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Honor Amongst Thieves (And Not Much Else)

Ryuutchi (Ryuutchi)

moosesal (moosesal69)






Gina had whispered to Tim, who'd mentioned it to Chris, who'd tossed the idea at Aldis over a beer, who joked to Beth that she should actually learn how to pick pockets. And then they did.

It's not as though John Rogers had actually expected Apollo to teach the cast full-out larceny when he was hired. The man was, for the most part at any rate, hired to give the writers and cast just enough background to make the show believable. That it went far beyond research and minor prestidigitation was usually blamed on Beth's curiosity, even if the rest of the cast had a hand in the idea too. Gina had whispered to Tim, who'd mentioned it to Chris, who'd tossed the idea at Aldis over a beer, who joked to Beth that she should actually learn how to pick pockets, since they'd seen Apollo do it so many times. On TV, after all, it just has to look right, it doesn't have to be right, and no one worried too much about whether the "victim" could feel a hand in their pocket.

But Beth liked the idea and pinned Apollo down for a discussion that involved a lot of words like "verisimilitude", "mise en scene", and "not going to get caught". And somehow she'd gotten Apollo to agree that as long as she wasn't going to get herself arrested—and, hey, if she didn't get caught, no one would get arrested, right?—he'd teach the cast how to actually pick pockets. Whether he'd teach them anything else had yet to be seen. It all depended, he said, on whether anyone had the talent for it. Of course, they were all actors, which is always a good start in the crime business.

Discretion was the better part of valor, though, so no one bothered to let the producers know about Apollo's side classes until things started going missing. More precisely, until a cameraman caught Tim's hand in his pocket and bitched him out for a clear half hour. It was at that point the producers had to step in—not because John or Chris D. or Dean actually cared, but because it was bad for morale not to, really. They didn't want the crew getting too skittish around the cast. Asking the cast to help with pranks, sure, but if Tim was actually stealing from people, well. That was Not Okay. He had a reputation as an Emmy Award Winner to uphold, after all. No need for plastering his face all over the gossip blogs as some sort of klepto.

"It's not the stealing we have a problem with," Dean said, looking deeply unconcerned by the fact that one of his stars could probably get thrown in jail any minute. "If they want to learn how to steal, teach them how to steal. But at least teach them how to do it well enough that the PAs don't notice and alert half of the Hollywood news machine. If we want to let TMZ know, we'll do it ourselves." Apollo smirked at him over his wire-rimmed glasses and Dean just snorted. "Seriously, just teach them how to do it right."

"That's what you're paying me for," Apollo pointed out, even though technically it wasn't what he was being paid for.

"So, thanks to someone I won't mention," said Aldis from where he was laying sideways on Apollo's couch with his legs in Chris' lap, and a plate of beef chow mein on his stomach, "we're getting a damn pop quiz in stealing?" He chewed on a forkful of food and pretended not to be eyeing Tim. It didn't work, but Tim didn't seem to mind. He'd taken his public embarrassment with the aplomb of someone who'd done enough stupid shit in his life that one more thing couldn't bother him at all. Finding it was no fun to glare at someone who just smiled blandly back, Aldis turned his glare on Chris and kicked his thigh irritably.

Chris swatted at the foot. "Hell, man," he said, less than pleased that he was the one getting punished for someone else's implacability. And then, "is it going to be multiple choice, at least?" He stole a noodle off Aldis' plate, earning himself another light kick. But at least one he deserved.

"I know, I know," Beth said, "it's going be an essay test, isn't it?" She helped herself to a beer from Apollo's refrigerator and plopped herself down on the arm of his chair. Chris made a face at her and waved his empty bottle, since Aldis wouldn't move his feet long enough to let him get up. She just grinned and took a long drink.

Apollo took Beth's beer lightly from her hands and stole a sip. "I was actually thinking of something like a game. Prove to me that this mistake was a one-time thing." He eyed Tim, who saluted with his own beer bottle. "Otherwise we might have a bit of a problem on our hands."

"Wait, didn't I see this in a movie somewhere? Are you going to wearing bells we have to steal?" Aldis left off abusing Chris' legs and settled down.

Apollo offered Beth her drink back and spread his hands innocently. "Do I look like Shredder to you?"

This is how it was supposed to happen:
Chris stole from Beth, who stole from Gina, who stole from Aldis, who stole from Tim, who stole from Chris.

This is how it actually happened:
Chris tried five times to get Beth's favorite ring from her pocket. He tried bumping into her while holding the door open, waiting until they were on a crowded elevator together, tossing an arm around her shoulder and offering her a soda, knocking her over on their way to makeup, and finally he offered Aldis dinner out at Navarre if he'd distract Beth with some modeling thing. It worked, but only mostly, since Aldis kept tugging Beth around and made it hard for Chris to pop the ring out.

Beth noticed, of course, and thought it was hilarious enough that she just didn't stop him.

"You probably shouldn't take pity on him," Gina said, and Beth leaned her chin on the top of Gina's head. "It will teach him an awful lesson."

"Yeah, but he's just so cute when he fails to be subtle that I just can't help myself. Besides, it's Chris. He'll stick his hand in a girl's pocket and she's just as likely to faint as she is to call the police."

"It is a way to distract her, you have to admit," Gina said. "And if it works he could make off with her pants as well as her wallet. Too bad it's not so easy for the rest of us."

Beth made a sound that was probably an agreement and kissed Gina's head. "Stealing is hard," she said, and pretended she hadn't used the conversation as a distraction to slip Gina's lipstick into her pocket. "It's almost as hard as that acting thing."

Gina laughed and reached up to squeeze Beth's hand. "Well, if we can do one, we can do the other." Which wasn't totally a lie, since they were mostly managing to do both to one degree or another. She hadn't yet managed to lift Aldis' watch, though. It was a little thing he'd shown her once, that he'd designed himself, all edges and exposed gears. He kept it tucked away in his jeans' change pocket, where she could barely brush her fingers on it before he noticed that she was pressed up against him in a way that was a little more intimate than a married woman should be leaning against a guy in a committed relationship.

She'd lost count of how many times she had tried and failed to get him distracted enough that she could snag the device from his pocket. That she eventually succeeded was hardly thanks to anything of her own contrivance, but Apollo had once told them that luck counted as much as natural talent, and when a low-hanging light-fixture nearly fell on an unlucky PA and he ended up falling into frame and knocking Aldis, Gina and Beth into one tangled pile, Gina took the opportunity grab the watch while they were all busy detangling themselves. Adrenalin was a good distraction.

And as well as being a distraction, it left Aldis shaking with excess energy. It made his fingers nimble and light, and when he slid past Tim on their way to the catering table, Tim didn't even notice the way Aldis snagged the exposed edge of his Platinum Visa card and slipped it out and into his own jacket pocket. It didn't take him more than thirty seconds, and the success made him feel so flush that he picked Beth up and swung her around for no reason at all.

She accused him of being uncool.

On his way past them with a plate piled high with chicken carbonara and spaghetti, Tim laughed at their antics, and plotted Chris' downfall. Or, at least, a way to lift his pocket tuner. It was larger than Beth's ring and Gina's lipstick, and Chris was easily distracted on the best of days, so it shouldn't have been difficult.

"Man, just go for it," Aldis said, after the third or forth time Tim had forced a laugh and shrugged his way past Chris. "It's not that hard. It's Chris—get a cute girl in front of him. Get him to start playing his guitar and you've got a two-for-one. You know where the tuner is, 'cause he'll use it, and he'll pay so much attention to the guitar that he won't think about the tuner."

It was a thought, and there were always fans hanging around when they shot on location. A group of the appropriately aged girls would distract Chris and make him pull out the guitar, and there were bound to be some appropriately aged girls nearby. And, in fact, they were chatting up a PA about the day's shooting schedule when Tim wandered by. Crime wasn't so different from acting, Tim decided as he smiled to the girls and invited them to take a look around the set with him.

True to form, Chris invited them into his trailer and pulled out the guitar. From there it was easy enough to pat Chris's shoulder, pocket the tuner and leave him to impress his new groupies.

This is how it ended:
"Did you all succeed?" Apollo set out bottles of beer and a box of pizza for the group, and dropped himself into his armchair, narrowly missing hitting Beth who was, once again, perched on the arm of his chair, like the teacher's pet she was. She took his already opened beer from his hand in retribution.

"Yes, teach," Aldis said, rummaging in his pocket for the credit card. Apollo held out his hand for the objects and smiled serenely, like a balding hipster Buddha, as each person in turn began searching their pockets, trying to find the trinkets they'd stolen from each other. Beth was the only one who didn't even bother, drinking Apollo's beer and not actually managing to hide her laughter.

Giving up the search, Chris raised his hands in surrender. "Okay, so, what? You took it all?"

Still smiling, Apollo set the items out neatly on the table: Beth's ring, Aldis' watch, Tim's credit card, and Chris' tuner. Beth took Gina's lipstick, though, out of her pocket, and set it on the table to complete the set.

Aldis kicked Chris' leg in irritation, paying no mind to his yelp, "You played favorites? Man, that ain't fair at all. How come you didn't steal back Gina's lipstick?"

"Man up. I'm just better than you," Beth said and hid her smirk behind the neck of the beer bottle.

Ignoring the minor squabble with a high-mindedness so over the top, Gina suspected he was trying for an Emmy, Apollo said,"you're not so bad for a bunch of actors. I might be able to make a decent crew out of you yet." Apollo leaned to grab another bottle of beer to replace the one Beth had taken, and Beth laughed triumphantly. He sat up, smile fading in confusion, and she tossed his wallet onto the table along with everything else.

"I think Beth gets to be the cat burglar," Gina said.


 Left By:
fluffyllama (Llama)

2009-12-27 07:53:15

I love this. Great idea, and a great read, and so good to see them all having fun!

 Left By:
Heather (gblvr)

2009-12-27 09:55:18

Hee...this was great! I loved the circle of snitching, and how Beth managed to still be the slickest of them all.

 Left By:
moosesal (moosesal69)

2009-12-27 11:23:28

Thank you! This was such a fun story. I love the scenarios in which each of them snagged their items.

 Left By:
Guest (rawiyaparand)

2009-12-30 01:13:07

This was amazing. What I love most about the show is the team dynamics and it showed in this story. Wonderful job.

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