Jake had told everyone he had forgotten his lucky, hasn’t-been-washed-since-he-was-eighteen sock in the locker rooms, much to Rosa’s disgust and Boyle’s intrigue. It isn’t true. He had forgotten his lucky sock at home, sitting next to the bag of gummy bears he also forgot to bring to Tactical Village.
Instead, he marches up to Amy, all smiley and perfect with those ordinary eyes that light up like Christmas and too straight brown hair that smells amazing and is legitimately the most beautiful person he’s ever seen, trumping that one subway girl he made eye contact with once, and says:
“Amy, I like you. Like, really, really like you. It’s weird and I think it’s weird, but it’s also truer than the time I admitted I put Scully’s week old sandwich in your purse and told you you smelled really bad, but that day aside, I think you smell pretty nifty and I want to smell you all the time.”
She stares at him silently, mouth slightly ajar and he really needs to calm down because no way should God, even her tongue is cute be his first thought.
“Smell you romantically,” he decides to add amidst the silence with a shrug of his shoulder, “you know, if you didn’t catch my drift just now.”
“I...Wha— …” Amy opens and closes her mouth, staring at him wide eyed like he just told her he’s making Captain and not her, which Jake admits isn’t a really good facial expression to have, but he doesn’t let her say anything.
Instead, he sways to the side, with one hand still on his hip and the other raising to wave. “Before you say anything, hi Teddy, what’s up man?” Jake gives a toothy grin and his demeanor brightens up to contrast how many jumping jacks his insides are doing at the realization that not only did he just confess to Amy Santiago moments after she had told him she was going out with Teddy, but that he confessed in front of Teddy.
“Well,” Teddy starts, because Amy’s still speechless and is probably using her inner Jake Peralta dictionary to translate him. “This is awkward.”
Charles is giving him the speech again, assuming Jake hasn’t confessed his pigtail pulling crush on Amy to Amy yet. He’s optimistic that Jake still has a chance, all the while telling Jake he should’ve asked out Amy first before Teddy. Jake just brushes him off with another shot that burns the back of his throat like that hot dog he had this morning. He thinks Charles is about to suggest he take his mind off of Amy and Teddy—both of whom are at the bar this very moment, not even acknowledging Jake’s dark aura in the corner booth—by cleansing his palette or whatnot, when Vivian calls.
And there goes Boyle. The last of the precinct except for Amy and Jake (and Teddy, but Jake will never group the perfectly dullish, perfect guy for Amy, in the same group as theirs).
He plays with his shot glass, twirling it in his fingers like he does with his gun sometimes. He vaguely—actually, pretty distinctively, considering it’s her and he never forgets what she says because that’s how dumb his brain and its priorities are—remembers Amy scolding him for doing that once, even when he insisted he never does it with a loaded gun. Really, he just wanted the practice to look cool like all the cop movies. Jake smiles at the thought, but it’s interrupted when Amy slides into the booth where Charles was sitting just moments ago.
“Hey,” she says.
“Santiago,” Jake greets, eyes pulling to the side. Teddy’s bar stool is empty. He’s not even here.
Amy’s fidgeting with the hem of her sleeve, eyes dancing around on the whorls of the old wooden table between them instead of at Jake himself. It’s been like this for several days now, and Jake takes full responsibility for this awkward, totally not sexual, tension between them. He might be reading into his memories a bit too much, but he kinda misses the sorta sexual tension they had before the catastrophe that was his confession.
Jake finally clears his throat. “So where’s Teddy? He got a curfew or something?”
Surprisingly, it pulls a smile to her lips. “Actually, he has an early shift tomorrow morning. He’s taking extra hours this week to help his friend whose dog just died.”
“Figures,” Jake mutters under his breath. “So I guess you’ll mostly be texting each other a lot more this week. At home, at work, during arrests, at home again before you go to bed...Very cute. Very couple-ish.”
Amy sighs. “Jake…”
“No! No. It’s fine. I get it. Look, I’m a heterosexual, cis-white man. I can't see the appeal of Teddy, but hey, I can get over it—actually, I’m already over it.”
“You’re over it?”
Jake wants to down another shot, but reserves it for later. Instead, he grins. “Yep. Totally.”
“Duh, Amy. It’s me. I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”
Her pinched brows fall out and she looks inquisitively amused for someone who’s subconsciously stomping onto his heart with army boots. “Would you still be over it if I told you Teddy and I talked about it—”
“—and that while I think he’s amazing and honest—”
“—and even though it’s absurdly clear that he and I are totally a perfect match—”
“Still over it.”
“—we decided it wouldn’t work out?”
“Teddy and I aren’t together.” Amy looks up from Jake’s fingers around the shot glass to his frozen face. She's wearing her winning smirk. “Are you still over it?”
Jake falls a little harder.
Amy organizes Jake’s sock and underwear drawer the morning after she stays at his apartment for the first time. He’s in the shower and she had noticed the shelves were all open from him scrambling for clean clothes. The messy arrangement had nagged at her until she began rolling them all up and categorizing them by style and colour.
It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s touching his boxers just a barely a week and a half into their relationship, which they haven’t legitimately confirmed. It’s only been a few dates here and there, all of which were interrupted by Captain Holt needing them to come into the precinct. They haven’t had sex, and she’s in his room folding his boxers into neat squares while he obscenely sings Taylor Swift just on the other side of the wall.
It’s so domestic; she’s not sure how she feels about this mess up of her vision. Amy has always had a rule—a plan. Go out with a nice and proper gentleman, three dates minimum before she wants to confirm the status of their relationship, and five dates before things take place in the bedroom. This is all followed by more dates, and maybe a phone or Skype call introduction to her family members, one by one, to ease him into her life.
Instead, she’s kneeling on the stained, carpeted floors, two and a half dates in (the first one with the bet doesn’t count in her mind), realizing for the first time that her plan sounds just as boring as Jake tells her she is when she admits to something granny-like. He always tells her that he doesn’t mind boring, and that he loves it—there! Jake’s already using the L word in his day to day vocabulary with her and that’s not even supposed to happen until at least date six.
Jake may enjoy boring, but Amy doesn’t think she can.
“Why are you holding my underwear?” Jake asks, snapping her out of her thoughts. He’s dripping wet in a towel and at risk for catching a cold that Amy has no interest in sharing with him.
She ducks her head, embarrassed. “I was bored.”
Jake rolls his eyes and says, “Of course you were,” before stepping over to her, bending down and kissing her on the forehead.
“Pass me your tomatoes,” Amy tells him and he doesn’t waste time tilting his dish so he could push the tomatoes over onto her plate, only to steal mushrooms from hers.
Jake has a motor mouth and can keep talking for the both of them, and usually when they talk it’s full of insults and jabs towards each other like they were before they were dating. But the fact that they both work together means it’s harder to bring new material into their daily conversations because Amy was already there, or was told during work. Surprisingly, lunches and dinners with minimal talking from either of them isn’t so bad. Jake isn't bad company and can actually function in silence.
Amy brings a fork to her mouth when she looks up, catching Jake staring at her as he sloppily chews on his food. He grins widely, mouth full.
“That’s disgusting, Jake,” Amy says. She squirms in her seat a little at the meat juices dripping from the side of his mouth.
“You’re disgusting,” Jake retorts with half chewed food threatening to leave his mouth. It grosses her out, but brings a smile to her face anyway.
She’s about to comment further on his eating habits when she looks up and sees Charles just a few feet away from the restaurant door.
She points to the door. “It’s Boyle. What do we do?”
Jake swallows the rest of his food. “What do you mean what we should do? Wait, you’re not suggesting…” The corner of his lips curve upwards and Amy can’t help but groan. “Amy Santiago, you sly minx. I’m not a side dish for you, am I? I’m hurt, Amy. I really am. The fact that you would hide our relationship, the foundation that is all the good in the world, from our friends.”
Amy scowls, but her eyes flicker back and forth between the man across from her and Charles who’s about to enter the restaurant any moment now. She leans in and yanks onto Jake's work tie.
“Listen, bud, he’s your best friend and you guys tell each other everything. The fact that you haven’t told him yet means you want this to be a secret as much as I do, so think fast and figure out what to tell him when he comes.”
He groans at the truth. “Damn, I knew I should have checked his weekly e-mails and see what place he’s going to refine his palette at before I picked this place. Come on, Peralta. Get it together,” Jake chastises himself, but presses his palm flat on the table anyway. “Okay, follow my lead,” he says before dashing to the bathroom in the fastest sprint Amy has ever seen him do.
It’s in that moment that Charles walks up to her table. “Amy?”
“Charles!” She announces, her voice high and squeaky.
Her colleague looks down at the two plates set in front of her. He gasps a little too delightedly. “Are you on a date? Is it Teddy? You haven’t said much about him these days, I—”
Suddenly, Jake strolls out of the bathroom and slaps Amy on the back.
“Jake?” Boyle gasps.
Amy can never understand how Charles can breathe Jake’s name like a lover better than she can.
“Hey Boyle, what’s up?” He doesn’t let Charles blurt out his suspicions before sitting across from Amy again. “Also, sorry Santiago, but it looks like your date jumped on the train and left.”
“Yeah, I followed him into the bathroom and told him you were my crazy ex who’s only using him to follow me, Alex Burkov—he’s Russian, came here as a foreign exchange student, lost his right toe in a bar fight.”
“Nice,” Charles mutters, propping Jake’s fist.
“Anyway, so Alex warned him to stay away from the cray, and he dashed right out the back door behind the kitchens when you weren’t looking.”
It takes a moment for Amy to really get what Jake’s going for. Before she realizes it, she’s screaming at Jake for being an inconsiderate bastard and making her lose another date, shoving past Boyle, and leaving the restaurant.
Boyle mentions it later at the precinct with additional epic poetry in favour of Jake while Amy pretends to glare daggers at the detective sitting across from her. He sends her heart emojis on his phone in response.
“I’ll date him,” Kylie announces the evening Amy retells the story to her friend.
It’s a weird thing to say, considering they’re on a double date with Amy’s friend Kylie and her boyfriend, though Matt isn’t even phased with Kylie’s insistence to date Jake. Jake assumes this must be a regular thing, his girlfriend saying things like this.
The blonde has her arm outstretched around Matt’s chair, her professionalism showing through her smirk with a hint of devilishness. Jake briefly wonders how she managed to become friends with Amy, picturing a goth Kylie picking up nerdy Amy from the library one day and demanding they become the best of friends, no ifs, ands or buts.
“Say what now?” Amy asks.
Kylie waves her hand around. “You can have Matt, if you want.”
Jake furrows his brows, turning between his girlfriend and the pair in front of him. “Is this some weird sex thing?” He turns to Amy. “You didn’t mention kinky switch-a-roos the night we were talking about our hidden desires and you said you like it when I—” She shuts him with a palm slapping over his mouth.
Kylie giggles into her drink. Her boyfriend raises an eyebrow at Amy. Jake can feel all the blood rush to her upper body through the skin of her hands glued on his mouth. He nibbles on the skin of her palm until she's grossed out and drops her hand. He smiles victoriously.
“What I mean is, you’re obviously hiding it from your co-workers partially for the thrill of hiding and partially because you don't want them to complicate your lives, but they’re going to get suspicious if neither of you get a date in a really long time.”
“We’ve been lying. A lot. Jake’s good at exaggerating fake stories he pulls out of his ass,” Amy explains.
Jake knows he should feel offended, but he also feels pretty proud that Amy knows his qualities.
“You work with detectives, sweetie. They’re going to figure out your shit before you even know it. You need solid evidence. Matt works nearby you guys. He can come in at lunch with flowers, secretly from Jake, but to everybody else, a romantic and hot boyfriend. I can go out to dinner with Jake in one of those restaurants you know your friend, Boyle, will be at, while he and I trade embarrassing stories about you. Then he can talk about my awesome body to your sergeant the next morning.”
Jake’s still trying to wrap his head around this wicked woman’s plan. He doesn’t even know what sort of prize or satisfaction Kylie’s getting from this.
“Uh, doesn’t Matt get a say in this?” Jake asks. Matt chuckles sadly and shakes his head.
He looks down at Amy who’s seriously contemplating Kylie’s words. It doesn’t even take a second longer before Amy says, “Okay.” Jake grins.
There’s a bet.
Kylie and her boyfriend are in on the bet.
Teddy is in on the bet.
Jake has no idea what’s going on except he one day finds himself in front of the whiteboard that’s kept at Kylie’s house, totalling how much everyone’s wagering, when they think he and Amy are going to crack and who between them is going to crack. At the bottom of the board, he sees Amy’s name in bold, blue marker and how much she’s betting.
He writes his own name with double the amount underneath, sending her a Snapchat picture of the board with a sloppily drawn heart emoji next to it.
They embrace for far too long and far too publicly in the dark streets that night. Jake presses his lips on top of her hair, trying to mute out the sounds of her sniffles but not wanting to forget what she sounds like.
Six months is a long time, he realizes.
When they part, long enough for Jake to kiss every inch of Amy’s face, for him to soak in the memory of how she holds onto his arms when he does so, he feels something bubble inside him.
He tells her, “I love you,” for the first time, and because he’s Detective Jake Peralta, he adds, “romantic stylez.”
Amy stares at him for a very long time, unmoving. He doesn’t expect her to say it back, and he knows she knows that, so he just pulls her back into his arms again. He wonders how someone who still aggravates him on a weekly basis despite their relationship status, who is competitive enough to push him into a linen closet doorknob just to beat him in a race to the bathroom first even though they shower together, who would probably choose Holt over him in a heartbeat, could be everything he never imagined he'd ever have.
“Of course it’s romantic stylez, you idiot,” Amy says with her voice muffled against his chest. “What do you think we’ve been doing all this time?”
Jake chuckles until he has to let her go.
Much to Amy’s shock, Teddy was pretty chill about the fact that Jake got in the way of him dating her. Nothing got too awkward between them, and she even hung out with him on occasion. It was probably during one of their group lunches that got Teddy roped into the bet too, that or the fact that every time she had hung out with him, Jake would pull her back with his arm and tell Teddy:
“My girlfriend will kick your more-defined-than-mine-butt—shut up, I’m not jealous or checking it out—if you do anything stupid. Also, if you see anyone we know, you can totally pretend it’s a legit date cause I have a lot of money riding on this thing.”
Needless to say, Teddy was incredibly confused—and possibly flattered and more confused that Jake mentioned his ass. Amy knows Teddy’s been focusing on those squats as much as he has been with pilsners.
Of course, that was months ago, before Jake’s departure from the precinct. Kylie and Teddy couldn’t really be in the know, though Amy knows they suspect it because the story of Jake being fired wouldn’t have been the reason why he’s never in her apartment anymore.
It doesn’t occur to Amy that the others at the Nine-Nine hadn’t questioned why she was continuously moping or checking her phone (she misses Jake’s heart emojis). It’s probably because everyone else is feeling more or less the same as she, realizing how boring work is without Jake. She isn’t even thinking about the bet either, at least, not until Teddy brings it up.
“I’ve got an interview. In Manhattan.”
“Really?” Amy tries to sound excited, but she doesn’t like the idea of losing a friend.
“It’s not a step up from the job, but it’d be closer to my folks. And well, I’m still thinking about it,” Teddy explains. “Anyway, I was wondering if you’d like to come with me. You and Kylie and her boyfriend or whoever.”
He smiles sincerely. “You and I both know you have way more vacation days collected than you should. And we both know that coming to work without Jake sitting there is making you miserable. Take a few days off. The bet’s still on right? You can tell them you and I are going out for a weekend.”
Amy thinks about it for a bit, and considers the idea. She’s not a detective for nothing though, because she waits and stares at Teddy sternly before he admits, “And because I can’t let the guys at the station know that I might be leaving them.”
She smiles and decides a little Manhattan shopping with Kylie wouldn’t be so bad. Even if it’s without Jake.
It's the night Jake came back and they've been lying in bed for hours. His body beneath her feels both familiar and foreign, almost like it's as if he had been there with her for the past six months but also like he's a different person. The way he lies in bed is different; the way he breathes is different.
Amy holds him close to her, lets him freely escape from Jake Peralta: former dirty cop with gang affiliations, so that he could mold back into Jake Peralta: one of the best detectives at the Nine-Nine who always wore a goofy grin. They don't have sex that night, but the way he holds her now is just as intimate. She knows there are things he can't tell her—won't tell her—and she doesn't pry.
Instead, she rubs small circles on his chest while she tells him anecdotes from the precinct from when he was away and creates elaborate identities with notorious backstories so that they could use it for their next case.
His laugh isn't as deep as it used to be, but Amy thinks it's enough.
Jake’s surprised Amy hadn’t mentioned telling Holt of their relationship since the very start, but when he voices this, Amy admits that she did tell the Captain, but he had assumed she had lost a bet.
“He looked so amused, I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was the truth…”
“Whaaaat?” Jake exclaims, placing a palm to his chest. “That hurts me on a deeper level, Santiago.”
She rolls her eyes and drags onto his arm. “Come on, we’ve been putting it off for far too long and it hurts me on a deeper level when I think about the fact that we’re not following protocol.”
When they enter Holt’s office, Amy passes him the papers the moment the older man looks up to address the two of them. Someone staring at two disclosure forms should not look this intimidating. Jake feels like it’s second grade all over again and he’s handing his mom the principal’s note about his three day suspension for putting bugs into Cynthia Young's lunchbox. Holt studies the documents with the same, solid, blank expression on his face before looking up at him and Amy, as if checking for validity in his detectives’ eyes.
“How long has this been going on?” he asks.
“Ah, well,” Amy stutters. “Not too long. I mean, nothing was really confirmed, except—”
“We’ve been banging since before I worked with the FBI!” Jake says, preening.
Captain Holt removes his reading glasses, and that’s when Jake knows it’s serious. “I’m confused. It was my understanding you were dating Detective Wells at the time of Detective Peralta’s undercover operation.”
“Well, see Teddy and I never really...I mean, he’s a good friend and all, but nothing really happened. In fact, we’ve sort have been asking him to pretend for us?” It comes out like a question and Jake thinks it’s adorable when Amy’s voice squeaks. “Teddy and I never dated. We’ve only been on a few fake dates.”
“So all this has been a carefully crafted ruse?”
“And everybody fell for it! Some detectives they are!” Jake shouts. It’s been ages since he was allowed to tell someone about their relationship. Bet aside, he wishes he could show her off to every passerby, janitor and perp he runs into, but he supposes he’ll have to channel all that energy to Holt.
“Er, actually, it’s why we’re both here before the others come to work,” Amy tells him. “If it’s okay with you sir, we’d like this to be...between us.”
His face makes an ah! expression, or so Jake assumes. Though it could have just very well been acid reflux from Boyle’s surprise office treat last night.
“You wish to keep this a secret from the precinct?”
“Yes, sir,” Amy answers. Jake just grins sheepishly next to her, too dazed about the whole damn thing to really care that he looks like he was high.
Holt clasps his hands together on top of his desk, leaning forward. His eyes never leave his detectives. “I'm curious. Why the secrecy?”
“Duh. Santiago and I have a bet.”
He stretches his arm around Amy’s shoulder and pulls her close to him. “First one who reveals our epicly awesome relationship is a loser,” he sings the last word. His fingers tighten around Amy’s arm and she uses the hand holding onto his to pinch the skin on his wrist.
“And what does this bet entail?”
The pair freezes.
“Well... there’s a lot of money involved.”
“Is that all?” Holt questions. He seems rather unimpressed. Or impressed. Jake’s not too entirely sure.
“Well, we were talking about other things, but uh...”
“We never got around to that.”
“We were a bit...caught up,” Amy says for the lack of a better word.
Holt barely nods his head. “Caught up?”
Jake just grins. “Santiago and I were too busy signing our own personal disclosure forms, if you know what I mean—Ow, hey!” He still doesn’t know what he has to do in order to avoid Amy’s knack for elbowing him, even several months into their relationship. He thinks about it though, and realizes okay, that might have been a tad inappropriate to say to their boss.
"And why should I encourage this sort of behaviour? If I'm not mistaken, your previous bets have led to disasters of varying degrees. What advantage is there to keep your fraternization a secret?"
Jake scoffs. "Pfft. You would use fraternization."
"Sir, seeing as how Detective Peralta and I have been in a relationship for the past nine months—granted, Jake was gone for six of those nine—you would think a room full of detectives would have caught on by now."
"Which they haven't by the way cause we're awesome.” Jake turns to face Amy and raises his arm. “High five!"
Amy lifts her hand, but a momentary lapse of meeting with Captain Holt's eyes leaves her hand wavering in the air reluctantly. Jake’s grin falters (he knew she would choose Holt over him), and his arm remains up high alone. With a roll of his eyes, he drops his arm though not without using his other arm to pull onto Amy’s and making her give him a low-five. He keeps his fingers entwined with hers after.
"So you're saying this is a test. A perception test on our detectives,” Holt elaborates slowly.
"Hm, alright,” he decides, leaning back on his chair. “I will indulge your bet and withhold this information from your colleagues.” He points a finger at the two of them. “But you will tell me the additional details once you and Santiago have it figured out. I have to admit, I find myself quite intrigued.”
Jake stares at him questioningly. He feels a chill run down his spine at the implications. “...The details of our sex life, sir?”
“He means our bet, dumbass,” Amy whispers.
“Right. Yeah, I knew that.”
Captain Holt is in on the bet. So is Kevin.
Jake is confused, but naturally, he takes it as a challenge and decides to bet more money.
Kylie loans her boyfriend to Amy for a good two hours in exchange for a day of shopping for Amy’s new wardrobe. Amy’s not sure who wins in that agreement, but she’s sitting across from Matt with glee at the bar while her work friends gossip in the booths. Jake is pretending to be jealous in front of Boyle and Terry.
In reality, she and Matt are adding the final touches Kylie's upcoming surprise birthday party. Anything with her label maker could make her squeal like a five year old hyped up on sugar, which is Jake’s only motivation for going through with this date.
Jake and her are completely different in that he would never in a million years organize and set things up the way she does. But when she starts describing the different fonts her label maker makes and how her new Cricut machine could help her with her scrapbooking, he makes this face and watches her like she’s the only person in his world and it makes Amy feel bubbly inside.
When he doesn’t respond, Amy all but throws the blanket off her, hoping to move enough so that her boyfriend would wake up by “accident”. Unfortunately, he could sleep through a zombie apocalypse if he tried—she knows, they’ve argued about this before—and so Jake just snores through her restless shifting.
“Jake?” she whispers a little louder than necessary, and when the sound of his heavy breathing cuts through her voice, she frowns, crosses her arms, and then kicks him in the shin.
“Ow—what the f—Amy?” He barely has his eyes open, but he manages to find the switch for the lamp anyway before turning over to her, eyelids still shut. “Is the baby coming?” He asks sleepily.
Amy furrows her brows. “What?!”
“Sorry, ignore that. Just a dream,” he replies casually through a yawn. He rubs his eyes before turning over to face her and dropping an arm over her shoulder and bringing her closer to his warm body. Amy can feel him rub his legs against hers, because regardless of whether she shaves or not, he still likes the feeling of her legs against his. “It’s three in the morning, is there something wrong?” he asks before shoving his face into the crook of her neck. “We have work in seven hours.”
“We have work in six hours, Jake.”
“Mm, Gina said Holt has a dentist appointment in the morning. He won’t know.”
Amy withholds rolling her eyes in favor of angling herself to face him. She pushes a curl of hair away from his eyes, which blink slowly like he’s one breath away from falling back to sleep. Jake smiles at her though. He always smiles at her whenever he catches her looking at him even if she claims she’s not and was looking behind him.
She parts her lips about to speak but her voice gets stuck.
“What is it?”
“You think I’m amazing, I got that,” Jake says with a cheeky grin. Amy lightly smacks him in the shoulder, earning a roar of laughter that accompanies him. He moves so that his body is above hers. Crouching over, he piles kisses all over her face, purposely avoiding her lips. Just when she thinks he’s going to kiss her on her mouth, he sticks his tongue out and blows a raspberry.
Amy giggles, but it quickly dies down when she stares at him like she’s studying him again.
“Jake,” she breathes with a smile so big her cheeks hurt.
“I love you.”
He shouldn’t look so smug, but he does. He must have known for a long time now, but Amy never does anything until she’s one hundred percent sure, even if it’s more than half a year after he’s said it to her. The words had been on the tip of her tongue for a good three weeks now, and saying it feels like a breath of fresh air for the first time.
“Is that so?”
She nods. “Yeah. Romantic stylez and everything.”
Amy’s never seen Jake look so happy before, not even the day he saw a positive number in his bank account and wanted to celebrate with an expensive feast. He drops his body back on to the bed, but doesn’t let her go. Instead, he kisses her again—on the lips this time—and whispers, “Noice, I love you too. High five!”
She high fives him and they fall back to sleep just moments later.
“Ready?” Jake asks while Amy’s straightening out her suit jacket and her neck.
“Alright, let’s do this,” Jake announces, before taking one stride forward towards the precinct doors, a rambunctious laughter ringing in his throat for everyone to hear.
“It’s not funny, you jerk!” Amy shrieks behind him.
Jake just turns around, pointing a finger at her. “But you should’ve seen your face!”
“It was his Wednesday suit. He only has one suit for Wednesday and you spilled ice cream all over it!”
By now, they’ve picked up an audience. Terry doesn’t even bother getting up from his seat, far too used to Jake’s antics, and Charles is shaking his head in defeat. Rosa looks like she’s about to tear Jake a new one.
“You mean you, Amy Santiago, jumped at rubber band ball—”
“I thought it was a mouse!” Amy yells.
“—and spilled it all over his Wednesday suit. Wednesday suit! Who has a suit for each day of the week?”
“I do,” Holt interrupts. “Is that a problem, Detective Peralta?”
Jake’s grin falters and Amy pushes herself to smirk. The rest of the precinct tries to contain their mixture of amusement and disappointment.
“No. Of course not, sir. Very respectable. Very organized. I’ve been thinking about getting a tie for each day of the week actually,” Jake responds with both his hands folded in front of him.
“You should,” Holt deadpans. “Your current tie is atrocious.”
Later when they’re all at their desks, Amy texts him: I told you that tie looks bad and Jake texts her back with heart emojis.
They meet Sophia at a restaurant during one of their secret dates and she recognizes Jake from one of their previous court dates. She clues them in that she thinks her boss might be processing more illegal work than legal and in spite of herself, asks for their help.
Jake and Amy look at each other once before saying: “Let us tell you something about us.”
The next day, Jake walks into the precinct announcing loudly he’s slept with a hottie and Amy texts Sophia that their plan is set in motion.
(A few weeks after meeting Sophia, Amy thinks Teddy might be a match for her. Jake snorts beer through his nose and says, “Maybe when we go to the resort this weekend.”
It doesn't really work. Cops and defense attorneys and all...)
“What’s up, Jakie-pooh?” Ignoring her own duties, they all find Gina sliding onto the edge of Jake’s desk across from Amy. She has a water bottle in her hand, though no one will believe her if she says it’s not alcoholic—she’d sooner admit that it is rather than it isn’t, anyway.
“Oh you know, just writing my awesome-tastic report for Mr. Robot in there because he didn’t like my last three versions,” Jake tells her without looking up from his computer. Normally, he’d make eye contact with Amy and exchange their little telepathic conversations that he claims they have, but both he and Amy had agreed early on to make no sort of connection when Gina’s around. The woman’s scarily perceptive for a non-detective.
“Right, I don’t really care. Anyway, do you remember Dorie?”
“The fish from Finding Nemo?”
“No, Jake. Don’t you pay any attention to my life at all?” Gina sighs. “Dorie’s from my dance group and she seriously needs a hot date to get over her ex.”
“And you thought of me?” Jake asks, surprised.
“Of course not, but none of my hot friends are single—opps. Did I say that out loud?” Gina pretends to look around the room at every single detective staring at her. “Anyway, she’s weird, is willing to eat gross things, and laughs at anything you tell her, so she’s already a perfect match for you!”
In all fairness, it had never really occurred to either him or Amy that one of their friends would want to set them up with anybody. Rosa’s threatened to stab her thigh and blame him than to give him one of her friend’s numbers again, and Jake has an age limit that immediately crosses out Charles’s contacts. But in that moment, he could feel Amy’s eyes on him and for the first time since claiming their psychic powers, Jake doesn’t know what she’s thinking.
What he does instead is remember the white board that’s grown to include Sal from Sal’s Pizza and all of Amy’s brothers and in-laws. Jake hasn’t even met more than half of them and yet their names are all there. If he remembers correctly, giving in now would mean Amy’s thirteen year old niece would win and that is way too much money for a girl who occasionally gives Amy makeup tips and dresses too sexually.
“Sure thing, Gina,” Jake says with a grin. “I know just the place to take her.”
“Good! Now don’t screw up. Rehearsals can only take so many tears and it’s hard to be sympathetic when you just don’t care,” Gina says, plopping a piece of paper with a phone number scrawled on to Jake’s keyboard and walks away with as much grace as she entered.
Jake stares at the phone number for a long time. Numbers itself look so foreign since he hasn’t received one in so long. Nowadays, he only has Amy’s number memorized even if he doesn’t need to, but he likes to just in case his phone ever stops working on him during one of his escapades. It’s a vital part of many of his identities.
When he hears Boyle’s footsteps behind him, he picks the paper up and holds it for Amy to see. “Check it out, Santiago. I’ve got a date!”
She nods sternly with a forced smile. “Congrats. Don’t screw this one up,” she tells him. It hurts him more than it should.
Jake has his date tonight and it’s all Amy could think about. Gina had wanted to go over to Jake’s house yesterday to make sure that not only was his outfit appropriate but that his apartment was tidy enough so that she doesn’t lose face when he brings Dorie home. In response to that, Jake had to spend all afternoon hiding everything that was Amy’s and making a mess of his apartment again, even though it’s been spotless for the last several months thanks to her.
She barely manages a few words with him all day. She knows it's okay to be upset, and she can tell Jake’s just as uncomfortable as she is, but at the same time she wonders how far Jake’s willing to go through with this bet and how far her competitive nature is willing to go through.
The more Gina talks though, with side commentary by Charles, the more Amy grows to hate this Dorie girl. She’s in every way a perfect match for Jake. The “Teddy” of Jake Peralta’s life. It’s not as if she doesn’t trust Jake, but there’s still that nagging piece of insecurity in her which once in a while exclaims that for all that Jake claims he enjoys boring, he’s going to one day realize that someone fun is so much better. The thought pummels through her thoughts so much so that she doesn’t even hear Rosa walk up to her.
“What’s wrong with you today?” Rosa asks.
Amy immediately snaps out of her daze and shakes her head frantically. “Nothing! Nothing’s wrong with me. W-What’s wrong with you?”
She doesn’t miss Rosa’s eye roll, even when her colleague is facing the rest of their group collecting around Jake in the middle of the bullpen.
“He’ll get his head out of his ass soon,” Rosa says, affirmative but quietly for only Amy to hear.
“You two make Bambi eyes at each other all the time and right now you’re watching Bambi’s mother get shot.”
Amy feels sick to her stomach and the floor being pulled beneath her. “Bambi’s mom gets shot?!”
“What, you’ve never seen Bambi?”
The detective shakes her head. “I grew up with seven brothers. We didn’t get to watch a lot of Disney movies. Just shows about fighting cartoon animals. I think the only Disney movie I’ve ever really seen was Lion King because, well, fighting cartoon animals.”
Rosa makes the noise she always makes whenever someone is annoying her but she’s going to give in regardless. It’s a hybrid between a grunt and a sigh. “Let’s go,” she demands, pulling Amy by the elbow and dragging her out of the precinct. It’s already after-hours, so Amy’s just glad she already has her purse and coat on.
“We’re going to the nearest grocery store, buy your favorite ice cream while I go to my apartment to pick up some movies.”
“We’re going to your place?” Amy envisions a dark palace in a separate dimension, and realizes how much Jake has affected her imagination.
“No, and if you ever tell anyone that, I will deny it and hurt you. We’re going to your place after so we can watch movies and forget about Jake and his date.”
Amy feels a rush of appreciation and guilt in her body, willingly following behind Rosa anyway to the woman’s car. She spends her time later walking down the ice cream and frozen foods aisle contemplating telling Rosa about the relationship then her phone vibrates. Jake texts her that he’s about to leave for the date and that he’s wearing the gross tie with the pizza sauce stain in the corner. She wants to both laugh and cry at the fact that she won’t be sitting across from that tie tonight, and it must show on her face because when Rosa shows up with her with a bag full of DVDs and says:
“Come on. I’ll let you pick the first movie, even if it’s a dumb, blonde princess. We can yell at the patriarchy while we watch it.”
They spend the next five hours watching Disney movies. It begins with Amy silently wishing that Jake was there to provide commentary for each ridiculous talking animal present, but Rosa shoves a spoonful of ice cream in her mouth before she could even think about mentioning Jake and Dorie’s date, and it makes her feel a little better.
It’s hitting eleven when her apartment door opens, and Amy turns wide eyed at the sight of Jake standing there with his stained tie. She’s not even half way off the couch before he marches straight into her arms and lets out a groan into her chest.
“Please don’t ever make me do that again, I don’t want to go on a date with anyone but you,” he says with a muffled voice. It makes Amy so happy to hear that, she doesn’t even notice Rosa leaning on the kitchen doorway with a bowl of popcorn in her hands and a smirk on her face.
“Um,” she squeaks, alerting Jake. He finally musters the energy to remove his face from her chest and turns to Rosa.
“Oh. Rosa! Hi. Sorry, I…I’m drunk. I don’t know what I’m doing. I shouldn’t be here, nope,” Jake announces.
Rosa doesn’t say anything. Just shoves the bowl of popcorn into Jake’s arms and collects her purse and keys. “Amy is self-conscious about her relationship with you and how long it’s going to last. You two should talk about that. Yes, I know about your relationship, no, I’m not going to tell you how.
“Also, I’m loaning you all my movies because singing along to them makes Amy feel like you do when you sing Taylor Swift—do not touch it with your greasy fingers. And do not let Boyle know I own these movies.”
And then Rosa leaves.
After, Amy listens to Jake as he tells her everything about his date, which ends up being about what he ordered for dinner. Jake, as observant he could be as a detective, barely remembers anything about the woman, much less what the colour of her hair is, and admits all he could think about during the date was her. While he spends the rest of the night mimicking Disney characters, she holds him close to her because he requested to be the little spoon for that night and Amy doesn’t think she has fallen in love with someone so much as she has for Jake.
The next morning, when they go over proper dos and don’ts for their bet and reassure each other the status of their relationship, Kylie sends a picture message of the white board of all the bets. Marcus and Rosa’s names are new additions.
There’s a strict NO INTERFERENCE rule in the bet. No one is allowed to push either Jake or Amy into revealing their secret relationship, and no one is to meddle and risk the secret falling apart on the particular day they’ve betted on.
Which is why a little over a year since the start of their relationship, when Amy’s second youngest brother shows up at the Nine-Nine with the intent to make Jake reveal the relationship so that Lucas Santiago would win, Amy pounces on the six foot one, two hundred pound man before he could say anything and sits on his back until he yells, “Mercy!”
Lucas is eliminated from the bet and his six brothers laugh at him.
Amy sits in between his legs inside her tiny bathtub full of bubbles, leaning against his chest as he rakes his fingers through her hair.
Charles was right. Washing someone’s hair does feel good, but neither of them are going to tell him that.
Back when Jake was a kid, he had only had himself on Thanksgiving and occasionally his mother. Needless to say, he feels rather overwhelmed by Amy’s family that evening. Even his mother feels uneasy with just sitting there unable to help. It’s not that Mrs. Peralta couldn’t, but more so because there were so many people in the kitchen that they have to be assigned specific times—courtesy of Amy’s scheduling prowess.
Jake doesn’t even know how her family’s house could fit so many people, and apparently the extended family should be arriving any moment now too. He’s met most of them on an individual basis before, but to see them all together with their husbands and wives and children and great-aunts makes Jake feel a little lost as to who he should be directing his attention to.
Personality wise, he gets along with about half of Amy’s brothers, with the other half still warming up to him. Her mom adores him—duh, what isn’t there to be adored—but her dad is still…well, Jake’s working on it. There’s only so much Peralta love to go around at a time, after all.
“Hey, have you seen Amy?” Jake thinks Nathan is the third oldest brother, but he’s not entirely sure because they’re all equally freakishly tall and confidently masculine that makes Jake question himself a little. He’s super proud of Amy who could probably hogtie all of them while blowing smoke rings with her cigar if she wanted to.
“Nah, I haven’t seen her all day,” Jake replies. It’s not too bad. Before the actual holiday, she had warned him how hectic it would be and that there would be a chance she’d be lost in a sea of relatives, so they had set up a one-point-five hour system where she sends him texts to see how he’s doing and he responds with heart emojis.
It isn’t until dinner when he sees her with her baby nephew in her arms and baby food all over her cheeks. Jake is suddenly trapped in thoughts of the future where they’re both lying on the carpet with baby food and diapers all over the apartment and can’t help but revel at the idea. He doesn’t even know if Amy wants kids, but all he can think about is having kids with her and growing old and playing chess in the parks or feed the ducks with stale bread like the other old people do. But then soon after, Jake can only remember instances with his own crappy dad, which freaks him out a little. A million similar scenarios with him taking his father’s place run through his mind and he could feel his palms growing sweaty.
“I hate to interrupt your moment,” Mr. Santiago says and Jake almost jumps into the air. He turns to see the entire Santiago clan staring at him with knowing looks. Amy’s dad is at the head of the table with a raised eyebrow. “You can talk to Amy about that later if you want, son, but if you don’t mind, we’re about to start dinner.”
Jake, all too used to embarrassing himself, feels his face grow warm. “Did you just call me son?”
Mr. Santiago shrugs. “Of course. You’re part of the family now.”
When they start dinner, his mother looks so happy for him and Amy high fives him below the table.
Amy wants to go home and sleep for the next two weeks that particular weekend when everyone was stuck at the precinct working overtime. Not one, but two major cases had unfolded themselves for the detectives and they were forced to work double time. Amy doesn’t know how it happened, but she and Jake managed themselves another bet, this time to see who could finish their case the fastest at the cost of a really expensive meal later on. She easily had accepted the offer, knowing well enough that Jake’s actually got money in his bank just like she knows his apartment’s been tidied (and untouched) while hers has a little more clutter and missing a few doilies. Terry had officiated the bet, but he, like everyone else excluding Holt and Rosa, automatically had assumed the expensive food would be brought to the precinct during their lunch break, rather than over an actual candlelit dinner with champagne.
Her action packed day with Rosa has left her exhausted after forty-two hours with barely any breaks, and she thinks the soles of her boots have worn down so much from running, even her socks need to be thrown out and replaced. The fact that Jake had been visiting his mother three days prior to their hectic weekend meant Amy has spent the majority of her week without him. It’s not that she has to be in the same room as him all the time, but sometimes phone calls and texts weren’t enough when each day gets progressively worse. Especially when one of Jake’s crooks had supposedly body slammed Jake to the pavement while trying to get away and in the process broke his phone. Communicating to her boyfriend via Boyle when Charles had no idea what was going on between them was not her best moment.
Her day worsens tenfold when she arrives at the bullpen behind Rosa and sees Charles and the others in the break room.
“Oh no…They finished before us.”
Beside her, Rosa growls. “I knew I should’ve ran those red lights. Damn those civilians.”
When the pair enter the break room, Amy sees Terry sitting on the table with his yogurt in hand, Gina on the couch and Charles on the chair. She doesn’t really know what Hitchcock and Scully are up to, but she doesn’t care either. She looks around until she sees Jake on the couch opposite to Gina, and realizes that everybody in that room had been whispering until she and Rosa had come along.
Jake is lying uncomfortably on his belly, with his head angled against the arm of the couch and his legs hanging off the other end. Amy envies him, more so on the fact that he took the big couch and she doesn’t have a place to take a nap.
“How long have you guys been here for?” Amy asks.
“Don’t worry, Santiago and Diaz. You’ve won the bet,” Terry informs them. “Unfortunately, The Vulture sank its claws into Peralta and Boyle's case.”
“Shh,” Boyle hushes them. “Jake just fell asleep.”
“He’s like a majestic lion after a long hunt,” Gina adds. “He’ll claw your eyes out with those grotesquely chipped nails of his, but leave him alone and he’ll be there for the next twenty hours.”
“Do lions really sleep for that long?” Terry asks over his yogurt cup, but no one replies with an answer (except for Gina who implies that if Terry does sleep for that long, it should be where public eye could see him and he should be shirtless to show those melted chocolate abs to the world).
Eventually, it’s only Amy who’s standing as Rosa has already found a seat. She’s too busy staring at Jake’s sleeping form. She looks around at everyone once, calculates some figures in her head and tries to recall Kylie’s whiteboard before she sighs.
Stepping over to the couch, she nudges Jake’s arms and calls out his name.
“What are you doing? Don’t wake up the King of the Jungle!”
But Amy ignores them, and whispers, “Jake. Jake, wake up.”
Finally, he groggily opens his eyes, drool covered lips curving into a smile when he sees her. “A-Amy? Did you catch the perp?”
He’s about to fall flat on his face back to sleep when Amy continues, “Hey, Jake?”
“Hm?” He blinks a few times, still adjusting to the light. Amy’s not even sure if he’s aware that all their friends are behind them and are watching.
“I've had a really long day. We both have had a really long day... All this has been really physically draining.”
He grins widely. “Title of your sex tape.”
She laughs. Her fingers play with the collar of his shirt and she feels her smile falter. It takes her a few tries, but eventually, she takes in a deep breath and asks, “Could we stop the bet?”
Jake almost pushes himself upright immediately, a look of seriousness suddenly forming on his face. “Are you accepting defeat?”
Amy squirms at the words and she could feel her entire face wrinkle at the mere thought. “No! ...Maybe. Are you telling me you don't want to end it?”
Jake doesn’t take long to think about it before he nods. “Yeah, okay. You sure?"
“Yeah.” She could hear vague murmurs behind her but her focus stays on Jake—always on Jake.
“Mkays. High five for making it this long.” He somehow manages to lift his arm even though they look like they’re carrying twenty pound weights and could collapse on him any second now. She obliges to which he responds with, “Noice. Now come’ere.”
With that, Jake pushes himself to the very back of the couch to make little room for her. She smiles as if she has learned a new method to categorize all her purchases and props a knee onto the couch cushion, levelling herself down so that her body is half on his. He promptly throws an arm over her body as she tucks her face into the crook of his neck.
For all that they had been working so hard for, neither of them actually gets to witness their friends’ reactions.
Jake wins the bet.
He uses the money to buy an engagement ring.
Amy doesn’t have to say yes this time, but she does anyway.
(They high five and naturally, Jake makes sure their wedding invites have heart emojis next to their names).