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Fic: Five Times Rusty Bet on Danny and Won (or Lost, or Both)

Another five things, finished! YAY!

Five Times Rusty Bet on Danny and Won (or Lost, or Both), for soundslikej.
Danny/Rusty, PG-13.
4200 words, all beta'd by soundslikej herself.


Five Times Rusty Bet on Danny and Won (or Lost, or Both)


(1) Rusty currently has several items in his hotel room that do not, strictly, belong in a hotel room (or at least, do not belong in a hotel room paid for by law-abiding citizens of the kind Rusty spends every day impersonating, the kind of law-abiding citizens that would never dream of stealing things, or, at least, would only dream of stealing things and would never actually do it, which is never something that Rusty has exactly had a problem with):
Item 1: Twenty-seven thousand dollars in non-sequential one-hundred dollar bills that had, until yesterday, resided in a safe in an unsuspecting Wachovia and are now ironically secured in the hotel room's mini-safe;

Item 2: Blueprints of an office building in downtown Detroit, which he's been carting around for the past three months as he keeps an eye open for someone willing to put the blueprints to use with him, held in the same safe;

Item 3: Passports with his picture from two countries to which he has never travelled in his life;

Item 4: An entire (full) vending machine, procured (borrowed) from the motel down the street when he got tired of making junk-food runs at 3:04 that morning;

Item 5: Danny Ocean.

Danny is feeding quarters into the vending machine with a thoughtful look on his face, which is only strange because Rusty broke the glass front of it at 3:19 that morning.

"Hershey's Cookies and Cream or Fritos?" Danny asks, without looking up.

"The Fritos are a little stale."

Danny nods and presses two buttons. Rusty shrugs out of his suit jacket, listening with pleasure to the sigh of the polyester lining over his silk shirt, and slings it onto the bedspread, which is an eye-smarting shade of boring, before toeing off his shoes and launching himself backwards onto the mattress. He stares at the ceiling fan, which is spinning lazily (there's a smiley-face sticker on one of the blades), and listens to Danny rip open the chocolate bar and start chewing. Danny's a loud chewer when he's nervous, and well, Rusty knew this wasn't a casual social call from the moment he walked into the room (Rusty's room, thank you very much, not that that has ever stopped Danny from treating it as his room, too, because Danny believes that what's Rusty's is also his, which would be insulting if it wasn't true, but as it is, is just sort of annoying when Rusty decides to be annoyed by it), but it's nice to get some confirmation.

"Danny," he says, slowly because it's hot in L.A. in August, and really, he's pretty tired and Danny's in his room, so he shouldn't be the one having to start this conversation.

"Rusty."

Rusty refuses to say anything else.

"I'm eating," Danny says. "I paid for my food. I want to enjoy it," which would be a much more convincing argument if Rusty didn't know that Danny had already finished the Hershey's bar.

Rusty sighs and doesn't look at Danny, because if he looks at Danny he's going to let Danny get away with anything that Danny wants to get away with, and it's not that Rusty doesn't know that he has major issues when it comes to Danny (issues like wanting to run his fingers through Danny's hair all the time, or issues like the cut of Danny's suits and the smell of his cologne or the fact that Rusty's sort of stupid in love with him, which, okay, may not be the best idea ever but is still ridiculously, idiotically true), it's just that it's nice not to have to remember that, sometimes. So he doesn't look at Danny. He counts the number of ceiling fan revolutions per heartbeat, instead.

(It's 2.5.)

"I'm getting married," Danny says.

(Well. Okay. Now it's 1.5.)

"To Tess?"

"Yeah."

(Now it's 0.5. Rusty pretends he doesn't know why.)

"I know this makes things, you know. A little more difficult, and I'm sorry about that."

Rusty smiles, and it's even a real smile, because (all evidence to the contrary) he actually is as good a friend as he is a thief (and he's a much better thief than he is a ballroom dancer or baseball player, or guy who doesn't fall stupid in love with his best friend). "Don't be sorry, man, you're getting married. Congratulations!"

He feels the foot of the bed sink down, which always reminds him of being a little kid, a really little kid, when he would still brave the cold, dark hallway to sleep in his parents' bed after a nightmare, and his father would get dressed in the morning for work (or, sometimes, for his mistress, or his other mistress, or his other mistress, which is not something that Rusty knew at the time), and sit on the foot of the bed to pull on his socks.

Rusty sits up. "And yeah, it might be a bit tougher, but look on the bright side."

"What's that?" asks Danny.

Rusty grins, a little, and tries very hard to not have to try very hard to not feel bitter. He tells himself that it's working. "Reuben owes me fifty bucks. I bet him it would be Tess." Danny laughs. "Seriously, though, Danny. Congrats."

"Thanks," says Danny, fiddling with the Hershey's wrapper and smiling shyly and happily, the way Rusty can't make him do.

"I'll get you a wedding ring to use," he says.

"Don't be ridiculous," Danny says, "I'll take care of it."

Rusty hesitates. "You're not actually..." Danny looks at the ceiling fan. "No way," whispers Rusty. "You're going to buy it."

"It's a gesture."

"One that she'll never know about."

"Be that as it may."

It's quiet, for a little bit, because Rusty's carefully trying hard to not have to try hard to not think about the fact that Danny smells like Old Spice and sweat and is sitting on a bed with Rusty, several thousand miles and a continent away from his fiancé, which makes Rusty wonder precisely why Danny felt this conversation couldn't take place over the phone or at least wait until Rusty was in the general area of the entire Eastern seaboard.

He hesitates again, because he's not entirely sure anymore that he wants to hear the answer to his next question (or not-question, since Rusty doesn't like asking too many questions because it reminds him of his ninth-grade science teacher, who refused to answer questions but did make demands, and made even more in bed – or, well, in the bathroom in the staff lounge, really, where her red high heels left scratches all over Rusty's back – and then proceeded to flunk Rusty out of spite even though he aced all her tests), but despite all that, he says, "So, I have these blueprints..."

"Mm," says Danny, reaching around to the desk. "You mean these blueprints?" and he pulls them onto the bed.

Rusty looks up at the closet door, which is open, and the safe door, which is open, and the blueprints in Danny's hand, which have been neatly annotated in Danny's writing with arrows and notes and reminders, and says, "Yes. Those blueprints." He says it neutrally, and then he waits.

"Well," says Danny. "I hear Detroit is nice this time of year," and Rusty tries not to smile, because it's not that he doesn't know that, when it comes to Danny, he has major issues, it's just that it's nice, sometimes, to remember that that's not all he has.



(2) They're in a 24-hour convenience store at the time of night when lights start feeling a little too bright, and eyes start feeling gritty. Danny is in the refrigerated section, calmly looking over the brands of milk available. Rusty hates milk; he always has, ever since he was a kid and his mother made him drink it with breakfast and dinner. And he always did, because she asked (and Rusty remembers the exactly moment when he stopped drinking it, when her boyfriend-slash-drug-dealer of the week slapped her across the face and she fell into the table, breaking his milk glass into a thousand shards that Rusty watched catch the light as her boyfriend took her wallet and the pearl necklace that used to be Rusty's grandmother's and walked out as Rusty saw his mother's blood swirl in red paisley patterns into the milk and drip, drip onto the floor). So Rusty is in the refrigerated section, watching Danny scope out milk options, and tilting his head at the cheese selection and thinking of what kind of candy bar he's in the mood for.

Danny makes a decision and starts walking. "Danny?" Rusty says, not moving.

"Yeah?"

"Forgetting something?"

Danny pauses, momentarily. "Oh," he says, and comes back for the milk. "I would've remembered."

Rusty idly picks up a package of crackers and puts it down again. "Yeah, when you got home."

"Would've done the job."

Rusty snorts. "You couldn't do a single job without me."

Danny's a little insulted. Rusty can tell that he's crossed his arms over his chest, even though Rusty's in front of him on the too-long march to the checkout counter, and really, Rusty thinks, he either shouldn't know that or he should know other things, too (the way Danny's hair dries after a shower, if he sleeps with his mouth open on the edge of the pillow, where he buys the suits and if it's from an attendant named Georgio who flirts with him during fittings, everything), because it's not that he doesn't know that he has issues, when it comes to Danny, it's just that he sometimes wishes he had more of them.

"Alright, I'll take that bet. What's in it?"

But Rusty's not really listening anymore, because "Cookies!" Drawn like a sailor to a siren song, he starts flipping through the packages, and by the time Danny's finished saying, "Okay," Rusty has returned with four different brands and has remembered what Danny's agreeing to. He smiles and pays for the cookies.

Six weeks and five days later, Rusty's standing in the same aisle, alone, at a time of night that's really morning, rubbing his gritty-feeling eyes and wondering when thinking became such an effort. His thoughts feel syrupy (and then he's craving pancakes, except that he's not, really – he's just remembering an IHOP along a deserted stretch of Route 9, and digging into a stack of pancakes with Danny watching him over a cup of black coffee, flirting charmingly with the middle-aged waitress named Sue or Jodi or Carol, and it's not really the pancakes he's craving).

Rusty sighs and picks up a package of chocolate chip cookies – classic, Danny's favourite (because Danny's a classic guy, with his old-Hollywood suits and his smile, which is the only part of him that's ever real, even when it's not). He goes home and puts them in a box and addresses it to the New Jersey State Correctional Facility.

He mails it in the morning, when the post office opens (because he hasn't slept, not for days), because even though he actually won the bet, he still feels more like he lost.



(3) Europe's old. Which is a pretty obvious statement, Rusty thinks, but it's not that it's historically old (even though it is, because if Rusty's high school education taught him anything, it's that you should never have sex with a teacher in the staff room bathroom, that picking a combination lock is harder than it should be but not that hard at all, that Danny can talk his way into – and out of – anyplace he wants to or pretends he wants to, that Rusty's brain can be put to better use selling the answers than finding the answers, and that Europe is old), it's just that it's boring, and Rusty's pretty much over it, really.

He and Danny are sprawling in Danny's hotel room, Rusty on the bed with his head hanging over the side, eating Cheetos (carefully, because he choked doing this once, and he'll never be able to eat Chex Mix again – or at least he'll never be able to eat Chex Mix in Missouri again, or at least in a motel in Missouri, not that he ever wants to spend another night in a motel in Missouri anyway), Danny on the couch, one leg hanging off the side and the other hooked over the back.

"I'm pretty much over this," Rusty says.

"What, with half the bag still left?"

"Not the Cheetos. I'll never be over Cheetos. Cheetos was my first love. You don't just get over that."

"Does Cheetos know you've been cheating on it with the Lays in the bedside drawer?"

Rusty smiles. "You know what I keep in my bedside drawer?"

Danny snorts. "Lucky guess."

"Bet you could make a few others." Rusty sucks radiation-orange paste from his fingers and tries not to wish that Danny is watching him do it, tries not to wish that Danny has noticed the thin strip of skin where Rusty's shirt has ridden up, pulled by the irrepressible, fundamental forces of friction and gravity (and he's really having a high school day, he supposes, except that his strongest memory of high school was when Danny came by at lunch one day, when it was rainy and cool, and stole Rusty out of the concrete schoolyard under the eyeless stare of the empty metal basketball hoops, and they took the bus to the deserted beach and rolled their jeans up to wade into the green, freezing October tide that tasted like stainless steel and freedom).

Danny huffs and doesn't say anything, including any other guesses as to what's in Rusty's bedside drawer (condoms and lube, a trashy German airport mystery novel he bought during their layover in Frankfurt, the hotel Bible and five dollars and fifty cents worth of assorted snack foods).

"Take your shoes off the furniture," Rusty says, suddenly annoyed, even though he'd known the conversation wasn't going in any direction he wanted it to go, or really any direction at all, and it's not that he doesn't know that, when it comes to Danny, he has major issues (issues like the inability to stop watching him, the constant insuppressible need to please him, the brightness of his rare true smile, flushed with victory and happiness and everything Rusty wants and can't have), it's just that, sometimes, he wishes he didn't.

Danny doesn't get up, but he does toe off his shoes and wiggle his socks around. "Better?" he asks with asperity, and Rusty realizes that he isn't the only one who thinks Europe's old.

"Much," he says, even though it's not at all. He crumples up the empty Cheetos bag and steels himself to get up, rising from the bed in one contortion that lands him on his feet, stretching just to feel his back pop because, really, Europe's not the only thing getting old.

He looks up to see Danny's eyes on him, or, more accurately, on the place where his stomach meets his belt, where that thin strip of skin was exposed a moment ago, and when he meets Danny's gaze, it feels like friction, like gravity. But he doesn't feel triumph, or excitement, or anything, really, but tired.

Like gravity, it just feels like things falling, in the same direction, over and over and over. They've been here so many times before, and Europe's still not the only thing that's old.

But Danny gets up off the couch, standing on the carpet in his socks and looking at Rusty, and for a moment, Rusty thinks that if he threw the Cheetos bag in his hand into the air, it would fall up. He bets himself a chocolate bar that Danny's going to walk over to him and nothing will ever be the same, or he's going to say something funny and everything will be. He'd bet his life on it, but he sticks with the chocolate bar.

But Danny just looks away and clears his throat, hands clenching and then unclenching at his sides. "You better go get some sleep," he says, looking at the door instead of at Rusty (and, like Danny, Rusty always sees the angles of the place, always sees blind spots and cameras and access points and air vents and entrances and possible exits, but he doesn't see any way out of here). "It's a big day tomorrow."

It's a thoroughly uneventful day tomorrow, but Rusty just nods stiffly and leaves, and Danny never once looks at him, his eyes fixed on the panelling of the door, the handle, the deadbolt chain, and he never speaks.

Rusty passes the vending machine on his way back to his own (cold, empty, impersonal) room, and pauses, looking at the row of European chocolate bars, all Swiss or Belgian chocolate, dark and sweet and bitter. He pounds his fist into the glass, giving a completely humourlessly chuckle that sounds, even to him, a little too much like something else, and passes the candy by, the empty Cheetos bag still clutched in his hand.



(4) There's nothing quite like Vegas in the summertime.

There's nothing quite like Vegas in the wintertime, either, or during the unnoticeable spring and fall, but it's summer now, the grass turning brown in the sun and standing pools of water stagnating and buzzing with mosquitoes, and there's nothing like it anywhere else. The casino is cool, though, and pumped full of oxygen so that the customers keep on the perpetual high of almost winning, waiting for a next time that doesn't ever come.

Bored, Rusty sips a thoroughly unremarkable martini and strips the toothpick of olives, gnawing on the wood as he takes another sip. He taps his cards and glances at Danny across the table, double-checking the card count with a single raised eyebrow and nearly imperceptible nod. He sighs.

Vegas in the summertime. Nothing like it.

Rusty doubles down, puts the toothpick back in his empty glass, (and he wishes he was in Atlantic City, California, Texas, on the Gulf, Montana, in the mountains, sipping a Chardonnay on the Rhine, in the deserts of Australia or the press of Tokyo – anywhere but here, drinking his second mediocre martini in three hours and pretending to care that he's winning several thousand dollars), and watches Danny win a satisfying number of chips. He flashes the dealer a rueful "not my night" grin and grabs his chips.

He's really, really done, but Danny's not (and Rusty remembers that Danny never is, not since they first came to Vegas together as two kids who shouldn't have been allowed into a casino at all, counting cards and betting big and staying on the floor until they couldn't stand before stumbling to their motel off the strip and watching the sun rise over the neon and sleeping through the day, and now they keep coming back, and keep coming back, as if they can't help it, as if they could catch the same sunrise and sleep through noon with the hot air pressing against them in that same motel, which is now a luxury resort that costs five hundred dollars more than the kids they were could have ever afforded).

Rusty cashes his chips and wonders when he stopped being happy here.

He wanders back to the tables, tired of the greed, sick of the sound of the slot machines, bored of the game. So instead of betting on the cards, on the dice, he bets on Danny.

He looks over his shoulder at the cards, anticipates his next move, guesses which numbers he's going to call out, observes and considers and transfers money between his pockets to keep track of his score. Not that he needs to. After twenty five minutes, he has yet to make a mistake. Rusty's right pocket – $3402. Rusty's left pocket – zero.

He knows Danny knows what he's doing. He can't not, not with the way Rusty is always at his shoulder, watching him (just the way he always does, picking up on his moods and his thoughts and his little habits, a twist of his wedding ring or the wipe of a sweaty palm as he straightens his tie, but Danny never notices, because really, there's nothing to notice, move along, nothing to see here). But at the poker table, Danny turns around and give the tiniest of smirks before turning back to the table and bluffing on a hand that any decent man would fold.

Rusty grins. Now they have themselves a game.

Rusty spends the next two hours trying to out-think how Danny's going to out-think him, and by the end of the night, there's still only forty-two dollars in his left pocket, which he hands over to Danny as they stumble up the stairs to the hotel room and watch the sun rise over the neon, preparing to sleep through the day like they're still kids.

"Even your unpredictability is predictable," Rusty says.

"You just know me too well," Danny says, and Rusty thinks that there's no such thing.



(5) Rusty currently has several items in his hotel room that do not, strictly, belong in a hotel room (or at least, do not belong in a hotel room paid for by law-abiding citizens of the kind Rusty spends every day impersonating, the kind of law-abiding citizens that would never dream of stealing things, or, at least, would only dream of stealing things and would never actually do it, which is never something that Rusty has exactly had a problem with):
Item 1: A caddy's uniform from a country club that Rusty has never a) worked for or b) belonged to;

Item 2: A silver-plated, nickel zircon necklace, newly purchased from a specialist, which looks remarkably like Queen Victoria's five hundred and fifty thousand dollar diamond necklace, which is currently on display at the Met;

Item 3: Two library cards, three credit cards, a video club membership (all belonging to a Mr. Harold Jones, who shoved in front of Rusty at the convenience store) and four women's phone numbers (freely given);

Item 4: An entire men's formal outfit that does not belong to Rusty, including a three-piece Armani suit in charcoal gray with a vertical pinstripe as well as a white dress shirt, a Versace gunmetal tie, two black-and-tan argyle socks, and perfectly functional black leather dress shoes with gel insoles, in reverse order in a trail from the door to the bed;

Item 5: Danny Ocean.

Which wouldn't be weird at all, except that Item 5 is naked, and on Rusty's bed (which makes it Danny's, too, always Danny's too), with his hands crossed casually behind his head, watching the ceiling fan spin lazily against the August L.A. heat.

"Did she leave you?" Rusty asks, even though he shouldn't, even though that's not how they do things, even though he doesn't know if he wants to hear the answer. He asks because he needs to know.

"No," Danny says. Rusty isn't sure if he's disappointed or relieved, so he watches Danny watch the ceiling fan and counts the beats of his heart. Danny clears his throat. "She's tired of me moping, she says."

Rusty looks around the room, and sees two polyester paisley shirts that Danny would never have been caught buying (not that he's caught doing very much at all), which means that someone else bought them, and suddenly Rusty is trying very hard not to smile, except in all the ways that he's not trying at all.

"Too bad," he says. "I had a bet with Turk that she'd walk out again." He pauses, considering. "Maybe it was Virgil. Twenty bucks."

Danny looks at him for the first time. "I could give you the twenty bucks, if you want," he offers generously, but his eyes are asking a more serious question.

Rusty hooks the tie the floor with his shoe and brings it up to his hand to inspect it. "It's okay," he says, looking at the stitching on the back seam. "I'd rather if you gave me other things instead."

And then Danny is off the bed and pressing up against Rusty in every way that's good and his body his hot against the cool fabric of Rusty's shirt, hot and wanting, with his tongue drawing slick wet patterns against Rusty's teeth, and Rusty's making some sort of sound that's just embarrassing, really, and it's not that he doesn't know that he has issues when it comes to Danny (issues like the need to be naked now, and the fact that Danny won't stop stroking the flushed skin behind his ear with a gentle finger, and the feel of his solidity and the ache of his shoulder blades where they smashed into the wall behind him), it's just that it's nice, sometimes, for him to not need to hide them anymore.

And Rusty really should have realized that his stupid-in-love thing for his (literal) partner in crime is also Danny's thing, because if it's Rusty's, then it's Danny's, too (always Danny's too), and this is one of those times that Rusty chooses not to be annoyed by that.

He thinks it's a pretty good decision.
Tags: fic:ocean's, ocean's movies
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