Chapters: Chapter 7/?
Summary: Spike is the co-owner of a well-known casino known as The Grand Aurelius. Xander is an upcoming professional poker player who is climbing up the leader board. After becoming an infamous and top professional poker player, Spike never played poker again and refused all challengers that was thrown his way; that is until Xander catches more than his eye. HAU
Disclaimer: I own none of these characters and they rightfully belong to Joss Whedon.
Feedback: Very much appreciated
A/n: I'm so sorry this took so long. I didn't sleep at all during Boxing Day night because I was too busy playing cards (oops!). The next day, I somehow had a fascination with Xander/Lindsey pairing and got stuck reading those fics. My apologies and hoped that all had a great holiday.
Past chapters here
Xander had to admit it: for the first time in his life, he was truly enjoying playing poker. He could feel the adrenaline pumping in his veins as he and Spike battled on with cards as their weapons. It felt good; it was exciting.
Spike was, no- is an extremely good player. Xander could see why people called him William the Bloody behind his back. The man was serious when it came in playing poker, his face intent and watching and occasionally Xander felt himself flinch at Spike’s stare. Yet all the time, despite Xander’s effort to notice, he couldn’t read the facial expression on Spike’s face. There was not even the usual gesture or even a single twitch that could inform Xander the possibilities of Spike’s cards.
Hell yeah, he was losing.
Looking at the state of his cards, he wondered whether it was possible to play a bluff.
* * *
Spike was highly impressed. He knew the boy must have been up to a certain standard but he didn’t know that Xander was such a great player. Spike had found himself actually enjoying their game. Even back when he was playing at a professional standard, he didn’t enjoy it as much as he was now. Perhaps he did miss poker after all.
It was hard initially to spot Xander’s weakness. But Spike knew that all of them had. It was just a matter of being calm and rational in spotting it. The first few rounds made Spike’s pile of chips almost disappear and it wasn’t until they were in their mid-game that Spike finally spot it: Xander’s eyes.
It was short, brief and it was gone in a blink in an eye but Spike finally saw it when the dealer handed Xander his cards and the eyes flickered. If it weren’t for Spike’s eagle eyes, he would have missed it. Hell, he was sure that everyone else would have missed it.
He tested out his theory and sure enough, he was proven right. Every time Xander had a lousy hand, his eyes would sink slightly before snapping back to alertness again. Spike was sure the boy had no idea about his weakness himself.
There were a couple of times when he couldn’t catch the glimpse of the sunken eyes but every time he did, Spike made sure to raise the stakes. Of course, Xander had no idea he was able to read him and raised the stakes more.
It was interesting really, because occasionally when he couldn’t read the boy’s face, Spike had to belief in luck.
“Raise fifty,” the boy called pushing his chips in front, his face entirely blank. Spike smirked mentally in his head.
“Sure about that pet? Wouldn’t want to waste that good bit of money don’t we?” Spike taunted. Xander-cutely, Spike thought- rolled his eyes.
“Well it’s your call. Raise hundred,” Spike called quirking up his eyebrows at Xander-challenging him.
Spike watch amusedly as Xander look at his last pile of chips, studied for a long time then said, “all in.”
Somehow ‘Bingo!’ was the only word that appeared in Spike’s mind.
The dealer took them both in for a while before nodding to open their cards.
The boy actually had a pair of Jacks and a pair of Queens. Too bad Spike had a royal flush.
“Someone’s going to go on a date with me,” Spike sing-song and watch bemused as Xander seemed startled.
“You’re serious about that?” Xander asked, his eyes widening.
“Of course pet, didn’t think I would make such a deal would I?” Spike asked smirking.
“Ah, I kind of promised Oz that we’re leaving for LA tomorrow afternoon,” Xander said.
“Guess I have to find you in LA then pet,” Spike said smiling at the bewildered boy.
There was a pause before Spike spoke seriously, " You know, I can see why you beat the Master and why he asked you to come and challenge me.”
“But I’ve lost terribly,” Xander exclaimed, surprised. Spike shook his head.
“Pet, you’re one of the best poker players I’ve seen in awhile since working in this casino. Kind of impressed actually. I promise to take you out on an expensive treat just for that,” Spike told him watch as Xander slowly contemplated this new compliment.
“Thanks,” Xander said blushing and wouldn’t Spike just die to see it again. “And thanks for playing with me as well. I enjoyed the game and yeah wow, the Master’s right. You are an incredible poker player.”
Spike smiled. A genuine smile that he felt hadn’t used in a long time. “Thanks pet, I got to tell ya. I’ve enjoyed that game too. Been a long time since I’ve played poker and you made me remember why I started in the first place.”
He watch as Xander was about to ask something but hesitated. “You know, you could ask me any questions you would like.”
Xander hesitated once more before asking quietly, “Why did you stop playing poker? I mean I heard from the Master you stopped at your peak.”
Spike got to give the boy credit. Xander was obviously terrified in asking him the question and he wondered why. Xander showed insecurities Spike never saw before and he was pretty sure that Xander didn’t think he was serious about the date.
“No particular reason,” Spike shrugged and smirked when he saw Xander heaved a sigh of relief. It wasn’t because that Spike didn’t want to tell him the actual reason or lie to him but it was the fact that he rather not go into details of his past poker life. After all, he reasoned, it wouldn’t make a good impression in his attempt in wooing Xander.
“Common then, I’ll drive you back home and you can give me your phone number and address in LA.”