October 2011

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Friday, January 28th, 2011 09:51 pm
Title: Tell the truth (but tell it slant)
Fandom: Hawaii Five-0/Ocean's Trilogy
Rating: PG
Genre: Gen
Characters: Danny, Rusty, Linus, mentions of the H50 team.
Spoilers/warnings: Major spoilers for the Ocean's movies, anything up to and including 1.12; tag for that episode; part of the "Break-Even" verse
Length: Approx. 5,500 words
Notes: This fic is in the same 'verse as [livejournal.com profile] faye_dartmouth 's "The Break-Even Point". It's a crossover between H50 and the Ocean's trilogy. A basic knowledge of the Ocean's movies is advised; I would highly recommend reading Faye's story before this, as that story tells of how Turk Malloy became Danny Williams, and several events from that story are referenced in this fic. Also, it's frakkin' brilliant and should be read by everyone. (And we're planning another story for the future, too.)
Notes the second: As Faye can testify, this fic was written before the latest episode aired, so we had no idea the show was going to take the turn it did. Just FYI.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ocean's or H50. Title comes from Emily Dickinson. Mega thanks to Faye for the encouragement and for humoring my plot monsters. 

Summary: There is no way Danny could have gotten a hold of ten million dollars to save Chin’s life, not in the time frame they’d had. And now Danny Williams still can’t come up with ten million. But Turk Malloy can.


Tell the truth (but tell it slant)

The phone number is taunting him now.

Danny had pulled it out the day after Christmas, after Grace had been dropped off at Rachel’s and the rest of his team had retreated to recuperate from the debacle with Hesse. Danny assumes they all ended up at the beach to surf. He had actually contemplated joining them — if only to keep an eye on them in case they fell and broke their necks or got attacked by a shark or managed to find a drug lord to bust — but he’s had other things to worry about.

Mainly, the missing ten million from HPD.

Danny will never label Steve as naïve, but in this case, he figures it’s safe to say his partner is hopelessly optimistic. HPD might not notice the missing money for years, but if they ever plan to clear Chin-Ho’s name (and Danny knows they will, as sure as Hawaii is an island), someone will have to examine the money at some point. And when that happens, the shit will hit the fan — not just for Chin but for all of Five-0. Special immunity from the governor’s office only goes so far, and Danny doesn’t think Jameson will be so quick to pardon Steve or the rest of the team for losing ten million, no matter their intentions.

Unless.

Unless there’s a way to put ten million back.

Danny takes a long swing from the Longboard in his hand as he contemplates the postcard sitting on the table in front of him. It isn’t much: a generic photo of Newark, New Jersey, with no return address. The postmark’s from Vegas, and the only thing written on it besides Danny’s address is a phone number, both scrawled in familiar handwriting. Rusty Ryan’s handwriting.

It’s a message from the friends he’d left behind in his old life. Turk Malloy may be dead, but he certainly isn’t forgotten — at least, not by Danny Ocean’s gang.

There is no way Danny Williams could have gotten a hold of ten million dollars to save Chin’s life, not in the time frame they’d had. But now, with Chin safe and Hesse behind bars and the ransom burned to a crisp, Danny has time to think.

Danny Williams still can’t come up with ten million. But Turk Malloy can.

Somewhere in the world, a bank holds the remnants from the last few jobs he’d completed with the rest of Ocean’s Eleven, as their group had been dubbed. Danny’s barely touched the account; as far as he’s concerned, the money is a memory from a life he’s left far behind. He had never planned on touching it again — he’d earned it, yes, but he hadn’t earned it legally, and he’s been working on the right side of the law for long enough that the thought of using it doesn’t sit well.

He’s made one concession to that resolution: Grace. After a long and internal debate with himself, he had Danny Ocean set up an automatic payment so that every few months, a generous sum is wired into a savings account he established for Grace’s college fund. He may not want to use the money for himself, but money is meant to be spent, and he wants to make sure his daughter has the ability to pursue whatever kind of education she wants, whether it’s through an Ivy League institution, or a state college, or a life spent travelling and exploring the world. It’s more than enough to ensure Grace gets what she needs, but not so high as to draw attention.

Beyond that, though, the account remains untouched. To be honest, Danny has no idea how to access the money; he’d had Ocean invest it for him back in the day, and Ocean was the one to set up the automatic payments, so Danny has no clue where it is. The last he’d heard, there had been close to twenty-six million; knowing Ocean and his knack for investment strategy, that amount is probably nearing thirty million, even with the payments to Grace’s college fund.

It’s a lot of money that Danny thought he’d never end up using.

But once again, Steve McGarrett has to take all of Danny’s plans and assumptions and blow them right out of the water with his half-assed, insane tactics.

Not that Danny regrets it. Chin is alive and Hesse is behind bars, and Danny wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Except.

Except there’s ten million missing from an HPD vault, and Danny is well aware that all fingers will point straight to Chin when someone finds out about it. He’s also well aware that Steve will never let that happen; he’ll claim full responsibility for his actions and do everything he can to make sure Chin, Kono, and Danny escape unscathed from the mayhem that is sure to follow.

Chin lost his job over a missing two hundred thousand. For ten million, Steve will lose his job, his badge, and his freedom. Five-0 will be disbanded, maybe even imprisoned, and Danny will be back at square one, stuck on an island he hates with no friends to cheer him up. And that isn’t a worst-case scenario; that’s the truth, plain and simple.

On the other hand, Danny is well aware there will be repercussions if he replaces the missing money.

It won’t be too hard to break back into HPD; he’d seen the blueprints, had even snapped a couple photos with his camera when the rest of his team wasn’t looking. Steve and Kono had been in and out in less than ten minutes, and they’re amateurs when it comes to breaking into secured locations. (Or at least Kono is; Danny can’t be completely sure about all of those classified missions that Steve had during his time in the SEALs.)

Danny isn’t even worried about what will happen if HPD discovers the discrepancy in the serial numbers. Sure, it will be suspicious, but he can already imagine the department’s bewildered reaction: what kind of thief exchanges ten million dollars for another ten million dollars? They’d pursue it for a little while, maybe, but it wouldn’t be a high priority for the department.

No, the biggest threat in the entire scenario is Danny’s own team. When it’s discovered that money isn’t actually missing from HPD, the others will know immediately something’s up. And once they know that, they’ll start investigating, and it will only be a matter of time before they discover the truth about Turk Malloy. His teammates aren’t the best at what they do for nothing.

Worst-case scenario if that happens? His team will probably lose their trust in him — which, Danny thinks, is reasonable, given the huge secret he’s been hiding all these years. There will more than likely be an arrest warrant issued, and Danny will be forced to go into hiding in order to avoid prison, isolated from his friends — the family he’s worked so hard to build. He’ll have to give up being a cop; he’ll almost definitely never be able to see Grace again, especially if Rachel ever finds out.

On the other hand, Chin’s name could get cleared. Kono will keep on the path toward a long and successful career in law enforcement. Steve will continue to unleash his special brand of crazy on law breakers everywhere. And they can all keep an eye on Grace for him. They might hate him after it’s all said and done, but they’ll still love Gracie.

In light of that, the choice is easy.

Danny drains the last of his Longboard, then pulls out his phone and dials the number. He twirls the postcard on the table as he waits for the call to connect.

“Rusty, it’s me. I need a favor.”

—0—

Danny isn’t surprised when he returns from the office two days later to find Rusty sitting in his tiny kitchen, feet propped up on the table top as he munches a malasada.

He is surprised to see Linus, though.

Rusty glances up at the clock on the wall, licking sugar off his thumb. “You pull late hours as a cop.”

Danny looks pointedly at the bag of malasadas in Rusty’s lap and the Robert Ludlum novel Linus is just setting down — The Bourne Identity, from the looks of it. “You were obviously able to keep yourselves busy,” he says, tossing his car keys on the counter and maneuvering around Linus’ chair to get to the fridge.

“What I don’t understand is why, with all the money you’ve got stashed away, you live in such a crap hole of an apartment,” Linus says. “I mean, I understand the need for a cover, but your salary as a cop can’t be this bad.”

Danny glares as he twists the top off a Longboard. “Are you here to make fun of my place or do a job? And what are you doing here, anyway? I only called Rusty.”

“And Rusty called me,” Linus replies. “Said you needed help. Besides, I was ready for a vacation — too much snow in Chicago. So here I am.”

The response is simple, but it’s more than enough to confirm that the decision Danny made is the right one. He might not have talked to either Rusty or Linus for years, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’re willing to come on a moment’s notice to help him out.

It’s a strange group, his former team — eleven con men from different parts of the world, called together to pull off the biggest heist that Las Vegas has never heard of. Danny doubts he would have been friends with most of them under any other context, but working a long con is a distinctive bonding experience, and Danny had come to know most of their quirks, from Reuben’s flamboyant storytelling to Livingston’s nervous habits to Basher’s affinity for poetry. Even if Danny doesn’t think about them often, he misses them all the same.

Logistically, their friendship should have ended as soon as the Benedict job was over, but it didn’t. It should have ended after the Faberge Egg fiasco, too, but it didn’t — even though that relationship is what got them into that fiasco in the first place.

It really should have ended when Danny found his niche working on the other side of the law as a police officer in Salt Lake City, but it didn’t — by that point, they’d turned into a giant, extremely dysfunctional family. There was minimal contact between most of the team, but when the time came to help out one of their own, they’d answered the call. Even Danny — who had no desire to leave the life he was establishing, the career he was building — had left everything to help Reuben get back on his feet.

It’s something Danny can’t really explain, but he doesn’t think he wants to, either. Even though Turk Malloy is legally dead and Danny Williams has dedicated his life to stopping crime, his former teammates still keep tabs on him. It’s strange but reassuring at once, knowing he’s got a group of friends who will do what it takes to help him out if he asks.

He’s finding the same kind of friendship with the members of his current team, and sometimes Danny wonders what he did in a past life to deserve being part of two absurdly loyal and completely psychopathic teams.

Still, he can’t help but like them all, even if both Steve and Danny Ocean tend to develop plots that could potentially lead to an early demise.

Danny grabs two more Longboards out of the fridge and sets them on the table. “So what’s the target?” Rusty asks as Danny settles into the lone remaining chair.

“HPD headquarters,” Danny replies.

Linus arches an eyebrow. “Smash and grab at a police station?”

Danny’s lips twitch in a hint of a smile. “More like a reverse Cardini.”

Rusty pauses, Longboard hovering just in front of his lips. “How so?”

“There’s a vault with the money seized in a bust,” Danny explains. “The case went cold, so the money’s just sitting there. Last week, one of my teammates was kidnapped and strapped to a bomb.”

Linus’ eyes grow wide, and Rusty’s forehead furrows. Danny shrugs. “Dangerous, yes, but not outrageous for this team — trust me,” he says. “The man behind it, Hesse, demanded ten million in exchange for deactivating it. The governor couldn’t secure the money for us, so my partner decided to go in and ‘borrow’ the money from HPD to get close enough to Hesse to take him out, with the intention of returning it when we were done.”

“I take it something went south,” Rusty says around a mouthful of malasada.

Danny snorts humorlessly. “Hesse tossed the ten million in a fire. Burned it all up.”

Both Rusty and Linus wince. “Waste of good cash,” Rusty declares.

“So, what is it you want us to do, exactly?” Linus asks, fiddling with the bottle top.

Danny smirks. “Put the ten million back.”

Rusty nods, lips pursed in thought. He eats another malasada.

Linus splutters. “You just told us it was burned to a crisp!”

“That’s what this is for,” Rusty says, tossing a duffel bag on the table.

Linus whistles when he pulls back the zipper to reveal several stacks of cash. “Where’d you come up with this?”

Rusty glances at Danny, who scratches the back of his head when Linus looks at him. “I wasn’t ever planning on using it.”

Linus looks around the tiny apartment. “Obviously.”

Danny rolls his eyes and pulls out his phone. “Here’s a blueprint of the vault. There’s an access point from the sewer system,” he says, pulling up one of the photos he took and sliding it across the table to Rusty.

Rusty examines the picture. “Sounds simple enough. Linus and I should be able to do it tomorrow night, no problem.”

Danny blinks. “You’re going to need a driver.”

Rusty raises an eyebrow. “You think we’re going to need to make a quick getaway?”

“No, I think you’re going to need someone around who can convince the local Neighborhood Watch we’re law abiding civil servants checking a water main that may or may not have been sabotaged last week,” Danny replies smoothly. “Trust me.”

“Won’t it be suspicious if there’s a cop around when someone’s breaking into police headquarters?” Linus asks.

Danny shoots him a look. “Are you planning on getting caught?”

Linus looks thoughtful. “Point.”

Rusty sucks the sugar off his fingers and crumples up the empty bag. “Tomorrow night, then?”

Danny nods. “Provided, of course, we don’t end up getting a case in the meantime.”

— 0 —

They get a case.

It’s a jewelry store theft, and for a moment, Danny is half-paranoid that Rusty and Linus have decided to entertain themselves. Luckily for Danny, the thief is caught on camera, and it’s not one of his friends. Chin makes a few calls to some of his contacts, and Steve tackles the thief by lunchtime. It’s an easy case, and Danny plows through the paperwork and packs up right at 5 p.m. (He tries not to dwell on the fact that armed robberies have turned into “easy” cases; it’s better for his stress levels.)

“Hot date?” Steve asks with a grin, leaning against the door frame as he watches Danny straighten up his desk.

“Ha ha,” Danny says. “If you must know, Grace is coming over this weekend, and I’ve got some things that need taking care of. Given your propensity for roping us into cases, I figured I might as well take advantage of the down time.”

“Would any of those things involve moving into a nicer apartment?” Kono calls from her desk.

“You should think about it, brah. Next time, we could be busting the perp in the apartment next to yours,” Chin adds.

The banter is enough to calm Danny’s nerves about the upcoming job he’s going to pull with Rusty and Linus. He gave up being a con a long time ago — has no desire to go back, really — but it’s moments like this that reinforce Danny’s firm belief that this team is worth dying for. Or breaking the law, in this instance.

That’s something he’ll never admit aloud, though, so Danny just rolls his eyes. “You’re all hilarious,” he deadpans, snatching his keys off the desk. “Try not to get shot in the fourteen hours I’m gone,” he adds, looking at Steve.

Steve makes a face. “I did survive over a decade in the SEALs, you know.”

Danny smirks over his shoulder as he heads out the door. “Miracles still happen!”

— 0 —

“You’re late,” Rusty says when Danny pulls up to their meeting place a half an hour later.

“Sorry — busted some jewelry store thieves this morning, had to wrap up the paperwork this afternoon,” Danny answers, grabbing two duffel bags out of the Camaro’s trunk. “Typical Tuesday.”

Linus whistles, running a hand over the lines of the Camaro. “Your taste in apartments might be crap, but I’m glad you haven’t lost your taste in cars,” he says with a grin.

Danny can’t help but grin back as he unzips one of the duffels. “Can’t give up everything, now, can I? Here,” he adds, tossing Linus a jumpsuit. He hands Rusty one and starts pulling his own over his clothes.

“This seems a little overboard for such a simple job,” Linus says, slapping a couple magnets with the city’s logo on the side of the white panel van.

“Can’t ever be too careful,” Rusty replies, popping a Lifesaver into his mouth.

Danny nods as he tosses the bag with the money into the back of the van. “Let’s get this show on the road. We’re burning daylight, and if I miss the basketball game tonight, I’m gonna get a little pissed.”

— 0 —

In the years since the Bank job, Danny forgot that Linus is both curious and a nervous rambler.

The kid’s a good con, more than capable of doing his job, and it’s clear he’s only gotten better over the years. It’s kind of ironic, actually — he and Linus are pretty close in age, Danny figures, but he’s always thought of Linus as younger and more than a little naive. Which is about as true as saying Steve McGarrett is a non-psychotic, well-rounded member of civilization — after all, Linus comes from a long line of cons, and he probably teethed on stolen merchandise as a child. It only makes sense that he’d be good at it.

But throughout the years Danny’s known him, Linus has always had an insatiable need to know everything. It’s a blessing and a curse — it makes him great for recon missions and a terror to anyone who wants to keep something in their life secret. Linus is pretty good about minding his friends’ space, but if he wants to know something, he’ll go after it with the tenacity of a pit bull. It’s why he was so willing to tail the leader of their little rag-tag team during the group’s first escapade in Vegas, and Danny’s pretty sure Linus is the one who helps Rusty and Danny Ocean know what everyone on the team is up to at all times.

And in all the years since their first job together, Linus has never gotten over his inability to keep from rambling when he’s nervous. Whenever there’s any kind of pressure or any potential of something going wrong in the next five minutes, Linus starts talking. It will never top the ceaseless rants Danny used to have with his brother during stake-outs or distractions, but still.

When these two personality traits combine, well... heaven help whoever has become the target of Linus’ questions.

In this particular moment, that’s Danny.

“So how’s it working with the new team?” Linus asks, leaning forward from the seat behind Danny.

Danny rolls his eyes reflexively as he guides the van around a corner. “My life expectancy has been cut in half every week since the team started.”

In the passenger seat, Rusty pops another Lifesaver in his mouth. “Doesn’t that mean you should have died almost ten years ago by now?”

Danny chuckles at the subtle joke. “I did.”

Rusty grins. “Touché.”

“You know, your partner’s got quite the reputation,” Linus says.

The tone is nonchalant, but Danny can hear an underlying edge to it; he’s not sure if it’s worry or awe. Maybe a bit of both. He makes eye contact with Linus in the rear-view mirror. “Yeah?”

Linus nods. “Yeah. Apparently he’s known for breaking up massive art smuggling rings. And drug rings. And a human trafficking ring.”

“Strangely enough, this does not surprise me,” Danny deadpans. “The man’s a menace wherever he goes; humanity is lucky he generally uses his power for good instead of evil.”

“Depends on how you define good,” Linus replies. At Danny’s look, he adds, “He’s the one that got Basher tossed in the slammer in Dubai. So I don’t think Basher would agree with your assessment.”

Rusty sucks in a breath through his Lifesaver. “I heard about that. He’s got a nasty punch — knocked two of Basher’s teeth out in one swing.”

Danny winces. He’s seen firsthand how Steve handles suspects, and he also knows Basher can be a smart ass, particularly when he’s under stress or in pain; it’s the perfect combination for a truly nasty take down. “We’ll just make sure those two are never in the same vicinity, then,” he says.

“Oh, and your partner’s got a price on his head,” Linus adds. “A pretty substantial one, subsidized by the Czech mafia and a band of warlords in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”

Danny sighs heavily. “Of course he does. Now there’s even more possibilities of dirtbags from his past emerging from the woodwork and strapping his teammates to bombs.”

“You ever worry about what might happen if your team finds out about your little secret?” Linus asks. “If the dirtbags from your past ever start coming out of the woodwork?”

“They won’t find out because it’s going to stay a secret,” Danny replies, jaw firm with tension. “And the dirtbags from my past won’t strap my teammates to a bomb.”

“No, they’d probably just bankrupt them,” Linus says. “Or shoot them outright.”

“Thank you for pointing that out,” Danny says flatly. Linus has the decency to look chagrined, at least.

Rusty arches an eyebrow. “And how are you going to explain the fact that ten million dollars replaced itself without anyone knowing about it?”

Danny’s grip on the steering wheel tightens. “I’ll cross that bridge when it comes up.”

“Don’t you mean ‘if’?” Linus asks.

“No,” Danny says shortly. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Rusty and Linus exchange a look. He parks the van along the curb and throws it into park, using more force than necessary. He keeps his eyes averted and stares out the window. “We’re here.”

— 0 —

The thing about the routine of a con, Danny contemplates as he sits on the van’s back bumper, is that it’s surprisingly easy to fall back into.

Part of it could be the role Danny’s playing — driver and distraction, both of which were his specialties back in the day. Granted, he usually had his brother there to back him up, but for a job like this, he can go solo, no problem.

But Danny’s pretty sure this is easy because it’s similar to what he’s done most every day since he started his career in law enforcement. Patrols were always about watching and observing, anticipating anything that could go wrong and keeping an eye out for ways to get out of a sticky scenario, should it ever arise.

Of course, Danny’s usually trying to spot criminals, not keep lookout for them.

Still, this doesn’t make him as uneasy as he thought it would. He’s only pulled one job since he became a police officer — the Bank job — and for the entire six months he’d been working on it, he’d always felt more than a little guilty. Even the knowledge that they were doing it for Reuben — a friend and comrade in arms — hadn’t been enough to ease the feeling of wrongness, the idea that he didn’t belong in the con anymore.

This, though. This feels... well, not right, exactly, but it feels good. It’s something that needs to be done, and Danny will sleep a little easier tonight knowing his team’s not going to be arrested in the middle of the night for stealing from the HPD.

“What are you doing?”

Danny glances up, pulled from his musings, and sees an older woman staring at him from across the street. He stands and crosses the street, pulling off his hardhat in respect. He recognizes the woman from Kono’s description as the one who’d nearly busted them last week when Steve was getting the money.

The woman’s looking a little apprehensive, so Danny gives her his friendliest grin. “Dan Ramsay, ma’am, my team and I are with the city’s maintenance services,” he says, dropping his Jersey accent and adding a bit of a Midwestern drawl. “We got a report a few days ago that there was some unauthorized activity in this area, so we’re just checking everything out, making sure nothing’s been tampered with.”

The suspicion on the woman’s face clears, and she smiles. It makes her look ten years younger. “Well, I suppose I should be a little upset that it took you so long to respond to my calls, but it’s like they say — better late than never.”

“You’re the one that called it in?” Danny asks.

She nods. “I got suspicious when I saw that young woman lingering in a uniform, but with no logo on the van. She tried to give me the run-around, but I saw right through her lies. I didn’t raise six boys for nothing, you know. I know b.s. when I hear it.”

Danny laughs and silently pities Kono — she never stood a chance. “Well I am impressed, ma’am,” he says. “Most people wouldn’t even think twice about it.”

“I know,” she says. “It’s a shame, the kinds of things that go unnoticed in this country anymore.”

“No kidding,” Danny agrees with a nod. He spots movement out of the corner of his eye and sees Linus and Rusty emerge from the entrance, duffel bags in hand. Rusty’s is considerably lighter than it was ten minutes ago. “How’s it look?” he calls. “Any signs of tampering?”

“None that we could see,” Rusty replies, tossing his bag in the back of the van. “It’s all clear.”

“Do you think they’ll be back?” the woman asks.

“Nah,” Danny says. “They know this neighborhood’s under some good surveillance; I don’t think they’ll be back any time soon. But don’t hesitate to call if you see anything suspicious, alright?”

“Of course,” the woman replies.

Danny bids the woman goodbye and jogs over to the van, where Linus and Rusty are already waiting. As he pulls away, he gives the woman one last wave.

“She seems nice,” Rusty comments.

“I pity any amateur who tries to commit a crime within a three-mile radius of that woman,” Danny replies with a grin. “So... no issues, then?”

“That’s got to be one of the least-secured police department vaults I’ve ever seen,” Rusty says. “It’s even worse than that one in Cairo. They really ought to think about making improvements.”

“In this economy?” Danny asks.

Rusty makes a face. “True. Rough times all around. My hotel’s barely staying afloat.”

“Your hotel is always barely staying afloat,” Danny points out.

Rusty pops a Tic Tac in his mouth. “True,” he says again.

Linus lets out a long breath and slumps back in the seat. “This is the weirdest job I ever pulled,” he declares. “Pulling a Cardini, I get, but a reverse Cardini where we leave ten million instead of taking it? It’s just not normal.”

Danny grins wryly. “Welcome to Hawaii.”

— 0 —

Danny picks them up from their hotel and takes them to the airport the next morning before work. He’s got a bit of a headache from the night before — they’d hit up a local bar, talking and laughing and playing a few rounds of poker for old times’ sake, and he’d had a couple too many. The headache isn’t unbearable by any means, but Linus and Rusty don’t even look phased, and they’d had way more to drink. It’s a little annoying but mostly expected — another sign of their different lifestyles, he supposes. There may have been a time when he could have kept up with them — could have drunk them under the table, even — but he’s walked on the straight and narrow and been a responsible father for so long that he’s just not built for it anymore.

He shoves his hands into his pockets as they pull their bags out of the Camaro’s trunk. “Thanks for coming on such short notice,” he says. “I owe you one.”

“Eh.” Linus shrugs. “That’s what friends are for, right?”

“Though I wouldn’t complain if you upgraded to an apartment that actually has a spare bedroom and access to the ocean and a malasada stand nearby,” Rusty adds with a grin. “I could use a new vacation spot. And those malasadas are pretty tasty.”

Danny rolls his eyes. “Don’t push it,” he says. “My goodwill only goes so far. Besides, if I get a new apartment, my team’s gonna think I caved into pressure and actually listened to them, which will undo all of my hard work of trying to convince them to listen to me.”

Linus smirks a little. “And that would be bad, why?”

“Because when they don’t listen to me, suspects end up in shark cages or hanging from roof ledges,” Danny replies.

Linus’ eyebrows arch in surprise. “I see.”

An airport security officer approaches, and Danny sees Rusty and Linus tense a little. “You’re going to have to move along, sir, this area’s for loading and unloading only,” the officer warns.

Danny flashes his badge. “Give me another minute and I’ll be gone.”

The officer nods and moves along. Danny tucks the badge in his pocket, pausing when he catches sight of the looks on his friends’ faces. “What?”

“Nothing,” Rusty replies immediately.

“It’s just cool,” Linus adds, gesturing toward the badge. “That you found a way out. This life’s a good fit for you, Danny.”

Danny blinks in astonishment a couple times. That’s the first time he’s ever been verbally addressed as Danny by someone from his old life (other than his brother, who was joking around, and Danny Ocean, who said it over the phone but never face-to-face), and it’s more than a little surreal. Yes, he’s received mail and wedding gifts and a the occasional promotional flier from the rest of Ocean’s team, but he hasn’t talked to anyone besides Rusty, Danny, Linus, or Virgil since the Bank job.

He stopped being Turk Malloy a long time ago, hasn’t hardly thought about that life during his time on the island, but here and now, with his old friends interacting with his new life, it feels like the transition is really, finally complete.

Danny scratches the back of his neck. “Yeah, it’s alright, I suppose.”

Rusty and Linus smile knowingly but let the subject drop. “So... I guess I’ll see you when I see you,” Linus says, slinging his bag over his shoulder.

Danny nods once. “Sounds good. Take care, Linus.”

Linus gives him a little salute and heads into the terminal.

Rusty gives Danny one last look. “Say hi to Virgil for us, next time you see him.”

“Will do,” Danny says. “Say hi to Isabel.”

Rusty grins. “Oh, I will.”

Danny rolls his eyes, leaning against the Camaro as he watches Rusty follow Linus into the terminal. Within a few moments, they’ve vanished into the crowd, two anonymous travellers finishing up vacations to an island paradise.

Danny lingers a few moments more before he settles back behind the wheel of his car. He looks at the picture of Grace and the postcard of New Jersey he’s got taped to the visor. Pulling out his badge, he fingers the grooves and ridges of the metal, contemplating.

This is the life he’s chosen, the career he’s claimed as his own. It’s stressful and thrilling and exhausting and rewarding, and it’s cost him in more ways than he cares to think about. In a few hours, he’ll probably be sitting in the passenger seat as Steve drives like a maniac after their latest suspect. There’s a good chance he’ll get shot at before the end of the week, and he’ll probably be up late at least a few nights working on closing a case.

But it’s his life and his friends and his choice, and he gets to help people, and it’s something he’s good at. And at the end of the day, Danny wouldn’t have it any other way.

End.

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