It will be nice, working with proper villains again.
"One week, Thursday."
"Not so you'd notice; four guards walking the same path, shift change at 3:30 on the dot."
"Why not at night?"
"Alarms, 2 more guards and..."
"...I hate dogs," Rusty mutters.
"I know," Danny says, because he does. He doesn't know everything, Rusty figured this out years ago, but he knows that Rusty likes vanilla frozen yogurt over chocolate, and that he had a run-in with a German shepherd ten years ago that gave him a six inch scar down his leg. That might not be everything, but it's more than enough.
"The take?" Rusty asks, like he needs to know, like it matters. Like he wouldn't still be sitting here, in a pretty crappy Vegas hotel room, drinking with Danny.
"Eight million. Cash."
Rusty runs a finger through the water ring his glass left on the table, smearing the condensation.
"Where does he keep it?"
Danny murmurs something, then reaches to pour himself more scotch.
Rusty picked up his glass, swirled what was left in it around and then clicked it back onto the table.
"See, now if I'm not mishearing you, which I'd like to think that I'm not, you just said he keeps it in a Heigel safe. This is a problem. Can you think why?"
Danny kept his eyes on the table.
"If by that you mean the three miserable months in the Arizona desert after you got us caught trying to crack a Heigel then yes, Phoenix."
Danny smiles, the kind of smile that, despite his annoyance, Rusty wants to trace the edge of with his fingers, taste the slow scotch burn of with his tongue.
"I have a plan," says Danny.
Rusty sighs and rubs the back of his neck.
"Of course you do."
"You don't trust me?"
Rusty catches hold of Danny's wrist as he moves to raise his glass and curls fingers towards his pulse, feels it speed up.
"Only because I know you," he says, the humor in his eyes making that both more true and false.
Danny laughs, then laughs again more quietly as Rusty pulls him close and whispers "okay, I'm listening" against his lips.
"It's a three man con," Danny says, as he runs a hand along the collar of Rusty's shirt and slowly slides his tie free.
"Three. So there's a" Rusty tries to say as his lips sketch kisses along Danny's jaw.
"Yes," Danny manages, his attention divided between the buttons on Rusty's shirt and walking him backwards from the table towards the bedroom. "I think you'll like him."
The next afternoon they sit in the bar at the Tangiers, Danny again with scotch and Rusty working his way through a Jack and Coke that really only has soda for the color. Rusty had met Danny at a place like this, at the poker tables. Danny had bluffed him out of a straight flush and then gone back and closed the whole game down, four thousand and change. It turned out later that Danny had been holding nothing better than a pair of threes. The two of them walked away from that casino almost ten thousand richer and never looked back. A legendary night. A legendary story.
It's been so many years that Rusty is no longer sure if that is how they actually met, scamming and bluffing their way through a game of poker, or if he imagined it. All he knows is that the clatter of cards and chips always makes him think of Danny's face.
He'd ask Danny, but he likes the memory the way it is.
They've been sitting there for almost an hour, long enough for the dry chill of air conditioning to blow any memory of the Vegas strip from his skin, and Rusty's glass is almost only ice when a man sits the next seat over and orders a vodka tonic with a brisk English accent. He savors the first sip when it arrives, then shoots Danny a grin, teeth bright in his dark face.
"Would have thought this town was too poor for your blood."
Danny smiles back, wobbles a hand.
"Beats Seattle," he says and the man laughs.
"'ve heard that you have a need for my singular talents."
"Might," says Danny. "You interested?"
"Might be," the man replies. "Plenty of honey?"
At Danny and Rusty's blank stares, he sighs.
"Bloody Americans. Bees and honey... money. How much?"
"Oh. Eight," Danny says.
After a moment, the man nods, then tips his head towards Rusty.
"Don't believe I know your friend."
"Basher Tarr, Rusty Ryan. Rusty, this is Basher."
"Pleasure," Basher says and then a look of surprise crosses his face. "Hold it a tick, you're Rusty? Who helped this one get away with twelve paintings, two statues and a grandfather clock?"
"You told him about Hungary?" Rusty raises an eyebrow at Danny, who shrugs.
"He helped me out with the Reynolds job last year-"
"Brilliant bit of wiring, that one," Basher says nostalgically.
"...while you were away," Danny finishes. 'Away' being a nice word for Rusty's four-month stretch in minimum security for trying to sell a stolen painting... back to its original owner.
"Well, at least you kept busy," says Rusty. Then to Basher, "know your way around a Heigel safe?"
Basher glances between Rusty and Danny, takes a long drink from his glass and relaxes, like he'd lean back if he could.
"Lads, it's as good as done."
By the next day, Rusty realizes that Basher's claim of things being "done" is almost as dangerous as Danny having a plan. Basher goes out with Danny's credit card (under a different name, so Rusty supposes it's not technically Danny's) and comes back with bags of wires and cables and other things that take over the suite's living room.
When Basher's not there, scribbling and muttering to himself in Cockney thicker than Rusty can translate, he's holed up in his room across the hall with the DO NOT DISTURB sign flipped over the knob.
Rusty spends the time (almost three days, couple of hours on top of it) sitting in bars, hating the way Vegas sticks to his skin, and thinks about conning his way into another hotel, or onto a blackjack table, just to get rid of the awful bored itch on the back of his neck.
What's worst is that Danny has been spending that time mostly sitting in a relaxed slouch on the sofa, a bending of muscles that still doesn't quite break the clean line of his suit.
"What?" he asks.
"Nothing," answers Rusty, knowing it's not an answer.
"Basher says he'll be ready for a dry run tomorrow," Danny says and chases it with the glass of wine in his hand. There's a confidence in his voice, trailing down the sleeve of his coat, that makes Rusty bunch his hands.
"Great," but the sight of all the half twisted wires and circuits makes Rusty stand, walk into the bedroom. He wishes he didn't feel so damn useless.
He's pulling at his tie to change his shirt when Danny appears in the doorway.
"I hear the tables at the Fenwick are easy. Spot me a hundred and I'll buy you a beer."'
Rusty turns , fingers still caught in buttons and cloth, to see the bright edge of Danny's smile.
Danny doesn't know everything, Rusty knows, but he knows more than enough.
"Make it a martini and it's a deal," Rusty says, even as he feels the heat of Danny's hand on his arm, tracing muscle through fabric more expensive than the hotel room.
The kiss is warm and familiar, with a rhythm to it like rolling dice, shuffling cards, stacking a deck. Rusty puts his hands to Danny's shirtfront, feels that he's already untied his tie.
This, Rusty knows how to handle, this is like a lock clicking, a pulled wallet safe in a hand. The feel of Danny's skin underneath his fingers, quick breathes on his collarbone, a thrust and twist and move and Danny that was as close to nothing and everything and just... enough as they got.
Danny leaned down, trapping Rusty against the bed. He smelled like mint and wine, like hundreds of hotel rooms and glasses with melting ice.
"It's a deal," he breathed in Rusty's ear.
Rusty just smiles.
The next week, Rusty smiles that same smile, standing in a study outside Tahoe, hearing the subtle click of the Heigel sliding open.
"Brilliant," says Basher.
"Yes," says Rusty with a smirk. "We are, aren't we?"