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Jailbird

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“Do not run a job in a job.”

Debbie stares forward, her face even and her body language controlled as she listens to Lou. If a lifetime of heists have taught her one thing, it's that staying even keel is key. It's a skill that takes time to master, even more so when it's Lou on the receiving end of it. Debbie breathes slowly, willing her heart rate to slow as it betrays her, as her own emotions creep through her chest and up into her cheeks until they threaten to break her resolve.

Lou, on the other hand, doesn't even try. Her jaw is set and her eyes are narrow, as if daring Debbie to challenge her. The pink at her cheeks gives her away, a shade that can't be blamed on a blush or the sun setting behind them.

No, there is nothing but raw emotion there. Debbie sees that. Could easily tease her about it. Would easily tease her in any other moment but this one. But she doesn't fuck with people's hearts – not anymore, never again, not after last time. And she knows where Lou's heart lies. Where else would it be to spur this type of response?

Debbie watches as Lou walks away. There's little trace of the poised, confident stance Lou is famous for as she stumbles a bit over the rocks, the hands buried deep in her pockets useless in helping keep her balance. But Lou manages somehow, and the beautiful mess of blonde hair and glistening leather disappear inside.

Debbie Ocean doesn't chase after anyone.

Almost anyone.

Lou's already inside by the time Debbie reaches the house. She storms out of the main area to her bedroom upstairs, Debbie only catching a glimpse of shiny maroon boots before she disappears entirely. The conflict crackles through the air and the rest of the team looks to her with eyebrows raised and heads cocked; they question without speaking.

“Mom and dad are fighting,” Constance whispers to Amita.

Debbie rolls her eyes.

“Why must you always play hard to get?” Debbie pushes open the bedroom door without knocking. With effortless skill, she kicks backward and it closes with a dramatic slam.

Lou's back is turned, but Debbie doesn't need to see her face. Her body language is enough. “Not now, Deb, ok?” It's customary to use someone's full name in moments like this, but Lou is the only person to use a shorter version. It's flippant and impersonal and whatever confidence Debbie has is completely shattered by the use of it.

“Lou.”

“Stop.” Lou turns, her arms crossed tightly over her chest. Her bangs fall further into her eyes as she bows her head in avoidance, but the light sheen on her signature cheekbones is not lost on Debbie.

Lou.”

“I'm not doing this.” She shakes her head. “Not with everyone...” Lou waves her hand toward the common area and lets her voice trail off.

“Ok.”

There's a beat, as though the conversation may be over before it's begun. “You weren't the only one who lost something that day.” She runs a palm over the back of her neck and cracks the bone there.

“I know.”

“Do you?” Lou finally looks up.

Debbie nods. “Yes.”

Lou scoffs. “Right.” She purses her lips. “And yet you'd still do this? Risk all of this over some...guy?” She almost spits as the word falls over her tongue, a sour, acidic poison.

“That's not what's happening here,” Debbie assures.

“Really? Because I think that's exactly what's happening. Getting revenge on some fucker who framed you is more important than what's standing right in front of you.” She backpedals and adds, “Ya know, all of them. All of us. I...”

Lou's voice shakes, and for the first time in years – before prison sentences and art fraud and rigged Bingo and sleeping in cars and all the other shit they'd gone through – Debbie listens. At first, it's with her ears. Then, with the space closed between them, it's with her hands, which run beneath the black and silver jacket at Lou's shoulders. And then it's with her mouth – against the skin at her collarbone, up to her jaw, then a quick peck on her chin.

Debbie stops. Her eyes meet Lou's, then glance down to her lips.

Lou exhales slowly through her nose. A second later, she nods – gives the consent Debbie's asking for even though she already has it.

It's certainly not the first time they've kissed. But it's different now.

“You're going to break my heart, Jailbird,” Lou whispers against Debbie's lips.

“Never.”

She laughs quietly. “And when you do?”

Debbie runs a fingernail up the back of Lou's neck. “I'll kiss it and make it better.”