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Six Little Rules

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She wasn’t sure what it was that woke her up, but Amy kept her eyes closed. It was Saturday morning after a long week and a late Friday night, and even though she wasn’t fully awake yet she could already feel the beginnings of a headache, which probably heralded a hangover. Hopefully she could just fall back to sleep and not deal with it for a while…

 

Then her brain started to take note of a few things. Like the fact that she could feel more of her sheets than usual… as though she wasn’t wearing her pyjamas. Or the fact that she could feel something warm tickling the side of her neck… like breath. Or the fact that she could feel something resting heavily on her stomach… and it was starting to move.

 

There was someone in her bed. Amy went from semi-asleep to wide awake in about two microseconds. The man next to her seemed to wake up at the same moment - he snatched his arm back from where it had been flung across her, and Amy gasped and sat up, scrabbling to grab hold of the sheet and pull it up to cover her naked torso. She stared at him, her heart racing and a blush covering what felt like her entire body.

 

It was rare that Amy Santiago was lost for words. It was practically unheard of for Jake Peralta to be lost for words.

 

And yet here they were.

 

Amy’s mind was racing. What the hell had happened last night? She remembered them all going out for drinks, and Gina dragging them to a drag show (yeah I know, don’t ask), then another bar, and then it was just her and Jake left and he said he’d walk her home because the bar they'd ended up in was only a few blocks from her apartment, and then they were holding hands and then they were kissing and then…

 

Oh god she’d slept with Jake. She’d got drunk and slept with Jake.

 

Except she hadn’t even been that drunk. She’d only had like four drinks the entire night, and she was sure Jake hadn’t been drinking much either. The headache she’d thought was a hangover was more like lightheadedness from lack of sleep… so she couldn’t use being drunk as an excuse.

 

Did she even need an excuse? Did she want one? Did she regret what had happened? Did she want to forget about it? Did she want to be with Jake now?

 

She didn’t have any answers for herself, and from the look of panic in Jake’s eyes she had a feeling he was asking himself similar questions.

 

She just needed to damn well say something.

 

“Um…”

 

Oh yes excellent, Amy, well put.

 

Jake swallowed. “Er, yeah,” he said.

 

More silence. More staring.

 

Finally, Jake cleared his throat. “Um, I should go,” he said.

 

Amy tried very hard to hide not to show the relief she felt at his words, but wasn’t sure she was successful. “Oh, sure, okay,” she said.

 

Jake nodded. She nodded back. He turned away from her to get out of the bed and Amy quickly looked away from his bare back, tucking the sheets more securely around herself and resisting the urge to throw them over her head and hide until he was gone. She listened to Jake moving around pulling on his clothes for a few moments, and just tried to take calming breaths to slow down her racing heart. Amy reached for her glasses, but decided that she was better off not seeing properly right now. (At least she’d remembered to take her contacts out before falling asleep… though she hadn’t moved from her bed; so they were probably on the floor somewhere, dried out and gross.)

 

Jake cleared his throat again, and Amy looked up. He had his pants on, and was holding one of his shoes. Amy squinted slightly to bring him into slightly better focus.

 

“I… I think my shirt is in the hall, so…”

 

“Um, yeah,” said Amy.

 

“Yeah.”

 

Jake hurried out of the room, and Amy wasted no time in scrambling out of the bed and grabbing her bathrobe from her closet door. She tripped over something on the way there, so once the robe was tied firmly in place she admitted defeat and put her glasses on to look at the offending item.

 

It was her panties.

 

Amy pressed her hands to her flaming cheeks, took a deep breath, and followed Jake out into the hall. He’d put his shoes on and was just finishing buttoning his shirt. His jacket was on the floor next to the front door, and her own jacket was lying next to it. Her eyes swept the path of clothes laid out along the hallway between Jake and her - her shirt was a few feet away from the jackets, her shoes were kicked off a foot away from those… and her pants were crumpled on the ground just in front of her. Amy bent down to pick them up, her mouth going dry at the memory of Jake pushing her up against the wall to kiss her, fumbling for the clasp on her pants as she pushed his shirt down over his shoulders.

 

Jake scooped his jacket up, and Amy stood up quickly.

 

“Okay,” he said. “So… see ya.”

 

Amy nodded. “Um, yeah. Bye.”

 

Jake nodded back, opened her door, and fled.

 

There was a moment’s silence, and then Amy slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor, buried her face in her second-best suit pants, and let out a muffled scream.

 

XXX

 

Amy spent the rest of the weekend trying not to think about it. Of course, it was a bit difficult to pretend nothing had happened as she picked up her discarded clothes, as she changed her sheets, or as she discovered three hickeys on her neck and shoulder after showering.

 

She kept herself busy for the rest of Saturday, throwing herself into cleaning her apartment from top to bottom and doing all the other chores she could think of. She called her Mom even though her parents had just got back from vacation and she would have to spend at least an hour listening to a blow-by-blow account of the trip (in fact the call lasted almost two).

 

It worked until she went to bed that night, but then there was no shutting off her brain - being back at the, er, scene of the crime as it were, sent her memories into overdrive. She slept badly, and woke up the next morning frustrated and exhausted.

 

Sunday was bad. She couldn’t keep her mind off of it, no matter what she did. She even considered going into work at one point, but didn’t think that sitting across from his desk was likely to help her keep her mind off Jake. Besides, what if he was there?

 

Oh god, she was so screwed. Just the thought of facing Jake gave her a minor panic attack, but it wasn’t like a normal one night stand where she wouldn’t have to see the guy again (not that one night stands were normal for Amy, and actually the one time she’d had one, in college, the guy had turned up in her Philosophy 101 lecture a week later… that had been awkward). Anyway… the point was she was going to have to see Jake the next morning, and that was clearly going to be an issue.

 

The problem was that she just didn’t have a clue how she felt about the whole thing. On the one hand, she clearly had some unresolved feelings for Jake… and at some point, he’d had feelings for her too. Those feelings had clearly taken a backseat to Sophia and hadn’t seemed to reemerge after their break-up, but he had just slept with her, so obviously he felt something for her, even if it was just attraction.

 

There was no point trying to work out how Jake felt about her - what she needed to figure out was what she felt about him. Okay, so she liked him. She did. But the thought of dating him made her way more scared than excited. She’d never done the whole Friends To Lovers Thing, and they had the Working Together Thing on top of that. If it didn’t work out between them the consequences could be huge… and the thought of risking it filled her with dread. It was bad enough how things had changed in the past year - between Jake’s confession, his being gone for six months, Teddy, Sophia… their friendship had lost its ease. It had got a little bit better recently, but there was always an added layer of… something... these days - and it just wasn’t as simple as it used to be. Amy missed their old easy friendship.

 

Also, there was just so much uncertainty that came with starting a relationship - they had no way of knowing if they’d be compatible romantically. Okay, so she now had pretty compelling proof that they were compatible sexually (seriously… damn), but god it had been so awkward in the morning. Those were not the actions of two people ready to jump into a relationship.

 

So, that was how she felt about it, but… but what if Jake didn’t agree? What if he told her he still had feelings for her and wanted to date her for real? That thought filled her with the most dread of all. She would hate to hurt him like that, especially after what had happened and especially because she really did like him…

 

Damn, she really needed to speak to Jake, didn’t she? She was making herself crazy going over all of this stuff alone, and no matter how many lists she made (because of course she made lists) her thoughts kept chasing each other round her head over and over. She needed to know what Jake was thinking, but she was so nervous at the thought of speaking to him… she picked up her cellphone a dozen times to call him or text him or something, and chickened out every time. But scared as she was of facing him again, the thought of facing him at the precinct in front of everyone without sorting this out first was so much worse.

 

By Sunday evening, Amy had worked herself up enough at the thought of an awkward Monday morning encounter that she finally got up the nerve to send Jake a text.

 

Hi. Maybe we should talk before work tomorrow?

 

There. That was okay, right? Vague but polite. She stared at her phone in her lap, trying to decide whether she’d prefer a text or a phone call in response, and was so lost in her inner argument that she fairly jumped out of her skin when her door intercom buzzed.

 

Amy gripped her phone tight in her hand and headed over to answer it.

 

“Hello?”

 

There was a moment of silence. Then… “It’s me. Jake.

 

Amy froze. “...Hi,” she said weakly.

 

There was the sound of Jake clearing his throat. He sounded nervous. “Can I -?

 

“Oh, um, yeah. Come up.” Amy pressed the button to open the door for him, and then stood rooted to the spot, trying not to panic.

 

Okay, so he was here. That was good - she needed to speak to him, and face to face was… well, unexpected, but probably for the best. She shook her head at his timing - she’d literally sent that text a minute ago, so he’d clearly already been on his way over… and he’d obviously reached the same conclusion as she had, that they needed to talk before going back to work.

 

Did that mean he’d also made the same decision about what they should do next?

 

Amy was so lost in her thoughts that she jumped again when there was a knock at her door. She took a deep breath, smoothed her sweater down over her jeans, and opened it.

 

“I brought ice cream,” Jake said immediately, before she could say anything to him. Amy gave him a puzzled look and stood back to let him in. Far back. Way out of accidentally brushing against each other range.

 

She closed the door behind him, and Jake held up a tub of rocky road. “I figured this will probably be painfully awkward and ice cream might help,” he said with a smile.

 

Amy felt herself relax slightly at the sight of him smiling. “Painfully awkward… well, that would be an improvement on yesterday, anyway,” she said.

 

Right?” Jake exclaimed, shaking his head. “Wow that was… I’m sorry.”

 

Amy nodded. “Me too.”

 

“I just didn’t know what to say -”

 

“Me neither,” said Amy, managing a smile of her own. “It’s okay.”

 

The conversation so far was actually pretty painless, and Amy was grateful. She headed into the kitchen to get a couple of bowls and spoons, before leading the way over to her sofa. She sat down at one end, and busied herself with opening the ice cream while Jake took off his jacket, draped it over the back of the sofa, and sat down at the other end. (She was definitely not thinking about where his jacket had ended up the last time he was here. Nope.)

 

Amy spooned out some ice cream into one of the bowls and was about to hand it to Jake, but he just grabbed the other spoon and dug straight into the tub. Amy let out an exasperated sigh and sat back with the bowl of ice cream for herself instead.

 

“So I got your text basically as I reached your building,” Jake said through a mouthful of rocky road.

 

Amy smiled tightly. “Yeah… I just thought we should talk about it before…”

 

Jake nodded. “Well, I agree. Obviously.” He took some more ice cream, and Amy kept a close eye on the spoon for drips before it got to Jake’s mouth, and then she quickly looked away.

 

“So… do you wanna start?” Jake asked her.

 

She really didn’t, but he clearly didn’t either otherwise he would have just jumped in. Well, someone had to get this show on the road.

 

Amy nodded. “Sure.” She put down her bowl on the coffee table and picked up the legal pad she’d made her lists in.

 

“You made a list, didn’t you?”

 

Amy pursed her lips and nodded, bracing herself to be made fun of. Sure enough, Jake started laughing, but he had this stupid fond smile on his face that made Amy pause, and then he shook his head and said: “I really like you.”

 

Amy froze, but even as her mind raced through all the reasons she wanted Jake not to feel that way, she couldn’t help but feel warmed by that look he was giving her… he wasn’t holding anything back right then, she could see his feelings for her on his face, and it was hard not to respond to that.

 

Jake shook his head again. “Okay, I guess I’m starting,” he said ruefully. He stuck the spoon in the ice cream tub before turning back to her. “I do really like you. A lot. I have for a long time.”

 

Amy gave him a small smile, and Jake returned it before continuing. “And though yesterday morning was... terrible... I had a lot of fun on hanging out on Friday and… after.”

 

Amy immediately went red, and Jake smiled again but didn’t comment on it. He looked away for a moment, and when he looked back his smile was gone, and he looked at her seriously for a moment before speaking again. “But I don’t think we should… date.”

 

Amy let out the breath she was holding in a huge sigh of relief, something that Jake couldn’t exactly miss.

Wow,” he said drily. Amy quickly looked back at him, ready to apologise, but he looked amused and just quirked an eyebrow at her. “I’m guessing your list agrees with me?”

 

Amy huffed a laugh, and tossed the pad back down onto the table without opening it. “I really like you too,” she said, “but… I’m not sure exactly how I feel about this - us.”

 

Jake nodded, and Amy took a deep breath before carrying on. “The thing is, I’ve really missed you this past year.”

 

Jake looked confused at that, and Amy rushed to explain. “Well first you were undercover, obviously, but even since you’ve been back it hasn’t been the same between us… with everything that was said and everything that happened I feel like we’re not as… well, close as we used to be and... I miss having you as a friend.”

 

Amy fully expected Jake to laugh again and then make a joke at her expense - she could practically hear him quipping “well Santiago I didn’t know you cared so much” and she was ready for that - but instead, he sort of winced, and then nodded.

 

“Yeah I… I actually know exactly what you mean,” he said. He sighed. “I miss you too. You’re my friend above anything else, and I wouldn’t want to lose that, if it all goes wrong.”

 

“Yes! Exactly,” Amy exclaimed. She was so relieved - he got it. Thank god.

 

“Besides,” said Jake seriously, “if we started going out, there would be paperwork involved, and that is where I draw the line…”

 

Amy grinned.

 

“Also…” Jake squirmed uncomfortably before ploughing on. “I’m still not over what happened with Sophia,” he said quickly. “I mean, not her as a person exactly, but just… getting my head round how it all went so wrong so quickly, you know?”

 

Amy bit her tongue to stop herself telling him he’d done nothing wrong with Sophia (seriously, she could just slap her for messing him up so bad), and just nodded sympathetically instead.

 

Jake shrugged. “I’m not in a good place for a relationship right now,” he said. He smiled at her. “And you definitely deserve better than that.”

 

Amy smiled back at him for a few moments before ducking her head. It was probably the most heartfelt conversation the two of them had ever had, and given the way they’d been acting around each other the last few months, it was a little overwhelming.

 

Jake cleared his throat. “So… friends?”

 

Amy looked back up at him - he quirked an eyebrow at her, and she grinned. “Always,” she said. “And no more being weird around each other.”

 

Jake gave her a wide smile and reached for his ice cream spoon. “Deal.”

 

XXXXX

 

It should have been simple after that. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.

 

The week started off fine. Amy had been worried that the rest of the team had somehow found out what happened on Friday - either through reading something in her body language or from Jake straight up telling someone (Boyle)... but they clearly didn’t have a clue. Jake seemed to be really making an effort to talk to her and tease her like normal and she found herself responding, slipping into their usual patterns of banter like nothing had happened.

 

It was familiar, it was fun, and it was all working fine until they found themselves alone with each other at the bar on Friday night again.

 

They’d been laughing about an interview Jake had conducted the day before with a Swedish tourist, and then Rosa had left to meet Marcus and suddenly it was just the two of them.

 

There was a moment of awkward silence, and then Jake downed the rest of his beer. “One more for the road?” He asked.

 

Amy nodded. “Sure, why not?”

 

Why not? How about the last time you two were alone together in a bar, you ended up sleeping together? How about that?

 

They both headed over to the bar which, it being a Friday night, was pretty crowded. Amy tried to think of something to say as they stood waiting for the bartender to get to them, but all topics of conversation seemed to have failed her. This was ridiculous - they’d been talking and joking together literally two minutes before.

 

It was just the fact that this was basically exactly what had happened the Friday before. They’d been talking and joking around, then the last person (Gina) had left, they’d gone to the bar to get another drink and had been pressed up against each other which had completely erased the concept of personal space for the remainder of their time in the bar, and the walk back to Amy’s apartment and… well, you know what had happened next.

 

At least they weren’t so squashed together this time. Amy could deal with brushing her arm against Jake’s, and she could definitely deal with having one more drink before heading home. Alone. She had to be able to deal with it - that’s the whole point of their new… understanding. They had to get okay with being around each other again.

 

So this was fine.

 

Jake chose that moment to start talking about his Swedish tourist again, and Amy jumped gratefully into the conversation.

 

See? Totally fine.

 

And then, just when she’d started to relax, a couple of girls tried to squeeze up to the bar behind Amy, and she stumbled forward towards Jake. They’d turned to face each other as they talked, and so she found herself pressed up against his front with her hands against his chest, and one of his hands on her waist to help her regain her balance.

 

Balance regained, she looked up to find Jake’s face barely inches away from hers. His eyes were wide and staring at her, and being as close as they were she didn’t miss it when they darted down to look at her mouth. Amy bit her lip, and Jake visibly swallowed. Then his fingers tightened on her waist and he started to dip his head.

 

It felt like she’d had some kind of weird outer body experience or something, because all of a sudden Amy realised what was happening and everything around her got louder and came into sharper focus. She snatched her hands back like she’d been burned, and Jake quickly dropped his own hands and stood up straight.

 

“Um, you know what, I think I might just take off,” Amy stammered.

 

Jake nodded, not quite making eye contact with her. “Sure, yeah, okay,” he said. “It’s late, work tomorrow and everything.”

 

Damnit. They actually did both have work tomorrow - she’d forgotten he was down to work Saturday too. All the more reason to get the hell out before it got even more awkward.

 

“Right, tomorrow,” she said. “See you tomorrow. Bye!” Wow, her voice had gone really high. She had to force herself not to wince.

 

Jake waved, and Amy turned on her heel and fled. (Though if anyone asks, she walked calmly but briskly out of the bar.)

 

XXXXX

 

Amy was worried that Saturday would be awkward, but it was the same as any other Saturday they’d worked together, so clearly that whatever-the-hell-it-was the night before was something they could just forget about. It wasn’t like anything happened anyway.

 

It was fine.

 

...Until Tuesday, when it almost happened again.

 

It wasn’t in the bar this time - it was in the observation room of all places. They and Terry were watching Rosa interrogate a perp on the other side of the glass, and Terry left the room to check on something, leaving Amy and Jake alone. It shouldn’t have been a thing - it wasn’t a thing. Well, except that they hadn’t been alone since they’d almost kissed in the bar, and before that not since he’d gone to hers to discuss the fact they’d had sex the time before that.

 

The moment the door closed behind Terry, the air seemed to thicken around the two of them, and Amy was suddenly hyper-aware of how close she was standing to Jake. They were side by side facing the glass, both with their arms folded, and even though they were separated by a few inches Amy could feel the body heat radiating from him. She wanted to move away from him, but she didn’t know how she could do that without being really obvious, so she stood stock-still, trying to concentrate on Rosa’s interview but actually just scolding herself for being so weird. There was nothing to be weird about. Nothing at all.

 

Rosa thumped her fist on the table in the interrogation room and both Amy and Jake jumped, which just proved how on edge they both were. They both tried to laugh it off, but their voices sounded completely fake to Amy’s ears - she was sure Jake could hear it too. She was just wondering if she should just make an excuse and leave, when Jake spoke up.

 

“If I’m ever arrested, please don’t let Rosa interrogate me,” he said. “I would crack so fast it would be embarrassing.”

 

Amy relaxed. “But wouldn’t we want you to crack fast?” She asked him, playing along.

 

Jake gave her a mock-offended look. “You wouldn’t try to help me evade justice? After all the years we’ve been partners? I’m hurt.”

 

Amy smirked. “Justice can’t be denied,” she quipped.

 

Jake sighed dramatically and hung his head.

 

Amy grinned. “But don’t worry,” she said, “I’d put in a good word with the DA.”

 

She reached up and patted his shoulder. That was a mistake. She hadn’t touched Jake since the fiasco at the bar. It would have been fine, but the realisation that she was touching him when she didn’t need to made her freeze, so her hand stayed on his shoulder. And then he looked at her. And then he reached up and covered her hand with his.

 

Amy took a step forward, her head tipping back and her eyes already starting to drift shut, when the sound of the door handle turning had the two of them jumping apart, and they were both back to staring at the glass, arms folded, by the time Terry walked back in… though this time they were standing much further apart.

 

XXX

 

By unspoken agreement, the two of them avoided being alone together after that. Jake was eating lunch in the break room - Amy ate at her desk. They were ready to leave at the same time - Jake ‘forgot’ something just before the elevator doors closed on the two of them. They were working a case and needed to stake out a pawn shop - it was decided that they definitely needed another set of eyes and Boyle should come too.

 

On the surface everything was fine. They were still joking with each other, teasing and bantering the same way they always had… but it was starting to feel more and more like an act, and it was so much worse than it had been before they slept together. There was an underlying tension now that Amy was finding more difficult to ignore with each passing day, and she didn’t know what to do about it.

 

You know, besides the obvious.

 

Because yes, okay, it was that kind of tension. Amy wasn’t an idiot, she knew what was going on. She’d felt sexual tension with guys before - had been distracted by thoughts of kissing them in the middle of conversations or found herself staring into someone’s eyes for a second too long. She’d even experienced it with Jake in the past. Quite a lot, in fact, and it hadn’t been a problem. Now though… well, she’d slept with Jake already, so the tension had changed. She had very vivid memories of how it had felt to be kissed by him, to be pressed up against a wall or pinned down on her bed by his body as his hands…

 

You see the problem. The thing was, as much as Amy wanted to move on and get back to being nothing more to Jake than a partner and friend - and she did - she also wanted to hardcore make out with him.

 

She didn’t like to assume that Jake felt the same way but he was avoiding her too… and she’d seen the way he looked at her sometimes, when he thought she wasn’t looking. It was the way she knew she looked at him. They clearly had a problem, anyway, and the easiest way to stop it becoming a bigger issue was to not give it air to breathe… that meant avoiding being alone.

 

Their avoidance tactics worked for the sum total of three days. Then the filing room happened.

 

It was distressingly simple, in the end. Jake had been talking to Charles about a case at his desk. Amy went to Holt’s office to give him an update on a case she’d picked up that morning. When she came back to her desk Jake and Charles were nowhere to be seen, so Amy assumed Jake had gone to watch Charles’ interrogation. She grabbed her filing and headed to the file room. She walked in, closed the door behind her, rounded two sets of shelves, and walked smack into Jake.

 

“Woah!”

 

“Jake! Um - sorry, I…”

 

“It’s okay. You  okay?”

 

“Yeah. Yes. You?”

 

“Fine.”

 

“Good.”

 

“Okay.”

 

They were so close - too close - and completely alone. Amy’s brain was screaming at her to retreat, but her feet remained rooted to the spot, and she couldn’t stop herself from looking down at his lips. Oh god.

 

It’s such a cliche to say it, but Amy really didn’t know who moved first. She was just aware of the last vestiges of her self-control vanishing inside her, and she surged forward at seemingly the exact same moment that Jake did. Their lips crashed together and the files Amy held tumbled to the floor as her hands suddenly became otherwise occupied with gripping the back of Jake’s neck and clutching at his hair

 

Jake wrapped his arms around Amy’s back and almost lifted her off the ground in his urgency to get her backed up against one of the file racks - the hard metal shelves bit into her shoulders and lower back but Amy was far too focused on what Jake’s tongue was doing in her mouth to care - she just pulled him in closer.

 

It felt so good. All the memories of their night together came flooding back to Amy, all the feelings she’d worked to suppress for two weeks, and she couldn’t believe she’d deprived herself of this for a whole fortnight.

 

Well, it hadn’t just been her - it had been Jake’s decision too. And they’d had their reasons.

 

It was just a small voice in the back of Amy’s head, but it was enough to make her loosen her grip on Jake’s shoulder and slide her other hand out of his hair. She felt Jake tense in response to the sudden change in the dynamic, and the kiss slowed down and lost the intense urgency it had had just moments before. Amy frowned, still kissing him but softer now, wishing she hadn’t had the presence of mind to start to pull away. She wished she could just let herself have this. But she couldn’t - they couldn’t - and they’d already figured out why. Amy let go of Jake and started to pull her hands back - he pulled his arms out from around her back and began to step away.

 

Their lips were the last part of their bodies to separate, but as soon as they did Jake backed away to the other side of the narrow aisle, until his back hit the other set of shelves. So they couldn’t touch each other.

 

They stared at each other in silence until Amy couldn’t take it anymore. She looked away, down at the floor, and shook her head at the sight of her fallen files. She crouched down and scooped them back up, all the while hyper-aware that Jake was silently watching her.

 

She put the files down on an empty bit of shelf, just to get them out of her shaky hands. She was so mad at herself - did she seriously not have more self control than this? Practically jumping Jake in the file room at the precinct, where anyone could walk in and see them? At least there was no security cameras in this part of the room…

 

Amy took a deep breath to steady herself, and looked over at Jake again. He hadn’t moved; he was just looking at her expectantly, clearly waiting for her to break the silence.

 

“Okay…” she said shakily, once she could find her voice. “Friends don’t do that.”

 

She wasn’t sure if she was trying to keep it light or pick a fight.... she supposed it was whatever Jake was in the mood for.

 

He shrugged. “Well I don’t know, Charles and I -”

Clearly he was for keeping it light - and Amy immediately felt her hackles go up at the thought that he was able to make a joke out of this, even if he was just following her lead.

 

(Being rational wasn’t her main priority right then, okay?)

 

Anyway, Amy would have hit him, but she didn’t want to touch him again. “Jake!” she exclaimed instead, fixing him with her most vicious glare.

 

Jake threw his hands up in surrender. “I’m sorry!” He said quickly. “Yes, I know, that was… inappropriate?”

 

Amy rolled her eyes at what was the understatement of the century, and in response Jake gave her an unimpressed look and folded his arms.

 

“Okay, but in my defence, you totally almost jumped me the other day…”

 

Amy’s jaw dropped. “Oh my god I did not,” she retorted.

 

Jake actually raised an eyebrow at her, and Amy felt her cheeks heating up. “Well what about last week at the bar?” She demanded. “That was all you.”

 

There, that made his damn eyebrow go back down. Amy folded her own arms and gave him a defiant look. Yes, okay, so maybe she had been the one to (almost!) make the first move in the observation room, but it had definitely been Jake in the bar.

 

Jake looked away from her for a moment, and when he looked back it was with an intensity she hadn’t been expecting, and she actually felt herself sway towards him before she could get a grip and stand her ground. He had no right to look at her like that, it wasn’t fair. She couldn’t be expected to control herself around him if he… oh for heaven’s sake, this was ridiculous.

 

Amy let out a frustrated breath. “Urgh… maybe we should just give up and date each other,” she said sullenly.

 

Jake stood stock-still, staring at her for a moment before swallowing. “Do you want to do that?” He asked quietly.

 

His tone took all of the fight out of Amy - he was clearly as confused by all of this as she was. She sighed. “No,” she said. “I stand by what I said before, I just… we clearly have a problem with… sexual tension.”

 

Jake looked at her in silence for a moment before shifting on his feet. “We could just have sex again,” he said.

 

Amy rolled her eyes. “You think second time’s the charm?” She said sarcastically.

 

But Jake straightened up and pinned her with a serious look. “Seriously, though, it doesn’t have to be a big deal,” he said. “Like you said there’s clearly a sexual tension thing going on, and just ignoring it isn’t exactly helping us trying to be friends again.”

 

He was right, of course - the tension wasn’t helping at all. And she couldn’t deny that the thought of giving in and sleeping with him again was all kinds of appealing to her… but what if it didn’t work?

 

“And what if it doesn’t work?” She voiced. “What if two weeks later we’re back here again?”

 

Jake shrugged. “Then we have sex again.”

 

Amy narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you… are you suggesting we become friends with benefits?”

 

Jake’s eyes widened and then he looked sheepish. “I… guess I am,” he said. “I mean… we stay friends, just friends. But if the tension gets too much we just…”

 

Amy bit her lip. She couldn’t believe she was actually considering it but… well... the last two weeks had been ridiculous. She wanted to be friends with Jake again without any weirdness between them, but that wasn’t going to happen without them doing something about their sexual tension. Maybe if they could just deal with the sexual tension between them as and when it came up instead of trying to ignore it, they would be able to repair their friendship and leave the sexual tension behind.

 

Sure, it could all backfire horribly and make things weirder between them… but it was worth a shot, right? It wasn’t like it was a permanent thing; if it made things worse, they could stop. Just as long as they both understood the arrangement...

 

Amy took a deep breath, her mind racing over the ins and outs (no pun intended - seriously, shut up) of what she was about to agree to. “There would have to be rules,” she said.

Jake looked surprised for a moment, and then smirked. “Friends with benefits, Santiago-style,” he teased. “Okay, hit me.”

 

“Rule one - we keep it casual,” Amy said. “No… no dates, or getting too serious about it. If it starts to become weird to either of us, we have to say something. No getting jealous if one of us decides to go on a date or something. We can’t have this become a problem for us - it has to be no strings. And we can call it off whenever we want.”

 

“That was like five rules, but agreed.”

 

Amy rolled her eyes. “Two - no surprise visits.”

 

Jake gave her an incredulous look. “You want your booty calls by appointment only?”

 

Amy pulled a face. “Three – no calling our… whatever… booty calls.”

 

Jake snorted.

 

“Rule four - no fooling around at work.”

 

Jake pulled a face at that one, and looked like he was about to argue, but Amy glared at him - there was no way she was going to budge on that one… it was bad enough that they wouldn’t be disclosing their relationship officially like they were meant to. (Because it wasn’t a relationship, that was the point, but still…)

 

The glare worked, and Jake sighed. “Fine.”

 

Amy nodded. “Five - no staying over.”

 

Jake smirked. “That’s fine because your mattress sucks.”

 

Amy folded her arms defensively. “My mattress is fine.”

 

“It’s way too hard.”

 

“It’s good for your back!”

 

“It’s like you’re a monk or something…”

 

“Rule six,” Amy practically growled. “This is between you and me. Don’t tell anyone.”

 

Jake nodded. “No problem.”

 

“No one, Jake,” Amy said. “I mean it.”

 

Jake threw up his hands. “I won’t, okay?” He said. “I don’t want anyone to know either - it would be too…” His voice trailed off.

 

Amy just nodded, and Jake nodded back.

 

“Is that everything?” He asked.

 

“I think so,” Amy said. “Unless you want to add anything?”

 

“Rule seven - bi-monthly stripteases must include -”

 

Amy groaned and started to walk away. “Oh god, forget it, this was a stupid -”

 

Jake laughed and grabbed Amy’s hand to stop her before she got too far. “Okay okay, nothing to add,” he said with a grin.

 

Amy turned around to face him again, and found that he’d stepped up right behind her. Their hands were trapped in between their bodies, and Jake’s fingers tightened around hers as she tipped her head back and met his eyes. The grin faded from his face and he swallowed.

 

“So, tonight?” He said, sounding a little hoarse.

 

Amy had to swallow herself before answering with a nod. “Tonight.”

 

TBC…





Chapter Text

So here’s the crazy thing - it actually worked.

 

The first time had been kind of awkward. Only a little, nowhere near the levels of their terrible morning after, but still, you know... awkward.

 

The actual doing of the deed itself was fine. Okay, so Amy had worked herself up into such a bundle of nerves when Jake was on his way over that she almost called the whole thing off... after all, she didn’t do this kind of thing. (This was such a screwed up idea anyway - they were sleeping together so they didn’t have to start dating…how the hell had they talked themselves into this? When you stopped and thought about it, it made no sense.)

 

But Jake had walked through her door, and her mouth had gone dry at the sight of him, and he’d just kissed her without saying anything, and within moments they’d been fumbling their way through layers of clothing while stumbling down her hall to the bedroom. It had been just as good as the first time and, lying there on top of her covers afterwards, Amy hadn’t been able to bring herself to regret it.

 

The silence had dragged on as they both got their breath back, and that’s when it had started to feel awkward.

 

After a few minutes Jake had cleared his throat and propped himself up onto his elbows. "Okay, so, good work, team..."

 

Amy had laughed, more because she hadn't known what to say than that she'd found the joke funny, scrambled for her robe and averted her eyes while Jake got dressed - okay so they’d just had sex, but it would take her a while to get used to just casually seeing him naked.

 

Amy had walked Jake to the door, still completely unsure what to say - it wasn’t like she had done this kind of thing before (the other time didn't count- she was allowed to be awkward then). Then, before leaving, Jake had turned back to her. She’d been worried for a moment that he was going to kiss her goodbye which, even though they’d been doing a lot of kissing that evening, seemed completely inappropriate. He hadn’t though - instead he’d held up his hand for a high five.

 

That had done the job of snapping Amy out of her awkwardness - she’d gone from barely looking at him to full-on glaring at him within seconds.

 

“Are you serious right now?” She’d said flatly.

 

Jake grinned. “Aw, come on Santiago,” he’d said. “You don’t think that deserved a high five?”

 

“Oh my god,” said Amy, rolling her eyes.

 

“I’m not going until you…”

 

Amy had high fived him to shut him up, and then immediately reached past him to open her door. “Get out you loser,” she’d said, shoving his shoulder.

 

He’d left with a grin, and Amy had been smiling despite herself as she’d closed the door after him.

 

So, not as awkward as it could have been… and as mentioned at the outset, it totally worked.

 

The next day had been completely, blissfully normal - it was like they’d gone back in time a year, to before Teddy and the FBI and Sophia… there was no tension, no awkwardness, nothing but a secret smile every now and then.

 

Of course, it didn't exactly last.

 

The tension started up again four days later, after they'd chased a perp three blocks on foot and finally brought him down in an alley. Maybe it was the adrenaline, maybe it was just four days later and time for the tension to tick up again, but whatever, there it suddenly was. It took another two days of heated looks, jumping when they accidentally touched and starting to avoid each other a little bit again before Jake finally sent Amy a text message suggesting he come round again, leaving Amy feeling foolish for dithering about suggesting it herself as she readily agreed.  

 

Well, it was only their second time - they were bound to have teething problems with the... system. And as far as Amy was concerned, if actually arranging their hook-ups was the most awkward part of their arrangement, they were doing pretty well of it.

 

She needn't have worried anyway, because after a couple of weeks they had it down to an art.

 

It would usually start with a look that lingered a little longer than usual. That one look would turn into many throughout the day, and that would turn into unnecessary touches - brushing fingers when handing something over, a hand on an arm as they spoke… then there’d be a text message, confirming plans, and Jake would show up at Amy’s door that night.

 

They never really talked while he was there- they just got straight down to business, as it were. Jake always swept Amy into a kiss that left her breathless the moment she closed the door behind him, and she would have his jacket off him within seconds. Half their clothes would be discarded by the time they reached Amy’s bedroom, by which point Jake’s hands would be exploring Amy’s chest, and as soon as she was on her mattress his mouth would join them.

 

Clothes would disappear quickly, limbs would tangle, hands would wander and lips would fuse, and within minutes they'd be spent, lying next to each other, getting their breath back. Jake would usually make some kind of tasteless joke, Amy would hit him, and then they'd get dressed and high five each other before Jake left. Three days later, give or take, he'd be back.

 

It wasn't exactly adventurous but it was exactly what they both needed. They got their fix as quickly and efficiently as possible, and then went their separate ways. That wasn't to say it wasn't good - because it was. It was passionate and hot and oddly sincere; they both knew what they wanted out of their time together, and it came across in the sex.

 

It was perfect for almost two months... and then the Feeney case happened.

 

It started out like a normal day... well, what had become normal for them. It was three days after their last encounter and, right on schedule around mid-morning, Jake deliberately brushed his fingers over hers as he handed her a coffee mug. Amy looked up at him and he raised an eyebrow at her with a small smirk before turning away. There were more looks through the morning, their feet pressed together under the break room table as they ate their lunch, and plenty of casual but completely unnecessary touches.

 

It was all familiar, all leading to one inevitable conclusion, but then Captain Holt announced that the deputy commissioner had taken a personal interest in the Feeney murder and he needed everyone to work late that night. Amy caught Jake's eye across their desks and he gave her a small smile and a barely noticeable shrug - she smiled back and turned back to her work. Okay, so they'd have to wait a day. Not a problem.

 

Except it wasn't just a day.

 

The case seemed to be stuck in a rut the next day, but Charles caught a break late in the afternoon, and the Captain ordered he and Jake to stake out a warehouse across downtown for the night and put the rest of them on standby in case they saw anything.

 

They didn't, which made it all the more frustrating for Amy, who spent a restless night tossing and turning in her bed and wishing that Jake were there with her. Well, not with her - she didn't want him there staying the night or anything, she wanted him to have been and gone already. Sheesh, given the amount of sleep she was missing out on, she might as well have been on the stake out - then at least she would have been useful, and she would have been with Jake.

 

Okay, no, that was messed up. She didn't want to be with Jake. She wanted to have sex with him, and obviously they wouldn't do that on a stake out, no matter how sexually frustrated she was.

 

And it was ridiculous just how frustrated she was given that they'd only slept together four days before. God knows she could go that long without sex without driving herself crazy, and even since she'd started up with Jake they'd gone that long before. The problem was that they'd... initiated proceedings. There'd been a whole day of looking and touching and knowing that they'd be together that night, and that anticipation was their form of foreplay. She'd developed a kind of Pavlovian response to those small smiles he sent her way on those days, and the delay was clearly messing with her sense of reason.

 

Jake and Charles had the morning off the next day, since they'd stayed out until 4am, and that was fine. It was good. Amy was much better off without Jake there being all distracting. (Okay, so she spent a lot of time looking at his empty chair anyway, but it would have been worse if he'd been there. Definitely.)

 

She didn’t see him again until he and Charles walked into the briefing room during a meeting after lunch. He sat down next to her and it was all she could do not to lean sideways into the warmth of his body. She kept her eyes fixed on the Captain at the front of the room and settled for pressing her knee against his under the table, and tried not to jump when Jake grazed his hand down her bare arm as he reached for his coffee.

 

She was finding it increasingly difficult to keep her eyes on her work instead of on Jake when they got back to their desks, so she was glad when Rosa asked for her help going over witness statements in the break room. She wasn’t so glad, though, when they found repeated mentions of another warehouse across town, and the Captain suggested that she and Rosa conduct another stakeout that night.

 

Jake made a quip to Rosa about not eating in Amy’s car as they were leaving, but his smile didn't quite reach his eyes, and Amy found it difficult to get the memory of the intense look he gave her out of her head while she sat hunkered down in her car for the next six hours, eyes trained on the empty and undisturbed warehouse.

 

The break in the case came, finally, the next day. and by the time arrests were made and confessions were taken, it was looking like another late night finishing off the paperwork. Jake and Rosa had made the arrest, so they had more paperwork than the rest of them (even leaving aside how long it generally took Jake to get through his paperwork), and so even though Amy was done by half nine, Jake was still making his way through a mountain of forms.

 

His tie was gone and his shirt was partially unbuttoned and his hair was messy beyond belief, and Amy was clearly going insane from sexual frustration because she found herself thinking that he looked adorable in his scruffy state. When she stood up to put her jacket on he looked up and gave her a look that literally made her toes curl, and Amy knew she was going insane.

 

Well, at least the case was over now and there would be nothing stopping them the next night. Thank god for that, because it was close to midnight and Amy was still lying awake, unable to get Jake and his messy hair and that look he gave her before she left out of her head for long enough to fall asleep.

 

It was two minutes past midnight when her phone buzzed with a text message, her phone screen lighting up and illuminating the whole room. Amy told herself not to jump to conclusions as she sat up and reached for it - after all, she received drunk texts from her brothers in the middle of the night all the time - but it was from Jake.

 

r u awake?

 

Amy bit her lip. It was gone midnight, and they both had work in the morning… she should really ignore the text and let him assume she was already asleep. One more day wasn’t going to kill them.

 

Thing was, though, Amy wasn’t so sure about that.

 

She let out a frustrated breath and typed out a response. Yes. Come over.

 

Jake’s response was immediate. ur wish is my command.

 

And then there was a knock on her front door.

 

Amy jumped and almost dropped her phone; she fumbled to put it back on her bedside table and sprang to her feet. There was another knock as she reached her front door, but Amy took a moment to smooth down her hair and just breathe before throwing back the locks and pulling the door open.

 

Jake held up his hands as if in surrender the second he saw her.

 

"I know I know but before you say anything," he said in a hushed voice, "I still technically called ahead, so I -"

 

Amy fisted her hands in the front of Jake's hoodie and pulled him into her apartment, her mouth on his before he could say another word. His hands found her hips as he immediately deepened the kiss, and Amy let go of him briefly to reach blindly over his shoulder and close the door. She barely heard it slam shut over the sound of her blood pumping in her ears, but it definitely did close because a second later she was pinned back against it, and Jake’s hands were sliding under her top as his tongue plundered her mouth.

 

Amy tugged down the zip on his hoodie and started to push it back from his shoulders, but got distracted by Jake nipping at her jaw before moving down the column of her throat. His hands were cupping her breasts by this point and Amy wondered for a moment (a very brief moment) whether she should be worried about her neighbours hearing the sounds she was making. She soon forgot her worries when Jake started to suck on her pulse point - Amy moaned and raked her nails through Jake’s hair, and he groaned against her skin.

 

Amy renewed her attack on Jake’s clothes, moving to his button-down shirt, almost growling when she saw the t-shirt he had under that as well. He really did wear too many layers; it was a problem.

 

Jake seemed to realise said problem because he lifted his head and took a small step back, tugging at Amy’s top. She reached down to rip it up and over her head, and Jake shed his hoodie and pulled his half-undone shirt and t-shirt off over his head at once. He was kissing her again before his shirts even hit the floor.  

 

Jake’s hands slid down to her behind and lifted her clear off the floor, squeezing and making Amy squeak in surprise. She felt Jake laugh into her mouth, and she wrapped her legs around his hips, grinding down on his erection and shutting him up very effectively. Jake rocked his hips against hers and the friction of the denim through her thin cotton pyjama bottoms had Amy grinding down harder and practically panting against Jake’s lips.

 

“Jake…” she moaned, as he slid his hands under the band of her pyjama bottoms to cup her backside again. “...The bed.”

 

Jake nodded and stepped back from the wall with her still in his arms and started to walk down her hallway, but not fast enough for Amy. She unwound her legs from around his hips and as soon as her feet were on the ground grabbed hold of his belt buckle to drag him towards her room. Jake brought his hands back up to her breasts and his mouth back to her neck, and Amy was gasping as she fumbled with Jake’s belt and zip. She was tugging down his jeans by the time they reached her bed; Jake pushed her down onto the mattress before pulling off her bottoms in one swift motion and kicked off his jeans and shoes before he was on top of her, kissing her deeply and sliding a finger into her.

 

Amy moaned but she was way past the mood for foreplay - she pushed against Jake’s shoulders, turning him so he was flat on his back, and slid down onto him as soon as she was above him. She’d never done this with him before, never tried to take such obvious control, and dear god it was working for her. From the way Jake groaned and gripped her hips so tight she was sure his fingers would leave bruises, she had a feeling that it was working for him too.

 

Amy dug her nails into Jake’s shoulders and started moving, and really it was amazing that she lasted as long as she did considering how many days her every interaction with and thought of Jake had been building to that moment.

 

Amy’s orgasm hit her like a hammer and Jake followed right behind, their cries echoing around the dark room. Amy barely had the strength after to climb off of Jake and flop down next to him on the bed, and once she was there she didn’t move for several minutes.

 

Well. That had been… intense. Amy guessed she shouldn’t be surprised given how much build up had gone before, but still - it had been very different from every other time they’d been together, and she couldn’t help but worry, suddenly, if the intensity was going to cause a problem. The whole point of the arrangement was to avoid that kind of intense tension.

 

Amy bit her lip and kept her eyes closed, concentrating on her breathing and trying to just let herself enjoy the aftershocks of quite possibly the strongest orgasm of her life. There was no point worrying if she didn’t have a reason to worry.

 

After a while, Amy turned her head and saw that Jake was still flat on his back with his eyes closed, looking so peaceful that he could be asleep. She frowned and flopped her hand over to hit him on the shoulder. “Hey, no falling asleep,” she scolded.

 

How Jake could give the impression of rolling his eyes at her without actually opening his eyes Amy didn’t know, but he did. “Oh my god I’m not falling asleep - I’m just getting my breath back,” he said.

 

Amy pursed her lips and laid her head back down - he was breathing pretty heavily still… so was she. She stared up at the ceiling for another few minutes, enjoying the feel of the cool air on her flushed skin and the feeling of her body sinking into the mattress.

 

Jake still hadn’t moved, and Amy was really starting to worry that he might be asleep. She’d been joking before, but… it was one of the rules. He couldn’t stay, it was against the rules, and they were already skirting close to breaking rules already tonight with Jake texting her two seconds before knocking on her door… She rolled over so she was propped up on an elbow facing him.

 

“Jake.”

 

He didn’t move, but Amy saw his lips twitch slightly so clearly he was awake. Her eyes narrowed, and she reached out and pinched his arm.

 

Jake's eyes flew open. “OW,” he exclaimed, raising his head to glare at her. She just smirked, and he put his head back down. “You’re the worst,” he muttered.

 

Amy reached out to pinch him again but, moving way quicker than expected, he rolled over to face her, grabbed her hand with one of his own and then reached out and pinched her trapped arm with his other hand.

 

“OW!”

 

Amy sat up to free her other hand and managed to get a good poke in at Jake’s shoulder before he grabbed that hand too - he tugged and Amy lost her balance, which made him lose his balance, and Jake ended up flat on his back again with Amy sprawled over his chest and their noses practically touching.

 

And suddenly, for the first time in weeks, it felt awkward again. This would have been the moment that a normal couple would have kissed and then laughed, or kissed and got started on round two - but they weren’t a normal couple, and they didn’t kiss unless it was leading somewhere… and they’d never had a round two. That wasn’t the arrangement - this was purely a… a business transaction, a way to keep their sexual tension under control. And it was working. The last thing Amy wanted was to change it and risk what they had.

 

It must have only been a couple of seconds of staring at each other, but it might as well have been hours for the amount of awkwardness it seemed to create. Jake let go of Amy’s hands and she quickly pushed herself up into a sitting position - she used Jake’s shoulder to push away without even thinking, and practically snatched her hand back once she was sitting up. Jake sat up as well and cleared his throat, very deliberately not looking at her as he started getting dressed. Amy grabbed her robe from where it was draped over the back of her dressing chair, and tried not to think about how similar this suddenly felt to their disastrous first morning after.

 

“Right, well, I’m gonna go,” Jake said, once he was mostly dressed.

 

Amy nodded and managed a weak smile. “Yeah. Okay.” She followed him out into the hall, where he picked up his shirt and his hoodie from the floor. She cleared her throat. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

 

Jake flashed her a brief smile, and then he was gone without another word, and without a high five. And much as she thought the high fives were stupid, it felt wrong to not do it. Really wrong.

 

Things seemed okay at work the next day, no different than after any of their other evenings together. So that was okay. But Amy couldn’t help but worry about how it could affect their arrangement.

 

Jake didn’t say that he was worried too, but they did find themselves back in Amy’s bed just a day later, a lot sooner than she would have expected. And they both seemed to breathe a sigh of relief as, afterwards, they did their usual high five.

 

XXX

 

They got over the Feeney Case Incident fine enough, and Amy didn't worry about the fact that there had been an incident... there were bound to be awkward moments with what they were doing. The point was that they moved past it and went back to normal (the fact that 'normal' for them now meant meeting up every few days to have sex was an irony not lost on Amy).

 

In a way, actually, it was almost too normal. Yes they'd had a routine before, but now it was becoming more and more... well, perfunctory was the only word Amy could find. Don't get her wrong, it was still good, but it was kind of... samey? Amy could practically predict where Jake would touch her next while they were having sex - and don't get her wrong, in a way that was kind of sexy and it's not like it didn't still totally work for her, but she felt like maybe a lot of that was coming from caution... things had gotten awkward so quickly during The Incident, and she certainly didn't want to rock the boat. What they had worked.

 

It was just maybe, maybe, not quite as satisfying as before.

 

She didn't say anything, obviously, and neither did Jake, and the three month 'anniversary' of their arrangement rolled round without any further problems. It was Amy's birthday that week, and the team made plans to go to the bar on Friday night - on the Thursday though, the night of her actual birthday, Amy was having dinner with three of her brothers.

 

Amy was the fifth child of eight, and it had been a strange combination of middle child and only-girl psychology that had formed her childhood and, especially, her teenage years. She loved all her brothers (now) but she was definitely closer to some over others. Chris was the closest brother to her in age, only one year older, and they were and always had been natural allies. The twins, Julio and Tomas, were four years younger than Amy, and being complete Mommy's boys from birth Amy had found it easy to use her resemblance to her Mom and her 'maternal instincts' to win them to her side in most arguments and sibling turf wars. However, just because the four of them had had each other's backs when things got rough in the boisterous Santiago household, didn't mean that they didn't make Amy want to tear her hair out sometimes.

 

Chris was already a director at the market research firm he worked for, and knowing how ambitious Amy was as well couldn't understand why she wasn't a sergeant yet. Julio was a personal shopper at Bloomingdales, and while that meant occasional free stuff, it also meant he was impeccably dressed like all the time, and not afraid to voice his opinion on whatever Amy chose to wear to meet him. And Tomas, the struggling actor/singer/dancer/painter/photographer/all-round-artistic-soul of the family, spent most of his time when they met up bemoaning the latest lost love of his life but still found time to repeatedly ask Amy when she was going to meet and lose the love of her life. (Teddy, apparently, had not counted.)

 

So, while she had fun and it was good to see them all and nice of them to take the time to take her out on her birthday and all of that, it was hardly surprising that Amy needed a fair amount of wine to get her through the evening. About four glasses, in fact.

 

Amy was a little blurry on the end of dinner, but she knew Chris and Julio flagged her down a cab to take her home, laughing at something she'd said. As she sat with her head against the cool, rattling glass of the window and watched the lights of the city go by, Amy decided she didn't want to go home. Home was fine, and her bed was there and she wanted her bed, but there was no one in her bed, and that was totally not okay with her. She wanted someone in her bed to... haha, you know. She wanted Jake in her bed.

 

Well it was allowed right? They were, you know, friends with benefits, and she wanted to benefit from his friendship - haha. And he would benefit from it too, if you know what I mean. (Because they would be having sex. And it would be good for both of them - because she was good, okay, like, really good. At sex. So, get it? Yep.)

 

Amy lurched forward in her seat and gave the taxi driver Jake's address instead of hers. She would surprise him, and benefit from him (haha) and then, and then... yep. Great plan. She was great at plans. People should call her Amy Plantiago.

 

Amy was still giggling when they pulled up outside Jake's apartment block - she paid the driver and got out, wobbling slightly in the heels she'd only worn because the last time she'd worn flats to dinner with Julio he'd spent like half an hour talking about showing off the shape of her calves to their best advantage. Pfft.

 

The door to the building was open - score - so Amy got to Jake's front door without a problem. It was exciting - they'd never done this anywhere but at her place before. Maybe that's why it had started to get boring. Jake was probably finding it boring always being at hers too. This was such a great plan.

 

She rang the doorbell and then pounded her fist on the door before realising it was late and she didn't want to wake up the neighbours. "Shhh..." she scolded herself, before giggling again because she just told herself off.

 

The door wasn't open yet, so Amy rang the doorbell again. Standing in the dim light of Jake's hallway was having something of a sobering effect on Amy - she started thinking about how late it was, and that she had work in the morning... She bit her lip and looked back the way she'd come - maybe she should just go.

 

But then she heard the sound of locks being thrown back and the door opened to reveal Jake. He was wearing an NYPD t-shirt and a pair of worn jogging bottoms, his hair looked like it did after Amy was done running her hands through it, and he was barefoot. All thoughts of leaving fled Amy's mind at the sight of him, and instead she placed her hand on her hip and cocked her head to the side with a flirty smile (she was so good at flirting. So good.).

 

Jake looked Amy up and down and smirked. She smirked right back.

 

"Santiago!" He said breezily, leaning a shoulder against the doorframe and folding his arms over his chest. "What are you doing here?"

 

Amy was in no mood for Jake to suddenly start playing games with her. She wanted him, she got him. That's how this worked.

 

So, with that in mind, she planted both her hands on his chest and pushed him back into his apartment. He went easily enough, and his smirk widened when she kicked the door shut behind her.

 

"What do you think?" She answered him, before sliding her hands up onto his shoulders and stretching up to kiss him.

 

Jake put his hands on top of hers and leant his head back so she almost ended up kissing his chin. That didn't usually happen - kisses usually happened on the lips. Amy frowned.

 

"Well I assume you want to discuss the Clarkson case?" Jake said, still smirking. "Couldn’t that wait until morning?"

 

Amy's frown deepened - why the hell would she have come round to talk about the damn Clarkson case - the most open-and-shut boring case ever? Jake wasn't making any sense... and why was he even talking at all?

 

"What are you talking about?"

 

Jake shrugged. "Well you don’t call, you don’t text… what am I to think?"

 

"I…" Amy's voice trailed off as her confusion cleared and she finally realised what was going on. Jake was right- she hadn't told him she was coming over, she'd just showed up out of the blue...she was breaking Rule Two. The pleasant buzz she’d been experiencing vanished in an instant.  

 

Jake was practically grinning now, so Amy knew he wasn't actually mad (in fact, knowing him, he was probably delighted that he'd have something new to tease her about), but Amy felt terrible. She'd been the one to come up with the rules, and so far Jake hadn't broken a single one. And yet she, Amy Santiago, to whom following rules was basically a religion, had completely thrown out one of her own rules and just showed up at his door in practically the middle of the night and expected him to... oh god this was awful.

 

Amy snatched her hands from Jake’s shoulders and quickly stepped back. “You’re right, I’m sorry, I’m breaking the rules,” she stammered, barely able to meet Jake’s eye. “I’ll go.”

 

She turned to leave, but Jake grabbed hold of her hand and tugged her back to him before she could take a step. She turned her head to apologise again, but Jake’s other hand was suddenly cupping the back of her head and holding her in place as he kissed her deeply.

 

Amy’s hand automatically reached up to grab hold of the back of Jake’s shirt, and she couldn’t help but sigh as Jake’s tongue swept into her mouth. He tasted like beer - so at least she wasn’t the only one who’d had a couple of drinks.

 

Jake pulled back after a few moments, and kissed his way across her cheek until his mouth was by her ear. “You really think I want you to leave?”

 

Amy’s hand tightened on Jake’s shirt, and her other hand came up to cradle the back of his head as he started sucking on the spot behind her ear. He started pulling the zip down at the side of her dress.

 

Amy swallowed. “I… we shouldn't,” she managed to say, even though her hand on his head was now holding his mouth firmly against her neck. “I broke the rules.”

 

Jake laughed against her skin, and then started to lift his head - Amy loosened her grip on his head a little reluctantly - but he didn’t step away. Instead he pulled her zip down the rest of the way and slid his hand under the loose material so his arm was wrapped around her bare back; he pulled her closer so they were pressed together and then spun her round and started walking her backwards.

 

“You did break the rules,” he said, grinning again. Amy felt the hard edge of Jake’s side table at the back of her thighs, and Jake’s hands were suddenly at her hips, lifting her up to sit on the table. Something fell off it with a dull thud. “And I forgive you,” he said loftily. “But only because it’s your birthday.”

 

Amy nodded. “Okay.”

 

He kissed her again, and Amy’s legs fell open so Jake could step between them, his hands warm on her thighs under her dress. They came to rest on her hips and his thumbs slid very deliberately along the edges of her underwear.

 

Amy actually whimpered when he started kissing his way down her neck - she would have been embarrassed if she wasn’t so turned on. She raked her nails over his shoulder and through his hair as he sucked on the pulsepoint on her neck, her breath hitching as he tugged on the edges of her underwear and started to pull them down.

 

Amy wasn’t sure what Jake was doing - it wasn’t like they could have sex on the table; it was too low for them to align properly, too small to lay back on (and from the way it was shaking under her there was no way it would hold both their weight anyway) - but she couldn’t bring herself to care. By this point at her apartment they would already be in her bed; the fact that she couldn't predict Jake's next move sent a thrill through her, and so she lifted one hip and then the other to let Jake drag her panties off. He stepped back to pull them down her legs, and Amy actually forgot to breathe at the look he was giving her. He crouched down once the panties were over her knees, and Amy swallowed as he let them drop to the floor. Then he placed his warm hands on her knees and slid them up her thighs, under her skirt until he reached her hips, and he knelt up in front of her.

 

Jake grinned. “Happy birthday,” he said. His hands gripped her hips, pulled her towards him to the edge of the table, and then he basically dived under her dress.

 

“J - ohhh.” Amy groaned deep in the back of her throat at the feel of Jake’s tongue on her folds, and she fell back until her shoulders hit the wall behind her, hands scrabbling for purchase and her mouth wide open as she gasped for air.

 

Somewhere in the back of her mind Amy wondered what Jake was thinking, why he was doing this - they didn’t do this. Their arrangement was about efficiency, about taking the edge off as quickly as possible. This wasn’t… efficient. This wasn’t what they did.

 

But god, she wanted this. She hadn’t realised how much, but right in that moment, with Jake putting that big mouth of his to work in a way that maybe she’d thought about way too many times, Amy couldn’t even fathom the idea of getting him to stop. So, instead, she gripped the edge of the table either side of her, dug her heels into Jake’s back, and just let herself feel. It was kind of embarrassing how quickly he managed to bring her to the edge with just his mouth - even more embarrassing were the noises she couldn't contain as she got closer and closer to her climax, and when it crashed over her she was pretty certain she screamed Jake’s name.

 

Which would have been mortifying except that Jake was kissing her neck and massaging her sides as she came down and it felt wonderful, and then he was helping her off the table and tugging her further into his apartment, towards his bedroom. Dimly, Amy was aware that generally one orgasm per Jake encounter was her usual quota, but she had a feeling that wasn’t going to be the case tonight.

 

Which was alright by her. It was her birthday after all.  

 

XXX

 

Things were different, after that.

 

The arrangement stayed the same; there were still rules and despite Amy’s little slip up, she made sure they stuck to them. No staying over. No surprise visits. No fooling around in the precinct. No telling anybody. What changed was the way they, well, fulfilled the arrangement.

 

For a start, Jake seemed to have developed a kind of addiction to going down on her, and she wasn’t about to try and stop him since he was, like, unfairly good at it. And whenever she returned the favour he would make this noise that… well. Anyway. There was that.

 

After successfully navigating the potential awkwardness of Amy’s birthday they had both realised that they could try new things without everything crashing down around them, and though they never, ever discussed it, the sex just became more varied and adventurous in general. It wasn’t just that rush to get out of their clothes and onto Amy’s bed as quickly as possible anymore - it wasn’t just about satisfying a need; it became about having fun at the same time and where it had been good before, now it was… urgh, it was the best sex she’d ever had, okay? Not that she was going to tell Jake that. The smirk on his face whenever he made her come on his tongue was bad enough without throwing verbal praise into the mix.

 

(That said, Amy knew the smirk on her own face whenever she climbed on top of him and made him bruise her thighs with his fingers and shudder under her was pretty damn smug too. Whatever.)

 

It wasn’t just the sex that changed, though that came first. They started using Jake’s apartment as well as Amy’s, and using Jake’s apartment changed things simply by the way it was laid out. It sounded stupid, but at Amy’s apartment, it was easy to stumble down the corridor to her bedroom while getting out of their clothes; the ridiculous stairs up to Jake’s loft bedroom made that basically impossible, which meant they’d start making out downstairs and then pause to head upstairs, or just not even start until they got upstairs… either way, they spent a lot more time together before and during. There was more talking, more teasing, more laughing. One day, Amy arrived at Jake’s at the same time as a delivery guy and they ended up eating Chinese takeout on his stupid massage chairs and watching Law and Order for well over an hour before spending like fifteen minutes in Jake’s bed before Amy headed home.

 

Law and Order kind of became a thing for them - it turned out Jake liked SVU just as much as Amy did, and made fun of all the same things she did, and it was so much fun to watch it with him instead of by herself like usual (even when she was with Teddy she used to watch it alone - Teddy hadn’t liked watching any cop shows). So takeout and SVU became a regular thing for them every Wednesday. Soon there was takeout on other nights too, discussing their cases and gossiping about the precinct over pizza or noodles or pierogies before moving to the bedroom, usually after a prolonged make out session on the couch.

 

It didn’t even occur to Amy to wonder about the changes until about two months after her birthday. It was a Wednesday morning, and she and Jake were driving back to the precinct after interviewing a witness. They parked, and Jake turned to Amy before they got out of the car.

 

“Your place tonight?” He asked.

 

“Sure,” said Amy. They’d been at his place the night before.

 

“I’ll bring dinner. What do you want? Pizza?”

 

Amy made a face. “We had pizza last night. Chinese?”

 

Jake shrugged. “Cool.” And they got out of the car and went back to work.

 

There was nothing particularly special about the conversation - it was a conversation they had at least once a week - but it got Amy thinking.

 

We had pizza last night.

 

It was true and everything, but it was so… so domestic. And the fact was that she had been at Jake’s the night before. And he’d been at hers for two hours on Sunday afternoon. In fact, now that she sat and thought about it, she’d spent practically every other evening with Jake for the past three weeks. That wasn’t against any rules, obviously, but it couldn’t be… well, normal, for a friends with benefits arrangement, right?

 

Their thing was meant to be a last choice option to prevent their sexual tension from getting out of hand, but it had been weeks since their tension had even had a chance to climb to anywhere near an unmanageable level. The nature of their arrangement had changed without Amy really noticing; she’d been so caught up in enjoying the improvement in the sex that she’d not thought about how everything else had changed as well.

 

Her first instinct was to panic, and she left her desk to hide in the restroom and do just that, but the panic didn’t last too long. So she and Jake were spending time together, so what? They were friends. It was just fulfilling the friends part of their friends with benefits arrangement, nothing more. There was no need to read more into it than that.

 

Besides, what was she going to do about it anyway? She could talk to Jake, but that would make it seem like it was something, when actually the whole point was that it wasn’t. She could stop hanging out so much, and go back to how it was before - but she liked how things were now, and she didn’t want to make things awkward.

 

Her other option was to end it entirely. She dismissed the idea immediately.

 

No, she was worrying over nothing. So they were hanging out - they were also having sex every time they met up, so clearly they still had their priorities straight (and if you’d told Amy before this whole thing started that she would ever consider sex to be a priority she would have laughed in your face). They even high fived every time still, like a couple of frat boys.

 

Amy went back to her desk, and that night she and Jake watched SVU while eating pizza and dim sum (“it’s called a compromise, Amy, jeez”), made out during every commercial break and had sex after with not a word being said about how they’d done almost the exact same thing just the night before. They high fived at her door as Jake left, and Amy went to sleep with a smile.

 

Still, the thought was in her head, and it stayed there.

 

Then she met Leo.

 

XXX

 

Amy met Leo by the mailboxes of her building. He was getting the mail for an apartment on her floor, but Amy knew the woman who lived there and had never seen this guy before. He was using the proper key to open the mailbox so it was probably fine, but she was a detective and her curiosity was piqued.

 

The guy looked up and saw her watching him, so Amy gave him a small smile. "Hi," she said. "Haven't seen you before. Did you just move in?"

 

"Oh, no," he said airily. "My sister lives here; she didn't have time to get her mail this morning so I was sent down."

 

As soon as he said it, Amy noticed the resemblance between him and her neighbour, and her curiosity was satisfied. "Oh, you're Cathy's brother?"

 

"Yeah, I'm Leo," he said, closing the mailbox again and holding out a hand.

 

"Amy, I live a couple of doors down from Cathy," she said, shaking his hand. "Nice to meet you."

 

"Likewise."

 

They chatted as they climbed the stairs up to Amy's floor; normal small talk about jobs and stuff, and Amy was totally blindsided when he turned to her at the top of the stairs and asked her out.

 

"Oh, um..."

 

She hadn't been flirting... had she? Not intentionally anyway. Well, whatever, that wasn't really the point- the point was he'd asked her out and she had to let him down gently, which she wasn’t great at.  

 

"Sorry, you're probably seeing someone," Leo said after a couple of seconds of silence.

 

Amy's mind flashed to Jake immediately, to their evenings eating takeout and watching TV, and just the fact that she was thinking about him in the context of 'seeing someone' was enough to have her exclaiming "oh, no - no I'm not seeing anyone!" in a panicked tone.

 

She swallowed. "I just, um..." Wow, this was awkward. She’d been all prepared to say no thanks, like a normal person saying no to a date, and then she’d panicked at the thought of just thinking that there was something going on with her and Jake, and Leo had clearly taken her hurried denial of having a boyfriend as a precursor to her saying yes…

 

Damnit, Jake.

 

Maybe she should say yes. She hadn’t been on a date for months, and it was literally written into the rules that she and Jake could go on dates - it had been expected. And now, almost half a year had gone by and… it wasn’t right. She needed to put herself back out there. She’d become too reliant on her thing with Jake, and the mere fact that she’d immediately thought of him when Leo asked if she was seeing anyone was enough to prove that it was getting too much.

 

So, with that in mind, Amy smiled at Leo, swapped numbers and arranged to meet him for dinner the next night.

 

XXX

 

Amy wasn’t sure whether or not to tell Jake about the date - objectively it was none of his business and she’d certainly never used to tell him about all of her upcoming dates back before they’d started up their arrangement, so surely there was no need to tell him now… but in reality it seemed kind of underhanded to keep it from him. But then what if she told him and it seemed like she was telling him because she thought he would care…? He wouldn’t care. That was the point of the rules. It was literally rule number one. Or what if she didn’t tell him and it had the same effect?

 

This argument was running around Amy’s head all morning, but luckily she didn’t need to decide because in the end, she had to tell him, because she’d totally forgotten that that night was a Wednesday, which meant it was a Law and Order night.

 

They were in the evidence lock-up re-labelling a few items for their case. It was something that Amy could easily have done by herself, but Jake had followed her in there to help, and Amy was sure it was because he was going to ask her to come round that night.

 

She was right.

 

“So, yours or mine for Law and Order tonight?” Jake said quietly as he passed her the labels. “And please can we not get Chinese again?”

 

It was so matter-of-fact, the way he said it… he was so clearly certain that they’d be meeting up, that Amy felt a little bad about saying no. But really, it was just further evidence that she needed to go on the date with Leo. For Jake’s sake as well as hers.

 

"Actually… I have a date tonight," she said.

 

For a split second there was an odd look in Jake's face, but it was gone in the blink of an eye, replaced with a smirk.

 

"Oh really," he said in a teasing voice. "That ad in the phone booth finally make good?"

 

"Shut up," said Any automatically. She cleared her throat. "Actually, it’s my neighbour’s brother – he’s just moved to New York and we met in the hallway the other day and got talking and he asked me out and I have no idea why I’m telling you this." Amy rolled her eyes at herself and turned back to her labelling.

 

"Santiago, you wound me," said Jake, clutching at his chest dramatically. "Tell me everything. I want nothing more than to hear all about the man who might be your one true love."

 

Amy gave him an exasperated look, and his smirk faded. They looked at each other in silence for a moment before Jake cleared his throat and looked away.

 

"Where are you going?"

 

"I am not telling you that," said Amy firmly.

 

Jake rolled his eyes. "Oh come on, I’m not gonna do anything," he said. "I’m just curious."

 

"Why?"

 

"I’m a detective."

 

Any didn't buy his 'I'm a detective' excuse for a second, but implying he'd do something to interrupt her date if she told him where they were going also meant implying that he cared she had a date... which of course he didn't, because that was rule one.

 

"Fine," she said. "We’re going to La Lanterna."

 

There was an odd look on Jake's face again, though Amy couldn't imagine why - it was just a tiny little Italian in Brooklyn, nothing particularly special. And anyway why would he care if it was something special?

 

Once again the look was gone so quickly that Amy was left wondering if she'd imagined it, and Jake nodded with a smile.

 

"Nice," he said. "They do an amazing pancetta and spinach ravioli with a cheesy pesto sauce that I could dive into a vat of and die happy."

 

Ah, that’s probably what the face was about - he was jealous of the food. "I hate spinach," she told him.

 

Amy shrugged and went back to her labeling, and just caught the sight of Jake rolling his eyes at her answer.

 

"Your loss," he said.

 

"I’m sure I’ll find something else on the menu," said Amy.

 

Then suddenly Jake was right next to her, his entire body pressing against her side. Amy froze, first from surprise and then to stop herself leaning against him.

 

"Oh I wasn’t talking about the ravioli," he whispered, so close his lips brushed against her ear. Against her explicit orders, her body shuddered, and Jake must have felt it, but he didn’t say anything - he just turned and walked away.

 

XXX

 

God, Jake was annoying. Seriously, all he’d done was whisper an innuendo to her and she hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him since. She’d already been approaching her date with Leo with… well, not dread or anything that dramatic, but definitely… resignation? She didn’t really want to go, was what she was getting at, and had only agreed because she’d been worried about her relationship with Jake getting too out of hand and wanted to prove to herself that she could date without their thing getting in the way of it. And now, instead, she was going to spend the entire evening remembering the feel of his lips on her ear and wishing she was with him instead.

 

He’d definitely done it on purpose. Asshole.

 

In the end, though, it didn’t really matter, because it was Leo that turned out to be the biggest asshole of the evening.

 

She met him at the restaurant; he told her she looked beautiful and then went in for a kiss right away. Amy thought he was leaning in to kiss her cheek and by the time she realised that he going for her lips she only had time to turn her head enough for him to get the corner of her mouth instead. He looked a bit disappointed for a split second before smiling, complimenting her dress, and putting a hand on the small of her back to steer her into the restaurant.

 

Once they were seated he immediately launched into a story about Chip from work, which Amy struggled to follow at all because she had no idea who any of the people in the story were or what they did and therefore why the story was funny or even interesting.

 

The waiter came over to take their drink order as soon as Leo stopped speaking, which Amy thought was pretty good timing because she damn well needed a drink, but Leo looked at the poor man like he was a bug.

 

“We have no idea what we want to drink because we haven’t been given a drinks menu,” he said condescendingly.

 

The wine list was on the table and had been from the beginning. When the waiter pointed it out to him, Leo went red and snapped at him to go away so they could have a look.

 

Amy hated people who were rude to service staff. Things were not going well.

 

Leo then tried to order Amy’s drink for her without asking her what she wanted - Amy declined the glass of merlot as politely as she could and asked for a malbec instead. This led into a long explanation about why malbec was inferior to merlot, and how Leo would be happy to help her learn more about wines before the next time they went for dinner.

 

The waiter brought their drinks and asked if they were ready to order - since Leo hadn’t shut up for one second since sitting down neither of them had looked at the menu. Leo snapped at the waiter again and it was all Amy could do not to throw her drink in his face and storm out of the restaurant. Only the thought of his sister, whom Amy actually liked best out of all her neighbours, stopped her.

 

She was either going to have to see the date through or find another way out. Leo made a quip about how much he hated when Italian places used Italian in their menus, and Amy reached for her cellphone.

 

Leo was still engrossed in the menu, but Amy kept her phone in her lap under the table like she was a high schooler in class as she tapped out a quick text message and sent it to Jake.

 

OK this is dentist level bad. Get me out of this.

 

God, she could only imagine the smug look on Jake’s face when he received her message - which did beg the question… why hadn’t she texted someone else? Rosa also knew she had a date tonight, she would have helped her out. It hadn’t even occurred to her to text anyone but Jake…

 

Well, he would be sure to call quickly, if only to mock her over the phone. So it was fine. Amy made sure her phone was off silent and the ringer was right up before dropping it back in her bag just as Leo looked up from his menu.

 

“Well I know what I’m having. Have you decided?”

 

Since she wasn’t planning on staying long, Amy hadn’t really looked at the menu. She nodded anyway.

 

Leo snapped his menu shut and put it down in front of him. “Maybe if our menus are closed we might finally get some service.”

 

Amy gave him a tight smile and hoped that Jake got a move on with his phone call.

 

Unfortunately their waiter came back before her phone could ring. Leo barely looked at him as he gave his order.

 

“I’ll have the spaghetti marinara.”

 

Amy gave the waiter an apologetic smile. “I’ll take the pancetta ravioli please – and could I get extra sauce?” She said, handing over her menu to the nodding waiter. “Thanks.”

 

Okay, so she’d ordered the ravioli that Jake had talked about - don’t read too much into it. She'd been too distracted to read the menu, and anyway they did takeout, so she would take it with her and give it to him as a thank you for getting her out of this joke of a date. And maybe use it as leverage to reduce his mockery of her.

 

If he ever actually got round to calling her. What was taking him so long? Maybe he hadn't seen the message yet. Maybe he was out somewhere... Maybe he'd gone on a date himself.

 

The thought of Jake out on a date with some random girl gave Amy a swooping sensation in her stomach that she found difficult to name. It wasn't jealousy, obviously- that would be ridiculous. Worry, maybe? He hadn't had plans when they'd spoken earlier, so it would be a very last minute thing... he should be careful.

 

Luckily, Leo didn't really need any input from Amy to hold up the conversation, so she was able to sit there and worry about Jake's potential date in silence. Amy was considering faking a call or something after fifteen minutes had gone by with still no word, when the door to the restaurant opened and Jake walked in.

 

Disgustingly, Amy's first reaction to the sight of him was actually relief, which was pathetic. Her second reaction, which was definitely the more sane one to have to the sight of Jake Peralta arriving in person to get her out of a bad date, was deep foreboding.

 

Amy stared at him as he looked around the restaurant, silently hoping his plan involved talking to a waiter or something, but no - he spotted her, and grinned, and started making his way over.

 

Amy looked back at Leo, who clearly hadn’t noticed anything, and had to resist the urge to pre-emptively bury her face in her hands as she heard Jake getting closer. Oh god, what had she done?

 

Jake stopped next to their table, and Leo finally stopped talking long enough to look up at him in confusion. Amy steeled herself and looked up too.

 

He was frowning down at her. “So here you are.”

 

“Jake,” Amy said, struggling to keep her voice even. “What are you doing here?” She tried to convey with just her eyes that he was going to pay for whatever it was he had planned, but his only reaction was to fold his arms and glare at her.

 

“You've been avoiding me Amy, and it's gone on long enough,” he said. Then he sighed dramatically. “I should have known I'd find you here - in our special place.”

 

Amy closed her eyes and fought the urge to groan.

 

“Er, Amy, who is this man?”

 

Amy opened her eyes to find Leo giving her a puzzled look, but Jake answered him before she could think of anything to say.

 

“I'm Jake, Amy's ex-boyfriend,” he said curtly. Then he put both hands on the edge of the table and leant down towards Leo. “Listen man, this is really important - you haven't slept with her, have you?”

 

Jake!” Amy exclaimed, her cheeks flaming red.

 

Leo swallowed. “No - this is our first - what are you -”

 

Jake nodded and stood up straight again. “Good, that's great news, because you do not want to go there,” he said. Amy had a horrible idea she’d figured out Jake’s plan, but she wouldn’t let herself believe it until it happened. She shook her head at him, but he just sighed again.

 

“I heard back from the doctor, Amy,” he said. “That's what I've been trying to tell you for three days. It's what I thought it was, and since we both know that it wasn't me who was sleeping around, I thought I'd better let you know.”

 

Amy was fairly certain that the glare she was giving Jake should have melted him through the floor, but instead she could see that he was trying not to smile.

 

“Oh my god,” she heard Leo say.

 

Jake gave her the smallest of winks and then turned back to him. “I'm sorry to ruin your date, man.”

 

“No that's - it's, er, fine,” Leo said, starting to stand up. “I, um, I think I'll just go.”

 

Amy dragged her glare away from Jake. “Leo -”

 

“Bye,” he mumbled, not even looking at her in his haste to leave.

 

Jake sat down in Leo’s vacated chair and the two of them watched as he fled the restaurant. The moment the door closed behind him, Amy snapped her head back to Jake. “I am going to kill you,” she growled through gritted teeth.

 

Jake grinned at her. “You’re welcome.”

 

Amy had to fight down what would have been an actual snarl as she leant forward. “When I said ‘get me out of this’ I thought you’d fake a work emergency or something,” she hissed angrily.

 

Jake shrugged, completely unapologetic, and reached for a breadstick. “You should have been more specific,” he said, still grinning. “Anyway, it worked didn’t it?”

 

“Yes, but now he thinks that I’ve got, that I’m… oh my god,” Amy groaned, dropping her head into her hands. “His sister’s going to hate me!”

 

“It’s New York,” said Jake through a mouthful of breadstick. “Your neighbours are meant to hate you.”

 

Amy folded her arms and fixed Jake with a glare that clearly did nothing but amuse him. She rolled her eyes. “Fine,” she said. “But you’re going to have to water my plants when I go out of town from now on.”

 

Jake snorted. “You don’t want me looking after your plants,” he said. “I’ve killed at least seven cactuses.”

 

“Cacti,” Amy said automatically.

 

“Either is correct,” Jake argued.

 

Amy opened her mouth to argue back, but the waiter arrived at that moment.

 

“Hi,” he said with a smile. “I have a spaghetti marinara -” He looked at Jake properly for the first time and blinked, clearly confused. “Er…”

 

Jake grinned up at him. “Why, thank you.”

 

The waiter shot a questioning look at Amy, who just shrugged at him. Obviously deciding not to question it, he put the bowl of spaghetti down in front of Jake and then turned to her.

 

“And the pancetta ravioli with extra sauce.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“Just let me know if you need anything else,” the waiter said, before beating a hasty retreat.

 

Jake was eyeing her ravioli. “I thought you hated spinach?”

 

“I do,” Amy said. She picked up the warm bowl and held it up. “Here, let’s swap.”

 

Jake didn’t move. “You ordered for me?” When Amy didn’t say anything he started to smirk. “That is adorable.”

 

Amy rolled her eyes, furious at herself for blushing. “Just shut up and take it, Peralta,” she said.

 

He did, grinning like a maniac, and handed the marinara across to her. Amy took the bowl and started eating right away, refusing to look up at Jake and his stupid smug face. She could feel her cheeks were just about returning to a normal temperature but oh god… she was never going to live this down.

 

At least the marinara was good. Whatever his other faults, Leo was a decent orderer.

 

They ate in silence for a few minutes (which was evidence enough that Jake really loved that ravioli), and then Amy felt Jake nudge her calf with his foot. She lifted her eyes to meet his, a glare already in place, and once again he just looked amused at the sight of her anger.

 

“Not bad for our second date,” he said cheerfully.

 

“This isn’t a date,” Amy snapped.

 

“No?” Jake said with a smirk. “And I guess we’re not going back to yours for dessert?” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

 

Amy dropped the glare and leant forward, and Jake’s smirk grew as she got closer, and he leant forward too.

 

“Not a chance,” Amy said flatly, before sitting back and returning to her food. Jake just grinned and tucked back into the ravioli.

 

XXX

 

Of course they did end up back at her place. Amy was still angry with Jake, and she did think about cutting him off for a few days to teach him a lesson about boundaries, but the sad truth was that that would be as much of a punishment for her as for him. So, the way she saw it, she could either keep glaring at him and see him grin that smug, amused grin he had whenever she did, or she could take him back to her place and put him to work on making it up to her.

 

She chose the latter.

 

“You’re going to need to put in the work tonight, Peralta,” she said to him as she let them into her apartment.

 

“Title of our sex tape,” Jake said immediately.

 

“Damn straight,” said Amy. “I mean it, Jake. You owe me one. Actually, you owe me two. Maybe three.”

 

Jake smirked and pulled her against him with his hands on her hips. “I don’t know, I’ve eaten a lot of pasta tonight… I’m not sure I can go to three.”

 

“You can do my filing for a week instead if you want.”

 

“Three it is.”

 

He bent his head and kissed her but it was playful more than passionate, and Amy could feel him smiling against her lips. He pinched her backside and Amy pushed away from him, rolling her eyes and trying to hide her chuckle.

 

“Hey, did you TiVo Law and Order?” Jake asked.

 

Amy sighed. “Yes…”

 

Jake immediately turned his puppy dog eyes on. “Can we watch it first? Can we?” He begged.

 

“It’s already gone ten.”

 

“I bet I can get one and two out of the way during the commercials.”

 

Amy threw up her hands. “Okay, fine - I’m gonna get changed, get it set up.”

 

When she came back in a few minutes later wearing joggers, and tank top, and her glasses, Amy found Jake stretched out on her couch with Law and Order paused on the TV. He didn’t sit up when she came over, just moved over so he was on the edge of the cushions, giving her just enough room to lie down next to him against the back of the couch. She did, her head propped up on a cushion next to Jake’s head.

 

It was comfortable, and warm, and she and Jake were soon far too busy arguing over the case to even think about doing anything but bicker during the commercials,and by the last quarter of the episode Amy’s eyes were heavy.

 

She didn’t see the very end.

 

When she opened her eyes again the room was quiet, and darker, the TV had gone on standby and there was no noise from any of the other apartments. Amy was still warm, and even more comfortable than before - her head had shifted from the cushion to Jake’s shoulder, her arm was lying across his stomach and her calf was hooked around his thigh. His arm left arm was draped around her shoulders, and his right hand was resting on the elbow of her arm across his body. He was asleep.

 

Amy started, and sat up abruptly, and Jake’s eyes flew open.

 

“Wha-”

 

Amy scrambled to sit upright, shoving at Jake’s legs until he got the gist and moved to sit up as well. He rubbed a hand over his face and took his phone out of his pocket to look at the time - it was 02:05.

 

“Huh,” Jake said. “That episode was longer than usual.”

 

Amy huffed a laugh, and Jake grinned. “I’d better get going,” he said. She nodded, and he grabbed his shoes from under the coffee table and started shoving them on.

 

“I guess I’ll have to owe you one,” he said with a smirk.

 

“Three,” Amy corrected him, though her yawn ruined the sassy tone she was going for. Jake grinned anyway.

 

“Sure thing,” he said. He leant forward and kissed her, light and sweet, with a hand cupping the back of her head. Her hand curled on his shoulder and she sighed against his lips as he pulled away.

 

“Good night Amy,” he said.

 

“Good night.”

 

They smiled at each other, and Jake left her stretching on the couch and headed out of the door.

 

Amy licked her tingling lips and stood up, only to sit back down with a thump, her smile disappearing from her face. Jake had just kissed her goodnight.

 

Even on the nights they had sex he didn’t kiss her goodnight.

 

They didn’t have sex and he’d kissed her anyway. She’d kissed him back. There’d been no high fiving. They’d gone out for dinner and come back to hers and fallen asleep watching TV and not had sex or even a makeout session and they’d kissed each other goodnight.

 

Okay. Time to panic.













Chapter Text

Needless to say Amy did not get much sleep after Jake left. She lay in bed, staring at her dark ceiling and trying to control her racing thoughts. 

 

The important thing was to not freak out. Mild panic fine; full-on breakdown not so much.

 

Jake had kissed her goodnight. Well… okay, so that had happened. He almost certainly hadn’t done it on purpose. Okay, yes, he meant to kiss her, but he probably didn’t mean it to mean anything… it had just been a... reflex of sorts. They’d fallen asleep in each other’s arms after a decidedly coupley evening together, and so it had just been a natural impulse to kiss her before he’d left.

 

Okay, so don’t panic about the kiss.

 

Panic about the fact that they’d spent a coupley evening together and fallen asleep in each other’s arms.

 

Yeah. That was the real problem. 

 

It hadn’t been a real date, but the fact remained that they’d had dinner together, alone, in a nice restaurant. There’d been a candle on their table. They’d shared a dessert (tiramisu if you want to know - and it wasn’t a romantic thing, okay, they just both really liked tiramisu and weren’t sure they could have a whole one each. Shut up.).

 

And then after their not-date they’d gone back to Amy’s to have sex. God, if only they’d actually done that. If only Jake had pushed her against the door as it was closing and kissed her senseless like he'd done so many times before.

 

But not for a while.

 

Amy groaned and flung her arm across her eyes, trying to shut out the unwelcome thought. But it was true - it had been a while since that had happened, since they'd torn each other's clothes off the second they got inside... nowadays there was always takeout and TV and talking and even, one evening, Amy lecturing Jake on the importance of organising his receipts, and though the sex was a big part of their... god, their relationship... and though it was really good, it wasn't the only part of it. It had turned into so much more. 

 

It was like they were... like they were dating. No, it was even worse than that - it was like they’d been dating for so long that they’d already got to that comfortable, eating takeout every night and hanging out in front of the TV stage of a relationship. And it had happened without Amy even realising.

 

She was the worst detective ever.

 

Had Jake noticed? And if he had, why hadn’t he said anything? Did he… maybe he hadn’t said anything because he… maybe he wanted them to be dating. Maybe he’d changed his mind.

 

Had she?

 

Amy took a deep breath and forced herself to think about seriously, frowning up at the ceiling. She liked Jake. She liked hanging out with Jake, she liked spending her evenings with him, she liked… you know, spending evenings with him. It was fun, it was easy, it was comfortable… but maybe that was because they weren’t dating. Amy was sure that as soon as they put a label on it, as soon as they told other people, as soon as it became official… Amy shuddered. Everything would change. There would be too much pressure, and if they broke up…

 

No, it was exactly what she’d been trying to avoid. Amy knew what the smart thing to do was - she'd better end it before it went any further.

 

She screwed her eyes up tight and swallowed. Honestly, she wasn’t sure she should. Surely just ending things out of the blue would create all kinds of awkwardness. And more than that, she wasn’t sure she could - the sad thing was that she was just too… she was in too deep.

 

So the first thing she had to do was dig herself out of it a bit. She needed to take a step back, take them both back to how things were when they first started up, when their arrangement really was about keeping things casual and only sleeping together when they needed to. They needed to stop spending practically every night together, needed to stop with the take out and the vegging on the couch together and generally acting like a couple. And then, once that was done she could make a more… informed decision.

 

Okay. Fine. Decision made. Time to sleep.

 

(It took a couple more hours to get to sleep.)

 

XXX

 

Jake cornered Amy in the break room the very next morning.

 

“So… I guess you want to cash in on those three I owe you tonight?” He asked her, his lips twisting into a confident smirk and making Amy blush. She blinked and looked away quickly.

 

“I… oh, you know, that’s fine,” she stammered, focusing all her attention on the coffee machine.

 

“That’s fine?” Jake said incredulously.

 

Amy nodded, not looking at him. “Yeah, um, I’m just really tired,” she said. “I just want an early night tonight, and I need to do some laundry and… yeah.”

 

There was a pause, and then Amy felt Jake shift his weight. “Okay, sure, yeah,” he said. “No problem.”

 

Amy risked a glance at Jake and was relieved to see that he looked perfectly relaxed. He smirked again when he caught her eye, but it was more teasing than flirty. “Laundry’s probably a good idea - you’re starting to smell.”

 

“Shut up,” said Amy immediately, knocking his arm with her shoulder.

 

Jake grinned and left the break room, and Amy turned back to making her coffee.

 

Step one complete.

 

XXX

 

Amy actually did do some laundry that night; she hadn’t been lying about that needing to happen, and it was good that Jake wasn’t there. He’d only get in the way. She went to bed early and slept well, and so was feeling pretty good about her decision to step back by the next morning. In fact, she felt so good about it that she told Jake she was going to visit her parents for the weekend, leaving that evening and not getting back until late on Sunday. The flash of disappointment on Jake’s face was enough to convince Amy that she was doing the right thing for them both - they both needed the space.

 

She did go to her parents’ house, but only on the Saturday, and she came back fairly early on Sunday morning, because twenty-four hours was about her limit for dealing with her mom without at least four of her brothers there as a buffer. It was the first weekend day in a few weeks that she hadn’t been working or hanging out with Jake, and it was fine. Amy had plenty of chores to do now that she had a chance, and she was perfectly content to clean and dust and organise without Jake there to distract her with his jokes and laughter and big mouth and big hands and…

 

Okay, so she was feeling a little nuts. It had, after all, been five days since they’d had sex, and that was the longest they’d gone in months. Still, she couldn’t give in. Not yet anyway. It would be fine to arrange to meet up in a day or two, but for now this was a good thing - it was proving to herself that she could do without seeing Jake all the time, and could reset their arrangement back to what it should be, and stop blurring the lines.

 

She needed to stop blurring the lines.

 

So, instead of giving in and texting Jake to say she was home earlier than expected, Amy ordered her favourite Chinese takeout and settled in to watch some Netflix. Alone.

 

Turned out the Chinese was a mistake because it wasn’t until she bit into a pancake roll that she remembered an incident from the week before, when Jake was round and they were eating Chinese together, and he’d given her a challenging smirk before starting to eat a pancake roll in the filthiest, most suggestive way imaginable. Amy, never one to back down from a challenge, had followed suit, and it had ended with the two of them laughing so hard that Amy actually strained a stomach muscle. Jake had pushed her shirt up and kissed his way across her stomach and then up towards her breasts and…

 

Amy dropped the half-eaten pancake roll back into the takeout container and groaned.

 

It wasn’t half an hour later that her phone buzzed with a Snapchat from Jake. He sent her stupid photos all the time, so it wasn’t a weird thing or anything, but still, Amy had to brace herself before opening it. It was a selfie of Jake in a Chinese deli near his apartment that did a takeout deal where you stuffed as much food into a container as you could. He had his eyebrows raised in a suggestive smirk and in the background of the photo was a pile of pancake rolls.

 

Amy stared at the photo until the timer ran out, and then she dropped her phone and covered her face with a cushion. It was just a coincidence, obviously - they both loved Chinese, and they both loved pancake rolls, and so it didn’t like, mean anything… but all Amy could think about was replying to Jake with a picture of herself eating her own pancake roll. A week ago she wouldn’t have hesitated, she would have sent the picture immediately and Jake would have been round within half an hour.

 

But that was before. Now, Amy kicked her cellphone down to the other end of the couch, and turned on Netflix. Alone.

 

XXX

 

Jake was in before Amy the next morning, which was rare, and Amy tried to tell herself that it was surprise at seeing him already at his desk that had her heart racing as soon as she set eyes on him, but it was hard to convince herself of that… especially when she sat down and Jake pinned her with a look that had her hands trembling as she booted up her computer.

 

He really shouldn’t look at her like at work. It wasn’t fair.

 

He blinked and the look was gone, and Amy let out the breath she was holding.

 

“Morning Santiago,” he said. “Good weekend?”

 

“Fine thanks, you?”

 

“Ballin’,” said Jake airily. “How was your parents’ house?”

 

Amy rolled her eyes. “Same as always. I listened to my Mom complain about Joyce from her church group for three hours and my Dad had an actual, honest-to-god slideshow of their vacation photos. With an actual projector.”

 

Jake grinned. “Awesome. What time did you get home? There was that huge pile up on the nine-five, you must have got caught in it.”

 

“No, I was ahead of it,” Amy said, before realising that she’d just admitted that she’d got home early and hadn’t told him. She froze for a second before forcing herself to relax. Okay, well, fine. That was okay. It wasn’t like they’d made plans or anything, or that she’d lied to him. It was fine.

 

Nevertheless, Amy kept her eyes on her screen throughout the short silence that followed, and then Jake cleared his throat. “Well, that’s lucky,” he said eventually.

 

Amy nodded, gave Jake a small smile, and turned to her paperwork.

 

XXX

 

Amy needed to put a few things in the evidence lock up in the afternoon, and she knew as soon as she stood up from her desk that Jake was going to follow her. They hadn’t had a moment alone yet - the first time she’d got coffee Charles was in the break room too, and the next time Jake had been in the middle of talking a case over with Rosa. They weren’t working any cases together that needed going over in the briefing room or necessitated them driving somewhere together, so this would be his chance to ask about coming over this evening.

 

She was going to say yes- there was no point waiting any longer. She figured five days was long enough to prove to herself that she could do without, and she didn't want things to get awkward between them. Or, rather, she didn't want Jake to pick up on the awkwardness that already existed.

 

The lock up was dark and deserted, and Amy headed to the narrow shelves at the back of the room to organise her evidence. She’d been in there maybe three minutes when she heard the door open and close, and footsteps approaching.

 

Amy took a steadying breath and turned to face Jake as he rounded the corner.

 

“Hey.”

 

“Hey.”

 

Jake cleared his throat and leant his shoulder against the shelf. “So, um, I just wanted to ask if you wanted to meet up tonight,” he said.

 

Amy’s eyebrows went up in surprise at his tone - he sounded kind of… well, hesitant, and he wasn't quite meeting her eye. “Um, sure,” she said after a moment’s silence. “Your place?”

 

She’d already figured his place would be safer, because her leaving Jake’s apartment early would be less awkward than trying to get Jake to leave hers.

 

Jake nodded. “Okay,” he said. He gave her a small smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes and turned to go, leaving Amy staring at the back of his head in complete bewilderment. A second later, though, he turned back round, and her questions about his odd behaviour were answered.

 

“Was it me? Did I do something?”

 

Amy’s eyes widened. “I-”

 

“I’m sorry,” Jake interrupted her. “I don’t mean to make things awkward between us -”

 

Amy swallowed. “Jake, I-”

 

“- but it feels like you’ve been avoiding me, and I just want you to know that I’m sorry about whatever it is I did.” Jake paused and gave her a serious look. “And we don’t have to meet up tonight if you don’t want to.”

 

Jake looked away from Amy again, but seemed to be done talking, and Amy stared at his profile, unsure what to say. This was it - an out. She could say right now that she wasn’t sure they should continue with their arrangement and end it. It would be a bit awkward for a while but it was doubtful it would be more awkward than it was before they’d started sleeping together.

 

It was probably the sensible thing to do… but the bottom line was that Amy just didn’t want to. She wanted to keep up their arrangement, she just wanted to make sure it stayed an arrangement, you know?

 

"I do want to meet up," she said. Jake looked at her then, and she managed a small smile. "Really."

 

Jake nodded. "Okay." He turned to leave, but still looked so... so un-Jake… and Amy’s brain finally caught up with her and she remembered what else he’d said.

 

She stopped him with a hand on his elbow. "And Jake… you didn’t do anything wrong," she said earnestly.

 

He hadn’t, and Amy could feel guilt churning inside her for making him think that he had… she hadn’t thought he would realise that she was actively avoiding him… but really she should have since they’d spent basically every night together for weeks and Jake wasn’t an idiot. What he was was a guy with lots of repressed issues of abandonment and not being good enough, and Amy bit her lip when she realised that maybe just cutting him out with flimsy excuses for five days hadn’t been the best way to play it.

 

Jake gave her a rueful look. “I crashed your date.”

 

Amy shook her head. “I asked you -”

 

“No, you asked me to help get you out of it,” Jake interrupted, glaring at the shelf behind her. “I should have called or something to give you an excuse, but instead I embarrassed you in front of him and then basically forced you to have dinner with me which I know you didn’t want to do and…” He let out a frustrated breath and looked at her properly. “I’m sorry, it was really selfish of me.”

 

Amy had to clear her throat before she could speak. “It was fine,” she said weakly. Jake started to roll his eyes, and Amy tightened her grip on his arm. “Honestly, I didn’t mind,” she said, “not really.”

 

And it was true. She couldn’t care less that Jake had crashed her date, or made her look bad in front of that complete asshole Leo. She’d had fun with Jake… and that was the actual problem. Jake hadn’t done anything wrong; in fact the problem was that he was too good - good to hang out with, good to… you know. But as previously discussed they weren’t going to actually date each other, so she needed to protect herself. She needed to protect both of them.

 

But Jake had to know that he wasn’t the problem.

 

He didn’t seem to have got the message.

 

“I know I’m immature and everything,” Jake said, looking away from her again, “and it must be a pain to have me round all the time -”

 

“Jake-”

 

“- and I totally get why you'd want me to back off, and I will if you want me to, I promise -”

 

“Jake I don’t -”

 

“I’m a pain in the ass but I’ll -”

 

“Would you stop?!” Amy exclaimed, her nails now digging into Jake’s arm through the layers of hoodie and shirt. Jake did stop talking but he wasn’t looking at her. Amy stepped in front of him and placed both her hands on his shoulders, and tightened her grip until he met her eyes. “Jake, listen to me - you didn’t do anything wrong, okay? Stop it.”

 

Jake stared at her for a moment before nodding. “Okay. Sorry.”

 

“Stop apologising,” Amy said, almost laughing. She sobered up quickly, and shook her head. “I’m sorry I… I didn’t mean to make you feel like that.”

 

Jake gave her a small smile and then reached up and took hold of one of her hands. The fingers of her other hand curled slightly against his shoulder as the heat of his skin seemed to shoot up her arm.

 

Serious moment Amy. Stop it.

 

“I know. It’s stupid,” Jake said, squeezing her hand. “I just… don’t want you to end up hating me.”

 

Amy almost laughed at that, it was so ridiculous. Jake could annoy her, infuriate her even, but he could never make her hate him. She couldn’t even imagine it.

 

Her hand slid up his shoulder to cup his cheek. “That’s never gonna happen,” she said firmly.

 

Jake gave her a small, crooked smile, and Amy returned it. She belatedly realised that she was standing ridiculously close to Jake - way closer than was appropriate for casual friends, and certainly not for the workplace - and one hand was still on his cheek and her other hand was entwined with his at her side and… she needed to step back before…

 

She didn’t step back. She knew what was going to happen next but… she didn’t step back.

 

They stepped forward at the same moment, bodies pressing together as their mouths met urgently, deep and searching and desperate. Amy’s hands clutched at the back of Jake’s shirt before burrowing under to touch the bare skin of his back, hot and smooth, and she felt his muscles bunch and stretch as he propelled her back several steps until she was pressed up against the wall. Jake’s had got her shirt untucked and his hands were under the material and running up her side, making Amy moan from the heat of his palms and the coolness of the wall as her shirt got rucked up. She withdrew one of her hands from his back and delved her fingers into his hair, raking her nails over his scalp. He groaned and and she grinned against his lips. He immediately retaliated by sliding one hand up and under the cup of her bra, and Amy’s grin was lost in a gasp.

 

None of their clothes were actually fully removed, more just pushed and pulled at until they were out of the way, and all Amy was really aware of was the feel of Jake against her, around her, and how she was just desperate for more. She knew in the back of her mind that they were crazy, that the whole thing was wrong, but then her knee was hooked around Jake’s hip and he was pushing into her and she just dropped her head back against the wall, braced one hand against the shelf next to her, and dug her nails into Jake’s shoulder. He surged up to swallow the sounds she was making with his mouth, and Amy panted against his lips as they fell quickly into a rhythm that had them gasping and clutching at each other within moments. Amy wrapped both her arms around Jake’s neck and buried her face in his shoulder, the collar of his shirt caught between her lips as she tried to smother her cries as she came. Jake followed moments later, pushing her even harder against the wall and groaning into her neck.

 

Amy stayed where she was with her arms wrapped around Jake as she struggled to get her breath back. As her breath returned, so did reason.

 

“Oh my god,” she whispered.

 

Jake chuckled and pulled away, slowly and a little shakily. Amy immediately felt cold… which was probably something to do with how her clothes were hanging half off of her. Her shirt was half-unbuttoned, her bra was coming undone, and her pants and underwear were on the floor, caught around one ankle.

 

She was half naked in the evidence lock-up.

 

“Oh my god,” she muttered again, quickly reaching down to yank her pants back up. Her cheeks were burning with shame; how could she have been so reckless? She wasn’t this girl, she didn’t have sex in public places. And she certainly didn’t have sex at work.

 

What if someone had walked in and heard them? Seen them? Thank god there weren’t any security cameras this far back in the room, she hadn’t even thought about…

 

This was the problem. This was what Jake did to her. This was why she’d been avoiding him for five days… and yes, that avoidance was probably why she’d been so desperate for him to touch her that she’d broken one of her cardinal rules.

 

Okay, well, that proved she shouldn’t avoid him for so long again, as if the look of dejection on his face while apologising for his shortcomings a few minutes before hadn’t already done that.

 

At the memory of their conversation, Amy found the courage to look up at Jake. He’d got his clothes basically straight, and was trying to smooth down his hair. His eyes were already on her, and he dropped his hands when she looked up.

 

Amy gulped. “That was…” She trailed off, unable to even articulate her conflicting feelings.

 

Jake quirked an eyebrow at her. “Hot?” He suggested, his lips twitching into a smirk.

 

The smirk was enough to get Amy out of her daze. “A one time thing that will never, ever happen again and never be spoken of,” she said sternly, folding her arms. “Got it?”

 

“Of course.” Jake’s eyes flicked down to her crossed arms and his smirk grew. Amy glanced down too and saw that she’d not finished buttoning up her blouse, and her arms had pulled the material down to reveal a ridiculous amount of cleavage. She huffed and hurriedly got to work on the top buttons.

 

Jake laughed, and when she looked up he was grinning. “I’ll leave you to it,” he said, eyes twinkling with amusement. It was a way better look on him than the sadness of before. He held up his hand for a high-five, and Amy rolled her eyes before complying.

 

“See you later?”

 

For a moment Amy thought it was a stupid, redundant question, but then she noticed that Jake’s smile had faded a bit and his eyes were searching hers - he wanted to know if they were still meeting up that night.

 

She should say no. But… well, this didn’t really count, did it?

 

“Sure,” she said. Jake grinned, winked, and then turned on his heel and left.

 

XXX

 

So the whole stepping back plan didn’t really pan out. Amy met up with Jake the night of the evidence lock-up incident, and the next night, and the next. Well, avoiding Jake hadn't been good for either of them, and had resulted in breaking one of the rules, so it was a bad plan to try that strategy again. She reasoned that she needed a new plan and that in the meantime she should just carry on as normal.

 

It did occur to Amy that the problem could probably be solved or at least improved by just talking to Jake about it, but the thought of that conversation made Amy feel nauseated so that was a no.

 

She did make sure to have a 'night off' more frequently than before and never let them spend more than three nights in a row together, nor both weekend days. If Jake noticed the pattern or had a problem with it, he never mentioned it, and there was (thank god) no repeat of his trying to apologise for being the problem.

 

Amy adjusted to the new pattern easily and relaxed somewhat as the weeks went by, but her realisation about the changed nature of their arrangement was never far from her mind. Except for Amy making sure they spent time apart, things were pretty much the same as ever - there was takeout, bickering while watching TV, highfives after sex. But now that she was aware of it, it was glaringly obvious to Amy how far from a normal ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement they really were.

 

It wasn’t just that they met up way more often than necessary, or that they spent most of their time together just hanging out instead of actually having sex; that was only part of it. Over those weeks, Amy started paying attention to all the little things Jake did that she’d not really thought about before. Like how he always, always got her order right - he not only knew her favourite takeout whether it was Chinese, Indian, sushi, pizza, Polish - but had also somehow memorised how her tastes varied from place to place, depending which particular restaurant they ordered from.

 

He seemed to be able to read her mood with a fluency that astounded her. There were some days when she just wasn’t in the mood to waste two hours eating takeout and watching TV before dragging Jake to her bedroom - those were the days that she would pin Jake to her door with a kiss as soon as he arrived - and Jake would always be reaching for her already every time. Whenever she had a stressful day at work, Jake would invariably start rubbing her shoulders as they sat on her couch together - Amy carried a lot of her stress in her neck and shoulders, and he always seemed to know when her muscles were knotting up without needing to be told. And on days when she had a particularly bad case to work on, as sometimes happened, Jake would either keep cracking jokes until she couldn’t help but laugh, or sling his arm around her shoulders and let her just lean into his side… and it always helped.

 

He was trying to be tidy. Trying, because it was Jake and there was clearly a limit, but whenever he was round hers he didn’t need to be told to get plates for the takeout, or use a coaster, or not to use one of her cushions as a tray, and at his place he’d stopped leaving dishes in the sink for days at a time and was doing laundry way more frequently than he used to. Amy had stopped reminding him (nagging, was the word he’d used) about those things a while ago, convinced she was fighting a losing battle, but something must have got through. He’d even found a tin to put his receipts in.

 

(Amy filed her receipts by month, cross-referenced by vendor and type, but... baby steps.)

 

So yeah - Jake was basically an incredibly attentive, thoughtful and considerate...  whatever he was... and Amy was kind of freaked out by it and turned on by it in equal measure. She wished she could just go back to the time when she could thank him for getting the takeout without wondering why he was paying attention to how she ate, but that time was passed. This was their new arrangement - it was more than a mere arrangement, and Amy was aware of it and was pretty sure Jake was aware of it too, but neither of them were admitting it was more than what they called it. And it all worked fine. 

 

Then one evening Jake came over to Amy’s with pizza, and one look at his face told her that something had happened.

 

“What’s wrong?” She asked as she closed the door behind him.

 

Jake shot her a surprised look before turning away and heading for her kitchen. He clearly thought she wouldn't notice something was going on with him, and Amy wasn't sure whether to feel offended or smug.

 

“Nothing,” he said. “It’s - I just ran into Sophia.” He shrugged. “No big deal.”

 

It clearly was a big deal from the way Jake was standing. His whole posture screamed ‘defensive’, and Amy knew that pushing him on it right then would get her nowhere. So she just nodded. “Okay,” she said. “Did they remember the extra chillies?”

 

From the way Jake practically leapt on the change of subject, ignoring the encounter with Sophia was clearly the correct way to play it. Amy helped get Jake get plates and napkins and beers from her kitchen, and hoped that his prattling on about the correct ratio of chillies to cheese while watching a movie would take Jake’s mind off of it.

 

It became clear pretty soon after the movie started that it hadn’t. The first ten minutes was spent devouring the pizza, so Amy didn’t really notice it at first, but once they were both sitting back and done with eating, it became painfully obvious: Jake was almost completely silent. He wasn’t cracking jokes, or making fun of the characters’ choices, or attempting their accents, or any of the other million annoying things he usually did while watching a movie. He barely even replied to Amy whenever she made a comment - the best she could get out of him was “yeah”, “sure”, “maybe”.

 

It was cliche to say that she missed his babbling, but she did. Silent Jake was just plain weird, and resentment of Sophia flared up inside Amy so strong that her knuckles whitened where she gripped her beer way too tight.

 

Did Sophia have any idea what she had done to Jake? Amy didn’t know every detail, but as far as she could tell she had ended things because of a disagreement over their jobs, and also because Jake arrested her boss for drug use. What had she expected him to do? Let it slide? Never mind the fact that the guy later kidnapped Jake and held him at gunpoint - he was clearly a complete nutjob who needed to be behind bars. But anyway, whatever. Amy didn’t know the full story and that wasn’t really the point anyway.

 

The point was that his break up with Sophia had really gotten to Jake for some reason. She remembered what he’d said, when their arrangement was just starting up; that he wasn’t over the way everything had gone wrong so quickly. Now it was months later, and it was obvious that he still wasn’t over it, and Amy found herself wondering if, despite what he’d said, he also wasn’t over Sophia the person.

 

It would be understandable... she was a smart, successful lawyer who seemed to share Jake's quirky sense of humour. And on top of that she was just about the most gorgeous woman Amy had ever seen in real life. She was always so well-groomed and knew how use make up completely flawlessly and didn't put her hair up all the time and looked way better in a pantsuit than Amy ever would...

 

Amy shook her head slightly, annoyed at herself for comparing herself to Sophia. It wasn't new - when the guy who told you that he liked you (twice) started dating someone else, it was perfectly natural to draw comparisons - but she'd hoped that she would stop once they had split up.

 

Guess not.

 

Anyway, even if Jake did still have feelings for Sophia it shouldn't be a problem for her, except as knowledge she might use to help her friend. That was the only reason she was wondering about it. She wanted to help.

 

Jake shifted next to Amy, breaking her out of her thoughts, and when she refocused on the movie she saw that she'd been as silent as Jake for at least ten minutes.

 

Jake cleared his throat.

 

"Er, you know what, I think I might just go home," he said.

 

Amy swallowed. "Oh, okay," she said.

 

Jake gave her an apologetic look. "Sorry, I'm just not gonna be good company tonight," he said. He shifted forward and put his barely-drunk beer bottle on the coffee table.

 

"Do you want to talk about it?" Amy asked after a moment.

 

Jake let out a kind of humourless chuckle. "No."

 

Amy bit her lip. She didn't want to push him but... she hated seeing him like this. "It might help," she said. She picked at the label on her own beer. "I mean, if you still have feelings for her then –"

 

Jake's head whipped round to stare at her. "I don’t," he said. Amy just looked at him, and he turned to face her fully. "Really, I don’t," he said firmly. Then he shook his head and sighed.

 

"I just… Sophia was my first, like, adult girlfriend, you know?" He said. "Before her I hadn’t had a relationship that lasted more than a month since before the Academy. And I thought it was going fine, and then it just… imploded, you know?"

 

Jake groaned and sat back properly, running his hands through his hair and making it stick up all over the place. "It all went so wrong so quickly," he said quietly. "And I’m just… I keep thinking about it and I hate it because what does that say about my chances of ever having a proper adult relationship? I should be able to do that, and I can’t."

 

Jake dropped his hands back down to his lap and stared blankly, straight ahead at the TV. He looked completely miserable and suddenly, Amy was done.

 

"That’s it, I’m done," she said out loud.

 

Jake jerked his head round to look at her. "What?"

 

"Done keeping my mouth shut, I’m done," Amy announced. She sat forward and put her beer bottle down with a clink, and turned back to Jake.

 

He was watching her warily. "What do you-"

 

"Jake, you did nothing wrong with Sophia," Amy said.

 

Jake actually started to roll his eyes. "Well she broke up with me, so clearly -"

 

"She broke up with you because of her own crap, Jake - she just used what you did as an excuse," Amy declared. "And what you did, by the way, was your job."

 

Jake looked like he was going to say something else, but Amy didn't give him a chance. "I can’t believe that she’s made you question yourself like this, and I can't keep quiet about it anymore," Amy said.

 

Jake did a kind of weird half shrug, and Amy grabbed hold of his hands, fiercely determined to make him understand. His eyes went wide and he froze, staring at her with something close to shock.

 

"You are one of the sweetest and most romantic guys I know," she said seriously. "Yes, okay, you can be a bit immature and you don’t always take things seriously, but you care about people, you care so much, and you would do anything for your friends and the people you love. I’ve seen it over and over again."

 

Jake blinked and looked down, and Amy squeezed his hands. He squeezed back. 

 

"You’re kind and funny and you have the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met," she said, a little bit softer but no less intent. "You’re an amazing boyfriend, and one day you’ll be an amazing husband and just because Sophia couldn’t appreciate that does not mean you need to change the way you treat women or handle relationships - she was the problem, not you. Okay?"

 

There was silence in the room except for whatever was happening in the movie, Amy’s words seeming to vibrate in the air between her and Jake. She stared at Jake defiantly, almost daring him to argue with her - she would win this argument. There was no way Jake was leaving her apartment without knowing that he was the sweetest, kindest, most caring guy she’d ever met, and that anyone would be lucky to have him as their boyfriend. That she was lucky to have him in her life and that she only wished that she was brave enough to admit to herself that she wanted everything from him.

 

Wait, what?

 

Jake was staring back at her with a look of... well, awe on his face, and it was a look that Amy recognised - it was the look he'd given her at that god-awful double-date when Teddy had forced her to admit she liked him.

 

That Look, coupled with the sudden turn in direction in her thoughts, brought Amy back to herself abruptly. She pulled her hands away from Jake's and distractedly reached up to tuck her hair behind her ears. Jake's eyes followed her movement and Amy looked away and forced a small smile.

 

Break the tension break the tension...

 

"Sorry," she said ruefully. "I didn’t mean to… you know, rant."

 

Jake cleared his throat. "It’s okay. It was a good rant." Amy smiled again and he smiled back briefly before his face did the thing again. Amy couldn’t handle looking at the Look - she dipped her head again.

 

The silence stretched on again, and Amy kept looking at her hands, waiting for Jake to say something and simultaneously dreading whatever he had to say. That was… what she’d said… well, she’d meant it. She had. Jake was a good man, and a… good boyfriend. She’d been ignoring it, but the fact was that for all intents and purposes that’s what he was - they spent all their time together, they weren’t seeing other people, they cared about each other… and yeah. He was great at it, and Sophia was nuts to have let him go.

 

Did that make her nuts for not trying to turn what they had into something real?

 

Maybe it did.

 

Oh god.

 

Jake shifted a little. "You – um. I don’t really know what to say," he said after a moment.

 

"That’s a first," Amy quipped, leaping on the opportunity to break the tension.

 

It didn’t really work, and she stared down at her hands, not knowing what to say either. The silence dragged on for a lot longer than was comfortable before Jake cleared his throat again. "I should go."

 

"Okay," Amy said, hoping that Jake couldn't hear the relief in her voice. She couldn’t deal with him being there right now, not while she… had some thinking to do. She risked a look up again - Jake was standing up and not looking at her, so Amy shook herself and stood up too. "I’ll see you tomorrow."

 

"Yeah,"Jake said, shrugging into his jacket. Then he turned to face her again and the Look was back. He opened his mouth as if he was going to say something else, and Amy’s heart started thumping double time, but he looked away after a moment and started towards the door instead. Amy trailed after him, an odd mixture of relief and disappointment warring in her chest.

 

He turned to face her again when the door was open, and before Amy could react he stepped forward and kissed her on the cheek.

 

"Thank you," he said softly as he stepped back. Amy managed a nod, and then Jake gave her a smile and left without another word. Amy closed the door behind him and threw the latch closed, before letting out a long breath and resting her forehead against the door. She hear a noise on the other side and quickly stood up straight again, eyes wide, before stepping forward as quietly as she could to look through the peephole.

 

Jake was still there, facing the door, his hands shoved in his pockets, and he was obviously thinking hard because Amy could see a myriad of emotions passing over his face. He raised his hand to knock, and Amy swallowed hard.

 

What if he knocked? She’d have to let him in. Obviously. Of course. But he was so clearly… thinking, he probably wanted to talk and Amy… she wasn’t ready. She needed to think as well, she couldn’t…

 

It didn’t matter, because Jake dropped his hand without knocking and turned away. He stopped after a couple of steps, but kept going again and then was gone.

 

Amy stepped back and walked back over to the sofa in a daze, sat back down and stared unseeingly at the movie that was still playing for a full minute before dropping her head into her hands.

 

The next time the Captain asked her for a self-evaluation, she had a great new flaw to add to her list: unable to recognise her own feelings.

 

Amy felt like an idiot. She’d managed to recognise that her and Jake had blurred the lines between friends with benefits and something more, but hadn’t realised what that actually truly meant: namely that somewhere along the line, she had fallen for Jake. And not just ‘I-think-that-maybe-I-might-like-him’ - no, she’d fallen for him. Hard. As in ‘I-think-about-him-all-the-time-I-want-to-share-everything-with-him-when-he-smiles-I-go-gooey-and-I-don’t-ever-want-this-to-end’ hard.

 

And it had taken her ranting to him about how amazing he was and about how awful his ex was to make her see it.God knows how long she’d felt this way - Amy clearly couldn’t be trusted to be a judge of her own feelings, so she would never know for sure. A while, at least.

 

Oh god.

 

Okay, so she was in… deep feelings with Jake. Right. So… now what? She’d admitted it to herself, what was the next step? Clearly, given her feelings, she should be looking at… dating him for real?

 

Actually, what she really wanted is for them to carry on like they were, but not have to worry about spending too much time together, or about anyone finding out, or about not being overly affectionate or kissing with no other purpose than to just kiss. And she wanted him to know how she felt about him.

 

Which meant a conversation about it.

 

Amy squirmed a little at the thought, but… well… it wouldn’t be that bad, right? (Unless Jake didn’t feel the same way, of course, then it would be possibly the worst conversation of her life and would probably mean she would need to get a new job or possibly even move cities.)

 

She couldn’t be certain, obviously, but she thought that it was… likely… that Jake felt the same way. The way he treated her, the way he wanted to spend so much time with her, even if they were just hanging out, the way he smiled at her, how he’d been about to say something tonight, how he’d almost come back in, that Look… the signs were there.

 

Jake still liked her, as more than friend. Romantic styles. And she was maybe kind of ready to admit that she felt the same way.

 

XXX

 

Yeah, no. Turns out she was definitely not ready to admit she felt the same way. Not to Jake, anyway.

 

There was no denying anymore that she had strong feelings for Jake, but Amy spent a sleepless night thinking of all the ways she could screw up that conversation, how she could end up with nothing, or how she could end up with everything she wanted only to screw it up and end up without Jake even as a friend. A break up with Jake would be the worst break up of her life, she was absolutely certain of it, and was it worth the risk? Yes she had romantic feelings for him, but first and foremost he was one of her best friends, and her partner, and the thought of losing that was unbearable.

 

She just… needed more time. She needed to be absolutely sure, you know? So, not never, just… not right then.

 

Of course there was the chance that Jake might say something, considering how he’d acted the night before but… well, she’d deal with that if and when it happened. And just… not think about it until then.

 

(Yes, okay, she was a coward. Whatever. She was allowed to be a coward about this, it was a big deal.)

 

Jake wasn’t in yet when Amy arrived in the precinct, and she purposefully headed to the break room around the time he usually got in to make herself a coffee so she wouldn’t have to deal with him right away. She took her time, and when she was done Jake was already at his desk, typing away. She paused in the doorway of the break room for a moment to gather herself, and then headed over.

 

“Morning Peralta,” she said brightly. Oh god, was that too bright? Damnit, Amy.

 

Jake didn’t look round. “Hey Santiago.”

 

Amy let out a relieved breath. Okay, this was okay. Just like any other morning…

 

Then she saw the muffin on her desk. Specifically, a banana bran muffin from the coffee shop two blocks away. Amy didn’t like their coffee (Jake did, and a quick glance confirmed he had a to-go cup on his desk) but she loved their banana bran muffins, and Jake knew it.

 

Urgh, why did he have to be so thoughtful? It was not helping.

 

Amy looked at Jake and saw that he was already looking at her with a small smile on his face. Amy forced a smile back. “Um, thanks,” she said, sitting down.

 

“No problem,” he said. “That’s five dollars, though.”

 

“The muffins are only two-fifty.”

 

“I charge delivery, plus there’s my tip.”

 

Amy really was smiling by this point, and she rolled her eyes fondly before turning to her computer. She didn’t need to worry - this was fine. But then she caught Jake’s eye again and he was still smiling at her… it wasn’t quite the Look, but it was affectionate and sweet and made Amy feel like she was the only person in the world that he wanted to smile at and…

 

She turned decisively to her computer and avoided looking at Jake again as she drank her coffee and ate her muffin (it would have been churlish not to eat the muffin).

 

There was a briefing a little while later, and Amy walked past where Jake was sat and took the seat next to Rosa instead. She didn’t feel bad about it - he would have much more fun sitting next to Charles anyway. (Of course sitting behind him meant that she was stuck looking at the back of his head for the entire briefing, but that was fine. She didn’t stare that much.)

 

Later, she waited until she knew Charles was also in the file room before going there to put some case files away… it seemed safer. And she had lunch a little earlier than usual, when Terry was already in the break room.

 

She wasn’t going back to her old idea of avoiding Jake completely, but she did think it was a good idea to not be alone with him for a day or so, just until things felt a bit more normalised. At the moment her stomach was flipping every time she looked at him, and that just wasn’t practical in the workplace.

 

It was fine - absolutely fine - until mid-afternoon, when she got a call from a witness in a burglary she was working on with Jake. The witness was a mechanic they’d tracked down from CCTV who’d maybe seen their perp; they’d interviewed him two days before and he’d not exactly been helpful. But he called and said he had some more information for them, and wanted to meet right away, and Amy wasn’t going to turn down a potential lead.

 

The only problem was it would mean spending twenty minutes alone in a car with Jake.

 

Damnit. She’d been doing so well.

 

She couldn’t go alone, it was against protocol, and it was their case, he’d want to come. Luck was with Amy though, because Jake wasn’t at his desk, and when she found him in the briefing room he was going over case notes with Terry for an assault case they’d landed the day before, and were surrounded by notes and diagrams and photos.

 

“It’s okay, you don’t need to come with me,” Amy said to Jake after telling him about the phone call.

 

“Give us like thirty minutes to finish up and-”

 

“No it’s fine, Rosa can come!” Amy declared, smiling a seriously fake smile.

 

“What?” Rosa chimed in from her desk.

 

“Can you come with me to interview a witness in our robbery? I don’t want to leave it too late.”

 

Rosa shrugged. “Yeah I guess.”

 

Jake tried to stand up but had a folder open on each knee. “I can - crap - we can do this l-”

 

Amy shook her head, still smiling. “It’s fine, really - you stay here. Come on Rosa.”

 

She thought of it as a bullet dodged until they’d been driving for a minute, and Rosa turned to her and said “so what’s the deal with you and Jake?”

 

Amy’s eyes widened. “I - that’s - there’s no-”

 

“Whatever,” Rosa said with a shrug. “I don’t care. But you should sort it out before it becomes more of a problem at work.”

 

Amy’s grip tightened on the steering wheel. “It’s not a problem at all,” she insisted.

 

“Sure.”

 

The witness owned his own garage, which was more of a junkyard than anything, an old parking lot with old card and piles of scrap littered around a trailer in the middle that served as his office.

 

"Shouldn't take long," Amy told Rosa as they got out of the car next to the trailer. There was no sign of Mr Logan, the witness, but Amy could hear a radio playing in the trailer, and strode over to the door with Rosa on her heels.

 

She rapped on the door.

 

"This place is depressing," said Rosa.

 

Amy have her a quelling look, but she didn't actually disagree. It was depressing. And why wasn't Mr Logan opening the damn door?

 

She pounded on the door. "Mr Logan?"

 

The sound of whispers and then two seconds of footsteps were all the warning they had- Rosa grunted and Amy turned round in time to see her crumple to the ground, revealing a stocky man who had just hit her round the back of the head with the butt of his gun.

 

Amy was already reaching for own gun as she turned, but an arm wrapped around her chest from behind her, (now the damn door was open) pinning her arms to her side, and she barely got one kick in before a hand reached up with a cloth to cover her nose and mouth. The sweet smell of chloroform flooded her senses, and Amy desperately tried to hold her breath, but to no avail- her eyes started watering and her limbs went limp, and with no way else to fight it Amy just kept her eyes on Rosa, willing her to be okay. She did see her start to stir, but two seconds later, Amy was unconscious.

 

XXX

 

Amy woke up slowly, her senses coming back to her gradually as she struggled towards consciousness. First she became aware of how cold she was. She could hear a distant rumbling, and muffled voices, and could smell dust in the air over the lingering sweet smell of the chloroform.

 

The thought of the chloroform jumpstarted Amy’s return to consciousness - the memory of it jolted her awake, and her eyes flew open with a gasp. She was sitting on the floor in a large room, dust on every surface, the only light coming from large windows up by the ceiling, some thirty feet above her head. Looking around, Amy quickly saw that she was actually in an unused warehouse, and almost wanted to laugh at how cliche that was.

 

She was alone, as far as she could tell, and she quickly assessed herself for injuries. She felt slightly dizzy from the chloroform, and her head was starting to pound with a vicious headache, but other than that she was unhurt apart from something cutting into her wrists - her hands were tied behind her back, fastening her to an iron post in the middle of the warehouse floor. She bent her hands and scrabbled with her fingers, trying to feel what it was that bound her. It was some kind of rope, and it was tight - even just bending her hands made the fibre cut into her painfully. She wasn’t going to be loosening those knots.

 

Amy could feel panic starting to rise up in her, but she shut her eyes and took several deep breaths, trying to keep herself under control. Panic wasn’t going to help her - rule number one in a hostage situation - remain calm.

 

Of course it was easier said than done, but Amy concentrated on her breathing, determined not to lose what little control she had of the situation. She wasn’t going to let her kidnappers - whoever they were - see that she was frightened.

 

She couldn’t believe she’d been kidnapped, actually kidnapped. What on earth did they want with her? To use her as leverage against the NYPD? To get revenge on someone she knew? Maybe it was like Hoytsman and Jake, and it was someone she’d put away trying to get revenge on her personally.

 

The thought of Jake made Amy’s eyes prickle, and a lump formed in her throat, but Amy swallowed it down. No. Jake had remained calm with Hoytsman, she would remain calm too until he found her.

 

Because he would. Amy knew with absolute certainty that Jake would find her. Rosa wasn't here, so she would have called in what happened the minute she regained consciousness, and the entire Nine-Nine would be mobilised. Other precincts would be involved too and Jake would be moving heaven and earth to get to her. She just had to wait for him to get there, and be ready when he did. And when he did, and she was safe, she was going to tell him how she felt about him and stop being an idiot.

 

Nothing like a life and death situation to make you realise what matters. It seemed Amy’s entire day was going to be one big cliche.

 

Amy opened her eyes again and looked round the deserted room with more intent. There were a couple of old wooden tables against a far wall. A few crates stood against another wall - they looked fairly new. There were a few other posts like the one she was tied to at intervals around the room. Amy craned her neck to see behind her, but it was more of the same, and no one else in sight. There was a set of double doors in the wall to her right, and another, smaller door stood open near the crates. Light spilled through from another room beyond it.

 

The rumbling sound that Amy had heard when she woke up came again, and Amy could now identify it as a train passing fairly close. An abandoned warehouse near the tracks.

 

Seriously, what was her life right now?

 

The rumbling of the train faded away, and in the quiet Amy could hear voices coming from the open doorway. She didn’t know if they were just talking louder to be heard over the train or if they were coming closer - Amy quickly shut her eyes and dropped her head back down, hoping that if whoever it was looked into the room they’d assume she was still unconscious.

 

A moment later she heard footsteps as well as the voices, and she could start to make out what they were saying.

 

It was a man talking, with a thick Jersey accent. “- his partner, we seen them together,” he was saying. “We got her, Peralta will come get her.”

 

“Yeah, Peralta and half the fucking NYPD, not to mention the feds,” another man practically growled. “They look after their own.”

 

“Well let’s just kill her then,” said a third man. “That’ll teach him a lesson.”

 

Amy froze. For the first time since waking up she felt truly scared - it was about revenge, but it was about revenge on Jake. And the first guy was right - they had her, which meant Jake was coming for her… hadn’t that been exactly the thought to keep her calm just moments before? But now… now the thought of Jake coming for her filled her with dread.

 

“Yeah! Just kill this one, let Peralta stew for a bit, then come back and finish him off.”

 

Amy’s hands were trembling - she clenched her fists to still them and tried to keep her breathing even. It wasn’t working.

 

“There won’t be any coming back you idiot – you know how hard it was to get back to New York in the first place?” The second guy was saying now. From the way the others spoke to him, he was clearly the one in charge - the one with the murderous grudge against Jake. “I can’t do this again, and now thanks to you assholes, Peralta and the feds know something’s up.”

 

Amy swallowed as she realised who the voice belonged to. Someone with a grudge against Jake, who was of interest to the FBI as well as the NYPD, and who had had to sneak back into New York...

 

It could only be Freddy Maliardi.

 

“I still say we just kill her…” grumbled one of the guys.

 

“Just shut up and let me think!”

 

The man’s - Maliardi’s - voice was loud and clear as though he was standing in the doorway of the room Amy was in, but fading footsteps told her that he and his goons were walking away again. Amy kept her eyes closed and her head down, just in case… and it wasn’t like having her eyes open was going to help her anyway.

 

Okay… okay. Well, not okay, actually. Very not okay. She’d been kidnapped by Freddy Maliardi, the only remaining big hitter of the Ianucci family. He’d been on the run for a year, since Jake’s sting had brought down the rest of the crime ring, and from what she’d heard he’d come back to New York with only one goal in mind - to get his revenge on Jake.

 

The whole thing had been a set-up - Mr Logan was either working with him or coerced into making that phone call to get her out of the precinct… no, to get Jake out of the precinct. It was just by sheer dumb luck that Amy had taken the call, been in the middle of an emotional breakdown, and brought Rosa along instead. Any other time she and Jake would have been the ones at the garage, Amy would have been knocked unconscious and left behind, and Jake would have been the one waking up in this warehouse.

 

Thank god for her emotional breakdown. Amy felt a twinge of guilt for thinking it, because Rosa had been injured and she didn’t even know if she was okay, but the alternative... Amy shuddered. Maliardi was stalling because she wasn’t who he’d wanted, but if he had Jake, she was sure he would already be taking his revenge. Jake could have already been dead.

 

Amy swallowed and sternly told herself to stop thinking that way - it hadn’t happened like that, and instead she was the one who was there. She was the one who was in danger, who had to keep her cool and sit tight until they came for her.

 

She just needed to stay calm.

 

It was maybe ten minutes later when she heard footsteps approaching again. Amy stayed where she was as they drew closer and closer, until finally she could feel herself being watched intently from not far away.

 

“See? She’s still out,” said one of the goons.

 

“No she ain’t,” Maliardi said immediately. “She’s faking.”

 

Well, there wasn’t any point pretending anymore - it would only lead to one of them coming closer, and she didn’t want that. So Amy abandoned all pretence and opened her eyes.

 

Sure enough, it was Freddy Maliardi, and he was standing right in front of her, flanked by two men. Amy recognised the stocky one as the guy who’d pistol-whipped Rosa.The other guy was well over six feet and had arms like fricking tree trunks - no wonder he’d been able to grab her so easily.

 

“Hello detective,” said Freddy pleasantly, smiling politely. He seemed to be waiting for a response, and Amy tried to think of what to say. In the end she settled on a tight smile, and that seemed to be enough.

 

“Sorry about this… little inconvenience,” he continued, waving his hand around. God, Amt hated him- he was so smug and oily and was clearly expecting her to have a breakdown or something. She was not going to give him the satisfaction.

 

In fact, seeing as how he hated Jake, Amy was going to channel him and see how he liked that.

 

"My boys here weren’t after you, they was after your partner," he said, fake apology lacing his words. Amy added bad grammar to her list of things she hated about him.

 

"But he wasn’t there and they thought you were the next best thing."

 

Amy shrugged. It hurt her shoulders with her hands tied behind her, but she didn't wince. "Well we do look alike," she quipped.

 

Her voice didn't shake. Good.

 

Maliardi grinned. "That’s funny," he said. He turned to the tall goon. "She’s funny."

 

"Thanks." Amy cocked her head to the side. "Well seeing as it’s all a big misunderstanding, how about you just let me go and we’ll think nothing more of it?"

 

Maliardi's grin turned into an unpleasant smirk. "Real funny."

 

He walked around her, slowly, staring straight at her. Amy refused to look away first, and eventually he broke eye contact as he walked past her, so he was behind her. Amy did not like that she couldn't see him anymore, but she just turned her attention to the goons instead, determined not to let it show. They were both watching her, and she looked them both up and down one at a time, then raised an eyebrow in the most unimpressed way she could manage before looking up at the ceiling as if it were more interesting.

 

There was a sudden, loud scraping noise from behind her. Amy didn't jump, but she did drop her head back down to try to see over her shoulder. A moment later Maliardi came back into view, dragging an old wooden chair across the room towards her. He brought it round in front of her, sat down, and leaned forward so his elbows were on his knees and his face was only a couple of feet from Amy's.

 

"Look, you know the drill. I can’t let you go," he said. "Now, I could just kill you, send Jakey a message, but I don’t really got time for messages."

 

Amy didn't move a muscle. She wasn't going to let this lowlife intimidate her.

 

"So I’m thinking instead I leave a trail, wait for him to come get you, and I take him out," he continued. "Now, maybe you get killed too in crossfire, maybe not. We’ll see." He gave Amy another oily grin. "Sound good?"

 

Amy put everything she had into a sarcastic smile before answering. “Sounds great,” she said. “So Jake follows your trail, and comes to find me with half the NYPD and the FBI with him. Maybe you get away again afterwards, maybe not. We’ll see.”

 

Maliardi’s grin vanished and Amy felt a small stab of satisfaction underneath the ever-present current of fear. “Oh don’t you worry about me getting away, sweetheart,” he sneered after a moment, before standing up so abruptly the chair fell backwards with a crash. “You just sit tight, we’ll be back.”

 

He strode away, his goons on his heels, and Amy kept up her glare in case he looked round again, but they were soon through the door and out of sight, leaving only the fallen chair and little swirls of settling dust in their wake.

 

Amy let out a deep breath and sucked in another, desperately trying to calm her pounding heart. Okay, so this was bad. Maliardi was a dangerous man, and he was pissed. Pissed at his situation, pissed at his incompetent men, pissed that his plan had gone off track and most importantly pissed at Jake. And when criminals got pissed, innocent people got hurt.

 

Of course, Maliardi wanted to hurt Jake, so he was probably fine with that. He was also clearly fine with Amy ending up as collateral damage. But who knew what kind of crazy scheme he would come up with to get Jake where he wanted him… who else would be with Jake… how many people he would end going through to get what he wanted… what would happen to her...

 

And yet the thing Amy was most worried about was Jake getting hurt.

 

She shook her head and tried to concentrate on what would happen next. They would probably move locations- this was a good place to... to kill someone... but it wasn't exactly the most secure location to lay a trail to for the strong arm of law enforcement. The important thing for Amy was to keep her head and watch for any chance to change the status quo. She was not going to let this asshole hurt any of her friends.

 

And he wasn't going to lay a finger on Jake.

 

Afterwards, the thing Amy remembered most was how quickly it all happened.

 

She’d been alone for maybe ten minutes or so when she heard footsteps again, but they weren’t coming from the open doorway - they were outside. Whoever it was was clearly trying to be quiet, but there were a few of them, and they were walking on gravel or something, which made every step louder. Amy barely had a moment to wonder who Maliardi had drafted in as part of his scheme when she heard the sound of breaking glass - this time from the direction of the doorway - and then clunk of something metal hitting the ground.

 

Amy had been in enough raids to know the sounds of a flash-bang when she heard it, and just had time to screw her eyes shut and turn her head away before the device went off in the other room. Even at this distance it was loud as hell, but she was at least far enough away that her hearing wasn’t affected.

 

There were shouts, a lot of footsteps, more shouts - and then officers were in the room. NYPD officers. Nine-nine officers. Amy sagged with relief.

 

They’d found her.

 

Most of the officers were sweeping the room, but one came running over to her. He was young, fresh out of the Academy, and Amy hadn’t really spoken to him before. He looked terrified - it was probably his first ever raid.

 

“Are you okay, detective?” He asked.

 

Amy nodded, almost laughing with relief. It wouldn’t do her credit as a detective much good to go into hysterics though, so she took a deep breath and sat up as straight as she could. “I’m fine - fine,” she said. “Can you untie me?”

 

“Oh, yeah - sorry,” the officer said, quickly stowing his gun away and crouching down behind her. Amy winced as he started picking at the knots, but the guy was talking a mile a minute and didn’t seem to notice.

 

“I’m really happy you’re okay, the Captain is really worried - and the FBI is here. We got Maliardi and two of his accomplices with the flash-bang but we don’t know if they are anymore -”

 

“I only saw the three of them.”

 

“Oh good. Um… these ropes aren’t budging. I should…” he stood up and circled back round so he was facing Amy again. “I’ll go and… oh! I think I have a pen-knife.”

 

He started rummaging through his tac vest pockets, and Amy resisted the urge to roll her eyes. Now that the initial relief of being rescued was fading, she was just anxious to get the hell out of there. And where was Jake? Was he okay? She hadn’t heard any shots or anything, but Maliardi was a dangerous man, who knows what could have happened.

 

What if he wasn’t even there? Amy hadn’t seen any of her team yet - just uniformed officers. But he’d mentioned the Captain and there was no way that Jake wouldn’t have wanted to come… unless they’d been hitting several locations or something.

 

After a few more moments of watching officers pass each other through the doorway with no sign of Jake, Amy couldn’t take it anymore and cleared her throat. “Is, um, is Detective Peralta around?”

 

The officer paused in his fumbling to open another pocket. “Oh, yes ma’am, he was in the-”

 

“Amy!”

 

Amy’s head snapped round towards the inner door - Jake had just come through, and as soon as their eyes met he started running over to her.

 

Amy’s throat closed up as he got nearer. He was there, he was okay, she was okay, she had time.

 

“Jake-” she said on a kind of gulp as he skidded to a stop next to her and crouched down. His hand came up to to brush her hair back and cup her cheek, and Amy leaned into his touch, completely beyond caring if anyone saw, and forgetting that she was meant to be acting tough.

 

“Are you-”

 

Amy nodded. “I'm fine, I'm fine-” she assured him, giving a shaky smile. She shifted forward, and lifted up her bound hands as much as she could. “I just-”

 

Jake nodded and dropped his hand. “Right.” She felt him place his hands on her bound wrists before swearing under his breath. “Jesus, these knots are- thanks.” The last was to the officer, who’d finally found that penknife, which he handed to Jake.

 

A second later the ropes loosened and Amy hissed in pain as they rubbed against what felt like broken skin on her wrists. She brought her hands round to her front, wincing at the ache in her shoulders, and saw that she did indeed have angry red grazes on both her wrists from the rope.

 

Honestly, considering the situation, she felt she’d got off pretty lightly.

 

Jake put his hand on her lower back and helped her to her feet. “Shit, your hands,” he said. “There’s an ambulance outside. Are you hurt anywhere -”

 

Amy cut him off by turning around and throwing her arms around his shoulders, burying her face in the side of his neck. Jake froze for a moment, but then wrapped his arms tightly round her back, enveloping Amy in warmth. His tact vest was digging into her chest. She didn’t care.

 

It was funny - for all the years they’d been friends and partners, for all they’d been through together, for all that they were sleeping together… they’d never really hugged. There’d been the occasional two-second hug at the end of the Christmas party or whatever every now and then, but nothing like this.

 

Jake was a good hugger. Amy was going to do this much more from now on.

 

"I'm fine, really," she mumbled.

 

Jake's arms tightened for a moment before unwinding; Amy took a step back but stayed close, and Jake kept his hands on her waist.

 

He shook his head, his eyes wide. “God, Amy, I -”

 

The Captain appeared next to Jake, and Amy reluctantly dropped her hands from Jake’s shoulders and he dropped his too. “Santiago, are you injured?” he asked, looking her over with something she could definitely identify as worry. She smiled.

 

“No sir, I'm fine,” she said. “Thanks for the rescue.”

 

“Of course detective,” he said. He looked down at her injured wrists and frowned. “Detective Diaz said she thought they used chloroform on you?”

 

“They did but no harm done,” said Amy. She felt Jake shift a little closer to her, and she took a small step towards him too, so that their sides were touching. “Is Rosa okay?”

 

“She's being checked for a concussion but judging by how vehemently she tried to insist on coming here, I think she's fine,” said the Captain.

 

Amy sighed with relief. “Good.”

 

The Captain nodded. “Let's get back to the precinct- I'm afraid we will need to debrief you before you're allowed home.”

 

Amy nodded. “Of course, sir.”

 

Jake put his hand on the small of Amy’s back to guide her out of the warehouse, and Amy leant into his side.

 

There was indeed an ambulance outside, and Amy sat inside it with the back doors open while the EMTs cleaned and bandaged her wrists, and quizzed her on the after-effects of her chloroform inhalation. Amy could see Maliardi and his goons being loaded into separate squad cars by Charles, Terry, and what looked like a couple of FBI agents, but Jake stood next to the ambulance step and didn’t even spare them a glance.

 

She travelled back to the precinct in a car driven by Terry, with the Captain riding shotgun, and squashed into the back with Jake and Charles. Jake sat in the middle, and Amy was sure that there was a good two inches of space between him and Charles - he was sitting so close to her. Amy didn’t mind - she leant gratefully into his warmth, her bandaged hands on her lap itching to reach for Jake’s. But she probably needed to speak to Jake before she started doing that kind of thing in front of the Captain.

 

On the way back, they filled Amy in on how they’d found her so quickly - it had only been two hours since she and Rosa had been jumped to when they stormed the warehouse. Rosa had regained consciousness in time to see Amy being bundled into a car and she’d called it in right away. They’d tracked down Mr Logan within half an hour when his car popped up on a APB - and he’d admitted that he’d been told to call in return for some degree of immunity. Deal made, he’d told them that it was Maliardi’s men who had come to him to set it up, and the Captain had made the call to the FBI. At the mention of Maliardi, Jake’s hand clenched into fists in his lap - Amy leant further into his side and felt him relax slightly.

 

Logan had identified the goons, and Jake had recognised one of them from his time undercover. He’d remembered that the guy had started working for Maliardi when he’d lost his job because the company he’d worked for went out of business, and when they’d looked into it had discovered that one of the company’s warehouses remained empty to that day. It had been a hunch, but it had paid off.

 

When they got back to the precinct Amy had a shower and changed out of her grimy clothes. Jake was waiting for her in the corridor when she stepped out of the locker room - he himself changed out of his tactical gear and clearly fresh out of the shower too - but Amy was immediately whisked away to the interrogation room, where she sat next to Captain Holt and told two FBI agents everything she could remember about what happened. Amy kept glancing at the two-way mirror, sure that Jake and lord knows who else was standing behind the glass, but she didn’t leave anything out. It took a couple of hours, almost as long as the kidnapping lasted, and by the end of it Amy felt exhausted.

 

The agents left, and Amy and the Captain stood up too, Amy a little slower. 

 

“Take the day off tomorrow, Santiago,” said the Captain.

 

Amy shook her head. “I’m fine, sir, I –”

 

“That’s an order, detective,” said the Captain, completely unimpressed. “Peralta, get her home safely and make sure she’s okay.”

 

The last was directed over her shoulder - Amy turned to see that Jake had stepped into the room. He must have come in as soon as the agents left.

 

Jake nodded. “Yes sir,” he said. He gave the Captain a wide-eyed look of complete innocence. “Maybe I should take the day too so I can check in on her and make sure she doesn’t strain herself.”

 

Amy rolled her eyes at Jake, who winked at her before looking back at the Captain, who was completely impassive. He sighed dramatically. “I’m guessing that’s a no.”

 

The Captain pursed his lips, looked at Amy, and then back at Jake. “Take the morning,” he said. He placed his hand on Amy’s shoulder for a moment, and then strode out of the room, leaving Amy and Jake gaping at his back.

 

“Wow, I can’t believe that actually worked,” Jake said after a moment. “He must be really worried about you.”

 

Amy shrugged. “He doesn’t have to be,” she said. “I’m really fine.” She spoiled the effect of her firm tone slightly by yawning widely, and then shook her head at Jake’s smirk. “I’m tired, but I’m fine.”

 

“Well I’m taking you home,” Jake said. “No arguments - you heard the Captain, I have direct orders.”

 

Since there was nothing more that Amy wanted right then than to go home and be alone with Jake, he wasn’t going to hear any arguments from her.

 

It was almost nine by this point, so most people had already left for the day, and the precinct was quiet as Jake and Amy made their way outside and into his car. As soon as they were truly alone, though, Amy started to feel awkward… mostly because she had no idea what to say. she knew what she wanted to say, but it was a big conversation to have, and she was tired and had a headache and her shoulders and back were aching not to mention her wrists and she was definitely starting to crash as her adrenaline levels came down and… although in the movies there were always big declaration scenes straight after a near-death experience, in reality Amy was really not feeling up to that level of emotional investment in a conversation right then.

 

Even so, when they made into her apartment and Amy yawned again, Jake was standing awkwardly by the front door and she knew she couldn’t let him leave.

 

Do… would you mind staying?” She asked him. His eyes widened, and she tugged on the sleeve of her NYPD sweatshirt and shrugged. “I just –”

 

“Sure,” Jake said. He nodded. “I’ll stay.”

 

Amy’s eyes darted away. “It’s fine if you – I know it’s…” she said. She didn’t want him to feel obligated. “I know it’s against the rules.”

 

“Are you kidding me?” Jake burst out, somewhere between amusement and annoyance. “Screw the rules - of course I’ll stay.” He said.

 

Amy blinked at him, before nodding. He nodded back, and then ran a hand through his hair and looked over at the sofa. “Do you want me to…” He said, gesturing towards it, and Amy almost laughed.

 

No,” she said firmly. Jake smiled at that, and she smiled back. “Come on.”

 

They got ready for bed quickly. Amy leant Jake one of her spare toothbrushes (yes, that’s plural spare toothbrushes - oral hygiene is very important) and got changed into her pyjamas while Jake stripped down to his boxers and undershirt. Within five minutes the two of them were lying side by side in Amy’s bed, staring at the ceiling and not touching.

 

Considering how much time they’d spent in that very bed together, it was ridiculous how awkward it was.

 

Amy cleared her throat. “I can’t believe you said screw the rules,” she said. “How dare you.”

 

Jake rolled over onto his side to face her, and smirked. “I hate to break it to you, Ames, but by my count the only rule we haven’t broken is telling anyone,” he said.

 

“That's not true,” Amy scoffed, rolling to face him too. Jake raised an eyebrow at her, and Amy frowned as she actually thought it over. That couldn’t be right, could it? Okay, so they’d shown up unannounced and hooked up in the precinct and there had definitely been a good few uses of the phrase ‘booty call’ and there had been that kind-of date and now they were spending the night…

 

Jake was smirking now, clearly enjoying watching Amy try to find a rule they hadn’t broken, and she glared at him. “We haven't broken rule one,” she declared. “We haven't let it get weird.”

 

To Amy’s surprise Jake’s smirk disappeared to be replaced by a small, kind of sad smile. “Why did you take Rosa today instead of waiting for me?” He said softly.

 

Amy opened her mouth but closed it again immediately, unable to say anything to that. He was right, of course – she’d let it get weird and affect their working relationship that very day, because she’d been running from her feelings. She wasn’t running anymore, but she didn’t… she couldn’t do this right now.

 

But Jake just smiled again and reached round to turn off the lamp next to his head. “Go to sleep.”

 

The room was dark, but Amy could just about make out Jake’s face in the small amount of light filtering through her curtains. He’d closed his eyes already, clearly not planning on pushing Amy that night – or maybe even ever.

 

She pulled the quilt up higher and settled into her pillow, one hand on the mattress between their bodies. “Good night,” she said softly.

 

Jake smiled, and reached out to place his hand on top of hers so smoothly that she realised his eyes must have been partially open still. The big faker. “Night,” he said.

 

XXX

 

Surprisingly, Amy didn’t feel disoriented waking up next to Jake – she knew right away that the warmth she could feel was coming from him, and she smiled as she listened to his steady breathing for a few moments before opening her eyes. It was dark except for filtered streetlight coming through the window, so Amy knew it wasn’t morning yet . For a moment she wasn’t sure what had woken her up, and then she realised her shoulders were throbbing  - she was curled up on her side, her feet tucked against Jake’s legs and her head slipping off the bottom of her pillow… considering what her shoulders had gone through that day, it wasn’t surprising that she was in pain.

 

She rolled onto her back and stretched out fully, and immediately felt better. She put her weight on her elbows and shifted up the bed, hissing a little as she unthinkingly put weight on her injured wrists.

 

It was the hiss that woke Jake up – his breathing faltered, breaking the steady rhythm, and he turned his face into his pillow before blinking his eyes open and looking up at her.

 

“Hey,” he said. His voice was low and gravelly and made Amy smile.

 

“Hey,” she whispered. “Sorry.”

 

“S’okay,” Jake mumbled, his eyes barely open. “You okay?”

 

“Just getting comfortable.”

 

Jake nodded, yawning. “What time is it?”

 

Amy pressed the button on her nearest clock that illuminated the time.

 

“Almost four thirty,” she told him.

 

Jake groaned. “Four thirty? Urgh – go back to sleep.” He closed his eyes to demonstrate.

 

Amy grinned, watching closely as his expression cleared. His eyelashes looked so long with his eyes closed, and cast shadows over his pale skin. Amy bit her lip, suddenly feeling more awake. She was still tired but… she felt ready.

 

And Jake was asleep. Typical.

 

Amy rolled back onto her side, carefully, not turning too much onto her shoulder, and reached out to ghost her hand over Jake’s brow, then down his cheek and across his jaw. She wasn’t really doing it with an intention of waking him up, but it wasn’t exactly a shock when he suddenly spoke.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

Amy splayed her fingers against the side of Jake’s neck. “You look really young when you’re asleep,” she said, though that wasn’t much of an explanation.

 

“I’m not asleep,” Jake said, opening his eyes and smirking slightly.

 

Amy shrugged. “Sorry,” she said, pulling her hand back.

 

Jake’s eyes followed her hand, and his smirk faded. Eventually he reached out his own hand and gently brushed his fingertips over the bandage on her wrist.

 

“I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner,” he said softly.

 

Amy shook her head. “You found me within two hours,” she said.

 

Jake looked pained. “Two hours,” he said. “Anything could have- you must have been so scared.”

 

Amy swallowed. “I knew you’d find me,” she said.

 

Jake let out an irritated breath. “Yeah, well, I was terrified I wouldn’t,” he said. He rolled onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. “When I figured out who had you –”

 

Amy propped herself up on her elbow and placed her hand on Jake’s chest. “It’s okay.”

 

Jake shook his head but reached up and took her hand, threading their fingers together. He looked over at her and gave her a small smile, which she returned, and then reached up with the hand closest to her and cupped her cheek. “Amy…”

 

He dropped his hand and sat up abruptly, keeping hold of her hand in his other and fixing her with an intense stare. Amy sat up as well.

 

Jake took a deep breath. “Okay,” he said. “I know this isn’t what you want to hear… I know we’re just meant to be… friends, but –”

 

Amy’s heart started pounding in her chest, but she finally knew exactly what she wanted to say.

 

“I think I’m in love with you.”

 

Jake stopped rambling, his eyes going wide and his mouth snapping shut as he just stared at her. Amy swallowed and tightened her grip on his hand.

 

“I have been for weeks, maybe months – I don’t know, I’ve been trying so hard to push it down,” she said. “I’ve been so worried about ruining what we have because – Jake, you’re one of my best friends and I’m terrified – but I so much more scared today when all I could think of was what would happen if he actually got to you.”

 

Jake had the Look on his face again, and it was the first time that Amy hadn’t found it scary. Instead, she started to smile – she loved that look, and she was the one who’d put it there.

 

“Amy I’ve been in love with you for months,” Jake said, reaching out his free hand to tug at her waist to bring her closer. Amy leant forward, grinning like a fool, and Jake started grinning too.  “Longer even,” he said. He nodded. “Yeah. Definitely longer.”

 

Amy laughed. “Okay Jake it’s not a competition.”

 

“If it was I’d totally win,” Jake said, before leaning forward to press his forehead against hers. Amy let go of his hand to wind her arms loosely over his shoulders, and his hands came to rest on her waist.

 

“I knew you weren’t ready to hear it,” Jake said, serious again. “And we’ve already gone over my adult relationship issues.”

 

Amy leant back slightly to give him a mock-stern look. “Do I need to do my rant again?”

 

Jake grinned. “No we’re good.”

 

“Good,” said Amy, and she leaned in to kiss him. It was light, and chaste, and the most innocent kiss they’d ever had… and it was amazing. She was kissing Jake just because she could, not because they were friends with benefits or whatever.

 

They didn’t try to deepen the kiss, and when they pulled away Jake grinned and tucked Amy’s hair back behind her ear. “So, does this mean we get to break that final rule?”

 

Amy smiled. “I think it means we get rid of all the rules,” she said. Jake grinned, his eyes sparking with mischief, and Amy quickly amended her statement.

 

“Except for the one about hooking up at work,” she said sternly. “Seriously, that’s not happening again.”

 

Jake was still grinning. “Uh-huh, sure,” he said, before kissing her again. This kiss didn’t remain quite so chaste as the first, and they were both breathing heavily by the time they pulled apart, but Jake just smiled ruefully.

 

“Okay so usually I would totally be up for you know, sealing the deal and everything, but it's four thirty in the morning and that's just crazy,” he said.

 

Amy laughed and settled back down on the bed. She was definitely most comfortable on her back because of her shoulders, but Jake didn’t seem to have any problem with curling up against her side with his head on her shoulder and his arm across her stomach.

 

Amy stroked his hair and grinned up at the ceiling. “It's so nice just to be falling asleep with you,” she whispered.

 

Jake’s arm tightened. “Yeah it is,” he said. Amy smiled and closed her eyes.

 

“Your mattress still sucks though.”

 

“Shut up Jake.”

 

 

THE END