Nothing could have prepared Eliot for the grief he would feel when he woke up. Waking up in a world such as this, a world without Quentin Coldwater , was something that no one could have readied Eliot for. At first, he couldn’t possibly believe it. Quentin, he couldn’t be dead… No, he was Quentin . He was supposed to live . Eliot had felt - numb and petrified and heartbroken.
As soon as he was discharged from the infirmary, he felt immediately drawn to the liquor cabinet. But Margo kept him together, smacking him upside the head and snapping that ‘Quentin wouldn’t want that’. But how the fuck could she know? Because Quentin was dead . He was dead and gone, and for some reason no one was trying to do anything about it.
Eliot sat with the others at the bonfire, singing his heart out and throwing his heart into the fire along with a peach, sweet and supple and so achingly familiar. He felt his whole chest shatter, a million pieces of glass piercing his heart all at one, and he tried his best to hold it together. In the end, his best wasn’t good enough.
A week after the bonfire, Eliot gathered himself, and set to work. Everyone had seem to forgotten that they were fucking Magicians , that they could find a fucking way to bring Quentin back . Eliot began researching, only for Margo to drag him away to Fillory, which was apparently three centuries in the future and being led by a mysterious Dark King.
And Eliot wanted to help Margo, he really did. But the ache in his chest, that Quentin-shaped hole in his heart, screamed and screamed for him to fucking bring Quentin back .
“I’m sorry, Bambi,” He whispered, clenching his fist around his cane. A ram’s head, achingly familiar, keeping his shaking legs from crumpling out from under him. “I just - I can’t.”
Margo was, rightfully, furious with him. “What the fuck are you going to do, Eliot? We can’t try and bring Quentin back only for us to fail or make shit worse.” She snapped, all anger and fire.
He felt a flicker of his own rage, a slight flame beginning to burn in his chest. “Oh, but we can save Fillory. It’s not like Quentin mattered to us or anything,” Eliot spat right back, his eyes blazing with grief and anger. “I can’t just give up on him, Margo. What if it had been one of us? He would have run himself ragged trying to bring us back! He did, with Alice! You don’t think we should at least fucking try for him?”
Margo, to her credit, seemed to be able to hold it together enough. She gave him a look, unfairly soft and caring.
“I miss him too,” She said, as she held his face in her hands, her eyes shinier than usual. He rubbed a thumb across her cheek. “Quentin - he’s ours. I think I forgot that,” She said, her voice cracking only for a moment. She shook her head, looking him dead in the eye.
“Go get him back for us, I’ll take care of Fillory.” He nodded, smiling softly at her and kissing her softly on the mouth.
“Bunny me if you need anything,” he prompted her, and she smiled back at him.
“Of course, honey. Now, go get our nerd back.”
As soon as he arrived back to Earth, he dove right back into research. He hardly slept, his mind whirling as he read up on every single spell he could find, every possibility to try and bring Quentin back to him.
He stays in the penthouse, traveling between it and Brakebills to find out whatever he can. He hasn’t seen Alice, but Julia, Penny23, and Kady all seem to migrate in and out of the place.
When he comes back from Fillory and prompts Julia about bringing Q back, she jumps right to it.
“I’ve been doing research ever since… I got my magic back,” She says, pulling stacks of books out from a shelf, and slamming them down on the table. Eliot sees that most of the books are annotated, sticky notes and pieces of paper sticking out of every other page. “Since the Library owes us one, for wiping our identities and being responsible for Penny and Quentin’s death, they decided to let us have access to some of their books.”
Behind them, Eliot spots Penny23 appear out of the corner of his eyes. He looks at them, shakes his head sadly, and comes over. He sets down a bag of what looks and smells like chinese takeout.
“Eat up,” He says gruffly. Eliot nods to him, and 23 nods back. Julia doesn’t acknowledge him.
They get to researching, pouring over every book on resurrection and necromancy that they can find. They spend a week straight working at it, and then -
“Alice?” He heard Julia say, her tone surprised.
Eliot looks up from a book he’d been studying intently, and freezes. Alice stands there before them, her hair slightly frizzled, but looking more composed than the last time he’d seen her. Penny23 mutters something to Alice, before he travels away.
“So,” Alice says, voice slightly hitched. “You guys have been doing research on how to bring Q back?” Julia nods, frowning at her, waiting to see what exactly she wants from them.
“Yes, Ms. Quinn. We’ve been looking at every book on resurrection we can find, but there’s none with any solid spell that is sure to work, and we don’t want to risk bringing Q back wrong or Shadeless,” Eliot sighs, fixing her with a hard gaze. “Any reason you’ve chosen now of all times to come to us about it?”
“I want to help,” The answer is hardly surprising; Eliot knows that Quentin and Alice are close, and that they had gotten back together right before Q died. What Eliot wants to know is why hadn’t she come to them sooner.
“How are you feeling?” Julia prompts instead, to which Alice rolls her eyes at the other woman.
“I’m feeling fucking wonderful. Now, have you gotten anywhere, or is it all just dead ends?” Alice sets down the bag that Eliot hadn’t even noticed she was carrying, and she sits down next to him. He looks at her, slightly surprised. The last time they’d seen eachother was the bonfire. They’d held hands and sung together, but he hadn’t expected her to still look at him so - tenderly.
“How are you feeling, El?” Had she ever called him that before? He swallows, and shrugs.
“As well as I can with a gut wound and an injured leg,” He shrugged, hunching over himself, swirling his drink around. Alice frowns at him, before shaking her head and looking forward.
“So, where are we?”
While Julia does her best to recap Alice on all the books they’d read up on, Eliot hauls his ass off the couch to go refill his drink.
“He was in love with you,” Alice says, unprompted one night, when it’s just him and her working on research. Julia and Kady had gone to the Library once again to scour the shelves, and Penny23 was wherever he went when he wasn’t pining after Julia.
Eliot felt himself choke on his drink, and he looked at Alice. His heart clenched, and he looked away.
“I’m… not sure I’d say that,” He said, hesitantly and soft.
“I would.” She replied, fixing him with a hard, teary look. He blanched, meeting her piercing gaze, his own eyes wide and burning with unshed tears.
“He loved you too,” He simply said, voice cracking.
Alice pursed her lips at him, and sighed. “I know. But… he didn’t love me like he loves you,” She said, her wording… careful. As if he might shatter at any moment. “You didn’t see him, trying to get you back. He’d worked himself down to the bone. He was exhausted, but he wouldn’t give up on you. I heard him.” Eliot flinched, jaw clenching.
“Did he ever… tell you about the Mosaic…?” He asked her. She shook her head, frowning. He swallowed, before he looked her in the eye.
He told her everything. About their first year, the flirty banter, their first kiss, them getting together. He told her about Arielle, about how he saw her and Q together, and could only think: family. He told her about Teddy, about how he was so much like Q and Arielle and even him. How Arielle died, and it nearly broke them all. How they came back to each other, how they raised Teddy together and grew old and met their grandkids and -
He realized he was sobbing when he got to the point where they remembered. He told her how Quentin had poured his heart out, had told Eliot they worked. He told her how he’d shut him down, locked him out of his heart and rejected him.
Alice slapped him for that.
“Ow, fuck!” Eliot hissed, rubbing his cheek tenderly. She glared at him, openly crying now as she stood before him.
“You’re a fucking idiot, you know that right?” She snapped.
Eliot swallowed, meeting her eye, his whole body oozing with misery. “I know,” He mumbled.
“When Quentin comes back, you’re going to fucking tell him that you lied, and - and if he chooses you, then that’s ok. I already lost him once, and it nearly killed me. I just want him to be happy,” Alice sighed heavily, sitting down beside him. She looked - tired.
He flinched, looking down at his hand. They shook and shook and shook, and he cursed the Monster for ruining his body.
“I’m sorry,” He whispers.
“For what?” Alice sighed, turning to him. “If it’s about Q, don’t. Him and I… I think we were over a long time ago. I care about him, and I love him, but… I think it’s been proven that we don't work together. Not like that at least.” She sighed, and took his hand in hers. “Just - don’t hurt him again, even if you think it’s what’s best for him.”
Eliot met her eye once more, and saw it all - rage, anger, hurt, determination. He smiled softly, and she smiled back.
They got back to work.
“ I found something !” Julia shouted, causing Eliot to scramble up from the couch and nearly break his hip. Alice held him up, and the two of them made their way over to where Julia was hunched over a spell book.
“I-it’s a necromancy spell, and it requires a lot of energy and a Master Necromancer, a-and the resurrected person’s fucking - literal soulmate, but…” Julia looked at them, eyes wide. Alice read over the circumstances, the tuts, the components, and looked up at Julia with a similar expression of wonder and hope.
“This could work,” Alice whispers, frowning down at the page. She does a tut, and a copy of the pages they need rise up from the book before resting in her hands. She looked up, frowning. “Do either of you guys know a Master Necromancer?”
Julia and Eliot exchange a look, and shrug.
“We could ask Fogg about it, but there’s a chance he might not be willing to help us out with this,” Julia prompts, tapping her pencil on the countertop. “Who else do we know would even-?”
“I do,” They all turn to see Kady coming towards them, Pete trailing behind them. She stops beside the counter, giving Alice a look that Eliot will absolutely be asking her about later. “When you guys started on your research, I had Pete and some other hedges asking around. Pete apparently knows a kid from his days as Marina’s lackey, and he gave me the address of the warehouse they work in.” Julia frowns, eyes darting over to shoot a look at Pete, who shrugs in response.
“They’re young, but they’re good. I saw them resurrect their dead brother a few years back, all on their own.” Pete confirms, before he falls silent.
“Now, they might want nothing to do with us if we tell them we need their help for this spell, but I figure if we help them out some, supply their coven with some good spells and protection, they might be willing to help us out.” Kady prompts. She hands Alice a piece of paper, presumably with the address written on it. “I’ll come with you guys just to be safe. Pete says that these kids know their battle magic, so we need to be careful.”
“I wonder how he knows that,” Julia mutters, giving Pete another look. The man looks away, before muttering something to Kady and heading out.
“Well, it’s settled,” Eliot decides, clapping his hands together and heading over to the bar. “Drinks in celebration?” Alice gives him a look, but reluctantly nods her head. Julia and Kady bend their heads together in conversation, presumably trying to figure out how to approach this.
Eliot feels a weight in his chest lift slightly, knowing they’re one step closer to getting Quentin back.
Morgan Wells was a lanky kid, with thick hair dyed purple, a scruffy face, and rather adoring brown eyes. They spoke with a slight stutter occasionally, but their words were sure and carefully put. They’d agreed to meet up, and right now Eliot, Julia, Alice, and Kady sat on a couch across from Morgan and the rest of their coven, a bunch of raggedy teens with dyed hair or piercings. The only one of them who stood out was a tall man with black hair in a ponytail and kind eyes, who Kady confirmed was Morgan’s brother who they’d brought back, Caleb.
“So, let me get this perfectly clear,” Morgan started, eyeing the four of them carefully. “You want me to help you with a spell, and in return my coven gets spells, as well as an opportunity to go to Brakebills.”
Kady nodded, eyes stern. “We’ve heard a lot of good things about your work, but there’s no reason that you should feel pressured into doing it. Whether you choose to help us or not, you will be given the chance to attend Brakebills once you’re of age, and we’ll get you whatever types of spells you want or need.” She keeps her tone confident, sure of her words. “I understand if the spell we’re asking of you is something you… don’t feel comfortable doing.”
Morgan’s eyes flashed, and they sat up straight. “Oh, I can do it, and I appreciate the help you’re offering. But I am hesitant about who you’re planning on bringing back.”
Julia frowns. “Excuse me?”
The young hedge’s eyes move to Julia, and they tilt their head. “You are in no way the first group of people to come to me asking for help with a resurrection. I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences with people wanting me to bring back the wrong type of folk. I won’t do the spell until I know who and why you want your ‘friend’ brought back.”
It was a reasonable statement, but it still made Eliot’s gut chench. He opened his mouth to speak, but Alice beat him to the punch.
“His name was Quentin Coldwater,” She said, voice hard and determined. “He was a 26 year old magician, and he died an unfair death. He was our friend. We loved him.” Her voice wavers for a turn. “He would have done the same for us. So we’ll do whatever we can to bring him back.”
Morgan fixes Alice with a look, their eyes narrowed. Their gaze proceeds to sweep over the rest of them. They land on Eliot for a little too long, making his skin crawl.
“Quentin Coldwater, huh?” Morgan mumbles, a slight smile on their face. They’re still looking at Eliot. For a moment, he feels as if he’s about to be smothered by their gaze. But then they look away, back to Alice, and nod.
“I’ll help.” They reply, and Eliot’s heart feels as if it’s going to burst from his chest.
Eliot finds that working with Morgan is rather enjoyable. They’re a witty kid, and they know what they’re doing. The only thing Eliot’s hesitant about is that Morgan seems to know… too much.
As they set up part of the ritual that’s meant to bring Quentin’s soul out of the underworld, Eliot finds them staring at him.
“So you’re the soulmate,” They say, unprompted, and Eliot nearly drops the bowl of lavender he’d been carrying over.
“What -” Eliot chokes out, trying to think of something - anything - to say in response to that.
“Oh, calm down, Eliot,” Morgan grins at them, doing a quick tut that draws the lavender bowl over to the setup they have. They set it down next to the bowl of wormwood, shaking their hands out in a familiar way. “We need to know it anyway for the spell.”
Eliot pauses a moment, looking at Morgan, words from years ago echoing in his head.
“You have a - brother of the heart, with the foppy hair…”
“You are parts of one whole.”
Eliot’s heart aches at the memory, and he sits down, gripping his cane tightly. He hasn’t needed it too much as of recent, but they’ve been doing a lot of walking today to prep for the spell.
“How do you know?” He asks, soft and hesitant.
Morgan leans against the table, seemingly studying him for a moment.
“I can… see it. And hear it, somewhat,” They say, as if that makes any sense. “A string of light, something that’s supposed to be connected to someone, but it just… isn’t. I can practically feel your misery, your grief, and his as well,”- They don’t have to say who it is for Eliot to know who they’re talking about - “So I put two and two together. Do - do the others not know?” They frown.
Eliot looks down at his hands, still shaking, as they always are. “I think it was implied,” He muttered. “It's a part of the spell, and they haven’t done anything to try and prompt how to figure out who it could be.” He shrugs, and looks up at Morgan. Their expression is thoughtful, their brows scrunched together. In some ways, Eliot can’t help but be reminded of Quentin.
“That’s fair. I think they know, and if not then they’re way too oblivious,” They shrug, standing back up and turning towards the materials they were working on. Eliot hears a familiar woosh behind him, and turns to see Penny23 with Alice, Julia, and -
“Bambi,” Eliot breathes out, standing up as fast as he can without falling over, and he rushes to her, tucking her into his arms. She buries her face in his chest, holding him close, and he can’t help but kiss her on the forehead, his chest filled with love.
“Another one? Oh, this’ll be absolute chaos,” He hears Morgan mutter. “I love it.”
Margo pulls away, peering from the other side of Eliot’s form to look at Morgan. “Who the hell is this kid?”
Morgan blinks, turning to face Margo, and tilts their head. “I’m Morgan. I’m the, y’know, necromancer these guys hired to bring your friend back from the dead?” They stick out their hand, trying for polite. “Nice to meet you?”
Margo raises an eyebrow, and looks at Eliot. “This kid’s hair is tragic, ” She simply says, before turning to 23 and barking orders to get takeout. Morgan opens their mouth to reply, but simply throws their hands up and goes back to work.
Eliot bites his lip, holding back a smile.
For the first time since he woke up from the Monster, he feels - hopeful.
About five days after Margo comes back from Fillory with Fen and Josh, the spell is ready. Julia and Alice had been working on recreating a body for Quentin, and Morgan and their coven had been casting nonstop to prepare the final spell.
And now it was time.
The moon was full, the spell components were all laid out and prepared. Quentin’s new body lay on top of a table, naked except for a sheet covering his lower half.
Morgan and Eliot were the main casters, but it was still a huge amount of magic, and Julia had managed to convert it to make it cooperative. They’d all done their best to rest up, keep hydrated and fed, so they wouldn’t crash after the spell, but Eliot still feels as if he’s crawling out of his skin.
He was terrified that this wouldn’t work, that something would go wrong, and all their hard work would have been for nothing.
More than anything, Eliot was scared that he wouldn’t be able to tell Quentin how he feels.
But he knew that he couldn’t give up now, no matter what. He’d promised to be brave for Quentin, and that’s what he was going to do.
They needed to do the spell at exactly 3am, Morgan said, in order to reach the spirit real the best. Everyone was on edge while they waited for the hour to come around, over a dozen hedges and magicians spread about in the penthouse. As well, there were other hedge covens and some Brakebills student who had also agreed to help with the spell, so hopefully that was enough.
If it wasn’t, Eliot thought he might fight his way down to Hades himself and demand he bring Quentin back.
“It’s time!” Morgan shouted from across the apartment, hopping over the couch to rush over to where they’d set up the ingredients alongside Quentin’s body. Eliot’s mouth felt dry, and he looked around to see everyone preparing to begin casting. His hands still shook, but Morgan took his hand in theirs, squeezed it gently, and gave him a determined look.
“We’re bringing your man back,” They whispered.
And then the casting began. Eliot took a deep breath, willing his body to relax as he started through the tuts he’d been practicing nonstop for days. Morgan stood opposite him, their hands moving just as careful and coordinated as his. He didn’t have to look around to feel the others joining in. He felt Margo’s icy, familiar magic wind around him, as well as Julia, Alice, Kady, Penny23, and every single hedge witch and magician that was joining in. He felt his heart clench with love, and he shut his eyes.
He cast as if his life depended on it, feeling the magic building up, pulling on something. He felt his soul being tugged on, and he tugged right back, before his whole body clenched as he pulled and pulled and-
It felt like it had been over an hour he had been casting, when he heard a soft gasp, and an achingly familiar voice calling out. He almost stopped, but Morgan kicked his leg and fixed him with a look. He nodded.
They continued the casting for a while, Eliot doing his best to ignore Julia’s cries of joy and Alice’s sobbing and even Margo’s wet laughter. He kept casting and casting and then -
He felt it, in his chest. Something locking in place. He gasped, feeling himself sway with the power of it. He looked to Morgan, who was also shuddering. They were looking between him and Quentin, and there was a huge grin on their face.
“It worked,” They breathed out, meeting Eliot’s eye. “It fucking worked.”
Later, while everyone had celebrated their success at the spell and then cleared out, Eliot found himself glued to Quentin’s side. He held his hand tightly, refusing to let go, simply staying quiet while Quentin caught up with everyone.
Julia told him about getting magic back, and how her and Penny23 are next gonna work on figuring out if she can reclaim her goddesshood. “He owes me that much, after taking my choice away.” Julia says, stern and slightly bitter, but Quentin smiles at her and she melts.
Alice tells Quentin about the Library’s offer, and how she’s planning on working together with Kady to make the library a hedge-friendly place, where anyone can come to learn whatever they want. Quentin beams at her, and tells her how happy he is for her.
Margo recalls her stories of Fillory “but fucked up and evil”, how she managed to find Josh and Fen hiding with the fairies, and how she’s planning on how to take down that Dark King bastard. Quentin wishes her the best of luck, and offers his help. While Margo declines it, she still gives him a firm kiss on the cheek.
“You are officially banned from doing crazy shit for the foreseeable future,” Margo states, and Julia nods her agreement, giving him a stern look. Quentin seems a little flustered, but he nods as well, smiling at them.
“I’m just - happy to be back,” He says, teary-eyes and so genuine. “I missed you guys.” Julia almost bursts into tears again, and she buries Quentin in a hug. Margo stands beside him, rolling her eyes, but he can see even she’s getting a bit emotional.
After a while of talking, Alice ends up making it very clear that she needs to speak with Q alone, and everyone clears out discreetly. Morgan actually says hi to the guy they resurrected, before they end up dragging Eliot out of the room.
“Lets go get some food so when they all come back they can actually eat something,” Morgan says, and Eliot rolls his eyes, but compiles.
He glances back at Quentin for a moment, smiles, and mouths “We’ll talk later”, before he is forcefully dragged out of the penthouse.
They end up stopping at a nearby Thai place, and order an obscene amount of food for everyone. Eliot worries that it’ll be too much food, but Morgan insists that the longer they stay out, the better.
In the end, it takes almost three hours to head back to the penthouse, and by the time that they get back, almost everyone has returned. They all seem eager to dig in, so Eliot and Morgan set down their bundles on the counter.
He can’t help but look around for Alice and Q, and spots them sitting up on the couch, still speaking quietly to each other. Alice catches his eye, and smiles softly. It almost catches him off guard.
“El,” Quentin’s raspy voice makes Eliot’s heart swoon, and he can’t help but sway over to the man. Alice stands up, but not before placing a gentle kiss on Quentin’s cheek. She passes him, giving him a stern look, and he nods to her.
“Hey, Q,” Eliot says, his voice cracking despite his best. He’s not expecting Quentin to leap forward and bury his face in his chest, but he lets it happen and tugs the man closer. He buries his face in Quentin’s hair, slightly damp, and he figures Q must have showered while he was out.
“Hi,” Quentin mumbles, face still scrunched against his collar bone.
“Q,” Eliot breathes, clenching his teeth and closing his eyes. “I need - to tell you -” He chokes on his words, but pushes past the fear that’s been stopping him for too long. “I love you, Q. I always have, and I’m - I’m so fucking sorry that I hurt you and pushed you away in the throne room. I - I never should have done that, no matter that I was fucking terrified. I was so scared that I was gonna lose you, that you’d end up realizing you can do so much better than me, that you’d move on and find someone else. But - but I’m tired of running. I’m tired of not letting myself go after the things that I want. And what I want is you. I want you, I want to be with you, whatever you want. And - and if you’re not ready, if you don’t feel that way anymore, if for any reason you don’t want that, then - then that’s ok. I just want you to be happy. I just - I can’t lose you again.”
Eliot finished with a gasp, tears streaming down his face as he held Quentin close to him. His hands were shaking like crazy, and he looked down to see Quentin gazing up at him, adoring and loving and pained.
“Oh, El,” Quentin choked out, lip wobbling. Eliot gently too his hand, squeezing it softly. “I love you too, El.”
They met in a kiss, soft and hesitant. Eliot smiled, his heart growing with love. Quentin pulled away, swallowing, eyes flashing with pain. “I want to be with you, but - things were so bad, and I think they still are. I don’t know if I’m - I dont know if I can be with you right now.”
Eliot’s heart clenched, but he understood. From what the others had told him, Quentin’s life with the Monster had been hell.
“I understand, baby,” Eliot replied. “You don’t have an obligation to me. What we’re gonna do is find you a therapist, and get you back on your meds, and we’re gonna do everything we can to make sure you’re ok. Because I love you. And if you still don't feel ready, even after all that, then that’s ok.”
Quentin looked at him with such a tender look, and he smiled slightly, rubbing at his eyes. “Thank you, El,” He whispered, burying his face back into Eliot’s chest.
And Eliot could breathe again. Because he had Quentin back with him, in his arms.
And he might not be fully ok yet, but Eliot would do whatever he could to make sure that Quentin would be again.