Quentin takes a nap, and when he wakes up, Eliot looked pleased.
This is alarming for several reasons: a) "pleased" on Eliot looks a lot like the smirk his Gramma's cat wore whenever she shat in Quentin's shoes; b) they don't have a mirror so Quentin can't be sure Eliot didn't get bored and draw shit on his face; but most importantly, c) Quentin really has to reach for the last time he saw Eliot look pleased.
He thinks it was back when Eliot was regaling him with his scandals at Ibiza.
"What did you do," Quentin asks warily.
"Relax," Eliot says easily -- oh fuck -- "there's nothing on your face a hot shave won't fix." He smiles, a real canary feather smile, and Quentin pushes up from the chair.
He looks around, but the only thing noticeable is that Eliot finished the mosaic for this afternoon. The notebook is perched on the stair, and Quentin clambers up. The notebook looks the same as it did over not-really-coffee that morning. Then he looks down.
"Are you fucking kidding me," he says flatly to the giant dick framed by a set of improbably round balls laid out into the mosaic.
Eliot's pleased smile only increases -- it's at Chesire Cat levels now. "You don't think this is the 'beauty of all life'? Come now, Quentin, you must defend your criticism. Art stands on its own merits."
"I can't believe you wasted an afternoon to make a dick joke," Quentin grumbles, slowly climbing down from the stair, notebook tucked under his arm.
Eliot stretches languorously; a perfect beam of sunlight hits him through the treeline and he looks like he's about to swipe a feather out of the air. "Ah, but an artistic dick joke."
Quentin is finishing the last touches on the mosaic, scrubbing a little more red chalk into the two central tile pieces; he liked this one, it reminded him of Tatooine, double suns over desert colors. He gets up from his kneel, banging out chalk dusk and sand from his trousers, when Eliot walks up to him, offers him a class of carrot wine, and says:
"Nice set of tits you made there, Quentin. They're very perky."
Quentin balks. "They aren't-- I didn't-- It's abstract! I was thinking about the desert! And suns! And-- Well, shit."
Eliot pats him on the shoulder, chalk dust flying into the air. His smile is secreted into his mug of wine. "Breasts on the brain, Coldwater? I knew we should have gone to that spring festival, who doesn't like to see topless people dance around a pole?"
Quentin groans, but there's an edge of humour to it. He made tits. Tatooine desert sun tits. Apparently, his id remains somewhere eternally 14.
Arielle doesn't work on the mosaic often -- it's kind of unspoken that Quentin and Eliot are working on this thing, and even though they've settled into things between them there's always an undercurrent of purpose to Quentin and Eliot's perpetual reconfiguration of baked-clay tiles.
Today, though, is an off day. Eliot and Quentin had gone through a six-week passive-aggressive aggressive-aggressive argument-discussion about weekends. Namely, did they exist and will they be employed because for fuck's sake Quentin if I look at another goddamn mosaic tile I will break it over your head.
So, off days. Arielle isn't much for the whole mosaic thing; it's always been a folly, one of the weird tourist things in the area that the locals roll their eyes at. With Quentin and Eliot being Children of Earth, well. There's always a sense that some of the mysteries of Fillory aren't really for Fillorians. Or Lorians. It's chalked up to the whims of the Brothers, bleated be.
Still, she doesn't mind playing around with the mosaic every once in a while. It's such a fixed part of their lives, she knew that when she joined Quentin and Eliot at the Mosaic Cottage, and she can't help but take something of an interest.
She's idly rubbing in the color on the northwest corner of the mosaic when she realizes Quentin and Eliot have returned from bathing in the river. They're standing behind her, and when she turns to look at them they stare blankly back at her.
"Are you all right?" she asks worriedly. "You didn't hit your head on the riverbed or something, did you?"
"Nooooo," Eliot strings out.
"Um," Quentin says.
Eliot clears his throat. "That's, ah, a lovely design, Ari. May I ask what inspired you?"
She smiles. "Of course! I was thinking of my first love match when I was a girl. Her name was Yolanda, we met while comparing teats on dairy cows at the regional market--"
"That's a vagina," Quentin blurts out, then clamps his fingers over his mouth. Eliot's snort sounds painful.
Arielle beams. "Yes! It is! Yolanda is very beautiful, and we shared our blooming flowers with one another for the first time. I will always remember the dusky rose of her--"
"Okay!" Eliot said, rubbing Quentin's back; Quentin had tucked himself into Eliot's shoulder and was shuddering against him, muffled noises against the damp fabric of Eliot's blouse. "That's, um, thank you for, ah, ah, for sharing, Ari. You did a splendid job."
Ari wipes her hands against her apron. "That's so kind of you to say so, Eliot!"
It sounds like Quentin is saying something like "beauty life" over and over again between his shakes. Eliot tucks an arm around his waist and smiles at Arielle. "You are a breath of fresh air, sweetheart."
"And you are a cloud of pollinated bees!" she replies, sunny grin on her face as she ducks down to tuck a tile more firmly into place.
F U C K Y O U D A D
...decorates the mosaic, with alternating blue and green tiles to frame it.
Quentin glares at Eliot. "He gets this from you, you know."
Eliot is really not hiding his laughter behind his hand as well as he thinks.
Eliot tilts his head. "You know, that kind of looks like--"
"Don't even start with me," Quentin shoots back, throwing his chalk at Eliot's head.