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BtS: Cooper and Whit in Oregon (or What Happens When Goats Escape When You Just Want to Make Out)

I'm not saying that Whit flew out to Oregon with no plan, but Whit definitely flew out to Oregon with no plan.

He told Drew he needed a couple days off, rushed out to his truck, ran back into the farm house to get, ya know, the address and name of the farm where Cooper is, and sprints back outside again. (This is after approximately 1.5 days of quietly stunned silence that resulted from the game of telephone of Cooper to Drew to Penny and finally to Whit and led to his thoughts blaring on repeat the fact Cooper's not coming back again. Which... Cooper always comes back. Every year, he comes back. Every single summer, Cooper spends at least some amount of time on the farm. And he's not - next year he won't - he'll never again-?)

So Whit books a flight, gets himself to the airport, and is probably somewhere in the air over southern Canada when his brain catches up to what he's done and - oh. He's going to see Cooper in a matter of hours. Landing, finding the rental car he booked on his phone while waiting at the gate, driving the route he already looked up - he and Cooper are going to be in the same place again, after all these months. Which... oh shit, what has he done?

But Whit's Whit, so he probably makes a series of notes about what he wants to say after the panicky static clears from his head. A plan, he needs a plan, because otherwise he's going to have thrown some clothes into a backpack and flown across the country on a whim, and that's not the sort of thing he does - that's a Cooper thing to do, so spontaneous, so unthinking and reckless - but if he can scrape together a plan, it'll be ok.

Except he only gets as far as jamming together every half formed thought he had over the summer in a mess of a list. Because after he spills to Cooper everything he's been thinking about and mulling over and tossing and turning in bed because his brain won't stop churning - after he says all that, he'll be leaving again. So he doesn't need any more of a plan of just telling Cooper everything and then jumping back in his car, driving back to the airport, and figuring out the cheapest way to get home. Because Cooper isn't - there's no way that - it's beyond even hope to imagine that Cooper might want him to stay, so he's not going to even think about it. Just look up the next departing flights as soon as he lands and has service again, so he can get an idea of when he'll be back to the farm and the routine of milking.

So if Cooper's surprised to see Whit walk out of a rainy afternoon, it's equaled only by Whit realizing that after making a thorough mess of Cooper's bed and a dozing, lazy, midday nap, that he's missed any chance of making that flight.

Well, good thing he didn't manage to book it before - ahem - booking it off the plane and through the airport.

And besides, they have to feed the goats, once they drag themselves out of bed and find their clothes. And they didn't really have much lunch, so they both need something to eat and Whit, with all the hearteyes of a man who just found out the love of his life loves him back, says he's definitely in the mood for pizza. Cooper, who hasn't had anyone to hang out with in months now (and whose normally bubbly, outgoing personality has been stymied by a generally listless take on life since he got to Oregon), is ready to show Whit around the nearest town and have some company for once.

So Whit's just... in Oregon. To the surprise of both of them. And Cooper's got work to do. And Whit has work to get back to in New York. But for now, they're holding hands. And kissing. And getting naked again, cause that was a long, miserable couple months and holy shit, we like each other? Love each other? Are dating??

Whit stays for a couple days. Cause first of all, he's going to make his trip worth it but also, it takes a while for the shock to wear off and there's plenty of hours of: what the crap is this real, it seems real, feels real, Cooper stop with the poking and eat your pizza, please, it's all definitely real.

Eventually, that shifts into: uh, probably should call Drew and let him know what's going on? Cause Whit fully dumped the farm in his lap and sped off, belatedly asking Penny if she could help out while he's gone and yes, this is the first irresponsible thing Whit has ever done, ever, but also simply the best. (And no, Whit doesn't turn to a life of flying by the seat of his pants after this one moment of racing westward after his lost love, but there is something touching about two people moving from being so annoyed by the other's traits and habits, to seeing that it's simply a different way of living life - not bad, just different - to finding the occasional value in it, because by the process of falling in love they've learned more about themselves and what they truly admire in the other.) So Whit has to at some point call Drew and let him know when he'll be back, but not before: waking up too early with the time change, so it's fully still dark out and Whit has no idea where he is, only to find Cooper curled up next to him and Whit just smiles.

That, plus a fully dreamy morning of doing chores together, arguing about the best way to fill up the goat's water and then they just start kissing because they missed this so much. Plus, Cooper's bosses peeking out the window at the sound and sight of Cooper laughing in a way that they have never, not once, seen him do.

And then: the slightly weird process of just figuring everything out. Because Cooper really didn't intend to move back to New York. And Whit came out here on an idea and a hope and a scribble on a napkin the flight attendant gave him and he didn't think this harebrained plan would actually work. Plus, Drew had resigned himself to finding someone other than Cooper to work at the farm. So there's: Cooper asking if the job is still available (ofc it is). And: Cooper realizing he fully committed to staying in Oregon through the holidays and no, ugh, he's not going to back out of that but oh shit does he want to. Then: a conversation about what-are-we-doing-exactly cause the soonest Cooper can drive back is still a couple months away, so is this - are we - yeah? Boyfriends? Exclusive? Really, actually doing this? Yes. Really. And actually. And you-could-have-found-a-farm-with-cell-service-you-ding-dong cause it's going to be a rough time with so few chances to talk and oh hell it's a long ass wait until winter.

Which makes the day that Whit finally has to leave that much more painful. Especially since it's been such a fun couple days of working together, cozying up in Cooper's cabin, driving around rural Oregon, chasing wayward goats, and getting to relax into this new, budding relationship they're building. But, on the other hand: there's so much excitement on the horizon. Cause Whit's not going back to a house and a farm that horribly reminds him of Cooper at every turn, but instead gets to have a glimpse of all that's too come. Imagining Cooper there always, not just for occasional visits. Getting Cooper's room ready for them to share. Working ahead on projects, so that when Cooper arrives they'll have more time to spend together (Cooper accuses him that working ahead really means doing things the way Whit wants them before Cooper's there to argue and, uh, he's not wrong). And Cooper might be faced with his suddenly empty cabin (not that he didn't steal one of Whit's shirts to hang onto 'cause a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do), but for the first time in, well, ever, he knows what his life is going to hold and instead of that being stifling like he always expected it to feel, it's all of the joy and promise of getting to go home. To the farm he's always loved, the people who have always felt the most like family, and Whit, who he gets to shape a life with.

Plus that spigot, which is first on his list to finally fucking fix.

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