted and intrigued at the same time, somehow.
Jake rested his head on one paw and covered his eyes with the other. Silently, Amy agreed.
"Ha ha, no," Charles laughed sarcastically. "I've kept one of Richard and Dan's collars with me at work 'cause I kept forgetting to take it home. It's even got extra tags."
"I suppose Peralta could be a Richard or a Dan for some time," Holt mused aloud.
"I don't like this," Amy murmured.
"Don't be such a silly-billy, Amy," Scully chided. He turned to Holt. "Does this mean I can bring Kelly in? I think she and Jake the Wolfdog--"
"Is that we're calling him, really?" Rosa interrupted.
Scully steamrolled on, unconcerned. "I think they'd get along swell."
"Is Kelly his wife or his dog?" Rosa stage-whispered.
Sarge turned to Lucy. "Just, look, how long is he going to be..." Terry gestured vaguely at the holding cell.
"Canine?" The priestess shrugged and fiddled with the pendant resting in the hollow of her throat. "My magic is pretty lunar-based. I'd guess no more than a month."
"You guess," Rosa echoed, disbelieving.
"Wait, we have to take care of a wolf for a month?" Terry frowned.
"Wolfdog, and yes." She shrugged. "Mazel tov?"
Jake made a wounded noise from lockup.
Boyle watched jealously from his desk as Jake licked Gina affectionately.
"Man, I was supposed to be Hooch," Boyle muttered.
"Get a grip, man," Terry retorted, looking up from where he was filling out boxes in the booking system about Lucy Daniels Oaksdottir, who sat, slumped down and obviously bored, in the chair by Sarge's desk.
"Yeah," Rosa agreed. "Besides, you're a better Turner."
The others in the bullpen had varied reactions. Both of Amy's eyebrows rose. Gina frowned and looked up from her phone. Terry looked confused. Holt appeared impassive.
And Boyle appeared delighted. "You really think so? I never thought I could have Tom Hanks's rugged masculinity."
"You're funny," Rosa replied flatly. "And sweet. Definitely Turner. Also, Jake and Gina aren't solving crimes."
Just then, Gina shouted, "Jake, you found it! Oh, Jakey, you solved the case of my missing bracelet! Who's a good boy? Who's a goooood boy?"
There was a long, awkward pause. Rosa shrugged. "Still think you're Turner."
"Not it," Rosa said immediately.
Charles shook his head. "I already have three dogs, and Jake hated them before he became a half-wild animal. I can't do that to Richard and Dan."
"He's a quarter wolf," Lucy grumbled, still chained to the ring at Sarge's desk. The paperwork appeared to be multiplying.
"Yes, and I am concerned for my husband's dog, Cheddar, for much the same reasons." Someone watching carefully might have seen Holt's expression almost turn relieved.
"I have two baby girls. No wild animal is coming into my house!" Terry gestured so emphatically, Jake whined and tucked back his ears.
"Well, I'm deathly allergic," Amy stammered out.
"You haven't sneezed once since Jake grew a tail," Rosa pointed out, frowning. "Why aren't you dead yet, anyway?"
"I made him hypoallergenic," Lucy said with a sigh. The room turned to look at her, including Jake. She looked defensive. "I'm allergic to dogs, too, okay? I didn't want to die thirty seconds after managing to transfigure someone for real."
"It's settled," Holt said firmly. "Gina and Amy will take turns taking care of Jake so long as he is a dog--"
"Wolfdog," the detectives and Lucy, still cuffed, corrected in unison.
"Yes, wolfdog. Until such time as Peralta is once more homo sapien."
"Wait, Peralta is gay?" Hitchcock looked confused.
Amy shook her head. "If this were a sitcom, I'd call that joke lazy."
"This isn't a sitcom, and that joke was definitely lazy," Gina corrected. "I get him this week, you can have him next weekend."
"I feel like a divorcee," Amy muttered.
"Accurate. We even hate each other!" Gina added, beaming. Jake nudged his nose into her leg and growled slightly before padding over to Amy.
Jake rested his head on Amy's leg, his long, straight tail flat on the floor, ears back. The only word for his expression was contrite. "Stop that," Amy chided. "Don't give me that look, you did this to yourself." He didn't move. She sighed. "Typical."
Chapter 2: Week One
In case it's not obvious already: yes, this fic is cracky casefic. :)
Surprising exactly no one, Gina hated taking care of Jake.
"Ugh, it's the worst," she whined, scratching Jake behind his ears. Jake was wagging his tail and nudging his head into her hand. "I have to wake up early and take him on walks, I have to clean up after him, he sheds, god, it's the worst."
And, of course, no one blinked when Jake came in wearing a studded collar and smelling like lavender. When asked, Gina shrugged and said, "It looked good, and he liked the smell."
"It's cool," Rosa said, and gestured for Jake to come closer. Obediently, he padded over to Rosa, who (surprisingly gently) tugged at the collar. "Maybe I should get one to complete my look."
Jake made a whining noise.
"What he said," Gina said.
"What kind of food are you feeding him? I only give Richard and Dan the best dry food on the market." Charles perked up. "If you want, I could give you the name of my vet--"
Jake growled, and Gina looked up from her phone to say, "Thanks but no, and the thanks was sarcastic. I'm feeding Jake the way Jake would feed Jake."
"You can't give a dog candy!" Terry stood up, affronted. "They can't brush their teeth!" He frowned.
Gina finally set down her phone, signaling shit was gonna get real. "Relax, Tear-Bear, I'm sticking to Chinese takeout and pizza. I'm irresponsible, not insane."
"Yes," said Captain Holt, appearing in his office doorway. Half the bullpen jumped, with Rosa, Jake, and Gina being the ones noticeably still. (Gina had spotted him in her selfie camera, which she was texting the admins.) "Gina is absolutely not insane. In fact, we once scored the same on a personality test."
"Like in Cosmo?" Amy raised an eyebrow at Gina, expression already a little lofty.
"No, like in the APA, get it right Amy." Gina shot her a disgusted look, then reached into her bag and pulled out a dog treat. "Jakey!"
Jake trotted over and took the chewable treat from her hand. It was gone in a handful of bites.
"Aren't those the dental-protecting kind of chewy treats?" Charles asked hesitantly, extremely aware that he was only allowed to talk to Gina for a finite number of minutes per day and he was closing in on the limit.
"Duh," Gina said, patting Jake on the head absently. "Have you met Jake? He hasn't been to the dentist more than once in the last 8 years."
"Yes, I remember that." Holt interjected. "He sent me a card to celebrate."
"Classy," Rosa declared, propping her feet on her desk.
Scully stood suddenly. "Captain, can I please bring Kelly in? I really think she and Jake would get along swell."
Holt looked at Scully for a long moment. "No."
Rosa walked into the briefing room to see Amy staring intently at the case board that Jake had put together before he had been transfigured, the various players in CLO, the gang that Celino ran. Amy was perched on the edge of one of the tables, and her expression was deep in thought.
"What is it?" Rosa asked. Jake padded in behind her, identification tags jangling on his collar and black nails clacking against the linoleum. He took a seat to Amy's right, eerily still and eyes intent on the board. Rosa idly wondered how much of it Jake the Wolfdog (ugh) really understood.
Amy idly petted Jake's head before setting her hand on his collar. "I was thinking about what happens next. Jake's raid went to the wrong apartment, meaning Celino is on the move, if he was ever in that building."
"Guess we're back to square one."
"Yeah, and since Jake is….canine for another three and a half weeks, I guess I'll take over his open cases until he's human again."
"I'll take some. Drug stuff. Boyle can take the robberies."
Amy nodded and stared at the board, taking in Jake's (surprisingly tidy) notes and layout. As if sensing her appreciation, Jake's tongue lolled out and he looked at her, beaming with a doggie smile.
"I think he likes you," Rosa deadpanned.
"Technically, you qualify as his 'type' too," Amy muttered.
"You wanna help me with this case or not?"
"I'm in." Rosa skimmed the board. "Let's shake down some CIs."
Jake barked once and stood, shaking himself and padding out the door to Scully and Hitchcock's desks.
No one liked going through LUDs except Amy, and sometimes Jake. Of course, Jake was currently canine, leaving Amy alone, call logs and highlighter rainbow laid out in front of her. Across from her, in the chair that stood beside Amy's desk, Rosa was slumped, feet stretched out in front of her (clad in the purple ankle boots that Amy, and apparently Jake too given how he had licked at them, liked) and the Celino file precariously balanced on her stomach.
Amy was tired, the post-lunch coffee wearing off. She was pretty sure her contacts were starting to dry out and her hands must have been starting to shake because--
She sat up straight, alert and rifling through papers. Jake, head on her leg, stood up, tail wagging, her energy catching. "I think I have something," she said, and Rosa planted her feet and leaned forward to see Amy's spread out pages. "Look, Celino calls this number twice a week, two times in a row. The first call lasted five seconds, the second would run ten minutes to an hour or more."
Amy shook her head, and Jake pawed the linoleum. "Not every time, but most Mondays and Thursdays, yeah."
Rosa pulled out a sheet from the file. "I know that number, it's--"
"The dance studio," they said in unison.
Jake made a, "Rowr?" sound. Amy looked at Jake the Wolfdog, then at Rosa.
Rosa's expression was vaguely amused. "Explain it to Jake," she commanded, in her taskforce leader voice, and Amy cursed her inability to disobey authoritative tones.
"Damn my respect for authoritative voices," she muttered. Then, feeling foolish, she turned to Jake and explained. "Paeng Celino has a brother, Miguel, who runs a hip hop dance studio. According to the LUDs, Celino has been calling the studio regularly for the last month in a specific pattern."
Jake reared up and picked up the phone in his teeth, holding it expectantly while the dial tone rang out.
Rosa shook her head. "Tapping the studio could take weeks."
"How do you speak wolf?" Amy asked, marveling.
Rosa ignored her and took the receiver out of Jake's mouth and set it back on its cradle. Amy made a mental note to disinfect it thoroughly later. "We should send someone in to do some undercover work."
Jake make a short, assenting bark and turned his face to Amy, looking at her expectantly. When Rosa sent her the same expression, Amy realized what their plan was.
"No." She crossed her arms. "No."
"You're bad enough a dancer that it works," Rosa pointed out.
"No one knows if you can dance," Amy replied acerbically.
"Rosa can dance," Terry interrupted. Rosa glared and Terry shrank back. "I, uh, have it on good authority?"
"And it can't be me, I'm an amazing dancer," Gina added laconically, filing her nails.
"Also, you're not a cop." Rosa raised an eyebrow.
"Details," Gina replied, waving her emery board dismissively.
"And Jake is a wolf."
Jake made a sound and reared up on his hind legs and shimmied, insofar as a dog could.
"...I think Jake is trying to assert his dance dominance." Terry seemed incredulous.
Gina looked like she might cry. "I've never been prouder of my son."
"Ew," Amy muttered, then sighed."What do I wear to a hip-hop class?"
"Something revealing," Gina shouted immediately.
Terry stopped himself from rolling his eyes. "Sweatpants, sports bra, athletic shoes, and a tank top."
Amy looked down at herself. "I can do that."
Jake barked loudly and grinned, licking her hand.
"I believe Detective Peralta thinks you can take on this assignment, too," Holt broke in, taking up the space of his doorway. He almost looked as though he were smiling.
Amy rubbed Jake behind his ears, setting his tail to wagging, and murmured, "Good boy."
Amy tugged on her ponytail nervously and on the other side from the glass from Miguel Celino in Interview Room 3. She was still dressed in her undercover getup, the ends of her ponytail sticking to her neck because she was still sweaty from the dance class. her badge, haphazardly thrust into the rolled waistband of her sweats, poked her in the hip. Inside the room, Boyle did his best to look threatening, arms folded across his chest and frowning. Rosa methodically filled out paperwork while radiating menace. It was a surprisingly good tactic, Amy had to admit.
"I don't know nothin'," Miguel Celino insisted, looking panicked. He was dressed like a b-boy, which Amy supposed made sense. He was also clearly nervous as hell, given that no part of him seemed to be able to stay still.
"Stop tapping," Rosa commanded. Miguel froze, and Amy nearly laughed. Beside her, Jake made a snorting sound that, were he less canine, might pass for a chuckle. Amy realized she was starting to understand Jake's various dog sounds and wondered if adding "conversational in wolf" to her resume would be too premature or bizarre.
Boyle leaned forward onto the interrogation table. "When was the last time you saw your brother?"
Miguel frowned and leaned back. "Saw? Maybe a month ago."
"You've heard from him?" Rosa stopped filling out paperwork.
"Yeah, he calls twice a week, we talk for like an hour."
"You mean, he calls twice, right? Once really short, the second time really long?"
Miguel laughed. "Nah, man, our phone line is all jacked up, sometimes we get them 'ghost' calls, you know? Where it disconnects when you pick up?"
"That's not a thing," Rosa said and stood, leaning over the desk. "Who told you that was a thing?"
"I hired my best dancers to help out. Sharon Yee and Czar, it was one of 'em, I can't really remember."
"You got a better name for Czar?" Boyle asked.
Miguel shook his head. "Uh-uh, he always pays in cash and that's how he registered for my class. He looks kinda Russian, though, I guess?"
"Last question," Boyle said, voice menacing. Miguel swallowed. Boyle's face brightened. "How do you get your calves so toned?"
"Boyle, no," Amy muttered, idly petting a quietly whining Jake on the head.
Jake came into the precinct the next day wearing a plaid shirt complete with collar.
"Isn't it great?" Gina crowed, showing Jake off. Jake, for his part, was allowing himself to be on display, standing still on four legs with his ears pricked, though his attention was on the kitchen. "I figured Jake deserved a reward for getting me 500 new Instagram followers."
"What?!" Terry shouted, standing up. "You've been posting pictures of Jake?"
"Technically, his tags say he's Richard," Boyle pointed out. "Hey, maybe my dogs and Jake could have a playdate at the dog park."
"No one cares, Charles," Gina replied sweetly. "Jake is taking the internet by storm. It's almost too much for me to keep up with."
"Oh god," Amy muttered, and wondered if she would have to take on Instagrammer responsibilities in addition to new dog mom.
"Nope," Gina said, answering Amy's unspoken question. "I grabbed pics of him to queue up for the next year. Your terrible photos have no place on my insta, thanks."
"I'm not that bad."
"If it's not a crime scene, you're not great," Rosa broke in, reaching out with a dog treat between her fingers. "You use way too much flash." Jake padded over and took the biscuit from her hand. While he chewed, she petted him. She caught everyone staring and said, "What? Dogs are cool."
"So I followed up on the Czar tip that Celino's brother gave us," Amy said loudly, trying to get the squad back on track. Sarge sent her a pitying look, which Amy pretended not to see. "Security cam footage and Celino's ID brought us to this guy." She added to the whiteboard at the front of the briefing room two photos: a still from security footage from the bodega across the street from the Pop n Lock Dance Studio, and a mugshot with a nameplate.
"Ilya Maltsev, 20. His rap sheet is pretty short -- a couple of pickups for vandalism and defacement, nothing big."
"That's a big jump for a kid," Rosa said, continuing to scritch Jake behind the ears. His tongue lolled out and he tilted into her touch.
"He's definitely small fry," Amy agreed, fingers tapping on the file in her hands. "But I think if we can lean on him right, he'll give up some names that actually matter."
"You should have Sarge challenge him to a dance battle," Rosa suggested, deadpan.
Sarge straightened. "I know you're joking, but we all know I would kill it."
"A-men," Gina added, not looking up from her phone.
Chapter 3: Week Two
Amy's first week with Dog!Jake.
Saturday morning, at some ungodly hour, Amy awoke to her phone and her door buzzer going off simultaneously.
"The world is ending," she moaned, pressing the answer button on her phone without looking.
"Let me up, I'm too pretty to skulk by the door like a homeless person," Gina half-shouted, and then immediately hung up. Amy made an inhuman noise, pushed her hair out of her face, and buzzed Gina up. Then, she wandered into her bath to at least try to look presentable.
When Gina banged on the door with a police knock to rival her own, Amy was pat-drying her face. Sighing, she slid on her glasses and opened her door.
Jake bounded into the apartment and proceeded to sniff and roam into every corner. Amy internally winced as she saw him nose at all three doilies on her sofa, before turning to face Gina. Gina, for her part, looked positively burdened, with two duffel bags on her shoulders and a massive dog bed in her hands.
"You've had him for a week! How could he possibly have this much stuff?!"
Gina bustled past Amy wordlessly and proceeded to unburden herself. "Obviously I had to show Jake I loved him by buying him stuff."
Amy sputtered. "He's a dog for a month! How much does he really need?"
Gina continued to ignore Amy's perfectly reasonable questions. "This is his bed, he's a guard dog so keep it near a door so that he can feel useful. Sometimes he'll lie down by the entrance, that's totally normal." She reached for the red duffel bag and opened it. "These are his toys, treats, and this --" she handed Amy a plastic tube for documents -- "has his medical records, if you put him in daycare or a kennel." Amy took the tube and Gina continued to rummage. "There's also shampoo, clippers, an extra leash and harness, a brush, and a K9 vest."
"How did you get a K9 vest?"
"I know a guy."
"What's in the other bag?"
"Clothes, his water bowl, and dry food."
"I thought you were just feeding him off your plate?"
"I lied." Gina shot her a look as she straightened up. "One and a half cups of dry food mixed with half a can plus some water, got it?"
"I….I think so." Amy pressed a hand to her head. She felt something wet and cold nudge the back of her knee.
"I added a cheat sheet to Jake's medical records with his feeding and walking instructions." Gina looked at Jake and lowered her voice, leaning in. Amy's heart rate spiked. "Don't let him wear you out when he plays f-e-t-c-h or if you guys get into a w-a-r with his r-o-p-e."
"Gina, I'm pretty sure Jake can spell."
"You've seen his arrest reports, do you honestly believe that?"
Gina hung out for about fifteen minutes to play with Jake and get his bed and food set up in Amy's kitchen -- "Julia Child you are not," she declared, taking in the empty state of Amy's cupboards. Amy reddened but didn't have a good retort at hand and wouldn't think of one until the next morning -- before heading out.
Amy had a sudden moment of panic. "Wait, but--"
Gina put her hands on Amy's shoulders and looked her in the eye. "You're gonna be fine," Gina said, voice serious. "It's just a dog, one you're not allergic to by some miracle and weird druid magic. He's just like a small child." Gina paused. "So he's really not that different from Jake the Human."
Amy laughed, and Gina smiled and pulled away. "Bye, bitches!" And with a waved peace sign, two fingers in a V, she left Amy's apartment, slamming the front door behind her.
Amy looked at Jake.
Jake looked at Amy.
He barked and tilted his head at her.
She tilted her head at him.
He tilted the other way.
She mimicked him.
He made a whining sound.
Amy smacked her forehead with an open palm. "Coffee! I need coffee."
Amy dried her hands and surveyed her kitchen. "Well," she said slowly. From his prone position on the floor, Jake's ears swiveled towards her and his eyes looked up at her. "I was going to clean my house but maybe instead we could….go to the park?"
Jake stood on all fours in a flash and barked, tongue lolling out and panting with excitement.
"That's a yes," she muttered, and headed into her bedroom to change. Jake, for his part, padded to the door and pawed at it impatiently, making whining noises when he thought Amy was taking too long. "Just a minute," she admonished, and lifted the leash from the entryway table. It was a retractable leash, with a little plastic bone filled with plastic bags attached by a ring. Amy also pocketed a tennis ball that had seen better days into the front pocket of her hoodie.
"You ready, Jake?"
"Let's go!" she said with cheer she didn't quite feel, pulling open her front door with a flourish.
Amy quickly realized that letting Jake take the lead was the less stressful choice and allowed him to pull her along in some random direction, hoping he didn't rip her arm out of its socket. As a dog, Jake was probably about as strong as she was, and nearly taller on his hind legs. Jake sniffed everything along the way: garbage and hydrants and bike racks and lightposts. Occasionally, he would mark his territory, and Amy would make a sarcastic comment about men, causing passers-by to look at her funny.
"I really shouldn't talk to you like you can understand," she said with a sigh.
Jake continued sniffing along the edge of a building.
"I mean, you're a dog, not Jake. Well, I mean, you're still Jake, just not Jake." She frowned. "Also, this is making me sound insane."
"You look crazy, too," called the homeless guy on the corner.
"Shut it, Tom!"
Jake loved fetch. He loved fetch. Amy considered it a sickness. So did her throwing arm and aching shoulder.
In rapturous ecstasy, he brought back the worn tennis ball, covered in slobber and with bite marks, though he handed over the ball on command with little resistance. Amy threw the ball once more, and Jake chased after it.
The dog park was sparsely crowded for a Sunday afternoon. There were a couple of smaller dogs in the far corner, whom Jake wholly ignored in favor of the tennis ball.
Jake trotted up to her, ball in mouth, and dropped it at her feet, then took a few steps back to wait for her to launch it across the packed dirt space again.
"You have a problem, you realize that?"
Jake stared back at her, doggy expression a blank mask of total joy.
"And here I am, enabling you," Amy muttered, throwing the ball in a long arc. Jake tore off after it, did a victory lap, and returned to where Amy stood, once again dropping the tennis ball at her feet.
"God, you're annoying," she said again. She mimed throwing the bar as hard as she could, letting Jake start towards it, then tossed it over her shoulder, behind her. Jake barked, clearly annoyed, then ran around her to grab it again.
She picked up the ball from the ground where Jake dropped it for what felt like the millionth time. "Do you ever get tired?"
Jake's blank expression seemed to shift. Amy swore he was smirking.
"Don't answer that!" she scolded. She held the ball aloft. Jake's eyes tracked the once-neon yellow fuzz. The ball really had seen better days. "Seriously? We still have a drug trafficking case to solve and you wanna chase a ball in this tiny oval."
Jake's eyes were focused on the ball. Amy moved it a foot to the left. Jake kept watching it. Amy moved it til her arm was straight above her head. Jake kept watching it.
Amy sighed and threw the ball again, hoping she didn't hurt her rotator cuff before the week was up.
Two uniforms picked up Ilya while he was tagging a wall on private property. Nevermind that it was a heavily graffiti'ed corner with an overgrown lot full of paint cans and garbage like a proper New York cliche; Ilya needed to leave his mark, apparently, which had gotten him busted. He was sitting in Interview Room 2 while Rosa, Amy, and Boyle had a whispered argument in the hallway about who got to talk to him.
"I'm gonna do it," Rosa declared, glaring at the other two.
"But I'm much better at wheedling," Boyle pointed out. "And this guy whined the entire arrest. You already hate him."
"True," Rosa replied, shrugging with her arms folded across her chest.
"What about me?" Amy broke in. "I've been chasing this case for weeks now!"
"Week, singular, and yeah, we all have." Rosa shot Amy a look, who withered in the wake of Rosa's gaze.
Jake barked. The three of them turned to him and in unison said, "No."
"I still think it should be me," Boyle said, straightening and putting his hands on his hips. Jake walked over and sat next to Boyle's feet. Boyle looked smug.
"Wrong. Me." Rosa took a half-step forward and cocked a hip.
The door to the interview room opened, and Sarge poked his head out. "Do you all mind? I am trying to conduct an interview here?"
The three humans outside the door gaped while Sarge looked at each of them in turn, expression softening when he looked at Jake the Wolfdog. As soon as he shut the door, they shuffled into the observation room and turned on the audio.
"Listen, man," Czar was saying, his flat voice tinny in the speakers. "I don't know nothing."
"That's a double negative!" Sarge pointed out. "So you do know something!"
Amy had never been prouder of pedantry in her life.
"Stop, I can practically hear your happiness," Rosa muttered. Jake made a rumbly noise.
"I ain't helping you," Czar said with an air of finality. He leaned back in the chair and folded his arms across his chest. Under the table, one of his knees bounced. "Just charge me with loitering or whatever and let me go."
"Look," Sarge said, sitting down. "I literally couldn't care less about your tagging--"
"Hey," Czar said, sitting forward and jabbing his index finger against the stainless steel surface of the table. "That's my art man."
"I thought dancing was your art, Ilya. Or at least, that's what Paeng told us."
"Paeng wouldna said nothing. Pop n Lock is my crew." But Czar's expression had turned more uncertain at Paeng's name. The three of them leaned slightly forward, anticipating more.
"But you're Paeng's crew, right?" Sarge opened a file and laid out the call logs with the highlighted rows. "We know Paeng calls you and then calls his brother, and we know you told Miguel that the double-calls were some messed up shit with the phones, but that was a lie, wasn't it?"
"Yeah, so what? I don't know shit about phones."
"I wanna know what the code was."
Czar shook his head and leaned back. His leg resumed bouncing. "Nah, man. He'll kill me if he thinks I ratted him out."
"Paeng would only kill him if he had information worth being killed for," Boyle muttered, and Amy felt anticipation light up her nerves. Beside her, Jake pawed at the ground.
"I won't let that happen, Czar," Sarge said soothingly. "I can protect you, but I gotta know that your info is legit."
There were three tense beats of silence. Amy was pretty sure she held her breath for all of them.
Czar blinked first. "There's a warehouse, down by the waterfront."
Rosa punched the intercom off and Amy and Boyle both let out long breaths. "Hell yeah," Rosa, intonation flat but her eyes glittering.
Of course, all of Amy's other cases went to hell in a handbasket after that.
"Damn it!" she bit out, throwing her pen onto the surface of her desk.
"Temper, temper," Gina said in a sing-song voice.
"Shut up, Gina," Amy muttered, just slightly too quietly to be heard.
Rosa, with her bat-ears, smirked.
Jake nudged her leg with his nose.
Amy sighed and idly patted him. "My lead witness on this robbery just went off the grid," she explained, picking up her pen and spinning it between her fingers. Jake laid his head on her leg and Amy continued patting him while thinking aloud. "Without their testimony, this case is totally cold. Along with half my other open cases."
Jake's ears fell slightly. "No, none of yours went cold," Amy hastened to add, digging her nails into the back of his neck. "Yours all closed quickly -- and went to trial better than they would have, you're welcome." She frowned at her monitor and the stack of files on her desk. "These are all mine."
"I also find talking to my dogs very therapeutic," Charles offered, suddenly at Amy's desk. She tamped down an unbecoming yelp, though her fingers clenched in Jake's fur. He growled and shook her off, then padded to Rosa. He circled the space by her desk twice before lying down.
"I was just narrating to Jake what's going on," Amy replied, feeling suddenly defensive.
"It's okay, Jake is very easy to talk to," Gina interjected. "He always has been, since we were kids. I used to tell him everything. Jake still knows every detail about the first time a guy went downtown on me."
"That is not a work-appropriate topic of conversation," Terry pointed out, brandishing a stick pen of his own at Gina and Amy.
"I--what--" Amy sputtered.
Gina remained unfazed. "I bet the Ebony Falcon enjoys dining out."
"What person doesn't mind bunching mox from time to time," Rosa said, completely devoid of inflection.
"I am choosing to stay out of this conversation," Terry said firmly.
"I could talk about my--"
"No, Charles," chorused half the bullpen. The other half pretended to not be listening intently to the detectives.
(Except for Officer Bowles, who was deaf and thus actually not listening to the detectives. She had long since decided that while lipreading was a necessary and valuable skill, "eavesdropping" on this particular squad yielded nothing unless she was on-scene.)
In a different building entirely, Captain Holt experienced a strange, tingling feeling.
"Is something wrong?" his superior officer asked.
"I am having a strange premonition," he responded, toneless. "However, I do believe the feeling has passed."
Amy's cases continued to stall out.
She was stress-smoking at home, and Jake was having zero of it, glaring at her anytime she lit up. It was unnerving; dog-Jake would pad up to her, sit, and simply stare at her, silent and watching. It creeped her the fuck out.
"Stop that," she said to him, tapping the ash off the end, while they were on a late-night walk. "You're being very judgy right now and I don't appreciate it." An older woman gave Amy a sidelong glance and Amy tugged Jake's leash until he went a different way.
"Honestly, this neighborhood is going to the dogs."
Jake stopped and looked at her.
"Sorry," she replied. "It's getting way worse. Strollers." She shuddered, a real one, and tossed the cigarette butt into a gutter. Jake made a whoof noise and trundled along the sidewalk, fully taking the lead of their walk and nearly dislocating Amy's shoulder.
"I really hope you know where you're going," she muttered, allowing herself to be dragged along.
Jake suddenly stopped and sent her an eloquent look.
"Okay, okay, I trust you." She rolled her eyes when he turned away, almost missing him vocalizing in a way that almost sounded like he was mocking her.
They ended up at the dog park, the dusty run lit by sodium lights and the trees casting weird, spooky shadows everywhere. Jake trotted up to the dog park entrance and sat, looking expectant.
"Seriously? Jake, do you know what time it is?"
Jake, being a dog, said nothing and simply continued to look at her expectantly.
"Fine," she said, and reached for the dog park's first, then second gate. "But you're gonna have to entertain yourself eventually, I'm beat."
Jake trotted in, then bolted, running around the perimeter of the dog park at top speed. Amy stood leaning against the shoulder-high black steel fence and watched Jake sprint back and forth across the length of the park, his long legs stretched out to the limit, his figure moving in graceful arcs. It suddenly struck Amy how contained dog-Jake was having to be in order to function.
She reached into her pocket and pulled out the bitten, worn-out tennis ball. "Jake! Fetch!"
Jake skidded to a stop and watched the highlighter-yellow tennis ball intently, eyes and head and neck moving as she launched the ball across the park. Jake bolted after it. Snagging it, he returned it to her, going from top speed to a sedate walk in the span of twenty feet.
She accepted the ball, covered in sand and dog drool, and patted Jake with her other hand. "Again?"
Jake barked. She launched the ball in a smooth arc, and watch Jake run the course once more.
They did this over and over until one of the lights flickered dramatically, snapping Amy out of her zen state. Jake was panting hard, and her apartment was a good ten blocks away. "C'mon, boy," Amy said, stifling a yawn behind a fist. "Time to go home."
Jake rubbed himself against Amy's legs until she petted him, and then the two of them made their way back to her place.
As Amy brushed her teeth carefully -- no more overbrushing enamel loss for her, dammit! -- she heard the jangle of Jake's tags and collar intermittently, almost as if he were pacing. Amy flossed and rinsed out her mouthwash, took out her contact lenses, and moisturized, walking herself through her nightly routine and feeling her eyelids getting heavier with each task.
Finally, in pajamas and smelling like her overnight moisturizer, she shuffled out of her bath, yawning broadly. She turned down her bed and crawled in, and almost didn't realize the jangle of dog tags had followed her until she was about to lean over to turn off the light.
Jake's cold nose pressed against her duvet, and the pressure was startling. "Jake!" she admonished. His expression was half pleading, half exhausted, and after a long moment, Amy sighed and switched off the lamp. "Fine," she said, rolling onto her side. "But just for tonight."
Jake laid his head on the duvet and closed his eyes, the eerie light in them disappearing. His ears remained pricked, and in the dark all Amy saw was a dark lump at the foot of her bed.
"Okay," she said softly, and breathed out slowly.
In Amy's dream, she was at her desk at work, like always. Across from her, hair shorn short and hoodie zipped up to his solar plexus. He looked….normal.
He looked at her. "What? Is there something on my face?"
She shook her head. "No, no, you're good."
He tilted his head to the side, hands coming off his keyboard. "So why were you staring?"
"I wasn't staring," she replied too quickly, the way she always did when she was caught staring.
"My beautiful face is finally affecting you, isn't it? I knew it!"
She laughed and shook her head. "Dream on."
"Hope springs eternal."
"Where'd you get that? Inspirational cat poster?"
"First of all, dogs and rabbits are way cuter. Second, no, it's Emily Dickinson."
She raised her eyebrows. "That's...very surprising."
"I'm filled with surprises. And candy, I have candy in literally every pocket right now."
She grinned. "I've missed you," she said, mouth getting ahead of her brain.
"How can you miss me, Santiago? I'm right here."
She must have looked confused, because he opened his mouth to repeat himself but all that came out was a bark.
Amy awoke, sitting up with a gasp in her apartment, weak sunlight streaming in through the curtains. She looked around blankly at her room, the sheets in disarray but everything else exactly in its place.
There was a another bark, snapping her out of it, and she groaned, rubbing the heel of her hand over her eyes..
Jake was pawing at her bedroom door, making pitiful whining noises and rubbing his large paw against one of the glass panels. She pushed her hair out of her eyes and stood, pulling the door open. Jake padded in and jumped on the bed, circling twice before taking one side for himself.
Still half-asleep, she made her way to the bath, where she splashed cold water on her face until she felt more awake. Peeking at her second backup alarm, she saw she was a half-hour early to wake. Sighing, she started to get ready for her day, Jake's dog-snores buzzy in the quiet of her place.
Jake's morning walk was uneventful and for that Amy was grateful. She set down his morning meal and then hopped into the shower, the hot water loosening the kinks in her neck from the tossing and turning.
She felt slightly off-kilter all day. Jake padded into Holt's office in the morning and curled up in the far corner, by the bookshelf and the window, his badge gleaming in the fluorescent lights where it was clipped to his collar. Holt had held meetings, answered phone calls and emails, and even signed paperwork, all with Jake at his feet. At lunch, Holt asked Amy for Jake's leash so that he could take Jake around the block on his midday stroll.
It was how he had phrased it: "Detective Santiago, do you have a leash for Peralta?"
She blinked twice up at him before standing. "I, yes, sir. Is something the matter?" Behind Holt, Amy could see Gina tapping at her phone, tilting her head slightly. Jake was standing, yawning dog-style, and scratching behind one ear in turn while in the doorway to Holt's office.
"I would like to take him along with me for my midday stroll." Holt over-pronounced each letter in 'stroll,' which was normally one of Amy's pet peeves, except Holt's dulcet tones seemed to preemptively ease her discomfort on that score. She really needed to learn how to do that.
"Of course, sir." She dug in her purse until she found the length of nylon and dropped it into Holt's outstretched palm. "There's baggies in the little plastic bone if you need them, and--"
"I occasionally serve as caretaker for Kevin's dog, Cheddar. I believe I will be able to manage."
"You're right, sir. Of course."
"Hmm." Holt hummed, smiling slightly. Amy hoped Jake didn't pop Holt's shoulder out of its socket during the walk, recalling how it usually seemed like Jake was taking her on a walk and not the other way around. "Peralta."
Jake straightened and padded over to Holt, holding still while Holt clipped the leash to Jake's collar.
"Good boy," Holt added softly, patting Jake on the head. Jake obviously leaned into the touch, tail wagging wildly. Amy felt that old resentment in her chest, of Holt's obvious favoritism and Jake's easy attention-seeking. Then, she immediately felt bad; Jake hadn't asked to become canine, and who was she to stop Holt from enjoying Jake's silence on a stroll? Heaven knew that would never happen again.
She watched the two of them stand in the elevator, Jake's tongue out and Holt checking the length of the lease, until the doors closed.
"We may never see Jake again," Gina said ominously.
Amy rotated in her chair. "What does that mean?"
"Obviously, Jake is the perfect dog and Holt is going to want to spend as much time with him as possible."
"Holt doesn't even spend as much time as possible with human Jake."
"Oh, Amy, you poor, naive, sad nerd."
"That seems like too many mean adjectives in a row," Amy muttered.
"Jake and Holt are inseparable. I've used characters loosely based on them in my interpretive dance star-crossed lovers routine."
Amy faltered for a response. "I...what? You're a loosely based interpretive dance routine."
Gina pressed a hand to her chest and looked overwhelmed with joy. "Thank you."
Still, the strange feeling of inadequacy lingered, sharpening when Holt and Jake returned from their post-lunch walk, Jake with his tongue lolling out and Holt nearly smiling. During work hours! Amy's jealousy burned sharp and pure, and she reached for her purse and her secret stash of cigarettes.
She snapped to attention, Terry leaning out of the briefing room door and waving her over. Tamping down a sigh, Amy stashed her purse in a drawer again and stood, smoothing nonexistent wrinkles from her clothes and trying not to notice that Holt allowed himself an affectionate petting of Jake's head before unclipping the leash. (She failed.)
In the briefing room, Terry had the corkboard with a map of Brooklyn (courtesy of the MTA) secured and a variety of colored pins scattered across the Prospect Heights neighborhood. He was checking a file when Amy walked in. "Santiago, I need your help."
"Sure you don't want Jake instead?" she asked, uncharacteristic bitterness in her tone.
Sarge shot her a look like she was crazy. "No, because he currently doesn't speak human languages or see colors?"
Amy gave herself a mental slap. Snap out of it! "Right, of course, sorry. What are you doing?"
"I'm tracking where Jake had noted sightings of Celino over the course of a month, see if there's any kind of pattern. I'm working in a five-week rotation,each week getting a different color."
Amy stepped closer to the map and studied it carefully. "The pattern goes red, yellow, green, blue?"
Sarge nodded and sat back on one of the briefing tables. His slacks rode up, revealing red argyle socks, a compliment to his red-herringbone print shirt. Amy took the file from his hands and grabbed the pen from the marker tray of the whiteboard. With her precise, fine hand, she labeled each pin with the day of the week and which numbered week it was. When she was done, she stepped back and admired her handiwork.
"What do you see now?" she asked.
Sarge stepped up to the map and studied the notations. After a long moment, his eyebrows rose. "It's a spiral pattern."
Amy nodded. "Celino's been slowly expanding his hold, in a wide spiral." She gestured at the board, where the spiral would be centered. "My guess is that's where the stash house is."
"That day of the week detail was a good catch." Sarge put his hand on her shoulder, warm and heavy. "Great work, Santiago." Sarge walked out of the room to bring Rosa and Boyle in on their find. Amy felt her shoulder tingle, felt the pride of a good find settle warm in her chest, felt a warm and solid creature rub against her legs--
She looked down and found Jake sitting beside her. He lifted one paw and placed it on top of her foot, smiling his doggy smile at her, and Amy found any resentment she had about his relationship with Holt had faded, replaced by this instead.
Even in Brooklyn, a city block could (and did) feel enormous. Amy had Jake on a short leash as they patrolled their designated five-block section of the zone where they suspected Celino's stash house was. The botched Boerum Hill raid had sent Celino back underground, so his spiral pattern was broken. However, Amy's gut said there was still something here they needed to look into.
When she had suggested that she and Jake go on foot to look through the twenty city blocks (two avenues, ten streets) on the evidence of a hunch and her instincts, Holt had leveled her an unreadable stare longer than any other she'd ever received. Even Sarge, standing beside her, had shifted, but Amy had forced herself to stay still, to not fidget under the scrutiny of her captain. After an interminable silence, Holt had said, "No," and the crushing sense of rejection was only beginning to crest when he added, "You'll need four teams, not just one."
Which was how Amy and Jake, along with Rosa, Charles, and Sarge, had changed into plainclothes and were walking borrowed shelter dogs up and down sectioned blocks of the neighborhood.
"If we don't find anything, I'm gonna look like such a dumb," Amy muttered.
Jake's ears pricked and he looked back at her.
"Talking to myself," she replied, though how she knew the question was anyone's guess.
Jake stopped and did the paw-on-her-shoe thing again, which was cute but also weird.
"C'mon, we have work to do."
Had Jake been human, he would have inevitably rolled his eyes. However, being canine and lacking that skill, he instead shook his head and took the lead. Ahead on the corner was a small knot of b-boys, their fake letterman jackets and askew hats a dead giveaway. One of the crew, a young woman in twin braids and earrings that brushed the tops of her shoulders, passed a brown-wrapped parcel to another, a young man in a purple hat and Timbs. Amy pretended to take out her phone to check messages, surreptitiously snapping photos while Jake sniffed at garbage.
Hours later, back at the precinct, Sarge, Amy, and Charles were sifting through the photos, noting groups that congregated on stoops and corners, as well as repeat faces in the crowds.
"You're sure no one made you?" Sarge asked again, arms akimbo and shirt threatening to burst at the seams. Amy made a mental note to try and make the 5:30AM spin class at her gym more often, knowing that she never would.
"Positive. I looked like I was adding to the Instagram account Gina made for Jake, and he was very obliging, weren't you?" Jake stared a blank dog stare back at her. "I take your silence as acquiescence."
Terry frowned. "You're not very good at owning dogs, are you?"
"Given that I'm usually deathly allergic to them, no, no I'm not."
"Point taken," Sarge conceded.
"Guys," Charles broke in, holding a number of photo prints in his hands. "I think I have something."
The three of them -- Jake nosing his way between a couple of elbows -- crowded around Charles, who pointed to the young woman in long braids who had passed out brown paper packages.
"Look, she hands people these brown paper packages tied up with string--"
"They're definitely just taped up," Amy pointed out.
"Amy, just let me have this." Charles leveled a very flat stare her way. Behind him, Sarge was shooting her a significant look and nodding. "Anyway, she's too obvious, her handoff is completely telegraphed. But his--" Charles pointed to the guy in the purple hat and Timberlands, who had his arm around the girl's waist, but whose fingers were slipping into the pocket of a jacket on her other side, which happened to belong to a known corner boy who went by Oyé. "He's much more subtle. He uses her as a distraction to slip something into everyone's pockets."
"Where did they go when the crew broke up?"
"She ducked into the D train, but Timbs walked over to Grand Army Plaza. We lost him when he crossed Union St."
Amy's gaze tracked over the multitude of photos spread out over the desk in the briefing room. The pair appeared over and over, different groups of b-boys greeting them, receiving brown parcels and a second, more surreptitious delivery. Her brow creased and she felt herself frowning. "We need traffic cam footage. I want to see where he went."
Charles and Terry shared a look. "We still need to find out what was in those brown parcels."
"No need," Rosa broke in, walking into the briefing room and tossing a brown parcel atop the photos -- the same brown parcel featured in several shots. "I picked a guy's pocket."
"By 'picked,' do you mean….?" Charles tilted his head slightly.
"Lifted him up by the jacket and shook until something fell out," Rosa clarified, mouth still a hard line. "Dancers are so light," she scoffed.
Terry's eyebrows would have disappeared into his hairline if he'd still had one. "Damn, Rosa!" He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Tell me you only shook him."
"Okay. I only shook him." There was a long pause. "Mostly."
Amy cut in. "What's in it?"
Rosa's eyebrow twitched. 'It's an….eyebrow kit."
Sarge leaned forward. "Excuse me?"
Charles opened the parcel. Inside was a small set of scissors, an eyebrow comb and brush, and tweezers, in a small hard case. "An eyebrow kit," he murmured.
"Whatever the other thing is, it must make this make sense," Amy said, pulling out the other photo of the girl slipping something into Oyé's pocket, angled just enough that they could only see her hand slip in but not what she was holding.
"I'll get you traffic cam footage," Terry said, straightening and turning the file folder in his hands over and over. "Get a tail on Oyé, or have a CI do it. Find out who that guy is and what they slipped him."
"Yes, sir," the three of them said, almost in unison. Terry walked out, presumably to contact the traffic depot.
Amy turned to Rosa. "You really shook a potential suspect down literally?"
Rosa shrugged. "He was already shaking. I figured, two birds, one shake."
"That's definitely not how that phrase goes," Charles pointed out. Amy was almost proud.
Scrubbing traffic cam footage was hands down the worst. Usually they left it to some low-ranking first-year detective to do the grunt work. However, Jake had taken one of the external hard drives with the footage (still wrapped in plastic, thankfully) and trotted over to the breakroom, meaning Amy had had to grab a spare laptop and follow him.
For the next half day, Amy carefully tracked Timbs. It seemed like once every forty minutes she lost him as he found every blasted camera blind spot. When that happened, she had to grab any alternative angle she could find, cross-referencing with pins on a map in order to keep track of where he was headed and which streets and angles she had already tried..
It took a huge amount of patience (and Amy switching to her pink glasses halfway because the intensity of her staring was making her contacts dry out) and Jake nudging her any time her eyes started to cross. Idly, she was petting him, his head resting on her leg, when she saw Timbs walk up a short flight of stairs to the industrial steel door of a warehouse. The person who opened the door for him was the young woman who had ducked into the subway earlier. Amy noted the address and leaned back in her chair fully, pulling her glasses off to rub her face.
Her neck hurt, her eyes hurt, her everything hurt. She groaned, a pathetic sound in the quiet of the breakroom.
"You find it?"
She sat ramrod straight, startled, but it was Captain Holt, idly rotating a pencil in his hands. She gestured to the chair beside her, then angled the laptop so they both could look at the screen. For a fleeting moment, Amy felt a sense of deja vu, and gave Jake a long glance, before clicking back to the start of her assembled footage. They watched the black and white footage in silence until the last frame.
"I managed to follow them to a warehouse in DUMBO, sir. I think this is where they've set up a stash house. There's a couple of startups and small shops near that space so--"
"Young people," Captain Holt supplied.
"Yes, college students and new grads loitering there isn't unusual anymore. I think we should raid the spot, see what we can seize."
Holt rubbed Jake, who had walked around the table to lean against Holt's leg, behind the ears absentmindedly. Amy felt too drained even to feel jealous. "I remember the Kazoo Strangler case had me sifting through a literal stack of tapes."
"Sir?" The Kazoo Strangler case was one of those Legendary Eighties Cases that Captain Holt had worked on. He seldom told these stories to anyone but Jake.
"I remember I had to cancel dinner with Kevin three straight days in order to fast forward through security tapes." He smiled, the edges of it wry. "And back then they were tapes. We must have had 40 tapes, 6 hours apiece. It was mind-numbingly tedious."
Amy found herself nodding.
"But then, I saw him. Walking out of a children's novelty store, as nonchalant as could be." Holt's hand tightened in Jake's fur, who snorted and shook himself free and walked to stand, then lie down, between Holt and Amy's chairs. "This was excellent work, Detective Santiago. I'm going to review this again, and I'll see about getting you your warrant."
"And Jake," she blurted. "It was his case, after all," she added, feeling self-conscious.
"And Detective Peralta, of course." Holt paused for a long beat. "His help has been invaluable."
"Especially canine. I haven't seen a sugary snack around the office in days." He took a deep breath. "It is liberating."
Saturday morning arrived early and with a bang. Literally, as Gina was banging on Amy's door with a knock resonant and forceful enough to rival any patrol officer Amy had ever known.
"Gina, do you know what time it is?" Amy asked as she opened the door.
Gina pushed past her. "Uh, yeah, and if you don't hurry up, we're gonna be late."
"Late to what? I'm too pre-coffee for this."
"I entered Jake in a dog show, and obviously he's going to win."
"Jake isn't a real dog!"
Gina, ignoring Amy and stuffing Jake's necessities in the duffel bags she had brought with her originally, rolled her eyes so hard Amy swore she could hear it. Suddenly, she straightened. "I'll grab the rest later." Placing a finger in each corner of her mouth, she let out a piercing whistle, which Jake came running to. "Come on, Jakey, we're going to impress some old ladies."
And with that, and a couple jangles of Jake's borrowed tags, Amy was once more alone in her apartment.
Three hours later, after Amy had brushed her teeth, silenced her four alarms, caffeinated, and gotten Jake's various items packed away, Gina returned, Jake leashed properly and doggie smile in full effect. Pinned to his collar was a comically oversized blue ribbon.
"We won," Gina bragged. "Jake did tricks the judges had never seen before. I filmed them on my iPhone, do you wanna see?"
"I saw all of them on your instagram, actually."
Gina almost looked impressed, until her expression fell. "Oh, you poor sad nerd--"
"Again, that's too many mean adjectives in a row--"
"You were obsessively refreshing your feed out of loneliness, weren't you?"
While Amy sputtered in outrage, Gina gathered the last of Jake's things. Jake sniffed at Amy's feet, then generously licked her knees and calves, before bounding out the door when Gina opened it.
"See you at work. And Jake's instagram handle is JakeyWakey if you feel lonely again. Byeeeee!"
Amy was still formulating a response when Gina disappeared around the corner of the stair landing.
Chapter 4: Week Three
Jake is back with Gina, and Amy goes on a date.
Happy Winter Solstice, friends in the Northern Hemisphere! Here's a chapter to mark the longest night of the year.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Amy's Sunday run through the park took her past the dog park. Her shoulder twinged in memory, and she upped her pace where the path turned away from it.
Somehow, no Jake made her place feel larger, and she wasn't sure how she felt about it. Then again, no human-Jake had made the precinct feel bigger, too, and she wasn't sure how she felt about that, either.
Charles sat in the greenish blue chair beside her desk without preamble. Amy calculated that she was maybe a half cup of coffee away from being able to handle a conversation about Iranian barbecue, which was Boyle's latest obsession.
"I saw the cut you put together of security footage for Captain Holt and the judge, for the warrant," he said, surprising her entirely.
"So I looked at tapes with a view of that warehouse for the last three months."
"You found something?" Charles wouldn't be telling her this if he had found nothing -- one of Charles's best habits.
He nodded, and Jake leaped up on the arm of the chair, ears perked and tail wagging. "Those two kids go into that warehouse twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, usually in the evening. They stay for a half hour, then they leave."
Amy sat forward. "Did you tell Rosa about this?" Rosa was on stake-out with one of her "pet projects" in patrol, keeping an eye on the warehouse.
Charles nodded. "Texted her just before I came over here. You and I are gonna join her after lunch."
Amy put her face in her hands. "I can't. I have to go to court in the afternoon." She shook her head. "But Jake should go with you."
"You'll get a full report as soon as we're back."
By the time she got off the 4 train and walked to the precinct, she was carrying her suit jacket and fighting off a headache. She had just hung her jacket across the back of her desk chair and settled into it, when Charles and Rosa came over and dropped a file folder on her desk.
"Open it," Rosa commanded. Beside her, Charles nodded vigorously.
Sighing, Amy opened the file. The top page was a glossy photo of a man with a distinct neck tattoo waving a large truck into their warehouse.
Charles interrupted. "Enrico Mora, Celino's second in command."
"This is huge." Amy looked back and forth between them. "Tell me you followed that truck."
"What am I, new?" Charles asked, a surprising amount of sarcasm in his voice.
"Get it, girl," Gina called, snapping one hand in a z-motion, while the other hand (and her eyes) never moved from her phone.
At Amy's startled look and Rosa's slightly raised eyebrow, Charles deflated. "I'm sorry, guys. I just….really miss Jake."
The three (four, if one counted Gina's surreptitious glance) looked at Jake, who was napping by the door to the roof patio, badge clipped to his collar at an unnecessarily jaunty angle. Gina had drawn eyebrows on him with a makeup pencil.
"We all miss Jake," Rosa said, trying to be comforting. "It's not the same when he's not around."
"But he'll be back in a couple weeks, right?" Amy forced some cheer into her voice.
"Plus, he's right there," Gina added, gesturing vaguely in Jake's direction. In his corner, one of Jake's ears perked up though both his dog-eyes remained closed.
"Yeah…" Charles sighed. "So we put a tail on the van, and it went to the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal."
"We figure that's where the shipments come in," Rosa added.
Amy looked over the photos. Mora's face was grainy but unmistakable. "It's time we found out what's in that warehouse."
Rosa nodded. "I think we should add this to the warrant request."
"With the evidence we already have," Charles noted thoughtfully, "We should be able to get a warrant."
Amy turned to her keyboard. "I'm on it."
Two days later, Terry walked into the bullpen, holding up a sheet of paper featuring an official-looking seal and signature on it: a warrant.
"All done," Sarge said. "We have the warrant, and SWAT is ready to go tomorrow night."
The other three looked at each other, then looked at Rosa, who shrugged. "Yeah, I got this. C'mon, Sarge, let's plan a raid."
"Hell yeah. Terry loves planning raids almost as much as--"
"Yogurt?" Charles suggested.
Terry frowned. "Yes. Also, making up morality plays for his little girls to put on at church. Terry needs creative outlets to be a more balanced man."
"Help me create this raid strategy, Sarge," Rosa broke in, impatient. Her boot was seconds away from tapping.
"Terry never thought about strategy building that way," he said, following Rosa into the briefing room.
Charles turned to Amy. "Hey, how was court?"
Amy shrugged. "Fine, I guess."
Charles sat in the chair next to Amy's desk. There was a long, uncomfortable silence.
He reached out a hand. "Was it rea--"
Amy stood up. "Nope, not doing this," and walked away to do literally anything else.
Sarge and Rosa sequestered themselves in the briefing room for half the day, staring intently at the whiteboard in silence. By the time Amy clocked out, they had moved to gesturing at each other in some kind of strange pantomime.
"You leaving?" Gina called, looking up from her phone. Jake padded out of Holt's office and stood, ears pricked and tail wagging.
Amy twisted a ring on her right hand. "I gotta go home and then meet someone for drinks."
Gina gave her a long look. Amy fidgeted.
"You have a date!" Charles cried, standing and pointing. Several people in the bullpen paused. Gina smirked. Even Terry and Rosa stopped gesturing and were watching through the window.
"Bye," Amy said, and strode out.
Rosa opened the door. "That was weird."
"Amy has a date!" Charles repeated, gesturing wildly.
"Can't believe she actually managed to get a real man to agree to have drinks with her," Gina marveled.
Rosa frowned. "Didn't you have 10 dates in six days last week?"
"Four matinee dates, a personal best."
"Gina!" Terry looked affronted as he barreled into the bullpen. "You can't just skip work to go on dates!"
"Oops, I already did." Gina pretended to look apologetic. "If it helps, I slept with all of them."
"That does not help!" Terry looked pained.
"Relax, Sarge," Charles said. "It's not like she actually had her date in the precinct this time."
Gina shrugged. "I only did that, like, five times."
Terry pressed a hand to his chest. "I'm a terrible sergeant."
Rosa patted Terry on the shoulder. "It could always be worse."
"Please do not tell me how," Terry replied, shaking his head.
Amy's date had suggested they meet at a wine bar in Greenpoint, which was kind of a slog but almost guaranteed she wouldn't see anyone from the precinct, so she'd agreed. She had done her due diligence: after scouring the place's Yelp page, she had picked an outfit to coordinate with the ambiance without being too dressed up or down.
She brushed a nervous hand over the navy blue sheath dress and fussed with the buttons on her cardigan. She was early and was wavering between going inside and waiting out front.
Her need for a glass of wine won out and she was glad, because David was twenty minutes late. Amy was halfway through her first glass of wine (and only because she rationed her sips to once every five pages of reading) when she felt a whoosh of air. "Amy?"
She turned her phone over and looked up. He looked just like his profile picture, a goddamn miracle in this day and age. Dominican, with bright green eyes, and a crooked, apologetic smile. "David?"
He slid into the seat beside her, pulling off his scarf. "Yes, I'm so sorry I'm late, the G train took ages to show up."
She laughed. "It does that."
"It's worse in the rain."
"Isn't the entire subway system?"
He laughed at that. The bartender came over and he pointed at her glass. "I'll have what the lady's having."
David worked for a hedge fund and said all the right things in all the right places. He laughed at the right time during her best first-date anecdotes and picked up the check for their pair of drinks apiece. He walked her to the subway and said, "I had a really nice time," and shook her hand before turning down Manhattan Ave and she lost him in the crowd.
She took the train home and made a cup of lemon tea and thought, "He was nice," and then thought of what her mother had told her when she had fretted over her first "serious" college boyfriend.
"Nena," her mother had said, shaking her head and stirring some pot on the stove while Amy stole bites of chopped vegetables that would become dinner. "There are a thousand nice boys in this world. You don't have to keep dating all of them."
So Amy sipped her tea and remembered how green David's eyes were, before turning the TV on until it was time to go to bed.
The next day, Amy came in at her usual time with her usual coffee and her usual Thursday pantsuit. It should have been a normal day, but it felt like her desk had been moved two inches to the left overnight. Which was possible but unlikely.
"Aaaaaaaaamyyyyyyy," came Charles's voice. He practically floated into the chair by her desk. "How was your date?"
"It was fine. We had a drink, we talked. I went home in time for Property Brothers."
"Doesn't sound like it was a promising guy." Charles did his slow-mo comfort reach-out again.
Amy slapped his hand away. "Stop that. It was fine."
"You gonna see him again?"
She frowned. "That's-- I don't--"
"Leave her alone, Boyle," Rosa said, sunglasses on and enormous latte in hand.
"Thank you, Rosa."
"It's as much for me as it is you. It's too early for sappy romantic crap."
Amy made a sound of protest. "I wasn't--"
Rosa pushed her sunglasses into her hair. "Don't care."
Charles slunk back to his desk.
Gina came in, Jake's tags jangling to announce her presence. "Never fear, Gina is finally here." She unclipped Jake's leash, and he padded over to Charles, sniffing him quickly before circling Rosa's desk and coming to Amy's extra desk chair. He moved in a circle and then laid down.
Amy gave him a long look before powering up her computer. "Rosa, how goes the plan for the raid?"
"Working on it," she called back.
"But you were in the briefing room for hours--"
"Working. On. It." She peered around her monitor to glare at Amy.
"Working on it. Got it."
Amy walked half a mile from the precinct on her lunch break to have a smoke. The day had been stressful and strange, from start to lunchtime, and she didn't know how to shake the tension. Her morning run had been lackluster, her paperwork was a slog even with her productivity app and favorite pen handy, and her open cases on the board were all stalled out.
Thunder rumbled above and then suddenly it began to pour. Amy felt it was a little on the nose even for her life. She tossed her useless cigarette into one of the rivers of water flowing along the curb.
By the time she got back to the precinct, her ponytail and clothes were soaked through, and she was arguably leaking water more than she was dripping.
"Santiago!" Terry stood and looked very concerned. "You--what--how--?!"
"Oh, geez, Amy, you look terrible." Charles was practically clucking.
Amy trudged to her desk, where she kept a spare change of clothes. Her shoes squished. "I figured."
Holt stepped out of his office. "Oh dear, Santiago, you're.....dripping."
"I know, sir. I'm just going to dry off and change."
"Do you want my hair dryer that I keep in my purse?" Gina held it up.
Amy's eyebrows shot to her hairline. "Yes, actually, that would be really helpful."
"Okay, great," Gina said, handing it over. "Just be careful, I call it Old Shocky for a reason. Also, if you break it, you have to buy me a new one."
Amy tamped down a sigh.
Damp but out of her wet clothes at least, Amy toweled off her hair and sat in her desk chair once again.
Rosa and Terry walked up. "We have a plan," the said together, then looked at each other suspiciously.
Amy looked back and forth between them. "Did you two practice that?"
"No," they replied in unison, then shared another look.
"Oh...kay...?" Amy stood and followed them to the briefing room. She sat while Rosa and Terry flanked the white board. Jake jumped into a chair beside her and sat, one paw on the table. It was unnerving; seated in the chair, dog-Jake was taller than her and seemed to be at attention.
Terry openly looked unnerved by Jake's behavior, but Rosa simply began. "We're going to watch the place. When Mora lets in a shipment, us and SWAT will go in and seize the whole shipment. Hopefully we'll get some leads that we can pass on to the 72nd."
Terry seemed to find his voice. "The seven-two will also be lending us some manpower and backup, since we're on their turf for this one."
Amy nodded. "How many of us are participating?"
Rosa and Terry shared a look. "Four, if you count Jake," Terry answered, pointing at the four of them.
"Charles had a big breakthrough on another case, so he's sitting this one out," Rosa added.
Amy considered the map on the board, the notes scrawled next to the map, and even Rosa and Sarge's expectant expressions. "What? I'm on board. It's simple but it's direct. Why did it take you both so long?"
Terry looked sheepish. "I kept Jake-ing it up."
Jake made a whining sound and retracted his paw from the tabletop. Amy couldn't help but wonder if Jake felt slighted.
Rosa folded her arms across her chest. "He kept trying to add a loud, dramatic exit for the team. Smoke bombs, rubber bullets, the whole thing. I kept having to talk him down."
"You couldn't let Terry just have one? My PTSD episode was ages ago."
Amy covered up a laugh behind a hand. Jake nudged her shoulder with his nose and gave her a doggy smile.
"There he is."
Amy started from her half-doze in the back of an unmarked police van. It was past midnight, and everyone had been quiet in tactical gear for hours. Even Jake, who in both human and dog form would get restless, had simply circled a spot twice before lying down, tail twitching. It would have been cute if it hadn't been deeply jealousy-inducing by hour four of their stake-out.
Sarge pointed at a figure waving in a couple of short delivery trucks. Someone handed Amy some binoculars. The focused on the figure, the neck tattoo just barely visible over the collar of his parka.
"It's Mora," she confirmed, passing the binoculars to Rosa in the passenger seat.
"Eyes on the target," Rosa muttered into her radio. Static crackled in Amy's earpiece. On the floor, Jake's head was still down and his eyes still closed, but both ears stood up. He, too, was ready.
"More out," Sarge said. "Get in position."
The back of the truck opened with a too-loud click, and everyone filed out in silence, skirting the security cameras and the lamppost in order to press against the warehouse wall.
"On my signal," Rosa's voice came. Amy could see her across the way, Jake at her side. Amy counted heartbeats and tried to keep her breathing slow and even. Her vest was cinched tight, her helmet and goggles threatening to fog up if she didn't keep her breathing slow. The last thing she needed was being fog-blind in a raid. How embarrassing.
It was a tense silence, the only sound the wind off the Gowanus Bay. If Amy squinted, she thought she could make out the lights of the IKEA in Red Hook. She needed a new scrub brush, maybe she'd try and stop by tomorrow morning, after all this--
Amy snapped herself out of it and tromped after the SWAT guys. One of them nudged the warehouse door open and threw in a smoke bomb. It went off, and Amy reflexively tapped her facemask before filing in.
Inside the warehouse, steel prep tables were in various states of packing, while coughing, silhouetted figures raised their hands in surrender. It was chaotic, multiple voices shouting for various perps to put their hands up and get down. One of the lights above flickered ominously, and with the smoke, it gave the room a strobe-slow-motion feeling.
Someone shouted, "In the back!" and Amy whipped her head around to see Mora make a dash for a side exit. Amy made a beeline for Mora, Rosa and Jake in front of her. She burst through a set of swinging double doors to face a set of metal stairs. Mora was a flight up and climbing higher, Jake and Rosa half a flight behind him. Amy tracked their progress from the ground, the metal catwalk above shadowy but visible from the loading dock floor.
"There's nowhere you can go, Mora," Rosa yelled, stepping surely on the narrow metal walkway fifty feet above a concrete floor. Jake was at her side, teeth bared. Mora was backing up, trying to get to the fire escape stair.
"We've got this place surrounded," Amy called. "You won't get very far."
Mora eyed the three of them in turn, suspicious. It was hard to make out his build under the hoodie and jacket he wore, but his shaved sides and tats marked him as a member of Celino's crew to anyone with a passing familiarity with the CLO gang's modus operandi.
"Surrender, and we'll put in a good word with the judge," Rosa tried, but her voice was so flat even Amy had trouble believing her.
Mora, too, given his scoff and eyeroll. "Save it, cop."
There was a single moment of total stillness, and Amy realized a fraction of a second too late that Mora was going to run.
Fortunately, Jake was fast. Mora had taken maybe two steps towards the fire escape when Jake, hackles raised and barking, tackled Mora. The catwalk gave a great shake, and Amy tensed as Rosa jogged over to Mora. Jake lithely stepped over Mora's prone form and sat, tongue lolling out and panting cheerily as Rosa cuffed Mora and hauled him to his feet.
"Enrico Mora, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law…" Rosa marched Mora down the catwalk stairs, Jake bounding behind her.
At the base of the stairs, he waited and faced Amy, tail wagging. Amy kneeled down and gave him a generous scratch behind the ears. "Good boy," she murmured. "Good boy, Jake."
As Mora and the rest of the warehouse crew was processed by booking, Amy sat at her desk (having unceremoniously kicked the night crew guy off her desk in a move that Rosa would have been proud of -- though in honesty, Amy simply had no more energy to be polite at 2:47am) and stared unseeing at her computer screen.
She blinked slowly and turned to face Sarge, who was looking at her with a frown. He was still in his raid gear, the Under Armor shirt pulling tight across his pecs. "Sarge."
"Go home, Amy," he said in a soft voice.
He stepped forward and handed Amy a leash. "Amy. Take Jake for a walk, then go home."
"But it's Gina's week," she replied, accepting the leash.
"Jake's going to crash in the precinct tonight, but you're no use to me if you're sleep deprived and running on empty."
Amy thought about arguing, but then she yawned widely and Sarge shot her a look.
"Okay, okay. Walk Jake, take a cab home."
"That's an order, Detective." Terry nodded once, then whistled loudly. From Holt's office, Jake padded out, ears drooping in sleep.
Amy stood, stretched and yawned, then clipped the leash to Jake's collar. "Come on, boy, we're going on a walk."
Jake made some sound, and they took the elevator down to the ground floor in silence. Outside, the air was damp with fog and cold, and Amy shivered, regretting leaving her jacket on her chair. They slowly made their way around the block, walking through a misty, abandoned Grand Army Plaza after the bars had closed.
As they made their slow way back to the precinct, Amy felt a pleasant blank buzz under her skin, the come-down of a case on its way to being solved. Mind empty, they made their way back up to the bullpen, where Amy unclipped Jake, gathered her things, and took a cab ride she didn't remember home for a few hours' rest.
Everyone, save Boyle, was zombies the next day. Booking had been backed up with all the people to process, and with the late-night staff being little more than a skeleton crew, it had taken twice as long as expected. Mora was in lockup, sleeping, while Amy, Rosa, and an entirely too cheery Boyle ran through the arrests.
"Looks like we got both of the kids we saw passing messages and running re-ups in the heights," Boyle said, pointing to two faces clipped up on the board -- the young man and the girl who had led them to the warehouse in the first place.
Rosa made a grunting sound of acknowledgement, her triple latte rarely more than a handsbreadth from her mouth. Amy knew the feeling. Jake was dozing at Gina's desk, so still it was unnerving.
"What else did we grab in the raid?" Boyle was rested and Amy's brain felt like molasses.
"Um. Four crates of product. The lab is still processing them, but it looks like something one of my CIs was telling me about," Amy managed, rubbing the nape of her neck. She needed her coffee to hit sooner than later. "Javi called them 'Filipino stamps,' and they're a new kind of LSD."
"Too bad Mora's not talking," Rosa muttered darkly.
Amy blinked. "What?"
"He lawyered up immediately," Rosa added. "He's not talking."
Amy groaned and slumped in her chair.
There was a beat of silence, then Boyle said, "Anyone else craving halo-halo? Just me? Okay."
With Mora lawyered up, Amy turned her focus to all the red on the board with her name.
It went poorly. Witnesses went off the grid, evidence came back without any traces of anything, and apparently the criminals of Brooklyn were taking advantage of the cold weather requiring gloves to not leave prints behind anywhere.
By the end of the day, Amy was exhausted and annoyed that the only case of hers making any progress was a drug trafficking case she was helping out on that had originally been Jake's anyway. The universe wasn't fair.
Amy took the train home, watching as the car filled with what seemed like an unending parade of young couples set to go out and enjoy their Friday night. It made her feel immeasurably old as she trudged up the stairs to her place. She collapsed face-first into bed, having barely shed any clothes and let the sweet oblivion claim her.
She slept for fifteen hours, and Saturday dawned bright, clear, and cheery, with a text from Gina: I'm bringing Jake by tomorrow. [frying pan with egg emoji] [cocktail emoji]
Amy looked at her phone for a long moment before groaning into her pillow. Dammit.
The next update will include the last two chapters.
Hey! I know you can only leave kudos on a work once, but if you left a comment, I'd be really appreciatory!
Chapter 5: Week Four
Two cases are solved.
Amy looked up at the awning and then back at her phone. "No way," she muttered. It was a sports bar that doubled as a beer garden, and Amy suspected Gina was up to something. Sighing, she pushed her way into the bar, then the back patio.
Gina was already halfway through a carafe of mimosas, Jake's duffel and crate at her feet. Jake himself was panting excitedly and watching people walk by.
"Amy!" Gina cried, holding up her carafe by the neck. It sloshed over her arm, which Gina ignored. "This place has the best hash browns."
"They're potatoes, they're hard to mess up."
"Spoken like the asexual virgin you are."
Amy stood. "Okay, I'm out."
Gina thumped her mason jar on the picnic table -- not for the first time, Amy cursed hipster influences in Brooklyn. "I meant a virgin to Scott's Backstop Bar and Grille's fabulous brunch. Unclench, Santiago."
Wary but already in for a penny, Amy sat down, straddling the bench. She was glad she'd worn jeans and boots. "Why are we meeting here?"
"Duh, the Japanese wrestling finals are today."
Jake continued to watch people walking past their table. One of the waitstaff walked past and Amy held out a hand. "Bloody Manuel, please." Her desperation must have shown because the server nodded, looking a little freaked out, and dashed off to the patio bar.
Two hours later, plates of eggs and bacon were demolished, and Amy was posing like Captain Morgan on the picnic bench, fists clenched and face rosy, whether from the Bloody Manuels or cheering on Momoko-to was unclear.
"Kick her!" Gina was screaming. Several dudes around her winced. "Take her out, Momoko!"
"Sweep! Sweeeeeeep!" Amy called, using lower tones to carry over the crowd's chatter.
Some guy in a hoodie at the next table over turned around. "You know she's in Japan and can't hear you, right?"
"Shut up, Spencer!" Amy and Gina shot back in unison.
"No one asked you," Amy added.
"She's a cop, don't make her mad," Gina added.
An hour after that, the tab was settled and the yard was clearing out. Momoko-to had fought the good fight but came in second, losing to Midori after a protracted bout. Even defeated, Momoko-to had been cheered by the audience.
"When did you start watching Japanese wrestling?" Amy asked, hefting the duffle bag on her back.
"What?" Gina's eyes were a little unfocused but she seemed steady on her feet. "Wrestling fan dudes love boning down after a bout."
Right then, a cliche red convertible screeched to a stop in front of them. Behind the wheel was Spencer, hoodie gone and Ray-bans on. Gina vaulted the door and got in the passenger seat. "Bye loser, see you at work!" The car peeled away from the curb.
Amy, burdened by dog accoutrements, already hungover, and slightly dishevelled, groaned loudly. "I hate her."
Jake began to howl.
Amy spent her Sunday evening cleaning her weapon while watching Hill Street Blues reruns. While the day had started out wintry but pleasant, by late-afternoon the rain was falling in sleety sheets, and Amy was glad to be at home in pajamas with her radiator on and Jake over her toes.
Amy clicked her service weapon together (her backup already cleaned and holstered) and racked it, enjoying the satisfying ratcheting sound it made, before putting it away in its holster.
Jake stood on her couch and padded over into her lap, sniffing at her. It was so absurd she burst into uncharacteristic giggles. "You big mutt, what are you doing?"
Jake's response was to lick her mercilessly, his tongue leaving wet streaks all over her face and neck. "Ew! Jake!" She laughed and pushed him away. "Okay, okay, I get it. Dinner time."
He jumped down and gave her a doggy grin, tail wagging and ears pricked, and Amy missed human Jake, her partner, in a sudden, sharp stab. She shook off the ache and padded into the kitchen, pouring kibble for him and assembling a sandwich for her.
Later, while Amy tried to macrame a table runner while also calling out every inaccuracy in Serve and Protect, Jake got up from the couch and padded away. Two hours later, she found him curled up on the half of the bed she didn't sleep on.
Already in pajamas, Amy sighed. "Fine, you can stay," she said, and crawled under the covers slowly so as not to disturb him.
"I still say bunching mox is the best medicine for any issues in a relationship. That, or boning down." Rosa's pronouncement hung in the air like….like….
Amy's brain was too tired to think about what it was like. This case was going to be the death of her. Hell, all her current cases were going to be the death of her.
"This conversation...feels inappropriate," Captain Holt pronounced, standing in his doorway. "I would remind you all of the police handbook and section three article four, subsection gamma, about sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace conversations."
Terry shot Rosa a significant look, Boyle looked confused, and Rosa's lips twitched in an approximation of a smile. Amy rubbed her temples and forced herself to look at the file in front of her.
Scully stood beside her desk, coffee in hand. "Whatcha working on, Santiago?"
Amy sighed internally. "This B&E that I can't make heads or tails of. I feel like I'm missing something in front of my face."
"Can I take a look?"
Amy dithered for a moment, then handed the file to Scully, who set his mug on Jake's desk to accept. He flipped through the file while Amy fidgeted.
"Did you talk to the neighbor?"
"The one down the hall? Who lost their job a year ago?"
"Aw, hell," Amy muttered, snatching the file back.
"Did Scully just solve your case?" Gina asked loudly.
Jake stood from his giant doggie bed and made a sound that could have either been him laughing at Amy or chastising Gina. Both, probably, if Amy knew Jake at all.
Hitchcock came over. "What are we looking at? Porn?"
Amy looked horrified. "What? No, ew!"
Gina threw a pen at Hitchcock. "Nobody buys magazines anymore, the internet is free, dumdum!"
Captain Holt once more appeared in his office door. "Hitchcock, Gina, might I also remind you both of the police handbook and section three article four, subsection gamma." He raised an eyebrow.
"Who reads paper copies of anything anymore." Gina shrugged.
"I already read the handbook, back when I was first hired," Hitchcock claimed proudly. Scully picked up his coffee.
"You know it's changed since the 70s, right?" Amy shot him a look.
"You've changed since the 70s," Hitchcock retorted.
"Sweet burn, Hitchcock," Rosa called.
Hitchcock preened and jostled Scully, who spilled his coffee all over himself somehow.
"Hot! Hot hot!" Scully cried.
"My cases!" Amy stood and began moving her files away from a flailing, wet Scully.
"Scully!" Hitchcock cried, moving to help, but slipping on the spill and falling, taking Scully out with him.
"This is amazing," Rosa said, grinning at her desk.
"I'm gonna go viral again," Gina crowed, phone out and gleefully recording.
"Boyle, call maintenance," Terry commanded, pointing at Charles.
"I'm trying, the line's busy!" Charles looked panicked. "Um, um--" He looked around and then pulled the fire alarm. Immediately, a ringing noise filled the precinct and the sprinklers began to go.
"Boyle, no!" Sarge shouted, too late. The computer monitors sparked and began to short.
Amy grabbed her folders and shoved them into a desk drawer haphazardly. "Goodbye, filing system. I'll never forget you," she said, slamming the drawer shut.
Jake began to howl.
Still standing in his doorway, Captain Holt watched as Scully and Hitchcock struggled to stand, the slippery floor not helping matters. Sarge was gesticulating wildly while shouting at Boyle, who looked panicked and sheepish. Rosa's curls were damp but protected by her holding her leather jacket over her head. Amy looked like she might cry. The rest of the precinct was filing out of the building, streams of people filing down the stairs, trying not to slip on the wet treads.
"My god," Holt said, enunciating every letter.
Amy relegated herself to the evidence room, which miraculously escaped the fire alarm fiasco and instead was lit by emergency lights and the industrial-sized flashlight Amy had rummaged out of her emergency preparedness kit. If this didn't qualify as an emergency, she wasn't sure what did. The torch cast the room in strange shadows, and Amy was forced to go through her files one at a time, page by page.
The B&E? Scully was right about the neighbor. There were other leads she missed, other clues she'd overlooked in her distracted, stressed-out state. The answer kept being in front of her all along, and Amy felt simultaneously grateful and annoyed with herself for being so ridiculous about the whole thing.
Beside her, Jake made a whining sound and pushed his nose under her arm until he could lay his head on her leg. Amy, seated cross-legged in the middle of a semicircle that was organized by likelihood of solve, absently scratched him behind the ears while looking at a photo array from the Celino file.
"What am I missing, Jake?" she murmured, fingers toying with the velvety soft edge of his ears.
Jake stood abruptly and padded over the photo array.
"Jake! Stop, you'll mess up my--"
He pawed at one photo and looked at Amy expectantly.
"--system," she finished weakly, picking up the photo Jake had indicated. It was an evidence photo of the product they'd found at the warehouse: Filipino stamps.
"The new LSD?" She looked at him. When he stared back with his blank, doggy expression, Amy sighed. "I have to stop talking to you like you're going to reply."
Jake's tongue lolled out.
"My point exactly," Amy sighed. "You know, I really do miss you. All of this would be a lot easier if you weren't….canine."
He looked at her impassively. She shook her head at herself and scratched him behind the ears. His tail began to wag. Amy looked at the photo in her hand then at the array.
It struck her like a bolt of lighting. "Jake!" She scratched at him with both hands, behind his ears and along his torso. "Good boy!"
He barked, tail wagging harder.
"How do Mora and Celino move the product?" Amy asked, pointing at the evidence board. Out in the bullpen, the IT department was shaking their heads and setting up new workstations on desks that the maintenance crew had wiped down. Two industrial fans were going, trying to dry the room faster. Everything smelled like wet dog. In a weird irony, Jake smelled like mint shampoo.
In the briefing room, which apparently didn't have sprinklers at all, a slightly damp squad looked where Amy was pointing. It was the shot of the warehouse, with crates full of the stamps.
"They use the kids, right?" Boyle raised his hand, then turned it to the side in a questioning gesture.
"There's no way eighteen kids move that amount of product in this city," Rosa retorted, her feet propped up on the table. She was wearing the purple boots Amy liked.
"He's got a more sophisticated distribution system." Terry stood up and folded his arms. "Celino and Mora make the stamps in-house, right?"
Amy nodded. "In Vermont, then they're trucked into Brooklyn."
"Vermont is forever ruined. I'll never look at cheddar the same," Boyle lamented.
"Shipments come in every two weeks, based on what the kids told us," Amy continued, ignoring Boyle. "At best, they could move a crate, maybe two. But fifteen?"
"We're looking at something bigger," Terry said. "Filipino communities on the East coast are pretty small. Even Celino's gang is pretty mixed."
"And LSD is more of a club drug than a street hustle," Hitchcock added.
The room turned to look at him.
"What?" He said, shrugging. "The seventies were wild. And the eighties. And the nineties."
"Anything on security cam footage?" Rosa asked.
"Only the unmarked trucks we saw earlier. Otherwise, it's mostly the other supply companies with legit permits for the marine terminal." Boyle checked his notes. "Uh, mostly Russian and Ukrainian grocers."
Rosa raised an eyebrow. "Didn't Celino's brother run a dance studio in a Russian neighborhood?"
Sarge and Amy looked at each other. "Ilya," they said at the same time.
Boyle leaned towards Rosa. "I love it when that happens!" Rosa may or may not have been suppressing a smile.
Between Ilya and Miguel, it seemed more likely Miguel would give up valuable intel on accident, so they focused on him. This time, Amy led the questioning.
"Tell me again how you got your dance studio."
Miguel, still dressed like the b-boy he was, slouched in the chair, hands gripping the front edge of the seat. "Mami, we went over it like three times already." Jake barked once, causing Miguel to jump. "An', yo, why that dog gotta be in here, ma?"
"She's a detective, show some respect," Sarge snapped.
"Look, everything about the lease was above-board, okay? I got the permits and everything. Eno didn't even help me with the down-payment. I wanted to do it on my own, you know?"
In the observation room, Rosa frowned. "Eno?"
"Family nickname for Paeng," Boyle replied. "Also, he's not telling us something."
Amy had the same instinct. "Permits? You sure?"
Miguel groaned and rolled his eyes. "Yes, okay? Noise permits, business permits, zoning for the basement--"
Boyle and Rosa banged on the glass.
The next day, Sarge unrolled the map of the block they'd managed to get from the zoning commission. "The basement shares a wall with the Russian grocery behind it. My guess is, they cut a hole into that wall and are passing product through it."
"I still don't see how they can move that much product with an operation like this," Boyle said, folding his arms across his chest. Jake was curled up beside Boyle's chair, tail swishing idly.
"If it's a dozen teenagers, I would agree with you," Amy replied, carefully neutral. "But Thursday night is their freestyle night. Crews from all over the city come to dance battle."
"No one tell Gina," Terry muttered.
"Too late, Dancy Reagan is already schedule to show UP next week," Gina yelled from across the bullpen, through a reinforced glass window, facing away from them.
"How did she--?!" Terry had a vein in his forehead starting to throb.
"That many crews, the amount of foot traffic. No one's going to notice people in and out with duffel bags and backpacks," Rosa interrupted.
"Hiding in plain sight," Boyle said. Jake stood and nosed Boyle's hand.
Terry folded his arms. "That still doesn't explain where Celino is hiding."
"And Miguel almost definitely doesn't know anything else," Amy added.
"Celino wouldn't hide in a basement, and he'd stand out too much in the Russian grocery," Boyle pointed out.
"Someone has to be feeding him intel." Rosa tapped a foot and shifted her weight, the equivalent of her fidgeting. "Let's search his place."
Boyle stopped scratching Jake's head. "Miguel's? Or Paeng's?"
Rosa shrugged. "Both."
Miguel's place was depressingly empty -- a mattress on the floor, a giant suitcase doubling as a dresser, and a pantry-sized three-piece bath were all he had to his name, clearly. It was saddening in its smallness, though it was gleamingly clean. Even Amy was impressed.
When asked about that, Miguel shrugged (a miracle, given his slouched posture, Amy thought) and said, "I'm clean, what's it to ya?" and sulked the rest of the time they searched his place.
Jake sniffed every inch of the apartment. Boyle and Sarge even lifted Jake to the ceiling to sniff around, once some of the patrol cops went to knock on doors.
Paeng's apartment, by contrast, was furnished beautifully.
"Why do criminals always have the best apartments?" Amy ran a gloved hand along a spotless, dust-free armoire with intricate Balinese carvings.
"If you say you're in the wrong line of work, I'll arrest you," Rosa said, not pausing in rifling through papers at Paeng's desk.
Boyle was searching the kitchen. "Everything in here is top-of-the-line. Who has a six-burner range in Brooklyn?" He shook his head ruefully. "Amy, if you turned to a life of crime, I wouldn't blame you."
"I'm not turning to a life of crime!" Amy tried for exasperated, but her voice came out shriller than she liked.
Jake made a noise that Amy decided was his doggy-laugh, and she glared at him. His ears lowered, chagrined, and he went back to sniffing the room with Sarge.
"Man, I love Jake as a dog. He's so focused." Terry beamed down at Jake, like a proud dog-dad.
"You should let Cagney and Lacey meet him," Boyle suggested.
"Never in a million years," Terry replied immediately, tugging Jake to a different corner of the room.
Amy smiled to herself and opened the next drawer in the dresser, running her hands along the bottom. Her fingers caught on something. "I got something!"
The others stopped searching and watched as Amy pulled up a hidden compartment in the back of the drawer. One of the uniforms was at her elbow, snapping pictures with the crime scene camera. Amy pulled out a burner phone.
Jake tugged Terry over to Amy and jumped, barking.
Amy held down on the power button. The keypad lit, and the carrier's chime played. Then the screen glitched, and the phone made a high-pitched tone that caused everyone to wince and cover their ears. Startled, Amy dropped the phone. Jake's ears folded back and he barked repeatedly at the offending device until it stopped shrieking.
"Down, down Jake!" Terry commanded, and Jake obeyed, silencing and sitting back on his haunches.
Amy picked up the phone, while the others lowered their hands from their ears.
"That was horrible," Rosa stated.
"WHAT?" Boyle shouted.
Amy pressed down on the power button again. The others in the room tensed. The phone's lights flickered, then went dark. "Bricked," she said, unhappiness seeping into her tone. A uniform held out an evidence bag, and she dutifully dropped the phone in.
"Let's have tech look at it, see if they can salvage anything," Sarge suggested.
"Yeah," Rosa added. "Savant owes me a favor."
"WHAT?" Boyle shouted again, looking between the three of them.
"What he said," Sarge said, gesturing at Boyle. Boyle saw the gesture, and straightened, puffing up.
Jake stood and gave a full body shake, jangling loudly.
"Let's just say, I took care of something for him and he owes me." Rosa's expression was so neutral it was threatening.
"That kid is either brave or stupid," Amy muttered.
"Probably both," Terry muttered back.
Boyle leaned forward onto the kitchen counter. "WHAT? GUYS, SPEAK UP."
"This is seriously bricked," Savant said later, seated at Jake's desk, a mess of wires connecting the various interior parts of the burner phone to a laptop Savant had brought with him. When Terry asked if the laptop was department issue, Savant had simply laughed.
"Thank you, that's definitely something we couldn't figure out on our own," Amy deadpanned.
"Can you get anything off it?" Terry folded his arms across his chest.
Savant shrugged. "Not sure. This worm is pretty good. Probably Russian, given some of the code notes I'm seeing." He rolled his shoulders. "I always wanted to fight a Russian worm."
"Shouldn't you be in, like, a clean room or something?" Amy glanced askance at the various networked devices around her.
"Nah, I'm good," Savant said. "Cool dog, by the way."
Jake was watching Savant intently, tail rhythmically swinging back and forth as he sat on the floor. His K9 vest was on, and his badge was clipped to his collar.
"We're borrowing him for the case," Amy said, feeling like she should explain.
Savant shrugged. "Sure, okay. I'm just surprised he's not neutered."
The squad froze. Amy felt herself turn red. Sarge turned pale. Rosa's neutral expression looked more like a grimace. Boyle looked ready to cry.
And Gina cackled, there was no other word for it. "Oh. My. Gaaaaaaa--" She stood and ambled around her desk, never pausing for breath. "--aaaaaaaawd!"
Jake made a very upset whining sound, clearly defensive.
Boyle began to openly weep. Rosa covered her face and her shoulders shook, muffled gasping breaths coming from behind her hands. Amy knew her face was past tomato and approaching beet. Sarge scrambled for a chair to sit in.
Holt walked out of his office. "What is all the commotion? I was reading a report about emoluments clauses for commanding officers." He paused. "Hello, Mr. Park."
Savant gestured at his equipment. "I'm trying to pull data off this bricked phone when I mentioned I was surprised your K9 officer isn't neutered."
Holt looked at his officers in turn, understanding striking him less like a thunderbolt and more like the tide coming in. "Ah," he said. "That task is...not our responsibility."
Savant nodded. "Makes sense, you aren't a K9 unit." He cracked his knuckles. "Okay, time to fight some Russians." He popped in earbuds that were blasting some kind of industrial music.
"As you were," Holt added. "Gina, I need your assistance."
"Ugh, fine, coming."
Boyle's sobs turned into sniffles. "Jake, I'm taking you for a walk."
"I'm coming with you," Sarge said weakly, unsteadily rising to his feet.
Rosa's voice was muffled, but her eyes peeked out between fingers and her hair, and she followed the other three out of the bullpen.
Amy shifted restlessly on her feet. Savant ignored her entirely and continued typing rapidly.
"I'll just…?" She gestured vaguely away. Savant continued to not notice or acknowledge her. She backed away a few steps, then hurried away.
Two hours later, Savant was surrounded by multiple empty Mountain Dew cans, a full size bag of cheddar cheese Ruffles and a host of older cops watching him in horrified fascination as he typed one-handed while shoving a fistful of chips in his mouth.
"Oh God," Gina groaned. "He's gone full hacker."
Amy watched, slightly disgusted. Sarge, Boyle, and Jake had impossibly busted a guy while on their walk, so they were stuck in booking. Rosa, meanwhile, was aiming rubber band guns at the bullseye she'd carved into a ceiling tile.
Suddenly, the full setup chimed. The older cops all jumped back. Savant dropped his chips everywhere, and leaned forward.
Amy sat up. "You got something?" Rosa's boots hit the floor with a thud as she stood.
"Maybe." Savant wiped his hand on his shirt, leaving orange stripes across the front. "Could be something, could be unrelated."
Amy and Rosa walked around the desks. "What is it?"
Savant pointed to a string of text messages. "The phone gets a message like this every day at 5:45pm. After that, the GPS turns off. That's all I've been able to get off the phone so far."
Rosa frowned. "It's been two hours."
"The worm that bricked the phone is pretty sophisticated. I'm not bad, but this? This is good."
Amy studied the numbers. "They look like Social Security numbers."
"But Celino and his crew weren't into identity theft." Rosa folded her arms across her chest.
"Not yet, anyway," Amy retorted.
The elevator dinged and the doors opened, revealing Charles, Terry, and Jake. Jake immediately bounded for his old desk and began eating the fallen chips.
"Aw, Jake, no--" Boyle stood, arms akimbo. "Who am I kidding, I can't stay mad at you."
Terry nodded to indicate Savant's screen. "You get anything?"
"Just these weird Social Security numbers," Rosa said, tipping her head.
Terry frowned. "I didn't think the CLO gang was into identity theft."
"Maybe it means something else." Amy tapped her foot. "Can you print out a list of those for me?"
"Sure, auntie," Savant teased, grinning.
Rosa grinned. "See, even Savant has your number."
Amy rolled her eyes.
Amy rubbed her eyes. She'd ran most of the Social Security numbers, which hadn't turned up anything. Her contacts were bothering her and of course she'd left her stuff at home.
Amy turned to see Captain Holt at her desk. "Sir!"
"Go home, detective. If it hasn't become clear by now, it won't get better until after you get some rest."
She looked at the list on her desk, at the spreadsheet on her computer tracking her findings. "I feel like I'm so close, sir--"
"I don't normally order my squad to leave, but I'll make an exception." When Amy opened her mouth to protest, he held up a hand. "You have more than yourself to think about." He gestured at Jake, who chose that moment to yawn widely, curled up on his doggie bed. "And," he added, more gently, "You're no use to me strung out, Amy."
Amy felt herself warm at her captain-slash-mentor calling her by her given name, a rarity. "Of course, sir. You're right."
Which was how Amy found herself in her car, Jake buckled in the passenger seat ("At least you don't have powdered donuts this time," she muttered. Jake proceeded to drool all over her upholstery) and windows down. The drive passed in a blur of streetlights, parking was miraculously easy, and Jake padded beside her as she unlocked the front of her building, took the stairs up to her place, unlocked her front door, bolted it from the inside, and slumped against the door.
Jake stood expectantly, tail wagging slowly. Amy sighed and sank to the floor, legs stretched out in front of her. Jake laid himself down across her legs. "I feel like I'm missing something," she said to him, idly scratching him behind the ears. His face relaxed in doggie joy, tail swishing a little faster. "If you were human right now, you'd probably have this solved by now." She sighed and tipped her head back. "Maybe that's why you're Captain Holt's favorite."
A cold, wet press against her neck was the last thing she expected. She yelped. "Hey!"
Jake looked back at her with what could only be described as an exasperated expression.
"Don't look at me, help me solve this," she demanded, feeling increasingly at a loss. She was clearly losing her mind.
Jake clambered off of her, spun in a circle, and padded into the bedroom. When Amy didn't follow, he came back out and nudged her leg. She groaned and stood. "Fine, fine."
She followed him, unclipping her badge and service weapon along the way, pulling her backup from her ankle by leaning against the doorjamb.
Jake was lying on her bed, head up and ears pricked. At her look, he rolled onto his side and pretended to sleep. She knew it was pretend because he sat up after a beat.
"You're seriously telling me to go to bed?"
"Shh! Okay, okay, just be quiet."
A little later, after washing up and changing into her pajamas, She turned down the bed, tossing a few decorative pillows aside. She flicked off the lamp, and the room turned dark, and soon so did the world.
Until some ungodly hour when Jake was climbing all over her.
"Ugh, what, stop."
He did the horrible nose-press thing again, and she made an inelegant noise.
"Okay, okay, I'm up. What?"
She sat up, and Jake jumped off the bed and reared up to perch on her nightstand, where her primary alarm clock showed the time in eye-watering red numbers. 5:45 am and Amy wished she was allergic to this particular dog.
"No, it's too early for your walk," she grumbled and rolled over. Shortly, she felt paws pressing into the soft side of her stomach and digging into her thigh. "Get off, Jake."
He made a frustrated sound, then circled a spot by her door twice and laid down.
Of course, by then, Amy couldn't sleep. She tossed and turned until after 6am, then sat up. "Ugh, great," she muttered, and shuffled into the bath. Once her teeth were clean and her contacts were in, she suppressed a yawn, tied her hair up, and put on sweats. "Let's go for a walk, Jake."
Jake brought the leash for her to clip onto his collar, and they went for a walk, going the long route that took them across avenues and even up a hill. Amy blankly watched as Jake sniffed trash bags, other dogs, corners of stoops, street signs, anything even vaguely interesting.
Their route took them past the local public elementary school. Amy watched as Jake sniffed at the fencing, reading the school's signage and banners idly.
And, like a professional dealer tidying an expert shuffle, suddenly everything slid into place.
"Holy shit," she breathed, and turned to Jake, who was looking at her with fathomless brown eyes. "Holy shit!"
Amy pinned up a map of Brooklyn with the public schools marked on it, and pointed to various colored dots she had plotted on it. Terry, Rosa, Boyle, and Jake were seated or perched, watching.
"Savant found about 50 numbers on the phone. I ran them through the identity theft squad's database. The numbers weren't real social security numbers. But then I realized they were a code of some kind. The crypto programs I ran it through didn't recognize it, though. When I took Jake on a walk this morning, it finally clicked."
She flipped the board over, where she'd written out a couple of the numbers and an explanation.
"The first number is a number of a New York Public School," she continued, gesturing. "The last number is a time for a meetup. I'm guessing the middle number is how much of the product to bring. The last four digits never go above 2345, and the last two digits never go above 60. The first three digits all correspond to public schools in Brooklyn or Queens, no exceptions."
"Is there a pattern to the handoffs?" Rosa's expression was considering.
"Only that the area seems to have gotten smaller over time."
"They got confident," Terry hypothesized.
"But how do we figure out when the next meetup location?" Boyle had his hands on his hips and was trying to cross his eyes to suss out a pattern of the dots.
"Maybe we'll get lucky," Scully suggested.
The group jumped.
"When did you get there?!" Terry shouted.
"Jake had a pizza slice, so I followed him in here. I thought maybe there was pizza."
In the corner, Jake chewed on a pizza slice that was obviously made of rubber. Occasionally it made an artificial squeaking noise.
"It's a chew toy, Scully." Rosa sounded disgusted.
"It's very realistic!" Scully defended himself.
Rosa frowned. "It's really not."
Hitchcock appeared in the door. "Is this where Jake's pizza came from?"
"No!" the four of them chorused.
They got lucky.
They hadn't left work yet when Savant came jogging into the bullpen with a tablet in hand. "I got something," he announced, and the squad swarmed him. Even Terry stopped apology-texting Sharon.
"It's another sequence of numbers," Savant continued. He turned the tablet around for the group to look at.
"One-three-nine, nine-zero, oh-oh-four-five," Sarge read aloud. Amy presumed it was for Jake's benefit, or because of his kids.
"PS 139 is just south of Prospect Park," Boyle said, walking over to the map. "Ninety kilos?"
"They're moving the stash." Rosa shifted her weight. "Meetup's in….seven hours."
"Can we be ready?" Amy looked to Terry, who looked to Holt.
"Let's move," he said, command in his voice. As if on cue, the squad split up to prepare.
Amy was about to sit at her desk when Holt and Terry came up to her, Jake beside them. "Santiago, go to the cot room and get some rest."
Amy felt stricken. "What?"
Terry's voice was gentle. "I need you at 100% when we do the raid. That means getting some rest. Captain Holt told me how late you were here last night."
"I'm fine," she assured them. "I got some sleep last night, and I've been at my desk most of the day. I can do this."
Holt and Terry shared a look, and Amy wanted to shake them both and demand answers. Instead, she took a long, deep breath.
"Amy, you've had two major breakthroughs on the case because of your attention to detail," Terry started gently.
Holt continued, voice neither gentle nor overly commanding. "The squad needs you sharp-eyed when we go in tonight."
Terry jumped back in. "And sharp-eyed means well-rested. Do it for the squad?"
Amy looked down at Jake, who chose that moment to yawm. "Fine, I'll get some rest." She unclipped her badge and service weapon holster and put them in her desk. "And I'll take Jake with me."
Both of her commanding officers looked relieved, which was almost insulting. Did she look that bad?
Shaking her head, she and Jake made their way to the cot room. Amy stretched and toed off her shoes, curling up on the cot. She set an alarm for three hours later, then laid her head down.
She heard the jangle of tags and then the press of paws into every soft, painful space on her torso. "Ow, Christ, Jake!" He shoved himself into the narrow strip of space between the wall and her back, yawned, and promptly went to sleep, complete with doggy-snoring.
Amy thought about complaining, or even climbing up onto the top bunk, but he was so warm and then the world faded out.
The click of a camera shutter, then the whine of her phone alarm started Amy awake.
"Hey, sleeping beauty," Rosa's low tones teased. "Get up, you've got raid prep in twenty, and I know you'll want to clean up."
Amy slowly sat up, careful not to bump her head. "What time is it?"
"Just before eight."
She gingerly rubbed at the corners of her eyes. "Did you hear a camera?"
Suspicious, Amy studied Rosa's face. Rosa was completely blank -- too blank.
"Right." She shook her head. Whatever, if Rosa took a picture she could at least be sure it wouldn't end up on Facebook or Twitter -- unlike, say, Gina. "Be there in a sec."
Rosa nodded and left. Amy swung her feet onto the floor, and Jake jumped down and indulged in a full body shake, his tags rattling noisily.
Boyle knocked on the door. "You mind if I take Jake on a walk?"
Jake's ears perked at the word 'walk,' completely predictably.
"Were you always this dog-like?" Amy shook her head. "Yeah, Boyle, go ahead."
Boyle looked at Jake for a long second. "You know, sometimes I feel like I'm forgetting what Jake actually looks like."
Amy stared. Jake tilted his head at Boyle.
Boyle shook his head. "Nevermind. C'mon Jake, let's go." Jake jangled out of the cot room, Boyle behind him.
Amy stood and stretched, wincing as her shoulders and back popped. "All right," she muttered. "Let's go."
"Hold your position," Terry's voice crackled over the radio. Amy and Jake, both in tac gear, fidgeted in the SWAT van, watching the surveillance feed. The others were in other vans, and Holt was overseeing the operation from a distance.
A figure was loitering in the school parking lot, carefully keeping their face shadowed, while they sat on the trunk of the car. Amy saw the unmistakable gestures that showed the figure light up a joint.
Another nondescript sedan rolled into the parking lot right on time. "Showtime," Rosa's voice came over the radio. "Wait on my signal."
The grainy surveillance footage showed the perched figure jump down and offer the blunt to whoever was in the driver's side of the sedan. A hand reached out and smacked Hoodie, sending the blunt flying. Some conversation ensued, then Hoodie popped the trunk. Bundled packages filled the space, rows of taped bricks. More conversation. Then, the sedan popped its trunk.
"Go, go, go!" Rosa shouted. The back of the van popped open and SWAT rushed out, Amy and Jake taking the rear of their unit as they moved in.
The sound of squealing tires and burnt rubber filled the air as the sedan made a break for it, cutting across the lot, knocking down a barbed wire fence, and jumping the curb before peeling down Cortelyou and hanging a reckless left on Coney Island Ave. A split second later, three black-and-whites pursued, lights flashing and sirens wailing.
In the lot, they surrounded the hooded figure, who raised their hands and kneeled. Sarge moved forward, shouting instructions. Jake was barking but still at Amy's side. The hooded figure was facedown on the blacktop, cuffed, and hauled up by Sarge. He pulled the hood down and revealed a scowling but otherwise unharmed Paeng Celino.
"Paeng Celino," Amy announced, lowering her weapon. "You're under arrest."
Paeng slumped in a chair in Interview Room 3, his hoodie draped on the back of the chair, a cup of coffee peacefully steaming in front of him. In the observation room, Hitchcock and Scully were keeping an eye on Celino -- a task even they wouldn't dare screw up. The rest of them were in Holt's office.
"He lawyered up," Rosa said flatly.
"We can still send him to booking," Boyle pointed out.
"He'll be there all night, there's only one person processing arrests at this hour." Terry looked thoughtful.
"Do it," Holt said. "Have one of the night shift escort him. We'll call the D.A. in the morning." He stood. "Good work tonight, even if the driver got away. We still have Celino. The rest of you go home, and that's an order. I'll see you all at 0800 tomorrow. Dismissed."
Amy stopped herself from correcting him, as it was after midnight, but she supposed fatigue was getting to them all. Jake was curled up on his dog bed, dozing, one ear cocked towards their conversation. The others filed out of the room, Amy and Terry bringing up the rear.
Terry paused and turned.
Amy swallowed. "Thanks. For making me get some rest."
Terry nodded. "Santiago, you've got to trust I've got your best interests in mind."
"I know you do, I just…"
"Yeah, you and Peralta have that in common." He looked over her shoulder. Amy followed his gaze and saw Jake stretching and shaking in Holt's office. "The month's almost up, he'll be back soon."
"Santiago, did you forget this thing only lasts a month?"
"What if it lasts longer, though? What if Jake stays a dog?"
Sarge laid a hand on her shoulder. It was comforting: large and heavy. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. Right now, the bridge we're crossing is making sure Celino stays in the precinct until tomorrow morning."
Amy nodded. "Got it. G'nite, Sarge."
Terry headed back to his desk. Jake padded up to her and looked up at her expectantly.
"I'm going, I'm going," she said, grabbing her purse and making sure her desk was clear. Jake padded over to the swinging bullpen door, looking over his shoulder at her. "Hold your horses, sheesh." He pushed through the swinging door, reared up, and pawed the elevator call button.
"You really talk to your K9 officer like he's a person, huh?" Lohank idly stirred his coffee.
Amy didn't have an answer. "Uh." Shit! she thought.
"I did that with my ex-wife's dog," Lohank continued.
Amy winced. "Right, well, it's getting late, so--"
The elevator bell dinged, and Amy was deeply grateful Jake still remembered how buttons work. "I'm just gonna…" She pointed at the elevator, then hustled in and jabbed the door close button.
When the doors finally slid shut, she sighed. She could practically hear Jake's laughter, but when she looked down, Jake was simply panting, tongue lolling out and drool dripping onto the linoleum.
"You're so gross," she murmured, shaking her head.
When Amy walked into the bullpen the next morning, Jake at her heels, the tension was palpable. Rosa was on her feet, arms crossed, and Terry's posture mirrored hers. Boyle's mouth was twisted in a frown, and Gina looked slightly distracted while texting, which was as close to shock as she was going to get.
"Why does everyone look upset?" Amy looked at each squad member in turn.
Scully swiveled in his chair. "The coffee machine's broken again."
Amy's brow furrowed. "The coffee machine's been broken for two months?"
"Then what have I been drinking?"
Amy swallowed past her own bile. "I don't know and I don't want to know."
Holt stepped out of his office. "Squad, in the briefing room please."
Amy dropped her bag onto her chair and followed Jake in. The mood was, somehow, more tense than in the bullpen.
Holt stood at the front of the room and surveyed them. "As many of you saw this morning, Paeng Celino was released from NYPD custody to the FBI."
The news hit Amy like a ton of World Book encyclopedia volumes.
"Apparently, the FBI has been trying to locate and take down the Russian gangs that supply Filipino Stamps to Brooklyn and most of the Eastern Coast."
"Another good collar, gone," Rosa grumbled.
"The feds send their thanks and told us, quote, 'Maybe we owe you a favor,' end quote."
"Very noncommittal for the feds," Terry commented.
"So, that's it?" Amy asked, looking around. "No follow-ups, just case closed?"
"Our arrest was still good." Holt folded his hands. "As far as our COMPSTAT numbers are concerned, we closed this case today. You should all be proud of yourselves. That was some good work and hours you all put in on the Celino case."
"Actually," Terry cut in. "The Celino case was the last of Jake's open files left outstanding."
"Ah, in that case," Holt said, then knelt and gestured at Jake, who rose and padded to Holt. "Good boy." He patted Jake firmly on the head exactly four times before straightening.
And Amy, surprising even herself, didn't feel even the slightest drop of jealousy.
At precisely 4:56pm, Rosa came over to Amy's desk. "Shaw's."
By this point, Amy knew that meant an invitation to drinks after work. "I'm there."
Rosa nodded. "Cool. Bring Jake."
Which was how Amy found herself on her third whiskey and soda, watching a large wolf-shepherd mix prowling the bar, while Gina kept shouting trending hashtags at the top of her voice.
"Hey," Rosa said, leaning against the bar next to Amy. "Good work this month."
"Thanks." They clinked glasses and took sips.
"So, three more days huh."
Amy swallowed hard. "What?"
Rosa tipped her beer bottle in the direction of Jake the Dog. "Today's day 28, that witch girl said he'd be a dog for a month."
"Oh, right," Amy said, fingers tapping against her glass.
Rosa gave her a hard stare. "You're not going to miss him being a dog? Feeding him? Taking him on walks?"
"What? No, of course not."
Rosa stared for a long moment. Her grin spread slowly across her face. Amy downed her drink faster. "You are."
"Maybe I just like having a dog! I'm usually so allergic--"
"Nah, you like Jake."
Rosa finished off her beer. "You want another?"
"Yes, a double, please."
Amy pushed aside the freakout she could feel herself ready to have and focused on her drink. She knocked back half in one swallow. Rosa quirked an eyebrow, but before she could say anything, Holt spoke.
"Everyone, I'd like to make a toast." The bar quieted as Holt considered his glass. "I know the past month has been an adjustment, and I commend you all for stepping up and picking up the slack--"
Jake made a howl of protest.
Holt raised an eyebrow.
"While the CLO case didn't go in the direction we expected it would, it was still some damn fine police work. I hope you're all proud of what you did this past month. I know I am." He paused for a long moment, looking at each detective in turn. "Nine-nine!"
"Nine-nine!" the bar echoed in response.
Jake howled until Carl, the bar manager, shouted, "Someone get that damn mutt out of here!"
Amy set her empty glass on the bar. "That's my cue," she said, the world only slightly fuzzy. "C'mon Jake, let's go home." Jake padded over to her, dodging legs and barstools, waiting until Amy threw some cash on the bar and hugged an "I-love-you-man" drunk Boyle goodbye. He waited until she had a grip on his leash before he pulled her out of the bar.
Amy fuzzily watched as Jake considered the street, then led them north on Vanderbilt Ave, stopping to mark every other streetlamp.
"I thought I was supposed to take you on walks," she said aloud. A couple of passers-by gave her a look and hastened past her. "Ugh, I'm doing it again."
Jake stopped and turned to look at her, shook his head, and kept walking, nearly wrenching her arm out of its socket -- just like the first weekend she'd had him.
"Lead the way," she said, and let herself enjoy her comfortable buzz the entire walk home.
It wasn't too late when they got home, so Amy went through her night routine and her new twelve-step Korean skincare regime ("So many steps!" she had marveled when she had bought the starter kit. "And they have to be followed in order?" The clerk had nodded vacantly, but Amy had already mentally budgeted the time into her getting-ready-for-bed process) before flopping onto the couch and turning on the local news. She sighed and settled into the mass of pillows she stuffed in the corner.
"And you made fun of me for my pillow obsession," she teased Jake, who was standing with his tail wagging, expression expectant. "Yeah, yeah, come up." She shifted her position so Jake could get most of the other cushion. He jumped up, but instead of curling up on the cushion, he stretched himself out, using Amy as some kind of doggie body pillow.
"Aw, c'mon, really? These are satin pajamas, man."
Jake gave her a look.
"Fine, they're polyester, but I still love them."
Jake leaned his head on her chest.
"Oh, fine. Hey, we'll play fetch after the farmer's market on Saturday, before you turn back." He looked back at her blankly. She sighed. Gently, Amy ran her fingers along his snout, following the line of his brow bone, traced the edges of his ears, which twitched under his ministrations. "You know, Charles was right. I feel like I've forgotten what you look like."
They stared at each other for a long moment. Jake raised his head. Amy found herself holding her breath.
He leaned forward and licked her face.
"Ugh, gross! No, Jake, this skincare thing is so expensive." She pushed at him. He shook her off and gave her a doggie laugh-woof, before lying back down and appearing to go to sleep.
She rested her hand, warm and heavy, on the back of his neck, scratching and kneading gently. "Good night, Jake."
Warm. Amy felt warm, warm all over. There was something heavy pinning her down, heavier than her usual duvet. Lumpier, too.
She grumbled and shifted, one arm pushing against a soft wall. The couch. She must have fallen asleep on the couch.
"Jake, get off me," she mumbled. "It's too early for your walk."
She heard him make some noise, felt his weight shift on her, felt his tongue on her neck (ugh, her pajamas must have gotten off-center) and the press of his lips where her shoulder met her neck. She shivered and sighed, ran her hands up the smooth skin of his arms.
Amy jolted awake, any soft edges from sleep blown away by the force of her surprise. "Jake?" She pushed herself into something resembling a seated position, ignoring how warm and soft his skin was. Not now, Amy!
Jake half-straddled her, hands braced on the sofa cushions. His eyes crinkled at the corners. "Hey," he said, voice sleep-rough. "You're warm."
She ran her hands up his very human arms and shoulders. Her fingers traced the line of his jaw, feathered over his cheeks, the pad of her thumb smoothing his eyebrows. His eyes closed and he leaned into her touch as she lightly skimmed the whorls of the shell of his ear.
"I missed you," she said, fingernails gently raking his scalp.
"I've been here the whole time," he replied, eyes closed and a blissed-out expression on his face. "If you keep doing that, this morning is going to take a weird turn."
"Weirder than you turning into a dog after a botched raid?" She pulled her hands back and flicked the ID tag of his collar. "Richard?"
He groaned, a pained sound. She laughed and unbuckled it, tossing it onto her coffee table. "There, all done."
He reached out and touched where he'd licked the night before. "Can I--?"
"Yes," she cut him off, emphatically. "Yes, Jake."
He leaned forward and pressed a light kiss to her jaw, where his fingers had just been. Amy felt her body relax into the cushions, bringing the weight of him over her, felt the shift in the angle, felt the press of his mouth on hers even before her eyes closed. The firm swipe of his tongue against hers, the skimming of his hand up her side, the creak of the couch -- it all blurred into a pleasurable haze.
Moments -- hours, days -- later, she pulled back.
Jake visibly pulled himself together. "What?"
She wrinkled her nose. "Dog breath."
He froze for a beat, then cracked up, face pressed into the crook of her neck. Amy couldn't help but grin as she felt the resonance of his laughter settle into her bones.
Jake was sitting on the edge of his desk, dressed in plaid and jeans, holding a coffee cup. In some ways, it was like the last month never happened.
"And then I woke up curled up against the front door with a stuffed toy in my mouth." Jake looked thoughtful. "Not the weirdest place I've woken up before."
"What was it like being a dog?" Terry looked genuinely curious.
"To be honest, I don't really remember much of the last month." He frowned. "Did I win a dog show?"
"Damn right you did," Gina said, brandishing Jake's blue ribbon. "You won Miss Congeniality. The judges loved you but you were clearly untrained."
Gina sighed dramatically. "Why couldn't you come back two days later? I had a whole photoshoot setup to keep me in Instagram gold until the end of the year."
"Why are you back early?" Rosa was standing with her arms folded.
"No idea, maybe we counted the days wrong."
Boyle was holding Richard's spare collar, which Jake had given him back. "I checked it twice. I even used the spreadsheet."
Jake shrugged. "Not like we can just ask the woman who transformed me in the first place."
Right then, the elevator opened, and out stepped Lucy Daniels Oaksdottir, wearing a more sedate outfit of jeans and a peasant blouse, with her hair in a bun. "Hello? Is that low-content wolf-dog hybrid still here?"
From her desk, Amy rolled her eyes. Typical.
"Nope, just the human equivalent." Jake stood up. "Jake, nice to meet you properly. Sorry about storming your apartment."
Lucy reluctantly shook his hand. "Lucy Oaksdottir, I think turning you into a dog for a month means we're square. Any chance I could run that spell on you again?"
"Thanks but no thanks?"
She nodded. "Fair."
"So, why is he human again?" Rosa tilted her head in Jake's direction without breaking her level stare at Lucy, who recoiled slightly.
"First of all, I'd turn you into a full-blooded wolf if I could transfigure you--"
"Are all of you my spirit animal?" Gina sounded incredulous. "God, even Boyle?"
"Boyle men are renowned for our hirsutism," Boyle preened, brandishing his hairy arm.
"Gross, get your Boyle arm away from me," Gina commanded.
"You're never allowed to transfigure me, ever," Rosa cut in flatly.
"R-right," Lucy stammered, recovering. "And two, I told you. My magic is lunar-based. A lunar month is 28 days."
Boyle nodded. "Like a woman's menstruation and fertility cycle."
Lucy lit up. "Yes, exactly!"
Holt stepped out of his office. "I couldn't help but overhear your conversation, and might I remind you, Detective Boyle, of the police handbook and section three article four, subsection gamma, about sexual harassment and inappropriate workplace conversations."
Boyle hung his head. "Yes, sir."
Holt gave Lucy a nod. "Miss Oaksdottir. What brings you back here?"
"I just wanted to see if the de-transfiguration worked out okay."
"All in one piece," Jake offered, smoothing down his tie.
"Cool, in that case, can one of you sign off on my timesheet for work? You know, the job I couldn't attend because you thought my apartment was a gangster's?"
Holt nodded. "Understandable. Our civilian liaison on the third floor can help get your paperwork completed."
Scully stood. "Sir, can me and Hitchcock escort her?"
Terry folded his arms in front of him. "It's good to see you two take some initiative."
"And the third floor has the committee room. There's usually bagels on Fridays," Hitchcock added.
Scully smirked. "And lox, if we're lucky."
"I should have known," Terry muttered, smile falling.
Holt looked at the rest of his squad. "You're all allowed forty-five seconds of emotion."
Rosa walked over to Jake and punched him in the shoulder. "Good to have you back, Jake. As a human this time."
Amy watched as Jake grimace-smiled until Rosa turned away, then rubbed his arm, obviously in pain.
Boyle hugged Jake fiercely, arms wrapping around Jake's arms and pinning them to the side. "As much as I love dogs, I'm so glad you're back."
"Charles, I can't breathe."
A voice came from behind Amy, breaking her reverie while she watched Terry bodily lift Jake. "I was really getting used to Jake being my spirit animal, too."
Amy held back an eyeroll. "That term is definitely cultural appropriation."
"I'm one-sixty-fourth Iroquois, thank you."
Amy turned in her chair. "Are you really?"
Gina shrugged and tapped at her phone. "Probably, based on a BuzzFeed quiz I took." Amy sighed and was about to turn around when: "Amy. You weren't the worst person to be divorced co-parents with."
Amy felt herself starting to grin.
Gina scoffed. "Don't get too excited, I've had better fake wives."
Amy kept grinning. "Admit it, you liked being a dog mom."
"Of course I loved being a dog mom. The Instagram money alone is keeping me in unitards until I'm ninety."
"Wait, Instagram money?"
"Shh, something's happening," Gina said, pointing past Amy.
Holt approached Jake, who was standing tall but clearly nervous. "Sir?"
"Peralta." He placed a hand on Jake's shoulder. Jake looked at the hand, then back at the captain. "It's good to have you back, son."
"You did miss me, I knew it. No take-backs!" Jake's brash voice was over-loud. After a beat in which Holt remained literally unmoved and unchanged, Jake relaxed. "It's good to be back, sir."
"Aren't you jealous?" Gina stage-whispered to Amy.
Amy turned around. "One, it's not a whisper if the whole room can hear you--"
"Technicalities," Gina interjected.
"And, two, no. I'm…" Amy paused and assessed herself. "I'm actually okay."
"Look who's Miss Personal Growth all of a sudden." Gina's eyes narrowed. "Did something happen with--"
Amy stood suddenly. "Oh, I think I heard Rosa call for me--"
"Nope," Rosa said, from the kitchen.
Amy steamrolled on. "I'd better go see what she needs." She started to walk across the bullpen.
Holt checked his watch. "And that's everyone's allotted time. Back to work, and let us never speak of this incident again." He went back into his office and closed the door.
Amy, who was stopped in front of Jake, pivoted to him. "So," she said, voice too bright.
Jake smirked. "I have a robbery at an agoraphobe's home who's known for being obsessively tidy. You want in?"
She grinned. "Hell yes, I do."
Hitchcock and Scully walked by, plates covered in bagel halves. "It's good to see you two crazy kids figured it out," Scully said, settling into his chair.
The squad froze. Jake's neck went pink. Amy felt hot all over.
Gina was already filming. Rosa smirked from where she was leaning casually against the counter. Terry's eyebrows were approaching his former hairline. Boyle leaped to his feet, something like incandescent joy on his face. "You two--!"
"None of your business, okay, bye!" Jake said, grabbing Amy's hand dragging her bodily into the (for once) well-timed elevator. The door shut on Boyle making high-pitched sounds.
Jake sighed. "Who's have thought Scully would be the one to clue everyone else in?"
Amy frowned. 'Maybe it's the lox? Gives them a brain boost?"
"Ooh, could be. We should run it past Sarge." Jake took a breath. "You cool with the whole….us thing?"
Amy looked down where their hands were still joined. She squeezed, and felt him squeeze back. "Yeah, I am."
The elevator dinged.
I'd like to thank a few people!
Thank you 40millionyears and romantic--stylez for listening to me ramble and bitch about this story when I started it two years ago.
Thank you eonism and ferggirl and torigates for cheering me on in writing this over the last couple of years and especially the last six months.
Thank you, Lisa E for reading the original completed draft and live texting me your FEELINGS!
Thank you, dear readers, for sticking with me, after all this time. &Hearts;
And, last but not least, thank you Lauren, my longest plot bunny rancher and my biggest fan and my best friend.