"You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town."
dob & ageOctober 10, 1983 | 35
The last in a long line of army brats, Cooper was accustomed to moving by the time he was six years old. That isn't to say he always enjoyed it, of course; there were times when he would do everything he could think of to convince his parents to not pack him up and ship him off again. Sometimes he would offer to stay with friends. Other times he would take a more extreme action, such as filling all the family's suitcases with the contents of the fridge. Unwrapped, of course. That one had gotten him into a lot of trouble, because his father's formal uniform had already been packed, and was now covered in chocolate pudding. Sitting was rather uncomfortable after that.
His attempts at staying put never panned out, of course, and the boy wound up living in countless states before he even hit puberty. His favourite, however, was Lafayette, Louisiana. It was where he was born, and where he spent most of his time as a child. Not a lot of time, but most.
Cooper was a moody teenager. Still being dragged from base to base, each time his family moved he became a little more sullen, and a little more reserved. This kept him from making friends easily, because what fourteen year old wants to be friends with the angry looking kid who always sits in the back and never opens his mouth unless he has to? Gone was the once vivacious, happy child that tried to bargain his way out of moving, and in his place was a crabby, unresponsive teen who only spoke to his parents to give them attitude, and who was getting in more and more trouble as the years passed by.
It wasn't always serious trouble. He was too afraid of his father to do anything horrendous. But he was rebellous. Cut classes, smoked in the parking lot, and tresspassing. He broke in to an outdoor pool area once, just because there was a fence around it to keep him out. He got a fake ID so he could go to bars that he had no real interest in drinking in, just because he could. And this behaviour just kept escalating. From smoking cigarettes in the school parking lot to smoking joints hanging out his bedroom window. From cutting classes to missing entire weeks of school at a time. From hopping the fence to the local pool to breaking into the garages of the more privleged homes in town. All before he was sixteen years old.
Everything came crashing down around him three days before his seventeenth birthday. He had broken into a mansion in the richest part of Salt Lake City. He thought that it was a show house for a newly developed neighbourhood, but it wound up being an occupied home. The police were called, but even more terrifying, his parents were alerted. David loved his son, but that did not stop him from being a very severe man. And because of this, because David made it clear that the boy would be thoroughly punished, the subject of charges being pressed was dropped. Cooper would not have a criminal record, and he was made to suffer. And suffer he did; he spent his senior year, the year of high school where he ought to have been having fun, enjoying parties, dances, and preparing for his adult life, at boarding school.
Diamond Ranch Academy, which is where his parents turfed him, wound up being a saving grace for Cooper. He resisted at first, of course, the way a boy who was as troubled as he had become was bound to do. But as soon as he realized that his shit wasn't going to fly there, and if he didn't cooperate, the alternative was going to be much less plesant, things got easier. And the big plus to boarding school where his family had already paid for a year's tuition was no moving. Even when his father switched bases again, he wasn't expected to pack his things up and move with him. And this was very good, because after undergoing some therapy, it became clear that the thing Cooper Harris desired the most in the world was stability. It was all he'd ever craved, and at Diamond Ranch, he had finally had that stability.
Under the watchful gaze of the staff at the Ranch, Cooper began to flourish. In less than a year, the sullen look had left his eyes, and his smile began to light up rooms as soon as he walked through the door. And while some of that came from not being forced to leave his home over and over, most of it was because of Cory. Cory Adams, who was lovely and annoyingly perfect in Cooper's eyes.
That was another reason why Cooper had been so miserable at home. Because he'd known that he was gay since he was fourteen. There was no question about it, not an ounce of doubt in his mind. But his father, who was strict and severe and vocal about what he didn't like, would never have approved. So a lot of Cooper's problems came from being closeted for so long. But now at the Ranch, he could come out, he could say the words 'I'm gay' without being afraid of what the reaction would be. And that did more for him than even the structured stability that came from boarding school. Cory was a beautiful creature who came just when Cooper needed him. He was Cooper's first love, and really broke him out of his shell. When the two broke up just before the end of the school year, it was on good terms. Their families lived on opposite ends of the country, after all, and neither of them were mature enough to handle a long distance relationship. They still talk online to this day, exchanging stories about their respective boyfriends.
When Cooper graduated at the end of the year, he was a totally different person. His parents came to see his graduation, and to bring him home. It was there, standing in the sun, that he told them that he would only be with them for another few months. He told them that they had one last summer with him, because as soon as he turned eighteen, he was taking off. Going back to the last place he remembered being happy; Lafayette, Louisiana.
True to his word, a week after his eighteenth birthday, Cooper moved himself and the few meagre possessions he had to a tiny apartment in Louisiana. Of course, once he was there, he had no idea what to do with himself. What did he want to do with the rest of his life? He flittered around for a bit, picking up a job at a café while he tried to figure his life out. Now that he didn't have the structure that he'd gotten used to at Diamond Ranch, he was a bit lost. He'd gone through the past year having someone telling him what to do, and where to be, for a good portion of the day. He was becoming increasingly stressed out, and that was when the thing happened.
When Cooper was working at the café one day, his fingers brushed the fingers of his customer, a teenage girl with sad eyes, when he was taking a five dollar bill from her hand. And as soon as their hands touched, he began to see things. There was no pomp and circumstance, no sudden jolt, just flashing images. A little boy, her brother, sitting at the breakfast table in his kitchen, listening to his parents fight. A man throwing things into a duffel bag, unaware of his daughter watching from the bedroom door. Her mother throwing every dish that was in the cupboard at the wall, until the kitchen floor was so covered in shattered glass and pottery that the yellow tiles were no longer visible. Cooper was, naturally, a little disturbed, and he asked the girl, loudly and a bit panicked, what was going on. And when the girl, shocked by his outburst, choked out that her parents were getting a divorce, it became clear what was happening. He'd read a wikipedia article once on psychic abilities, and had found them fascinating. That had lead to a long, long night lost down the rabbit hole of the internet. Clicking from link to link, from one website to another, reading magazine articles, blogs, forums, anything that he could get his hands on. So it didn't take long for Cooper to realize that he had psychometry, and it had been latent. Manifestation of certain abilities under stress was not uncommon, he'd read, and he was excited to explore his ability a bit more. The only thing he had a problem with, however, was the underlying guilt at prying into people's lives without them knowing.
That was where The Institute came in. In his research, he'd found mention of a place where a bunch of psychics lived. And not only did they live there, surrounded by the support that came from living with a group of people in the same situation you were in, but it was like a school. A place where he could learn to hone his ability, and not let it take over every time he touched someone. That was... really important to him. He liked being able to touch someone, and not immediately know that at night they stuffed themself into too-tight bondage gear and whipped businessmen for money. That was definitely a bonus. He moved there, was given a room in a creaky old house, and testing began right away. It was slow going, but after a few years he finally had developed a kind of system. It was a matter of envisioning himself wearing gloves. Thick gloves, that nothing could get through. Like a wall for his hands. And it worked... most of the time.
It was another resident at The Institute who helped Cooper decide what exactly he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He had been struggling for awhile, trying to decide between joining the police academy and going to culinary school. One night, his friend told him to flip a coin, which made Cooper laugh, but he obeyed. Before he could look at what side was face up, he covered his hand and told him, "While it was in the air, you were hoping it would land a certain way. That's your answer." Cooper, after gaping at his friend for a moment, laughed again and kissed him soundly, thanking him. The next day, he went and applied to join the police force.
Training was hard. It was really, really hard, and more than once Cooper questioned why he hadn't decided to be a chef, instead. He could have been making quiche, but instead he was flipping a massive tire down a length of hot, dusty road. But, in the end it was worth it, when he made the force. Never had he felt prouder than when he received his badge. And Hudson was right there to witness it, smiling from ear to ear.
It was around then, at the end of his training, that Cooper began seeing Tyler. Another man who was in the Academy, he was a wanted distraction from the feelings that Cooper had harbored for his best friend since they'd first become close at the Institute, years ago. Of course, it's hard to really give a relationship your all when the man you're dating is just that; a distraction. In the end, they broke up. This one was not so amicable, and Cooper couldn't really blame Tyler for being pissed. He decided that, from that moment on, he wasn't going to get serious with anyone. Not until he was sure he could give them what they needed.
He's still at the Institute, working as a volunteer when he has days off from the force. He could technically move on, but since boarding school he's become a fan of the kind of life living in a group setting provides him.
this or that
likes music. horror movies. cold nights. quiet rivers and noisy cities. good food. good company. dogs. card games. magic shows. the little marketplaces that are put on by elementary schools, filled with pine cone christmas ornaments and pet rocks.
dislikes the smell of bleach. shrill voices. enclosed spaces. the colour yellow. the feeling of courderoy and velvet. the simpsons. bugs.