Disclaimer – I don’t own Las Vegas or BtVS and I am making no monetary gain from this story.
Las Vegas – None really. Set sometime in Season Two
BtVS – Post ‘Chosen’ and Angel's ‘Not Fade Away.’ Minor spoilers for both series finales.
This is a one-shot story and is not connected to my other fics.
Sometimes you just had to do the right thing, Ed Deline thought.
For years he had kept the Montecito from catering to certain clientele. He had a hard time defending that policy to certain owners.
Many of them subscribed to the basic philosophy of Vegas. Money talks. And if you have enough then the casino will get you anything you want.
There were a couple of casinos on the strip that did cater to ‘whales’ with ‘special’ diets. One even went so far as to actually procure ‘gourmet’ food for the truly wealthy (usually a willing victim (well paid of course) and all the whale did was feed, not kill. Usually).
But never the Montecito, not while Ed Deline was at the helm. It probably cost the Montecito a bundle of money over the years. After all, compound interest really did work for ‘people’ who lived for centuries.
There was the old story about one whale who closed out a bank account he opened in LA over a century earlier with just a couple of thousand dollars. He blew over five million in one night at the craps table, laughing the whole time that he had dozens more accounts just like that one all over the world.
That kind of money made the policy hard to defend. But Ed stuck to his guns. Yes, he had a shady past, he did things while with the CIA that were less than savory. It was true he worked in Sin City. But to Ed Deline there were lines that just were not to be crossed.
Catering to vampires and demons was one of them.
And over the last couple of years things had changed.
It began with the destruction of Sunnydale. With the natural magic from the Hellmouth dispersing, many of the demons and vampires that made LA and southern California their home began to move on. Follow that up with the destruction of Wolfram and Hart’s LA office and Southern California stopped being a major attraction for a lot of demons.
Many ended up living near Cleveland or on the east coast. The riverboat business on the Mississippi and a couple of Indian casinos in the Midwest along with Atlantic City saw a huge increase in whales coming through.
A lot of Vegas casinos were hit hard. One had a revenue drop of nearly 25% over a six month period, virtually unheard of in Vegas.
The Montecito sailed through the troubles without any losses. In fact, revenue actually increased over the last two years.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Ed still had few contacts in the government. And he had, for brief period of time, been loaned out to a very covert branch of the DOD. One that officially didn’t exist. He knew the truth about how things had changed.
The Midwest and riverboat casinos had it good for a few months. Then the Slayers got their feet under them and got organized. The biggest whales literally started turning to dust.
A lot people who had staked their businesses on catering to a very unique clientele were taking a bath right now.
But not the Montecito.
All of that ran through Ed’s mind as he watched a group of obviously close friends enter the casino on the monitor in his office.
Most people would miss what set the group apart from the other guests. Danny might spot it, he’d been in combat. For all their youth and bubbling excitement about being in Vegas, the signs were there. The way each one kept scanning the area around them, how they watched each others’ backs. The eyes that had seen things no human being should ever have to see.
The clear leader of the group was a young blond woman. Ed was experienced enough to recognize the lethal grace of her movements. The controlled power lurking just beneath the surface.
The brunette in the group, who possessed the same lethal grace as the blond, was shamelessly flirting with any young man (and a couple of women) who came within her reach. The redhead and the man with an eye patch were laughing at some joke only the two of them seemed to understand.
Trailing along behind them was an older gentleman who appeared to be in a losing battle with a young woman who seemed bound and determined to see every sight in the casino all at once. Several other people brought up the rear. But the main group held Ed’s attention.
He smiled. He had recognized the names when they showed up on the reservations list. One of his old contacts at that non-existent DOD branch had told him about them.
Ed’s attention shifted when Sam entered his office.
“You wanted to see me Ed?” she asked.
“You see that group there,” Ed asked motioning to the screen.
“Yeah,” Sam said. “Bunch of people who work for some research foundation or something based out of England with a branch office in Cleveland of all places. They’re here for a couple of days. What about them?’
“I want you to bump the Summers sisters, Rosenberg, Harris, Lehane and Dr. Giles to suites,” Ed said. “And we’re comping the whole group for their stay.”
“What?” Samantha was confused. “Ed, these people aren’t whales. They’re booked into economy rooms. What the hell have they done to deserve this kind of treatment? Didn’t you hear me? They’re some kind of research group. Most of them are from Cleveland. They don’t have money.”
“I know exactly who they are Sam,” Ed replied. “Bump the main group to suites. The rest get our best available rooms and comp everybody for their stay.”
“Ed?” Sam was seriously confused. “Why?”
Ed looked her straight in the eye and spoke in an even tone. “They’re special guests. For the duration of their stay they are to be afforded every courtesy the Montecito has to offer. Is that clear Sam?”
“Clear as glass,” Same replied holding up her hands in a defensive gesture. She recognized that tone all too well. When Ed Deline used that tone the smartest thing a person could do is shut up and do as they’re told. Doing anything else, well, most people never got the chance to make that mistake a second time and no one ever made it a third time.
Ed’s attention returned to the monitor as Sam left his office.
Hard to believe these people changed the world, he thought. Ed Deline smiled again. No one on that casino floor knew who those people were or what they had done.
But Ed Deline knew.
They didn’t do it for money. They didn’t do it for fame. They did it because sometimes you had to do the right thing. No matter what the consequences.
And Ed had a pretty good idea what it had cost them to achieve the impossible.
So he was going to make it his mission to see to it they had best Vegas had to offer. That for a couple of days at least, someone was going to pay them back a little bit of what the world owed them.
Sure, it might cost the Montecito some money and Ed might get in a little trouble with the owner.
But sometimes you just had to do the right thing.