The overhead light flickered through the haze of cigar smoke, which hung in a heavy wreath around the table.
"Alright." Gabriel returned to the baize-covered table, the flutter of wings briefly disturbing the cigar smog. "I'm back. Deal me in."
"All quiet on the western front?" Crowley shot a snide grin over the deck of cards he was shuffling. Gabriel scowled as Balthazar set a beer down in front of his brother.
"Damn Winchesters and their trouble-making." Gabriel rolled his eyes, settling back in the chair as the poker game resumed play.
"Trouble-making?" Balthazar laughed. "And here I had assumed you were just going to relieve some tension with your new stress toy."
"I don't know what you mean." Gabriel picked up his cards, accepting the cigar Crowley offered him. He didn't usually have much time for Demons, but Crowley made for a good poker buddy. Balthazar, however, would soon get dropped if he wasn't careful.
Preferably, off of something very tall.
"No point trying to hide it, Gabey dear." Crowley chuckled, turning his attention to his own cards. "We all know you're cutting yourself off a slice of Moose pie."
"Yeah well, he may look like a moose, but he's hung like a…"
"And thank you for those nightmares." Balthazar scowled at Gabriel. Gabriel just threw a smug grin straight back at him.
"What's the matter, Balthy? Someone feeling left out because he doesn't have a hunter of his very own?"
"The thought of your interspecies relations inspire many things in me, Gabriel. Jealousy is not one of them. Nausea, on the other hand…"
"As sparkling and witty as this dialogue is…" Crowley sighed, settling back in his chair. "Can we start play at some point this century?"
"I'm in for twenty." Balthazar threw his chips into the centre of the table, settling into his chair as he tried incredibly hard to be casual.
"I'll see that." Gabriel matched him, taking a swig from his beer.
"See it." Crowley threw his chips into the centre as well, taking a brief glance at his cards. "And I will raise. Anyone had any more thoughts about finding some new blood?"
"Ugh." Balthazar mumbled as he matched Crowley's raise. "I think Gabriel and I are the only angels around with a taste for poker. They're all either hung up on the sin of gambling, or just too damn psychotic."
"And then there's Castiel." Gabriel nodded, matching the bet. "I highly doubt he'd be much good in a poker game without Dean holding his hand and telling him that bluffing isn't like lying. Why those two can't just get it on and get over it…"
"Now." Crowley upped the bet again, grinning around his cigar. "Dean Winchester. There's a hunter I could understand someone getting involved with."
"Ugh, no." Balthazar shook his head, putting his cards down on the table. "Fold. Although, Dean is an interesting sort. On the one hand, I do like them with daddy issues, but on the other… who has the time for that narcissistic neurotic thing he's got going on?"
"Wouldn't screw him, wouldn't play with him." Gabriel matched Crowley's bet, checked his cards, and raised. "Raise you ten. Well… you know, I'd play with him, but not poker."
Crowley raised an eyebrow at Gabriel. Gabriel just smiled.
"T.V. land, the Mystery Spot… Dean was one of my favourite dolls."
Crowley chuckled, throwing chips into the middle of the table.
"Raise you twenty. It's a shame dear old Bobby despises me so; he'd probably make for a decent fourth."
"I don't know." Balthazar swigged at his beer, watching Gabriel deliberate. "Robert Singer has a lot of emotional baggage, and he's probably worse at dealing with it than the Winchesters, if such a thing is possible."
"We've all got baggage, Balthazar, the point's irrelevant." Gabriel swigged from his beer. "This is a poker game, not a book club. I'll talk to Bobby, see what he says… Crowley, anyone in your social circle worth bothering with?"
"Please." Crowley puffed on his cigar, closing his eyes. "I wouldn't trust any of them to stay alive long enough to complete a game. Of course, a lot of them die due to one of us killing them, but still..."
"Shame… Although, I wouldn't invite any of the pagans to play with us, either. I mean, you know, the ones who are still alive and still talk to me are ok, but I wouldn't seek out reasons to spend more time with them." Gabriel grimaced. "Not unless I could guarantee they'd lose every time."
"Which you could." Crowley smiled. "If we chose to revoke that nasty little 'no powers' rule…"
"Yeah, right." Gabriel laughed, puffing on his cigar. "I think we all know who would come off the worst if we repealed that rule. Here's a hint; he doesn't have wings, but he does piss me off."
"Damn…. Who do we know?" Balthazar sighed. "Goes without saying that Sam can't join us, not now you two will be making soppy eyes at each other the whole time."
"Bite me, bro." Gabriel saw Crowley's bet, and glared across the table at the demon. "Come on. Whatcha got?"
"Four of a kind. Ironically." Crowley flashed Gabriel a shark-like smile, reaching for the chips. Gabriel sighed.
"Damn. All that excitement… guess you got me a little flushed." He spread his cards on the table, revealing a royal flush. Crowley practically snarled as Gabriel slapped the demon's hands away from the chips.
"Mine, I think." He laughed in the demon's face, before scooping the chips to his place. "I don't know boys; maybe we don't need any new blood."
"I certainly can't think of anyone who wouldn't ruin the game one way or another." Balthazar sighed, giving his cards back to Crowley, who began shuffling the deck.
"Where did Oscar Wilde end up?" Crowley looked from one angel to the other. "Do you think you could sneak him out for a couple of hours a week?"
"Probably not." Balthazar sighed. "Although I know for a fact he's getting very bored of being in his eternal paradise. Says there's no fun in it any more."
"Well, put him on the 'maybe' list." Gabriel shrugged, sorting his newly acquired chips into stacks. "We used to get on quite well, back in the day."
"Just as long as no one mentions handbags." Crowley sniffed as he finished shuffling the deck.
"Hey, there's a thought." Balthazar smiled. "I'm sure there's a few bored souls up in heaven who wouldn't mind a game or two…"
"I'd offer a similar service." Crowley sighed as he began to deal. "But we deal much less in the concept of 'hospitality' than you feathered fools."
"Well, Balthazar, you can always look out for…" Gabriel stopped mid-sentence, a curious frown on his features. He seemed to be listening intently for a moment, before sighing dramatically and standing up once more.
"Winchesters?" Crowley smirked, watching Gabriel quickly count his chips.
"Can't leave the silly S. alone for five minutes without one of them getting impaled or selling bits of themselves… Don't touch my chips, or my beer. Don't make me go archangel on you."
Gabriel disappeared with a flutter of wings, cigar smoke hurrying to pool in the newly available space. Crowley leant back in his chair, setting the deck of cards down in the middle of the table.
"Odds are still at two to one it's the Moose mating call." Crowley grinned at Balthazar. "Willing to go double or quits?"
Balthazar just sat back and drank his beer. He wasn't sure he could think of anyone else he'd want to expose to their poker nights.