Author's Notes: My first Cold Case, and it's not even about the main characters

Author's Notes: My first Cold Case, and it's not even about the main characters.

I can't help it.

I'm obsessed with Cooper and Jimmy from "Forever Blue". I don't even really expect reviews for this. I just. you know. Slashy goodness?

Duet, Unfinished

For Brian Hallery

Oh. my. God.

-X-

They might arrest the murderer and shut the box, but for Jimmy Bruno the case will never really be closed.

-X-

There are a lot of things Cooper doesn't tell his partner.

He doesn't tell him to get his goddamn feet off the dashboard, even though he always leaves muddy footprints that Sarg makes him clean off after hours because his stupid sonofabitch partner loves nothing more than to rest his chin against his knees when they're driving.

He doesn't tell him about the long nights in Vietnam, where it was cold when it should have been warm and the man next to you was as close as you can get to an Eileen or a Beth or a Kathy.

And when Jimmy jokes, "Are you in love with my wife, Coop?" he doesn't tell him that it's not Eileen he comes over for.

"No," he says, truthfully enough. "Just her cooking."

-X-

It gets harder.

For the first couple of months, Coop can ignore the way Jimmy's skin against his makes his whole body tighten and spark, the way his pants stiffen and he has to "use the bathroom" a helluva lot more than he used to.

He can ignore the way women don't seem to satisfy anymore, the way they're cute but not strong enough, not tall enough, not dark haired and wide-eyed and married with children.

But.

Eventually it wears on him. He becomes jealous of every word that rolls off of Jimmy's tongue, every syllable that tastes his breath and caresses the inside and outside of his bottom lip. He grows to resent Eileen-- loved, sexed, pregnant Eileen-- and the easy way she slips her hand into her husband's and kisses his cheek. He fears Jimmy and the unwitting hold his partner possesses, the way a single look can send Cooper hurrying to the bathroom and straining against himself, fighting every muscle in his body that screams for just one touch--

"Coop? Cooper. Buddy, are okay?"

Jimmy's feet are on the dashboard again, mud tracking against the leather. Cooper shakes half-awake, smiling just a little because it takes every last shred of control to keep from seizing Jimmy's mouth with his own and not stopping until his partner gives in.

The real answer is no, is no no no no no and Christ Jimmy you have no idea.

"Yes," Cooper lies, smoothly.

Jimmy's hand slides slowly from Cooper's shoulder, his fingers lightly whispering against his partner's skin. For half a second, Cooper thinks that maybe-- but no, Jimmy's eyes are still wide and still innocent and still completely unaware of the truly disturbing images burned into his partner's skull.

"All right," he acquiesces with a shrug. "Then let's go bust some shins."

-X-

His fist is flying before he even realizes what he's doing; he can feel his knuckles sinking into Jimmy's skin and God help him but it's-- satisfying, in its own way, because there's a fine line between sex and violence and shit if he even knows which side he's on anymore.

"You're right," he mutters, his voice low and hoarse and tinged with pleasure, "That did feel good."

And then Jimmy is leaping at him, all arms and legs and soft skin, breath fast on Cooper's neck, hitting and clawing and fighting. They break apart, staring, dimly understanding that it's their first real fight, half-wondering if they've woken Eileen and half not caring, and he's just begun to think that Jimmy's eye is going to bruise when something snaps.

Maybe it's the little dip in Jimmy's brow, or the slight twitching of his lips or maybe Cooper's just fucked anyway but suddenly he doesn't give a flying fuck about Eileen or the consequences or anything else and he's kissing him-- not nice and gentle either but hard and angry and frustrated, because he can't go another day not knowing.

He can't.

He tastes like sweat and beer and the meatloaf he had for dinner and this might be the last time Cooper gets to be this close to his partner, but. It's worth it.

Jimmy shoves him away-- he knew he would (he had to know he would)-- and for a second all he can hear is the ringing in his ears and the singing of his lips. His face shifts expression so fast it's hard to catch them all.

Neither speaks but it's not like they can deny the fucking mammoth in the yard.

And then Jimmy is stepping forward. Cooper's not exactly sure what that's supposed to mean but he's taken one step, and then two, and then his palms are pressed against Cooper's neck and he's kissing him, he's being kissed, Jimmy's mouth is on his but it's not angry this time, not helpless and mean but-- soft

Soft and sweet and . . . Jimmy.

Cooper's fingers fist in his partner's shirt, fully aware of how pathetic he is and fully not caring.

They pull away slowly, hesitantly, knowing that as soon as they have to speak whatever is happening will come screeching to a halt. He keeps his eyes closed, thinking that maybe if he doesn't look at Jimmy he won't have to explain.

"Coop . . .?"

Jimmy's voice is like his eyes-- innocent, faint, half-awed by everything. And all the words he's wanted to say for a year are just . . . gone. "Jimmy."

Suddenly, Jimmy groans, pushing his mouth back into a kiss and that's all the talking, for now.

-X-

"There's got to be a solution, Coop."

"To what?"

"This."

". . . You mean to want to stop?"

"I mean I can't keep doing this . . . sneaking around-- hiding! There's got to be a-- a different kind of life somewhere, without all the . . ."

"-- Fear?"

"Look, Coop, I just . . . I want you to know, I don't-- it's not-- you're my best friend, okay?"

"Do you lead all your best friends down a path of sin?"

"You don't get led anywhere, Coop."

"Well, that's true. Poor Jimmy, just trying to keep up."

"Yeah? Well keep running, cowboy. I ain't gonna be left behind."

-X-

Jimmy Bruno's deepest secret isn't that he's a queer, isn't that he never once regretted kissing Cooper in the yard, isn't that after a while the guilt started to rip and wear and fade.

The dark, thick, midnight secret of his soul is that in over thirty years, he's never stopped wishing that he'd gotten into the car.

And it doesn't matter that his old buddies look at him differently now, with a whispery shadow of discomfort and suspicion, because he's sort of realized that he's been betraying Cooper's memory for half a lifetime and maybe it's time to stop.

He goes to the old parking lot just to stand for a few minutes in the last place he saw Cooper (saw him alive but that word still hurts too much to say).

For half a second he thinks he can see him, one hand on the hood of that stupid red police car, a light smirk dancing around the edges of his mouth.

If he closes his eyes he can hear it, still haunting the last vestiges of his memory.

We were the lucky ones, Jimmy. Remember that.

And he thinks: Fuck, Coop, that's easy for you to say.