Title: Three Times Rusty Left Linus Speechless and One Time Linus Turned the Tables
Rating: PG13 for innuendo
Written For: fuzzycactus in Yuletide
Author's Notes: Much love to Larah33 and StoryDivaGirl (aka TommyGirl) for their quick response betas (and for all the kicks in the pants to get the story done!)
Not Exactly the Best Part of the Day
"I don't understand," Linus says. "How do you know her? And how do you know we can't use her?"
Rusty drums his fingers on the table and waits for the waitress to bring him a drink. "She's Danny's ex-wife."
"Danny used to be married to Benedict's girl?"
"She wasn't Benedict's girl then," Rusty says, rolling his eyes as the waitress walks over. "Shrimp cocktail and a scotch," he orders. Linus shakes his head when she looks at him. After she walks away, Rusty continues talking. "She divorced Danny while he was in the clink."
Linus nods and wonders why Rusty looks so troubled by all this. "So you're worried that she'll make us and interfere in the heist?"
"No, I'm worried that Danny's gonna lose focus and screw everything up," Rusty says. "You lose focus in this game for one minute and people start getting hurt. We pride ourselves on pulling heists without guns because we don't want people to get hurt."
Linus nods again and watches Rusty drain his scotch within moments of the waitress setting it on the table. He orders a refill and shakes his head. "Is there... something else bothering you?" Linus asks. He's feeling out of his element here. He's the new guy who has no real track record and no history with any of the guys on this crew. But there's something off about Rusty and he wants to help if he can.
"No," Rusty says, back to drumming his fingers on the table while he waits for his second drink and his food.
"Okay," Linus says with a shrug. He folds his hands in front of him and glances around the restaurant.
After a minute or so of awkward silence, Rusty finally speaks. "All right, kid. Got a new assignment for ya."
Linus raises his eyebrows. He's pretty sure that taking orders from Rusty is a bad idea since Danny's the boss, but he's willing to listen.
"I need you to tail Danny. Keep an eye on what he's up to. Find out if he contacts Tess, that kind of thing. You up for it?"
He's not, but there's something in Rusty's eyes and Linus wants desperately to please him. "Yeah, sure, no problem."
Rusty grins. "Great." The waitress brings his food and second drink then. Rusty picks up a piece of shrimp, dips it in the cocktail sauce and Linus can't help but stare at his mouth as he sucks the sauce off.
His interest doesn't go unnoticed and Rusty grins again. "You think a great blow job will keep Danny's mind off of Tess?" he asks casually.
Linus decides that it's a very good thing he's not eating or drinking anything because he definitely would have done a spittake. "Uh..."
Rusty winks. "Yeah, that's part of my job, too." He goes back to his shrimp cocktail and seems satisfied that he's left Linus speechless.
Remember the Time...?
"That was truly, truly a remarkably bad performance back there, kid."
Linus sighs. "What would you have done in my position?
"I thought I told you to never, ever mention Tess's resemblance to her," Rusty reminds him.
"I know, I know. But... we were in a tight spot and I didn't know what else to do!" Linus says, aware that he's practically whining.
Rusty smirks. Linus hates when he does that. "Good thing your mom was able to bail us all out," he says.
Linus buries his face in his hands. "I'm never, ever going to live this down, am I? My mom even told my dad and, oh man, I'm seriously never going to hear the end of how I needed my mom to bail me out."
"Ah, I wouldn't sweat it, kid," Rusty says, patting Linus's shoulder. "Your mom saved us all. It wasn't just you who was in a bind, it was the whole team. And you managed to give us all a fighting chance again."
"Really?" Linus asks, looking up hopefully.
"Yeah, really," Rusty says with a smirk. "It definitely makes up for your complete screw up with Matsui."
"Maybe I'm just not cut out for this kind of work," Linus says, sighing again.
"Why? Because you're not the ideas man or the details man?" Rusty says. "That's why you've got me and Danny. Don't ever think those hands of yours aren't worth something."
Linus nods. "Thanks, Rusty," he says.
"I wouldn't mind finding out just how good they are some day," Rusty adds with a wink, turning to leave before Linus can pick his jaw up from the floor and try to come up with a response.
It Will Work
"Linus, there's something else we need you to do for this job," Rusty says before biting into a Snickers bar.
"Sure, whatever you need, Rusty," Linus says. He's more than eager to prove his worth to the team. Even though this is their third big job together, he feels like he's still the new kid that has something to prove. And for some reason, he's realized that Rusty's approval is important to him.
"I need you to call your dad and ask him to play a role," Rusty says.
Linus is sure that he misheard that. After all, Rusty has a mouth full of chocolate and chewy nougat. "I'm sorry," he says. "It sounded like you said you needed me to call my dad."
Rusty nods and takes another bite of the candy bar.
"Why do we need him?" Linus asks. The last thing he needs after having his mother bail them out of jail during the Night Fox hoax is his father playing a legit role in a heist.
"Because we do," Rusty says. "We need someone we can trust that isn't a known associate. Someone that can pull off an authority role."
"And it has to be my dad?"
"Why not?" Rusty asks. "You called your mom in last time," he reminds Linus.
Linus cradles his head in his hand. "Yeah, I know. And you know what story has been told at every single family gathering since then? I don't think I can work with my dad, Rusty."
"Sure you can," Rusty says. "Call him up. Fill him in. Tell him what we need. He'll be the new man on the team, not you. And you'll finally have a chance to prove yourself to him and all of us."
"I don't need to prove anything," Linus argues, bristling with how close to home Rusty's words hit.
"That's truer than you think," Rusty says with a smirk. "I already fully approve of you. You just don't realize it."
Linus blinks, but Rusty shoves the rest of his chocolate bar in his mouth as Danny walks in to give Linus the details.
Payback's Not Always a Bitch
Rusty is grinning as he walks toward his gate. They put that poor reviewer through hell and he's glad they were able to pay him back for his suffering. He finds his gate and sits down, pulling a bag of trail mix from his duffle bag. He's thinking about Danny's remarks about settling down and having kids. He's pretty sure that he and Isabel will never be like that. He's so lost in thought that he doesn't pay attention when someone sits next to him.
"I hear New Orleans is lovely this time of year."
Rusty turns and let's a flicker of surprise show when he realizes that Linus is sitting next to him. "So I hear," he agrees. "Which is why I'm heading that way."
"Funny, so am I," Linus says. If Rusty didn't know better, he'd say that Linus was smirking.
"I thought you were going back to Chicago," Rusty says, raising an eyebrow.
Linus shrugs. "Change of plans. There are more interesting... things... to do in New Orleans."
And that's Linus's hand on his thigh. Rusty's eyebrows lift a little higher. "Are there now?" Damn, when did his voice get so husky?
"So I hear," Linus says and, yeah, that's definitely a smirk.
Rusty looks pointedly at Linus's hand. "Sounds like you got good intel."
The smirk turns into something else that Rusty can't quite define. "You know," Linus says, his voice practically a whisper right next to Rusty's ear. "There's an hour before the flight even boards."
He flashes a grin and stands up, walking away before Rusty can respond.
Rusty sits there, speechless, and watches Linus walk into a nearby Men's room. He didn't think the kid had it in him, but damn, he's been waiting a long time for this. He waits a few moments, then shoves his trail mix back in his bag and hefts it up on his shoulder, following in Linus's wake.