Title: On the Road Again
Fandom: Oceans 11
Written for: GW Katrina in the Yuletide 2006 Challenge
Many thanks to TommyGirl for her always wonderful beta work!
Six hours. Three hundred miles. Two bathroom breaks. Four bags of pretzels, two candy bars, a hot dog and an ice cream cone. Countless whispered devotions of "I missed you" and "I love you." As Rusty pulled into the parking lot of the motel, he contemplated the effectiveness of banging his head repeatedly on the steering wheel.
"How long are we going to let them trail us?" Danny asked, disentangling himself from Tess and climbing out of the back seat.
"The trail ends here," Rusty said. "Let's get checked in and I'll explain."
Tess climbed out of the car and grabbed Danny's hand. Rusty barely resisted the urge to roll his eyes at them. For the nine hundred and forty seventh time, he wished that he hadn't answered the phone when Tess called to find out when and how he was picking up Danny.
Twenty minutes later, they were checked in to their rooms and settled at a dingy booth in the hole-in-the-wall diner that was across the parking lot. Rusty hid his smirk when he saw Tess's reaction to the place. The ripped vinyl seats and scratched Formica table tops didn't bother him in the least. He knew Danny would prefer a five star restaurant, but he also knew that Danny understood practicality. He ignored Tess's horrified look at his order and tried not to roll his eyes when she ordered a salad with dressing on the side. Danny ignored them both as he studied the menu carefully before placing his order.
After the waitress brought their drinks, Danny gave Rusty an expectant look. It was a look that Rusty recognized immediately, though he was fairly certain in this situation, Danny wasn't expecting the same things he generally expected when he gave Rusty that look.
"We're not really staying here tonight," Rusty explained, keeping his voice low. "After dinner, we'll go back to our rooms and make it look like we're settling in for the night. We're really going to sneak out the back service entrance and use the truck I stashed in the corner of the diner's parking lot three weeks ago. I've got us reservations at a hotel a couple towns back and we'll hop on a different interstate in the morning."
Danny looked impressed and Rusty couldn't help the warm feeling that spread through him at the approval.
"You really think that's going to work?" Tess asked, her voice heavy with disdain. "They'll be watching us. They're not going to believe that we're tucked safely in our beds for the night and go catch forty winks themselves."
Rusty was grateful that he was spared answering immediately by the appearance of their waitress with their food. Rather than risk letting the snarky remark on the tip of his tongue escape, he dug into his cheeseburger.
"It's a solid plan," Danny replied, patting Tess's arm reassuringly, almost causing Rusty to gag on his burger. "They'll most likely be watching the car, not us. And they may not even be aware of the back service entrance."
Tess rolled her eyes, but started picking gingerly at her salad. Danny placed his paper napkin on his lap and started eating his pasta. Rusty knew that Danny wished they were in a restaurant where he could have a nice glass of wine with that pasta, but he didn't really care. The last thing he wanted or needed was to feel like a third wheel in some fancy restaurant, watching Danny and Tess make eyes at each other over candlelight.
He was focused on his food and only looked up when he heard Danny clear his throat. "Is everyone okay?"
Rusty nodded while he finished chewing and swallowing his mouthful of fries. "The Malloy twins are back home. Saul and his lady friend are on a cruise. Basher's over in England. Frank's in Amsterdam. Livingston is staying with Ruben in L.A. while he hits the comedy club circuit and Yen's back to performing."
Danny's eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly, but after so many years of working together, Rusty noticed. He took another bite of his burger after he finished speaking. He knew Danny wasn't going to ask.
"What about Linus?" Tess piped up, seemingly oblivious to anything else going on at the table. "I thought he looked familiar. He's the spitting image of Bobby." She turned to Danny. "Do you have any friends that aren't criminals?"
Rusty rolled his eyes and took another bite of his burger.
"Not really," Danny replied after a moment. "It's easier to associate with your own kind."
"Well, maybe you can find some new non-criminal friends once we settle down," Tess suggested.
Rusty almost choked on his burger and tried his best to become invisible so they wouldn't put off this conversation until later. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Danny patted Tess's arm. "We'll talk about that later," he said, turning his gaze on Rusty. "How's Linus?"
"Linus is good," Rusty said, a full two minutes after the question had been asked. He finished chewing his burger and then washed it down with a rather large gulp of the chocolate milkshake he had neglected thus far.
"What's he doing?" Danny asked in his no-nonsense, `I'm the leader and you will tell me what I want to know' voice.
"He's back in Chicago. It's a nice city," Rusty said idly, trying to ignore the look of open disapproval on Danny's face.
"Maybe we could move there," Tess suggested to Danny.
Danny shrugged and continued to eat his dinner. Rusty was more than happy not to continue the line of conversation they were on and he wanted to finish his fries before they got cold. Tess was oblivious to the tension between the two and chattered on about the pros and cons of various cities as places for her and Danny to settle down.
Once they had finished their meals and paid the waitress, they headed back to their motel rooms. "Relax for a few hours," Rusty said to Danny and Tess. "I made sure to get us connecting rooms, so I'll knock on the inner door when it's time to make our move."
"Sounds good," Danny said as Tess tugged him into the room. Rusty hoped that they either saved that particular reunion for the next hotel, where he had made sure to book rooms on separate floors, or that the walls were a lot thicker than they looked.
A few hours later they were checked in and settled at the new hotel. Danny and Rusty had both carefully watched for tails, but it looked like Rusty's plan had been successful and they had managed to shake Benedict's men.
Rusty was lounging on his bed wearing nothing but his jeans, watching some bad cable movie and trying not think about what Danny and Tess were doing when the knock came. Assuming it was his room service order, he opened the door without hesitation and stared blankly when he realized it was Danny.
"So, you liked Chicago?" he asked, his hands in his pockets, looking for all the world like there wasn't anything the least bit unusual about the fact that he was standing at Rusty's door when his ex-and-soon-to-be-again wife was in a different hotel room.
"Yeah, it had some nice attractions," Rusty replied.
Danny held Rusty's gaze. "I was surprised that you brought Tess with you to pick me up," he admitted, shifting until he was a little closer to the door.
Rusty shrugged. "Figured you'd want to see her. After all the trouble you went through to win her back and all."
"I called you," Danny pointed out.
They stood in the doorway, sizing each other up for a long moment.
"Are you going to invite me in?" Danny finally asked.
"Isn't your wife going to wonder where you are?" Rusty shot back.
Danny raised an eyebrow. "She wasn't feeling well. She thinks the lettuce in her salad was bad. She picked up some antacids and decided to sleep it off."
Rusty was still debating whether or not he wanted to invite Danny in when the room service tray showed up and he had no choice but to step aside to let the delivery guy in. He didn't make an effort to stop Danny from following him and heading to the mini bar.
After the delivery guy put the tray on the table, collected his money and left, Rusty turned to Danny. "Hungry?" he asked, lifting the silver lid off of the plate to reveal a shrimp cocktail platter.
"No, thanks," Danny replied, sipping his drink. "I will never understand how someone can eat as much as you and still remain in such good shape," he added, his eyes raking over Rusty's body.
Rusty willed himself not to react, but it had been a while and his body wasn't listening to his brain. "I work it off," he replied nonchalantly.
"You've never hit a gym a day in your life," Danny said as he moved to sit on the bed, still sipping his drink.
"There are other ways to work off calories," Rusty replied, trying to keep his tone light, even as the jolts of desire were coursing through his body.
Danny raised an eyebrow and put his glass on the bedside table. "I know," he said, eyes glistening.
Rusty covered his food again and walked over to stand next to the bed. "What are you doing here?" he asked, unable to keep the desire out of his voice.
"You know why I'm here. You know why I called you to pick me up. You've never played coy with me before. Why are you doing it now?"
"Because you organized a heist to steal over a hundred million dollars with eleven men in order to win back your ex-wife," Rusty replied. "I kind of assumed I didn't figure into that part of your life anymore."
"You know what they say about assuming," Danny reminded him, reaching up and placing his hands on Rusty's hips to pull him closer.
A small voice in the back of Rusty's voice was screaming that this was a bad idea, but he stepped forward and didn't try to stop Danny from unbuttoning his jeans and pulling them down over his hips. He stepped out of them and kicked them away as he reached for the buttons on Danny's shirt.
An hour later, they were tangled up, naked and sweaty on Rusty's bed, trying to catch their breath.
"What are your plans?" Danny asked, tracing idle patterns on Rusty's back.
"I'm buying a hotel in L.A.," Rusty said. "You?"
Danny shrugged. "Dunno. Tess wants to settle in some mid-size town somewhere on the East Coast. She thinks we'd be safer there."
"So you really are going to marry her again?" Rusty asked.
"Yeah, I am," Danny said.
Rusty didn't respond, just rolled onto his back and stared at the ceiling.
"It doesn't change anything between us," Danny said. "Just like it didn't the first time I was married to her."
"Oh, good, I love being your dirty little secret," Rusty snarked.
"Don't be like that."
Rusty sighed, climbed out of the bed, and started looking for his jeans. "You better get back," he said. "Before Tess starts to wonder where you are. You can use my shower if you want."
Danny followed him out of the bed and leaned over him. "Come on, Russ," he said. "You know it looks more respectable if I'm married. It's easier to fit in to society."
"You're not re-marrying Tess to look respectable. You wouldn't have gone through what you did if you didn't love her," Rusty argued. "And that's fine. I don't have any problem with you loving her. I just like to know where I stand."
"I'd prefer if you didn't stand," Danny joked, placing his hand on Rusty's shoulder. "And I don't think I'm up for round two tonight."
Rusty rolled his eyes. "Shower and go back to your wife," he said. "We're leaving early tomorrow morning."
Danny smirked and leaned in to kiss Rusty before heading for the shower. "Can't wait to see where we're staying tomorrow night."
After Danny left, Rusty laid back on the bed and caught a whiff of Danny's cologne on the pillow. He wondered if they were really going to walk down this road again and if they could once again manage to pull the wool over Tess's eyes. As his eyelids grew heavy and he started drifting to sleep, he decided he didn't much care as long as Danny was back.