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Knullrufs

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The only thing louder than the fire alarm is Walter Pole’s pyjamas. Red and gold with a pattern of Chinese dragons: Grant’s eyes may never recover. It’s always the ones you least suspect.

At least Walter’s got pyjamas, the lucky sod. Grant shivers, wishing he’d grabbed something warmer than his discarded t-shirt and boxers before staggering down three flights of stairs to stand around in the cold. Jonathan’s done rather better, though Grant’s dressing-gown is a bit short on him.

If only they’d been at Jonathan’s they could still be in bed now, lazily kissing and cuddling and drifting towards round two. This would happen the first time Jonathan stays over in Grant’s room for a change. The new alarm system’s liable to be triggered by anything from toast to hairspray, or – on one memorable recent occasion – someone taking an unusually long and steamy shower.

William doesn’t look remotely abashed, so maybe it’s not his fault this time. But then he didn’t look remotely abashed after the shower incident either. Too busy enjoying the attention, like the shameless exhibitionist he is. He catches sight of Grant and starts pointing and giggling.

“What?” Grant snaps.

“Your hair,” William splutters.

Where he gets off mocking Grant, when he’s wearing nothing but a pair of Arthur’s boxer shorts (once seen, never forgotten), Grant doesn’t know. Arthur isn’t even here. Things between those two must be getting more serious than he thought.

“Fuck off, William.”

“It’s true,” Jonathan says, smirking, “you have knullrufs.”

“You what?”

“Bed hair,” Jonathan says. “It’s Swedish.”

Of course it is. Grant’s not going to give him the satisfaction of asking how he knows.

“Knullrufs yourself,” he retorts.

“Doesn’t show on me,” Jonathan says.

“Yeah, keep telling yourself that,” Grant says. Jonathan looks like he’s been pulled through a hedge backwards.

“It’s a good look on you,” Jonathan says, with the smugness of an artist admiring his handiwork.

Christ. Better not think about how it got that way, if Grant doesn’t want to embarrass himself in front of half of Medsoc. He wouldn’t have thought it was possible to get an erection outdoors in this weather, but he’s dangerously close to it.

“All right, ladies and gentlemen,” the Head Porter announces wearily as the alarm shuts off, “you can go back to bed now.”

Thank fuck for that. Grant pushes his hands through his hair in a vain attempt to flatten it. He sticks his tongue out at William for laughing at him again.

Jonathan tugs at his sleeve. “Come on, Grant, you heard what the man said.”

A warm bed and Jonathan Strange doing everything he knows to make him a tousled sweating mess… Grant doesn’t need asking twice.