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It Never Goes Smooth

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"Tighter?" John asks in disbelief--for the third time. This corset can not be comfortable; he's glad he's on the lacing end of things tonight.

"Yes," Dutch replies shortly.

"Whose genius idea was this, anyway?"

"I'm going to presume you mean the theme, not this particular warrant."

"You would be presuming correctly. I'm assuming the joy was what caught your eye."

"Old-world events are currently the rage," Dutch replies blandly.

"Still not getting the why. Seems more like a hassle than anything," John says. Then seems to think better of it. "Not that you don't look great, you look great. You always look great. Which is my point, you don't need all this." He gestures to the dress, the makeup, the hair, her whole ensemble in general.

Dutch smiles at him in the mirror. "The hassle is the point. You're letting everyone know you're rich enough that you can afford to buy it all, and to waste the time and the extra people to get all of it on."

"That is...so very Qreshi of you," John says, grinning back at her when she narrows her eyes at his reflection. "So what's your story? I didn't see the invite."

"Recently widowed lady of means," she begins. Then gives him a look. "Your face was quite a journey just then; something you'd like to say?"

Obviously he's not going to bring up the day they met, so he goes with "Lady of means?" he asks.

"Still too Qreshi for you? I'm dripping with joy."

"I know what--just keep it simple, Dutch." He stands back to look at his work, and nods. "You sure, though?"

Dutch rolls her eyes. "Divorcee, then." Her eyes say thank you, and also 'let's never mention this again.' He can do that.

"That should do it. Can you even move? How're you going to fight in this thing?"

There's this grin Dutch has, when she's about to make men regret the day the crossed her. It's the one she's flashing him now as she reaches down and pulls out a knife from someplace, and mimes cutting through the lacing in the front. He'd wondered why she'd picked that particular style.

"Besides, fight is not plan A."

"Okay then," John nods. "One big entrance, coming up!"

----------------------------


The entrance turns out to be the least of their problems. Someone--it had to happen sooner or later--thought he recognized Dutch. She responded by gaslighting the hell out of him, though, and he left. But it sent everyone around her into a tizzy trying to look at her more closely. Slipping away into the office to grab the safe wasn't an option any more.

Which is why John is dressed like the waste disposal guy. It gets him in the back, and once in, he ducks into a bathroom and strips off the coveralls. Underneath is a suit he's spent way too much joy on, but fits like a dream. They're going for old-world, and he is nailing it. He takes a moment to breathe, then exits.

He can't help but look around once he steps into the party. They went all out. It's a ball of some sort, and it looks it. There are lighting fixtures so ancient John's only seen them in pictures of books too fragile to hold--that library job had turned out pretty well--and the music is...just...old. The dance floor is pretty packed, though.

Dutch isn't particularly hard to find. A throng of men makes actually getting to her side more difficult than usual, though, so he skips right to the shouting for her over their heads.

Everyone turns to look at him. Oh gods, he can't remember her name.

"You know this guy, K'ar'en?" the man next to her asks.

Right. He knew there was a reason he'd forgotten it.

"I'd say she does," John replies, resorting to elbowing people out of the way now they can't pretend they don't see him. The men part reluctantly. "I'm her husband!" He makes sure to project that one, and the gasps from the onlookers reward his efforts.

"You most certainly are not my husband!" Dutch argues. "We are divorced!"

"Separated is not divorced, darling," John says. They're close enough now that they don't have to shout or project, but they continue to speak clearly and just loudly enough to get the gossips wound up.

"My father's lawyers presented you with the bill, they didn't charge for nothing."

"Well, they didn't charge for talking to me! No one even sent through the paperwork!"

"I fail to see how that's MY fault," Dutch hisses. "You agreed it wasn't going to work out!"

"You didn't give me a chance to tr--"

"Is there a problem here?" a man asks.

Both Johnny and Dutch whirl on him to glare and say no.

"Perhaps I could offer you someplace a little more private to continue this...conversation," he replies.

That's when John recognizes the guy--he's their host. Well. That's convenient.

"I don't see what we have to talk about," Dutch sniffs.

"Just hear me out, darling," John replies.

Her eyes narrow, and it's not her debutante alter ego glaring at him. Right. Pet names. Not Dutch's favorite, and he's done it twice now. "You have ten minutes."

John spends almost the entire walk to the room--his private office, "it's no hassle, do join us when you've worked out the...kinks"--shaking the guy's hand and apologizing for the behavior of his wife. Their host did not look sad to be leaving them.

They wait fifteen seconds after the door clicks shut before they move.

"Call me darling one more time," Dutch suggests, voice low and very much not a threat John wants to test.

"I couldn't remember K'ar'en! What the hell kinda name is that?"

"I don't know, I didn't ask my parents. Two apostrophes were in."

John takes a moment to look at her in disbelief. "You didn't ask your parents?!"

She shrugs. Fine, they can stay in character. "Seeing as how I'm a useless bum, I believe is what you called me, you can carry the safe on your own." He leans against the desk, crosses one ankle over the other and folds his arms across his chest, and watches as Dutch scans the perimeter of the room. She's just swept by a truly archaic and truly weird painting when the scanner beeps. Bingo. She tosses it at John without looking, and he fumbles to catch it. It beeps again.

"What did you just do?" Dutch asks. She lifts the painting off the wall, and glances over her shoulder.

"I didn't do anything, you hit the switch when you threw it," John hisses back. He runs the scan again. "Okay, problem."

"Well?" she asks. The laser cutting through the office's wall is not the quickest thing ever, but trying to crack the thing isn't an option as it takes even longer.

"Another safe," John says.

"Just the one?"

"Don't say things like that, Dutch!" He groans when the thing beeps again on another scan. "It's like you've never done this before."

"Okay, this one, the one on that wall, where's the third?"

"Did the warrant even specify which safe?" John asks. "Oh, the floor. Right under the desk."

Dutch nods, and checks her progress. Half way there. Not great; they've been in here five minutes already. The host probably won't come to check on them in exactly ten minutes, but still.

Watching her, John nods and heads to the desk. A quick chat with Lucy has her bringing up the security camera's feeds and promising to alert them should anyone approach. He should have started there instead of watching Dutch like a jackass. Still, it frees him up to start on the other safe.

It feels like it takes forever, but eventually they've got both safes out and ready for transport. Only the one in the floor is left. John circles the desk and bends down into the cut-out to get the right angle to cut through the floor.

"Johnny?" Lucy asks as he's got the carpet pulled back. "Security checks approaching."

He's already nodding and shrugging out of his jacket, handing it up to Dutch. She looks down at him with a raised eyebrow and a smirk, and he passes up one of her knives. She hauls it and her skirt up in one move.

"Hair," John hisses.

The look she sends him says her husband knows better than to fuck up her hair, and she smears her lipstick instead. She tosses his jacket over the safes, leans back in the seat, and slides the knife through the first three laces--enough to make it clear things were happening, but not completely followed through on just yet. She reaches her hand down and musses up his hair with a little grin.

The doorknob lets out a little rattle when someone tries to get in, but the door holds. After a moment, they can hear the sound of an actual key--this guy's really committed to the old world aesthetic--sliding into the lock and turning.

With a very loud thunk, the door opens all the way and hits the wall. Dutch lets out a surprised gasp and John yelps a little at her hand pulling his hair.

"Excuse us!" Dutch sounds so shocked and affronted John wishes he could see her face.

"No ma'am, excuse us, the older of the two guards says. "I do hate to interrupt, but this room is off-limits to party guests."

"If it's off limits, then why did Sherridan escort us here himself and tell us to take our time?! Is this some kind of game? To embarrass me in front--"

"No, ma'am, this isn't a game, I assure you," the same guard says.

"We'll let you proceed," the younger guard says. "We apologize for any inconvenience."

Dutch just sniffs and pulls her arms up in front of her chest, watching as the men leave.

"Tell me you've already started," she says.

"Halfway done," John grins up at her. "Nice knives."

"Yes, well, being prepared is half the battle," Dutch replies.

"You make the sheaths yourself?" The floor vault is taking some time to cut around, and honestly, if she didn't want questions, she shouldn't have let him see where they were hidden. He's still not quite sure how she gets to them, but he's got time. He can crack this.

"Yes. Is this really how you want to spend the next seven minutes?" she asks. It's clearly not how she'd like to spend them.

"We can trade, if you want," John offers. He doesn't even pause or look up, it's uncomfortable down here; he's not even sure her skirt would fit.

"Just pay attention to the laser, Johnny," Dutch says.

"You know, there is an upside to taking three safes with us," he says after a moment. "We get to keep the other two."

"Assuming no one notices us," Dutch says dryly.

"Eh, I got it covered," John says. He can feel her expectant eyes drilling into the back of his skull. "I tucked the coveralls away in the bathroom. Trash bin's right there. All I gotta do is my job." He looks up at her with a grin as the laser finishes cutting the safe free.

"Still, it would be nice for plan A to actually work one of these days," she says.

"Give us time, Dutch," he says. "A few more of these delightfully exciting warrants, and our plans'll come together like clockwork. We'll pull 'em off without a hitch." He grins up at her, all mid-job adrenaline and Johnny Jaqobis charm, his hair still messed up and eyes laughing, and she can't help but smile back.