Jake has imagined Seamus Murphy’s capture. He’d played it out in his head, as he’d tried to sleep on the living room floor, Kevin only a few spots beside him. In his version, he’d always imagined drama: the movie-esque type, the One Grand Gesture type, the Hero Gets Their Moment type. Had pictured euphoria, relief, adrenaline.
He gets all of that, but he also gets this. This unanticipated sadness. It doesn’t settle in immediately—instead, it creeps up on him bit by bit, the inexplicable void increasing as days, weeks go by. He mentions it to Amy one night, as they lie in bed, his gaze fixed on the ceiling and not the little, amused smirk that Amy sends his way.
“You miss him,” she says, matter of fact.
Jake looks at her, his face twisted with confusion. “Who?”
“Kevin.” Amy says it like it’s obvious, and Jake splutters: a panicked mix of no, Ames, what, no leaving his mouth. Amy arches an eyebrow, her smirk growing to a small, knowing grin. “Sure, babe,” is the entirely disbelieved response.
Jake swallows the groan that presses at his teeth. Thinks, I do not, as he rolls on his side, the blankets pulled to his chin. It’s defensive in his own head, so he doesn’t voice it. Just shuts his eyes and tries to sleep.
Okay. So maybe Amy is right, Jake thinks two days later, when he overhears Holt on the phone discussing dinner plans and guests and thinks, God, I wish that were me.
Whatever. He’s been right lots of times, too.
“Lame,” is Rosa’s response when he mentions it. She softens at Jake’s wounded expression—or, at least, does the Rosa version of soften. “Dude. Just talk to him,” she says, like it’s the easiest thing in the world, and Jake feels that familiar itch of frustration again. Doesn’t understand how this can seem so easy for everyone else but so difficult for him.
He gives her a look that all but screams, why do I bother? “I should’ve talked to Charles,” he says, and Rosa shrugs before she walks away.
He does talk to Charles. And Terry. And then Gina, as well.
She doesn’t wait for Jake to mention it before she gives her opinion, as if she’s already up to date on the matter. “Sounds like abandonment issues, man,” is what she says, never once looking up from her phone.
The remark is casual, like they’re discussing the latest episode of The Bachelor or something. Jake feels his stomach drop; tries to formulate a response but fails. He doesn’t like the implication in Gina’s words: has made a habit, really, of never addressing the topic—to himself or anyone else.
“Huh,” is what he settles for eventually, and then doesn’t stick around for whatever else she might say next.
Something has to be done. Or, at least, that’s what Amy tells him as she stands in their kitchen and watches him take pizza bagels out of the oven, all the while rambling on about how he’d made them for Kevin, once—his first time, Ames. Can you believe that?
“Don’t you still have movies to watch?” she suggests, trying to be helpful, and Jake hums and haws around the topic before changing it entirely.
He doesn’t ask himself why.
Three days, some obvious nudging, and an ad for a Ghost Rider rerun. That’s what it takes for Jake to finally give in.
He tries to play it cool. Pretend that he’s not here because he misses Kevin. That showing up to your boss’s home to watch movies with his husband is a perfectly normal, well-adjusted thing to do.
The door opens and Jake holds up his copy of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, a semi-forced smile on his face as he uses his free hand to point at the cover. “I got mandolins, son!” is what he says as a greeting, and he kind of regrets it immediately, but it’s out there in the open, now. Like some sort of unconventional invitation.
Kevin stands in the doorway, Holt hovering behind his shoulder. They blink, their expressions blank. Maybe a little surprised—Jake still can’t tell for sure.
“Jacob,” Kevin says after a moment, and it sounds as if he might add more: a question, or sigh, or something. But he doesn’t. Rather, he turns around with a slight shake of his head, the words, “Come in, then,” thrown over his shoulder as he walks back inside the home.
Jake looks to Holt for confirmation, who nods, albeit tentatively. He still takes it as a victory.
“To what do we owe the pleasure?” Kevin asks as Jake trails behind him, tone equal bits curious and sarcastic. Jake grins.
“I was in the neighbourhood,” he tries, lifting his shoulders in a shrug. He should’ve thought of a better lie, he thinks, but he hasn’t really thought any of this through. No need to start now.
“I find that hard to believe,” Holt comments from behind him, and Jake turns around. Gives him a look that more or less translates to, come on, man!
Kevin watches them, expression almost fond. “Do you often carry DVDs around with you, Peralta?” he asks, and Jake fumbles for a moment before he launches into some long, overdrawn story about how he always carries a copy of Die Hard with him ever since he ran into a John McClane look alike on the street.
“I mean, obviously it wasn’t actually Bruce Willis,” he says, scoffing in a way that suggests he hadn’t been too sure of that at the time. “But can you imagine if it had been?! I—”
Kevin hums, gaze flicking to Holt for a second. Jake looks between them as Kevin reaches forward, his fingers plucking the DVD from Jake’s hand. “So, you don’t want to watch it?” he asks, like he already knows the answer.
He flips the DVD in his hands, gaze trailing across the cover before he looks back to Jake. “Uhhh,” Jake drawls, unsure. He twists back to Holt again, says, “You guys are probably supes busy, right? I don’t wa—”
“We have time,” Kevin interrupts. Holt opens his mouth, as if to protest, but quiets when Kevin lifts his hand, a pointed look thrown his way. “Come,” he says, and. Well. There’s really no arguing, is there?
Jake tries to stifle the grin that pulls at his mouth, has to swallow the flood of relief. “Cool. Cool cool cool cool cool. Okay,” he says, following Kevin to something he calls a viewing room. Then, “Ugh. Amy’s gonna be so jealous.”
It’s hardly Jake’s favourite movie. In fact, he doesn’t like it much at all. But Kevin makes popcorn on the stove and lets Jake hold the bowl as he sits between him and Holt, and it’s nice. Nice in a foreign sort of way—something he’s always longed for.
“Perhaps we can watch Leaving Las Vegas this weekend,” Kevin suggests after, and there’s a hint of amusement in his tone: like he knows it’s what Jake wants to ask. “I’ll have Raymond give you the details.”
Jake’s eyes widen, and he can’t keep the grin from his face this time, though he does manage to at least make it outside before he lets out a tiny, excited sequel, hand already reaching for his phone to call Amy and tell her the news.
They do end up watching Leaving Las Vegas. Amy is invited, and she and Holt leave them to discuss the latest journal article on something Jake has never heard before. He’s not a big fan of this movie, either—it’s boring, the pace too slow for his liking. He fidgets throughout and tries desperately not to check his phone, his fingers playing with the crumbs of the snacks Kevin had made.
“I forgot about the sex scenes,” he says, during the first one, and squirms uncomfortably as his gaze flicks between Kevin and the screen. Thinks, so this is what people mean they talk about watching sex scenes with their parents. And then, directly after that, fuck.
A nameless prostitute is positioned over Ben’s body, and Jake can’t help but lean over and comment, “She plays a detective, now,” a hint of excitement underpinning his tone. Kevin shushes him gently and Jake slumps back against the seat.
“We’re doing a fun one next,” he says when it’s over, and then wants to shove his fist down his throat to stop any more words from coming out. No one has said anything about a next.
“We are not watching Gone in Sixty Seconds,” is Kevin’s only response, and Jake breathes a little sigh of relief. Thinks, challenge accepted.
Much to Jake’s delight, it turns into a bit of a thing. They do it once every week or so, when they’re lucky enough that their schedules align. Sometimes it’s just the two of them, and other times they’re joined by others: Holt, Amy, a squad member or two. There’s a memorable occasion where Jake is forced to sit through a three-hour documentary on the history of the bassoon (Holt’s choice), and he kind of hates it, but he also kind of doesn’t. Not at all.
It takes some work, and maybe a little bit of begging, but he manages to get Kevin to watch Gone in Sixty Seconds with him eventually. Holt is there, too, but he only lasts halfway into the first sequence before he stands and exits the room, muttering about explosions and noise and what kind of a name is Memphis, anyway?! Jake doesn’t mind so much—has been waiting for it, really. He half expects Kevin to follow not long after, but he never does; instead, he watches the movie to completion and listens to Jake ramble on with a polite nod of his head.
“Well, that was terrible,” he says as the credits roll, and Jake wants to be mad, but he kind of has to give it to him. Kevin stands, runs a hand along his pant leg to smooth the fabric’s non-existent creases, and turns to Jake. “Will you be staying, Jacob?”
There’s no chance of Jake saying no. Kevin accepts his acceptance with a nod and leaves to fetch his guest pyjamas, and later Holt shows him to a nice room with a large bed, and Jake feels kind of like he’d always wanted to when he was younger: cared for by the equivalent of a father.
It’s the next morning, as he’s standing in the garden of the Cozner-Holt home and watching Cheddar run around amongst the grass that Holt finds him. He’s silent as he approaches, and Jake almost jumps at the sound of his voice.
“Kevin is preparing breakfast,” he says, and Jake nods. Watches as Cheddar dives at a pile of leaves.
The silence stretches. Jake feels almost awkward, the conversation they should probably have lingering in the space between them. “Captain—” he starts, but stops abruptly. Shakes his head and turns to face him. “I. I mean. You know how la—well. Of course you know. Duh. It’s your house. But I wanted to—well, no. I don’t want to. But I should, so—”
Holt seems to take pity on him. “Your recent visits,” he supplies, and Jake nods. Holt hums, looks between him and Cheddar. “Kevin is under the impression that you miss your time together in the safe house,” he says, matter of fact. “He believes your issues with paternal figures have caused you to grow rather attached.”
Jake blanches. It’s true, of course, but he doesn’t like it laid out like that: open and obvious. “Oh,” is his delayed response, and it’s really all he can manage.
“I can’t say I disagree.”
Jake nods, long and slow. “Cool cool cool cool cool, no doubt, no doubt, no doubt.” It’s said under his breath, as he looks anywhere but at Holt. The whole thing is far too serious for his liking. He’s out of his element, thrown from his comfort zone: forced to face things he tries his best to ignore. He keeps his eyes on Cheddar, like he’s trying to buy time to formulate a response. “I can… stop?” he says, and it’s hesitant: his face twisted in a type of grimace, the words more of a question than a suggestion. It’s obviously not what he wants.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Holt says, dismissive, and Jake’s eyebrows shoot up. Hopeful. “Kevin enjoys it.” Holt looks at him, and Jake is sure it’s with one of those expressions everyone else would consider a smile. “He seems rather attached, also.”
A grin tugs at Jake’s mouth: bright and soft, the words making his stomach twist with something pleasant. “See?” he says, and his voice is back to its normal self. Light and carefree. “You guys are my dads!”
He’s forcing the joke a little bit, trying to dissipate the earnest atmosphere; return to something he’s more comfortable with. Holt doesn’t respond past a raised eyebrow, but Jake figures he gets it. That he probably understands it even more than Jake does.
Holt turns back toward the house, and Jake follows, a smile still stuck on his face. They find Kevin in the dining room, an apron tied around his waist and the table set to eat: the whole thing a picture-perfect shot of domesticity. Jake’s mouth waters a little as the smell wafts to them, and he hurries to take a seat.
Kevin shares a look with Holt, the glance a silent conversation, and Jake barely notices as he swallows a mouthful of eggs.
“I have a conference this weekend,” Kevin tells him as he fills three glasses with fresh orange juice. He looks up, meets Jake’s eyes briefly. “But perhaps next weekend we can watch that movie you’re always going on about. Die Hard, isn’t it?”
Jake’s glass is almost spilt in his excitement.