santiago and sweaters

what’s it gonna be?

so it’s #BiWeek so i decided to post something i wrote about my favourite fluffy-haired bisexual jewish cop (in other words, i’m just Projecting™)

Jake Peralta pulls his car up outside the coffee shop which his girlfriend frequents. In the passenger seat, Amy Santiago is clad in multiple sweaters and coats in a vain attempt to protect herself from the unforgiving cold. She looks miserably at the frosted cityscape outside the warm confines of the car before steeling herself to head out into the sub-zero chill. She gives him a quick peck on the lips in parting, promising she’ll return with hot chocolates, the kind with extra whipped cream and marshmallows.

Jake sits and waits for a while, watching strangers walk by and inventing elaborate backstories for them. The short stocky guy with glasses, whose jacket makes him look almost as wide as he is tall, is a double agent, feeding federal secrets to Russia. The tall, dark-haired woman with striking features is an expert jewel thief, and by selling the diamonds she carries in her purse, she’ll be able to pay for treatment for her sick sister. The curly haired kid standing in the window of a brand new comic book store Jake has never seen before…

He throws a glance at the coffee shop but he can’t see Amy, so he guessed (or hopes) she’s still waiting to be served. Then he gets out the car, and makes his way down the street to the little storefront wedged between two larger, flashier restaurant chains. Inside the store there are shelves stacked up to the ceiling with comics and merchandise. After a few minutes of browsing and waiting for his fingers to defrost, he shoots his girlfriend a text to let her know where he is. That’s when he hears someone calling his name.

“Jake? Jake Peralta?” Recognising the voice, Jake looks up from his phone to see a smiling Asian man, about his age. It takes him a few seconds to identify the stranger who is, of course older and longer haired, but his sharp jawline and kind eyes are familiar.

“Liam Huang?”

                                                           ***

Turn the clock back twenty years and Jake is lying on his back on his best friend’s bedroom floor and talking. Talking, in fact, isn’t the most accurate description; words have been pouring out of his mouth, unfiltered, for approximately thirty minutes. Gina isn’t fully listening, she’s bracing herself between her bed and her wardrobe in an attempt to find the best angle at which to paint her toenails, but she knows that if she doesn’t interrupt him soon he might never stop,

As silently as possible, she moves to the foot of her bed, sticking her head over the edge suddenly and shouting: “JAKE!”

His entire body lifts itself a good few inches off the floor in shock, his limbs flapping wildly. “What?!” 

“Boy, can you hear yourself?”

“No- wait- what are you talking about?”

Gina clears her throat and begins a surprisingly accurate impression of a sixteen-year-old boy. “I wonder if Jonny likes Die Hard? He’s got to like Die Hard. Wait- what if he hasn’t seen it? Maybe I could lend him m-”

Jake grabs a sandal from beneath her bed and throws a sandal at her. It misses by a very long way and almost knocks over a glass of juice. “I do not sound like that!”

 “Uh, yeah you do. And, more importantly, you’ve been talking about Jonathan Barnett for… ooh, close to 27 minutes now.”

“I have not.”

“You have.” Gina dangles the stopwatch she stole from gym class from her right hand. “I timed you.”

He reaches up to snatch it from her; it reads 26 minutes and 49 seconds exactly.

“Whaaa… Noooo… I…”

“You’re floundering, kid,” she says, her tone bored.

He frowns. “Isn’t that the fish from ‘The Little Mermaid’?”

“That’s Flounder and you know it. Anyway, stop trying to distract me from the fact you have a crush on Jonny Barnett.”

He takes a sip of juice from his cup and promptly spits it back out again and onto the carpet.

“I do not!” He exclaims, scandalised.  

“Your do, son.”

“But… I can’t have a crush on Jonathan, he’s a boy. I like girls,” explains Jake, more creases appearing in his forehead. 

“You can like girls and like boys. Haven’t you ever heard of bisexuality?”

“…No?”

Gina props herself up with her elbows. “Yeah it’s a thing, Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Frida Kahlo, probably a ton of other people too. I must admit, I haven’t done my research.”

“So you think I’m bisexual?” Jake enquires.

She shrugs. “You might be. Do you think you are?”

“Possibly? I don’t know. I just think Jonny has really good hair, okay?”

“Boy, I know he does, I know.”

                                                          ***

After a few years of mostly unrequited crushes on girls and boys alike, Jake Peralta meets Liam Huang when they’re both sophomores in college. The two of them are partnered together in biology. Liam has spiky hair and is perpetually smiley, whereas Jake’s hair looks like it’s trying to eat his head. They get on well, swap notes (Liam’s are far more detailed than Jake’s which frequently include what can only be described as Die Hard fan art) and at the end of the semester, Liam asks Jake on a date.

He responds by dropping the muffin he’s eating on the floor and then saying, “I’m sorry?”

Liam buries his face in his hands. “Oh god,” he groans, “Have I got this wrong? Have I totally misread the signals?”

“You’re asking me on a date?”

 “Yeah, that was kinda the plan. Sorry.” He replies meekly.

“No,” Jake furrows his brow in confusion before saying: “don’t be sorry.” Then: “This is really happening?”

“Yes.”

“You want to go on a date with me?”

“Absolutely.” Liam affirms. “But only if you want to?”

Jake cracks his signature grin. “Of course I want to.”

A date is set for them to have coffee on Thursday afternoon and then they wind up having a beer on Saturday night. The more they discuss, the more they realise they have in common. They’re both only children with divorced parents and a marginally older best-friend-come-sister-figure (although Gina and Aline would certainly murder each other if they ever had the misfortune to meet). They keep meeting for beer or to study and they frequently wind up talking late into the night. It’s two AM and they’re both bleary-eyed from studying when Liam leans in to kiss Jake for the first time and a short while after they fall asleep in their chairs at his desk, still hand in hand.

                                                           ***

Jake’s dad contacts him for the first time in eighteen months in the spring that follows. They go out to dinner to some cheap fast food restaurant and things seem almost like old times (before Roger cheated on Jake’s mom and abandoned them both), but that’s before he brings up his son’s love life.

“So how’s college treating you?” He raises an eyebrow. “Lots of hot girls?”

Jake shrugs. “It’s alright and yeah, I guess some of them are quite pretty.”

“Haven’t managed to bag yourself a girlfriend yet then, Jakey?”

Jake takes a deep breath. “Actually dad, I am seeing someone.

“Really? Who’s the lucky lady?”

He clears his throat, wipes his sweating palms on his jeans and says: “His name is Liam.”

There’s a long, uncomfortable silence and Jake’s feet are itching to bolt out the door and carry him, far, far away from the consequences of his confession.

Roger emits half a laugh. “You’re not gay, Jake.”

“No, I’m not. I’m bi.”

“You’re what?”

Jake wants nothing more than to run away but he stays seated, his voice unwavering. “I’m bisexual.”

“What the hell is that?” There’s confusion in his father’s voice, mixed with just a drop of disgust.

“It’s when someone’s attracted to both men and women.”

“No one’s attracted to men and women. If you fancy men you’re gay, son, and you are not gay. Unless this is all a bit of a phase?”

“Dad, no, it’s not like that I l-”

He’s interrupted mid-sentence by the bleeping of Roger’s phone. “Listen, Jake, I’ve got to go. Buddy of mine has food poisoning so I’ve got to co-pilot on an early flight tomorrow.”

And with that he leaves, without saying another word to his son.

                                                           ***

“Jake!”

Jake keeps his head down, devoting all of his attention to his meatball sub. It’s too late though, he’s already been spotted.

“Jake!”

He looks up to see Liam hurrying towards him. There’s no avoiding him now.

“Oh, hey.”

“Dude, are you okay?” There’s concern in his voice.

“Yeah, of course,” Jake lies. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“You haven’t answered any of my calls.”

“Yeah, sorry about that I’ve just been really busy with, y’know…” He trails off.

“Busy with what?!” His boyfriend questions, before saying, more softly: “Is this about your dad?”

Jake gapes at him as though he’s being ridiculous. “What?! No! Why would it be anything to do with him?”

“I just thought that, because you guys went to dinner last week, he might have done something to upset you, like he usually does.”

“No, no, it was all good.” He wonders if there’s a way Liam can tell that he’s lying.

“If you’re sure.” He doesn’t seem entirely convinced but he doesn’t press the issue. Instead he asks: “So, wanna go for a drink tomorrow night?”

Jake looks apologetic. “Sorry, I can’t I have a thing… a… you know… I have a thing.”

“A thing, sure.”

After three more cancelled dates, Jake finds Liam knocking on his door. He almost reluctantly invites him inside, offering him a beer- he declines. Liam tells Jake that he’s only come to talk and asks again if he’s okay and offers discuss his issues with his dad. But, every time he tries to be open with Jake, to get him to express his emotions, Jake constantly puts barriers up between them and attempts to distract him with any other topic. Not long after arriving, Liam leaves, telling Jake that he thinks it’s best if they return to being friends. When the door shuts behind him, Jake drinks every beer in his fridge as well as the ones he keeps under his bed.

Predictably, they lose contact after college. Liam gets a job, moves out to California and Jake hears very little more about him. Jake becomes graduates the police academy, becomes a detective and has mostly brief relationships with women, and occasionally men he meets in bars or through work. Then he meets Sophia. They don’t date for long enough for him to tell her about his sexuality, but he’s certain it wouldn’t have horrified or surprised her. And after Sophia, there’s Amy. Jake never really manages to understand how he lived his life before he met her. He keeps meaning to tell her about Liam (and the others who all followed at some point down the line) but there never really seems to be a good enough time.

                                                            ***

“So, how are you?” Liam enquires, running his hand through his hair -an old nervous tic. It’s shoulder length now, as opposed to the short and spiky style he had in college and Jake has to admit it’s a good look on him.

“I’m… I’m good, yeah. How are you?”

“I’m wonderful. Actually, I just got married.” He grins, holding up his hand so Jake can see the ring.

“No way! That’s awesome, dude.”

At that moment Jake feels a hand on his arm and he gives a small start until he realises it’s Amy.

“Hey babe, are y…” She trails off, noticing Liam. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise I was interrupting a conversation.”

Liam smiles. “That’s okay. I’m Liam, by the way, Jake’s-”

Panicked, Jake cuts in. “College friend. Liam’s my friend from college.”

His ex-boyfriend raises an eyebrow but says nothing.

“Lovely to meet you.” Amy stretches her hand out to shake his. “I’m Amy, Jake’s girlfriend.”

“Nice to meet you too,” Liam replies, then he continues: “I was just telling Jake that I got married.”

Amy’s smile widens. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you!” He checks his watch quickly. “Look, I better get going, my husband’s waiting in the car (he’s not really a big fan of comic books), but we should definitely get coffee whilst I’m in New York.”

“Yeah, absolutely.” Jake says, cheerfully.

Liam scribbles his number quickly on the back of a business card and hands it to him. The three of them part with smiles outside the shop, heading in opposite directions down the street. 

                                                             ***

“Liam seemed nice.” Amy mumbles sleepily, inching closer to Jake as they watch TV that evening.

He pauses to put his arm around her before answering. “Yeah, he is.”

“Are you going to text him about coffee?”

Jake takes a deep breath. “Amy.”

She turns her head to look at him, smiling contentedly. “Yes?”

“There’s something I haven’t told you.” His voice is shaking, anxious.

She takes his hand in hers; his racing heartbeat slows just a little. “Jake, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I just…”

“What is it?”

“Liam isn’t my friend from college.” He breathes.

Amy frowns up at him. “No? Who is he then? He isn’t linked to the Iannuccis, is he?” Thank god for Amy Santiago and her tendency to presume the worst.

“No, no, no. Nothing like that Ames.”

“Who is he then?”

Jake opens his mouth, then pauses to take a few deep breaths.

“Well?”

“He’s my ex-boyfriend.”

“Oh okay.”

He looks at her in disbelief. She doesn’t say anything else.

“Okay? Amy, I drop a bombshell on you, I tell you a secret I’ve hidden from you for eight years, and all you can say is okay?”

“So, you’re bisexual. It’s not a big deal.”

“It’s not?” He trails off for a moment.

“It’s absolutely not. Why, how were you expecting me to react?”

“I didn’t really know. I’ve never told anyone else I’ve dated about the whole bisexual thing before. Well, besides Liam.”

“Well you didn’t need to worry about it. I survived six months of you being in witness protection, so dealing with a few of your ex-boyfriends will be breeze.”

Jake grins. “Really?”

“Really.”



[A/N: this fic is not as good as it could be and i’m really sorry but i’ve got a lot to do for uni and i still wanted to publish this this week. i tried really hard. well, i kinda tried. i’m sorry about any british terms used which aren’t used in america and all of that. however, i’m not sorry that i just projected my sexuality and experiences onto one of my fave fictional characters]

Autumn angels ✨ (because I refuse to believe that those two are supposed to be monsters)

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