A fake smile appeared on his lips as Dick turned towards Slade who sat at the serving counter and caught a glimpse of the open purse, there were only different colored bills...
The fake smile turned into a honest playful one, "either you show me your identification or I can't give you anything alcoholic."

Disclaimer: don't own

It was a nice job, Dick Grayson reminded himself as he scrubbed the of alcohol stinking table clean. Not that it really mattered, he thought darkly, in the shady light of the establishment the old dark wood didn't seem to look any better after his attempt to clean it.
Well, as long as the surface wasn't sticky and smelled of artificial lemon instead of alcohol his job was done as far as his boss was concerned.
Which was all that mattered wasn't it?
Good to know his general qualification for university entrance was useful for something...

Yet he shouldn't complain, being a barkeeper in the city he protected provided him with several things.
A nice flat just above his work place included in his payment by the owner of the whole building.
Gossip in general as people tended to believe their waiter or waitress was deaf.
Acquaintances who knew about those people and tended to be very polite as well as willing to listen to the poor employee with those random pieces of information.
For example thieves and forgers who tended to be far more focused on their art than hurting anyone and were mostly willing to trade information.
Furthermore listening to a conversation about the proper color for an fake official document was surprisingly entertaining. And police officers who either wanted to ask him indirectly about any rumors he might have heard or complained about their day.
They also warned him about the 'bad crowd', corrupted cops or those who used a little too much force.
In general he liked his guests, just one group bothered him.

Dick simply wasn't sure what he should think about the religious people who recently started to use his bar as a meeting place.
A few weeks ago one of them had asked him, with a barley hidden knife, to recite an lord's prayer.
Unwilling to start a fight he had complied in more than passable Latin which had earned him a real smile.
The following comments about Gypsies stealing silver cutlery for something useful weren't said with disdain, but sounded respectful.
It confused him, the somewhat racist but not insulting way they spoke about his cultural background didn't seem to make sense.
He would watch them, they were clearly armed but hadn't hurt anybody … yet.

The young man stretched his muscles after he put the cleaning supplies away. His shift as the bartender started in a few minutes and the though about being forced to stand behind a serving counter without being able to move as much as he wanted to made him already slightly anxious.
As much information the work provided him with, like:

Where were the hidden alleys?
Which area was under whose protection?
Who should he avoid?
Everything crucial once he was on duty, the black haired man didn't feel like getting killed because someone who grew up here manged to lure him into a trap.

Yet standing there, like an animal on display in a zoo, put him on the edge.

Still he was lucky that he had this job.
Dressed in a clean white t-shirt and form fitting blue trousers, the twenty-one year old waited behind the counter for his customers, expected and smile while he poured strangers their drinks.

"A vodka pure, please", requested a far too smug voice and Dick closed his blue eyes, of all the criminals to visit his bar it had to be him. A fake smile appeared on his lips as he turned towards his new guest who had just entered his bar.

Dressed in causal clothing, a black t-shirt and somewhat loose trousers, not loose enough to appear without shape, stood Slade Wilson and looked around the establishment.
The old brown, slightly gleaming, tables without a tablecloth matched the chairs.
Dim lights on the ceiling, which were highlighted due the drawn shut curtains and the old fashioned serving counter with several barstool.

At least the cleaning was good for something, a part of his mind whispered, the smell of the cleaning supplies were still in the air and the mercenary's enhanced senses should make them even stronger.
There was a reason the man avoided to use scented soaps for himself.

With a fake smile Dick watched as Slade went straight to a barstool and sat down.
It was unsettling that he couldn't see which weapons the man might carry, the unknown danger ruffled his frayed nerves even more.

"Are you able the pay?", he asked with slight disdain, yet he only got a smirk in return as the older man pulled out his purse and opened it, he could only see different colored bills...

The fake smile turned into a honest playful one, "either you show me your identification card or I can't give you anything alcoholic."

His words were followed by a moment of silence, both knew just how ridiculous they sounded.

"You need my identification card to see whenever I 'm old enough to drink or not", Slade repeated slowly, yet the smirk had only changed into an entertained smile.

"Of course", replied the younger man and felt a little more at ease knowing that the other was willing to play along. "This bar doesn't support underage drinking", Dick explained with a mock serious expression, which earned him a chuckle.
The sound sent pleasant shivers down his spin and he didn't attempt to hide them.
That the smile on the bigger predator's face grew hungry didn't help either.

"I don't doubt that you are a very law abiding citizen, excluding the ones about taking it into your own hands", replied the white haired man lightly, his voice lowered at the last part which compelled the hero to move closer.

This was getting dangerous, his common senses warned him. The bait was more than obvious and he should know better, than again, it hadn't stopped him before.

"Can't be to careful with the crowd now a days. All the chemicals which could be cursing through someones bloodstream can make it hard to discern someones age." parried the hero the veiled critic and looked straight into the single eye of the other.

"Careful", warned the mercenary with a slight growl.

Dick knew he could push the man a little, but there were still forbidden topics between them.
Personal history made a huge part of the list.

Yet, despite the warning he added, " Or what soldier-boy?", he challenged as the other needed a moment to discern the new nickname.

"Soldier-boy", echoed the older man amused, and he hero relaxed, he hadn't pushed the other too far.

"Gonna show me that you are a man?", Dick continued playfully," Grown men and women have an identification card", he added as the other chuckled.

"Maybe I could convince you other wise", Slade replied as he took a one hundred dollar bill from his purse and put in on the counter.

With a grin Dick took the bill and hold it against the light,"Sorry, but this isn't your picture. I will keep it, someone must have lost it here yesterday."

"A real hero, aren't you?" asked the villain good-natured and ordered a glass of orange juice as the entrance door opened.
Two other guests entered the establishment which destroyed the intimate atmosphere.

Dick continued to work, fully aware that he was watched, until his shift ended at 3pm. Slade still sat there and drunk his juice like a good boy.

He didn't want to turn around, show the bigger predator his back and lead him towards his little nest.
Yet, he did it anyway and wasn't surprised as a callused hand grasped his hip roughly as he unlocked the door of his flat.

"You shouldn't question a man's masculinity", purred a voice in his ear and he leaned into the strong body.

"Feeling insecure?", Dick teased and opened the door..

"Should you really invite an underage boy into your home?", responded Slade playfully and the hero turned around.

"In this light you might pass as 21", answered Dick graciously and lightly kissed the older man on the lips. "Wanna come inside?" he added suggestively and smiled as his bad pun earned him a chuckle.
The hero knew that his jokes weren't exactly great comedy, yet it was nice that someone could enjoy them.

"You will be safe with me, no need for protection", assured the hero his companion in the same tone.
Yet his second pun wasn't taken with the light humor he had anticipated, instead the atmosphere suddenly shifted.

"So will you be and only you", promised the mercenary, with emotions Dick didn't dare to think about.

Unsure he gave the other another kiss, they could talk after he had a few hours of sleep.