Disclaimer: Nope, don't own.

A/N- I have been fighting with this story for over a month...it has literally been driving me insane but it's done! Finally! ...And I'm still insanely paranoid about it...ugh. Someone shoot me. I really want to rant about how much I wanted to bash my head against a wall with this story but I'm not going to. Because I'm calm. Yes. Calm.

Except not.

Warnings: Mentions of torture, swearing, sexual content and me beating Cooper up but him still being super badass. I hope. And of course slash.

Cooper is sitting at his desk trying to catch up on paperwork when the file lands in front of him.

His hands pause on the keys but the other man continues to stand on the other side of his desk, waiting, so he saves the document he is working on, turns off his computer and faces the man. He's stalling, not ready to look at the folder.

"We need you to do this one, personally." The man says, and brushes an invisible speck of dust off his immaculate pin striped suit.

Cooper is still the best in the business but lately he's been handing off the jobs to other agents. It appears that he's losing his taste for it all.

But this is one they're telling him to do so it must be important. Still, he hesitates.

"What's so special about this one?" He asks, fingers trailing along the folder. He doesn't look down at the name.

"Unfinished business." The man says.

Cooper now reports to three men who run half of the agency. With trimmed goatees, greying hair and perfectly tailored suits- they all look alike, all seem to think alike. He doesn't trust them. He trusted Wilkes- and look where it got him.

He finally looks down at the folder, takes in the name and flips it open. Franks grimacing face stares back at him. He looks passed the front photo, takes in the hand scrawled notes, the surveillance photos, one of which has Frank flipping the camera off, and comes to the conclusion that there isn't much to the file at all.

"That's it?" He asks, suspicious. "Where's all the information?"

"You've worked on less." The man says and Cooper resists the urge to roll his eyes.

"Yeah- but it wasn't Frank Moses. I thought we were done with him, why am I being sent after him again?" And discovered a whole lot of corruption in the process.

"You didn't eliminate the target." The man says calmly. "He's a threat."

"He's retired." Cooper points out. The man shifts his stance and Cooper decides it's time to shut up. He makes a decision. "I'll do it." He closes the folder, mind whirling.

"Excellent." The man goes to leave but stops. "We are so glad that you haven't been compromised."

Then he leaves.

Cooper puts the folder in a locked drawer, grabs something else out of his desk and heads towards the elevator.


"What do you want?" Henry glowers at him as he walks in.

"A file." Cooper replies nonplussed. He looks around, notes the lack of cameras in the vault. "I'm doing a little light reading."

"And what file might that be?"

Cooper gets the feeling that Henrys default setting is suspicion. He walks further into the vault, pulls out the Zippo lighter he had grabbed from his desk and flips it open. It emits a quiet, high-pitched whine. The security systems in the basement should be going haywire.

"I need," He says softly, coming to stand right in front of the elderly man. "Every file on Frank Moses in the building." He pauses, corrects himself. "Every accurate file."

Henry squints his eyes at him for a long moment and Cooper stares right back. He knows that Henry and Frank have history, knows that Henry has no reason to trust Cooper. But he needs Henry to trust him on this.

The man turns around and heads over to a locked drawer, casting a final, suspicious glance at Cooper, and then unlocks the drawer, pulling out two thick files.

"Is this it?" Cooper asks as the files are handed over to him. There certainly does seem to be enough information in them.

"Yup," Henry nods. He looks reluctant to be parting with them. "Every piece of information on Frank Moses. The three new bureaucrats upstairs don't know about it either."

Cooper allows a hint of a smirk to cross his face and he flips through the files quickly, not really taking anything in. He doesn't need a file to know Frank Moses.

"Anything in the computer?" He asks.

"Nope." Henry grins, something sharp and mischievous. "Some sort of virus got in months ago, wiped the system clean."

"I'm sure they'll do without." Cooper says, shakes Henrys hand and then heads back to the elevator.


Cooper goes back to his desk, turns his computer back on and works on finishing the paperwork from earlier.

He tucks the files into the same drawer as the one given to him by his boss, locks it up and then forces himself to forget about them. Hours later he packs up, grabs the photo of his children and the files from his desk, a few small things from his wall safe and then heads home.

There's a black duffle bag under his bed and he pulls it out, throwing some clothes and photos into it.

Cooper grabs a waste bin from the bathroom, empties the garbage from it and tosses in the files on Frank Moses. A match follows soon after and it's not long before all that's left are ashes. His old notes from the first time he took on Frank turn to ashes next. There is absolutely nothing in the apartment left that has any information on Frank.

Cooper grabs the divorce papers off the kitchen table and shoves them into the duffle next and then heads to the wall safe in the living room.

Something in the air shifts, tenses and he's thrown himself out of the way right before the door crashes inwards and bullets tear through the air.

"Freeze!" Someone yells and Cooper puts a bullet through their neck.

Bullets have splintered the window and Cooper throws himself through it and onto the fire escape, ignoring the sharp sting of glass through his suit jacket. He fires blindly behind him, knows he hit at least two more and starts to climb.

He fumbles for his phone, fingers shaking slightly with adrenaline as he lets instincts take over. A bullet whizzes passed him and he aims and takes out the sniper on the building across the street.

Victoria was right, he thinks, the CIA really aren't as tough as he remembers them to be.

He hits the speed dial for his sister in California. He doesn't even hear it ring, just hears the sound of gunfire and booted feet as they chase him.

Cooper pauses, fires two shots and takes out another agent.

His phone is silent as he puts it back to his ear.

"Hello?" He puffs into the phone, hefting himself onto the roof. The silence drags on and he realizes he has the answering machine. Cooper swears to himself and prays that he's not too late.

"Get out of there," He runs across the roof, small stones kicking up in his wake. He can hear them drawing closer. "They're after you again. Three agents, my bosses, Henry Dover, Daniel McCarthy and Anthony…" A bullet hits him in the shoulder. He stumbles, curses and throws himself behind a vent. He takes a breath, and then fires several shots in rapid succession. Cooper grabs another clip from his pocket, jams it into his gun and raises the phone back to his ear. "Anthony Deerborne."

"All the files have been destroyed." He pants into the phone and groans when he tentatively shifts his shoulder. "Be careful, go into hiding- don't worry about me." He tries not to let the concern bleed into his voice but he gets the feeling he's failed. Still, he smirks, reaches into his pocket and pulls out a tiny metal ball. "I can handle the CIA."

Cooper flips his phone closed, tosses the metal ball and his phone and then runs. He pushes as hard as he can and leaps to the next roof, just covering the distance. Then he's up on his feet and running again for the next roof.

An explosion tears through the night, lighting up the rooftop and Cooper grins ruthlessly. At least they won't be able to get anything off his phone.

Three blocks away he makes it down to street level and into a car.

It doesn't take a minute to hotwire the vehicle and then he's off, mind whirling with possible places he can go to lay low. Franks is out.

He needs to get his arm looked at.

Cooper takes a left turn and contemplates trying the burn cell that Ivan had for emergencies.

The black SUV comes barrelling down a side street and hits the passenger side of Cooper's car hard.

There's the scrape of metal, a crash the hurts his head and has his ears ringing, pain and then darkness.


Cooper keeps his body as relaxed as possible, breathing even and takes in as much of his current situation as he can before his captors realize he's awake.

It's cold. He can feel it seep through his clothes and settle in his bones. His shoulders burn, the bullet wound pulsating dully. His hands are bound together with zip ties; his feet are bound to the legs of the metal chair in a similar fashion.

"I believe he's awake."

A hand grabs his chin, forces his head up and Cooper blinks his eyes open in the harsh fluorescent lights.

The man from his office, pin striped suit as immaculate as ever- Agent Dover- grins down at him and there is nothing pleasant about it.

"I have to admit, Agent Cooper, I was expecting more of a chase." Cooper doesn't doubt that the man had wanted him to lead him directly to Frank. He releases his grip on Coopers chin and steps back from the chair.

He keeps him in his sight but takes in the rest of the room, spotting another Agent by the door. Cooper notes the slight bulge of his coat and where his pants meet his shoes and knows that the man is carrying at least two weapons.

Agent Dover smirks but doesn't comment.

"Sir," Cooper straightens in his chair. "Is there any particular reason for this treatment?"

Dover barks out a laugh and rests a hand on Coopers good shoulder. He leans in close but not close enough for Cooper to do any damage. Dark eyes glitter dangerously.

He tests but finds the chair bolted to the floor.

"You've been compromised, Agent Cooper." He can't detect a hint of emotion in his voice. "We wanted him dead. And you tried running right for him."

"Why do you want him dead?" Cooper asks, ignoring the rage that bubbles up within him at the thought of telling them anything.

Dover steps back again, doesn't say why and nods to the agent by the door. He steps out of the room. "Now, we can do this the easy way- but I get the feeling we'll be doing it the hard way."

Cooper glares at him.

"Fuck you." He spits out, and shifts, testing the limits of his bonds.

Dover smirks. "I was hoping you would make this difficult."

The door opens again and the agent from before rolls a cart into the room. Cooper takes in the sight and knows what it means. He's used it before.

"Shall we begin?"

Cooper clenches his teeth and doesn't need to remind himself that Frank is worth it.


His head is heavy and he saves himself the effort of trying to lift it for the moment.

The room is silent; he strains his ears but the only breathing he can hear is his own.

He takes a deep breath, winces and focuses on shallower breathing. While he doesn't think his ribs are broken, they are definitely bruised.

Cooper opens his eyes, feeling where the left is swelling. All around him are grey concrete walls. The door across the room is the same shade as the walls. There is no window. He tilts his head but cannot spot any cameras.

There never are cameras in these rooms.

He waits a beat, listening but there is no discernable noise from outside the room. He straightens in his seat, flexes his hands and blinks rapidly at the little flare of pain it adds to the dull throb of it through him.

Cooper clenches his teeth, raises his arms and slowly, carefully, brings them up, shifts and brings them over his head. He exhales loudly through his nose. A strangled sound escapes from his throat. By the time he has his hands in front of him he's breathing heavily, his heartbeat is pounding loudly in his ears and his jaw aches from holding the sounds in; but he's grinning, wide and bloody.

Being double jointed isn't in his file.

His legs are still bound to the chair, the feet of which are welded to the floor.

Dover is good. Cooper is better. Dover had gotten too close at one point, he now has a deep bite mark on his shoulder and Cooper has his scalpel.

Rookie mistake- Cooper thinks- letting rage cloud his logic.

He slides the scalpel out from where it's been hidden and sets to work on his hands. The plastic breaks easily and he bends over, blinking through the head rush and flare of pain through his abdomen, to deal with the remaining zip ties.

Now he just has to break out of wherever the hell he is. The room looks nothing like the rooms in Langley.

Cooper stands, holds the scalpel tightly in one fist and scrubs the other over his face. Now what, he thinks. He takes a breath to clear his mind and leans momentarily against the wall. Most of the security is usually to keep people from breaking into the building- breaking out should be easier. He snorts- easier?

Cooper goes to the door, tests the handle, irritated when it turns easily, they didn't even bother to lock him in?

He takes care of the two guards outside the door silently and then pads down the hall, a gun in hand and the other shoved in the waist of his pants. The tiles are cold underneath his bare feet. No shoes, no jacket- hell, he'd give anything for the knife hidden in his belt but they took that too. Still, he's far from helpless. He's better than most agents and Frank has been teaching him.

He grins, steels himself and tells himself that when he gets out of there he'll find Frank. He'll tell him. Everything that has gone unsaid between them.


Cooper rounds the corner; pistol whips one guy and puts the other in a sleeper hold. He keeps the gun in one hand as he makes his way down the hall but his shoulder is becoming a constant pain and he's not sure how much damage he's causing by using it.

He's keeping the killing to a minimum. If they come at him with guns, then he'll shoot.

Or if he sees that bastard, Dover.

There's a muffled sound from around the corner and Cooper tightens his grip, slick with blood, on the gun.

No one comes around the corner; Cooper takes a chance, glances and finds the barrel of a gun pressed to his forehead.

His world narrows down to the barrel right in front of his eyes. His breath catches in his throat and he thinks, Frank, as though that one desperate thought will draw the man to him when he's most likely in hiding, like Cooper had told him to do.

"Oh. There you are." The gun is pulled back, revealing Marvin's grinning face. It's not a scowl aimed at him so it must be a good day.

Cooper sags, almost as though the barrel of the gun was all that was holding him up. The relief that swells through him has him dizzy as he's left with questions. Marvin just watches him, looking pleased with himself.

"What are you doing here?" Cooper asks, taking the moment to lean against the wall and catch his breath.

"Staging a rescue." Marvin tells him like it's the most obvious thing in the world and Cooper spots his stupid stuffed pink pig under one arm. To be honest though, he's never been happier to see it.

"Of course." Cooper says to the ceiling.

"Well?" Marvin grins wider and holds up his gun. "Let's go." Cooper goes to lead the way down the hall, but the world is tilting in front of him and Marvin steps forwards and gives him a look. "Maybe I should lead. Who knows what kind of brainwashing they gave you."

And he's so serious when he says it that Cooper thinks, hell- maybe this is his way of showing concern. It's only because he's seen how ruthless and good Marvin is that he lets someone else lead and contents himself on watching their backs.

Marvin is as quick and as fucking deadly as Cooper remembers as he takes out a group of agents, probably on their way to lunch.

"They're all still alive." Marvin rolls his eyes at him like he's being a baby. He doesn't comment.

They're doing fine until they reach a row of glass offices. Then a wailing alarm pierces through the building and the wall of glass shatters right next to them, spraying the hallway.

Marvin darts forwards, fires off shots until he's out of ammo and ducks into the relative safety around the corner, on the other side of the glass. Cooper is unfortunately out in the open.

Fuck, he thinks vehemently.

He whips out one of the guns and shoots, doesn't even care if it hits anyone, and runs. Bare foot.

Pain, hot and brutal shoots through him. His knees buckle, he bites his lip so hard he can taste copper in his mouth and slides around the corner.

"You're insane!" Marvin shouts and Cooper is pretty sure that the older man is laughing. Coopers hands shake so he hands Marvin the other gun and keeps the one almost out of ammo for himself.

If they stay there too long, they'll end up pinned down. But Cooper doesn't want to think about moving for a long moment. Bloody footprints mark the path he took.

"We need to get moving."

Cooper glares at Marvin's back.

"I need a minute." He says and Marvin gives him a pointed look before turning back.

His hands shake as he starts to remove the glass, blood covers his hands and spots appear at the edge of his vision. He holds his breath through the worst of it. By the time he's satisfied with it, he's exhausted. And Marvin is watching him. He can't read the expression on his face but irritation prickles up his spine and he squares his jaw, ready to prove himself.

"I'm fine." Cooper rasps, picks up his gun from where it was set next to him and tries to stand. It takes a few tries before he's able to, leaning heavily against the wall and oh god it hurts. But he's had worse. He can do this.

It isn't like he has any other options.

"Time to go." Marvin says and leads the way but Cooper can tell he's keeping an eye on the way they just came too- which is fine with him because he's having enough trouble seeing the hall in front of them.

And then Marvin is shoving him into a closet and telling him to sit down and shut up and Cooper doesn't even have the energy to tell him off. He just stays where he's landed in an awkward heap.

The door closes and the dark seeps in.


He isn't sure how long he sits there when suddenly the door is being thrown open and the light blinds him.

Cooper scrambles for his gun a moment too late as a hand closes around his wrist and he thinks, this can't be it, because he hasn't told Frank yet. And part of him, the selfish part, thinks he should have told Marvin, because then he could have at least told Frank.

"Shit." Someone hisses near him. "What the hell happened to you, kid?"

The hope that wells up through him is bitter and shocking. It chokes him, steals his breath and makes him blink furiously to clear the spots from his vision.

Because only one person calls him kid.

Frank is kneeling in front of him; frown on his face and machine gun slung over his shoulder. He can just make out Victoria and Marvin in the hall. Cooper is pretty sure it's the best sight he's seen in awhile.

But. They've broken in a CIA controlled building and it's too quiet. There should be agents all over the place.

"Where are all the people?" Cooper wonders aloud and Frank frowns harder.

"We called in a bomb scare, darling." Victoria calls over her shoulder. "And it's only a matter of time before they stop chasing their tails and disarm the bomb so we really should be moving."

Cooper tries to grin but it comes out as more of a grimace as Frank starts to wrap something around his feet.

"Kid must be really out of it," Frank mutters and it takes Cooper a moment to realize that he's not talking to him. "Followed the bloody foot prints all the way here."

He's being hauled to his feet a moment later and that sends a fresh wave of pain through him but he just curses, holds onto Frank and clenches his jaw. He doesn't even have the time or energy to appreciate the fact that he's this close to Frank Moses. Victoria and Marvin lead them through the maze of corridors and out a door Cooper doesn't even remember.

Ivan glances at him from the front seat as they load him into the van, eye brows raised high but doesn't comment for which Cooper is thankful. Marvin climbs into the front and Cooper allows himself to be manhandled until he's leaning against Frank, with Victoria poking and prodding until finally Cooper slips under.


Cooper blinks his eyes open to an unfamiliar ceiling and immediately tenses. He's reaching for his gun before he's even fully awake.

Pain flares through him with the movement though and a startled gasp escapes his lips as all of the pain and memories from before catch up with him.

He struggles into a seated position, biting his lip at the sharp heat that shoots through him and raises his hands so he can inspect them. His fingers are bandaged. He's shirtless, ribs taped and bullet wound bandaged. His stomach is a mess of dark bruises.

The room he's in is unfamiliar. He's sitting in a big, oak bed and there's a matching chair next to it, like someone dragged it close to sit by his side. The walls are a soft blue and the floors are hardwood.

It's not Franks house, of this he is sure; but there are no windows in the room and the door is closed so he has no idea where he is.

Cooper considers getting up, exploring, if only to be sure that he didn't imagine seeing Frank, if only to be sure he's safe. But his feet are comfortably numb and just the memory of what it felt like walking is enough to keep him in the bed.

A noise sounds from the other side of the door and Cooper tenses, ready to spring, ready to fight again- but the door swings open and it's Frank.

"Frank." The name slips passed his lips and he visibly sags with relief; all of the fight disappears from him, leaving him drained. Franks eyes widen, shocked, and then something crumbles in his expression and he's across the room in two strides, seated on the bed and pulling Cooper into a tight hug, that while it hurts, he doesn't protest. In fact- he returns it, clinging just as tightly.

"Fuck." Frank breathes into his neck and part of him wants to laugh but he just pulls him tighter and ignores the sharp pains shooting through his chest and shoulder. "I got your message and I thought…" Frank trails off and Cooper thinks that he never wants a message like that. "Don't ever do that again."

"Right," Cooper nods, head buried in Franks neck. He breathes deeply. "I'll just avoid crazy CIA agents."

"That's not even funny." Frank says but a laugh escapes, loud and harsh anyways. "I went down to get you and you weren't even there. Just…blood."

"I got bored with their interrogation techniques and decided to leave." The sentence sticks in his throat. He's been through worse, he reminds himself firmly. It feels so real every time, and each time he knows it's probably his last. It's never easy to shake off. He's a grown man, he's not small by any means but he feels tiny lying in a bed he doesn't recognize with Franks arms wrapped around him and the pain still fresh.

"Never again kid," Frank says and pulls back to stare him in the eye. "I mean it."

Cooper knows that he can't promise that and words seem to fail him. So he does what he's been thinking about since this all started, whether he means with Dover or with Frank in general, and leans in.

Frank is still, so still as Cooper presses his lips to his, and Cooper starts to think he's made a terrible mistake, when Frank kisses him back.


"Coop," Frank says sometime later with the five of them seated around a dining room table. The safe house they're taking refuge in is an old chalet up in the mountains. There's a fire crackling and it warms the room- casting a merry glow- though he's still bundled in sweaters and thick socks. Cooper knows what Frank is going to say- doesn't want to hear it because as long as it's not said aloud then it's not true. Not permanent. "It's not safe here anymore."

As in, it's not only no longer safe for the four retired agents in the room, its no longer safe for William Cooper, CIA Agent. And to think, months ago, before he'd even heard the name Frank Moses; he had known that the one thing he could trust in absolutely was the CIA and his government.

"I know." He says hollowly and Frank reaches out, grasps his hand, careful of the bandages and squeezes gently. Victoria's eyes track the movement but she shows no surprise and does not comment.

"I have a place in Russia." Ivan says, cheerful despite the mood that has fallen. "Beautiful mansion in the country side, the perfect place to hide away for awhile. What do you say?"

Cooper rests his elbow on the table and his head in his hand and clenches his eyes shut, tight.

"I can't just leave my kids." His voice comes out gruffer than he had intended. He can picture his kid's smiles behind his closed eyelids. Can hear their laughs. He wants to be there as they grow up. He wants to help them get ready for their first date, wants to be there for prom and Christmas' and for every scrape and every lost tooth. And while he understands that he can't be there for it all- not with the way he and Katie fell apart- he still wants to be there for part of it. Maybe it's selfish but they're his life; he's allowed to be a little selfish after everything he's given up. "I won't."

"Well, you can't just stay here while those men are running things." Victoria says, matter of fact. "We're good, there's no denying that, but technology makes staying hidden rather difficult, dear."

The silence that falls on the table is stifling, uncomfortable and Cooper wants nothing more than to stand and leave the room, step outside onto the balcony and breath in the crisp air and maybe clear his head enough to figure out what the hell he's going to do. Because right now he's not seeing a lot of option- he can't see the magic answer that is supposed to appear out of nowhere.

Right now he's feeling like he's gearing up to do something dangerous and stupid. Because surprisingly enough when compared to Frank Moses and his band of retiree's, the CIA isn't scary at all.

"So let's take them out." Marvin grins, wide and manic and holds his stuffed pig closer. Frank eyes the pig like it's something dangerous and Cooper knows there's a story there.

"Well, we have already done it once." Victoria sighs. "Twice if you count our daring rescue."

"Sounds like fun."


"Frank," Cooper manages to corner the older man in the evening. Victoria and Ivan have retired to bed and Marvin is off doing whatever Marvin does at night. Cooper leans heavily on the wall and reminds himself that at least he's walking now, seeing as he couldn't that morning. He's on some good pain meds, the kind that manage to keep him level headed but there's still the flare of pain with each step. "I need to talk to you."

Frank, sprawled on the couch, feet up and book open peers at him over a pair of glasses. Even looking so domestic, there's nothing vulnerable about Frank Moses. His plaid pyjama pants look worn and soft to the touch. Cooper has to fight to keep from reaching out and finding out just how soft.

"What's up kid?"

Cooper looks despairingly at the space between the wall that is supporting him and the couch and tries to figure out the best means of attack to get from point A to point B. As the night wears on and the meds begin to wear off he finds himself relying more and more on furniture and walls to get around.

But Frank swings his legs off the couch, crosses the room and wraps an arm around his waist, helping him to the couch like it's nothing- like they do this all the time.

He had a speech planned out, had known exactly what to say but it all falls apart as Frank helps him settle on the couch, going as far as to drag the low coffee table over so he can put his feet up.

"Coop?" Frank sits next to him, closer than two friends would sit and for that Cooper is immensely grateful. Their thighs and shoulders press together and Cooper greedily soaks up the contact.

"I didn't tell them anything." Cooper tells him honestly, trying to make him see how true it is and realizing that honestly sounds a lot like brokenly as well.

Frank stares at him for a long moment, eyes wide with shock.

"They tried." Cooper loses focus for a moment, mind drifting back to the room. "But I didn't tell them anything about you."

He needs to say this because if this thing between them is going to grow then he can't keep secrets like he did with his family. He needs Frank to trust him. Needs to show how much he trusts Frank.

"Coop," Frank twists, faces him and reaches out a cool hand to cup his cheek. "I know."

Cooper wants to insist, wants to open his mouth and repeat it until that one fact is burned into Frank's mind- but he stops himself, takes in the look in Franks eyes and realizes that he already knows. Realizes that it's returned.

Cooper has given up so much for his job and his country. He's given up pieces of himself that he'll never get back, he's lost his connection with his family, he's scarred and quite possibly twisted and no longer the man he was when he first joined the CIA wanting to save the world. This job has chipped away at him to the point where some days he isn't even sure he knows who he is anymore. But he knows with the utmost certainty that this is something he will never let his anyone take from him.

Franks hand slides around to the back of his neck, tangles in the short hair there and tugs him forwards until their lips meet. It's easy and it warms him in ways that the fire cannot with each drag of lips across his own. Its familiar in a way that makes him feel like they've been doing this forever.

He can feel Frank start to grin, can feel his own answering grin and they pull back, foreheads pressed together.

"Let's get to bed." Frank murmurs and the warm breath puffs against his lips. Cooper shivers. Frank snorts. "Not like that." But there's the promise of more in the future.

The older man pulls back reluctantly and stands, then holds his hand out to Cooper and helps him to his feet. Together they stumble back to the bedroom Cooper first woke up in and once he has him settled under the covers, Frank crawls in next to him.

A tentative hand snakes it's way across his side and he shifts as much as he can until Frank is a warm, possessive presence behind him.

And finally he's able to relax.


"I know Dover better than anyone else,"

"I think we'll be able to figure him out fine."

"That's not the point!"

Cooper and Frank are nose to nose in the dining room. Victoria sits nearby, watching silently- Cooper can feel her eyes on his back. Ivan and Marvin are loading up the van for the trip he's not allowed to take.

"You're. Not. Coming." Frank tells him.

"You're not going with out me." Cooper shoots back. His hands are balled into tight fists and he can't even feel the pain anymore he's too furious.

Victoria is seated at the table ready to step in when one of them reaches their boiling point because it's bound to happen.

Right now they're both holding back- the memories of the last time they came to blows hovering at the back of their minds and making them more cautious, because no matter how mad they may be, neither really wants to hurt the other.

"You're still injured!" Frank's voice rises in volume. Cooper doesn't wince when the older man reaches out and pushes the heel of his palm into the still healing bullet wound. He barely feels the sting over the roaring of his blood through his veins.

"I'm fine." He hisses and knocks Franks hand away. Stubborn old man, he thinks viciously. "This entire thing doesn't make any sense!" He insists. "Why the hell would they be coming after you now? When there's no proof- nothing! You need me."

"I don't need you." Frank yells.

Its like the air has been sucked out of the room.

Cooper feels like he's been sucker punched. He can't seem to catch his breath.

In the reflection of the cabinet he can just make out Victoria narrowing her eyes. Cooper looks away and unclenches his hands. The sudden flow of blood back to his fingers is sharp.

"I didn't mean," Frank starts, rage deflating before Coopers eyes. Cooper's gaze bounces around the room, past Frank unable to settle on anything. "Fuck," Frank says vehemently. "Kid- look at me."

Cooper considers ignoring the order but he's meeting Franks gaze before he even realizes it.

"I didn't mean," Frank steps closer and rests a hand on the back of his neck. "I didn't mean that I don't need you." Frank huffs out a frustrated breath and bumps their foreheads together. Cooper doesn't resist the touch, leaning into it. "But you're still not coming."

Cooper pulls away abruptly, scowl on his face.

"Why the hell not?" He demands.

"Two days ago you could only walk if there was something to lean on!" Exasperation replaces Frank's anger.

"I've worked with worse." Cooper crosses his arms and feels the pull it creates on his ribs and shoulder. Frank quirks an eyebrow as though he knows exactly how it feels, knows exactly what state Cooper is in.

"But you don't have to this time." Frank says softly, takes a tentative step closer. Cooper glares at him and knows he's being petulant. "We know something isn't right with all of this, kid. Don't worry- we're just going to go in and get some answers."

The silence that falls is uncomfortable and tense. Cooper grits his teeth and thinks of all the ways this can go wrong. Of how unfair it is that he's being left behind when he's been a part of it all from the beginning. He's building up his rage again; it's addicting and he doesn't want to stop.

"Time to go." Victoria breaks the silence. She pulls the hidden handgun out from under the table and slides it into her purse, standing.

Frank gives him one last long look and then turns heading out the door. Cooper looks up to find Victoria standing in front of him.

"It's only recon, darling." She says, grasping his hand and gently pressing something small into it. "You needn't worry. Frank won't go after the bad guys until you're able to help."

He pulls back his hand to find a small cell phone.

"You'll find Franks number in there." She says with a wink. "If you need us, we're only a call away."

Cooper highly doubts that he'll be the one needing help.

"Thank you." He says nonetheless. Victoria leaves and he finds himself staring at the tiny display screen for a long time until he can finally bring himself to type in a simple message.

Sorry, it says and he doesn't hesitate to send it.


There's no television in the chalet but there is an entire library full of books. He considers reading one but he's filled with too much nervous energy and cannot sit still. Cooper spends most of the afternoon pacing restlessly and feeling more exhausted for it. His shoulder twinges reminding him that it's about time for him to take more medication. The sun starts to set over the mountains and the snow. He glances at the kitchen but his stomach is twisting and he doesn't think he can eat anything at the moment.

So he heads to the library.

He grabs a book and sits himself on the couch and tries to take his mind off of the case.

It must work because he blinks his eyes open hours later in the dim light provided by the lamp on the side table. There's a kink in his neck and the book has slipped to land awkwardly on the floor but that's not what has woken him.

His stomach clenches as the feeling in the warm chalet shifts. The wind whistles loud outside. Apprehension has the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end.

Cooper yawns, stretches and cracks his back. He slides off the couch, picks the book up and places it carefully on the table. He flips the light on in the kitchen, notes that the blinds are drawn and starts rummaging through the cupboards. Grabbing what he's looking for he places them on the counter and then carefully shifts the curtain.

Nothing. It's too dark to see anything outside. But he keeps watching and down on the slope below the chalet the shadows slowly move. There's a slight glint and Cooper lets the curtain fall closed again.

Night vision goggles. Cooper smirks to himself, makes a quick concoction and leaves it sitting on the kitchen table. Then he turns and grabs a pair of boots from next to the door, shoving his feet in. He winces a little but doesn't let himself think about it as he moves quickly through the chalet.

He has maybe a minute. He counts down in his head, pausing to pull on Franks black fleece and gloves that lay in a neat pile on an old rocking chair in the corner and grabs the duffle under the bed. It's heavy as he slings it across his chest.

Cooper pauses at the balcony, counts to himself and then throws himself out of the doors and vaults over the side. A second later an explosion rocks the night and flames light up the sky.

He hits the slope hard-jarring his injuries even with the soft snow- tucks and rolls. Debris comes raining down around him and he covers his head as best as he can.

Cooper comes to a stop at the bottom of the slope and scrambles behind a thick tree. He can hear yells now, the confusion and chaos. He's effectively blinded them all; if they want to track him they'll have to be a little more creative.

Victoria's phone is useless, there's suddenly no signal and Cooper doubts it's a coincidence. It appears he's on his own then. His signal is being blocked. Cooper shoves the phone back into his pocket and unzips the duffle. It pays to be paranoid, he thinks, as he pulls out a handgun. He slides a knife into his boot, zips the bag closed again and sets off.


It appears that about half of the agents were taken out in the initial blast. Cooper takes out two more, grabs a pair of night vision goggles from one of them and takes in the area. He can't see much, not with the blaze in the background. He'll have to apologize to Victoria for the chalet later.

The goggles go into the duffle and he makes his way silently through the trees. None of the agents give any indication that they could have planned an Op like this. It's all too easy, he thinks as he takes out another handful of agents.

Cooper heads towards the road. It's open but its better than getting lost in the woods he figures.

The air shifts and Cooper ducks as a whistling noise reaches his ears. The knife misses him by inches. He stumbles back, foot hitting a root and he nearly falls but he recovers, raising his arm to block the knife the second time his attacker comes at him.

He brings his gun up, but doesn't get the chance to fire off a shot, using it instead to block the knife aimed at his throat. He swings and the knife disappears into the snow but unfortunately so does his gun.

Laughter echoes through the woods, low and harsh. A shiver crawls down his spine that it has nothing to do with the cold.

The light of the flames cast dark shadows across Dover's face.

"What the hell?" He snarls and shifts until his feet are planted solidly.

Dover grins, manic in the dim lighting.

"Franks not here- you won't find him." Cooper tells him. Expects anger, frustration- something similar. He doesn't expect more laughter. For a moment panic hits him and the possibility that they've already found Frank creeps into his mind. But Frank is good- too good to be taken by Dover or one of his agents.

"Frank Moses is a bonus, nothing more." Dover says instead.

Cooper blocks the punch aimed at his head, throws his own and then another. He tests his opponent, looks for weakness, for openings.

"Two for the price of one." Dover laughs, kicks and Cooper gets the feeling he's being toyed with.

Cooper grits his teeth and throws himself into the fight. It's hard with the snow and his healing injuries but he has no other option but to win the fight. It becomes a blur, he keeps moving, blocking, looking for openings.

He throws a punch, Dover blocks it, Dover kicks, and Cooper avoids it. If the fight continues this way, he knows he will be the first to tire. So he fakes a punch and knocks Dover's legs out from underneath him. He moves fast- grabs the knife hidden in his boot and lunges at the man.

They roll in the snow, fighting for the knife and Cooper momentarily loses control of the fight, pinned in the snow with a knife coming closer to his throat.

"What do you want?" Cooper demands, arms burning as he tries to push Dover's hands back.

Dover chuckles and pushes down on the knife, shifting his weight.

"You; you've become compromised." Compromised because he's stopped killing. Compromised because of Frank? Of the other RED agents? He's getting more questions instead of the answers he's searching for.

"An Agent that doesn't follow orders is useless to us." Dover continues, eyes gleaming and half mad, pushing harder and Cooper can feel his strength start to give. "You're just not cut out for this business. You served your country well until you failed to kill Frank Moses. Another team is dealing with that group of renegades as we speak. I believe its time to terminate your employment Agent Cooper."

Cooper sees red.

Dover shifts his weight again, applies more pressure to where he's pressing the knife to Cooper's neck and Cooper uses it. He has them flipped before Dover has time to register what he's doing.

He'll thank Frank for showing him the move later.

And Cooper takes care of the problem, just as he was trained to.


He isn't sure how long he's been walking down the dirt road.

Right now it's hard enough putting one foot in front of the other. But the sky is lightening so he figures it must have been for quite some time. He doesn't know where the closest town is but considering he hasn't run into anyone out on the country road he'd say he still has quite a ways to go.

Pain flares through his feet and up his legs with every step. His chest and shoulder pound in time with his head. His eyes keep slipping closed.

Cooper could stop, rest at the side of the road.

But he isn't sure if any of the agents from the chalet made it out. Isn't sure if there will be more of them coming.

He tightens his grip on the knife in his hand at the thought.

So he keeps walking, one unsteady foot in front of the other. He just needs to make it to a town or a house and then he'll be able to get a hold of Frank and. And what? Hope that the retired agents weren't killed? They're the best, Cooper reminds himself. He's sore and tired and he can't afford to let any despair take hold. He knows the statistics, knows Frank Moses.

The sun begins its slow ascent over the mountains chasing away the remaining shadows. If there are any more agents out there, he sticks out like a sore thumb. His feet lead him off of the road and down into the ravine. Snow crunches softly beneath his aching feet. He doesn't have the option of climbing a tree and hiding out there- he'd never be able to support himself on the climb. And the area is rather barren, so he settles behind a tree, hidden well enough but still able to keep an eye on the road.

He settles in, makes himself as comfortable as possible and gets ready to wait.

And almost against his will, his eyes start to slip closed and his head nods. He's asleep in minutes.


Cooper dreams of Frank. Dreams of an early morning sitting in Frank's kitchen as the older man rummages through his fridge for something for them to eat. Cooper hears himself complain about the canned beans that Frank loves. In the soft light Frank turns to him, carton of eggs in hand and asks him a question.

But Cooper doesn't hear it because where Frank is standing is bathed in a pool of light, it brightens his eyes and makes something that could almost be happiness appear in the slight upturn of his lips. There's a small hole in the t-shirt he's wearing from years of use and Cooper finds his eyes inevitably drawn there.

Frank calls his name softly and their eyes meet. Electricity races down his spine as he spots the same something he's feeling reflected in Frank's eyes and he thinks maybe this is it. Frank sets the eggs down on the counter and Cooper rises to meet him and,

He slowly opens his eyes to the late morning sun.

Cooper sits there for a moment and finishes the memory in his mind, remembers Victoria knocking on the door with a side job for Frank if he wished it.

Cooper shifts and shivers. The spot he chose was bereft of snow but it doesn't mean that it still wasn't cold. His muscles and joints scream in protest as he starts to move but he grits his teeth through it and pushes himself up until he's standing. He's still got a ways to go.

Then he hears it. A car.

Cooper half crouches in the ravine and waits. And the sound draws closer but it's not coming from the direction of the destroyed Chalet.

A Chevy comes barrelling down the road. It's an old car, definitely not from the CIA and while it may be headed in the wrong direction, may be he can at least get directions from them. He stands up and half stumbles up the slope.

The Chevy speeds by only to slam on the breaks a second later. Cooper watches warily as the car is reversed and heads back towards where he's standing. He pastes on his most charming grin and quickly comes up with an explanation for his appearance.

But as soon as the car has stopped, the passenger door is being flung open and Frank is there, wrapping him up in a bear hug that pushes the breath out of him. Cooper has no idea how he got so lucky and he doesn't question it. He wraps his arms around Frank in return and hugs him back just as tightly. The thick wool of Franks coat is rough against his cheek as he presses his face into the older mans neck, just breathing.

"What did I say about crazy CIA agents, kid?" Frank mumbles. He presses a quick, dry kiss to Coopers head.

"Yeah," Cooper says, surprised at the laughter that escapes him. If it sounds hysterical no one comments on it. "Sorry about that."

"This is all very touching." Marvin calls from the car, fingers tapping restlessly on the steering wheel. "But we don't actually know how safe it is here." Although if the look on his face is anything to go by, Marvin wouldn't mind staying to find out.

"Come on," Frank wraps an arm around his waist and takes most of his weight for him as they get into the car. The heater is turned up and he's seated between Frank and Marvin's combined heat as they barrel down the highway away from the chalet. "Victoria's making a few phone calls in town, we should be home free by dinner."

Cooper can feel his head tilting and his eyes slipping closed. Frank reaches up and gently pushes his head the remaining distance so it's now pillowed on Franks shoulder.

"Get some sleep." He murmurs and Cooper does.


"They're offering me a promotion." Cooper says. It leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

Frank pulls the phone from his lax grip and it disappears somewhere next to the hotel bed.

"Well, they have to cover their tracks somehow." Victoria's grin is much too smug for any of this to be a coincidence. "Especially with three missing senior agents."

He knows where Dover is- they haven't told him about his other two bosses.

"You should take it." Marvin gives him a manic little grin as he pulls apart his gun. "It'll get us an edge with the government."

"I," Cooper starts to say, then shakes his head, not quite trusting the situation. "I don't really want to think about it right now."

Surprisingly enough no one presses him on it and a silence falls over the group, easy and light. Out of the corner of his eye, Cooper spots the look that Frank shoots the others.

"You know what, I'm starving." Victoria announces and rises from the other bed gracefully. She winks at Cooper as she walks by. "Come along Ivan, Marvin."

Cooper grins as they leave, waiting until the door closes and turning to Frank.

"Smooth." He says, quirking an eyebrow.

"I try." Frank grins back. "So I was thinking for our first date I could treat you to some fine dining and a movie."

"Then it's going to have to wait." Cooper says and makes himself comfortable on the bed. "Cause I'm not leaving this room anytime soon."

Frank just grins.

"I was hoping I could interest you in this restaurant I know, it's called room service."

Cooper snorts and accepts the plastic menu handed to him.

"And this movie you're talking about?" Cooper asks, amused.

Frank grabs the remote off the floor.

"A wide variety of movies and front row seats."

"Well," Cooper says and shifts over so Frank can sprawl out on the bed next to him. "How could I say no to all of that?"

Frank grins and rolls so he's leaning over Cooper. "I have no idea."

Room service can wait a bit, Cooper decides as his hands come up to rest on Franks back. He can feel every shift of muscle as Frank holds himself up. He spreads his legs and lets Frank settle there, blanketing him.

Their lips meet, easy and soft and then harder, tongues sliding together with a hint of desperation. Frank presses against him and Cooper groans, breaking the kiss, hands grabbing at Franks shirt to steady himself. Frank chuckles low and warm next to his ear and Cooper shivers, hips bucking as the other man grinds against him once.

His head hits the pillow with a low moan and he brings a leg up, wrapping it around Franks, trying to bring him closer. A hand slides up his chest, pushing his shirt up as it goes.

Frank grinds down again and again and Cooper just holds on tight, the feel of denim on denim slowly driving him crazy. They kiss again, messy and open mouthed and Cooper feels heat coil low in his belly.

He's not going to last; has wanted this too long.

Cooper manages to get a hand between them and fumbles with Franks button and zipper. Frank pauses above him, eyes dark and breathing heavily. He lifts up enough for Cooper to push his pants and boxers down and then before he can think about it too much he reaches out and wraps his hand around Frank. Frank pushes into his hand and he grinds against Frank and it's all over too soon.

It doesn't take much before they're both falling apart.

"So," Cooper says when they're laying side by side on the double bed, staring up at the ceiling.

"So." Frank repeats.

Cooper feels relaxed, boneless and ready to fall asleep. But his jeans are wet and sticking. And he doesn't know how long the others are going to be out; he snorts at the image of Marvin coming in and finding them like this.

"What's so funny?" Frank asks, half smiling at him.

"Marvin walking in right now." Cooper says and Frank lets out a half amused half horrified laugh.

"That's a scary thought, kid." He grins at Cooper; expression soft and then leans over, kissing him softly. "We could shower."

Cooper thinks about it and how warm and comfortable the bed is. But. But Frank rolls off the bed, doesn't bother doing up his jeans though he does pull them up so they're resting precariously on his hips. He could totally go for a shower.