Word Count: 980
Prompt: genfic_minis round 5: minor male characters. snickfic requested Ethan with Anya, too high a price, and something mystical.
Characters: Ethan Rayne, Anyanka, Halfrek, The Host
Summary: Ethan celebrates his latest success on the Hellmouth, after Band Candy and before The Wish.
Ethan eyed the two lovelies in the booth near the stage. They’d been sneaking looks at him for a while, so he did what any fellow would do who’d just had a very satisfactory payday: he asked Ramón to send over a couple of fruity drinks. He still had a box of the enchanted chocolate with him and although candy would undoubtedly be quicker in this case, he opted to go with the more traditional liquor method. When the drinks arrived at their table, he shot them his most charming roguish grin. The women immediately put their heads together in some mysterious feminine negotiation. Nodding at each other, they turned to him with inviting smiles.
“Once more unto the breach,” he murmured before ambling over to join them. He so hoped he wouldn’t be bored.
“Ladies, I hope you won’t mind if I join you.” It wasn’t a question, really, but they assented anyway.
He slid onto the bench opposite them, and took stock. One was a curvy, apple-cheeked beauty with dark curly hair, lush lips, and ample bust. The other seemed younger, elegant and fine-boned, with an inquisitive sparkle in her eye. The curly-haired one took charge, as Ethan was sure she would.
“We were hoping you might be able to help us with a little professional disagreement,” she said.
“I’m wounded. Whatever gave you the idea that I might be in any way ‘professional’? Unless… Pray, just what ‘profession’ is under discussion?” He smirked as they giggled, the curly-headed one slapping his wrist lightly before clarifying.
“Naughty. We’re both therapists of a sort, though we have different areas of expertise.”
The younger one jumped in. “Yes. Halfrek works with families and children…” she said with a nod at her friend.
“While Anyanka specializes in couples counseling,” finished Halfrek. They beamed at one another.
“We have this on-going argument — well discussion really — about who damages people most: their inevitably lacking parents or their ultimately disappointing lovers,” explained Anyanka.
“So, we like to take an informal poll when we meet people. It breaks the ice, gets the juices flowing. Are you in?” asked Halfrek.
“A gentleman never tattles, darling,” he said. Halfrek pouted prettily. “But then, nobody ever accused me of being a gentleman, so we should be perfectly safe.” He leaned back into the booth cushions and made himself comfortable.
“Okay,” began Anyanka. “If you had the power to turn just one person who had done you wrong into a Fyarl…”
“Who would it be?” asked Halfrek. She and Anyanka clinked their glasses together and settled back, watching him expectantly.
“Oh, tricky. Well, I certainly wouldn’t waste a prank like that on dear old Pater. He’s been drooling into his porridge for years, so turning him into a Fyarl would only frighten the nurses.”
Halfrek looked unaccountably disappointed.
“Parents certainly have more time in which to ruin their offspring, so if we were awarding for the marathon, Mumsy Dearest would take the prize. That’s no small consideration.” He paused to take a drink and squinted thoughtfully. “But then, simply everyone’s parents manage to get their licks in, so it’s not terribly unique, is it? There’s something generic about blaming them for one’s disappointments.”
Halfrek seemed almost affronted by this.
“With lovers, the rejection always comes across as intensely personal, doesn’t it?” he mused.
Anyanka nodded vigorously.
“But,” he said with a wink, “when there have been so very many of them, how would one begin to choose?”
Anyanka slumped a little. Before he could tease her for her disappointment, the Host took the stage. He was resplendent in a yellow suit with red piping that matched his eyes and horns. Ethan wondered if his purported psychic readings were as spectacular as his wardrobe.
“All right, everybody put those powder puffs away, because the break is over! We’ve got a plum pudding from the Misty Isles coming up next. Ladies, keep your knickers on; gents, start your engines; all others, prepare to be dunked in the tea and honey tones of Ethan the Mage!”
Ethan quickly convinced his charming companions to join him onstage for his own rendition of “Walk on the Wild Side”, tailored for a crowd who could enjoy the references to various mystic superstars of questionable morality. At the chorus, he purred, “And the demon girls say…”
“Doo da doo da doo, doo doo doo, doo da doo da doo…” crooned the women, hips swaying back and forth.
It was a good thing the Host had cautioned against panty-throwing, or they might never have made it back to the table afterward. Merle the Not-so-Mysterious squawked out a thin version of “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” as Ethan promised to get fresh drinks. He found the Host by the bar.
The demon leaned in confidentially. “First of all, it’s a pleasure to have someone in Caritas that can pull off a little ditty like that one. You’re welcome back anytime. But I kinda hope I don’t see you in here again, because there’s a strong indication that it’s time for you to head to the homeland. Retrench. Enjoy your ill-gotten gains and live to a ripe old mischievous age. You’re nursing a grudge about victories cut short, but so far they’ve still been victories. Just know that if you try for payback or another big score in the same wading pool, next time…you’re gonna drown.”
Ethan pondered that and pleasantly thanked the demon. Such an earnest fellow…
When Ethan awoke in his hotel room the next afternoon, his delightful companions had gone. But they’d left behind a small vial and a note.
Very satisfactory encounter. Please accept this gift in the spirit of academic inquiry. Contents good for one Fyarl transformation. Use according to your wish. Or not. Expires 12-1-2998.
Caution: Stay clear of mucus.
Anyanka and Halfrek
No, he hadn’t been bored.
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