The word, Jake thinks, that best describes how they felt when they found out Amy was pregnant, is 'huh'.
Not a bad 'huh', of course, and not even a surprised 'huuuuhhhh question mark question mark exclamation mark' kind of 'huh', but more of a 'oh yeah, I forgot that could happen, what do you know' kind of 'huh'.
So, they're staring at the stick in between the thumb and forefinger of Amy's right hand in her weird time machine bathroom and they're both doing a lot of shocked nodding and not a lot of talking. He's hyperaware of everything: the rip in the shower curtain he made when he slipped getting out; Amy's lip, which she's biting in a Nervous Way, not a Sexy Way; the scratch of the label of his flannel shirt on the back of his neck that he keeps vowing to cut off and forgetting.
But most of all: those little red double lines on a stick that Amy peed on.
Oh, god, Jake awkwardly joked about this yesterday when they were younger and innocent and had made a decision to avoid the new Indian place two blocks from the precinct because their Saag Paneer makes Amy barf.
Somehow, the universe is laughing its ass off right now. Jake's been straight up trolled by the universe.
Jake finally finds his voice, "Cool, cool, cool, cool. Noice."
Amy's still not there yet, still getting over the fact that there was a tiny human growing inside her while she thought she was suffering for eating sub-par Indian food. She'd given the restaurant a Yelp review of one star! She makes a mental note to retract it immediately, and send them an apology letter and flowers.
They talk about it of course, after about an hour of stunned silence and the quietest time they've ever spent together in their relationship, partnership, or casual acquaintanceship. They're going to keep it. Realistically, the only reason they're not at that level already (the rest-of-our-lives, procreation point of the relationship) despite however long it is they've been together is that they're both basically married to the job. Honestly, they're so lucky they're both cops, otherwise this would have never worked (and never happened, because Jake was a douche when they first met and Amy was stuck up and given the choice they would have sprinted as far away as possible for each other). They're Jake and Amy, and he had kind of also forgotten that the forever thing wasn't a done deal, he'd just assumed. He knows that when he pictures himself being awarded a medal for saving the President or just being the most awesome detective to ever detect, he's old (but still fly, obvs) and Amy's right there with him.
So they're keeping it.
It isn't a conscious decision not to tell the squad, but when they're back at work first thing Monday morning and Charles cheerily asks him how his weekend was, Jake makes eye contact with Amy before saying, "Oh, it was supes chill, dude," in a West Coast accent with a look on his face that screams 'panicking but trying to hide it'.
Amy has to fight the urge to facepalm in the middle of the bullpen.
Rosa looks over at them with narrowed eyes, but then again Rosa's eyes are always narrowed, so she's probably just looking for the sake of looking.
Charles thinks nothing of it though, and launches into a detailed story of taking Nickolaj out for brunch on Saturday and how his palette is so discerning for a six-year-old and how proud Boyle is. Jake and Amy half listen while having a silent conversation over the mouths of their coffee mugs, something they've perfected in eight years of partnership.
Jake raises his eyebrows. Are we telling them?
Amy widens her eyes, before tilting her head ever so slightly. No! I mean, do you want to?
Jake tucks his chin into his neck. I don't know! Do you?
Amy's about to reply but Sarge calls them in for report. And then they've crime to investigate and reports to file.
So they just don't say anything.
Surprisingly to everyone, though perhaps least to herself, it's Gina who figures them out in the end.
She comes back from her lunch with her psychic and tells him to keep little Jake wrapped up warm for the winter but something must show on his face (other than bemusement) because she immediately cuts off and announces, "Oh my god, I'm too late! The ship has already docked and the cargo has been unloaded!"
"Gina!" Jake hisses furiously, trying to get her to keep her voice down more than scold her for the gross metaphor (though she's going through a nautical phase at the moment and it's impressive how she can apply it to every aspect of life) but the entire bullpen has heard her and gone totally silent.
When Amy steps out of the lift only a second later and all eyes swivel to stare at her, Jake finds himself staring along with them, watching her own eyes bug out in Crazy Amy fashion as she realises and her hand does a little spasm as if it was going to cover her stomach protectively.
"Oh god," she utters, and now would be a really good time for the ground to open up and swallow him, please and thank you.
Almost three months in, they're starting to talk about it more. Now that they've had the scan and have the picture and heard the heartbeat, it's all suddenly clicked that this is real and in half a year (six months! Jake's had food in his fridge longer than that), they're going to be parents. Of a child.
A child that needs a name, Amy points out. They can't keep calling it it, or y'know, or vaguely gesturing at her stomach and making a face.
They decide to do it as if it's a game – they have the week to each write down names they like, and if there's one on both their lists, then that's the name they'll go with.
At the end of the week, they sit down on the couch with a takeaway and go through their ideas. Amy's list is more sedate and traditional than Jake's (three of the 'names' he's written are Electric, Knife and Tiger, and she vetoes all three). He's also included John, which she considers until the Die Hard DVD case catches her eye and it joins the rejects.
Jake likewise turns down most of her choices, stating they're too boring and their baby is awesome and therefore needs an awesome name.
And so the game continues the next week. And the next. And the next.
Jake wondered if, in a comedic turn of events, he would be the one to freak out at the prospect of an impending baby and Amy would be the chill one but true to form, his partner reads every single book on the baby shelf of their local bookstore plus a few Spanish ones, and makes a schedule of development and things she should be doing like prenatal yoga and records how many calories she's eating a day. She seems super calm but he knows that in her Santiago brain, she's losing it.
Jake stays as cool as a cucumber. He's doesn't mind that they were looking at getting a bigger apartment for the two of them and that'll have to be put on the back burner for now. He's totally fine with the fact that Amy's – their – apartment is on the fourth floor of a building without a lift and that neither his nor her car has side impact air bags in the back seat. And he's absolutely up for addressing the lasting emotional trauma inflicted on him by the childhood desertion of his own father. It's pencilled in his diary for next week: tackle unresolved father issues before actually becoming a father for realz.
So, he's not freaking out at all.
He's having a therapeutic Game of Thrones marathon and Jon Snow is being awesome (Team R + L = J all the way) when Jake realises suddenly that his child is going to be a bastard. He has debased Amy's honour and they're going to have an illegitimate child that won't inherit his title or his lands.
(He might be really tired. He had to chase a perp nearly thirteen blocks earlier before he arrested them, and it was a wake-up call – he really needs to do something about his fitness.)
He crawls into bed after, beside Amy, who's reading an anatomy book and ack, those are lady parts, Jake's looking away.
She turns the bedside lamp, the only light in the room, off and settles down on her side facing him, baby in the middle, since Jake can't be the little spoon anymore. That's when he says it.
"Marry me?" And the words come out nervous but also right and he can't believe he didn't think to ask her this before. He can see the surprise on her face in the light through the gap in the curtains morph into something tender as she leans in and kisses him in a way Jake can only describe as loving.
When she pulls away and smiles as she says softly, "Not yet," Jake takes it for what it is – a promise that she will marry him in the future once they're ready and she won't look like a blimp walking down the aisle.
He's at work one day, trying to remember what he used as a kid and doing some googling. Amy's taught him to 'budget' and how to exercise 'impulse control' but that's not hard when he sees the prices of the walkers and realises that if he's going to afford this baby he's probably going to need to sell an organ or two. Which leads him to google, 'Which organs can you live without' and consider calling one of his C.I.s, Anton, who used to be a surgeon in Moldova and now works for the Latvian mob as an enforcer as well as being Jake's doctor.
Jake's resolved himself to living with one kidney and one eye (and rocking a boss eyepatch) when Holt's voice, as expressionless as ever, cuts through his thoughts.
"Peralta, my office."
Jake minimises his tabs and brings up the window with the arrest report he was supposed to be filling out (which proves how worried he is about his finances – he can't even find the motivation to fill out the report for Matt Sterbator, an obvious contender for the Perp Name Hall of Fame). He walks in the office and is met by the Captain sitting at his desk, Sarge standing beside him, and Jake recognises this set up: he's in trouble.
"It wasn't me; it's all Santiago's fault." He says automatically, as he has for the past eight years whenever he's done something wrong, though nothing has come to mind this time. Then he remembers that Amy is carrying his parasite (Gina's words) baby (it's a good parasite, Amy insists, but only when she's not throwing up) and blaming her for whatever probably stupid thing he's done is not cool.
"Never mind, I did it and I accept full responsibility, but just out of curiosity and for the record what is it that I did again?"
"Jake, you're not in trouble. Sit down," Terry tells him and Jake complies, slouching down and jiggling his knee as he tries to guess why he's here.
"Peralta…" Holt starts, but changes his mind. "Jacob," he tries, and that's all it takes to send Jake into a nervous downward spiral. It's biblical. Biblical!
"Uh oh," he says.
"It has come to our attention that you and Detective Santiago are expecting a child–"
"Well, yeah, you were there at the 'Fertilisation Party' Boyle threw us," Jake points out, using air quotes liberally.
The lavish affair had been a surprise party in Shaw's one night after work, a couple days after everyone had found out about the pregnancy. It was all baby-themed, and Jake had felt a flicker of terror walking through the door and being confronted by uterus balloons and showered in confetti shaped like sperm – a fear echoed by Amy, if the strength with which she squeezed his hand was anything to go by. But it was very Boyle, so they stuck it out after extracting a promise that he would let Terry plan the baby shower (Terry loves tasteful, baby-themed parties).
"–And that you might be experiencing some… apprehensions regarding your abilities as a father. We thought we would be the most appropriate people in the precinct to provide you with some counsel, as Sergeant Jeffords–"
"I have my three beautiful girls," Terry beams.
"Whereas I do not have children," Holt continues, "But I do have… Cheddar."
Ah, emotions: Jake's favourite topic.
"What? Nope, nope, nope, everything is supes chill, I'mma be a dope dad; no worries, y'all."
Jake wonders what it was in his childhood that's made him talk like a bad West Coast rapper every time he's backed into a corner and panicking.
"Jake…" Holt says slowly, and stares him down. Jake gets literal chills.
"Alright, alright! How do you do that? It's like you're staring into my soul," he shudders, and the Captain ever so slightly arches an eyebrow in what he thinks is pride? But maybe he's gassy – he can't tell.
"Yes, I am a little nervous about becoming a dad. It's not like I had one while I was growing up to take pointers from. Oh, god, I don't know how to play catch. What if I have a son and he wants to play catch and I can't play with him because I had a deadbeat dad who never taught me?!"
"Jake, it's just a catching a ball," Terry points out, but the Captain holds up a hand to stop him.
"Peralta's right, that is… very concerning."
Jake's going to pass out.
"No, it's not!" Terry exclaims. "Listen, Jake. Are you going to love this kid?"
"Of course," Jake says, because duh. "It's half of me and half of Amy; it's already one and a half times as awesome as everybody else."
Terry ignores the dig and nods, "Then you're going to be a great dad."
This is clearly some kind of healthy fitness logic Jake doesn't understand, because Terry can't look into the future and assess his parenting skills, or make assumptions based on cold, hard facts.
"You don't know that," Jake points this out. "I don't know how to take care of a baby! I can't even figure out a papoose! Those straps are like octopus tentacles. How can I be a dad if I don't know how?"
"Jake, I've been a father for eight years and I still have no idea what I'm doing."
Jake makes a face. "Well, that's comforting."
"My point is, you're never going to be ready! You just gotta do your best. You and Amy are the best team of the Nine-Nine. You've handled mobsters and prison and murderers. You spent six months in Florida."
"Please don't bring that up," Jake interrupts, not wanting to remember a single thing of his time in America's sweaty asscrack.
"Yes, please do not." Holt agrees.
"… You're going to be fine," Terry ploughs through.
"You're going to be a great father, son," Holt agrees, and although he's given no other advice, Jake's not ashamed to admit he totally wells up at the sentiment and needs a good five minutes of Terry rubbing his back before he can get himself back under control.
It gets a little later and they start having to decide more logistical stuff. Amy, ever practical and thinking ahead, asks him what he feels about circumcision if it's a boy, and that kind of throws Jake for a loop a bit. He'd forgotten there was all this other stuff to think about.
He is Jewish – but not because his mom is. She always kept him – and by extension, Gina – open to different religions when he was growing up and urged him to pick whichever one he identified with the most, and he happened to stick with Judaism (he almost became a Buddhist, but when Jake sees a unholily big spider he's going to scream and kill it, 'precious life' be damned) (Gina did go with Buddhism, and he's gotten used to her frantic phone calls about various creepy-crawlies he has to come kill because she's not allowed. He's also gotten used to attending their super deep funerals afterwards).
He hates killing creepy-crawlies. He's so lucky he has Amy to do it for him now.
Amy, as she is with everything except being cool, is great at being a Catholic. She goes to mass at least three times every month depending on work, something she says was ingrained in her as a child. Meanwhile, Jake only goes to Temple every other week, when the world is doing its best to be as shitty as possible and he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture.
He asks her what she thinks, because they're a team and because she's probably already researched it (she totally has – it has its own binder tab and everything) and they hash it out from there, like it's just another detail of a case.
He forgets about the religion thing until they tell Amy's family – which really consists of showing up for Sunday lunch with him hiding behind Amy and her belly. Victor answers the door and stands there, shocked, for a least five minutes while Amy does her best 'surprise!' jazz hands and Jake gets super fascinated with the weird claw clip in her hair. Then Mamá Santiago comes to investigate and it's like they're teleported to the kitchen, so Amy can sit down and tell her everything.
When Amy explains that no, mamá, we're not getting married yet and yes, he did, dad, but we're waiting until after the birth, Mamá Santiago says a prayer for a baby born out of wedlock while Great-Aunt Maria points out loudly that she's pretty sure Mary and Joseph weren't married when they had their baby and look who it turned out to be (Jake loves Amy's Great-Aunt Maria, and he's almost positive she has a soft spot for him too. If he had to choose between Amy and Great-Aunt Maria… well, he'd still choose Amy – Great-Aunt Maria's like one-hundred-and-six-years-old and smells weird. But it would be close).
Jake soon gets used to seeing Amy's belly come through doors before Amy does, and he's not going to lie, he feels kind of smug about it (it's proof they did it, high five!).
And it's awesome because he's having a baby with Amy Santiago, and soon there's going to be a tiny human that's half Jake, half Amy, and he's really crossing his fingers on the genetics because if it gets her smarts and his swag, it could probably end up being the next president or Beyoncé or something.
It's getting closer to Amy's due date and although she's still working (strictly desk duty, only three half days a week, and Jake totally sided with Holt on that one, relieved that finally, someone who Amy would listen to was saying what he had been suggesting since month three) (not to mention the quality of his paperwork has gone through the roof because she's so bored she does it for him), she's also tired a lot of the time, so he takes his days off with her and they hole themselves up in their apartment.
Amy's leaning against the headboard with a hundred pillows at her back and Jake's straddling her knees, running his hands over her belly and alternating between pressing kisses to it and Amy's lips. He can see spidery white lines of stretched skin on her stomach and he knows she hates them but he thinks they're cool. They're like tree rings, he thinks, except instead of age they're how big their baby is.
"Hey, baby," he croons. "Your mom's so hot, she's a total MILF, and she's all mi-ine…"
"Keep singing and I'll leave you," Amy threatens, but it's with a smile so he knows she's not for real, even if she has banned him from imitating Paul Anka.
"Baby, your mom's in love with me, we're in love, and it's mighty fi-ine…" He sings like he's teasing her, when realistically he just likes hearing it out loud. He'll get over it one day, maybe, but for now he'll enjoy the pink flush that crawls up Amy's neck and her dopey grin whenever he mentions them and love in the same sentence.
"Now you do the Spanish part," he commands. Amy raises an eyebrow. "You know," he continues, "The singer sings the verses and then Pitbull blasts in with some rap. You're Pitbull."
"Who does that make you, J-Lo? Shakira?"
Jake sees the opening. "What can I say, these hips don't lie," and shakes his ass a little, and just as he knew she would his partner snuffles a laugh.
Jake loves Amy, he really does, more than anyone in his life ever. More than pizza, more than being a cop, more than Die Hard.
And it's precisely because he loves her that he's considering locking her in their apartment so she can't get out until the baby comes. He's more at risk of dying from stress due to his girlfriend than he is at the hands of a criminal right now.
She's six months pregnant and still going to work, and Jake is seriously in awe of her (and realistically the fact that she's his baby Momma and a badass detective arresting bad guys turns him on) but it has got to stop.
"Jake, I'm fine," she'd insisted three months ago, when she'd had to trade in her no-nonsense pant suits for maternity clothes to accommodate her new belly. "I don't have to go on leave for ages. I'm pregnant, not an invalid."
"Stop fussing!" She'd said, when four pregnant months had passed and she was hunched over a toilet in the ladies bathroom of the precinct, Jake hovering anxiously in the door, not entering due to a lifetime awareness that boys aren't allowed in the girls bathroom because that's where girls go to gossip (and, he'd horrifically learned in the third grade, pee). She was calling out over the stall and he was focused on his view of her knees and feet and chewing his lip. "This is normal, Jake."
"Don't say anything," she'd threatened (definitely not with a smile) in month five when she was snapping at everyone for breathing and going to the bathroom every ten minutes. Jake had held up his hands and backed away because he knew that if picking fights with Amy Santiago is bad, pregnant Amy Santiago fights are equivalent to a natural disaster. But it didn't stop him from flicking concerned glances over at her for the rest of the day, even when she promised to throw a chair at him.
It turns into a pattern, and even though they're great detectives (or the world's most awesomest, depending on who you ask), they don't spot it. Jake will stress about Amy working, Amy will get annoyed at Jake stressing about her working. They'll yell and fight at home, and he'll sleep on the couch until about three in the morning when she will come out and join him, despite the cricks in her neck she always gets from sleeping on the couch, because she's gotten so used to sharing a bed with him that sleeping alone doesn't really cut it anymore. And they might talk about it in the morning, or Jake will just press a sleepy kiss to her temple, yawn, and take the first shower while Amy makes coffee for them both (regular for him, decaf for her). They'll go to work, and it'll be like they never fought at all.
It happens – of course it does; thanks again, universe – when Jake and Charles are out on a bust. It's an easy op at least – the gang are gun smuggling and all their stash is in the same shady warehouse down by the docks and Jake wonders if they were even trying, for god's sake.
When he checks his phone once all the bad guys are in handcuffs, he has three missed calls from Amy and one from Rosa and he knows, this is it.
He listens to the voice messages anyway.
"Hey babe, it's me. Just letting you know that my back is super sore and I'm getting pains and I think that I might be going into labour soon? I don't know. But it'll probably go on for hours, so don't worry. Have fun on the bust, don't get shot. Love you, bye."
"Hey Jake, me again. So, it's definitely labour, but don't worry, I'm at the precinct with Rosa and the rest of the squad. The contractions are getting close together so I'll probably go to the hospital soon. So I'll see you there. Okay? Stay alive, Peralta. Love you, bye."
"JAKE! I swear to GOD if you don't get here right NOW, I am going to murder you so hard you'll wish you'd never been BORN! Then I'm going to chop off– hey, sorry babe, I love you, I didn't mean it, the contractions are super close and– IF I HAVE THIS BABY ALONE I'M GOING TO KILL YOU! Give me those drugs– "
And the last one's from Rosa.
"Dude. Your baby's coming. Hurry up."
"Oh my god. Oh my god!"
"It's okay, just breathe. In for seven, out for eleven, just like we practiced. That's it," he says as they inhale air and blow it out in unison. "Everything's going to be fine."
"I can't help it! Amy's having your baby, Jake!" Boyle shrieks, caught halfway between elation and panic at the prospect of his dreams becoming a reality. Jake's holding him by the shoulders, surreptitiously checking his watch every five seconds because every second Amy's cervix gets wider and ew, ew, don't think about it. He just really needs to join her as soon as possible.
"I know, buddy; I know. But I really need to go to the hospital–"
Charles nods in wonder. "Totally, Jake, you have to go to her. I can finish up here. Tell Amy to not have the baby until I get there!"
"I'm not sure it works like that," Jake says, doubtfully, but claps him on the shoulder and runs off to find a police car to commandeer so he can use the siren. "Thanks, Boyle!"
He bursts into the room and the doctor, nurses and midwife turn to look at him, surprised.
"Father of the baby," he introduces himself, and Amy, red, sweaty, beautiful Amy, glares at him with the rage of a thousand suns.
"Where the HELL have you BEEN?!" she bellows, and Jake grimaces.
"Enforcing justice," he says, but rushes on when he sees her gear up for another roar. "But that's not important. You're doing great, babe," He strides over to take her hand, just as her breathing speeds up in what he guesses is another contraction. "Let's have this baby."
Thanks so much for reading! If you're interested in reading more, I'm mostly active on Ao3 - just search for author JonBonHovis :)