Travel by InSilva
Disclaimer: characters aren't mine, just borrowing them.
Summary: Set post-O13. Good guys, a bad guy, diamonds, money and fun.
A/N: this is otherhawk birthday fic. And it's very late. So late, that it has become otherhawk Christmas fic.
A/N: most of this was written in my head while travelling. Hope it works on paper. :)
A/N: Day 17 of the 2011 Advent Calendar. And this is probably, truthfully, a one-shot that has ideas above its station. But since I haven't finished writing it and I'm going out to a works Christmas do, the choice is a first chapter this or the fic that is dark, weird and frankly ludicrous. None of us want me to be publishing that one. ;)
His phone was ringing and she knew better than to leave it unanswered. In this life, sometimes there was only the chance for one call.
There was a long pause and she waited patiently for the other person to digest the fact that this was a female voice.
"I didn't mean...is Rusty there?"
"Showering." The voice was familiar but she couldn't pinpoint it. "Who is this?"
"Oh... look...it's OK...it doesn't really...I'll catch up with him later..."
The line went dead and she stared down at the phone, looking up only as Robert emerged from the bathroom, towelling himself down.
"Who was it?"
She shrugged. "Mystery caller. Wanted to speak to you and then changed their mind."
"Probably wanted to ask what colour underwear I'm wearing."
"That could explain why they hung up when I said you were in the shower," Isabel nodded then added, "I recognised the voice."
She saw the thoughtful look on Robert's face. That moment of consideration and contemplation and someday, she might have to tell him how attractive he looked when his mind was wandering.
"Tell me what they said."
Clutching groceries and fumbling for his keys, he rounded the corner of the stairs and ran straight into Rusty.
"Hi," he said, blinking.
"Hello, Livingston," Rusty smiled, lifting the bag out of his arms.
"Everything OK? Is there…I mean…" Livingston looked around nervously. "We'd better talk inside."
Door shut, coffee made and Oreos liberated from the bag of groceries, the pair of them sat in the small, neat living area with its modern white walls and comfortable leather couches.
"I see you started spending the money at last," Rusty said, in between bites of cookie.
"Yes. Col – my brother – moved back home and I thought I would… Not that I don't like… It's just easier to work."
Without any awkward questions. Rusty nodded.
"So…Rus…what's the job?"
"There is no job."
Livingston frowned. "Then why…?"
"You called me," Rusty said simply, sipping coffee.
The frown melted from Livingston's face and Rusty watched as his expression worked its way through shock, puzzlement and settled on complete lack of surprise.
"I was going to call you back. You know, later."
There was something in Livingston's voice and the way that Livingston was studying his coffee that intrigued.
"I was showering," Rusty said.
"Isabel said," Livingston nodded vigorously. He still wasn't looking anywhere near Rusty's eyes. Rusty frowned.
"Livingston, I was in the shower."
This time Livingston did look at him. "Really?" Livingston digested the information and then reddened and muttered something low and mostly unintelligible apart from the words "some kind of euphemism".
Rusty blinked and then shook his head and grinned. "Oh, really, really not. So what did you want to tell me?"
"It's a long story," Livingston sighed.
Rusty glanced at the packet of Oreos. "Who's in a rush?"
Turned out the story was all about Livingston's other work. Being hired by the FBI to help them bring down the nastier elements of society. Most of the Feds ignored Livingston and many talked down to him but some were friendly enough that Livingston enjoyed his time in the van.
One of them was called Jimmy Allen.
"He's a nice guy, Rusty. Always shared the doughnuts."
Guiltily, Rusty held out the Oreos.
Jimmy wasn't far off retirement and was full of plans for ways to spend his pension. And the only fly in Jimmy's glass of champagne was a senior young gun called Dominic Kincaid. Who was really not such a nice guy.
"I've never worked with him but I've caught the name and the whispers. Kincaid works dirty."
Livingston had found Jimmy crying over a nearly empty bottle of tequila in the back of a bar and the tale fell out of him in between sobs and shots.
Kincaid's party trick was to make sure he got a share every time he busted anyone with cash. To date, he hadn't been overly greedy and he hadn't been caught. Who knew how much should be in a drug dealer's briefcase anyway? It wasn't like the drug dealer was going to complain.
"Nothing proven. Just whispers."
"An untouchable crooked Fed," Rusty nodded. "My favourite kind."
Jimmy had heard the rumours: two weeks ago, he'd walked in on Kincaid helping himself.
"Jimmy's an honest cop - he can't turn a blind eye so he challenged him. Kincaid just smiled and said Jimmy might want to sleep on it."
Jimmy had hesitated and decided not to say anything until he worked out whose word was going to be believed. Whilst he was busy keeping silent, he found out that Kincaid took exception to people taking exception to him. He'd tracked Jimmy down and threatened to make sure that Jimmy was kicked out of the Bureau in disgrace if Jimmy made a formal complaint against him.
"No pension," Rusty said softly.
"No plans," Livingston added.
"So Jimmy just keeps his head down and says nothing."
"Well…it's not as easy as that."
What complicated things was that there was now a hundred grand of stolen money sitting in a bank account with Jimmy's name on it. And unless Jimmy helped Kincaid move some stolen goods-
"Jimmy's out on the street with no visible means. And if he does help Kincaid-"
"Then he's an accomplice," Livingston nodded and hesitated. "I know he's a cop, Rus, but he's a good guy. He doesn't deserve any of this."
A brilliant smile shone his way. "We'll sort it, Livingston."
Some phone calls later and Danny was lined up to play host to a roomful of familiar faces. Rusty arrived to find a buffet set up in the dining room. Homemade quiches, salads, fish, meat… Turk and Virgil already had dangerously laden plates and Basher was carefully encouraging some salmon onto a pile of rice.
"Wow," Rusty murmured.
"She said people might be hungry," Danny shrugged.
Danny looked at him. "Not just you."
"Where is she?"
"I suggested she stay at a friend's."
Rusty nodded slowly. That made sense. Tess would cater, would make sure all guests were looked after but she wouldn't want to stay for the illegal. Clear compartments of life that Tess could comfortably live with-
Tess walked through the door from the kitchen clutching a tray of drinks, heading towards Saul and Reuben, flashing him a smile and bringing Rusty's thought process to a skidding halt.
"I suggested it," Danny murmured. "She told me the "for better, for worse"meant she wasn't going anywhere this time around."
Rusty heard the wonder and the pride and the happy and smiled. "She's quite a girl."
Danny nodded complete, adoring agreement.
"Well, that makes this kind of easier."
Isabel walked through the door, arm-in-arm with Frank, deep in lively discussion.
"Told me she didn't care if it was her fight or not," Rusty said, crooking a soft smile. "Said she wanted to help if she could and if she couldn't, at least she could come say hi."
Danny sighed and Rusty knew he was thinking about the long months of the Bank job. "Feel guilty much?"
"Little bit," Rusty admitted.
"Mmm." Danny considered. "New ways of working."
And they'd take a bit of getting used to.
"Alright, everyone," Danny brought them all to attention. "Time for show and tell. Our mark today is brought to us courtesy of Livingston."
Livingston blinked heavily and gave a small smile of acknowledgement. Danny smiled back.
"He's an unpleasant piece of work called Dominic Kincaid, a Federal Agent who enjoys the finer things in life and who indulges in such pastimes as embezzlement and blackmail. He's currently trying to encourage a colleague to join him in a spot of fencing."
"Not the kind with swords," Rusty clarified.
"Nor the white picket sort," Danny added. "And by way of encouragement, Kincaid has set his colleague up with a little trust fund."
"To the tune of a hundred grand."
"Which authorities are going to find very musical."
Yen interjected and Rusty shook his head.
"We haven't got the details of the bank account. Yet."
Danny nodded. "That's one of the things we're going after. We're operating to a tight schedule. In two days' time, Kincaid's heading to London to meet a Hatton Garden jeweller called Rosenbaum who wants to move some diamonds that are scorching holes in his safe. Kincaid's buying them with some loose cash he found lying around that doesn't belong to him. Somewhere in the region of half a million dollars."
Turk let out a low whistle.
"Sorry, Turk." Rusty sounded almost apologetic. "Money's dirty. It hasn't been catalogued but at least some of it is going to be sequential."
Making it identifiable. Making it untouchable.
Danny went on, "Stopping Kincaid is going to mean calling in a few favours and it's going to be resource heavy. We need to be careful and precise. And I already mentioned that the clock was ticking, right?"
Eyes were riveted to him. Even Tess and Isabel for whom this was a first were watching him unblinking. Peripherally, he caught sight of the affectionate amusement on Rusty's face.
"So right now, Daniel, you are going to tell us how we achieve the impossible."
Danny smiled at Saul. "This is what we do."
One day later…
"Cindy." Rusty took the hand of the girl behind the check-in desk and kissed it. "It's been too long."
Cindy sparkled at him. "Five years and three months to be exact. Not that I'm counting."
Rusty grinned and green eyes told him he was forgiven.
"Don't tell me. You're after a favour." She shook her head as the grin widened. "Oh, I can read you like a book, Rusty Ryan. Seem to recall last time it was misdirecting someone's case."
"-Doha. Far, far away from Dallas." Cindy tilted her head on one side. "So what do you want this time?"
Rusty slid the folded up piece of paper with the name across the desk. "I want to sit next to this man on the 7.00am flight to London tomorrow morning."
"Really? A man?" Cindy pouted. She glanced at the name and sighed. "Really a man."
She looked up at Rusty. "Tell me I'm not playing Cupid."
"You're not playing Cupid."
Dimples appeared. "Does that mean I have a date tonight?"
"Oh, Cindy…" There was respectful regret in there.
The sigh was deep and heavy. "Oh, Rusty... Well, she's a lucky girl. It is a girl, right?"
"It's a girl," Rusty assured her.
"She's a lucky girl," Cindy said with emphasis. She glanced down again at the name. "I'll get you sat next to him."
"Thanks, Cindy." He kissed her hand once more. "And there's one more thing."
Rusty handed over a tiny can of spray. Cindy understood immediately.
"X marks the spot, right?"
"One day I'm going to find out exactly what you do."
"One day," Rusty promised. "See you tomorrow at check in."
Cindy watched him walk away wistfully. "Extremely lucky girl."
Dominic Kincaid was in his thirties and wore Armani and a supercilious air. He threw his attaché case up in the overhead locker, then lounged in his first-class seat, demanding champagne before the plane took off, snatching the glass from the stewardess without so much as a thank you.
He didn't pay attention to the safety demonstration, choosing instead to talk loudly on his mobile phone. He continued to do so even after the announcement that all electronic equipment needed to be turned off for take-off. He must have felt Rusty's eyes on him.
Kincaid flashed him a smile. "I don't think they mean everything, do they?"
Sitting in the neighbouring seat, Rusty smiled back, warm and friendly, joining in the joke and tried not to think about the expression on Danny's face two seats back.
By the end of the flight, Kincaid had become firm acquaintances with Zeke Crawford sitting next to him. They'd compared notes on different capital cities – the best places to stay and the finest restaurants; they'd discovered mutual likes and dislikes – buttery smooth Shiraz was a yes but fizzy Shiraz abhorrence.
"Where are you staying in London?" Zeke asked as they walked into the terminal at Heathrow and joined the passport control line.
Kincaid's face grew sly. "Got a special deal. Staying at the Dorchester for a quarter of the rack rate."
Zeke let out a low whistle. "Sounds like a real bargain."
"What about you?"
"Oh, well, I'm in property. I bought some rather elegant apartments just off Park Lane a couple of years ago for a rock bottom price. Look." Zeke fished in his pocket for his business card and scribbled an address on the back of it. "I'm only round the corner from the Dorchester. Look me up if you get bored."
Kincaid took the card and put it in his wallet. "I might do at that."
He frowned as a dark-haired, bespectacled man was invited to go through fast track by a smiling blonde member of groundcrew. "He was on our flight. Look at him cutting line."
Zeke shook his head. "Some guys get all the luck."
"He probably slept with her last time he was in London," Kincaid said sourly.
"Yeah," Zeke murmured. "He probably did."
A/N: more later. Probably next week. :)