It happens quickly. Turk calls for backup, and hears the sirens as he puts pressure on Jason's wound. Another unit shows up to secure the scene, paramedics not far behind.
They pull him aside, and it's not until someone puts pressure on his leg that he remembers he's been shot.
"Looks like you missed the femoral artery," an EMT tells him, looking studiously at his wound. "And you wouldn't be moving if it hit bone."
This is supposed to be good news, Turk can tell, but he casts a sideways glance at Jason, being loaded on a gurney and whisked outside. His face is pale, chest stained red where they cut away his shirt.
"What about my partner?" Turk asks.
The EMT looks at him, then glances back at his leg. "Let's just focus on you for now."
Turk's told enough lies in his life, that he knows how to recognize them. He just has to wonder if the ones he spins sound as hollow as this.
It's hard to think about, hard to think about Rachel and Grace and Jason being treated like he is now, and the world tilts and he gasps.
The EMT is talking to him still, but Turk's stopped listening and the world tunnels out and he just gives in.
Turk wakes up in the ambulance, and it doesn't really hurt. He's still awake in the emergency room, where he's stripped and stitched.
"It was in and out," the doctor tells him. "Doesn't seem to be any significant damage. We've given you some blood to make up for the amount you lost, but with some time and rest, you're going to be just fine."
With some time, Turk thinks. He tries to remember how much time he's taken. Tries to remember when he started to be Danny Williams and left Turk Malloy behind. Tries to remember when he stopped lying to everyone around him and just started lying to himself. Tries to remember.
He can't. Turk can't remember anything. When they give him a sedative, he lets himself sleep instead.
When they transfer him to a room, he asks about Jason. He's on Jason's emergency contact list, so the doctor is forthcoming. "He's in surgery now," she says. "They need to get the bleeding under control and deal with the damage to his kidney."
"Is he going to be okay?" Turk asks.
She smiles, squeezes his arm. "We'll have to see how the surgery goes," she says. "But he's lucky to have people like you - his family to support him. That makes all the difference."
Turk wants to believe it. He wants to believe it so badly. Because he realizes now, he can't pull out, not even if he wants to. It scares the crap out of him to be playing with stakes that matter, but with everything on the line, the risk of folding is worse than banking it all on one last hand.
Jason is his partner. Jason is his brother, not like Virgil, but close enough. Turk knows that reality is mostly perception, and the fact is he doesn't know how to separate Danny Williams from Turk Malloy anymore. The lines are blurred and the guise is deeper than the reality. He's not one or the other, but he's a little of both.
I bet you can't hold a real job.
Years later, Turk's answer is still the same.
He doesn't need to bet. Because he's seen his brother bet and raised him a family and a life, and Turk's has to bank on that until the end.
He's so preoccupied with Jason, that Turk doesn't think to call Rachel until he hears her in the hall.
"I don't care about your procedure!" she yells. "My husband is in this hospital and no one will tell me if he's alive or dead or serious maimed or whatever, so I don't care about your damn procedure!"
When a nurse finally shows her Danny's room, she stands in the doorway for a moment, looking at him before her face scrunches with tears. "Oh, God, Daniel," she breathes. She moves forward, lacing her arms around him, burying her head in his shoulder.
"Hey," he murmurs, trying to wrangle his arms around her despite his IVs. "I'm okay. It's okay."
She takes a shuddering breath, and Turk feels her tears on his neck.
Then, abruptly, she pulls away, swatting him hard in the arm.
Turk protests, surprised. "Hey!"
"I thought you were dead!"
"So you're hitting me?" Turk asks incredulously.
"For scaring me like that!" she exclaims. She shakes her head. "I mean, have you not heard of a phone? I know you have one because I bought you one for Christmas. If a phone call is too much, a simple text-"
"You know I can't work that thing," he says.
She blows out a breath. "I don't care about your goofy thumbs or your inexplicable aversion to modern technology, I just care about knowing you're alive."
"A lot was just happening-"
"Really?" she asks pointedly. "Well, it's not exactly been an easy morning from me getting a call from the hospital telling me to come right away. They wouldn't tell me anything else, and the entire drive I was trying not to think about all the ways you could be dead and how I was going to raise Grace on my own and-"
Her voice cuts off, stunted by a sob, and Turk feels his heart lurch. She's worked up and trying not to cry, so he holds his arms out and pulls her to him.
Rachel resists for a moment, then melts, sobbing into his arms right there on the hospital bed.
Turk is discharged two days later, and Jason is awake by the time he leaves. He's weak but smiling on the hospital bed when Turk visits him.
"It's nothing," Jason assures him.
"You took a bullet," Turk says. "Scared the crap out of me."
Jason huffs weakly. "If I had known how easy this was, I wouldn't have doted on you so much when you took one."
Turk laughs. "Lucky me, then," he says, and looking at his best friend awake and breathing, he knows that much is true.
Little things change. Grace starts walking and then she's talking. Jason gets back to work and Holly gets pregnant. Turk's never been more aware of his gun and he pulls it more often than he probably should, but sometimes when he hears a sound, he thinks of Jason bleeding on the ground, and he really can't help himself.
Turk's not the only one on edge. He sees Rachel watching him from the window when he pulls in at night, and she hugs him a little longer before work each morning. When Turk talks about the job, she gets uncomfortable and sometimes it makes her mad.
"You never make an effort with me anymore," she sighs at night, pulling away from him under the covers.
Turk frowns. "I thought we were just talking."
She eyes him critically. "Your idea of foreplay is telling me about how to cuff someone," she says. "I married a man, not a cop."
"You married both," he says. "I thought you knew that."
She sighs again, and rolls over.
"Rachel," he says.
"Go to bed, Danny," she says. "We've both had longs days."
He stares at her a minute longer, trying to think of something to say. When he comes up with nothing, he turns off the light.
And then they fight.
He comes home late. Dinner is cold on the table.
"I just had to finish up with the suspect," Turk explains.
"You give your best to criminals and scoundrels, and leave us with your leftovers!"
"It's not like that," Turk says back, frustrated.
She slams her dishrag on the table and stalks out of the kitchen. "Well, it certainly feels like it."
The problem is, it's easy to charm someone for a day. Turk can even pull off weeks and months. But as the months disappear into years, somehow it just gets harder.
Not that Turk doesn't try, but he's already made himself into someone different once, and no matter how hard Rachel wants him to try again, he just can't.
"I can't take it," she says, throwing her hands up. "This job, this lifestyle - it's too much."
"I can pick up extra shifts, get some more money," Turk offers, and for the first time in what feels like years, he thinks about the money he has stashed away. "We can buy a nicer house."
"It's not about the house," Rachel explodes back.
Turk flails his hands. "Then what is it about?"
"The job, Danny," she says. "It's about the job. The hours, the stress, the danger - I can't do this. I wasn't meant to do this."
And that's the breaking point, because it's the one thing Rachel can't do and it's the only thing Turk can do, and no matter how much they love each other, it's an impasse they'll never put behind them.
When Rachel serves him with papers, Turk isn't surprised, but it hurts him all the same. They fight and he rants and she raves but it doesn't change anything.
She gets custody of Grace, and it's not even a year later and she's dating again.
When Danny gets news of her engagement, he's still working his ass off as a detective with Jason by his side, and trying to figure out what sacrifices were worth what in the end.
When he moves out for good, Turk finds a box in the closet. He recognizes Virgil's handwriting and inside he finds the wedding gift. The broken relic seems lonely now, not a cherished momento of how far he's come, but sullen reminders of what he's failed. The note taunts him now.
We made a bet. Looks like I lost.
Only now, it looks like Virgil just cashed out too soon.
Turk has to wonder now, if maybe he did, too.
He takes the plaque off the wall on the way out and packs it in a box and puts it Mama Donnelly's attic, because he has no other place for it to go.
Turk's a survivor. He keeps going. Jason and Holly let him stay as long as he needs, even with the birth of their son, and Jason's mom insists on him moving in. Turk normally doesn't like charity, but this feels like family, and Turk needs that now.
Plus, it's better for Grace. She loves Jason, and calls his mother Grandma. Even without Rachel, Turk still has a family, still has a life, still has a job.
He thinks, he can do this. For Grace. He can do this and thrive.
Until Rachel tells him she's moving to Hawaii.
"Not with Grace you're not," Turk tells her definitively.
"I already talked to my lawyer," she says. "I'm sorry, but I have primary custody."
"Primary custody my ass," Turk says. "I share custody."
Rachel's expression darkens. "Oh, and how are you going to watch her while pulling twelve hour shifts? How will you pick her up from school?"
"I can hire a nanny," Turk shoots back. "It works for you and Stanley."
Her face turns red. "Then you can fight me in court," she says, and she storms out.
"Don't worry," Danny calls after her. "I will!"
Turk hasn't fought hard for a lot in his life, and nothing compares to the fight he puts up for Rachel. He expends all his finances on the best lawyer he can find, and he uses all his free time trying to make a case for why Rachel shouldn't be allowed to move so far with his daughter.
He makes a good, impassioned argument, but Turk should have known, he can't win them all.
This is the only one that matters, and he can't win it. He's put it all on the line, and come up short, and when the ruling gives Rachel the go ahead to move with Grace in tow, it feels like he's been shot all over again.
It feels like he's been shot, like his cover's been blown, like he's reading his own obituary. It feels like all of that and more, because this time, he's losing Grace.
Turk's lost some important things, but he's never lost something like this.
Grace moves on a Tuesday. He takes the entire week before off, and spends every moment with her. He takes her to the city and they go to the museums. He takes her to the zoo and buys her hot dogs and cotton candy. They see a baseball game and he buys her anything she wants.
It's a desperate week, trying to fit a lifetime into the fleeting moments he has with his daughter.
When she gets on the plane, he stands in the terminal and watches it until it's gone. He watches the sky a long time after, trying to understand the loss, trying to understand anything.
He wonders, if he had known this, if he would have picked the job over Rachel. If he would have moved to New Jersey. If he would have killed Turk Malloy. If he would have taken Virgil's bet at all.
Because the problem with really living is that you risk really losing. Turk Malloy could never lose because he never had anything worth betting.
And no matter how much it hurts, Turk doesn't think he could give any of it up, not even knowing the end. Because the in betweens mattered. They mattered so much.
Which is what makes what comes after so hard.
He drives home alone, and turns off his cell phone. He locks his room and shuts off the lights and sleeps until morning. When he wakes up, Grace is still gone and he still has a job to do, but for the first time since he started this, it doesn't seem worth it.
Life is quiet. Jason does his best to distract him and Mama Donnelly does the best she can to pamper him. But it's a losing battle, and Turk feels like he did all those years ago on his brother's couch: directionless and lonely.
In all the years since he started this con, it's never felt as fake as it does now.
Turk's not sure how Danny knows, but it's Danny so Turk really isn't surprised.
The call is from R. Kelty this time, but Turk knows the voice all the same. "I heard you might be in the market for a change," R. Kelty says.
Turk shifts silently, his gut churning. He's said no for so long, that somehow the idea of saying yes still scares him
But Rachel's married to Stanley and Grace is in Hawaii, so Turk knows that the odds are that he doesn't have much left to lose. "Maybe," he says finally. "What did you have in mind?"
This time Danny's with Linus, who somehow still looks like the same baby faced kid.
"It's a job in upstate New York," Linus says. "I've got this - we've got this - contact there-"
"He wants us to get something that once belonged to him," Danny finishes concretely.
Turk's too tired to put up many pretenses and he's been a cop too long not to ask the obvious. "And he's not calling the cops because?"
Linus glances at Danny. Danny doesn't flinch.
Linus shrugs a little. "It sort of wasn't his to begin with," he says.
"Ah," Turk says. "A thief who got robbed."
"He tracked down who did it, but can't report it to the proper authorities without the status of the piece getting pinged," Danny explains. "He wants us to come, lift the piece, and take whatever else we want to sweeten the pot."
"All stolen goods?" Turk asks.
"From private collections around the world," Danny confirms.
"We're talking six figure draws for each person involved," Linus offers.
Turk thinks about this. "Who do you have on board?"
"Me, Danny," Linus begins. "We think we've got Basher in from England and Livingston's always up for something."
"Yen, Rusty," Danny continues.
"That enough?" Turk asks critically.
"With you, that's seven," Linus points out.
"I think we can do it with seven," Danny says.
"But we do need seven," Linus says.
Danny looks at him, benignly curious. "So are you in?"
Turk takes a weekend. Danny says they'll be in town until Tuesday, so Turk can take his time. On the way back to Jersey, Turk thinks about the first time Danny hired him. Funny, in all those years, Danny hasn't changed. Rusty hasn't either. They are constants, held true in the unyielding current of this world.
Turk could have been like them. Turk could still be working out of Utah, doing what he always did. Turk could have still been stealing cable and blowing cash.
But he's a different man now, and some things are the same, but a lot of it isn't. Time has gone by and it has shaped who Turk is.
It's a choice, not just between crime and respectability, but between making the rules and following them. Between getting ahead and getting by.
Between enduring and living.
This was never Turk's idea, and that's the funniest part to him. That he never would have done this without Virgil, and that he never thought it through any step of the way. He's learned about plans and details, and Turk threw them both away, and so maybe it's no surprise he's ended up where he has.
He's got a new place, at least, but it's smaller and lonelier than his apartment back in Salt Lake. His things are still in boxes and he's stopped concerning himself with anything resembling house cleaning. His books are still at Mama Donnelly's, and he sprung for extended cable for lack of something better to do.
He spends the day after meeting with Danny on the couch. He gets up to take a piss and get a new beer, but not much else. When there's a knock at the door, Turk zones it out.
When Jason is standing right in front of him turning off his TV, it's a little harder to ignore.
"I was watching that," Turk squawks in protest.
Jason rolls his eyes, tossing the remote on a chair. "Really? So what was on?"
Turk opens his mouth to reply, but beyond the flash of lights and the droning sound, Turk doesn't know.
Jason shakes his head. "This is stupid."
Turk glowers at him. "It's not stupid."
"No, it is stupid," Jason says.
Turk sighs, letting his head drop back against the couch. "I do not need another lecture," he says. He lifts his head to look at Jason again. "Every single person in your family and half the NPD have given me this speech."
"That's because we're all worried about you," Jason says.
Turk sighs, holding his hands out. "I'm transitioning, okay? My wife left me, married some little turd, and then took my daughter, the only thing that I had left, all the way to the middle of nowhere."
Jason rolls his eyes again, this time in total disgust. "Oh, please," he says.
Turk shrugs incredulously. "You think I'm being inaccurate?"
"I think you're being a moron."
"How am I being a moron?"
Jason throws his arms out. "How aren't you being a moron?"
"All things considered, I think I'm pretty dead on," Turk says.
Jason's posture shifts and he leans forward. "First of all, what the hell are you talking - the only thing you have left? What about me? Holly? Scottie? Or have you forgotten that you're his godfather? And what about Mom? We accepted your pansy ass into our lives long before Rachel was ever in the picture and if you think you're going to get rid of us now just because she bailed, then you're even more of an idiot than I thought."
Turk opens his mouth.
Jason doesn't stop. "Second, transitioning implies going someplace. Doing something. Right now, you're sitting on your ass doing nothing. You're not transitioning, you're decaying, and I'm pretty damn sick of your pity parties all the time."
Turk's jaw drops further.
"Third," Jason continues, unrelenting. "Rachel moved to Hawaii, which contrary to your insistence, is actually an official part of the United States that is very nice."
Turk's eyes may bug.
Jason gives him no chance. "And last of all, you're acting like there's nothing you can do about it except sit around on your ass and act like a friggin' moron, which, really, does make you a friggin' moron, not to mention a pissy best friend and a poor excuse for a partner!"
Turk's mouth closes and he breathes hard through his nose. He looks at Jason, who doesn't waver, hardly even blinks. Swallowing hard, Turk sits tensely. "Are you done?"
Jason's stances eases slightly. "Almost," he says.
"Almost? You mean, you have more? It's not enough to kick me when I'm down, you want to actually run over me with your car? Maybe just dig my grave and then bury me while I'm still breathing, because, you know, my life doesn't suck enough."
Jason looks away, wets his lips. He looks back at Turk, shaking his head. "You don't get it, man."
"No, you don't get it," Turk says, sitting up a little now. His voice sharpens, because this is the reason he's drowned himself in anything but the truth. "Rachel and Grace - they were my world. I did everything for them. I didn't know what being happy was until them, and then Rachel - she took that from me. She took it from me. Because I could cope playing the divorced dad. I could cope with getting every other weekend. But she took Grace to Hawaii. And I don't care if it's the tourist capital of the entire world, it's not here."
Jason shakes his head, almost laughing now. "Yeah, I get all that," he says. "But aren't you forgetting?"
Turk frowns, shaking his head. "Forgetting what? That Rachel screwed me for alimony, too?"
"No, genius," he says. "That even in Hawaii, your so-called hell, there are cops. I mean, I don't want you to leave, but I can't see you like this. I want you to be happy. If being by Grace will make you happy, then put in for a transfer."
Turk can't hear the rest. Can't hear anything. Because he hasn't been looking very hard for a counterargument to Danny's offer, but Jason has given him one nonetheless.
Like most things in Turk's life, the thought doesn't cross his mind until someone else brings it up, and then when they do, it's all he can think about.
There are cops in Hawaii.
It's a revelation.
Rachel left him and moved Grace across the world, but there are cops in Hawaii.
It's been years, and Turk's sitting in his crappy apartment, thinking about the way this all started.
It started as a bet.
A foolish gamble between brothers. Not the first he's made, but in all these years, it sort of looks like it may have been the last.
He started this to prove to Virgil that he could do it, and he found every reason in the world to stay with it. The pay, the stability. Rachel, Grace.
That's all gone now. Rachel's taken Grace to live with Step Stan in some tropical paradise Turk has no desire to see. He grew up in the desert and came to life in this city, and pineapples and crystal blue oceans don't pay like robberies and don't make him human like a badge.
He has visitation rights, of course, but with all the miles between them, it's not like he has much opportunity to use them. Rachel would never know if he's still working as a cop or not, and if he's honest, she no longer has a right to care. Grace's still young enough to believe whatever he tells her, and as long as he shows up with presents, he figures she'll still love him all the same.
In all, Turk has no reason to decline Danny's offer. The pay is good and with that kind of loot, he can buy Grace enough stuff to make sure she won't forget him no matter where he's living. He's proven his point - proved it years ago - and so maybe it's time to stop trying to hard and live the good life.
It's a no-brainer, really. Working with the best of the best, with no strings attached. Turk knows he should say yes.
So he's not sure why he can't make the call.
Because he's sitting there, in his crappy apartment, surrounding by all the things he's built. It's not a lot, really, not for the time and effort he's put into it, but it's still stuff that matters. Pictures of Grace. A commendation from his captain. His badge and gun. Memorabilia from the ball games with the guys from the precinct.
Danny Williams matters to people. If he takes Danny Ocean's call, they'll miss him. They'll know he's gone.
In all his years out of the game, he's only gotten calls for gigs and subtle check-ins from Ocean's team. There's making a buck and making a difference, and if Turk has learned nothing else these last few years, he's learned that much.
Danny Williams is down, but he's not out. He's got some money in his savings account and a support system that will help him. His captain will put in a good word for him, and even Hawaii needs cops.
Turk can follow Danny Ocean and become a rich man, no strings attached.
Or Turk can become Danny Williams, once and for all, and let that take him wherever it will.
It starts as a bet.
It ends as another one. Because Turk doesn't know what life is like in Hawaii and he's got no guarantee that he'll get more visitation if he moves, but one thing he knows is that some risks are worth taking, and the trick is knowing when to bet it all.