Just a random one-shot that I made between fics :P
Disclaimer: I do not own neither the Avengers nor Harry Potter. They belong to their respective owners :) I only take credit for le plot!
"Gosh Tony, it was really nice of you to give us a ride. Thanks again, yeah?" Steve said as they all made their way down the steps; exiting Tony's private jet. A sleek black car pulled up before them and Tony ushered them in happily.
"No problem, Spangles. You guys are gonna have fun," he stressed, practically bouncing on his seat. "Hey, maybe it'll even help you loosen up and lose that 'I-lived-in-the-roaring-twenties' thing you have going on." Steve frowned.
"It was the forties, Tony. World War Two was during the forties," he corrected dutifully. The man merely waved a hand in dismissal, "yeah, whatever." Steve pulled a face, and Natasha pat his arm in a somewhat comforting way, shrugging.
"Alright, here's the plan: we go to the hotel, drop off our bags, change if need be," he inclined his head in Natasha's direction; giving a not-so-subtle hint for her to wear something pleasing-to-the-eye, "and then we hit the casino!" Steve held up a hand.
"Wait, for the rest of the night? I think we should at least rest first; maybe tomorr—"
"No. No no no no no, steve. The point is to go now! The night's young and all that jazz." Steve frowned again. He opened his mouth to protest again before he was cut off my Clint.
"Why not? I mean, we're not really that tired, are we?" This was met with murmurs of agreement by most of the other team members. Steve sighed and just let the issue go. The car pulled up right before the entrance to the grand hotel.
"Okay, let's go! Meet down at the casino in thirty," said Tony, and the team proceeded to split off to their individual suites – courtesy of SHIELD. About forty minutes later, they were all gathered at the entrance to the casino and Tony was handing out small bags. "So here's what you get to spend tonight, food and drinks here are free, and... go wild," he smiled. Clint and Natasha took a look inside their bags, smirked and went off to the poker tables together. Tony watched Natasha's tight black dress sway as he pitied whichever table they'd pick. Natasha would have a killer poker face – pun intended. Thor had been 'briefed' by Tony beforehand on the basics of the games offered here and immediately bounded off energetically as usual – towards the slot machines first to try his luck, and also because they amused him with the spinning images. Bruce had glance in his own bag, eyebrows shooting up and shuddered, then slinking off to get a drink. Steve stayed where he was. Watching each of his teammates go, he too took a peek in his bag and was slightly confused to see packets of multi-coloured chips and some large shiny ones. He looked up to see Tony surveying the casino, and walked up to him hesitantly.
"Uh.. Tony?" said man snapped his gaze back to Steve and flashed him a grin.
"Come on Spangles, I'll show you how it's done," Tony beckoned. Although their initial meeting was… unpleasant, to say the least, Tony and Steve's relationship had steadily improved over time and they became more used to one another's behaviour. Obviously their personalities made it easy for them to clash often, but they could always depend on their teammates to sort them out if they ever went out-of-hand. The fact that the Avengers all lived in the Tower only helped speed along the process of the team getting used to one another.
Tony led Steve to one of the easy ones to start off first; the Roulette. Once there, the people parted like the Red Sea once they noticed who exactly was coming up to the table. Tony smirked and worked his charm, Steve following behind a little uncomfortably. He still smiled, albeit slightly sheepishly, at anyone who called him out – being ever the gentleman. As they made it to the head of the table, Tony tugged Steve to lean down as he spoke into Steve's ear, explaining the game. Steve's brow creased in concentration, taking in the simple-enough rules of the game as if devising one of his battle strategies.
Giving a demonstration, Steve nodded firmly at Tony's questioning gaze. The dealer called for any new bets and hesitantly, Steve thought he shouldn't aim too big and merely bet on the Reds. The Roulette spun, and, to his delight, the ball landed in a red pocket. His face split into a proud grin which he directed at Tony like a child showing off to their parent. Tony chuckled, made a sultry joke that caused Steve to flush furiously, and congratulated him.
"Alright, I think you're ready for the next level now," said Tony. Steve looked at him sceptically. Just because he won on a 50/50 chance game did not mean that he was ready for whatever the "next level" was. Tony then slid into the seat next to him, rubbing his hands together somewhat excitedly. "Hey dealer!" he called out, "where you up to?" The dealer, an average sized man with neatly cropped blonde hair glanced up at them, eyes widening in recognition.
`"M-mr. Stark!" he stumbled over his words, "uh, please hold on a moment." Holding up a finger and excusing himself, the poor man practically dashed off into the masses. Not too long after, he returned, meekly following behind another individual in dealers attire. When they arrived, the smaller man flashed a friendly smile. Both Tony and Steve took the chance to size up the new arrival out of habit. He was short and lean, but not in the 'skinny' way, but more in a 'lean yet toned build' way. He had messy black hair which was a note-worthy contrast to his pale skin and wore his uniform in a more casual way compared to his colleague. His most striking feature however, were his bright green eyes. Even in the dimness of the casino, his eyes seemed to shine with great clarity. However, the effect was dampened by what Tony considered to be the most hideous pair of wire-rimmed glasses that should not even still exist in this century.
"Good evening," the voice coming from the said man broke them out of their reverie. "My name is Harry, and I'll be taking over from Josh," Tony raised an amused brow.
"Wow, ouch, I'm wounded," he turned his gaze to the fidgeting man behind 'Harry', "you really don't like me that much?" he asked jokingly. 'Josh' seemed to have taken his comment to heart and immediately began stuttering out apologies and denies to his amusement. He stopped and seemed to almost sigh in relief when Harry raised a hand to calm him.
"Not at all, Mr Stark," 'Harry' butt into the rescue, "it's just that I am usually called to handle cases such as these."
"Cases such as these?" repeated Steve, "what do you mean?" Harry smiled again.
"Oh, it's nothing. Just that I'm used to handling those from the spotlight."
"Handling, you say?" Tony raised a cheeky brow. Harry raised a sceptical one in return, and dismissed Josh, who hurriedly left in relief. Smirking, Harry picked up a new deck from a small compartment attached underneath the desk and began to tear away the plastic wrap. He turned his attention away from the duo Avengers and politely greeted the few other people at the table, announcing that they would be beginning a new game and apologising for any inconvenience. Flipping open the flap, Harry poured the contents of the deck onto his palm and set aside the box in a waste-bin under the table.
"Any requests?" Harry asked lightly, as he flipped through the cards to make sure everything was in order, then holding out the cards in a flourish. He watched as Tony raised his chin, making it so his eyes were gazing down at the cards in a haughty manner.
"How about the uh… the one that's like um.. like this?" Steve's voice cut in just as Tony was opening his mouth. Harry's eyes jumped from Tony to Steve, but he didn't move. He watched in amusement as Steve attempted to demonstrate the shuffle he meant. Nodding, thankfully putting Steve out of his misery, Harry knew what he meant.
"The Hindu Shuffle, then?" Harry said. His left hand grasped the deck firmly; middle finger and thumb holding the bottom half of the deck as his right hand swiftly drew the top half off and dropped it into the cradle of his left palm. The manoeuvre was repeated several times flawlessly, and he smiled seeing Steve's expression of awe and admiration at the skill of which he was smoothly executing the shuffle. Finally content at the shuffle, he placed the deck on the table and distributed the cards. During this, Tony had once again leaned over and explained the game in hushed whispers to Steve – black jack. Harry smothered a laugh at the growing confusion on Steve's face as Tony began to go off into the more intricate details of play. It seemed that Tony too realized his mistake soon after and gave him the simple-set of gameplay rules – to achieve as close of a score to 21 as possible. By this time, the other players were already contemplating their cards with frowns of concentration. Bets were made, and unfortunately, Steve lost.
"Ah, why don't you go ahead Tony," Steve said as Harry collected the cards and spread the winnings, "I think it's better if I just watch." Tony and he got into a little debacle as Tony protested, but Steve won in the end. Tony pouted and Harry smiled at Steve, motioning for him to take a look as he shuffled using a riffle shuffle. Steve was deeply intrigued as he watched Harry halve the deck and released the cards by his thumbs, interleaving the cards as the fell into a make-shift cradle of his hands. After, he lifted the cards up forming a bridge as let the cards fall back into place. Steve praised him, to Harry's embarrassment, for the skilful shuffle. Although his attention was on Steve, Harry had noticed Tony watching his shuffling technique with a piqued interest as well.
They played another round; where Tony won almost too easily. And again. And again. Every round he won made the grin on Tony's face grow more and more. Many people had also started gathering around to watch and some, who thought they were up to it, joined in. After the first win, Harry had watched Tony a little more closely during the game. Knowing just what he was up to.
Shuffling the deck after another round once more, Harry started to deal them out. His fingers tingled as he silently transfigured a card that he slid over to Tony, casting a sort of temporary illusion on the card. He watched as Tony took a peek before quickly watching the other cards.
"You're very good at this game, Mr Stark," he said, making conversation. If Tony was not able to keep up the play with just a slight distraction such as this, there was no point in playing a little trick on him really. Tony looked up, a little surprised. Before this, Harry had hardly ever spoken to any of them at the table, aside from Steve making small talk now and then, unless it was to confirm any of their moves. He gathered himself and flashed a charming smile.
"Well of course; what kind of a genius would I be if I couldn't play a game of blackjack?" he laughed, charisma just about rolling off of him in waves. Harry supressed the urge to roll his eyes at the act being put on. Instead, he shrugged.
"I dunno, the smart enough to cheat kind I guess," he said as if it was completely normal. Tony almost froze. But obviously being as good as him, he didn't but laughed as if Harry had just told the funniest joke in the world.
"Oh yeah? And how am I doing that?" his eyes twinkled with mischief as Harry eyed him with a bored expression.
"Counting," Harry said simply, shrugging as if it didn't matter at all. Tony raised a brow. Steve beside him was now paying close attention. He opened his mouth – no doubt to chastise Tony on cheating – but Tony swiftly held up a hand to silence him.
"Really?" he said slowly. "You don't seem very bothered by that." Harry shrugged again.
"I can stop you if I wanted to," he commented offhandedly. Tony's brows shot up.
"And how, pray tell, do you think you'll do that?" Tony asked. Harry stopped what he was doing and leaned forward a bit, the look on his face resembling a child plotting its attempt to get into the cookie jar.
"What's the count?"
"Excuse me?" Tony said smoothly, not stumbling at all. Harry rolled his eyes.
"The count," he repeated. Tony's eyes narrowed, shifty and taking in the other patrons at the table – none of whom were paying the slightest attention to their whispers.
"Sweet sixteen," Tony whispered seductively at Harry, his eyelids dropping slightly as an alluring expression overtook his face. Harry merely snorted and rolled his eyes again.
"And your cards?" he asked, leaning back and straightening up again. Tony frowned.
"Double tens," he answered slowly. He was extremely suspicious now, especially with the light dancing in Harry's eyes.
"You sure?" Harry drawled almost mockingly. "Maybe you should check again." He had cancelled the illusion right after Tony had glanced at his cards the first time. With eyes narrowed to slits, Tony looked down and his eyes blew wide. A Ten and an Ace. He spluttered, showing a rare moment of speechlessness.
"How?" he finally stuttered out incredulously, staring at Harry who had a smug expression on. His green eyes glanced up to Tony's own chocolate brown; eyes completely serious whilst the rest of his face was still amused.