Finding Sleep

Chapter 15

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

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Soft snores were the only thing that could be heard in the hotel room that the Wet Bandits were currently staying in. On the large king sized bed lay Harry and Marv, the latter having stolen all the pillows for himself.

Harry, his head resting on the mattress rather than a pillow, wrinkled his nose a bit as sleep left him and reality started to sweep in. He was tired; he didn't wish to get up. He didn't understand why his muscles felt as drained as they did. It had been last night that Marv had managed to snatch a job at the Performing Arts Center along with Harry. The All Call had not been all that strenuous. So that was not the problem?

Harry kicked his legs back and forth under the sheets, causing them to get even more tangled than they already were. He reached up and rubbed at his eyes before opening them. The white ceiling above him was what greeted him. He gave a tired sigh and glanced over at Marv, who was sleeping beside him.

The taller bandit had once again covered his head in pillows, claiming them all for himself, and was bundled up underneath his own share of sheets. Marv was known for hogging the sheets and pillows, so Harry was not at all surprised to learn that most where currently wrapped around his lover.

Yawning, Harry stretched before turning himself towards Marv and peering over at the bundle of pillows and blankets. "Marv" he said quietly. The bundle didn't reply. "Marv!" he said louder.

Still nothing. Harry smirked before lifting the edge of the top comforter. He still couldn't see Marv since there was still other layers of sheets covering him. He tossed aside the comforter and lifted the next sheet. He was greeted by the sight of Marv's shaved head. This caused the hot-tempered bandit to frown; he missed Marv's curls, but he knew they would grow back soon.

Gently, Harry found his shoulder and shook him. This got a reaction out of Marv. The taller man groaned and shifted underneath the pile of sheets. "Hmmm…..what?"

"It's time to get up!" announced Harry.

Marv groaned and shook his head. "No, it isn't…"

Harry shook his head with a smirk. "Yeah, it is, Marv! Come on! We have a big day ahead of us!"

"Big day? What are we doing?"

"We're going shopping."

"Shopping? For what?"

"For groceries and clothes! I'm tired of always havin' to wear the same clothes, aren't you?" explained Harry, pulling himself up into a sitting position. He watched as Marv stretched like a cat since he had been lying on his stomach. He groaned some more before finally managing to sit up, facing the opposite way of Harry. Harry watched as Marv went to run a hand through his curls, only to remember they were no longer there.

Marv sighed. "I keep forgetting they're not there…."

Harry nodded glumly, knowing what he was talking about. "Relax, Marv, they'll grow back." He patted Marv on the shoulder.

The sheets fell off Marv's shoulders, revealing his bare chest. Both of them were in nothing but their boxers. "Where are we going to get our clothes and groceries?"

Harry shrugged, pulling the last of the sheets off him and sliding to the edge of the bed so that he could stand. "I don't know. For groceries? Probably just some local grocery store. I'm not picky. As for clothing stores? I don't know that either. We'll just have to scope the area out and find some good clothing stores. We don't really have to worry none about price." He stood and reached for the large bag full of money and lifted it up for Marv to see.

Marv looked over at the green bag, knowing it was filled with money, though a frown came upon his face as he realized; he had no recollection of how they came upon that money and it left him feeling slightly ominous about it. He didn't bother asking Harry once again where they had gotten the money because he knew the shorter man wasn't going to tell him. That was considered, "bad times" from those few days he couldn't remember and Harry was determined to keep those times from him.

"Why do we even need groceries? We're living in a hotel room" Marv asked pointedly.

"Because we can't live off room service! It's expensive, that's why!" snorted Harry in reply, shaking his head at the question.

Marv idly watched as Harry started getting dressed. Harry noted this and grimaced. "Ya gonna sit there and stare at me all day, or are ya actually gonna get a move on?"

This got Marv moving. "Oh, right…" he mumbled and pushed the sheets and comforter off and him and started for his clothes.

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The two bandits could not remember the last time they had gone grocery shopping. Perhaps it was because the last year they had spent in jail and the year before that they had spent scouring the streets looking for a home and stealing whatever they could to get some money for basics, like, toilet paper, bread, milk, and adult magazines.

Now, however, was the first time in a long time that they were actually grocery shopping; legit grocery shopping.

Harry grabbed a cart after walking into the grocery store and started walking off with it, the wheels squeaking softly in its wake. He ignored the other costumers as they walked by, only mildly aware that for once, neither of them were being stared at.

The shorter man started walking; though when he felt a hand on the cart and stopped it. Just as he was about to open his mouth and curse at the person who stopped him, he realized it was only Marv. He watched with wide eyes as Marv took a sanitary wipe from the container offered and wiped it all over the handle to the shopping cart. After a moment, Marv dubbed the handle clean and smiled up at Harry.

Harry gave him a sarcastic smile in reply. "Is the cart safe to use now, Marvin?"

Marv nodded. "Yep! No germs on that handle!"

Harry shook his head, pushing the cart forwards, silently declaring it would be best not to say anything and avoid the risk of hurting Marv's feelings. The two of them started to walk through the store, eyeing everything they walked past. After having lived in jail for the past year and having only been out of jail for a little less than two weeks now, the two bandits were looking at the food with wide, enthralled eyes.

They could feel their stomachs begging for the food they looked at.

"Ohh, everything looks so tasty, Harry!" groaned Marv as he looked down at the refrigerated containers of Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and rice. "What are these?" He picked up the container of food.

Harry looked up from the container of potato salad he was looking at. "Oh, those are for when you want quick home cooked meals. Ya just microwave them. Ya know, those may not be a bad idea to have. Neither of us can cook to save our lives."

Marv shook his head. "That's not true! I can make a mean mac n' cheese!" he grinned childishly.

Harry shook his head. "That's not what I meant by cooking! And you always burn some of the noodles! An eight year old could do that!" Marv ignored the insult and imagined a kid living at home eating mac n' cheese for dinner. Harry, however, was back to picking out some food. "Well, pick out some of those. They'll be easy and quick for us to eat. I'd pick out about six of them. Make sure to get a variety."

Marv nodded and began picking out some of the containers of food that looked appetizing. He made sure to get things that he knew Harry would like; for he knew he would get in trouble if he didn't. Thankfully he and Harry had very similar tastes in food. Marv collected the containers he wanted and started putting them into the cart.

"Do you like cheese?" asked Harry randomly.

"What kind?"

"Swiss."

Marv made a face. "Not really."

Harry put the cube of wrapped cheese back.

They eventually made their way towards the bakery and Harry knew it would be hard for both of them to get out of that section of the store without buying everything in sight. There was everything from fresh doughy bread to chocolate chip cookies on display around them. There was a counter on the far right of the store filled with cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and cupcakes. Both bandits looked at the glassed display with interest.

"I'd end up weighing three hundred pounds if I had my way with those sweets" commented Harry with a shake of his head. He grinned up at Marv, his gold tooth shining. "You know me and my sweet tooth."

Marv laughed with a nod. "You bet a do. I thought I had a sweet tooth! Not compared to you!" He took a moment to laugh. "So I guess this means no sweets for us?"

Harry didn't answer right away, looking as though he wanted to just push the cart and be on their way, but his eyes landed on the glazed doughnuts. "Hmmmm…."

"May I help you?" came the voice of a young girl working behind the display in the bakery. Both men looked up at the sound of her voice.

Marv went to shake his head in a negative, when Harry beat him to it. "Yes, we would like half a dozen of your glazed doughnuts."

Marv laughed. "Harry!"

Harry, unfazed by Marv's laughter, just grinned at him. "We each get three."

Marv continued to laugh as the woman collected the doughnuts, placed them in a white bag and placed a price tag on them. "Here you go, sirs. Have a nice day."

The two men walked off once the doughnuts were safely inside the cart. "That was very unlike you!" accused Marv lightly as they walked into the produce section.

Harry gave him an incredulous look. "What do ya mean?"

"You….being in such a happy, childish…..mood."

"I'm being childish?" challenged the shorter man. His eyes landed on some containers of watermelon and pointed at them. "Want some?"

Marv nodded. "Sure." He watched as Harry put it in the cart. He then got back to the point he was trying to make. "And yes, you were being childish back there! Going all goofy for the doughnuts!"

Harry pushed forward, making his way through the produce and not seeing anything in particular he wanted. "And that's your definition of childish? Getting excited over getting some doughnuts?"

"Yes! Kids get excited about doughnuts!" argued Marv, a smile playing on his lips.

Harry shook his head, bemused. "Marv, you get excited when ice cream truck goes by."

Marv blinked down at Harry, clearly not understanding what was wrong with a fully grown man doing that. "What? It's the ice cream man! Everyone loves the ice cream man! When the little jingle starts playing I just get all-" Marv trailed off, suddenly seeing Harry's point. "Oh…."

Harry nodded as he went down the first aisle, glad that Marv was seeing his point. There was nothing wrong with indulging yourself with a nice treat every now and then; so long as it wasn't in too childish of a way.

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It had been a good hour since the two of them found themselves at the checkout lines. Even though they had been searching around the store looking for food, the two of them had not collected a whole lot of groceries into their cart. Harry made sure not to go overboard with buying groceries since there was still the task of getting them back to the hotel room. What had taken them so long was that every time Marv had found something he liked, he found the need to make Harry stop, look at it, and explain the last time he remembered having them, before putting the item back.

Usually this was something that would tick Harry off and get his temper flaring, but the shorter man was surprised when he realized; it hadn't bothered him at all. The two of them were finally doing something normal; something everyone does daily in their lives; no more running from the cops, no more scheming heists, no more guns, no more thievery; just honest grocery shopping. This fact alone was what Harry guessed was keeping him in such a good mood.

Marv was biting his nails once more, practically looking nervous as they walked up to an open cashier. Harry noted this and spoke quietly, "What's with ya, Marv? There's nothin' to be worried about. It's not like we're tryin' to steal all this stuff."

Marv nodded at his words, knowing they were true, but that was not what was worrying him. Sure, he wasn't used to walking up to the cashier and actually buying something, which he was unhappy to admit, but what Harry didn't know was that there was something else on his mind. He could remember one particular time he had been in a grocery store like this and it was a memory he would sooner wish to forget.

As they walked up to the conveyor belt, Harry, who was still steering the cart, urged him on. "Go on, Marv! Start putting things on the belt!" Marv nodded, pulling his hand away from his mouth and started putting everything on the belt. He practically flinched when the belt started moving and their items moved up closer to the cashier. The old man at the cash register watched Marv with a raised eyebrow, clearly not understanding his awkward and nervous behavior.

Once everything was up on the conveyor belt, Marv moved down the aisle so that Harry could push the cart through. Marv pulled his brown jacket closer to him and ran a hand over his short, prickly hair.

The man started pulling everything they had bought through the scanner, little beeps coming from the machine before him. The two bandits had really just gotten some snacks for them to munch on so that they wouldn't have to go out to eat every time they were hungry. Harry also knew Marv had a bottomless pit for a stomach and with his thin build, the shorter man had no idea where all that food went. The two of them had also been sure to get a good supply of beer to have on hand.

After the final item beeped, the older man checked the screen and turned to Harry. "You're total is $73.89."

Harry's eyes widened at the price as he pulled out some of the money he had taken from the bag earlier. "That much?" He grouched. "Since when did groceries cost this much?"

The old man took the money out of Harry's hand and gave a sigh. "I know. I hear that a lot working here. It's the economy. It's starting to go downhill. I remember a time when all this stuff could have been bought for half the price!" The old man put the correct amount of money into the machine and the money drawer came out.

Harry nodded as he accepted his change. "I know, it's crazy!"

"Here's your receipt. You gentlemen have a nice day!" waved the old man before attending to the next customer. Marv started collecting the bags that now contained their groceries. They boy who was helping put them into bags smiled at them yet said nothing.

Both bandits carried two bags in each hand and walked out the door. The cold air reached their faces and sent chills into their bones. After shivering, Marv asked, "Now what?"

"Now, we catch a bus and go back to the hotel to drop this stuff off. We put this stuff away and go get ourselves some new clothes."

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That was a task easier said than done. The bus had taken forever to get to the bus stop and the two of them had been forced to freeze out in the cold for nearly twenty minutes waiting even though they had heavy jackets on. The two of them had stayed close together in hopes to preserve heat. By the time the bus did roll around, there was a crowd of people inside, making them have to squeeze through with the grocery bags in their hands. The whole time both of them wondered if the plastic bags were going to hold all their clothes since they were starting to wear thin from the heavy items inside.

It was not until they had gotten off the elevator floor and started walking to their hotel room did the inevitable finally happen. Marv had been walking behind Harry and waiting for him to open the door when the bags he was carrying finally gave out and all the contents of the bags fell to the carpeted floor with several loud thuds.

"Perfect….." grumbled Harry, opening the door to their room.

Marv looked around him, now surrounding in half their groceries and still holding the now broken plastic bags. "Whoops…"

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"They really shouldn't have put so many items in so few of bags, you know?" Marv was saying as he put away the beer bottles ten minutes later. The two of them had made a team effort of cleaning up the mess after Harry set his own bags into the room. Harry nodded, seeing Marv's point.

"Yeah, but Marv, they do that for a reason. A person can only carry so many bags, so they try to put as much into one bag as possible. Plus, it saves on the plastic bags" he explained as he put some bags of chips up on the counter. The two of them were silent for several minutes before Harry spoke again, putting the last of the groceries away by putting the bag of doughnuts on the counter next to the chips. "Hey, Marv?"

"Hmmm?" mumbled Marv from the other side of the kitchen. He was currently trying to read the side of a cereal box.

"Why were you actin' so nervous at the checkout line?"

Marv's eyes darted over to Harry at this question, reminding the shorter man of a deer caught in the headlights. The lanky man shrugged. "No reason."

Harry narrowed his eyes. "No, seriously, Marv. Why were so nervous?" He noted the slightly haunted look in Marv's chocolate eyes.

"Just not used to getting groceries….That's all…." He mumbled and looked away, clearly not wanting to discuss it any further. Yet Harry wasn't about to let it go. After all this time, Marv was the one bugging him about his actions and why he had done them, such as getting the gun, now it was his turn to ask some questions. He didn't care if Marv remembered that event or not.

Yet instead of yelling at him and forcing it out of him, the shorter man decided to take a different action. He grabbed the bag of doughnuts and opened it up, pulling two of them out. Marv had turned his head at the sound of the bag crinkling and watched Harry curiously. Both of them were just wearing a shirt and jeans, having taken off their heavier winter clothing. Marv, meanwhile, went to the fridge and pulled out two beers, handing one over to Harry. "You're eating those now? You just got them. And plus, you'll only have one left for yourself since the other three would be for me."

Harry shook his head. "These aren't both for me" he told the lanky man, accepting the beer. He offered one to Marv, who happily took it. Thinking that the worst of the conversation was over, Marv wasn't expecting Harry to say, "Come on, Marvin. Tell me what's bothering you."

Marv stopped in mid motion, his eyes turning to Harry. "Oh, not that again…." He groaned. He sighed. "Fine!" Harry walked over to Marv and wrapped an arm around his thin middle; both of them leaning on the counter. Marv bit into his doughnut, looking sullen for reason Harry wasn't sure of. Looking up into his friend's face it occurred to the shorter man that this was a far deeper issue than he had realized.

Marv chewed slowly and when he finally swallowed, he spoke quietly, his body going slightly tense in Harry's half embrace. "Well, you know I didn't really have a good childhood, right Harry?"

Harry nodded, having been told bits and pieces from Marv himself about his childhood. It was not something the usually positive and cheery man liked to talk about and therefore Harry had just let it go. He knew lots of people who have had rough lives and knew better than to stick his nose too deep into them. What Harry didn't understand was what this had to do with being nervous at the grocery store.

"Well…..My parents…didn't want me. I was unexpected. So, I wasn't ever treated very nicely when I was a kid and…..I lived with my parents….well, mainly my mom….till I was about ten…It was…." Marv stopped for a moment, trying to figure out the best way to explain. He took a long hard swig of his beer before setting it on the counter. It was also obvious this was painful and not something he wanted to talk about. It made Harry cringe at the thought that he was the one who was making him talk about to begin with, but he listened, not caring about himself for the moment.

"The day my mom….left me…..We were at the grocery store….waiting in line. She told me to go and get a bottle of bleach…..Said she had forgotten it….I…never saw her….again" The taller man trailed off as he shut his eyes tightly. He pulled himself away from Harry just in time for the other man to realize he was trembling severely. Marv covered his eyes with a hand, setting the barely eaten doughnut on the counter. He was quick to grab the bottle of beer he had set on the counter though. "I….really don't want to talk about this Harry…." Without another word Marv darted off across the room and into their bedroom, where he shut the door.

Harry watched with sad eyes, knowing he had to let his friend and lover go. He should have known better than to bug Marv about it, but he had no idea it would bring up such bad memories. How was he supposed to know asking why he was so nervous at the grocery store would have this effect on him? Marv had never mentioned anything of the sort to Harry; or anyone else for that matter. There was no way for him to have known. Yet the guilt still tore at him as he looked at the closed bedroom door. He took a deep breath and quickly finished off his doughnut, no longer tasting the sugary taste of it. Instead he could only feel the thick lump go down his throat. He picked up Marv's doughnut and placed it back in the bag for him to finish later. He knew it would be best to leave Marv alone for a while before they went back out to buy some clothes.

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An hour later, Harry, who had been watching boring day time shows, finally turned off the television and put down the remote. Marv had yet to come out of their bedroom and it was starting to make him worry. Marv had taken in a beer with him, but he knew that wasn't even close enough to make the man become drunk and pass out.

The guilt had subsided enough for Harry to know it was time for him to step and do something. Ever since the two of them had gotten out of jail it had been all about working things out with Harry's feelings and getting him to open more about his securities and getting him to change his criminal ways. With a determined look on his face, Harry stood, knowing it was time to sort things out with Marv and his questionable past.

The hot-tempered bandit had known Marv for a long time, practically since before Marv was a teenager and had often felt as a guardian or older brother to the other man. Marv had become so attached to Harry so quickly that the he had really no choice but to have him tag along in his life.

Harry pushed aside his brooding thoughts and walked over to the bedroom door. He opened the door without even thinking to knock. He was not the type of guy to follow proper mannerisms. "Marv?" he called as he peered into the room. His eyes landed on the bed, where he could see Marv sitting there pushed up against the pillows and holding the bottle of beer in his hands. Harry noted that the bottle was empty. "Marv?"

Harry hadn't known what he had been expecting when he was going to open that door, but a part of him had figured Marv would have passed out and been asleep. So he was mildly surprised to see Marv awake.

Marv glanced up at Harry, a sullen look on his face. "Hey, Harry…" he mumbled, moving to set the empty beer bottle on the night stand.

"So….what was that back there? Ya okay? It's not really like ya to just get up and leave like that" Harry bluntly told him, not wishing to spend time with small talk. He wanted to know what was going on. This was very out of character for the usually positive, talkative bandit.

Marv shook his head, a tiny smile trying to form on his lips. He scratched behind his head, tracing the scar from the surgery, before saying, "Sorry about that Harry, it's just….it brought back some memories I don't like thinking about…."

Harry nodded, standing before him as Marv moved to the edge of the bed. "It's about how your mom left ya?"

Marv nodded. "Yeah, it's not something I like to think about."

Harry nodded. "Can't say I blame ya there. I know I wouldn't want to talk about it. Hell, I don't like talkin' about my past either. I mean, sure, my parents didn't leave me, but there were days when I sure wish they would have! My mom was nothing but a nag and my dad—"

"Harry, let's not talk about it" interrupted Marv urgently.

Harry blinked down at him. "Uhh…Okay…"

"It's just…..being at the store today brought back some shit I really wish was in the past and forgotten, okay? I didn't mean to freak out on you, but you're the one who kept asking" snapped Marv. He tensed up as Harry went to sit down beside him. "So….I would prefer it if we could just forget this ever happened. There are just some things I'm not used to, Harry. I've been a burglar ever since I can remember and today I remembered just how I got to be one, okay?" Harry nodded, yet before he could say anything, Marv continued. "I know you've had a rough life too, an even rougher one than me. I get that, but that doesn't make it any easier on me. For about three years before I met you, I had no one. And….here you are suddenly being Mr. Sensitivity and being all sweet and loving towards me, we suddenly have money, living in a nice hotel, we're actually buying groceries, and later we're going to be shopping for clothes?" Marv shook his head a bit in disbelief. "It's just weird and it all happened so damn fast!"

Harry, meanwhile, just sat there and took it all in. It made perfect sense that Marv would be a little freaked out by it all. It was certainly a big change for someone to accept so quickly. He knew Marv was not used to living a 'normal' lifestyle and he figured it would be an adjustment for both them, he just had had no idea Marv would be taking it the way he is now. The older man nodded, wrapped an arm around Marv's waist. "That makes perfect sense Marv?"

Marv looked down at him. "It does?"

"Sure it does! It is an adjustment. It is a lot to take in. Hell, I'm not even sure if I'm fully accepting all that's going on. It IS weird knowing we have money and a roof over our heads. I know it's been years since I've lived that way."

"We did live in that run down house a few years back" Marv pointed out.

Harry made a face. "That doesn't really count. That place had a cockroach infestation."

Marv grimaced. "I remember the time I nearly ate one cause I wasn't paying attention to my sandwich."

Both men shivered at the gross memories of their former 'home'. Yet Harry took this chance to continue. "Yeah, we have had it rough, Marv, but things are going to change for a us now. Things are finally going to be going our way. We're starting new" He took a finger and poked Marv in the chest. "You are now Marv Rinehart—" He then poked himself in the chest. "—And I am now Harold Murphy. We're not the Wet Bandits anymore."

"Sticky Bandits" corrected Marv quietly. Harry just rolled his eyes.

"Whatever! Point is, we're not them anymore! We've moved on! Maybe not in the way we thought we would, but we are" concluded Harry, leaning up and giving Marv a kiss on the cheek. "Now enough of this mushy shit, let's go get ourselves some new clothes!" He stood up, encouraging Marv to follow. The taller man stood with a smile, suddenly feeling that everything would be alright after all, even if there were still a few anxieties he would have to learn to live with.

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If the two men had believed getting groceries would be an event, neither of them had any idea what going actual shopping would be like. As Marv had mentioned, neither of them were used to shopping and doing such 'normal' activities. They had worn the same wardrobe for years and now that they had been on the run for the last two weeks, they currently didn't have one at all. Harry had been right, they couldn't wear the same clothes over and over again; no matter how often they washed them. Soon people at their work would start to question it.

Harry and Marv had once again boarded the bus to take them into the downtown area to shop and once again, the two of them found themselves freezing in the January air.

"Why does it have to be so cold…." Groused Marv as he put his hands together and blew into them. How he wished his gloves. They may have been fingerless, but they kept his hands warmer than having no gloved at all.

"It's winter, Marv. What do you expect?" snapped Harry, hating the cold as well.

"I hate winter…."

"So do I, but stop your bitchin'" he looked up to see a clothing store they were walking by. "Let's check this place out. It looks nice."

"I don't care where we go, so long as we get out of this cold!"

Marv was quick to follow his lover as they two of them walked into the first grocery store that didn't look like a place millionaires shopped at.

The store sold both men and women's clothing since it was a large enough store to do so. As they walked in, the first thing they noticed was there was more than one floor to the store, for there was an escalator that could be seen further into the store. There were several service stations around the store where one could check out.

Marv started biting his nails, once again getting the feeling that they shouldn't be there. The two of them stuck out like sore thumbs. "So, where do we start, Harry?"

Harry shrugged, digging his hands into his coat pockets. "Ya expect me to know? I haven't gone shoppin' like this before?"

"Should we just go In the men's section?"

Harry turned to Marv and gave him a deadpan look. "No, Marv, I thought we would start in the women's department. We could both use some new sundresses!" he snarled sarcastically.

Marv shrugged. "I don't think they have any in our sizes…." He mumbled behind his biting of the nails.

Harry ignored his comment and started heading off the direction of the men's clothing; Marv following him like a shadow. There was a great variety of clothes there. Everything from casual to fancy tuxes. "Just start lookin' through the racks and pick out some things you like. And make sure they're all in your size."

Marv pulled his hand away from his mouth; forcing himself to stop biting his nails, and did as he was told. There were a lot of nice shirts, all of which he once dreamed of wearing. Yet there was a difference between wishing to wear certain clothes to actually getting the chance to buy them. It was a little unnerving. Harry had made sure to bring even more money with them this time since he knew the money would easily spent in a place like this.

Marv was looking at an auburn colored T-shirt when a female voice spoke before him. "Hi, Marv!"

Marv looked up at the voice. Alice and Erin from the Performing Arts Center were standing on the other side of the rack of clothes. They were both wearing thick coats since it was cold outside and they looked to be all bundled up, yet ready to do some shopping since their purses were slung over their shoulders. He blinked at them; having only met them once and not sure he truly knew them. Though the older woman with dark hair certainly stuck him as familiar.

Before Marv had a chance to say anything, Harry walked up beside him and smiled, "Hey, fancy seein' you fine ladies here today!"

"Do we know them?" whispered Marv into Harry's ear.

Harry frowned. "We work with them!" Marv still had a clueless expression on his face. "At the Performing Arts Center!" Still no recollection. "We just saw them yesterday!" Still nothing. Harry pointed to Alice. "She's the woman who kissed you because she thought you were her husband!"

Alice looked down, clearly still embarrassed by the incident.

Recollection finally shone in Marv's eyes. "Oh, yeah…." He chuckled nervously. "Sorry about that…."

"It's okay" Alice replied.

"So, are you guys out shopping?" Erin spoke up, clearly seeing some tension start to build.

Thankful for the change of topic, Harry nodded. "Yes, we are. Marv and I pretty much need entirely new wardrobes. We basically took a look at our current one and said, 'We need new ones'." He chuckled.

Marv scratched the back of his head. "We did?"

Harry gave him a pointed look. "Yes, we did."

"I didn't even think we HAD wardrobes since—"

Harry was quick to elbow him in the gut, causing the taller man to nearly double over and stop talking. Seeing the odd looks from Alice and Erin, he smiled, his gold tooth showing and said, "Since we've moved here to New York is what he means. The move was hard on us and we basically lost everything."

"That's terrible" gushed Alice, placing a hand over her chest. "Did you guys lose track of the moving van or something?"

Harry stared at her for a moment as though she had spoken a different language before managing to find some words to say to her. "Yeah—That's what happened."

"That happened to my friend once…It sucks…" sighed Erin.

Marv just silently watched the three of them talk, clearly out of the conversation and clearly unaware of what was going on. Though he knew Harry would just elbow him once again if he tried saying anything, so he turned his attention back to the auburn shirt he was eyeing before they arrived.

There was an awkward silence for several moments before Alice started speaking, "Oh, we're sorry, we're probably bothering the two of you! We just wanted to stop over and say hi." He gestured between the two of them. "We live in the same apartment building and we often do our shopping together. It's not really safe to wonder around the city by yourself, you know? Safety in numbers, right?"

Harry nodded, understanding their strategy and believing it to be wise. "Smart move. But no, you're not botherin' us. We just got here and frankly….." he took a moment to laugh. "We have no idea what we're doin'"

Marv shook his head, not paying attention to the conversation, as he pulled the tag out of the shirt collar and read it. "What does 'L' stand for?" All eyes landed on Marv as he looked up at them. He showed them the tag. "Look, it says 'L'." He looked to another shirt. "This one says, 'S'! What does it mean? Is it some sort of code? Collect the alphabet and you win a prize or somethin'? Where's 'M'? I want an 'M'. Then it can stand for 'Marv'."

Harry sighed and turned to the girls. "See what I mean?"

Alice and Erin laughed. Erin walked over closer to Marv. "You seriously don't know what those letters mean?"

Marv looked up at her, innocence and curiosity written all over his face. "No, do you?"

Erin laughed before replying. "They stand for the sizes."

"How? Does 'L' stand for size 8, cause that's my size in pants…."

Erin shook her head. "No, they're short for: Small, Medium, and Large."

"So….They're not a code for winning prizes?"

Erin couldn't keep back her giggles. "Nope. Sorry…."

Harry turned to Alice. "So, as you can see, we're pretty much lost. I know more of what I'm doin', but Marv….?" He gave his lover a skeptical look. "He's a bit hopeless."

"Well, do you guys want some help? Erin and I can help you pick some stuff out if that's what you're worried about" offered Alice. Harry looked as though he was about to say something, but Alice beat him to it. "Relax, we know what looks good on guys. We can help you pick out some nice shirts, direct you to some nice pants, show you were the shoe section is, stuff like that." She shrugged. "We have nothing else better to do, right, Erin? We just came over here for something to do."

Erin nodded, pulling her red pea coat closer to her. "Right. We were just kind of bored…"

"My husband is watching Jennifer for the day, so we thought we'd have a girl's day" explained Alice.

Harry shook his head. "Ya don't have to—"

"We want to" insisted Alice with a soft smile.

Harry went to open his mouth and say no, but he found that he simply couldn't. He knew he and Marv would be lost in finding themselves some decent clothes. With the girls there helping them, getting clothes would be so much easier. They knew what would look good on them and make them look attractive yet masculine at the same time, they would be able to help them figure out how to save money and get good deals. He smirked at them. "Alright, you can help. We'd appreciate it."

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The next several hours were spent picking out and trying on clothes for the two men. Neither Marv or Harry had been happy when they learned they would be forced to try most of the clothes on, but at the end of the day they were glad, for they found out they were not the same sizes they used to be the last time they had gone shopping.

It turned out in the past year Marv had lost weight and had gone down a size in all his clothing. Harry had also lost weight and was now two pants sizes smaller than he used to be. Both bandits silently figured that it was probably their time in jail that had caused them to lose such weight.

Marv had also quickly learned from Erin why his pants always seemed too short for him. She had taught him that there was a thing as 'tall' jeans, specially made for those who were tall with lanky builds.

At the end of the shopping spree, Harry had gotten twelve shirts, six pairs of pants, two new pairs of shoes, three scarves, some underwear and socks, a new winter coat, and a new woolen hat to go along with his coat. Marv on the other hand, had gotten thirteen shirts, five pairs of pants, underwear and socks, a scarf, three pairs of shoes, and two pairs of woolen gloves.

Harry, of course, had not been happy about the final price, which was easily in $400 range, but Do youhe knew it was bound to happen. Owning clothes was expensive; especially if you wanted good clothes that would last you a long time.

As they four them started heading towards the exit of the store, a thought came to Erin. "Oh, hey, didn't you guys say yesterday that you need a place to live here in New York?"

Harry looked over at her, who was on the other side of Marv. "Yeah. For the time bein' we've just been stayin' at a hotel. This was kind of an unplanned thing…..us movin' here…"

Erin looked up at Alice. "Alice, tell them about Mr. Johnson's apartment from upstairs."

Alice's dark eyes widened slightly as she recalled what Erin was speaking about. "Oh, right! Yes, our upstairs neighbor is selling his apartment. He's moved upstate. It's a nice apartment too. It had two bedrooms, a full kitchen, bathroom, nice view. Do you think you boys would be interested?"

Harry smiled widely, amazed at such luck. He hadn't even thought about trying to find a permanent place for them to live yet, knowing it wouldn't be an easy task, but it seemed it may not be so hard after all.

"Umm….wow! Yeah, that would be great! It sounds like a nice apartment!" beamed Harry, shifting his bags of clothes in his arms.

"We only need one bedroom though" Marv pointed out.

Harry rolled his eyes. "Forget about that, Marv! It's called having a Guest bedroom. People have extra bedrooms all the time…It's a place you can sleep when I can't stand to look at ya after you embarrass me again!"

Marv considered this, not even bothering to deny it; for he knew he embarrassed Harry all the time. "It would be nicer than sleeping on a ratty couch that's too short for me to sleep on anyways…"

"We'll give you Mr. Johnson's number so that you can contact him" said Alice, digging into her purse for a paper and pen.

"Yeah, thanks" smiled Harry, taking the number once Alice had written it down.

Erin shrugged it off. "Don't mention it. He's been tryin' to sell that place for a while now."

"Is it expensive?"

Alice shook his head. "Not really. And he's asking for a decent amount for an apartment like that. And the landlord is nice too."

Harry looked down at the number that was now in his hands. He could feel Marv lean down over his shoulder and look at the number as well. Just as Marv had mentioned earlier, it seemed like everything was moving so fast. They suddenly had an apartment offer? A two bedroom one at that? Neither bandit could believe their luck. It seemed that after everything that had happened to them, after being in jail for a year, running into the McCalister kid once more, getting beaten the hell out of by a kid, nearly getting thrown in jail again, stressing out in the hospital, and now struggling to get their new lives together; things were finally turning around for them.

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Harry and Marv had said goodbye to their girls after walking to the bus stop together. They hugged and said their thanks for what seemed like the hundredth time. The two of them had made their way back into their hotel room and dropped their new clothes onto the bed, marveling at all they had gotten. Yet their clothes were soon forgotten; even the ones they had been wearing, once they found themselves on the bed. They had pushed everything to the floor and enjoyed digging their tongues into each other's mouths and exploring each other's bodies.

For the first time in a long time, neither of them was stressed. Neither of them was worried about what they were going to do with themselves in the coming days. They knew nothing was set in stone; nobody said they were going to get that apartment, but there was still that sense of reassurance. Even if they didn't get that particular apartment, it would be easy for them to find another one; possibly and even better one.

One year ago, Harry Lyme and Marvin Merchants had been two men living in Chicago, stealing whatever they could sell from private homes. One year ago, they had been living scum, working their way through life with the aid of crime. One year ago, they had been miserable, bitter men who believed life to be unfair; for they were the ones who had to suffer while they watched everyone else live in the luxury of having a job and having money.

If they thought about it long enough, they almost had to thank Kevin McCalister for setting those booby traps on them; for if he hadn't, and they had managed to kill the kid or at least steal from his house like they had planned, they would probably still be living that same kind of live. Nothing would have changed for them. They would still be unhappy, miserable people who would still be trying to scrape money off of selling stolen goods.

As Marv and Harry made love to each other on the hotel bed, they knew everything was going to be alright. There would still be some bumps in the road, but after everything they have been through, they figured nothing could be that much worse.

"Harry…" whispered Marv after their lovemaking.

Harry held Marv close. "Yeah?"

"Are we going to take that apartment?"

"We're gonna look into it, yeah. We don't know if we'll get it, but we sure as hell will try."

Marv nodded against the pillows, his eyelids heavy. "That would be nice. And if we don't get it, we could try for another one, right?"

"Right."

"And now that we have money and nice jobs, we won't have to go back to stealin', right?"

Harry tensed a bit at this question. There was still the overwhelming need to steal that Harry still felt every now and then. When they had been in that store shopping with the girls, he had seen a few things he wouldn't have minded stealing. When he had been in the dressing room, there had been a part of him that had wanted to rip the tags off, put the shirt underneath his own like he had been wearing it and walk out like he owned the place. But he hadn't done those things. He hadn't done those things because he wanted to change his life. He was tired of feeling that he needed to steal in order to get by in life. It would not be an easy habit to get rid of; but no habit was easy to stop.

Harry pulled Marv closer. "Nope. Our criminal past is behind us, Marvin. I want to live a life without crime. Don't you think living together in a nice apartment together and going to work together like our dream has always been sound nice?"

Marv grinned. "Sounds great, Harry. I know I've never lived that kind of life."

Harry nodded, remembering earlier that day when Marv had thought about his past. "we've had it rough Marv. We've paid our dues though. I don't know about you, but I like the idea of spending the rest of my life livin' with ya and makin' you happy."

"You already make me happy, Harry" Marv pointed out.

"Alright, happy-ER, then."

Marv laughed. "Sounds good to me."

"Love ya, Marv."

"Love you too, Harry."

A calm silence fell between them as they enjoyed lying in bed together, having no intentions of getting up any time soon. Though Marv was the one who broke the silence a few minutes later.

"Heyyy…!" exclaimed Marv, sounding excited.

"What?"

"This now means we're the Rich Bandits!"

Harry shook his head, letting out a long loud sigh. "Shut up, Marv." He supposed some things would never change.

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THE END

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Author's Note: Well, I decided to end it here. I could pretty much go on forever with this, but I wanted to stop somewhere. I leave a few questions up in the air on purpose, simply because, well, there are no true happy endings, because life continues on. I just thought this would be a good place to end it. Thank you all for reading. Review please!