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Christmas Reunion

by Alex Collins

Author Notes: Some may recall this story as a bonus on the Yahoo!Group. Is it canon? Who knows?

Tuesday, December 24th, 1985.

Lily ran a hand over her dragon hide holster. She'd been assured that she would have no need of her wand, but seeing Las Vegas now, it was a reassurance. Pictures just didn't do Las Vegas justice, really. You had to be there to get into the presence of it and now that Lily was immersed in said presence, she needed that reassurance. Running a hand through her hair, Lily entered Binion's Horseshoe.

Binion's Horseshoe was over thirty-four years old, opened in 1951 by Benny Binion as an almagation of the Eldorado Club and the Apache Hotel. It was strictly a gambling casino, which was made obvious by the high table limits, which would ultimately be raised to ten thousand dollars. It was also an egalitarian casino: Benny believed that small-time gamblers and big-time gamblers should receive the same comps—complimentary items given out to encourage gambling. Over the years, it had changed owners, but ultimately came back into the control of the Binion family. In 1970, the first World Series of Poker was hosted at Binion's Horseshoe and was won by Johnny Moss, who won it again in 1971. From there, the World Series of Poker had grown, as had the fame and reach of Binion's.

Looking around, Lily bit her lip, aware of the fact that her purse contained around two hundred dollars—not even enough for one bet. She wasn't opposed to betting, but had not planned on it and didn't know what Hestia had planned, either. How was she to find Hestia in here? As expected, Binion's was full of people, enough to make finding a specific person difficult.

"I don't even know what name she's using," Lily said to herself, winding her way over to the bar.

"What'll it be?" the bartender said to her.

"Orange juice," Lily said. "And advice. I got a letter from an old school friend to meet here. Her name's Hestia."

The bartender slid the drink over to Lily, waving off the money.

"Lily!"

Lily spun around and almost didn't recognise Hestia at first, but as she looked at her old friend, she could see that for all the changes, Hestia remained the same in essence. Her clothes were of higher quality, yet still simplistic, her hair much longer but still kept in the half loose, half pinned up style...

"You got a tattoo?!" Lily said, looking at the five spread cards on Hestia's cheek—two of Diamonds, two of Spades, three of Spades, three of Clubs, three of Diamonds.

"Well, it's not a permanent one," Hestia said. "I change it every time I've won one of the competitions. The idea is to one day get a royal flush. Come on, Lils, I've got a game going. You've got amazing timing; if you'd just come five minutes earlier I wouldn't have started it."

Lily followed Hestia, taking a seat at the table indicated, giving the other four players a brief glance over.

"Mind if she joins in?" Hestia said. "I'll have to stake her, though."

The four players looked at Lily and then back at Hestia. "Two hundred," one said.

Hestia looked at her chips, then pushed several stacks over to Lily and then flipped several chips to each of the four players, who took them without comment.

"This sharing chips isn't strictly legal," Hestia said to Lily, "but I'm well known here and they've all gotten money out of it, so they'll let it pass. Besides, you could never play poker to save your life, so I just lost almost three million dollars."

One of the players snorted. "You staked her one and a half million. You're going to win that back within the week, maybe even in this game. Let's play."


The kindest thing that could be said about Lily's ability to play poker was that she was good at a certain aspect of it—making other people rich. Unlike so many other people, Lily could admit this fact. She would have preferred to not be involved in the game; she didn't feel right losing all of Hestia's money, but it was such a useful look into Hestia's life.

Hestia was so comfortable here, Lily saw. She took the spirited comments and the lewd innuendo from everyone and returned it with ease, often with a familiarity that surprised Lily—Hestia had not been shy during their Hogwarts years, but she had been reserved. Lily was the only one she'd ever really opened up with. But the way she played cards hadn't changed. As Lily watched Hestia's fluid motions and snap decisons, she felt a peace came over her, interlaced with the familiar irritation at Hestia's blank visage.

Lily had never liked how Hestia was inscrutable when it came to poker. The ability to interpret tells and to uderstand what your opponent would do in situations was very valuable in poker, but Hestia gave out nothing to make that ability work for her opponents. Lily had lost too many games to Hestia during Hogwarts because of this.

Lily bit her lip and threw down her cards. "I'm out," she said, indicating her lack of chips.

"You sucked in school and you suck now," Hestia said. "Don't know why I thought it'd be any different."

Lily blushed and looked away. "Poker isn't what I'm good at," she said, realising too late the opening left to Hestia. She did not take it however, for which Lily thanked Merlin. Leaving Hestia to her game, Lily went to get another drink and soon found herself in conversation with some people, all of whom knew Hestia and were curious about her school days.

With a smile and a toss of her hair, Lily redirected the conversation to Hestia nowadays, but found out nothing more than what was already known: Hestia was well known as a poker player around these parts. The conversation wandered off into other topics and when Hestia came to find Lily, she heard the tail end of a comment about Lily's pizzeria.

"You run a pizza place?" Hestia said. "Like your dad's place?"

"Yeah," Lily said, following Hestia. "I don't imagine you have your own place?"

"Not like you're thinking of," Hestia said. "You'll see, though."


Hestia eyed Lily with a fond smile. "Don't be too awed, dear. It's nothing much."

"This hotel uses the top floor as the penthouse suite, divided into four penthouse wings, each with a private elevator for one thousand dollars per night," said Lily, stepping out of the elevator. "You call that 'nothing much'?"

"Love, my Gringotts interest and my Muggle interest cover this place," Hestia said. "I've got more money than I know what to do with."

Lily kicked off her heels, sinking into the bed. "Why, Hestia?"

Hestia joined her, not bothering to pretend she didn't understand. "I'm happy here. It was never about the money, you know that. I just needed something I could do, something that wouldn't drain my Gringotts account. So I came here, worked, saved money and played poker, won money, played poker..."

"So here you are."

"Here I am," Hestia said. She ran a hand over Lily's side. "And here you are."

Lily shivered under Hestia's touch, arching into the fingers. "We can't... it was okay in school, but..."

Hestia leaned down and kissed Lily's soft lips, quelling the automatic protests and smiled as Lily responded. Her fingers trailed over the well remembered curves of her oldest friend before she pulled away.

"Come on, Lily love," Hestia said, a quick wave of her wand causing her clothes to fall off. "Join me."

Hestia settled into the bed, not bothering to cover her nakedness. With eyes filled with desire, Lily stripped her clothes off and joined Hestia, her fingers sliding southward...


Wednesday, December 25th, 1985.

Hestia was not at all surprised when she woke to find Lily gone. To find her still present during school had been the exception rather than the rule. She rolled over, her hand hitting something in the bed. Curious, she sat up and retrieved the object—a deck of cards. Hestia flipped one over, looking at the design.

A pillow, red and black hair entangled together, with white lily petals scattered over the flowing hair.

Satisfied, Hestia placed the cards on the table and closed her eyes. It was Christmas morning, but for now, she just wanted to remember.

Author Notes: Hope you enjoyed and please, review. There's a link at top to the Yahoo!Group.
Dangerverse belongs to Anne Walsh, who based it off Harry Potter, belonging to JK Rowling.
Power Rangers belongs to Disney, so far as I know.
Discworld belongs to Terry Pratchett.
Anything else belongs to Alex Collins.
Layout modelled after the Fanfic Authors layout, but was coded by Alex Collins. © 2009, all rights reversed.