Chapters: Chapter 12/?
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
Past Chapters: here
A/n: I've been putting this on hold for quite a long time now with busy schedules and all. But here it is! Chapter 12! And since right now I'm going to have free time until April, I'm going to try to finish it by then.
“Faggot,” the man cursed kicking hard on his shins.
“No, no. Please…stop!” the boy lying helplessly on the floor cried, clutching his ribs as pain soared through his body once again.
It was painful, so very painful and he wished it would stop; but it never seemed to end.
“Please…Dad,” the son begged, gasping for breath.
“Fucking faggot, I’ll teach you a lesson,” the man hissed, venom dripping in every word.
The man raised his fists and punched the tear-streaked face.
The pleas that were cried out fell on death ears as blood began to soak the floor.
* * *
Xander bolted upright. Beads of perspiration falling down on his face; his shirt was soaked. He felt his heart thudding wildly against his chest as he tried to take in feel deep breaths.
It had been such a long time since he had that dream.
No, that wasn’t a dream. A dream was filled with sausages, ice cream and picnics.
This was a nightmare.
He looked out the window of his room and noticed the sky was still dark. He glanced at his clock:
Xander pushed his covers away before getting out of his bed and headed towards his closet. He changed out of his pajamas and replaced it with a shirt and jeans before grabbing a pile of notes he placed within his drawers.
He knew he wasn’t going to get much sleep after this.
* * *
Caleb lighted his cigarette as a gentle breeze brush by him.
It was an unexpected cool night in the City of Angels. The streets were mostly deserted with the exception of the scums of lowlife and the occasional runaway kids. A brief noise towards his right caught his attention and he turned sharply towards one of his informants.
“What do you want?” he asked coolly, and was pleased when the man flinched in return.
“I-I’ve been told that Lindsey Mcdonald has arrived in LA,” the man stuttered, fear evident on his face; aware what Caleb, this man in front, could do to him: to his life and to his family.
Caleb nodded his acknowledgment and gave a gesture of dismissal. He watched with bemusement as the man scurried away.
As the last of the man’s shadow disappeared, Caleb headed towards his favourite destination. Rare as it was he went, he always enjoyed the atmosphere of smokes, beer and cards.
He entered the alleyway of ‘The Cauldron’ and proceeded down the stairs leading to where he knew the various poker games were held.
The place was similar to a pub. The only difference was the green clothed tables spread across the room. He breathed in the scent of cigarettes and booze before heading towards the bar counter where he was able to sit and observe.
He could tell the difference between the regulars, the rookies, the cheaters and the professionals immediately. He saw one or two college kids looking for fun and trying the high roller’s table, and watched amused as they slowly lost their money.
It was amazing how children these days seemed to be so naïve and ignorant of their surroundings.
As Caleb scanned through the crowd intently looking for potential players to at least have a decent game with, he missed the young black-haired boy coming down the stairs and settling onto one of the tables.
It wasn’t until his gaze landed on said table did he start noticing the boy.
He watched with a smirk played on his lips as one of the college kids that were looking for fun tried his hardest to look nonchalant, but the constant tapping of fingers against table gave his game away.
It was simple really; the harder one tries to be cool, the more obvious it was that they had a good hand. And the more they tired to pretend that their cards were a good hand, the more obvious it wasn’t.
Caleb look disbelievingly as two of the men raised their pot. Didn’t’ they realize there was no way they could beat the red-haired?
He was about to move on from the table before the next player stopped him. There was something about this boy that rang a bell somewhere in his head, but he couldn’t place it.
He watched as the boy studied carefully the red-haired for a while before folding. Smart boy. At least someone knew what he was doing.
The next round of cards were dealt and Caleb found himself watching curiously at the boy. There was something about the young brown-eyed man that drew him.
As time wore on, he realized the boy was one of the best players he has seen in a long time.
Although occasionally he thought the boy made a wrong call, he noticed the steady growing number of chips at the boy’s side as the games continued.
When the boy finally gathered his chips and brought it to the counter to exchange it for cash, Caleb glanced at his watch and was surprised to find it was already dawn.
As the boy got out of the smoky-filled place, Caleb couldn’t help but follow him. He was definitely pique by interest with this unique brunette.
* * *
Xander walked out of The Cauldron with a satisfying new roll of cash safely tucked in his pocket when he was confronted with a very angry looking Oz.
“Uh, hi!” Xander greeted and winced when he realized how forced it sounded. Oz scowled, he was not fooled a bit.
“Xan, it’s 5am in the morning!” Oz said exasperated but one look at Xander’s defeated stance and slumped shoulders, he immediately softened.
“Sorry, just that…I couldn’t sleep,” Xander explained, willing Oz to understand.
And Oz understood. He knew Xander got nightmares often and he suspected it was something to do with his father but never mentioned it knowing Xander wanted that bit of privacy.
“Come on, I can see that wad of cash you have in your pocket. Treat us to some breakfast,” Oz said giving his best friend a smile.
Xander grinned. Glad for Oz to drop the subject and felt that breakfast sounds right about now. His stomach growled happily in agreement.
As both boys turned towards the diner on the 78th street, neither noticed the greenish-blue eyes trailing after them.