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Dannell asked for 'desert on the balcony' - so that's what she gets! LOL Sorry folks. Like I told you. Last week everything came out clean! Not my fault. Fictves are like that. And this is just a silly romp. But at least you can use your imagination.

Vegas Knights

- Chapter 4

by Darklady

Rated: PG-13

Disclaimer: DC owns the characters. Guy Garner owns Warriors. But hey...I DO own some pretzels. Chinese food too! (Does that count?)

Slash: Yes. Almost. Within microns. Nothing graphic. Still, Hornet Universe.

Archive: Ask



"What about the buffet?" Dick asked as they wove their way through the throngs of tourists streaming from the Casino showroom.

Bruce paused to check out the length of the line, and was almost trampled by a young lady in full white bridal finery and her taffeta-clad attendants.

"OK, Forget that", Dick shouted as he stepped back to let six groomsmen in purple tuxedos pass. "How about room service?"

The bride jumped onto a stool, almost tumbling in the process. Her bridesmaids circled around her and screamed, nearly forcing Bruce into a roulette table in the process. He ducked quickly under a pink-gloved arm and maneuvered his way over to where Dick was pinned behind two flower girls and the groom.

"What about going back to Gotham?" Bruce called over as the ribbon-decked bundle flew past his shoulder.

"And leave Tim?" Dick snatched the bouquet and quickly handed it to the nearest bridesmaid. "It's not even two yet. I guarantee you that party's still going strong. Although, if you want to, I suppose we could trust Gardner to keep an eye on the kid."

"Please!" Bruce growled, giving Dick the bat look as they both pressed against a hot pretzel stand to let the now cheering bridal party move past.

"Well, then..?" Dick asked, looking across the casino floor to the registration desk.

"You think Roco wouldn't be two minutes behind the waiter?. Hell, with my luck he'd probably be the waiter."

"Here." Dick smiled, handing the pretzel vendor a five and selecting two of his snacks. "You can have the unsalted one."

"Thanks." Bruce took a large bite. "Let's just head back to Shrecks. OK? The concierge should know someplace that delivers."

"Pizza?"

"Chinese."

"MooShu?"

"Shrimp. Not pork."

"And Black Pepper Chicken." Dick grinned. "Works for me."



By the time they had finished their pretzels, the crowd had diminished somewhat. Not much below mob level, granted, but it was now possible for the two men to make their way across the casino floor with only a moderate need for evasive maneuvers. They were almost back at the main entrance when Dick stopped suddenly.

"Bruce?" Dick patted his pockets. "Do you have a quarter on you?"

"Why?"

"For the machines!" A nod indicated the rows of brightly colored slots lined up behind them. "It's bad karma to leave Vegas without trying your luck."

"Trust me, brat." Bruce replied. "I've been trying. And so far I haven't gotten lucky at all."

Dick's grin became wicked. "That could change."

"I live in hope."

"I can practically guarantee it." Dick reached over and gave his partner's hand a quick squeeze. "But first...the quarter?"

"Here." Bruce muttered, pulling a single note from his billfold.

"High roller, are you?" The blue-eyed young man gestured at the machines. "Pick one."

"What does it matter. The house percentage on such things effectively guarantees..."

"Yes. Bruce. I can do the math. But this is Vegas. So..." Dick's voice became insistent. "Just pick one."

"Very well. But then we go eat." Bruce stepped over to the far end of the first row. An elderly lady in rhinestone-decorated sweats was working the first machine, but otherwise that small section was empty.

"Excuse me ma'am." Bruce said.
The grandmother clutched her tub of nickels."This is my machine."

"Understood." Bruce nodded. "I'll take the one to your right."

"Risking the quarter slots? You are feeling flush." Dick slipped the dollar in the bill slot and punched four buttons for 'full play'. "Pull the handle."

Bruce reached for the 'start' button.

"No, Bruce." Dick stopped him. "You have to pull the leaver."

"The button will also..".

"I know , Bruce." Dick explained in a voice expressing infinite patience. "But this is for luck. So pull the handle."

"The things I do for you..." Bruce grumbled as he grabbed the red shaft and gave it a quick pull. "Now can we go?"

Bruce had already taken one step away when the sirens began. Also flashing lights, and bells, and the clanging of uncounted coins spewing from the machine into the metal tray below. And screaming. Lots of happy screaming.

Jumping down from her stool, they little old lady tackled Bruce with a wide hug. "You won!"

"Holy .." Dick stared at the falling coins, then at Bruce.

Bruce gave Dick an almost panicked glance as the commotion quickly drew an ever-growing crowd of gamers and looky-loos to cluster around them. They were cheering, and chattering, and the grandmother had begun leading the crowd in a chant of 'Jackpot!'

Out of the corner of his eye Bruce spotted the blue-suited representatives of the Casino approaching. Only one way out. Moving at cobra speed, Bruce grabbed the grey-haired lady, kissed her cheek, and shouted "Congratulations, You won! " as he pushed her into the path of the oncoming floor manager.

With the crowds attention focused on the new 'winner', the Bat vanished,.

Dick caught up with Bruce just outside the Casino doors.

"Different, you said."

Dick could not help but grin at the put-upon expression on that beloved face. "I bet granny thought it was." he teased.

"Please" Bruce groaned. "Do not say bet" Turning to survey the street lined with illuminated restaurant signs, he added. "You know, the worst part is...I'm still hungry."

"Hey." Dick pointed across the street at a particularly garish red-and-yellow display. "That ones Chinese. What would you say to picking up dinner and grabbing a taxi back to Schrecks?"

"You're on, kid. Just remember the extra egg rolls."



Dick paid the driver as Bruce collected the large paper bag of little white cartons from the trunk of the cab.

"Sure you got enough?" Bruce quipped as he balanced the heavy bag, careful not to strain the slightly damp bottom. The last thing he wanted now was an accident.

"Something else you want?"

"Upstairs."

Dick pushed the buzzer, but the doorman was nowhere to be seen. "You have the key?"

"Of course." Bruce answered, balancing the bag on one hip as he searched through his pocket.

"Well, then." Dick spun about, spreading his arms to encompass the universe. "Hot Chinese, cool breezes, good company... life is good. I wonder if Shreck left the jacuzzi filled?"

"If he did" Bruce answered, handing they key to his companion, "I might decide to like Vegas after all."

Still no doorman? Oh well, Dick thought, trying the key in the slightly stiff lock. At least they had picked up the Chinese food first. Much better then having their dinner delivery depend on some bozo who was probably sacked our in the back room watching old Mannix re-runs. Besides, the sooner they ate, the sooner he and Bruce could get to bed.Maybe even to sleep. It had been a long day, and even if Dick didn't have to be at the police station until his 3 PM shift, he realized it would still be smart to get some sack time.

Bruce was thinking much the same thing, although he had already decided to move his 10:30 breakfast meeting with Finance over to the 'let Fox do it' list. Now he was analyzing exactly how much it would set back the program if he did the same with R&D at noon. Also running through the names of up and coming jr. executives with the tech savvy to not bungle matters too badly if deputized on short notice.

Under the circumstances, both men were just a bit slow picking up on the slight movement starting in the bushes to their right.

The first of the two unsavory looking men managed to get within ten feet before Bruce looked up. "Dick?" Bruce said quietly.

Dick turned to see another man, one apparently even less fond of regular hygiene, step out to join the first. "Muggers?" Dick pocketed the keys and stepped slowly away from the door.

The first man whipped out a knife and flicked it in Dick Grayson's general direction. The other stepped closer to Bruce, clenching his fists and striving to look mean.

Dick shook his head sadly. "Oh, you guys really so do not want to do this."

"Cummon." The one nearer Bruce snarled. "gimme the wallet - what you watin' for."

Bruce took a firmer grasp on the dinner bag. "For Gregor here to defend my honor."

"What ta..." the second punk growled at Dick, stepping closer and thrusting a beefy fist in the general area of Dick's chest. "you gimmie yer cash."

"Me?" Dick looked at Bruce, apparently ignoring the muggers.

"I'm holding the food, Greg" Bruce pointed our reasonably.

"Good point, Tom." Dick shifted position slightly. "But if I get the suit ruined, you explain to Alfred."

"Hey." the knife-man protested, again waving his weapon at Dick. "I runnin this. Gimme the cash now or....."

The remainder of his statement was lost in a sudden "Ooofff", as Dick's boot impacted with the would-be crooks rather flabby abdomen. A simultaneous karate chop caught the other mugger under the jaw, effectively closing his windpipe for long enough to make future breathing a debatable skill.

Bruce looked at the two men now twitching on the cement. "Nice move."

Dick watched a moment to be certain both were breathing, however painfully, then shrugged . "I think I tore my pants.

"That's OK. You wont need them soon."

Dick turned back to the door. A nervous looking bellman was clutching the doorknob from the other side.

"Would you call the police?" Bruce asked politely. "I'm sure the apartment management will be delighted to learn how you stopped these two would-be intruders as they tried to assault two guests."

Dick passed the man a bill. "And Shrecks apartment? It's empty."



Bruce reached for the last egg roll. "Quite an evening."

"I did promise something different." Dick bit the corner off of the last fortune cookie and leaned back into the soft cushions of the double-wide lounge chair. From balcony height the lights of the strip were no longer garish, and the stars above echoed the city shine with equal brilliance.

"Different is right." Bruce chuckled. "You do know how to show a guy a good time, Gregor Scaforzie. I'll have to let you take me out more often."

"That depends." Dick turned on his side to gaze over at Bruce.

Bruce wiped his hands and dropped the last white carton into the trash. "Oh?"

"After all this dating." Dick smiled, "Think I'm going to get a good night kiss?

Bruce held up his hands in mock ignorance. "Your date." he reminded his companion. "You make the moves."

"Good." Dick patted the wide lounge cushion. "Then move over here."

"Gladly."

Bruce eased down on the empty half of the chair, sliding until he was face to face with his lover and friend. Then, just before their lips met, he whispered "With you, it's always different."



End Part Four


KKR 2003







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