Author’s Note: For the next two weeks, you’ll be getting posts 3 times a week.
Mac and Danny sat in one of the lounges at Caesars Palace. They had arrived yesterday, and were picked up at the airport and taken directly to the hotel. Charlie the Front Desk Manager had checked them into one of the suits, gave them complementary services for the Spa, and told them just sign the bill with their room number and the meals would be comped.
So far it was turning into an amazing vacation.
The conference, more like meeting of labs, was to take place tomorrow and the next day. They weren’t sure when they would meet Nico, but Mac was pretty sure the Clan Leader would want an introduction before he had to play ‘CSI’ like the rest of them.
Though Nick Stokes wasn’t playing ‘CSI’, Mac had done his research and Stokes had published multiple papers on Fiber Analysis, and one of those papers had helped another team in New York solve a three-year old murder case. Plus he had discovered that Nick, was the same CSI that had been buried alive, and his team had worked 24 hours straight to find him. It explained why they were coming to him, likely his team wasn’t letting them out of their sight for a while.
He glanced over at his Mate, to see Danny’s knee was bouncing. He was nervous, had been since the call had come in about the conference, and the arrangement to meet Nico. Danny had been terrified his family reputation would proceed him, like everything else in his life. Mac tried to calm him, and remind him that he was more than his family, but he knew the Messer history would always be part of Danny.
He was tempted to take out Paul Messer as much as Sonny Sassone, at least he had legal abilities in the Clan structure to take out Sonny. Taking out Papa Messer would have to be a hell of a lot more subtle.
Mac’s hand went to the knife on the table when someone just sat down. He blinked a few times, trying to consolidate the image in front of him, with what he imagined … so far it wasn’t adding up.
The man in front of him, wearing simple jeans, button down shirt, and taking off a CSI Vegas baseball cap off, tossing it onto another chair wasn’t the Roman General he was expecting. Then it wasn’t like Nico would be wearing the armor he saw someone wandering around the hotel taking pictures with tourists.
“Good instincts.” Nico smiled at him, noticing Mac’s grip on the knife. “Though I do thank you for not stabbing me in the middle of my hotel.”
“You’re not what I expected.” Danny practically slapped a hand over his mouth, cringing at what had just come out.
“He never is.” Another voice answered, this one eased into the seat with more grace, giving the two a smile. “It’s good to meet you two, Blade has had nothing but good things to say.”
“Mac Taylor.” He held out his hand, impressed by the grip Nick had shook it.
“Danny.” Messer made sure to shake both their hands.
“Nick, and this roughin is Warrick, my Mate and all around Pirate.” Nico gave them both a smile, setting them at ease. “Welcome to Vegas, and to Sylum. And as he said, Blade has given nothing but praise, matter of fact I never heard him so happy.”
“What does that sound like?” Danny asked before he could take it back.
Nick chuckled at the comment. “His normal gruff voice with just a little less grumpy.”
Mac couldn’t help the smile. “He’s a vicious bastard.”
“That is true, in a few years I will want you to work with Van Helsing, and maybe even send you to a few other Clans to work with their Hunters.” He smiled up at the waiter who set down a few drinks for the table, then discreetly asked if they would want anything to eat. Warrick ordered some food, then focused back on the conversation. “You don’t need to worry about anything we say being overheard. My staff is discreet, but I made sure the Chosen Ones were working this section today.” Nico glanced over to the bar and gave an older gentleman a nod.
Mac followed the Clan Leader’s gaze and studied the man at the bar. He looked so old school Vegas he was pretty sure he was. Down the bar was a much younger man, who had a cowboy hat resting on his back, talking softly to a black man.
All three of them had no heart beats.
“The one in the suit, is the Hotels Manager, Danny Ocean. The two on the end are a pair of my Hunters, James Hickok and Noah Dixon. Both of you could learn a few things from them, but right now Blade’s work is a more fitting style for the two of you.”
“As in James ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok?” Danny asked turning slightly in his chair, the young man was nothing like the gunfighter he read about as a kid.
“Kinda, but you of all people should know the power of a name. Good and bad.” Nico gave him a look, pinning Danny to his seat. “I met your great great grandfather, who was as much of a criminal as the rest of your family. As a matter of fact, you’re the only male member of your family to have stepped away from the Messer name, to start a new life. I admire that.”
“The great great grandpa that had been taken out by the Short Tales?” He asked with a sense of curiosity.
“He wasn’t quite taken out by the Short Tales.” Nico gave him a half smirk, that indicated who had actually taken the bastard out.
One of Danny’s eyebrows went up, he couldn’t help the laughter that snuck out. “You took out great grandpa…” He nodded, his gaze dancing with humour. “If I hadn’t already heard great things from Speed about his Papa, that alone would have made me loyal to you.”
“I’m sure Blade’s told you about Riddick?” He asked, actually not sure if the Hunter had mentioned Riddick’s hatred for the Messer family.
“Yes, and believe me I won’t take it personally if he doesn’t like me. Half the cops I work with don’t like me. I might not be a Messer, but I am still one.” Danny smiled at his Mate, when Mac reached over and took his hand to let him know he was there with him. “I’m starting not to care what others think, I’ll outlive them and one day maybe rebuild the family name.”
“That’s the stubborn Irish I was expecting.” Warrick sipped his drink, giving a small toast to Danny. “And we’ve heard only good things about the Taylors, your Uncle was a good man.”
“Yes he was.” Mac grabbed his own drink to toast Uncle Dan. “If I could only be half as good as he was.”
“Then you’re twice as good as everyone else.” Nico added with a small smile.
“So now what?” Mac asked not quite sure where this was going.
“I only ask two things of you.” Nicolaus turned very serious. “I ask for your loyalty, I’m not about swearing ceremonies, nor will I make you walk up a cliff face to swear at on an ancient altar – that would be Arthur and we do things a bit different in Sylum, here in the New World.” He watched as both men were trying hard not to ask, if Arthur was the Arthur they were thinking of. “Yes as in King Arthur.” He couldn’t help the small chuckle as they were desperately trying not to ask the next half a dozen questions that came to mind, those he would make them wait for. “If I call you, unless you’re in the middle of a case that cannot be walked away from, and both of you have been CSI’s long enough to understand what those are, that you come to the aid of your Clan.”
Mac nodded. “All seems reasonable and straight forward.”
“Blade has kept us up to speed on your training. Also mentioned that Hannibal has gotten involved.” Warrick glanced over to Nico, who shook his head, indicating they would talk about it later.
“He’s an evil bastard.” Danny felt his back spasm at just the thought of Hannibal. “But his style is very different from Blade, so it’s helpful.”
“That’s not a bad thing. As Nico stated, at some point we’ll send you to other Hunters to train with. Every Clan … Hunter has a unique set of skills so take advantage and learn from them.” Warrick paused as food got set down in front of them. “Dig in, Nico stole the chef from the Bellagio, so we know he’s the best.”
“Revenge for stealing my chocolatier.” Nico grabbed some of the chicken wings, he was actually hungry, and after this meeting would likely need to Feed before they went home to get some sleep before shift.
It was obvious there was a long story in those few sentences, but neither of them said a word. Mac was pretty sure that for the next hundred years he would find himself in similar situations. Instead he dived into his own food, and let himself enjoy the moment.
Nico waved the two off, letting them know to take the next day and enjoy themselves. Gil was expecting them tomorrow just before Midnight shift begins, so they could see the workings of the Vegas lab, with their best team, then discusses the unique difference between the labs and how could each learn from the other.
“I like them.” Nick stated as they headed for their own suite, intent to enjoy the rest of the day. “We’ll have to get them to the Manor, I’m sure Templeton and Murdock would like to meet them.”
“You just like the fact Mac was ready to take on Sassone and is likely plotting to take out Papa Messer.” Warrick gave his Mate an all knowing look.
“Well yeah. Pearly is going to love and hate Danny, which means he’ll likely adopt and annoy him to no end. And I think once Riddick sees past the Messer name, he’ll put both of them through the gauntlet, and then let the twins have them.” Nico’s paused mid step when he saw a lone man, leaning against the gate that led to the elevator that went up to the Meridii Suite. “Well … well if it isn’t Hannibal King.”
“I was just going to hang out like a lost puppy in front of your door, but your Front Manager is a protective asshole, who for a human is vicious and wouldn’t let me near it, so I decided to go hobo style and just lay in front of the gate begging for a dollar.”
Nick shook his head, Hannibal had a way about him that made you want to hug and hit him all at the same time. Blade was right that he was calmer, and it wasn’t just from the Mating. There was a deeper understanding beneath the mischievous eyes. The goofball was there, but tempered.
“Ahh look at you all grown up.”
“Fuck you.” Hannibal smiled and gave him a hug, though didn’t try to feel up his ass like usually, he was a married man now, and Warrick was a mean pirate. “I have a story for you about tiny demon assassins, whore houses, and the great lizard army.”
Warrick blinked, then laughed. “That would only make sense coming from you.”