Author's Note: Taking a short break from my Avengers fic to pop out this bad boy; my first expedition into the uncharted-yet-fabulous Brooklyn Nine-Nine fandom. Absolutely love it to bits!
The Five Times Amy Tried to Cook a Meal, and the One Time Jake Did It for Her
Okay, so Thanksgiving was a bust. Granted, Amy had mostly been focusing on perfecting her toast for Captain Holt, and the meal preparations had fallen to the wayside a teensy bit, but you have to give her some credit for trying, right? And so what if nobody could choke it down and she had to hire a third plumber when two downright refused the job? Didn't bother her. But this time- this time, she's prepared.
It's Friday afternoon and at five she gets home from the Nine-Nine and marches purposefully into their kitchen, brandishing her new recipe book as if it were a pistol and staring down the appliances like a posse of drug dealers who're going to get some Santiago all up in them. Jake is still working on some post-case paperwork at the station, which means that Amy has plenty of time to prepare his surprise birthday dinner at their apartment, and with the help of their friends, he'll be kept busy until everyone's arrival at seven. Boyle is bringing the cake, and Gina insisted on hauling over a crate full of various hard liquors; so that's covered, and somehow no one told Scully that he couldn't bring his Twister mat, so apparently that's happening too. Meanwhile, Amy is making a lasagne, roasted asparagus, garlic bread, and whatever kind of salad 'garden' is for dinner, and maybe she's also asking Jake's magic eight ball if her cooking will be up to snuff this time around. When it oh-so-subtly answers "NO WAY IN HELL", she sticks it in the freezer between the frozen peas and ice cream and shuts the door with a vindictive smile. As if a toy knows anything.
And so, with only the slightest tinge of trepidation in her mind, Amy turns back to the task at hand and starts in on the lasagne- the most time-consuming element of the meal. The recipe says to boil the flat noodles until they're slightly soft, so she upends the box of pasta into a pot of boiling water and goes onto preparing the sauce. For simplicity's sake, she's using a can of pizza sauce with extra tomatoes cut up into it, rather than trying to make her own from scratch, because it'll taste exactly the same, and what's the point in tempting fate by trying to do more than she can handle? So that's done, and she's onto slicing up the cheese to layer in between the noodles, but it's not going well. It's too crumbly to be cut up properly, and there's weird blue stuff growing in it and it smells kind of funky, and frankly she's not sure she has the right kind, but it was expensive so that has to mean that it tastes good. If this doesn't end well, it's because she was raised on Puerto Rican food and that's mostly rice and beans so she's sorry that she doesn't know about these weird, blue, fancy cheeses.
Why exactly did she think that cooking a good idea, again?
Stuck to the refrigerator door, a photo catches her eye. It's from when Boyle was still learning to use his new cellphone, and kept accidentally snapping pictures of everything. The photograph is of her and Jake, standing in front of his desk together and laughing hysterically at something. Jake's head is thrown back, and he looks halfway ready to fall on the floor because he's overbalanced, and Amy is bent over clutching her side with one hand and Jake's shoulder with the other, and there are tears streaming down her cheeks. She remembers that her face hurt for two hours after that from smiling so hard, and more importantly, that it was also the same day that they went on their first actual date. In the quiet of the kitchen, she's grinning to herself like an idiot and thinking that she really couldn't be more in love with the goofy man-child she calls her boyfriend- hence why she feels the urge to cook for him.
A sudden 'sploosh!' noise draws her out of her thoughts, and Amy turns around to discern the source of said 'sploosh'.
"Shit!" she yells out loud to the kitchen, running to attend her boiling pasta. "Shit, no no no! Aww no!"
On the stovetop, half of the lasagne noodles lay mushy, yet somehow simultaneously crisp because they boiled up out of the pot and landed in the open flames, and the other half are all dried up and stuck to the inside of the pan. She quickly shuts off the heat and collects the salvageable pasta with a pair of tongs and a wooden spoon working in tandem (she assumes that if anyone could see her, it would look absolutely ridiculous, which is why she's glad no one can), and transfers them to a bowl. As she assembles the unfortunate looking-lasagne, her sense of foreboding grows- the preheating oven smells… crunchy, if that's possible. However, Amy pushes aside her doubts and grits her teeth, sliding the glass dish into the odorous oven with a quick prayer to Chef/ Food Goddess Giada De Laurentiis that she hasn't just ensured the unwanted arrival of Fire Marshall Boone at the party. The timer is set for the lasagne, so she moves on to preparing the garlic bread, which there's no way to mess up. She hopes.
God, does she hope.
Well as it turns out, everything is a disaster.
But who expected anything different, really? That's why when Jake opens the door to their apartment and Rosa, Hitchcock, Scully, Gina, the Sergeant, Captain Holt, and Boyle pile in after him, she's yelling "surprise!" from the smoke-filled kitchen, and coughing when the burning-garbage smell enters her mouth and ew, why can she taste it? Everyone at least has the decency to tell her up front that it's likely Scully's feet would taste better than the meal she's made, and no one is going to touch it with a ten foot pole, but thanks for trying. So they all sit down at the table and start in on the booze provided by Gina, and Amy slumps into the kitchen to open a window and clear out the garlic bread fumes. She maybe also thinks about throwing the magic eight ball out there for smart-mouthing her earlier. As she chisels the lasagne-brick out of the glass dish and into the garbage, Jake sneaks up behind her and wraps his arms around her waist.
"Hi," he says, placing a kiss on her cheek. "That looks both disgusting and horrendous."
She elbows him softly in the ribs. "This is nothing. The asparagus? Literally just smoke now."
The smirk is practically audible. "Wow, that is amazing. I'm super impressed right now!"
Amy turns around in his arms and presses her lips to his. "Please make sure I never try to cook you birthday dinner again."
"It appears that the safety of the nation depends on it. Should we order Chinese?"
"Well, I made the garlic bread with cocoa butter and the salad is weirdly spicy, so it's really your call."
He grimaces. "Ew, yeah. There's no way I'm going to eat any of that. You want the wonton soup?"
"Yes, please," she sighs, drawing out of his embrace to retrieve the phone.
When they return to the dining room, the plan is to ask their friends what they want for dinner.
Everyone starts laughing when they do, and with a loud 'thump!' Rosa places a Tupperware container full of actual garlic bread on the table. Their other friends follow suit, and soon the wooden surface is covered in dishes prepared by the detectives of the Nine-Nine.
"But I was making dinner!" Amy exclaims, slightly offended but mostly relieved.
Gina gives a sardonic laugh. "Yeah, you were making dinner. No thank you."
Amy relents with a sigh, and everyone starts in on supper. As the meal passes, Boyle becomes just tipsy enough that he's gotten roped into a round of Twister with Scully and Hitchcock and it's all together the most fascinating and horrifying thing anyone has ever seen. Gina is snapping photos for her twitter feed and Terry and Rosa are betting on who will collapse first, and Captain Holt is watching with morbid curiosity (which he will later deny at all costs). Jake and Amy are sitting down beside each other, and she just has time to murmur a quick "happy birthday Peralta" in his ear before Terry starts cheering because Hitchcock is on the floor and they're getting sucked into the debate. His hand finds hers under the table, and their fingers link together with a soft squeeze.
That cookbook is definitely taking a trip to the firing range.
If Jake and Amy tumble into their apartment at three in the afternoon and flop directly onto their bed, foregoing the removal of shoes, clothes, guns, and badges, it's because they've just gotten off of a triple shift working a double homicide, and have now both fallen into a well-deserved coma-sleep. After several dreamless hours in which Jake has managed to turn completely upside down on the bed and trap Amy's entire left arm under his legs, she awakens to the growling of her own stomach. With a mighty tug, she disentangles herself from her boyfriend and reluctantly rolls off of the nice, comfy bed to solve her hunger problem, first stopping along the way to slip into pajamas.
Once in the kitchen, Amy sleepily ponders what the easiest thing to make in her reanimated-corpse state is. After a moment of listening to Jake snoring in the other room, she settles on a peanut butter and jam sandwich. No cooking required, no way for it to turn into some alarmingly hideous mess, and no chance that she'll get food poisoning (because that just happened the one time, she swears). Shuffling around the kitchen in socked feet, Amy searches out her ingredients with half-lidded eyes and collects a butter knife with sleep-clumsy fingers. In the past week, she's gotten little to no sleep, and most of that has been collected from face-planting into her desk and leaking drool onto the keyboard for ten-minute stretches. Jake practically takes a nosedive into one of their perps after being on his feet for eleven hours straight and chasing two people down an alleyway. Needless to say, she nearly threw her arms around Holt right there in his office when he gave them the next three days off to rest up. Just as she finishes pressing the two halves of her sandwich together, Jake calls from the bedroom.
"Ames?" comes the groggy voice.
"Kitchen," she replies, huddling further into her NYPD sweatshirt.
He shambles out into the hallway and pads up to the counter where she's sitting, sliding into the chair beside hers and blearily rubbing a hand over his face. She postpones eating for a moment and closes her eyes, leaning against his side and letting out a huff of laughter when she blinks one open and notices he's also wearing his NYPD hoodie/pajamas combo.
"Whazzat?" he asks sleepily into her hair, making a vague gesture at the sandwich in front of her.
"Peanut butter and jam. Want some?"
He drags the plate towards him and lifts his head off of her shoulder to take a bite of the sandwich, and, immediately after doing so, spits it back out onto the counter and begins swiping at his tongue with a napkin.
"Ew ew ew oh my god!" Jake exclaims, coughing and reaching for the glass of water beside him.
"What? What happened?" Amy asks, shocked at his reaction.
Once he gulps down half the glass and gives the sandwich a death glare, he says, "That was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted."
"What was wrong with it? It's peanut butter and jam!"
Jake shakes his head vehemently and peels off the top slice of bread, pointing at the guts of the sandwich like it's the inside of a murder victim. "No, dear Amy. That is peanut butter and salsa."
She slumps down in the chair, blushing furiously. "Well they both go in jars and they're both red and I wasn't wearing my glasses."
He begins to laugh, albeit a little hysterically from sleep deprivation, and pulls her against him, running his hands through her soft hair.
"You're a terrible cook," he says lovingly.
"You're terrible at eating," she retorts with no bite, then slumps further into her boyfriend. "I'm so tired."
"Me too, Fart Monster. Me too."
Amy pokes him in the ribs for that, and suddenly remembers that there is one thing that she's not terrible at cooking (really, it's the only thing she can't burn, blow up, or throw up). "Hey, Jake."
"Uhnnf?" he responds, not even opening his eyes.
"Jake, can you let me go? I'll make hot chocolate if you do."
He grumbles, but allows his arms to slip away reluctantly and she slides off the chair, moving around the counter and back into the kitchen, where she assembles the ingredients for hot chocolate. Cocoa powder, sugar, and milk all go into a pot, and she stirs the mix while it gently heats up on the stovetop. A few minutes later, the two detectives retire to the couch with mugs of steaming cocoa and cocoon themselves in blankets, cuddling up next to each other. As they sip, their eyelids droop lower and lower, and soon enough, the two recently-emptied mugs are sitting on the coffee table, and Amy is wrapped in Jake's arms as they slumber, dead to the world around them.
Later on, when they're more awake, the detectives order Indian food for an eight-in-the-morning-dinner, and Amy has the pleasure of throwing her gag-inducing peanut butter-salsa sandwich directly down the garbage chute.
For two months after the fire at Sal's, Jake gets a forlorn look in his eyes whenever someone mentions pizza. He wanders pitifully from pizzeria to pizzeria, trying to find a replacement for the dish he would only ever get from the one place. In a refusal to accept anything less than the pizza he knows and loves, he declares every other slice in town inedible and downright refuses to read anything into Charles' email blasts, which is all the motivation Amy needs to step in and do something about it.
The day after another failed pizza tasting, Amy takes a trip to the grocery store and picks up the supplies to bake her own, hoping that the homemade route will be good enough to appease Jake's finicky tastes. She gets the sauce right (it's canned), the cheese right (it's pre-grated and clearly labelled, thank Giada), and the pepperoni's right, too (it says it's for pizza right on the package). She's keeping it simple- less things to go wrong. And still, something inevitably does.
It's the crust. It's always the crust isn't it? Even Amy has indulged in Boyle's email blasts from time to time, and she now knows that a good pizza crust remains elusive for many a chef in Brooklyn, so really she's not that surprised when hers turns out to be utterly revolting. Cement-like in hardness, yet undercooked in the middle, her doughy monstrosity is a three-way tie in texture between charred wood, recycled tires, and wet carpet. In terms of taste, she assumes from the face Jake is making that it's somewhere on the scale above Hitchcock's tangible armpit fumes, but below the floor of the holding cell that one time two drunk perps held a contest to see which of them could draw the better picture in their own vomit (eugh, yeah she's grossed out just remembering that).
Just to be sure he's not crying because of how good her pizza tastes, she tentatively asks, "well? How is it?"
"Your cooking is like eating radioactive waste, darling," he replies as kindly as possible while letting a half-chewed blob tumble out of his mouth ungracefully.
Amy sighs and sweeps the rest of the pizza into a trash bag and- not wanting to poison the poor garbage people who empty the apartment's dumpster on Wednesdays- hurls the bag directly out the open window, where it sails onto the roof of a neighbouring brownstone and rolls to a stop on the opposite side.
Well, she won't even bother asking about mouth-feel.
Luck strikes the next week at the precinct. Thursday morning Jake and Amy are sitting at their desks and settling in to type up their reports from a recent solve. The elevator dings open across the room and Charles practically skips into the bullpen, making a beeline straight for the detective couple.
"Jaaaaakeeey!" he sings in a weirdly high falsetto. The small man is vibrating with barely-concealed excitement.
"What up Boyle?" Jake asks, swivelling his chair around to face his friend.
Amy glances up from her computer curiously, interested to hear what has their fellow detective so… bouncy. A few minutes go by in which Charles looks excitedly from her to Jake, puffing out his cheeks and pushing his lips together like he's trying not to say anything. Seconds later, the anticipation becomes too much for Boyle and he slaps a piece of paper down on Jake's desk with an extravagant flourish, grinning like a tiny madman.
"What is that?" Amy asks, straining to see around all the junk on her boyfriend's desk.
He looks up with wide eyes and a happy-awed expression. "Sal's grand re-opening! This Friday!"
She slumps down in her chair and sighs in relief. "Thank god."
They end up at a diner; let's just get that straight right now.
Normally there's no time for breakfast in their morning; after a piece of toast and a glass of orange juice they head to the station to start their shifts. But, seeing as how Jake and Amy both have the day off, she thinks that it might be nice for the two of them to eat a nice sit-down breakfast in the comfort of their own home. Boy is she wrong.
It starts off innocently enough, as it usually does. She finds the pancake mix, grabs the milk and the butter from the fridge (not cocoa this time; she double-checked), and whisks all the lumps out of the batter like a goddamn hero. The trouble really begins when she and Jake get caught up in a tickle fight, and the first batch of pancakes become no more than smelly, thin hockey pucks that are as ghastly to eat as they are to look at.
"Those darn Canadians," Jake jokes, and gets punched in the arm for his troubles.
After those first pancakes are evicted rather violently from the Santiago-Peralta household, Amy takes a stab at round two. As the ageless tale of detective-versus-breakfast has been known to go, the second lot of pancakes meet their untimely demise when the entire pan catches on fire, and Jake heroically douses it with the nearby pot of coffee. That particular battle is later described as "hilarious and soggy" to their coworkers at the precinct (and it even gets a half smile out of Holt, so take that people who don't find Jake funny). Now, after watching his girlfriend commit double-pancake homicide, Jake is understandably reluctant to let Amy back into the kitchen to use what's left of the batter to attempt a salvageable breakfast, but steps aside to let her pass when she gives him one of those smiles that make his heart melt. And apparently, that's not the only thing Amy can melt that day, because not five minutes later, there's goopy black plastic all over the place because she left a spatula too close to the flame. It's completely smothered the last of the pancakes, rendering them inedible, so Jake just dumps the whole pan down the trash chute to save them time, and then he and Amy walk to the diner around the corner from their apartment.
She sighs in defeat, leaning into his side while they stroll, and mourns the loss of yet another good frying pan.
"He died in action," Jake declares dramatically, holding a hand over his heart. "Serving his country. A true American hero."
Amy snorts and grabs his free hand, pretending to wipe away a tear as she does so. "I just miss him so much."
"Out of respect, he will never be replaced. Such a good- ooh, look! Kitchen stuff sale!"
They buy two new pans and a metal spatula that the saleslady guarantees is unmeltable, and then complete their journey to the diner. As the two detectives slide into their booth, Amy assertively declares that until further notice she doesn't want to see a pancake ever again, and proceeds to order a heaping plate of waffles. Jake grins at her from across the table as he munches on his French toast, and she beams back with a mouthful of bacon, looking triumphant when he flings maple syrup onto his shirt because he's laughing too hard to aim for his mouth. They quiet down and continue to eat, gazing across the table at each other and smiling for no particular reason.
"I love you," he says suddenly, and then looks shocked at the words that have just accidentally escaped his mouth.
She, however, doesn't bat an eyelid. "I love you too. Want some bacon?"
Blueberry, to be specific. Amy has fond memories of baking with her dad when she was little, and she's trying her best to recreate those feelings.
Granted, it's not really working. There's muffin batter in her hair and all over her clothes because of a mishap with the electric mixer, and she's pretty sure that there shouldn't be blueberries in her bra. Like, 60% sure, at least. No matter what Jake says, it is so not hot. Anyway, she's following a recipe from the internet and other than the waterfall of batter that flew out of the bowl earlier, they don't actually look that bad. She spoons the liquid mix into a couple of those muffin tins and sets the oven timer for twenty minutes, as the recipe suggests, then flops onto the couch to watch TV. Half an episode of Community later, Jake reappears from the basement of their building, clean laundry in tow.
He drops onto the couch next to her and begins to fold their clothes. "Is this your or mine?" he asks, holding up a pink spaghetti-strap tank top for her to see.
She gives him a withering look and snatches the shirt out of his hands. "Not yours, Jake."
"What? That totally could've been mine, Ames! I have the perfect shoulders to pull off spaghetti straps."
"Mmkay, whatever you say, Knobby-Neck."
Jake makes a mock-offended noise and places a hand delicately over his heart. "'Knobby-neck'? That is so hurtful."
She starts laughing and hops up off of the couch to check on the muffins, shrieking when he whacks her in the back of the legs with a towel as she walks by him. Back in the kitchen, Amy pulls the pans out of the oven and sets them on the stovetop, delighting in the fact that they actually look like muffins. The recipe says to leave the baked treats to cool for ten minutes, so she heads back into the living room to help Jake with the rest of the laundry.
"What is that?" he asks, sniffing the air curiously. "It smells… not repulsive."
"Blueberry muffins," she answers, putting a folded sweater back in the laundry basket. "They'll be ready to eat soon, I think."
"Shut up, they'll be good!"
Together they finish folding the rest of their clothes, only pausing briefly to have a fight in which the detectives fling clean underwear at each other over the couch. Jake wins when he gets a pair of boxers on Amy's head, and she retaliates by dumping all of her bras on him on her way back to the kitchen.
"Hah! Joke's on you, Amy! I enjoy having lots of bras all over my person!"
She rolls her eyes and continues to the kitchen, picking up a cooled pan of muffins from the stove. As she fishes a plate out of an overhead cabinet nearby, Amy tries to get one of the muffins out of the tin.
It doesn't budge.
Because of course, she forgot to put those little paper liners in, so now they're all stuck to the metal pan, and none of them will come out in anything but small, ripped chunks. She lets out a frustrated growl and slams the pan down on the countertop with a loud crash, prompting Jake to run in with a worried look on his face.
"What happened?" he asks, looking around wildly.
"Ugh, nothing," Amy replies, slouching against the counter. "I just suck at cooking."
"Yes, you do."
She glowers at him.
"Buuuut," he continues, drawing up beside her and slinging an arm around her shoulders. "I thought you said those were going to be good."
Amy buries her face in his shoulder. "I know, Knobby-Neck. They're stuck to the pan."
Jake laughs, squeezing her a little tighter. "Alright, hang on a sec. I've come up with a brilliant idea, as usual."
He releases Amy and crosses the kitchen, opens a drawer and pulls out two spoons. Jake hands one to her, keeps one for himself, and demonstrates scooping out a piece of muffin from the tins. He blinks at her with an exaggerated demure smile on his face, obviously expecting praise for his genius.
"Yes, yes, you're amazing, Jake Peralta," she agrees, bopping him on the nose with her spoon.
"And that is the name of my sex tape."
Amy rolls her eyes, bonking his nose with her spoon again. Jake picks up his own spoon and lifts the piece of muffin into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully for a moment before spitting it all out.
"Yep, you definitely used salt instead of sugar again."
For almost a week now, Amy has been coughing, sneezing, throwing up and running a high fever. She alternates hourly between hot-sweaty and cold-sweaty, and adamantly refuses to stop working cases until Holt threatens to partner her with Gina for the rest of the foreseeable future (yes, he can't really do that, but the message comes across clearly) if she doesn't go home and get rested up. Jake drives her back to their apartment and gets her settled in bed after she puts on her pajamas.
"How you doin' there Sweaty Pants?" he asks, lifting her glasses off her face and placing them on the nightstand.
"Uuggghh everything is fuzzy in my brain," she replies, burrowing into the blankets.
"Yeah, well that would be the fever, Ames," Jake tells her fondly, smoothing some hair off of her forehead.
"No you're the fever," she mumbles, a bit loopy from lack of sleep and flu meds.
"Okay, crazy person. Why don't you have a little nap now, huh?"
"M'hungry Jake," Amy rolls back over to gaze up at her boyfriend blearily. "Lezz eat somethin'. Order a pizza?"
Jake smiles down at her. "Uh, no. No pizza for you, Pukey. You have a rest, and I'll find you something to eat."
"Thanks Jakeydoodle," she sighs into a pillow, mushing her face farther into it.
"Oh my god," he laughs. "You are super tired and drugged up right now, aren't you?"
Amy just snores in response, so Jake turns off the lights and steps out of their room, closing the door behind him as he goes. It's time to unleash his secret talent. Other than being a devilishly handsome genius/ detective, of course.
Four hours later, Amy shuffles out of their bedroom, wrapped in one of Jake's sweaters and a purple fleece blanket. As she trundles down the hallway in her fuzzy cat-face socks, a delicious smell breaks through the stuffiness of her nose, and she follows it into the kitchen, where Jake is standing working on something at the counter, his back to her.
"Jake?" she asks hoarsely, sliding onto one of the chairs.
He turns around, putting a lid over the bubbling pot on the stove. "Well, well, well," he says as he crosses the kitchen and leans on the counter in front of her. "Look who un-coma'd. How're you feeling?"
"Sick," Amy answers, pulling the blanket up over her head like a cloak. "Yucky."
He 'aww's and reaches out to feel her forehead, frowning when he determines that her fever is still too high. After getting her some more Tylenol and a glass of water, he goes back to the stove, picking up a wooden spoon and stirring whatever it is that's in the pot.
"What are you making?" Amy inquires curiously after downing the aspirin. "It smells really good."
"Well, I hope you're hungry," Jake says over his shoulder while ladling some of the pot's contents into a bowl. He carries the steaming dish over to her at the counter and fishes a spoon out of the cutlery drawer, placing it in front of his girlfriend as well. "Because I have just served you the best chicken noodle soup in the universe."
She cautiously takes a spoonful of the heavenly-smelling soup and is utterly shocked to find that Jake isn't lying when he says it's amazing. "Oh my god," she says in awe.
Jake crosses his arms over his chest and nods smugly. "I know, right?"
"This is incredible, Jake! It's so good."
He smiles at her in that way that makes her knees go a little weak (seriously; it's a good thing she's sitting down right now) and she continues to sip at her lunch. In very little time, there's nothing left in her bowl and Amy is feeling sleepy again, ready to go back to bed. Jake accompanies her down the hall and into their bedroom, where she demands that he stay and cuddle with her. He relents with very little persuasion, and they both climb into the bed, Amy immediately snuggling up to Jake in an attempt to subdue her shivering. A few minutes later, after he thinks she's fallen asleep, he whispers "I love you," into her hair.
"Love you too," she mumbles back sleepily. "Love soup too."
Jake laughs quietly. "Thanks, Ames."
"Seriously," Amy says into his shirt, her voice muffled and low. "'M never cooking again. Peralta's got all the kitchen skillz. With a 'z'."
Author's Note: Well that's it guys :) Hope everyone enjoyed this little thing! New fic to come relatively soon, I think, but we'll see how it goes. Thanks for reading!