"Eventually you love people - friends or lovers - because of their flaws."
she smokes cigarettes
Jake had already known about Amy's secret smoking habit. (He's the best detective in the Nine-Nine, hello.) He had, of course, been surprised but not particularly judgmental. After all, his own teen years had been filled with Mary Jane, and not the redheaded kind. It had surprised him when she mentioned her "shame cigarettes" on her list of flaws.
More surprising, however, was when he found her smoking one night when they all went to get drinks after work.
"Whoa," he said quietly. She started when she heard him, pushing off the brick wall of the warehouse three doors down from Shaw's, before relaxing again and blowing a gray stream of smoke into the air, above both their heads. He leaned against the wall next to her, hands in his pockets. March was warmer than February but the nights were still cold. "You aren't going to, I don't know, throw it away?"
"What's the point? You already know." She shrugged in that loose, fluid way that was not how she usually was and Jake found himself grinning.
"How drunk are you, Santiago?"
She rolled her eyes. "Drunk enough to be smoking," she retorted acerbically. She took a last drag before stubbing out the butt under a heel. Then, she reached into her purse and pulled out a makeup wipe and a stick of gum. She wiped off her face and hands, while chewing the gum. After a few moments, she looked refreshed and smelled like mint and vanilla.
"So that's how you hid it," he marveled, watching her straighten her clothes as they walked back to Shaw's.
"It's a trick I learned in high school," she said, distracted by a small stain on her blouse. At his astonished expression, she grinned. "You don't know everything about me, Peralta. Even if you do go through my purse."
"Busted," he acknowledged. They stood by the door to the bar in companionable silence for a long moment. "We should get back inside or else they're going to think we both pulled an Irish exit."
She wrinkled her nose. "We wouldn't want that."
"God forbid," he added, rolling his eyes and holding the door open for her.
he makes up songs
Within the first two weeks of getting partnered with Jake, she noticed he enjoyed singing. All the time.
"Cream in my coffee," he sang, pouring one of those tiny Nestlé Coffee-mate things of creamer into his coffee, the one he always got from the Jewish deli by his apartment on his way into work. She knew that because she watched him bring the same cup of coffee to his desk and hum the same song every morning for 97 consecutive mornings. At this point, Amy figured it was his schtick. That and rolling in at 9:30 rather than 8:30 like the rest of them. (In fairness, he did often work later, but Amy didn't think he worked smarter or harder, he just wanted his hours clocked so that he could be eligible for overtime if need be.)
Over time, she came to realize her assumption was wrong: Jake would make up songs about everything.
"Writing my repo-oh-oh-orrrrt," he sang in falsetto, apparently channeling a little Billy Joel that day.
"Do you really have to sing?" She levelled a flat stare at him, pushing a stray lock of hair behind her ear.
"Does Joffrey have to be terrible?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," she retorted, turning her focus back to the report she was writing up.
Jake's hands slammed on his desk. "Wait, you don't watch Game of Thrones?!"
She looked at him like he was crazy, because in her estimation he was. "What? No. Not my kind of show."
"How is it not your kind of show? It is everyone's kind of show. That's the whole point."
"Name three things you think I'd like about it."
Jake ticked off reasons on his fingers. "One, it's super violent, with people dying all the time. Two, there's lots of nudity and sex."
She wrinkled her nose and frowned. "Ew."
He rolled his eyes. "Three, it has a badass theme song."
"How is that a compelling reason to watch a show?"
"Like you've never sang along to the Law & Order opening."
"Dammit," she muttered, because she totally had.
"Fourth," he said, continuing. "Lots of very attractive people on the show, male and female."
"But isn't it, like, all medieval and stuff?" She shuddered. "Dirt."
"Who even are you?!"
She soon learned that Jake also sang on stakeouts.
"Watching that buildiiiiing, waiting for the perp to show uuuuuuup--"
"Why do you always sing?" She rubbed her temples, dropping the binoculars in her lap.
He shrugged. "I like it. I dance sometimes, too."
He wasn't lying. Sometimes he did, in fact, dance.
Since their desks were across from one another, if Jake made a breakthrough on a case, or if he had simply finished his bagel without getting cream cheese on his shirt, he would do this weird shimmy-meets-shuffle past her desk to the trashcan.
"What are you even doing?"
She scoffed. "That is not dancing."
"Uh, I took tap for three years, I know what dancing is."
"How did you take tap and yet still have zero sense of rhythm?"
"Nice one," Rosa called, listening in with her feet propped on her desk.
Amy pinked slightly. Captain McGinley was not much for supporting her or even providing constructive feedback, so comments from her team were all she had to go on.
Jake didn't miss a beat. "That's so hurtful. I can't believe you'd say such a mean thing. I'm hurt."
"Stop dancing like an inflatable tube man and we'll talk."
After over a year of working together -- during which she went from rueing the day Sarge had put them together to some sort of easy camaraderie with her partner -- Amy had come to tolerate Jake's antics. Sometimes she even found them amusing.
They were parked on a stakeout in the middle of February, the heater doing nothing to keep the bitter wind at bay, the snowflakes building up on the hood of the car, the radio set to some classic rock station that Jake had picked, when a Boston song came on and Amy, without thinking, reached forward and turned up the radio. In the driver's seat, Jake lowered the binoculars and raised an eyebrow at her, while she rubbed her folded arms and grinned.
"What?" She said, beaming in spite of herself. "I love this song."
"Who doesn't," he replied honestly. "This is an amazing song."
For once, they sat in a long silence enjoying the song, but by the second chorus Jake was singing along.
So it surprised both of them when Amy joined in, even doing a little air guitar until the cold got to her.
"Amy Santiago, when did you turn into this person?"
She shrugged, the last chords crossfading into the next song on the station. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
they both lash out
It started out normally -- they disagreed on the direction of an investigation. Amy believed the victim's wife was worth a second look, given that she and the victim had been witnessed having a huge argument at a restaurant a couple of days before his death, her best friend had known, and said best friend's registered firearm had "mysteriously vanished" with no report of the weapon having been stolen.
By contrast, Jake thought that the victim's mistress's husband, Halston Davies, deserved a second look, given that he had been having his wife followed by a private investigator for weeks, and had tons of pictures of the victim and the mistress sneaking around and having sex. Plus the guy had a handgun registered in his name that matched the caliber of the murder weapon.
"We have probable cause," Jake argued, color high in his cheeks from their argument. This was the third time they were circling back to this point, and their raised voices were starting to draw the squad's attention.
Amy glanced at the windows of the briefing room, into the bullpen, before returning her attention to Jake. "But it's much more likely the wife did it. Also, if Davies had done anything, he'd have gone after his own wife. We should be looking at her." She slammed her hand on the table, reaching the end of her patience. "Jake!"
"What'd that table ever do to you, Santiago?" he drawled, but his tone was sharper than he probably meant, and it made the phrase sound bitter.
"Why are you fighting me so hard on this?" She narrowed her eyes and him and crossed her arms. "You can't honestly believe it was the mistress's husband. Even you know that's a stretch."
"I just have a hunch, okay? Why can't you just trust me? I'm your partner, and I've been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you."
Amy rubbed her temples and clenched her jaw. "Look," she said, voice strained with the effort. "The Eight-Two had a case like this last year. Teddy said--"
"Oh, Teddy. Right. 'Cause of course you're gonna trust his opinion more than mine. I'm just your partner of the last, what, two years? How long have you known this guy, six months?"
"I've known him two years, too." Amy shot him a disbelieving look. "Are you….jealous? What the hell, you know what I meant. Teddy just said it was like a case he worked a few months ago -- and in that one, the wife did it."
Jake wasn't listening. "If you want to work cases with Teddy so much, maybe you should transfer."
Frustrated, Amy threw her hands in the air. By this point, they were shouting, not that they realized it. "Maybe I will!" She shook her head. "I'm so sick of dealing with your bullshit. You run hot and cold, you're so sloppy, and just--" She made a frustrated noise and clenched her fists, bringing them down by her sides before unfurling her hands. "At least Teddy knows how to fill out a goddamn report!"
"Whatever, Amy. Enjoy it while it lasts." He scoffed and pointed at the board where the photographs and evidence for their open case were arranged. "There's only one common element there, and it's not your job that makes all of your relationships fail."
It felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room.
Jake went still the moment the words were out of his mouth, straightening and tempering his expression, but it was too late. The words hung in the air, and the room was so silent that the fluorescent lights' buzzing was overloud. Amy felt her body turn ice cold before the rush of anger settled in. "How dare you," she said softly, feeling her whole body tense.
"Am--" He tried, but recoiled at her expression.
"Fuck you, Jake," she said, voice loud in the silence. "There's a reason everyone always leaves."
They stared at each other in tense silence for a long moment. Amy's hands were clenched at her sides and Jake looked pale. She felt her nerves start to edge in and her fists were shaking, a fine tremor that ran up her arm.
She pulled open the door to the bullpen with more force than was necessary, the door bouncing against the stopper, cheap blinds clattering against the glass. "I'm going to the roof," she announced loudly to a stunned bullpen. "No one follow me," she added, and walked into the stairwell.
Jake stuffed his hands into his pockets and waited for the sound of her footsteps to fade. "I'll be at the park," he said shortly, and took the stairs going down.
In the bullpen, everyone eyed each other nervously before resuming their work.
and they're both bad at apologies
Later, when it turned out they were both wrong and the murderer was the victim's sociopathic teenage child, Amy walked into the bullpen holding a cardboard tray with two coffees balanced carefully on the palm of her hand. She set her purse down in her chair and perched on the edge of her desk.
She opened her mouth to say something when Jake held up a hand. He reached over to the second desk and, from behind some precariously teetering stack of files, he pulled out two still-warm cups of coffee and stood.
They stared at each other for a moment before bursting into laughter. Amy set her cardboard tray on a clear spot of her desk and pulled out the blue cup for him. In turn, he handed her the white-and-green cup with the brown sleeve and lengthy notations on the side.
When they were sorted out and each bearing their peace offering, the looked at each other for a long moment. The usual white noise of the station seemed to fade out for a moment, even the one guy in the drunk tank rambling incoherently about someone named Evangeline.
They nodded at each other at the same time, just a few slight tilts of their heads, and tapped their coffees against each other, before they both returned to their seats and resumed clicking through emails and messages.
In his office, Captain Holt closed the file he'd been pretending to peruse while observing his two best detectives. Hiding a smile, he pushed the door shut with one hand.
he likes to cuddle
Amy woke up to the disorienting feeling of total warmth. As she gradually came to full consciousness, she took stock of her situation. She could feel the velvety microfiber of her sofa against her skin, but also the warm and heavy weight of something around her waist. Her knit blanket was spread out over her legs, but when she took a deep breath, she felt resistance, and she was too warm for just a blanket or the season.
There was someone sleeping next to her.
Slowly, she blinked her eyes open and looked at the flashing light on her DVD player, the faint early light tingeing her apartment gray, and the far-off sounds of traffic. Carefully, she rotated inside of the cocoon of blanket and body, her legs untangling from the other person's, and felt the hand around her waist pull her closer. She saw the plaid shirt tossed carelessly over the back of her sofa, saw the gray sleeve and the stubble along his jaw, and the mouth slightly pursed in sleep, brown hair untidy and tamped down a gasp.
Carefully, she pulled his arm away and slid out from under the coverlet, running a hand through her wavy hair as she stood and took stock of herself. She was in pajamas -- the slightly cuter set, to be sure, with the printed shorts and the soft tee -- and he seemed to still be dressed as well, and far more relaxed than she'd seen him in weeks.
They'd fallen asleep watching cop comedies -- Police Academy, Super Troopers, Ace Ventura -- after Jake had shown up at her door looking pale and wired and wrecked. The last thing she remembered was Jake insisting they watch at least three episodes of Cop Rock, and she had fallen asleep in the midst of the sentencing gospel choir-slash-jury.
She shook out her hair, finger combing it, and went to her small bath, washing her face and hands, mind a blank buzz of white noise. When she'd dried and moisturized, she stretched her arms over her head, rising onto tiptoe as her spine arched and her joints popped. She rolled back onto the soles of her feet and stretched her back and neck, arms reaching out in front of her, hair falling in a curtain in front of her. She pushed it out of her eyes and straightened to find Jake leaning sleepily against her doorjamb, expression blank in a way that made his eyes look too-large in his face.
"Uh, hey," she said, trying to lean casually on the vanity and not look in the mirror at the riotous mess her hair probably was. "I didn't hear you get up."
"I got cold," he said, one shoulder (the one not pressed against the doorjamb) shrugging, like the sentence was the most natural thing in the world, like he woke up on her couch in a t-shirt and boxers with his entire body wrapped around hers on the regular and it was no big deal. Which, given that it was the third or fourth time this had happened since he'd gotten back -- Game of Thrones marathons, a Knicks-Nets game that they'd drank and shouted through, and once a romcom night -- maybe it was.
She stared at him, expression opaque, for a long moment, and his eyes wandered over her, taking in the details of her -- she could tell, she knew his expression from the hundreds of crime scenes they'd processed together. His gaze traced the slight shape of her waist and bust in the supersoft blue cotton tee that was pilling, the hem that was a bit too short if she stood too straight (she always stood too straight) and the elastic waist of the flannel shorts with the duck print that had seemed to whimsical when she'd bought it four years ago.
She stared him down in turn, taking in the gray tee and how it stretched across shoulders that seemed like they were both broader -- had they made him work out undercover? were they super into gyms? -- and more weighted. There were small lines around his eyes that her bathroom light brought into stark relief, and the shadows under his eyes were marginally better than they had been three weeks ago. Where his shoulders were broader, his waist was trim with the slightest softness that saved him from being a true meathead -- no matter how well he did push-ups -- and the shirt's hem hung loose around his hips. His boxers reached mid-thigh and were Prussian blue.
She snapped her gaze up to his, and something like satisfaction burned in his gaze. "Like what you see?"
She forced herself not to react, to remember the pale and mussed version of him that had leaned on her buzzer at 11:30 the night before. It gave her the requisite courage.
"Take off your shirt," she commanded, pushing off the vanity to stand straight. (Her tee rode up slightly, leaving an inch of her midriff bare.)
His expression gave way to surprise. "What?"
"Take off your shirt," she repeated.
"Only if you do," he countered, looking surprised he'd said it at all.
She looked down at herself, as if trying to decide if her breasts were ready, and then looked back up. "Deal," she said, and folded her arms across her chest.
He studied her expression for a long moment before tugging on the shoulder seams and then reaching back between his shoulder blades to pull his shirt over his head. He pulled one hand out and with the other tossed the shirt into a corner of her tiny bath.
She sucked in a sharp breath. The scar was an inch across at its widest point, and was clearly still healing, though it had fully knit, given the shiny pink scar tissue bridging the gap. It ran from his shoulder to just under his ribs, jagged and diagonal.
"You never ask about it," he said, standing still, but his hands tapped impatiently against his obliques and hip bones.
She shrugged. "Do you want me to?"
"Not really," he replied with a puff of air, almost a scoff but lacking enough bravado.
"Then I won't." She angled her body slightly away from him and crossed her arms, fingers curling into the hem of her shirt.
"What are you doing?" His voice was slightly rough.
"A deal's a deal," she said, voice steadier than her nerves. In one smooth motion, she pulled her shirt over her head, revealing her navel and the inch-and-a-half wide scar just under her kidney.
"Whoa," he breathed. "I thought you did a cushy tour of the mayor's office?" His eyes flicked up to meet hers.
"For the most part, it was," she said, the edges of her voice dry. Her shirt was at her elbows, and she kept one palm pressed against her sternum. "It was my lucky day when the guy with the knife ran up, screaming about the 'end of days,' and got one good hit in before my teammates subdued him." She gave a one-shoulder shrug. "He got the edge of my vest, missed my kidney, and nicked my hip bone."
"Shit," he said. "And here I thought chasing thugs over chain link fences was badass." There was just enough sarcasm to his tone to temper it.
She laughed in spite of herself, turning to face him more fully.
He licked his lips, a nervous gesture. "Are we done talking?"
She raised an eyebrow slightly, then nodded. "Yeah. You can put your shirt back on."
That caught her off-guard. "Why?"
"You'd just end up taking it off me anyway." In two strides, he was lifting her onto the bathroom counter and kissing her. Without thinking, she kissed him back, wrenching her arms free of her tee and blindly tossing it aside, hands snaking up his shoulders, fingers tufting his hair. He stepped between her legs and she gasped into his mouth when their skin came into full contact. She hadn't thought she was cold until she was pressed against his burning warmth.
They made out on her vanity, kiss turning sloppy and mouths slanting. His fingers dug into her shoulder blades, then slid down her sides to cup her ass and pull her into him. She got the message loud and clear, and hooked her legs around his waist, snugly pressed against him. Grinning mischievously against his mouth, she rolled her hips slightly.
With a groan he broke the kiss. "Don't fucking do that," he said, voice pitched lower than usual.
She shot him an innocent expression -- her kiss-swollen lips undermining the look -- and ran the pad of her thumb over one of his nipples. "What are you gonna do about it." She clenched her abdomen muscles, which he could see.
"Oh no you don't," he said, and disentangled himself from her. Then, before she could react, he lifted her in a fireman carry, thigh over his shoulder and clasping one of her arms.
"Jake!" she shouted, laughing. "Jake, put me down right now."
"You're a goddamn tease," he retorted, walking out of the bath. Amy reached out and turned off the lights as she passed them. Jake walked straight into her bedroom, across the hall, and kicked the door closed behind him. Bending forward, he laid her out on the bed with a pivot, dropping her off his shoulders and coming over her. "Now, where were we?"
"Somewhere around here," she replied, and pulled him into her.
she only makes a decision once
She'd refused to let him cuddle -- "God, no, Peralta, absolutely not." -- so he satisfied himself by drawing endless looping patterns on her abdomen, tracing the bone and muscle he could see creating hills and valleys on her body.
"You're such a weirdo," she said, but without any bite to it, possibly even with affection if he allowed himself some margin for error.
"You're one to talk," he said, thumb tracing the imaginary line bisecting her torso. "'Captain, you're looking very happy today. Did you polish your hat again?'" His falsetto was exaggerated, but the comment was not.
She blushed -- Jake was amused to see the color creep up her neck into her cheeks -- and slapped his hands away. "That's it, no more touching."
He pouted, knuckles brushing back errant waves of her hair and dragging down her cheek and neck. "You don't mean that."
"Maybe I do," she said, but her voice was uncertain.
"Nah," he retorted, voice full of bravado as he tipped her chin to kiss her. "You can't resist me."
She smiled. "I think you've got it backwards. All the evidence points to you finding me irresistible."
"You've already got a signed confession," he pointed out. "I gave it to you months ago."
She drew in a sharp breath. "I wasn't sure if it would still hold up in court," she replied, voice slightly strained.
"My story's stayed the same the whole time. I signed the waiver, I never lawyered up, all of my own free will." He traced the shell of her ear with his index finger, brushed her cheek with his thumb. "Amy. Can I stay?" It's not quite the right question, but it would have to do.
Amy -- his partner, dammit -- searched his face intently, her eyes luminous in the brightening light of sunrise. "Yeah," she said at last. "Okay. And don't ask again."
He blew out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "Yeah?"
She nodded, the tips of her fingers ghosting over the edges of his scar. Then she added fiercely, "Yes."