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Jake always made little refusals.

He didn’t take the offered seat when he reported to his old Captain in the office. Lagged around to avoid walking through a door being opened for him. Did his paperwork stack from the bottom up instead of the other way around. Refused to lend people pens. Didn’t do errands for others - even coffee runs.

Jake had found that saying lots of little ‘no’s made it easier to hold his ground when he had to refuse something important.

Like right now.

His back was to the wall, grip on his gun tight, eyes never wavering from the perp - Dylan Millhound - in front of him.

“I said, NYPD, get on the ground!” Jake repeated. Amy was supposed to be coming around from the back of the house, blocking off the exit in case the guy tried to make a run for it.

The perp had a gun, but he wasn’t raising it, so Jake didn’t shoot. Not yet.

Millhound was eyeing Jake strangely, before a light seemed to go off, his demeanor changing from one of tension to one at ease.

“Drop your gun.” He said firmly, tone that of an absolute command.

Jake didn’t blink. His grip tightened. “You first.”

Millhound took a step towards him, gun still limp in his own hand. But not dropping it.

“Do it. Now.”

Jake frowned. “That doesn’t work on me. Now. Drop. The. Gun!”

Amy still hadn’t shown up. He could seriously, seriously use her backup right about now.

Millhound was on the approach, almost swaggering towards Jake, who would have rolled his eyes if it didn’t mean taking his eyes off the target.

Jake knew what Millhound was doing. Hoping that proximity to him would make him drop his gun, maybe drop to his knees too while he was at it.

That wasn’t going to happen.

“Last warning. I will shoot if you do not halt, now.” Jake’s finger pressed down on the trigger, about to fire a non-lethal shot into the perp’s shoulder, as Millhound’s grin faltered.

Then, his grip on the gun tightened, and he began to raise it towards Jake, before freezing and dropping it.

Amy had the barrel of her gun to the back of the perp’s head.

“Get on the ground, NYPD.” She panted, clearly out of breath.

Millhound sank to his knees, and Amy cuffed him, reading him his rights, before speaking to Jake.

“Sorry about the delay. Turns out this perp’s a hoarder, too - stuff was covering the backyard, nearly lost a shoe trying to get through it all. Looks like I got here just in time though, huh?”

“Of course. The sub cop needs help taking down a perp. Couldn’t do it on my own - I bet you think you could have done it by yourself?” Jake spat, clicking the safety back onto his gun and shoving it into his holster. He was picking a fight and he knew it, the nerves from refusing Millhound frustrating him - he shouldn’t have to have nerves from refusing to drop his weapon in the first place! - even more than the nerves themselves were.

Amy turned her head to face him, expression a mix of anger and frustration. “Seriously, Jake? That’s not what this is about! We’re partners, we’re supposed to work together.”

“Sure.” Jake knew she was right, but he was pissed off. He hated it when perps made him as a sub. It always made the situation worse. Plus, then they’d have to put it in the report. Just another tick mark against every other sub who wanted to be a cop from entering the field.

Amy, of course, knew what it was really about. She always did.

“It’s alright, Jake.” She said comfortingly, “You’re a good cop. Second best in the precinct, in fact,” She grinned cheekily, then added, softly, “You did good.” The words were innocent in themselves, but the tone was on the wrong end of encouraging, a little too close to praising.

“I don’t want your praise.” Jake bristled immediately at the words, crushing down any of the warm feeling he got whenever someone - especially Amy - praised him. He refused to be manipulated.

Amy nodded hurriedly, smile melting into mild worry. “Of course. I’m sorry.”

Jake could have chewed her out over it. But Amy wasn’t the one he was really mad at. It was himself more than anyone else - although if someone asked, he’d blame Millhound. So, instead, he just shrugged, and plastered a grin to his face. “It’s fine. Let’s just go.” As they walked to the squad car, he paused, swiveling on the spot to face her.

“Wait, did you say second best cop?” He asked, in mock horror.

Amy’s smile reappeared.

And, just like that, they were back to their usual banter, the dispute vanishing into irrelevance.

No matter what happened, Jake could never hold anything against Amy. Their orientations never stopped her from bantering, and working with him, and just… all around treating him like an equal.

Which he was.

It’s just that not everyone seemed to share that same opinion.

His old precinct certainly hadn’t - even after he finally managed to claw his way to detective status, he got stuck doing desk duty more than any other detective in the place. Investigations, sure, that was fine - but being placed in the field? Whenever those assignments were going out, Jake’s name, strangely, never came up.

He was the only sub detective in the 125. When he had submitted his transfer papers, they had asked him if it was due to a dom in his life.

Jake had nearly laid into them, before realizing that it would only hurt the next sub who applied, and forcing himself to say that no, he just wanted to be in a precinct with more ‘upward mobility’. Code for: fuck you, this place sucks. But in a professional tone!

He hated that every single - well, negative - thing he did was suddenly a reflection on every sub cop in the entirety of the NYPD. But, it was the hand he was dealt, so… here he was. Part of the 99.

Amy was driving, and wouldn’t let him change the music - who listens to Bach while driving? Even Holt chose to drive in silence instead - so Jake stared aimlessly out the window instead, watching the billboards sweep by.

L’Oreal Paris: Because he’s worth it. A picture of a female sub posed, collar on display and eyes looking differentially upwards, next to a perfume bottle.

Oxi-Clean: it gets the tough stains out! A classically handsome dom grins, finger pointing to the detergent in question.

Tiffany Jewelry: “Beautiful design makes a beautiful life”, with wedding rings and collars appearing to be “falling” down past the billboard itself.

Abusive dom? Cellino & Barnes specialty! Call: 8! 800-8-.

Jake looked away.

Amy’s boring music was suddenly much more interesting.

Millhound was, thankfully, silently sitting in the backseat - he had wisely decided not to say anything without an attorney present.

And with Amy being a responsible driver all the time - eyes on the road, attentive, like a boring person - she wasn’t saying much either.

It left Jake with nothing but his thoughts to occupy himself.

Always a dangerous pastime.

His fingers drummed on his legs, nervous energy beginning to boil over. He hated being in enclosed spaces for longer than necessary - one of the many reasons why he loved the bullpen so much. Jake didn’t mention this sentiment to Amy, however - she was intensely claustrophobic - so he kept it to himself, instead just continuing his agonizing, slow spiral of manic energy.

When they arrived at the department, Jake was eager to leave the car.

“You drive like a grandma!” He complained, closing the car door behind him as Amy clambered out of the driver’s seat.

“I’m a cautious driver, Jake!”

“Cautious?” Millhound asked with a leer, “I’d expect that out of the priss, not you.”

Jake’s eyebrow twitched, but before he could respond, Amy butted in.

“Well, if you were more ‘cautious’, you wouldn’t have been caught, huh, Dylan?” She said hotly, pulling him out of the squad car and signaling for a couple cops to take him to booking.

Jake waited until Millhound was out of earshot before saying, “I didn’t need you to defend me.”

Amy blinked, before frowning. “Seriously, Jake? He… that language isn’t appropriate, no matter who it’s being directed to!”

“Oh, so you’re upset because he compared you to me? A great wonderful dom being debased to my clearly inferio-”

“Jake, stop!” Amy yelled, voice hitting him like a brick.

Jake drew back, struck silent. His mouth was slightly open, eyes wide. His breath caught in his throat, body going absolutely stiff. The words on his tongue were shoved back into his mind. Stop.

Amy clapped her hand over her mouth, horrified. “Oh my god, Jake, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to-” She made as if to reach out to touch him, but instead let her hand fall to her side. She had already violated him once.

Jake used her hesitation in motion as time to force a reboot, clicking his mouth shut and crossing his arms to try to hide the snap of obey that had flashed through his brain. Apparently short circuiting everything around it while it had done so, considering his mind went completely blank for half a second, before he forced it back into motion, trying to recover quickly. He didn’t want Amy to realize it had hit him that hard.

“It’s alright. Just, forget it. Not my job to tell you what to do.” Jake shrugged, feigning nonchalance, although his words were still slightly bitter - even though he didn’t mean to. Bitterness meant it had worked on him, after all.

“It’s not mine, either.” Amy said quickly, and she looked so apologetic that Jake just felt his anger melt away. “I’m so sorry, Jake.”

“It’s okay. Seriously. Now, come on. You’re the arresting officer, so you have to do most of the paperwork.”

Her eyes lit up, although it seemed like a conscious choice on her part. “Ooh, paperwork.”

He took the change in conversation and ran with it, letting a trademark grin flash across his face. “If you’re that excited, I have some you can do sitting on my desk-”

“In your dreams.” Amy replied, rolling her eyes as the pair headed inside.

Jake kept smiling, but was internally berating himself. He had done fine during the confrontation with the perp, but when Amy had given him a command… It must have been because he was already on edge from Millhound, Jake reasoned, That’s why he’d… listened… to her. Jake refused to use the word ‘obey’ to describe himself - he wasn’t a dog, he was a person.

Jake refused to believe that, when Amy had commanded him, he had wanted to follow it. No, that was just the leftover stress from Millhound. He was still on his nerves.

That was why.

It had to be.