Author's Note: I really can't decide if I like this or not. Anyway, it's my first time writing these two, and they're nicely drunk for a good chunk of it. This is for Black Light Princess - Happy (belated) Birthday/Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Don't own, etc.

The man was tall and well-built, with steel glinting off his ears that only someone trained to look for the clink of coins would spot in the dim light of the bar, with heavy scented smoke and the buzz of alcohol thrumming through his veins. A man nearby muttered something about Ansem the Wise's apprentices, and though he kept his poker face on, the card dealer let himself smirk inwardly. If he was lucky (and he had a great deal of luck, and skill, when it came to getting what he wanted), the man would wander over to his table. Waving a hand to summon a waitress (or something resembling a waitress, anyway), he ordered a beer and made himself comfortable. He had all night, after all.

Scratching at the chestnut colored hair on his chin about an hour later (not that he was counting), the card dealer looked up as a scarred man with a ponytail bumped into him, animatedly talking to the man from earlier. "C'mon, Dilan, live a little! We're starting the larger experiments in a few days and then we'll be busy as fuck! Go play cards or somethin', yeah?"

"Braig, I really don't think– "

"As if!" Pushing Dilan down into the chair across from him, the scarred man grinned at Luxord. "Take care of him for me, would ya?"

A cool smile stole across his face. "Of course."

As Braig went back into the crowd, he looked back to his cards, observing the large man while under the guise of shuffling his cards. He was, as he'd noted earlier, very well-built, with a piercing in each ear. What he hadn't noticed, however, was the long, ruddy sideburns or the indigo eyes. Smirking slightly, his accented words left his mouth before he could stop him. "You don't have the appearance of someone who needs a friend to help him have an… enjoyable evening."

"Braig and I have different ideas as to what constitutes a good time."

Raising an eyebrow, the gambler neatly stacked and divided the deck. "You dislike cards?"

"They're tolerable, but hard to play well when you're drunk." Dilan admitted, eyes wandering after a mug of beer in the grip of a passerby.

A slight smirk crossed his face as he began to deal the cards, effectively distracting the other from the retreating mug of beer. "Especially if it's the good stuff, hm?" He teased lightly, waving someone over to take drink orders before he finished dealing the hand.

"I'm quite proficient at… ah, other things when drunk, but well… cards aren't my forte either way," Dilan admitted. The gambler resisted the urge to let his smirk grow wider; he'd made the other man kilter a bit, go off-guard, and it felt good. After all, people were often as much fun to play with as cards… and if he wasn't mistaken, the dreadlocked man had just hit on him a bit.

"In that case, I'll let you choose the game… Dilan, was it?" Smiling slyly as the man confirmed it with a nod, the gambler gestured towards the cards with a flourish. "Pick your poison."


A good three rounds of poker, two rounds of blackjack, two glasses of beer, three glasses of brandy, and five vodka shots later, the card dealer found himself explaining various encounters from his past to the other man in a rather loud voice.

"Y'see, though, in cases like – like that, right – it's always good t'have an ace up yer sleeve. Lit'rally, if y' don't want t' walk around in nothin' but yer skin. I mean, pirates, y'know? They're… they're pirates." Pulling an ace out of his sleeve to demonstrate, the gambler found himself staring as it was plucked out of his hand by the other man.

"Cheater," he growled playfully before setting it on the table. "Ace o'… of… what's th' sharp things?"


"Right. That's th' Death card, right?"

Nodding, the other man found himself sobering up a bit at the thought. Grabbing the card and tucking it away, he waved a hand and two more vodka shots appeared. Pushing one towards the other man, he downed his own and soon found himself fingering his earring, the other man's indigo eyes drawn to the action in an almost hungry way.

"Like it? 'snot nearly as nice as yours, but I'm willin' t'bet that I've got more in other places, if y'get what I mean."

The gambler watched in perverse satisfaction as the other man's eyes widened slightly, the look on Dilan's face vaguely impressed and a bit intrigued. Collecting the scattered cards on the table, methodically folding and shuffling them, the goateed man smirked when he heard the other man speak. "How'd it feel?"

"Hurt like a bitch. But…" Tucking the cards in his pocket, he leaned back in his chair, one arm running down his chest. Dilan's eyes followed the movement down. "…it makes up fer it in… other ways."

A feral, rather draconian smirk slid across the other man's face as Dilan murmured "I bet it does." From across the room, the card player caught sight of Braig (who appeared to be hitting on one of the members of the band) turn and give him a grin.

Raising his empty shot glass, the gambler fluidly slid to his feet, looking completely sober (which he wasn't) and like he had all the time in the world (which he usually did, but maybe Dilan didn't). Extending a hand towards the stairs with a flourish, he grinned, blue eyes locked on the other man's indigo. "If cards aren't your forte…"

"Mm." A bit less steady on his feet, Dilan stood, the lightest hint of a smirk on his face. "There's got to be somethin' I'm good at around here."

"My thoughts exactly."


He was… sore. It was a pleasant sort of sore, though (with the exception of the splitting headache and the fresh bruise on his right hip), and as the card player mentally took stock of the previous night, he smirked. If he remembered correctly, he wouldn't be the only one who was sore – Dilan had been rather eager to see if his other piercings were worth it.

Rolling over, the gambler's eyes opened a bit wider in shock, and then gave way to laughter. Next to him was the ace of spades that had been up his sleeve, and on it a note.

Hey Nameless—

I had to go back to Hollow Bastion, but I remembered your advice and helped myself to an ace. I think the 'ace' you so generously showed me last night is more than enough for you.


Shuffling through his deck, the chestnut-haired man laughed. Sure enough, there was an ace missing. Leaning back against the sheets, he smirked. The dreadlocked man gave as good as he got, that was for sure.


Months later, after the disaster in Hollow Bastion and the unleashing of Heartless on the worlds, Xaldin stalked through the rubble of an old tavern, spears occasionally launching at a few stray Heartless. There wasn't much left; then again, to have survived this long at all was quite a feat, really. Kicking a stray shot glass into the rubble, the Nobody's attention was drawn by one of his Dragoons, hopping about the rubble like an excited Labrador retriever.

"Hm." There had been some strange reports coming in from this area…

Behind a chunk of remaining wall, a blond, blue-eyed gambler shuffled his cards idly, watching as a Heartless slunk up to him curiously. As the shot glass rolled by, he picked it up and polished it with one sleeve, not looking up as footsteps crunched over.

"Not much left, is there?"

"I think I still have an ace in the hole for you, if you're interested."

Looking up, the gambler caught the tossed card, smirking. "And what did you have in mind, Dilan?"

"It's Xaldin now," the dreadlocked Nobody corrected. "And I never did get your name."

Doing a quick analysis of the names, the gambler smirked. "Call me Luxord."


And maybe he was, Luxord thought, tucking the ace of hearts into his pocket, but at least he had someone to gamble with.