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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

H50/Oceans: The Break-Even Point 5/6

January 28th, 2011 (03:13 pm)

MASTER POST

PART ONE...PART TWO...PART THREE...PART FOUR...PART FIVE...PART SIX

 

PART FIVE

Most people think that change isn't easy.

After everything, Turk's sort of inclined to think the opposite. So when his captain suggests taking the detective's exam, it makes a lot of sense.

"I don't want to be a beat cop forever," Turk explains to Jason in the squad car.

"You sound like Holly," Jason says, looking out his window.

Turk takes a left. "You could do it, too," he suggests. He glances at his partner. "We could do it together."

Jason makes a face. "I like what we do."

Turk rolls his eyes. "And you think you won't like being a detective?"

"It's work," Jason whines.

Turk shakes his head. "It's life."

-o-

They study together. Jason's intuitive in a way Turk isn't, but it's Turk who has the discipline. They take the test on the same day, and when the results come in, their captain smiles as he hands them the envelopes.

Jason rips into his and lets out a whoop. "Oh, thank God!" he says. He holds up his paper to Turk brightly. "Passing score, man. Passing score."

Turk looks at Jason, waving the paper, and grins.

Jason nods. "What about you?"

Turk shrugs, nonchalant. "I eeked by."

Jason rolls his eyes. "Somehow I doubt that."

"I passed," Turk says.

But Jason is like a dog with a bone and he reaches over, nipping the paper from Turk's hands.

Turk protests, and tries to reach it back, but Jason already has it and is spinning in his chair to get away.

When he completes a rotation, he stops, and looks blankly at Turk. He swears.

Blushing, Turk leans over and takes the paper back. "It's nothing."

"You scored a 99," he says. "How the hell does anyone score a 99?"

Turk flusters, stuffing the paper in his desk. "It's nothing."

"It's not nothing," Jason protests, and he turns to one of the officers across the way for confirmation.

Turk doesn't listen and he rolls his eyes, but deep down he knows Jason's right. Because Turk's never scored well on anything in his life, and he's used to coming in last most of the time. He's good a certain things, but not the sort of things a respectable person is proud of. Somehow, it was easier believing that so he didn't have to try. It's easier to impress people if they're not expecting much.

The problem is, he sees now, that that was as much as a facade as Danny Williams is now. It's a hard thing, knowing what's real in Turk's life, but that hint of pride, that spark of potential feel more real than just about anything else.

-o-

It's been years since Turk first met Danny Ocean, but he finally understands why he's such a good conman. It's not that he's knowledgeable, even though he really, really is. It's not that he's a smooth talker, but there's no doubt he's that, too. It's not that he's got quick fingers and faster wit. It's none of those skills or talents that have always so impressed Turk.

It's Danny's complete belief in his own abilities.

It takes a certain kind of man to plot a heist of the three biggest casinos in the Strip. Pulling it off is a feat, of course, but most men wouldn't even have the guts to think that big. Danny Ocean is a man who sees possibilities in everything and instead of walking away, walks headlong into a situation, no matter what the odds may be. Because Danny Ocean believes he can win, even when he shouldn't, and self-confidence like that is a rare commodity indeed.

The thing is, that's never been Turk, but Turk Malloy is dead, and Danny Williams may be more like his namesake than he ever imagined.

And there's the rub. Not just to imagine. To believe. To act.

Turk's ready, he thinks, he knows. He's ready.

-o-

Turk's first thought is that he should cash out some of the money he had Danny stash away. It's funny, because for all the time and effort he put into the Bank job, he never wanted a penny of the profits. Benedict tracking them down had been a stark wake up call, and after working as a cop, the idea of spending stolen money just rubbed him wrong. He'd taken some, of course, if only because he was unemployed at the time. But after settling down in Jersey, he's had Danny stop his monthly stipend, and he's been living comfortably on his cop's salary since.

It's been easy, truthfully. There's not much he wants that he doesn't already have. After the Benedict job, he'd been quick to spend his money on anything he thought he might like, and he didn't end up caring much about any of it.

But now, in Jersey, he has friends and family, and that's the kind of stuff that doesn't cost him a dime.

Still, if acing the detective's exam has taught him anything, it's that if he's going to do something, he's going to do it right. As a perpetual slacker growing up, this runs a bit contrary to his nature, but the thought of half-assing it when asking Rachel to marry him just doesn't seem right.

And that freaks him out. Not just that he's actually going to ask Rachel to marry him, but that he's actually concerned about doing it right.

So his first thought is that he needs some cash. He's got some in savings from his salary, but it's pretty meager, all things considered, because Turk lives cheap, but he still goes out to eat and likes to have a nice car And Rachel's a classy kind of girl, so picking up a cheap ring wouldn't do her justice.

Besides, he's half afraid she'd shove a lesser ring down his throat if he had the audacity to ask her with something that was less than a carat.

With the cash he's got in tucked away in alternative savings, he could get Rachel anything. Something big and flashy that might even impress her mother.

That's tempting - it really is - because Rachel's mother is an uptight woman with aristocratic virtues and how the hell was Turk supposed to know that she was serious about not wanting to go to a baseball game?

And he wants the best for Rachel - he really, really does. He wants her to have all her dreams come true. He wants to give her a Jane Austen novel and sweep her off her feet, and it's a increasingly clear fact that he probably won't be able to pull that off living like he is now.

It is his money. And he did earn it, even if not quite legally. This would be the best opportunity to use some of it that he's come across so far. Danny's just a phone call away, with the emergency contact number they all got after parting ways.

And still, Turk hesitates. Because the money is Turk's, but it's not Danny Williams'. Rachel fell in love with a beat cop, not a conman. When Turk passed the detective's exam, it was all hard work and dedication, even if he could have hacked the system and planted the numbers himself.

This is a self-made life, and he wants to do this right. If he's going to ask Rachel to marry him, he's going to do it with integrity and honor.

And a piss-ant sized ring.

This is the biggest bet he's made yet. That he can offer himself, and only that, and hope that she still says yes.

-o-

Turk's nervous.

It's weird, because it's been a long time since he's been nervous. He remembers the sensation vaguely, from his first interview in Salt Lake City, when Joseph Vincent had asked him why he wanted to be a cop.

Turk had been afraid of getting caught then. He'd been afraid of screwing up like Virgil expected him to, of being embarrassed like he normally was.

Somehow, though, this doesn't compare.

Because Turk is actually trembling. He can't speak when he picks Rachel up for dinner and he spills his water all over their table. He clatters his silverware noisily while he tries to eat and swallows a bite of his salad wrong so that by the time he's breathing normally again, the entire restaurant is watching him and a doctor has been paged.

It's hard to say who is more red faced when they leave - Turk for lack of oxygen or Rachel with embarrassment.

Back at his place, everything is clean and he's glad that he bought the pie and wine in advance, so there's less to screw up. He drops a piece of pie on the floor while serving, but Rachel's in the living room so she doesn't see and he dumps it in the trash before she can ask what's wrong.

They eat together in candlelight, and she is suspicious. "This is highly romantic for you, Daniel," she says skeptically.

Turk shrugs. "What, a guy can't treat his girl right?"

She inclines her head, regarding him with cool bemusement. "Treating me right is one thing, making a scene at the restaurant is another," she says. "I swear, even now, I half expect you to get down on one knee and pull out a ring."

Turk's cover has been blown and while his first instinct is to cut and run, he decides to go with it. He's come this far.

He laughs. "Well," he says, shrugging a little. He gets down off the couch, kneeling in front of her. He pulls out the ring from his pocket and looks up into her eyes. "Far be it from me to disappoint you then."

-o-

Rachel is crying and then she's slapping him and then she's telling him how much she loves him and then she's ranting about his lead up and then she's on the phone with her mother.

Turk's not sure what's happening, but Rachel's wearing the ring, so he figures that's a yes.

-o-

Rachel's mother is polite enough not to cry or curse when she finds out the news. She gushes instead about the idea of a wedding dress and talks about the reception and music and flowers on the phone until Turk falls asleep in desperation while Rachel nods along. The most he comes up in the conversation is when Rachel's mother can be heard saying, "He didn't skimp you on the ring, did he?"

Breaking the news to the Donnellys is a bit more exciting. They hardly get through the front door, when Mama Donnelly's hands close on Rachel's and her eyes light up. She looks down, jaw open. "Oh, good Lord, he finally asked you," she breathes.

Just like that, the entire Donnelly clan descends on them, with hugs and squeals and there's even a little giddy jumping involved. Rachel is whisked away to show off her ring in a better light, and Mama Donnelly shakes her head and hits him upside the head.

Turk squawks in protest. "What was that for?"

"For not telling me first!" she says.

Turk throws his hands out. "This was about me and Rachel."

Mama Donnelly rolls her eyes. "I ought to push you out on the street right now for that," she says. "You're inviting Rachel to be part of this family, so I would have appreciated a little advance notice."

Turk's mouth opens but no words come out. He hadn't thought of that. It hadn't crossed his mind. Sometimes, even after everything, he still can't believe that this has become his family. This is his.

Mama Donnelly shakes her head again. "You're lucky that we love you anyway," she says. "And that you got her a nice ring. You have taste, at least, even if you don't have a lick of common sense."

Turk's still trying to find something to say as she stalks back toward the kitchen, and Jason pats him on the shoulder. "This is only the beginning, man," he says, as a warning and a promise.

Turk stares after Mama Donnelly and can hear Rachel delineating the details of the proposal while Holly and Jason's sister swoon.

Only the beginning. Maybe that should scare him, and maybe it does, but Turk can't help but feel excited all the same. Because Rachel's wearing his ring and the Donnellys are proud of him and this is only the beginning.

-o-

"What about mints," Rachel says.

It sounds innocent enough, but Turk knows it's a trick. He doesn't look up from the game on TV. "What about mints?" he lobs back.

"Should we have them in the colors of the wedding or stay with classic white?"

He knows this is something that must matter to Rachel, but no matter how hard he pretends, he really can't care. Maybe he could have at one point, but after being asked about periwinkle or baby blue, using a violin or a cello, decorating with calla lilies or roses, Turk's sort of done. Because that's just been today.

Turk shrugs. "Whatever you want, baby."

This is not the answer Rachel wants and Turk doesn't have to look up to know the look on her face. "This is an important issue," she says tersely.

Turk should smile and nod. He should. He knows that.

But.

They've been wedding planning for months and Turk's been asked his opinion on things he can't even pronounce. He's been measured and assessed, he's looked at bridal magazines and met with caterers. He's jumped through every damn hoop and listened to his mother-in-law go on across the ocean about why weddings in the States are simply not acceptable. Turk's visited every reception site within fifty miles, and he's even ridden a damn horse to determine that they really want to ride off into the sunset by car, no matter how quaint the equestrian option may seem.

And Turk's not sure why it's the mints, because he doesn't care about the mints, but yeah, it's the mints. The straw that breaks the camel's back and Turk turns off the TV and looks at Rachel.

"They're an important issue?" he asks.

She stares back at him. Defiant. "Yes," she says. "It's a very important issue."

Turk nods. "The mints are a very important issue."

"That's what I said," Rachel says, bristling slightly.

"Oh, okay," Turk says. "I mean, because I was sort of thinking that the important issue was just the bride and the groom and that we both show up on the big day. Some guests - sure, I'm fine with that. And okay, if we want to feed them something, that's probably pretty reasonable. And there can be music and alcohol, maybe even some of those little crab cakes you like so much. But fluted wine glasses? A powerpoint presentation of our history? A traditional Celtic wedding dance? Mints? Mints? And I think we've possibly crossed the line from important to complete insanity."

Rachel's fuming, and there's a twinge of hurt on her face. "Well, excuse me," she says. "I was under the impression that we wanted to have a nice wedding day."

"And I was under the impression that we just wanted to get married!"

"You're such an uncivilized pig!"

"And you're a pretentious Brit!"

Her mouth opens and she huffs hotly. "Then why do you want to marry me at all?"

Turk throws out his hands. "I don't know!" he gets to his feet. "I thought you loved me, but the only thing you seem to love are mints!"

"At least the mints don't act like a prepubescent fool!"

Turk struts toward the door, opening it with force. "Then you should marry the mints!"

"I'd probably get less grief from my mother!" Rachel yells after him after he closes the door.

-o-

Turk walks.

There's not much else to do, and he doesn't even have his wallet. It's still on the coffee table, next to his phone and his beer.

Turk's not built for this kind of thing. He can face danger on a daily basis, but wedding planning? He loves Rachel, he really does, but it's moments like these that he remembers who he is. He remembers being the underachieving criminal in Utah, blowing cash and wasting time. No long term commitments and no real responsibilities. It was a hell of a lot easier, and no one ever asked him about mints.

But he loves Rachel.

That's the thing, and he knows it. Back in Utah, Turk wasn't pissed off because he wasn't happy. He just was, someplace in between, and you can't love life without hating it just a little bit from time to time.

Turk liked working jobs. He liked hanging out with the team. He liked watching TV with his brother. He likes driving fast cars.

He liked a lot of things.

But he loves Rachel.

And that's all he needs to know.

-o-

When he gets back, Rachel's wedding plans are still spread over the table. He finds her in the bedroom, crying on the bed. When he walks in, she stiffens and doesn't look at him.

He stands in the doorway for a moment. "White," he says finally.

At that, she looks up at him. Her eyes are red rimmed and Turk can still see the tears on her cheeks. "What?"

Turk shrugs. "White mints," he says.

She inclines her head. "I thought you didn't care about mints."

"I don't ," he says. "But you do. And that's what matters."

Slowly, her face breaks into a smile. When Turk goes to her, she rolls over to meet him, and Turk knows he made the right choice.

-o-

The week before the wedding, Turk is feeling frazzled. Half of Rachel's family is there from England, and he's sleeping on the floor in his own apartment. He's barely seen Rachel at all, since her mother has whisked her away to any and all wedding planning events possible, but he's seen more of Rachel's Uncle Leland than anyone should.

Between planning and last minute changes and picking up relatives he's never met from the airport, Turk's about spent at work, and for once it's Jason who's pulling the extra paperwork while Turk generally goes insane.

At the end of his shift, his captain calls him in, and Turk thinks he's going to get reamed out for his complete lack of focus.

His captain looks serious as Turk settles down across from him, nodding a little. "So. Wedding's coming up?"

Turk forces a smile. "Next week," he confirms.

"A lot to do, I imagine."

Turk nods, swallowing hard. "Yeah, and it's just been a lot. But not so much I can't do my job. I mean-"

The captain holds up his hand, curtailing Turk's attempts to explain. "Women like to make those things complicated and I know there isn't a damn thing you can do about it," he says. "You're doing real well, all things considering."

Turk cocks his head, surprised.

The captain nods again. "I just thought you might like to know that all the paperwork-"

"I'm almost finished-" Turk says, gesturing back toward his desk in the main room. He's got a few reports he just has to finalize.

"-the paperwork for your promotion," the captain concludes, looking at Turk quite seriously.

Turk stares, wonders if he heard him right. With the lack of sleep and the angst over trying to make Rachel's mother not thing of him as a Sodomite, it's been a stressful time. "What?"

The captain smiles a little, picks up a piece of paper, and hands it over to Turk. "Your promotion to detective," he says. "Took a while, but two spots opened up and you were our top candidate."

Turk takes the paper, a little breathless. He looks at it, then looks at his captain. "I'm going to be a detective?"

The captain nods. "You and Donnelly were at the top of our list."

Turk doesn't know whether to laugh or cry. Instead, he swears. It's probably not his smartest move, but Turk hasn't been firing on all cylinders for a while now, and really, it's the only response he can actually come up with.

The captain laughs now. "That sounds about right."

"Thank you," he says, seriously now, and everything else seems to fade away. All the stress, all the worry. "It means a lot, sir."

The captain's lips quirk into a smile. "We needed someone to fill those spots," he says. "Besides, just consider it a wedding gift."

And Turk can't think of anything more he'd like to get.

-o-

Turk can't think of anything more he'd like to get, except this:

Rachel's wearing a white dress. It sparkles and hugs her curves, billowing out in a simple train behind her. Her veil is draped around her sweeping up-do, and when she walks down the aisle, she's only looking at him.

Turk doesn't remember much else. He doesn't remember the songs the string quartet played or the sermon the minister preached. He doesn't remember the first course at the reception or the type of wine they drank. He doesn't remember the color of the bridesmaid dresses or the way Mama Donnelly cried in the front row. He doesn't even remember saying I do.

He just remembers Rachel, the way she looked, the way she looked at him, and knowing that at the end of the day, she was his and he was hers.

-o-

After their honeymoon, Turk and Rachel settle down in their apartment and open their wedding gifts. They receive countless things, most of which Turk only marginally recognizes. A salad spinner and a spice rack seem to make Rachel happy, though, and if lavender towels will make their life together better, then Turk's all for it.

Some of the tags get lost in the shuffle, and Rachel is trying to piece together who bought them what. She holds up what looks like cross between a cherub and a naked woman. It's etched out of marble and stands at least three feet tall, chubby limbs splayed fancifully with a wisp of carved loin cloth over the pertinent spots.

It takes effort for Rachel to hold it and she's looking at it with a mixture of wonder and horror. "Who on earth gave us this?" she asks.

Turk's about to accuse one of Rachel's many uptight relatives, but there's something about the piece. It's gaudy and classical and seems familiar.

Because he's seen it before.

In the lobby of the Midas.

Reuben.

Turk frowns, shakes his head. "No idea, babe," he says.

-o-

He fields the rest of the gifts quickly. He finds a do-it-yourself manicure kit with best wishes to both of them that he figures is safe to hand off to Rachel, even if he knows Frank would think it appropriate for both of them. He's actually pretty happy with the Best Buy gift card from Linus, but the Bed, Bath, and Beyond one from Livingston seems more up Rachel's alley. The box with an extra large pack of antacids and a economy bottle of aspirin has a card inscribed Good luck, and he can almost hear Saul's pessimistic drawl shooing him away.

He can only assume the green tea is from Yen, but the Cantonese inscription is beyond him. The kama sutra book its paired with doesn't have to be in English, and Turk hides it before he can't help but look at it. Basher's replica of a piece of British art Turk's never heard of makes Rachel rave, and he can only hope that it really is a replication for all their sakes.

Rachel has the next package open before Turk can stop her. He's not sure what to expect, and when she gasps, he fears the worst. But she holds up a crystal frame, elegant and simple. When she turns it to show him, he sees a picture of the two of them on their wedding day, smiling at the camera.

"Danny, it's gorgeous," she exclaims. "How did they have time for this?"

Turk wants to laugh, because she clearly doesn't know Danny and Rusty. Though he will admit, it's pretty impressive, even for them.

She picks up the card, brow furrowed. "I don't know them," she says. "Do you?"

Turk takes the card, looks at the signatures. D.O. is printed in small, neat font, while the double R's are large and loping.

He smiles. "Just some old friends," he says.

She puts the frame on the table, shoving away the remnants of wrapping paper and gift receipts. "Well, you certainly have excellent taste in friends," she says decidedly, still looking at the picture.

Turk smiles, still looking at the card. "Yeah," he says. "I do."

-o-

The gift from Virgil comes later and in two parts. The first, addressed to him, is smaller. He opens it and the box has an odd conglomeration of things. A piece of plastic from the toy car Turk destroyed. A boarding pass from an international flight to Amsterdam. A red hat from his waiter job at the Bank. And a single piece of paper, scrawled with a small message: We made a bet. Looks like I lost.

The second is addressed to him and Rachel, and when Turk opens it, he almost wants to cry. It's a wood plaque, and the words on it are hand chiseled. The Williams Family, it says, and underneath, welcome to our home.

The note with this is signed the Robinson family, and when Turk hangs the plaque on the wall above their dining room table, somehow it feels like it was made to go there.

-o-

If he was nervous on his wedding day, Turk doesn't remember it. Besides, he had someone else pick his clothes out, so it was a pretty easy gig. All his time as a cop, he's put on a uniform and done his duty, but today he gets to pick his own attire.

That's actually sort of overwhelming.

Turk stands in front of his closet and looks at the options. Rachel's fastidious about organization, so all his shirts and pants are lined up by color and style.

He takes a breath, and thinks about it. Thinks about being a detective, about moving up in the world. He thinks about what Davis would say if he could see him now. Thinks about Joseph Vincent and his starched collars and ties.

Turk's collars aren't quite that stiff and his fingers fumble with the tie, but when he's done, he looks in the mirror and likes what he sees. Utah or Jersey or anywhere in the States, this is what a cop looks like and this is who Turk is.

Detective Danny Williams.

He tweaks his tie, turns his wedding ring on his finger, and goes to work.

-o-

If Turk liked working a beat, he loves being a detective. It's the same kind of thing, but the chance to focus on cases is something he thrives on. Every day is like an adventure for him, and he loves everything about it, from the flashy arrests to the simple paperwork.

For a while, he's paired with a lifer going on retirement, to show him the ropes. Jason's hooked up with a veteran with ten years on the job. It's coincidence that has Turk's partner retiring when Jason's goes on maternity leave, and when they end up partnered again, Turk actually can't think of anything better.

"You should stop smiling so much," Jason says, frowning at him from across the desk.

Turk shrugs. "You have a problem with smiling?"

"I thought we went over how people in Jersey aren't supposed to be that happy."

Turk gestures. "But I am happy."

"Fine, but you should hide it."

"You want me to be less happy?"

"I want you to be more professional," Jason counters.

Turk points to himself. "You want me to be more professional?" he asks, turning his hands out toward Jason. "What about you?"

"What about me?"

"Well, now that you mention it, you could learn how to tie your tie correctly," Turk says, nodding at his partner's makeshift knot. It hangs loose and one end is too short, sticking out funny.

Jason makes a face, looking down. "What's wrong with it?"

"You look like some two-bit newbie who just graduated from the academy," he says. He picks up his own tie to demonstrate. "It's supposed to hit the top of your belt, not fall to your crotch."

"It's not falling to my crotch."

"No?" Turk asks. "Then why is the other end practically tickling your nose? Who taught you how to tie a tie anyway?"

Jason glowers, smoothing his tie ineffectually. "We're detectives, not businessmen," he says. "We're supposed to look a little rough around the edges."

"So grow some facial hair and roll up your sleeves," Turk suggests. "You just look lazy and incompetent."

"Oh, okay," Jason says sarcastically. "I never pegged you for a fashion guru."

Which is funny, since Turk's not. He's seen guys with style, and he decidedly doesn't have that. But he knows how to look the part and he knows how to make a commitment and follow through, so if that means ties and dress shirts, then Turk's going to go there, all the way.

He lifts his chin. "Yeah, well, don't even get me started on your pants."

Jason looks down. "What's wrong with my pants?"

-o-

This year, when he visits Virgil, Finn's adorable and chatty. Sarah is pregnant with Number Two, and Virgil's putting on a little weight.

"Sympathy weight," he insists when Turk jokes about it. Then he narrows his eyes and looks at Turk pointedly. "Someday you'll see."

On the plane back to Jersey, he misses his brother and his niece, but he can't stop thinking how much he hopes his brother is right.

-o-

For being dead, a lot of people seem to still know Turk Malloy. It's mysterious, the way Danny Williams gets news of a special casino gala in Vegas or why he gets consistent fliers from a nail salon outside of Atlantic City.

So it actually isn't surprising when there's a call on his cell he doesn't recognize. The number is out of Virginia, registered to a L. DeMasi.

Somehow, Turk knows to take it outside.

Ducking around the corner of the house, he checks to make sure Rachel hasn't followed. He answers, holding the phone to his ear. "Hello?"

"Danny Williams?" L. DeMasi asks.

"Yes," Turk replies, and Danny Ocean's voice is unmistakable.

Despite how disturbingly easy it is for Danny to track down a dead man, Turk knows this isn't a social call. He's not sure just what it is, and he holds his breath because at this point, it could be good or bad, he's not sure which.

"I'm calling in regard to a job."

Turk blows out his breath, and closes his eyes. "I already have a job, you know," he says.

"I know," L. DeMasi says. "But somehow I think you'll want to hear me out."

-o-

Turk knows he shouldn't go, but it's always hard to say no to Danny Ocean.

They meet in the city. Turk tells Rachel he has to meet an old friend, which isn't a lie.

She looks interested. "From back in Utah?" she asks. "You never do talk much about that."

Because there's not much that Turk can say without lying or implicating his former self. He shrugs. "Kind of from all around."

When she tells him to go, have a great time, he can't help but feel a little guilty.

-o-

Danny's not alone. Rusty is halfway through a plate of chili cheese fries when Turk shows up.

"Respectability looks good on you," Rusty says, nodding to Turk's button up shirt.

Turk shrugs uncomfortably, settling in his seat. He asks for a water from the waitress.

"So what's this about?"

"A job," Danny says.

"I burned that life back in Utah," Turk reminds them. "You should know; you planted the evidence."

Rusty grins a little, like he expected this, but Danny's gaze doesn't flicker. "I think you'll want to hear me out."

Rusty nods next to him, picking up another fry. "I definitely think you'll want to hear him out."

-o-

It's a lot of money and one hell of a heist. And sure, Turk doesn't need the money - he hasn't even touched most of the stuff from the Bank job - but it's still one hell of a heist.

Turk swears. "Seriously?"

Danny nods. "Seriously."

"That's why we're calling back the team," Rusty says. "We're going to need all hands on deck to pull this one off."

Turk chews on his straw, considering it. It's an ambitious heist, but with Danny, it always is. That much intrigues him, because there's something magical about watching a plan fulfill itself.

He looks from Danny to Rusty and back again. "The team's all in?"

Danny glances at Rusty. "Almost."

"Who's out?" Turk asks.

"Virgil isn't coming," Rusty reports.

Turk probably should have figured that one out for himself.

"Which is more reason why we could really use you," Danny supplies.

Turk blows out a breath, shaking his head. "I told you I was out," he says.

"And if that's what you want, then we'll let you go back to Jersey," Danny says.

"You're our first choice, though," Rusty says. "So we have to ask."

"Just to be sure," Danny adds.

Turk blows out another breath. It's more tempting than he thought it would be. It's a lot of money and one hell of a heist. But Turk hasn't used a fraction of what he earned off their last gig and he's playing on the other side of the fence now. And even if none of that were true, there's Jason and the Donnellys and a precinct of guys and Rachel.

Becoming a cop was hard. Going back to avenge Reuben was hard, too. Killing Turk Malloy has taken years of work.

But this. Looking Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan in the eyes is inexplicably easy.

"No hard feelings," he says.

Danny smiles. Rusty chuckles.

"Sometimes I wish I were made like you," Danny says.

Rusty pops one last fry into his mouth. "We'd be so much better off if we were."

With that, Danny and Rusty stand up, plopping some bills on the table. "Have a nice trip home," Danny says, and he sounds like he means it.

Turk sits there and watches as they walk away. They slip out into the city streets, simultaneously anonymous and flashy as ever. It's like watching a ghost, Turk thinks, walking straight away.

He finishes his drink then adds a few more bills for a tip and heads back home.

-o-

Home is warm and familiar. Rachel is already asleep when he gets there, tucked beneath the sheets. He presses his lips to her cheek and tells himself he made the right choice.

-o-

It's not a month later when he comes home from work to find Rachel sitting at the table. She is flustered and nervous in a way he's never seen her. When he puts his keys down, she looks at him.

"I'm pregnant," she says.

Turk stares. "You're what?"

"Pregnant," she says again. She shrugs, a little hopeful. "We're going to have a baby."

-o-

Turk has to sit down.

Oh, God, he has to sit down.

He has to breathe, too, but sitting down is easier, but it really doesn't do much. On the couch, he still feels lightheaded and his stomach churns.

Because Rachel is flustered and she's looking at him and they're going to have a baby.

Holy freakin' hell, they're going to have a baby.

He tries to remember to breathe, and suddenly sitting seems hard, too, but Rachel's flustered and they're going to have a baby.

"Danny," Rachel says, turned in her seat at the table. "Say something."

He swallows hard and finally manages to look at her. He sees her and tries to imagine a baby. "You're sure?"

She looks apologetic. "I took a test," she says. "They're supposed to be idiot proof, so it seems to be true."

He nods. Because he's always appreciated idiot proof things in his life, but somehow he'd like to believe that even idiots could get this wrong because Turk can't even breathe right and how is someone like him capable of making a baby? Because even if pregnancy tests are idiot proof, he's somewhat convinced that babies aren't and that could be bad for everyone involved.

Still. Rachel is looking at him and she's flustered (Rachel is never flustered) and he's supposed to say something (because she's looking at him and flustered), and if he can't breathe (or sit, but breathing seems more important), he should still talk (because they're having a baby). "Oh."

"Are you okay?"

He's about to say, sure, he's fine, no big deal, but he's too busy passing out to get there.

-o-

When he comes to, he's flat on his back. Rachel is sitting above him, wide-eyed. "Don't you do that to me!" she says, and she's angry and scared. "You scared me!"

He blinks. "I scared you?" he asks, and he sounds a little feeble. But he's breathing and even if he's not sitting, breathing is an improvement. "You're the one who just told me you're pregnant!"

She looks cross now. "It's not like I got that way on my own," she says.

"It's not like I said it was a bad thing!"

"Oh, so you just passed out from joy?"

"I passed out from shock," Turk clarifies, propping himself up a little bit. "I mean, we're going along, normal and all that, and I'm thinking the biggest thing to contemplate tonight is whether to watch Leno or Letterman and the next thing I know, you're telling me you're pregnant-"

Rachel rolls her eyes, huffing. "It wasn't like I planned on it either," she says.

Turk nods, looking at Rachel carefully. "Well, I guess we better start planning, huh?"

Rachel looks nervous now, wetting her lips. "Is that what you want?"

He shrugs, sitting up a little more. "Is that what you want?"

She situates herself, lifting her chin a little. "I suppose so," she says.

He nods, and tries to understand just what they're talking about. Because he knows what it means to be pregnant, but he doesn't know what it means to be pregnant.

Still. He's just turned down Danny Ocean on the job of a lifetime for this, so it seems like he's already made his choice.

God help him, he's made his choice. "Well," he tells her, taking a shaky breath. "Me, too."

-o-

Whenever Turk starts to regret anything, he looks at Rachel and her growing stomach. He looks at the ultrasound pictures on his desk at work and shifts through the list of names they have scattered all over the house.

It seems silly, then, to regret the death of the life he had, when the new life he's created has so much more potential.

-o-

Turk's on board with having a baby. That isn't hard. The first time he heard the baby's heartbeat, he nearly wet himself and his new favorite hobby is watching Rachel's stomach bounce and jiggle before bedtime. He thinks about Finn, and her giggle and her smile, and Turk can't help but look forward to all of that.

So he's cool with having a baby.

He's just not sure he's cool with the stuff.

Rachel calls it nesting, but Turk calls it insanity. Their entire apartment is overrun, filled with baby books and unisex clothes. Turk's not entirely sure what the hell a Boppy is for, but they've got two, and the breast pump looks downright medieval.

There are stuffed puppies in all colors and a crib and changing table still in boxes for Turk to unpack and assemble. Rachel has experimented with three different nursery themes, from jungle to shabby chic to who the hell cares, and Turk's not only going broke, but a little insane.

"It's not even five pounds yet," Turk rants at Mama Donnelly. He promised Rachel he'd see if she still had any pictures of Jason's room as a baby. "It's not even five pounds and it has more stuff than I do."

Mama Donnelly raises an eyebrow. "The baby is also far cuter than you are at the moment, so I think it deserves whatever it wants."

Turk throws up his hands. "It doesn't want anything," he argues. "It's perfectly happy, swimming in the amniotic fluid, listening to the world outside. It likes to hear songs, familiar voices. Maybe it likes when Rachel moves around or rubs her tummy. But it doesn't like pastel crib sheets and a matching valance. It just doesn't."

Mama Donnelly tuts a little, rolls her eyes. "Your wife is carrying your child inside of her. She does this all day, every day, providing safety, security, and life itself to your offspring," she says and she's looking at Turk sternly. "So if she wants pastel crib sheets and a matching valance, you will buy them for her. When you make commitments, you keep them, do you hear me? And you have a commitment to this woman and the baby she's carrying and if you ever neglect that-" She stops, shaking her head. "Well, then, I promise you that crib sheets will be the least of your concerns."

Needless to say, Turk brings home the photos as requested. He stops by the store and buys another pair of sheets and a valance, in green this time, because the yellow and blue may not be enough. When there's a pink puppy by the checkout, he buys that, too, with a blue one for good measure, because Rachel's insane, but she's his wife, and sometimes Turk forgets how much he gave up to be with her to begin with.

-o-

At Rachel's baby shower, Jason takes him outside for a beer while the women giggle and coo. They're knocking back their second one when a chorus of giggles sound from inside and Jason shakes his head.

"That's crazy," he says.

Turk makes a face and takes a drink. "I think after all these months, I'm immune to the insanity."

Jason snorts a laugh. "You really think you're ready?"

Turk shrugs. "It's not like I have much choice."

Jason takes a swig, swallowing. "You're going to be good at it, though," he says, a little thoughtful.

Turk looks at him, because this is something he's thought about. Something he's worried about. Because he knows he can play just about any part he's given, but fatherhood? Seems like an act he can't fake, and he's scared to admit that he might not have what it takes. "What makes you say that?"

It's Jason's turn to shrug. "You're good at everything you do," he says. "You just decide to do something, and you do it. I mean, you didn't say anything about wanting to be a father, and here you are."

There's truth to that, and not just when it comes to parenthood. His entire life seems to be a series of coincidences that turned into chances. Turk doesn't often pick what he wants out of life, but he's learned to follow through when it counts.

As the baby's due date approaches, he thinks it probably counts now, more than anything.

Turk laughs. "Yeah, here I am."

Jason looks out across the yard. "Maybe you'll get lucky," he says. "And the baby will take after Rachel."

Turk reaches over and slugs him in the arm.

"At least in the height department," Jason amends cruelly.

Turk glares at him. "Just for that, I am going to ask you now."

"Ask me what?"

"If you and Holly will be the godparents."

Jason stares. "Really?"

Turk shrugs. "Rachel's family's all in England," he explains.

"And you trust me?"

Turk looks at him plainly. "I trust you every day on the job to not get me killed," he says. "So far, so good."

Jason laughs. "I suppose that's true."

"So you'll do it?" Turk asks.

Jason nods. "Yeah, we're in," he says. He settles back, taking a long drink. "That kid's going to need someone normal to look up to. It might as well be me."

Turk rolls his eyes. "Might as well."

"You could do worse."

"That's not exactly the measuring stick Rachel and I were going by," Turk says. Then he shrugs, looking purposefully out over the yard. "But hey, you need the practice."

Jason shakes his head. "No way, man," he says. "Holly and I are very happy right now."

Turk raises an eyebrow. "All that talk of babies inside?" he asks. As if on cue, a peal of joined female laughter rings through the windows. "I give it three months and she'll be asking for one, too."

Jason scoffs and opens his mouth to protest. Then he stops. And swears.

Turk laughs.

-o-

Rachel goes into labor on a Wednesday night. Turk's read every book and planned everything, but none of it makes a difference. It's scary, holding Rachel's hand while she screams her way through a contraction, stroking her hair between pushes. It's scarier than a bullet wound or firing a gun. A whole hell of a lot scarier than making an earthquake or running for his life across Europe.

And when the sound of a baby's cry splits the air, it's scarier than all the rest, and then some, and Turk is standing there, watching his daughter scream into this life, wondering how the hell he ended up here.

He's the kid who never tried in school and picked fights because he needed something to prove. He's the guy who'd work a con and waste his years with wayward hobbies and bickering with his brother. He's the guy who helped knock over casinos and didn't get caught and then lied his way into a new life for the lack of something better to do. He's a criminal and he's a cop, and he's a moron and he's book smart, and he's from Utah but still a Jersey boy, and now none of it matters.

Nothing matters, except for the fact that there's a crying baby and she's Turk's responsibility, and that changes everything.

-o-

They can't pick a name.

Turk is used to conflict, because for all that he and Rachel love each other, they never do things the easy way. They spend the first day in sleep-deprived bouts of debate, discussing the merits of names of canonical English literature and picking titles from pizza joints in Newark.

Most of the time, though, it's all about the baby, and they spend surreal moments trying to master the art of diaper changes and swaddling.

By midday after the baby's birth, Rachel has mellowed, mostly because the nurses learned to stop asking if they had figured anything out on the name front yet. Turk knows they can't leave until they have something to put on the birth certificate, but Rachel looks so beautiful, sitting there, holding their daughter, that he actually doesn't care.

The baby is fussy, though, no matter what Rachel does. She shifts positions, from a cradle to a football hold, but nothing seems to take. The baby has dark hair, just like Rachel, but Turk thinks he can see something of himself in her tiny balled up fists as she flails angrily for something to eat.

Rachel shushes her, awkwardly shifting her again. "I'm sorry I'm not very good at this," she apologizes to the baby. "This is all rather new to me."

"Hey," Turk says, moving in closer. He eases in next to Rachel, wrapping one arm around her and using the other to gently touch the baby's hair. "This is all new to all of us, but we'll get the hang of it. It's just going to take some patience."

The baby is smacking her lips. Turk lets his finger drift down, and the baby instinctively latches onto it, sucking eagerly and hard. She shifts in Rachel's arms, settling contentedly.

"A little patience, my ass," Rachel says in awe. "How did you do that? She's been fussing all morning. I thought the nurses were going to come in and arrest me for child neglect."

Turk shrugs a little, his finger still in the baby's mouth. "Patience," he says again. "And maybe some grace, you know? We all need a little grace in our lives."

Rachel stops and looks at him, a smile on her face.

When Rachel tells the nurse that the baby's name is Grace, Turk knows she's right.

PART SIX

 

Comments

Posted by: Anna (wolwiegirl3)
Posted at: January 30th, 2011 03:59 am (UTC)
H50- Danno strotting

OMFG I just have to write a review to rant a little bit, because it's soo good it's making me dizzy . I just. I don't know how to express my love for you and this fic right know. IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE. Well, not really fluffy, but you get the feeling, Perfect, that's what I was looking for. PERFECT, So perfect, in fact, that sometimes the warm feeling it's getting me almost makes me cry. Honest. I WAS TEARING UP FROM HAPPINESS. Literally ! It fits so well, it makes so much sense with Danny that I don't even care that Steve isn't even there yet ! I don't give a rat's ass because Turk/Danny and all the characters just fill my heart with pure joy and love. I just want Scott to read it, and people asking him about it, and him seeing how dead on it is, and then he makes you get engaged to write for the show. RAINBOWS UNICORNS GLITTER. AND DANNY FAINTING.
yup, that's about it.




.... I sound completely crazy and insane, don't I ?

Ah, well *runs off to read the next chapter because she don't have anything better to do at 5 in the morning like sleeping, thank you very much.*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 31st, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
hawaii family

LOL. I like that you sound crazy and insane. It makes me rather happy, actually. And the fact that you gave up sleep for this? Means a lot :)

Thank you!

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