During The Second Siege, when the gang gets to the Workshop, Cooper makes a terse comment and then goes off and takes a shower. I realized that this was probably his only opportunity at least since Spain, maybe even since before then, to actually grieve for the Lorcas and deal with the stress of the mission. He's a little OOC, but, I mean, he's angsty. Angsty Cooper. That's why it's rated T. And also because he's in the shower, but, I mean, it's actually nothing. Oh yeah, and the "Master Yourself" bit is the line he says to Max in Fiend and the Forge. Anyway, I hope you like it.

If I owned the Tapestry, I wouldn't be obsessively checking for Maelstrom Teasers every half-hour.

Master Yourself

Cooper turned the water on before he let himself cry. The sound of the shower masked his sobs, and tears mingled with the water dripping down his face. He cried for Antonio, for the uncertainty of MarĂ­a's safety, and for the stress of it all and the sound when his knife met flesh. The hot water soothed his aching muscles as he rubbed shampoo into what was left of his hair. Then he had to stop and lean against the tiled wall, his scarred chest heaving as he fought to control himself.

Come on, idiot, he mentally berated himself. You can't do this. You've got to be tough. Stop crying. Stop. Shut up. "Shut up," he growled out loud. It only forced more tears to his eyes, and he took a gasping breath. Stop. STOP. You call yourself an Agent?

It was only when his tears had subsided that he shut off the water and dressed, then spent as much time as he dared peering into the mirror and scrubbing at his face until the tearstains, already hard to see around the scars, were gone. He gazed at his own pale, ruined face. Look at yourself.

Cooper took a long breath and reached for the doorknob, then hesitated, not wanting to return to the mission and the world outside the bathroom. You've got to be strong, he thought, less angry now. You're in the Red Branch. Master yourself. And then he opened the door.

Poor Cooper...we all just want to hug him...but he'd get mad...unless we were Miss Boon. Speaking of which, that's still the best scene in the entire series. *winkwink*

Thanks for reading! Have a marvelous day and don't forget to feed your charges!