"You can't be doing this right now," Danny yelled. Rusty was glad Danny had waited until they were alone, well almost alone since Reuben had stuck around, before he'd started shouting, though he wasn't sure which Danny was more upset about, the possibility of it ruining the heist or the possibility of ruining Rusty's relationship with Linus. Knowing Danny he was probably more concerned with the latter. "I need everyone focused, and you're just running around distracted and getting Linus caught in the mix. Don't do this to him."

It was a risky gamble going after Isabel while he was here but it would work in their favor. He just wasn't sure if Danny would see it that way. Linus definitely wouldn't.

"I've been distracted the entire time," Rusty shot back. "I can't not be distracted, not with him around. Worst part is I'm kinda enjoying it." He'd been distracted by Linus back before they were even dating. He'd been distracted ever since they met during the Bellagio heist.

Reuben glanced between the two of them. If he hadn't figured things out by now, he was probably about to.

"Do you know what you're doing?" Somehow it always came back to that question.

Rusty glared at Danny. They'd talked about this a couple months ago and he'd thought Danny understood. "I know exactly what I'm doing. In the back of my mind I'm planning Valentine's Day like it's the biggest heist of my life and it's not even February yet. I'm on a heist but I'm not thinking about the heist, not fully, because there's someone else filling my spare thoughts. I've been thinking hearts and flowers for months now, when I don't care about any of that shit, and it's certainly not for her."

The angry glare on Danny's face softened to a look a reproach. "Then tell him that so he stops worrying that you're about to dump him for an ex-girlfriend. We've got enough to worry about right now without dragging relationship problems into it."

"I can't tell him any of that shit," Rusty protested. " Not without sounding like a fucking girl."

"You're not a girl."

Rusty turned and there was Linus, leaning against the doorframe with a tiny smile on his face.

"You're getting better at that sneaky stuff." Rusty smiled widely, too self conscious to let any real emotion show on his face, and he wondered if he'd just earned a year's worth of brownie points or royally screwed up. Either way the words were off his chest now, no going back.

Linus shrugged off the compliment. "Yeah. Good teachers I guess."

Reuben set down the glass of scotch he'd been sipping from and moved towards the door. "I believe this is my cue to go. Take care boys. Whatever it is, sort it out. I probably don't want to know."

Linus blushed at the comment but he just nodded at Reuben as the older man brushed past him.

Danny clapped Rusty on the shoulder, his grip more threatening that comforting. "Fix it, okay?"

"I will," Rusty promised.

Danny smiled at Linus as he left, winking when he thought Rusty couldn't see it. The door closed and then they were alone.

"Hey." Linus took an awkward step forward. As he came closer Rusty could make out a faint bit of red tinting his eyes.

"Hey yourself." Once Linus was close enough he pulled the younger man close, thumbing along the edge of Linus' eyes. He hadn't meant to do that to the kid. "You okay?"

A deeper blush stained Linus' cheeks as he turned his head away quickly. "I'm fine. It's nothing."

"If you say so," he shrugged. "About the girl..."

Linus stiffened instantly and started to step back. "You don't have to tell me."

"I do." Rusty held Linus tight, keeping the younger thief in his embrace. "She's a friend," he explained softly.

"She's your ex-girlfriend." Bright blue eyes stared straight at him, unflinching. Inwardly Rusty cringed, though he had to admit Linus was taking this a lot calmer than he'd expected. Or maybe Rusty was just too used to women throwing things at him the minute they even suspected he was cheating.

He shrugged easily. "Yeah, she was. Now she's a friend. Nothing more."

"Alright." There was still a hint of defeat in Linus' voice that meant he didn't believe Rusty.

"Look," Rusty tried his best to sound serious and earnest but he wasn't sure how it came out. This whole 'talking about feelings' stuff wasn't his thing, but he had to try. "I found out a few things about her old man. She's been looking for him for a while, and I'd like to make sure things are set right. I'm not out to hook up with her. Even if she didn't hate my guts and was still interested, I wouldn't because I have you."

When Linus looked up this time, he had that hope that Rusty'd been trying for shining in his eyes. "And that's it?"

"Yeah. That's it."

"And what about us?"

Rusty's smile lit up the room, full of all the warmth and charm he could muster up. "We're still us, in the finest sense of the word." He squeezed Linus briefly in his arms, reassuring him with his presence.

"So you're not dumping me for her?" Linus was venting right now, getting all his worries out in the open so that they didn't have to bother him anymore, and Rusty was fine playing along.

"Wouldn't dream of it." He took a step towards the bed as they spoke, hoping to move the conversation into a less verbal arena.



"You sure?" There was a teasing smile on Linus' face now.

"Need me to show you?" Rusty offered as he spun Linus around and pressed back until Linus' knees hit the bed. The buttons on his shirt were already undone, thanks to the sneaky work of Linus' quick fingers.

Linus lay back on the bed with a wide smile, his legs parting so that Rusty fit between them. "Only if you know what you're doing."

"I do," he vowed, and then let their lips do a different kind of talking.

The kiss was electric passion, like the kisses they shared when they'd been apart for a long while and had finally got a chance to meet up again. Their tongues battled, though it wasn't any real contest. Rusty won, hands down, all the time. Of course that was mostly because Linus let him, but it was still a fun victory.

Linus' hands had been busy while Rusty was absorbed in the kiss. He felt the last of his clothing slip away as Linus pressed a plastic tube into his hand. Their position reminded him of the first time they'd had sex, with Linus toppled over the side of the small bed in his Chicago apartment. In a way it was a lot like their first time. They were still experimenting with each other, experimenting with trust, and love. They were learning boundaries, and Rusty was relearning what it was like to be in a solid relationship again. Him and Linus, they'd lasted a while. A good two years almost, though if he added up all the time they were physically together it was probably closer to three months. Still, he hadn't had a relationship last that long since... well, since Isabel and even that had just been an extended fling.

"Rusty!" Linus' strained voice called him back to the present and he stopped his absent teasing, removing probing fingers to replace them with a more solid reminder of his passion. Linus arched off the bed as he entered, fingers grasping at the sheets and Rusty realized then just how close he'd pushed Linus while he'd been lost in thought. He couldn't help but smirk to himself. Even when he wasn't paying attention he still knew what made Linus twitch.

Now that he was paying attention he found himself getting close to release as well. Hard not to when he looked down at Linus writhing on the sheets, his mouth open wide as he moaned in pleasure. Linus was hot and tight, squeezing around Rusty and he would have sworn then and there that it was the best damn sex he'd ever had if it meant that he could have more. This here, this was his addiction, being inside Linus while he was hot and they were both going at it like they wouldn't see each other for months. Normally that'd be the case but they still had a few more days here until the deadline ran out and after that... well, that was later and for now he needed...

Linus came with a shout, legs wound tight around Rusty's hips and squeezing him in. He couldn't hold back either, not when Linus felt so good. He was quieter when he came, muffling his grunts in Linus' shoulder. He'd leave a bruise, he was certain, or at least some kind of mark but that just kinda made the situation feel better. Here and now he was staking his claim and the resolution almost felt better than the sex.

"Rusty?" Linus sounded sleepy, tired like he always got when his nerves got too high strung.

"I'm here." And he was, both physically and mentally, and he planned to stay that way for as long as he could manage.

He pulled out, got them cleaned up without a word and then tucked under the covers. Linus curled around him, holding him tight enough that Rusty couldn't leave even if he wanted to, Linus' head resting right over Rusty's heart

"You staying?" Linus wasn't talking about the room.

Rusty didn't even have to think about his answer. He smiled as he carded his hand through Linus' short hair, leaning back against the pillows as he started to doze. "Yeah, yeah I am." He'd work out something once they were done with this job. There had to be an option. There were pockets to pick in Hollywood, just like there were hotels in Chicago. They'd make it work, and even if he had to pull a few connections to make it so, it was going to be the biggest jackpot he'd ever pulled in.