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After it was all over, they went to Fillory. Quentin, Eliot, and Margo all slept in one big bed together for the first week. Then she retreated back to her bedroom to give the other two some privacy, but Eliot still spent half his nights with her.

That was fine with Quentin. He didn’t mind his own space. He and Eliot were still feeling out their new relationship status. There had been a lot of holding, and tender touching, and whispered confessions. And tears, too. They were being gentle with each other. They both had a lot to recover from.

After a few weeks went by, they were inevitably drawn more into the whirl of palace life. At the moment there was a delegation from the south visiting for a trade summit or something, and Margo was making half her staff’s lives miserable over it. The last night of the visit there was a big party throughout the main level of the palace. People and talking animals roamed everywhere, dressed in sumptuous fabrics, eating, drinking, talking, and laughing.

Naturally Eliot was among them, dressed in a complicated three-piece suit with a long, full coat made of some shimmering gold brocade. He looked perfectly at home among the glittering crowd, holding court as if he were still High King, or as if he still ruled the physical cottage with an iron martini shaker.

Quentin felt far more out of place, but he was used to feeling that way at parties. He’d become overwhelmed by the crowd and the heat and had retreated to a side room for a bit. He knew Eliot would understand. When he returned, however, he saw Eliot seated on a chaise, laughing at something being said to him by a man sitting on the arm of the sofa. The man was muscular and handsome, and Quentin sucked in a breath when Eliot’s hand came to casually rest on his thigh. A hot, fierce anger dropped into his belly. It left him almost dizzy. It had been a long time since he’d felt jealousy over Eliot. For so long his main concern had been whether he lived or died. And before that, the bitter thought that he didn’t return Quentin’s feelings.

It felt like decades since he’d seen Eliot at this kind of gathering, flirting with whoever took his fancy. He fought against the impulse of anger. He’d never thought of himself as a particularly jealous person. He and Eliot had always had somewhat fluid boundaries and they hadn’t gotten around to having any conversations about this since Eliot was freed. Quentin told himself that he couldn’t take Eliot’s flirting seriously, and it’d be foolish to try. Still, he stared at his lover from across the room, eyes feeling magnetically drawn to the places Eliot and the other man touched.

As he finished laughing, Eliot lifted his gaze and spotted Quentin. He raised a hand in greeting and then stilled, hand in the air. He must have seen something on Quentin’s face because he frowned and sent him a questioning look. Quentin tried to smile genially, but evidently failed. Eliot stood with barely a word to his companion, who shot frustrated looks at his back as he walked away.

“Q?” he asked when he drew near enough. “Everything okay?” He reached out and captured Quentin’s hand which instantly dissipated any lingering traces of doubt from his heart.

“Yeah,” he replied, leaning in close. “I just...any way we could...get out of here?” He tried to give his last words a playful innuendo. Whether he was any good at it, the point seemed to make it to Eliot, because his eyes lit.

“Of course, darling, if you want. Feeling tired?” He didn’t quite wink as he said the last two words, but it was there in the teasing lilt of his voice.

Quentin was filled with a rush of love and desire for him. He brought his lips close to his ear. “I want you,” he murmured lowly. He watched Eliot’s eyes widen and grow darker. Then he actually licked his lips in a way that Quentin knew he could never get away with.

They made their way through the hallways and up the stairs to their bedroom. Eliot’s room, in truth, but they’d both taken to calling it theirs in the last weeks. It still gave Quentin a little thrill whenever Eliot did it. Quentin shut and locked the door behind himself, to be sure they were safe from drunken, wandering guests. He barely got turned around before Eliot pressed him back against the thick wooden door.

Eliot’s mouth covered his, his hands busy sliding down Quentin’s front. It was a pleasant assault, but something rose up in him and he grabbed onto one of Eliot’s wrists. His other hand fastened to his hip and he broke their kiss suddenly, using the moment of surprise to spin them around and throw his weight against Eliot so now his back was to the door.

Before Eliot could do more than give a mph of surprise, Quentin was on him, holding both his wrists up and pressing them to the wood to either side of his shoulders. Eliot’s eyes went wide, but he grinned.

“Oh, it’s like that?” he asked.

“Maybe.” He leaned in, pressing his lower body to Eliot’s, stretching up to mouth at his throat. He could feel the purr of Eliot’s groan under his lips. “Saw you with that guy,” he said, keeping his face tucked against Eliot’s shoulder.

“What guy?” Eliot’s voice was vague and distracted.

“The one whose thigh you were squeezing,” he replied with some annoyance.

“Hmm? Oh, Thaddeus.”

Thaddeus? Really?”

“Yes. It’s Fillory, what do you want? Chad?”

“Just a little surprised you not only got his name, but remembered it.” He gave Eliot a pointed look.

“Are you jealous, darling?” Eliot’s eyes were still glimmering.

Quentin leaned back into him and stretched up to get his lips as close to his ear as he could. “Intensely,” he whispered. Eliot shivered, which sent a thrum of arousal through him. There was nothing like seeing evidence of Eliot’s desire for him. Nothing like the dizzy feeling it gave him, knowing he could evoke such strong reactions from him.

His pulse loud in his ears, he gripped both Eliot’s shoulders and jerked him forward a little and then back against the door, not hard, but enough to feel shocking, even to himself. “Did you want him?” Eliot’s mouth fell open with the start of the movement and stayed there. He panted heavily between his parted lips, eyes totally dark.

“Quentin...” he breathed.

“You’re not answering my question.” He cut him off, tone hard. Eliot groaned.

“No,” he said, rolling his eyes. “I didn’t want him. I mean, you saw him, right? Of course I was flirting. But, in my defense, you left me alone. I was bored.”

“I think you owe me an apology,” he said, suppressing his smile at Eliot’s pout.

“Do I?” asked Eliot, his expression growing more serious than it had been until now. Quentin hesitated. Finally he pressed a quick peck to the corner of El’s mouth.

“Well,” he said, smiling lopsidedly, “I think you should give me one.” He grabbed Eliot’s hand and leaned back, backing up to the bed and tugging him after. Eliot lifted his eyebrows but he came along, huffing a laugh as they stumbled across the rug.

Quentin stood with the mattress pressing into the backs of his knees, and looked at Eliot.

“You want me to give you one, huh?” said Eliot, innuendo laid thickly over his words.

“An apology,” he corrected, reaching a hand down to cup the bulge in the front of his trousers.

“Oh,” said Eliot.

His confidence bled away in a moment. “I mean, unless you don’t want...I just...” Eliot cut him off with a wave of his hand.

“No, no, this is good,” he said with a wicked smile. “You want me on my knees?” The words burned through Quentin, almost making him convulse with want.

“Yeah,” he breathed. Without another word, Eliot dropped gracefully to his knees in front of him. He reached for the closure of his pants. There was something extra erotic in the fact that they were both still fully dressed. A graceful hand wrapped around his cock, making him hiss aloud. Eliot pulled it out into the air and then took a brief moment to look at it, flushed red and rock hard. Then he leaned forward and began placing a series of light kisses all up and down his shaft. Quentin’s jaw clenched with the teasing touches, his hands fists at his sides.

Finally Eliot finished with a kiss to the very tip of his dick, and then opened wide to suck him inside. Oh, he was so warm and wet and perfect. Quentin couldn’t hold back anymore; he let his hands bury themselves in Eliot’s hair, holding him close. He let Eliot control the movement, though, let him use his tongue in fantastic little flicks and swirls. Eliot took him deep for a moment and the brush of his cock against the back of his throat and the roof of his mouth made Quentin moan. Eliot seemed to appreciate that, and bobbed his head again for the same effect.

Quentin’s hands tightened in his curls, pressing Eliot to him, giving just a little resistance when he tried to back off and holding him there for a few more seconds. He let go and Eliot pulled off him with a gasp for air.

“Sorry,” he said, automatically.

“No, no, that was...fine,” Eliot said with a sly look up at him from under his lashes. After taking a couple more breaths he asked, “Shall I keep going?” He sat back on his heels and cocked his head. “Or would you rather fuck me?”

The breath rushed from Quentin’s lungs all at once. He blinked at Eliot, and then let out a puff of laughter. He hadn’t been thinking ahead, hadn’t been thinking much at all, between the wine from the party, the burn of jealousy, and the pure desire of having Eliot all to himself. So he hadn’t considered switching from their usual roles. They’d done it before, in the mosaic timeline. So, he supposed, their minds had done it but their bodies had not.

“I...” he began, then broke off blushing. He really wasn’t made for all this taking charge, but, Eliot did seem to be into it. “I think I would, yeah. If, I mean, if you want to, of course.”

Eliot grinned and climbed to his feet gracefully. “I have to say I’m enjoying you like this.” He stripped off his coat and folded it neatly over the back of a nearby chair. Quentin hastily followed his lead and began pulling off his own clothes, leaving them tossed aside in a heap on the floor. Eliot’s eyes followed the pieces as they landed, but forbore commenting on it.

Soon Quentin was bare of everything except his underwear and socks, which he sat on the bed to remove. Eliot was still only unbuckling his belt, and Quentin pushed himself to his feet with a sound of frustration. He reached for the buttons at his lover’s waist, fumbling and grumbling until his pants fell to the floor. Before Eliot could bend and pick them up to take five minutes properly folding them (They’ll get creased! his voice said in Quentin’s memory), he reached a hand into Eliot’s boxers and wrapped his fingers firmly around his cock. El’s breath hitched and his eyes closed, his clothing apparently forgotten entirely.

Quentin backed towards the bed, not letting go of Eliot, pulling him along by his cock. El laughed a little, but let himself be led. When they reached the bed, Quentin stretched out on his back and pulled Eliot down on top. They kissed passionately, bodies rubbing against each other, cocks hard and thrusting. It was tempting to let things progress as they normally did, to let Eliot take control, let himself melt back against the bed until he was inside him, lighting him on fire. He wanted that, always wanted it, but a few minutes ago it had sounded like a very good idea to do the opposite, so he pushed Eliot to the side and rolled until he was the one on top.

He looked down at him as he straddled his thighs. He was so beautiful, would never not be gorgeous, but it was easy to forget it except in moments like this. Spread out for him, waiting, hair dark and wild against the ivory sheets, mouth swollen and red, naked and hard and wanting...for him. It was hard to breathe suddenly, the air in his lungs feeling heavy and thick.

“Q?” Eliot’s expression shifted from pleased to concerned. “Everything okay?”

He started. “Yeah. Just...” He shook his head and leaned forward to kiss him. Like that, the tightness in his chest eased and he felt warm and safe again.

“Mmm...sure?” Eliot asked as they parted.

“Yeah, just thinking too much for a sec,” he murmured against his lips. Eliot’s hand snaked down his side and in between them before encircling his cock.

“The lube’s in the drawer,” he says, stroking him. “If that’s still where we’re going.” Quentin obeyed the oblique request and fetched the jar from the bedside chest. It’s Eliot’s own recipe, and the jar was almost half empty from their activity over the last weeks. He settled back between Eliot’s legs and started moving slickened fingers around and into his entrance.

Eliot hissed as he did, eyes fluttering closed. Quentin stilled, his heart thumping in his chest. He didn’t want to hurt him, was suddenly afraid Eliot wouldn’t enjoy this, didn’t want him. He felt the tightness in his chest, his thoughts beginning to circle, when El’s voice sounded deep and throaty, “Q.” It wasn’t a complaint, or a gasp of pain, but a moan. A plea, not for him to stop, but for more.

He forced himself to breathe deeper, moving his hand deeper and faster. He dropped his head down, initially to hide his near-panic, but then he caught sight of Eliot’s delicious cock where it lay against his stomach. He bent his head down lower, slid his body down until he could reach it with his mouth. He kept fucking Eliot with his fingers as he took his cock into his mouth, humming in pleasure around the thick head.

Eliot’s cock tasted good. He didn’t know why, and it wasn’t like he had a huge sample pool to judge by, but he thought it always tasted far better than other cocks had. Better than it should. Maybe it was Eliot’s smell, that deep and rich scent that was uniquely his. The smell that meant home to Quentin: the mosaic cabin, the physical cottage, and now this, their bedroom in the palace.

As the head of his cock hit the back of Quentin’s throat, one of Eliot’s hands slid through his hair, cradling his head. It centered Quentin, familiar and solid. He sucked hard and felt El tense with his whole body, felt the contraction around his fingers. Before long the hand in his hair tightened, pulling him up and away.

“Stop, Q.”

“What?” he asked, worried.

Eliot smiled. “Nothing. Just gonna come if you don’t stop. And I’d rather come while you’re fucking me.” From the twist of his lips, Eliot could see the effect these words had on him. He surged up his body, climbing over him and reaching for a kiss. He let all his hunger pour into the kiss, sucking at El’s lips, penetrating with his tongue.

“You want me to fuck you?” he murmured.

“Yes, Q.” Eliot’s body arched up against his. Quentin’s cock dragged along his belly.

“Like this?” He thrust against El again. “Or over?”

“I want to watch you while you fuck me.” Quentin shivered at the tone of his voice. Somehow Eliot could command him, even with Q being the one on top.

He backed off, kneeling between Eliot’s long legs and grabbing the jar of lube. El reached for a pillow and shoved it under his ass. Quentin’s heart pounded in his chest, anticipation and nerves coursing through him. He leaned forward, adjusting to the right position, and then guided his cock to Eliot’s entrance.

The first push forced a gasp from El’s lips, and Quentin paused, barely inside. But El waved him on, not forming words but urging him not to stop. He slid forward, groaning at the impossible tightness around his cock. Repositioning his hands, he bent over Eliot, searching his lover’s face. “Alright?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah,” he replied in a breathy tone. “Mmm, Q, keep going.” So Quentin did. He buried himself as deep as possible into Eliot’s body, a soft moan escaping his lips. He withdrew slowly and then did it again: a long, slow stroke that made them both groan. A fierce need rose up in him, the same fire that had made him press Eliot against the door, and his next stroke was harder, faster.

He kept on, one hand grabbing at El’s right thigh and pushing it up, letting him go deeper, making El cry out. “Yes, Q, there!” He obeyed, hitting the same angle again and again, feeling Eliot shudder underneath him. One of El’s hands was wrapped around his right forearm, the nails digging in painfully with each thrust.

Quentin felt almost wild. “El,” he whispered, over and over. “God, El.” He felt the pressure building, knew he couldn’t take much more, and released Eliot’s thigh to grip his cock. Eliot shouted, wordless approval as he stroked. They panted together for several moments, and then El went tense, long torso arching up, mouth open in a silent cry as he pulsed thick streams between them. Q let himself go, fucked into him hard, feeling him shudder around him. After an endless moment, he tumbled over the edge and came like a small explosion, fire-hot filling Eliot’s body.

It took a while for both of them to come down, to refocus. He eased out of El and flopped over onto his back, still trying to catch his breath.

“Were you really jealous of that guy?” asked Eliot after a minute.

“You mean, of Thaddeus?” He grinned at Eliot’s eye-roll. “I mean, yeah, for a minute or two.”

“Q.”

“I know, I know.”

“Do you?” Eliot turned on his side facing him. Quentin avoided his gaze by looking at the carved ceiling. “You seemed...a little worked up. Is that what jealousy looks like on you?”

“Maybe. Some of it was just...wanting you, though.”

“If it really bothers you, I can try...” Eliot paused. “Try not flirting with anyone else.” Now Quentin did look at him.

“Really? How likely do you think you are to succeed at that?” He waved off Eliot’s offended scoff. “No, no, it’s not...that’s ridiculous. It’s not your job to change just because I...have inappropriate feelings about something.”

“Well, I would try, you know. If you asked me to.” And he meant that, Quentin realized with wonder. He leaned forward and captured El’s lips, conversation forgotten in a burst of emotion and love. Eliot seemed content to let the topic pass as well, and they lost several minutes in the taste of one another.

But when they finally shifted apart, Eliot spoke again, “Seriously, though, Q, you know I don’t want anyone but you, right?”

Quentin nodded, a bit sheepishly. “Well, for now, at least.”

“What do you mean for now? We did fifty years last time!”

“Not fifty years exclusive,” he corrected.

“Well, mostly.” Eliot shook his head as if to dismiss his pedantry. “On average, at least.” His face sobered, then. “But if you ever want someone else--”

“I don’t,” Quentin hastened to clarify.

“But you might, one day. And if you do--” Eliot spoke over his second attempt to interrupt, “just come talk to me and we’ll work it out.”

Quentin took a breath. “Yeah, okay. And same for you?” He felt his face giving away more of his concern than he’d intended.

“Absolutely,” was all Eliot said, before pulling Quentin bodily in to his chest and securing his arms around him.