"After all, soul mates always end up together."
- Cecelia Ahern, Where Rainbows End / Love, Rosie
Someone once told Eliot that if you end up in a hotel room in Nevada, your life has really gone down to shit.
Of course, this is a motel, not a hotel, but Eliot can’t help but agree with him.
He is sitting on the window ledge while Kady stitches up Margo’s calf. And Margo doesn’t complain at all about the pain or the uneven stitches. She can’t.
Eliot looks at the contusion on her forehead and wonders if she will ever wake up.
That’s what they call it right, a contusion?
He and Margo had a Law and Order; SVU marathon one long weekend and had told everyone else that they were partying in Paris. They’d curled up in their pajamas and ate disgusting amounts of junk food. It's one of the happiest memories Eliot has, but he might never get to do that again, be disgusting with Margo, because she isn’t moving, and he can’t -
A gentle hand settles on his shoulder.
“Hey,” Julia says, her voice goddess calm, “Let me see your arm.”
“No, you’re not.”
She peels his arm away from where he has it pressed to his middle. There is a gash up his forearm that had stopped bleeding some time ago but is steadily throbbing with pain. Julia runs a finger down the cut and mutters under her breath in Latin. After a moment the skin starts knitting back together.
“Thanks,” he says, not really feeling all that thankful.
His feelings, or lack thereof, must show in his voice because Julia gives him a significant look.
“This wasn’t your fault you know.”
Eliot feels a bitter smile spread across his face.
“Not my fault,” he chuckles, “that’s funny.”
Because everything about this is his fault.
He shot the Monster with the god killing bullet in Castle Blackspire. His body was possessed by the Monster for months, his face terrorized his friends.
He absorbed the Monster into his body … He accidentally released all the monsters it had eaten.
“Tell that to the Harpy that we just flash-fried.”
“We let them out. We knew it could happen, but we did it anyway.”
“But it all comes back to that bullet,” he takes his arm back, pressing it against his stomach again, “It keeps coming back to that.”
Julia doesn’t say anything to that. Because he’s right, and she isn’t going to lie to him. That’s one of the reasons he likes Julia.
The second the spell to exorcise the Monster had worked, Eliot had fallen to his knees and black blood had streamed out of him, forming into the monsters that had used to live in Castle Blackspire. Every monster from myth and legend had been released onto the world.
And now, he and all his friends had taken up the quest to hunt down and kill all the monsters before they killed everyone on earth.
Two days ago, they had tracked a Harpy to Nevada.
But she wasn’t the only thing waiting for them in the desert.
They may have stopped Everett’s plan to become a god, and unleashed magic back into the world, but Everett is still alive and wants revenge, or to imprison them, or something. They aren’t sure exactly what he wants to do with them.
Two of the Orders Travellers had been waiting for them. They had knocked them all back with some serious battle magic and, to everyone’s surprise, gone straight at Eliot.
Margo wasn’t going to take that lying down.
And she got the worst of it.
Kady had landed a hit against one of the Travelers, and Alice had trapped another in a spell. Which is how they now know that Everette is tracking them through Eliot.
Because he simply didn’t have enough to feel guilty about.
Apparently, his magical DNA has changed because of the Monster, and it had become interwoven with the monsters that he had unleashed. So, all the Order had to do was capture a Cerberus, or a Loup-garou , or a fucking Unicorn, and drip them dry to get an instant trace on their number one fugitive gang.
They had left Quentin, Penny and Alice in the desert to bury the Harpy corpse and had kicked the Traveler into some random dimension. Which should have been satisfying, because it was that Australian bastard, but Eliot was too busy panicking about Margo.
And now here he is, sitting in a dingy Nevada motel room that would probably look blinding under a black light, wondering how he is going to tell his friends that he is leaving them forever.
Julia pats his back and he looks at her. For a moment he wonders if her goddess powers are back and she can see into his thoughts. But she just smiles awkwardly.
“She’s going to be fine. Once we get the bandages on, she won't even have any scars.”
Margo isn’t afraid of scars , he thinks, Margo isn’t afraid of anything .
“Thank you,” he says instead, standing up from his seat, “I’ll just- we need more ice.”
He gets out of that room as quickly as possible, ignoring the pointed look Kady throws him as he passes.
The night is desert cold, but Eliot doesn’t feel its chill. In the horrible fluorescent lights, he knows he must look like death because it makes the tacky seafoam blue exterior of the Motel look puke colored. They have three rooms all next to each other on the third floor, all of them outfitted with seashell themed decor that makes his skin crawl for some reason. Beyond the light cast by the motel the world is dark. Across the road, there is nothing but the endless stretch of sand and ink-black sky that is only broken up by the occasional star.
The sky seems so endless out here. Just like it had in Indiana. And just like back there Eliot can feel it pressing down around his head.
What is he going to do?
It would be best for everyone if he just turned around and disappeared, walked out of the Motel right now and went off on his own. Got into that god-awful RV they stole in Jersey and disappeared. At least then the others would be safe.
The idea swims in his head, but he has to mentally scoff at himself.
He is the most emotionally clingy person in the world. he wouldn’t make it past the waffle house down the street before he missed these people.
And Margo … he couldn’t leave Margo on her own again.
So, instead of doing the noble thing, he sits down on the concrete outside the motel room doors and sticks his legs through the pink metal railing while he thinks about how much he wishes he hadn’t given up smoking.
Josh eventually shows up with about a hundred boxes of pizza, yammering on at a pace that Eliot can’t follow, before disappearing into the room Margo is in. The smell of food makes him feel sick, so Eliot stays where he is.
Penny, Alice, and Quentin appear down the rail from him and he doesn’t even jump.
Quentin spots him and his eyes go wide as his face pales.
“Margo, is she-”
“Julia says she’ll be fine,” he reassures him before he can start to panic, “She won’t even have a scar.”
He runs a hand through his hair, still too long, and tilts his head back. he notices they all have dustings of sand on their clothes.
“Did you have fun in the desert?”
Alice huffs her hair out of her face. There is a smudge of dirt on her glasses.
“We started to dig a hole and had to move,” she grimaces, “There was a family of armadillos.”
“There scary fuckers in the dark,” Penny says as he rolls his neck, “They would have chased us for a mile if Alice hadn’t made us inviable.”
“Why didn’t you just travel away from them?”
Penny frowns, opens his mouth, closes it, and then disappears into the room. Probably to annoy Julia.
Alice squats down beside him, a delicate act in those short skirts she wears, and slips a stone bracelet onto his wrist. He feels a spark run up his arm, and then nothing.
“It's enchanted to cloak your magical signature. It will stop the Library from tracking you, but it will only last for a day at most. I have one more, but after that … they’re difficult to make.”
Eliot nods, feeling some of the weight on his shoulders lift.
“Thank you, Alice.”
Alice bites her lip in a smile, then she stands and disappears into the room she has been sleeping in.
Which leaves him alone with Quentin. A situation both of them have been avoiding for a while now.
Is it weird, to love someone so completely and yet be unable to look at them for more than a couple of seconds?
Quentin sighs, and sits down beside him, facing in towards the hotel with his legs stretched out across the concrete. He looks tired and sore. His face is pinched and Eliot … it would be just as impossible to leave him as it would be to leave Margo.
But maybe leaving isn’t the only option here.
He doesn’t know if he is about to be brave, or cowardly.
“You have to leave me behind.”
Eliot looks down into the parking lot, but he can still see Quentin’s sharp look out the corner of his eye.
“I’m putting you all in danger,” he sighs, “I really don’t want to leave you, or Margo, but … I don’t want to be the reason you die either.”
“That’s- that’s ridiculous !” Quentin exclaims, “Where is this coming from?”
“They are tracking my magic, Everett wants me, and Margo-”
His throat closes up and he has to blink against tears. If anything happens to her, if she dies, that would be the end of him. He has done very little right in his life. Being Margo’s friend is one of the only things he is proud of.
Quentin slides his hand across the concrete and brushes the side of it against Eliot’s leg. A small gesture of comfort that makes his skin break out into Goosebumps.
“I know you’re scared, but we aren’t going to leave you alone. Who knows what would happen- we have each other’s backs, we all do, that’s how it works.”
“When has anything we have ever done worked , Quentin?”
Quentin takes his hand back and Eliot sees him stick out his jaw like he does when he is trying not to get mad. He’s been seeing that jaw tick a lot since he got his body back.
“Quentin, please ,” he sighs, “I … I have enough blood on my hands.”
There is a long silence between them. When Quentin stands his heart jumps up into his throat. Then a familiar hand curves around his shoulder and lips press against his hair.
“We’ll find another way.”
The hand leaves and a second later the door behind him opens and closes softly.
And Eliot is left alone with the low hanging sky and his own indecision.
When his eyes begin to droop be goes back in and sleeps in the bed with Margo, pulling her up to rest against his chest so he can feel if she stops breathing in the night. They can reassure him that she will be fine as much as they like. He won’t believe it until she wakes up and demands a latte.
Somewhere around six in the morning he opens his eyes and sees Quentin sitting at the end of the bed. He has his head bowed over a dusty old Grimoire, and for a moment Eliot thinks he has fallen asleep sitting up. But then he turns his head and meets Eliot’s eyes. He looks tired, and worried, which is Quentin’s default expression, but there is an edge to it now. Resolve.
“She woke up an hour ago,” he whispers, “She asked about you.”
Eliot frowns and Quentin rolls his eyes.
“She said; he’d better not be beating himself up Coldwater . And then she jarred her wound, said ‘ motherfucker’ and went back to sleep.”
Eliot sighs, feeling himself relax. That sounds like his Bambi.
Quentin closes the book in his lap, leaving his thumb in between the pages as a bookmark.
“Hey, can I- um, talk to you?”
Eliot looks down at Margo, sees she is deeply asleep and nods.
He slips out from under Margo, laying her down gently and tucking her in. He smiles when she snuggles down into the pillow. Then he leads Quentin out of the room, holding a hand up to his lips so remind him to walk quietly.
They slip out the door, and Quentin leads him away from the rooms down to the pool. A stone settles in his stomach. The only reason he can think of that he would lead him down here to talk would be so when they shout at each other it won’t wake the others.
The air is crisp, and it sticks in his lungs as he takes deep calming breaths. No one else staying at the Hotel is lingering around at this hour, the earlier risers already gone and everyone else sleeping in.
They stop in front of the beach chairs, but they don’t sit down. Quentin turns around to face him, nervously fidgeting with his hair. It's too short now to stay behind his ear when he tucks it. Eliot sort of misses when it used to fall down like a sheet, but he has to admit that it is nice to be able to see more of Quentin’s face.
“I think I’ve found a way for you to stay with us,” he says, gesturing to the book, “A way to hide you from the Order.”
“Quentin…” he bites his lip and sighs, “How?”
Eliot stumbles back like he’s been punched. He has to grip the back of the beach chair to stay upright.
“ What ?”
“Marry me,” Quentin repeats.
His jaw is set, and his eyes are determined. Just like when he told them he was going to be the warden at Blackspire.
He’s serious. Dead serious, and Eliot feels like he is seconds away from a panic attack.
“How- how in the world would that help? ”
“Marriage is a contract, a binding,” Quentin explains, flipping the Grimoire open to show him a page of what looks like Futhark runes, “It’s- it's been around for longer than religion has, the sacred covenant between people and … and when you have Magic it means something different. Your powers sort of … combine with the person you are marrying. Our magic will literally change.”
“What? Why ?”
“What is yours becomes theirs, like in the vows. Your strength, your power is pledged to someone else and if they need it it's there. I actually think that’s why a lot of Magicians seem to not be married, because if their marriage breaks up it could turn ugly very easily, I mean-”
“Quentin, will you listen to yourself!” Eliot interrupts, “You are asking me to marry you!”
“Yes, I am.”
Eliot feels like tearing his hair out.
“You don’t want to marry me!”
Quentin’s eyes go hard. That was evidently the wrong thing to say.
“What I want is for all of us to be safe. I want the library off your back, and this is what we have to do to do that.”
“Q, I- I just…”
He slumps down into the beach chair and bends over to put his head in his hands.
Never in his life did he think anyone would ever ask him to marry them. He had never thought he would want someone around for that long, would love someone enough. And he does love Quentin-
But Quentin isn’t proposing out of love. It’s just another Coldwater self-sacrifice. Shackle himself to Eliot to protect them all.
And it makes him feel sick.
When he got back, he had his brave moment. He’d spilled his guts to Quentin, told him that he lied that he was wrong and that he loves Q so much it makes it hard to breathe. And that he hated himself for turning him down, that it was his literal life regret, and that if he would let him, he would spend every day choosing Quentin. Every day loving him.
It wasn’t the beautiful moment that he had wanted.
It had turned into an argument.
Quentin had yelled at him, and he had yelled back-
“How do you think you can just do this now? You broke my fucking heart !”
“I know I did, and I am trying to make up for that!”
“You can’t just make it better by telling me you love me, El! I was broken !”
“How can I trust what you’re saying now? How do I know this is what I really feel?”
“Because I’m fucking telling you that it is!”
“Well, you also told me that I was naive, that that wasn’t you and it wasn’t me. How am I meant to believe this now?”
-and it had boiled down to this; he loves Quentin and Quentin loves him. And neither of them knows what to do with it.
Two broken hearts facing off against each other. Delicate parts catch on the jagged edge and they are back to where they started.
“You’ll regret it,” he says, horrified at how choked up his voice sounds, “If we do this, you’ll regret it, you’ll wake up one day and want someone else and-”
He has to take a deep breath to keep from sobbing.
“-and you’ll be trapped with me.”
Just like Eliot had mistakenly thought back at the mosaic, that Quentin was only with him because they were stuck there, except this time it will be real.
And then a pair of familiar hands are prying his own away from his face and he is looking into those heartbreaking eyes that he dreams about so often-
“I …” Quentin swallows, intertwining their fingers, “I know this is in the wrong order. And that you don’t seem to be able to trust that I will choose you, every day for the rest of my life-”
“I love you, Eliot Waugh,” he smiles, and it’s the same smile from a thousand years ago when they were barbequing in the rain and he spotted Q, no expelled after all, “And I can’t see the future but I think I’m going to love you for the rest of my life. Things- … we haven’t had the chance to fix anything between us, but I’ll be damned if I let anyone take you away from me. I-I can’t do it. Not again.”
Eliot bites his lip.
“I love you too,” he whispers, “I … this is crazy, Q.”
“You married Fen at the drop of a hat. You proposed to Idri to get out of a duel. Why is this scarier?”
“Because they didn’t mean anything,” he grimaces, “There was no chance of getting hurt.”
He didn’t give his heart to either of them. He cared about them, no question. But Quentin – oh he could rip Eliot apart.
Quentin sighs and releases one of his hands to cup Eliot’s face. Q knows why Eliot is convinced that he is always going to be hurt, knows all about Indiana and his father and all the pain he carries from before he fashioned himself into someone he could stand to see in the mirror. He whispered the story to him one summer night, spread out on the mosaic as Quentin wrapped his hands in bandages to cover his popped blisters.
Now Quentin is looking at him in the same way. The same way he looked at him when he woke up when the Monster was gone. It’s a look of fearful hope.
And suddenly he knows he’s going to be cowardly.
“I really hope you’re right about this,” about us , he doesn’t say, “Because I can’t stand to see anyone hurt again, especially not you, Q.”
A thumb caresses his cheek and Quentin whispers;
“Eliot Waugh, will you marry me?”
“… Yes .”
Telling the others is weird, and frankly Eliot wants nothing to do with it.
They wait till Margo is awake and has eaten something. Eliot leans against her shoulder from their perch on the bed as Quentin rounds the others up for a family meeting in her room. It would be funny, seeing them all crammed into the tiny hotel room if he weren’t bracing for what was about to happen.
Quentin cracks the grimoire, starts rambling about bindings and magical makeup tacking until he ends rather spectacularly with;
“-so, um yeah. Eliot and I are getting married.”
While everyone else’s instant reaction is stunned silence, Margo’s is to slap Eliot in the chest and say;
“ Fuck a duck .”
Which is somehow, just the right thing to say.
“Q?” Julia says with a frown, “Did you just say-?”
“Did that harpy hit you really hard?” Kady asks.
“What? No, I’m serious-”
“I’m not going to have to cater the wedding, am I?” Josh asks with a grimace, munching away at a cookie he seemed to have pulled out of nowhere, “Because I am way too stressed to even think about lavender mouse … and strawberry souffle … Ooh, and maybe a chocolate truffle cake…”
Penny sends him a look that clearly says ‘what the fuck, man?’ but doesn’t otherwise comment. He’s from another timeline though, so this isn’t the weirdest thing to ever happen to him.
But then Alice clears her throat and Eliot holds his breath. Because if there is anyone who could stop this, who could make Quentin change his mind it’s her.
“Q,” she says, frowning, “Do you even-?”
“ Yes ,” Quentin cuts in, an edge of conviction to his voice, “I do.”
Eliot has no idea what that means, but Alice nods, looking down.
“Are you sure this will work?”
He hands her the Grimoire.
“As long as we do it like this. The Order won’t be able to find us through him anymore.”
Alice takes the book.
Julia looks between the two of them and then at Eliot, who shrugs.
“Okay,” she says, and stands up to pull Quentin into a hug, “If this is what you want, I’m happy for you.”
She pulls back and smiles at him.
“I’m totally going to be your best man, though.”
Quentin snorts in surprised laughter and nods.
Margo leans her head back to look up at him.
“Eliot,” she says, voice low, “Are you okay with this?”
He rubs her uninjured arm and nods, then smiles at her.
“You’re still my number one though, Bambi,” he tells her, squeezing her to his side, “And, well, you know that I-”
“Yeah, I know,” she pats his chest, “But, Coldwater? Really?”
Quentin turns around to frown at her.
“I-I’m right here?”
Eliot looks between them and nods. Margo sighs and turns to Quentin.
“Where are we doing this thing?”
“Well,” Quentin shrugs, “We are in Nevada, so ….”
Eliot and Margo look at him like he just suggested something horrible, like wearing white after labour day. Like wearing crocs .
“Oh, El,” Margo says, clasping his hand, “I’m so sorry.”
A couple of hours later they are packing up their things. Eliot is carrying Margo’s bags out to the RV when he spots Alice and Quentin. They are over near the pool, and from the way they are standing, he can tell they are arguing.
From what Eliot has come to gather the two of them had decided to give their relationship another go while he was possessed, and then somewhere between that decision and Eliot being able to actually get out of bed two weeks after the Monster had been dealt with, they were exes again. He hadn’t asked Quentin about it, and Margo and Josh had only known sparing details.
He wonders for a moment as he watches them if he is standing in the way of them. Their tumultuous straight out of a young adult novel relationship always seemed just a spark away from reigniting. If he married Quentin, he would be putting an end to that, because he may have been alright sharing Quentin with Arielle, but there wasn’t a chance in hell he would share him with Alice Quinn .
…though he was trying not to think bitchy things like that anymore. All part of the ‘stay sober, be a better person’ life journey he was on.
“They aren’t going to be a problem.”
Eliot almost jumps out of his skin.
“Jesus Christ,” he exclaims, hand on his chest as he turns to face Julia, “Those goddess powers made you as quiet as a fucking cat.”
“Do you know why they broke up?” She asks as if he didn’t just jump out of his skin.
“Um, because Margo and I-”
“No,” she chuckles, setting a couple of bags down beside the RV, “I mean this time, most recently.”
“Ah, no. Josh hasn’t had the chance to do a relationship conspiracy board thing.”
Julia takes the bags from his arms and puts them down next to hers.
“They wanted to stay in each other’s lives,” she says, “And they thought getting back together was the way to do that. And then well-”
“They slipped back into their dysfunctional dynamic?”
“Yeah, or something. All I know is that Alice called it off, and Q was okay with it. They just want to be friends,” she scrunches up her face, “I don’t think they ever were before.”
“No, they sort of jumped right in to the ‘destined to be together, us against the world’ thing,” he explains, “which only got worse when they got turned into foxes and fucked each other’s brains out at the South Pole.”
“Happens to the best of us,” he says, waving his hand, “Though, I was an Arctic Hare when it was my turn.”
“Okay … Another reason I’m sort of glad I didn’t go to Brakebills.”
He is just opening the side of the RV when Julia clasps his arm.
“Don’t hurt him,” she says firmly, “I know you probably think he’s doing this out of duty or friendship or some bullshit but … just don’t hurt him.”
He smiles at her, Quentin’s oldest friend turned goddess, and knows it comes across a little sad.
“I’m sort of all in, for him,” Eliot confesses to her, trying not to choke on the honesty, “For as long as he wants me, I’m his.”
Julia smiles and it lights up her entire face.
Then she helps him load the bags into the RV, and two hours later they are setting off for Vegas.
It takes them the rest of the day to get from West Wendover to Las Vegas, and when they finally pull up to the glitzy city its well past dark. Not that you would know it. The town shines so brightly it's impossible to see any stars.
They stop at the courthouse and it takes about ten minutes to pick up a marriage license, which Eliot thinks is terrifyingly easy, and then they drive around until they find a chapel that has Hedge Witch stars hidden in its signs.
“Cupids Wedding Chapel,” Penny reads, grimacing, “What the fuck.”
The sign is a giant red heart with an arrow through it.
“Bambi,” Eliot breathes, “Promise me you will never tell anyone about this. Ever.”
Margo grips his hand and kisses the back of it.
“Not even if they torture me, baby.”
“It’s not that bad.”
“No, it is,” Kady says as she parks the RV in the lot.
“You- you got married in a barn last time?” Quentin exclaims.
“Oh, what I would give for a barn right now,” Eliot sighs as he stands up, straightening his waistcoat as he does, “Okay everyone, let’s do this before any Death Eaters show up.”
Eliot strolls out of the RV before Quentin can realize that he made a reference. He may not have finished the series, but come on, of course he skipped to that part.
Kady, being the new Marina, leads them in and talks to the girl behind the desk to make sure they know they aren’t after a muggle wedding. At which point they are led into the chapel, which is just as hideous as the rest of the place and told to wait. Eliot stands awkwardly beside Quentin up front under a wedding arch decorated with plastic flowers and sequined love hearts, while the others stand along the front row. Margo and Julia take up their positions as respective best men, but the others don’t arrange themselves in any order.
An orchestral version of ‘ Can’t Help Falling in Love ’ is being piped in through a set of tinny speakers, and the rug under them is littered with rose petals.
“If Elvis comes out here,” Margo shakes her head, “I’m going to start throwing shit.”
They wait for twenty minutes before a man walks out.
A naked man.
With a really big-
“Are those wings?” Penny asks, looking gobsmacked.
Eliot wasn’t really looking at his shoulders. He’s about to be married, not dead. But when he looks up he sees the wings attach to the skin of his shoulder blades, and the feathers look really real. Slung between them is a quiver of arrows with red fletching feathers.
He comes to stand in front of them, golden hair shining in the weird light.
Quentin’s mouth sits agog, and Eliot nudges him.
“It's not that big,” he whispers.
“It’s Cupid ,” Quentin replies.
The man smiles at him. And then winks at Quentin, who instantly blushes red.
“We, uh, were expecting Elvis,” Josh says with a nervous laugh.
“Eros, the god of love,” Julia says, voice dreamy in that way she has when she is more goddess than woman, “Son of Aphrodite, husband of Psyche."
“Correct,” Eros says in a smooth, deep voice, “Welcome, lovers. I will perform the joining of your souls.”
He holds out his hand and gestures for them to join their own.
Quentin gives him a wide-eyed look, obviously surprised by this turn of events, so Eliot reaches out and takes his two hands in his own. Quentin grips his fingers so tightly he sees his own start to turn white. He squeezes back.
After everything in Fillory, what is getting married by a great big naked winged man?
Eros gestures over their hands and a red rope appears, twisting around their hands and up their wrists. It's warm and soft against their skin.
“Speak now your pledges,” Eros says, golden light emanating from his hand down onto the rope.
Quentin stumbles over his words. It makes Eliot smile, and he decides to put the adorable fool out of his misery.
“Quentin Makepeace Coldwater-”
“ Makepeace ?” Kady snickers, hiding her face when Julia shoots her a glare.
“-I do so from here on out pledge my heart, soul, and life into your care. And promise to spend the rest of my days caring for you as you wish me too.”
Margo sniffs from beside him and whisper’s “Fucking sap.”
Quentin looks similarly affected, tears brimming in his eyes.
“‘ I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes’ ,” Quentin breathes, unknowingly quoting Eliot’s favorite Shakespeare play, “I- … I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life loving you, watching you grow old. I want to wake up every day and see your face.”
Okay. That was- fuck , that was corny. And wonderful, and - fuck .
Eliot can feel tears of his own welling in his eyes.
Eros nods in approval.
“Then, in my name and patronage may your true souls become entwined. Bid you, spend your lives together, and be merry.”
The rope suddenly tightens, burns, and then disappears into their skin. Eliot feels a spark shiver all over him, like the spark of magic that first time he felt it. Quentin gasps, feeling the same zap.
“Take haste in consummating the pact. It will not hold, such as it is.”
And then, Eros disappears.
They all stand around in a state of shock, Quentin and Eliot still holding hands, not knowing what to do.
Which is when Hedge-Witch-Elvis bursts in, sent by the girl at the front desk to marry them.
They leave the chapel and pile into the RV, with Josh looking up good Chinese restaurants on his phone while Quentin babbles about godly patronage, and blessings and the fact that a god, for once in their lives, did something good for them.
“Wait,” Margo says as they all sit down to eat, “I have a gift.”
She does a series of hand movements, muttering Spanish under her breath, and with a snap two gold rings appear in her palm.
“Bambi…” Eliot grins as he takes the rings from her palm, “How did you know that spell?”
“Shut up,” she rolls her eyes, popping a prawn cracker into her mouth, “I may have thought about your wedding before, so what?”
Elio laughs and slips his ring on, then reaches over and slips Quentin’s onto his. Quentin flushes and stammers.
“ Mazel Tov !” Josh cheers, holding up his beer, “To the married couple. May you spend many happy years together!”
They clink their various drinks together and then skull them. A second later their food arrives, and they forget all about talking, and marriage, to eat the first good meal they have all had in awhile.
By the end of the night, Quentin is sitting tucked up against his side as their friends drunkenly laugh and joke around. It’s sort of perfect.
Alice books them all rooms in a good Hotel, which they still have to double up to afford, but it has actual private bathrooms and walls that aren’t paper thin.
“Which I thought, you know,” Alice stutters as she hands them their room card, “that would be good for your- because you just got married and-”
“Alice the wise,” Eliot teases as he takes the card, “Thank you.”
Alice blushes, nods, and then skitters off down the hall to her room.
Eliot hands Quentin the card.
“I want to check on Margo before we turn in,” he explains, “You go get ready, I’ll be back in a minute.”
Eliot rolls his eyes but can’t help but smile. He thinks he’s smiled more today than he had in the whole time since they got rid of the Monster.
“For bed, Q. Mind out of the gutter.”
He leaves Quentin stuttering and goes to check on his best friend. He sees her to bed, with Josh hovering nearby trying to seem like they aren’t going to have sex the second he leaves, and then comes back after she had given him a good talking too about getting his head out of his ass, and actually accepting a good thing for once.
When he comes back, he can’t see Quentin, but he can hear the shower running. And he can see the great big bed, which looks softer and cleaner than any of the motel beds he has slept in over the past few weeks.
He lays down on it, groaning as his back sinks into the plush mattress. The outside world is full of perils but fuck them, Eliot is never leaving this bed.
And then the en-suite door opens, and Eliot turns his head-
Every word he knows erases itself from his memory except for two;
“ Holy shit .”
Quentin stands silhouetted by the bathroom light, wet hair hanging around his face in strings, and wearing nothing but a towel.
Eliot sits up on his elbows as he blatantly stares at his friend.
His husband .
Jesus Christ, Quentin is his husband.
Quentin looks at him for a long moment before biting his lip and walking over to Eliot-
-to sits right down on his lap.
“Fuck,” he breathes, sitting up more so he can run his palms up Quentin’s thighs, sliding right up under that teasingly short towel.
Quentin shivers at the touch, but then slaps Eliot’s hands away.
“I need to-we need to talk before we … consummate our marriage,” Quentin stumbles through his words, “Because this is all so sudden and- and we need to get some things right so this works.”
“Alright,” Eliot agrees, slinging his arms around Quentin’s hips, unable to keep his hands to himself, “Lay it on me, Coldwater.”
Quentin looks down, his fingers playing with the buttons on his waistcoat.
“I think we should go on dates.”
“…dates? We’re already married.”
“I know but,” Quentin sighs, obviously struggling for his words, “We weren’t really together, I mean we loved- love each other, but we were still finding our way there. So, we should go on dates, so this relationship isn’t based only on being married.”
Eliot nods, seeing the logic.
“Having a relationship based only on crisis situations is probably a bad thing,” he agrees, “And I would like the chance to woo you.”
“Woo me?” Quentin grins, “I’m already yours.”
And god does Eliot like the sound of that from his lips.
“Yes. But you deserve a little romancing, Q,” he slips his hands around his ribs, brushing his sides until he gets goosebumps, “I’ll cook you dinner. I’ll take you on long walks. Sing you to sleep.”
Quentin ducks his head in a blush and Eliot leans forwards to brush their noses together.
“And you can read to me,” he continues in a near whisper, “Every night before we go to sleep because I plan on us being that ridiculous married couple whose honeymoon phase lasts years .”
“I-I would like that,” Quentin whispers back, “I’ll take you to my favorite bookshop. And- and maybe we could go on a picnic?”
Eliot grins at him.
“That sounds wonderful.”
He lightly scratches at Quentin’s ribs and delights in the way he shivers.
“And every night I’ll take you to bed,” Eliot says, smiling as Quentin’s eyes go wide, “And I’ll kiss you until you forget how to speak.”
He reaches up and pushes Quentin’s wet hair back from his face.
“Fuck you until you lose your mind.”
He tugs Quentin’s hair and he watches as the other man's eyes roll back into his head and he moans. He slips his free hand up Quentin’s towel and grins wider when he feels how hard he is.
“Oh sweetheart, have you been aching this whole time?” he presses his lips along Quentin’s cheek, “I forgot how much you like it when I’m fully dressed, and you haven’t got anything on.”
Quentin gulps and grips his waistcoat tightly.
“I know what you like too.”
He throws his towel off and slips across his lap, so they are pressed together. Eliot has to tip his head back to look Quentin in the face and it makes him shiver. He has a little thing for Q above him, for having a perfect view of his beautiful face as he falls apart.
Quentin pushed his hair back behind his ear and presses his hips down into Eliot’s. Eliot chuckles through a groan and slips one hand down to cup the back of his head, the other pressing between his shoulder blades. He starts to guide him down into a kiss, but Quentin stops him again.
“It's just- Eros said we should hurry up to consummate the marriage,” he stammers, fingers working Eliot’s tie loose from around his neck, “So um- does that mean…?”
“That one of us has to get railed?” Eliot shrugs, “That’s what I took from it anyway.”
“Yes, I-I got that. But I’ve done some research on this and some beliefs say that a marriage isn’t consummated if you use protection, or-or if it's not done in the marriage bed, or if it isn’t observed by a third party-”
“Well, I could always call Bambi in here. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
Quentin glares and Eliot smiles in his face.
“Q,” he sooths a hand down to the small of his back, “I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules for getting gay married by an ancient god of love who is hung like a horse.”
“It really was hu-”
“I think we should just do whatever feels natural, whether that means blowing you until you scream or fucking you into the mattress.”
Eliot watches his expression go a little dreamy, then he nods with an ‘mmm-hmm’ and pushes Eliot back onto the mattress.
It's wonderful, finally having Quentin like this again. In reality, he supposes its been years, and that it was only that once during the shameful drunk threesome they had. But he has fifty years of this swimming around his head, as well as some new sort-of-memories from when he was trapped inside his head and he desperately wanted to see him again.
But none of those memories prepare him for the intensity of this. Quentin wrestles him out of his clothes, alternating between kissing him so hard he sees stars and sucking on his neck. Eliot tries to help, but his hands keep finding their way into fisting Quentin’s hair or squeezing his ass. He gasps when he is finally rid of his shirt and Quentin scrabbles at his belt.
“Fuck,” Quentin gasps against his mouth, “Why do you always wear so fucking much.”
Eliot yanks his fly open and shoves down both his pants and his underwear, sighing in relief when that final barrier is gone.
Only for his sigh to instantly turn into a choked off groan when Quentin bends down and takes his dick into his mouth.
“Oh Q,” he gasps, once again threading his fingers into his hair, “Oh fuck , baby.”
Eliot really has no idea how Quentin got so good at sucking cock. One of the clear, crisp memories of that night after they drank too much wine and repressed emotions, is Quentin gasping ‘please, please I wanna-’ against his mouth before deep throating him so expertly that Eliot came embarrassingly early. He also will always remember the way Q moaned around his dick when Margo fisted his hair and Eliot made a noise like he had been shot in the stomach.
Now, Quentin is only slightly more restrained. He wraps a fist around the base of his cock and starts jacking him slowly as he takes the head into his mouth and swirls his wonderful wicked tongue around it. And then, just when Eliot is getting used to the electric shock of that, Quentin widens his jaw and takes him down into his throat.
“Ah!” he gasps, arching against the bed as a grin spreads across his face, “Oh sweetheart , you’re gonna have to-”
He cuts off with a moan as Quentin swallows around him and sends an electric shock up his spine.
“- Fuck , I won’t be able to rail anyone if you don’t- Jesus !”
Quentin tortures him with his exquisite mouth for a while longer, just long enough that Eliot legitimately fears he’s going to come embarrassingly early during his first real fuck with the love of his life. He moans with both relief and despair when Quentin pulls off him.
Quentin wipes off his mouth and Eliot glares up into his grinning face.
“You can’t say that,” he chuckles as he kisses his cheek, “I’m your husband.”
Eliot of three years ago would have gagged at this thought but.
-that’s more arousing than any fucking blow job in the world.
Quentin is his husband .
Spurred on by those words he flips them over, so he is pressing Quentin down into the duvet, then he grasps his wrists and presses them down above his head. Quentin looks up at him with wide eyes.
And shivers .
“So,” Eliot pants, throwing composure completely out the window now, “No condoms or the naked god will get pissed off, fine. What about lube?”
Quentin has to swallow a few times before he can respond, already hopelessly gone.
“Uh, um- Fuck , it’s in the bathroom. U-under the sink.”
Well. Eliot isn’t letting either of them off this bed, not for essential provisions, not for the apocalypse, not for anyone.
Instead, he calls on that power that has been simmering under his skin since he was fourteen, makes a sharp gesture that incarnates a red spark, and the lube comes soaring out of the bathroom to smack down onto the bedspread.
“Was that really-?”
“ Yes .”
He keeps one of his hands clasping Quentin’s above his head and the other cups around his neck to pull him into a soul scorching kiss. Quentin opens up beautifully under him, surrendering himself, trusting that Eliot will put him where he needs to go. Trusting Eliot to look after him. It makes Eliot feel light-headed. Well, more light-headed.
He drops Quentin’s hand, freeing him to scrape his nails down Eliot’s back, and he reaches for the lube.
“I- fuck , I won’t need much. I-in the shower-”
“ Fucking hell , Coldwater. You’re trying to kill me.”
True to his word Quentin takes two of Eliot's fingers easy as breathing, shivering as Eliot ghosts across his prostate and kisses up his neck at the same time.
Eliot takes his time stretching him even though it isn't strictly needed. Quentin is a needy little bottom who doesn't mind a little burn, but he also makes sweet little whimpering noises when Eliot slips in another finger and gasps when he pressed a thumb up behind his balls.
"El," he whined, face flushed and expression pinched with neediness, "Please I just- please ."
Eliot runs his teeth across the sensitive spot under his jaw and laughs when it makes Quentin jolt of the bed like he's been shocked.
"What baby? What do you need?"
Quentin glares but then Eliot twists his fingers and he shouts.
"Fuck just- fuck me , El, I cant- "
Eliot decides to be merciful. He slips his fingers out, lubes himself up, and then gathers Quentin's hands above his head again as he starts to push in.
He has to stop and pant for a moment as the feeling overwhelms him. He had forgotten this. Had forgotten how good it felt to sink into the warmth of someone else. Of Quentin, who arches his back now trying to get Eliot in deeper. He practically sobs when he finally sinks all the way in.
He had this every day for a lifetime until he was old and grey and sex was more about finding a way to do it without breaking a hip rather than for breaking bed frames.
And now he gets it all again. Another fifty, sixty- fuck, seventy years of this. With Quentin.
Q looks up at him like he has come to a similar thought.
"You're my husband," he says in a frantic whisper, "my husband ."
"Yeah," Eliot gasps as Quentin hitches his legs around his hips.
" My husband."
Their lips clash together and all thoughts about a long playful fuck fly out the window because Quentin is his husband and neither of them ever thought they would live this long or feel this much and it's intoxicating.
Eliot pounds into him, using Quentin's trapped wrists as a point of leverage while Quentin thrusts back as much as he can, squeezing around Eliot in that way that makes him see stars.
Quentin kisses him like he's dying like they haven't seen each other in decades- and maybe they haven't, not like this anyway. Eliot let's go of one of Quentin's wrists to fist a hand in his hair. His baby has always been a slut for having his hair played with and it's no different now. Eliot chuckles as he watches Quentin's eyes roll back in his head in pleasure.
Eliot's hips are starting to hurt, his ramshackle body still so not ready for extended periods of exertion, so he steps it up a notch, tilting Quentin's hips up so every thrust grazes his prostate. Quentin wails.
"Fuck!" He shouts, happy little overwhelmed tears leaking out the corner of his eyes, "Fuck, I'm gonna- El, I'm gonna-"
Eliot kisses up his neck, feeling right there with him as he feels his orgasm starting to crest.
He releases Quentin's hair and fists his hand around his cock. He pumps him twice before Quentin gasps, jolts and comes all over his own stomach, dragging Eliot over with him as he clamps down around him.
Eliot grins into Quentin's neck as he comes down, thrusting idly into him as they come down, only stopping when the pleasant shivers become flinches of too much and he pulls out.
With his last bit of effort, he rolls off of Quentin and collapses on the bed beside him, utterly spent from what was a quick but intense fuck.
After a moment of exacted panting Quentin reaches out his hand and Eliot takes it in his, delighting in the way their wedding rings clink together.
Quentin bites his lip in a smile.
“We’re married ,” he giggles, eyes crinkling up in a smile, “How fucking weird is that?”
Eliot hums, stroking his thumb against the back of Quentin's hand.
“So fucking weird.”
They grin at each other across the sheets and everything feels alright. Everything is actually extremely fucked, and horrible, and potentially apocalyptic. But thats all outside this room, that all exists somewhere beyond the gold glint of their wedding bands. Here in this hotel room, laying beside the man he loves Eliot feels happier than he can ever remember being in his life.
That feeling fills him up and he releases Quentins hand so he can gather him up against his chest. Quentin presses his face into his neck and makes a small noise of contentment.
“So,” Eliot says as he runs fingers through his husband's hair, “We met, became friends. Then we fucked under completely unacceptable circumstances, we got trapped in an alternate timeline for a lifetime, I got possessed, and now we’re married.”
He feels Quentin's face scrunch thoughtfully against his neck.
A thousand memories of a smiling happy boy, a moody teenager and a good man flash through his mind. And for the first time, it doesn't make him flinch. It makes him feel warm like maybe- … maybe the happiness they had in Fillory wasn’t exclusive to Fillory. Maybe they could have it here too.
“Save the world first,” Quentin whispers, voice as warm as Eliot's thoughts, “And maybe get a house, a car-”
“And Margo's blessing.”
“Yeah, that too. And then … then we can talk about it.”
So many times in his life Eliot has stood in the stream of time without being able to see where he was going, a blank page in front of him. Now he sees a little house with a garden and a bright red bike, a world that is still fucked up but doesn't need them to be heroes anymore.
He has never wanted a drink less in his life.
He kisses Quentin's hair. His husband's hair.
He’s in a Hotel room in Vegas with his husband in his arms. And he has a future.