I suppose they still take life bravely, face to face, giving it tooth and nail. - Thoreau, Walden
"Jimmy," Cooper mutters against Jimmy's mouth. "Fuck. Jimmy."
His partner pulls away, still breathing heavily, fingers still fisted into Jimmy's shirt. For a second no one says anything-- Jimmy can barely think, much less speak. And even if his tongue weren't so heavy with the taste and feel of Cooper he probably wouldn't have been able to formulate a coherent sentence, anyway.
Two minutes ago, he'd been half-sure Coop was actually going to kill him. Two minutes ago, he'd been mad enough to kill him right back.
It's amazing where a hundred and twenty seconds can get you, because Jimmy's pretty confident he's traveled more than just the few steps between his mouth and Coop's-- he's so far gone that he can barely see Eileen and the kids from the rearview mirror (and maybe they're waving but probably they've already turned away).
He waits, an odd sort of patience taking hold, because Coop is the loudmouth, the smartass, the self-sure and unshakeable John Wayne of the duo and Jimmy's not even confident enough to move his hands from Cooper's neck.
Part of him hopes Coop will start laughing, will play the whole thing off and grab the beer and promise to kick his ass next time and he can't go around kissing everybody just because he doesn't want to get beat up.
Most of him hopes he doesn't. Most of him hopes he just keeps standing there forever, looking at him like that, like he's a cold beer after a long day on the job.
"Jimmy," Cooper says again, softer this time, questioning. His lips quirk up, a teasing little smile haunting around the edges. "D'you kiss your mama with that mouth? Because my God."
Jimmy groans, dropping his head to Cooper's shoulder, not sure even of how to fix his expression because there's so much different shit fighting for precedence-- fear, yes, but laughter and joy and affection and hunger, too, all volleying and jockeying to take control.
He's not quite sure how to tell that to Coop, so he settles on a muffled, "Fuck."
He can feel his partner laughing, his fingers in Jimmy's hair, gently tugging him up until they're nose to nose and Cooper is just looking at him, for once not teasing or laughing or joking, just . . . looking. "Okay?" He asks softly, and Jimmy thinks he'd be more okay if he couldn't feel the breath that carries those words across his mouth.
He also thinks that if Coop steps away he couldn't be held accountable for whatever measures he'd take to get him back where he belongs.
"Okay?" He asks incredulously, blinking. "We just . . . just-- "
"Made out," Cooper supplies with a cocky little grin, tilting his head to the side. "Pretty big time. In your back yard."
He thinks: you smug little shit, but laughs anyway because the whole thing is so goddamn ridiculous and he's not entirely sure this isn't some sort of dream. "Well, uhm. Yeah."
"Personally, I'm a little ashamed it took me so long," Coop says airily, beginning to disentangle himself, stealing his heat and letting the summer air take its place. "I mean, if I'd have known you'd be so-- "
He's almost a whole pace away when Jimmy wakes up, and his hands shoot out to snatch Coop's hand, jerking him back until they're face-to-face again. He steadies himself on his partner's shoulders, head down, breathing heavy, dimly aware of how pathetic that move was and twenty percent sure he doesn't care.
"Whoa," Coop breathes softly, affectionately, laughter laden on his breath. "Easy, tiger."
"Just-- don't-- just don't yet, okay?"
There's a quick silence, in which Jimmy is sure Coop is suddenly going to realize what exactly they're doing and step away, horrified, furious, disgusted-- hell, Jimmy's half of all those things himself. But then suddenly his partner has dipped his head so that Jimmy has to look at him, and he's not laughing or teasing anymore, he's more serious than he's ever been before and to be honest, it's kind of freaking Jimmy out.
"Jimmy," he murmurs, bringing a hand to the other man's face with surety that Jimmy's thankful for. "Jimmy. Look at me."
"Do you have any idea what this past year has been like for me?" Jimmy shakes his head because at the moment he has no idea what the past year has been like at all-- he can't remember anything past two minutes ago, can't even remember what he said to piss Coop off so bad in the first place. "Hell, Jimmy. Hell."
His raises his head slowly. "I'm sorry," he says, sincerely, apologizing not for the year but for the insult and the fight and the-- uhm-- kiss, understanding suddenly that maybe this really is all just some sort of freak accident because it's not like Coop is-- like either of them are--
"No, shut up," Coop says sharply, his grip on Jimmy's arm tightening. "If you're apologizing for what just happened then shut the fuck up, Jimmy."
"I don't-- "
"It's been hell because all I've been able to think about is you, and not because you're my partner or your wife's a great cook or any of the other stupid ass reasons I've been feeding myself." He pauses, his voice suddenly fierce. "Haven't you ever wondered why I don't date?"
He almost can't believe what he's hearing so he tries to listen but it's like everything is fuzzy-- he's still caught that first sentence and it's echoing in his head like he's the Grand Canyon. "Why?" he asks, only vaguely aware that he's speaking at all.
"They weren't enough," Cooper answers, so quick that he catches the end of Jimmy's breath. "They weren't taller than me with short brown hair and the mouth that spits about as much venom as a fucking kindergarten teacher-- "
Even dazed Jimmy can't let that one slide, so instead of answering he launches himself at Cooper, knocking him to the ground. He sits victoriously on his stomach, a knee on either side of his best friend. "Want to say that again?" He asks, deciding in an instant that he's had about as much calm discussion for one day as he can handle.
For once Cooper doesn't joke back but says, his voice rough, "They weren't enough," and Jimmy's not entirely sure it's him he's talking to because the next minute he's on his back and Cooper is kissing him again, unabashedly, and Jimmy feels like a teenager hiding Eileen from his parents and he shouldn't be doing this, he should just go inside--
Kindergarten teacher my ass, he thinks, and then Cooper shifts a little, and the gentle burn of skin on skin overrides any further plans to leave that Jimmy might have had.
So he thinks, fuck it and doesn't notice the tiny fluttering of the curtain window as Eileen lets it slip through her fingers.