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live to fight another day

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“Well, here is as far as I go” said Penny. They were in a place that looked like a garage, but everything was in darkness, except for a white illuminated arch. Quentin asked Penny:
“Do I go through there? What’s on the other side?”
Penny said “It depends on the person. I can’t tell you, because I’ve never been there, not yet, anyway”.
“Okay, I’m ready. Goodbye Penny” and with those words, Quentin crossed the arch. As soon as he disappeared, Penny said goodbye and turned around, while the lights in the room started turning off.
While Quentin was going through the arch, he though about who he might find on the other side. It would be nice to see Arielle, Teddy, their grandchildren, his father … Oh, his father. One of the things he regretted the most, was not having been able to say goodbye to his dad, being under the memory spell, the library placed on them. It would be so good if he could see his dad again and ask for his forgiveness.
But even if he was thinking about the reunion with his family, how it would go, he couldn’t stop thinking about Eliot either. After they had freed him, there hadn’t been time to speak with him, as Eliot was gravely injured, and they needed to go the mirror world to banish the monster and his sister. Quentin mostly wanted to ask Eliot, what he had meant about peaches and plums, about proof of concept, when Eliot had managed to break through. Was it a way of making Quentin realize that he was alive, or did it mean something else? Quentin regretted this about dying the most, not having had that closure with Eliot. Or Margo, or Jules, or any of them, if he told the truth. Oh gods, he hadn’t been able to say goodbye to any of them, to tell them how much they meant to him, well, some more than others. He decided then, he didn’t want to move on. It was probably too late, but if he could just turn around…
The only problem was that he couldn’t get a feel of his body and he couldn’t tell where he was. Suddenly, he felt a pull from his belly, and he was rushed forwards, at light speed. He thought “wait, I’m not done yet”. However, the pull was too strong for him. Then, instead of going forwards, he noticed he was falling, like in those dreams, in which you never seem to stop. Plus, someone had started speaking, a male voice, deep and echoing as he was falling:
“Quentin Coldwater, you have been given a rare gift. Should you desire, you can continue and pass on to the other life and rest. Or you can return and live and aid us in our fight. But whatever you choose, you will not be able to take back. What do you say, Quentin Coldwater? Do you want to live?”
Quentin couldn’t believe it. A chance to go back? To his friends? Of course, there were no doubts about it. “I want to live” he said. The voice said “you’ll have to speak a little louder, all that whooshing around doesn’t let me hear you. What do you say?
“I WANT TO LIVE” shouted Quentin. “Ok, ok, you didn’t really have to. I could hear you perfectly the first time. Very well, brace yourself, this is going to get ugly. I’ll see ya”. Jerkass, thought Quentin. “Heard you” said the voice. And then he started falling at a higher speed. Quentin though he was going to get smashed against some surface, and wouldn’t that be ironic, being smashed to the ground while being dead, when he hit water, or at least if felt that way. He could feel his body sinking and he thought “great, I’m dying again” when he saw a light. He followed the light and he could almost see the surface when …
“aggggggggghhhhhhh” he gasped taking a big lungful of air. He woke with a start and he saw that he was laying in some sort of hospital room. It was so white; everything was very white and bright. It was almost blinding. He could hear the beeping of a machine, a machine like those in a hospital. Sitting on the bed, there was a girl, his age, more or less, who was caressing his forehead and trying to calm him.
“Where …” he croaked, his throat felt really raw. “Shhhh?” Said the girl. “Rest, everything is going to be ok.”. Quentin felt his eyes shutting down. “Go back to sleep.” The girl said.
Over the following days, Quentin drifted in and out of consciousness. When he woke up, it would be for a few seconds, but he would fall asleep again. Whenever he woke up, he would see people over him. Sometimes a woman would have her hands above him, and he could see a faint glow coming from, her hands, like Julia’s, when she had been a goddess. Other times, it was the girl he saw, when he first woke up. At times, some people dressed all in white would check on him. Probably nurses, he though. The girl would read to him, or talk to him, tell him stories, and there was also a red-haired boy, who would sing to him or tell him funny stories.
A couple of weeks later, Quentin could finally stay awake for a longer time. He opened his eyes and saw the girl and the boy
“Who are ….” His throat was so sore and so dry. “Here” The girl said, giving him a glass of water. “Go easy, we don’t want you to throw up. I’m Lys, by the way” She introduced herself. The red-haired guy was Kieran and they were together. “Where am I?” Quentin asked, after finishing the glass of water. “What is this place?” The guy, Kieran said “All your questions will be answered, but now, just take it easy. They had to rebuild your body from scratch, after it got vaporized at the seam. They have also made some improvements, and did you know you had a wooden shoulder?” Quentin chuckled at that “Yeah, I got injured and the centaurs replaced my shoulder with wood” “Centaurs?” Lys asked, “that seems a story worth telling. Anyway, is there anything you would like to get? We can get you almost anything you want.”
“Do you know the “Fillory and Further books? I think I’ve lost mine. Could I have copies?” Quentin asked. “Here” Lys said. There was a whoosh, and with a flash of blue light, the books appeared. Quentin took one of the books. He started looking at it and saw it was one of his, one of his first editions. “How did you… are you magicians? But you didn’t cast, you don’t use poppers … are you gods?” He was rambling. Had he really come back to life or was he in the afterlife? If those people were gods, were they nice ones, or bad ones? How would they feel, if they knew he had killed gods and helped kill gods? He started panicking and hyperventilating. Lys touched his cheek and started doing shhhing noises, in order to calm him. “Breathe, Quentin, easy … just breathe” as she caressed his cheek. Quentin started to calm down. “We are not gods, we don’t have that much power” Said Kieran “We are warlocks, we can do magic, just differently. We are sorry if we scared you” Kieran looked a bit embarrassed.
Quentin looked at him and for the first time he looked at his new companions. Lys had dark red hair, almost black. It was long and tied in a braid. Even if she was sitting, she seemed short, as her feet almost didn’t touch the floor. She had big brown eyes and was good-looking, in a girl -next door kind of way. Kieran was tall. He was taller than Quentin, almost as tall as Eliot. Oh, Eliot. He felt a pang of pain thinking about him. Quentin shook his head. He didn’t want to think about that for the moment. He asked them how their magic worked. Lys and Kieran looked at each other and said it was too early to tell him. He needed to rest and become strong. Lys got up and they both prepared to leave his room. Before they left, Lys asked him “There are no rules about you not being able to contact your friends, would you like to send a message to them?” “Can I do that? Usually, when one comes back from the dead, can’t contact his loved ones, at least that’s how it is in the movies or books” Quentin said. “Oh no, those rules are bullshit. You are not a fugitive, nor a ghost and the big girl, doesn’t have any rules about it” Quentin breathed in relief. For a moment he thought of contacting Eliot, or Julia, or Alice, but Penny had told him they would be ok, so he didn’t want to make things worse for them. He shook his head “no, not right now, but thank you”
“Doesn’t matter, we are here for you, Quentin” said Kieran, and with a wink, they both left. Quentin lied back on the bed and took one of his books. He started reading, but soon his eyes started closing and he fell asleep. Before he drifted completely, he heard a voice telling him everything was going to be all right.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, Quentin friends had gone on with their lives, but instead of remaining united, as Penny 40 told Q it would happen, the gang had just drifted apart. They had remained together after Quentin’s funeral, but after the first week of Quentin’s death, they had gone each on their way.
Julia was staying at the Physical Kids cottage, studying magic and searching for a way of bringing Q back. Dean Fogg had offered her a place at the new graduate program, but she had declined it. She didn’t want to have anything to do with Brakebills, as it had caused Q and her so much pain. She would use their resources, it was the least they could do, after all they had been through. She had also stopped seeing Penny 23. She was angry at him, for making the decision about being a goddess or remaining human. With his psychic abilities, he could have gone into her mind, and asked her about it, instead of deciding for her. She was angry at Alice, for taking Q to the mirror realm, and not having fought harder for him. She was angry with Eliot, for having been possessed and what Q had specially gone through, as he took care of the monster. She was angry with Kady, because she had been more focused on saving the hedges, rather than focusing on their quest. She was angry with Margo, for caring about Eliot only, and not caring about Q, as much as she should have. But Julia was mostly angry with herself.
She had seen the signs. The last months, before they destroyed the monsters, Q’s mental state had deteriorated. She knew the signs: Q almost stopped eating, he smoked more, he almost never slept and the way he had defied the monster, not caring about his safety, had really scared her. She had known that Q was not ok, but she had been too busy, trying to find about her situation. And Quentin had been there for her. She owed him that, at the very least. She was going to try to bring him back, even if she had to do it alone. It seemed that none of the others cared about Q anymore. They had gone of doing their things. Without Quentin, nothing seemed to connect them anymore.
Eliot had gone back to Fillory, with Margo, to try to get her reinstated as High King. However, he didn’t feel the thrill of the adventure, knowing that Q would not be there for this next adventure. And because Alice had been with Q when he died, he felt that he didn’t have the right to grieve as hard as her, even if he was sure he was the one who loved Q the most. It had been a shock, when he’d woken up, after been stabbed by the axed, expecting to see Q and instead of that, Margo and Julia, with teary eyes and broken voices, had told him that Q had died. Just when he had decided to be brave and tell him about his feelings, Q had done something stupid and had sacrificed himself and because Q had been with Alice, he couldn’t play the role of the grieving widow.
But Eliot knew that Q wasn’t at fault. It was easy to blame the dead, because they couldn’t defend themselves, it would be so easy to blame Q for all: the beast, Fillory, Ember and Umber, the monster … For making him care and for making Eliot fall in love with him. But the truth was that Eliot wouldn’t change anything about his relationship with Q, except for not telling him that he loved him. He needed to keep his mind occupied, and helping Margo was going to be what he just needed.
After Q’s funeral, he had been healed by Lipson, thanks to the ambient magic, no longer being controlled by the library. He still had to use the cane, but it was a small price to pay after nearly dying. He would help Margo and then he would try to find the cottage where he and Q had spent a lifetime, and he would live there, until he reunited with Q.
Margo’s most pressing concern after Q’s funeral had been Eliot. He was so hurt, so sad, that she thought he would do something stupid, like killing himself with drugs and alcohol. After all, she had given her crown for the asshole. after a screaming match, in which some really hurtful words had been said, they had reached an agreement. Eliot would help her getting her crown back and she would leave him alone. After Eliot had come back and Q had died, Margo noticed something had died in Eliot too. Maybe it was the last remnants of the monster, or maybe Q’s death had affected him more that he let on. She missed the little nerd, she really did, but at that moment, she needed Eliot to be strong and not to be moping around. She knew something had changed between the two, after the quest for the keys, but neither Eliot nor Q had said a word. She hadn’t paid more attention to it. Plus, she really missed Josh and Fen and she was eager to get lost in their comforting embrace.
Alice had accepted Zelda’s offer to run the library. She immersed herself in her job, helping Zelda and Sheila rebuild the library and working with Kady, to solve the mess Everett had created with the worms. Being surrounded by books, by so much knowledge, felt as if she were a niffin again, all the knowledge in the universe at the grasp of her hand. She rarely thought about Quentin, or rather decided not to think about him. She had made a mistake by getting back with him, she had felt that she was taking advantage of him. But when they had cast the spell to swap Q with his past self, to get the spell from Mayakovsky, being with past Q, at the beginning of their relationship, had made her remember the good times of their relationship. And with Q starting to trust her again, and not being friends with the others, she had held on to Q, as if he were a lifeline.
But now work was all she thought about. She even had had a huge fight with Julia, when she had come asking for books on how to bring a person from the dead. After what had happened with her or Quentin in timeline 23, she thought messing with the dead was dangerous and had told Julia so. Julia had said that if she loved Q, she would try to do anything she could to get him back, just as he had done when she had been a niffin. Julia had also said that her not wanting to try, meant that Alice hadn’t loved Q, as much as he had loved her. Alice had been so angry, she had almost slapped Julia, while telling her that she did love Q, but it was time to let him go. Both of them had parted in very bad terms and refused to be together, when Kady asked for their help.

Chapter Text

Kady had gone back to working with the hedges, Zelda and Harriet, especially to solve the problems the worms had caused. When she wasn’t working with the hedges, she would help Julia with her research. It helped that Julia and Penny 23 were fighting, and he wasn’t around much. Kady hadn’t been that close to Quentin, not until the quest for the keys and even more when they had been living together and hiding from the library. She had always been close to Julia, ever since the incident with Reynard, and Penny, of course, but the others had just been part of the group. However, during the quest for the keys and what came later, she had become good friends with Quentin, they had really bonded playing Push. When Julia had asked for help, she had agreed, if it didn’t interfere with her work with the hedges. She remembered how she had been, when Penny had died and she could relate to loosing a person who mattered so much to you, that you would do anything to bring that person back. Not only that, she was worried about Julia, who seemed almost manic. And someone had to be there, since the others had gone away, doing their things.

Penny 23 didn’t know where to stand. He was in a timeline that wasn’t his, he was been compared to the Penny from their timeline, and when he thought he might had had a chance with Julia, all the clusterfuck with the monsters happened and now, she didn’t even want to see him. In hindsight, he could have gotten into her mind, and asked her what she wanted to do, but with the Binder asking him to decide, he thought he had taken the correct one. At first Julia had been angry, then she had discovered she had magic and had kinda forgiven him. But then, she had started researching on how to get Quentin back, and he hadn’t been as supportive. He remembered the last time someone had tried doing that, which had resulted in Beast Quentin, from his timeline. He had voiced his concerns, and Julia had accused him of not wanting to help her and of making again decisions without asking her. So, it was back to square one for him, alone and working as a taxi service for those travelling to Fillory. It really sucked and he would often wish he could go back, even if death awaited him in that timeline.

Penny had been watching his friends, after Quentin’s death. He had told Quentin, that everyone would be okay, that his sacrifice hadn’t been in vain, that they would remain united, but he was very disappointed. He had assured Quentin that their friends were going to be okay. However, they had drifted apart after Quentin’s funeral and it seemed all they had gone through had been for nothing. He was considering asking Hades for a meeting, so that he would be allowed to go to the surface and talk to them, when he was summoned to the god’s house. At Hades’s, he was told that his first charge, Quentin, had been brought back to life, by some force more powerful than Hades. He then asked if he could go to the surface, to tell his friends the news. Hades gave him permission, only if the whole group was there and only for 24 hours. Penny then got to work. He had to look for a way to get them together. He remembered: Fillory. He would use Fillory, being one of the things Quentin cared the most. It helped that Eliot and Margo had decided to go back to Fillory, to get her banishment revoked.

Meanwhile, Margo and Eliot had indeed gone to Fillory, only to learn that 300 years had passed, that Fen and Josh had been deposed and that a new king, called the Dark King, ruled over the land. As they had no resources and no allies, they decided to go back to New York and look for ways of avoiding the time skip, so they could save Fen and Josh. Since they would need help, they tried contacting the others and getting them to help. But the others didn’t, especially Julia and Alice, didn’t want to hear anything about Fillory, they associated it with Quentin. Margo, realizing they wouldn’t help, played dirty.
She started by saying that it was what Quentin would have wanted, that if he were there, he would try to help Fillory. Julia said she didn’t care about Fillory anymore, that it was more troublesome than anything. Then the conversation started getting ugly. They both started accusing each other, for not being there for Quentin, for the spell Julia cast, making him believe he was in a mental hospital, or when Julia sold him to Reynard, or how Margo had been most of the time in Fillory, while Quentin got dragged by the monster.

Eliot and Alice had been silent at the beginning, but then Julia remembered they were there, and she also had barbs to throw at them. That made Eliot and Alice start arguing with Julia and it all became a screaming match, all of them accusing each other of not being there for Quentin, for past mistakes, anything they had done was game. It was at that point that Penny 23 and Kady arrived.
Both got in the conversation and tried to calm the others, but soon the others turned on them and it became a six-way argument, each throwing at the others, any wrong doings they had done to each other. It seemed that they were as far from each other as ever. Finally, they stopped arguing. They were tired, angry and sad, and they all agreed that they hadn’t really been friends, just people joined by extreme circumstances. They also realized that Quentin was the one thing that connected them all. If they hadn’t been friends with Quentin or hadn’t met him, some of them would have never crossed paths. They recognized that they hadn’t been good friends to Quentin, noticing that his mental state had been worsening but not doing anything or being too busy dealing with their own problems. Therefore, to honor Quentin’s memory, they decided they would try to get past their differences and really become friends, not people who had been forced to fight together. Saving Fillory seemed like the best way of doing that and they started strategizing. Julia and Eliot would stay in New York, as they still had to heal some, researching.

Alice would work from the library, researching for books about time travel, any references about a Dark king or the dark king and how to defeat him. Margo and Penny 23 would travel to Fillory, see if the time skip continued or had been changed and they would try to look for clues, about Fen and Josh, and allies.
They all agreed that Kady’s apartment would become their headquarters, just as it had been when they were fighting the monsters and hiding from the library. With a plan of action and new hope, they decided to have dinner, as a way of mending their relationship and to honor Quentin one more time.

It was at that moment that Penny appeared. “Wow, it took you some time, but you’ve finally come together, after I promised him you would be”. When they heard him, they turned around and saw Penny, in his librarian suit, looking slightly amused and calmer than he had been when he had been alive.
“Penny? How are you here?” Alice asked. Kady rushed to hug Penny. “You are here” she said, starting to tear up. “How can that be?” “Well, my boss has given me permission to visit you, for a few hours. I have a couple of things to tell you” Penny said.

“Well, original Penny, it is good to see you and all, but unless you have come to help, we don’t really need yours” Margo said. “Even if I what I have to say concerns a friend of all of us?” Penny asked. Julia then intervened “You said you promised someone we would be together. Is it…?” “Yes, I promised Quentin you would be ok. It was one of the things that helped him go on the afterlife” Penny answered.
“Wait, you were with Quentin when he died?” Eliot asked, speaking for the first time. “How was he?” “Well, He was my first assignment, in the secrets you take to your grave department. And as how he was, well, as ok as one can be when they die. He was relieved but he also asked me if his death had been a selfless sacrifice or if he had finally managed to do what he couldn’t do before” As soon as Penny said that, Julia teared up. As Quentin’s oldest friend, she knew better than the rest about his problems and that he had tried to kill himself. Eliot, being the second person closest to Quentin also realized the same thing. “So, did he, did he really kill himself? Could he had survived?” Alice asked. “What do you think Alice? You were all with him before he died” Penny said.

All of them remained silent at what Penny’s words meant. They had seen it, Quentin getting more depressed, but none had done anything to help. Deep down, they all knew they hadn’t helped Quentin, which is why they had drifted apart after the funeral, even unconsciously.

“Ok, we were shitty friends to Q, we have been horrible to each other, but we are here now, and we are going to make things right, in memory of the little nerd. Didn’t you say that you have news for us?” Margo cut the pity party, going straight to the point.

“Oh yes. First, nice memorial by the way, it was much nicer than what you did for me, when I died” Penny said, a bit sarcastically. “You were there? At Quentin’s funeral?” Alice asked. “We both were there, Quentin and me. It was one of the things that convinced him that you would make it without him.” Penny told them.

“You were both there?” Eliot almost screamed. “Why didn’t you say something? I couldn’t say goodbye to him, not personally!” He chocked, starting to sob at the thought of Quentin watching them, him at his funeral. Margo and Julia rushed to Eliot’s side and hugged him.

“Ok, Penny, we are getting of track here” Kady said. “What else do you have to tell us?”

“You can stop looking for ways of bringing him back. It is not going to work” Penny said. Penny 23 asked “why not? It sort of worked for Alice in my timeline, although she brought Evil Quentin back” “Yeah, and Quentin brought me from niffin state and gave me back my body” Alice said. “Even if his body got vaporized, we have some of his blood, most of his things and going to the afterlife is not really the end. We can bring him back, we will bring him back” She finished, looking at Julia and Eliot as she said that.

“You can try all you want, but those things and the spells you’ll find only work if the person is dead, which is not the case” Penny said.
“Ok, let me get this straight” Margo piped in. “We have the means; the necessary things and you’ve told us that you were with him when he died. Why did you say it is not the case? What the fuck does that mean?” She shouted.

“It means that the summoning and rebuilding spells that you have only work if the person you want to bring back is dead. Which is no longer the case. Quentin Makepeace Coldwater is no longer dead. Someone or something has brought him back to life, all of him. He has disappeared from the Underworld; he no longer is listed as dead in our archives.”
Everyone was looking at Penny now. Quentin was alive? How? And Penny 23, asked what they had all been thinking “You say he is alive, but I’ve experienced a back from the dead Quentin and he was evil. How do you know that he has been wholly resurrected, shade and all?”

“Because whatever or whoever took him is an incredible powerful force, more powerful than Hades, but incredibly benevolent, kind and compassionate. Plus, his shade, if it had been separated, would have appeared in Hades’s and Persephone’s house and the shade isn’t there. Trust me, Quentin is alive, fully and completely alive” Penny stated, looking at all of his friends.

Chapter Text

While Quentin’s friends had gone on with their lives, Quentin had been recuperating. After he woke for the first time, he had been on bed rest, getting back his strength. He hadn’t realized, but he had lost quite a lot of weight, dealing with the monster and all. He had also gotten blood transfusions, he thought it was part of the process of getting a new body. His wooden shoulder was gone, he could feel flesh and bone under his left shoulder. Well, one thing he wouldn’t miss, as it used to hurt him, when the weather was cold or wet.

After several weeks of bed rest, eating well and the occasional stroll through the hospital’s corridor, he finally felt like a normal person again. Scratch that, he felt better than ever. For the first time he could feel the magic in his veins, as part of him. He thought that maybe his friends had managed to destroy the syphon the Library had used to control the flow of magic. Looking for a way to test it, he decided to try a small spell. There was a glass of water in the nightstand of his room. He threw it to the floor and tried to repair it, using his discipline. He tried using the correct poppers, just as he had done with the mug, but if didn’t seem to work. He tried different ways, getting more worried by the moment, when he snapped his fingers, and something like a blue light came out of his hand and the glass repaired itself instantly. He didn’t even have to think about it.

He then remembered the blue light had come from Kieran’s hand, when he had summoned his Fillory books. Could it be that he was like them now? And if he was, what was he exactly? He decided he was going to look for Kieran or Lys, so they could give him some answers, when he saw Lys, coming to his room.

“Hey, it is good to see you awake, Quentin” She said. “I know you have questions, but we will try to answer them as best we can. Wait here, I’m going to get Kieran and the others”.
Quentin went back to bed and waited for Lys and the others to come. When they came, it was the same people he had seen when he had first woken up: Lys, Kieran, the man in the suit and the older girl, dressed in a silver tutu and a silver jacket.

The man said “Are you ready for getting the answers to your questions?”
“Yes, who are you two?” Quentin pointed at the man and the older girl. “Where am i? What happened to my magic?” He didn’t want to sound rude, but he didn’t want to be kept in the dark, much longer.

The man in the suit, took a step back and very dramatically and with a deep voice said, “I am the Metatron”. Quentin looked at him confused. “The Metatron? No, doesn’t ring a bell? How about this?” a whoosh was heard, and two wings sprouted from the man’s back. Quentin shrank back in fear and the man said again “I am the Metatron, Herald of the almighty and voice of the one true God”. Quentin was feeling more and more confused. “The what?” he asked.

“The Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any time some yahoo claims god has spoken to them, they were speaking to me. Or they are talking to themselves”

“So …” Quentin was thinking those people were crazy, and he knew crazy, but this was a whole new level. “That’s …..?” he asked, nodding at the older girl. “Yup, she is God, a very relieved and happy deity” answered Lys. “God, as in GOD?” Why doesn’t she answer?”

“Humans don’t have neither the oral nor the psychological capacity of withstanding the power of Gods true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest We went through 5 Adams, before we figured that one out” said the man in the suit.

Quentin couldn’t believe it. It had been a shock to discover that gods existed, a bigger shock to know that they were jerks, but GOD, the almighty? That was even crazier, and he knew about crazy.

Metatron looked at God and said “He doesn’t believe us. You, millennials, you don’t believe in anything. And you, you have met lesser gods. Why can’t be God real too?” Since Quentin seemed still reluctant, Metatron said “You want more proof? How about a trip?” He snapped his fingers and suddenly they were in Fillory, at the mosaic.

“Wait, this is Fillory?” Quentin asked, awed at what had happened. “Well duh, it is not a figment of your imagination. Glad you decided to join in the conversation. Peach?” And Metatron threw Quentin a peach, that he caught. He stared at Metatron and God, waiting for them to say something.

Metatron said “Quentin Coldwater, for what you have done, you have our most sincere gratitude. If it hadn’t been for you, God would have been lost to us”. Quentin stared at Metatron. He was sure he really hadn’t done anything to save God, and how was he / she trapped, in the first place?

Lys, realizing they were confusing him, said “Metatron, you are telling it wrong. So, here’s the deal. The monsters you trapped in those jars, were God. She got split up and when you threw the bottles into the seam, she was made whole again”

“I don’t get it. God was the monster and his sister? How is that possible? And isn’t she God? Doesn’t she have almighty powers and all that?” He asked Lys.

“Well, let me tell you a story” said Metatron. “When God was young, and still learning, she was exploring one of the places she had helped create. She didn’t want to control her creation, she gave the spark ad let it develop, to see what happened. She was powerful, yes, but young and innocent. She met four people, who were looking for a way of acquiring more knowledge and power. You know who I’m talking about. By that time, she had already created some of the minor gods, helpers, because what she was helping to create was so huge, she couldn’t manage on her own. These knowledge searchers realized she was a god, but they thought she was a minor one. Usually, when she explored her creations, she disguised herself as a lesser goddess, it was easier to interact with her creations. Those people had a spell that could control a lesser god and cast it on her. It trapped her in the body she was using. They experimented on her and they managed to divide her in two parts, that took the shape of two children. They thought that they would control the children easily. For a time, it worked. The searchers worked with the children; the children helped them with creating their own worlds. But the searchers were careless with their creations and with the children and the children started to rebel and show their true power. The searchers then decided they had made a mistake and sacrificed the girl and banished the boy. Well, you know the rest of the story, since you have been living with one of the children"

Quentin was amazed and disgusted at the same time, He could not believe what assholes Iris, Heka, Aenelayus and Bacchus had been. But it still didn’t explain why the monster and the sister had wanted to kill everyone, so he asked that.

Kieran answered “You remember how your friend was, when she lost her shade? Or when you became the beast, after you lost yours?” Quentin remembered. People without their shades didn’t feel remorse, guilt or love. He said “Wait, are you telling me that the monster at Blackspire was God’s shade?

Kieran answered again “Yes. After Heka, Bacchus, Iris and Aenelayus sacrificed the sister and became gods, they thought that it would be easier to control the weakest part, the shade. Remember how childlike the monster was? “Yes” said Quentin “but shades are usually innocent, and if the monster in Blackspire was Gods shade it doesn’t make sense”

“The new gods, being careless as they were, they didn’t teach the boy about compassion, or love, only how to create and destroy. Also, imagine being separated from a part of yours, being locked up in a castle with monsters and being considered one of them. How would you feel about that? Or being locked up with one person who treats you as a danger?” If you put it that way, Quentin thought, anyone could become a little unhinged. After all, the Beast had been a product of Martin Chatwin being abused by Plover. Kieran continued “in Blackspire, God’s shade had to become ruthless to survive and the new gods had taught him how to create and destroy.”

“But when I threw them to the seam, they were locked in bottles, designed to hold spirits, with a bonding spell cast over the bottles” Quentin said.

“But the bonding spell wasn’t going to last forever and remember when Everett confronted you. The bonding in the sister’s bottle was already fading.” Lys said. “When the spell broke, both parts were reunited, and God went home, finally” she finished explaining.

“When we learnt that you had died, since you’d freed our God, we decided that we would give you a reward” Metatron intervened.

“But I didn’t really do anything. I mostly babysat the monster, saw him kill a lot of people, helped him kill a few more and died trying to banish them” Quentin said, with a sad tone. “I don’t think I deserve such a reward, especially after what I did at the seam”

“Oh, you mean you killed yourself? Don’t worry Curly Q” said Metatron. “Suicide is not the worst sin one can commit. Plus, you were really in a bad place and nobody is perfect. Noah was a drunk and look what he accomplished” Metatron tried to console Quentin.

“Ok, I think it is enough for now” Lys said, with a stern tone. “He is getting tired and he has more questions that need to be answered. We will take if from here, Metatron, if you don’t mind”

“Not at all. We’ll be on our way. We don’t expect to see you in a very long time, Quentin Coldwater. Take care and be brave!” With that, Metatron exited the room.

God was about to leave too, when Quentin grabbed her hand. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to do that. Thank you, for everything, I guess. And can you tell me, is there a bigger plan at play? I just have so many questions to ask you, like why? Or ….” Before he could say anything more, God kissed him on his cheek, touched his noise, said boop, smiled at him and left the room, skipping like a little girl.

Chapter Text

After God and Metatron left, Lys and Kieran remained in the room with Quentin. Lys said, “If you want, we can answer the rest of your questions now or we can come back tomorrow.”

“No, it’s fine. We can continue talking. I have a few questions and before you came, I tried using my magic, but it works differently, more like yours” Quentin said. “I’m no longer a magician?”
“Not exactly. You are a warlock, like us. And since your body was destroyed, when it was rebuilt, you were given a few upgrades” Kieran said. “Don’t worry, you don’t have absolute power, just an easier way of accessing your magic. It will be easier for you to cast spells” Kieran finished.

“While you were healing, do you remember anything about it?” Lys asked. Quentin had been pretty out of it, but he remembered the people with glowy hands, getting a blood transfusion and feeling much better and energized.

“Oh, bits and pieces, but some, yeah” He said. “Well, our healers, helped rebuild your body and you got a blood transfusion that was a mixture of blood and pure essence of magic” Lys told him. “But don’t worry, the moment the essence entered your body, the magic it carried became yours, and no one can’t take it from you, not even god” Lys continued answering to the silent question Quentin was asking.

“Think of your magic as an organ, as much as your heart or your brain are. You need them to live and if they take them from you, you die. Your magic is like that. Like a muscle, you will have to exercise it and when you use it excessively, you will feel drained and you will need to recover. But you will never have to depend on the ambien magic. Your magic is yours and you have absolute control over it” Kieran continued the explanation.

Quentin thought that this type of magic would have been useful against the monsters, the Library and the McAllisters. “What about my issues?” He asked. He didn’t want to bring up his depression, but he could feel that it hadn’t been healed and he wanted to know if it would interfere with his powers.

“About that, we have been talking to our healers and they think that you should resume your meds, when you need them and that you should also see a therapist. Don’t worry, our therapists are aware of the supernatural, many of them being supernatural creatures too” Lys said.

“But won’t my meds interfere with my magic? At least it was the case, or so they told me at Brakebills? Quentin asked.

“No, your meds won’t interfere. In fact, the more stable you are, the better magic you will be able to cast. Unlike the magic in your world, our magic doesn’t come from pain. It is part of us; therefore, external factors are not that big of a deal. Emotions do influence our magic: when we are angry, we’ll be able to do a lot, but without control. Being sad makes our magic more prone to watery spells… and sometimes, when it gets too much, you’ll have to unleash the magic, the same way you shout, or cry, or laugh” Kieran explained. “The stronger the emotion is, the more powerful the burst will be. The trick is learning how to find that point between rage and serenity and focus on it”

“That kind of makes sense” Quentin said. “What else can you do?” He asked.

“We can shapeshift” Lys said, showing him her arm. Suddenly there was like a ripple and her arm got covered in black fur. “Wow, what kind of animal is that? Quentin asked. “Oh, it’s a black panther. Kieran and I have the same shape” Lys said. “But we can only have one shape, so you’ll have to choose wisely” she said with a wink.

“Really? Can I choose what animal I’d like to become?” Quentin became giddy with the possibilities. “What else?

“We have extensive combat training. We have been trained in different martial arts and we have had weapons training, which is useful when your enemy is immune to magic.” Kieran said, as if it was the most natural thing.

“You talked earlier about an organization. What is it? Quentin asked. He was getting tired and he felt a little overwhelmed with all the information, but he was curious, and he really wanted to know.

“The organization is a group of supernatural creatures and humans, that defend several realms and dimensions, against those that want to destroy it. We are kinda like the guardians of the galaxy, the sorcerers in Kamar Taj and the Starforce. We travel through different dimensions, helping wherever we can.” Kieran said. “You can join us if you want to, we would really welcome you in our ranks”

Lys, seeing that Quentin was getting tired and needed some time to process all the information, got up from the bed, took Kieran by the hand and started pulling him out of the room. “You, my love, have said a bit too much. Let him think about what we’ve told him and let him rest. Q, if you don’t mind me calling you that, you don’t have to join us. We brought you back to life, but we understand if you are tired of fighting” she said, “good night and see you tomorrow” and with that, they left the room

Chapter Text

After Lys and Kieran left his room, Quentin got up from his bed and started pacing, thinking about what he had been told. He felt conflicted. Did he really want to join them and help in whatever mission they went? Or was it time for him to rest and step to the sidelines? If he was being honest, those last months, before he died, he had been ready to give up. It had been too much, the quest for the keys, the monster, getting his memories wiped, the killings, finding out about the sister, Everett … And he had felt so alone, even if he was with his friends. They had all being worried with their own troubles too.

But he hadn’t come back to life just to lie back and watch the world go on. And maybe, if he had people who supported him, like Kieran and Lys seemed to do, he might not feel as desperate as he had before. Also, since they had told him he could see his friends again, what if the others could join the organization too? He would have the best of both world and a new purpose. Well, if his friends wanted to join him. He still didn’t know how he would approach them. How do you tell your friends, that think you’re dead, that you’re alive? And how much time had passed since he’d gone through the arch way?

He decided that he would talk to Lys and Kieran and ask them all those questions. He exited the room and went looking for them. As he was going down a corridor, he saw that he wasn’t in a hospital, as he had thought at first. He was in a manor, big enough that it had an area that worked as a medical bay. It reminded him of the Xavier mansion, from the X-Men comics and movies.
He continued walking around the house, looking for Kieran and Lys, when he heard voices coming from a room. The door wasn’t completely closed, and he got closer to it. He didn’t want to eavesdrop, but then he heard:

“Kir, you can be so stupid sometimes” Lys seemed a little angry. “He was just given a shitload of information and you just jump in the recruiting. I know we could benefit a lot from having him, and his friends too, but his world has changed completely, and he doesn’t know us, not yet anyway. He could think we are using him for our benefit. And I don’t want that. I want him to trust us” She went on “Do something like that again, and you will have to find somewhere else to sleep for a while”

“No need to be so harsh, my love” Kieran said. “I want Quentin to join our group too, but the situation is a bit urgent. We already have reports of something big and bad coming our way, and we’ll need as many allies as we can” He said.

“I know, and if that something big and bad turns out to be who we think it is, we are royally fucked, unless … Lys was saying.

Quentin couldn’t hide any longer and he entered the room, startling both lovers. “Who is the big and bad that is coming?” He asked. “Sorry, I was looking for you and I couldn’t help but to hear you talking” he said timidly.

“Oh, hey Quentin” Kieran said “Don’t worry about it. Are you sure you really want to know? We don’t want to pressure into doing anything you don’t want”
“Well, if my friends might be in danger, I want to be able to protect them. And I was just coming to ask you a few more questions, before I gave you my answer. So, who is this big bad then? Quentin asked again.

“He calls himself the dark king. He is a devourer of magic and he wants to destroy the world. He almost managed to do so, thousands of years ago. However, he was banished to some remote dimension, with no chance of ever coming back. But it seems that he has managed to find a way back and he is coming.” Lys told him.

“How bad is it, if he manages to come back?” Quentin asked.

“Well, think of it this way: he is the lovechild of Thanos and the Night King, with a hint of the Joker’s craziness and with lieutenants that make Ramsay Bolton and Joffrey Baratheon seem like children throwing a tantrum. Plus, his army is almost immune to magic” Kieran said. “But don’t worry, seriously. We know this is a lot to process and you just came back from saving your world. We will manage, the organization is strong”

Quentin remained silent, thinking about what he had just been told. Was he really ready to fight and try to save the world again? He didn’t want to be the hero. His adventures with his friends had shown him that the hero’s work was hard. He had always fantasized about being the chosen one, being the great hero, but he realized the hero was often alone. His adventures had been bearable because he had been with his friends, his makeshift family. He decided that he wouldn’t be the hero, he would not try to carry the world’s weight upon his shoulders. But he could be a hero, sharing the burden with his friends, old ones and new ones. With a determined look on his face, he said:

“I want to join you. I will become part of your team and if it is possible, I’d like my friends to join us too”

“Of course, Quentin. Remember we told you, you can contact your friends, and we would love to have them in our ranks. We would become a full unit in the organization” Lys said.

“Well, I guess you can call me Q, all of my friends do” Quentin told Kieran and Lys

Chapter Text

Fillory interlude.
After Josh had become human again, Fen and he had gone back to Fillory. They were waiting on news about Eliot, while looking for ways of revoking Margo’s banishment and dealing with the crisis in Loria.

After some difficult negotiations, the crisis in Loria had been solved. West Loria would remain independent, but with a pact of no aggression between the two Lorias and Fillory. Even if the marriage between Eliot and Idri hadn’t been realized, they had managed to broker a peace treaty and an alliance in times of need.

Everything seemed to be quiet on the Fillorian front, but Fen and Josh started getting worried. A few weeks had passed since they had returned, and they still hadn’t had any news from earth. Moreover, the bunnies they were sending to earth seemed to be returning without being able to transmit their messages. When they realized that the bunnies were not working, they tried getting in touch with their friends by other means.

They tried using one of the portals that was open, but it was blocked. They found the tree that lead to the clock Eliot and Quentin had used in their quest for the time key. However, when they tried going through, they only managed to appear inside the tree, through which the Chatwins had arrived in Fillory, so much time ago.

They also tried contacting Penny 23 and Victoria, but they couldn’t get their messages through. In a desperate attempt, they tried using the fountain that led to the Neitherlands, but instead f appearing where all the fountains were, the fountain had become a regular fountain. And with the reservoir completely emptied by Everett, they didn’t have enough magic to contact earth through other means.
In short, they had no means of getting in touch with the others. Plus, it seemed that something was threatening Fillory. At first it was rumors coming from Loria and West Loria. Those rumors said that an army had been seen in the farthest reaches of Loria and West Loria.

Then the rumors started getting more alarming. People in Loria and West Loria were disappearing, especially magic users. And their magical creatures were disappearing. At the beginning, Fen and Josh, plus their advisors, they hadn’t considered the situation so dangerous. They contacted Ru and Idri and offered help, if they needed it. But soon the situation became dire. Refugees from Loria and West Loria started arriving. Princess Ru and Prince Ess were the last of the refugees. An army had invaded both Lorias and they had been forced to flee. King Idri had been killed while trying to get their people to safety.
According to the Lorians, the invading army was powerful, both in magic and manpower. Their commanders were ruthless and none of the magic they had used had worked against the invading army.
Fen and Josh, when they heard that, they reinforced their attempts of contacting their friends on earth. Their advisors were worried, but they didn’t think that the situation was so dire. However, soon the same rumors started coming from the outer regions of Fillory, from the Abbys, the Floating Mountains … When the refugees started arriving, Tick and Rafe, realized they might be in a war, against an enemy they didn’t know. With that, contacting the people on earth and revoking Margo’s banishment became their top priorities. They would need the magicians and both Margo and Eliot were good strategists, plus one of their friends was a goddess of Fillory (they didn’t know about Julia).

While they dealt with all that, they had to manage the influx of refugees and where to set them. Josh really missed Margo. With her no-nonsense attitude, she would manage the situation better than they were doing. Fen missed Margo and her ruthlessness. Ever since she had taken over the throne of Fillory, she felt that she didn’t have that mean spirit necessary to deal with the court. Margo would not tolerate any stupidity from her advisors and Fen really needed her.

Then, not only they had to deal with the refugees, but the magical creatures had started to disappear in Fillory. The carcasses of talking animals started appearing and the Questing creatures seemed to have gone into hiding. Some Fillorians tried to look for them, to see if they knew something about the new army. But the fillorians found that the Questing creatures had been killed too. What was worse, their magic was gone.

Soon it became clear that the invading army was targeting magical creatures and magical users. Fillory, while having a strong ambien magic, did not have that many magicians and they were not as well trained as earth magicians. If they couldn’t find a way of contacting earth, Fen and Josh feared that they would be defenseless and it would be the end of Fillory.

Chapter Text

After Quentin decided he wanted to join Lys’s and Kieran’s organization, they moved to what it would be their new home. It was a building in New York, close to Central Park. Quentin noted that his new house was not far away from Marina’s apartment, in a way he was close to his friends, without being ready to face them. Because there was a high chance that he might meet them, in a shop or a café, one of the first spells he learnt was a glamour spell, to alter his physical appearance. He would have to be careful with Margo, as he didn’t know if her fairy eye would see through it.

He used his magic to transport all his belonging, from Marina’s apartment and the Cottage, at Brakebills. It felt good to have his things with him, and he was lucky his friends had stored his clothes and books.

So, as soon as they got settled, the training began. They started with hand to hand combat, and Quentin learnt different martial arts: Kung-Fu, karate, taekwondo, krav-maga, judo, mixed martial arts … It was a good thing that his new body had rapid healing, because he would end up bruised and aching all over. Lys and Kieran were stern teachers and they didn’t let him go easy, just because he was a newbie. With all that physical activity, his body started to get more defined. He was still thin, but his muscles were more toned than ever.

Hand to hand combat was not the only thing he had to train at. His regime also included weapons training. Lys and Kieran both were specialized in weapons, and they told him he would find the weapons he would be more comfortable with. After some training, he found the weapon that most suited him: a spear made of two swords, connected by their hilts. He could use them as a lance, or he could separate them and use them as twin swords. He became a decent shot with the bow and arrows, but nowhere near Kieran, who was the archer of the group. He got pretty good with a katana too, but not as good as Lys, who was the swordswoman of the group. Apart from his twin swords and the bow, he learnt to use other weapons: long knives (like the ones Legolas used, in the Lord of the ring movies), sais, axes … For some reason, it didn’t include firearms, but from what he had seen, Lys and Kieran were pretty anti guns.

Weapons training and combat training was just the tip of the iceberg. He decided on what his shape would be, and that included a whole new set of abilities. He decided to take the shape of a leopard, same animal as Kieran and Lys, but with different fur color. Having his animal shape meant he had to learn how to shift back and forth, how to use his new body: jumping, hunting, honing the senses, not to get overwhelmed by the sensory overload, and learning to achieve a half and half form, in which he mostly maintained his human body, but with the ears, the tail and the retractable claws of the leopard. And that included how move, jump, fight and more in that shape.

To help with that, he started doing parkour with Lys and Kieran. That taught him how to climb, how to jump, how to land … In short, how to move around the city in an unconventional way.
Apart from all the mundane training, he had to practice his magic. Since his magic had changed, he had to learn to cast spells and do magic without the movements and motions he had been taught at Brakebills. To help him with that, he started doing tai-chi and yoga. He would create a small ball of energy and he would use the movements from tai-chi to move the ball around, while focusing on his breathing. New magic meant he could brew potions too, another thing to learn. He was lucky he had always been smart and that his body had been upgraded, so he could learn things more easily, because Lys and Kieran were hard taskers and never let him slack of. Plus, they were in a time crunch, so he needed to learn all that as fast as possible.

While he was training, he started seeing a new therapist. His new therapist was a Faerie. At first, Quentin had some trouble trusting her, probably remnants of his experience with the fairies from Fillory. But after a few sessions, he found he could trust her, and she was a very good doctor, empathetic, intuitive and as a magical creature herself, she knew how magic could affect a person. As soon as they started having real sessions, she had diagnosed him with a severe case of PTSD. Quentin thought it made sense. With all the things he had gone through, since he’d gone to Brakebills, and his depression, it was incredible he hadn’t snapped earlier. And he still had to go through some issues, like his father’s death, how he would react when he met his friends, specially Eliot.

They talked a lot about that, about finding that his dad had died, while his memory had been whipped, about what Eliot meant to him, how he had felt while living with the monster that had been possessing Eliot, how the monster would touch him casually … they also talked about his relationship with Alice. Since he had died, Quentin didn’t know if that counted as a breakup. He also admitted he had gone back with her, because he was spiraling, and Alice had offered him some comfort. Plus, it was at the moment he had done the timeshare spell, and he had remembered how good the relationship had been between them at the beginning. He came to the conclusion that he would always love Alice, but they were better as friends, because when they were a couple, they hurt each other more than not.
Apart from the therapy sessions, he had started taking a new medication. This new medication was natural, his doctor made it, and he only needed to take it when he was feeling really down. And one of the things they found out, was that when his brain seemed to break, as he used to say, spending some time in his leopard form, really helped. Maybe it was because the brain became simpler and he couldn’t wallow in his dark thoughts, but he really felt better after turning into a leopard. It also helped that as a big cat, he loved to cuddle and snuggle, so Kieran and Lys became his cuddle and snuggle buddies. Often, if he was having one of his episodes, they would all turn into their animal forms, and make a cuddle pile of big kitties.

And spending so much time with his new companions, Quentin really got to know them better. They were … well, he couldn’t compare them to his other friends, but soon they became as important as the others.

Kieran was from Scotland and he was even a bit taller that Eliot, but a bit wider at the shoulders too. He had longish red curly hair and green-blue eyes and he looked like he belonged in a period film or novel, like pride and prejudice. He was caring, a good teacher, he had a very dry sense of humor and he could be a hot head too. Quentin discovered too that Kieran was a nerd, when it came to books, tv shows and films. They discovered they both shared a love for fantasy novels, and they would often discuss about favorite authors, works … Quentin found that Kieran was protective of those he loved, very protective and reminded him of how Julia would defend him against the bullies at school.

Lys was from the Basque Country, in Spain, and she was as tall as Julia, which meant she was quite short. But like Julia, that didn’t stop her from being fierce and it reminded him of Margo too. She had long dark red curly hair, which she often wore in braids. She had dark brown eyes and she was caring, also a good teacher, sterner than Kieran and she was the calm, where Kieran was the nerve. Like Kieran, she was also a bit nerdy and they bonded over their shared love of anime and mangas.

As a couple, Lys and Kieran complemented each other. She was usually the voice of the reason, the calmer one and he was the one who would take action immediately. It was like Eliot and Margo, but the roles were reversed. They were also very touchy feely, and that helped a lot with his PTSD. He found out that they were good listeners and offered good advice, specially Lys.

The more he lived and trained with them, the more he trusted them. He decided that a new life deserved a new look and he asked Lys if she would cut his hair. For a long time, he had used his long hair, as a way of hiding from the others, but he didn’t want to do that anymore. He was going to face his problems head on, and he wouldn’t use his hair as a shield. Lys was honored that he trusted her with that, and she decided to give him a faux hawk look. She cut his hair on the sides, quite short, and the hair on top remained longer. With a bit of gel, he could create the faux hawk or just let it comb to one side. But he would no longer hide behind his hair. And it would be more comfortable for fighting

Chapter Text

Not far from where Quentin was living and training, the others were working together, to save Fillory. After Penny had told them Quentin was alive, he had left, without telling them where Q was. Alice, who as soon as she took charge of the library, brought all their books to the loft, had found a new book for Quentin. However, the book was blank. When she asked Zelda about it, Zelda told her that it meant that Quentin was out of the library’s radar. His book would start to write itself, when Quentin came to their realm.

So, it was good news, not so bad news kind of situation. If Q was alive, why hadn’t he contacted them? Since Penny hadn’t been so forthcoming with info, they just had theories: maybe, when being resurrected, he had lost all his memories, and he was wandering somewhere, alone and lost. Or he was in a magical witness protection program, to protect him from the old gods, or whoever was their enemy. Or maybe, he couldn’t tell them that he was alive, like it was one of the conditions of his resurrection. Or, the worst-case scenario: he remembered, he could contact them, but he didn’t want to.
Meanwhile, they had to deal with the situation in Fillory. Margo and Penny 23 would often travel to Fillory to gather information. From what they had discovered, the time-skips had stopped. Whenever they travelled, it would be 300 years later since they’d sent Josh and Fen back. They had also discovered that Josh and Fen were going to be executed but before they were, they had disappeared from the dungeons. While it gave them some hope, they had no way of knowing what had truly happened.

Apart from that, while going to Fillory, they had found out that all the magical creatures, the talking animals and the questing creatures had been killed or had disappeared. Plus, children with magic were no longer born. It seemed that the magicians in Fillory had been whipped out.

They found out too, that when the invasion began, Fillorians, Lorians, Floaters … had united against the invaders. An alliance led by Fen, Josh, Prince Ess and Ru had fought bravely but they had been no match against the forces of the Dark King. In the battles for Fillory’s freedom, countless of citizens had been killed and the leaders had been captured. To make an example of them, they had been executed publicly, all of them except Josh and Fen, who had gone missing. So, they were really fucked up on that front.

Julia and Margo, being the two people from the group, who knew most about Fillory, other than Quentin, tried thinking about any creature, any place or anything that could help them, but they couldn’t think of anything. The truth was that no one but Quentin knew more about the place. If he were there, he would surely remember a forgotten creature or some obscure fact that would help them with the situation.

Seeing that they needed their little nerd, the questers decided they had now two missions: one, bringing Quentin back, from wherever dark corner he was hiding, even if it was kicking and screaming, and two, saving Fillory.

They thought it would be easy, summoning him, but it really wasn’t. The majority of the summoning spells were designed to summon spirits, but Quentin was alive. Alice searched all over the library, even in the Poison Room, but she found nothing helpful. And since Zelda had told them, that Q was beyond the reach of the Library, it would be most probable that any known spell they tried, would not work. To sum up, they had to create a unique spell that had to be strong enough to travel through all sorts of dimensions.

It was decided that Julia and Alice, who were better at creating new spells would be in charge of creating it. Eliot, since he was still healing, would help them, plus he was no dud when it came to magic. The others would continue working on Fillory.

While they were researching how the create the summoning spell, they discovered that they would need two ingredients that were basic: something that belonged to the person they wanted to summon and some biological element, like blood or hair. The second ingredient was easy to find. At first Julia had remembered that Quentin had given blood to a witch in Fillory, but that sample had probably been destroyed. The answer came from the library, though. Apparently, when the library had held them, for the memory whipping, they had taken blood, hair and tissue samples from them, in order to monitor them and make sure they didn’t recover their memories. When Alice had found about that, she had been livid and had taken all the samples. They destroyed all of the expect a vial with Quentin’s blood and a lock of his hair.

The first ingredient had been harder to find. After Quentin’s death, they had put all his belongings in boxes, for storage. They put the boxes in a room in the loft. When they went to retrieve something: a piece of clothing worn by Quentin and an object dear to him, they found out that the boxes had disappeared. Julia talked about going to New Jersey, to Q’s house and take a few t-shirts or hoodies from Quentin. She hoped his mum hadn’t thrown away anything. But before they had to go, Eliot found the hoodie Q had been wearing, when they went to past Fillory, during the quest for the keys. He also found some of the fillorian clothes they had both worn. As for the personal items, they rescued the book that Plover had signed and Kady had thrown into the fire. However, they didn’t know if it would be enough. Julia provided the solution too. The deck of cards that she never got to thrown into the fire. She had been keeping them, ever since she had done magic with them.
Now that they had the personal items and the biological ingredients, they just had to find the right spell to summon Quentin.

One day, Eliot was alone in the loft. The others were gone, doing research, talking with the hedges, looking for information in Brakebill’s library and he profited of having the loft for himself, to think about what he would do when they got Q back. He would be able to fulfill the promise he had made to memory Q, about being brave and telling him what he felt. He knew that Q had gone back with Alice while he was possessed, but he wasn’t so sure the relationship would last. Q and Alice had a deep connection, but it didn’t top living a lifetime with Q.

He was sitting in one of the sofas, about to take a break from the research, when Alice came in. It was one of the few times they had been alone, and he still felt a little uncomfortable around her.
“Hey Alice, I was about to have lunch. Have you eaten? I can make us something quick” He said.

“Oh, hey Eliot. I didn’t know you were here. Yeah, I could eat. Do you need help? What are you going to do? She said.

“I was thinking of making some rockette, dried tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto and grilled chicken breast sandwiches. Can you help me by cutting the cheese and basil, for the pesto sauce?” He asked her.
They worked in silence while they prepared the meal. They prepared sandwiches for the others and put them in the fridge. They ate in silence. They were still a little uncomfortable around each other. They had never been close to begin with, and so many things had happened between them. Plus, Eliot wasn’t sure what Alice felt about him, considering his relationship with Quentin. When Q, Margo and he had had the drunken threesome, Alice had forgiven Margo easier than she had forgiven him or Quentin.

After they had lunch, Eliot got up and started going towards the living room, to continue with his research, when Alice said:

“Can I talk to you?”
“Yeah, lets move to the sofa” He said.

They sat down, and for a few minutes, none of them said anything. They just stared at each other. Eliot wasn’t going to break the ice. If she wanted to talk, he wasn’t going to help her.
“I’ve been thinking” she started saying, not looking at him “when we get Q back, I’m not going to break up with him”

Oh, so it was going to be that talk. “And you’re telling me this because … “he said. “Alice, he chose to go back together with you, why don you think you have to remind me you have a claim over him?” He asked her.

“Because I’m not entirely sure he would want to continue with me, if he knows you’re alive and well. You didn’t see how hard he tried to get you back, he was willing to die for you. He was willing to sacrifice himself, if that meant freeing you. And in a way, he did that” Alice said.

Eliot remembered that. While he had been at the infirmary in Brakebills, after hearing the news about Q, Julia had told him what had happened with the monster and Quentin. He had been angry with Quentin, for not caring about his safety, but he had been moved by how hard Q had fought. And it had given him hope, that maybe Q still loved him and would want to be with him. His hope had shattered when Margo told him that Q and Alice had gone back together, before he was freed.

“Oh, so you are jealous. Jealous that given the choice Q would pick me” He said. Honestly, he had no idea what would happen. He knew he had been an asshole, when he had rejected Q. He had even pretended not to care that much about him, even sending him alone, in one of the quests for the keys. Only when Q had told them that he was going to stay at castle Blackspire, and become the monster’s guardian, he decided to act, by shooting the monster. His plan had been to kill the monster, get the magic flow back on and tell Q that he wanted to give them a try, as a couple.

“If I’m being honest, I’ve always been jealous of you, of the connection you have with Q. You and Julia are the people closest to Q, and even when we were a couple, I could not compete with any of you. And when I died and became a niffin, for the first time all his attention was on me.” She said bitterly.

“Well, but you weren’t happy with that either, were you? He told me that you would torment him, that you would mock him … and didn’t he bring you back to life? Didn’t he take care of you, after you became human again? You had all his attention then” he told her, a little angry.

“Yeah, but I was so angry with him, I couldn’t enjoy it. When I became a niffin, I had all the knowledge of the world at the tip of my fingers. When I became human again, I tried to capture all the knowledge, but the human mind has limitations. I was so focused on what I was losing, that I didn’t pay attention to what I had” Alice said. “I think that that’s when he short of gave up on me, on us, as a couple”

 

" But you worked together during the quest for the keys. I was in Fillory for most of the time, how come you didn’t try anything then?” Eliot asked.
“Because I was not in the best place, thinking that magic was bad, and something happened during the quest” At that moment, Alice was looking at him straight in the eye. “While we were working against the monster, he told me about the mosaic”

“And what did he tell you? Eliot was surprised Q had told someone other than Julia. He had only told Margo, and that had been under threat of maiming some body part of his.

“Not much, that you lived a full life, that you raised a child together … but the way he was talking about it, he seemed he had never been happier. And the few things he told me about your relationship, he sounded like a person in love” she said. “We were mending our friendship and I thought it would be enough. Then we did the timesharing spell, to get the bonding spell from Mayakovski and I was confronted with the Q from Brakebills south, when we started our relationship. He reminded me of how good those days had been, how happy we had been. And after that, he told me he wanted to try again. I was so happy he trusted me again and I said yes.

“That’s beautiful and all” Eliot said, sarcastically. Somethings Alice had said, made him think that maybe he wasn’t out of the game yet with Quentin. “But what does it have to do, with you not breaking up with him? You still haven’t told me yet.

“I think that Q got back with me, because he had lost hope, we were going to get you back. Since the stones were to create the sister’s body, it didn’t solve the problem of freeing you from the monster. I think that he was feeling lost and he held onto a lifesaver.” She told Eliot

“You being the lifesaver, I suppose” Eliot said.

“I think that he got with me for the wrong reasons, but we were happy, before everything went sideways. When we get him back, I want to really try our relationship with him, without the threat of the monsters or the library on us. That’s why I want to tell you. Even if I know that you have a stronger bond, I want him to know he has options” She sounded really determined.

“And if he doesn’t want to try again with you, are you going to make him break up with you? That’s a little harsh, even for you. “Eliot said. In a way he admired her, but there was no way in hell that he would let her have her way. “We don’t know how he will react, or maybe he has met someone else. When we meet him, lets see how he reacts, and we will go from there. It should be his choice, not ours” He finished

“You’re right. I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel threatened by you, and I lash out. It has to be his choice. That doesn’t mean I’m going to bow down. If I see that I have a chance, I’m going for it.” She stated.
“Me too. Let the best man, or woman win” Eliot said. “Should we shake on it?”

Alice shock her head, got up and said “you should continue with the research. I’ll bring some more books from the library. I won’t be back until dinner” And with that, she portaled to the library.
Eliot stayed in the loft, but instead of researching, he spent most of the time thinking about what he had talked about with Alice. He was a little angry that she felt entitled to Q, just as she had felt entitled to the role of the grieving widow. So, he became more determined of showing Q that they belonged together. He decided he had to talk to Margo, to devise a strategy to seduce Q, and as he had told him such a long time ago, so lift his spirits that life would retain its sparkle. With that thought, he took one of the books, and continued the research until the others came.

Chapter Text

After weeks of training, Quentin was finally ready to go on his first mission. During his training, he had been glad he had gotten an enhanced body, so a training that would take years, took several weeks. He still had to continue training, but it was much easier now that he had the motions. Training had been an absolute hell. He had never been really athletic to begin with and even with the enhanced body and the rapid healing, he’d often ended black and blue and so sore he had needed ice baths and magical aid to heal and be able to get up the following day.

Lys and Kieran hadn’t held back, they had been merciless with his training. He couldn’t wait to see what his friend’s reaction would be, if they decided to join their group and learned about the training regime. But first, the mission. He had gotten the ok from his therapist, he was really making progress and he felt better than ever. He was ready to join the fight again.
Lys and he were in the living room of his home, waiting for Kieran to come from headquarters.

“Ok, the Dark King and his army have made an appearance. They have already started conquering a land, and they have taken the rulers of said land as prisoners. Our mission is to rescue the rulers and get them to safety, assess the situation of the inhabitants of the place and help them to start a resistance movement against the Dark King and value the state of magic of the land, to see how much damage the Dark King has made.” Kieran said.

“So where are we going?” Asked Lys.

“Oh, it’s a magical land that exists in another dimension. Something like Narnia. Q, it’s the place you like to read about so much” Kieran said.

Quentin, as soon as Kieran said magical land, realized they were going to Fillory. It seemed that he would reunite with some of his friends sooner than he anticipated. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to meet Eliot and Margo, thinking that they had gone back to Fillory. A snap of fingers in front of him, took him out of his reverie. “Earth to Q” Lys said. “Are you with us? What can you tell us about Fillory?

“Sorry, I was thinking about my friends who might be in Fillory. What do you need to know?” He asked.

“As much as you can tell us, we never knew this place existed, until now.” Kieran said.

“Well, let me see. For starters, time doesn’t run the same in Fillory. It is possible that months or even years have passed, since I was there for the last time.” Quentin stated.

“Don’t worry about that. We are not affected by those time skips. We’ve been to other places where that usually happens, but our magic prevents it. You died, what, about 20 weeks ago? Lys asked. “When we go to Fillory, the same amount of time will have passed.

Wow, Quentin thought. It had already been 5 months since he’d died, resurrected and got new magic. It had been so fast; he hadn’t had time to think about it. He put aside that thought for later and continued:

“The air is 2 % opium, which can be distracting at first. There are all kinds of creatures, talking animals … did you know that they use bunnies as messengers?” Quentin tried to think about the most remarkable things from Fillory.

“What about the ruling system? Allies and enemies?” Kieran asked

“Well, at the moment, High King Fen is ruling, with Josh as his advisor. It is a monarchy, but ever since my friends and I went there for the first time, there had been some changes. Margo, who was High King before Fen, was elected and not appointed. As for enemies, the Lorians were the natural enemies but Eliot, and later Fen, they started to negotiate peace treaties between the two lands. I don’t know what’s the situation now like. “Quentin said.

“Good, and the people? What kind of society it is? And what about their magic?” Lys inquired.

“It’s a preindustrial society, so farmers, artisans, carpenters … a medieval like society, without the feudal system. There are magicians, but they don’t have as much training as the earth magicians do. There are centaurs that work mostly as healers. And the fairies claimed a piece of land, after they signed a treaty with Margo. “ Quentin told them.

Over the following hours Quentin told Lys and Kieran everything he could remember about Fillory. They decided they would arrive in a village close to castle Whitespire, they would get some fillorian clothes and infiltrate the castle.

Kieran and Lys told him about the Dark King, his lieutenants and his soldiers. The Dark king had 5 lieutenants: a wizard, who liked to experiment with magic and often would experiment with their prisoners, a witch, who was an specialist in nature magic and was an expert in poisons and potions, the commander of the army, a sorcerer well versed in combat and could conjure weapons out of things present in the battlefield, a female warlock expert in wards and the Dark King’s most trusted advisor, a sorcerer that was rumored to be a healer that could heal anything and also would experiment with prisoners. They also told Quentin that they wouldn’t be able to use magic in the castle. The Dark King would ward any lair he had, so that only he and his lieutenants were able to use magic and alarms would be set if someone else tried to.

After the briefing, they were finally ready to go. They geared up and as a precaution, Quentin used glamour to alter his appearance. He would shed it once they were in Whitespire.
Lys opened the portal that would take them to Fillory. For Quentin it was the first time that he saw one of their portals. It was round and made of a swirly golden light. They stepped in and there was a whoosh and they were pulled through. They appeared in Fillory and Quentin felt a little queasy. It was his first portal trip and he wasn’t used to it.

“Don’t worry, it passes quickly. It will get easier with time.” Kieran said with a laugh.

“Yeah, I hope so. I don’t feel like losing my breakfast every time I use portals.” Quentin said with a grimace.

They looked around and they saw they had arrived not far from a small village. They started heading to the village. Before they arrived, Lys stopped them and said:
“Good idea using glamour Q. Look at that”

Both Kieran and Quentin looked at where Lys was pointing. It was a notice board. On it, there was a wanted poster with Eliot’s, Alice’s, Margo’s and his portrait. By the order of the Dark King, they were wanted for treason and a reward was offered for any information about them. Next to the wanted poster, they saw that the Dark King had ordered a mandatory appearance at castle Whitespire, at sundown. It didn’t give any more details, but it was probably nothing good.

Since they would start drawing the attention of the villagers and possible spies, they went looking for fillorian clothes. They had some problems, as they were recognized as being earth’s children, and helping them had become a crime. They found an old lady who gave them the clothes. She had liked High King Margo and she wanted to help, when they told her what they intended to do. She had lived the Beast’s reign and she didn’t want to be ruled by another tyrant. Before they left her house, they told her to take as many people as they could and to get them to a safe place, possibly the outer islands, or the mountains. She told them she would speak with the villages major, but she would stay in the village. She was too old to run away.

Kieran, Lys and Quentin thanked her and gave her a small sphere of glass. The sphere contained a spell that would protect her for some time, while she tried to find safety. The old lady thanked them, and they left the village. They had also bought horses, to travel faster.

When they arrived at Whitespire, they saw that in the gardens, they had built a scaffold. Quentin, Lys and Kieran looked at each other. It seemed that what was going to happen at sundown was an execution.

Chapter Text

There were already some people in the gardens. They approached a man and Quentin asked him:

“Excuse me sir, we’ve been travelling from far away and we just arrived in Whitespire. Could you tell us what’s happening at sundown?
“Good day. Yes, High King Fen and the Fresh Prince Josh are going to be executed” answered the man.

“And are there any other children of earth?” Quentin asked again.

“Oh, no. No one has seen High King Margo since she was exiled and former High King Eliot hasn’t been seen since longer” The man told them, looking at them strangely. They decided to stop asking questions, as the man was starting to get suspicious. “Thank you, sir. Have a good day” And with that, Quentin, Lys and Kieran left the man’s side and looked for a calmer spot.

Quentin was relieved that Eliot and Margo were not in Fillory, but they still had to rescue Josh and Fen.

“Ok, Q. You are the one who knows the most about this place. What’s the best way of getting into the castle?” Kieran asked.

“If we surround the castle, there is an area where the wall of the fortress is easily accessible if we climb. There will be guards in the parapets, but we can get rid of them easily. Then, the dungeons are not far away. We have to cross a long corridor and go down the stairs. The corridor will be complicated, as several important rooms are located there. They are usually used by the courtiers and advisors, so I guess that the Dark King will have located his lieutenants there” Quentin said.

“Is there any other way to the dungeons? We need to be as discreet as possible and we can’t use magic. We can’t risk being found by the lieutenants; we will be fucked otherwise” Lys stated.

“Let me think … oh, on the other side of the castle, there is a set of stairs that get you to the lower levels of the castle. We can get to the dungeons from there.” Quentin commented.

“Let’s go then. The longer we stay here, the chances of being discovered are bigger.” Kieran said, with a determined look on his face. They left the horses tied to some trees, hidden from the people. They would need them later to get away.

They managed to get in without too much trouble. They encountered a few guards, but they quickly got rid of them. The real problems would be when they got inside the castle.

Meanwhile, in the dungeons, Josh and Fen were waiting for the guards to take them, to be executed. They still had a small sliver of hope, which was diminishing, the nearer the execution time came. At that point, only a Hail Mary would save them. They weren’t so worried about dying, they had already accepted their fates, but they were worried about their friends from earth. They didn’t want them to find about their deaths, in some fillorian historical record, or worse, that they would be forgotten, only to appear as a dark note of the recent history of Fillory. On the upside, neither Margo nor Eliot, nor any of their other friends were sharing cells with them. It gave them hope that they might have a chance against the Dark King.

While waiting, Josh and Fen reflected on the war they had fought. They had tried resisting the invading army. Since the Lorians and the west Lorians were there, they had made an alliance, but they soon realized they were severely outmatched. Even their magicians were not powerful enough against the Dark King’s wizards and witches. They used spells they had never seen, and their soldiers were almost immune to the magic of fillorians and lorians.

When it was clear that they couldn’t hold off the invasion, Fen and Josh had sent the members and advisors of their court into safety, to the outer lands of Fillory. That way, they could start organizing the resistance and if Margo and Eliot ever came back, they would already have a support system.

Before they were defeated, they had tried to join their advisors. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been able to use the Muntjac to escape. The boat, still allegiant to Margo, hadn’t been seen since their trip to Blackspire, and they had been captured. Ess and Ru had been executed first and now it was their turn.

Josh and Fen were exchanging their last words to each other, hoping to comfort the other, in their last moments, when they heard a commotion coming from the door that lead to the dungeons. They thought that their execution time had been moved forward. They got up from their cots and approached the doors of their cells, carrying their heads high. If they were going to die, they would do it proudly, not showing any fear and with no regrets. They saw the guards going to see what the commotion was. They waited for them to come, thinking they were going to take them to the execution site. Instead of the guards, three people came in. At first, Fen and Josh couldn’t see their faces, they were wearing hooded jackets and carrying weapons. They thought the newcomers were assassins when …
The three people took their hoods of and …

“Quentin? What are you doing here? Where are Margo and Eliot and the others?” Josh queried. He couldn’t believe it; they had come to save them. Fen, from her cell asked “How did you get here? We thought Fillory was closed off to Earth”

“We can bypass the block, but our magic allows it” Quentin started to answer. “The others …”

“Q, we can explain things later, more guards or soldiers will come soon. We need to get out of here” the girl accompanying Q said.

“Sorry, Lys, you’re right.” Q said with a small smile. “Let’s get out of here”

The other guy with Q, had taken the keys from the guards. He opened the door to Fen’s cell and an alarm started to blare. Damn, the cells were warded and had triggered the alarm. They were going to have to fight their way out.

“Josh, Fen, are you ready to run? Stay behind us, we will protect you” Quentin told them. “Kieran, would you open Josh’s cell? We need to get out of here pronto”

Kieran, the other guy, opened Josh’s cell and they both hugged Q. They were so happy to see him.

“Ok, guys, I love you too, but we need to get the shit out of here” Q said.

Fen and Josh got behind Q and his friends and they got out of the dungeons. On their way out, they encountered soldiers from the Dark King. Josh and Fen were astonished to see how in tandem the three worked. They would use their weapons and martial arts techniques, helping each other and not getting in the others way. They saw Q use some wicked looking swords, as he killed some of the soldiers, jumping over them with a somersault and cutting the soldiers up while he jumped. Fen and Josh were amazed. They had never seen Q move like that, they remembered him as being clumsier. It was clear that he had changed quite a lot. His companions were amazing too, but it was clear that they had been doing it for longer than Quentin.

Instead of going the same way they had entered, they decided to use the shorter route. When they were going through the long corridor, they faced more soldiers. Since they couldn’t fight all of them, Q, Lys and Kieran decided to blow up part of the wall and roof, in order to block them. Since the bad guys had already been alerted, they would have no trouble using magic. They threw fireballs to the ceilings and columns, making them collapse. Josh looked at them, amazed by how quickly they were able to cast. Answering his silent question, Quentin told him, as they run for their lives:

“We are not magicians; not like you are. We don’t need poppers, hand positions or circumstances, but I’ll explain it when we are safer”

Before the got out, though, they came face to face with one of the Dark King’s lieutenants. It was the witch that was the specialist in nature magic and in poisons. She used some of the trees and the ivy that grew in the castle, to create ropes to catch them. Q threw several fireballs, burning the plants. Lys used the water of a fountain to encase the witch in a bubble and froze it. Kieran then used the trees and the ivy the witch had used, to create a barrier, separating them from the soldiers. It would take them some time to break it, which would give our heroes, the chance to escape.

They made it to the horses and rode them. Quentin and Fen rode the same horse and Lys and Josh did too. They arrived at the small village, where they had bought the horses. They returned them to the owner and with a quick but unbreakable spell, changed the color of the horse’s coats. That way, the Dark King wouldn’t be able to retaliate against the owner.

After leaving the horses, they run for several miles, in the forest. They wanted to get as far as possible from Whitespire, to open a portal back to Earth.

“Josh, we will leave you at Kady’s apartment, is that ok with you guys?” Quentin asked Josh and Fen.

“Sure, fine be me. But I’m worried about the time skips. How much time will have passed on earth?” Josh asked.

“Our magic prevents us from being affected by the time skips, so how long have you been in Fillory? Lys queried.

“About five or six months, give or take” Josh responded.

“Then it will be the same time” Lys told them. Fen and Josh looked relieved. That way, they could gather the troops and start the reconquest of Fillory earlier
.
They finally arrived at a safe spot. Kieran opened the portal, and they appeared in the living room of Kady’s apartment, which was empty. Since it was the first time Fen and Josh used that type of portals, they had the same reaction Quentin had, so he told then to sit down and gave them some water. Lys and Kieran told Quentin they were going to reinforce Kady’s wards, so that gave them a moment of privacy.

“Ok, now that we are safe, explain Quentin. Where are Margo, Eliot and the others? “Josh asked. “What happened after I went to Fillory with Fen? Why aren’t you with them”

“Well, I guess that the others are around, though I can’t tell you for sure.” Quentin answered. “The reason I’m not with them, is because for them, I’m dead.

“What?” Both Fen and Josh shouted at the same time. “You died?” Josh shouted again. “How can that be? You don’t seem so dead now”

“Long story short, after we freed Eliot and Julia from the monsters, Alice, Penny 23 and I took the bottles with the monsters, to the Seam. We threw the bottle with the monster and I was going to do the same with the sister, when Everett, you know, head librarian, appeared, threw something to the seam and broke the glass. He asked me to give him the bottle with the sister, but instead of doing that, I told Penny 23 to take Alice out and I used my discipline and fixed the mirror.” Quentin said.

“Are you crazy? Did you cast in the mirror world? Everybody knows you can’t do that” Josh couldn’t believe how stupid Q had been.

“Josh, let him finish” Fen said, hitting Josh in the arm.

“Ok, ok. So, you fix the mirror. Then what?” Josh asked

“Well, as soon as the mirror was fixed, I threw the bottle with the sister, but sparks had started coming out of the mirror. They got Everett and vaporized him, and they got me too. Next thing I know I’m in an elevator, in the Underworld and our Penny is there to greet me”

“Wow, Q, that’s fucked up, man” Josh said. “But you are not dead, obviously. How did you get back?

“Penny took me to the archway that lead to the afterlife. When I went through, I regretted it and wanted to go back. A voice told me that I could have a second chance. I only had to express my will to live. I did that and then I woke up in a hospital room, with Lys and Kieran by my side.”

“Your new friends. What are they, by the way? You said you’re not magicians, and you have some serious juice with that magic” Josh was awed at Q’s new powers. “Are you a god now?”

Quentin laughed. “oh, no. I’m not a god. I’m a warlock. I have a different kind of magic. Since my body had to be rebuilt, they gave me different powers. I no longer need poppers or have to take into account the circumstances for a spell. I think about what I want, and I make it happen. Wanna see?”

“Can you make pastries from the best bakery in Paris appear?” Josh asked jokingly

Quentin snapped his fingers and an array of pastries appeared at the island in the kitchen. Croissants, pains au chocolat, eclairs, choux, caneles, macarons …

“Holy shit” Josh voiced his amazement. “You just snapped your fingers and …. “

“Yeah, the first time I did it, I was freaking out” Quentin remarked.

“That’s one thing covered. So, you said the others think you’re dead. Are you sure? Josh asked

“I was at the funeral they gave me, so yes, I’m sure” Quentin answered.

“Shit man, that’s even more fucked up. But you are going to wait here with Fen and I for the others to get back, right?”

“No, as soon as Lys and Kieran are done reinforcing the wards, I’m leaving with them.” Quentin stated, looking sad.

“Why? Don’t you think they will want to know you are alive? I’m sure High King Margo and Eliot, and Julia will be so happy to see you!” Fen intervened for the first time.
“I’d love to see them too, but I have to sort somethings before I can, so not at the moment” Quentin said.

“And do we have to keep the news of your resurrection a secret, or can we tell them?” Josh asked, a little angry. What had happened while he had been away?

“Josh, do you really think that you will be able to keep the secret, if Margo asks you? Or Fen?” Quentin really knew his friends

“Dude have some respect. I’m perfectly capable of keeping secrets. I’m not sure about Fen though. But it’s not as if you have asked us to do a “words as bond pact” ” Josh was slapped in the arm by Fen. “I can keep secrets too!” Fen said.

Quentin raised an eyebrow at both of them, looking skeptical.

“Ok, ok. If Margo asks, or Kady, she’s scary, I’m going to spill like a choir boy in confession. Happy?” Josh said.

“Very” Q laughed.

They could hear Lys and Kieran coming down from the upper floor, so Quentin started telling them what he knew.

He told them about the Dark King and his lieutenants, about their magic. He told them that they should start training in combat, not combat magic, but regular fighting, like martial arts and weapons. He also said that they had to warn all the magical communities: Brakebills, the Hedges, the Library, the magical creatures of earth … they were all in danger from the Dark King. He told them that they had to be careful with their spells too. The Dark King was attracted to big surges of magic, so doing cooperative spells was like a beacon for the Dark King.

Lys and Kieran came down finally. She was carrying some hairs and put them on the island. She plucked some hairs from Fen and Josh too.

“Hey, that hurt” said Josh rubbing his head. “What was that for?”

“We have reinforced the wards, but now I’m coding them, so they recognize the people who live here. When your friends come, as soon as they come through the door, they will flare with a blue light. That means it’s them and not an imposter. If they flare with a red light, it means they have been infiltrated.” With that explanation, Lys took the hairs from all of them and weaved them into the new wards she had created. “Q, we are ready to leave. Are you sure you don’t want to stay? You can portal up later”

“No, it’s fine. I’m going with you” Kieran opened the portal and he and Lys stepped right in. Before leaving, Quentin took out a crystal pendant from his pocked and gave it to Josh. It was evident that the pendant was only one half of a bigger crystal.

“This pendant allows you to communicate with us. We have the other half. The pendant works like a worry stone, hold it in your hand, and you will be able to talk to us. If you feel that you are in danger, hold it tightly and the one we have will turn red. We will come to the rescue” Quentin told Josh and Fen.

“Anything you want us to tell our friends?” Josh asked

“Yeah, not to do anything stupid. That I miss them, that I will see them soon and that I love them, so much, even Penny 23” Said Quentin, tearing up. He hugged Fen and Josh and he stepped into the portal. The portal disappeared and Josh and Fen remained in the kitchen, in silence, waiting for their friends to come.

Chapter Text

After Quentin and his friends left, Fen went to the living room and started watching tv. Josh, who was nervous about what they were going to tell the others, put the pastries Q had materialized and looked for ingredients. He always stress-cooked and he didn’t know how the break the news that Q was alive. Damn Quentin for putting him in that spot!

The others had been out having lunch, it was the day of the week they all had a meal together. It had been some weeks after Eliot and Alice had had their argument and things had been a little awkward between them, but they had gone out for drinks and had mended their relationship. They were not going to be the greatest friends, but the discussion has served to put their problems behind, mainly the threesome and Alice betraying them.

They were talking, laughing, and making plans for the week. They had finally created a spell to summon Quentin. It had taken them months, but between Alice and Julia, they had combined different spells and they had found the right formula. They had already tested it and it was flawless. They would try it for real that weekend. They were going to rent a car and travel upstate. They had thought of doing it at Brakebills, even asking Dean Fogg for permission, but Fogg had told them that the wards in campus, would interfere with the summoning. They had looked for an alternate location. It needed to be secure, they couldn’t risk bystanders, in case something went wrong, like an evil Quentin or summoning another creature. They were going to do the summoning in a forest, that way they would be able to ward the area and contain whatever came.

The gang arrived at the apartment and they went in. As soon as they crossed the threshold, there was a whooshing noise and they each flared up with a blue light. They were in the hall when Margo spoke:

“What the fuck was that? Did we all shine with a fucking blue light, like damn fairies?”

Kady took one of the crystals that belonged to Marina and surveyed the apartment.

“Someone has done something to the wards!” She exclaimed, after checking them.

“Are you sure? We check them every day! What can you see? Are they gone?” Alice asked

“No, actually our wards are in place. But there are additional ones, with a magic I’ve never seen before and they seem really strong” Kady stated.

“Let me see” Kady gave the crystal to Alice. “It’s true, someone has added wards and Kady is right, they are strong and made of a magic I don’t recognize” Alice confirmed.

The gang were still in the hall of the apartment, discussing their new wards, when a figure barreled into Margo, hugging her.

“Margo, you’re back!!” said Fen, as she hugged the former High King of Fillory.

“Fen? How? How are you here? Is Josh …” Margo started to ask, still hugging Fen, when she saw Josh coming from the kitchen.

“Josh!” All the friends exclaimed. They rushed to hug him. After Margo and Eliot had told them about the time skip, they had thought Josh and Fen were dead. They were there, in their time and alive!! How?

“Hey guys, it’s so good to see you all. We’ve missed you. We have so many things to tell you!” Josh said, as he hugged all of his friends.

Fen, who was hugging Eliot now, also said: “Yes, we have a lot of things to tell, like the Dark King, and the war, and we were imprisoned and we were going to get executed and we got rescued by …” she said excitedly
.
At that point Josh cleared his throat, stopping Fen and said: “Why don’t we sit down, and we tell you about what happened in Fillory after we arrived. Are you guys hungry? We have pastries and I have been preparing some goods. No special ingredients this time.” He finished with a wink.

“Ok, let’s sit the fuck down, Fen, sweetie, do you think you can let Eliot go?” Margo asked.

As they moved to the sofas, Fen moved on to hug Julia, and when they sat down, she remained next to her, holding her hand.

“Who starts?” Julia asked, speaking for the first time.

“Since Josh and Fen were away longer, why don’t we start?” Alice said.

The gang told Josh and Fen about finally banishing the monsters, Eliot’s recovery, Margo and Eliot going to Fillroy, the 300 years time skip, learning about the Dark King and Fen and Josh being overthrown, coming back to earth, their plans to reconquer Fillory …

“What about Quentin” Where is he?” Josh asked.

“Oh, Quentin died, he died saving us from Everett, he died at the seam” Alice said, tearing up. As soon as Alice said that, Josh and Fen looked at each other.

“Ok, what was that?” Margo asked them.

“What was what?” Josh said, feigning innocence. “We didn’t do anything, right Fen”

“Right Josh” Fen said, with a rather exaggerated wink.

“Hoberman, Fen, don’t mess the fuck up with me. What the fuck was that look?” Margo asked them with a pointed look.

“What look, we didn’t share a look” Josh said.

“Yeah, you did, when we mentioned Q. So, whatever that means, spill” Eliot said. “Or do you think that Margo is going to let you go easily, or Julia?

“Ok, ok, damn, he was right.” Josh said bitterly

“Josh, stop stalling and tell us whatever you have to say, before Margo makes you. And who was right?” Penny 23 asked, speaking for the first time.

“To do that, we have to tell you about what happened after Fen and I returned to Fillory, after Q and I went to the old god’s office” Josh stated.

“Good, but make it quick Hoberman, or you can say goodbye to our coital reunion later” Margo told him.

“So, Fen and I are back in Fillory, ruling and looking for ways to unmake Margo’s banishment. We also help the Lorians with their internal troubles and everything seems fine, there is more magic than ever. But we have no news from you and our bunnies aren’t able to carry their messages. Then, the talking animals start to disappear, the questing creatures too. We get news from Loria, West Loria and the Floating Islands. An army is invading us. They start with both Lorias, they kille Idri, sorry Eliot, I know you two almost got married. We take the lorian refugees. With Ess and Ru, we make an alliance and fight the Dark King and his army, but we lose. We are taken prisoner and Ru and Ess are executed. We are going to be executed too, when someone comes to the rescue. They free us and take us here. That’s the condensed version.” Josh finished.

“Holy fuck, Josh. And who the hell rescues you and Fen? Kady asked.

“Well, I don’t know how to say it, so I’m just going to go with it. Rip the band-aid. Q is alive. He’s the one who rescued us, with two friends” Josh answered. “But from your looks, you know he’s alive”

“Yeah, the real Penny told us.” Margo said
.
“Hey, what am I, chopped liver? Protested Penny 23.

“You know what I mean, 23. No offense.” Margo answered Penny 23. “But it’s good to have actual confirmation. Q rescued you? Where is he?” She voiced the question everyone was asking.
“He didn’t stay. After his friends finished with the wards, they portaled out of here. “ Josh said.

All of their friends stared at Josh and Fen. They had actually talked to Q! But what else had he told them, why hadn’t he stayed? They all felt like there was more to the story. Margo, always the impatient one, broke the silence again.

“And that’s fucking it? He just rescues you and it’s bye-bye again? What the hell, Josh? Why didn’t you grill him for fucking answers? He comes back to life and goes on to be a fucking hero again and doesn’t deign himself to visit us? I swear to god, if I get my hands on him, I’m going to wring his little neck!”

“Calm down, Bambi. I’m sure Josh and Fen have more things to tell, isn’t it right?” Eliot spoke for the first time. His heart had skipped a beat, when Josh had confirmed that Q was alive. But at the same time, he was worried that Q was getting himself in danger again. He didn’t want Q to be in the line of fire again. After learning what Q had done, while he was possessed by the monster, Eliot vowed to himself that he would keep Q away from danger, no matter what. He and Julia had joked about wrapping Q, in bubble plastic. They were both determined to protect their little nerd.

“I wouldn’t be so worried about Quentin being a hero again, Margo” Fen said. “He managed himself quite well against the Dark King soldiers. His companions and he almost killed or injured many of the guards in the castle. He used his swords and knives better that anyone I’ve seen. And his blades were excellent”

Everyone looked at Fen. They couldn’t believe what she just had said. Q a fighter? The guy who would get tangled with his own sweaters? Julia, in particular, couldn’t wrap her head around that idea. Q had never been athletic, preferring to read. At school, she had often defended him against bullies, usually being the one to kick shins or throw punches. She looked at Josh for confirmation or rebuttal, all of them did.

“Oh, yeah. Q can kick ass. He’s like, imagine Kill Bill vol 1 use of sharp blades, add some moves like Assassins Creed and martial arts like Jackie Chan.” Josh told them “Plus there’s the whole thing about his new powers”

“Powers, what are you talking about?” Alice asked.

“Well, for example, he could throw fireballs faster that a pyromancer can. His fireballs were strong too, they burned whatever they touched in seconds.” Josh said.

“Now you’re messing with us, Hoberman. I love Q, but he never had that kind of juice, plus his discipline is minor mending.” Margo was skeptical.

“It probably has to do with him not being a magician like us anymore. He told me that since they had to rebuild his body, they gave him new powers. He called himself and his friends warlocks. They don’t need poppers or circumstances. Their powers are more like what the gods do. They just think about what they want, and they make it appear.” Josh stated.

After hearing that, the gang remained silent, each one lost in thought. Alice was thrilled that there were other types f magic users. Always searching for knowledge, it would be an amazing addition to the library. If Q and his new friends agreed, she wanted to see what they could do, and how different it was from their magic.

Kady was thinking about the practical applications. Well versed in battle magic, she thought about how she would use power like that in a fight. Not needing poppers, meant faster casting, which they would need to fight the Dark King.

Penny 23 was worried. The last time Quentin had had god like powers had been in his time loop, when he had become the Beast. He was happy Q was alive, specially for what he meant for Julia, but he didn’t trust his alternate version that had told them that Q was not evil. Until he could see it with his own eyes, he would be wary of Q. He didn’t want Julia to lose a friend again.

Margo was conflicted. She was happy that Fen and Josh were alive and on earth. She was happy to learn that Q was well, specially for Eliot. But she was angry that Q hadn’t returned with them yet. What was he waiting for, a fucking invitation? This wasn’t Brakebills, he didn’t need to pass a test. This was them, his friends. She decided she would find him, and she would drag him by the balls if she needed to.

Eliot was a little turned on, if he was being honest. He couldn’t wait to see Q again and see what he could do. Oh, the delicious possibilities … At the same time, he was a little disappointed Q was not there. But he vowed to himself that the moment he saw Q, he would kiss the crap out of him, Alice be damned. He was sure Josh and Fen had more things to tell them, so he asked:

“Q’s new powers are the last thing you needed to tell us? Or is there something else?”

Josh and Fen told them what Q had said: the intel on the Dark King and his lieutenants, them being attracted to big surges of magic, warning all the magical communities: Brakebils, the Hedges, the Library, the magical creatures on earth, them learning how to fight … and Q’s last message: that he missed them, that he loved them and that he would see them soon.

With that, the gang was more determined to try the summoning spell during the weekend. Since it was still Wednesday, they decided they could do what Q had asked them to do. Alice would warn the people in the library and the magical creatures, Julia and Penny would go to Brakebills and Kady and Margo would warn the Hedges. Eliot, Josh and Fen would stay at the apartment and prepare everything for the trip and the spell. Josh asked what kind of spell, the summoning was. They told him it was a cooperative spell.

“Are you stupid? Haven’t you heard a word Fen and I have said? The bad guys are attracted to magic, and you plan on doing a big ass spell? Q said not to do anything stupid” He couldn’t believe it!

“Chill, Hoberman. The bad guys are in Fillory and they aren’t coming yet, so what’s the big deal? Plus, we are going to fucking ward the fucking area, so we’ll be protected. And we’ll get to see Q!” Margo exclaimed.

“Yes, we have it covered Josh, don’t worry. We’ll do the spell and the gang will be reunited” Julia said.

Josh, taking advantage of having left some cakes to bake in the oven, went to the kitchen and making sure no one was looking at him, he took the pendant and:

Q, I hope this works, because our friends are about to do something colossally stupid” He thought.

Hey Josh” Josh almost jumped when he heard Q’s voice in his head. He looked again at his friends. Good, they were distracted. “It works! Thank god, because as I was saying, our friends are going to do something really stupid” He told Q.

Hey, did you think I was going to give you a dud? Ok, what are they going to do?” Quentin asked.

They are going to cast this cooperative spell, to summon you. They are going to do it this weekend” Josh said.

Quentin laughed. “I don’t think the spell it’s going to work; I’m no longer affected by magician’s spells. Trust me, I’ve tested it. Can you ask the others how the spell works?”
“Sure. How did you know?” Josh was curious.

I’ll tell you later, concentrate Hoberman” Said Q, trying to do a Margo impersonation.

“Guys, this spell, how does it work?” He asked the others, still holding the pendant.

“We are going to use his blood and his some of his belongings to establish a bond and the spell calls on his blood. He will feel the pull and he will be transported to us” Alice explained.

“Are you sure it works?” Josh asked. “I thought summoning spells were for dead people”

Well, they were, but Julia and I managed to create a new spell, combining different ones and altering them. And we’ve already tried it, we know it works.” Alice said again.

Josh relayed what Alice had said, using the pendant. “Don’t worry. Try to convince them not to do it. We don’t know if the Dark King has managed to come here, so we don’t want to risk it yet. If they still are going to do it, keep the pendant with you and call me if anything happens. Good luck!” And with that, Q cut the communication.

Josh sighed and thought it was up to him to be the calm one again. Oh, he missed those carefree days, in which all he had to worry about were the side effects of his experiments. He took the baked goods from the oven and carrying them, he joined the other in the living room. He had a couple of days to convince some very stubborn people, not to do a spell that, according to them, would summon their wayward Quentin.

Chapter Text

The weekend finally arrived, and the gang got ready for their trip to the forest. They rented a couple of cars and drove to one of the national parks in the upstate area of New York. Since the park was a bit far away, they had also booked some rooms in a bed and breakfast, in a nearby town.

Josh and Fen had tried, by any means necessary to convince the others not to do the spell. They had warned them about what Q had told them about the Dark king and his lieutenants. They had reminded them of the dangers, of the spell not working, of Q no longer being a magician and having different magic. But it was in vain. Julia and Alice were determined to cast the spell, they said it was fool proof.
Kady and Penny 23, just went along with the other two. Margo had told Josh to ovary the fuck up and not to be a pussy. If the Dark King’s soldiers appeared, they would deal with them. Eliot supported Margo in every way and he, more than anyone wanted to get Q back.

During the trip, Josh held the pendant tightly. He hoped it didn’t lose range, like cell phones, because they would be fucked up if it was the case. He hadn’t survived almost being executed, to be killed or imprisoned just like that.

Hey Q, can you hear me?” Josh thought.

Loud and clear. What’s up Josh? Where are you? I can feel that you’re out of the city” Q said.

Our friends have decided to do the stupid thing and we are going upstate, to try to cast the spell to summon you. I’ve tried, Fen has tried but they won’t listen. They are determined and you know how stubborn our friends are” Josh told Q.

Have you tried talking to Alice or Julia? They are usually the more levelheaded ones” Q asked

Oh, believe me, I’ve tried. But since this spell is their love child, they don’t want to waste it. And the others agree” Josh replied.

Damn, I counted on them to be the rational ones. Ok, we can’t portal if you are moving, so when you are in location, use the pendant again. We’ll gear up and be ready to portal, as soon as you’re in place” Quentin said.

Are you sure you’re going to find us? We are going to the Allegheny National Forest, it’s quite big” Josh stated.

Don’t worry. The pendant also works as a locator or a beacon. It will give us your exact location. Do you at least have any weapons?” Quentin asked.

Fen has her knives and she gave me one too. The others don’t really believe they are in danger. I think that since the Dark king is still in Fillory, they don’t see it as a threat.” Josh answered.

Well, that’s about to change. We’ve received reports of portals opening on earth, they still haven’t managed to cross over but they are not far away” Quentin told Josh. “Please, try to convince them, even if it’s difficult”

Ok, Fen and I will try” Josh said, ending the communication.

A couple of hours later, the gang arrived at the forest. They decided not to check in the hotel, because they had to prepare the spell. Since they had to light a fire, they needed to check in with the forest rangers, to go over the security drills and precautions. Even if their fire was going to be magical, and it would be easy to contain and put out, they didn’t want to risk getting a fine.

They arrived at the clearing they had chosen, and they started preparing the spell. Kady and Alice warded the area, while Julia and Margo lit the fire. Eliot, Josh and Fen carried the ingredients. Penny 23 tested the wards. They had made them anti travelers, that way no one would be able to get in.

Josh told Quentin that, but Q told him not to worry, they could overpass their wards. But so could some of the Dark King’s minions, specially if the sorceress who was an specialist in wards appeared.
Josh, with Fen, tried for the last time to convince the others but Margo got angry with Josh, when he voices his concerns.

“What the fuck is going on with you, Hoberman? You and Fen have been against us castin the spell, since we told you about it. Ovary the fuck up, we have taken all the fucking necessary precautions and we are fucking doing this. Don’t you want to get Q back?”

“Sure, Margo. I want Q back, as much as any of you. But he told us not to do big cooperative spells, that they attract the Dark King’s minions” Josh replied with a conciliatory tone.

“If those shit eating, good for nothing usurpers decide to come here, we will be ready. We’ve got battle magic. Plus, I don’t fucking see any of them, so stop whining and fucking help us!” Margo said, turning around and leaving Josh.

Fen patted his shoulder and said: “We’ve tried, but you know how stubborn Margo can get. And the others are the same too. We just have to wait for Quentin to come here, before the Dark King’s soldiers appear”

The gang finished with the preparation, made a circle and they started casting the spell. Josh grabbed the pendant and tried contacting Q.

In an apartment in New York, Q, Lys and Kieran were finishing gearing up. Quentin then started to feel a little tingling sensation in his limbs.

“Hey guys, my friends are casting the spell and Josh is contacting me” he told his friends.

Lys laughed and asked him “Do you feel anything?”

“Just a tingling, like when your limbs fall asleep and they start to wake up. It’s funny thought.” Quentin chuckled.

“If your friends are calling you, shouldn’t you answer them? It’s rude to leave them waiting” Kieran said.

They opened a portal and step into it.

In the forest the gang was casting the spell. They had practiced and they were doing all the hand movements in perfect coordination. They were so concentrated casting the spell, they didn’t see a portal opening behind them, and Quentin, Lys and Kieran stepping out of it. They appeared within the wards, a few meters away and started approaching them.

Fen, who along with Josh, was acting as a lookout, saw Q and his friends. She hit Josh in the arm, who turned around and saw them too. He called the others:

“Guuuys! You should stop and turn around!”

“Not now, Josh. If we stop, we will have to start again, and we don’t have the ingredients to do it again. And it’s working, we can feel it” Alice shouted.

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s working. You should really turn around” Josh insisted. “Fen, don’t you think they should turn around?”
“Oh yes! You should all turn around!” She said happily.

Q, Lys and Kieran were almost at their side.

“Guys, seriously, turn the fuck around!” Josh shouted. The others stopped casting and turned to look at Josh.

“Damn it, Josh, we were not finished! Now we will have to start again and ….“ Alice started to say

“Oh my god, Q” Julia exclaimed. “It’s really you. You’re back!” She said tearing up. She started moving towards Q, to hug him. Before she could do that, Q and his friends materialized a bow and a quiver full of arrows. They drew them and pointed at them.

“Q, it’s us. Don’t you remember? We are your friends!” Alice asked. She was confused. Julia and she were sure the spell was going to work, but it seemed it wasn’t the case. And Penny, Josh and Fen had told them Q was not evil. Had they done something wrong? Or had Q fooled them and he really had become evil?

Q, you fucker, stop pointing those arrows at us and come talk to us, like right now!” Margo shouted. “We are your fucking friends, you fuck! If you are going to shoot do it now, you ungrateful bastard!”

Q, Kieran and Lys shot the arrows. The others braced themselves for the impact, but none of the arrows hit them. Instead, the arrows hit three soldiers, who were approaching them from behind. Several meters away, more soldiers were and one of the Dark Kings lieutenants were stepping out of a black portal.

The gang looked at the soldiers Q and his friends had just killed. They looked at Q at his friends again. They approached Q, to speak with him, finally, but he and his friends were already on the move.
The guy stayed shooting arrows with an incredible accuracy. Q and the girl used a tree and a rock for impulse, and they somersaulted over them, unsheathing their swords and landing in the middle of the Dark King’s soldiers. They started fighting the soldiers, moving in tandem. The gang was astonished. They hadn’t believed Josh, when he told them about Q fighting. But now they could see it with their own eyes. Q and his friends were swift, brutal and deadly. It was like watching the elves from The Lord of the Rings movies, combined with the Bride from Kill Bill. When the tall guy was finished with his arrows, he joined the girl and Q. They had killed or incapacitated most of the soldiers, when more started to get out of the portal.

“Q, Lys, we need to get out of here and portal home!” Kieran shouted.

“Lys, you’re the fastest making portals, can you open one now?” Quentin asked Lys.

Lys waved her right hand, but she couldn’t open a portal. She then asked Q’s friends:

“Have you warded the area against portals?”

“Yes we have. Don you have any problems with that?” Kady asked. She didn’t like being questioned about her wards.

“Try taking them down” Lys said. “You’ll see what I mean”

Kady and Alice tried taking the wards down, but they couldn’t do it.

“What the fuck? Didn’t you say the wards were safe?” Margo yelled at Kady and Alice.

“Don’t blame them, see that woman over there, the one with the staff?” Lys asked them. “She is one of the Dark King’s top lieutenants. She is a wards specialist; she can manipulate the wards and other things. Now she is making the wards block our ability to portal! What range do they have? How far do they go? We need to get out of them, now!” Lys asked Kady and Alice.

“They go for about 100 meters, in every direction. It’s like a dome” Alice answered.

“Q, Kir, did you hear that? We gotta run, as far from the sorceress as we can.” Lys shouted to his companions.

Quentin and Kieran dealt with the last soldiers attacking them and started to run in the opposite direction. As they passed next to their friends, Q took Eliot’s hand and pulling him, started to run in the direction Lys had said. The others followed them. Lys overcame them and as she run, every few meters, she would try to open the portal. Kieran stayed in the rear, while Q run with his friends.

Eliot held Q’s hand tightly, as they run through the forest. His heart had skipped a beat when Q had grabbed his hand. They still hadn’t spoken yet, but Q choosing him meant he could hope that Q returned his feelings. He hoped they would get to a safe place soon, so they could speak at length. Right now, he just wanted to stop Q and kiss him like their lives depended on it. Before the fight had started, he didn’t have the chance to get a good look of Quentin, but now that he was running close to him, he could see the changes. Gone were the long locks Q had used to hide, and he even if he was still skinny, he was more defined. Q was wearing skintight black jeans, combat boots, holsters on his hips, to carry his knives, and a leather jacket, that left room for the sheaths of his swords. He had seen how flexible Q had become and he was pleasantly intrigued. But before he did anything, Eliot needed to be brave and ask Q to be with him, for real this time, as much time as their lives allowed it.

Julia ran behind Q and Eliot. She was so happy to have her best friend back! Granted, she still needed to speak with Q, and probably yell at him too, but now she wanted to hug Q and never let go. She
would have to fight with Eliot, over who got to cuddle with Q more. She had also seen that Q seemed very close to his companions. She hoped they were good people. Quentin deserved the best support group and she vowed she would always be there for him.

Alice was sad and a little angry. It seemed that Q had already made his choice. But as she ran behind the others, she decided she wasn’t going to let him go that easy. And she really missed him as a friend.

Margo ran behind Alice and Julia. She could see Eliot and Q running ahead of her. She was happy for them, but she would need to talk to them about healthy relationships. On that order, she needed to apologize to Josh, for shouting at him.

Kady ran along Margo. She had been staring at Alice and had seen her face fall, when Q had grabbed Eliot’s hand. She felt a little sorry for Alice. Since they had started working often together, they had come really close and she was starting to feel something that went beyond friendship for the blonde. But since Alice was supposed to be with Q, she couldn’t do anything. Now, she could have some possibilities.

Penny 23 ran near the rear. He was giving Fen a piggyback ride, as she couldn’t run so well, with the wooden toes and that. He had recognized, very grudgingly, that Q had become a good fighter. He and his friends would be an asset to their group. Plus now, maybe he could start mending his relationship with Julia, now that she didn’t need to focus on bringing Q back.

Josh ran next to Penny 23. He wished his lycanthropy would help him with situations like this, but he needed to shift, and he couldn’t stop to do so. He also hoped Margo was not very angry with him. He had been right about the spell attracting the bad guys, but Margo didn’t like to be contradicted. He wished they could go home and talk about where they stood in their relationship.

Fen was being carried by Penny 23. She was happy for Eliot, but she was worried Margo was angry with her and Josh. After Eliot had been declared dead, while the monster was possessing him, she had become a widow. Eliot was now free to be with whom he wanted and so was she. And she really like Margo and Josh. She hoped they could mend their relationship and maybe turn it into something better.

After running for what seemed an age, Lys finally opened a portal. They all stepped in and they were transported to Kieran’s, Lys’s and Quentin’s apartment.

Chapter Text

Quentin, Lys, Kieran and the gang appeared in the apartments living room. The two groups were again facing each other, just as they had done in the forest. The gang stared at Quentin, expecting him to come over to them, to say something. But he stared back at them, turned around and went up the stairs, that lead to their bedrooms.

“I’m on it” Kieran told Lys and took of after Q.

Lys remained with the others in the living room. “I guess we should introduce ourselves” She told the others. “Kir and I have heard so much about you, from Q. I’m Lys, and the big guy that went after Q is Kieran” she said. “I already know Fen and Josh, but let me see if I get all your names …”

The gang introduced themselves, but they really wanted to talk to Quentin. Margo, ever the direct one asked:

“Where is Q? Why the fuck did he leave? Doesn’t he want to see us?

“Yes, he does. But try putting yourselves in his place. The last time he saw you, it was at his funeral. Then he gets resurrected and he learns there is a whole new world of magic. By the way, all of this, thinking that you believe he’s dead. And then, the first time he sees you, instead of being in a calm environment, as he would have preferred, it’s in a fucking battle, saving your lives. He needs to decompress before he’s ready. “ Lys told the gang. She was going to continue, when Kieran shouted, from the rooms area.

“Lys, baby, we have a cat situation!”

Lys sighed and started telling Quentin’s friends.

“Ok, listen up and listen carefully. Q is coming down, but he will be different. The rules for dealing with that are … “ But before she could tell them, she was interrupted by a ….

“Holy shit, is that …?” Penny 23 asked.

“What the hell is a fucking leopard doing in your house?” Kady exclaimed.

Lys turned around and saw Q, in leopard form, coming down the stairs, with Kieran after him. Leopard Q got to her side, and started rubbing her legs, while asking to be petted. He looked at his friends, and showing his very sharp teeth, hissed at them. Lys sat down on the floor and hugged leopard Q, who started grooming her, while occasionally hissing at his friends.

“Ok, Q, I’m clean now. You can stop” Lys said with a chuckle. Q lied down at her feet and put his head on her lap. She started petting him, while she said:

“Quentin, we don’t hiss at people. They are your friends” She got up, still petting Q’s ears and head. “Meet leopard Q.” She told her friends.

“Wait a minute, that leopard is Q? How? Why is he like that?” Alice asked.

“We can shapeshift, thought we only get to choose one shape. His therapist and us discovered that when things get too much for Quentin and his meds won’t work as well, spending some time in his leopard form really helps him. Something about brain chemistry and letting go of your worried, while in cat form” At that moment, Q got up and started pacing around the living room, occasionally hissing at his friends.

“Is it normal that he behaves like that? He looks like he is going to attack us at any moment” the shorter brown-haired girl said. Q’s best friend, Julia.

“He doesn’t recognize your scents, that’s why he’s nervous. You need to let him scent you. Once he does that, he’ll be more at ease with you” Lys told the others. “The rules for that: let him come to you, don’t approach him. When he starts scenting, don’t move suddenly. He will also rub against you, like cats do. That’s more about him marking you as his. When he’s done scenting you, he’ll groom you for a bit. That means you’re his. He’ll pay attention to some people more, probably the people he feels closest to. When he’s done, he’ll pick one of you to cuddle. He’ll nuzzle that person, ask that person to pet him, like cats do, when they trust a person. He’ll even follow you wherever you go. Remember, he’s essentially a cat. A 160 lb one, but a cat, nonetheless. He will fall asleep at some point. He starts turning back to human while he’s sleeping. He might stay in his half form for a while”

“Half form? What does that mean?” Josh asked

“He’s is in human shape but with the ears and the tail of the leopard. He might have patches of fur, or you’ll be able to see the pattern of his rosettes, like a fading tattoo. He also has retractable claws, in that form and he might lash out, so be careful. He might also wake up in his half form and he’ll be naked when he finishes the shift. Kir, can you bring down some clothes for Q?” She shouted.

“Already on it” said Kieran, coming down the stairs, with some sweatpants and a t-shirt. He kissed Lys and left the clothes on the coffee table, in the living room. “Are you done with the rules?”

“I’m about to finish” Lys told Kieran. “Ears are sensitive, same as whiskers. Don’t pull his tail and stay calm while he scents you” And with that Lys finished. She then directed leopard Q, towards his friends, and then went up with Kieran.

The first one he started with was Penny 23. Penny 23 tried to remain calm, but it was a little unnerving, having one of the biggest predators close to your vulnerable parts. “This beats the egg hangover” Penny 23 told leopard Q. Q was quickly done and with a lick to Penny’s cheek, he moved to the next person.

Leopard Q, went over all his friends, scenting them, rubbing against them and licking them. Margo told him that he finally rocked the animal print, thought he didn’t have to be so literal about it.

After Q was done with Margo, only Alice, Julia and Eliot remained. Q first went to Alice. He scented her longer than the others, nuzzled her and licked her cheek and hands, and asked to be petted by her. As a cat lover, Alice was amazed at the possibility of touching one of the great felines, even if it wasn’t a wild cat. She petted Q for a bit, but then he moved on. She was disappointed Q hadn’t chosen her to cuddle with. It was either Julia or Eliot. But seeing how Q had grabbed Eliot’s hand while they run, she guessed it would be Eliot. It was becoming clearer for her that Quentin was already making a decision, even if he wasn’t aware of it.

When Q was done with Alice, he moved on to Julia. She was sitting on the floor and she held her breath when he came near her. He scented her, taking his time, rubbing against her face and neck. He then licked her. Julia had never been a cat lover, she was more of a dog person, but

“If all cats were like you, I’d love to have one!” She told him. In a show of trust, Q put his head on her shoulder, and she profited to hug him. He let out a contented sigh and hugged Julia back with one of his paws. They remained hugging for a while, but there was one last person Q needed to go to. Before Julia let him go, she whispered in his ear: “go cuddle your guy, Kitty Q.” She didn’t know if leopard Q had understood her, but he licked her nose, before going were Eliot was.

Finally, leopard Q approached Eliot. Eliot was sitting on the modular sofa, close to Julia. When Q came right in front of him, he greeted him: “Hey Q. This is not the reunion I hoped for, but it will have to do for now. But when you’re back to your human self, we really need to talk”

Q looked at him, as if he understood Eliot. He then climbed onto the sofa and proceeded to repeat the same process with Eliot. But with Eliot the process was different. Q nuzzled Eliot’s face and throat. He rubbed against Eliot, while nuzzling him. Earlier than it had been with Julia, leopard Q put his head on Eliot’s shoulder and asked to be hugged with a soft growl. Eliot hugged him back and they stayed like that for several minutes. Eliot started petting Q’s head and back and he was startled when he heard Q make a gurgling growl, that sounded like a purr. Some time later, Q moved and lied on the sofa, putting his head on Eliot’s lap. With his paw, he pushed Eliot’s hand, so Eliot would keep petting him. Eliot obliged and he felt Q get more relaxed, until he finally fell asleep.

After Q had fallen asleep, the others gathered around Quentin and Eliot.

“That was some freaky shit!” Josh exclaimed.

“I like cat Q. He’s very cuddly. He seems very comfortable with you, Eliot” Added Fen.

“I’d like to know how they do it. And if it would be possible for us to learn” Alice said, always looking for knowledge.

“Yeah, me too. It would be cool to be able to turn into an animal you like, not like in Brakebills” Kady was thinking about what animal she would shift into.

“Well, maybe you all think this is soo cool, but I’d like to get some fucking answers for once. I’m freaking tired of cryptic shit, we had enough of that with Jane and Foog, we don’t need more of that from Q” Margo said.

“Margo, I also think that we need answers, but first we have to clear things with Q. We need to tell him we are sorry for seeing that he was getting worse and that we will always be there for him, that no matter what is happening, he can come to us with his problems” Julia said.

“She’s right Bambi. After we talk to Q, we can call Legolas and Buffy and ask all the questions we have” Eliot told his best friend.

“Yeah, and maybe we can convince them to help us. I mean, Quentin would want to save Fillory, right? So, we ask them to join us” Penny 23 said.

“Well, Buffy and Legolas could really be helpful” Margo conceded.

“On that not, maybe you should stop calling us Buffy and Legolas” They all jumped, when they heard Lys and Kieran coming down the stairs. They had showered and changed their clothes. “We are going to get groceries, so we can start preparing dinner” Kieran said.

“Why don’t you get takeout? It’s easier and less messy” Kady asked them.

“We prefer to cook. And when you can portal anywhere, you can buy the best products of each place” Lys said and the couple portaled right away.

The gang remained in the living room, discussing strategies and surveilling Q. They saw how he slowly started becoming human again. The transformation was very fluid. Soon, he was in his half form, with the ears and the tail of the leopard. When he had started to shift, they had covered him with a soft blanket, they could see he was naked. He remained that way for a while and then he started to wake up, still in his half form. He opened his eyes and saw all of them sitting around the sofa, staring at him. He could feel a hand petting his right ear. He turned to see who was petting him, when he saw it was Eliot. He blushed and he finished shifting quickly. Someone had covered him with a blanket, thank gods for that. He saw his clothes on the table, and with a handwave, he was clothed instantly. He then sat down facing all his friends and said:

“Hey guys”

Chapter Text

Quentin got up from the sofa, stood in front of his friends and stared at all his friends. They remained silent, staring at each other for several minutes. Finally, Julia broke the silence:
“Can you tell us what happened after you went away?” She didn’t want to use the word die. “Penny told us he took you to the archway and left you there”

“I went through it and I expected to get to the afterlife. Instead, I started falling and I heard a voice telling me I had been given another chance, if I wanted it. I said yes and I woke up in a hospital bed, with Lys and Kieran in the room with me.” Quentin told his friends. “Since my body had been vaporized in the mirror world, they had to rebuild it. I spent about a month recovering. I guess I would have needed more time, but all the healers and doctors where magical creatures, so I guess that sped up the process a bit.”

“Let me get this straight. You are resurrected almost immediately and then you spend a month in a magical hospital. That’s 4 months you have had to contact us, to give us any sign you were alive” Alice said “Do you have any idea of how hard we’ve been trying to create the spell to summon you? And from what it seems, you have been close to us almost all the time!”

“Yeah Q. Why didn’t you contact us?” Kady queried. “I mean, it’s not like you were not allowed to do so”

“Yeah, I’d like to know that too, Q” Margo said. “Or were you waiting for an invitation?” She said sarcastically

“I didn’t contact you, Margo, because I didn’t want to. Not right away, anyway. I was given the chance to do so, Kir and Lys told me. I could have contacted you anytime I’d wanted, I’ll give you that.” Said Quentin. He was starting to get a little annoyed. “But you want to know why?” He said, rising his voice. “For starters, I didn’t know you knew I was alive. The last time I saw all of you was at my funeral, so …. Plus, we don’t have the best track record when it comes to dealing with the dead and bringing people back to life. But the most important reason was me. My body wasn’t the only thing that needed healing, my mind did too. I needed to deal with all what we had been going through, all I had been going through. When I was done with that, I would contact you, on my terms. But you couldn’t wait, could you?” At this point, Q had his arms at his sides, his hands in thigh fists. The others could feel the energy swirling around him, and they were getting a little scared.

“Q …” started saying Julia, trying to calm him down. But Quentin continued “No, you had to cast that spell, to prove yourselves that you could, even if you had been told not to do it, that it was dangerous! And the first time I see you, after months of being apart is in a goddam fight, trying to save your lives!” As he said that, he waved his arms and the glasses of water they had, broke. The glass shards started to levitate around Quentin. He was breathing hard, his hands still in fists. Other things started to levitate around Q too: the glass from several picture frames, the plastic bottles of water, the dirt from the plant pots … they all started forming a cloud around Quentin. The gang could also see flashes of light, like lightning inside the cloud that had formed around their friend.

“Q, you need to calm down, before you decide to go dark phoenix on us” Margo said. “We get it that you needed time, but come on, 4 months it’s too much, even for a nerdy depressive boy like you” She said, trying to lighten up the situation.

“Bambi …” Eliot told her, wanting to calm her down. He knew that she would hound Q for answers, and she wouldn’t let it go, not until she got what she wanted.

“What El, don’t tell me you don’t want to know it too. 4 months it’s more than enough time to get his shit sorted out and give us a sign that he’s alive” Margo said, standing on her ground.

“You really want to know why I took so long? Really Margo?” Asked Quentin, with a self-deprecating note.

“Yes, and so do all of our friends” Margo said, waving at the gang, who were staring at the exchange, with rapt eyes.

“Because I did it!” Quentin shouted, the cloud around him moving faster and more lightnings crackling. “I finally managed to do what I had been all my life preventing to do. I finally succeeded in doing what I had tried other times” Quentin exclaimed, with tears in his eyes.

“Oh, Q …” Julia said. She knew exactly what Q was talking about, and from the horrified looks on their friends, they did too. However, Quentin was not done.

“I knew exactly what I was doing, when I cast that spell in the mirror world. And I knew exactly what I was doing, standing as close as I was to the seam. I could have been further away, I could have cast the spell to repair the mirror from a safe distance, to give me time to run away. But I didn’t. Even when I cast the spell, I could have run away from the magic exploding around me!” Quentin said. He was crying now, like most of them were.

“But why? If you could have saved yourself, why didn’t you?” Kady asked softly.

“Because I didn’t want to! I wanted to be over with all of it! I was done! I didn’t want to fight anymore!” Quentin shouted. The lightning in the cloud surrounding him, got more intense. “I don’t know if any of you noticed it, but I wasn’t doing so well. I was on a downward spiral, and I had been for quite some time!”

“Q…” Alice started saying. “We all have had our issues; you were not the only one in a bad place”

“Oh, you are one to talk. You decided that since magic had become bad for you, it was bad for everyone else. And you decided to fuck us over in castle Blackspire.” Quentin told Alice, with venom in his voice. “We all have had issues. But none of you had to deal with a key that made my issues worse. None of you went to Blackspire, knowing that if we managed to get magic back, you were condemning your father to a sure death. None of you had to deal with the monster, while still having the fake memories. None of you got your memories back, only to find out that your father had died, alone and had tried to contact you several times before dying!” Quentin exclaimed, the cloud around him getting nearer to them. If he lost control, they would be hit by all the debris floating around! “You have no fucking idea of what I went through!”

“If you were in such a bad place, why didn’t you say anything? We could have helped you” Penny 23 said.

“Really not real Penny? When, huh, when was I ever going to tell you about how I was feeling? While we were on the quest? You didn’t join us until almost the end, and you seemed to hate me, so why was I going to tell you? Or who should I have told, eh, who? My best friend, who was on the path of becoming a goddess and was going to leave me eventually? My ex-girlfriend, who had made a deal with our enemies? My other best friends, who were in Fillory, dealing with the faeries? My other friends? And when was the best moment to do so? While dealing with the monster? Some of you were not even here! And more importantly, would you have really taken the time to truly help me or would you have told me, as Margo would say, to pussy up and stop whining?” Quentin told all of them.

The gang had never seen Q so angry. They had known, that was true, but they hadn’t known it had been that bad. However, they all felt they needed to hear it from Quentin himself, so they wouldn’t take him for granted again. But it had been heartbreaking to hear that Q felt so hopeless, that the only solution he had seen was to take himself out of the picture. Eliot got up, and approached Q. He got hit by the cloud, he could feel the shards of glass, the dirt, he was hit by a couple of Q’s magic lightnings. He couldn’t help but feel that he had somewhat been responsible for Q’s depression worsening. Eliot vowed to himself, that no mater the relationship he had with Q, he would always be there for him, so that Q would never feel so alone again. Eliot finally got to Q and hugged him tightly. At first, Q tensed, but slowly, he started to relax in Eliot’s arms and the cloud around him started to dissipate. After some time, Q put his arms around Eliot and sighed, the cloud dissipating completely. They remained like that, for some time. The others were completely silent. They stared at Quentin and Eliot, completely lost in each other. It seemed the world had disappeared for them.

“Ok, you two lovebirds” Margo said clearing her throat. She didn’t want to break the moment, but the way Q and El were holding each other, they could stay like that forever. Not that she was against it. She really wanted her best friends to be happy, though she was dying to know how and when El and Q had become so close. However, they still had to finish hearing what Q had to say. Before they stopped hugging, Eliot kissed the top of Quentin’s head, as he had done so many times before. They stared at each other and Eliot whipped away a tear from Q’s cheek. He wanted to kiss him and take all of his pain away, but it was still not the moment. They both sat back on the sofa, holding hands. Quentin using Eliot’s hand as an anchor.

“Sorry about that” said Q, when he looked at the debris his powers had left. “For warlocks magic doesn’t come from pain, but it is tied to our emotions and when we are feeling strong ones, we kind of lash out” he explained, with a watery voice and smiling sheepishly.

“You pack quite the punch, Coldwater” said Kady. “But you didn’t hurt any of us, so don’t worry”

“If you say so.” Quentin answered her. “So, do you have any more questions?”

“Is this why you decided to stay at castle Blackspire and become the monster’s jailor?” Julia asked. No one had ever questioned why Quentin had made that decision on the first place. After they found out about that, they had acted behind his back, which had led to … well, we all know the story.

“Yeah. I was already not in a good place, after dealing with the depression key. My world was falling apart. I felt like I was being left behind, like I was no longer needed. You all had your things going on. And since I had been the one to kill Ember, it was my way of atoning for that. I knew that you would try to stop me, that’s why I didn’t say anything until we were there. Before we left, I went to speak with my dad. He told me about him being in remission, that the moment they told him, he had known something was wrong with magic. We both knew that if we restored magic, he was going to die. That’s another anchor I was losing, it had always been my dad and I, specially after my mum left. I decided that I would help get magic back and that would be it, you would be ok without me” Quentin told the others.

“And after that? When we were dealing with the monster?” Alice asked. She was looking at Q’s and Eliot’s hands, and she wished she could have been the one to comfort Quentin, but Eliot and Quentin had always had a bond that went beyond friendship.

“Well, I don’t remember much about the time I was Brian, other than being scared, when the monster found me. When I got my memories back, all the dark feelings came back too. On top of that, I learnt that my dad had passed away and that my best friend was possibly dead. I got a small glimmer of hope, when Eliot managed to take control and tell me he was alive. But the more we learnt about the monster and the sister, the more desperate I felt because I didn’t know how we could save Eliot. Then Margo came back with the axes, but the monster had taken Julia and she got possessed. We have been in some fucked up situations, but we always managed somehow. This time, however, I truly couldn’t see how we would manage. So, when we went to the mirror world and Alice told us we couldn’t cast in there, I knew what I had to do. It became clearer when Everett broke the mirror” Quentin said. “I was tired of fighting and I knew that you would be ok without me. When our Penny took me to my memorial, I saw that you were together, that despite the pain you were comforting each other. Penny told me that I had saved you, that I had given my life for you and I thought maybe it was time to rest. He assured me that you would be ok without me.”

“Q” Julia got up and hugged Quentin hard. “We were not ok without you, never say that! I’m so sorry. You should never feel like you can’t tell us you are not ok! No matter what we are dealing with, you always come to one of us! Don’t you even dare hiding from us!” She told him, angrily. In a calmer tone, she said “I’m sorry for making you feel like you couldn’t tell us you were in a bad place. I saw it Q, I saw the toll the monster took on you and I’m sorry for not fighting to get you to talk to me.” Quentin patted Julia’s back.

“It’s ok, Jules. You had your own issues to deal with.” Quentin told her. “We were in a shitty situation, dealing with many fronts at the same time. Not the best environment to have that kind of talk, not when so much is at stake” Quentin finished.

“See, that’s where you’re wrong, Coldwater. No matter how fucked up we are, you always seek one of us! Understood? If you pull up another stunt like this, I’m going to grab you by the balls and drag you from wherever realm you are” Margo told Quentin, as she punched his arm, hard.

“Ow. But thanks, I guess” Quentin told her.

“Yeah, what they say. And Quentin, we always need you. You are the reason why we became friends. If it weren’t for you, most of us wouldn’t be friends. In fact, after you were gone” Kady didn’t want to say dead “we drifted apart. We stopped hanging out with each other and we only got together, when Margo and Eliot asked for help. We agreed we would do it for you”

“When we reunited, we had a huge fight and the only reason we managed to get past our crap, was because of you. You might not have been the most powerful magician, but you were the heart that kept us all together and kept us going” Alice intervened.

Josh, Penny 23 and Fen all nodded in agreement. “So, can we hug you now?” Josh asked

With teary eyes, Quentin nodded, and the gang gathered around him for a group hug. They would have time for one on one reunions a bit later.

It was at that moment that Lys and Kieran came back, with some groceries.

“It seems we came at the right moment” Said Kieran “Q, wanna help us with dinner?”

The others broke the hug and Margo said they should probably go back to the apartment.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Kir and I went by, before coming here and the wards at the apartment have been trigged. Someone of something has tried to go through them” Lys told them. “They didn’t breach them, my wards worked, but it is no longer safe”

“Wait, were you the one that altered our wards?” Kady asked Lys

“I didn’t alter them, I just strengthened them. I put coded wards, on top of the ones you had” Lys answered.

“How did you do that and when was it exactly?” Alice asked. She was curious about being able to code wards.

“Well, I coded them to recognize your DNA. If a shifter, wearing your shape tried to pass, they would not be allowed to do so. We did it, after we saved Fen and Josh and brought them here.” Lys told Alice.

“Holy fuck, that’s why we flashed with a blue when we got back that day?” Eliot asked.

“Yes, if any of you had been an impostor, you would have flashed with a red light and would have been thrown back. It has also a small defense mechanism” Lys told Eliot.

“Ok, we can talk about shop during dinner. If you want to change, we have brought your stuff here. It’s in the rooms upstairs. Q, up to some sparring after dinner?” Kieran said from the kitchen.

“Sure, Kir. I’m going to show my friends the rooms and I’ll come back to help you with dinner” Quentin said.

Q then lead the others upstairs and showed them the rooms area. There were 5 rooms, each with their own en-suite bathroom. They would have to share, but the rooms were big, no one would feel crowded. They decided that Q would share her room with Julia, Margo and Eliot would share another, Penny 23 and Josh would share and Alice, Kady and Fen would share the last one. They could change later if they wanted to. Quentin left them, so that they could get a shower and get changed. The gang saw that indeed, all their things were at the house, clothes, books … They took some time sorting thing out. Alice took Quentin’s books. She was going to give them to him. She opened the new one, thinking that it would have started writing itself. And it had, but she couldn’t understand the language. She asked the others, but none of them recognized it. She took it down to the living room and waited for the others to come down.

Dinner was a bit awkward at the beginning. Quentin was happy that all his friends were together. Kir and Lys were waiting for questions and the others didn’t know how to reconcile the more confident Q they were seeing, with the nerdier one they had known. Alice decided to ask about the book then.

“Q? After everything that happened, I asked Zelda to give me whatever they had about us: our books, blood samples, hair samples … After Penny told us that you were alive, I saw you had a new book in the library, but it was blank. When I asked Zelda about it, she told me that it was because you were out of the library’s radar. But today, when I opened it, it was written. However, it’s in a language none of us understand. Do you know what it says?” She asked.

“Let me see. How did you manage to get all that from the library?” Q asked Alice, as he reached out with his arm, to take the book. He started reading it, laughing quietly.

“Quinn here, is the head librarian” Margo told Q. “What’s so funny about the book?”

“Oh, wow. Good for you Alice. Well, the book is in Basque. Huh, look at that. I can read it in English. Here, Jules, take it” Quentin gave the book to Julia, who opened it and

“Q, I don’t understand a thing” She said. Kieran asked for the book. “let me test a theory” Julia gave him the book. He took it and started passing the pages. He laughed and gave it back to Quentin. “Nice, ingenious. When someone other than Q tries to read it, it changes back to Basque”

“Why don’t you give it to Lys?” Penny 23 asked. “Won’t it happen the same to her?

“Ok, give me the book” Lys said, with a smile on her face. She took the book and said, “Let me see ….” She started going through the book and “ohh, that’s …. Q, I didn’t know you had it in you! I’m shocked, truly! Let me see if I can read more juicy stories … wow, that’s … I don’t know what to say” She broke out laughing and gave the book back to Quentin, while the gang looked at her, if she were crazy.

“How come you can understand what the book says?” Margo asked.

“Because the book is in Basque and she is Basque. She has been teaching me the language” Quentin answered.
“Basque? What kind of language is that?” Josh asked.

“It’s a language spoken in a region between the French and Spanish borders. It is believed to be the oldest language in Europe, predating the pre-Indo-European languages. It is also one of the few languages in the world that don’t belong to the main linguistic families” Lys told the rest.

“I’m surprised that it never came up in Brakebills, or in the Library” Julia said.

“It’s pretty unknown and even if the first written records appeared in the 10th century, there is almost no written material predating the 16th century and most of that material is in the Basque Country, so probably that’s why” Quentin said. “Now that I’m holding the book, it seems to be stabilizing itself, in English. “

“Let me see” Alice asked for the book again. Quentin was right. The first pages of the book were written in English, but the last written ones, were still in Basque. “Q, this is your book. You can do with it, whatever you want” She said, giving the book back to Quentin.

Quentin thanked her. They finished dinner and they remained seated at the table. Margo said:

“Now that we have had our reunion, what’s the plan? Are you going to help us or is it a onetime deal?”

Quentin, Lys and Kieran looked at each other. They were going to help, but they also wanted the others to join their organization. But they didn’t want the gang to think, that helping them came with conditions. Lys started.

“Our plan was always to help you, with the Fillory situation. However, we are up against an enemy that you haven’t faced before and you need training. Also, we know how effective your magicians magic is against the Dark King and his minions”

“I agree with you on that” Josh said. “Our magic is not very effective against the Dark King, we saw it, when he invaded Fillory.”

“Hoberman, surely it can’t be that bad, can it?” Eliot asked

“Well, after he took us as prisoners, the Dark King wanted to show us that he meant business. To prove that, he killed a niffin” Josh replied.

“Josh, everybody knows you can’t kill a niffin, they are beings of pure magic” Alice said. “That can’t be right”

“I’m telling you what we saw. One of his lieutenants had captured it. They chained it with some magical chains. It couldn’t run away. Then the Dark King approached it and sucked all the magic, killing the niffin. It disappeared” Josh told Alice.

“Shit, if they are capable of killing a niffin …” Kady said.

“What about yours?” Penny 23 asked Lys, Q and Kieran. “Is your magic more powerful than ours?”

“I wouldn’t say we are more powerful; our magic is different and works differently. And our magic is not that effective against the Dark King, or his minions. We can do magic around them, like burning the trees around them, or using water from a river, to drown them, but we can’t use magic directly against them, not unless we kill one of his lieutenants first” Kieran spoke.

“His name is Selym and he is a wizard that likes to experiment with magic and magical creatures. He captures them and experiments on them, removing their magic, giving them magic that doesn’t belong to them, seeing how much time a magical creature can live if it’s magic is drained every day …” Lys said. “With these experiments, he has managed to create the spell that protects their soldiers, from any magic that is not theirs”

“Shit, fuck. If killing that fucker is the way to end the mother fucker Dark King, what are we waiting for? A standing invitation?” Margo said, always the first to jump into action.

“Margo, we can’t waltz in Whitespire like that and kill him. He is well protected, and he is not the only lieutenant we have to worry about” Quentin tried calming her.

“What do you propose we do, Coldwater, sit with our thumbs up our asses and wait for them to come capture us?” Margo asked.

“No, train, learn how to fight. We will teach you. We will fight together. We can also make you like us, warlocks, with our powers and magic, if you want to” Quentin replied.

“Really? Can you do that? Magic transplants never work for magicians. I almost died, Q, remember, when Julia gave me her god magic” Alice said.

“I don’t know really how it works, but the organization has the technology. And we have some extra help, to make sure that everything goes smoothly. We are not taking the magic from a person and putting it inside another. We tap directly from the source of magic, our magic anyway. It worked with Q” Kieran intervened.

“Yes, but Q was dead, and he didn’t have a body” Julia said. “How do you know it would work on us?”

“Because you are not the first magicians that have become like us. Our magic, what it does, it fuses with the magic existing inside a person and turns it into something a little different. It’s a bit like genetics. Our magic tends to be stronger and the other magic tends to disappear.” Kieran explained.

The gang didn’t know what to say. On one hand, having the powers Q, Lys and Kieran had seemed like the best option. It was like having godlike powers, not needing poppers or having to worry about circumstances. On the other hand, being magicians was what had brought them together, it was who they were. They didn’t know if they would have to abandon that world completely, not when they had so many things to fight for. Lys, seeing their struggles, said:

“Look, we know it’s a lot to take in. What we are, has its advantages, but it also has its downsides. One thing we know for sure, is that you don’t have to abandon your world, even if you become like us. Kir and I need to go to headquarters, to report and get more info. We will come back in a few days. That way, you can have a few days with Q, and you can think about our offer. The only non-negotiable thing is you learning to fight.” She finished with a smile. “We are going to spar now. Why don’t you come and watch?”

They left the dining room and Kieran, Lys and Quentin went to change. They all went to the lower floors of the house, where they had their dojo, with mats, tatami mats and replicas of the weapons they used. Lys, Kieran and Quentin were wearing loose pants and tank tops. Eliot kept staring at Quentin. He had filled up and his muscles were more defined. Eliot could feel a stirring in his groin, he really liked this new Q. Margo realized what was happening to him, and with a hiss, told him to calm down, that he would have time to stare at his boy all he wanted, but now, he needed to pay attention to the fight.

Quentin, Lys and Kieran warmed up and decided that Q and Kieran would go first, and the winner would go against Lys. Both men took their long knives, their preferred weapons, when they sparred and after bowing to each other they started. The gang was amazed. They had seen them fight, when they had rescued them, but now they could really see how badass Quentin had become. He didn’t hold back; he gave as much as he could, and they saw how at easy he felt while fighting. Julia had some trouble reconciling this image, with the Q in the past, who would avoid confrontation, if he could. Alice was watching both Quentin and Eliot. Eliot looked like he was hypnotized, the way he was staring at Q. Margo was cheering Quentin, next to Eliot. Fen and Josh were sitting next to Margo, cheering Q too. Kady was observing the fight and how they moved. As a person well versed in fighting, she wanted to know as much as she could, and decided she would start training right away. She would ask Quentin to help her, he was a good teacher. Penny 23 was grateful that Q hadn’t come back from the dead wrong. He hoped that having Q there would help Julia and whatever she decided, he would follow her.
Kir and Quentin finished sparring, with Kieran winning. Even if Quentin had learnt really fast, Kir and Lys had been training for longer than he had. He sat down next to Julia, happy to be with his best friend. He knew that he was due for some heavy conversations, but now, he just watched Lys kick Kieran’s ass.

Chapter Text

At night, Quentin thought that Julia would want to talk, but she just hugged him, told him she was happy he was alive and then asked him to hold her. They cuddled for all night, sleeping as they had so many times, when they had had sleepovers as kids.

Kieran and Lys left early the following morning, and Q remained at the apartment with his friends. He was a bit nervous about that, he didn’t know where he stood with them. How they could go back to how things were before? It was the first time since they had met, that he had spent so much time away from the others. Not even when they were given new identities had they remained apart for long. But now, he felt like he had to redefine all his relationships. More importantly, he had to clear things up with Alice and Eliot.

He was going to ask Eliot again, to try to give them another chance. He would tell him he loved him, and that Eliot didn’t need to reciprocate. He just wanted to make his feelings clear, no matter what. And if Eliot didn’t feel the same way, he would remain his friend forever, but he would try to find his happiness somewhere else.

Alice was a different deal. He didn’t know if dying constituted as a breakup, but he didn’t want to lead her on. At the time, it had felt right, getting back with her, but Quentin knew it had been a way to find an anchor, as his world was breaking around him and an effect from the time share spell they did. It wasn’t fair to her. She deserved a person who would love her truly, that would not use her as a lifeline, and that person wasn’t him.

That morning, after Lys and Kieran had left, Q was the first one to wake up. He went out for a run, he had gotten used to the training regime and when he came back, he stopped at a café, to buy drinks and pastries for everyone. When he arrived at the house, he saw that no one else was awake. He cast a small spell to keep the hot drinks and the just made pastries warm and went to the dojo. He took out his weapons, the real ones and started cleaning them. It was a relaxing task, and it allowed him to think things through.

It was doing that, that Fen found Quentin. She had woken up, and not wanting to disturb her roommates, she had gone looking for Quentin. She found him at the dojo, cleaning his weapons.

“Those are nice blades” She told him, as a way of salute. “Can I see them? My father was a knife maker and I’m always interested in blades”

“Good morning Fen” Q replied. “Of course. Here” he said, offering her the handle of one of his twin swords. Fen took it and observed the blade carefully. It was not straight, it was curved, but the steel was flawless, and it was well balanced and very light. She noticed that the pommel had a small hole.

“What is this hole for?” Fen asked.

“May I?” Quentin gestured for the sword. Fen gave it to him, and he took a small, round and smooth stick, with the ends covered in leather. He put the blade on one end of the stick and showed it to her. If the stick had been longer, it could have been a lance. Quentin, sensing her confusion told her:

“If I put the other sword, on the other end, I get a dual short lance, that I can throw or use for a larger range”
“It is ingenious” Fen said. “Is it possible for me to get one of those? I really like it”

“Well, you will have to ask our weapons master. She is the one who made it. But I don’t know if you would get the same weapon. See, the thing is that she is a fairy blacksmith, and she makes personalized weapons. She knows what kind of blade suits you the best” Quentin explained

“A fairy? And do you trust her? Does she offer deals in payment?” Even if Fen had made her peace with the Fillorian fairies, she still didn’t like the secretive and shady nature of them.

Quentin laughed “The fairies that work with us, have nothing to do with the Fillorian fairies. They don’t do deals and don’t screw over people. They can be a little weird, but that’s probably because they have been alive for so long… You can trust them” Q said.

“I won’t believe it until I see it, I will make my judgement then” Fen said. “Quentin, can we speak?” She asked.

“What do you want to talk about?” Q queried.

“First, I think that I’m going to accept your offer of becoming like you” Quentin started to say something, but Fen interrupted him. “Listen, ever since you and your friends came to Fillory, I have realized that even with all the magic Fillory has, most Fillorians are not very good at it. And with all the dangers we have faced, I have found that I’m defenseless a lot of the time and that I must rely on Eliot, or Margo, or Josh, or you to defend me. I have my knives, but it is not enough against magical foes. And I know that I’m not a magician, like you were, or the others are. So, I want to be able to defend myself, with magic. So, I want to become like you, if you’ll have me” Fen stated. “I have felt useless so many times, I don’t want to feel like that anymore”

“Oh, Fen. Are you truly sure? What do Margo or Eliot think?” Q asked.

“This is my decision Quentin. I will tell them, but it won’t be to ask for their approval. If I’m going to be a Queen of Fillory, I want to be able to fight” Fen said, with her head held high, like the queen she was.

“Ok. Spoken like a true queen” Q chuckled “Ok, I will tell Lys and Kir”

With a squeal, Fen hugged him and almost threw them onto the mats. They sat down, and Quentin waited for Fen to continue.

“The other thing is about you and Eliot and Margo. You passing away, it was really hard for Margo and specially Eliot. After you rescued Josh and I, and left us at the apartment, when we told them that you had rescued us, Eliot seemed so relieved. They had already been told that you were alive, but I think they needed to verify it. And when we told them you had left, his face fell, and he was sad again. You may think that you don’t mean to them as much as they mean to you, but you are mistake. They love you, a lot. Especially Eliot” Fen said, with tears in her eyes. “And I know we have never been truly close, but I’d like you to consider me a friend and I hope that if you feel like you are not ok, you can come talk to me”

“Thanks Fen” said Quentin, holding her hand. “That truly means a lot to me. Look, I … well, I don’t know what to say. Except that the last thing I want is to hurt my friends. I’m sorry I didn’t stay that day, but I needed to heal myself first”

“I understand, but I worry about them, specially Eliot. Even if he is no longer my husband, I love him, like a brother. And I know he is very close to you, maybe even more than he is to Margo” Fen stated.
“I don’t think there is anyone close to Eliot or Margo that isn’t them. But if I’m being honest, I love Eliot, more than I have ever loved anyone. And I want to make things right with him” Quentin said.
“Well, you have my blessings” When Q looked at Fen with a confused face, she laughed and told him “When he was possessed by the monster, you told us he was dead. He was declared dead in Fillory and I did the Fillorian mourning rituals. According to fillorian law, I’m a widow, no longer bound by marriage. And neither is he” Fen finished with a laugh. “And, since we are sharing secrets, even if Eliot was a good husband, I wasn’t that attracted to him” She said with a wink.

Quentin laughed and asked her “Is it Josh? You did spend a lot of time together” When Fen blushed, Q knew he was right. “Not just Josh, though” Fen said, blushing even more.

“Margo?” Quentin asked. Fen nodded and continued “When you arrived at my father’s smithy, the first time, I was attracted to her. Then I got to meet her and those last months, before I had to exile her, we became really really close.” Fen finished.

Quentin thought that it made sense. Margo needed someone who would balance her rashness and soften her edges and Fen and Josh were the perfect combination.

“Maybe, now that we are not in truly mortal danger, you will have time to woo them” Q said with a wink. “Lets go get some breakfast and we can talk about strategies”

They got up from the mats and the climbed the stairs to the kitchen. The others still had to wake up, so Q asked Fen to help him set the table and finish preparing breakfast.
They were finishing, when the rest of the gang started coming down from the rooms.

“Good morning” Q greeted them. “Lets eat. I have brought drinks; I think I remember what you liked”
“Morning Q” said Julia, as she hugged him. “What’s the plan for today?”

“I thought we can start with basic combat training, tai-chi and archery. Then we can do some research, we have a huge library and Kir and Lys told me there are some books we can consult. Oh, and I have to do something later, but you will be okay, here” Quentin said

“And what is that important thing you have to do?” Margo asked. “We plan on not letting you out of our sight, Coldwater, so fess up and tell us”

“Nope, sorry. Can’t tell you. Will show you though, when I’m done. I’ll be gone the whole afternoon probably” Quentin said.

“No can do. You go to your mysterious appointment with us, or you don’t go” Margo insisted.

“Bambi don’t insist. If Q needs to go in his own, he can go, right?” Eliot said asking the others. “If he says he will show us, we have to believe him”

“Of course, you would take his side. Fine, you can go, but take Josh and Fen with you, they will keep an eye on you. And no funny business!” Margo said with a huff.

Quentin laughed and said: “Margo, I’m not going anywhere. But if it makes you feel better”

“Q, you’d better get used to it” Kady said. “Until we are sure that you are not going to do anything stupid, you are on watch” The rest of the gang nodded, and Quentin rolled his eyes. After breakfast, they all changed and went down to the gym. For their first training session.

They were wearing all sorts of sports clothes, except Q, who was wearing loose pants and a tank top, similar to those he wore the day before. They started warming up and stretching. The gang realized they were a bit out of shape, compared to Q and his friends. They saw Q do a split, a backbend, as if they were the easiest things to do. Holy shit, if they were going to have any chance of defeating the Dark King, they needed to get on shape, pronto.

After the warming up, they started with basic moves: some punches and kicks and learning how to block. Q was a good teacher, he was patient, would correct their positions and would show them how to fall without hurting themselves. They practiced for a couple of hours. To relax, they did some tai-chi. Q produced several small balls of light and passed them. They used the balls of light, to direct their moves, guiding the balls through the motions. When they were done, all of them were really tired and sore. Q, with a wave, took their soreness, saying that if they felt that on the first day, they would feel much worse after the first week.

They went to their rooms to change and Q took of his tank top.

“Q!” Alice exclaimed “Your cacodemon tattoo! It’s gone!”

“Oh, I forgot about that. Since my body was destroyed, when they remade it, they didn’t know about the tattoo, so I lost it. But it served its purpose and I don’t need it anymore” Q replied, with a shy smile.

“In fact, that’s what I was going to do this afternoon. I was going to get a new tattoo. Not the cacodemon one, but one of my own design. Do I still need bodyguards?

“Totally! You are not getting off that easy” Margo said.

“Ok, ok, I give. You can come, but you have to promise you will stay out of the room. It’s a surprise” Quentin said, resigning himself, not to have any privacy in the following days.

“Cross my heart and hope to die” Margo said, making the gesture over her heart. “At what time is your appointment?”

“At 4 and it will take about 5 hours. Are you sure you want to come with me?” Q asked again.

“Hedge queen said it before” Margo stated. Kady protested the nickname. “You are not getting out of our sights”

“Fine. Lets get changed and eat” And with that, their first morning together passed

Chapter Text

The gang accompanied Quentin to get his tattoo done, in the afternoon. Since the tattoo would take about 5 hours and they had to wait in the waiting area, they took turns for going to get drinks, something to eat or anything. When Q was done, they returned to the house. They were all dying to see the tattoo, but Q refused, saying they would see it when it was healed. They enjoyed diner together and they sat down, to enjoy a few drinks, before they went to bed. Quentin was the last one to go to bed, as he did a check on the wards, to make sure they were still strong and had not been disturbed.
When he got into his room, Julia was on the bed reading. He stared at her and he thought about all those times they had stayed in bed, reading together, when they were little. He remembered their discussions about Fillory, about magic, about Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Good Omens … In fact, any book series they had been reading at that moment, how they would talk almost all night and just falling asleep, in the early hours of the morning. He chuckled and Julia raised her head:

“Hey Q”, she said softly. “What are you thinking about?

“Do you remember when we used to stay awake, talking about books, magic, really about anything?” Q asked. “Seeing you there, just reminded me of that, of simpler times, when our biggest worries were when the last book of the series, we were reading would come out, or our school assignments, or your problems with James” when he mentioned James, Julia made a grimace. She composed herself quickly and looking straight at Quentin, she said:

“Well, we’ve come a long way, and we’ve been through so much and seen so much. I don’t know if those innocent Quentin and Julia would have been ready for what has happened” She reflected. “But now that you mention it, we could do it. We could spend the whole night talking and trying to solve the world” She looked hopefully at Q, hoping he would agree. She wanted to tell him so many things … and it seemed like the best moment.

Q stared at her and seeing something in her expression agreed. “But not here” he said. “Do you wanna go somewhere cool?” He asked, while extending his hand to Julia. She grabbed it, he opened a portal and they stepped in.

They appeared in a coastal place. It was still early in the morning; the sun was starting to rise. Julia looked around her and she saw they were in some sort of stone stairs. It was a narrow path, connecting the coast, with a small island. There was a small chapel on top of the island. Julia felt like she knew the place, but she couldn’t place it.

“Where are we?” She asked.

“We are in a small coastal place in the Basque Country. Lys and Kir brought me some time ago” Q answered.
“It looks familiar, the stairs do” Julia said

“Well, if you eliminate the little chapel and imagine a great fortress and dragons flying over it, it might come to you”

“No way! We are in Dragonstone? Are you kidding me? Julia was feeling giddy. It was one of the places where Game of Thrones had been filmed! When the show had started, Q and Julia had bowed that they would some time go to all the locations of the show, but they’ve never gotten around to doing it.

“Yeah, Lys and Kir brought me, after I healed. We went on a tour around the coast and some villages inside. They told me, they planned on doing the whole thing, visiting all the locations, but since Lys is from around, it was the easiest locations to visit.” Quentin smiled at the memory, of that trip, not long after he had been brought back to life. It had helped him become friends with Lys and Kieran, and it had taken some of the sadness away. He remembered eating in a restaurant, where Lys and Kir had ordered most of the menu, for him to try all the specialties. He chuckled and Jules stared at him with a questioning look.

“Oh, I was just remembering that we stopped in a restaurant to have lunch and they ordered like all the menu, for me to try” Quentin stopped, and Jules looked and smiled at him, encouraging him to continue. “The food, Jules, you can’t imagine how much and how good it was. The Basque have a reputation for eating a lot and very well, and they sure live to that expectation. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much in my life. And the plates just kept coming, nonstop. All of this, with copious amounts of wine. Thank gods we didn’t have to drive, and that Lys had a house here. If we had tried to portal to HQ, who knows where we would have ended!” Quentin had a sort of dreamy look on his face, he was smiling, and he seemed to be more at peace, than he had ever been. Julia kept staring at him, with a small smile on her face. After everything that had happened, it was great to see Quentin so carefree and relaxed! She shock her head and chuckled.

“What, do I have something on my face?” Quentin asked. “No, Q. I’ve never seen you like this, not even in Brakebills. It’s good, you look happy and content. It’s a good look on you” Julia said, her eyes tearing up a bit. Quentin bumped her shoulder with his and said: “It’s better now that I’ve got you back in my life”. They stared at each other for a few seconds, in silence and they hugged, as if they hadn’t seen each other in a very long time. Actually, they hadn’t seen each other for some time, with Julia thinking she had lost Quentin forever. They remained hugging for some time and when they separated, Julia patted Q’s head, rubbing his new haircut.

“I miss your hair. You look good in this, you can’t hide behind your hair any longer, but I miss my Q with long hair” she stated.

“Want to see a trick?” Q asked. Julia nodded and Q rubbed his hands over his head. When he was done, he had the same haircut he had had when they had been on the Quest, but instead of using it as to hide himself, he tied up, in a bun. Julia stared at him:

“How?”

“A simple glamour spell, to change my appearance, it’s an easy spell to learn. When I came back, I did cut it, I needed a change. For a while, I kept the haircut, but it was not me and I made it grow with a magic. However, I decided to use the glamour spell, especially when I got closer to seeing you again.” Quentin confessed, like he was admitting some terrible crime. Julia laughed and they remained silent for a while, both staring at the sea, watching the sun rise.

“Q?” Julia broke the silence. “I’ve missed you” She said, turning to look at him. Quentin met her eyes and said: “I’ve missed you too Jules”. They hugged and when they broke apart, they went silent again. It was one of those comfortable silences, that nobody has the need of filling it with inane chatter. They were like that for several minutes, enjoying each other’s company.

But Julia couldn’t remain silent. She started speaking again. “Q?” Quentin turned to look at her and with a slight gesture encouraged her to continue. “I wanted to apologize” She said. Quentin stared at her “Apologize for what?” He asked.

“For not being there enough, when we were dealing with the monster. I was too worried about my own issues and I saw, I saw the toll that taking care of the monster was taking on you, and I did nothing!” She almost shouted angrily. “Remember when you almost let the monster strangle you? I should have done something at that moment, said something, but I didn’t. I know you better than anyone and I could see that you were going on a dark episode, I knew the signs! And I didn’t do enough to help you!” Jules broke down crying. Quentin hugged her and tried to calm her, whispering nonsense words. After she had calmed a bit, she resumed speaking:

“Q, you are my best friend, Kady is my best bitch, but you are my best friend. I know these last years we have done and said some shitty things to each other, but we’d almost gone back to how we used to be, during the quest for the keys, and when taking care of Eliot. It was nearly like before, you and me against the world. And I thought it would be like that, even after rescuing Eliot. So, you can’t even get to imagine how I felt, when I woke up and you were gone, when Alice and Penny told us what happened at the Seam, during your wake … Or when Penny 40 confirmed what I thought about how you died!” At this point, Julia had started to pace, angrily moving her hands, to make her point clearer, while Quentin sat on the ledge.

She went on ranting for a few more minutes, about Quentin leaving her alone, to cope with the loss of her magic and to discover that the pain and the grief she felt had triggered her powers, how she had found out about him being alive, why Quentin wouldn’t contact her at least and finally meeting him again, but Quentin not wanting to tell them what had happened to him. She finally stopped, breathing hard. Quentin got up from the ledge he was sitting on and hugged her. At first, Julia tried to resist, even trying to get out of the hug, but Q held on and she calmed down and hugged him back. He wiped her tears, using a small spell to clean the make up that had gotten smeared. She laughed, a teary laugh:

“That’s useful, thanks Q”

“You’re welcome” Q said. They stopped hugging and sat down on the ledge again. “Jules you are my oldest friend, my sister, my best friend forever, even if it sounds corny” They both smiled at that. “I never wanted to hurt you; you know that. But I was at the end of my rope, and at that moment I really thought you’d be better of without me. I thought that if I sacrificed myself for you, it would all be worth it, even if it meant not seeing you guys anymore. And Penny, after we had been at the wake, he told me that you’d be okay, that your stories were only just starting. So, I let myself go”
“Penny 40 told you a bunch of horse-shit. After the wake” (both didn’t want to refer to it as Q’s funeral) “we decided we’d remain together, for you. We lasted only a couple of weeks, before the fights started. After the grief started to lessen a bit, the anger appeared and boy, we almost came to blows. I left the group after that, only keeping in touch with Kady” Julia confessed. “I was angry with all of them: Alice, for betraying us in the first place and taking you to the Seam, Eliot, broke your heart and got possessed, Margo was most of her time in Fillory, Penny 23 made a decision for me and didn’t try to save you and Kady was more worried about the hedges than the monster” Julia paused for a bit, took a deep breath and then continued “But mostly I was angry at myself, for not being there for you, not like I should have been. I’m very sorry” she stopped speaking and waited for Q to say something. He took a deep breath and then started:

“Jules, you don’t have to apologize. I could have said something, done something, but I didn’t. I know myself; I knew I was spiraling and yet I did nothing. It had been going on for a while, maybe even since I started at Brakebills and it got bad during some point at the quest for the keys” Quentin remembered when Eliot had rejected him and when he’d faced the illusion the abyss key had created “plus I had been off my meds for some time, as someone had told me they’d mess with my magic. I was a ticking time bomb; it was only a matter of time until I tried again”

Julia shuddered at the mention of Quentin’s suicide and his previous attempts. It had been bad enough when he’d attempted, and to learn that he’d finally been successful … She’d remembered those times she’d been more than a bit insensitive about Q’s depression, often blaming it on Q’s crush on her, even believing it was a call for her attention. It hadn’t been until one of his dark episodes, when they were in college, that she had taken the time to really read about depression and understand that sometimes Q’s brain broke down, as he would say, and that it wasn’t about her not paying enough attention to him, but that he was really feeling down. She’d learned how to help Q, as she could and bowed, she’d be there for him. That’s why she was feeling so angry about the whole monster-seam thing, because she’d felt she had let Q down. Quentin, sensing his friend’s thoughts, decided they could no longer go on like this, constantly apologizing and going in circles about what had happened the last few months.

“Jules, listen and listen really well. You couldn’t have changed anything, not even if you had said or done something. I was not only in a dark place, I was also suffering from PTSD, from everything we’d been thought. My therapist says I have, maybe not the worst case, but a really bad one. You guys should talk to her too, she could really help you” He paused for a moment and then continued “We can go in circles, trying to apologize endlessly, playing the I’m to blame game, but the truth is that we have been manipulated and royally fucked up by forces we can’t control, forced to fights we were not prepared to face. We’ve lost many things because of that, even ourselves. But we’ve been given a second chance. And I plan on making the most of my second chance. I don’t want to live in regret. So, Julia Wicker” Q got on his knee and took Julia’s hand. She laughed at the silly gesture and nodded at Q to continue “Will you do the honor of being my best friend forever, on calling me on my shit, when I’m being a pain and on being side by side in every fight, from here to eternity?”

Julia laughed again, at the ridiculous situation, but decided to follow Q’s game “Yes, Q, yes. I will be your BFF, I’ll call you on your shit, when you are a pain and I’ll be at your side in every fight, from here to eternity. I’ll always be there for you, when your brain is ok and when it breaks. You’ll never have to go through a dark episode alone again” She finished her vows to him. Quentin got up and pulled her to her feet. He hugged her and said:

“By the power bested in my, by my own magic, I declare ourselves, best friends forever” They laughed, and Julia quipped “We should do something to cement our new status. How about a blood pact or something? Like getting a piercing together, or a tattoo. Something that’s just for us”

Quentin laughed and said “Well I already have one tattoo, another wouldn’t hurt. We can think on a design and get the artist who did the one on my back, to do them” Julia chuckled at that. She couldn’t believe Q was serious about the tattoo. Then she looked at him and saw him laughing. He was messing with her! She pushed him and Q, still laughing said:

“Hey! But Jules, we can really do something like that, it doesn’t have to be now. We’ve always talked about getting a tattoo or a piercing, to annoy our parents. Why not as a renewal of our friendship?”

“I’d like that, something that’s just for the two of us” Julia went silent for a bit and stared at the landscape. The sun had already risen. Even if it was still early, they really need to get going back. “What time is it, Q?”

“It’s 7.30 am, local time. It’s about 1.00 am in New York” Quentin answered.

“When you travel like this, do you manipulate time, so that you’re always on your time zone?” Julia was curious about the travelling with the portals.

“No, we don’t change the time zones. When we open a portal to another place, we always consider the time it will be when we get there. In a way, is like travelling by plane, we can even get jet lag. We don’t like to play with time. Even if there are spells to alter time, we prefer not to mess with them. The other warlocks and fae, were really surprised and angry when they’d learnt I’d lived in 39 timelines and they were really shocked at how easily Jane Chatwin had manipulated the time.” Quentin clarified. “We should go back, try to get some sleep”

Julia nodded. She separated herself from Q, and looking at the small chapel, the sea, the beach, she looked at Quentin and said:
“We have to come back here again and you’ll take me to eat all the things you tried with your friends” She said, very seriously.

Quentin laughed “Ok, but we’ll bring Margo too. She’ll love the place”

“Margo? Why?” Julia was puzzled

“Well, let’s just say that you and I are not the only nerds in the group, not when it comes to fantasy novels” Quentin explained.

“Margo? Wow, I’d never guessed she’s a fan. She hides it well, under that snarky, I don’t care attitude” Julia was a bit surprised

“Don’t tell her I told you. She is almost a biggest fan of Fillory as we are, and other series too. We had many discussions about other books, like A Song of Ice and Fire, The sword of Truth, Good Omens and many more. The TV shows and movies too. But she likes to pretend she’s above all those nerdy things” Q opened the portal that would take them home.

“I’ll be damned” Before getting in the portal, Julia grabbed Quentin’s hand. “Q, I’ve decided. When the moment comes, I want to become like you, a warlock. I don’t want to be a magician, not if it means that magic comes from pain. These months without you have been horrible and only immersing me, in relearning how to do magic made them somewhat bearable. But when we faced the Dark King’s minions, not being able to defend myself … It remined me of Reynard and I never want to feel like that again. I want to fight and kick ass” Julia was determined. Quentin hugged her again and said “Welcome to the family” Hand in hand, they stepped in the portal and appeared in the apartment again, in their room.

They changed into their pajamas and got in bed. They were holding each other, Q lying on his back, one of his arms around Julia. She had her head on his shoulder and one of her arms against her waist. He kissed her forehead.

“Q? It’s good to have you back. Goodnight”

“It’s good to be back. Goodnight Jules”

And with that, they both went to sleep.

Chapter Text

CHAP 18
After Quentin and Julia worked things out, they became closer than ever, even closer than they had been, when they were younger. They would spend hours speaking, they would share secret laughs and jokes, that no one else understood and their relationship was stronger than ever. Quentin would tell Julia about his recovery and she would tell him about those horrible months without him. He would do silly tricks for her, like changing their hair color into ridiculous shades, and they would laugh like loons, at the sight of them with neon pink and green locks or impossible hairstyles that belonged in an anime.

The others noticed the change in their relationship, and it shifted the dynamics of the group. Quentin and Julia would present a unified front and if someone tried to intimidate Quentin, into changing his mind, Julia would jump in Q’s defense. Not that he needed her to do that, not anymore. He was more assertive, more confident and he didn’t let himself be intimidated into submission. Moreover, he was the more knowledgeable on the Dark King, he knew how to fight his minions and had type of magic that would not attract the Dark King that easily.

Apart from the magic and the knowledge, there was also the fighting. Some of them, specially Penny and Kady, and Margo a bit, had to admit that Q knew what he was doing, as he had had to defend them in some of their outings and, thanks to his training, they were also able to pull more than a few punches.

Quentin gained Kady’s respect, when they had been ambushed by a group of hedges. This group had suffered quite a few losses to the library, and they didn’t trust the changes Alice and Kady were implementing, still believing the library was continuing with the old regime. Kady had tried to reason with them, as the leader of the hedges of New York, but she had been accused of being in league with the library. The hedges had started throwing spells and curses left and right, wanting to overpower Kady and Q. Thanks to Q’s quick thinking, a few quick cast spells and his skills as a fighter, they had managed to subdue the hedges, enough for them to give the warning about the Dark King, and the use of cooperative magic. What that group of hedged would do, it was out of their control, but at least, they had warned them about the upcoming danger.

From that moment on, Kady became less likely to question Q’s judgement and even asked him for more training. They ha discovered that she was quite good at knife throwing, probably because of her training as a battle magician. Both things required a good aim, balance and steady hands. Quentin thought that Kady’s weapons would go along the lines of something like that, throwing knives, or shuriken.

Penny was a different story. They were never going to be the best of friends, that was a sure thing. Before Q’s death, they had found some common points, like when getting over the effect of the dragon egg or caring about Julia. But ever since Quentin had come back, Penny sometimes looked at him with distrust. Considering the Quentin of that timeline had become the Beast, it didn’t surprise Q at all. Getting a person back from the death was considered very dark magic, and since Quentin wasn’t very forthcoming about how he’d been brought back and by whom, he understood that distrust.
However, one night that Quentin stayed until late, reading in the living room, Penny came down, to get something to drink from the kitchen. He poured himself a glass of whisky, took the bottle and sat down on the sofa, next to Q.
Q though Penny would drink his glass and go to bed. But then Penny started talking. At first, Q thought he was talking to himself and he continued reading. Then Penny hit Q in the arm, to call for his attention. Penny talked about his relationship with Julia, how he felt he had fucked it up, about feeling out of place, in a timeline that wasn’t his and living the life of another person, that he should have tried to save Quentin in the seam … Q was amazed. He’d never heard Penny talk so much; not even Penny 40 had been a great talker. Moreover, he hadn’t expected for Penny to tell him all of this.

However, he decided to pay him back with the same trust and Q told Penny about how he’d come back to life, meeting Lys and Kieran, finding out about a whole new world of magic and magical creatures … He also told Penny about his doubts at the beginning, that it was a joke and that he was still dead. Penny listened but said nothing. After he was done with his drink, he went to his room, to get some sleep. Quentin stayed in the living room, he wanted to read a bit more.

After that, they reached some sort of silent agreement. Again, they would never be the best of friends, but they understood each other better. Both have been given second chances in life, they knew how precious that was. The others would sometimes find them sharing a drink, or doing research together, without Penny mocking Quentin. It also helped that Penny was no longer able to read Q.

Like that, little by little, Quentin was working out things with his friends, while they trained and researched. Josh was probably the easiest. They bonded again, this time over cooking. Before, Q had been quite the disaster in the kitchen, but ever since he had come back, he had learned to cook and had become not too bad at it. It helped that his housemates were good cooks and had decided he had to learn. As Josh was in charge of the cooking most of the time, Q would often help him prepare the food, they would exchange recipes and talk about their issues