Linus and Danny in Chicago before the Benedict job.
"Let's take a walk," Danny says, so they go east from the bar. The wallet Linus had taken from the businessman on the El is in Danny's pocket; he'd paid the check with the cash that had been tucked inside.
"How's your mom?" Danny asks.
Linus dodges a woman with a large dog on a leash. "She's good."
"How'd you meet my dad?" Linus asks, curious.
Danny slides his hands into his pockets, and they walk another half-block before he answers. "I was doing a museum job - not my usual thing - and I needed a right hand man. My usual guy was tied up in Europe, and he suggested I look up this slick bastard named Beaufort Nichols." Danny gives him an exasperated look, as if to convey just how slick a bastard Beaufort Nichols was. "Now, I did look him up, but Beau was doing five to seven in Columbia. He suggested I see your father." Danny shrugs. "You must have been around six at the time."
Linus nods slowly. "I think I met Beaufort Nichols once. After he got out of prison. He was rude, and I think my mother chased him out of the house."
"Sounds like Beaufort."
"He never came back."
Linus takes a deep breath. "So, what is your usual thing?"
"Whatever I can get as long as the payday's worth the risk."
"Do you have like, an equation for that?"
"Do this job with me and you'll find out."
Linus stops walking. Danny looks up, at the library. "I used to work here," Linus says. "When I was a teenager. I got fired. But it was great. A lot of people leaving their belongings unattended. You know, completely opposite from what the sign says."
Danny looks at him for a second, like he can't quite fathom having a job that involves a W-2, and then he grins. "Yeah, you're all right, Linus."
They start heading in the direction of the nearest El stop. "Are you going back to Vegas tonight or what?" Linus asks. "Don't tell me you're staying with my parents."
"No, I'm staying with you. We're on the same flight tomorrow."
Linus thinks of his tiny apartment. "Yeah, okay."
They board the train. Somehow, Danny remains still amid the swaying and jostling of the other passengers. Linus has pulled hundreds of wallets on this train, yet he tells himself to take notes.
Danny stands just inside the doorway, hands still in his pockets, as Linus hurries through the apartment looking for the extra set of sheets he knows he has. Somewhere. "Sorry," he says to Danny.
Danny gives him a look and crosses to the corner of the apartment that passes for a kitchen. It's the refrigerator that gives it away. He swings the door open and glances inside. "Beer?" he says, and Linus says "right in front of you" before he realizes Danny's asking if he wants one.
Linus coughs. Danny presses a cold bottle into his hand. "Don't worry about the sheets."
"The couch is dusty."
"You don't use it?"
"Not really." Linus looks at the couch and the television in front of it, propped up on the box it came in. "I don't spend much time here."
Danny takes off his coat, lays it over the back of the single chair. He lifts the scarf from around his neck. Linus watches without looking, and then takes a long swallow of the beer.
"Where do you spend your time?"
"You said you don't spend much time here," Danny says slowly.
"Oh." Linus sits down on the couch. "At my parents'."
"You close to them?"
"Yeah, I guess."
"Ever been arrested?"
"Just got out of prison." Danny leans against the wall.
Danny's eyes are laughing. "Guess."
"You stole things," Linus says, and this time Danny laughs out loud.
Linus tries to fall asleep but he can't. Danny has so far refused to tell him what the job is, so he lays awake and thinks of all the things that could be stolen in Vegas. Money, obviously. Art. Jewelry. He's never done a jewelry heist, since the gold heart on a chain he took from the drugstore when he was fourteen to give to a girl doesn't count. The cops had picked him up for that one.
He turns over again, then throws the blankets off and gets out of bed. As quietly as he can, he walks across the living room to the cupboard where his three glasses are, but before he can fill one with water, Danny speaks from the couch. "Do you always wear those pajamas?"
Linus looks down at his blue pajama pants with matching shirt. It has buttons. "Yes," he replies, a little defensively.
Danny sits up. He's wearing boxers and an undershirt. Were it not for the streetlamp outside the window, Linus wouldn't have been able to see him in the dark. Danny runs a hand through his hair.
Linus fills his glass from the tap, and Danny walks up behind him while his back is turned. "Even when you're the only person here?" Danny asks, his voice sounding so close that Linus jumps and spills half the water. "Sorry," Danny says, and Linus can just tell that he's smirking as he says it.
"Did you need something?"
"You didn't answer my question."
The pajamas. Right. Linus turns around, his back against the counter. "You're worried about what I wear to bed?"
"You can learn things about people from their clothes," Danny replies, "and you're the one person I want for my crew that I don't really know." He folds his arms across his chest. "So."
"Yes. I wear them even when no one else is here. They're comfortable."
Danny nods and steps back. "You got a girlfriend, Linus?"
"No." The last girlfriend he had was the one he stole the necklace for. He refills his water glass and edges around Danny to sit on the lone chair.
Danny snags another beer from the fridge and opens it before stretching out on the couch. "You're not going back to bed?"
"Can't sleep," Linus admits.
"Nervous?" Danny asks.
"I guess I am."
Linus is confused. "Why's it good if I'm nervous?"
"If you're not feeling it, then the job's too easy." Danny tips the neck of the bottle in Linus' direction. "I can't believe Bobby never told you that. Besides, this job? You're right to be nervous." He winks, and Linus figures if he's nervous already, he might as well add scared to the list.
There's nothing on the TV, not even on cable, so Danny starts to tell Linus about a job he did with Bobby, years ago. "Probably one of the first I did with your dad," he says. "I think you and Kaye were in Pittsburgh visiting your grandparents."
He checks his watch against the clock on the wall, frowns, and then continues. "Bobby had a client who was really into art. So much that he hired us to steal a painting for him from a museum in Cleveland."
"Working for hire, huh?"
Danny gives him a look. Linus shuts his mouth. "I hate Cleveland. And their Museum of Art has pretty good security for an art gallery."
"Granted, it's not the Smithsonian," Linus says with a straight face.
"Do you want to hear this or not?" Linus doesn't reply, so Danny keeps talking. "He wanted this particular Rouault. French guy, contemporary. I hate French contemporary, Linus. But Bobby and I were pretty low on funds and this guy promised us a million each. Cash. So we took the job."
"Let me guess. You got caught."
The corner of Danny's mouth twitches. "Nope. We sold him a fake."
"I am so not surprised," Linus grumbles, and moves from the uncomfortable chair to the couch, shoving Danny's legs out of the way. "That's not a very good story."
"I haven't gotten to the best part."
Linus leans back into the corner of the sofa. "You went back and stole the real one just for the hell of it."
"How'd you know?"
"If you're talking about that Autumn No.4 painting, it's hanging on the wall in my father's den."
Danny laughs, not even surprised. "And here I thought Bobby sold the damn thing."
"Nope. And that painting is the reason Beaufort Nichols never came back to our house."
"Let me guess, he insulted it in front of Bobby." Danny nudges Linus' knee with his own. "Why do you think you've never seen me before yesterday?"
Linus just stares at him, and that gets Danny laughing again.
Linus wakes up the next morning on the floor between the couch and the television box, curled into the pillow he was holding on to. Danny's still snoring on the couch, his arm flung out off the side and brushing Linus' hip.
He thinks about making coffee for a minute. Then he gets up off the floor, drops the pillow on Danny's bare feet, and goes into the bathroom.
In the shower, he finally makes up his mind to go to Vegas. If you've got an opportunity to move up, take it, Bobby always told him; you don't want to be lifting wallets on the El for the next fifty years.
He's brushing his teeth when the bathroom door opens slightly. "Sorry," Danny says with a yawn, not at all concerned with the fact that Linus is only wearing a towel. "Nice to see you out of those starched pajamas."
Linus spits toothpaste into the sink. Looks at Danny. Danny grins, and Linus shuts the door in his face.
Danny's dressed and there's coffee going when Linus goes back out into the living room. Danny's wearing the same thing he wore yesterday, but now his collar's unbuttoned and his sleeves are rolled up. "You ready to go?" he asks Linus. "Flight leaves in two hours." He presses a mug of coffee into Linus' hands. "Drink up."
Linus does, watching Danny move about the apartment and gather all the small things he'd put down yesterday. Wallet. Watch. Plane tickets. On his hand glints a wedding ring that Linus hadn't noticed before now. "You married?"
Danny looks down at the ring. "I was."
"Then why are you still wearing it?"
"That's a question you should save for when we're better acquainted," Danny replies, as if he didn't see Linus almost naked twenty minutes ago.
Linus finishes his coffee and turns off the machine. Either Danny hadn't made much or he'd drunk most of the pot before Linus got dressed. Linus dumps the rest down the sink and rinses everything out.
"Hey," Danny says from behind him.
"Where do you want the beer bottles?"
Linus points and Danny brushes past him. "How long are we going to be gone?" Linus asks.
"Depends. If all goes according to plan, you won't ever have to come back here if you don't want to." The bottles clink loudly as he drops them into the bag.
"I like it here."
Danny stops in front of him. "It's a little cold here, Linus."
"Can't be any colder than New Jersey." Danny just looks at him. "Okay, so I called my dad before you woke up."
"Give you the details, did he?"
"Not really," Linus admits.
Danny chuckles and picks up his overcoat. "You pack?"
"Let's go. The cab should be here any minute."
"You called a cab?"
"Yeah. And you're paying."