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The Year of Living Dangerously

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March

Henley wasn't sure she was going to survive the first night, let alone an entire year. Danny had naturally tried to take charge. Jack was all too happy to let him, but Merritt questioned him at every turn. There were a few times she was sure they were going to come to blows, but Jack somehow managed to smooth things over. She stayed out of it and mostly stayed quiet thanks to her complicated feelings for Danny rearing their ugly head.

They stayed up all night going through the plans. Despite the illegal nature of everything they were supposed to do, not one of them even hinted at leaving or not following the plans to the letter. Sure, every once in a while someone would wonder aloud about who had created the plans and sent them the invitations, but they were all in agreement that being admitted to The Eye was worth whatever it took. Not to mention, the plans were brilliant. If they could pull this off, they would be legends.

It took them nearly a week to get the apartment in living order. There had been an argument over whether they would all stay there or not - Danny and Jack arguing it would make the most sense and Merritt and Henley arguing that spending all of their time together would drive them crazy. Money ended up tipping the scale in favor of staying in the apartment. New York was an expensive city and their mysterious benefactor had given them a fairly generous budget but they knew most of it would be sunk into their illusions.

June

As soon as their space was habitable, they dove right in to preparing for the shows. Not only did they all have new illusions to learn, but they had to learn to trust each other and work as a team, which wasn't easy. Despite their past working relationship, it was harder for Henley to get comfortable sharing a stage with Danny again than it was for anyone else to share it for the first time since he kept reverting to treating her like his assistant instead of an equal.

She got so fed up with his condescending attitude one afternoon that she stormed out of rehearsal and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to spend some quiet time alone. It was hard being the only woman living with three other men even without considering her history with Danny and they had been working so hard that they rarely took time for themselves. As soon she arrived at the museum, she headed for her favorite gallery, number 816, which housed her favorite Degas paintings.

The museum wasn't very crowded and the gallery hadn't had much traffic in the hour she had been there, so when she heard footsteps behind her, she tensed, knowing immediately it had to be one of the guys.

"Hey, Henley, you okay?"

She breathed a sigh of relief when it was Jack who spoke. She definitely wasn't ready to talk to Danny and she also wasn't in the mood for Merritt to hit on her.

"I'm fine, Jack. Just needed some me time."

"For what it's worth, I think Daniel feels bad."

"Really? I'm not sure if I believe he even has feelings half the time."

He didn't respond to that, instead electing to look around the gallery at the paintings. They browsed in companionable silence for almost fifteen minutes before Henley broke it by asking, "How did you find me, anyways?"

Jack smiled. "GPS tracker on your phone got me as far as the museum. Finding you was a combination of educated guessing and luck."

"Educated guessing?"

"You mentioned having gone to the Louvre when we talked about planning the Paris trip. That pointed me to the European galleries. Knowing you trained as a dancer when you were young pointed me to Degas."

"Impressive Mr. Wilder. Are you looking to replace Merritt as our mentalist?"

Jack laughed. "Not at all. I just listen when you talk."

"That makes one of you," Henley replied, unable to keep the tinge of bitterness out of her tone.

"You ready to go back?" Jack asked, holding out his arm.

She nodded. "Ready as I'll ever be."

September

They were all exhausted. It had been six months since this crazy ride began and they were working nearly nonstop to make sure everything was ready for the pitch to Tressler. This was one of the diciest pieces of the plan. If it didn't go well and he refused to fund them, they were done.

"Danny, we need a day off."

"Henley, we can't afford to take a day off right now. Maybe once we have Tressler firmly on board, but right now we need to be firing on all cylinders. If we aren't letter perfect, if we give him any reason to deny our request -"

Merritt cut him off. "I keep telling you that I can hypnotize the guy and convince him to fund us that way."

"And I keep telling you that that is not what the plans call for and we need to follow the plans if we actually want The Eye to accept us. Otherwise, why in the hell are we doing this?"

As always, it was Jack who offered a compromise. "Daniel, we all want this to work. That's why we're here. But Henley and Merritt aren't wrong. We've been living and breathing nothing but these illusions for months. It would probably be a good idea for us to do something else for a few hours and give our brains a break."

There was a long silence as they all looked at each other. "Fine, I guess a few hours won't hurt," Danny finally agreed. "But just a few hours. We'll rehearse until noon tomorrow and then take the rest of the day off."

January

It was hard to believe that a year ago, Henley didn't know Merritt or Jack and wasn't speaking to Danny and now she was flying on a private plane to London with the three of them. As far as Arthur was concerned, they were simply taking a well-deserved vacation before their first show opened in Las Vegas. He had no idea that they had purchased Eurostar tickets to Paris under different names, courtesy of the fake IDs their mysterious benefactor provided.

She was trying to keep herself as calm as possible and not dwell on the fact that in less than forty-eight hours, she would be robbing an armored truck of millions of dollars. If anything didn't go according to plan, they could easily end up in jail by the end of the week.

"Hey, Henley?" Jack interrupted her breathing exercises by sitting across from her. "I have a present for you."

"You didn't have to do that."

"I know, but I wanted to." He pulled an envelope out of his jacket pocket and handed it to her. She opened it carefully, eyes getting very wide as she pulled out the contents.

"Oh, Jack, these are wonderful!" she said, pulling out tickets to see the Royal Ballet perform The Firebird when they returned to London. "I don't know what to say."

Henley noticed that Danny and Merritt were both watching her exchange with Jack and, if she didn't know any better, she would say that Danny actually looked jealous.

"You don't have to say anything," Jack said. "We need to do some touristy things while we're in London that we can tell Arthur about and I figured you'd enjoy this."

"Thank you so much. This will be a wonderful way to relax once we've accomplished our business in Paris."

April

Things had gone better than they ever dreamed. Each performance had gone off without a hitch. They had an FBI agent keeping them from getting arrested for their crimes. To be honest, now that it was all over, they were pretty bored. Dylan instructed them to lay low for a while, until all of the hype surrounding them died down, and gave them keys to a cabin he owned in upstate New York.

Henley was flipping through channels on the television, looking for anything that might keep her attention for more than ten minutes, when someone knocked on the door to her room. "Come in," she called.

It surprised her when Danny was the one who opened the door. "Hey, you busy?"

"So many infomercials, so little time."

He laughed and entered the room, sitting gingerly on the edge of her bed as she turned the TV off. "Listen, I think I owe you an apology. Or, more likely, many apologies. I'm sorry for how I treated you when you were my assistant. And I'm sorry for how I've treated you this past year. You're amazing, Henley. You are truly gifted and I'm really grateful that we had this opportunity to work together."

"What do you want, Danny?" she asked, not sure if she should accept his words at face value or if she was missing something.

"You," he said. "But I know that's not going to happen. I missed my chance and I hope that you and Jack are happy together."

"Me… and Jack? What are you talking about?"

"Aren't you two, you know, a thing?"

"What ever gave you that idea?"

He shrugged. "You two always seem to go off together and you're always more relaxed after. I guess I just assumed…"

"That's your problem, Danny," she said. "You assume things but don't bother to actually communicate. For your information, Jack and I are just friends. The things we go off and do together are visiting museums and going to the theater. That's why I'm relaxed after. Because those are the things that relax me. Which you would know if you ever paid any attention to me."

He was silent for a moment, clearly processing her words. "I'm sorry," he said again. "I really haven't treated you very well. Would it be too much to ask for you to give me a chance to change that?"

Henley could hardly believe this was happening. She smiled, despite the butterflies fluttering rapidly in her stomach. "I think that would be okay," she said.

There was another moment of silence as they studied each other. The air between them suddenly felt electric and they both leaned in for a kiss at the same time. It was short-lived when Merritt opened the door. "Sorry to interrupt," he said, not sounding very sorry. "But we just got a package delivered by courier."

"What is it?" Danny asked.

"Plane tickets."

"To where?" Henley asked.

"Somewhere in Nevada. We've got another gig."

Henley exchanged a look with Danny before the both asked, "When do we leave?"