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Quentin's head hit the stone terrace. In his disoriented mind the pink light of the sky blended with a nearby shriek. What only an hour ago was a nagging headache now made Quentin sick with nausea, making the world around him swirl and sending him to the ground. The roar of shouts and approaching footsteps only made it worse. Shadowed figures he couldn't recognize hovered above him. Fingers caressed the back of his head, checking for injuries. Then the fingers were gone, and the blinding pain took over.

 

Quentin woke up in what he assumed was the Brakebills infirmary. A skinny girl was standing next to his bed with her fingers on his cheek. There were still blurry figures gathered around him, but fewer, and some of them he knew. He tried to call Eliot's name, and while no coherent syllable actually left his mouth, some heads turned down to look at him.

"…responding…? …me? Can you hear me?"

The Doctor's words echoed in Quentin's spinning head. He couldn’t make out what she was saying.

"…try another… You there…"

He passed out again.

 

This time when Quentin opened his eyes, Eliot's face was clear above him. The other boy looked worried.

"Mr. Coldwater, can you hear me? Do you understand what I'm saying?" Quentin still felt too shitty to turn his head to the doctor, but he could hear her, so he nodded.

He only became aware of Eliot's palm pressed against the side of his neck when the long fingers slightly caressed his skin.

"Oh my god!" some girl shrilled enthusiastically, perhaps the skinny one.

"Shut up," another girl quietly scolded her.

Quentin made an effort to glance at the doctor.

"Well, it's as I suspected," she said, though she didn't look at all pleased. Quentin was getting worried. "When did the headache start?"

"Right after lunch," Quentin was certain. "I thought it was a migraine." Oh god, he was dying. Right when he finally learned about magic. Of course he was. Of course nothing could ever go well for him.

"Everyone out," the doctor ordered before taking Eliot to the side. They were talking too quietly for Quentin to hear. He got the feeling everyone knew what was going on but him.

 

The next thing Quentin knew, he was being carried up the stairs. Some big guy he couldn't quite place was holding him by the legs.

"Told you we should've just levitated him," Eliot complained from behind Quentin, coughing. He was holding him, too. Quentin just let himself be manhandled.

Finally, the two made it into one of the rooms and placed Quentin on the bed. But it wasn't Quentin's bedroom. By the way the big guy hurried out while Eliot casually shrugged off his blazer, Quentin assumed it was Eliot's. He watched almost hypnotized as Eliot's immaculate shirt joined the blazer on the wooden chair, leaving his torso bare. He was standing with his back to Quentin, so the younger boy allowed himself to stare at how the soft evening lights danced on Eliot's pale skin and sharp bones. How his muscles moved when he folded his shirt and kicked off his shoes. How the line of his spine ran down his slim back and disappeared into his pants, right at that point where it softly curved to form his…

Quentin shut his eyes as a sudden pain convulsed his body. It only lasted a second, but the sickening aftershocks were making his head swim again. He was vaguely aware of Eliot removing his shoes for him before a shift of weight indicated he's climbed into bed with Quentin.

Soon Eliot was lying down next to him, lining himself along his side and unbuttoning his shirt. Quentin wasn't sure what the hell was going on, but the promise of Eliot's exposed skin was comforting, and he found himself turning to press against the other's body. The simple contact was nice and warm in the cold winter weather, and Quentin's ache immediately subsided. He stayed there as Eliot finished unfastening his shirt and helped him peel it off his shoulders. It was thrown to the floor.

"Feel better?"

Quentin at least felt better enough to realize he's been snuggling Eliot's naked chest for the last minute, and be embarrassed about it. He caught himself and slightly pulled back, suddenly remembering that he was scared and probably dying, and for some reason, in bed with Eliot.

"What's going on?" he asked faintly, barely finding his voice.

"There's really no easy way to explain this, though I have tried to think of one for the past half hour, I promise you," Eliot's voice lacked his usual dispassion. "I have bad news and, well, maybe-bad news."

Quentin gave a nod.

"Have you heard of Ginsparg's Mandatory Intimacy?"

Quentin has heard about it, even if in his current state it took him a few seconds to remember. It was a copulation spell, or rather, a copulation curse. Basically, the person consuming a cursed pill had to have sex with the first person they touched, or they suffered a slow, painful death. In its advanced form, the spell even evoked sexual attraction in the victim. Quentin looked up at Eliot. He might have been in pain, but he was still a genius.

"It's…" Eliot continued.

"I know what it is."

They both grew quiet, desperately looking for something to say. Despite everything he'd just learned, the one thing Quentin kept going back to was that Eliot had been the first person to run up to him and examine his head after his fall.

"It…" Eliot tried, "They suspect Penny."

"Penny?" Quentin was caught by surprise. "Why the hell would Penny curse me?"

"Um, perhaps because we're a bunch of competitive assholes and you just beat his ass and left him to rot with the First Years?"

Oh.

"And what… what's the maybe-bad news?"

"You've probably guessed it already. It's… well, I'm the person who… you know."

It wasn't like Eliot to be that implicit. He wondered if the older boy was actually nervous about Quentin's reaction to their situation. But the truth was, out of all of Brakebills, Quentin was lucky it had been Eliot who touched him first.

"What's 'maybe-bad' about it?"

Even before Eliot tensed up, Quentin realized it probably wasn't his best phrased sentence. He meant to make Eliot feel wanted.

In fact, if Quentin was being completely honest with himself, he did feel a sort of attraction to Eliot. Since the moment they met. It wasn't sexual, exactly, more like an admiration, though he might have thought about him when he jerked off once… or twice… for like, a second. Still, Quentin didn't think he could really take it to the physical level. He's never even so much as touched another man in an intimate way, and now he had no choice but to…

But Eliot's skin did feel warm and soft against his, and it was so beautifully pale in the dim light. Quentin couldn't directly meet Eliot's eyes right now, so he lowered his gaze to the boy's long neck, his prominent collarbones, the soft hair on his chest, his nipples, his ribs moving to the rhythm of his breathing. Heat was pooling in his gut. No, he couldn't deny his lust. His growing need to see and touch. He's been feeling it all evening. The curse really was affecting him.

Eliot swallowed.

"There's something more. I'm not sure if it's good or bad news, you'll have to decide on that, but… apparently whoever did this used the spell's basic version, so you won't feel any… desire."

Quentin blushed so hard he had to lower his head and hide in embarrassment. That seemed to be, again, the wrong reaction. The hurt was evident in Eliot's voice.

"I know you'd preferred it to be Janet or Isabel. But hey, at least I'm not Josh, or Richard… I'm pretty sure Richard would let you die."

Quentin could practically hear the forced smile on his friend's face. Eliot completely misunderstood Quentin's response, and he was both relieved and tormented by it. He was also too weary, or too craven, to confess his true feelings.

Then the world blurred again, and another wave of pain consumed Quentin, longer this time. Eliot instantly wrapped his arms around him and pulled him close. It helped, but not much. His condition obviously deteriorated whenever he lost contact with Eliot, and he knew it would worsen still if they didn't move forward for too long.

"So? What will it be?" Eliot whispered.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, do you want to fuck?"

At least Eliot's forwardness was back.

"What choice do I have?"

"I know some people who'd rather die. It's a fucked-up choice, true, but it's still a choice."

"Eliot," Quentin sighed, "I just got into Brakebills. I don't want to die."

Eliot nodded and guided Quentin onto his back.

"Wait," Quentin suddenly said, "what about you?"

Eliot rolled his eyes.

"I won't let you die."

"Yeah, but, are you okay with it?"

"Please, Q," he smirked, "I'm sure by now you've heard plenty of rumors about my preferences."

Oh, he did more than hear about them, but now probably wasn't the best time to bring that up.

"That doesn't mean you want to. Like, with me."

Eliot's smile turned into a very gentle one. He climbed on top of Quentin and laid a hand over his eyes.

"Just close your eyes and imagine I'm a woman."

Then Eliot's hot mouth was on his neck and his hands were running up and down his sides. He didn't waste much time, kissing lower and lower, sucking and scraping. And Quentin did not keep his eyes closed. He watched as Eliot moved down his body, licking his nipples and leaving a wet trail down his torso and tonguing his navel, and when he attempted a soft bite at his waist, Quentin let out a surprised moan.

Eliot's hands easily undid his pants and pushed down, and Quentin kicked them off the rest of the way. Then, slower, Eliot grabbed the waistband of his boxers with one hand and pulled down. With his other hand he carefully grasped Quentin's erection, helping it out and keeping it warm in his palm against the chill of the room. Quentin was already shamefully hard, and couldn't stop himself from rolling his hips into the firm touch. A feral purr rolled in Eliot's throat, his eyes fixed on Quentin's cock. This was really happening. Eliot was going to suck him.

Placing his parted lips over the dripping tip, Eliot lowered his head. Quentin stared, transfixed, as his cock disappeared into Eliot's sweet, wet mouth. It went in all the way, until Eliot's nose brushed against Quentin's patch of hair. He stayed there, cock deep in his throat, and nuzzled Quentin's fuzzy base. Quentin held his breath, trembling with anticipation, when suddenly Eliot's eyes snapped up and met his. Their gazes locked. Quentin couldn't possibly look away. Never breaking eye contact, Eliot hummed, then gave one long, hard suck, and Quentin lost it.

He threw his head back, groaning with pleasure and arching his back. Usually he didn't even like blow jobs that much, but god, Eliot was working wonders. The older boy was fondling and groping and sucking him like giving Quentin head was the most wonderful thing in the world, and it turned Quentin on more than he cared to admit, though he couldn't do much to hide it anyway. He was sweating all over, thrashing and bucking and sighing his ecstasy. A faint brush of teeth up his length made the heat inside of him tighten.

Quentin wanted to cry when the touch was suddenly gone, the immense pleasure abruptly replaced with agony. His vision clouded and the pain was back, rushing from his head and limbs to his chest, crushing it.

"There's one more choice," a voice whispered in his ear, "which way do you prefer it?"

Quentin tried to focus. He knew what Eliot normally enjoyed, and it wasn't a weak, needy lover. His friend was doing this for him. Quentin could at least give him that.

"Want… to fuck… you…"

A hand ran through his hair. He could feel Eliot's warm erection pressed against his thigh, and realized they were now both completely naked. He forced his eyes open, and saw Eliot move to straddle his lap, taking a hold of his cock and positioning himself above it.

Quentin shuddered as Eliot sank onto his length, warmth and tightness completely enveloping him. Eliot's balls rested against his skin.

"Oh!" Eliot's throaty gasp was the only pause he allowed himself before he started moving his hips, slowly rolling and circling and then going up and down.

Eliot's crooked lips were moist and shiny from his earlier activity. His chest was heaving. He threw his head back and moaned as he rode Quentin, his lean elegant body squirming in utter delight. He looked so royal, even when fucking himself on another guy's cock, more unguarded than Quentin's ever seen him. Quentin stared up at him in complete awe.

Eliot's cock was picturesque, smooth and proportioned and symmetrically curved up, like some sort of compensation for his jaw. Quentin was a bit envious. His hands roamed up Eliot's long thighs and, not daring to touch his length, skipped to grip his hipbones before finally settling on his ass, brushing and kneading the sensitive flesh. Quentin pushed up into him over and over again, feeling his orgasm building up, surrendering to the sensation. Eliot quickened the pace and Quentin followed with short, shallow thrusts, not wanting to wait or stop or hold back. He let himself fall over the edge and came with a strangled shout, holding Eliot tight against him and releasing deep into his heat.

He lay panting and shivering when Eliot climbed off and reached for his pants, still hard. Quentin seized his arm.

"Wait," he breathed weakly, knowing he couldn't let it end this way. He needed to make Eliot come.

He pulled Eliot down for a kiss, stalling. Eliot's lips met his, instantly parting and letting Quentin explore his mouth. His tongue ran over bent teeth before delving deeper and meeting Eliot's, stroking it, dancing with it. His hand grabbed the back of Eliot's head, fingers intertwining in his hair. He liked kissing Eliot, kissing the mouth that gave him such pleasure. Quentin decided to return the favor. He pulled back with a soft bite to the other's lower lip and pushed his shoulders until he was on his back. Mimicking Eliot's previous actions, Quentin mounted his lap.

Since Eliot was more than ready there was really no need for this, but Quentin still began by kissing and licking down his chest. He wanted to do this for him, he really did, but he was also scared, not entirely sure about going down on another guy. Could he actually do it? Put a dick in his mouth?

Quentin got to Eliot's stomach, mouthing the sides and glancing at his cock, hard and waiting right next to his head. He inched closer, swallowing hard and willing himself.

A hand cupped his cheek, tilting his head up. Quentin has never seen such a serious expression on Eliot's face before.

"You don't have to do this."

And that was what made him bow his head and take the tip into his mouth. His tongue instinctively ran over it, tasting. It was salty and a tiny bit sweet, not good but not too bad. Quentin went lower, as far as he could without gagging, trying really hard not to touch anything with his teeth. He used his hand to hold the base, making it easier for him to adjust, and attempted a lick. The response was immediate, more pre-cum dripping out of the slit and into his mouth.

It all felt completely different than he'd imagined. Eliot's cock was firm, yet silky and soft and so… erotic. Quentin found that he liked the feeling of it against his tongue and the roof of his mouth. He bobbed his head, stroking with his hand the part he couldn't swallow. He braced his other hand against Eliot's thigh.

He glanced up, suddenly needing to see Eliot's reaction. With his inexperience, Quentin couldn't keep his eyes up for long, but he caught the older boy studying him with a… curious… look. It wasn't the expression he'd hoped for. Self-doubt filled his heart. He wasn't sure what to do next.

Then Eliot weaved his fingers in Quentin's hair, and with a slight pressure guided his movements, setting a pace and a depth. Quentin was a bit ashamed, but also thankful for the guidance, and let Eliot control the rhythm and enjoy himself as he pleased.  He focused on using his tongue, which he liked when done to him, and on keeping his mouth open despite the growing strain on his jaw. When the demanding hand pushed and pulled faster, Quentin hollowed out his cheeks and sucked, and when it became erratic, he just lost himself to the feeling of being shoved into.

Suddenly the fingers in his hair fisted, yanking painfully, and for a split second Quentin was certain he'd done something wrong. Then cum was shooting into his unprepared throat again and again, and he tried to swallow whatever he could. The hand let go of his head and Quentin pulled back, sheepishly wiping the semen that ran down his lower lip and chin, looking up at Eliot with burning cheeks.

But Eliot wasn't looking. The boy's eyes were closed as he lay back, his breath labored but his face serene. Quentin knew it wasn't the best blowjob in the world, but seeing and tasting the evidence of Eliot's satisfaction calmed him down. He exhaled softly.

Eliot stretched and sighed and opened his eyes.

"How do you feel?" he asked lazily.

"I…" Quentin blushed even harder, "Fine. It was nice, really. I liked it. And the taste…"

He was cut off by a loud burst of hysteric laughter. Oh fuck, Quentin completely forgot about the whole curse thing. Eliot was holding his side from laughing so hard.

"Stop it!" Quentin didn't know where in the world he could hide, but at the same time he felt silly enough to actually laugh at himself as well. "Stop it!" he smiled and halfheartedly shoved Eliot's leg. They both laughed, and Quentin didn't want the moment to end.

"Since you've asked, I am pretty tired," he lied so he'd have an excuse to lie down and throw his hand over Eliot, securing him in place. He rested his head against Eliot's chest and ran his fingers along his pale arm.

Eliot gaped at him as if he's never even heard about the concept of cuddling. Still, after a few moments Quentin felt a hand awkwardly patting his head.

It wasn't enough. He might be naked in bed with Eliot now, but if he wanted to ever have that again he had to make Eliot, well, want it to happen again too. His performance certainly wasn't sufficient, and on top of that, he knew he had competition. Quentin gathered up every bit of courage he had.

"I did like fucking you, you know," he murmured softly, "I wonder what else I'll like."

Eliot didn't say anything at all, but the sharp intake of air was all Quentin needed. He couldn't conceal his satisfied grin. He felt victorious. After all, he did want it to happen again.

Quentin snuggled Eliot. Snobbish, woeful, sexy Eliot. They'd been so distant these past few months, and now…

Quentin's smile grew wider.

He would have to remember to thank Penny.