Rating: Adult overall
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this story,
and make no money off them.
Summary: Xander hits the big city looking for excitement
and a certain vamp
"Hey! I'll have you know I got money. I got plenty of money!
And anyway, Willow taught me how to play black trap on her
computer so count my cash and gimme some chips."
Xander wedged himself into the only open seat at Spike's table.
He found himself squeezed between an older shriveled up lady he
estimated to be approximately 90 years old by the name of Hazel.
Hazel was sucking on an oxygen machine, and Xander briefly wondered
about the safety of that considering she was chain smoking at
the same time.
On the other side of him was and a short round cigar chewing
gentleman he overheard the blue pit boss call Guido.
Guido needed a shower and some mouthwash.
Shrugging his shoulders in bored resignation, Spike scooped up
the handful of bills and laid them out on the green.
"Changing two thousand!" He called over his shoulder.
After receiving the go ahead, he dropped the money into
the slot and counted out the chips.
As he slid them over to where Xander sat, Spike looked him in the eye
and said "Jack."
Stacking his chips neatly Xander glanced up "Jack who?"
"Not who, what. The game is black jack. Not black trap."
The other players at the table all snickered and anted up
for the next hand.
The cards were rapidly shuffled and delt.
He had a king and a two.
Struggling to concentrate, Xander stared at the hand in front of him.
'Think Xander, damn it. Think. What would Willow do.
It made him think of "What would Jesus do?"
What the fuck. "Jesus says, hit me."
Xander slapped his hand on the table.
Spike flipped over the next card.
Whoosh, gone were the chips he had bet.
'What the hell just happened?'
Xander looked to his left. Hazel collected her winnings.
He looked to the right, Guido did the same.
O.k. Not to worry. Still have lots of chips to play.
"Like a beer?" The voice had to have been inches from his ear.
Xander jumped like he had been shot. "Shit!"
Still, the fear didn't quench his thirst so offering up a twenty got
a bottle pressed into his hand.
"Xander, you know the beer is free when you're playing don't you?"
Spike had somewhere learned multitasking because he was very
efficiently dealing the cards while insulting Xander's intelligence
without breaking a sweat.
"Yea, sure, I just felt bad for the waiter. Obviously he needed the
money to buy himself a shirt. HA! HA!"
No one else laughed.
The cards were delt.
Xander got a 19. "STAND!" He beamed.
What an excellent hand!
Until Spike got a 20.
So on it went. Pride and the exhilaration of winning one out of every
twenty or so hands kept Xander at the table long after he should
have crawled away.
Xander looked down at the chips in front of him. Twice they had
dwindled down to a precious one or two and he had replenished
them with more cash.
Now he had just three left. The next hand was a push.
'All right! That was good wasn't it?' Xander grinned 'No loss, no gain.'
The next two hands were a loss. Xander had one chip left.
Fishing into his pockets he realized he had no more money.
Damn. How the hell did that happen?
He had tried to talk to Spike, but between focusing
on the cards and the heavy fog the alcohol had dropped on his
brain the evening had just slipped away.
"Fuck, I'm broke. Guess I'm done playing." Xander picked up and
examined the chip in front of him hoping by studying it hard enough
it might multiply.
"Shame, Pet. You were just starting to get the hang of it.
I've seen this happen before.
The cards were just about to turn around. If you could have just
hung on for a few more hands you would be winning for sure.
Collecting the big bucks.
Vacationing in cash city.
Rolling in the sun like a fat dog.
"Yea, Spike I get it."
Waving his hand to the waiter Spike put on his most sympathetic expression.
"At least let me get you a drink before you leave"
Before Xander could blink the waiter was reaching around and
setting a bottle on the green in front of him.
Snatching up the last chip as a tip, the waiter winked, blew
him a kiss and was gone.
"Toddle off now, Pet. I don't get off work for another two hours,
and you look like you need something to eat and a good nights sleep.
Maybe I'll see you another time."
Spike returned all of his attention to the players in front of him.
Xander didn't move.
He just knew Spike was right.
After all, Spike was his friend. He wouldn't lie to him.
If he said the cards were just about to turn around, it must
be true. If only he had just a little more money.
Closely watching the expression on Xander's face, Spike knew he was
within striking distance.
"Taking a break, Xan. See you later, right?" With a clap of his
hands Spike turned the table over to another dealer.
Heading out the back door and lighting up a smoke, Spike leaned
back against the wall to wait.
Three - two - one....
"Um, Spike?" Xander peered out the rear casino door and slipped out
to join Spike in the parking lot.
"Oh, Xander, sorry, guess I forgot you were here. So how you been, pet?
What on earth makes you look old Spike up? Thought you were off doing
the world tour thing. How is everybody? Bunny, Wilton, the Bit?"
Spike took a long slow drag on his cigarette.
"Who? Bunny? Wilton? Oh, you mean Buffy and Willow. They're good.
Dawn's fine too. Least I think so. They all kind of went their own way.
Begged me to come with, but I told them "no" I needed some space.
Needed a little excitement and thought of yo - ah - Vegas. Bumped into
Angel and he said I should come see you. Hadn't really thought about it,
but what the hell, free time and all."
Spike growled low at the thought that Xander had not come specifically
to find him.
Xander assumed he was growling at the mention of Angel.
"So, you really think I could win if I had a little more money?"
Xander really didn't want to cash any more travelers checks, maybe
one of his debit cards.
Watching Xander think, Spike was thrilled.
'O.k. Got him broke. Stay cool. Don't appear to interested.'
"No doubt about it. Seen it happen lots of times. Bloke goes near
belly up, then turns it around and breaks the bank"
Another slow drag and an ash flick.
"I might see my way clear to float you a small loan, course it's not
a gift understand.
Hard working vamp like me can't be to generous. Would have to be some
compensation," Last drag and the cigarette was flicked to the ground.
By now the cool night air had somewhat cleared Xander's addled state and
he was delighted to find the alcohol had left one or two functioning
brain cells unburnt.
'Perfect fucking opportunity.' He thought. 'I get to stay here with
Spike for the rest of the evening and it doesn't cost me a cent.
Tomorrow I can....'
Unfortunately one of those last cells had dimmed to the capacity of a
night light and he was unable to think any further ahead.
But what the hell, It was all good.
"Thanks, Buddy. You're a real pal" Xander threw his arm around Spike's
shoulder and together they reentered the casino.
Slipping him a wad of cash, Spike sighed
"I try, Xan. I try."