And this is the last part of this. Hope you like it!
And this is the last part of this. Hope you like it!
Saul was actually almost impressed that Linus kept his mouth shut until they were all back in Reuben's living room. He'd known the kid long enough now to realise that when he was really worried, Linus tended to fixate on something and worry it half to death.
But instead there was complete silence.
Reuben, Frank and Basher headed immediately for the drinks cabinet. Saul couldn't blame them, but he shook his head when Reuben looked at him enquiringly. Not at the moment. Not yet.
Turk and Virgil perched on either side of the sofa. Yen sat in between them, his expression promising physical retribution the moment either of them said anything.
Livingston slumped in a chair next to them, and seemed to take great interest in studying the back of his hands.
Linus, after walking round the room twice, looking as though he was trying to start a conversation with someone – anyone – returned to the table he'd been stood at earlier that evening - years ago -and started flicking through the Midas plans. Somehow Saul doubted that he was seeing any of it.
The simple truth of the matter was that waiting was hellish; he'd always known that. It was one thing to be patient whilst a plan came together, quite another to sit around, helpless, doing nothing, waiting to find out if someone you cared about was going to be all right. And Saul had lived in this world for a very long time and had found himself in this situation far more often than he cared to think on, but it honestly never got easier. And this was Rusty.
"Sit down, will you? You're making me dizzy." Reuben snapped, and it took Saul a startled moment to realise he was talking about him. Unknowingly he'd been pacing up and down in front of the door. With a scowl, he deliberately forced himself to sit. And if he picked the chair nearest the door, what of it?
"He's going to be all right." Frank said suddenly, staring into his glass of brandy.
Everyone murmured their agreement. "Yes, yes." "Of course he is." "He'll be fine."
Saul found himself nodding along with everyone and didn't think in the slightest about the blood, or the confusion in Rusty's eyes, or the way Danny had clung to him. He hated waiting.
"Should we call Isabel?" Reuben asked, after another moments silence.
Saul grimaced and shook his head quickly.
Reuben blinked. "Oh." And then, with the air of a man desperately trying to avoid any more silence, asked "When?"
The actual answer was 'pretty much the moment Rusty chose to spend six months in Vegas' but he didn't particularly want to share that with Reuben. So he shrugged and said "A while. Like I can keep up." His fingers were drumming against the arm of the chair and it took such an effort to make them stop.
Personally, he had to admit that he'd been glad. It wasn't so much that he didn't like Isabel – though he didn't – but he'd never thought that she was good for Rusty. She took too much for granted. Didn't see what was there. And he wasn't just talking about Rusty, he was talking about the way she saw the world. A lack of wonder. But of course, Rusty never wanted anything that was good for him.
"You sure that Danny should be in there?" Linus asked abruptly, staring at the doorway.
"Yes." Yen snapped, glaring.
"Okay." Linus held up his hands and stepped backwards, and not for the first time Saul wondered if they should be considering anger management classes for their greaseman. "It's just that, maybe it's not something he wants to see, and won't he just be in the way?"
"Stan'll work round him." Basher said. "'E knows to make allowances."
Saul thought about the first time the boys had dealt with Stan. That other time in St. Louis. The explosion – the reason that no-one ever worked with Eddie Delaney again. Danny lying on the bed, face drawn, swathed in bandages. The look in Rusty's eyes when Stan had asked him to step outside. Saul remembered Stan actually taking a step closer to the door – he'd genuinely been afraid – and then Rusty had smiled and Stan had never, never asked again. Yes, he worked round them. Made the same allowances that everyone else did.
"But I just don't see – "
"Shut up, Linus." the Malloys said in unison, before blinking in surprise at each other.
"Why?" Linus asked defensively.
"It's not polite to point out your friends' soft targets." Livingston said with a sigh.
"Particularly not when it's something they can't do anything about." Reuben added.
"And wouldn't if they could." Saul said quietly, his eyes fixed on the door, his hands folded in his lap to prevent himself from fidgeting.
Linus stared around them for a few seconds, and then he finally got it.
And once again there was silence. And waiting.
It had been just a few minutes more than eternity when Stan finally emerged, the pile of his gown and gloves in his hands. Saul could see the bloodstains and a bitter taste rose at the back of his throat.
"He's going to be fine." Stan said, looking round, his tone reassuring as always, meeting everyone's eyes. Stan would have made a good conman, Saul often thought. But this didn't feel like a lie and Saul was inclined to thank every higher power he'd ever heard of. "I've removed the bullet and he's resting comfortably."
"Really? Can we see him?" Turk asked eagerly. Virgil leaned across the sofa and punched him in the arm. Yen made no move to stop him.
"No." Stan smiled. "He's still asleep. Will be for a few more hours." He hesitated for a split second. "Danny is with him." And Stan had always been far too discreet and understanding to spell things out, but Saul would have known that Danny probably wasn't doing so well anyway.
Reuben took Stan upstairs to get washed up and now that the terrible waiting was over, the atmosphere had totally changed. Turk had filled the others in, and pretty soon, the main topic of conversation was exactly how Morris Farrell was going to be destroyed. Looked like it was going to happen whether Danny and Rusty got involved or not. Well, good.
Saul left it nearly five minutes before he casually headed out of the room. He hesitated in the hallway and stared down at the two bags the twins had left there.
Unsurprisingly neither bag was labelled. He opened the first and was immediately confronted by a metallic blue shirt, so he turned his attention to the other. A lime green shirt was on top of that one. Right. Clearly Rusty had done the packing.
Saul sighed and went through both bags until he found a fresh change of clothes that were unquestionably Danny's.
When he walked into the room, Danny was sitting in the chair next to the bed, his eyes fixed on Rusty's face, Rusty's hand clutched between his.
Looking sideways quickly, Saul saw William, the discreet nurse, busying himself tidying up the equipment. He wasn't looking at the boys, but there was a very slight smirk on his face, and Saul realised that he thought he'd got everything figured out. He waited until the man looked round and looked meaningfully at him, and watched as he scuttled further back, further out of earshot.
Satisfied, Saul walked up behind Danny and put his hand on his shoulder. Danny didn't seem to notice. Saul stared at Rusty – pale and vulnerable – and couldn't help but be vaguely astonished that Rusty didn't immediately wake up.
"He's going to be all right, Danny." Saul said, into the silence.
Danny didn't look round. "It was my fault."
"How do you figure?" he asked, carefully. He'd been expecting that Danny would need to talk. And he should have been expecting the guilt.
"I know how dangerous Farrell is. I should have been more careful." Danny's voice was flat and he still didn't look away from Rusty's face.
"The pair of you took every precaution." Saul said, because he knew it was true. They had been careful – more than anyone else would or could have been – they had been professional and they had been precise. And their plan had been good. Because that was who they were.
"Everyone knows Farrell can't touch a gun." Danny quoted bitterly. "We – I – should have been certain."
You were certain, Saul wanted to say. Everyone was certain. But Danny already knew that. Instead he gripped Danny's shoulder tighter. "Not your fault." he said, firmly, quietly.
"He was talking about when I was in prison. He wasn't expecting me to be there." Saul could hear the question in Danny's voice. Unfortunately he didn't know the answer.
"I didn't see that much of him while you were gone. He moved around a lot." Saul admitted.
"He got hurt and he was alone." Danny stated flatly. And Saul couldn't think of anything to say, because he didn't know, but it was probably true.
"It's in the past." he said, feeling the inadequacy.
"Every time I close my eyes I see myself shooting him." Danny said emotionlessly.
"Danny – " Saul began, and he honestly didn't know what he was going to say.
" – I know, I know." Danny interrupted. "Blanks. I shot him with blanks. It was so simple, you know? Rusty tells me and Farrell that our investment's gone. I get mad. Pull out a gun. Shoot him. I shot him, Saul." He let go of Rusty's hand and started rubbing at the blood staining his shirt. "I shot him. And Farrell was supposed to break down at that. Like he did at the Waverley. He was supposed to piss himself and run out of the room. But instead he pulled a gun out of his desk and shot Rusty."
"You didn't shoot Rusty and you couldn't have known. And you got him out of there. You phoned Stan. You got him safe." Saul put all the conviction he'd ever had into his voice, and he felt Danny relax, and he knew he'd been heard.
"Rusty said I shot him." Danny said, his fingers still tracing the bloodstains on his chest.
"But he knew that he wasn't remembering right. He was confused." Saul pointed out, and immediately knew he'd said the wrong thing. There was a long pause. "Danny . . . ?"
"He was so confused." Danny said quietly. "He said he couldn't think properly. What if . . . what if that's permanent?"
Saul made a conscious effort not to react. Because the thought hadn't crossed his mind, well, not over a few dozen times, anyway. "Did Stan even suggest that that might be a possibility?" he asked, confident of the answer.
"No." Danny said slowly. "He said it was just the concussion and blood loss. He said it would pass within a few hours. But what would we do if . . . "
He didn't finish the sentence. And Saul knew that he and the others weren't included in that 'we', and neither was Tess. He also knew what the answer was. Because if it happened, if Rusty didn't recover, Danny would walk away from everything he'd ever known and spend the rest of time taking care of Rusty. And no complaint or regret would ever cross his mind because it would never occur to him that he might have done anything else. There were words, he knew, for the way the boys felt about each other, but none of them had ever seemed quite adequate.
"It's not going to happen, Danny. Don't borrow trouble." There was no answer, and Danny was rubbing harder at the blood, so Saul decided to change his tactics. "Daniel? Stand up." he said in a tone that expected obedience. Automatically Danny did so, and Saul had to admit to being a little pleased that he still had it. "Now. Take these clothes," He handed them over. "And go and take a shower and get changed."
"Saul – " Danny protested, glancing down at Rusty.
" – Do it." he said, firmly. "Rusty isn't going to wake up anytime soon, and even if he does I'll be here."
"But – " Danny tried.
" – And if he wakes up and sees you covered in blood like that," And Danny looked down at himself with a startled expression, "Then he'll probably panic. You know that."
And finally Danny nodded, and clutching the clothes to his chest headed for the door. "You won't leave him?" he asked.
Saul looked at him levelly. "I'll let that pass this time, Daniel. But you know that was an insult."
Danny actually smiled as he left.
Saul settled down on the chair and waited. He didn't think for a moment that Danny would be long. In fact, he made a bet with himself that Danny would be back before ten minutes.
William came over and checked the IV and the blood transfusion equipment. He checked Rusty's vital signs, shone a torch in his eyes, and scribbled something on the chart. Saul couldn't help but wonder whether the chart had actually been on the list that Stan had given Linus. Seemed unlikely. Probably just another instance of Linus being ridiculously thorough.
He gazed down at Rusty and thought about how odd it always seemed to see him sleep. Normally he was a mass of restless energy. The first time he remembered seeing Rusty asleep had been, oh, maybe six months after he'd first met the boys. To his certain knowledge Rusty had been up for more than three days, working on the blueprints to the bank they'd been hitting. And they'd had to move out of town in a hurry, there'd been something they'd needed to locate. Or someone? He couldn't remember. But he remembered the car journey; he'd been in the front seat, and he remembered looking in the rear view mirror and watching as Rusty gradually nodded off, sinking lower and lower in his seat, until finally he'd fallen asleep against Danny's shoulder. Oddly, he'd expected Danny to laugh, shake him awake, do anything apart from shift Rusty into the most comfortable position he could, and then not move a muscle for the next two hours. But that was what he did do, and that was the first time Saul had really understood what it was between the two of them.
"You're why he has grey hairs, you know that?" he asked with a smile, once William had retreated out of hearing distance again.
Saul honestly wasn't expecting Rusty to suddenly open his eyes and try to sit up. But perhaps he should have been.
He reached out a hand and tried to push him back onto the bed, without hurting anything. "Rusty, lie still."
Rusty looked at him sharply. "Saul?" He was still struggling, trying to get out of bed. And Saul might not know much about medicine, but he was fairly confident that was a bad idea.
"Yes, now lie down." he said, in the same tone that he'd used on Danny. Unfortunately it didn't have the same effect.
"Danny . . . ?" Rusty asked, desperation in his voice.
"I'm here." Danny's voice came from the doorway, and Rusty immediately stopped and looked round.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Fine. You're the one who doesn't know when to dodge." Danny answered, coming over and gently pushing Rusty back onto the bed. "Lie down, before Stan comes in and kills us both."
Rusty frowned at Saul. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but when did you get here?" he looked round thoughtfully. "And where is here?"
Danny exchanged a look with Saul. "We're at Reubens" Danny said carefully. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Farrell. He had a gun." Rusty paused. "He's not supposed to – "
" – Thursday afternoons." Danny interrupted and Rusty nodded.
Saul was glad of that. Because he didn't think he could bear the explanation again.
William, waiting patiently in the background, pushed his way forwards and began his examination. "Could you go and get Stan?"
Nodding, Saul headed for the door.
"So, did I miss anything?" Rusty asked.
"Well, you've been pretty out of it." Danny said. "You wanted to blow up Terry Benedict's car."
"And did we?"
"Not yet." And Saul could hear the grin in both of their voices and he smiled to himself.
Because his boys were together and there was nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.
And that's it. Hope you enjoyed it, and it wasn't too soppy.