When Jake and Amy arrive at work, Gina is lounging atop Jake’s desk. Amy puts her bag away, and Jake settles down at his desk. “Hi, Gina,” he says cautiously.
“Hi, boo.” She looks smug and vaguely carnivorous. Jake instinctively braces himself for the worst. “Have a good night?”
Charles paces behind Gina’s desk, his hands shoved into his armpits. His face is pinched. “Sea witch,” Charles mumbles, mostly to himself.
“Careful, bro,” Gina says with a laugh, clicking her pink nails against Jake’s desk. “I have very powerful friends and I will destroy you if you test me.”
“Friends,” Charles scoffs. “A chance encounter—that could’ve happened to any of us, may I add—doesn’t make you their friend.”
“But it didn’t happen to any of you. It happened to me. And we are friends, sugar cube; tall, muscular, and trigger happy even follows me on twitter.”
Charles makes an offended noise in the back of his throat, waves his hands in the air, and paces another circuit around their desks. Jake is worried; it’s been a while since he’s seen Charles this bothered, and Gina this smug.
“Um,” Amy says, raising her hand in the air like she has a question, “what happened?”
“A beautiful thing,” Gina says. “A righteous act of god. A meeting of minds that you chuckle-heads all missed, because you’re squares with sleeping schedules and don’t follow me on twitter.”
“What,” Amy says. Jake opens up his internet browser on the boxy PC propped on his desk and tries to load up twitter. Google splutters, and freezes. Jake shakes the monitor with both hands.
Rosa stalks into the precinct, yesterday’s eyeliner smudged around her eyes. Terry follows in behind her, a thermos with cartooned farm animals cupped to his chest. Gina laughs, and the ringing sound sends chills down their backs.
“Welcome!” she greets. “Pull up a chair.”
Rosa squints at her. “What are you up to?”
“You’re always so suspicious, Rosa. I’m hurt.”
Terry gulps down the rest of his coffee. He slams the empty thermos onto Jake’s desk, and peers at the monitor. “I’m with Rosa. What’d you morons get up to? Jake, why does Charles look like he’s having an existential crisis?”
Before Jake can open his mouth to defend himself, Holt exits his office with his hands behind his back. The Captain eyes them all. His gaze catches briefly on Charles, still pacing and muttering to himself, before landing on Gina, sitting atop Jake’s desk like it’s a throne.“Listen up, everyone. Last night, we had several high-profile persons in our custody. Some of you might find this exciting, but I don’t want to see anyone gossiping or neglecting their duties. Is that understood?”
“Yessir,” Amy says, almost before Holt has finished speaking. He nods at her, and she beams.
Gina raises her hand. “Not even a little bit of gossip? To get it out of our systems?”
Holt thinks about this. “Fine. The smallest amount, so long as it doesn’t interfere with your jobs.”
“I need, like, another 30 seconds,” Gina says, and then turns to Jake. She braces her hands against his shoulders, looks him in the eye, and says, “I met Spider-Man last night.”
“What,” says Jake. Amy squawks, and Charles makes a sound in his throat like he’s dying.
“I saw Daredevil shirtless. That man has rock hard abs like you would not believe.”
“Deadpool was there. We’re following each other on twitter now. He thinks my nails are cute and possibly lethal, and is very jealous of how pink and shiny they are.”
Jake flails his hands in the air. He is not in control of his body anymore. “Gina, Gina. What in the actual and entire hell?”
“Why should we believe you?” Rosa asks.
“She’s not lying,” Charles says. His face is in his hands. He looks like a defeated man. “She live-tweeted the whole thing. She has photos.”
Jake scrambles for the computer. He scans Gina’s twitter, finally loaded up, and says with a sick kind of horror, “Oh, my god.”
“What?” Amy rounds Jake’s desk. She presses a hand to her mouth. “She wasn’t kidding. Oh, god.”
Rosa and Terry peer over Jake’s shoulder. Rosa glowers at Gina. Terry stomps his foot. “Oh, come on! My girls are huge Spider-Man fans. You didn’t get his autograph, did you?”
“Nope,” Gina says, popping the ‘p.’ She waggles her fingers at Rosa. “Didn’t count on you being a superhero fan, Rosa.”
“I just happen to appreciate their work,” she says, more flat than defensive. Jake is too absorbed to call her out.
“Is that…” Jake clicks on a photo, and it expands to cover the screen. “Gina, why is Spider-Man holding Daredevil’s hands to his face?”
“Pure, unadulterated shame. I mean, the dude got arrested with Deadpool. Not to mention the general state of his life right now? I’ve seen the viral videos he always ends up in.” Gina shakes her head, tasselled curls bouncing around her face. “That boy is so messy.”
“Spider-Man’s a messy boy,” Charles repeats in a near-whisper. Amy scrunches her nose up at the phrasing.
“It’s a shame you missed it, Peralta,” Holt says, watching this mess unfurl with an unprofessional kind of satisfaction. Jake knows their Captain secretly thrives thrives on drama. “From what I’ve gathered, you and Spider-Man would have a great deal in common.”
“I hope this isn’t going to do anything to your ego,” Amy says.
“It shouldn’t,” Gina says. “Listen, I love that boy, but like I said: messy. Messy.” She considers this, flicking through her timeline on her phone. “Actually, I think that might be all vigilantes in general.”
“Messy heroes,” Jake whispers. He whines, and kicks his legs out. “Amy! Why weren’t we on nightshift last night?”
“Why are you blaming me?”
“You’re the one with the dumb kissable face that made me want to go home instead of staying here and catching up with boring paperwork.”
Amy runs a hand through Jake’s hair, and his frown loosens. Holt says, “You’re perfectly welcome to stay tonight and complete your paperwork in case more vigilantes crawl out of the woodwork.”
“Done,” Charles says.
“Charles! Voluntary nightshift?”
“But Jake.” Charles waves a hand at the monitor. A picture of Daredevil slumped over Spider-Man comes into view. Deadpool is making a peace sign in the corner of the shot. “Look at what we missed!”
“Paperwork but superheroes, paperwork but superheroes, paperwork but superheroes—” Amy cups the back of Jake’s neck, and leans into his space, smiling down at him. Jake decides, “Nightshift isn’t worth it.”
“I thought we were friends,” Charles says with disapproval. “I thought I understood you.”
“I understand you, hon,” Gina says, and shoves Jake out of the way to get to his computer. She scrolls further down the page, down tweets with likes numbering in the thousands, before she clicks on a photo. “There you go. You’re welcome.”
A photo of a shirtless man fills the screen. Faint scars intersect over his abdomen, over his chest, down the bulging muscle in his arms. His maroon mask is still in place. Tiny horns jut out from his skull—horns that Jake was almost certain were exaggerated by concussed criminals with blood loss. His jaw is full of dark stubble.
“Oh,” Jake says, like its punched out of him.
Rosa cocks her head to the side. “I’d do him.”
“Same,” Jake says. He looks to Amy quickly. “Theoretically. I would theoretically do him, in an alternate universe were I was a hero and also single.”
Gina laughs. “Do you have any idea how excited Deadpool was when Daredevil started stripping? Or how squirmy Spidey got? Damn, I should’ve videoed their reactions.”
“I’m dead and this is what hell is like,” Jake decides, scrubbing his hands over his face.
“Alright, it’s been over 30 seconds,” Holt says loudly. “You all need to get back to work.”
Holt disappears back into his office, and everyone begins to skulk off to their desks. Rosa hesitates, and Jake catches Gina by the sleeve before she slides off his desk. He leans in, and says, very seriously, “If you ever see them again…”
“I’ll give them your number,” Gina says. “Definitely. Sure. For $50.”
Rosa touches Gina on the shoulder, casting glances at their coworkers as she does so. Quietly, she says, “$20.”
“$25, and I don’t break your nose,” Rosa says.
Gina scoffs, and flicks through her phone as she thinks about it. Jake is busy enlarging and saving the shirtless photo of Daredevil to his desktop. He messages Rosa a copy over Facebook, because he knows she doesn’t use twitter, but knows her type (dark haired; a little bloodied; could probably kill someone with their bare hands).
Gina’s phone pings. Whatever is on her screen makes her eyes widen, makes her straighten up on her perch, makes her grin with her teeth and say, “$20, and you two do me a huge favour.”
Slowly, Jake says, with the air of someone who already knows they’ve lost, “What kind of favour?”