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Ficlet: Dead Man's Hand

Title: Dead Man’s Hand
Word Count: 378
Prompt: Prompt 77 – Spike & Clem 
(for the [info]still_grrr community)
Characters: Spike, Clem, Dawn
Summary: Necessity is the mother of a brand-new game.

Spike gave a gimlet eye to the demon across the felt-topped table. “Got any tens?”

“Go fish,” answered Clem, helping himself to a handful of the Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos.

“This is stupid,” piped up the girl, whose turn it was. “You guys would never play this game if you didn’t think I was just a kid. Jeez! Why don’t we play jacks, while we’re at it?”

“’Cos I’d whip you both in a blink,” drawled Spike.

“S’yeah, right. You just don’t want to teach me to play poker, and you promised!” The last word was drawn out in an unpleasant whine.

“Actually, I’m pretty good at jacks, Dawn,” said Clem, wiggling his arm skin to demonstrate. “I’ll bet I could even take Spike.”

Spike regarded him. “I’m faster, but you’re a slippery one, I’ll grant you that. Regardless, betting is precisely what we’re trying not to do here, right?”

“Oh. Right.” More Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos disappeared from the bowl.

“Hey, I’ve got an idea . . . Willow said no drinking, smoking or gambling, right? So can’t we just play poker without the betting part? Please?”

“Bit, it’s not the same game without it,” explained Spike. Clem nodded vigorously. “If you’re gonna learn properly, you can’t leave that out.”

“Well, how about chips or something? Isn’t that why they invented them?”

“Don’t have any ’round my crypt, is the problem.”

Clem spoke up. “My cousins and I used to play with kittens.”

Spike and Dawn looked at him. Finally, Dawn just had to know. “Okaaay. What does that have to do with poker?”

Clem looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“She means, you git, ‘what do playing with kittens and playing poker have to do with one another?’”

“Oh! We’d play poker for kittens. We used them as chips. It was fun!”

Spike was completely gobsmacked. Dawn just sat there, blinking.

“Are you serious?” she asked.

“How’s that work, exactly?” asked Spike, genuinely interested.

Clem looked around, as if checking for eavesdroppers. “If you really want to know, I’ve got some kittens we could use that I was going to take to my Aunt Maddy this weekend.”

“I can tell Willow we were playing with kittens!” Dawn bounced excitedly.

Spike smiled. The afternoon was looking up.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 1st, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
I hope the cuteness wasn't too sweet, as we're all supposed to cut down on sugar this year, alas. I'm glad you liked "gobsmacked". I think I should probably credit JK Rowling, but it's hard to say where I might've picked it up.

Thanks so much for commenting! Happy New Year!
Mar. 5th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
That was great! I've always felt kitten poker was totally bonkers and there should be a proper explanation.
Mar. 5th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Heh. Thanks! The idea doesn't entirely hold together, as the kitten poker fad would've had to take off like wildfire over the summer of Buffy's death, but what the hell.

And hey! I think you're the first person to discover a previously unread fic through my new link-heavy layout! Woo hoo! mere_ubu gave me some pointers, and I'm feeling all "master of LJ" today.

Edited at 2009-03-05 05:09 pm (UTC)
Mar. 6th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
Oh, I don't know. I think kitten poker could definitely have taken off over the summer in that way. Fads are like that. Probably, the whole idea was dead as a dodo by the end of season 6.
Oct. 17th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC)
Lovely and funny!
But now I can't stop looking at Shapinglight's icon.
Oct. 17th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I appreciate your comment, and am also mesmerized by Shapinglight's new default icon. So Halloweeny!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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