Xposted on AO3. As always dedicated to my lovely RED muse, Katie, and to Miniatures who dragged me out of the house today and got me to write! Enjoy!
"We're going under cover," Frank announces, on what Cooper had thought was shaping up to be a promising afternoon, before dumping a pile of worn and dog eared paperbacks on his pristine desk.
"Sorry, what?" He eyes the books as though they may be a figment of his imagination, a hallucination from too many hours of work and not enough sleep. They don't change, they don't disappear, and Frank continues to watch him expectantly.
"Undercover. Ivan wants our help and I owe him,"
"What about Maldovia—"
"Still not sure how I'm being dragged into this." Cooper protests and Frank grins at him, wide and completely unnerving.
Cooper chokes. On air. It's an embarrassing element to add to a surreal conversation.
"With the cute hair," Frank continues, not even trying to hide his amusement. "And ass."
"It's how the junior agents gossip about you in the break room." Frank continues, completely oblivious to Cooper's crisis. The blush blazing across his face is enough to keep him distracted from the swoop of disappointment that this is coming from his coworkers and not Frank. It's more bizarre to consider Frank calling his hair cute of his own volition.
"I don't." He cringes. "How the hell did you find out about it?"
"I hear things." Frank slumps into the seat across his desk. He grabs one of the paperbacks idly flipping through it.
"How. You're not even supposed to be here!"
Franks grin is shark like. Cooper ignores the thrill he gets at it.
"I visit you all the time and no one's noticed."
Some people have. Like his assistant, but that's because she thinks Frank is Coopers 'older hot boyfriend'. Cooper hasn't told Frank. For many reasons.
He runs a hand over his eyes and sighs. He doesn't have the kids this weekend so it's not like he's booked full. It wouldn't kill him to hear Frank out, right?
"So how do you fit into this then, if I'm the cute one?"
"Marvin suggested sugar daddy."
"Please tell me you're joking."
Frank chuckles at the horror clear in his voice.
"Don't worry kid, Ivan decided against that one. You're a little old for a sugar daddy."
Honestly Cooper is torn between relieved and offended.
"Older boyfriend, retired military." Frank grabs one of the books and tosses it to him. If not for his reflexes he'd probably have dropped the book. His mind is still stuck at the beginning of the conversation and struggling to catch up.
The cover of the book has an older man, sans shirt, with his arms (bulging muscles included) wrapped around a petite red head with breasts falling out of her dress. Love's torrid affair is scrawled across it, followed by the authors name. Pen name he's guessing since he's not sure who would name their child Constance Tempte.
"And the books are for,"
"Research." Frank confirms what Cooper had been dreading. He's already nose deep in a slightly less worn copy of something that looks suspiciously like pirates. "To come up with a back story."
"How deep under cover are we going?" Cooper has long since passed the point where he should be questioning what he's gotten himself into, but Frank Moses has a way of blinding him to the obvious. Then he really takes in the dog eared pages and cracked spine and realizes something.
"You've read all of these already haven't you?" He demands.
Frank props the book on his chest and rubs the back of his head, sheepish.
"Sarah was into them and I had nothing better to do." He shrugs. "And I got a little…addicted. "
"So you really came here to start a book club." Cooper grins, teasing. "I could call in Amelia from down the hall; I think she's into this kind of erotica too."
"We all have our vices." Frank defends, very clearly sulking.
"I think we can come up with a believable backstory without resorting to," he glances over a few of the other titles. "The Dukes healing touch- really? Did they just pin up a bunch of words and throw darts at them?"
"Sarah liked them."
"I can't believe you flirted with Sarah via sappy romance novels."
"The point is that they're so bad they're good." Frank protests but Cooper's brain is stuck once again on the pile of books covering his desk. There's a hopeful little voice at the back of his head that's pointing out what is suddenly rather obvious.
"You know," Cooper says slowly, toying with the spine of the book. "These would be terrible backstories."
Frank looks like he's ready to argue, but it's solely for show because Cooper is onto him.
"There are easier ways to flirt with me." He continues before Frank can interrupt. The older man's mouth clicks shut and he's suddenly having trouble meeting Cooper's eyes. "Instead of making up a favor you owe Ivan."
"Hey," Frank protests. "That's real. You agreed to help me out kid; you're not getting out of it that easy."
"That's fine." He tosses the book back on his desk, checking his watch. It's a decent time to take his break; he doubts anyone will miss him if he slips out now. "But if you want to flirt with me I'd rather it be over a beer and a burger at the pub down the street."
Frank's gaze is hopeful when it finally meets his own.
"I think I can spare some time for the infamous Moses charm." He teases.
Frank rises to his feet as he comes around the desk and for a moment he swears that the older man is about to step into his space and show him the Moses charm. Instead he smirks, like he knows what Cooper is thinking, and holds the door open for him.
"I'm a complete gentleman on a first date," his grin widens.
"Yeah I heard about how you kidnapped Sarah and drove cross country."
"Just for that you're paying for our second date."
"Second date? You seem pretty sure of yourself."
They head out the door. Cooper bumps their shoulders together, amusement and warmth thrumming through him.
"Call it a gut feeling," Frank catches his gaze. "But I could tie you up if it makes you feel better."
"Better save that for the third date."