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it all comes down to us

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Quentin gets his second vaccine dose on a Friday, at the CVS where he'd filled his prescriptions for most of their first year living at the penthouse. It’d made sense to start filling them at the grocery store, once they were trying to cut down on the number of places they had to be out in the world. Eliot wonders idly, while waiting outside on the curb with Dessy panting at his feet, if they'll transfer it back here sometime soon. At what point are things normal enough to abandon the new patterns they've learned? He doesn't even know for sure that they should be abandoned; some of them might be worth keeping. He can barely get his head around the fact that when this is over is no longer a distant hypothetical, much less comprehend how to move out of it. But he's glad, if nothing else, to have his partner be measurably safer.

Quentin’s fine all through Friday, but it comes for him Saturday and knocks him on his ass.

They've been working their way through the Jurassic Park movies, because apparently that's what one Ted Coldwater used to put on when a young Quentin was sick. An odd choice, if you ask Eliot, but literally no one is so he keeps it to himself. It does, at the very least, seem to be a good memory right now, rather than a painful one. The third movie’s ending on low volume on the TV now; a movie that Eliot has thus-far managed to go his whole life without seeing. Having now changed that, he can say with authority that he wasn’t missing much. But he’s got Quentin’s head in his lap, stretched out tucked into the apex of the L of the couch, legs out along one side while Quentin’s curled up under a blanket along the other, the dog a little pool of warmth and fur tucked in against the backs of his knees.

Eliot’s pretty sure he’s asleep, and has been for a while. The remnants of their dinner are still scattered on the table, bowls of hearty tomato and lentil soup and good crusty bread, a mostly empty bottle of ginger ale within arms reach of Quentin. His skin still feels warm under Eliot’s fingers, as he pets through the loose curtain of his hair. This is a good thing, Eliot reminds himself for the hundredth time since Quentin’s fever spiked this morning. It’s just a day or two of discomfort, and with it comes a world of protection. It’s worth it. It’s so beyond worth it.

Quentin had taken the first series of vaccine appointments they’d been able to get their hands on, after some light bickering about it. Luckily, Eliot had been able to get his own appointments a week later, but it really had made the most sense for Q to go first. He’s the one who’s been out in the world the most, doing pick ups and drop offs for mending projects and swinging by different safe-houses to help keep the hedge networks stable. God, he’s out at the safehouse alone enough to make it make sense prioritizing him, checking in on the little clusters of teenage hedges who’ve imprinted on him.

Weird to think that most of them have never seen him without a mask, never seen his whole face. It’s a good face, Eliot thinks, looking down at Quentin’s head resting in his lap. Tracing a finger gently over an eyebrow, down the slope of his nose, Eliot allows himself to be stupidly corny in the privacy of his own thoughts. Quentin’s face is his very favorite face.

One the TV, the final dinosaur roars as the water catches fire — this movie, honestly — and Quentin twitches, his nose bumping into Eliot’s hand as he starts to wake up.

“Hey,” Eliot murmurs, soft, moving his hand to rub at Quentin’s back instead as Q blinks, shifting and squinting a little in the semi-darkness of the penthouse. “How are you feeling, Baby Q?”

“Shivery,” Quentin mutters, curlinging back in on himself for a moment. “Achy.”

“Time for some more Tylenol,” Eliot confirms. “And maybe for bed.”

“Mmm. What time is it?”

“Like 8:30,” Eliot admits, clicking the button on his phone just to confirm. Which— yeah, okay maybe that is a little early, but in his defense Quentin has literally been asleep anyway.

“I’d rather go to bed when you do later,” Quentin protests, cheek settling back onto Eliot’s thigh. “I’ll be okay. We’ve got more movies to watch.”

Seriously?”

Quentin snickers, twisting around to squint up at him. “The next couple have Chris Pratt, if that boosts your interest at all.”

“Jeff Goldum is hotter and less problematic,” Eliot sighs. “Tell you what, let’s move to the bed, we can watch it on your laptop. I just need to clean up the kitchen.”

“M’kay,” Quentin agrees sleepily. “Dessy should go out, too.”

Lady Desdemona is so thoroughly asleep that she doesn’t even perk up at the sound of her name, but that’s sure to change once they get up and move around. Quentin seems content to ride out the end of the movie without moving much, and Eliot’s happy to let him, sliding his fingers back into Quentin’s hair. He sits up when the credits start to roll, though, in careful deference to the small dog tucked up against his legs. His hair’s all akimbo, rumpled and disheveled, and Eliot very much just wants to draw him back down and tuck him in. But it’s a good opportunity to shift into actual night mode, so Eliot says nothing, just sends out a prod of telekinesis towards the lightswitch in the kitchen, near enough to light up the couch but far enough away from them to not be startling.

Des, on Quentin’s other side, struggles up to her feet in the tangle of blankets, then stretches— a perfect downward dog— and hops off the couch to trot over to the door, little nails clicking on the kitchen floor. She plops her butt down next to Quentin’s sneakers and yawns deeply, letting out a tiny puppy squeak, like air leaking out of a balloon.

“She knows what’s up,” Eliot says, rolling his head lazily over to look at Quentin, who nods ruefully.

“Yup. Can’t get one by her.”

Eliot getting off the couch is much less graceful, bad knee stiff with having been stationary for so long. Quentin’s there, though, sleepy and sickly and still catching Eliot carefully by the elbow, so second nature he doesn’t even seem to be aware he’s doing it. It makes a sticky, hot tangle of emotion twist up in Eliot’s heart, the complicated feelings of gratitude and embarrassment and fear and love. No one’s ever loved him as easily or as well as Quentin does, never in his life, and sometimes the magnitude of it still surprises him. Old fear says, I won’t be allowed to keep this, and new habit says, I can keep this, and I will do whatever I have to to deserve it.

God, it’s been almost two years. Surely, this fucking cycle’s got to let up eventually.

It had, he remembers it in the vaugest sense, last time, in their other life. But breaking that cycle had taken a hell of a lot longer than two years. Maybe, if he’s lucky, the combination of that history and aggressively applied therapy will hasten the process this time.

Quentin, for his part, seems entirely unaware that Eliot’s having a minor existential crisis in the middle of the living room. Once he’s stable and standing upright, Quentin moves away, walking over towards the door to grab a jacket and mask, toeing on his shoes with a kind of mute determination while Dessy bounces up, clearly excited now that Outside Time is imminent. Eliot follows after him, still feeling a little dazed.

“Do you want me to take her out?” Eliot asks, stopping next to Quentin just to touch him, palm against his ribs. “I don't mind.”

“No it's okay.” Quentin smiles at him, just a little. He still looks under the weather; Eliot can’t help but catalogue these things— the circles under his eyes, the paleness of his skin. It's a habit worn smooth from repetitive use. “I don't love the feeling of having laid on the couch all day, even if it was, you know. Body stuff and not brain stuff.

“Okay,” Eliot agrees softly, and he leans in to steal a kiss before Quentin hides his mouth away behind his dorky Star Wars mask. His lips are dry and chapped against Eliot's, and it makes something protective and needy curl in the base of his throat. Maybe, if he's being honest, it's been there all day. He doesn't like seeing Quentin sick, even if his brain knows that there's no harm at play here. “Just don't push yourself too hard, okay? You're still a little fevery.”

For once, Quentin doesn't needle him about being a mother hen, just nods, pushing up on his toes to brush their noses together. “I won't— don't worry.”

What's left after that is to clean up dinner. There's a dutch oven still mostly full of soup, which Eliot tackles first. Two more servings he puts in microwave-safe storage in the fridge, easy meals to grab and go in the next couple days, and then rest he puts in a snap-lid box and sticks in the freezer. After all, he'll be here himself next week, and while Quentin’s cooking is better than it was even a year ago; why not save him some trouble? The bread he slides back into it’s paper bag and casts a simple stasis charm over— it’s not a particularly long-lived food preservation spell, but it’ll keep the bread from going stale before morning.

Then it’s just cleaning left. Normally, Quentin would do this, if Eliot cooked, but he gets a pass today— besides, there’s something soothing in the methodical nature of washing up. Eliot contemplates putting on a podcast while he rolls up his shirtsleeves, but there’s actually not that much to wash. Plates and bowls he loads into the dishwasher, and the rest he washes up by hand, singing to himself softly while rinsing and drying the heavy dutch oven.

Now I’m here with you, and I would like to think that you would stick around, you know that I’d just die to make you proud. The taste, the touch, the way we love, it all comes down to make the sound of our love song.

Who needs to process emotions internally when you have Lana Del Ray, anyway?

He’s wiping down the counter by the time the door opens again, spilling Quentin and Dessy back into the condo.

“Good walk?”

“Mm,” Quentin agrees, divesting himself of his outerwear and hanging the leash up. “Just around the block. Dog did her business, though, so that’s good.”

Said dog is already bee-lining it for the bedroom, and they follow not long after.

“I think I’m going to deep-condition my hair,” Eliot muses as they walk into their bedroom, sliding his hand down from Quentin’s shoulder to rub between his shoulder blades, over the place his tattoo lives under his shirts. “Seems like it fits the vibe of the night.”

“What, lazy?” Quentin asks, and Eliot rolls his eyes, nosing down to kiss at the edge of Quentin’s hairline because he can. Thin strands of Quentin’s hair stick in his beard when he pulls back and he reaches up to smooth them down.

“Calm,” he corrects, brushing his thumb against the thin skin of Quentin’s temple. “Self-care oriented.”

“Vaccines: the ultimate self-care,” Quentin jokes, a little weakly. It’s unfortunately obvious that he still feels like shit.

“More Tylenol,” Eliot reminds him, nudging him towards the bed. “Or do you want to wait until closer to sleep? Can you take it at the same time as your meds?”

“Tylenol’s okay,” Quentin sighs, dropping down onto the bed. Dessy immediately scrambles over towards him, planting her little paws on his thigh like a mountain explorer, and gets her ears scritched for her troubles. “Ibuprofen could have like, blood thinning issues? But it’s not a big thing every once in a while. Yeah, let’s wait a bit.”

Eliot hums in acknowledgement, leaning down to kiss Quentin’s forehead. The skin feels hot against his lips, and part of him wants to push for Quentin to take something for the fever now, but— Quentin is an adult, and it’s Eliot’s job to trust him that he knows what his body needs and love him while he deals with it. “Sounds good, baby. I’m going to go put the conditioner in, but let me know if you need anything.”

“M’kay. Do you want me to wait to start the movie for you?” Eliot stops in the middle of taking his shirt off to give Quentin a very pointed look. It makes him giggle, duck his head and smile, and he’s so cute Eliot still has absolutely no idea what to do with it half the time. Constantly fighting the urge to pin Quentin against things and kiss him stupid— that’s what Eliot’s life has become. “Yeah, okay, silly question.”

The shower in their three-quarter bath has a detachable shower head; a luxury Eliot’s never had before in his life but one that he would go out of his way to have again in the future. It’s perfect for instances like this, when all he wants to do is rinse the product out of his hair. Sure, it feels a little bit silly just sticking his head and torso into the shower cube, but it means he’s done quickly and standing in front of the bathroom mirror before the sounds of the movie playing in the other room have even picked up much steam.

The deep conditioner is pretty buried towards the back of the bathroom counter, a sign in and of itself that it’s been too long since he took the time for this. It had been a way to self-soothe, earlier in the pandemic, but things seem to be getting busy again, somehow. He can’t help but eye his own face critically in the mirror as he unscrews the top of the lid, wet hair handing in sodden ringlets. Deep conditioner had been a staunch ally in the battle to reduce the damage done to his body by the Monster— god, years ago now. It had taken months to get the frizzy and broken curls back in shape, and even that hadn’t taken him back to the levels of smooth he’d had early in his Brakebills days. It’s closer now, after a recent hair cut— his first big venture out into the world had been a haircut, and no amount of mockery can make him regret that choice.

The look now is a good one, though, he thinks. Hair just long enough for the curls to really form, and the dark shape of his beard makes him look— older, he thinks, but in a way that feels good. He looks like a person who has a partner and a dog and a plan for the future, and even if only two of those things are true, Eliot’s always believed in the power of dressing the part. Fake it until you make it, and faking it’s at least 80% about the costuming anyway.

Scooping up a dollop of the deep conditioner, he starts to smooth it into the ends of his hair. The scent of it is familiar, green tea and shea, and so is the process of working it into his hair with fingertips and then a comb. Then it’s just a matter of piling his hair up on his head and setting it all under a plastic shower cap. Not his sexiest look, he thinks as he pulls on the robe hanging in wait on the back of the bathroom door. But there’s something nice about knowing he doesn’t need to hide this less-than-alluring look from Quentin; he has tangible proof that Quentin’s seen him in worse shape and wants him regardless. There’s an intimacy in that which is worth so much more than maintaining his illusion of flawlessness. To be flawed, and loved anyway is a remarkable thing.

Quentin’s lying on his stomach face down the bed when Eliot emerges from the bathroom, laptop open with some noticeably 21st century dinosaurs playing on the screen. He’s got one hand out towards the dog, who’s very tolerantly letting him play with her soft little ears. That probably won’t last, so smart to make use of her patience while she has it. Q doesn’t bother to move or look over at him until Eliot settles down onto the bed next to him, then he rolls his head over towards Eliot, eyes flicking up to his hair under the shower cap.

“You know,” Quentin says dryly, with that tone that says he’s about to be a little shit, “People think I’m joking when I say you make a plastic bag look good. Little do they know...”

“Brat!” Eliot accuses, bending enough to get his fingers in and dig at the ticklish spots on Q’s sides. Quentin, predictably, squawks and flails around, limbs entirely out of his control. Which, of course, gets the dog all riled up, jumping around on the bed and hopping onto Quentin’s prone form with her excitable little feet. If he was feeling better, he’d probably wrestle with her a bit, but as soon as Eliot backs off, Quentin settles down again. Eliot reaches out to scoop up the puppy, holding her steady in his lap so she doesn’t keep trying to attack Q into playing with her.

“We’re gonna knock the laptop off the bed,” Quentin mutters ruefully, settling his head back down on his arms. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, but it seems more like an excuse than anything else. Eliot’s happy to let him have it, settling to sit cross legged next to Quentin’s side for yet another dinosaur movie.

It takes about 3 minutes for Des to wiggle her way out of Eliot’s lap and over to Quentin’s side again, but he knows where he stands in the order of things. Plus, it means his hands are free, and he can use one of them to stroke a long, slow ling up and down Quentin’s back. That earns him a pleased hum and a little wriggle, so he takes the initiative to work his way up under Quentin’s t-shirt, stroking bare skin instead. He’s still overly warm, skin a little tacky, but Quentin sighs and melts a little under the touch, so it’s not like it’s a hardship for Eliot to touch him.

God, Eliot’s happy to, even when he’s sick or unhappy. A full lifetime of touching Quentin won’t feel like enough.

“You know,” Eliot says, voice pitched low and just loud enough to be heard over the soundtrack of the movie. “With vaccines happening, there’ll probably be other people coming back here soon.”

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that.” Quentin reaches out to hit the spacebar to pause the movie, and he rolls onto his side so he can prop his head up on one hand and look up at Eliot. He’s just wearing a t-shirt and Eliot allows himself the luxury of appreciating Quentin’s forearms, all pale, soft skin and thick, dark hair. “Julia and Penny are both almost done with the immunization series too.”

“It’s going to be weird,” Eliot murmurs, still petting the small of Quentin’s back. Quentin blinks at him, all big brown eyes, and Eliot just— smiles, a little helpless and a lot in love. “I’ve gotten used to just having you around, I think.”

“Yeah,” Quentin agrees, a thoughtful edge to his voice. “I do miss Julia, though.”

“I know, baby.” Eliot’s missed her, too, and she’s not even his person the way she is for Quentin. But she is family, undeniably. “It’ll be good to see her again.”

“You’ve got to be looking forward to being able to unlock the Fillory clock,” Quentin points out, and something odd turns in Eliot’s chest, tight and unhappy, the way it does whenever he thinks about Margo these days.

“Of course I am,” he says automatically, and while it’s true, it’s not quite honest, not the way he tries to be with Quentin. “Things with Margo were just. Getting strained before the pandemic, and I don’t think this last year has made them easier.”

“Because of me,” Quentin fills in, voice a little flat, and Eliot’s heart aches.

“No, baby, because of me.” He laughs, shaking his head a little, but he can hear how strained it sounds, and that means Quentin definitely can. “I never actually told her I wasn’t coming back to Fillory, I just kept saying... we need more time, we’re working on things— but at this point, it’s been two years.”

“Yeah,” Quentin says softly, reaching out to rest his hand on Eliot’s knee, thumb brushing against the fabric of Eliot’s trousers. “And you don’t want to go back.”

“No.” It’s the first time he’s actually said it out loud. “I— I’d like to visit? I do miss her, every day, but I don’t want that to be my life. But there’s no way she’ll understand that, especially when I don’t exactly have a plan for what I want to do instead, besides...”

He trails off, looking into Quentin’s lovely, dear face. Q’s just watching him, steady and calm, giving Eliot space, but the words feel stuck. “Besides?” Quentin prompts, eventually, and Eliot sighs, reaching out to pick up his hand. It’s the left one, and Eliot runs his thumb across the bare backs of his fingers.

“Besides building a life with you,” Eliot says, quietly, “And your life is here. Which means my life is here. Which I know to her that sounds like— me choose you over her, because her life is in Fillory. And maybe it is, maybe I am doing that.”

“Well,” Quentin says, measured and slow, like he’s being careful, taking the time to think about what he’s saying before he says it, “That was the point of the portal research, wasn’t it? If you can get portals to work to other worlds the way they do to other points on Earth, without the time slip, you can visit for breakfast, as far as that goes.”

“That’ll take years of research. Literally, I’m just starting to understand the things people already know about portals, much less changing them—”

“I’m pretty sure the point of working as a researcher is to do research,” Quentin cuts in gently, squeezing at Eliot’s hand. “I know it doesn’t help with the immediate problem, but in terms of like— the question of what you want to do instead? When you talk to Margo, and she wants to know what your alternate plan is? Working portal theory is an alternate plan, El. One that’s a lot easier to do when you have access to the different magical schools here and the hedge networks and the Library. I mean, god, you could probably even talk to Kady or Alice about getting some actual funding to do your research. Their whole network is a little shaky now that they’re not functionally enslaving travelers anymore, so more reliable portals would be a big benefit to them, too.”

“That still means I’m choosing to make my life here,” Eliot points out, looking back down at their hands. “Without her.”

“I hate that you feel torn,” Quentin sighs, dropping his head down to rest on his bicep. “I don’t know how to fix this for you.”

“You don’t have to fix it,” Eliot promises, lifting Quentin’s hand to press a kiss to his palm. “There’s nothing for you to fix. I love you. By choice, on purpose, I love you. I’m going to keep making that choice.”

“I know,” Quentin says, a soft little smile on his face. His thumb brushes against the edge of Eliot’s beard. “I’m not worried about that, pretty much ever.” Which is, really, a remarkable thing, given how much Quentin worries about literally everything else.

“I didn’t mean to get into this tonight,” Eliot sighs, dropping their hands back into his lap. “I’ve just been thinking about things starting to change again.”

“I have, too,” Quentin says, and Eliot does know this. He knows the constant ruts of worry Quentin keeps getting himself stuck in as things change around them. “I’m always happy to listen to you, though.”

“Just maybe not when you’re fevery.”

“Well, I’d be more coherent when I’m not fevery,” Quentin hedges, and Eliot can’t help but laugh.

“Baby, you made more sense out of this than I’ve managed in a month.”

“Well, it’s easier,” Quentin says reasonably, “when it’s not inside your own brain.” There is probably some truth to that. Still, he leans down for a kiss, trying to put everything he’s been feeling all day into it, protectiveness and worry and relief and love. It must work, because Quentin’s smiling a little when he pulls back. “I love you too, by the way.”

“I know, sweet boy.”

“Even when you’re wearing a bag on your head.”

Eliot rolls his eyes. “Glad the foundation of your love is stronger than a shower cap you’ve seen at least 30 times before.”

They lapse into silence when Quentin restarts the movie, settling back onto his stomach with his chin resting on his folded arms. Eliot’s content to fuck around on his phone, falling down a well of instagram baking videos, wondering absently if he has any good reason to try and make mini mirror glaze cakes. Probably they could pawn them off on the hedges, if he ended up with a fridge full of mousse. There’s a spell to help smooth gelatin he’s definitely seen that before... probably Josh knows it, maybe Eliot can mirror him.

Inevitably, the dinosaurs break out, and all hell breaks loose; women are running around in heels being chased by things, and Eliot’s tolerance for this movie has officially hit it’s limit. Also his hair has probably hit moisture saturation, at this point, so he rubs his palm pointedly over Quentin’s back until Q looks back at him, eyebrows up. “I’m going to go shower.”

“M’kay,” Quentin hums, looking back towards the laptop, and Eliot shakes his head, feeling fond exasperation.

“You should shower too, it’ll probably make you feel better.”

“Yeah, I’ll go after you,” Quentin says, distracted, and yeah, it was probably too much to hope for a sexy joint shower, especially when Quentin’s in full media consumption mode.

Eliot leaves him to it. The little shower cubicle heats up quickly while he strips down and pulls off his shower cap, and then it’s all excellent water pressure and wet heat, coaxing tension out of his body. His curls feel springy even as he rinses them out, eager to retain their shape, and that feels like a job well done. The water pressure beating down against his back feels like it’s forcibly unwinding him by increments, and by the time he soaps up, he feels loose and calm enough that when his hands pass over his chest, slick with soap, his cock twitch in interest.

There's some weird, lingering arousal from a whole day of prolonged physical contact, and despite the undercurrent of worry to the whole thing, Eliot's body is interested in some release of that tension. And maybe it should feel a little clinical, but it doesn't, not really, Eliot and his left hand and hot showers are old friends that go way back. He takes himself in hand with a sigh, thinking idly of nothing in particular. Jeff Goldbum draped over a table with his tits out, maybe, waiting to be rescued. Never on pain of death would Eliot admit to jerking off to these stupid dinosaur movies, but it's been going all day, it's the easiest thing to call to mind, and well. Jeff Goldbum.

It’s an easy, effortless kind of pleasure, satisfyingly simple, and Eliot doesn’t have the motivation in him for elaborate fantasy at the moment. It’s all masculine torsos and chest hair and the cut of abs in his brain, more impressions of things that he finds arousing than anything structured. He thinks arms and it’s Idri, strong and firm and dark skinned, toned for years of hefting a sword; he thinks hands and it’s Quentin— and that’s a bolt of pleasure so strong he gasps aloud into the shower, because god, Quentin’s hands. Sturdy and square and sure, manishly large compared to his relatively petite frame. Quentin’s forearms with their thick dark hair, god— Eliot works his fist against the glans of his cock and thinks about what it feels like to put his mouth on the tender skin on the inside of Quentin’s arms, to kiss across thick hair near his wrists.

He’s such a furry little thing, it’s almost shocking when you don’t know what you’re getting under all those layers, but god— Quentin’s legs, his calves, his thighs, god, they way they feel when Eliot rubs his cheek against them. The way Quentin gasps and arches when Eliot rubs his beard against the tender insides of his thighs, his sweet, heavy cock silky on Eliot’s tongue, the feeling of his ass, god. Quentin’s so ridiculously hot, and Eliot loves him so fucking much— it’s not fair that he also takes dick like a champ. Eliot’s hand flies over his dick, thinking of sinking into the tight heat of Quentin’s sweet little ass, cheeks spreading around Eliot’s dick, or the feeling of sliding deep into his throat, the way Quentin will get all teary but pushes forward with determination anyway, like he’ll just lose it if he can’t have Eliot inside him all the way.

Orgasm crests through him with a bright catch-and-release, not toe-curling or earth-shattering but still deeply satisfying. He works himself through the aftershocks, thinking lazily of just kissing Quentin, slow and sweet, the way Q will sometimes smile when Eliot pulls back in the middle of a kiss, like he’s just happy to see Eliot.

It’s probably very embarrassing how deeply embedded Quentin is in Eliot’s sexual psyche that he surfaces even in perfunctory masturbation sessions, but, god, it’s not like Eliot minds. To get to want and to have in equal measure is a luxury that he’s still not used to yet.

The movie’s still going when he steps out of the shower, so he throws up a minor sound blocking ward so he can dry his hair without making it impossible for Quentin to hear. The diffuser leaves his hair forming spiral curls, and maybe a spell would be faster, but no one ever made those spells with curly hair in mind. Besides, he’s not in a rush— even if there’s a little lingering dampness, it’ll dry quickly. Quentin hasn’t moved much, and Eliot’s feeling a little touch-hungy, so he doesn’t bother to do more than throw on a robe over his bare skin and slide onto the bed, curling an arm around the span of Quentin’s ribcage, tugging him over until they’re pressed together and Eliot can rest his face against Quentin’s shoulder, feel the soft material of his worn t-shirt and the warmth of his skin.

“Hi,” Quentin murmurs, turning towards him easily, like it’s instinct to match Eliot’s affection, tuck in together. He reaches up to smooth his fingers through Eliot’s freshly silky curls, and Eliot sighs happily, eyes falling shut. “You’re cuddly. Good shower?”

“Mhm,” Eliot hums in agreement, not even bothering to be embarrassed about the fact that Quentin probably could hear him jerking off. Twisted together he can get both arms around Quentin, and he does, tugging him in until he can hold him, feel the weight of his solid little body in Eliot’s arms. “Good movie?”

“Well,” Quentin says, nose scrunching up. “I don’t know if I’d say good, but.” Eliot just smiles at him, full of fondness at this ridiculous, wonderful man. “Thanks for taking care of me today.”

Eliot swallows against the enormity of the feeling in his chest, reaching up to touch the edge of Quentin’s jaw, trailing fingers up to his ear until he can cup his palm against the back of Quentin’s neck. “I want to take care of you. It’s not something you need to thank me for.”

“Well, then— thanks for putting up with my movies.”

“Yes, well, I am magnanimous like that.” Quentin snickers, and Eliot brushes his thumb out against the corner of his smile, feeling immeasurably tender. “Still good Dad memories?”

“Yeah,” Quentin sighs, and there’s an edge of sadness to it. “I don’t know. I feel like a part of me is always going to miss him when I’m sick, you know?” Eliot doesn’t, personally, but he nods anyway, because he knows at the very least that this is true for Quentin. “Anyway, you’ll be able to subject me to a bunch of musicals next week, so— even trade.”

“That’s love, baby,” Eliot agrees, watching the way it makes something like contentment settle on Quentin’s face. They meet in the middle for a kiss, and Eliot’s not even sure who leaned in first, just that they’re mouths are meeting, sweet and slow.

It takes a bit of twisting around so they can stay cuddled together and still finish the movie, but Quentin doesn’t seem to mind, and Eliot’s not ready to let go just yet.