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Fly Blind

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Lupin was freezing his ass off. He blew into his hands and rubbed them together, wishing he’d brought better gloves. He’d known he’d be sitting in his car all night, but he hadn’t thought it’d get so chilly. He’d assumed wearing layers would be enough to keep him warm, but clearly he’d underestimated the Russian winter. He guessed he had his French blood to blame for that.

The piece of scrap metal he’d rented was quickly turning into a freezer. It was still warm enough inside that the windows kept fogging up and he had to wipe at the windshield to see anything, but he wondered how long that’d last. If he could have at least turned on the car every now and then, it would have been manageable, but he didn’t want to draw attention to himself.

Lupin had found a good place to park where he had a perfect view of the warehouse he was watching. The parking lot was covered in junk, some of it abandoned cars that had been looted of any parts worth using but which still retained enough car-shape to help him blend in. And honestly, his car might have had a working engine inside, but otherwise it wasn’t much better off.

It was almost midnight. He didn’t expect anything to happen for a couple of more hours, but he hoped he was wrong. There was a lead that said a pair of earrings that had belonged to Grand Duchess Olga and were part of the lost Romanov treasures was about to change hands. He’d gotten the info through Gaston, which was the only reason he’d bothered to come all the way to Saransk. Anyone else’s intel had to be double checked because there was always the chance that Albert was trying to send him on a wild goose chase to waste his time.

It was embarrassing that he’d fallen for it once, back in the beginning when he’d thought there could be some honor between thieves. He’d arrived in Cairo and walked into the motel where he’d been meant to meet his contact. Nothing had happened for half a week, and then he’d gotten a custom-made postcard from Palermo, featuring Albert posing with a statuette of Saint Rosalia he’d nabbed with no competition.

He was wiser now, and he’d persuaded a cute intern at the airport to reveal to him that one of Albert’s aliases had booked a ticket and even boarded the plane to Moscow. He was definitely on this job, too, but Lupin wouldn’t be outsmarted this time. He was learning to understand how Albert’s mind worked. The drab pettiness that awaited if you scratched the thin layer of criminal genius was turning out to be quite a let-down.

Movement caught his eye. The moon was the only source of light, but it was enough for him to make out a strange form approaching him. Bizarrely thick and wobbling as it walked, Lupin had no idea what he was looking at. Holy shit, was that a bear? Then he wanted to laugh at himself because why would there be a bear at a parking lot? And then he found himself near panic again because maybe it was normal in Russia, and he’d never faced a bear before and didn’t know where to hit it.

His heart in his throat, he strained to push down the pins on all the car doors to lock them. He curled into himself on the driver’s seat and reached for the gun under his jacket. His eyes darted to the key in the ignition. If he turned on the engine and ran over the figure, which would suffer more damage, it or the car? His Moskvitch was cute, but it probably couldn’t survive hitting anything.

The figure was close enough now that he could see it wasn’t a bear, or any other kind of animal. If anything, it looked like a walking barrel of something. Just as Lupin was starting to wonder if his car had a leak in the gas tank and he was hallucinating everything, there was a knock on the window.

“Hey, let me in,” said a voice that turned Lupin’s alarm into chagrin. He almost wished it had been a bear after all.

“What are you doing here?” he asked, an unhappy grimace pulling the corner of his mouth down as he reached to unlock the passenger door. “And what the hell are you wearing?”

Albert wormed his way into the car. The reason his form had looked so unfamiliar was that he’d wrapped himself into at least five thick blankets so that he reminded Lupin of a burrito. He could barely move that way and struggled a long time with the car door before he managed to pull it shut.

“It’s to keep warm,” he said, and Lupin imagined him rolling his eyes at him behind his glasses.

“Did you forget to pack your winter clothes or what? Don’t tell me you’re actually wearing that dumb coat of yours under there.”

When there was no reply, Lupin knew he was right. He burst out laughing in disbelief and squirmed in his seat, not even trying to calm down. Albert was amazing. For someone who liked to plan ahead for the unlikeliest of catastrophes, he completely failed to pay attention to basics like dressing for the weather.

“At least I don’t look like an idiot,” Albert said, his voice a muffled growl because he’d covered half his face.

“Oh yeah? Wrapping yourself in blankets instead of wearing a decent winter jacket looks pretty idiotic to me. You can get them in black, come on.”

“And how are you going to steal anything wearing one? They make a lot of noise when you move.”

Hmm, Lupin hadn’t thought that far. To be honest, he didn’t know if this was a job that required stealth. If some mobsters or underground collectors were really having dealings in that warehouse, it’d be a lot easier to create a flashy distraction and grab the earrings when everyone was busy. Nobody would care about one noisy jacket. Still, winter clothes were harder to move in, and if it came to pure speed and agility, Albert would easily be victorious once he crawled out of his nest of blankets.

“Fine, have it your way,” he agreed. “But I’m not carrying your ass back to the car if you get frozen solid on the job. I’ll just pry the loot from your stiff fingers and leave you there.”

Albert snorted from his cocoon. “You talk as if you’ll make it anywhere near the loot. I’m surprised you even showed up after I beat you so badly in Kathmandu.”

“Actually, I’m surprised that you’re here.”

“I ran out of cigarettes and came to bum some off you.”

“No, I mean, on this job. Wasn’t it just last week that you were bragging about how you had plans for Valentine’s Day with Julien? That’s tomorrow. You aren’t gonna make it.”

“Doesn’t matter. I got dumped.”

Lupin’s face twisted into a grimace. “Geez, that sucks.”

He’d gone to see Albert’s latest boyfriend in disguise some time after they’d started going out. He always did. At first it had been funny to act like he was Albert’s friend or cousin or ex and tell his boyfriends embarrassing stories about him, some of which he didn’t even have to make up. Then, after they had gotten into the habit of sleeping together on jobs if Albert wasn’t seeing anyone, it had been to get rid of an itch. He needed to know just what kind of guys were so good that Albert would rather be with them than him. After he met them, it was easy to tell himself they weren’t that special and Albert just had shit taste.

Julien had seemed alright. He was a lightning technician at a small theater, lived with his sister - who was hot enough that Lupin had asked Albert if he’d introduce them so they could all go on a double date, but he’d just gotten a disgusted grunt as an answer - and collected miniature motorcycles as a hobby. Not the kind of guy Lupin could imagine himself being friends with, but he’d found nothing bad to say about him.

In contrast, he had a lot of bad things to say about Albert. It was a miracle Julien had tolerated the asshole for as long as he had. But Lupin figured he couldn’t throw into Albert’s face all the obvious reasons why anyone with a shred of common sense would dump him without making himself look like the bad guy.

“So, what gives?” he asked. “I thought it was going well.”

“Can I have a damn cigarette or not?”

Maybe he was a little more shaken than usual since he hadn’t tried to steal any if he wanted one so badly. Or maybe the blanket fort he was hiding in just stopped him from doing so.

“Hmph, I’m the one with the cigs. You should be nicer to me,” Lupin said but dug the pack out of his pocket.

Albert untangled his arm from the blankets and snatched the offered cigarette, the last in Lupin’s pack, then let Lupin lit it for him. He took a long drag and kept it inside until he’d rolled down the window enough to blow it out.

“Be quick. It’s damn cold,” Lupin said.

“It makes no difference. This car is junk. It’s not any warmer inside.”

“Then go back to yours. I didn’t ask you to come here.”

Albert tossed out his cigarette when he was done with it and rolled the window back up. He made no signs of leaving.

Lupin gave three pats to Albert’s shoulder. “Sucks about Julien, but hey, guess it wasn’t meant to be. You’ll find someone else. Take it from me. I get dumped all the time.”

“It’ll just end the same way. Once it gets serious enough, people start asking where you disappear for weeks on end and how you make a living.”

“You know, there’s a really simple solution to that. Stop dating normal people. Find a nice thief or a counterfeiter or a mob hitman or something. Voilà! Problem solved!”

“Tch, you’re useless,” Albert grumbled.

This was one of the things Lupin just didn’t understand about him. He could kind of see why Albert tried to have relationships rather than being free to sleep around. It wasn’t what Lupin wanted, but he knew he was wired differently from most people. What he didn’t get was why Albert always went for guys who weren’t criminals. Only disaster awaited him down that path. People didn’t like being lied to, but what else could you do if you were a thief?

“Just trying to help you out, but be that way. You know I’m right,” he said and sunk down on the driver’s seat, hands crossed behind his head. There was no answer, and Lupin turned the details of the job over in his head to figure out what Albert was plotting.

“So, you want to team up or what?” he asked. The last time they’d done that, Albert had made off with the loot and left him to deal with the police. Maybe if he pretended that he was going along with it again but ditched him first, he’d be able to turn the tables on him.

“No point. I just got word that the deal is off. Someone tipped them off that we’re coming, so they cancelled everything.”

“What! And now you tell me? I’ve been freezing my ass off here for nothing!”

It was nice enough that Albert was telling him at all instead of letting him sit the whole night in the frigid car and sending him texts about what a relaxing night he’d had in his warm bed, but Lupin found it hard to be grateful. What a total waste of time and resources.

Actually, it was a bit too nice. Lupin glanced at Albert from the corner of his eye. Maybe the bastard was just trying to make him leave so he had no competition. That’d be nothing new, but what annoyed Lupin the most was that his gut instinct had been to believe what Albert had said.

Muttering profanities to himself, he turned the key in the ignition to see if Albert would get out of the car and stay behind alone.

The engine wailed pathetically, but absolutely nothing else happened.

Albert let out a catty chuckle. “That’s what you get for renting such a piece of junk. Want a ride in mine?”

“Fuck off. Cars are like women. This baby just needs a little attention to get going. Not that you’d know.”

“And men don’t?”

“Never met a guy who wasn’t ready to go immediately. No sweet talking necessary.” Lupin kept urging the car to start in-between his angry words at Albert, then finally hit the dashboard with his fist. Fuck, was he going to have to walk back to his motel? It was a long way. Suddenly, the idea of swallowing his pride and hitching a ride in Albert’s car didn’t sound so bad.

“You’d do it right now?”

“Sure, if someone was offering,” Lupin said, turning the key again, just in case. He should have invested in a better car, but he’d been taken in by how cute this one was. And it had looked so lonely at the garage where he’d picked it up, and the owner had said he’d scrap it any day now.

Ha, cars and women had the exact same effect on him. He was about to crack that joke to Albert, but the look on his face stopped him. Albert had lifted his dumb glasses on his forehead. His hand had come out from under the blankets and was resting on the gear stick.

“Are you kidding? Now? Here?” Lupin asked. That was unlike Albert. He was never in the mood before a job. Lupin had wondered about it sometimes, how Albert could be such a bastard to him while they were trying to outsmart each other and then welcome him to his bed when it was all over. Maybe it was a way to unwind. Lupin’s plans and back-up plans were just as meticulous as Albert’s, but he enjoyed the challenge and the thrill that came with everything not going like he’d imagined.

Albert just seemed stressed out every step of the way. It was only right after a successful job that he became kind of tolerable company, before he had to start thinking about the next one. Maybe he was relieved the job had gotten botched.

“Can you name a reason why not?”

“How about I don’t want my dick to freeze and fall off?” Lupin said, but he was giving Albert the kind of bent smile that’d tell him he was game. He had a hard time imagining a situation when he wouldn’t be up for it.

Albert shrugged the blankets off his shoulders so that they circled him. He was wearing the usual coat, as Lupin had guessed, and it was so absurd and stupid that he had to bite his cheek not to laugh.

“We could go to my motel,” he suggested. “It’ll be warm, and there’s a bed. I worry the parking break might poke me in the ass if we do it here.”

“This is good,” Albert said.

“Oh? That eager?”

Albert didn’t look eager, but then again, he rarely did. The slant of his eyes made him seem bored and drab even when he was having a good time. When he smiled, it was jeering, but Lupin found he preferred that to the oddly resigned look on his face right now.

“Are you really in the mood?” he asked.

“I’m the one who started this!”

“Just making sure.”

It looked like Albert was in an active mood, so Lupin squeezed himself back against the car door as far as he could. This model didn’t have seats you could push back, so it’d be a tight fit to do anything. But he was flexible and could put his leg behind his head if necessary, so maybe it’d be fun.

Lupin’s winter jacket made a rustling sound when Albert leaned over him to kiss him. His lips were colder than Lupin had expected, but his mouth was warm, and when they broke apart, Lupin lifted his head eagerly for more. To his disappointment, Albert began to pull at the scarf he was wearing so he could kiss his skin there, and it wasn’t as intimate as Lupin would have liked. It left him nothing to do with his mouth.

He’d have to use his hands instead. Albert’s coat was hanging open and offered easy access under his shirt. Lupin tore off his gloves with his teeth and slid his hands down Albert’s sides, hoping that his cold palms would make him jerk in surprise. He grinned when he got the exact reaction he’d wanted.

“Too bad you aren’t ticklish. This’d be even more fun,” he said.

“Don’t talk.”

“Come on, you know I’m not the quiet type. At the very least, fill my mouth with something if -” Lupin’s words were cut off when Albert did just that and shut him up with another kiss. He let out a surprised sound at the tongue that pushed inside and wondered just what was up. Albert was usually slower. Sometimes he just lay there watching TV while Lupin did all the work and didn’t get in the mood until half-way through.

This was different. Lupin decided to test it and pulled his hands away from under Albert’s shirt. No complaints. No snarky questions about whether he thought this was a free ride. Albert’s hands popped open the buttons of Lupin’s jacket and pawed at the sweater he was wearing underneath.

“Slow down, what’s the rush?” Lupin asked, trying to catch Albert’s attention with a half-hearted laugh. The job had fallen through. They didn’t have to be anywhere. There was no reason why they couldn’t take a moment to poke fun at each other every now and then. The insults they growled back and forth while getting off were what made sleeping with Albert interesting.

He didn’t receive an answer. Lupin waited a few more moments to see what would happen. Albert’s hands travelled down to open his belt buckle and to awkwardly try to yank down his pants, which wouldn’t happen if Lupin didn’t lift his ass to help. And he didn’t want to help, he decided with a rush of annoyance that surprised him. This wasn’t fun. Albert wasn’t talking to him and didn’t care if Lupin did anything.

He didn’t care that Lupin was there. He just wanted to forget about his boyfriend. Had Lupin known that beforehand, he would have still said yes because he could have taken great satisfaction in being so amazing that Albert chose to come to him. But right now, it was obvious that Albert didn’t give a crap. He would have taken any man who was there. And that was no fun.

Lupin didn’t know why it was bothering him. It was just sex. That was all it was for them even on a good day. He could get off from this, and that should have been all he wanted. Bad sex was better than no sex. But this was the first time he felt that he was just a body that someone was using, and he found that he really, really didn’t like that. He wanted to be special, the star of the show, and even if his partner didn’t love him, he needed to feel like they had eyes for nobody but him when they were together.

“Hey,” he said when Albert’s hands began to roam inside his pants, “Albert, look. I changed my mind. Let’s not.”

He caught Albert’s wrists in his hands in case he didn’t hear, but thankfully he didn’t have to use force.

Albert stared at him, a dazed look in his eyes.

“What?” he asked.

“I changed my mind. I’m not in the mood,” Lupin said. Saying that made him oddly embarrassed, but he fought down the feeling.

“Now you say that? What the hell is your problem?”

A number of convenient excuses flashed through Lupin’s mind, starting from it being too cold and cramped in the car. He could have said that doing it in a place that was being used as a spot for underground dealings wasn’t the safest option, and he didn’t mean the empty condom packet in his glove compartment.

“You just want to use me to forget about your boyfriend,” he said.

“So? What does it matter?” Albert’s voice rose close to hysterics. “The last time we had sex was because because the TV was broken and there was nothing else to do! How is that a better reason?”

“You wanted me that time. Are you even a little hard right now? I don’t think so.” Lupin asserted his words by lifting his knee and pressing it between Albert’s legs. “If you just want to clear your head, get drunk or pay someone to lie there for you. I’m not doing it like this.”

Albert had the sense to lift himself off him and retreat to the passenger seat before Lupin had to kick him. He leaned his elbow on the car door and his cheek against his knuckles, clicking his tongue in annoyance.

Lupin didn’t speak. He figured he’d let Albert fume to himself, or storm out of the car if he was really mad. He didn’t really want to explain himself any further. Albert would laugh at him if he admitted that after all his big talk, meaningless screwing wasn’t his thing after all.

He began to pat at his jacket to find his pockets and cigarettes, then remembered that he’d given the last one to Albert. Annoyed, he sat up straight and moved his legs to the floor by the pedals. He began to drum on the steering wheel with his fingers.

Lupin was just beginning to wonder if he was pissed off enough to kick Albert out of his car when there was a rustling sound to his right. He turned to look and saw Albert offering him a pack of cigarettes that was nearly full.

“I thought you didn’t have any.”

“Take it or leave it,” Albert grumbled, glaring stubbornly at the passenger window so that he wouldn’t have to look at him.

Lupin made a disappointed sound when he saw they were Primas. But he guessed it was fitting for the miserable mood in the car. He grabbed the whole pack.

“Hey, I meant one!”

Albert made a move to get the pack back, but Lupin had already shoved it into a hidden pocket he’d sewn on the inside of his winter jacket. After what had just happened, he doubted Albert had the guts to try to get handsy and try to steal it back.

“You lied about the cigarettes. You just wanted an excuse to come here and fuck me,” he said accusingly. “Did you lie about the job falling through, too? Or hell, was it you who tipped off the target?”

“Of course not! How unprofessional do you think I am?”

“Asks the guy who wanted to fuck at an underground business spot,” Lupin said and rolled down the window so he could have a smoke.

“Like you haven’t done it in worse places.”

Lupin said nothing. He’d done it all over the place, often with people who meant nothing to him. A little bit of fun with no strings attached didn’t hurt anyone, as long as everyone was on the same page. It really shouldn’t have gotten under his skin so much to realize that Albert was just using him as a rebound.

But, and he realized this after exhaling his first lungful of smoke, the difference was that Albert wasn’t just anyone. He couldn’t just thank him for a good time in the morning and then never think about him again. Over the last year or so, Albert had become one of the few people in his life who he could count on seeing again, even if they sometimes went weeks without more than annoying texts at four in the morning.

He’d thought they were friends with benefits, but clearly it wasn’t so because you didn’t just use your friends to feel better about yourself. That was the part that shocked and annoyed him the most, the realization that somehow, he’d become the one who cared more. He, who swore he didn’t want to be tied down by anyone or anything and tried to find a new love in every town he visited, the same way some people collected fridge magnets.

Albert was the one who wanted a long-term boyfriend and talked about living together with someone when he was drunk enough to forget that thieves were always on the road. After their dynamics had shifted, Lupin had sometimes worried Albert would fall for him. He had imagined how awkward it’d be to turn him down and planned good lines he could use.

Now, he felt really stupid.

“I guess I’m a little surprised. You never struck me as a guy who’d turn down a good lay,” Albert said. His voice was calmer now, and Lupin figured he’d gotten over the fit he’d almost had.

“The keyword here is good,” Lupin said immediately, grasping the perfect escape route out of the situation. “If you can’t even get it up because you’re feeling so shitty, what’s in it for me? I want to be at the center of attention. It’s a waste of my time if you aren’t even thinking about me.”

Albert snorted through his nose. “I was thinking about you. I thought you were the only one I could do that with without having to feel guilty about it later.”

“Asshole. You really don’t think too highly of me, do you?”

“That’s not what I... Hell, you’re the one who said sex doesn’t have to mean anything.”

Lupin knew he should just drop the subject. Talk about the botched heist, or suggest they finally get the hell out of this place. But there was something in the air. Albert was acting more subdued than usual and hadn’t turned to insults to protect his wounded ego. He was talking in circles, as if he expected to get a different answer if he just kept rephrasing the same thing.

“And you’re the one who said I should think twice before I stick my dick into just anyone.”

It was kind of funny, he realized, how their roles had been turned upside down tonight. Except he was sure he’d just nurse his broken heart with booze and the company of friends rather than trying to bone the first person he could find. Maybe Albert didn’t have friends. He was pathetic. And selfish. He hadn’t given any thought to whether Lupin wanted to be used as a rebound.

“But you aren’t just anyone,” Albert said.

That was exactly what Lupin had been thinking earlier. He finished his cigarette and flicked the stub out the window.

“Doesn’t that just make it worse?”

“Guess you’re right,” Albert said with an audible sigh. Then, much quieter than his breath, he added, “Sorry.”

“Whatever. It’s not that big a deal.”

“You know, I’m actually a little relieved you got huffy about this,” Albert said.

“Oh, yeah?”

“I didn’t mean to make you feel disposable. I didn’t think you would.”

“Tch, and you’re happy that I did? Thanks, that sure makes me feel better. Remind me again why I’m letting you keep your ass parked in my car when I could kick you face first into that snowbank over there.”

Albert rolled his eyes. “I didn’t say happy, okay? Just… relieved. And dumb. Holy shit, I’m so dumb!”

“Say that again,” Lupin said and reached over Albert’s lap to open the glove compartment because he had a recording device stashed there. Albert slammed the compartment shut with his knee so that Lupin’s fingers almost got caught.

An angry chain of insults was bubbling inside him, but the look Albert was giving him made him swallow it. He still had his glasses up on his forehead. Normally, he kept them on all the time. Lupin didn’t get to see his eyes unless they were having sex, and then they were closed half the time. He didn’t really like Albert’s eyes as they were dull and droopy and made him look old and like he didn’t get any enjoyment out of his life, but right now it was hard not to get lost in them.

There was something vulnerable written on his face. Albert had never looked at him like that before. It made Lupin remember that even if he was an asshole, this whole thing had started because he’d had his heart broken. He only ever got to experience Albert’s thorny side, but there had to be something beneath that if he kept finding boyfriends and keeping them as long as he did.

“I didn’t come here to have sex with you. That was just an impulse,” Albert said.

“Oh? Could have fooled me.” Lupin kept his tone non-chalant. Even a hint of mockery would end this conversation before it got anywhere. He was sure he had already worked out where it was going, but he wanted it out in the open.

He took Albert’s glasses from him and put them on his own forehead so that he couldn’t suddenly decide to hide behind them.

“I know you didn’t come here to tell me about the job, either. That and the cigarettes, they were both excuses.”

Albert’s face twisted in annoyance. “That’s obvious, isn’t it? I wanted company! I didn’t feel like spending the night alone in my car or some seedy motel room! This heist was a complete waste of time, and I never wanted to do it in the first place! I must be crazy that I’m trying to live my life like this!”

That was his broken heart talking, Lupin knew. Albert should have sat this one out and dealt with himself first, but of course he’d been too proud and dumb. A week or two and he’d be back to normal.

“You could have just asked me out to drink if you wanted to talk,” he said.

“Talk? With you?” Albert laughed like he’d heard an outrageous joke. “We just have sex sometimes. That’s all. That’s all we said it would be.”

“Hey, I’m not saying I want to buy you flowers and take you out or anything! But did you really think bad sex was the only thing you could hope to get out of this mess? Not even a few words of sympathy? You think that’s how little I care? Aren’t we, I don’t know, pals at least?”

“I already said I’m dumb.”

“Yeah,” Lupin agreed. He stretched on his seat as much as the space in the car allowed him and let out a satisfied sigh. “Hearing you say that is better than all the times you’ve given me head.”

“Very funny.”

“Combined.”

“Hey!”

Lupin grinned at the annoyance in Albert’s voice, glad that he was taking the bait. If he could get into stupid arguments, he had to be feeling better.

“If you’d asked me if I wanted to be your rebound, I might have said yes. The only thing that bothers me is that you didn’t and that you assumed I wouldn’t care.” He thought it over for a moment. “But I guess I haven’t given you a lot of reasons to think otherwise.”

“Likewise.”

They did have the kind of dynamic that most people would have scoffed at. Earlier, Lupin had crankily thought about how Albert never gave him the time of the day unless he was in-between boyfriends, but he wasn’t any better. If he was hanging out with Albert and a cute girl, he tried the girl first and only slunk into Albert’s room if he got rejected.

They were always each other’s second choice.

This was the first time Lupin found himself thinking that maybe it had been a bad idea to let things reach this stage. They were both more involved than they wanted to be, but not enough to make anything meaningful out of it. Even if they did get there one day, he knew in his gut that they’d never make each other happy. This could only end badly.

“So, how far is your car?” he asked.

“On the other side of the warehouse. A minute on foot.”

“Half a minute for me since you waddled here as a blanket burrito. I bet I could race you there, steal your car and leave you here.”

“Without keys?”

“Who says I didn’t pick them off you when you were groping me? You paid no attention to what I was doing.”

He got a kick from how Albert’s hand immediately flew into one of his pockets, only for him to pull out the keys that were exactly where he’d left them.

“I’m too tired for this,” he said.

“That’s why I’m driving!” Lupin snatched the keys from Albert and dashed out of the car before the other had the chance to do anything. Knowing Albert, he’d waste a moment debating whether he wanted to take his blankets along or not, and that gave Lupin just the time he needed to reach his car, start it and move it to another spot so that Albert would think he’d been left behind in the cold night. Served the bastard right.

They could share a bottle of vodka in Lupin’s motel room afterwards. Hopefully, they’d both feel so awful in the morning that they’d forget what they both knew, that each step they took together was taking them closer to disaster.