When Everett threw something into the mirror at the same time as Quentin swinging the bottle to throw it in, everyone in the room froze, thinking something would happen. It didn't. Whatever it was that Everett threw, it intercepted the bottle but then went right through the portal.
Quentin saw the bottle spin and fall right in front of the mirror, only taking a fraction of a second to look to his side at Everett and then immediately lunging to get the bottle through. He saw that Alice and Penny were doing the same, but knew they would not be quick enough to make it. It was on him.
But right after he thought he actually had a shot, his fingers closing around the bottle and already poising to throw it, Everett lunged at him, trying to wrestle the bottle out of his hands. Quentin tried to still throw it in, but Everett had misjudged the force of his jump and the pull of the portal.
Trying desperately to grasp a hold of something, Quentin fell into the blackness, having let go of the bottle that was promptly sucked into the portal, but not being able to stop himself from falling, Everett going in together with him.
Alice tried to reach out to him, Penny having to physically hold her back from also being sucked into the Seam, both of them staring helplessly at the two bodies swirling around and then disappearing.
Crying hysterically, Alice didn't even register Penny holding her, trying to console her but eventually telling her that they needed to leave, that they couldn't stay in the mirror world, and only when he got more insistent, getting up himself and holding out a hand, was she able to tear herself away from the mirror, from the finality of Quentin being lost.
After that, it was all a blur. Alice mostly let Penny handle how to tell everyone, sitting in the infirmary with Eliot, who was recovering from both his physical and emotional wounds and who had looked so hollow, so devastated when she had told him about Quentin that she had hugged him, not even knowing if he would want a show of affection like that, but after a moment of hesitation he had hugged her back, holding her, both of them crying.
Margo had joined them and they had just stayed like that for what felt like an eternity.
They had only reluctantly parted when Julia asked what was going on from the other bed, having been in and out of consciousness ever since Penny had gone into her head and confirmed that she wanted to continue the journey to become a Goddess, a journey that clearly was long and hard but that would have a rewarding ending eventually.
Penny telling her about Quentin, and Alice seeing the light in her eyes dim and hearing her cry prompted her to go over, trying to console her. Even when they were not friends, even when at some point not too long ago they had been enemies, they still both loved Quentin and were both devastated by his disappearance into the Seam, even when Alice still voiced the hope she clung onto, the hope that made Julia's eyes a small bit brighter, though both of them knew it was just a little tiny flicker of hope, it was still there.
Because even grieving, they still clung onto hope. They had been through so much, Alice herself being a Niffin and still coming back, Penny cheating death, even Kady being okay now even though her time in the Poison Room had seemed like a definite death sentence. With all that, they hoped there might still be a way for Quentin to not be lost.
For the Seam to have led him somewhere else, a different world, a place from where he could find his way back home. For him to be in the Underworld and for them to get him back from there.
For the next few days, most of them quasi lived in the infirmary, all wanting to be close to each other, trying to speculate and plan ways to get Quentin back.
Margo sat on Eliot's bed next to him, as close as possible, still hesitant to leave his side and Alice and Julia, who had been released but still stayed for Eliot, were sitting on chairs next to the bed. The mood was a bit lighter than it had been since Quentin disappeared, all of them having veered off course a little bit now speculating on where Quentin could have ended up, if not in the Underworld which obviously was a possibility but one that would require a different kind of action from them that they could only really set in motion when Julia was a full goddess again and when they would be able to confirm whether he was there.
The ideas they threw at each other became more and more ridiculous, mostly taking things from books they had read as children. After all, Fillory had turned out to be real, why not Neverland? Or Oz?
Currently they were discussing whether or not Middle Earth actually classified as a different world or if it had been intended as showing the history of actual Earth.
"Look, Plover wrote about Fillory because Jane and Martin went there, who knows, maybe Tolkien met a Hobbit? Why not?"
Margo was firmly on the side of believing it could be a world, while Alice was skeptical.
"But he did clearly frame it as historical events. Why would he do that if it was a different world?"
"I don't know. Cause he was a history nerd who wanted it to be historical events and because he couldn't very well say 'hey it's all real, I went there'?"
They were playfully glaring at each other, with Eliot and Julia just sitting there listening to them bicker, even smiling a little.
Their reverie was suddenly interrupted by a rabbit falling out of the sky, landing on Eliot's bed.
Everyone looked at the rabbit both with surprise and curiosity, thinking it was from Fen but hoping against hope it was a message from Quentin, which turned out quickly to be the truth when the rabbit opened its mouth and talked.
"Quentin. Not dead. Letter follows."
For a short moment, nobody said anything, all of them too shocked. Then, they all startled as someone let out a loud "Ha! I knew it! I knew he was not dead."
Everyone looked at Alice who seemed a little embarrassed by her outburst but was quickly taken out of that by Margo.
"Look, Blondie, calm down we all knew it, alright." But there was no sting in it and she had a huge grin on her face. Eliot let out a loud whooping sound, somewhere between a cry and a laugh and they all hugged each other grinning widely.
With all that commotion, they nearly missed the letter that popped into existence right next to the bunny, but Julia caught it and handed it to Eliot, everyone settling down around him, still with tears of joy running down all their faces.
I hope this letter will reach you and that all of you are okay, especially you, Eliot and Julia. I have been worried about the two of you the most. I know the monsters have been taken out of you but you were still injured and I don't know how your recovery is going. I hope it is going well.
I don't know how much time has passed since I was thrown into the Seam, for me, it has been months, just trying to find a way to get a message to you, tuning into your specific magical signature, to have you know that I am not dead, that I am very much alive and well.
I don't exactly know what happened after I was thrown into that mirror, everything went black, but I woke up in a field somewhere. At first I thought it was Fillory, but finding people and talking to them, I was quickly proven wrong. I landed in a place called Lancre on the Disc (which apparently is a world on the back of a giant turtle held up in place by four gigantic elephants – I don't know how much of that is myth and how much is real though).
Where exactly that is in the multiverse in correlation to Fillory and Earth, I don't know, when I am trying to pinpoint the location magically it says this world is right at the edge of reality. But it is not a bad place to be. I found witches and wizards who have been helpful in sending out bunnies and letters in every direction, tuned to your magical energy. They actually have something akin to Brakebills here, it's called the Unseen University. It is all very interesting and strange.
I do miss all of you though, which is why I am sending these letters. I hope one day I will be able to come back to you, maybe when I have figured out exactly where I am, since while this experiment was easier as I could multiply the letter and send it out in any direction possible together with bunnies, I obviously can't do the same with myself.
But a traveler could be able to find a way at some point. I hope so. Until then, know that I am well, I found friends here (one of them being an Orangutan – long story) and I am continuing studying magic, even when their magic is a little different from ours, it is still fascinating.
I hope you know that none of what happened to me was the fault of any of you. I love you all and am thinking of you always.