Luke opens the door and sort of just... peruses what he sees. The way you'd look over a map to a place you might go two weeks from now.
It's picturesque, he thinks. And if it was anyone but Elliot, if Luke was with anyone but him, Luke would probably be sort of a bad person for finding this entertaining. Elliot is standing on the step of the cabin in torrential rain, fist still raised in preparation to knock. He is drenched enough as to have just climbed out of the lake, and he looks absolutely livid. As Luke observes him, lightning flashes and thunder cracks. It complements Elliot's barely controlled rage.
"Uh, no solicitors," is what Luke comes up with, because it is funny. Elliot would think it was funny too if he wasn't the person it was being said to. Elliot slowly lowers his fist, and, funnily enough, it seems even more like he's about to punch somebody this way. Luke steps back and lets him in.
Elliot trudges past him. There is no point hurrying, as he is already as wet as one person is capable of being. His feet audibly squish with each step. Luke told him about those stupid shoes. Who wears shoes made of material like that? No one. And this is why.
"Oh, Elliot," says Serene from across the room. She looks almost amazed. "There you are, we were wondering… What did you do?"
"What did I do?" Elliot repeats furiously. "Ooh, I made the sky do water. What do you mean, what did I do? What did I do," he keeps kvetching to himself as he starts trying to free himself from his sopping wet jumper. He's already sort of uncoordinated as it is, and the jumper is heavy and sticking to him, so it's a pretty good show.
"I'll get you a towel," Serene says. "Or… maybe several towels."
"Maybe all the towels we have," Luke suggests. "In the country."
"Is everyone having a fun time?" Elliot yells into his sweater prison. "God forbid we should not be having a raucous time at Elliot's expense!"
Luke exchanges a look with Serene. Serene's not a laugh-out-loud type of person, but she and Luke are very much enjoying this. How could they not? Serene goes away looking for towels, and Luke looks back at Elliot just in time to see him finally get the jumper off and hurl it to the floor with a loud, comical smack—ohhh, this is a problem. Luke's brain just sort of trips a little, doing that thing where it just… pauses. Luke isn't surprised by that. Elliot's stupid clothes are clinging to him all over and his hair's heavy and stuck all over in dark waves clung in weird places on his head and face, looking controlled somehow, pushed back and to one side. He is coursing with rivulets of rainwater. He is mulish. He is standing in a puddle of his own creation. Luke's hands itch. Luke should probably pick up the jumper or something, but his brain's never worked quite right when it comes to Elliot.
Elliot's trying to pry his shoes off by stepping on his own heels and get his shirt unbuttoned, and he's still ranting to himself about rain slickers or something, but Luke's just watching him and hardly paying attention.
Shortly, though, he notices that Elliot's shivering. "Come here," he says, and takes a handful of his cold sleeve to drag him over next to the fire. Then he scrubs his hand dry on his own leg and kneels to stoke the fire. "Where's your cloak?" he asks. Elliot's just gotten his flannel shirt off and flung it away somewhere, and oh god, no, it's worse now, he's in just a t-shirt that says "who" on it for some reason. Luke can see every plane of his chest and it's bad. He can see the exact slope of Elliot's torso, the shape of his hips and his shoulders. It's all bad. Very bad.
"Oh, that old thing?" Elliot answers viciously, teeth chattering. "I threw it away. I wanted to catch my death of cold! I said, hmm, self, what do I want to do today? Oh I know, I want to pass away from pneumonia!"
"It's a simple question," Luke tells him. And a reasonable one. Where is it?
"I mean it's not like it's impervious to rain anyway," Elliot goes on like Luke didn't say anything. "How has no one brought a raincoat over the wall? Who is it that's failed to invent the umbrella, so I can send them a sternly worded letter! Am I the only person who doesn't enjoy being wretchedly cold all the time? I don't even believe this…" He's still giving this disjointed speech as he struggles with getting his belt undone. It's clinging to itself from the water and his fingers are numb. "Ow," he finally interrupts himself to say, and puts his hands on his face to warm them up a little.
"Oh, just let me," Luke says a little irritably. The scene's gotten a little repetitive and Luke has trouble watching people struggle with things. He drops the fire poker and shuffles over on his knees to undo the idiot's belt for him. Unlike Elliot, Luke wears a cloak when it's rainy out, and also his fingers work.
"You're getting good at that," Elliot comments, and his tone's changed. Luke looks up at him. He no longer looks like he is about to murder someone. On the contrary, he seems a little amused, and Luke reassesses what he's doing.
Luke is not amused. He scowls up at Elliot. "Don't mock me when I'm helping you," he says.
"This isn't mockery, it's genuine praise," Elliot says, reaching up to wring out a handful of his hair. "You've come a long way. Practice makes perfect."
Ears burning, Luke rolls his eyes, and then he hears Serene say, "Oh! Sorry."
Luke twists around quickly enough to feel a twinge in his neck. She's standing in the doorway, holding two towels and smirking a little. As much as Serene smirks. "No!" Luke says frantically. "It's not—it's not what it looks like!"
"It's not?" asks Serene.
"It's not!" says Luke.
"It's really not," says Elliot. The rage is gone. He's smiling. "I understand that at first glance it appears that Luke is preparing to perform fellatio on—"
"Stop it," Luke snaps, stumbling to his feet. "God, you're the—quit laughing at me, I don't know why I bother helping you at all—"
"Neither do I, actually," Elliot comments, and then he peels the t-shirt over his head.
Ah. That is why. Luke uses the momentum of his anger to bury his face in his hands so that he can't look at Elliot's wet musculature or make eye contact with Serene.
"Thank you," he hears Elliot say, and peeks through his fingers to watch Elliot take the towels from Serene. "Probably both of these will go to my hair alone… Ah, god." Cautiously, Luke lowers one hand. "Thank you for the towels and for making fun of Luke, Serene," Elliot says. "Now go away." He takes the first towel and immediately puts it on his head.
"I wasn't making fun of him," Serene says as she goes back down the hall. Quietly, Luke hears her add, "But you're welcome."
After he gets a whole towel completely wet from his hair, Elliot goes at his jeans with still-shaking hands. His hair is still dripping. Luke's just watched him use an entire towel on it and it's still dripping. Luke is almost impressed by how dangerous Elliot's hair is. It's like it's keeping a secret reservoir somewhere in there. Honestly, if there were things hidden in Elliot's hair, Luke's not sure he would discover them for a while. Suddenly Elliot hisses with pain, and Luke sees him abandon his jeans effort as well. He reaches out to put his hands closer to the fire. "Why do fingers quit working when it's cold?" he's grousing. "Shouldn't that be when you need your fingers to work the most? Who designed this system?"
Luke is going to help him again. He doesn't deserve it, but Luke's going to do it again because he's a glutton for punishment and for Elliot, which are sometimes interchangeable. "Are you going to ridicule me again?" Luke asks, still annoyed as he somewhat roughly grabs Elliot by a belt loop and jerks him closer.
"Um, probably," says Elliot, stumbling. "It's… what I do, you know. I've not misrepresented myself… in any way."
He sounds weird. Luke finishes undoing his ridiculous jeans—he will say this and this alone, they are easy to get open—and looks suspiciously up. Elliot is still very wet, even his eyelashes are all dark and clinging together. He's watching Luke's hands. When Luke lets go of him, he looks up and meets his eyes, and Luke wonders if Elliot's brain ever trips up like his does. He watches things with interest sometimes, but nothing ever seems to stop his train of thought. Elliot's not really the type to have a mental malfunction, but all the same, here he is, leaning in and kissing Luke as if this entire situation was contrived as a form of bizarre, atmospheric foreplay. And there Luke is, letting it happen, obviously. He's a sap. Elliot is imperious and intense and his lips are cold and so are his fingers, and he shudders into Luke's chest.
"Oh," he says next, and pushes Luke off himself a little. "Now look what I've done, that's unfortunate…" He doesn't sound like he considers this to be a misfortune, and also, Luke has no idea what he's talking about. "Your clothes are ruined. What a mess."
Luke looks down and, right, Elliot's completely drenched and now Luke's clothes are all wet and clinging in the front. "Ah, what—oh, of course." He's soaked to the skin, how could that have happened in just a few seconds? It's been just a few seconds. Luke thinks. Thunder rolls again, and Elliot hums thoughtfully to himself, sort of tracing where Luke's shirt is wet and basically see-through with one finger. Luke is being objectified. He chooses for a moment to stand there and continue to be objectified. Then he knocks Elliot's hand away and pulls the shirt away from his skin a little, grimacing.
"I'm very cold," Elliot admits. It doesn't completely seem like an admission. It does a little bit, but it also sounds like an offering, one Luke knows implicitly that if allowed, he will accept without consideration. "Will you find someplace we can be alone," he goes on, overacting demure like some kind of elven damsel, "and help me warm up?"
"No," Luke says, which Elliot finds to be a delightful response. "I won't. Warm yourself up."
"All right," Elliot says contentedly, voice still on the edge of a laugh, and he pushes off Luke's arm and goes to where he threw the jumper on the floor. He picks it up and starts to wring it all out onto the floor.
"Elliot," complains Luke, "honestly," and Elliot smiles brightly as he continues to do it. "You can't just go around leaving water and wreckage everywhere you go."
"Yes I can," says Elliot from the gigantic puddle he's just made.
"Can!" Elliot returns to the fire. "I can and I did and I will continue doing so."
"You should at least clean it up."
"You should change your clothes," Elliot advises as he lays the jumper over the fireplace screen. "You'll catch a chill and I'm terrible at nursing people back to health. I never nurse people back to health and I can't start now. Old dogs and tricks and whatever."
Luke is completely and utterly lost, he never knows what Elliot's talking about. He doesn't know where dogs came into this equation. And Elliot doesn't explain himself half the time. Even now he seems pleased by Luke's empty glower.
Then, thunder crashes directly overhead, and Luke is pleased by Elliot's instinctive flinch. "That's it for me," Elliot says bitterly, "I need this horrid day to end," and he selects the yet-neglected second towel and leaves a trail of wet footprints down the hall to a bedroom. As he disappears into the darkness, Luke sees him reach up and scrub his fingers in his hair to try and fluff it dry a little. It doesn't do much but scatter yet more water around.
Luke looks over at the jumper, and recognises it as one of Dad's. Blue and white, with buttons. Elliot likes the ones with buttons. This is the only article of clothing Elliot seemed to value enough to place by the fire to dry. Down the hall, Luke hears him bump into something and swear.
Luke picks up the t-shirt and the ugly flannel and puts these over the screen as well. Screw the shoes. Then he follows the trail of puddles down the hall to the bedroom.