Especially for you [info]rayne_y_daze. I know you love your Ethan.

Snorting Lizards


It had been a trying week.

The rooms Giles and Ethan had rented during their fourth year at Oxford had been resounding with skull rending sneezes.

Ethan was sick and he wasn’t taking it well.

His friend and companion in hijinks didn’t catch the usual colds and flus that afflicted everyone else in Britain’s damp climate, some benefit to the immune system of his magical powers, Giles supposed. He was a red sash maj, one of the youngest in the order, and by this time, much more adept than he’d ever be.

So he didn’t do illness well. In fact, he was a royal pain in the arse.

“Ripperrrr. Ripperrrr.”

Somehow Ethan combined wheedling and hoarseness in a sound that made the hair on the back of Giles’ neck prickle with the urge to smother him with a pillow. Putting his book aside, he rose and went to see what was wanted, rigorously restraining his murderous impulses. Ethan had acquired an entire sick ward of medical supplies around him. Tissues, cough medicine, vaporizer, lucosade, a bunch of grapes he’d insisted Giles go out into the cold night air of Oxford to acquire even though he knew the green grocers must all be closed. Giles got lucky though, and found a wilting, raisiny bunch in a petrol station shop. By that time he could have cared less whether they were edible or not. Ethan would have his bloody grapes even if Giles had to insert them somewhere awkward one by one.

“What do you want now?” Giles was aware that he sounded churlish, but was beyond caring.

“Fluff up my pillows, would you? There’s a dear.” Ethan’s face wore an expression halfway between limpid hope and entitlement. Giles stood there, carefully monitoring the image rising in his imagination—the pillow, Ethan’s shocked face, the muffled shouts, the thrashing of limbs, the limp aftermath.

No. He must not.

The second night had been the worst. Ethan’s temperature had spiked and he tossed in delirium, his skin damp. When Giles heard the sounds coming from the bedroom, he rushed in to find a scene of unimaginable chaos. The air was filled with unearthly sounds—ethereal singing, low chanting thrumming underneath, fragments of spells in luminous colours curling around each other like floating seaweed, monstrous faces that loomed and receded, and oddly, images of Ethan going about his everyday life—posting a letter, hovering over the cheese display at Tescos, torn between edam and gruyere. With a start, Giles saw his own face floating in the air, contorted in pain or—oh God--in ecstasy, the way he must look as they both reached the climax of their lovemaking. He was going to be off sex for weeks with that picture in his mind.

He strode over to the bed and gripped Ethan by the shoulders, speaking to him quietly and intently.

“Ethan, Ethan. You’ve got a fever. You’re home in your own bed. Safe with me.” And he’d held him until the struggles ceased and his lover fell into an exhausted slumber.

After that, Ethan improved day by day. He was still shaken by nasal eruptions, often exploding magic out his nostrils and mouth. After one extravagant fit of sneezing, frogs rained from the ceiling. It took Giles nearly an hour, wielding a brush and pan to get them all swept up. Little buggers kept hopping away ahead of the bristles and even when he had them in the dustpan, they’d leap over the sides, ribbeting mockingly as they lurched off. Luckily, just as Giles was ready to give up, another sneeze reversed the spell and they all blinked out in bursts of green sparkles. One adventurous little tree frog though, eluded capture. Perhaps it preferred the dubious pleasures of a shabby lodging house to other more occult environs, but they would hear it at night, filling the bedroom with its chirping call. How such a small creature could generate so much volume was a mystery to both of them. They named it Thor.

On the fourth day, Ethan snorted a lizard. Bad tempered creature, a needle toothed little reptile that shot out of Ethan’s nose and hovered on tiny wings, head darting from side to side as it fixed them in a yellow-eyed stare. Its chilly gaze flicked over Ethan and fixed on Giles with murderous intent. He just barely got to the door ahead of it, slamming it shut before leaning against the other side, listening to the furious chittering and the scrape of claws on the wooden surface. Ethan was on his own with this one. Good luck to him.

Ever after that, whenever either of them got a cold, they referred to it as snorting lizards. Years later in a country far away, Xander had looked at him in quizzical confusion when Giles explained why he’d been off work for several days. He’d tried to cover up by muttering “exhorting wizards”, no more enlightening, but the best he could come up with under Xander’s deepening frown. The boy had left shortly after, shaking his head at the strangeness of those Brits.

The week finally ended with a call from the depths of the sick room. The hoarseness was gone, leaving the high-pitched wheedle in isolated, infuriating splendour. Giles sighed deeply and opened the door, fixing a patient expression on his face.

“Rupert. Sweetness. I’m hungry.”

“What would you like?” Giles heard his own words enunciated so tightly coins would bounce.

“I think I could just manage a soft boiled egg and perhaps a blow job. What do you say, Ripper? Please?” His face couldn’t have looked more winsome, in a horrible kind of way with the reddened nostrils and chapped lips.

Giles stared at him in disbelief.

“You want what?” Coins. Bounce.

“Well, maybe just the egg then.” Ethan had the grace to look apologetic.


Giles turned to go.

“And maybe some toast? Bacon. No, no, a bacon buttie. I’d murder a ....”

Giles didn’t hear the rest of the breakfast order as he closed the door behind him. He’d bloody well get whatever was easiest. He walked toward the stove and unhooked a frying pan from the wall.

Chaos mages. Can’t live with them. And right now, highly likely one could live without them. Bloody Ethan.

The End

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