Actions

Work Header

and this is the map of my heart

Work Text:

Eliot Waugh was High King in his blood, and somehow that felt right. When they first arrived in Fillory, Quentin assumed he would be the one to wear the crown. He’d dreamed of it most of his life after all. On the throne in Whitespire, a fleet of talking animals at his disposal, a noble quest waiting around every corner to ferry him away to the next grand, heart-stopping adventure. But when the blade bit into his palm and drew no blood, and Eliot’s came up red, it felt like the final piece of some perfect puzzle clicking into place.

Of course it would be him, Quentin thought, without a hint of jealousy. Quentin understood right away. High King Eliot Waugh the Spectacular. Nothing had ever felt more certain.

They hadn’t been in the castle a day when it was announced that Eliot was expected to marry. Some superstition about an ancient curse on the throne that only marriage could break. Eliot’s High Council seemed entirely unwilling to chance it, even if it definitely sounded like bullshit. It could be anyone of his choosing, but no High King in the history of Fillory had reigned unmarried for long.

Margo almost volunteered herself, until she found out what a Fillorian marriage contract actually entailed. “I love you, El,” she said. “But I’m not staying in Fillory for the rest of my life banging it out with you once a year when we’re both too sad and drunk to care.”

“Not to worry, Bambi.” Eliot sighed. "It’s only a matter of time before my many young admirers are scaling the castle walls for a chance to ask for my hand.”

Eliot looked entirely miserable, and before Quentin even had time to process the thought, the words, “I’ll marry you!” came flying out of his mouth.

Every eye in the room turned to Quentin, the whole of Whitespire struck silent until Eliot started to laugh. “That’s funny, Q, really,” he said. “Hysterical. But unfortunately this is dead-fucking-serious.”

“I’m not joking,” Quentin said, feeling equal parts reckless and brave as he crossed the distance between himself and the throne, doing his best to ignore the dozen sets of eyes trained on his every move. “You’re my best friend.”

“Okay…” Eliot laughed again, shooting his tense smile around the room. “I think everyone might want to clear out just in case whatever Quentin’s coming down with is contagious.”

Quentin sighed. “I’m not—”

“I’m serious,” Eliot said, a little louder this time. “Everybody out. I need to talk to Quentin. That means you too, Bambi.”

Margo rolled her eyes, and Julia mouthed a silent what the fuck in Quentin’s direction, but neither of them protested as they filed out alongside the rest of the Royal Court.

The moment the door to the throne room slammed shut, Eliot said, “Okay, seriously Quentin, what the fuck?”

Quentin shrugged, a blush creeping over his cheeks. “I don’t hate the idea of staying in Fillory for forever.”

Eliot gave him an incredulous smile. “You heard what the rest of that contract would entail, right? We won’t be able to fuck anyone else. Ever. For the rest of our lives.”

Quentin could only think to shrug again. “Okay. I know.”

“So…” Eliot let a silent laugh roll through him. “Do I actually have to explain this to you, Q?”

Quentin shook his head. “So we won’t have sex with other people. Is that really a big deal for you?”

“No, Quentin, it’s uh…” Eliot's expression made Quentin wonder if he might have grown a second head when he wasn’t paying attention. “I was just thinking that maybe the guy who doesn’t like dick might not be too keen on being married to the guy who has one. For starters.”

Most people, Quentin knew, probably assumed he was straight. He’d just never considered Eliot would be one of them. Certainly Eliot knew. Quentin couldn’t help but laugh. “What makes you think I don’t like dick?”

Eliot narrowed his eyes. “I don’t know, Q, but maybe we can start with the fact that you and I have never even come close to fucking.”

Quentin sighed with his entire body. “Well, you’ve never tried to fuck me,” he said.

A thousand emotions seemed to pass over Eliot’s face at once. “Okay, look,” he said, rising from his throne, his long legs tottering down the steps of the platform. “I appreciate that you want to help. But sacrificing your entire life for me isn’t actually a requirement of our friendship.”

Quentin frowned. “It wouldn’t be a sacrifice, Eliot. I want to do this.”

Eliot took Quentin by the shoulders, gazing deep into his eyes. “I think maybe the Fillorian air is clouding your judgment, Q.”

“It’s not—”

Eliot abruptly pulled away, leaving Quentin rattled. Too much contact, not enough. The air around them quivered with frantic energy. “I have a fitting with the Royal Tailor,” he said. “Why don’t you go and try to get some rest. It’s been an exhausting couple of days.”

Quentin watched him go, waiting until the others began filing back in to make his exit, wandering the long stone corridors of Whitespire until he was well and truly lost. A guard helped him find his room, and once Quentin was safely locked inside he curled in on himself in bed. He lay there studying one of the room’s many intricate tapestries, staring at the figures clad in armor stitched with silver thread until he swore they'd started to move. And maybe they had, he thought, Fillory was pure magic after all. A magical fucking fairytale land that Quentin had longed for all his life. Yet here he was, sulking in bed like he was still back on Earth.

Feeling pathetic, he forced himself up to his feet, went to the window overlooking Whitespire Bay and gazed out onto the harbor. From a distance, the boats swaying there looked like little wooden toys, things for make believe in a make believe land, guided by the unseen hands of Ember and Umber themselves. A pretty illusion from afar, but one Quentin knew would shatter under even the tiniest scrutiny. Up close, the cracks would start to show. Paint would chip away, revealing the rotting carcasses of the vessels underneath. The seas of Fillory were not kind. They were only water after all.

Maybe Eliot was right. Maybe Quentin was only exhausted. He went back to bed and flopped down on his belly and buried his face in his pillow. Eventually, he gave himself over to sleep. He dreamed of Fillory as it had been when he was twelve years old, a tinfoil crown on his head, a map scribbled in crayon stretching out before him, Julia smiling at his side. He dreamed he walked into a clock and found nothing but water on the other side. And then the clock was a boat, and then the boat was the sea.

And Quentin was drowning in the endless, throbbing dark.

Quentin woke the next morning and thought, fuck this. He went straight to Eliot’s private living quarters and demanded to be let inside, found him sprawled out on a chaise eating something that resembled grapes, wrapped in so much brocade fabric it was hard to tell where Eliot ended and the furniture began.

Quentin opened his mouth and let the words come flowing out. “You’re the most ridiculous person I’ve ever met,” he said, and Eliot shot him a smile, popped one last maybe-grape into his mouth before swinging his legs around and patting the seat for Quentin to join him.

“Ridiculous, spectacular. I concur. Come, sit. Are you feeling any better today?”

Quentin didn’t sit. “We’re going on a Royal Hunt,” he blurted, surprising even himself.

Eliot eyed him. “You want… to hunt?”

“Yes,” Quentin lied. “I want to hunt. And you’re the High King, you can make that happen. So. Take me hunting.”

It wasn’t until well into the afternoon that they ventured out, and after hours spent thinking and overthinking and nearly calling the whole thing off, Quentin was a little on edge. They traipsed through the tangled underbrush of the Kingswood, useless quivers filled with arrows slung across their backs, a half dozen guards on horseback trailing closely behind. They’d been so quiet the whole way out it was bordering on awkward, and it was a relief when Eliot finally broke the silence.

“Quentin,” Eliot said softly, his bow swinging limply in one hand as they walked. “What the fuck are we doing?”

“We’re hunting,” Quentin said, and Eliot laughed.

“Right. Look, Q, if this is some sort of fanboy wish fulfillment thing, I get it, but—”

“Eliot.” Quentin stopped in his tracks, and at his back the Royal Guard loudly halted the horses. “This isn’t… about that.”

Eliot blinked. “Then tell me what it is about,” he said, regal in his velvet cape and—fuck. He was beautiful, the setting sun gathering around his head like a halo, the jewels of his crown reflecting back its light. And his long legs, so elegant in his riding boots, Quentin couldn’t help but let his eyes wander down.

Quentin swallowed, his face growing hot. “Maybe we should stop to eat.”

“If you just wanted to have a picnic, Quentin—”

“Eliot.” Quentin realized he was being ridiculous, that this entire excursion was ridiculous, but he couldn’t exactly turn back now. “Let’s just have dinner, okay?”

Eliot tossed his bow into a tangle of vines. “Sounds great.”

They stopped in a little clearing just big enough to spread out their blanket and unpack the basket of food they’d brought along. When they were finished, Quentin turned to the guards. “You can go back to the castle now,” he said, and Eliot audibly groaned.

“You can’t be serious.” Eliot narrowed his eyes as Quentin flopped down on the blanket.

“We’re magicians,” Quentin said. “We don’t need them to protect us.”

“Right.” Eliot threw his hands up, turning to his guards. “Well. You heard him. Your King is perfectly capable of defending himself should anyone come along to stab or poison or otherwise end his reign.”

When they were finally alone, Eliot took off his crown and tossed it down on the blanket, ran a hand through his sweat-damp hair. “So, are you going to tell me what the fuck we’re doing out here, or do we have to keep pretending we want to kill fuzzy little bunnies for sport?”

Quentin’s heart began to pound. “Why haven’t you ever tried to kiss me?” he blurted out, an anger in his voice that he hadn’t intended. He didn’t think he was actually angry about this. Or maybe he was. Maybe he’d just wanted Eliot to kiss him for a very long time.

Eliot glared, his mouth hanging open in disbelief. “You have got to be fucking joking right now, Q.”

“I’m not.” Quentin glared right back, daring him to continue on with his bullshit.

“Why would I try to kiss you?”

“I don’t know. You certainly seem to be okay kissing everybody else.”

“Oh my god,” Eliot groaned, unfastening his cape and shrugging it off. “Just… eat your fucking horse meat sandwich so we can get back to the castle already.”

Quentin frowned down at the puddle of dark green velvet gathered at Eliot’s hips. “Why did you take that off?”

“I don’t know, Q, why do you care?” Eliot gaped at him, tossing the cape off to one side. “And why are you being so fucking weird?”

“Maybe I like you in a cape,” Quentin said, entirely incapable of controlling his mouth. Reckless and brave was apparently just where he lived now. “Would that really be that crazy?”

Something in Eliot’s face shifted when he looked away, a hairline crack forming in his facade of bullshit as he reached into a bowl of fruit striped with color like a sunset. “Q, you’ve never…”

“I’ve never what?”

Eliot picked up a piece of fruit. It looked like a mix between a peach and a plum. He studied the skin for a moment, and then tossed it back down into the bowl. “How the fuck was I supposed to know you wanted me to kiss you?”

“I don’t know.” Quentin shrugged. It felt like his heart was trying to claw its way up out of his throat. “How do you know all those other boys you kiss want you to kiss them?”

Eliot looked… forlorn? Confused? Maybe a little ashamed? “Those other boys aren’t…”

“Eliot.”

“Quentin.”

Their eyes met across the distance, and for a moment neither of them spoke. Quentin thought they might have both stopped breathing. Maybe time itself had come to a halt. Maybe—

“Come here,” Eliot said softly, so softly Quentin thought he might have imagined it.

Quentin got up on his knees and crawled to Eliot’s side, knelt there and waited for him to just… do something. Say something. Say anything. Anything at all. He couldn’t look away. Eliot looked like a king—hadn’t he always?—but even more Eliot looked like his friend. Quentin’s best friend that he’d wanted to kiss for months, since that first day. Since that first moment on the Brakebills lawn, when Quentin had been certain he was dreaming.

Eliot’s gaze flicked between Quentin’s mouth and his eyes, his expression a mess of nerves and uncertainty. “You want me to kiss you?”

Quentin let his mouth fall open, but he couldn’t get the words to come. He could only nod.

Eliot whispered, “Get over here,” and grabbed Quentin by the front of his shirt, tugging him forward so quickly that it felt like falling. He tumbled into Eliot’s lap sideways, only stopped from going all the way down by Eliot’s strong arms wrapping around him, Eliot’s hands on his back, his shoulders. And then Eliot’s mouth was on his mouth, and Quentin moaned so loudly it should have been embarrassing, would have been were he capable of processing a single coherent thought. Quentin couldn’t even be certain they were on solid ground, or that the sky was above. For all he knew they were hurtling through space, or at the bottom of the ocean, or suspended on a mote of dust, a sunbeam, at the very top of Fillory’s highest mountain.

When they finally came up for air, Eliot’s eyes were so dark they looked black. In the rush of it all, Quentin had managed to straddle Eliot’s lap, and their bodies were pressed tightly together from hip-to-shoulder. Quentin could feel Eliot’s heart hammering in his chest, the frantic push-pull of his lungs as they worked. Eliot had the back of Quentin’s shirt bunched up in his fists, and their lips found each other again. Easier this time, almost languid. Eliot licked into his mouth and Quentin felt it down between his legs, every muscle in his body tensing, arousal pulsing like a fever in his blood.

Quentin broke the kiss with a laugh, knocking their foreheads together. “Hey,” he said, and Eliot gave him a dopey smile.

“Hey,” Eliot breathed, his warm hands petting Quentin’s neck, his shoulders. “Um… so.”

“So…” Quentin pulled back with a grin, so warm and fuzzy and content it made him feel like he was losing his mind. “That was nice.”

“Yeah, um… yeah.” Eliot pulled his hands away, his smile quickly fading. “We should, uh… start heading back. It’s getting dark...”

“Dark is good.” He smirked, petting Eliot’s face, the stubble on his cheeks rough and utterly delightful under Quentin’s fingers. “We should… stay here.”

Eliot swallowed. “Q…”

“You’re my best friend,” Quentin said, a fit of nervous laughter rolling out of him. “Even if you’re an idiot.”

Eliot’s face twitched with the promise of a smile. “Julia’s your best friend.”

Quentin shook his head. “You’re… you’re my favorite fucking person in the whole world, Eliot,” he said, his voice coming out all breathy and small. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to see that.”

Eliot rested his hands on Quentin’s hips, gently, the phantom of a touch. “Even if that’s true,” he said, “it doesn’t mean we should get married.”

“You have to marry someone.” Quentin tangled his fingers in the curls at Eliot’s nape. “Why not me?”

“Because you don’t want—”

“Stop telling me what I want,” Quentin said firmly. “Tell me what you want, Eliot.”

“Q… I…”

“You’re my best friend.” Quentin took Eliot's face in his hands. “Did you wanna kiss me before today?”

Quentin had never thought of Eliot as shy. If anything, Eliot was the bravest person he knew. So why was he trembling? “Um,” he started and stopped. “Yeah…” The word came out all air, his body deflating with the force of it, like he’d been holding it in for a very long time.

Eliot’s face was warm under Quentin’s hands. He was blushing. Just the idea of it was so thrilling it made Quentin dizzy. “We should kiss some more.”

Eliot just stared, his hands playing at the hem of Quentin’s shirt before pushing up underneath it. His fingers pressed into the dip of Quentin’s spine, and he nodded his agreement, going all pliant in Quentin’s hands as their mouths slotted together. And it was warm, so warm. Warm and soft and perfect. And down between his legs, he could feel Eliot growing hard. Quentin was getting hard too, and he pushed his hips forward so Eliot could feel it.

And, jesus, Eliot felt fucking massive. Quentin didn’t know why he was surprised. After all, he’d heard all the rumors: a Second Year grinning to a friend at Welters practice, Waugh and his monster cock gave me the ride of my life last night; a First Year measuring on the air with his fingers, laughing, Eliot’s name slipping from his mouth; a dozen different variations of the old classic, And he’s hung like a horse.

Quentin broke the kiss with a whimper, tugging at Eliot’s hair. “I wanna blow you,” he whispered.

Eliot’s eyes went wide, his hands stilling on Quentin’s back. “Q…” was all he managed, barely a breath, his mouth already angling for another taste of Quentin’s lips.

“Let me blow you,” Quentin said with a laugh, a shudder running through him. “Can I? Please?”

Eliot shut his eyes, took a breath, pulled his hands away. Quentin was sure he was about to be met with another rejection when Eliot opened his eyes and said, “If we’re going to do this… we’re going to do it my way.” He smiled, blushing all the way up to his ears. “Which, in case you were wondering, means silk sheets under your ass while I take you apart for hours. Not out here in the fucking dirt.”

A fit of laughter broke out of Quentin’s chest, and he buried his face in the crook of Eliot’s neck. “So is that a yes to the blow job?”

Eliot tugged Quentin back by his hair, the look in his eyes some animal thing, all teeth and claws and longing. He stole Quentin’s mouth in a searing kiss, and for a moment they lost themselves completely. Hot mouths and warm hands everywhere. Rutting together, frenzied and feral. Quentin threw his head back, pulling air deep into his lungs, and Eliot’s mouth found the line of his throat, his hands groping at Quentin’s ass through his pants.

Eliot’s tongue was like a tiny flame, and Quentin knew he could come from this alone. Eliot’s mouth, his hands, the press of their bodies. That was all it would take. He planted his hands firmly on Eliot’s shoulders, gasping for air as he pushed him back. “If we, um…” He let out a breathy laugh, meeting Eliot’s dark eyes in the fading light. “If we don’t stop now, I’m not gonna be able to, um, you know…”

Eliot pushed out a breath. “Okay. So…” It was Eliot’s turn to laugh this time. “You should probably get off me.”

Quentin struggled to his feet, shivering under his thin jacket, the one he’d brought with him from Earth. Eliot had been so warm, the air around them felt frozen in comparison. Eliot got himself upright and reached for his crown, slipped it elegantly on his head. He took a couple breaths, and the bulge in his pants began to die down a little. And so did Quentin’s, though the cold was probably helping with that.

Eliot snatched up his cape next, and wrapped it around Quentin’s shoulders. “You don’t have to—” Quentin started to protest, but Eliot held up a hand.

“Don’t argue with your High King. Come on. The quicker we get back to Whitespire…”

There was a kick of desire down between Quentin’s legs that spurred him forward. He felt a little guilty about leaving their picnic behind, but he reasoned some animals might come along and enjoy the food at least. Or they could always come back for it later. And he was way too horny and worked up to think about practical things like cleaning up after himself. They were silent for most of the journey back to the castle, sparing each other a glance every now and then, or a smirk, Eliot’s cape around his shoulders keeping Quentin warm, the memory of Eliot’s touch keeping him warmer.

Whitespire jumped up to meet them the moment they emerged from the forest, looming like a hulking beast taking up the whole sky. Quentin’s heart leapt at the sight. Eliot brushed off everyone who tried to speak to them the moment they entered the castle walls, making only one request of his staff: escort Quentin to the High King’s personal living quarters, draw him a bath, and leave him to his business. Bar and lock the door. No other person was to be let inside, other than the King when he was ready.

“And you,” Eliot leaned in closely to speak into Quentin’s ear. “I want you to get yourself nice and clean for me. Nod if you understand.”

Eliot pulled back, and Quentin shuddered the moment their eyes met. He nodded, and Eliot smiled before turning away. Quentin didn’t have time to ask him where he was going, was taken swiftly by the arm by and escorted into the High King’s cavernous bathroom, where the Royal Preparer-of-Baths had filled for him a massive high-backed copper tub.

Quentin was left alone. He shrugged off Eliot’s cape and peeled off his filthy layers, then went to the room’s single window and looked out over the castle’s manicured grounds, illuminated in the dark by the twin moons pinned brightly overhead. Fillory still felt the same tonight, but somehow far less bleak. Not a fairytale land, just a place like any other. Somewhere that he might be happy if he tried.

He plodded over to his bath, tested the water and found it perfect. As perfectly warm as Eliot’s skin. He stepped in and sank down slowly, a contented moan slipping out of his chest. The water smelled good, like perfume, and he wondered if Eliot had requested that specifically. For oils to be poured into Quentin’s bath water, to make his skin supple and soft and scented just how he liked. The thought made his dick hard almost at once.

On a practical level, Quentin thought jacking off in the bath would be the smart thing to do. He was pretty sure he was going to come the second he saw Eliot naked anyway. But he also thought that Eliot wouldn’t want him to do that, and that was the desire that won out in the end. He focused on cleaning himself instead, both there in the water and after he got out, with the help of a couple spells he’d picked up in some of the more obscure books in the Brakebills library.

The subtle fragrance of the bath water on his skin was nearly enough to make Quentin fully hard again. Or rather, the thought of how pleased Eliot would be. His final step was a spell to suppress his gag reflex. It would only last for an hour or two, but that would be enough. Maybe he would come like an inexperienced virgin before Eliot even touched his dick, but he could at least give him the blow job of his life while doing so.

The idea of redressing in his filthy clothes made Quentin’s skin crawl, but he figured Eliot probably wanted him naked anyway. He trudged from the bathroom to Eliot’s bed chambers, found him standing by the bed breathing candle after candle to life with deft movements of his fingers. He was dressed in a floor-length purple robe embroidered with tiny golden flowers, and when he turned around Quentin could see that he’d washed and styled his hair.

He shot Quentin a smile and perched on the edge of his ridiculously oversized bed. “Come here,” he said, extending a hand which Quentin took immediately, allowing himself to be drawn in. Eliot the flame, Quentin so ready to burn.

Quentin straddled his lap, the silk of Eliot’s robe cool against his bare skin. “Where’d you do all this?”

“There are other places to bathe around here, you know,” Eliot said with a smirk, his warm hands settling easily around the curve of Quentin’s hips. He leaned in, breathing a line up the side of Quentin’s neck. “You smell good.”

Fuck. Quentin thought he might have discovered a new kink. Smelling good for Eliot Waugh. Or maybe just being good for him. Making him happy. Yeah, that sounded right.

“So do you,” Quentin said, his voice coming out just as wrecked as he felt. “I, um… I did like you asked me to.”

Eliot pressed a kiss just below his ear. “That’s good,” he muttered, his hands moving to the curve of Quentin’s ass. “You want me to eat you out?”

“Yeah,” he breathed, shuddering as Eliot’s lips dragged along the curve where his neck met his shoulder.

“Good,” Eliot purred, his fingers ghosting up between Quentin’s cheeks, not quite making contact, the promise of a touch more than anything. “Do you like being fingered?”

Quentin bit back a sob, pressing his body close enough to Eliot’s to feel the thick swell of his cock under his robe. “God fuck yes,” he said, the words all running together, and Eliot hummed his approval.

“You like dick a lot, hm?” He sounded like he couldn’t quite believe it still. Like Quentin hadn’t been begging to suck him off out in the forest. “Do you want me to fuck you?”

Quentin whimpered, bunching the silk of Eliot’s robe into his fists. “I want it.”

Eliot took Quentin’s face in his hands, pressed a kiss to his mouth that was almost chaste. “You feel it?” he asked with a smirk.

“Yes.” Quentin had to force the words to come. “It feels really big…”

Eliot smiled, kissed him again. “You think you can take it all?”

Quentin’s skin flushed immediately at the thought. “I want it all,” he said.

Eliot smiled, kissed the curve of Quentin’s jaw. “Why don’t you get on the bed and let me see you.”

Eliot’s ridiculously big bed was covered in a ridiculous amount of silk. Yards and yards of the stuff, the same deep purple as the silk of his robe. Quentin sprawled, smiling in the candlelight, thinking how he definitely had to make Eliot marry him now. He’d never considered a life with this much luxurious fabric under his ass every night, but it was starting to sound like the life he deserved. Or at least the life he wanted more than he’d ever wanted anything. More than magic, more than Fillory. Though that probably had little to do with the sheets.

Eliot stood at the bedside, his eyes sweeping over the length of Quentin’s body. He was so beautiful Quentin could probably cry about it if he let himself. “Come here,” Quentin said, reaching out a hand. When Eliot didn’t budge, Quentin whined. “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking at you.” The way Eliot said it made Quentin’s dick so hard it ached. Like he was so enthralled he could barely speak, could hardly stand to move.

“Well…” Quentin arched his back a little, doing his best to paint a pretty picture. “Do you like what you see?”

Slowly, a smile spread itself over Eliot’s face, his hands going to the tie of his robe, tugging until it came undone. “You’re perfect,” he said, meeting Quentin’s eyes, letting the silk fall from his shoulders and puddle at his feet.

Quentin let his eyes wander down the line of Eliot’s body. His long neck, his chest, his navel, his elegant hands, the bony juts of his hips. His dick was half-hard between his legs, and Quentin flushed impossibly deeper at the sight of it. Somehow it was even bigger than he’d imagined, or maybe Quentin was just so fucking turned on it only seemed that way. Still, he didn’t think he’d ever seen one quite so massive before, certainly not in person, maybe not even in porn.

Finally, Eliot made his move, crawling up onto the bed to kneel at Quentin’s side. “Hey,” he said, resting his hands carefully on his own thighs.

Quentin swallowed, tried to keep his eyes on Eliot’s eyes. “Hey.”

“So, I know you wanna blow me,” Eliot said with a grin, “but I was thinking maybe you might let me go first.”

Quentin laughed nervously. “I should, um, warn you that if you do, um…”

“You’re gonna pop like a virgin on prom night?”

Quentin sucked in a breath and pushed it out. “Something like that, yeah.”

“Well…” Eliot brushed the hair back from Quentin’s face. “That’s sort of why I want to get you off before we start. Take a little of the edge off.” He bent down and pressed a kiss to Quentin’s brow, then sat back with a laugh, looking quite pleased with himself. “I meant what I said. I wanna have you for hours, Quentin. You’re going to come more than once tonight. More than twice. More than… well, you get the idea.”

Quentin wanted to respond, truly he did, but when he tried to get his mouth to work all that would come out were pathetic little puffs of air.

Eliot straddled the line of Quentin’s thighs, and trailed his fingers down the fluttering expanse of his chest, his belly, stopping just short of where his cock lay flushed and rigid under his navel. He teased his fingers along the dips of Quentin’s hips with a smile. “You’re so pretty,” he said, his gaze dragging up Quentin’s body, coming to rest on his eyes. “Do you know how pretty you are?”

Quentin gasped when Eliot pressed a kiss to the center of his chest, arching up off the bed when he went for his throat. “Does this mean you’ll marry me?” he asked, amazed at the sound of his own voice, the thready, broken way that it fell out of him.

Eliot hummed and kissed the line of Quentin’s jaw, his cheek, his mouth. “Just relax,” he whispered, beginning the slow descent down Quentin’s body, swiping at his nipples with the flat of his tongue.

“El…” Quentin groped at Eliot’s hair, spreading his thighs so that he could settle between them. “El... Eliot. Please.”

Eliot paused, gazing up at Quentin with his lust-blown eyes. “Q,” he said firmly. “You think too much. Just lie back. And let me make you feel good.”

Quentin tossed his head back on his pillow, spreading his thighs a little wider as Eliot continued his downward journey. He paused near Quentin’s navel, lapping at the trail of pre-come there, and all Quentin could think was, the High King of Fillory is about to suck my dick. It was such a ridiculous thought, he couldn’t help but laugh, and when he looked down to Eliot again he was greeted with a smirk.

“Ticklish?” Eliot asked, and Quentin shook his head.

“Just… overwhelmed.”

“Hmm…” Eliot considered him for a moment, then turned his attention downward again. “I guess the real question would be, are you…” A hot little puff of air slipped from Eliot’s mouth, right over the head of Quentin’s dick, making his hips buck reflexively. “Sensitive?”

Quentin whined, planting his feet firmly on the mattress, gripping the sheets just to give himself something to hold onto. And Eliot grinned, victorious, another hot breath pushing out of his lungs, a little closer this time, the phantom of his lips hovering over Quentin like a promise.

“Oh, Q, I haven’t even touched it yet.” Eliot took his bottom lip between his teeth, dragging two fingers slowly down the underside of Quentin’s aching dick, clucking his tongue when Quentin pressed up into the contact. “Such an impatient boy. What am I going to do with you, hm?”

If Eliot wanted an answer to that, he didn’t wait for one. He wrapped one strong hand around Quentin and gave him a single, languid stroke. Gazing up into his eyes, a thousand silent words passed between them as he stroked Quentin again, and a third time. “Oh,” he breathed, pulling his hand away. “You really are about to pop, aren’t you, Q?”

Quentin reminded himself to breathe. Just breathe. Counting every beat of his pulse down between his legs. Eliot gave him his mouth then, and Quentin had to squeeze his eyes shut, keening, his balls already drawing tight.

Eliot sank down just a little, pulled back, popped off, stroking Quentin once, twice. It was enough to make him delirious. “You don’t have to hold back with me, baby,” he said. “Don’t be embarrassed, okay? I want you to come in my mouth. And then we can get started.”

When Eliot dove back in, he took Quentin to the root. And it was too much, too much, entirely too-fucking-much. Quentin couldn’t breathe. He groped at Eliot’s hair, thrusting up once, hard, and that was all that it took. His dick pulsed in the heat of Eliot’s throat, and Quentin was pretty sure he was having an out of body experience. Floating up to the ceiling as Eliot swallowed every drop, only coming back down when he’d started to go soft.

Quentin could only lie there after, boneless and gasping for air. Eliot trailed kisses up the line of his body to his mouth, pressing one final kiss there before collapsing at Quentin’s side, curling around him. Touching Quentin with his warm hands, mouthing at his neck, the hardness of his erection pressing against his hip.

“Better?” Eliot muttered into his ear, and Quentin could feel him smiling.

Quentin’s whole body buzzed in the afterglow. “That was nice,” he mumbled.

“It was,” Eliot said, pressing a kiss to Quentin’s cheek before pulling away. “Catch your breath. Let me know when you’re ready.”

Quentin lay there in a blissful haze for minutes that felt like hours, a mess of static dancing behind his eyes. When he finally found his way back to reality, it was to the image of Eliot smiling beside him, the comforting warmth of his body just out of reach. Quentin smiled back, offering a mumbled, “Hey.”

“Hey.” Eliot laughed softly. “Thought maybe I’d lost you there for a second.”

“Sorry.” Quentin blushed, feeling warmer just at the sight of him. “Why are you all the way over there?”

“I don’t know,” Eliot said, reaching out. “Why don’t you come over here and find out?”

Quentin crossed the distance, and their bodies curved together, two halves creating one aching, perfect whole. Eliot sealed Quentin’s mouth in a languid kiss, dragging fingers through his hair, smiling when he pulled away. “Tell me what you want,” he whispered.

Quentin blushed as the words readied themselves on his tongue. “I wanna suck you off while you sit on your throne,” he said. “And I want you to wear your crown.”

A laugh rumbled out of Eliot’s chest, his arm snaking around Quentin’s middle to draw him nearer. “Oh, Q, you are…” His words trailed away, and Eliot seemed to lose himself for a moment, pressing a kiss to the corner of Quentin’s mouth. “I don’t think anyone other than you would appreciate me whipping my dick out in the throne room less than a week into my reign.”

“You’re High King,” Quentin reminded him. “All of your subjects are here to serve you.”

Eliot let out a contented sigh. “Is that what you want, Q? To serve your King…”

Quentin grinned, his blush growing deeper. “Have I really not made myself clear?”

Eliot kissed him once, softly, a fire blooming in his eyes as he pulled away. He got to his feet and crossed to the far side of the room, tugging the high back chair away from his writing desk, dragging it over near the bed. He called his crown over with a flourish of his hand, placing it delicately on his head before taking his seat. “Quentin Coldwater,” he said with a smirk. “Your High King requests the pleasure of your presence at his feet.”

Quentin sat up, and stared, and breathed. Maybe he was dreaming. Maybe Fillory was a fairytale after all. Eliot called a pillow over from the bed and rested it at his feet, and Quentin went to him, lowered himself to his knees on all that plush purple velvet. It shouldn’t have been possible, but he could already feel his cock stirring to life again between his legs. It made Quentin dizzy, his head all fuzzy and light, like somehow this was the very first time. The first time he’d ever been touched, or loved, or wanted. And maybe it was, he thought. Maybe it was.

Quentin gazed up at Eliot in his chair—on his throne—so majestic in his crown. Eliot considered him with a look, and a smile. “Have you come to serve your King?” he asked.

Quentin’s eyes flicked from Eliot’s face, down to his soft cock where it rested against his thigh, and back again. “I’ve come to ask my King to marry me,” he said.

“None of that now,” Eliot purred, reaching out and thumbing at Quentin’s bottom lip. “Open,” he said, and Quentin did, and Eliot slipped his thumb into Quentin’s pliant mouth. “That’s a good boy...” Their eyes locked together. Quentin couldn’t look away. “Suck.”

Yeah. Quentin was definitely getting hard again. Desire pooled warmly in his belly as Eliot fucked into his mouth, the pad of his thumb dragging over Quentin’s greedy tongue. “I can’t believe it took me this long to realize,” Eliot said, pulling his thumb free, tracing it along the swell of Quentin’s bottom lip.

“Realize what?”

“How much you like being told what to do.” He fucked it into Quentin’s mouth again, and out. “I want you to get my dick nice and hard. Can you do that for your King?”

Eliot spread his thighs a little wider, and Quentin leaned in, wrapping a hand around the length of him. Licking a single stripe up the underside, he turned his eyes to Eliot’s face, and was rewarded with a smile. “Good boy,” he said, one hand steadily petting Quentin’s face, the other tangling in his hair. “Wrap your lips around it.”

Quentin could feel Eliot growing harder in his hand, and he let his mouth fall open. Even with that handy spell he’d cast on himself after his bath, Quentin knew there was no way he’d be able to take all of it, but he was damn sure going to try. He stretched his lips around the head and, oh, it was fucking perfect, like silk gliding over his tongue. Eliot moaned, thrusting in, pulling back, laughing, his fingers digging into Quentin’s scalp.

“That’s it, baby,” Eliot purred. “Just like that...”

Quentin took a breath, and let his eyes fall shut, and sank down on Eliot’s dick until he started to choke. “Don’t hurt yourself,” Eliot said, tugging him back gently by the nape, and Quentin shook his head.

“It doesn’t hurt,” he smiled, pressing a kiss to the head. “Fuck me with it.”

“Baby,” Eliot purred, thumbing at the spit glistening on Quentin’s bottom lip. “You did that no gag reflex spell, didn’t you?”

Quentin nodded, smirked. “Wanted to make it good for you. Your Majesty.”

“Dirty boy.” Eliot cradled Quentin’s head with both his hands. “Go on. Open that pretty mouth and show me how deep you can take it.”

Eliot’s strong hands and clever hips worked in tandem, and as Quentin was sinking down, down all he could think was, This is better than any fairytale. He flattened his tongue, willing his body to relax, and Eliot slipped into his throat with a groan, began working up a steady rhythm that filled Quentin to the brim. I want this every day, Quentin thought, his own dick throbbing between his legs. Every day and every night for the rest of my life.

The sounds of Quentin’s throat working filled the room, and he had to give himself a couple lazy strokes just to take the edge off. Jesus, he really could come again just like this, serving his King. Long may he fucking reign. Eliot pulled Quentin back, let him take a couple shaky breaths before pushing in again, thrusting until his moans rolled into sobs, and his thighs began to tremble.

“Okay,” Eliot said, tugging Quentin all the way back this time, both of them gasping for air. “We should… stop…”

Quentin wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand. “Why?”

“Because…” Eliot straightened his back, looking so elegant yet so debauched. “Because I said so. And because I want your ass now.”

“You can have my ass every day if you marry me,” Quentin said with a smile.

“Quentin,” Eliot said firmly. “Go get on the bed. On your belly. I wanna eat you out.”

“Marry me,” Quentin breathed, staying there on his knees as Eliot rose to his feet and went over to the bed.

“Come here,” Eliot said, an authority in his voice that made Quentin’s blood run hotter.

Quentin spun himself around, and crawled over to Eliot where he sat. “Marry me,” he repeated, pressing a kiss to the curve of Eliot’s knee “El… it could be like this always.”

Eliot considered him there on the floor, his expression hard to read. Somewhere between lust and indifference. “Are you really going to make the High King of Fillory ask twice?”

Quentin glared, fighting the urge to smile. “And what if I am?”

Eliot cocked his head, a look of amusement spreading over his face. “Stand up,” he said, hooking one finger delicately under Quentin’s chin.

It was the look in his eyes that drew Quentin to his feet, something magnetic he was powerless to fight. Eliot snaked an arm around his middle and drew him in, pressing his lips to Quentin’s ear. “Do you know what the punishment is for insubordination, Quentin?”

Quentin sighed happily. If Eliot wouldn’t marry him, at least he’d always have this. The kinky royal role play of his dreams. “Are you going to lock me in your dungeon, Your Majesty?”

Eliot let a laugh roll through him, his hands going to Quentin’s ass, giving it a squeeze. “Nothing like that. No. See, Quentin, in my Kingdom I prefer a more… direct approach.”

He punctuated his words with a gentle swat to Quentin’s ass, but it was enough to turn his knees to water. Quentin actually had to steady himself on Eliot’s shoulders, his dick jumping between his legs in response. He took a breath, and on an exhale mumbled something that might have been, “God yes please,” though he couldn’t be certain with the rushing of his blood in his ears.

Whatever it was, it made Eliot laugh. “This is meant to be a punishment, Quentin,” he teased. “You’re not supposed to enjoy it.”

“Well,” Quentin said, swallowing around the growing lump in his throat, “guess you’ll just have to punish me for that too.”

“Naughty boy,” Eliot smirked, the words practically growling out of him. “I am going to have to turn you over my knee. You’ve left me with no other choice.”

Eliot moved a little further up onto the bed and patted his thigh in invitation. Quentin wasted no time draping himself in his lap, and Eliot’s strong hands shifted him into position. Quentin’s cock slipped easily in between Eliot’s thighs, and he was already leaking so much pre-come, making everything perfectly slick. Eliot didn’t speak for a long time, rubbing circles into Quentin’s back, his ass, dragging fingers through his hair and down the dip of his spine. Quentin just let his head knock forward onto his crossed arms and waited, and wanted, and wondered if it were possible to come from anticipation alone.

“How many do you think you’ve earned yourself?” Eliot broke the silence in a low, dripping voice, kneading the flesh of Quentin’s ass in his hands. “How many swats on this pretty ass for disobeying your King?”

Quentin whimpered. “I don’t know,” he said. “A lot.”

Eliot hummed. “And maybe a couple more than that if you insist on enjoying this so much. Why don’t you pick a number? That way you can count them off for me.”

Quentin’s mind had become a hissing void of white noise, nothing left in all that gray matter but a hunger for Eliot’s hands. He pressed one blushing cheek to the cool silk sheets underneath him, trying to recall what numbers even were. “Um… can you just tell me?” he asked, voice coming out all breathy and desperate. “El. Please…”

“Okay,” Eliot said, his hands going perfectly still. He flexed his thighs and Quentin’s dick jumped where it was trapped between them. “I suppose… just this once. I’ll choose. Ten sounds like a nice round number, don’t you think?”

“Ten is… ten is good,” he managed, and Eliot hummed his approval.

“Good. Don’t forget to count. You wouldn’t want to let your King down. Again.”

Quentin’s whole body tensed when Eliot pulled his hands away. Every second that passed in the stillness felt like hours, every beat of his heart stretching out and drawing him tight enough to snap. His dick throbbed where it lay nestled in between all that flesh. It would be so easy to snap his hips, and to fuck, and to make himself come just like this. Without a single touch from Eliot. But Quentin resisted. Not yet. Soon. Just breathe.

Eliot inhaled, and Quentin held his breath. Eliot exhaled, his open palm striking Quentin’s backside, gently. Too gently. Quentin couldn’t help but whine.

“Harder,” he huffed, and Eliot clucked his tongue.

“That doesn’t sound like counting, Quentin.”

Quentin whined again. “One,” he said, thrusting between Eliot’s thighs, just once. “Do it harder. Please.”

Eliot threaded the fingers of one hand into the hair at Quentin’s nape, giving it a tug. “You are such—” Tug, smack, a little firmer this time. Quentin thrust forward again. “A bad—” Again, and Quentin felt it in his entire body, the sting like a live wire straight to his dick. Another thrust. He couldn’t help himself. “Boy.” The fourth swat was pure fucking lightning in his veins. Pleasure jolted through him, and Quentin’s dick pulsed as he fucked in between Eliot’s thighs once more, and again, and a third time, losing himself a little to the rhythm.

It was only another tug at his nape that snapped Quentin back to reality. “Two three four,” he mumbled over his shoulder.

“Good boy,” Eliot purred, rubbing soothing circles into Quentin’s burning flesh.

Five. Six. Seven. They all rolled into one. Quentin could barely get the words out, teetering right on the edge of an orgasm that Eliot seemed more than content to let happen. He made no effort to still Quentin’s rutting, only gave him another smack, and then another, pausing again to soothe the ache with a gentle touch.

“That’s it baby,” Eliot said, his voice thick and rough, two of his spit-slick fingers pressing against Quentin’s hole and rubbing gently. “You’ve been so good for me. Go on. Don’t hold back.”

It was all that Quentin needed to send him over the edge, and when the final swat made contact he was already coming, electric pleasure pulsing in his blood, and he muffled his sobs into the crook of his arm, his dick spurting hotly between the squeeze of Eliot’s thighs, his body going slack in the buzzing of the afterglow.

“Such a messy boy,” he heard Eliot saying, though he sounded very distant, miles off, somewhere deep beneath the clouds Quentin floated in. “Come on. It’s high time your King had his feast.”

Quentin managed to get his limbs to work long enough to crawl out of Eliot’s lap, and together they got him positioned on his belly with a stack of pillows shoved up under his hips. His spent cock twitched against the pillows, anticipating what was to come. He wondered if he could die from pleasure, if this is how he would go, what would his tombstone would say. Here lies Quentin Makepeace Coldwater, son and mediocre magician, died the happiest man alive under the skilled tongue and hands of Eliot Waugh the Spectacular, High King of Fillory.

Eliot nosed at the sweat-slick nape of his neck, muttering his praise, kissing a line down the slope of Quentin’s body. When he reached Quentin’s backside he spread him open slowly, teasing over his hole with two fingers slick with spit before giving him his tongue. And he was gentle, so gentle, licking Quentin open with love. With—fuck—with so much love, Quentin didn’t know if his body could contain it.

Eliot fucked into Quentin with the tip of his tongue, moaning happily as he went. Quentin didn’t think he could get hard again, but his dick was certainly waking up, Eliot’s pleasure-sounds alone enough to get his blood stirring. It was good, so fucking good, the best thing he’d ever felt, and when Eliot pulled away Quentin thought he might cry. Please don’t let this end. Please. Make love to me with your tongue until we’re dead.

“Hey,” Eliot whispered, draping himself over Quentin’s back, nuzzling into him gently. “I just wanted to make sure you’re still with me, baby.”

Quentin felt a shudder travel through him. “Yeah. I’m here.”

Eliot hummed, kissed his neck. “Good. I’ve got a spell I’d like to show you.”

“I know, um… I think I know the one.”

“Mmm, no baby…” Eliot kissed him again. “You don’t know it the way I do it. Here. Get these wet for me.”

The tips of two fingers pressed to the seam of Quentin’s lips. Eliot whispered, “Suck,” and Quentin did so without hesitation, moaning as Eliot fucked them in and out, gliding over the length of his tongue. And in the space of a single breath Eliot pulled them free, and pulled away, and began pressing his fingers in gently, rubbing soothing circles into Quentin’s lower back as he muttered the spell.

The magic started slowly, spreading like a whisper from Eliot’s fingertips up along the dip of Quentin’s spine. And as he pressed in a slickness grew until Quentin was dripping, his body fluttering open, deeper and deeper until Eliot’s fingers bottomed out. He held himself there for a moment, the two of them just breathing together, then crooked his fingers, kissing over Quentin’s prostate, making him gasp, desire surging hotly between his legs.

Eliot laughed softly. “You like that?” His fingers moved again, delicate little circles drawing the pleasure from him slowly.

“El,” Quentin breathed, the only word in existence Eliot’s name. “El, El, El…”

“That’s it, my perfect boy. You still want my dick inside you?”

“Please, please, please,” Quentin begged, and Eliot laughed.

“Mmm, that’s good to hear,” Eliot said, gripping Quentin’s hip roughly with his free hand, quickening the pace of his fingers. “You wanna come on my fingers first?”

Quentin made a sound that was half sob, half laugh. “Are you trying to kill me?”

“Oh, Q. Nothing like that.” His fingers stilled in Quentin’s body. “Just wanna make it good for you.”

Quentin sighed. “It’s good, El. It’s perfect. But I don’t think I can get it up again.”

Eliot laughed again, and pulled his fingers free. “We’ll see about that,” he said, nudging Quentin gently, tugging the pillows out from under his hips. “Come on. Turn on your side for me.”

Quentin rolled over, and Eliot settled down behind him, their bodies slotting together with ease. Eliot nosed up the side of Quentin’s neck, peppering it with kisses, getting an arm up underneath him and locking it diagonally across his chest, pulling him close. “You’re warm,” he purred into Quentin’s ear. “And soft…”

“So are you,” Quentin breathed, laughing as Eliot’s erection pressed against him. “Well, maybe not the soft part…”

“Yeah…” Eliot hummed into his ear. “You feel how hard you make me, hm?”

“Yeah…” Quentin pushed back, wriggling his ass a little just to tease him. “Put it inside me.”

Eliot kissed his neck, reaching between the press of their bodies to line himself up, teasing over Quentin’s hole with the head of his dick. “You gonna come on my cock, sweet boy?”

“El,” Quentin laughed. “I don’t know… I don’t know if I can…”

Eliot hummed, teasing, teasing, pushing forward. Quentin was so slick, Eliot slipped right in. “You feel that?”

“Yeah,” Quentin sobbed, clutching at the arm Eliot had locked around him. It felt—fuck. It felt like Eliot was spearing him in two. And it felt beautiful. It felt like the most beautiful thing.

“Mmm, I feel you too.” Eliot sucked a kiss under Quentin’s ear, thrusting forward another inch or two. “You feel so good, Q. So tight and wet and warm.”

Quentin squeezed his eyes shut as Eliot started to move, mouthing at the curve of Quentin’s shoulder, his neck. “You’re so fucking deep,” Quentin moaned, and Eliot laughed softly, drawing him in a little closer.

“That’s only half of it, baby,” Eliot’s voice was so thick it was hardly recognizable. “You still wanna take it all?”

“Yes,” Quentin trembled, Eliot pushed a little deeper. “Yes. Please.”

One more snap of his hips, and Eliot bottomed out. Quentin couldn’t even think to moan, so paralyzed with pleasure his voice was entirely lost. He couldn’t move, couldn’t think. Eliot asked, “You getting hard again for me, baby?” and Quentin couldn’t answer. If he were being honest, he had no idea what his own dick was doing, the rush of it all so overwhelming it might have been happening to someone else.

His whole body felt like white noise, exposed wiring, a fluffy little cloud floating in the atmosphere. He thought Eliot might have been speaking, but he couldn’t make out a word. He was absolutely certain, however, that Eliot wasn’t moving. At least not anymore. After a moment, his voice began to break in through all that fuzzy bliss, and Quentin thought, absently, that he actually sounded concerned.

“Q,” Eliot said, and Quentin suspected not for the first time. “I need you to check in with me, baby, okay? I’m not gonna fuck you if you’re catatonic.”

Quentin took a breath, trying to remember where the lines of his own body began. He opened his mouth, forcing his tongue to work. “Sorry,” he said. “Sorry… I’m here…”

“Stay here with me, Q,” Eliot muttered. “Stay with me, baby, I…” His voice trailed away, and Quentin felt the space of his unspoken words like a fist around his heart.

“Marry me,” Quentin choked out.

Eliot responded by holding him closer, fucking him deeper, faster, making Quentin sob. Eliot bit into his shoulder, his neck, his dick steadily kissing over his prostate until Quentin was getting hard again.

“I want you,” Quentin keened when Eliot wrapped a hand around his leaking cock and started to stroke, but Eliot’s mouth was too occupied sucking bruises down the line of his neck to respond. “I want you. Fuck, El, please… please...”

Quentin couldn’t be certain whose orgasm hit first, all he knew was that he felt it everywhere. In every cell of his body, the ending of every nerve. His cock jumped in Eliot’s fist, spurting hotly all over his fingers and down onto the bed. Eliot sobbed into the crook of Quentin’s neck, his hips still twitching reflexively even as he started to go soft. When it was over they stayed tangled up together for a long time. At some point, Eliot slipped from Quentin’s body. They didn’t speak a single word, hardly moving at all but to pull one another just a little closer, too wrung out and ruined to even bother with a cleanup spell before drifting into dreams.

They woke a couple hours later and fucked again in the pitch dark, Quentin on his knees with Eliot draped over his back, sucking more bruises into his nape, his shoulders. And when morning finally came, Quentin woke alone.

Quentin trudged to the bathroom, stopping to take a look at himself in the full length mirror occupying one corner. He’d been anticipating the marks, but the color of them was still a shock to his system. A line of deep purple bruises in the approximate shape of Eliot’s mouth ran from just under his ear down to his shoulder. And there were faint finger marks painting the flesh of his arms and chest, the ones staining his hips nearly as dark as the ones on his neck.

Eliot had painted a map of his love all over Quentin’s skin, evidence he would carry with him for days. A thrill spiked in Quentin’s blood at the thought. He plodded back out into the bedroom, found a fresh set of clothes hanging for him on the back of the door, a little parchment note pinned to the front of the shirt, scrawled in Eliot’s elegant hand.

Q,

Didn’t wanna wake you. Let me know if these don’t fit, pretty sure i can have the Royal Tailor hanged for treason.

—El

Quentin laughed to himself, and folded the note, and tucked it into the pocket of the pants. The clothes fit perfectly. Almost too perfectly. He went back to the mirror to admire himself, wondering if Eliot had seriously had him measured in his sleep before realizing the Royal Tailor was almost certainly a magician.

The outfit was simple but elegant, and had Eliot picked out this fabric to match your eyes exactly written all over it. A fine linen tunic worn under a velvet doublet accented with a delicate brocade, pretty without being gaudy, and the matching pants laced down the front in a way that Quentin couldn’t help but find utterly delightful.

Everything was navy blue save for the black leather riding boots, and all together it painted a picture, Quentin realized, of someone perfectly regal. He felt like Rupert Chatwin preparing to take his throne, with maybe a side of Aragorn with the way his hair was falling around his shoulders. Or if not a king himself, someone fit to sit at the side of the King. To sit on a throne in Castle Whitespire next to the High King of Fillory and look like he belonged, instead of just someone cosplaying the part.

The thought made Quentin’s hands shake while he pulled back his hair. And when he’d finished with his hair he realized—shit. His neck was covered in hickeys that were definitely more visible like this. Did he need to wear a scarf? What was the royal protocol on being seen at court with evidence of the High King fucking your brains out marking you for all to see?

Quentin looked himself over one last time and thought, fuck it. The prospect of everyone seeing exactly what Eliot had done to him was more thrilling than the idea of a hundred thousand quests. And besides, if he and Eliot were going to be married, it’s not like the two of them fucking would exactly be a secret. He exited Eliot’s living quarters with his head held high, feeling a care-free and easy confidence for the first time in… possibly his entire life? Quentin was pretty certain he was glowing from the inside out, and in his brand new clothes he felt—fuck. Quentin felt sexy. That was definitely a first.

There was a commotion in the throne room. Quentin had never seen so many people packed into the castle at once, and it instantly made him nervous. Too many bodies, too much frantic energy. He had no hope of reaching Eliot through the throngs, but the crowd was far less dense near the back of the room. Thankfully, that’s where he found Julia and Margo.

“Jesus,” he shouted over the din, pressing himself to the wall next to Julia. “What the hell is going on?”

“Oh, you didn’t hear?” Margo gave him a hard look. “The King went and found himself a bride.”

Quentin’s stomach dropped out, landing somewhere in the vicinity of his feet. “He what?”

Julia reached over, threading their fingers together. He could feel her eying the marks on his neck. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I…”

He was thankful to have the wall holding him up at least. His knees had turned to glass, and shattered. Quentin struggled to breathe. Julia squeezed his hand. Eliot sat elevated over the sea of bodies on his throne, looking regal as ever in gold and crimson, the jewels of his crown glittering in the soft light filtering in through the windows. Tick Pickwick stood beside him, smiling that tight smile of his, and then opening his mouth to speak.

“Presenting, Prince Micah of the Tribe of the Floating Mountain!”

The crowd parted, and through it passed a procession gleaming in silver and white, headed by a woman dripping with jewels. She was linked arm-and-arm with a man so handsome it made Quentin’s stomach turn. Certainly the Prince. When they reached the throne, Eliot rose, and the woman walked the man—the Prince, her son, he had to be her son—up to Eliot, beaming as they joined their hands together.

The crowd erupted into thunderous applause, and Quentin had to get away. He let go of Julia’s hand, and if she called after him, Quentin couldn’t hear it. He pushed his way to the door, out into the hallway, and just… walked. As quickly as his legs would carry him. Through the winding labyrinth of the castle until he found a corner far enough away from all the noise to hide away in. Quentin slumped down, knocked his head back against cold stone. And he was numb. Just… numb. Time passed. He didn’t know how much. Eventually, Julia found him.

“Hey,” she said, sliding down beside him. “You wanna talk about it?”

“No,” he said, and felt nothing.

“I know how you feel about him, you don’t have to—”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Q, you literally proposed marriage to him in front of everyone two days ago.” She touched his arm, gently, and he wished that she wouldn’t. Already he could feel the numbness slipping away. “He do that to your neck?”

Quentin clenched his jaw so tightly it was a miracle his teeth didn’t snap, willing the tears to just stay the fuck away. “Doesn't matter,” he said. “I’m an idiot, Jules.”

She rested her head on his shoulder with a sigh. “Normally, I’d be inclined to agree with such an assessment, but…” She let that sit for a moment. “I’m really sorry, Q.”

Two hot tears fell from Quentin’s traitorous eyes. “Maybe we should just go back. To Brakebills, I mean.”

She lifted her head, and he could see her smiling out of the corner of his eye. “But we haven’t even been given our quest yet.”

Quentin swiped the tears away from his face. “I’m starting to think maybe the idea of Fillory was better than the real thing.”

“Yeah. Maybe.” She shrugged. “But we’re here now, and just because the guy you’re in love with is marrying someone else doesn’t mean we can’t still have an adventure.”

He finally met her gaze, and she smiled, but Quentin didn’t feel like smiling back. They sat in silence for a long time. Eventually, Quentin said, “I think I’d like to be alone,” and Julia, thankfully, didn’t protest.

She left him there to sulk, and Quentin sobbed into his hands like his heart was breaking. Which it was, even if he realized that Eliot owed him nothing. Eliot had made him no promises. Eliot had only fucked him, and given him new clothes. Ignoring all his proposals the night before should have been a clue. It wasn’t Eliot’s fault that Quentin was stupid. God, Quentin was so fucking stupid. Of course Eliot would never want to marry him. Why would he when a walking jawline like Prince Micah was there to offer his hand in a proper royal marriage?

Last night had been a pity fuck at best. At worst, Eliot just wanted to be with someone else before being stuck with the same cock for the rest of his life. The idea should have made Quentin angry, or at the very least feel like he’d been used. But angry wasn’t really registering in the tangled mess of neurons misfiring in his brain. This was, Quentin thought, probably what he deserved for assuming the deepest dicking of his life would lead to happily-ever-after.

He pulled himself to his feet and dried his eyes, found Julia in her room and said, “Fuck it. Let’s go on an adventure,” and an hour later they found themselves wandering the nearest village, where they met a talking bear named Humbledrum, and got very, very drunk in his bar.

It didn’t make Quentin feel any better, but he counted it as a win when he fell down into bed that night and was far too drunk to dream. They went back to the village the next day, and the day after that, shooting back drinks with dogs and beavers and pointedly not talking about Eliot. But eventually, they grew tired of the bar, and the same droning conversations, and the terrible Fillorian beer, and being hungover all the time.

Julia said, “We should hire a boat. Go explore the Outer Islands,” and Quentin answered with a groan. “Okay, well, do you think the royal fleet of hippogriffs is a real thing? Maybe Eliot would let us take a couple.”

“Eliot’s busy planning his wedding,” Quentin said, the words like acid on his tongue. “Wouldn’t want to disturb him.”

After, Quentin wandered the castle like a ghost, haunting the grounds, its sprawling hedge maze that was easily three times the size of the one they had at Brakebills. He found Margo there after a while, sitting on the edge of a fountain, gazing down into the placid water with a cigarette dangling from her lips.

“Hey,” he said, and she turned to him, ashing her cigarette into the fountain.

“Hey. Where the hell have you been?”

“Doing shots with a bulldog named Bristlycoat.”

She eyed him, offered him a cigarette that he took and lit and inhaled slowly. “You look like an armpit’s asshole.”

“Sounds about right.” Quentin gave a half smile and perched next to her on the fountain’s edge. “Who are you hiding from out here?”

She hummed. “Same as you. Our High King is acting like a royal ball sack.”

“I wouldn’t know,” Quentin said. “Haven’t exactly talked to him since he fucked me and then decided to marry someone else.”

Margo huffed out a plume of smoke. “You didn’t actually think he was going to accept that proposal, did you?”

Quentin shrugged. “He has to marry someone. I thought he’d at least like it to be, I don’t know… a friend.”

Margo stubbed out her cigarette, and it felt like a judgment. “You can’t actually be that dense.”

“I…” Quentin frowned. “What are you talking about?”

Margo sighed, her hard expression softening a little at the edges. “He’s in love with you, dummy,” she said. “Has been ever since the very first day he laid eyes on that perky little ass. I would know. He was practically foaming at the mouth telling me about it.”

“Telling you about…” Quentin swallowed. “My ass?”

“Your ass, your hair, your eyes, your mouth. Went on about it for days. Christ, I was tempted to ask you to suck his dick myself just to shut him up.”

“I don’t…” Quentin cocked his head. “If he’s in love with me, why would he want to marry someone else?”

“Because he’s an even bigger idiot than you are,” she said flatly. “And because the idea of marrying a stranger he doesn’t have to catch actual feelings for is a lot less terrifying than marrying someone who’s already got his heart by the balls.”

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Quentin said, his heart doing some truly impressive acrobatics in his chest.

“No shit. But it’s Eliot. High King of Fillory, even Higher King of being a total fucking coward when it comes to love.”

Quentin shook his head. “Why would he… Margo, when we, you know… it was… I’ve never had anyone who...” The words kept catching in his throat, and Quentin had to laugh. “Why would he do that if he was just going to reject me right after?”

Margo shrugged. “It was his first and last shot at banging your brains out, not surprising he’d wanna make it special.”

Quentin’s eyes stung with the promise of tears he refused to let come. “Can’t you tell him to just—”

“No,” she said firmly. “I can’t. Whatever’s going on between the two of you has fuck all to do with me. I’ve already said way more than I should. And what makes you think he would listen to me anyway?”

Quentin looked down into the fountain, considered diving in. Maybe when he hit the bottom, he'd find himself in another, slightly more magical fairytale land. One that actually lived up to the hype. “Yeah, well, he’s not going to listen to me either.”

“Probably not. But hey, if it’s any consolation he’ll probably come to regret it in a couple decades when Prince Micah’s ass takes a turn for the worse and the rest of us have grown tired of his shit.”

Quentin sighed, and smoked down the rest of his cigarette, and felt terrible. And he thought that maybe he hated Fillory now. Or maybe he just hated being in it. Or maybe he just hated himself. He definitely hated Ember and Umber, who couldn’t even be bothered to show themselves and tell him what the fuck he was supposed to be doing. He and Margo walked back to the castle together, and she hugged him before they parted ways. Which she’d never done before, so it only made him feel worse when he was alone.

He went to the library and scoured the shelves for hours, reading books of Fillorian history that only made him sad. He stayed there reading until it was dark, then he went to his room and crawled into bed. And he shut his eyes, and dreamed of Eliot.

High King Eliot called a meeting of his High Council, which took place in the dizzying confines of the castle’s north spire. Accessing the spire required a long walk up a winding staircase, and as Quentin trudged to the top, he could see the speech he was about to deliver playing out from start to finish in his mind’s eye, a glorious technicolor vision of exactly how he’d get Fillory’s beloved King to remove his head from his ass and call off his engagement to Prince Whatshisface.

But the moment he burst into the spire, and all those gawking faces turned to greet him, Quentin’s mind went void-dark. He opened his mouth to speak, and all that came out was a broken, “Why are you such an idiot?”

There was a silence that stretched through the spire then, only broken when Eliot pushed back from the table. Their eyes met across the distance, and Quentin anticipated the bite of his snark, but Eliot only said, “This meeting of the High Council is adjourned.”

Another moment of silence. Tick Pickwick started to speak, but Eliot brushed him off. The Council filed out without a word, leaving Eliot and Quentin alone.

“Drink?” Eliot asked, already levitating a pitcher over.

Quentin took a breath. “No.”

Eliot shrugged and filled his goblet. “How can I help you today, Quentin?”

“You can start by cutting the shit.”

“You’re going to have to be more specific.” Eliot sipped his wine, so casually it made Quentin furious.

Quentin stepped a little closer, keeping the length of the long table between them. He didn’t trust himself to be close enough to touch. “You don’t think it’s strange that we haven’t talked in days?”

“I’ve been busy.” Eliot’s fingers played over a wooden chess piece on the board laid out on the table. “These seating arrangements are a nightmare. The Floaters have this thing with even numbers. Something about the magic that keeps their mountain floating. So between that and making sure we have enough taffeta to—”

“Why did you fuck me?” Quentin white knuckled the high back of the chair in front of him, his face burning hotter by the second.

Eliot didn’t raise his eyes, just kept moving the pieces around on his board, and sipping his wine, his expression hardly shifting. “Because you wanted me to fuck you,” he said.

Quentin pushed out a breath. “Why did you fuck me like that?”

Eliot nudged one wooden piece across the board and replaced it with another. “You had a fantasy, I fulfilled it.”

“Why?”

Eliot raised his eyes, finally, smirking at Quentin darkly. “I’ve always been a giver.”

Quentin’s lip quivered with emotion, and he forced himself to choke it down. “Margo said you’re in love with me. And that you’re a fucking coward.”

“Well, Margo always has been a terrible gossip.” Eliot turned his attention back to his seating arrangements, but even across the distance Quentin could see the blush growing on his cheeks.

“I don’t understand why you’re lying.” Quentin dared to move a little closer now, stopping just shy of arm’s length. “Look at me, Eliot.”

Eliot hesitated, drank his wine, played around with a few more pieces on his board before meeting Quentin’s gaze. Quentin crossed the remaining distance, close enough now to touch Eliot if he dared, which he didn’t. But he could feel the heat of his body now, and see the color of his eyes, the color burning on his cheeks.

“Tell me...” Quentin stuttered out, nearly losing his nerve this close. “Tell me you’re not in love with me. And I’ll walk away. I’ll leave you alone forever. If that’s what you want.”

“You’re my friend,” Eliot said after a moment of silence, his face twitching with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I don’t want you to leave me alone forever, Quentin. Don’t be ridiculous. But… I’m not in love with you. ”

Eliot turned his eyes back to his wooden figures. It was fitting, Quentin thought, that Eliot should treat his impending nuptials like a game. Make believe nestled inside more make believe in a bullshit fairytale world. Quentin turned away, refusing to let Eliot see him shed a single tear as he exited the spire. He made it halfway down the staircase before collapsing in on himself, sobbing like a child into his hands until he had no tears left to give. Until he had nothing. Until he was numb.

He sat there after, resting his head against the cold stone of the tower, listening for the sound of footfalls that he knew would never come.

Quentin left Whitespire in the dead of night, all alone, and when he arrived back at Brakebills no one bothered to ask him where he’d been, where Eliot was. Margo, Julia...

And maybe Brakebills never cared, cold and unfeeling like Fillory, like Eliot wished his heart to be. Maybe that was the secret. For two long weeks Quentin tried to forget, pretending that he’d never gone away at all, that Eliot had never been made King, that Julia might come walking in at any second frustrated by Circumstances and tuts and tests. He fucked other people to try and make himself feel better, which it didn’t, but a warm body in his bed at night beat being alone with his thoughts. His thoughts that always seemed to land him back in Whitespire, with Eliot, on that single, perfect night they’d spent together writhing in the dark.

Once, he almost let himself into Eliot’s room in the cottage, to put on his clothes and sleep in his bed, but that seemed a little pathetic even for him. Eventually, the phantom of Eliot’s touch on his skin faded, but the shape of him remained. In every corner of the cottage, sprinkled around the campus like confetti, in every classroom, stretching wide across the ocean of grass where they’d first laid eyes on each other so many months ago.

Two weeks was a long time, not that Quentin was counting. If you were to ask him, he would tell you it had been two weeks, one day, and seven hours since he’d returned to Earth. But Quentin wasn’t counting. Quentin was trying to forget. He hadn’t gone to bed with anyone tonight, so he lay alone in the dark, a little closer with every passing second to drinking himself into dreamless blackout sleep. When his bedroom door creaked open, Quentin didn’t react, kept his eyes shut. Maybe it was Alice Quinn, or the Naturalist he’d given a half-hearted blow job to the night before, or a Physical Kid so wasted they’d come to his room by mistake. It didn’t matter. He wanted to sleep or fuck. Anything so long as he didn’t have to think.

Footfalls approached carefully. Quentin could hear them breathing. The far side of the mattress dipped down under their weight. He held his breath, and the moment a hand curled around the curve of his leg Quentin’s heart stuttered to life. He knew that hand, and that touch, the subtle shift in energy on the air.

Quentin knew that magic.

When he opened his eyes, the golden light of an illumination spell was burning overhead. “Thought you couldn’t leave Fillory,” he muttered, not daring to turn around.

“After my wedding day,” Eliot said, the sound of his voice after two weeks without it enough to make Quentin’s stomach clench. “I can’t leave Fillory after my wedding day.”

“Figured that day would have come already. With the time difference and all.” Quentin breathed in, and breathed out. “How many days has it been over there?”

“I don’t know,” Eliot said. “A month? More. I lost track.”

Quentin let that sit a moment. “Why are you here?”

“Because not having you around is even worse than I imagined.”

Quentin rolled onto his back. Eliot looked terrible, like he hadn’t slept in days. He was still dressed in his kingly attire, minus the crown.

“I don’t know what to say to that,” Quentin said.

Eliot looked away, looking ashamed. “If you don’t forgive me, I understand.”

“You haven’t actually asked for my forgiveness.” Quentin wanted to be angry, and bitter, and build a fortress around all his softest parts, one that Eliot could never hope to break through. But just to look at him, even for a moment, Quentin knew he hardly stood a chance.

“Right.” Eliot gave a shaky laugh, knotting his hands together in his lap. “Sorry.”

And this was… different. Quentin had never seen him quite like this before. Shaken, nervous, the mask that was Eliot Waugh the Spectacular utterly crumbled. Quentin sat up and faced Eliot head-on, resisting the urge to touch. He hadn’t earned that yet. “Then ask me,” he said.

Eliot shifted on the bed, crossed his legs, straightened his back. He breathed in deeply, his eyes locked with Quentin’s eyes as he pushed all the air from his lungs. “Forgive me,” he said, with such sincerity Quentin was thankful he was already sitting. He could feel his knees turning to water, that water spreading right through to the rest of him.

“Forgive you for what?”

“For being an idiot.”

Quentin’s mouth twitched with a smile. “You’re going to have to be a little more specific.”

Even in the dim light, Quentin could see the tears welling in Eliot’s eyes. “I hurt you,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to.”

“But you did.”

“Yeah.” Eliot smiled, his lip quivering a little. “I hurt you and I lied. Margo was right, I am a fucking coward, Q, and you probably deserve a whole lot better than—”

“I’m gonna go ahead and stop you right there,” Quentin gave him a hard look. “You don’t get to tell me what I deserve.”

“I didn’t mean—”

“Yes you did.” Quentin laughed, because if he didn’t he was going to cry. “Do you trust me?”

A tear slipped from one of Eliot’s eyes, and then the other. “Yes.”

Quentin wanted to wipe the tears away. Not yet. Just wait. “Are you in love with me?”

Eliot squeezed his eyes shut. “Yes.”

“Look at that,” Quentin breathed, his voice quavering terribly. “Not a coward after all.”

Eliot opened his eyes. “Forgive me.”

Now. Quentin reached for his hand. “Of course I forgive you.”

Eliot squeezed Quentin’s hand. “Let me make it up to you.”

“What about your Prince?”

Eliot laughed through his tears. “Sent him back to his mountain.”

Quentin grinned, laughing. “I can’t imagine that went over well.”

“It didn’t.” Eliot shrugged. “But as High King, I get the final say in who I marry.”

“Yeah?” Quentin’s voice went all high and breathy. “You, uh… you have anybody in mind?”

“I might.” Eliot smirked, tugging Quentin’s hand. “Come here.”

Quentin didn’t hesitate. He climbed into Eliot’s lap, buried his face in the crook of his neck and breathed him in, the scent of Fillory still heavy on his skin. That made him happy and sad all at once. Eliot whispered, “Kiss me,” tugging Quentin back, and their eyes met for a fraction of a second before closing, their lips slotting together as though they’d never parted.

They kissed each other breathless, panting hotly against each other’s necks when they were through. “I want you to come back with me,” Eliot said.

Quentin pulled back, taking Eliot’s face in his hands. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll come back with you. Even if Fillory kind of sucks.”

Eliot smiled. “Yeah. Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay,” Quentin said. “It’s just a place. I can probably be miserable anywhere.”

“We can be miserable together.” Eliot laughed, but there was a fear still there in his eyes, underneath all that newfound bravery. “I want…” He took a breath, and then another. “You’re my best friend, Q.”

“And you’re mine,” Quentin said.

“I want you to…” Eliot shut his eyes, and Quentin thumbed a tear from his cheek. “Marry me.”

Quentin’s heart stumbled, and stopped, and came to life brand new inside his chest. He pressed a kiss to Eliot’s brow, both his cheeks, his mouth. “Okay,” he whispered. “I’ll marry you.”

They kissed again, until their breath was coming very quickly and their hands had started to wander. They lay on the bed touching each other slowly, undressing, pressing their lips to every bit of skin they could reach. They got each other off with their hands, because they couldn’t stop looking at each other, and kissing, and laughing. After, they tangled together and slept, and dreamed.

When Quentin woke in the morning, Eliot was there, smiling. Quentin blinked the sleep from his eyes, and snuggled in a little closer, and kissed him.