Apprehension by InSilva
Disclaimer: don't own any of the Ocean's characters.
Summary: Reputation and past actions can have unfortunate consequences. And sometimes it's not all about them. Set after O13. Danny/Tess, Rusty/Isabel. Warnings for profanity.
A/N: started writing this about April 2009. Other things have intruded. :) By posting, I kind of commit to finishing it. Oh, yes, I do. *coughsatsomepointcoughs* And is for otherhawk who has patiently waited for more to be written. Oh, who am I kidding? For otherhawk who has impatiently waited for more to be written. ;)
"I cannot believe you asked me for this information!" There was fervent Gallic indignation followed by a muttered "I cannot believe I am giving it to you".
There was a slightly dramatic sigh and a shrug as if the other person present was happy to humour the sentiment.
"It's a simple enough question. I cannot believe it would present unnecessary inconvenience on your part…where are they?"
Chapter One: Performance
The grin started slow and deep and spread over Rusty's face, lighting him up, his eyes, alive with appreciation.
"Wow," he mouthed and Isabel smiled.
"You would say that about any outfit," she pointed out, smoothing down the burgundy silk and he didn't deny it.
Isabel leaned forward and straightened his bow tie.
"You look very attractive this evening," she told him.
He bent his head and brushed his lips against her neck.
"Keep thinking that," he suggested and she gave a little shiver of anticipation.
"Actually…" Rusty checked his watch. "Actually, we could-"
"We can't," Isabel said immediately. "We're meeting Tess and Danny in-"
"Traffic," Rusty interrupted.
Isabel blinked. "What about it?"
"It's going to be impossible," Rusty said solemnly.
Isabel shook her head. "Incorrigible."
"It's going to be that too," he agreed.
"Robert," she scolded but let him take her by the hand all the same.
The bell to summon them to their seats had just gone as they arrived in the theatre foyer. Tess took a step forward, smiling, just a hint of relief oozing through.
"So nice to see you again," she said warmly, embracing Isabel and kissing Rusty on the cheek.
Danny looked from one to the other and the smile gleamed in his eyes. "How was the traffic?"
"Incorrigible," Rusty replied, his grin wide.
"We've got seats in the stalls," Tess said, ignoring the pair of them and talking to Isabel.
"How lovely," Isabel smiled at her as Tess led the way into the theatre. "I'll confess I've never been to a gala performance before."
"Oh, it's a chance to dress up," Tess told her, running a hand down her own black taffeta ballgown. "Dress up and socialise and I've wanted to hear this soprano since forever."
Rusty nodded after Tess. "She has a sparkle in her eye."
Danny's lips twitched. "So does Isabel. Now I know Tess's is down to the forthcoming performance. I'm thinking Isabel's is down to traffic."
"Here we are." Tess cut off Rusty's rejoinder, starting to edge past ankles and knees.
"Oh." Rusty stopped short.
"Snacks," Danny said with understanding. "I'll go pick something up."
"Popcorn?" Rusty asked hopefully as Danny disappeared back to the foyer.
"Not popcorn!" Tess called forlornly after Danny.
Isabel flashed a sympathetic smile. "I'll go and tell him."
Tess and Rusty took their seats and listened to the orchestra tuning up. The theatre was full of glamour and chatter and Rusty's attention was almost completely on the occasion. Not on the steward leaning over the seat in front to hand Tess a programme.
"I think you dropped this, ma'am."
Not on the diamonds on display or the sapphire earrings two rows down or the emerald necklace in front of him or the-
It was small and it was full of meaning and Rusty's head snapped round to Tess. She was staring white-faced at the programme, her hand over her mouth. Rusty leaned over and read:
Looking good, Tess.
He raised his eyes to her face.
"Whose handwriting?" he asked quietly and she jumped a little at the question. She looked as if she was about to deny the obvious. Rusty's eyes were busy telling her not to try.
"Terry's," she said tightly.
Rusty looked for the steward. Nowhere in sight. He scanned the theatre, faces and faces and faces, blurring and none familiar. And then up in a box, a man with opera glasses in one hand, his other hand resting on top of a cane. A hand was laid on Rusty's arm and he turned back to Tess.
"Don't tell Danny," she whispered.
His eyes flicked back up to the box. Terry was gone.
"Let's not let Terry spoil things," Tess asked and there was just a hint of pleading there.
Well, Rusty approved of that sentiment. He smiled reassuringly at Tess and she relaxed in his promise.
The soprano's performance was well-received. Applause rang out. People got to their feet. Rusty shot a glance sideways at Tess, eyes shining, mouth slightly open, face flushed with happiness. She looked as if she had put thoughts of Terry aside. Rusty looked past her at Danny, standing, clapping, smiling and knew that as little as Danny cared for opera, he loved seeing Tess happy.
Casually, Rusty glanced up at the box. Still no Terry.
"You alright?" Isabel asked him and he smiled at her.
"I'm fine. Why?" he asked sotto voce. "You worried about the traffic? 'Cos, I hear it can get busy in here."
Isabel's eyes widened and Rusty's fingers glanced over her bare arm.
"Oh, you are a shocking man," she murmured.
"That's why you love me," he pointed out. "You've just not had enough shocks in your life."
"Surprises," she corrected. "I like surprises."
"I'll bear that in mind."
Danny reached round Tess and tapped his shoulder. "Intermission."
"Interval." Tess rolled her eyes.
"I'll get the drinks," Danny offered.
They all headed along the row, following the herd. As they reached the aisle, the couples were separated by society niceties that let other people take their turn in heading out to the foyer.
Danny turned his head towards Rusty.
See you at the bar.
Rusty's hand reached back and found Isabel's. Close. Belonging. His in the way that he was hers. It was a familiar feeling from before he'd met her that he didn't think he would ever tire of. Her fingers squeezed his and told him happy and always and he smiled. The language of touch and unspoken: they were both fluent.
By the time Rusty and Isabel made the edge of the crowded foyer, Danny had found his way to the front of the drinks queue but Tess was nowhere in sight. The smile slipped away from Rusty's face and he caught Danny's eye.
Danny jerked his head in the general direction of the theatre facilities and frowned at him.
What is it?
Rusty concentrated on keeping his face blank and threw a careless glance through the crowd. Relief swamped him. Tess was there, fighting her way back through the throng. He glanced across again at Danny who was smiling because he'd seen her too. And then Danny's face changed. Rusty followed his gaze and swore vividly.
"Robert!" Isabel laughed at the profanity but there was no time to explain. There was no time to do anything except shake Isabel free and to plough through theatre goers, driven by the need to reach Tess before Danny did.
Tess, open-mouthed and wide-eyed, staring…
Pushing, shoving, no time for politeness, no time for anything…
Danny, furious and fast, fighting through the crowd…
Tutting and disapproval loud in his ears and like it mattered…
Terry, smug and vicious, standing in front of Tess…
He was there, he was nearly there but so was Danny and maybe neither of them would ever know what Terry had said to Tess but really that didn't matter because he'd said it and it had hurt and that was all that counted because that meant there were consequences and consequences might have consequences and that meant Rusty had to-
A fist was drawn back and the punch landed hard and Terry fell backwards like he'd been shot along a craps table.
After that, things happened quickly.
There was shouting and screaming and there was Tess, horrified, and there was Terry, bleeding from his mouth, and there was Danny, snarling, and Rusty turned from delivering the blow to hold Danny back, his arms wrapped round Danny, and then…fuck…then there was a badge being flashed by a cop and a circle cleared around them and Terry was getting to his feet and there was security from nowhere and they were grabbing him and Danny's focus switched immediately and Danny was wrenching arms off him and then Danny was being grabbed too and Isabel had caught up with them and was standing at Tess's shoulder and then the big guys were dragging them away and there were handcuffs being clicked into place behind his back, behind Danny's back and Tess was shouting and Isabel was protesting and he and Danny were pushed through an office door and dumped into plastic seats and found themselves staring up at Terry, at the stout man with the badge, at a large man also in police uniform with "enforceable cooperation" written on his face and at a man who kept licking his lips and swallowing and saying "Oh, my God" over and over.
He glanced Dannyward.
Either that or a religious fanatic.
"Well, well, well." Terry was all things self-satisfied. "What do we have here?"
"A failure to communicate?" Rusty grinned. "Never had you down as a "Cool Hand Luke" fan." He turned to Danny on his right. "I am not eating fifty hardboiled eggs."
There was a flicker of tension and then Danny was back with, "To my certain knowledge, you've never eaten one."
"Well, that curry-"
"-in London. Right."
"Never ordering that again."
"That depends on you knowing what you ordered in the first place."
"True, that's a little sketchy."
Terry's cane came down hard on Rusty's right shoulder and Rusty concentrated on keeping his face very, very still.
"Oh. Do I have your attention now?"
They were silent.
"It seems to me, gentlemen, that I have been assaulted. In front of witnesses. Many witnesses." Terry dabbed at the blood on his lip with a pristine handkerchief.
"Including myself," the stout man with the badge added. "Local law enforcement. Name's Bawtry. Don Bawtry. This here's my brother, Clyde."
The large man smiled. Several teeth were missing.
"Let me complete the introductions. Mr Robert Ryan, Mr Danny Ocean," Terry turned to the other man.
"Mr M-Mitchell. Duty manager."
"And I am Terry Benedict." The name was announced as if it carried weight outside of Vegas and Rusty was ridiculously pleased to see that the other three had never heard of Terry.
"What do you want, Terry?"
All play was out of Danny's voice and his eyes were dark little thunderclouds. Rusty could sense the cool, calm collected fury waiting to spill forth. The only thing stopping it was... Actually one of the main causes of it was...
Terry moved till he was standing directly in front of Danny, looking at Danny. He didn't answer Danny. He talked to Bawtry.
"Would I be right in thinking that Mr Ryan here could be arrested for assault? Taken away? Locked up? Prosecuted? Sentenced?"
"That's absolutely true, sir," Bawtry agreed. "Course, he might get off with a fine. Or he might find himself cuddling up to a new friend. Jail's an awful lonely place."
Terry said nothing. He didn't need to. Rusty bit his lip. He knew Terry was letting the pictures play out in Danny's head.
"Then again, obstruction of justice is no light offence," Terry smiled. He moved to stand in front of Rusty and leaned forward. "And maybe," he said softly, "in all the confusion, I mistook exactly who hit me. Maybe it wasn't you after all. Maybe it was an ex-con with a grievance."
"No." The word was out before Rusty could stop it and he bared his teeth at the smugness in Terry's face.
"What do you want, Terry?" The question was repeated and still careful and possibly only Rusty could hear the ferocity and the menace though from the way Mr Mitchell was quivering, perhaps not.
Terry took a step back.
"Maybe, I want an apology. Maybe, I want someone to kiss my lip better."
"Terry..." Rusty's voice was mock-scolding. "You know you only have to ask."
Amusement filled Terry's face. "I was thinking about someone with a more curvaceous figure. Tell me, Danny. Does she still make that little noise that's almost a purr but not qui-"
Danny was out of his seat and charging blindly and then Clyde's arms were holding him back, away from Terry.
"Did you want to press charges, sir?" Bawtry asked and Rusty saw Terry feign hesitation.
"I think so. Neither of them looks very sorry to me."
"Very well, sir. Clyde!"
Bawtry pulled Rusty upright and then the flurry of activity from earlier happened all over again. The door was open and the interval was over and there were only a few onlookers and Tess and Isabel were arguing vehemently with the muscle standing outside and their faces were relieved and worried in equal measures as Bawtry and Clyde manhandled Danny and himself through the foyer and out of the door into biting wind and rain and then down the steps and into a waiting police car (and why was it waiting?) and Danny and he were being forced into the back, one either side and Tess and Isabel were at the wrong doors and still that didn't stop them from saying what the other would have said anyway.
"Stay with Tess," Danny asked Isabel.
"Call Saul," Rusty instructed Tess. "And keep away from Terry."