"Hands, watch the hands."

Those are the only words that run through Ben's head as he stands in front of his former TO, John Cooper. Hands, watch the hands. Ben glances down at Cooper's hands, they're clenched in fists—he looks at his hands, they're open, vulnerable. He can't remember for the sake of himself how he got to this point in time. Ben had shoved Cooper off the edge today, taunting and pushing his buttons. His back had hurt, Ben thinks that's part of Cooper's annoyance. He's talking. Cooper's mouth is moving- saying something that Ben can't make out.

"You shouldn't be a fucking cop, you're useless." Ben doesn't process it, he has no more energy left to. He watched Cooper's hands, watched as they came up and shoved him against the side of a squad car. He was angry with Ben. He was just watching, watching Cooper yell at him—threatening hm or something like that. Ben watches Cooper bring a hand up and cup his jaw with callused hands, it's rough, confrontational.

"You could've killed yourself in there." Cooper's tone is angry still, frustration and hurt fused within his voice. Ben barely notices the gentle curve of his hand, the way he stroked his jaw with the hard pad of his thumb.

"You're so stupid." Yeah, Ben knows he is stupid. He's stupid, stupid. Ben's saying something, something that makes Cooper's anger drop; it makes his face fall sympathetic.

"Don't hurt me." Oh. Ben looks down at the ground, ashamed and slightly embarrassed. Watch the hands. Cooper's hands, large in size calloused and rough, tighten on his jaw and force him meet his eyes. Ben shouldn't have said that, he can't handle the pain in Cooper's eyes. He is saying something more—something Ben makes out.

"I'll never hurt you." It's the truth, Ben knows it so. As if reassurance is key, Cooper brushes his lips against Ben's temple. It's sweet, so soft that Ben doesn't even think it happened. But when John pulls away, his breath tickling Ben's ear, he knows that it did.