Cookies And Ink
by Shrift

Danny watched Rusty's shoulders move under his shirt as he unlocked the apartment, keys jingling. Danny tapped a sheaf of plane tickets against his palm, and Rusty opened the door. He'd been hoping that Rusty would take him home the moment Danny had found him in the nightclub. Not that this was a home, exactly, because Rusty went through periods where he changed addresses more often than he returned movie rentals, but Danny hadn't been home in four years, and since Rusty was here, this place counted.

"Hey," Danny said.

Rusty spun around and walked backward into his apartment, hands in his pockets. "Hey."

Danny followed, looking around with interest. Brushed steel and modern black, just as he'd expected. It was that time of year for Rusty. "It's --"



"Very," Rusty agreed.

Danny smiled. "Did I ever thank you for the cookies?"

"I baked them myself," Rusty said. He loosened his tie and turned on the lights. The lamps made his shirt shimmer and change colors.

"I know," Danny told him. "I tried eating one."

Rusty smiled widely. "You poor bastard."

"I thought maybe you'd taken classes," Danny said, wandering over to the bar where Rusty was pouring them drinks. "Maybe you'd learned how to follow a recipe in my absence. Or perhaps that you'd learned your lesson from that time with the hard-boiled eggs --"

"That's so low," Rusty said, "it could win a limbo contest."

"Eggs on the ceiling, Russ," Danny said. "Or that you had purchased the cookies from a bakery --"

"Perhaps I was concerned for your girlish figure and wanted to help you maintain." Rusty looked over his shoulder at Danny. "So. What did it taste like?"

He raised the glass to his nose, and the strong smell hit his sinuses. It was the good scotch, which meant he was staying for a while. "The cookie? It tasted like you were angry with me."

"Well, you did get caught," Rusty said. He stared, steadily and unblinking. Danny had forgotten how unsettling it was when Rusty looked at him like a mark. He understood the reason why; prison changed people, and Rusty needed to know the differences so they could work together again.

"I know," Danny said quietly. He swirled the scotch in his glass and waited to be forgiven.

Life without Rusty was too narrow. Most of the angles Danny saw became impossible because he needed Rusty to make them work. A game of billiards was more than just simple geometry, and running a con involved more than sleight of hand and keeping several balls in play.

There was much more to it, not the least of which was the simple fact that Rusty made stealing stuff a hell of a lot more fun.

Abruptly, Rusty asked, "Did you really come see me first?"

"Technically, I saw Frank C. first," Danny said, taking care with his words. "But that was only to find out where you were."

"Mm," Rusty said, his face still blank.

"I got lucky," Danny said. "Frank could have been out getting his nails done."



After a moment of silence that went on just a little too long, Rusty said, "Take your coat off, stay a while."

"You son of a bitch, you let me dangle," Danny accused without heat.

"I did," Rusty said. "You deserved it."

Danny knew better than to argue. "All right."

Rusty drained his glass and set it down on the bar, walked halfway across the room, and turned to be certain that he had Danny's attention. He nodded in the direction of his bedroom; Danny could see the bed through the open doorway. Twenty that it was a king. Rusty always did need more room to sleep than anyone else he'd ever met. Danny had calculated the average square footage once when they both had been hiding out for a week in a dive called the Sherwood Forest Inn because they had maybe, possibly, completely accidentally stolen a little something from the mob.

If they'd known whom they were stealing from in the first place, they certainly would have arranged to hide in better accommodations. Like a penthouse. In Belize.

Rusty moved into the bedroom without looking back. Danny put down his empty glass and followed. When he walked through the doorway, Rusty was standing next to the bed and unbuttoning his shirt. His tie was on the floor.

"C'mere," Danny said. Rusty grinned and stood his ground, his flat, tanned abdomen revealed button by button. He always started at the bottom of his shirts. "Fine, be the mountain."

Danny closed the distance. Put his hands on Rusty's hips. Kissing seemed like the thing to do after four years apart, so Danny did. He brushed their lips together, and Rusty's mouth opened for him easily, warm and familiar, and missed. Danny said hello the way he'd wanted to at that poker table, and Rusty answered back with an enthusiasm he usually reserved for mozzarella cheese sticks and truly excellent guacamole.

"Well, Mohammed, how do I taste?"

Danny chuckled. "Better than your cookies."

Rusty shrugged, and his shirt dropped to the floor to join his tie. "Are you damning me with faint praise?"

"I damn you with full praise," Danny said, leaning in to kiss him again. It was quick and rough, and left his lips buzzing.

Rusty pushed, and Danny fell back easily, his back bouncing on the mattress. Rusty stood there watching for a moment, hands on his hips, before he climbed onto the bed and straddled Danny's hips. "Were you anyone's prison bitch? Were you in solitary? Did any corrupt prison officials attempt to have their wicked way with you?"

Danny stared at Rusty. Rusty stared back, one eyebrow raised. "You watch too much cable."

"Funny. I feel myself developing a headache," Rusty said.

Danny slid his hands up Rusty's thighs, muscle smooth and firm underneath the fine fabric of his pants. "That's too bad. Guess I'll have to go back out and find some sweet young thing."

"That is a very lame threat, Daniel Ocean," Rusty told him, sitting back so that Danny's cock was pressing against his ass.

"This is new," Danny said. He brought Rusty's hand to his mouth and licked at the dark ink marking his skin. He tasted like salt and soap and grease. "Who was she?"

Rusty shrugged, eyelids heavy. His lips were wet. "Roman holiday."

Some people kept photo albums or keepsake boxes. Some people kept things tucked away in the basement, garage, attic, or junk drawer. Almost everyone had souvenirs of important memories. Rusty just preferred to wear his.

Danny didn't find it strange, actually. With their lifestyle, they often had to leave everything behind, escaping with only the clothes on their backs and the loose change in their pockets. Still, every time he got Rusty naked, Danny wondered which tattoos were his.

"How many more do you have, I wonder," Danny said.

Rusty shifted back against Danny's cock again. "Fuck me and find out."

"Then let me up, Robert," Danny said. "I'm still wearing my shoes."

Rusty rolled his eyes and then rolled off, stripping out of his remaining clothes and shamelessly watching Danny undress at the same time. Danny stood beside the bed and was still working on his cufflinks when Rusty started stroking himself. It was distracting, the way the black marks on the back of his hand curved around his dick.

"Looks like prison agreed with you," Rusty said. He rubbed his thumb over the head of his dick and hummed in reaction. "You're very... mm, fit."

Danny got back on the bed and kissed him. "I've never been so bored in my entire life."

Rusty's hand paused on his cock. "Not even?"

"That one time --"

"In South Dakota," Rusty said. "Seriously? That's messed up."

"Pinkie swear," Danny said, and then Rusty pulled him down for a kiss that didn't end for a long time. Rusty's breath was warm on his cheek as Danny sucked Rusty's tongue into his mouth. Rusty spread his legs and hooked his ankles on the back of Danny's knees. Danny reached up and was pleased to note that Rusty still kept the lube underneath his pillow. He slicked his fingers and pushed them in Rusty's ass, enjoying the muffled noises Rusty made. He made the same noises whenever Danny fed him risotto with saffron, something which Rusty had agreed he should never eat in public ever again.

Rusty tore open the condom wrapper and handed it to him. He put it on while Rusty shifted onto his side. Danny spooned behind him and Rusty moved his legs without prompting, always where Danny needed him to be even after all this time. When he slid inside, he felt a rush of want that made his heart beat faster and his chest feel like someone was sitting on it, the kind of feeling that made men do stupid and impulsive things in order to get naked and sweaty and come all over someone's pretty face.

"Four years, you should've taken the edge off," Rusty said, eyes a sliver of blue.

"Don't look so smug," Danny told him. He shifted in just the right way, and timed his thrust with a bite to the stretch of skin just under Rusty's ear.

"Unh," Rusty moaned, his eyes squeezed shut. "I deserved that."

Danny chuckled in his ear and did it again, only this time he put his hand on Rusty's cock and stroked. "And?"

"I really deserved that," Rusty said, low and breathless, his voice like suede when he was this turned on.

"Mm," Danny said. "What do I deserve?"

"Other than a swift kick?" Rusty asked. He thrust back on Danny's cock and then squeezed his muscles. "That."

Danny groaned and pressed his face against Rusty's throat. "That works."

"I should hope so."

He couldn't help but laugh and do what Rusty wanted him to do, which was to open Rusty's legs a little wider and fuck him until Rusty said Danny's name and came on his hand and the comforter. Danny didn't last much longer. Rusty's heartfelt appreciation and the way his muscles tightened on Danny's dick were a lethal combination in comparison to four years of dating his right hand. Rusty was ten times his right hand.

It only made sense for Danny to go directly to his right-hand man as soon as he got out of prison.

They cleaned up as little as possible, turned out the lights, and then crawled under the covers. Under his cheek, the pillow smelled like Rusty.

"I missed you," Danny said. He rubbed his thumb over the skin underneath Rusty's belly button.

Rusty arched his back and then shifted a little closer. "Good."

"I mean it."

Rusty smiled lazily, his eyes still closed. "You love me."

"That, too," Danny said.

"Yet you never send flowers."

Danny closed his eyes, too. "You're allergic."

"So was Tess."

"I liked the way she sneezed."

Rusty made a noise in his throat, a rumbly, ticking sound like one of Reuben's cats. "You don't like my sneeze?"

Drowsily, Danny said, "Your sneeze is terrifying."


"Like an epileptic seizure."

"Shut up," Rusty muttered, his head heavy on Danny's shoulder.


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