The Toad and the Stag from clelle65619 ( used with permission. Go read his stuff it rocks.
Edit AN: url for original story
Tales of The Toad and The Stag
Geoffrey looked at his watch and back at the crowd forming outside the club. "Great another night keeping a bunch of touristy loser's out of this place." He thought to himself.
"hey get back to the end of the line man!" someone yelled out of the crowd on the other side of the velvet rope. "Oh goody I get a chance to bounce someone out of here." He looked up with his professional scowl on his face, only to lose it when he saw one of his favorite people coming up the walk.
"Evening Geoffrey." The young man said, his arm wrapped around the waist of a delightful looking young lady in a delicious little red dress.
"Evening Mr. Potter, coming in tonight?" He asked
The rope was removed and the pair passed through to the entry.
"Why'd you let that kid in?" the same punk from before demanded.
"He bloody well owns the place mate." Geoffrey responded as he closed the door behind them. He heard Candice, the hostess greet them and start to lead them off to the owners table in the back of the bar.
He sighed inside and looked around the outside of the club. It hadn't always been this clean out here, hadn't always been this quiet. This place used to be a haven for druggies, drunks and malcontents the perfect place for the descendant of a nordic troll. He looked human, and as far as these muggles were concerned was human, but he had inherited the strength of his forefathers. He could probably rip the arm off of someone if he had to, but then he would have to deal with Mr Potter or Mr Longbottom. He shuddered as he thought back to the first time he had met the duo soon to own what was to be known as The Toad and The Stag.
The smoke filled bar room of the Crumbled Horn was unusually silent for a Friday night. All the attention seemed to be focused on a small table in the back of the building. Seated around the table were five people all playing a high stakes game of poker. Two of the players didn't look old enough to be in the bar, not that that mattered to much to these people, they were dirt stained and bore signs of having been in a massive fight not so long ago. When they had walked into the bar Geoffrey, the bouncer, had tried to walk them out for their own good. He had kids of his own this age and he wouldn't want to see them in a place like this. The taller of the two boys, the black haired one with the glasses and the scared forehead, had looked at him with a blank look and said in a quiet voice"Troll-kin, leave us be." He had seen that kind of look before, on retired soldiers who had seen to much, he just moved out of the way and let them pass. How that kid knew he was a Troll-kin he did not know, he decided that even though he let them in that he would keep a watch over them to be sure that they didn't get hurt. The Crumbled Horn was not a safe place for two teens to be at.
The two had walked up to the bar, sat down and the shorter one looked at the barkeep and said "Scotch and leave the bottle." before slapping a 100 pound note on the bar. The two sat there for half the night just tossing back scotch and making toasts like "Cedric! Best competitor I ever had!" and "Mum and Dad!"
At some point in the evening the usual poker game got started in the back, everything was being bet from money and drugs to cars and other property. The owner of the bar was the one who normally got the game rolling, he had won the bar from the previous owner and was compulsive about gambling. He had a secret however, he was playing with a marked deck, and whenever the stakes got high enough he would use that knowledge to win the pot. The two kids had wandered over during the initial phase of the game and watched with interest.
"5 grand and two cards"
"call and three cards"
"call and one card"
"Lets see em boys." That was the owner talking, he had bowed out earlier in the round
"3 of a kind, Eights with a King"
"Damn! Only a pair of 4's well I'm out" the loser got up out of his seat and somehow the black haired kid got put in the seat.
"3 of a kind as well, 9's with a Jack" The winner scooped up his money and the other loser got up, to be replaced by the shorter of the two kids.
"Ok kids, there are some rules here that you need to know if you are going to play in my game. First off my names Jack and this is my bar." Jack started off pleasantly "We are playing 5 card draw poker no limit on the betting, but only two rounds of betting. You boys know how to play?"
"Sure," said the scar headed kid "been watching for a little while should be all right."
"Yeah we are good." The other boy said quietly
"All right then, you need to show some money to play here boys and given how high these games get you better have a lot." Jack continued "Also, we don't like using real names here, aside from me so I am going to call you Scarhead and Mumbles!"
The watching crowd chuckled, Geoffrey noted that Scarhead didn't like that name he saw something flash in that thousand yard stare of his. Something about that flash in those haunted green eyes seemed to speak to him somehow, he should know this kid.
"No problem with cash, will these work?" Scarhead said and reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small bag. He upended the bag and a small pile of gold coins appeared, he tossed one to Jack, "They are solid gold doubloons, I think the last time I had them looked at they were quoted at 500 pounds each."
"Yeah kid those will do fine, what about your friend Mumbles?"
Mumbles reached in and pulled out a similar pouch and tossed it to Jack "Go ahead and look inside. I promise they are real."
Jack opened the pouch and said "Ok Mumbles, I know where I can sell those for 200 pounds each. You leave that pouch on the table, you too Scarhead, and I'll give you some chips to use as markers." Jack shoved a stack of chips in front of both of them. "Your fellow players are Miss Tea," Jack pointed to a young brunette drinking a Long Island Iced Tea, "and Smog." He pointed to the other player at the game, an elderly gent heavily wrinkled who was chain smoking cigarettes.
Geoffrey watched as the game went on in the pattern he figured it would. Scarhead and Mumbles had both lost over half of their initial stake and he could tell that Jack was using the marked cards to pull it off. He looked at the clock on the wall and began to shuffle out the non players. He went to the table and whispered to Jack "You want me to get the two kids out of here as well?"
Jack gave the bouncer an odd look and then said to the table "All right folks, I know we play till we pass out usually, but as we have two new players we will let them decide. Well boys? Want to stay and play or go home?"
Scarhead looked at Mumbles, who just shrugged "We will keep playing."
"All right then, if you want more to drink let Geoffrey here know and he will get them from the bar."
Miss Tea asked for another Long Island Iced Tea and Smog asked for more Vodka. He went to the kids and asked "What will it be gents?"
"Bottle of Scotch and two glasses." Mumbles said
He went to the bar and told Candice the orders as the game continued.
"Whats with the two kids Geoff? They have been drinking a storm since they got here. They should be passed out by now." She said with a note of concern in her voice
"I don't know Candy but give me a pen and one of those napkins. Jack is cheating again and trying to take those kids to the cleaners." She grumbled about their bosses actions and handed the items over to Geoffrey who sketched out a quick note. Candice then handed him the scotch and glasses and took the other drinks over to the poker table.
Geoffrey set the napkins down on the table in front of the two players and then the glasses and bottle. He watched as Scarhead looked down at the message scrawled there
"Kid the cards are marked"
Scarhead looked up at Geoffrey with searching eyes and merely said "Thanks for the drinks Geoffrey."
He watched as the game continued on, Smog lost early and left without the keys to his car, Jack had won those a few hands before. Wasn't the first time Smog lost his wheels to Jack, he could afford it somewhat as Geoffrey knew they were all stolen anyways. Miss Tea was in trouble, she only had a few hundred pounds left in markers but when he caught a glimpse of her hand he noted that it was possible to pull something out with that, if the game wasn't rigged. Scarhead and Mumbles were both still pretty well off with worse hands than she had.
"I can't call with what I have," Miss Tea began Geoffrey groaned inside when he heard this. This is how Jack managed to get some of his more "personal" employees. "I would like to add an IOU/Service marker for the remainder."
The two kids shrugged their shoulders, although both looked uneasy about it. Jack just sat there with a face splitting grin and said "Of course Miss Tea. Go ahead." The lady added her written IOU to the pile and the other men followed with their calls.
"Full House Aces over 8's" Miss Tea Announced
"Beats me" Mumbles announced
"Me as well" Scarhead agreed
"Straight Flush 9 to King" Jack said with an evil grin. "Miss Tea please go and wait in the office so we may discuss your IOU in private after the game."
The lady seemed to shrink several sizes smaller as she got up and walked unsteadily to the office. Candice followed her in and quietly shut the door.
"Well gentlemen, I have business to attend to so lets play one more hand shall we?" Jack suggested
"Of course,"Scarhead replied "however I need to add some more cash to our funds." He reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet, from which he pulled a Black American Express card. "Do you know what this is Jack?"
Jack nodded dumbfounded at the proof of how rich this mark really was. "Those have no limit and must be payed in full at the end of every month! How do you.."
"Thats not important Jack. What is important is that we have taken a liking to this bar of yours, so here is the deal. No betting, you put all you have on the table, including that reprehensible IOU and the deed to this bar. We will match the total value if we lose immediately by going to a bank together in the morning. Deal or not?" Mumbles continued as Scarhead stared quietly at Jack.
Geoffrey just had to say something at this point "Boy..no excuse me Gentlemen, let me see that card please."
"Why?" Scarhead asked
"You expect me to believe that a 17 year old has access to that level of cash, dressed the way you are? Please give me some leeway for intelligence here. If Jack wasn't struck dumb by the thought of the money you are talking about he would be asking the same thing."
"Very well. Here use my cell phone to verify it." Scarhead handed both over, thats when Geoffrey finally figured out why the kid looked so familiar. He looked at the name on the card, blanched and then looked in wonder at the two at the table. The name read Lord HJ Potter. The other one just nodded and in his mind he heard in the voice of Mumbles "Yes troll-kin it is him."
Geoffrey thought back to the voice "But what of You-Know-Who?"
"Where do you think we just came from looking like this! Its all over except the body count." Mumbles replied sadly in his mind
"Jack its real." Geoffrey said quietly
"Aren't you going to call and verify it?"Jack sputtered
"Don't need to I know who this young man is, he has the funds to cover it."
"Whatever, its a deal Scarhead!" Jack said indignantly vowing to himself to fire or have Geoffrey disappeared soon.
The cards were dealt.
Five minutes later it was over. Jack didn't understand how he could have lost. The marks on the cards indicated that he had the winning hand with his four of a kind 7s. He stared numbly at the winning hand laid down by Scarhead and felt his anger growing, four 8's! His hand reached back for his hidden .38 special
"GUN!" Yelled Geoffrey as he started to dive at his former boss.
"STUPEFY!" the red light streaked from Harry's wand and nailed Jack square in the chest and he fell to the floor unconscious.
"Silencio" said Neville pointing at the door to the office "Colloportus!"
"AURORS! DROP YOUR WANDS NOW!" shouted a familiar voice over the popping noise of apparation.
"Hey Kingsley." Harry said as he walked over and kicked the gun away from the fallen man
"Harry! What happened to you?! We have been looking everywhere for you!" Kingsley replied
"Mr Shacklebolt, we were just playing a game of poker when this muggle tried to pull a gun on us for losing." Neville responded "Other than that we were toasting fallen friends and family after a very hard night."
"Alright I will tell Albus and your Grandmother you are alright. Do you need help getting home?" the auror asked
"No we should be fine, and feel free to not tell that old codger anything, oh we will have to Obliviate a few muggles." Harry replied
"Go ahead Harry, you were given permission to do magic earlier this year. I will be sure to tell Neville's gran that you are all ok then." with that the confused auror apparated away.
The rest of the evening happened rather quickly, Geoffrey remembered. The two had obliviated Jack and made him believe that he had been bought out of the bar, he left in the stolen car whose trunk was full of all the illicit drugs and guns. As the man drove away Geoffrey phoned in an anonymous call about a stolen car and guns. Jack was arrested a few hours later and should be out of prison by the time he reaches 70. Miss Tea and Candice were quickly stunned and obliviated and told the same story that they had witnessed Jack sign away the bar after losing in poker. Miss Tea never revealed her real name but was happy to be given her marker for service back without having to pay on it and went home.
While cleaning up after the poker game and fight, Geoffrey asked the new owners what they wanted to do with the place.
"We will clean it up and turn it into a decent night club," Harry started "you both will still be welcome to work here and will still be payed during the reconstruction." Harry yawned, which caused Neville to do the same. "In the meantime,we are closed till further notice, and we need to get home and get some sleep. Its been a really long day."
The two got up and left the bar, Geoffrey watched them turn around a corner and then heard the distinctive pop of apparation.