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Deep breaths.

That’s what he needed to do. Just take deep breaths.

He needed to keep calm.

He had to keep calm because he remembered at one of his training courses that in cases of trauma and injury, he needed to keep himself, as the responder, and the victim calm.

Well, in this case, he was the responder as well as the victim, so that was basically half his work done!

The next thing he needed to do was pressure.

Jake groaned loudly as he pressed his hand against his side, even more, ignoring the way warm blood - his blood - seeped between his fingers and trailed sickeningly up his hand and arm. This wasn’t looking good for him. Even without seeing anything properly through the poor lighting of the alleyway, Jake knew that he was bleeding too much, his hand and the material of his jacket not being enough to stem the flow.

Breath hitching with suppressed panic and pain, Jake forced himself to shift, his muscles quaking as he forced trembling fingers to his back jean pocket, where his phone should be. But he couldn’t quite reach it with his position against the wall. His breath quickened as he psyched himself up and clenched his jaw as he dug his heels into the concrete and lifted himself up, fighting through the pain of aggravating such a serious wound as he finally pinched the corner of his phone and pulled it free.

However, Jake didn’t even have enough time to hope or have a mental victory before the rubber of his shoes slipped against the loose wet stones of the desolate alleyway, making him lose his precious balance as he collapsed to the ground once again, forcing him to release a pained shout as the wound jostled and throbbed, white-hot pain pulsating to the rhythm of his rapid heartbeat. More precious blood slipped free and onto the concrete floor before he shook off the pain and pressed his hand against his stomach once again.

Panting for breath and tears stinging his eyes, Jake shakily turned to the one thing that could save his life. Please god, let it save his life.

Clumsily tapping his phone, Jake tried to turn it on, ignoring the way the new cracks of the screen cut against the calloused digits of his fingers.

“Come on…” he breathed out weakly, practically begging with every ounce of his being, “Come on… Turn on…”

He needed it to turn on, he needed to call for backup. He needed to call for help.

Then, like a prayer answered, the dim alleyway lit up with the light of his screen, having finally found the right button to press through his pained haze. Pressing his thumb down on the button, Jake waited for the right vibration and sound before he finally spoke, as loud and clear as he could possibly make himself, “Siri, call… Captain…”

Jake blinked his eyes hard before he forced them back open. No. He needed to stay awake. He needed backup. He needed help.

The phone dialled, trying to connect, every ring seeming slower and slower as it drew on and on.

He wasn’t picking up.

Captain Holt wasn’t picking up and Jake’s eyes were getting heavier and his arm was getting too weak to hold it to his side for much longer.

Dully, Jake stared at the dank wall of the alley. It wasn’t ideal and it wasn’t in a blaze of glory and he didn’t have anyone with him, but he could be content dying like this. He could die like this. Tears gathered, unwittingly, into Jake's eyes, threatening to spill over. He died trying to do the right thing, he died doing what he believed in, and he died as a good cop who got unlucky enough to lose his life on the line of duty. Jake blinked and tears spilt down his cheeks, breath quivering with a mix of emotions as his vision slowly turned darker and darker, his dwindling strength barely there.

He knew that he would die one day. Being a cop in New York was dangerous and he dealt with murder cases on a weekly, if now daily, basis. Dying like this had always been a possibility, he just didn’t know his time would be today-

“Peralta,” a deep, beckoning voice sounded in the alleyway, tired and mildly irritated despite the emotionless monotone. It took Jake a moment to realise that it was his phone. It was Captain Holt, “This better be important as to warrant waking Kevin and I from our sleep.”

Hope bloomed hard and fast in Jake’s chest as he forced the last of his strength into his fading voice, “C-Cap-tain,” Jake managed, mentally cursing his weakness and blood loss.

There was a pause over the line, “Peralta?” concern sounded over the speakers in that comforting deep baritone, “Jake, talk to me. Where are you? Do you require backup?”

Jake could hear the growing panic and desperation in Holt’s voice as the detective continued to pant as he tried to keep his darkness from his narrowing vision. He hated to be doing this to the man, but he was the only person Jake could think of at a time like this…

“Cap…” Jake forced his voice louder, “I- I need… H-Help me… I…”

The once silent alleyway filled with ruffling and panicked voices for a moment before Jake could hear Holt’s voice on the receiver, cutting through the slow fogginess of the detective’s mind, grounding him. “Jake, I need you to stay awake,” he commanded, authority ringing clear through the small device, “I need you to tell me where you are so that I can send the ambulance and a squad to your location, do you understand me, detective? Answer me, Peralta… Peralta! Do you copy?!”

“D-Dad…” Jake finally managed to stutter out before darkness pounced and consumed him, knocking him out before he could even catch Holt’s panicked shouts and ramblings for him to stay awake, for him to answer back, for him to do anything. Jake was ignorant to it all as he sat there, legs sprawled out and slumped against a wall, as a puddle of blood grew beneath him…


 

Morning at the precinct was always a bit slow, detectives and officers trickling in at small intervals, still half asleep and barely ready for the long day ahead of them. Amy, as always was punctual and already working as she prepped her notes for the morning debrief, lightly scoffing as she glanced across her desk at the empty seat.

“Peralta late again?” Rosa questioned as she strode by, heels clicking and hair bouncing as she made her way to her desk with her bike helmet in hand.

Amy sighed, rolling her eyes at the mention of the man-child, “Yeah, what do you think the excuse is this time?”

“Probably, flushed his phone again,” Rosa gave a half-hearted shrug before she swung her chair around to face her desk, effectively ending their conversation.

That was how it usually went for the mornings, a little bit of small talk with mostly peaceful silence, only to be disrupted by the chaotic force that was Jake Peralta. It wasn’t weird for him to be late, though he’d been getting better with Captain Holt bearing down on him… Now that she thought about it, Captain Holt seemed to be late as well. What could possibly cause their usually diligent Captain to be so late?

As if on cue, Holt stormed into the bullpen, steps hurried and his usually neutral expression tight with obvious stress, the image instantly set Amy on edge. Something was wrong. She could feel it down to the bottom of her gut. In swift succession, everyone gathered into the briefing room and Halt stood sternly at the pedestal, knuckles wrapped tightly over the edge of the wood as he patiently waited for everyone to get settled down. Amy made eye contact with Terry and he gave a slight shake of his head with a confused expression - he didn’t know what was wrong with the Captain either.

“Good morning everyone,” the Captain started, lips twitching down. This was definitely bad news, “I regret to inform everyone that Detective Jake Peralta was attacked last night. He was able to stay conscious enough to call me for backup and from there, we were able to locate him and get him the medical attention he needed…” Holt trailed off, brows furrowing slightly to form a small crease in the middle. Amy felt like all the air had been sucked out of the room as she stared at the Captain with no small amount of shock, a quick glance around her showed that everyone else was in an equal state of shock.

“What…” Amy finally managed to regain control of her vocals, “What happened?”

“He was shot in the stomach and the thigh,” Holt reported, tone as neutral as ever, “The wound on his thigh had an exit wound and hit no major arteries, but the shot to his stomach, for which there was no exit wound, caused a lot of internal damage in which he had to receive immediate surgery for. His heart stopped on the way to the hospital, however, they managed to revive him a few minutes later.”

“Who did this to him?” Rosa spoke up, tone full of deadly intent as she narrowed her eyes in silent murderous rage.

“Unfortunately, we’ve not been able to figure out the assailants at this moment in time-“

“Why the hell not?!” Charles interrupted and Amy would have been more surprised by the older man’s disrespect if she hadn’t been in so much shock.

“Stand. Down. Detectives,” Holt commanded them all in a steely voice of authority that had all of them settling back down and reining in their different variants of anger, “Now, I understand that Peralta’s absence is unsettling and angering, but there is nothing we can do at this time… After the surgery, Peralta fell into a coma so we’ve been unable to question him and their cameras in that area had been compromised. As of now, we have no leads and no idea if this was a premeditative strike or an unlucky coincidence. Detective Peralta was not signed up for any night shifts, nor had he been given any new cases that would explain the reason for his location. If anyone has any information on the subject, please speak now.”

“His dad,” Charles offered, before he gave a tired sigh, “Jake told me that his deadbeat dad had contacted him and set up a meeting so that they could have a talk. About what, I have no idea and neither did Jake, but that could explain why he was found in an ‘odd’ location.”

Instantly Terry took over, voice as hard and authoritative as the Captain’s, “Right, Charles get me information of Captain Roger Peralta’s whereabouts and we’ll bring him in for questioning. Rosa, Amy, you’re on door duty for that area, see if anyone heard or saw anything about the attacker or the case in general. Right, let’s go detectives,” and with that last command, everyone was shooting up from their seats, ready to help with the high-priority case.

One of their own was attacked and grievously injured, that wouldn’t be a cop in this precinct that wasn’t eager to bring these scumbags to justice.


 

It had been close to three weeks since Karen Peralta started to visit the hospital on a daily basis, silently watching her son as he slept on, oblivious to the world around him. If she tried hard enough, she could pretend that her son wasn’t in a coma, that he wasn’t surrounded by beeping machines, that he wasn’t wrapped up in bandages and kept together with dark stitches, she could pretend that her little Jakey was simply asleep. God, why couldn’t he have just been asleep?

During her time there, she had been introduced to her son’s entire squad, all of them giving their condolences and leaving gifts for her boy to wake up to, but as the days dragged on, the detectives had to get back to work. Karen was understanding of it all and she was just glad that they had managed to catch her son’s attackers within a week of investigation. She didn’t know if she should feel cheated or relieved that the attack hadn’t been planned or malicious. Jake was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with a group of young adults, who had been trying to dip their toes into the criminal nightlife. Apparently, one of the kids had come forward and confessed when he’d come across a news report about her son; he’d gotten scared and ran away when he saw one of the older boys shoot Jake with a gun he had no idea existed. The case was wrapped up after that and the kid that confessed with let off with community service, while the shooter was awaiting his final trial.

Karen was just glad that they’d been found so fast.

Now, all she had to worry about was her sleeping son, who hadn’t woken up since the incident. She just wished that he would wake up, now.

“Knock, knock,” a deep, familiar voice came from the doorway and Karen felt her blood ignite with anger. Her gaze shot up to pin the man in the doorway, a protective instinct making her tense as she sat in her chair and silently watched him.

Roger seemed rigid as he stared into fiery brown eyes that were so much like his son’s, his heart breaking as he took in the broken form on the bed. Roger remembered when he first saw his son after so many years apart and he could barely relate the image of the small, gangly seven-year-old that he’d left behind to the broad-shouldered intimidating detective that Jake had grown into. Now, Roger could barely relate that impressive figure to the man on the bed now, not when he looked so small a delicate, nose and mouth taped with tubes and arms flaccid by his sides, the wires making him look like he was being held down by ropes.

He looked dead.

The limp, unmoving form was too much for him to handle, a stark contrast to his son’s usually animated personality.

Then his eyes searched the only other presence that wasn’t comatose, sat next to the bed of their son and tense like a predator waiting to strike him down. The silence was heavy and suffocating as he stood before his ex-wife like it was slowly wrapping around his throat, getting tighter and tighter the longer anything went unsaid. In the end, Roger couldn’t stand the mounting awkwardness anymore and-

“What are you doing here?” Karen asked, voice hollow and foreign to Roger’s ears and, for the second time in his life, uncertainty flooded him.

“What do you mean? I came to see my son,” he shook the small bouquet of flowers - he got a random selection as he didn’t know what Jake’s favourite flower was, or if he even had a favourite flower - a small smile playing on his lips as he attempted to lift the sombre mood of the room. Of course, he’d visit his son in the hospital, he wasn’t that heartless…

A bitter laugh erupted from Karen as she shook her head, limp brown hair following the motion before she stood up from her chair and met Roger’s eyes, brimstone brown on icy blue, a challenge and a threat and all the other emotions she was feeling mixed into one, single, terrifying gaze. It made the plane captain shudder as he looked away, shame and guilt feeling his very soul when he realised how red Karen’s eyes were, whether it was from crying so much or being so tired and stressed Roger didn’t know, but it made him feel terrible all the same…

“And you care now?” she questioned, tone bitter and resentful as she bared her teeth in a mocking form of a smile, “No, the only reason you are here is so you can get rid of that guilty conscience of yours so you can finally move onto the next busty red-head or dumb blonde,” she spat, venom coating her words as she glared at him.

“Guilty?” Roger questioned, looking slightly taken aback, before he frowned and pointed at his still son, “You think this is my fault?”

“Yes,” she stated, firmly and harshly, making Roger take a step back as pain spiked in his heart, making him feel as if he’d been the one shot instead of Jake, “The only reason he was there was because you blew him off! What was it this time? Another girl? A round of drinks with the guys? Or maybe you just didn’t give a rat’s ass!”

Roger had nothing to say to that, unable to respond, words clogged in his throat, because what could he say when it was the truth? He found it almost unbearable, to think that he was having sex, having a good time and thinking of none of the consciences that his actions might have, while his son was bleeding out in a dark alley, alone and dying. Jake had gotten shot because Roger couldn’t be bothered to show up. What would have happened if Roger had actually met up with his son instead of thinking of himself? Would Jake have been safe? Would he never have gotten shot? Would he not be in this coma right now?

After he’d been called in by the police and asked to give a statement about his whereabouts, Roger had tried everything in his power to convince himself that he was not at fault, that he was not such a bad father that he managed to almost kill his only son due to his negligence and his inability to put others’ wellbeing ahead of his own enjoyment. That was why he’d been putting off this visit… That was why he couldn’t face his son and his ex-wife until now, but with that truthful accusation thrown in his face, his hard-made deletions came crashing down…

“I’m-“

“No,” Karen suddenly shouted, voice rising to a deafening roar worthy of a furious mother. Then, all at once, the fight seemed to evaporate, the fury that she had once harvested and channelled seeming to drain out of her as the exhaustion of the situation caught up to her, leaving her worn and hollow. She turned from him as if disgusted by the mere sight of him, “Just leave…” she whispered like a final prayer.

Roger stepped forward, desperate for Karen to not slam the door in his face and cut him out of their lives forever, “Karen-“

“I said get out!” she shouted as she glared at him, tears of anger and sorrow making her eyes brighter as they reflected the fluorescent light. She then marched up to him and it took everything in Roger to not back down, to not turn and cower away in the face of her righteous fury that erupted from the small woman. Roughly, she shoved the small flowers back into his chest, both of them dismissing the fallen petals as she bared her teeth at him, “Take your fucking flowers and leave us the hell alone. You are nothing to us and if you come here again, I’m calling the police. Now, leave Roger.”

Her expression was hard and serious as Roger took a step back and gave a regretful nod. He turned and walked away from his comatose and only son, flowers clutched in his trembling fingers as he tried to ignore the crushing emotions that were whirling about him. A bar full of alcoholic beverages sounded good right now…


 

Something was wrong.

He didn’t know what but something felt really wrong as he began to wake up. For some reason, he just knew that he wasn’t in his apartment, on his springy double bed and his thread-bare sheets and he knew something wasn’t right as his senses came back to him in drips and drabs, like random pieces of a puzzle that he was surely, but very slowly, putting together.

The sound of constant beeping was not the usual sound that his phone alarm emitted and he couldn’t even muster the strength to try and hit it, his fingers twitching in his vain efforts. Why was he so weak? Where the hell was he? Why couldn’t he remember?

Just as Jake was beginning to panic, not noticing that the beeping was getting louder, he felt something warm on his hand, stroking over rough knuckles. It took Jake a moment to realise that the thing on his hand was someone else’s hand, fingers stroking over his own in a soothing pattern. As he calmed down and became more aware, Jake could detect a voice beside him, the tones familiar and shushed as the person spoke to him, obviously trying to calm him down.

“C’mon,” the voice gently commanded, “C’mon Jakey, open your eyes. I know it’s hard, but you can do it, man!” the voice encouraged, enthusiasm and hope seeped into his hushed words. The voice sounded familiar, but Jake wasn’t sure; none of his close friends, family or co-workers came to mind as he listened to the voice, gently trying to get him to open his eyes.

Curiosity mounting, Jake tried to open his eyes, the lids feeling ridiculously heavy as he attempted to force them open, eyes flickering around like crazy as he tried to complete the impossible task. Never before had Jake had so much difficulty with just opening his eyes; what the hell was going on?

“That’s it! That’s it, Jakey!” the voice called, beckoning Jake to not give up as he fought his way to full consciousness. The stranger’s other hand landed in Jake’s hair, large fingers twisting through the small ringlets in further encouragement.

When Jake finally managed to open his eyes, he hissed and blinked and squinted, trying to get used to the low light of the room as his brain kicked into high gear in trying to register everything he was suddenly seeing. Everything felt like it was slow and stalling to Jake, like his muscles and brain capacity were like a car engine trying to start after years of neglect.

Blinking away the last of his drowsiness, though he still felt weak, Jake’s eyes sought after the voice, tired brown eyes connecting with joyful ones.

“Hey Jakey-P, guess you know when your best friend is here,” the large man grinned down at his prone form and Jake’s eyes slowly widened as recognition and realisation hit him full force.

“Judy!” Jake attempted to shout, but he wasn’t even able to get the first syllable out before he choked and was forced to stop.

“Whoa, whoa, man!” Doug stood up and waved his hands, slightly panicked, “Don’t try to speak, you’ve got tubes and all that down your throat,” he settled back down when Jake’s breath turned back to normal, “I was real worried about you, Jakey. Only heard what happened last week when a buddy of mine overheard it on the streets. ‘Parently you nearly died and was in a coma for just over a month.” Jake made a confused face, brows furrowed and eyes searching Judy’s before the criminal caught the silent message. Judy gave a bitter smile as he sighed and patted Jake’s limp hand, “From what I heard, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. A deal was going down between some newbies, they came across you, saw the badge and one drew a gun on you. You were real lucky, man,” Judy shook his head and rubbed his hand over his mouth, a tell of stress.

Jake had never seen his criminal counterpart so subdued before, this soft-spoken, weary version of Doug Judy was a stark contrast to the wise-cracking, laughing car-thief that Jake often found himself drawn it by. Either this was Doug Judy, sombre and sad by Jake’s bedside, or Jake was on the really, really good drugs…

“Saw your mum,” the criminal smiled, “She’s real cool. I can see how you two are related. I think your mum and my mum would get along real well, ya know.”

Okay, maybe this wasn’t drugs and in that case, Jake really needed to get someone in here. Wasn’t there some kind of button to call the nurses? Jake’s fingers twitched in want when Judy suddenly decided to lace their fingers together, squeezing lightly in a form of comfort.

“You’re gonna be okay, Jakey. I’m here for you,” he soothed and Jake couldn’t help but roll his eyes, completely voiceless. It didn’t help that the criminal’s soothing voice ended up lulling Jake back to sleep, his exhaustion hitting him full force…


 

“So, Doc,” Jake grinned, attempting to put on the full charm, “Where do I sign out?”

“You’re kidding, right?” the man passed in flipping the pages on his clipboard to stare incredulously at the detective, “You just woke up yesterday.”

Jake stared at the doctor for a moment before he slowly nodded his head, “So, have you got it right there, or is it at the front desk?”

“Honey,” Karen interrupted, a fondly exasperated smile on her face as she gently grabbed his hand, “You need some time to heal and take care of yourself after everything that your body’s gone through. Take some time from work, have a holiday, and heal your spirit and your body. You know, I recently read an article in a magazine about the benefits of self-cleansing,” she advised and Jake hummed and nodded. To be honest, that did sound like a good idea.

“Wait, no,” the doctor interrupted, “While finding time for yourself and relaxing is an important aspect of healing, you need to stay here for at least a couple of weeks and physically heal. You were in a coma for a month and you still haven’t completely recovered from the multiple surgeries. Your body went through a lot of stress in a very small amount of time, which is why you fell into a coma in the first place. We just want to put you under observation, to be cautious.”

With that, the doctor left with hurried steps, leaving Jake alone with his mother.

The pair smiled at one another, squeezing one another’s hands.

“Thanks for being here, mum,” Jake spoke softly, a rare emotion tainting his voice as he looked into brown eyes that were so much like his own.

“Thank you for coming back to me,” Karen replied in the same tone as Jake, “Please, don’t ever put me through that ever again, Jakey.”

Jake gave a watery smile as he lifted their joined hands to kiss the back of hers, “I’ll do my best, mum…”